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The Survivors (1983)
Well, silly me, I got the wrong bullets...
Despite being from 1983, then I will say that "The Survivors" actually still holds its ground today, and can still be watched as a movie that was filmed recently.
The story is about Sonny (played by Walther Matthau) who lost his gas station in an accident after 12 years of running it, and also the story of Donald (played by Robin Williams) who was fired from his upscale corporate job by a parrot nonetheless. The paths intertwine when they are at the same diner when a would-be robber attempts to rob the establishment.
Storywise, then "The Survivors" is fairly straight forward and simple. The story doesn't really require much from the audience. But what makes the movie work is the on screen charisma of both Walther Matthau and Robin Williams, and when put together they are like fire and ice.
While this is a comedy, then it is not the type of comedy that will have you laying down with cramps from laughing. The comedy here is more subtle and indirect.
There are some great one liners throughout the movie. And while this is a comedy, then it should be said that the movie does present a rather colorful take on the American rights to bear arms.
If you haven't already seen "The Survivors", then take note that it is well worth spending an hour an a half on.
The Signal (2014)
I am not agitated, I am bored...
I must admit that I had some expectations for "The Signal", which ultimately weren't delivered, because this movie turned out to be somewhat of a joke.
The story is about three friends driving to find a person named Nomad by location of his IP address. When they arrive at the desolate location things start to turn strange, and the friends find themselves in over their heads.
Storywise then "The Signal" had some interesting aspects, although I didn't fully agree with much of the story, because it was just rubbish and nonsense. And to make matters worse, the ending of the movie was just a massive slap in the face.
What is holding this movie afloat is the special effects and the performances put on by Laurence Fishburne and Brenton Thwaites. But that hardly managed to make the movie watchable, much less durable to sit through.
The story is slow paced and very little is revealed to the audience throughout the course of the movie. And then like a bucket of ice water, the ending was just an insult to all those who suffered through it to the very end.
This Sci-Fi thriller failed to impress me in any way and turned out to be much less enjoyable and thrilling as I had been led to believe. So a meager 3 out of 10 stars for "The Signal".
Private Resort (1985)
Typical comedy from the mid 1980's...
"Private Resort" is a very typical mid 1980's comedy, much in the footsteps of "Porkys" for instance.
The story in the movie is about two young men, Ben (played by Rob Morrow) and Jack (played by Johnny Depp) who are visiting a Florida resort where they hope to meet women. But the two young men will find more than just love here, as they are caught up in a web of deceit, trickery, an attempted jewel robbery, booze, and romance.
I will say that the story is not the most well thought through of plot lines, but it did prove entertaining enough. Just bear in mind that this is right off the assembly line of mid 1980's comedies.
The cast was actually quite good, aside from Johnny Depp and Rob Morrow, then there was also some good performances by Hector Elizondo and Leslie Easterbrook. If you grew up watching the movies in the 1980's then you should know these names, if not by name, then by face.
The comedy throughout the movie was like a roller-coaster, at times it was great and hilarious, other times it wasn't all right there.
I am rating "Private Resort" 5 out of 10 stars, because it wasn't a memorable movie, and it was just right between good and poor, so mediocre might be the right word here.
Fairly typical 1980's comedy...
Odd that I have never seen this movie before this late into 2014. But now that I finally got a chance to see it, I must say that this late 1980's comedy was actually a good movie.
The story, albeit a bit out there, is about Dean (played by Kurt Russell), a carpenter who has just moved to Elk Cove with his children. As a single dad, life is difficult. When given the chance to work on a rich lady's yacht, Dean's luck seems to be turning, but the woman Joanna (played by Goldie Hawn) turns out to be somewhat of a mouthful and ends up not paying Dean for his two days of labor. Later on when Dean happens to notice Joanna on the TV, as a woman fished out of the water and with no memory of who she is, Dean comes up with a plan for revenge.
While there is a good amount of comedy in the movie, it is not really the kind that will make you laugh loudly, but it will put a smirk on your face and put you in a good mood. Russell and Hawn have a great chemistry together on the screen, and that is one of the more profound things that carry this movie.
This is a rather typical late 1980's comedy though.
But "Overboard" is well worth a watch if you want some entertainment that doesn't really require anything from the audience.
Red Planet (2000)
Red planet which turned out more green and blue actually...
Compared to "Mission to Mars", which was also released in 2000, then "Red Planet" pales. The storyline in "Red Planet" is just simply too far fetched to be anywhere near the other movie.
The story in "Red Planet" is about an expedition sent to Mars to try to figure out a way to save the dying Earth. But the mission quickly goes awry and it becomes a desperate race against time.
Storywise, then "Red Planet" wasn't as captivating or thrilling as "Mission to Mars" was. Sure, it had its moments, but in overall it didn't fare all that well.
There weren't all that many special effects throughout the movie, which sort of was a shame, because it could have brightened up the movie, now that it was failing on its storyline. However, one of the special effects that should be mentioned as being fantastic was the fire in zero gravity. That was really impressive, and the movie is worth watching for that scene alone.
As for the acting, well I can't claim to be a fan of neither Val Kilmer or Carrie-Anne Moss, but they were actually doing quite good jobs in "Red Planet". It was a shame that Simon Baker wasn't given a more outstanding character or a character with more impact on the story, because his talent was far from utilized in this movie. And the choice of Tom Sizemore, well that just baffles me - enough said.
What didn't work for me in "Red Planet" was the fact that there was breathable air on the surface of Mars. And if these algae and insects were creating breathable air, wouldn't it require a much, much larger area of algae covered ground? And as such, wouldn't that green patch be noticeable on the surface of Mars from space? The costumes were quite interesting, as was the interior of the spacecraft. Although it was a bit too futuristic compared to its functionality. But hey, it looked cool.
Mars itself wasn't really convincing, especially because (as I just mentioned) that there was breathable air there. And, similar to "Mission to Mars" they had failed to take into consideration the gravity issues, that it differs from Earth. And also during the ice storm, wouldn't you be able to see people's breath clearly as they exhale? Visuals are important when making a movie such as this.
I am rating "Red Planet" 4 out of 10 stars, because it failed in overall to pass as a Sci-Fi movie with potential. It was just some nice landscape shots with a mediocre story that had rather large holes in the story. Not the brightest moment in Sci-Fi cinema.
Mission to Mars (2000)
All's well that ends well, if only a proper ending was presented...
I remember watching this movie back when it was first out and I remember it fondly, so I decided to watch it again 14 years later.
The story in "Mission to Mars", quickly summaries is about a manned expedition to Mars that turns fatally wrong as forces beyond reason strike. Then a rescue mission is quickly launched, which also go awry...
The movie is still nice and entertaining, but up to a certain point. The entire sequence with the first landing on Mars was excellent. It was nicely constructed, filmed and put together and there was a sense of thrill and excitement to it all. And when it went awry, you really were struck down as you root for the astronauts here. But moving on... As the second landing is on its way, the movie still manages to uphold its grasp on the audience, because it is equally exciting and thrilling. And so was it when they go to Mars. Right up to the point where they entered the giant stone head structure. From there on it just was like the air deflated from the balloon very quickly.
The sequence with the pre-history of Mars was interesting and it was an interesting aspect and approach to take on the barren planet. But the alien creature? Seriously? That was when the movie slipped beyond any chance of salvation, and to make matters worse Jim decides to stay in the alien craft and travel "home". Yeah, that was just really great! (Read the irony here!)
Storywise, then "Mission to Mars" is great and it is well executed on the screen. The story easily picks up the audience in its grasp and doesn't let go before the very well. Well, for me, about 10 to 15 minutes or so before the end (as they went into the structure).
They had some good talents in the movie as well, especially Tim Robbins put on a great performance here, and was perhaps the most memorable of all characters in the entire movie. But with a cast that also included Gary Sinise, Don Cheadle and Connie Nielsen it was just a good ensemble.
As for the effects, well I will say that they pulled it off quite nicely, and it does give off the sense that the people were on Mars. Well, aside from the gravity issue going on. But hey, let's not dwell on details.
I was thoroughly entertained by "Mission to Mars", but I just wished for an alternate ending, because that ending was just preposterous.
The Pact II (2014)
Even more slow and dim-witted than the first movie...
Well, I should have stuck with my gut instinct and not actually delude myself into thinking that they might do a whole lot better with the sequel, because the first movie was a snooze-fest. "The Pact II" is much akin to the first movie, also being a snooze-fest with very little happening throughout the entire course of the movie.
For a horror / mystery / thriller, then there is surprisingly little thrilling or shocking about this movie, aside from the fact that so little could happen over such a long course of time.
I will say that the acting in the movie was good, and people were doing good jobs with their given roles. And it was nice to have Caity Lotz reprising the role of Annie, although that did very little to lift up the rest of the movie. Patrick Fischler did a good job with his particularly odd role as Ballard, and he was actually the most memorable in the entire movie.
Story-wise, then "The Pact II" does continue on from the first movie, but again, it is nothing interesting, so don't get your hopes up.
It was progressively becoming more and more of a struggle to sit through this movie, and more than once did my attention start to drift away because the movie offered very little that captures the audience.
At least the first movie had a moment or two that was impressive, but "The Pact II" does not.
"The Pact II" scores a meager 3 out of 10 stars from me, and that is based on the acting, the camera-work and the production value. The rest of the movie is most likely to be forgotten as soon as you get out of the chair once the movie ends.
The Extendables (2014)
Wow, this was abysmal. Everything about it was just bad and a pain to bear witness to. The acting was atrocious and the storyline even worse.
Listed as a comedy has to be a joke on itself, because I didn't laugh once throughout the course of this movie. And the attempts at comedy were so lame that it ended up being toe-curling to witness instead of being fun.
The story is about Vardell Duseldorfer, aka V.D., who is a struggling former action movie star who goes to Uzbekistan to direct and star in a new movie that will be his great comeback.
I can't really put into words just how bad this movie was, and it is easily ranking amongst the top 10 of bad movies that I have ever seen in my 39 years. And the shameless cash-in title on "The Expendables" is nothing but a hollow title to lure in audience. Sure, it suckered me in, because I thought it was going to be a spoof on "The Expendables", but it wasn't anything remotely so.
This is about an hour and a half of wasted time and effort, and do yourself the favor and not suffer through it. Others did, me included, so you don't have to.
Heavenly Sword (2014)
This wasn't overly great...
"Heavenly Sword" seemed more like something that should have remained in a PlayStation game and not made it to the big screen. Especially because it looked like something from the early 2000's. The animation and textures were not up to par for 2014, not by a long shot. And it totally pales in comparison to the 2001 "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" and the 2005 "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children".
The storyline was adequate and had some good moments, but it seemed like everything was just skipped over lightly and without going into depth with anything much really.
A lot of the animation was rigid and wooden, and the outdated textures didn't really help further the movie in any possible way. I must say that I think they could have used more resources and time on the animation here.
The characters were adequate, albeit two-dimensional and lacking personalities.
Having sat through the entire length of this animated movie, and with being very close to getting up and doing something else twice along the way, but deciding to stick with it to the end, I must admit that I had hoped for something more than it turned out to be.
I have never tried the game upon which this movie is based, but truth be told, then it felt like this entire movie should have been used as in-game cut scenes and not as a feature animated movie.
One thing I did think about though, was if this animated movie wouldn't actually have been far, far better if they had opted to continue with the cartoonish animation style that they used in the movie to tell some of the backstory. That was actually more interesting to look at and far more stylish and memorable than the outdated CGI that was this movie.
Boring and uneventful...
I sat down to watch "Kantemir" solely because Robert Englund was in this movie. But not even this iconic horror legend could do much to salvage the sinking wreck that was "Kantemir".
The story is about a group of actors and actresses coming to a secluded mansion to perform in an act. They haven't been shown the script and have little idea what they are about to embark on. When the mysterious director show up with a strange book, the boundaries between play act and reality becomes a blur, and what might be a story is all but too real.
Right, well the storyline didn't really offer much of anything. Sure it had potential, but it was just not skillfully utilized much less so brought to the screen. If they had opted to go another way with the script, or had a different set of creative minds at work, it might have been something much more enjoyable to witness.
The storyline was dragging the movie down, but the who feel of the movie wasn't working in favor of the movie either. You just don't really buy into the storyline of the movie at any point during the length of the feature, and it seemed that some of the acting talents didn't either.
Granted that Robert Englund was the one pulling the load here, the rest of the cast weren't really anything memorable.
For a horror and/or thriller movie, then "Kantemir" was frightfully devoid of anything that would even put the audience on the edge of their seats. Everything was too scripted, too forced and too unnatural on the screen.
"Kantemir" scores a meager 3 out of 10 stars from me. I have seen worse horror movies, but this wasn't just anything extraordinary. Your money and time is better spent elsewhere, unless you are a die-hard fan of Robert Englund.