Escape Plan (2013)

escapeplan_1Escape Plan (2013)
AKA The Tomb

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Faran Tahir, Amy Ryan, Sam Neill, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vinnie Jones, Matt Gerald, 50 Cent, Caitriona Balfe

Directed by Mikael Håfström

Expectations: Moderate.

threehalfstar


Any time a new film starring Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger pops up, I’m sure to see it and probably like it more than the average Joe based on my lifelong love of their work. Even considering this, I’ve headed into each one of their modern films with hesitation and tempered expectations. I’ve enjoyed every one so far, but I actively recognize that my unabashed love for the leads plays a large role in the film’s success. In the case of Escape Plan, though, I can honestly say that this is a fantastic prison break movie which also happens to star a couple of my favorite actors. The combination proved to be absolute GOLD; I loved Escape Plan from start to finish.

To tip the film’s hand too much would spoil the fun of the movie and its slow, metered build (which is paced perfectly), so I’m going to forgo my usual plot description. Just know that Stallone and Arnold are in prison together and they hatch an escape plan. But they aren’t in just any ol’ prison. No, they’re in a strange, almost futuristic prison, so breaking out isn’t going to be one of those “tunnel out and scale the wall” sort of gigs.

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Elysium (2013)

elysium_1Starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner, Brandon Auret, Josh Blacker, Emma Tremblay, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Maxwell Perry Cotton, Faran Tahir

Directed by Neill Blomkamp

Expectations: Very high.

threestar


I don’t know about you, but I LOVE District 9. Elysium is definitely no District 9, but it’s kind of unfair to even compare them, as Elysium is a much more ambitious film. Due to this, it’s also a more disappointing film because it doesn’t always hit the marks it strives for. At the same time, it features so many great ideas and awesome moments that it would be hard to walk away from Elysium without a smile. If nothing else, it’s got fantastic design work throughout, and the future Earth dystopia/utopia presented in the film is a pretty spot-on extrapolation from the current state of economic inequality in the US.

Elysium is a very simple story at its heart, but it’s also a multilayered story that deals with multiple characters and tells their stories simultaneously until they all converge. The basic kernel is that after Earth became too overpopulated and polluted, the rich people built a space station called Elysium where they could enjoy their money in the peace of space, along with virtually neverending life thanks to their revolutionary med-bays that can identify and cure any ailment. Back on the surface of Earth, Max (Matt Damon) is an orphan who has always dreamed of going to Elysium, and because this is a movie, we enter his life as he’s thrust into a situation that might make that dream a reality.

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