It’s shortly after 9 p.m. Monday when we pull into the Circus Circus parking garage. I’m three beers in and four shots to the wind, glad not to be driving. My girlfriend and I watched the football game at our bar a few blocks away and indulged in a goodly number of adult libations. I figured that for a school assignment, it would likely be deemed inappropriate were I to get into a Raoul Duke state of mind, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to walk in Thompson’s footsteps sober.
We parked on the bottom floor of the abandoned lot, only steps from the door. “This place is dead as disco,” Chrystal said skeptically as she flicked the totally legal, doctor prescribed marijuana cigarette away from the car. “I mean, I know it’s a Monday, but really? This is depressing.”
She was right, there were few people to be seen as we walked through the glass doors into the lobby. “Don’t worry,” I assured her confidently as I held the door like a damn gentleman. “It’ll be great, I just have to find the Carousel bar real fast, that and the American Dream.”
Holy Shit. That is all I can say. Pacific Rim is awesome. Easily the most fun movie of the year, and probably the most satisfying movie going experience I’ve had in a long time.Trying to decide if it tops Avengers and Dark Knight Rises, but I have trouble bringing myself to say that. To be fair though, I’m a huge comic book fan, and in the interest of full disclosure I will freely admit to praying at the alter of the Caped Crusader.
I’ve read a couple of reviews saying that characters are two dimensional or heartless and the acting is sub par, but that seems like big action hatering to me. The fact that the co-stars are giant robots and city crushing aliens, in no way detracts from the emotive content of the main characters. Our hero suffers significant loss in the opening scene, loss that is informs his character throughout the film. The central cast has heart, humor and attitude as well as the blessing of working alongside the always awesome Idras Elba.
And then there is the action, the bruising battles between those giant robots and the city crushing aliens. It’s clean and visually understandable, while still being fast, beautiful and huge; so much better than the mess of mechanics that are the battles in Transformers. The sets are cool and look authentic, characters unto themselves. Guillermo del Toro is at his best creating immersive worlds full of details and idiosyncrasies that give life on the silver screen depth and personality.
In Pacific Rim, del Toro accomplishes all of that and more. He brings to life an engrossing battle for the end of the world with charismatic characters fighting monsters, fear and each other. An underground black market, dealing in the monster’s remains, offers the civilian view of the Earth shaking crisis, and a walk around the war torn city.
Pacific Rim is a huge mind blowing good time. And it is original. Sure it’s inspiration can be seen in Anime and other Asian imports form Voltron to Evangelion. But this is an original story with original characters and something most Americans, not indoctrinated into the world of men piloting giant robots, have never glimpsed before. And it is awesome. Go see Pacific Rim, so we can rave about it later.
Guillermo del Toro is a different kind of cat. Most Hollywood directors live in a safe zone. Pumping out movies that speak a common language; paradigms, digital effects and retread ideas. Del Toro has a long track record of breaking that mold.
He made his big jump into the public eye in 2002 with Blade II, when he took over the vampire comic book franchise, giving it a horror twist. As opposed to being a straight sequel to a kung-fu superhero film replete with attractive vampires, del Toro’s villains were terrifying monsters, with pathos even.
He followed up by bringing the indie-comic, demon hero Hellboy to the big screen, another dark, gritty movie that did not fit into the mainstream paradigm for summer blockbusters. Next del Toro constructed the fantasy noir fairy- tale Pan’s Labyrinth, a dark otherworldly story told against the backdrop of war torn fascist Spain.
But after the successful sequel Hellboy II, del Toro’s directorial career hit a bump; he signed on to direct The Hobbit. But the Tolkien novel’s rights were tied up in endless legal battles, unable to proceed with anything beyond concepts and preproduction. For the next couple of years the future of the man and the film sat in limbo, nothing happening except for rewrites. Eventually the eccentric artist had to cut ties and hand the reins back Peter Jackson, the man who directed the films predecessor, The Lord of the Rings.
Finally, with Pacific Rim, del Toro makes his long awaited return to silver screens, bringing audiences a sci-fi giant with aliens and giant robots in, get this, an original idea; at least for Hollywood. Viewers of Asian cinema and late night Anime cartoons may not suffer from such culture shock.
Taking many visual cues from shows like Voltron, Evangelion and Gundam, Pacific Rim is tale of humans, using giant mechanical suits of armor to fight enormous monsters that threaten mankind’s existence.
Idris Elba is the face of the movie from everything that I’ve seen, and that excites me. I’ll take any excuse to get Stringer Bell in a movie. And I love sci-fi. Tonight is discount movie night in Green Valley so I am going to check this flick out. I am pumped to see what del Toro has come up with, an I look forward to some awesome summer movie fun. Hopefully with a twist, and not the Shyamalan kind.
Movie review to come in the next blog. Fingers crossed.
I love movies. I try and get out to the films that are lauded by the critics and cinephiles while bringing in the Oscar nominations. Lord knows I love action packed blockbusters. Growing up a comic fan and Sci-Fi fantasy fan, I’ve been in with the new pop culture obsession with these movies that have come to dominate our summers. Even when they are flawed, I can almost always find redeeming qualities to focus on and enjoy myself.
I wouldn’t say that I had real high expectations for The Lone Ranger, but I dig westerns, I dig Johnny Depp and many of his eccentric characters and I have no idea who Armie Hammer is. So, I was in expecting it to be fun at the very least. But it was not.
It was long, very long and it was awkward, kind of racist and full of death in an oddly unsettling way. I mean there are scores of Native Americans massacred and its treated like a weightless sidebar, as its juxtaposed with a pratfallish escape scene. I don’t know if I found it so disturbing because of the context free, emotionless killings or because it was in a movie marketed to children and their families.
Also, I get the impression that no one found this at all racist. Johnny Depp was one of the better parts of the film, and they did attempt to explain away the broken English he speaks … but still. Twenty years after Dances with Wolves and Last of the Mohicans drew great attention for starring actual Native Americans in their portrayals, we couldn’t find a single talent to play this starring role? We had to revert to a white dude in red f … er, white face? If not racist, it’s certainly disappointing.
And who the hell is Armie Hammer and why is someone trying to convince me he is a movie star? I do not believe it and I am not alone. He has very little charisma, poor comic timing and does nothing to carry this movie. In a movie full of explosions and reckless mayhem I would have expected to prefer the character who dislikes guns and vigilantism, but no. He seems heartless and tongue in cheek in a non self-aware way that is totally out of place in a movie where everyone else attempts to act like their in a modern movie.
I thought Battleship was bad, I was right, but this floptacular bastard at least had a chance before it derailed into an offensive, inexplicably boring failure.
Las Vegas is Hotter than Hell. Residents of the city may not be surprised to hear this, especially in the midst of this debilitating heat wave that has been encompassing the Southwest the past few weeks. But according to Steven Slivka‘s article for the Las Vegas Review Journal, “Las Vegas’ hottest June ends with a 117-degree high, tying the record,” not only did the final day of June tie the record for the hottest day on record (followed by a night featuring temperatures as high as 111-degrees), but the month set a new record for hottest June in the city’s history.
People have suffered injuries already and the city is reminding people to stay inside, keep water around and stay hydrated. The city is also pushing their plethora of cooling stations, which offer everyone from the families to the homeless a chance to cool off and get wet in the water, as Riley Snyder covers in his article “Cooling Stations Help Those out and about Around the Valley Beat the Heat,” earlier this month in the Las Vegas Sun.
For many people however, even splashing around in the water may not be quite enough to alleviate the soul crushing sun’s rays. Such citizens are in luck as a handful of the valley’s movie theaters are making it easier than ever to hide from the heat for a couple hours at a time.
Most theaters have matinees every weekday where patrons can get tickets for a few dollars off the standard price, but there a couple places where movie goers can get even better values. Regal Cinemas’ locations at Green Valley Ranch and the Colonade on South Eastern both feature $6 Tuesdays for all movies not shown in 3-D or I-Max. The two theaters also offer significant discounts on those special screenings as well.
Across town at the Brendan Theaters inside the Palms Casino, there are variety of deals as customers can enjoy $5 movie Mondays or the 2 for $22 Tuesdays special, which features two tickets, two popcorns and two sodas.
Of course there is no better value offered on a daily basis than Tropicana Cinemas. Located at the corner of Tropicana and Pecos, the renovated second run theatre shows movies that have recently left most theaters, but have yet to hit DVD on digital big-screens for only $1.50 per a ticket. There patrons get one last chance to catch a flick they may have missed before they are forced to watch on a smaller T.V. screen, or the chance to catch a favorite one more time at a fraction of the price. They even have $1 hot dogs. What more can a moviegoer ask for?