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Conan the Barbarian

Flashes of good with a majority of bad.
First, I would like to say I love Howard's stories. I also like the 82 film. So that this deviates from Howard a little (or a lot) isn't really a bother to me.

Now, before I get to the review I want to say to anyone out there studying film (like myself) to watch this movie. It will prove to you that no matter how much action, blood or one liners you squeeze into a movie, if the story and characterization are missing you don't have a movie.

Without ANY disrespect, I would urge Mr. Nispel to do a film course, as he clearly needs to learn story telling at its most basic. This is not an insult, this is advice, because I believe once he has a better grasp on it, he will make a fine film maker.

Conan the Barbarian is a summer movie. Sadly this also has become synonymous with stupid, bad movies. And this film doesn't escape that. Clearly this film had a lot of trouble, by the looks of it at the conceptual stage. The fact the Sean Hood had to rewrite on set proves the material they had to work with was a disaster, and it shows.

Donelley and Oppenheimer (forgive my spelling) did a poor job on the script, if, what was shown in the final cut was more or less what they wrote. Mr. Hood's rewrites I heard were quite well received, but I also hear they cut most of what he wrote out of the cinematic cut...

This film, cursed with a poor script fails at even just an entertainment level. Sure, there is lots of action and fighting, but there is no emotion behind it. I was actually bored half way through of the fighting and wanted some damn character scenes, of which there are none of note. And that is another problem, after the first act (young Conan) nobody has any character. They walk around, kill or die and that is all. Their motivations are given to us in a single line and that is all.

The cast were good, but they had nothing to work with. The directing was inconsistent, the mood was all over the place, at times it smelt of a less fun Scorpion King with Artus and Elan-sha (I know I got those names wrong) being out of place "comic relief". Stephen Lang, as usual is good, but again, he has nothing to work with, so he stands and acts mean a lot.

The one thing that really took me out of the world of the film, is the dialogue. Which lacks any sort of finesse, culture, period etc. It sounds like modern speech... which is one thing it shouldn't sound like. Imagine watching a Western where they all talk in modern American slang, that is what this dialogue felt like. It was dialogue you write in your first draft, then go back over and make it good...though it seems no one did in Conan.

The film looked nice, I'll give it that. Some scenes were too bright and conflicted with the mood, but again, the mood changed as often as it would in an angst ridden teenager. The CGI wasn't bad, it wasn't great but it was serviceable.

The Dweller scene was pathetic. There was no choreography, set up to it, Momoa literally stood in one spot for most of it and did just ducked around a lot. Clearly a complete failure in the directing department for this scene which had no climax.

Costume and wardrobe design was impressive. Lang's armour and get up were nice, McGowan looked sexy in a freaky kind of way. So visually it almost always worked.

Overall, I suggest seeing it if you are curious, it isn't the worst thing to happen to cinema by a long shot. But, with no story, at least none that is told in a coherent way, no character development or motivation and no sense of culture or the world the characters (caricatures) inhabit it not only fails as a Conan movie, it fails as a movie. It fails as a coherent story told with moving pictures, it breaks the very foundation of cinema's rules. It cannot engage an audience, because there is nothing for us to care about. As a video game, this would kick arse. As a movie, it falls on it.

Baiohazâdo: Dijenerêshon

Well...Managed to see RE:D today, and by God what a mess.

The live action series, while dissatisfying, looks like Schindler's List compared with this turkey.

Visually, it was OK, but nothing better than a CG cut scene from a game, the animations were stiff and awkward though. But nothing that can't be looked over.

Design was mediocre, The shining star was the Wilpharm facility, which looked lovely but the rest was very run of the mill. The G-Virus creature was crap, it looked very cartoon like.

Story was pretty much not present, at times they hint at plots, which if they decided to go deep and make a story out of it, sounded interesting, but all these ideas get is a brief mention then more mindless action set pieces roll in.

The characters were bland, more so than in the live action films. I swear they modeled Leon's personality after Keanu Reeves' acting, more wooden than a tree stump. Here is a fun drinking game, get your friends over and watch the film, take a shot every time you see Leon just standing there super stiff like he has a pole up his exit shaft. Aside from being bland the characters are also quite stupid, to the point where it is no longer believable, they are worse than walking clichés.

Now, here is the big thing, this feels nothing like Resident Evil, yet all I hear from blind fans is that this film is the best RE film ever made....with this in mind I had a look at the complaints they made about the live action films and compared them to what this film delivers:

Not enough monsters was a big one from the live action films. But Degeneration only has Zombies and the G-Monster....the live action films at their lowest monster count had more (Zombies, Dogs, Licker, Licker v2.0)

No original characters from the games was another complaint, yet the only one who does anything in the film is Leon, Claire takes a back seat to, you guessed it, a female lead not from the games....

Alice having super powers, is one of the few points I agree with, and thankfully none of the characters have super powers in this film, however some of the stuff Leon does is too much to believe ,and he doesn't have the Virus melding with his body as an excuse.

Atmosphere was one of the biggest complaints, they whined about the live action films not having the same horror and atmosphere of the games and that they were all about action. Yet Degeneration has none of the atmosphere either, it is all action, no horror so why aren't these adamant fans complaining about that?

I am a huge RE fan, have been for over 10 years, and I can say, this film fails on more levels than the live action ones do, in fact it doesn't even do right what the live actions ones did. It also fails as a film, with a loose plot at best, being overshadowed at all times by action sequences that make no sense and have been put in there just to be there, and they aren't even well done.

The people giving this movie 10/10 and praising it as the RE messiah will recant this down the track and start slamming it as being nothing more than an insult to moviegoers and a betrayal to RE fans.

Avoid this "film" there is nothing redeeming about it, in fact, this is what an Uwe Boll RE film would be like.

30 Days of Night

About time
First thing I have to say is this, to those people who hurl insults and accusations at the cast and crew of this film. Give them a break, first off, it is a vampire film, to all those hoping to see Shakespeare when you sat in the theater deserve to be disappointed. Second of all, saying that the Director should be fired or that they should get a REAL Director to do the film is down right uncalled for, clearly those people have no idea what it takes to make a film, how hard it is and not just that, they have to make it on a budget and within a time frame, and perhaps there were places they could have done better, or things they could have done differently but so what? To throw these insults at those involved with making this film I assume that the insulters have never made a bad working decision in their life, nor have they ever performed under 100% of their capability and have always done their work with 100% dedication and passion, because if they don't meet those assumptions then I guess they deserve to be fired too and replaced by a real employee.

Now rant over, on to the film.

At times the logic falls through, and there is no real sense of time passing, and the on screen notification of time passing is jumpy and the film feels like it takes place all in one night. At times the characters appear wooden, though I feel this is out of style than out of poor acting/writing. So, it is starting to sound like a regular horror film at this point, however it is the monsters of this film that set it apart from the run of the mill horror trash, as well as the cinematography.

First off, the camera work was great, some really good shots show they took this film seriously and that does wonders for films in this genre, not all shaky low budget cam like Bloodrayne 2, and not boringly static like Underworld, the action too is shown more fully on screen as opposed to the standard shot tight cut fast, while there is some of it, for the most part you can see what is happening on screen just like they used to shoot movies.

The vampires are most impressive, recently Vampires have been portrayed as sexy, romantic, cool, etc. Thanks to Anne Rice, And the World of Darkness games and a slew of crappy games and films they are now a pop icon, people think it is cool to be them etc. What really stands out about these vampires is that they have at long last, been portrayed as the monsters they are. They are not romantic or sexy, they do not feel human emotion or even think the way we think, they are demonic monsters, not emo humans with fangs and super powers. However usually when a monster is portrayed as a monster they are also verging on the braindead (I am Legend) because people have this stupid idea that monsters are people too...rubbish, but in 30 days of night, they are not braindead, not merely animals, they are sentient beings, albeit alien from ourselves, who consciously and willingly do evil, that is what truly makes them monsters and that is why this is a truly good film for the horror genre and it would be good to sit all these emo kids down and show them this film, that the monsters they think are cool are not romantic sex symbols but actually demonic(take that word as you will) human hating monsters, not human disliking, but hating, there is no greater pleasure for them than killing us, truly monstrous.


Fresh take on a stale genre
Cloverfield brings some originality in the telling of the classic Monster attacks city story.

Some like to complain about the fact that it is hand held and not filmed in the usual standard, this I feel is what made Cloverfield so easy to get into, as it has an almost first person experience. Others complain about the infinite battery on the camera...unless you want to be watching black after half an hour I think people should really let this one go, the "infinite battery" criticism is something people use who are looking to hate this film, they make a point of how unrealistic it is, you know since all other movies are entirely realistic of course.

someone wrote a review saying they couldn't believe that the camera happened to have night vision settings, a built in light and all that. Well newsflash, most handi-cams these days come with those features, I have one over 3 years old that had a very bright light on it, plus a nightvision mode...very unrealistic of course.

The two big things that really make this film great are two things missing not only from the genre but most films these days, and that is Characters you can care about, and not over explaining everything. This film doesn't explain what happens to NY, or the monster, or what the little creatures infect people with to make them explode, or where the monster comes from, why it is attacking NY. That may seem like a lot, but it allows people to use their imagination and considering most people these days do very little thinking I would call this film a type of therapy. The monster itself looks cool, I felt it could have had a slightly better design but since it is not in your face throughout the film that's forgivable.

It is a new take on the genre, any monster film in the future will have to emulate the immersion the audience got with this film or fail outright. Some people will feel sick due to hand held filming, thats a given, and those who hate it when people do something new will hate it but I recommend giving this film a go, J.J. has redeemed himself to some degree with this film after ruining LOST with season 2&3.

AVPR: Aliens vs Predator - Requiem

Better than AVP1, but that's not hard.
While this film may crap all over it's predecessor it is still of the Freddy VS Jason quality.

The Effects were not too bad, which is good as they are riddled throughout the film. Although, as I say pretty much all the time about modern action scenes I wish they would stop shooting them so tight and cutting them so fast, it doesn't make it dramatic or pulse pounding it makes it confusing and annoying, and the main reason it is done is because nobody knows what the hell to do in the fight scene. Also, too dark, while I do like the atmosphere of the film it was too dark to see anything for the most part.

The gore was really tame actually, there were a few gore gags, some blood packs going pop but really thats about it no where near what it was hyped to be, but I hope if they do an unrated DVD the much hyped up gore will be in there.

The Human characters are really disappointing, no one to care about, too many of them to try to develop not that much attempt was made of course. Once you take out the human element and good characters you lose the film no matter how good everything else is.

The writing was pretty dull, I suggest a different writer for AVP 3 should it be done.

The film starts off well, but the pace never really escelates so it feels like it is standing still, and the characters really have no goal to achieve and no real obstacle to overcome (other than the get to the chopper without being eaten).

But the film had a type of atmosphere which I think was what really saved it from being as bad as AVP1.

While it lacked any horror as such, there were some very horrible things in this film, which really reminds me of the original Alien and how it was actually an evil sentient nightmare being and not just a big bug which thanks to Cameron's Starship Troopers rip off sequel they are now considered to be.

All in all it was an OK flick, I expected much worse which is why I liked it more than I did the original AVP of which I expected more. Give it a watch, there are far worse films out there.

Resident Evil: Extinction

Decent continuation to the RE series.
This film I feel goes to extremes in areas, while on one hand it is extremely unlike the resident evil we all know, it is at times more like the games than the first two. Examples, the world has ended more or less and the Zombies have taken over the surface is very unlike the games, but the film is full of things from the games, but used subtly enough so as not to shove it in your face. The whole trapped obstacle course at the beginning screams the games (while the set is different the whole area rigged with deadly traps is very RE) The plot is driven forth by finding documents/notebooks again very RE and the Umbrella Lab looks brilliant, better than anything they designed in the games by far.

Now for the plot, it was very simple, but then the film would have suffered from a very detailed plot, what was more important were the characters which were far superior to the previous films, and I suspect it has to do with Russel being appointed Director. Easily Anderson's best writing to date for characters although it's punch scenes seem to be a little less grand than the other films (the laser corridor in re and the nemesis shootout with the STARS in re:a) and the biggest disappointment was there were no monsters in the film apart from the staple Dogs and Zombies, the crows, while cool don't count and the Tyrant is only in it at the end. But that is more to do with budget than the script.

The acting was far better in this film, and for once the supporting characters were well enough done for you to care about them or even just get a sense that they are real people in a bad situation. Unlike RE:A in which the main characters were planks and the support characters basically were just warm props.

The action scenes were done very well, although at the beginning there is a little of the shot too close cut too fast syndrome but that evens out in the later scenes. The gore was good, not over the top like some rubbish zombie film but not as mild as the other RE films.

The ending was a little off kilter, and lacked the big WHAM that Anderson usually ends the RE films with, I think less would have been more for this films ending, when you see it you will know what I mean.


The Tyrant was not too bad, but he didn't really grab me by the balls. I don't care if the Tyrant could still manage to talk a little, as after all he is still in the early stages of mutation but since the dialogue he did have was pretty cheesy and added nothing to the plot or film I think it could have been left out.

Over all, I think it is a very good film, and I hope a 4th is in the works and they bring Russel back to direct.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Groundbreaking cinema achievement!
While todays moviegoers are content, for some reason, to watch films with gratuitous CG that is quite often terribly executed (King Kong anyone?)but seem to think that films with great prosthetics are so yesterday.

TMNT: THE MOVIE shows how superior good costumes and prosthetics are far superior to CG, the Turtle costumes are great, the faces are fantastically designed to give a full variety of expressions without being so over the top (like the predator in AVP who had far too much movement in it's face), add on to that the brilliant acting of the people in the suites, and the awesome voice acting when all put together deliver a deep sense of character and uniqueness for each of the turtles.

The plot, some have criticized as being too simple, however sometimes simple is better than a plot that ends up being confusing as it tries to be complex. The plot goes like this, in NYC a silent crime wave has hit, there are no witnesses and the crimes are escalating from simple pick pockets to whole trucks of goods being stolen. The group responsible is the FOOT, a group of ninja thieves headed by the SHREDDER. A good simple plot, which the main characters become involved in when they intervene in one of the FOOT's crimes which happened to be trying to silence reporter April O'Neil who knows too much about the FOOT than they care for her to know.

I won't say more just in case the reader hasn't seen this film yet. It is dark, not as violent as the comics, but the comics being aimed at an adult audience and the TV show aimed at children the Movie had to strike a balance between both and I think it did, while avoiding the bloodshed in the comics, the themes and characters are relate able to adult audiences without being cheesy. While some of the slang and street talk may not catch on very quickly with a modern younger audience but that is due to the time of when the film was made and the modern day, but it doesn't lack in cool factor. I only wish the sequels were as good, and that more modern films will take lessons from this film in how to incorporate a good story and good characters with heavy special effects be they CG, animatronic or prosthetics.

Predator 2

Great sequel
The victim of unjustified bashing, Predator 2 is one of those rare films that is as good as it's predecessor. P2 takes the Alien hunter into the jungle of concrete and brick known as LA. The beauty of this film, as with the original is it is effectively a war film with an Alien thrown into the midst, there is a plot that goes on in the world of P2 that has nothing to do with the ET Hunter until he starts offing people on both sides of the fighting. Drug lords and their gangs are out of control, the streets are often turned into bloody open battlefields as the police battle the gangs for control of the city, an awesome plot which is then amplified by the arrival of the Predator. The opening scene is of one of these battles and brilliantly introduces all the main characters to the story (barring Bill Paxton's character). The acting is good, and you care about the characters (something I found occurs in 80's-early 90's films more than modern film) and even if you remove the predator from the film you have enough depth and character to make an film based entirely on the police vs. gangs.

The only thing this film didn't do as well as the original was I feel the Predator's eyes, there were too big and Human looking in the extreme close ups, whereas the original had those small nasty looking ones. But that is all, and it is something you don't really notice until you watch the film in depth many times.

Despite the poor rating on IMDb, and what bad things people say about this film it is as good as the original, it furthers the plot, it ups the ante, it does all the things a good sequel should do. Great film.

All we need now is a Predator 3, which would be cool to see set in a place of desert warfare.


Misleading from start to finish.
Hidden is a classic example of what happens when someone makes a short film idea last for 90mins. With the odd piece of dialogue here and there we mostly get footage of people playing hide and seek, most of which is people running, people over reacting to being found you know the classic things that happen when there is no clear or actual narrative.

Some of the camera work was OK, however the over bright white effect got annoying quick as did the Shaky cam.

Now on to the misleading part, the cover art is hugely misleading, one it makes it look like a horror film, it isn't it is an alternative art house film, from the red eyed person on the front you would think it is something similar to Blair witch and the Ring. The only similarity is they all suck.

The ending twist was remarkably predictable, lets see, people in an unrealistic situation, acting very oddly, well clearly something about them all is off, so either they are Aliens, Monsters, or dead. Considering how the film is shot in the over white effect, the answer was clearly they are all dead...perhaps the oldest "twist" in the book next to "it turns out it's man!".

If it was a 15 minute film I would give it a good rating, but clearly it shows the director is unable to tell if a story can actually play out for that length of time. The characters are bland, with very little dialogue, in fact, there is really only an escalation of dialogue after the 40minute mark, till then it is pretty much people running, but don't worry after the 40min mark, people still run for the majority of the film.

Dull as dishwater.


Best Creature film in years.
Ignoring the wailing howls of morons who bash this film for a plethora of reasons I decided to see Primeval.

Firstly, it isn't so much a monster film, but a film that has a monster in it. The script is fairly solid, the acting was very good as was the directing and camera work. It is certainly deeper than most films these days by not just being a film about a killer crocodile (who actually exists) but a film about the brutality and inhumanity that occurs in Africa. Considering the budget the CG was great, not just great for the budget but actually good, because the film makers knew how to show CG, how to light it and blend it instead of just shoving it in your face like so many films (IE King Kong). Comparing it to the recent big creature films over the last few years like King Kong and Jurassic park 3 Primeval delivers on so many levels and never enters the realm of cheesy or lame creature flick like the above two do.

The action scenes feel like they have come out of a great dinosaur film, the kind of rush you got when first watching the original JP film. But they also keep in the human aspect, which the later JP films left out.

All in all, this film is worth a buy. And for those film makers out there who want to make monster films and also have the human element present so your film doesn't just go down on the list of BS Zgrade creature films, watch this film, they do it brilliantly, you could pick up a few things.

Best film I have seen this year.

Cherry Falls

Despite the editing room troubles it's great!
Heya, I am not a huge fan of slasher flicks, mostly because they are either just not believable, poorly made or the main reason I believe is that the cast and filmmakers don't take the film seriously. However, when I popped Cherry Falls into the DVD player I was hooked from beginning to end. Whilst not having a lot of gore, although I must confess I don't watch them for the gore, and fairly tame on the sex aspect I found it to be one of the better slasher flicks ever made, and a good film to boot, better than Scream IMO by a long shot. The cast is what really did it for me, they brought life to their characters without the overacting of previous slashers, they all looked like high school students not 20-30 somethings trying to play teens like most slashers, or indeed like most TV/Film.

Brittany Murphy was outstanding in her role, not the typical lead of a slasher flick in both character and look (for the record, I think she is one of the most stunning young women in film today).

All in all I think Cherry Falls should be on everyones DVD shelf, whilst I will keep my eyes open for a directors cut which may never come, the cut down version is a testament to the cast and filmmakers, who knew, that even though it was a slasher flick, the key to it was good characters and good story telling, so even minus most of the gore it stands firmly erect.

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