Reviews written by registered user
|23 reviews in total|
Hellboy is a very well-crafted visual treat. It makes fantastic use of
both CGI and practical makeup to create its illusions. Ron Perlman as
Hellboy (or "Red") is particularly impressive, especially when you
consider how much of a pain it would have been to prepare for that role
with all of that makeup and prosthetic material every single day.
The plot is "save the world" type of stuff, but that's fine, because a movie as stylish as this has no time or need to dwell on complex subplots and dialogue; it's supposed to be fun.
The movie has a lot of funny little quirks on top of the visual effects. Hellboy happens to be a very charming, funny character who lives up to his appearance with his personality.
Despite the richness of its effects, I found the movie to be surprisingly restrained. Not significantly so, but we have Hellboy, we Abe Sapien (also cool) and we have some scary looking "hounds" that have tentacles and long tongues. But it probably could have been more diverse. The movie is 130 minutes long, but it just doesn't feel like it makes the most of that running time.
Regardless, it's a unique and very entertaining comic book movie.
Movies like these can't work without the right cast. I mean, I
shouldn't even have to say that. It's a rule. There are plenty of
different kinds of movies that can get by on style, visuals, or action
all on their own. But what separates a movie like "Gangster Squad" from
a movie like "American Gangster" is the cast, and how the cast is used.
It has to be both.
There are lots of familiar faces in this film. On top of Washington and Crowe, you have Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba and Josh Brolin. The director is Ridley Scott, a man who knows how to helm ambitious projects, like "Black Hawk Down", "Gladiator" and "Kingdom of Heaven". The pieces are all there.
One of "American Gangster"'s biggest strengths is that there is a rich cast of characters, but the viewer is never lost, because the focus is primarily on Denzel Washington's Frank Lucas, and Russell Crowe's Richie Roberts. They carry the film, as they certainly should.
The plot is centred around a lengthy crusade by Roberts and his team to get to the bottom of New York's biggest drug conspiracy, which is of course being controlled by Lucas. This is a major theme regarding Lucas; he likes to be in control, to be able to gun down a man he doesn't like in the middle of a crowded sidewalk without any consequences. As a result, this makes his character seem all the more vulnerable when he isn't in total control of his situation.
At the same time, Roberts is fighting more than just drug crime. He isn't the most honest guy, but he just might be the most honest cop. He is repulsed by crooked cops, and as a result he estranges himself from most of his workplace kin. So, as he fights to nail down the source of the drugs, he is also fighting against everyone who considered him a "boy scout" whenever he did what he felt was right.
Everything comes together in a conclusion that rewards anyone who takes the time to savour every moment of the film's 160 minutes. I rank this among the finest crime dramas I've watched.
I have to give the director credit for making the absolute most of his
10 million dollar budget. The film's special effects are as convincing
as any big budget project of the 21st century.
Aside from the visuals, the film's greatest strength is its pace. Cordero was clearly in no rush to let the film dilute into clichés and jump scares. There is genuine tension in the film thanks to an ominous soundtrack and the eerie silence of the film's setting. And, as always, less is more.
This movie made something like $100,000 at the box office. I can see it becoming a very underrated cult classic, and I will very likely watch it again.
This movie has effectively reinvigorated my love of Japanese animation.
Up until I was 10 or 11, I found a lot of enjoyment in shows like
Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh, like many other children my age. I also really
enjoyed staying up late and watching some of the darker, more violent
animes on TV like Inuyasha, Gundam and Bleach (despite not
understanding the plots sometimes).
For the next 7 years, I didn't watch any anime. I blame that on my peers in middle school who liked to make fun of people who watched it (and, as a result, I also blame my own self-consciousness). Though I've never returned to any of the shows I mentioned before since I have outgrown some of them (with the exception of the Pokemon video games), Princess Mononoke has kindled a new flame for me; I want to watch anime again.
There isn't a single element of the film that Miyazaki and his animation team haven't poured their hearts and souls into. The characters and environments breathe on the screen, and the historical Japanese setting- especially the most significant forest in the film- is on par with any fantastical world that I've ever immersed myself in, including the likes of Middle-Earth and the Star Wars universe.
The plot is fantasy, but it is laced with metaphors and philosophical themes, such as a rather vengeful form of environmental awareness... perhaps it's best to refer to it simply as "environmental revenge". Iron Town is particularly interesting, since its goals are fundamentally opposed to those of the forest spirits, yet its residents are not unkind, or driven by any form of manifest destiny (for the most part); in fact, it would be unreasonable to refer to any character in this film as an antagonist. Everyone's motives are justified one way or another.
The voice acting is quite literally of Hollywood quality, unlike most English-dubbed anime productions. Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson and Minnie Driver sound much more fluid and natural than the sometimes stale offerings on an average anime TV show. There are hiccups on rare occasions, but they are swiftly forgotten and forgiven.
Above all else, Princess Mononoke leaves a lasting impression on the viewer. It has inspired me to watch the rest of Miyazaki's work, and if you're wanting to introduce yourself to the anime genre, this is the way to do it.
F. Murray Abraham and Thomas Hulce star as Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang
Amadeus Mozart, respectively, in this lavish period piece. I say
"lavish" because among the film's greatest strengths is its visual
style, including the sets, the costumes and the cinematography.
The film is a slow-burning drama that focuses on character emotion and its connection with the music of the composers in the film. We are always peering deep into the souls of Salieri and Mozart as they live with their passion for music. Salieri is particularly fascinating because of his deep admiration, hatred and jealousy of Mozart all at once; he speaks of his music with great reverence, yet bears a deep grudge against God for making the composer of such music a man as arrogant and childish as Mozart, though Salieri himself needs to look in the mirror.
The music is integrated beautifully with the film, either as simply its score, or to correspond with a character reading or imagining certain musical pieces. It's a consistently beautiful film, but it can drag on when it takes its time with a scene; the drama isn't tense so much as it is in a constant state of rising and falling emotion, much like the music itself.
It's a very good film, but if I had to, I'd say that watching it must be similar to going to the opera, an activity that I can only speculate upon, since I've never been; kind of boring, but beautiful and meaningful all the same.
Primal fear benefits first and foremost from rock solid performances by
all involved. Richard Gere is cool and confident as defense attorney
Martin Vail, and brings a lot of charm with his performance. Laura
Linney portrays Janet Venable, the cold prosecutor that was once
romantically involved with Vail, and this sparks competitive chemistry
between the two.
Edward Norton's Aaron is unquestionably the standout here. All of his little quirks make for a very curious alleged murderer; he is a very effective character.
The plot is clear and easy to follow, aided by concise dialogue. The film doesn't rely on a complex story, it instead chooses to rivet you as Vail tries to dig deeper into a case that seems like a foregone conclusion. The film is primarily a court drama, but it finds time to delve into darker territory in moments.
The ending is the big payoff it wants to be, though I wont get into detail because tension is built masterfully up until all is said and done, and when the credits are rolling you will be very satisfied. This is a must-see.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Live bait" provided an entertaining (if not needed) break from the
main cast. Of course, the previous episode ended with a bit of a twist,
as the governor was shown to be standing outside the prison. This
episode doesn't follow that up; it instead provides a back-story.
More interesting characters are introduced, and now rooting against the Governor... I mean, Brian... is going to be a serious task. His story has always been a tragic one, but now we are shown a different side of him. A beaten, longing side.
Nothing totally groundbreaking in this one, but it's one of those episodes that is continuing the escalation to a dramatic climax for later on in the season.
Dogma has plenty of funny religion-themed gags, but I was entertained
by it mainly because I liked just about all of the characters and I
enjoyed most of their dialogue.
There's not a lot of substance behind what they're saying, unlike in, say, Tarantino's films, but the fact that it's all fairly low-brow and goofy is what makes it good. Jay and Bob are fantastic with their little stoner quips.
The plot is fairly weak, but it's not supposed to be brilliant. It's easy to tell that Kevin Smith just enjoys playing around with Catholicism by poking and prodding at it.
Also, George Carlin is what was his usual comedic self in his cameo.
Neil Blomkamp's directorial follow-up to District 9 only makes it more
official that he is the future of Science Fiction films. Once again, he
has created a gritty, violent, believable world to set the stage for a
It is evident that Blomkamp is totally committed to detail. 22nd century Earth is filthy and undesirable, it's inhabitants desperate, sick and constantly teased by the contrasting paradise in the planet's orbit. Matt Damon's Max reminds me a lot of Sharlto Copley in District 9. Max is more human than hero, and it shows for most of the film. He's willing to do whatever it takes to survive. And while he is a good person, he is not the typical Hollywood altruistic hero that we're all so used to.
The special effects put on a display of just how much computers can do these days. High-tech gadgets and vehicles look sophisticated, yet worn and dirty. Good use is also made of live-action special effects, something that is criminally under-valued in the eyes of so many directors.
Jodie Foster, not surprisingly, gives a seemingly effortless performance as one of two main antagonists. Sharlto Copley gets the golden star for his role as Agent Kruger; I'll let you see him for yourself.
Hard to find anything to complain about with this movie. The script is action movie stuff, and it certainly isn't an all-time classic. I'd give it a purchase once it hit the shelves, though. It's great escapism for 2 hours.
The best thing about Apollo 18 is perhaps how authentic it looks; the
"found footage" looks like the moon footage that you see of Neil
Armstrong and company, lots of detail was put into the spacecraft
design, and the special effects are above average. I didn't find myself
very invested emotionally in the characters, but they aren't total
The film also obeyed the "less is more" rule with horror movies of this kind. The film teases you with blurry, disturbing shots of... who knows what. As previously demonstrated in movies like Jaws and Alien, it's more effective than the typical in-your-face style of other horror movies.
Other than that, there isn't much that I can say for it. While there is a certain anticipation, the final delivery is just OK. The movie is over in a flash, but it doesn't have the same scope of films like Cloverfield, or the actual horror of films like Quarantine.
The bottom line is that while this is not an unenjoyable movie, I won't be watching it again.
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