Reviews written by registered user

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560 reviews in total 
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Viral (2016/I)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Had potential...., 14 April 2017

Viral starts out interesting and compelling. Forget that it follows every cliché in the book concerning viral outbreak / zombie / infected films. Even the main character was likable. Until the events started to cause uproar and chaos.

Then suddenly cautious Emma Drakeford (Sofia Black-D'Elia) becomes a total idiot. What is the point of a mask if you keep removing it? I swear she keeps taking that damn thing off at moments where it was needed the most. That kind of stupidity is just infuriating. Her big sister Stacey Drakeford (Analeigh Tipton) is even worse who for some reason can't be bothered to care what is happening around her outside her little world. She gets bored by breaking news reports,warnings and presidential speeches about health care and safety measures. Instead she chooses to ignore what is happening not so far from her home and party instead. She even suggests her little sister shouldn't take things so seriously. Yeah, real good advice Stacey! Still I was fine with that since I was hoping that the film at least would give us something nice on the side to chew on. Like some real hair rising thrilling scenes or some bloody and gruesome action. But no, the jump scares are predictable to a tee. And the few scary or creepy moments that could have been terrifying are ruined by the severe lack of tension or dread. The whole movie suffers from not making it clear how dire the situation is. It relies too much on the imagination of the audience and in this case I find that unacceptable. The clicker zombies or infected sounded too much like the ones in video game Last of Us. I am not sure what to think of that. If directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman have borrowed or were heavily inspired by the fungal zombies of that game would it have hurt them to take it to next level and come with some of their own ideas thrown into the mix to make it more interesting? Predictable monsters are boring. So all you have to do is make them unpredictable to make it fun. These clickers were as scary as fluffy bunnies and cuddly bears.

I already wasted too many words on this since I can't tell you how disappointed I was. Viral had real potential. But nothing creative has been done to make this film stand out from the rest. If you have seen a million zombie / infected films like I have you expect more. This is a complete waste of your time. So do not watch this!

The Void (2016/I)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Lovecraftian horror done right!, 13 April 2017

Make no mistake. This might be an indie production but it is easily among the best of horror films I have seen. It's effective in the places it should be and therefore makes you overlook the few flaws it has.

Is it worth mentioning what these flaws are? Well, for me they are very minor as it has more to do with some of the special effects used. Obviously a low budget indie production will come across a few limitations. However for the most part the film never sacrifices to a point that you can tell they had to cut corners. Besides the direction and acting made most horrors seem real and true and that is what counts the most, don't you agree? If you are a horror fan you will very easily recognize the references and tributes to some horror classics like The Thing and works of Stuart Gordon. For me that adds to the joy but The Void makes sure you get more treats throughout.

The Void has a considerable fast pace overall but never wavers to halt the film to build up tension and suspense. But when things start happening they come at you in full force with all the blood and gore that you would expect from a cosmic horror. This film is yet another proof how less can be more and that you really should be strategic when to use certain effects or not. It easily can be overkill and if that happens it usually becomes tedious and boring. The Void avoids these trappings and as a result stays compelling throughout. Also because it tries real hard to add other elements to maintain a dark and creepy atmosphere to keep you on your toes. Even if the story itself might be too abstract it will never feel as a bad one. Being abstract is fine as long as you keep pretension in check. Directors Jeremy Gillespie Steven Kostanski are very much on top to not go overboard with being serious and consequence is that The Void mostly is simple fun.

So glad that there are still film makers out there who just want their audience to have fun and actually make it worth their time. Go watch this as soon as you can, you won't regret it!

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Absolute disaster!, 13 April 2017

Honestly I wasn't expecting much but nothing prepared me for this. Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is easily one of the worst films I have seen in my life. And for those who don't know me that is saying something since I am quite old and have seen a lot.

I had hoped it would at least be on par with Zoolander 2 but sadly it's far worse. The biggest problem of the film is that it simply is not funny. Too many jokes that miss their mark even when I was trying to be as open and receptive as possible. I really tried hard to get into this film and let the silliness overwhelm me which was one of the strongest elements of the original show. However here the craziness is toned down considerably. Even the crudest jokes weren't of the same level as in the show. I get that the majority of the cast have gotten older and that perhaps they felt that they should act more their age although that would go directly against the premise of the show and defeating it's purpose. Whatever the reason or motivation it destroyed most of the fun. Then there are the cameos. I don't even know where to begin with those. None of them made an impact. Sure it's always nice to recognize famous faces but if you would have them left out you would not have missed them. Nothing remarkable has been done with these names and that is a big shame if you ask me.

The acting was acceptable and for the most part Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders played out the characters as we know them. Little less energetic and kinetic maybe but that is understandable they have gotten older of course. Although it has to be said that Joanna Lumley still looks great. I wished the same could be said about Saunders. She messed up her face so much with I presume botox that it looked like she had some mask on or something similar. Very weird and super distracting.

Absolutely Fabulous the show was witty and sharp. This movie is the opposite. It's a total waste of time and I can't think of a single excuse to warrant a view. So don't. AVOID!

Mr. Pig (2016)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Howard the pig steals the show!, 26 February 2017

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.

Split (2016/IX)
3 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
McAvoy is absolutely terrifying!, 31 January 2017

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/I)
19 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Not deserving of it's praise. Not one bit!, 31 January 2017

Special opening comment for 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.

15 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Way to go Abrams. Just when I thought you couldn't do worse., 24 December 2016

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.

I.T. (2016)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
For God's sake be nice to your I.T. guy!, 7 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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.

14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Sammo Hung coming to terms with old age and dementia., 1 July 2016

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.

Entertaining directorial debut of Wu Jing!, 30 June 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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.

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