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Il giorno del Cobra (1980)
Best film of all time?
Quite possibly the best film of all time.
Franco Nero runs around a rain drenched Genua more or less aimlessly and beats people up who are either in his way, trying to get in his way, trying to warn him about people getting in his way or just out of his way.
Un silencio de tumba (1976)
Jess Franco directs a rather lacking giallo, or at least thriller. It's a whodunnit set in a large Mediteranean villa - a setting as gialloesque as they come.
An all spanish cast and a rather simple intrigue fail to deliver anything beyond pure mediocrity however. While the plot tries to deliver some suspense, it's just not that adept of a film to succeed. There's also no classic killing setpieces, which is something this subgenre lives and thrives on. There's no sleaze either.
Instead it's a fairly slow burning thriller where people just turn up dead. In the end we get a revelation. There's nothing more to it. The Dorado Bluray, which I watched, contains a written but dismissed alternate ending. Apparently it was supposed to feature a much darker ending and I have to say the film would have been better with it.
Ned Kelly (2003)
Really brings nothing new, but is worth a watch
This film is not an action film, nor is it an adventure film. Except for brief moments, it features very little actual shooting. It's a drama, be aware of that. And unfortunately, it's not a very original or thought provoking drama. It's too shallow and too one-sided.
I've barely heard of Ned Kelly before I watched this film, but after watching The Proposition, I became very much interested in seeing what else Australia could muster up with an 1800's outback setting. I like westerns, so Australian westerns was an interesting alternative. I made sure to read up some on Ned Kelly before sitting down and watching the film. From what I gather, it was a fairly accurate retelling of his life, except some embellishment and a few sub-plots added for the sake of the script.
But like so many films these days, the film barely develops it's characters. Ned is developed thoroughly, for sure. But even his best friend Joe, only passes through the film as a guy who picks up a lot of chicks. Not to mention Ned's brother and his brother's friend. We feel more or less nothing for these. Had only these characters had one extra scene focusing sorely on them in the film, it might have made it a better experience. As it is now, the film feels like a drama, with the characterizations of an action film. Shallow and not intriguing.
Even so, it is a fairly interesting film. Heath Ledger plays his role well and the conflict between the common folks and the British Empire gets heavy focus. And if get the story, or legend as it's become, this is exactly what a Ned Kelly retelling should.
I also find it interesting to experience a film aimed at an Australian public. Being a fan of history, and of other cultures, I found it a good experience watching this film, and getting something in return. Learning a bit about Australian mentality. For all it's faults, it's an interesting film worthy of a glance if you're interested in the subject matter as well as a pretty and well filmed drama.
The film could have been good. When you find an epic film produced in Spain, you expect it to be lacking in production design. You'd be wrong. This film looks grand and excellent, with action scenes that can rival Hollywoods and sets that will blow your mind away. But it tries to cover 6 books in 2½ hours! The result, as you can imagine, is a lot of incomprehensible jumps.
If you're interested in history, it is worth a look but otherwise you might as well skip it. They should have adapted 1 or 2 novels. Not all 3. The result is that none of the characters get any depth and except for Alatriste, no characters are that frequent. Not even his comrades or his lover get that many scenes and they are spread out across the film.
Very little is explained. The best example of this is the transition from a scene where Alatriste helps his young apprentice up from a shore to the final battle. Just like that, with no explanation, we're thrown into a battle in Flanders between France and Spain.
I very much enjoyed the action scenes however. Very well made. The film was also very gritty and brutal. A testament to this is how many people in this film are stabbed in the throat, or across it. A knife is an effective weapon that can quickly kill a man in a most undramatic way, but it is hard to portray this effectively on film. But here, the filmmakers do not try to glorify their action. They just show it as it could have happened in real life.
Habitaciones para turistas (2004)
Lacking but interesting
It's interesting to see what the director tried to do with this film. But the problem is that it's not very good. There was nothing really original in the film and while the plot was well presented, the main characters were all a bit to shallow and you didn't bother for any of them.
Rather bland (and sometimes downright bad) photo leaves a bit to be desired but I guess you can't expect to much from people who are just doing a low budget film for the heck of it. It's unfair to review the film and compare it to other high-budget films. But alas, that is what one must do. On its own, it's not very good. And compared to others, it's still not very good. But it is not without its good points! I liked the plot. It was built up rather nicely and tied together well at the end. Sometimes in the really dark scenes, it managed to build up a creepy feeling as well.
However in the end the film fails to impress. The characters are pretty much non-existent and we don't care for any of them. Any of them might die, but it's possible to pinpoint the final "survivor" from very early on.
Good Historical Adventure
It's a good film. I just watched and expected more or less a cheesy adventure. And while the first 40 minutes of the film are as if lifted from a Hollywood adventure movie, it then unravels into something more intriguing and interesting. The ending is definitely worth waiting for. Lots of twists as well.
Swedish themes surge through the entire film, however. These might be hard to pick up for a non-Swede but they are there. The Swedish idea of pacifism and neutrality shows itself in form of the king (Gustaf Skarsgård) Carl XI, who only wants to kick the Danes out of his lands and sign a peace treaty. Evil, on the other hand, are not the Danes, but rather a greedy Nobleman who wants to conquer Denmark and all the states surrounding the Baltic Sea. This is a rather modern conception as well. Back then, Denmark and Sweden WERE enemies. And they probably did one-another as "evil".
The production value is surprisingly high. I was expecting something really poor in terms of... everything really. But the film team really pulled it off well. My only gripe is that in certain scenes where extras are involved, they pull of a really bad acting job. I don't know why, but Swedish filmmakers don't seem to give the same heart and soul into their extras as, say, Hollywood producers would.
In any case, the story is good. Keeps you on your toes wondering what will happen next. It's not always perfectly paced, however. I found the film to pace badly towards the middle. But after awhile it comes back in full swing.
Watch it if you want to see a good adventure. Swedish people probably get to hung up on the fact that it's "Swedish" and thus dismiss it outright before they even see it. But it's good! Surprisingly good, actually. So if you're Swedish and have already decided that you're going to hate this film, don't bother. If you want a good historical adventure, on the other hand, then watch this!
Alone in the Dark (2005)
It's not that bad
Don't get me wrong. This film is pretty bad. But it's definitely underrated. I believe a lot of people genuinely hate this film. But I also believe a lot of people just go with the hype and give it a low rating because they hear everyone else hates it.
The film, as far as I understand, has nothing to do with the games whatsoever. Which may be why a lot of people hate it. I never played the games, so I wouldn't know. But as for the plot, people do exaggerate how confusing it is. Heck, I've never played any Alone in the Dark games, I watched the movie on my computer while chatting with my friends and I wasn't that confused. So it can't be that bad. Granted there are a few things that are never explained, and leave you feeling dissatisfied at the end.
The "villain". Old professor who injects himself with demon blood and wants to unleash a bunch of demons to take over the world. OK, for this type of film that's perfectly acceptable. But we never ever get to know why he wants to do this, what made him turn evil or why he's even necessary to the plot. In fact, his presence is actually just needed at the very, very end for one very brief sequence. So he's a totally useless villain that can't help but to confuse the audience.
Then there's some jumping in time and very unlikely happenings. For example, in one scene Christian Slater and Tara Reid is attacked by zombies in his house. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Stephen Dorff and his gang shows up. Alright, I can buy that. But why does he bring Slater and Reid along to the old abandoned goldmine? And couldn't they at least explained to the audience a little better that they were going to look for the old portal mentioned at the beginning? Also, why the heck does Tara Reid, who works at a museum, follow Slater, Dorff and a team of elite agents down into alien infected territory? The script isn't smart. Nor is the dialog. But the acting is alright. It's very uneven, with Slater and Dorff giving good performances, a bunch of other guys giving mediocre and a good chunk of the cast giving awful, but at least Slater and Dorff manages. Likewise, the music is very uneven. When it tries to be suspenseful, it suffers. But in action scenes, it's good.
Speaking of the action scenes, they are fairly nice. Very well shot and visually impressive. To bad there's to little variation. It's basically just a bunch of agents shooting aliens with their automatic rifles over and over again. Gets tiresome after awhile, despite the music and the nice visuals.
I wouldn't mind it if Uwe Boll made a straight out action film sometime. In fact, it might turn out quite good. But suspense and plot are not his strong points.
Overall, it's a pretty dull movie. It's not really that bad. Just dull. That's it's main problem.
V for Vendetta (2005)
It's good, but it's not great.
I love sci-fi films. And I also love films that depict a utopian fantasy society, or dystopian rundown waterhole. I lump these into two different categories. Utopian society films are usually films where everything seems to be great, but when in actuality there is something very wrong. The public enjoys great health and luxury, but behind the facade the public is being oppressed. Examples like Equilibrium, Rollerball and Brazil come to mind.
Dystopian films usually depict a society where everything is just outright wrong, but freedom still exists. The world is, pretty much, a crap hole in either a very literal sense or for the people who live there. The world makes no attempt to cover up the fact that it is a crap hole, and the people don't really seem to mind either. Here we have Blade Runner and Gattaca.
The V for Vendetta film falls into the former category, but I wonder if you wouldn't put the comic book in the later category? In the film everything is to black and white. The good guys is too much of a good guy, the bad guy is an over-the-top bad guy and clichés are numerous.
If you just watch the film without prior knowledge about the comic book, you won't really care. But if you've read the comic book and know what it could have been, you'll realize that there could have been so much more to this film and a lot of it's faults are exposed. Stylistically this film is very good, but plot wise it's... not so good.
We've seen all of this before. A revolutionary fighting to bring down the corrupt oppressive society, where a dictator rules supreme. The twist is that this revolutionary is using modern day terrorist tactics, involving murder and bombings to further his cause. But since the film depicts him as very much of a good guy, his motives are never really questioned by the audience, like they SHOULD be. He's a good guy fighting for justice and revenge, what's not to like? Well, the problem is that we've seen this before. To many times, perhaps. The mere fact that he's using drastic measures isn't enough to make us dislike him.
And the bad guy? Well, compared to him, our good guy revolutionary looks like Jesus himself. This makes the film a bit dull, because we can all pretty much pinpoint exactly how the plot is going to develop from scene 1 and in the end we're right.
Now, the film is very well made. It's very stylistic and builds up quite nicely. If you like these kind of films, you'll like this one. The acting is great, the visuals fantastic and the atmosphere likewise. But the plot is lacking, and there's nothing really unique about this film.
So I suggest you watch this film if you're interested in this theme. But don't fool yourself, there are a lot of films out there on the same subject that are better. Including all of those I mentioned in the first two paragraphs.
Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
I didn't like it
I've seen plenty of "short story" films like this, examples being Creepshow 1, 2 and Tales from the Darkside. I like these kind of films, even though they are mostly pretty bad. I like them because they usually feature at least one story that will stick with you and deliver a heart wrenching ending. Films usually end on an upper note. Short stories never end on an upper note. That is why I like them. They differ.
But this film, while it had it's moments, doesn't really strike me as anything good at all. In fact it's very dull. There are four stories, directed by four different brilliant directors (John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante and George Miller, in that order). All of the stories, except the prologue and the first one, are based on real Twilight Zone episodes.
So the film starts out with a very nice prologue, by John Landis. What follows is a story that's interesting at first, but doesn't really go anywhere. After the first twist, there is none more it gets boring. Nothing to grasp us, as an audience and keep us interested. It's about a man who, after lashing out against Jews, Africans and orientals, get thrown into another dimension - or the Twilight Zone if you will, where he is suddenly the oppressed... The Jew the Nazi wants to kill, the black guy the KKK wants to burn and the Vietnamese the Americans want to destroy. It goes on for quite awhile. Longer than necessary, and starts off nice but you'll be happy once it ends.
The second story is a cheerful and interesting story, which just happens to be incredibly dull as it basically has no plot. I liked some factors of it, for instance the fact that it brings up some rather nice philosophical questions and debates in a light hearted manner, but it's still quite boring. Directed by Steven Spielberg, which is probably why it's so sugar sweet. If you want to go and take a break from the film, do it during this segment. You won't miss anything: By the time you get back, nothing will have happened and they'll still be discussing the same things they did when you left the TV. The plot itself is about an old retirement home, where the people are either very depressed or suffering from some kind of disease. Hope comes along, in form of Scatman Crothers who has some interesting views on their situation. I love that guys work, but this segment still suffers.
The third story isn't really that interesting either, but at least it offers something for us to get interested by! Directed by Joe Dante, this story tells the tale of a school teacher who meets up with a young kid and his strange family. His family seems overly eager to please the young boy, and he has a mentally ill sister who only sits and stares blankly into the television set. Somehow, the boy seems to be the cause. But how? Not the best short story I've seen, but I'll have to admit that I was quite intrigued by why the family were so strange and it does offer a twist. Some scary and eerie moments here, such as the "Hat trick". The second best in the movie.
The fourth story, directed by (My favourite of the four) George Miller is definitely, without question, the best of the four stories. It's a horror story through and through, yet we aren't sure as to what we are seeing is real or made up. John Lithgow plays a character who has a deep fear of flying. When he suddenly spots some kind of creature on the wing, he panics. Nobody believes him of course, yet the creature persists and attempts to bring the plane down. There's only one flaw in this episode, and I think it's the ending. While it's good, I could think of numerous ways how it could have ended better.
The whole series is tied together at the end, where a character from the prologue returns to give us one last spook. Nice touch. But I won't be watching this film again, it's filled with too much dull air.
House of the Dead (2003)
It's true, it's pretty bad.
But it's not as bad as I've heard some people make it out. Some people claim that the entire film, from start to finish, is one big turd. That's not quite so. There are some nice shots and... well, Jürgen Prochnow is in it. But that's it.
Apparently, there is a large rave on a big island in the middle of nowhere and a group of teens want to get to it. So they pay a strange fisherman (Prochnow) to get them there. When they arrive, they realize (well, at least one of them does) that something is out of place. That's right, something is out of place. The entire rave is empty, yet only one of the characters seem bothered by this.
Soon they are attacked by zombies and team up with other people to survive this hellish night. Or something like that.
Why did I watch this film? Because I wanted some zombie action. I wanted to see some people be bitten, scream and turn into zombies. To bad the zombies in this film are nothing like ordinary zombies. Forget anything you think you know about zombies. These guys are not tough. They're pushovers. Shoot them anywhere, and they go down. Also, they're fast. And they fight, with weapons and karate moves! As a matter of fact, these zombies are like ordinary humans except that they don't talk. It could have been any action movie out there, but just replaced the bad guys wardrobe with lots of rotting flesh.
The dialog is some of the worst I've ever heard. It's so ridiculous, and when coming out of these actor's mouths I can't help but to smile. It's really stupid, and laughable. But the problem with this film is that it's very dull. It's no "Plan 9 from Outer Space" where you can sit back and enjoy the lack of brains. It's just dull. The plot, the characters, the monsters. Everything! There's a lot of strange things going on as well. For example, there's a ten minute long action scene with people just shooting zombies in "cool" ways. Sure, could have worked for a minute or two. But for TEN MINUTES?! You'll be tempted to fast forward through that, trust me. Especially since it's very stupid. A bunch of rave teens suddenly turn into Neo, Trinity and Morpheus and karate kick, bullet-time jump and blast their way through hordes of zombies. And I mean, hordes! There must have been at least a hundred zombies or so killed in that sequence alone, if not more! Between scenes, there's shots from the game. It makes no sense, but they are there. Suddenly, computer graphics (from the game) pop up on the screen and you wonder what the hell is going on. Don't worry, it's just a scene transition.
One of the most boring films I've ever seen, and even so there's always something happening. That's when you know there's something wrong. But in all fairness, I HAVE seen worse films. There are a couple of stylished shots that look cool and since you walk in with low expectations you probably won't be that disappointed.
I give it a three. It's bad, it's not worth watching, but I've seen worse.
Blade II (2002)
It just sucks
This sequel takes out everything that was good about the first film and adds in stuff that doesn't work at all. The marvelous action scenes are replaced by traditional Hollywood fights where you have no clue of what's going on and several times the director feels the need to use unrealistic CGI just to replace his actors. You can easily tell the difference between actors and the CGI versions of them, especially in this film. Trust me. Especially dumb is the scene in the beginning where Blade fights against another vampire, and it is shown from the side as if it was some kind of Mortal Kombat video game. You'll have to look hard for a dumber action scene, actually.
The Blade series is here turned into something much less mature and adult and into something that is even more dumbed down than the original (which was no Casablanca, but still good). Action at exactly every corner, lots of shooting and fighting and screaming. But no character. You don't really care for anyone in this film, not even Blade. Why is that? Because Blade is no longer the animal he was in the first film, he's much more refined here. He takes time to meditate, he actually lets a wounded vampire go and he does a lot of unnecessary sword moves for no other purpose than to get the audience to watch Wesley Snipes make his moves. In several scenes, Blade flashes his sword around despite being completely alone. Instead of cutting of a tube, he raises his sword and slashes in the air for five seconds before actually turning to cut the tube off. Why? It just looks dumb. Let's not forget the dumbed down rap music and hip characters they threw in. Compare the young and cool Scud to the old and weathered Whistler. Whistler kicks ass, whereas Scuds constant hip remarks are just annoying. Why didn't he die in scene one?
The visuals are very colorful. The colors are: Red and blue. That's it, you won't find any other colors here. It gets very tiresome after awhile, and the visuals are further damaged by the constant use of CGI even when it's not necessary! A lot of times CGI blood is added, or cgi characters. It just looks bad. Period.
Also, vampire lore is changed. The vampires no longer put up a fight at all, instead they die just by a single gunshot wound. In the original, Blade actually had some trouble beating a few vampires and was taken down by a few of them in some scenes! Here, they go down dime-a-dozen and one wonders why we have to go through two hours of Blade just kicking immense ass in action scenes that are rehashed over and over and over again.
Let's not forget the obvious plot holes and character mistakes. In one scene Whistler, an old vampire hunter, knocks out a vampire villain, grabs a sword and then... Takes off? Why the hell didn't he just turn that sword on the already knocked out vampire and save Blade some trouble? What kind of vampire hunter does NOT kill an evil vampire when he has him under his blade? Stuff like this is abundant all the way through, and makes you sit uneasy in your seat.
Also, the villain is nowhere near as characteristic or colorful as Deacon Frost in the original. It's just a bald headed, pale super vampire who can take out anyone except for Blade. We don't give a crap about the stupid sub plot they threw in about him, or any of the other stupid subplots.
Gah, it hurts my head just thinking about this mess. Avoid.
Norrington is a genius
You'll not find a better pop corn flick, no matter how hard you try. Blade is an excellent film from the Kung Fu inspired fight scenes to the acting of Wesley Snipes.
Blade is a Daywalker, a human with some vampire powers. He has their strength and their regeneration power, but also their thirst. He hunts vampires for a living and that's pretty much the plot. In this film, he goes up against the villainous Deacon Frost who wants to put an end to mankind once and for all and rule over them. Even though Stephen Dorff won't strike you as the coolest villain ever, he is still way more memorable than anything the other Blade films will offer.
Kris Kristofferson plays Blade's mentor Whistler who is an aging vampire hunter himself. Even though Kristofferson is just an old country singer, he's definitely ideal for his role. Some of his lines are just golden.
Stephen Norrington definitely cooked together one of the best action films I've ever seen. Now it's not something that will etch itself onto your mind and stay there forever but as far as dumb action films go this is great. The action scenes are obviously inspired by kung fu films where western slug fights are matched with eastern camera controls. Not an abuse of quick cuts that Hollywood films usually prefer and instead we get a full view of the fight which is very effective.
Other than that, Blade is in this film much different than in the lackluster sequels. Here he is an animal, his hatred for vampires is obvious and he'll do anything and kick anyones ass to get them. Again, this was not present in the sequels where Blade is instead a show off. He spins his sword in nine different cool ways before finally cutting and nobody knows why. That's why you should see this film, and avoid the sequels at all costs. Norrington is one of the best action directors out there, and it's to bad he hasn't done more films.
Rent or buy this film. But at least see it. It's an excellent pop corn action flick. As good as you'll find, actually.
Land of the Dead (2005)
Tasty zombie film, that's different.
20 years after Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead is released. It's George A. Romero's latest (and maybe final) film in the series of the Dead. You know the premise: The dead come back to life and take over the world.
Land of the Dead takes place three years after this holocaust began and now the dead rule a silent planet. But there are still pockets of human civilization, and one of these places is "Fiddler's Green". A walled in part of a city, protected from the undead on the outside.
Riley Denbo works for Fiddler's Green and provides it with food, water and essential supplies by raiding nearby rural areas. But his second-in-command, Cholo, is little more than a gung-ho cowboy with a taste for life, money and action. When Cholo gets a young cadet killed due to his own greed, the two of them start bickering. But no matter, Riley has decided that enough is enough. He's had it with the corrupt politics of Fiddler's Green and the idiots who live in it and has decided to leave town.
But when Cholo goes renegade, and threathens the security of the city, Riley has no choice but to go after him and stop him. Meanwhile, of course, the zombies lurk in the background with no intention of making this an easy fight.
This film has a plot that differs from most zombie flicks. Indeed, most of these films take place during the outbreak of a zombie plague, and not years after it. That's maybe where Romero's films are unique. In the end, it's a fresh spin on the zombie saga with lots of character development, flesh, blood but maybe just a bit to few zombies...
The zombies in the film serve their function. They exist, and they are the reason the humans are forced to live in their sheltered conditions. But other than that, the zombies feel somewhat absent. Sure, there's a sideplot concerning some of the zombies making their way towards Fiddler's Green to end these humans once and for all but really, the film needed to be a bit longer and focus on more zombie related situations here and there. As it is, it feels as if the zombies are pushed aside to show off some of the Hollywood actors Romero managed to get cast.
But still, zombies are quite abundant and they do get their fair share of human flesh (actually, out of Romero's films, this is probably the one with the most zombie munching). And the plot does it's work well. To bad the film is so short, I would have loved an additional ten or twenty minutes to dwelve deeper into the film, or add more zombie scenes that don't necessarily include munching. One of my favorite scenes in the film deals with a loose zombie in an apartment in Fiddler's Green. That's what I'd liked to have seen more of! Good film, nice plot, nice effects (but to much CG headshots) and nice zombies. But it's not flawless.
8 / 10
Horror or Horrible?
The worst kinds of films are bad horror films. There are those you can enjoy, and laugh at, and there are those that make you want to gouge your eyes out. Take a good look at my rating and guess which kind this film is.
The story? There is none. A killer is on the loose, that's all you need to know. The setting is more important: It's a summer camp, at night, filled with teenagers. Five minutes into the movie the murderer starts to off teenagers and doesn't stop until the end of the film. That's it. No story. No character development. No mystery. Just a bunch of scenes were people die for no apparent reason. It's the kind of film you make with your friends when you're bored.
I like slasher films. They're good as no-brainer entertainment. They're never scary, but at least they kill time. This movie doesn't kill time, it kills you're braincells and drains your energy. It's so stupid you wouldn't believe it, and there is noway anyone could ever enjoy this film... Ever.
The biggest mistake the director, or writer made, was probably to fill the film with clichés. But instead of using different ones, he uses the same one over and over again. A person goes missing. Another person goes to look for him, and is killed. So, another person goes looking and is killed. A third person goes looking, all alone, and not surprisingly, finds himself dead pretty soon. And that's how the film goes. I am not kidding.
If you want to look up a good slasherfilm, try to find one that has something that resembles a plot. If you want a bad slasherfilm, don't rent this one. Because this isn't even a film. It's just a montage of people getting killed for no reason at all.
Pâfekuto burû (1997)
An anime that cries for "live action"!
A friend of mine told me to check this film out. I was reluctant at first, since I find most thrillers to follow along the same lines, but my friend told me that this film was really different.
My friend was wrong. This film isn't different at all. This is basically your standard Ashley Judd thriller, except that it's anime. If you're familiar with anime, this film won't even make you budge. There's a scene where there's a dead body in an elevator. They way it was shown wasn't really shocking at all, even though that was obviously it's intent. Had it been filmed in live action, however, it would have made a very nice shot, which would probably have lingered with you for a long time afterwards. But in other scenes, the director goes all out anime and just lets there be blood spurting in every director. No matter what, it's not original, and we're all yawning twenty minutes into the film.
The plot follows Mima, a singer in a pop band called CHAM!. In the beginning of the film, Mima announces that she is going to retire from the pop scene and try to strike out as an actor instead. So she enters a TV-series called Double Bind, which is basically a thriller series. But not all of Mimas fans are happy with her decision to become an actress, and some feel that she is a traitor for giving up on the band. One fan takes the step to far as he begins to send her threats, and even harms some people around Mima. It is all to much for Mima, who eventually starts seeing illusions of herself, prancing around in her old CHAM!-dress. What follows is a series of events where we aren't sure what's real, who's killing who and why this is happening. In the end, only one thing is explained for sure, whereas all the rest is left open for interpretation.
But, by the end, you won't care anymore. You'll be snoring already. In fact, the second the end credits rolled, I hit the stop button, obviously disappointed and went to tell the world what a dull movie this is. Sure, the plot may not be exactly that of other thrillers, but it's close enough. Add to that, it brings absolutely nothing new with it. It's just an ordinary thriller, except for the fact that it's animated! Dull! And you don't really care for any of the characters either, because there's no background, or character even, given to any of the people in this film.
If you would compare this film to, say, Silence of the Lambs, this film pales in comparison. That film has you on the edge of your seats, and there's many chilling scenes. There's also the awesome performance of Anthony Hopkins, and a good story. This film has no good performances, since it's an animated film, it doesn't have a very good plot, and it's not chilling or atmospheric.
So what does this film really have going for it? I can't actually think of anything. It's just dull.
Possibly the worst war movie ever...
-Some spoilers- There's a rule in Hollywood that states, "If you're making a war-movie, you better make it damn patriotic". With patriotic, ridiculous often follows. This film presents it's patriotism in FORM of ridiculous scenes. For example, there's a scene where IL' Nicholas Cage gets blasted and falls to the ground, wounded. Quickly, a group of Japanese soldiers start running towards him, but Nick managed to kill them all in one second... Using one gun... Without even aiming. The scene made me laugh out loud, and could be classified as one of the funniest moments in film-history, ever, but unfortunately this gem is overlooked.
Throw everything you know about films out the window. This film doesn't have a plot, or any deep character. It doesn't have any realism, which is customary for war films, nor does it have any good acting. So what does it have? Lots and lots of action. More action than you can imagine, actually. The film only has one purpose, to show off how the brave marines kill as many enemy soldiers as possible. Explosions, gunfire etc. etc.
Ed Wood could not have done a worse job than John Woo did when he put this film together. It's simply that bad. Gather your friends, bust open a few cans of beers and enjoy the "Plan 9 from Outer Space" of the 21st century!
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
Thrilling! (Minor spoilers)
Holy crap, I did not know what I was in for when I popped this film into my DVD player. It's amazing! At first I thought it was going to be some ordinary thriller with Ashton Kutcher (even tho he usually does comedy), but boy, was I proved wrong.
The story is about Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher) who throughout his childhood experiences a number of memory blackouts. We get to follow him and his friends throughout various incidents. His mother encourages him to keep a diary, in order to help him remember what he's done. When Evan finally grows up he is studying the human psyche at College, but still hasn't figured out what gave him blackouts as a kid, or what happened during them. But when he one night picks up his old diary and starts to read through them, he finds that he can almost remember what happened.. Or can he?
He contacts his old friends from his childhood, in order to sort things out and help him remember, but it appears that they all lead poor lives, and are unwilling to help him. Evan tries to find a way to help his friends and goes back to his diary. During one of these readings, he finds that he can actually go back to the time of his blackouts, and change the course of history. Every time he wakes up, his life is different, and also better than it was before. Or is it?
The film is so absolutely stunning and thrilling. As I sat through it I was constantly surprised and eager to know what would happen next. It turns out Ashton Kutcher can actually play in a drama, and he made me really like his character, Evan. All of the other actors in this film (Amy Smart, among others) do their job well. Which is good, because the center of this film is the characters. How they develop, how they change, how they act etc. etc. Very good stuff.
The way the story is built up is almost the best about this film, however. Different spins on things etc. etc. It really makes the flick. Along with that, the directors really outdid themselves, and they are aided with an excellent score. I also have to mention the surprise ending, which will leave you stunned for hours. This is really a film that makes you think.
9/10. You MUST see this film!
Slow paced adventure flick
I didn't have very high expectations on this film, but how hard could it be to make an entertaining adventure flick? Apparently, Joe Johnston, director of Jurassic Park 3, found it to be pretty hard.
The film starts out with Viggo Mortensen's character Frank Hopkins with witnessing a slaughter of an Indian tribe, which is very badly edited. I felt nothing for the Indians cause it came so sudden and the tone was anti-dramatic. Not a very good start. It is later revealed he is part Indian, and a very good horse rider. He and his horse Hidalgo has won several endurance races throughout their years. The word of Hidalgo and Frank has spread across the Atlantic, to the Sheikh of Sheikhs (Omar Sharif).
The Sheikh offers Frank to participate in the annual "Ocean of Fire" race, which spans 3000 miles across the Arabian desert. Frank agrees, and travels across the Atlantic to Arabia. Along the way, we find the obvious reason why this film is so ludicrous: Malcolm McDowell in a cameo! Augh! As he arrives to Arabia, he meets the Sheikh and a bunch of other characters who find the entrance of an "infidel" to be "sacrilege". Everyone tells him he will be among the first to perish in the Arabian desert. Soon after, the race starts and Frank and Hidalgo take off.
In the scenes with Frank in the Arabian camp, a lot of culture clash scenes occur. Their purpose is to show that we, the US, are more civilized than the Arabians. Well, there's one scene that absolutely stuck to my mind. When Frank first arrives to the Arabian camp, he rides past a few poorly dressed people being shoved away. One of his guides says something along the lines of: "Have you ever seen a slave market before?" to which Frank responds with a kind of grimace, reminding the audiences that "No, we are the USA, home of the free.". But if this film takes place in 1890, that was only 27 years after Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery. Nice tough, Joe Johnston, better check on your history next time.
The action scenes (This is an adventure film after all) are few, poor and far apart. The most enjoyable one has to be when they visit a thief market and a fight breaks out, where a kick ass Nubian rips out his sable and with some really nice swordplay defeats a handful of brigands. As with every other sympathetic character (apart from Frank, the Sheikh and his daughter) he gets shot in the stomach. I'm not kidding, almost every character in this film suffers the very same fate. It's a shame too. I wish the film would have focused on his character, instead of Viggos (not that Viggo is a bad actor, but his character is 100% 1-dimensional). Other action scenes includes: A short flight from a sandstorm, a short climactic fight with the main bad guy, a short (and poorly done) scene where the bandits attack the Arabian tent. Some really poor swordplay choreography is shown here. (I also want to add that the film is incredibly long and somewhat slow paced. Tends to get boring at times.)
Now, now, not everything about this film is bad. I mean, one of the main characters is Omar Sharif. That can't be bad! He plays his usual character, sympathetic Arab who wants well (why change a winning concept?). The special effects are quite nice. I really liked the short sequence where two cat creatures attack Viggo and his friend. Some really nice animation there! The music is perhaps not James Newton Howards best, but it's pretty good. Nothing that sticks to your mind, however. Also, the ending is incredibly beautiful and brought a tear to my eye. Very touching indeed!
All in all, not a very good film. But if you're a fan of Viggo, horse movies and adventure flicks, then this film is perhaps something for you. But beware, it's very long and not that action packed.
Crimson Tide (1995)
One of the best Submarine Films...
This is one of the best submarine films out there. But that doesn't mean it's extraordinary. However, the film is definitely interesting enough to make you want to watch it til the end, and it also presents some interesting questions.
On an Atomic submarine that's out to neutralize a terrorist target that has acquired a couple of nuclear missiles, the captain Ramsey (Gene Hackman) and XO Hunter (Denzel Washington) are presented with a situation that might start a nuclear war. The submarines communications break down halfway through a message, leaving both Ramsey and Hunter confused. Ramsey, however, doesn't care for the message and proceeds with his orders to launch the nuclear devices. Hunter, however, sees the message as a sign that the terrorists have been brought down and neutralized. Thus, Hunter believes that Ramsey is about to start a nuclear war.
Tony Scott effectively handles the plot, which mostly consists of a power struggle aboard the submarine between Ramsey and Hunter. Both Hackman and Washington deliver stellar performances, and I dare say that this is probably the best Denzel Washington movie I've seen. At least one of the best.
The script is well formulated. Sometimes you wonder what's going to happen next, but it never goes beyond that into a super "edge-of-your-seat" experience. And it might not be the kind of film you want to watch more than once, as it's not as fun when you know what's going to happen.
The movie is vastly different from most other submarine flicks in the way that it doesn't feel so claustrophobic. It's up to you to decide whether or not that's a good or bad thing, but I found it quite relieving, seeing as it'd be pretty boring if every Submarine flick out there had the exact same feeling to it. Instead, this movie focuses on the politicial and thriller elements of the plot (Because that's what this is: a political thriller), and succeeds at it.
The music is done by Hans Zimmer. I would be able to pinpoint the score to his name, even if I hadn't read the credits afterwards. It's very Zimmerish, and I happen to like his music. So that's a plus for me. The music isn't very prominent in the film however, and I seem to only recall one theme from it. But hey... It's a nice theme.
Tony Scott delivers yet another very stylish and interesting thriller. Pretty much everything in this film is high quality and entertaining, even tho it's not Oscar material.
My Boss's Daughter (2003)
This is not a comedy, it's a tragedy.
I didn't like one bit of this movie. It was more like a Greek Tragedy play than a modern day comedy. It made me feel bad. Feel bad because the jokes were pretty bad, the plot was pretty bad and it felt like it was going to go on forever. Add to that, that we have seen this type of movies for years. We know how it's going to end. It tries to be somewhat serious at times. The movie brings up some issues that would better be left in dramas or TV Series. Not in comedy films, featuring Ashton Kutcher and Tara Reid.
The plot is about Tom Stansfield, that is working for some big publishing company. He has some great ideas for books, but is afraid of his boss, who happens to be a huge monster. At one point he starts to like this girl, who also works for the company. She asks Tom if he could watch her and her fathers house for her when she goes to a party. It just so happens that her father is Tom Stansfield's boss.
Of course, Tom gets himself into numerous "hilarious" situations, which we all have seen dozens of times before. It's somewhat similar to Home Alone, in the way that Tom gets unexpected visits from a dozen uninvited guests that stir up some "fun" situations.
I found myself extremely annoyed at Ashton Kutchers character. Because he was never developed, and all he ever did was getting yelled at by different people, and never has the courage to stand up for himself. Instead he just utters a couple of lines and accepts what's happening to him. This kind of cheap character development is extremely annoying. In the end scene he just "pops" up and suddenly he has developed and is brave enough to stand up for himself (how this happens, we never know).
The jokes are old, the movie is short, the plot is weak, the actors are crap, everything about this film is below par. Add to that that this so called "comedy" actually makes you depressed! That, if anything, warrants a "Extremely Bad Comedy" stamp.
I give it a 3/10. We've seen it ALL before. Absolutely nothing new. And nothing funny...
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
Connery is great, as always. But not Baldwin.
The plot is very Tom Clancy like, with bad guys from Russia, heroes from America, a couple of nuclear warheads and some new device that could tip the scale in the enemies favour. It starts out with the Russian nuclear submarine headed for the American coast for unknown reasons, and the US of course gets a bit worried about this...
Using some new high-tech device, the Russian sub is capable of going into stealth mode, thus being able to move about in the ocean without being noticed by radars. This worries the US government even more, but Jack Ryan, a guy who seems to be an expert in nearly every field imaginable, comes up with a theory that the Russians are not trying to attack the US, but in fact defect. And that's the start of this political thriller.
There's really not much of interest here, besides Sean Connery and Sam Neill, perhaps. But the movie does have an all-star cast. Joining Sean and Sam are: Alec Baldwin, James Earl Jones, Stellan Skarsgård, Tim Curry and many more. All of these great actors, however, are given minor roles with little to no screen time. The only real actors who are featured in two scenes, or more, are Alec, Sean and Sam. But Alec doesn't really deliver a great performance (why do people like him?) so it's up to Sean to hold the show up.
The movie is actually pretty boring. Most of it consists of three things: Alecs character thinking, Sean and Sam talking in the Russian submarine or Alecs character thinking in a submarine with Sean and Sam talking in the background. It's pretty dull, really. What else is there to say?
As usual in these kinds of flicks, the Russians are the bad guys. In this movie, their plan is actually to blow up the states. I doubt the real life Russians would actually want that, but hey it's Hollywood (and Tom Clancy) so here it's allowed (but it is getting a bit tiresome).
There's really not much to say about this film, except that Sean Connery and Sam Neill are the only real good things about it. So if you're a die-hard fan of them, go see it. But if you're not, don't bother. It's not that great.
Ridley Scott knows how to keep the audience interested.
I've always liked Ridley Scott. I like Alien and Blade Runner, and all of his other films (except for perhaps Black Hawk Down). And I'd have to say this is one of his better films. Simply because every aspect of the film comes together and creates a beautiful, interesting and thoughtful story of a roman general. Plus we get some awesome battle scenes.
Maximus is a General in the Roman Army, in the year 180 A.D. He is leading the Roman armies to fight against the barbarian tribes of Germania. After all of Germania is conquered, Maximus looks forward to finally being able to go back home and seeing his wife and son again. But the Emperor has other duties for him. But before Maximus is able to perform those duties, the Emperor is killed and Maximus sentenced to death, by the Emperors own son: Commodus.
Maximus manages to escape the clutches of Commodus but finds that Commodus also ordered the death of his family. Maximus is however captured and sold off as a gladiator, and finds himself in a situation where he must fight to survive. But his real goal is to get revenge on the man who killed his family: Commodus.
The film is visually stunning. The battle scenes are awesome. The acting is superb. The script is excellent. Everything about this film is top-notch, but what can you expect from Ridley Scott? He directs the film like he knows exactly what he wants and the end result is something you'll want to watch over and over again.
Russel Crowe is absolutely fabulous in the role as Maximus. He outdoes himself completely. You really care for his character, and in the end I always find that a tear rolls down my eye whenever the end credits roll across the scene. Oliver Reed (R.I.P) also gives us a great performance as the aged gladiator; Proximo. To bad he died before principal photography had ended, and had to be replaced by a CG Puppet in some scenes (altough I never noticed this while watching the film). Juaqin Phoenix also gives a stellar performance as the insidious and evil Emperor Commodus.
The battle scenes are all great. My favorite is the battle between the Roman army and the Germanian tribes, which gives us some good IL' dirty warfare shots of people getting mutilated: The dark ages way. Other great scenes are when the gladiators are forced to play the part of the Barbarian horde in the re-enactment of the battle of Carthage. Hans Zimmers music in these scenes may very well be some of the best aggressive movie scores I've ever heard.
All of this, combined with Ridley Scotts excellent visual style and superb directing, makes for a flawless film that should never be forgotten.
Fade in, Fade Out
I'm a big fan of John Carpenter. But in his latest films, I've noticed somewhat of a clumsy way he directs his films. It's almost as if the films were rushed and some scenes or even shots, just weren't filmed. He fades between all of his scenes... Sometimes, leaving us wanting more, but he just fades to the end of it. Sometimes, the scenes he uses could have been completly cut out and not used with the fade-technique whatsoever.
Anyway, I just had to get that off my mind. Off to the plot:
Jack Crow is a Master Slayer, meaning that he kills vampire for the catholic church, and has been doing that for his entire life. After he cleans out a nest of Vampires in New Mexico, his team gets ambushed my a powerful vampire named Valek. Valek kills the entire team of slayers, except for Jack and his friend Montoya. They also manage to bring a hooker along with them, who got bitten by the vampire. Using the hookers telepathic link with her master, the two try to hunt down Valek and find out what he's up to.
This film is gory. Really gory. Most likely John Carpenters goriest film to date, counting The Thing. Some might think that gore is an unnecessary way of filming, but in this film: Gore is not used to "impress" or "Show off". It's used as a background thing. I didn't feel that it was a way of using the gore to create "terror". And if you happen to like gore, you'll find one redeeming factor in this film.
The acting is good. James Woods is really funny as Jack Crow at times, altough Daniel Baldwin isn't really "great", nor is Tim Guinee. But the acting holds up. There's not much else to say other than that James Woods is funny... at times.
The action in this film is quite abundant, yet it's not that great. It can be enjoyable but at the same time the action is very repetive. That doesn't bode very well. Another thing abut this film is that it's too damn long for an action/horror film. Its almost 2 hours long. They should have made it 90 minutes instead, as that would be more fitting of a movie of this "type".
Well. The film is boring sometimes, yet it has some redeeming factors. All in all I give it a six. Nothing great, but if you're a John Carpenter fan you'll like it. And you might want to see how his style has changed. Dramaticly.
The Ninja Mission (1984)
A touching and toughtful movie...
I just watched this film on DVD. It was actually worse than I thought... But let me explain: At first I thought this was going to be a horrible movie, yes. But in an Ed Wood kind of way: It's so horrible it's actually incredible! But this movie isn't. It could have been, but it isn't. But it's still quite "enjoyable" (mind you, it's still horrible).
The dialoge and acting is bad, bad, bad. Remember that. It's really horrible. But it's quite funny in some scenes, because of that! Some scenes almost make it to 'Ed Wood Status'. But those aren't that many. Instead, we are graced with an endless amount of pointless action scenes. The finale, for example, has Ninja firing at an endless amount of guards. The whole thing is just ninja firing at guards, for ten minutes or so! Fun. Not.
Those kind of action scenes are abundant in this film: Ninja/Agents firing at various russian guards and slaughtering them in the thousands. For several minutes... Makes the film quite boring.
Ok, so let's get going on the "plot": A russian scientist, who is working on something that might tip the scale in the russians favour, wants to defect to the western world. But the russians don't want that, obviously, so they send in their agents to try and stop him. But the CIA are allied with the NINJA so, they are up for the task to rescue him at all cost! Yes!
The plot is extremely silly, yet the movie handles it with extreme seriousness. This, of course, grants us some Ed Wood moments, as I have explained. But those few moments are not enough to save this film from boredom, of the action scenes.
I'm not going to review every single aspect of this film, as I use to, as you can imagine: They're all extremely low budget.
Ok, so final verdict: 4. 3 for the Ed Wood moments and 1 for the action! Blerg!
The Last Samurai (2003)
I liked it.
Not really knowing what to expect, I popped this film into my DVD player earlier tonight. I sat down and watched the film quietly during the next two and a half hours, and I was pleasantly surprised. I actually didn't make the "Dances with Wolves" connection until I came to these message boards. But so what, if the plot of this film is somewhat similar to that off "Dances with Wolves", we can live with that, can't we? This one is differently pulled off and there are many elements in this film that weren't present in Kevin Kostners epic, such as the battle scenes and sword fighting. As well as the many conversations about honor and belief between the characters.
The film starts out with a former military hero Nathan Algren being offered a new job in the Empire of Japan. He is to train the Japanese army, so that they can successfully face off, and fight back against, the rebellious Samurai. The Samurai are against the treaty that the Japanese are about to make with the Americans, since it would ruin their great history. But Nathan is just there to train.
However, when Nathan is pitched in a battle against the Samurai, and his Japanese army of poorly trained soldiers are defeated, he is taken prisoner by the Samurai chieftain Katsumoto. Now, Nathan ends up spending a lot of time with the Samurai, learning their ways and how they fight.
The movie is beautiful. Everything about it. The production design, to the costumes, to the photography. There is not one aspect of this film that the filmmakers missed out on. The plot is entertaining and entangling, even though some people might be disappointed by the lack of action scenes in the middle part of the film. The ending battle should definitely please the action fans, however, as it is one of the best I have ever seen on the screen. Truly great. Unlike some recent war films, however, this film is not afraid to show how horrible battle really is. That is, the blood has not been cut out of the film...
Tom Cruise holds up his character well, and you can tell that the script has really succeeded when in the end you just want Tom Cruise to stand up and chop the head off the greedy businessman. Bravo, bravo. Ken Watanabe also deserves to be mentioned, as his portrayal of the Samurai chieftain Katsumoto is really good. He plays the role marvelously, and makes a believable Samurai.
All in all, a very enjoyable film. You should see it, regardless what kind of films you like. You'll find a beautiful film with a great script, and some really good action too. Everything about this film is really good.