Fifty Dead Men Walking

Fifty Dead Men Walking

Yesterday I watched “Fifty Dead Men Walking” in the cinema.  As with almost any European movie, there was no promotion of it, no posters, announcements, or trailers.  So I had no idea what was it about when I went to see it.

The film is based on a book, which is based on a real life story of Martin McGartland – a guy who was hired by British police to spy on IRA back in 1980′s.  I haven’t read the book and I don’t know much about Ireland, but that location at that time had a lot of potential for an interesting movie.

However, this movie failed to utilize that potential.  First of all, it was badly executed technically – plenty of reflections, shades, weird lighting, and lots of hand help camera work were quite annoying.   Maybe that’s just me, or maybe that’s what Hollywood movies do to one’s tastes.

While for a real life story is quite impressive, the way it was conveyed in the film was rather slow and sporadic at times.  It was difficult to understand the time frames, as well as some characters in the film seemed to be out of place.

Overall, an average movie for 3 stars.  Perhaps your own opinion of it would be quite different though.  If you want to see this film, try to get it on DVD – it’s a bit painful for the eyes on a big screen.

Crossing Over

Crossing over

Went to see “Crossing Over” in the cinema.  Not that I was particularly waiting for it or anything – it’s just that there isn’t much else too see these days, and a duo of Harrison Ford and Ray Liotta in the same film sounded a tiny bit interesting.

The film turned out to be pretty average.  There was a lot of good acting, but the script and directing just weren’t up to the par.  Multiple main characters, each with his own life, all getting connected to each other the closer the movie went to the end, plus a social problem of immigration being so hot in the USA, these all reminded me of another movie.  It’s surprising how similar this film is to “Crash“.    But comparing it to “Crash” doesn’t do it any good either.

The story lacks depth and detail.  People often behave in weird waves and no explanation is given.  Or, when given, it often is unbelievable.  There were suposed to be a lot of drama, but the story not having enough depth, all drama turns into depressive non-stop crying.  And what’s more disappointing, after bringing up attention to a serious issue, the film fails to make any points at all, or leave any food for thought.

As I said, good acting minus good directing and holes in the story make up for an average film.  Rating – 3 stars, average.

Addendum for those who saw the movie.  Scene in the supermarket with four out five robbers shot.  Do you still wonder what happened?  He got out of bullets.   Scene with the singing of the national anthem – that was a joke from the editors, which was added after the final cut.  Just kidding.  Both times.

Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation

There are a few brands in the movie industry, which you just can’t miss.  Whenever a sequel comes out, whether you liked the previous or not, whether you are a fan or not – it all doesn’t matter, you just have to go and see it.  “Terminator” is one of these brands.  The first two films were so good, that even now, decades later, I still have vivid memories of some parts of those movies.  I still sometimes wake up in cold sweat when I see a huge tank turning around on a hill of human skulls.  I still ask myself a question “How do you kill a smart machine, which is made of liquid metal and can blend into any form or shape?”, and I am so glad I know the answer.

And even though I didn’t like the third film of the series, and didn’t expect much of the fourth, knowing that Arnold Schwarzenegger prefers to be a politician these days rather than his usually self, I still had to go and see “Terminator Salvation” in the cinema.

How good was it? A bit.  Nothing special.  It had the humans and machines, it had the time travel, it had some war, it had plenty of special effects.  But it lacked two most important things which Terminator is all about, at least for me – Arnold Schwarzenegger and the huge scale.  Call it ambition if you will.

The movie makers at least agreed with me on the Arny.  I guess they tried to get him in, and they couldn’t, and they couldn’t make a Terminator movie without one, so they ended up rendering an artificial Anry on a computer.  He didn’t come bad or anything, but it’s just not the same.

Regarding the scale, the ambition ,the “WOW! Effect”, they totally blew it.  There was no scale to this movie.  Nothing that we haven’t seen before, nothing surprising, nothing mind or eye blowing.  Same old, same old.

While, McG knows how to make good action movies, and both parts of the “Charlie’s Angels” are here to prove that, I think it’s him to lacks the scale.  Scale is something only a few directors have a feeling for.  Steven Spielberg is one (and he knows war too). Peter Jackson is another (although I don’t know how good he is with machines).  Michael Bay is yet another one (although he is already doing a good job with another robot-related series).  McG? I’m not so sure.

And I’m pretty sure it was the director’s lack of magnitude.  Because the only other possible reason for not having scale in the movie is budget.  And I don’t think budget deficit applies to the Terminator movies.  As I said, this is one of those well recognized brands, so there shouldn’t be any problem finding the money or bringing the profits home.  I might be wrong, of course, but that is my opinion.

So. The summary.  If you haven’t seen it, go and see.  It’s worth it.  If you are deciding between seeing it in the movies and getting the DVD, go see it on the big screen.  It’s just better.  But don’t expect much of it either way.  And maybe then, when you don’t expect much of it, you’ll enjoy it more.  My rating – 3 stars.  Not bad, but average.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Journey to the center of the earth

Watched “Journey to the Center of the Earth” on the plane’s tiny LCD screen, with really horrible headphones.  And wasn’t impressed at all.  Yeah, maybe I missed a whole lot of special effects, but the movie still sucked.  It felt like a really cheap attempt to recreate one of the Brendan Fraser action-adventure movies.  They’ve got Brendan, but failed at everything else.

5 out of 10

My Mom’s New Boyfriend

Watched “My Mom’s New Boyfriend” (aka “Homeland Security) on the plane.  The film does not deserve much.  It couldn’t be spoiled by tiny LCD screen with really poor image quality and the most horrible headphones that I ever plugged into my ears.  The story is simplistic and predictable.  Most of the dialogs are horrible and were only saved by the actors themselves.  There was no high or low point in the film – it was all on the same level, and that level was pretty low.  It’s a pity to see both Antonio Banderas and Meg Ryan in a film like this.

5 out of 10.

The Spirit

The Spirit

The trailer for “The Spirit” was really nice and I wanted to see the movie.  However, when I checked IMDB page and saw the 5.something rating, I got worried.  There are many examples when my personal rating differs a lot from the IMDB one, but 5.something is always a cautious sign.

And since there wasn’t much else to see, I still went for it.  Unfortunately, this time IMDB was quite right.  The film feels like a leftover from “Sin City”.  There is nothing original about it.  Nothing much to enjoy. And, honestly, nothing much to see in it.  Most of the time is spent in silly dialogues and monologues.  And these are so silly that they actually harm the good acting that could have been done.
The only scene to remember is the one with Samuel Jackson dressed as a German nazi, and Scarlett Johansson helping him out.  Everything is else is boring, overdone, and unoriginal.

3 stars it is.

Quantum of Solace

Some days ago I went to see “Quantum of Solace” in the cinema.  This is the continuation of the James Bond agent 007 series.

It ended up being a pretty good action film, with car chases, boat and airlane fights, shootings, and explosions, etc.  But, on the other hand, it has the least to do with James Bond series from all the episodes that I ever saw.  Bond movies always had plenty of style, spy gadgets, sexy ladies, and English accent.  In the one, most are either totally absent or overminimized.

However I still enjoyed the action and all the special effects – well suited for the big screen.  I’ll give it an overall 6 out of 10.