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Cloud Atlas (2012)
It could have been so much more.
Very disappointing. When I first heard all the hype about Cloud Atlas, the three directors and the all-star cast, I was sure it would be an epic success, but my hopes were dashed to shreds upon first viewing.
It was a pretentious mess fueled by an incoherent script, sometimes inept acting and a foreboding feeling throughout that it was trying to force the audience into saying, "Hey, this movie has a message for humanity and it best not be ignored!"
To be fair, the acting was decent for the most part and the special effects were very well-done, but what was the problem with having Asian men portraying male Asian characters? Instead, they decided to use Caucasians with Asian eye makeup. Have male Asian actors abandoned Hollywood en masse?
All-in-all, an almost total disappointment, but I still give it 6/10. It could have been so much more.
Kill for Me (2013)
Way above average thriller!
IMDb only allows whole number ratings so I couldn't give this a 6.9. Kill for Me features a fairly simple plot (or so we were led to believe at first) which turns topsy-turvy before ending in a surprisingly well- done climax.
Some reviewers say the ladies entered into an agreement, inferring that everything was planned from shortly after they started rooming together and became lovers. That's a totally false presumption and I would assume that those reviewers didn't watch the movie and/or are just repeating reviews they have read.
The reviewer dalcanon41 from London said he only watched the first 10 minutes and then warned people to not waste their entire evening like he did watching this movie. Heh. I spent the entire 95 minutes watching it and had no problem staying focused and enjoying the roller coaster ride from beginning to end.
The two female leads (Katie Cassidy as Amanda and Tracy Spiridakos as Hayley) did an outstanding job of appearing sexy and vulnerable yet capable of taking care of themselves if necessary. The rest of the cast was good but the only other actor who was almost as good as the leads was Donal Logue as Hayley's enigmatic father.
If you enjoy thrillers and/or murder mysteries that keep your brain engaged from start to finish, beautiful women who can also act in the leads and a very competent director and supporting cast, I highly recommend watching Kill for Me.
Interesting buildup to anti-climax
Submerged was awash with nice visuals, average acting and what promised to be an interesting plot in the beginning, but ultimately failed to deliver.
Lindsay is a seventeen-year-old girl who "sees things" in the photographs she takes. She and her sister re-locate to a quiet little town after the fiery deaths of their parents. Exploring and photographing their new surroundings, Lindsay stumbles upon an abandoned asylum and starts trying to unravel the secrets of Willow Point and her strange visions.
The flashbacks were well-done and slowly unraveled the predictable plot. Too bad the "climax" left me shaking my head and wishing I hadn't wasted 90 minutes of my time.
Mars Needs Moms (2011)
I watched this movie tonight in 2-D and can't for the life of me figure out why it's only rated 5.1/10 at IMDb.com. It has a fun story, good characterizations and great animation with possibly the most realistic motion-capture character ever in Gribble, the childlike adult victim of the Martians' earlier Earthian foray. I'll admit that it may possibly be perceived by some as portraying radical feminism in a bad light, especially with the faceless Storm Trooper uniforms of the Martian guards and their Hitleresque female leader, the Supervisor. Perhaps one reason for the negativity is the absence of cute cuddly animals like in practically every other Disney animated movie, but there was the robotic Wingnut in a very limited presence for the die-hard cute animal enthusiasts. The only other reason I can see for all the negativity is that Martian women are portrayed as intrinsically incapable of raising children on their own without male help and must solicit "instructions" from a "real woman." I give it a 7/10.
Beautifully strange and compelling
I went into this movie thinking it would be in the same vein as the 1990 adaptation of "Misery" by Stephen King, but there's practically no resemblance at all, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Bandaged is essentially about a 17-year-old girl, Lucille (convincingly played by Janna Lisa Dombrowsky) who has been sheltered from the outside world by her over-protective father, Arthur (Hans Piesbergen), who just happens to be a skilled surgeon.
Lucille loves poetry and wishes to be released from her "prison" to attend college and further her poetic studies but her father refuses. Feeling alone in her own home, Lucille attempts suicide but only succeeds in disfiguring herself.
Enter Susanne Sachsse as forty-something nurse Joan Genova, who Arthur hires to be Lucille's convalescent aide and to assist him in reconstructing Lucille's scarred face. There is an immediate attraction between Lucille and her caregiver and the rest of the film tastefully explores the trials and tribulations of lesbianism, isolation, despair, cadaver experimentation, etc. in an isolated Gothic manor.
All-in-all, Bandaged is a beautifully-filmed and very well-written movie with excellent acting from the entire cast.
Best live action adaptation of Cap so far, but still lacking in some areas
The cgi transformation of sickly Steve Rogers into muscular Captain America was very impressive and the action sequences were good for the most part. Key actors Chris Evans as Captain America/Steve Rogers, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Chester Phillips, Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt/the Red Skull and Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark did a good job of convincing us they knew what they were doing. However, in my opinion, this was the second weakest "pre-Avengers" movie, with only the Hulk faring poorer.
Not to say this wasn't a fun movie, but some of the flaws were glaring for longtime fans of the comic series. Bucky Barnes should have been younger than Steve Rogers, some of the action seemed rushed and there seemed to be a tendency to substitute cgi special effects for more realistic action far too often. Oh, yeah! Then there's the atrocious casting of Samuel L. Jackson as an alternate reality black and bald Nick Fury. I'm still not sure which Marvel reality this movie series is supposed to be based upon, but then I'm a sucker for consistency.
Overall, not bad. I give it a 6/10.
Passed the Door of Darkness (2008)
Very thought provoking movie---up until the terrible ending
We have a star in the making in gorgeous Kathryn Avery Hansen who exudes sensuality as Laura in every frame in which she's featured. The story itself is basically an interesting rehash on serial killer movies wherein our cop heroes Chris Malloy (played by Matthew Prater) and Murphy MacCasey (played by co-writer Mark Colson) are hunting a shadowy unknown murderer who always manages to stay one step ahead of his pursuers and obviously has some sort of vendetta (a semi-homage to V for Vendetta in the "revelation") against the veteran detective.
The movie had appropriate moodiness in the musical selections, great atmosphere and an interesting storyline which kept me interested until the very end, but the frayed loose ends left hanging by the twisted finale took a full 2 points off my rating. Are we supposed to believe Malloy was the serial killer or that his murderous father is still roaming the dark alleys looking for more victims? If it was indeed young Malloy, how did he have physical confrontations with the killer? There are many more unanswered questions but those alone really spoiled it for me. This could have been a great movie if they had only taken an extra minute or two to remove the ambiguity.
Hope and Crosby's road pictures were never like this!
Hilarious and original take on zombie movies, albeit from the point of view of two cognizant zombies. Nerdy Mike "awakens" from being murdered three years earlier to find himself re-animated amidst a zombie feeding frenzy, and runs into another self-aware zombie in "never take anything seriously" Brent and a trainable hulking zombie named Cheese. Together with Vietnam vet Cliff they escape quarantine and embark on a road trip to find Mike's old flame in Michigan, all the while being chased by nefarious secret ops hellbent on their recapture. This is one wild ride from start to finish and everyone involved does a great job of bringing such a fresh idea to the screen and making us hope for a sequel.
Red White & Blue (2010)
Horrible horror of a horror movie
The slow as molasses in Antarctica "Red, White and Blue" seemed like a three-hour movie but for some reason still had a lot of missing parts. None of the main characters were appealing in the least and that makes it extremely difficult to garner sympathy for such unfeeling people. Revenge is not always sweet and it's very hard to figure why Carl would go on such a murderous rampage over a girl he barely knew and who stated unequivocally that she wouldn't have sex with him. And why would he take it upon himself to murder(?) innocents like Ed's wife and child? There was way too much jumping around, unasked questions and unresolved threads to make this a must see movie. I give it a 2 for unrealized potential.
Green Eyed Monster (2007)
As Charlie Brown would say: AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!
15 minute amateurish "horror" movie stretched into 124 minutes by seemingly endless walking, worried looks, vapid expressions, talking and urinating. I supposed they were trying to make a combination of Amityville Horror and Blair Witch Project but all they managed to produce was a muddled mess. Usually at least one of the characters in just about any movie is likable or at least sympathetic, but that isn't the case here. Estella Gomez as the "heroine" evokes more anger than sympathy with her constant whining and the other actors don't fare any better. For a "horror" movie, there is very little horror and a lot of characters trying their best to find something to be frightened of.
The only thing missing was a Hispanic Norse God
Overall, this was a very good but not perfect adaptation of the mythology of the comic character Thor. The casting was almost flawless with the exceptions of Idris Elba as the black Heimdall, Tadanobu Asano as the Asian Hogun and of course Samuel L. Jackson as the black version of Nick Fury, but I suppose Jackson's miscasting can be blamed on Iron Man and the producers wanting to keep that mistake going with other movies in the Marvel franchise. Hollywood diversification at the expense of staying true to the characters they're adapting. I can hardly wait to see Luke Cage played by Hulk Hogan.
The main actors played their roles well, with Tom Hiddleston completely surprising me with his initial low-key Loki who gradually revealed himself to be the sinister schemer that fans of the comic series have known and loved. Chris Hemsworth was an excellent choice as Thor and the always reliable Anthony Hopkins was the perfect Odin, even with the missing eye.
The story was well-written but, being a reader of Thor's epic comic book battle with the Destroyer, I felt the metallic menace was felled a bit too easily. The special effects were above average and Asgard's mystic realm was awe-inspiring to say the least.
All-in-all, a very good beginning for Thor. I give it a solid 7 and would have rated it an 8 if not for the woeful miscasting of the secondary characters.
Black Ice (2009)
Bizarre necro-erotic horror
Chelsea Clinton lookalike J.C. Howe plays Evelyn, a sexually-repressed 23-year-old virgin who fantasizes/dreams in lime green about sexual encounters with snowmen and goat-headed lovers. She seeks the advice of her homosexual best friend Chris (portrayed by appropriately-named Richard Strychnine), who is a total jerk who hasn't a clue about giving advice or being a friend.
Evelyn's fantasies start to become reality when she accidentally kills her virginity-taker in a fit of passion. From there, the imagery becomes increasingly sickening and necro-erotic, as she uses various dismembered body parts to fulfill her sick carnal urges and begins seeking-out new lovers. This is an extremely disconcerting movie and is definitely not for people with weak stomachs. Perhaps the entire movie should have been filmed with a lime green filter because I was green around the gills after watching this disaster.
Curse of La Llorona (2007)
A horror of a movie
Bad acting for the most part except for a few spurts by Antonio Royuela as Hana's uncle. Of course, if you have a terrible script that was seemingly written as the film was rolling without a synopsis to work with, ANY acting is likely to suffer. What I gather from the basic plot of the story is that Hana's relatives have been asked to come and take care of her in order to keep her out of an insane asylum after her family has been murdered. We're never told how they were killed or by whom but we're supposed to assume from the beginning scene wherein a fully nude Hana is seen in a bathtub with her wrist slit that she was the lone survivor of the massacre. I would give away spoilers if I knew what they were. All-in-all, I can only give it a 2 at best. Watch at your own peril.
Xtro 3: Watch the Skies (1995)
I kept waiting to see the cougar
There was the unmistakable sound of a cougar screaming at least twice after the protagonists arrived on the island but of course they had no idea what a screaming cougar sounds like so they remained in the dark, much like the rest of this unfortunately-named "sequel." I suppose the cougar was also a sci-fi aficionado and made a desperate swim for the mainland to escape this sleep-inducing bore because we never caught sight of it. We sci-fi lovers weren't so fortunate and had to endure 90+ minutes of excruciating agony, hoping beyond hope to see some redeeming quality that others might have missed. 'Twas not to be. Everything about this turkey lays an egg; from the totally implausible choosing of the group of individuals to the acting to the makeup and special effects. If Xtro 4 is ever made, they'll have to pay me to see it.