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Warrior Assassin (2013)
Skip to the last 5 minutes to not feel completely fooled, but chances are big you will feel violated any way.
There is something terribly wrong with this kungfu movie. As a parody it would have been extremely hilarious if not for the fact that the film is meant to be taken seriously. ( I have to add that the version I saw was dubbed in English. Dubbing for these kinds of movies always have been done poorly and this is no different. Now that being said, this does have no consequence of the way the film is edited and filmed). The way everything is filmed, edited and the way it looks and sounds screams low budget. It is almost like a throwback to those old Seventies and Eighties kungfu flicks where the hero was out for revenge after a relative was killed: " You killed my father, die you devil" "And I will use the crane style to do it". That was like the whole dialogue and then you were shown some incredible martial arts. However in this one it is all horrible. Here and there are some brilliant pieces of fighting which only lasts for seconds. It gets worse though. A famous martial artist / actor makes an appearance. Only for a few minutes. But in those few minutes he displays the best action that there is to be found in the whole damn movie. His skills puts all of the action seen before to shame. So who is this guy I speak of? Well, are you ready? (And before people are accusing me of spoiling. In this case I am doing you a service. If by some unfortunate accident you got a hold of this piece of crap then you can redeem yourself by skipping to the last five minutes to the moment where he makes his appearance). His name is Yuen Biao. Say what now? What is he doing in this awful feature? This is obviously a money thing. But why would he stoop so low? It makes no sense. So in the name of all that is holy. STAY CLEAR from this movie! Don't buy it, don't watch it, just ignore it for gods sake because honestly films like these should never ever be rewarded with any profit. This is one of those that you should not even watch when it is free. Is it that bad Chrichton? Yes it is!
Fun action adventure with enough thrills and tension
Doomsday plays around with genres by borrowing from other movies like Escape from New York, Mad Max The Road Warrior and 28 Days Later. In my opinion this works quite well since instead focusing on plot Neil Marshal makes a full out action movie with enough thrills and tension to make you wonder where it is heading. When you watch this for the first time you will be in suspense throughout. The second time you will be enjoying the action and the references to other movies more. Rhona Mitra is excellent as the female equivalent of Snake Plissken and even adds to it for obvious reasons. One thing you have to realize about Doomsday though. While having a top notch cast playing everything straight it does not take itself seriously. It is a B movie made to entertain, have fun with and nothing else. If you were expecting more horror or better story than chances are you will be disappointed. In my opinion this is a very underrated action adventure that deserves better especially after I found it just as entertaining on my second viewing as when I did the first time.
Knights of Badassdom (2013)
Loose yourself into fantasy for a bit and enjoy!
Knights of Badassdom was one of the few titles that had a trailer that truly made me look forward to a title. Believe me when I say that there haven't been many titles who managed that. Now I have read that the director did not sign of on this and that the studio's interfered and have edited it against his vision. That is very regrettable but in this case not leading to dissatisfaction as much as some would have you believe. The film has an incredibly fast pace with a cast that clearly is having fun and it shows. Plus it is one of the few that managed to make a contemporary movie with a heavy Eighties vibe that made you nostalgic for all the good reasons. I liked how LARP (Live Action Role Playing game) was being made fun of and respected at the same time. It's just a bunch of guys and gals that are having fun with a more active approach on those old boardgames like Dungeons and Dragons or online games like World of Warcraft. Even people who aren't into these kinds of things must admit that the fun factor is immediate appealing. Come on we all got lost into fantasy when we were children. Why should that have to change when you grow up? As long as you not get lost in it too much (which is also being addressed in the film) but that goes for everything. Knights of Badassdom is badass, go watch it!
Mary and Max (2009)
A sincere, touching and very beautiful movie that deals with heavy subjects
Mary and max is a clay animated movie intended for adults. For some this will be hard to understand because generally animated features are considered to be made for children. This is something I never quite understood well since this simply is not true. While a majority might be aimed for a younger audience there are quite a few that are meant for youth and adults or adults alone. This is important to realize since Mary and Max is an example of an animated movie that while offering laughs is dealing with very adult themes that can be very confronting. Let me first tell you that Mary and Max is a very funny film through and through. While very unrelentingly confronting you with death and depression it never skips on wit to make you laugh. The narration is brilliant as it helps to distance yourself or get involved when needed. I read somewhere that Barry Humphries' (most famous for his character Dame Edna) was found to be overly used and intrusive. Personally I think it has been key to keep things light instead of depressing. The wit and narration combo in my opinion is a genius way of telling a story filled with heavy subjects that otherwise would be hard to deal with. But next to the darker themes there is one beautiful one that most of the people will be able to appreciate and relate to. Friendship. If you have to remember one thing about a film like this then let it be the fact that here they show the beauty and value of friendship in life no matter how it is conceived and exists. Here the friendship consists of communication through letters. But is just as strong or maybe even stronger than a so called normal one. Here you get to see how much a simple and sincere letter can impact someone's life that proves to be beneficial for both. This film also shows that sometimes people react in unusual ways not because they are mean or evil but simply they view the world differently due to reasons they have no control of and don't know how to respond. I know it's hard and not always possible to have an open mind or be understanding but please do try since it does prove to be worth wile in the long run.
Max and Mary is a sincere, touching and very beautiful film dealing with heavy subjects in a way I have rarely seen before. It moved me deeply and it is one that deserves all the praise that it is getting. A must watch!
Identity Thief (2013)
One of the most essential elements in a comedy is that it makes you laugh. Somehow the makers of Identity Thief seemed to have missed this point. It's more a drama with hints of action and humour. The very little humour that is present is the less clever kind that was bordering to disgusting and obnoxious. It also did not help that the story was predictable. Which I usually don't find bothersome if there was more to the characters or the jokes. But Melissa McCarty was not very likable. And Jason Bateman could have been more colourful. I understood Melissa needed to play her role that way in order to make the transformation into a good person have more impact. If not for the fact she played her role in The Heat the exact same way. It might not be fair of me to judge. But having seen her in this, The Heat and Mike and Molly I do get the impression she is very limited as an actress and also as a comedian. Exactly what makes her so funny? I am not seeing it. Apart from this why did the people behind the funny Horrible Bosses failed to put something fresh into this? It would have been nice if they would have at least tried to. There is no point saying more. Avoid this one!
50 compelling minutes make up for all of the flaws
The best description I can give of Haunter that it feels like a very well done episode of The Twilight Zone. Haunter has much more going on but there are some elements that detract from the viewing experience. The mystery that is presented to us is solid. You do wonder what it's going on however for fans of the genre it is pretty obvious from early on. Even then Haunter manages to creep you out to the maximum with minimal means. There are quite a few moments where you feel your heart pumping with excitement. Only at one point when it becomes clear what is going on it begins to drag. And really annoyingly. Here is where The Twilight Zone analogy comes in. The story is creepy and compelling enough for a duration of 50 minutes then every event after is just there to prolong those 50 minutes. Basically this movie would be excellent as an episode of an anthology series as The Twilight Zone but as a full film it can become quite tedious. Still overall I think this film shows how horror does not need blood or gore to manage to scare or freak you out. And I wished more contemporary films would follow this example. Definitely worth the watch, but be aware that after the first hour it can become tasking to remain watching. Although when you do you will get a satisfying ending.
Man of Tai Chi (2013)
decent but won't excite you
If you are like me you would raise an eyebrow to Keanu Reeves directing. He is what? A martial arts flick? I know Keanu Reeves is most famous for his role as Neo where he portrays this god like creature very adapt in martial arts. That does not automatically make him a martial artist. It might have sparked a love for it which may be on the of the reasons for him to direct. Still it is not something I would associate him doing. And this is the vibe you will be getting from Main of Tai Chi throughout. There is more than enough decent fighting. But none of it really grabs you especially if you are like me a fan of the genre who has seen quite a great deal of excellent martial arts flicks in his life. A little philosophy is thrown in the mix to make it more interesting that might appeal to some. For me it did not flow well since it diminished the tension and pace too much. There is a lack of urgency that should compel you to watch bringing the focus on the evil characters. Keanu was not bad as the villain but he sure could have been more fierce or wild. A villain in movies like these need to be colourful and loud and Keanu's style of acting simply is not suited for that kind of role. Even in his style he should have done more to show how evil he can be. Without this it becomes too difficult to see Tiger Hu Chen as a proper hero. In fact it makes him quite unsympathetic at times because some of his acts lack good motivation. Very much in the same vein as Anakin Skywalker suddenly becoming very evil (I will never forgive you for that George Lucas for not giving me the character development I wanted and needed.). If they would have gone over the top with him being an anti hero I might have bought it but not in the way they did here. It simply lacked fire or passion. Now knowing he is not that experienced yet as an actor I do think he has the potential of becoming bigger. We will see. Overall Main of Tai Chi is OK but not one I can recommend. BTW Iko Uwais from The Raid and Merantau Warrior has an unimpressive special appearance.
Paperback Hero (1999)
Charming duo make this movie worth a look but it lacks punch.
An early romantic comedy starring a younger but incredible charming Hugh Jackman. Then there is the beautiful Claudia Karvan who is equally charming and comedic as well. If it weren't for these two you would be bored out of your mind with Paperback hero. While the heart of this flick is in the right place there is no strong story to back it up. It is clear what they were trying to do. They are trying to tackle the Australian machismo or machismo in general. Only forgot to emphasize the contrast between of old thoughts and how it could be. The story of a truck driver writing romantic trash novels but who is afraid of coming out with this activity seems strong in potential. Only it barely is presented as a real problem in the film. The focus is on how the character of Hugh Jackman and Claudia Karvan interact with each other and how they supposedly can't be with each other. Since she is already engaged to one of the nicest guys in the world. Yes, this time they did not make it easy for a woman to bitch about her up and coming fiancée. Granted most of the fun comes from Hugh and Claudio messing about with each other. So you better like them otherwise don't even start watching this. Despite the slow pace and nothing really eventful happening I did enjoy it very much. It's a slightly forgettable comedy when the story is concerned. But honestly does that even matter with Hugh around. Who would pass up the opportunity to see this handsome fella speaking in his own tongue making him sexier than ever?
Deo Web-toon: Ye-go Sal-in (2013)
Fantastic first hour which ends up tiresome.
Killer Toon starts very effective with nice visuals and some gruesome killings. It sets the tone of what to expect. And for a while it does bring you the scares and thrills. At that point you are not entirely sure if you are dealing with a slasher or something supernatural. And guessing what going on is very fun. Then it loses a lot of steam. So much so that it was hard to sit through the last half hour. It then goes through what a lot of the South Korean horror movies suffer from. One twist too many. Which is fine if it has a nice pace to it. But here it takes forever to get the plot going and with lack of really likable characters I personally did not feel compelled to stay invested or interested. Also the explanation given for what is happening is so far fetched it detracts from the enjoyment. I liked how Killer Toon try to do something fresh and therefore it's a shame it can't keep up with it. Currently feel very mixed about this. But I am leaning to recommending people to watch it for the first hour and then forget about the rest.
Not bad,not good just average.
House at the end of the street could have been so much more since it clearly shows it has the potential. This film is proof how important a director can be to translate such potential to the screen. In this case Mark Tonderai fails to.
From the title you might have gotten the impression this is one of so many haunted house stories. And there was enough there to make it seem like that way. Which would have added to the viewing experience. Yet too soon any hint towards the supernatural is crushed by a turn in the story that in my opinion came far too soon. Then the director seems to be more focused on the dynamics between mother Elisabeth Shue and daughter Jennifer Lawrence. Which was nice to set up the tension between them but it has no bearing to the overall story. And thus ends up a waste of time. Then the thriller elements kicks in that start out promising and even offer a decent amount of suspense which sadly never supersedes mediocrity. A lot could have been done to add suspense or thrills. Like adding some good old red herrings. I know some people don't care about those and want the blood and the gore. Guess what there is none. Luckily I am not one of those horror fans who find that to be necessary. One can thrill in several other ways. But director Mark Tonderai does nothing of the sort and goes for the easy and predictable solutions. Not even bothering to surprise or reward the viewer for watching at the end of this film.
So is it a title that is worth your time? It is not bad by any means. Only it's not particular good either. For me this is one of those titles I reserve for rainy Sundays when nothing else is on. I think Jennifer Lawrence fans will watch this regardless. And perhaps will fall for the charm of Max Thieriot. He shows promise and did what he could with his role and is bound to impress the ones who watch this. Other than that there is nothing going on that needs mentioning.