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All reviews - Movies (80) - TV Shows (7) - Games (2)

Arnie vs. Satan

Posted : 6 years ago on 18 July 2012 11:21 (A review of End of Days)

Arnold peaked at the end of the '90s, I guess. He's battled Terminators, Greek gods, bears, alligators, planes, and macho men in fish net clothing. The only choice left is, of course, Satan. So they put together a movie about Satan and gave Arnie the lead.

I think everyone working on this thought it would be much better than it actually is. The script was in development for years and Arnie fought to get it made. It's kind of unfortunate because Arnold gives a fairly decent performance in a film muddled with clich├ęs. Of course, it's hard enough to buy a guy with a body like Arnold being a slob who drinks beer and pizza smoothees for breakfast. Getting someone like Jim Belushi might have seemed more realistic.

Apart from the physicality, Arnold's performance is fine. He cries. He does the emotion scenes well enough - at least well enough to find bearable.

It's the direction that ruins this movie. Peter Hyams is a terrible director and has ruined some very unique films in the past (his most notorious butchering in my opinion was of a 1983 Michael Douglas film called "The Star Chamber" - great premise, awful directing).

"End of Days" is like "Exorcist" meets every supernatural thriller ever made. On top of that, Gabriel Byrne should be more menacing. Robin Tunney should be less butch-looking. The direction shouldn't feel like some low-grade TV commercial - all style, no substance.

Is the movie terrible? No. It's not as bad as everyone made it out to be. But it's pretty much the definition of "mediocre." Do I own it on DVD? Hell yeah. It's an Arnold movie - it's an automatic must-buy. But if you're not a fan of Arnie, I wouldn't recommend it - at all. It pretty much feels like any average made-for-TV scary-flick - with even worse direction.

The only other good aspect of this film was that it brought Axl Rose out of seclusion to record his first original song in seven years with a new incarnation of Guns N' Roses. The song, "Oh My God," didn't do too well with the critics. A bit of a shame, really. I dug it. It also fits the industrial, edgy tone of the film.

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Entertaining, Not Award Winning

Posted : 6 years ago on 9 July 2012 11:08 (A review of First Sunday)

Let me start off with the downsides of this movie. There was a lot of unbelievable material, and it got so out of hand at times that I really couldn't enjoy it for how ridiculous it was being. Some of the acting was poor, and I felt the actors and actresses really didn't care how they portrayed their characters, except maybe a few, and therefore they ended up being unlikable and ultimately forgettable. Most of the funny material wasn't funny at all, and I got super tired super fast with all of the lame jokes and mundane, black comedy antics. Not to mention it was predictable to the point where I wasn't enjoying any surprises.

Now, the actual upsides. I did laugh a few times, and it was because the material was actually humorous. No, it wasn't hysterically rolling on the floor laughing, but it got smiles and chuckles nonetheless. It managed to keep me entertained, and I was actually sucked into the story plot a little. I became interested because even though most every attribute about this film is average or poor, the plot truthfully seemed endearing to me, for some odd reason, and overall, while the movie is mediocre, and I certainly wouldn't watch it again, it's not terrible. I wouldn't recommend it, but you don't have to completely avoid it, per say. It was nothing special, but if you feel like watching it, be my guest.

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A Lot Better Than The Ratings

Posted : 6 years ago on 25 June 2012 04:04 (A review of The Darkest Hour)

I was very skeptical to spend money on a movie with a 4.9 IMDb Rating but in the end of the day I went with my guts which never let me down. I saw the trailers back in summer 2011 and was already excited.

So what is the problem with this movie? Why does it have such bad reviews? The environment has a lot to with it. The movie is set in Moscow, the most actors are Russian and the 2 supposedly American girls are occasionally speaking with a British accent. This is probably a bit too much for a "patriot". The next point would be the acting, it is not that good and the special effects range from brilliant to not so brilliant but then again this is a 30 Million Budget movie, they city of Moscow went through hoops to make it happen by closing down main roads and entire quarters. The scenes when humans are getting killed are extremely well done an innovative and the whole plot is very exciting and doesn't give much time to breath.

If you aren't ignorant to let another country but the USA be the good guys for once you will simply love that movie, if your heroes must kiss the love interest in front of an American flag then forget about it.

Great movie, not so great actors but all in all enjoyable and 7 points for a new idea of an Alien Invasion.

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Well Crafted Failure....

Posted : 6 years, 1 month ago on 16 June 2012 12:11 (A review of Dark Water)

If I were to build a car, a gorgeous and solidly designed automobile and it didn't have an engine; then I failed in a fundamental way.

The acting was great, what little interest I had was carried by it's strong cast and I found myself caring more for the real-life drama more than the ghost. The supernatural was an interruption rather than what the film should have been about.

Bottom line, want scares? Well, you will find an absolutely none. Want a decent drama about a woman on her own? You'll find here and oh yea...there is this ghost problem.

Because it was a failure in what it set out to do, it wasted two hours of my life with it's utter dullness.( Made worse than normal since I was expecting a thriller.) Please Hollywood, stop lying in your advertising.

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The Time Machine (2002) review

Posted : 6 years, 1 month ago on 10 June 2012 05:45 (A review of The Time Machine (2002))

I enjoyed The Time Machine and its focus on simplicity and special effect instead of heavy time travel contradictions and fancy plots. This movie was straight backwards and forwards dealing with materialism and love - straight and simple. This was a feel good movie in a time (our time) of confusion, fear, and war. Too many critics looked for something really deep, tried to tear it apart because of its apparent lack of scientific continuity. But really the essence of this movie was human relationships and I thought the movie it made its point even though it took 800,000 years to do it. I felt with the characters. The only real problem I had was how a language could be kept so pure after so many years - of course they may have had help from a local library... :)

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Keeping your distance.

Posted : 6 years, 1 month ago on 7 June 2012 02:45 (A review of Black Water (2007))

As a kid I loved the song "Never smile at a crocodile", and if I found myself in this state of affairs, which is actually inspired by true events. Smiling would be the last thing on my mind. From the opening set-up, I've never been so entrenched, caught up and finally exhausted like I was when watching this limited budget Independent Australian horror film, about three people in Northern Territory trapped in a mangrove swamp with a very conniving crocodile waiting in the water below them. What really brought the film alive, was how realistic it managed to be in transporting the fear and uncertainty of the characters' situation to the audience. Semi-documentary camera-work with a disquietingly eerie backdrop and authentic performances effectively take you out of your comfort zone. What we get is a patient survival tale than just a bloody, all-out creature feature onslaught. Think of "Open Water (2003)", where its budget and time restraint made sure it would stay low-key, but this minimal barrier enhanced the experience.

The slow-grinding story might be black and white, but it never seemed to become disposable, or succumb to formulaic patterns. Well not largely, and the connection between the characters were emotionally engaging even with a bare, straight-forward script. Although you can say "less is more", with the actions and expressions illuminating the lingering thoughts plaguing their minds. The ordeal is utterly terrifying, because the threat is very alive and never seems to loosen up. This is what drives the film's chaotic adrenaline, and in which it lasts (even when its kept buried) through to the very end.

Writers / Directors Andrew Traucki and David Nerlich's economical guidance alienates and smartly strings along the viewer with its taut pacing and harrowing psychological traits. In certain patches the notch goes up, with pressure induced suspense and startling images. The way the night sequence is executed is immensely chilling and pulsating. The menacing crocodile manipulative toys with its fresh-meat in a distressingly suspenseful approach. Sure some moments felt unlikely, but never does it get in the way or distract. Sound FX is the key, and at times the lack of any just eats away at you. Rafeal May's musical score is unassuming and doesn't really enter the mixture much, but when it does it builds an organic sounding quality. The cinematography of John Biggins is beautifully devised, and rapidly aggressive when the mood changes. It was always on the move and claustrophobic, but none of this jerky movements. The editing was sharply handled, and the effects were professionally catered by superbly combing live crocodile footage.

Something like this production would also have to rely on its cast to sell to the story in a believable manner and they do it. Diana Glenn, Andy Rodoreda and especially Maeve Dermody are persuasively good. A lot of the responsibility falls on Dermody, and she strongly delivers with an inspired turn. Now this item might cop some comparisons with another killer crocodile film "Rogue (2007)", but the two couldn't be any different in what they want to be and how they end up. If I had to pick though, I'm leaning more towards this outing for its sheer involvement to snap at you.

A remarkable effort on all fronts, with everyone involved showing potential to really look out for.

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Trailer is way better than actual film

Posted : 6 years, 1 month ago on 7 June 2012 02:43 (A review of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus)

This is definitely the film to see drunk with a few mates. Yeah it's pretty lame but what the heck... it's also a lot of fun. Suspend all belief and go with the schlock. The effects are pretty woeful but that's what makes it fun. Unfortunately the editing of all the major action is done so quickly that you don't get a chance to revel in it's outrageousness. Just when the creatures do something really cool like bite the Golden Gate bridge the scene cuts to something else. I want more from my "millions of years trapped in ice giant monsters of the deep." You also get the feeling that all involved know exactly what a pile of B grade celluloid they're turning out. Two thing I've learnt however is next time i fly I'll be looking out for massive leaping sharks and never call an octopus a squid. Surprisingly Debbie Gibson is really good... not as an octopus but as an actor. I'm now a fan. I can't wait for the sequel. It rises... Trailer is way better than actual film

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Thank God for airbags

Posted : 6 years, 1 month ago on 1 June 2012 06:20 (A review of Torque)

Made by people who realise how ridiculous and excessive the average Hollywood action movie has become, Torque revels in the glorious absurdities of the genre, while simultaneously poking fun at the outlandishness of it all (for other examples that adopt the same approach, see Con Air, the Charlie's Angels movies, and the more subtle & misunderstood Escape From LA). Make no mistake, this film is - intentionally - a shiny, multicoloured live-action cartoon that has as little to do with reality as the average press conference by the Bush Administration.

In this movie, every action set-piece breaks several different laws of physics. Bikes don't just crash in Torque - they explode into fireballs with such ferocity that anyone nearby is thrown twenty feet into the air. Chases through city streets are conducted at such intense speed that bystanders are blown over and car windows shatter. Product placement isn't sneaked into the background, but blatantly placed at centre-stage. Every male in the film is either handsome & slim, or bulky & menacing, while all the women are centrefold material. It's the kind of movie where a bad-ass like Trey (Ice Cube) somehow manages to lead a gang of outlaw bikers who control most of the crime in downtown LA, while refusing to deal drugs or have drugs sold on his turf. It's the sort of film in which the hero proves he's innocent of murder (when in fact his alleged 'evidence' would never stand up in court) and is promptly allowed to walk away without even giving a statement to the police, despite the fact that during the course of the movie he's stolen several vehicles, been responsible for the deaths of numerous bad guys, and caused an immense amount of property damage. It's not meant to be taken seriously for a second, and if you keep that in mind, it's a lot of fun.

Since all the characters are barely two dimensional stereotypes, the cast is hardly taxed, but do what they can with what they're given. Martin Henderson as the hero is bland, but not as wooden as he could have been, while Monet Mazir as his girl (and the world's most glamorous mechanic) is fairly spunky. Will Yun Lee (from Witchblade and Die Another Day) and Jay Hernandez draw the short straws as Henderson's sidekicks: they have so little to do that there seems no point having them in the movie, and you wonder why their characters weren't written out while the script was in development. Matt Schulze as chief villain Henry James is surprisingly low key, considering his cocky, swaggering turn in The Transporter, but still makes an effective nemesis. One of those actors clearly born to play bad guys, Schulze could become the Christopher Walken of the 21st century if he plays his cards right. In fact, none of the cast truly disgrace themselves, and the only false note is skinny Brit actor Max Beesley, bizarrely miscast as James's right-hand enforcer.

However, the movie's one star turn is provided by Jaime Pressly as China, James's girl. Even though she's only on screen for about 15 minutes throughout and has about five lines of dialogue, when Pressly turns up you can't look at anything else. And I'm not talking about the fact that she's undeniably easy on the eye or clad in barely-there leathers - this girl has star quality. With her face set in a permanent sneer amongst an explosion of piercings and tattoos, China is the Biker Vixen from Hell, and Pressly doesn't just steal this movie - SHE RULES IT... :)

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If you are under 13 or above 13 and intoxicated.

Posted : 6 years, 1 month ago on 28 May 2012 04:37 (A review of D-War (2007))

If you are under 13 or above 13 and pretty intoxicated, you'll enjoy D-war. If you are a seriously dedicated fan of all kinds of brainless action films, you'll enjoy D-war. Otherwise, don't bother! The kids will thank u so much if u take them to this movie...

The CG is good. Acting and directing are horrible. Storyline is extremely simple. But, since the half of the audience was kids, they were screaming, shouting and cheering every time the dragons appeared on the screen. This made the viewing experience far more exciting than it should have been.

It's a good movie to take your kids to, but except for the final battle sequence, D-War is disappointing. I give this film 6 out of 10 mainly because the kids loved it so much.

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It's not Impossible to like this film

Posted : 6 years, 1 month ago on 26 May 2012 07:09 (A review of Mission: Impossible)

With the trend that began in the early 1990's to adapt old television series into major motion pictures, Mission: Impossible was one of the many added to the list. Premiering in the late 1960's, Mission: Impossible was hit series for CBS for seven seasons and brought actors such as Peter Graves and Martin Landau to popular stardom. In 1996, superstar Tom Cruise collaborated with director Brian de Palma to bring the modern film version to life, and despite some critical drubbing at the time, Mission: Impossible proves to be one of the better television to motion picture adaptations to grace the screen to date.

Mission: Impossible, the series, was very much in the same mold of the modern police procedural Law & Order: it was almost exclusively plot driven. Sure, the same characters reappeared episode after episode, but none of them were ever fleshed out or significantly developed. The series was exclusively interested in telling it's tale of a team of U.S. spies using subterfuge, theatrics and make-up to confuse and confound their mark and obtain their goal. With Tom Cruise in the lead of the film version, it seemed unlikely that this format would hold, and while the film does give a little more depth to it's leads, it is still pushed along by the tale more than the people.

The film opens in Prague, where the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) have gathered to perform their latest mission: to prevent a double-agent from selling off a list of the secret identities of covert agents operating in Europe. The team is comprised of leader Jim Phelps (Jon Voight), key man Ethan Hunt (Cruise), electronics expert Jack Harmon (Emilio Estevez), Sarah Davies (Kristin Scott-Thomas), Hannah Williams (Ingeborga Dapkunaite), and Jim's wife, Claire (Emmauelle Beart). Part way through the mission, things begin to go horribly wrong, and before the night is out, all members of the team except Hunt are killed by an apparent assassin. Hunt contacts the head of his division, Eugene Kittredge (Henry Czerny) and discovers that the whole mission was designed to capture a suspected mole in the agency, and since Hunt was the only one who survived, he is labeled the mole.

Hunt escapes capture and is determined to prove his innocence. With the discovery that Claire did not die during the mission, Hunt makes contact with an arms dealer named Max (Vanessa Redgrave) who the real mole was dealing with and makes his own deal: he will secure the information that Max wants if Max promises to deliver the real mole to him. Hunt recruits former members of the IMF who were discovered during previous missions and had to be "disavowed' by the U.S. These include super hacker Luther Stickle (Ving Rhames) and helicopter pilot Franz Krieger (Jean Reno). Together, the group plans their heist, but things quickly become complicated and not everything with this whole operation is as it seems.

At the time of it's release, Mission: Impossible was criticized for being so complicated as to be undecipherable, and while it is indeed complex, it is not impossibly so. The film does weave a complicated plot and requires the audience's attention, but that is actually one of the film's strengths. It doesn't proceed in an entirely normal manner, hitting all the usual beats you would expect from a Mission: Impossible story, so while it follows the formula to a degree, it also manages to stand that formula on it's head. If the film does fall short, plot wise, it is principally in one area involving a central twist to the story. From the moment the backstory for this twist is introduced early in the film until the plot finally reveals it, there is nothing terribly surprising about it. The final scenes of the film do suggest that it is not what it would seem to be, but even still, the fact that so major a plot element in a film that is supposed to be a suspense thriller is so easily deduced is a bit of a let down.

Mission: Impossible is also not an action film in the literal sense. There is one major action set piece, but it is late in the film's running time, and up until then, the film has had no major car chases or fisticuffs. It replaces those with one major sequence of suspense, in which Ethan Hunt must attempt to retrieve information from a computer in a room littered with sensing equipment, including pressure sensitive floors, temperature controls and audio sensors. This sequence, played largely without dialogue and no music, is effective in building tension and literally putting you on the edge of your seat.

Mission: Impossible is not really an actor's movie. All the leads, from Cruise on down, are competent and do their jobs well, but nobody really takes hold of your attention. Cruise is his usual suave self, Rhames is entertaining as Luther Stickle, and Reno is appropriately shady as Kreiger. There is the suggestion of a possible romance between Hunt and Claire, but there isn't much chemistry between the two.

Mission: Impossible isn't a great film, but it is a good, effective one. It does require the audience pay attention and, emotionally, it doesn't pack a whallop, but it is good summer popcorn entertainment.

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