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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Movie Review - Solomon Kane (2009)

I'm proud to present the following movie; "Solomon Kane" (2009). At first I thought it was a low budget 'no name' type movie because I had never heard of it before or recall it coming out to the theatre. This movie is classified as adventure and fantasy, I wasn’t going to review it but I felt the need to let you all know what I thought.

The main character is Solomon Kane played by James Purefoy and he did a fantastic job. I felt James had captured the moods and scene changes that the character went through.

The story occurs at a time of darkness; there is evil everywhere that has taken over the lands. Solomon Kane has had quite the past which resulted in his soul being damned for hell but after redeeming himself his goal is to rid evil. He arrives on the scene dressed as a puritan daunting the hat and a cloak, armed with deadly weapons of that era. He is highly skilled at killing and knows how to handle swords and a gun. I suppose almost like a puritan superhero. In short, it was it reminded me of ‘Van Helsing’ but only out to destroy evil do'ers enchanted by Satan

I was intrigued by this character and so I wondered if it was based on a book. As it turns out, the character has roots in literature found in the late 16th-17th century and later in comics.

The movie was decently put together, lots of action, good carnage and a good solid story. It came in at around 100 minutes but you didn’t feel it. I would definitely recommend seeing this movie and consider it a diamond in the rough. I look forward to a sequel and for that reason I would rate this film 8.5/10.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Movie Review - The Wolfman (2010)

Thought I needed a good scare and with all that full moon shining so bright lately, I decided to pop in “The Wolfman” (2010) to watch. Yes, I will agree that that this is yet another werewolf themed movie but I have to add, it enlists the acting excellence of Sir Anthony Hopkins alongside Benecio del Toro.

The movie is predictable, apart from the obvious -a werewolf running amok in a small English village; there is a bit of a twist. Okay, so the movie begins with Lawrence Talbot (de Toro) coming back home to investigate his brother’s disappearance. While out asking questions, he is faced with a werewolf and ends up being bit. In addition, there is a love interest Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt) who is his brother’s fiancĂ©e that also complicates things. Long story short, he ends up becoming a werewolf and finding out about his dark family secrets from his estranged father Sir John Talbot (Hopkins).

The story originates from a 1941 silent film of the same name but apparently the story has been greatly expanded. I haven't seen this film nor will I try to compare it to past interpretations of werewolf fantasy stories. I suppose you can say werewolf fiction is a timeless classical theme and can be made to fit any era or genre.

This movie was filmed dark; you just get that overall impression that in that point of time, life was not very happy. The music and the filming helped solidify the moods presented in each scene. To be more specific it reminded me of something that Tim Burton may produce. I found the movie to not be scary, sure the scenes of a werewolf tearing its claws was decent but by no means scary. There was some decent action overall and very good effects, especially with the change from man to wolf. to look for.

I do recommend seeing this movie. It was above average but nothing special. I’m a fan of horror and with classical themes of werewolves and vampires you can’t go wrong. I give this flick a rating of 7/10 but note it did have potential to be better.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Movie Review - April Fools Day (2008)

I was fooled! It just goes to show you that you just never know. The movie I'm referring to is "April Fools Day" (2008). This movie is supposed to be a remake of the 1985 classic and although it shares the same ideas, it is an entirely different movie.

The classification of this film is horror but there were also some comedic elements as well which was obviously on purpose. It kind of seemed like a bit of a mystery, almost like a “Clue” feel to it. The cast was not really anything to write home about but each member had a purpose and played it well.

The storyline follows a small group of friends who are rich spoiled brats. One brat likes to prank all the time and expose her friends for personal gain but this time she has gone to far. The plot thickens when her friends and brother seek revenge and she gets what she deserves.

The general idea of the films seems clichĂ© at best and reminds me of a few other selections but you should enjoy the ending. I won’t give away anymore on this. This movie is some what predictable but fun as the story unravels itself. I would recommend seeing this film, it wasn't terrible and it wasn't great. I rate it 6/10.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Movie Review - Surrogates (2009)

Picture this; you’re lying in a reclining type chair at home and while lying there, you are in a state of rest because you have linked your mind with an android who is either a facsimile of yourself or perhaps someone completely different. You are safe from the world and no one can harm you. You are mobile once again instead of wheelchair bound, your surrogate is here to assist and play life out for you. Sounds intriguing, it is, you must watch the movie “Surrogates” (2009).

Now you know what the basic premise is but there is more; murder, mystery and action. I won’t give away the story on this one; you will just have to watch. There is also a lesson to be taught. I think it’s a comment on society about how we rely so much on technology that it makes us lazy. The beginning of the movie will explain everything and sets the movie up. I will say there were good intentions to create surrogates but that soon got out of hand.

This movie didn't have any special effects just a solid story line. The lead actor, Bruce Willis performed well and the rest of the cast was decent. This movie was fast paced and provided a lot of action. There was definitely a lot going on, I was glued to the screen on this one. The story was slightly predictable but still entertaining. The concept is neat and has merit but in some ways this movie reminded me too much of the game "The Sims" and also the movie "Avatar" (2009). I really liked this movie and would highly recommend watching it. I rate this flick 8/10.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Movie Review - The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

What is it with remakes these days, has Hollywood finally ran out of ideas? I'm thinking that when it comes to remakes, likely it will bomb, it’s a fact now. So it's best that you keep that in mind when you watch "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (2008). This movie is considered sci-fi, and it is, could be action and maybe drama. The basic premise; alien orb (craft) comes to earth, causes panic and of course military action. So, what else is new?

This movie had so many problems with it. I’m not sure where to start. The original movie (1951) worked well for what it was and explored on themes of peace and humanity, appropriate for that era. As such, this remake did not translate very well to a newer version. There was a lot of storyboard detail from the original missing so much so that without it, the movie lacked the same appeal. Instead, the movie explored the theme of us destroying the planet. Quite honestly, this movie was boring.

The performance of Keanu Reeves was better than I expected however, once daunting a power suit it was Matrix all over again. The acting was above average from Jennifer Connelly, and even Jaden Smith (Will Smith’s Son) with strong characterizations. The performances of the main cast were the least of the problems though. This film lacked direction and had a poorly written script. It was difficult to watch knowing what the 1951 version was how this did not ‘play’ out to represent the remake in any sense. The movie did pull some influence but not enough. I will say that there is a running theme between the two versions that involve how the US military likes to shoot and ask questions later.

There were some cool special effects; from the orb craft, giant robot and then to the horde of nano locusts. Don't be fooled it’s all just smoke and mirrors, sure this flick was jam packed of effects to ‘wow’ you but this is because it lacked any real story. This movie did keep my attention long enough to get through it though. I would not recommend viewing this movie but I do recommend watching the original 1951 version. I rate this film 4/10 but note that it would not be ‘cinematically’ correct to say it was a remake.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Movie Review - The Crazies (2010)

Alright kiddies, I have a good one for you... I just finished watching the remake of “The Crazies” (2010). This movie was decent and I was happy to view it. I’m afraid to say it was better than the original 1973 movie (sorry Mr. Romero). This movie was directed by Breck Eisner, unknown to me but the highlight was that the credits listed George A. Romero as Executive Producer. It’s clear he had some intervention in making this movie great. In my opinion, it may not have faired so well if he had no involvement.

The story line follows much the same premise as the original; loose biological weapon virus on a small town and the military try to contain it. There was little guess work watching the movie but it still held much suspense and surprise. I kept thinking, what angle is being used and what elements would be evident from the original. I can safely say that this remake used the original 1973 as inspiration and was not a direct copy.

There were aspects of the original which were missing from this remake; for example, in the original there was a scientist who was trying desperately to find a cure. This movie did not explore that. There seemed to be less of a spin with military control compared to the original version and the remake places more focus on surviving towns people. The main characters are the town sheriff and his pregnant wife who is a doctor while the original was a firefighter and his wife a nurse. So yes, while it sounds close to the original film, there were enough differences that made it fresh. Even the ending was a bit different.

The make up and the special effects were fantastic. The gore was good for what it was, not over the top but was adequate. This movie was fast paced and kept my attention the whole time; I only wished that there was more. The acting and characterization were above average and everyone pulled their weight.

This is a good solid flick that could hold it’s own, you would never know it was a remake. Fantastic job overall ! I rate this movie 10/10 but note that I couldn’t find anything really wrong with it. This movie worked well and it showed.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Movie Review - Splice (2009)

I just finished watching a wild one here, “Splice” (2009). This movie had it all; funny, sad, amazing, intelligent and sexy. The film involves two scientists Clive (Adrian Broody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) who is into biochemistry and gene splicing. After knowing that their program will be shut down they conceive the idea to create some sort of hybrid creature human mix. The intention was see if they could even do it but they soon grew attached and saw the experiment through to the end.

There are definitely movies out there with virtually the same premise of ‘playing god’ but this one seemed unique to me. I wanted to watch. Not because I thought it was a train wreck but because it was thought provoking. I mean -the implications of creating life and splicing genes is mind blowing. Are we ready to cross the ethical boundaries? I am sure we are only mere steps away from engineering the perfect being. I can only imagine that there is already testing like this behind closed doors, but we don’t hear about it because it is so controversial.

I mentioned sexy earlier; seduction and transformation are explored with this creature. It was very shocking and disturbing to say the least, I thought I was watching a movie directed by David Cronenburg as he usually entertains with themes of this nature. I say hats off to the actual director Vincenzo Natali.

The pace of the film was perfect, didn’t feel too long or too short and kept my attention. The creature effects were amazing and the actress playing it did a wonderful job capturing the essence of her character in each phase of life; from a child with wonderment to a confident young woman and later an aggressive man. She was the real star with having no dialogue she had to rely on face expressions alone.

Sarah Polley performed well, she’s a decent actress. She held everything together as she always does. Meanwhile, Adrian Broody was not, his performance was mediocre in fact I question why he chose to do such a role.

There is a lot more to this movie after you scratch the surface and I could easily go on about it, but you will just have to see it. I will agree it was lacking ‘something’ (can’t place finger) that would have made it fantastic. Sadly this will be a movie that will fall through the cracks even in DVD sales. It wasn’t perfect by any means but it was a fun ride. I rate this film 7/10.