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"iZombie" (2015)
2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A fun unusual look at Undead genre, 11 April 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In second episode of iZombie evil zombie Blaine goes on a monologue : "I should ask you. Zombies... I heard we're finite. Is that, is that true? Has over-saturation buried us? I don't know. I think we're gonna surprise some people." I think this quote is a nice summary for this surprise series. A young , pretty , ambitious , overachieving medical student named Liv Moore (played by talented Kiwi actress Rose McIver with all of its creativity) goes to a frat boy boat party that turns into an isolated zombie massacre due to an experimental drug distributed there , bitten , infected and joins legions of undead. The zombie lore here is different though. Liv as long as fed with human brains regularly can maintain her life and act like a regular human being aside pale skin , bleached hair color and inability to have a social life. (if she misses her brain meals too often or angered though she becomes a classic George Romero type classic walker ) To stop herself hurting anyone in search of sustenance she begins to work in city morgue to access brains she needs. Here is the catch : When Liv eats brain matter of someone she experiences and sees their experiences and memories briefly. That includes murder victims lying in morgue. With help of her boss and confidant Dr. Ravi Chakrabathi (British Indian actor Rahul Kohli definitely having fun with this role) running the morgue she begins to help police to solve murder cases of the victims whose brains she snacked upon with her visions and trying to add a meaning to her new undead "life"

Although for first four episodes so far there are only standart case of week police prodecure episodes there are several plot elements that apparently goes to a story arch. Actors and characters are mostly great to OK (though Robert Buckley playing a secondary character either needs to be developed or leave I think. He is just too bland) Liv who was all work career and planned her life stopped enjoying the life while living. Now as undead she begins to experience small nuances of life or its different aspects with her visions and murder cases all over again. Humor is great but not overwhelming.

By the way it really reminds me 1988 horror comedy buddy cops movie Dead Heat.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
South Carolina Land of Happy Slaves , evil tyrannical sadistic Brits and one unblemished American hero. That's Hollywood for you., 11 September 2013

I am really really sick that Holaywoods's latest trend that USA is the God's gift on Earth or best thing on Universe always stands for right things ! Sure. Mel "the drunk high" Gibson is a honest good American farmer from South happily living with his family children until righteous Revolution sweeps peaceful slave holding Carolinas , evil Brit Red Coats slaughter every innocent colonist including Mel's sons and surprise Mel and rest of his family becomes super ninjas to avenge their losses.

First of all. Director is a problem. Roland Emmerich is a hack , one of worst directors in hall of messy overblown productions history. In an attempt to rewrite history (I am warning everyone historical movies SHOULD have an obligation to be more than entertainment. They must be somewhat historically accurate. Depiction of Tavington and his supposed atrocities are unforgivable. If Warshaw Ghetto inhabitants were depicted as criminals in "The Pianist" or Amon Goeth character was depicted as a sympathetic or heroic character in "Schindler's List" imagine the uproar from Holocaust survivors. A lot of people from general audience get a sense of history from these productions not from books ) Emmerich depicts every Englishmen as Nazis. Guilt trip Herr Emmerich ? There is a simply disgusting scene in movie which really happened actually a certain torching scene which was done actually by German SS against French and Russian civilians during WW2. American characters are all innocent and righteous are freeing black slaves (in Carolinas of all places ! ) , sparing enemy wounded and prisoners (too bad they are not doing same thing in Afghanistan and Iraq) and making British look like fools. British were ACTUALLY granting freedom to blacks in colonies (thousands of them went to Canada as free men along with loyalists which was under Crown's reign after the war) They also abolished slavery 60 years before you Yanks.

What else ? Mel playing his long gone Lethal Weapon performance. He and his super kids slaughter a bunch of Red Coats in swamps where Mel hacks a Brit to sheds literally with his hacket. A scene which will George Romero proud really. A very corny romance. Battle scenes are nice and realistic though I give that. (though I really would like to have that flintlock pistols killing people from several hundreds of yards. LOL. In that era you really had to be very very lucky to kill person with a pistol/musket even from a close range )

Elysium (2013/I)
2 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Elysium : A Movie with certain sci-fi vision whatever you like it or not, 9 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First of all I really missed Sharlto Copley's heavy South African accented f-bombs. It is great to hear them again.

That being said lets get on the review. You can point one constant fact about Neill Blomkamp so far. He does not mind about being politically correct , non -offensive , family friendly or child/studio/box office friendly , PG-rated work. In his productions he shares what he thinks with audience , sparing nothing about his vision of where we are or where we are heading , putting effective real life examples or analogies about main themes or subjects of his scripts. You might not agree about him. But he creates a controversy a discussion about issues we can not ignore. That is his strength and what makes his movies so fun , interesting. Not like Disney funded banal and boring comic book stuff which became shallow formulatic and predictable as hell just to make BO profit by trying to appeal everyone and we are forced to watch on screen every year. District 9 ( which was a great piece of work) was about racism , xenophobia and apartheid. It struck hard. Elysium is about massive illegal immigration , health care , social/income inequality we are forced to face more and more each passing day. Blomkamp basically says that we can not afford to ignore them anymore. Though the actions of main protagonist Max DeCosta we are faced with a desperate man driven to desperate means. In 150 years Earth became a gigantic slum , a Barrio from Mexico City. (most of the film was produced there so it is not surprising ) Pollution , over population , automation of certain services and extension of life created a hell on the planet. When Max played by an subdued Matt Damon has a fatal work accident in the plant he was working (did I mention that Work Safety Regulations , Employee Rights , Unions all vanished as well ) that will cause his demise in a few days he goes on a path that will either save him or kill him a few days earlier. Desperate people and their actions. Alice Braga as Frey Max's childhood crush and Wagner Moura as Spider tag along as well.

Then there is Elysium. A huge O'Neill class rotating space station in high orbit of Earth , an orbital habitat , a paradise for humans. A place where extreme pleasure , health care and life can be experienced through technology that was denied to masses. Jodie Foster who emphasizes her detachment from humanity by her fluent speaking French discussion in her first scene then orders shuttles full of immigrants approaching Elysium to be shot down coldly plays Defense Minister of Station Delacourt who oversees tight immigration procedures and makes no one who does not belong to a rich privileged class comes to station. She is OK with this character. But from antagonist types from the movie two other characters over shines her. First company CEO John Carlyle who is played by sharp cold uncompromising straight William Fichtner. The other is great Sharlto Copley who plays a sociopathic , unpredictable creepy South African mercenary / bounty hunter named Kruger. He is basically dealing with dirty work on Earth for Elysium administration.

CGI and other visual effects along with camera work is great in my opinion. Droids are cool and cold without any sense of empathy or emotion. Action is great but not over the top or oh look Green Screen overload type of thing. It is adequate.

What this movies missing I think is overall sharpness or much more uncompromising attitude of District 9. That movie dealt with our world and our society in a much more harsher , "in your face" way. Here Blomkamp seems to take a back step , made Elysium s little more audience friendly maybe probably due to studio pressure. Another disappointment is script's similarity to District 9. Characters , their motivations , sequence of events are all to similar. One might even say that Sharlto Copley called his workmate David James from District 9 and asked him how to act like a crazed mercenary. Still one hell of a movie definitely one to be watched in theater with big screen. 7,5 would be closer to my final rating.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A Great Cinematic Experience, 19 June 2013

All I can say to describe MoS is a very satisfying big silver screen time. Synder/Nolan/Goyer trio did what Nolan accomplished with The Dark Knight series. The main superhero comic book character taken and lifted with its roots and resource material , updated with current times and themes we can relate ( great drama and character work , non linear back story , a plot stakes with as high as possible to thrill , wonderful production values , zero camp/cheesiness or immature humor ) This is the first first-class production that do Superman justice since Christopher Reeve era. Production is very impressive. It is not trying to imitate or try to be something from past of Superman mythology. This is completely a new a restart of Man of Steel legend. With plot themes like isolation , trying to find your place , alienation from society , first contact and choosing to do right thing Superman comes to our level for a better understanding and we rise to his level to empathize with him. This is a guy with almost god like powers after all. What can harm him or stop him ? A green shiny rock ? No even better. Himself. His identity search. His principles. His limits. His inability to save everyone. When third act starts and casualties suffered in characters introduced and climatic battle finalizes you realize what I mean. Story themes are about being as idealistic and inspirational as possible but there is a limit even in that like in real life. Soundtrack is amazing , beautiful. (I am listening it as I write this review ) Hans Zimmer adds so much to this movie. He is the BOSS.

Casting is just perfect. Henry Cavill is this generations Superman. He relays everything Clark Kent feels and experiences with his quest for identity and choices. Russell Crowe was just great as well. He was the mentor , guide of Kal El as his biological father. I felt Kevin Costner was underused though. He nailed Jonathan Kent but his scenes were not that much. Amy Adams fits as not as damsel in distress but as a resourceful investigative reporter Lois Lane. And antagonists. Michael Shannon is a new and fresh take on General Zod. This is not a character to conquer Earth for his ego but for his vision his agenda about greater good. He is a fanatic but you can even sympathize with him. Rest of cast Antje Traue as Faora (watch Pandorum) , Diane Lane as Martha Kent , Laurence Fishburne as Perry White , Chris Meloni as Col. Hardy perform superbly as well. Just this amazing cast is enough to watch this in theater.

As for negatives in third act there is just too much CGI destruction action and even after you accept nature of this movie after a point your mind goes numb and blank after one destruction scene another. How many buildings you can destroy you ask and then you accept plastic CGI simulation as "meh whatever." And aliens leveling another US city like this was done to death before. They drop a couple of stars from this. Please try something else next time Snyder. I know you are visual director but enough is enough. Still very impressive take on Superman. Eagerly waiting the sequel.

226 out of 374 people found the following review useful:
A Very Strong Razzie Nominee, 2 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What can I say ? First of all congratulations Antonio Fuqua. Selling and getting BO profit from a production straight lifted or ripped down to last inane dialog from a B grade cheese flick you can rent from Blockbuster or Netflix is an accomplishment no one can deny. It is even more impressive to get positive reviews for this silly trash that takes itself seriously which makes it even more terrible. When this thing was called Air Force One everyone every critic ripped it apart. Only explanations Olympus Has Fallen getting a 7+ point in IMDb ( a rating system which I will never take care of ) after so many years can be decreasing IQ of mass movie going audience and insecurities of 9/11 on US public. Every dumb stupid over the top Die Hard action cliché was crammed in this production. A C-130 gunship entering restricted DC airspace before shot down from a safe distance beggars belief. Or highly trained Secret Service agents wasting ammunition on a fast flying armoured aircraft. Or same agents exposing themselves only to be mown down. North Korean terrorists ( yeah you read that right Korean ) are depicted more like Orcs or Klingons. Any actual Koreans watching this film would probably laugh his ass off. At least in Hollyland Number 1 villains are not Middle Easterns with cheesy Arab accents anymore. What else ? Fallen military trained lone wolf hero killing all of them one by one , meanwhile taunting evil mastermind ( who makes one of most ridiculous evil turnout / reveal scene just by taking glasses off. Rick Yune is just not Gary Oldman ) with US macho jargon and saves the day. Down to talking to his wife in the middle of war zone he basically screams "I am a John McLane looka like no:10241." Failed military strike to retake captured building to increase tension. Oh look only 3 seconds left to disaster...AAAAAND it is averted.

Last year Hollywood Powers That Be gave us Lockout which had basically same script but also semi enjoyable but this is just awful. I completely erased Gerard Butler from list of professional actors in fact I will stay away from his films away from now on. Aaron Eckhart , Morgan Freeman and Dylan McDermott will have to struggle a lot to redeem themselves in my eyes after this.

Have I mentioned shoddy CGI or annoying heroic /sad music during supposedly heroic/sad moments ?

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
I will remember you Susie Salmon, 16 February 2013

I watched this movie last night and immensely moved. Peter Jackson was not a director I hold in high regard unlike his other fans due to LOTR but here the story was touching and quite human. Susie's murder and its aftermath makes anyone to question if we can trust anyone in this society or if anyone who lives next door could be someone or something else. Aftermath Susie's narration of events , her time in her personal limbo watching , commenting and sometimes intervening to the events and lives she left behind were also dramatic material we see less in commercial movie productions. Saoirse Ronan was a new name for me but it is a name I will follow more closely in coming movies. For her age she performed quite admirably. Other actors are hit and miss though. Susan Sarandon and Rachel Weiss easily display their acting skills as wild grandmother and grieving mother. Stanley Tucci , another name I did not hold in high regard before was quite good and really surprised me as creepy and slimy serial killer. I can pass on Mark Wahlberg though. He just can not act. Besides in my opinion Jackson extended the movie too long. 135 min is unnecessary for this kind of story.

Still thank you Susie Salmon and Peter Jackson for reminding the preciousness of the things we take for granted in this life. I will keep that in my mind more often.

5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Christopher Nolan Makes Movies, 28 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Christopher Nolan Makes Movies.. There can not be any other summary to explain that man's career. He does not make genre flicks , CGI or 3-D simulations , banalities. He does not take lame overwhelming and childish humor because of target audience or nature of script-basically comic book stuff-He goes against expectations. He does not bow under studio pressure. ( I hope other directors take a note how he stands for his own vision and principles ) He is a very bad man. Don't we love him because of that ?

Beginning of TDKR reminds me that Chris Nolan once wanted to direct a Bond movie and how much he and his script writing genius brother Jonathan had been influenced with that era of cinema. Aircraft hijacking/crashing scene was intense and one of the best thrilling introductions I have ever seen. Then we get to Gotham our location where our story being told to its finale. Now I am going to intrude here and say that Nolans begin to tell a compact history of French Revolution. He once said Charles Dickens classic novel "A Tale of Two Cities" was his inspiration. And it shows ! After eight years of suspending a legend , a lie about what happened in The Dark Knight , Gotham seems peaceful. Due to Dent Act all major criminals and other trouble makers are in Blackgate Prison (Bastille ?) But most of the underlying reasons of Gotham's suffering remain. There is still a huge gap between rich elite , a relishing minority and poor suffering masses , a forgotten and ignored majority. Orphans are working in sewers , doing whatever they can. Wayne Enterprises stopped its charities and visionary clean energy projects. Wealthy continue to spread their money for parties and luxury. Police is increasingly powerful because of Dent Act but it is like putting a cork on top of a boiling bottle. Actually things are not as peaceful as it seems (It was the best of times , it was the worst of times , it was the age of wisdom , it was the age of foolishness , it was the epoch of belief , it was the epoch of incredulity , it was the Season of Light , it was the Season of Darkness..) It is all the right mixture for someone with radical agenda to spread chaos and anarchy with extreme violence and destroy the established order.

Architechts of all this temporary peace are not satisfied with what they accomplished either. Bruce Wayne , degraded in body and soul , retreated into a solitary life. No one saw either him or his altar ego Batman for a long time after Batman took all blame of Harvey Dent's crimes. Jim Gordon is also at unease and torn about revealing the truth to public. Both Christian Bale and Gary Oldman are great , excellent as usual we expect from these established actors and their well drawn characters. A burglary incident in Wayne Manor puts Bruce Wayne back into game to track a resourceful cat thief. ( Anne Hathaway just made everyone who criticized her to eat their own words with her wonderful performance. No one can question Nolans actor selection from now on ) And meanwhile trouble is brewing beneath Gotham in form of Bane , a hulking and cunning extreme revolutionary/mercenary fanatic and his army. Tom Hardy is just awesome both physical , vocal and facial (as much as with a mask , shades of Hugo Weaving in "V for Vendetta". Unlike others I could understand him perfectly and his voice just scared hell out of me ) acting in this role. Death of John Daggett ( or death of Maquis St Evermonde , Nolan Nolan how you gave audience so much credit for their intelligence ) was one of the finest piece of acting between two actors I have seen this year. While Alfred , trusted Butler and confident of Bruce try to stop him for his own good (Veteran Brit actor Michael Caine goes amazing lengths especially in his final scenes) war is approaching....

Remaining supporting cast and characters are great too. Joseph-Gordon Levitt is just screaming with huge potential as John Blake , a honest good cop trying to help Batman , Morgan Freeman is also very good again not surprising with his career. I haven't seen Matthew Modine for a long time so he was a nice surprise as Foley. Only casting I had trouble with was Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate. (Madam Defarge here) Marion is an excellent actress but here she was struggling with her French accent and her character's romance with Wayne does not make sense or established well ( nor his second romance with Catwoman either ) There are a few plot holes like Blake's figuring out Batman's true identity with a flimsy explanation. Pacing of story can sometimes be uneven but seriously I never noticed how almost three hours passed. The whole movie was that gripping. The throwbacks to first movie are very elegant , Scarecrow , Ra'as al Ghoul both make an appearance and confirm that TDKR is a full circle from first movie , a conclusion of protagonist's heroic journey , closing of final chapter. Actually story structure is somewhat similar to Batman Begins with revelations , hellish conditions in prison ( Black Hole of Calcutta ? ) process of fall and rise and hero's inner struggles but not disturbingly so. It is not a copy cat or rip off.

The themes are serious , there are no more darkness and light anymore. While heroes and villains struggle in light for ultimate salvation of Gotham , some like Sidney Carton from "A Tale of Two Cities" will make the ultimate sacrifice.

"It is a far far better thing that a I do ,than I have ever done , it is far far better rest that I go to than I have ever known" final words of ToTC

23 out of 52 people found the following review useful:
Superhero Pollution in Hollywood, 22 July 2012

Actor John Cusack once said that there are no more big production studios anymore. There are just a bunch of banks which provide funding/credits for projects and approve which script would be produced according to box office profit it is projected to generate. ( because Hollywood mentality became like : more money , bigger stars , bigger budget , bigger marketing , bigger blockbuster , bigger box office income that's all it matters ) Since comicbook / superhero genre is the newest and biggest market to be milked in popular culture for Hollywood in these harsh economy ; is it surprising that The Avengers , a childish intake about a bunch of ridiculously costumed "Superheroes" with one dimensional immature behavior getting together to repel an alien invasion ( AGAIN ! I think any actual alien seeing these alien invasion movies would not even close Earth ever again. Our "always winning despite odds" thing would be silly to them ) ? Unfortunetely not. This is another shallow seasonal product , another "leave your brain at theater door" movie aimed for Comic Con Convention fans. And I admit it is a BIG market.

Just like most movies in this genre ( there are a few exceptions ) it has its own cliché's and tropes like they are coming out of a factory assembly line. At least director Joss Whedon ( a great TV writer/producer. I was a follower of Firefly and Dollhouse ) does not deny them and recognizing what they are , wears them at movie's sleeve. Bickering superheroes ( that's fine amusing with Whedonesque humor but humor got overwhelming and made "superheroes" childlike not multi dimensional characters ) , threat from outer space from a sneering arrogant enemy with another comic book costume ( at least Tom Hiddleston performed as well as he could with material he was given , but what the hell was Loki's motivation in conquering Earth ? ) , his boss with a digital voice , super secret ( American as usual ) military spy agency ( I can never understand American film industry's fetish of military - for a nation devoid of conscription ) , national stereotypes ( Russians are evil you know ) , hot ass kicking super agent babes ( Scarlett , Scarlett are you so desperate ? ) , Aryan looking superheroes from WW2 era ( Thor , Captain America , blond blue eyed , with whom we were fighting with anyway in that time ? Did you realize that there were no other ethnicity among these heroes like Oriental or Latin ) , Tony Stark rich jerk , Hulk a Doctor Bruce Banner marked with tragedy ( Mark Ruffolo is the only actor with proper character material and performs admirably in this ) , Hawkeye with baby faced Jeremy Renner ( I never warmed to that guy as an actor ) , and Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury big boss of agency with an eye patch ( no fake protez in nowadays ? ) because it looks cool , a final battle with lots of laser rays and CGI explosions without casualties in another American urban area ( this year it is New York City's trashing time ) , good vs evil , government made the mistake of launching a nuclear missile , it is averted , heroes are victorious blah blah it is the end....

After all this sequence of predictable events where no protagonist was harmed and good guys win , what do we have ? An empty blockbuster which will make a big Box Office hit , probably a franchise but at the end an empty film. I can not wait in 20-30 years our grandchildren asking "Is this the stuff your generation was watching ? No wonder everything really mattered like environment , economy , politics or simple psyche of human or society condition all of them gone hell. Your visual arts stopped reflecting them !"

Battleship (2012)
44 out of 86 people found the following review useful:
Annual US Armed Forces Recruitment Film - 2012 version, 12 April 2012

What is a fact is a fact. There is no denying. Peter Berg and Universal execs probably envious of big box office profits of latest trend of Michael Bay Aliens vs US Army , decided to adapt another of Hasbro titles , old "Battleship" game into a movie. That's right. Video games , comic books , action figures all run out. Now boardgames are latest target of stupid , empty headed but CGI overloaded studio production.

Actually whole movie is a huge excuse for cramming as much CGI explosion , special effects s possible. Characters are paper thin boring clichés. To increase appeal photogenic super model like actors who can not act are in the movie ( neither Brooklyn Decker nor Rhianna can act worth a damn. There are in movie for eye candy. Liam Neeson has just 10 minutes of screen time. Taylor Kitsch was not too bad in John Carter but in Battleship his character is worst kind of stereotype , suffering from Captain Kirk syndrome) but like in GI Joe it does not help. Actions of aliens make no sense and are not defined. Producers probably decided that Air Force , Marine Corps had enough fun repelling freaking alien invasions so it is Navy's turn. Story is weak. So they added every possible cliché from sci-fi genre : instant battlefield promotion , male hero taking responsibility in crisis , his hot girlfriend involving a pointless secondary story ( a trick in script writing that dates back to disaster flicks of 1970'ies ) US military kicking ass of faceless aliens ( when these freaky fictional aliens will learn that in Hollywood fairy land they have no chance against humans with cocky attitude ? ) etc....What else ? Ruined cities check , geeky scientists check , trashed military hardware check , no blood or casaulties in ruins check , middle aged government officials making emergency conferences shouting computer screens to hammer gravity of crisis check , evil genocidal aliens with energy shields , powerful weapons , interstellar travel and other overdone technological advances check , same aliens having a weaknesses in their tech to be exploited in CGI battles check , cringe worthy exposional dialog check....List goes like that.

Make no mistake. Battleship will make money probably a decent profit due to its marketing campaign for targeted audience ( teenage , uneducated young adult populace who do not know how to distinguish between quality and cr..p. They are majority audience ) Box Office performance usually determined by shape of your marketing and selling your movie to your audience. But a year from now I doubt anyone who watched Battleship , basically Independence Day made for 2012 season ( come to think of it Roland Emmerich could also direct this ) , will remember that they paid cash to see it without embarrassing themselves.

Universal just expanded 200+ million dollars for a bad militaristic seasonal product. Can you point out how different it is from Battle LA ? Even old World War 2 propaganda movie "Why We Fight ?" has more substance than this one

9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Person of Interest made me watch TV again, 24 March 2012

I will be honest. I gave up watching TV programming for a long time. In every TV show entertainment , contest , talk show , series I was recognizing same lame similarities and banality for last few years. Person of Interest renewed my faith in serialized crime/thriller drama. Now it is the only TV series I follow in entire week. Acting is great to watch. Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson add nuances and layers to their characters with their fine acting skills. I am not a fan of JJ Abrams at all. I gave up watching LOST after first two seasons. His other series were mediocre to terrible. But here in PoI he is balanced with great Jonathan Nolan in production department. This adds a whole The Dark Knight vibe to series which I love. I hope they do not screw up main storyline or character arcs. Person of Interest brought my childhood with vigilante hero/adventure series like Knight Rider or The Equalizer. I am eagerly waiting next episode !

Don't screw up CBS ! You got a new audience.

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