A few movie reviews – July 13, 2013

I’ve decided to take up watching movies in my free time now, watching more than I ever have before. For a long time, I had a lot going on – the Meltdown was going great, on top of calling high school football games every Friday, and heading down to Tuscaloosa each Saturday, plus of course we can’t forget my 9-5 job. It all added up to being a lot of time where I couldn’t see movies as much as I wanted to.

So over the last couple of months I’ve started to see more of them, both in the theaters and at home via Netflix, HBO GO, movie channels on TV, etc. I haven’t written much in a while, so this gives me a good excuse to jump in and stay fresh on the keyboard.

World War Z – In Theaters, worth going to see (9/10)

I have to say, I actually thought this was a pretty decent movie. For those who don’t know me and my movie preferences, I can’t stand watching horror movies. Senseless violence, blood and gore is disturbing to me in movies. I have certain things I can take, but most horror movies are not something I care to see. If it’s what I call “real violence”, aka war violence, simply people getting shot or something like that, I can take it. If it’s “sci-fi violence” with like alien guts and stuff, I can take that too. What I can’t take is people getting limbs cut off, bodies exploding, etc. For instance – I will never watch a Saw movie in my life, but I loved District 9. Both are considered pretty violent, but in different ways. People call me crazy because I love games like Gears of War where the whole objective is to chainsaw people in half and perform gruesome executions, but that’s different to me.

Anyway… Since World War Z is a zombie movie, I immediately wrote it off, but that was before I realized it was only PG-13 which made me realize it wasn’t going to be super violent. I’m sure there are people out there who think like me when it comes to my views on violence, and if so – this is the movie for you. I will say that movies such as zombie movies do intrigue me, I just can’t stand to watch them. This one was different. You can have the main character take an axe to a zombie’s head, but not show the head getting cut open. I still get the message. World War Z did a great job of not skimping on the violence of a zombie movie, but they didn’t have to show the blood and guts every time something happened. We get it, you killed the zombie – MOVE ON. Don’t relish in the fact that there are now zombie brains on the floor, there is no reason to.

I haven’t read the book, but from what I can gather on the all-knowing source of knowledge (Wikipedia), they aren’t really alike. Brad Pitt is great in this (I really like him as an actor). It’s really weird because they jump right into things and immediately have the zombie invasion start. What you see in the previews is all in the first part of the movie so you definitely go in not exactly knowing what is going on. They waste no time getting into the heart of the story, then catch you up to speed. I didn’t mind that. It was a solid effort that had a great end. I’m not sure whether they will make a sequel or not, but I hope they do and extend it out to a trilogy like they originally planned to.

Also, you don’t have to deal with my dad laughing every time the zombie does something stupid like walk into a wall or start chomping his teeth into nothing.

Pacific Rim – In Theaters, worth going to see (7.5/10)

So I have to preface this by saying I absolutely love Cloverfield, however, I don’t really like any version of Godzilla ever made. Some monster movies are well made, and others are just dreadful. This was in between. It’s probably the most visually stunning movie I’ve ever seen, and I think it’s one of those that is worth going to see in IMAX 3D as opposed to 2D just to save a buck. What really makes it cool is that they don’t shy away from showing you everything. Many times in a monster movie, you’ll spend the entire movie wanting to learn more about the monster because they’ll only show you parts of it, or footage from news cameras which is kind of blurry. Not in this one. They go 100% right from the start.

You go in after watching previews not really sure where the monsters came from or what they are doing, but you find out pretty much everything in the first five minutes as they set the story up to be one massive war at the end between a few Jaegers (the robots) and the Kaiju (the monsters). I won’t reveal too much of the story, but it seems like they left a lot out of the end. The graphics went down the tube when they should have been the best at that point, and they broke the main rule of the story to keep the main characters alive. It was just weird. You do have to go in with a very open mind though and stop thinking “well that would never happen” because they break a lot of rules and make a lot of assumptions to make the movie work. I think Will Leitch’s review on Deadspin pretty much hits the nail on the head.

But if they make a sequel, I’ll be interested to see where they go. They left little clues in the movie to show this isn’t over. The acting was decent for mostly unknown actors, but it drove me nuts that the commanding officer of the American Jaeger was British, and it drove me nuts that before the final fight, he gives a speech that is identical to the Independence Day speech. Someone in the theater even yelled “TODAY IS OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY” at the end of it.

Moneyball – Old, but worth a watch (9/10)

Those who know me know I hate baseball, so I originally didn’t care to see this movie. However, it came on TV one day so I decided to watch it. It was actually really good. Once again, Brad Pitt was outstanding, but also Jonah Hill was great. It’s nice to see Jonah Hill out of that comedic fat guy role he usually plays in movies like Funny People, Superbad, etc. People think I’d love baseball because it’s so statistical and I love statistics, but the game itself just doesn’t appeal to me. This movie however, is all about the statistics of the game. I also like when they don’t cram a love story into a movie where there shouldn’t be one. There is important dialogue between Brad Pitt’s character and his daughter, but it’s not forced on us. If you haven’t seen this, it’s worth either renting, getting on Netflix, or finding on HBO or something. I missed out not seeing this before.

Battleship – Old, but not worth a watch (5/10)

This movie is bad. The 5 points I did give it are because it’s got some cool effects in it. But nothing is done to explain the aliens, nothing is done to explain why they are super strong compared to us when they supposedly came from another Earth. And how the hell does this have to do with the game of Battleship? Last I checked, you were supposed to sink other battleships, not fight alien spacecrafts. When I first starting watching it, and saw it was actually based on the Hasbro game, I thought it was a joke, but it’s not. If you want to see a movie about weird aliens fighting our best defenses, go spend the money to watch Pacific Rim.

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Jon Lunceford is a sports media broadcaster and digital professional. Jon is a graduate of the University of Alabama school of journalism, and played football at Birmingham-Southern College. He has also won two AHSAA Football State Championships while at Homewood High School and was a two-time World Cyber Games Team USA representative. He currently hosts Primetime on WJOX 94.5 and runs the high school athletics site JoxPreps.