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The Island (2005)
Stuck on Michael Bay's Island
The Island is the newest action movie from director Michael Bay, the guy who made Pearl Harbour and The Rock. This time he tackles a utopian community where one by one people are sent to "The Island" a place where free from contamination, which seems to have engulfed the world. Lincoln Six Echo however begins to question life in the colony and soon discovers that there is more to the Island than it seems.
Well generally films by Bay are high on action but does poorly in terms of the screenplay. Well for this one there was still a lot of action especially in the second half of the film. However the screenplay has improved for this one. The screenplay on this one is actually pretty smart even if the concept was unoriginal given the track record of Bay.
I thought the acting of the main characters was sufficient enough. Ewan McGregor did a good enough of a job. He did a good job in some of the lighter moments of the film. Scarlett Johansson who was great in Lost in Translation does not shine in this one as basically her role takes a back seat to McGregor's character. Sean Bean as usual performed well as the bad guy.
One thing I was rather disturbed about was the rather blatant "product placement" in the film. It was like they were shoving the brands down your throat instead of it placing it more subtly in the background.
Also some of the other actors who were given top billing I thought were under utilized in this movie. The story really revolves on Lincoln Six Echo with bits and pieces of the others.
War of the Worlds (2005)
The War is On!
Well the signs going into this movie were pretty good. Critics loved the movie plus we got Spielberg and Cruise teaming up so I was expecting a good one. I t was definitely in my top 10 list of movies to see over the summer.
Basically this movie does not go very far from the original version released some decades back. Same plot just updated in terms of time and technology.
I always grow tired of movies whose main selling point are the effects. I loved the minimalist special effects in this one. This however is still effective in getting the message of fear and dread across.
In terms of the acting, I thought that Dakota Fanning did a great job. It's actually quite hard to believe that she is only 11 years old but can do have a masterful performance. I can still remember the first time I saw her in a episode of CSI some years back and she has certainly progressed since then. I thought that Tom Cruise did a good enough of a job as the caring father trying to protect his children Nothing extraordinary but just enough. Nothing much to say about supporting other than that Tim Robbins should have been given longer screen time.
I also quite liked the way they were able to put across the theme on family relations and how it is tested in stressful situations.
I guess my main gripe and I fell that many will feel this too is that the end came rather abruptly and that how it was all resolved just felt unsatisfactory.
The Interpreter (2005)
A movie of two halves
My first reaction after seeing this movie was how dramatically different the first and second half of the movie was. It was like all the tension, which was building up finally exploded at the climax of the story. I thought it was a good political thriller despite the rather predictable nature of the story. The main weak point of the story however was the rather weak storyline of Tobin Keller and how it was linked to Broome.
The obvious strong point of the movie was the strong performance of the two lead actors Kidman and Penn. Kidman was particularly strong as the Interpreter who hears more than she should.
Overall Sydney Pollack did well in harnessing the talent of two premiere actors and produce a satisfying political thriller.
Flight of the Phoenix (2004)
The phoenix has crashed again!
Flight Of The Phoenix stars Dennis Quaid, Giovanni Ribisi and Miranda Otto. It tells the story of a group of people who are stranded in the Mongolian desert after their plane crashes.
Well the movie really started out realty fast so much so that we hardly know anything about the characters. Yes there were a few hints here and there but overall characters personalities were like a mystery to me. Also because of this we were not able to see any character development even in the main characters.
If you want to see a group of people build a plane for over an hour or so then this movie is for you. There was hardly any conflict in this movie and whatever was presented was really dull. The filmmakers tried to add some elements of danger but they were just too far between and too little to save the movie.
I also was did not like the story because it was largely very predictable. Even so I thought it could have been saved if by some chance at was presented in a different way to spice things up.
Also I thought that most of the performances were ordinary. There was also the problem of there being way too many characters in the film, which frankly just clogged up the film.
Overall this movie left a very sour taste in the mouth. The story was the main thing that brought it down and the performances were ordinary.
I was Hostaged by this film
Hostage is the latest film starring Bruce Willis and some less known actors supporting him. First thing that I noticed about this film was how similar the plot line was to 24 and Assault on Precinct 13. A rather unoriginal film but then again how many unique movies do you get to see these days anyway. Despite this I still think the plot line was solid enough for the purpose of this film. The pace of the film was rather slow at times especially in the middle of the film.
In terms of acting I thought most of the cast put in a rather sub-standard performances. Villains who were supposed to be at least to a degree menacing was nowhere near that. I thought the only person who did a good enough of a job was the star of the show Bruce Willis.
There was nothing much to say in the technical aspects of the film like music, costumes or cinematography.
The best of MMFF
Well it's been a long year and I'm down to reviewing the final film for 2004. Panaghoy Sa Suba (Call of The River) placed second in the recent Metro Manila Film Festival. As expected, it didn't do so well at the box office as it was too artsy for the common moviegoers especially since MMFF is the season where a lot of families go out to see movies.
It was quite intriguing to see a movie that was not in Filipino or English play out in the screen. I thought Cesar Montano did a good job both as a star and director. His great vision and creativity really helped this film. He was also very effective as the lead star and was able to express a wide range of emotions that was required for the film. Also performing well was young actress Rebecca Lusterio. She did a great job portraying Bikay, the younger sister of Duroy. I hope to see her in many more film projects in the future perhaps venturing into other genres. I think that the fact that this film was in her local dialect really helped her.
Some of the camera shots in the film were done very well. The scenery was made breathtaking even though I feel that if a lesser effort would have looked completely different.
In terms of the story I feel that the writers could have delved further into the lives of the lesser characters in the film. I certainly won't be raving about the story of this film.
Just like a diesel it only heats up in the end
I'm not that familiar with the Hellblazer comic series, which this film is based on. I think this helped me keep an open mind free of any unrealistic expectations especially about the characters. One thing though that was surprised was the lack of many elaborate, gut-wrenching fight scenes.
Also given that most movies adapted from comic books are fast paced this started at a snail's pace. A lot of talking and introduction of characters. However as the minutes came and went the pace picked up and the elements, which seemed insignificant at the start came into place to provide a good climax.
Also given that this was adapted from a comic book I really was not expecting that a very deep storyline but surprisingly it was certainly above average and was quite intelligent for it's class.
My major gripe about this film was the acting performance of the actors particularly of Keanu Reeves. I never really rated him as an actor and found him one-dimensional. This movie further reinforced that belief. Most of the lines he delivered were rather flat with little emotion shown. The others did well enough but I felt Reeves overshadowed all of them given his significant screen time.
The effects I thought were fine. Nothing as extravagant perhaps as LOTR but nonetheless effective given the purpose. Cinematography I thought was ordinary.
Kung fu (2004)
Better than Shaolin Soccer!
Stephen Chow's last project "Shaolin Soccer" was a funny and enjoyable and as a result of that I expected to enjoy his next project Kung-Fu Hustle. I got to say that I was NOT disappointed with his one. So much so that I like this even more than soccer. The humour was not over the top like other comedies. Despite it being in Chinese with sub-titles did not in anyway deter me from enjoying the movie. It really was able to cross both the cultural and lingual barrier which may exist in foreign films.
I particularly loved all the references that were made to famous American movies like the Matrix and Spiderman. They were delivered in a subtle but effective way. Also despite his rather limited screen time Chow made up for it by delivering quality inputs from behind the camera. The characters were both lovable and detestable. I especially loved the couple who were very ironic.
Overall a quality followup to SS. I cannot wait for his next project.
Blade: Trinity (2004)
Sad way to end the trilogy.
I was rather surprised that they actually thought of producing a third movie considering that the second one was a rather poor film. Unfortunately this film was even poorer. The whole plot line was just so disjointed and unoriginal. It all started with the rather dull premise which frankly set the tone for the rest of the film.
Also I also found the action scenes, which could have saved this movie despite it's faulty story, to be rather ordinary. Even the supposed big battle with the main enemy at the climax of the film didn't live up to expectations. All the time they were hyping on how " perfect" and "unbeatable" his opponent was. I was rather surprised that little was done in terms of defeating him. Can't help but say "what that's it".
I was also quite surprised and amused that they cast Ryan Reynolds as one of the leads in a big action movie like this. The last time I saw him was in comedies: " Harold and Kumar" and "Van WIlder". I just couldn't help but chuckle when I saw him all buffed up and killing vampires.
I think Wesley can breath a sigh of relief because he can finally move on to other project which perhaps can help his sagging career.
Ocean's Twelve (2004)
Twelve is less than eleven
Well the whole cast is back for another caper this time in the shores of Europe as they are all banned from the casinos of the US. THis time however there is an added twist as Terry Benedict wants his money back and a cop is hot on their trail.
One thing I liked about the first film was the way Soderburg was able to mesh together all eleven characters to form a cohesive and fun story. Sadly however he was unable to duplicate it here. It seemed like that only a few characters that were getting substantial screen time. Yes, they were all back but it seemed like it wasn't necessary. All that top billing for guys like Garcia and Mac for bit parts.
I also found the story not as enthralling as the first. Whereas the story of the first felt original and exciting this was more bland. It just didn't have the same punch as the first. The first was a really fun I also found it a little confusing at times and only really fully understood the movie after much discussion with those who have seen the movie.
Well compared to the first movie there were a lot of really funny moments. Whereas the first was more serious this was a little more light.
Well i'm really hoping they put this franchise to bed. I think by doing a sequel like Twelve it has really damaged the reputation it had produced after the first movie.