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  1. #1821
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    Australia

    Set in northern Australia before World War II, an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling ranch reluctantly pacts with a stock-man in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. As the pair drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape, they experience the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by Japanese forces firsthand.

    Unlike Moulin Rouge, which was over the top campy and unrealistic by intent (well thats what I thought about it), this movie by Baz Luhrman could not decide what it wanted to be: campy, serious - a war movie, a movie criticizing the way Australia treated the Aborigines/mixed children ...
    In the end it was just too long, too predictable and outright boring. A few "pluses" for good landscape cinematography and the little boy Nullah.

    5/10

    Detective Dee - Mystery of the Phantom Flame

    An exiled detective is recruited to solve a series of mysterious deaths that threaten to delay the inauguration of Empress Wu.

    To draw comparisons between this movie and the first new SHerlock Holmes with RDJ isn't too far fetched. Di Ranji is a former investigator of the justice ministry that was imprisoned for not supporting/rebelling against the new regent. With mysterious deaths happening (people burst into flames) he is released and searches for the unknown assassin. The trailer I have linked a few posts before this one promises a much faster paced movie, but the wire-fu fight scenes are OK and refreshingly innovative (fighting deer!).
    The movie loses points for its mixture of magic & crazy science (Holmes has to deal with crazy science only) and the somehow typical "sacrifice for the greater good of the realm" stuff you find very often in Chinese movies. It also lacks the irony of RDJ as Holmes.

    7/10 - it is OK to rent, but I'd rather watch the Sherlock again

    Shutter Island

    Drama set in 1954, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels is investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is presumed to be hiding nearby.

    Although there is a wide range of characters, this movie pretty much is a DiCaprio one man show. The movie is dark and gloomy and shows how the main character slowly "loses is marbles" (well, or has lost them a long time ago). I can't write a lot more, without including spoilers for those who have not seen it. Why won't award a "nine" for it? Sometimes I wished it went on with a faster pace. Perhaps it would be interesting for you to see in with a vivid memory of Sucker Punch, as they deal with a related topic (and Sucker Punch had to much pace in the story telling).

    8/10 (although at the upper edge of eight....might change that after a few weeks of thought)

    Taken

    A retired CIA agent travels across Europe and relies on his old skills to save his estranged daughter, who was kidnapped on a trip to Paris to be sold into prostitution.

    Liam Neeson doesn't really have to act in this movie, he just had to look grim and kick, punch & shoot people. He never seems to have any doubts that he will accomplish his mission and he does not show any remorse for killing about two dozen people, including shooting a friend's wife. Being a vigilante and taking the law into his own hands has to come with a price IMO. It is a good action movie, but you should not escape this plot "unharmed" in any kind of way.

    7/10

    Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows

    Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson join forces to outwit and bring down their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty.

    If you liked the first one, you will like the second one too. Of course it is only slightly based on the original works of A.C. Doyle, but if you see it as an buddy/adventure movie (not so mysterious this time), it will entertain you for two hours. RDJ as Holmes feels like he is the 19th century brother of Jack Sparrow, but I did not get tired on all the mannerisms, as most of them were funny enough. With the exceptions of Watson & Moriarty, all other characters where a little bit under-used (like Simza, Lestrade, Mycroft Holmes etc.) I liked the short appearance of Rachel McAdams, too.

    9/10 - because it was not in 3D
    Last edited by Gorani; 30-12-2011 at 13:47.
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  2. #1822
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    Mr Nobody - 9/10 - Go watch it.

    It gets a bit slow in the middle, otherwise I'd have given it a 10. It is weird, but really well acted, written, and executed. I am surprised I didn't hear about it. I don't want to spoil anything, go watch the trailer...

    Sherlock Holmes 2 - 8/10 - Solid popcorn movie, with a good script too.

    Once again, they've managed to make a solid entertaining and smart movie. Well done. If you liked the first, then you probably have already seen this one. If not, go watch it.
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  3. #1823
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    Just watched a few movies over the weekend.

    My Darling Clementine...an early (John Ford director, Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp) take on the shoot out at the OK Corral. This one apparently focused more on the people than the fight (I haven't seen any of the other versions of this story) and was actually pretty funny as well as dramatic. Doc Holiday's portrayal didn't always work for me, but over all I enjoyed this film and recommend it. It's a western, but certainly not a typical one.

    3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

    Hard Days Night...Beatles' first movie right when they really broke out. It's pretty quirky, but usually pretty fun to watch, and of course the songs are just so much fun to listen to and sing along with. The extra features (2 DVD set) were pretty extensive and mostly very interesting.

    3 1/2 out of 5 stars

    The Quiet Man...another Ford film (I think his last or nearly so) but with John Wayne in the lead with Maureen O'Hara about a man returning to a birth place he hasn't seen since he was a child and running from a recent event that haunts him. It takes place in Ireland's beautiful land (though the DVD video is so bad that's pretty tough to tell that most of the time). The movie is fairly misogynistic for our times, and John Wayne sure smokes a heck of a lot (lol) but over all it's a fun movie if a bit predictable. Ford plays the well meaning, but tough, Yank role pretty well and Maureen O'Hara is quite a force of nature herself. Everyone plays their parts well and it's clear that this is a bit of a fairy tale, but it's enjoyable for all that. The only really bad thing is how bad the DVD video is. Given how well known this movie is for its cinematography (which it won an Oscar for) this is really quite a shame. If they restore this I'd buy it again.

    3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gorani View Post
    Taken

    A retired CIA agent travels across Europe and relies on his old skills to save his estranged daughter, who was kidnapped on a trip to Paris to be sold into prostitution.

    Liam Neeson doesn't really have to act in this movie, he just had to look grim and kick, punch & shoot people. He never seems to have any doubts that he will accomplish his mission and he does not show any remorse for killing about two dozen people, including shooting a friend's wife. Being a vigilante and taking the law into his own hands has to come with a price IMO. It is a good action movie, but you should not escape this plot "unharmed" in any kind of way.

    7/10
    For me this type of movie is more about setting up endless "I can't believe he just did that moments" and I don't really let lack of consequences bug me too much as long as the movie is consistent within the rules it sets up for itself. As for the wife, remember that her husband was knowingly working with people who deal in human trafficking and he does not fatally shoot her, and the movie is, after all, about how far someone with "a special set of skills" will go to get his daughter back.

    He did, though, have to use a sling for his arm by the time he got home, so it's not like he got off scot-free (just kidding I know that's not what you were talking about :) ).

    My problem with Taken is that it started to get a bit tired near the end. I think it would have been better to have been another 10 minutes shorter.

    I'd give it an 9/10 if you like this kind of movie.

    Hoping to see Sherlock before it leaves theaters, and plan to see Fincher's Dragon Tattoo this week.

  4. #1824
    The Innkeepers - 7/10
    (Low budget, suspenseful, well written characters, good camera work)



    Its been a while since I saw a decent ghost movie, but this is one of them. No, this is not over the top, right in your face, ghost special effects. Its not even cheap scares and cliches (well, not too many cliches). The movie has very well written characters (each and every one of them), and its great experiencing the ghostly events from their perspective. What surprised me is the pacing of the movie. Director Ti West does an excellent job at slowly building suspense (something that is essential to this sub genre). He doesn't immediately cut away from scary scenes, but instead leaves time for the audience to take it all in and be scared. And the ghostly fun doesn't start right away. The movie spends a lot of time just setting everything up, and establishing the characters. I love ghost movies that demand a bit of patience, because then when the sh*t hits the fan, it really starts getting creepy. Rather than having stuff happening all the time, this movie has enough pauses in between scares to rebuild the suspense again. The acting is convincing, the characters don't behave irrationally stupid (except near the end), and there is pretty good camera work to boot. Also, the movie kicks off with a pretty catchy soundtrack that sets the mood right from the start. There's also a few really good spooky scenes in the movie, which are spoilered below:

    Spoiler


    So what is really bad about the movie? Well, when they do show the ghosts the ghosts look good, but it takes away quite a bit of the scare factor for me. I tend to find ghosts a lot scarier if a movie doesn't show them too explicidly. In this movie, you get a good look at them, and they don't behave in any menacing way. They are just there. And that might scare you, or it might not. Some of the comedy between the two lead characters kind of falls flat. I know its intended to help build the characters, and make them likable. But it could have been written better. There's also a few cliches, such as characters wandering off on their own when it is clear that they are in peril. And I think there was absolutely no added value in dividing the movie into "chapters" and an "epilogue". Did we really need those title cards in between the movie? With Paranormal Activity they kept track of the days and nights, and this is where the title card concept really worked. Because the audience dreaded each new night. With this movie it did absolutely nothing. I have no idea what the point of it was. There are also a few plot holes, things that are left just disconnected from the rest of the story. Such as:

    Spoiler


    I also didn't like the ending. I was hoping for a twist, something clever. But the movie ends a bit simple. Still, this is vastly more entertaining than a lot of other ghost flicks I've seen this year.

    If you want a decent haunted house movie, well this is the simple kind of movie you are looking for. Don't expect any fancy effects. But what you get instead is a slow suspenseful experience that demands a bit of patience, but presents a good cast of well written characters. Judging by the reviews on IMDB a lot of people just didn't have the patience for this movie. But personally, I prefer the movie takes its time to set up the characters, so that we actually care what happens to them later on.
    Last edited by Rob Van Der Sloot; 11-01-2012 at 03:32.

  5. #1825
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    Tucker and Dale vs Evil - 2010
    Alan Tudyk, Tyler Labine


    Two lovable West Virginian hillbillies, are headed to their "fixer-upper" vacation cabin to drink some beer, do some fishin', and have a good time. But when they run into a group of preppy college kids who assume from their looks that they must be in-bred, chainsaw wielding killers, Tucker & Dale's vacation takes a bloody & hilarious turn for the worse.

    It's a quirky pseudo-horror comedy that takes nearly every chance it gets to make fun of the genre's cliches, while simultaneously attempting to endear two West Virginia hillbillies to our hearts. For the most part, I'd say it succeeds. Parody movies almost always annoy me, but this seemed funnier than most. I think it's due to the way they went about it, trying to counter-balance the absurdity of it all with the main characters' reactions to events. I don't really know how to rate a film like this, but it was more watchable than I had anticipated. Maybe 6.5 or 7/10? It felt a bit dumber than I like at times, but I always felt like the movie knew when it was being stupid and doing it intentionally. I'd recommend it to someone who wants a laugh at the horror genre's expense.

    And since it's kind of a college horror movie, I guess I should give a warning about the nudity:
    Spoiler
    Last edited by Zalis; 11-01-2012 at 03:53.

  6. #1826
    I didn't see Tucker and Dale vs Evil yet, because the trailer didn't quite convince me that it was any good. While the concept seems funny, I just wonder how long they can keep the two hillbillies and the college kids in the dark about what is happening, before it starts getting annoying. I'll have to give it a watch eventually.

    I wonder, is this a clever comedy? Or does it mostly go for cheap laughs? I could seriously not tell from the trailer.

  7. #1827
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    It has a bit of both. I tend to dislike both intentionally stupid comedies and horror movies, so it's hard for me to judge. It struck an odd chord with me, though, and I ended up liking it more than I had anticipated.

  8. #1828
    By the way, regarding my rating of The Innkeepers. I realise a 7 probably isn't very high, yet I do have a lot of praise for the movie, and then there are a lot of negatives as well. When I rate it a 7, that means it is above average. It's a horror movie that manages to be frightening, which in itself is a rarity these days. But there are a lot of negatives that keep the rating down, most importantly the plot holes and sloppy ending. It would be unfair not to recognise the well written characters and good camera work though. Without well established characters, it really is impossible to care about what happens to the protagonists. So this really is essential for a good horror movie. And the camera work is equally important. It's all about timing and good shots to make the movie creepy. If the camera work is bad, nothing will make the movie suspenseful. This movie has a few shots that reminded me of The Shining a little. In the end though, you have a movie that has a lot going for it, but also several things going against it. Horror fans seem pretty much split on wether they like this movie or not. Some love the way it slowly builds suspense and builds characters, some hate it for taking so long and don't like the characters at all. If I am going to blaim the movie for anything though, it would probably be for doing nothing new.

  9. #1829
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    2012

    An epic adventure about a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors.

    First the good things: The CGI disaster scenes (LA tilting, Yellowstone exploding) where well done and looked impressive, even on the small screen. Yep...that's about it. There are the same lame stereotypes of characters in the movie, that are singled out to die or survive for the same reasons as in every other disaster movie. There is phony science stuff (I especially liked the "movement of the earth's crust" so the plane without fuel can reach the Himalayas) and there was nothing new Emmerich brought to the genre of the disaster movie (it is hard to kill kids, but couldn't he have killed the dog at least?)

    5/10 (add +1 if you just fast forward to the kaboom scenes)
    Last edited by Gorani; 15-01-2012 at 18:29.
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  10. #1830
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    Troll Hunter proved to be a pretty good film and one of few monster films I've come across taking the "mockumentary"/"found footage" approach to something that isn't just "civilians running for their lives until they die". It drags on a little at the start, though, at least until the film crew encounter their first troll, but that's about it for the cons.

    For the record, I watched with the original Norwegian audio track with English subs. I can't comment on the English dub.

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