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All reviews - Movies (147) - TV Shows (2) - Books (4) - Games (24)

"Oz the Great and Powerful" (2013)

Posted : 4 years, 3 months ago on 4 July 2013 07:14 (A review of Oz the Great and Powerful)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I guess you could call this a prequel to the classic Wizard of Oz because, although it says it's based on the whole book series, it makes many attempts to keep continuity with that movie.
The plot is that a carnival magician nicknamed Oz is whisked away to the Land of Oz in a tornado (what else?), and learns that a prophecy foretold he'd save the land from all evil.
I obviously wasn't expecting this to be as good as The Wizard of Oz, but maybe it'd still be fun. Well, parts of it were, but the overall tone of the movie was a bit of a letdown. For the most part, it just felt like it was being aimed exclusively at young children, especially in how a lot of the dialogue is either overly simplistic or states the obvious.
On top of that, the acting is pretty wooden, and the CGI just looks too artificial to make Oz seem real.
But like I said before, I did really like parts of it. The climactic battle had some very clever moments that I won't dare spoil. I'm glad they didn't go for the clichéd "liar revealed" scene. But for me, the main highlight was the little china girl: she was simply adorable, and her introductory scene was actually genuinely heartbreaking.
Overall, the dialogue and visuals were constantly disheartening, but the good parts were still good enough that I can't quite say I disliked it.

My rating: 45%


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"Movie 43" (2013)

Posted : 4 years, 3 months ago on 4 July 2013 07:12 (A review of Movie 43)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Movie 43 was probably the most infamous movie at the start of the year. Many people billed it as so repulsive that they wished they could unsee it. And to tell you the truth, with all that bad press… I'm surprised I wasn't more disgusted.
I mean, don't get me wrong: it was still sickening! It's basically an anthology of aggressively gross-out short films. It's a movie that mistakes simply being tasteless for being funny. But I guess the reason it didn't completely appal me (besides all the negative hype perhaps lessening the effect) was that I was actually kind of fascinated by it. I was like, "How did they come up with this shit?!"
I don't have time to describe all the sketches, but I will say this. The Catch, The Proposition and Beezel were the three worst: I could barely look at the screen during those ones. Homeschooled and Middleschool Date were just uncomfortable. During Happy Birthday, I did get a laugh out of the insults the leprechaun threw, but that's it.
One thing I have to say: the overarching interlude binding the shorts together was completely different from what I'd heard. Instead of a Hollywood producer pitching movie ideas, the version I saw had teen brothers finding the films online. I guess the difference is between the British and American versions of the film.
Whichever version you see, if you watch it from beginning to end, you'll just ask yourself, "What the fuck am I watching?!"

My rating: 20%


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"Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" (2013)

Posted : 4 years, 3 months ago on 4 July 2013 07:00 (A review of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

In this reimagining of the classic fairytale, Hansel and Gretel have grown up to be witch bounty hunters. Now a massive witch ceremony is approaching, and they have to stop it.
I had somewhat low expectations for this movie: I was just expecting it to be violent trash. What I wasn't prepared for, though, was how pathetically predictable the story was. Literally every single turn the story took was no surprise at all. I don't usually complain about formulaic stories, so long as the movie is doing something to entertain me, but this one just didn't. If the movie had been as gleefully violent as I'd been expecting, that might actually have helped. The acting isn't nearly good enough to compensate, either.
The gore itself is really underwhelming. For example, early on, there's a moment where a guy gets all his limbs ripped off, and it's so obviously CG that it's really distracting.
But I think the worst aspect of the movie by far is the sheriff played by Peter Stormare. I've complained before about one-dimensional villains being a waste of screen time, but this guy takes it to a whole new level! He just doesn't listen to reason at all! He's so clearly out of his mind that I don't see how anyone would ever follow him!
Overall, I sat there indifferent to almost the whole movie. I wasn't entertained, but I wasn't mad at it either.

My rating: 35%


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"Man of Steel" (2013)

Posted : 4 years, 3 months ago on 3 July 2013 08:55 (A review of Man of Steel)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Okay, I know I'm late to the game on this one, but I went to see Man of Steel yesterday. And I… didn't like it.
First of all, it fails in the same ways as many other modern bad blockbusters. The acting across the board is astonishingly wooden, and it's shot entirely in shaky cam, making it impossible to tell what's happening at times.
On top of that, the characters aren't given any humanity at all. Any attempts at character development are quickly glanced over to move on to another loud, abrasive action sequence. It's completely shallow. I think Mark Kermode said it best: the movie gets half the title right, but it clearly doesn't care at all about the man, only the steel.
And, as other people have pointed out, it does not properly represent the character. I'm not a huge fan myself, but I still understand his virtues and ideals. This movie does bring them up, but completely betrays them. I could rant on about this for hours, but I'll just let this sum it up: in the massive final battles in Smallville and Metropolis, Superman isn't making any effort whatsoever to prevent all the destruction! It seems all the movie cares about is the destruction.
I hate to say this, but honest to God, this is like if Michael Bay did Superman!
Overall, because of the unconvincing effects, universally wooden acting and complete lack of substance, I was bored stiff throughout.

My rating: 30%


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"Bad Boys" (1995)

Posted : 4 years, 3 months ago on 30 June 2013 08:52 (A review of Bad Boys)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Bad Boys, to cut right to the point, is one of the worst movies I've ever seen in my life! Since this was Michael Bay's first movie, before everything got super-exaggerated, I thought maybe this might be even somewhat tolerable. But boy was I wrong!
You would not believe how many times I had to pause the movie for a minute and collect myself during the first half! There was literally something else to annoy me every five minutes! And that was even before the lie that dominates the storyline, where Marcus has to pretend he's Mike! The phone call scene, the fact that Marcus is so bad at lying that anyone with half a brain cell would immediately see right through him, that stupid scene with the photographs… God!
On top of that, I swear half the dialogue in this movie is yelling, which also drove me nuts! There's one point in particular where Mike is interrogating someone and Marcus is carrying on in the background, where I actually said out loud, "SHUT UP!"
As is typical of a Michael Bay movie, the performances are all flat as pancakes. Even Will Smith is boring!
Also, to prove my point how terrible Michael Bay is at action scenes, the last thing I should be during your final massive shootout is bored!
To sum it up, I've seldom been more annoyed by a movie. It's not funny, the characters are irritating, and it's all just insufferable yelling and chaos.

My rating: turkey


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"Mama" (2013)

Posted : 4 years, 3 months ago on 28 June 2013 06:26 (A review of Mama)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Of the three movies I rented this week, I only saved this one till the end because it was the one I'd heard the most talk about, not because I thought it'd be the best one or anything. In fact, as it turned out, quite the contrary: this is the only one that I actually didn't like. Now, don't get me wrong: it's not horrible. It's just conspicuously flawed and uninteresting.
The plot revolves around two little girls who've been living alone in the woods for five years, and share an apparently imaginary mother figure, which soon starts to cause havoc with the couple that takes them in. The main driving force of the movie is to solve the mystery of who this "Mama" is.
As you can probably guess, my main problem with this supposed horror movie is that it's just not scary. Well, there is one fantastically creepy moment involving one of the girls silhouetted in the shadows of a hallway, but that's it. None of the jump scares made me jump, and it's a little hard to develop atmosphere when you're constantly being distracted by painfully obvious CGI!
I also hated the girls' aunt, Jean. She's just the typical one-dimensional type of antagonist that I think is a complete waste of screen time.
I do like how one of the girls gradually turns away from Mama and warms up to the adoptive mother, but it's otherwise not a particularly compelling film – again, especially in terms of horror.

My rating: 45%


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"I Give It a Year" (2013)

Posted : 4 years, 3 months ago on 28 June 2013 06:24 (A review of I Give It a Year)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

A newlywed couple, played by Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall, are told that if they can make it through the first year of marriage, they'll be set. Nine months down the line, the hardships of marriage are starting to take their toll, and they're both cheating on each other.
Now, because this is from the co-writer of Borat, I'm surprised I didn't go in expecting to hate it: I had heard it was good. But, during the opening scenes, the Borat similarities definitely showed, and my heart sank. A lot of the humour is derived from being straight-up crass, especially with sex jokes. But, to my surprise, the movie as a whole wasn't painfully unfunny, like I'd expected: for most of it, I was just sitting there indifferent.
But now let's talk about the film's message. Through most of it, I was thinking the moral was for married couples to embrace each other's imperfections, not hold them against them. But (spoilers here, sorry) the ending completely reverses this by turning it into an admittedly hilarious joke where they're as joyful about the idea of a divorce as they should have been about the marriage. Some might say that this shamefully promotes infidelity, but I don't think that's meant to be taken as a serious moral: it's all just part of the writer's twisted sense of humour.
But overall, it's not very funny or emotionally satisfying. So I'd just sum up this one with, "Meh."

My rating: 50%


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"Broken City" (2013)

Posted : 4 years, 3 months ago on 28 June 2013 06:22 (A review of Broken City)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The plot follows Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg), a former dirty cop turned private eye, who's hired by the Mayor of New York City (Russell Crowe) to find out who his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is having an affair with. After he seemingly finds the answer, things get even more complicated.
Honestly, I have very little to say about this movie. It was middle-of-the-road, it was mediocre, and it didn't leave much of an impression on me at all. I'm not entirely sure why, though.
Maybe it's the familiarity of it all. As the film progresses, it gets increasingly predictable, and the ending packs no surprises at all.
I do kind of like how Billy turns against the mayor halfway through the movie, but I just didn't care for everything that followed. The mayor's grand scheme just comes off to me as a cliché.
Also, there are two action sequences in the second half, and they're both incompetently filmed.
In any case, I simply didn't care what was happening throughout the movie, and I just found the whole thing bland and forgettable.

My rating: 45%


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"Sideways" (2004)

Posted : 4 years, 4 months ago on 24 June 2013 08:40 (A review of Sideways)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Sideways follows two best friends, Jack and Miles, who are spending the last week before Jack's wedding in California's wine country.
I always have a tough time reviewing movies like this – comedy dramas that are fairly grounded in reality – because there's not really that much to critique. But in short, I really liked Sideways.
The movie basically invites you to share Jack and Miles' journey and follow their trials and tribulations, and it's definitely a fun and even enlightening journey.
Jack and Miles themselves sort of contrast each other: Jack always believes in living life to its fullest, but often acts on impulse without thinking ahead, while Miles is more cynical and reserved, especially since his divorce. I can't psychoanalyse the characters the way Doug Walker did, but I will say this. I don't know what this'll say about me, but I'd say I'm more like Miles (minus the divorce), so I'd need someone like Jack to encourage me to take some chances.
So much of the movie is very down-to-earth that, whenever there is a funny moment, it's all the funnier because it seems genuinely out of the ordinary. For example, I won't dare reveal the pickle that Jack ends up in towards the end! :D
To sum up, if you're looking for a movie that takes you on an experience that feels very real, with some bumps in the road but is overall a good time, I say give Sideways a watch.

My rating: 80%


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"GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra" (2009)

Posted : 4 years, 4 months ago on 24 June 2013 08:38 (A review of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra… is one of the worst action movies I've ever seen in my life! Yes, this was one of the most miserable two hours I've ever had! It's almost as bad as Transformers 2 – and believe me, coming from me, that is very, very bad indeed!
I should clarify first that I never watched the 80s GI Joe show, and I don't know how well this movie represents the characters from the toy line-up.
I can say, though, that the performances are all dull and uninspired, and the CGI is awful – some of the worst I've ever seen!
But I think the biggest problem is that the pacing is too fucking fast! The whole narrative rushes along far too quickly to allow you to take anything in. Even by about the five-minute mark, I was going, "Slow the fuck down!" Every scene feels like the movie's in a hurry to just get it over with.
The fact that the action scenes are so frequent, and so terribly shot and edited, makes things even more insufferable. Again, it's all cut far too quickly, and the pacing doesn't let anything set itself up properly, so no moment is given the chance to be exciting.
And the last act is a symphony of woefully predictable clichés.
In a nutshell, this movie is way too fast-paced for its own good. The inconsiderate pace and absolutely abysmal effects make it a raw showcase of pure frustration.

My rating: turkey


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