The Way Back

The other day I watched “The Way Back” – a movie, allegedly inspired by real events, about a group of people who escaped a Soviet Gulag camp in Siberia back 1940s and walked their way to India.  I’ve heard nothing of this film until a friend recommended it – no trailer, no nothing.  When I read the brief plot description at IMDb, I got slightly worried that it would turn into one of those anti-Soviet propaganda movies.  My wife shared the worries and even decided not to watch the film with me.

She turned out to be right.  While there is plenty of breathtaking scenery shown in the film, and there is plenty of good acting, the propaganda makes it totally unwatchable.  The film basically pictures the Soviet Union as one huge prison, where the government is after every single person, be he innocent or not, old or young, male or female, Russian or not.  One doesn’t even have to know history to understand that that is a huge exaggeration.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining because the film pictured Russians (or Soviets) in such a bad light.  It has nothing to do with whether they were Russians or not.  Even if they weren’t of my own nationality I’d be complaining.  I’m not even too sensitive to propaganda in the movies – Hollywood uses it all the time to praise the United States.  The problem is that in this movie, propaganda is the primary objective.  Everything else comes second.  And it’s really a pity.  Level down the propaganda and you’d have an excellent film on your hands.

As it is, I’d give it a 2 out of 5.  It’s difficult to watch and it leaves a dirty aftertaste.

Gamer

Gamer

Went to see “Gamer” in the movies yesterday.  As you might know, I actually expected this film.

It turned out to be quite a disappointment – silly story with a lot of non-sense, very shallow characters, horrible dialogues, extremely annoying shaky camera and fast cut editing, and overall feeling of pop.  There were some good special effects, but they were practically lost to fast cuts and horrible rush through the movie.

Overall rating 2 stars.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

The other day I went to see “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra“, which turned out to be the silliest movie I’ve watched in a while.  Numerous special effects could feel the holes in the story and poor acting.  And further down the road, all those special effects became nothing else but annoying.  Things were flying back and forward, exploding, and flying more, without any reference to what is actually going on.  Sometime it was even impossible to tell where the action is taking place – in space, high in the air, just above the ground, or under water.

On top of that, the dialogues were really awkward and unnatural with extreme levels of naivety. There was a chance for violence to redeem the film, but PG-13 cut all those changes.

Overall, the film is quite empty and visually tiring.  2 stars.

Punisher : War Zone

Punisher : War Zone

The other day I watched “Punisher : War Zone“.  It turned out to be quite bad.  Even awful at times.  Yes, there were some special effects and action, but it didn’t make up for a complete lack of story, horrible acting, loads of nonsense.

The worst ever was the mafia boss, who was speaking half-English and half-Italian.  Even without knowing any Italian, it’s obvious that he was way off the accent.  For audience sake, didn’t the guy at least watch some other films with Itlalian mafia bosses?  Crap.

Overall, a 2 stars. Try to avoid.

Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express

I just watched one of the worst films of the year, maybe even two – “Pineapple Express“.  It’s one of those films which is not funny enough to be a comedy and not serious enough to be an action movie.  All the main characters are stoned during the whole film, but being an average actors and not being actually stoned while shooting the film, that looks pretty bad.  I mean, I’m all for people to do silly things, but people who badly pretend doing silly things, it’s just silly.

There were a couple of good scenes, but they were very short and far apart.  There were some special effects, with explosions and such, but definitely not enough to save the film.

And on top of that, the film is rated 7.3 on IMDB, with more than 50,000 voters.  I don’t know who all of those people are, but them being all in one place is actually scary.

My rating – 2 stars.  Barely.

Watchmen

Watchmen

Watchmen” turned out to be quite a disappointment for me personally.  Maybe that’s because I am not much into comics and maybe because I don’t know who watchmen are and how they came about.  But still…

The poster was sort of speaking for itself, and film’s opening credits were pretty cool.  It started pretty well.  But then it went into a totally different direction.  Instead of being your regular comics-based story with a bunch of good and bad guys, and a fight between them, this time it was all about the psychology and drama of a superhero.  There were quite a few superheros, who, for some reason, didn’t seem to be really superheros, but rather a bunch of guys in weird costumes.  They didn’t do anything superheroic, didn’t have any tricks up their sleeves, didn’t care much about anything else.

The visual effects were excellent, but with no base for those effects, no action, they started to grow pretty boring.  And the film went on and on and on (almost 3 hours), and by the time of it I myself was almost falling asleep.  I pulled it through, but barely.

If you are into superheros and everything that surrounds them, then you’ll probably enjoy this film.  For me though it was somewhere on the scale of 3 out of 10.

The Marksman

Another attempt to match the mood for war and destruction with an appropriate movie, and another failure.  This time it was a Wesley Snipes’ flick – “The Marksman“.  The funny thing here is that I actually saw this movie before, at least twice, and I couldn’t remember it at all.  There are only a couple of moments that fire flashbacks, but both of them are towards the end of the movie. Hopefully next time I will remember it.

This film had some budget, but it ended up seriously boring.  There isn’t much happening at any moment, and there isn’t much going to happen at any next moment.  On top of that, there is a lot of idiocy about military intelligence and Russian-American relationship.

Rating: 4 out of 10.  Save your time and money for something else.

AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem

I went to see “AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem“.

I wasn’t ever a big fan of “Alien” movies.  Space horror is not something that turns me on.  However I remember enjoying the “Predator” flicks.  Especially the first one with Arni.  When they mixed the two, it was sort of interesting to see how it will all come out.  And the trailer was excellent.  But the film was somewhat boring, even though it had its momentss.

The Requiem part sucked though.  The good parts aren’t visible because of the constant mix of night, darkness, shadows, absence of lights, smoke, fog, underground catacombs, water, and a bunch of huge objects obstructing the view.  And just to be on the safe side, scenes are cut at every half a second.  That’s about the good parts.

The bad parts are shiny obvious.  The biggest of them is acting.  I know, I know, I’m not supposed to expect any great acting out of a sci-fi space thriller sequel.  But what this movie had doesn’t even qualify for acting.  I have a suspicion that even Keanu Reeves could do better than that (and we saw speculations of that it is possible to replace Keanu Reeves with wooden plank).  I mean, where do they even find actors like this?

Then, there is the Achilles’ heel of all horror movies – common sense.  This film had the smallest fraction of common sense you can see in the horror movie.  People, evacuating from the town in a hurry, are waiting in the traffic jam on the freeway, while the second line is empty.  A soldier popping out his head of the armored military vehicle to see what’s going on with this shooting outside in the middle of ambush. One predator calling another one for help after an accident, and that other predator going into almost full scale war with aliens, without ever calling for any more help.  Alien inserting eggs into women at the hospital for them to give birth to more aliens only a couple of minutes later (previous parts of the movie seemed to have a rather longer period with eggs growing and stuff like that).  The list goes on.  And of course it is possible to find explanations for each one of them, but that will hardly help the feeling of things happening in the way that they aren’t supposed to happen.

As I said, I’m not the big fan of either the genre or these particular movies.  But I think I can realize a good piece of entertainment, when one is offered. And in this particular case, I don’t think it qualifies.  Rating: a weak 4 out of 10.  Feel free to express you disagreement in the comments.

Drumline

Martin suggested that I saw this movie, so I did. “Drumline“.

Directed by: Charles Stone III
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Music
Cast: Nick Cannon, Zoe Saldana, Orlando Jones, Leonard Roberts, GQ, Jason Weaver, Earl Poitier, Candace Carey, Shay Roundtree, Miguel A. Gaetan, J. Anthony Brown, Afemo Omilami, Angela E. Gibbs, Tyreese Burnett, Brandon Hirsch
IMDB raintg: 5.3
My rating: 3.0 ***

This is a really really crap movie. Completely. It is one of those billion movies that use everything cliche. The story is a mix of talanted kid getting though a college movie with some sport movie about college football team or something. All that is new there – instead of football kids are playing drums.

All acting sucks in this film. Character development is non-existent. There is no drama what-so-ever. As there is no comedy at all. Not even romance. Nothing.

The only thing that made me watch this movie through and give the whole 3 points out of 10 to it is music. Not that it was exceptionally good or anything, but it was a lot of it and it was of a rather large scale – orchestra-type. And they weren’t playing any classics so it was somewhat interesting to listen.

Other than that – the movie is a complete crap. Ignore it.

Black Moon Rising

For today I had a totally random choice of movie – no IMDB, no comments, no wishlist. I’ve got myself a DVD with “Black Moon Rising

Directed by: Harley Cokeliss
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Hamilton, Robert Vaughn, Richard Jaeckel, Lee Ving, Bubba Smith, Dan Shor, William Sanderson, Keenan Wynn, Nick Cassavetes, Richard Angarola, Don Keith Opper, William Marquez, David Pressman, Stanley DeSantis
IMDB raintg: 5.1
My rating: 3.0 ***

I guess all my research paid off. I’ve got as much as I spent looking for it. Really slow and boring film with Tommy Lee Jones non-the-less. Not only the movie was slow and boring, but it was dated 1986. I bet it was slow and boring even by 1986 standards.

The costumes and the haircuts were bad. So were the fights. So was all the acting. And the special effects. But the worst ever was the soundtrack.

It was a pain to listen even for me – a guy who doesn’t pay any attention to background sound. During the whole film there were these noises produced by different instruments. They weren’t notes or music. They were noises. Random and painful. I thought that maybe the musicians didn’t know how to play music. But when it got to some romantic erotic scene, they all finally started to assemble something. I’ve heard music, even if bad one, but it was music. It continued for approximately 20 seconds and than… back to noises.

Skip this movie if you haven’t already. We’ve got enough newer crap.