Reviews written by registered user
|24 reviews in total|
An unimaginative guy's booze, boobs and bravado flick. A loafer boyfriend is told by his girlfriend that he needs to get a cablebox so they can watch "Titanic" or she leaves so he and his two similarly goofball, loafer, less-than-responsible buddies drive what is suppose to be a couple of hundred kilometers (the actual times and distances make 10 kilos more likely) looking for a store or some other source that has the cablebox. Essentially the movie showcases the dumb slapstick mistakes they make at a level that would make a juvenile hyped. Made in 2010 and now being released in DVD so that tells you something.
(1.) Great location - the type of natural carved canyon that makes the film a visual pleasure just on that alone. (2.) Great sets/props - the usual beautiful, authentic intricate carving and crafting found in Chinese epic films; often at full (and I mean full) scale. (3.) Great story line - bringing us a bit of the history of Tai Chi as it relates to Kung fu. (4.) Great contemporary tie ins - some classical pop music; then some metal or rock; then some computer game animations. A good spoofing, at times, of the martial arts genre e.g. with the fruits and veggies or when the moves were following the cooking style of each meal. Great steampunk tie in - why not. Great da Vinci tie in with regards to his design and innovations e.g. the flying machine. (5.) Great wire acts and martial arts - imaginative wire routines with Tai chi juxtaposed to Kung fu movements; nothing ridiculous just to fill space but instead used to educate as to the philosophy and aesthetic of the movements. (6.) Great acting -yet nuanced, understated performances in keeping with Tai chi philosophy.
Mostly spoofing the well done Mama and Cabin in the Woods as well as other modern horror genre films and their overuse of the same hooks (pun) over and over again. I should give accolades to the Morgan Freeman like narrator spoofing - had me fooled. Morgan's science docs will never be the same. Spoofing of the following: Any desolate cabin in the woods with hanging dead animals and mysterious object (book in this case). Flickering lights; moving household items although I don't recall the customary opening/closing doors. Floating/suspended people. Inanimate objects coming alive - pool vacuums (and their regular vac friends) in this case. Shadowy figures moving in the background. Shadowy figure tends to be female with long dark hair. Excessive number of cameras placed to see every corner of the house. Rec symbol in the corner. Loud, including the tiresome banging, noises. Possessed and/or wild animal like kids. Helicopter view of lone car moving along country road which the film substituted for by using a toy car performing the same hook. Loved it! My criticism, which mirrors some of the negative reviews, is that it seemed to get a little slow and redundant at times - could have used more hooks from other films.
No English subtitles (or even a menu) for the Vietnamese which is for most of the movie. For the American speakers the audio quality was so bad that subtitling would have helped. Grainy, poor quality cinematography and the editing left the storyline fragmented. Definitely, and sadly given the potential in this story, it was a very low budget film. Good films have come out of Vietnam and unfortunately the Vietnamese government didn't show more financial backing for this story. Acting was not that good especially the lead role with a first time performance; other actors have limited credits and with the Americans it's mostly TV shorts. The entire diary should have been scripted differently in showing the horrors of war. It's been done before but not in this case.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Purgatory movies are not as common as one would think given the range
of possible ways to express that subject. One would think this movie
had an element of that concept, but with further reflection maybe it
does, maybe it doesn't ... Could the store clerk be "Him" or the other
"Him"? His steely calm demeanor and statements such as to his first
"customer", "I'll open it but I don't think you'll like what's inside.
Interesting life you've chosen for yourself. All the things you could
have done in life." then to his second "customer" "Damn shame you're
living your life like this. All the things you could have done. ...
I'll open it, but I don't think you have the stomach for what's
inside." Both monologues occur with a gun in his face robbery, yet he
shows no reaction. His admonitions of responsibility, good judgment and
decisions with consequences are too suggestive of a "not your
Negatives: There were a few cheap effects (understandable given the low budget) such as the plane and bombs. A touch of discontinuity in camera angles and between scenes and locations that affected the flow of the story. A different title might have helped. A deeper discussion of time-space alteration or lives fated by a superior someone would have been interesting.
Positives: Anyway, I thought it to be an original, creatively written script. The casting and music were spot on. The dialogue and actors' portrayals were naturalistic, intelligent and intense. The Pac-Man analogy was great. Above all was the manner in which the story was presented so that the audience was a participant in the discovery process at the same time as the characters. And, to anyone who figured out what was going on before the characters did, deserves a pat on the back. If you liked the problem solving in this movie I suggest looking at similar paradox, "The Caller".
If you haven't seen the movie I wouldn't read any spoilers, but pay close attention to the opening scenes.
Negatives First: (1.) A made for TV movie with actors loaded with "TV
series" in their resumé credits. Consequently, physical appearance
rules with lots of rote memorization and turn taking read-a-line and
smile style acting. (2.) Not only made for TV but funded by Wal Mart
(mega stomper of small family business) and Procter & Gamble (you're
only valuable if your'e whitely clean) with additional funding from
Conagra (frozen fast foods) Pepsico (unhealthy junk food) Microsoft
(bland conformity). In other words a very boring commercial script that
families with an 11 year old will love. Problem there is that the story
wouldn't be comprehensible to them. (3.) Formula storyline of dad who
has a secret life of chasing spies or whatever while family thinks he's
a petroleum geologist. Stereotypic family of nerdy teen son (who else
to figure out computer code); angry teen daughter for emotional
coloring; gruff agency boss; Russian or whatever bad guys. We are told
repeatedly that the kids take lots of AP classes. Are we promoting how
smart they are or is it white middle class bragging. (4.) Usual
Hollywood script writers fake intelligence speak with lines like
Clandestine Activities Division (CAD); Covert Intelligence Operative
(CIO). CAD headquarters is shown as the usual lots of computer monitors
with HUD reticles as the cool visual but looks so dated. (5.) The only
action scene occurs in the beginning with our dad-agent chasing someone
performs two somersault rolls for no reason then jumps on the back of
bad guy riding a motor bike all while talking to his wife on his cell
phone. Another key scene (15 seconds is all this took) is when his teen
son breaks a computer password by figuring out that if he adds two
specific family birthdates together then divides by another certain
family birthdate then that is the password. Unbelievable as well as
dumb. (6.) Predictable; family rescues dad and bad guys get caught. No
one dies or gets hurt - too dirty. Mostly cheap location shots if you
like a couple of rooms and a couple of streets with shops as backdrop.
Positive: This conditioned consumer is heading off to Wal Mart to buy a P&G; a frozen dinner and a Pepsi.
Movie is based on a short story which doomed it from the start because we know how much research and effort goes into a short story. A good story takes years to write and rewrite and involves a lot of research. Not in this case. Too many holes not well thought out for a reality based story. I, like many others, bought the movie because of Liam and his face is prominent on the cover. Should have been a wolf - at least you would get to see one. Problems: (1.) The initial scenes of a a bunch of guys drinking and brawling seemed too much like Hollywood script writers copying an old western saloon. (2.) Liam's suicide thoughts were just a distraction and out of place. (3.) The plane crash sequence, which was imaginatively created from the passengers pov turned out to be just cheap filming as all we're shown is a subsequent scene of a partial plane and stuff strewn on snow. And the usual couple of burning fires. (4.) The drunken cowboy stereotypes as survivors continue which under the circumstances didn't seem to fit workers accustomed to working in those difficult conditions. (5.) Usual dumb decisions like not fashioning snow shoes (easy to do from plastic suitcases and webbing; not making weapons from aluminum as defense against predators; not making torches; not gathering more than one lighter; not punching more holes in fuel tanks for kerosene; not using powder from bullets for small explosives; not making aluminum trekking poles. Basically not good planning while not searching for survival materials. (6.) The shotgun shells on sticks seemed to have gotten lost - not that it was explained that well in the first place. (7.) Final scenes of not fashioning a crutch or carrier for the leg injured survivor; being submerged in freezing water and when Liam gets out he's not shivering or hypothermic. Should have been dead, if not while in the water, then soon afterwards. (8.) Not trying to find a path down a small cliff - the wolves seemed to have had no problems. (9.) The behavior and pursuit by the wolves was way over the top - thought I was watching "Twilight". Their brief momentary cameos in scenes and even the artificially reflective eyes was just cheap cinematography. (9.) River they were following was large to begin with but got progressively smaller. Huh? That's a good trick.
If a psychological, slightly bloody gore, thriller is on your menu then
you will find your self tuning your head a few times in this one;
unless you have an excessive amount of sadism in your genes. Somewhat
close to "SAW" level for a, and you couldn't tell, low budget film. A
slightly satirical and comedic portrayal of the neighbor you don't want
What makes this movie a little different than countless others? The script was creative and novel in that the victims all were likable and the killer had a unique darkly comedic personality and her methods were a bit unusual. The special effects (props, prosthetics) were first rate and you could see that the care they took in creating them was so realistic that even the actors were cringing when viewing the editing scenes. Kudos to Vincent Gugstini for his efforts. My only criticism here would be that the blood wasn't quite the right viscosity and color. What really carries the film is the acting by America Olivo (as the Neighbor) who created a unique character - maniacal and darkly diabolical yet insanely charming and comical. Hard to believe she's a classically trained singer.
This neighbor is on the loose and I'm sure she show up in a sequel - perhaps in your neighborhood.
I was surprised at how bad this movie was. Choose your criteria and they will all come up bad. Really poor acting consistent with the junky TV series, shorts and D-level movies that fill out the actors other film credits. Disjointed, jump around editing and directing producing a story that seemed like a bunch of half hour TV series patched together. Writing and script of a modern day Dorothy showing up at a farm house with a magical key to save Oz from the bad witches was a boring and too frequently copied plot line found in many fantasy movies. Dialogue was written by the students in a high school drama class. A couple of cheap CGI effects of swirling air to represent Dorothy escaping Oz and of a tornado and some '60s era zapping effect from the witch's wand - that's it.
There are movies where you find yourself trying to preserve your
dignity or sanity by fast forwarding to escape the absurd plot, bad
acting or ridiculous dialogue and then there are movies that are so so
bad that skipping every ten minutes and then checking the storyline for
a minute on the prayerful hope it was just a mistake and it's better
than you thought. Well, it took less than five minutes into the movie
to begin skipping and there was no relief.
The story is about some well-endowed female model type military intelligence officer who happens to be in Kuwait in the 90s and suddenly does a double pistol Western shoot out with a bunch of well armed bad people one of whom survives and decides to come after her many years later when she's a civilian photographer in Florida. Stupid improbable storyline really shallow acting from actors with mostly little/no experience except a few TV series/movies. A lot of limited dialogue with read the teleprompter pauses where you wait for the next edited canned response. Cheap production with a really badly fabricated Arab hut with abandoned car in front - very stereotyped. Cheap echoing audio with production budget not allowing for subtitles.
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