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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

I had higher than average expectations for this movie based on who was behind it. Del Torro has been doing some fantastic stuff. Especially his vampire novels.

But this movie by no means being a bad movie just didn't seem to be all that great at anything.

I didn't find the movie to be very exciting, scary, creepy, weird, surprising or anything else you could use to describe it. I did find the back story mildly interesting. And not the flashback at the beginning either. But the sequence of exposition with Holmes and the Librarian when they basically link the creatures to the tooth fairy..

The performances were ok, the house was suitably old and ancient looking.

And they manage to keep the creatures in shadow until the end.. When they just get stupid. Prime example being when they set the trip wire on the stairs to trip Holmes who basically cracks her head on the floor and passes out. Now, I will admit it's unclear if they slices her leg to hinder her, or if she did it in the fall. But either way they proved earlier they were capable of murder and could have killed her, and dragged Sally to the basement. But.. they left Holmes there so she could wake up and follow them down.

Just like the sequences with Pierce. They had the opportunity to kill him as well, but didn't. Instead opted to try and gas him to death with the car. Not too mention, all his skulking around staring into key holes just so the director could try and gross out the audience with the needles to the eye attempts.. Made no sense to me, with what he knew he should have been kicking down doors going to his kid and girlfriend, not taking his time staring into keyholes..

If anything was creepy it was Sally. I don't know the actress, but if she was acting, and not genuinely creepy she was doing a good job.

I feel this movie could have been much better than it was. It had all the pieces but they just didn't seem to click. I didn't care about any of them. Except maybe Mrs. Underhill (If I remember the name). And I had no sense of dread as Holmes discovered the houses' secret. And most of that you could see a mile away. The fact that she would be the one to believe while the father was so wrapped up in work, and not paying attention the details. Give them credit for making the Mom a deadbeat and the father dealing with it all though. As well as Holmes dying in the end instead of some sort of noble male sacrifice. I did like how that ended.

So basically overall I didn't hate the movie, but didn't particularly like it all that much either..

2.5 stars out of 5

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fright Night and Conan The Barbarian 2011

Fright Night 2011 is a remake of a 1980s somewhat teenage vampire horror movie. Not all that bad really. It went to have a sequel, which I don't remember at all, and since it's not on Netflix yet, probably won't see until who knows when.

I will say that this is a rare movie, where the remake is much better than the original. And hopefully it does well. And from what I have read it seems to be.

It's that odd mix, of comedy with horror without becoming too much of a joke. They managed to update the film sensibly to 2011 from 1985 or so.. without it all coming apart.

And this credit I will place squarely before the feet of the writer. The one person that every movie and show needs, but usually get's the least respect and attention.

Which now leads me to my second part..

Conan The Barbarian 2011.. I mean, after almost 30 years and zillions of rewrites they still couldn't seem to make anything but a mess.

I liked the cast, it's an action movie after all. Sword and Sorcery (Not Fantasy)so I wasn't expecting Shakespeare regardless of your opinions of Momoa (See Game of Thrones or SGA)

But when you have $90 million dollars, and all the backing in the world. And the movie is simple.. And they still couldn't get the job done.

Which should be of no surprise really.. When was the last time they could make Fantasy or Swords and Sorcery anyway?? Lord of the Rings almost a decade ago, and then the original Conan movies before that.

After all, they couldn't even make a Dungeons and Dragons movie work. And that should have been easy.

They can make good action movies with cars and guns in them. But make that horses and sword and it all falls apart.

But anyway, we had one movie with a low budget $18 Million, relatively small cast. And a great writer being a 1980s remake vs another 1980s remake with $90 million budget, larger cast all the sets and backgrounds in the world. And apparently no writer to speak of And years of developement time and both in 3D and guess which one comes out ahead??

Yeah, when will they learn to start with a great writer and a better script. And stop short changing where it counts. Just because it's an action movie doesn't mean it shouldn't make any sense.

Fright Night 2011 3.5 stars out of 5
Conan The Barbarion 2011 2 stars out of 5

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summerslam 2011

What can I say, it didn't live up to the event that was Money in the Bank. Which was a fantastic PPV which is saying a lot based on all the crappy ones this year.. Wrestlemania included. The only other great one I saw this year I would say was The Royal Rumble. And that is probably more to do with the gimmick of the Rumble match itself.

Anyway, the main event for SS is what got my interest. And the way it ended, has got me interested. Seeing as how bored I was for the last several months or more.

And with RAW in the books now, they seem to have some questions and mystery cooking. And hopefully they will take their time resolving it all. And not bring it all to a conclusion too soon (As in bringing Punk back after virtually no time at all, who should have stayed out for months and just popped up all over with the WWE Title. Maybe came back for The Rumble. Kinda like the wheres Cactus Jack vignettes from WCW way back in the early 90s or so)

And I would actually like to see Nash work a few matches. But no more than that.

So here's hoping we can have some heat going between Nash, ADR, CM Punk, Cena and Triple H and really get some stuff cooking for a change.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Hard to believe it's been so long since the last time we had a movie about apes taking over the world.

It seemed that I was in the minority when I thought that the trailers for this one were looking worse every time I managed to see one. But I am pleased to report that it was a pretty good movie.

They seemed to set a small focus, didn't try and get too out of hand. And played it small. Which let them keep things mostly believable. Because watching the trailers, there was no way I was going to believe that the apes were gonna take the city. But what we got in the movie was much smaller in scope.

And there was lots of seeds about for I've since heard will be possibly two sequels. With the hints at the missing Astronauts, and one infected person not dealt with by the end of the movie. And anything else I may have missed.

I heard a lot of complaints about Franco phoning it in, and acting like he may have still been on another project. But, I liked the cast. And Franco just seems to be one of those actors who mostly plays himself in the roles he takes. Admittedly I haven't seen him in too much, so maybe he's better than that and needs a good director to draw a performance out of him. But, mostly playing yourself in movies hasn't seemed to have harmed Tom Cruise, Arnold or Sly one bit in over 20 years. Ok, maybe Tom can actually act, but not usually.

3.5 stars out of 5

Friday, August 5, 2011

Life on Mars

I'm just wrapping up the U.S. version of the show. And it's a crime that it didn't get to at least finish out a 20 episode season, let alone get a couple renewals.

Basically what we have is a cop show, about a guy who was in an accident in 2008 and wakes up in the exact same spot but it's 1973. And he keeps doing his job in this new reality that is like being on another planet for a guy that is from 35 years in the future.

With the exception of a few oddities in every episode which are generally nothing major, we have a period piece. A great 70s cop show. That has just an incredible cast behind O'Mara. Gretchen Mol, Michael Imperioli who steals every scene he's in. Not too mention the LT played by Harvey Keitel who is just perfect, down to the fresh faced rookie on the team. As well as the soundtrack. And the weekly guest stars as thugs and cops from other precincts. Not too mention more than a few returning compatriots of Imperioli's from The Sopranos. And that's weird seeing some of them as cops.

The show is based on the UK series of the same name. And they are also somewhat different. Especially in the ending of the US version which is coming up.

But the show was so good, that I figured I'd write some stuff down before I get there. Only a couple episodes left. But another show that deserved to get a few seasons at least under it's belt.

Tune down the odd stuff a little bit, and it plays as a great period piece cop show.
And it's great fun having O'Mara there when he knows what some things are that the others don't, or when he remembers something from the 'future' and wins a bet or two with his smug co-worker. Or has to explain what he meant when he was talking about laptops or cell phones..

4 out of 5 stars

Just to point out, the below trailer is from the Pilot I presume. The cast has totally changed for the series. Although Colm Meaney would have be an awesome LT as well. But I think I prefer Keitel just by a small margin..