Posts Tagged ‘movie review’

Did we really need another mummy film? Let alone a kind of remake of the remake we had back in 1999. You know, the one that had 2 sequels and an endless amount of prequels. The main trilogy of which went actually that bad. The third one had some questionable design choices but on the most part they were fun adventure flicks that worked well and stood as a nice update of the original 1932 universal monsters film.

As always in the modern film industry, some high up exec thought , ‘you know what would be a good idea? Let’s remake so of those beloved universal monster films. They’d bring in money. We have very few fresh ideas and everyone loves the originals, so it’s a sure fire hit!’

So that idea has brought us the first of these remakes in ‘The Mummy’.

Now let me just get it out the way, it’s not a bad film. There’s quite a bit to like. But ultimately it’s neither as good as the original or the 1999 remake. I guess the big question is; is it worth your time? Read on and see.

The long and short of the story is that Tom Cruise plays a soldier who on the side is a treasure Hunter. Him and his friend accidently stumble upon the burial place of Ahmanet (Played by Sofia Boutella), who is the said ‘Mummy’ of the title. They accidently free her in England and thus have to try and stop her with the help of a monster hunting club.

The story doesn’t win any awards for originality but it does at least keep itself flowing at a pretty good pace and is always quite entertaining to watch. I like how they’ve cleverly incorporated the other upcoming Universal Monster films in by putting hints throughout the film.

Another thing I really like is that the film never takes itself to seriously. A great example of this is Tom Cruises friend who plays a role that is very reminiscent of the character ‘Jack’ from ‘An American Werewolf in London’. It’s very tongue in cheek and slightly self mocking at times. It’s a clever move and helps give the film a nice fun vibe. It was also a clever twist making Ahmanet a female as the mummy in previous versions has usually been a male. This choice works really well but does mean the usual semi-romance with the hero is bound to happen.

The film does have some negatives though which stop it being anything special. It’s a little overlong and does drag slightly by the obvious end showdown. The fact it’s all set pretty much in England at night time stops it feeling like an actual adventure film of old. It just lacks the spark.

As I said earlier it’s not a bad film and it’s a pretty entertaining flick. It’s worth watching but not necessarily worth watching again. It’ll be interesting what they do with the rest of the monster movies the to come.

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12 years went by since The Ring 2 and some studio exec decided what we need is another film in the series. Did we really need another film? The original Ringu series did have 3 films (4 if you include the original 2nd film that was renamed Spiral) and a couple of spin offs but all of those kind of worked and built on the haunted videotape mythos. This film both attempts to continue the story of the American series while also giving a reboot feeling.

If the opening of a film is meant to grab the viewers attention and semi dictate the quality you are to expect, Rings fails laughably. We have what can only be described as a terrible combination of final destination and a horror spoof. It’s actually an interesting idea setting the beginning on a plane, it’s just that it’s so badly handled it’s silly.

On the plus with such a terrible opening it can only get better, which it does do but not by much. We have a series of dull moments meant to shock but most fall flat. There are some interesting ideas going on but they don’t quite work. The ending was actually pretty good though. It’s pretty stupid but it’s done interestingly and I guess sets up another film if they decided to do one.

They do change a fair chunk of the ring myths and introduce new things such as another video. It all feels unnecessary, but I guess they had to try something new. Even the old video seems different from the one in the other films. This helps gives the feeling that this film is a reboot, yet it still expects you to know some of the backstory.

One of the things that raises the quality of the film is the inclusion of actor Johnny Galecki who many would know from Big Bang Theory. It’s nice seeing him in something completely different, as the last horror film I remember seeing him in was I Know What You Did Last Summer. He’s great in the film and makes it watchable, it’s just a shame he doesn’t have a better script to work from.

The special effects are passable with even the classic image of Samara climbing out of a television coming across as cheap. The scares are near non existent and there is very little tension and atmosphere. I think the only teen moment I remember is towards the start where Johnny Galecki is sitting in his apartment, illuminated by sree lights as it pours down with rain outside. A pivotal scene later on that is meant to be full of tense drama just feels very meh.

For a sequel that never needed making, I applaud them for trying to introduce some interesting new ideas. It’s just a shame that most fall flat. I wouldn’t call it a terrible film, it’s just not very good. You’re better off sticking with the original Ringu series or just pretending like this one never happened.

I’ll start by saying it’s been a while since I’ve last written a review so here goes:

Godzilla

Before we get into the review I will warn they may be possible spoilers throughout:

So where do I begin?

Well I guess an introduction to Godzilla isn’t really needed as he really is such a cultural icon, which makes it hard to find a suitable opening. Anyway we’ll give it a go.

Now having 27  films in the Japanese series, and 4 American pictures (even if one of them is just the original Godzilla film with an American actor slipped in) Godzilla is one of the longest running film franchises around. This newest incarnation is helmed by the great Gareth Edwards of ‘Monsters’ fame. Where ‘Monsters’ was a low budget almost indie film made with pretty much no crew, 2 actors, a camera and a load of CGI done on a home computer, this is a much larger beast (like the creatures in the film). This film has hundreds of cast and crew and effects that rival pretty much all films on the market today, plus a budget of over 20 times what ‘monsters’ had. I wondered if the money would go straight to Edwards’ head like numerous directors nowadays but I was gladly surprised.

The film is hands down one of the most enjoyable times I’ve had at the cinema in a long while especially after the travesty that was ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′. For me almost everything about it worked, not that there aren’t a few issues which I will get to in due time, but let me just say I really liked this film.

For me one of the things that really worked and in a way didn’t work were the characters in the story. Much like Edwards’ earlier film ‘Monsters’ (sorry to keep mentioning it but it does feel like Edwards has taken a lot from his previous effort and implemented aspects into this film) he focuses very much on the relationships of the characters involved and does really make you care about some of them. The broken relationship between Bryan Cranston’s ‘Joe’ and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s ‘Ford’ is brilliant and they really do feel like father and son. the same can be said for Joe and his Wife. Everything kinda gels with the characters. But they also feel kind of pointless. we get these relationships and we get these characters but they ultimately mean nothing. the character of ‘Ford’ simply exists as a plot device to take us where the monsters are going. he doesn’t really learn or accomplish anything in the film. the only real character that does is ‘Joe’ but even then it kind of feels pointless. the fact they are pointless doesn’t necessarily mean that the characters aren’t the main focus of the film either because you could argue they are but they feel like something is missing.

The other issue I have with the ‘pointless’ characters is Elizabeth Olsen’s ‘Elle’. she is simply inserted, again as a plot device to try and bring ‘Ford’ home to her. without her there would be little reason for ‘Ford’ to keep moving with the monsters, but at the same time she is completely wasted. She is kind of necessary to the story but at the same time is not.

You may notice that I keep on mentioning ‘Monsters’ in plural and that is because this film has more than one monster. This is one of the films biggest assets as it truly harks back to the Godzilla films of old. In this film Godzilla IS NOT the bad guy and I love that fact. The monster on monster fights are handled really well even if you cleverly see very little of all but the final battle. The CGI is very impressive and for the most part blends seamlessly with the real environments and actors. In a way it feels very much like the other large creature film ‘Pacific Rim’ which also featured amazing effects and sound and an equally large number of pointless characters.

In a way the film ‘Pacific Rim’ has lessened the impact of ‘Godzilla’ due to it’s similarly large monsters and epic battles (you could argue it was the best non-Godzilla, Godzilla film in recent memory). that’s not to say this isn’t amazing when the action really ramps up. The final battle really is amazing and really feels like the Godzilla’s of old (minus the man in rubber  suit dramatics).

there are a few other odd negatives such as a military compound that no-one seems to have noticed has a giant hole in the side of it, the sheer collateral damage the fighting monsters do that seems to go unnoticed, the fact that the creature is far larger then it’s ‘cocoon/egg’.  there are probably a few more but they were not important. In fact none of the negatives I mention really detract from this film.

When all is said and done this is kind of what you’d expect from a large budgeted Godzilla film. Its loud, big and has awesome action. but in a way has far less action then you may expect. In its 2 hour runtime less than half is action, but when they come some of the set-pieces are breathtakingly awesome (like the amazing Halo jump features in the trailer).

So as you may have guessed I really like this film (although I may have focused on more negatives then positives weirdly). It’s rekindled my love of Godzilla and has spurred me on to watch all of the old ones again ( including the Roland Emmerich 1998 film that I also really enjoy. It’s fun and delivers on what it sets out to do) and possibly the animated series that was also produced.

All in all I’d highly recommend watching this film if you like this kind of cinema (most of you reading this have probably already seen the film or are planning to see it so you know who you are) I’d give it a strong 8/10.

 

godzilla image property of warner brothers and is used in fair use.

First things first, this isn’t the same ‘Sleeping Beauty’ as many know from the classic fairy tale.

This film focuses on a girl called Lucy (Emily Browning) as she struggles to earn extra money while studying, by being a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ (essentially she is drugged and knocked out and while asleep men are allowed to touch and do what they like with her, everything except sex that is.) It’s not quite as dodgy as it sounds and none of it is filmed in an erotic or pornographic sense. It is a tactic that is used to study the base character without the superficial things such as clothes and makeup.

At its heart it’s a study of one girl and how her ‘sleeping beauty’ life and her waking life merge until she no longer knows what is real. The film handles everything amazingly well and the acting especially from Browning is close to perfection. Bearing in mind the only thing I had seen her in previously and recognised her in was ‘Sucker Punch’, her acting in this was a massive step up.  She holds the film on her shoulders and does a phenomenal job. It is amazing how likeable her character is when you consider she is essentially a glorified escort. Not even that really as during the film she gets paid for sex on the side. But still she is compelling and her tale is great.

As a piece of art the film is a masterpiece. Every shot feels like it could be a painting, and every chord of music draws you in and evokes emotion. The film takes it’s time and never rushes anything. I think this is why it works so well. By the end of it you feel like you have had an experience and that is what a film should do.

All credit needs to go out to the team who made this small scale film, especially Browning and the director Julia Leigh (especially as it is her directorial and writing debut). The film, although having a very small budget feels very grand and thanks to the cinematography and script stands head an shoulders above a lot of films being made nowadays.   8/10

I’d wanted to see this film for quite some time due to my love of extreme Asian cinema such as ‘Visitor Q’ and ‘Tetsuo: the Iron Man’. I’m happy to say that it was worth the wait, well kind of.

How do you start to describe a film like this?

Well firstly I’ll say it’s not a film for the easily unnerved as the atmosphere created through clever use of music and visuals is pretty unsettling from the get go. It’s not as extreme or graphic in terms of its depictions of sex and violence as say ‘Visitor Q’ but it has a more eerie vibe about it all.  I guess you could say it’s a kind of sexual horror film. But it’s not that simple.

The film is pretty complex in its themes and ideas. The plot of the film is about a husband and wife who are being stalked by a twisted individual. But I’d argue the film is about the futility of life and the need for companionship. The husband and wife are both missing something from their lives and it is only when the third party intervenes in their lives that they start to openly address these issues. You could even argue that the film is about voyeurism and how everyone is being watched without even knowing it.

There is a lot of focus on the unity between nature and the industrial world we are all accustomed to. Not that the film is set in any specific time period. It’s kind of timeless and feels vaguely futuristic at times. In fact the whole film feels very dreamlike with its unusual camerawork and creepy score. Throughout the film the city is shrouded by constant rain which helps emphasise the characters depression. I must say that the cinematography is stunning throughout, especially during the outdoor sequences. It is this amazing camerawork that helps create a beautiful sadness to the whole film, making it much more than your usual semi erotic horror film.

As the runtime progresses so does the craziness of the onscreen antics. All of it culminates in one of the most confusing and messed up fights I’ve seen in a long time. Even when it is being crazy the film is still weirdly believable due to the slow way it draws the audience in. The story is compelling and constantly keeps you on edge, wondering what will happen next.

I think that the decision to release the film in black and white adds to its beauty.  It means you are not distracted by the colours of the world around the characters, while also helping merge the industrial with the natural.

I came away from the film thinking hard on what I truly thought of it and I’m still slightly mixed. It is definitely good but I’m not sure if I’d consider it anywhere near a classic. I’d say it’s well worth watching as it is a truly unique experience and one that I doubt I’ll forget. 7/10

An estranged couple’s take a break in the country to try and help save their relationship. Little do they know that they’re soon to have some unexpected guests….

Zombies are everywhere these days (not literally), they’re in books, games, board games, and most of all movies. It seems to be the craze for first time horror directors to try and break out with a hit undead movie. With so many made, it’s hard for many to stand out and be truly memorable. It doesn’t help that the benchmarks in zombie cinema (George Romero’s ‘Dead Trilogy’ being the landmark s) have set the bar ridiculously high. So high in fact that not even Romero has managed to capture the greatness that made his name.

This British production aims to have that special something to make itself stand out. Directed by first timer Dominic Brunt (from Britain’s very own soap opera ‘Emmerdale’ ) it shows a little promise at the start but that quickly fades.

I got excited about the film when I found it in a dvd store. The cover features an army of zombies and a man standing, shotgun in hand looking out onto an undead city. The reviews on the box stating ‘unforgettable… the most gut-wrenching modern zombie flick in years’ from Hollywood news, ‘Bloody Terrifying…’ from Starbust and ‘stunning cinematography’ from Little White Lies led me to believe what I was about to watch would truly be great. After watching the film I’m wondering if I saw the right film. What I saw was far from what was described or pictured.

From the outset the cinematography is very iffy. The camerawork goes from being passable (the scenic shots) the downright awful (zombie attacks). The lighting is appalling throughout with the camera being constantly overexposed. It just looks awful. I have no idea what the reviewer from ‘Little white Lies’ was watching but it can’t have been this. I’ve seen student films that look more polished. The music starts out ok with a sort of ’28 days later’ vibe but quickly transcends into a repetitive mess.

The first 20 minutes built up the tension pretty well and I was thinking that it may make up for the camerawork but alas no. It quickly spiralled down the hole of awfulness with a tired script, some awful acting and appalling action.

The film tries to be a ‘character driven piece’ instead of the usual everyone dying zombie film. This would work if there was a good script behind the acting. I felt nothing towards the main characters. I just wanted to see them die at the hands of the zombies during the ‘epic slaughterfest’ (as stated on the box). Even that failed to happen. in the whole film there are 6 zombies.  3 of which don’t appear until the final 2 minutes of the film. When the zombies are on screen they just feel like people running around after one another. They never feel like mindless bloodthirsty creatures, but more like people acting. I’ve never been one for the ‘running’ zombies but at least films like ’28 days later’, ‘Dawn of the Dead 2004’ or even the resident evil franchise, but at least these films handle the zombies well and actually make you fear for some of the characters (slightly less so for resident evil).

In fact the whole film feels like a student made version of the opening of ’28 Weeks later’ with none of the tension, acting skills, script or direction. In that film I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen. The music and the frantic pace push everything forward perfectly. This film does none of that (well it tries to). When the zombies do come the music gets faster and they employ the ‘shakey cam’ style. It just doesn’t work here. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve seen a more boring zombie attack in a film then the 2/3 in this film.  You know a film is bad when you start thinking about the practicality of a zombie and how their motor functions work etc…

I can happily say that this is easily one of the worst zombie films I’ve ever seen (possibly in the bottom 3) and easily one of the worst films I’ve seen in general. It has barley any redeeming factors and really is bottom of the barrel. I’m even more annoyed at the lies the box told me. There was no man with a shotgun facing a city in the snow (I forgot to mention that before but the man on the cover is standing in a little grassy patch in amongst a snowy wasteland.)

I do not recommend anyone see this film and I really hope that they change the dvd packaging in the future as not to trick viewers into picking up a film different from that on the box. DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THE GOOD REVIEWS!!!!!!! 2/10 (for an OK idea)

Sean Patrick Flanery stands up to a biker gang led by Lou Diamond Phillips. The biker gang don’t take kindly to this and vow revenge. They decide to get this revenge by attacking the wild west show town that Flanery acts in. Flanery must lead the actors in the stand against the bikers. Will he prevail?

I was really excited about this film when I found it cheap on dvd. I really like the two main actors and thought that they could bring charm to a low budget ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ style flick. Sadly, although they do their best, they don’t save this mediocre flick.

It may be because I was expecting more of an action film from what I read on the dvd box and I didn’t get that, or it may have been just because it wasn’t very good. We have a long build up with the odd confrontation between Flanery and Phillips but no proper action until the end. In the way it felt a little like the modern film ‘The Last Stand’ but just nowhere near as fun. This would be ok if the film knew exactly what it wanted to be but unfortunately it feels very much stuck in the middle between character piece and action flick.

The music is ok as is the cinematography. While neither is great they get the job done and make it easier to watch the slow meandering thriller where nothing really happens.

As you’ve probably guessed I didn’t really like the film. It’s not that it’s fundamentally bad, it’s just ‘MEH!’ It sits in that middle ground between being not good and not bad. It could have been a fun little action romp but what we get is a slow build up to a very anticlimactic ending.

I wouldn’t waste your time. 5/10

Set in 1989, the film tells the tale of a group of high school athletes who are accused of the gang rape of a mentally handicapped girl. When the town rallies to protect the athletes it is up to a detective and a prosecutor to discover what really happened.

After discovering the quality of the TV films distributed by ‘Odyssey True Films’ (Death of a Cheerleader, Deadly Whispers, In a Strangers Hand etc…) I decided to seek out this film as I really like the actor Eric Stoltz. I was not disappointed.

It is a deeply dark tale told without any kind of censoring of the facts (it’s based on a true story) . It deals with some very dark subject matter that I haven’t seen in a film in recent years, let alone a film made for television.  Although it features themes such as rape, corruption and the rights of the mentally handicapped, it never uses them for exploitation. Ferland handles each of the elements really well and handles them in an appropriate manner.

The pacing is brilliant as is the direction and the acting. Everyone plays their role amazingly well, especially Stoltz, Sheedy and Matarazzo. You can’t fault any of the actors on their performances which are all believable and fell very natural.

‘Odyssey films’ has yet to disappoint me with a bad film. What we have here is a very well made and highly thought provoking piece of film that I’d say is worth the time. 7/10

A group of individuals head to a cabin in the woods for ‘fear therapy’ unknowing of what evils may await them.

From the outset we are presented with a weird green filtered sequence with a child bumping into a group of people all wearing masks. We have no real explanation we’re just thrown straight into the weird cheapness that is to continue for the following 90 mins.

The film itself is kind of interesting but just feels a little like a more ‘fear’ orientated take on the film ‘Pin’ (which was far better than this). The wooden dummy (Morty) is actually quite creepy and is possibly the only redeeming feature of the picture. His movement and sound effects are really well implemented which helps him feel like an evil killer doll.

Plot wise it all feels very random as does the pacing. It is incredibly slow which gets to the stage of going nowhere. When stuff finally starts to happen we see the group travel to an old abandoned amusement park (for what reason I do not know…). While there one gets raped and a little bit of violence happens (definitely not enough to warrant the 18 age rating the dvd has in the UK). We then get some weird possession stuff and your usual running from Morty. It’s all so tiresome.

The cast are all pretty bad in their roles and no-one is particularly stand out. It really is bottom of the barrel and sometimes difficult to watch. One quite nice touch is the fact that the film features a random cameo from Wes Craven (yes the director of horror classics ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Scream’).  The acting is even below par when it comes to cheap 90’s horror films and isn’t helped by an atrocious script.

Direction and editing is average at best, with the majority being tiresome and boring. The music starts off being ok but as with everything in this film, quickly becomes repetitive and boring. I got the end and found myself asking a simple question;

‘WHAT THE HELL WAS IT ALL ABOUT??????????’

I found no answer to this question and I don’t intend on watching it again to try and find out.

There is nothing worthwhile here and it’s a film that should just drift to obscurity and never be heard of again. It’s not even ‘so bad it’s good’. 3/10

If Lola loves you, you’re sure to find out…..

I expected this to be your average teen slasher horror and was pleasantly surprised with a fairly refreshing take on a tired genre.

The basic set up is out of the way quite quickly with Xavier Samuel’s character Brent turning down Lola’s (Robin McLeavy) invitation to the school prom. She doesn’t take this too well and with the help of her father, kidnaps him and submits him to her own kind of torture.

It’s a pretty basic plot but has a few nice twists and turns hidden away. It feels a lot like the original ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ film just with a boy at the hands of the villain instead of a girl. The dinner table scene feels very reminiscent of the same sort of scene in Tobe Hooper’s horror classic. As the film progresses, so do the methods of torture, until we reach some very extreme situations of punishment.  The pacing is top notch, as is the script which helps keep the audience captivated until the credits role.

The acting on the whole is very good with an amazingly nasty turn from Robin McLeavy as the evil Lola.  By the end of the film I wanted her to die at every turn. Xavier Samuel is great as the male lead, although at times he puts on the same pout that Kristen Stewart has used throughout her career. John Brumpton is also great as Lola’s equally crazy father.

The film looks beautiful with some stand out cinematography. This really helps the film stand out from the crowd and I must say makes it one of the prettiest torture films I’ve ever seen.  The stunning visuals are helped by some truly great sound mixing that helps build and maintain a great atmosphere throughout.

At the end of the day, what we have here is a horror film which is different from the norm and a bit of fresh air. It has some great small touches such as Brent’s razor blade that is his means of escape in more ways than one. I would say that the film is very grim and never really steps out of this. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it sometimes feels a little over the top. The film is also kind of pointless in the fact that no-one really learns anything. This is helped by the fact the film is constantly interesting and is always throwing something new at the viewer.

I did really enjoy it and would definitely recommend it. Although I’m not sure if I’d really want to see it again. 7/10