EQUALS - Review

PG-13 | 1h 41min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi 
Review - Matt Mungle

*In select theaters July 22nd 2016*

SynopsisIn an emotionless utopia, two people fall in love when they regain their feelings from a mysterious disease, causing tensions between them and their society.

Review: Do not be sucked in by the poster for EQUALS. This is not a steamy romance about two lovers torn apart by twisted dystopian chaos. Director Drake Doremus may have an eye for framing but the subdued plot and extended sequences of forlorn gawking will bore the most patient of film goers.

Nia (Kristen Stewart) and Silas (Nicholas Hoult) live in a perfect world where dirt and disease seem non existent. But neither is there any emotion. People walk around in a polite daze speaking in monotone, clipped sentences. They non-react to things around them with a blank stare and a heartless response. Their only concern is contracting SOS (Switched on Syndrome) which causes their emotions to suddenly engage. Even though wives everywhere might wish this upon their husbands, in the film it is not a good thing to get. SOS carriers are banished to The Den (again like may husbands) where supposedly they die horrible deaths. Nia and Silas both contract SOS but must hide their love for each other or be banished from this horribly boring world. 

I understand the point the writers are trying to make. But it is never fully birthed in the film. The lifestyle and community is stereotypical of all the future world movies. It offers nothing in the way of cleverness or intrigue. You never care about the main characters so whether they end up together or not is irrelevant. You keep watching and hoping that a sudden twist will happen that springboards the story into something worthwhile. But it never comes. The ending tries to be intense but by then you just don't care. 

Doremus allows his actors to nearly fall asleep on screen as if this dullness will amplify your awareness of the world they live in. But it has the reverse effect. You fall asleep with them; and the dream is not a good one. The cast is willing but the script is weak. 

Equals is rated PG-13 for thematic content, sensuality, partial nudity and disturbing images. None of those elements help to make this intriguing. In fact most are so glossed over that you won't even recall them. I give it 1 out of 5 swan dives. SOS is more a sad old snoozefest. 


Star Trek Beyond - Review

PG-13  |  120 min  |  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi 
Review - Matt Mungle

*In theaters July 22nd 2016*

SynopsisThe USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.

Review: If ever a film had pressure to perform it is the third installment in the Star Trek reboot franchise, STAR TREK BEYOND. Following two very succesful movies this one had a new director but a strong returning cast. No worries, right?

Fans of the classic series certainly have nothing to worry about as this one is written especially with them in mind. Though as technically impressive as the others this one had a more nostalgic sci-fi feel. The characters seemed more "grown -up" and 5 years in deep space had matured them of some of their post academy swagger. They are reflective and preoccupied with thoughts of life and loss. The mission is still clear and the are quick to respond but they also have learned a lot along the way. 

This emotional layer is not so thick that we lose the wit and banter that made the franchise so succesful. There is much well written humor in this script too. Plus the action is powerful and impactful. It is all just mixed in with a pensive solution that gives it depth. We long ago fell in fan-love with these characters and in this one we truly get to know them. 

Since most of the movie is set on a distant planet and not aboard the Enterprise the characters are allowed more movement and the story line more arcs. At points they are separated and the pairings give us a chance to see them in different dynamics. Bones (Karl Urban) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) especially get to butt heads in this adventure while Kirk (Chris Pine) wrestles with his own mortality and that of of his father. 

Idris Elba as the sinister Krall is exceptional. There is a pivotal scene in which he delivers one of the most powerful speeches ever in a sci-fi action film. It is award worthy and one that sets him apart as a formidable thespian. Before that his character slowly builds in tension and seething rage. His anger is fully controlled and he never allows it override his thought processes. This makes him a worthy adversary of the Enterprise crew.

Everything in this movie works as it should. It is the perfect addition to the franchise but at the same time is a movie all its own. You can tell it is related to but not joined at the hip with its movie brothers. It follows its own path but always keeps you close to what you know and love. STAR TREK BEYOND is a testament to the longevity of the characters and missions. I give it 4.5 out of 5 boom boxes. It is one I will watch again and again. 


Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition Blu-ray)

  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: 
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 19, 2016
  • Run Time: 182 minutes

  • Synopsis: Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. 

  • Can the extra 30 minutes of extra footage fill the gaps and potholes? We can only hope. 

  • Review: In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice no one wins. If anyone comes out on top it is the die hard DC fans who have the chance to see new characters pop up on screen; momentarily.  The rest of us are left with a hodge-podge of muddled plot lines. confusing character arcs, and a dark story that is neither intriguing nor entertaining. 

  • Everyone is still reeling from the devastation that Superman (Henry Cavill) brought upon Metropolis when he battled his home planet. Many fear that left to his own devices he may become more a hinderance than a hero. Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) is licking his wounds and skulking around as well. He well remembers the destruction and the loss of many of his friends. So Bruce is just itching for a reason to take out the man of steel. Enter Lex Luther (Jesse Eisenberg); another cog in the wheel of haters. This young and slightly psychotic wonderkin has a plan - why is not important obviously - to use some recently found kryptonite to bring down the chiseled messiah. So bottom line, things are about to get crazy. 

  • Early on in the films process everyone was up in arms about Affleck playing Batman. Now that the film is finished it is obvious that Ben is the strongest element. He is a fantastic Wayne/Batman. There is no doubt that he was the right choice. Granted the script is such a mess that he ends up being sort of a jerk trying to keep his bat ears above water. Batman comes across as such a tool that he should be hanging from his own belt. His decision making is obscure and makes very little sense. The fact that he has held this grudge for so long that he is willing to take on Superman makes no sense. Added to a long list of things that didn't make sense.

  • Superman is caught in the middle and has a lot of soul searching to do. But he comes across as whiney and wishy washy. Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and his mother Martha (Diane Lane) have to keep setting him back on course. Luther is the most confusing character. Love or hate Eisenberg in the role (I liked him) the problem is that none of his reasons are merited for hating Superman. The back story is fuzzy and with everything else going on the dialogue is lost is a sea of nonsensical verbiage. 

  • There are a few other side characters that muddy the water even more. Zack Snyder is a great director but the amount of story lines and piles of plot points are unruly and impossible to manage. It is like a freight train derailing at breakneck speed. He simply can't keep it on a solid mental track. Fans of Marvel movies who have come accustomed to humor and light hearted banter will be depressed by the very dark overtones that permeate the entire film. You actually have no one to root for which in a film like this is uncommon. 

  • Wonder Woman makes her Justice League debut here and is met with cheers and applause. Other than a few classic poses though she doesn't get to shine much. It would have been better to have her show up much earlier, get all this childish behavior out of the way, and get to the meat of what the two super heroes were meant for. The movie would have been shorter and could have purged much of the dead weight. 

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is rated PG - 13 for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality. The main parental issue is how dark the films themes are. The violence feels more malevolent because of the characters personalities and mind sets. Many young kids will certainly want to see it but I would caution parents that this is not your typical Saturday morning super hero production. I give it 2.5 out of 5 bat brands. Hard to pinpoint one problem, it simply gets lost in its own vastness. 

The Perfect Match [Blu-ray + Digital HD]

  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: 
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • DVD Release Date: July 19, 2016
  • Run Time: 96 minutes

  • SynopsisCharlie (Terrence J) is a bachelor who’s convinced that relationships are dead despite attempts by his therapist sister (Paula Patton) and his friends to tell him otherwise. On a bet, he decides to stay with one woman for one month to prove that he is immune to love. Soon, he meets the beautiful and mysterious Eva (Cassie Ventura) and coaxes her into a casual affair. But as Charlie spends more time with Eva, he begins to question whether he may actually want more than just a one-night-stand. 

·     “Making The Perfect Match” Featurette

·     “What’s Love Without Comedy” Featurette

·     “Nobody’s Perfect” Featurette

·     Chillin’ with the Perfect Cast — Cast & Director Commentary