Reviews written by registered user
chrishn

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11 reviews in total 
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Syriana (2005)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Plain boring, 12 March 2006
4/10

This movie is boring, poorly told and hopelessly predictable.

There is no suspense.

The story - in its attempt to tell too much about too many in too little time - never dwells long enough on anything to make the movie coherent or long enough to turn its characters into more than two dimensional stereotypical lawyers, politicians or terrorists.

The message of the movie is clear from the beginning and as a viewer you're never in doubt about the end.

The movie doesn't tell anything that hasn't already been told in countless documentaries, and personally I would have preferred a one hour documentary instead of this...

The story itself in its raw structure is fine, but its poorly told, the characters are flat, the pace is horribly slow.

2 stars for a good story. 2 stars for the guts it takes to make this kind of movie. -6 stars for the lack of suspense, originality, pace, characters and coherence.

Munich (2005)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Good first half, uneven second half, 12 February 2006
6/10

This is a heavy movie, dealing with a heavy subject in a heavy manner. The first part is good and deserves a score of 7. This part has a well told story full of suspense and great character building. Most important of all, the first part leaves some questions unanswered and as a spectator you look forward to have them answered. You have the feeling that something is going on behind the scenes? Also, some interesting ethical questions are raised about the mission and the assassinations.

Unfortunately the second part doesn't quite deliver, and "only" deserves a score of 5. The pace of the movie is dramatically reduced and all the suspense from the first part is killed off by predictability. Spielberg also becomes so focused on showing the view of both sides (the Palestinian and Israeli), that the story and dialog becomes clumsy. It's not exactly bad, but it wasn't enough to keep me from staring at the clock.

It is as if Spielberg wants to include everything in one movie. He wants to deliver an exciting story with suspense, some great undercover-agent elements and interesting characters. He also wants to deal with some heavy issues about the legitimacy of killing, the definition of loyalty towards one country, the problem of having or not having a home, the emotional and familial side-effects of being part of a manhunt, both as the hunter and the hunted. Additionally he tries to fit the Palestinian point of view into a story that is already full. All of the intentions are great. All of the dilemmas above are interesting, but trying to fit them into one movie results in an uneven and clumsily told story that doesn't know what leg to stand on.

Doom (2005)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A tribute to FPS, 14 November 2005
7/10

This is a great action movie and nothing more. The plot is sufficient to set the frame for all the action and suspense. The characters are portrayed with all their semi-psychopathic traits, which is enough to be entertaining. The action is really great. The weapons are ridiculously huge, which is GREAT. The fights are full of gore, action and suspense. Actually the movie has some creepy moments. It's not a horror movie, but it has the same eeriness like most first person shooters today. By the way, if the word FPS (first person shooter) doesn't ring a bell, don't see this movie. If you haven't played these games AND ENJOYED IT, most aspects of the movie will be lost on you.

To those of you who claim it isn't based on Doom there is one thing to say: THANK GOD. A movie based directly on Doom would be something like this: "One man running around dark corridors carrying a zillions tonnes of weapons and ammo. Finding keys etc. The entire plot and story would be told in the introduction. There would be no dialog, no other characters, no plot twists (the movie has a twist, albeit a small one) etc.

This movie is not only dedicated to Doom. It's dedicated to all FPS's, and it's meant to all of us players, who have always dreamed of being in the middle of the action.

Why doesn't it get 10/10.

First of all there are too few monster types. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of monsters, but it's the same all the time. I would have liked a regular Boss-monster at the end, like a hell knight or cyberdemon.

Not all the weapons are there. However, the weapons are still cool, and you get to see both the chainsaw in action, and the BFG.

If you like FPS, the movie is a must. Especially since it has a great first-person passage, where you get all the action and gore right up your face.

The Island (2005)
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Candy for all the senses, 20 August 2005
6/10

"Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor)" and "Jordan Two Delta" (Scarlett Johansson) are living in a huge city complex. They know each other as friends but nothing more. Everything is monitored and nobody cares about the fundamental and existential questions in life. Nobody except Lincoln Six Echo. He starts to sense that something is wrong and when his friend Jordan Two Delta is suddenly in danger, a larger conspiracy is unraveled.

Nothing in the plot or the story is original and there are no plot-twists to surprise you along the way. However, even though the story is far out, it's well told and works as solid foundation for the other parts of the movie. The themes of the story have all been told before, but this is not a movie you see because you want to broaden your horizon. You see this movie to get some action.

In their quest to reveal the truth McGregor and Johansson have to escape a lot of nasty people, and they usually do it in quite a spectacular manner. The action scenes are both good and bad. On the plus side is their sheer intensity and scale. Tonnes of hardware and people are destroyed or molested in the most fantastic ways. On the down side is the confusion of the action scenes. The camera is literally thrown around in the air, making it impossible to see what's going on. Maybee I'm just old, but sometimes it's nice with a static camera that leaves room for the well-choreographed action scene. To sum it all up however, the action scenes are decent and worth the money.

The style of the movie is very polished and full of candy for all the senses. Michael Bay has a way of combining beautifully shot scenes (some slow motion) with voluptuous sound and music, in an almost vulgar fashion. It's the Michael Bay trait and people who have seen The Rock or Armageddon will recognize it. It's his style and if you don't like it, don't see this movie. Personally I loved it! When you see the movie, also take notice of all the good looking women. There isn't a single ugly woman in this movie. Scarlett Johansson is no exception. She is a Goddess. Everything in this movie is meant to look good.

To sum it all up: The Island isn't original in any way, and the story won't challenge you intellectually. The level of suspense is enough to keep you interested. The action is good. There is some humor. Last but not least it has the classic Michael Bay look and feel. It's slightly above average. It's worth the ticket, and you'll enjoy it as long as it lasts, but when you wake up the next morning, you'll have forgotten all about it.

Uninvited (2003)
25 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
A chilling psychological masterpiece, 14 August 2005
9/10

Jeong-won is an architect who one day - while going home on the subway - takes notice of two small girls who sits next to him. When he reaches the end-station he gets of, but the two girls remain seated. Later he learns that the girls were dead and from then on a series of events start to take place.

Basically Jeong-won has his life shattered by disturbing events that may be happening around him or in his head, or both. Watch it and judge for yourself. But the theme of this movie isn't whether the events are real or not. The movie tells a story where religion, psychology and supernatural elements mix together in an elegant cocktail of mystery, fear and love.

The story is great and very well told. You're told enough to make it all coherent, but there is also room for interpretation which makes the movie a personnel experience. The movie doesn't deal with good and evil in absolute terms, but deals with the fears and anxieties that we all harbor to some extent. And it deals with the dilemma of helping people to reconcile with a part of themselves that should have been left forgotten, or should it?

The true essence of the story isn't revealed until relatively late, compared to other movies who set the tone right from the beginning. To begin with I thought it was a simple ghost-story, but I was wrong. So if you don't like such twists, then consider yourself warned.

Quietness is probably the key word to the acting and the style of the movie. The actors succeed in making the characters very believable. Several of the scenes are beautifully made with the right camera angles, the right lighting, colors and so on. The ambiance is dripping with a mysterious silence and calm.

There are no cheap scares of the traditional Hollywood kind (which is a combination of fast editing combined with the explosion of a symphony orchestra). Instead the scary parts - or more properly for this movie - the chilling parts are shown in a forthright manner and what they depict is usually enough to get the heart rate up. When a movie is capable of giving you the chills without having to resort to loud noises or sudden events, then it is truly scary, and some of the scenes will stay with you for some time. A quality which separates true horror from the superficial scares which you can just shrug of after the movie.

However, this isn't a full blood horror movie. The horror scenes are just to few and the general horror-level isn't high enough. See this movie if you like a great story, riddled with mystery, fear and psychological deepness. I liked it a lot and I probably have to see it again in order to enjoy its elegant complexity.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
I thought it was a comedy. In reality it's a gruesome tale of everyday people turning into psychopaths!, 13 February 2005
5/10

I expected a comedy. I knew it was about some guys accidentally killing a prostitute, but I expected the movie to keep the brutality at a sarcastic arms length. Several comedies these days are very violent, but it never spoils the fun because such movies usually have a sarcastic tone. This movie doesn't.

The story is about Kyle (Jon Favreau) who is about to get married to Laura (Cameron Diaz). Kyle and his four friends go to Vegas where Boyd (Christian Slater) has planned a polterabend with drugs, prostitutes etc. Accidentally one of the friends (Michael played by Jeremy Piven) kills the prostitute. The five friends decide to bury the prostitute - plus an unfortunate security guard - in the desert. The rest of the story is pretty straightforward. Some of the friends can't deal with the moral implications of what they have done, and threatens to turn themselves in. A few of the friends and mostly Boyd, turn into psychopaths who are willing to kill innocents, or let innocents be killed, in order to preserve the secret.

In "Very Bad Things" most of the victims die in gruesome way where they either fight for their lives or get to suffer a lot. Some of the murders are downright brutal, while some of them were probably meant to be fun, they end up being a cruel cocktail of humor and violence. The five friends evolve and I quickly started to dislike them all. Boyd is obviously the greatest psychopath of them all, but they all show psychopathic traits in not being willing to stop Boyd.

So is it a bad movie? The main problem is that the movie doesn't know what it is. It tries to be a comedy and a thriller at the same time, but the cruelness quells the comedy and the comedy prevents the movie from being a believable thriller. However, the movie succeeded in leaving me with an uneasy feeling because I never knew what to expect. Would the next scene be fun, or would it be another brutal murder? It could have been an excellent thriller if Peter Berg had decided to go all the way. Sure the story isn't original, but the transformation of the five friends is well made. With a little fine tuning it could have been a good movie about the potential psychopath which dwells in some people, and it could have been a good story about morals and ethics.

Alien (1979)
274 out of 305 people found the following review useful:
"Alien" is not just the monster, it's the atmosphere and the way you feel!, 6 February 2005
9/10

In "Alien" we follow a seven man crew en-route to earth on board the huge space freighter "Nostromo". The crew is in cryosleep, but the on board computer interrupts the journey when a foreign radio signal is picked up. It originates from an uninhabited planet and the crew lands to investigate. There they make contact with an alien life-form...

What makes Alien so great is the constant feel of uneasiness. Right from the beginning you have a feeling that something is wrong. The crew is not particularly friendly towards each other, and you truly feel all the in-group tension. The ship itself is a huge worn out industrial-style maze of halls and corridors, and it feels more like a prison than a place to live. It is as if not only the alien but also the ship itself is against the humans. The Alien itself is the scariest monster in history because it is a ruthless, soul-less parasite completely devoid of any human or civilized traits. The design of the monster is a stroke of genius. Sure it has a humanoid form, but it has no facial traits or anything else which could give away emotions or intentions. Its actions reveals no weaknesses nor civilized intelligence. The Alien is more or less the opposite of everything human and civilized, plus the creature is more well-adapted to the inhumane interior of the ship than the humans who build it. To sum up, you then have a setting where the humans are caught in a web of in-group tensions, an inhospitable ship and the perfect killer which thrives in the ships intestines. You almost get the feel that the humans are the ones who are alienated to each other and to their own ship.

Ridley Scott tells the story with a perfectly synchronized blend of visuals and sounds.

The actors do a superb job, portraying their characters in a subtle but very realistic way. The seven man crew is not a bunch of Hollywood heroes. They are ordinary people with strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. In this way they all seem so fragile when confronted with the enemy.

As mentioned the ship is very claustrophobic and Ridley Scott adds to the eeriness by using camera movement, lights and shadows in an effective way. The living quarters are bright and should be comfortable to the crew, but there is something sterile about it all. The rest of the ship is basically a huge basement.

The music by Jerry Goldsmith underlines the eeriness so well, and the movie wouldn't have worked without his score. Combined with the sounds of the ship it all adds to the uneasiness.

This is not a story about heroic people who boldly teams up against evil. It's a story about ordinary people facing true fear, which is the fear without a face. The fear we can't understand and can't negotiate with, because its only goal is to survive on the expense of us. It's a story where some people bravely fight back whilst others are destroyed by the terror. It's a story where people a killed in a completely random way. There is no higher-order justice behind who gets to live and who dies. All seven characters are just part of a race where the fittest - not necessarily the most righteous - will prevail, and all seven characters start the race on an equal footing. None of them are true heroes, and none of them are true villains.

All the above makes Alien so great as a horror movie. The terror isn't just the Alien itself, it's the entire atmosphere which gets so effectively under your skin, that you just can't shrug it off after the end credits like you can with so many other Hollywood horror movies. The title "Alien" doesn't just refer to the monster, it is the theme of the movie and it is the feeling you have during and after the movie. 9/10

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Moments of fun, nothing more, 27 January 2005
5/10

I like zombie movies, old as well as new. Shaun of the Dead is both a parody of the zombie genre, and also a satirical comment about how ordinary life makes us act like zombies. For instance we get to see the zombie-like appearance of people at work and people on the street. This element is well thought out and quite clever.

It makes fun of the stupid and slow zombies which ends up in some sporadically fun scenes. As in all zombie movies the main characters takes ages to discover what is going on and in the Shaun of the Dead, it's overdone in a hilarious way. The story itself is basically: "where does a British lowlife run for protection?". Answer: "The pub". (Short period of laughter followed by boredom). The story is boring and not at all fun, and the great moments of parody or satire are to few to save the movie.

Fun moments, but nothing more.

5/10

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
All in all, a great experience!, 17 January 2005
7/10

The movie can be divided into parts.

Part one (vote 5 of 10)

It starts out really well, with an effective introduction where the stage is set. We are introduced to the main characters, and we hear them sing for the first time. It's clear from the start that nothing in this movie is cheap. The Paris opera "populaire" is beautifully created in an overdone and almost vulgar fashion. Everyone can sing, and especially the main characters have beautiful voices (their own voices by the way!). Right from the start the drama is build up and you start to enjoy yourself, but then it fades out.

Next comes an hour which isn't bad, but it is "out of sync". In this hour we hear some of the background stories. Two of the main characters begin to fall in love and everyone is talking about the Phantom. It's calm before the storm, but unfortunately the music and the singing stays at a very voluminous level, which isn't appropriate considering the actual story in this part. The link between the story and the music becomes disharmonious. Don't get me wrong. The music is wonderful in itself, but it has to fit with the context in which it is sung. During this hour my opinion of the movie was gradually declining, and I started to think that either the music had to settle down, or the story had to pick up the pace. Fortunately the ladder happened.

Part two (vote 9 out of 10)

The final hour was one long awesome final. Not only did it save the movie, but it also turned it into a great experience. The Phantom is so effectively portrayed that you don't know what to think of him. One minute he's a psychopath, the next minute you feel sorry for him. Christine is torn between the bestial Phantom and the oh-so-tender Raoul. Through the hour, suspense is build up towards a great climax. The voluminous singing fits perfectly to the dramatic story in this part, and everything melts together.

Put together the three parts justify a vote of 7. Because of the great final hour you also forgive the movie for its flaws during the first hour.

The acting

The main characters are the most important, and they do an excellent job. All the characters are stereotypical in the sense, that you quickly know whether they are pure of heart (Christine and Raoul) or torn between a dark and a good side (The Phantom). However, just because they are easy to figure out, doesn't mean it's easy to know what to think of them. I didn't make up my mind about the Phantom until the end, because the movie succeeds so well in portraying both his sides. The interesting drama is between the Phantom, Christine, Raoul and Madame Giry (the woman who nurtured both the Phantom and Christine). The rest of the characters are so weak that they don't really matter. The movie tries to introduce some funny sidekicks in the shape of a Diva and the Opera managers, but it fails.

To sum it all up: If you like a great drama, combined with beautiful music and fantastic settings, then go see this movie. I you feel - like i felt - that the first hour is awkward, then worry not. The last hour is so great that it will leave you gasping for air.

OK not great., 7 January 2005
6/10

Blade Trinity is the latest in the Blade series. Let's hope it stays that way. It's a highly entertaining movie, but it clearly shows that David S. Goyers interpretation of the Blade universe, has turned into a pretty unoriginal parade of action and faceless one-sided characters.

The story is alright albeit not as good as in Blade or Blade II. This time Dracula - or Drake as he's called - is awakened by the vampires to help them defeat Blade and achieve world supremacy. Along the way Blade gets assistance from Whistlers daughter Abby (Jessica Biel) and a former vampire Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds). The main plot is Blade versus Drake, and the two sidekicks also have their own demons to fight, which makes out the side plots. Everything is well told and straightforward, ending with a final showdown between Blade and Drake. The ending also makes sense, and leaves a small opening for a fourth movie.

The acting is adequate but the quality of the characters are mixed. The Hannibal King character (Ryan Reynolds) is annoying. He's a good actor but his character is stupid. He's supposed to be the fun sidekick, but instead his comments end up being completely misplaced, and that makes his character pointless. Fun sidekicks are fine if they are properly implemented. In the first movie Quinn was the fun guy who's silly behavior and tendency to get hurt, worked really well. That's not the case with Ryan Reynolds, fortunately we don't get to see him that much. Jessica Biel works very well as Abby. She's a silent angry girl full of hatred towards the vampires, and it's a joy to see her beat them up. She works well with the Blade character which is delivered convincingly once again by Wesley Snipes. The conflict within Blade between the vampire and the human is told as reminder of what he is, but the script doesn't take advantage of his split personality.

The vampires are a pretty boring experience. In Blade and Blade II the vampire society was full of internal tension, intrigues and some interesting/entertaining characters. This time the vampires are a boring faceless bunch. There is a leader (who wakes up Drake), and then there are hordes a vampire henchmen for the heroes to beat up. Boring! In the first Blade you had the story of a rebellious Frost versus the more conservative pure blooded vampires. In the second Blade the main villains' daughter fell in love with Blade. But in Blade Trinity vampires are just there to die. Drake is alright and played well by Dominic Purcell. He's supposed to be a higher vampire-being - not degenerated as the rest of the species - but the story only implies it and doesn't elaborate on it. It's a shame since a more nuanced Drake could have added some spice to the movie. The greatest shame is the end-battle. Most of it is great and you get to see Blade and Drake fight it out with swords and martial arts while they destroy the building. GREAT!!! Then Drake turns into a huge rubber monster and acts like an invulnerable truck who can only walk around a little and say "grarrrrgg" (or something like that). A shame.

The action sequences are tremendous. The weapons are awesome, the choreography is awesome and the effects are awesome. Accompanied by a really cool soundtrack, it adds up to a higher experience. I think the great music and the sound in general has always been a trademark of Blade, and Trinity lives up to the standard.

I think you should see this movie because the story is solid, because Snipes and Biel are awesome together, and because the action is excellent. All in all a very entertaining movie and a fitting end to the Blade movies (I hope). When you see it, ignore Ryan Reynolds and don't expect anything original at all.


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