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HFR is horrible!!
Yuck! First of all, the high frame rate (my first time seeing it) is truly horrible. Felt like I was watching a cheap TV period drama from 20 years ago. Is this progression or regression? I felt like I could almost see where the set ended at times. Everyone I saw it with felt the same. They found is distracting and cheap / behind the scenes feeling to it. Jackson, please stop with this. Film is dream, making it more life like loses that veil of illusion.
The over reliance on CGI didn't help matters. Gone are the real locations used in LOTR and instead it's mostly studio sets with greenscreen backing. This is lazy and it looks fake and without grit. The odd shot that was definitely outdoors felt alive and truly epic.
All this would be a little more tolerable if the script was engaging but it's boring. The stakes are not high and I couldn't give a toss whether they get to the mountain or not. Should have been one film not three. Either way I won't be watching part 3 next year.
Devoid of tension. Boring and over long.
Poorly structured and devoid of tension - This was a huge disappointment. I enjoyed about 20 mins of inventive set pieces near the end but I was surprised I was still awake by the time I got there.
I love the LOTR trilogy. The Fellowship was my favorite. It made me laugh and cry and smile with excitement among other things when i saw it.
The Hobbit however, made me; Fidget with irritation in my seat. Yawn. Feel nothing at the lack of tension. Sneer at the over reliance of CGI. Wonder when the story would start. Wonder why I should care. Wonder why they need 3 movies to tell this story. Wonder isn't it obvious...?
Super 8 (2011)
Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.
I loved the trailer for this movie. The way it was put together, the mystery, the music... What a let down the actual film was! It seemed to me like one giant ego stroke for Spielberg with Abrams trying to replicate what made Spielberg's Amblin films so unique back in the day. Even his camera shots were trying to be Spielberg but without the panache or iconic creativity the former had in his prime.
It's like trying to trace the Mona Lisa it'll always be second rate. And everything here is. The kids, while good, are pale imitations of the kids in the Goonies and not quite as believable and real as the kids in E.T. The music tries to echo John Williams but Giacchino cannot even touch the master. Even the music from Cocoon used in the trailer exuded a magical awe that Giacchino fails to echo. His music even tries to give the military the same sound and feel as the military is given in Close Encounters but again it just feels pastiche and not homage. Speaking of the military, they couldn't have been more cartoonish if the filmmakers tried. At least the military and officials felt real is E.T. There the officials are an unspeaking presence as our characters try make sense of what is going on.
All in all it felt overly conscious. Even moments like a little kid slamming the table was a direct take from a moment in Close Encounters, as one of the children of Richard Dreyfuss character was doing the same thing with a doll. Abrams uses it as background stuff not realizing it served a thematic function in Close Encounters.
This is my main problem with it, it seems too focused on jerking off on Spielberg that it fails to become a unique and memorable film onto itself. Spielberg was a contemporary filmmaker who made contemporary set films back in the late 70s and early 80s. He wasn't making 'nostalgic' films set in the 50s and jerking off about a director he admired. That's what Abrams should have done. The super 8 was a pure Mcguffin and did nothing more than show the characters something they would see for real 5 minutes later and I feel that there is no reason why, with a bit of thought, this film could not have been set now and made into a movie kids today could make their own the way kids of my generation owned and connected to E.T, Goonies etc.
It's sad in one sense. I applaud anything that is new (like Inception) in a movie land that saturated with sequels and remakes and reboots. But is this really new? Isn't it just another form of reboot? We need new stuff for these times. Come on Hollywood, get the finger out!
The A-Team (2010)
Awful film with a twisted theme
Carnahan has fallen hard in my view - from the heights that were Narc to the lows that are a poor looking CGI tank 'flying' by using it's canon. It least most OTT 80's action flicks involved stunts that were physically possible (even if not probable) at the very least. Carnahans action in A-Team had no rules. B.A running through some terrible looking weightless CGI storage vessels, reminded me more of a Looney tunes cartoon.
Carnahan also had a cameo in it (he didn't do that in narc) and his ego seems to have contracted Michael Bay-itis in his casting of female extras that look more like centerfold models / high class escorts wearing glasses. Nice to look at but destroy the credibility of the world thus pulling me out of the film. It's not a music video. Sure, OK, make a love interest or a female lead hot, but every second extra? Just so Carnahan can direct one handed? Silly.
The plot was filled with coincidences that boggle the mind, the physics made no sense and were no rules, the acting was one noted, the comedy fell short, and the CGI was really bad. The film even had a really weird and twisted theme with B.A wanting to reject violence and then realizing Ghandi actually said some contradicting things so it's OK to kill people. I'm sorry but WTF? I really hated it, it had nothing going for it and had I never seen the TV show (and therefore not having a shred of nostalgia for the characters) it would have been even worse. Fail.
District 9 (2009)
Over-hyped film for the year. Quality starved Sci-Fi audiences will latch onto anything these days. OK so, The GOOD the BAD and the UGLY...
Different. Not a sequel, prequel or a remake. Great to see gore back in Sci-Fi (harks back to the Verhoven days of yore - though Robocop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers are vastly more entertaining). Special effects put the big boys to shame.
Plot holes galore. So-so acting. Main character both unlikeable and a bumbling buffoon. Would have worked so much better if he was more real. Could still be a nerdy guy but without the OTT 'Braindead' comic feel. Same goes for the 'bad guys' and cliché "Nigerian" gangsters. Could have felt much more gritty and real in a Paul Greengrass sense, instead it feels amateur. Humans understand aliens 'click and gurgles' after 20 years? Hmmm.
The alien design did not work for me in context. They are meant to feel vulnerable and yet are physically much more stronger looking than humans. If they had been more vulnerable looking and perhaps more relatable, they may have been a more emotional reaction to what was happening to them. Instead they felt like giant versions of the termite creatures from Attack of the Clones (even same sounding dialogue).
A snuffy mess
You know you're in for a royal mess of a script when the scene which kicks the whole story off is the main character conveniently 'just so happens' to find a piece of 'the all spark' in his jacket!? Followed by a totally unnecessary gremlin-transformers blow up the house scene. We find Bumblebee is being kept in the garage like a bloody dog... Toilet humor... Very quickly the smile on my face from the opening Shanghai sequence (which looked great, along with a forest fight later on) quickly started to fade.
From here to got worse. Shias crazy roommate (who serves what purpose?) Shia caught cheating with a TX from Terminator 3 (yes, I'm not kidding). Annoying 'stuck in there' scenes with Shias parents. Where there wasn't stupid, loud, humour, there was explosions.
The constant noise and explosions and grey messes of metal fighting wore thin on me very quickly. Action needs breathers, set up, anticipation. And give the robots some colour for Christ's sake! The movie did not need the comic relief of what people are calling the racist 'jar-jar twins' but I enjoyed the seeing some primary colours I have to say. All in all though, this movie was the pornographic equivalent of a 2 hour close up of a knob ramming an a'hole. Maybe some people want that but I don't want to see it. Show us a little foreplay, a little tease, change position, anything!
Speaking of porn, that's also the reason Megan Fox didn't work. She looks like she's in the wrong business. She also has zero charisma or personality (though the writers could be to blame here). You see makaela would have worked if she was smoking hot in a pretty sense and a touch down to earth (attainable) so an audience could dream their were Sam. We would of related to her more and therefore cared about her. It also would have made the T-X 'seductress' work in the film work. But she's less hot than the ott megan! Talk about the girlfriend experience. How much is Sam paying for the privilege? And the story spoke of being faithful? Come on, how could you trust Fox? Seriously. In skimpy shorts and low tops hanging around motorcycle grease monkeys all day? Add this to dogs dry humping, robot radio control cars dry humping... Who is this movie aimed at?
I mostly enjoyed the first film. It worked for the most part and felt like the story had been worked and then shot, as opposed to being shot while they worked it out. I think the transformers franchise could of worked brilliantly. It needed more 'Berg less Bay though. Given us a touch of wonder and magic...
Star Trek still makes the summer a success. That was so enjoyable it counts for two movies. Same writers, yeah, but Bay would have turned the dark knight into a noisy snuffy mess.
Over hyped student film.
Yes I get it. No I still don't like it.
What boggles the mind more than the convoluted plot, is the fact that this movie won the prize for drama at Sundance. How? It has to be one of the most ugly, amateurishly made films I've ever had to sit through this side of college. Sundance should award film excellence. Not just a hip idea but all levels of production - performance, script, camera, sound etc. I have family holiday videos that sounded better than this for goodness sake.
The talk was extremely technical so it allows for those who understand it to watch the movie with a smug grin on their faces as they raise a condescending eyebrow at those who are merely trying to follow it's 'gist'. I hate that snobbery in movies. You know, when some one feels the need to chuckle out loud, just to show others that they 'get the in-joke'. Great movies can have a court room scene where only those with a knowledge of legal terms might fully understand, or a hospital scene or a scene where somebody is cooking and it might sound ultra authentic and technical, but it doesn't leave out 80% of the audience who are trying to keep up. I'm not talking about the cliché line like "Hey, English please doc", but great writers know how to involve everyone. And that's the key - involvement, engagement. Primer = none.
Some people have said it's different. Really? Take away the horrible docudrama feel, add cheesy music and make the dialog understandable and you basically have an episode of The Outer Limits. Primer is 'an idea' encased in a lot of waffle and bargain basement production values (did they have a focus puller?) and that doesn't make a good movie. I don't give a hoot that the movie cost a dollar or whatever, I'm just annoyed that I can't go back in time and stop myself from renting this rubbish.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
Been there, done that.
After Casino Royale the Bond franchise seemed to be getting back on track but after watching QOS one wonders if it hasn't tripped and broken it's leg.
All I kept thinking while watching was how better they do it in the Bourne movies and how Marc Forester cannot direct action. In fact it was a combination of the direction and editing of the action scenes that was the first thing to start annoying me as I watched (or a least tried to watch) the opening car chase and roof top chase. It's shot and cut in such a way that it's impossible to engage with it in any emotional or visceral way. You have no idea of the geography, how close one guy is from the other, what's at stake etc. There are no pauses as the character considers his next move. It's just shake, shake, cut, cut, cut, and then when things settle we see who won. Same with the hanging on the ropes scene and the boat chase.
Sometimes people complain about the overuse of shaky cam in the Bourne films but I could always tell what was going on and was emotionally invested in Jason Bourne.
The plot was muddled and there was nothing about the film I hadn't seen before and seen before done better in countless action films. It offered nothing new. Nothing. Craig makes a good if unemotional agent and Dench makes a good M but this franchise is dead.
The Happening (2008)
Wahlberg Versus The Wind!!!
I have a problem when people excuse a boring film by saying it has a noble message or its subject matter is admirable. This all well and good but at the end of the day a movie should engage and be entertaining (not necessarily 'entertainment'). The Happening does neither. Not only that but on this example you can also throw in big bucks and high salaries. For all those reasons I do not apologise for any punches thrown at this farce of a film.
This film is tensionless and flat. In fact it is downright awful and feels like a bad daytime TV movie you'd find on the Sci-fi channel. The acting 'style' made everyone seem like they were retarded. I don't by the 'that was the point' argument. At the theatre where I saw the film it induced laughter from a perplexed audience. Totally perplexed. I felt no connection with any character and they bit players were so bad they felt like they were cast straight from the crew.
Usually Shyamalan has some inventive camera blocking. This film felt like it was made by a recent film school graduate. There was no cinema craft on display here, camera choices were poor and did not serve the 'drama'. This would be laughable even from an amateur filmmaker, not to mention from the man who gave us The Sixth Sense.
I was very angry I had spent my hard earned money on this crap. I used to be a huge Shyamalan fan. I forgave his one hiccup before this (Lady in the Water) by putting it down to "an off day" for M Night. However after this I'm not so sure anymore. This is strike two in my book. For many it's strike 3 after The Village. And for others still, it's strike 4 or 5! Perhaps on reflection I'm being too optimistic! .
Who wrote this rubbish?
Like all intelligent movie loving people who have decent standards and did not like this movie, I too have to flag my review with the proviso that I am one of the biggest fans of the original trilogy.
This film is empty, periless, tensionless, laughable (in some good ways but many bad ways too) light on action and heavy on green screen. All in all that to me ain't the ingredients for an Indiana Jones movie.
The 'bad guy'. The antagonist in any of these films is usually a big threat to Indy. Either through cunning or power. Not here. Blanchet does her best with the poor material but we never get a true sense of how menacing she could be. Ray Winston's character is just a lazy cliché of the genre.
Peril. There is little sense of true peril. There was always a moment in each Jones film where the audience thinks "How are they going to get out of this pickle?" Not here. Much of the action reminded me of the coincidental nonsense that was in The Lost World. Falling through this, bouncing of that, and landing "Ok let's go".
Action. Every Jones film has an action scene that you remember. Not one in this film. Spielberg commented recently that since the Indiana Jones trilogy there have been many inventive action sequences in event movies, but that this has left, as he put it, "very little meat on the bone" for people like him to formulate new action sequences. I dare say that's lazy and a little sad to hear such a master of the craft to admit. To me there will always be cool action sequences as things can always be swapped, changed, reinvented, etc etc - just like Indiana Jones didn't invent action. Buster Keaton was doing things that are still unbelievable to this day. The best action this film comes up with is a tensionless jungle chase with CGI monkeys and the most fake looking sword fight seen this side of a green screen. Poor.
The Music. Every Indiana Jones film has a very memorable musical theme (or themes) besides the main march. I was flabbergasted to hear regurgitated themes from The Last Crusade. Especially in one of the final scenes. Another bit sounded exactly like the scene where the tripod comes up in War of the Worlds. What the hell is that? Surely Williams could have come up with some new stuff considering the amount of money gone into this.
Finally, and most importantly, the story. At any point in any of the previous Jones films you can tell what is going on and what's at stake and what needs to be done. Here I either didn't care or couldn't tell. And the way Indy takes on the mission was lazy and made the scene where Ian Malcolm takes on the mission in The Lost World seem well developed and gripping.
I could go on and many reviewers have pointed out the CGI Gophers, CGI monkeys and an alien worse looking than Brian De Palmas Mission to Mars, so I won't go there. To me I am saddened so deeply by this.
The last film ended with Father and son riding off into the sunset. This one ended with Shia combing his hair. Nuff said.