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Friday, April 29, 2011

[6.00/10] No Strings Attached (2011)

No Strings Attached (2011)

Brief review: The well known comedy director Ivan Reitman brings this highly enjoyable rom-com about life-long-friends-become-lovers, who try to keep their relationship strictly physical, though they soon realize they want something more than just sex. Yes, "No Strings Attached" is not without its flaws - it's unoriginal, overly predictable, and instantly forgettable, but nevertheless the movie provides a decent level of entertainment, laughter, and amusement to the audience, and it's sharp, sexy, and even naughty at times. Reitman is a very experienced director, he shows some diversity behind the camera, though his direction lacks focus in places, hence, the pacing loses its steadiness, and the movie drags a bit here and there. "No Strings Attached"'s main strength is its cast, and the Oscar-winner Natalie Portman in particular. Not only is she naturally stunning, but she proves yet again what a talented and amazingly versatile actress she is. Though this is an untypical role for her, Portman delivers a great comedic performance - she's sweet, funny, and utterly alluring as Emma. Ashton Kutcher's lack of acting skills is no secret, but he compensates with charisma and strong screen presence. On top of that, they both make an incredibly appealing couple.

Overall summary: "No Strings Attached" may be overly predictable and lacking in originality, but it succeeds in certain areas, thanks to its sharp and witty script, Reitman's typically solid direction, and Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher's incredible on-screen chemistry.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Numerous QuickRatings PART 7: 2010 Movies - the 6.50's

Fair Game (2010)

QuickRating: Although it suffers from Doug Liman's unfocused direction and an inappropriate jerky camera work, and it's often hard to follow, at the end of the day "Fair Game" is an unpredictable, finely-crafted, intriguing and incredibly gripping political thriller, acted marvellously by its top-notch cast.

My Rating: 6.50/10

I Am Love (2010)

QuickRating: Set in different stunning locations, "I Am Love" is a beautifully-shot and solidly-acted drama about doomed lovers, that dazzles with its exquisite settings, stylish direction and rich, deeply saturated color scheme, but it never fully delivers, because of its sluggishness and tedious narration.

My Rating: 6.50/10

Of Gods and Man (2010)

QuickRating: Subtle, honest, gorgeously photographed and smartly-written, if quite monotonous and often boring to watch, "Of Gods and Men" fails to deliver any emotional impact at all, despite its deep, thought-provoking premise, Beauvois' skillful direction, and the great performances by the actors involved.

My Rating: 6.50/10

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

[5.25/10] Scream 4 (2011)

Scream 4 (2011)

Brief review: In this fourth installment of the 'Scream' franchise, Ghostface returns for Sidney Prescott, who has put herself back together after many years, and is now an author of a self-help book. Although it plays out like a remake of its predecessors, "Scream 4" never feels new or refreshing, as instead of taking the franchise to another level, director Wes Craven uses the same tired plot formula and the same old twist gimmicks, and as a result, this third sequel offers nothing, but more of the same. The kills themselves are graphic and gory, yet too standard, and devoid of imagination or originality. On a positive note, "Scre4m" has its moments of nail-biting suspense and intensity, and its keeps you guessing who the killer is till the very end, and yet the conclusion, though unpredictable, is so hardly believable, it ends up being more ridiculous than shocking. Craven's direction is typically solid, and the editing is polished enough, but other than that, the movie can't boast with other technical qualities. The acting ranges from decent to mediocre, with Neve Campbell being dull and overly serious as she always is, and the beautiful Emma Roberts being the only real standout. Courteney Cox also delivers, though her screen time is very limited.

Overall summary: Passably watchable and mildly funny, yet too old-fashioned, somewhat pointless, not particularly scary and utterly ineffective, "Scre4am" ends up being nothing more than just another mediocre entry into to the extremely overrated "Scream" franchise.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter Everyone! :)

Happy Easter, dear friends and readers! :)
I wish you and all your loved ones a wonderful holiday weekend!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

[8.00/10] Rio [3D] (2011)

Rio [3D] (2011)

Brief review: The creators of "Ice Age", Blue Sky Studios, bring us this marvellously-crafted and ultra-hilarious fish-out-of-water story about a domesticated macaw, who meets the bird of his dreams, and takes off on an adventure to Rio de Janeiro. From its hilarious and visually stunning opening sequence to the predictable, but rather satisfying finale, "Rio" moves long at an energetic pace, and despite its straightforwardness, there's never a dull moment throughout - it's consistently full of laughs, clever jokes, and amusing situations. And yes, "Rio" does break new grounds in terms of animation and use of color - you'll be stunned by the bright, vividly-tropical color palette, the vibrant imagery, and the attention to detail. The CGI scenery of Rio is stunningly-glorious, the jungle is spectacular, and each of the characters is unique, imaginatively-designed, and full of life Furthermore, "Rio" delivers some of the best use of 3D in an animated movie I've ever seen - the flawless 3D effects give the film even more liveliness and visual depth. Unfortunately, I can't comment on the voice acting, as I saw the film dubbed in my language, but based on the wonderful cast, I guess they all did a pretty good job in bringing their characters to life.

Overall summary: Aside from the utter lack of originality, "Rio" is pretty much everything a great animated feature should be - funny, witty, smart, lively, brisk, enjoyable, exciting, colorful, adventurous, and visually-breathtaking. Pixar, you finally got served!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

[5.50/10] Just Go With It (2011)

Just Go With It (2011)

Brief review: Another month, another romantic comedy. This time Jennifer Aniston joins Sandler in Dennis Dugan's latest "Just Go With It", which has the exact same problems most rom-coms have - it's extremely predictable, lacking in wit, and filled with countless cliches. However, it still has its moments, and it manages to deliver enough laughs to qualifies itself as passable entertainment. Dugan does a fairly good job behind the camera, avoiding cliched camera work and dull angles, but he definitely should find a new editor for his next film, as Tom Costain completely sucks in that 'role'. "Just Go With It" is also visually appealing, thanks to the gorgeous Hawaiian scenery, and its lush hotels, and luxurious environments. Surprisingly, Jennifer Aniston shows some acting skills this time around, and she's as convincing and believable, as she's charming and funny in her role as Katherine. Adam Sandler, is, well, Adam Sandler. Nicole Kidman not only looks more beautiful than ever, but she absolutely delivers as the snobbish and competitive Devlin. However, it's Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck that steal the show as the clever, witty kids. Brooklyn Decker is gorgeous head-to-toe, but she appears too stiff and uncomfortable in front of the camera.

Overall summary: Despite its charming, likable cast, moderately amusing script and beautiful shooting locations, "Just Go With It" ended up as just another cliched, formulaic and tremendously predictable rom-com, that will soon be forgotten, even by Sandler's biggest fans.

Monday, April 18, 2011

[4.25/10] The Roommate (2011)

The Roommate (2011)

Brief review: Obviously inspired by numerous thrillers from the 90s, "The Roommate" is a pretty standard fare about a deranged college freshman who becomes obsessed with her new roommate. If it was made 20 years ago, it would have been very successful, but in 2011, pretty much everything about this movie feels dated... the idea, the plot, the script, even the execution. However, the film's biggest flaw is not its overall datedness, but its failure to generate any tension, or to deliver thrills, chills, scares, and suspense. Technically, "The Roommate" is also very disappointing, due to Christiansen's unimaginative by-the-numbers direction, and the film's relatively plain visual style. The acting is the only area in which this film doesn't fail completely. Well, sort of. Minka Kelly not only looks stunning, but she gives a surprisingly decent , if a bit lifeless performance as the naive and kind-hearted Sara. Leighton Meester also does an okay job, and she's moderately disturbing in her role as the obsessive Rebecca, though her character is so stereotypical, it's hard to take her seriously. Most likely, Cam Gigandet has been cast more for his looks rather than his talent, and Billy Zane, while undoubtedly charismatic and talented, feels a bit out-of-place here.

Overall summary: Not only "The Roommate" suffers from its painfully hackneyed premise, weak script, sub-par acting and utter predictability, but it's neither scary or thrilling enough to be called a horror movie, nor suspenseful or intriguing enough to be considered a thriller.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Awesome" Bloggers: Beware of Dr Blood!

Hello, dear friends and readers!

I'm doing this post against my will, and I don't feel good about it at all, but since Dr Blood (who turned out to be the rudest, most arrogant and impolite bloggers I've ever met) presented ME as the bad guy who says mean things to people (take a look a this), I decided to "advertise" his rudeness and unacceptable behavior publicly.

First, read this comment on Porkhead's "Let Me In" review. His negativity is exhausting, isn't it?!

Dr Blood said: But it IS dumbed down. Eli was a castrato, Abby is just a girl who is now a vampire so the whole "I'm not a girl" thing is made simpler and the relationship to the "non-father" paedophile makes even less sense. Also "Let Me In" just has stereotypical American high school bullies, amped-up gore to please the masses, Abby is now a jerky CGI monkey vampire, and the swimming pool scene is much weaker. But, yes, the only thing that needed to be changed was the cat scene, i.e. it needed to be done better not left out entirely.

Nebular said: Dr Blood, you know what? Everything you say is bullshit. Sorry about that, but it's true.

So, beware guys! If you ever disagree with Dr Blood, or if you say to him something he doesn't like to hear, where's what follows:

Dr Blood has left a new comment on your post "[7.25/10] Sucker Punch (2011)":

"It sucked, just like your review."

Dr Blood has left a new comment on your post "[6.00/10] Wake Wood (2011)":

"Yeah, it's about as original as PET SEMATARY! You are now banned from interacting with my blog after what you wrote on Porkhead's review of that crappy dumbed down remake "Let Me In". You are just a common, ignorant, pleb with no taste or discernment in movies whatsoever. I bet you really loved "Sucker Punch" which you raved about constantly too. Idiot."

And I just used the word "bullshit", and in my next sentence, even apologized for using it.

Dr Blood has left a new comment on your post "[6.00/10] Wake Wood (2011)":


And then continued harassing me... so I had to fight back...

Dr Blood said: @Nebular - try backing up your juvenile insults with some facts next time or try watching some more films with subtitles. I know how you Americans hate that. :P

Nebular said: Dr Blood, LOL!:D First of all, I'm not an American. Secondly, I watch ALL the films with subtitles, much to your surprise. You're so overreacting, dude. Are you always so mean to people that disagree with you? That's so selfish. Now you've been crowned Dr. Blood the grumpy, self-centered egoist, who has zero respect for other people's opinions. Based on your attitude, I doubt have any friends in real life. Joel, sorry about this argument. It has nothing to do with you and your "Let Me In" review.

Dr Blood said: @ Nebular - "Dr Blood, you know what? Everything you say is bullshit." Yeah, right. What reaction do you expect to that? Hearts and flowers? Get a job, George, and buy yourself some manners
Nebular said: Yeah, and then I said I'm sorry, but now... I actually don't. Just learn to appreciate honesty, Dr. Grumpy. And you're talking me about manners?! LOL! You're so rude, it's unbelievable! Yes, I said 'bullshit', but your reaction was TOO arrogant. Dr. Blood: "You are just a common, ignorant, pleb with no taste or discernment in movies whatoever. I bet you really loved "Sucker Punch" which you raved about constantly too. Idiot." Don't worry about me, I have a great job. ;) Obviously, your job is to be rude to people that disagree with you. I'm done with you now. GOODBYE!

Dr Blood said: @Nebular - Good riddance! I hope you have great success getting your obvious bipolar disorder treated.

About Dr Blood: "I'm a Brit living in America who loves watching horror films late at night with two cats for company."


Thursday, April 14, 2011

[4.75/10] Prowl (2011)

Prowl (2011)

Brief review: Released on the same date as "Husk", "Prowl" is yet another mediocre 'Original' brought by After Dark Films. Although it starts out quite promising, and its first half is watchable-to-very good, as soon as the real horror starts, the film quickly turns into a chaotic mess with zero logical coherence, where nothing is ever fully explained. Furthermore, the twist in the end is so ridiculously anti-climatic, it totally destroys the rest of the movie, instead of being shocking and effective. Even though "Prowl" has some heart-pounding moments and a couple of boo scares, it's not neither as frightening, nor as tense as it thinks it is. The deaths are nasty and well-executed and the gore effects are rather impressive, but the attack scenes are so poorly-edited, and the lighting is so awful, you can barely see what's happening on the screen. The largely unknown young cast do very well in realistically portraying their characters in situations, with Ruta Gedmintas being the standout. Shot on limited budget in Bulgaria, "Prowl" is just okay, visually. The abandoned warehouse is grim and kinda creepy, and the washed-out cinematography and the muted color palette suits the dark tone of the film, though at the end, it all feels a bit flat, lackluster and lifeless.

Overall summary: Although this 'After Dark' Original offers plenty of gore, some thrills and a couple of jump-of-your-seat scares, its formulaic plot, poor script and ridiculous conclusion completely ruin the film, and as a result "Prowl" ends up being a jumbled mess of nonsense.

Monday, April 11, 2011

[5.75/10] Mr. and Mrs. Incredible (2011)

Mr. and Mrs. Incredible (2011)

Brief review: Set in ancient China, "Mr. and Mrs. Incredible" revolves around a couple, who are also retired superheroes, and their new life as ordinary people. Despite its utter goofiness and silliness, the film nevertheless remains enjoyable, due to its charismatic leads, Sandra Ng Kwan Yue and Louis Koo, who both deliver very engaging and rather quirky performances as the title characters. For better or worse, the director Vincent Kok focuses more on the relationship between the lead characters, rather than their skills and super-powers, which is kinda disappointing for those expecting crazy stunts and over-the-top action. The action scenes are very few and in between and mostly unspectacular. The fight choreography is unimaginative, rather flat and lacking in quality and technique, and the cartoonish "Kung Fu Hustle"-like special effects range from great to poor to ridiculous. However, "Mr. and Mrs. Incredible" is very appealing, visually. The highly acclaimed art director, Chung Man Yee, does a phenomenal job with the production design yet again. His style blends authenticity and lushness, and the end result is pure eye-candy. Ngor's vivid cinematography and the bright and colorful costumes add to the film's slick look.

Overall summary: Often bordering on silly and ridiculous, Vincent Kok's "Mr. and Mrs. Incredible" is, ironically, far from being incredible, yet nevertheless, it still manages to captivate the viewer with its quirkiness, likable characters, vibrant visuals and humorous script.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Editor's Note: 150 Followers!!!

I hit 150 followers today! ...and I'm overwhelmed! A huge thanks to all my followers and readers. I'm doing this for you guys! Special mentions go to:

Mel @ Melissa's Imaginarium
Alex @ Alex J. Cavanaugh
Nicole @ Electric Daze
Dempsey @ The Movie411
Matty @ FilmMattic
J-Son @ SON:sation
Harry @ MM's Horror Movie Diary
Russ @ filmsRruss
Jason @ According to Jason
Andrew @ Who Wants Taters???
HorrO @ Horro's Gory Reviews

Friday, April 8, 2011

[6.00/10] Wake Wood (2011)

Wake Wood (2011)

Brief review: After some fantastic low-budget horror flicks like "Isolation" and "Dorothy Mills", Ireland offers yet another decent entry into the horror genre, aptly titled "Wake Wood". Why aptly? Because everything in this movie revolves around woods and awakening... awakening from death. The shocking and utterly bloody opening sequence draws you quickly into the story, and makes you hungry for more. The film moves at a rather slow pace, but it offers plenty of thrills and chills along the way, as well as plenty of graphic gore and some nasty scenes. "Wake Wood" obviously lacks a big budget, and the Irish scenery is typically flat, but David Keating compensates with skillful direction, gloomy settings and an atmospheric cinematography that fits the mood of the film quite well. Ella Connolly is cute as a button, but since her character is a pure evil, you just can't help but being scared of her. Eva Birthistle does a fantastic job as Alice's grieving mother, though her character is may be a bit too deluded and naive at times. Aidan Gillen plays the most interesting character of all - he's believable and likable, but at the same time there's something enigmatic about him... something you just can't figure out, well, until the very final scene.

Overall summary: Far from scary, and often predictable, yet somewhat original, pretty creepy and thoroughly effective, "Wake Wood" is bizarrely entertaining little gem of a horror movie, that proves Irish horror directors are a film-making force to be reckoned with.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

CM: Nebular's TOP 15 Horror Movies of 2010


1. Trolljegeren a.k.a.
The Troll Hunter (9.25/10)

Overall summary: Due to its chillingly-original concept, pitch-perfect execution and mind-blowing visuals, "The Troll Hunter" ranks right up there with such mocku-masterpieces as "[REC]" and "The Blair Witch Project".


2. The Loved Ones (9.00/10)

Overall summary: Dementedly-sick, extremely gory, brilliantly-creative and nightmarishly-funny, "The Loved Ones" is a true modern horror masterpiece!


3. Los ojos de Julia a.k.a.
Julia's Eyes (8.50/10)

Overall summary: Consistently tense, refreshingly unpredictable and utterly engrossing, "Julia's Eyes" certainly ranks as one of the most polished and skillfully-executed horror thrillers in recent history. One of 2010's most pleasant cinematic surprises!


4. The Reef (8.50/10)

Overall summary: It's no "Jaws", but Andrew Traucki's "The Reef" is a brilliantly-shot, incredibly realistic, and super-intense edge-of-your-seat horror flick, that easily ranks among the best shark-themed films of all time, and is every bit as compelling as it's terrifying!


5. Splice (8.50/10)
Overall summary: With its excellent pacing, fascinating visuals and unique story, "Splice" is a bizarre, yet hauntingly beautiful and quite memorable film experience.


6. Let Me In (8.25/10)

Overall summary: Beautifully-filmed, subtly creepy and thoroughly compelling, "Let Me In" is one of those extremely rare cases, when the remake is even better than the original.


7. Daybreakers (7.75/10)

Overall summary: The weird depiction of this vampire world makes "Daybreakers" unique to every other vampire movie, and the vibrant detailed display from the Spierig brothers, gives a breath of fresh air to the vampire genre.


8. Piranha 3D (7.50/10)

Overall summary: Offering buckets of blood, campy humor and huge amount of nudity, Alexandre Aja's "Piranha 3D" is one of the funniest and most entertaining films of the year so far. A great example of how a horror remake should be done!


9. Shelter (7.50/10)

Overall summary: "Shelter" is slightly predictable and at times quite silly, and there is too much going on... but yet, it's one well-shot, thrilling and hugely-entertaining mess of a film!


10. La herencia Valdemar (7.25/10)

Overall summary: "La Herencia Valdemar" isn't exactly a horror film, but more a mystery movie, with supernatural twist, that is creepy, spooky and consistently entertaining.


11. Heartless (7.25/10)

Overall summary: Philip Ridley's latest effort is a unique, different, thrilling and thoroughly gripping character-driven horror drama, that is undoubtedly a breath of fresh air in the genre, and stands out amongst all the crappy horror flicks released recently.


12. Paranormal Activity 2 (7.00/10)

Overall summary: Effective, believable and at times brilliantly terrifying, "Paranormal Activity 2" is a rare sequel that not only complements the original, but also works on its own. It successfully feeds your fear, leaving almost everything to the imagination.


13. Frozen (7.00/10)

Overall summary: With acting that improves as the story unfolds, a unique and rather cool premise, and a solid directing style, Adam Green's latest will keep you frozen to your seats.


14. The Last Exorcism (7.00/10)

Overall summary: "The Last Exorcism" ended up as a great character-driven horror/drama, that also succeeded as a mockumentary, because of its strong characters and storytelling, and its intense atmosphere.


15. Devil (6.75/10)

Overall summary: Does "Devil" have the 'scare factor'? No, not really. But it's suspenseful, well-shot and creepy as hell.


Monday, April 4, 2011

[7.25/10] Sucker Punch (2011)

Sucker Punch (2011)

Full review: Zack Snyder, the visionary director of "Watchmen" and the astounding "300", brings his latest visual extravaganza, "Sucker Punch" - a ludicrous, yet striking mishmash of various different genres, that features everything from samurais, to fire-breathing dragons to Nazi zombies to Moulin Rouge-style burlesque, and while many would understand what the director had in mind, it often feels like Snyder got lost in his own imagination in his attempts to bring his first original story to life, as the end result is a big hot flashy mess. Despite its 'muddleness', "Sucker Punch" still manages to achieve its purpose, which is to entertain. Yes, you might be quite disappointed by the lack of coherence, satisfactory plot and decent writing, but you'll certainly be unprepared for the massive amount of stupendous action and imposing visuals this movie has to offer. The CGI backgrounds are uniquely-crafted and breathtakingly beautiful, the special effects are as slick as it gets, and the action is first-rate. The variety of camera angles and different techniques that Snyder uses during the first-rate fight scenes are simply admirable, and his trade mark slow-mo sequences are mind-blowing as usual. Each of the 'dream' sequences is 'painted' in different color, and totally unique in terms of style, settings, action and cinematography. The robo-samurai action scene in the first half is the highlight of the movie, and deserves a special mention, as it's сo beautifully-shot and out-of-this-world spectacular, it's sure to blow you away. The music score contains various alternative rock tracks, with the updated version of Bjork's "Army of Me" being in the lead. Sadly, in terms of acting "Sucker Punch" fails to impress, with most of the performances being sub-par. Emily Browning as is as gorgeous as she's dull in her role as Baby Doll, Carla Gugino just doesn't have much to work with, and Vanessa Hudgens is almost unnoticeable. Abbie Cornish does her best as Sweet Pea, and she's the only real standout in the movie. Jena Malone is also good, but her screen time is extremely limited, and Oscar Isaac does a fair job as the villain, Blue Jones .

Overall summary: Zack Snyder's latest flick may be pointless, humorless and pretty incoherent at times, but it's so spectacularly action-packed and visually jaw-dropping, its plot weaknesses could be easily forgiven. Whether "Sucker Punch" is a video game-inspired movie or a movie-inspired video game, it's hands down a feast for the eyes.