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The Goode Family (2009)
OK, but nothing special
This is not the kind of comedy that makes you laugh. It's more of an educational drama with a touch of funny.
The characters are all good and the environmentalist theme of the show is nice. Still it doesn't really amaze you in any way. It's just something to watch when nothing else is on. For example when watching the pilot I almost laughed out loud during the final scene before the credits, so it definitely doesn't itch everyones laugh nerves.
The animation is good, I like the realism of it. I also liked the irony of the pet dog being a vegan (against his will of course). The characters are the stereotypes you would expect. They include the parents, the mother being the obsessive one and the father being more relaxed but still staying true to the cause. The teenage daughter is fairly normal with teenage problems. The weirdest character is the adopted white African American son who seems to not be all there but yet excels in everything he does.
Maybe there is potential that I didn't quite catch or I just simply don't enjoy the subtle comedy, because I like to laugh when watching a comedy. Anyway I'll give it 5 out of 10 for being too plain.
Downhill from season one
The hype about Lost was the reason I started watching it. I watched season one and it still seemed to evolve into a reasonably interesting direction. From season two it just kept getting more confusing. Everyone just keeps talking in riddles and no one wants to tell anyone anything. Plus the overall dialog in this series is some of the worst, most clichéd and boring I've ever encountered anywhere. Still somehow I've managed to keep watching the episodes up until season five. My limit is full and Lost is lost from me forever. Looking back at the time I've wasted watching Lost makes me regret ever starting to watch it the first place. I don't know if there are major plot events ahead that will make it all make sense, but I won't be around to see it. This is totally overrated, very slow paced and annoyingly secretive series. And the flashbacks of the characters past is the biggest turn off for this show; they are way too often and do not serve a purpose, most of them are just fill while the writers are trying to come up with something at least remotely interesting. My rating has declined steadily from nine to what it is today and that number is deservedly one.
Possible Worlds (2000)
Stimulates on many levels
This is a beautiful film with a plot that keeps you thinking and guessing. It handles very big issues concerning the human soul, existence and the mind.
The movie is filmed very nicely. The cinematography is great, like every single scene has been thoroughly thought through. The movie it self has an easy going nature. You simply enjoy watching it as you at the same time wonder about the big questions rising in your mind.
The actors are wonderful and captivating. Especially Tilda Swinton dominates the screen with bright red hair and piercingly black eyes. Tom McCamus is very good too. When you add a phenomenal soundtrack to the equation you get a ravishing experience all together.
Here is a film that will give food for thought and will also do it gently, at the same time caressing your eyes and ears with beautiful cinema and music.
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
A rushed effort on the Jane Austen classic
I write this review after I just finished watching the film. I must say that I compared this film constantly to the miniseries from 1995. It is clear that one cannot get the depth into the characters in such a short time of only two hours. So it's a bit hard to say anything really about the film that is fair in comparison to the miniseries. What I can say is this.
I love Keira Knightley, she is pure joy to watch, such vivid and lively young woman. Her performance grew on me as the film moved on and in the end she did a good job. The other actors had so little time on screen that I won't criticize them for they weren't given the chance to shine. Only Mr. Darcy's performance left me a little disappointed, as he is the other leading actor. The overall feeling of the film was that it was rushed. An attempt was made to pace the film to make time to digest the characters and the plot. Although the scenery was breathtaking at times, those short attempts to let the viewer ponder on the film in peace did not accomplish their purpose. The film did improve a little towards the end but it could have been a lot better.
As I've read the book and seen the 6 part miniseries, which by the way is highly recommended and includes Oscar worthy performances by Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, this film is a mere top of the pyramid. A million little nuances and witty dialog and subtle emotions are lost with the haste of the limitation of the two hours runtime. It is a good film yes, but not as good as it could have been.
Ninja Cheerleaders (2008)
It's bad. Seriously.
I thought I should comment on this film, since it's really not as cute as it was probably meant to be. The film revolves around three girls who are determined to get into Brown College. To pay their tuition they strip at a local bar. The owner of the bar is a ninja master who lands into some heavy trouble and of course the ninja cheerleaders get involved.
The first thing that's off is just the title: Ninja Cheerleaders. It kind of sums it up. I got fooled by the ninja part. Almost everything in the film is tacky. Plot, writing, directing, lighting, fighting etc. A few of the older actors do deliver nicely, but they can't salvage this shipwreck of a film. The biggest disappointment is actually the poor quality of the fights, since I'm a huge fan of martial arts.
I'm thinking that the target audience for this film is young girls who need a strong role-model of a determined successful woman who doesn't need a man. Oh my god, did I really just write that? Another target group is probably teenage boys, who would be better off watching American pie, at least it has boobies in it.
P.S. I might ask the film makers what's up with the topless women between scene changes? Of very poor taste and utterly irrelevant...
Throwing Stars (2007)
A nice low budget laid back movie
I liked this movie. It's very straightforward and simple. The plot revolves around four childhood friends, who are grown up and each dealing with their lives best they know how. One of them gets in a pickle and the guys rush out to help him.
The characters are great and they actually act, in my experience, as friends do. Plus they are not the obvious and typical stereotypes this kind of movie usually portrays. All the guys are little different and interesting in their own way.
This is a dark comedy slash drama. It's got some crazy moments plus some serious issues too. Mainly I just think the dialogue is funny. This movie is just nice and easygoing and there are no awkward moments which I find to be a great plus.
Nothing of great proportions here, yet IMO worth seeing and provides solid entertainment no doubt about it. If you've seen all the blockbusters at your local video rental store, this is a fine choice to rent.
The Shepherd (2008)
This film is good in it's genre
This film is good in it's genre and that genre is naturally action with a little/average budget. Looks like Van Damme delivers greatly better performances when he has a good director guiding him. There is your basic bar brawl, alley scene and mostly a lot of gun fighting. Some basic drama, but nothing too deep. Isaac Florentine directs an OK action flick if you ignore the weak plot and the holes in it. But the person who steals the show is:
Scott Adkins. How come this guy isn't a massive Arnold Schwarzenegger caliber action star that I don't know. Director Isaac Florentine has made a movie with Scott Adkins before called Special Forces (2003) which has some unbelievable martial arts talent that will satisfy the most demanding kungfu enthusiastic. Another amazing Scott Adkins feature is Undisputed 2. Check this guy out and make a noise, this guy needs to get super action star status and he needs to get it now!
What else can I say about the movie? It's Van Damme stepping up a notch from some of his most recent work. No Oscars here for sure, but you already knew that. But never the less it has a nice little town feel and I could find worse ways to spend my time. So I'm giving this a solid 7 out of 10 in it's genre.
Niñas Mal (2007)
All the stereotypes you would expect to find are present
Adela is a rebellious teenager with the attitude that she is right and everyone else is wrong. She needs to be the center of attention and she'll act stupid to make it so. With her attitude she gets sent to charm school.
There she meets the typical characters in today's cinema; the nerd, the clumsy one, the stepford housewife and the sexual minority. Things happen and in the end Adela "learns her lesson" so to speak. The plot tries to carry a deeper meaning to the state Adela is in, but utterly fails to deliver (at least I didn't buy it). So what you are left with is superficial interaction within the same stereotypes you've seen in a million movies before. Plus the director seems to have a breast fixation, Adela flashes her boobies a few times too many, at least I can't see that they are relevant to the story.
So the film is OK, but if you are like me and don't like to watch a teenager pissing people off and making a behavioral U-turn in an instant, which I found very unbelievable, think twice before watching.
Smiley Face (2007)
Not a comedy, rather a tragedy
To quote a song I know: "Whatever you do, Don't" And that is exactly what I recommend you to do, that is NOT to watch this movie. Anna Faris plays Jane who is a pothead. She is stoned throughout the movie and I gotta say it's just boring. There's really no contrast. Yes she meets a lot of people and interacts with them, but still it's all about Jane, who's face you find in a dictionary under the titles dumb, blond and dull. So basically when you've seen five minutes of this movie, you've seen it all. And what comes to the fact that this is supposedly a comedy? I did not laugh once. Sure I've seen other movies about stoners, but this just has no point or entertainment value at all, contrary to say Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. When compared with other stoner movies, others have crazy things happening, this one has stupid things happening. If you can distinguish the difference between crazy and stupid, you will not see this movie.
A Jin de gu shi (1996)
A bit confusing and little action
Before the film I was watching the actors list. It seemed impressive with the names Michelle Yeoh and the legendary Sammo Hung. I immediately thought of kung fu fights and action. This is not what the film delivered even if the title suggests it. It's mostly a drama revolving around Yeoh's character Ah Kam. Ah Kam is an ordinary woman trying to get by, having success at some things and bad luck with others, just your typical basic drama plot with some twists thrown in. It starts nicely with scenes on an action movie set where they are shooting the stunts. After that it's downhill and towards the end it gets very jumpy, with weird scenes out of nowhere. I found it very difficult to follow the plot because the scenes felt somehow out of place and inconsistent. So what to expect of this film is Michelle Yeoh and Sammo Hung without the great action sequences you are used to seeing when associated with these names. The film delivers only a couple of average action scenes, but not enough to satisfy the people watching this for the action. Plus the end is totally mixed up and unsatisfactory. Even if I watched this without my "action glasses" as a drama, which it is, I wouldn't find it very good and I like a good drama film every now and then.
The best that TV can offer
You've never seen anything like it, I can promise you that. This show let's you see a glimpse of the dark side in everyone. Scheming and manipulating people to reach personal goals is the goal for Jim Profit played by the wonderful Adrian Pasdar. He is so slick and so smart with an appearance you can't help but to like until he crosses you. It's hard to find the words to describe the greatness of this one season wonder, which should never have been put off air. This show aired in 1996 but it is still in 2007 just as revolutionary as ever. Everything in this show is top quality from actors to scripts to production etc. Just simply an unbelievably great show and I urge everyone to watch it as it grabs a hold of you. If you give it your little finger ... you'll lose your whole hand.
2 Hitmen (2007)
This is minus 5 on a scale from one to ten
This is a story about two pothead slackers. They have an idea of becoming hit men and train for that purpose. I know this is supposed to be a comedy, but I don't think I laughed once during the painful 1h 25m runtime. The dialogue in this film is below bad. There are films like Dumb And Dumber where the retarded interaction between characters is done in good taste, but that is not the case here, it's simply horrible. As well as the "acting" which is even worse than the dialogue. I think there's about two minutes film here worth some value to a selected audience. And that audience is teenage boys getting kicks from seeing tits. And even those scenes are squeezed in the film with such a way it makes you want to cry rather than enjoy. So to conclude my review I'll just say that this film is in the top three of the worst movies I've ever seen and not in a good "camp film" kind of way.
Siu nin a Fu (2003)
Failes on almost everything
This is a stereotype plot. A young fighter tries to enter a competition when he is not ready and is not selected to represent his fighting school. This leads to separation from the fighting school and naturally he finds a strange new master to teach him to fight.
The fights are not of high standards. They are way too "simple" in a way that 1+1 is simple to every adult. The fighter has trained and enters the ring, but does not do what he trained and gets an ass kicking. The coach yells do this and do that with no success. And after some more of this ridiculous beating he suddenly does what he is told and hits his opponent once. This results in a turning point in the fight, although our hero has been taking a beating of his life up until that point. Think about the Rocky movies and you'll have a good point of reference of how much beating he really takes. The fights are also shot poorly.
There final thing that screws this film up is the stupid romance. Cheesy music and awkward moments are not what I call entertainment.
These guys really could have made some quality entertainment, but the director wasn't up to the task. Or the other crew in my opinion. Maybe they had a small budget, I don't know, but what matters in the end is that this movie is bad and deserves the rating of 3 out of 10.
Shoot 'Em Up (2007)
Kick-ass action from start to finish
This is what you can call a guy-movie with a capital G. It's almost non-stop action all the way and the quality of the mayhem is good and brutal. The plot in short: A guy gets involved in something big by accident and gets a whole bunch of misfits and gunmen after him. And naturally he needs to clean up the mess and deal with it. Clive Owen does a good job playing the tough loner. Monica Bellucci is always good and she delivers here also, as does Paul Giamatti. This is not one to take your girlfriend to watch, it's a bit too gruesome for the ladies. But if you're into this kind of flicks and need to spend 90 minutes with good clean fun action, this is the one to check out.
Takes a hold on the person watching
I am a big fan of kung fu movies. This is not so much of a kung fu movie, although the action scenes are very fluent and clear. You often see much worse scenes in actual Asian kung fu action films. Sometimes the action is too fast, too sloppy and edited like crap. Not here. The fights are used sparsely and with good taste. The comment posted by wujie is off considering the choreography in comparison. And I'm finding it hard to believe the comments about this film, because the name suggests he/she is Asian origin. If you've seen 10 Asian kung fu flicks, you've most likely seen 5 films with worse action than here. The plot is good. Acting is good. Occasionally you might be a little confused about the progression though. But overall it binds you to your seat for the duration. I guess you can call this an epic drama spiced with occasional action scenes. In Finnish standards this film rocks. And even if you're not a Finn you will most probably be happy with the experience after watching this. Of course the differencies with cultures may be an issue. But to European and American taste this is definitely worth watching. And compared to Asian cinema I find this more "normal", if you'll allow me to say this without being offended. Asian cinema often has weird characters that are strangely eccentric and odd. Here I found the characters to be human, normal, not perfect (wujie comments on this being a bad thing). So along the good fight scenes, which are meant at times to be like dancing to represent other issues than mere fighting (again wujie commented on this subject), there is content to keep you interested in the plot all the way until the end. If you read this comment, read also the comment from Asian perspective (wujie) and then make up your mind.
Chai lai (2006)
Mostly harmless, a major waste of time
Whoa! This was quite an experience getting through this film. Man it sucks. Maybe I just don't get the comedy elements of Thai cinema. It's just weird. What is strange is that this flick has a lot of comedy elements and yet there is a close up of a man getting shot to the head from point blank range. Twice. How on earth can you combine these two and still keep the whole intact. My answer is you can't. I mean imagine Seinfeld delivering a punch line and right after that blowing George Costanza's brains out. There's a lot of gunfire but everyones aim is off by some meters all the time and yet suddenly they hit someone with great precision. This is as bad as Martial Angels just to give a point of reference. Just a bunch of good looking babes running around wearing little or even less. Action sequences are catastrophic. Complete chaos and inconsistencies. All possibilities of good fights are ruined by horrible editing. Do NOT waste your time watching this unless you are sure you don't have anything else to do. Myself I'd rather cut off my right hand than watch this again. And yes I'm right handed.
7 Seconds (2005)
Above average action movie in b-movie category
Point 1: Good action. Wasley Snipes delivers nicely. Great close combat moves. Point 2: Obviously not the biggest budget possible for this movie. And still a very good movie. Point 3: Action movies always have those unbelievable characters and actors who have been hired not so much because of how they act than what they look like and what they can do physically. No exception here. Point 4: Plot was simple and straight forward with a nice twist at the end. I'd say the script was adequate for a movie gone straight to video. Point 5: This movie delivers exactly what you expect from a movie in this genre. Period.
Now that you judge this flick in it's context (B-movie), you realize it's really not that bad people say it is. Expectations are too high only because they see Wesley Snipes at the opening credits. Throw your prejudice in the corner and see this movie for what it is; Good clean above average action.
Rest Stop (2006)
Little to tell and even less to understand
This is one of those films where the main characters just keep making the dumbest possible decisions all the time. It is FRUSTRATING as heck to watch! Secondly there are scenes where dead or dying people just vanish into thin air with NO EXPLANATION?!? No logic there... Don't get me started on the acting ... The lead actress just kept repeating herself over and over and over again. Got bored of her in the first 15 minutes of the flick. There is some decent gore in the movie, but that's little compared to the utter disaster this turned out to be. Biggest minuses for me were terrible acting and total and complete lack of logic and common sense. For the plus side I would mention ... err ... well nothing comes to mind. No one in their right mind should ever pay to see this movie, this movie simply sucks.
Muyeong geom (2005)
Very entertaining and visually excellent
Now I'll start off by saying that there is no reason to compare this movie to the Asian blockbusters such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or Hero etc. It doesn't matter if you've seen them or not because I think this movie has it's own atmosphere and feel to it. I guess it's because this film is Korean. There is a distinct difference between Korean and other Asian action movies. They have their own style of making these fantastic action/epic/drama movies. Another great Korean movie in the same veins is Musa The Warrior, so if you've seen it you have some idea what to expect. Some other comment stated that there are some weird comedic features in the fight scenes, but I wouldn't point that out in the review. It was only one short scene and that's all she wrote. On the contrary I found this movie to be quite serious in the whole. Though everyone would say there wasn't much of a plot I answer; There is an adequate plot to carry this movie without a problem, it is after all made for entertaining purposes, not for the Oscar nomination.
Now more about the movie. The fighting is mostly sword-fighting. There are a few more exotic arms with some of the fighters too like bows or poles. The fights were made watcher friendly in a way that you can actually see what is happening in the fights all the time. So it's not just a clinging sound and a million swordstrikes per second where you can't tell which sword belongs to who. So you can see every small detail in the fights which is in my opinion definitely a good thing. And yes, there is a lot of flying in the movie, but used much more tastefully than for example in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. The fight choreography in general was amazing. Saw many moves that I hadn't seen before in similar films. The actors were good, especially the leading actress was very convincing. When I watched this film, I had been bored out of my mind all day and was about to fall to sleep. NOT after the movie started rolling. I was glued to my seat from start to end. Summary: Good action and choreography, good acting and very, very entertaining.