Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Elysium" (2013)

Starring Matt Damon, Sharlto Copley and Jodie Foster
Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp
Rated R - Violence, strong language
Running Time: 109 Minutes

Max (Matt Damon) is a young orphan who grew up to be a petty thief. His entire life, he's scrabbled and stole to build up enough wealth to one day make his only dream come true: to get to Elysium, a massive orbital habitat where humanity's wealthiest citizens reside in total luxury.

Max lives on Earth, in a dilapidated, overcrowded slum called Los Angeles. The air quality is terrible. There's little work to be had. And for someone with a criminal record like Max, a job in and of itself might just be a miracle. Max works at a robotics factory, brushing off requests from his old friend Julio (Diega Luna) to help him steal some cars and make quick cash. He tries to reconnect with his childhood friend and crush, Frey (Alice Braga), a nurse at a nearby hospital.

But one day, Max receives a lethal dose of radiation. The company's robot doctor tells him he has five days to live, and the CEO, John Carlyle (William Fichtner), orders him let go with only a single bottle of pills as treatment.

Max and Julio find Spider (Wagner Moura), a smuggler who specializes in getting people illegally onto Elysium. Max, willing to do anything to get to the advanced medical technologies on Elysium that could heal him, agrees to pull a job for Spider - intercept Carlyle's shuttle and steal vital information from the man's brain.

The job goes south when Elysium's Secretary of Defense Delacourt (Jodie Foster) sends in a team of agents led by the vicious, unstable Kruger (Sharlto Copley). Now Max is on the run in Los Angeles, with Kruger on his trail, while Spider discovers that the information downloaded from Carlyle could be the key to changing the future of human civilization, both on Earth and on Elysium.

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox" (2013)

Starring Justin Chambers, Kevin McKidd and Michael B. Jordan
Written by James Krieg
Directed by Jay Oliva
Rated PG-13 - Intense animated violence, language
Running Time: 81 Minutes

Barry Allen (Justin Chambers), also known as the Flash, has lived his life with only one regret: not having been able to save his mother when she was murdered while he was just a child. One night, after a confrontation with some of his greatest enemies, including Captain Cold, Heatwave and Mirror Master, Flash is taunted by a dark version of himself from the future, Professor Zoom (C. Thomas Howell). Batman (Kevin Conroy) tries to console him, but upset, Flash takes off running.

The next morning when he awakens, he finds the world has changed around him. He no longer has his speed powers, his wife is married to another man, and his mother is alive. But the world is in danger: A war has broken out between Aquaman's (Cary Elwes) Atlantis and Wonder Woman's (Vanessa Marshall) Themyscira, a war that has decimated Europe, killing billions and pitting the rest of the world on a collision course with armageddon.

Barry, desperate to figure out what has happened to the timeline, tracks down this world's version of Batman - Thomas Wayne (Kevin McKidd), Bruce's father. In this timeline, Bruce was the one shot by a mugger in an alley, leaving his grief-stricken parents to suffer. This version of Batman is a brutal killer, but still a genius and one of the world's greatest strategic minds. As such, he is courted to aid the United States government in the coming war with the Amazons and Atlanteans by Cyborg (Michael B. Jordan), who is attempting to gather a team of superhumans to avert catastrophe.

Flash realizes that he has only a little time to regain his powers, convince Batman to help him and change time back before war consumes the entire world to its bitter end.