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The Pyramid Code (2009)
Don't watch this unless you want to be misinformed
This is one of the worst and most intellectually dishonest documentaries I have ever seen. It is chockablock full of assertions; controversial statements are trotted out as fact (like stones were machine or laser cut) without explanation or evidence before swiftly moving on to the next. Many locations are renamed or not named at all, making it harder to do one's own research. (Like the "open air pyramid" at Abu Rawash is actually the Pyrmid of Djedfe, which the Romans apparently started to deconstruct for the stone.) Assertions are made about locations that are easily dismissed or disproved by a quick Google search. (e.g. This temple had light bulbs! Well, no, the ceilings are covered in soot from centuries of using torches.) No one with dissenting views are represented except by secondhand summary and in mocking tones, and in each instance it is a misrepresentation or outright contrary to what established experts say. So along with the nonsensical theories spouted left and right you're repeatedly hammered with straw man arguments trying to discredit those who are actually experts in Egypt.
This seems like a strange pet project that Dr. Boulter knew was entirely discreditable and in order to guard against viewers actually looking up information themselves she wove a ludicrous conspiracy theory against "traditional Egyptologists." As if Egyptologists aren't delighted to make new discoveries and try to keep things hidden in order to maintain the status quo. That is a bunch of BS if you ask me.
It's all the more frustrating when "traditional" Egyptologists are represented as belittling and looking down on ancient Egyptions when the very ludicrous theories presented here do just that. Of course, the ancient Egyptians had magical secret advanced technology, how else could they have built all this? Talk about selling ancient Egyptians and humans in general short. No, they didn't use their wits and ingenuity to accomplish their great works, according to Boulter and her ilk they had to have advanced technology. And not just advanced, more advanced than us!
How Stuff Works (2008)
The first season of this show was decent, as a kind of knock off of 'How It's Made', but the second season dropped horribly in quality when they went from the production and history of various commodities to holidays and weather.
I wanted to bang my head into a wall with all the dubious, often specious or blatantly wrong conclusions about how something was pivotal in creating or guiding the outcome of something else entirely. Many things declared as fact were merely speculation or apocryphal, with no consensus among experts. And basically every Christmas connection was silly or so tenuous as to be ridiculous and one wonders why it was included at all.
Watch the show up to the episode 'Steel' and then stop. Even if the five final episodes might have some interesting kernels of truth it is not worth sorting them from the chaff.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)
Was not good for what it was...
Sometimes you just want an action flick to watch: kill a little time, have something easy to watch while you're doing something else, something a bit stupid or silly to indulge in because it's fun. A guilty pleasure, if you will. I had very low expectations for this film, but well, it still didn't cut it. I have never been more disinterested in an action film. I gave up after 26 minutes...I thought I was an hour into the film. Supernova, which is just a bad movie, was able to hold my interest better.
I would call the level of explosions and fight scenes hedonistic, but that would imply pleasure. There was nothing thrilling or suspenseful about any of the action I saw. It was just boring.
I have nothing against Channing Tatum, but he was wooden and uninteresting. His emotions barely varied from scene to scene. Marlon Wayans, while relegated to the comedic non-hero role, was much more emotive, human and ultimately more likable. Dennis Quaid, who I admire, was horrible in this. It's like he dumbed down the quality of his acting to match the quality of the writing. I love Christopher Eccleston, but his Scottish accent was crap and I could barely stand it. I love Arnold Vosloo, but I couldn't watch more of this, even for him.
This movie is so bland I don't even have the will to hate it, but it's so bad I'd rather rewatch Transformers than to watch 'G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra' in its entirety.
The Garfield Show (2008)
Wow, this is bad.
If I could give this show zero stars I would.
As a reenvisioning of "Garfield and Friends" it's atrocious. As a new strip-to-cartoon it's poor. As a cartoon show in its own right it's pretty bad. Sort of the level of super cheap, "let's throw together some drivel, the little kids watching this won't know what they're missing" sort of feel to it.
Garfield doesn't resemble Garfield from either the original show or the strips. There's no sarcasm, no confidence, no wit, no humor. What few jokes there are fall flat. The only reason Odie sounds right is because they got the same actor to voice him. Jon, instead of being an awkward, moronic sort of man, is a flailing pushover and frankly, boring. Where's his anger and impatience with Garfield's antics? (Maybe I need to see more episodes to see that, but...I really don't want to watch more than I have.)
The animation is sub par and erratic. The writing is just...bad. If the original "Garfield and Friends" was on the same level it would have flopped and not lasted seven seasons.
Cradle 2 the Grave (2003)
I'd weep, but it wouldn't be worth it
Tis a sad day for Jet Li fans when yet another of his Western made films not only doesn't fit the bill but also plummets below already low expectations.
Of all the Jet Li films I've seen, and I've seen quite a few, this one wastes his talents the most by far. Because of the character they've written for him he doesn't need to act; he's the ultimate stoic fighter who we're not even sure is a protagonist or antagonist of the story in the first half. So, Jet Li never even had the opportunity to act in this movie; he had absolutely nothing to work with except with his body. And even then his fighting skills aren't shown to the best of their ability because of the choppy cinematography of the fight scenes. And intercutting between it and a ridiculous chase scene ruins what should be a good fight between Jet Li and a dozen guys in a cage. It also doesn't help that the fight scene is gratuitous because it has nothing to do with nor did it advance the plot in any way.
Speaking of plot, the highly unbelievably premise is that of a group of jewel thieves, led by DMX (Fait), steal some black diamonds/jewels/stones what have you that lots of people want to get their hands on. Jet Li (Su) is some sort of foreign agent from Taiwan that is tolerated by the local authorities for who knows what reason, and is one of those trying to retrieve the stones. Also after the stones are Mark Dacascos (Ling) and his gang, who are nominally the bad guys of the film and have a remarkably low profile until the climax. I could try explaining more of the plot, but it would be a wasted effort. The convoluted lines of motives are strung together with the thinnest of threads, leaving continuity and believability in the lurch. At least with Romeo Must Die, Kiss of the Dragon and The One the audience pretty much knew what was going on. With this movie? I think not. The premise itself is an insult to one's intelligence.
And throwing in the homey/family drama feelings with the kidnapped daughter was sickeningly out of place in a movie of this type, and the piano music coming in on cue just made it all the worse. I'm not saying the kid and DMX weren't good together and made a cute father/daughter team, but it was just really incongruous with the genre and the feel of the movie and the characters. And why they threw Tom Arnold into the mix I'll never know, he excels at being irritating. And if I was a moviemaker the last thing I would want to do was irritate my audience.
I pretty much watched this movie for the sake of Jet Li, but he actually isn't there that often, especially in the first half of the film. When you make a movie with a talented big name actor like Jet Li then you should by all means use the man. The filmmakers obviously weren't thinking along these lines.
DMX was very good in Romeo Must Die, but pairing him and Jet Li in this movie just didn't work. I blame the scriptwriters.
Watch this movie if you're not bothered by mind numbing inanity in plot and pointless action or are just a REALLY big Jet Li fan. If I knew of what I would face in this film I would have forgone the experience or just skipped to Jet's scenes, for what little they're worth. Not even the "climactic" fight between Jet Li and Mark Dacascos was worth waiting for, it was poorly choreographed, filmed, edited and staged.
I try not to be too disparaging of films, since everyone has their own opinions and tastes, but "Cradle 2 the Grave" is pretty irredeemable...
Not Sure quite what to think, but the word "brutal" comes to mind.
"Unleashed" is a very different Jet Li film, and I think it's a good thing. When there's action it's intense, but the gaps in between are considerably longer and more character driven than any Western movie Jet Li has made to date that I've seen.
Danny (Li) is basically an attack dog who is "unleashed" upon his prey when his intensely vicious master, "Uncle" Bart (Bob Hoskins), removes his collar. Raised as a dog since a young child, Danny basically has no humanity, killing with impunity as he's bidden, but passive and childlike with his collar on. It's actually rather sad what was done with this person, so although he is a vicious killer it is easy to care about his character and wish him a better life. It also helps that Jet Li and Bob Hoskins' performances were very, very good.
Then comes along Sam (Morgan Freeman) and music: Danny's saving grace. Danny is exposed to the gentle friendliness of Sam and the wonders of the piano and it inspires him to flee when the opportunity arises. With the help of Sam and his stepdaughter Victoria (Kerry Condon) Danny is slowly humanized in a series of touching scenes. Of course, the conflict isn't over and you'll have to watch the movie to see how things are resolved.
It's quite interesting to see Li fight in this movie. His character isn't some martial arts master with a cause; he's a dog, brutal and intense, focusing on one opponent at a time and just pummeling them. Gone is the smooth cool finesse we're used to seeing from Jet, which makes for interesting and very different action. The sound effects are much more real than in most martial arts films and Danny's straightforward intensity to completely incapacitate his opponents adds more realism as well (the characters are actually trying to injure each other and do). Though nothing is perfect, one would think his hands would be broken and crippled by now with the abuse.
The cinematography is a little odd here and there, especially when alluding to Danny's point of view in first half of the film, but it is interesting and well done. In purely technical ways it's a very good movie: the lighting, the sets, the sounds, the music. It's all very nice to the eye without being distracting.
Though the premise is strange, and possibly silly, Danny goes though a very large character arch, something I'm not used to seeing in action films. It may not be perfect, but it's a decided improvement over Jet Li's previous Western films and hopefully it's a sign for better things to come.
7 out of 10 for being well done and entertaining (I certainly was never bored) and for great performances from everyone: Li, Hoskins, Freeman (Freeman is always good ^_~), Condon and all the supporting cast.
Though it is absent of gore, if you like action films but aren't into barefaced brutality and violence you might not want to see this film.
Hellboy, not perfect, but entertaining.
Let's be blunt, the movie is, in essence, a little lumbering and flawed and has a rather odd climax. The beginning is overlong and vaguely too fantastical, but once you realize this is a very different world, a comic book really, and normal rules don't apply, it can be forgiven. In fact most of the flaws can be forgiven because of Ron Perlman and what he brought to the picture.
This is one of few movies I've ever gone to see on the opening weekend, possibly the only one. And I did so because I was already a fan of Ron Perlman and it was great to see him in a leading role, even though he's covered in makeup. Perlman is the best thing in this movie; he is perfect as Hellboy. He swaggers through it as if he'd always been a leading man. Delivering one-liners with ease and to perfection, battling monsters through subterranean sets and city streets, and giving a great comedic performance as well as a very emotional one that makes you just love the big red oaf. A great feat considering the extensive makeup he had to act through.
And the makeup and prosthetics are the best of its kind I've ever seen. There's movement and expression in the lips at times that you would think would be impossible. You might at first think that the lips are rather stationary and unexpressive, but if you just pay attention you'll see that there is a lot of movement and subtleties to it. Rick Baker should be praised for his work in this, it's amazing.
Doug Jones is awesome as the body of Abe Sapien. His movements are truly beautiful. And David Hyde Pierce as the voice is perfect. Abe is a very interesting and neat character that I wouldn't mind seeing more of. And his makeup is as amazing or even more so than Hellboy's.
John Hurt is great in this, as is Jeffrey Tambor. Everyone in this does a great job. But Perlman's performance as Hellboy really holds the movie together. His character stands out and speaks to the audience better than any other.
If you liked X-Men or Spider-Man don't expect a movie as well polished and put together, but you should be able to enjoy it and the more overt comic book feel of the movie. And unlike the aforementioned movies there is quite a bit of light humor throughout Hellboy that should garner some laughs from most anyone.
Hellboy isn't perfect, I would have changed some things, but I had fun watching it and in the end, especially for a movie of this type, I think that's what matters most. In fact I like it more now, after seeing it again, than I did when walking out of the theater.
Dissatisfied (some SPOILERS ahead)
Comparing this movie with the previous two might seem a little ludicrous considering the different director and the general tone of the movie and book, but after seeing this you can't but long for the bustling hubbub of The Sorcerer's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets.
I have read all the books, reread the Prisoner of Azkaban most recently, but I'll try to leave off comparisons for now.
As a movie itself it was unsatisfactory, and when you've read the book, it makes it that much worse. The scenes were rushed and felt contrived. No sooner where you emotionally in a scene then it hopped to another one with nothing to bridge that emotion. In what appeared to be an attempt to instill the darkness of the third book the director, and everyone else, accidentally left all the emotion behind. I felt no true sympathy for the tense and constant fear of his life that Harry had to go through during that year. It didn't seem at all apparent that he was. Though Rupert, Daniel and Emma have grown physically and as actors their performances felt wasted because of this rushing desperate need to pack as much of the action of the latter part into the book into the movie.
I think one the biggest flaws was the movie was not grounded. Since this is the third movie in a series it was a ghastly mistake to introduce so many new sets and change the location of previously fixed items. However beautiful they were, it caused confusion. Very little of the movie was set in familiar scenes. A lot of what should have been crucial dialogue was set in random locations out of doors, which made little sense. With the change in location of the Whomping Willow, Hagrid's hut, the change in actress and location for the Fat Lady, with new courtyards and other new sets, if felt like a whole different place. And when you throw in the abruptness of scene transitions, it gives you a very strong feeling of being lost. There was no "home again" feeling upon returning to Hogwarts. It barely felt like Harry was at a school at all with the time they spent inside the school itself. That was one of my bigger disappointments with the movie.
If they had stuck a little more to the castle and tried to instill some of the darkness there I would have felt better about it. Otherwise I was left being confused with the changes and where they were, and trying to keep track of the plot, which was not strung together well or edited. There was also little sense of time. They used the owl and the Whomping Willow to great effect to show this, but it didn't seem to "effect" much else. The whole passage of time was streamlined and gone through with a quickness that boggled the mind and made it impossible to understand where the plot was heading. There were no key ups or downs in the plot since so much was cut out that was present in the book.
The Dementors, I went into this movie hearing how frightening they were. I was not frightened nor even moved. Dementors can't fly...yet they do in this movie and that steals away much of their looming, glooming, happiness sucking fear. Having something on the ground looming in closer and surrounding you, leaning over you, unable to escape by foot, then yes that would have scared the heck out of me. But having them fly made them comical in my eyes. It also causes changes to the end of the movie. Since the Dementors can fly then Harry's stag patronus has to pulse out light rather than charge them. Which steals a lot from that scene that they could have had if they had stuck a little closer to the book.
It seems the moviemakers went out of their way to be different from the first two and thereby stripped it of all the charms the book and the previous two movies had. They added in their own material, and considering the bountiful detail that Rowling instills in her books, leaving out so much original material and adding in so much new was rather inconsiderate to the fans. The more new you add the less time you have for the little things that fans of the book were hoping to get a glimpse of and never did.
I've heard Chris Columbus criticized for being so slavish in keeping close to the book, but I see no fault in this. Though not perfect, by no means, he managed to capture Harry Potter in a way that Alfonso Cuarón failed miserably at. I've heard Columbus lost the subtleness of the undercurrents in the books, but now that I look back on it I think that's wrong. By recreating the books so closely those undercurrents were created as a side effect, they were not affected or forced. Cuarón's method seemed to be the opposite and it didn't work. All the whimsy of Rowling's story telling was completely and utterly lost in this new addition. Which is a sad loss for those fans who so looked forward to The Prisoner of Azkaban.
The Chamber of Secrets and its themes and events (both book and movie) were dark, much darker than The Prisoner of Azkaban in truth and done to greater effect by Columbus. I think Cuarón and Steven Kloves latched onto the darkness that was present in the book and blew it out of proportion and to the detriment of the film. They also seemed to have forgotten they were making a child's film...and more disturbing yet, that they were making a Harry Potter movie...
As a film: 7/10
As an adaptation: 5/10
As an interpretation: 1/10
The One (2001)
Don't set your expectations too high.
Unless you're a diehard Jet Li or martial art fan you can pass this movie. As movies go it's not that great, as a Jet Li movie it's not that great either. The only redeemable feature is Jet Li himself who is fun and exciting to watch no matter the quality of the movie in most cases, though there are notable exceptions. This is the kind of movie that will lure you in to see Jet, but isn't quite the viewing experience to make you want to see it again. An unfortunate trend in his recent western made films.
I give it a 4/10. Watch it see Jet just for the sake of seeing him, but don't expect a good plot or really good fights scenes for that matter. If you want those characteristics then go see him in 'Fist of Legend'.
Event Horizon (1997)
Event Horizon is about the last movie you should ever watch
This movie is gory, violent, disturbing and sick beyond almost anything I have ever seen. The plot is convoluted and well, stupid when you get down to it. I don't know what they were thinking or taking when they came up with the script for this movie. This movie can be vaguely interesting, but it completely throws you off with its, let's be blunt here, boring plot and grotesque violence. The special effects are probably good, but all the visuals are so ugly, disturbing or stomach churning who really care about the special effects or the characters for that matter. Though you end up wanting some of them to survive to make all the things you had to watch them go through worth it. Another disappointment is that this movie has several good actors in it and it goes to show that some big names can't drag a movie out the quagmire the director and scriptwriter created.
If you don't want to be seriously mentally disturbed for at least several months, avoid this movie at all costs. I give this a 1 out of ten.