Friday, February 10, 2017

The Conjuring 2

Wait. What's this? A new review?

Easy, gentle reader, do not adjust your browser or intoxicant of choice. This is the real deal, an all new review and, if you took note of the site name, a slightly new direction for the site. We now encompass not only movies but games, books and whatever other media catches our eye. Now to cut short the detour and get on with the review.

Conjuring 2 is a continuation of the kinda new Conjuring cinematic universe, a la Marvel, DC, 1920s monster movies and Police Academy (one of those is a horrible travesty, and it's not Police Academy). In the first movie we encountered some cool ghosts, genuine creepy moments, clever use of cameras and a fairly engaging story. It was a stand out horror experience amongst what has become some fairly cliched fare of late. Following the 21-gun opening salvo came a wet fart labelled Annabelle. Booooo. Let that fucking thing go, Conjuring, let it go. The damned dolly even turns up in Conjuring 2 like the proverbial unflushable turd. So the latest installment? How does it work?

I'd say pretty well; not as well as the original, definitely better than that floater in the bowl. The beginning is unnecessary and the main "bad guy/gal" is a pointless addition like sugar on fairy floss (candy floss? sorry global readers, not sure of the varying names for spun sugar), but the meat of the story is well executed and tries hard not to fall into (too) well worn grooves. When the protagonist says "some funky shit is going down" we don't then have to wade through 10 to 15 minutes of everyone nodding in sympathy while preparing the strait-jacket. They see it too, or something equally crazy, and it puts all of the actors into a "we're all in this together" vibe. I liked it. There were several cool set pieces I really enjoyed which were mainly clever room based stuff involving two or three of the protagonists and some interesting setup they had to overcome or endure. They didn't all work, but there were more good than dull and I can't remember one that made me cringe in a bad way.

Plus all of these guys were passingly convincing and not too annoying. That's a tick in the box.


Downsides, it hasn't a patch on the creep factor of the original. Where the original sustained an ongoing undercurrent of gloom that unsettled for the duration of the movie, the sequel is pretty tame and relies more on shock and a few jumps. The chair was a cool device but other "creep" factors were too well trodden to be interesting. The ending didn't blow my skirt up either and didn't need a bad guy shoehorned in after we had already established a hierarchy or good guys and spirits that was working just fine.  I don't mind progression or twists, but this was neither unexpected, clever or necessary.

Cliche


So, The Conjuring 2, my comeback movie review and the first horror movie I've watched in a while. Did it titillate my terror or fall flat with a squelch like a rotted out corpse? I'd say neither. It was average, slightly above perhaps, but more on the beige side of colourful when I had hopes for tinsel and sequins.

6/10 - Nor bad, not great, Conjuring 2 is a bit to long and could be significantly improved through the removal of the shitty antagonist and all related material


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

spaceRPG!

Slightly out of left field and a bit off topic! We're currently working on a game called spaceRPG (amongst four projects we have on the go, this is the most advanced).

Check it out here on IndieDB!

http://www.indiedb.com/games/spacerpg

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Space Battleship Yamato (2010)



Space Battleship Yamato: things explode, people yell a lot (WOULD YOU LIKE A COFFEE! YES PLEASE, WITH MILK AND SUGAR. OKAAAAAAAAAAAAY!) and sake appears to be the staple diet.

It's the year 'sometime in the future' and the earth is being bombarded with asteroids by the evil Gamilas. These inundations of space rock have left the planet decimated - a radioactive wasteland of yellows and grays that has forced the remaining population underground. It's a population waiting for death, bereft of hope, lacking direction. We begin the story with two separate threads that quickly come together: one follows the protagonist Susumu as he scavenges the wastes of the earth for scrap and the other shows the humans being handed their arse in a space battle then one of the few remaining crews limping home just in time to be given command of a new super ship. The plans for this new ship, the Yamato, were found by Susumu on one of his scavenging trips, apparently sent from space by a benevolent race keen to save humanity. This space message also contains a promise of technology that will cleanse the earth of radiation and a map to the planet Iskandar.

A number of the characters are bound together already: Susumu's brother was captain of a ship destroyed in the opening battle, Susumu himself was once an ace pilot in the fleet, the captain of the Yamato fled the opening battle when Susumu's brother sacrificed himself. For all these reasons, plus some more that make little sense, Susumu re-joins the fleet and is immediately put in command of the Yamato's biggest weapon - the wave motion gun. One moment he is a civilian threatening to kill the captain, the next he's back in the fold - and later on he's even installed as Acting Captain.

I'll leave the commentary at this point and delve into the review itself. Space Battleship is an enjoyable but hard to swallow movie. The effects are excellent for the reported budget of about $24 million, though there are a couple of dodgy shots that should have been left out. The two themes of hope and the burden leadership are kind of patchy and never really grab you or make you think. A lot of what drives the characters is a fabrication designed to give them and the population left at home some hope that there is a solution, though in the end this fabrication turns out to be literal (though slightly twisted) truth.

Some of the cast: Hot girl (top left), serious guy (top right), pilot guy (bottom left) and Captain Beard (obvious).

All in all the story, backgrounds and plot are lightly treated and only there to support the mostly excellent action scenes and alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption you say? Well, yes. You see this movie was hard to follow and the motivations of the characters muddied and erratic, until you pay attention to what's happening in several of the quieter scenes on board the Yamato. At all times, even when in the brig or on duty, the characters - military men and women - are drinking sake. Lots of sake. After coming to this realisation I found that the actions of the characters made more sense. They yelled a lot because they were drunk, they looked confused and made spur of the moment decisions because they were pickled, they rushed into the breach with excess bravado because they were tanked, they suddenly fell in love and fell into each others arms because...well you get the picture. The penultimate scene makes a lot of sense if you consider the character has been drinking non-stop for several months. There were several other solutions to the problem, but naturally he chose the most obvious one - probably assuming everything would be OK in the end and he'd be back home in time for tea and strumpets at 6.

Cast from the cartoon: main guy, hot girl and Captain Beard. Plus some others, they're not important right now. The Yamato is far more interesting but they shoved it right up the back there for some reason.

Putting all the failings aside, I enjoyed Space Battleship Yamato and would recommend it to anyone who remembers sneaking out of bed early as a kid to watch the original cartoon (Star Blazers as it was known in Australia) on morning television. I think younger sci-fi fans who don't know the original material would still enjoy the simple mix of light themes and good action scenes. Now to practice my roll and shoot move from the original series opening credits. How that used to amaze and confuse my friends in primary school...

7/10 - Simple story, drunken decision making, pretty explosions. Bonus: Lot's of yelling.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Raptor becomes Immortal

 
 So back from Gavor and my hiatus I had to decide what would be my come back review. Well how about Greek Mythology with gay overtones. Let’s hit that! Wait! No I mean…ok poor choice of words.
I was pretty exited about seeing this due to no small fact that it resembled Zack Snyder’s 300. I mean the trailer had all this fighting and a bow that shoots glowing arrows and wait there was fighting and let’s not forget the fighting.


Is that a spear in my eye or are you just happy to see me?

The story starts off with Theseus played by Henry Cavill who has been getting awesome Kung-Fu skills under the tutelage of a disguised Zeus (ok not kung-fu just battle skills still awesome). Living by a sea side community set in some cliffs, little do they know that King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) is looking for the Epirus Bow and his army is going to go straight through them on their way to Mount Tartarus to release the Titans. He had previously kidnapped the oracle Phaedra (Freida Pinto) and her maids to help him but they refused. Anyway Theseus gets captured, escapes with oracle and the thief Stavros (Stephen Dorff, Yeah I know right! The Dorf! What the hell!) and locate the bow in the Minotaurs’ Labrynith but it gets stolen by Hyperion and so off then off to the big battle at the mountain. Now Zeus forbids the Gods to interfere in the quest but alas the Gods are rambunctious and scantly clad gay porn stars except for Athena (Isabel Lucas) who is hot and Zeus gets all mad and kills one of them so the gods get all sad and angst ridden. Yes, the worst kind of angst. The one in the pants. That means the heroes end up on there own. Gasp!

Oil me up big boy!



Yup, the Minotaur still annoys the crap out of me.
Immortals was directed by Tarsem Singh who also directed The Cell. If you have seen that you can see a lot of his signature on this. There are a lot of dream like sequences and imagery that looks like it has been taken out of a renaissance painting depicting idealised Gods and heroes. That probably explains why most of the men run around bare chested. It is a visual feast for the eyes but it can be distracting at times. As far as the performances go, Cavill was fine as Thesues. He did try a heroic morale raising speech towards the end but it felt pretty forced. I liked Rourke as Hyperion, he was a brutish bastard who didn’t give a fuck what the Gods thought and did everything he could to let them know of it. Good job there. Dorff played a side kick and he did it well. Freida Pinto was basically eye candy. She really didn’t do much at all. The gods themselves were just lack luster for most of the movie, except at the end when they were kickin’ it with the Titans or intervening. Otherwise they sat around looking angry, sad or confused in various iterations.




Uoo I'm going to thpank you so hard Mr Pointy Head.


There was also one plot hole that irked me. The bow was invented by the God as the only weapon that could kill another God. Right. Good. So at the end Gods are killing Titans and Titans killing Gods with their bare hands or random weapons. What the hell happened there? Did someone pull the plug on their immortal status? Alright a pet peeve there. Also I didn’t like the Minotaur. Spoiler alert: he was just a man with a crappy head gear. Grrr I hate that.

Yup, gay god porn stars.


What did I think overall? It isn’t a perfect film and had a few dull moments but overall it kept me entertained and there were some booby shots from our leading ladies so. I give Immortals 6.5 out of 10 for a good try.



Isabel Lucas, trust me she does appear wearing only paint...I swear.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Aaaaaaaand...we're back!

PIS Movies is back online! Get ready for all new content, coming really, really, really...ok enough of that. New reviews are on the way, but for now why not sit back and browse through our extensive archives.

See you again soon!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Raptor Goes Reaping

I have haven’t watched many movies of late, why? Don’t question me! Ok, I tells. I’ve been watching the now cancelled series of Reaper.

Constipation? We have the cure.

It’s about Sam (Brett Harrison) whos’ parents sell his soul to The Devil(Ray Wise). Since The Devil now owns his soul on his 21st birthday he recruits him to bring escaped souls back to hell. The Devil obviously makes this task difficult for him so to help Sam recruits his friends Sock(Tyler Labine) and Ben Gonzalez(Rick Gonzalez, yes same last names, neat) to help in his task. Mean while he is trying to ignite a relationship with his girl-friend Andi(Missy Peregrym).

Hey it's the Scooby Doo gang. Wait, which ones the dog?

The series ran for 31 episodes and sadly was cancelled after plans to sell it to another channel fell through. I’d have to say I really was into the series by about 5 episodes in.  Brett Harrison was quite likeable as the harassed and frustrated Sam. He doesn’t portray him as looser but more of an every day guy who is stuck in a bad situation.  Ray Wise is in the perfect roll as The Devil. I mean he was made to play the conniving, manipulative and vindictive lord of all evil. Oh he does dress well too. Both Brett and Ray gave the series a good solid base but the ones that made it shine were defiantly Tyler Labine and Rick Ganzalez as Sock and Ben. Sock is an outrageously extraverted eccentric who is the guy that comes up with crazy plans to get the girls. Not always successful. He was the character that had me laughing nearly every episode.  I'd keep an eye out for this Labine character, he is going be be appearing a lot more on TV. Ben is almost the opposite being really nice and sensitive but still prone to the crazy ideas that plague his colleague. His family lies in fear of his grandmother who rules with an iron spoon. Oh he likes bunnies and has a demon girlfriend. Score! Andi, Sams lady friend, is also quite likable and hot. I think she was in a cheerleading movie. Mental note: must find cheerleading movie.

Gay angels. I knew it. No one wears clothes that well

The series has some reasonable FX and creature costumes. The demons who appear reasonably often are quite the spiffy practical make up. Also the souls from hell tend to all have their individual powers such as turning invisible, exploding into fire, multiplying etc which leads to some interesting situations although the escaped souls are not always the centre of each episode.

Missy Peregrym and friends. I'll volunteer to fluff the pillows.

The weakness of the show was the demon hunting was a little repetitive, especially at the start. This though decreased a lot latter in the first series when multiple story archers began to be introduced. Maybe this was a little too late to save the show. Who knows but I was really looking forward to next episodes of the series.

Reaper is a cross between Supernatural and possibly Scrubs. If this sounds good to you then check it out otherwise go QQ somewhere. I give this series a 7.5/10

Jenny Wade from Feast was Bens Demon Girlfriend. Bastard!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Raptor is Heartless

Every now and then there are scenes and depictions in a movie that just creep you out. In Heartless it’s a street gang but I’ll elaborate.

Wow what a crappy poster!

Heartless is revolves around Jamie Morgan (Jim Sturgess), a photographer born with a heart shaped birth mark on his face. This has caused him to be withdrawn and lonely which was made worse when his father, who he looked up to, died earlier in his life. As the movie continues news stories of violent and unprovoked murders begin to be reported on the news. Then one night while taking a picture he finds an image of a disturbing creature in the background. This sets him on a path to find out what it was and discovers that there is a demonic gang incinerating random people with Molotov’s. He is eventually approached to Papa B(Joseph Mawle) who turns out to be the devil who offers him his hearts desire for one simple task, graffiti a wall. Jamie asks for to fall in love and in a phoenix like scene is reborn without the birth mark. He then meets Tia played by a cute Clements Poesy and they fall in love. This all starts to fall apart when the Weapons Man (Eddie Marsan) calls in on Eddie to help him complete his task of murdering someone by ripping out there heart while still alive and placing it on the church steps. Wait a minute you say, that’s not graffiti? Yes the devil lied. Who knew? Things all go down hill from there.

So what do you see here? Yo momma. Bazinga!

Director and Writer Phillip Ridley has put together an eerie and at times disturbing movie on a small budget. The British cast all give very solid performances. Jim Sturgess as Jamie is a flawed anti hero. The birth mark is his weakness rather than a strength and when this disappears he gains his confidence back or so it seems. The other characters are not as fleshed out as Jamie unfortunately and the story revolves mostly around this character.  Joseph Mawles Papa B is menacing in an underworld bikey boss sort of performance. There wasn’t a vast range of emotions to show but that seemed to help rather than hinder character.

I want to talk to you about God. Wait come back! I have pamphlets!


Now the creepy part that I mentioned above is the gang with the serpentine faces, screeching bestial screams all while dressed in hoodies and jeans. I must have been the meshing between the demonic and street gang that was unnerving but it worked for me. The tension and unease was also built up in news reports of violent crimes and second hand accounts of what was happening so that when Jamie actual meats up with the gang there is a certain about of dread already built up.
On the down side and also a spoiler warning the movie ends with the ambiguous notion of it was all in his head which I find to be a cop out most of the time. I can kind of accept it here but barely as there were clues throughout in a Sixth Sense kind of way. The pacing was also a little to slow at times especially at the beggining.
Overall I would say it was a reasonable effort as a Faustian tale. I give it a 7/10.


Multiple booby shots of Clements Poesy. Win!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Raptors been Bitten

So what the hell is that guy, you know that guy from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back? The Jay guy Jason Mewes? Well seems he is in this vampire film called Bitten. What the?

Ah Christ! Giving head would be painful.

Actually seems like he’s been pretty busy all round with over fifty screen credits to his name but I digress. In bitten Mewes plays paramedic Jack who girlfriend just gave him the flick. With his work buddy Roger (Richard Fitzpatrick) they go about their nightly rescues but his life is seems pretty depressing even with Rogers crude encouragement to get over it. One night Jack comes home and find the extremely hot Danika(Erica Cox) covered in blood and dumped in some trash after an assault. He takes her in and soon finds out she maybe a drug addict after going through what may be with drawl symptoms. After Jacks ex-girlfriend rocks up, Danika kills her and drinks her sweet sweet blood Jack realises she is a vampire…oh the growing teeth were also a giveaway.
I have to say that Erica Cox is super hot. I would kill for her and ask “how many times do I have to stab them?”. Thus I can kind of see where Jack tries to help her at the start but Danikas blood lust becomes uncontrollable and she starts to kill anyone who walks into the apartment all along pleading for jack to help her pain. This really does get annoying after some time and I don’t see why Jack doesn’t take a more hard ass stand after the second killing. I mean first time, ok you’re a little confused, she is hot, yes she tried to bite you too but surly we can forgive her one killing if you’re going to get some right? Jack hides the bodies in the freezer he has but that fills up pretty quick after the 2nd body. And another thing, why does he nonchalantly hide the bodies in his house and ignore them? Wouldn’t you try to dump them somewhere?

I'm not sure if the guy Erica Cox is feeding on is happy or scared

Acting here is pretty good. Jason portrayal of Jack is spot on barring the logic holes in the character. I did like the asshole character of Roger. He is an asshole but underneath it his hearts in the right place…kind of…maybe a little to the left of the right place but overall in the general area of the right place. I must also admit that Erica Cox did portray Danika as predatory drug addict who’s addiction over rules any common sense or morality she may have had. I can accept that.

I think she broke her.

Bitten is a fair movie but I still couldn’t get over some of the characters logic choices. I can concede that it’s not a standard situation that you could find yourself in.  I give this movie a 6/10 for vampire booby action.


What did I tell you about eating in bed!?!

Side Note Movie of the Weeeeeeekah!!!
Yes this is my side note movie of the week, Hatchet. A movie with a great start, great characters and a good background story for the bad guy which ends up with a tacked on cliché ending.  What is it with horror moves now days that require a double ending? You know the one were the survivors get away but then it’s an oh no they didn’t really get away that was just a ruse. I mean really. Just pick an ending, we don’t all need to have James Cameron endings on everything.


Hey I have two as well. Tee hee!

Oh and Mercedes Mcnab from Buffy fame shows us her boobies so it’s not all bad. I give this one 6/10 too.

Television as an alternative to film

I've seen a lot of shitty films lately, and yes I know this is the way it has always been and that amongst the dross are nuggets of cinema gold (or in my case, home cinema gold) - but seriously, so many movies have left me cold or disappointed lately I'm losing interest in the whole medium. I ask myself, when was the last time I watched a highly anticipated or recommended piece of work that caught my attention and made me feel something. This year? Maybe 1 movie. Last year, perhaps a handful.

I've been to the cinema twice this year, thereby setting a 5 year record for number of cinema visits in a calendar year. Both times I was gouged at the register and let down by the product. Avatar was spectacular but boring and The Expendables adequately made but lacking that special something to get it off the ground. At home, I don't even want to consider how many hours I've wasted watching shit films. Expensive, cheap, horror, action, drama - whatever - I swear to something or other that 85% are below par and I wonder why the producers even bothered. I'm not talking about embarrassing junk like Meet the Spartans, Sex in the City or anything starring the guy from Black Knight and Big Mommas House - no, I mean movies that should have been worth watching, even for a quick bit of escapism.

Like an glitzy dress on Miranda Kerr. Good to look at once or twice but there are plenty of pretty things with more substance out there.
Like an glitzy dress on Miranda Kerr. Good to look at once or twice but there are plenty of pretty things with more substance out there

I'm going out on a limb here to say this includes such snore fests as Lord of the Rings (all of them), the Spiderman movies after the first one, Avatar as previously mentioned, almost all of the top tier action, drama and horror movies and I assume most movies from other genres too (I can't imagine this is limited to a handful of genres). When I've enjoyed something lately it's almost always come from left field or been a rare recommendation that held some weight. Movies like Pandorum, Children of Men, the recent Rambo movie, The Descent (and the sequel), Dead Snow, Body of Lies, Taken...okay I'm running out of movies I've really enjoyed lately.

This picture doesn't illustrate what the movie is about. Is it a movie about work safety?
This picture doesn't clearly illustrate what the movie is about. Work safety? Medical incompetence?

On the other hand, and the reason for this rant, i've seen a lot of quality television lately. Not all of the shows I'm about to mention are super fantastic, but they're worth watching every week and the heightened depth of story (DoS) (TM) over most movies is in the order of several magnitudes when measured on my secret and patented DoS scale. Now, the salient difference here is probably what, for me, makes good television series superior to films these days - the amount of time producers have to work with. A single season of a good television program should run about 8 hours, any more and you're scrambling for material, any less and there's insufficient time to flesh thing out. Being broken up into 45 or 60 minute chunks also means it's easy to watch parts of a larger story arc at your leisure and without your arse going to sleep on an uncomfortable cinema seat. The trick, of course, is to know when it's time to stop, Heroes being the perfect example. Sometimes television is the perfect medium to tell a complex story that requires 8-12 hours to do it justice, and when that story has been told in it's entirety it's best to move on, not make another (otherwise unplanned) season.

A movie has from 90 minutes to 3 hours, with 3 hours being way too fucking long in my opinion. For the attention deficit society of today, 90 minutes of attention may be about all we can ask, with plots containing story and characters stretching things a bit too far. Therefore, we get shit shoveled into our homes by the truckload. It's cheap to make and easy to market, but I'm sure most people know this.

What I though after watching The Book of Eli
What I though after watching The Book of Eli

Returning to television, I've not seen many bad productions lately. I'm not talking about Glee, Jersey Shore or whatever masquerades as entertainment in some circles. No, I'm watching shows recommended by friends, genre experts and even - gasp - critics. Over the last couple of years I've watched shows both new and old and fuck me if I've been impressed by episodes far more often than I've been let down. I've wanted to write about particular television series several times, but this is a movie review site so I've had to put that aside until now. The tipping point came this week when I started watching the second season of a show that was yet another victory for story telling and characterisation over fart jokes and over loud explosions.

About as entertaining as reading this article, though not as long. I'm 100% sure these girls will be doing topless art films within 5 years.
About as entertaining as reading this article, though not as long. I'm 100% sure these girls will be doing topless art films within 5 years.

So what have I enjoyed? I hesitated to list anything here because my tastes are not necessarily your tastes and I don't want to come across as a fan boy of these particular genres. I'm 100% sure there's great television being made in other spaces as well and I'm not in any way suggesting that my pet likes are where all the good TV is at. Nevertheless I decided to make a quick list to illustrate the breadth of material out there (and this is only a very small sample of all the great stuff floating around).

Battlestar Galactica - I loved the first season, then it was a little up and down. Still, it was great sci-fi and good drama, with memorable characters to boot. BSG was the series that got me back into watching television and movies after many years of avoiding both.

Firefly - You love it or you hate it, but it was well made with interesting characters and good stories. The greatest strength of this show will prove to be it's cancellation. It never had a chance to go bad and will live on as a much loved genre piece that  fanboys can obsess over for years to come.

Caprica - I don't love Caprica but I can see how it might turn into something quite interesting. Nevertheless, it's fairly complex and has a few novel-ish ideas.

Stargate Atlantis - I expected this to be crap, which is why I didn't watch it until this year. Totally worth it. Popcorn sci-fi done right, very entertaining.

Being Human - The blurb made this sound like a hokey supernatural comedy, but it came sort of recommended from a friend so I figured I'd give it a shot. I'm not sure if I read the right blurb. While it has humorous moments and some absurd set-ups, it's not played for laughs so much as satire.

Doctor Who - Was mostly really good, the lowest points being the 3rd and 5th seasons.

Dexter - Dexter is an excellent example of a show that should have been retired at the end of the second season. The first two seasons constituted a complete story and Dexter should have been put on the shelf after some loose ends were tied up.

Spartacus Blood and Sand: Fantastic mix of drama, scheming, violence and nudity.

Stargate Universe: An interesting idea that started ok, wandered around the season without its pants on for a while then finally took some pills and got it together. Maybe the second season will be more consistent.

V - Wasn't good. Just wanted to say that.

One of the many, many nude scenes in Spartacus - legitimate adult entertainment
One of the many, many nude scenes in Spartacus - legitimate adult entertainment we can all enjoy. Except prudes and religious nuts.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Raptors Breaking his Day

Daybreakers goes on a great premise, the world has been converted to Vampires and there are only a few humans left. This is a problem for Vampires since they need blood to survive….because they are Vampires see. It’s just like if all the cows in the world suddenly died how would we get our Macas? McTofu burger anyone?


It's really not the Matrix and 28 days later at all....FYI Yo!

So the Vampires go about farming humans for blood but knowing this isn’t sustainable they also look for a blood substitute. This has not gone well like exploding of said vampire not gone well. Charles Bromley (Sam Neil) is head of the corporation which farms the blood and his lead scientist Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawk) is the lead scientist working on the blood substitute. Dalton has become disillusioned with his failures and when he runs into a group of human survivors led by Audrey Bennett (Claudia Karvan) and decides to help them. Bennett takes them to Lionel Cormac (Willem Dafoe) who is leader of a camp of survivors. He used to be a Vampire but cured himself by accident using….THE POWER OF THE SUN….yes that’s right. Now Dalton is trying to replicate this. Oh vampires that don’t get blood for a long while go feral and turn into these half bat creatures.

I'm soooo pretty! Oh so pretty. So pretty and witty and gaaaaay.

Daybreakers is directed by the brothers Peter and Michael Spierig who brought us Undead and is largely and Australian production. It’s quite polished and has a very dark dystopian feel to it, sort like Ethan Hawks older movie Gattica.  Ethan Hawk and Dafoe put some effort into in to their characters and Sam Neil is quite insidious as Bromley, he seems to do subtle evil pretty well. Must be all that practice at being the Anti-Christ from Omen 3. Claudia Karvan gives us some female acting muscle here. We also get Vince Colosimo as a scientist here. What? Wasn’t he in the Wog Boy? Ok what ever. Finally with a minor part we get Isabel Lucas the girl that played the sex transformer chick from Transformers 2. She’s basically eye candy. All in all the performances were adequate. I wouldn’t call this Oscar wining acting but good enough.

Isabel Lucas. Role: Eye Candy.

On the Special FX side we do get some crazy bat vampires. There are explosions, car chases, gun fights, a few bodies getting ripped up and lots of blood. There are also some freakish scenes of vampires lining up for Coffee/blood or kid vampires just hanging, as you do or peoples eyes lighting up when the lights go out breifly waiting for a train.
I did like the plot overall. It grabbed me more towards the end when the true version of the cure was show but I’d have to say the last 2-3 minutes kind of spoiled it some. It was if they wanted to tie off the loose ends. It was virtually the last few mins. They didn’t need that.
Overall the Daybreakers was quite watchable with some good ideas put on screen and some competent acting. I give it a 7/10.

Claudia Karvan, front......

and back!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Centurion (2010)

I'm not sure how to review Centurion: on the one hand it's a basic action/travel tale movie with gratuitous violence from the 300 mould and little to no plot, direction, ending or character development.  On the other hand it's all of the above things. You can view those points as negatives if you're looking for the next Mulholland Drive, or positives if you want to kill a couple of hours watching grown men in costumes chop each other arms off. Personally I took a bit of a positive view, and it paid off. I had never heard of Centurion until after watching The Expendables and reading reviews with comparisons between the two i.e. no plot, no characterisation, lots of loud noises and death. Ever the fan of Romans (especially after the epic Spartacus) I was sold on the idea and signed up.

It doesn't matter what's going on here, you only need to know that gratuitous killing is but moments away.
It doesn't matter what's going on here, you only need to know that gratuitous killing is but moments away.

Centurion is a movie of many disjointed parts. Characters come and go, the story has no direction and we're never quite sure what this is all about. It's kind of good in that a few cliches are avoided, such as a big battle of retribution at the end or portraying either side as the real bad guys. It's kind of bad in that the movie ends and you wonder what is was all about. The answer is sword porn. Centurion is really only an excuse to take swords waved at people and lots of limbs sliced off. The methods of slaughter depicted are many and varied: decapitation, lots of throat cutting, disembowelment, stabbed, stabbed with a spear, clubbed, burned and so on. It's done quite well except for that overwrought blood thing from 300.

Good guy / bad girl
Quintus, just moments away from gutting another faceless extra

None of the actors excel and none of the chicks are especially hot. We have Michael Fassbender as the titular good guy Centurion Quintus Dias, Liam Cunningham from Dog Soldiers as a guy called Brick, Olga Kurylenko as the main bad guy...or girl as it is here, Noel Clarke from Dr Who as token black guy with very non-period accent, and Imogen Poots from 28 Weeks Later as some girl who lives in the woods.

Olga Kurylenko - Good lord. Okay, not so bad.
Olga Kurylenko - Good lord. Okay, not so bad.

Ultimately, Centurion is a drinks night movie or something best enjoyed while a little un-sober. It doesn't matter in the end whether the story made sense (or even existed), because I don't think it was supposed to. As an exercise in simple entertainment, Centurion has achieved it's objective.

6/10


Summary: An action winner with no substance past the opening credits. Leave brain at the door but bring in your 6-pack.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Raptors Dream

How many times do you go to a movie and think that was really cool? Ok given I’m amused by shiny rocks but Inception was one of these movies.

Written and directed by Christopher Nolan who is really heading up there on my favourite directors list. The movie could a have dissolved in a complete mess and it’s kudos to Nolan that he manages to keep the story of tight and on track without letting the ideas and concepts of dreams and reality break down and wonder off.

There go the Armani shoes

Inception revolves around the basis that people are able to enter other peoples’ dreams and through various means steal information from the person being invaded. The movie itself revolves around not stealing information but implanting and idea in a process known as Inception that is thought to be impossible. Leonardo DiCaprios’ character Cobb is approached by Sato (Ken Watanabe) the owner of a large energy corporation which is being threatened by Robert Fishers(Cillian Murphy) Multi Corporation. He proposes the that Cobbs uses Inception to implant an idea into Fischers mind to pull apart his corporation and in return Sato will clear Cobbs name of allegations of having killed his wife and so can return back to America and his two children. Cobbs then goes about putting a team together and planning and executing a classic heist with more twists than a bendy straw.

This movie does pivot around Leonardos’ Cobb and his relationship with his wife. It literally, and without revealing too much, becomes the pivot point of the move towards the end. The style and coolness does come from the characters and their nick names such as the Architect, The Point Man, Forger, The Extractor. This was all part of the marketing campaign but it also prevalent in the movie too. The character of Cobbs is a broken man. As mentioned before he was unjustly accused of his wife’s murder and had to flee the country. His wife played by Marion Cotillard has now, due to his guilt, become a real and unknown quantity in the dream world and due to this he has tried to keep this a secret from the rest of the team. Cobbs partner and right hand man is Arthur played by Joseph Gorden-Levitt and man I think will be one of the great character actors of our time. It must be true since I said it. He’s building himself a nice resume with Brick and now Inception. The new Architect, the person who builds a dream environment, is Ariadne (Ellen Page) who is brought in after they loose their original. She stumbles onto Cobbs’ secret and becomes his pseudo psychiatrist.  Sato (Watanabe) brings some class to the heist as well and you’re never quite sure where his loyalties lie until the later half of the movie and the last part is really a kicker with him and Cobb. Finally there is the little surprise of the Forger, Eames played by Tom Hardy who literally takes on an army in one of the dream “levels”. Now while all that characters were pretty cool the only one that was really fleshed out to a great depth was Cobb. All the others had some back story but not near to any degree as Cobb. Although Cillians’ Robert Fischer story with his father is revealed in depth as well and is used as a plot device to persuade the character into accepting the inception idea.


And this is the scene where we go Full-Michael Jakson

One of the most important parts of Inception is the way dreams work and are used to create tension. Basically dream time is quicker than real time. Say ten times quicker, so you can do things ten times as fast. You can also have dreams within dreams and within dreams again. For every level of dreams the time becomes ten times quicker again. The heist involves three layers of dreams but there is also a subconscious layer they call Limbo where time literally stretches for years and you could live a life time before waking up. All this is used in a car chase which filters down to sub dream layers in a brilliant execution of events. Other little things such as if you get bumped in real life the dream also bumps or if you need to go to the bathroom then it rains in the dream.

The music score was amazing. In the dream it uses this menacing bass baritone tuba like sound which seems to be setup to warn the user when ever the characters are within a dream or something massive is happening such as scenery being changed. This is also where Inception shines in the creation of the dream world. It’s not overdone and you wont see weird creatures or giant robots but the environment itself morphs and changes but this is used sparingly. Also action! There is action and thrills galore. If you want gun fights, Car chases and everything in-between then it has it here.

Inception will be a purchase for me once it hits DVD/Blue-ray. I highly recommend you see this if your looking for a great thriller that will leave you thinking about it way after you’ve left the movies. I give this a 9/10 bazingas!

Marion Cotilard gratuitous booby shot. I know you filthy monkeys want it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Raptor gets Hunted

I’m one of those people that liked Predator 2 so sue me. I also didn’t like Predators vs Aliens but I though PvA2 was pretty good. See first sentence. So I decided to check out Predators brought to us by one of my favourite directors Robert Rodriguez but not directing this time but producing, instead we have Nimrod Antal. So what did I know going in? Well there would be no Schwarzenegger and there would be Adrian Brody as the lead.  There would be multiple Predators, a gazillion I hear. It would be set in an alien jungle and there would be a bunch of bad asses tagging along.

Oh Snap! You got served!

The story went like this: dangerous people from our world are picked up and dropped onto this planet so that the Predators can go hunting. They then try to figure out what happening, survive and turn the tables against the Predators, so really the first movie but with more Predators.

The Predator hounds are pretty horny...hehehe what?

Did it suffer because of the lack of good old Arny? I have to say defiantly not, I didn’t want to see another Arnold film, I wanted to see something a bit different and I pretty much got that with Adrian Brody. He brought a lot of screen presence to the film and he buffed up even on his wiry frame. He is quick like the Minx. He character Royce is ex-military turned merc and is jaded by life and believes that you can’t count on anyone else but yourself. This ideal is questioned by Alice Bragas’ Isabelle, a sniper from some war who lost her spotter on her last mission.  Other characters include the crazy felon Stans (Walton Goggins), Nikolai a Chechnyan soldier who is the 2nd rate stand in for Schwarzenegger, a cool Yakuza by the name of Hazo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), Mombasa an African soldier and Danny Trejo one of Rodriguez favourite actors and soon to be in the up coming Machete. Then the black sheep and they guy who doesn’t seem to fit into it all is Topper Grace playing a scitterish fish out of water, Dr Edwin.  I guessed it and you will too as to what his bad habit is but he turns out to be a bit of a bastard. One of the cool but disappointing cast members was Laurence Fishburne who played a previous survivor.  His part felt a bit short and expendable. I guess he was there to explain the fact that they were all seriously fucked.  Who knew? The group worked well as a whole and for an action movie there is some character development unless they got killed off early.

 
The most touching part of the movie was the love story between Predator and man.

Now let’s get to the Predator. I lied. There weren’t a gazillion, there were only four. Three of them are from one Predator race while the last is the seemingly classic Predator who they have captured. The three Predators had quite distinct looks and hunt in different ways and they also set traps to lure and weaken their prey. They have their big face offs and such as the Hazo with a samurai sword vs wrist blades which is all pretty cool. Even the classic Predator get’s a few licks in with one of them although not fairing to well. 

Oh come back, I just want to play with your spine.

The SFX were pretty good all round. I can’t really complain at all. The predator hounds looked awesome and were pretty viciouse. There was also a spaceship, laser blasts left right and centre and even a net trap. Dam that Wookie. There was a bit of gore even Predator gore and included such hits as stabbing, beheadings and blaster wounds, overall nothing that would make you to squeamish though. And finally no boobies to be seen unless you count Predator and Brody bare chests.

Mucho Mucho Man. I want to be a Mucho man!

I have to say I liked this instalment of the Predator franchise. It when back to it’s roots but with a bit of a twist. The first act was built up at loping pace and the final act brought it all home. I would defiantly be interested in seeing a Predators 2 if there is talk about it. I give this one an 8/10 for action in your eye.

Alice Braga boody shot

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pontypool (2008)

I came across Pontypool on a website promising to be the definitive list of best horror from 2008. Two titles stood out as features I hadn't heard of and wanted to see, on the back of the glowing reviews. I don't know what it is with me and horror movies lately. I don't enjoy the pap bandied about by self proclaimed 'horror aficionados' - Drag me to Hell, The Ring, The Grudge and so on - and I really get into movies that somehow missed out on the love. Not necessarily smaller movies, niche or indy stuff like Splinter - also big budget movies like Silent Hill.

I really enjoyed Silent Hill
I really enjoyed Silent Hill

Anyway, I'm reviewing Pontypool today, a movie that falls firmly into the 'small film' niche. Small film, small budget, one location for the entire movie (except the beginning and end). Pontypool tells the tale of a real honest to goodness cowboy, Grant Mazzy played by Stephen McHattie, working as a radio DJ. Once he was a big star in the big smoke, now he spins shit and discs in small-town Pontypool. Once cold, snowy day, Grant and his two off-siders - Sydney (Lisa Houle) and Laurel-Ann (Georgina Reilly) - begin receiving increasingly disturbing phone calls about riots and mayhem around the town. Safe, or so they think, in their little radio station, they listen with increasing horror as the town outside falls apart.

I spilled my cordial and it formed in the image of a cowboy! Shame, I was hoping for a naked woman.
My spattered blood forms in the image of a cowboy. Shame, I was hoping for a naked woman.

While fairly well made, Pontypool annoys me through all the missed opportunities. After about and hour of decent build up, nothing striking is done with the built up tension and great concept. There was a huge opportunity to follow through with a truly scary second half but instead I saw a hokum and slightly silly segment about the plague outside being transmitted by sound, the characters running about the small set like headless chickens and some boring zombies. Where the first half was eerie and filled with a slight sense of impending doom, well built through the use of phone calls and the isolation of the protagonists from what was happening, the second half was flaccid and boring.

And that's about all I can say because that's all that happened. The ending wasn't a Deus Ex Machina so to speak, but it negated all the work Grant and Sydney did trying to save their own lives and perhaps stop the plague. Still, by that stage the movie had outlived it's premise and I was ready for it to end anyway.

5/10


Summary: A watchable movie that would have worked better with a little more show, a little less tell and a much better second act.

Raptor Takes a Peak into the 8th Dimension

I do like 80s Sci-fi movies. Mainly for the fact that they were still quite eccentric and hadn’t conformed quite to what we perceive as your typical sci-fi today and the fact that the fashion sucked so hilariously! What movie embodies 80s Sci-fi in your mind? Blade runner? No too good. The Thing? More horror really. Battle Beyond the Stars? Oh yeah, now we are getting somewhere but what I’m talking about it is The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. This has it all, 80’s hair styles, 80’s cloths a who’s who of 80s actors and let’s not forget 80s sensibilities like every hero is in a band. Hey it was acceptable in the 80s.

Anyone wanna rockout with your cock out?..ok no then.

Buckaroo starts off with a great little voice over about how Buckaroo, our hero played by Robocops’ Peter Weller, grew up with a Japanese Scientist Professor Hikita (Robert Ito). It reminded me of a narrative to a documentary about the great American pioneers poetic and matter-of-fact. We then are introduced to the adult Buckaroo who is now a Scientist/Brain Surgeon/Test pilot/Rock Star and adventurer. Wow, women want him and men want to be him. His band, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, are all scientist and adventurers themselves as well as being musicians. With Hikita, Bukaroo has developed a device that allows him to pass through the 8th dimension….with a car and through solid objects. When they do this they discover rebel aliens locked away by these Jamaican like aliens. They give the Earth an ultimatum, stop the Rebels from escaping or they blow the planet up. What’s a Scientist/Brain Surgeon/Test pilot/Rock Star/Adventure to do but save the world.

Actually I admit, this is a cool shot.

Bukaroos’ cast is really quite large and include Jeff Goldblum (the Fly), John Lithgow as crazy scientist, Clany Brown the bad Highlander from Highlander, Christopher Loyd (Back to the Future) and Ellen Barkin as Penny, Bukaroos’ love interest. You’d probably notice a smattering of other faces that you’ll recognize too. All of them play this for fun and there isn’t a mean bone in the script at all. There are typical 80s scenes like the band getting all rock star and singing and did I mention he knows the America President? Yeah who knew.

I know what your thinking you dirty Fly boy

The SFX are not too bad, we get bug eyed aliens, weird organic ships and little poisonous spider bullets but l some of it is also pretty “oh deary me” too like the trip into the 8th dimension or the protective masks they put on at one point (think chipped mirrored masquerade ball). You can’t blame them really, I’m sure all the kids were doing back then.

Unfortunately I’m sad to report there was no nudity what so ever in this movie. Alas we see no Ellen Barkin bits but she does so some nice leg action, phwaar. Overall I did like the movie and good natured attitude. I give this one a 6.5/10.

I have no idea what Siesta is but....hubba hubba!