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2001: A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Artifical Intelligence, in my opinion, is a classic movie. A visual masterpiece from Steven Spielberg, this movie is set in the near future, in which the manufacturing of robots occurs; but these aren’t any type of robots, but advanced, realistic, life-like robots (named mechas), which have been programmed to be as human as possible. However, although many types were manufactured, they still lacked some of the main elements that truly make a human, human, with one in particular – emotion. However, a further advanced prototype robot was created, called David (Haley Joel Osment) – a robot, created in the image of a young child, which has the ability to have emotions, in particular, the emotion of love towards his mother, Monica (Frances O’Connor), who adopted him as a substitute for her child who is in cryostasis due to having an incurable disease.

Problems begin to arise within the family, as a cure had been created for the child in stasis, meaning that he is able to return back home, and as a result, both David, and his now step-brother, Martin, feel obliged to compete for their mother’s love. Through this, Martin tricks David into doing several things which would make him appear unsafe to have as a ‘son’, and so Monica decides to return David back to the factory at which he was created, to be destroyed. However, a permanent imprint from Monica was put into David as she decided to permanently keep him, and being destroyed would be the only way to remove this imprinting. But David shows such genuine emotion towards her, even calling her mommy, to the extent that she cannot bear to have him destroyed, and so she drives him out to the woods and leaves him there. All the while, David, producing child-like emotions, becomes scared and worried, wondering why he has been abandoned by his mother, before wandering further into the woods.

David remembers a book his mother once read him before bed, the story of Pinocchio, and how the Blue Fairy granted wooden Pinocchio the wish of becoming a real boy. David, wanting nothing but the unconditional love of his mother, goes in search of the Blue Fairy, along the way, meeting countless different types of mechas, who have human appearances. He realises they are all discarded robots, and are being captured for recycling. Luckily, with the help of a few friendly and caring robots, including a robot programmed to please women – Gigolo Joe (Jude Law) manage to help. Joe decides to tag along with David, leading him to Rouge City, where Joe is convinced he will find the Blue Fairy.

The movie continues through a visually stunning, emotion-provoking futuristic journey, before David finds the Blue Fairy, only to be told it isn’t real by Professor Allen Hobby (William Hurt) – the man in charge of the company, Cybertronics, who created young David. David, in an attempt to escape from pursuers, travels underwater in an Amphibicopter, to an underwater city, which is in fact Coney Island. He becomes stuck in some rubble, but in the distance, sees a statue of a Blue Fairy. Two thousand years pass, and David is still there, staring at the fairy, before he is suddenly found and taken out of the water by an Alien species. This species has the ability to bring people back, but they need a DNA sample. David reveals he has a strand of hair from Monica, which he cut off her head (one of the things Martin made him to do try to get him into trouble).

His mother is brought back, and as David wished, he has been granted the wish by the mysterious yet graceful species, to become a real boy. However, the downside is that such resurrected people, as his mother, can only be brought back for a day. David finally lives a life in the day of a human, with his mother Monica, having the best day he has ever witnessed, laying with his mother at the end of the night, as she “falls asleep”…

This movie is perhaps one of the most realistically advanced movies I have ever seen. Throughout the movie, you can tell how much effort has been put into it, not only through the amazing special effects that have been used, providing brilliant visuals, but through the simple, yet brilliant storyline, adapted from the story of Pinocchio, ironically, being brought to life, in this beautifully crafted movie. There isn’t a lot of dialogue in this movie in comparison to most other movies, but such an amount is not required. The majority of this movie is heavily carried forward through its beautiful visuals, emotions, and its storyline, which even provokes emotions in the audience, as do the mysteriously eerie, yet brilliant futuristic representations.

However, the acting in this movie, especially on Osment’s part, is brilliant. How he manages to appear as an actual robot who has emotions, and being able to present these emotions in such a clear and strong manner, is spectacular. Throughout the whole movie, you actually feel as if he is a robot, determined to become a human. Ironic, that he has determination, something a human would have.

The main thing about this movie, though, is its representations of emotions, upon which it focuses on massively. It not only addresses the philosophy of emotions, connecting it to a sentient being, but also delves into these emotions, opening them up, and immersing you into them, through the movie and great acting.  Throughout the whole movie, it provokes your emotions, making you feel the suitable emotions that are being focused on in each given scene of the movie. It reflects our emotions as humans, through a being that isn’t actually human, in such a way that it makes you think about emotions, and what is actually is to be human. The idea of a robot feeling emotions digs even deeper into other topics of debate, including those of God and religion, and the value of life, and not just human life.

This is one of the most defining movies I have seen. One which definitely keeps you feeling a range of emotions throughout the movie, and thinking afterwards. A fantastic production, with a great cast, allowing a range of emotions to be provoked throughout – something a great movie should be able to do.

By Manpreet Singh


Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Verdict

Transformers: Dark of the Moon was originally titled Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, but changed, apparently due to copyright arguments from Pink Floyd. If this is the reason as to why the name had to be changed, that’s just ridiculous and the  members of Pink Floyd need to lighten up – the ‘dark’ aspect of the Moon is pretty important in the movie’s storyline. But moving on, Dark of the Moon, is the third installment in the Transformers movie franchise, this time, travelling back to the year of 1969; in particular, the day of the Moon landing, to explain the story of an Ancient Cybertronian item which has been hidden there for some time.

The U.S. President at the time, JFK, pushes astronauts to land on the Moon before Russians, in order to find and reveal the unidentified object, which is in fact a spacecraft, known as The Ark, which was piloted by mentor to Optimus Prime, and original leader of the Autobots, Sentinal Prime (Leonard Nimoy), which the Autobots believe will help them win the war against the Decepticons. And from this flashback, through the use of brilliant CGI and clips of the President from the 1960’s, the back story to the initial discovery of the Transformers was given, before the movie pushes forward back to present day.

The storyline is average. Of course, it is a bit ridiculous and corny, but it is imaginative and interesting enough to keep you paying attention throughout the whole of the movie. As usual, like in the first 2 movies, Transformers (2007) and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), the storyline is quite a linear one; and you pretty much know where it’s going to lead, although there are still some enjoyable twists along the way. However, the addition of the back story, dating all the way back to 1969 with the first Moon landing, does add to enjoyment, appealing to the ‘conspiracy-loving’ sides of our minds, what with the Moon landing having been a cover-up in order to investigate the strange object which crash-landed there.

However, as many of you who know about Transformers and have seen the first two installments know, these movies are mainly all about the action…and of course Megan Fox, though not anymore. But I’ll come back to this later on. I was expecting the action sequences to be great, what with the great action scenes in the first two. However, I have to say that they actually exceeded my expectations. The action scenes were brilliant, involving large amounts of Transformer battles, destructions of car, buildings and landscapes, stylish guns and swords, plus more. It was pretty much all the action you could want from a movie, with a lot of it even managing to build up suspense within me, which I was impressed with.

These brilliant action sequences are, of course, tailored by the special effect visuals, which, even though were great before, appear to have improved even more so. The special effects were outstanding; from the attention to detail, in every nook and cranny of the robots, to the scenes with huge battles and massive buildings being destroyed. Also, the beginning scene in particular, displays some of the finest special effects of the movie, and generally, to date. If you’re a fan of movies with brilliant use of special effects, then you need read no more, because I can tell you right now, it’s worth the watch. But it would be nice if you read on anyway; I have carried on writing after all…

Action and special effects aside, I’m sure you know that there is a reasonably large element of humour to the Transformers movies. I particularly enjoyed this humourous aspect in the first movie, although I felt they got a bit too carried away in the second one. In Dark of the Moon, at first, I was beginning to feel the same as I did about the second movie – that they were trying to hard to make it a funny movie, and it just didn’t seem comical. However, as it progresses, the comical scenes do become more genuinely comical. This is particularly helped with the appearance of Ken Jeong, more commonly known as Mr Chow, from The Hangover 1 & 2. In fact, I actually found his scenes funnier than many of his scenes as Chow in The Hangover. However, the reprisal of the character Simmons (John Turturro) was the most consistent and entertaining source of humour for me in this movie, with almost everything he said being funny, along with his Dutch assistant, Dutch. The small role from John Malkovich was also an enjoyable and comical one too, with him seeming crazy in a funny way, as usual.

The one part of the comical aspect which I was annoyed with was the miniature Transformers that they had running around, which most of the time, weren’t really funny, and eventually got quite annoying with their “‘funny” moments. Although, they did have some moments which were kind of funny, but no match to the rest of the comedy.

I also managed to find some emotion in this movie, too, with one of the scenes in particular seeming quite emotional; and this was helped by a pretty impressive musical score from Steve Jablonsky. Although, at one point in the movie, I’m pretty sure I was watching Inception for a whole scene. Those of you who have seen this movie, along with Inception, will understand what I mean. Generally though, I enjoyed the musical scores, with their tones of suspense, and outbursts of suitable emotion suiting the movie reasonably well. The general soundtrack wasn’t too bad either, including the likes of Linkin Park and the Goo Goo Dolls, suiting the relevant parts of the movie relatively well.

One thing which pretty much consistently pissed me off about this movie was the lead female role being portrayed by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as new love interest, Carly Spencer. Sure, she’s stunning, she’s enjoyably to glare at and think about – but from a performing aspect, her acting is terrible. It remained relatively monotonous throughout most of the movie, showing little emotion or good acting ability. It just seemed that she was added to the cast solely due to her good looks, with the makers hoping that we wouldn’t notice that she can’t act. But we did. It’s the fact that she’s great to look at that calmed me down. It’s a shame Megan Fox didn’t reprise her role, as she at least had somewhat better acting abilities (and is also fun to glare at). The performances from the rest of the crew however, were reasonably good.

One small thing I noticed about this movie, which I’m sure other sci-fi geeks will have noticed, were the space references, considering the movie was largely related to space; in particular, how they showed an episode of Star Trek on the TV for a second or two, showing a scene with Spock (Leonard Nimoy). There were also other little references. See if you can spot them.

In the end, though, I pretty much enjoyed this movie. Despite it pretty much being focused mainly on action-packed scenes and great CGI, it very much appeals to the side of me which happens to love action-packed movies. It’s a great watch, and if you do decide to watch it at the cinema, I would definitely recommend doing so in 3-D, as this only enhances the brilliant special effects and action scenes, making the movie a lot more enjoyable, which I can’t say about many 3D movies. A great piece of work from Michael Bay, with the help of Steven Spielberg, I would recommend this to fans of epic action movies in particular, but generally to everyone. Just don’t expect any brilliant or extraordinary dialogue scenes or clever plots; just sit back and enjoy what it has to offer.

And, by the way, Optimus Prime is badass, as usual.

iHartMovies rating – 4.o/5

By Manpreet Singh


The Latest Movie News From Comic-Con

Comic-Con Press Badge

Image by nathangibbs via Flickr

The huge yearly convention held in San Diego known as Comic-Con has recently begun, spanning over a four-day period. And from this massive convention, we have been treated to a huge array of interesting movie news, about movie updates, releases, and new movies announced. Here are some of the latest top stories which have recently been spoken of:

For all of you fans of the X-Men and Wolverine movies, Hugh Jackman himself, has spoken of a new Wolverine movie, titled The Wolverine, which is due for release sometime in 2o12. Check out this clip from Jackman, talking about the specificity of the title of the upcoming flick:

http://bcove.me/xmoam4v2

As previously mentioned on iHartMovies, costume designs for all 13 Dwarves from the upcoming The Hobbit movie has been completed, with images of all 13 of the unique and individual Dwarves to be features in Peter Jackson‘s first movie of a two-part epic. The first part of the story, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is set to hit cinema screens on the 14th December, 2012, which of course is quite a while away. So for now, check out a better picture of all 13 of the Dwarves ready for action:

Widely renowned auteur, Robert Rodriguez talked about his upcoming movie plans for the future at Comic-Con. Rodriguez says that he will be making a follow-up to his 2012 DVD big hit, Machete, with the sequel titled Machete Kills. He also says he is optimistic that he will follow this up with another sequel, Machete Kills Again, which he says would be “a space opera with a machete-shaped lightsaber“. Awesome. However, this isn’t all from Rodriguez, as he also stated that a script for Sin City 2 has been written, entitled A Dame To Kill For. He says the same structure from the first movie will be used, with 3 stories, with 2 new stories being created, with one of them called, The Long Bad Night, which may even start shooting sometime this year. He also expressed he would like to shoot this second Sin City installment in 3D, as he has “an idea to do that in a way that 3D hasn’t been used before”. A new style of 3D? This could be very interesting, especially if it’s being used for a follow-up to such a great movie.

Highly renowned make-up artist, particularly with monsters, Rick Baker also spoke at the convention. Baker was the man behind many of the monsters in a range of movies, including An American Werewolf In London and the monsters in the Men In Black movies, amongst others. Speaking of Men In Black, he talked about how some storylines have apparently been set for the 3rd installment, involving retro aliens, from 2o12, who are in 1969, which we will see when the characters travel back in time. Although there have been no confirmed reports on completed scripts or anything, Baker claimed that everyone will be back for the 3rd movie and that “it’s going to be something really special“.

Talks about the upcoming new Alien move, titled Prometheus, also occurred. Ridley Scott himself made an appearance, via satellite-link, talking about the addition to the Alien saga. A few clips were shown from the flick, including Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class) looking at some samples, and Charlize Theron, wielding a flame-thrower and doing naked push-ups. Nice, though I hope she wasn’t doing both of these simultaneously…Check out a released image from the movie which is due for release on the 1st of June, next year:

Steven Spielberg made an appearance at the festival, talking about the next installment in the Jurassic Park franchise. He told an audience that he had a story and screenwriter for the fourth installment. Although he directed the first 2 installments of the current trilogy, he says he will be producing the fourth one, which he said would hopefully be ready in the next 2-3 years. Well we should hope so, the latest installment only came out 10 bloody years ago…

Spielberg brought along a surprise guest with him – his producer buddy, Peter Jackson, with whom he showed off some of the action from their upcoming Tintin movie, The Adventures of Tintin, which has some massively impressive life-like use of computer generated imagery. I remember being a huge fan of the Tintin cartoons as a child. I look forward to seeing how this movie turns out, and its resemblance to the cartoon version. The movie stars the voices of Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell, Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis & Nick Frost. It’s due for release on the 26th of October – Check out one of the trailers below:

As you can see, there has been a lot of news about upcoming movies that I’m sure has got many of you movie fans out there, including myself, excited about the prospect of some of the hugely anticipated movies to come. And there is plenty more to come yet. Keep an eye out for the latest news updates from the currently ongoing Comic-Con.

By Manpreet Singh


Falling Skies – Is It Worth An Hour Of Your Life Each Week?

Falling Skies, is the latest sci-fi drama to hit out television screens. New, and as an exclusive to channel FX, Falling Skies, is set after a huge alien invasion on Earth, leaving many dead, and massive global destruction. As much as it sounds just like any other typical alien invasion programme, don’t shy away just yet. There seems to be a little more to this than your generic alien invasion gun-fest.

Although I have only seen the first episode so far, it seems pretty promising. Created by Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan, The Patriot), along with a lending hand from Steven Spielberg as executive producer, the first episode sees a group of survivors, left amidst the destruction caused by the invaders. Instantly, the programme jumps into the main aspect of the programme, rather than providing an uninteresting introduction.

One thing I like about this programme, is that they actually show the invaders in some detail, rather than at little glimpses, like many other programmes/movies. The special effects are pretty impressive too, especially considering that it’s on FX. There also seems to be a good emotional aspect to the programme too, adding enjoyment and emphasis on the sub-plots which will most likely run through the episodes. At some points, however, some of the dialogue scenes did seem to get somewhat boring. However, they were in pretty short bursts, and did appear reasonably relevant, and so were manageable – and I feel the dialogue scenes will become more interesting and integral throughout the series, as they did towards the end of the episode, hopefully leading the programme to a very interesting outcome. The action scenes are also tense and enjoyable, and not just some crappy generic crap scene like you get in many TV series.

Although in many aspects it does seem quite similar to any other alien invasion programme, I’m going to give this one a chance. The characters seem to have a lot to them, and I think this will be explored further in the later episodes, giving an interesting sub-plot to the main storyline. And it may just be me, but there seems to be a bit of a ‘Terminator Salvation’-type feel to it; although I’m not necessarily complaining about this – it just seems quite familiar.

It may not necessarily seem like the best programme to have hit our television screens, but I think it will be worth the watch (it has already been scheduled to return for a second season). Falling Skies, stars Noah Wyle (ER, Donnie Darko) and Moon Bloodgood, who, ironically, stars in Terminator Salvation. Skies is on channel FX Uk, every Tuesday at 9pm. Give it a watch and decide whether it will be worth sticking to or not.

I’ll be posting a couple more updates on the programme as it progresses, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested!

By Manpreet Singh


1998: Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan

Image via Wikipedia

Saving Private Ryan, easily one of the most well-crafted war movies of all time, is set after the Normandy landings in 1944. During the bloody battle on the shore, two brothers are killed. Shortly after, news arrives that a third brother has been killed in action in New Guinea. However, one brother still remains, who is behind enemy lines. It’s up to Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) and his men to save Private James Ryan (Matt Damon), sparing Ryan’s mother from the torture of having to mourn the death of all four of her sons.

Right from the start, this movie is just a classic, with the opening 10-15 minutes showing the battle on the shores of Normandy, displaying the brutality and cold-blooded murder associated with war to an impressively realistic degree. Miller leads his men forward, to secure the beachhead, whilst all around him soldiers are being slaughtered and killed in a split-second. Even right from the start, whilst they’re on the boats heading towards the shores, the great acting shows realistic reactions and emotions that occur in soldiers before running straight into battle.

Miller, along with his team, head straight into the enemy territory, risking their lives to save Private Ryan. All the way through, they face death at every corner, persevering even through the toughest of times. The movie ends with Miller and co. finding Private Ryan, although it seems he is right in the middle of heavy enemy territory. After an epic and tense battle scene, the movie ends with Miller laying on the floor, talking to Private Ryan, telling him to “Earn this. Earn it.”. The movie then skips forward more than 50 years, showing Ryan reading a speech at a graveyard, standing next to the grave of Captain Miller.

From start to end, this movie is outstanding. Filled with action, suspense, and highly emotional dramatical scenes, this movie is sheer brilliance throughout. And, although very sad at parts, which would make any person feel like crying, this movie really is a feel-good one, with the themes of perseverance and determination to reach your goals being emphasised. With the genius directing skills of Steven Spielberg behind this movie, all of these factors plus more, that make the movie, are only greatly amplified.

This movie really does represent war movies at their finest. A masterpiece of cinematic display, that will always be a classic.

By Manpreet Singh


Super 8: Preview and Trailer

J.J. Abrams at Time 100 Gala

Image via Wikipedia

Super 8, is the next upcoming movie from phenomenal writer and director, J.J. Abrams (Star Trek (2009), Lost, Fringe), which will be produced by Steven Spielberg. Super 8 is a mysterious sci-fi flick, set in 1979, based around a group of friends who, whilst using a Super 8 camera to film their own movie in Ohio, come across a train wreck, witnessing the derailment of the train. However, this isn’t the shocking part, as weird and disastrous events soon follow, leading to something worse  than anyone could have imagined.

Now, although there aren’t really any massively famous actors in this production, with the amazing imagination of J.J. Abrams, and the brilliant production skills of Spielberg, this movie is set to be a more than promising one. The trailer doesn’t show too much, but I’ve got a good feeling this is because they don’t want to ruin what may be a brilliant movie. Check the trailer out:

Now I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely want to know what the hell is in that container. Super 8 is set to hit cinemas across UK on August 19th, so here’s a heads-up to watch out for it.