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unexplained but original
The story is original, with a newly invented villain. It is told superficially, with many elements that could be well explored to enrich the film being ignored. But, although much of it goes unexplained, the villains are cool. The makeup effects are pretty mixed: some are great (the skinless bodies), but some aren't (hooks in the skin). The cenobites' makeup are also very nice. The special effects are OK to an 1987 movie. The soundtrack wasn't much present, contributing little to the movie. The acting is poor overall, pretty artificial. And the characters weren't demanding: they are plain stereotyped good guys/bad guys. I recommend it, since it's a classic. It's not bad overall, I guess I just expected more. I'm still about to check the follow-ups that may enhance the experience with this movie.
Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
no story, but enjoyable
I liked this compilation of scenes. I liked the soundtrack; I liked the acting; I liked the settings; I liked the effects. As a game, it works greatly. The movie is a sum of chunks of stories. Most of them are action stories. A few are horror stories. Another few are mystery stories. And none of them are connected to each other. They just share common characters.
Honestly, the plot is just an excuse for great action scenes. And I liked the action scenes. I rate it zero for the story, ten for the technical quality. And I have to admit it: in the end, I liked it as a whole.
Le hérisson (2009)
This is a very charming and thought-provoking movie. It displays prejudice and stereotyping, to deliver the message that every person is a person, independently of their role in our lifes. But some people assimilate their roles to the point of forgetting they're much more themselves. The story develops slowly, at the perfect pace, in a dynamic way, allowing the viewer to assimilate the many different points that are developed at the same time. The different image types (from the movie itself, and from Paloma's filmings) help keep it interesting. Added to the beautiful soundtrack, it leads you to the mood where you'll open your mind to the questions the director wanted you to think about. The acting is also superb, specially Josiane Balasko. With an original story and engaging characters, this is a must see. And must think, afterwards.
Simple and safe story in a high quality CG movie
First of all, I have to add my voice to the mass that praises the technical aspects of this movie. Considering the budget, we couldn't expect less. The soundtrack also is orchestrated as expected from a work of this financial magnitude.
The story, however, have mixed features. I also analyze it in 2 halves. The beginning is nice: I consider it has originality in the future it portrays. The main plot and elements are a common formula, the details are what count. Except for the exaggeration in the robot's "humanity", it's a very good start. Then we have the second half, which may be totally dismissed. It's almost like a totally different movie. It portrays the USA society almost as it is now; it displays an absolutely human robot; it tells us a tale that have been told over and over for centuries. The characters, action and everything else is so overly far-fetched. Although the pace of the film is eventful, apart from a few references that may make it enjoyable, it's a bore.
I recommend it for the less thought-demanding audiences. For everyone else, you better spend your time with a different movie.
Nice fantasy animation for all audiences
This is a nice fantasy story. The high point here is creativity. The main plot's elements don't make much sense, but they are coherent between themselves. It's like a dream, where things obey the dream logic, but don't obey real-world logic. This also highlights the human characteristics of the main character.
Like many Japanese stories, this movie contains a lot of story for just 2 hours. It's not a boring movie; it has a long, complete story. The adventures of Chihiro are told in a good pace, we can follow it without getting bored. The personality of the various supporting characters are revealed as time passes, and Chihiro is an open-minded child, whose lack of prejudice makes her see the characters as they are, and therefore help the world she is in.
Technically, this film is very good. Full of colours, they vary according to each moment's mood, adding to the storytelling. The soundtrack also agrees with the scenes. The drawing is very good, like all Miyazakis.
One of the greatest accomplishments of this movie is that it appeals to most audiences, from the most thought-demanding to the less. When you analyze it, you can see many messages and information; on the other hand, if you're not like that, you can just sit back and enjoy the little nice fantastic story.
From Inside (2008)
An engaging, strong nightmare
I watched this movie at Fantaspoa 2010, and I was very impressed by it. It really took me to another reality, or rather, unreality; a bad dream. The great graphical quality of it, together with a matching soundtrack, and a well performed narrative, telling such original and uncommon story, accomplished what many top-budget Hollywood horror movies failed to. It made me feel uncomfortable, even though I shouldn't be able see myself into any of the characters, as it tells us about an apocalyptic world. This animation's characteristics, though, made it easy to feel like in a nightmare. A nightmare that could be mine. A nightmare that, for 70 minutes, was mine.
Technically speaking, the soundtrack is not great. It's suitable. The graphics are great. Most of the time, it doesn't seem like hard things to make, like it was a challenge. But each element was well orchestrated, making each frame a painting, a portrait of pain, despair. The narrative of the main character was well elaborated, completing the portrait with the colors of agony, lack of hope, compromise to emptiness. The pace of the movie is slow. It gives you the time to assimilate each and every bad moment the character is going through. It helps you enter the torpid, dormant feelings of the train's passengers, as life passes by outside. The engineers of the train made the important decisions, practically nobody else cared. They let themselves be taken.
The story is coherent overall, as a dream can be. Many elements go unexplained, but you should consider that as not relevant. It stands clear that the important thing is Cee's point of view of the things that happen around her. The other characters' behaviours aren't unrealistic. Greed, altruism, envy, pride. Nothing is exaggerated or stereotyped.
I won't recommend it for most people, as it is strong. It is, after all, also like a nightmare in these points: you don't want it. You don't like it. You wish you never had it. It makes you feel bad. But it ends, and then you're glad that you can be awake in your real world, in your real life. Back to normality.
So yes, I liked it a lot, and there are a few people I would recommend it to: the few people who are aware that nightmares are a part of ourselves. A part that helps to keep us sane. The same part that helps us understand the difference between reality and illusion. Good things and bad things. Ultimately, it helps us understand the balance of life.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
This is a pretty average Disney movie. I had high expectations because of Tim Burton directing it. And actually Burton's visual style is easily recognizable. But basically, that is what saves this movie from a total failure. I won't complain that the story is not that from the book: that was announced, and therefore it was expected. But I was expecting a Burtonian story. Finding a typical Disney story was very disappointing.
About the characters, you would expect to have a great participation of Alice, or maybe the Hatter (Burton's idol Johnny Depp), but instead the most prominent character happens to be the Red Queen, by far.
At least the movie is not boring, and well produced (as it was expected).
Summary: Technically great, visually great; poor, disappointing story. If you want to just sit and relax, it's a good choice. If you want to entertain your brain, you better pick something else.
The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
Great story, wanting for a remake
Graphically, this movie is good and enjoyable. Although the settings were cheap, the choices for artifacts, costumes, colors and camera positioning made up very good shots. But this work is even more remarkable for having a great soundtrack. It fits perfectly well into the story, that is the best part of it. A thrilling suspense, with a wonderfully tailored plot. I regret the technical limitations of the producers of this movie. With such story, it would get a 10 for sure from me, if properly produced, and with tiny little changes here and there. When I take into account the time this movie was done, and the budget allocated to it, it really impresses me.
The pace of the film is not fast, but it's not tedious as well. Some sequences seems to be purposely slow, for the audience to assimilate what's going on in the screen. But it never wanders to dead ends; the story is all linked up. An important fact about this film is that most of what happens in it is feasible, or almost. For me, it really felt like an Agatha Christie story.
A few elements simply "are", like Dr. Phibes' assistant. But it's a needed element, it would be lacking if it weren't there.
Summary: The acting is OK, the scenery is cheap, the soundtrack is great, the story even better. I highly recommend, for those devoid of bias against old-time horror movies. And I'll eagerly pray and wait for a good Hollywood remake.
The Hangover (2009)
Waste of a creative story
This movie is hard to evaluate. It has some very good points, but it is not as great as it might sound. It's just good. The story is creative, with weird and curious mysteries to be unveiled. Although not at a slow pace, the film goes at a slower pace than it should, considering the various things happening. Most mysteries are explained, but the things done by the characters are not believable. Most things that are supposed to be funny are just plain dummy. So, in the end, this is a pretty average work. It's well produced, as expected from a Hollywood movie. An average movie with a creative story. All I can say is that they wasted a good opportunity to make a great movie.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
A different story in a pretty movie
This is a very entertaining animation. The story is not politically correct: it teaches children to follow their will and talents, even if that means being a good burglar. But it also teaches good things: to accept oneself; to do your best; to unite to get stronger, and work as a team, among other things.
The film goes on a good pace, it has a lot of action. Many things happen, keeping your attention. It gives the impression of being a long movie, but not because it's bad. I felt like my spent time was worth it. The different things that happen are well linked, and they go according to the characters' personality. As a fable, it works great - most fables do; and the characters are amusing.
This movie also gets extra points from me due to its originality. It represents people, in a way that it contains different, sometimes conflicting elements found in most people.
There are a few unnecessary scene, but they don't make this movie less fun. And a few technical elements are poor also, but one must admit that some things must be really hard to do in stop-motion. In fact, the creators did have a good amount of creativity in some scenes. Finally, I can't leave behind any comments on the graphical quality of the movie. It has some really beautiful images, and most of the others are at least very nice.
Mimi wo sumaseba (1995)
Teenager story for all ages
This work is seen by many as "romance". I really don't see it that way. Of course, romance plays a very important role in the story, as it does in our lives. But that is not the central point this animation enfolds. This movie actually displays a beautiful story of a school girl growing up. She faces her first complex experiences in her emotional life. She also faces the decisions she must take that will steer her adult life, based on the things she loves. She takes full responsibility of her future, with strong will and focus, on something that she chose by herself. For all of these, she's probably the best teen character I've seen in a movie. I found the story to be very original. I've seen Hollywood movies about teenagers growing up, but they are often shallow.
This kind of child is uncommon in western society. The few kids with that determination are often just following what their parents tell them to do. They study hard simply because they are told to, and so on. So, around here, a kid such as that from the movie is not real. But she should be an example to be followed by the children, and an aim for parents to achieve with their kids. In our culture, kids with determination usually don't set their goals. And kids with goals usually don't have determination. The few that have both end up as real winners in life. The story is well told, with a long storyline that won't bore you. It's hard to explain this. The movie made me feel I spent well my time: the huge transformation from a girl to a woman, displayed in less than 2 hours, felt very complete, so that it's like I saw a much longer movie without getting bored. It's pretty enjoyable, and with a good soundtrack, good settings, and good side stories to garnish. The only not-so-good-as-the-rest part of the movie is the cat, that participates in the plot but has no explanation for its reasons whatsoever. Even so, it's not a bad thing.
I highly recommend this movie. It's easy to understand and fulfilling in many senses.
The Bank Job (2008)
Nice action movie for Friday nights at home
The story is fun and somewhat thrilling. The basic, initial idea of robbing a bank is common, but the extra story adds originality to this movie. The characters are believable, although somewhat stereotyped.
The plot is unveiled in parts, keeping a good pace. Every now and then a new element is introduced, keeping our attention while the action moves on. No major holes were found, with all the relevant elements linked and explained. Scenography and makeup are good as well.
Since it's based in a true story, this film is quite enjoyable to see at home. Not thought-provoking, but it's a good distraction if you want a soft action movie.
Original story badly executed
I liked the originality of the story. At first, it could be described as any common zombie movie: normal people living their normal lives, then suddenly one infected appear; he spreads the disease to 2 or 3 other person, who spread to a few more. Eventually, the government has to act upon it, and it does so trying to isolate the problem. But the solutions proves hard, as the disease spreads easily, and finally the world becomes a chaos, full of infected.
But there are a few differences, that make the film fall in a completely different category. The main difference is that in this movie, the infected don't lose their conscience, they just lose sight. As a consequence, the story is told from their side. It's focused on the drama of the infected, instead of the fear of the uninfected.
To add positively to the originality of it, lies the fact that something like that could really happen in the real world. Although a virus that affects the vision would be improbable, it's still possible, and depending on the way it spreads, it would really be unstoppable.
On the negative side of plausibility, I'm not sure if any first-world government would really be that disrespectful on the ill, specially in the beginning of the epidemy. I guess they could put a nurse or two, a doctor or two with the ill, even if wearing protection suits, to help them organize.
Their organization, by the way, is the main problem I had with this movie. As with other movies where a group of people see themselves in an adverse situation, here also they fail to organize themselves to have some independence, quality and future. The seeing character do a little job on that, but she could have done much more. And the blind people could have done it also. They could organize in cleaning the place and themselves, saving food, etc. But the authors of such movies always gather a bunch of dumb characters, so that they can have their drama. The problem is that in real life, people have better working brains. You don't have to have everyone there as intelligent people for things to work. One or two in a group would rather do the job. Whenever the creators insist on stereotyped characters (the dumb leader, the sheeps following him, the revolting sheeps plotting against him, and the evil villain), I feel like wasting my time. I've seen it all before, and it's always the same.
The acting that make these characters alive is good. Nothing spectacular, but I acknowledge the fact that making a blind character isn't easy, and having all your cast as blind characters must be really hard. Apart from their blind characteristics, their personality representations were good.
The movie develops in an average to slow pace. Also, it's full of white, and poor in colors. All of that is on purpose, so that the audience can assimilate what's going on, and to help them feel more involved. The soundtrack is very discrete most of the time, working in the same direction. But I didn't like all of this: it made me uncomfortable in a way different from what I believe the director wanted it to be. Anyway, the story never stalls, always displaying a new problem or conflict. I didn't find it boring, but it was most of the time very close to it. Still on the technical topic, the scenery is very appropriate.
Some things go unexplained in the movie, but it's clear that they are not important. The disease itself is never explained, for example. But they are not the point in the story.
Vantage Point (2008)
Great movie effort wasted on a commonplace story
This movie is promising in the summary and trailer, but it doesn't live up to it. I can say its storytelling is somewhat original, but the problem is that they didn't seem to take enough advantage of that idea. The movie tells a story based on different views and informations available to each of the main characters in the movie. Every time they restart telling the events, they let the audience know a little more of what's happening. That gives a lot of potential to a movie, as it may be explored in infinite ways, and tell great stories in a grandiose fashion. Unfortunately, in my opinion, all of that potential was wasted in a pretty common story. So, basically, it's a great storytelling way, wasted on an average story.
The movie is well produced. It has good acting, good scenarios, the story is coherent, the film is not boring. It uses an innovative storytelling. With all of that, in the end you just think, "well, that movie was OK". What's wrong then? My answer is: the story. This is a good movie to watch, if you just want to kill some time.
Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
Waste of Hollywood movie, because of small details
Technically, this movie is well produced; it has good effects, good costumes. Also, the actors do a nice job. The characters display the same culture one finds in all serious WWII movies concerning Japanese philosophy. And the story is about an episode of the war that was very important, but not that widely know. But that's all I have to say in favor of this movie. And it's not that big a deal: good effects, good actors, etc is the least expected from a Hollywood film from a famous director.
The fact is, I really didn't like this movie. Its storytelling is very confusing. The viewer has no notion of the time that passed in the story, between scenes. Sometimes, the story timeline leaps weeks, and you have no clue about it. You'll find it out minutes later, and the part of the movie where you didn't know that time had passed will remain in a blurry area of the timeline. Also, it appears rather incomplete. Some things are kept unexplained (or scarcely explained), adding to the confusion. I didn't watch Flags of our Fathers, and don't intend to, as I found this one very disappointing. If you want to see a good WWII movie, from the Japanese point of view, this is NOT the movie to watch. There are many others out there better than this one.
The sad part of this movie is, it could have been great; it was spoiled by simple, small details that made a big difference.
The Colour of Magic (2008)
A very enjoyable "family" movie.
Technically, this movie is very good. The effects are well done, with very high quality computer graphics for a "Made for TV" movie, that won't stand behind theatrical release movies. The outdoor scenes were all well produced, placing the actors in a "real" discworld. The customs and environment are in a child-movie style, because of the story's background (it came from a series of books made for children). But that doesn't mean low quality. It just adds to the comical overall feeling of the film. The actors followed this same comical/child-oriented line when playing their roles.
About the story, it never gets boring, and a lot of things happen to the main characters. They practically cross the world in a single adventure, including a journey in "outer space". Multiple parallel plots also take place. In the end, this 3-hour movie entertains you the whole time. The main motivation is very original: following the steps of the first tourist. And the world description is ironically fun.
This story has 2 main perspectives. From the Twoflower point of view, it's a story about having an open mind. One may have much fun and learn a lot when he keeps his mind open to new experiences. From the Rincewood point of view, it shows that one must have persistence; and also that, even in the face of failure, your value doesn't diminish. You're not defined by your failures and/or successes as perceived by the others.
In the end this is a family movie, worth watching by itself, and even more with your children (if you happen to have any).
a simple, basic horror movie
The story is nothing great. Teens heading to a music festival get a little known "shortcut", a very cliché way of putting the victims on their way to slaughter. The evil characters kill for the sake of killing, with no reason and no big explanation. The teen group runs, the monster pursuits. The group split to make the monster's work easier. All in all, it's a simple, basic horror movie.
It's more like a showcase to display the filmmaker's makeup and gore-making abilities. It may be a Pakistan novelty, but considering worldwide horror movie history, it's pretty common. Many unexplained, cliché elements claims for a low grade, a 5, just in the middle. Not exactly bad, but only worth watching if you really have a good deal of time spare.
A good nerdy fairy tale
The story is a nerdy fairy tale. The princess, the hero, the evil villain... they're all there. The movie follows in a childish, naive storytelling way, but it is very enjoyable. The actors are good, they fit well into their characters. This film is obviously full of references. You can have some good laughs, even if you're not into the RGP/cult horror/star trek/star wars universe.
The special effects are simple but well done, and that serves also to display the differences between the "real world" and the "fantasy world" in which the characters oscillate. They find themselves facing real emotions, mixing their imaginary stories' adventures with actual events to help them on the way.
I recommend it for those who want a light movie, to relax and have a good time.
Technically good, but a shallow content
I saw this movie on Fantaspoa/2009. I was anxious to see it, as I am a Lovecraft fan, but I have to admit I got disappointed with this movie. Little information on it was new to me. In my opinion, this was a shallow documentary. It gives only an overview on the works that influenced him, and it covers a bit of his work. It tells more about his life and his career, even though not complete, and missing some points that I consider important. And it gives you some notion of his influence in other artists (writers, musicians, painters), with some testimonials. This really is a documentary for people who know nothing or very little of the author. But you should have read some of his stories, so that you know what this film is talking about when it mentions some characters/monsters. Considering that the books I've already read always tell a bit about his life, assuming those who read Lovecraft also read a little about his life/work/career, I guess this documentary doesn't add much.
On the good side, technically this documentary is very good. It doesn't get boring. Displaying places, narrating his life, and mixing that with the testimonials and images of his monsters as imagined by different artists, it keeps a good flow. It really is a professional work.
Idiots and Angels (2008)
Good animation, good story, good storytelling
It's good to see a different animation. It's well produced, with good shots. Although it has no dialogs, you don't miss them: the movie has a quite good soundtrack, added to the sound design, makes up a good substitute for possible character conversations. The colors and drawings match the story pretty well. The story, although nothing outstanding, is original and develops fine. The beginning of the movie is slow, telling the usual day-to-day of the main character. He has a boring life, and he's a mean person. Then his life changes, and the film gets more dynamic, up to a point where you don't see time passing by. As the movie evolves, so does the character. First his life get some action, then his personality moves off the common selfishness, as if his experiences were enriching his soul. The quality of the animation is far from the best I've seen, but its other characteristics definitely outweigh that.
Technically terrible, but entertaining overall
I watched this movie in Fantaspoa/2009, together with the documentary "Zombie Girl" (read my review on that movie). It was a very good experience, mainly because of the documentary. After the movie session the audience had a very enlightening talk with 3 horror-movies specialists.
Technically speaking, this movie is terrible. It is full of continuity problems, including sequences where the time of the day changes from one scene to the other, with a dialog starting in daylight and continuing in a night-dark environment, then going back to a daylight environment, all in the same conversation of the characters. The sound is sometimes inaudible, but most of the time it's just bad. The actors are completely amateur, being a group of Emily's school colleagues. If you are into "B" movies for the fun of its mistakes, you'll love this movie.
There are 2 good things about this movie. The script, that even though is not exactly an innovation, is well written. And the different camera takes, that also have nothing new to it, but Emily managed to make the movie very dynamic, keeping it at a good pace. Of course taking care of every detail in a movie is a huge task for a single person, specially an inexperienced 12 years old child. But the fact is, this film is entertaining. It's not boring, which is more than can be said of some Hollywood professional works.
Zombie Girl: The Movie (2009)
This documentary *NOT* about zombies
This is a great documentary. It's complete, from the beginning of Emily's project until its premiere. The final product, the "Pathogen" movie, is very poorly produced, clearly an amateur work. This documentary, on the other hand, makes is pretty clear why that is so. It displays Emily's will to turn her idea into something real. But as a 12 years old girl, she lacks planning, knowledge and looking ahead. She acts much like any average adolescent: that "let's just do it now" attitude, that takes her into troubled times.
The documentary also shows the driving force behind the cameras, Emily's mother, always pushing the idea forward. Her adult vision on organization and planning brings mother and daughter into many conflicts, as the girl believes her mother is trying to make things "her way", but she can't afford losing her support.
Zombie Girl's directors themselves also show their share of persistence, as they keep making the documentary even with the risk of the "Pathogen" project's death, being put aside indefinitely, untouched for some months.
This is a must-see for all paranoid parents who think their children may become disturbed citizens when they grow up if they watch horror movies when they're young. The important thing to keep in mind is not the subject of the child's attention, but the parent's attitude towards it. In this movie, Megan treats a Zombie movie as just what it is: a movie, a project to be executed, a career opportunity, and above all, a learning opportunity. Even if you don't like zombie movies, and don't want to watch "Pathogen", you should see this movie. It's not about zombies, it's about making your ideas happen, through perseverance and support.
Blood on the Highway (2008)
Humor on terror - nice try, but failed.
I watched this movie on Fantaspoa/2009. It was one of the worst movies in that festival (IMO, obviously). The main story is not bad, the effects are OK, the actors are up to the movie's grade. The movie starts slow, and it doesn't get much speed as time goes by.
But what I really didn't like on it is the movie's appeal to obvious clichés, and to pointing them out. In that same festival I watched "Pathogen". It amazes me the fact that "Blood on the Highway" was boring, while on the other hand a lower-budget movie made in a totally amateur fashion, with little to no planning was not. As stated by "toronaga", it may be considered "The 'Airplane!' of horror movies". It's just that I think it didn't fit. Whoever likes this movie, it's probably for the same reason I didn't.
Tôkyô zankoku keisatsu (2008)
This is the top "B" movie I've ever seen, by far. Generally speaking, I like "B" movies, because most of them are simply a good script idea executed with low-budget and bad production. This movie is not exactly a good idea. It is more like a collection of jokes and gore images linked together by a simple story. I don't laugh at the gore itself, I like the situations they fit in. And this movie is about the gore itself.
Certainly there are people who like it. I didn't. It's the 3rd worst movie I've seen so far (it's better that Bruno and Blair Witch), but I rated it that high because I laughed once or twice.
A nice and light comedy
In a forgotten village in the middle of nowhere, the aging population faces a problem: lack of water. The old men are too lazy to solve the problem, and the young leave town to seek a solution but never come back. A young man, who is in love with a girl in town, must solve this problem in order to marry her. He works on that, while the rest of the village fights the classical war of the sexes. The protagonist is very charismatic. He is naive, intelligent and persistent. Since a very early age he creates ludicrous inventions, being completely different from the rest of the people in the town. He completely ignores the war and confusion going on around him, focused only in his objectives: to solve the lack of water problem. Even his girlfriend gets involved in the disputes, believing he also is involved, and adding to the pressure for a solution. A lot of funny things happen in the city, while the women try to force their husbands to work out the problem and the men try to avoid it.