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51 reviews in total 
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Godzilla (2014)
5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Boring and Frustrating, 16 May 2014

I really wanted to like this after the travesty of the 1998 reboot and while Gareth Edwards' other flick Monsters was a good solid effort with good human drama this falls short on a number of levels the most unforgiving being that it's just plain boring. The reason for this I think is that besides the opening centered on Bryan Cranston's character and situation you really don't care about anyone else in this movie and it takes toooo long to kick off.

Even Godzilla who shows up fully far too late in the game after a series of frustrating near and minor reveals (one of which literally has Edwards shut the door on what had built up to be the kicking off of the main event, teased with a split second of monster on monster action before shutting us out)just seems like a giant punchbag/wrecking ball for the other monsters and there just isn't enough of him or enough characterisation to make us give a sh*t. He turns up out of nowhere for no good reason and then just disappears like nothings happened at the end.

In my opinion the painfully slow burn hurts this. I mean it's not like we don't know what Godzilla looks like from either the myriad other movies before it or even from the trailer for this one. Lets face it if you go to see a Godzilla movie you want lots of monsters a$$kicking each other to kingdom come and breaking sh*t all over (admittedly there IS plenty of destruction) you don't want to have to wait three quarters of the movie to see it.

On the acting front after the strong drama at the beginning the young lead just can't compete with Cranston and you feel that black hole throughout the rest of the movie. You initially feel like you might actually be getting A list performances but that ends quickly and you're left with exposition and flunked by the book emotional beats.

On the plus side Godzilla himself looks phenomenal and the FX are awesome as are the fight scenes but overall I think this movie is a disappointment.

14 out of 43 people found the following review useful:
Gilliam you B*st*rd!!!!, 21 November 2009

Why has Terry Gilliam shafted us with this travesty. What we have here is a complete and utter mess. While the premise is an interesting one the movie is basically a one trick pony that goes nowhere. The acting is abysmal (apart from Christopher Plummer) even from big name stars. The FX and imagination on show is impressive but there's just nothing to gel it all together. An hour into the movie I found it so excruciatingly painful to watch that I left.

From the trailers it looked like Gilliam had gone old school again and given us a memorable fantasy along the lines of Baron Munchausen but alas it wasn't to be. You may argue that you can't judge a movie on the merits of only half of it but even if it got better after the half way mark the first half was so bad that I neither cared nor held out much hope.

Come on Terry, I know you can do better than this.....

2012 (2009/I)
209 out of 316 people found the following review useful:
At best, totally by the numbers...., 13 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't know what I was thinking going into 2012. I guess I hoped it wasn't as generic as the trailers made it seem. Every trailer I'd ever seen for the movie made it look pretty much exactly like The Day After Tomorrow and it pretty much was.

Famous landmarks getting destroyed, mass destruction, hero outrunning/driving/flying mass destruction, family rifts that get healed up at the end, Inconvenient spouses offed and then completely forgotten about/ignored for the sake of reconciliation with exes. All the cliché trademarks are all present and correct, doing their duty by merely showing up. To be fair it's a competent enough, if silly, disaster movie which offers no surprises whatsoever while laying on more (admittedly impressive looking) empty spectacle for the sake of empty spectacle.

It felt way too long at nearly 3 hours and at least half of that was the build up. Predictable and seen it all before buildup at that. We've all seen it before. Strange geological anomolies. Nerdy tech guys coming up with unbelievable numbers that mean bad sh*t is gonna be going down. Officials that don't buy it then eventually do, the crazy survivalist dude that everyone thinks is nuts that really knows what's going down (here played by a very entertaining Woody Harelson, probably the best thing about the movie) etc.

You can pretty much go with your impression of the trailer for this movie. What you get here is what you expect to get from what the trailer shows you.

At best 2012 is totally by the numbers and at worse absolutely ridiculous, cliché and even a bit insulting really.....

2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
One hell of a roller-coaster ride and a great movie., 16 September 2009

This movie came right out of left field and, to be honest, surprised the hell out of me. Everyone was raving about it but it really didn't seem like my cup of tea so I gave it a miss at the movies. Round a mates one night he had a selection that he'd rented out and Slumdog Millionaire was one of them. "That's meant to be quite good." I said, so we went with that.....

Visually, the movie at first glance seems to lack panache and polish but I think this might have been intentional as the gritty in your face style really conveys the feel of the slum lifestyle. The music as well is excellent and has a definite Indian flare to it even down to the bollywood ending. The acting is good across the board with the young kids in particular being standouts....

The plot initially revolves around young Jamal, an Indian boy who is competing in "Who Wants to be a Millionaire". The story jumps between his appearance on the show, his interrogation after the show by the police who are convinced he's cheating, and the flashbacks which are the stories of events throughout his life that he tells the police of how he knew the answers to the questions. In hindsight some of the reasons for his knowing the answers might seem a bit contrived or a bit of a leap but when you watch how it's all weaved into the story it unfolds beautifully and for the most part convincingly enough...

To an ignorant westerner like me who knows nothing of life in any part of India, slum or otherwise, there was also a fascination in the "slice of life" attitude of the flashback portions of the movie. Some of it is horrifying, like the whole child-beggar industry and how that all works and the general squalor of some of the disctricts. Some bit's are funny like working at a fast food shop where they fill plastic mineral water bottles from the tap then seal the lids on with glue, plus acting as a tour guide round the Taj Mahal making it up as they go along and then stealing peoples shoes. Not to mention a dive into a latrine then a manic run, covered in sh*t, to a fleeting visiting movie star to get their autograph. There are also heartwarming moments too and a satisfying ending.

No matter what kind of movies you're into this one is well worth your time....

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
L : Change the title, 12 September 2009

This film had f**k all to do with Death Note whatsoever. It felt like they just slotted a few of the characters and a few references into a completely unrelated script. If they'd have treated the movie separately it might have been better but as it stands it's just a blatant excuse to cash in on the good will generated by the first 2 Death Note movies which I thought were excellent....

It's a shame because I like the director, Hideo Nakata, I thought the Ring movies were great, even the US remakes were alright and the direction here is not the problem. The problem is branding the whole thing to rope in an established audience to generate some cash....

Come on, please don't treat your punters with such disrespect....

Now, I have nothing more to say on the subject, thank you move along.......

Thirst (2009)
16 out of 51 people found the following review useful:
Shockingly bad!!!, 10 August 2009

I just don't get the high marks and high praise for this movie, it was total and utter sh*t!!

I really liked Oldboy but Thirst just did not grab me at all, after half an hour I knew that it wasn't going to get any better and bless it it really didn't. In fact it seemed really loooooooooong. The acting is kind of peculiar and the characters bizarre and odd and not in a good way. The directorial choices also seemed really odd and personally didn't sit right with me at all. The director seems to have deliberately chosen to downplay what should have been dramatic scenes, robbing them of their potential power.

I was hoping for something along similar lines to either Let the Right One In or Cronos but sadly it didn't come close. I guess I just didn't "get it" and I accept that. On a good note though the last 25 minutes or so did get a bit better but on the whole the movie for me was a huge disappointment. Thankfully I saw it as part of the NZ Film Festival during a weekend where I also saw Red Cliff and Moon which were both excellent so it wasn't a total loss...

Be warned, this movie probably isn't what you expected at all......

Ben X (2007)
7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Powerful and moving, a damn fine movie., 12 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I managed to catch this as part of the NZ film festival and was interested in seeing it for a couple of reasons. Firstly I was interested in the gaming angle and the whole "escape reality online" scenario. Secondly I recently discovered that the feeling that I was just "wrong" that I've had all my life is in fact Aspergers Syndrome. Ironically for an Aspie, Ben X moved me like no other movie I can think of, a couple of time I almost burst into tears. It does a great job of portraying the everyday logistical nightmare that is "pretending to be normal" as well being misunderstood by most people in general, and also illustrates well some of the mental and physical traits that are part of an Aspies make up. I could identify with so many things in this movie, the sensitivity to detail, the overwhelming nature of the outside world and even overlaying a video game engine onto everyday situations. I felt validated by the film makers acknowledgements and portrayals of the Aspie ways.

I also identified with some of the very dark places the story takes you as well. The story sometimes skips between being a celebration of the Aspie way and an illustration of the dangerous road travelled with naivete that can be the Aspies journey. As already mentioned the film sets up some very dark avenues, making you aware of the potentials without actually showing them all to you. These situations are all too often only narrowly missed by people with Aspergers.

The acting was very good as was the attention to detail, the main character was portrayed very well (the actors debut by all accounts)and the story has a satisfying and heart rending conclusion...

If you like your movies raw with the meat of human experience then you owe it to yourself to see Ben X....

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Beverly Hills 90210 guest starring Aliens & Predators! No really!, 4 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Oh boy. Yet again I seem to be writing another scathing review about how the studio's have dressed up a turd in a tried and trusted name in order to line their fat, already diamond studded pockets with more of the little peoples hard earned cash.

And wow, this time how so.....

Make no mistake, AvP:Reqium makes Paul S.W. Anderson's first entry into the franchise look like a masterpiece. Hell it makes Uwe Boll look like Stanley Kubrik. No doubt about it, this movie simply just should never have been made and whoever greenlit this should be put out of their obvious misery. Of course the term misery here is used in the, very rich due to screwing the movie going public sense of the word.

The Alien movies are well known and loved for their relentless action, suspense, set design, kickass monsters, cool vehicles and tech, weapons etc and memorable characters with often cool and quotable dialogue. The Predator movies while not as in your face with some of that stuff were also solid memorable actioners again with cool action heroes and just great entertaining cinema in general. Even the first AvP movie which got so much wrong and dumped all over previously established mythology for both series had plenty of entertainment value even if it just was nowhere near the same league as the original Alien and Predator movies.

Here we have what literally feels like an aborted pilot episode of some generic and by the numbers teen drama that someone somewhere figured they could get some use out of by chucking some monsters at it. Not just any monsters, some well loved monsters that would guarantee bums in seats no matter what. Just put enough cool looking bits in it to make the trailer look suitably enticing and we're off...

To be fair the movie is competently enough made it's just that the AvP universe was not made to gel with this genre to begin with let alone a lazily scripted seen it all before entry. I'm just so angry at what's happened here (as, it seems, are others here)as I feel this movie could have been so much better. There's tons of AvP material out there that the film makers could have tapped for an infinitely better movie going experience. They probably figured that as long as the movie did what it said on the tin (AvP battles etc) then the rest of the movie doesn't matter.

I'd have to say that probably most of the movie indeed doesn't matter and any self respecting AvP fan would do well to either ignore or forget this movie ever existed....

And those of you out there thinking "Well at least we get to see Aliens and Predators on screen going at each other again." I would rather have nothing than this travesty.....

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Much better than expected., 29 January 2008

After seeing the original Dune Mini-series and hating it (preferring, unlike most, the David Lynch movie instead) I really wasn't expecting a lot from this. I never could get on with the books giving up about half way through the first one although I loved the idea and story from what I'd seen in the Lynch movie.

Children of Dune was showing one night in it's entirety and I was at a loose end so figured I'd record it and see what it was like since I was keen to find out what happened after the events portrayed in Dune. Well I can only say I'm glad I did since Children of Dune is much better than it's predecessor. It still isn't perfect but it's infinitely more watchable . Here we still have some crappy acting but there's also some pretty good acting. There's some crappy FX but there's also some really good FX as well.

What I really found compelling though was the political intricacies of the plot and characters and this is what makes the show win out over it's flaws. I never did like Ian McNeice as Baron Harkonen but thankfully he's not in this much. The guy who plays Paul Artreides though was good, better than he was in the original series. Gurney was still crap and can't act although Alice Krige was as good as ever and I even got used to James McAvoy as young Leto, Pauls son, after a while.

Aliyah was more human here than the scary-assed kid she was in Lynches movie (although I liked that portrayal of her too). I felt that casting beautiful young stereotypical actors/actressess from the BH 90210 brigade didn't do the show any favours though, although they were probably cheap. This is one reason why I prefer David Lynches version of events, that and probably the stark contrast between his more whacked out version and the more down to earth presentation of the original show which is probably what put me off it in the first place. Maybe I'll check it out again someday.

But for now I'm really keen to see what comes next (is it God Emperor of Dune?) if indeed there are any plans to continue the series...

4 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Cutting Edge Cinema, 17 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Cloverfield is a mish mash of several ideas, none completely original but everything seems to gel together nicely giving the viewer what feels like a fresh experience.

What we have here is the good old classic monster movie of old, you know, big man in monster suit (though the monster FX are awesome)up from the depths (although it could have been outer space, we never do find out for sure) because of some nuclear tests gone west. Monster proceeds to chew it's way through (insert major city here although this time round it happens to be Manhattan, big enough to give the creature ample stomping ground but small enough that if they have to nuke it there's plenty more America left to go around) and laughs off all manner of firepower in the meantime leaving the viewer wondering how the hell humankind's going to get out of this one (in other words which of the standard monster movie/invasion endings are going to save our butts, you know, micro-germs, superior firepower, monster gets bored and goes home etc). We've all seen this movie in one of a thousand iterations before.

What makes Cloverfield unique though is the perspective through which we see the events unfold. The whole thing is presented as thought it were a leaked (although they couldn't really hush up events of this scale)clump of handycam footage taken by a small group of people affected by these happenings. There's no credits till the end, instead at the beginning we get a Department of Defence watermark along with some official blurb stating what this "found" footage is. The movie then is this "raw" footage in it's entirety from the testimonials at a surprise party through the events of the evening to it's conclusion (?!?!) which may or may not be the end of the story. Now because of this, there are bits which feel a bit disjointed. I mean we get everything throughout the evening of the main characters and these things sometimes cross over with the whole monster stomping scenario but there are times you want to see more of what's going on but instead our limited viewpoint denies us these things. This isn't as big a problem as it was with Speilbergs War of the Worlds though. Here you get to see lots of things you wanted to see in that movie but didn't. Massive military might up against this thing, I mean up close and personal (which you did see in WotW but it wasn't as satisfying as it is here)as well lots of convenient and circumstantial encounters with the creature which give you either some "Did I just see that" moments or some real in your face OMG moments.

The parts without the main plot (monster) are still interesting enough though that most of the time you don't mind not seeing what's going on elsewhere though and the film does a good job in the first 10 minutes portraying normal people in a real world situation that when stuff starts going down you think "oh yeah, the monster stuff".

It's also testament that when the main event isn't on screen the story still continues off screen thanks to excellent sound design. One scene where our troupe are down in an underground station talking and stuff, you can still here stuff happening above. Explosions, gunfire, creatures roaring etc. You really feel like you're in the midst of this thing. Some of the jerky handycam footage might make some people a bit sick if you're sitting close to the screen but all up it really helped add to the "in your face and personal" nature of the format.

The look of the creature has been a closely guarded secret which was either because they wanted it be a total surprise or because it looked really pants. Well I'm happy to report that all monsters/creatures and things appearing in this movie looked really cool if a little bit derivative. You rarely see the big picture but you do see up close and detailed bits of the little picture. You're frantically trying to build a picture in your head of what the thing looks like, it's like trying to mentally piece together a jigsaw puzzle.

My only gripe (and it's pretty small) is that due to the way the action is framed around the smaller more personal story of our small group of friends there's little room for exposition and when it does come it's a bit obvious and set up but I really don't know any other way they could have done it. Also there's little real plot or character development but since the movie takes place mostly over the course of one night and again due to the way it's presented I didn't really find it that much of a problem.

J.J.Abrams and team did an admirable job giving the retro Monster Movie a solid reboot here. Some people might find the abrupt ending (which is realistic in light of how it's presented) a turn off but personally I think it's a good opportunity to load up the DVD with extras to fill in some of the blanks (like the Blair Witch Project did)...

There's some real iconic moments in Cloverfield and while this movie is being hyped up to the high heavens so can't possibly live up to all it's expectations, there's definitely a top flight experience offered here that most will surely enjoy.

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