Posted on 5/17/10 01:45 PM
Despite having several generic horror movie elements and a lagging body, Catacombs is still a fairly good horror/thriller which packs a killer ending. The ending in fact, is rather reminiscent of Lionsgate's uber-franchise, Saw.
The film stars Shannyn Sossamon as Victoria, a depressed young woman who is invited to Paris by her charismatic older sister Carolyn (played by Pink). There she is invited to a rave in the catacombs underneath the city in which her sister is murdered by an Antichrist-style maniac, and she is soon running for her life.
Shannyn Sossamon is fairly affable in her role as Victoria, the frightened protagonist but it is pop superstar Pink who steals the show as Victoria's outgoing but condescending sibling. The film lags a lot in the middle and there are many cliches used, but this in a way, makes the ending even more unexpected.
Catacombs in not nearly as scary as it could be however, and does not measure up to other underground horror fare such as The Descent. However, this movie aims to be a bit more mainstream and trendy, and is resultedly boring at times. However, this is a film to see to the end, because that is the best part.
This movie is relatively recommended for young people who don't like their thrills too genuinely scary, and perhaps those who are fans of other Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures fare, such as the Saw Movies. Overall, not a bad waste of an hour and a half. Good but never great.
Posted on 12/13/09 04:00 AM
Knowing very little about Paranormal Acivity, I walked into the cinema not expecting a lot. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by what I viewed. Paranormal Activity is very similar to the Blair Witch Project, but in my opinion is much more real and effective. Whereas in Blair Witch, you never see anything at all, Paranormal Activity actually gives you something to fear, which makes it far more effective.
I was also very pleased to see the complete lack of gore in this film; instead relying on dramatic pacing and suspense. Now I love gore as much as the next person but I get the feeling that most modern horror movie directors believe that just adding a load of sick torture or a gratuitous body count will compensate for a lack of story or suspense. Instead, Paranormal Activity keeps you on the edge of your seat by the fear of the unknown and several genuinely creepy haunting scenes.
I was very impressed by the two lead actors in this film ; Micah Sloat and Katie Featherstone. They made you believe in the characters and made their reactions so believable that at times you forgot it was a film.
In conclusion, I loved this film and couldn't believe it was made for 15 000 dollars. It has brilliant performances, a sense of humour and definitely proves that sometimes, less is more.
Posted on 8/23/09 07:25 AM
This sequel to I Know What You Did Last Summer, is yet another quickly produced teen slasher flick made to capitalise on the success of the Scream movies. While Scream had style, humour, twists, thrills and great satire of the horror genre, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is its antithesis.
Slow moving and predictable, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer picks up a year after its mildly better predeccessor I Know What You Did Last Summer left off. But its not long until vengeful fisherman Ben Willis shows up yet again to wave his hook at the young beautiful people, and to bump a few off.
The main problem with this film though is that it's pretty much a generic recycling of its original, which was still the inferior side kick to Scream and Urban Legend.
But naturally there are aesthetically pleasing aspects to this film; lots of pretty people running around screaming whilst covered in blood, on a stormy and deserted island. But I Still Know What You Did Last Summer's appeal is rather shallow and vapid; there is nothing of substance beyond this.
The only true saving grace of this franchise is its ability to pull a good last 2 minutes, which is why I believe some people forget how terrible this film is and remember only the ending.
Definitely not worth it. Watch the Scream or Urban Legend series (exluding the third Urban Legend). Far far better than this trash could ever aspire to.
Posted on 8/23/09 07:13 AM
Battle Royale is set in a futuristic- style Japan in which laws have been created that pit Grade 9 students against each other on in island in a fight to the death. Friends become enemies as paranoia sets in, and it isn't long til the bodies hit the floor.
What this film sets out to achieve, it does fantastically. There are many creative deaths, a huge body count, an interesting concept (which spawned many American knock-offs), and a moral of some sort.
The only problem I found with Battle Royale was its slighly overly needy attempts to make a point. Had they eased that back a bit, this film would be a 90, or even a 100%.
Having said this, Battle Royale is a great, interesting and constantly changing film with twists and a great young cast. This is a beautiful and haunting film, which will stay with you long after the credits appear.
Posted on 8/19/09 01:11 AM
Despite its terrible critic reviews, I found The Ugly Truth to be a charming and hilarious romantic comedy that is also easily accessible to males.
The Ugly Truth tells the story of Abby Richter who discovers that much to her chagrin, the television network for which she is a producer, has hired Mike Chadway, a strong willed chauvinist who has nothing but cynicism for relationships. Soon Abby meets Dr. Colin Anderson, and much to her reluctance, Mike becomes her mentor on how to ensnare the good doctor.
Although formulaic and predictable down to a tee, The Ugly Truth has enough laugh out loud scenarios, and likeable characters and chemistry to make it far more enjoyable than many other romantic comedies. Ultimately, the two leads really help carry this film, and Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler don't disappoint.
Don't expect any plot surprises, but The Ugly Truth is an excellent romantic comedy which is perfect for a group of girls, or people on a date.
Posted on 8/18/09 08:03 PM
Having not grown up with The Exorcist, I was cautious of the hype surrounding this film due to the fact that few of its horror classic contempories still pack a thrill with a modern audience.
However, it is with gladness that I say The Exorcist does not belong in this category. Sure it adheres to the old school horror conventions, but it actually uses imagery that is still quite disturbing even today. I imagine back in 1973, it would have been the most terrifying movie anyone had ever seen. While never being scared by The Exorcist, I greatly appreciated it and enjoyed it thoroughly.
My only issues with this film is that it's quite slow-moving to begin with and takes a while to find momentum. Also, it's a little campy these days, although I found that while this detracted from the horror aspect, it gave the film some great unintentially funny moments.
The Exorcist is a classic and is a must see for any horror or thriller fan, if not just to see to witness the beginnings of horror as it is today.
Posted on 8/18/09 07:37 PM
A very gutsy and unnerving debut film from director Greg McLean, Wolf Creek is a very confronting and frightening Australian horror film, and one of the best Australian films I've seen yet.
Loosely based on the cases of both Bradley Murdoch and Ivan Milat, Wolf Creek tells the story of English travellers Kirsty and Liz, and their Australian friend Ben as they travel to the remote Wolf Creek Crater. Upon exploration of the crater, they return to their car to find it unable to start. A few hours later, the enignmatic bogan Mick stops and agrees to tow their car to his house while he fixes it. However, despite him initial appearance as only an eccentric bush-man, Mick turns out to be a psychopath who tortures all, and ultimately kills some of the naive young tourists.
Unlike many other modern horror films, Wolf Creek is well-paced, and uses suspense and anticipation, as well as gore. This helps set it above the usual standards, and makes it a lot more unpredictable also. The characters are portrayed nicely, and John Jaratt is a stand-out as the psychopath Mick. The Austalian outback is a great setting for this film, because it really helps emphasise the hunter and the prey theme that Wolf Creek uses.
It is also very gory however, and is definitely not for everyone. Those who hate horror movies, or being scared, do not watch this film. You will not like it. But for horror movie fans and for those who are just in the mood to be frightened, this is a great film which proves Australian cinema is not dead.
Posted on 8/16/09 11:09 PM
Although widely panned, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life is not actually a bad film. It's shallow as a puddle, but can anyone actually say they expected it not to be?
If, like me, you went into Lara Croft 2 expecting lots of stunts, a plot vaguely involving arachaelogy, Gerard Butler, and Angelina Jolie looking very sexy and using a dreadfully fake English accent, you will get exactly that. And it does that well, and never takes itself seriously at all. Full of cheesiness and camp one liners, the Lara Croft movies are really quite enjoyable.
However, Lara Croft 2 isn't a great movie. It has pretty much the same content as the original and relies too heavily on Jolie's outfits, the unrealistic stunts and the chemistry between her and Gerald Butler. Which are all great, but they only get this movie so far. And the second half does flounder around helplessly quite badly.
But nevertheless, if you're in the mood for a gorgeous girl kicking ass and saving the world in a series of cheesy events, this movie is perfect for you, and is quite a fun journey.
Posted on 8/07/09 01:54 AM
As far as sequels go, The Matrix Reloaded is rather good. It is a logical continuation of the story, and follows much the same formula as the original. The plot however, has been dumbed down a notch from the original, and instead, The Matrix Reloaded relies on more of its famous action sequences to further the story.
One of the best things about The Matrix Reloaded is its character developement and penchant for interesting fight scenes. Samuel L. Jackson's Morpheus becomes a far more interesting and powerful character as does Keanu Reeves' Neo. The Matrix Reloaded strives to have more of a human element than the original, and in this it succeeds. The fight scenes are also better and more innovative, for instance the scenes of Neo fighting countless Mr. Smith's are wonderful to watch.
However in an attempt to answer some of the rhetorical questions posed by the original Matrix film, the Matrix Reloaded has several long lagging monologues, which make the film longer and less intriguing than its predecessor. Also, The Matrix Reloaded often feels like the Wachowski brothers are merely attempting to outdo the orginal film. For instance, the body count is higher, there is more fight scenes, there is a sex scene, the characters are better fighters and there are many more "inspirational" speeches.
True all the elements of The Matrix have returned, but The Matrix Reloaded just isn't able to recreate the original magic. Quite simply put, this film just isn't as good as The Matrix, despite its desperate efforts.
The Matrix Reloaded is still a relatively good film, and despite its superfluousy and complete lack of depth, it will still satisfy most viewers. Fans should see The Matrix Reloaded for curiousity reasons, while casual viewers can also watch it, because for all my criticisms, it really is not a bad movie, and is a relatively enjoyable way to spend 2 hours. Also, do not see The Matrix Reloaded before you see The Matrix as you will be completely lost and not understand anything. DO NOT watch these movies out of sequence, as The Matrix Reloaded doesn't backtrack and summarise the events of the original at its beginning, like most sequels.
Posted on 8/06/09 11:20 PM
Despite having many generic aspects and teen-film cliches and stereotypes, Sex Drive is a hilarious and fun film about a teenage boy desperate to lose his virginity. Sound familiar? Fair enough, that is predominantly the storyline of every teenage sex romp ever written, but Sex Drive is a cut above the majority.
The teenage cast is terrific, and all three leads are likeable and utterly believable in their roles. James Marsden is riotous as Rex, the obnoxious and homophobic, yet ultimately homosexual brother of central protagonist Ian.
Big laughs come hard and fast, but the main seperator of Sex Drive from its competitors is its sweet, and somewhat cute moments. Much like the American Pie movies, Sex Drive is at heart, a romantic comedy, despite frequent grotesque comedy.
Sex Drive does perhaps though, rely a little too much on grotesque humour, such as toilet gags. Also, it is completely unoriginal and plot, save perhaps the Amish element.
But on the overwhelming whole, Sex Drive is a very raunchy and hilarious yet ultimately heart warming comedy about the joy of growing up. A great film, which fans of teen comedies will absolutely love.