Mel’s 5 Second First Impression: The Shannara Chronicles

The Shannara Chronicles (2016-present)
(Season 1 cast) Austin Butler, Poppy Drayton, Ivana Baquero, Manu Bennett, John Rhys-Davies, Aaron Jakubenko, Daniel MacPherson, Marcus Vanco, Emilia Burns, Brooke Williams, James Remar, Jed Brophy

the-shannara-chronicles

I read about half of the first book in the series more than 12 years ago. I don’t remember much about it, nor do I know why I stopped reading it, since I was really enjoying it. I do remember enough, however, to know that this series takes place in the second generation of books. Wil, our hero, is the son of Shea, the youngster in the first books (of which there are 3, I think). I’ve recently re-bought The Sword of Shannara, and plan to read it soon, which has me wondering how much more of this show I want to watch before I do so. But for now, let’s talk about the first episode, the two-hour pilot, called Chosen.

They certainly packed a lot of info into that 2 hours (or hour and a half, once commercials are removed). There are no less than 5 characters that seem like they’re going to be important, although with already one unexpected death under their belts, it may be that this show is going to be more surprising than anticipated. Which is good. The acting is pretty good all round, if a little melodramatic at times. The effects look pretty stellar so far, the makeups on the demons are great. The only thing I’d have to say about it is that it seems to be the same old story again. There wasn’t much that happened in the show that wasn’t in The Lord of the Rings and other such titles. But, this was only the first episode. I’ll definitely continue watching, and hopefully it’ll grow it’s own two legs to stand on.

M.

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Mel’s 5 Second First Impressions: Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones (2015 – )
(Season 1 cast) Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, David Tennant, Mike Colter, Carrie-Anne Moss, Erin Moriarty, Eka Darville, Wil Traval, Robin Weigert

Jessica-Jones

So, I didn’t want to watch this. I saw the previews, and meh. I love a lot of stuff to come out of the Marvel Universe, but the tv shows have all left me cold. But then I realized David Tennant is in it. Playing the villain, no less. So after talking to a few friends about it, I decided to finally go ahead and give it a shot. I’m 3 episodes in, and here’s what I think so far:

– My friend was right; David is much too rapey for me to find him yummy in this show.
– Unflinchingly shows what it’s like to have PTSD, hard to watch at times.
– The acting is pretty good all round, which I really wasn’t expecting from anyone save David.
– While Krysten is doing a good job in the role of Jessica, the character is a little abrasive sometimes, and hard to like or care about. I hope she changes a bit as the show goes on.
– I really hope we see cameos of other superheroes. So far we only got a mention of The Avengers (“the green guy and his crew”), I hope we get more.
– Kilgrave’s powers are so awful, especially in the hands of a psychopath. But it did make me daydream for a solid half hour at least about what I could do with power like that…

So, all in all, I did enjoy the episodes, but I’m not 100% sure that I’m going to like the show as a whole. I guess I gotta keep watching to find out!

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Martian

The Martian
(2015) Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Sean Bean, Kristen Wiig, Aksel Hennie, Benedict Wong, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis

martian

So I went to see The Martian at the cinema tonight. I was hopeful yet wary at the same time. The book was so amazing, and I know how Hollywood loves to change things up, so I was a little scared. I also was iffy about the casting of Matt Damon. I thought he might be too “big” for the role, too good looking. Mark Watney was described as being a little geeky, and Matt’s not the first name to come to mind when I hear “geeky”. But my fears were all unfounded, this was a great piece of film. Matt easily pulled off Mark’s geeky charm and sense of humour, but was also there when he needed to be serious and more dramatic. There was a lot missing from the film that was in the book, but that’s to be expected, there’s no way to fit everything, but everything important was there, and they didn’t add any useless Hollywoodized crap. There was just one thing that pissed me off a little, and that was that they changed a character’s race and first name. In the book, one of the NASA people is called Venket Kapoor, and he’s Indian. In the film they made him black and changed his name to Vincent. The rest of the racially diverse cast is right, so why change that one? It’s ridiculous. But that’s really the only bad thing I have to say about the film. Everything was great, good acting all round, great story, nice visuals, even the usually annoying 3D was alright. And so it gets an almost perfect 9.5/10 from me!

M.

Mel’s 10 Things About… Poltergeist

Poltergeist
(2015) Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Kennedi Clements, Jared Harris, Kyle Catlett, Jane Adams, Saxon Sharbino, Susan Heyward, Nicholas Braun

poltergiest-2015

 

{SPOILERS INCOMING}
1. The beginning was really slow, and really boring. *yawn*
2. There were one or two good scenes, but on the whole the acting was pretty terrible.
3. Are we meant to believe that a poor family, with neither parent working, can buy a house? Especially one of that size? “Bad neighbourhood” my ass! Film-makers seem to have no concept of what bad neighbourhoods really look like. Poor people don’t buy big houses, they get crappy little apartments. Why make them poor, anyways? It added nothing to the story.
4. The film got better as time went one, but really, that’s not saying much.
5. There was also nothing scary about the film. Every time they tried to scare, I found it funny.
6. The only part that was even a little scary was the toy clown scene. Cause yeah, I hate clowns.
7. Considering that almost everything else is identical, why change the family’s names? Oh, cause the kids had to have “cool” modern names like Madison and Griffin. Ugh.
8. The only thing remotely interesting in the film was the depiction of the “other side”, even though the bad CGI made it look like a video game.
9. Carrigan’s last moments and sacrifice were made meaningless by the fact that he didn’t stay dead, which they said many times during the film would happen should anyone living go to the light.
10. Now to compare it to the original for a bit. The story was all there, but it simply didn’t have the interest-holding power of the original. The family was so obnoxious that I really didn’t care what happened to them. Why did they turn Tangina into a dude?? I think this pissed me off the most, even though I generally do like Jared Harris. And making him a ghost hunter on tv just added to the level of obnoxiousness that was already pretty high. So… no, I didn’t like this film.

3/10

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Hunt for the I-5 Killer

The Hunt for the I-5 Killer
(2011) John Corbett, Sara Canning, Tygh Runyan, Andrew Wheeler, Matt Bellefleur, Mike Dopud, Kirsten Robek, Garry Chalk, Bo Derek

i5-killer

This movie has been on my pvr for probably over a year, so I finally decided to watch it. I was a little leery (ok, a lot leery) at first because it’s an IFC film, and those tend to be pretty awful, but I do love me a good serial killer film, so I decided to give it a go. And I was pleasantly surprised. It was so much better than I’d been expecting. The acting was pretty good all round, Corbett doing a great job as the harried detective in charge of the case, and the killer, who was surprising when we found out who he was, was suitably creepy. I’ll be curious now to read up on the case now (it was a true story), since at the end there was a disclaimer that said some things were fictionalized, to find out what actually happened. Maybe it wasn’t so bad in real life..? No, I guess that’s just me dreaming again. I’m really glad that the cops were finally able to nail the fucker who did it to the wall though. Sicko. All in all, a pretty entertaining true crime film. I just wish it wasn’t on IFC. I hate bloody commercials…

7.5/10

This film isn’t currently on Netflix, but if you can find it, it’s worth your time 🙂

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Pyramid

The Pyramid
(2014) Ashley Hinshaw, James Buckley, Denis O’Hare, Christa Nicola, Amir K, Faycal Attougui

pyramid

I almost turned this film off as soon as it began because of the found footage style. I can’t stand it. I decided to go ahead and give it a try anyways, since I paid for it, and was happy to see that only part of it was in that style, the rest was normal film. So all the worst parts of found footage films, like running with the camera, static, blinking lights, etc, were thankfully missing from this film. There was only one actor I’d heard of (Denis O’Hare, from American Horror Story), and the acting ranged from bad to decent, but unfortunately nothing better than that. It’s pretty much a by-the-numbers creature feature (and I knew it was going to be, but since it was about pyramids and ancient Egyptian lore, I couldn’t help myself), but it was well enough done and even had some good, tense scenes. The big reveal at the end was pretty darn cool, but unfortunately the FX couldn’t keep up with their idea, and the monster (I won’t spoil as to who it is just in case anyone should want to see the film) looks very cheap. A shame, really. All in all, looking past the not-so-great effects and mediocre acting, this is a pretty good tomb crawler, so earns its score of 7/10.

This film isn’t currently on Netflix, but there are full copies on YouTube. Enjoy 🙂

 

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Mad Max Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road
(2015) Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, Nathan Jones, Josh Helman, John Howard, Richard Carter, Iota, Angus Sampson

FURY ROAD

So I wondered if I should do a review of this film at all. I mean there’s not much to really say about it. There’s virtually no plot, and the acting ranges from ok to mediocre (but at least never downright bad). The best actor in the film, by far, is the always lovable Nicholas Hoult who, somehow, still looked adorable while under all that makeup and prosthetic (just like he did in Warm Bodies, how on earth does he do it??).

But let’s get real for a second, no one who went to see this movie did so for the plot or the acting. The action sequences were, of course, stunning. Most of them were actually done live, with only a little CGI to help, and it really showed. That’s all there was to the film though, start to finish. There are little pockets of dialogue here and there, but mostly it’s dirt road war. Unfortunately, I need more than that to keep me entertained for a whole 2 hours. I made the mistake of stopping the film about 90 minutes in to go to the bathroom and grab a snack, and I actually had trouble starting the film up again. If my husband hadn’t been watching it with me and insisted on finishing it, I’m not actually sure if I would have finished. I probably would have, since there was so little time left, but the fact that I had to think about it should tell you something about how much I enjoyed it, or didn’t, rather. I didn’t hate it, the action sequences were entertaining, but I just wish we’d of had at least some plot and character development. People died from the good guys and it was hard to care, and that’s never a good sign. I also had some trouble with Tom Hardy’s voice (or, shall I say, his grunting), and accent sliding on and off. Either let him keep his accent, or don’t. Don’t let him do both!

All in all, it’s nothing more than a mediocre film with awesome effects and stunts. 6.5/10 (the extra .5 is for Tom Hardy’s lips. Meow.)

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Interstellar

Interstellar
(2014) Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin (v.o.), Matt Damon, Topher Grace, Casey Affleck, Josh Stewart (v.o.), Mackenzie Foy, Ellen Burstyn

interstellar

Wow, that was a long movie. But that’s alright, it didn’t really feel like it’s almost 3 hours, so that’s good. I’m not sure if I really liked it, though. I mean everything was great; the acting, the visuals were breathtaking, everything was solid. The story was interesting too. I just feel like with all the grand, swooping things happening all over the film, something got lost. For some reason I couldn’t connect with the characters, especially Murphy. I’ve been staring blankly at the screen for a while, so yeah, that’s really all I got to say about it. Good, but nothing I’m ever going to think about again. 7/10 for a film that left me feeling empty and indifferent.

M.

Mel’s 10 Things About… Space Odyssey

Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets
(2004) Martin McDougall, Joanne McQuinn, Rad Lazar, Mark Dexter, Michelle Joseph, Mark Tandy, Hélène Mahieu, Lourdes Faberes, John Schwab, Colin Stinton, David Suchet (v.o.)

Space Odyssey Voyage to the Planets

1. The CGI was simply breathtaking.
2. Acting was good all round.
3. The the mix of film and faux-documentary style. Sometimes that can go horribly wrong, in this case it went very, very right.
4. The science, as far as I can tell, is really good. It lines up with other shows I’ve watched and books I’ve read on the subject. Some things are out-dated, but the film was made in 2004 after all.
5. There are some good, tense scenes here and there, and one really sad one that made me bawl like a baby the first time round.
6. This still falls into the realm of science fiction, but for how long, I wonder? I certainly hope I live long enough to see our explorations of other planets and moons.
7. Everything was mostly believable except maybe putting humans on Venus and Io. Would a titanium suit really protect us from the awesome pressures and heat from Venus?
8. I was really hoping, while hovering around Jupiter and Saturn that they’d land on, or at least mention, the moons Titan and Europa. The latter, with its under-ice ocean, is tremendously exciting. (Another very good film on the subject is Europa Report, about what might be swimming around in that deep, dark ocean.)
9. That one dude who was more interested in the science than in the safety of the astronauts really pissed me off, and I’d like to say that that would never happen in real life, but really now, who am I kidding?
10. I was kinda pissed that the “weak one” was a woman. Why not a man? Or, even better, why have a weak one at all? Having a full team of great astronauts isn’t that far a stretch.

Great little film by the BBC. I’d recommend it to anyone even slightly interested in space travel.

9.5/10

 

M.