Monday, March 19, 2018

Movie review: Solomon Kane

 Mercenary sea captain Solomon Kane, learning his soul is bound for hell due to his murderous ways, renounces violence. But a sorcerer's savage cult prompts Solomon to pick up a blade once again and instead slay evil in hopes of redemption.

James Purefoy (Kane), Ian Whyte (Devil's Reaper), Max von Sydow (Josiah Kane), Lucas Stone (Young Solomon), Samuel Roukin (Marcus Kane), Rachel Hurd-Wood (Meredith), Isabel Bassett (Witch), Jason Flemyng (Malachi).

Solomon Kane begins with the end of Solomon's murderous ways when he learns his soul is bound for hell. Renouncing violence in hopes of salvation lasts only a moment before the sorcerer Malachi and his army begin ravaging the land, and Solomon sees violence as his redemption. The plot in place, the rest of the film is a violent adventure with a few mild twists to keep things interesting.

Acting was good with Purefoy delivering a solidly dark performance. Von Sydow as enjoyable, as was Stone, in smaller roles. Hurd-Wood was okay, as were Flemyng, Whyte, and the remainder of the supporting cast.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds fit the film nicely with a dark, dreary, and often wet theme. Darker scenes were a bit challenging at times. Action and CGI are reasonably well done other than one creature that felt absolutely overdone. Dialogue was decent. Sound and soundtrack are okay.

Solomon Kane, the name if not the story, is probably familiar and this Action Fantasy film adds some depth quite nicely. Those who enjoy darker films or medieval themes, along the lines of Van Helsing, should enjoy this one.

With plenty of violence, gore, and potentially disturbing images, save this one for older teens and above.

Released: 2009
Reviewed: 2.21.18
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, International Movies, Action & Adventure

copyright ©2018 Dave Riedel

Friday, March 16, 2018

Movie review: Fred Armisen: Standup For Drummers

 Fred shares and demonstrates his thoughts on musical genres, regional accents, drummer quirks, and even throws in a few skit scenes for an audience of drummers.

Fred Armisen, Clem Burke, Vinnie Colaiuta, Tre Cool, Sheila E., Thomas Lang, Stella Mozgawa.

Fred obviously knows his music history when it comes to drums and even techniques over time. He is also a damn good drummer. Combining the two, Fred actually demonstrates the points he is making as part of his humor. Adding in some other drummers and guests, along with a few comedy skits, and the result is a highly engaging and energetic hour of comedy and music education.

Fred is pretty good on stage and a joy to watch drum. Despite his slightly comatose look, he delivers some good energy and keeps the audience engaged pretty well. Other drummers and skit performers were enjoyable and added a nice depth to the show.

Camera work is solid. Sets and backgrounds were great with a huge variety of drum kits and other objects. Dialogue is solid though Fred can be a bit dry at times. Sound is managed nicely.

If you are a drummer, or have an interest in music history focused on drumming, check this one out. Even if the humor doesn't land for you, the exploration of drumming through time is wonderful.

Nothing here to really limit audience age. Teens and above should be fine with this one.

Released: 2018
Reviewed: 2.19.18
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Comedy, Stand-up Comedy

copyright ©2018 Dave Riedel

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Movie review: The Cloverfield Paradox

 In a space station orbiting an Earth on the brink of war, scientists work tirelessly to successfully test a device that will solve the energy crises and save humanity. Instead they are face with a disturbing alternate reality.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Hamilton), David Oyelowo (Kiel), Daniel Bruhl (Schmidt), John Ortiz (Monk), Chris O'Dowd (Mundy), Aksel Hennie (Volkov), Ziyi Zhang (Tam), Elizabeth Debicki (Jensen), Roger Davies (Michael).

The Cloverfield Paradox begins nicely by bringing us up to speed on the Earth's energy crisis and work by scientists on a space station to solve the problem. Characters now introduced, the drama begins and the scientists realize they may have done more damage than good. The rest of the film is an interesting intellectual problem married to emotions and the never ending struggle to survive in space. The film finishes with a couple of twists and a more mild ending than expected.

Acting was solid with Mbatha-Raw delivering solid emotion throughout. Oyelowo was enjoyable, and Hennie was appropriately annoying. O'Dowd was enjoyable and delivered some bits of humor well. The remainder of the cast were solid.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds are good with nice detail. CGI and action effects were well done throughout and added greatly to the film. Dialogue was good and brought nice depth. Sound and soundtrack are pretty good.

Overall The Cloverfield Paradox is a solid sci-fi thriller with a plot that is a bit unique. Acting and technical work are good and the film holds interest pretty well. Those who enjoy a nice space sci-fi should enjoy this one.

With some violence, gore, foul language, and potentially disturbing scenes, limit this one to mature teens and above.

Released: 2018
Reviewed: 2.14.18
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi Thrillers, Sci-Fi Fantasy, Action Thrillers, Sci-Fi Action

copyright ©2018 Dave Riedel

Monday, March 12, 2018

Movie review: Mune: Guardian of the Moon

 The old guardian of the moon is retiring and quirky Mune is selected as his replacement. His first task will be to aid the guardian of the sun in retrieving the sun after it is stolen by an evil magma demon, putting the sun, moon, and indeed the world, in jeopardy.

Michael Gregorio (Mune), Omar Sy (Sohone), Izia Higelin (Glim), Joshua Ballard (Mune), Damien Boisseau (Mune's Dad), Emmanuel Curtil (Zucchini), Trevor Devall (Sohone/Zucchini).

Mune: Guardian of the Moon begins with an introduction to the strange world represented in this interesting animation, and the inhabitants of which many bear striking resemblance to combinations of common animals. As the main plot gets rolling things get more interesting, and the characters find more depth. The rest of the film is an unusual, but surprisingly entertaining, adventure as Mune sets out to save the world.

Voice work was enjoyable and nicely done.

Animation was good if somewhat simplistic. Representations of characters were unusual and added more depth than expected. The moon spiders that looked a lot like white Furby's were our favorite. Dialogue is simple, but good. Sound and soundtrack are solid.

Overall Mune: Guardian of the Moon is a film for kids and on that front, it seems to hit the mark. Adults may find this one interesting as well given the unusual creatures and plot, making it a decent choice for family movie night.

With some mild violence, this should be fine for just about any audience.

Released: 2014
Reviewed: 2.14.18
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Adventure, Children & Family Movies

copyright ©2018 Dave Riedel

Friday, March 9, 2018

Movie review: Radius

 Liam regains consciousness after a car accident and soon realizes something has changed. Anyone within fifty feet of him suddenly dies. Except for Jane.

Diego Klattenhoff (Liam), Charlotte Sullivan (Jane/Rose), Brett Donahue (Sam), Andrea del Campo (Tech), Nazariy Demkowicz (Ted), Bradley Sawatzky (Dr. Mayborne), Bj Verot (Bruce).

Radius begins with Liam regaining consciousness after his auto accident. With no memory of who he is, or what has happened, he quickly realizes anyone within fifty feet of him dies suddenly. As he tries to make sense of things he is found by Jane, who tells him she was in the car with him at the time of his accident. The remainder of the film is a lovely mystery as Liam and Jane struggle to figure out what has happened without killing anyone else.

Acting was quite good in this one. It was nice seeing Klattenhoff in something aside from Blacklist, and the did nicely. Sullivan was solid, enjoyable, and seemed to work well with Klattenhoff. Donahue and the remainder of the supporting cast were good.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds are all nicely done with a solid feel. CGI and action are handled well, being both fitting and well done. Dialogue is solid and adds a lot of depth to this one with the characters thoughts. Sound and soundtrack are typical big screen fodder.

Radius ends up being an enjoyable sci-fi thriller with an interesting plot and good depth. Technical work and acting are also solid. Those who enjoy a good sci-fi, thriller, or combo, should enjoy this one quite a bit. Shove this in toward the top of your must see list.

A bit of foul language in this one, but it should be fine for mature teens and above.

Released: 2017
Reviewed: 2.14.18
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller, Sci-Fi Thriller, Supernatural Sci-Fi, Serial Killers

copyright ©2018 Dave Riedel

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