This film doesn't hold back any punches as the opening scene first has a giant octopus attack a boat only to get have the Octopus get attacked by a Gargantua. Why? Cause the Gargantua wanted the boat all to himself.
This English language version of Furankenshutain no kaiju: Sanda tai Gaira is an interesting edit that make for a somewhat different film. Though there are mentions to these Gargantua having been grown, this version of the film tries to remove all references to Frankenstein and changes the names of Sanda and Gaira (the two giants) to Brown Gargantua and Green Gargantua. It also tends to give more screen time and focus to Professor Stewart. These aspects actually make sense when you think about it. Having these creatures come from Frankenstein (from an earlier Toho film) might seem silly to some especially if they've never seen the film to which this was supposed to be a sequel.
Where I think the film drastically falls down is in the changing of the music. The music by Akira Ifukube is used in the film but at different times. I feel the original scoring of the Japanese film is much more appropriate.
While I found the look of the Gargantuas a little silly, the film has some great miniatures, a great mix of real military vehicles mixed with remote control versions and plenty of scenes where they mix both miniature with real action/scenery to good effect.
War of the Gargantuas is a schlocky kaiju film... but in the end, isn't that kinda what we like about the films?
This Naruto film sports a very annoying start with the standard spoiled brat lesson. The second half picks up as the Hidden Leaf team of Rock Lee, Sakura, Kakashi and Naruto meet up with some "bad" ninjas. The fight sequences aren't particularly good and the special abilities of these new ninjas are easily figured out by the group making things a little boring. Thankfully Rock Lee is in the film and while he's not used nearly enough, he's still Rock Lee and when Fuzzy Brows gets to fight... it's awesome!
Clearly on the lower side of budgets, Werewolf: The Beast Among Us still manages to be relatively entertaining. Thanks to some decent acting, Directing and editing, the film itself is pretty well made. Thanks to the costumes and locations, the feel of the film actually works in a not historically correct fashion.
Where the film falters is on some less than stellar CG work and a bizarre twist nearing the end. But the good far outweighs the bad and this werewolf film could have ended up a laughing joke much like a previous Universal film starring a named Vampire Hunter.
Worth checking out if you like classic universal monster movies done with modern technology.
The American Pie series is one of the funniest comedy series I've ever seen. I was looking forward to seeing this finally and after seeing the opening sequence, I knew I was in for more of the same hilarious hijinx I'd come to love... or so I thought.
American Reunion does have quite a few classic scenes worthy of an American Pie film and all of your fave characters are here... including some new ones.
While I feel the dramatic moments of American Reunion were necessary (most the American Pie films had some kind of drama) in this final installment they seemed more the focus of the film rather than the backbone upon which plenty of laughs could be laid. This results in American Reunion not being as funny as it could... nay, should have been.
Another aspect that hindered the comedy was the acting. Most of the cast of the American Pie films aren't exactly oscar winning actors but with American Reunion it felt as though nobody really wanted to be there. Their performances were stiff and I didn't get the vibe that they were having fun.
While American Reunion isn't the bang I hoped the series would go out on... it is still milftastic in its own way.
Lockout is far from good but it's not exactly bad either. In fact, there's plenty of good in the film if you just look hard enough. The look and feel of the film is very good with FX that work both from the digital realm and the physical. The story is ok dealing with morality and prisons and human life and decency and politics. Where the film tends to fall apart is in the main characters. Our male lead is a Bruce Willis in Die Hard type character who's extremely masoginistic. The female lead is the "ditzy blonde" who means well but doesn't seem to understand how things work likely due to a sheltered life. Neither of these characters really make me want to watch them succeed. The performances from the actors is quite good but when the writting of the characters is of this level, it doesn't matter how good the acting is. There are some great pieces of dialogue however which only work because of the type of characters and the way they're acted but they don't quite redeem the already painful to watch (but only slightly) anti-heroes presented here. The characters aren't all bad. The two main baddies are very good and fun to watch and I kinda wish we had even more of them in the film.
Outside of the characters there are a few other items that might turn you away from the film. Ever watch a film that did things that just weren't believable? Lockout does quite a few of them. While I prefer to watch a film that grounds itself in reality so as to connect with the viewer better, I don't outright dismiss the films where you need to shut off your brain to enjoy them. Lockout is the kind of popcorn flick you simply sit back and let happen. Don't question what's taking place on screen. That will only make your head hurt. No. Let the mediocre story have its day and allow all the crazy on screen simply go on. Just watch... and eat the popcorn.
End of Days is silly schlock akin to a b-movie with a big Hollywood budget. Without an original idea and feeling like it was forced out in order to meet the deadline of Y2K, the film really wastes the potential it had on a weird sexually charged, action ridden, mess. But it's Arnold versus Satan sooooo... I don't care!
Legend had the potential to be the next big gangster film complete with true story notoriety. Parts Casino mixed with parts Goodfellas and a dash of Peaky Blinders and Legend should have been a recipe to die for. While some people do die in the film, Legend concentrates too much on relationships rather than the gangster aspects of the Kray brothers. Between the relationship between the brothers themselves and the relationship between the smart brother and his young girlfriend/wife, it leaves most of the gangster aspects to be told in wide sweeping voice overs or monologue like dialogues instead of just letting the events take place on screen. That's not to say Legend is a bad film. On the contrary actually, as it's still enjoyable and educational at the same time. I just expect more mobster/gangster stuff from films of this nature and less courting and crying is all.
I'll stick to Austin Powers when it comes to spy comedies, as I didn't find a lot of this film to be funny. The moments I did laugh came from some of the (improvised?) dialogue from McCarthy which could have been in any film to be honest. The Jason Statham character was ok but while a little humourous at first, became tiresome come the end.
What I did really enjoy about the film was the basic story. I enjoy a good spy flick and this wasn't too bad in that regard.
What I disliked most was McCarthy's character. Was she a super spy or incompetent? I couldn't quite figure out what her character was supposed to be. They set her up to be highly capable and yet, she continued to blunder her way through many situations in order to get a comedic reaction but all I thought was that it didn't make sense. Be one or the other... not both. That was the big mistake imo this film made. She should have been unqualified and through some weird turn of events, manage to save the day. But that wasn't the case. She switched between capable "super spy" and "bashful librarian" so many times that it just didn't make sense. Where was the character development? Where was the sense?
Still... it's not entirely a loss. I did manage to enjoy it even if I did find it quite flawed.
Fans of Saturday Night Live and the Lonely Island boys rejoice, this is a film truly built around everything you love and it's balls to the car door window bonkers! I'm not big into comedies and wasn't even going to see this film based off the trailers but not only did this film get me to laugh... it made me laugh over and over. It's the This is Spinal Tap for a new generation!
Poking extreme fun at popstardom and the absurdity of it all, Popstar (the full title is much to long to write over and over) takes the strengths of those involved and creates something that just works and on so many levels.
The music people have come to expect from The Lonely Island is shown off here time and time again. And if you know anything about the band expect a lot of crude/offensive material that doesn't come off that way ie. expect a full length motion picture Dick in a Box video.
And let's not forget the cameos. Whether people playing themselves or as fictional characters, expect practically everyone The Lonely Island has ever worked with.
While I don't think Popstar is for everyone (neither was This is Spinal Tap), I do believe it is at least destined for cult status (perhaps more).
Daddy's Home is clearly supposed to be a comedy and could have been a very good one considering the subject matter. Except they showed all the jokes (short of the last one) in the trailers. What's the point of a comedy if I already know all the jokes?
But if you look at Daddy's Home as more of a dramedy, it tends to work better. In this case the jokes are almost secondary and the film is more about the moral message or dramatic elements than it is about always creating laughs. In this regard, Daddy's Home isn't bad. It's cute and heartwarming at times and while very predictable overall, it still has a few moments that might surprise you. Will Ferrell is his standard self which is fine and produces some of the best comedic moments, but it's Mark Wahlberg that I feel steels the show. I really really enjoyed his performance and it came across so natural I was very surprised.
While I didn't entirely enjoy Daddy's Home, it did tug at the heart strings and manage a chuckle or two so it's not all bad.
Dead in Tombstone is all bite and no bark. Despite the likes of Danny Trejo, Anthony Michael Hall and Mickey Rourke, this film decided that rather than have a great story with great acting set in the wild west it would simply give us more action than I've seen in any western to date. While this may seem like a good thing, there is only so much gunfighting, explosions, and dead bodies one can see in a film before it puts them to sleep.
I should have known from the direct-to-video nature of the film and the casting of Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers) that things weren't going to be great but I still expected more.
I was ok with the artistic flare the filmmakers were using with regards to the camera work, closeups, slowmos, et al at first but once the action started rolling along, they just became distractions and interupted the overly hyperactive flow of the film.
Dead in Tombstone isn't a terrible movie... it's just not a very good film. But if you like you action ramped up to 11 with the fewer words said the better, Dead in Tombstone is right up your alley.
Captain America Civil War is essentially what the previous Marvel films seem to have been mounting to. The tension between teammates that has permeated previous films comes to a climax here in Civil War. Generally, this may be considered the best of all the Marvel films to date (outside of maybe Guardians of the Galaxy) but it isn't without problems.
My first beef (though a small one) is the fact that this is labeled as a Captain America movie when (much like the previous Captain America film) it doesn't deal with just Captain America. This film felt more like an Avengers film than anything. Sure Cap is the center of the story with his old time buddy Bucky being the concept that tears the Avengers apart, but it is the Avengers being torn apart that this film seems to be all about. They make a very distinct decision to include not only the original Avengers but bring in the new ones as well as characters from previous Marvel films (and even someone appearing for the first time) while keeping out 2 powerhouses in Thor and Hulk. But once you get past this weird concept of an Avengers film masquerading as a Captain America film there is one more thing that kinda bugs me. This film, as is often the case with superhero stuffs, revolves around an evil master plan. *spoilers forthcoming* This plan was built around Bucky and seemed to ultimately have the end goal of bringing Iron Man and Captain America into the same room in order to deliver some specific news and have them destroy each other. Did the evil mastermind expect them to fight each other previously? Perhaps, but that doesn't seem to be the case. It seemed as though everything was riding on the final climactic scene... but if that's the case, there's a big problem. This final climactic confrontation isn't the result of the actions of this mastermind. In fact, he could have been there waiting and only Captain America might have shown up and presto... he gets captured and that's the end. OR if Cap and Bucky are stopped from reaching the plane, nobody shows up. And he just waits and waits and waits until he eventually dies (unless he brought provisions of course). Civil War isn't a perfect film and it does leave a few holes in the plot which I would have liked to have been better controled/explained but overall it is still a very enjoyable superhero flick with plenty of friend fighting friend action... and Spider-Man.
This sequel doesn't quite live up to the fun natured first film but it does bring back the entire gang, through in some new characters, and manage a few chuckles at the same time.
It's hard to say a story about a machine that creates food animals wasn't as good as it could have been... I mean it is a weird concept to begin with... but that is exactly the case here. While I felt the first film was genuine and cute, this sequel seems a bit forced and scattered at times.
But thanks to some fun creature designs, *spoiler* an evil scientist, and a good (though somewhat conveluted) message, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 still manages to entertain and delight.
When it comes to action films from Cannon Pictures you pretty much know what you're going to get... lots of bullets flying, some explosions, a hard nosed hero type, and if you're lucky, some sultry sexy moments as well. Chain of Command is no different. Michael Dudikoff is your "hero", Keren Tishman is your sulty sexy, and all the while there are bullets flying by, machine guns going off, and the occasional explosion. It also has Todd Curtis as the bad guy with one narly hairdoo. Where the film tends to fall apart is in the really poorly thought out story. A thriller/mystery which involves spies, the CIA, corporate conspiracies, global energy markets, international relations, arab stereotypes, oil, and owning countries, is so off the wall nutso, that it's unbelievable in its scope. The viewer just can't relate with what is going on. Luckily there's plenty of action to go around. So don't get caught up in the story and just duck all the bullets flying 'round and you should be able to find some enjoyment in this low budget actionner.
I'm not a big spaghetti western fan but there's something about Keoma that just works for me. Perhaps it's the grand action pieces, or the one man versus all story. Perhaps it's the greek tragedy aspects of this tale of family against family. Or maybe it's just Franco Nero with a sawed off 2 barrel blowing away bandits that just works for me. Either way, Keoma is a truly enjoyable western that I'd tell people on the fence to give a try. It almost makes me want to watch more westerns... almost.
Paul Thomas Anderson's films aren't for everyone but for fans of his work, The Master truly delivers something special. Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman deliver top notch performances giving completely of themselves to their roles. But without these 2 actors, this film doesn't have much to offer. The story is plain, slow, and somewhat boring (as is often the case with dramas imo). There isn't much entertainment for mainstream audiences. Phoenix and Hoffman create these characters that are quirky and abnormal but serious and deep and it is their relationship to each other which forms the backbone to this film and the reason to watch it. It's also what I disliked the most. I'm not a big fan of Phoenix or Hoffman in general. They are extremely talented but I just don't enjoy watching them. So for me, an entire film revolving around these two actors was a little painful. Combine that with the slow pacing, uninteresting story, and a genre I'm not really into and you might wonder why I'd give the film a 3 star rating. The story, for what it is, is extremely well told but it's the performances of the 2 leads that raise The Master up despite my personal opinions about the actors.
If a Tree Falls pulls style and ideas from the grindhouse films of yesteryear. Complete with added "film damage" this movie takes a simple road trip gone wrong killer hillbilly story and attempts to make it something more than it needed to be.
The film is low budget so the less than stellar acting (though it is better than a lot of stuff that comes out in this price range), generally amateur cinematography, and terrible sound can be slightly forgiven and to a degree, add to the grindhouse feel surrounding the film.
But with long drawn out shots of nature or the road, or whatever they decided to pad the film with, cuppled with a very non-standard plot (directing and editing), I found myself more bored than entertained. In fact, I had a hard time keeping my eyes open.
If A Tree Falls has a lot of good things going on and does a good job of delivering that old grindhouse feel. I just wish they had played it more straight and been less creative/artistic with it (which isn't something I say often).
Many are calling Green Room a horror film and that may be a bit misleading to some. What Green Room falls under is a combination of suspense, revenge, thriller with a very violent and somewhat gruesome outcome. The film is a bit gritty and isn't for everyone. If you like a good revenge film then you might gravitate towards this film more than say your standard suspense, thriller viewer might. While there is a good deal of suspense and action, it's the gruesome and gory details of the film that can really take this film and pull it out of the crosshairs of your every day Joe viewer. That being said... I love that kind of stuff so delighted in every viceral moment of the film. The punk rock backdrop and music was also a nice change from the electronic outings we've become accustomed to. While Green Room isn't going to be for everyone, horror fans are likely to find something fresh and ambitious about this otherwise standard genre film. Kudos to those involved for managing to deliver a well told story while still managing to deliver some impact and emotion... and have Patrick Stewart in a horror flick.