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Rating History

Come Drink With Me (Da zui xia)
8 months ago via Movies on iPhone
½

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.

The Tomb
The Tomb (2008)
2 years ago via Movies on iPhone

"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.

Phobia 2 (Ha phraeng)
4 years ago via Movies on iPhone

An anthology is the sum of its parts, so how does this particular set stack up?

Novice: A young man with a troubled past is left to live among monks, where karma catches up to him. Interesting idea, but lacking in execution and a bit boring until the end. (5/10)

Ward: An injured teenager spends the night in a hospital room with a brain dead old man on a respirator who is slated to be taken off life support the next day. Spooky and violent, with a twist ending. (7/10)

Backpackers: My favorite of the bunch. Two young hitchhikers are picked up by two truckers with cargo more dangerous than any of them know. I'd love to see a full movie made from this one. (9/10)

Salvage: A dishonest car saleswoman had a terrifying night when one of her vehicles is returned by an angry customer and her own son disappears. A gruesome little ghost story, once again featuring karma as a main theme. (8/10)

In the End: A funny and subversive tale about the filming of one of those "spooky long-haired ghost girl" horror films that had been coming out of the east so frequently in the last 10+ years. (8.5/10)

Phobia 2 gets off to a rocky start, but overall it's an entertaining and varied mix of Thai horror.

Wrath of the Titans
4 years ago via Movies on iPhone
½

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.

Beach Spike
Beach Spike (2011)
4 years ago via Movies on iPhone

There's one big reason to watch Beach Spike, and that's if you want to see some attractive Asian girls in bikinis playing volleyball, often in slow motion. It does that very well: the rest is a mixed bag.

The movie tries to be be a romance/comedy/sports hybrid, a bit like Shaolin Soccer. Unfortunately, it's mediocre in almost all those areas. Especially the action scenes and volleyball matches, which should be the highlights of the movie. The women look great, but it's also obvious that they're not the volleyball experts that their characters are. Most of the matches look extremely staged and choreographed, though the final one is pretty intense. The story, about two girls playing to save their beach from being closed to build a resort, often strives to be sentimental, exciting or amusing, but the writing for the characters is so thin that all that tugging at our emotions just doesn't do much.

Still, Beach Spike is mostly light, fun, and very easy on the eyes. I finally got invested in the characters a bit at the end, and the predictability and slightness of the plot just didn't matter much anymore. Or maybe I was just distracted by how pretty Chrissie Chau, Theresa Fu and Jessica C. were. Take it for what it is, and Beach Spike isn't that bad. If you're not watching for the eye candy, you won't find much to keep your interest.