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Marter's Reviews

Post by Furburt on Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:24 am

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:51 am

Jennifer's Body
Jennifer's Body is a slasher film without creative kills or development on the victims. Instead, our point of view is from that of a bystander named Needy (Amanda Seyfried). Our killer is Jennifer Check (Megan Fox), who disappears after a concert and eventually turns into something that resembles a demon-vampire thing. She goes for the throat, but ends up eating the majority of the victim's body. The reason behind this transformation isn't given right away, but it makes no difference to the rest of the plot anyway, so I'm not quite sure why it's initially hidden.

Regardless, that's what happens. Jennifer goes around eating a couple of people, while Needy tells us, and her boyfriend, that she thinks something's up. But she doesn't do anything about it. Jennifer is going around murdering and cannibalizing people, but her best friend doesn't say anything, or at least, doesn't say anything persuasive. She mentions that Jennifer doesn't look all that good, but Jennifer brushes off that comment, and then nothing else is said of it.

All throughout the film, it becomes clear that Jennifer is not our lead character, despite what the advertisements might want you to believe. Instead, Needy is, the self-professed "dork", who astounds everyone by still managing to be friends with the head cheerleader Jennifer. The film could have delved into high school dynamics being altered due to the events that are caused by Jennifer, but that doesn't happen. Instead, everyone just moans about how their friends are being killed, but yet again, nobody does anything about it.

I suppose that the reason for this is that nobody would suspect someone like Jennifer -- who is popular, unassuming, etc -- would be capable of performing these murders. And since there's no real lead, nobody can do anything. But this makes no sense when we have Needy who knows that something is wrong, but says nothing to anyone but her boyfriend, who ignores her comments.

We are not given any depth or information on Jennifer's victims, or at least, none of significance. Oh, there's a football player and a goth kid, but that's about as much characterization as we get. As a result, we don't care that Jennifer tears them to pieces, instead just hoping that their deaths will be quick. The final victim of the film gets a slight bit more depth, but is still a one-dimensional character who ends up serving little purpose when you look at the film as a whole.

The victims are also few, with, by my count, there being four people killed by Jennifer, and only three are killed on-screen, with the fourth being implied. Of these deaths, all of them get it the same way: They are seduced by Jennifer, and then they are bitten and eaten. There is no variation in these kills; once you see one of them, you've seen them all. And since you don't care about the victims, the film gets boring really quickly.

This isn't helped by Megan Fox, whose lifeless eyes fail to bring any depth to her serial killer. There's no emotion coming from her, and there were also a few awkwardly delivered lines. She's not a good actor, which comes across clearly here, especially when she's put alongside Amanda Seyfried, who can act (although she's not given all that much depth of character here either).

For a horror film, Jennifer's Body isn't scary. There wasn't a single scene where I was feeling unnerved or frightened or even all that thrilled. I was bored, more often than not, and because of the lack of depth or scares, there was nothing keeping me wanting to watch this film. It was like watching paint dry for most of the time, except the paint was occasionally being splattered with copious amounts of blood or black vomit in hopes that I'd find that scary.

The best thing, so I'm told, that Jennifer's Body had going for it was that the screenplay was written by Diablo Cody. Cody previously wrote Juno, which was praised for its "hip" dialogue. (That was perhaps the best and only thing to praise about it.) But that dialogue annoyed me after a while, and here it just comes across as insufferable. If the film had actually focused on high school, and the dynamics of such a location, it might make sense to have that type of dialogue, but since most of it doesn't take place there, the dialogue was simply annoying.

It doesn't help that the characters never feel like teenagers, but instead feel like young adults. What made the dialogue work as well as it did in Juno was because there were adults around to keep the younger characters feel younger. Here, what few adults we do see act and talk just like the teenagers, making it feel like there's no difference between the age groups. It doesn't work, and comes across as a gimmick instead of something to enhance the experience.

Jennifer's Body doesn't work, nor do any of its individual elements. The writing doesn't fit, the acting is one the whole pretty poor, and there aren't any scares to be found here. There is no reason to watch this film, save for a good performance from Amanda Seyfried. But one performance in a sea of awful is not enough to save the film. Stay away from this one.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:13 am

Undead
Saying that Undead is trying to have its cake and eat it too is an apt way of describing it. Here is a low-budget zombie film that tries to serious, satire, horror, comedy, sci-fi, zombie and mystery, while never quite succeeding on any of these levels. Oh, there are times when some of these genres get realized, but others when I found myself wondering exactly what Undead was supposed to be doing with my time.

The film opens up with a poorly created CGI explosion in space which sends meteorites hurdling towards Earth. They land, often hitting random people who end up with holes through the middle of their gut. These people become zombies; these are your typical, slow-moving and brain-eating zombies. There are also beams of light occasionally coming down from the sky, first sucking up things like grasshoppers, for some, unexplained reason, and eventually getting to people. One character reckons that aliens are behind everything, while everyone else wagers him mad. I agreed with them, because it would have been funnier if the prophetic character turned out to be wrong for once, keeping with Undead's theme of often trying to make fun of standard zombie movie clichés.

Our lead is Rene (Felicity Mason), a former beauty pageant winner. She is trying to leave the small town of Berkeley to go stay with her grandmother, but, as you can expect, she'll never get there. The car she's riding in gets stopped, and her driver turned into a zombie. She runs away, finding a cabin in the woods owned by Clint Eastwood knockoff Marion (Mungo McKay). Marion even has the same type of hat and attitude as the stereotypical Eastwood character, except that he is able to perform stunts that would be too silly for an Eastwood character to do. At one point, he hangs from the roof in order to shoot zombies that he could hit just as easily if he were standing, with his only reason seemingly being that it looked fun.

But that's fine, because it's entertaining to watch. We eventually end up having a group of characters all fighting to survive and escape the zombie attack, all the while trying to figure out why the attack is happening. The attack is never explained apart from those meteorites, but in a zombie film that is all about the survivors, the way that people become zombies isn't all that important, is it?

I can confirm that aliens get involved throughout the film, like that one character predicts, although they likely don't do what you'll expect them to accomplish. They appear ominously throughout, and then get one big scene near the end. I liked how the film ended, and while it's obvious that it was done to set-up a sequel, (don't almost all horror films do that though?), it served as a satisfying conclusion just in case a follow-up is never made.

It ends up being an incredibly cheesy film though, but only at certain points. At other times, it's serious and wants you to take it that way, forgoing all of its gags and jokes for a darker tone. This is ultimately why Undead isn't that great, because it never stays consistent or gives us a good idea of what its purpose is, other than to be a throwaway film that you'll watch once, have a moderately good time, and then never watch again because there are a ton of cheesy horror films just like this out there.

It continues to look low-budget throughout, with really bad CGI in constant use. You know, when your CGI budget is limited to whatever programs you have on your laptop, I would think you'd decide to not use it whenever possible. That's not what happened here, with more than a couple of scenes with CGI that is unnecessary. There are a couple of random fires added, and then there was also that random grasshopper abduction. I don't understand the point, but maybe including bad CGI is part of the charm for some people. There's also a ton of blood, sometimes completely covering the camera. Fine. I guess that comes with the territory too.

Also coming with the territory is bad acting, although, once again, that might be why some people would want to watch this. People are acted almost exactly like characters from other movies, stereotypes with one-note personalities, or so blandly that you can't even tell if they have a personality. There's just no depth to anyone, and some of the line delivery -- the lines that were supposed to be serious, and as a result, sound as such -- made me laugh when the film wasn't going for humor. A few re-writes probably needed to be done to fix this tone, and maybe would have helped flesh out these characters as well.

Overall, I enjoyed myself enough to say that it wasn't a complete waste of time, although it's very clear that there could have been a lot more done with the premise. The parts where Undead tries to be funny usually work, and the over-the-top violence was enjoyable enough, even if there was sometimes a bit too much blood on the camera.

Undead is a film that needed more polish. It needed to fix its constantly flickering tone, and it also needed to have better characters. These films are about the survivors, but when I'm wanting them to be eaten or abducted or somehow removed from the screen, just so that there's a possibility that someone more interesting will replace them, something went wrong. But it's still an intermittently entertaining film with a really solid ending, so if you need another B-movie zombie film to watch, you could do worse than this one.

An afterthought: The two promotional tools that most people will look at (the trailer and the poster) do not represent the film very well at all. The trailer makes the film seem far more serious and scarier than it actually is. The poster, on the other hand, features a girl in a costume that is featured only in the final scene of the film. Disregard these when researching the film, because they are not indicative of the content that Undead has to offer.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:08 am

1408
1408 is scary when it's not trying to do too much. At the beginning of the film, we meet Mike Enslin (John Cusack), an author who writes books about haunted places. He doesn't seem to take the job too seriously, at least, not until he receives a post card in the mail with a hotel name and a room number on it. "The Dolphin," it says. "1408." That's it. It intrigues him enough to begin researching the hotel and room, which leads him to believe that it's worth checking out.

He gets to the hotel, and meets with the manager, Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson). Gerald attempts to convince and bribe Mike not to stay in that room, providing him with reason after reason why he should avoid it. Supposedly, 56 people have died in that room, either from "natural" methods, or suicide. This doesn't dissuade Mike from staying the night, instead increasing his skepticism.

After giving him the key, Gerald follows Mike into the elevator, still trying to get him to skip the room. The elevator is where Gerald stops, because that's as close as he supposedly comes to the room. Apart from two brief appearances for the rest of the picture (three in the director's cut) that's all we get from Jackson, which is unfortunate. Why Jackson was promoted as heavily as he was seems to be done solely for monetary purposes, because he's in the film maybe 10 minutes total.

Mike gets into his room, and takes his sweet time doing it. He turns the key slowly, pushes the door open without much pace, and then walks into the room cautiously. But then he notes that the room looks just fine, and that he might as well just sit down on the bed and chill out for the night. He lies down, and then the radio starts blasting. And then, when he goes to the window for a breath of fresh air, chocolates appear on the bed. And then the window slams on his hand. Following that, the water in the tap gets scalding hot. And then the room temperature is stuck above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The room, or someone else, is messing with him.

And then the clock begins to count backward from 60. It was mentioned earlier that nobody has lasted more than an hour in this room. Then things get even worse. Mike stars hallucinating -- or does he? He sees ghosts jumping out windows, and then someone with a knife is coming at him. He runs, and then the potential killer disappears. Was he there at all? He notices a camera in the vent system. Is that just another hallucination? Is someone watching him, laughing at what's going on with him? The camera is actually forgotten about apart from the first mention of it, but it still leaves that doubt in your mind.

All of this is interesting, and it keeps you watching. You're captivated by what's happening on-screen, and you want to find out what's really going on. Is the liquor that the hotel manager gave Mike spiked? What about the chocolate he ate? You don't know, but you want to find out. So does Mike, but he doesn't have all that much time for things like that. He just wants to find a way to escape from Room 1408.

1408 works for two reasons. The first is because is because this hotel room is built-up to such great extents, and then the film delivers on those promises. It isn't something that gives you a lot of time building tension, and then the pay off is unsatisfying. No, 1408 doesn't play around with that type of thing, it knows that you want thrills, and it fulfills that wish.

The second reason is because of the performance of John Cusack, who has to carry more or less the entire film while being surrounded by special effects and a room that seems to be caving in around him. He pulls it off, and it's only because of his ever-changing facial expressions, his dialogue to himself, and his body language. He manages to, almost single-handedly, keep us interested in his character, all while he descends into madness. Or does he? Again, you want to find out.

There's a fresh characteristic about 1408 in that there's very little blood, no amount of physical torture, but it still manages to be scary. The things that happen to the mind of our lead character are frightening, and there are certain revelations that occur later on in the film that are truly creepy. But then the film has a slightly cop-out ending which was only included to please test audiences. I suggest watching the director's cut, because it features a better, more fitting ending.

With that said, the final third of the film isn't quite as entertaining as the first two, because the film becomes less about suspense and more about pure thrills. This is less interesting, because the film is less subtle and more reliant on special effects. It never comes close to being boring or bad, but it's somewhat less intriguing than how the film opens and the first few things that start to go wrong in the hotel room.

1408 is a very good psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the majority of its runtime. Cusack gives a great performance in the lead, and the film's plot allows us to watch him get put through a terrible situation. It becomes less interesting as it progresses, but it's still an intense film that will get your heart rate up, so I say it's worth a watch.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:58 am

The Ring
The Ring is a film with a couple of scary moments, an atmosphere that is sufficiently creepy, and a plot that makes about as much sense as people still using VHS tapes in 2002. One you finish watching The Ring, you'll be thinking about it not because it was any good, but because it didn't make coherent sense. It has a bunch of things happen, but little-to-no explanation given to any of it. But if you're scared of ghost stories you might have a good time.

The film opens up with a couple of teenagers talking about a tape. Rumor has it, if you watch the tape, you'll get a phone call directly afterward, which will tell you that you have seven days to live. And then, seven days later, you die. Of course, this is a popular thing to watch, and one of the teenagers we see at the beginning watched the tape with a group of her friends. She dies, while the other one is sent to a mental hospital because the things she saw were to traumatizing. We meet her once more later on in the film, although that appearance doesn't help anything.

We then meet Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), who is a friend of them other of the dead teenager. She's also a reporter, and starts asking questions about this girl's death. She finds out about the videotape, and goes to track it down. She finds it, watches it, receives the phone call, and is then frightened. I guess that it's not just a popular thing for teenagers to do. Logically, the best thing to do is show the tape to someone else, so she does that too. Noah (Martin Henderson) knows a thing or two about tapes, so he watches it, while remaining skeptical that it will do anything.

And then, she takes the tape home, where she has a son named Aidan (David Dorfman). He calls her "Rachel" for reasons I can't discern. Maybe he's just not a very nice person. Anyway, he ends up watching the tape too, which further leads to Rachel and Noah wanting to figure out just how to stop their inevitable deaths. It turns out that this horror movie actually is a simple mystery film with a couple of scares thrown in every now and then.

The atmosphere is the best thing that The Ring has going for it. Director Gore Verbinski injects the film with an eerie tone, a washed out palette of colors and is very good at setting a somber mood. And it seems like there are a lot of scary moments to set-up, but as it turns out, there aren't. The Ring is simply not all that scary, even though the atmosphere that is built works tremendously in the film's favor.

And then there is the film's logic and plot, both of which made little sense to me. I took issue with a couple of character choices made throughout, like Rachel allowing her friend to watch the tape in the first place, or her bringing it home, despite not letting her friend's colleague see it. There's also the plot, which brings demons into the equation, as far as I can imagine, but doesn't explain their existence. Or maybe there weren't any demons in the first place. I don't know, all I can say is that I was confused, and not in a good way.

Furthering my frustration were the characters, who had no depth or real personality. There's that kid, Aidan, who acts disrespectful and creepy for absolutely no reason before he even watches the video. I can kind of understand how it could be traumatizing to watch it, (and the girl at the beginning was his cousin, so he's supposed to be dealing with that), but he's embodying the typical "creepy child" character for reasons unknown. There's also Rachel, who exists just to solve this one mystery, doing nothing more with her life and not being a good person either. Noah exists just to be Rachel's sidekick, and the only interesting character is a little girl named Samara (Daveigh Chase), who we don't get to see all that much of, unfortunately.

The film also had a couple of moments when it should have ended, but it dragged on. I'm not saying that it needed to end at those moments, but it seemed like it could have and all would have been well in the world. But it had to continue, which maybe tried to resolve some other questions, but only served to extend the film's runtime which already felt slightly bloated. There's one way to rid yourself of the curse, we find out, although it doesn't seem to make much sense to me. Then again, the demon (or whatever it is) seems to make up the rules as it goes along. So do the screenwriters.

I wonder though, if anyone in the audience would find the tape itself all that scary. I watched it, and I wasn't frightened by it. It's compiled of random images strung together with static, which manages to frighten the characters in the film, but seemed dull to me. Maybe if my telephone rang when it was playing, I'd be slightly scared. But then again, when Noah watches the tape, and the phone call comes, Rachel's phone gets called despite Noah having a cell phone. I didn't get this part either.

The Ring is a film that doesn't make a lot of sense, and as a result, isn't wholly watchable. There are a couple of cheap thrills involved, but since it doesn't follow logic, whether it be ours or its own, it fails. It tries to be primarily a mystery film, but there isn't much of a mystery here, apart from the reason that a scary tape made in 2002 would be on VHS instead of DVD. I guess our demon was working with a budget.


Last edited by Marter on Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:32 am

You think that was bad, Jesus Christ the original is the most cringe-inducingly stupid film. It's a little scarier, but it's just so awful.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:13 am

The Ring Two
If nothing else, The Ring Two is a better film than the original Ring, if only because it doesn't have as much puzzle left unexplained. This time, its genre is not a mystery film, but instead is one of actual horror. As a result, the film's tone is likely to stay more consistent, and you'll find yourself being scared more often. You won't have to constantly question what's going on or why things are happening, and instead can focus on the scares.

The Ring Two enters where the first film left off. Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), and her son Aidan (David Dorfman) have decided to move away from Seattle because it reminds them too much of what happened earlier. They move to a small town in Oregon, and Rachel gets a job with the local newspaper. Somehow, one of the tapes from the first film has made its way to this town, and a local teenager is killed. Rachel finds out about it, and realizes that Samara (Kelly Stables) has found them.

Then, Aidan starts having bad dreams, and Rachel starts seeing things that may or may not actually be there. Samara is definitely back, although it's not initially clear what she wants. So the goal this time around is not to figure out how to prevent death, but to find out how to silence Samara eternally. This is far more interesting than in the first film, because it allows scares to be set-up and few questions for the screenwriter to have to answer.

There are still some questions I have though. The first is why Aidan is still such a terrible child. Even Rachel is questioning this time, as she, at one point, asks him why he never calls her "mom." He responds by saying that "Rachel" fits her personality better. When he has a bad dream and sees Samara there, he screams. Rachel comes to him, and asks him what happens. He responds that he's had a nightmare, but won't get into the details. He sees Samara again and gives the same response. He's not a good child, which was one of the reasons I kind of hoped he wouldn't make it through to the end.

At one point in the film, he gets possessed by Samara, for reasons I won't explain. And then he's the model child. He becomes grateful just to spend time with her, he calls her "mommy", and is overall a nice kid. This one section is better than the entirety of the first film, because it had one of its characters actually be a good person, and it showed that David Dorfman can play a non-creepy child, which is something I wasn't sure of the first time around.

In The Ring Two, you get to focus on the horror element, instead of always trying to figure everything out. You don't have to constantly wonder why things are happening, and why the film isn't telling you the reason, and instead get to become immersed in the story about a little girl who is having fun haunting a couple of people. Some back story is given, and it helps us comprehend Samara's motivations, but it still doesn't aid in understanding the first film. But by this point, I had stopped caring and decided to just enjoy myself.

When you get right down to it, that's the reason you watch a horror film. You want to become scared, and you want to enjoy being scared. The Ring Two, unlike the first film in this series, provides those thrills frequently. It's actually enjoyable, and, once again, you don't get bogged down in trying to figure out why everything is happening, and why these characters make the decisions they do. It's all laid out for you here, while all other details are unimportant.

The characterization, just like the first film, is quite weak. Samara continues to be the most interesting character, and the film plays to this. She's the only character that gets a back story or any real personality, which is probably for the best. We want to see more of her and her tortured past, and there's something inside of us that wants to see her get her way. Since we find out what she's endured, and why she continuously wants to haunt these specific people, we actually feel sorry for her, almost more than our leads.

The Ring Two was directed by Hideo Nakata, who directed the fist couple of Ringu films in Japan, the ones that the first Ring was based on. Here, he gives the film the same sense of atmosphere than Gore Verbinski gave us in the first film, but since there are more scares to be had, it works even better. The film is also paced wonderfully, with the unrated version lasting over two hours. But it didn't seem that long, coming and going faster than I thought it would, unlike the first film, which felt too long.

When you get right down to it, The Ring Two still isn't a great film. But it's much better than the first film because it's not a mystery film masquerading itself as horror. This one gives you scares, and doesn't make you question it over and over, which results in something that's far more enjoyable. I liked getting more information on Samara, and, like the original, I appreciated the atmosphere. Since there are more scares this time, and because it didn't feel like it was overstaying its welcome, I had a pretty good time.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:31 pm

Fear
Up until the final moments of Fear, I was enjoying myself. I watched a love story unfold about a sixteen-year-old girl named Nicole (Reese Witherspoon), and a somewhat older David (Mark Wahlberg). They seem like a good pair; she's in need of someone to nurture her, and he's just the guy to do it. He's sweet, gentle, while sounding and acting like such a nice person. Except when he wants a Coke, because then he'll demand it. This is important, trust me.

One moment in the film, David tells Nicole that if something's too good to be true, it usually is. He says that everyone needs some sort of flaw, and asks her what hers is. Apparently, she won't go all the way on the first date. He says that isn't a flaw, and just makes him love her even more. Or maybe he doesn't drop the "L" word that early, Butt does so soon after. She never asks what his flaw is, although that probably would have been a good idea, considering it's a big one that we learn about slowly as Fear progresses.

The tagline is "Together forever. Or else." From that, you can probably figure out what comes next. The person who seems like such a sweet and caring individual ends up being an obsessive type, one who won't take "no" for an answer. Ordering Nicole to bring him a soda is initially what tips her father, Steven (William Petersen), off about David, because he didn't say it like he said everything else. There was authority in his voice, unlike the almost whisper-like quality that is present before. And then there was the quick look that the two exchanged afterward. His David toying with Nicole's father?

As it turns out, he's really obsessive. Like, shrine-building obsessive. It takes a long time for him to get to this point though, first we need to build suspense. We get a feeling something isn't right early on, Butt we brush off these feelings. And then we find out just how far his compulsion towards her goes, and somewhat lose interest. The build-up is far more exciting than the payoff in this case, and if there hadn't actually been anything wrong, and it was just the result of a paranoid father, I probably would have enjoyed it even more.

I'm not going to go so far as to say it isn't a fun film, because if I had a good time for two-thirds of the time it played, it's still a good film in my eyes. Butt I will say that the final third -- which ends up being silly and way too drawn-out -- almost made me really dislike Fear. For the final thirty or so minutes, I was just hoping for it to end, or for some twist to come along that made it all worth watching. Butt, alas, it was not to be, and I left disappointed.

The ending also just comes out of nowhere, with the credits rolling a good five minutes before they should. A lot of things are resolved, Butt I was left with a lot of questions, like wondering who David really was. Was that even his real name? How old was he? Has he done this before, or was this his first target? These could have easily been answered, Butt instead, the credits just begin to roll before my curiosity was satisfied.

I will say that this type of role is perfect for Mark Wahlberg though. He usually has trouble delivering lines with a lot of weight and intensity, and almost always seems like he's too nice of a person. Playing a character that uses that has his strength is just excellent casting. Witherspoon was believable as a lovestruck teenager, while Petersen played an overbearing father just fine. Other roles were unimportant and played with indifference.

I did like the early portions of the plot, even if it's just about a teenager fighting with her father and step-mother, and a charming young man entering her life. As a matter of fact, the most interesting relationship in the film is that of Nicole and her dad, and you bet it'll get resolved one way or another by the time we reach the end. It gets less focus as we progress though, and it becomes more about David and his connection with Nicole and her immediate family.

If there's one good thing to say about Fear, it's that it can be deceptive if you know absolutely nothing about it. The real tension doesn't really happen until the first hour is over, and if you weren't aware of either the genre or basic plot, it'll sneak up on you and give you a surprise. Granted, you've read up until this point, so you'll be privy to that information, Butt if you've somehow started at this paragraph, go watch the movie now, and then read the rest of this review. Or maybe you're just really forgetful, and won't remember the general idea by the time you find Fear and watch it, so you'll still get a surprise. (The poster and trailer basically ruin this too though, so I don't feel bad about spoiling as much as I have.) Basically what I'm saying is this: The plot takes a lot of time to get going, and it's because of the extended time we get with these characters that it ends up being moderately successful in thrilling the audience.

Fear is a film that ends up wearing out its welcome way before it ends, Butt still leaves you wanting some questions answered. It's too long, Butt you want more. Maybe scenes that should have been included were edited out, and ones that are redundant were included, I'm not sure. What I do know is that this isn't a thriller that completely satisfies, even if it has a strong cast and a good enough premise.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:30 am

The Strangers
The Strangers involves a group of people whose sole purpose in life seems to terrify others, and attempt to creep out moviegoing audiences. At least, that's what I gather from this film, because many acts are done just for our purposes, to make us feel scared. Take, for example, when one of these characters plays on a swing set, but in the next scene, she's gone. This is pointless, except to make it seem like they're more ghost-like than human.

We begin by meeting our two lead characters. Kristen and James (Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman respectively) are coming home from a wedding reception. We find out through flashbacks that he proposed, and she declined, although why this point is made is still unclear to me. Nothing is ever done with it, and it doesn't add any depth to these characters. They're not fighting with one another, although they're not talking much either. They get to their house, and begin discussing things. But then there's a knock on the door. Someone's there.

It turns out to be a girl who asks whether or not Tamara is home. They don't seem too taken aback by this question, but respond by claiming that she's got the wrong house. There is no Tamara here. "Are you sure?", she asks, before having the door closed in her face. She comes back later, although this time, the door isn't opened; the conversation takes place again, although it happens through the door, instead of face-to-obscured-face. The young lady goes away without finding this Tamara once again, but she stays on the street, staring at the house.

It's at this point when we, and the two lead characters, realize that this is a horror movie. There ends up being three villains, all of whom have a face obscured by some sort of mask. They circle the house, jumping at the windows whenever one of our protagonists decide to look out one. And then they manage to find their way inside the house, and even more jump scenes occur. Sometimes they just stalk their victims without even touching them, while we look on and watch. But these scenes lead to nothing other than building tension -- something that The Strangers ends up living on.

Apart from the red tinge that's added to everything, this is a film that does a good job of building a mood. Everything's dark (and red), we're aware of the villains' presence, but we're not quite sure what they're capable of. Since they can move at such a seemingly extraordinary speed, we don't know when or where they'll pop up next. And they have weapons, like axes or knives, although they, for the most part, seem unwilling to use them. And, oh yes, this is based on a true story, according to the words that appear at the very beginning. "Fun", I thought. It was.

Why are these people being tormented? Kristen asks this twice, even if the best answer she can get is "because you were home." That's a great reason, as it shows just how insane the bad guys really are. It might also explain things like playing on a swing set before disappearing so that the swings always seem to be moving, or acting as creepy as possible. Maybe they get amusement out of it, just as much as we get thrills. Many horror movies get weaker the more you think about them; The Strangers becomes more fascinating.

Mention must also be made of the ending, which ends with the best jump scene I can remember. I actually jumped, and whether it was the movie screaming or the person next to me, I heard something high-pitched. My heart began pounding faster because I didn't expect anything like what I got. Many jump scenes are set-up so obviously that you know they're coming. This wasn't one of them. Ending on the note that this film does gave me a better feeling about the film as a whole, because I reflected back on how well the setting and the mood worked in building suspense. This could have been a film that fizzled out and died quietly, but that's not what happened -- it goes down fighting.

It's not, however, an amazing film, because of how many pieces aren't there. The main characters are Mr. and Mrs. Everyman, having no distinct personality or back story, and not reacting all that well to the horrors that are about to befall them. Even the whole proposal thing seemed tacked-on and ends up being forgotten about. You might expect Kristen to change her mind about the rejection and find out how much she really does love James, but no, that doesn't happen either. I'm thinking it was there to make it seem like writer/director Bryan Bertino cared about his characters, but this is a thinly-veiled disguise that was easy to see through, unlike the ones worn by our villains here.

The use of shaky-cam also got to me by the end. It does actually help build some immersion -- and with horror movies, that's always a good thing -- but it was overused by a good ten or so minutes. The pacing was actually quite good, and apart from the uninteresting and unimportant back story, nothing seems like it's gone to waste here. The home invasion premise could have easily taken up more time that it does, but instead, we end up with an 80-minutes-and-change horror film that actually delivers some scares.

The Strangers is a good horror movie that gives you what you want: Scary situations and characters. My heart was pounding for a lot of the time it was playing, and I ended up having a lot of fun, especially with the amazing final scene. While the shaky-cam did get to me, and the characters had pretty much no depth, I got what I came for with this film. It also gets better when I think about it, which is a good sign in my eyes. There are jump scenes galore here, but if you want a great film about a couple getting trapped in their house by three psychopaths, you've got it here.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:42 am

The scene depicted on the cover was brilliant, holy shit.
I wonder if it's based on the Hopskenville incident, when it says 'true story'? Certainly reminds me of it.
Just replace strangers with little green men & they're the same thing.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:59 am

Drag Me to Hell
Drag Me To Hell is a film that lives and dies by its jump scares. If you enjoy them, you'll have a good time here. If you're like me, and you get tired of them quickly, you'll end up napping whenever we get to a silent point, because you know exactly what's going to happen, and you know that there's no point in paying any attention to the scene anymore; you're aware that at some point, a loud noise will occur, and something will appear on the screen.

The reason I dislike these types of scaring effects is two-fold. To start, it's not real terror. Secondly, it doesn't really matter what happens on-screen; the combination of the loud noise and a quick-cut to something is enough to make you jump. For all you care, a toilet, kitty cat or terrifying leaf could be shown, but you'd still jump because of the manner they're presented in. They just don't appeal to me, and as a result, I got tired every time Drag Me To Hell tried to scare me.

Our story opens up in 1969, where a young boy is brought to a psychic's house. He's been cursed, and then he gets eaten by a demon. Fun. We then flash-forward to present day, where bank loan manager Christine (Alison Lohman) is lusting over the Assistant Manager's position, which is currently unoccupied. An old woman named Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) comes into the bank, and asks for an extension on her mortgage. Since she's already had two, it wouldn't be in the bank's interest to approve. Christine, who desperately wants a promotion, declines Mrs. Ganush, who ends up on her hands and knees begging.

Security is called, Mrs. Ganush is escorted off the premises, and the day goes on. At the end of it, the old woman manages to find her way into Christine's car, and a small scuffle ensues. For a person who has lost one eye and looks about a day away from death, she can sure put up a fight. At the end of it, she grabs Christine's button from her shirt, and puts a curse on it. Why she didn't open with that move is beyond me -- she didn't even attempt it at the bank or during the fight -- but we'll chalk it up to senility.

Of course, Christine has no idea what happened to the button, so she goes to a fortune teller (Dileep Rao) to find out. He tells her that she has three days before she'll be dragged into the abyss, and it's all because she was doing her job. If I ever end up working at a bank, I'll be sure not to decline an old woman, because apparently that's enough of a sin to be sent to Hell. Makes sense, right?

Multiple attempts end up being made to avoid the inevitable, including a visit to Mrs. Ganush's granddaughter's house (she's now lost her own). But, no matter what Christine seems to do, the demon torments her because that's what is fun for them to do. Pots clang together, shadows move and throw her against walls, and bugs seem to have found the back of her throat a nice place to make a home. Oh, and jump scenes are the most popular choice of this demon, because they definitely don't get old after you've seen them dozens of times. Nope, not a chance.

As a matter of fact, Christine might just be a demon herself. At her office, she ends up with the worst nosebleed of all time. Blood can't leave her nose fast enough, so she ends up shooting some out of her mouth too. It looks like more blood than you actually have in your body, and even after that, she just runs out without anyone doing anything about it. And then she gets thrown into walls and doors, but gets up like nothing's happened. At one point, I wondered if she was imagining it all, and while it's possible, I think that this is a film you take just at face value.

There are points in Drag Me To Hell that are funny. There are even more points that were supposed to be funny, but end up falling flat. I imagine that the fight scene between Christine and Mrs. Ganush was supposed to be more comedic than frightening, but it drags on for far too long, and left me just wishing for one of them to die. There's another where an anvil falls on someone's head, and yet another where Christine fights with a corpse. The last one is probably the best, and possibly funniest, fight scene of the film, and no, I'm not going to tell you how it works.

The ending is also something that seems to think that it will surprise you, but is incredibly predictable if you've seen any move before that uses a similar one. It just seemed silly to me, and while it doesn't exactly end on a happy note, it probably would have been more surprising if it did, and was allowed to just walk into the sunset peacefully. But it doesn't get that opportunity, and instead has to end in the way everyone sees coming, and without any true surprise (just like whenever a jump scene is about to come up).

In terms of the acting, everyone was bland except for Lorna Raver as Mrs. Ganush. Christine Taylor, Justin Long, and everyone in the supporting cast all phoned it in. I know that great performances are few and far between in horror movies, but this is one that might have benefited from some. Or at least ones that didn't seem like the actors felt awkward through the entire production.

Drag Me To Hell is the type of horror film I rarely enjoy. It relies too heavily on jump scenes, which I just don't find fun. The twist ending didn't work, the comedic elements fell flat, and the actors looked awkward and wooden. There are moments where it's a decent ride, but in the end, it's too reliant on loud noises and quick cuts to truly terrify me.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Furburt on Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:53 am

Why didn't it have Bruce Campbell in it? My only question.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:03 am

I'm guessing a scheduling conflict.

I can't think of another reason.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Hubilub on Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:45 am

Pararaptor wrote:The scene depicted on the cover was brilliant, holy shit.
I wonder if it's based on the Hopskenville incident, when it says 'true story'? Certainly reminds me of it.
Just replace strangers with little green men & they're the same thing.
I looked into it, and it's fucking bullshit, dude. Apparently the director based it partly on the Manson murders, and partly on a series of break-ins that happened in his neighborhood when he was a kid.

THAT IS NOT A TRUE STORY.

Also, WHY DID THEY KILL SOMEONE SO BEAUTIFUL?



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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Hubilub on Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:51 am

HOLY SHIT IS GLENN HOWERTON IN THE STRANGERS?

I MUST SEE THAT FILM NOW

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by MilkyFresh on Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:56 pm

WHAT


WHO DOES HE PLAY


I MUST ALSO SEE THIS

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:59 pm

He plays the terrorised couple's friend who comes out to help them.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by MilkyFresh on Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:00 pm

I will watch this movie. The review sounds kind of appealing too.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:25 pm

It's great.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:05 am

See No Evil
If you've watched the WWE in the past, let's say, 15 years, you've probably seen the superstar known as Kane. He is billed at seven feet tall, and over 300 pounds. How tall and heavy he actually is will likely never be known. The point is, he's a big dude who is an imposing presence, but still isn't so big that you don't believe he's agile, especially if you've watched him dive off the turnbuckle on television.

Now, taking this man and making him the villain of a slasher film seems like a good idea. Like I said, he's a large dude who is intimidating, but still moves quick enough so that you can't simply outrun him. Now, having him fight against a bunch of teenagers trapped inside of a rundown hotel also seems like it could work out. Slasher movies with a worse basic idea have worked in the past, and I could see this premise being put to good use. That didn't happen, but I imagine that it could have worked out well.

We begin with a couple of police officers entering a home. They see a bunch of crosses, and hear a girl screaming. One of them takes an axe to the back of the head, while the other one gets it in the arm. He shoots, hitting the axe-weilder in the forehead. The axe is dropped, and the murdered runs away, while the surviving officer calls for backup. The screaming girl had her eyes torn out. We realize that the killer is Kane, although we only find out that his name is Jacob very late into the film. It's not a spoiler, because the name is insignificant -- I just would rather call him his character's name rather than his WWE name.

We then move four years in the future, where the now one-armed cop is working at a prison. They've decided to instate a new program, where young-adults who have had good behavior get a chance to knock a month off their sentence by doing three days of hard labor. We get a close-up shot of each of these characters while they're on the bus, as well as the reason they were imprisoned in the first place. None of it matters, because they'll soon all be victims to Jacob the psychopath.

There's a little bit of time building up these characters, and we get a small feeling of who they are. These aren't bad people, especially after the killings begin. I had a hard time believing that they were convicts, actually, because they didn't act like it. Most of their crimes were just things like drug possession anyway, and apart from them trying to get a curse word into every sentence, I would have assumed them to be average citizens. (Or is that average nowadays too?)

And then they start dying. Jacob has a hook that he uses to drag his victims away, and then he rips their eyes out, and kills them, although not necessarily in that order. Most of the time, he'll kill them first, which means that the gore is actually somewhat toned-down from what I expected given how See No Evil opens. There is a lot of blood and bodily extremities on-display, and it eventually looks pretty silly. But that's the sort of film this is, so if you like gory slasher flicks, you might actually enjoy this one.

Kane actually does end up making a decent villain, even if his character needed some massive rewrites. The back story given (abusive childhood) ends up being superfluous information, and aren't you tired of the abusive-childhood-turned-superhero plot in slasher films? It seems like this is used fairly often to make the bad guy incredibly difficult to kill. He also gets almost no lines of dialogue, which was a shame, because it means that all Kane got to do was look menacing -- something he does quite proficiently. I would have liked to see him in a speaking role though, as seeing how well he could act on-screen would have been fun.

Unfortunately, all of his hard work is undone by the script, which doesn't give him anything interesting to do. He gets to smash through walls, hit people with axes and embed a hook into their shoulder, but that's just about it. He does the same thing over and over again, with nothing being fresh or all that entertaining. We've seen it all before, and since that's the case, we don't get any thrills from the deaths, because they are all routine.

There also isn't all that much suspense to the film, as it's just about as standard and cliché as you come. There's one surprise that got me, but it only serves to give us a little bit of reasoning -- which is something we don't really need. Isn't having a possibly religious serial killer trapped in a hotel with a bunch of teenagers good enough? See No Evil doesn't think so, so instead, we get a twist that makes sure this doesn't happen.

I did like the setting, even if it was a bit too dark. A rundown hotel is a good place to have a serial killer show up, so putting it here worked in the film's favor. And like I said earlier, the premise had potential, it just wasn't used all that well. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I did spend the entire film hoping for The Undertaker to show up. Yes, I left disappointed in this area.

See No Evil ends up being a mundane slasher film. It doesn't contain much surprise or suspense, which means that any of the fun we could have had is removed and replaced with boredom (and maggots). It had a lot of potential, and Kane does make a good villain, but it doesn't do anything all that well, and does absolutely nothing to differentiate it from other films in the slasher genre.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Furburt on Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:39 am

Wow, what even got you around to that?

I suppose if you're going down that road, you might as well review the Marine, with John Cena. Equally stupid, I believe.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:46 am

I already reviewed The Marine.

And I have a review for The Marine 2 written, but it isn't yet posted.

The reason I watched this is because I actually like Kane, or at least, I did when I watched wrestling. Always wanted to see how he did in this film.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Furburt on Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:50 am

Jeff Hardy was my favourite, but I was only really ever into the games.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:51 am

I liked Hardy as well, mostly because he would do just whatever the hell he could to get the audience to gasp. He'd just throw himself off whatever structure he could find. Always entertaining.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Furburt on Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:53 am

Indeed. Always loved the clowns, like Mick Foley.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:59 am

How Mick Foley is still alive is a mystery to me.

Also, I'm writing reviews on pain pills. I think my spelling actually improves when I'm on them, as I'm making fewer mistakes. Weird.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by MilkyFresh on Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:20 am

I was just coming in to froth about my brutally rape of Mick Foley. Damn you faggots, beating me to it.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by MilkyFresh on Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:21 am

Brutally rape. Lawllwlwllloooowl.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:07 am

Blade
The world we're presented with in Blade is one where vampires exist and have done so for thousands of years. They walk around like regular people, although you can only see them at night. Sunlight, as movies from decades previous have told us, can kill them. However, holy water and crosses do nothing. Those are myths. Blade makes sure to tell us these things, because if it didn't, we might question why nobody carries around these potential weapons.

A truce exists between the vampires and humans, although we never get to the nitty-gritty details of the arrangement. Vampires are allowed to live, while they'll only kill a certain amount of humans each day? I'm not sure. Apparently, vampires run the police, blood banks, and own half the real estate of downtown. Maybe that's the deal they made with the government? I don't know, but I wanted to. However, things like these are only brought up in order to make us seem like the vampires are more powerful than they really are, and also to make them seem evil, even if only a select group is doing anything to violate the terms agreed upon.

Our hero is named after the title, or, more likely, it was the other way around. Blade (Wesley Snipes) was born by cesarean section to a mother who was recently bitten by the creatures who hunt during the night. We meet him several years later when he decides to take out some frustrations on a group of vampires who were having a party. He gets a long action scene where he uses guns, silver stakes (which are not a myth and end up disintegrating vampires) and a very nice sword. He then heads to a hospital, ends up rescuing a woman who was bitten, and takes her to his hideout.

Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) is waiting for him. He tells Blade that he should have killed the woman, who we learn is named Karen (N'Bushe Wright). She's given a 50/50 shot of not turning into a vampire after they treat her wounds. When she awakens, we're told that there's a war going on between vampires and vampire hunters, although a deal was reached there in order to keep it off the streets. I would have loved to be in that negotiation room.

We then meet our villain, Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff). He hosted the party that Blade so rudely interrupted, although he doesn't appear to distraught when he learns of the deaths of many of his invitees. He's not a pure-blood -- that is, someone who was born a vampire and not turned later -- but wishes so dearly to be one. His evil scheme involves summoning the blood-god named La Magra that will create a "vampire apocalypse", turning everyone on the planet into a vampire or a corpse.

Since Blade somehow manages to walk around during the day, have an immunity to silver and be and all-around tough guy, he's the one that's going to have to stop Mr. Frost. There is a great deal of effort given to hide away the reasoning behind these resistances, although even when it's revealed, it's not a big deal. He has to take a serum for some reason, and it's starting to fail him. Blade isn't a happy character, and he does have a weakness, which makes him seem somewhat relatable.

That's the key to having a great superhero film; you need to have your lead have some sort of flaw. Blade has one, although, like I said, since the film tries to hide it for as long as possible, I'm not going to undermine that attempt. He ends up being a good enough character to carry the film, and he definitely needs to. Both his physical presence and the way his character is written make sure he's the focal point at all moments. Considering how weak the other characters are, Snipes has to carry this film. He does an adequate job in this regard.

I'm still very unsure of how the villain manages to get away with his plot up until the end. We're told there are so many vampires out there, that even with the hunters going around, there are more vampires being created than being killed. There's an entire counsel of older, pure-blood vampires. They know that Frost is planning something, and he tells more than enough people so that one of them could tattle and his entire plan would be ruined. Why nobody tries to stop him early on doesn't make sense to me. But maybe there's another sort of agreement that says vampires don't kill other vampires. It turns out that all of these agreements turn out to be pretty important in the grand scheme of things.

Blade is an action film, first and foremost, and as a result is made or broken on its action scene. For the most part, they're pretty entertaining, although the insistence to contain a ton of CGI (which all looks terrible) was a shame. The fight scenes were all a lot of fun though, and since most of the time, weapons are used instead of fists, you've got a lot more that you can do with the large set-pieces.

The story, on the other hand, is the generic villain-with-a-plan one, which is likely something you've seen a dozen times. It doesn't do anything new, except killing off a major character earlier than it rightfully should have, but it's predictable and won't hold your interest. You're hear for a vampire action movie, not a character study. I know, but it would have been nice for their to be one major twist. And no, Blade's weakness, true nature, or whatever you want to call it does not count.

In the end, Blade is a fun action movie that has vampires replacing your average villain. Not much is done with the vampires, except that it allows you to defy gravity and human limitations a bunch of times. That's a good decision in my eyes. It has an interesting protagonist, a bunch of exciting action scenes, and a generic story that serves just to give an excuse for these set-pieces and sword fights. It's good enough entertainment, and an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:02 pm

Blade II
When creating Blade, I wonder whether a sequel was planned. It was thought about, I'm certain, but I wonder if there was a definite plan during its production. If there wasn't, they did an excellent job of creating one. If there was, I wonder why they didn't incorporate some of the ideas of Blade II in the first film, because it might have made it even better.

We open with Blade (Wesley Snipes) attempting to locate his father-figure Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson). Since characters shooting themselves off-screen in an R-rated movie typically means that they aren't truly dead, he managed to make it through the first Blade, and is now in a suspended state. He was captured by the vampires, and now Blade wants him dead, because he's been turned. He eventually locates him, but is unable to kill him right then and there. He decides instead to attempt a cure, and open the blinds. If he dies, it needed to be done. If he lives, Blade gets his best friend back.

Of course, Abraham lives. This is good, as I like Kristofferson, and his character is fun to be around. Blade is still downing a serum to restrain his thirst for blood, although his other vampire traits remain; he still has superhuman strength, agility, and regeneration. Thankfully, since we found out that he's part human, he doesn't get affected by garlic, silver or sunlight. This makes him an ideal hero, especially one to hunt vampires. This makes it seem odd that they come to him with a proposal, especially after he kills a whole bunch of the creatures just to free his friend.

It turns out that the vampiric virus has evolved into something different. These new creatures are dubbed "Reapers", and they're immune if silver and garlic. Sunlight still gets to them though, which means they can be killed. The vampires call Blade to team-up with him to hunt the Reapers -- a creature that has to feast every 24 hours, and seems to only target vampires.

Blade questions why he'd want to help the vampires, considering the Reapers are helping him do his job. They explain that after all the vampires are dead, the Reapers would likely target the humans, who Blade is dead-set against letting die. So they team up and decide to go hunt some Reapers, all while not trusting one another, or even themselves. Blade II toys around having none of the characters trust each other, even Blade and Abraham, considering he had been a vampire for over two years. One character remarks that nobody quits being bloodthirsty in just one night. Abraham disappears at one point in the film. Where did he go? Is he going to turn against Blade? Unfortunately, this concept is largely forgotten about.

The vampire team that Blade is given have supposedly been training for two years. Not to kill the Reapers, but to kill him. I can see how that would cause some tension. The two main vampires are Nyssa (Leonar Varela) and Reinhardt (Ron Perlman), although each one is unique. Maybe not unique in their personality, but in what weapon they use. A couple of them use guns, one of them dual-wields swords, while another has a massive hammer. Hunting has never been so much fun.

The story does get a tad more complicated than it's set-up to be, and there are even a few twists -- an element that would have greatly helped the first Blade. Characters don't stay stagnant, and the final act ends up in a different direction than you might expect. While the twists aren't amazing, at least an effort was made in attempting to surprise the audience, which is something to be applauded. It still isn't a complex or deep story, but it's enough to hold interest, and is far less forgettable than the one in Blade.

Since this is still primarily an action film, you want a lot of action to be present. I'm not positive, but it felt like there was even more action than in Blade II's predecessor. The set-pieces are larger too, and I would argue that they're more creative this time around as well. Everything has been ramped up a notch, with this film being a great example of how to make a good sequel using the "bigger is better" approach.

This time around, the director was Guillermo del Toro. He gave this film a lot darker atmosphere than Blade had, which I think worked to its advantage. At times, it actually works as a genuine horror film, while not sacrificing the action. What results is an incredibly fun film to watch that has more depth and things to watch for than its predecessor.

Wesley Snipes still embodies his character with the gravitas that it requires. He understands Blade, and he gets how to play him. He needs to be confident, a bit of a jerk, but still flawed and at times, unhappy. He does this, all while being able to take apart entire armies without using more than one hand. Blade is a character that I've grown to really enjoy watching, and is one that I want to see more of.

For the most part, Blade II takes everything that Blade did and made it better. The action was better, there was more humor, it actually, at times, worked as a horror film, and its story holds your interest instead of simply being an excuse to set-up action scenes. Everything has been improved in Blade II, and as a result, it's a rewarding action movie that's definitely worthy of a watch, especially if you enjoyed Blade.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:42 am

Blade: Tirinity
After Blade II, which was a great vampire action film, I wanted to see more of the character of Blade (Wesley Snipes). He almost got a real brutally rape interest in that film, and I wondered what could be done with that angle. I questioned if he could develop more, or if he could become an even greater hunter. Honestly, I wouldn't have been surprised if he became a vampire-human-Reaper hybrid after Blade II ended. After watching Blade: Trinity, I retract my previous desire to see more, as I've since realized that it would be unnecessary.

Maybe the problem was the story, which is just as basic as the first one. Or possibly the fact that writer/director David S. Goyer (who wrote the first two Blade screenplays) decided to forgo the mythos that had been crafted in the previous films. Hey, it might even be the studio's fault for rejecting the initial concept of having the film take place in a post-apocalyptic world where Blade would be the humans' only hope for survival. I'm willing to call this the worst film in the Blade trilogy, although it still wasn't terrible -- just incredibly unnecessary and moronic.

The film opens up with a group of vampires digging around in a desert. They discover a buried vampire named Dracula (Dominic Purcell). Yes, that Dracula. Well, a re-imagining of that Dracula. This one has been around for thousands of years, can morph his body, walk around in the sunlight, and isn't really affected by any of those silly vampire weaknesses that pain the creatures in this series. Once again, the basic idea is that the evil vampires want to become "daywalkers", just like Blade can. If that's all they can aspire to, isn't their existence kind of boring? Do we really need to see them trying to be able to live in daylight again?

The answer is an emphatic "no." Like the first Blade, this plot is basically there just to have a bunch of action scenes. This time though, they serve a secondary purpose: To allow Charlie Brooker Reynolds to make wise-cracking jokes whenever he gets the opportunity. Yes, Blade gets new partners in this film, and they come from the likes of Hannibal King (Reynolds) and Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel). Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) is killed off very early on, so his daughter -- who nobody knew about and her existence gets explained away in one sentence -- takes his place (kind of).

Now, killing Abraham seems like a bad idea, just like it was in the first Blade. It was such a bad idea then, that they retconned it in Blade II. So why do that again? Regardless, he dies during an FBI raid, because Blade has attracted lots of attention after killing a human in public view, despite thinking he was a vampire. (He's fooled by false teeth.) Now, wasn't Blade able to tell the difference between a vampire and human because of how they move and smell? Wasn't that explained in the first film? So how is he fooled by false teeth?

There are other moments where it seemed like Goyer didn't even watch the first two films, let alone write the screenplay for them. I would have thought that he'd be able to come up with something interesting for Snipes to do with his role, but instead, there's absolutely no development to his character, and, as it turns out, we probably would have been better without Blade: Trinity being made.

I will say that this is the funniest Blade film so far. Whether or not that's a good thing will be up to you, but it definitely tries to be humorous, with various results. The tone is definitely lighter this time around, although I don't know if that's a positive. If this wasn't a movie with a previously established canon, it might have worked as a very good action-comedy. But since this is a Blade film, I don't think it works as well as it could have.

Really, what should have happened here was a few things. Firstly, it shouldn't have been a Blade film. Secondly, re-work the first half into giving us a new characters, and give them things to work on throughout the picture. Finally, have the final action scene more impressive than the ones we see earlier. The first fight scene is the best, which isn't a good thing. Blade gets a cool new gadget that acts like a whip with a blade on the end. He acknowledges it, thanks Abraham for making it, and then it is never used again. Judging from the first scene alone, I would have called this the best of the series. It's a shame that it just got worse as it progressed.

I also need to wonder why Blade needed sidekicks, or why the FBI angle was introduced at all. At one point, he gets taken into questioning, after having his hideout blown up. The next day, he manages to just waltz right into a giant building, right after escaping from their custody in a huge firefight. And then the FBI are never mentioned again. It just smells of bad writing and directing, which was never much of a problem before. Maybe Goyer had too much on his plate.

As for giving Blade a couple of sidekicks, well, they end up taking up far more time than they should. This isn't really a film about Blade. Instead, it's about a jokester and a girl who fights vampires while listening to music on her iPod. (Which I wager was included just to give us a reason for all of the hip-hop songs that populate the soundtrack.) Blade doesn't get enough time to do anything really great, and ends up getting relegated to the background by the end.

I suppose that the action scenes are, for the most part, fine. They work, functioning just fine at being entertaining. But that's it. There's nothing special to them, and they were done better in previous Blade films, especially because they weren't so reliant on hand-to-hand combat cut up so that you can barely see what's going on. The opening scene is probably the best in the series though, which gets your hopes up really high. Like I said, the action works, but it's nothing special and ends up being worse than earlier installments.

Blade: Trinity is a capable action film, but a pointless one. We didn't need any more of this character, at least, not if this is how he's going to be presented. The action works, but that's as good as it generally gets, the secondary characters end up overtaking Blade, and the tone is far lighter than this material deserves. If this wasn't a Blade film, it might have been pretty good. But since it is, using characters who have been given much better, we have to look at it as such. It passes the time, but that's it. There isn't any need to give it a look, unless you desperately need to hear Charlie Brooker Reynolds joking around for a couple of hours.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:47 am

And I now hate the word filter. Is there anyway we can make it not apply to certain areas?

Time to go check.

EDIT: Nope. Reviews posted here will always be messed up, I guess.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Furburt on Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:16 am

You should post it on the Escapist in this form and see if anyone notices.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:44 am

Marter wrote:And I now hate the word filter. Is there anyway we can make it not apply to certain areas?

Time to go check.

EDIT: Nope. Reviews posted here will always be messed up, I guess.
Screencap it while it's in the text box, then post it as an image.

Do we really have to have the wordfilter still though? It's just annoying at this point.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by MilkyFresh on Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:00 am

Annoyingly great

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Hubilub on Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:08 am

I HAVE PURIFIED THE WORLD

LOVE
FUCKIN'
ASSANGE
RYAN

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Furburt on Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:08 am

I love fucking Ryan Assange too.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Furburt on Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:09 am

Julian's less well known brother.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:25 pm

Dead Snow
Dead Snow opens with a bunch of teenagers going to a cabin in the woods. They notice this, and after realizing that their cell phones aren't getting reception, they decide to name other movies that have a similar premise. One notes Friday the 13th, another, the first two Evil Dead movies. Finally, one of them mentions 1984's April Fool's Day. If at this point, you're guessing that horror clichés will be used ad-nauseum, well, you're right.

The first one we get are those fake jump scenes. You know the ones, where all of a sudden, there's a loud noise and something appears on-screen, but it's not anything threatening. Yeah, those take up most of the first half-hour of this movie. Our group encounters an elderly man who explains that their vacation cabin is situated in former Nazi territory. But they "probably froze to death", so that means that they didn't. Since you've decide to watch this movie, you have probably heard the basic idea behind it. If you haven't, here we go.

The Nazis have managed to stay alive through the zombification process. And now they want to kill our group of medical students. One of them really likes movies, so he can give the rest the useful advice of "don't get bitten." The zombies decide to start attacking our main group, beginning with real jump scenes, and progressing to bloody, campy fight scenes. Really, really bloody scenes. Why do low budget horror movies like this one always decide to ramp up the gore? Are the compensating for something else? Whatever. Blood spews out of every body part, whether a character receives a minor scratch or chainsawed-off arm.

If I were to create a "what I learned from..." list about Dead Snow, topping it would be what I learned about zombies. Apparently, they're not the bloodthirsty creatures that the movies have taught us, and instead, obey orders from higher-ranking zombies, plan, strategize, and are cautious. They'll also wait just until the right moment to alert you to their presence, even if it wouldn't benefit their attempt to get food -- which isn't their primary goal.

They seem like they have a lot more fun toying with their prey than actually devouring it. I'll give you an example. One of the characters hides in a tree, but ends up in a fight with a crow, which she assumes will give away her location. Two zombies are beneath her, looking around for where she might be. After silencing the crow, she looks around and doesn't see the zombies. Then she glances toward the trunk of the tree, and there they are, waiting for her to look down so that she'll feel dread. They could have gotten the jump on her, but instead thought it wise to make her jump to escape.

But a lot of this was done in an attempt to be funny. At times, it succeeds. There's one line of dialogue coupled with the situation presented that I'll remember for a long time. One character recently fell into the bottom of an outhouse, and arose covered in excrement. When she's missing, and the others are looking for her, one exclaims that she was very drunk and probably just passed out in the can. Different words were used, but I'm keeping my reviews family friendly, so you'll have to figure out another word for "wasted" that involved excrement would be. That's as much as you're getting out of me. Needless to say, I laughed a lot at this line.

Other times though, the jokes fall flat, likely because of how hard the were trying to be funny. There's a fine line you have to walk when trying to make something that's genuinely scary as well as funny, and Dead Snow didn't really accomplish either in my eyes. It's only intermittently funny and scary, and while it's not bad, all of the clichés ended up wearing me out. Even if done intentionally, as I assume was the case here, seeing cliché after cliché is tiring.

There are moments when the scary parts work, and there are moments where I laughed. I just felt like there weren't enough of these moments to make it a worthwhile viewing experience. It also takes somewhere around 40 minutes before anything to happen -- apart from the opening scene where someone is attacked and eaten -- and even after things begin, it actually gets less frightening. The build-up is far better than the payoff here, which is unfortunate.

Now, the reasoning behind the zombie attack is explained, although it doesn't make sense given the opening scene. Suffice to say that the teenagers do something that we're lead to believe causes the attack, and the ending reinforces that point. So why was someone attacked in the first scene? Why had the zombies already begun their assault? Was it inevitable? I'm not sure, but I'm not questioning whether that was also part of the parody. Whatever. A plot that makes sense isn't what you're looking for in a horror movie.

Dead Snow is a film that worked intermittently, but didn't wind up being all that enjoyable. The horror and comedy mixture largely didn't work, which makes it really difficult to give this a recommendation. It also didn't make all that much sense, although in retrospect that's probably part of the parody that they were going for. I just didn't have much fun here. whether it be being scared or laughing, I just didn't get enough to make it worth my time.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Sat Oct 15, 2011 12:39 am

I watched Blade last night Marter.

You failed to mention how stuuuuuuuuuupid it is. What the fuck, I didn't know whether to laugh or give up on it.
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