Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
But I have lots of other interests, like computers, music, video games, audio, novels, archeology, forensic sciences, electronics, and guess what?... movies! :P
We got to give it the credit it deserves
I was skeptic about this production, which seemed only like one more modern b-grade horror movie. Also, being a great fan of Lovecraft, I think that you've to be quite ambitious to just even think about adapting any of his novels into a full-lenght movie. But to believe it'll be worthy of the original story (stories, in this case) would be nothing less than pure pretension. With this in mind, let's take a closer look.
The scenario is mainly inspired from "Shadow over Innsmouth", and lightly from "Dagon". Instead of the early 1900's, it takes place in modern times, which, to my opinion is a sad decision, removing a good part of the retro look, a yet neat characteristic of Lovecraft's stories. Scenario is also weakened by a very commercial approach, using typical foreseeable characters and unlikely events and details. By the way, about everything is rewritten, Lovecraftian settings are used only as a background. In fact, this could just be some kind of side-story taking place in the same place, decades after the novel.
The translation of the untrustworthy coastal village and its shallow dark moist by-streets is a real success. Being Canadian, I had my own perception of Innsmouth, seeing it as a flatter grayish Nova Scotia-like fishing village (like Peggy's Cove, Betty's Cove, etc.), but this more European version still fitted really well! To continue on the good features, the framing, traveling, focus changing, and other camera and edition using, well; the professional use of the numerous cinematographic-related language possibilities made a difference, and shouldn't be overlooked.
One the other hand, the few CGI scenes were not up to the mark, they could've (and should've) been avoided. Special effects and make-up quality varies, but are for most of the time okay. The paleness should've been accentuated through other means than standard make-up, 'cause the flat luminosity of this medium doesn't leave much chance to the needed natural reflects. The crowd artists also had no chances, not only do they get the most basic, randomly distributed make-up job on the set, but they look unexperienced, and worst, cheaply choreographed, like if they were way too much left to themselves with very few weak guidelines, especially in group scenes. Good voices for the half-transformed citizens though. For the heavier special effects, this is where we can see that budget was limited, 'cause it's ALMOST great, if you know what I mean... Problem is that when you deal with fantastic protagonists, and especially Lovecraft-inspired creations, this "ALMOST" thing makes all the difference. Any one who watched "Necronomicon" know that it can totally kill a descent movie.
Whatsoever, I have to say that I still am impressed that someone managed to make a full-lenght professional production like this one. Few movies inspired by Lovecraft are produced, fewer are of good quality, which is a shame to associate with this master novelist. This one is okay, and we got to give it the credit it deserves. I have to see "Call of the Cthulhu-Celebrated Story of Hp Lovecraft (2005)", you should too. But I think the best adaptation ever is still "CALL OF CTHULHU DARK CORNERS OF EARTH" the game. This, my friend, is a masterpiece. Period. Go play it: NOW!
V for Vendetta (2005)
Propaganda, not Vendetta...
The high rating of this movie by IMDb users clearly defines their amateurism, their weak and basic criticism, their naivety, but especially their lack of philosophical, political and cultural knowledge. Am I starting too hard? Sorry about that, but I believe truth is never pretty, so being 100% honest isn't usually much prettier. But just let me explain the link between these untutored users and the very core of V for Vendetta, wait, I'm coming to it.
I did not liked this movie, because in the contrary of most users, I didn't got caught by the easy choices behind the story and the stereotyped beliefs and behaviors of its characters. Sadly, like always, most peoples did.
Not that this is a surprise for me, but this sure is another reminder of their desperate state of mind, loose and constantly changing values, but especially their empty and so-called "hope" (yes, this is a direct insight to the ending), which is only build out of their vanity and very incapacity to admit they can't (and will never be able to) save themselves!
This also means that I'm, indeed, directly comparing them to the citizens of V for Vendetta, who got so easily caught with so little and WITHOUT QUESTIONNING THEMSELVES.
Yes, the movie has a very good design, it also has talented actors. I was especially pleased by the presence of John Hurt and Eddie Marsan. Hugo Weaving had one nasty challenge; to act without showing his face, and I believe he made it just right, the script sure helped to enhance his speech and overall voice performance, but to my opinion, most of the credit goes to him. I've never been a Portman fan, but I liked her in this role. In fact, most of the cast did a wonderful job, honestly. Sound was right, not necessarily memorable though.
But to say the least, most of my attention was kept by the story, its values and themes, its obvious influences and the will of the makers in every choices of the production. Well, and let's say that it's tough to respect them when they use so little subtlety in the translation. I have too much to say on this side, so I'll try to resume as much as possible.
Visually speaking, colors and light are an important part of the personality given to anything or anyone. In the movie, there is darkness almost all the time; it's either dark, indoor or both. Excepted when V makes something explodes, it's always outside, which gives a feeling of freedom, and, in the final scene, the explosion light up every faces of the citizens, to make us feel like they are reaching hope and freedom. Furthermore, those who studied colors, flags, or both, know that the use of either red and black, or red, black and white (especially the last one), is, unconsciously, a threatening arrangement, which usually means hate, war and/or hostility. Of course, in the movie, these colors were the official ones given to the Government, which makes it evil from the very beginning. It also is a direct insight to the Nazi colors of the WWII. But they don't stop there, they makes them corrupted Christians (the bishop who sleep with young girls), rich (at one time, we quickly see a written amount of over 20Millions pounds which seems to be an individual's bank account statement), self centered (the animator takes his shower surrounded by TVs playing his own show...), hypocrite (TV news lies, Sutler who doesn't want the detective to speak about what he read in the book), etc. The Government Symbol (a red cross with two horizontal bars to make a F for Faith) is a good summary of what the story writers wanted to demonise; Christianity. And this is where I don't fall in their trap.
If I'm telling everyone God bless this or that, of if I wear a t-shirt saying "What would Jesus do?", does it makes me Christian? If I really need to answer that, then you really disappoint me. We judge someone by his heart and by his actions, not by what he says, what he looks like, or by what someone told you about him. But most of the time, peoples don't follow this way. This is why in the story, the makers wanted the Government to be very immoral and evil, while also defining them as conservators Christians. But if you look closer, nothing of what they are doing of "evil" is Christian-related, nothing excepted for one thing; homosexuality. This never-ending subject then takes all the attention, making most peoples finally associate the whole corrupted Government thing to Christianity, and there we go. The Bush ambiguity, as I like to call it, also doesn't help to defines peoples minds on the subject, and peoples get easily caught in this "Christian = bad" thing.
And talking homosexuality, this part where Evey finds a girl's kind of biography written on toilet paper is really pathetic, to my opinion. Furthermore, it revealed an important hidden plot that made this movie less credible and hypocritical to my eyes. Especially because if his creators would have been confident enough on that subject, they would have replaced Portman's character by a man, or V by a woman, but they did not, and it speaks for itself.
Finally, if you ask me, this is a big disappointment from the Watchowski brothers, we will very quickly forget this one... I hope they'll make something more astonishing next time. Also, anyone searching a little bit will easily find two precise subjects, which really sounds like a propaganda in favor of homosexuality and against Christian-inspired governments, if not Christianity itself! Which is not subtle and kind of annoying.
The Bourne Identity (2002)
Sober and humble : impeccable.
I've seen this movie on the shelves for a while. I was planning to watch it one day, you know, when circumstances would bring it on my path. No, it's true, I didn't care much about it, for obvious reasons: First, this movie didn't seemed very popular, and nobody ever told me anything about it. But second, Matt Damon in the lead role left me somehow perplex, probably due to his lack of charisma.
Whatsoever, now, in early 2007, I took the time to enjoy this, finally, excellent production! On the whole, the movie shines by its precise realization; its well balanced way to tell the story, to establish character's relations and successions of events. Amazingly, especially for this kind of movie(thriller/action/stealth) almost nothing is exaggerated, or, at least, unrealistic and over-saturated to the extreme like the usual "made in USA" productions. The pace is just right, and leave us exactly the right time to taste and enjoy every details without relieving the needed tension. So, on the directing side, this jewel is just wonderful! The cast is another strong point. It gave me another look to its main actor, Matt Damon, by showing his physical ability, and by using his kind of average charisma, as I said, to enhance the natural behavior of his character. Chris Cooper, to my opinion, is always welcome, maybe not his most memorable performance ever, but still excellent. Enigmatic, Clive Owen was a good surprise to me. Few dialog for him, but he astonishingly fits as an invisible sniper hit-man, I wouldn't ever have thought so! The haircuts and clothes were, maybe discrete, but perfectly chosen. Franka Potente was enjoyable too, it's the first time I've seen her on screen though.
Sadly, I've watched a 4:3 (full screen) version of the film, so I can't fairly comment the photography, but it seems to follow the whole thing, being homogeneous and just right. The sound was especially well mixed, and didn't seemed to use typical audio FX samples for details like gunshots, silenced gunshots or engines, and it feels even more realistic that way. Lovely use of the surround sound even in calm or quiet moments.
Clean and brief, but effective fighting scenes are something we can't miss. The (only) car pursuit was delicious, sharp, dynamic and spectacular, but still sober and realistic! Hard to believe isn't it?! The European settings were perfect and refreshing overall, even funny (for the pursuit).
Obviously, this movie was a great surprise, and, to my opinion, stands above most "bigger" productions of the same genre. Sober and humble, impeccable. I hardly can't find anything wrong about it, honestly! Three thumbs ups!
Unusual gathering and behavior for an American movie
A neighbor lent me this movie. I hadn't heard about it, and didn't know the synopsis, or anything; so I watched it without any expectations.
From the very beginning, something was strange, hard to define, but definitely odd. I would say that the story start too close to everything, and doesn't gently introduce us to the settings of the story, nor to the characters. We understand that the main ones are those played by Samuel L. Jackson and Julianne Moore, but still, Brenda Martin(Moore), an ex-drug addicted and socially troubled woman that claim having her child accidentally abducted, isn't easy to follow and successfully keeps us in the mist.
Also, for some unknown reasons, the cop in charge of her(Jackson) don't choose to follow the usual procedure and start to bring her with him exactly where she shouldn't be, but also where he shouldn't be seen with her; his county, an exclusively black-American district. The reason is that she described the abductor as a black man, and the district is now severely surrounded and inspected by -mainly white- cops searching for an obviously white child.
You get it: The story finally just keep closing-up to this never-ending racial tension between black and white peoples of USA. I found this very annoying, even if it is supposed to be an important part of the plot. In fact it just brings this sensitive subject back without deepen anything at all. It just adds more chaos to the already troubled scenario. Some may say that it especially shows white peoples as the more evil, but if you look with attention, both of them act with the same pathetic anger, just through slightly divergent ways. Only Concil(Jackson) stay in the middle and hear constantly "Which side are you?" Add to this the rivalry between different police departments, and you get one heck of a bomb...
Well, overall, this movie may leave you quite perplex, with its very imprecise and troubled way of telling the story of a disturbed woman unintentionally setting fire in the already boiling relationship between black and white Americans. All the way, you'll be wondering "how will this end?", but not with that much emotion, honestly. "What are you waiting for?" is also another question you'll be asking all the time to the mains characters. Otherwise, realization is well done; good framing, good sound-work, including the music score. Acting was good too, although there was a lot of déjà-vu.
This movie doesn't feel like any of its other commercial counterparts, but it doesn't innovate either. Even on the entertaining side, it doesn't shine at all... And finally, with an ending feeling neither good or bad, most peoples won't feel in known territory, and won't remember it as a great experience, if they remember it first!
Excepted for extreme curiosity, just skip this one. Period.
The perfect cliché of "modern" B-grade Sci-Fi movies...
In opposite to my usual reviews, I won't spend too much time on this one... 'cause, whoever you are(age, sex, etc.) it sucks. Period.
BUT - it doesn't mean that we can't enjoy some of its elements!
I accidentally fell on used VHS versions of this movie a few times. The cover wasn't subtle, you knew it was B-grade from the very beginning, so it never reached my very heart... Then, one day, I bought a small lot of used VHS movies at 1$CND each, and I included this one: I was curious, that's all.
Now that you know how I came to know this piece of poo, here's my opinion: The story is more obvious on the back of the VHS box, than in the movie. But once you get it, it leaves you cold and indifferent. Some Terminator influences can't hide behind this medium-budget production: Metallic humanoids robots with red eye who start to hunt down humans in a post-apocalyptic future, preceded and succeeded by time travels, sick and poor humans living underground, etc.
Add a love story to that, a perfect collection of stereotyped characters, a good "made in USA" feeling, fantastic CGI special effects right out of the 90's, armors made from roller-blade protectors, LOTS of identical explosions (which are clearly exploding behind of before the target), a very pathetic, inconsequently and problematic use of "the butterfly effect" theory, all of this obviously taking place in the same repetitive vicinities and played by average actors. You get the idea? Great.
As I said earlier, it is not original. But I'm pretty sure that if you take the same budget and the same idea, and give it to any b-grade producer, you couldn't really do better.
Finally, if, as I did, you don't take it seriously, you may get entertained a little bit by it's very cliché sequences, but it won't change the fact that this movie still sucks.
Silent Hill (2006)
In what's taken from the game, this movie can't be wrong...
In all my life, this is the only movie I've seen the day of its release, and one of the very few I've been that eagerly envisaging to see. Sure, this was mainly attributed to my infatuation for Konami's 4 excellent games, being the most freaking and disturbing legacy in video games's history. I think no movie ever came close to their level of terror.
As soon as I knew about it, I went to the official website, which by the way is a piece of art, watched the trailer and the screenshots, and got really impressed by the faithful design and atmosphere. I've been pleased to see a cast without any damn huge Hollywood stars, still, the delicious Deborah Kara Unger and the overlooked Sean Bean were there to sustain least known characters. Then came D-day.
Let's say it, although my rating is of 8 stars, I was disappointed. The fact is that I had just discovered that the movie wasn't a direct adaptation of the video game quadrilogy. Some details had been changed unnecessarily, in fact it's mainly inspired from the first game, with some totally dislocated secondary elements from SH2 and SH3. As the film begins clearly like the original game, the male character, Harry Mason, changed of sex to become Rose. Movie makers explained this by telling that his personality was more the one of a female. So what? A man has some female characteristics, while a woman also has male characteristics, and it's part of a normal personality... why change that? Anyway, originally, Mason was traveling with his little Cheryl, which then, became Sharon. Why? Who knows, especially when it's that close phonetically! The translation to the big screen is full of annoying differences, while some details didn't changed, like Brahms, the close town from where Cybil comes. Keep in mind that if I was to describe every differences, this would no longer be a review! But for those who know the original games, especially the first, the need to remake the story becomes quite obvious. The original complexity, and sometimes the ambiguity, of events and relations would be unbearable for the usual occidental customer, who prefer to sit on his brain and get lazily entertained. Amazingly, it seems that lots of peoples didn't understood the plot, even with the useless, disappointing and cliché B&W flashback explanation sequence near the end, gently told by the evil Alessa!
Still, the main strength of Silent Hill is its unequaled atmosphere, its settings, and it's out-of-nowhere psychologically disturbing, twisted dark creatures, and totally unforeseen horrifying elements, like the dead end cutted-off roads, the school's second hellish dimension with bloody-rusted wire-netting walls, and on, and on. Although some obvious changes have been made, this, let's say it; most important part of the games, has been incredibly well rendered! To my opinion, just that worth for half the job. There is so much detail, so much work behind all of this weird world, it's mad to even just think about reproducing it! And most of it has been made from scratch! Only very few scenes takes place in real-life locations, all located close to Toronto, Canada. Even the early scenes after the disappearing of Sharon, on the foggy road, where Cybil and Rose meet again, have been done in a huge studio, with real asphalt and a fake mountain! In this department, I have too much to say. I love the creatures, especially the superb and faithful appearance of red pyramid. Wonderful make-up, not only for him, I mean everyone; the gray child, the 20 latex nurses, etc.
By the way, although my girlfriend especially loved them, I really think that the nurses aren't as cool as in the game. This, only because their faces are somehow not only missing, but twisted and grayish, like to remember severe fire burns, from the big fire... And this story of fire is also another divergent point, like if this was specially placed to explain the town's desertion and misty atmosphere, but also to give sense to some designs, like those of the nurses faces, but also for the graychilds twisted heads and incandescent kind of wounds, which are by the way very impressive, great digital work! The transition between the two dimensions, mainly involving computer imagery, is also really, really astonishing and beautifully wicked! I have to stop there for this point, as I said earlier; too much to say!
Personally, I would have preferred least plain dialog, and more mystery and ambiguity. This sure is the main weakness; the remake with a different and simpler script; more explanations than we needs and too much peoples, mainly because of the religious fanatics still in the town. Remember the loneliness of the games, which build a good part of your terror? Furthermore, it really gets annoying to hear "WITCH!" "THE DEMON!" or "BURN HER!" this break the original mood to something else, and that's too bad.
Anyway, the cast is excellent, I was insulted to see the name of Jodelle Ferland (Sharon/Alessa) mentioned so far in the credits: She's the actress to remember, so young and so professional, she's a pleasure to watch and hear! Otherwise, every one of the main characters, Rose, Christopher, Cybil, Dahlia, Christabella, Anna, are very good, honestly, but they are adults with experience and knowledge in addition to their talent, in opposite to the young Jodelle. I hope to see her again! Kim Coates in the role of Gucci is flat and ordinary. Otherwise, it was nice to see Deborah K. Unger in such a different role, and in two radically different states.
Well, I hope it helps! Silent Hill succeeds by it's unrivaled effects and atmosphere, which should be considered as the center point of the film. Put aside some unnecessary and tedious scenario bits, and focus on the quality and sickness of this trip between reality and hell.
But for God's sake, try the games!
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
Superb approach about a delicate occidental crisis
The first, and literally the main, good thing from this movie is the subject and the way the story brings it. Few movies achieve to righteously express the disturbing inner affective, sexual and emotional trouble of teenage, and the way parents successfully worsen it. For a period, it even has somehow been a sort taboo subject. I mean, it's a phenomenon that always existed, and most peoples, in some way, went through this kind of rough and frustrating period. The extreme, though, is another story, and the Lisbon sisters life tells it with beauty, thanks to Jeffrey Eugenides, but especially to Sofia Coppola's superb adaptation.
To place the story in the early 80's is a wise choice, sure, it visually uses well the kitch and brownish "clean" style of this period, but especially 'cause it both limits communication technology to reinforce sisters isolation, and successfully helps viewer to take a distant look, as this movie has been released in 1999. Still, we (well; I did) easily remember some sad and strange memories from our teenage, which give us this weird charm that keeps our attention.
Otherwise, casting was excellent, even surprising, if you consider the usually dry performances of teens playing a period of their life which still isn't over yet. I may repeat myself but, teenage is a delicate and hardly well rendered subject, probably the worst age to deal with, but here... it was just flawless and natural! I'm pleased, really, 'cause usually I just hate and avoid any production mainly involving teens, but Coppola's daughter managed to produce a mature and professional job, thumbs up, really! Although, some actors were older than their characters, but nobody noticed, did you? Anyway, Wood is a pleasure to watch, while Turner isn't exactly as good, but definitely professional. Dunst is just as sweet as a female actress can be, anyway, since her early and so wonderful performance in "Interview with a vampire", it would take a fool to deny such a talent.
Great photography, superb soundtrack, constant and effective art direction, authentic reproduction of a deplorable phenomenon, perfect succession of events and great, although depressive ending. Definitely, the Coppola's legacy is here to stay! *I suggest anyone to show this production to any excessive parents this movie can remember you of.
Phone Booth (2002)
Empty, anemic and unmemorable : Small in every way
I must admit that I'm impressed to see how high rated this movie is so far, as I sure do not share that opinion. And guys, please, how amateur can you be! Stop rating everything 10 stars, PLEASE, use that opportunity to make a mature, precise and well analyzed rating, alright? It gets annoying for those who take the time to think... Well, anyway... A few days after seeing this film, I heard a colleague almost yelling to everyone how GOOD, how breathtaking and loaded of suspense this movie was, he was almost sweating, just talking about it... pathetic. Well, I remained silent; thinking to myself how fool this guy was anyway.
No, really, although I'm glad to see an American movie breaking the usual linear scenario recipe, and being confident enough to keep it that short, in the end; it still left me somehow in a state of confused emptiness. I mean, OK, I'm alright with short movies, I'm okay with sad endings, or whatever most people dislike to see in a regular rental. So the problem isn't there, I guess the lenght has more to do with the inner limits of the "Phone Boot"'s concept, as a longer production would quickly turn in circle.
Problem's neither about actors, which most are established talents delivering convenient performances. In fact, the hiccup isn't about what the movie got right or wrong, it's not about what it does, but more about what it does not. It doesn't innovate in any artistic way, nor in any psychological way. The way the subject is shown doesn't match the way it intended, pretended or wanted to be. This story sure was better on paper than on screen, no doubt about it. The strenghts aren't shinning enough, all of this 'cause of the boring and standard technical execution. Oh, yeah, and it's in New-York, wow... almost impressive, but especially original, really... Oh, and main characters HAD to be well known actors, yeah, sure... it wouldn't have been attractive enough for the middle American customer, of course, of course... A lot of these kind of stupid details would have made a much better piece of work. Some scenario bits should have been changed, like seeing the "mysterious" sniper guy, at the end, wasn't necessary, it was even cliché (and everyone knew it was Kiefer Sutherland from the first time you hear him anyway). And the ending could hardly be worst and more uninspired. The spectator needs to leave, at the end, with something still working his mind. Otherwise, you get the "emptiness syndrome", and "Phone Boot" is the best example of its kind.
The unusual scenario stepping is a slippy way, and it hurts. Focusing on a single element like this "selfmade -playing god- justice" doesn't leave enough meat around the bone, and quickly blow itself. The rest of the movie will or will not succeed, depending of your naivety and impressionability. It personally didn't bring me on the edge of my seat at all, it just seemed cheesy and repetitive to me, and maybe 1h20 was short, but it still felt like a waste of time, as it left me deceived, unsatisfied and, EMPTY.
An offense to Luc Besson's trilogy
Importing a successful idea from a great producer like Besson (The 5th Element, anyone?) and transform it in such a disaster is something quite rare. In fact, being a faithful fan of the original great 3 movies, I'm personally insulted.
Okay, let's compare: Starting with the actors, well, the funny skinny cynical driver, Daniel, has been replaced by... the irritating, way too confident Queen Latifat... ?Queen Latifat? Seriously?! She hasn't the right attitude to play this role, although the person in charge of the cast selection is more to blame than the girl herself! Sure, I don't like her at all (like every man), but she's still an okay actress. As far as it's not supposed to be serious, she manages to stay natural, even thru these -very- stupid lyrics. Talking about stupidity, Jimmy Fallon took the place of the rookie cop, originally called Emilien, now named Washburn. In fact, he seems to try to be the next Jim Carrey, playing the naive, "unvolontary clownesque" kinda guy. Goofiness has its limits, at least in terms of credibility, and Fallon has none. Just watching him hitting cars like a blind cerebrally paralyzed deficient, just because we need to know that he's bad at driving, will make you sick and disgusted about mankind... Fallon is now on my top-5 of the worst performance ever (Steve West being the #1 playing "The incredible melting man"), really. He's not just pathetic, I dunno, I can't find the word... but I'll have to censure myself. This remake is in fact quite different from its counterpart, and not for the best: Several characters changed of sex, which just corrupted the way the movie should sound and was originally intended, while some simply got deleted. Overall, these new characters were poorly acted, average at best.
Furtermore, the speedy, tortuous, sunny and marvelous locations of the original movie have been replaced by the gray and boring vicinities of New-York city. The truly sporty and lovely roaring Peugeot 406 of the original movies is now a heavy and huge Crown Victoria, pathetically disguised with a hood intake, skirts, mags and spoiler, and, oh joy! it's yellow! It seems they just forgot that the taxi was the core of the concept, feeling now like an accessory. And, seriously, USA rule 3 major motor companies, Ford, Dodge and GM... Ain't there hotter cars than this standard taxi juggernaut?!
How about story? The trilogy was humor and action centered, so the story was a pretext to speed excess, laugh, and gun fire. Then, if you take the USA version, just dilute everything down 10 times and you'll almost get it. The original sarcastic atmosphere and well timed jokes left place to some of the most anorexic, silly and uninspired humor you've seen since a long time. I'm glad I haven't paid to see it, but my poor sister did, what was she thinking? Only "Are we there yet?" come close to to that level of crappiness... and guess what? She rented it too...
Yes, it really is that bad.