Quickie Reviews #2

Oblivion
1-Oblivion

At this point, even with all of the Scientology bullshit, I’d still see pretty much any movie that Tom Cruise is in. He’s just a full-on action movie star; he has the intensity, he usually picks the right projects, and he almost always does his own stunts. And while Oblivion definitely isn’t a great movie, I honestly wouldn’t have even finished it had it not been for Tom Cruise.

The plot is standard sci-fi fare, and Morgan Freeman is woefully under-utilized. And for a two hour plus film, the story leaves a lot unsaid, and not in a “makes you think” kind of good way, but in a “I wonder if they rushed this script out” kind of way. Oblivion just doesn’t do anything new with the genre. The effects look great and the acting is fine, but there just seems to be something missing that could have made this movie stand out among the crowd. Also, clones are involved, which is usually a bad decision, but at least they mostly stayed away from time travel. I don’t know why filmmakers think that clones and time travel are good sci-fi movie tropes because they almost never work.

I was excited for this one when I first saw trailers but I ended up being mostly disappointed. And my fiance fell asleep half way through it, so I’m guessing she wouldn’t give it two thumbs up either.

Positives:
-effects are fantastic
-Tom Cruise is a badass

Negatives:
-doesn’t do anything new or interesting
-long run time

Score:
6/10

Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth
1-Battle-Labyrinth

This was definitely my favorite book of the series so far. The new setting of the Labyrinth was very cool, we got some closure on the “Pan” side story, and and there were some exciting twists and turns that I didn’t see coming.

However, most of my complaints from the last books remain. The formula of “Percy chooses a couple of friends, goes on quest, wins battle by mostly luck” is still present and I’m getting kind of bored with them just introducing more and more random Greek monsters. And the whole love triangle with Percy, Annabeth, and Rachel Dare is beginning to annoy me. I understand that they’re all pre-teens, but come on, tell each other how you feel already.  I’m invested enough to want to see the conclusion, and these books are very fast reads, but I’m finding myself underwhelmed on the series as a whole. Hopefully the final book can shake things up a bit and deliver a satisfying conclusion.

Positives:
-Labyrinth is a cool setting
-the twist with Luke and Kronos is awesome

Negatives: 
-wish we could have spent more time with Grover and Tyson
-the character reveal near the end was a bit obvious

Score: 
8/10

Sons of Anarchy – Season Two
1-SoA-S2

This season of Sons of Anarchy is among the most riveting television I’ve ever seen. Seriously, if you spent the time in season one to invest in the characters, you’re in for a rough ride in season two.

Ryan Hurst (Opie) and Katey Sagal (Gemma) give possibly the best performances of their careers, and the villain of this season reminds me a lot of Professor Umbridge from the Harry Potter series. Zobel is sadistic, highly intelligent, and seemingly untouchable. It builds that kind of rage inside of you while watching because everything he does is just so unfair, but there’s absolutely nothing you or the protagonists can do about it. It gets pretty frustrating to watch at times, but almost never in a bad way.

The big twist leading into the third season is a bit of a head-scratcher in terms of the character’s motivation, but it leads us to a cool place, so I suppose that the ends justify the means. And I like that after everything they’ve been through, Clay still drops his want for revenge to help Jax. Family is the most important thing to these guys, after all.

Positives:
-Opie and Gemma character arcs
-jail scene with Juice

Negatives: 
-Cameron’s justification in the last episode seems weird
-lack of closure to the Zobel storyline

Score: 
10/10

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