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 Posted:   Jul 4, 2013 - 6:26 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Space Battleship Yamato - 7.5/10

While flawed, Space Battleship Yamato has more heart than all the American summer blockbusters combined.

Exactly why I love that film.

 Posted:   Jul 6, 2013 - 11:56 AM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

Star Trek Into Darkness. A step or three down from the first one, though not a bad movie by any means. That said, Alice Eve's underwear scene did require an apology from Damon Lindelof... although the other most gratuitous bit in the movie (namely Spock screaming "KHAAAAAAAN!!!") was every bit as cheeky. 7/10.

 Posted:   Jul 6, 2013 - 2:35 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

The Lone Ranger (2013) - 2/5

It pains me to say, because I was really hoping to like it, but I can see why this is bombing. Tonally, it's all over the map. One minute it wants to be a gritty, violent western, the next it wants to be a goofy comedy, and the uneven mix makes for an odd experience. Even worse, much of the attempts at humor fall flat save for maybe a couple. (The best is one with a little girl's doll at the start of the film.) It's also about 30-40 minutes too long.

The big finale involving two trains is a lot of fun. If the rest of the film had been as high-spirited, it would have helped. The cast is good (Depp is terrific and not just repeating Jack Sparrow) and the basic story, while nothing great, is a serviceable western plot. Hans Zimmer's score is probably the best I've heard from him in over a decade. His use of the "William Tell Overture" was unexpected, although they tipped their hand about it too early by using it briefly at the beginning of the film. It's later used more effectively when the climax starts, but then gets overplayed.

It has its moments, but overall it's disappointing. If they had trimmed the length, toned down the goofiness and gotten rid of the 1933 framing sequence with the young boy and an elderly Tonto (which doesn't just bookend the film but also interrupts it occasionally), it could have been better.

 Posted:   Jul 8, 2013 - 11:38 PM   
 By:   Michaelware   (Member)

The Lone Ranger 8/10 ****
The propaganda against this movie is pure crap, while the actual film is loaded with truth and subversion. Much smarter than it will be given credit for being. I'm not even sure I want to post this review. But you know what? I have been loyal to Lukas' mag for a long time, so I will post away.

Manifest Destiny is carried out by the aristocratic brotherhood railroad men employing mercs to stir up false events that facilitate military attacks on the indigenous population. It's not far from a Cormac McCarthy novel such as Outer Dark at times. The story is layered like harmonics down to the ppl involved, the civilized brother of the ranger who is brought face to face with evil, and crosses destiny with the commanche outcast who is seeking the same players for similar reasons. The merc leader is considered a wendigo- a spirit-possesed being- by Depp so the story is also a spiritual one as the forces of dark and light vie for attention in the souls of the protagonists. So the big picture is this battle of spirit played out over history. The details are pretty accurate even if it is a theme park blockbuster style movie, and anyone saying this is racist is an idiot. The commanche tribesmen dismiss Depp because their information and belief can't accept his radical info even though their ignorance of thinking out side the box leads them astray. So he's like an outcast shaman. The other ethnicities fall into envy and vengeance creating more troubles for everyone. Depp's Tonto himself changes from seeking mere revenge to a greater truth. So in many ways race is not a priority so much as individual choices. The Lone Ranger has to throw out either/or answers and walk between shadows and do what is right even when the conventional way is in the wrong. It is like a parable of timeless truths. The flashback Little Big Man device is worthwhile because even the young can be taught to be wary of deceptive motives.

Strong stuff even if the movie is dismissed before thought. Definitely not an auteur movie, but the old definitions of what these things are may have gone away already. The theme park direction is skillful and the writing is loaded with worthy ideas.

 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 2:48 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

I got the Hellraiser trilogy on blu-ray so revisited them last weekend;

Hellraiser (1987) 9/10

I remember when this came out, the local news reported on its 'shock' value (the only other time I've known them due that was with American Psycho over a decade later). Seeing it again on blu-ray it is still shocking and repulsive and although this type of horror has become more mainstream with torture porn, those flying chains and bondage clothes are still unsettling. The acting is a bit forced at times but the sequences, the sound design and of course the amazing score by Chris Young would make it a classic for me if not for one dumb sequence that gets repeated; the large worm monster that chases Kirstie down a hallway (while obviously riding a bicycle) never looked convincing and they should have reshot that or left it out altogether. But the mood, the tension is classic Barker and for me a better example of christian themed horror as opposed to The Exorcist & The Omen.

Hellraiser II: Hellbound (1988) 8/10

I've always loved the sequel because it set out to do what the first movie hinted at, namely take you to hell (Poltergeist's sequel promised the same but failed to deliver on that note). I love the Leviathan labyrinth and the corridors filled with doom and just being on Pinhead's turf is great. The special effects were awesome for the time (the black light remains cool and so does the leviathan/lament configuration) and they stepped up the production a lot. Also the origins of the cenobites, the return of Kirstie and the perfect location of the asylum make this a great horror entry. Only problem the blu-ray looks horrendous, with one shot looking great, the next filled with tons of grain and mosquito effect, the next suffering from burns and specs, and so on as it varies from shot to shot; very annoying and off putting. Apparently all the Hellbound transfers suffer from this, but with zero cleanup done, it's really a shame as this one deserves the royal treatment IMO. The 5.1 track with Young's score is great, but faint praise as the movie looks like shit.

Hellraiser III (1992) 6/10

Part III looks the best out of the bunch and as being the 'American' sequel, looks the most 'metal' of the trilogy and treats Pinhead like Freddy, granting him more screentime, oneliners and a more deceiving and cunning personality. The film starts out promising but is too ambitious at times and tends to go for explosions, nudity and gore and less for the mythology elements. The new cenobites feel gimmicky and the scenes on the streets of New York feel like a power rangers gone demonic episode. The chick from DS9 is good as the lead and I loved the kirstie cameo, also again more backstory for Pinhead. I still like part III for what it is, but the atmosphere, including the score (this time by Randy Miller) is just not the same. I wish Chris Young would have done this one.

 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 7:57 AM   
 By:   Michaelware   (Member)

Maybe a significant thing about the first 2 Hellraiser pics is that the screwy characters are asking for it, and pay the consequences of their twisted desires. Twisted souls, twisted outcomes. The innocent protagonists are sought after but if they don't want to be corrupted, can't be. Really a world or two away from the torture porn snuff films of the 2000s in which there is no point of identity just lame sadism for hipsters. I shouldn't mention titles or beloved directors because it just sets people off.

I ended up liking Hellraiser II more for some reason, the huge grand score too.

 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 10:23 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Maybe a significant thing about the first 2 Hellraiser pics is that the screwy characters are asking for it, and pay the consequences of their twisted desires. Twisted souls, twisted outcomes. The innocent protagonists are sought after but if they don't want to be corrupted, can't be. Really a world or two away from the torture porn snuff films of the 2000s in which there is no point of identity just lame sadism for hipsters. I shouldn't mention titles or beloved directors because it just sets people off.

And there are whole essays to be written about the cultural reasons for those variations. About the turn over the decades from moral horror (especially slasher) (the virgin/innocent/person who keeps the faith survives) to a form where it's more arbitrary who survives, or where it's not about who survives but about getting off on the evil (to which Hellraiser was, as it happens, an antecedent). And there are other trends in other places: in much Japanese horror, for instance, it doesn't matter how strong or innocent or willful you are; once you're exposed to the evil, you die. The only way to survive is never to encounter the monster in the first place, never to draw its attention. Once you've entered the house or been exposed to the curse or caught the ghost's notice, that's it. While there are very few if any good torture porn films, I think, I find the genre interesting for what these reasons, and I find some examples very powerful (for instance Martyrs, which takes the porn, the titillation, out of torture porn and pokes at the lies we tell ourselves about how we justify it). Anyway. I'll stop now.

For those who like the original two Hellraiser films but not what came after, a new authorized Hellraiser comic series started a couple years ago with story collaboration by Clive Barker that took as its canon only the first two films and the novella (although there are some small discrepancies).

 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 6:49 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

Pacific Rim (2013) - 10/10
“Pacific Rim” sets the bar for the modern action film with action you can follow. It moves along at a fast pace because it packs so much into its two-hour runtime. The intro left me breathless and there was much more to follow. The gravity of the threat facing humanity in the film is made clear from the start with news-reporting-style coverage of major attacks. The movie jumps forward five years from the introduction, bringing you directly into a ramped-up level of monster attacks.

The multinational cast helps enhance the realism because it shows the whole world coming together to address the threat. Guillermo Del Toro brings out powerful performances from the cast even though you probably won’t recognize most of the actors. I don’t recall noticing Charlie Hunnam before “Pacific Rim” but he fit his role nicely and gave a solid performance in the starring role. The relative newcomer Rinko Kikuchi gives a powerful performance as well.

The special effects are impressive and the action is easy to follow. This is especially noteworthy because it is generally difficult to render full action sequences with heavy CGI. Del Toro uses some inventive mechanical sets to simulate the look of the characters piloting giant robots. Their movements are very believable throughout.

Ramin Djawadi enhances the epic feel of the film with his powerful rock anthem style score. The music mixes electric guitar, synth, and orchestra wonderfully. The main theme is used nicely throughout the film at just the right moments. Though the main theme is in many ways typical of the modern epic film score sound, it is very catchy and easy to whistle as you head out of the film.

While “Man Of Steel” set the bar for summer action films, “Pacific Rim” pulverizes the bar into submission leaving nothing but dust. While a few things feel unrealistic about it, the film is largely convincing. If you only see two movies this summer, don’t skip “Pacific Rim” or “Man Of Steel”.

 Posted:   Jul 14, 2013 - 4:31 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

The Joneses (2009) 7/10

Demi Moore & David Duchovny lead a fake family that settles in a neighborhood with the intent of promoting products to create a ripple effect to get people to buy exclusive goods. They hold parties where they showcase the products and they mingle with the golf & hair salon crowd to get them to buy their goods. It's a good premise and to a certain degree this is happening already (people are getting free stuff and merchandise to promote it via social media), but the movie here of course focuses on the relationships within the family of 'marketing actors' as well as with the people they fool. Though the second half of the movie derails a bit for me as for credibility, everything changes very fast, it was still entertaining throughout.

And Soon The Darkness (2010) 6/10

Checked out Amber Heard's filmography after liking her in The Joneses and came across this travel thriller, where she and another hot chick go to argentina for a bike trip and of course every Argentinian is part of a conspiracy to kidnap pretty American girls. Karl Urban also stars as the other American tourist. The score by Tomandandy (nice surprise!) elevates it above average as the pace is a bit slow at times, but it's still an ok movie with some suspenseful scenes and setups.

 Posted:   Jul 14, 2013 - 10:11 AM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

Now You See Me. In spite of Louis Letterier's hyperactive camera moves and a storyline that isn't even on nodding terms with plausibility (to the extent that magic would be a more believable explanation for how they get all those millions of Euros from Paris to Las Vegas, just for starters), it's summed up by one of its characters: "That was... pretty good, actually." 7.5/10

Hotel Transylvania. Adam Sandler more than makes up for that Eight Crazy Nights bilge. Maybe he should venture outside Happy Madison more often (this is his first non-Madison movie since Spanglish)? 9/10

 Posted:   Jul 19, 2013 - 1:47 PM   
 By:   Michaelware   (Member)

Pacific Rim 7/10 ***
Liked it!
Made me think of South Park (Crab people crab people crab people)
It seems that all the movies are about aliens and avatards now, but this is pretty entertaining. Maintains a del toro touch. The side characters are more memorable than the lead. Couldn't it just have been about rinko kikuchi? Why even need the bland dude who just takes up screen time. The music was like a video game loop and meant nothing besides sonic hash tags. Ron Perlman was the best thing in it. Good show.

 Posted:   Jul 19, 2013 - 2:44 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Been a while since I've been in here! Since last update, I've re-watched the Evil Dead trilogy and seen the remake, which I discussed in another thread, and I re-watched the X-Men film series, which I will be discussing at length in another thread. Aside from them, here's what I've seen since my last round-up:

Tai Chi Zero and Tai Chi Hero (2012) dir. Stephen Fung -- Great fun. These films (really one film in two (somewhat tonally disparate, à la Kill Bill) parts) have jumped onto my best of 2012 list for sure. A steampunkish Western-influenced martial arts epic with a sort of Scott Pilgrim gonzo aesthetic, this thing is nuts and yet holds together with plenty of fun characters to cheer for. Highly recommended.

Live Free or Die Hard (2007) dir. Len Wiseman
A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) dir. John Moore -- DH4 was actually better than I remembered. Still some ludicrous moments, and still annoyed at how thoroughly they wasted Timothy Olyphant, but pretty enjoyable. By far Wiseman's best movie. DH5 sucked the big one, though.

Rectify, Season 1 (2013) created by Ray McKinnon -- An engrossing little southern gothic drama. Looking forward to Season 2.

The Lookout (2007) dir. Scott Frank -- Pretty good little crime noir with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Jeff Daniels.

Spring Breakers (2012) dir. Harmony Korine -- Rubbish.

Southland: Season 1 (2009) created by Ann Biderman -- As a general thing I don't like police dramas, but I liked this. Probably because it focused on the characters rather than the crimes, and didn't become a formulaic "procedural". Also having such a short season helped.

Pacific Rim (2013) dir. Guillermo del Toro -- By far the best summer spectacle I've seen yet this year. Extremely dumb, but it knows it and it embraces its B-movie-ness and it doesn't waste your time or insult your intelligence by pretending to be smart. For what it is, it's very good. Also, the 3D was good.

Jack the Giant Slayer (2013) dir. Bryan Singer -- Pretty bad. Nobody in this movies seems to know what it is. Ewan McGregor is pretty sure he's in a comedy (as is his hair-stylist); Stanley Tucci, for once, seems to think he isn't, except that Ewen Bremner as his henchman definitely is. Nicholas Hoult plays it straight, Ian McShane seems bored, and Eleanor Tomlinson does fine as the only woman in the movie, who is assured that she'll accomplish things but manages only to get saved by others. The giants are supposed to be fearsome, it seems, except that Singer made the inexplicable decision to give the leader giant an idiot second head. The production design is lifeless, the special effects middling, and the ending truly awful. Definitely very much worth skipping.

 Posted:   Jul 21, 2013 - 1:01 AM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

Pacific Rim. Could have been a lot worse. 6/10.

 Posted:   Jul 21, 2013 - 7:15 AM   
 By:   The REAL BJBien   (Member)


I disliked DRIVE and I flat out HATED this film because it took everything that made DRIVE cool and turned it to 10!

Unfortunately that means a minimal plot that literally can be told beat for beat in 5 sentences, our lead barely speaks but this time out almost no else does too! Only Kirsten Scott Thomas shows up and has a pulse but because everyone else is stone face, whispering, or barely speaking she comes off as vamp.

The style of this film goes from cool to just INSANE in that nothing looks real and everything is so stylized that it really does play out like a music video.

I wanted to like this and it seemed like it was going somewhere during the first 20 minutes but by the end of the damn thing nothing really mattered and any point the film was trying to make was obscured by the outrageous levels of violence and mind you, I don't mind violence in films but when you strip it way and it becomes disturbing I usually give kudos but in this case it goes to such extremes and some of the moments [actually all] have no redeeming value.

 Posted:   Jul 24, 2013 - 5:44 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

The Da Vinci Code (2006) -- 9/10

Extremely moving film. Audrey Tautou's relation to the narrative endgame was handled brilliantly with passion and earnest emotion, aided in no small part by Hans Zimmer's wonderfully evocative and transcendent score. The film started out as one thing for me, but evolved into something wholly different and thoroughly satisfying. At times this film achieved an intangible, dreamlike, almost otherworldly presentation, passing boundaries of normal cinema and creating a kind of kaleidoscopic canvas of art, history, and emotion. Very unique experience for me as a filmgoer -- unusual and unforgettable.

The thriller aspects of the film (doublecrossing handgun-brandishing shadow figure skirmishes and such) fell a bit flat for me, but the relationships and lofty mythology (?) and ideas were more than enough to make a terrific, compelling film. Will be watching Angels and Demons next.

 Posted:   Jul 25, 2013 - 10:16 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) - 3/5

Not as bad or pretentious as the trailers made it look. I enjoyed the murder mystery, but was never clear about some things, and for the first hour or so I had no idea exactly who Lisabeth was or what she was doing until she met and started working with Mikael. The ending was way too dragged out as well. Also, for a movie called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I actually expected it to be about, you know, the girl with the dragon tattoo. Beautifully shot, though.

Kick Ass (2010) - 2/5

A movie that thinks it's more clever than it is. Basically just an excuse for people (mostly Mark Strong) to cuss for two hours and the filmmakers to think they're being edgy by having an 11 year old girl say the c-word and kill people. Too goofy to be taken seriously but not funny enough to be taken as a spoof. Never finds that right tone. Nicolas Cage's Adam West imitation was amusing, though.

 Posted:   Jul 28, 2013 - 11:31 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Stoker (2013) dir. Park Chan-wook -- This movie is pretty good and very pretty and is, sadly, the best movie I've yet seen from 2013.

The Lone Ranger (2013) dir. Gore Verbinski -- Not very good, but underrated. Could easily have trimmed at least half an hour -- both the frame story and the romantic interest could have been chopped to the film's benefit, and there's one plot threat that could have been handled with a more delicate touch. But this was pretty much exactly what I expected: goofiness, big, over-the-top setpieces, some surreal Verbinski visuals. I enjoyed it.

American Mary (2012) dir. Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska -- Watchable horror film about a broke med student who, in trying to find a job, accidentally stumbles into the world of extreme body modification. Not great, but Katharine Isabelle (of Ginger Snaps fame) is good enough to carry the film.

Space Battleship Yamato (2010) dir. Takashi Yamazaki -- Pretty good space opera. Could have benefited from a re-write to make it less episodic. And I'm not sure how deliberate some of the filmmaking decisions were, but these people sure like to stand around and do nothing when imminent danger is closing fast! Still, enjoyable stuff; a fine entry in the space opera canon.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013) dir. Don Scardino -- Gets off to a (very) slow start and has a horrendous end, but the second act has some funny gags and nice moments, Alan Arkin is great as ever and Olivia Wilde, whom I usually don't much care for, actually gets to shine a bit.

Upside Down (2012) dir. Juan Solanas -- A pretty little fantasy romance that, unfortunately, fails so spectacularly to play by its own rules that it's hard to engage with it. Also, it promises a much more interesting story than it manages to deliver. Some nice moments and some nice visuals but mostly an ambitious failure.

The Client List (2010) dir. Eric Laneuville -- Pretty forgettable TV movie about a mother whose family is extremely broke who takes up prostitution in order to pay the bills. A few moments of some nuance falter before the Lifetime melodrama and the annoying slut-shaming.

The Wolverine (2013) dir. James Mangold -- Not a great movie, but a solid one, and possibly the best X-Men film to date, or at least the one with the best good : problematic ratio. Gets a bit extra-goofy toward the end, and I think Logan is a little old for his romantic interest here -- he's only about 150 years older than she is. But it's up there alongside Pacific Rim as the best this summer has had to offer. Certainly the best superhero movie of the year so far.

 Posted:   Jul 28, 2013 - 3:39 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

The Wolverine (2013) - 3/5

The second act is a bit talky, and James Mangold shoots his action a little too chaotically. (The funeral attack scene was hard to follow at times.) I prefer the first Wolverine for having a better balance of things, but overall I was entertained.

 Posted:   Jul 28, 2013 - 9:41 PM   
 By:   Michaelware   (Member)

The Wolverine 8/10 ****
The best Wolverine movie.
Good acting, strong drama, good story about how to act with compassion and morality even when its betrayed. Lots of secret sauce for some people too. I get the sense that the marvel films are aimed at certain sectors of the populace (counter cultural types) and not at others (non-counter-cultural types) while providing lots of entertainment for the comic-con types as well as normal people, all the above, though its always the geeks who get mad at things they didn't wish for.

 Posted:   Jul 28, 2013 - 9:44 PM   
 By:   Michaelware   (Member)

Twixt 7/10 ***
I don't remember if I reviewed this last year. I saw the blu ray. I still don't understand it but I liked it. Poor Flamingo. Poor V. Val Kilmer needs to work out more lol.

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