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A long way from Clerks.....and not in a good way!
When ever I see directed by Kevin Smith, my excitement and predisposed disappointment set in. I'm always hoping the film will be great (Dogma, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back,Red State), but usually they turn out to be garbage (MallRats, Clerks 2, Cop Out, Tusk).
Kevin Smith's venture into the horror realm could have been so much more, but you can feel the punches being pulled in every scene. The disappointment I felt after watching Tusk was angering enough to lead me to write a review about it. Now, I know that the premise for the story was first introduced to Kevin Smith on his pod-cast when a caller called in with the idea for the movie. What I don't understand is, how did anyone think this was a plausible or original idea. Having also seen the Human Centipede, I can't help make the comparisons every step of the way, and the problem is that firstly, I'm making comparisons to a Tom Six film, and secondly (and I can't believe I'm saying this) the Tom Six film is much much better.
Smith's film has all the hallmarks of a psychological thriller, but the huge let down is (and again, I can't believe I'm saying this) is Johnny Depps appalling attempt at a Quebec/French Canadian accent (Not to mention how camp the role was played). It detracts from the seriousness of the matter at hand and turns the whole film into a rather poor joke. What would have been more effective, would have been a less accentuated farce, and a more serious approach to the matter at hand. I felt myself cringing in embarrassment at every scene wishing it would end sooner rather than later.
Justin Long and Michael Parks give stellar performances, as always, but are under-utilized in what should have been a bizarre psychological thriller.
The big let down is the special effects and conceptual makeup. Unbelievable and over the top which detracts from any hope of instilling any fear or remorse for any character.
I feel that with whatever budget (let's face it, When he has less of a budget, he seems to be able to do more) was allocated to Tusk, could have been utilized so much better.
Hell, it would have been better to remake Clerks with Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Melody Depp. Or better yet, remake Human Centipede, no wait.....that's what Tusk is.
The Mule (2014)
Australian Black/Comedy that should NOT be overlooked
When people form opinions about Australian Cinema, they generally base that opinion on previous Australian films with successful backgrounds, i.e.; Animal Kingdom, Chopper etc. What Angus Sampson has created here is a fantastic, moody, brooding black comedy/drama that surpasses most of the tripe that comes out of the US and Australia, but also that stands alone as a film that really works on all levels. Ignore Sampson's past achievements in the form of 100 Bloody Acres and the Insidious franchise etc. This film is a winner, and it's completely different. It is a stand alone film that pulls all the right triggers at all the right times. Sampson, having written, produced, starred and co-directed shines here as a shy and humble first time drug mule. His reluctance to be a participant in the smuggling leads to his fumbling through airport gates leading him to a minor cavity search that lands him locked up in a hotel for 7 days, guarded by Federal Police, waiting for the contents to pass through. The premise has been done before, however Angus Sampson brings the character to life and watching him hold on to number 2's for days is both uncomfortable and hilarious. This film is by no means a comedy. But throughout the film, the banality of simple Australians can't be helped but laughed at as they stumble through the complications of their lives. This film is a great Aussie crime drama that will stand up to the test of time like Animal Kingdom and Two Hands.
Definitely worth the watch and Angus Sampson is also one to watch in the future.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013)
You can never have too much Andy Samberg.
Wow. I can't praise this show enough. In a world were most comedy half hour programs are filled with canned laughter and boring recycled jokes, Brooklyn Nine Nine brings a fresh comedy to air. I watch this show with my family every week and we look forward to it, knowing we are in for a good laugh with the witty and charismatically childish Andy Samberg. Ever since Hot Rod I've been hoping Andy Samberg would do something regular and was disappointed to see Awesometown never got off the ground. But this is a great ensemble of comedy actors that is fresh and funny. I hope it stays around and we get another couple of seasons out of it. I know I'll keep watching.
Sushi Girl (2012)
Reminiscant of old school Tarantino, only better.
It's been a while since a film has held my attention span, when trying to imitate the likes of Tarantino or Rodriguez. Come to think of it, seldom has a film come along (Way of The Gun being the standout exception) with such cliché's and unoriginality, yet has pulled it off as a stand alone great film. Tony Todd produces the film and holds his own in a terrific performance as the head of a failed crime group looking for their lost diamonds, however the film is stolen by Mark Hamill's performance as a violent sociopath (and psychopath). A completely different role and a welcome one (shame it wasn't earlier in his career as I feel he may have been a bigger hitter with performances like this under his belt). The film is centered around a Sushi Girl who is the serving platter for an array of delicious sushi prepared for ex con Fish who has just been released from prison. As the story unfolds, the plot thickens (predictably) but holds the attention span as the performance from everyone is top notch. Beautiful cinematography and direction make this a perfect Saturday night warmer. Although there are no real surprises, the film carries you through the violent turbulence (a scene with a sock and a sake bottle made me wince a little)quite well and delivering what you would expect from a film like this. I left this feeling pleasantly full and glad I sat through what I expected to be another Tarantino ripoff. Instead I got a surprising and refreshing take on the genre (actually better than most Tarantino films). Worth the price of admission, the rental fee or the bandwidth on your download.
I guess it would be funny.....if it had subtitles
Now I am from Australia and I understand the Queens English from both sides of the world. Problem is, these guys are speaking the queens English. It's some sort of bastardized slang (which I imagine is how they speak in that corner of England, which is cool, but, don't fink we can unerstan ya blood!) Now I can see the humorous side and I get the pun and poke at other films along the way, but I just couldn't understand a damn thing. Same thing happened to me when I watched 1 Day. Great idea, shame it had no it was in another language. When you watch a film, like Menace 2 Society or Fresh or 187 for that matter,the slang is portrayed but understandable (maybe American Filmmakers hand feed their audience more so than British filmmakers). Even in comedic send ups and spoofs like Don't be a menace..., the language is still understandable. Pity, I would of enjoyed this based on the actors.
You better not have hoped for much!
First let me start by saying that I knew when I went to see Transformers 3, that i was going to be in for a big budget blockbuster, so I wasn't hoping for too much in the way of depth or volume or character development. But hell, a little wouldn't have been too much to ask. I know I know, it's Michael Bay at his ocular raping best, but something is missing here. Something big.
I think Sucker Punch proved, you can't just through a tonne of money and special effects at a turd and hope it will polish itself. And this is no exception. Don't get me wrong, it's a major improvement on Revenge of the Fallen, but not quite up to the standard of the first. What has happened here (in MY opinion folks. Don't get upset. You're all entitled to one, and have one (opinions, not assholes)) is, we seem to have lost the need or want to tell a story.
The special effects here have spared no expense. The 3D is OK only surpassed by Avatar or Jackass 3D (no, seriously, if you'd seen Jackass 3D, you would know what I'm talking about). I guess you have to tune right out and not try to think about the film so much to rate it 10 out of 10, but when I'm paying hard earned dollars to see something special, I expect something special. This is not special. To be honest, my favorite thing about the whole film was the Green Lantern 3D trailer at the beginning. I guess I had hyped this film up for myself too much and it failed to live up to my own expectations (also my friends who sat next to me complaining about the stupidity of the weak ass story). But I imagine I'm not alone. I think a lot of people have high expectations of big budget blockbusters and want to see something mind numbingly great. But this just didn't do it for me. Why? Because it was just plain stupid. The story had holes you could drive Optimus Prime through (at one point he does). And come on, since when do Robots have free-kin HAIR???? Robots with lips is one thing, but hair? I draw the line people.
So see it (at your peril). But please don't expect to be blown away. Maybe expectations of an epileptic seizure (there is a lot going on at one time, flashing lights, explosions, space shuttle disasters and robots with hair) are more appropriate.
I can only hope Green Lantern lives up to the trailers expectations.
Sucker Punch (2011)
Seriously Zack, can i have a refund?
Any remnant of a story must have been left on the cutting room floor. I waited in anticipation for a year for this and was excited to see the first few trailers. But then i read a review or 2 bagging the end product. "No" I said to myself, i'll make my own mind up. And that i did. Wish i didn't see it. What a waste of celluloid. Zack S must be one of the best young directors around, but you couldn't tell from this trashy offering. I thought, at least it should be better than Battle:LA. Right? Well actually it's probably on par. Both have poor scripts, both have poor acting, both have taken my money. When being robbed, i like to be hit across the back of the head and told "this is a stick up". Nowadays, they just show you a great trailer and slog you at the box office. Heartless Bastards. Now i know why it's called Sucker Punch. I'm the sucker, and i've just been punched. Shame on you Zack. It'll take a lot of making up (not just pointless effects) to get you back on top in my books.
Battle Los Angeles (2011)
Are you Serious?????? WTF is wrong with this studio
You'd think that with all the money they throw at this tripe they could afford a steady cam? But no. Hand held shaky cam. You know what? I don't need to feel like I'm in the action because the story is about aliens! That's right! A work of fiction. So why run around all shaky like we're in there with em??? It makes no sense. It also sh*#s the audience. I know it sh*#s me. I want my money back. I'm tired of going to the cinema because the trailer looked great and then finding out that my $30 ($21 entry and $9 worth of coke (And they wonder why people download movies?)) was just shoveled into the pocket of some greedy sh*# bag from a Hollywood studio who had a great idea to rip a bunch of hard working middle class fools (myself included) into thinking they could pull a film like this off. Seriously Studio Execs, listen up; If you're going to make a film that has anything to do with Aliens or Marines, watch Full Metal Jacket followed by Aliens. That ought to do it. 2 recipes that taste great every time. Not this sh*# they keep serving up. I had food poisoning from this. Again. And i was just getting over Skyline.
Jûsan-nin no shikaku (2010)
By far Miike's most outstanding film to date
Having been furious at American cinema for releasing some garbage over the past few years, I have purely focused on international cinema and more so Asian cinema. You would be hard pressed finding better films than what South Korea has to offer. Unless you stumble across 13 Assassins. My god, what an experience. And that is exactly what it is, an experience. Exactly what cinema is meant to be. I will not spoil any part of this film other than saying, if you are sick and tired of the same old melodramatic, over hyped, under performed, over budgeted, egotistical, run of the mil ho hum doldrum from modern day cinema, then you must (and I mean must) see 13 Assassins. This film is a solid entry from Takashi Miike. His previous films were everything from outstanding to bizarre, but this film speaks volumes. It is a film reminiscent of 7 Samurai, brilliantly executed. Takashi Miike has certainly matured in his vision, bringing to the screen an instant classic. Tell your people, friends, family, scream it from the rooftops.....13 Assassins is brilliant! Now, how long will it take Hollywood to bastardize this film?