Drop Down Menu

Drop Down MenusCSS Drop Down MenuPure CSS Dropdown Menu

Review Sharknado 4: (TV Movie 2016) The 4th Awakens): Not entirely on par with Sharknado 2 and 3 but still fun!

genre: horror, science fiction

The force is big with this one. At least that is what this fourth entry in the Sharknado franchise wants you to believe. And for a large part it truly is. Like it's predecessors this part is filled with crazy antics and fun nods to people and other films. However like the third it has some pacing issues and gets a little too ambitious for it's own good. And by that I am referring to the Shepard family increasing in numbers. You could add twenty of them for all I care they are no match for Nova. 

Fin Shepard is such a great hero since he was one of the few who could very effectively deal with whatever was thrown at him. In this one you have more members who can do the same and while at times glorious it also detracts from his heroics. I still am not a fan of Tara Reid even if it looks like she is embracing the wackiness much more than before. However she still looks like someone who accidentally wandered of from another film and desperately wants to find her way back home. On top of that she looks weird. I just don't buy her as the sexy kick ass babe they want her to be. Cousin Gemini (Masiela Lusha) does a much better job of that.  

What really surprised me was a cameo from Steve Guttenberg who apparently is the star of Lavalantula a new monster franchise featuring lava-breathing tarantulas. While there is no direct connection between them it's cool to have these films linked in this way. And naturally I am going to check that film out. How can you resist it? Speaking of connections Z Nation also is connected to Sharknado as one of it's stars has a cameo in Sharknado 3. Now I only have seen the first episode of Z Nation but at the time I was getting a little fed up with zombies. However since I am done with The Walking Dead I guess I could try to follow that one. 

Signs of fatigue make Sharknado a little less sharp and witty but was still able to make me laugh more than I cringed. So surely one I can recommend if you are craving for some B movie goodness. And I am looking forward to the fifth part since the ending teased the return of the most kickass character in this franchise ever. Oh yessss!

Also read:

Read more »

Review Call of Heroes a.k.a. Wei cheng (2016) : Kung fu flick Sergio Leone style!

genre: martial arts, action, drama

It is said that Call of Heroes is a return to old school kung fu and perhaps to an extent it is. To me this was more like a Sergio Leone western where the good guys are immensely heroic and the bad guys incredibly ruthless and evil. Basically the film is a simple tale of good versus bad.

What really surprised me was how dramatic and intense Call of Heroes was. Certain scenes are truly shocking since some acts are real despicable and violent. Normally in these kinds of films violence of this level is not shown but implied. Here you get see everything which is very effective since it makes you root for the good guys all the way. 

The action is directed and choreographed by Sammo Hung and therefore is very solid to good. However you can tell that some of the main actors aren't real martial artists since their movements are clearly slower and enhanced by editing and camera tricks, The side characters obviously are trained since they pull of moves like it's nothing and easily impress. Normally I wouldn't get that in the way of my enjoyment but in this case I find it curious. Why not use actors who know martial arts and can act? Surely Hong Kong has enough of them? I mean Wu Jing was in this film and his part was nothing but a glorified cameo. Why? It doesn't make sense to me. If you have an martial artist of that calibre to your disposal then why would you not use him? Sean Lau (Lau Ching-Wa) did show of his acting skills so I do understand the decision to have him present. But I still hope that this is an exception to the rule and that at least for these kung fu flicks will use proper martial artists again. I mean in this film the difference between the main characters and the people from Sammo Hung's stunt team was gigantic. 

But don't get too hung up about my criticism above. Call of Heroes is a very entertaining film that will pull your heartstrings many times. That and you want to beat the crap out of the bad guys as well as they are too evil. Do keep your expectations in check concerning the martial arts and you will have a good time.

Also read:

Read more »

Review Dreamland (2016): I really liked it a lot!

genre: comedy, drama, music

When I saw the trailer of the film I was sold. Mostly because of the soundtrack. But also it's themes appealed to me. A young man (named Monty Fagan) getting tangled up in an affair with a hot older woman surely was going to be interesting.  The same Monty Fagan also was determined to make his dream happen. I am a sucker for that kind of thing. The film gave me a vibe it was going to be a thoughtful and sincere exploration. Now after having watched it I think I wasn't far of with my expectations. 

Before I get into it I need to share some trivia with you. Director Robert Schwartzman is the son of Talia Shire (who plays Monty's mother). Talia Shire as you know is the sister of Francis Ford Coppola. So that makes Robert his nephew. Jason Schwartzman is Robert's brother and also has a part in this film as a banker. It is clear that film making must be in their genes I mean a lot of members in the Coppola family (including Sofia Coppola and Nicolas Cage) are active in the film industry.  That is quite remarkable if you ask me. Anyway Robert Schwartzman who wrote and directed this film also composed and performed the majority of the soundtrack. Although there are also songs on there from other artists. This soundtrack is incredibly important in the film and without it the film simply would not have been good as it is now. A lot of the tracks really added to the emotional impact of certain scenes. They have to since the film lacks explosive dialogues and interactions. While I fully dug the soundtrack and the ambiance of the film I can imagine that some people might not get it. For those people Schwartzman could have at least added one or two heavier scenes. However I do need to point out that a lot of the drama is there but underneath. There are more than enough subjects touched upon and I wished some of them would have been explored a little deeper. I guess Schwartzman wanted to leave it up to the viewer to form their own thoughts about the topics raised. This could be seen as strength or a major weakness. If you think the latter it is also important to note that Robert Schwartzman was inspired by Eighties (sex) comedies like Loverboy, Risky Business, Better off Dead and John Hugh movies (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club). 

Actually Dreamland feels very much like a contemporary John Hughes film. Main character Monty played by Johnny Simmons is very much the socially awkward type who is awakened from his slumber. And that is basically it. If you think about it John Hughes films also addressed a lot of issues but very rarely did they give solutions to those problems. Usually the films showed you how to deal with them appropriately. That alone resonated with me at the time as it did now. Amy Landecker as Olivia was a revelation to me. She truly played her part well as the sexy older woman who seduces Monty into an affair. Not once did it feel crude. All was done with taste and thought. Yet she managed to do so much with very little. However a real pity that she is not given the chance to give her character more depth. She is just there to be the sexy seducer, the one who awakens Monty and nothing else. Although there are moments where more could have happened. And maybe they did but Schwartzman leaves it up to the viewer.

For me Dreamland is a nice little film I undoubtedly will watch more times since I really liked it a lot. But I am aware that this film is not for everyone. It's not a real crowd pleaser so to say. If you like good music though you really have to check it out since it's easily one of the best soundtracks compiled for films.

Read more »

Review 2 Guns (2013):: Buddy movie? Shoot 'em up? Whatever it is, it's terrible!

genre: crime, action, comedy

A couple of years ago I tried to watch and enjoy this film and failed. There was nothing about this film that grabbed me. Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington did not have any chemistry whatsoever. Sure they have some banter between them that could be considered funny if you are a ten year old but for me that just doesn't cut it. So I decided to quit watching and didn't pick it up until now. I felt like I had to give this film another chance especially since some people praise this film like it's the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Surely there must be something good about this film no?

Unfortunately 2 Guns is even worse than I remember. The plot is pretentious and messy. It's not clever or witty. But worse is the fact that it's not compelling one bit. Now I could have overlooked this if 2 Guns at least had some action or comedy that was enjoyable. Or something else that could redeem it all. But I kept waiting and waiting for that part to kick in and apart from some quick and brief action sequences there wasn't a single scene that was worth my attention. If director Baltasar Kormákur was going for a Quentin Tarantino type film he should have worked on the story and the dialogue. But let's say that he wasn't pretentious or ambitious and he just wanted to make a decent buddy movie. Why not put the focus on the comradery or animosity between the two main characters. They are pretty much good friends from the start who have a little quarrel for a short while but nothing energetic or explosive. The whole idea of a buddy movie is to put two characters together who are so different from each other that they clash. Then because of events or plot get to bond and become the best friends. You need to show this development as detailed as possible since that is what makes those kinds of films interesting. 2 Guns never does this. I am aware that I have very little in common with current generation but to praise a film this bad is idiocracy.

In short 2 Guns is incredibly boring and long winded. Put simply it's a giant waste of your time. So don't even bother. I tried two times and the second time the viewing experience was considerably worse.

Also read:

Read more »

Review Cast a Deadly Spell (1991): Absolute gem!

genre: fantasy, film noir, comedy, crime

Cast a Deadly Spell is a unique blend of film noir and fantasy set in a Lovecraftian universe. In this alternate universe gremlins, werewolves, vampires, gargoyles are roaming the world out in the open and everybody uses magic except our main character called H. Phillip Lovecraft. He has his reasons but it's never explained why.

Lovecraft (played by Fred Ward) is a private investigator and is hired to track down and return a book that is stolen. This book is called the Necronomicon and seems to be very important to owner Amos Hackshaw (David Warner). Obviously if you are familiar with Lovecraft and Evil Dead you will have a pretty good idea what the book entails. But like Lovecraft not explaining why he doesn't want to use magic the film doesn't tell us what the book is about. Many elements that are taken out of H.P. Lovecraft's work are left unexplained but have to be accepted as part of the world. This adds a fun factor for the fan since there is a lot packed in to recognize and get happy about. For people who aren't familiar with Lovecraft the whole viewing experience could be very thrilling and suspenseful as the film is filled with surprises for them. In case you don't care for Lovecraft or the fantasy elements there are the film noir characteristics to focus on. Surprisingly it remains very faithful to that genre as well. Julianne Moore for example is the perfect femme fatale. And once you have witnessed Fred Ward as the gumshoe you don't want anybody else.

All of the performances are top notch. The whole cast take the material seriously and help you believe the world they live in is real. Pretty hard to do considering some of the special effects might not always be high grade. But again it's proven that practical effects are superior to CGI since it looks better and adds to the charm of the film. Considering this movie is made for TV the production values must have been quite high. Because the film overall is visually very pleasing. 

There is a very good chance you haven't even heard of this movie which is a real shame since Cast a Deadly Spell is a must watch for sure. 

Also read:

Read more »

Review Devil Hunters a.k.a. Lie mo qun ying a.k.a. Megaforce 2 a.k.a. Ultra Force 2 a.k.a. Red Force 3 (1989)

genre: girls with guns, action, martial arts, gun fu

Like with a lot of titles in the girls with guns genre the distributors of this film found it necessary to change the original title for marketing purposes. Only in some occasions I could kind of understand why they did this since it did connect films that originally aren't connected. However most of the time it's preposterous and confusing. They probably are trying to trick the fans of the genre to make it seem like it's a new or good title why it's not. Devil Hunters unfortunately is one of the lesser titles.

Just so you know there are no devil's in this film nor are they hunting for them. If I can trust the English dubbing it's the code name for the special police force Sibelle Hu and Alex Man are part of. It would make sense if the film was about them. But they are merely one party of many the plot evolves around. The plot is simple. Main villain played by Francis Ng wants to get a hold of a large quantity of diamonds stolen by his boss. But instead of just doing it the easy way he comes up with this elaborate plan to confuse the hell out of everyone and make his boss the target without anyone knowing exactly why they are after him. They eventually find out but it is of very little consequence since none of it is particularly compelling. For the most part it's used to start up the action. And usually I am fine with that except they forgot to make the characters more interesting. You barely get to know any of them and whatever dialogue they have is minimal and obvious. 

Now most of you won't even care since these films are all about the action so what is the action like? Here is where I am really torn. There are many times where a lot of action scenes don't flow right. Just when the action is about to get engaging they cut to a non action scene and then start up a new action sequence that is over before you know it. Apart from the last 15 minutes all of the action sequences are edited like that. The action itself is pretty solid but you aren't really given the time and chance to enjoy it fully because of all those weird cuts. Only in the finale the action seems to flow much better but like the other action sequences was over before you knew it. They easily could have extended it since there were at least three opportunities that had potential for real dramatic impact. Instead director Tony Liu Chun-Ku opted to put all the emphasis on the final scene. In this scene the two of the three main characters are caught on fire while jumping out of the window to avoid the impact of an explosion. Because of a mistake (bad timing) both Moon Lee and Sibelle Hu were engulfed in flames and were badly injured because of this. Just when you thought these actresses couldn't be more badass. Eat your heart out Charlize Theron! The director expresses his admiration and gratitude for this and surely makes you appreciate the stunt however it would have been a far better pay off if the finale wasn't rushed through as it did. With the proper build up and better exploitation of those three moments in the finale the climax would have had bigger impact.

Even for fans Devil Hunters doesn't quite deliver the action goodness you want from these movies. (I prefer quality over quantity.) But it's the perfect film to watch late at night to wind down and fall asleep to.

Also read:

Read more »





Join us for free and get valuable content delivered right through your inbox.


Reviews Netflix Originals


Google+ Followers