Tag Archives: 2009

Inglourious Basterds (2009) Review

Time: 153 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and offensive language
Brad Pitt as Aldo “The Apache” Raine
Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna Dreyfus/Emmanuelle Mimieux
Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa
Eli Roth as Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz
Michael Fassbender as Archie Hicox
Diane Kruger as Bridget von Hammersmark
Daniel Brühl as Private First Class Fredrick Zoller
Til Schweiger as Hugo Stiglitz
Director: Quentin Tarantino

In World War 2, a group of American soldiers led by LT. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) is sent into Nazi occupied France to kill as many Nazis as possible. A plan is made to kill high ranking German officers at a movie theatre. That movie theatre belongs to Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent), a Jewish refugee who witnessed the deaths of her family by Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). When she finds that every major Nazi officer is attending for a premiere, she hatches a plan of her own.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1]

Inglourious Basterds is widely considered one of the best films from Quentin Tarantino, and for good reason. The acting, direction but most of all the writing makes this such a unique, different and entertaining movie, which has gotten better every time I’ve watched it. One of his most complete movies and definitely one of his top tier movies, if not his all time best.

It’s no surprise that Quentin Tarantino’s writing is fantastic, in its 2 hour and 20 minute runtime it doesn’t miss a beat. From start to finish the film is riveting, a good example of one of these scenes, happens to be one of the best scenes, which is at the very beginning; it was a very tense and it’s a credit to the actors and Tarantino. One thing that is different from his other movies is the way it is structured; the film is broken up into chapters, focussing on particular characters. It’s only in the final chapter where both the Basterds, Hans Landa and Shosanna are in the same chapter. As usual the dialogue is fantastic, and while Tarantino could be considered self-indulgent with some of the dialogue in this movies, here all of it feels just right. Another difference is the use of 4 multiple languages throughout the movie, which was definitely a different turn from Tarantino and made things interesting. The final act of this movie is exhilarating and very entertaining in one bloodbath of a finale.

Tarantino gets the best out of everyone who stars in his movies and Inglourious Basterds is no exception. Brad Pitt is hilarious in this movie, especially with his very overplayed accent. Other actors like Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, Michael Fassbender and Daniel Bruhl, all have great moments in this movie and contribute to the movie immensely. There are however two standouts among the cast. The performance that steals the show of course is by Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa. Waltz is magnetic when he’s on screen, that aforementioned opening scene establishes him as an absolute screen presence. Melanie Laurent is often overlooked in this movie but she’s really fantastic here, definitely deserving of much more praise.

Quentin Tarantino effortlessly directs this movie with his style and infuses it with a lot of energy. Tarantino really helps to set the film in the 1940s, from the production design to the costumes, all of it was done well with great detail and it really paid off. Helping this is the music picked for it, even when some of the songs that are used in a much later time period (including Cat People by David Bowie), they fit perfectly in the scenes they are placed in.

Inglourious Basterds has gotten better every single time that I’ve seen it. The performances from its large and talented cast (especially from Melanie Laurent and Christoph Waltz) were great, and of course the writing and direction is at the core of what made it work so well. Though we are still a little while away from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, at this point in time I’d say that Inglourious Basterds may well be Tarantino’s best film yet. Definitely watch it if you haven’t seen it already.

Enter the Void (2009) Review

Time: 161 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Explicit sex scenes and drug use
Nathaniel Brown as Oscar
Paz de la Huerta as Linda
Cyril Roy as Alex
Ed Spear as Bruno
Director: Gaspar Noé

This psychedelic tour of life after death is seen entirely from the point of view of Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), a young American drug dealer and addict living in Tokyo with his prostitute sister, Linda (Paz de la Huerta). When Oscar is killed by police during a bust gone bad, his spirit journeys from the past — where he sees his parents before their deaths — to the present — where he witnesses his own autopsy — and then to the future, where he looks out for his sister from beyond the grave.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

As I said in my Irreversible review, I decided to watch a couple of Gaspar Noé’s films before seeing his latest film Climax, just to get an idea about Noé as a filmmaker beforehand. Irreversible had an considerable impact on me, effectively disturbing me at points like no other movie has. The other movie I decided to check out was Enter the Void, one of Noé’s most famous movies. All I knew about was that it involved drugs and the afterlife. Enter the Void is not for everyone and there are some things I really didn’t get yet after my first viewing. However, it is incredibly ambitious and original and so well put together that I can’t help but love it.

Enter the Void really is one of those rare movies which really are an experience, you can’t just casually watch it, you really need to be fully immersed in what is going on. Throughout the movie we see what happens in the present day, flashbacks to what happened before, and everything that happens after the incident. Noé manages to make this movie feel so incredibly haunting. You just feel so uncomfortable through large portions of the movie. In the moments where main character Oscar is watching what’s happening in the aftermath of his death, you feel just as powerless as he is. In these segments we don’t even get to hear his thoughts, all he (as well as us) are forced to watch what happens without being able to do anything or react in any way. Enter the Void is a really long movie at 2 hours and 40 minutes and you can really feel it. At one point I was wondering how the whole film will be ended in the next 20 minutes, only to discover that there was a whole hour left of the movie. There’s a lot of the movie that I don’t really get, particularly the last moments of the movie. However it’s likely the case that repeat viewings will help me understand some of the things that I don’t get yet.

The acting is probably the weakest part of the whole movie, not that it’s bad, it’s just that it’s decent at best and is not really the highlight of the movie. There’s not much to say about the lead played by Nathaniel Brown, most of the time that we see him on screen is from behind his head. Aside from that we are mostly looking at things from his point of view, whether that be in the real world or as a ghost. From what little we get of him acting, he does fine. The rest of the cast is alright as well.

Gaspar Noe’s direction was something unique, like with Irreversible there are long tracking shots that aren’t nearly dizzing as that film, but are very immersive and are so impressively put together. There are 3 directing styles used throughout the whole movie. The first takes place through Nathaniel Brown’s eyes, which even has black flickering on the screen to represent blinking. The second are the flashback scenes which take place from behind his head. The third is as a ghost, moving above and around other characters in the aftermath sequences. All of these work extremely well and make you really feel like you’re this person going through all these events. It is very trippy, even allowing for moments to just get weird with some really bizarre hallucinations. It’s also a visually stunning movie, even the city of Tokyo has such a great look to it and manages to shine despite it not being the focus at all. It’s not nearly as disturbing as Irreversible but it’s got some pretty graphic content at times that really are impactful.

Enter the Void like Irreversible is not a movie for everyone but for mostly different reasons. On top of it being disturbing at times and haunting throughout, it’s filmmaking style may not work for some people. It’s also very long and can feel like quite a task to watch at times. I have heard that it is somewhat reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey and although I haven’t seen it yet, I can see some of the similarities. However if you are really into film and you really want to watch a movie like nothing you’ve ever seen before, Enter the Void might actually be for you.

Antichrist (2009) Review

Time: 108 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Explicit sex, graphic violence and genital mutilation.
Willem Dafoe as He
Charlotte Gainsbourg as She
Director: Lars von Trier

While a married couple (Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg) is having sex, their infant son in a nearby room falls out a window to his death. She becomes distraught and is hospitalized, but her husband, who is a psychiatrist, attempts to treat her. Deciding that she needs to face her fears, he takes her to a cabin in the woods where she spent a previous summer with the boy. Once they are there, she becomes more unhinged and starts perpetrating sexual violence on her husband and herself.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Lars von Trier has made many controversial movies in his reasonably large filmography, however it’s his 2009 film Antichrist that is still his most controversial of all. Having watched a couple of von Trier’s previous movies, I checked this out knowing not a lot (outside of some of the infamous moments) and while I guess I can say that I like it, I’m not quite sure what to feel about a lot of it. Generally the response to Antichrist was that the performances and direction were fantastic but very mixed feelings about the actual substance, I’d say that’s the case with me except I lean towards liking the story more than hating it.

Antichrist under an hour and 50 minutes long and honestly I can’t imagine it being longer than that. It’s in the horror genre but it’s not a full on horror movie, definitely don’t go into the movie expecting a horror movie despite the plot being about a couple staying in a cabin in the woods. The movie doesn’t rush into the horrific parts of the movie, it’s a rather slow paced movie that really shows the psychological decline of the two main characters. The third act is where it goes heavy into the extreme violence and what you’re expecting from the movie. Unlike Lars von Trier’s following movies which are more literal with what happens on screen, it’s pretty clear that much of what happens are symbolic or have deeper meanings. I myself wasn’t exactly sure about all the meanings and by the end of the movie I wasn’t really sure what the point of everything was. I can definitely tell that Lars was trying to tell something, it’s not just “hey let’s put two people together and torture them”. However I wasn’t able to understand much of what the movie was trying to say, and I especially don’t get what the ending is supposed to indicate. I won’t go in depth too much with the thematic elements because it’s better experienced for yourself (if you so choose to watch the movie) and also because I myself didn’t pick up on much. However I will address the fact that this movie got so many accusations of misogyny when it came out. Von Trier himself has been accused of misogyny for a while and it started with this movie. From watching the movie and hearing some peoples’ takes on it, I’m more inclined to believe that it’s taking on misogyny more than being misogynistic. Not that I can’t see how they would think the opposite but personally I think misogyny is a prevalent and deliberate theme in Antichrist. Side note, but despite its title, this movie doesn’t involve the Antichrist (at least I don’t think it is). On top of that, from what I can tell the movie really is about depression and nature. As you can expect, pretty much all of the movie is dark and depressing, the happiest scene of the movie is the intro, and that’s the one where a child dies. It is really worth noting that LVT was going through depression while both writing and directing Antichrist, so no doubt that played a big part in the writing of the movie.

Really the only actors in the movie are Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg and they are fantastic. They play unnamed the unnamed couple (credited as He and She) who are trying to deal with the trauma of the death of their child, with Gainsbourg particularly suffering from depression. Dafoe is great as always but it’s Gainsbourg who is particularly impressive, with her having to do some very challenging things in the movie. There isn’t a ton of things when it comes to their characters, as they are more representative of ideas than actually being people.

This film is directed so beautifully by Lars von Trier, I loved the look, the use of colour, all of that. The opening sequence is simultaneously beautiful and tragic, shot in black and white and slow motion. Even before the movie goes to the darkest place of the story, it has such an unnerving feeling throughout, the way things are shot are just bleak. At the same time it’s a stunning looking movie, with beautiful visuals. Now this movie got hit with a lot of controversy, a big part of that being for the extreme content. There are some real sex scenes with real penetration (between Dafoe and Gainsbourg’s porn doubles, they didn’t do these moments themselves), and then there’s the violence. There isn’t a lot of it throughout the entire runtime but the majority of it is in the third act and it can be particularly grisly and unsettling. Now most of the graphic things that happen in the movie I heard before watching the movie, and because of this I think that’s why it didn’t bother me too much, though there were a couple scenes which were really hard to watch. I’ve also seen a lot of violent content in movies before so it wasn’t anything that challenging for me. On top of that, so much of the movie is metaphorical and symbolic that I sort of saw the characters more as representations of things than actual people, making it easier to watch. With that said it is still very graphic and if you are squeamish in the slightest, you aren’t going to be able to sit through to the end.

Saying that Antichrist is not for everyone would be an incredible understatement. It’s immaculately directed and the performances are incredible, but I’m not sure what to think about the rest of the movie yet. It wasn’t even so much the extreme content and more so what the movie is really about, I’m not against it, I just don’t completely understand what it’s trying to say (and I can tell that it’s definitely trying to say something). It may end up being a movie that I’ll need to revisit at some point in the future (even though I really don’t want to). Really all I can say is that if you have a very high threshold for movie violence and are open to more arty films, then maybe check it out if you’re interested in it. Outside of that, as good of a movie as it is, I can’t really recommend it.

Triangle (2009) Review

Time: 99 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language and horror
Melissa George as Jess
Michael Dorman as Greg
Rachael Carpani as Sally
Henry Nixon as Downey
Emma Lung as Heather
Liam Hemsworth as Victor
Director: Christopher Smith

When Jess (Melissa George) sets sail on a yacht with a group of friends, she cannot shake the feeling that there is something wrong. Her suspicions are realized when the yacht hits a storm and the group is forced to board a passing ocean liner to get to safety, a ship Jess is convinced she’s been on before. The ship appears deserted, the clock on board has stopped, but they are not alone… Someone is intent on hunting them down, one by one. And Jess unknowingly holds the key to end the terror.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I hadn’t heard of Triangle until very recently. Because it is the month of Halloween I was looking to watch some horror movies and some people strongly recommended it to me. I didn’t know really anything about Triangle except that it had something to do with people on a yacht and a boat and that it was a horror movie. Not knowing what this movie is actually about really elevated this movie a lot, as I was surprised by the direction that the movie went in and what it was really about. Definitely worth a watch knowing as little as possible.

As I said, Triangle is a movie that’s best going into completely blind. The opening 15-20 minutes are possibly the only parts that you’re not able to be spoiled, talking about what happens for the majority of the movie would be straight up spoiling things. So in that I keep things very vague. Horror movies don’t really scare me, and having watched Triangle I’m not exactly sure if I’d call it a horror movie. It’s not quite you’d expect, it’s more of a psychological horror thriller and I can’t go into why without spoiling it. Overall I’ll just say that it really works, and knowing nothing about the movie makes it even better and more effective. There are some plot points that you can predict after some time, especially when it comes to the ending but it wasn’t too predictable for me. Triangle is 99 minutes long and that was a good length overall, it makes the most of its runtime and gets right to the point, never really giving you any chance to be bored or dragging things out. The slowest part is the first 15-20 minutes and even that it’s fine enough, it’s setting up the initial situation and establishing the main characters.

The cast was generally good in their roles, it’s limited. Michael Dorman, Rachael Carpani, Henry Nixon, Emma Lung and Liam Hemsworth don’t play very interesting characters and we don’t get to know them a lot but they served their purpose. It’s pretty clear anyway that the star of the movie is Melissa George who’s really good in her role and she sells a lot of her emotions as well as the things her character does, has to go through and learns over the course of the movie (no spoilers of course).

This is the first of Christopher Smith’s movies I’ve seen (not his only horror movie, with him also directing Black Death and Creep) but his direction of Triangle was pretty good. Sometimes you can feel the lower budget of $12 million with some of the look of the movie and some CGI effects (I think some were used) but it didn’t really bother me too much. Some of the more intense chase/fight scenes are a little too shaky, I know that was the intention for the feeling of the movie but it could be a little rough at times. As I said, this movie didn’t really scare me, and I don’t really see this as a horror movie. There are some violent and mindbending moments but in terms of physical threat scares, there weren’t too many and I am glad that they didn’t resort to using jumpscares, as it probably would’ve killed some of the best parts of the movie..

Triangle is a surprising little horror flick that isn’t as known as it should be. Don’t really go into Triangle expecting a really scary horror movie, the best way is to expect a twisty psychological horror thriller and knowing nothing else, don’t look into the movie at all as to what kind of movie it is or anything plot related because it’s best not knowing beforehand. Go into this movie blind and you’ll have the best experience.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) Review

Time: 153 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains fantasy violence
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter
Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley
Emma Watson as Hermione Granger
Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore
Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange
Jim Broadbent as Horace Slughorn
Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid
Warwick Davis as Filius Flitwick
Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy
Alan Rickman as Severus Snape
Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall
Timothy Spall as Peter Pettigrew
David Thewlis as Remus Lupin
Julie Walters as Molly Weasley
Director: David Yates

As Death Eaters wreak havoc in both Muggle and Wizard worlds, Hogwarts is no longer a safe haven for students. Though Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) suspects there are new dangers lurking within the castle walls, Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) is more intent than ever on preparing the young wizard for the final battle with Voldemort. Meanwhile, teenage hormones run rampant through Hogwarts, presenting a different sort of danger. Love may be in the air, but tragedy looms, and Hogwarts may never be the same again.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

After The Order of the Phoenix, Warner Bros was dead set on director David Yates doing the rest of the Harry Potter series. Having seen the next movies, I’d say that this was a very good call. The Half Blood Prince is a well balanced, dark and effective movie, and for sure one of the best movies in the series.

Half Blood Prince has a rather dark story and so had a dark tone, this is established in the first scene of the movie. It’s evident throughout. With that said, the movie is not devoid of lighter and humorous moments. A big part of this movie is the characters growing up, with teenage romance all about and more. While on paper it sounds like it could turn out really poorly (especially with it being based on a YA novel), it all feels really natural here. Goblet of Fire delved slightly into that but it came across as being a little annoying, Half Blood Prince handled it much better and it was actually fun to watch. There are some things cut from the movie, but that’s come to be expected with the movie series. What matters is whether the movie still works on its own as a story. Although I will admit that I would’ve liked to have seen more glimpses at Tom Riddle’s past and backstory, as we only see 2/3 moments of that in flashbacks. It would’ve been interesting to see and learn more about Riddle, however it’s wasn’t necessary for the story. Half Blood Prince does have however feature a sequence that wasn’t in the movie, that being the Death Eater’s attack on The Burrow. While it isn’t necessary and the story could’ve worked without it, it did remind us once again about the danger that’s very apparent in the Wizarding World, the movie is better with it. This is a pretty long movie, at about 2 hours and a half long but all around it’s actually really well paced and never really drags.

Acting is all around in this movie is good. Harry, Ron and Hermione (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) are played well once again. I feel like Harry doesn’t really get much to do here compared to some of the previous movies, though he does have some great acting moments, especially in the third act. The romance between Harry and Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) is very out of place and just comes out of nowhere. It’s like we missed a storyline with them in between movies, and we are only seeing it for the first time, and it just comes across as being really awkward. I almost feel like Grint and Watson got more chance to shine, a lot of the aforementioned coming of age elements are especially present with them and they have great chemistry. Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy gets to do more here than in any of the other Harry Potter movies, with him receiving a task to kill Dumbledore. We see more sides to him and he’s shown to be more than just one of the more dislikeable characters in the Harry Potter series, and he’s shown to be much more complex. Michael Gambon gives his best performance as Albus Dumbledore, he seems close to the end of his lifespan and he’s particularly focussed on for this story. Jim Broadbent as Horace Slughorn, the new potions teacher who is integral to the story, was played well and was perfectly cast.

David Yates does yet another great job with his direction of the movie. This movie has some great cinematography. One criticism about it however is that its so dark looking (borderline black and white at times) and washed out, that at certain moments its hard to see what’s going on and I can definitely see it. It’s really the only Harry Potter movie that I have problems with regarding the colour and the lighting. I know the movie is supposed to be quite dark but even the next films in the series don’t have a colour pallet as dark as this. Most of the time it’s fine, at times it can be a little distracting. It does well however at giving an off-putting feeling, and in that it does it very well. And the cinematography is among the best in the entire series to be fair. The visual effects are done really well, as to be expected they get better with every film. There is a segment in the third act in particular which was done very well. The score by Nicholas Hooper is once again great and adds a lot to the movie.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince surprised me, it was actually pretty great and one of the best in the series. While there are some additional things I would’ve liked to have seen in the movie and some of the colour pallet is a little too washed out and distracting, almost everything in this movie works greatly. I’m so glad that Warner Bros decided to stick with David Yates, it really paid off.

Rampage (2009) Review

Time: 85 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Violence and offensive language
Brendan Fletcher as Bill Williamson
Michael Paré as Sheriff Melvoy
Shaun Sipos as Evan Drince
Lynda Boyd as Bill’s Mom
Robert Clarke as Evan’s Father
Director: Uwe Boll

A man, Bill Williamson (Brendan Fletcher) with a thirst for revenge builds a full body armour from Kevlar and goes on a killing spree.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Uwe Boll was often infamously known as one of the worst filmmakers ever to work and get attention, pretty much like Ed Wood or Tommy Wiseau, if none of their films were actually entertainingly bad at all. Despite this, many have said that his Rampage movies were actually really good. I did have some doubts going in but coming out I’ve found that Rampage is a surprisingly decent movie. It does have a few flaws here and there and it really isn’t that great of a movie but it is overall a decent movie that might actually be worth checking out, for those curious enough to give it a shot.

Rampage is a little slow with its buildup, in these moments it shows what drives the protagonist Bill (Brendan Fletcher) to essentially go on a killing rampage. It does get a little too preachy, political and in your face about what Uwe Boll is trying to say, there is little subtlety but it can be overlooked. In these moments, there are also parts taken from later on in the movie that were put in there that really didn’t serve much purpose (maybe just to remind us that he’s going to eventually go on a shooting rampage). Although I felt that they did that a little too much, it seemed to work fine enough. It’s once he dons the Kevlar armour that the movie really picks up. The film is not that complex and a lot of it is following Bill on his rampage but for what Rampage is going for, it succeeds pretty well at it.

If you’ve watched plenty of other Uwe Boll movies, you’ll immediately detect the sudden improvement in acting, it’s like they’re suddenly acting like human beings. I heard that it’s because the actors were allowed to improvise but whatever the case, the acting is okay. Brendan Fletcher was really good and he does well in showing his eventual descent into madness. He was somehow also able to convey his emotion even behind a suit of Kevlar armour. He is quite intimidating and a real powerhouse when he’s on screen. He’s really one of the highlights of the whole film. The supporting cast was also pretty good but it’s mostly Brendan Fletcher’s show, it’s really him who’s the standout.

Uwe Boll’s direction wasn’t anything special but in comparison to the direction in most of his other movies, it’s much better. The cinematography is a little shaky, I could understand the reason for this decision but at the same time, it got a little hard to see what was going on at times. A good thing is that the violence in this movie is well handled, unlike some of Uwe Boll’s movies like Bloodrayne, he doesn’t have an excessive amount of blood. Even though there is a lot of blood, it is played as realistically as much as possible. Rampage does really feel like a low budget movie but it’s effective enough.

Rampage is a surprisingly good movie from Uwe Boll and it’s almost worth checking out. Although the cinematography is shaky at times and there really isn’t much to the movie aside from Brendan Fletcher going on a shooting rampage, the film is decent overall and for an Uwe Boll film that is extremely rare. It’s not a must see movie but if you’re curious enough, I’d say check Rampage out whenever you can.

Crank: High Voltage (2009) Review

Time: 96 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence, sex scenes, drug use and offensive language
Jason Statham as Chev Chelios
Amy Smart as Eve Lydon
Clifton Collins, Jr. as El Huron
Efren Ramirez as Venus
Geri Halliwell as Karen Chelios
Dwight Yoakam as Doc Miles
Art Hsu as Johnny Vang
Bai Ling as Ria
Reno Wilson as Orlando
David Carradine as Poon Dong
Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

After surviving an incredible plunge to near-certain death, Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) is abducted by Chinese mobsters. Waking up three months later, Chev finds that his nearly indestructible heart has been replaced with a battery-operated device that requires regular jolts of electricity or it will fail. Chev escapes from his captors, reunites with his lover, Eve (Amy Smart), and sets out on a frantic chase through Los Angeles to get his real heart back.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

The first Crank was an enjoyable over the top action flick, it’s not by any means a great movie (I don’t even know if I’ll call it a good movie) but it was very entertaining for what it was trying to be. The sequel seemed to be something incredibly entertaining, with it being even more over the top than it’s predecessor (I mean Statham literally needs to charge up his heart with electricity this time). While the sequel is even more over the top (as expected), I don’t know if I can call it very entertaining, or even enjoyable at all. It feels forced in the worst possible way and gets very tiring very quickly. Such a step down from the first Crank, and the original film wasn’t even that great, so that’s saying a lot.

While at times the film is entertaining and funny, the jokes and sequences at times feel incredibly forced and random. It almost feels like a bunch of people (who aren’t the creators of the original) tried to do Crank 2 and recapture the original Crank and doing it poorly. The sad thing is that the same people did the sequel. The one thing I can guarantee is that it is absolutely insane, I guarantee you that you will be wondering what is going on at times. To a degree I’ll give credit to them for going all out. Aside from that there’s not much to really like. It goes too far at times with how crazy and offensive it could be, to the point where at times it felt downright unpleasant and painful to watch. Also there was sort of a mid-credits scene that was put into a movie for some reason and I have no idea why. With that said, a pointless mid credits scene is the least of High Voltage’s problems.

Jason Statham is effortless to watch. He definitely threw himself into this movie and had a lot of fun doing a lot of these insane things. He was really of the best part of the whole movie, if not the best part. Everyone else… not so much. Amy Smart has even less to do than in the previous movie and so her performance was even worse. The other supporting actors, I don’t really have much to say about them. Nobody else from the rest of the cast stand out, except that most of them were downright terrible and at times insufferable.

The direction style here returns from the original Crank and it does still work. It feels completely insane and frantic, especially during action sequences. There was a very bizarre visual sequence that involved Statham in a fight in the third act that is so strange that it was actually quite entertaining. I don’t really think that it was the direction of the scenes that was so wrong with this movie, it’s the actual content itself.

I can’t call Crank 2 a good movie at all. Its entertaining at times and seeing Jason Statham doing a bunch of insane and crazy things is fun but that’s it. It is way too forced, downright obnoxious at times and even at points felt a little unpleasant. If you didn’t like the original, you will absolutely hate the sequel. If you liked the original Crank, give High Voltage a shot, but its very possible that you may not like it.

Watchmen (2009) Review

Time: 162 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Contains violence, offensive language and sex scenes.
Jackie Earle Haley as Walter Kovacs/Rorschach
Patrick Wilson as Daniel Dreiberg/Nite Owl II
Malin Åkerman as Laurie Juspeczyk/Silk Spectre II
Billy Crudup as Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Edward Morgan Blake/The Comedian
Carla Gugino as Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre
Director: Zack Snyder

In an alternate 1985 America, costumed superheroes are part of everyday life. When one of his former comrades is murdered, masked vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) uncovers a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his retired associates, only one of which has true powers, Rorschach glimpses a far-reaching conspiracy involving their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the world’s future.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1]

I’m a big fan of Zack Snyder. I loved Batman v Superman (the Ultimate Edition was of course the far superior version), Man of Steel, 300 and many of his other movies. However, I have to say that Watchmen is undisputedly his masterpiece. Alan Moore’s unique story was adapted incredibly well (not a perfect adaption of the comic, but the best that we’ll probably ever get). It was not only riveting and entertaining, it was something really special for the comic book movie genre. Although Watchmen was polarising to most people upon it’s initial release, it has gained a cult following (deservedly so), and I am certain that the film will only receive more love as the years go on. In my eyes it’s the best comic book movie ever created.

First thing you should know is that Watchmen isn’t exactly a conventional superhero film. Sure it has beautiful visuals, action scenes and people who dress up in costumes and engage in fights but it’s still not quite like other superhero movies you’ve seen. It’s one of the few superhero movies that I would call a drama (like The Dark Knight, Logan, Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition). This film shows what it would be like if heroes really existed in our world (the standout being of Billy Crudup’s Dr Manhattan, truly fascinating character arc). The film – like the graphic novel – accurately displays the flaws in the superhero. Every character (at least the main characters) have visible flaws, making them quite interesting and feel like real people; it’s interesting watching their stories. It also should be known before going in that this movie is very dark, It’s the darkest and most violent of all the comic book movies ever made (that or Sin City). It’s a bleak world this film inhabits. This film wouldn’t have been as effective if they tried to make it a PG-13/M rated movie, Snyder firmly stuck with an R rating, allowing them to take the story to many levels (in terms of the story, tone and violence). While this turned off many of the viewers, I think that decision really benefited the movie overall.

This movie did have a lot to work with, it being based on Alan Moore’s Watchmen. I have read the graphic novel and I personally think that the film adapted it quite well, the changes made worked well. Some of the themes and aspects of the story were changed which made it work as a movie. While Alan Moore’s Watchmen tackled comic books, Zack Snyder’s Watchmen tackled comic book movies. Also, there are some ways that this movie improves over the graphic novel, especially the ending (if you’ve seen the movie and read the graphic novel, you’ll know exactly what I mean). I pretty much love everything about this movie. The plot kept me interested from start to finish, despite the long runtime I didn’t feel bored (however I do think that the Director’s Cut, which includes 24 minutes of additional footage, is better paced). I honestly think that Watchmen is the best comic book movie yet.

One thing I really like is the casting, these actors weren’t well known when they were cast. No one here is an A-lister and so it’s so much easier to see these actors as their characters. The acting by everyone was very impressive but there were particularly a few stand out performances for me. Firstly, Jackie Earle Haley as the vigilante Rorschach. Even with a mask on his face for most of his screentime he conveys so much with his movements, mannerisms and his voice (especially the voice). Rorschach is a disturbed, almost psychopathic character but yet he’s one of my favourite characters in the whole story, and I’m not alone with that. It’s one of the best comic book performances I’ve seen. Another great performance was from Jeffery Dean Morgan as the character of The Comedian. This character was a nihilistic force of nature, one of the most fascinating characters in the story. Even though he is despicable, a lot of what he says is true, in a very twisted way. Morgan portrayed him excellently, definitely a scene stealer.

The other stand out performance was Billy Crudup was Dr Manhattan, who is such a super powered being. For most of Crudup’s screentime he is motion captured but despite this, Crudup manages to give a compelling performance, he definitely left an impression. His character is very fascinating and Crudup did a perfect job with him. Other actors like Patrick Wilson, Malin Akerman, Matthew Goode and Carla Gugino were also were great in their roles. Matthew Goode also stood out, also in the way that the story turned out (won’t spoil anything here). His performance and character I think is particularly underrated.

The direction of Watchmen is so excellent. As this is Zack Snyder, you can expect the visuals to be great. The cinematography by Larry Fong is absolutely fantastic as always. The use of colours and shadows were so beautiful, it’s like the scenes were ripped straight out of a comic book, which Zack Snyder does very well. The action and fight scenes were also directed greatly, the choreography was so excellent and works so well with the movie (however I will say that occasionally Snyder does use just a little bit too much slowmotion). The CGI in Watchmen is also great overall but I particularly want to draw attention to the motion captured CGI used on Dr Manhattan, it was so well implemented in the film. It was really the only way to bring Dr Manhattan to life and it worked incredibly well (of course it was also helped by Billy Crudup’s acting). The score by Tyler Bates was also great and fitted so many of the scenes. Also previously existing songs worked very well in the film, such as ‘Unforgettable’ for the opening scene. While on the subject of classic songs used in Watchmen, the opening credits sequence (which features Bob Dylan’s ‘The Times they are a-Changin’, is truly excellent, as it shows the history of the Watchmen through brief clips and snapshots. The graphic novel did contain that history but it would be near impossible to show it in the movie. However without any lines of dialogue, Snyder successfully portrayed that on screen and it is beautiful. It’s one of the all time best opening credits scenes ever. I loved every single scene of this movie, the only moment that really didn’t work for me was a sex scene between Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson) and Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman) to the sound of Hallelujah, which was… odd. I guess it was meant to be over the top and hilarious but I’m not sure… I loved everything else though.

Watchmen is my all time favourite Comic Book Movie. With Zack Snyder’s great direction, the excellent performances as well as the fascinating, riveting and overall brilliant story makes this one of my favourite movies of all time. Watchmen isn’t for everyone, it’s not a conventional superhero film, it is slower paced, it’s very dark and brutal (probably the darkest superhero movie out there) and the story is a lot different from what most would expect. But I do think that it is worth a watch. If you’re going to watch this movie, I highly recommend the Director’s Cut, even though I loved the Theatrical Cut, the extended version makes the film much better overall (I haven’t seen the Ultimate Cut yet, so I can’t judge that version).

Star Trek (2009)


Star Trek

Time: 127 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Chris Pine as Kirk
Zachary Quinto as Spock
Zoe Saldana as Uhura
Karl Urban as Bones
John Cho as Sulu
Anton Yelchin as Chekov
Bruce Greenwood as Pike
Eric Bana as Nero
Director: J.J. Abrams

On the day of James Kirk’s birth, his father dies on his ship in a last stand against a mysterious alien time-travelling vessel. Twenty-five years later, Kirk (Chris Pine) has grown into a young troublemaker. Challenged by Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) to realize his potential in Starfleet, he comes to annoy instructors like young Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto). Suddenly, there is an emergency at Vulcan and the newly commissioned USS Enterprise is crewed with promising cadets like Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Hikaru Sulu (John Cho), Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and even Kirk himself, thanks to Leonard McCoy’s (Karl Urban) medical trickery. Together, this crew will have an adventure in the final frontier where the old legend is altered forever as a new version of it begins.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Making reboots and remakes are often quite risky, they may be great or they may fail in incredible degrees; to sum up whether it succeeded or not, I’ll say that whenever I think of good reboots I think of Batman Begins and Star Trek. With an engrossing world, great performances and entertaining action scenes, it is one of my favourite Sci-Fi action movies.


Star Trek is always entertaining from the opening credits to end credits. I’ll be honest, before watching this movie I never watched any form of Star Trek media, this was my first Star Trek movie; a good thing about this movie is that you don’t have to be a fan of Star Trek to enjoy it; you can quickly pick up what the world is like and doesn’t rely on prior knowledge to understand what’s going on. The dialogue between the characters is written incredibly well and is well suited to the characters that the actors played.


The actors do a really good and respectable job portraying these famous and beloved characters. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are particularly great in their roles. After seeing Chris Pine play Kirk, I can’t imagine anyone else playing that role; he was like a good new generation version of William Shatner. Zachary Quinto was as great as Spock in all of his scenes and I could really buy him as being a half human and half Vulcan. I also particularly like the contrast between the Kirk and Spock and these two actors did great jobs at showing their differing personalites. Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg and Bruce Greenwood were also really good in their roles. Eric Bana played the villain and I thought did a pretty good job, he wasn’t anything special but I thought that he managed it quite well. There is also an appearance from a (Original) Star Trek cast member that I won’t spoil, should you be one of the few who hasn’t watched this movie yet. The actors are all very aware of the characters that they are playing and they delivered the well written dialogue well.


I loved the special effects in this movie; everything is on such a large scale. One thing that is often talked about with this movie is the lens flares; Abrams often uses it in his movies but I felt like it worked for Star Trek. The action scenes are filmed spectacularly, particularly when it involved the Enterprise. The soundtrack by Michael Giacchino also added a lot to the movie.


Star Trek is a great movie for fans of Star Trek and people new to that universe. J.J. Abrams did a great job with this movie as well as its sequel (Star Trek Into Darkness) and hopefully more sequels. These two movies give me great hope for Star Wars Episode 7 to be a great movie. Check out Star Trek when you can if you haven’t seen it already, it is a fun and exciting experience.

Avatar (2009)



Time: 162 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Sam Worthington as Jake Sully
Zoe Saldana as Neytiri
Sigourney Weaver as Grace
Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch
Michelle Rodriguez as Trudy Chacon
Director: James Cameron

In the future, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paraplegic war veteran, is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na’vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers Intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang), while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na’vi people with the use of an “avatar” identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand – and fight back for the fate of Pandora.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Avatar is one of the most successful movies and is loved by many people. Although I do think it is a good movie with excellent cinematography and CGI, I have issues with the script which is often predictable and could’ve been much better. Despite this, it is still an enjoyable movie.


The writing for me is the weakest part of the movie; to clarify it’s not the world of Pandora I’m talking about, that was done okay, it’s the story. The story for me was predictable, even when I was 10 years old watching this in cinemas, most of the time I could see where this story was going, this type of story has been done before. This movie is very similar to Dances with Wolves; you may as well call this movie “Dances with Wolves with blue Indians”. Also another flaw in the writing is the characters, none of the characters really stood out to me and often there are certain characters that are only there to move a plot point along like the general who is quite clichéd. Another thing that should be added is that there were a lot of moments in the middle of the film that I felt wouldn’t make much of a difference if they were taken out. It shows Sam Worthington’s character learning how to become one of the Na’vi but at times it seems just like a montage. Overall the story is functional but still could’ve improved immensely. If you put this story in a place without big special effects, I think people would more likely notice the glaring issues with the script.


The acting was decent enough from most people. Sam Worthington gives a pretty good performance and does what he can with the script, despite his character not being very interesting. Zoe Saldana gives the best performance in the movie and plays probably the character that’s closest to standing out the most. Stephen Lang plays the general as I mentioned above and like I said, his role just seems to just be the clichéd bad guy. No character information is given to him so as a result, his performance didn’t leave an impression on me. Other actors like Michelle Rodriguez and Sigourney Weaver also do the best of what they have.


The special effects elevated this movie and are probably the only reason I’ll overlook the writing’s flaws, at least a little. This movie really makes you feel like you are in the world of Pandora. The battle scenes are also well filmed and unlike some battle scenes in other Hollywood movies today, you can actually see them from a good distance. The CG and the motion captures of the Na’vi are done excellently.


Avatar isn’t a great movie in my eyes, only when considering the special effects. I heard that there will be sequels to this movie and I have to say I don’t understand why. If you haven’t watched this movie yet, do so. Technically this film is well made with a great look; just don’t expect a great movie.