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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

[5.25/10] From Time to Time (2010)

From Time to Time (2010)

Premiered at last year's London Film Festival, but wide released this fall, "From Time to Time" follows Tolly, who while staying at his grandmother's house, is magically transported back in time to appear as a ghost to solve his family’s dramatic and mysterious past. Although this film is labeled as "a haunting ghost story", in fact there's nothing haunting or spooky about it, as it's just too juvenile and too shallow to be called a proper ghost story. It's more pre-teen-oriented, as it uses silly time-travel gimmicks and completely lacks scares and thrills. The story is moderately intriguing, but the film itself suffers from a mediocre execution. In terms of visuals, "From Time to Time" is very atmospheric, as it has a very authentic production design and nice cinematography. Unexplainably, the scenes from the past and the flashbacks are presented in very bright and vivid colors, while for present-day scenes, the cinematographer uses a pallete of bleached pale tones, in order to distinct the two vastly different eras. The cast includes many well-known British actors, who all give terrific performances. Alex Etel, mostly known for his role as Damian in Danny Boyle's "Millions" gives an adequate performance as the main protagonist, Tolly, who grieves for his missing father, and tries to solve the mystery behind his family's past. He's absolutely adorable, yet kinda bland and a bit stiff in front of the camera, and if I have to be honest, he was way more natural and a much better actor when he was younger. Maggie Smith is undoubtedly one the most talented and likable English actresses of all time, and she can do no wrong. She delivers yet another excellent performance as Tolly's "granny", Linnet. However, it's Carice van Houten's performance that outshines everyone else's. She's Dutch, but her English speaking skills are so incredible, you'd never guess she's a foreigner. Carice lightens up the screen in every scene she appears, and while she's not as amazing as she was in Paul Verhoeven's "Black Book", she does a fantastic job. Dominic West plays a hardly likable character, yet he's still very good at what he does. All the supporting actors give great performances as well. While "From Time to Time" has a great cast and some nice visuals, its childish nature makes it too predictable and unexciting experience, that would hardly be entertaining for an older audience.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

CineMarvellous! presents: George Beremov's TOP 15 Best-Reviewed and BOTTOM 5 Worst-Reviewed Superhero Flicks of All Time

CineMarvellous! presents:

Nebular's TOP 15 Best-Reviewed

and BOTTOM 5 Worst-Reviewed

Superhero Flicks of All Time!

TOP 15 Best-Reviewed

1. The Incredibles (9.75/10)

(2004, Brad Bird)

"Action-packed, super-exciting and ultra-hilarious -
it's everything a Superhero movie should be!"


2. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (9.75/10)

(2008, Guillermo del Toro)

"Hands down, the most imaginative Superhero flick ever made!"


3. Batman Begins (9.50/10)

(2005, Christopher Nolan)

"Christopher Nolan took the "Batman" franchise to another level.
And it's absolutely amazing!"


4. Spider-Man 2 (9.50/10)

(2004, Sam Raimi)

"The perfect "Spider-Man" movie!"


5. Hellboy (9.50/10)

(2004, Guillermo del Toro)

"Undoubtedly, Hellboy is the coolest superhero ever!"


6. Iron Man (9.50/10)

(2008, Jon Favreau)

"Smart, funny and inventive!"


7. Watchmen (9.25/10)

(2009, Zack Snyder)

"A unique take on the Superhero genre!"


8. The Dark Knight (9.25/10)

(2008, Christopher Nolan)

"Exceptional, yet overly serious."


9. Batman Returns (9.25/10)

(1992, Tim Burton)

"Dark, gothic and absolutely incredible!"


10. Spider-Man (9.00/10)

(2002, Sam Raimi)

"Everything a Spider-man fan could want!"


11. Batman (9.00/10)

(1989, Tim Burton)

"A cult classic!"


12. X2: X-Men United (9.00/10)

(2003, Bryan Singer)

"Hugely engrossing and absolutely spectacular!"


13. Hulk (8.75/10)

(2003, Ang Lee)

"Brilliantly-crafted and completely underrated!"


14. Kick-Ass (8.75/10)

(2010, Matthew Vaughn)

"Quite possibly the most original Superhero movie ever made."


15. Blade II (8.75/10)

(2002, Guillermo del Toro)

"Vampires, martial arts and superhero powers...
How cool is that?!"

Honorable mentions:

Superman (1978, Richard Donner)
X-Men (2000, Bryan Singer)

The Incredible Hulk (2008, Louis Leterrier)

BOTTOM 5 Worst-Reviewed

1. Captain America (2.50/10)

(1990, Albert Pyun)

"The dullest and stupidest Superhero movie of all time!"


2. Batman & Robin (3.00/10)

(1997, Joel Schumacher)

"What the hell was Joel Schumacher thinking?!"


3. Catwoman (3.00/10)

(2004, Pitof)

"A career ruiner!"


4. The League of Extraordinary

(2003, Stephen Norrington)

"Boring as hell!"


5. Elektra (4.00/10)

(2005, Rob Bowman)

"Poor Jennifer!"

2011's Most anticipated Superhero flicks:

Friday, November 26, 2010

[7.00/10] Unstoppable (2010)

Unstoppable (2010)

In this high-octane action thriller by Tony Scott, a massive unmanned locomotive, nicknamed "The Beast" and loaded with toxic cargo, roars through the countryside, vaporizing anything put in front of it. A veteran engineer and a young conductor, aboard another train in the runaway's path, devise an incredible plan to try and stop it, and prevent certain disaster in a heavily populated area. After the lackluster effort that "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" was last year, action maestro Tony Scott is back on track with "Unstoppable" - a simple-plotted, yet highly entertaining and well-executed adrenaline rush fueled thriller, that delivers everything it promises. "Unstoppable" is inspired by real events, and Tony Scott does an incredible job in keeping it as realistic as possible, but also making it consistently gripping and highly entertaining for the audience. This is certainly not an easy thing to do, so Mr. Scott deserves credit for that. If you're familiar with Tony Scott's style, you pretty much know what to expect - his trademark fast zooms, rapid fire editing and shaky camera movements are noticeable, but thankfully, none of it is overdone. The action sequences are one of the film's strongest points, and will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat, as they are superbly-handled, brilliantly-edited, very intense and exciting to watch. The cinematography is decent, though not very appealing, as the colors are slightly washed out and unsaturated, and the scenery of Pennsylvania is rather unspectacular. Oscar-winner Denzel Washington and "Star Trek"'s own Chris Pine play the two main characters and they both deliver great performances. Tony Scott's favorite Denzel Washington is good as usual, but the handsome and very talented Chris Pine is the true star of the show. Not only are his sparkling blue eyes mesmerizing, but has the charisma and screen presence to carry a movie all by himself. He's confident without being too cocky and utterly captivating to watch, and for all those reasons, he completely outshines Washington in this one. Plus, those tow have an easy on-screen chemistry that feels believable. Rosario Dawson also gives a credible and very tense performance as the anxious yardmaster, Connie. The supporting performances by the other actors are passable at best. Fast-paced, hyper-intense and completely absorbing, "Unstoppable" is a popcorn entertainment at its best, and Scott's finest achievement since his remarkable "Man on Fire".

Thursday, November 25, 2010

[8.75/10] Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (2010)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:Part I (2010)

In the first installment of the two-film adaptation of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", the long-feared war has begun and Voldemort's Death Eaters seize control of the Ministry of Magic and even Hogwarts, terrorizing and arresting anyone who might oppose them. But the one prize they still seek is the one most valuable to Voldemort: Harry Potter. Harry's only hope is to find the Horcruxes before Voldemort finds him. As he searches for clues, he uncovers the legend of the Deathly Hallows. And if the legend turns out to be true, it could give Voldemort the ultimate power he seeks. No longer just a boy, Harry Potter is drawing ever closer to the ultimate battle with Voldemort. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is certainly not about fancy magic tricks, light-hearted humor or Triwizard Tournaments, as it's the darkest, scariest, and most mature and intense installment in the popular franchise. David Yates sticks to the books much as possible, making sure he satisfies all desires of the hardcore Potter fans, as well as adding enough action, drama and suspense so that filmgoers from any age can enjoy this marvellous experience. The story is more serious and grim, yet emotional, full of hope, love and bittersweet moments. "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" is also well-edited and smoothly-paced, and although it drags a bit in the middle, it picks up nicely at the end. Acting-wise, this installment is probably the strongest of all. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have come a long way since the first film, and it shows that over the series, their acting skills developed vastly. They're all great as our three likable protagonists. Ralph Fiennes is very convincing and downright creepy as Lord Voldemort, Julie Walters is incredible as the delightfully evilicious Molly Weasley, Helena Bonham Carter delivers a show-stealing performance as the fierce and vicious Bellatrix, and Dobby, voiced by Toby Jones is adorable as always. All other supporting actors are very good as well, but special mentions go to Bill Nighy and Rhys Ifans. I wasn't really pleased with David Yates' direction and visual style in his previous two "Harry Potter" installments, but I have to admit, he really outdone himself this time, as technically and visually, "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" is absolutely outstanding! Yates provides both, fast-paced direction during action scenes, and some very subtle and sophisticated shots during its dramatic moments. The scenery is completely unbelievably gorgeous and David Yates himself is clearly aware of this, as he offers us countless spectacular shots from various difficult angles. His panoramic shots are as stunning and beautiful as his detailed close-up shots. Eduardo Serra's dark-toned cinematography defines the grim and 'creepy' look of the film, and despite its subtle, muted color scheme, "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" is always appealing and fascinating to watch. Although the action is not the main factor in "Deathly Hallows: Part 1", the action sequences are brilliantly-staged, superbly-shot, exciting, intense and heavily laden with eye-popping special effects. Speaking of special effects, the CGIs in this installment are absolutely flawless, perfectly-done and arguably the best in the series. The animated part, which tells the legend of the Deathly Hallows is nothing short of stunning, as it provides dark and grim, yet spectacular graphics and amazingly-compelling visual storytelling, that leave you breathless and thoroughly entertained. Darkly compelling, beautifully-executed and visually-striking, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" is by far the best of all three David Yates installments, and my third favorite "Harry Potter" film, ranking right behind the fantastic "Prisoner of Azkaban" and the action-packed "Goblet of Fire".

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

[6.50/10] Shrek Forever After (2010)

Shrek Forever After (2010)

"Shrek Forever After", the fourth and final installment in the series, revolves around, well, Shrek, who has become a domesticated family man. Instead of scaring villagers away like he used to, the now-reluctant ogre agrees to autograph pitch forks. Longing for the days when he felt like a "real ogre," Shrek is tricked into signing a pact with the smooth-talking dealmaker, Rumpelstiltskin. Shrek suddenly finds himself in a twisted, alternate version of Far Far Away, where ogres are hunted, Rumplestiltskin is king and Shrek and Fiona have never met. Now, it's up to Shrek to undo all of Rumpelstiltskin's mischief in the hopes of saving his friends, restoring his world and reclaiming his one True Love and family. Although the story feels a bit contrived at times, "Shrek Forever After" is certainly a step above its predecessor in terms of visuals and entertainment value, as the film is very slick-looking, sweet and moderately enjoyable. Unfortunately, Shrek himself is just not that funny anymore, and he's probably the least interesting character this time around. Donkey steals the show as he always does, and he provides most of the laughs. Donkey is kind of a 'pleasantly annoying' characer that never fails to engage, as he's bold, hysterically hilarious and full of energy. This final chapter introduces a new villain, Rumpelstiltskin, and he's probably the highlight of "Shrek Forever After" - he may be a little vicious devil, but he's laugh-out-loud hilarious and thoroughly amusing to watch. Fiona is just okay, as she doesn't really stand out this time. Puss in boots also returns and he looks even cutter and funnier than before. Can't comment on the 3D effects, since I saw it in old-fashioned 2D, but I have to admit that the CGI work is top-notch. The animation is very detailed and smoothly done, and they use lots of vivid and saturated colors to make "Shrek Forever After" even more visually-appealing. Plus, all the characters are incredibly well-voiced by the popular actors involved. Predictable and only mildly funny, yet sweet, entertaining and pleasant to watch, "Shrek Forever After" ranks as the third-best installment in the franchise, right behind the original "Shrek" and its first sequel.

[3.75/10] The Intruder (2010)

The Intruder (2010)

Thai filmmakers continue to provide us with second-rate, crappy horror movies, and "The Intruder" is no exception. In 1983 before the giant Suvarnabhumi international airport was built, the neglected area was called "King Cobra Swamp" by the locals. As building commenced, a huge old Banyan tree blocked the construction's path. A work crew call in a mechanical digger to remove the tree. As the roots are torn from the ground, 1000s of cobra bones explode from the earth, tearing them to pieces. After the passing of the grim massacre, witnesses who survived tell strange stories about an evil Cobra spirit. Years later when a new apartment block was built on the grounds, Nin, the building's owner, has to face the horrifying matter when hundreds of cobras hellbent on killing every living person in the apartment appear. The story may sound good on paper, but sadly, in terms of execution, storytelling, acting and entertainment value, "The Intruder" is a pretty lackluster effort. The plot is almost non-existent, there's absolutely zero character development, and film as a whole is as incoherent as it gets. On top of that, the film is about 20 minutes too long, and totally unwatchable and quite confusing in its final part. "The Intruder" doesn't even fall into the 'so bad it's good'... it's not even campy-fun like "Snakes on a Plane". It's just one big mess of a movie, a sub-par horror flick that lacks thrills, chills, decent story and engaging characters. Performance-wise, this Thai horror flick also fails to deliver. The cast is headed by Akara Amarttayakul and Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, and while both actors got the looks, neither of them truly shine to their acting capabilities. The rest of the cast is just plain bad, as the acting ranges from annoyingly over-the-top to completely terrible. On a positive note, "The Intruder" is quite atmospheric, visually. The pastel blue tint of the cinematography feels very appropriate for the "horrific" subject matter, and the building where the action takes place, is quite grim and creepy. Unfortunately though, the special effects and gore effects are poorly done, and the CGI snakes themselves look ridiculously fake and cheesy - you won't believe for a minute that those cobras are real. Gory and bloody, yet lacking in scares, "The Intruder" is a poorly-crafted horror flick that takes itself way too seriously, instead to revel in its own silliness.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

[7.50/10] Buried (2010)

Buried (2010)

When Paul Conroy awakens six feet underground with no idea of who put him there or why, life for the truck driver contracted to work in Iraq instantly becomes a hellish struggle for survival. Buried with only a cell phone and a lighter, his contact with the outside world and ability to piece together clues that could help him discover his location are maddeningly limited. Poor reception, a rapidly draining battery, and a dwindling oxygen supply become his worst enemies in a tightly confined race against time. Spanish filmmaker Rodrigo Cortés' second full-length feature film is, hands down, the most utterly claustrophobic movie ever made, as it's entirely shot in a single narrow wooden coffin! "Buried" is super uncomfortable to watch and a nightmare-come-true for people, like me, who have issues with claustrophobia. "Buried"'s 'limited space' settings create an atmosphere of claustrophobic intensity, leaving the viewer unable to take a deep breath, literally gasping for air. Plus, the impasse that the character finds himself in, contributes to the film's overall effectiveness. "Buried" is single-handedly driven by Ryan Reynolds's exceptional performance as the doomed truck driver Paul, who does everything he can to save his life, fighting panic and frustration. Reynolds's acting skills have improved tremendously over the years, and it really shows here. He carries the whole movie on his shoulders, and performs terrifically - he's believable, emotionally expressive, and very convincing in portraying genuine fear and desperation .Moreover, Raynolds brings a true fighting spirit to his character and makes him consistently engaging, earning and retaining audience sympathy throughout. "Buried" is very hard to shoot movie, due its limited scope and settings, but Rodrigo Cortés does an outstanding job. His direction is highly competent, providing a great variety of camera angles, with all of the movements paced excellently. Rodrigo Cortés' creativity and incredible shooting versatility compensates for the film's lack of various set pieces, and the result is rather impressive! All in all, "Buried" can be considered as an experimental type of film, but a very good one - it's an inventive, unpredictable, gripping and super-tense thriller, that possesses an undeniable originality.

Monday, November 22, 2010

[4.00/10] The Possession of David O'Reilly (2010)

The Possession of David O'Reilly (2010)

"The Possession of David O'Reilly" is a low-budget UK horror flick, that unfolds around David O'Reilly, a guy dumped by his girlfriend and looking to crash with his London friends for the night. Unfortunately, O'Reilly is bringing more than emotional baggage, because he reckons something like a demon is stalking his every move. But is he really possessed or just nuts? "The Possession of David O'Reilly" is yet another 'shocker' wannabe, that claims to be based on real events, but there aren't any evidences for that. Furthermore, the film is not shot in the popular moc-doc style, which makes it even less believable. The first half is kinda interesting, and it has some pretty tense moments, mostly coming from main character's disturbing behavior and the creepy appearence of the horrific creatures. Sadly, after a decent first half, "The Possession of David O'Reilly" turns into a chaotic mess, and it makes less and less sense as it progresses. Plus, its confusing final part and anti-climatic ending let this film down even more. Acting-wise, this film is passable. Giles Alderson gives an and over-the-top neurotic performance as the title character, who successfully spreads fear and panic among his two friends. Francesca Fowler and Zoe Richards as the confused and terrified young couple do an okay job in portraying their characters. Visually and technically, "The Possession of David O'Reilly" is a lackluster though. The low budget is obvious, as the whole movie is shot in a 3-rooms flat and it feels very limited in terms of settings. The lightning is horrible, especially during dark scenes, and at times it makes it a little difficult to see what's happening on screen. On a positive note, the practical creature effects and make-up effects are surprisingly good, accompanied with some sinister sound effects. Potentially good and occasionally intense, yet lacking in execution and believability, "The Possession of David O'Reilly" is a below average UK horror flick, that fails to provide enough scares and suspense, despite a promising premise and some creepy imagery.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

CineMarvellous! presents: George Beremov's TOP 20 Best-Reviewed Asian Martial Arts Movies of All Time

CineMarvellous! presents:

Nebular's TOP 20 Best-Reviewed

Asian Martial Arts Movies of All Time!


1. Ying Xiong a.k.a. Hero (11/10)

(2002, Zhang Yimou)

"Jaw-droppingly beautiful, amazingly-choreographed and
executed to perfection, "Hero" is an absolute martial arts masterpiece
and the most visually stunning movie ever made!"


2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (11/10)

(2000, Ang Lee)

"Subtle, gorgeously-photographed and spectacularly action-packed,
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is, hand down,
the greatest 'wuxia pian' film in cinematic history.
Simply unsurpassable!"


3. House of Flying Daggers (11/10)

(2004, Zhang Yimou)

"With its breathtaking scenery, compelling story and
first-rate fight sequences, "House of Flying Daggers" ranks amongst
the most remarkable martial arts films ever created!"


4. Kung Fu Hustle (10/10)

(2005, Stephen Chow)

"Highly inventive, thoroughly original and fantastically cartoonish,
"Kung Fu Hustle" is a unique cinematic experience,
and a kung fu flick like no other!"


5. Curse of the Golden Flower (9.75/10)

(2006, Zhang Yimou)

"Lush, lavish and visually-fascinating, "Curse of the Golden Flower"
is rich in detail, emotions and action!"


6. Iron Monkey (9.75/10)

(1993, Yuen Woo-ping)

"Combining mind-blowing action, flawless wire work and gripping story,
"Iron Monkey" is quite possibly the best martial arts flick of the 90s,
and Yuen Woo-ping's best film to date."


7. The Legend of Drunken Master (9.75/10)

(1994, Chia-Liang Liu)

"With its super-creative action scenes, impressive stunts and
enjoyable story, "The Legend of Drunken Master"
not only surpasses its predecessor, but also
ranks amongst the best of its genre."


8. Duel to the Death (9.75/10)

(1983, Ching Siu-Tung)

"Mesmerizing, colorful and exceptionally well-crafted,
"Duel to the Death"
is a wondrous wire-fu gem,
and probably the best swordplay movie of the 80s."


9. Shaolin Soccer (9.50/10)

(2001, Stephen Chow)

Combining sports and kung fu in creative fashion, "Shaolin Soccer" is a rarely effective genre mash-up that's as funny as it's spectacular.


10. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (9.50/10)

(1978, Chia-Liang Liu)

"Blending eye-popping fight and training sequences
with great scenery, and Gordon Liu's incredible skills,
"The 36th Chamber of Shaolin"
is like a
dream-come-true for martial arts fans!"


11. Fist of Legend (9.50/10)

(1994, Gordon Chan)

"Providing stellar fight scenes, epic story and compelling characters,
"Fist of Legend" is a true martial arts phenomenon!"


12. Once Upon a Time in China II (9.50/10)

(1992, Tsui Hark)

""Once Upon a Time in China II" is Tsui Hark's
greatest achievement so far, as it delivers strong story,
believable characters and absolutely spectacular action!"


13. Tai Chi Master (9.50/10)

(1993, Yuen Woo-ping)

"Yuen Woo-ping's "Tai Chi Master" shines with brilliant wire work,
inventive action choreography and engaging characters, plus it
offers massive entertainment value."


14. The Shaolin Temple (9.50/10)

(1982, Zhang Xinyan)

"A truly fascinating and unforgettable kung fu classic,
"The Shaolin Temple" delivers everything fans of old-school
martial arts films could want."


15. Fearless (9.50/10)

(2006, Ronny Yu)

"Beautifully-shot, visually-striking and
geniusly-choreographed, "Fearless" is one of Jet Li's
most memorable films to date."


16. Reign of Assassins (9.50/10)

(2010, Chao-Bin Su & John Woo)

"Captivatingly-entertaining, spectacularly-choreographed
and visually-fantastic, "Reign of Assassins" is one of the slickest
martial arts films ever made."


17. Swordsman II (9.50/10)

(1992, Ching Siu-tung)

"With its dazzling cinematography, top-notch cast, and
impressive fight choreography, "Swordsman II" is
one of the very best swordplay movies of the '90s!"


18. A Touch of Zen (9.50/10)

(1969, King Hu)

"Inspirational, legendary and wonderfully-crafted,
"A Touch of Zen" is the mother of all 'wuxia' movies."


19. Shaolin (9.50/10)

(2011, Benny Chan)

"With its compelling story, brilliantly-portrayed characters, fantastic visuals and stupendous action sequences, Benny Chan's "Shaolin" ranks as one of the most accomplished, profoundly-engrossing and slickly-crafted martial arts movies ever made."

20. The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk (9.25/10)

(1993, Corey Yuen)

"Offering an incredible action, engrossing story and wonderful visuals,
"The Legend" is a pure martial arts extravaganza!"