Monday, July 17, 2006

News - ROCKY BALBOA trailer online

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, it's running on Pirates 2: Dead Man's Chest screenings, here it is...

This is gonna be good, I can feal it!

Trailer here:

News - A SCANNER DARKLY clip online

IGN FilmForce has the first 24 minutes of A SCANNER DARKLY for you to see. The rotoscoped animated feature film stars Rory Cochrane, Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr, Winona Ryder and Woody Harrelson and is based on a Phillip K Dick novel. I Think the clip promises one heck of a cool movie...

You find the clip here: A Scanner Darkly

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Review - Mission: Impossible III

There's something about Tom Cruise that makes him eminently suitable to play a modern-day ninja. Maybe it's his tooth-paste ad smile; it seems at the same time both genuine and yet to be hiding something. The character he plays is caught between two worlds; he tries to be the perfect secret agent but his emotions get in the way.

This is just one of the many things that the movie seems to lose track of. M:I-3 is partly a great thrill ride but there are loads of interesting themes that are hinted at; yet they never flower from their budding potential.

First, there's the Ethan Hunt character I already mentioned, played by Tom Cruise. What an exciting dilemma; he's in love with a girl but can't tell her about the one thing that's really his life, that he's a secret agent. He does his job, but how does he feel about it? Yet we know he has feelings as he shows them to his finace. Yes, this figures in the story, but I would have wanted to see more.

Then there's the Davian character played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Who is he, what drives him? He seems a very interesting movie villain, but we don't get as much into his head as we would like to.

The tension between Davian and Hunt is very good. Again, however, what could have turned into a very cool cat-and-mouse game is somehow lost along the way. Also, the very reasons for their rivalry aren't brought out. Davian is pissed at Hunt because he's rude to him, or something like that. Hunt is pissed at Davian because he made a wisecrack about his mommy (OK, his girlfriend actually).

There's also a very interesting moral dilemma which is just hinted at. How far is Hunt prepared to go for his country? What is justified in the fight against terrorists? Hunt is faced with this question and never has to make the choice! Everything is OK with him as long as they leave his girlfriend and his buddies alone. If that was Hunt's philosophy, fine, but we don't get to know that.

Lastly, I would have wanted to see more of Maggie Q's character. Finally an Asian spy babe who's specialty isn't kung fu! This character does some nice on-the-spot improvisations in sticky situations that would be worthy of a real secret agent. These little moments once again drown in the movie's loud tone.

Maybe it's all that action that gets in the way. There's tons of it; outrageous, bombastic, defying all known laws of reality. "Ticking clocks" (a screenplay trick to increase tension) are crammed into every scene, almost to the point where it becomes ludicrous. There's a bomb in someone's head at the same time as missiles fly and bad guys are shooting and someone else is going to die in a specified amount of seconds, all at once. No, I really have nothing against this sort of stuff. But I felt it take space from more interesting things.

Finally, a little medical note. CPR is mainly a means to buy time until one can try to shock the heart back into function with defibrillation or adrenalin/epinephrine. There is a slim chance that a thump on the chest will do it, but this chance is probably very small and only works in certain types of cardiac arrest.
Also, a defibrillator does NOT take 30 seconds to load, they're quicker than that.

Rank: 6/10

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Hit List - 10 thumbnail reviews

The Hit List - 10 thumbnail reviews

Here are ten notches off my belt, ten scalps out of all the movies I've seen the past year; picked without any purpose other than that I had something to say about them. Ranked in order from worst to best:

10 - Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith
An opening epic space battle that's actually BORING? Even 'Star Trek' got it right, so I didn't think it was possible. And that's just the beginning...

9 - Flightplan
Even Jodie 'Foshter' can't make this turkey fly.

8 - Morvern Callar
Bad "artsy-yet-cool" movie, but great soundtrack. Any soundtrack which includes Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada has to be.

7 - It's All Gone Pete Tong
Things go horribly wrong for a DJ on Ibiza. Sex, drugs, and a giant badger.

6 - Underworld: Evolution
There are two kinds of people; those who think a centuries-long war between vampires and werewolves is a good idea for a movie, and those who don't. (I'm with category number one, but that's just me)

5 - My Neighbour Totoro
Director Miyazaki explores weird monsters and childhood, somehow in a realistic manner(!)

4 - Sideways
Entertaining flick about intellectual whiner and his very easy-going buddy, on wine-tasting vacation in California.

3 - Sunset Boulevard
The first few minutes alone grab your attention and then it's a non-stop ride from there. A ton of cool quotes and performances. Gloria Swanson is basically playing herself in the movie.

2 - Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Clay animation. There's a scene at the end with the two dogs in the aeroplane which has to be one of the funniest ever.

1 - Master of the Flying Guillotine
70's Kung-Fu. There are several similarly-titled films; this one has the Yoga master with the expanding arms.
The plot? The Master of Flying Guillotine wants revenge on the One-Armed Boxer. But as he's blind and doesn't know how the Boxer looks he goes around killing all the one-armed men in China.
"Vegetarian Noodles!"

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Retro Review - Blade Runner

"So you're the main man?" My friend asked the figure we just had noticed sitting alone in the dark hallway. The man stopped rubbing his temple and looked up through the smoke dispersing from his cigarette. Two vivid blue eyes appeared. Nexus 6 quality, I thought. Mr. Hauer leaned back, smiled and replied; "Yeah sure, at least to night." This was in 2002 before a late night screening of Blade Runner. Mr. Hauer was to introduce the movie with a Q&A.

I newer saw Blade Runner at the original premiere in 1982 being only 10 years old at the time.
was not until a few years later that I caught it on VHS. I have seen it many times since then, mostly together with friends taking turns quoting the lines, but also at a few screenings and of course the Directors Cut premiere in 92. When somebody asks me what my favorite movie is I always reply Blade Runner. Why? Is it just because I was a susceptible 13-year old role-playing geek when I bumped into it the first time? Thinking about all this I realized I had not seen it since that night I met Mr. Hauer. And that was four years ago.

So I decided it was time to clear the slate and watch the movie cold, would the old movie still ho
ld up when a bored, hardened 34 year old sat down to reconsider?

Synopsis: The movie plays out in a dark, rainy, neon drenched and futuristic Los Angeles. Pollution is heavy and animals nearly extinct. The rich and powerful are leaving earth like rats from a sinking ship. Nexus 6, the latest generation of superhuman Replicants (robots) are treated and used as soldier and prostitute slaves for off world missions. After a mutiny attempt the Nexus generation are considered unsafe and banned on earth. Special police called Blade Runners are assigned to hunt down and execute them. A group of replicants, the leader played by Rutger Hauer, escapes to earth to confront their creator Dr Eldon Tyrell. Harrison Ford plays a retired constantly hung over Blade Runner; "Rick Deckard" who reluctantly agrees to stop the replicants, the mission becomes more complicated when he and one of his targets falls in love.

The original 82' release of the movie had another ending and a Mike Hammer style voiceover narration by Harrison Ford. The Director Ridley Scott removed these and added a few other things in the Directors Cut release of 92'.

The verdict falls...

I m
ust admit that I was a little worried at first, would I think that the film wasn't that good anymore? But I comfortably sank deeper and deeper into my sofa and after only 10 minute I new that there was nothing to worry about. Blade Runner truly is great, in fact after this I am more certain than ever that this is my number one movie.

The film has a lot of strengths that each one has the potential to make viewing it an enjoyable experience. First it is the interesting story that has enough moral issues to have you pondering for a long time. The story comes through perfectly subtle in the directors cut, far away from Hollywoods usual fear of not being overly clear. This enriches the movie and makes it more open to interpretation. That is probably why I keep coming back, you never seem to be finished with it and that is part of its beauty. Then the actors; Rutger Hauer burns a hole through the screen with his presence as the rebellious slave with mesmerizing quotes. And I really like to see Harrison Ford in such a dark movie as this is. He is at his best here and his character got much more exciting without the added voiceover. But I can't help thinking about how the others that where considered for the part would have been. I am talking about: Robert Mitchum, Tommy Lee Jones, Christopher Walken and Dustin Hoffman. Mitchum would have been cool as hell, but I guess he was a little bit too old at the time. The rest of the cast also delivers. One of my favorites is Leon, played by Brion James.

Then there is the incredibly detailed and convincing movie sets. The street and flying scenes are captivating and should be viewed in a big movie theatre or in a really good home theatre. Deckards apartment has an atmosphere that is very special and needs to be experienced. The cinematography is delicious and the score by Vangelis masterfully contributes a melancholic and intriguing atmosphere to the movie. I also enjoy the slow tempo in witch the story unfolds. The word slow might sound negative for the MTV generation who think that fast pacing equals good.

One of my favorite scenes is when a bruised, stressed Deckard tries to find his way through a busy futuristic street hunting a replicant. He suddenly finds himself blocked by a crowd of orange clad Hare Krishna monks doing their mantra. Some things never change...

I now eagerly await the new DVD that is rumored to be available next year, hopefully loaded with bonus material and in HD.