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Star Trek (2009)
All that was good about the Star Trek franchise has died
"Star Trek: Deep Space 9" remains my favourite sci-fi space-opera of all-time, with "Firefly" coming second (would be first if not canceled so soon). I love "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and still watch it, it had interesting plots. "Star Trek: Voyager" is where the series began to go downhill in my opinion, though I still enjoyed it. It started out well and began to sink, getting cheesier as the series went on, finishing up with one of the worst finales in history.
The problems I see with the modern Star Trek franchise are the same problems with all forms of mass-media-produced "art": dumbing down to a small set of clichés, overly simplified plots, pointless action scenes.
An example is enemies: in Star Trek: TNG, enemies were not black and white, there were no "outright evil" races. The races all had good and bad qualities, including humans. There were moral dilemmas, and when there was action, it served a purpose. Now it is merely Distinct Good vs. Distinct Evil, ala The Lord Of The Rings.
You have the "evil enemy" which is portrayed using:
Dark corridors; dark bridges; dark computers; dim green lights; pools of dark water; dripping water; slime; residue; smooth curves coming to sharp points; vampire-styled cloaks which come up above the shoulders; high places everywhere to fall from; enemies can't hit anyone with their hand-held weapons; etc.
You can see this clichéd viewpoint becoming more prominent as time passes. The Borg went from having extremely bright and quiet ships in TNG, to being extremely dark, green-tinted and "creepy sounding" in Voyager.
I didn't think the clichés could get worse than they were in "Star Trek: Nemesis", with all of the ones I listed above, but this new "Star Trek" movie has succeeded. From start to finish it is one cliché after another. The first 1/4 of the movie I rated a 6/10, it was moderately enjoyable though left a lot of questions unanswered. As it progressed it became cheesier, and it seemed clear there would be no dealing with the gaping plot holes.
To name just a few that come to mind:
A black hole magically doesn't destroy the ship, but sends them back in time to the exact point in time and space where Kirk's father is on a mission for the first time.
Kirk is left on an ice world and runs away from some random monsters before finding a cave in miles upon miles of wasteland, then goes into a cave where he finds old Spock. Why would Spock be living in a cave rather than going to the Starfleet base a couple miles away? Why is Spock randomly on the same planet that Kirk is left on? Why is Spock randomly on the same part of the planet as Kirk? Where did Spock get firewood from when there are no trees around for miles in every direction?
Why are there open sewers on the Romulan ship? Actual shin-deep dirty water sewers with water dripping from the roof and no lights, on a spaceship. Why are there cliffs on the ship everywhere you look, without so much as railings? No spaceship designer would possibly be that stupid. Why are there no lights on the Romulan ship? The ship is powerful enough to destroy planets, yet it can't light up its hallways, or even its command bridge?
In the opening scene it is said that they can't take another blast like they already sustained, yet they take dozens more blasts over a period of almost ten minutes, without being destroyed. They manage to very slowly fly their ship into a collision Romulan ship, a ship that is shown to be able to turn and go to warp in a couple seconds flat, stands around doing nothing for minutes while the Starfleet vessel rams into it.
The whole scene with young Kirk driving the car off a cliff and diving out. Not to mention the security would merely have transported Kirk out of the car to a holding cell. Why must movies have scenes of people hanging on to cliff edges for their life? It's painfully cheesy to watch. This movie had 4+ scenes of people hanging onto edges for their life.
The last scene where the enterprise ejects its warp core (well, apparently it has a half-dozen warp cores?) to "push itself out of the singularity". Um, no? They were unable to escape the singularity at Warp 4, that is far faster than the speed of light, why would a regular explosion help? Warp speed is thousands to millions of times faster than a mere explosion. Exploding warp cores have been used many times throughout Star Trek to blow up enemy ships, but we're expected to believe that it instead gently pushes the Enterprise out of a black hole without a scratch on it?
The movie throws out the "Star Trek: The Original Series" plot by changing completely what happens, yet magically we are expected to believe that despite the universe drastically changing, somehow all original members of the Enterprise crew are reunited during a series of unbelievably unlikely events on random planets and places.
If anyone has read The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy series, book 5 "Mostly Harmless", there is a new guidebook that is able to traverse possible timelines in the way that best suits its own goals. This perfectly matches the plot of this movie: unbelievable coincidences coming to a particular conclusion. This is insulting to anyone with common sense.
I can not believe that this clichéd and cheesy movie is on the IMDb Top 250 list. My rating of it went down progressively from 6/10 to 2/10 as the movie progressed from clichéd scene to clichéd scene. This movie has no artistic merit, no plot, no meaningful action, nothing to it at all. It is empty, Hollywood drivel.
The Interpreter (2005)
Starts strong but ends weak
The movie starts out very strong. From a gritty opening scene onward, a fast pace is set. The plot remains strong for the first 3/4 of the movie: plenty of mystery, decent suspense in several scenes, and very nice character development.
The problems I have with this movie start to show up during the last 25 minutes or so. The Hollywood cliché machine goes into overdrive, they start playing the "you're supposed to feel *this* now" mood music, and dip deeply into the vat of cheesy lines and horribly predictable plot developments.
I don't know how a movie with such a strong start and middle could flop so painfully in the final leg of the race. While I haven't looked into it, it seems like there was a decent novel in place that was rewritten into a screenplay by a band of roving Hollywood monkeys.
It was great to see Nicole Kidman in this movie, her acting was excellent, and she played a very different character than in any of her other movies. Sean Penn was also very good in this film.
The problems arise when the Hollywood movie machine try to include a "love interest" in every single film, even when it is completely and utterly out of place. This was a political suspense/mystery. It was about power corrupting even the cleanest of souls. This is hardly a new story concept, it is ages old, but it is a good story concept. Why they suddenly turned this around part way through the movie and started building a lopsided love interest is beyond me, it made no sense.
I guess they assume that everyone going to a movie with a popular actor and actress in it want to see them together, even if it doesn't relate to the presented plot at all.
I was rating this movie an 8.0 out of 10.0 for the first three quarters of the film, but once it started up the clichéd mood music and made the ending overly predictable, I couldn't justify rating it more than a 5.0 or 6.0 out of 10.0.
An average action film
This movie is an average action film, with no relation to the Doom series of video games other than having a corporation called UAC being stationed on Mars and running into some monstrous problems.
The video game was heavy on violence, but more importantly it was heavy on frantic, despair-laced fight for life while being oppressed by the forces of hell. In this movie, there is no portal which is opened to Hell. There are no demons. There is no brave soldier out to save the Earth. There are no bodies found skewered, crucified or tortured. There are no rocket launchers, plasma or chain guns.
The five minute scene of the movie wherein it is in first-person was poorly done. The combination of musical selection and the way the camera moved quickly but without any up/down movement (even the original Doom game had the screen bob up and down to make it feel like you were walking) made the first-person scene seem to be a guy at a carnival shooting gallery, or on a trip through the Fun House. It felt entirely fake, pre-scripted, set on a path and dull. I was looking forward to the first-person scene, and was completely disappointed, except for the last scene with the robotic demon (from Doom III, which I was not a fan of at all).
All the writers/directors have done here is to take the name "UAC", the planet "Mars", and write themselves a generic humans-turning-into-zombies action flick ... and as an action flick, it wasn't entirely bad. Some of the characters were interesting, bits and pieces of the action were fun to watch, so I give it a 5 out of 10.
However, in the field of a video game adaptation, it fails completely. There is none of the heart and soul of Doom in here at all.
A sad reminder ...
This movie is a sad reminder of where American mass-media is taking us.
This movie is comprised entirely of clichés, old jokes, and a whole lot of painfully embarrassing scenes designed to get people laughing at others misfortunes -- but not in a clever dark comedy fashion.
I wish I had not agreed to watch this movie. There were numerous times that it made me feel sick to my stomach, and not just because of the horribly embarrassing and completely not funny "jokes", but because it is very sad to see how these completely stupid, plot less, unthinking, inartistic, unoriginal movies dominate the American mass-media these days, and spread their sickness around the world like a disease.
Every scene in this movie is a rehash of another movie. Many of the movies it is ripping off may have been funny in their own time, but the jokes here are simply painful to witness. I legitimately laughed at some of the jokes, maybe 7 or 8 of them, but I had to hide my face from the movie in shame at least twice as often as I laughed.
And I must say, the ending of the movie is the biggest, most awful, ludicrous cliché of all. If you feel even the tiniest bit of emotion watching the ending scenes of the movie, then you can be sure that you have already sold your soul to the American propaganda machine. It actually tries to be "heartwarming" and "sincere" after an entire movie of heartless insincerity, quite remarkable. They even play the music that tells you that you are now supposed to be all warm-and-fuzzy inside. I have a great deal of pity for all those people that are made to smile by the clichéd ending of this movie.
If you like to turn off your mind and be spoon-fed lots of brainless drivel, then this movie may well be enjoyable to you. If you care at all about art, creativity, the state of the world media ... then avoid this movie as you would the plague, for your sake, for your children's sake, for your children's children's sake. Amen.
I rate this movie a 2/10, for the few jokes that were actually funny in it.
Freddy Got Fingered (2001)
I watched this movie with an open mind ...
I do not mind crude humour. I have even enjoyed watching some of Tom Green's other works. I find various other crude movies, such as "Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood" to be hilarious, even with its plethora of tasteless jokes. I don't get shocked by fake or gory violence in movies, such as "Hellraiser", "Dawn Of The Dead" or "Natural Born Killers".
But this movie was just bad. Very bad. Really very bad.
I have no problems with the animal, violent, incest and other crude humour used in the film ... but it was painfully fake and simply not funny.
It is very rare that I feel the need to fast forward through scenes in a movie, I have done so on less than a dozen movies in my whole life, but every couple scenes in this movie were so pointless, embarrassing or unfunny that I had to skip over them, for the sake of not losing 87 minutes of my life.
Only one out of every fifteen or twenty jokes was clever or funny for me. Some of the jokes really were great, and I did laugh while watching this movie. But I had to fast forward more times than I laughed while watching ! This movie takes a proud spot in my top ten worst movies of all time.
An absolute classic, not to be missed !
Our family has had a tradition for many years each Christmas -- we watch this short animated film some time on Christmas Day. We still enjoy it after all these years. Poor, loyal Max, always trying to please his two-sizes-too-small-hearted master. The silly toys and instruments that the kids play with. And of course little Cindy Lou Who, who was no more than two, who manages to get through to, the Grinch.
The anti-commercialism messages are simply wonderful. All the more-so now in the 2000s with corporate globalisation taking over the bodies and minds of the majority of the human population of Earth.
A simple, funny and beautiful message of compassion and caring. A message of family and community being more important than wealth and possessions.
Son of the Mask (2005)
The only pro about this movie is that it has only cons
This movie is so completely and extremely awful that you may be able to derive some strange, depraved pleasure viewing it.
I thought "Final Destination" was the worst movie I have ever seen, but maybe this one takes the cake. I can not begin to describe how painful this movie is to watch. In almost every scene they insult the intelligence of even the most brain-dead of masses desiring 'fluff' entertainment, and that is a challenge for any filmmaker to do.
This is a sickly mixture of Warner Bros. style plots using Garfield (the movie) style computer graphics which are horribly integrated with live actors -- and I use the word "actors" very loosely, as I think that "clowns" might be the more appropriate word in this case.
In case you missed it, this really sorry excuse for a movie has absolutely no relation whatsoever to the decent comedy "The Mask" starring Jim Carrey.
I recommend avoiding this movie unless you have had a full frontal lobotomy, or are interested in experimenting in a couple hours of sadomasochism.
This movie is near the top of the bottom 100 movies on IMDb, and with good reason !
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Tries too hard to be both drama and comedy
I have really enjoyed a few of the movies that Clint Eastwood has directed, but this was not one of them.
The story overall was quite good, and could have presented the viewer with an interesting and involving story. Instead what I found was characters that did not seem real and a plot progression that didn't feel right. It was the details that didn't work for me. A few words and a few scenes here and there that just yanked me away from the movie, leaving me feeling no attachment at all to the characters.
I think that they went all out in the many comedic scenes, so that once they put those same characters into serious scenes, it felt like an adaptation of a comic book -- not very believable. I kept on thinking of the scenes in the first Spider-Man movie when he went to that fight, not very real, but fun to watch. I enjoyed the comedic and action side of Million Dollary Baby, but it left the dramatic side feeling pretty distant and surreal.
Surprisingly, I found my favourite character in the movie was not either of the two leads, but the secondary character "Scraps", who was played by Morgan Freeman. He felt far more real and believable than the others in this film.
My rating of this movie is 6/10.
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
They are turning the series into clichéd Hollywood shlock
For me, this is by far the worst Star Trek movie ever. It has all the clichés you have come to expect from the Enterprise series, and only 3 or 4 scenes in the entire movie did I actually find interesting or emotionally moving.
From start to finish it was loaded with cheesy, clichéd crap. I was going to rate it 4/10 until the event that happened near the ending tried to redeem the movie somewhat from its clichéd cheesiness, so I have given it a 5/10.
I could not believe just how many clichéd, fake, unrealistic, unbelievable, lame scenes this movie had.
First off, the "aliens" looked just like the stereotypical 1950s style aliens, the ones that are prominent in the Enterprise series: massive latex/plastic suits all shiny with huge goofy shoulders, evil orc looking faces with rough skin and large sharp teeth, etc. No originality at all here. Even the Star Trek: The Next Generation series, on a low budget, had vastly superior alien designs.
Through-out the movie Picard and other officers mowed down dozens of enemies without ever getting hit. I saw *one* secondary no-name officer get hit, everyone else was without a scratch during the fire exchanges. Give me a break.
Beverly Crusher looks through a microscope rather than simply inserting the blood sample into a DNA scanner.
They broke pre-defined Star Trek concepts over and over in this movie, sadly they do the same thing in every couple episodes of Enterprise as well.
The rest of the plot flaws fall into the category of spoilers, they are posted to an IMDb message board at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0253754/board/nest/13298101
I, Robot (2004)
Entertaining, but sometimes painfully cheesy
This movie review is 97.5% spoiler free !
Forgetting for a time that it is [very loosely] based on Asimov's book, and just looking at it as as stand-alone film, I would call it entertaining, but sometimes painfully cheesy/corny/lame.
Fortunately the scenes that made you cringe were fairly rare, leaving most of the movie quite interesting.
Most of the action sequences were well done, though there were a few that got rather cliched. I already laughed at Vin Diesel flying through the air on a motorcycle guns blazing, I didn't need to see Will Smith repeating this !
The special effects, especially the cars and robots, were exceptionally well done. If anyone has seen the music video called "All Is Full Of Love" by Björk, the robots look and move almost exactly like that. Makes me wonder if one of the special effects crew saw that particular music video.
There was a good amount of humor that wasn't cheesy, but then there were a few of the scenes between Will Smith and Bridget Moynahan that were just so cliched it made you feel like throwing up.
I gave it an IMDB rating of 7 out of 10.