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The Avengers review

Posted : 5 years, 8 months ago on 2 April 2013 06:40 (A review of The Avengers)

I'm afraid that after reading too much psychology and discovering the fact that I'm more partial to realistic based entertainment, I've kinda lost the liking for irrational, goofy, fantasy or superhero-themed (especially) movies. Not that I will stop watching them, oh no, it's just that I don't get that much entertainment from them like I used to. I'm more partial to dramas or compelling character study movies, like Casablanca, Tyrannosaur & 12 Angry Men. You may think of it differently, but then again who's asking you to think in the same vein as I do? I must say the discovering of this fact was quite unfortunate. Just as I had decided to watch less of the superhero stuff, they go and show The Avengers on TV. What's better, they showed it with subtitles. Aah, could you want anything better? I think that's enough back story, now for the review:

Joss Whedon's latest feature is almost everyone's wet dream. I would be little surprised if many viewers actually got an orgasm while watching it. What more could you want than a couple of good looking people running and jumping around in colourful costumes? The Avengers is basically 12 Angry Men for the less patient, more funny, less serious, more loud. Since it's the hottest thing going of recent times, and since it was subtitled, I decided to watch it anyway, not expecting to be blown away but expecting to find it a nice, likable feature. How correct I was.

Dialogues. Yes, that's what I ended up loving from the film, more than anything else. The connection of the dialogues with the environment was smooth. Very entertaining, some brilliant, some totally convincing, regardless of who was saying it. I may not be exposed much to the COW - Cult-of-Whedon - but it doesn't take more than a few minutes of this film to know that he ain't no ordinary story-teller.

The thing of comic book movies is that, although accessible, require a lot of pre-research and understanding of the comic universe. Since I'm no expert in either of that, the overall effect, like in many other superhero movies, felt fuzzy, disorientated, detached. I liked what I saw, the entertainment part of it anyway, but was lost in many references and scenes. To me it's a decent film, but I'm not a part of that world so it can be safe to say I didn't enjoy it as much. You may notice I've ranked quite a few superhero movies higher ratings but I'm guessing it has to do something with the execution style. Some managed to do it better than the others, that's all.

Performance-wise, it was good to see talents as mismatched and colourful as the heroes themselves. Robert Downey, jr. has always been the coolest actor to portray a superhero in recent times, even cooler than Wesley Snipes in Blade. Anyway, RDJ was back at what he's good at doing: being mr. obnoxiously cool while delivering lines with almost pitch perfect timing. Chris Evans is one of the relatively few actors from the 2000's who I actually like. If you see him in Sunshine and, to a lesser degree, in Push, you will realize why. Reprising his role from Captain America as the titular character, Evans this time played his character as a wounded personality who is struggling to find himself... right? Just like before, he gave a good performance that stood well with the others. Chris Hemsworth was a great surprise. I missed him in Thor, but I got to see him in here and finally understood why he was the perfect choice for the role. He shared a good chemistry with Tom Hiddleston - who portrays Loki: an equally impressive performance - and the two formed a sort of Asgardian Abbott & Costello. Even though I've seen less of his work, Jeremy Renner is easily one of the best actors of modern times. His pristine professionalism really does the trick. Scarlet Johansson was just fine, never was a big fan of her. The full spotlight I think should be given to Mark Ruffalo and his flawless - I mean it - take on Bruce Banner / the Hulk. Three actors down, Ruffalo uniquely added a nice touch, a deeper understanding, and for the first time we saw the shadow of the monster on the man. Despite the fact he had a relatively less screentime, it was impressive beyond anything. Clark Gregg once again turns up as the ubiquitous Agent Coulson, one of the nicest characters in cinema history. He also happens to be one of my favourite, due to his fanboy attitude, complete awe of the superhero life, and as being the true agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. His death has to be one of the saddest ever in cinema. Oh well, I'll get to see him in the one-shots.

In conclusion, The Avengers is strictly for the fans. I don't believe it will achieve the cult status of the level that, let's say, Scott Pilgrim and Kick-Ass achieved. It's a decent film, but it could've done more character development.


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Lock Up (1989) review

Posted : 5 years, 8 months ago on 24 March 2013 04:47 (A review of Lock Up (1989))

This is quite a manly film. It has a huge characters that take up most of the screen, moments that only males can understand, and a quite-restrained bad-ass atmosphere to it. By the latter I mean to say it never really lets itself go wild, go mindless, like a dog with rabids. In fact, Lock-Up plays like an impressive police-dog with a mean temper... and a leash. I believe that may be the downfall of the film because as soon as you finish the film you realize just how nicey-nice it was, if compared to other brutal, violent films that have almost the same setting. It also has a happy ending: something I could see it coming from a mile away but never thought they would actually deliver.

The film starts off with Frank Leone having a saudade-of-sorts moment. The slow movement and the plethora of photos give us hints that if you want to sympathize with him, now's the time to do it. After when that's done, Frank and his girlfriend, Melissa, engage in a different kind of lock-up. After when that's done, a small series of unconvincing happy scenes follow which is supposed to be Frank's happy little life. But as a long time movie-goer, I patiently wait for this bubble of happiness to go bust. And the prick with the needle is Warden Drumgoole, who has a long-time vendetta and hatred against Frank, determined to make him suffer as much as possible. Now, Drumgoole had the potential of becoming one of the most intimidating and villainous wardens in movie history, but Donald Sutherland's pitiful, laughable acting makes Drumgoole as silly as his name. I mean, I thought he would bring some integrity to his role, some charisma, but failed in both accounts and then some. Anyway, we're quickly thrown into this rough, unpredictable, unstable life of prison and are introduced to the trademarks that are abundant in every prison movie ever made: sadistic guards, charismatic blacks, harsh life, corrupt "system", and enemies that seem to spring from the ground without warning. Even though the film heavily exercises all the above trademarks, it never does it in a full-fleshed fashion. Let's put it this way: It has the guts to call itself a tough prison film, but not the heart to speak openly.

Even though it was nominated for 3 Razzie awards, it wasn't really that bad a film. It's decent, it's quite well made, and has one pure emotional scene that females - or non-Mustang lovers - will not understand. Due to First Base's - an inmate - actions, the warden orders the inmates to annihilate a beautiful red Ford Mustang with baseball bats, while making Frank watch every second of it. Man, that's just cruel. That's like forcing a man to watch his own grave being dug. Or making him sit through a Milli Vanilli song for 5 hours straight. Being a Ford Mustang lover, that particular moment was extra difficult to watch.

Performance-wise, Sylvester Stallone as Frank Leone was just so-so. He never rises above the level and, due to several setbacks, doesn't fully flesh out his character. There are actors - ex: Daniel Day-Lewis -, there are entertainers - ex: not much of an actor, but a welcome screen presence, like Jackie Chan -, and then there's Stallone, who doesn't seem to fit in either category. I've seen most of his films and I've noticed he tries hard to connect himself to the character, but rarely achieves. The end result is either a flat-out caricature or just a flat character. In this case it's the latter. Donald Sutherland, having recently impressed me in The Hunger Games, made me change views on him once again by his terrible performance as the warden. What was he thinking with all that screaming? Hell, what were they - the crew behind the camera - thinking with all the screaming? Why didn't they yell cut? If those are his screams, then I would hate to see him electrocuted for real. The rest of the cast are OK, barely cutting the surface, but the one guy who can be called as the saving grace of the film has to be John Amos as the tough-as-nails Meissner, the captain. How in the hell did he manage to flare up his nostrils that way, I'll never know. Anyway, he introduces himself through these "poetic words":

"Two things:
One: I'm Meissner.
Two: Never fuck with Meissner."

In my opinion: awesome! This is not the first time a character has spoken like this, no. But this is undeniably one of the coolest. His line delivery was classic, his transition from first-person to third-person was awesome. In fact, everything about these two lines screams bad-ass, and I don't even know why.

In conclusion, Lock Up is not really a bad film, but it's not really a good one, either. Reserve it for long, gloomy days.

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Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. review

Posted : 5 years, 9 months ago on 19 March 2013 09:25 (A review of Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.)

Munna Bhai M.B.B.S has two of the most iconic, most likable characters in Bollywood history who aren't, thank goodness for that, chocolate heroes or intimidating villains. If I were to mash the above two, I would say that Munna and Circuit are intimidating heroes and no, even I don't know why I wrote that. Not only do they make an effectively comedic duo, but the Arshad Warsi / Sanjay Dutt pairing is the greatest in recent Bollywood history, but second only to the Shahrukh Khan / Kajol pairing if thought for all time. It's a comedy film; and a Bollywood one at that, so expect quite many implausibility and loop-holes. But these things are only noticed by viewers with the intention to criticize the film, you know, the haters. But since only few of them ever actually make it through the film, it's safe to say the others (like the guy reviewing this film) oversee these little problems and focus on the funny.

The story is this that Munna is a gangster, although he prefers to call himself "social worker". His modus operandi is that he kidnaps people, asks for ransom, and then promptly lets them go. All done comically of course. To the world he is a gangster, but to his parents he is a doctor. You see, he lied to his parents that he is a doctor, which of course he is not, and whenever they come down to visit him, he and his group of hoodlums quickly convert their base into a makeshift hospital, with Munna assuming the role of the doctor and his gang members becoming patients or other doctors / nurses. The premise seems achingly painful and/or boring on paper, but believe me it is 10x times funnier than the most recent funniest film you've seen, unless that happens to be Groundhog Day or any of Mel Brooks films: man, those films are hard to beat!

Performance-wise, Sanjay Dutt as Munna totally steals the show. He has always been one of my favourite Bollywood actors ever since I saw him in Hum Kisi Say Kum Nahin. He is at home at playing corrupt figures, police officers, or otherwise tough characters. A sort of Vinnie Jones of Bollywood. Sanjay Dutt is one of the relatively few actors who can blur, or vanish, the fine line between actor and character. Other notable mentions are Daniel Day-Lewis, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman and Boman Irani, who appears in this film as the primary antagonist, Dr. J. Asthana. He is easily one of the finest actors of Bollywood, of this time and of all time. True, he ain't no Sanjeev Kumar, but since his characters have aggressive demeanors and large personalities, he doesn't need to be compared to other actors, since he marches to his own beat - or at least at times. He effectively transisted from normal to villain to normal again. Sunil Dutt, real life father of Sanjay, also provided a good enough screen presence. Arshad Warsi plays Circuit, the hero's sidekick and second icon. Comedy can be done by almost anyone but only a certain few can bring it to upper levels and actually make your sides ache with laughter. Paresh Rawal, Johnny Lever and Govinda exercise that in each and every of their films; Arshad Warsi does it in here, giving us moments that are worth rewinding.

In conclusion, if I were given a chance to recommend just few Bollywood films to someone, Munna Bhai M.B.B.S would certainly be one of them. It is a must watch!


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The Matrix Reloaded review

Posted : 5 years, 9 months ago on 12 March 2013 07:13 (A review of The Matrix Reloaded)

There are some films which deserve a sequel, and there are those which do not; 500 Days of Summer does, Iron Man doesn't. RDJ has played the Tony Stark / Mr. Obnoxiously Cool Guy card one too many times. Same case with The Matrix. Of course, it is one of the coolest trilogies out there, but a complete opposite of the Dollars Trilogy. While the Man With No Name got cooler and cooler each progressing film, Neo went sillier and sillier. Now what makes the first film so great, so important in its genre? Because of its utter isolation. The first film has a foreboding, doomed atmosphere, a dark and unpredictable layer covering it. It is as colourful as Charlie Chaplin's clothes. The sequel - of course, they had to expand the story; nobody understood the first film even after repeated viewings - has a comical, laid-back atmosphere that, to me, totally ruined the complete understanding and logic behind the universe of The Matrix. Indeed, it is clever in the quotes department - "Do we control the machines, or do they control us?" - but like I said they quickly dissolve into silliness that does little to no justice to the first part - "I just love you too damn much!" Seriously, they went from that to this?

Even though this comixed sequel is action-heavy, its dialogues and conversations provide critical understanding to the complexity - and in some cases, simplicity - of what's real and what's not and all the little gaps in-between. I absolutely loved the Neo and The Architect conversation sequence. Biblical references aside, the scene was greatly executed, with brilliant focus on the two characters. To me it's the best non-action part of the series.

Performance-wise, the three leads - Laurence Fishburne, Keanu Reeves & Carrie-Anne Moss - once again prove to us why they were chosen to play their respective characters in the first place. Once again they were all great, with the former being more badass than he was in the first film. Despite the fact that there were literally hundreds of him running around, I still believe Hugo Weaving received very low screen-time. But the fact that he returned once again to play the iconic villain is more than enough. Jada-Pinkett Smith was an absolute dish in her painfully small role as Captain Niobe. Not much of a performance, but a great presence. The rest of the cast were just OK, nothing too great or memorable, although Monica Bellucci did provide a juicy presence. Ever the sexy eye candy, her seductiveness was positive for once. Helmut Bakaitis, once I found out that his robotic acting was actually supposed to be like that, won me over in his role as The Architect. Overall the best from the film. The line delivery was almost pitch-perfect, or at least to me it was!

In conclusion, The Matrix: Reloaded is positively mind-blowing in the action sequences (the Burly Brawl? Classic!) but is just too silly and comical to be taken seriously... Watch it if you must, but I suggest stop at the first!


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The Chasers review

Posted : 5 years, 9 months ago on 10 March 2013 06:48 (A review of The Chasers)

A horny young man on the prowl for women finds another horny - albeit little older - man on the prowl for women. The reason: to spend a one night stand with a woman. The first one is self-confident, suave and knowledgeable about women; the second one is insecure, hapless and 'creepy' to women. The more unluckier they get with women, the more hotter they become - sort of like all Bond Girls rolled in just one film, or like a chronological playthrough of GTA: SA. I have this saying that if you find a subtitled movie on YouTube, watch it at the earliest time possible before it gets removed, as most of them immediately get. But not all of them are gems, as The Chasers here proves. Even though it has quite a-daring subject matter, it is not really a great film, just so-so. I'm a little confused; is it a boner-inspiring flick, or a morally destructive one?

Anyway, since the story is neither ground-breaking nor is it entertaining with a capital E, I will just cut to the chase: performances. Jacques Charrier was just fine in his role as Freddy. Although he did provide a handsome face, some well acted moments and overall deep understanding to the character, he was badly denied the main spotlight by not-so-good editing and quite-bland script-writing. Following him is Charles Aznavour as Joseph, the hapless of the two, but certainly the most horny. His character has to be one of the most unmemorable characters I've ever seen, as he had absolutely no distinct features or characteristics. The females, however attractive, were just obvious mannequins thrown in as to not to create an isolated environment that is so starkly presented in dystopia movies.

In conclusion, The Chasers is just an average film, and is instantly forgettable, but that doesn't make it one of the worst. Watch it, you might enjoy Jacques Charrier's performance, like I did, somewhat.


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Mortal Kombat (1995) review

Posted : 5 years, 9 months ago on 8 March 2013 11:31 (A review of Mortal Kombat (1995))

Most of the movies I saw in my childhood were action movies. I remember the days when I used to fast-forward the films on my VCR(!) to the action sequences. Once the scene would appear, I would record it with my father's mobile and then enjoy it later to my heart's content. The Matrix, Terminator, Die Hard, Street Fighter, Kung Fu Hustle, you name it. You know the trailers they used to show just before a presentation, with a deep baritone voice narrating? That's how I was introduced to this film, by that voice... and the music in the background.

Anyway, when I was young of course the film was awesome, but now that I've grown up, and matured along the way, I found out that the film starts off quite smartly but descends into the same old, same old - mindless action, funny dialogue (although Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa's line delivery of "I can see into your soul. You will die" was awesome), and a totally unconvincing setup. For most of the film I was reminded of old dungeon-crawler games, especially Dungeons & Dragons and of a dark, demented version of Pac-Man. This film has very few redeeming features, and they mostly come from the actors. The cast was quite well chosen, and even though they're nothing extraordinary - some even fall in the pit of self parody - at-least we can say with some dignity that they were not like the cast in Street Fighter, who were totally laughable. Kylie Minogue and JCVD? You gotta be kidding!

Story-wise, the film is weak. Very thinly scripted, but entertaining all the same. Most of the cast, however, were not as weak. Robin Shou was convincing and at ease in his role as Liu Kang, the main protagonist. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa was - I'm in the minority here - awesome in his role as Shang Tsung, the main antagonist. It's funny that his one-expression face hasn't garnered any memes yet. And the population is usually so quick on this. Anyway, an entertaining performance. The number of emotions / expressions Bridgette Wilson managed to cram in was quite an achievement. Rather than acting like an eye-candy robot, she functioned as a barely active eye-candy robot. But despite all this, her fight scene with Kano seemed authentic, with all the punches and the kicks and the whatnot's. But still, a robot. Linden Ashby is instantly forgettable in his role as Johnny Cage. A performance that is further marred by the hilarious, not-at-all-fitting dialogues / quotes. Christopher Lambert bought a quiet dignity to his comic-relief character Rayden, but it just wasn't "enough"! But he did subtly break boring moments with his detached comedy. Talisa Soto was attractive in her role, yes, but barely memorable or even worthy of mentioning.

In conclusion, despite the setbacks, Mortal Kombat is actually one of the best - OK, good - game-to-movie adaptations ever made. There has virtually been no good game-to-film adaptations (so far) but MK and Silent Hill come close. Well, at least they are better than House of the Dead and Street Fighter.


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The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert review

Posted : 5 years, 9 months ago on 25 February 2013 01:52 (A review of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert )

In the wood known as Holly, the comedy genre has by far flirted with other genres the most. The word "comedy" has nowadays - or at least to me - become a very feared prefix; comedy-horror, comedy-drama, comedy-war etc... From the comedy field, I've found many to be worthless, not the least bit amusing, and downright either pretentious or ugly - with such examples like poking fun of someone "erratic", a religion, a nationality, an accent, or the dude who just walks teensy bit funny, resulting in 99% of unfunny gags, offensive moments and just downright stupidity. For the sake of this (argument?), I will rule out parody / spoof movies, so no Mel Brooks reference here. Or ZAZ. By comedy I'm taking examples from all decades. The old comedies may seem innocent, smart and witty, but there's a lot of (at least in some of them) offensive material going around. From the late 70's to mid-80's onward, the word comedy apparently means barfing in the other guy's meal, spitting at his face, yo mamma jokes, vulgar script with a mind of a zombie (so basically, mindless), and thinking that Ben Stiller or Adam Sandler can make a movie funny by just showing their faces - or in the case of the latter, dressing up as a woman. It's funny that a large number of members here like them for their serious, dramatic role(s). Something I think most of the world thinks, too. When will Hollywood wake up to this fact, I'll never know.

Anyway, why did I bring up this issue? Because Priscilla is sans all that. Priscilla is a great - no, scratch that - classic comedy-drama that excels in both of the fields either side of the hyphen, first making your eyes tear with laughter and then with (wo)manly emotional scenes, that will not necessarily make you cry a la Terms of Endearment mode but in a Dan in Real Life or Adaptation manner. Two drag queens and a transsexual (actors names in a moment) start their journey from Sydney to Alice Springs to do a show, only to get lost in the desert along the way. This is where their troubles start and where our laughter doesn't stop. Three neither larger or smaller than life characters spend the rest of the film - or at least the scenes in the desert and the hotel - bickering, arguing, drag-dancing, discussing ABBA, and swearing in such a fashion that puts Withnail & I and Goodfellas back by decades. The main story is simple and highly entertaining. The trio meet a host of equally colourful characters along the way and, whether they become friends or enemies, the trio blend in easily and constantly remind us of the fact that they indeed are the show-stealers of the film. Putting the positivity or the negativity of the characters (all of them) aside, I think the main spotlight of the film was not on the characters and how / who they were: I think it was on what and why they were like that. One is shown bored, one enthusiastic and one anxious. Instead of making them the butt of each and every joke, the script-writers made them tough and, to a certain-point level, quite affable and charming. The characters were full of individuality, invincibility and at the same time, vulnerability - akin to the major boss enemy at the end of a game or a level / stage. In conclusion, the story, the script, the set-up - everything was enjoyable and original. I've never laughed this hard at the pitch-perfect line delivery, the correct swear word(s) at the right moment, and the hilarious performances by the trio. And it's funny because I've never enjoyed films like these before. Ever.

Terence Stamp stole the spotlight. He stole each and every inch of it. To say he was out-staged or out-performed by any other would be akin to saying that N Dappy is better in fighting than Shang Tsung. He provided strong shoulders to the film. Also, his line delivery was pitch perfect. It was so perfect that even in the simplest of the words, he provided a lot of (reluctant) hilarity and strong soul to character. Hugo Weaving has, from the last 10 years, become a strong example of a great, flawless actor. Seeing him in the film that shot him to stardom was something exciting. He provided a lot of rib-tickling hilarity and open-mouthed dramatic turns that if you are a long time appreciator of his performances, will have you add another of his great performance in your mind, or if you not then will have you become an appreciator. He definitely was awesome in his role. Guy Pearce to me is one of the coolest actors in active right now. Cool through Memento and L.A. Confidential. His role as Adam/Felicia was the most energetic, full of lively enthusiasm and rich in presentation. Sort of like all clowns in a carnival combined in one energetic character. It's hard to accept the fact that both Weaving and Pearce went on to play serious, humour-less characters such as Agent Smith and Leonard Shelby, when both started out as just the opposite!

By the time the film ends, you will have want the Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n Roll archetype to be replaced by Tranny, Drags & ABBA.


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Dan in Real Life (2007) review

Posted : 5 years, 9 months ago on 19 February 2013 05:18 (A review of Dan in Real Life (2007))

Dan in Real Life is perhaps a very good example on how films can be funny, likable and sweet without defacing it with off-color humour, tasteless jokes & just plain stupidity. In an age of the latter points, this film was a very welcome surprise. I still can't get over the fact how unpretentious the film was - as was the script. Nothing too extraordinary, but nothing too subtle either. Granted, it was quite weak in spots, quite cliche, and has that "happily-ever-after" ending, but you can't deny how sweet and likable the whole setup was. Steve Carrell plays Dan, a nice but love-repressed widower who plays the role of a Spartan-dad to his three daughters. His words, his actions may seem offish and villainous, but they're not; they're full of care, affection and, on a smaller scale, fear. The film, like I said, is nothing too extraordinary. It's not too fully fleshed, none of the characters rise above their respective stereotypes, felt too much like Hannah & Her Sisters, and is a family film with a thinly veiled drama undertone. But these cliches, or amateur, points become minor things because the overall result is a very sweet, quite touching film that will make you smile and laugh and quite possibly, will make you become a better person in your family.

Steve Carrell's performance as Dan, the protagonist, was very charming. Being the main backbone of the film, he handled everything perfectly, showing us that yes even minimal expressions can express a lot. While all the others stayed in their respective fields, he masterfully trod to and fro from being serious to funny to emotional to charming. I can't imagine any other actor playing Dan. Juliette Binoche was amazing as Marie. I thoroughly enjoyed her performance and the chemistry shared with Steve Carrell. It was wonderful, very convincing. Wouldn't mind seeing them again. Hell, I wouldn't mind seeing the same cast all over again in another film because of the impeccable chemistry they shared. I also enjoyed Alison Pill and Brittany Robertson, the latter giving one of the best performances I've seen this week, and in the film as a whole. Dane Cook, despite playing another likable character, didn't quite match up against the others, especially Binoche, Robertson and Carrell. It was an OK performance, not too convincing I'm afraid. The rest of the cat were equally good, although nothing too memorable or energetic.

In conclusion, if compared to the other comedies - namely the Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell ones - Dan in Real Life is like the cat that is obedient and not moody. It is not exactly a must-watch but if you're looking for something pleasant, then this one is for you.


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Tyrannosaur review

Posted : 5 years, 10 months ago on 12 February 2013 02:43 (A review of Tyrannosaur)

Tyrannosaur is a fucking tough film not for the fucking weak of heart. It's fucking gritty, fucking solid, fucking muscular with all the fucking veins popped out, with all the anger fucking loose!

My apologies there, I was simply following the theme of the film. You see even before the film starts proper, Joseph makes George Carlin spin in his grave by giving his 7 dirty words a two finger salute. With that undying rage, Joseph gives a strong kick to his dog, Bluey, who dies almost immediately. This sets the harsh, all-too-real drama in motion. Joseph is a seriously flawed character with a rage inside him that rivals Wolverine in his "Berserker mode", and has a penchant for schoolboy bully violence. An unstoppable character pitted against an immovable world - yea, that pretty much sums it up, right?

Joseph then meets another wounded character, Hannah, and they become the unlikeliest of friends, and then lovers, throughout the course of the film. Hannah is at first a lovely character with no worries whatsoever. A few minutes into her introduction and we're betrayed of that assumption. She in fact has a much darker secret and life than Joseph's. They're both victims of the real world, and where the latter chose to deal with it through anger and violence, the former turned to god and faith, sort of becoming a wrapping paper to the world. Peter Mullan's performance as Joseph was unrelenting and full of machine gun power. It was a roundhouse performance that reminded me of a real world Kratos. Olivia Colman as Hannah was superb. She was one brave soul to stand up against a character like Joseph. It was a great - that word will soon be replaced by classic - performance that I think deserves a standing ovation. Eddie Marsen was pretty awesome in his role, too. It's just that he was very under-used.

In conclusion, Tyrannosaur is not an uplifting film, nor it is one with a message. It's a compelling character study on how these scarred personalities handle a starkly decayed world. A film not to be missed.


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Orphan (2009) review

Posted : 5 years, 10 months ago on 10 February 2013 09:55 (A review of Orphan (2009))

Even though it's not the case, Orphan to me seemed a very nice attempt at reviving the Hammer Horror banner. No other modern horror film has captivated me this strongly. It has almost become a ritual to cast a young / teen actress in either a high-school comedy or a horror film. Nearly every actress born in the late 80's / early-mid 90's has starred in the aforementioned genres, with only a relatively few coming out on top. Isabelle Fuhrman is one of the few. Prior this film, I always thought of Jodelle Ferland as the definitive modern young horror actress, due to her double role in Silent Hill. I guess she now has competition because Isabelle was truly frightening, convincing, and brilliant in her role as Esther, who, in a surprise twist, is not "little" as we're led to believe. Orphan has bought forward a great talent that - I hope - doesn't get tarnished and wasted by party-hopping and drug-pushing. Isabelle has now to me become the definitive face - alongside Jodelle - of modern horror movies which tend to have child stars in them. I wouldn't be surprised if she were to become a horror icon - either the actress or her character, doesn't matter.

Speaking of which, the utterly beautiful Vera Farmiga's - long lost sister of Madonna - character, Kate Coleman, has all the makings of a horror heroine. May not seem much in front of Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley, but she suffers more than both of them, and manages to make her character interesting and quite-sympathetic. As far as scream queens are concerned, Vera's 30 second scream in the disturbing opening alone should make her one. From the 2000's, Kate - alongside Amanda Young from SAW and Emily Rose from The Exorcism of Emily Rose - is the definitive scream queen.

Story-wise the film is gripping, but slips awkwardly out of control sometimes. Some scenes really give off the feeling as if they're trying to go too far to scare you; as if unsure whether to put psychological tension in front or full front violence. I really enjoyed the pacing of the film but they could've done less with the uneasy suspense and more with the actual thriller. Not that it matters much. The tension is high and quite unsettling, but falls into the cliche hole at the end. It had little fire to it, little flair. Had it been more of a boom, more dramatic, more edgier, it would've worked, but instead they tried to imitate Carrie's iconic ending moment.

Performance-wise, Vera Farmiga and Isabelle Fuhrman won me for all the right reasons. Their chemistry was very convincing, although not altogether real. Peter Sarsgaard has never really impressed me with his performances. But then again I haven't seen him in many movies. In here he was quite good in his role, with all the correct expressions and all, but hardly great or amazing. Jimmy Bennett still has a long time to make his name known in Hollywood, but he won't be doing that if he keeps playing annoying characters / giving annoying performances. This is the 3rd or the 4th time I've seen him do the above two. Jimmy, grow up, go star in a musical or something. Aryana Engineer was so cute in her role as Max, a deaf-mute, and reluctant assistant to Ester. She and Isabelle really made a good pairing, and I'm hoping to see them together in another film!

In conclusion, I really loved Orphan, its suspense, its vulnerability - especially from Kate's side - and its unpredictability - especially from Esther's side, and the climax. It's not a very tight film but I enjoyed it all the same!


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