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Punisher: War Zone (2008)
Punisher: Warzone Is Every Bit The Movie Fans Have Been Waiting For!
Castle was serious through and through, the villains are crazy (as they should be) budianski and angela were also played very seriously. The music was intense and fitting, the accents were HARDLY distracting.
The one ridiculous accent was gaitano cesaro the old '*beep*' in the wheelchair (i didn't understand fully what he was saying).
The action was fantastic, they got castles inner grief right (not for origin purposes but for guilt purposes) micro was MICRO (no one else could've done micro)..as soon as i watched Jurassic park i thought 'this guy IS micro from the punisher comics!' I preferred jigsaw over LBJ but LBJ was just crazy and a riot to watch! No one but dominic west could've done jigsaw but i can see why people were saying that he was was overly 'hamming' his lines. The Maginty gang shooting scene was a little too short for my liking but quite right for a methodical killer like frank and definitely got a 'WOW' from me! Soap was awesome, his subtle humour was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dark movie (he did stick out somewhat).
Essentially they made a character like the punisher who would seem generic to some actually pretty damn cool. He wasn't an oaf and moved like an assassin/ninja at times. I loved the shot of his boots walking through puddles of water in a few scene (look out for them, there something that add coolness to those scenes), there was one in the intro where his knife attached to his boot glints! Although the editing was good the scenes moved at quite a brisk pace (much like a comic) but the film seemed quite shorter for it! Punisher warzone isn't the kind of high budget movie that LINGERS of making a point like tdk, it didn't have the budget or time to LINGER over some villain/hero trying to make a moot point or trying to be all arty-fartsy and cheesy with deep and meaningful lines that go beyond the call of duty.
Comic book films need to be made the way this was, like a living comic book.
Comics don't show how people get from one place to another and sometimes for needless purposes neither should comic book films. ie) JIGSAW explained the whole FREE CLINIC thing etc...so those who don't understand how he got to his plastic surgeon...watch it again! jigsaw was larger than life, he HAD to be to rival frank castles serious sensibilities! The rock music wasn't as distracting as i thought and that scene with lbj throwing himself into mirrors just showed me how different lbj and jigsaw are from heath ledgers joker but equally as endearing! THE FILM DID EXACTLY WHAT IT SET OUT TO DO, showing the punisher in urban warfare while fleshing him out throughout the course of the film, without expecting you to just invest yourself in the character in the first half hour and then watch him kick THE ASSES OF SOME GENERIC BADGUYS that you don't even care about! The rivalry between saint and frank in 2004 was nothing compared to jigsaw vs castle! THE BRITS WILL LOVE THIS FILM!
Speed Racer (2008)
I Don't Know What Haters Were Expecting But It Did Exactly What It Set Out To Do
and that would be, entertain.
I can't describe how many times I thought 'whoah!' it's one of those moments that could only ever happen in cartoons or 'whoa!' that was anime level crazy! This film set out to create a literal live action adaptation of a lovable & cheesy retro cartoon anime. That's exactly what it did.
Let's start with the PG rating, this was appropriate not because this film is 'aimed' at kids (which it wasn't clearly, as box office disconnect showed) but because it's a 'family' film for all ages based on a cartoon that most of the older generation watched when they were kids, the source material barely even bordered a 12A and yet the film managed to in fact surpass it's source material in maturity.
Fans of anime will seriously lap this up despite what the recent comments have said. Not only has every care been taken to preserve elements of the source material but it also has those cool retro and also modern anime moments. Good and bad guys with crazy cartoon anime hairstyles, crazy over-the-top kung fu, elaborate motion line effects just like in mangas, crazy death defying races, cheesy as hell dialogue which fits perfectly in context! Performances were quite impressive given it's a predominantly 'kids' PG film and that they were filming against green screen.
I also commend the Wachowski's use of such a strong colour palette.They didn't tone it down or diverge from the theme and each scene had a contextual wash of colour.Serious or more intimate moments had darker shadows while remaining colourfully vibrant. They were bold and not shy about what this film was going to look like.
To the haters again i say ,'what exactly where you expecting? The Matrix with cars?, people getting there throats slit?, symbolic commentary on capitalism,corruption, religion or the new world order? Go into this movie expecting high adrenaline scenes and all campy fun that only a 60's anime adaptation can provide, but don't just to go and watch it just to 'see what the fuss is about' until you actually understand what the source material was like. That way the movie will exceed your expectations.
I don't have complete praise for this movie however, in that towards the end of the film they got a little overboard with the editing and i was really let down by the final antagonist type drivers. Speed seemed to have a harder time in the casa cristo race in the film where the other drivers were far more menacing. It seemed like 'Cannonball Taylor', 'Gray Ghost' and especially the bad ass, white haired yakuza driver (for musha motors by the way) were just a flash gone by and Speed just beat them without any problems at all. Let's hope they make more of a presence in any semblance of an extended/directors cut
Hellsing Ultimate (2006)
The Best Graphic Novel Adaptation In The Spectrum
A few people may remember a short, pseudo gothic,13 episode vampire anime series a few years back called 'hellsing'. It had a steady cult fan base but was in the essence of things good, but not really great. It seemed doomed to obscurity with no more material to work from into the latter half of the series, which then free-styled off onto a tangent.Fans were disappointed, an ultimately anti-climactic series with no real reverence for it source material.
last year things changed and a phoenix rose from the ashes in what can only be called anime 'history'. Most failed series are laid to rest and never mentioned again like a past you want to forget, but not with kouta hirano. His labour of love was to have his vision realised in animated form and so we get,true to its name,'Hellsing Ultimate OVA' this series unlike any other gives us a viewing experience we could only dream of, with episodes now feature length ova's with lush quality animation and production values out of the norm for short anime series. From the artwork to the dialogue, everything about the series reeks 'quality'. Its almost scary how very close it comes to being exactly like the manga it is based on. The music is 'epic' and sound is superb.
This is so unlike the old t.v series that it's beyond even funny! To those not familiar with hellsing the manga is probably, well actually IT IS the darkest graphic novel you are ever likely to read. Sure it has moments of mild humour which Japanese love, but in the grand scheme of things it is genuinely unsettling how close to being an evil villain the protagonist assumed to be 'good' really is. In short Alucard a vampire hunter,but a vampire himself works for & protects humans (you can see where characters such as Dante from devil may cry were inspired :p), the hellsing organisation a secret organisation set up to obliterate any supernatural threat to the protestant British empire. Protestants (Hellsing) Vs Roman Catholic Vatican (Iscariot Organization,Section XIII), Modern day Nazi bad guys, these are elements of the content in the series. No spoiler here, but needless to say, if you like blade,devil may cry, cool anime with action, extremely mature and 'cool' dialogue that isn't cheesy, a serious and dark storyline, a proper depiction of a modern day vampire (and believe you me, the way alucard is depicted has set the standard of what vampires should truly be about :D). this series is not Bram stoker 'dracula' re-told, or Dracula 2001 or anything you've seen related to vampires. GET READY for an anime that will literally blow you away! Overview: MATURE CONTENT, SCENES OF GRAPIC VIOLENCE AND OF A SEXUAL NATURE (Although you'll be surprised how little there really is :D). OVA (Original Video Animation) - Feature Lenght, High Budget, High Quality Anime. One 'episode' per DVD but it's Worth it since it's like watching a mini film based directly of each consecutive manga.
(Bare in mind i am not usually a big fan of vampire related anime or overly violent anime but this anime charms the audience in a way never thought possible. This anime has in essence the truest 'anti-hero' in the definition of the word. ENJOY!)
Ghost Rider (2007)
Not As Bad A Film As Critics Think
let me just begin by saying that despite what critics say & the people who think they know about ghost rider based on no knowledge at all, this film isn't as bad a film as we've been led to believe. Having heard a few moans about fight scenes, dialogue & such i went into the movie with zero expectations (even though i've been a fan of the comics post-1994 during the Danny Ketch era). To my surprise i found that the film went far to make johnny blaze one of the most likable super heroes in film i have ever seen which i think is a great development as he wasn't one of the more widely popular heroes in marvel comics unlike spider man. Lets be honest,for a comic book film it is outstanding and did a great job with the 12a/pg13 rating it was given to work with & also made the underrated anti-hero more accessible to a new audience, (i mean why wait till your older to understand the comics/concept of GR when you can watch the film?). I realise people had a bone to pick with the humour on the film but to my surprise i found it quite refreshing as it off-set the darker moments quite well,showing what the burden of being the devils bounty hunter had done to his picturesque life. To address the point of the fight scenes being too short can i add the the 'devils bounty hunter' does exactly what it says on the label. I hardly think Ghost Rider would struggle against some lowly spirits. As weak a defence (but valid) as that is, i do still hope that the DVD release extends the water spirit scene & the awfully short fight between blackheart at the end (which was done very well visually & i realise now we were only meant to see undertones of blackhearts true form). Mark Steven Johnson and Nicholas Cage (to his credit) have done us Ghost Rider fans a great 'fan service' with this film & it should be merited for that at least. Yes, the dialogue was cheesy (specially on the part of Blackheart's dialogue & the pointing thing with Johnny Blaze/GR) & there were bits that i thought should not have been there but the film was very dark for a 12a/pg13 specially since they worked loosely from David Goyer's (Blade) script. The film isn't the worst marvel comic film as i can name a few that have been much worse such as 2 out of the 3 X-Men films, Punisher, Blade:Trinity,F4,Daredevil (The Theatrical Cut NOT The Dir.Cut DVD),Catwoman,3 to 4 out of 5 Batman's,Generation X etc...Ghost Rider's is a comic character worthy of development in film and i believe done right in future (crossed fingers for the sequel :D) it could be one of the darkest,coolest & (touch wood) 'best' comic movie made to that point.My only major qualm with the film was the inclusion on Roxanne (Eva Mendez) as eye candy. The film TOTALLY didn't need her there for most parts of the film and as Mac roughly put it "everything was fine till she came along"!.I think the film was trying to cover the 'romantic' base a little too fondly, some of the dialogue between her & Johnny Blaze just reminded me of 'Hitch' :s. Overall great film, perfect for the big screen so lets hope the sequel corrects the mistakes from the first. Give it a chance, i mean Batman Begins came along and showed us that they could get him right & dark so ghost rider should be given the same chance :s
Hotaru no haka (1988)
You Know What ? If It Wasn't Such A Taboo To Pick An Anime As The Greatest War/Anti-War Film,Then I Would Pick This One!
unless you've been living in small suburban,in-bred,backwater community you will have heard the name 'studio ghibli' when talking about Japanese animated cinema. This film is one part of my holy trinity of 'grossly' underrated films of all time & should really be recognised as the greatest anti-war statement in film-making,ever!
The plot is very simple, its about a boy and his little sister having been separated from there family (there father is a rich captain in the army) trying to survive the bombing on japan during the world war.
telling you this is an extremely emotional film, i feel is a spoiler in itself. The way the films structured was extremely fluid and created much tension and dramaticism.I will divulge this: this film had me mute for hours afterwards, i dared not open my mouth to say anything in case tears rolled down my face. Only a worthless husk of a human would not shed at least one tear for this film.
Yes, it is animated but don't let that hold against this film, for too long now has British and u.s media made a mockery of children by giving them cartoon tripe. This film is a sure fire 'convertor of disbelievers' of animated features.
with the sudden rejuvenation of studio ghibli titles by the help of Disney & pixar, this film reached American audiences where it most mattered. studio ghibli titles now receive Hollywood voice actor dubbing which gives me hope that at last animation is being respected.
i couldn't recommend this film more, in fact i believe this film should be shown in all students history curriculum. The futility of war has never been so stark then in this film,you'll find your soul overcome by a feeling you'd never thought you'd have from an animation.
To End All Wars (2001)
2 Questions - Why Isn't This In The IMDb Top 250? & What Is Wrong With War Film Critics Nowadays?
I'm sick to death of hearing 'Gladiator' described as a war film in certain high profile, influential polls. Yes,'Saving Private Ryan','Apocalypse Now' etc. are fantastic but i believe this film belongs in at LEAST the top 10 war film of all time.
The film in short (which is a true story based on accounts of the main protagonist memoirs, the actors whose name i will not mention because it wont mean anything till you watch the film)is about a Scottish regiment being the last line of defense in the world war against the Japanese.They are caught by the Japanese & sent to a prisoner of war camp. I feel it right to stop there because the description of the film itself does no justice at all to its sheer brilliance.
the supporting cast,kiefer sutherland & robert carlyle was reason enough to watch this film as thy play an extremely integral part to the tale,but alas this film is quite 'sickeningly' underrated. it teaches the power of forgiveness (as its tag line suggests)& i hope if the film was a real person it could forgive the Oscar film board and public.
this film is the only film where despite the antagonistic portrayal of the Japanese, it has great respect for there culture via dialogue and also the development of the characters. The character 'Edo' (the shin-obi code faithful commander) is one to watch out for, despite his few lines in the film his elegance,stern demeanour & performance shines through. Not many people noticed this i believe & as not to spoil it there is one very beautifully emotional scene part way through the film which anyone who is going to watch it will know what i am talking about involving a prisoner called 'dusty' and the commander 'edo'.
I am one man who cannot make a difference with this,i hope my word will not fall on deaf ears and you go out & watch this film on DVD. i have seen all the war films that have been praised, this really is the best one i have seen, THERE!,I SAID IT!
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
This Film Really Shows That A Great Cast Can Truly Bring A Film Which Is Boring On Paper To Cult Status
well, i am not much of an expert on screenplays,stage plays,adaptations and whatnot & i am what you would call of the 'scarface fantasy' generation.However,i was first inspired to watch this film after hearing funny mp3 playbacks of al pacinos profanity and memorable quotes from the film on sound boards.I then tracked down a copy of the special edition DVD (the normal version is atrocious with choppy borders).To My delight i discovered a movie which not only transformed my view of what makes a good film, but also made me appreciate much older actors of our time, in this case jack lemmon.The first time i watched this i was baffled by all the technical salesmen jargon, but after watching a few times i rated this movie heavily and understood everything.Alec Baldwin instantly draws the viewer in as the 'ironic' motivation speaker at the beginning of the film & it was then i knew i was watching a quality performance led movie. As many comments on IMDb state this film is totally led by pacino & lemmon who literally sucked me into there characters lives as did the other supporting character such as the cold mr. Williamson (played by Kevin spacey).This film is the most memorable pacino film I've ever seen & is highly underrated.I believe pacino was in his prime at the time he was filming this movie (he had that rugged gangster look but with a profane youthful mouth to go with it!) as well as jack lemmon (R.I.P).
I don't know what else to say but don't be fooled by the slow, dark pace of the early part of this movie, it is meant to be that way with events taking place over one night & one morning. You will love the transition of pacino one night,from philosophical smoothe talking salesmen to the ruff around the edges, frustrated comedic salesmen that he is in the reality of the film.
A true mens film that has you watching it over and over again with friends. All hail Jack Lemmon, i just realised what a true legend you really are!
Words Would Not Describe How Breathtakingly Amazing This Film Is...But I'll Try
I only have a handful of films i could submit as massively underrated & this would be one of them. I found myself lost for words talking about this film because they are just not enough. What i will say is that if you believe 'raging bull', 'godfather 2' or any other other film by deniro are his best performances then BOY WERE YOU WRONG! & i totally resent the statement Kate winslet made in her guest appearance in 'extras' series 1 about disabled peoples portrayal in film getting the actors an Oscar, which this film totally disproves (sadly).
'Rain man' can move over, because this truly is a worthy masterpiece that should have really got the Oscar.Deniro always seems to be typecast as a 'tough-guy' or 'wise guy' & this film goes some way to showing that he isn't all about 'that'.This film also shows us that he has one of the best smiles in Hollywood and is just one minuscule element that makes this film so endearing. Robin Williams & Robert Deniro are Hollywood's greatest actors and this may be the only film you'll see them in together, so go out and get this on DVD (its cheap!) Bare in mind that despite the films early slow pace, you'll find yourself never wanting this film to end as you draw closer to its conclusion, Deniro gives the performance of his life & i wish the Oscar film board had a resubmission/review board to correct there past mistakes/injustices so that i could fill them up in a room with this on screen & watch there faces as they walked out after watching it begging for forgiveness for not awarding it the Oscar!