The Host



When Earth is taken over by alien parasites that use human bodies as hosts, some humans are able to hide away and form a resistance. Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) is one of the few who have managed to stay human- until now. When she is captured and implanted with the a soul called Wanderer, she continues to fight from the inside.

The very difficult part about making this novel into a movie is that the main conflict is all inside Melanie’s head. The novel is mostly internal dialogue. It is arguments and conversations by the Wanderer and her host, Melanie. They did a fair job of showing this, having the Wanderer talk audibly to Melanie and the audience hearing Melanie from within. Yet, it’s difficult to make this as substantial or as interesting as it is in a novel. This is a novel that I would not have imagined would become a film, because of this problem.

The other difficulty in making the Host into a movie is that they have to show souls. The aliens or parasites, wherever you wish to call him, are simply souls that need a body to survive. They showed this as a sort-of ball of light with small tentacles (for lack of a better word). To be honest, the representation made me laugh at first. My initial response could be considered a bit harsh though. How else could they represent a soul? It is something that does not have mass or a shape or a color. I suppose a soul as a silver cloud of light with legs is as valid as any other depiction. They dealt with these issues in creative and necessary ways.

The cast was a slew of up and coming actors, including Max Irons as Melanie’s love interest, Jared and Jake Abel as Wanda’s love interest, Ian. It was hard to feel connected to these characters, because they were given no depth. It seems as if they were picked to be two good-looking guys to put on the movie poster. It’s a shame that they could not create the chemistry and intensity of the love triangle (or should I say square) of the film.

Saoirse Ronan did a great job of showing her inner conflict and using two voices to show it. Diane Kruger played the seeker who was looking to find and dispose of the last humans. She was great as the intense bad guy of the movie. There were a lot of great smaller roles like Melanie’s Brother, Jamie (Chandler Canterbury), her aunt Maggie (Frances Fisher), and her uncle Jeb (William Hurt). I think they all added what they could in the movie, but could not salvage it.

The movie is overall okay. They did what they could, but they lost important parts from the novel. There were too many elements that were impossible to bring to life on screen. The characters lacked chemistry and the movie ended up missing something. It could not find that spark to make it a success.

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Portia Nathan (Tina Fey)  is an admissions officer at Princeton. When John Pressman (Paul Rudd), a teacher at an alternative high-school gets one his students, Jeremiah (Nat Wolff) to apply at Princeton, because he thinks that Portia is Jeremiah’s birth mother, things start to change in Portia’s life.

Admission is cute, unrealistic, but cute. It’s got some great messages about getting into college and being true to who you are in an application. It’s very relatable to anyone who’s in the process of filling out applications or anyone who’s in college remember the years ago when you poured your heart and soul into an application, trying to get into your dream school.

There were some great scenes that had me laughing out loud, like Fey comforting a cow in labor, while Rudd tries to deliver the baby, or Portia’s mom, Susannah (Lily Tomlin)  fending off Rudd with a rifle. There were others that were mildly disappointing, like the shower scene, while others were surprising sad, like Portia’s mom’s admission that she had undergone a mastectomy after a scare with breast cancer.

I like the combo of Fey and Rudd. Tina Fey is all around hilarious. Her awkward, self-deprecating humor is always great. I wonder how much of her movies are ad-libbed, because I completely believe her character. She has a similar style in each of her films and it’s believable, and sweet, and funny. Rudd is always a great pick too. He’s got a great voice and a very likable personality as well. They make a good team with just the right amount of awkward and humor.

I’d definitely take the time to watch this one if you’re looking for a cute comedy.

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World War Z



Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is a former United Nations investigator who’s family is suddenly in the middle of a zombie infection. Lane works with the military to find the source of the epidemic and in turn find a cure.

The cool thing about these zombies is that they’re fast. It’s not the norm for zombies to be able to run. In fact, the coolest part was something that was shown in the trailers, when the zombies piled up and climbed their way over a large city wall.

Zombie movies are usually pretty similar. There’s only so much you can do with running from zombies and the suspense of almost getting your face bitten off. This film does a pretty good job of changing the pace though. It sticks to the usual jumpy feel of a zombie film, but also adds optimism that isn’t normal in a zombie film. It has a potential solution which is hard to find in any other movie like this.

Brad Pitt and Mareille Enos, who plays his wife, Karin, were sufficient in their roles. I was confused at why Pitt’s character had the opportunities he did and why they’d trust him with finding the source. I would have liked more back story.

I haven’t read the book, so I can’t comment on that. I do know that this movie had an intense re-write and it’s ending was completely changed. I wonder where it started and what changes were made. I think it might be the best that it could be, but I wouldn’t call it wonderful or incredibly innovative. If you love zombie flicks this is a nice change of pace and I would suggest it.

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Iron Man 3



Tony Stark (Robert Downy Jr.), better known as Iron Man, is living after his stint with The Avengers and he’s got a new villain to fight, a terrorist called The Mandarin. While dealing with flashbacks from the New York fight, Stark must protect his girl, Pepper Pots (Gweneth Paltrow), and protect his country.

I like Tony Stark as a character. He is witty and sarcastic and interesting to watch. He is the reason that I like the Iron Man franchise. It is the man behind the mask that I think it interesting. That is the reason I liked Iron Man 3. It was focused a lot more on the Stark without the suit.

On the other hand, there were a lot of things that I didn’t like. The “surprise” was a lot like the Bane scene in The Dark Knight Rises and equally as anti-climactic. The story didn’t seem purposeful. The relationship with Pepper seemed less genuine. The more interesting relationship, the one with more chemistry, was between Stark and Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins), the boy who helps Tony after he’s declared dead and trying to fix one of his suits.

There were more suits and more explosions. It was a typical superhero sequel and it makes me wonder if Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier have any potential to be wonderful. It’s a necessary next step in the Iron Man Saga and I’d see it if you’re big into superhero flicks and especially if you’re into the Iron Man movies.

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After Earth



In a world where humans have destroyed Earth and now inhabit Nova Prime, Katai Riage (Jaden Smith) is a 13-year-old boy looking to prove himself as a ranger. He wants to be like his fearless ranger father, Cypher Raige (Will Smith), who is coming back from a long military deployment. When the pair find themselves to be the only survivors of a plane crash on earth, they must try to survive a planet that has evolved to kill them.

This movie seems like a completely different direction for director, M. Night Shyamalan. His previous movies, Signs, The Village, The Sixth Sense, The Happening, and most of his others, are all unique. If you strip them down, they are Sci-Fi, but they don’t fit into the normal box of the genre. After Earth does. It is the usual story of the destroyed earth and it’s many dangers. It was unoriginal.

This film felt like it was produced simply for Will Smith and Jaden Smith, like it was created for this father-son team without much other purpose. M. Night Shyamalan’s name was mostly left off of all marketing. I wasn’t even aware of his involvement in the film until after I had seen the film. Making his name more prominent could have greatly affected the box office success of this movie.

It’s visual effects were okay. It’s story was reused, by okay. It’s acting was okay (Though they talked in some sort of accent that confused me). I was left unimpressed and mostly bored. Even as a Will Smith fan, I wasn’t satisfied with this film. His character was void of his usual charm and humor. What’s the point of a Will Smith movie with no laughs and no feeling? I’d skip this one.

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Jack (Tom Cruise) is one of the last people on earth after civilization is moved to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. His partner and communications link, Victoria (Andrea Risebourough) and him are working together to repair drones and then plan to follow the rest of the humans to Titan when they finish. Through problems in his missions, reoccurring dreams about his past, and encounters with Scavs, Jack begins to distrust the system.

This film reminded me a lot of Eagle Eye or I Robot. It’s a a sci-fi apocalypse flick with an interesting twist that you may or may not have seen coming. The end left me with a metaphorical weird taste in my mouth. I was surprised, but not satisfied.

Tom cruise isn’t my favorite, but I enjoyed Andrea Risebourough. Morgan Freedom was thrown into mix and added a little flavor.Olga Kurylenko was a
nice addition. She played the sleepy, confused Julia well.

My favorite part of the film was a scene which showed the couple swimming in a pool in their sky home. It was a cool use of SGI and was an interesting break in the normal sci-fi action.

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Joey (Jason Statham) is a drunk living on the streets after going AWOL on a military mission in Afghanistan. When he get’s a job as a driver, carrying drugs, he’s living a completely different life. With help from Cristina (Agata Busek), a nun who works at a soup kitchen that he frequented, he’s trying to make things right in this life.

This movie is a lot like Statham’s other movies in a lot of ways. He starts off looking pretty grungy, then he cleans himself up and puts on a nice suit and finds new purpose in life. He fights a lot of bad guys, makes a woman fall madly in love with him, and scowls his beautiful scowl.

There were some things that were different though and they’re what I liked about this film. Joey doesn’t end up in the place you’d think he should at the end. He doesn’t magically become healthy or a better man. He still struggles. In the end, he says that he has to drink to repress it all. He has to drink so that he doesn’t hurt people.

It was a lot more thought out than any other role I’ve seen Statham in. He did get to do his action scenes and his typical transformation, but his role was far more human than any other he has done. He seemed truly broken and it was a lot more relatable than a role where he fights three gangs and leads car chases.

I would have changed the title of this movie. The title Redemption is sufficient, but it’s UK counterpart, Hummingbird, would have been a better title. It relates to his struggles and is far less generic. I was actually confused when I decided to rent this flick, because I hadn’t heard of it. When I started watching I realized that it must be Hummingbird, a film that I had planned to see. I think it causes unnecessary confusion and fit the film better anyway.

If you only pick one Statham film to watch, I’d recommend this film. If you’re a tried and true Statham fan, don’t miss this one.  It’s a great mix of feeling and action.

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