Reviews written by registered user
|83 reviews in total|
It's just occurred to me that while I think of myself as a fan of
zombie films, that there are only three genre films that I actually
enjoy: Night of the Living Dead (the original and remake), and Return
of the Living Dead.
These films all have something in common; they're taut. They pick a theme, stick to it, and pile it on to an inexorable conclusion. All other zombie films dawdle and meander annoyingly, and Day of the Dead is no exception.
That's not to say that Day doesn't have a sense of inevitability about it. The whole plot progression is boringly predictable, and it's the boring part that sticks in the mind. I know what's going to happen, but I don't particularly care. Annoying people yell at each other, and I don't care. Ludicrous stereotypes over-act, and I don't care. Bub the Zombie moves his jaw from side to side, and I care a little. Then the live people take the screen again, and I go back to not giving a damn.
We know what's going to happen, but it takes so long to get there that it's actually a relief when the live cast start meeting their sticky ends. I for one was cheering for the zombies, which up to a point is what I'm supposed to do. What I'm not supposed to want is for all of the living cast, including the ostensible sympathetic heroes, to be shredded. The rapidly tacked on brutally optimistic ending is a huge disappointment; I'd far rather find out what happened to Bub than the insipid nobodies whose fate I'm supposed to care about.
This is a film that would have been far better left in the can, or better yet, as a script waiting for enough budget to afford actual actors and editing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What a sad, sorry little spin off, that might as well have been titled
Stargate: Voyager. The actors are third rate hacks with no subtlety or
range, and what little talent they do have is hidden by the sterile
writing and minimal characterisation. Once free of the positive
influence of its parent series, the leads in Atlantis *instantly*
become one dimensional and superhumanly capable. Lacking even a
momentary hint of self doubt, there can be no sense that they are ever
in any peril. That wouldn't be so important if this was an effects
driven show, but the small budget means lots of talking head shots, and
these characters have little to say and no engaging way of saying it.
The writing is so derivative as to border on unintentional genre parody. We've seen these plots done many times before and often much better. There is no acknowledgment or attempt to explain any of the inconsistencies or deus ex good fortune. That's insulting to the viewer; at least give us a reason to suspend our disbelief.
The dark 'moody' sets mostly serve to mask the lack of budget. The outdoor shoots are just the same old Canadian outback locations from Stargate. I think I even recognised a fallen tree from the Stargate bounty hunter episode.
Production values are erratic. The incidental music in particular is far inferior to the Stargate incidentals, and the sound is muted and muffled.
The baddies, as has been copiously spoiled elsewhere, are vampires. There's little point in calling them anything else, unless it's Morlocks. Whatever, they seem to have drained the life from the production team of this show before the camera even started rolling.
At the end of the first hour of the two hour premiere, you really have to question if it's worth while watching any further. Take it from me - it's not. It doesn't get better. It just grinds on and on in the same tired way. Don't waste your time.
A badly translated script that leads to the voice talent jabbering most of
the time, the usual array of characters who's personalities are blindingly
apparent from their portrayals (wide mouthed buffoon, sinister moustachioed
dwarf, icy bitch, spunky hero, spunkier heroine), and a plot that could be
synopsised as "Two legs bad, four legs good". Oh, and tentacles. Tentacles
Fans of anime will lap it up. Everyone else should avoid, because it's just the same old garbage, warmed up and seasoned with a few B list USian actors.
Soooo sloooow... soooo duuuuuuull... soooo poiiiintless.
This film tanked not because it was badly cut, but because it was simply bad. Given that nobody paid to see it, why is it so fondly remembered now? Clearly, a generation of naughty children watched it when they were small, thought that it was daring and wonderful, and now they get to vote on the basis of that nostalgia.
Heck, for all I know, back in 1967, this might have been the best thing going. But that doesn't mean that it's worth watching now. The score is sound, the cinematography competent, but the pace is so plodding that it's almost intolerable. Scene after scene drags on and on, and every link is the same; two buffoons doing a comedy farce tiptoe walk, or comedy farce skiing, or comedy farce falling down stairs.
Speaking of which, it's about as funny as being smashed in the face with a brick. Just an average, common, dull brick. That is, unless you find it amusing that Jewish vampires say "Oy vey!" a lot and gabble in mock-Yiddish. Laugh? I nearly did.
Actually, that's a lie. I didn't come close. Perhaps if I'd seen it before I hit puberty I might view it somewhat differently, but viewed in the cold light of adulthood, this is a dreadful confused mess of a film, burdened with a sloppy script and sparse, insipid dialog.
Avoid, at all costs. You'll never got those 107 minutes of your life back.
This film is fine up to the opening credits, but then goes downhill rapidly.
It's a tolerable enough implementation, but it's based on the kind of
risible premise that really requires a flawless presentation.
None of the characters are well drawn, none of them are likable. You know they're all going to die, but you simply don't care.
Bizarrely, the best actors are killed off first. Perhaps after they read the script, they insisted on it.
Probably worth catching on cable, but certainly don't pay to see it. There really is nothing here that you haven't seen done better elsewhere. It can't decide whether it's a horrors of war morality piece, or a supernatural chiller. In the end, it falls midway and fails as both.
Chant ten thousand geeks, as Wesley Crusher appears on screen. Does he die?
Frankly, who cares. With no characterisation, a plot that could be (and
probably was) written on the back of a cigarette packet, mediocre actors, a
sloppy score, Amateur Hour CGI and fair to middling awful camera work, it's
hard to pay attention to anything happening in this B-
Guys, here's a hint. When the crew turns up with Hi-8 camcorders, it's time to call your agent and see if there's any commercials going, or small car showrooms that need opened. This film does nobody any favours. It's pretty much welfare for C list jobbing actors and crew. Terry Farrel at least has the grace to look embarrased at doing the same old "lean to the left, spout some technobabble" rubbish she did on Star Trek, but Wesley actually seems to be trying to make something of his role. Unfortunately, all he manages to do is to make it highly irritating. Die, Wesley, die.
Low budget doesn't preclude a film from being fun, but this movie sadly tries to hide its budget. So cue "mass evacuation" scenes where five extras run out of a door and are filmed from three angles, sets where the paint on the plywood is barely dry, and muffed lines that are simply accepted rather than reshot (must have been running out of those Hi-8 tapes).
It's not even funny bad, it's just desultory and sad. Avoid.
There are many reasons why this film doesn't work for me, but first and
foremost, it's because it's badly cast. In trying to do his friend (and
girlfriend of the time) a favour by casting them as leads, Kevin Smith
demonstrated the limits of their acting ability.
Joey Adams - who isn't nearly as attractive as the heavily doctored publicity stills fake her out to be - is simply annoying. I don't know a single woman who hasn't commented on how irritating her baby-girl voice is, how it ruins any attempt to empathise with her, and how it wrecks her credibility in the serious scenes. Even as a red blooded male who enjoys lipstick-lesbian content as much as the next guy, I found myself wishing that Kevin had managed to resist the urge to skip the casting couch and just cast his squeeze of the moment.
Ben Affleck brings another problem to the party, and here I can quote writer/director Kevin Smith's own words (from Mallrats): he looks like a date rapist. Really, he looks - and acts - arrogant and aggressive in every scene, even when he's supposed to be opening up. It's simply not believable that a man-shy woman would give him the time of day, let alone allow him to befriend her.
All that makes the core relationship between the protagonists farcical. Holden is scripted and acted as an ass, and Alyssa as acted (specifically, voiced) so much like a ditz that it's _irrelevant_ how she's scripted. Both of them are deceitful, spiteful and selfish, and it's hard to know whether to root for them to split up, or to root for them to get together purely to save two decent people from having relationships with them.
The only ray of sunshine is the ever reliable Jason Lee as Brodie... sorry, Banky Edwards. Perhaps it's deliberate irony that Banky is accused of dishonesty about his feeling when Banky is the only protagonist not lying for his own selfish ends, but I'm guessing not.
Chasing Amy is a self indulgent folly. That actually describes all of Kevin Smith's films, but most of them turn out being enjoyable anyway (yes, even Mallrats). This one doesn't, and it's a worrying indicator of the what we can expect from Jersey Girl, where Kevin Smith's own reports from the set demonstrate that he's more concerned with having fun with the actors than watching what their characters are doing on screen.
If you were just to watch the last hour of this film, you might be able to
convince yourself that it's a tolerable whole. But there are simply too
many flaws to make the entire experience enjoyable.
The biggest problem is that it's simply too dull at the start. Revealing the creature bit by bit is a classic device; unfortunately, the massive hype, endless trailers and ubiquitous merchandise utterly ruined the attempt. Nobody watching this film is in any doubt about what Godzilla is going to look like, so holding out just seems like a mean spirited way to save on the FX budget.
While the main Godzilla FX are superb, the Godzuki raptors are inconsistent and a little blue-screenish. They also seem to be suffering from a strange disease where they can easily smash their heads through windows and steel doors, but seem unable to drag the rest of their bodies through. This gets tiresome very fast, and the other thing that drags this sequence down is that it's so obviously ripped off from Jurassic Park that it becomes painfully intrusive.
As a pet peeve, the military hardware in this movie really annoys me. Hollywood seems stuck somewhere in the 1950's as far as technology goes. Every single weapon or vehicle in this film is badly - and deliberately and wilfully - incorrect, and the continuity is shoddy: note how many times aircraft fire off their "last" missiles. The reason that this annoys me is that there ARE weapons that do everything the scriptwriters wanted. If they'd done TWO MINUTES of research, they could have found them. That they didn't bother to do that says a lot about how seriously they take their job. Add to that the fact that they couldn't even be bothered to invent a plausible excuse for some of the idiotic snafus (why can't the helicopters fly UP?) and it becomes plain insulting, and makes it very hard to suspend disbelief.
The actors in this film are irrelevant, and so it really doesn't matter that they range from mediocre to insipid, and that they have lines so trite that they would make a five year old blush. Honestly, it doesn't matter, so try to get over it.
On the bright side, the score is acceptable. It's blaring, but it does match the action. The sequences are well lit and shot, and there's a definite big budget feel to everything (except the cast).
I really do think that this is close to being the best possible Godzilla movie that Hollywood could make. Unfortunately it's a dull, patchy, soulless, derivative, irritating snoozefest with exactly zero unexpected scenes or twists. It's the perfect example of how to make a zero-risk film by committee, and given that it made it's money back and more, it did exactly what it needed to do, which is to pander to the sheeple that make up multiplex audiences.
Well done Hollywood, you've managed to lower the bar another notch.
You can see where this film was supposed to go. It's got the ingredients;
hard bitten vampire killers, brutal vampire action, Catholic priests in
frocks acting pretty much as Catholic priests in frocks always do in
Hollywood films, pretentions of verite.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have the courage of its convictions, and turns in a stumbling zombie of a performance. There's a brief attempt to portray the genuine horror of vampirism, but this is soon aborted in favour of an overbearing score and buckets of blood. The victims are just the usual faceless fodder, completely unsympathetic. Who cares if they're killed? There's no particular reason given why vampires are any worse than the evil that humans do to each other every day. All of the main protagonists are fairly unlikable as well.
All this adds up to a film that's just impossible to care about. It's too miserable to be a popcorn flick, but too trivial to be a serious character piece like Near Dark or Ultraviolet. It treads a middle ground, and really, who cares? Not Hollywood, clearly. The combination of Carpenter, Woods, Baldwin and vampires got it made, and it made its money back, so it was exactly as good as it needed to be. For shame, Hollywood.
This movie is an hour and a half long and costs approximately a third as
much as the game. The visuals and score are better than the game, but the
plot, dialogue, composition, lighting and camerawork are
It's just occurred to me that a couple of generations of console or PC down the line, when game visuals reach cinematic realism and we can have proper virtual hotties, then there will be absolutely no reason why game developers should put in any more work than filmmakers.
Enjoy your quality 20+ hour games while you can, because the line between game and film is getting narrower. When they reach 1:1 comparison, games will last (pro rata) approximately 4.5 hours, or they'll be sold as 1.5 hour "episodes" for the same price as a DVD.
Shudder. I mean, Mila and Michelle are supremely hot, but I do like a *little* dialogue and imagination in my entertainment.
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