Pandorum begins with Corporal Bower (Ben Foster) waking up from extended hypersleep during deep space travel. He’s aboard a ship headed for a planet that’s supposed to be the new Earth. The old Earth’s inhabitants have over populated and run out of resources. It turns out the ship is humanity’s last hope since during the exodus towards their new home, the old Earth has somehow exploded into nothingness.
Bower wakes up not remembering anything as a symptom of his deep sleep. He slowly starts putting the pieces together and eventually comes across his commanding officer played by Dennis Quaid. Their story turns towards restoring the mammoth ship they’re aboard back to working order and figuring out where the hell they are. They discover they are not the only survivors out of the 60,000 or so other passengers.
The ship/movie ultimately boils down to being a post-apocalytic noah’s ark with a horror kind of feel to it. The storyline tries a little too hard to be creepy at times although it does succeed in moments as well. In terms of writing, it’s ok, nothing we haven’t seen before, somewhat predictable although there is a bit of twist with their location. They play a lot off of the space madness that inflicts the passengers aboard the ship, so there’s a virus/infection element here too. It seems like they just kind of stapled these elements together from their filmmaker’s handbooks.
The acting is ok too, I would say Ben Foster is the standout here, definitely nailed his character and was engaging to watch. Dennis Quaid did his best Dennis Quaid, but much the same kind of character he’s been playing of late. I like when he takes more chances and does some deeper character work. This is his generic thriller dude.
One side note about some of the characters. Bower runs into 2 survivors that are supposed to be scientists; what was interesting about them was just how adept they were at fighting. Do scientists take martial arts and weapons training courses on the side? Seemed like a bit of a stretch. I would have made them more realistic, much more interesting to watch. These generic side characters equal eye candy mostly.
If you are really in the mood for a good, creepy-as-hell space flick, check out Event Horizon (Lawrence Fishburne, Sam Neil) instead.
reviewed by Sean McKnight
A drama set in 1954, Leonardo DiCaprio portrays a U.S. marshal named Teddy Daniels who is sent to a mental hospital for the criminally insane to investigate the disappearance of a patient. He and his partner (played by Mark Ruffalo) stumble upon what they believe is actually a place where experiments are practiced on the patients as part of a government/military experiment. The story unravels from there with much intrigue and an interesting ending.
Something I found intriguing about this movie is not only how the mindfuck aspect of this film is reminiscent of Inception (they don’t play out the same way but both have a similar feeling twist-wise). And, how similar DiCaprio’s characters are in each movie, and in this regard, they’re really damn similar. The parallels in the story line with the wife character are really close in some ways, you could almost exchange characters in each movie and not miss a beat.
Both movies play out just fine in their own ways…
Sitting at the helm is Martin Scorsese, who does a brilliant job as usual and makes a great team with DiCaprio. Scorsese’s vision this time is a bit on the darker/surreal side and is both timed and told very well with a lush, visual texture right on top to bring the uncanny aspects of the storyline front and center. A feast for the eyes and the mind indeed.
The cast is filled with talented actors (some legendary in fact) including: Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow (a personal favorite of mine), Michelle Williams, Elias Koteas, and Jackie Earle Haley who’s been springing up a lot lately. By the way, in case you’re wondering where you may know Jackie Earle Haley, his credits include playing the rebellious kid on the motorcycle in the original Bad News Bears, up to brilliantly portraying Rorschach in Watchmen as well as being the new Freddie Krueger.
This movie is not one you want to miss as it grips you from the get go and doesn’t let up until the very end. I highly recommend Shutter Island.
reviewed by Sean McKnight
Based on the video game of the same name, Bloodrayne revolves around a half-human vampire hybrid that seeks revenge on her maker for the murder of her mother.
So I thought I would go in the opposite direction of what I’ve been reviewing for the month of October, so I went with this one.
I enjoyed the first movie and let’s face it, this movie is just for fun. You’re not really looking for anything profound here but it does have it’s moments such as the underlying themes of family and being accepted for who you are. There’s also some nods to the power of friendship.
Otherwise, it’s our friends from the New York Zoo in the first movie picking up for the next leg of the adventure which leads them to their homeland of Africa where they stumble upon Alex the Lion’s long lost family. Their penguin allies along with their monkey sidekicks are also along for the ride.
It’s great family fare, full of adventure, beautiful computer generated animation and artwork and much fun. Plenty of big name voices in here too including: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Bernie Mac, Alec Baldwin and more.
For me, Pixar films are the be-all end-all of computer generated animated movies, but this one is definitely worth a night with the family and some popcorn.
reviewed by Sean McKnight