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Yattâman (2009)
9/10
Glorious, joyous, bonkers mayhem
11 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Gan and Ai (who together are Yatterman) battle Mistress Donjuro and her fiendish assistants Tonzra and Boyacki for pieces of an ancient skull.

In the hands of someone other than Takashi Miike this would be a conventional adventure thriller with car chases,snappy one-liners, explosions and a love interest.

However this is Takashi Miike. He pokes a finger in the eye of your pre-conceived ideas, flicks v-signs at the standard film conventions while dancing on the seat of a unicycle.

Naked.

On Fire.

And upside-down.

If Luis Bunel and Dali dropped acid and spent the weekend drinking Absinthe and eating crayons this is the kind of madness that would ensue.

This is huge spoiler for the opening, just to give you a flavour for what the film is like:

***Spoiler***

We open to a scene of devastation, a huge teddy-bear robot is rampaging though Tokoyoko armed with a frying pan and cleaver. They are confronted by Yattaman and a fight ensues, which has people climbing out of what appears to be deep-fat fryers, fighting with giant spoons and forks versus someone armed with a a ball and cup, throwing cars at each other, kung-fu moves, more robots, a cute Japanese woman dressed as a leather- clad dominatrix, electrocutions, slapstick, a soundtrack that sounds like a mixture of bad 80s pop and German power metal guitar, then followed by a battle between a robo-dog and the original teddy-bear shaped robot which is made from kitchen utensils, the losers make their escape on a bicycle that talks to them and throws them off by exploding the saddles as punishment... and that is just the the first 10 minutes.

I've no idea if this is true to the original cartoon series and to be honest I don't care - it is well done, funny, appeals to both the adult and 5-year-old in me and very entertaining.
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To kako (2005)
3/10
Potential unfulfilled
11 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
OK it's a low budget film by a first time director & scriptwriter, but even by Z-movie standards this is a bit disappointing.

There are a few decent moments which show that there is ability present and though went into it, however these and an occasional laugh is not enough to cover for the cobbled together plot and acting.

I can't comment too much on the script as my Greek is not quite up to it yet, but when people just wander off the screen (aka dead in Zombie movies) and re-appear 20 minutes later the film descends into farce.

There is a sequel, even a committed Zombie fan like me might just give it a miss. More judicious editing and some re-shooting would have saved it from this miserable score.
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Decent effort
11 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is not a conventional zombie movie, this takes the stance that zombies are not necessarily brain munching mindless creatures, but some of them, while still being dead still retain most cognitive function. A group sets out to make a documentary on zombies, specifically centred on ZAG the Zombie Activist Group and how they are fitting into modern American Society.

It should also be pointed out that this cast and crew were generally quite inexperienced when they made this but it's not obvious for the most part.

***SPOILERS*** Some of it is quite black humoured which is good, there are few Zombie movies that have any humour at all and the whole documentary feel to it is reasonably well done, particularly when the crew argue amongst themselves about what to do.

However it is a little too long and the ending stinks of a hasty re- write
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Iron Man 2 (2010)
2/10
Jumbled up rubbish. Loud, flashy and boring.
11 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Jumbled up rubbish. Loud, flashy and boring. I quite enjoyed the first and hoped that the sequel would be maybe half as good, which would render it watchable if nothing else.

Am I being too harsh - well when you go to the cinema and you have low to moderate expectations and the film still falls some way short of those... then you're not going to be happy.

(a) it's a sequel and (b) to an action movie so how good was it ever likely to be ? I didn't expect a sequel of the calibre of Aliens or Godfather part II, however I did hope that it would be a sequel something like like Lethal Weapon 2 - some decent ideas with a fair amount of filler. Entertaining, watchable but ultimately fluff. Explosions, car chases, gunfights, more explosions, big frickin guns, unlikely escapes, bad guys, even more explosions and a happy ending all neatly wrapped up and presented to the audience. Yay the world is saved again, and we all go home happy.

***SPOILERS*** There were several plots, most of which were not properly developed, Samuel L Jackon appears and promptly leaves again, Robert Downey Junior seems bored with it and puts in an acting by numbers effort, Mickey Rourke is rubbish and miscast as a Russian, Sam Rockwell is bad guy stereotype #37, the action sequences are like MTV videos...

This was like a film that had a series of different directors who ignored the previous script and devised their own without watching what had been shot previously.

How does Paltrow continue to get work ?

Who decided to make Scarlet Johansson a brunette ?

He can duplicate a process that takes place in the centre of stars going supernova in his garage ?

I'll give this a 2 and that's for Scarlets butt.
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5/10
Jumping the Shark
11 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Utter nonsense, enjoyable in a leave-your-brain-in-the-fridge kind of way though. A monster movie with no pretensions and a sense of humour. And Lorenzo Lamas.

Watch this, and as I did you will appreciate the sets*, the crisp dialogue**, the Oscar-lauded acting*** ?

* All 4 of them ** an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters etc. *** Exhibit A - Lorenzo Llamas.

I would actually recommend this film if nonsense action films are your thing - even when it's bad it's good, but the important thing is that it KNOWS it's sheer nonsense and simply revels in it.

It adds a whole new meaning to Jumping the Shark too...
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7/10
Worth watching
11 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Nicholas Cage is in fine form as a cop whose life descends into a drug fuelled mayhem.

This is a long way from the conventional cop thriller and to be honest Herzog seems to poke fun at the 'accepted' Hollywood clichéd film-making, it's like as if the author James Lee Burke and David Lynch devised a plot and script after a few beers and then just to screw with what you expect from a cop movie added in a few changes just to show you 'so you think you can see what's coming next - WRONG'.

There is a good supporting cast including Val Kilmer (though he is underused), Brad Dourif and Eva Mendes who is better than I thought.
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4/10
Nonsensical but fun!
11 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
If we all went down the pub, had a few beers and then a few more this might be the sort of nonsense we'd come up with. It has it's moments but can also be a little too referential (e.g. Alien/Aliens), however it is does know how daft the premise is to begin with and generally simply just goes for it. One of the characters is called Byrdflough. Cough. There are also references to Sartre and Nietzsche

***SPOILERS*** Sample dialogue: Jenna Jameson is a stripper, gets bitten, dies and re-animates. She gets back out on stage, dances and pulls some guy from the audience for a lap-dance with the immortal line (pardon the pun) "I could just eat you alive"

and

"Badgers ? Badgers ? We don't need no steenking badgers !"

If you want a cheesy, black-humoured zombie movie with guns, gore and boobs then this movie is for you.

Jenna Jameson is one of the best things in it, though if there is a message in this movie after seeing her now compared to what she looked like a few years ago - it's don't do drugs!
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Zombieland (2009)
3/10
must try harder
11 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This started well, focusing on the characters who survived without showing 20 minutes of the descent into chaos. Woody Harrelson is quite good and clearly enjoying himself, there are a few laughs along the way and it (thankfully) doesn't try to completely ape Shaun of the Dead. However after a promising start it meanders along into a nonsensical ending. America's answer to Shaun of the dead - if this is your answer then you've misunderstood the question folks. Come on, you can do better than this.

However ***SPOILERS*** He is a self-confessed geek who virtually lives in his room, so how would he cope with the big bad scary outside world when it's now populated with flesh-eating zombies, zombies who can run fast ? Rule 1: Fitness - for someone who spends his weekends playing games surrounded by the leaning tower of pizza boxes he's well able to run. This guy is too dumb to remember whether or not he left the car locked, he'd be eaten as an entrée before the fatties or he'd shoot his own foot off.

They go into a shop, kill a few zombies and find two girls out back - how did they survive with no weapons ?

Noise attracts zombies so you drive part-way across America to find a fun fair and then - power it all up - bright lights, noise, what do you thinks gonna happen ???

Humvees get about 3 gallons to the mile, yet you choose THIS to drive ? You're in the US, there are cars everywhere, why choose this POS.

Someone steals your car and abandons you to your fate, you somehow magically find them again (having just found another car with another arsenal of weapons) and they try rob you again. If you were worried about Zombies sneaking into you car surely you could, oh I don't know, lock the doors ?
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5/10
Free Oscar with 12 tokens from Weetabix
11 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It's alright. I don't see quite why Bullock won an Oscar for it, she's decent in it, without being spectacular or even very good. It is an unusual story and is told without the usual lorry load of sugar coated schmaltz. There is some - it's Hollywood so you can expect some but there was less than I thought there would be.

***SPOILER*** A few moments do jar, particularly with the Role of Bullock calling in plays for the football team (up tot his point she has displayed little knowledge or interest in the game), calling out her lunch friends on a racial slur or the 'share the credit' ending with the poem inspiring his English essay and the 98 percentile in protective instincts - he sounds like a guard dog.
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2012 (I) (2009)
2/10
A tale of sound and fury signifying nothing
11 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Balls. I was warned but I just had to see for myself. This was even more tedious than Independence Day, which was unwatchable rubbish.

Take out the special effects and you are left with what ? I'm really struggling to find something good to say about it. Tum-ti-tum-ti-tum - Woody Harrelson was entertaining, but after that you have a disaster- movie-by-numbers, you can easily guess who lives and who will die, and for a disaster movie it really dragged in parts.

Knock off a few minutes, kill a few of the main cast - no-one is that lucky and it's about time John Cusack bit the bullet.

Bill Hicks would have loved it though, he finally got Arizona Bay.
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1/10
You failed because you're irritating
11 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This could have been interesting, a guy is dumped by yet another girlfriend so he decides to contact all his exes and see why he is dumped so often.

***SPOILER*** I save you the tedium of watching this to find out why - they dump him because he's a narcissistic, lazy, scruffy idiot. With someone who is more likable, sympathetic or interesting it could have been funny, particularly when he overdoses on pills, gets a day-long erection and runs around trying to find someone to sleep with him, however at this stage he's become irritating and doesn't seem to have learned anything about himself.

1 for the concept and the bravery to try something like this, but 0 for the rest
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Zombie Nation (2004)
1/10
A Zombie movie without Zombies ?
10 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Aka how NOT to make a movie. I'd give it 0 if I could

Probably the worst film I've ever seen. The director, Ulli Lommel has directed and written over 50 movies, so with all that experience how did he manage to produce something this inept. Uwe Boll would disown this, that's how staggeringly awful it is. Sets, script, acting (it's like you rounded up people at a bus stop and gave them parts), cinematography, plot, editing... they all stink.

*** SPOILERS**** A psychotic cop who was abused as a child by being beaten with a cane arrests women for various minor offenses (such as jay-walking across a parking lot), abuses and kills them in a warehouse while his partner waits outside the warehouse, and after not having sex with them in the warehouse which has no staff but never closes, well the door never closes (it is also his home) buries them in a wood or out in the desert, but has them re-awoken by a tarantula which was used as part of a voodoo ritual to protect a woman from the killer despite the fact that she is indeed later killed and buried at sea but swims back to shore.

You can tell that these woman are zombies as they have lots of eyeshadow and despite having buried for 3 weeks are clean and well dressed. However when one woman looks at herself in a mirror she sees scars, blood-clotted hair and dirt. This is explained as their inability to see themselves as they truly are despite the fact that that they can see it and we can't. If you should meet a woman who looks like that don't kiss her - she'll only eat your tongue.

They can also talk, rationalize and drive. One of them wants to sing and dance - well if Madonna can do it...

You can now apparently psychoanalyze someone by repeatedly asking them 'is it safe ?' - but only if you have the same cane that was used on the subject when they were a child.

The women decide that their lives will have to change as no-one will accept them as they are now, so they decide to become guardian angels and set off for the cop shop (which looks like the warehouse again), no- one is home but the desk sergeant and the film ends 6 months later with the Zombettes now police officers.

There are also some random scenes thrown in which are never referred to and add nothing to the plot, such as a fight club style scene (yes, yes it's in the warehouse) where people don't hit each other and are cheered on by their wives. Some of the actors disappear part-way though, maybe their bus came or something.
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