Well, my final paragraph did note that it was a remake
(Original post by blahbloo)
Would be good to add that it is a re-make of a japanese horror film called Chakushin ari. It'd explain the bad quality of it. I have not yet watched the remake but it'd be a reason why its quality is not so good.
I have to entirely disagree on The Departed front - I thought it was considerably more entertaining than Infernal Affairs. Better performances, better music, funnier, sharper script, etc. By far the best remake I have ever seen.
Last edited by asdasta; 02-02-2008 at 19:52.
Name of Film: Aliens vs Predator: Requiem (2008, Colin and Greg Strause)
You know you’re in trouble when a pair of special effects supervisors take the helm of a movie and then – rather pretentiously –dub themselves ‘The Brothers Strause’. It’s, unfortunately, simple fact. In recent memory, how many SFX supervisors turned directors have actually produced a good film? Struggling for an answer, aren’t you? And no, James McTeigue does not count. He was a Second Unit Director, y’see.
Okay, so I’ll man up and admit that I was maybe a tiny bit excited about the new AvP. The simple fact that Paul WS Anderson made such a bloody hash of the first one (no gore? In a movie that pits brutal, gory killer versus brutal, gory killer? Nice decision, numbnuts) meant that the franchise had more or less nowhere to go but up. Or so I thought. Oh how wrong I was.
First thing’s first, let’s get the meaningless criticisms aside. After all, no-one’s expecting a true, subtle masterwork of Citizen Kane proportions. The acting is puerile, the script weak as cream crackers, the characters underdeveloped and total clichés, and the driving force behind the plot so contrived that it’s probably able to tongue its own arse.
The story - such as it is - follows straight on from the previous movie. The predalien that we saw being birthed chews its way through a shipful of predators, causing it to crash land in Unamedsville, America. The predators, being a wiley bunch, send another of their number to control the infestation. It's brainless, full of plot holes - if they keep aliens on board their ship, why did they need to have them frozen under the Arctic circle? - and rather insulting to anyone's intelligence. That and it undermines the essence predators. Meant to be the ultimate hunters, these ones simply lack any brains whatsoever, and so how are we supposed to be convinced that these guys can clean up the mess? Especially when they only send one predator to sort it out. Seriously, what the ****?
That out the way, we come to my major beef with the film – the direction. If there could’ve been one single saving grace, it would’ve been some flashily directed action and some interesting set pieces. Surprise, surprise, Colin and Greg, bless them, fail magnificently at anything even vaguely resembling intelligent direction. The films signature tussle – a rooftop battle between the Predator and the newly created Predalien – is little more than a prolonged poking match between two men in bad rubber costumes.
Oh, and they’re also a pair of misogynistic morons. I hate throwing that word around – because it seems inherently sexist to me, seeing as it’s okay to kill and maim men, but do it to women and suddenly you’re a bad person… - but there is very little else to describe what’s going on here. Most of the brutal killings happen to the female characters – including a particularly twisted ‘birth’ scene that was just so brainless and sickening that I honestly felt like walking out of the cinema – and their pathetic attempt to make up for it with the stereotypical ‘army chick’ – of which Reiko Aylseworth should be ****ing ashamed – does nothing but emphasise the whole issue.
It’s such a shame, because video games have proven that this little battle of the extra terrestrials can be done with intelligence, class and a little bit of humour. What remains is something of a cinematic turd. Of course, it’ll have its fans, but they’re clearly either as brainless as the Strauses, or their SFX chums. The morons.
Rating Out of 10: 3
Last edited by Jayk; 10-02-2008 at 18:39.
Name of Film: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2008, Tim Burton)
Tim Burton. Johnny Depp. Dark, gothic atmosphere. Eh…musical? If that set of descriptors doesn’t make a tingle of fancy arise in the back of your skull, then there could well be nothing in the skull at all. Either that or you could just not be a fan, which is fair enough. Still, the tingle did come a-knocking for me.
Apparently in a moment of rather epic disappointment, I haven’t seen the Steven Sondheim musical upon which the movie is based – although if it would seem that this would’ve shifted my perspective of the movie somewhat, if the reactions of those who have seen the musical are anything to go by. So I stepped into Sweeney Todd with a somewhat uninitiated view of the proceedings – and with a girl whose last name is Todd, which was rather amusing seeing as mine is Sweeney…irony of ironies, no?
I have to say, I was rather impressed. I generally love Tim Burton movies – yes, even Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; although I’ll give a miss to Planet of the Apes – mainly for the dark, slightly disturbing streak that he infuses into his films – yes, even Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; although I’ll give a miss to Planet of the Apes. It’s interesting, because it’s almost invariably juxtaposed with what could be construed as rather light subject material. A recluse who likes to cut hedges; aliens invading earth; a man who tells tall tales. And now, a musical about a barber…who just so happens to rather enjoy a good arterial spray.
Burton wonderfully continues with tradition, and here the juxtaposition is between the dark, slightly creepy atmosphere of the London he’s created – every bit the ****hole that Depp’s Sweeney Todd insists it is – with the relatively upbeat bounces of the musical numbers. The place is deliciously macabre in almost every respect, from the dark, overpowering presence of the buildings towering overhead, to the splashes of claret that speckle the floors when Sweeney does start on his rampage.
The script – apparently tweaked from the Broadway production for the silver screen – is tight and drives the story along at a pleasing pace, revealing just enough back story whist never getting distracted from the main happenings. It’s also oddly convincing – even with people bursting into song rather erratically – and frequently, albeit blackly, amusing. Sometimes, an old guy getting his throat nonchalantly slashed with a straight razor can’t do anything but bring a rather twisted grin to your lips.
Depp once again shines – if he keeps doing it, he could well be named one of the greatest actors ever – bringing a gravitas to Sweeney, peering out from behind eyes surrounded by dark circles, hating everything he sees and consumed by his quest for vengeance. It’s not just in the spoken parts either, he brings this quality to the songs too, his dark, gravely singing voice dripping with hidden meaning. Helena Bonham Carter too puts in another fantastic turn as Mrs Lovett, Sweeney’s partner in crime and someone who just so happens to be falling madly in love with the man. It’s slightly surreal, yet – again – strangely plausible, mostly thanks to Depp’s charisma shining through, and her interestingly innocent characterisation.
The supporting cast, too, shine wonderfully. Alan Rickman as the antagonist Judge Turpin is suitably evil, yet he somehow brings a mote of dignity to the role; this is a man who was consumed by jealousy, and simply didn’t know what else to do. Timothy Spall could actually be considered as a primary villain, hamming it up delightfully as Turpin’s crony Beadle Bamford. Then there’s a brilliantly silly more-or-less cameo appearance from Sacha Baron Cohen as an ‘Italian’ barber who claims to have given the pope the closest shave ever, and whom Sweeney expertly defeats in one of the more surreal penis-measuring contests you’ll see for a while.
Be warned, however, this is a full blooded 18 certificate. Whilst I could take most of it, there’s one scene towards the end that is a cut above the rest in its gory, rather disturbing nature, and it did have me squirming. Though annoyingly, the credits rolled not a minute later, and thus I was left unsure as to whether or not I actually truly enjoyed the film. But it’s bloody funny, bloody dark and bloody…bloody – and it all adds up to one of the most entertaining films for a while now, and it’ll certainly rank among Burton’s best.
Rating Out of 10: 8
Last edited by Jayk; 10-02-2008 at 18:40.
Jumper (2008, Doug Liman)
Doug Liman, director of Jumper, is no stranger to action, and serves well to throw the viewer straight into the film’s high concept. It is not, however, without flashbacks; it promptly diverts to show a young David Rice in the most clichéd of scenarios, where he is humiliated by the stereotypical bully whilst defending the honour of the doting love of his life. Soon enough, the lad finds that he possesses the power to somehow teleport anywhere, although we have no idea why or how; we are as dumbfounded as our young protagonist.
Jumper's hark through the back story is perhaps slightly cumbersome, although the film is by no means a redundant effort. Jumper paints David (Hayden Christensen) as something of an immature hedonist; he teleports to other countries to surf, he goes to London to pick up women, and he is met with opposition by Samuel L Jackson; a Terminator-like G-man psychopath, who goes about killing every "jumper", driven by some sort of divine complex.
The film breaks convention in having these two confront early into the picture; a welcome change from the ordinary. The fight is inventive, and Jackson, with his white hair and over-the-top get up, fits in well as a comic book-esque villain.
What makes Jumper more interesting than similar attempts, and even some comic book films, is that Hayden's immaturity gets the better of him on several occasions; he is hot-headed, he is vindictive, and thus, his characterisation is authentic of many young men of his age. He owes little to Peter Parker, but more to the likes of The Punisher.
David reacquaints himself with his old flame, Millie (the lovely Rachel Bilson), although reaffirming their rapport so quickly seems rather forced for the sake of the narrative, and the speed with which they jet off to Rome is only less ridiculous than the speed with which they remove their clothes and rekindle their love. Warning; you may wish to place your fingers in your ears at this point in the film, for the soundtrack at this point declines into a dire, saccharine, bubble-gum pop effort.
The film does spend too long indulging in David’s fancies with Millie, yet it eventually slams into gear as Griffin (Jamie Bell), a fellow jumper, shows up as Hayden's unwilling sidekick. Unfortunately, once he is introduced, Liman throws us headlong into another caper, in which David must extricate himself and Millie from another scrape, a scrape caused by nothing more than David’s own romantic stupidity. Flawed characters are welcome, but at this stage, David is something of a boob. Furthermore, Bilson's character, whilst eye-pleasing, serves as little more than a means of filling the gaps of silence. She is another obstacle in moving the plot forward, and her moments of drama with Christensen are among the film's worst.
Jumper is not exactly an insult to the viewer's intelligence, but it goes through a number of unnecessary motions that, from the trailer alone, if not because of its predictability, we know are acts of misdirection. At least in one instance, the misdirection is fortunately brief, yet the globetrotting, investigative aspect of the film is nowhere near as exciting as Liman would like it to be.
Things eventually come to a head, yet the issue of how the baddies can constantly catch up to the Jumpers is not even suggested until it is required to drive the plot forward towards the final battle, and thus feels pretty convoluted. The finale, however, is an appropriately overblown endeavour, with insane thrills and spills, yet Liman feels the need to intercut it with the emotional dramas of our protagonist, which most viewers simply won't care about, and likely be irritated by. Characters dart about with the frenetic pace of a computer game, yet I must wonder whether too much time is spent considering the struggle between good and good, rather than good and evil.
For a villain, Jackson‘s screen time is frustratingly limited. Christensen’s character spends about as much time fighting his supposed ally as he does Jackson, although watching the film, you'd never guess that Bell and Christensen are in league.
As frantic as the final battle is; it is all too brief, and things end in an unsatisfactory manner; little is resolved, much is left unanswered, and nothing about its close is inventive. Jumper had a novel concept; it had the traction to become a superior superhero film, and whilst it was helmed by the man who set the foundations of the Bourne series, and the director of Go, it also came from the man who brought us Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and it is about as decidedly average as that film. Jumper is by no means a bad film; it is decent, it is even well-performed by the uniformly bland Christensen, yet Jackson is never used to his full potential, nor is the entire concept upon which the film is based.
Last edited by asdasta; 18-02-2008 at 14:42.
Name of Film: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008, Steven Spielberg)
So, 2008 has rolled around, and 18 years after the last one, a brand, spanking new Indy film arrives at our cinema screens. What a wait, and totally worth it - more or less...
To summarise the story would probably be to tell you everything you've already read online - but let's go over it any way, mainly to get my word count up! Indy's been shot forward in real time, and it's the late 1950's. World War II's been and gone, and the cold war is now well under way. Unfortunately, Indy's neck deep in it, having been captured by the Soviets and smuggled into a secret location, where they attempt to force him to help in their schemes.
From the get go, it's immediately obvious that there's going to be at least some divergence from the standard Indy formula. Most obviously - and actually, it's the sole divergence - is it's general theme. Whist previous Indy films have taken a more semi-religious fantasy approach, this one seems content to take a vaguely sci-fi one, although there are still semi-religious overtones to it that keep it in line with the first three movies.
Not that this is a bad thing. The story fits in rather well with the over-arching theme of increasingly ridiculous plots as the saga moves forward. Although to be quite honest, the plots passed and waved goodbye to ridiculous a long time ago - that's part of what makes them entertaining, they're pure escapism. It does devolve into deus ex machina towards the end of the movie, but this doesn't detract from the whole experience.
Harrison Ford is once again fantastic as Indy, who - a few creaky acting moments at the beginning of the film aside - is still the hero we know and love. But at the same time, Ford and screenwriter David Koepp subtly change him - he's older, wiser, and unfortunately, a little slower than he used to be. Doesn't stop him from applying a spade to someone's face, but it's still there and it makes for an interesting experience. This is a hero who's past his glory day - think Batman in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns - but still has a few cracks of the whip left in him. Ironically, this is also literally true, the trusty bullwhip only seeing use twice at the start of the film, and then languishing on Indy's hip for the rest of it like an over-paid extra.
Shia LaBoeuf is solid as the young buck that Indy's newfound oldness plays off - with LaBoeuf displaying the easy comedy that made him a fantastic foil for Michael Bay's Hulking Robots™. The references that his character Mutt bring to light - namely to today's pop culture references to the 1950's - is a particularly inspired piece of meta-surrealism. Particularly welcome, though, is Karen Allen, reprising her role of Marion Ravenwood from Raider's of the Lost Ark; and she too is older and wiser. Again, Allen takes a little while to warm up - and considering how late in the film she is introduced, this is something of a hindrance to the pacing - but once her and Ford are bantering back and forth as they're tied up in the back of a speeding Russian truck, you can't help but smile with unbridled joy.
Other famous faces pop up - Cate Blanchet chews, crunches and spits out scenery left right and centre as the primary antagonist. Ray Winstone is Indy's mate from the second Great War and delivers a trademark performance that, whilst good, still doesn't feel like much more than a way to make Indy's journey that much trickier. Criminally under-used, however, is John Hurt - his dry wit and watery voice more or less wasted on the bat-**** bonkers Harold Oxley; although he still brings a few moments of genuinely laugh-out-loud comedy to the character.
But the thing that I enjoyed most about Indy 4 is that Steven Spielberg has remembered exactly how to make an Indiana Jones movie. To say that they were my favourite movies growing up would be a massive understatement - and an even larger cliché - so the fact that this is the case is particularly pleasing. Everything from the wit and charm of the dialogue to the over-the-top sound effects, slightly shoddy special effects and the absolutely bonkers stunts - everything simply rings true of the first three movies. He's remembered that the Indy films are B-movies that are pretending to be A-list - that they're just pure entertainment and nothing more, and what's here is a truly magnificent achievement: a movie that is truly worthy of your attention.
Rating Out of 10: 8
Last edited by Jayk; 09-06-2008 at 20:24.
The opening scene of Marc Schoelermann’s Pathology evidently sets the tone for the film’s 92 remaining minutes – a pantomime acted by cadavers is juxtaposed with a reminder of the Hippocratic oath, in a grisly thriller best described as a cross between Flatliners and Saw.
Pathology’s protagonist is brilliant young resident doctor Ted Grey (Milo Ventimiglia), who enrols in one of America’s most prestigious pathology programs, where he meets a band of similarly deft residents. However, the leader of the pack, Dr. Jake Gallo (Michael Weston), soon ensnares him in a deadly game, in which the doctors attempt to construct the perfect murder technique, testing their hypotheses on the contents of the hospital’s morgue cabinet.
Ventimiglia’s character is sorely undeveloped from the outset, yet tension still manages to effectively build around him. The other doctors in the gang are of incredibly prickly dispositions, and even though we know what’s coming, the tease before the fall is both fun and welcome. Moreover, these characters merely serve to animate the screen, yet their demeanours never allow us to get comfortable, even if their “bond” with Grey is skimmed over at considerable pace.
Through his own drunken follies (although ones which should have been escapable), Grey becomes trapped by Gallo, and is forced to aid him in attempting to create a murder with a modus operandi undetectable by even the greatest young medical minds. Gallo is the most developed of the film’s ancillary characters, yet even at the film’s end, little is concrete about him – he makes the occasional moral consideration (that those he kills are purportedly not going to be missed), but largely appears to be motivated by little more than indulgent over-curiosity.
Once the “game” is instigated, the film’s plot moves forward rather swimmingly, although it does feel slightly rushed (thanks largely to the short running time). There aren’t as many confrontations throughout as one may expect, which causes the gravity of Grey’s situation to never fully cement with the viewer. I found myself wondering why Grey didn’t alert the authorities at the first instance (even despite the fact that Gallo has a body of evidence held over him), and so his conformity is not wholly convincing.
As the game truly takes hold, the film transforms from a simply creepy and intriguing little tale, to an orgiastic, drug-addled affair. The challenges become more complex, and naturally the suspicion begins to pile on, no more than from Grey’s long-distance girlfriend, Gwen (Alyssa Milano), leading to a brutal climax with its fair share of surprises.
The characterisation in Pathology is a real curiosity – it is difficult to place Ventimiglia’s character among the film’s moral stratum (ranging from depraved to less-depraved), and it is rather difficult to either like or sympathise with him, given his own willing indulgence in much of the extra-curricular behaviour. His colleagues are similar paradoxes, although the fact that they often pontificate and wax moral before returning to their sadistic status quos suggests that sheer insanity is the most likely cause.
The net gets extremely tight as the film progresses, although as above, it is difficult to empathise at all with a man with the title “Dr.” who makes so many asinine mistakes. The intrigue and quiet excitement of the first act returns in the third, with an explosive change of tides. One event in particular is rather preposterous and overblown (you’ll know it when you see it), yet it is an acceptable diversion given the devastating events that follow. There is, regrettably, one shoddily acted scene of faux emotion, which is fortunately followed by the most sincerely emotional scene to feature viscera that you’ll ever see in a film.
The film’s climax is certainly satisfying – it is, again, entirely over-the-top, and Pathology’s close is jarringly abrupt, yet the former appeals to the film’s gritty sensibilities, and the latter befits the film’s clinical, close-edged nature. Pathology feels B-movie-esque in the most delightful way – it is a messy affair with cartoon characters, although lacks an identifiable protagonist (which is no fault of Ventimiglia, who turns in a decent performance). The film may as well be a gore-soaked duel between Ventimiglia and Weston, because the film’s other characters are of little consequence, yet pad out the narrative appropriately.
Pathology is a comfortable medium between the relentless blood-letting of Saw and the reserve of studio-constrained thrillers. It is at least superficially intelligent, and stands a comfortable distance from being labelled “torture porn”, yet has enough disembowelment to satisfy fans of blood and guts.
Last edited by asdasta; 23-06-2008 at 23:51.