Monsters is one of those rare films where the viewer is unsure of what is going to happen from the very beginning to the very end of the story.
The premise is that NASA found some alien life up there in the sky, so they went to grab some samples. Unfortunately, they messed up their re-entry (NASA: Need Another Seven Astronauts) and crash landed in Mexico, which let the samples loose. The Mexican and US governments are working together to contain the threat by cordoning off the infected zones. At the beginning of the film, a journalist reluctantly agrees to escort his boss's daughter through the infected zone and back to the safety of the States.
At first glance, once would think this is a monster movie. The title doesn't detract from this impression. However, not far into the film you get a love story much more realistic than those seen in most films. It is increasingly unclear, the more the story unfolds, whether the audience should be rooting for the romance or hoping to see some aliens explode- in a good way. (Hint: you'll probably get both!) Basically, this movie is Before Sunrise set to District 9.
The best part about this movie for me was the heart and soul that the cast and crew put into it. The film was basically done with a few actors, a couple of crew members, a couple of cameras, and a guerrilla filmmaking style that pays off big time. The film was reportedly shot for under $15,000, which is a producer's dream. The director did the editing and special effects in post production on his computer at home. Brilliant. If Edwards inspires just a couple of talented folks to follow in his footsteps, the film world will soon enough be a lush landscape of film experiences.
The Expendables is the most ridiculous movie you will see all year. When I say "ridiculous" I mean "bloody, explosive, over-the-top, hilarious." Ridiculous just sums it up better. Try to picture your favorite action movie. Now double that movie's budget and put it on steroids: Ya-dah! You have the Expendables.
This movie is about a Barney Ross (Mr. Sly Stallone) who is hired to do a job by a mysterious man named Mr. Church (cameo by Bruce Willis). Ross enlists the help of his crew in order to finish the assassination of a dirty South American politician. Through a series of explosions, slow motion chases, and more gunfire than a western, the events of the film play out with little question. This film is pure eye-candy.
The problems I have with this film are few and far between, but they are large. First of all, the secondary storyline was resolved far too quickly. Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) has girl problems with on-again, off-again girlfriend Lacy (Charisma Carpenter). When Christmas finds out Lacy's new boyfriend is abusive, he steps in, kicks his ass, and suddenly all of the troubles they were having before are gone. Lacy takes Christmas back and all is well. However, this happens right around the half-way mark of the film. Typically, the secondary plot is solved just before the primary plot is solved.
Second of all, who wrote this hackneyed dialogue? Oh wait....that was Sly. Yes ladies and gents, the movie is written by, directed by, and starring Sly himself. Honestly, I didn't know the man could read. The names of the characters are hideous plays on words: Yin Yang? Gunner Jensen? Toll Road? Paine?! HALE CEASAR?! Come on.
Finally, some of the acting was lackluster. I'm disappointed in the way the roles were executed.
Was this movie good? I'd even go so far as to say it was freaking awesome. Will other women enjoy it? Probably not. It's a movie full of violence, muscle, and unnecessary gore (but not in a Saw kind of way.) Will guys enjoy it? Probably. It's a film chalked-full of stereotypes that would make the 1950's proud. I give it 7 stars overall.
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