Tag Archives: Movies

Big Movie Short Review List

Watched some movies recently…

  • Alien vs Predator 1: Watchable, if you like Aliens or Predators. Switch off your brain first though. The Weyland tie-ins are neat.
  • V for Vendetta: Well filmed, a bit too predictable and hard to suspend disbelief in a few places. Good message I guess. Definitely watchable – once. Not a classic.
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars. Actually the movie is just the first few episodes of the show added together. Once you understand it, it becomes cool – the show is definitely better than the prequels. Recommended for any Star Wars or Science Fiction fan.
  • Iron Man: Fun bubble-gum movie. Definitely one of the entertaining comic superhero movies. Recommended.
  • The Dark Knight: It could be an excellent movie, if they had left out the half-burnt guy’s subplot at the end; it was, overall, about a half-hour too long. Also, the cellphone sonar thing was dumb. Keith Ledger really did do a good job, the Batman actor was too wooden.
  • Chicken Run: Watched this years ago, still a fun movie. It’s an Aardman animation (of Wallace & Grommit fame). Awesome movie, too, if you like Wallace & Grommit, you’ll love this one.
  • The Mummy: Another movie I watched a long time ago; good, straight-forward Indiana-Jones style fun. Highly recommended.

Jumpers and Spiderwick Chronicles

Watched two movies on the way to SFO:

Jumpers is an action movie about a guy who discovers that he has the power of teleportation, as well as his subsequent run-in with a secret government-sponsored organization that is set up to kill his kind. There are really not many surprises in this movie, the action is passable, and I did kind of like the premise. This is one of those movies that’s very watchable when you are stuck iun a jetliner for 12 hours, but otherwise it would be a waste of money to rent it.

The Spiderwick Chronicles is an action/fantasy movie about a house plagued by goblins. The owner, Arthur Spiderwick, wrote a book about faeries, and now the evil ogre Mograth is trying to get that book (an obviously has been for 80 years, the poor bastard needs a life). When the great-grand-nephews of Arthur move into the house and discover the book, all hell breaks loose.

As you’d expect, the premise works out to another crummy Hollywood fantasy movie. The beginning is alright but it deteriorates quickly. The design of the monsters in the book shown in the first minutes – is pretty neat and reminds me of Brian Froud’s work, but the ones in the movie itself are normal CGI fare. If I had to sum it up in a few words, I would describe Spiderwick Chronicles as a cross between The Gate and Labyrinth, and it fails at it. Again, it’s watchable… barely.

Donnie Darko (Director’s Cut)

I bought the Director’s Cut DVD of Donnie Darko a long time ago and wanted to *finally* post the review. I didn’t know this movie before I saw the DVD; but it sounded interesting so I shelled out the money.

Donnie Darko is about time travel and parallel universes, and mixes a dark atmosphere and scary imagery with what almost seems like a typical high school flick (but really isn’t).

The Director’s Cut is 128 minutes and thus 20 minutes longer than the original version. The package includes 2 DVD’s, one with the movie itself and one with extras.

Continue reading Donnie Darko (Director’s Cut)

Three Movies

Watched three movies on my way to Detroit.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: Not the worst movie I ever watched, but hardly a piece of art – or even very original. If you’re a guy, the blond female lead will keep you watching because quite honestly she’s very cute. Watchable.

Rush Hour 3: Crime comedy action movie with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. Boring story, action scenes were okay. I think the only reason I did not hate this movie was Jackie Chan who’s pretty fun to watch even in his old age. Chris Tucker should be banned from making movies, on the other hand. Most annoying actor ever. They threw in a lot of France-bashing, which was just stupid, and the plot was the most predictable I’ve seen in a long time. (Hint: When you think “oh this guy has got to be the evil villain” you are correct.)

Transformers: Oh, where to even begin. This movie SUCKED. Bad. Not so much the premise, giant robots slugging it out is always a good thing to me. The plot was contrived and stupid, but it wouldn’t have been a huge problem. No, what got me was all the small, tiny errors. For example Air Force One almost certainly doesn’t look like a huge bunker from the inside. I have been in an empty 747 cargo plane and it’s not that huge. The defense secretary states that the US is on “Defcon Delta”. Defcon levels are numbered 1-5. I guess they feared that the average dumb audience member would have said “Gee golly, Defcon One sounds kinda low”. Idiots. And don’t even get me started on the portrayal of hacking in the movie. Only watch Transformers if you’re a fan or if you are stuck on an airplane for nine hours and have nothing else to do.

The Simpsons Movie

I watched The Simpsons Movie last night. I liked it, but I thought it wasn’t spectacular. On the good side, it’s a long, long episode of The Simpsons. But on the other hand, unfortunately it’s a long, long episode of The Simpsons. But let’s look at the story first:

Warning: Heavy Spoilers

In the movie, Homer ruins Springfield’s attempt to clean up its environment. The EPA moves in and puts a huge dome over Springfield. The citizens are outraged and attempt to kill Homer in a classic example of mob justice, forcing The Simpsons to flee to Alaska. However, when they learn that the EPA wants to blow up all of Springfield, Marge and the kids wish to go back to save their town. Homer, on the other hand, wants to stay in Alaska. Marge leaves him to save Springfield anyway.

All alone, Homer gets stranded on an ice floe and is rescued by an Inuit woman. After he has a vision, he decided to follow Marge and – in the end – does save Springfield.

End of Spoilers

So, what’s so bad about this? Or good, for that matter? Well, it’s an overly-long Simpsons episode. So all the elements people like from the TV Show are in the show as well. There are some great gags in there. But on the other hand, the movie is hardly original. The entire time I had the feeling that I had already seen the movie.

One of the best things about the movie is that they did some things that I had never thought they would get away with. They made fun of creationism. They showed Bart naked (and yes I mean you get to see his penis). In the end, Homer gives someone the finger. Gotta love it.

So, should you watch the movie? If you’re a Simpsons fan – chances are you already did. Anyway, if you like the show, you’ll probably like the movie. But do not expect a revolution in animation movies.

Harry Potter and the Somthing of Something

So I have a (small) confession to make. I actually watched a Harry Potter movie in China. I have no idea what it was called. If they displayed the title during the intro, I missed it. Or maybe it was Chinese.

What, may you ask, drove me to such insanity?

Clearly I had no desire to actually see the movie. Nor had the lady who accompanied me. But when we got to the cinema in Beijing late in the evening, it was the movie in English that had not yet started. Tickets were 50 Yuan each, if I recall correctly.

The movie’s plot is fairly simplistic. Potter’s school gets taken over by a headmistress who, for no real reason, begins to enact all kinds of totalitarian rules and tortures the pupils. When she cancels the practical use of magic in class, the kids band together, and Harry Potter becomes their substitute teacher. (“If we don’t learn how to use magic, how can we defend ourselves from the evil villain?”).

The kid’s voluntary studies are uncovered by the school’s staff, and their secret classroom is betrayed by Potter’s romantic side plot, a Chinese chick. (Why is it that the foreigners are always the traitors? It doesn’t help that the betrayal is explained much later as not the girl’s fault; Harry never looks at the girl again, and there’s hardly any closure of the issue.)

But t doesn’t really matter because, uhm, something happens (the movie doesn’t really explains any of it; the characters act basically on pure divine inspiration in the form of Potter’s nightmares) and a small group of children (and later adult wizards) confront whatever-his-name-was in a magic ministry. Epic battle and all. Whatever.

So there’s a lot of problems with the movie. I’ve already mentioned the Chinese girl. And I shan’t get into the idiocy of the basic storyline (kids with little twig wands… meh). But there are other issues. The plot has no real beginning or ending, and there’s hardly any substance to it, the climactic battle sucks too. The adults take over from Potter; nothing gets resolved, and when the movie ends we’re basically back to where we were before it started. And did I mention that the characters are incredibly annoying? All of them; there is not a single character that doesn’t get on the viewer’s nerves after about three seconds of screen time.

There are of course also some highlights to the movie. The imagery is quite nice in several scenes (the magical school / castle’s well designed, especially the aerial views). But that is hardly a reason to waste money and time on the movie. No, the real highlight of the movie is that it eventually ends.

I guess I have seen worse movies. But I’d be hard-pressed to name one.

The bottom line is: Yeah, I was right, Harry Potter sucks cold donkey balls.

Watching Ghost In The Shell 2

Last night, I did a Deadmines run with some people on World of Warcraft. Pretty good, nobody died, so we decided to take advantage of the great team and also raid the Wailing Caverns. That, too, went quite well. After that I was sleepy, but I just had to watch Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.

At about half-way into the movie, it becomes quite surreal; with several scenes repeating with slight differences in visual detail and in dialogue; and the main topic seems to become perception and reality. I was nodding off in my chair, and the whole expeirence was very unreal and confusing. I kept thinking I had nodded off, or that I had accidentally rewound the movie. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to make much sense of it.

I’ll have to watch it again before writing a review. Let me say as much, however, as that the graphics in it are quite nice.

Star Wars III – Revenge of the Sith

Saw Revenge of the Sith last night. I had intended not to, but people I visited wanted to go, so I went along.

The movie pretty much lives up to its expectations, and that is: Nice graphics, crappy story. The acting was alright to bad, and the dialogue was abysmal. George Lucas isn’t even trying anymore. The whole thing was a forced movie, blown up into a movie that turned out to be too long, and included references to Star Wars IV-VI that were so artifical as to not even be cute anymore.

And they didn’t even kill off Jar Jar Binks.

The “main” villain of Revenge of the Sith, General Griveous (sp?), is, howveer, a worthy Jar Jar replacement. I mean, come on, how serious can you take a villain that’s basically a cyborg with asthma?

However, the visuals are really good. Right at the beginning there’s a battle over a planet (Corouscant, I think) where capital ships slug it out with each other, pretty nicely done. Doesn’t even matter if the technology displayed doesn’t fit one bit into the Star Wars world.

I have to say that the final moments, with Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader, were the best part of the movie (if you ignore the really horrendous dialogue between him and Obi Wan), especially with the betrayal of the Jedi. Also, Yoda’s fight against Dark Sidious is really well choreographed. It probably says more about _Sith_ than anything else that the CGI Yoda out-acted all the other actors in the movie. Sad, sad.

At any rate, if you are a die-hard Star Wars fan, you’ve already seen this movie. If you’re not, go watch this if you are really bored and if you think you can survive your ears bleeding from the painful dialogue. And if you happen to miss Star Wars III, you won’t miss much. The best advice, however, that I can give you is to go and watch the original trilogy instead.

2 out of 5 stars.

Hollywood Homicide

Hollywood Homicide tries to be a spoof of cop-and-gangsters suspense/action movies. In short, two homicide detectives are sent to investigate the murder of a hip hop group. Everything is set up for some great comedy: One of them (Harrison Ford) is a part-time real estate broker, and a veteran detective. His younger side-kick teaches yoga / tantra on the side and wants to be an actor. The actors certainly could have pulled it off. But the script starts off lame, then slows down and becomes boring. You can get a few chuckles out of some scenes, maybe a stifled laugh here or there if you are tired or wasted – but overall the movie is definitely sub par. A sad waste of many talents.

Borrow the DVD and watch it for free, if you must see this movie. Otherwise, I would recommend that you watch Schwarzenegger’s Last Action Hero instead.