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All reviews - Movies (149) - DVDs (1)


Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 12 September 2009 08:03 (A review of Spider-Man)

Mild mannered Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider, resulting in super-powers that grant him the proportionate abilities of the eight-legged arachnid. Leading into a story where the young webslinging teen-ager truly learns that "with great power comes great responsibility".
As a comicbook nerd, I was pleased with Marvel's 1st. initial effort at trying to do what Burton did with the Batman: Introduce the webhead as a serious legitimate property for film.
One of the things that usually bugs (pun unintentional) me about comicbook based movies is that the changes made in the character's universe for the sake of the film are usually so off, that it oft-times it strays away too far from the character's unique feel that helped to separate it from that of other superheroes.
Spider-Man's debut featured adaptations in the wallcrawler's world that showed that not only did Sam Raimi & crew understand the character's premise, but also, respected it as well.

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The Mask

Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 12 September 2009 07:58 (A review of The Mask)

I was a fan of the Mask back when hardly anyone knew anything about the comicbook.
So for me, it was kind of surprising when I heard that a movie about this character was going to be released.
Now, since superhero movies were just starting to finally prove to be able to generate attendance from the general public, I knew that there was no way they were going to be able to translate the dark humor & the violent tone of the comic for the silver screen, so I just assumed that out of necessity, Hollywood was just to completely re-invent the character, and Hollywood being Hollywood, would just completely eff it up.
However, they somehow were able to make this reinvention work for the medium of a live action movie. Not perfectly, mind you, but with the bizarre ingredients that were required for the basis of this weird, reality-altering anti-hero, it came off pretty well & pretty consistent. While the Mask doesn't hold the weight of any of its comicbook colleagues of this genre, it held it's own enough to be succesful at the box office & not spawn the ire of nerds like me who, especially at the time, just wanted to see these kinds of films earn a little more respect.

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They"ll Kick Yo' Azz....Thwice.

Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 12 September 2009 07:27 (A review of The Heroic Trio)

At first glance, this looked like a B-style action-flick that was just too goofy for me. But as I watched it, it became more like a movie that seem to sufficiently balance between the lines of well-crafted high-fantasy creditability & a comicbook-like storyline. And also at the same time, between epic wuxia style battle moves & cheesy yet energetically fun kung-fu camp.
And at the center, tying all these almost conflicting themes together are three high-flying colorful female warriors whose chemistry made it impossible for me not to fall in love with each one of them. This trio of hot asian super-heroines who fight crime with such cool moves & kick-ass sultry outfits are so sexy, that it makes my pimp-ass want to do sumthin villainous just for the spanking.
Plus, I defy any one not to "loose their head" over the villianous Kau & his throwing "skull-cage" on a chain.

While I realize that this isn't really considered a maverick of this field,for me, the charisma between these well-rounded & distinct characters was enuff to hook me into this non-guilty guilty pleasure.

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The Dark Side Of Grift

Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 12 September 2009 07:24 (A review of The Grifters)

While this movie includes the type of grand grift scheme that makes these types of films appealing, it's also has the very dark side that comes along with most confidence games.
The characters aren't as endearing as in most other films of this genre, but they are most certainly interesting, adding a sharp & jagged dimension to a theme that has swayed a little too much on the fluffier side.
Here, all the leads wear their dark sunglasses not so much to look cool, but more to shadow the deceits that lie behind their grifting smiles.

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The True Spirit Of Fantasy

Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 12 September 2009 07:22 (A review of Legend)

Legend was probably the first movie to come into my life where I felt that it truly captured the fantasy element of a sword & sorcery saga that I always wanted to see on film when it came to this genre. The visuals in this movie are amazing, bright & filled with alot of energy (especially for it's time). The designs of the landscape & the characters encapsulate the kind of style that I would have envisioned whenever I read a book featuring elves, trolls, unicorns & whatnot. Even the devilish full body make-up of the primary antagonist, Lord Of Darkness, was spared no expense at the baddassery of his gigantically horned self.
I think that Legend was an aptly titled big step into what these types of movies had the potential to be.


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Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold

Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 11 September 2009 07:18 (A review of Sympathy for Lady Vengeance)

Part of a Vengeance Trilogy of which the more well-renowned Oldboy belongs to. IMO, of the trio, I find that Sympathy For Lady V to more strongly emphasize director Park Chan-wook's "poetic" use of visuals (a phrase you'll probably be able to understand better once you watch it) with a story that flows much smoother into it's gritty climax that, for my money, is richly laden with an equal balance of above-the-law justice & a plausible & sensible empathy for it's unique plot-device.
So while I also recommend Oldboy as a great flick that is armed with a more in-your-face type of plot twist, I still find that my sympathies tend to lean stronger towards Lady Vengeance.


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A Little Precious

Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 11 September 2009 07:17 (A review of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)

A movie about a famous fantasy novel series that I've never read. And even though, I felt a bit lost through out certain plot elements, there was enough in this thickly layered tale of wizards, faeries, hobbits & bug-eyed emo moppets to allow me to loosely fill in the blanks to make at least, an over-all blanketed sense out of the whole damn thing.
And even though this was a great series, for me, this series suffered from what I always thought the problem would be of trying to condense such a full & detailed storyline into three movies. The story left the alot areas for the viewer to fill in, certain ideas seem to almost come out of nowhere since there was almost no room to introduce them & there was quite a lack of hatable villians in these movies (Gollum seem to come closest in this trilogy). Now don't get me wrong, they're kick-ass looking villians & their concepts are great, but because so much is trying to be fit in the limited space of the running times, it doesn't feel to me like anyone one can really jump up & down when the good guys ultimately beat 'em.
However, all of that is still just a minor quibble. Seeing dragons & giant spiders come to life in the manner that they were always meant to, magic being blasted with the power to awe, & giant sword & sorcery war scenes with a sweeping & mythological epic quality that used to be incomprehensible for the cinema in earlier years make up for any sacrifice that was made in order to be able to fit all this stuff onto the silver screen.
Over-all, I was just really happy & satisfied that to finally see a series of the fantasy genre being adapted onto film with the respect & effort of the highest quality.

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Welcome to the Dollhouse review

Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 11 September 2009 07:16 (A review of Welcome to the Dollhouse)

With the realism of the coming of age teen life themes that the film "Kids" started, Dollhouse seems to continue. This time, the plot is fitted into a "more linear" storyline, with the intent of structuring the movie in an order that makes it more of a digestable film for general audiences, despite some of its sharp edges.
This is a hard-nosed depiction of those who are quietly & easily overlooked & who tend to make up a larger percentage of the student school population than many of us want to or even care to notice.

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A Film That'll Make U Believe That A Man Can Fly

Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 11 September 2009 07:12 (A review of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)

A martial arts film that decides that it's not goin to be one.
Many forms of physical combat like to brag of itself as being a form of violent ballet, but Crouching Tiger Hidden dragon is one that just wants to portray it martial arts as an art tool that blends into the majesty of the story's theme of honor, love & wisdom, that this film ends up laying claim to that dance-metaphor that the other fighting films wish they could be truly worthy of.
No character in this film, no matter how small, is colored in the simple black & white colors of good & evil, and all are dutied bound by a personal sense of honor. And both men & women are equally capable in either mastefully full contact engagement or scaling the walls & even the very air in gravity defying leaps that serve more to enhance the fable-like atmosphere of the story.
Intelligent, straightforward & "martially artistic", Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is a pure fun action flick merged into a story whose simplicity is hidden behind the human depth of a group of characters who believe their respective situations to be truly epic.

A film that makes me realize just how much I luvs me some wuxia.

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I Smell A Rat

Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 11 September 2009 07:11 (A review of Donnie Brasco (1997))

Al Pacino in the mob, but this time, on the opposite side of the heirarchy. A low-level aging hitman who can't get no respect. One of the few times Al gets to expand his acting muscles as opposed to just flexing 'em with a loud performance, which, over the years, has sorta become his standard.
For me, a great gangster movie isn't just about "wacking" people. It's when it shows the inner-most details of how the mob works. This one goes towards the very lowest part of the totem & shows us how the "cogs" grind thru a living in hopes of someday climbing that mafia ladder.


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