Marter's Reviews

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Sassafrassy on Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:24 am

He only takes like 30 to 45 minutes to write them, so it's not like its a massive chunk of time wasted on them. Wish I could write reviews this quickly, I take about a month to write just one.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:48 am

Write reviews.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:08 pm

I Wanked On My Neighbours wrote:Bloody hell you do a lot of reviews. What else do you do in your free time?
Play games, soccer, baseball, watch some TV, hang out with people, and now that school's started, I have homework.
Sassafrassy wrote:He only takes like 30 to 45 minutes to write them, so it's not like its a massive chunk of time wasted on them. Wish I could write reviews this quickly, I take about a month to write just one.
It's usually more along the lines of 45-60 minutes right now, as I get more distracted while writing them. >_<

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:25 am

Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Vicky Cristina Barcelona fails to grasp the concept of "show, don't tell." It has a narrator which explains things that characters or their actions should be telling us. The first lines of dialogue come from the narrator, explaining why Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) have decided to come to Barcelona, and also their views on life and love in general. But only the latter part of that matters; their reasons for taking a two-month-long vacation isn't information we need or even really want. Their views, on the other hand, are intriguing.

Vicky is one of those people who tend to over-analyze everything in life, as well as come across as a tad too smart. You know, the people who want to sound smarter than they are, just so that everyone assumes they're so sure of themselves. She's got a plan for everything, and is going to be married in a few weeks. Cristina, on the other hand, is her polar opposite. She's spontaneous, lustful, and, as one character points out, pretentious. But the two are best friends despite their many differences, and seem to get along really well.

They do go to Barcelona though, because the language, culture and scenery is so beautiful. They dine in fancy restaurants, sightsee, visit art museums, take Spanish classes, and on the whole have a pretty good time. One night, a painter named Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) comes to their dinner table, and offers to fly them out to a small town and make a weekend of it. Cristina is into the idea, Vicky is not, but since you're not going to let a talent like Bardem go to waste, Vicky wins out.

They go, have a nice time, and then something happens. It seems that both women become enamored with Juan. Cristina, being unattached, goes after him, while Vicky decides that it is not to be, considering her engagement. Cristina and Juan seem destined to be together though: Their personalities match well, and they're both attractive movie stars. What's not to like there?

Things don't go perfectly for anyone in this movie, as wrenches and other tools are thrown into the mix. Juan Antonio has an ex-wife who he constantly talks about, and who appears about 50 minutes into the film. She's played by Penelope Cruz, and once she shows up, things get more interesting. That's not to say things weren't interesting before, but Cruz's character is crazy, meaning you'll never know what to expect from her. And then there's one alternative lifestyle choices that come through in a few characters, all while Vicky is feeling left out from the man she loves despite only spending two days with.

For most of the movie, I was engaged. I liked these people, I liked they way they talked and what they talked about, and I was having a pretty good time. And then the narrator spoke again, and I was completely taken out of the experience. The inclusion of this person, who has a voice unfitting for this type of role, left me with displeasure. I was absorbed in the Barcelona scenery, and I was actually enjoying watching these people do nothing much of consequence. But every now and then, the narrator would speak up, and I'd wish him silenced. Show me, don't just blatantly tell me what's happening, and I will remain engaged.

However, I was entertained for most of the film's runtime, despite being taken away from my immersion every so often. I enjoyed it because it felt real, and because there didn't seem to be a need to over dramatize everything. It's one of those life movies, where not all that much happens, but it all feels real and you can see situations like this taking place in day-to-day life. Potentially, at least. And if characters learn something by the end of the trip, good for them, and good for the audience. Everybody wins.

I think you could set a movie in Barcelona, have no actors, no dialogue, and just have it go on a sight-seeing tour. It would probably be worth watching, and with how many sights we do get to see, Vicky Cristina Barcelona fulfills that wish as well. If you simply want to see attractive people set against an impressive backdrop, you get that here, and when you have a story to go with it, you have the means to make a good film. That's what we get: A good film. Nothing more, nothing less. It's simply good.

The writing is what I most appreciated about this film, because it's a film where you'll occasionally here words that you rarely come across. And since using these rare words fit the characters, it doesn't come across as unrealistic or like director/writer Woody Allen was trying to sound like a pseudo-intellectual. The dialogue is engaging while getting a point across, which is always a good thing, and since it's coming from good actors, it feels real.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a good movie, but fails to be a great one because of a single element that took me out of the experience far more than it needed to. Remove the narrator, and add about 15 minutes of footage that has the characters either acting or talking about what the narrator explains to us, and you do have a great movie. It's well acted, has great writing and the cinematography is, at times, breathtaking. I wish it had been even better, but as it is, it's an enjoyable watch.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:55 am

Yes Man
Like the title indicates, Yes Man is about a man who vows to say "yes" to question that's posed to him, as long as it involved doing something and not just talking about his personal life. Questions like "Would you like to learn Korean?" or "How about we take an impromptu flight to Lincoln, Nebraska?" would be suitable for answer in this fashion. Conversely, "Did you have a girlfriend last year?" would not work.

Jim Carrey plays our lead, a depressed bank loan employee named Carl who doesn't do anything with anyone. He sits at home, yelling at the movies he watches. In one scene, a man is forced to cut off his own arm, in which he yells: "Come on, just snap it off! You're already half way there!" He misses his best friend's bachelor party, because of this attitude. Another friend decides to take him to a seminar, which I can only describe as a cult. The people here believe that saying "yes" to everything will improve your life. Their ringleader is named Terrence (Terrence Stamp), who tells Carl that he needs to turn his life around. He puts some sort of spell on Carl, telling him that if he says no to something, bad things will happen.

So that's what he does, beginning with driving a homeless man to a park. He even gives the man a wad of cash and lets him use up the battery on his phone. His car ends up running out of gas, so he has to walk back into town to fill up a gas can so that he can get his car home. It's at the gas station that he meets Allison (Zooey Deschanel), who he instantly falls for. She gives him a ride back to his car, and after joking that they should make out, she kisses him. Is she a member of this cult too? I wondered this, but it turns out she's just spontaneous -- the polar opposite of the old Carl.

There really are two versions of Carl though, which makes it hard to find him saying "yes" to everything all that humorous. There's no inner conflict, because he ends up wanting to agree, instead of being forced to. Had there actually been a curse that we could see forcing him to act, then it might be funny. But the only thing that happens when he says "no" is that he'll fall down a flight of stairs or he'll get his car towed away. Most of the time, he seems perfectly content with going with the flow, fully embracing this new lifestyle.

The only conflict in the story comes much later in the film, when people begin to doubt whether or not his decisions were made because he wanted to make them, or because he believed that he had to. And I don't blame them, considering every "yes" is delivered with a similar tone of voice and facial expression. This happens far too late in the film for it to be of any consequence, and it happens almost exactly like in many romantic comedies. The girl finds out something, and then runs away, only for the issue to be resolved within 10 minutes. That's what it felt like here, and after realizing that, Yes Man actually is more romantic comedy than any other genre.

That is, unless "inspirational" is allowed to be a genre, because that's the best thing that Yes Man has going for it. The story, the characters, the film's message, all point in one direction: Enjoy life to its fullest. At least it's a feel-good comedy that will make you reflect a little bit about how you're living your life. That counts for something in my book, and since the jokes are mostly clean, save for one nasty bit involving an elderly woman, it's a film you can show to young audiences that will get them thinking too.

This is a film that is Jim Carrey's, and his alone, with the other actors not getting enough time to shine. Deschanel lights up the screen whenever she appears, but her character goes through twenty minute spells of vanishing completely. Bradley Cooper gets a chance to play Carrey's best friend, but also doesn't get much opportunity to do anything. And then there's Terrence Stamp, who steals all three scenes that he's in. But that's all he gets too. I wanted to see less of Carrey and more of the supporting cast.

And then there's the casting, which just felt off to me. Carrey can act in serious movies, and in comedies, but casting him alongside a bunch of 30-somethings who are supposed to be his best friends seems wrong. Carrey is getting too old to do these kinds of roles, especially when you make the rest of the cast, (sans Stamp, who isn't playing one of his buddies), a great deal younger than he is. There was just something off-putting about it, and I constantly wondered why he was hanging around with people a great deal younger than he is.

The plot is also predictable, and there probably won't be a single moment in the film that will surprise you, except for a couple of FBI agents showing up for two scenes, and then disappearing without any real conflict coming from them. But at least it was a surprise. You can see all of the situations as soon as a simple question is asked, because there's only one outcome. There are times when it's still funny, but it easily could have been better.

Yes Man is a decent romantic comedy, but could have been improved upon had its lead character actually had some sort of reluctance to saying "yes" to every situation that passed his way. It becomes too predictable and cliché by the end, and although it's got a good message that everyone can draw from, it's not funny enough to be called a good comedy. It also mismanages its cast, with the more interesting characters getting pushed to the side so Jim Carrey can be the star.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:16 am

Unbreakable
Unbreakable is a superhero film without action and without unrealistic superpowers. Our hero is David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a man who doesn't know is a superhero. We don't either. He's contacted by a man named Elijah (Samuel L. Jackson) who believes that he is, and the film deals with him trying to get a grip on if he has powers, and what to do with them if he does.

Opening with David on a train, we watch him hide his wedding ring as a woman sits down beside him. They chat, and we find out she's married. Their conversation is watched by a little girl, as the camera pans back and forth between each character, with no cuts. It was great to see this, and I was amazed with this camerawork. Then the train crashes, and everyone dies except for David. He awakens in a hospital without even a scratch on him. Everyone is stunned by this, but David doesn't seem like much is out of the ordinary.

He works as a security guard at a football stadium. After work one day, he notices a note on the front of his car. "How many days of your life have you been sick?" This is what it reads, and it comes from a store called "Limited Edition", a store run by the brittle Elijah. Elijah was born with broken bones, and has broken many since. The kids call him "Mr. Glass", a named fitting for someone who gets broken quite easily.

They meet, and Elijah proposes the idea that David is a superhero, but just doesn't know it. David can't think of a time when he was sick. He's been injured once, so his son says, during a car accident in college. Later, David bench presses 250 pounds, the most he's ever done. And then he adds 100 more pounds, and doesn't have much of an issue lifting it. He's starting to believe. Most of the film deals with him trying to get a grasp on this, and figuring what to do if he does have powers. But there's only one real action scene, and even it doesn't have much action in it.

Essentially, Unbreakable is a drama, one that has the subject of a superhero but doesn't act like typical superhero films. This is more of a character study with a mystery involved which the film hides for us as much as it can. There's a slightly lackluster home life that David, his wife (Robin Wright Penn) and his son (Spencer Treat Clark) all share in, although surprisingly this new revelation doesn't much factor in to the turmoil. Only one scene has this, which involves the son managing to acquire a firearm and pointing it at his father with the belief that no deaths will follow. There's tension here, but Clark's acting was poor and made the scene less powerful.

The other actors get rich characters to work with, although they all suffer from being far too quite. Most lines are whispered, which makes it seem like there isn't a lot of emotion. Which is true enough, because there aren't a lot of emotional scenes. A character ends up mentioning this at one point, and yes, it was intentional. But Willis gives a good performance as an introspective security guard, while Jackson is a man who spends most of his time limping or in a wheelchair, but is memorable and not your typical movie character.

There are a lot of good moments in this film, which are captivating and will keep you interested. For a slow-burning film, it's quite entertaining, because you're never quite sure whether or not David has any powers. When he brushes against someone, he gets a vision of them doing something, although what this means only gets revealed later on. There's also a twist at the end that was shocking, although doesn't actually alter much of the story, only making you see things in a little different light.

But the very end of the film is a great disappointment. It could have been left open ended by fading to black ten seconds earlier, but instead, we get two sentences that flash on our screen, telling us what happens after there is no more footage to show. But it's unnecessary to show any of this, and it doesn't give us a greater understanding of anything. It just serves to bring closure to something that didn't need a conclusive finish, and I would have liked it to finish before those two sentences.

However, apart from these ten seconds, there isn't much wrong with Unbreakable. Sure, the actors whisper too much, but these are just about the only things I can find fault in. The pacing, cinematography, and editing are all great. This is one technically sounds film, even if people looking for a fast-paced action film will be disappointed. There aren't quick cuts all the time, which is refreshing, and there are (seemingly) no special effects either. It's a character drama with a simple story about a man figuring things out about himself, and it's a well-told story.

Unbreakable is almost perfect in my eyes, even if I didn't exactly fall in love with it. It's well-made with memorable characters and a solid story to keep you interested. Even if it's slow-paced, there aren't moments when you feel bored or want an arbitrary action scene to interrupt these characters and their thoughts. I enjoyed it, although I didn't absolutely love it. It has few flaws that don't detract from the experience all that much, and I'd recommend giving it a watch.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:36 am

A.I. Artificial Intelligence
A.I. Artifical Intelligence has one main problem, one that lasts 30 minutes and made me have an overall distaste for the film as a whole. The problem comes in the film's conclusion, which comes after there was a real conclusion, one that fit perfectly, but it was decided that there needed to be 30 more minutes tacked on. I'm telling you that there didn't need to be. The first ending, where A.I. should have really finished playing, was perfect. The actual ending was heartfelt but felt like a cop-out to me.

The film opens with a lecture being led by a professor played by William Hurt. He ponders how far robotics technology could come, or if it is possible to create a robot who can love -- truly love. We then fast-forward 20 months to a couple who acquire a child robot. His name is Daniel (Hayley Joel Osment), who smiles creepily and follows his new mother (Frances O'Connor) around the house. She's creeped out by this, and rightly so -- I was too. The couple's real son, Martin (Jake Thomas), is in suspended simulation, but comes out of it soon enough when a cure is found for his disease.

A sibling rivalry starts up between the two, although it seems fairly one-sided. Martin detest Daniel, although I don't really see why. I guess he's young and doesn't know better. His actions, and Daniel's, eventually lead to the hard decision: Daniel needs to go. He's let go in a forest and told to stay away from hunters. Of course he is a captured, but he's let go because nobody believes that he can be a robot. He takes a robot named Joe (Jude Law) with him. Why the hunters let Joe go as well is beyond me, but they do.

The rest of the film has a simple goal: How can Daniel become a real boy. He recalls a story that his surrogate mother told him. It involved a blue fairy who brought Pinnochio to life. He thinks that this blue fairy exists, and sets out to find her, with Joe literally in-hand. The film consists of a small robotic boy just wanting to be loved by his family. How cute is that?

Well, it's only kind of cute. There's still a mechanical element to this child, and despite his noble actions, he isn't all that cute. He also isn't acted all that well; I had trouble believing that this character was so determined, or scared, or whatever emotion the script called for, because Hayley Joel Osment's face is always so blank. That works for Jude Law's character, because he isn't a robot who is supposed to be able to organically emote. But this kid is, although instead, he stares at wonder at the beautiful world he's been allowed to explore, as do we.

At one point, the two characters travel to a futuristic city known as "Rouge City." It opens up in front of our, and in front of Daniel's, eyes. I was awestruck at how impressive this city was, and despite looking somewhat like how future cities are typically imagined -- dark skyline brought alive by bright colors on the surface -- it works here. The buildings are lit by colors of purple and red, and when we first get there, your mouth drops. They also get to visit a completely destroyed Manhattan, which is just as impressive.

At one point, A.I. ends. Or at least, I figured it ended. There was a fade, and I expected to see credits. "What a good movie," I thought. But then I found out it didn't end. I blinked and say the words "two thousand years later" appear on-screen. "Why?" I pondered. But then an alien appeared, and I realized that we were getting into silly territory now. I was right, and when the film finally ended, I was disappointed that they went in the direction they did. In my mind, the movie ends right around the two hour mark, and if you watch this movie, you can probably find some way to make the final portion not exist canonically. I'm going to try, at the very least.

Jude Law's character of Joe is an interesting one, but not one that the film does all that much with. He's relegated to the role of a side-kick, despite being far more interesting than Daniel. And Jude Law completely owns the rule, which includes being a mime, clicking his heels together whenever possible, and getting the most laughs. Brendan Gleeson turns up at one point too, and also does a good job with a limited role. There's also a robot teddy bear which was a nice touch, and actually ended up being the character I wanted to make it through to the end, as he and Daniel face similar discrimination, but the teddy bear is a walking, talking teddy bear.

Until the two hour mark, there isn't a dull moment to be had. I was captivated and completely interested in the quest of these robots who believe in fairy tales. But once we fast-forward an additional two thousand years, I lost complete interest because I figured exactly what was coming. The magic was gone, and it is never recaptured. It's not just the fact that the true ending ruined what could have been, but also because it is clichéd and easy to figure out exactly what will happen, ending on a note that you'll see coming from a mile away.

A.I. starts off well, and continues to be a very good film for most of its runtime. It has a perfect moment when it should have ended, but didn't, instead continuing when it shouldn't, taking a direction that it likely should have forgotten about. The lead actor didn't make me believe, but the side actors made up for that. The visuals are great, and the world created is awe-inspiring. It just doesn't hold together when you look at the way it ends.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:27 pm

Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights is a film that starts out really slow, has little conflict and then decides to pick up the pace and make a whole bunch of things go wrong. At the lead is Mark Wahlberg playing a 17-year-old named Eddie Adams, who works in the kitchen of a nightclub. He's approached one night by Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), who has heard a rumor that Eddie has a very large penis. It turns out, he does, so Jack decides to cast Eddie in pornographic films. I don't recall if it's ever mentioned if Eddie turned 18 before the first role he gets, but I'm thinking that this point doesn't matter.

Eddie, who now goes by the name "Dirk Digler", becomes a star seemingly overnight. He's helped out by his naturally large appendage, but also because he has enthusiasm and durability -- something that Boogie Nights has taught me is beneficial when you're shooting pornography. After not concluding one of his scenes properly, he tells everyone that they can just go again, much to the surprise of the crew. He wins awards for his first film, and with the earnings manages to buy a house, car, and pretty much anything else he wants. He's king of the business in just a few months.

But, movies can't just have someone become successful and then just have the credits roll. Where's the tension? What is there to entertain us other than a nice guy who is now a porn star? Well, this comes both from our lead character later on, as well as the secondary characters. It turns out that Eddie is not mature enough to handle his new-found fame, and ends up being overwhelmed by the experience. All the while, our background characters are dealing with their own problems.

Supporting Mark Wahlberg are great, or at least well-known, actors like Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Don Cheadle, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Luis Guzmán, Thomas Jane and the aforementioned Burt Reynolds. Even Alfred Molina makes an appearance. This is a film carried by the supporting actors, which allow much of the 70's and 80's culture to shine through. If this film was only about one man and his journey through the porn world, it would probably get fairly boring. By including all of these other characters, we are rarely uninterested in what's going on, at least, once the first hour or so of the film passes by.

Boogie Nights gets off to a really slow start. All that the first hour has is the rise of Dirk Diggler in the industry, with absolutely no conflict or anything to keep us interested. It does, however, give us a lot of time to get to know these characters and get a feeling of what the porn industry was like in the late 1970's. As a matter of fact, replace the pornography industry with Hollywood, and you'd have a very similar film, except then it might be more difficult to have the characters get involved in such shady activities later on, or draw in a bunch of people who are simply "curious" about the film's subject matter.

In that regard, Boogie Nights actually plays it safe about what we actually see in regards to the characters doing their job in the porn business. Oh, there are most definitely some shots that you'd be better off not to watch as a family, but the nudity shown fits the story and doesn't seem excessive. At least, not as excessive as a film about pornography easily could have been, so good on director Paul Thomas Anderson for keeping things somewhat tasteful.

Boogie Nights would probably completely fall apart without the supporting cast though. Everyone gets a separate side story, and it's wonderful to see them all come together and not feel distracting. There are so many different mini-stories that take place in this movie, and it's because of this, and Eddie's continuing decline, that we stay interested and entertained. Well, that, and the fact that this movie is essentially a love-letter to the late 70's and early 80's.

What this film does best is accurately reflect the time period that it's set in. The sets, costumes, hairstyles, soundtrack, everything works towards making us feel like we're there. There's nothing that feels outlandish or takes us out of the moment. Instead, for two and a half hours, we're transported back into the past, and we get to experience a culture that is somewhat different from our current one. Boogie Nights is more about that culture than the pornography industry, as a matter of fact, but it needs the latter in order to tell a decent story while still accurately reflecting the times.

It's not a film without some basic flaws, like the runtime. This would have worked better as a two hour film instead of being two and a half hours in length, and there is some cheese which takes you out of the seriousness of the story. For example, whenever Eddie shows off his enormity, the look on the person's face -- we don't actually get to see it until the final shot of the film -- will make you laugh more than it likely should. And the film also takes a very gory turn at one point, which seemed out of place.

On the whole, Boogie Nights tells a pretty decent story while successfully capturing the era it was set in, something that seemed like the mission right from the very beginning. It brings a great number of side stories together, and makes for a satisfying watch, even if its subject matter may be off-putting (or intriguing, I suppose) to some people. If you want to go back in time and experience the late 70's one more time, this film will not disappoint, even if you do end up staying there a bit longer than you may want.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:42 am

Abduction
I was excited when I saw the cast. Listen to the actors involved in this production. There's Sigourney Weaver, Alfred Molina, Jason Isaacs, Michael Nyqvist and Maria Bello. Okay, so there's also Taylor Lautner in the lead role, as well as Lily Collins as his sidekick, but I was hopeful that the supporting cast could allow it to be a worthwhile watch. For a while, I actually believed that Abduction could be a good film.

Even the first 20 minutes or so weren't that bad. We watched Nathan (Lautner) and his friends go to a party and get drunk. He wakes up the next morning hungover and stripped of his shirt. Those of you who have seen the Twilight films are probably used to seeing Lautner without a shirt on, but surprisingly, it stays on his person for the majority of this film. Nathan goes home to find out that his father (Jason Isaacs) wants to have a boxing session, so they fight, and it's enjoyable. It's especially fun because the younger of the two gets beaten up quite a bit. He's also grounded for a week because he didn't call home. How adorable.

We watch the young Nathan go to school and get assigned a project to work on with his neighbor, Karen (Collins). Their project has something to do with missing children, or maybe just people in general, it's not really elaborated on. When looking at one website, they see a child that looks remarkably similar to Nathan. They do a digital reconstruction of what the child might look like now, and it's almost a perfect match. Then they look closer at the younger photo, and they see that the shirt the child is wearing is the same on that Nathan had as a kid. It even has the same stain on the right shoulder. Weird, right?

Well, apparently not. This was a trap, and Nathan fell right into it. Things happen which I won't spoil, a little bit of Spy Kids action goes on in regards to Nathan's parents, and eventually Nathan and Lilly end up on the run from not one, but two parties. The first claims to be the CIA, and is led by Alfred Molina, while the second is a bunch of Russian guys led by Michael Nyqvist. Can the pair trust anyone? Will they get out alive? Who knows, but more importantly, does anyone care?

I certainly didn't. Nathan was as bland as you might expect a Taylor Lautner character to be played. He's your typical teenager -- shy around girls, loves playing video games and hanging out with friends -- and yet, he is an amazing athlete and could easily be the most popular person at the school. He also has weird dreams, which he explains to his shrink (Sigourney Weaver), and that's about as deep as his personality gets.

What's strange about director John Singleton's picture is that he seems to think his characters are deep, and that we deserve to spend a lot of time with them when they're not doing anything. The plot doesn't really kick in until maybe the half hour mark, and even after we do start to roll, there are points when characters will stop just to chat and let us get to know them -- all the bland, lifeless them that there is to know.

His "friend", Karen, isn't much better. She basically serves no purpose except to give Nathan someone to talk to throughout, and even when it would be intelligent to leave her so that she can be safe, he doesn't because, well, I'm not really sure. She protests against going home, although she's not the target anyway. He is, because there's a list that his father -- his real father, anyway, as it turns out that Isaacs' character wasn't really his dad -- stole, that everyone else wants. There's more to the list than just that, but it serves as the MacGuffin to drive the plot.

Does the story really make sense when you look at it from afar? I don't think so, although that matters little in the moment. There are parts that needed more explanation though, like how Molina's character's name is on the list, and why that matters, or what happens if the list falls into the wrong hands. I cared more about this list, which we only see in its encrypted form (which Nathan can apparently read or something, I dunno), than any of the characters.

I'm not going to get into whether or not Taylor Lautner makes a good action star. That will depend entirely on how you see him, and whether or not you can believe it. Personally, I didn't think he had it in him, but if you're a big fan, you'll probably overlook any of his flaws anyway. I can say that he desperately struggled with the more dramatic scenes, line delivery, or even acting like a normal human being whenever he wasn't being chased.

Not that the writing helped him out any. The lines are all terribly written, with either clichés coming out every time a character speaks, or dialogue that just makes you cringe when you hear it. I'm not going to put the sole blame on Lautner, although he certainly deserves a lot of the flack, but whoever wrote the dialogue needs to go outside and listen to real people talk.

What gets to me most is how poorly the established actors were used. Weaver gets three scenes total, I believe, Nyqvist is always just in the background, except for one scene during a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game which comes close to being the sole highlight, while Molina plays basically the same character as Nyqvist, being used in the same way: Poorly. If Abduction goes to prove anything, it's that Lautner cannot, at least at this point in his career, carry an action film alone.

This would still all be okay if the action was entertaining, but it just isn't. The action scenes follow this sort of pattern: Fist fight, car chase, fist fight, car chase. Rinse and repeat as often as you can in the remaining hour and change after the plot kicks in, and I've basically described the entire movie. Well, there are those scenes when the characters, and the audience get a break, but they end up dragging us down because the actors involved in them don't make us believe in their characters.

Abduction is, in short, terrible, especially given how good it starts and how talented the supporting cast members are. But Lautner can't carry this film, the secondary actors are all underutilized, while the writing and action scenes were all lackluster. The plot doesn't even make complete sense, with things needing exposition being ignored, and things easily understood given all of the time. Unless you want to watch Taylor Lautner being chased around for 100 minutes, you have no reason to spend your time with Abduction.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:12 am

The Doom Generation
Here is a film where a severed head is allowed to make noise, even hours after it has been removed from its body. Not that anything is ever done with this concept, but at least it's out there for everyone to see and talk about. No, I don't know why it was included, or why a lot of the things in The Doom Generation are the way they are. It's immaterial anyway; this is a film that just wants to take you on a fun road trip, while giving you a dose of nihilism every once in a while. Nihilism that, like all the groceries the characters buy in this film, will cost $6.66. (Very subtle.)

We open off with a couple of teenagers swearing about how the party they're at sucks. They decide to go to their car, and then do so. These are quite independent people, you see. The car ends up being hit by a group of people in a fight, with one of these people, named Xavier (Johnathon Schaech) hopping in and telling them to get out of dodge. So they do, and now there are three people traveling around.

Eventually, the pair ditch Xavier and head to a convenience store. They are threatened by the man behind the counter, but are rescued by Xavier, who somehow managed to get to the gas station at about the same time as they did, despite having to walk. Whatever. The cashier ends up dying, and it's his severed head that I mentioned in the opening paragraph. Amy (Rose McGowan) and Jordan (James Duval) decide to take Xavier with them, and go on the run from whoever might chase after them for their recent murder.

Nobody does come after them, but they keep on traveling, running into a bunch of people along the way. Once of the running gags of the film is that in every location, someone will see Amy and think that they know her. Whether they do or not isn't made clear, although Amy's profane exclamations after they see her make me think that they do. Whatever. They are mad that she's with someone else -- two someones when you really think about it -- and are willing to kill her and her companions as a result. And when faced with death, what do people in movies do? Why, they either run away from, or kill, the person wanting them dead.

That's what happens in The Doom Generation, and what occurs for most of the film's runtime. Characters run away from other characters, our leads kill a bunch of people along the way, and the only time remorse is felt is when a dog gets run over. Eventually, the trio wind up in a polygamous relationship, with everyone seemingly fine with that. Whatever floats your boat, movie characters.

I call them that because they never came across as real people to me. Their dialogue starts out incredibly childish, like it was written by an 8th grader who recently learned a couple of new four-letter words, but eventually just ends up pointless. At least it wasn't full of exposition, which is almost always worse, but I couldn't believe that people would talk or act like the ones in the movie.

Which isn't to say that the actors fully embodied these unbelievable characters either, because they were just as bad. There wasn't any emotion, they delivered their adolescent dialogue just like if they were doing bad impressions at a comedy club, and they never seemed to gel with their characters. There seemed to be a disconnect between what the actor should do, and what their character should do, which led me to believe that director Gregg Araki wasn't giving them much, if any direction. I picture him just sitting back and saying "have at it" for each scene, and the actors are left there going "Okay, let's take the script as literally as possible."

With that said, I can't say I had a poor time with The Doom Generation. It ended up being quite humorous, even if a lot of it came from how immature the dialogue and situations were, and it seemed to have a heart, even if I'm not quite sure what the point to any of it was. Maybe that is the point: That there is no point. There's a lot of nihilism going around here, and the film makes no bones about it. The symbolism is not hidden, and in almost every new locale, something about doom, apocalypse, having no hope, or something like that, is plastered on a sign for everyone to see. At one point a character asks "what is the point to our existence", a question that never receives a response.

I'm sure there was more hidden symbolism as well as the parts that were extremely obvious, but I think I may be too dense to figure it out. That, or the over-the-top violence and sex kept me from trying to figure it out or even care that it was there. I've heard people tell me that different characters represent different things, like how one of them represents Satan, and one of them represents God, but honestly, that seems to me to be looking too far into it. Given how juvenile the rest of the project seemed, I don't think such symbolism could have been thought up by the writer.

Speaking of the writer, characters are included that end up having nothing done with them. For example, the Korean shop owner who gets his head chopped off, but can still talk. That's forgotten about. Then there is a character who thinks that she recognizes Amy, but the trio manages to escape. She swears that she'll kill Amy, but that's never touched upon again. Finally, the is one scene involving the FBI, where we get told that they have Amy's fingerprints, and that they want the trio dead or alive (for some reason). But they show up for one scene and that's it. I'm not sure if this was just sloppy writing, or it was done with intent of giving us a red herring so we wouldn't figure out the ending, but it felt like we got an incomplete film.

I think that the reason I still had a good time with The Doom Generation was because of the atmosphere. This will be a timeless film, one that doesn't rely on CGI or other special effects, but instead focuses on capturing the feeling of being a teen or young adult in the 90's. You get a sense of what it was like to feel lost in the world, and you understand what these characters are feeling, even if they're not the ones giving you that sense. It works because it builds a setting and it puts you in that setting along for the ride with people who, in the end, don't mean anything to anyone, except that they're able to take you on a journey.

In the end, The Doom Generation is a juvenile piece of filmmaking, but it serves a point in being somewhat fun and by setting a good mood. While the characters are inconsequential, and most of the film's point being lost in the outlandish violence, sex and profanity-laden dialogue, it's still a fun enough road movie about three young people trying to figure out the meaning of life.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:33 am

The Transporter
The Transporter opens with a really fun car chase sequence, proving that when they're done correctly, they're still not boring. 4 men get into a car being driven by Frank Martin (Jason Statham), but he refuses to take off. He tells them that there was a deal made, and that he was only to drive with three passengers. A man is shot, and we're off into the best part of the movie.

Martin makes his delivery, and we learn that this is what the retired soldier does for a living nowadays. He takes packages of any size, and delivers them to any destination. He has three rules which have kept him in business for as long as he has: Never change the deal, no names, and don't look in the package. He breaks this third rule in just his second delivery of the film, and it turns out that there's a person inside named Lai (Qi Shu). When he delivers her, he is given another package, which blows up his car while he's at a soda machine. He was lucky. He goes back to fight the people who tried to kill him, and ends up having Lai sneak into the back of his new car.

She eventually tells him that there are some people out there who are also into the transporting business. But they deliver 400 people at a time, and some of them are dying. So Frank decides to go and try to rescue them, all while being bugged by a police officer François Berléand, who seems to know what Frank does, although we're unsure. He tries to get the real story, which we know, but is unsuccessful. He ends up playing a somewhat pivotal part in a later scene, but is on the whole there just to extend the film's runtime, so that it can call itself a feature film.

In The Transporter's opening scene, it's enjoyable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the seriousness that Statham sticks to his rules is hilarious, and I was laughing quite a bit at the first lines of dialogue. And then there's also the fact that the car chase scene is inventive and quite entertaining. It's well-made, and it's something that the team who made it should be proud of. There's another scene later on involving oil, which is also inventive, although it becomes tedious. The other action scenes are more run-of-the-mill, involving shootouts and fistfights.

They're also clichéd, both in their delivery and in their context. At an early moment after rescuing Lai, Frank announces that he likes it quiet in the morning -- meaning she should shut up. At another moment, when his house is under assault, his spider-sense tingles, and he announces that it's "quiet, too quiet" before ducking to avoid being struck by a missile. They also don't make complete sense, such as when he manages to outrun an airplane, or , while paragliding after being dropped out of a helicopter, is moving horizontally faster than the vehicles on the road.

There's also the character of Frank, who is inconstant. He starts off the film cold and detached, something that was enjoyable to watch. But out of nowhere, he becomes caring and decides to go on this rescue mission. I didn't quite understand this because it didn't fit his previously established character, and also because the actor playing Lai did a terrible job trying to look sympathetic.

Movies that consist entirely of action can be enjoyable, but you need to have something else to hold interest, unless you are constantly creative in crafting these moments. Whether it be snappy dialogue, interesting characters or a decent plot, there needs to be something else. The Transporter has nothing to keep us watching, and since the action scenes aren't all that interesting, it loses interest. By the 90 minute mark, which felt much more like two hours, I had stopped caring about anything that was happening, and was just wishing for the credits to roll.

The absolute worst part of The Transporter is the soundtrack, which was annoying and didn't often fit what was happening. A lot of it was rap, but there was also some techno mixed in. At one point, Frank turns the radio off, and the music stopped for us. I hoped that there would be no more until a character actually had to turn a radio on again. No such luck, as I was bombarded by more annoying sounds not long after this.

I think a better idea for this movie would have been to just have Frank Martin doing job after job, pulling off stunt after stunt with things occasionally going wrong. That would have been a more exciting film than what we got. He could stay the cold, contracted man that we got in the first few scenes, and he could continue interacting with criminals like he did before too. We could have skipped the obligatory love interest, and just had a bunch of car chase sequences. Sure, you'd need to have a lot of people brainstorming how to keep that exciting for an hour and a half, but I think you could do it. At the very least, it would have been better than what we got here.

The Transporter is a film that consists almost solely of action scenes. It doesn't waste its time with silly things like plot or strong characters, which, for me, works against it. Some people might find this entertaining, and for those people, they'll really enjoy this film. It wasn't for me though, because there's no secondary element to compliment the unrelenting action. The soundtrack also annoyed me to no end, and I considered putting the film on mute multiple times. It's not like I'd miss non-expository dialogue anyway.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:35 am

I'm noticing a bit of a recurring theme in all these Statham films...
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:49 am

Just wait for tomorrow, when Transporter 2 is reviewed!

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Komrade Kharloth on Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:40 pm

Do you take requests?

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:04 pm

I have, and I guess I still will, but when/if I get to them is a completely different story. I still have 20 or so requests that I just haven't been able to find/watch/fulfill in some manner.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:08 am

Transporter 2

Transporter 2 takes the basic premise of "Jason Statham saving a small group of people from something" and runs with it for all it's worth. This time around, things are a lot tighter, and a plot may have actually found a way to get itself involved in the action. In almost every conceivable way, Transporter 2 is better than its predecessor, save for including more distracting CGI.

The plot begins some time after the first film ended. Little mention is made of that film, except for some references that would otherwise go unnoticed. We don't find out what happened to Lai, although I'll be honest in saying that I didn't really care. Frank Martin (Jason Statham) has moved to Florida and is working as a chauffeur for a rich family consisting of Jeff (Matthew Modine), Audrey (Amber Valletta) and their son, Jack (Hunter Clary).

The plot, (and yes, this time, there is a plot), involves Jack getting kidnapped, and Frank trying to get him back. A deadly virus gets involved at one point, and -- well, actually it would almost be a shame to say more than that. Suffice to say that the lives of a number of people get put in danger, and that this time, stunts and action scenes are not the only reason we have a story at all. We actually are given some semblance of thrills simply from the plot, which helps to compliment the action scenes, of which there are still many.

The set-pieces are bigger and more inventive, which is a good thing. Some of them are slight retreads of the first film, like when a slippery substance is used in order to avoid getting grabbed, or when something is able to outrun another that should be much faster, but it's all done better and with more flare. The scenes that are breaking new ground are amazing, with the highlight happening late in the film, but involving one of the most creative uses of a fire hose that I've ever seen. There's also a scene where a car manages to -- no, I shouldn't say any more; this is something that you should see for yourself.

For a film with the word "transporter" in its title, that profession doesn't actually come into play at all in this one. Oh, Frank is a great driver with a knack for martial arts, but he's little different from most action heroes. His persona of a serious man who only cares about the job is never recaptured here, but this film comes closer to that. Frank has one job, and is entirely devoted to fulfilling it, but may only be that way because of one of his new rules: Never break a promise.

Because the action scenes are so much better, and because there's a plot connecting them, we aren't bored when watching Transporter 2. That was one of the problems that the first film had: There wasn't anything apart from the action scenes holding your interest. This time, the plot does this, but there is also at least one memorable character as well as some sharp and humorous dialogue. While the first Transporter was devoid of supplementary material, this one is jam-packed, and results in a much better experience.

This memorable character comes in the form of Lola, played by Kate Nauta. We initially meet her masquerading as a secretary, she ends up being an assassin similar in skill to Frank, but far more intriguing, mostly based on her look. Again, this is something you'll just have to see. If you come away with anything that isn't related to a fire hose from this film, it will be this character.

The worst part about the first Transporter was the soundtrack, which was annoying and didn't fit the action happening on-screen all that well. That's also rectified this time around, with rock music replacing the rap and techno of the first film. Thankfully, most of the songs this time didn't have lyrics, or at least, I didn't notice if they did, which means that it's easier to concentrate on the action. And since they fit this action, they enhanced it instead of making it get down on its knees and beg for the mute button. Or maybe that was just me.

There did seem to be some pointless parts to Transporter 2, like the French police officer (François Berléand) from the first film showing up for a vacation. He gets a couple of funny moments, like when the police show up at Frank's house and ask the Frenchman who he is, as he replies with "just the cook," as he pays homage to the first film. But he plays a very minor role that, while it aids Frank, could have been reworked to remove the character. Once again, I suspect padding had to be done to increase the film's runtime, which is never a good thing, although there still aren't dull parts, only pointless ones.

Transporter 2 fixes almost all of the problems that its predecessor had, and ends up being quite the enjoyable little film. It has a plot, which is usually a plus, while also having inventive action scenes and at least one memorable character. It has elements to complement the almost relentless action scenes, and since those are improved too, you'll have a lot of fun with this one. There are moments that feel pointless, some mediocre CGI, and a bit too much stolen from the first film in terms of scenario, but all in all, I enjoyed this Transporter quite a bit.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:17 am

Transporter 3
For the first half of Transporter 3, the character of Frank Martin (Jason Statham) comes about as close as he ever does to being the person that he's built up to be in the first scene of the first Transporter. He's cold, detached, and just wants to get the job done. Unfortunately, this, once again, is disregarded when a love interest shows up, and the film takes a hit because of this decision.

The time around, Frank winds up being captured and forced to transport something for a villain named Johnson (Robert Knepper). He has a bomb attached to his wrist that will detonate if he finds himself 75 feet away from his car. He really doesn't have a choice here, and decides to just go with the flow, all while looking for a way out. Things don't go as planned, as they never do, and he ends up involved in a bunch of car chases, fist fights and other action scenes. He has a passenger too, named Valentina (Natalya Rudakova), who ends up being the aforementioned love interest, despite her never doing anything but whine or mope about her situation.

The plot, this time around, focuses on blackmail and a company that may not be in the best interest of global health. We cut to shots of some ships off the coast, which need permission to dock. Or something like that. It really didn't make all that much sense, and it's all just a reason to have Jason Statham driving fast and punching some people in the face. Action scenes dominate this picture, but unfortunately they're not all that interesting, entertaining or creative.

There isn't a single action scene in Transporter 3 that you haven't seen before, and done better. While the chase scenes are still somewhat thrilling, the fights aren't. They're full of quick cuts which make is somewhat difficult to tell what's going on, and apart from one that has a slightly creative use of clothing, they're all fairly mundane as far as these things go. But then again, he uses the clothing this way similarly to how the fire hose was used in Transporter 2, so I suppose it's not that creative here anyway.

However, the fight scenes don't make much sense from the bad guys' perspective either. They attack Frank one at a time, even if there are 15 men surrounding him. they have weapons, he doesn't, so why don't they swarm him? Well, because that would inconvenience our hero, I guess. But it makes it feel unauthentic, and yes, I say that in context of a film that has a car drive on its side to pass two trucks on the road.

Like the first Transporter, the soundtrack is terrible and doesn't fit the action on-screen whatsoever. It's noisy, noticeable and a nuisance, distracting us instead of immersing. It's like listening to someone who has just recently discovered that music can be put on top of footage, and they forgot to select appropriate tracks or use the volume feature. As a result, you almost feel the need to turn the volume down, but stop because then you won't get to hear Jason Statham talk -- he's such a quiet action hero.

At least he's slightly charismatic, even if he rarely shows emotion. His ride-along partner is worse. She's annoying, shows even less range than Statham (is that even possible?) and serves simply to make you want to kick her out of the vehicle. Natalya Rudakova is a newcomer to the acting world, but despite getting months of acting lessons, still cannot act. She often looks lost, and her character was written poorly. When the bad guys show up with "all the guns", I wanted her to take a bullet to the brain. Somehow, Frank Miller fell in love.

In action scenes, we need something apart from the action to hold us. The first Transporter didn't give us anything supplementary, and it failed as a result. Transporter 2 did, which allowed it to be a lot of fun. Falling into the traps of the first film, Transporter 3 has nothing else to hold or involve us, and since the action scenes are not well-made, you'll likely get bored instead of having fun. If an action film is not fun, it's not doing its job well enough.

There are only a couple of ties that this film has to its two predecessors. The first is Frank Martin, and the second is the inclusion of the French police officer, Tarconi (François Berléand). For (hopefully) the final time, this character serves little purpose and just pads the runtime. He is always one step behind Frank and the villains, and even when he does catch up to them, he does nothing.

The reasons one would want to watch this type of film are obvious. You want a quick adrenaline rush, you want to watch Jason Statham have his shirt torn off a few times, or you want to watch poor filmmaking in action. If you are not wanting to see one of these three things, then you might as well just skip this film, because you'll take absolutely nothing from it.

Transporter 3 is not a good action film. It has absolutely nothing going for it, except for maybe Jason Statham in the lead role. Apart from that, the action scenes are difficult to watch, the plot is there just to set-up action scenes, there aren't any good characters, and I found myself wanting to press "mute" whenever music started playing. I didn't care about anything that was happening, and found myself glancing at the clock, hoping that it would end soon. Thankfully, it's a short film, so you won't have to endure it for all that long.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:08 am

Defiance

Defiance feels like a film that's trying too hard to be epic and wholly entertaining, but is trying so hard that we notice its efforts and can only bow our head in shame of how badly it wants to please us. At one point in the film, Daniel Craig gets on top of a horse in order to deliver a speech that's supposed to be inspirational not only to the group he's presenting it to, but also to us, the audience of the film. But he's on the horse only for this reason, and it only comes into play one other time, later in the film -- not before. We're distracted by the horse's involvement that it's hard to take what Craig is saying seriously, and it's here that we realize Defiance is trying too hard. And then there's still an hour more to go for us to fully realize this belief.

This doesn't necessarily make it a bad film, and we can certainly appreciate the effort given here, but it does take away some of the drama from something with as heavy a subject as the Holocaust. The film stars Daniel Craig as Tuvia Bielski and Liev Schreiber as his brother Zus. Zus begins the film as the only adult on-screen, and when he arrives home, he finds his parents slaughtered in their home. He heads to the forest, where he meets Tuvia, and the two begin to make camp. They're joined by other fleeing Jews, and then more, before they've got a small colony on their hands.

There's a couple of problems with trying to get a large number of people to survive in the middle of a forest. Firstly, and probably most importantly, food was scarce when it was only the two brothers and their close family. Feeding dozens and then hundreds of people isn't going to be easy. There's also the fact that some of these people are old or sick, which means that if Nazis find them, it's going to be difficult to flee without severe casualties. Zus knows this, and wants to team up with the Russians and fight, while Tuvia just wants to survive, taking a more pacifist (and humane) approach.

Of course, this ideological difference ends in the two fighting about who's in charge, what they should do next, how they will survive, and even if they should kill a man delivering milk to the Germans (under punishment of death if he didn't comply, obviously). You won't be surprised when this is resolved rather suddenly, nor will you be surprised by how it is solved, but suffice to say that it is.

But that's about as deep as the story gets. These people have to survive for months, and that includes winter. The scenes that are snow-covered were the worst of the picture, so take comfort in the fact that this segment is also the shortest part. They're not enjoyable because the characters can't do anything other than huddle around a fire the whole time, as there is supposed to be the threat of freezing to death ever-present (although freezing is only really shown in one scene, and the rest of the time, they don't seem that cold).

This is a true story, so the opening scene tells us, although simple research tells me that the brothers weren't presented all that accurately. I didn't care, as these types of liberties need to be taken when making a film, but I did care about how they were altered. In real life, so I've been told, these people were not simply the heroes they're presented as in the film. They were complex people, who often did not act for the good of the whole group. What we're given are simple characters who just want to survive in fairly harsh conditions -- action heroes stuck in a drama. This isn't nearly as interesting, especially because Defiance isn't an action film, despite very much wishing to be.

There are action scenes. Seemingly whenever director Edward Zwick wants to, he'll drop one or many Nazis into the mix, just so that we can have a shootout scene or two. While this doesn't get boring, it seems like an excuse just to have gunfights. They're not poorly made action scenes, but they fly by and end up serving breaking up the tale of survival by a group of people -- something that's actually more interesting. It also ends with a larger shootout, one where our group is overmatched and outnumbered. Right when it started, I knew how it was going to end. I hoped I was wrong, and I hoped that the film had the guts to subvert a cliché with the ending scenes, but I wasn't wrong.

For the most part, Defiance works. It balances a tricky maneuver in having romance stories, a coming-of-age story and being a war movie about a group of survivors. There's an entire community of people, with the ones we get to meet being memorable characters with unique personalities. It stays entertaining because there's an enemy that can drop by at any time, and because most of these people are vulnerable and won't be able to defend themselves. And Daniel Craig delivering a speech on a horse is fairly epic in its own right, distracting as it might be.

But, it fails in trying to be too good for what it is. There are moments set-up, and then nothing is done with them, or others that are set-up for the one scene, and then they're done with, never to be mentioned again. At one point in the film, Tuvia is burdened with a cough that starts getting worse. Is he okay? We question this, but then it's resolved in an instant, and we find out it was just a cold. What was the point in this? It allows him to meet a female, but that could have easily been done in a better way, instead of emasculating him and making us question whether or not he's fit to lead this group of people.

Like I said though, Defiance does work, it just seems like it's trying to please the audience by doing more than it needs to. That's its main problem, and it's a distracting one. But the action is fine, if clichéd, and the story is one that is interesting and worth telling. It's a solid war movie that will keep you entertained for more than two hours, even if it's not as epic as it clearly wants to be.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:28 pm

Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles
The title of this movie is a very apt description of what it contains, although the contents of the interview are something not revealed in the title. Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles has an interview, and has a vampire, but the interview tells a story with flashbacks, and, as we find out, there are multiple vampires. A better title would be "A Story that a Vampire is Telling that Involves Multiple Vampires". But that wouldn't be a very good title now, would it? Nor is it very catchy, but it would be more accurate.

We open up with a reporter getting his things together while a man named Louis (Brad Pitt) is standing in the same room. Louis claims he is a vampire, and begins to tell his tale the last night he was still human. He had just lost his wife and child, and says that he no longer wished to live. A vampire named Lestat (Tom Cruise) comes along and grants his wish, in a manner of speaking. Louis becomes a vampire, although he has no idea how to behave like such a creature. That's what Lestat's primary role is in the film. He must teach Louis both the advantages and disadvantages of his "dark gift", as well as try to make him act upon his new-found urge to drink blood.

See, Louis still likes human life, and doesn't enjoy hunting, draining and then killing them. He's a good guy who just got tired of living, so as a reward, he's been given immortal life. The first portion of the film is like watching a class on how vampires would really act if we were in the late 1700's -- and one of them was really bad at it. The lengths that Louis goes to in order to avoid killing a human end up being fairly comical, and we end up finding him with a pile of dead rats around him more often than not.

Eventually, he gives into these instincts of his, and munches upon the neck of a little girl named Claudia (Kirsten Dunst). Because Lestat has been set up as the vampire without a conscience, he turns Claudia into a vampire so that Louis won't leave. They end up becoming her adoptive parents, and go about their business for years to come.

Do you think I've told the entire story? Of course I haven't. I've gotten you to just about the half-way point, which may be too far but I believe that the adoption of Claudia is when Interview with the Vamprie really gets going, so I feel no shame in explaining up until this point. I'll say only that there's a reason that there's only one vampire conducting the interview and telling us the story, although I think a roundtable discussion might have been even more interesting.

Not a lot happens in the movie in terms of plot developments. When things do happen, they often feel unnecessary. Later on in the film, a cult comes out of nowhere, and it's lead by Antonio Banderas. But there are no hints regarding it earlier in the film, and it just shows up to add some unneeded tension to a film that's more of an atmosphere piece than anything else.

See, for most of the time this film was playing, I was enjoying it. I liked seeing Louis try to survive without eating humans, and I had fun watching Lestat try to force him to do it. Watching little Claudia become the most enthusiastic vampire of the group was an interesting development too, especially because it's often shown that the life of a vampire isn't all fun and games.

But then this cult just shows up out of nowhere and ruins it. It has a reason for appearing, which I won't reveal, but their reason was that only kind of made sense, and also one not hinted about earlier in the film. It would have been easier to include a line or two in order to make us think about this, but no, this doesn't happen. Part of the blame has to go to Anne Rice, who wrote then novel that this film is based on, but adding those two lines wouldn't have deviated from the book too much, would it have?

The atmosphere and tone of Interview with the Vampire is what makes it as enjoyable as it ends up being. We get the sadness that is ever-present, and we get to see the lives of these vampires, and how they operate. They don't get to make friends, they have to kill multiple humans a week, and it doesn't look like a lot of fun. And this comes across from both the actors and also the Gothic visuals that dominate the picture.

Not a lot happens in the film, but I'll argue that you don't actually need much to happen in this kind of film. You can count the number of major events that occur on one hand, and that's all you really need. In fact, the entire cult segment could have been skipped over, and the film would have been better for it. This is a film about three characters and watching how they live their lives. Nothing more need be added, even if some tension is artificially added later on, just for the sake of feeling the need to keep the audience interested -- something I already was.

Interview with the Vampire is a good movie, but fails to be great because it attempts to include elements that have little connection to the plot, and end up being more of a distraction than an improvement. It has good actors and a great atmosphere, both of which allow us to experience the sorrows that come with being transformed into a vampire. Romanticized? Maybe. But it's still transfixing for the majority of its runtime.


Last edited by Marter on Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Xandy on Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:27 pm

REVIEW LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:13 pm

If I were to watch it tonight, the review would be posted in ~3 months.

But I'm not watching it tonight (already have plans). I might watch it tomorrow though, as I believe it's on Netflix.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Hubilub on Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:07 pm

Jesus Christ, will you just put all your reviews in a portfolio and go get a reviewing job already?

THERE'S SO MUCH FUCKING REVIEWING

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:35 pm

And there are 91 more that I've written and have yet to post. :p

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Terria on Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:47 pm

91? The fuck?

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:01 pm

I wanted to get 90 ahead of schedule before school started, because I didn't know how much free time I'd have during school.

But I've had enough free time to keep at that quota, and actually going over it by one so far.

I clearly have too much time.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Hubilub on Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:59 pm

... And you still haven't sent out your résumé?

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Xandy on Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:19 pm

That post goes well with your avatar Hub.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Sassafrassy on Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:20 am

Have you reviewed Deathwatch, Marter? I can't check, your archive is on the fritz again.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:30 am

Hubilub wrote:... And you still haven't sent out your résumé?
I have. Although not for a movie review position, because there isn't currently one available. But my resume is out there just in general. I did try to get a job this summer; I was just unsuccessful.

Sassafrassy wrote:Have you reviewed Deathwatch, Marter? I can't check, your archive is on the fritz again.
I'll have to bitch at Kross for like the 4th time tomorrow.

No, I haven't reviewed Deathwatch.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Sassafrassy on Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:46 am

You should, it's an interesting film.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:44 am

Buried
Buried is a film that not everyone is going to like, but also one that everyone has the potential to enjoy. It's a film that, no matter how well it is described to you, what genres of films you like best, or any other factors, you won't be able to gauge whether or not you will like or appreciate this film. As a matter of fact, the only thing I can do in writing a review about it is to inform you of what it has to offer. Watching it is the only sure way to know if you will enjoy it. This isn't one that you can just look at and make that decision, or at least, that's my belief.

The film stars Charlie Brooker Reynolds as Paul Conroy, a man who wakes up in a coffin buried a few feet underground. He had been working as a truck driver, delivering random items to citizens of Iraq, when his convoy was attacked and he was captured. At his disposal, he has a lighter and a cell phone that has about half of its battery life left. He is called by the people who captured him, and they tell him that he has a couple of hours to secure $5 million, or he will be left to die in this coffin.

Now that is what I call an interesting premise, although it doesn't start out all that exciting. The first twenty or so minutes of Buried are actually fairly boring. There isn't all that much tension, and I can see how this portion of the film could turn people away. At this point, if you are watching it, stay with it, because it gets a lot better. The first part of the film is just setting up the plot, allowing us to learn more about the situation that Paul finds himself in. Things aren't dire yet, and because of this, it isn't all that thrilling.

However, once everything is set-up, things start to go wrong. Most of these issues stem from the people who Paul tries to phone, in that they either don't take him seriously, aren't there at all, or are even more incompetent than he turns out to be. I was laughing a lot when I shouldn't have been, just because of how the people he phones act when they're told that he could die any moment.

We learn that the United States government won't pay the ransom because they refuse to negotiate with terrorists. Paul feels that he's being deserted by his own country, which in a way is true. But it doesn't really seem like anyone is giving Paul the respect that he believes that he deserves. In his mind, he's being treated like Cargo by the terrorists, and like stolen merchandise by his own country. Here is a man who, in about an hour of his life, is completely broken by the realization that he isn't all that important to anyone. Even his wife won't answer her cell phone. Does he even have a reason to continue living?

Well, obviously he does. If he just gave up, we wouldn't have much of a film here, would we? His reason to live comes in the form of Dan Brenner (Robert Paterson), the leader of a hostage rescue team. He's calmed by this voice, and is told that they're trying to rescue him. It's after first talking to Brenner, I think, that we begin to realize how perilous Paul's situation really is.

There are a bunch of things that go wrong throughout the film. A snake gets involved, the lights start to go out, Paul can't breathe, he lights some of the wooden coffin on fire, sand starts filling the casket -- there are a whole host of reasons to be fearful of Paul's potential death. All of these, and the fact that it seems nearly impossible to actually get someone helpful on the phone, gives you an incredibly intense film. I have no doubt in my mind that Buried is a very thrilling film, one that plays to your fears, and then throws you for a loop. Think of something bad that could happen, and it probably will.

Unfortunately, that leads to some predictability with the plot. If something starts to actually look positive, it won't be. Everything that can go wrong, will, and this means that there isn't a joyous moment to be had. Part of the issues are started just because Paul isn't all that good at dealing with stressful situations. He often makes poor judgment calls, but still somehow finds the nerve to insult or belittle the people on the other side of the telephone, just like some people do, (and most want to), with telemarketers. While these points made me laugh, they didn't make much sense considering his life's on the line.

Make no mistake, Buried is not a film that is all that pleasant to watch. There are points when you'll want to turn away, parts that will make you squirm, and times when you'll be gasping for breath more than Paul has to. It's certainly not an easy watch, and is one that I wasn't initially sure how to react to after it finished. I also found the ending brilliant, although I can see how some people would dislike it.

It's not a perfect film, but Buried is an incredibly intense thriller that kept me interested and engaged after the plot got going. Our lead character, despite making stupid decisions, is one that is worthy of our empathy, and this makes his incredibly dire situation something that we care about. I can't tell you if you'll like or appreciate this film, because it's one that's polarizing and crowd-splitting. Just watch it and decide for yourself, but if you want just my opinion, I appreciated it. "Liking" it would require a feeling of sadism that just isn't in me.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by PayJ on Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:10 pm

@marter: Fair review, you have to love that bit where the cop watches them come oit the car with assault rifles and there's like a tensecond silence then he just looks away.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:19 pm

I cannot honestly remember that (or much about The Town, to be honest).

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