Tag Archives: 2012

Review of Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012)

9 Dec

tumblr_mcqe04RoYK1rrllfeo1_500Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012) is a historical horror/action film, that is produced by The Asylum, a film studio specializing in mockbusters.

Directed by Richard Schenkman (The Man from Earth (2007), The Pompatus of Love (1995)).

Written by Karl T. Hirsch (Green (1998), Clown (2005)), J. Lauren Proctor and Richard Schenkman (Flower Girl (2009), Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God… Be Back by Five (1998)).

Starring: Bill Oberst Jr., Kent Ingleheart, Jason Vail, Debra Crittended, Bernie Ask, Canon Kuipers, Chris Hlozek, Richard Schenkman and others.

Is there really any better way to learn about American history than from a movie that depicts a dead president killing zombies.

Bill Oberst Jr., who is playing Lincoln is really good. The performance would fit just as well in a serious movie. Spielberg’s Lincoln could have him playing the lead role. It wouldn’t be as acclaimed as Daniel Day-Lewis, who is loved by everyone, but he could do it.

It is almost sad that a great performance like this is wasted on a silly B-movie. But I suppose in some oscar-bait piece we wouldn’t get Abe driving his scythe into the skull of a zombie, while yelling „Emancipate this!”.

For the budget the production value is pretty good. You can tell it’s cheap, but it tries to have a style. Which is more than most The Asylum movies have going for them.

The dialogue is also some of the best I’ve heard in an Asylum movie. Sadly, some/most of the actors aren’t really able to deliver it convincingly.

Lincoln gathers a group of people to go and… well, fight zombies, I guess. In this group of people there is a black guy named Mr. Brown. Obviously. The plot is kind of confusing, I don’t know if I must have some previous knowledge of American history, but I seriously doubt that the problem lays there.

As usually Asylum uses CGI in their movies and here we get some CG blood and it is kind of sad that even in a B-movie today, we have to watch the shitty looking CG blood spurting about, since it used one of the main attractions of  B-grade cinema that we got to see some realistic practical effects. I guess it’s easier to put in some cartoon violence afterwards. But judging by the really unconvincing fake facial hair on everybody, I doubt there was a great potential for any special effects artistry.

This is probably the best Asylum movie I’ve seen and not even in the so-bad-it’s-good category, more in the low-budget-we-did-what-we-could pretty competent B-flick. It would be unfair to compare it to Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, the blockbuster this is mockbusting.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. Of course it’s not a good movie, but as far as The Asylum goes, this was one of the best ones they can offer.

"I feel like going to theater, you're coming with me John 'not Wilkes Booth' Wilkinson!"

“I feel like going to theater! You’re coming with me John ‘not Wilkes Booth’ Wilkinson!”

Review of Looper (2012)

17 Oct

Looper (2012) is a sci-fi/action/drama film, set in the future, where time travel is illegal and used only by criminal organisations.

Directed by Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom (2008), Breaking Bad (2008 TV)).

Written by Rian Johnson (Brick (2005), Evil Demon Golfball from Hell!!! (1996 Short)).

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Pierce Gagnon, Paul Dano, Noah Segan and others.

This is another one of those cases, where I feel like saying anything is almost spoiling too much, but I have to say something, so I won’t reveal anything, that the trailers didn’t already show.

So the movie takes place in the future, 2040’s, time travel isn’t invented yet. But it will be invented in 3 decades. There’s these people – loopers, who work for a criminal organisation, that wait for people who are sent back from 2070’s and kill them. Our „hero” is one of these guys. He kills people and gets a shitload of silver for it.

But in the future-future there’s this bad guy The Rainmaker, who decides that the loopers should be sent back in time and be executed by their own younger selves. This is where our „hero”, 30 years older, comes in.

First of all you’re introduced to this future world, which is very realistic, it’s not some over-the-top dystopia, it’s mostly different by having more advanced technology and different trends, it does not like Blade Runner, but it does have that feel of it, There are these people controlling stuff and our hero isn’t sure of his loyalty to those people, also dipping into film noir quite heavily, starting with voice over, multi-dimensional characters with huge flaws and the clothing. And considering Rian Johnson made a modern-day true film noir film with Brick, I bet this was very intentional.

Both Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Joe and Bruce Willis’ Joe are not the best people, they are anti-heroes to the point they drop the hero’s part, especially older Joe. They act in their own best interests, ready to do the most awful things if they find it necessary.  Both actors are just brilliant. Levitt is becoming one of the most convincing actors of his generation and in combination with the phenomenal make-up work mimics Willis with such precision you forgot it’s even him. And it doesn’t feel cheap, like making him look like Willis early in his career and doing an impression of him. You’re convinced this guy could get older and look and act like the older character played by Willis.

The performances by supporting actors are also excellent. Jeff Daniels is charismatic as the young Joe’s boss, who would usually be this stereotypical villain, here he is a mildly evil used car salesman with a lot of power. Paul Dano is Joe’s friend, it’s a pretty small role, but memorable, Dano is a young actor, who has been mostly excellent for the last decade, Emily Blunt is good as a vulnerable single mother with a tough exterior. And the 5 year-old Pierce Gagnon actually might have delivered the best child performance of quite a long time now. He totally sold it and I wasn’t annoyed by him as I am usually with child actors (Jake Lloyd?).

The time travel aspect is actually really well thought out and no wonder, since Shane Carruth, who made Primer consulted Rian Johnson and if there’s one person in Hollywood (read ‘sort of making movies’) that understands how hypothetical time travel might work, it’s Shane Carruth. But Johnson’s brilliant writing makes it so it’s not a cold examination of time travel paradoxes, but actually makes it a moving, human story, which happens to have awesome sci-fi concepts in it.

Overall, it’s nice to see an intelligent, entertaining, well-made, original and emotionally moving film, that’s a fucking R-rated sci-fi action piece. So far this is probably my favourite movie of the year. Definitely recommended.

“Hey, young me! I will shoot that midget if you don’t let me ass-fuck you! What are you worried about? If you think about it, it’s just some good ol’ masturbation!”

Review of Dredd (2012)

25 Sep

Dredd also known as Dredd 3D (2012) is a British/South-African action/sci-fi/thriller film, based on the 2000 AD comic strip series Judge Dredd.

Directed by Pete Travis (Henry VIII (2003), Endgame (2009)).

Written by Alex Garland (28 Days Later (2002), Never Let Me Go (2010)).

Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Warrick Grier, Wood Harris, Domnhall Gleeson and others.

Sadly in the public mind Judge Dredd is most often associated with the 90’s Stallone movie, and even though I thought it was ok as a kid, deep inside I knew it was shit and never cared to find out more about Judge Dredd. Had I seen this movie as a kid, I would have been running around with a bicycle helmet on my head for at least a week. I can’t stress this enough – this is not a remake of Judge Dredd (1995), this is another adaptation of the comics.

It’s the future, Judges are like the last thing that upholds the law. Dredd is one of those Judges and one day on his patrol he is forced to take a rookie female Judge with him. They both go to an apartment block, to investigate brutal triple homicide. They crash into this apartment, where gang members are dealing and using drugs, they arrest one of them to interrogate, but the gang leader learns of this and closes of the block, locking Dredd and rookie Anderson inside it. They have to find a way to get out of there alive.

This  is just one of the things I loved about the  movie – it’s on a limited scale and period of time. It’s basically a ‘day-in-the-life’ story about Dredd. It’s simple, yet not simplistic. The setting is also cool, because, despite being a dystopian future, it’s not over-the-top, it’s very believable.

The gang uses a new drug called ‘Slo-mo’, guess what it does? Nice to see a movie, where there’s actual reason for using slow motion. The slow motion shots are just beautiful, combined with 3D and sometimes gore, that’s just art. The 3D use is actually the best I’ve seen so far in any movie, the compositions are great, it doesn’t feel forced or gimmicky, while adding to the entertainment.

Judge Dredd himself is really cool. Yes, the helmet is always on, which is a thankless role for Karl Urban, who did an amazing job, being virtually unrecognisable, but adding so much personality to a character, who is supposed to be the faceless hand of law. He seems pissed off, but doesn’t lose his cool, he’s not arrogant, but is confident, he doesn’t have any huge character arc or romance pushed onto him. At the end of the movie he hasn’t changed, his opinion about something might have changed, but not him as a character.

Both the side-kick rookie Judge Anderson and gang leader Ma-Ma are both great, not being more than they should be, but suggestive of much deeper characters than we’re shown.

Overall, one of the best action movies of the year, a comic book movie not afraid of the letter „R”, but probably suffering at the box office due to that fact, combined with the previous adaptation of the character and pretty low awareness about the movie. Go see it, while it’s in the theatres, first time I can really say it’s worth to go see a movie in 3D. Definitely recommended.

“Well, my father was a cop and my mother was 😦 , so yeah…”

Review of ATM (2012)

7 Sep

ATM (2012) is a horror/thriller/mystery film, which mostly takes place in an ATM booth on a parking lot.

Directed by David Brooks (Gone (2009 Short)).

Written by Chris Sparling (Buried (2010), An Uzi at the Alamo (2005)).

Starring: Brian Geraghty, Josh Peck, Alice Eve, Aaron Hughes and others.

So we’re following this guy, who works as some kind of bank-cubicle-call-answer person. His really douchebaggy co-worker convinces him to come to this office christmas party. He comes to the party and offers a ride home to some chick that he really likes. But the douchy cock-blocker of a friend tags along, because he was his ride too.

The douchebag is played by Josh Peck, who was the fat kid on that shitty kids show Drake & Josh. He has lost some weight, but still speaks like he’s 15, which gets annoying pretty damn soon. The fatty MacDouche wants to eat so they stop to get some cash from an ATM. Voila! The title. I imagine that’s how this movie got made, they picked a genre, someone said ATM, someone had seen Frozen recently and we’re done. Thankfully, Josh & Drake’s acting gets better as the movie goes on.

From the ATM booth they see someone waiting for them outside. They decide to wait him out, but after the guy beats the shit out of some random guy, they become somewhat unnerved. That’s the whole concept. They’re stuck in an ATM booth, with no heat in the winter, while a killer is standing right outside.

At one point they think the guy has gone away, but you know that’s not true since it’s only halfway into the movie. The movie is pretty fast-paced, which is good, because if a movie like this drags it really drags, because we have this half-baked concept set in one location. The whole movie is basically a build-up of who the killer is and what he wants, so the ending is what either makes it or breaks it.

And, guess what, the ending breaks it. The deal with the ending is that the whole movie there’s just questions and so you’d want to have most of them answered, the movie does answer some, but even those are so incredibly implausible, that except for the reasoning behind why the killer didn’t enter the booth, it makes like no sense, unless the killer has the ability to calculate exactly how ineffective technology is.

Overall, the premise and build-up is pretty decent and I was mostly entertained throughout, but the whole conclusion and pay-off is completely idiotic. If you like some cheap thrills, give it a try, but you’re better off staying away. Not Recommended.

“Hey guys, am I the only one that thinks this is a great porno setup?”
“Yes, Emily, you’re the only one.”

Review of The Expendables 2 (2012)

21 Aug

The Expendables 2 (2012) is an ensemble action/adventure/…action film, a sequel to The Expendables.

Directed by Simon West (Con Air (1997), The Mechanic (2011)).

Written by Richard Wenk (16 Blocks (2006), Vamp (1986)), Sylvester Stallone (F.I.S.T (1978), The Expendables (2010)) and others.

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Liam Hemsworth, Nan Yu and others.

This is a movie made specifically for me. When I was growing up, most of these guys were my idols. They were my favourite actors, not because they were good actors, but because they’re bulging muscles and sweaty, snarling faces made me believe in superheroes, people, who could machine gun entire hordes of bad guys down, while standing in plain sight and not take one bullet. And then face off with the main baddie, who was really bad and after killing him, spit out some cheesy one-liner. I looked up to them, I felt protected by them. We approached the 2000’s and soon these guys went away. I was left with action stars, that looked like male models.

I couldn’t be the only person who felt disappointed. Sure, I like good acting now, but seeing Arnie jam an enormous drill into a guy, while screaming “SCREW YOU!” was something that I missed seeing in movies. And I really wasn’t the only person. When I was a kid, I would have never imagined a movie like this possible, but two years back, Stallone answered my childhood prayers and made The Expendables. If you think I could ever have enough of this you’re insane. So did I like The Expendables 2? Of course, I did.

I mean, it is NOT a good movie. The dialogue is bad, the one-liners stupid, acting silly, plot simple, action over-the-top and so on. But, this also describes most of the action movies with these guys that I loved. This is what I wanted and this is what I got. There’s no use in describing the plot, there’s nothing really specific about it, mostly coming down to Expendables shooting people and blowing shit up.

The best parts were the call-backs and references and self-aware humor. Willis and Arnold are in the movie a lot more as well, even Chuck Norris, who has maybe the smallest part does get more than one appearance. Jet Li is in the movie only for the first action scene, though and Rourke doesn’t appear at all. My favourite was definitely Dolph Lundgren, who is more of the comic-relief character here, which is interesting, since I think I liked him the most in the first one as well, when he played an asshole. They added some younger/newer faces, like Nan Yu and Liam Hemsworth, but in all the testosterone provided by the rest of the cast they got lost and forgettable.

The action is insane, but pretty well choreographed and mostly practical effects, except for additional CG gore and the more complex effects scenes. The movie opens with an action scene that is just crazy violent and over-the-top. Stallone takes down a helicopter by “driving” a bike into it. And the movie rarely slows down after that. There’s not much to say about it, except that you should know what to expect going into it.

Overall, more funny and entertaining than the first one, if you want no holds barred, balls to the wall action with some real gory mayhem and puns, if you grew up with 80’s action hero movies, definitely recommended.

Pictured: Irony, as the one who is supposedly the most bad-ass of them all, is the only one who looks and sounds like some maintenance guy.

 

Review of The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

26 Jul

The Dark Knight Rises is an action/sci-fi/drama film, the sequel to The Dark Knight and conclusion to the trilogy of films based on DC Comics character Batman.

Directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight (2008), Batman Begins (2005)).

Written by Jonathan Nolan (The Prestige (2006), Person of Interest (2011 TV)), Christopher Nolan (Following (1998), Inception (2010)) and David S. Goyer (Death Warrant (1990), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)).

Starring: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anna Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Michael Cane and others.

It’s hard to review a movie like this, I have no idea where to start. Not only is it an almost 3-hour movie, with a lot going on, it’s also an adaptation of more than 70 years of various interpretations of a character in comics and the last movie in a largely succesful trilogy of movies, probably the most anticipated movie of the last 4 years for the general movie-going public. I’m not going to go over all of this, because in the end of the day I’m just another geek who went to see the latest Batman flick. The reason why I bring up this is because how in hell can a movie like this not be overhyped and not disappoint in some ways.

I’ll start at the beginning of the movie, we see three guys with bags on their heads get taken to a plane, one of the guys is buff as shit, who could that be? That’s Bane! He is the main villain of the movie. The voice is really bad, it’s way too loud, I get that it’s hard to understand him through the mask, but cranking his voice way louder than everyone else’s is not the answer. I took me like half the movie to get used to it. Other than that Tom Hardy was great, him being so huge and those eyes just make him really intimidating and his sort of delivery of lines make him menacing, although at times he feels a bit cheesy, like a Bond-villain. There’s one of my favourite scenes in the movie, where this guy says “I’m in charge!” and Bane lightly places his hand on the guy’s shoulder and asks him “Do you feel in charge?”. Most of the people in the theater laughed, but it was like an uncomfortable laugh, a laugh to hide that you just shat your pants a little bit. Figuratively.

This movie is set 8 years after The Dark Knight and Batman has retired and Bruce Wayne just walks around the house with a cane. Speaking of canes, Michael Cane, who is perfect as Alfred, at some point just leaves the Wayne Manor and we don’t see him until the end, not that he needed to be there, I just would have loved to see him more. Catwoman steals a necklace from Wayne Manor and so she meets Bruce Wayne. I really liked Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, there were multiple times where she did something and I thought “That’s so Selina Kyle!”, I was hesitant about her before the movie and still think there were better suited actresses for the role, but Hathaway did good.

Christian Bale was as always great, this time the movie focused more on Bruce Wayne and his inability to move on. His Batman voice sounded better, but when you have Bane speaking like Sean Connery through Darth Vader’s helmet and Batman barking like a chain-smoker with laryngitis, it becomes slightly comedic. They improved the Bat-suit, so all those who thought his previous one was less a costume and more a motorcyclist’s armor, this time it looks very much like a superhero suit and I don’t know what did they do to his cowl, but it looks a lot better. Though, I still find it hard to accept that every time before putting on the mask Bruce puts on black make-up circles around his eyes.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is really good as this idealistic police officer, but there’s this weird nod to Batman fans, which actually would piss-off Batman fans and is more of a nod to people with only a general knowledge of Batman. But what they decide to do with the character in the end is pretty cool and there would be an awesome way to play it into the planned Batman reboot, but probably they’ll just recon everything.

The movie is messy at times, there’s a part, where supposedly a couple of months pass, yet it feels like only a week or so, they could have expanded that a bit, I wouldn’t have minded if the movie was like 200 minutes. It starts really slowly, even though a lot is happening, we get so much thrown at us, you kind of lose interest, but then at like 40 minutes in, it finally kicks in and the next 2 hours I was really into what was happening. The tone was kind of inconsistent, I realise they wanted to go all out with this one, but it seemed to shift from the realistic view to some straight out The Avengers cheese. I didn’t mind, I like it, because, if we’re following these people who wear costumes, it means there must be some theatrics involved.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie a lot. I’d say I liked it less than The Dark Knight, but more than Batman Begins. It has heavy flaws, but it was also entertaining as a superhero movie and moving as a character study of Bruce Wayne. If you didn’t like the previous two, this won’t convert you into a fan, but if you did, I don’t see why you wouldn’t enjoy it. Recommended.

“Master Wayne, why don’t you get a leg-brace and stop using a cane?”
“Dump the cane, huh? I’ll do that, Michael.”
“…Fuck you, Bale. How’s that Robin Hood-look going for you?”
“Touche.”

Review of The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

16 Jul

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) is an action/sci-fi/drama film, based on the Marvel Comics character Spider-Man, rebooting the film franchise.

Directed by Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer (2009), Lone Star (2010 TV)).

Written by James Vanderbilt (Darkness Falls (2003), Zodiac (2007)), Alvin Sargent (Gambit (1966), Unfaithful (2002)), Steve Kloves (Racing with the Moon (1984), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)).

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Rhys Ifan, Sally Field, Irrfan Khan, C. Thomas Howell and others.

My first introduction to Spider-Man was through the animated series, probably when I was around six. I loved him, the series itself wasn’t as good as X-Men and not that great overall, but I loved it. Then the Sam Raimi movies came along and I sort of liked them, but that wasn’t it, I didn’t love the guy himself, I was carried by my affection for the character, but this doughy-faced, bulky, man-child bearing the name of Tobey Maguire wasn’t him. So for about 15 years I’ve been waiting for a movie to re-ignite my love for him. Turns out I was waiting for this movie.

I did somewhat enjoy the Raimi ones, especially the second one, but at the same time I found them too cheesy and, at times, making me cringe. However, I’ve never wanted The Dark Spider or something overly realistic and “gritty”, I just wanted to care about characters and not caricatures. Also for something as campy as Raimi’s Spider-Man adaptations, they were basically humorless. Watching this I genuinely smiled and laughed.

Oh, Andrew Garfield is just brilliant. He is Spider-Man, he’s got the right kind of build, athletic, but lean, agile, but physically awkward. I believe he’s actually really intelligent (mechanical Web-Shooters FTW), he’s adorably twitchy in conversations, nerdy, but not a wimp. And when he cries you don’t feel uncomfortable, but feel with him. Watching Maguire cry, I forgot if I was watching Spider-Man or The Elephant Man.

The relationship between him and Gwen Stacy is really good too, it’s sort of a teeny romance, but Marc Webb knows how to not make it too cliché and also Stacy learns early that Peter is Spider-Man and it’s nice that he has a confidant. Emma Stone being one of the cutest young actresses out there right now also helps a great deal. Other supporting actors do a great job too. Rhys Ifan is cool, Denis Leary is bad-ass and Martin Sheen really makes you care about the Uncle Ben character and his fate is really impactful.

I’m not a fan of 3D and even though it was still unnecessary, I liked it in this movie. The action scenes mostly, because the shots are incredible, it really feels like a person is doing all the crazy shit Spidey does. The swooping over the city is spectacular, I actually felt immersed in the space of the movie sometimes. The downside is that, the dramatic scenes have basically no 3D effect whatsoever, I mostly just lifted my 3D glasses and there was no layering blur or anything.

The special effects are pretty solid, there’s an awful looking, mutated CG lab-rat, but, thankfully, that’s only a few seconds. Then there’s the big thing of The Lizard. It didn’t look great, but it wasn’t bad either, it was very middle ground. I could accept it, because he did walk around in a lab coat for a bit, that was all I was asking for.

Overall, not flawless, but a great superhero movie, definitely in my top 3 Marvel movies (if not my favourite), it made me laugh, it made me teary-eyed, it made me want to run around and pretend to be Spidey, it made me 10 years old again. I thank you for that, movie. If you like superhero movies, definitely recommended.

“I’m melting!”

 

Review of The Avengers (2012)

3 May

The Avengers (2012) is an action/sci-fi/adventure film, which is based on Marvel Comics’ superhero team of the same name and several previous movies featuring its members.

Directed by Joss Whedon (Serenity (2005), Firefly (2002 TV)).

Written by Joss Whedon (The Cabin in the Woods (2011), Toy Story (1995)) and Zak Penn (The Incredible Hulk (2008), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)).

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and others.

This is the movie, that it’s all been leading up to. Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America together in one movie? Sounds epic? Yes, it does! Does the movie live up to all the hype? Maybe? Not really? I don’t know.

I’m really lost on all of it so I’ll just run through the characters.

Black Widow – although they tried to make her do some cool stuff, she still felt like the lamest member of The Avengers, I mean, being a spy is cool and all, but she has no powers, except looking hot. In one scene Johansson attempted to speak Russian, I’ve heard worse in movies, but if her character is Russian, she should be able to speak better, that’s just a nitpick though.

Hawkeye – not much to say about him, at first he just shoots arrows while under Loki’s control and later he shoots arrows and… well, there’s not much else to his character, but Renner does well in the role.

Loki – the villain. Hiddleston really impressed me, I thought he was ok in Thor, but here he was just great, not overly serious, just a very stubborn, arrogant jerk, at first I thought it’s not the greatest villain choice, but Hiddleston made it enjoyable.

Nick Fury – Well, it’s Samuel L. Jackson, in other words, he’s a stick with two ends, you can’t go wrong, but you can’t do anything new and interesting either.

Thor – He’s kind of whatever, I’ve never cared for his character, even after his movie, the only difference was that I could accept him as a serious character.

Captain America – Chris Evans is ok, his costume helmet looks a bit stupid, but it’s not a big deal, the waking up in a world where everyone you knew is dead and everything is different is an interesting aspect of his character, but only vaguely explored.

Iron Man – he is still sort of funny, but I’m getting tired of Downey Jr.’s shtick, his fast talking asshole genius routine is getting tiresome for me.

Hulk – I was surprised, but he was totally the best part of the movie. Mark Ruffalo was good as Banner and the Hulk was awesome. He looked as good as a green CG gorilla can look and was used correctly. There’s one beautifully hilarious moment, where Hulk goes against Loki.

The story itself is basically: bad guy has MacGuffin, good guys need it, with some ulterior motives and dire consequences thrown in. Most of the entertainment comes out of Hulk smashing and personalities clashing. It is cool that the team doesn’t really get along. That is until they get something to… (clue: the title).

The 3D is shit, it’s incredibly pointless. It was ok in the last half-hour, in the climactic action scene, which was going on at daytime New York, but the first half of the movie, takes place mostly during the night or in dark places, so it sucks. If I had watched it in 2D, I’d probably enjoy it a lot more.

Overall, it’s a fun, entertaining, lighthearted movie, it walks the line between providing fan service and fun for the common movie goer, who cares if it also loses something in both departments at the same time. Recommended for everyone who enjoys some superhero action and doesn’t mind heavy CG.

“Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking superheroes on this motherfucking plane! ”

Review of The Hunger Games (2012)

16 Apr

The Hunger Games (2012) is an action/drama/sci-fi film based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins.

Directed by Gary Ross (Pleasantville (1998), Seabiscuit (2003)).

Written by Gary Ross (Big (1988), Dave (1993)), Billy Ray (The Shooter (1995), State of Play (2009)) and Suzanne Collins (Clarissa Explains It All (1991 TV), The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo (1996 TV)) .

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Liam Hemsworth, Wes Bentley, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitz and others.

So here is the movie, the marketing tried to tell us is going to be the next Twilight. And that is a fucking insult. Except for its target demographic, there’s nothing these two have in common. Twilight is a characterless romance with a gimmick and The Hunger Games is a cool action drama for young people. Another comparison that is often brought up is Battle Royale and some other similar films, but the survival reality TV wasn’t a new concept even when Battle Royale was made. Why didn’t we draw the line after The Running Man or even earlier Death Race 2000, in an age of constant idea recycling, this is not a serious offense.

And now even more than ever this satire of reality television makes sense. During the contest we get all the staples of modern reality TV, forced romances, very antagonistic characters, fake obstacles created by the producers, sleazy hosts and so on.

It’s also very stylistic movie and I think this could get an Oscar nomination for production design. It is abundant with weird anime inspired/Neo-Victorian outfits for the upper class members of the society and some early 20th century common plain clothes for the working class.

Jennifer Lawrence, who I think is one of the most promising new actresses, doesn’t disappoint here and is solid as Katniss, who volunteers for the game show, after her sister is chosen and thank god, because her sister was a total wimp, she would’ve been dead in 5 minutes. Most of the other contestants are either not given enough screen time to do much (would have loved to see more of Isabelle Fuhrman) or they are just ok.

The adult characters, however, are very fun to watch. Woody Harrelson, is a winner of the games, who now is a drunk mentor for the District 12 contestants and he’s just amazingly entertaining. Also here he looks like an older Josh Holloway. Elizabeth Banks I didn’t even recognize under a heavy layer of make-up that looks like taken straight off of Helena Bonham Carter in Alice In Wonderland. She also acts appropriately over-the-top. As does Stanley Tucci being the overacting host with blue hair, who really knows how to milk the contestants for the right emotions, both from them and audience. Seems like the director told all the adult main actors to turn their eccentricity up to eleven. Lenny Kravitz went the other way though and just put on some golden eye-liner. Donald Sutherland does what he does best, plays a cold bastard.

The main negative point was the way it was shot. At the start of the movie we get some very shaky handheld shots of static things and I didn’t suspect that it was getting me ready for some of the later way more extreme shaking. In order to get the PG-13 rating they decided to keep some of the violence in, but make it totally incoherent. Seriously, after a couple of minutes of seeing stuff that looked like it was shot handheld by Michael J. Fox trying to stand while wearing roller skates, where the wheels are replaced by rotating vibrators, I thought it’s going to be the first time I’ll get motion sickness from a movie.

Overall, a good movie, I liked it and could recommend basically to anyone.

Pictured: Jennifer Lawrence interviewed by Meryl Streep on the set of The Iron Lady.

Review of Project X (2012)

5 Apr

Project X (2012) is a comedy/something/nothing film, which is filmed in the popular “found footage” style.

Directed by Nima Nourizadeh, who prior to this has worked as a music video director.

Written by Matt Drake (Tully (2000)) and Michael Bacall (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), 21 Jump Street (2012)).

Starring: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Brady Hender, Nick Nervies and others.

I really don’t know what to say about this movie, I had fun, but on the other hand it’s not a good movie. And I don’t mean it in a so-bad-it’s-good way.

First of all the technical aspect. It was only a matter of time before they would start making found footage movies in other genres. But the problem here is that it is a total gimmick. The camera man is intentionally a non-interactive character. The whole point of handing the camera to a character is that we are presented a subjective view of the events, but here since the character doesn’t show any attitude and the other characters treat him as just a camera, it becomes pointless to use this trick. There are points where other characters use Flip cameras or other handheld cameras and they actually serve a purpose and I really don’t see why that couldn’t just be inserted into a traditionally filmed movie. I didn’t for a second feel the illusion of this being an actual „found footage”. I’d call it MTV’s found footage, where you get crystal clear sound in the midst of a thousand people party and music cuts off immediately after something sudden happens and has various party-dance montages (not surprising given the director).

It is marketed as „Superbad on crack”, which is true in the sense that the three main characters are the same ones from Superbad, they also want to get chicks and all, but here they lose sight of any sense of morality or responsibility.

After it all the main characters remark, that it was the most epic party ever and they think it was worth it. No, it wasn’t. Although the consequences of this party are just thrown in there, like an afterthought. At the end of the movie the main character has destroyed his future and bankrupted his parents in one night. What does he get out of this? He gets the girl. He gets the girl, who has been his friend since childhood and he could’ve gotten her at any point anyway. I have no sympathy for him.

I just don’t like people who are so afraid to be different, that they would do anything to fit in. Ok, maybe I don’t understand it, because I have never been the kid others make fun of, I have never tried to pretend to be someone I’m not to fit in and so on, but trust me, being an interesting person gets you better friends than a huge party.

I felt sorry for the guys parents, but then again the father was a total douchebag. At the beginning of the movie he calls his son a loser and in the end is a bit proud of him. Well, if you think that your son becoming a successful, normal person is worth less than him throwing a huge party, banging chicks and whatever, then fuck you, you deserve it all.

I don’t want to go in all the details of what is wrong with this movie, but just know that this was really an epic party, with some hilarious moments of a midget punching balls and various finger-banging techniques explained, so if you just switch you’re brain off for the duration of it, you might enjoy it.

Overall, I had fun watching it, it’s a spectacle alright, but although I laughed at most of the jokes, I also felt depressed because it might be one of the most juvenile movies I’ve ever seen. If you like sex-comedies, recommended, if not, don’t bother. Project X is like some really hardcore porn, you watch it and think “oh, yeah, that’s awesome!”, but if it really came (no pun intended) to it, you’d be like “nah, I’ll pass”.

"I seem to have wondered into the wrong movie. Could've sworn it said "Project X" on the door."