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The Man from Earth (2007)
So nice to see a thought provoking movie, that could easily have been made on a negligible budget (and probably was!), while still commanding the attention of the viewer better than most big budged productions.
This is because the movie was so strongly concept driven, that things you normally look for in movies (like strong acting) were of secondary importance. The religious discussion was fascinating too - in that it brought out just a few of the things about ancient mythology, and how it relates to Biblical texts, that the vast majority of people are blissfully unaware of. As such, the movie can be a bit disturbing to any Christian fundamentalist, but then again, some ideologies need a little shaking up.
I very much recommend this for anyone with a taste for philosophical speculation, or just plain old rich imagination in need of nourishment.
30,000 Leagues Under the Sea (2007)
Inane, stiff dialogue, bad acting. Almost unwatchable.
I've seen better dialogue in the seediest daytime soaps, and the acting didn't improve it. The combination is too contrived and stiff to take seriously, and not quite campy enough to be funny.
Sean Lawlor as Captain Nemo seems to put in the best effort, while Lorenzo Lamas and Natalie Stone seem to be competing for the worst acting ever prize; their exchanges are inane in content, and stiff in delivery.
I can't for the life of me, find anything good to say about the movie. Just blabbering on to meet the "10 lines of text" minimum; two lines could have more than sufficed for this one.
This is one movie that never should have been made.
Good - though marred by an ugly historical inaccuracy
An interesting story, with good acting, well told. Good direction, visually appealing, atmospheric.
However, scientifically, and/or historically literate viewers will find one nagging, glaring blunder; at one point in this story, which is supposed to be set in the mid 19th century, there is a reference to a person being controlled "by his genes". Come on! The term "gene" wasn't even proposed until half a century later, and additionally, around mid 19th century the mechanism of inheritance was entirely unknown; Mendel's work lay undiscovered until early 20th century, and even Mendel didn't use the word "gene" (so it couldn't have been a case of some exceptionally insightful scientist having discovered the term in some ).
That sort of a slip may not seem much, but for someone aware of this history, it does brake the illusion of an authentic world in which the events are set, making it harder to enjoy the movie. I'm surprised that anybody reviewing the script didn't pick up on it... but then again, the state of scientific literacy among filmmakers is often abysmal. In a movie set in a historical period, accuracy should be more of a priority though, I think.
The story proceeds almost languidly, punctuated by moments of violence and terror; perhaps too slow for most horror fans to appreciate, and those who do appreciate the subtlety are likely to be bothered by the "gene" mishap. The score is beautiful, and lighting is used to good effect; the combination makes for a visually and auditorily pleasing experience.
Perhaps because of how the movie is portrayed as a werewolf movie, the people who might best enjoy it, aren't likely to see it, and the people expecting a traditional supernatural horror movie might feel a bit let down.
In conclusion, Romasanta is a movie not as good as it could have been, and somewhat misleadingly advertised on the cover, but well worth seeing nonetheless. I was torn between 7 or 8 stars, and decided to be generous. :)
2001 Yonggary (1999)
If Ed Wood would be alive today....
...this is the kind of movie he would make.
I've seen some very bad scifi and horror movies, but this one is on a class of it's own. As bad as the acting is, one still can't help but feel a bit sorry for the actors for having to spout out such astonishingly inane dialogue, and to portray characters that couldn't possibly be more stereotypical, in a storyline that would make the average 12 year old cringe.
Ed Wood's movies became classics because they were so earnest, yet so genuinely bad that they became funny. "Younggary" distinctly fails to be scary, simply because it is so utterly silly in all respects, and the storyline has more holes than swiss cheese, but it may have some minute appeal in the similar vain as Ed Wood's material, provided that the audience is in the right frame of mind. And preferably quite drunk.
Most realistic war film I've seen
This is an excellent film, brutally honest and tightly reality-bound depiction of the defense of Finland against a better equipped, many times larger, but (fortunately!) poorly led Soviet army, in a bone-chilling arctic winter. Like an image of what a hell frozen over would be like.
Though I am a Finn, and understand the language, out of interest I watched the film with English subtitles. I was dismayed to discover how much was lost in the translation; the subtitles are more like short summaries of the gist of what is being said, without any of the flair and flavour.
As such, the film is a bit spartan and bleak for Hollywood-saturated eyes, but so is war.
In all, an excellent war film, depicting the horror of war more tangibly than any other that I've seen, save for "The Thin Red Line".
Something very special
I originally went to see this one in a movie theater on a whim - I was feeling spontaneous, so I bought a ticket for a movie I knew nothing about, and went in free of preconceptions or expectations.
The cleverness of the very first scenes brought a smile to my face, and I knew I was in for a rare treat; off the top of my head, I can't think of a movie with a better conceived, audience grabbing opening sequence.
And the impression lasted throughout this great film. Quills is a passionate (and entertaining!) cry in defense of artistic freedom, and the fundamental freedoms of speech and religion; and it is a deliciously clever movie, both in dialog and in plot. It is actually a movie that has something to say, and does it in an entertaining, engaging way that doesn't leave the audience feeling that they are being lectured to or talked down to.
A few scenes are gruesome and unpleasant, but they, I think, are a necessary evil for the telling of the story, not a gratuitous shock-tactic.
The performances are excellent throughout, and the storyline is will firmly claim and keep your attention. Quills is the sort of movie that you don't forget, and that'll linger on in your mind long after you've seen it.
I would heartily recommend this movie to anyone - even if it doesn't sound like the type of movie you'd normally go for. I for one am very glad that I happened to be feeling spontaneous the day I went to see it, because otherwise I would most likely have missed it. So give your spontaneity a chance if you happen upon Quills in your local movie rental place.