Tag Archives: review

Movie Review: ‘Ninja Assassin’ masters the art of gore

25 Nov

November 25th, 2009–

American Ninja, where art though? Pray for Death, you have gone…never to return. Even Ninja III: Domination moved away and forgot to write. The over-the-top kill happy martial-arts fantasies of the mid 1980s have all abandoned us, and nothing ever came to take their place. With the exception of a occassional, errant nugget like 1995’s The Hunted (yea, it sucked…surprise) a genre I so loved as a child has all dried up.

Yes, I’m talking about the ninja film. Sure, Japan produced a few half-hearted attempts over the years, including the recent Shinobi:Heart Under Blade, but it had a decidedly wuxia feel to its ninjary (TM), and it played like a feverish video game. Then, hope briefly surfaced in the form of an announcement; the brothers Wachowski were making a big budget ninja film with their acolyte James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) behind the camera and Korean pop star Rain in front of it. Now that it’s here, Ninja Assassin turns out to be one more glittering chunk of fool’s gold. Outside of a killer opening sequence and a rather lively final battle, this one proves a tedious disappointment. Continue reading

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Movie Review: ‘Old Dogs’ should be euthanized

25 Nov

November 25th, 2009–

 Let it never be said that one-note Robin Williams comedies aren’t thought provoking. All through Old Dogs, which also unfortunately snares Mr. John Travolta, I sat there thinking; who is this movie for anyway? As if in answer, there came peals of middle aged laughter everytime Williams mewled like a child, or Travolta heaved himself in the direction of a cake or a chicken leg. When the dog uncontrollably pisses on the floor I think it generated enough titilation from the audience they might have done the same. No matter, this is an offense on almost nearly every level. Last week I tore apart New Moon, and I think I owe Twilight fans just a smidgen of an apology. Your movie isn’t the worst of the year. Nope. Not even close. Meet Old Dogs. The only trick they should be taught is how to disappear. Continue reading

Movie Review: Bad ‘Moon’ On The Rise

20 Nov

Read the review of New Moon on Bluray over at ATOMIC POPCORN.

Sci-Fi thriller starts strong but strays too far outside ‘The Box’

6 Nov

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Richard Kelly’s The Box brings with it some good news and bad news. The good is that it’s about 100% better than his last movie, Southland Tales. The bad is that despite a really solid opening hour or so, it never duplicates the kind of alternate-reality mind trip that Kelly struck paydirt with on Donnie Darko.

 I’m just going to link you over to Atomic Popcorn and you can read my more in-depth, and mostly spoiler-free, thoughts over there.

THE ATOMIC POPCORN REVIEW OF ‘THE BOX’

Continue reading

Movie Review: Bright Star

28 Oct

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Oct 29th, 2009–

Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal -yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
-John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn

cinemagrade AThe life of John Keats was a frequently troubled and brief one, punctuated by a burning brilliance of the heart and mind extinguished too soon. One of the youngest of the Romantic poets, Keats lived a life dedicated to his art and it cost him much in terms of financial stability, reputation and  health. Dying at the age of 25 in Rome (of tuberculosis) he would survive on in his work–poems not much loved in his day would later be hailed as masterpieces.  And yet, in his short life, Keats still had one great love, Fanny Brawne. Jane Campion’s Bright Star is the tender and elegant chronicle of that love and it is not a modern film in any respect; it honors and celebrates Keat’s romantic ideals, even when acknowledging that the reality of the world is sometimes their enemy. Continue reading

AMAD-Horror Edition: The Company of Wolves

19 Oct

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“Never stray from the path, never eat a windfall apple, and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet.”

cinemagrade b The Company of Wolves is either a child’s nightmarish fever dream, or a lurid fairy tale about the dark, shiny promise of adulthood. I’ve just finished watching the film for the first time in years, and I’m not honestly sure which it is. Both readings are possible, but I think that each viewer will choose for themselves one over the other. Continue reading

AMAD-Horror Edition: Mute Witness

18 Oct

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cinemagrade b+What is it that makes a film ‘scary’?  I don’t mean simple jump thrills or a little bit of goose-pimples. What I’m talking about is that tight-chest,  metallic taste in the mouth, primal fear that gets a hold of you and doesn’t let go. It’s the kind of anxiety one starts to feel when the car breaks down late at night on the side of the highway, or that tension that mounts when you realize your child is no longer next to you in the grocery store. It’s based off a moment of panic, and let’s face it, film as a medium isn’t always capable of evoking the feelings it shows on screen. We can enjoy a romantic comedy but there aren’t many that can elicit a feeling at all similar to actually being in love. The same goes for fear and terror. They are hard to quantify and characterize on film in such a way that their essence is echoed in an audience’s reaction. Over the years, maybe a handful of horror pics have done that for me. Mute Witness is one of them. Continue reading