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gavynhelfyre

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13 reviews in total 
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26 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
I get what they were going for, but that doesn't make it good (heavy spoilers), 26 October 2012
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm sorry. I know I'm in some sort of minority about this movie, but frankly I think it was terrible.

The first part of the movie was pretty poorly written and the acting wasn't terribly much better. Far too much of this movie was told to us instead of shown, which is a surefire way to make you not care about characters that the finale requires you to care about. If a character has to tell you that they're broken, instead of you seeing it revealed through their own actions and the revelation of those weaknesses... even the revelation of their awareness of those weaknesses, then you haven't made me feel for the characters inherent sadness.

"I'll pretty much do anything as long as you tell me you love me," should be a heart breaking revelation... but it wasn't earned one bit. It just fell flat and made me say "okay, so she's broken.... what a stereotype".

Frankly I think making this a found footage film was a mistake. While I'm sure it was done to try to bump the realism factor, the genre itself is so limiting that it forces awkward scenes and also some very strange moments like Megan and Amy doing some sort of video chat on their phones when they're literally on their way to each other (apparently a very short distance). It also forces one to question who in the film was recording all of these Skype sessions and why were they recording them?

Moving beyond that, crucial points in the film are also gaping plot holes. When the Amy character finally goes to the police about Megan's possible kidnapper (after strangely not telling them about him earlier, you know, before the odds of her being alive shrink dramatically) they plaster her name and face all over the news. I'm sorry, but that sort of thing does not happen. Additionally, if all of Megan's Skype sessions were recorded, wouldn't the police know about Josh before hand? Also, if Josh is going around posting photos of Megan on message boards, then there's obviously a way to track him. Unless we're expected to believe that Josh is not only a kidnapper, rapist and murderer, but also a computer whiz.

None of it adds up, but it's all crucial to the plot.

Finally, let's talk about those last 22 minutes.

I'm sorry, but if you're deeply disturbed by those last 22 minutes, you have missed A LOT of films in the last 40 or so years. The last 22 minutes felt way too sanitized, likely because of the characters ages, when held up against things like the original Last House on the Left or even the remake of The Hills Have Eyes (watching the attack scenes in those films, I felt I needed a shower afterward just to feel clean. Last House particularly felt so much like a snuff film when I first saw it, it took a long time for me to watch it again). She's kept prisoner, raped and then stuffed in a barrel with, yeah you saw it coming a mile away, her dead friend. Then we sit through a man digging a whole for 10 minutes while Amy, clearly not seeing where this is going, tries to talk her way out of the barrel.

This all leads to a big problem with the climax- Amy never really seems to take her situation seriously. She never does anything but scream at Josh. She seems to think that "if you let me go I won't tell anyone" will be taken seriously. To top it off, even during the brief moments in these last 22 minutes when she's not chained up, Amy makes absolutely no attempts to escape. At one point there is clearly a jagged piece of metal a few inches from her head, and she never goes for it... she just keeps crying for help.

Seriously?

I'm sorry, but this film just doesn't work. It expects you to find it's subject matter shocking and disturbing because it's made its characters 14 years old (though the actress who played Megan looked far older then 14). This fails because unless you sell me on what I'm watching, just telling me that this person is a specific age will not make me engaged during their problems later in the film. It doesn't engage a willing suspension of disbelief. Make me care up front, or when I need to care... it'll be too late.

I get what the filmmakers were going for, and I applaud the effort. I think that if they hadn't tried to cash in on the "found footage" boom that's been going on, they may have made a much more engaging and effective film. A film that makes you care, instead of expecting you to care because adult actors are playing characters of a certain age.

Branded (2012)
61 out of 89 people found the following review useful:
Don't see this movie based on the ads, do some research first, 7 September 2012
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So, I've been seeing the ads for this film for a while now, and it always looked like a really interesting concept. Even looking at IMDb's summary of the film sells it as a sort of science fiction film.

Nothing you see in the ads or read in the summaries has anything to do with the actual film.

While the footage from the ads featuring strange creatures that seem to embody brands and feed off the desires of the populous for the brand is indeed in the film, it takes more than half the film to get to that point. The first half of the film shows the protagonist as marketing executive who gets caught as a pawn in a scheme to make fast food brands more popular. Throughout this section of the film, there is no indication that you'll ever see any of the footage that has been presented in the ads.

After the halfway point, the story radically shifts gears and we finally start to see the images that sold us on the film. However, it must be made clear that this isn't the story, and in fact the climax seems very strange compared to the first half of the film. Each brand has it's own weird monster, which really might be nothing more than the protagonist hallucinating (it's never really made clear and no one else ever sees or acknowledges these monsters), and eventually the monsters fight. However, again, there's no indication that any of it's really going on save in the protagonists head.

Now, that said, the movie itself is pretty interesting. I think that if they had sold it as what it really is, it might attract the right audience for it. As it is, the movie is being marketed solely around it's climax which has a drastic tone and premise shift from the rest of the film. Yes, there is a narrator who seems to be the filmmakers short cut, but it doesn't really add much to the film and every now and again seems inappropriate. The film felt long, but that may be because a part of you is waiting for the movie you expected to see to start.

Over all, this may be more of a Netflix rental for most people. It's not the movie it wants you to think it is, and it's not the movie you expect it to be. However, if you can get past the downright dishonest marketing, the movie isn't half bad. It has a lot of flaws, and the end of the film feels like it needed some sort of biting twist that was hinted at, but never fully arrived.

I don't regret seeing it, but I wish I'd waited until I could pay less to see it.

133 out of 230 people found the following review useful:
Lazy Writing, Directing and Action Make This One to Avoid, 26 June 2011
2/10

Back in 1977 when George Lucas told a story in the frame of Joseph Campbells Heroes Journey, it was unique. When Sam Raimi told a super hero story with the same structure in 2002, there was still plenty it added a new filter. And, when Jon Favreau did it again in 2008, he added enough unique touches to the tale to reinvigorate what was becoming a tired formula.

The writers of Green Lantern felt it was enough to skim cliffnotes of Campbell and write the film based on their notes of the reading and half remembered recollections of reading comic books when they were 12. There is nothing new in this film. A man is given a magic ring which takes him out of the world of the ordinary and makes him a hero. We don't grow to care about him because he doesn't grow or change... he simply goes through the motions because the script tells him to.

Ryan Reynolds tries his best with a weak and contrived script, but he still comes off too snarky to be the overconfident jet pilot he's supposed to be. It's not all his fault, as the script is much more content to tell us what the cast is feeling or thinking instead of letting the actors convey it through their actions, inflections or looks. It is as if the writers had no faith in their cast or direction, let alone their audience, and dumbed the entire affair down below even the cartoon portrayals of the character.

The visuals are nice, but never have weight, leading to the effect that Ryan Reynolds head if occasionally floating through a video game. It's sad to think it's been six years since Gollum, and this is the best Warner Brothers can offer us in a tent pole film. It's also a shame to think this is the best they could do with only 37 million dollars less than Avatar. Again, it just shows that the production staff was lazy, never pushing it to look better, and instead setting for the "they'll think it looks cool" effect.

We should demand better from comic book films. After having Dark Knight and Iron Man in a single year, we should not be subjected to subpar outings like this. Fun is one thing, mind numbingly dumb and lazy is another.

Skip this in the theater. Wait for it to come to NetFlix and then forget to put it in your cue. You'll thank me.

73 out of 118 people found the following review useful:
A really enjoyable movie, 3 May 2011
8/10

Let me first say that 90% of the people who will come to this page should ignore most of the bad reviews for this film. After looking through them, they seem to all have one thing in common - anger that this doesn't seem like a faithful adaptation.

I'm willing to bet that most of the US audience for this film has never read the Dylan Dog comics, and, like me, had never heard of Dylan Dog before hearing the title of this movie.

Now, putting aside the negativity that comes from fans of the source material, I think most fans of the genre will like this movie. It is very in the vein of things like Joss Whedons Buffy & Angel as well as sharing some similarities to things like Constantine and the Dresden Files book series. Let's be honest, this is urban fantasy. Most people know if they enjoy the genre or not.

The film does a decent job of keeping a film noir tone, and using noir tropes to it's advantage. Routh is good as the title character, doing a nice job of trying to be the tired detective without being a weary stereotype. Sam Huntington is great as Marcus, who I think ends up stealing the movie because he really has the lions share of memorable moments.

Yes, chances are you'll figure out the who done it before the movie reveals it, and you'll figure out impending double crosses from the moment characters are introduced. That's the danger of being a genre film, but it doesn't detract from the fact that the movie is really fun, and very funny in quite a few places.

If you like things like Buffy, Constantine or Harry Dresden, give this movie a chance cause I think you will probably end up liking it.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A holiday tradition, 24 November 2010
10/10

I unabashedly love this film. It is the best kind of awful. The kind that is done with such love of cheese and camp that you can't help but think that everything is exactly as it should be.

It has become a holiday tradition with with my fiancée and I. It's so outlandish and over the top that it helps us forget the stress of the holidays and just sit back and laugh.

If you want a good Christmas movie. This isn't for you.

If you want a good horror movie. This is also not for you.

If you want something to make you laugh at absurdity during the holidays and love cheese and camp... this is definitely for you.

16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
A noble, if flawed attempt, 20 September 2010
6/10

I have a lot of respect for the cast and crew of this film. Everyone took part not because they expected fame or money, they did it because the love the source material. That love shows above all of the problems of this film, and make it worth viewing for any fan of the source material (Firefly and Serenity, respectively). I can only hope that this film captures that fan base and drums up a lot of money for some very good causes.

Now, please understand, I do understand that this is not a professional production. I understand that budget and time was limited. And, looking past the faults, there's an enjoyable story here.

But the film certainly does have it's faults.

The biggest fault in my eyes, is the writing. The biggest problem with the writing on this film is that it breaks one of the biggest rules of screen writing... "Show, don't tell". Too much of this film is people telling us things that have happened, or telling us that this person is good at this or that. Characters, for the most part, don't actually get to have an endearing moment that makes us connect with them. We are forced to bond with the crew of the Redemption by hearing about past adventures, without seeing them in any real action. We get a long voice over to fill us in on past events instead of visually making it a flash back or dripping out information during some sort of action (remember Reese's exposition during the chase in Terminator... sure didn't feel like an info dump, but it was). Additionally, characters are forced to over react to small things. Instead of anyone having a measured response, they immediately think everything is fighting words.

It also seems that there wasn't a strong idea where the film could go when it started. We spend quite a bit of time setting up for a "job" that is completely irrelevant, and a long scene picking up a pilot that really could have been done in a minute instead of five. It is frustrating because the source material always moved along at a brisk clip, but somehow it seems the writers didn't have a grasp on how to carry that over into their own work.

The cast is okay, especially considering they were all volunteers and do well with what they're given. The camera work is a bit annoying as it is all medium shots that seem to hold long past their expiration date. What is genuinely impressive is the digital effects the sets for the ship. Though they clearly had a limited budget for each, what they managed to put on the screen really does work well and looks like they easily spent more than they did.

All in all, the film feels like a long first episode to a series, the plot seeming to exist merely to introduce us to the crew. So perhaps they will be able to make a stronger follow up now that introductions are out of the way.

Honestly, if you are at all curious about the film, buy it/stream it from the source site. The money goes to some great causes and it really is enjoyable despite it's flaws.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
An Amazing ride of a movie, 21 January 2009
10/10

I can't understand why this movie didn't get a bigger push by the studio! I've seen Repo! 3 times so far, and will probably watch it a hundred more now that I've picked up the DVD. The movie not only holds up, but gets better each time. Yes, it's a musical. Yes, it's violent in places. Yes, it's campy. But, somehow all of those elements stew in the pot just right to create a fantastic blend.

The music to Repo is amazing on it's own right and Terence Zdunich and Darren Smith really deserve some kudos for it. The tunes go through an amazing range of styles from operatic to rock to industrial and even a few more traditional "musical" moments. It really helps, though, to listen to the soundtrack before seeing the movie because then you're more focused on actually watching what's going on instead of simply trying to catch the song.

Visually the movie is superb. Despite having a limited budget, the film pulls off a Gothic noir aesthetic like few others and use well rendered computer graphic for extra touches here and there to fill out the world a bit better. The entire visual pallet is cohesive though from the cinematography (in a world where there appears to be no sun) so some down right awesome costume designs.

The cast, though, is the piece that holds it all together. Anthony Stewart Head of Awesome!! as Nathan Wallace/Repo followed closely by Terence Zdunich as the ever charismatic GraveRobber. The rest of the cast are all great in their own right and will no doubt prompt "I never knew they could sing" more than once. Heck, even Paris Hilton is good in this (god, I never thought I'd hear myself say that).

If you have any doubts, just move past them and give Repo! a chance. It really got buried by the studio and needs all the fan support it can get. It deserves far better than it's been given.

The Eye (2008)
21 out of 45 people found the following review useful:
Not worth your time, 3 February 2008
3/10

I had a hard time watching this movie. Everything that worked in this was directly lifted from the original, everything else... didn't.

The director tries to built tension in places where none exists. The screen writer tries to "improve" on the mystery of the original but the results don't work, giving itself away from he very first "vision". The acting was below par for most of the cast, with characters coming off as two dimensional for the sake of moving the plot along- and Jessica Alba needs to realize she gets film jobs for her looks not her talent.

Anyway, if you're thinking of watching this, don't. It's not scary. It's not suspenseful. It's not even original. It's a waste of your time and money. Rent the original or watch another film instead.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Much better than the original, 20 January 2008
8/10

I saw the original White Noise in theaters and I hated it. The movie thought it was this wonderfully innovative supernatural thriller. It boasted it's use of EVP, an angle that supernatural movies really hadn't exploited before. But in the end, it was basically a by the number film and didn't use EVP in the least.

The sequel on the other hand at least felt a little original. Personally I think they could simply drop "White Noise" from the title and simply call it "The Light" The plot was far more interesting, with Filion trying not only to use his new gift but to piece together the mystery of why his wife and son were murdered. Granted, I thought the answers to a lot of the films questions was a bit clichéd... but it was still more satisfying than the original films trio of ghostly nasties.

Oh the whole, neither Fillion nor Katee Sackhoff are going to win any sort of awards or kudos's for the film, but each is likable in their part and makes their characters convincing even in the films weakest moments. The effects were above average for a film that I don't believe ever saw theatrical release... so thats a plus.

On the whole, it's an enjoyable way to spend 2 hours, and a more pleasant alternative to a weak original.

6 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Smacks of Awful!, 31 January 2006
3/10

I must firstly admit that I am not the biggest fan of the first movie. I thought it had amazing potential to succeed, but I thought it was squandered away by taking the cheap way out every chance it could. Despite this, it sits in my DVD collection and manages to find its way into my DVD player from time to time.

That said...

The sequel was pure dreck.

It seems that upon paying $10 we are greeted to a constant series of plot holes and logic gaps.

Gone is are the sleek visuals of the original with their overtones of white blue and black... replaced with what look like shots from any other film. In the films opening sequence, I felt like I was watching the armies of Isoldor battling Orcs instead of a historical battle between vampire and lycan. During several scenes I thought perhaps we were being shown a misplaced reel from a Tom Clancy film.

While the first film had its fare share of head scratching moments.. the second leaves you completely flummoxed more often than not. For instance, Selene and Micheal seem to not only visit an exile, but drive to the coast and take off to into the mountains all in the expanse of one night making you think perhaps we have entered the movie Dark City. Selenes gloves dissolve in the sunlight, but her exposed skin is relatively untouched. A man who gets shot... not bitten mind you... but shot... becomes a lycan! A lycan is killed by being stabbed in the eye... another dies from a shot by one of the vampire killing UV bullets! Also, where does Micheals shirt go? Every time he goes through his transformations.. his shirt just vanishes. He removes his jacket, but his shirt is just gone.

We are also greeted with plot points that try to explain things we didn't need answers to- Memories of things we saw in the first movie seem to only show up now instead of when the item inspiring the memory is first introduced. We find out who is cleaning up the bodies the war leaves behind... never mind that in the first movie the carnage spilled into the streets in plain view of mortals... they have to hide the bodies and pretend it never happened.

Also, despite the way the original film ended, and what we're told early on in Evolution, there's no proof what so ever that anything has changed in Marcus. Marcus simply wakes and is angry over something that happened hundreds of years ago, making you wonder why all of this didn't happen the last time Marcus was awakened.

So.. you're probably wondering... was there anything worthwhile in the film? Well.... I'm not sure. The visual effects were lackluster, the acting was hammy, the dialogue was stilted, the ending wasn't spectacular (and left me feeling like someone had watched Raiders of the Lost Ark a few more times than they should have while penning the script.) and the hints at a 3rd installment elicited a groan from me and several others in the theater.

However... no... no I can't really think of a however to contradict all of the bad things I've listed.

So, if you want a movie thats as well written as the menu in a Chinese restaurant with effects that remind you of something produced direct to video and is more derivative than such miraculous works as 2 Fast 2 Furious and League of Extrordinary Gentlemen... than Underworld: Evolution is definitely the movie for you.

If you're looking for a good vampire movie, however, or even a movie written by a competent scribe or directed by someone with some strength behind the camera.. steer clear. Please dear god, steer clear.


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