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Encouraging Criminal Activity?
The basic moral of this story is that you can commit crime after crime, encourage criminal activity with other teenagers, not get jailed, so long as you can blackmail someone not to inform the police. Hilarious?
I ended up watching this because my daughters had it playing through Netflix whilst I was working in the same room. This is no pleasant movie and certainly not suitable for children as it encourages repeat criminal behaviour, including hiding felons and jail breaking, hacking, breaking and entering, theft, blackmail, fraud and deceit. I needed to discuss the rights and wrongs of the behaviour encouraged in the movie with my daughters during and at the end; explaining that anyone committing these various acts would be jailed for 20 to 40 years in total.
The main character players plays it for laughs as he encourages other to be complicit in his crimes. He badgers his girlfriend and another friend to commit fraud and cover up his crimes, later having them help blackmail someone.
Whoever thought this was a good idea for a movie needs to be committed.
Monsters: Dark Continent (2014)
Lost direction and 1 dimensional
Whilst not as bad as the rating implies this could have been so much better with a better writer: No subplots and a one dimensional storyline shows the writer(s) are not very talented. However, Tom Green made a decent start and the first half was very watchable. Unfortunately about half way through the story meandered meaninglessly. With no obvious direction the viewer ends up getting distracted and looses interest. I guess this is why the movie ends up getting poor reviews and low stars. So overall, for me, the scriptwriters have to take the blame for this as they seemed to have become bored and loose interest in writing a decent story about half way through.
The Returned (2013)
Outdated AIDS allegory
If this was made in the 1980s it may have had more relevance. However, in an age when HIV doesn't have the stigma levels it used to, it seems to be misplaced.
The story is slow and acting quality was middle of the road, with the actors being too serious for a zombie movie.
The script reminded me of college student projects with too many predictive stereotypical lines "I just wanted to let you know you're still the same guy to me," says the male friend in a bar when he finds out he's a zombie (or the politically correct Returned).
It just doesn't move along at any sensible pace or seemingly with any intent for the first 30 minutes or so. I wasn't sure if the writers / director knew which direction they wanted to take the movie: highlight bigotry (and create a yawn fest) or entertaining drama (which it never became).
On the Road (2012)
Low budget acting - big budget melodrama
Give an 18 year old film student 25 thousand dollars and they'd do a better job than this 25 million dollar disappointment. They'd hire genuine actors, not the sulky here today gone tomorrow types whose insincerity kills a movie within five minutes. The lighting never seemed quite right, especially indoors; cheap effects to create a false mood because the actors (sic) where not able to create the tension needed.
Seriously, where did the money go? Especially if you believe Kristen took a huge pay cut (she was possible deluded to think this monstrosity could pick up Academy nods).
Acting was 90210 style. Vacuous, wince to look deep nonsense. None of the characters were believable and so far removed from the original novel if the author were still alive he be suing; the audience who came to see the novel in film rather than Stewarts boobs certainly have a case for a full refund based on a trades description act violation.
I didn't like it.
Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
The action part is good, hence 3 stars.
The premise, however, is beyond stupidity and there are far more plot holes than usually seen in this kind of action movie.
US Presidents are dispensable. If any were threatened the response would not be to capitulate.
At various points special forces would have been inside WH. They could have taken out Hydra and followed through. Surveillance would have moved faster to take out the handful of terrorists.
I know the audience are often asked to suspend disbelief and go with the flow, but this film asked too much.
A naughty boy and girl cause some bother
Jude Law and Sadie Frost pretend (I don't like to use the word act for such dreadful performances) to be a naughty boy and girl. Frost throws in a faux Irish accent, because being Irish surely makes you sound harder. However, the accent is bad throughout: she ranges from Belfast to Limerick to Essex. By stealing cars and using lots of bad language, the pair go on an adventure to tease the police and raid some shops. At one point Sadie licks the face of a mannequin and hints at something more genuine; however the next police pursuing a car scene leading the police into an urban ambush is back to unintended satire. It is almost a mockumentary on the famous four comic strip style by trying to look so over the top to go beyond the ridiculous. Sean Pertwee is a laughable oik from his first presence, sat on the banisters watching the low lifes play in his criminal arcade emporium (seriously, he was playing a rogue who ran a games shop for teenagers but being in a disused run down place was supposed to make it a bit gritty). Slapping a car roof to show his annoyance at the naughty children (Frost and Law) getting into bother with the busies is about the level of such a misguided film; although he gets into even more of a bad temper when he hits a pipe against other pipes half way through the 'movie'. Some reviewers says this has dated too early. I would suggest it hasn't dated at all; awful on release, awful almost 20 years later.
Black Death (2010)
A rather clever bit of writing; at least I presume it is clever as the take I have on the film is as follows: What seems to be one thing is really the opposite.
Those who seem to come as heroes, those coming in god's name, are in fact those who bring death and misery. The heroes become the villains and vice versa. There are no real heroes here; the necromancer is perhaps not as she appears. Rather than leading the villagers down the wrong path, she actually protected them from the pestilence outside the village walls.
Who are the evil ones? Surely not villagers who follow a life without a god; they were content and living a good life until god's army arrived with pestilence. The young hero monk? Nothing of the sort. He murdered the woman he loved and then went on to murder many more innocent women. The messenger of god, Sean B, brought death to the village through the plague.
The summation of the film; follow god and bring evil - religion is what is wrong in the world. Live without god and live a happy and contented life.
Land of the Lost (2009)
Where did the money go?
Although I'm not the biggest will Farrel fan in the world, I'll eventually get round to giving his films a go. Land of the Lost turned up on HBO so I sat and watched... I'd already checked the summary here; the stars weren't too low so I stuck it out. Big mistake. One of the worst big budget movies I've seen in a very long time. The estimate of $100,000,000 for this pile of manure must surely be a mistake. Where did the money go? $30 million for Will? $20 million for Anna, 10c for the other guy? That still leaves (after my very over inflated suggestions (I reckon Anna really us about a tenth of the above) where did the other 50million get spent? There's no significant cast other than the main three characters? The effects are nothing unusual for this day and age, and some of it reminded me of Mork & Mindy days they were so basic. The script was so awful, they clearly weren't paying much for that. Musical score? Nope, mostly out of copyright show tunes. Someone, please explain to me: Where did the money go?
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)
I saw the trailers, enjoyed King of Queens, and thought I'd enjoy this Kevin James jaunt as a Saturday afternoon film. A film which should be quietly enjoyable and give a few laughs.
What I watched was mind-numbing garbage. Whilst I didn't expect anything too original, I didn't think I'd get such unoriginal, factory fodder. There was nothing to be enjoyed, and almost everything was too expected. The little that was marginally original was creepy. I felt like screaming to the love interest, don't go any near that stalker as he zoomed in on CTV then offered a lift on his mop-mobile. Would anyone say yes if a creepy guy offered to put his arms around you on his Segway when you just met the guy; especially one with stalker tendencies? The scene in the bar that followed was just as painful to watch, and even more reason for the love interest to run a mile.
The writers seemed to forget that if you're going to create formula movies, with a loser you need the audience to like, that there has to be something positive and likable about the character. I can't think about anything redeeming during the first twenty minutes. The writers took too many liberties with the audience and just presumed, 'Hey, this is an actor everyone likes, we don't need to make any effort in the script to support this.' This is not Kevin James greatest moment. The box office receipts merely show how successful good advertising can be, no matter how bad the product is.
The Omen (2006)
Dreadful Remake of a Classic
When a group of movie execs decide to do a remake of a classic they are looking at the bottom line. Releasing Omen on the 6th day, of the 6th month in the 6th year was just the push they needed to put on this project. What a mistake.
No sensible producer would ever remake Casablanca or Gone with The Wind. Both of these classics are scene after scene perfect. Likewise, the original Omen film was so polished that it was difficult to see how they could improve things. Do you follow the book and film closely or do a different take? Unfortunately all too often with this film they choose the frame by frame imitation, and each was a pale imitation of the original.
Take the dramatic scene where Damien cycles around eventually bumping his mum over the banister. In the original the sound track was genius, it built the momentum and climaxed perfectly. In this tawdry remake there was no mood build up, no tension. The score, as throughout the rest of the film, was limp.
The writer tried too hard to match real modern events with the apocalyptic apocrypha, but as they were out of synch they would have been better left out. The writing would have been just as entertaining, if not more so, if events were invented to match with the book of Revelation's predications; suggestions that the sea in Revelation 8 somehow refers to politics is just plain stupid.
The cast was a troop of misfits. Julia Styles was wooden and Liev Schreiber always looked out of place; whilst Lee Remick and Gregory Peck are always going to be impossible to beat, these two TV quality stars were never going to be in the same league. I felt sorry for the real actors, the three British thespians normally found in better productions; Michael Gambon, Pete Postlethwaite and David Thewlis. David Thewlis struggled throughout to make his part worthy, but was constantly fighting against the cardboard cut-out of Schreiber that was always by his side. Michael Gambon looked apologetic for taking his bit part; he looked almost embarrassed in his scenes.
To conclude, a poorly executed film aimed to tie in with a single day. It would have been better to have kept this project as a TV movie.
As awful as the The Royal Tenenbaums
As pretentious as it is unfunny. The first half hour, like the Tenenbaums incidentally, sent me to sleep. It had the same over stylised staged shooting and the same boring, dull, lifeless pace. With an almost identical cast the director has shown he lacks any imagination and still pines for the success of his only decent film, Rushmore; but has not matured since then. He hasn't learnt what made Rushmore watchable and his latest fiasco's drivel.
When you look at the potential of the cast, except for Huston whom I've never enjoyed watching and is very over rated as an actress, you'd think that something could have come from this. Bill Murray is one of my favourite comedic actors - from Stripes to Translation he's been fabulous - and one of the reasons I thought I'd give this a go. But Wes managed to squeeze all life out of Murray's talents.
Not even worth spending a boring Sunday afternoon with: avoid it.
House of the Dead (2003)
Simple, unchallenging entertainment that doesn't pretend to be something it isn't.
I read the IMDb scores and reviews before watching House of the Dead and thought I'd watch to see just how bad it was. I was pleasantly surprised to spend an hour and a half watching a decent film; much better than a lot of big budget stuff, such as some of the Hollywood remakes of some horror classics. So long as you understand the budget background, and find lower budget films entertaining - such as great Brit Flicks like Shawn of the Dead -there's something worth watching here. I'm guessing this was more of a Canadian film than USA, and that seems to show in the whole manner of the film. I've often found that many Canadian movies to have some magic ingredient that makes them stand out, but an ingredient that doesn't taste good to the masses.
The effects were appropriate for the low budget background; don't expect the sort of stuff you see in Resident Evil. Apart from too much dialogue to the audience at the beginning, the direction and production quality was good. The acting was appropriate for the roles without being award quality; bimbos were bimbos, tough guys were tough guys, etc. The lead role (J Cherry) was the usual brooding thoughtful hero type.
Simple, unchallenging entertainment that doesn't pretend to be something it isn't. If you are a fan of the original game or game genre you should like it.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Another great British tongue-in-cheek bit of slapstick.
Just watched SOTD. Haven't laughed so much for ages. Brilliantly funny. The UK viewers will recognise the faces, but doubt many outside the UK will.
Being a particularly British sense of humour it probably won't travel well (esp. over the pond to the US). Still, I recommend it to all and everyone. Simon Pegg was the funniest I've seen him. The supporting cast were also very good. Nick Frost shows he's more than just silly Bravo channel silliness. Dylan Moran was so so, pretty much playing the same Dylan Moran character he always plays; I'm sure he could expand his repertoire if he wanted. On a purely fun level, a great way to while away 99 minutes; nine out of ten.