Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

I can't think of a decent way to write a review for this movie. The mythology that they have built around these movies has a life all its own; you go in knowing exactly what to expect, or you won't go see it at all for the same reason. The first two movies ere not great by any means, but they were not bad mindless entertainment. They had action and gore and not much else, and this one was no exception. However, the first two movies were fun to watch once and then never see again. This one lacked even more than the others. I got bored at parts. The others at least had the action to fill in the gaps of bad acting and story.

This installment was more character driven, and that was a bad choice. Not only were the characters not that interesting, but the acting was a little subpar on almost every level. The story also failed to grab an interest. I found myself not really caring if the vampires or the werewolves won whatever battle this is. Not to mention that it is a prequel. I hate to say it, but if you have seen the others, you know how this is going to toss up in the end.

But, if you are going to see a movie like this, chances are you are not looking for something Oscar worthy. Chances are you are looking for a story that is only a vehicle for cool costumes, good makeup, lots of evil-doers, and violence and gore by the bucket load. This delivers just that- so if that's what you want, this is just what the doctor ordered.

All-in-all: Sucking: of the Blood and Cinema Variety.

Worthy Sequel? I thought the first two were better.

Lives up to the pre-views? Sure does...

Stars (out of five): 2


Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Bloody Valentine 3D

The first thing I heard about this movie is that it was terrible. That it sucked. That all the acting was atrocious, and the plot was predictable, cliché and done many times before. And for the most part, that’s all true. Except there were a few scenes were the acting wasn’t all bad, and the main characters did do their best job with the script provided. The main sheriff I thought did a pretty good job, and Jamie King is always fun to watch. Even though her acting is not really academy award winning, it’s good enough, and way too good for a movie like this.

Other than the grievances above, this movie has a couple other major problems. First, not only is the plot rather run of the mill, it has far too much back story. The movie starts out ten years in the past, where a mining accident kills everyone in the mine, except for one guy, and he is in a coma. A year later, he comes out of the coma, and for some reason is now a psychopath and kills more people, and is stopped. And nine years after that (present day now), the killings mysteriously start again. It’s almost like they wanted to make the sequel more than the first installment. Or they were looking for a means, any means, to make this less boring- even if it consists of long and unnecessary back story.

The second real problem is the 3D. Not that the 3D is not cool, but it has the same issues that Beowulf fell victim to. There are too many scenes that are gimmicky, and only good with the 3D glasses. Once this is out on DVD, you will just have pointless and stretched scenes of things waiving in your face.

The 3D is the only reason I will recommend you see this movie. Even for as bas as the show is, it’s still a lot of fun. Just be prepared; if you have a weak stomach or are easily offended by nudity (there is a heavy amount in one part), this show is not for you. I would like to think that it goes without saying that given it’s a horror movie; there is a lot of gore. But this one seems to have more than the average. And all the blood, guts, mutilated corpses and violence are in 3D, so it might add a bit more to the, well, ‘icky-ness’ of the show. Leave the kids at home!

All in all: Blood Bath & Bland

Lives up to the pre-views? Sure. What else would you expect though?

Stars (out of five): 1.5


Friday, January 9, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I will admit- I was intrigued by the idea of this movie. It's about a guy that ages backwards! How interesting. But how can they make an entire movie of just that? Let alone one that is almost three hours long? The answer is to fill it with a heavy dose of romance and heartache and the like. In fact, this was more of a chick-flick than anything else. They really did not focus on the oddity of his aging as much as one would think. It simply spans his life from beginning to end (or end to beginning?) and people he meets, the loves that he has, and of course the true love that keeps getting away.

The movie starts out in a hospital where the main love interest Daisy (Cate Blanchett) is old and on her death bed, just before the landfall of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. She is with her daughter, who is trying to spend as much time as she can with her dying mother (already reeks of chick-flick stuff, right from the start). The old lady asks her daughter to fetch a diary from her luggage, one that she has apparently not read yet. Her daughter begins reading, and then we get a narrated biography of Benjamin Button, in his own words.

The side characters that he meets along the way are a lot more interesting than the main ones I thought. His father did an excellent job, the tugboat captain stole every scene he was in, and there was even a small role of an English lady he has an affair with played by Tilda Swinton. Not to say that character is a scene stealer, I just love Tilda Swinton, and pretty much everything she does. Sadly, that is what I came out of this movie with- an enjoyment of the supporting characters, and another run-of-the-mill bleeding-heart love story that depressed the hell out of me.

All in all: Melancholy Romance and Wrinkles

Lives up to the Pre-Views: I Suppose...

Stars (out of five): 3


Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Spirit

I like Frank Miller. The Sin City movie was great. Never before, or since, have I seen a comic book movie that has made me be interested in the graphic novel behind it. Granted, we probably owe more to Robert Rodriguez for that than Frank Miller; but still- it was great.

That has left big shoes to fill for a lot of other comics he has done. 300 was acceptable. I still don’t want to run out and get the comic, but it was ok. Here, now, we have his latest called The Spirit.

Now keep in mind, he actually did not write these comics. They were written and drawn by someone else, he just wanted to bring them to the big screen. And now that he has, I am concerned that there will be a lot of people who will not get, well, the ‘sense of humor’ of this movie.

To be quite honest, by most standards, it’s terrible. The acting is bad, the plot is bad, everything; bad, bad, bad. But there is a subtle tongue-in-cheek tone to this movie that most will not pick up on, and it will keep them from liking it as much as they could.

There is humor in it. Much more than people will see. It pokes fun of itself, and of the entire genre of comic books and movie crossings. It’s absurd, visually fun to watch, and I think has the potential to be the Evil Dead of comic book superhero films. The unfortunate thing is that most won’t get this, and if that was the intent of this movie, it didn’t get across well enough to catch on. I think instead of everyone just going to see a silly, goofy noir comic hero not take himself or anything too seriously, they are going to see a cinematic disappointment of great magnitude.

All in all: Noir and Nonsense.

Lives up to the pre-views? No; quite different.

Stars (out of five): 3.5


The Day The Earth Stood Still

It has been years since I have seen the original. In fact, even when I was young and had the opportunity to watch the original, I remember falling asleep or something, but I certainly don’t remember watching the entire movie. The original had the aliens land here in the flying saucer, and the human looking one warn us about the use of nuclear weapons, and how we were going to destroy everything, and then I remember very little after that.

This one was pretty much more of the same. Keanu Reeves has the role that was perfect for him, an emotionless alien who comes with a message of doom and despair. In the new one, we are warned about destroying the planet and wrecking the Earth’s rare life support capabilities. In lieu of saving the planet, we are won’t be exterminated like cockroaches.

The original had almost every tacky and cliché element in it that you would expect from a sci-fi film in the 1950’s to 1960’s nuclear scare era. Unfortunately, we seem to be putting some of the same stamps on a lot of films that we are making these days. Thanks Al Gore. Any ways, back to the film.

The movie was watchable. There, I said it. I kind of liked it as a matter of fact. Even though Keanu was in the really bad/perfect role, the special effects were really good (except for G.O.R.T., I will get ot that later) and the other actors did a really good job. And other than the message being a little predictable, the movie kept me entertained the entire time.

Oh, right, G.O.R.T. yeah, he was in it. And the problem here is that they did not bother to give him as much of a makeover as they did the rest of the film. In fact, they did not even bother to change that ridiculous name, just made an acronym for it. And not only that, they short changed him on the special effects too. All the other spheres and alien craziness were quite detailed and good. Except for G.O.R.T.- he looked like something right out of Shrek; and without much to do.

All in all: Extra-Terrestrials and Exterminators.

Lives up to the pre-views? Yeah, it does. Take that for what you will.

Lives up to the Original? Probably. I can’t say I care much.

Stars (out of five): 3.5