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houseofjames

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14 reviews in total 
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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Epic but overwrought., 1 January 2015
7/10

Epic but overwrought adaptation of the popular manga series deals with humanity's attempts to ward off an onslaught on massive titans bent on consuming the human population of a large city.

Exhilarating action scenes and some very effective moments are undermined constantly by grade-school dramatics, repetition, and annoying characters (save the ass-kicking female, Mikasa). The English adaptation is okay, but at times over-the-top.

Another anime that could have been so much more had it not focused entirely on a weak cast of prepubescent teens. Thunderous music score by Hiroyuki Sawano.

Deathly slow, with little to recommend, 26 November 2014
3/10

Coming into this film, I had no pretensions. I am only somewhat familiar with the Midnight RPG that this is based on, and I must admit, the setting is one of the best parts about this deathly slow film. At an hour and forty minutes, it certainly feels its length.

Set in a kingdom held under the weight of a near eternal darkness, the bulk of the story follows a 'Legate', a sort of warrior/mage that are the inquisitors of the world, doing the bidding of the godlike 'Darkness'. There is a lot of mythology in the story, way to much for its ambitions. I found the setting to be tantalizing and evocative. The filmmakers used most of their budget on moody VFX shots of cityscapes filled with towers and castles, but left little for the costumes and actors. I swear, most of the actors in the film were culled from the nearest community theater where the film was shot. With the exception of the darkly intriguing Charles Hubbel as the Legate Mag Kiln, none of the actors are interesting in the least.

In the end, the film really does try to tell an intrigue laden story, but it is constantly sabotaged by its own ambitions. This story and world may have worked in the hands of a better director, better actors and a more coherent, less busy script. If you're interested, check it out, otherwise skip it.

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Surprisingly good B-movie fantasy, 13 September 2013
8/10

Having watched pretty much every fantasy film ever made, Curse of the Shadow is surprisingly good. Although fairly low-budget, with no major actors to speak of, it makes up for this with extremely good photography, outstanding make-up effects and exciting action scenes. The effects are also quite good. Vivid CGI depicts dragons, wyverns and other fantastic beasts.

Dialogue is a stilted at times and the simplistic story becomes overly complicated. The story could have used more fleshing out and less annoying dialogue scenes that just stand to pad out of the story. Danielle Chuchran is surely and one-note as the elven bounty hunter, while most of the film's genuine moments come from Richard McWilliams as the cleric warrior. American actors seem to be unable to take this type of fantasy seriously and end up looking like they are in a bad LARP adventure.

All in all, this movie was reasonably entertaining. Well crafted and done with obvious affection for the genre. Check it out if you have a chance.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Lame, poorly crafted and just plane reprehensible, 30 May 2013
2/10

This laugh out loud movie is a total wash. Right wing, gun nut sh*theads might find something to enjoy in the constant annoying first person camera shots of the soldiers moving through shots with practiced skill, but for anyone else, this well worn story plumbs very familiar turf. Bad guys with barely any motivation, a story that is practically impossible to follow are just some of it's problems.

It's difficult to critque the acting by the Seals themselves because they are not actors (and believe me it shows). But this is supposed to be a MOVIE not a documentary. Hence, having real life SEALS who are trying their best to act just isn't good enough, no matter who authentic their tactics are. The jingoism is also laid on thick, with the Americans portrayed as can-do heroes and the villains as reprehensible foreigners. I guess that's nothing really new.

All in all, this is a real-let down and just not worth the time.

Detonator (1993) (TV)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
OK Cast, lame plot, weak action, 8 August 2012
5/10

Anyone watching this film because Alistair Maclean's name is on it will be sorely let down. A weak plot involving stolen nukes is nothing you haven't seen before, done better. Some of the acting (Brosnan, Stewart and Paul) is good, but Ted Levine is simply laughable as the secondary antagonist. His silly redneck character weakens any threat to his scenes with Brosnan. The venerable Christopher Lee is rather miscast as an evil Russian mastermind.

Action scenes and photography are OK, but the editing, music and direction are dull. I also found it funny that it is some sort of UN team that goes after the nukes, where in real life it would be the Navy Seals or Delta Force that would be sent to deal with this train (and would certainly do a better job).

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Good, but some serious issues keep this reboot from soaring, 12 June 2010
6/10

A GI JOE fan's dream come true; a mature rated, fast paced action film giving an interesting glimpse into what this type of JOE show might have been. The plot deals with terrorist organization Cobra attempting to take over the world with a superweapon created using satellites. And so it goes. Exciting action scenes and slick dialogue are undermined constantly by lousy voice acting (as the film only has four actors providing all of the voices) and a plot that is totally and utterly ridiculous.

Still, worth a look for JOE fans, others beware. Fans will have added fun identifying the many JOE characters from the assorted TV shows and comics.

8 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
THE hands down WORST Bond film of all time!, 31 March 2008
2/10

What an embarrassment this film is! Following the masterpiece of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, one would have expected a solid revenge pic, following Bond's attempts to avenge his lovely wife Tracey, killed by Ernst Blofeld and his assistant. Instead, we get a mindless, shrill, completely unreal parody of Ian Fleming's brilliant master spy.

Sean Connery returns after a sabbatical, older, tubbier and less interested in his legendary role than ever. He is joined by a plethora of over-acting actors playing moronic characters: chief amongst them are Jill St John, who easily wins the medal of most annoying Bond girl of all time; Jimmy Dean, who's boneheaded Texan drawl adds more than a few eye-rolls to the movie.

The film is also burdened with one of the most convoluted plots of all Bond films, which is very odd considering how cartoonish the whole setup is. Some good special effects just cannot compensate for all the inane hijacks that accompany them.

I have to say this right now, and that is I love James Bond and everything about him, but this film is so embarrassingly bad, I don;t even consider it Bond canon. It is just a really, really lame film.

Eragon (2006)
Good effects and photography, but loaded with fantasy clichés and dull writing, 4 February 2008
5/10

Though I think this film is far from terrible, it certainly isn't great. The main fault of this film, an adaptation of Christopher Paolini's equally clichéd fantasy novel, lies in the casting of a very weak lead in the form of Edward Speelers, who is completely devoid of the charisma required for such a character. Jeremy Irons brings his usual conviction to the role of Brom, the wizened dragon-rider, and the luscious Sienna Guillory is gorgeous as the Elf Arya.

But when it all comes down to it, this film seems like a smattering of ideas culled from better films (Star Wars, Dragonheart, Lord of the Rings, etc). The effects bringing the dragon alive are uniformly fine, and the photography is impressive, but these are all for naught as they are stuck in a film that gives us no one to root for or care about. Patrick Doyle's music score is quite nice though.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Beautifully photographed, and thats about it, 19 March 2006
5/10

Texas Rangers is a very good looking film, shot on magnificent Alberta, Canada locations. There is not much plot to speak of, just the forming of a band of Texas Rangers to hunt down a psycho cattle baron (Alfred Molina, who could play a role like this in his sleep). The film is relatively watchable, but Dylan McDermott's inept performance as the lead ranger really drags it down, along with the poorly cast youthful actors. Robert Patrick and country singer Randy Travis bring verisamilitude to their roles as Ranger lieutenants. Trevor Rabin's beautiful score seems to belong in another movie altogether.

So, if you manage to find a copy of the movie, it may be worth a look on a slow evening, but anyone whose seen a real western will find no surprises here.

Zatôichi (1989)
8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Rich, beautifully crafted film from a master of samurai cinema, 6 November 2005
8/10

Shintaro Katsu is an actor who needs no introduction. Having played the rascal Zatoichi, the Blind Swordsman, in 26 films, he knew exactly what made those films so indelible. Though he had directed a few smaller films in the past (including Zatoichi in Desperation), this was his largest budgeted and most personal work.

Zatoichi: Darkness is his Ally, is a breathtakingly beautiful film, shot with almost totally natural lighting. In fact, the photography of the film is near brilliant in it's lighting and set-up. Katsu's handling of the action scenes is absolutely top-notch. Kudos must be given to the final set piece, which I dare-say may be one of the best sword battles in Chanbara film history.

But it is Katsu's moving, final performance as the wandering swordsman, that gives this film it's weight. His mere presence is so compelling, and his carrying of even the smallest of scenes so capable, that you wish the film would just continue forever, just to bask in a master actor's radiance that much longer.

Some people may balk at the slightly episodic (and convoluted) storyline, but there are so many beautifully handled scenes, you can easily forgive any of the films flaws. Samurai film fans, take note, this is one movie you don't want to miss.


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