Reviews written by registered user
pmdawn

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72 reviews in total 
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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Awesome War Movie, 7 September 2008
8/10

Man, was I surprised with this movie. You'd never expect a movie from Khazakhstan to be this good (specially after Borat's antics), but they've done it, and in a way that many Western film makers would be wise to reproduce.

And yet, this movie has enough Hollywood-like conventions to entertain nearly anyone in the world who likes action films. You know Braveheart, Gladiator, 300, Apocalypto, you name it. This is better.

One of the reasons for this is the compelling life story of the yet-to-be Genghis Khan, Temudjin. Although I love history I must admit I knew very little of his accomplishments. Needless to say this movie made me go out and find out more about him.

As presented in this movie, Temudjin goes through all kinds of hell, betrayal and violence, event though, by the rules, he should be the official Khan. But this movie shows what he had to endure, and how this molded his personality into becoming one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) commanders in human history. This makes us sympathetic to his plights and his fight. In real life Khan was probably a bit worse, but in this movie he's a more of a hero, and accomplished Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano is perfect in his portrayal.

Apart from that, there are awesome battles, examples of Mongol customs, male bonding and the hierarchy in their society. The scenery and cinematography are jaw-dropping. As a foreigner this is incredibly fascinating to watch.

Last but not least, this movie hints that Genghis Khan was as good a commander as a wife-chooser. Khulan Chuluun is stunningly beautiful, and she does a fine job. I feel she will go on to greater things.

I would compare this to the also great "House of Flying Daggers" or "Hero", but honestly, this movie is better. From what I understand, this is part one of a trilogy, which makes it even sweeter. I can't wait for the sequels. I highly recommend this one.

8/10

17 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
A good movie with serious flaws, 28 August 2008
6/10

"The Objective" is a really cool movie. You have a CIA agent working with military men in Afghanisthan, and weird, paranormal stuff happens. There's a sense of realism - which was probably Myrick's objective - that is very well done here. You feel like you're there with the guys, in that immense, isolated, mysterious space.

It's this sense of immersion and the suspense that propells me to give this movie a 6/10, purely because I really enjoyed it. But that's not to say it is without flaws; au contraire, the story is like a mechanical swiss cheese, with obvious, unavoidable and perhaps intentional plot holes - the problem is that some of them nearly ruined the film for me, and will certainly ruin it for the casual science-fiction fan.

So there you have it - I liked this movie and I'd recommend it - but I feel this movie could have been so much better if not for some serious flaws.

The painfully obvious first one is the narration, done by the main actor. Actually, there are two problems here - the protagonist seems miscast, or at least the actor seems to have a speech impediment problem. I'm not joking, he doesn't narrate, he... mumbles. I hope this was not intentional.

One complaint that I've seen in other reviews, but for me would be nit-picking, are about some of the visual effects. Not the FX themselves, but rather the use of them. Like many I feel some things are best left to our imaginations, and this movie is a nice example of getting this sort of thing wrong.

There's a fantastic scene in the middle of the movie that involves binoculars. In this scene, the "leave it to the imagination" part is incredibly scary. Here, it works. Later on, not so much.

I will only further comment on the ending, and I don't have many words to describe my reaction. In a way, it's a genius ending, and in another, you feel like you've been made a fool of. It's usually good to be left with a mystery, but sometimes it pisses people off, and sadly, this is the case with me and "The Objective".

I know I'll watch it again, though.

6/10

Solstice (2008/II)
5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Just another boring ghost movie, 28 August 2008
5/10

Well, Solstice gets a high-five for good casting, visuals, sound and overall atmosphere.

Only problem is the story. It's the same type of ghost story a proper horror fan has seen a gazillion times. And it's a remake! Why? Also, at 87 minutes, this felt like hours. Bo-ring. There are red herrings, scary shadows, MTV-style flashbacks from the dead, and while it's all well done, it's all been done before. Thank you, but no.

Myrick had a mediocre movie (Believers, also (V)) and a good one ruined by a terribly miscast main actor and a "gotcha-sucker!" ending (The Objective). At least here, justice was served and this went straight to DVD where it belongs.

Eduardo Sanchez' "Altered", although more of a sci-fi horror hybrid on a low budget, is superior to all of the above mentioned films in my opinion. Here's hoping that Myrick (who has loads of talent) will make a proper great movie in the future.

5/10

Dante 01 (2008)
40 out of 62 people found the following review useful:
Experimental Movie, 28 August 2008
6/10

I'm usually a very 'nice' reviewer. The kind that usually overlooks some faults in movies because the 'experience' is truly what matters to him. So, 'tis with a heavy heart that I say; I have to agree with the majority of reviewers here.

This movie feels like it was obviously cut short because of money or deadline issues, so it is painfully frustrating in that sense. The story is interesting, and the visuals and sound are astounding, although very influenced by older sci-fi movies (Alien 3 and Resurrection come to mind), but the religious overtones are rendered abstract (at best) by end of the movie.

This is a beautifully well-made movie with awesome visuals, but it has to be taken as an experiment, just like inside the story. Or as an experience, if you prefer.

That's because essentially, the last part of the movie was completely lame. And by lame I mean obviously rushed, incomplete and unfinished. Similar to "The Objective" in that respect, but even worse.

So allow me to present this movie in another way - as an experimental movie. As an audiovisual spectacle for the senses. And as such, Dante 01 is a marvel.

Having said that, the average casual moviegoer will probably not appreciate it in that sense and thus ask for a refund.

Big Stan (2007)
40 out of 48 people found the following review useful:
Rob Schneider is...Unrapeable!, 26 August 2008
8/10

So, after becoming a gigolo, a teenage girl, an animal and making a lot of copies, Schneider becomes unrapeable. And it works for me.

One thing will dictate whether you'll like this movie: 1 - Rob Schneider. I like him, but he's made some real turkeys (Animal comes to mind), so I was unsure of what to expect. If you don't like him, you probably won't like this. Probably, but not surely, because this is one of his best movies.

Here he enlists the help of a good ensemble cast AND David Carradine, who steals every scene he's in, by playing a parody of himself straight-faced. This is essentially a prison comedy movie, and the best one I've seen since "Mean Machine" and "Life".

This time, instead of becoming a Stapler as his previous movies would indicate, he becomes a martial arts expert in order to cope with life in prison. You know, because he doesn't want to get raped. That's pretty much his only agenda, of course until he gets to know the inmates better and the usual clichés unwhirl.

The irony in seeing the diminutive actor kicking more ass than Chuck Norris is what makes this movie so entertaining, and in a way, even inspiring (if completely unbelievable). There are several laugh out loud scenes here, including one in which he "bans" rape from prison.

The only real problem with this film, aside from being deliciously silly and a tad too long, is that is pretty much divided in two extremely different parts, the buildup and the actual prison scenes. But in the end all is well, because laughter is what Schneider wanted, and that's precisely what he got out of me with "Big Stan".

So, good job, Rob, and try to keep it up.

Altered (2006)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A welcome surprise and a future cult classic, 26 August 2008
8/10

I'm a big fan of "The Blair Witch Project", and I've been trying to watch the other movies made by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez. So far, this is undoubtedly the best out of them all, and one that makes me eagerly anticipate Sanchez' next movie, "Seventh Moon".

This is low budget, but intelligently made. I don't want to give anything away, as the best thing about this movie is never knowing for sure what is going to happen, and then something interesting happens.

This is as much a science-fiction movie as a horror, and it's incredible how much tension and curiosity this movie generates throughout its duration. The ending is perfect and almost suggests a sequel. I even found myself midly obsessed with the subject matter for a few days after watching this movie, even though I'd never taken an interest in it before.

Sorry Myrick, but this was much better than "Believers" and "Solstice" lumped together, so Sanchez easily wins this round. Hopefully this movie will get the attention it deserves in a few years time - I believe it will become a cult classic.

8/10

Believers (2007) (V)
11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
It's Okay, 26 August 2008
5/10

After watching Myrick's "The Objective", I wanted to check out his other films that went straight to DVD and this was my first pick. The premise is interesting, two paramedics are "abducted" into a suicide cult of sorts and must get away before it's too late for them.

There's a layer of religion (also seen in movies like "Frailty") that is really the crux of the movie - which makes us question the true motives behind religious preachers, missionaries and insane cults, as well as presenting us with an atheist point of view.

The ending is the movie's strongest point, and it again poses the viewers with an important question. Myrick seems to like to ask more question than answers in his movies and "Believers" is no exception. This is a low-budget flick best seen with low expectations.

5/10

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Such a shame, 17 August 2008
6/10

Okay, like so many other reviewers said, imagine "The Fugitive" + Hitchcock in France, add some Polanski, a pinch of "Spoorloos" and you get this.

This movie is very enjoyable, at least until the third act. It's a classic tale of the "wrong man" who may or may not be responsible for the disappearance of his wife. Here, instead of Harrison Ford (this also reminds me of "Frantic"), we get a younger, taller version of Dustin Hoffman - the resemblance is uncanny. But he's a good actor, and so is the ensemble cast that appears in this movie.

There's suspense, tension, action, everything. It's very rare that I applaud a movie, let alone a scene in a movie. Well, "Tell No One" has one scene (I won't say which, but it's in the middle of the film) that made me get up and do that, and when a movie makes me do this, well, that's a very good sign.

The mystery is great until you find out what really happened. The third act ruins all the fun. It's too unbelievable, too complicated, too convoluted. It seems like all the effort went in the first two acts, and the third was almost like an afterthought.

So, this is a thriller, a mystery, and an action movie. And a good one at all that. It's a shame that the 'dénouement' is so bad, because the movie makes big promises, but in the end, it all just fizzles out. Oh and the plot holes. Don't get me started on that.

But hey, don't listen to me. Watch this movie if you're interested - I loved it up until the ending, so who knows, you might like it, and it's a well-made effort. But I'm sticking to Hitch.

6/10

11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
We're never gonna survive, unless we get a little crazy, 13 August 2008
8/10

Just like Seal's 90's hit, "in a world full of people, there's always someone to fly". I would describe this movie as both an expression and example of the people who 'try to fly' - and they are usually considered crazy in society. They try different, previously unheard of things, and sometimes it's genius and sometimes it's a dud. But hey, at least they try.

This movie is absurdingly complicated in a first viewing, yet it delivers with, yes, absolute style. On a second viewing the themes become more apparent, and this is a movie you'll want to see (at least) twice.

Five stories are intertwined, sometimes subtly and others obviously, Tarantino/Ritchie mode, and they all deal with crazy stuff. This is a visual and stylish delight, as well as little bit of a mindtrip. There's symbolism if you look hard enough, but the joy of the movie is the way it deals with different themes - homosexuality, identity, love and death - and shows us that life is indeed a little bit crazy.

Recommended. 8/10

5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Modern Psychedelia, 30 July 2008
8/10

I'm not a Speed Racer fan. But I was delighted with this film.

It's very easy to see why this movie was a flop, and why it will be a cult favorite a few years from now. This is the kind of movie that invests too much, in too many genres, and that was its ultimate mistake.

The character interaction is goofy and family-oriented, exactly like the cartoons. The plot is merely a gizmo to introduce Speed Racer's story and get on with the action. In this aspect it seems like this movie is essentially for kids. I confess that sometimes I thought I was watching The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Ricky Bobby - all at the same time! One of my qualms with the movie was the delivery and the dialogue, which are so clichéd that they admittedly take a bit to get used to.

But forget all that. At its core, this movie is an excuse for a psychedelic trip. If Sin City was a bad trip, this is a bedroom psychonaut's dream.

This movie employs techniques unseen in American movies. In this sense, the film makers greatly respected and even enhanced the Japanese aura over Speed Racer. This is like those crazy Japanese movies that come out once in a while, but here in a dumbed-down form for Westerners.

This movie is an easy contender for many awards in technical achievements. The visuals are fantastic. The whole movie is in bright, primary, glittery colors. Notice that purple coat? It's because it's an "evil" color in this movie. I hadn't even noticed until I saw in the trivia that "Mom" was the ONLY character to wear green in the whole movie. So there's some extra fun for trippers, synesthesia and color psychology.

The pace is great, with the exception of some sappy family drama intertwined that really brings down this movie a notch. I wish they had cut more of the plot and left us with more eyecandy. But then they wouldn't have been so faithful to the original cartoon. Nevertheless, I believe this film would be so much better if it was shorter - skip the family scenes, skip the fake news announcers, and show us some crazy editing, that monkey driving, and Speed kicking ass on the lanes. Even Jack from Lost was well cast here - he looks exactly like his animated counterpart.

Anyway, this is perfect if you just want a movie that makes you feel like you're tripping on psychedelics. I particularly am a sucker for those, for example Waking Life, Mind Candy and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Speed Racer is not as complete or as mature a movie as those mentioned above, but it beats them all in terms of visual effects and pure cinematic delight. If you're into psychedelia, this movie was made for you.


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