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Film Noir (2007)
Although it's a bit tough, 'amateurish' is the best word to describe this film. The plot is very common, the characters are not original at all and the animation is so bad it hurts. The animation actually ruins every good aspect of the movie, whatever little exists. Some objects look realistic and the character animation is fluid, but it never looks natural and so the characters seem fake, like (very) bad actors. Every action scene is also ruined by unrealistic movements and horrible explosion effects. at no point does the world look believable.
As an homage to the noir genre it doesn't do much either, as it simply takes some plot ideas from a few popular noir films and mixes them together in a rushed way.
In a few words: don't waste your time on this!
Hauru no ugoku shiro (2004)
Although certainly miles ahead of the average cartoon around these days, this is not the best Miyazaki.
One thing that will always be evident in any Miyazaki film is the director's imagination. The worlds he creates are incredibly characteristic. However, up until Princes Mononoke, these worlds were also accompanied by a solid story, which allowed the director to express himself and at the same time made sure the audience was not confused and the theme of the movies was delivered withing their time frame.
Howl's Moving Castle and in my opinion Spirited Away move on a basic story thread and theme, but the individual actions of the characters are sometimes unexplainable and impolitic. In Princess Mononoke, in every action we could see the motive. This is not always the case here.
Besides that, this movies reminds us a lot of Miyazaki's previous works, like Laputa. As a result, this world does not seem as impressive as the ones we've been used to so far.
What gave me the worst impression was the ending. To me it was so over the top that it made one forget the rest of the movie and the other themes just to focus on the relationship between Howl and Sophie.
In the end, how bad can a Miyazaki movie get? At worst, it will be simply quite good and that's what Howl's Moving Castle is. I could not use a negative word for a Miyazaki film, so let's not say that it is his worst, but it is definitely the least good.
Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
Now, THIS, is how it's done!!
Scott made Gladiator, a film whose commercial and critical success started the historic epic trend. As a result of that we saw movies like Troy and Alexander which just came to prove that the genre is not important. What made Gladiator so good was not the milieu, but Scott's skillful direction.
So now, 5 years after his last historic epic, Scott come back to the genre he resurrected to show everyone how it's done:
Kingdon of Heaven has an excellent story which is told using beautiful cinematography and and, refreshingly, understated acting. Bloom is unrecognisable and Scott passes the theme of the film without tiring the audience, and with practically no cheesy lines!
The story is balanced by some of the best battle scenes ever filmed which make excellent use of CG and appear always impressive and never fake. I am a great fan of the 'Lord of the Ring' films and loved the battles there. Kingdom of Heaven contains equally as impressive scenes, easily the best I've seen in a non fantasy film. Scott's film does not try to imitate Jackson. The most impressive scenes IMO are not in direct man to man combat but rather when some sort of weapon is used against the opponents army.
So, if you ever likes an epic movie or a movie with great battle scenes and an appropriate theme, go watch Kingdom of Heaven, one the best of that sort. I for one will definitely watch it a few times more!
Nochnoy dozor (2004)
What a mess ??!!
I just finished watching this and all I can say is: what a mess??!?!! This film is proof that special effects and expensive production cannot make up for a bad story, over-directing and horrible editing.
The story is a very typical good vs evil plot. But instead of sticking to the basics and giving us some good action, the film prefers to concentrate on overlong dramatic scenes.
The action is minimal and we never get the feel of tension because of the editing. It is so bad that it never lets you appreciate the scenes. In just a few seconds, we see a fight scene mixed with some other scene mixed with some CG, mixed with 10 different angles of the original scene. 20 different things in just a few seconds not a single one has any motion in it and that's not the worst example. Over all, in the few fight scenes, we never see anyone move! Story-wise it's just as bad. It starts well, but as it progresses, we encounter many different characters for which we never get enough information to understand their part in the story. The only person that makes sense is the lead character and all all other major characters we see have no purpose apart from saying some dramatic nonsense.
Overall, the use of computer graphics is very bad (do we really want to see how a car engine works??!?), the editing is worse and the only thing that is OK is the acting.
See this movie to remind yourself how much style over substance can hurt. See it if you are very curious about this over-hyped Russian production.Don't see it if you want to have fun watching an action movie or if you don't want to be frustrated by the stupidity of the director and editor.
28 Days Later... (2002)
Excellent Horror Film!
This is a film that sticks to the basics in terms of plot and delivers in the end thanks to the great direction, photography and score. An approach we haven't seen been done well for quite some time. The result is one of the most atmospheric films in recent years. Great acting by the leads, overall a great film that everyone should experience! 9/10
Star Wars meets Gone With The Wind!
Yep, I saw Ep2 last night and to save you the suspense: it sucks! At least I think that would be the opinion of any frequent cinema go-er. In short this film is a combination of VERY bad screenplay, good-ok story, impressive but boring at times computer graphics, a very cheesy love story and bad use of good actors.
Let me start with the love story. Lots of people have blamed Lucas for this love story, but he defended him self by saying that it was always part of the story. I have to admit that he is right about this, BUT that does not mean he has to give it so much weight (why no do it like Leia-Solo??), or put stupid lines witch many times made everyone in the cinema laugh (by the way MUCH worse than Gone With The Wind)!
Now, concerning the graphics which go together with direction, both are a vast improvement from Ep1, but, some times the graphics are too much. I mean, why do rooms in CG, it DOES NOT LOOK REAL!!!!! Also, concerning the direction it is still not impressive al all. I mean Lucas has to grow up some time. All the shots are typical of any mediocre action film. I mean, sure this was ok in the late 70s/ early 80's but nowadays action films shooting is much more sophisticated, take for example The Matrix and of course Lord Of The Rings! In both these films cinematography is GREAT!
Now, I have to admit that the story is not bad, in fact at some points it's quite good(don't want to spoil anything here)! However, no matter how god a story is, it looks really bad and boring when combined with stupid, repetitive dialog. This is not just the love scenes, it's everything. For example the Obi-Ani relationship, how many time have we heard such lines before: my master underestimate me, he is jealous of me, I'm better than him, I'm going to be the best, yada,yada,yada! I think that Lucas(and whoever else was responsible) should just STOP WRITING THE SCREENPLAY!!!!
Bad directing is also seen when good actors look like they're acting bad. All the stars her are very good to excellent in other films, can't Lucas be bothered to shoot something twice to get it right??
My conclusion is that this could not have been worse than Ep1 since we don't get to see Jar-Jar that often. But also, from both Ep1, Ep2 I think that the greatness of the first trilogy is owed to anyone but Lucas. Now that he is more involved the films suck. So I say for Ep3: hire the old co-writers and the director of Empire strikes back, or just give the film to Peter Jackson for Gods sake!! BTW, gave it a 6/10
Anyone who expected just another horror movie is obviously dissapointed!
I just came back from a special showing of Carrie in the student's cinema of my university and I must say one thing: THANK YOU to the director, for this is one of the best, most moving films I've ever seen. I honestly don't understand the "it's not scary" mentality!
Now, whether you want to call this horror film or thriller or whatever else is up to you, but I think Carrie's scope cannot reaches beyond just one genre! It is a thriller, but at the same time a very humane movie. You can feel the girl hurting, you hate her mother, you dislike her friends! This movie wasn't made for cheap scares: every scene is brilliantly captured. The scary parts may be rare but when they are there you just can't move from your seat!
The acting is also excellent, Sissy Spacek of course deserving most of the credit, but that is not to say that the other actors aren't great too.
Concerning the script, all the credit goes of course to Stephen King. When you see this movie you can really tell the difference between an artist like him an some cheap Hollywood writer (Scream?). There is so much more to the story than: -Booooo! -Aaaaaa!
So, if you want to see a "scary movie", go see Scream or some other shallow horror film. However if you are looking for a terrifying but also moving film, Carrie is just right for you. And please, if you must put this work of art into one genre, its better if you put it in social drama rather than horror film. Of course it's not scary! It's MUCH more than just that.