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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bin-Jip (2004) My personal interest in Ki-Duk Kim appeared some months
ago after buying Bad Guy on DVD, that movie challenged and moved a lot,
but at the end it did bother me that it contained certain plot holes.
Months later my path came across another movie of his, The Isle, while
this story were without obvious plot holes it failed to contain the
emotional strength that made Bad Guy such a remarkable experience for
me. Now, my path has crossed Bin-Jip and I must say that as an overall
vote I rate it higher than both The Isle and Bad Guy, but I don't
necessarily consider it a better movie. It is a challenging movie that
will leave each viewer with a unique interpretation, because, as in
other of Ki-Duk Kim's movies it's all about interpreting what happens
on the screen.
The story, roughly drawn, is about a young man who lives an almost entirely anonymous life, breaking into various houses, fixing things, living their lives, doing their laundry for a little while before he moves onto his next location, a nomad. One day his path comes across a wealthy house in which he finds a wife beaten up. Once the husband returns he hits golf-balls at him with the husband's 3-iron and leaves with the wife, taking her with him on his journeys.
The first thing that strikes me on this movie is how extremely slow and quiet it is, it often feels like nothing is happening in the movie at all, but actually a lot manages to happen through those 95 minutes. The challenging part about the movie is interpreting the many changes of mood and morals in the movie and as always with Ki-Duk Kim almost everything is hidden beneath the surface. I don't wanna cross my own interpretation of things in this review as that is impossible without making needless spoilers.
Both the acting and the directing is really quite remarkable, the main characters of the movie hardly says anything, actually the lead male doesn't say one single word at all and the female says only 3 words, therefore it can only be considered admirable how many feelings are actually expressed through their faces and movements. The directing is equally brilliant and Ki-Duk brings a powerful and intelligent visual side as he usually does, and of course this movie also includes some fantastic music fitting the mood of the movie perfectly, another typical Ki-Duk detail.
As a final note, I'd prefer to say it very directly, if you like to think during your movies this will interest you, especially if you've found Ki-Duk's other work interesting, but if you prefer nonstop action on the screen, you'll be extremely disappointed with this one, because all the action of this movie happens inside each viewers head.
Jenna Rink is 13 years old, she spends all day dreaming about
moviestars and musicstars, while she wishes to become member of the
cool clique, which is hard because it isn't her thing, at a birthday
party they abuses her and she wishes that she could skip the teenage
life and go straight to being 30, her wish comes true.
A very typical Hollywood movies, predictable pretty much from the start to the end, I were never really in doubt on how it would end up. But despite having this typical thing laying over it, it actually had some enjoyable moments, and I never really got bored, I guess this is one of those popcorn movies, I just don't think that it'd work as well the second time as the first time.
For me the movie were stronger on the romantic side, than the comedy side, being one of these typical romantic comedies both sides got to work in order to make a strong movie, and that just didn't work for me, but it does have some romantic moments which are well done, even though they are predictable. I smiled a few times, but I never really laughed, not that I expected that, the good thing about the humour is that the movie doesn't make up a lot of stupid comedic scenes to push the humour harder, that I found very pleasant, it made the movie feel smarter and more clever than the average American romantic comedy.
The movie however also had some poor scenes, I wouldn't call them dumb, but they should have left out the whole scene with Jenna making friends with the whole neighbourhood of 13's, a bit unrealistic the way I see it, I would expect that she'd have more of a predujice against these smalltimers now that she had become rich and beautiful, but I guess the director looked at it from a different point of view, never the less I found these scenes pointless.
The direction of the movie isn't very strong, but who could expect that from such an ordinary movie, I'd say that the strongest side of the direction was that the director avoided to bring a dumb feeling to the movie by adding a lot of dumb comedian scenes, which I liked, I hate these American teen movies that pushes the humour to the edge where it just feels ridiculous.
Jennifer Garner obviously carries the movie, she does pretty well and is quite convincing, in a movie like this where the whole plot is put on her shoulders it's good to see that she can fill the movie out.
Overall the movie is pretty okay, if one is in a romantic mood this movie would probably be one to enjoy, it doesn't bring much new to the genre, and there are definitely better movies to be found within this genre, but it's actually okay, it's just a pretty shallow movie that never succeeds in getting under Jenna Rink's skin during her transformation in her adult life.
The story about a demon, brought back to hell to serve the evil, but ended up serving the good. Approx 60 years after HellBoy was brought back, the former evil mastermind, Rasputin, returns once again to bring doom over the earth, only one man can stop him, Hellboy.
Over the lasts years the new hype are superhero comic book adaptions to the screen, some of these have failed, some have been very good like X-Men 1/2 and Spider-Man 1/2. Here comes HellBoy, and obviously the expectations are high, and I got to admit, the movie fell through for me, I'm not saying it was the worst one ever, but it never really got to me, a true popcorn movie, 2 hours to unlock the brain and watch the screen.
I'm not going to lie, I prefer movies that takes some brain work, some deep movies where you can really get under the skin of the persons, of figure out the plot. This movie succeeds in neither, it's both a bit hollow, and the characters - except a few moments with Hellboy - feels pretty empty, furthermore the attempt to bring personal situations to the superhero world of Hellboy fails badly, the chemistry between HellBoy and "Liz" (Starring Selma Blair) works not too well, and generally I just thought that Selma Blair felt very miscast in this role.
This movie is generally what I would categorize as a "Popcorn" flick, not to much brain work, but a lot of action and very often use of CGI and other similar effects, this at times feels a little like an effect war, even though much of it is well done, I can't help myself thinking that it's all effects, one of the things I liked was how obvious it was that a person was playing "Blue", instead of that being a CGI character.
The direction of the movie is okay, the action scenes are smoothly done, even though I hate the classic element of "A beats B, B beats A, A beats B, B beats A, A beats B and win.", That element is often used here, and it's kind of sad, it feels like the movie drags out a bit, it could have used the sparetime by personalizing more with the characters, anyway the action scenes are easy to follow and not confusing, well done and pretty entertaining, especially since they destroy everything around them, and I did find myself cheer for HellBoy, even though I knew he was gonna win anyway eventually. The future sight of "The Apocalypse" were the best 10 seconds of the film, a powerful sight, that may one day be even more realistic with the nuclear weapons etc. man possesses today, perhaps a hidden message here? Especially the sight of the newspaper were well done.
Sadly I think the director avoids the downsides of being a hero and all that, a downside that X-Men and Spider-Men portrays so well. There are a few moments of the film where the director tries to point it out, an example is the awkward scene between HellBoy and Liz in his room where he tells her that he wishes he could get rid of his looks and be normal, but he can't, a good promising moment there, but after that, it fades into the background and is not taken up again, unfortunately.
There is no doubt that Ron Perlman is the powerful Hellboy, also a terrific performance for him, and his good humour fits the character well, all the other characters and actors in the movie falls through swiftly, some are average performances, like Rupert Evans as the FBI agent, not a bad performance, but perhaps not really many chances for him to show some good sides. As mentioned I found Selma Blair pretty poor in this role, and well that generally went for much of the cast, even though I must admit the FBI chief I hated, but in the end he got portrayed as a pathetic character suddenly socializing with HellBoy, not too well done.
Overall: A true popcorn movie, nothing less, nothing more, it had more potential, but fails to take use of it. If you feel like unlocking your brain for 2 hours, HellBoy won't let you down.
John McClane is in California to visit his wife, whom he is seperated from due to different dreams of careers and he hasn't been able to handle he succes in her new job. But it's christmas so he comes to see his family, while picking up his wife at her firm, a group of terrorist shows up and holds all guests as hostages, John McClane manages to escape and is now the only hope to save the hostages and alert the police.
Overall action movies are always very similar and predictable, and this movie is too predictable, perhaps that is the only big weakness of this movie, because who can deny there is something special with Die Hard. Die Hard is simply a very progressive, accelerated and perfectly paced action movie, not only does it tell a good story, and even comes with a few complexes, it also brings some of the best and most solid action ever to be seen.
John McTiernan has proven to be a solid action director over the years, after the breakthrough with Predator he made this classic action flick, that never seems to be getting old, even now. 17 years later, it still works as well as it did 17 years ago, brilliant.
This is just what I suppose we can call a perfect popcorn movie, the kind of movie where you lean back and just let the thrill ride begin, you know things will end happily, but still it entertains for the 2 hours it lasts, and it entertains at a very high level. Perhaps one of the weaknesses of the movie is the happy ending, I would have loved a darker ending, leaving something to think about, especially since there obviously is the problematic climax involved in the movie, there are some good side stories, especially the dramatic with John and Holly's marriage. Strangely that works out perfectly and we get to know everything about it, even though the movie actually doesn't spend much time explaining, it's just done so well and perfectly direct that we basically know everything about these two when the movie ends.
I am not sure if this was a final breakthrough for Bruce Willis, but he definetely shows in this movie what great actor he is, we see a lot of different sides of him, the tough guy, the soft guy, and even better, the funny guy. I hardly ever láugh in movies, and I hate unserious movies that are trying to hard to make you laugh, but the jokes in this movie are perfect, especially the one signed by Bruce Willis, I loved his attitude, perfect performance!
To sum it all up a bit, as we always do. This is a really great action classic, an unforgettable movie that never gets old, no matter how many times you watch it, this must be like the 5th time for me, and it's still highly entertaining, it has no slow moments and just moves out there at a perfect pace for 2 hours. The weak sides is perhaps that it's such a classic and traditional action movie that we know the end before the movie starts, sadly, an ending that would have left me breathless would have been better for me, but maybe other people think differently. I just like dark endings.
Year 2084, humans are fighting a bloody war against an alien species known as "Daggra", the war is coming to an end and it seems as if the human race will lose it. The human race however has managed to build a time machine, and in the dying seconds of the war they manage to send a girl, "Milly", back in time. Her mission is to locate and kill the first alien to land on earth, hoping that this will prevent the future war.
There is never any doubt where this movie has picked up its inspiration, movies like "The Terminator 1/2", "Independence Day" and "The Matrix" are quite obvious in the movie, but that isn't necesarrily a bad thing, all movies pick up inspiration from somewhere. The storyline isn't very original, but still in a way original. Problem with it really is that it lacks some depth, and also the 82 years war feels a little unrealistic, however the storyline is driven enough, just nothing special, nothing that will make this movie stand out, even though I think it had a lot of potential. There are also moments of the movie where the story feels a little too weak, especially the very end I disliked, just the way it went, reminded me too much of E.T, and the sentimental point of view should have been kept out of this movie.
Now to draw out the positive sides of this movie. The action scenes are great, even though they are very inspired by The Matrix they are still very good and enjoyable. I never found myself getting boring, and I think the action scenes are definitely one of the things that makes this movie worth watching. Some people say that the effects here are worse than in Hollywood, to be quite honest, I don't believe they are. I didn't find them unconvincing at all, especially the scenes with the Cyborgs were well done, the bullet-time scenes were also good, but we've seen that a lot of times before after "The Matrix" was released.
The movie ends with a small twist, a twist I personally felt didn't belong to the movie at that point, the clues given were a bit weak, and I think it was just generally a weak attempt to create a shocking end, opening your eyes, which it didn't for me, at least not when he woke up again. Had he died, then I would have been shocked and amazed.
Another problem with the movie is the lead characters. Anne Suzuki is cute, yeah, but she lacks depth and her performance never feels real. Her character felt kind of empty and that also damaged the chemistry with co-lead actor Takeshi Kaneshiro, who in the personal scenes neither was very good and convincing, but I must admit that he was fantastic in the action scenes, a 50/50 performance from him, although his character never were very believable. The star on the acting side is the guy playing the notorious bad guy, Goro Kishitani had a magnificent performance playing mr. Evil himself, Mizoguchi. This is a character I most definitely hated, and definitely one of the characters that brought life to the story.
Takashi Yamazaki obviously had a good hand on things while directing the action scenes, and also the movie contains some good cinematography. Sadly Yamakazi didn't manage to control the personal scenes of the movies as well as the action scenes, truly sad, because the movie could really have been at a higher level if the personal scenes had felt more convincing. The script also lacked some depth for each of the lead characters, the idea of the movie could actually have been a lot better.
To sum it all up a tad, a quite enjoyable and driven movie that lives on some good action scenes and one of the coolest bad guys I've seen in a very long time. The script lacks some depth and personal relations with the lead characters, the story also at times felt kind of pointless, but overall the movie managed to hold up a driven pace throughout, and even though it is flawed, it is a very entertaining movie that you can sit back and enjoy.
Billy Bob Thornton is a burn out man, acting as Santa only to secure a few heists from the supermarkets he's working at. His partner is a dwarf and as an "Elf" and "Santa" they have no problems getting work, but as "Santa" falls more and more apart the work is also getting harder. He hates life, but then he encounters a boy and a woman who is the waitress he's always dreamed of, and she has a thing for Santa's.
Going into this movie i was unsure what to expect, in the later years I haven't found many movies funny, mostly because i find the humour plain dumb, movies often try to hard. Now this movie has an alternative way of using the humour, it's more raw and doesn't feel so ridicolous, instead it's almost interesting to watch how much the characters swear instead, there is never any doubt that the movie tries to bring humour from a different side than usual, and it does have some good moments. Just that overall it feels a little like it repeats it own jokes. I admit i had a few good laughs, but overall I don't think the movie is all that funny, and then the storyline just simply can't hold it together.
The thing about the movie is, that even though it tries an alternative approach to the whole "Santa story", the movie is still very predicable, typical for these movies touched by the magic Hollywood formular you can feel the end all the way, it had a small twist in the end, that I admit surprised me, but the movie still managed to end the happy way I had expected and imagined. Naturally this doesn't have to mean that the movie has a bad storyline, it can still be interesting, warm, feeling and romantic or something else. And this movie did manage to keep me interested most of the way, during the second half there is a very slow moment where I almost dropped out, but through tht end it paced up a bit, saved itself.
Besides Billy Bob Thornton, whom i found fantastic as this lowlife bum playing Santa, the crew is pretty standard. The directing is something I think every director with just a little experience could have pulled off, it has no marks, and actually I guess the director is responsible for slowing the movie down too much in the second half. There is never any doubt that this movie is dependant on Billy Bob, and it does lean much against him, and he gives a very fine performance too.
To sum it all up a bit, I found this movie partly enjoyable, despite a lot of flaws and a story that has been told almost a million times, in many different ways now. It does bring an alternative way to do it, but in the end it all ends as usual. I got a good laughs, but overall the humour wasn't really me and couldn't carry the movie through, it had some good moments, and some bad moments, I reckon it's an average movie, that can be seen, but won't stay with you for long. Unless you find the dialogue great.
An American submarine carrying nuclear weapons crashes under mysterious events, as a storm is coming along an underwater oil rig is called up for help. As the investigation of the submarine starts the wires to the controlling ship gets cut during the storm, the oil rig and the crew is stuck with a few navy seals who are afraid of the Russians, as the atmosphere gets desperate the crew encounters an unknown life form.
Personally I feel James Cameron haven't made many wrong steps in his career, his movies always manage to amaze and entertain me, that includes Titanic. So i was looking forward to watching this movie, and despite a few flaws I found it very good. There were some things which i disliked, but overall I thought it was pretty entertaining and intense.
Of the negative sides the movie is sometimes maybe moving a bit too slow, not much is happening, but actually that is sort of okay, because our interest is kept because we are eager to find out what is beneath, what is the secret. This makes the movie very unpredictable, it's sort of a mystery, and I thought i had guessed the end many times. I'll be honest, I love unpredictable movies as they keep my interest better, and I found this movie very original and unique.
Even though the movie moves at a very slow pace it still creates many very intense scenes that had my heart pumping a few extra times per second, naturally it's the whole thing with the navy seals, and there is never any doubt either where the sympathy lies, even though you may wonder if they are actually doing the right thing, but as the sympathy is far from there, their leader is portrayed as the villain and he sure is a psychopath, and a total moron before he goes insane, down there.
As always James Cameron has done a fantastic job with the directing, and especially the dramatic scenes of this movie is very well handled and extremely intense, especially the scenes where the oil rig is getting dragged towards the bottom were fantastic, another amazing job from Mr. Cameron here.
On the acting I think many of the lead ones did a good job, they were all above average and made a very believable foundation for the movie. Ed Harris had a few flaws, but I also think he had many good scenes, especially the scenes with Mary Elizabeth were superb and their chemistry very good. But for me the star of the movie is the villain, Michael Biehn, his portrait of a nervous psychopath were fantastic, I could almost feel his wrath and damn did I hate him, absolutely terrific!
To sum it all up a bit. I Found this movie very good, and it kept my interest all the way through, but even though it was a fantastic original idea and the details were thought through. But actually I have to admit that i disliked the ending, i loved that i didn't see it coming, but the final end was just too over hyped and classic for me, I was constantly hoping for a shocking end, but the end was just too melodramatic and reminded me too much of something I've seen a million times before, the classic "Happy End".
The famous writer Mort Rainey discover his wife cheating on him an evening. 6 months later the story picks up on him hiding away in their summer house or something similar, deep inside the woods, all alone. In the woods he has hit a writing block. One day a stranger comes to see him, with him he brings a story he wrote 7 years ago, the story is almost identical with a famous story Mort Rainey wrote, the stranger, John Shooter, wants Mort to either prove that he wrote the story first or write the ending as it should have been done properly.
I'm quite a big Stephen King fan, but that doesn't mean that i always enjoy the adaptions of his books, in fact i think many of them is a disgrace to the books, King has a fantastic style when writing. Something that apparently is extremely hard to adapt in a proper way, last one i saw was Dreamcatcher, which was one of the worst ones ever to be seen. And i saw it directly after i've read the book. With Secret Window on the other hand, i'd never read the book, but from the plot i can see that it's something Stephen King has been working with before, but i held my head high and went on to see the movie.
And this does have a real Stephen King touch, at least the storyline has a feeling of King over it, and that is basically what drives this movie forward in an interesting way, the storyline is very good and interesting. But this movie wouldn't work without John Torturro and Johnny Depp in the leading roles, especially Depp is outstanding as the writer who's trying to overcome his sorrow by sleeping his days away. Torturro also shines as the psychopath that is haunting Depp, and together they are really making a strong team, a team that is the heart and soul of this movie, because the directing isn't too good.
This movie is supposed to be a psychological thriller, and it is, it's interesting at least, but it's far from scaring anybody. For that, I think there is just simply missing atmosphere in the movie, if it hadn't been for Depp and Torturro and the general storyline, this movie wouldn't have worked at all. David Koepp can thank Stephen King for a great background story, and he can thank Torturro and Depp for bringing 100% atmosphere of the movie. The twist in the end is also strong, it really is a strong twist, but we see it all coming long before. Basically because the hints that are given are at times maybe too obvious, but also because we have seen this before.
The Dark Half anyone? The basic storyline of these two are very much alike, but this doesn't make this story less interesting. When it all comes down to it all, i think David Koepp have made an enjoyable adaptation of a real genius work, the movie has some flaws, it lacks depth and atmosphere, but overall it works out pretty well, and i really liked it.
The Maltese Falcon
Sam Space is a private detective, one day a mysterious woman comes to see her, she wants a man shadowed. Sam's partner does the job and gets killed, by who, is unknown. While investigating the murder he finds himself getting involved with dangerous men, seeking the myth of a Maltese Falcon statue, so valueable, they're willing to do anything it takes to get it.
This movie is most of the way a real original film-noir, where our head character and supposed good guy finds himself getting involved in something larger and more dangerous than he should be able to handle. Although whether Humprey Bogart is playing that good a guy in his character, Sam Spade, can be discussed, Sam Spade is portrayed as a sort of egocentric partly greedy man, who is obviously supposed to be our hero, but on his journey we see greedy and often cynic and egocentric sides of him.
The strength of this movie is the constant curiousity we have for how the story will unfold, there is always a mysterious look for the story, and it feels interesting because it is this detective story where we are participating in slowly unfolding the mystery. However, the movie has quite a few plot holes, and the many fast paced match cuts doesn't give us much time to think deeper into what's happening, everything is really going too fast, something that also means the atmosphere in the movie feels pretty non existant and my interest were never gathered 100%.
The acting in the movie is actually quite great, especially for this old a movie. In older movies I often think that the acting seems to many of the actors to be awkvard, but not in this movie, in this movie it's quite convincing, despite a few flaws, flaws though that is a part of giving this movie the charming oldies feel.
To sum it all up a bit. The movie, despite having quite a number of flaws, is overall an interesting experience, that will leave you guessing and hold your interest for most of the time, even though it has its drop downs, it's still a pretty well done mystery story, following the classic film-noir model much of the way. However despite having a good story, that unfolds good, but too fast, the movie never really managed to impress me with the climax, actually i felt the climax never reached the heights it should have. Something that leaves an overall less convincing opinion upon the movie, especially a murdery story like this, which is highly dependant on a good climax.
The idea is, that in the future we all exist in multiverses, as in multiple universes. A new technique has been build to make it possible for one to travel between them, a former cop of the multiverse has discovered that by killing his "clones" he will unite the force of them all in himself. He has by now killed them all, there is only one left. 2 new multiverse cops are chasing him, Julaw, as he finds the last one he is seeking, whom is also a well trained police man.
It sounds a little confusing yeah, but you quickly discover the meaning of it all. Actually it's a very interesting and original plot and background for the movie, sadly the movie far from takes advantages of it, instead of building a unique sci-fi experience and experimenting with the idea, the movie chooses to build one action cliché upon another. Sadly this just fades out in the end. The movie is obviously build after a typical Hollywood formula, it has everything a modern Hollywood film needs. Romance, action, thrills, effects etc. Sadly the movie fails to succeed in all of the, everything is very predictable, and i saw the end coming after 15 minutes or so, the whole movie felt like something you've seen before, just now in a different scenario. To bad they didn't take advantage of the interesting background story, it could have been such a good movie, but instead it becomes "just another movie", which I will probably have forgotten in not too long.
The movie also takes an obvious inspiration in a movie like "The Matrix", especially the many bullet-time sequences shows that, sadly this just doesn't work as well here. The movie sort of end up with a feeling of a computer game, Jet Li's fantastic material talents are sadly wasted here by computer work, instead of showing them raw, they're altered by all kind of special effects, unfortunately.
James Wong was also behind the partly successful "Final Destination", but in this movie it doesn't feel like he got much experience, somehow he manages to turn a promising movie into a braindead action movie, that brings what a million movies have done before. This really is just another movie.
The acting isn't too good either. Especially Jet Li and Carla Gugino's chemistry was absolutely terrible. It was just so obvious that the scenes where we were supposed to see how much they loved each other, well they were like a shadow of themself, generally Jet Li's performance felt very hollow, and it was like he had no interest in the acting of the movie himself, felt like he was thinking of something else while giving us a few one liners and shallow performance.
To Sum it all up a bit. This movie could have been so much more than it became, the storyline is very promising, but the movie fails to take advantage of it. Instead this movie has become just another movie, that everyone will have forgotten soon, this is not a memorable movie by any movies. Only thing i will remember it for is how it ruined the always great Jet Li martial arts, by adding unnecessary computer effects to everything. The movie does sometimes bring a few good moments, some of the action scenes are entertaining, it's just all been seen before, but for fans of action movie it will probably entertain for the 82 minutes it lasts.
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