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While similar to "Transcendence" Lucy got a lot of negative reviews, especially (IMHO) from female viewers. It's pretty interesting phenomena, typical opinion in Internet sounds something like "I have seen trailer, thought it's (wow) movie about strong woman, left disappointed..." What's so disappointing could be subject of deeper analysis, which is beyond my scope, may be it's absence of love story? Too many compromises protagonist does? Basically it's pretty standard action movie, unpretentious, smooth and visually attractive. What exactly in "Lucy" causes such disgust in females would be fun and useful to know.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
New candy wrapper for old shite
wow - New Trailer released for 1968 movie :) Today this movie looks like meaningless crap, but it's possible that in 1968 when average John Doe visited his church on Saturday and movie theater next day, he could find some sense in this polished, sparkling nonsense.
Absurd idea that evolution did happen, but for final step – to take a bone as instrument, a human somehow needed deus ex machina, is pretty difficult to watch today without LOL, not even mentioning more than a dozen of animals using various objects as instruments (crows, elephants, beavers, otters, ants ) But special effects and philosophical bulls*** are hilarious! This movie is brightest star for those expecting carrier in media and art industry: just look "how you can dupe suckers for 46 years and become rich" with hollow dummy.
Bad Country (2014)
Best retro nostalgia of recent years
Just 5-6 minutes in the whole movie (mostly dialogs) are slack, the rest kept me watching - very good sign. In general movie looks VERY professional and well made, including casting of actors, retro-decorations (but with modern editing and good pace), whole aura. I've been really touched by this re-make of 80-s.
On the negative side is somewhat primitive agenda: excessive use of neo-Nazi symbolics transposed on "southern planter" image definitely looks like "Zombie Nazi in Space" exploitation and reduces the value of references to "based on real events movie". "Big shootout" looks unrealistic, with all respect - even if they wanted to add some pepper to make action "hot" it's not another "Matrix", and to me it seems that for this specific type of movie director definitely over-used ammunition and slow-mo sequences.
However general impression is not spoiled and I want to applause.
300: Rise of an Empire (2014)
Heavenly hundred: Rise of Russia
It's mystery for me how Zack Snyder did it. Probably I'll never understand, unless he tells himself.
First part of "300" has been released on the peak of tensions between Western world and Iran and caused much controversy. I even remember one egghead on TV said "it's worst moment to release this movie now". Yeah, and now on brink of war between Ukraine in Russia Zack, like, waves his burning lighter near the fuse AGAIN.
Second part released with background of 300 Spartans (or 104 people on Euromaidan) dead in the previous part of the "movie" and fear of what many believe is Russian "aggression" under supervision of Xerxes (played by Mr.Putin) and Artemisia (played by Ms.Matviyenko)
One more coincidence like this and I will believe that Zack is the prophet.
I have never seen more historical lies in single movie than in "300". And I never got more historical truth because I watched it.
I never imagined from my school history lessons that right to the East, parallel to slavery and madness of internal wars between ancient Greek cities where slaves were hunted like animals and philosophers publicly poisoned for "blasphemy", nearby existed tolerant Persian Empire, where slavery was forbidden and people could practice any religion they wish to. Would life be much better if Xerxes succeed and Alexander the Great never plunged onto his fruitless murder ride to the East?
Overwhelmingly attractive hypocrisy of "300" and it's sequel did more than any political propaganda could ever do.
Watching "Rise of an Empire" and comparison of this movie with ongoing real events in the world causes trembling feeling inside that geniuses like Zack do exist. And I can't understand if Zack (same like his "Watchmen" protagonists) is hero or villain. I'm impressed to the depth of my soul.
Ender's Game (2013)
Harry Potter's guide to the Galaxy
When Ender finally got to Hogwar... err, sorry to Space Academy, I had only one question - why he didn't departure from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters? It's amazing (if you read the novel - which is pretty authentic) how sometimes directors and producers turn literally anything, even most original idea, into chewable cinematographic copypaste.
I understand difficulty of finding 8-year old actor, but movie authors didn't even attempt to struggle.
Forget this movie slag, really! There is much better use of your time than watching Harry Potter without spectacles in Space and cheap kindergarten version of Xenomorph Queen.
Escape Plan (2013)
Disney pictures presents..
Easy, very easy movie (in a good sense). Everything is "caricature" of itself - antagonists, protagonists, plot and stunts.
When movie ended - I desperately waited for logo "Disney Pictures presents..", as much as practically possible in action movie, authors removed hardcore violence, blood and suspense. As a matter of fact - this is modern version of "Last Action Hero" just without a teen as protagonist (aging fans of Arnie and Sly accurately and precisely targeted). Today it's almost a family movie and this can be taken in account when planning your holiday or evening.
No any glitches or boring moments, hahahas and bangbangs are exactly where they have to be, movie is professional and smooth, pleasure guaranteed.
After Earth (2013)
Throw away Sci-Fi wrapper - get no candy inside
First impression after watching this movie is surprise of why they put this pretty trivial story into sci-fi candy wrapper.
And to my regret it seems that the only purpose of this was to create attractive trailer, because without some special effects it would be totally boring movie. Just remove all this 3D BS and you are left with plane crush incident on toneless father-son relationships background.
If you don't move or run - you play with your face. Bad guy from "The Saw" could do it. Hannibal Lector could do it. Will Smith can't. Smith sitting in a chair is just a guy sitting in a chair and special effect designers jump over their head to hide it, but still fail.
There's a couple of bright episodes when you start to think you are watching good movie: short flashback about Kitai's sister and uber-eagle chase but when they ended, I plunged back into boredom.
Generally (no matter of quality and rating) high budget commercial movie shall not create impression of cheating it's viewer when you finish watching, like it happens with B-class Asylum-studio movies, but here is rare case when it successfully did.
Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
Alone in the Dark Red Dawn
Half of total movie length shot "in the dark" like cheap horror or TV-series: usually an attempt to save on decorations, but why here? Less cardboards? Saving trees? Kinda "green" movie?
Unbelievably stupid plot: now we know there's single button to make one "big nuke bada boom" Wow! Oh great Kim Jong-un, only your supreme wisdom could discover this secret of American loosers. OK, OK, may be they will disable it now...
Unbelievably cheap special effects: now we know that mini-gun bullets are visible in daylight as long bright lines, and all you need to avoid them is to run fast enough in right direction.
After watching this movie I understood that "Red Dawn" actually is deeply intellectual, art-house masterpiece suitable for Sundance festival.
Cocktail named "Satisfactory"
Bartender-director after some head scratching invented pretty much attractive formula:
First - One part of Apple design, make everything smooth, round, white and polished.
- Add two parts of "Aeon Flux" aesthetics - haircuts, dress and sporty bodies.
- And last but not least - steal spicy topping from recipe of "Independence Day" because you aren't smart enough to invent something of your own.
Result? Quite satisfactory movie, visually pleasant, not boring and entertaining. I'd like some more action and dynamics but "as is" also isn't bad. Good product.
Side Effects (2013)
Richard Gere is back and rolls in his grave
Ah, sorry, Richard is still alive... He is just immortal. Well, well, so copycat of "Final Analysis" is back on the road. Not that I would really complain about it - why they can make 20 thousands movies about a cop revenging for his dead family and not make a dosen of movies about a shrink fooled by (usually female) patient. But still it's not action movie, you can't win by simply introducing couple of attractive karate fights and nice explosion. I expected kinda "story", so simple ripoff of old script looks irritating. Why not make some unexpected twist, it would make this movie stepping out of boring line of cinematic fast-food.
Pity. But this movie is not a "disaster", it's just ripoff. I viewed it once, probably will forget about it in a couple of days, but no complains about "loss of time" or something: dialogs, action, everything is fine and professional.
Two things look outstanding strange - story about pharmaceutical industry that blops on the floor and goes nowhere (what did they want to say?) and Tatum who after G.I.Joe and this movie is getting a "perma-role" of the guy who dies in the first half of the movie. Omitting these "goofs" and predictable ending - well spent 1,5 hours.
Les Misérables (2012)
Painless way to get acquainted with Broadway show
Before watching this movie of course interesting question would be "Is Baron Cohen proper actor for Victor Hugo adaptation?"
After watching this movie answer is definitely "yes" because you get idea that this is not by any measure (even remotely) adaptation of Victor Hugo novel but "music video" for Broadway show.
Finally I got enough motivation to watch this "awesome masterpiece" and can admit it can be well tolerated. If Broadway musicals make you sick (like they do to me), this movie is probably least painful way to taste this strange genre but not get mental trauma due to cultural shock.
In worst scenario - you simply become a little bored here and there. Proper costumes, expensive decorations, well known actors... All these pretty things are buffering Broadway-style strike in the ear for unaccustomed viewer.
Of course, it's quite difficult to hear Hathaway's "artistic" concept of "I Dreamed a Dream" after listening Susan Boyle, but frankly speaking it's the only moment when I winced, the rest of the movie is okey-dokey. Thanks to makers for brave attempt.
One observation: in many reviews those fans of Broadway musicals complain that this movie is bad comparing to original musical. That's mysterious, because you could equally say that Broadway musical itself just mocking serious Hugo's novel, playing "shallow". At the end - this movie is probably best viewed out of any attempt of "comparison".
Movie 43 (2013)
I have absolutely no idea how they assembled a team of such high profile actors for this sharp and unusual movie. It's not art-house, I even cannot describe it clearly, but it's really pushing boundaries, sometimes going even beyond "Onion news". Guys, how you did it, eh? No, this movie is not stupid shocking prank like e.g. "goatse" picture. It definitely has message, even if not for everyone. Girl menstruation episode gently takes fears out of your belly and pushes them in your face. "Home education" episode is nearly brilliant, though uncomfortable to watch at the end, but definitely it was the purpose. I laughed loudly but with attempts not to turn my eyes away from the screen.
iBabe... oh Gosh, I love it. Buy mp3 player but don't f.., oh, sorry, "don't steal music". Of course we won't.
This movie will never reach popularity of similarly structured "Tales from the Crypt": it deals with too many human prejudices and phobias, but big thanks to all actors and the team for making it, at least once.
Red State (2011)
Good idea turned into crap
I've heard rumors about alternative ending of this movie - will all those angels coming down to Earth, etc. May be it was actually the only way to save this movie from being total disaster.
There should be no high expectations about "independent" movies, we are ready to forgive poor or totally absent special effects and action concentrated in a single location on primitive decorations.
But SOMETHING has to separate independent movie from cheap commercial movie - yes or no?
Mixing all that rich stuff about WDC, Waco siege and freedom of speech into nit-witted horror movie seems simply tasteless. Each of these topics by itself can provide material for a small encyclopedia or library, but alas, this time tons of juicy fruits in hands of respected Kevin Smith had given birth to a small brownish pile with unpleasant smell.
So, monstrous preacher and PVC wrapped gay - that's an essence of antagonism between the State and radicals. Now we know it thanks to Kevin.
It would be more honest to make another Nazi-zombies slasher.
Somebody - give an eye patch to Guy Pierce !
There's an old joke about fat "cabinet" army general who wanted to become military genius and his colleagues proposed (as only available solution) to remove one of his eyes - may be this way he could become similar to Moshe Dayan.
This joke immediately jumped into my mind when I finished watching "Lockout". May be if someone will give an eye patch to Guy Pierce, he'll get similarity with Russel's Snake Pliskin?
Well, I doubt about it too, but for God's sake - 33 years were enough for Jesus to become more than ordinary human, and still it's not enough to make descent remake of Escape from New York? All those marketing, social, special effects, cinematographic and other studies gone nowhere? Total disappointment. Unbelievable.
Avgust. Vosmogo (2012)
I've almost said "wow"
Frankly: current state of Russian cinema seems fairly low, you have to be real "patriot" to find any jokes in todays' Russian comedies or any fun in action movies (IMHO).
The bigger was surprise from "August 8th" - it got my 8/10 just for being able to watch it till closing credits and don't die from boredom. Bravo! I would even suppose that this movie would be suitable for international auditory, at least it's much more entertaining than any direct-to-video Seagal/VanDamme/Lundgren "product".
OK, Russian actors and script-writers still need to strive to reach any level of realism in dialogs which are are too long and non-convincing here and there, scene of "orgasm in elevator" bravely stolen from Harry & Sally (well, actually it's tribute, heroine has it on DVD), but mechanical, F/X and battle parts of the movie are almost perfect.
Frankly, I cannot even recall any recent movie where realism of the field battle was close enough to August 8th. "Battle Los Angeles" is probably being closest. Director is definitely big fan of hardware, almost 50 consecutive seconds of the movie we can see how a bus is being torn in pieces, including demonstration of all it's mechanical "intestines", really rare episode of this kind. For soldiers CRAWLING (not running) in houses, less than heroic (i.e. real world) deaths on both conflicting sides - for all this my big thanks to director and his military consultants.
Last but not least is that you can mark battle scenes as "based on real events" - unfortunately this sign today is often attached to movies with almost no ties to reality. Here, on the contrary, almost all battle episodes of the movie are based on actual events, including "big ambush" on one of convoys, "live shield" by tank without ammo and many others.
Watching those episodes is highly recommended even if you get a copy of this movie without dubbing, consider it "Black Hawk Down" in miniature.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
Sound movie leaving no traces in memory
Action and chasing scenes are professional, no problems with them. Plot and script either boring or little stupid. For example at the very end of the movie Bond with 100% confidence tells a girl she is from Canadian intelligence service, but at the same time asks "what's your name". So he knows everything about the girl but doesn't know her name? Very funny. Scene when two (Bond and Bondgirl) attack hotel packed with armed guards looks like pure "Matrix" parody. Greene is not afraid to be killed by dictator but afraid to be killed by Bond. Dictator knows less tortures or it's assumed (contrary to real life) that all dictators are inherent cowards? Such episodes are not really goofs but leave unpleasant aftertaste. Seems that imagination of Ian Fleming in the 50-ies created more "realistic" and attractive plots than imagination of today's authors using quasi-real background. Some episodes are on a bright side of life: whole "Tosca opera" thing - nearly brilliant; short martial combat in elevator and subsequent corridor conversation with "M" - very "Bondish" because supplemented by nice 007 theme remix; final episode with Mathis - really touchy. It also has touch of hidden humor in fact that secret organization is called "Quantum" ("Quantum" is real name of secret offshore company and fund of "realworld" George Soros used to perform his operations so it's a strong allusion). Also a fine joke when police chief takes money and says that "corrupted government cannot be tolerated". So of course there's no chance that Bond fans stop watching 007 series, but this franchise turns more and more into something similar to X-Files. Good for single evening, no wish to leave it in DVD library like it happened with "old good" 007 movies.
Also it's nice that Broccoli & team secretly accepted that "Never Say Never Again" was actually the best Bond movie ever :) - Dominic Greene is mirror copy of Maximillian Largo.
Fairly good but not as good as it should be
Liam Neeson indeed does a lot for this movie, not unusual role for him (recall "Kingdom of Heaven") but perfect job. The rest of movie unfortunately is satisfactory at best. Remember that we already have masterpiece with same plot and clichés - it's "Man on Fire" and script of "Taken" is just weak resemblance to this wonderful example of genre. OK, French director needed happy-end (?!?), let's swallow happy-end in French movie, but another "escape-when-you- are-hanging-on-steam-tube-in-handcuffs-surrounded-by-guards" is so nauseating beyond expression that I really felt sick. Drunk homeless imbecile would demonstrate more fantasy directing this movie than authors of such episodes. Anyway thanks (again!) to Neeson we have fairly solid piece of work which you can see 1-2 times and enjoy, but some estrangement to forget about stupidity of plot really required for fastidious audience.
Max Payne (2008)
5 awarded to movie quality plus 1 point for "Max Payne" title
No hypocrisy: I watched this movie for one and simple reason - I liked PC game of same title and have been ready to forgive a lot just for title, same as with Doom movie. Just consider those movies to be a "video intro" to the game in some way.
As game ex-fan and casual viewer of movies I got something to appreciate and something not, with more to appreciate so total sum is 6 i.e. "above average".
In "Advantages" column we have: 1) Atmosphere of the movie, hell's flame and flying Valkyrs are in right context for our pleasure and fully in line with idea of original game.
In "Disadvantages" column: 1) Not enough SloMo! Guys (I mean producers and F/X staff) - you are tight on budget or what? Yes, movies are overfed with SloMo nowadays, but this movie at least partially is for game fans so why not please them? SloMo/bullet time was in center of the game so it should be kept in the movie. Instead we have just couple of short stumps. 2) One of main antagonists is colorful, brutal and impressive - and you guys allowed him just miserable machete fight parody and one-shot-to-die in the final? Shame on you! 3) Somebody, please, help us to get rid of Ms.Kurylenko in action movies! It's not Hamlet, it's just 5 minutes role of sexy Russian prostitute, so for sake of God take catalog of Russian actresses or just visit porn studio and select someone feminine for this role instead of Miss Twiggy.
Despite quantitative comparison is not in favor of "Advantages" section, I still highly recommend to watch this movie to all who played Max Payne game. If you didn't - why not try once? :)
Hell Ride (2008)
"Tarantino" in titles is disappointing, but movie you can swallow smoothly with cola
Everything negative written about this movie is true, but mainly based on high expectations ("Tarantino" in the titles is absolutely misguiding). However if you have some free time, cola or beer and snack, do not expect ANY fresh idea from a movie and just want to relax - you can go and watch it without hesitations. No really, that's the good "upper B-class" with all attributes of biker's movie like dust, guns, leather jackets, shootings in desert and babes. Authors even added another "cool" killing device similar to cattle gun in "No Country for Old Men". Protagonist's ("Pistolero") face is so sour like he has been fed half-a-dozen of lemons through his rectum, but other actors honestly do their job. Just don't expect anything else besides of features described above and you likely to be satisfied.
giving it five for being another sniper movie and not too boring
in fact whole movie is 100% "plot hole" - guards without cartridges in their weapon, sniper with a rifle running from the man with a gun and unable to return fire, jumping from underwater in a split second, immediately trusting betrayal-lady upon her statement she is "glad to see you"... Shuddering like from toothache when recall them, but since there are some popularity of "sniper invisible avenger" movies and James Remar isn't any worse than Tom Berenger (just needs better script and director) I'd give this move rate five and could recommend to leave it somewhere in DVD stack for one-time watching on rainy boring evening. If you like sniper movies of course, otherwise it's just loss of time.
Fairly flat movie but some fresh special effects and "not-another-stupid-happy-end" save it
If you like to collect music videos like Madonna's "Vogue" or Fergie's "Fergalicious" this movie going to be nice amendment to your collection :) Director of this movie has been well known on Russian advertising market for series of visually catching TV ads, and this style is somewhat imprinted in the movie. Not that this is really so bad but movie itself very often lacks continuity in style, pieces of visually stunning clips are mixed with boring "dramatic theatrical" interludes - you'll probably like to view this movie again, but when viewing it second time prepare yourself to use "fast forward" a lot on your player. Movie is so overloaded with clichés and so openly appealing to quasi-real feelings of low-level office workers that people overfed with similar plots and marketing campaigns simply pucker up - it's like somebody is trying to give you a spoon of sugar after you ate a big chocolate cake.
Nevertheless: many new fresh moves, exotic pirate's weapons and ammunition, tattooed butt of Jolie (just few seconds, deep sigh) and finally - beautiful samurai-way resolution closer to the end of the movie save it and make it clearly distinct from "B" class and direct to video releases. Relax and enjoy - at least once.
Movie is much better if you know what are you actually watching..
Quite surprised about low rating of this movie until the moment of simple enlightenment: people likely think this is an action movie and evaluate it as another sci-fi while in fact this is wonderful social comedy with elements of sci-fi and "hardcore" action to make it less pathetic.
Yes, low budget is visible in every "digitized" blast there, so if you are after another space blockbuster, skip watching it and wait for a moment when you feel yourself fit for a good comedy. And you will appreciate this movie - seriously :) Forget this average IMDb rating and watch it for your pleasure, home video is perfect place for it, not big theater screen.
If you watched original "Troopers" and laughed at those nice clichés in "Federal Network" broadcasts then "Marauder" is the movie for you, you'll get more clichés and they became even better and more ingenious. Low on FX, it's high on humor and I sincerely hope we will have another "Troopers" inheriting this mad mixture of sarcasm and gore "insectofobic" violence.