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MarkE89

The film adds nothing new to the Disney repertoire of re-releasing worn out material other than the final step back into full blown animation. Suitably, this is following the sequential rise of their Marvel franchise, similarly propelled by Favreau (of Jumanji-remake fame), going the same direction by tricking audiences into watching "live action". Calling this movie a "live action" is as absurd as calling Ted (2012) an animation as they, proportionally, feature the same amount of the other. And as the name of the Mowgli actor was hardly featured in the trailer, only his bad acting convinces me of his humanity. No doubt Disney will be pleased once their giant content machinery can realistically generate "emotion", so they can do completely without "contracts", "acting" and "humans as non-consumers".

So yes, obviously the animals look incredible and the scenery is glorious. But this awe also stops with the technological achievement and leaves one indifferent. Compare your experience of this film with the sense of absolute wonder associated with watching any of Attenborough's nature series, and you'll know what I mean.

Furthermore, discontent with only re-remaking, Favreau cannibalizes several memorable Disney moments throughout. Images from The Lion King (1994) are down-right lifted, lending the sense that perhaps The Jungle Book wasn't even his first choice.

Story-wise, it's fun to note how Shere Khan was right all along in assuming Mowgli would destroy everything. When the brat finally torches the entire fucking jungle, homes, dinners and friends..? Everyone is on his side.
It's a strange stance to take considering they all gave up on him when a tiger wanted to --- eat him and leave everyone else alone? If only the tiger had mastered some jungle charm, I bet he would have convinced them otherwise. That's just bad writing, Kipling.

4/10 - Watch the first part of the scene with Christopher Walken playing King Kong Louie as himself imitating Brando in Apocalypse Now. Gold.
5 years 5 months ago
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MarkE89

The film is a pretentious mess with some nice imagery, a great score and, unfortunately, nothing to tie it all together. The script is too film-schooly and boasts an immature love for brusque statements and Tarkovsky-like metaphors, both of which are handled poorly. While Wheatley is usually adept at such strange material, he seems to have been preoccupied with using this entire thing (including distribution) as a fun experiment. Which it clearly might have been. For him.

Otherwise, Michael Smiley does a great job as the harrowing "alchemist".
5 years 5 months ago
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MarkE89

A simple, heart-breaking masterpiece with a nine-year-old Daniel Day... I doubt 10 Cloverfield Lane will top this horror.
5 years 8 months ago
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MarkE89

This is a strangely magical movie about the power of imagination and... Science?

From the start, everything seems a bit off, yet intriguing and quite captivating. And luckily, it remains so for the entire duration. Characters speak in strange manners and repeat non-sensical points (e.g. "Trust in Antiquity!"). Wizards get ulcers, knights get hammered and preach about chivalry, and dragons can have heart attacks. Chinese stereotype wizards are also okay, because someone had to represent the realm of "peace and tranquility", as "land", "sea", and "death" were already taken. New plot points and side-stories are introduced and elaborated throughout - often through flashbacks. Or, through a sudden meta-layer in which the main character is a present-day science geek, and actually the author of the book which becomes (it's not finished) the basis for the film, while playing a boardgame with all the characters previously introduced. And, of course, the final evil wizard (voiced by James Earl "Vader" Jones) is defeated in a showdown of his magic power versus science. spoiler

And still, for all it's weirdness and sloppy animation, it's a pretty cool and endearing movie with a fun story filled with awesome adventure (it feels like a game of D&D), great voice work and a fantastic score.
It's also one of the few "children's movie" with decent morals and cynicism, preaching about the value of "science", while using "advanced film techniques". Basically, like Ratatouille did with creativity and art.

8/10 - Too bad it's probably too strange, and a little scary, for the youngest in the crowd.
6 years 6 months ago
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MarkE89

An engaging and hilarious film, Chappie - much like Spring Breakers - suffers from a marketing strategy pitching it untruthfully, when in reality, it's one of the funniest films in a long time. And so, like the character itself, Chappie is destined to be misunderstood. Particularly, by the people who expects that IMDb genre assignations are final. A thriller? To no extent.
It's a gritty, thoughtful, sci-fi comedy. Something film companies would never expect you to buy.

Perhaps because people have become too accustomed to "fun films" being stupid, superficial, suburban and starring Seth Rogen. Or, when trying to escalate scale, are only successful in scapegoating for a major hacking scandal. So, when Die Antwoord babysits a sentient gangsta robot and Wolverine is a megalomaniac with a mullet, it's naturally a thriller...

Watch it as such, and if you - for unfathomable reasons - don't get the joke, you will be disappointed. Watch it with an open mind and you're in for a real treat.

Bloomkamp again delivers stunning visuals where the technology is downright dirty and actually seems to be used and purposeful, rather than impractical and ornamental. Though the plot is mainly derived from classic B-films and general science fiction lore it still manages to present an interesting take on artificial intelligence. It does so brilliantly, without detailing the hows and whys, by simply posing it as a matter-of-fact ("Consciousness downloading...") - which brings back memories of film hackers accessing anything, like Sony, simply by trying enough different passwords. The score, a mix of Hans Zimmer and Die Antwoord, is equally great and the performances of the latter are surprisingly appropriate.

9/10 - Rarely, has a cinema experience been as thoroughly engaging, immersive and laugh-out-loud funny.
6 years 7 months ago
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MarkE89

A mostly terrible movie, foreshadowing the atrocity of all the adaptations coming from a thoughtless industry scraping for dollars in recognition-value.

Like all toy adaptations, the story layer itself is counter-intuitive to the foundation, as toys inherently receive their charm from whatever fantasy we project through interaction. Even so, Cluedo could have been treated as a great mystery satire - like the superior Murder By Death - rather than a goofy Scooby Doo-romp lacking in both characters and mystery. Rarely, since the vaudevillian era of Marx Brothers, have the audience been served so much needless running about and shouting. Forty years on, however, the stupidity necessarily overshadows the charm of such chaos. Unfortunately, even the few funny lines fall flat due to weak performances by everyone but Martin Mull and Christopher Lloyd who is barely on-screen.

3/10 - Although the film is off to an enjoyable start it becomes increasingly excruciating after 20 minutes, to the point that the least embarrassing thing about it all, is a sexy French maid.
6 years 7 months ago
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MarkE89

"Surreal but nice.", both our fairy tale characters quip in turn, truthfully hinting at the qualities of the film.

Like all scripts by Curtis this works best considering his past as a sketch writer and each scene individually. Particularly, as the overall plot, serving as glue between these scenes, is complete nonsense without his usual touch of irony. Although the film largely serves as a complete reversal of The Portrait of a Lady, by the oft mentioned Henry James, this foundation isn't brought forward enough to invoke sympathy for the characters. As such, Hugh Grant essentially reenacts his hapless, fantastical character from Four Weddings & A Funeral, while Julia Roberts fills the gap between Pretty Woman and Closer.

Nevertheless, or perhaps exactly because of this, the casting is ingenuous and its hard to imagine the film a success without the prior works of our leads. And although Julia Roberts again hints at a promiscuous character, she has rarely been more stunning and perfectly embodies the ideal image of a movie star. Hugh Grant, on the other hand, seems at once perfectly offbeat and quirky, while having acquired enough confidence to chase this beautiful woman. So, throughout we're treated to entire scenes (often fittingly to the song, When You Say Nothing at All) in which the entire romance is made up by the audience. Because, in honesty, nothing happens to make us believe that their love is anything but superficial. Like in The Swineherd, and countless other stories, boys' general preoccupation with princesses prevail, as in turn do their fantasies of stable boys.

And in spite of this, we're tricked into believe that we're not witnessing simple lust, but true romance and that "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy..." is a line worthy of tears. Oh, the magic of cinema.

Without Curtis' deceptive talent for creating likeable, odd characters and fairytale-like universes the same story is the basic outline of most X-rated films. And though it's both confusing and surreal why this superstar would fall for a fan, scene-by-scene, it provides an enamoring outline for funny lines and actions, which in the end delivers a nice and charmingly, well-meaning film.

6/10 - On a final note, the camera work and horribly dated musical cues has largely provided the shape of every romantic comedy since, with its large sweeps and sugary pop songs. Maybe not so nice after all.
6 years 7 months ago
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MarkE89

Admittedly, upon first viewing I was instantly smitten with this film. It became a favorite of mine and further elevated my high regard of Billy Wilder. And it does have everything to offer a burgeoning film geek; a classic film noir of universal acclaim but snubbed of 7 Oscars by the damn Academy; snappy dialog, like "You ought to have some of that pink wine to go with it. The kind that bubbles. All I got is bourbon"; and an intricate plan gone to pieces because of the fiendish femme fatale.

Unfortunately, for the first time since this initial crush, I rewatched it yesterday and was quite disappointed. Most of the lines seem unnecessarily intricate, the plot is weak and the motivations are unbelievable.

The film is still absolutely beautiful, and a prime example of the sparse film noir mise-en-scene, Wilder’s framing is excellent and Edward G. Robinson is enthralling as always. Nevertheless, almost everything else now feels dated and outright silly. Most plot points would never be accepted by today’s audiences, and I suspect, were unconvincing even back then. Of course, by 1940s standards we’re used to the kind of straight-forward, superficial love propelled by the script. We love seeing Bogart seduce a lonely book-keeper with nothing but appropriately delivered quips and hip flasks. We’ll even gladly accept any improbable romance between Alan Ladd and the gorgeous Veronica Lake. And yet, the first flirting (ie esoteric insinuations) between MacMurray and Stanwyck comes off stiff and bookish. The exchange stretches beyond belief too soon in spite of the obvious charm and dynamic it would present on paper.

Regrettably, the romance continues unashamedly so, with one too many “baby” thrown in and convictions thrown out. The entire set-up becomes preposterous as a result and we never believe the supposedly underlying romantic motivations. Further, the plan itself becomes questionable as Neff’s initial professional considerations concerning the evidence are completely disregarded in terms of an autopsy and his fingerprints. What we suspected to be a brilliantly executed plan proves to be rather flawed and, essentially, half-assed. It doesn’t even unfold like this in a usual noir, chaotic, structural kind of way, the laziness of the script just suddenly dawns on you.

Next, the plot unduly thickens with Nino, a guy we can neither know nor care about, primarily based on his introductory lines of exposition; “I don’t have any friends! And if I did, I like to choose them myself,” whatever that means, coupled with the mischievous notion that he’s seemingly going after both step-mom and daughter. The big reveal comes with his involvement which proves to be negligible, to say the least, but could still end up saving the day for Neff. However, the sudden, inexplicable bloodlust of our main characters ruin the moment and along with it, Nino’s chance to become a fall guy.
Neff is then forced to use his remaining strength to stumble back into his boss’ office and recount the story in two hours’ worth of details – presumably on numerous tapes.
Mainly, because of reasons.

Finally, the film ends on a forced cathartic note of Keyes lighting a match for the burned out Neff. An action which offers little other symbolic value.

All things considered, it’s still an entertaining film and a recommended viewing for anyone interested in the film noir canon. However, this is primarily an extension of its pulpy B-film roots with little grace to offer people who don't buy into a story of a 3-hour-romance leading to double homicide and overthrowing lifelong ideals. It would be a shame to rank it as a masterpiece alongside The Killing, or Wilder’s own Witness For The Prosecution - which, depending on your expectations, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I had just convinced myself to expect a little more.
6/10
6 years 10 months ago
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MarkE89

"Spoilers" will follow.
Not because of plot twists, though, as awareness of these should never affect a good movie more than knowledge about secret ingredients should affect your favorite cocktail. A good movie, which happens to have a "plot twist", should benefit from this knowledge upon repeat viewings. The knowledge should add a little something to the understanding of it all, rather than simply provide a cheap thrill, an unwarranted sense of danger.
Finally, and most importantly, knowing the twist, would you seriously considering going through it all again?

Think Sunset Blvd. vs The Usual Suspects.

No. This is a warning about the breed of fans this movie is likely to inspire: The "spoilers", as I'll call them, are the ones who are simply thrilled at plot twists. The ones who take joy in having their superficial expectations thwarted, regardless of the underlying reasons, and then can't help themselves in wanting to conquer the skeptics and IMDb all at once. The ones who'd think Star Wars had little more to offer, if you told them about the incest.

Anyway, the movie is decent; it's well shot, well acted and the soundtrack is efficient. Nevertheless, the story is more thrill-seeking, than interesting, and thus leaves all of the exciting areas unexplored. Even more infuriating, though, is spending 80% of the film wondering why the police does not fingerprint the excessively bought goods, because, who really moves a container shipment of electronics to a woodshed without leaving fingerprints, or, unwrapping anything? And why don't they meticulously go through all the surveillance tapes which obviously can't be flawlessly produced? This is never really explained.

But there's one thing we know, one thing we aren't allowed to overlook. Her insanity.
Yes, she's obviously psychotic. We get it. Move the fuck on, please. We should never be satisfied with such a simple statement of "facts", but rather demand an exploration of the "truth" - however transient and abstract it may be.

Where is the exploration of the clearly influential childhood of projection upon Amazing Amy and thereby living completely sheltered by one's own perfect doppelgänger? Of the relationship between fact and fiction? Between the writers and their creations? Between danger and safety of assimilation/blending-in? Concepts which directors such as De Palma or Cronenberg would have absolutely reveled in.

Most of these interesting ideas, however, are glanced over or served up superficially as in the simple, often explored, juxtaposition of popular media and private life - where this film again has little new to offer. Other times, they are merely evoked to entice the spoiler soldiers with "shocking" twists and turns. Many of which are following basic formulas, such as the tried-and-true "setup and recount from a different view", the ambiguous leads, and the untrustworthy narrator. All of these are dead give-aways to the spoiled moviegoer who immediately recognizes the signs and thereby isn't enslaved by the twists and turns which have some people blinded.

Although, admittedly, the film does excel in some of these practices, it still only manages to end on a note of; "Bitch be cray… What will happen to poor Baffman?", rather than exploring the shared insanity of the protagonists, the media and the human race.

6/10 - Aside from the acting and soundtrack, this film has little cinematic value and just comes across as a generic pulp story elegantly executed.
6 years 11 months ago
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MarkE89

*click*
- "Hi, you've reached Stephen, writer and director of Locke, creator of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?". Unfortunately, I couldn't be with you right now, but, Tom, please [...]"
- "Hey, Tom here, also known from things where I'm not fighting Batman. I decided to deliver the rest of Stephen's message, so that's what I'll do. And I decided way before he just now handed me the opportunity to do so now,"
*pause*
- "I'm a good man, and a good actor. I just.. I want you to know this, so stay with me, please. Don't go. I've decided to do this because Stephen means the world to me. And so, that's what I'll do. His message should be delivered, and as he was unable to be here it only seemed natural for me to do so. When you hear the thing, that you know usually follows these kind of messages, please appreciate my involvement. Goodbye."
*beep*
7 years ago
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MarkE89

Imagine Rain Man in Tekken. Imagine him as Xiaoyu, to be exact. And then pity the ones trying to pull off this plot. Of course, it won't make sense or have any worthwhile commentary on something other than how fucking cool this kid is.

The movie should be approached as cinematic ballet - as a Busby Berkeley-piece almost, save for the lack of kaleidoscopic visuals. Yet again, Pinkaew proves to be eons ahead of any other action director and it's an absolute thrill to watch every sequence unfold its intricate choreography in a visually coherent manner. Increasingly, he seems to have become the new Woo of this medium. If the beautiful lack of CGI, and emphases on physicality and manipulation of space, starts blending with actual "stories", he may well take over the spot as reigning Action Man soon.

Regardless, Hollywood (from Nolan to McG) should hire Pinkaew as Second Unit Director on all fight scenes if they can motivate him without the use of an elephant.
7 years ago
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MarkE89

This is a piece of shit. Several good reasons will follow:
1) Invent a language or do proper research, America. Just because stuff is old, or magical, does not mean people would speak modern day British English. I blame Harry Potter for cementing this rule.
2) For a movie primarily concerned with showcasing Jolie's beauty through her range of different poses they should have acknowledged: 2a) She's almost 40, don't Legolas her into a weird 3D thing, and; 2b) She has two poses.
3) This movie is 30% live-action poorly blended with a Disney animated movie. Make up your mind.
4) Tree-beings fuckin suck and really should burn. Especially when opposing fire. At least a little.
5) Nothing makes any sense. Why does *insert character* *insert action*, rather than, just, not being a dick..
6) In continuation of above point, the entire movie could have been avoided. Nevertheless, though partially realizing this, characters will stick to their initial, completely idiotic lines of action.
7) Snow-white is a bumbling idiot.
8) The 'I can hear you, you know'-joke.
9) Everyone seems to ignore that the little retarded princess becomes queen of all the lands, though the movie starts out saying that fairytale-land didn't need royalty as everyone got along and trusted each other.

On a final note, I'm a huge fan of the basic premise with retelling a well-known story from an unknown point of view. Many interesting ideas could be developed. Just, don't be idiots.

Don't watch it.
7 years 2 months ago
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MarkE89

A tense neo-noir, and possibly the finest since Se7en, with an impeccable pace and action scenes to rival any since the advent of one-man armies. The lead actor takes cool to new levels by oozing of bad ass in every scene, while the entire film is equally superbly directed by being understated, intense and innovative at once. Ripe with (mostly) subtle affection, sly commentaries on senseless action films and several scenes suitably moodily lit, and filmed with such grandeur that few Hollywood-productions can compare.

Ajeossi can, and should, readily be watched and enjoyed by all audiences.
7 years 3 months ago
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MarkE89

Another underrated masterpiece by Soderbergh following a conventional action plot in an unconventional manner. Applying his jazzy style, further developed with Haywire, we are enjoying delicate brutality during his typical, and highly entertaining, musings on causality. Stamp devours the scenery with his ultra-cool character and we are treated to hilarious dialogue throughout. Worth a watch for anyone fed up with current attempts at action-comedies.
7 years 3 months ago
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MarkE89

This movie is fucking weird. One thing is to accept that your chosen one can turn into a wolf at will - but why let him fuck you like that, when he could go human in an instance? Anyway, it's a trippy tale, with many ideas that can be boiled down to the female lead's serious mental/social issues, which are unfortunately never fully sketched out. In the end, it's a beautiful anime with a gripping - messed up as it is - story, that will have you smiling cheek-to-cheek and almost shedding tears at times. Recommendable for people wanting a sexual edge to their Miyazaki (I guess...) or a more cheerful Takahata.
7 years 6 months ago
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MarkE89

This is one fine piece of film-making. Plot and dialog is normally of little interest to me, if it doesn't add anything to the film. Having next-to-nothing of either, while still succeeding in gripping you, is quite remarkable these days. Save for the ending, it holds up extremely well throughout and fortunately never drifts into being a morality tale or overtly symbolic. Its beautiful in all its simplicity and through sheer hints we discover more about this man than most recent films could ever allow us. The sparse economy of production, tight structure and attractive, yet eerie, representation of the vast indifferent darkness of the ocean truly escalates this solitary tale of a confined man.
7 years 8 months ago
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MarkE89

A wholly ridiculous film. Discontent with being simply a real-life Disney-animated Citizen Edward Pianohands - complete with a cherub princess, a supernaturally gifted and kind orphan and a ludicrous story - it attempts to provide an understanding of being "special". Nevertheless, everyone ignores that 1900 is a stow-away second-coming(/Roth the friendly ghost) completely in charge of his reality and they try instead to force him ashore, rather than treating us to a study of his God-like, location bound existence.

Though the entire story is narrated by a homeless mad-men (we assume), this alley of "special-ness" is also ignored. Which is dreadful, considering that his presence ruins everything. The non-linear structure is a complete failure and should have been avoided with either a focus on Roth's life or the storytelling/teller only (with no flashbacks).

More cons:
All "on the boat" or American characters are stereotypical beyond belief and 90% of the scenes are complete, indiscernible ripoffs of greater works or cliches.

The few pros:
Roth's acting is largely impeccable (internal relativity in mind), Tornatore can still compose beautiful images and the music contains enough bravura and swing to garner repeated listenings afterwards.
7 years 8 months ago
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MarkE89

Exquisitely shot and awkwardly humorous, this remains one of HItchcock's finest comedies though repeatedly misread as a "classic thriller". Grant's performance takes a brilliant stab at his own slap-stick past, while portraying a cry-wolf character oozing of latent mysogony and alcoholism. He is your typical man-on-the-run for crimes he didn't commit and mistaken for someone who doesn't exist. To counter his charades while bumbling about, we find the slutty Eve and charismatic Mason, who are both just as wonderful. Mason, in particular, is a riveting force on the screen reminiscent of his role in the equally beautiful Bigger Than Life just a few years prior.

Though the film's formula has since become emblematic of Hollywood-popcorn, most copies are complete trash void of Hitch's vulgar melodrama and finely tuned satire. North by Northwest is one of the most gorgeous films ever made, but much of its humor will probably only appeal to film geeks used to seeing past Hollywood's recycled trash.
7 years 8 months ago
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MarkE89

As with all Tennessee Williams plays, this is great drama superbly directed by Kazan and featuring an awe-inspiring performance by Brando. Unfortunately, the film does not reach the highs of the trinity's next collaboration.
7 years 9 months ago
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MarkE89

Who knew sober eskimos could be this much fun?

That is, for as long as they use a canoe to magically make family members appear like another clown gathering, or play a slapstick version of Chuck Norris in the wild. When all they want to do is eat or sleep it naturally gets boring and even Flaherty's generous, poetic (colonial, some might argue) stance cannot make a thrill-fest out of people living in Greenland.
7 years 9 months ago
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MarkE89

This insectual ride stars a maiden Connelly and rocks a heavy metal soundtrack, which seems quite unusual for a supernatural horror... Nonetheless, it also has a chimp in a leading role who knows how to wield a blade and a bus full of Danish girls being murdered, so, that's a lot of fun. It surpasses previously bad acting and weird dialog of any Argento-film but the insanity of the plot, and stupidity of delivery, is saved by a meth-oozing soundtrack that will see you rooting for murderous monkeys.
7 years 9 months ago
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MarkE89

Watch it if not for plot or character then the action which is extremely well-done and goes to show that The West is still nowhere near Woo. Shaky cam, fast editing and glossy cinematography may fool you, but it will never touch this kind of pure, meticulously choreographed, cinematic splendor. Saying anymore would automatically spoil awesome "Hell no... FUCK YEAH!"-moments
7 years 9 months ago
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MarkE89

I would never watch this at any "common" speed... However, at 8x normal speed (which I believe to have been Vertov's intent - thus justifying my action) it's pretty darn eerie and freaks me out about as much as Lynch likes his coffee. Although I didn't get the chance to read any of the text-passages (not that they could have been important), I found it a pleasing 8-9 minutes with thoroughly enjoyable F/X and MTV-editing.
7 years 9 months ago
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MarkE89

This film only succeeds in making you give up on future Disney features, which is a shame considering Bolt is next. Unfortunately, the bright pastel shades of the future adds little nuance to the stupidity of the script, which all-in-all comes off as a failed PG-pitch from a Family Guy writer. Irrelevant characters, plot lines and jokes aside the film offers about 30 seconds of interesting material; Lewis, our annoying lead, faces off against a drone army controlled by, essentially, portable and mobile HAL9000s - that's Doris (not Daisy...), to you. A darker film, in the vein of the great Monster House, focusing on this dystopian future would be infinitely more interesting.
7 years 9 months ago
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MarkE89

A definite must-see from the 90's classic action-canon. For once, we cheer for a bad guy who is not an antihero, just straight up evil. Oh, the guilt-free joy! We're never even given much of a choice when the arch-enemy (good guy) of a clandestine, gadget utilizing, non-fuck-giving BRUCE "DIE HARD" WILLIS is...Richard "Pretty Woman" Gere trying on various British accents to little success and otherwise doing nothing.

Everything else is just beautiful nonsense in a way that only the 90s can justify.
7 years 9 months ago

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