Nick’s Picks – July 15, 2015

terminator-genesis-poster-arnold

TERMINATOR GENISYS

In this surprisingly action packed reboot of the Terminator franchise after the last two debacles (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation) neither helmed by James Cameron, this film is a refreshing surprise. From director Alan Taylor best known for Thor: The Dark World and a lot of your favorite TV shows (Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos) to name a few, brings us a thrill ride that’s full of fun homage to the Terminator of old.

The premise of the movie is simple: Kyle Reese is sent back to 1984 by John Conner to protect his mother, Sarah Conner. Kyle is excited about going back because of all the stories John has told him over the years. Kyle is expecting to protect a weak and scared Sarah Conner. Instead he gets a tough as nails, warrior hell bent on destroying Skynet.

Unless you’re a hardcore fan of the two original Terminator movies directed by James Cameron you won’t understand this plot and be able to appreciate the fandom throwbacks to the first two films. This film will come across as a mashup of special effects, weird storylines and confusing backstory. Too confusing for even the rusted fans of the original films, I would recommend watching the first two films again as a refresher course.

Emilia Clarke (Sarah Conner) is the tough as nails, weapons expert raised by Pops (Arnold Schwarzenegger) the Terminator sent to kill her in 1984. Yes, it gets weirder. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) is already in love with her from a photo John Conner (Jason Clarke) gave her so when he time travels from 2029 and meets her in 1984 he’s shocked to see her with Pops and can’t accept the fact that he’s a “good” Terminator and doesn’t need rescuing (she’s the mother of dragons after all). Sarah already knows that he’s John’s father but doesn’t tell him as Pops keeps urging her to mate with Kyle so that John will be born.

What Alan gets right is rebooting all the best parts from the original films directed by Cameron. He brings back an updated cooler version of the liquid metal T-100 terminator and there’s the battle between new upgraded “Arnold” Terminator and old “Pops” terminator. Taylor did do a good job explaining how the 1984 Terminator ages and humor is injected throughout that fills in emotional gaps in this film.

Without spoiling this exciting ludicrous ride, when Kyle was transported back in time there was a glitch in the time travel where he saw memories of himself as a 12 year old boy and of Judgement Day happening in 1997 when Skynet starts thinking for itself and annihilates 3 billion people. So Sarah and Kyle must travel from 1984 to 1997 to stop Judgment Day and Pops will meet them there for the ultimate battle, them vs Genisys (spoiler: a/ka/ John Conner) to prevent the apocalypse. What’s scary is that in reality Genisys is just a big computer not unlike our worldwide web in which we connect all of our devices together through a cloud based system or online and once the entire world connects the spirit of the computer kills everyone creating the apocalypse.

I believe that there is an age where action movie stars need to stop being in action movies, but here it works for Schwarzenegger, gray hair, wrinkles and all. Clarke resembles a younger Linda Hamilton but she doesn’t compare to the buffed, aggressive Hamilton in Terminator 2 she is nonetheless irresistible. Courtney as Kyle Reese plays him completely different which takes some getting used to and is the weakest link because of the bizarre plot, but if this is a reboot of the Terminator franchise according to Alan Taylor’s vision, there is a lot of room for growth.

The younger generation may enjoy this film if just for the special effects. We original Terminator 1 & 2 diehard fans appreciate the homage imbued throughout this film, but honestly Termination Genisys was fun it may be time to bid it adieu. “Adios, baby!” (Hasta la vista, baby” for the original fans)

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney
Director: Alan Taylor
Company: Paramount Pictures
Now Showing: In Theatres
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (intense sci-fi violence, brief nudity and some strong language)
Grade: B+

 

The Outing Godsend Giveaway

FREE DVD GIVEAWAY

We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of The Outing/The Godsend Double Feature, it is really easy! All you have to do is send me an email at HoustonMovieGuy@gmail.com. The subject line of the email should read DVD GIVEAWAY. In the body of the email, be sure to put your name, full mailing address and which DVD or Blu-ray you would like. Winners will be selected by random drawing. Best of luck!

THE OUTING/THE GODSEND: Double Feature – Scream Factory

THE OUTING – An ancient genie is released from a lamp when thieves ransack an old woman’s house. They are killed and the lamp is sent to a museum to be studied. The curator’s daughter is soon possessed by the genie and invites her friends to spend the night at the museum, along with some uninvited guests. THE GODSEND – When a strange woman has her baby at the Marlowe’s house, then disappears, Kate Marlowe is forced to keep the baby, Bonnie. She loves the child, but when her own children are systematically killed, suspicion turns to Bonnie.

WKRP IN CINCINNATTI: Season Three – Shout Factory!

The crew of Cincinnati’s iconic radio station WKRP is back to hilariously bring you the hits you love! From rock n roll to soul, no one does it better than Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman) and Venus Flytrap (Tim Reid)! Throw in quirky newsman Les Nessman (Richard Sanders), his ingenue Bailey (Jan Smithers), incompetent station manager Carlson (Gordon Jump), long-suffering program director Andy (Gary Sandy), slimeball ad man Herb (Frank Bonner) and bombshell receptionist Jennifer (Loni Anderson) and you have yourself a winning combination of classic tunes and uproarious laughter!

HERE IS YOUR LIFE – Criterion

This mesmerizing debut by the great Swedish director Jan Troell is an epic bildungsroman and a multilayered representation of early twentieth-century Sweden. Based on a series of semi-autobiographical novels by Nobel Prize winner Eyvind Johnson, Here Is Your Life follows a working-class boy’s development, from naive teenager to intellectually curious young adult, from logger to movie projectionist to politically engaged man of the people—all set against the backdrop of a slowly industrializing rural landscape. With its mix of modernist visual ingenuity and elegantly structured storytelling, this enchanting film—presented here in its original nearly three-hour cut—is a reminder that Troell is one of European cinema’s greatest and most sensitive illuminators of the human condition.

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE: A History – PBS

Ric Burns presents this rich, 75-year history of one of the most respected and revered dance companies in the world. With unprecedented access to the company, witness dramatic live performances, grueling rehearsals, and iconic dances by Misty Copeland, Gillian Murphy, and many others; as well as rare footage of ballet icons Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Antony Tudor, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and more.

EX MACHINA – Lionsgate

Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at an internet-search giant, wins a competition to spend a week at the private mountain estate of the company’s brilliant and reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac). Upon his arrival, Caleb learns that Nathan has chosen him to be the human component in a Turing Test-charging him with evaluating the capabilities, and ultimately the consciousness, of Nathan’s latest experiment in artificial intelligence. That experiment is Ava (Alicia Vikander), a breathtaking A.I. whose emotional intelligence proves more sophisticated–and more deceptive–than the two men could have imagined.

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT – Timeless Media

Richard Thomas stars in a powerful and dramatic adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s acclaimed novel All Quiet On The Western Front. At the rise of World War I, German patriot Paul Baumer (Thomas) and his friends enlist in the Imperial German Army. In search of adventure and eager to assert the superiority of their nation, the young men endure a brutal training camp and soon find themselves face to face with the full horrors of war when they are sent to the front lines to fight… and likely die. As the conflict rages, Paul grows from an eager boy to a disillusioned man who bears the scars of war on both his body and his soul.

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE: Season Six – Lionsgate

Almanzo Wilder comes to Walnut Grove with his sister Eliza-Jane, the new schoolteacher – The Ingalls decide to adopt Albert but run into resistance from the boy’s father – Nels Oleson is reunited with his estranged sister when the circus comes to town – A faith healer convinces the citizens of Walnut Grove to trust him, with tragic results – Caroline’s father discovers a talent as a storyteller while grieving after the loss of his wife – Laura and Mary are held captive by escaped convicts until Charles, impersonating a doctor, disarms the criminals – Albert and a friend accidentally set fire to the blind school – Almanzo asks Charles for Laura’s hand in marriage but is not overjoyed when he gets his answer.

CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA – Paramount

At the peak of her international career, Maria Enders is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous twenty years ago. But back then she played the role of Sigrid, an alluring young girl who disarms and eventually drives her boss Helena to suicide. Now she is being asked to step into the other role, that of the older Helena. She departs with her assistant to rehearse in Sils Maria; a remote region of the Alps. A young Hollywood starlet with a penchant for scandal is to take on the role of Sigrid, and Maria finds herself on the other side of the mirror, face to face with an ambiguously charming woman who is, in essence, an unsettling reflection of herself.

POWERS: Season One – Sony

What if the world was full of superheroes who aren’t actually heroic at all? What if all their “powers” were just one more excuse for mischief, mayhem, murder, and endorsement deals? Enter the men and women of the Powers Division, the brave people in charge of protecting humans like us and keeping the peace over commercialized, god-like men and women who glide through the sky imposing their power over the mortals who both worship and fear them. Based on the graphic novel by Michael Avon Oeming and Brian Michael Bendis, the edgy and dramatic POWERS follows the lives of two homicide detectives, Christian Walker (Sharlto Copley) and Deena Pilgrim (Susan Heyward), who are assigned to investigate these cases.

THE SALT OF THE EARTH – Sony

For the last 40 years, the photographer Sebastião Salgado has been travelling through the continents, in the footsteps of an ever-changing humanity. He has witnessed some of the major events of our recent history; international conflicts, starvation and exodus. He is now embarking on the discovery of pristine territories, of wild fauna and flora, and of grandiose landscapes as part of a huge photographic project, which is a tribute to the planet’s beauty. Sebastião Salgado’s life and work are revealed to us by his son, Juliano, who went with him during his last travels, and by Wim Wenders, himself a photographer.

HOWLING 2 – Scream Factory

After countless millennia of watching, waiting and stalking, the unholy creatures known as werewolves are poised to inherit the earth. Legendary horror icon Christopher Lee faces off against sexy cult favorite Sybil Danning in this terrifying descent into a world of nightmares that turns out to be all too real! After newscaster Karen White’s shocking on-screen transformation and violent death (in the original The Howling), her brother Ben (Reb Brown) is approached by Stefan Crosscoe (Lee), a mysterious man who claims that Karen has, in fact, become a werewolf. But this is the least of their worries… to save mankind, Stefan and Ben must travel to Transylvania to battle and destroy Stirba (Danning), the immortal queen of all werewolves, before she is restored to her full powers!

HOUSE OF CARDS: Season Three – Sony

In Season 3 of House of Cards, President Underwood fights to secure his legacy. Claire wants more than being the first lady. The biggest threat they face is contending with each other. This Emmy®-winning original thriller series stars Golden Globe winner Kevin Spacey as ruthless and cunning Francis Underwood, who will stop at nothing to conquer the halls of power in Washington D.C. His secret weapon: his gorgeous, ambitious and equally conniving wife Claire (Golden Globe winner Robin Wright).

MAN OF CONQUEST – Olive Films

Man of Conquest was the first “super production” from Republic Pictures, a studio not known for its lavish budgets. This time, however, no expense was spared in recreating the career of Texas empire-builder Sam Houston. Richard Dix portrayed Houston, heading a gigantic cast of character players impersonating such historical figures as Jim Bowie, Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett and General Santa Ana (who is depicted as a Hitler-like oppressor!). The film’s two major highlights are the Battle of San Jacinto and the siege of the Alamo, both featuring the remarkable stuntwork of Yakima Canutt. Though often juggling facts to make a better story, Man of Conquest is an impressive achievement for so small a studio as Republic. Stock footage from the production would show up for years in the studio’s more economical westerns and serials.

HELL’S FIVE HOURS – Olive Films

In this thriller, an angry, psychotic employee at a rocket fuel factory threatens to immolate himself, the plant and everything for miles around. The courageous manager must keep the suicidal man busy until all the fuel is removed. Will he succeed?

BARNEY MILLER: Final Season – Shout Factory!

An Emmy Award-winning comedy classic comes to an end in Barney Miller: The Final Season. Acclaimed throughout its eight-season run, Barney Miller remains a beloved sitcom to this day for its quirky yet humanistic exploration of the lives and exploits of a police squad in New York’s Greenwich Village. A comedic peek into the world of the American Everyman, Barney Miller’s approach to television comedy is reflected in the many programs that have followed in its wake and taken inspiration from its distinct style and humor.

ROLLER BOOGIE – Olive Films

This lively film was made to cash in on the roller skating craze that swept Southern California in the late ’70s. The story centers upon a poor-little-rich-girl runaway who heads for the Venice boardwalk to join the other hipsters on wheels. She and her new friends then team up to keep an avaricious developer from razing the local roller rink and putting a shopping mall in its stead.

THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL – Fox

Now that The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is full up with its long-term residents, co-managers Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) and Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) have a dream of expansion, and they’ve found just the place: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. With plans underway, Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) venture into the Jaipur workforce, wondering where their regular breakfast dates will lead. Meanwhile, Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) navigate the swirling waters of an exclusive relationship, as Madge (Celia Imrie) juggles two very eligible suitors, and recent arrival Guy Chambers (Richard Gere) finds a muse in Sonny’s mother, Mrs. Kapoor (Lillete Dubey) for his next novel. As his marriage to Sunaina (Tina Desai), the love of his life, quickly approaches, Sonny finds his plans for the new hotel making more claims on his time than he has available. Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is Muriel, the keeper of everyone’s secrets. As the big day nears, family and guests alike find themselves swept up in the irresistible intoxication of an Indian wedding.

SLOW WEST – Lionsgate

A young Scottish man travels across America in pursuit of the woman he loves. Along the way, he attracts the attention of an outlaw who is willing to serve as a guide…but at what cost?

ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN FABIAN – Olive Films
In this Franco-American costume drama Adventures of Captain Fabian, sea captain Michael Fabian defends servant girl Lea Marriote on a murder charge. She promptly weds George Brissac, scion of a prominent New Orleans family who wronged her, thereby laying the groundwork for a spectacularly unhappy finale.

All synopsis’ used with permission.

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