Monthly Archives: April 2017

We Review: Ghost in the Shell “One word: Awesome. Don’t believe the haters.” – MR

Ghost in the Shell (2017 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell (2017 film).png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rupert Sanders
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Ghost in the Shell
byMasamune Shirow
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Jess Hall
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by Paramount Pictures[2]
Release date
  • March 16, 2017 (Shinjuku)
  • March 31, 2017(United States)
Running time
106 minutes[4]
Country United States[5]
Language English
Budget $110 million[6][7]
Box office $1.8 million[8]

Ghost in the Shell is a 2017 American science fictionaction film directed Rupertby Sanders and written by Jamie Moss, William Wheeler and Ehren Kruger, based on the Japanese mangaof the same name by Masamune Shirow. The film stars Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han and Juliette Binoche. Set in the near future where the line between humans and robots is becoming blurred, the plot follows a woman who has her brain placed in a cyborg to become the perfect soldier.

The film premiered in Shinjuku on March 16, 2017, and was released in the United States on March 31, 2017, in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D.

Plot

In the near future, the vast majority of humans are augmented with cybernetics, enhancing various traits like vision, strength, and intelligence. Hanka Robotics, the world’s leading developer of augmentative technology, establishes a secret project to develop a mechanical body, or “shell”, that can integrate a human brain rather than an AI. A young woman named Mira Killian (Scarlett Johansson)[10], the sole survivor of a cyberterrorist attack, is chosen as the test subject after her body is apparently destroyed beyond repair. Over the objections of her designer, Dr. Ouélet (Juliette Binoche), Hanka CEO Cutter (Peter Ferdinando) decides to train Killian as a counter-terrorism operative.

A year later, Killian has attained the rank of Major in the anti-terrorist bureauSection 9, working alongside operatives Batou (Pilou Asbæk) and Togusa (Chin Han) under Chief Daisuke Aramaki (Takeshi Kitano). The team successfully thwarts a terrorist attack on a Hanka business conference, and Killian destroys a rogue mechanical geisha (Rila Fukushima) after it murders a hostage. Killian, who has been experiencing hallucinations that Ouélet dismisses as glitches, becomes increasingly bothered by how little she remembers about her past. After learning that the geisha was hacked by an unknown entity, Killian breaks protocol and “dives” into its AI for answers. The entity attempts a counter-hack, and Batou is forced to disconnect her. Using the information she was able to gather, the two trace the hacker to a Yakuza nightclub, where they are lured into a trap. The resulting explosion destroys Batou’s eyes, and leaves Killian’s body severely damaged.

Cutter is enraged by Killian’s actions, and threatens to have Section 9 shut down unless Aramaki keeps her in line. In turn, Aramaki warns him to be careful who he threatens. The hacker tracks down Section 9’s Hanka consultant and kills her. The team links her murder to the deaths of other senior company researchers, and realize that they are being targeted. The hacker takes control of two sanitation workers and sends them to kill Ouélet. Batou kills one of them while Killian subdues the other. During interrogation, the hacker briefly speaks through the surviving worker before compelling him to commit suicide. Togusa traces the hack to a secret location, where the team discovers large numbers of humans being mentally linked together as a makeshift signal network. Killian is captured, and the hacker, calling himself Kuze (Michael Pitt), reveals that he is a failed Hanka test subject from the same project that created Killian. He urges her to question her own memories before freeing her and escaping.

Killian confronts Ouélet, who admits that Killian was, in fact, the 98th test subject, and the only one to survive the process. Cutter decides that Killian is too much of a liability, and orders Ouélet to euthanize her. Instead, Ouélet gives Killian an address to find and helps her escape. Cutter shoots her and informs Aramaki that Killian has gone rogue and will be terminated by any means necessary.

Killian follows the address to an apartment occupied by a widowed mother, who reveals that her daughter Motoko ran away from home a year ago and was arrested, before taking her own life while in custody. Unable to process her emotions, Killian leaves and contacts Aramaki, who intentionally allows Cutter to eavesdrop on their conversation. Batou, Togusa, and Aramaki each survive attempts on their lives by Cutter’s men, while Killian follows her memories to the hideaway where Motoko was last seen. There, she and Kuze meet, and recall their past lives as anti-augmentation radicals who were abducted by Hanka for use as test subjects.

Cutter deploys a “spider-tank” to kill them, and Kuze nearly dies before Killian is able to disable the tank, losing her left arm in the process. Mortally wounded, Kuze offers to merge his “ghost” with Killian’s before a Hanka sniper kills him. Batou and the team rescue Killian, while Aramaki executes Cutter with her permission.

The next day, Killian, now embracing her true identity as Motoko, reconnects with her mother before returning to work with Section 9.

Cast

Our Thoughts

I thought this was awesome. I know it is an old story. So old, that in its original form, this is the story that inspired The Matrix. The parallels to modern society and machines, as well as the imagery portrayed here in the 2017 version, make this a visual work of art. I’m not so keen on Scarlet Johansson, not that she didn’t play the part of Major well, she just isn’t a good Motoko. This is a movie I will buy and watch a few more times in my home theater, just to absorb more of the awesomeness. Highly recommended for a date, and/or just a good escape. Well done, 5 stars – MR

 

Find Ghost in the Shell and see the new trailer here.


We Review: Power Rangers “Fun for all ages, especially the end.” – MR

Power Rangers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Power Rangers
Power Rangers (2017 Official Theatrical Poster).png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Dean Israelite
Produced by
Screenplay by John Gatins
Story by
Based on
Starring
Music by Brian Tyler
Cinematography Matthew J. Lloyd
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by Lionsgate Films
Release date
Running time
124 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $100 million[2]
Box office $69.2 million[2]

Saban’s Power Rangers[3] (or simply Power Rangers) is a 2017 Americansuperhero film based on the team of the same name, written by John Gatins and directed by Dean Israelite. It is the third film of the Power Rangers film franchise, and is a reboot that features the main characters of the original Power Rangerstelevision series, portrayed by a new cast. The film stars Dacre Montgomery,Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston andElizabeth Banks. In the film, Zordon recruits five high school students to form a team that must stop an alien threat led by the witch Rita Repulsa.

It is the first blockbuster film to feature LGBTQ and autistic superheroes.[4][5]Franchise creator Haim Saban returned to produce the film under his investment firm. The film premiered at Regency Village Theater in Los Angeles on March 22, 2017 and was released in the United States on March 24, 2017. The film received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed $69 million worldwide.

Plot

A group of warriors on prehistoric Earth, the Power Rangers, were tasked with protecting life on Earth and the Zeo Crystal. However, the Green Ranger, Rita Repulsa, betrays them. The Red Ranger, Zordon, takes the Rangers’ power source, the Power Coins, and hides them while ordering his assistant Alpha 5 to perform a meteor strike which kills Zordon, sends Rita to the bottom of the sea, and destroys the dinosaurs.

In modern Angel Grove, football star Jason Scott is thrown off the team and placed under house arrest after a failed prank. He is sent to detention, encountering Billy Cranston and Kimberly Hart. Jason and Billy head to an abandoned gold mine to explore. Billy detonates explosives to destroy some rock, attracting the attention of Kimberly and fellow students Trini Kwan andZack Taylor. The five discover the Power Coins when the police arrive to investigate. While escaping, their car is hit by a train. The five find themselves at home the next day, and discover they have been granted superhuman abilities. Elsewhere, Rita’s body is found. Upon awakening, she goes on a rampage, taking every piece of gold that she can find in order to raise her minion Goldar to find the Zeo Crystal.

The five teenagers return to the mine, discover an ancient spaceship, and meet Alpha 5, and Zordon’s consciousness. They inform the teenagers about the original Rangers and about Rita, warning them that they have 11 days until Rita has her full power and finds the Zeo Crystal and uses it to destroy all life on Earth. The five teens leave the ship with no intention of returning until Zordon pleads with Jason to convince the team to prepare for Rita’s oncoming attack.

Our Thoughts

I didn’t know what to expect when I went to see this one. There was mediocre acting, cliche High School characters, and an outrageous plot, all no surprise. The effects were fantastic, and in the end, it was two guys in high tech rubber suits battling over a miniature city, just like the old B&W Godzilla flicks. I loved this. Especially the silly Power Rangers song that I figured was licensed away with the cartoon.  All in all I have to give this one a begrudging 3 stars, as it spent enough time building up the climax, that by the end I had to see it. Fun for all ages, especially the end. – MR

Find Power Rangers and see the new trailer here