It's time for the final installment of “Geekfest, 2013.”
As we edge our way into the holiday season, be of good cheer! There is plenty of geek-friendly fare headed to your local multiplex.
Remember, to qualify for inclusion, a film needs to possess a frame of reference beloved by geeks. Comic books, science-fiction, action figures, action-adventure animation.
Here's a rundown of the upcoming films I believe are worthy of inclusion in this year's Geekfest.
Second of a planned trilogy, this film picks up where 2010's “Machete” left off. Danny Trejo reprises his role as Machete, former Mexican Federale turned soldier of fortune. He is recruited by the U.S. government to stop a crazed arms dealer from starting a cataclysm with a space weapon. Mel Gibson is the madman. (No type-casting jokes, please!) Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez return from the first film. New additions Lady Gaga, Amber Heard and Sofia Vergara join the mayhem and lust-fueled fun. If you still don't know how you'll feel about this movie, think about this: Director Robert Rodriguez's sequel “introduces” Carlos Estevez (Charlie Sheen) as the President of the United States! Hope this chapter is a s crazily entertaining as the first because I can't wait for the third installment, “Machete Kills Again … In Space!”
This film makes the list based on the enormous geek-cred of its stars, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sly is Ray Breslin, the world's foremost “structural security” expert. He accepts an assignment requiring him to break out of a high-tech, escape-proof prison. Guess what? It's a trap! Ahnold stars as Emil Rottmayer, a hardened con and resident of “The Tomb,” the prison in question. If Breslin is to escape his unjust imprisonment, he will need Rottmayer's help. Look for a creepy performance from Jim Caviezel (“Person of Interest”) as Warden Hobbes.
A remake of Brian DePalma's classic 1976 film, based on the Stephen King novel. “Kick-Ass” star Chloe Moretz takes on the role of the repressed, telekinetic high-school girl whose powers bring terror to the lives of her classmates.
Based on Orson Scott Card's best-selling novels, this movie tells the futuristic tale of Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield of “Hugo”), a boy recruited by the International Military to become the next “Mazer,” a military commander who can save the Earth from an anticipated alien attack. Guided by Colonel Hyram Graff, (Harrison Ford) and trained by the hero of the first alien invasion, Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), Ender must acquire the skills necessary to save the world. Abigail Breslin plays Ender's sister, Valentine. From the previews, the special-effects look awesome. The original novel enjoyed considerable critical acclaim. This will either be a special movie or a massive flop.
“Thor: The Dark World”
Marvel Studios' “Phase 2” juggernaut rolls on. Hot on the heels of this year's most profitable film, “Iron Man 3,” comes the thunder god's second solo outing. Chris Hemsworth returns, along with the enormously entertaining Tom Hiddleston as evil half-brother Loki. The two must join forces to prevent the destruction of the Nine Realms, including Earth and Asgard. Apparently wise to his mischievous sibling's treachery at the outset of their mission, Thor advises his brother that when Loki betrays him, he will kill him. And that's just in the previews! Most of the original cast returns, including Natalie Portman as love interest Jane Foster and Anthony Hopkins as Odin, all-father of the Norse gods. Recently re-watched the first film and was freshly reminded of its overall excellence.
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
More YA geekiness from the folks who brought you 2012's “The Hunger Games.” Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen embarks on a “Victor's Tour” of the districts of Panem, along with old pal Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). Katniss discovers that revolution is brewing among the perpetually hungry citizens, but President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is busy preparing the 75th Annual Games, a “Quarter Quell,” to be fought entirely by past winners rather than novice tributes from the districts. Snow believes that if the experienced killers can eliminate Katniss and Peeta in the latest Games, the seeds of rebellion will wither and die. If none of this makes any sense to you, you are probably not a fan of the best-selling books and/or the previous film. In that case, forget you read this.
Spike Lee's remake of the award-winning 2003 South Korean film based-on a Japanese Manga tells the story of an executive (Josh Brolin) who is kidnapped and imprisoned in solitary confinement for 20 years, only to be released with no explanation. As Brolin's character, Joe Doucett, searches for both the reasons behind his incarceration and for those responsible, he discovers that he is part of a still-deadly conspiracy. Co-stars Elizabeth Olsen ("Martha Marcy May Marlene") and Sharlto Copely ("Elysium") as the villainous Adrian Pryce.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”
I lost interest in most of these characters and concepts about halfway through the first “Lord of the Rings” film. For the multitude of avid fans of this apparently never-ending franchise, however, Peter Jackson's latest installment details the quest of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf, the wizard (Ian McKellen) for the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which must be saved from the dragon Smaug. If the previews are any indication, it appears as though an unfortunate piece of jewelry is stumbled upon during the course of the journey.
The cinematic answer to the question, “Where have you gone, Keanu Reeves?” Apparently, to an 18th century Japan populated with witches, giants and dragons, and a based-in-fact group of 47 leaderless Samurai (Ronin) on a mission of revenge for their murdered master. Reeves plays “The Outcast,” a half-British, half-Japanese slave who becomes the Ronin's deadliest weapon. Keanu is apparently still suffering from his “Matrix Trilogy” hangover, as he portrays yet another “chosen one” who overcomes evil via highly-developed martial arts skills and mystic power. Neither of those concepts are necessarily bad things, but the fact that the release of this film has been delayed twice, from November 2012 to February 2013 to Christmas Day, might be.
It's time for the final installment of “Geekfest, 2013.”
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