Monthly Archives: February 2019

We Review #Alita: Battle Angel “One word: Badass!” – MR

Alita: Battle Angel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alita: Battle Angel
Alita Battle Angel (2019 poster).png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Gunnm
by Yukito Kishiro
Starring
Music by Tom Holkenborg
Cinematography Bill Pope[1]
Edited by Stephen E. Rivkin
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox[2]
Release date
Running time
122 minutes[4]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $170 million[5][6]
Box office $35.6 million[5]

Alita: Battle Angel is a 2019 American cyberpunk action film based on Yukito Kishiro‘s manga series Gunnm, also known as Battle Angel Alita. It was directed by Robert Rodriguez, written by James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis, and produced by Cameron and Jon LandauRosa Salazar stars as Alita, a cyborg, with supporting roles portrayed by Christoph WaltzJennifer ConnellyMahershala AliEd SkreinJackie Earle Haley and Keean Johnson.

Originally announced in 2003, production on and release of the film were repeatedly delayed due to Cameron’s work on Avatar and its sequels. After years of languishing in development hell, Rodriguez was announced as the film’s director in April 2016, with Salazar being cast the following month. Principal photography began in Austin, Texas, in October 2016, lasting through February 2017.

Alita: Battle Angel premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square on January 31, 2019, and was released in the United States on February 14, 2019, by 20th Century Fox in Real D 3DDolby Cinema and IMAX 3D formats. The film received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for its visual effects, action sequences and Salazar’s performance, with some calling it one of the better manga adaptations, while criticism was directed at the “muddled” screenplay and the set-up of sequels.[7]

Plot (***SPOILERS***)

In the year 2563, a catastrophic war known as “The Fall” has left the Earth devastated. While scouting the junkyard metropolis of Iron City, cyborg scientist Dr. Dyson Ido discovers a disembodied female cyborg with a fully intact human brain. Ido rebuilds the cyborg, who does not have any recollections of her past, and names her “Alita” after his deceased daughter.

Alita befriends a teenage boy named Hugo, who dreams of moving to the wealthy sky city of Zalem. Hugo introduces her to the competitive sport of Motorball, a battle royale race wherein cyborgs fight to the death.

Alita discovers that Ido is a Hunter-Warrior when she follows him one night and they encounter three cyborg assassins led by Grewishka. When Ido is injured, Alita instinctively attacks the cyborgs, killing two of them while severely damaging Grewishka before he retreats underground. Despite Alita rediscovering her skill in the ancient martial art of “Panzer Kunst”, Ido discourages her from becoming a Hunter-Warrior. The next day, Alita finds and brings home a Berserker body from a downed ship outside the city. Ido refuses to install her in the body, fearing the consequences of her heart’s full compatibility with it.

Fed up with Ido, Alita herself registers as a Hunter-Warrior. One night, she and Hugo enter the Kansas Bar to ask other Hunter-Warriors in helping her take down Grewishka, but they refuse, as Grewishka is not on the wanted list. Suddenly, an upgraded Grewishka storms into the bar and challenges Alita to a rematch, revealing he has been sent by his boss, Nova, to destroy her. Despite her courage and martial arts skills, Alita’s body is sliced up by Grewishka’s bladed fingers before she blinds him with her left arm, and Ido, Hugo, and another Hunter-Warrior force him to retreat. Ido transplants Alita in the Berserker body, which automatically interfaces with her system.

Having fallen in love with Hugo, Alita enters a Motorball tryout race as a means to send Hugo to Zalem. Ido discovers that the other contestants are Hunter-Warriors and wanted cyborgs hired by Vector to kill her. He warns Alita and as the race begins she destroys many of the contestants with her superior skills. Meanwhile, Hugo is being hunted by Zapan after he frames Hugo for murdering a cyborg. Hugo calls Alita for help and she leaves the Motorball race to rescue him. She finds Hugo just as Zapan arrives and reveals to her that Hugo has been attacking cyborgs and stealing their body parts for Vector for use in his Motorball games. Knowing that Alita is in love with Hugo, Zapan mortally wounds him and tells Alita that Hunter-Warrior law dictates that she must either kill Hugo or let Zapan finish him off. Chiren, Ido’s ex-wife, manages to save Hugo by attaching his head to Alita’s heart. Zapan attempts to stop Alita from leaving but she slices part of his face off.

Ido transplants Hugo’s head onto a cyborg body before telling Alita that Hugo’s actions were based upon the false belief that he would be able to eventually buy his way into Zalem. Ido confides that this was only a lie fabricated by Vector, and that citizens of Iron City will never enter Zalem. Alita decides to confront Vector, who has been mind-controlled by Nova, a powerful Zalem scientist. Through Vector, Nova reveals to Alita that Chiren has been harvested for her organs and then orders Grewishka to kill her. Alita battles Grewishka again and kills him before stabbing Vector, telling Nova he made the mistake of underestimating her.

Our Thoughts

Though I have some quips about the whole sexuality of beings with nothing but organic brains, thing… ie: why be a girl (or a boy) if you are just a brain in a robot body. But that aside, the message to youth, that the look of our bodies is not nearly as important as the quality of our minds, rings through in both triumphant and tragic ways.  Having never read the books, or seen the anime, I didn’t know what to expect. I have to say it was awesome. It seems there will be more awesome to come. I will see this one again, and I am glad we saw it in IMAX 3D. 5 shining stars, and Highly Recommended. To sum it up in one word, Alita was Badass! – MR

 

Find Alita: Battle Angel and see the new trailer here.

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We Review: #Glass, “4 stars. A refreshing take on the trad… hero flick.” -MR

Glass (2019 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Glass
Glass official theatrical poster.jpg

UK release poster
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Produced by
  • M. Night Shyamalan
  • Jason Blum
  • Marc Bienstock
  • Ashwin Rajan
Written by M. Night Shyamalan
Starring
Music by West Dylan Thordson
Cinematography Mike Gioulakis
Edited by
  • Luke Ciarrocchi
  • Blu Murray
Production
company
Distributed by
Release date
Running time
129 minutes[4]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million[5]
Box office $199 million[5]

Glass is a 2019 American superhero thriller film[6] written, produced, and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film is a sequel to Shyamalan’s previous films Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016), serving as the final installment in the Unbreakable trilogy.[7] Bruce WillisSamuel L. JacksonSpencer Treat Clark, and Charlayne Woodard reprise their Unbreakable roles, while James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy return as their Splitcharacters,[8] with Sarah Paulson, Adam David Thompson, and Luke Kirby joining the cast. In the film, David Dunn becomes locked in a mental hospital alongside his archenemy Mr. Glass, as well as the multi-personality “The Horde,” and must contend with a psychiatrist who is out to prove the trio do not actually possess super-human abilities.

While there was interest in creating a sequel to Unbreakable following its release, Touchstone Pictures opted not to finance one at that time despite the film’s solid box office performance. Shyamalan set out to write Split using a character he had written for Unbreakable but pulled from its script due to balance issues. Shyamalan realized the opportunity he had to create a trilogy of works, and used the ending of Split to establish the film as within the Unbreakable narrative. This included securing the rights to use Willis’s Unbreakable character from Walt Disney Studios, with the promise of including Disney within the production and distribution of this third film alongside Universal PicturesSplit was a financial and critical success, and by April 2017, Shyamalan announced that he had started the production process for Glass.

The film was released on January 18, 2019, by Universal Pictures in the United States and by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, under the Buena Vista International label, in international territories. It has grossed over $199 million worldwide, against a $20 million production budget. It received mixed reviews from critics, with some finding it underwhelming and lamenting the climax, although the performances of McAvoy, Willis and Jackson, as well as the direction, musical score, and entertainment value of the first half of the film were praised.[9][10]

Plot **SPOILER ALERT**

Three weeks after Kevin Wendell Crumb earns the nickname “The Horde”,[N 1] vigilante David Dunn and his now-grown son Joseph, who have been working together to take down criminals, set out to save four cheerleaders Crumb has abducted. David comes across Kevin, whose alter, “Hedwig,” is in control, and discerns the cheerleaders’ location using his extrasensory perception. After freeing the cheerleaders, David confronts Kevin’s superhuman alter, “the Beast”, only for both of them to be arrested when the ensuing fight spills out into the streets.

David and Kevin are sent to a mental institution where Elijah Price, David’s sworn enemy, known as “Mr. Glass”, is being held. Dr. Ellie Staple, the head doctor of the mental institution, works with patients who claim to have special powers. Staple reveals that she has been given three days to persuade David, Kevin, and Elijah that they are “normal” people who simply believe they have super powers. Staple also knows that David’s alleged weakness is water and has a machine that forces the Horde to switch identities, effectively disarming the Beast.

Joseph, Mrs. Price, and Casey Cooke (who survived an attack from the Beast) all visit at separate times to attempt to aid their associates, but fail. As part of her final evaluation, Staple puts the three patients in one room begins to chip away at David and the Horde’s belief in their abilities being supernatural. Though Elijah has been heavily sedated throughout his stay, Staple reveals that his own MRI results show irregularities in the frontal lobe of his brain, which she believes could explain his obsession with proving the existence of super-powered humans.

The evaluation attracts Elijah, who has been surreptitiously swapping out his medication with aspirin and faking his sedated state, to the Beast. That night, Elijah breaks into the Horde’s cell to prepare them for the Beast’s awakening, but is captured and has laser surgery performed on his brain. However, it’s revealed that Elijah had anticipated this and had previously sabotaged the surgical laser, causing it to have no effect on him; he escapes captivity by killing an orderly and sets off to awaken the Beast. Elijah convinces the Beast to battle David during the public unveiling of the city’s new highest tower to revive the Horde’s faith and reveal the existence of superhumans to the world, before turning his attention to David and forcing him to accept the truth of his superhuman abilities to escape, lest Elijah destroy the tower in place of the showdown. David, Kevin and Elijah are all able to escape from the hospital. David and the Beast face off again outside of the hospital and are evenly matched until Staple intervenes. Staple orders four armed men to subdue each of the superhumans, but David and the Beast fend them off.

Elijah tells the Beast that water is David’s weakness, but Joseph intervenes and reveals to the Beast that Elijah orchestrated the train crash that killed Kevin’s father, the same train crash that Elijah caused to find David. After Kevin’s father died, his abusive mother began torturing him, thus leading to the creation of The Beast. The Beast thanks Elijah for creating him, but because his purpose is to protect Kevin, the Beast mortally wounds Elijah and then throws David into a water tank. David survives but is apparently weakened by the fight. The Beast retreats and promises to finish him off at the tower. However, Casey confronts the Beast before he can escape and summons the real Kevin to take control by speaking his full name. Without the Beast’s superhuman strength and durability to protect him, Kevin is fatally shot by one of Staple’s men and dies in Casey’s arms.

Staple’s men then overpower the weakened David and drown him in a flooded pothole. Staple lets David touch her as he dies, granting him a vision of her being part of a secret society trying to keep the existence of superhumans a secret. Staple tells him that if she had convinced him that he was normal, she would have left him alone, but that The Beast ruined that. As Elijah finally dies of his wounds, Staple reveals to him that a human Illuminati-like group have been the masterminds of the obstruction of both heroes and villains alike for over 10,000 years. With Elijah, Kevin and David dead, Staple deletes the security footage and reports her mission as a success.

Unbeknownst to Staple, the cameras around the mental institution had previously been hacked by Elijah and had been live-streaming to a private network. Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Price, Joseph and Casey all receive a copy of the footage and choose to release it to the public via the Internet, bringing the existence of superhumans to the awareness of the public to avenge the death of the three extraordinary people.

Cast

  • James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb / The Horde: A former Philadelphia Zoo employee with 23 different personalities whose body chemistry changes with each personality, resulting in a 24th personality known as “The Beast.”, a savage superhuman cannibal whose abilities include superhuman strength, speed, durability, and agility. Kevin’s personalities also include Jade (a teenage girl), Orwell (a historian), Barry (an effeminate man), Patricia (a proper British woman), Hedwig (a nine-year-old boy), Ann and Mary Reynolds (Irish twin girls), Dennis (a perverted man suffering from OCD), Norma (a Southern woman), Luke (a Southern man who spoils movies), and Mr. Pritchard (a professor of Japanese cinema).[11]
  • Bruce Willis as David Dunn / The Overseer: An indestructible security guard with superhuman strength and stamina, as well as an extrasensory ability to see the crimes people have committed by touching them. In the film, Dunn goes by a new alias, “The Overseer”.[12]
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price / Mr. Glass: A superhumanly intelligent mass murderer and comic book theorist with Type I osteogenesis imperfecta, who was institutionalized after Dunn discovered his crimes.
  • Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple: A psychiatrist specializing in delusions of grandeur who treats patients convinced they are superhuman beings.
  • Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke: A teenage girl with a history of abuse who was kidnapped by one of Kevin’s personalities as a potential sacrifice to “The Beast” but managed to survive.
  • Spencer Treat Clark as Joseph Dunn: David’s son who has believed in his father’s abilities since he was a child and sees him as a real-life superhero.
  • Charlayne Woodard as Mrs. Price: Elijah’s mother, who took great care of her son, and always told him he was special no matter what others said.
  • Adam David Thompson as Daryl, an employee at the psych ward.[13]
  • Luke Kirby as Pierce, one of Mr. Glass’s caretakers at the facility.[14]

M. Night Shyamalan reprises his cameo role of Jai, the security guard from Dr. Fletcher’s apartment building in Split, who indicates to David Dunn that he was also the same man he confronted about selling drugs at the university stadium in Unbreakable.

Our Thoughts

James McAvoy continues his brilliant portrayal of the Horde. The distinct shifts in personality are remarkable. I saw this movie on a Friday and am reviewing it on Monday for a reason. The meat of this story is that without bad guys, we wouldn’t need good guys. Or maybe it is even deeper. This isn’t the old fashioned good verses evil superhuman ability tale, and it is a rather dark, but refreshing take on the superhero genre.

The tie back to Unbreakable is such that I am going to have to watch it today. Maybe I will review it, too. I reviewed Split, here, when it came out.

I am seeing ALITA, in IMAX 3D on Feb. 14th. That review will be up on the 15th.

As for Glass, I give it 4 stars and recommend it as a refreshing take on the traditional comic book hero flick. -MR

Find Glass, and see the new trailer here.