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Max Payne (2008)
Did anyone actually play the game?
Imagine an awesome video game with an awesome story....that was not this. I loved the Max Payne games, I knew it wouldn't be the same as the game and I expected the directors to take liberties; but this? The only thing that bore any resemblance to the game was the title and names in the movie.
I actually wished Max Payne had shot me halfway through this. I was incredibly bored by an unbelievably slow story line which really failed to offer anything interesting and completely missed the "film noir" style of the game. At times it even became stereotypically cheesy! There was no connection at all with the characters; and for a game that focused on immersing you and having you empathize with the main characters, and I was very aware that I was watching a movie.
Bullet time (a main tenet of the game) was hardly used and when it was, it was completely off: it was like someone accidentally hit the bullet time button at the wrong time and then realized they had to finish a fight in normal speed while it recharged! Plot holes abound. CG effects were like the cutting-room floor of Constantine, and for a movie about an action game, there really was very little action.
I feel like this movie was made by someone who sat down to read the strategy guide (with the "bullet time" instruction page ripped out)and said "hey! I get the gist of this!" If I could have I would have left early (didn't drive).
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Terrible film but a great score
I went into this film knowing nothing and expecting nothing...I suppose nothing was what I got back from it. Let me be straight, the performance of Daniel Day-Lewis was interesting, he's a very competent actor who delivers an insightful and passionate performance. The problem with this film is that nothing happens at all. There really isn't much of a plot to it and the "twists and turns" are hackneyed and can be seen a mile away. In essence, I would say the screenplay and writing are terrible and left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
I loved "The Jungle" and I haven't read Sinclair's book, Oil, upon which this was (hopefully loosely) based but this film is the kind of pseudo-intellectual tripe that pretends it is better than it really is. I was incredibly bored throughout the entire movie though two redeeming qualities come to mind: the Score and the Cinematography. The music in the movie was fantastic. I'm not one to often notice the score of a movie, but I was instantly captivated by the string orchestra. Likewise, the wide, panoramic shots of the Texas landscape was beautiful and awe-inspiring. For these reasons I gave it a 3; though these two alone cannot make a movie. If you don't have to pay for it like I didn't; consider giving it a shot, otherwise, stay away.
I Am Legend (2007)
A mixed bag
Just finished a pre-screening here and I'm actually pretty disappointed. The first half of the movie was great and started to build something interesting despite the glaring lack of any background regarding the story. Yes, I realize that you get a few flashbacks but the writers decided not to include any flashbacks of how the disease started, no clips of people progressing through the stages of illness, in essence, everything that led to the point Will Smith ultimately arrived at.
*SPOILER ALERT* While this certainly was a drawback, it is nothing compared to the non-events that surrounded the relationship between Smith's character and what seemed to be the head of the vampire/zombie/darkstalkers. Just as the plot was beginning to develop between them, the film took an epic dive right around the time Smith's dog died. There was absolutely no further development and even though the darkstalkers seem to show some intelligence and evolution, the movie is concluded with their leader banging his head against the glass and screaming like an idiot. It all leads to an ending that seems like a cop-out and left me feeling wholly unsatisfied. *End Spoilers*
There were definitely some great parts, the cinematography was fantastic and the computer generated scenes of a dilapidated and "uninhabited" New York were amazing. It most certainly was scary and there were times that made me jump though the animation on the darkstalkers was not particularly impressive; in fact, it reminded me a lot of the movie "The Mummy" with Brendan Frasier. Smith once again proved himself a very capable and believable actor. The first half is great, though the second will definitely leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. My advice: leave halfway through and you won't be disappointed!