Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Sr. Pig (2016)
Howard the pig steals the show!
Mr. Pig is a road movie about an old man called Ambrose (played by Danny Glover) and his friend Howard the pig. Ambrose is not well. In fact he is dying. Last thing on his agenda seems to be the task to deliver Howard to someone he trusts who will take good care of him.
This premise appealed to me quite a bit. A tale about a dying man spending his last hours with a good friend has feelgood written all over it. And I can't resist feelgood films. However Diego Luna (who you might know from Star Wars: Rogue where he plays as Cassian Andor) doesn't deliver on this. Or at least not the extent I had hoped. Biggest problem is that while most of the acting is done competently it is far from memorable or impressive. Not enough is happening on a dramatic level to make me feel or care for the characters. I did care about the pig though. He easily tops every human character in the film acting wise. He is the only one to be expressing real emotions at some pivotal moments, Maya Rudolph barely has any chemistry with Danny Glover and for the most part she is rather annoying than compelling. If she would have not been in this film it would not have mattered a single thing. To me this is quite astonishing since you would think much more would be happening between a father and daughter in the father's last moments. Especially since it is made clear that he wasn't a particularly good father and never around when he needed her. I had expected some fireworks or at least some interesting dynamics. None of that. I guess there was something of a reveal that perhaps could explain Ambrose being so very passive. Although I think Luna should us have given us more on Ambrose and how he was before we get to meet him. Maybe then I would have been more invested. But like I said I only cared about Howard and what would happen to him.
I think Diego Luna has duped Howard into thinking he was going to be a part of something special instead of this generic film. Not bad but not good by any means. I hope this film will give Howard the exposure he needs to be noticed for better productions. He truly deserves it.
If you liked this review then please check out my website (chrichtonsworld) for more.
McAvoy is absolutely terrifying!
The second film in a short while where M. Night Shyamalan successfully has managed to scare the living hell out of us. The previous being The Visit of course.
Now I know that there have been quite a few thrillers that make use of the Dissociative identity disorder or multiple personality disorder (MPD) and that at this point there is very little that can be done to truly surprise you. But by god M. Night has succeeded in a way that will put you on the edge of your seat multiple times. Not all the time mind you since the film dials down a few notches a couple of times. And this could make it seem the film drags here and there. In hindsight though it was M. Night teaching us what a master of horror he truly can be since he plays around with the tension to keep your interest peaked. Trust me on this that even when some of the plot developments may appear predictable it goes into different directions entirely. Especially at the very end of the film since it gives us a twist that is so meta that it will make your head spin. Very daring and incredibly effective. It is like he is saying, I told you that I am still very much on top of my game. But aside from this, the film in itself is incredible brilliant. James McAvoy was having a blast and he shows us what an amazing actor he is by switching up personalities like it's nothing. Still I do have to remark that Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke made a good impression as well. I did not even recognize her as she also was in The Witch.
Split is one of those movies that does a lot of things really good and has you singing praise right after. But of course there will always be people hating on this film just because Shyamalan is involved. He does tend to make films that require you to suspend disbelief and have somewhat of an imagination. Doesn't always mean you have to like or agree with his vision because I am pretty aware he can make terrible films as well. Still Split is certainly is one of his better ones and deserves to be watched by many. So go forth ladies and gentlemen and enjoy yourselves. I certainly did!
La La Land (2016)
Not deserving of it's praise. Not one bit!
Special opening comment for IDMB.com: Honestly I just wanted to leave my thoughts on the film itself but then I saw the overwhelming amount of positive reviews on this film and praising it like there is no tomorrow. "Love letter to Hollywood" Really? In what way is La La Land a love letter? All it does is refer to some classics and then completely botches up the elements that makes us love the classics in the first place. If anything this is making a mockery out of everyone involved in those high quality old school musicals that were made with love and passion. La La Land is made out of greed. You better remember this.
Now I have this out of my system my original review (which you can read on my website Chrichton's World:
La La Land is a tribute to the old school musicals where actors like Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and many others impressed us with their acting, singing and dancing. They were top notch in whatever they did on the screen and truly were stars all around. However La La Land is not a particularly good tribute as it lacks a lot that made films like Singin' in the Rain and An American in Paris classics.
So what went wrong? First and foremost the musical numbers are far from memorable. When I first heard the song City of Stars I liked it instantly. It easily is the best song but at the same time a very flawed one. Why? Ryan Gosling is not a good singer. I am sure he tried his best but you can hear that he can't sing that well. In another version of the song Emma Stone chimes in and I don't like that version at all because she is even a worse singer than he is. Both also can't dance and it's so bad that it was ruining the enjoyment. You can tell that they are struggling and their movements were far too slow. In the opening musical number you have a bunch of unknown people singing and dancing and they obviously know what they are doing as they move very swiftly and gracefully. They also do a lot of impressive stunt work very reminiscent of what was shown in the older musicals. And while this scene was good it exposed the flaws of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as leads. Especially in the first dance scene featuring Emma Stone it becomes painfully obvious she is not a match for anyone in the opening scene.
Another huge problem is the story. Or lack of. Nothing in the story was remotely interesting and pretty by the numbers and the one supposed conflict was so predictable and forced that destroyed all the hope that was left. What hope? For this film to redeem itself. And it never does. Instead it gives us an ending opposite of what is expected since director Damien Chazelle is pretentious and very full of himself. I guess the fame and success he achieved with Whiplash has gotten to his head. And Whiplash wasn't that good in the first place. And no I don't need predictable endings. What I do need are endings that are logical and are written well. It has to make sense why characters behave and act a certain way. You have to give the viewer reasons to make their actions believable. Chazelle never even attempts this. He only gives a motivation out of convenience. Also I am failing to see how anything in this film could be seen as comedic. There maybe were one or two moments that were genuinely funny but enough for this film to be advertised as a comedy? Not in the slightest.
Also just referring to the classics is not enough. You need to add something of your own to make it unique or entertaining. I mean these songs were the best they could do? At points they showed L.A. in the background and it looked like more was going to be done with the scenery like Michael Mann did in Heat. I think more beautiful shots of L.A. at night would have surely made some impact. But of course that would have required real effort.
I don't feel like writing anymore. Truth be told I was very looking forward to this film since I really was in the mood for some old school fun and all I got in return is anger and disappointment since this film is nothing like the classics.
I do think I have been very fair as this film is advertised as one of the greatest musicals / films in a long time. And this simply is not true. Even with all the good will this film has no redeeming elements whatsoever.
Star Trek Beyond (2016)
Way to go Abrams. Just when I thought you couldn't do worse.
You don't fool me. You might have put Justin Lin at the helm it is so obvious you were pulling the strings. Because everything in this film has your hand print on it. Star Trek Beyond even starts with a freaking lens flare.
At this point I had made peace with the new Star Trek and just wanted to enjoy myself. Bring on the spectacle and eye candy. Give me the super slick action and your edge of your seat thrills. All I wanted was to have fun. But no, that would actually require some effort and you could not be bothered huh Abrams? So yes let me be one of those guys complaining that this is not my Star Trek. I have been a fan of the original franchise for a long time. I actually embraced the reboot until Star Trek Into Darkness. Although that did not stop me from enjoying for what they were. Fun popcorn movies but so far removed from what Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek should be about that it simply is not funny anymore. But would you believe it that Beyond even fails as a fun popcorn flick? All the spectacle and eye candy was unimaginative, uninspired and ultimately boring. Yes, you heard me say it. Star Trek Beyond is boring. It had me going for the first ten minutes and then I lost interest completely. There is nothing in this adventure that drew me into these events. I could overlook the minimal story and lack of genuine twist and turns. Although the big one at the end was decent enough if it weren't for the fact that I already had stopped caring about this film entirely. All the characters in this film could have died and I would not have given a damn. Maybe except for Bones. Karl Urban can do no wrong with me. Even if he tried to. But all the other characters got on my nerve. Anton Yelchin's Chekov was a parody of the original. Worse of all though he is not in the film as much as I would have liked to. There isn't a single scene that serves has a proper send off and farewell to the magnificent actor he was. And that pisses me off to be frank. Actually a lot of characters including Chris Pine as Kirk lack the charm and wit from previous films. Spock was more human than Vulcan. Let me remind you people that it was his Vulcan half that made him an interesting character. It was like no one in this production cared about this film at all. Then why should I? Why should I give in and accept this mess of a film?
And trust me I tried shutting of my brain and simply enjoy it but I couldn't. Because nothing about this adventure is memorable or exciting. Most important reason is that the spectacle is predictable as hell. Even the Beastie Boys scene you could have seen coming miles ahead. Now I must admit that that scene did put a smile on my face. But one brief moment of joy like that is not enough. Not by a long shot. In order to remain fair I have judged this film solely on what it did offer and not of what it could or should have been. Still I do have to point out that this latest part in the reboot franchise is proof that this is not Star Trek. The older films and TV Shows next to spectacle always offered good drama and thought provoking concepts about many essential things that matter in life. Star Trek made science and philosophy accessible and fun for people who otherwise might not have been interested. Star Trek Beyond however dismisses all of this and treats it's audience like they are idiots. The people behind this new franchise assume current audience only want action and spectacle and nothing more. And maybe this is true which makes me sad. Very sad. I like to be challenged. I like to be provoked about political and social issues when done right. However like I first stated that I was willing and able to overlook the lack of this in favour of fun. But that's just it. Beyond rarely is fun. The very few moments that were could not make me forget the agony I experienced while watching this film. I stared at the screen in such detached manner that I think I would have gotten more enjoyment watching noise.
I for one am hoping that they are done with this and that they will go back to what Star Trek should be about. But if they don't the fans will. So many wonderful fan made Star Trek projects out there that are made with love and passion that surpass these crappy movies in every way. Simon Pegg claims to be a huge Star Trek fan. Then it is so puzzling to me that he could have written this script. Almost everything about it is a downright insult to the real fans and legacy of Gene Roddenberry. I never realized this until now but Simon Pegg is kind of a douche. Overall don't bother people. Star Trek Beyond is a giant waste of your time.
For God's sake be nice to your I.T. guy!
Disclaimer: This review doesn't contain real spoilers but could be seen as such if you have not seen the trailer or read what the film is about.
I.T. is what you call a stalker film or thriller. Think Fatal Attraction and Cape Fear. This basically should give you an idea what the film is going to be about. (Although to be fair this film never reaches the level of those superior films.) So don't expect any surprises on that front. The I.T. angle however was interesting and compelling though. We now live in a world where we have become dependent on technology so much that we can't live without it and also have implemented it everywhere possible. For the most part these advances are positive and useful. However there is also a negative and darker side that often gets overlooked. In a way this film points out possible dangers you should be aware of. Because believe it or not some of the events in this film are technically possible. Now of course Hollywood wouldn't be Hollywood if they didn't dramatize and exaggerate things a little too much. I mean like many other films this film is not afraid of using the typical stereotypes regarding I.T. guys and hackers. Especially after the Michael Mann film Blackhat that is lazy and insulting. Hackers are just people like you and me. You won't be able to tell who they are or what they look like. They come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. So please do make a mental note of that. In the film however it is very obvious that Ed Porter has mental issues. Although I do think that had Mike Regan (Pierce Brosnan) been less of a prick towards him he might not have been triggered. On the other hand the guy was very unstable and it could have happened any moment. In general though I think that sometimes people should be nicer to others. Or at least be civil. No reason to be nasty and impolite to someone else unless of course that person deserves to. Mike Regan does represent those rich guys who are very thankful at the moments when they need your help. But the minute they don't and you happen to meet them they pretend they don't know you anymore or rather want to forget about you. Why? There is no reason to do that. We are all people. We all bleed red don't we? Anyway this is when Ed starts the stalking. He is very effective and therefore terrifying. I liked how his abuse mainly was subtle and psychological. Because that is what makes stalking so difficult and scary to deal with. Stalkers too often are far too clever to get caught and even when you know who the culprit is you won't always be able to proof that they are the ones terrorizing you. Unfortunately this film then goes on automatic pilot and plays out how you imagine it would with very little to no surprises. However this is not a big problem since Pierce Brosnan and James Frecheville (Ed Porter) make you overlook that with their performances. Through them you buy everything including the predictable events. Michael Nyqvist (the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) also has a small role and I wished he would have been in it more. He definitely was one of the highlights in the film.
Overall I.T. is a solid and entertaining thriller. Very ideal to watch in weekends in the comfort of your own home. Apart from learning how to adapt a healthy dose of paranoia you won't learn or see anything new or substantial. Meaning the film is totally forgettable. But since I had not big expectations that is OK with me.
Wo de te gong ye ye (2016)
Sammo Hung coming to terms with old age and dementia.
Let me start this review with a translated quote used in the film: The old man is like Kung Fu Panda I have no clue if they truly said that originally. Despite, this quote does sum up the abilities of Sammo Hung's character Ding. Ding is a retired Central Security Bureau officer from Beijing who is in the early stages of dementia. He is a man full of regret and remorse but chooses to seclude himself rather than confront the issues that are plaguing him. One big strain on him is the fact that his granddaughter got missing while he was watching over her. But then at one point in time Cherry Li , a little girl from next door sneaks into his apartment to hide there after fighting with her father. Which is the start of an unique friendship.
One thing you will have to understand that this Sammo Hung vehicle isn't the typical martial arts film he used to make. Sammo has gotten old and apparently he wanted to address this. So most of the focus is on Ding being an old man. He receives some backup from old friends to make this statement. People like Yuen Baio, Dean Shek, Yuen Wah, and Tsui Hark to name but a few. These are nothing but glorified cameo's. But since I had not read anything about the film in advance I was pleasantly surprised to see them. For me it wasn't a disappointment like some reviewers have stated. More so because they had been given the impression to come into action as well. Now that would have been something I must admit so I do understand the criticism. Although it did not hurt what they were going for in the film. At it's core this film is about Ding coming to terms with old age, dementia and guilt. The action is just in service of this.
This explains the fact that there is not that much action. And while I also was expecting more I understand that somehow this would not be fitting regarding the theme. Or even would destroy the message that Sammo Hung wants to make clear to the audience. But don't despair the little action that is present is more than satisfying. Especially in the finale where Sammo goes Steven Seagal on the bad guys. Mainly using his arms and where he is using his opponents power against them. It makes sense to me that on old man would be limited in his move set so that was a nice touch.
Andy Lau also is involved in this film as an actor and producer. He plays the low life father of Cherry and basically is the reason why trouble starts in the first place. His role while significant is small and just right as he manages to evoke enough emotions. Another thing you have to understand is that this film doesn't go that deep into issues like dementia or bad parenting. Instead it tries to appeal to your emotions about these issues. And this is something that Sammo Hung does real well.
So for me this film was well worth the watch and while I was expecting a more action packed adventure I got something just as good in return. We all become old one day and then we can't do the things we used to do. You have to be prepared for that.
Long nga (2008)
Entertaining directorial debut of Wu Jing!
Legendary Assassin is the directorial debut of both Wu Jing and Nicky Li. Nicky Li is a former fight choreography and stunt member of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team, who has had collaborated with Wu Jing in several projects like Fatal Contact and Invisible Target. And as debuts go this one is very solid to good.
What I like about this film the most that it moves along in a nice pace where not a minute is wasted with redundant sub plots or other distractions. Every event or character interaction is functional. Through the non action scenes we get to know the main character and kind of what makes him tick. I say kind of since not much background is given on Bo Tong Lam (Wu Jing). But he is not your typical good guy as he is capable of cold blooded murder if the title didn't gave away this already. After assassinating a big crime boss (who was hiding out on a small island) he is forced to stay on the island since there are no ferries coming in because of a typhoon alert. It is this moment where he makes a connection with Hiu Wor (Celina Jade who you might recognize from Arrow where she played Shado). He gets to spend some nice moments with her and her colleagues and this was very pleasant to see because they make you care about the characters despite them just having met.
And since you care it does intensify the action. It's such a simple device to do this and yet many similar films fail to do this. So I am glad that Wu Jing understood this. Now he does make some mistakes by making the film a little too serious and dramatic but I guess that you can't escape from tragedy in Asian films. But first and foremost it's done in service of the action and that is a good thing. It makes you involved and will make the action have more impact. The action on it's own is what you can expect from Wu Jing or Jacky Wu and is hard hitting and stylish. Sometimes wireworks are used but very sparingly.
Overall this film delivers on the action and makes me want Wu Jing to do more projects. Wolf Warrior was excellent, let's hope the sequel to that will be too.
Lao hu chu geng II (1990)
The Return of The Wig / Well worth your time!
Tiger on the Beat is an unrelated sequel to Tiger on the Beat. But predominantly features the same cast as the original. Only Chow Yun-Fat is missing and is substituted by Danny Lee who surprisingly enough is capable of almost the same charming goofiness he was.
Like it's predecessor the focus is on comedy that is blended with the typical crime elements you often see in films like these. Main baddie Gordon Liu wants a ring back that is stolen from him by thief Ellen Chan. Well, technically it's not his since he ordered one of his goons (Roy Cheung) to kill the owner and take the ring. She witnesses this and tries to flee from the scene where she then bumps into Conan Lee (named Buffalo for some reason). This is not their first encounter but seeing how Conan is a little gullible and very ready to get into action he gets involved. Ellen Chan named Sweet Dream is more like a nightmare for everybody who gets tangled up in her affairs. Fortunately for us these antics are mostly funny. Maybe it was the fact that I had seen the awful The Cyprus Tigers before this that I could appreciate the comedy in this one a little better. Or simply that it is genuinely more funny. But of course you don't watch movies like these solely for the comedy so what about the action There is not much of it (action spread out in short sequences) but whatever is present is adequate to good although none of it is as spectacular as the chainsaw sequence in the original. To be fair that is kind of hard to top. However like in the original they saved the best for last and it does feel rewarding enough.
I had zero expectations for this sequel but perhaps that is why it managed to surprise me. It's my guess that director Lau Kar-leung was more hands on in this one than he was in the original. In case you don't know, he is a real kung fu legend who sadly passed away in 2013. He even let Ellen Chan do her own stunts. If Ellen seemed like an ordinary actress to you then think again. In one scene she is hanging on a pipe from a tall building and in one of the final scenes she gets kicked through a window with her face first. And I am not sure if this was some kind of running gag but Gordon Liu's wig from the original makes a return. At times it almost fooled me in being real hair but of course we know better. The Wig deserves an award for it's performance.
Believe it or not Tiger on the Beat is well worth your time. Although you do have to keep your expectations in check.
Dong fang lao hu (1990)
Avoid at all costs!
Conan Lee was quit skilled as a martial artist but for some reason has not been in that many movies. On Hong Kong Cinemagic it is stated that this was due to an enormous ego. Wikipedia however mentions he stopped acting so that he could take care of his ailing mother. Whether these claims are true or not fact is that Conan Lee is not the big name he could or should have been. Fortunately for us he is featured in some gems that are well worth your time.
The Cyprus Tigers however is not one of them. In fact it is one of those rare movies so appallingly bad you should stay clear from at all costs. I watched this since it's one of those titles I knew existed but never could get my hands on. Not uncommon for HK action films so it never really occurred to me that there might be other reasons why this one is hard to find. Now I know. It's atrocious. There are no redeeming factors whatsoever. The few action scenes that are present are incredibly short and over before you realize. And whatever there is action wise it's just average. Director Phillip Ko an actor and action director of many Shaw Brother films surely could do better? What about Simon Yam? And Robin Shou? Why were they part of this fiasco? It doesn't really look they wanted to be in this or took it seriously. If I had to guess they tricked some poor investors to shoot the film in Cyprus because they wanted to celebrate their holiday there instead of doing something meaningful with the locale. Since there is nothing in this film that could not have been made in Hong Kong. I would be shocked if it took them more than two or three days to film this. Don't even bother to get into the story. There is none. It's just one goofy moment after another. That typical HK comedy stuff you only can tolerate if it is interchanged with some phenomenal action. Well, this is like it is the other way around. You have some action interchanged with ninety percent goofiness. And not the fun kind in case you were wondering.
Stay clear from this travesty.
Giant waste of your time!
How to describe Gridlocked? It's a mix of Die Hard, Assault on Precinct 13 and The Hard Way. Now before you get all excited and happy you need to know one thing. It's bad. Real bad. And not the Michael Jackson or the so bad it becomes good kind.
Gridlocked strips down the movies it's inspired by removing all the elements that make it fun to watch in the first place. It's incredibly basic and minimal and it makes you wonder what they were going for. There is not even that much action until very late into the film. But chances are you will be bored to death long before that. It is quite sad that Dominic Purcell has been reduced to B stardom like this since he is capable of doing more. If you don't believe me then go track down a little show called John Doe and then come back to me. But for what it's worth his no nonsense hard boiled cop suits the movie just fine. It's even more tragic for Stephen Lang and Danny Glover since they are completely wasted in their roles and they obviously are only there to collect a pay check. I would have appreciated it if they had hammed up their performances like Nicolas Cage or offered something nice to chew on. Yes I got the "I am too old for this..." joke. It only reminded me of a vastly superior franchise that once was. Speaking of comedy. I read some comments and reviews where they kept saying how funny the film was. Take my word for it that above Lethal Weapon reference / joke was the funniest bit in the whole damn movie. Well, maybe another one in a scene during the credits. Most of the time every event is taken and played out very seriously and most characters are uninteresting and lifeless. All that is left is the action which is adequately choreographed but nothing else. No attempt has been made to make the action intense and enjoyable. It just action for the sake of action without thrills, excitement and style. Then what is the point? I have given this a fair shot and believe me that was quite tasking since I had to fight sleep throughout the film. But there are no redeeming factors whatsoever making this action flick a giant waste of your time. So stay clear!