Archive

Archive for the ‘Movie Review-DVD’ Category

Tearing bodies apart to teach lessons

June 27, 2010 1 comment

Saw VI

Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, and Shawnee Smith

Directed by: Kevin Greutert

Written by: Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton

This is the story about how a boy meets a girl and falls in love only to have his entire life turned upside down when she looses their baby in an accident. So now bitter at the world he decides to seek revenge on those he feels did wrong in the world to themselves or others. This premise has kept Saw going for 6 films and counting. Of course the blood gore and all around dark tone to the series has helped it drive success at the box office as well.

Saw VI picks up where Saw V left off without giving us many answers at all Saw V was a lot like Saw III in that respect. Part of what makes the Saw movies so successful is that they all link to one another and tell the story of Jigsaw and those in his life who work with him and around him. It also tells the story of new characters introduced in each movie who have sinned and have to pay because of it.

This time around we get the story of those who were responsible for jigsaws death from cancer namely those in an insurance company who denied his claim to try an experimental procedure to cure his cancer. Jigsaw is fully dead in this one we only see Tobin Bell (Jigsaw/John) in flashbacks this time. His protegé Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) is in full control or at least he thinks he is this time.

One of the many "traps" in Saw VI

Saw VI goes back to the well of great traps for those that Jigsaw wishes to torture. It’s obvious that these traps were for the most part set up by Jigsaw before his death and Hoffman is just executing them for his mentor. We also get answers to what happened with Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) and it turns out that Hoffman set her up for her fall and death not Jigsaw at all. Of course John knew this and set the final trap for Hoffman himself in the closing moments of the movie.

The movie closes out the questions of what was in the box that Jill Tuck got from her now dead husband John (jigsaw) and what was in the box as well. Turns out that Jill agrees with this little bit of revenge over those that cost her husband his life and also perhaps on Hoffman himself for what he did to Amanda.

I haven’t even gotten to the way that Hoffman handles the two other agents who are onto the fact that he killed Strahm and is using him as the jigsaw apprentice to hide his own tracks. What he does to get rid of them catches them by surprise but we knew that he would make it out alive because he’s got to he there for the end of the film and the final dramatic moments that will lead to the seventh and supposed final movie in the Saw franchise.

What they did right: Closing out a lot of loose ends and questions to help bring the series to a close. The gore was really good and tastefully done for those who like that kind of stuff. The story is still plausible and enjoyable which is hard to do when a movie has gone this long.

What they did wrong: There are elements with the story that still are weak even after six films. The movies are weak in the area of deep story but they are strong in keeping what is there together so I guess I can’t complain too heavily.

Overall: B+

Like all of the Saws before it this one has a strong sense of what it is to those that love these movies there is no fault here and you will love it every bit as much as the first five. For those who didn’t care for the first five or feel the series has lost its legs this won’t change your mind.

Tobin Bell at a special Screening for Saw VI

10 Million Flyer Miles!

Up in the Air

Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, and Jason Bateman

Directed by: Jason Reitman

Screenplay by: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner based on the novel by: Walter Kirn

“Tonight most people will be welcomed home by jumping dogs and squealing kids.  Their spouses will ask about their day, and tonight they’ll sleep.  The stars will wheel forth from their daytime hiding places, and one of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.”

I am not usually one for romance stories but there was something about Up in the Air that made me want to see it, perhaps it was the fact that George Clooney was in it and I see most everything that he does because he is one of those truly great actors that always bring something to the role that they are playing in.    Up in the Air is the story of Ryan Bingham a man who flies for a living going from place to place for his company CTC doing the job of firing employees for other companies.   One day Ryan learns that his job is about to change when a young woman named Natalie shows up who has an idea to revolutionize the company and how it does its job of firing those who are no longer deemed employable by the companies that hired them.   Thus his job and love of flying are taken from Ryan suddenly…..

Up in the Air’s meat is really the story about how Ryan learns that the life he thinks is wonderful is in fact full of holes and there really is nothing underneath them.   Ryan Bingham flies around the world to the point that he’s almost gotten 10 million frequent flyer miles.  Ryan flies from one place to another firing people from their jobs, usually jobs they have been doing for a long time.   Up in the Air came out last summer and it was right at the height of the whole collapse to our economy so that part of this movie really resonates with you especially if you have ever lost a job in your life before.

You would think having someone not working for your company would come in and fire you would be a heartless thing that your boss would do but in reality these people like Ryan Bingham are good at their jobs and probably do it better than a boss who had met the employee perhaps once or twice would do it.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this really was a job that people like these really did do for big corporations.   Ryan basically leads us through how he lives his life in the beginning of the movie, how he knows the routine, what line is the best line to get in for everything and he can pack a suitcase faster than anyone else in the world apparently as well.

Ryan meets a woman on his latest flight named Alex, she’s around his age, sexy and smart.  The two of them both travel a lot for their jobs though we really never learn what she does exactly only that she has a job that leads to her traveling a lot.   They get into a discussion about car rentals and it leads to more examinations of one another’s lives which leads to the two of them in bed together which is magical and they both agree that they connect with one another but all that it can be is a casual thing because they travel so much and neither one of them wants to stop traveling.   At least for Ryan this is the truth, as for Alex its hard to say.

After seeing this movie I can say that Jason Reitman deserved the oscar for best director over Kathryn Bigelow.   His movie had a much better flow to it, a more dynamic story about true to life characters that you can relate to and enjoy watching on-screen together.   I also think the movie was one of the best films of last year, if not the best that is hard to say without having yet to see Hurt Locker (Soon its on my Netflix list!).

Watching Ryan go from one empty hotel room to another is a little depressing and seems so off but for him it is his life and he actually loves it and lives it as he does because he loves it.   In a way I can see it, always on the move, always seeing new places with new experiences.   Yet when he returns home from his latest job he learns that the newest employee to the company Natalie has come up with a new idea of using remote conferencing to fire those that are thousands of miles away from them.   The idea seems a little counter intuitive and Ryan sees it immediately as it doesn’t have the personal touch that is sometimes needed when you’re firing someone.   So Ryan convinces his boss Craig to let him continue to fly with Natalie to show her how the job is done.

Natalie at first doesn’t get it, she doesn’t see how to travel and always be ready to travel, but its more than that, she doesn’t get how to fire someone at first either.   The few that she does manage to fire end up being emotional problems one of them saying that she’s going to kill herself and the other one breaking down.    This though isn’t what the story is about, the story is about how Natalie on the outside sees Ryan’s life and how messed up it is.   When they meet up with Alex after Natalie’s boyfriend breaks up with her over a text message the three of them go out on the town and end up crashing a party where we start to see real sparks between Ryan and Alex.

Ryan still doesn’t want to give up his life of being on the road but being with Alex makes him want to reconnect with his family, to really be there for his family for the first time in a very long time.   Ryan doesn’t know how to react around his family though and even when things do go wrong and he does fix them it still feels as if he is out-of-place there in that kind of a life.   Back at the home office in Omaha Ryan tries to settle into being one of the team, staying at the office, but he doesn’t feel as if he belongs.   After the wedding and saying goodbye to Alex he begins to realize that his life isn’t complete, that he is missing something.

Ryan decides that its time to take a chance and this is where Up in the Air drives home the truths of the kind of life that Ryan leads.    He goes to Alex’s home city and to her house and that is where we learn what I had already anticipated as happening, Alex is married and Ryan is her life away from marriage, the escape life the one that she needs to keep her marriage and her home life sane sometimes.    The message is clear here, Ryan who spent all of his life alone who wanted to be alone and felt as if he needed no one.    Ryan probably missed his time to settle down, to find someone and be with them.

In the end he ends up alone and the story ends with him back on the road for his company the world around him moving on but Ryan still stays where he was at the beginning as we were getting to know him but it’s not the same now.   There is a hollowness to his speech about who he is and where he’s going,  there’s a saddness to the way that he stands before that board at the end with his bag beside him and his life is all there in that bag, and even though it’s basically empty its heavier than any bag with families in them that he gave so many speeches about because it is so empty and Ryan now feels that emptiness.

What they Did Right: The characters, the story, the atmosphere throughout the film is all tonal with the actual picture that was being created based on the script and the book it was based upon.     The casting is spot on as well, George Clooney really shines and Jason Bateman as his boss is wonderful.

What they did Wrong: I don’t like depressing endings….that being said there was nothing really wrong with the movie.  It was always moving and always interesting.

Overall: 95/100

Hard to find fault with a movie that is this perfect for what it is a drama with some romance and some deeper meanings on what life is all about….I would rather live a life full of baggage (things, family, loved ones, friends) than a life full of just a change or two of clothes and I think that most people would agree life is more interesting with others in it.

Sometimes You Burn

DayBreakers

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Sam Neil, and Willem Dafoe

Directed and Written by: Michael and Peter Spierig

The basic premise behind Daybreakers is quite simple, it’s a world in the not to distant future, 2019 and it has been over run by vampires, how this happened isn’t really explained in detail but my guess would be a group of vampires got together and decided that they could offer humans the ability to live forever and didn’t think about the consequences to both the new vampire world and the humans as well.  In this future humans are harvested for their blood, their precious life force.   The humans of course are trying to fight back but in this future there are so few of them that eventually they are over run, but thats just the basic premise for the movie, what really happens is not what you expect….

The rest of the review follows the trailer as is standard by now:

Daybreakers isn’t really about a human/vampire war, the war is already over the vampires have won, but upon winning they have also destroyed that which they need to survive.   They hunt humans and then harvest them until they are dead.   Who ever said that a world run by vampires would be a smart one?   THe human population of the world is so low that the blood supply is almost gone and the vampires are starving thus giving rise to vampires known as subsiders who live underground and have become monstrosities that feed on other vampires.

Edward Dalton (Played by Ethan Hawke) is a hematologist looking for a cure to the blood problem, him and his team are trying to synthesize an agent that will replace human blood for all the vampires.  They are doing so at the command of their boss Charles Bromley (Sam Neil) who is the head of the largest supplier of human blood in the world now that it is the main component to life.   There are some good scenes in the beginning to set up everything although there is one that makes no sense.   The opening sequence with a young girl burning because she will never grow up and die is strange as it leads nowhere for the rest of the film, it’s just there as a title sequence opening.

There is a scene with a morning shop selling blood where once it had probably sold donuts which is really interesting, the signs about 20% blood in all of their products is also wonderful.    It turns out that Dalton is not like other vampires, he’s not feeding on human blood but instead on animal blood which we learn quickly when he meets with his brother and the two of them fight a subsider who has been feeding on vampire blood and has grown huge wings.   Subsiders slowly change into something else, a vampire that is stronger, faster and well to put it mildly ugly as well.

Ethan Hawke walking in the subway....time to capture some humans

In the world of Daybreakers vampires do not have reflections and they always seem to have sharp teeth as well no matter what.  They have a very pasty complexion vampire look to them and none of them can walk around in the daylight or they burn as most vampire legends say.     That evening on his way home Dalton runs into a group of humans and instead of reporting them he saves them and thus that leads to him meeting their leader Lionel “Elvis” Cormac who it turns out was once a vampire and turned back into a human.  This is where things start to get really interesting.   By this point the Spierig brothers had managed to create  real world that had its own rules and its own characters in a future that was not ideal despite everyone living forever.

the makeup effects are really good in this movie as well once things take a turn for the worst in the vampire city  (we only ever see one city despite them saying vampires cover the world now) you can actually see the vampires starving and when they attack the stand all of them going crazy over no longer having much blood you can see their desperation.   They attack and the vampires that come to stop them also attack in the end due to a blood frenzy because of how little blood is in their systems.   Daybreakers does not shy on the blood in the film, there is a lot of it and it is always done in a more tasteful way than you would think.

Sam Neil does evil like no one else

Back with Dalton and Elvis we learn that the sun turned Elvis back into a human, he crashed his car and went flying out of the window during the daylight, the sun burned him but the water he landed into stopped the sun from burning him and together the two made him into a human again, restarted his heart, made him live once more.    Dalton decides that he too wants this as he never wanted to be a vampire, his brother turned him against his wishes.   So he sets up an experiment to control the turn, burning himself and having the fire be whisked away by the fans in a wine tank.   Dalton becomes human again and decides it is time to take the cure to other vampires so that they no longer are dependent upon blood to live.

Of course the others don’t necessarily want this.  Of course why they don’t want it is never really gone into in much detail other than: we want to live forever.  Just like how all of the billions of humans were managed to be turned or killed in just less than a dozen years.  His former friend reports him and Dalton has to pull off a rescue of the girl who was traveling with them, Audrey (played by Claudia Karvan)  this ends up being the best thing as Daltons brother Frankie attacks Elvis and is suddenly crying out in pain being changed back into a human.  Dalton comes up with the ultimate revenge against the man responsible for all of this suffering Bromley himself by going up to his tower and speaking with him convincing the man to bite him.

This leads to the ultimate conclusion where vampires attack the humans including the newly turned Bromley which leads to the large blood bath of vampire feeding on newly turned humans until they become vampires as well.  Dalton and Audrey make it out alive just barely leaving behind the world of the vampires and going out into the light at the end revealing that they have the cure, and it will spread no doubt because the vampires cannot help but feed on human blood.

This marks the second Spierig movie that I found very well done on a small budget.   The film has some good actors in it that are always good to watch.   I love watching Sam Neil be evil and give lines because he just has that kind of voice where creepy comes so natural, ever since seeing him in Event Horizon I have thought he was good as a villain.    In the end the movie has  a message that I think mainly goes out to the twilight crowd:  this is what a vampire really is, it’s not all shiny diamonds and cutesy love, its dark and bloody and violent.

What they Did right: The vampire legends are spot on, from the no reflection to the need for blood and the need to stay out of the sun.  Like the vampires in buffy they can walk around in the daylight as long as they stay out of direct sunlight….this is in line with Dracula as well I believe.   The subsiders are dark and wonderful, I just wish they had gotten a little more spot light, would have been an even better movie if it had been about the war between vampires and subsiders.

What they did wrong: The whole burning to bring the heart back to life seems a little far-fetched.   The vampires are not very smart when dealing with the human population it seems a little unbelievable that in just 10 or so years the entire human population is dwindled down to just a few dozen people.    The subsiders seem to be a sub-plot that either wasn’t necessary or should have been expanded upon.

Overall: 80/100

A fun ride, full of dark and twisted characters, there is nothing that I like more than a good vampire horror movie and this one has to be one of the best in recent years.  It’s defineitly more of a rental than a movie to purchase but all the same its a fun film.

They’re….Angels

May 22, 2010 1 comment

Legion

Starring: Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki, and Dennis Quaid

Directed by: Scott Stewart

Written by: Peter Schink and Scott Stewart

Theater/DVD release: Theater: January 22 2010.  DVD: May 11th 2010

There is nothing like a B-movie thriller/horror film they are often some of the best cheese released from Hollywood and earlier this year Legion actually made it into theaters and was a full on swiss cheese plotted movie.   There’s a lot cool about Legion, the special effects were top-notch for a movie of this caliber and it really did look like a movie made to be released in theaters even if the rest of the film is questionable and full of holes that were not resolved.   There’s a hot pregnant chick who is the carrying the child that is the last hope for mankind.   There’s the guy that likes her that she doesn’t really like and is not the father, there’s his dad (played by Dennis Quaid) who runs the diner that he owns.   Of course there is the family that got stopped there with the rebellious daughter, and then the odd man out bad-ass african-american who shows up for no real reason that we can figure, and the ex-military vet (played by the great Charles S. Dutton and under-utilized as well!) .   All of these people along with a fallen angel named Michael (it’s always him) have to fight off hordes of evil angels.

Spoilers below the trailer where I’ll analyze the faults in the film….

Legion starts with Michael (Paul Bettany-the voice of Jarvis in the iron man movies fyi) falling to earth spectacularly and he even cuts off his wings to substantiate and become like a human (for reasons unknown really).   He breaks into a place with lots of guns and steals them and as he leaves we get our first real show of a plot hole.  Two cops show up and try to stop him and suddenly one of them is possessed by something and it calls Michael by his name, why if it was so easy to find out where he was did he even bother to take off his wings?  I mean really, there seems to be little purpose to him becoming human.

Then almost immediately we’re pushed out to the middle of now, where  a diner called Paradise Falls where we meet Charlie, played by the very pretty Adrianne Palicki (whom I knew from Supernatrual).   Charlie is pregnant and she’s got this guy named Jeep Hanson (great he’s named after a car!) played by Lucas Black (Jarhead) who is in love with her but she doesn’t care for other than a friend-you can already see where that is going-and she even tells him so right then and there.     We quickly meet the other members of the cast, from the cranky dad who regrets his decisions in life (Dennis Quaid), to the cook who was in the military (or something like that) and played by character actor Charles S. Dutton, to the family of three that were on the road and their car broke down.   Yes its a generic cast of characters for a horror film, and their names are quickly forgettable.  The only one even memorable was the mother and that was because she was played by Kate Walsh (Private Practice, Greys Anatomy).

Quickly the movie goes from making little sense to making no sense at all.   Kyle Williams (Tyrese-from the transformers movies) shows up for no real reason at all other than they needed another character that made no sense to be in the film.   Then the little old lady shows up and starts spouting nonsense to all of the people out there and attacks everyone by climbing on the ceiling and going crazy, she even attacks the dad and it takes multiple bullets and guns to take her down.    A group of them go with the dad to the hospital but they get attacked by locusts and we learn from Michael who has appeared out of no where that these aren’t demons, this isn’t the devil its God who has his angels attacking because he’s lost faith in humanity.

Uh umm what??  Okay BIG plot hole here, if he’s lost faith why did he bother with a messiah child at all?  Why is this one kid so important, yeah that’s never really made clear…surely there were other pregnant women at the same time who might have had kids that might have been important…and then there’s the other one.  Angels possessing people…really?   This seems counter productive to their orders to kill the child.   They die easily in people and anyway there’s no demons, no devil nothing like that.  Wouldn’t Satan be taking advantage of God’s decision to you know kill all the humans in the world somehow?   Instead he’s just absent.

Why the angels don’t just come down to earth in massive numbers and take out the humans is never really explained surely that would have been more productive.   Instead we get a lot of people up on the roof shooting at other humans who are possessed until the dad is taken, the cook dies quite cool like, and pretty much everyone else is slowly killed off until Gabriel arrives with his wings and a mace to attack everyone and kill the child that Charlie has just given birth to.    Why the child is important is never really explained, why God lost faith is never really explained either its all just these plot threads that are left hanging in the middle of nowhere that really go nowhere.   The movie was just made so that we could see little old granny up on the ceiling and being crude to a young pregnant girl.

Then of course the ending happens where Michael and Gabriel fight and Michael looses his life as Gabriel chases down the speeding car and everyone dies except for Jeep, Charlie, and the new-born baby.  Suddenly Charlie likes Jeep and wants to be with him, suddenly Michael re-appears with wings and all saying that God all the sudden has faith again in man kind….the movie just sort of ends as it began making little to no sense…but hey at least we go some cool fights out of it!

What they did right: Special effects were great for a low-budget movie.  The fight sequences were really good as well and at least most of the characters were interesting even though they were forgettable right away as well.

What they did wrong: Too many plot holes not enough explanation for them all…its as if half of the movie (or at least another 30 mins) got edited out and were left on the cutting room floor.    Nothing memerable….its forgettable after you watch it once.

Overall: 60/100

A fun movie, better than a lot of films like this are, I can see why Sony gave the movie a chance in theaters because it has higher production values than most B movies in this genre, but in the end its a little lifeless and easily forgettable but fun to watch once!  So if you’ve got a boring day and its on the television go ahead and give it a watch…it’ll pass the time even if it leaves you scratching your head.

It’s Elementry Watson

Sherlock Holmes

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, and Eddie Marsan

Directed by: Guy Ritchie

Written by: Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, and Simon Kinberg

I have always liked the idea of Sherlock Holmes, an investigator during the late 1800’s who is able to figure out things with only a few clues.  I mainly know Holmes from episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and also from a few movies that I saw during high school when our teacher would show us them as examples of how life worked in the nineteenth century.    So I never really read the novels which makes it impossible for me to know for sure how representative of Holmes this version is, but I think its pretty close.   A lot of people say that the movie has too much action to be a Holmes movie or that it has elements that he would never use like the fighting sequence but I disagree because everything this version of Holmes does is in an effort to solve the case.

Spoilers do follow below…
Sherlock Holmes from Guy Ritchie starts off with Holmes and Watson working to bring down Lord Blackwood and after they do it’s really only the beginning of the entire story.   At first I wasn’t really sure what was going on and I am sure that most people felt the same way, but it was never boring to watch , the camera shots were wonderful and the acting was spot on.  I already knew that Robert Downey Jr. could do a passable English accent because his Australian one from Tropic Thunder was done so well, Downey Jr. is an under appreciated actor I think, he has all of the skills to be a great actor and for the most part he is because he likes doing the films that he does.   He’ll probably never win an award for playing the characters that he does, but that doesn’t really matter and I’m getting off of track here….

The movie really gets going when Lord Blackwood is hung for his crime of killing young girls for ritual sacrifice and he tells Holmes that thing are only beginning and they are.    Lord Blackwood you see rises from the dead and we’re lead to believe that all of this supernatural stuff is happening around him because of it.   This is where the movie is truly Sherlock Holmes like.   he investigates pervious places that Blackwood has been uncovering secrets of what Blackwood and his servant Reordan had been doing.

The thing is, he never tells us the audience what he uncovers, it’s almost as if we’re Watson, unaware of what is going on in the dark around us because we have some of the clues but not all of them.    This is classic Sherlock Holmes I believe, the stories were always from Watson’s point of view not Holmes and a lot of other stories forget that.   So while Holmes suspects what is going on he doesn’t tell Watson until he has all of the facts.

There is also the mystery of Sherlock Holmes’s ex-girlfriend Irene Adler (Played wonderfully by Rachel McAdams)who has returned to town and is working for a mysterious man with a gun on his hand.   Who this man is wasn’t revealed until close to the end of the film, but if you paid attention to the clues you could figure it out.  Although the first time through I thought it was someone working with Blackwood who wanted Holmes to find out what Blackwood had been working on so he could continue the plot.    Instead we get a plot within a plot that also leads up to a possible sequel.

There are more than a few funny sequences within the movie, like the one where Holmes is tied to the bed by Irene Adler naked.  The cleaning lady comes in and he says something that could be crude if you think about it but he was being serious about where the key was.   I also love the mis-direction in the film, we are led to believe all the way up till close to the end that Lestrade and and Holmes truly do not like one another so it gives you a moment of surprise later in the film when Holmes meets with Lord Coward.   The thing about this movie is misdirection and little clues, which is what Sherlock Holmes is all about.

The ending is pure Holmes, he shows the villain Lord Blackwood that he has not fooled him one bit, that he knows how he did everything, how he fooled others in to believing that he was capable of the super-natural.   Of course at the same time Adler led Holmes on a mis-direction of his own revealing what Moriarty was really after all along in the process when it’s too late for Holmes to stop it from being taken.    Which will no doubt lead into the sequel.

There is also one scene that some people have not said is Holmes, but I think is.   It’s a fighting sequence where he is in a pit with a man and the two of them are exchanging fisticuffs, it’s not exactly something you would have seen in the books.   Still it fits with the character of Holmes.   The sequence reaches a point where you realize he could have taken this man out at any time but didn’t bother until he was ready to.   He analyzes the sequence and we see it as he analyzes how he is going to take the guy down and then he takes the guy down just as he thought about how he was going to do it.   How else would someone like Holmes fight?

There is a scene in the film where Holmes and Watson are trying to save Adler which you would think is an action sequence because they have to get her down from the saw before it’s too late, but how Holmes and Watson solve the problem is by looking around the enviroment and finding out how to stop the machine without really stopping it.   This leads to her barely making it out alive, and then the explosion happens out on the dock which leads to another sequence where Holmes disguises himself as a doctor.    His disguises are wonderful as well, he only does it twice, but its effective both times.

In the end there is little in this movie that isn’t perfectly done,  you’re always left with the mystery and how it gets solved, if you’ve seen the film before and watch it again you’ll see that you still find it enjoyable because you know how the plot comes together and you start to pick up things that you may not have noticed before when you watched it the first time.

Sherlock Holmes is a pleasure to watch from beginning to end and this is how you bring an older series back into modern times, well just have to see if Guy Ritchie and everyone else involved with this one can pull it together for a sequel and keep it as interesting and as fresh as the original.

What they did right: The tight script that kept the mystery going from beginning to end, the actors fit their own parts perfectly, you forget pretty early on that  Robert Downey Jr. is not british and you just start to really love his Holmes.   The camera work is wonderful and the CGI is either used rarely or its done so well that you can’t tell what is CGI and what is not.

What they did wrong: Was the big guy and the shipyard really necessary?  Yes it was fun but it wasn’t really necessary.   There really isn’t anything else I can find fault with.

Overall: 95/100

A great movie with a great plot all acted out by great actors and directed by a true master of the craft.   I can’t wait for the sequel.


She’s evil…and not just High School Evil…we’ll see about that!

The unrated DVD

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Kyle Gallner, and Adam Brody

Directed by:Karyn Kusama

Written by: Diablo Cody

Yes I am well aware that I am reviewing this movie many months after the DVD came out…but as I have never seen it and this is my site….I have a right to review if I want and thus I shall….

Let me get this out of the way right away:  this movie is one of the worst movies I have seen in the last year, and if you don’t want to hear the ins and the outs of why this movie is terrible then I suggest that you stop reading right now and move on to other pursuits because I am going to be spoiling the Diablo Cody written crap piece that is Jennifer’s Body right in the paragraph below this picture of Megan Fox….

Jennifer’s body starts off with Needy (the main character arguably) in a penitentary for crimes that she commited but we don’t know about.   She gives a hasty monolouge and then we’re back in the past learning how she got into this jail cell.   The first few minutes are interesting just because of one reason: she has some pretty good lines here and even does some pretty fun things.  Then comes the horror…..

That’s horror, but not in the good way like Freddy Kruger or Jason or Micheal Myers, no its horror as in bad acting horrible scripting and one-dimensional characters throughout.     I have seen Diablo Cody’s masterpiece movie Juno and I enjoyed every second of it other than a few things here and there but that’s another movie all together staring a good actress (Ellen Paige) and directed by a good director (Jason Reitman) who managed to make a convulated script sound and play good.

Here we are not so lucky.  Megan Fox is a passable actress, she has an asset that makes her acting get over looked and that is her looks, but its obvious after watching this movie that she cannot and probably will not ever be able to be a leading actress in Hollywood, well not for a serious movie anyways.   I could be wrong, it could be teh direction and the horrible script but not every famous actress out there is famous for her acting….got it..okay moving on.

The main problem with this movie isn’t pacing or the characters, its the fact that everything is so…..dull.  There are a multitude of lines spattered throughout the movie like: at one point Needy and Jennifer call each other Monisat and Vagisil.   Or how about this classic: tampooning yourself?   Or hey: total Jell-o?    Who talks like this?  I hate when Hollywood writers and directors just assume that using strange words will somehow make them sound like they know the strange and cool things that teenagers are saying to one another now.

Diablo Cody’s movie Jennifer’s body got made for one simple reason: she won an oscar for a movie that wasn’t even he movie.  Yes she did write the script but it was Ellen Page and Jason Reitman that changed her so-so script into a great movie.   This movie proves that without a good director backing up her script work Diablo Cody is better off not being filmed.      Jennifer acts the same before she turns into a demon as she does after she turns into a demon, there is no marked diffrence between the two at all, she was a slut before she got turend into a demon and one afterwards as well. Did no one working on this movie do research on Demon posession at all?  Or is Megan Fox only able to act like one kind of person and that’s it?

I don’t mean to be harsh….wait yes I do…I just wanted the movie to end, I regret watching it as I wanted to plunge Needy’s box knife at the end of the omvie into my own chest forty minutes into the movie!   There is nothing redeeming in this movie.  Let me give you an example:  At the beginning of the movie before Jennifer gets posessed they are watching a band, the bar they are in suddenly starts to burn and everyone within it dies….do Jennifer or Needy care that people are burning behind them?  No.    After Jennifer leaves with the band, does Needy stay at the bar and try to help people are wait for the police to tell them what just happend with her friend or the bar? Nope she runs away back home to call her boyfriend.

Later in the movie there is a scene where Needy and her boyfriend are having sex, its the most uninteresting sex scene I have ever seen sadly…at least while it happens we get to watch Jennifer kill someone.   The sad thing is this movie does have a couple of redeeming scenes.   When people aren’t saying stupid lines or being boring with uninteresting things to say and delivering their lines with a dead-pan hollowness there are some good points.    First is the first scene in the movie when Needy is in jail and gets put in solitary confinement.    The second scene that is great is close to the end when Needy and Jennifer face off with one another over Needy’s boyfriend Chip.

The lines that the two deliever against one another while they face off are great, and that entire scene is well played off but its not enough to save the movie as by then you’ve already figured out where the film is going, it sad but obvious and the ending leaves much to be desired because of this.      Jennifer’s Body is not the worst movie that I have ever seen….but it is very close to the worst horror movie that I have ever seen

What they did right: The special effects are are really great, especially the scenes where Jennifer is devouring boys.  The fight sequences at the end of the movie are really great and the ending credits have redeeming moments as well as she kills the band.   The soundtrack is good if not great at times.

What they did wrong: Just about everything else.   The acting is stiltled almost as if its two movies filimed agaisnt one another.   The plot is a little boring and simple (usually thats not a problem if the script is good) and the characters are all one diminsonal.

Overall:  45/100

Watchable…barely.

They've grown tired of watching Jennifer's Body...just kidding its Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried from the movie!

In Space No one Hears you scream…unless you’re on a huge freakin’ ship

April 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Pandorum

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, and Cam Gigandet

Directed by: Christian Alvart

Written by: Travis Milloy

Genre: Science Fiction/Horror

This review contains spoilers, if you have not yet seen Pandorum stop reading now and go watch the movie before reading my review….you have been warned I will be spoiling the movie while discussing its themes and meanings.

The first shot is designed to show how large the ship Elysium is and then we hear one little bit and suddenly we’re thrust into another point in time which I instantly got.   We watch as Bower (Ben Foster) wakes up disoriented trying to remember things but he has no memory of any of them.   This we learn quickly is because he’s been in a very long hyper-sleep.  The skin peeling scene is disturbing but also truthful, something that most movies dealing with hyper sleep or cryo-sleep always wake up with no side-effects or changes at all.

That was what this movie was trying to drive into your head right away.    The style of the huge ship was interesting, most everyone was supposed to be in extended hyper-sleep for the journey from earth to a planet named Tanis in another star system.   Bower is a member of flight crew 5 and he is unable to connect with anyone on the bridge or anywhere on the ship.  He attempts to wake up his Lieutenant, a man named Payton played by Dennis Quaid who is really good in this movie.   Payton eventually wakes up on his own and at least has some memory on how to charge up the control panel in the room which is no help in opening the door to the bridge.

The tech is interesting in this movie, instead of some strange or mysterious power-source they are traveling through space in a much slower than light speed ship heading towards the planet Tanis which has life on it and is very earth like in appearance.   The flight crews look to consist of three people as well, a lieutenant, a corporal and another rank that I never caught.   The corporal knows how to restart the ships main power drive which is malfunctioning.   Thats why Bower is sent through the ceiling and out into the ship to get the reactor core and start it up again.

This is where the movie starts to really get moving.  You see something happened on Elysium, people are awake and almost immediately Bower encounters something strange.   Creatures that have an almost human resemblance to them but aren’t quite human, with strange objects on them, strange growths, almost alien in appearance.  Bower assumes almost immediately that these aliens are just that aliens that invaded the ship and are slowly destroying it.

The lighting and effects in the movie are what really make the atmosphere feel very claustrophobic.   Bower is almost caught by these strange creatures that at first I thought a human was leading or something but then I re-watched the scene and saw that it was a group of these creatures.   They eat human flesh and enjoy it greatly it appears as they are the ones who have been messing with the sleep tubes of everyone.

The ship is falling apart, this is obvious from the start, humans seem to not be around much either still sleeping or dead already.   As Bower continues on through the ship he begins to remember things, things about a wife, a life, what it was like on earth before the flight to Tanis.   Payton also seems on edge, his mind slowly returning as well.  The others on the ship that Bower meets, Manh and Nadia have both been awake for a while Nadia being one of the scientists responsible for all of the life-forms that were brought with the humans.   Which makes sense, they were supposed to be starting a new life a new world on Tanis because the world on Earth was basically being destroyed with over 24 billion people on the planet by the year 2157.

We learn close to the end of the movie what happened, from two different sources, a man named Leland who has been awake since the beginning of the problems somehow and a corporal named Gallo.   I knew what was going to happen with Gallo, if you don’t want to know then I suggest you skip the next paragraph entirely as I shall be spoiling the entire major plot of the movie.

–spoilers abound below this line—

Elysium was fine, flying around in space heading deeper and deeper out away from Earth towards Tanis until a message came from earth: “You’re all that least of us.”  That was the end of Earth, the end of the communications with earth and our friend Gallo (who looks a lot like the new Captain Kirk I think) went crazy, an effect called Pandorum based upon an experience on another shorter flight that happened to one of its crew members.   Gallo killed the other two crew members of his flight crew and descended into madness. He woke crew members up who had been injected with a special serum designed to change their genetics for Tanis and instead it changed them for the ship, made them so that they could adapt to living on the ship.   Gallo went bat-shit crazy and eventually got tired and decided to sleep for awhile, he killed Payton and took his pod sleeping until flight crew 5 awoke and came into this world of evolution gone crazy.

It makes sense, Elysium was a big ship but nowhere near as big as a planet.  It wasn’t designed for hundreds of people to be alive on it living within its confines and the evolution took this into count.  The people who were alive mated and their genes changed themselves and their offspring, they became ruthless and fed on one another and the emerging humans because it was all the sustenance that they had.  THus they evolved to feed on other humans and to take advantage of the ships enviroment.

Gallo did this to these people and Bower knows it after seeing Payton’s wives pod, he remembers something then that Payton told him and he realizes that Payton isn’t Payton at all.  THus after the reactor is reactivated Bower and Gallo have a final show down with Gallo playing with Bower’s emotions almost sending him into a Pandorum of his own before he realizes he needs to save Nadia and himself after finding out that Elysium is not in space anymore but actually on Tanis itself.    Roughly 1200 humans make it out of Elysium and out onto Tanis’s oceans.

What it does right: The suspense and drama are really well presented, the lighting and set pieces really push at the mind and make the world of Pandorum come to life.   The acting is top of the game, Dennis Quaid doing one of his best jobs in a long while and Angel…err sorry Ben Foster does a much better job than he did in Xmen: The Last Stand.

What it does wrong: The beginning is too little, but it gets the point across.   The creature/humans that evolved bothered me.  Yes I understand they are there to serve as the horror element of the film, but they didn’t seem realistic. They were evolved humans, they would have retained the ability to speak, to socialize with one another this would have still been important even on a ship like this…it felt a little off.

Overall: 90/100

One of the best Science Fiction horror movies I have seen in a long while, it actually is better than Event Horizon which is what I base all science fiction horror movies on.  A shame that it didn’t do well in theaters as the Director has stated that it was the first in a trilogy.

R/B(rent/buy): Buy