Bitch Slap is about three bad girls that travel to a remote desert hideaway to steal $200 million in diamonds from a ruthless underworld kingpin. We immediately head into trouble when the opening credits show clips from other movies. Apparently because the footage in "Bitch Slap" is so ineptly filmed in all possible areas it became unusable. Then we get our first glimpse at Erin Cummings chest than see her face. I actually send an email to the director for the reasoning behind this odd first glimpse at one of our leading ladies and he responded with "Boobs. Boobs. Boooobs.". He does the same introduction for the other actresses. Don't get me wrong the leading actresses are all attractive, but only to the eyes. The first time we are introduced to them were not given enough context to justify their first onscreen killing who they beat up and torture within minutes. A bad introduction and first impressions for our protagonists.
The plot is intentionally trashy so one can't really hold too much against it for horrendous storytelling. The narrative structure is a complete mess. We get flashbacks to what occurred four hours ago, then later to four hours and three minutes ago, then goes back to six hours ago, and so forth several times creating pacing issues. As for development it doesn't get any better as the character development given is preposterous or become actual plot points. For example, a woman telling her friends about her best one night stand becomes a revelation in the final act. Each of our three protagonist is given a one dimensional trait of the good one, the smart one, and the loose cannon. Very original and you can predict how it plays out. It has a thing for dick jokes, sexual innuendo, and pointless scenes. One including a lesbian sex scene which yes I consider a negative. Then there is also an odd scene after a revelation of a protagonist being a secret agent. She's in a icy mountain and flies away from a avalanche without a jet-pack or any visible flying gadget. So I emailed the director and asked him for an explanation. According to him, "There was a deleted scene where we showed said actress shoving a jet-pack up her... and hey you're not movie producer lyer". That's evidently where the conversation ended.
The ending itself is pretentious giving a quote about deceiving the enemy to fool you that it has some intelligence. As for the direction of the film it's bad. The only actual set the budget seemed to afford is a desert, a trailer, and a military bunker. Everytime we go into a flashback there is always a poorly done blue or green screen effect making up the background. The lead actresses can't act, but the film tries it best to distract you from that by having them always wear revealing clothing at all time. I would count this as a negative, but the intention of it was to be trashy. The action scene are also tiresome. They are either too long or have too much noticeably fake CG to be exciting. As for anything else? Well the soundtrack is awful and the closing credit just contains a strip tease. Not exactly what I expected from a film entirely aimed towards males, but then again it directed by Rick Jacobson who has no idea how to tell film a movie for any audience.
Bitch Slap is a intentionally trashy film. It has good looking actresses kicking ass, but without any substance or competent direction in any second of the film to make up for it negatives quality. It's a trashy film devoid of art and any quality of good filmmaking.
Wes Craven name is beloved among horror fans and why would it not be when Craven created the masterpiece that is "A Nightmare On Elm Street" a film that forever left a permanent staple on the horror genre. Like Craven's "TA Nightmare on Elm Street", his debut film "The Last House on the Left" was also subjected to controversy and critical bashing upon release. As oppose to Craven's most significant film in the horror genre "The Last House on the Left" is a dated horror film that will not be seen in the same light.
The Last on the Left is about a pair of teenage girls who are headed to a rock concert for one's birthday. While trying to score marijuana in the city, the girls are kidnapped by a gang of psychotic convicts. The plot synopsis above is about all the plot you're going to get. It's bare bone in terms of story content which you might expect with a thin premise the plot will drag at some points. In terms of character they are also thin, but appropriately so in some cases. The parents of the victims do play a role in the final act of the film and are showcased as parents who love their daughter very much. The scenes the parents have don't make them human, but rather a projection of a possible human action if in the same situation. The criminals themselves range from the bad one, the bad one, the bad one, and the manipulative one. They are given the most development. It works in establishing the criminals as likable people making their action more despicable and with a pay off in the final act. One downside to the lack of development are the victims. The victims needed more development to feel more sympathetic towards. One major element that will get mix feelings is the dumb cops subplot. The dumb cops subplot serves as comedy relief that feels out of place with the film nature and what it sets out to do. Even taking away the build up to a potentially frightening scene.
In terms of acting it's heavily subjective. The writing doesn't give much range for the actors to show off their acting chops. Sandra Cassel and Lucy Grantham both play the victim exactly how you would expect them too. Their performances are solid, but won't leave much of an impression. The cast of actors that play the criminals are marginally more memorable. They are given more defining personalities and more to work with. The comedy relief despite being inconsistent in tone works nearly every time. The soundtrack of the film is awful and entirely out of place. The soundtrack will have been more appropriate for a hillbilly road trip comedy than an actual horror film. Wes Craven direction is uncertain at best. He changes the mood from black comedy to horror and to a buddy cop comedy abruptly. As for the much talk about rape scene it's not tasteless as oppose to another much talk about horror film (I Spit On Your Grave).
The Last House on the Left suffers from a out of place soundtrack with a thin premise with barely enough content to carry a film. The Last House on the Left might not be the horror film either casual or fans will get a scared from, though it's a wholly unique experience albeit it flaws.
Some of the most popular action films of the 1980s were the ones with the main star saying very little words, but racking up a high kill count. Needless to say the genre repeated itself many time with this concept and audiences grew tire of such films. The Rundown has the feels of an 80s action flick with some of the same problems, but does get plenty of things right that makes it a surprisingly entertaining adventure.
The Rundown follows a tough aspiring chef is hired to bring home a mobster's son from the Amazon but becomes involved in the fight against an oppressive town operator and the search for a legendary treasure. The plot is both smart and dumb. Smart in the way that the setup offers opportunity for many comedic moments and the premise itself is basically a setup for our hero to unleash some carnage. The film appropriately never tries to be more than what it actually is making its straightforward approach a plus. The protagonist is given some dimensions and surprisingly so do some of the other heroes that it might catch some off guard that the film develops them as much as it does. Heck, you don't even need to turn your brain off to enjoy it. As for the dumber aspect it retains some elements that audiences expect from an action film. The one liners that don't always click, the underdeveloped villain, the hero who's seen too many things and been through too many situations he'd like to forget, and the many plot conveniences. It's also not a very memorable film which despite doing most things right doesn't stand out in any way. If you could get past some of the more cliche element of the story you'll find a film that puts the characters at the center of the film over the action.
Dwayne Johnson obviously has the physical stature for an action hero, but more so with his charisma. Sure audiences would immediately like to see Johnson beat up some baddies, but he does need to act more so than kill for the majority of his screen time. His over-the-top persona and expert comedic timing ends up making him likable. A natural fit in the hero role, but rather average in acting. Sean William Scott provides a good comic partner for Johnson, even providing colour commentary during some fight scenes. Christopher Walken hams it up as a cardboard cutout of a cardboard villain. Even if Walken role was written better his lack of screen time makes the absence of a true villain noticeable. Also, Walken doesn't look very intimidating when we have Dwyane Johnson standing tall above him. The action scenes are great stuff. The fight scenes include good wire-work, carefully choreographed fight scenes, a couple of gunfight into the mix given them an old fashioned feel to them.
The Rundown won't change your mind on the action genre, but it's a blast to watch. A good plot, great action scenes, and the charismatic Dwayne Johnson in the leading role makes this fitting pick for any night you want a action blockbuster without the compensating your brain.
For 75 years Superman has always been the iconic and definitive figure when associated with the world of superheroes and comic books. Always inspiring through hope rather than fear making him accessible to a large audience. When it come to films adaptations it's entirely a different story as it seems Superman hasn't been able to adapt with the time. As a result Batman has currently the prominent figure of DC for the time being resulting in a reimagining of the iconic hero. Man of Steel does deliver blockbuster entertainment without the heart of previous incarnations of the character.
Man of Steel is about a young itinerant worker who is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race. The plot main issue is the very rushed pacing. Certain themes are brought up, but go underdeveloped just like the shortage of character development. Its plot is mainly focus on Clark Kent struggle to find his place in the universe. His physiology is deeply explored from the reason he wears his costume, learning to control his powers on Earth, and always bearing the powers that remind him he's an alien. Zod (the villain) backstory is something that puts a different perspective on the usual battle turning out to be a rather tragic villain. These elements of the plot make up a majority of the film which makes it plot good. As for the narrative it would have been benefited if told in chronological order. The flashbacks distract from the current issue of the film, but not entirely negative since they serve a purpose of showing Kent's demon. There's one particular scene that leaves a huge impact on Clark Kent that could have opened the possibility that he didn't save a life then if he's ready now, but is ignored. As for humor its present, but not from Superman himself who is always dead serious. The potential of Man of Steel story aspiring to greater things is clearly visible though never reached. It makes some changes for the worst on the iconic character, but enough good ones to make him relatable and connect with.
Henry Cavill performance as Superman is solid. He fits the persona of Clark Kent and a super-powered being without leaning towards the other too much. His Superman will be the most debatable since he causes just as much collateral damage to Earth as the villains. Amy Adams is solid as Lois Lane, but lacks chemistry with Cavill. Michel Shannon is suitably creepy and imposing as Zod, but Antje Traue's merciless Faora is the real surprise amongst the villains. The other supporting actors are pushed away until needed or in some case not given much to work with. While we all love John Williams' classic score from the old movies, Hans Zimmer's score is atmospheric, enchanting and catchy in its own very modern and compelling way. Certainly making scenes much better than they actually are. The overabundant action scenes are spectacular. They are huge both in scope and carnage with so many explosions it you will wonder if it was directed by Michael Bay. The downside is that after them so often they lose they special value since a proper atmosphere is not setup or buildup for the next set piece.
Man of Steel does soar, but never into greatness. The rush pace makes the plot absent of any emotional resonate it could have had and Synder heart was not strong in his storytelling as with his action scenes. Where it does soar is the exploration of Superman and what he should be for the greater good for humanity.
When it comes to war films I surprisingly covered more war films that take place in other continents than my own. My reason behind this is after years of learning American history in classes and free time I find it more interesting learning the history of other continents. Thus which is why I was drawn to the Korean war drama Go-ji-jeon (The Front Line in English) while not outstanding, a good war drama.
The Front Line (or Go-ji-jeon in Korean) is a drama centered on the Korean War's final battle that will determine the border between north and south. The film plot main issue is finding its footing in what story to tell. It takes a while (around 1/3 of the running time to be more specific) for it get to the standstill battle over Aerok Hill and finally explore the soldiers mentality on the war and personal feeling knowing they could kill the enemy they're communicating with. It is exactly here at Aerok Hill when the film becomes formulaic almost crossing the line of being repetitive. At Aerok Hill we get an attack to obtain the hill, chat between the soldiers, looking in a secret box and sending supplies to whoever opens it. What makes the repetition worth enduring is what I said earlier is the human exploration of war. Like if soldiers should keep fighting even in a non advancing standstill? Will the enemy be more sympathetic taking your life if they know you better? The other welcome addition is a subplot involving a sniper. The sniper subplot won't provide as much action as one might expect instead providing more the dramatic content than anything else.
Director Hun Jang and writer Park Sand-Yeon do a decent job telling a story. They won't be applauded by their storytelling abilities, but will be respected for presenting both sides of the conflict without demonising or undermining the other. The acting is solid as a whole with no standout of any kind. The battle scenes were badly staged. Mostly the troops run up or down a hill, shooting as they go. To get some idea of the unreality of it all: at one point the SK troops lose the hill and retreat in disorder...but when we meet them next (only minutes later)they are all sitting around without their weapons chatting in a camp.
The Front Line is held back from its own formula from being great, but is a film that put the soldiers first over spectacles. It won't be the film one might expect as first glance though they might just find something they liked just as much.