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10 reviews in total 
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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
I'm no fan of Michael Bay, 23 August 2013

.. but this movie was actually a rather fun experience. There's a lot of gratuitous violence and crude language, so if that puts you off, skip this movie.

But the structure actually makes sense and the movie has decent momentum. The soundtrack is right on target at some times, OK at others. Visually, the movie has a consistent and strong style, though the freeze-frames are not so strong.

I liked the performances, though if you have seen the trailer, don't expect better jokes - it definitely spoiled some of the better ones. But on the whole, most roles are genuinely funny and work in their own way; maybe the Rock isn't exactly helping the "true story" angle in his performance, but comically it works.

Still, there's plenty of Michael Bay here to deter the real haters. Generally I'm no fan of the man's work, but considering his history, I think Pain & Gain is actually somewhat redeeming. Not for everyone, but nice as an OK action romp with a moral of sorts.

Elysium (2013/I)
6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Quite frankly, offensively bad, 22 August 2013

District 9 was a little rough around the edges, but you were inclined to forgive quite a bit for the original story, the zany acting and the over the top look.

However, no such luck for Elysium. It has great Hollywood actors acting like logs, the plot is so full of holes, you can fly the ISS through it and trying to make sense of it assaults your intelligence. Too bad it's not so bad it's funny, like Escape from LA.

In the end, Elysium is hopeless and only worth watching for the OK special effects in places. There are a few clever gadget ideas in there as well, if that's your thing. But quite frankly, reading a fan website (if any exist) will probably get you more satisfaction in that department and it won't cost you the hour and a half I wouldn't mind getting back.

Neill Blomkamp shouldn't deserve another big budget shot, after this major disappointment, if you ask me.

3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
No surprise, I suppose, 13 June 2013

Why anyone would give M. Night Shyamalan money to make new movies, is beyond me. The Sixth Sense wasn't exactly Otto e Mezzo and after that it's been a wild tumble downhill. And Will Smith apparently needs to stay away from writing material and just act fun, perfect son-in-law characters or tongue in cheek action heroes. And Jaden, well... I'm sure there's lots of careers he can pursue that he will be successful in.

The acting in this movie is painful. The plot is ridiculous. The science fiction is pure internally inconsistent science fantasy. There is no real threat, no stakes and in the end it's an empty movie.

The one good thing about it were some really nice looking fantasy animals with interesting ideas to them. (though don't think about how it's impossible for them to evolve in only 1,000 years, or ..., or ...)

If you have to watch a Dystopian science fantasy, watch Oblivion. If you have to watch a Will Smith ego picture, watch I am Legend. And if you feel both of those aren't all that good either, you know exactly how to rate After Earth...

Skyline (2010)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
FX guys need to stick to FX, 22 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The main reason for not rating this movie a "1" was its one redeeming quality: it was the first feature film I've seen shot on Red and it was interesting to see where these cameras shine and where it pays to have slightly more high-end stuff. But it's encouraging to see what can be done with relatively affordable gear.

Beyond that, this is a movie made by a couple of FX guys (both writers and both directors) and it shows. It's nothing -but- FX. Sure, sure, the aliens win. That's pointless when I couldn't care less about the cast being killed in similar ways, without worthwhile suspense. The plot is so full of holes, it's not even funny. Everything about this movie shouts "B-movie" except for the special effects. And even when you go for a B-movie style, there's a right way to do it and a wrong way (ask Tarantino, Rodriguez or even Jackson). Skyline gets everything wrong.

It's similar to watching an ugly girl with lousy character drunk and in a bad mood, but dressed in a stellar dress with wonderful hair. You can't keep your eyes off of her, but a conversation with anyone else in the room would give you a better time.

Skyline shows movies like District 9 how good you can look on a budget without resorting to just shaking the camera. But District 9 is a movie the Strause brothers should watch to learn how to do everything else better with a similar premise.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The movie that will ultimately just be about "The Elevator Scene", 24 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is an amazing piece of work, for the first two hours at least.

A carefully constructed plot, an amazing cast, a fine host of interesting characters. The movie has an unrivaled pace, which I think is both innovative and so natural that I expect to see it emulated (and possibly improved upon) a lot. Not only are there really high paced scenes, not unlike Requiem for a Dream, but the pace is high all the way through and it gives the movie some serious momentum.

Not a typical Scorcese, his craftsmanship still shines through and it makes me wish he would start making more movies that depart from his usual themes. There's some weak bits, like the limp relationship hook between the two main characters and the shrink. Some more Hollywood clichés find their way into the movie, but it's never really in the way of a decent picture.

But then we come to it: The Elevator Scene.

Up to that point, a carefully constructed plot has you in your grips, on a roller-coaster ride with casualties left and right. And then, the worst of the worst: a deus ex machina ending... It's no just bad and easily forgiven. It's horrible.

Despite all the good things you can say about this movie, it's about the story and the plot first and foremost. And to destroy it with a completely unpredictable and unrelated character, for no apparent reason other than proving the point that everyone is a rat and the world is going to hell, is weak. Nothing but weak.

This one takes the throne. For me personally, it replaces the Dallas "it's all a dream" scam. The Oscar for "Best Writing" goes to a flimsy deus ex machina tale... Those golden statues just lost some of their luster.

Avalon (2001)
22 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Stunning, 17 October 2001

I noticed the movie got rated somewhat better by the younger part of the public and frankly, that doesn't surprise me. You'll have to have played an online shoot-em-up or war game at least once to see why the idea of a gamer making a life of her addiction in a near future isn't such an outlandish idea.

Avalon takes this idea to new extremes, without being cheap or easy and adds a healthy dose of magical realism. The artwork is stunning, the soundtrack very strong (and classical instead of the usual techno), the acting is cool and distant, which is all perfect for the dark setting. Even the choice of Poland as the scenery seems right on.

Why then doesn't this flic deserve a 10? Well, although I liked the story and though it does have depth, it is a bit one-dimensional. The world doesn't seem to harbor more than this one story and that's a shame. The movie could have become a classic with a little bit more background plot. But nonetheless, a must-see.

Bound (1996)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Simple, yet effective, 20 September 2001

An at times beautifully shot, well thought out thriller. A feast for the eye with only a few characters in a few locations, it is a story that really sucks you in. Not too complicated, it manages to keep your attention easily. And although the ending may be a little predictable, the movie has enough extras to even consider seeing it again.

20 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Slow, but engaging and strong dialogue, 6 June 2001

As a vampire-movie enthusiast I had some high hopes for this picture. Jude Law usually makes for pleasant watching and Elina Lowensohn matches perfectly. That's the first good thing about the movie that really stood out to me: the casting is perfect. Not stereotypical, but very believable and right on target.

The movie is a bit slow and doesn't offer a lot in the way of a horror-movie as most viewers might expect it to, but it tells an engaging story. The plot isn't overly original, but when you look at some of the details, it's obviously well thought out. I loved most of the dialogue: witty, to the point and original. No fake grandeur or excessive posing (like many vampire movies do have), subtle jokes and no giveaways by the characters.

The movie is a good one overall, but even on its strong points, it sometimes misses genius and excellence, so only a 7 for this one.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
In one word: Weak, 25 May 2001

I just sat through Judge Dredd and didn't like much of what I saw. I'll start out with all the good points. Stallone over-acts in a way that's comical and he seems to like it, giving the the movie almost, but not quite, that Starship Troopers feeling. But where Starship Troopers went all the way, Judge Dredd only has a few moments of fun, fluffed up with tons and tons of cheap action, cheesy one-liners, a dumb sidekick (more coming up one that one) and no story worth mentioning.

The only thing that kept me going all the way through this inedible hunk of cheap sci-fi rip offs was the desire to see Judge Dredd's hacker side kick get killed. If I were the actor with that role, I'd probably have to get myself committed to a mental hospital and be treated for suicidal self-loathing.

'Why then 3 out of 10 and not just 1?', you ask. Well, even though most of the material is a rip off, there are some nice effects in there, I liked the old chief officer of justice (or whatever his title was) and Stallone made me smile here and there with his hero-cheesiness. I was going to give it 4 out of 10, when the recall of the flat and unimaginative soundtrack took off a point.

So there you go. I'll just tell you: the sidekick does the predictable thing, so safe yourself the trouble and disappointment and rent another movie. With or without Stallone, whichever pleases you more.

Spectacular Adventure with a Gothic Bite, 23 May 2001

It's good to see the French coming out with a fine adventure movie like Le Pacte des Loups. This kind of movie is what European cinema needs to convince the European public and investors not all quality non-arthouse movies come out of Hollywood. Don't get me wrong, my top-10 movies still are mostly American and I'm not on a Hollywood-bashing rage here, but Pacte des Loups (which should've been called Wolfpact in English if you ask me, just see the movie) is the kind of movie that restores some lost confidence.

It's exciting, good-looking, engaging and professional. OK, so maybe some of the effects look a little 'vintage', it's not like it's the end of the world and by the time that kind of effect is needed, most of the suspense has already done its unnerving work.

The movie makes great use of close-ups, slow-motion (or variable-motion really) coloring, it has some beautifully directed shots, believable scenery and I'd put it up there with other recent martial arts/(fantasy/sf) combinations like (I know...) 'The Matrix' and 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon'. Since those two came out before PdL it loses some points in originality, but I definitely like the story better than Crouching Tiger and I think it takes a lot more work to create a believable medieval actionflic than a sf computer-generated universe, so I don't think Le Pacte des Loups is redundant in that respect.

Finally, the good sense of Gothic atmosphere holds well. It only loses some of it's force at some points in the movie where the director couldn't resist showing the viewer how things really are/look and at a few points where some characters feel the need to 'explain themselves' to each other. (you know, the typical 'I did it because...' conversations, like you didn't figure that one out yourself) Sorry to be so vague, but I wouldn't want to give away anything you'd be able to see for yourself... So what are you waiting for?