The Purge (2013)

woensdag, juli 31, 2013
Genre : Horror/SF
Land
: USA

Cast :
Lena Headey : Mary Sandin
Ethan Hawke : James Sandin
Max Burkholder : Charlie Sandin

Director :
James DeMonaco

Summary
In an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity-including murder-becomes legal. The police can't be called. Hospitals suspend help. It's one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment. On this night plagued by violence and an epidemic of crime, one family wrestles with the decision of who they will become when a stranger comes knocking. When an intruder breaks into James Sandin's gated community during the yearly lockdown, he begins a sequence of events that threatens to tear a family apart. Now, it is up to James, his wife, Mary, and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide.

My opinion
The concept is brilliant, the effect totally failed. I expected much more from this film, but against all odds, it was just a flabby fuss about nothing.You can hardly call it a thriller as I wasn't biting my nails because of any tense moments. It wasn't horror either, not even by a long shot. Someone putting on a clown mask doesn't make it necessarily a horror film. And beats me where the SF part is.
I can only agree that it's totally predictable . The moment the neighbours came over to bring the cookies and you saw the jealousy dripping from them, I knew enough.
I also don't think the idea of "The Purge" is really feasible. Any decent citizen would take the opportunity with both hands to deal with his annoying neighbor, boss or annoying cackling wife. I would try it anyway. A concept like in "Escape from New York" would work better. All criminals isolated on an island.
Eventually there wouldn't be much left of the complete world population if everybody would use that highly sophisticated security system. What kind of system was it anyway ? It only consisted of a few outdoor cameras and some steel plates ! Not so sophisticated to me ...
The overall story is completely incoherent and some facts bothered me immensely.
1. I suppose a sophisticated security system like this could identify any intruder when activated. In that way the boyfriend would be discovered easily.
2. I would definitely keep the deactivation code for myself and an option to set a timer so it will automatically be deactivated after 12 hours.
3. Big annoyance about the performances of the unworldly young son and teenage daughter who suddenly
disappears halfway the movie.
4. The nerd of a father who emerges as a murderous guy.

The only positive thing here was the appearance of Wakefield. Very convincing as a normal but schizophrenic college student who, along with other school friends, has some fun once a year during the Purge.

Indeed it could have been better ....


My rating 4/10
Links : IMDB
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Last Kind Words (2012)

woensdag, juli 31, 2013
Genre : Drama/Mystery/Horror
Country
: USA

Cast :
Brad Dourif : Waylon
Spencer Daniels : Eli
Alexia Fast : Amanda

Director :
M. Night Shyamalan

Summary
17-year-old Eli has just moved with his family deep into the backwoods of Kentucky to work on the isolated farm of a local recluse. Inexplicably drawn into the strange forest that lies beyond the farm, Eli encounters the beautiful, sweet and mysterious Amanda, seemingly the perfect girl. But with the discovery of decaying bodies hanging from the trees, he realizes that the forest - and Amanda - are harboring some very dark secrets. Suddenly, Eli is living in a waking nightmare where the lines between life and death are scrawled in blood, and there is no escaping the terror from beyond the grave.

My opinion
Well, this movie won't make you feel very cheerful. Rather depressed, yes. However, the movie poster gives a distorted impression. You actually expect still a bit of a creepy movie. The girl looks ill-treated and tortured in this picture ... in the end it's just a love story, interwoven with a crime in the past with restless souls as a result. Eli met such a restless soul in the guise of Amanda (handsome appearance I must admit) and unravels bit by bit the whole story. And indeed, the end does not cheer you up.
Brad Dourif as Waylon, the owner, I found exquisite. The somewhat unworldly strange fellow, balancing between kindness / anxiety and hostility in a teeny weeny bit insane trait.
For me, Spencer Daniels played the hardest part ... As far as I know, I've never seen a movie where someone had to look so sad and dull the whole movie.
However, it's a movie that is worth a look. And that because of the beautiful scenery and the haunting music.

My rating 4/10
Links : IMDB
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Extracted (2012)

dinsdag, juli 30, 2013
Genre : SF
Country
: USA

Cast :
Sasha Roiz : Tom
Dominic Bogart : Anthony
Jenny Mollen : Abbey

Director :
Nir Paniry

Summary
A scientist who has invented a technique to watch people's memories finds himself in a dangerous situation after he's tasked with entering a heroin addict's mind to see whether the man committed murder.
My opinion
A SF like "Inception" and "Source Code", only less exciting and rather tedious. The concept is interesting but the execution leaves something to be desired. It's just a lengthy conversation between a psychiatrist and his patient. Simple subject, long story. For such a brilliant scientist, I find it a tad overdone that he did not take into account the fact that memories can also be conditioned. Would be better if he had read a booklet about Pavlov's placebo effect.
When I'm going to get something to drink during a movie without using the pause button, this would merely say that I'm looking forward to the end. Not a good sign usually.
My rating 3/10 
Links : IMDB
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Stand Up Guys (2012)

maandag, juli 29, 2013
Genre : Crime/Comedy
Country
: USA

Cast :
Al Pacino : Val
Christopher Walken : Doc
Alan Arkin : Hirsch

Director :
Fisher Stevens

Summary
After 28 years, Val gets out of prison, and his friend Doc picks him up. The local mob boss, Claphands, wants Val dead (Claphands' son died in a robbery and he blames Val) and Doc has until morning to kill him. It's a long night: Val wants to party - they visit a cat house, Val needs Viagra, they break into a pharmacy. After midnight, they pick up Hirsch, their old wheelman, drive the city in a stolen car. They visit the cat house, help a woman in distress, bury a body, and eat at Doc's hangout, a café where the waitress, Alex, is cheerful. The sun rises, Claphands wants Val dead, and Val, who has figured out his fate, is resigned. Is there anything left to take care of?
My opinion
I really enjoyed this movie. No sublime humor and not really a crime film, but the proper dosage makes it an ideal mix for you to enjoy. I do like the dry humor and the little sarcasm. Now you can see what a fist full of Viagra may cause. I wonder whether the title of the film is a reference to it. The scene where Val is in the hospital and everyone is having small talk, while he's lying there with a totem pole, is hilarious.
Pacino, Walkin and Arkin are three aces from an older generation who are hard to match. I see no candidates for their status in the current new collection of actors. These three together in the same film is a feast for the eyes.
Several times I had to chuckle cause of the dry humor :
Val: So how's your health?
Hirsch: Well, they took something out of me a couple of months ago.
Val: What'd they take out?
Hirsch: I don't know. I didn't ask, it's none of my business. But I'm a little more streamlined now, a little more aerodynamic.

The action was limited but that was intentional. And how it ends, is irrelevant. The whole movie was a build up to the point that Doc actually had to liquidate Val and the long friendship overcomes that.
I used the "Delete" button already often on my "Medi8ter" but this one stays nicely parked there, so that when I have reached the blessed age of those 3 men,  I can watched it once more in peace and quiet.

My rating 7/10
Links : IMDB
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The Colony (2013)

zondag, juli 28, 2013
Genre : Action/SF
Country
: Canada

Cast :
Laurence Fishburne : Briggs
Kevin Zegers : Sam
Bill Paxton : Mason

Director :
Jeff Renfroe

Summary
In the future, after global warming, Earth is covered by ice and snow in an Ice Age. The survivors live in facilities underground named Colonies. When people from Colony 5 release a distress signal, the leader of Colony 7 Briggs organizes an expedition with Sam and Graydon to investigate what has happened to their acquaintances. Briggs leaves the scientist Kai in charge of the group, disappointing his former friend Mason that expected to be assigned to the position. They walk for two days to reach the facility where fifty persons live and they find only one survivor that is scared to death locked in a room. Soon they learn that a savage group of cannibals have slaughtered the colonists.
My opinion
A poor unimaginative movie for in between.
It was a mix of "The Day after tommorow" and "I'm Legend".
The moment they enter the other base was exciting, and that's about it.

A very predictable movie with bad CGI and substandard performances.
Fishburne was enjoying, I found Paxton a disappointment and Zegers a pathetic hero.
The final fight was unbelievable and ugly shown.

The ending was so implausible. To reach the other base,they had to stay in a helicopter because it's stone freezing cold at night. But they do go to the promised land in almost summer clothes. And when you look at the final scene, it's still a long way to go.  Strange !

My rating 2/10
Links : IMDB
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Hummingbird (2013)

vrijdag, juli 26, 2013
Genre : Action/Drama
Country
: UK

Cast :
Jason Statham : Joey
Benedict Wong : Mr. Choy
Vicky McClure : Dawn
Agata Buzek : Christina

Director :
Steven Knight

Alternative title : Redemption

Summary
Homeless and on the run from a military court martial, a damaged ex-special forces soldier navigating London's criminal underworld seizes an opportunity to assume another man's identity -- transforming into an avenging angel in the process.
My opinion
Statham goes up in my eyes after seeing this movie. He plays the role of a former Special Force soldier who's suffering from PTS and hides, after committing a war crime (as I could deduce), in anonymous London. He plays it perfectly and convincingly. It surely isn't an action movie but rather a morbid drama about how someone, with a self-destructive attitude, gets his act together, goes of to search for his companion and ultimately takes revenge. Furthermore he suddenly helps a compassionate nun who has helped him selflessly in all those years.
Statham is seen as part of the new generation of hard-hitting action heroes that are a repayment of the old-school veterans. And he makes a difference by playing in this film. Imagine a Van Damme, Stallone, or even worse a Schwarzenegger in this role. That would be a ridiculous and unbelievable performance. But Statham fits in this. The scarce action scenes are sometimes raw and realistic, but are not authoritative and are not central as in his other films.
I was fascinated from the start till the end. The performance of Agata Buzek, the Polish nun, was played overwhelmingly. And she is far from ugly if you look at the pictures on IMDB. She has a natural look and contrasts with that beauty ideal from Holywood.
The subtle humor, the flashy action as well as the dramatic portions of the film provide a beautiful and coherent whole. And that was greatly appreciated by me.

The moment Joey actually confesses his story to the nun, was for me the most important moment in the film. Then he returns to his previous existence as a nobody in the gutter so that he's no longer lethal to others. Strong! Prime Choice! Intriguing! Compelling!

My rating 8/10
Links : IMDB
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Oblivion (2013)

donderdag, juli 25, 2013
Genre : SF
Country
: USA

Cast :
Tom Cruise : Jack
Olga Kurylenko : Julia
Morgan Freeman : Beech

Director :
Joseph Kosinski

Summary
One of the few remaining drone repairmen assigned to Earth, its surface devastated after decades of war with the alien Scavs, discovers a crashed spacecraft with contents that bring into question everything he believed about the war, and may even put the fate of mankind in his hands.

My opinion

This was once again a
visually stunning movie. At times I was watching it breathlessly and greatly enjoyed the apocalyptic images of the desolate landscapes and that
pure piece of nature among all the chaos.


Sure
, you will recognize things from other films or books. But you can say about most movies that it's a faint decoction of yet another movie. Granted ! If on a yearly base there would come out a number of solid SF movies like Space Odyssey 2001, Aliens, Star Wars, The Fly, Mad Max, Prometheus ... then I would understand. But they are (as in the horror genre) terribly sparse. They could have made a dead simple put-your-brains-into-neutral movie. Well, this wasn't such a film. Or they could have made it shorter and stuffed it with a lot of fast eye-catching action. But then that would have been probably a bit to much. And so it'll never be okay for anybody.


I found t
he portrayed
view of an apocalyptic world very strong. The high-tech environment, the interiors, the buildings, vehicles and futuristic information technology looked brilliantly. And indeed, it really had an Apple feeling in all the designs. The control console they used, looked like a mega-XXL version of the iPad.

The story
, the final state of affairs, the twists, the explanation of how it came to this situation, unfold at a slow (sometimes too slow) way, but that's what I liked about this movie. The slow manner of telling the complete story instead of rattling off all facts in a speedy pace.

I'm not a huge fan of Tom Cruise, but to be honest, he didn't annoy me that much for once. He did what he had to do, was enjoying himself once more in a "Mission Impossible" kind of way and was sometimes very convincing. Andrea Riseborough did much better than in "Welcome to the Punch" and also acted as a cloned version.
Freeman had a limited role, but was again the central character when the first surprise appeared.

I have to admit , the ending felt like "
Independence Day" and it's unbelievable that such a high-tech and sophisticated civilization couldn't have intercepted this.
For the rest ... as SF fan they can dish up some more movies like this annually.

My rating 8/10
Links : IMDB
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The Courier (2012)

woensdag, juli 24, 2013
Genre : Action
Country
: USA

Cast :
Jeffrey Dean Morgan : The courier
Til Schweiger : Lispy
Mickey Rourke : Maxwell

Director :
Hany Abu-Assad

Summary
A specialist carrier is hired to deliver a mysterious case to the underworld's most dangerous hitman.

My opinion

The courier delivered an empty box.
The acting performance of Morgan was still enjoyable, but the story on its own is so far fetched and left more question marks at the end than any other movie.
The beginning was promising, the action was at times alright. The torture scene however, I found so ridiculous ... First a few fingers squeezed with a garlic press , then just like that they go to the kitchen to cook something to eat, not realizing that the guy with "garlic press squeezed fingers" could (yep you hear it) liberate himself  and then quite simply walk into the kitchen and shoot the two cooking lovebirds. It's as simple as that ..... Duhuh!
The Chinese girlfriend had no role of any significance. Also something absurd : when she hears that the person who actually raised her, passed away, it seems that the best remedy at that point is to start fooling around with the person she just met. Weird!
And I suppose it's just me, but I didn't quite understand the end (I had to rewind it briefly) immediately and they didn't need to put the name "Mickey Rourke" on the movie poster. Mostly you only saw his back (I suppose it was his), and then he acts like a bad looking Elvis for 3 minutes. Besides, he really got ugly since "9 1/2 weeks". Looks like his face is fully injected with botox.
Just another crap movie
My rating 2/10
Links : IMDB
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One in the Chamber (2012)

woensdag, juli 24, 2013
Genre : Action
Country
: USA

Cast :
Dolph Lundgren : Aleksey Andreev
Cuba Gooding Jr. : Ray Carver
Billy Murray : Leo Crosby

Director :
William Kaufman

Alternative title : Last Bullet

Summary
In search of money and freedom from the American justice system, criminals from the United States moved to Eastern Europe, where the laws were replaced by the crime after the collapse of the Communist system. Many of them chose Prague as their hideout, where crime lords were willing to pay a suitable sum of money to assassins in order to eliminate their rivals. One such assassin, Ray Carver, works for two rival gangs as their main killer. When Ray attempts to murder a Chechen drug lord, he is being pursued by the mobsters. Meanwhile, Suverov mafia hires Alexey 'The Wolf' Andreev, an assassin from Russia who is rumored to be not existent. This is when the real gang war starts.
My opinion
Hopefully they didn't pay the screenwriter too much, because he wrote this story with his hands tied behind his back in a long night session. What a simplistic insignificant story.

Short summary:

Mafia Boss 1 employs hitman 1 (Cuba) to eliminate Mafia boss 2
Hitman 1 misses the underboss of Mafia boss 2
Underboss employs hitman 1 to eliminate Mafia boss 1 (plus entourage)
Mafia boss 1 employs hitman 2 (Dolf) to eliminate the underboss (
plus entourage)
The boss of hitman 1 betrays hitman 1
Confrontation between hitman 1 and hitman 2
Hitman 1 saves hitman 2 his life
Confrontation hitman 1 (+ his boss) with Mafia boss 1
Hitman 2 assassins Mafia boss 1 (Yep I didn't really see that one coming) and saves hitman 1
Hitman 1 & 2 become best buddies

And there you have it. I could have made that up easily in one night. Mix that with an idyllic story of a handsome chick who lives in Prague, who was the daughter of someone who was eliminated by Cuba and the picture is complete.
Nevertheless it started really well. The opening credits looked almost like "Se7en". The scene in which Cuba uses a huge sniper rifle and the way it's filmed, is fantastic. And then it slumps down and transforms into a common "Terence Hill & Bud Spencer" story, but with guns and machine guns instead of fists.
My rating 3/10
Links : IMDB
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The Package (2013)

dinsdag, juli 23, 2013
Genre : Action
Country
: USA

Cast :
Steve Austin : Tommy Wick
Dolph Lundgren : The German
Darren Shahlavi : Devon

Director :
Jesse V. Johnson

Summary
All Tommy Wick has to do is deliver a "Package" to a rival crime lord, nicknamed 'The German'. It seems like a routine job, until another gang tries to hijack the precious cargo and Tommy has to fight every inch of the way to deliver it safely. The problem is, the "Package" isn't what Tommy was led to believe, and now he's in even deeper than he ever thought possible...
My opinion
A rather moderate B-movie. They made action movies like this in the 80' with the dozen. I think nowadays it's a new hype to gather all the old action heroes who are thinking about their retirement plan allready in a movie (Other examples are Expendables and The Last stand). Dolf Lundgren still speaks as slow as a snail and Steve Austin still looks like a walking wardrobe, Louis XIV style or so.

The action was sometimes very fake and the story with the blood type was far-fetched and unbelievable. Like Dolf  said: "The chance of finding a match is almost non-existent ..." but accidentally Steve is in the neighborhood. And they know each other from the past ... what a coincidence.

An unfortunate spectacle and probably the last feats of arms in cinematic terms of both gentlemen!

PS. I've always wanted to know how the mechanism of a bowling alley worked in reality. At least something I've learned of this movie !


My rating 3/10
Links : IMDB
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Would You Rather (2012)

maandag, juli 22, 2013
Genre : Horror/Thriller
Country
: USA

Cast :
Brittany Snow : Iris
Jeffrey Combs : Shepard Lambrick
Jonny Coyne : Bevans

Director :
David Guy Levi

Summary
Desperate to help her ailing brother, a young woman unknowingly agrees to compete in a deadly game of "Would You Rather," hosted by a sadistic aristocrat.
My opinion
Uh ... if there was such a thing as a D category for movies, then this one deserved it. This was a storyline where boredom hits fast, with incredible events and a predictable ending that sucks.

The negative things first.

First, I think that the background of the eight contenders could be explained somewhat better. Ultimately, we only know that there is an ex-alcoholic , a gambler, a crippled woman, a goth whose child drowned by her ex-husband (I assume), a veteran and the leading actress Iris is someone with a seriously ill brother. That the latter plays along to save her brother's life, we know. It's a missed opportunity to explain a bit
gradually about the others their motivations to participate.
Second, the circumstances in which the victims die sometimes, is a bit exaggerated. A stitch in your leg with an ice pick, won't let you die in a few minutes. Besides Iris also got one in her side (it just missed her lungs) and it has no effect. What a miracle. A few minutes later she's already running around as if nothing happened. A few strokes of a stick can be painful, but not life-threatening. No excessive blood loss. And wouldn't a soldier be tough enough to endure that ?A firecracker explodes with a few missing fingers as a result ... duh. A heart attack could be possible anyway, but still. Add to that, those who are killed (3) on the spot and there isn't much room left for exciting games.

Third: Why would the doctor (clearly a winner of the previous years) go there on his own. He should have known this was doomed to fail !!!!

Fourth, what an immense bad color choice was this movie. This looked just like a 80's Technicolor film.

Positive part was the acting of Combs as the sadistic Lambrick (diabolical smiles) and Coyne as the butler ergo bouncer / cleanup helper. The son of Lambrick can be nominated for an Oscar as "Best
useless Supporting Actor" or "Worst acting performance." He's probably a friend of the son of the director.
And the end was so predictable. I was just thinking, "It would really suck for Iris when her brother Bob dies in the operation." And when it ends ... yes ... pitty!
They had everything : the idea of organizing a game between life and death, the choices and dilemmas, the candidates and their fucked up past, the sadistic element .... But apparently there wasn't the potential, the skills or the money to make it work.

My rating 2/10
Links : IMDB
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