17 Apr 2020
Everyone talks about what they would do when faced with uncertain death angerufen - us versus whatever the threat may be - survival at all costs. But until you walk a mile in those shoes you really can’t say; you really don’t know…. and you really can’t identify your true self or what your true capabilities are.
….Or what you would do to survive.
Directors Alex & David Pastor’s 2009 movie Carriers starts out medias in res by introducing us to Brian and Danny, (played respectively by Chris Pine of Star Trek, and Lou Taylor Pucci of Empire Falls) two brothers trying to maintain a semblance of normalcy by making their own fun in a world that has become deceivingly ugly. It seems easy enough as they drive across country to the ocean, the one place that always brought them peace and happiness. Along for the ride is Brian’s girlfriend Bobby (played by Coyote Ugly’s Piper Perabo) and Kate (Emily VanCamp of The Ring 2.) Bad jokes and warm beer help to make their journey a seemingly pleasant one.
You don’t really find out that the world had turned ugly until about 15 minutes in when the group runs across Frank (Christopher Meloni of Law & Order) who is stranded and in need of gas in the middle of nowhere. With him is his young daughter Jodie (Kiernan Shipka) who hides rather shyly in their stalled SUV. What seems like a simple good deed suddenly turns evil when Bobby notices the daughter has “caught it.” “It” being a highly contagious and incurable viral disease of unknown origin that has quickly manifested throughout the United States and wiped out most of civilization. How the virus came to be is never addressed but the movie flows in a manner that you really don’t think about it much.
Caught in the internal struggle between wanting to do what is right and the desire for survival, survival quickly wins out as our group leaves the desperate father with his dying daughter, stranded and alone. Needless to say their “pleasant” ride turns angry and tense and a cruel twist of fate soon brings the foursome back to the stranded father and child where they realize they must join forces to exist or become yet another viral casualty.
Focusing on evil more lethal than a Jigsaw Cocktail but without the blood and gore, Carriers creatively illustrates how fragile the bonds of family, love, and friendship really are when forced to stare into the desolate eyes of death. How humanity becomes inhumane, skepticism replaces Christianity, and the last person standing loses sight of what is right and wrong, fighting instead for survival but not realizing that in doing so, they are condemning themselves to a life of solitude. And sometimes, that would be worse.
Carriers was originally filmed in 2007 but not released until 2009. Apparently Paramount was in a quandary due to the movies PG13 rating, concerned if anyone would take it seriously as a horror film. Granted there is no vulgarity, dismemberment, gratuitous boob shots, or even zombies (the bastards) but Carriers is most certainly a horror film. Not in the Saw sense, but in the 28 Days Later sense (ironically many have written of similarities between the two films.) In the sense that real horror lies at the core of our existence.
The actors are certainly a big part in the effectiveness of Carriers. Christopher Meloni was especially convincing in his role as a father who would do anything to save the life of his child, and the honesty in his delivery was incredibly believable. Chris Pine and Piper Perabo were equally impressive in evoking raw emotion , and I found myself feeling their pain and internal torture as if it were happening to me. I don’t know about you but in my book, that is what makes a good movie great.
Don’t quote me on any of this though as I seem to be in the minority of fans for this movie. Generally speaking, most reviewers feel Carriers was lacking of any real depth. While I strongly disagree, I would be curious to hear what you think. Am I alone or did you love it too?
07 Mar 2020
It’s some hundred or so years in the future and planet earth is dying with little to no hope of survival telefonni cislo. Solution? Put as many people as possible on board one big ass MF’n spaceship and send them into the great unknown where hopefully they can find another planet to eventually kill populate.
Hence the setting for Christian Alvart’s 2009 direction of Pandorum. Two astronauts, Bower (Ben Foster) and Payton (Dennis Quaid,) awaken from “hyper-sleep” (fancy talk for being cryogenically frozen) aboard the space shuttle “Elysium.” Also aboard are about 60,000 other sleeping humans, which were learn are the last remaining of the human race.
The ship appears to have no crew and it’s power source seems to be shutting down (a bad thing since it’s designed to self destruct.) Periodic power surges allow for some of the pod people to awaken (hence our 2 crew mates) disoriented with temporary memory loss. This could potentially pose other problems as we learn of the condition known as Pandorum, a type of psychosis which causes adverse behavior. Behavior such as severe paranoia, vivid hallucinations, and homicidal tendencies that are the result of being subjected to extended periods of deep-space travel and hyper-sleep (especially sucky for our two guy since both have been exposed to… well…… both.)
The two split up (always a bad move) with Payton staying behind in an attempts to locate the bridge while Bower wanders off into the ships bleak bowels in hopes of finding the ships reactor so he can jump start it and abort its self destruction. Finding other crew mates would just be a bonus.
It’s about this time Bowers stumbles across the dead body of a crew mate and some really angry blood thirsty mutants that he manages to evade, thanks largely in part to a couple of human survivors that just happen to show up right in the nick of time. Terrified and struggling to retain coherency, Bowers convinces these two to help him find the ships reactor since it is their only hope of survival.
Jump start the reactor - sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Too bad the ship is full of mutated flesh eating creatures reminiscent of the bad guys in The Descent. These mongoloid creatures are both incredibly fast and incredibly strong and can smell human flesh from a mile away (and they do so like eating human flesh!) How these mutants came to be is anyone’s guess but it would seem they were once human and suffered some DNA alteration. Could that same fate fall upon our survivors? And what does this mean for the humans waking up? And how many have already waken up only to meet a horrible bloody death at the mouths of the unrealized enemy?
Or perhaps their most horrible fate will come from within - Pandorum - while life as we know it comes to a bloody end?
Pandorum is not unique. Many elements are reminiscent of a dozen other sci-fi alien type films that offer a vague story line, underdeveloped characters, and presents more questions than answers (think the Descent, Event Horizon, or even Alone in the Dark.) There are blatant stereotypes (“Don’t hurt her - she’s just a kid!”) zero boob shots, and far to little depth. The only sex scene was between the mutants and it was deleted; bloodshed is evident but no where near as plentiful and I prefer; zero gore is displayed, and the scares are expected.
But it doesn’t mean Pandorum is not entertaining. The couple of twists and turns that are unique keep you guessing until the very end, which oddly seems to hold a mild similarity to Planet of the Apes. So why did I enjoy it so much? Who knows. Maybe my husband spiked my coffee (we watched it Sunday morning) or maybe I was still somewhat hungover from Saturday night; but suffice it to say that I DID enjoy Pandorum. Why not watch it? You might find that you actually enjoyed it as well.
22 Feb 2020
My husband twisted my arm to go see this one a few Saturdays ago. I did not want to go kto volal. Not because I did not want to see the movie; I would love to see it once out on video. It’s just that the lead, Bella, or more accurately Kristen Stewart, turned me off to wanting to pay to see it in the theater.
I must confess, I really liked the first Twilight; moreso than I expected to. But I think the fame of the movie went to Kristen’s head as every time I see her being interviewed on TV or in a cameo discussing the movie or life in general, she seems rather arrogant. And coming from a 20-year old kid makes it that much more annoying. Granted she she has starred in a lot of hit movies so perhaps she has a right to be confident, but arrogant? Sorry - there are way too many good actresses out there I would rather watch than to support a snotty little thing who can ruin a perfectly good movie for me.
Now - that being said - I was wayyyy more into this movie than my husband which is ironic since he was the reason for me being there (I wanted to see Brothers, but apparently that one will have to wait.) Guess I dig chick flicks more than I thought.
New Moon definitely is more of a chick flick than the first Twilight in that it focused on Bella and her broken heart. After a bloody incident on her birthday that almost got Bella eaten by Edward’s adopted vampire brother, he decides the only way to protect her is by leaving her. The result? A very depressed Bella.
It’s in this depressed state that Bella discovers that when she behaves recklessly, Edward shows up. Granted he is just a cloudy vision that fades and dissipates in the wind, but he is there for a moment and she can hear him talking to her. Caught in this “ghostly” revelation, Bella decides to enlist Jacob’s help to get a couple of dirt bikes up and running. Unfortunately Bella is as dumb as she is cute and after almost killing herself on the thing, decides she should find other ways to get her adrenaline on. Luckily Jacob is more than happy to help with this as well. That is up until he uncovers a deep dark secret about himself and he too separates himself from Bella.
Now alone more than ever before, Bella yet again does the two things she does best: Feels sorry for herself, and almost kills herself - yet again - by drowning. Not surprising, it is Jacob - yet again - who comes to her rescue. Of course, at this point in the movie, I was rooting for her to just go ahead and die already and put us all out of our misery. Who cares if I shed a tear or two for the tramp. That’s just because all the little bimbos in the theater were bawling and I felt bad for them. That was what my two tears were shed for: The loss of innocence.
So word gets back to Edward that Bella has died but not the part about her being revived and as a result of his broken heart, he plans on pleaded to the vampire powers that be to end his existence. Well no way in hell is Bella gonna stand by and let that happen so she and Eddie’s sister Alice head off to the equivalent vampire Vatican in hopes of saving Edward, and giving them another chance at love.
Fraught with emotion, and youthful lust love, and a skootch of suspense, New Moon delivers everything offered in the first installment plus some, including the development of the vampire/werewolf saga, and the setup of sexual tension between Bella and Jacob. throw in a tough dilemma that could alter all their lives forever, and you are left with one hell of a set up for installment 3, due out this June.
The only thing New Moon did not do was offer up enough blood shed nor enough suspense. The 130 minutes was about 30-45 minutes too long, and it while it had all the elements of a teenage romance drama flick if you will, it lacked most all of the elements needed to make it a thriller -much less a horror - flick.
So I shed a few tears… big deal. I cry over gay Folgers commercials at Christmas. And so what if I was really peeved over the cliff hanger they ended the movie with. I am only human after all, and a female one at that. And who cares if I will actually go see the 3rd installment at the theater, Kristen Stewart or not. Who won’t? I spend enough time being in the minority.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to go search online for spoilers for New Moon: Eclipse. After all, how the hell am I supposed to wait until June to see who Bella will choose???
10 Feb 2020
As if it wasn’t enough for James Cameron to have created the number one hit movie of all time - TITANIC - he now holds the number two slot as well with his December release, Avatar. And it only seems a matter of days before Avatar will deservedly take over the number one spot.
Following the basic story line as that of Dances With Wolves except taking place in the year 2154 instead of during the civil war, and taking place on a planet named Pandora instead of here on earth. Involving an alien people known as the Na’vi instead of Sioux Indians, and where the human race wants a valuable mineral ore that can only be found on the Na’vi planet, instead of where the white man wants to kill all the Sioux. Oh and one is animated, and one is not. But aside from those factors, they are more or less the same movie.
Both were amazing films with amazing actors; intense in their script and delivery. Action packed and emotion filled; both keep you thinking long after the film as stopped rolling; and both have underlying lessons that everyone, man, woman, and alien alike, should learn. I cannot recommend Avatar enough. Or Dances With Wolves for that matter.
So I summed them up in the poetry form known as a Cinquain entitled (fittingly) Avatar (or call it Dances With Wolves if you prefer. Both are equally fitting):
destroy the life;
but love restores the hope.
And a new world without judgment