Tag Archives: Sci-Fi

Review of Cube (1997)

1 Apr


Cube (1997) is a Canadian sci-fi/horror/mystery film.

Directed by Vincenzo Natali (Cypher (2002), Getting Gilliam (2005)).

Written by Vincenzo Natali (Nothing (2003), Splice (2009)), Andre Bijelic and Graeme Manson (Lucky Girl (2001), Orphan Black (2013 TV)).

Starring: Maurice Dean Wint, David Hewlett, Nicole de Boer, Nicky Guadagni, Andrew Miller, Julian Richings, Wayne Robson.

We open to a guy going through the cube rooms like he owns the place, until he’s suddenly slashed into pieces by a trap.

Then we switch to a whole group of people, who seem to have been there for a short while, but they already know that they’re in deep shit. They’re stuck in this structure, consisting of a lot of large cubes. Some of these cubes contain traps, so they have to figure out how to get out, without getting killed.

"Looks like my friday night. Only it would be my basement floor. And those would be dead prostitutes."

“Looks like my friday night. Only it would be my basement floor. And those would be dead prostitutes.”

At the start of the movie you know nothing about these cubes, so you learn with the characters, who are also clueless about what is happening. The cinematography also adds to this feeling. At first there’s a lot of handheld, kinetic shots, that make you feel just as disoriented as the characters, but later on the shots become more steady.

The special effects are pretty good for a low-budget movie, sliced up guy, face melted by acid, that type of stuff. But the most impressive special effect is selling the structure they’re in. It is almost mind-boggling that they only had one actual fully constructed cube. But with minimalistic, but smart adjustments it achieves the needed effect with flying colors. However, there is some bad 90’s CGI, but it is used sparsely enough to be forgiven.

The mystery begins as slightly confusing or frustrating, but very soon settles as very intriguing. And the movie doesn’t ruin it, by providing answers that were not needed.

The dialogue at times is pretty bad, there’s no denying that. It’s horribly overwritten and since it’s low-budget, the inexperienced actors just can’t handle such wordy lines. But at least the characters themselves are multi-dimensional enough as they’re written, relieving the actors from struggling to add what isn’t there.

Definitely, one of the best sci-fi films of the 90’s, proving Vincenzo Natali as one of the most adept genre directors out there. Splice, his latest, slightly inferior sci-fi horror movie being a proof of that.

Overall, it seems like a long Twilight Zone episode, which is a compliment, verging from light horror to mystery to high concept sci-fi. Recommended.

"The movie is about as close of an adaptation of this as Battleship was of the game."

“The movie is about as close of an adaptation of this as Battleship was of the game.”

Review of Splice (2009)

5 Nov

Splice (2009) is a horror/sci-fi/thriller film about gene splicing experiment not going as expected.

Directed by Vincenzo Natali (Cube (1997), Cypher (2002)).

Written by Vincenzo Natali (Nothing (2003), Elevated (1997 Short)), Doug Taylor (The Carpenter (1988), They Wait (2007)) and Antoinette Terry Bryant.

Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac, Brandon McGibbon, Simona Maicanescu, David Hewlet, Abigail Chu and others.

We see two scientists, who seem to have created these two CG creatures, which are revealed to be the combination of multiple species into one being. So yes, that’s what you get, you mix various species and get this blob of flesh that doesn’t seem to be very useful other than a scientific curiosity.

But of course it is. The scientists want to apply this gene splicing technology to humans, because it would provide incredible medical breakthroughs, but the corporate heads don’t approve this. It is reverse case of what we usually see in movies that try to push the idea of corporate greed, making the businessmen become reckless with the slightest possibility of profit. Here we have the scientists who are obsessed with their project. Similar to the mad scientist movies we don’t get so often anymore, like Frankenstein or The Fly.

The movie has a very slick visual style, some shots done with the use of such a wide-angle lens that it is almost fish-eye.

Our main characters are a scientist couple, played by Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody. From the first few minutes they have a great dynamic, are likable and believable. The chemistry is there, both literally and figuratively.  Nowadays there’s an odd lack of scientists in science fiction, which this movie provides in spades.

The couple decide to fuck their sponsors and go ahead with the creation of a humanoid creature. From it’s „birth”, it becomes clear, that things have gone at least slightly wrong. The creature goes through various stages switching from practical effects to CGI, the practical effects are done great, it’s Greg Nicotero after all. Then we settle on a combination of the two, which looks pretty decent.

What is the most interesting part about it, is that as the experiment progresses and the creature evolves and grows, it starts getting kind of disturbing and you can’t help, but question the ethics of things like this. Maybe this message is a bit on the nose, but it doesn’t hammer it all that much, except you start feeling uneasy watching the relationships that are forming between the characters.

And it does get really creepy, the horror element works so well, because by the time a real threat starts forming, you care a lot about the characters and it terrifies you psychologically. It’s not a slasher flick so there’s not a body count running through the movie, it’s more about the build-up, because you just know that something horrible is going to happen eventually. The suspense keeps you interested, while all the exposition and character development is happening.

Both Polley and Brody do really great jobs, but special nod should go to Delphine Chaneac, who portrays the creature in its full-grown form, it’s a very physically demanding role and she delivers. Selling the horrors of parenting, growing up and changing and science gone wrong.

It has been somewhat poorly received by general audience, some people complaining that it was disturbing and offensive. For me it’s one of the better horror films of the recent years, mostly due to it being delightfully disturbing without trying to shock people. Those were shocked? Well, in my opinion they’re pansies, who should do some research on what they’re watching.

Overall, I enjoyed it a lot, I thought it was gripping, thrilling and twisted. Vincenzo Natali is a sci-fi filmmaker worth looking out for. Recommended.

Starring: Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody as young Professor Snape.

Review of Dark Star (1974)

30 Oct

Dark Star (1974) is a comedy/sci-fi/thriller film, which is the feature-length debut of John Carpenter, who is the director, producer and co-writer on the film.

Directed by John Carpenter (Assault On Precinct 13 (1976), Escape from L.A. (1996)).

Written by John Carpenter (The Fog (1980), They Live (1988)) and Dan O’Bannon (Alien (1979), Total Recall (1990)).

Starring: Dan O’Bannon, Brian Narelle, Cal Kuniholm, Dre Pahich and others.

From the first moments it’s apparent that the budget of the movie was extremely low. It is basically a student film stretched to a feature-length. So I feel wrong criticising this kind of movie to harshly, but at the risk of sounding like an asshole, I do think that sometimes if you know you don’t have the budget to pull off your ambitious project, you should consider the possibility of toning down the special effects. It’s better to have one amazing special effects shot than a crapload of shitty ones. Thankfully or sadly, this movie has both.

The outer space scenes look rather jarring, because when the spaceship kind of stops, it just freezes and hangs in the space, so it seems like you’re looking at a freezeframe, which I am not sure that it isn’t. Maybe it’s just my brain that has this standard set-up inside, when I think of spaceship moving through space, I instantly flash back to the opening shot of A New Hope. And that’s an unfair and high standard to judge a pre-Star Wars movie with a way smaller budget.

We are introduced to some astronauts in a spaceship called „Dark Star”. Ka-ching! (That is the sound that plays in my head, whenever I hear the title of a movie appear in the movie) The astronauts banter a bit and then decide to listen to some country music as they look for a star to blow up. Oh, ok. I guess that inspired the movie Space Cowboys.

They reveal that the astronauts have been on a solitary space mission for 30 years. The incoherent banter, country music and a scene with a beach-ball made up to be an alien suddenly make so much more sense. Or does it? Even though they’ve been out there for a while now, they all still look like a bunch of scruffy-bearded 30-year-olds.

The movie hasn’t aged well, it feels incredibly dated, but you can sort of forgive the movie’s silly, cheap effects, sets and props, because it’s all mostly played for laughs. And at times shows genuine inventiveness, like a terrific scene taking place in an elevator shaft, which is obviously shot in just a hallway, yet done cleverly enough to provide enough of the illusion, for us to suspend our disbelief.

The film is basically a comedic portrayal of how boring and with that also insane it would be to be out there alone with a few guys for so long. There’s a scene where they attempt to tell some old stories, but it’s been so long that they fail to both recall them correctly or find a pair of ears that have not heard them before. I’d like to think it’s a completely serious take on what their mission is like, just through their perspective it all seems wacky.

It doesn’t feel like a John Carpenter movie very much, the score is great as is usual for his films, but it invokes a very different feeling. Although this isn’t the most polished movie, but for a shoe-string budget directorial debut from the 70’s it shows a lot of promise, although, I can’t imagine anyone seeing this and then expecting something like Assault On Precinct 13 or Halloween or later on The Thing, but it’s clear that a fair amount of talent and intelligence is present.

Yes, it’s a pretty smart movie, the humor is no slapstick packed gag blast. It’s played on the absurdities the genre’s limitless possibilities present and inserts polar opposites for comedic effect. The ship’s captain has died some time ago, but is still held in a state of suspended animation and the crew is able to communicate with him, which leads to a scene where one of them does this and I thought the scene was kind of creepy. In another instance there’s this intelligent bomb, which itself is pretty silly, but then it has this conversation with a crew member and it goes to either a satire of or an actual philosophy lesson on rationalism and empiricism. The ending is both morbid and funny as well.

Overall, I enjoyed some parts of it, didn’t at all care for others, recommended for those interested in Carpenter’s early stuff, not recommended if you think a guy literally surfing through space isn’t for you. It’s better than that Fantastic Four movie, though.

Pictured: What inspired Alien. I’m not even joking. This is it.

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 Barbarella (1968)

17 Aug

Barbarella (1968) is a Franco-Italian sci-fi/comedy/adventure film, based on the Barbarella comic book series by Jean-Claude Forest.

Directed by Roger Vadim (Et Dieu… créa la femme (1956), And God Created Woman (1988)).

Written by Terry Southern (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), The Loved One (1965)) and Roger Vadim (Spirits of the Dead (1968),Don Juan ou Si Don Juan était une femme… (1973)) and others.

Starring: Jane Fonda, John Philip Law, Anita Pallenberg, Milo O’Shea, Marcel Marceau, David Hemmings and others.

To be fair, I think every movie should start with a naked Jane Fonda flying around in zero gravity inside after stripping out of a spacesuit inside a spaceship, with its entire interior covered entirely in shag-carpets. Ok, maybe not, it’s enough with one movie that starts like this.

So here we are with this Barbarella chick, who is some sort of law-upholder in a very hippie-ish vision of the far future, where greeting is „love”, people aren’t ashamed to be naked (at least Jane Fonda isn’t) and there’s nothing that doesn’t scream 1960’s.

To give the film some real credit, even though it’s cheesy beyond imagination, the people involved must have been aware of it, it’s not like they tried to do some epic space opera and unintentionally created this cheese-factory.

At one point Barbarella is bitten by some creepy dolls with nutcracker mouths, then rescued by a guy who speaks an unknown language, until she adjusts her „tongue box”. I think they thought it was hilarious themselves. It is often considered a classic ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ movie, but really, it’s so tongue-in-cheek, that I don’t really consider it appropriate.

Then later on it turns out that on Earth in the future, people have sex by holding hands, which, I suppose, is the reason why it’s a peaceful, weapon-less planet now. Because everyone stops waving their dicks around while shooting from machine-guns. However, Barbarella is polite and agrees to do it „the old-fashioned way” and enjoys it quite a lot.

The movie has some really good 1960’s music, which doesn’t change, but distracts you from the plot that makes little to no sense. The set-designs are campy and as actual locations don’t make sense either, but at the same time, they’re very detailed and in a way fascinating.

The only way I could describe the plot is by summarising its structure: Barbarella goes somewhere, someone tries to kill her, she has some sexual experience and then it repeats. We even get to see the hilarious hand sex.

David Hemmings appears as a rebel leader and he is great, his scenes were the highlight of the movie, since when he’s on screen the movie starts feeling like a straight-up comedy or a spoof, but then he goes away and we’re back to weird shit, that is funny in its own ‘who came up with this?’ way, like a scene, where a bunch of chicks are smoking the „essence of man”, which is a guy boiling in a huge fishbowl.

I learnt a lot from this movie, but not one of these things are of any use. I doubt if I’ll ever have the chance to perform CPR on an angel, by cranking his wings from the back.

Overall, I got kind of bored, because the movie threw too much nonsense at me, for me to keep caring what’s going on. Might be fun with some friends and alcohol, otherwise, not recommended.

I don’t… what’s happening? I saw the movie, didn’t I?

Review of 2012: Ice Age (2011)

8 Aug

2012: Ice Age (2011) is a straight-to-video action/sci-fi/disaster film from The Asylum, the movie studio that brought us such great hits as Two-Headed Shark Attack.

Directed by Travis Fort.

Written by Paul Sinor (Dead Men Can’t Dance (1997), Testing the Limits (1998)) and Victoria Dadi (Airline Disaster (2010)).

Starring: Nick Afanasiev, Patrick Labyorteaux, Julie McCullough, Katie Wilson, Kyle Morris, Chacko Vadaketh, Ted Monte and others.

I swear, after this I’m going to take a break from Asylum movie reviews for a while, I just want to get this out of the way and then we’re on to shitty movies from other studios.

This is another one in The Asylum’s „2012 Trilogy” of unrelated movies. Well, no, they’re not completely unrelated, the common factor is ripping-off other disaster movies, this time we have mostly a Day After Tomorrow, minus the budget and everything else that made it goo-, I mean, watchable.

I actually had a chance to learn something from this movie, the CGI department specifically. Some of the effects look decent, like some snow clouds or whatever they were and then others, like the lava explosions, look like shit had a retarded shit-baby, which decided to work on the effects. At least they know it looks bad, since they sort of try to hide it using the advanced technique „shaky-cam”. But, you know, it’s kind of unfair, Asylum’s effects are special, just like some kids, you can’t evaluate them on the same scale.

We follow this family in a car. You know a geeky son, a bitchy daughter, a concerned mother and a busy father. The son is some kind of genius, who helps his geologist father with his work and when his mother sees some planes and asks „Are those military planes?”, the son replies „F-16s” (which they’re not), like it’s common knowledge.  But at other times he is a complete moron. The father talks on the phone to the daughter, who goes to another city at the start of the movie, the connection breaks and the brother says „I wanted to talk to her.”, yeah, well another time, you idiot savant.

The father, played by Patrick Labyorteaux at one point turns into MacGyver. He finds everything he needs in one car trunk, gets some gas and makes a fucking bomb, to blow up cars and clear the road. Woah, what do they teach at the geologist school? Also, while in Supernova Brian Krause had an expression of concern on his face throughout that movie, this time we get our chubby Labyorteaux looks constantly confused.

The problem in this movie is that it becomes very cold outside. People freeze in motion on the streets. Looks like you can expect that at any moment you’ll see Arnold Schwarzenegger painted blue, scream „Chill out!”. But it’s not that cold, since the main characters run around with no coats or gloves on and they don’t look like they’re cold, they look like they’re just caught in a light draft somewhere and think it’s getting chilly. The extras also panic by either just standing around or frolicking while holding suitcases over their heads.

At one point they arrive at someone’s home to find the owner stuck under a metal rack no heavier than a shopping cart. He thanks them by giving them a plane. A fucking plane. And the fat Macgyver knows how to fly a plane. Shit, I wanna be a geologist now. They’re flying on the plane and sum up Asylum’s special effects in two lines of dialogue – „These clouds don’t look normal” – „Nothing looks normal.”.

The dialogue serves this fireproof structure: Mother asks a stupid question, father unsurely answers and the son spits out some idiotic cliché young people thing like „This visibility sucks balls!” Every single line he said made me cringe and hate that little shit.

Overall, it’s not entertaining, but it works as a parody of disaster-flicks, that takes itself completely seriously. It was really bad, though. Not recommended.

“Oh, honey, don’t worry, I’m going to find you, I’ll hug you and I’ll kiss you and I’ll hold you.”
“Uh, dad? I think I got one of them… earections in my pants.”
“Ok, I’ll call you later, our son’s being a creep.”

Review of Battle of Los Angeles (2011)

5 Aug

Battle of Los Angeles (2011) is a sci-fi/action film from The Asylum, a film studio that specializes in mockbusters.

Directed by Mark Atkins (Alien Origin (2012), Halloween Night (2006)).

Written by Mark Atkins (Dragon Crusaders (2011), Princess of Mars (2009)).

Starring: Nia Peeples, Kel Mitchell, Robert Pike Daniel, Theresa June-Tao, Stephen Blackehart, Dylan Vox, Gerald Webb and others.

To be fair, while no one is stupid enough to pick up 200 M.P.H. instead of Fast Five, here they’re just shameless with the title. It starts with the traditional bad CGI expected from The Asylum, we get some explosions, an alien ship, some airplanes, you know, the stuff that makes a movie great.

Soon we are introduced with some military characters, one of them being Robert Pike Daniel, who just shouts the most cliché military dialogue you can possibly write and then backs it up by blowing up an alien ship by shooting it a few times from a revolver. Some time later, he does this again, but this time it doesn’t explode, letting him take a weapon from it and shoot another spaceship.

It isn’t strictly a Battle: Los Angeles rip-off, it’s mostly just various alien-related movies, for example the alien mothership looks a whole lot like the one in District 9. Of course then they have to push it even further and by adding this absurd subplot about this pilot from 1942, who is oddly unphased by all the weird shit around him.

This might be one of Asylum’s better made films, since the action sometimes makes sense, it looks decent, has some nice shots, before they’re ruined by bad CGI, the acting is also bearable. Actually with this one I got the feeling, they knew what they were making and totally embraced it.

There are a bunch of hilarious scenes, for instance, when the military guys encounter an alien, which looks like it’s made out of garbage bins, they throw a grenade at it, yet this being of extreme intelligence throws it back to one of the guys. What does he do? Run? Oh no, he has the great idea of falling to the ground and rolling 10 feet sideways. Then they decide to push a car as a cover, but fail to ignore the fact that the alien is shooting it from the side.

Nia Peeples has the most awesome entrance imaginable: she jumps off a building, free-falls like 15 stories, then lands on a spaceship stabs it with a katana and then just walks away, while it explodes in the background in slow motion. Obviously revolvers and katanas are extremely effective against those spaceships. Someone should try just punching them.

Then another big moment is when the characters reach some kind of shelter, where there’s a captive alien, so the 40’s pilot just walks up to it, let’s out a high-pitched screech, punches a guy in the throat/ear, glass brakes, he jumps in, pulls in two underground-base-military guys, throws out the alien, jumps out, kills two guys with stretchy Mr. Fantastic arms, spits green goo, is decapitated by Peeples’ katana, only to be revealed as a robot, with some orb robot thing in his head, which everyone starts chasing. Now who the fuck came up with this insanity?

The alien itself is some sort of ET-like gentle creature, who groans, which is understood only by Peeples, who now has an eye-patch. Looks cool with her katana. This is a very diverse movie, the 3 leads are an asian chick, a black guy, and the somewhat latino Nia Peeples.

Overall, I really did enjoy this, probably more than Battle: Los Angeles, which I didn’t think was bad either. As far as The Asylum films go, this is definitely the best you can wish for. Completely cheesy, nonsensical and over-the-top, if that’s your thing, recommended.

Pictured: The most awesome sight, you probably don’t care to see.

Review of 2012: Supernova (2009)

31 Jul

2012: Supernova (2009) is a straight-to-video sci-fi/action/disaster film from The Asylum, a film company specializing primarily in mockbusters.

Directed by Anthony Fankhauser (Gacy House (2010), Shadow People (2011)).

Written by Jon Macy (Merlin and the War of the Dragons (2008), In the Blink of an Eye (2009)), Anthony Fankhauser (Tsunami Beach Club (2008)) and Jon Willis III.

Starring: Brian Krause, Heather McComb, Najarra Townsend, Allura Lee, Alan Poe, Londale Theus, Stephen Schneider and others.

We open to a view of CG outer space, which doesn’t instantly strike your eye as something horrible, since there’s nothing real it interacts with, so it looks like a pretty decent video game cutscene.

The movie stars Brian Krause, who most people, including me know from the TV series Charmed and if you’ve watched it, you can notice he doesn’t have much of a range or screen presence, but still, he’s a pretty big name and a good actor. By The Asylum standards. He is sort of ok, the problem is that he has only one mode – concerned.

I was almost excited that this thing won’t waste any time on exposition, the main characters – Krause, his wife and daughter  just appear and a minute later they’re on the run from someone. Then it slows down for some exposition, but as luck would have it, it’s some nonsensical bullshit. In Asylum movies the plot itself is a MacGuffin.

Somewhere along the way Krause is split up from his wife and daughter. He goes on to do… something in a… „space” facility place. I don’t know.  Krause is multiple times attacked by someone in space facility and I figured it out who it was and even forgot about it and then they brought it back at the end as this major „twist”.

The wife and daughter go home, but are forced to leave on their own separate journey to… somewhere. Yeah, I didn’t pay much attention. And, by the way, the wife and daughter look like they have a very small age difference. She must have been 12 at most when she had her. Krause, you dirty man! This plotline is far more interesting than the boring scenes with Krause’s concerned face and his oddball fellow scientists. Interesting stuff actually happens, they encounter a pervert farmer guy and run from the catastrophe destroying everything, you know, the sort of thing that made 2012 entertaining… and the pervert farmer.

The title suggests it being a rip-off of 2012, but they made 3 different movies under the „2012” title and though they do bear resemblance to various specific movies, the „2012” is just their way of saying „generic  disaster movie”.

Honestly some of the action could be considered half-decent for their budget, but it’s not like it is an „action-packed” movie, we have to sit through painful scenes where they try to pretend it’s not a some low-budget crap sci-fi disaster flick with cliché characters, plot you don’t even want to understand and cringeworthy emotional moments. It follows a strict structure of „action scene – bogus science talk – action – short dramatic scene (probably involving bogus science) – action – bogus science”,  at the end of the day it’s a „nonsensical science-packed” movie.

Overall, it’s a shitty Asylum movie, which is the reason why I watched it, but what I hoped for was some B-grade entertainment value, but what I got was boring bullshit, with some decent action spliced in, that still didn’t make it worth it. Not recommended.

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?”