Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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Unintentionally hilarious English subtitles and occasionally clumsy editing aside (consider it part of the charm), Come Drink with Me is a fun, old-fashioned martial arts romp. The story is simple. A gang of bandits kidnap the son of a governor, in a bid to exchange him for their captured and soon to be executed leader. Golden Swallow, a fierce (and pretty) warrior and sister to the captured man, comes to free him. Lots of sword-fighting ensues. Oh, and she's aided by a beggar known alternatively as the Drunken Cat and the Drunk Hero, which is cool for reasons that surely don't have to be explained.
If you enjoyed other Shaw Brothers films, Come Drink with Me will be a pretty sure bet for you. Maybe the fights aren't as satisfying compared to the complex choreography of today's martial arts epics, but it's got a classic charm that some will eat up. And many of the most revered martial arts movies of today were clearly influenced by what was done here.
"We will never have to pay that price. We can live forever."
I don't know why I watch movies like these. They're clearly going to be awful. All the reviews I read further reinforced the fact that it was going to be awful. But, I still felt compelled to see it, anyway. And yep, it was awful.
The problems were myriad. The scares and horror aspect of The Tomb were surpassed by most of The Goosebumps books I read as a kid. The story was silly and bland. The attempt to appeal to the audience with sex fell flat with scenes that would hardly earn a PG-13 rating and had no chemistry between the participants.
The absolute worst things about The Tomb, though were the acting and the script. The entire cast was uniformly wretched, especially Wes Bentley and Sofya Skya. Sofya is certainly a very beautiful woman, but she would be wise to reconsider this whole "actress" thing. And Bentley came close to achieving the feat of making me never want to see another movie that he's in, ever. As for the script, describing it as "amateur" would be an insult to everyone who has ever been an amateur at anything in the history of the world. The dialogue is abysmal, and I can't imagine that anyone spent more than a few hours writing this.
I don't know what kind of dire financial situations are responsible for Eric Roberts and Michael Madsen being in this dreck, but I'm willing to offer money out of my own pockets to help them never have to be in anything this terrible, again. The only possible entertainment to be gained from The Tomb is from making fun of it. It's hilariously bad, but still too boring for me to recommend even for a laugh with your friends.
I was thoroughly disappointed with the Clash of the Titans remake. It was a dull, uninteresting slog of endlessly plodding action scenes and tons of unmemorable CG effects being thrown at the viewer from every angle as a poor substitute for excitement.
Thankfully, Wrath of the Titans manages to be a better movie than Clash in nearly every area. The story is basic but serviceable, with the father of the gods threatening to escape his prison and take out his vengeance on the earth. The gods themselves, weakened by lack of worship and divided by old conflicts, are powerless to face the danger. It falls to Perseus (Sam Worthington) and a small band or warriors to set things right.
The major improvement Wrath makes is that the action scenes and set pieces are much more exciting this time around. Whether chimera attack or the shifting, crushing walls of a labyrinth and the dangerous beast inside, I was never bored by what was happening on the screen. At the very least, this is a watchable fantasy action flick, which puts it above the first film. Greek mythology is so rich and dense that so much more could be done with the gods, monster and locales that Wrath of the Titans mines for material. Even as flawed as Immortals was, it certainly wasn't generic, which even this improved sequel doesn't totally escape until near the end. Still, whether you enjoyed or loathe the Clash of the Titans reboot, this one is better.
A pretty solid adaptation of the Batman: Year One graphic novel that covers the rocky first year after Bruce Wayne's return to Gotham and the birth of Batman, as well as the arrival of Jim Gordon and the first appearances of Catwoman. It's a short movie, but the slick animation and quality voice acting make it worth any Batman fan's time.
Be sure to watch the Catwoman short that accompanies the movie, as well. It's awesome, action-packed, and could have easily been expanded into its own feature.
I had pretty high expectations for Retreat because:
A. I'm a big fan of both Thandie Newton and Cillian Murphy.
B. I like thrillers in general, and it's been a while since I've seen a good one.
And does it live up to those expectations? Not particularly. It's certainly a tense movie, with a menacing stranger showing up at the remote island vacation cottage of a couple, bringing with him frightening tales of a global pandemic. They mustn't leave and they must seal themselves away inside the cottage to avoid the certain death that outside contact and infection brings... according to him. But, is he telling the truth? Is the threat really the world outside, or the man in their home?
There's a twist or turn near the end that keeps Retreat from being strictly as predictable as my description might have lead you to believe, but whether that makes the story any better is up for debate. Personally, I found it to be somewhat underwhelming once it was all revealed.
Retreat does keep you guessing about what to believe, to a certain extent, but I can't say that I "enjoyed" watching the movie. The characters are all flaws and bad decisions, with no real reason to invest in them and hope they survive whatever threat, be it viral or human, that may endanger them.
The acting is nothing special, thanks to a pretty pedestrian script that lacks any semblance of nuance. The tragedy that brings the couple to the cottage has no real relevance to the story, which makes it nothing more than pointless backstory. Their history is brought up in careful detail, only to never lead anywhere. Murphy's character is written to be such a weak and passive man that it borders on caricature and Newton's has two emotions, unhappy and afraid (though she still manages to be absolutely beautiful). Jamie Bell goes overboard on the menace and danger, when some ambiguity would have served both the character and story much better.
This was definitely a flawed experience for me. I didn't dislike the movie, and as I said, it can be quite tense at times, but it just seemed off in several ways. The word "underwhelming" comes to mind.