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The Last of Us (2013)
Believe the Hype
I've never been so moved by a video game. Terrified, awed and brought to tears in the first 20 minutes. This is the apocalypse and this is exactly how I have always imagined it would go down, quickly, brutally and without mercy or remorse. The realism here is intense. Initially there is chaos all around you. Cars crashing and exploding, buildings on fire, people running in all directions and the infected......These infected are fast and furious and not so much hungry for flesh as filled with pure rage and hellbent on killing all humans just cause....reminiscent of the rage infected undead from 28 Days Later. Whatever you do don't stop running. These are not Zombies as we know them, they are something entirely new and certainly not out of the realm of possibility, although an extremely far fetched one. I have been waiting with baited breath for this title ever since I heard of it's conception. I knew it would be something special, something different and Naughty Dog have certainly lived up to the hype. Visually stunning, superbly acted, this game is a work of art.
The Following (2013)
Watched the Australian Premier last night. I just have to say if the US authorities are that incompetent then their country really is doomed. I reckon the writers have to be having a less than subtle crack at the government agencies. Jaw dropping stupidity. They have like half a dozen "Police" Officers "guarding" the victim and not one of them hears a disturbance or sees anything...this happened twice. The killer even takes out a few of them with no one the wiser. Really? OK I'm really suspending my disbelief here....but wait there's more. The writers expect us to believe that this um "charismatic" serial killer has brainwashed hundreds of people into being his disciples? What species are they? Jellyfish? Are people really that gullible? or desperate for attention that they would literally spend years of their life waiting for their demented leader to give them a sign? Really?? Meh!!! Next!!!
Kudos to Kevin though for great job on the acting. But that's all it has going for it. One guy can't hold up a cardboard house.
The Tall Man (2012)
Not at all what you think it's going to be....
I particularly enjoyed this film because it starts out in the usual creepy hillbilly American town way and lures you into thinking you know what's going on. Only you have no clue because it turns everything you think you think you know on it's head.
Thankfully, all I knew of this movie before I saw it was two things. Its' IMDb rating and the fact that it had the beautiful Jessica Biel in it.
At first I thought this was going to be a run of the mill slasher with some sort of supernatural entity harvesting children for food. Because everyone knows the bogey man only eats small children. Sure enough Julia's (Biel's) son is kidnapped and a harrowing chase ensues. With the grim determination of any mother about to lose her son permanently she relentlessly pursues the kidnapper on foot and manages to jump on the truck they are using to escape. Only, after a crazy driving fight while being mauled by a dog the truck rolls and said kidnapper escapes with said kid.
Yep. Gotta keep this movie rolling so no surprises there. Beaten and bloodied Julia passes out on the road and is eventually rescued by the only cop in town who doesn't seem like a hillbilly retard. The officer takes her to the local diner where everybody just stands around slack jawed looking like they is gonna eat some sweet young white girl. Julia then goes into an office to clean up where she sees a picture of her boy on a shrine with pictures of other missing children all over it. And snap, just like that we're back to creepy outback cult town boosted by the fact that she flees and all of a sudden with all the enthusiasm of a lynch mob the entire town is on the hunt to kill poor Julia. Huh? What did I miss? Actually you didn't miss anything. All shall be revealed.
Somehow Julia ends up at a spooky dilapidated building where she sees her son who runs off into the shadows. In hot pursuit she sees him in a corridor and runs to him only to be confronted by the crazy bag lady from earlier who gives her a good crack on the noggin with a crow bar. Julia comes to, tied to a chair. OK so maybe crazy bag lady is the killer then? But wait crazy bag lady seems pretty coherent and maybe not so crazy after all, or is she? because she starts to accusing Julia of kidnapping and murder. Huh? Julia the killer? No way. Didn't see that coming.
But hang on it doesn't make sense. Well at least not until Julia says "I gave them to the Tall Man". What??? Noooooo. She is the killer? Oh the horror. That certainly does explain why the town was so out for blood. Sure enough they lock her up and she somewhat confesses she killed them all in a rant about how she was actually saving the children from a life of hell. She then goes on to say she has been doing it for a long time all over the world. So the story all seems kinda neatly wrapped up, even if we the viewer are all left in shock and disbelief. Or is it?
John Carter (2012)
Excellent Old School Sci-Fi Classic
Why all the haters? I'll tell ya in one word, "Disney". In fact the marketing snafu around JC should be a textbook lesson in how not to market a movie. Disney went into panic mode with several name changes to the film and some horribly edited and confusing trailers after the apparent failure of films like Mars Needs Moms, Mission to Mars and Mars Attacks all OK movies in their own right with Mars Attacks becoming a cult classic. Whatever idiotic reasoning went into it, their poor marketing essentially killed their own movies' box office success. A self fulfilling prophecy if I ever saw one.
Despite all of this the movie itself was surprisingly good. The acting was OK, the CGI, costume and set design were all excellent. In some scenes (like the wedding parade) you can really see why this movie cost over $250million. It's not a deep movie but it's definitely a unique, entertaining and well told yarn. Do yourself a favor, grab some popcorn, some 3D glasses, suspend your disbelief (quite a lot) and strap yourself in for a fun ride to our dusty little neighbor Mars.
Enter Nowhere (2011)
Low Budget Indie Gem with a SciFi Twist
Hollywood Executives could take a few notes from this film.
I came across this title by pure chance. I half read one review that mentioned "Lost" and Twilight Zone" and was sold.
This movie comes across as very low budget I guess $1.7 mil is low budget these days. But don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with low budget...you know the old cliché'. "It's not how big it is it's what you can do with it that really matters." The movie is mostly shot in one ominous location which gives it a very claustrophobic and tense atmosphere. For the first half of this movie I had no idea what to expect. I was anticipating another horror fest but am happy to report it's nothing like that. About half way through the movie the characters begin to realize how they are all connected. When you find out how, it's a bit of a goose bump moment.
I really dug the moral of the story which is basically how one terrible decision can change not only your life but of those around you in such profoundly life altering ways.
The acting was pretty good, complete unknowns to me but that's a plus in this case. The script felt tight and real. While some may have to considerably suspend their disbelief I felt the premise really worked here.
Highly recommended for anyone into metaphysical contemplation.
The Divide (2011)
Just another B grade wannabe horror movie....
What the hell??? I waited 12 months for this??? I want my money back!!! Oh wait I actually had a free ticket
pffft I still want my money back!!! At least it wasn't the worst movie I've seen this year
oh wait yes it is
. This movie had a great premise and even the first half seemed to be doing quite well, taking an unknown road that could potentially lead anywhere and offer a great story, only, just like the characters in the movie, they literally run away from any originality or plot development. I was intrigued by these mysterious men in Biohazard suits that had children stored in cryo vats that they were obviously experimenting on in some way
only seconds later Milo is running away back to the basement where the mystery men seal them inside and this is where the movie takes an abrupt turn for the worse and heads straight for Lameville. I guess the real plot of this movie though is about the disintegration of humanity and how quickly humans will turn on each other to satisfy our most base urges. Heads up!!! It's been done
.hundreds of times!!! The real message I took home from this movie (I hesitate to call it a film because that implies quality, to me anyway) is that people are generally self-centered narcissists who only care about themselves and will turn into vicious rabid animals the first chance they get. There is probably a lot of truth to this but it's how quickly this happens in this movie that was hard to believe. Seemingly in the space of a matter of days people start to lose their sanity and merrily commit horrifying acts on each other. Maybe it was the radiation poisoning or maybe just bad scripting. Either way what could have been a cult classic was just another B grade slasher flick.
The Movie will self destruct in 2 hours and 13 minutes........
This movie is the perfect example of what happens when you have too much money and everyone wants a piece of your pie but no one actually has the guts to tell you you aren't nearly as awesome as you think you are. Dell, BMW, Apple, JJ....I'm looking at you!!!! I have nothing personal against Tom Cruise, despite his apparently wacky beliefs and belonging to a rather dubious religious cult. In fact as an actor I think he's great. Tropic Thunder anyone?? Awesome!! But, I think if you're going to be splashing your name all over a big budget movie at least make sure you know what you're getting into. I actually feel sorry for all the actors involved in this movie, except for Anil Kapoor who seemed right at home as a creepy, greasy rich guy as the movie turned into a noisy and confused Bollywood farce. As for some of the other reviewers.... what are you on? "Better than James Bond" "Mission Accomplished" "Best in the Franchise" seriously??? How old are you? Five? or maybe that's your IQ. The plot was paper thin, the continuity was sloppy at best, hell even the laws of physics don't apply in this movie but who cares cause Tom Cruise in it right? Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec should be ashamed of themselves. This movie is an embarrassment to the entire franchise. Hopefully it's the last.
With such a great cast, including some of my all time favorite actors, I really had high hopes for this movie. The fact there would be a SciFi element as well only added to my excitement. Unfortunately these superb actors seem to have been duped into make a ridiculous and completely self indulgent movie that was just excruciatingly painful to endure.
None of the characters have any redeeming qualities or are likable in any way. While the performances were great, (hence the 2 score and not 0), they came across as completely self absorbed narcissists making it impossible to care for any of them, except for Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) who I just pitied.
I happen to know people in real life with chronic depression so I know first hand how debilitating and destructive this affliction can be. By the first half of the movie I actually wanted Justine to die horribly. I can't imagine anyone on planet Earth being pathetic enough to rape someone on their wedding day. I felt physically ill watching that scene.
I didn't understand the metaphor of the planet slamming into Earth but I was certainly overjoyed to see it happen because it was honestly the best thing for these poor self absorbed souls.
I've seen better material from film students. Seriously.
In future I will avoid this director like the plague.
True Blood (2008)
Released the same year as the incredibly awful Twilight, which I had to turn off after 30 minutes, I dismissed True Blood as just another teen vampire show. How wrong I was....and happy to be so.
For once someone got it right. All the topics that most people wouldn't touch with a really really long stick are all here and in your face. From voodoo, paganism, witchcraft, homosexuality, vampires, werewolves, you name it it's probably in there.
The thing that strikes me most about this show however is how they portray both sides of the simmering human/vampire feud. It makes it really hard to take sides when you've got so much character depth and insight into what makes them who and what they have become.
The show is expertly written with humor and razor sharp dialog. The characters are ALL fantastic and hard to fault. Kudos to Ryan Kwanten aka Jason Stackhouse who does a superb job of playing a dumb ass redneck American. You'd never pick he is actually an intelligent Aussie bloke. And Nelsan Ellis who plays Lafayette Reynolds is just awesome. I don't think I'd like Kristin Bauer who plays Pam De Beaufort as much if she wasn't such a foul mouthed b#@ch.
My only complaint, and it's a purely selfish one, is I would like to see more on Sookies fey ancestry.
Uncensored, uninhibited, unashamed TV at it's finest. Shut up and take note writers and producers and learn a few lessons from a show that pushes the boundaries and isn't just another pile of steaming predictability.
Persons Unknown (2010)
Good Sci-Fi is hard to come by in Australia so I was pleased to get my hands on this show. I knew absolutely nothing about it other than the online trailer. The show started off well with an interesting premise even though not an entirely original one. There are some similar concepts to the updated Prisoner mini series but Persons Unknown could have held it's own with some actual thought put into it. Unfortunately this was not the case. It seems this show was being written on the fly and has the feeling the writers didn't even know what was going on. This show could have been a cult classic but alas with poor production and writing skills and an ending that is not an ending actually made this show a big disappointment. I still fail to understand why all the "outside world" shots are all hazy with bad lighting and all the town shots are all bright and clean. Maybe they had two separate film crews ? A real shame. There seems to be such a lack of intelligent script writing and plot development out there and when something potentially good comes along the networks can't be bothered to back it up. Flash Forward anyone ??