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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Upcoming Shark Flicks: "Shark Night 3D" & "Bait 3D"


Upcoming Shark Movies in 2011:

The hideous 1983 film, "Jaws 3-D", was the first-ever 3D shark movie shown in theaters. However, the 3D gimmick and the tasty tagline ("The Third Dimension is Terror." Yeah, right.) didn't save the movie from being a complete and utter stinker.

Anyway, in 2011, what we get is not one, but two shark flicks in 3D. Okay, I confess - I'm kind of a sucker for shark movies, so these two certainly got my attention. Below, you can check out the official posters (click to enlarge), and teaser trailers for the upcoming 'biters', "Shark Night" and "Bait", both in 3D.

*****

Shark Night 3D (2011)

A sexy summer weekend turns into a blood-soaked nightmare for a group of college students trapped on an island surrounded by voracious underwater predators in "Shark Night 3D", a terrifying thrill ride from director David Ellis ("Final Destination 2", "Snakes On a Plane"), featuring a red-hot young cast including Sara Paxton , Chris Carmack, Joel David Moore, Chris Zylka and Katharine McPhee.

Full synopsis: "Arriving by boat at her family’s Louisiana lake island cabin, Sara and her friends quickly strip down to their swimsuits for a weekend of fun in the sun. But when star football player Malik stumbles from the salt-water lake with his arm torn off, the party mood quickly evaporates. Assuming the injury was caused by a freak wake-boarding accident, the group realizes they have to get Malik to a hospital on the other side of the lake, and fast.But as they set out in a tiny speedboat, the college friends discover the lake has been stocked with hundreds of massive, flesh-eating sharks! As they face one grisly death after another, Sara and the others struggle desperately to fend off the sharks, get help and stay alive long enough to reach the safety of dry land."



"Shark Night 3D" is scheduled for release on September 2nd.

*****

Bait 3D (2011)

After a ferocious tsunami hits an Australian town, a bunch of shoppers find themselves trapped in a supermarket, along with a pack of tiger sharks in this killer flick, directed by Russell Mulcahy ("Resident Evil: Extinction"), and Kimble Rendall, and starring Jesse Spencer, Xavier Samuel, Julian McMahon and Sharni Vinson.

Full synopsis: "In a sleepy coastal resort community, shoppers at an underground supermarket find themselves terrorized by a crazed bandit when the unimaginable occurs... A monstrous freak tsunami swallows the town. Now trapped inside a flooded supermarket with an armed maniac and rushing water threatening to entomb them all in a watery grave, the imprisoned band of survivors discover they're not alone. The tsunami has brought some unwanted visitors from the depths. As the waters rise, they must overcome not only the threat of drowning but another threat, just as deadly and far more bloodthirsty ... packs of hungry tiger sharks."



"Bait 3D" hits Australian cinemas this September.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Guest Appearance on Alex J. Cavanaugh's Blog


Hey guys! If you still haven't, check out my guest appearance on Alex J. Cavanaugh's mega-popular, super-awesome blog HERE! I hope you'll enjoy it.

Thanks, Alex. You rock! :)



Friday, May 27, 2011

[6.75/10] Priest [3D] (2011)


Priest [3D] (2011)

Brief review: "Legion" director, Scott Stewart, brings us his latest sci-fi horror flick, based on on the Korean comic of the same name, and set in an alternate futuristic world full of blood-thirsty vampires. Despite its unsteady pacing, cliche-ridden script and complete lack of humor, "Priest" still manages to entertain the viewer, thanks its talented cast and Scott Stewart's eye-popping visual style. The post-apocalyptic, yet futuristic setting of the film is as gloomy and forbidding as it is imposingly spectacular, and the washed-out almost colorless cinematography compliments the dim art direction, and the overall grim mood of the movie. The CGIs are absolutely first-rate and downright flawless, and the 3D effects range from decent to excellent, despite that the film is not being shot-in-3D, but post-converted. The vampires themselves are not in human form, but an amazingly-designed eyeless creatures, that will surely give you the creeps. The action is also a feast for the eyes - the stunts are impressive, and the slow-mo sequences are stylishly-shot and executed with precision. Paul Bettany turns in a strong performance as the tough and protectful Priest, Maggie Q simply dazzles as the Priestess, and Karl Urban does a great job as the vicious Black Hat.

Overall summary:
Featuring stunning futuristic visuals, outstanding production dsign, great action sequences, and some of the slickest creature effects ever put on film, "Priest" is a hugely entertaining guilty-pleasure-kind-of-movie, that delivers everything it promises.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

[7.25/10] Insidious (2011)


Insidious (2011)

Brief review: After the insanely-overrated "Saw" and the utterly mediocre "Dead Silence", Australian director James Wan finally delivers a solid and somewhat unique horror flick. "Insidious" deals with the intriguing and enigmatic subject of Astral Projection, and although it's not exactly an eye-opener, it reveals many unknown details about this supernatural phenomenon in a very understandable, believable way, without crossing the line into silly and ridiculous. "Insidious" may lack big scares and jump-of-your-seat moments, but it's just as creepy as its title suggest, thanks to its chilling atmosphere, some truly frightening images, and James Wan's dark and often sinister visual style. In addition, the pale-colored cinematography suits well the visual tone of the film, and the ominous music score compliments the overall feel of "Insidious". Having said that, the execution leaves much to be desired, as it seems like the director has been improvising too often while shooting the film, and the result is a good-looking, but somewhat unpolished 'final product'. The film also succeeds because of its top-notch cast. Both, Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne give great performances as the anxious parents, but it's Lin Shaye as the freaky Elise that shines the most.

Overall summary: Just like director James Wan's two previous horror films, "Insidious" is a bit lacking in execution, however, in terms of originality, scares, creepiness, story, acting, and visuals, his latest effort is better than "Saw" and "Dead Silence" put together.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

[5.00/10] The Warrior's Way (2010)


The Warrior's Way (2010)

Brief review: Although in itself "Warrior's Way" is an Eastern movie made for Western tastes, first-time Korean director Sngmoo Lee struggles to find the balance between those two cultures, and as a result, his martial arts/western/fantasy hybrid fails to deliver a satisfying story. Also, for a film called "Warrior's Way", the movie doesn't provide enough action to justify its title. With the exception of the fast-paced opening sequence and the action-heavy final act, "Warrior's Way" is more of a romantic movie rather than a true martial arts flick. The fights themselves are nicely-choreographed and the wire-work is passable, but the action scenes are either shot in slow-motion or too fast to follow. However, in terms of visuals the film succeeds vastly, despite some cheesy CGI work, as it has some truly spectacular settings, and a vivid, almost artsy cinematography that pleases the eye. Korean star Jang Dong-gun plays the lead character Yang, and although his martial arts skills are undoubtedly impressive, he turns in an unbelievably dull and uncharismatic performance. Kate Bosworth definitely has the looks, but her acting abilities are rather questionable. Unsurprisingly, the great Geoffrey Rush steals the show as the cool drunkard, Ron.

Overall summary: Aside from some truly gorgeous settings, colorful cinematography and a few thrillingly-choreographed and nicely-shot action sequences, "Warrior's Way" is a poorly-acted, joyless misfire, that barely lives up to its promising title. Nice try, Sngmoo Lee!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

[7.25/10] Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides [3D] (2011)



Full review: Two days ago, I was invited to a special pre-screening of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides", therefore I'm able to provide an exclusive early review of the film one day before its wide release. For better or worse, this fourth installment has a new director behind it, and it certainly shows - Rob Marshall changes the course, and gives a completely different feel to the movie, though at times you may find yourself missing Verbinski's delightful over-the-top-ness. Story-wise, this installment is a bit more adventurous than its two predecessors, and although it drags a bit here and there, it manages to engage and entertain the viewer throughout its 137 min running time, mostly thanks to its witty, well-written script and amusing characters. However, "On Stranger Tides" is by no means the the best installment in the insanely popular franchise (nor is the worst), as it suffers from slight narrative and pacing problems. The film feels a bit inconsistent at times, as it alternates vigorous action scenes with slow too-much-talking ones. Being the first ever ""Pirates of the Caribbean" movie shot in Disney Digital 3D, "On Stranger Tides" boasts some amazing technical qualities, and is quite slick, visually. Although Rob Marshall's skills behind the camera can't match with Verbinski's creativity and stylishness, he still manages to deliver in terms of directing versatility, providing us with lots of inventive camera angles, clever close-ups, and dynamic camera work. The mermaid attack scene in particular is undoubtedly the highlight of the movie, and deserves a special mention, as it's so thrilling, beautifully-shot and stunningly spectacular, you can't help but being wowed and amazed by it. The cinematography's color palette may not be as vivid, bright and colorful as in the previous films, but Marshall compensates with some stunning settings, gorgeous locations, and tons of slick and cool, yet hardly overblown special effects. Due to the fact that this installment is being shot-in-3D, and not post-converted, the 3D itself is not bad at all, and it definitely gives a visual depth to the movie, making it more appealing to the eye. The one and only Johnny Depp delivers his best performance in the franchise since the original film - he steals the show yet again as the charmingly-goofy, hysterically-amusing and delightfully-quirky Captain Jack Sparrow. Not sure if it's because of her pregnancy during the shooting of the film, but the fascinating Penelope Cruz seems a bit distracted and not very involved with her character. Although she does a good job overall, she's not as strong, charismatic and alluring as she usually is. Geoffrey Rush turns in another great performance as Captain Barbossa, and he's a true pleasure to watch. This installment also presents a brand-new character, Blackbeard, brilliantly-acted by the legendary Ian McShane.

Overall summary: Not nearly as great as the original, yet on par with "Dead Man's Chest", and definitely an improvement over "At World's End", "On Stranger Tides" feels refreshing and different thanks to Rob Marshall's trademark visual style, plus, it offers a fun and adventurous story, interesting characters, plenty of spectacular set-pieces and enough thrilling action to please any fan of the franchise.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cannes Goes Kung-Fu: "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 3D", "The Monkey King 3D", "The Sorcerer and the White Snake" & "Wu Xia"

Truly fantastic poster for Tsui Hark's 3D spectacle "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate"

The new bright red poster for the latest Tsui Hark - Jet Li collaboration "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 3D", was unveiled at this year's Cannes Film Festival. It features Jet Li wielding his sword while hanging onto a chain. The Chinese calligraphy in the poster was written by none other than Tsui Hark himself. (via Twitch)

Shot in 3D, "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate" follows a Ming Dynasty commander as he confronts a power-hungry eunuch at a deserted inn called Dragon Gate. It's a remake of Hark’s 1992 movie “Dragon Inn”.

*****

Absolutely mesmerizing poster for Soi Cheang's upcoming 3D blockbuster "The Monkey King"

Designed by William Chang for 2011 Cannes Film Festival, this magically beautiful poster contains a hidden secret about the film's plot. One interpretation is that Donnie Yen and Chow Yun-Fat will battle to the death.

Inspired by the classic epic novel "Journey to the West", the upcoming 3D martial arts fantasy starring Donnie Yen and Chow Yun-fat tells of the Monkey King's several adventures before he embarks on the journey escorting monk Xuanzang to the west. The film is scheduled for release in summer 2012.

*****

Three jaw-droppingly beautiful posters for
Ching Siu-Tung's cinematic extravaganza
"The Sorcerer and the White Snake"

(Click to enlarge)

The three stunning Cannes posters for Tony Ching Siu-Tung's "The Sorcerer and the White Snake" reflect the theme that love is a disaster, sometimes very violent. The star-heavy cast includes Jet Li, Charlene Choi, Miriam Yeung, Huang Shengyi, Vivian Hsu and Raymond Lam.

*****

Sensational teaser trailer for Peter Chan's martial arts epic "Wu Xia"

Peter Chan's "Wu Xia", starring Donnie Yen, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tang Wei, premiered on May 14 at the 64th annual Cannes Film Festival (watch the amazing trailer below).

Set in the late Qing Dynasty, "Wu Xia" tells the story of Liu, who is a papermaker, leading a simple life with his wife Ayu and their two sons. Into their remote village comes Detective Xu, who is investigating the deaths of two bandits during a robbery. Xu quickly realizes that the incident in question was no ordinary botched robbery - and his dogged inquiry threatens to dredge up the dark secrets of Liu's buried past, threatening not only Liu and his family, but the entire village.



Thursday, May 12, 2011

[6.25/10] The Rite (2011)


The Rite (2011)

Brief review: Swedish visionary, Mikael Håfström, known for his stunningly-effective creepfest, "1408", delivers yet another well-crafted supernatural horror flick, that deals with exorcism - one of the most frequent and popular subject matters in the horror genre. Although the film suffers heavily from muddled pacing, and it certainly doesn't rank as one of the most effective exorcism-related movies ever made, "The Rite" is still watchable, thanks to its well-written script, Håfström's solid direction and some truly ominous settings that create a mysterious and often frightening atmosphere. In fact, if you try not to take the film too seriously, you might have a great time with it - it may be a slow-burner and lacking in genuine scares, but "The Rite" is fairly gripping, and it delivers the chills and some truly disturbing images in its final act. Anthony Hopkins is unsurprisingly brilliant as the confident, and devoted Father Lucas, but it's Marta Gastini as the pregnant girl Rosaria, who makes the biggest impression, despite her limited screen time - she's portrays demonic possession to perfection! Colin O'Donoghue, on the other hand, not only looks like a plastic doll, but his performance as the seminary student is unbelievably stiff, dull and emotionless.

Overall summary: Mikael Håfström's "The Rite" won't make you believe the devil really exists, but it will certainly entertain you for a few hours with its chilling atmosphere, dark and creepy visuals, well-written dialogues and Anthony Hopkins' convincingly devilish performance.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Interview: "CineMarvellous!" has been crowned Horror Blog of the Month over at MM's Horror Movie Diary!


Five months ago, Maynard Morrissey a.k.a. Harry over at MM's Horror Movie Diary started a brand new column called Horror Blog of the Month, in order to pay tribute to all the passionate bloggers that write about horror stuff. His idea was to present one excellent horror blog each month, including a survey, where he asks the blogger some horror-related questions.

So far great blogs like The Girl Who Loves Horror, I Like Horror Movies, Porkhead's Horror Review Hole and Mondo Bizarro have been crowned Horror Blog of the Month, and now, thanks to Harry, who recognized my huge passion for the genre, I'm amongst those lucky bloggers :)

Last month Harry called me and asked me to do this awesome interview. I was pleasantly surprised that my blog was his pick for May 2011, and also very excited to do the interview you can read below. I would like to thank to my Austrian friend, Harry, who's not only a true horror connoisseur, but also an incredible person!

*****

Another month, another marvellous Horror-blog!

MAY I introduce to you:


The absolutely wonderful CINEMARVELLOUS!

Technically it's not a pure horror blog, since creator Nebular a.k.a. George, a nice guy from Bulgaria, reviews all genres - yet, he has a soft spot for everything horror-related, which makes "CineMarvellous!" THE Number1-Blog when it comes to short-and-sweet reviews for recently released horror flicks;plus: it's one of the most beautiful looking blogs out there.


Maynard:
Hi George! Who are you and why do you blog?

George:
Who am I? Well, my name is George and I am what I am – a complete film geek from South-Eastern Europe, who loves to watch, talk and write about movies. It all started 7 years ago with a movie journal over at Rotten Tomatoes, but in 2008 the editors of RT screwed up pretty much everything with an unnecessary ‘update’ of their website, so I moved to Blogger. Till then, I didn’t know about its existence, which is a shame, coz Blogger is absolutely amazing and, most importantly, it gives you the freedom to write about anything you like, plus it’s 100% free. Though, sometimes I miss my old RT journal, I don’t have any regrets whatsoever about moving to Blogger and starting my own site. It changed my life completely, and I am truly grateful to all my friends, readers and supporters, and to the creators of Blogger, of course.

I blog because I have huge passion for movies, not only horror movies, but cinema in general. I love different genres, such as martial arts, sci-fi, fantasy, and even animated features, though horror remains my most favorite movie genre of them all.

My blog is not the typical horror movie blog, it’s more of an “all-rounder”, but it includes a huge horror section in it, a section that features hundreds of reviews and numerous horror movie-related top lists. Check it out, and I hope you guys like it.

Which movie made you a horror fan (and why)?

I’ll mention a few titles from my childhood, that had a huge impact on me, and made me become the horror geek that I am today: “The Evil Dead” and its brilliant sequel, “Gremlins”, “Child’s Play”, “Dead Alive”, and of course, “The Exorcist”. I think all these horror classics speak for themselves, and no explanation is necessary.

Who is your favorite horror director (and why)?

If you expect me to say “big” names like Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Dario Argento, George A. Romero, or the Master of Suspense, Mr. Alfred Hitchcock, you might be disappointed. I know it’s lame and most true horror fans will “Boo” me, but I prefer contemporary horror film-makers, such as Guillermo del Toro (The most passionate and creative master of visionary horror), Jaume Balagueró (Pure genius, who knows what he’s doing, and fully understands the meaning of true horror), and the one and only, Mr. Sam Raimi – the man who made me fall in love with horror movies in the first place.

Your alltime horror favorites are...

Yay for this question! OK, so here’s my TOP 10 Favorite Horror Movies of All-Time:
  1. Jaume Balagueró's “[REC]” (2007)
  2. Neil Marshall's “The Descent” (2005)
  3. William Friedkin's “The Exorcist” (1973)
  4. Hideo Nakata's “Ringu” (1998) & Gore Verbinski’s “The Ring” (2002)
  5. Pascal Laugier's “Martyrs” (2008)
  6. Steven Spielberg's “Jaws” (1975)
  7. Ridley Scott's “Alien” (1979)
  8. John Carpenter's “The Thing” (1982)
  9. Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby (1968)
  10. Tom Holland's “Child's Play” (1988)
And now my TOP 5 Favorite Horror Comedies of All-Time:
  1. Joe Dante's "Gremlins" (1984)
  2. Peter Jackson's "Dead Alive" (1992)
  3. Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn" (1987)
  4. Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead" (1979)
  5. Ruben Fleischer's "Zombieland" (2009)
What's the worst horror movie you've seen so far?

I’ve seen so many terrible horror movies over the years, it’s really hard to pick only one. That’s why I’ll name… 10! So, the ten worst horror movies I’ve ever seen, in no particular order, are:
        • Alone in the Dark (2005)
        • Eye See You (2000)
        • It Waits (2005)
        • FearDotCom (2002)
        • The Thirst (2006)
        • Satan’s Playground (2006)
        • Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)
        • Soul Survivors (2001)
        • Haunted Forest (2007)
I gave 0 stars out of 10 to all these completely awful and literally unwatchable horror flicks! They just shouldn’t have existed.

Most of my friends don't like horror films. How about your friends?

Yep, exact same thing here. Most of my friends get easily scared by horror movies, especially the girls you know. I remember a couple of years ago I ‘forced’ five of my friends to watch Jaume Balagueró’s “[REC]” (without me), and after that, all five of them have had nightmares for weeks. All five were so terrified, they told me they almost wet their pants while watching it. They said to me: “You’re crazy, dude. This film was insane! We shouldn’t have watched it.” I found this reaction rather hilarious. LOL. C’mon – they were just overreacting. :)

So, that’s why I watch horror flicks all by myself, well, most of the time.


Choose:
Jason? Freddy? Michael? Other?

If I have to be brutally honest, I have to say that I don’t find either of these particularly scary, and you know why? Because all of them hardly talk – they’re just muted psycho killers with masks, who slaughter people without any real motive. B-O-R-I-N-G! Candyman, on the other hand, is in totally different league – the way he talks and the things he says make my bones chill. He’s absolutely intimidating and downright terrifying, and I just love him. So, I choose Candyman!

Choose:
US horror? Euro horror? Asian horror? Other?

OK, this one is easy. European horror, definitely! I adore Spanish, French, British and Scandinavian horror cinema! In general, Spanish horrors are highly-atmospheric and creepy as hell, French horror films are unpredictable and twisted, British horrors are unique and unusual, and Scandinavian horror flicks are always well-executed, tense and entertaining.

Asian horror is kinda pretentious and often repetitive (Long-haired ghosts, anyone?), however, movies like “Ringu”, “Dark Water”, and “A Tale of Two Sisters” are pure genius!

American horror movies are either remakes / reboots, or sequels / prequels, or, well, lacking in originality. At least they look good.

Do you prefer watching horror at home or at the theater?

Definitely at home, alone, at night, with the lights turned off. The darker and the scarier the whole atmosphere is – the better! I enjoy watching horror flicks at the theater, too, but it’s rarely as effective as watching them at home.

What music do you like?

This may surprise you, but I’m a huge fan of house music. I love listening vocal, progressive and groovy house, but, no, I’m not a party animal, I just love the rhythm, the beat and the energy this type of music provides to its listeners.

What do you read?

Honestly said, I’m not the biggest reader in the world. I’m currently reading Steven Jay Schneider’s “101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die”, and I think it’s a fascinating book, though I don’t agree with some of the writer’s picks.


Tell me the first 3 things that come to your mind when you think about Austria:

1. Neatness
2. Spectacular architecture
3. A high standard of living

I reckon these 3 things describe your beautiful country quite perfectly.

Anything else you wanna tell us?

Be yourself, enjoy life, love, eat, watch horror movies, have fun, and don’t be afraid to show your feelings and express your emotions. At the end of the day, that’s what life is - a vortex of emotions!

And guys, I just wanted to tell you that English isn’t my first language, so please, don’t be too hard on me.

Maynard, thank you so much for this interview, it’s been a tremendous pleasure!

Thank YOU, George!

See the original post HERE

Friday, May 6, 2011

Numerous QuickRatings PART 8: Foreign Horror Movies

Captifs a.k.a. Caged (2010)

QuickRating: This French torture porn flick may be brutally realistic, extremely graphic, violently gory and nicely-acted, but it suffers from a cliched premise, unimaginative execution, and lack of actual thrills and chills, plus it often feels like a rip-off of another French gorefest, "Frontier(s)".

My Rating: 5.50/10



Zwart Water a.k.a. Two Eyes Staring (2010)

QuickRating: Moody, monotonous and unnecessarily overlong, yet gripping, enigmatic, incredibly atmospheric and beautifully shot, "Zwart Water" proves that Dutch horror film makers are also capable of delivering decent horror movies, despite their lack of experience in this area.

My Rating: 5.75/10



Die Tür a.k.a. The Door (2009)

QuickRating: More of a mystery thriller rather than a horror, "The Door" is a one-of-a-kind experience about parallel realities in life, that dazzles with its uniqueness and unpredictability, and drives a plot that delivers suspense and intrigue, but unfortunately, it falls apart in its final act and quickly loses its efficiency.

My Rating: 6.75/10

Thursday, May 5, 2011

[7.25/10] Thor [3D] (2011)


Thor [3D] (2011)

Full review: Actor-turned-director Kenneth Branagh brings his latest flick, based on Marvel Comics character, "Thor" - a fun, entertaining and visually-stunning superhero blockbuster, that not only blends cleverly Norse mythology with fiction and modern reality, but also manages to balance stupendous action with human drama quite well, in order to provide us with tons of 'Marvel'-ous entertainment. Probably the best thing about "Thor" is, that it never takes itself too seriously, not to say that the film often flirts with silliness, without crossing the line into stupidity. The dialogues are moderately intelligent and full of wit, and the all the characters are well-written, but "Thor" is not without its problems - it suffers a bit from a lack of cohesion among its constituent parts, and as a result, it often feels either rushed or contrived. Silly costumes aside, "Thor" is pure eye-candy in terms of visuals. The art direction is certainly the film's highlight - while the 'golden' kingdom of Asgard is bright, stylish and lavishly-designed, Jotunheim is grim, dark and downright chilling, yet highly atmospheric - together they make an impressive visual depiction of good and evil! "Thor" also boasts some first-rate CGIs and above average 3D effects, and it features number of thrilling and well-staged, if hardly spectacular action sequences. Branagh's direction is precise and typically solid, but at times you would guess that directing this film has been a challenge for him. Acting-wise, "Thor" also delivers, thanks to its charming, talented and likable cast. Chris Hemsworth makes the perfect Thor - he's not only hunky, good-looking and incredibly charismatic, but he also possesses enough acting abilities to carry the film on his shoulders. Anthony Hopkins shines as the wise and temperate Odin, and Natalie Portman delivers another fascinating performance as Thor's love interest, though her brief screen time isn't enough to allow her to steal the show. Tom Hiddleston as Loki is certainly the weakest of the bunch - his character is neither interesting to watch, nor particularly memorable.

Overall summary: Kenneth Branagh's latest Marvel-based movie may not be as spectacular as expected, and it doesn't break any new ground in terms of plot or characterization, but at the end of the day, "Thor" is a true crowd-pleaser, and a solid entry into the superhero genre, thanks to its sharply-written script, engaging cast, and flashy visual effects.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

[7.75/10] Mother's Day (2011)


Mother's Day (2011)

Brief review: The director of "Saw" II, III & IV, Darren Lynn Bousman, brings this surprisingly brilliant horror thriller about a villainous family that return to their childhood home to terrorize the new owners of the house. Even though post-production has been completed last April, the movie hasn't been released till the first quarter of 2011, which is a shame, because a couple of cliches aside, "Mother's Day" is such a clever, harsh, uncompromising, skillfully-executed and wonderfully-acted thriller, it makes modern 'home invasion' classics like "Funny Games" and "The Strangers" look like kids' stuff. In terms of gore and violence, "Mother's Day" also leaves very little to imagination - it's extremely violent, bloody and graphic, and sоme of the torture scenes are so nasty and brutal, they're hardly watchable. However, it's the characters that makes it as bone-chilling as it is. Though the entire cast does an incredible job, Rebecca De Mornay remains the true highlight of the movie. She delivers a sensational and thoroughly disturbing portrayal as the obsessive mother, who has manipulated her kids since the day they were born. 'Mother' is sure to give you the chills - she's polite yet intimidating; beautiful yet creepy; kind yet terrifying... She's pure evil!

Overall summary: Although it goes slightly over-the-top at times, "Mother's Day" is a disturbing, and utterly uncompromising depiction of sheer terror, that gets under your skin and stays there long after the credits roll. It's pretty much 'The Mother' of all 'home invasion' flicks.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Early Previews: Alexandre Aja's "Cobra: The Space Pirate", Ching Siu-Tung's "The Sorcerer and White Snake", and Paco Plaza's "[Rec] 3: Genesis"

Poster for Alexandre Aja's upcoming sci-fi action flick "Cobra: The Space Pirate"

"The Hills Have Eyes" and "Piranha 3D" director Alexandre Aja's next project won't be another crazy gorefest, but a badass-looking action flick, based on the late 70's space-opera manga series written and illustrated by Buichi Terasawa.

The film follows the eponymous rogue space pirate, a man who has surgically altered his face and erases his own memory to hide from his enemies. Cobra gradually regains his memories and unites with his old partner Lady Armaroid and his ship Tortuga. Together, the two set off on an adventure to recover a lost treasure on Mars.

"Cobra: The Space Pirate" hits theaters in 2013.

*****

Stunning first stills from Ching Siu-Tung’s martial arts fantasy flick "The Sorcerer and the White Snake"

Acclaimed action choreographer Ching Siu-Tung, known for his work in Zhang Yimou's "Hero" and "House of Flying Daggers", directs this kung fu fantasy, based on the oral Chinese folktale "Legend of the White Snake", starring marital arts sensation Jet Li.

It tells the story of a young scholar who falls in love with a beautiful woman, unaware that she is a white snake that has taken on human form. A monk intervenes in order to save the scholar’s soul and casts the white snake into a deep well at the Leifeng Pagoda.

1 23 4 5 6 7 8

"The Sorcerer and the White Snake" is scheduled for a theatrical release in 3D by the end of 2011.

*****

First stills and official poster for Paco Plaza's "[Rec] 3: Genesis"

"[Rec] 3: Genesis" Spanish director Paco Plaza directs the next installment in the hugely popular “[REC]” franchise, without his fella, Jaume Balagueró, who will direct the fourth installment, "[Rec] 4: Apocalypse".

In "Genesis", the action takes place miles away from the original location and partly in broad daylight, giving the film an entirely fresh yet disturbing new reality. The infection has left the building. In a clever twist that draws together the plots of the first two movies, this third part of the saga also works as a decoder to uncover information hidden in the first two films and leaves the door open for the final installment, "[Rec] 4: Apocalypse".


1 2 3 4 4

"[Rec] 3: Genesis" hits Spanish cinemas this fall.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

[8.50/10] Source Code (2011)


Source Code (2011)

Brief review: Much to my surprise, I was slightly disappointed by Duncan Jones' debut feature "Moon", as I found it truly original, yet monotonous and rather boring. Therefore, I didn't know what to expect from his latest film, called "Source Code". What I got was a unique and stylishly-crafted sci-fi thriller with a brain. Something more than that - "Source Code" is unpredictable, tense, fast-paced, suspenseful, thought-provoking and incredibly compelling film that impresses not only with its original concept, but also with its mind-bending narrative, brilliantly-precise execution, and Gyllenhaal's exceptional performance. Despite its complicated plot, the film never gets confusing or overdone, thanks to Jones' smart and creative choices behind the camera, and Hirsch's masterful editing. The '8 minute fragments' never feels repetitive, dull or tiresome - each next scene is tauter than the previous, and the film gets more and more intriguing and exciting as the story progresses, offering many twists and turns along the way. Jake Gyllenhaal is probably this film's biggest asset - he fully inhabits his character, delivering one of the most complex performances of his career as the charismatic and bold, yet confused soldier, Colter Stevens.

Overall summary: Thanks to its unique premise, clever plot structure, flawless execution, and Gyllenhaal's top-notch performance, "Source Code" easily ranks as one of the most accomplished and skillfully-crafted sci-fi films of the 00's, and also one of the best films of the year so far.