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15 reviews in total 
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The Thaw (2009)
8 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
VERTIBRATE??? This movie is a piece of brown goo!, 15 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a matter of personal belief, I must state right from the beginning that I am convinced that man-made climate change is a threat to our civilisation. Unless we will be able to control our consumption of natural resources and pollution output, we will be seeing very bad things happening in a near future. Climate shift is real, and the geo-political changes it could bring about will be much worse than the economic hardships necessary to curb the current trend.

These being said, my opinion is that this movie - and any cinematic efforts in a similar vein - are not only flawed, but actually dangerous. They trivialize a serious issue, and exploit it for cheap thrills.

The science in this film is so bad, it's almost laughable... What bugs me most (sic!) is the fact that the people who made the film were incapable of keeping in line with the most elementary notions of biology (meteorology and climate change do not even come into the picture, except to provide an excuse for another teen slasher movie)...

The smoking gun? Look no further than the fact that the people who made this film - a film about scientists, no less - were incapable to spell the word "vertebrate" in the description of the parasites.

If you get this film in electronic format, look around the 1-hour mark. You will see, written large across the page, the word "VERTIBRATE"... That's right, they weren't even able to get some scientific advisors capable to spell the name of the movie's egg-hatching villains!

As for the rest, the film is just a travesty... Just like another flick that came out this year, it seems that Hollywood (or, more precisely, the film industry, seeing that this piece of trash was made by an independent company) is incapable of portraying scientists as they are - and as they should be: able to think rationally about their actions. All we have in this film is a bunch of morons running around and making the most unbelievable decisions. Scientists making idiotic choices, horny students who are supposed to be brilliant but come apart at the first sign of strain, and so on.

The film's writing is lazy - even including the predictable "it's not over" twist at the end -, the acting is hammy and there are no truly chilling moments.

This movie does not deserve to be compared to John Carpenter's "The Thing", any more than "Forbidden World" deserves to be compared with "Alien". And poor Val Kilmer... why was he in this, is he that strapped for cash? I think a public fundraiser would be a better solution to help this guy... I thought he'd make a comeback in "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" and "Alexander", but, sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case.

You can only like this movie if any or all of the following conditions are met:

1) you are under 15, and/or you think "Transformers" was the best movie ever made. 2) you are a relative of one of the filmmakers, or someone else involved with this celluloid catastrophe. 3) you are a "torture porn" freak (and not in a good sense).

If I were a religious man, all I could say after having to watch this would be "God help us all, and deliver us from bad movies and pretentious idiots who trivialize serious matters!"

Plaguers (2008)
11 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Contrite, clichéd, awful, 15 October 2009

THIS piece of dreck has won awards? Unless the competition mainly consisted of cellphone footage of a bathroom wall, I can't imagine how such trash can even be seriously considered for any rewards... it was dumb, dumb, dumb... poorly acted, poorly conceived, derivative to the N-th degree, lazy script-writing, horrible FX and costumes, and the list goes on.

PLEASE, even if you're into "trash cinema", don't watch this... nobody with an IQ above that of a piece of broccoli should be submitted to such a waste of 90 minutes.

A howler, and not in a good way.

9 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
A totally forgettable "Aliens"/"Resident Evil"/'Doom" clone, 22 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Make no mistake, this is s boring, tiresome piece of trash, which can't even shock or gross you out.

Entire sequences are lifted directly from better movies - the "Alien" series being the most obvious target, with a character named Yutani, for crying out loud! - and the plot has a VERY strong resemblance to another recent cinematic turkey, "The Devil's Tomb".

And just like "the Devil's Tomb", this flick has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Bad acting all around, terrible dialogue and predictable plot twists. Not worth spending your money OR your time. Find something else to do with your 96 minutes, maybe go out for some sun and fresh air.

This production makes any 1980's low-budget schlockfest look like a masterpiece, by comparison! The only people who gave it more than a "1" must be blind, or have mistaken it for another title.

10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
A surprisingly effective "invasion" film, 23 December 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As far as movies go, this is a nitty-gritty version of "Men in Black", devoid of all the humour and the wisecracks of a slick Hollywood production. What we get instead is a solid and efficient horror thriller, shot directly on video, which keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

This is what "Cloverfield" should have been. I was disappointed a bit with the way they shot the ending, but I guess that's unavoidable these days.

I can't help drawing parallels to "The Mist" - which also takes place in a store. They are both studies in terror and paranoia, focusing on the interaction between characters which may or may not be representative for larger segments of the population.

Watch this film, if you have a spare 90 minutes - you won't regret it.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A bad, bad movie - don't give in to the hype!, 13 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Take away the Bond brand name recognition, change the main character's name to something else, and try to pitch it to the studios... you'll see how you'll be laughed out of the lot! What can I say... there's much hyperbole about this film, most of it coming from people who call it "spectacular", "Bond reboot" etc. Hogwash! Craig continues to be a thug, there's no REAL resolution at the end (stay tuned for Bond 23!), most of the action scenes are filmed in that horrible "hyperkinetic" style that makes you go "huh? what did just happened?" (this got really old with the Bourne movies), and the plot is just bad, bad, bad. Not to mention that the bad guy is an environmentalist (!??)... oooh, how scary! Watch "Sahara" for a much better take on "environmentalists turned bad"! Come to think about it, there are some unnerving similarities between the two movies, starting with the fact that in both cases the bad guy is a French dude with a bad accent. Except that "Sahara" was a fun and pleasant popcorn flick, while "QoS" pretends to be a dark and brooding contemporary film.

It's sad to see that the studios are so desperate to keep the Bond franchise alive and make some extra cash on the back of the public. Be forewarned...this is probably the worst Bond ever - worse than anything you've ever seen in the series, even the incoherent "Casino Royale" of the 60s. Oh, and the title song (main theme) is also the worst thing I've heard since Lulu offended our ears with "The Man With the Golden Gun".

It used to be that the Bond films had great locations, wonderful stunts, beautiful women and impressive gadgetry. Not anymore. All we have now is a pumped-up dude who beats up people and tosses dead friends in garbage bins. Sad! And what happened to Marc Forster? he is clearly able to make a good film, as evidenced by "Monster's Ball"... heck, even "Finding Neverland"... but this?

23 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
Wonderfully quirky East-European production, 2 April 2008

A wonderfully quirky movie, rooted in the deep inner conflict experienced by many people who have to re-conciliate their Communist-era mentalities with(in) a post-Communist society.

Most Romanians (and East-Europeans alike) will understand it very well, since many clichés are present here: the vain, non-professional media, the desolate streets, the people without perspectives or hope, the arrogant new-rich former secret service people, the successful immigrants coming from even lesser parts of the world... all grafted on top of a nagging general feeling of guilt and shame, emanating from the sheep-like population.

Let's face it: the real (and only) Romanian heroes of 1989, "before 12:08 on December 22", were the several thousands of mostly young folks who defied the authorities in the streets of Timisoara and Bucharest... the rest of the country just watched and waited, much like the viewers of Jderescu's "talk show".

PS. - To the pretentious prig from Denmark: I think you were supposed to post your "art cinema" commentary under the latest creation of your much-ballyhooed co-national, Lars von Trier, "Direktøren for det hele" (2006). Your comments fit that film to a "T"!!!

If you have absolutely no idea what Porumboiu's minimalistic film is all about, and no respect or understanding for another culture, I think you should refrain from posting. Sadly, your inane text was at some point featured on the main page for this Romanian film, even though you - thankfully! - represent an insignificant minority of malcontents.

9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
A very funny movie in the same irreverent vein as "Hoodwinked" and the less successful "Happily N'Ever After", 28 February 2008

I didn't expect much from this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised by it - I've certainly enjoyed it more than, say "Bee Movie", a much more flashier and expensive animated cartoon.

Take the "Three Little Pigs" story and twisting it around for a modern audience, add a few sly references to "Dr. Strangelove" and not-so-subtle jabs at several other film classics (including the "Three Men and..." series) and mix just enough action and suspense to keep both children and adults happy about it - and you get a winner! The "bohemian" pig, playing "Silo" (think "Halo" for/with animals!) incessantly and using "dude" as his every third word was especially funny. I also enjoyed how the filmmakers openly admitted their lack of a big budget, by making one of the characters literally slap another over the idea of a musical number.

This film was fun to watch, and I hope to see more output from the talented crew that put it together. Bravo! This is definitely a keeper!

5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Another proof you don't need big budgets when you have a strong idea and cast!, 2 December 2007

This is what good science fiction and true cinema "magic" is all about... with a minimum of budget and a decent, but by no means famous cast and absolutely no special effects, the makers of his little gem have succeeded where the so-called "established" film industry has failed so miserably.

Take any of Steven Spielberg's works from the last 20 years or so... I guarantee you will not find them so touchingly human and thought-provoking.

Many years ago, an American teacher of mine scoffed at French films, saying that most of them involve a group of people talking around a piano... This is a vindication as sweet as it gets.

Like many others posting on IMDb, I discovered this film after it had generated some internet buzz, and some of the "scene" sites (that is, the underground, if you need explanations) posted links to a screener copy.

I was amazed and enchanted by this film, and I will support the makers by buying the DVD.

Thank you, Messrs. Bixby and Schenkman! People like you (just like your hero) give me hope for the future, in such times of war, pestilence and Paris Hilton.

Sunshine (2007)
3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Danny Boyle, how far hast thou fallen!!!, 1 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's sad to see great directors misfire on all cylinders, but this is exactly what happens here.

I believe "Sunshine" is one of those doppelganger films developed by competing studios - you know, "Antz" vs. "A Bug's Life", "Volcano" vs. "Dante's Peak", or "Armageddon" vs. "Deep Impact"...

In this case, "Sunshine" must have tried to compete with "The Fountain", and ended up as a failure of catastrophic proportions. It misses the philosophy; it misses the catharsis; it misses the visual style; even the music is uninspired.

While everyone on Earth is freezing their butts, we're supposed to believe that detonating a "star bomb" - a type of fission-fusion super firecracker - will somehow make the sun recover its brilliance. Yeah, right. Even "The Core" had a more plausible idea.

And what about the cast? Leave aside the bad science (one-gee gravity on a spaceship, impossibly efficient heat shielding, and one of the worst clichés you can think of - sound in space!) Leave aside the badly-developed premise. It's really a pity that we end up with unsympathetic characters - do we really care if they live or die? Even "Mission to Mars" had better fleshed-out and more differentiated crew members. Here, we just have senseless interactions and bad, bad dialogue. "Event Horizon" - which had problems of its own as a film - had, at the very least, two great actors with strong physical presence and memorable voices: Sam Neill and Laurence Fishburne. "Mission to Mars" had the very competent Gary Sinise and Tim Robbins, as well as the beautiful Connie Nielsen. When you compare these thespians with Cillian Murphy, an individual who mumbles half his lines, has a somnolent delivery, and a permanent, slightly disturbed expression on his face, you can't help thinking that something is terribly wrong. Two other great Asian actors, former martial star Michelle Yeoh and Hiroyuki Sanada (who gave us a memorable performance in "Twilight Samurai") are criminally under-utilized and summarily disposed of, with barely a few lines of dialogue.

The fact is, after wasting 90 minutes of your life on this film, you realize you've already seen it. It's as if someone had taken an element of every great - or at least box-office successful - science-fiction film of the last 20 years, and came up, somehow with something which is less than the sum of its parts.

You have "A desperate mission against all odds"; "An awestruck, loving & sensible female crew member"; " A distress signal which shouldn't be there"; "A mysterious space relic"; "An intelligent, but haunted and secretive medical officer"; "A freak accident which destroys the chain of command"; "A villain of superhuman strength, complete with peeling skin"; "Religious hysteria"; "A rapidly-diminishing oxygen supply (in an otherwise huge ship!??)"; "A dead computer which needs a complicated reboot procedure"; "A space walk without space suits"; "A noble suicide to save humanity"; "A providential bomb which saves the day"... the list can continue, but you get the point. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention "A human who can detonate said bomb following an intricate procedure, at the precise critical moment,better than a computer, and without any other mechanical help".

...Yeah. Sure. May the Force be with you! If you see existentialism and spirituality here, like some other reviewers seem to indicate, you're in the wrong theatre.

Last but not least, I want to express my profound disgust with the overused cliché of "shaky-cam"... I hope the next director and camera-men who think Shaking and Blurring the frame are cool filming procedures will end up with a really bad case of Parkinson's. Shaky frames are not cool, mmmkay? They are tiresome and, frankly, already old. You can't create tension artificially, if that tension is not present in the script and the game of the actors - you're just giving the audience a headache. If you think using state-of-the-art equipment gives you the creative license to shoot video as bad as cellphone footage from a crowded bar, you should stop using whatever medication you're on.

I am really sorry for Danny Boyle and Alex Garland. I can only hope that they take a good rest before proceeding with their next project, which is supposed to be none other than the sequel to "Trainspotting". Because just like the sequel to "28 Days", "Sunshine" is a terrible flop. Honestly, if you digitally remove the name of the director from the credits and insert "Roger Corman" in its stead, you get a better understanding of why this film is so rushed, incomprehensible and, in the end, a disappointment.

4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Another tired sequel - no "Die Hard" feeling left, 3 July 2007

Saw it last night.

It was... tired. Had a strong feeling of déja-vu about it... this practically was "Firewall" 2.0 with added scenes from "Speed" and "True Lies", using McClane as a connection to the previous "Die Hard" movies, and rehashing plot elements from other recent Bruce Willis films, like "Hostage"... Come to think about it, "Hostage" could've been a better choice for a "Die Hard" sequel than this.

It also felt cramped and unrealistic. Which is strange, considering that we're no longer dealing with an enclosed, claustrophobic setting, and McClane is now zipping along the East Coast with ease (helicopter lessons, anyone???) I think some sequels should never be made... this is one of them.

In my opinion, this film was just as bad as "Alien vs. Predator", and demonstrates that: 1) when a studio (FOX) itches to continue a franchise, it sweeps aside the mythos and character development (like the above-mentioned "AvP", someone else suggested "Superman Returns") and 2) Len Wiseman, far from being a hot young director with bright ideas (personally, I found the "Underworld" films idiotic) is just another run-of-the-mill hack like Uwe Boll. Definitely, Wiseman is no David Fincher; sadly, he can't even be a Michael Bay!

Last, but not least, what's with all these bad hacker stereotypes? Back in '95 they would've still been cool and fresh, but this is a 2007 film, and even the hacker in "The Core" was more believable.

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