Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Vehicle 19 (2013)
Diamond in the very rough
One of the worst things about watching foreign cinema is that many people domestically do so through a Hollywood lens. Hollywood has had well over 70 years to polish and refine its act so when we see an emergent market producing movies we do not embrace it from their standpoint.
Give this movie a chance and you will see that before a diamond is made a jewel... it was once a carbon stone that required cutting and chiseling and polishing. Think Phone Booth with Collin Farrel only done by someone less popular, less time was spent thinking about it but you know what... it is a start. Maybe in the next 20 or so years we will see emergence of really good movies from the African continent and for that to happen local to there cinema must go through its paces.
This movie has an OK plot... nothing to boast about but in a matter of speaking it was not a let down because plot was wonky or because camera work was deplorable... no... the movie parked itself a solid 5/10 and only because it was not polished. I want you to imagine watching this movie again, only this time Paul "Car Guy" Walker is driving that van like he stole it. Only this time director of photography and screen writers make it into something beautiful and boom you have a Hollywood blockbuster.
If you can generally overlook all the flaws in this movie, this is actually a pleasure to watch, certainly more so if you are not hung up on movies only made domestically.
South African cinema is trucking along.
This is a good movie wrapped up in bad cocoon but bear with me
I think as a viewer you can't honestly expect a blockbuster from a low end production studio. Given that frame of reference I find it amazing that director of photography went above and beyond. It was as if he or she poured their heart and soul into it and it shows. Yes the plot line is overused and yes there are elements in which you roll your eyes and yes dialogue is silly but behind all of that there is some good fun to be had in this movie.
Camera work (minus the usual hand-held) was spot on. We got to see elements of Africa in all of its beauty zebras and all.
I gave this movie a 5, even though I think it really deserves a 3 but it honestly tried. Was it not for silly dialogue and over the board trivialized gunfights and 9 gazillion bullets that never hit anything and the pointless explosions and yes even nudity... outside of all of that we have a flick that you can rent on a rainy day to enjoy.
We have become so spoiled by high production films that I actually do genuinely enjoy these college graduate movies and it felt like a college graduate's first movie. It was unpolished but it is a start.
This movie is fantastic in context of its own genre.
If you know anything about cinema then you will know that Hollywood is not the only entity to produce movies. As such every country has their own actors and producers and directors and filming crew. Every country does it their own way using whatever budget they have.
Having lived in Kazakhstan for a year this movie is very dear to me because I actually went to Alma-Ty a few times during my stay. That being said let's look at what this movie has to offer.
As one might guess this movie was filmed in Kazakhstan and in Russian language. Before collapse of USSR a lot of Russians were stationed there so naturally that is why you see Asian people intermixed with Caucasian people. Movie is obviously in Russian so all documents and text and screens and news and whatever else are all in Russian. This has not been filmed for American audience and why should it? Americans do not watch foreign cinema so for those of you getting all bent out of shape over how much time so and so had on the screen, rest assured that any man getting paid to do his job will not refuse it, even if it is a bad movie he is starring in. Money is money.
In this case movie is actually very good. Make no mistake this is not a masterpiece but in the context of the genre and in the context of audience it was targeted for this is a film noir, law and order/Bourne flavored movie. We have the guy who seeks justice and dialog is actually very relevant to the movie. I have not watched dubbed version so I watched this in its native tongue and in Russian dialog was right on point. It was not fake, it was not contrived... it was very real and right to the point.
Some notable things about the movie. You saw an obvious clash of cultures. You have the traditionalist Kazakh society and then western influence so that comes with night clubs and fancy cars as one might expect. Another thing to point out is that this movie was not blown out of proportions. This was about a guy trying to do what he thinks is the right thing. I actually miss that. In Hollywood storyline is always side tracked by love interests and other irrelevant topics.
If you can live with the fact that this movie is in Russian and was filmed for Russians and appreciate it in that context then you will enjoy this movie quite a bit.
Just give it 20 more years and you will understand why this movie is important to progress of Indian cinema
I will not beat around the bush and come out and say that I gave this movie, with all its flaws, a very respectable 7/10 and let me explain you why.
First and foremost anybody who knows me or have read my comments or reviews through the years knows that I am against high production Hollywood films. In that regard this film proves exactly my point. You can have a lower budget film and still get the stunts, still get the (however goofy) CGI, still get the girls and the guns and the helicopters and the car chases and the unrealistic fight scenes and jumps etc etc.
I honestly do not know whether this movie is a success because wikipedia shows conflicting information at time of me writing this. I think it cost 35 million Indian denominations to make the film and after week 1, even after being declared a flop? it earned 135 million? And then several million dollars abroad. Keeping that in mind I honestly gave this movie a standing chance.
At face value this movie could not be called an action film. If anything this is Johnny English comedy type matrix copycat, mission impossible and bourne trilogy and err let's throw in an iron man while we are at it, mixed into one flavor.
Watching this film was rather unbearable because it was not really dubbed as it was spoken in Indian-English (which I guess is spanglish in that region) so I very quickly turned subtitles. I love watching subtitle movies so they really did not have to multi-language this one. It was awkward watching it that way. That aside let's look at the movie as a whole.
Main character looks almost a carbon copy of Firefly's Nathan Fillion only with darker skin. And then there is the story line. As goofy as it was, I was actually surprisingly pleased that through most of the movie plot line was completely unpredictable. It's this girl, no it's that girl, no it's that guy... wait he did what? wait a minute... where did that... ohhh... but what about.... this movie kept me guessing all the way to the end.
It was rather funny watching shoot out scenes because in 99% of the cases nobody got shot even after thousands of bullets flying around.
I really hope that proposed sequel does not turn into Ong-Bak 2 which lost all of it's steam after about first 5 minutes because story was identical to the first movie.
As India emerges as an economic stronghold it is really interesting to see how it's cinema grows with it. Bollywood was always known for singing and dancing and some sort of silly love rectangle but it is definitely a pleasant sight to find that it is just as capable producing other things too. If Indian cinema stays on track, I honestly thing that it can follow in the foot steps of South Korea with it's amazing movies that came out in last 10 or so years.
Keep up the good job folks... but err... next time let's try and put a little more thought into this?! It would be better that way. Trust me.
Add salt to the wound?!
I wanted to write this review because program is fresh on my mind and there is a lot to talk about.
Upon first glance it was fairly apparent that theme of the show was a bitter sentiment that still lingers among cast and crew that participated in the show about a decade ago that met its untimely demise due to FOX network's poor judgment. Those of you that are familiar with the show know that FOX pretty much axed the show during pilot episode. Every episode since had a dark cloud looming on top of show and along and behold show barely survived past half season. What was done by FOX was a travesty and fan base reacted very strongly. 10 years after the fact fan base is still strong and advocating for show to be brought back to life.
So question is... why was it necessary for Science Channel to orchestrate this "reunion"? Sci-Fi and Science channel have long been running re-runs of the series (well all 13 or so episodes known to exist). It felt like I was watching a bunch of drunks reminiscing about their bitter divorce. My question to producers of the show is why did they have to subject audience to such misery? After advertising the special for weeks they delivered this round table talk session where almost every topic that was discussed had to do with show cancellation. Cast members were content and like high school sweethearts reunited 65 years later, all married and grown up and retired and full of grandchildren they were talking about the bad old times. Science channel did a poor execution if you ask me. It would nice to have seen comi-con highlights that had to do with the fan base. If there is any chance... any.... whatsoever... producers need to see that in the voices and hearts of loyal fans who still buy merchandise, still maintain thousands strong fan base forums, produce comics and even their own web based episodes. Why are producers not listening?
I think it would be absolutely fantastic if discovery network picks up Firefly. It would be silly of them not to. Granted I do not know how many more episodes show actually needs because what made Firefly popular in the first place was quality and not quantity. I know typical successful sci fi programs run for 4-5 seasons so this show could have achieved that, had it not been on FOX in the first place.
So 10 years later actors are all grown up, many bitter experiences shared among them. Many took part in other shows that kept getting axed by networks. I think it might be somewhat unlikely for original cast to come back full time if show was to be salvaged. How do you pick up where you left off.... a whole 10 years ago? How do you write a script for a story that has already been axed?
It is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you guys that this special did not deliver. It was less informative and more bitter than it should have been.
Chung chong ging chaat (2001)
This could have been a better movie but not too shabby as is.
I am not a newcomer to Asian films. If anything I enjoy them a lot more than most Hollywood flicks because they still adhere to same principle which is telling the story... a believable story. We do not see your typical unlimited budget showing throughout the movie but spirit of the movie is not about that.
In not so many words as synopsis says it is a story about cops trying to do the right thing while walking ethical boundaries.
What made it confusing is somewhat jumpidy jump approach by movie directors. Unless you really pay attention it is hard to figure out what just happened. We have the bad guys... OK those are easy to recognize but then there are three groups of good guys and there is little distinction between who is who.
From what I can gather I think there were 2 swat teams one of whom quit police force and tried to help their injured friend.
I was a little disappointed in the fact that there was less swat tactics than you would expect. It was as if a bunch of guys who only went through 1 year of police academy tried to take matters into their own hands. I just did not feel the experience that should have come with well trained swat team and when there was a well trained swat team it was just a glimpse in entire movie.
All in all I am giving this film a 5 because it is probably well worth watching on a nice rainy day but this does not have the polished film like some of its other genre counterparts with similar budgets.
The Three Musketeers (2011)
A proper guide to defile an ageless story.
I have watched probably 6 or 7 different adaptations of 3 musketeers in several different languages. I also grew up reading the book by Dumas and I actually shed a tear as I forced myself to watch 2 hours of this stuff. 2011 adaptation is a despicable but mildly funny remake of the original adaptation. It is an abomination, a hanna montana and icarly omage gone wrong and a definite spit in the face to anyone who have enjoyed the book or previous adaptations. I honestly do not know where to even begin with this movie. What happens when you cross solid actors and a solid story and attempt to convert them to year 2012? A vial, deplorable concucsion is born from tears of everyone around the world weeping bloody tears from their eyes as they watched this. How could they have screwed up this bad? The story has been told many times and each adaptation so far has always been true to the book more or less. This movie, however takes on a different journey that let to nowhere. For starters it looks like produces dumped millions of dollars into CGI. Why? When and why did someone decide that it was not good enough to use good old wooden ships and actual locations or movie props to film a movie that takes place a few centuries ago? When and why did they decide that a cross breed between adolescent humor junk being shown on cartoon network and Disney channels could mix with what could be considered a masterpiece? How could they do that to Dumas? As I am writing this my blood is boiling and I just do not get why someone would defile a book in such a way. So to get things started let's talk about the movie. It starts off with our beloved musketeers getting into all kinds of trouble. Something about scuba diving (ehh say what?) a ninja, a funky folding cross bow and a dame played by Mila. Mila is known for her skinny buddy so I do not know what they had to do to get her A-cup bust appear so voluptuous throughout the movie. Skip ahead to D'Artanian and we have found him to be a boy. Since when he was a boy? Outside of all that he manages to get into trouble, a scuffle happens and next thing you know our musketeers are embarking on a journey from perhaps the cheesiest romance request in recent cinema history. Some airships follow as well as a good old honest to goodness aircraft fight which eventually leads us to the conclusion of the movie where nothing really made sense. In all honesty the only thing good about the movie were young king and his wife, both of whom played minor roles but memorable ones. All other actors could have made this movie into a musketeer version of pirates of the Caribbean. Instead we got a older version of Justin Bieber playing main cast. Something he is not particularly good ad but you do not tend to notice his performance because all through the movie you notice dry humor, very cheesy story line, completely disassociated from the book adventures for all 2 hours of the movie. I think where it all went wrong was when someone signed on a dotted line and accepted the script. A script that called for a complete redesign of the story line, perhaps to cater to younger crowd?! At the very least they could have stuck to the time period without dragging bits and pieces from various time lines into one script. Da'Vinchi for example had really nothing to do with the book and yet his creations were featured in the opening. Airships had absolutely no relevance in the story line and yet they were THE main attraction in the movie getting much of the screen time. On top of that good old fashioned sword fights barely had time to sink in and we were practically consumed by gun fight, explosions, more explosions, some ninja weaponry, some more ninja weaponry and the list goes on. I wish people stopped making movies for sake of just making movies. When you deviate from the story you need to have a tale so solid that even die hard fanatics could associate with. Just think of some of the interesting medieval and renaissance adaptations as of late. A knight's Tale comes to mind. In the end I hope that bitter taste of this movie fades from my mind as I sleep off the sorrow overnight. I hope that when I wake up tomorrow this movie will be in its red Netflix envelope and heading back to the vault where it belongs locked up under lock and key.
Stargate: Atlantis (2004)
There could be some room for improvement
I tried my best not to comment on the series but now that I am almost done watching entire thing I would like to call shenanigans.
Warning this post may contain spoilers so read at your own discretion.
I got a pleasure of watching this show through netflix so naturally I spend some time watching special featurettes in which directors and writers shed light on some of their ideas. Upon watching last 4 episodes and every such featurette my blood is boiling.
First and foremost I am appalled with how SGA (from here on SGA refers specifically to cast of writers, directors, producers) handled themselves in terms of pitching ideas. One such poor idea was removal of our beloved Carson but I am not here to write about that. Another such idea was removal of Weir but I am not here to talk about that either. I am here to discuss silly ideas they have implemented such as love. Love comes out really goofy on a show like this. That is why SG-1 pitched the idea, kicked the idea and thorough multiple episodes showed us that it was not viable unless hinted upon (ie Carter/O'Neill). Here we have a whole circus going on. Ronin and Teyla? Teyla and John? Teyla and Kanaan? Rodney and Botanist? Rodney and Keller? Ronin and Keller? Keller and that female team captain. I am sorry wha? Yep you heard me.. it is in the deleted scenes. Their entire love pitch is just as awkward as pilot episode of SG-1 when they showed a female in full nude for not particular reason with a rather nasty garden situation down under. OK I can see how Teyla's thing was justified. After all she was pregnant in real life. But why Kanaan? Who is Kanaan? Why not someone like Michael? It would have made more sense... they already stole half the stuff from SG-1 they might as well steal Vala's baby idea and the Ori impregnation thing.
Secondly I think that absent clear focus this show can not deliver as intended. Let me elaborate. When you start to run out of ideas (and trust me after 200 some episodes of sg-1 you would too) it is crucial to have a proper story line in place. The story needs a beginning, a middle and an end. Characters need to have an introduction, a development and a exit if need be. Unfortunately in this series they tried to intertwine SG-1 with SGA. SG-1 was made believable because it operated in the present. SGA progressively leaped forward about 10,000 years and every character somehow knew what to do all the time time after time. In a matter of speaking when cast of SGA has progressed to being self aware by end of season 1 much of the rest of the show has become rather predictable. Neverless with enough persistence from the writers the show plowed on but it felt rather constipated at times. Trust me I loved it but it felt like I was eating a reecess peanut butter icecream by breyers on a nice hot summer day and icecream melted and was refrozen and while it still tasted good it felt slightly stale.
The Guardian (2006)
To Ashton or not to Ashton, that is the question
So last night I got around to watching guardian. Mixed feelings. For starters it was not necessary to make that movie. There has been at least 20 like it and another 100 or so similar to it. The story itself was played out so many times that it was not interesting to watch at all. So lets start at the beginning. We have Kevin Costner.. OK I can live with that. He passes for a USCG swimmer. Then we have Ashton "Flamboyant" Kutcher in the same movie playing an overachiever. What? I mean seriously what? We can not take him serious, it would be like watching Jim Carey do a Kung Fu movie. You can not put Ashton in shoes of a serious role and expect us to believe and more importantly him to perform. That 70's show pretty much set his career of a goofball. Much like Daniel Radcliffe is forever Harry Potter, he is very much the same a Kelso. So that aside lets have a look at the story. Blah blah some guy having family problems, a sailor, big waves, people drowning, saving, his team dies, he needs time to recover, teaches some greenhorns, one of his students is weak, one is an overachiever, blah blah test of character, both together, one retires, dies and other guy continues then drops everything for "love". Have we not seen it before? Have we not seen it before many many times? Then of course the "green screen"... seriously? Why ohh why do people constantly resort to really cheezy computer animation. Watching this movie was like eating glass while sitting on glass and other people throwing glass at you. Painful to eyes, painful to ears because of dialogue and overall I think this movie deserves no more than a 4/10 even with Costner in it. This movie could have been a 10 or at least a 8 by my book if following criteria was met: Graphics equal to or better than what is shown on Discovery channel Alaska Crab Fishing shows. Actual props were used rather than green screen or at least less green screen. Different story that we have not yet heard. No Ashton.
I bet you what really happened was Ashton got all upset about people not taking him seriously so he had a movie made just for him to fulfill his boy fantasy of being a tough guy and since nobody else wanted to be in the movie with him he had to beg fading movie stars to at least give his movie some credibility. Good thing that its only a rental and is on its way back to Netflix.
Ohh farscape where art thou?!
This week will mark completion of my journey with FSKP. It has been an exciting journey that I think have ended too early. It is hard to compare any sci-fi show with something like stargate franchize, which collectively featured 18 years worth of material between main series and spin offs. Farscape was created roughly at the same time when stargate was and while neither was filmed in USA, both have arguably collected most of their audience there. I think in many ways what made FSKP so special is that it used innovation as their main driving force. Animatronics studio have set out to show the world what they could do outside of filming industry and they have delivered in full and then some. Both animated creatures named Pilot and Rigel have become such a integral part of the story line that I almost perceived them as human actors in costume. Unfortunately costumes themselves have in part contributed to departure of the only character that really belonged in the story line. It is argued that Virginia Hay who played a role of Zhaan, a blue skinned plant creature have started developing health issues from body paint and also wanted to grow her hair back as well as her eyebrows. Unfortunately outside of hair (which by the way could have been allowed in the series because her species had hair) her health issues could have been compensated for in other ways other than complete departure from the show. Without revealing too much she sacrificed herself in the series to save another character and thus written out permanently. I feel that she should have stayed in the show as same old Zhaan but without body paint. They could have written it in such a way that would have allowed her to stay (ie loss of special powers and skin color). Her replacements have barely fit into the show. First attempt was by introducing Stark who in my opinion got the short end of the stick after just 3 episodes. Stark got replaced by a red haired crybaby who definitely did not fit in. In order to introduce a brainiac into the show one would want to make such character a problem solver and a balance focal point. Her out of place role was later replaced by another red haired actress who in my opinion should have been cast to play a villain as her revealing face did not match her character all too well. Unfortunately she was also brought back in the follow up miniseries and made and instead of being a silent sidekick she was given dialogue that again did not match her looks nor attire nor character.
Two main leads had excellent screen chemistry so no complaint there. Through the series they have been the driving force for the show. In the miniseries I guess they used a different voice editing studio so Claudia's voice seemed overly unusual. Unfortunately other couple have had issues that propagated since season 1. Chiana played her part well but Ka'Dargo is a failed character in my opinion. He is a warrior and yet he cant fight, he is a trained soldier and yet he lacks any discipline. In all honesty the only place where he fit in was when he played his alter ego on a "fantasy" episode in which he did not swing the right way if you catch my drift. His quest for reuniting with his child was rather poorly played out. In miniseries his son comes back as some sort of commando and you can actually see what Luxons are all about... military combat, swiftness, precision.. enough to awake a Luxon in Ka'Dargo, albeit 4 seasons too late.
Villains in the series have been contrived in a very awkward fascion. It was almost as if every single episode they looked at Stargate and Startrek episodes and tried their hardest to not make them look like copycats. Unfortunately in doing so every villain but Scorpius appeared very copy cat-ish. Even Crais looked like a goon. In his interviews actor who portrayed him appeared very sarcastic about his role in the series. It was almost as if he did not like his character and it certainly showed on the screen. Over all I do not see how or why FSKP got cancelled after their 4th season. It was a blow below the belt quite frankly. I was not there to whitness it but kudos to fanbase for getting their voice heard on the matter. All and all I think that this show was almost perfect, and that is a rare thing nowadays.