Machinemen gives the internet another reminder of what makes mixed martial arts so great.

A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth in the John McClane series, feels like it’s desperately trying to be a light-hearted throwback to the era of 80s action movies. It is certainly a safe enough plan, seeing the huge surge of 80s nostalgia that has been saturating our theaters for the past few years. But director John Moore fails to excite the audience in any meaningful way with this incredibly lackluster entry into the franchise. The film isn’t witty enough, fun enough, or even action-y enough to really get the kind of pull that you would expect from an 80s homage. Even the two Expendables movies had a relatively high entertainment value. But here we see Bruce Willis and Jai Courtney flail around trying to build up some kind of father-son chemistry on screen. It fails miserably at being touching or moving in any way. Even the villains all die off in remarkably anti-climactic ways, one of the biggest betrayals to the core of the Die Hard films. In a movie about one of the classic American action heroes, it is stunning how the filmmakers manage to escort us from one bland shootout to the next without any sense of suspense or stakes to speak of. All of the budget seems to have been spent in the big chase scene from the opening act, leaving nothing but the aforementioned bulletfests and a lot of cheesy explosions in the finale. This is a sad chapter in the story of John McClane, and hopefully it will be the last one.

Prometheus is a fun movie with just a bit too much baggage. I can definitely say it was scarier to me than Alien, but it quickly turned away from the horror and delved into action movie territory. I suppose that’s what people want out of science fiction these days, which is a shame. Regardless, the movie was also held back a bit by the constant references to the Alien franchise, as if to try and keep the audience interested by reminding them how cool that previous series was. Despite a lot of really fun performances and some very memorable scenes, Prometheus cannot really ascend much higher than a basic popcorn flick. Fun for a night in, but better sci-fi, horror, and action movies are out there.

Movies about time travel are a tricky thing to get right; there are endless possibilities of things getting too confusing, too convoluted, too full of plot holes and fridge logic. But when done right, there are just as many endless possibilities for contemplation, cleverness, and fantastic stories. The animation wonder team at Madhouse gets it right with The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Taking the form of an almost too typical anime high school romance, director Mamoru Hosoda doesn’t really look to break the mold on stories about first love, but the characters are fun and interesting, and the story feels like a genuine peek at an ordinary girl surrounded by extraordinary circumstances. Like many other Japanese love stories, it’s cute and sweet and ends on a completely ambiguous but hopeful note.

I can count on one hand how many video games over the years have had a deep and emotional impact on my life, and Minecraft is definitely at the top of the pack. I started playing during the Beta testing stage, and have been a loyal member of the community ever since. 2 Player Productions first caught my eye when they created a twenty-minute sample of the Minecraft documentary, looking for Kickstarter support to finish the rest of the movie. Released on Christmas 2012, it’s clear that they did not disappoint. 2PP takes us through the complete whirlwind journey from Mojang’s rise from internet whispers to global phenomenon. The sheer magnitude of the Minecraft community since its earliest days is captured in all of its staggering glory in this film, and no one seems more surprised than Markus “Notch” Persson, the creator of the game and founder of Mojang AB. Minecraft: The Story of Mojang is a beautiful, poignant, and very human tribute to an unprecedented success story in the new internet culture.

Just a fantastic highlight of what tricking is and all about. Awesome shots by Peter Rulon Miller and I love the music track. Great moves by all these performers!

Video  —  Posted: January 18, 2013 in highlight highlight
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MAD 09: Lincoln

Posted: January 15, 2013 in Movie-A-Day
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It’s difficult to think of the right words to describe Spielberg’s Lincoln, which is perhaps the most interesting film I’ve watched since starting this project. He is perhaps the most famous of what can only be a handful of directors identifiable by only his last name, a name often associated with words like “blockbuster,” or “record-breaking.” Say what you will about his work, the man knows how to put movies together. And with this historical biopic, it does seem like he’s looking to branch out, to try new and more daring directions. Specifically in this case, a story about congressional politics designed and told like a heist movie. Together with marvelous set and costume design and a solid cast, Spielberg avoids a bland re-telling of how our 16th president inspired a nation, and instead focuses on how through charm and wit (and even a little political underhandedness), Honest Abe was able to accomplish the impossible. Daniel Day-Lewis breathes life into Lincoln in a way that both humanizes and aggrandizes him. From his soft-spoken rural twang to his inexhaustible library of stories and anecdotes to his deep set sorrow masked behind a stubborn will to keep going, this feels like the man himself in his own time. Mention must also be made to the variety of other roles revolving around the central performance. Impressive work from the likes of Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Lee Pace, and dozens of others abound, all adding up to one of the best historical films I’ve seen in quite a while. I’m not certain it will earn Best Picture at the Oscars this year, but it certainly deserves to be up there.