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I am also someone who hopes to direct a real film one day (and hopefully make a career out of it) and I have started editing tributes on youtube...its not much but its SOME sort of a start, right? Besides that, I am taught at school the rest. One of my many idols for "art films" is Werner Herzog. Even his "boring" or "silly" films are great.
I have an opinion that I will voice but I AM respectful of other peoples opinions because I have changed mine on a number of occasions.
The way I'm going to make this list is that the first paragraph will be a brief summary of the plot, the second paragraph, why I like it, the third paragraph what I didn't like about it (because no film is without flaw). The fourth, anything extra about the film that I feel needs to be addressed.
Yes, these films might have had an effect on me...don't look at me funny!
Immortally Yours (2009)
The same year this movie came out a vampire film also came out with better effects, story, characters and screen writing. That film was Twilight: New Moon.
Okay, I love vampire movies. Among my favourites are We Are The Night, Nosferatu, Blade and the Lugossi Dracula. My expectations of this film were actually already on a low set and yet, somehow, it got worse.
Now before I go down the plot, there are about 3 or 4 of them in this movie so please tell me if this gets too much.
PLOT 1: A vampire named Alex falls in love with a girl named Estelle. You know, the basic Twilight bullshit although, to be fair, Twilight was a more believable romance with these two only ever seen having a date once and the guy saying "I want to be your knight in shining armor."
PLOT 2: A group called the Illuminati are trying to achieve ultimate power and control all the crime in the city and have more influence than the President who are also working on a way to make someone immortal.
PLOT 3: A vampire hunter is called in by the cops because he was highly recommended (thats a taste of the writing there, people) to help take down the vampires after seeing them at a club but they all got away via teleportation.
PLOT 4: A man who works for the Illuminati tries to handle a shipment of cocaine and its up to the police to stop him.
Now onto my complaints about this movie, it has way too much story! Do I even need to explain why thats the case with this movie? The writing is beyond pathetic. I mean listen to this scenario, a full grown woman tells her father, who is trying to find a way to become immortal, that her boyfriend who she's madly in love with is a vampire and wishes to help him if he gives the vampire a normal life. If anyone seriously said that story to you, you'd send them to a mental ward. This father? He believes her after just 3 seconds.
How about something as simple as the vampire's powers? In a far superior action vampire movie, Underworld, do you think that the vampires would be able to take down a squad of police? Not in this movie! All they do is roar and stand there while the police shoot them. That makes the enemy AI from Assassin's Creed look like Albert Einstein!
Well despite those flaws with others such as horrible acting and "its boring" being thrown into the mix, perhaps the scale of this indie film can show some light. Nope. The editing in this film is the worst I've ever seen in my life. The opening sequence goes like this; a man runs away from an invisible opponent and is attacked, cut to a rich family going to the opera, cut to the guy running away pulling himself over a wall with a bloody face and is only pulled back again, cut to the opera where the vampire and the woman first meet, cut to a guy who chases after a woman (who you never see again) he shoots guys who try to protect her and he supposedly attacks her and cut to the opera again when it just ends. Did any of that flow in an organic rhythm? Thats the editing that plays in the first few minutes of this film and mostly the same style throughout the entire film. How about cinematography? Lighting? etc. These are the only things I come even close to praising; it looks like something out of a porno.
Do I recommend this? Yes. To the governments of the world. This film should be used as an interrogation device against enemies. I guarantee you'll have a confession within 20 minutes. If you're a dictator that wants to uphold balance, play this movie as a punishment. If you are a scientist, study this film for me. What made it? If you are a priest of any religion, exorcise the demons inside it from the world. Have I made it clear I don't like this film yet?
My favourite Channel Awesome review, period.
Now before I start, I am not so obsessive with the site that I see every single review by every single reviewer. The only ones I do kind of watch ritualistically is The Cinema Snob, Nostalgia Critic and if you count him, Spoony but my exposure to Brows Held High has been minimal at best. After I saw the NC's Moulin Rouge review I was curious as to what the first musical review on thatguywiththeglasses.com was. I went into it knowing nothing about Bowie's music or The Man Who Fell To Earth, Ever since I have loved Brows Held High.
The idea for this review is simple, Oancitizen reviews the entirety of The Man Who Fell To Earth using David Bowie's own music. Very simply, thats the entirety of the review, you watch this fat guy cover Bowie while reviewing a movie Bowie starred in. Most of you will then ask whats the entertainment appeal? The way he covers these songs are almost all explanation of the plot while dropping in a few jokes here and there (such as "but we know that he's from Space I mean just look at that face") which does make for a surprisingly entertaining watch. Almost on par with Weird Al Yankovic. Actually, considering how hard it would be to rhyme in song while reviewing, I'd say this actually has more brains than Weird Al does.
It helps your first viewing if you get acquainted with Bowie's songs. The first time I watched the review I thought it was just okay but curiosity led me to Bowie's songs and then I grew to love this review because it really does show how much effort and time was put into these 20 minutes.
So do I recommend it? Somewhat. I mean, if you don't like the idea of comedy reviews and listening to 20 minutes of non-stop Bowie (which on both counts is understandable) then this isn't for you. If you like Bowie but not the idea of comedy reviews or visa versa, I'd say check it out. If you're already a fan of Bowie and Channel Awesome, chances are you've already seen this but if you haven't, check it out.
Cruel Intentions 2 (2000)
Sequel was better than the original.
Okay before I get any flack, yes, I hated Cruel Intentions 1, it was an insult to everything that the original story of Dangerous Liaisons stood for. So today I felt bored and wanted to watch a movie with the full knowledge I'd hate it, its sequel.
Now I didn't like this film because it had good acting, great writing and an interesting story. No. In fact, all of these things are horrendous but that just adds on to the magnificent whirpool of idiocy that is Cruel Intentions 2. This is really one of those movies that is so bad that it actually is entertaining.
The plot of this one is kind of a rehash of the first where Sebastian goes after a "virgin" and tries to seduce her but falls in love with her in the process while her sister Kathryn tries to make a freshman the class slut.
I know what you are thinking, what about that plot could possibly be funny? Kathryn is played by Amy Adams who plays her part with an entirety of her trying to look and sound sinister. Yes, Amy Adams tries to be sinister. But it gets better, literally every minute this movie is on, it assaults you with something stupid that you just have to laugh at it. My absolute favourite scene is where Kathryn as the student body president has her own minions that hide in back rooms of the school looking at a slide show of all the new kids and how she will devise a scheme to get them to fit in to what they want down to the exact detail. Yes, in a high school, this movie wants you to believe that the popular kids spend their time looking at slide shows of unpopular kids and scheme plans to "destroy their reputation".
Thats not enough? The first day in school a girl chokes on chewing gum after getting the hiccups. The headmaster's daughter saves her life and some random kid that you'll never see again picks her up and takes her out of the hall Knight in Shining armour style while Amy Adams gives them a death stare. I could go on and on with how many awkwardly funny moments there are in this movie because, as I said earlier, this movie assaults you with that amount of stupid.
This is a short review because I literally have nothing else to say about it except that this may be my vote for the funniest movie ever made. I swear you will be tired of laughing at the end of this film. It was made as a pilot to a TV show aimed at teenagers (that was never picked up) but I think this was written for kinder-gardeners. If you want a laugh, go check this out. If you're a fan of the original and want to see a "worthy prequel", you're better off avoiding this film.
Here's whats wrong with remakes.
Okay, first of all I'd like to say that yes I thoroughly enjoy the Psycho movies. Yes, you are reading a review from someone who even managed to find something enjoyable in Psycho 2, Psycho 3 and Psycho 4. Originally I wanted to avoid this movie like the plague because of its reputation. Then I saw the sequels and found something enjoyable in all 3 of them and they had the reputation of being crap. So naturally I thought this would be the same. Oh man was I wrong.
Now let me explain the biggest problem with this movie. Its not that it was a remake of Hitchcock. Personally I'm fine with remakes as long as they're done well, for example Werner Herzog's interpretation of Nosferatu is a great movie. I enjoy both Nosferatu movies and place both of them as Horror classics and from what I know, I'm not the only one. Gus Van Sant tackled this with the mentality of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" so what we get are almost exact shot replicas except in color, so much so that Joseph Stephano - the screenwriter for the original - gets the credit for writing the script for the remake. If you do that as a filmmaker, people can't help but to judge against the original and when the original is directed by Alfred Hitchcock, you're gonna fail. Yes, you're reading this review right. I actually wouldn't have minded this film if it didn't follow Hitchcock to the letter. Do your own thing, do not cut and paste the script of one of the best movies ever made.
The only difference between these scenes are things like, a character wears glasses or carries an umbrella, the angles are different, the technology is updated and the director adds a total of 2 new shots in the entire movie! Thats pretty much the difference between this movie and the original with the exception of actors and its in colour. Oh there is one more thing, the original used rather dark lighting for obvious reasons if your doing a horror movie, this film has some of the brightest lighting I've ever seen. This works against the scenes making any atmosphere in this film (try to imagine) not work.
The acting is generally crap. Okay people like Julianne Moore and Viggo Mortesen did okay but Anne Heche doesn't even come close to Janet Leigh and do I really need to point out whats wrong with casting Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates? No, I think that actually speaks for itself. Its a shame because I feel as though almost every single actor in this movie is trying but it can't be saved.
The thing that amazes me is how forgettable this movie is. All the other Psycho films hold something to marvel at. For example in Psycho 2, it was a movie with a sad message that no matter how much Norman tried, he could not escape his past nor what "Mother" did. Psycho 3 had him battling his personality when he falls in love with a catholic who also has psychological problems who tries to help him out of his psychosis but "Mother" interferes a few too many times for Norman's comfort. In Psycho 4, it went into the deep recesses of what made Norman a killer and how he would deal with his past for good. If this film offered that much originality and effort, it could actually be saved but, as I said not one paragraph earlier, it can't.
This movie is a prime example of what happens when a remake sticks too closely to the original and why thats a bad thing. If you're going to remake Psycho, I'm one of those people that would be intrigued by it. But when you remake a movie you want to...remake it, not just reshoot it. Overall if I, a man who saw Psycho 3 and said "there is something well written in this movie" didn't like it, you know thats a bad sign. Do I recommend it? Actually yes. To two particular groups; 1. Practicing filmmakers who want to study how not to do a remake 2. People that say new is always better. Anyone else, avoid this film at all costs.
Cruel Intentions (1999)
I recently watched an adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons that was lesser known to the public eye called Valmont. I came out of the viewing loving it. So naturally I wanted to see some of the other adaptations. I saw the one starring John Malkovich and Glen Close and while I didn't like that one, I could at least see the appeal behind it. It had a darker tone than Valmont (which worked to Valmont's advantage when the climax happened) and it gave the two characters a stronger menacing presence. The only other adaptation that I believe is well known was the teen appeal one, Cruel Intentions, my least favourite of the three.
The main plot of this is that Kathryn makes a bet with her step brother Sebastian that he can bed Annette, a girl who wants to stay a virgin until marriage. If Kathryn wins, she gets his car, if Sebastian wins, he gets Kathryn. There is also a subplot about Cecile stealing Kathryn's boyfriend and she does everything in her power to give Cecile a bad reputation.
Now my main problem with this movie is its existence. I don't mean in the sense that the others were so untouchable that this one will be inferior no matter what. I mean who the hell thought that taking a story about how two self centered people destroy the lives of everyone they know through a bet would be good with a High School backdrop? It also makes the movie feel forced in such scenes where Ryan Phillippe says his whole life has been a joke, yeah all 17 years of them.
The acting in this movie is atrocious. Usually I am a fan of Buffy but Sarah Michelle Gellar, here, played her part with the mentality that evil people do evil things while in their spare time living and breathing evil. When it comes to how Annette Benning and Glen Close played their parts, Gellar is EASILY the short straw. Partially because the other two are much better actresses and partially because they portrayed their human side as well as their vindictive side. Even if I didn't compare to the other versions, the acting would still fall flat. Gellar plays her part like she was in a cartoon, Ryan Phillippe plays his part like Hayden Christensen. He rarely ever emotes but when he does, he is hysterical. The other two main performers are Selma Blair who plays Cecile who is special needs, and she goes REALLY over the top, beyond a point of laughing at her and Reese Witherspoon who plays Annette who plays her part like Reese Witherspoon.
The writing is, you guessed it, atrocious. Now I know teen adaptations are hard to do but any emotion, any moment, any scene, is the exact opposite of subtle. The scene where Kathryn is revealed to be the evil that she is (I'd describe her as a bitch but thats just how the movie portrays it), you get close ups of people looking at her, shaking their heads and even walking out on Sebastian's funeral when she gives the eulogy. And thats the funniest scene in the whole movie. The other scenes are over the top but beyond the point of laughter.
Overall I think you have a very clear idea as to what I thought of this film. Nothing about it is subtle, the age change just made the film less believable and the acting is beyond atrocious. However if that somehow seems like your sort of movie, go check it out. If you prefer the more subtle of films, go look at Valmont (1989) or Dangerous Liaisons (1988), both are better than this.
Les Misérables (2012)
Okay, let me stress that I have almost no idea of the whole plot or characters of Les Miserables, I have not seen the stage show and I have never read the book. I saw this film because my mother LOVED it. She was stressing to me how fantastic this one was and how Anne Hathaway deserved the Oscar etc. The end result was my questioning whether this really was the musical of emotion and feeling.
The plot is that Jean Valjean is a prisoner on parole but can't get a job because the warden, Javert, has stated that he is a dangerous man. In a time of rape and murder what was Valjean's crime to make Javert so obsessed? He stole a loaf of bread...From what I have been told thats in the play too but it becomes insane when this character torments Valjean for 30 years and his crime was stealing a loaf of bread? For the musical of feeling, I feel no character motivation for that to happen.
Okay so Valjean breaks his parole and becomes mayor in 8 years in a jump cut that quite frankly happens so fast that it doesn't seem real at first (great development there guys!) and is called into his factory to settle a dispute between Fantine and the other workers. The Forman kicks Fantine out and because she has a daughter, she sells everything she has to provide for her and it eventually leads to the famous "I Dreamed A Dream". Whats my beef? We only know Fantine for half an hour of the entire film. We should care...why?
Javert notices that the Mayor looks a lot like the criminal he's obsessing over and after a total of 3 conversations he notices that it IS him. Valjean, however, tries to respect the wishes of a dead Fantine and raise her daughter, Cosette who is being raised by Sacha Baron Coehn and Helena Bonham Carter whose characters are named...
Cut to a mere 9 years later, we see Cosette as a teenager who falls in love with a boy named Marius at first glance. Marius is in the Revolution which is led by his friend whose name is...
However Eponine (I'm not sure how its spelled and I'm too lazy to look it up) is in love with Marius and happens to be the daughter of Sacha Baron Coehn and Helena Bonham Carter and like many love triangles, the person that doesn't have the happy ending is given the most development. After Javert finds out that he has an obsession over Valjean again, Valjean decides to leave Paris...9 years there where Javert could come in at any moment and just NOW he decides to leave. But this upsets Cosette because shes in love with Marius who is beginning to build the barricades for the revolution. After they are delivered a note from a little boy who is one of the revolutionaries and is named...() anyway Valjean reads the letter and decides to help Marius in the revolution.
Anyway the revolution goes belly side up, the revolutionaries are killed with the exception of Marius who is rescued by Valjean and taken to a hospital. Javert questions this act of kindness and his own morals which causes him to kill himself. Marius and Cosette marry and Valjean dies being carried away by the spirit of Fantine.
What is my major problem with this movie? It has WAY Too much story. I have seen films that clock in two and a half hours and they have nowhere near this much plot. Its like if someone tried to adapt the Dark Knight movies in one condensed version. The plot is so overdetailed and so overdone that I don't feel a single moment where I connected with the characters and for a film thats title can be translated into "The Miserable Ones" to include no reason to care is a huge crime.
The cinematography for this film is awful. I can name three different shot types that take up the majority of the movie; close up, tracking shot and crane shot. Because this film is shot so boringly and has no reason to connect with the characters, the whole film just becomes boring. Even the action scenes, its so tightly shot that you can NEVER see whats going on.
I also don't think we need comedy in a film called "The Miserable Ones" I mean sure, Sacha Baron Coehn has his fans but his comedy in this film consisted of stealing things and Helena Bonham Carter raping Santa...this begs one question from me as a viewer "What the hell am I watching?"
The only other real complaint is the live singing. I think the director used this as a gimmick to start some sort of musical trend...the reason why it never took off was because it produces horrible singing. I swear, the only really good singer was Hathaway and even then I like her performance in the final song, not I "Dreamed A Dream"
In terms of films I didn't like, I have seen worse however this film just didn't work. I have never seen the play and this film committed the worst crime an adaptation can make, it turned me off to an even more extent.
Overall if your a die hard fan, go see it, it doesn't mean you're an idiot but I'd prefer a version with more emotion please.
Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)
I wanted to love this film.
Okay, when it comes to anime I'm generally a fan of Yoshiaki Kawajiri and spin-offs from other live action films. So I bought this film because I really had high expectations for it. I wanted to see what would happen. This film could've been on par with the Vampire Hunter D series, I am that serious but the makers try everything to ruin the experience of Blood: The Last Vampire.
Saya is a vampire hunter who looks like a young adult, she is called in to an American air base in Japan to hunt and kill vampires. A suicide occurs and it turns out that that is the work of vampires covering their tracks and its up to Saya, the last original vampire, to find and kill the vampire causing it.
Now when it comes to ruining the experience of this film (yes, I'll get to that first) this is a vampire hunting film without explaining anything about the vampire lore they've set up. If they followed the traditional vampire lore, it would be okay but it doesn't. Both Saya and the vampire she's tracking are seen in direct sunlight, the "mutated vampires" have this "other form" and it looks like Karel Rupert Kroenon from Hellboy. Does it try to explain it? Nope.
My other biggest complaint is the time limit. This film is only 40 minutes long. Now this wouldn't be so bad but I hear there is a TV show, (Of which I will check that out) Why not release this with the show? An average time limit for an action show is 40 minutes per episode.
Onto what I liked, the animation is really well put together and has a nice organic flow-through, the voice acting had no faults and the story, while basic, is pretty well executed.
So overall I'm giving this a 7/10. I really wanted to love this film but unfortunately, I couldn't get into it with the movie's two biggest problems glaring at the viewer. I'd say check this one out but if you're like me, don't expect too much.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Now Terminator has become a staple of icon upon icon for action movies. For the most part, I don't blame people for saying that. The Terminator films (with the exception of 3 and 4) are all entertaining.
So if you haven't seen the first one let me go down the plot; A machine is sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the child that would lead the human resistance to defeat the machines, a soldier from her son's army is also sent back to protect her. It was a surprisingly effective sci-fi/thriller and even brought the question of man's nature with machines into play. Its actually my favourite Terminator film.
The plot to THIS Terminator film is almost like it was made by fan fiction. Two Terminators are sent back in time, one to kill John Connor as a child, one to protect him. The film actually has a well done execution and it does feature some well done action scenes and character development.
However if you line up both Terminator movies both films seem like different features. One is a science fiction thriller about the dangers of independently thinking machines, the other is a sci-fi action that started the career of Edward Furlong (really?).
So is this the 39th greatest movie of all time? Not even close. Is it one of the good Arnold Schwarzenegger movies? Yes. Check it out if you haven't already, you wont be disappointed.
Haunted Echoes (2008)
One of the worst films I've ever seen.
Let me tell you a bit about how I knew about this movie before even seeing it in a bargain bin. I have seen the works of Harry Bromley Davenport, an English director who made it big in the early 80's with the video nasty, Xtro (which is a guilty pleasure). Since then he's had ups and downs. His downs include films like Xtro 2 and Smile Pretty yet he has had a few movies where he has demonstrated that he actually can be good when he wants to be. Despite its problems Xtro 3 is a passable little alien horror movie and Mockingbird Don't Sing is one of my favourite movies. So overall I do have a mixed feeling about him in general. So when I saw that this was a film he directed I was shocked (because his films are hard to find in Australia) and I decided "why not?" Now that I've seen it, all I'm asking is "why?"
So the movie starts out with a dog barking at something in the dark, a little girl named Kimberly goes out to check on him and gets kidnapped. I know it may be shocking to people that feel that but the parents in this movie don't do a goddamn think when they notice the dog barking...good start already.
After searching for a total of 9 days they come across Kimberly as a rotting corpse. The parents, played by Sean Young and David Starzyk, decide to move house because the memories are too painful.
But there is one big shock, the house is haunted. So for scares what does this ghost do? Write on the wall while they're doing a paint job, turns on the TV and computer printer and appears as a little girl to a neighbour in the window. Now that last one might be the only legitimate creepy scene...its never shown on screen. The ghost does nothing intimidating at ALL on screen. Not even remotely. I thought the ghost in Grindstone Road was bad but hey, I'll take rattling pipes and water over this any day.
So they call in a psychic that I swear to god makes William Shatner look subtle and he informs them the Ghost is Kimberly and shes trying to tell them who killed her. One question, movie, How did Kimberly become a ghost in a house she's never been in before?
They find out that the killer is not the guy that was arrested and the person that really did it was a teacher at Kimberly's old school who is a pedophile. Young shares a conversation with him and she just HAPPENS to be on school premises even though her daughter is dead asking questions and has no doubt in her mind after one conversation that he killed her. So this character bases all her "fact" on the word of a psychic she never met before the reading and the "suspect" acting a bit odd. Tell me if you see the same flaw I see.
Young and Starzyk wait outside the school to take one of Kimberly's old friends to their house and seduces her with a mystery present in the hopes that they can talk to her about the teacher. My problem with this scene is that in fiction once you cross the line of pedophilia, there is no going back.
So the girl is attacked by the Ghost and her mother, surprisingly is never seen in this movie (and we never hear if she's pressing charges for the two of them kidnapping her daughter!) and Sean Young comes to the conclusion that the only way to get justice is to kill the teacher. At this point, no more evidence besides one conversation and the word of a psychic contribute to it. But because the ghost has been calling him up he decides to go over there and settle this and it turns out he did kill a girl, its just his adopted sister who he molested. The ghost fatally wounds him and Starzyk finishes him off in front of the neighbour who tells the police it was self defense and that "in a way it was" the teacher at that point had a knife in his heart and lying on the floor completely unable to fight back. And the movie pretty much stops with a flashback of Kimberly performing at a school choir and the person who was first arrested looking at her in "that way".
My biggest problem with this movie is that nothing seems to go right. The writing is beyond pathetic, the story is so clichéd that you've seen it 1000 times before, the acting is beyond atrocious (and considering the people involved in this movie, thats no easy statement to make) everything about this film is inept.
The worst thing about this film is that for a movie about a couple that loose their only child, you'd expect at least one of them to have a moment of grief over what happened. There is not ONE scene. They are so content almost all the time that at points, you forget that they even had a child.
The other thing thats beyond ineptly performed is that when Sean Young just decides that she'll kill the teacher she sound so adamant that its near psychotic. I got to know almost nothing about these characters that in spite of the fact that they lost a daughter, I'd believe the killer's alibi that the only person he killed was his EVIL sister. The way the movie's played out, thats probably what happened.
Overall this is one of those rare movies that I can not find one good thing about it. For me to say that, that says a lot. Avoid this film at all costs.
Fata Morgana (1971)
How do you talk about a film that is about nothing?
This film is one of the strangest films I've ever seen. I'm usually a huge fan of Herzog but this film doesn't have any of his usual trademarks. Hell, this film has no plot. How the hell am I going to talk about it?
Okay, from what I gathered from the narration it is that aliens are observing the way our planet "behaves". That's it. The narration is the only part of the movie thats consistent and I hear that Herzog made up the story when he was editing.
Usually I'd rate something with only the narration being consistent 1/10 but I am prepared to take more of a look into it.
This film has some truly amazing cinematography. One shot is a scroll over the Sahara dessert for 3 minutes, its probably the greatest framed shot I've ever seen due to how beautiful it looks.
I also see this film as an experiment. Anyone that knows the slightest thing about Herzog knows that he takes risks when making his own movies (usually life threatening ones but thats beside the point). This film kind of invented its own unique style that would later be copied in Koyaanasqatsi (sorry for misspelling it, if I did). I have never seen Koyaanasqatsi but from what I'm told both films have a plot yet are about nothing and specifically deal with observations of earth. I'm too dumb to fully understand what either film tries to get across so can someone do that soon?
So would I recommend this? Its an interesting film. Its not necessarily good nor is it bad. This film, along with Koyaanasqatsi, live in their own world of "films about nothing" and for anyone interested in film, even remotely, should take a look.