Film Review: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

Also known as: T3 (promotional abbreviation), York Square (fake working title)
Release Date: June 30th, 2003 (Westwood premiere)
Directed by: Jonathan Mostow
Written by: John Brancato, Michael Ferris, Tedi Sarafian
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken, Earl Boen, M.C. Gainey, Chris Hardwick, Matt Gerald

Intermedia Films, IMF Internationale Medien und Film GmbH & Co. 3. Produktions KG, C-2 Pictures, Warner Bros., 109 Minutes

Review:

“[raises palm to cashier] Talk to the hand.” – Terminator

I saw this the night it came out, back in 2003. It was a massive disappointment and thus, I’ve never gone back and watched it again until now. But this film is really where the Terminator franchise completely went off the rails and honestly, it has never recovered, except for the too brief television show that ended on a cliffhanger.

Out of all the sequels, I think that this one is the worst. Genisys actually had a worse story but Schwarzenegger was really enjoyable in that one and kind of saved it from being complete and utter shit. In this one, however, his humor and attempts at one-liners are so fucking cringe that it drags a somewhat better story way down into the mud.

For positives, I think there’s really just one: Nick Stahl. I’m not sure what the critical and fan consensus is on his performance as John Connor (I’d assume it’s not good) but I actually thought he did fairly well for having a terrible script to work with and being a last minute replacement for Edward Furlong, who couldn’t return due to his drug abuse issues at the time.

Beyond that, Claire Danes is terrible in this and Kristanna Loken looked great but was so boring she pulls you out of the film.

One could say, “Well, Robert Patrick wasn’t exciting in T2.” But those people would be wrong. Just because an actor has to play an emotional robot of a character, doesn’t mean that they have to be a generic blank slate, tilting their head like a dog that heard a high pitch sound. Patrick in T2 and Schwarzenegger in T1 both knew how to move and how to act in order to come across as a soulless predator. It was in their body language, their facial expressions and the way they hunted their targets. To be fair, I don’t necessarily blame Loken, I blame the director for not seeing this and fine tuning her performance to live up to the standard set before her.

While I like the idea that Armageddon is inevitable, as this film strongly implies throughout the entirety of its story, I want to know why. It never tells us why. It just has Schwarzenegger randomly say, “You just delayed Armageddon; Armageddon is inevitable.” Well, why does he say that or think that? What does he know that makes this a fact? There’s a story there that could’ve enriched the bigger picture here but it’s just a repeated throwaway line that we just have to accept and go, “M’kay, sure… that makes sense.”

The most important thing working against this film isn’t any of the stuff I’ve already mentioned, it’s the fact that this is just really fucking boring. It doesn’t matter that the Terminator uses one-liners that were already out of date by 2003 or that the Loken Terminator doesn’t make a lot of sense and she’s overpowered for the sake of being overpowered. This is just a dreadfully boring piece of shit.

It’s not competent, it feels incredibly generic and there’s nothing in the film that is memorable. There’s no great action sequence that you will care to remember like many of the great sequences from the first two films. I guess the biggest one I remember is the car chase with the crane truck and remote control police cars but I was more annoyed by it than impressed.

The whole film felt as soulless as Loken’s Terminator.

But at least it’s less than two hours.

Side note: I thought the closing moments in the underground bunker were actually kind of good and somewhat chilling.

Rating: 5/10
Pairs well with: the other shitty Terminator movies that followed.

Film Review: Brigsby Bear (2017)

Release Date: January 23rd, 2017 (Sundance)
Directed by: Dave McCary
Written by: Kyle Mooney, Kevin Costello
Music by: David Wingo
Cast: Kyle Mooney, Mark Hamill, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins, Ryan Simpkins, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Alexa Demie, Claire Danes, Andy Samberg, Chance Crimin, Jane Adams, Kate Lyn Sheil

Lord Miller Productions, Kablamo!, 3311 Productions, YL Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, 97 Minutes

Review:

“You really wanna do this with me?” – James Pope, “Yeah, man. I mean… there’s not a lot of stuff like this out there.” – Spencer

Back in late January, going into Sundance, a friend of mine, who works for an independent film distributor, expressed his excitement in anticipation for seeing this film. Afterwards, he couldn’t stop talking about it but luckily, he didn’t spoil anything.

Coming out of Sundance, this is the one movie I heard the most buzz about and I hoped it would get the wide release it seemed to deserve. It came out in big cities first, as these things tend to do, but it finally got to my town this past weekend.

At first I was excited to see this playing in the premier theater room with the largest screen in town. Sadly, I was the only person in the entire theater but I guess that is to be expected in Southwest Florida where our biggest contribution to entertainment culture is the annual Swamp Buggy Races. I once dated a Swamp Buggy Queen, by the way.

Anyway, after seeing this and being pretty much captivated by the film in the greatest way possible, I’ve done my part telling everyone I know about it. Granted, most of them just want to talk about the fact that football is starting. But the important thing is that this did captivate me and I loved the picture.

Reason being, is that it carries a huge positive message for people like me, who may now be adults but who refuse to give up on the things they love and who will always really be young at heart and in their mind. On the flip side of that, the film also shows adults who have grown away from the things they love and who fight against their passions because adult life doesn’t have room for passion and dreams.

There are a lot of layers to this film and I’m not sure if they were all intentional or if opening up Pandora’s box allowed all of these things to just flow into the narrative. Either way, the picture stands as a reminder that we should always make time for the things we love and that happiness is found in being true to oneself. It also shows how important it is to have good people around you.

Brigsby Bear is as good as it was hyped up to me through my friend and the praise I’ve read about it for months. It is one of my favorite films of the year and certainly the best comedic drama, thus far into 2017.

It is superbly acted, especially in regards to its star, as well as writer and creator, Kyle Mooney. I’m not as familiar with him as I should be as I don’t really watch Saturday Night Live anymore. However, if his work on this film is any indicator of what he is capable of, I’ll be watching his career like Supreme Chancellor Palpatine watched young Anakin’s.

Rating: 8.25/10