Posts Tagged ‘Top Gun


Red Band Redux: May 2012

The Red Band Redux is Yoda808’s recap of all the movies seen in theaters for the past month. Though not fully formed reviews, here are his off-the-cuff thoughts on movies playing in the past month.

The Avengers

The Avengers . . . the best summer movie ever assembled?

I can’t express how much I enjoyed this movie. Going in, I was definitely worried that anyone putting this thing together would have a hard time getting the combination of characters right in order for the story to feel real and give each character their due. Marvel definitely made the right decision when they turned the reigns over to Joss Whedon.

The moment the film had me was 30-45 minutes in when Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America fought each other . . . if I was going to make them battle each other, that’s exactly how I would have done it! From the reason why they started fighting, to the use of their powers; everything was just as I imagined. After that point the film had me. Every other fight after that was gravy and the climatic battle at the end was awesome.

Conversely though, I can understand some of the complaints/critiques from negative reviews of the film–the main one being that the “stakes” didn’t feel real or high enough for The Avengers. Granted, never at any point in the film did I feel that The Avengers might lose–there was never any doubt of that in my mind. So yes, how can a climatic battle feel real if you know who’s going to win? Well, it’s because I feel for The Avengers that’s why. What’s unique about them is that we’ve had four films all leading to this. I’ve invested in these characters and this world already formed from those films, so seeing what they can do together is more of the reason (and excitement) to see the film. Transformers – Dark of the Moon final battle porn aside, the fight at the end of Avengers had way more feeling than the end battle sequence of Dark of the Moon.

All in all, great movie and best time I’ve had at the movies in a while.

Rating – 4.5 stars

Dark Shadows

About all you can do after seeing Dark Shadows is throw your hands up in the air and wonder what happened to this Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration.

Nothing really to write home about for the latest Depp/Burton joint. Watching it the whole time, there really wasn’t anything that special about it. When I really think about it, I think both Depp and Burton were kind of toned down in this movie.

That’s not saying the film was bad. The film was definitely well shot and put together. The “look” of the film also had a number of Burton-esque touches which I appreciated.

In the end, there just wasn’t enough to draw me into the story. It was just ok.

Rating – 3 stars

Top Gun

You’ve gotta have the lovin’ feeling for Top Gun.

While nostalgia is definitely a part of it, I can’t help but love this movie. Seeing it again in a theater with people who enjoy it just as much as you do definitely makes the experience of watching it all that much more enjoyable.

Granted, some things don’t hold up (the look and feel of the 80s, military advancement, etc), but that’s part of the charm I think. It definitely takes me back to that time.

The film itself is just so much fun. You have these super cool guys trying to be “the best of the best”, flying fighter jets, saying really cool (and sometimes corny) lines; I can’t help but have a soft spot for Top Gun.

Rating – 4 stars

Back to the Future

Don’t tell me what you’re thinking . . . I know that you know Back to the Future is one of the all time greats.

I never really understood what makes a movie timeless and amazing until I watched Back to the Future again recently in a theater with other like minded people. Yeah sure, I always knew it was funny, but seeing it again on the big screen made me realize so much more.

For one thing, nothing is ever wasted. I’m hard pressed to pick out a scene that doesn’t serve the story in some way. Everything shown to the viewer adds to Marty trying to get home or affects the storyline with his parents in some way. Take the first five minutes . . . though you think it’s a bunch of random sweeping shots of Doc’s home, you are told more than just who he is. You get setup for events that send Marty back into the past.

Yes, the movie is so efficient and effortless in the way things are told that it makes the whole experience of watching the movie as great the first time as much as watching it for the 200th time. The great acting by Michael J Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Thomas Wilson all make their characters stand out.

Combine great performances with great storytelling, and some comedy and it’s no wonder that Back to the Future is so timeless.

Rating – 5 stars


Spoiler Alert–No Taylor Kitsch is not uttering the classic Battleship line, “You sunk my battleship.” (nor does anyone else)

You know you’re having a good time in a movie when you know that even though what you’re seeing is most likely implausible; you still want to see more. That’s the feeling I had while watching Battleship.

We all know that the premise behind the movie is the navy taking on aliens in this movie adaptation of the board game (is Battleship really a “board game” since it doesn’t have a board?). Going in, you have to be wondering how much of this is going to be legit and how much will just be pretty images and gravity defying CGI. Well, most of it falls into the latter category–which isn’t a bad thing.

Battleship I feel, is one of those movies that isn’t afraid to have a good time with itself. The performances by the cast are all decent enough, but the situations that the characters are put in and the way they are resolved always got a good chuckle out of me; if not a good laugh or mind blowing “whoa” due to CGI-porn.

It’s not all that faithful to the game or work 100% as a film, but it gives you a damn fun time at the movies should you see it this summer.

Rating – 3.5 stars

Men in Black III

Neuralizers aside, we’ve seen these guys (and this type of movie) before.

I thought the first MIB was a pretty fun movie. Will Smith was on the rise and was paired greatly with Tommy Lee Jones in an odd couple buddy cop movie with aliens. The sequel definitely tread on typical sequel ground and to this day doesn’t remain all that memorable. And now comes the third installment of the Men in Black series, MIB3.

Going in I knew that the production of the film had its problems, but I also heard good things about the 3D which didn’t give me high expectations, but definitely warmed me to seeing the film.

What really shines about MIB3 is the interaction between Will Smith‘s “J” and Josh Brolin as the younger “K.” J expects young K to act a certain way when the reality is that the younger K isn’t as old or as gruff as his older self, so, of course he’s more receptive to what J has to say . . . which makes the relationship between the two characters pretty fun to watch.

Sadly though, there isn’t much more to the film than that. As with MIB2, MIB3 follows the standard formula of most sequels (more of the same). The time traveling retro aliens all are fun and cool, but at the end of the day the story is the same . . . save the world (or in this case the future) by stopping the big bad alien. Oh, and as for the great 3D I was hoping for; it wasn’t hardly noticeable at all and I actually felt at times the 3D was nonexistent.

So while I enjoyed the time traveling romp with aliens, I didn’t enjoy it enough to get really excited about it. Nothing great, but nothing totally bad; you could just watch the first one again and you’d be fine.

Rating – 3 stars


Have you seen any of these movies lately? Let us know what you thought in the comments.


[Commentary] Old Movies in 3D

I've lost that lovin' feeling . . . for seeing any movie in 3D.

It was reported today that Top Gun would be getting the 3D treatment and could potentially be released back into theaters sometime early next year. Add it to the list of ‘old’ films that will be getting 3D treatment and will be released next year (Star Wars: Episode I and Titanic are also on the list). Hollywood recycling old films is nothing new, the 3D converting of older films however, somewhat is.

Now, I don’t want to rehash my stance on what I think of 3D (for that, see this blog post). However, just when it seems that 3D might be quieting down and we may get a break from it, it’s thrust right back in our faces. The difference this time being that these aren’t new movies that are coming out in 3D . . . they’re old ones.

As you can imagine, converting older films for 3D presentation raises a number of questions with the top one being, “Is this a money grab?” I think we’re all familiar with the Hollywood MO of taking existing properties, turning them into movies, and then bringing them out in 3D to help bump up its box office take. Could that be what’s going on with Star Wars, Top Gun, and Titanic? To answer this question, you really have to look at who’s behind these releases.

James Cameron is reportedly spending $18 million on the 3D conversion of Titanic. Can the 'King of the World' be king with 3D again?

Take for example the Titanic release in 3D. According to the linked article, James Cameron (the guy that brought 3D to the masses with Avatar) is the driving force behind that conversion:

“There’s a whole generation that’s never seen Titanic as it was meant to be seen, on the big screen . . . and this will be Titanic as you’ve never seen it before, digitally remastered at 4K and painstakingly converted to 3D. With the emotional power intact and the images more powerful than ever, this will be an epic experience for fans and newcomers alike.”

The film is slated to come out on April 6, 2012–coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic setting sail. We this much thought and effort being put into this conversion, it seems to me that this is something that Cameron wanted to do and seems to be doing it from an artistic perspective. Will people go out and see it? I’m sure some will, especially those that are big fans of the film.

The case of converting and bring back Top Gun though, doesn’t appear to be from an artistic standpoint, but from an economic one. To quote from the article:

“We think there is great potential for catalog titles in 3D, but studios have had trouble justifying the expense,” Hummel said [CEO of Legend 3D], explaining that Legend 3D is funding and doing the conversion for Paramount.

In this case the company behind the conversion seems to be spearheading the effort to convert Top Gun–not the studio or not director Tony Scott. “How nice of them,” you might say for footing the bill and doing the work. Well, just remember, nothing in life is ever free. If you continue reading the piece this quote was drawn from, it says Legend 3D has a revenue sharing partnership with Paramount so they will see some return on their work. However, I suspect that the real reason for doing it is because if they can show what a great job they’ve done on Top Gun,  who’s to say other studios or even Paramount might come to them to convert other older films into 3D. I guarantee you they won’t be doing those for free.

In the grand scheme of things I can’t get excited for these 3D releases at all. I just dislike 3D too much. I don’t like the glasses and I don’t like the darkened picture you get while watching 3D movies. Be it for artistic reasons or economic reasons, I’ll probably be staying away from these 3D releases next year.


The Top Gun Experiment

Oahu residents came out last week to be Maverick's wingman on the 25th anniversary of the film's debut. The question now is, will they be Consolidated Theatres' wingman should the theater offer more old favorites?

What started off as a nostalgia showing of Top Gun could potentially open the door for other beloved pop culture, geek, and cult classics to make their way onto a theater screen near you. More specifically, a theater screen here on Oahu. Last week Monday’s special presentation of Top Gun drew a nearly packed house for the 7:15pm showing and a respectable half full auditorium for the 10pm showing–no small feat considering that it was a Monday night and that tickets were north of $14. Oh yeah, did I also mention that the movie being shown was 25 years old and not some 2011 summer blockbuster?

I’m proud to say that I was there before the 7:15p showing and that a number of people coming up to the box office were definitely disappointed when they found out that there was only front row seating for the night’s first showing. With so many people coming out to see Top Gun a question on everyone’s mind was . . . “What’s next?”

And that’s where we seem to find ourselves at the moment, what is next? Consolidated Theatres, striking while the iron is hot, put it out to us-their customers in a vote on their Facebook page:

Out of the four choices available, Back to the Future narrowly won out (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dirty Dancing, and Blade Runner being the other options). In total 59 people voted, and though it’s a small sample size, it definitely says something about what local residents want to see at their local cinema.

If you didn’t know it from reading this blog (or this blog post for that matter if this is your first time to the blog), I’m a movie lover. I don’t need to be sold on going to the movie theater. The rub comes when Hollywood tries to get THE AVERAGE PERSON to go to the movie theater. Factors such as ticket price, format (2D/3D), location, and content all come into play in trying to get the average person to go to the movie theater. Not just any movie will get people to come out. And that’s why our recent showing of Top Gun can be viewed as an experiment of sorts . . . if that many people came out for Top Gun, will they come out for Back to the Future? What about other older films? Only time will tell I guess, but this much is clear: there are definitely people here who would pay current ticket prices to see other movies similar to Top Gun.

With a good showing for Top Gun I think we’ve (Oahu moviegoers) definitely proved that we’ll come back for more. I only hope that should older films continue to come out locally, that moviegoers continue to come out and support this time of programming. Otherwise who’s to say when we’ll see cool old movies again on the big screen.

Patrons Sound Off on Bringing Back “Classics”

Things definitely got heated last week with regards to bringing back old school favorites onto the big screen to be viewed in the way they were intended to be. As previously stated earlier in this post, 59 people participated in the poll on Consolidated Theatres’ Facebook page. In the end it was basically a two horse race with Back to the Future beating out Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark in the polls 26-23 (respectively). There was some lively conversation/campaigning going on in Consolidated comments, some of which even I participated in offsite on Namesake, the newest social networking platform enamoring the Hawaii tech community.

Even local film critic Burl Burlingame of the Star-Advertiser talked up Consolidated’s showing of Top Gun and made a case for seeing some of these older films in a theater:

Movies have been the language of dreams for the last century, and many of the greatest films (particularly in Technicolor) deserve to be seen in the arena they were created for, the movie theater. It really is a different experience than the corner of the living room.

Check out his full post over at

Movie Night Photos

The Titan theater marquee all set for Top Gun.

Entrance to the theater adorned with the 94.7 KUMU flags.

Crowd filling up the 490 seat Titan XC theater.

You gotta love it when people dress up for the movies.

More photos from 94.7 KUMU.


Top Gun to Soar Back onto the Big Screen May 16

Have you lost that lovin' feeling?

There are some movies that are just the epitome of cool. Growing up in the 1980s, I don’t think anyone could escape the hype, phenomenon, or force that was Top Gun. It was a movie that defined the “high concept” blockbuster and helped to establish what we know today as the summer blockbuster season.

Call it fate, timing, or just plain luck . . . but Top Gun ushered in a pop culture phenomenon that still influences to this day. During the year in which Top Gun was released I can remember loads of people wanting to emulate things in the movie. Aviator sunglasses, bomber jackets, Top Gun hats/shirts, and everything in between . . . everyone wanted to imitate this movie.

But what really makes Top Gun so great? Well, even though there’s only two real action sequences (the MIG sequences at the beginning at the end of the film), I’d have to say that the aerial dogfighting action was pretty cool to see at the time. Watching the behind the scenes featurette, all the aerial scenes they specifically shot for the film. Another thing I think that makes Top Gun so memorable is just sheer amount of “cool” that emanates from the film. You have Maverick and Ice Man–the two best pilots in the US Navy going up against each other, each one brash and both carrying that sense of “cool.” Then you also have the fighter pilot profession itself. Just the thought of flying those fighter jets is cool in and of itself.

I think a lot of the popularity for Top Gun has has to do with nostalgia and it’s place in pop culture. The movie is so memorable that just by mentioning the title alone a number of quotes spring to mind. Take a look at some of these classic lines:

“I feel the need . . . the need for speed.”

“I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”

“Slider, you stink.”

“We’re going ballistic Mav.”

“Great balls of fire.”

“I’ll hit the brakes and he’ll fly right by.”

and of course, who could forget the best of the best:

“You, you’re still dangerous . . . you can be my wingman anytime.”

“Bullshit, you can be mine.”

The reason why I’m waxing poetically about Top Gun is because Consolidated Theatres is bringing the film back to theaters for one night only this coming Monday, May 16 (on the 25th anniversary of its release no less). Yes, we’ll be able to experience the classic we all know and love in the theater! If you have any love for this film then you definitely will want to make sure you see it. There will be two screenings of Top Gun at the Consolidated Ward 16 Theatres on Monday, May 16 at 7:15p and 10:00p. Bring the kids and set the DVR to record the season finale of Hawaii 5-0, because this is an event you won’t want to miss. Purchase your tickets by logging on to or by going to Fandango

Win Passes to Top Gun

If you’re interested in potentially winning free tickets to this special presentation of Top Gun, 94.7 KUMU-FM is giving away passes. Check out their website for more details.

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