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 Posted:   Nov 2, 2013 - 1:58 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

Glad you liked it Francis smile It seems you agree with me completely.


Ender's Game (2013) - 8/10
[To avoid sparking a political debate here, I removed my commentary on the issue of whether we should boycott this movie. If you want to debate it with me, feel free to read the full review at marvelmvs.wordpress.com]

Unlike most reviews, I listened to the audiobook of the source material close to the release of the film. So there will be some spoilers in this review of both the plot of the film and plot elements left out from the book.

"Ender's Game" moves at a quick pace as it blazes through the plot and yet barely makes it under two hours. Though the book describes multiple battles Ender fights with each team in battle school, we only see a small number of fights on screen. The same can be said for the battles at command school. Though I will expand later on certain plot elements I was sad to see left out, I think the writers did a solid job packing in everything truly important and retaining the essence of the story. The big moral questions behind it still come forward at the end and the characters still develop and mature, even if it does feel a bit rushed.

Steve Jablonsky wrote a fairly typical epic score with synth elements that never gives us a solid theme or elevates the film beyond what is on screen. I expect most people would have a hard time distinguishing the music from similar recent film scores other than most of the ones it mimics have at least some originality. Despite its flaws, the music serves its purpose of telling the audience that they are about to watch something epic and there are some interesting musical ideas for the enemy.

The two biggest draws for the film are Asa Butterfield (Ender) and Harrison Ford (Colonel Graff) Butterfield makes a fantastic Ender and truly shines throughout the film. He is quite convincing as the cold, calculating battle commander. Harrison Ford does a good job as well though it isn't particularly noteworthy. The supporting cast isn't given much time on screen but they are good as well.

So what exactly is missing from the film? One of my favorite parts of the book was when Valentine and Peter (Ender's siblings) become involved in the big political debates of the time, arguing over the role the Hegemon should have in the world and in the universe. We see Peter briefly at the beginning and Valentine is only seen slightly more. The relationships Ender develops with his squad is also seriously cut short. The strength of their bond is implied well enough but I would have liked to have seen it fleshed out more on screen. We also miss out on a lot of Ender's battles with Dragon army. While in the book he engages in battle after battle, gradually increasing in difficulty, here we get one battle with Dragon army.

I recognize studio's reluctance to make a film longer than 2 hours, especially with something as unproven as Ender's Game, but it could have been a much more thought-provoking film if some of these ideas had somehow been added in. If you want some quick thrills, the film is a serviceable adaptation. If you want to enjoy a more intellectual take on the story, go read the novel, or listen to the audiobook. I doubt the executives will add in any of the politics in any future films so the only way to enjoy it is in the book.

 
 Posted:   Nov 2, 2013 - 3:00 PM   
 By:   TominAtl   (Member)

Check out Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, highly recommended!

I will second Hell Boy 2, it is really good, pretty amazing stuff.

Oh, don't worry about that - both movies have been on my "to see" list for quite some time. I do want to see everything Guillermo del Toro makes, eventually.


My favorite of his is actually Blade 2. One hell of an action-packed, grotesque, gothic carnival ride.


I actually have never seen the blade movies. Should I just stick to the first two?


I actually didn't care for Blade but LOVED Blade 2 and found Blade 3 disappointing due to the weak final duel between Blade and Dracula himself. But Part 2 is loads of fun, one of Del Toros best films.

 
 Posted:   Nov 2, 2013 - 3:32 PM   
 By:   TominAtl   (Member)

I've seen several so I will make each brief:

GRAVITY - best film of the year so far. True, white knuckled entertainment that does not fail to deliver. I got to see it in IMAX 3D and it makes for a true immersive experience. And yes, this is Sandra Bullocks movie all the way. She gives it all in this movie and is totally believable in the role. The audience experiences everything through her and we are with her all the way for this incredible ride for survival. Yes, the movie has been nitpicked nearly to death by real life astronauts, physics teachers, etc about certain inaccuracies and what not. I mean, really? This film gives us what everyone clamors for: adventure, escapism, drama, thrills, great acting, etc. Do not wait to see this at home. You owe it to yourself to see this as it was meant to be seen: in a huge screen in a darkened theatre away from the comforts of your home.

Captain Phillips: if it weren't for Gravity, this would take the lead as the best film of the year but it comes a close second. This too is a thriller based on real life events(also under criticism and scrutiny as well) about pirates hijacking an American freighter off the coast of Somalia. Tom Hanks gives a great performance and will definitely get an Oscar nod just based on the last few minutes of the film, as he is that good. And even though we know the outcome of the piracy, showing how it all went down and making it as gripping as it is shows remarkable film making. But I wish director Greengrass would dump the shaky cam for at least ONCE!

The Counselor: one of the most frustrating films in years. Directed by Ridley Scott, written by Cormac McCarthy, superb cinematography, and starring a stellar cast...and I felt cheated when the end credits started rolling. This is a bleak film, dirty, gritty and very dark in it's morality. The script is full of delicious dialogue, forcing you to listen to every single thing that is said and implied. McCarthy, his first feature film script, eschews all Hollywood style plotting and pacing. He slowly gets the story started and yet by the time "it all goes down", that's it. The story does not fully resolve itself but leaves you hanging with implying far more than it reveals and even so, for what? I guess my biggest beef is that there is no real payoff. I felt more or less toyed with, like a David Lynch movie that starts with a great story and then dissolves into something other than what was expected. I cannot say I recommend this except only to true movie lovers and even then, with caution.

 
 Posted:   Nov 2, 2013 - 4:54 PM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

Glad you liked it Francis smile It seems you agree with me completely.


It took till this week before it finally came out here, such a long wait! SPOILER ALERT I think the decision to keep the lipstick-face demon (aka Bishara) for another installment and focus this chapter entirely on the black bride was good, else it would have been too much. So looking forward to chapter 3!

Saw this one earlier today, will see Nixon later on.

W. (2008) 6/10

Oliver Stone's biographical film about Bush has a great performance by Josh Brolin as Bush junior and James Cromwell as Bush senior, but Lincoln this is not LOL. Hardly a flattering portrayal of the former president and every scene in the movie makes a mockery out of him, his beliefs, his goals and his achievements (if there are any at all). I wasn't expecting anything else from Stone, but the apathy towards Bush made it hard for me to sit through a movie devoted to him. Mixed feelings about the supporting cast and even some of the dialogues, but it was interesting to revisit the Bush's timeline.

Saw this one at the Ghent filmfestival, worth bringing up here and keeping it presidential:

Parkland (2013) 7/10

The director was present at the screening and asked beforehand how many people had seen Oliver Stone's JFK; half of the audience raised their hand. He explained Parkland wasn't about conspiracies and tried to tell the story as truthfully as possible. To me, that was already not the best of premises as I personally don't believe the official story, but hey unlike some people who stood up during the screening and left, I gave the movie a chance. It is crammed with amazing supporting actors; Paul Giamatti, Jackie Earle Haley, Billy Bob Thornton, Marcia Gay Harden to name a few and the acting is top notch; the movie follows different people in the aftermath of the JFK assassination; Oswald's brother, the bystander who shot the footage, the medical staff who treats JFK, the agent who had a file on Oswald, etc. the mood is very tense and you do get some of that feeling of, holy shit, the president's been shot and what is going to happen next? A society in disarray etc. The score by James Newton Howard to me was ok, I liked the trumpet theme, it served the picture well. The movie works on some level but given all the information and re-enactments discrediting the Warren commission report, I can't take this movie seriously and to me it is more what people were told that took place and what they want to believe as opposed to what most likely took place and was too 'out there' for the public to take and I'm sure the truth lies somewhere in between. An entertaining piece of fiction nonetheless.

 
 Posted:   Nov 5, 2013 - 3:25 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

The Call (2013) -- 6/10

 
 Posted:   Nov 6, 2013 - 12:58 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

The Call (2013) -- 6/10

Also disappointed with the ending?

 
 Posted:   Nov 6, 2013 - 6:37 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Captain America- The First Avenger- 8-10

Over all a well produced film but there was no chemistry between the characters what so ever. Further more I just didn't care about them nor was I drawn in by the various relationships.

Steve Rogers was an idiot. It's one thing to stand up to bullies, it's another to willfully get your ass-kicked over and over again. Peggy Carter another chick that can do her own ass-kicking but had zero personalty. Never believed she cared for Rogers. Hugo Weaving does his bad ass (lots of "ass" in this review sorry!) bad guy schtick. A hugely underdeveloped character tinkering around with some vague evil plan.

The action sequences were hardly interesting. Just a lot of characters running around and lots of explosions. Though Cap's shield was ultra cool! Probably why I am giving this film an "8" instead of something lower. In fact the shield was more interesting than anything else in this film.

The score was serviceable. Every now and again we hear the glorious CA theme, but as usual nothing was developed musically.

I didn't dislike it as much as this review suggests. It was decent entertainment if you want to shut your mind down and blow away a few hours. But I don't think I will ever get the itch to see the film again.

 
 Posted:   Nov 6, 2013 - 8:10 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

The Call (2013) -- 6/10

Also disappointed with the ending?


Actually, quite! I was going to mention that when posting my rating but didn't feel like getting into it at the time. I had read repeatedly how the first 2/3 of the film was tight thriller escapism and the final act was laughably ludicrous. I guess I agree. I have no problem enjoying or finding quality in something that so many despise, but in this case it was true. The first 2/3 of the film was enjoyable and suspenseful (if slightly pedestrian) and I did get into the movie but the final act was just too silly and any sense of realism (such as it is) or plausibility or sense was thrown out the window for some weird, bizarre, serial killer lair showdown. I'm all for a sick deranged psycho and his comeuppance but the actor who played him was so awful and one-dimensional mad. I think the filmmakers (and screenwriter especially) should have entrusted more of the film to Morris Chestnut, who played the main cop in the film and is a highly underrated and valuable leading man. Had he had more interaction in the final act and more of a role in the final unfolding events (not to take away from well-deserved heroism of heroines) it would have been a more satisfying close I think, considering he would be more likely to storm a serial killer's lair than a 911 operator. I get that Chestnut is a secondary character and it was really Berry and Breslin's film and they had rights to turning the tables, but I would have enjoyed more participation of Chestnut's character in the final act of the film, which I think would have helped with realism and credible dramatic development.

I guess this is why I didn't say anything when I first posted my rating, to spare you all my ranting! smile

 
 Posted:   Nov 6, 2013 - 9:18 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

The Call (2013) -- 6/10

Also disappointed with the ending?


Actually, quite! I was going to mention that when posting my rating but didn't feel like getting into it at the time. I had read repeatedly how the first 2/3 of the film was tight thriller escapism and the final act was laughably ludicrous. I guess I agree. I have no problem enjoying or finding quality in something that so many despise, but in this case it was true. The first 2/3 of the film was enjoyable and suspenseful (if slightly pedestrian) and I did get into the movie but the final act was just too silly and any sense of realism (such as it is) or plausibility or sense was thrown out the window for some weird, bizarre, serial killer lair showdown. I'm all for a sick deranged psycho and his comeuppance but the actor who played him was so awful and one-dimensional mad. I think the filmmakers (and screenwriter especially) should have entrusted more of the film to Morris Chestnut, who played the main cop in the film and is a highly underrated and valuable leading man. Had he had more interaction in the final act and more of a role in the final unfolding events (not to take away from well-deserved heroism of heroines) it would have been a more satisfying close I think, considering he would be more likely to storm a serial killer's lair than a 911 operator. I get that Chestnut is a secondary character and it was really Berry and Breslin's film and they had rights to turning the tables, but I would have enjoyed more participation of Chestnut's character in the final act of the film, which I think would have helped with realism and credible dramatic development.

I guess this is why I didn't say anything when I first posted my rating, to spare you all my ranting! smile


I'm sorry I asked. razz

Agree with you on Chestnut, his character was definitely underused. And yes, it is pretty frustrating that the movie starts out so well only to collapse before the finish line. At least we got a great Debney score.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 6, 2013 - 11:56 AM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

My only problem with The Call was the very final scene. I didn't mind the third act overall, because I thought it only made the bad guy even creepier once we discovered why he was killing. But the very final scene felt completely out of place, something more suited to a stereotypical "girl power" Lifetime movie.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the rest of the film. Perhaps typical and offering nothing new to the genre, but still well made and entertaining, with solid performances by Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin. (Although I do agree Morris Chestnut became more and more underused as the film progressed. Would have liked more with him.)

 
 Posted:   Nov 6, 2013 - 7:25 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

My only problem with The Call was the very final scene. I didn't mind the third act overall, because I thought it only made the bad guy even creepier once we discovered why he was killing. But the very final scene felt completely out of place, something more suited to a stereotypical "girl power" Lifetime movie.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the rest of the film. Perhaps typical and offering nothing new to the genre, but still well made and entertaining, with solid performances by Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin. (Although I do agree Morris Chestnut became more and more underused as the film progressed. Would have liked more with him.)


Morris Chestnut for President!

I thought the scenes with Berry instructing Breslin as to how to draw attention to the abduction vehicle (punching out the rear light, pouring paint on the road) was very creative and tense as hell. That was probably my favorite part of the film. Also really dug Michael Imperioli's character's involvement in the events. I thought his participation in the narrative was very realistic and the film at that point seemed like a terrifyingly authentic snapshot of what real people would do in an unthinkable situation such as that. Wish the film had been able to maintain that kind of stark and horrific realism. Amusing, too, to once again see veteran cameo actor Tommy Rosales in a similar situation at the gas station, where he met a truly horrible end...by golly that man is in every-frickin-thing! big grin

Kickass score by Debney! Loving his output lately.

 
 Posted:   Nov 12, 2013 - 4:46 PM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

Elysium 3/10

Started out like District 9, then went all Johnny Mnemonic on me to end in pure Battlefield Earth style... I thought District 9 was clever and funny in its setup, lead character, dialogue and visuals; Elysium doesn't even try; Matt Damon is stock leading guy, Jodie Foster seems to be in a world of her own acting-wise and Sharlto Copley, the guy from district 9, has taken on the role here that Dolph Lundgren took on in Johnny Mnemonic, which Elysium barrow plenty from, and manages to out-over-act Dolph!

I found the premise of Elysium interesting in the wake of the occupy wall street movement and the current 'bonus grabbing' culture but let's be honest, it's hardly original; Romero's Land of the Dead had Elysium in a skyscraper surrounded by zombie infested suburbs of people wanting to get in and working in the misguided belief they will; Yet like Land, Elysium only focuses on the have nots and fails to home in on the 'elite world' which by itself is quite fascinating; of that society we only get to spend time with Jodie Foster, who like the Dennis Hopper character in Land also commands rogue mercenaries to do her dirty work and
(SPOILERS FOLLOWING)
the only sights of Elysium that you will see in this movie is the 2001 space odyssey space station with its outer ring one big lane of houses built on golf terrains inhabited by the rich who you never get to meet. It's just a setting where the climax of the movie takes place, conveniently invaded by a group of rebels without a cause, attacking robots that aim even poorer than stormtroopers; for all the visuals Elysium shows of tracking scopes on every living being, they need to calibrate their high tech gear to actually hit those marks. I had to laugh at the scene where Matt Damon escapes from a ship filled with mercenaries hunting him down and Matt achieves this by going on foot (!) over a barren desert sand scape (!) with the people who hired those mercenaries tracking his whereabouts from above (!). Wow. Who writes this trash?

Like District 9, Elysium showcases so much gear and hardware, transforming Matt Damon into a cheap cyberpunk version of Robocop, and yet none of it looks to serve any purpose other than to look cool. Ah, look at that umpteenth big gun that can shoot explosive bullets. Ah, look at that harness that can make Matt Damon throw a person through the air, ah look, that's where the medpod from Prometheus crash landed! Speaking of which, if you found Prometheus to be preposterous and dumb in its characters and story, I challenge you to sit through Elysium; the part -which it rips off Gibson- is so preposterous; Matt Damon is running around with the reboot program of Elysium's spaceship in his head... I'm surprised they didn't show Elysium's system to be running on DOS.

This is such a missed opportunity to do a relevant sci-fi movie and whatever creativity there was in District 9, a bigger cast and special effects budget seem to have killed it here. This movie makes for a great candidate for the razzies.

 
 Posted:   Nov 12, 2013 - 7:29 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Gravity (2013) -- 10/10

 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2013 - 10:46 AM   
 By:   The REAL BJBien   (Member)

ELYSIUM - 6/10

I too was disappointed with ELYSIUM but I must say that Neill Blomkamp really brings the pain when it comes to killing, blood, guts, gore, and mayhem. It sucked story wise but action wise it was a pretty decent film.

He's a poor man's Verhoeven : )

FRANK AND ROBOT 10/10

Excellent film about an old man whose losing it and his son gets his a robot caretaker who naturally he hates at first but then realizes he has useful skills... especially when it is revealed that the old man use to be a thief.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2013 - 11:34 AM   
 By:   MikeP   (Member)

Halloween Edition!

(no time for any kind of review; very tired and still have some Roseanne Halloween episodes to squeeze in before bed)

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) -- (revisit) -- 6/10

Prince of Darkness (1987) -- 2/10

Christine (1983) -- 7/10

The Conjuring (2013) -- 8.5/10

It's been a great Halloween watching movies and TV! smile



Wait, Carpenter's Prince Of Darkness a 2/10 and the beyond awful Halloween III a 6 ? big grin





Wait, well, H3 DOES have the delicious Stacey Nelkin




I recently watched the new Blu Ray Prince Of Darkness and it is wonderful. The movie itself, while clunky at times, has a great sense of dread and impending doom. Not to mention Carpenter's finest score, really nightmarish stuff.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2013 - 12:02 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

Prince of Darkness and Halloween III are both terrific little horror flicks.

 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2013 - 8:36 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Thor: The Dark World: 8-10

A capable cast and improved CGI ruined by a lazy script with more smoke and mirrors than Loki's transformation acts. We have another generic supreme power source, and another generic villain running around a story full plot holes, Hollywood pseudoscience and bate and switch. Things happen only because it was necessitated by a totally coincidental script.

What kept the film mildly entertaining were the likeable cast of characters and the actors that played them. All whom were perfect for their roles. This film adds a little more depth to the Warriors Three whom seemed more real and fleshed out, and less like cosplay characters. While its subtitled The Dark World, the film is sprinkled with plenty of humor which at times was charming, other times forced, but never gross or trashy.

As noted above the CGI and art design are much improved over the first Thor film, though here again we are presented with endless video game action which lacks the dramatic edge that should come from a feature film. I found the score bombastic, but rather generic which is to be expected nowadays. The end credits music was wonderful.

Over all the film felt like The Avengers 2.0, just on a smaller scale. Been there and done that.

 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2013 - 9:07 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

"Killer Joe" with Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch.

 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2013 - 8:49 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

The Hunger Games: 5-10

A thoroughly unintelligent script. The film is mind numbingly contrived. Thumbs way down.

 
 Posted:   Nov 18, 2013 - 5:51 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

On the telly:

Half Light (Germany/UK 2006). Demi Moore's first starring role in a long time. Nothing new here (a woman whose son has drowned tries to get away from it all, unfaithful husband included, by taking an extended sabbatical on a remote Scottish island, only to find ghosts there, apparently - it was actually filmed in Wales), but not bad either. Nice photography, decent performance by Demi, a lot of action in the film's second half. Very nice score, if maybe a bit too innocuous, by Brett Rosenberg.
Rating: 6/10.

Hard Rain (US 1998) - From the days when Christian Slater was an A-lister (he also co-produced). I must have seen this movie about 4 times, and I've always liked it. It's a rollercoaster ride with breathless pacing, great set design, superb special effects (creating a convincing illusion of high water ain't easy), a superior cast (including Morgan Freeman, Minnie Driver, Edward Asner, Randy Quaid, and Betty White). Sure, it has its share of plot holes and implausibilities, but it whizzes by so fast you'll barely notice. MUCH, much better than what passes for "blockbuster entertainment" these days! Rating: 7/10.

 
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