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A surprisingly vapid dystopian flick

Posted : 4 years, 7 months ago on 14 November 2012 05:36 (A review of Repo Men)

All in all, I found this movie quite a disappointment. I have a soft spot for sci-fi, and as several others have commented, Jude Law is a good reliable actor in sci-fi roles. But this movie seems awkwardly assembled, not quite thought-out, and a bit too proud of itself to be taken seriously. Throughout the film, at what seem to be important developmental points or even plot twists, there are one-liners tossed out with great sincerity, which in most cases either sound silly, pretentious, intellectually impoverished, or simply misplaced in this film. The first scene of the film, for instance, we are given a summarization of the 'Schroedinger's Cat' experiment, complete with some of the horrible logic underlying the film--- 'if something isn't definably dead or alive, then it must be both'. The fact that this statement shows a misunderstanding of both the scientific and philosophic merit of the experiment isn't the problem, because even incorrect junk science can be a good vehicle in a movie. The problem is that there's no reason to bring this up in the first place. the movie doesn't tackle whether things are dead or alive, whether being comprised of 'rented organs' is an crisis of existential definitions or what have you. The reference is just thrown in there to sound smart, to seem thoughtful, when the film is anything but. And this sort of pseudo intellectual posturing contaminates the movie.

The whole film's pace feels quite forced, as well. Jude Law seems underutilized. One can't help but wonder if he got drunk for the majority of the shooting for this film. When his wife leaves him, there's almost no emotion in the scene. When twenty minutes later our hero has decided to dedicate his eternal love to a street girl he finds attractive, there's really no chemistry whatsoever--- but apparently the movie insists that there be a love interest, and so it's just thrown in there, pointlessly. Because even in this day and age, it's apparently impossible to propose a hero character without a token damsel in distress.

Then there's the kind of gratuitous and uncomfortable 'surgical sex' scene. It's apparent that whoever choreographed it thought they were being clever, but the whole thing just seems like an attempt to force some sort of correlation between sex and surgical procedures that really just felt misplaced, and kind of heavy-handed. Granted, it has a purpose within the plot, but it's basically a slice of experimental film amid a sci-fi action flick, and like a lot of experiments, it fails.

There are some positive points to the film. While Jude Law's acting is a disappointment, Forrest Whittaker delivers a solid role. The action scenes are quite good, and while the overbearing presence of music makes some of it feel like a weird music video, it's nonetheless well-choreographed fighting and slashing. Some of the sets are good, although a fair number of sets and sequences seem blatant rip-offs of 'Brazil' (to say nothing of the ending)...

A pretty mindless flick. It's better than watching dust settle on your screen. A prettily-packaged emptiness.


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Good special effects, poor, poor writing

Posted : 4 years, 8 months ago on 27 October 2012 04:49 (A review of Prometheus)

I must admit that the special effects and overall scale of the film is epic. But for crying out loud the plot is thin as paper and the writing is very very bad. None of the characters are acting in a logical way. There is no explainable motivations behind their actions and the story behind the alien race contradicts itself. After watching it I have a feeling it's just a collection of cool ideas put together without any logic to link them. The film pretends to raise some philosophical questions but it's done in a very childish way and in the end you can "choose to believe" whatever you want despite the evidence to the contrary.

****************************SPOILERS*****************************
They come to this alien planet (not Alien alien, just extraterrestrial) and decide to land immediately without any surveillance from the orbit. Luckily out of the whole planet the place they happened to fly over had alien structures so they land there. Only then the scientists learn from the mission director what they are allowed to do. They go to this alien structure with their hi-tech equipment and an android. The android presses all the buttons he can find like 5 year old and nobody's surprised that he doesn't explain anything. Apparently he mastered a couple of ancient earth languages but that's no explanation to why he understands alien writings. The guy operating the hi-tech probes that map the structure suddenly flips out when he sees an alien corpse while everyone else is cool, decides to go back to the ship and gets lost in the tunnels. In the structure they decide that the air is breathable on the basis of it's chemical composition and take off their helmets. Who in their right mind exposes oneself to an alien environment. You don't know what can be in this air especially that you're looking for alien life. Then out of nowhere a sand storm appears as if triggered by their actions. So they retreat and they take the alien head with them to the ship while the geo-expert most competent on finding his way back gets lost in the structure. In the ship they do decontamination of the alien head but they fail to decontaminate their own heads after the exposure to the alien environment. And now the best happens: The paleontologist/archaeologist suddenly becomes an expert on alien physiology and just by looking at the head decides that there are some new cell outgrowths on the forehead. They decide to reanimate a 2000(?) year old head by using electroshocks after which the head explodes. (What was the point of that scene? To show their incompetence?) Then they examine the alien DNA under the microscope(!) and the analysis tells them it matches human DNA. (Wow really? After millions of years of evolution of human species it's still the same? Oh wait, you can "choose to believe" so. Yet the opening scene of the alien committing suicide and dispersing in the water with cool particle effects suggests that he initiated all the life on the planet. But then again the ancient cultures worshipped the solar system the alien structures were on. So maybe we are their direct descendants. But it's not where the alien race comes from. It's just a storage place for biological weapon. Why would the aliens leave an "invitation" to their military base?) Meanwhile the android opens one of the vases they found in the structure like he knew exactly what he's doing. All in his room without any secure containment. He brakes open a vial of unidentified liquid which for all he knows could be kryptonite or cool-aid and decides to roofie one of the scientist with it. Meanwhile the guys that were afraid of the alien corpse and got lost in the structure decide to make friends with a snakelike life form that emerged from a puddle and get raped by it. The roofied scientist gets sick but before that he manages to have sex with his colleague (Elizabeth) and impregnate her with an alien life form. Then the android scans the Elizabeth on the next day like he knew what he was looking for and tries to restrain her so she will give birth to an alien. (Why would he want to do that???) She escapes and uses automated surgical chamber to remove the alien from her belly. The procedure cuts through her whole abdomen and then staples it back together. From now on she runs around in all action scenes with her severed abdominal muscles. (The least they could do is show some hi-tech quick healing procedure or something.) She escapes and finds Wayland to be on the ship and he's looking for cure to old age. No one is surprised she has a gushing wound across her abdomen and they embark on another trip to the alien structure which turned out to be a spaceship. They revive one of the alien crew members which goes on a killing rampage after a chat with the android (no explanation why) and decides to fly the spaceship to eradicate life on earth. Fortunately after a quick chat with the female protagonist the pilots enthusiastically decide to go kamikaze on the alien spaceship and die with smiles on their faces. Then there is the nerve wrecking scene of the doughnut spaceship rolling and chasing Elizabeth and Meredith in a straight line when all they had to do to avoid it was to step aside. The alien pilot somehow survives the crash and comes back with a revenge on his mind. It is defeated by the foetus Elizabeth gave birth to which grew to a gigantic size on absolutely nothing in a matter of hours closed in the operation chamber. In the end Elizabeth joins forces with the android who poisoned her lover and tried to kill her as well and they fly off to find the home planet of the alien race.


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I want some Shwarma. :)

Posted : 4 years, 8 months ago on 25 October 2012 08:38 (A review of The Avengers)

Although Marvel Pictures have always made curious appointments in regards to their feature film directors the results have been mostly solid, if not spectacular thus far. I certainly didn't expect Jon Faverau to deliver one of the best comic-book movies ever – Iron Man. If it wasn't for DC's own Billionaire playboy superhero would've champion Iron Man as the best flick in the genre. Yes I do rate Iron Man that highly. Spider-Man 1 & 2 were good but didn't exactly capture the essence of Peter Parker while Spider-Man 3 was a huge mess, not Mark Steven Johnson mess, but a mess nonetheless. Last year's motion picture debuts of Marvel staples Thor and Captain America were also very good, very faithful to their respective source material. Joe Johnston redeemed himself after a misguided attempt at bringing the Wolfman back to the silver screen, whereas Kenneth Branaghs Shakespeare sensitive's proved a stroke of genius in fitting Thor into Marvel's motion picture universe. To be honest I even enjoyed 2008's The Incredible Hulk after Ang Lee damn near killed the franchise.

Even though Marvel Pictures has proved time and again to make the right decisions when producing a movie on its own, the hiring of Joss Whedon seemed like an odd choice. Of course Joss Whedon is the genius behind TV-cult hits like Buffy, Angel and Firefly but his only foray into directing was 2005's Serenity. Managing all those superstar egos, handling multiple character arcs, dealing with several multimillion dollar franchises and making everyone happy from top brass executive down to the hardcore fanboys – to be honest, I wouldn't have entrusted him with a fraction of the $200-million-plus budget for The Avengers. Thus far only two directors have managed to pull off the impossible and accomodated several superheroes in a single movie – Bryan Singer (X-Men & X2) and Matthew Vaughn (X-Men First Class) while Brett Ratner ruined X-Men 3 with his unfocused direction. At first I thought Joss Whedon would do an even more terrible job than the latter, considering that Ratner had more filmmaking experience than Whedon at the time of filming X3. But nothing could be further from the truth. Joss Whedon is the MASTER, with a captial M.

Let me say it out loud:

JOSS WHEDON IS A COMIC BOOK MOVIE GOD.

Unlike Ratner he actually cares about the characters and their development throughout the movie. You think Tony Stark would just waltz through the movie and roll over every other character? You are wrong. Though Robert Downey Jr. is in top form as he always is when he dons the Iron Man suit, the other characters are far from underdeveloped and don't crumble under the pressure of his larger-than-life persona. If anything it's the Hulk that absolutely steals the show. That said, I think we have found the definitive Bruce Banner, Mark Ruffalo, he absolutely owns the role. He is the Hulk and we finally got the Hulk we deserved. Everybody brings their A-game and every character gets a fair amount of screen time. I can't find any flaw in this movie. Of course the special effects are spectacular but it's the dialogue that won me over. Really. Each character in this movie has at least one or two memorable lines – not just Tony Stark. When you watch the Avengers make sure you listen to the dialogue carefully – I've never heard dialogue this witty in any comic movie, and I've watched my fair share. Joss Whedon you are the freaking man. They said it was impossible to accommodate this many characters in a single movie – they were wrong. From now on everyone will reference this movie whenever multiple larger-than-life figures are thrown into one supersized extravaganza – Yeah I'm slamming the last two Transformers flicks. I guarantee Joss Whedon would've done justice to the franchise. After watching the Avengers everything that bears the name of Joss Whedon is a must-see for me now.

Final verdict: 9 out of 10. This movie is Iron Man on steroids. Go watch that movie!!!


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Awesome Colourful Kung Fu Creatures

Posted : 4 years, 8 months ago on 16 October 2012 11:58 (A review of Kung Fu Panda)

'Kung Fu Panda' is another delightfully entertaining flick to come out this summer. Osbourne and Stevenson do a fine job in directing. What I really liked about the film is the sincere effort behind it and its lack of pretension and use of clichés. The directors stay focused on the main story which is Po's struggle. I could really relate to Po's dream and love for Kung Fu and his disappointment and lack of faith in failing to be successful in doing what he loves. The stellar voice cast that includes names like Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, David Cross and Randall Duk Kim is impressive but it is Jack Black's show all the way, followed by Dustin Hoffman. Black's comic timing is wonderful as he provides some of the very memorable laugh-out-loud moments and he brilliantly succeeds in making Po both endearing and funny. I would never have guessed that Hoffman was behind the voicing of Shifu. The actor does an excellent job. I wish Jackie Chan had more lines. The music and CGI are good enough. There's a lot of energy. It's colourful and very appealing to the eyes and it's funny as hell. What's not to love? In my opinion, 'Kung Fu Panda' is a winner with both adults and kids.


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Premium Rush review

Posted : 4 years, 8 months ago on 10 October 2012 04:33 (A review of Premium Rush)

Trade in a car for a bicycle, and you've got "Premium Rush" an action film with such the simplest, transparent twist on the classic formula that it should leave viewers bored within five minutes. It should, but it doesn't. It's the rhythm that the film has and carries with it for the entire 90-minute run time that makes it quite satisfactory.

Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a bike messenger, one of 1500 in New York City, who jumps pedestrians, dodges cabs, and out-chases cops. He does it because people in grey business suits make his balls shrivel up. Detective Monday (Michael Shannon) is a cop but one with impulse control issues, using more force than necessary, and a penchant for gambling with other people's money. He's a douche-bag except he really doesn't like that word.

Shortly after meeting Shannon's dirty cop, one of Wilee's compatriots starts telling us that Wilee is actually insane. That he zips between cars, causing accidents and barely escaping them himself because he has a death wish not because he has any cycling skills. Fellow messengers are supposed to look out for one another, but he can be forgiven since they both like the same girl. And I would also agree with him just with one minor concession: he has some skills, mostly death wish, but definitely all crazy with a hint of finesse and charisma. Somebody, however, should have told Michael Shannon that he wasn't supposed to be the crazy one in this movie. Evil, yes, but he should have toned down the insanity.

The story is mostly revealed as Gordon-Levitt cycles through the city, the rest of the story as it pertains to the supporting characters is told through flashback. The story itself is very pedestrian, but it's told in an interesting way as it always picks up when it's time to take a life and death trip down to Chinatown. The trip may not be new or intense but it is entertaining.


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Wow... dolls are creepy

Posted : 4 years, 8 months ago on 4 October 2012 04:33 (A review of Dead Silence)

Jamie and Ella Ashen (Ryan Kwanten and Amber Valletta) aim to have a beautiful evening. However a mysterious present of a ventriloquist puppet appears at their door. Nonetheless they intend to continue the festivities - not before Jamie jumps out for some grub... Naturally by time he is back his wife is dead, but he can still hear her voice calling to him...

In search of his wife's killer he heads back to his home town, where mysteries of old still dwell and the solution to the killing is close-by.

The whole suspense is very successfully conveyed by the doll (albeit there are more, but the original Billy doll is the most creepiest, aside from the surprise last one...) Moving eyes of creepy looking dolls coupled with suspenseful music and some decent writing really pulls this movie along.

I was however thoroughly unimpressed by the culmination of the story, which really is a let-down. The explanation of the whole events that took place take away a lot of the thrill and its downhill since then.

That said the final stroke of this movie was a good one. Big ups to that.

Acting was decent, especially with Donnie Wahlberg as a geeky cop. The script has its letdowns as mentioned, but essentially the eeriness is very well forwarded for the most part. Not anything special, but deserving a look at.


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Umbrella Inc. "Bringing comfort into your home"

Posted : 4 years, 8 months ago on 30 September 2012 09:03 (A review of Resident Evil)

Does anyone else see the relation of Umbrella and Enron, although Umbrella's deception turnouts to be a little more deadly? For those of you that are confused I am talking about the major corporation that does play a pivotal role in the plot of this movie(contrary to critical and cynical belief a plot does exist).

My advice towards the other reviews that you are reading too is to be wary of any extreme take on this movie. Some people gave it a 1 out of 10 and that is not realistic because they were p***ed off by something in the movie thus shredding to part the entire film with fabrications and unbelievable exaggerations that actually made me laugh. On the other hand be wary of someone who gives it a 10 out of 10 because they might be one of those crazed, lunatic biased fans that jumps at the sound of an unexpected groan.

Although I have to admit that I am a biased fan of the game and I did go into this movie extremely pumped, I also had expectations for the film to live up to. And just being able to say that I like a film that I have expectations for, much less being sucked into says a lot. Now enough of this BS credibility stuff let me tell you about an a thriller of an action/horror movie. The first thing that jumps to mind when I think about Resident Evil- beginning, middle and end- is the atmosphere. There was just something about the movies extremely fast pace, tense feeling and genuine dread that made me connect to the picture. Granted I do have my "I wish" 's about the film too but like the others said, its a horror flick you let them slide and keep an open mind so that you are able to enjoy the rewarding aspects of the film, which are fresh, unexpected and plentiful.

Milla makes me think that there are few things more sexy than a woman with a gun. She is stunning throughout the picture and honestly feels like the only character developed by the way she plays her role outside of the dialogue and story development. As Alfred Hitchcock once said (not in his exact words) "a really good actor saves you 20 minutes of character development because the audience buys into the character" and Milla does this. You really get a good feel for who her character is by just watching her and she is the one person that I got attached to. Now if we could have only gotten a little more out of the other characters in terms of story development. I also felt that Hugh Jackman could have fit perfectly as the prisoner in this movie, but it did have a small budget. The movie is also unique in its pace as it never slows down and you honestly cannot look away for a second for fear of missing something critical, which you might. I have never ever seen a picture move faster. This again adds to the atmosphere of the movie that I felt comparable to Memento or the Matrix. If you know the feel of those movies then you know what I am talking about.

The action choreography is very good and better than most movies and there are even some scenes that will leave you saying "awesome" and "glad I wasnt that zombie getting my neck snapped." I felt that the special forces as protaginists with guns gave the movie more validity and realism, as well as staying true to the game. Of course there are also some great sequences with the hardware which also left me impressed. I am anticipating the DVD of this movie already because I would love to see if there is a directors cut of that gives us a little more in character development and in turn would add to the story. The thought of this however might take away from the razor fast pace, which creates the critical and unique atmosphere that Resident Evil video gamers definitely are familiar with. Overall I would give this movie 9 out of 10 as I am rating it based on what it is. A movie that is well above par from your average horror flick bringing in a realistically scary storyline and solid plot that aside from a little more development and omission of a few cheesy scenes and one liners could be one of the classic horror movies of all time. This film will not disappoint the gamers either and fans of Milla, as I am now one of them after watching this movie, will respect her performance. She is the standout in this film. Also look for the things that make the horror picture a different type of scary movie. Director Paul Anderson uses the element of terror to scare the sh*t out of you and that is rare in a scary movie and I find it more terrifying. Moreover the original concept and conscious effort to avoid cliches left a refreshing taste in my mouth, but an extremely paranoid and skittish mind waiting for a zombie to reach from the back seat of my car on the ride home and take a chunk out of my neck.


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R (Rocky , Robot, Real) Steel.

Posted : 4 years, 9 months ago on 28 September 2012 08:26 (A review of Real Steel)

Its Rocky with Robot's...everything from describing Kenton (Hugh Jackman)career..to the way the boxer (Kenton/Atom) keep coming back...punch after punch...and the way the final fight ends...reminds you of Rocky.

Don't get me wrong...the movie is really good...all Rocky fans would love it...We all love underdog movie's don't we

The Robot fight are great to watch and the acting by the cast especially Dakota Goyo is good.

The entrance to the fight's ...dancing along with Atom looks really good

This movie really has to be seen on the big screen to be appreciated, I haven't been this excited about a movie in years.
Every story has already been written, ie love, lust, fear, hate, loss, luck etc and if you have seen a few boxing movies then you already know the plot for this movie although there will be a few surprises in there.

The robot graphix are awesome and very believable!

Anyway I am off to go build my own Noisy Boy and you have to go watch Real Steel. So I will see you round..

Now waiting for Rocky 2..i mean Real Steel 2.. :)


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Man on The Moon, indeed

Posted : 4 years, 9 months ago on 25 September 2012 05:08 (A review of Man on the Moon)

It is truly sad that we have to wait until a person is dead and gone to give him or her the honor they should have received while alive. Andy Kaufman was a man of many talents, and I saw him only as this funny little man on a TV show called, "Taxi" with a cute accent. Who could not fall in love with that person he was on "Taxi"? He was cute, honest, kind, and funny! Who knew that while we were all at home laughing, he was crying on the inside because that wasn't who he was, nor wanted to be. I went to see this movie about a person who was famous for his "Elvis" personation, and his little record player, doing the "Mighty Mouse" skit on Saturday Night Live, never to forget "Latka" on "Taxi." He was a man of many talents, so many that the world never knew about, so many that only Andy knew who he really was. Jim Carrey allowed us to come into Andy Kaufman's mind, and realize that this grown man lived in another place, another time, an entire other world where Andy was free, and there was peace, and where everyone never grew up, they stayed children playing "pretend" forever.

Jim Carrey put himself into this part, he lived this role... He was Andy Kaufman. Carrey was able to show me a whole new light on this man I thought I knew. This funny man who could make you laugh just by walking on stage. Jim Carrey showed us that who we saw, was not the man we thought we knew. And it took his death to show the world that Andy Kaufman was in fact a human being, who just needed a hug, and a chance at what he did best.

This sadness me to realize that our joy brought this man pain, who we wanted was not who he wanted to be, and I think everyone should be able to live the dream they choose. I never cry at movies, because I am able to pull myself back and remind myself that it is just a movie, and those are just actors. Jim was Andy, and what I saw was too true for me to tell myself, "It's only a movie."

This is a story about a man who lived and died without being understood. I cry for the person Carrey brought us into, the life he showed us that was hidden for too long. No one could have given Andy such a life as Carrey did. This movie is not a normal movie, it is art in the most beautiful form imaginable. To sit in a theater and be at aw... for two hours is amazing! I only wish we had known Andy Kaufman when he was truly alive. Now it is too late, the curtain has gone down...


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Impressive diverse cast of mid-level celebrities!

Posted : 4 years, 9 months ago on 20 September 2012 07:54 (A review of Takers)

An impressive diverse cast of mid-level celebrities and some pretty stunning action scenes highlight this bank robber / obsessed cop heist film directed by newcomer John Luessenhop. The cast includes Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Hayden Christensen (who after having to deliver such awful dialog and mellow drama in the last three 'STAR WARS' films has actually done pretty well for himself career-wise, compared to like Mark Hamill or Carrie Fisher), Jay Hernandez, Zoe Saldana, Michael Ealy, Jonathon Schaech, pop singer Chris Brown and rapper T.I. (Brown and T.I. Also executive produced the film). Like 'THE EXPENDABLES' this film made the smart choice of putting all these actors together, any one or even two by themselves wouldn't have drawn much attention or cash but adding them all together made for a flashy looking film (It made $21 million in it's first weekend, that's pretty impressive for this type of film). The movie is a pretty routine cops and robbers film, sort of a second rate 'HEIST', but it's also surprisingly entertaining!

The film follows a team of five expert and professional bank robbers (Elba, Walker, Christensen, Brown and Ealy) as they team up with an ex-partner of theirs (T.I.), who was just released from prison, on a dangerous armored truck heist, worth $20 million. The movie also focuses on an obsessed cop (Dillon) hot on their trail and his seemingly more 'by the book' partner (Hernandez). Drama ensues as the 'loose canon' cop neglects his young daughter and the bank robbers feel friction and mistrust for their ex-partner. There's also a side story revolving around the crooks leader (Elba) and his drug addicted sister (played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste).

For the most part the characters are underdeveloped and what is developed isn't something we haven't seen hundreds of times before but the cast adds a lot of character and charm to their roles. Each actor is cast perfectly in his or her part; Dillon and Elba are always at their best but actors like Walker and Christensen are actually given a brief chance to shine in movies like this. The action scenes are also stunning. The two heists are extremely impressive and there's a breathtaking foot chase scene! The movie is surprisingly entertaining. I went into the movie expecting to be mildly amused but I was hooked for the most part, largely due to the cast and action.


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