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The Victim (2011)
Interesting little grindhouse thriller which would appeal more to people with an acquired taste.
The decision to watch THE VICTIM was really tough at first having read all the negative reviews about it. Eventually I did see it and yet it isn't that bad. Sure it won't redefine it's genre but the film was entertaining, it had a decent plot and the acting was fair all around. The film is really for people with an acquired taste.
Honestly, the only way I could recommend this film is to see it and decide if you like it or not for yourself. I also recommend you not take it very seriously.
Overall, THE VICTIM isn't really that bad, granted it's not perfect but it will mostly appeal to people with an acquired taste. Also, if you don't take it very seriously it is rather entertaining.
I Spit on Your Grave 2 (2013)
Gorier, nastier but not better nor an equal to the 2010 remake.
I was surprised to see the 2010 remake to Meir Zarchi's infamous 1978 film I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE had a sequel. It was actually the last film I expected they'd make a sequel for yet here it is. At first I thought it might've been some cheap cash in on the first one but I found out Steven Monroe was back at the helm and that I reckoned could be a good sign.
I did get to see it eventually and it turned out to be a very good sequel but it's not on the same level as the first one. Mainly because the plot of the first one had a degree of believability where this one even though it was more extreme it was a little less believable as it stretches that line a little thin.
The acting however was one of the more outstanding features of this film. Newcomer Jemma Dalender gives a very strong performance as the lead character. I didn't compare her performance with Sarah Butler's from the first film as I am now a fan of both ladies and both really gave great performances in their respective roles.
Lastly, I haven't seen the original, that's why I didn't make comparisons, although from what I heard about it I can tell it's not a film for everyone and neither are the latter two so if you feel you can handle either one then I recommend you see them.
The Lone Ranger (2013)
Highly entertaining western adventure with a great performance by Johnny Depp.
I'm a huge PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN fan so finding out the same team had made a different film along with Johnny Depp I knew not even the critics would stop me from seeing it. To be honest after seeing it I was surprised to see how the critics really hammered on it. I'm not speaking as a die hard LONE RANGER fan but this film didn't deserve all that negativity. It was very entertaining and funny and the acting was great although Johnny Depp gave the best performance as Tonto Probably because no beats Johnny Depp at being weird.
My only complaint about this film is the pacing. During the first act the pace is slow and progressive but in the middle it almost feels like the film is about to stand still like it's starting to drag before it picks up again close to the final act. Otherwise it didn't hurt the film too much.
Overall, THE LONE RANGER is highly entertaining despite being a little slow halfway through and features great acting from all the cast members although Johnny Depp gives the better performance.
The Lazarus Papers (2010)
A very odd film but not bad.
Luckily I found out in advance that this film was nothing like what the cover art suggested it would be and even though it also goes under the title THE MERCENARY the plot doesn't really revolve around any kind of mercenary. It's really a very odd film but I didn't think it was bad at all. The plot was intriguing enough to draw my attention and it was very different to other films Gary Daniels had appeared in before.
I thought about giving a synopsis which I don't normally do so that people would have a better idea of what to expect but I discovered the plot actually sounds more confusing than it really is. If you watch the film itself the plot makes more sense because there is more than one character story and sometimes it goes from being a supernatural drama to a love story to an action movie and during the third act it's all three at once.
On the technical side it's really well made, the cinematography is very nicely done and the acting isn't all that bad. The characters do start to grow on you after a while and granted the film isn't perfect by any means.
Overall, it's a very odd film but not bad but I recommend you ignore the cover art as it doesn't really represent what the film really is about. You can expect to see an intriguing plot that is more of a supernatural story with a bit of romance and a few mild action scenes.
Pacific Rim (2013)
A film slightly better than what I expected
Before watching PACIFIC RIM I noticed it had a lot of critics really hammered down on it and truth be told it really wasn't that bad. Then again I stopped listening to critics a long time ago. Although many would agree it could be somewhat overblown with special effects but it did have a decent plot. The acting wasn't the best but also not the worst. All the effects were very nicely done and the fight sequences were very engaging partly because the film established what was at stake before them.
All in all, PACIFIC RIM isn't as bad as critics say it is in fact I think they might have been too harsh. The best way to see PACIFIC RIM is probably without expecting to much and to judge for yourself if you like it or not. For me it was good and better than expected and I would recommend it as a better alternative to a lot of other films out there.
Assumed Killer (2013)
A surprisingly good TV movie.
While surfing every channel there is each showing nothing interesting to watch I end up on the channel that was just about to start airing ASSUMED KILLER. I decided to quickly see what the plot was all about and saw that Casper Van Dien and Armand Assante was in it so I reckoned it might be worth a look. I was really very surprised by this film considering this is a made for TV movie it actually had a plot that drew my attention. It's the kind of plot that is not too complicated but it still requires your full attention, by that I mean if you're the type of person who likes to watch movies while texting you might want to put the phone down when watching this film and even though the overall concept isn't one of the most unique the good thing about it is it isn't entirely predictable.
The acting was excellent all around with the stand out performances given by Casper Van Dien, Barbie Castro and Armand Assante who were very well cast and they each play their parts very good from start to finish.
Lastly, there was one thing that almost made forget that this was a made for TV movie. Many other TV movies have a really cheap feel to them especially those in the same genre and the acting in many of these films range from not so good to not good at all and of course sometimes the dialog featured some very cheesy lines. Where with ASSUMED KILLER none of these factors are present. The production value is way above average and it doesn't look or feel cheap at all. The acting is excellent and the dialog is well thought out with no cheesy lines noticeable.
All in all, ASSUMED KILLER was a surprisingly good TV movie and happened to be a very nice find on a dark night with nothing else to watch.
Salvation Boulevard (2011)
I found it funny for a completely different reason.
While watching this film I couldn't help but laugh but not that I found it to be that funny but because I have actually met over the top religious nut cases in real life. They were my schoolteachers and this movie really took me back to those days where instead of learning math I was learning stuff like if you play an electrical guitar you'll go straight to hell or when you sneeze it's really the man upstairs busy shortening your lifespan by taking away pieces of your breath. Believe it or not that was what my high schoolteachers told their students and it didn't end there.
I found SALVATION BOULEVARD funny because the characters in some ways closely resembled my teachers and if I was to show them this film they would undoubtedly freak out and say it makes a mockery out of them. If however you fall into the class of normal people and get easily offended I wouldn't recommend it. Actually I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it at all. It's really a stupid movie if you consider the plot. Some might find it funny others might find it just plain stupid.
The only thing really noteworthy about it is the acting, each of the cast members play their parts very well. The film itself never really gets boring but does get slightly annoying in certain places.
Final Verdict, it's really not worth going out of your way to see, but if you are curious enough to see it then by all means. I found it funny for completely different reasons so I can't say other people will find it funny but seeing the actors in this film give their over the top performances is worth it if you've come across people like those portrayed in this movie in real life.
A film so bad it made me wonder what Armand Assante did to deserve this.
This is probably one of the few times I'd say a film is the worst I've seen but simply put it is. From the direction to the script to the acting to just about everything is absolutely terrible.
1. To start the script has a severe lack of logic, in one scene when the group finds a dead body the one character suggests they go to the police. Then another character says they shouldn't because he believes the police will think they're involved in this person's death. Now that's a lot like saying if you go and report a crime to the police you'll get arrested for reporting a crime or as if they're actually going to the police to say "Hey dudes, we killed someone and we'd like you to come check out our awesome crime scene." As if the police would say. "Cool man, if we like it we'll arrest you." Also in the third act the very same character after being rattled by one of his friend's death develops a knack for asking the most annoyingly dumb questions one after the other almost without taking a breath and his behavior in that particular situation makes no sense what so ever.
2. To elaborate on the direction the film is shot in Morocco and judging from the establishing shots there's some nice scenery but during the dialog scenes most of the time the only thing we see are close up shots of faces and no scenery. While these close up shots are usually suppose to be about emotions the actors display virtually none. In fact the acting is so wooden you can use it to make a rocking chair.
Overall, this film truly is the worst film I've seen in a while. Armand Assante is one of my favorite actors hence the reason I sought this film out. He probably just did this film for the paycheck even though he only plays a small part in this film despite getting top billing. I recommend to not even give this film a second thought, it's a waste of time either way.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)
Plenty of great visuals and action but not much story.
This second G.I JOE film doesn't have much in terms of a well thought out plot but it does have some great visuals and is packed with loads of well staged action sequences so action movie buffs should have a blast. For those also seeking more of a character story it's still best to look somewhere else.
The acting is however surprisingly good given the film's plot. Dwayne Johnson and Channing Tatum both bring a certain likability to their characters and I enjoyed watching them the most and of course Adrianne Palicki who was very friendly on the eyes.
Overall, The film might not have much of a plot but the great visuals and the well made action sequences keep it from becoming a total bore. Those who want more of a character driven plot might not think very much of it.
Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
A movie that is typical of its genre.
I noticed a lot of people complaining about the severe lack of realism but in reality OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN is actually a typical movie of its genre. For example we have bad guys that roll in and fly in into town that shoots everything in sight and note how they hardly miss. Then you have a secret service bad ass named Mike Banning played by Gerard Butler who comes in and starts taking out the bad guys and then note how the bad guys try to shoot him and never manages to hit him with a single round. And that pretty much sums up a large amount of action movies that have been released over the years.
In terms of realism there virtually is none. In terms of the acting the cast give okay performances but I've seen better from each and every actor in this film but nothing hinders this movie from just being dumb entertainment where you get to tell the uptight film critic in you to take five and just take the film as it is.
Overall, if you prefer realism consider giving this film a pass. If you want simple entertainment and would like to see a DIE HARD style action movie with typical genre trademarks then give it a go.