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The Book of Eli (2010)
Not just another post-apocalyptic thriller.
Upon first viewing the trailer I was immediately giddy to see a new post-apocalyptic film in the vein of The Road Warrior. Being a fan of the genre, one must get used to the repetitive "lone wanderer" theme so prominently used. I figured this film would go through the same formula, but prepared to enjoy myself.
Yes it did use the lone wanderer as a driving plot device, and yes it did bring the arbitrary twist. Yes all the survivors are short on t-shirts, but live in a wealth of leather and goggles. Yes everything in this film looks like and feels like a typical post-apocalyptia. But the substance of the story is far more powerful then I could ever have expected.
Without giving away too much, yes the film is essentially a Christian metaphor. Eli seems to be protected by some mysterious force, guided by "God" to head west. But it's what the meaning behind this admittedly bizarre plot that makes this film so great. It truly is a film about faith and believing in one's self. Using the dreary post-apocalyptic backdrop, the film is able to contrast this powerful message with the harsh landscape. Even amidst such despair, one can rise and accomplish anything. In a world slowly becoming apocalyptic itself, this message is much welcomed.
The other aspects lending to the power of The Book of Eli are its technical aspects. The cinematography is simply beautiful. Moody slo-mo shots abound with wonderfully toned colors. Everything looks dark and dead, the sun beating down endlessly on the dusty dunes. The soundtrack adds immensely to this feeling, using soft ambient chords and blasting action-scene drums when necessary. Overall The Book of Eli is an excellent film itself and an excellent spin on the post-apocalyptic genre.
Oh yeah, and Denzel Washington actually manages to pull off the part of a wizened, old bad ass.
Ninja Assassin (2009)
Ninjas whom are assassins.
Ninja Assassin is possibly the most ingenious self-explanatory title ever bestowed upon a film. It is about ninjas, who are of course assassins, assassinating the hell out of anything with two legs and 300 gallons of blood. With this set-up, one can only imagine the amount of kung-fu fighting goodness that a film called Ninja Assassin would deliver. Non-stop sword fighting, shadow crawling stealth, supernatural powers, you name the ninja stereo-type and this movie's got it. And yet, while it delivers on its promises, its failure is that it brings more than just hyper-stylized martial arts sequences to the door. I entered the theater with low-expectations for a story, just wanting to shut off the brain for an hour and a half and watch ninjas do ninja things. With a beautifully gory introduction, I thought my hopes would be satisfied. A ninja was in a room, assassinating people. All was well with the world. Then it cut to a Europol headquarters in Berlin. As soon as Naomie Harris entered the screen I woefully realized that this film was actually going to attempt to make a coherent plot for a film called Ninja Assassin. That's right, her character Mika begins to delve into the mysterious world of the ninja, finding links between them and international murders with relative ease. It was starting to look bad. Then I'm treated to Rain (the greatest name any Asian has ever taken, ever) doing ninja type things and training in a room. Flashbacks to how he became a ninja and an outcast ensue. All-in-all, the first half hour to forty-five minutes is dreadfully dull. A film where people bleed copious amounts of cgi-rendered blood does not have any place attempting to establish a heart. Thankfully, the film managed to save itself from a complete coma-inducing null-fest back to a high octane gore-fest toward the middle. Unfortunately, these scenes relied too heavily on wire work and cgi effects to really enter the realm of visceral, energetic fighting flicks such as The Protector. If you can stand a painfully overdone plot, slow flashbacks, and cheesy effects then Ninja Assassin is a pretty decent movie for what it is. Nothing special, but something that missed its potential.
A Perfect Getaway (2009)
Much better than I expected.
A Perfect Getaway was nowhere near a perfect film, but it was certainly a good film. The trailers made it out to be a much more non-stop, action thriller than it really was, showing the last 20 minutes. The majority of the film centers around paranoia. It is true though that the plot twist can be seen coming from a mile away, but how it is delivered is where it succeeds. While I personally wasn't surprised, how the twist was presented was quite original and chill-inducing. I'll leave it at that. Where this film really succeeds is in the cinematography and acting, both of which are superb. The locale is beautiful, all the colors are vibrantly displayed and everything looks crisp. There are some scenes with intriguing camera work that works well to add intensity and be intuitive. All the actors really give it their best and create believable characters. Milla was good as usual, but Zahn really surprised me. I never really gave him credit for how good of an actor he is until about now. Overall, it's worth the watch and is ultimately very entertaining with wonderful characters.
The Strangers (2008)
A horror film that fails in all respects of horror and hilariously takes itself seriously.
From the moment I saw the trailer I knew The Strangers had to be awful. I mean, with such a bland premise how could it have been entertaining in the least bit? But in need of a good laugh (and remembering how much fun bashing Prom Night was) I bought a ticket and subjected myself to this film. It was everything I expected and more. The "terror" or "suspense" in the film was predictable and downright lame. I mean, this film used every gimmick in the book. Whenever they're behind someone, the someone turns around and poof, like magic, the serial killer disappears. In a vain attempt to build suspense the film makers overused heavy ambiance and sudden loud music stings to make the audience jump and cringe. Too bad I found it difficult to even pay attention because of how slow it moved. Still, my friend with me and I found it most difficult to contain our laughter throughout the film at just how bad it was. Maybe if the film hadn't taken itself so seriously or tried something original, then it could have been at least half-way decent. Shame really.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
Fun movie with slick action
Hot Fuzz is an action-comedy with great humor and, well, great action. At times it seems serious and slick enough to be a real action film. But then something down right silly and outrageous happens and you realize that it IS a comedy. Where Hot Fuzz triumphs is the way that they use all the gimmicks of action movies to give it the feel of an action movie (like quick camera angles, catchy noises, and awesome sound track). And though I would say it's a full blown comedy, sometimes it is to serious or slow and makes the viewer really want something funny to happen. But no worries, every scene somebody has something to say that has a harsh wit to it. When it all comes down to the last 20 or 30 minutes, Hot Fuzz then really brings out the humor. Lets just say it's one of the funniest and most intense action sequences I've ever seen. This movie is a MUST SEE for any fan of Spaced or Shaun of the Dead or Action movies. Good stuff.
A very stylized, action-packed beauty of a film
300 is an amazing little number that only Frank Miller can bring the world. From the dynamic lighting to the breath-taking (highly exaggerated) fight scenes, it's definitely worth your 9 dollars.
Each sequence has a dynamic lighting that sets the mood, giving it a very surreal feel. The blood and gore as stated before is very stylized, giving it the feel of a video game almost. When a Spartan stabs a Persian, the multiple blood particles splatter out in generous amounts, giving this movie an A+ in gore.
Yet the actors also play their characters 100%. Each has an interesting personality which holds strong all the way through. Seeing the Sparatans fighting with true ferocity sends tingles down your spine.
If there was one thing I could change about the film though would be to step up the soundtrack. During one of the fight scenes, the music has a hardcore metal edge to it making the fight sequence one of the most memorable in the film. If every sequence had blazing guitar and drum tempo, this movie would be hands down a 10/10. Unfortunately the score is to general for this genre, and the film does feel a bit repetitive in a few sequences that seem to go on to long. So this movie earns a solid 9/10. Good stuff, Miller. Can't wait until Sin City 2 is out.
Ghost Rider (2007)
A fun and enjoyable film for all.
Ghost Rider turned out to be a really good super hero flick. As you can tell though, there really isn't much in the way of story. But hey, that's why I like this movie. Sit down, shut off brain, enjoy the movie with a couple of buddies.
Ghost Rider follows the simple story of Johnny Blaze, vigilante from Hell. It takes 45 minutes to really get going, but when it does, it's awesome. The soundtrack fits in perfectly with the film and the noises are wonderful. Some may find the cackling Ghost Rider a bit cheesy and over done, but it gives it the strangely funny/evil feel that the Clown/Violater gave to the movie and comics Spawn.
And don't listen to all the idiots in the boards bashing this movie like hell. It still is pretty good. And the CG is better then everyone gives credit for. Plus the end has a really cool Spagetti Western from Hell feel to it. All in all a great movie. Lots of fun!
Epic Movie (2007)
A waste of time and money.
To sum up Epic Movie in one phrase, it was a simple waste of my life. Unfortunetley, this movie is as unfunny and disgusting as it gets. The jokes were lacking in any originality, and mostly relied on sight comedy that doesn't have anything to it except the absurd and rancid. I'm all for sick twisted humor, but this is just childish. Especially because it parodies only movies from 2006. No classics or anything, just movies that are recognizable by today's younger generation, so they'll probably will have seen it and find it funny. Also, they went as low as to parody movies that are already comedies, and since this is a comedy, I find it just a bit contradictory.
Decent enough to enjoy
I'm sure that I'm the only person here who really isn't going to bash on this film. Of course, I already knew it was a crocodile in stead of a serial killer. I mean c'mon, if you looked around on the internet you would of known, and the trailer made it apparent. Still I agree that it was a cheesy scam to call this killer croc "the world's most prolific serial killer". Aside from that, the movie had a simple (if not too simple) story line. Croc kills important person, team sent to catch it, croc is smarter then them, they try to survive. If you've seen Lake Placid, then this is generally the same idea. Just subtract one croc, set it in Africa, and put a really funny black guy in. Yeah, Orlando Jones does an exceptional job as Steve and makes you laugh more then once. Unfortunately, the other actors are so-so at best. The croc's animation was decent, but I felt he needed a better design. He just looked like a really big croc rather then anything original. And the gore was disappointing. The animated blood in the raining scenes was laughably bad. Overall, it might be worth a rent when it comes out on DVD, but it isn't going to ever be a vintage horror film. If you've seen Lake Placid, no need to apply here, except that this is the better Lake Placid.