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This has to be another disappointing movie of this year, along with Terminator Salvation. The main fact I was excited was Diablo Cody writing a horror film that had a female protagonist and antagonist. Probably labeled as a postfeminist horror film. It had so much potential, that it all fell flat.
Karyn Kusama's (Aeon Flux) direction seemed messy and went no-where. The scares were poorly constructed and the comedy came out poor. Though Diablo Cody's script had full of ideas, but given to Kusama's direction seemed a bad choice. This fails to bring the tension or the scares. Were they trying to have a full on female crew? Was she the only female director to take on this material? That's the only explanation I could say she was taken on-board. It comes to remind us the old horror movies of the 90s. That's the problem, horror films from the 90s were not very memorable and weren't that good. So this was slightly doomed from the start.
Megan Fox. . . . since the hype of her debut in Transformers (2007), she's been in every guys wet dream. It may serve its purpose to make it sell, but to label her as an actress is another thing altogether. She cannot act, and hasn't proven otherwise so far. Unlike Ellen Page reading lines from Juno (2007), it's Cody's lines given to Megan Fox; dull and soulless. Still stuck as the bland pretty-girl role that will probably never leave her, till she grows tired and decides to mature (look at Ledger's career; went from a heartthrob till he got tired of being typecast and was taken seriously with films like Monster's Ball, Brokeback Mountain and making a tour de force performance in The Dark Knight). The only saving grace from this film is Amanda Seyfried. She plays Jennifer's geeky friend, 'Needy'. How can we tell she's a geek? Because she wears glasses, of course! Though she was slightly more interesting than Megan Fox as Jennifer or Johnny Simmons as Needy's boyfriend.
Another problem I had with this film was the marketing, especially the trailer. It did show a bit too much and ruined the whole suspense of Jennifer being this demon possessed high school student. It would've been great if they had one teaser trailer, just seeing her swimming in the lake, coming out of the water and walking away in slow-motion. It would be an excuse to sell the movie and see Megan Fox naked (partially), but would've made people want to know what the title means or why it has this uncanny atmosphere.
Overall, a huge disappointment from Cody's ingenious 2007 writing debut and just another movie to pointlessly watch Megan Fox when you could just buy the movie poster and hang it up on your wall.
Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen (2 Discs)
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Michael Bay has a tendency to make loud, dumb action movies and don't expect much from him. He's made average shares with Bad Boys and The Island. Then there's his share on making awful movies such as Bad Boys II, Pearl Harbour and Armageddon. You either love him or you hate him. Transformers was an okay fare, it was starting out and being tame. Many people talked about it back in 2007, even I did and which most likely got Bay and Paramount Pictures going straight to making a sequel. This is the result, and do I regret it.
This movie is a tragedy, an abomination to our senses and our intelligence. I tried to have fun with this film, but all I got was trash and stuck with me. They spent $200 million on this and did not see anything come out from it. All we got was dialogue so badly done (blame the writer's strike) and didn't even look they tried hard enough. The direction from Bay is absolutely embarrassing and the characters are just dull and/or intensely annoying. Skid and Mudflap are portrayed so racially insensitive, I can't believe they got away with it.
You'll get Bay defenders saying "it's based on a toy-line". We had better movies based on comic book movies (The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Spider-Man), do you want me to expect they tried their best to come up with a budget of $200 million?! NO!!! The jokes are lame and just shockingly insensitive, I couldn't believe the audiences were laughing from it. Shia LaBeouf was not likeable, and Megan Fox continues to be the most dull beauty ever put on-screen. Her so called "acting" talent is non-existent in this movie, I don't see the fuss about her other than she's hot. So? Just put a poster of her on your wall, I find Marion Cotillard or Eva Green more attractive and talented than the blow-doll every male in this world is fantasizing.
Overall, this is a complete waste of time. 150 minutes (2hrs and 30mins) of nothing!! So many plot-holes than I can comprehend. Do yourself a favour and go watch better sci-fi movies released this year like Star Trek or Moon or District 9.
Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog: The Complete Series (8 Discs)
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This show was absolutely stupid, has no logic and just insults our intelligence. It just seemed the makers of this show really couldn't care less about the animation and just about anything that comes from it. The morales at the end of the episodes are just bizarre. Oh and by the way, the two robots who are trying to catch Sonic are incredibly annoying. The same amount of ear-bleeding annoying from Skid and Mudflap from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
There was another Sonic The Hedgehog series simply named 'Sonic The Hedgehog' and it's the complete opposite compared to this show. It had a good story, characters you'd care for and had a subtle environmental message. I strongly recommend you ignore this abysmal show and go for the other Sonic cartoon series.
James Bond: Quantum Of Solace (2 Discs)
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Continuing Bond's personal vendetta to have revenge against the organization that made Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) blackmail and betray him. Daniel Craig continues to impress on being a cold-hearted and brutal 007 that Ian Fleming created from the beginning.
In the director's chair is German born-Swiss raised Marc Forster. Director of Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland and Stranger Than Fiction. An odd choice for tackling an multi-million dollar franchise, but seems this Bond series is focusing more on the drama than the action itself. Which is terrific by all standards, as we've had to deal with a few dumb action movies (i.e. Wanted).
Daniel Craig is still the best Bond on my list, practically because he is suave but ever so dangerous. Example is where he kills a fellow assassin, pins him to the floor and makes sure his pulse stops beating whilst looking around the area (now that is Bond!). Olga Kurylenko started out very badly in her acting career, being a dull and unsympathetic character in the terrible Hitman. Though here, it's not a huge improvement but finally given a much better character with a back-story and she is incredibly gorgeous and not ashamed to say worthy in the Bond girl canon. Gemma Arterton is a homage to the 60s Bond girls (look out for her first name at the end credits, got one word for it 'Beatles'). Mathieu Amalric is not your typical Bond villain, doesn't have any scars or evil looks to convince us he's a villain. Like Mads Mikkelsen, he doesn't know how to fight or take care of himself.
The action sequences are similar like the last two Bourne films, fast paced and jarring. That's because it has been coordinated by Gary Powell, who has a long huge Hollywood credit on his list. They can be annoying by most viewers, but I found them really put together (as I am used with Paul Greengrass's filmmaking style).
The most important thing with a Bond film is its theme song. Chris Cornell's You Know My Name was terrific, it was edgy and catchy. This one isn't terrible by any means, but isn't up to Cornell's league. It does have some classic Bond touches to it, but Jack White and Alicia Keys (in my opinion) weren't a good mix. It seemed jumbled, and didn't really grab me.
My final verdict is we still have Craig being a dark, and (as I keep saying) brutal Bond for 21st Century audiences. May not be superior to Casino Royale, but it is equal for being a somewhat extended movie. Will Bond Return? I should hope so.
Wanted (Exclusive Sleeve)
Timur Bekmambetov's Hollywood debut is not bad, he delivers action like no other (not since John Woo with The Killers and Hard Boiled). I was truly excited to hear Wanted being adapted to a movie, but I was slightly disappointed from the final result.
James McAvoy's first action role is really great, he can definitely lead a movie. He was really the only thing I liked from the film. But everyone else seems to turn to Angelina Jolie, who's a secondary character but from the posters (even Play.com's Exclusive Sleeve) seem to make her big star. Which is what I hate about her, takes the spot-light when she doesn't deserve it. Morgan Freeman is good as ever, but slightly boring from having to keep being the wise teacher type characters. The rest of the cast make decent performances, but don't expect much.
Like I said before, the action sequences are top-notch and exhilarating. The only problem is the bullet-time modes are a bit consistent, and don't necessarily need to have that many. The whole idea on curving the bullet is another problem, it's a bit too silly. You may say "it's based on a comic book, so it's an action/fantasy film", true but the source material didn't have any fantasy elements from the character's abilities (the only being exceptional was Wesley shoots the wings off the flies, since it was in the comic book). The last thing I like to complain was the anticipation for the film. The comic book was about super villains. . . . that got me excited, because we don't have any super villain films. Only films with heroes (i.e. Iron Man, Hellboy II and The Dark Knight), and changing it to being assassin's seemed not that great to my eyes (or hardly original).
Overall, a decent adaptation but not as much as it could have been. Only recommended for action junkies, and who like Angelina Jolie (though those only watching the film to see her naked is most likely and, to my opinion, is pathetic and a waste for only that reason).
Batman: The Dark Knight (2 Discs)
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Fans, audiences and critics have all been waiting for Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins sequel, many obviously predicting the villain will be the Joker (hint from the ending of the first film). Though they probably didn't expect anything like this to put on screen. What we have here is more of a character study of a film than being all action spectacle and having good fun i.e. Iron Man.
Not that it's exciting, the many action sequences in this film are spectacular (an improvement on Chris Nolan's part). The most talked about thing about this movie is Heath Ledger's performance as the Clown Prince of Crime, and having it being his last completed film project before his tragic death in January this year. The hype is not overrated, his performance is both comedically and frighteningly brilliant. Even though he's known to be mentally insane, he does point out very good points ("the thing about chaos, it's fair") and the scene between himself and Batman (played with emotional depth from Christian Bale) is just spine-chillingly fantastic. Both characters being complete opposites, making out that the Joker is what Batman could be if he fell to madness;
Batman: "You're garbage who kills for money."Joker: "Don't talk like one of them- you're not, even if you'd like to be. To them you're just a freak, like me. They just need you right now. But when they don't, they'll cast you out like a leper."
Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and even Gary Oldman are fleshed out in this sequel than they were in the first film. Giving themselves more of a back-story and even equal screen time. The new additions being Aaron Eckhart as being Harvey Dent is a huge surprise, feeling so sorry that he's slightly ignored from everyone thinking this is Heath's movie. When Harvey Dent turns to Two-Face, it is a somewhat horrifying transformation (both physically and mentally). Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, better in the acting department but is still a one-dimensional character.
The cinematography is like Michael Mann's Heat (obvious to it's visual style and influence with the opening heist sequence), and the orchestral score from Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard is both electrifying and exciting. This is a comic book hero film like you've never seen before. It feels like a normal crime/thriller film, but just so happens to have Batman and the Joker.
Hitman: Extreme Edition (2007)
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Adaptation after adaptation from video games, the only good adaptation was Silent Hill. When I heard that Hitman was going to be turned into a live-action movie, I was quite excited. The way I viewed was a Michael Mann type espionage thriller, not an action movie. Unfortunately, the filmmakers saw it as an action movie. They changed from 47 being a clone to an orphan. . . . why? To be different? The director said "I'm a fan of the games", if he didn't say that. . . . I would have given this movie a fair review. The script was terrible, especially with the line "the Agency is so secret, no one knows it exists". . . . then who hires 47? The other Agents are supposed to look like 47, not different bald people. Olga Kurylenko was quite bad in the role, but I'll give her a chance for Quantum of Solace since Hitman was her first acting role. The fight scenes were poorly choreographed. Being faithful to the source material? Only to the look of 47, Timothy Olyphant was okay but would have actually been better if it was played by David Bateson (the voice of 47 in the video games and the person who the creators based his facial appearance on). The music was another let-down. Jesper Kyd's music in the games is terrific, making Hitman's world dark, brutal and gothic. But instead changed it on having it trying to be like Bourne and Bond.
My advice? Play the games, THEN (rent or download) watch the movie. Just to see how Xavier Gens (his first directorial debut. . . . not promising) really screwed it up from what could have been great.
Cloverfield: Special Edition (2 Discs)
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Like Godzilla, it is a monster movie. Unlike Godzilla, it only focuses on the civilians. We don't view what's happening with the military or with the President. We share the experience, we see what they see and hear what they hear. What they don't know, we don't know as well.
It had one of the best marketing with any movie. J.J. Abrams brings us something that could have been flawed but the result is unique and refreshing. It is a monster movie in documentary style, seen it before (Blair Witch Project) but better in so many ways. Genuinely frightening, an apocalyptic movie in epic proportions.