xannoside: (zombie link)
directed by Faye Jackson
TL;DR: A wonderful dark comedy involving Eastern European politics, small town isolation, and vampires.  A must-see for lovers of indie-horror looking for something truly different.

I'm not even sure how to describe this film )
xannoside: (ahem)
So I went to see The Adventures of Tintin a couple nights ago with the sister.  I was a little apprehensive; the Tintin comics were an enormous part of my childhood, I still love re-reading them, and the last thing I wanted was for general American audiences to be introduced to the character via some bloated, soul-less adaptation.  That, and the CG looked more than a little uncanny valley.

Well, it wasn't soul-less.  At all.  Giving Spielberg and Peter Jackson every credit, they really worked hard to make this movie shine in every possible way that the books did.  But it is a bit bloated.  Tintin is stuffed to the gills with as much as they could have possibly fit in; the film is an amalgam of Crab with the Golden ClawsSecret of the Unicorn, and Red Rackham's Treasure.  And as an unfortunate result, everything feels a little rushed.  It's a little peculiar because they did a good job otherwise of trying the three together into a single story that could fit in 2 hours.

 Admittedly, adapting a Tintin story into a movie accessible to an audience not familiar with the character is a tough task.  Many of the best Tintin stories (The Calculus Affair, Destination Moon/Explorers on the Moon, The Red Sea Sharks) simply aren't new audience-friendly, and most of the earlier stand-alone stories like King Ottakar's Sceptre and Cigars of the Pharaoh don't feature Captain Haddock, one of the most iconic comic-book characters ever devised.  

There are some stupendous action sequences that fit the books perfectly, being both exciting and slightly slapstick.  Thomson and Thompson are pretty funny as played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and there is a brilliant character cameo by Bianca Castafiore.  I just wish they had let the story breathe a bit.  
xannoside: (LMAO)
From Cracked's Top 8 Movies of 2011:

"The first four movies didn't make sense in the insulting way a dumb person doesn't make sense when trying to talk their way out of a speeding ticket. Fast Five didn't make sense in the awesome way that Wu-Tang Clan lyrics don't even try to make sense. The first four movies failed to ask the all-important question, "What if we rubbed melted butter on the Rock and told him to pretend to be Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive?" Fast Five asked that question, and had the good sense to realize the answer was, "That would be goddamn hilarious!""
xannoside: (ding!)
Saw Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows yesterday with [livejournal.com profile] bigscary and [livejournal.com profile] negativeq.  Really, really enjoyed it, just all in all far surperior to the first one.

It was kind of like X-Men 2.  The first movie was purely for character setup, and that it's out of the way, it's full tilt for fun, action, and breathless set-pieces.

There was even a little more on-screen detecting.  And a lot more, ah, "subtextual" nods befitting the world's most classic bromance. 

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law ham it up enormously, clearly having a fabulous time.  Jared Harris is a fantastic Moriarty, brilliant, classy and yet utterly sinister, Stephen Fry was born to play Mycroft Holmes, and it's great to see Noomi Rapace in a movie based on a book that isn't all about how rape-is-awful-so-how-about-some-more-rape?

Guy Ritchie is a little too fond of both slow-mo and quick-cuts.  While I appreciate the skill that went into choreographing the action scenes, sometimes I'm not sure why directors spend so much time setting up a visual piece only to quick-cut all over the place, or set up a smoothly flowing motion only to randomly slow it down so the audience can see in intimate detail all the particles of dirt make-up added to an actor's face.  

In the end though, the better bits of the movie overcome this handily, and the last 10 minutes could not have been done better.  Highly recc'd.

xannoside: (ding!)
So it's been 2 years since it came out at the IFC, but I missed it then, so I finally got around to watching The Good, The Bad, The Weird, a korean action-comedy-homage to Sergio Leone in particular and Spaghetti Westerns in general.  It shouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone that I'm very fond of Spaghetti Westerns.  They're the original summer blockbuster - bombastic, anachronistic, and gleefully ridiculous.

GBW isn't a remake, as I originally thought, but a stylistic re-interpretation of the genre in a 1930s Korean setting.  As you might imagine, the story is classic Leone-style: the Bad is hired to steal a map of great important to the Japanese, the Weird shows up and steals it first by accident, and the Good is just out to bring the Bad in for a bounty.  Nothing more, nothing less.  And yet, in the resulting chase between the three draws in two local gangs, the Korean independence movement, and the Japanese-Manchurian army.  In the end, the plot is really there for one reason: for the three main characters to slowly but surely get drawn tighter and tighter together in increasingly ridiculous set-pieces (including possibly the greatest horseback chase scene in history) until the inevitable final showdown.

So how is it?  In a word...wonderful.  This flm has everything.  Cowboys, machine guns, bandits, trains, motorcycles, Tarzan-style gun-battles, ridiculously out-of-place boy band haird, and bullets that never run out until a character needs a cool reloading pose, all set to a soundtrack that is about 50% genre music and 50% techno K-hop.  The three main characters are each really funny in totally different ways, and are complete different in style, temperament, and approach.  This is one of those films where you can tell that they had a blast just making it.

Highly recc'd for anyone even curious, it's on Netflix streaming.

xannoside: (zombie link)
Little Shop of Horrors
Genre: SF/Horror Musical
Director: Frank Oz, 1986
Songs by: Alan Menken
Starring: Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, and a huge cast of SNL Alums
TL;DR: Okay, okay, not strictly speaking a horror film, not even a horror musical really, but the space-born mutant plants eating people would seem to be close enough.  The puppetry is jaw-dropping, worth seeing this film alone for it, and the songs are a highly enjoyable bonus.

Read more... )

xannoside: (zombie link)
Genre: War Horror/Ghost Story
Director: Su-chang Kong, 2004
Starring: If you're not a serious K-films fan, you'll have no clue who these guys are
TL;DR: An excellent addition to the "War is Hell...now with demons" genre.  Tight, creepy, and atmospheric.
Note: Film is in Korean, with english subtitles.

Read more... )
xannoside: (zombie link)
Tucker & Dale vs Evil
Genre: Hillbilly Horror Spoof Parody
Director: Eli Craig, 2010 (released in 2011)
Starring: Wash, some Canadian actor who is in lots of things, and Cerie from 30 Rock
TL;DR: Everything in the trailer is still really funny watching the actual movie, but there's not much left.

Read more... )

xannoside: (zombie link)
Genre: Fast Zombies (also Spanish)
Director: Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza, 2009
Starring: Spanish unknowns (aside from a couple who might be recognized from the first film)
TL;DR: Not as spine-gripping as the first fantastic film, and picked up a few plot-holes in transition, but still all-around freaky and great.

FYI to folks: REC 2 is not the same as Quarantine 2, the sequel to the American re-make of REC.  Quarantine 2 (which I am also hoping to see before Halloween) took the re-make series into a completely different direction, due to changes made in the last 10 minutes of Quarantine.

Read more... )

xannoside: (zombie link)
Genre: Urban Monster in the Dark
Director: Christopher Smith (who went on to direct the well-received Triangle and Black Death), 2004
Starring: Franka Potente and some British people
TL:DR: A little uneven, but overall a decent use of of the "beast in the underground" concept (helped by it actually being the London Underground)

Read more... )

Anyone notice that the films I've liked out of these batches so far are all European?

Next one coming in probably a couple days, as I will be busy, but I hope folks are enjoying them.
xannoside: (zombie link)
Darkness Falls
Genre: Monster/Supernatural
Director: That guy who directed Battle Los Angeles and will be directing the Clash of the Titans sequel, 2003
Starring: Emma Caulfield, an Aussie kid who is supposed to be her brother, and some dude who was on the Shield for 3 years
TL;DR: There are 3 scenes with big genuine tension.  Pity there are another 20 or so which are supposed to have tension.

Read more... )
xannoside: (zombie link)
Genre: Monster/Science Gone Wrong
Director: Billy O'Brian, 2005
Starring: Some E-list, but otherwise very competent, British and Australian actors
TL;DR: Surprisingly fun and atmospheric, despite the title not really having anything to do with the film

Read more... )

Now isn't there a film from the same-ish area in Ireland about mutant sheep?  I'll have to look for that one.

xannoside: (zombie link)
So, I meant to start this earlier this once, but I was a bit busy.  The plan is to watch as many horror movies as I feel like watching in the run-up to Halloween, thanks to Netflix, and then review them (inspired in format by Jethrien's much more worthwhile habbit of reading actual books and posting about it)  

There will likely be some actual theatrical trips involved as well, but most of these are definitely not the kind of thing you want to pay actual money to see. :P

Anyways, up first:

Zombies of Mass Destruction
Genre: Zombies
Director: Kevin Hamedani, 2009
Starring: friends & family of the director and 6-8 actors
TL:DR: Fun individual moments, but never really finds its own tone.

Read more... )

xannoside: (ding!)
Riffing off of [livejournal.com profile] feiran's reply to a post by [livejournal.com profile] trinityvixen, I find it greatly amusing that Ben Stiller's greatest cultural contribution, without irony, may be the use of the phrase "Blue Steel" to refer to that pinched-face male model expression.
xannoside: (ding!)

 What can I say?  The Harold & Kumar movies are huge guilty pleasures of mine.  There's just something nerdily ridiculous, yet self-mocking about them.  Also Neil Patrick Harris.
xannoside: (Default)
 So, saw Transformers with [livejournal.com profile] trinityvixen  and L&A last night.

Why do we do this to ourselves? (SPOILERS)

Because we never learn... )

There was one single solitary decent shout-out.

"These are the Wreckers, we don't let them off the base because they're assholes."
xannoside: (stabity)
It's worse than I could have imagined.

What...what...just...but...how...no! NONONONONONONO!!!

So it's not enough that hollywood has been tramping all over my childhood as I get older, they've moved right on up to curb-stomping my early high school years...and replaced the broken bits with as many 9/11 references as they can possibly fit in.
xannoside: (news)
Okay, I don't know if it's a step up or down for a director who is mostly known for doing vapid dance movies to be given the helm for the next GI Joe. 

However, I do think that a Dance Battle between the Joes and the forces of Cobra would be awesome.  And hey, Channing Tatum was in the first Step Up movie, anyways...
xannoside: (stabity)
So I just watched Monsters on Netflix streaming.  A quite strong indie SF film that is a little too indie and not enough sci-fi for its own premise.  Clearly wishes it was District 9/Cloverfield, but overall decent effort, especially for a film whose entire crew fit into a single van and whose director did all the special effects himself with "off-brand" Adobe Premier.

I watched the film because Netflix thought I would like it by 3.5/5 stars. They were absotively spot-on; this film fell exactly into the grey between the decent-and-enjoyable-but-nothing-special 3 and the excellent-not-quite-perfect-but-eminently-recommendable 4.

But Netflix doesn't let you rate things by half-stars. That is a privilege that they reserve purely for themselves.

Why this is, at least, a useability problem )
xannoside: (Default)
 In light of [livejournal.com profile] trinityvixen's post about Scott Adkins in Ninja, I wanted to throw in a shout-out review of Ip Man, starring Donnie Yen (who, like Adkins, worked closely with Yuen Wo Ping and Cory Yuen throughout his career), and directed by Wilson Yip, who also worked with Yen on Flash Point.  Ip Man is a romanticized biopic of, well, Ip Man, a grandmaster of Wing Chun in the first half of the 20th century, whose many accomplishments include being the first grandmaster to teach Wing Chun openly and being Bruce Lee's first, and most influential, martial arts instructor.

Similar to Fearless, Jet Li's "biopic" of Huo Yuanjia, quite a few liberties are taken with story events to make the narrative tighter and more cinematic.  But that's okay, because we get scenes like this:

Choreographed by Sammo Hung, who Yen worked with on the Yip-directed spectacular crime/martial-arts thriller, Killzone, Ip Man isn't quite as hard-hitting either the former or Flash Point, but it's a much stronger story about a man who probably loomed as largely in Bruce Lee's worldview as Lee does in ours.


xannoside: (Default)

February 2012

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