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Highly enjoyable, great action adventure for all ages!
I watched "Spycies" with my 9 year old daughter and we both enjoyed it quite a bit. I can honestly say that I wasn't bored for a minute and I'd even gladly give "Spycies" another watch after some time.

When it comes to Chinese CG animated films I can clearly see why people are cautious and somehow prejudiced. There have been numerous badly animated, borderline unwatchable rip-offs and mash-ups of popular western hits by Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, Blue Sky, etc. Well, I'm happy to say that "Spycies" is not one of them, even if being an action-thriller with anthropomorphic animal characters it surely bears some obvious similarities to Zootopia, but hey, it surely is not a copycat. "Spycies" is its own thing and it is awesome!

The animation quality is high above average, the character designs, the machines and the environments are really something. The action sequences are stylish and dynamic. But what makes it a great watch are the likable characters, the comic relief hits the mark, and the plot is intriguing, with some nice twists and turns. The villain is properly motivated and the reveal who's behind it all is surely a surprise for the younger audience.

It's not the very best animated film out there, but it certainly deserves more credit and the current IMDb rating is below 6, which I think is not really fair. If you're a fan of anthropomorphic heroes such as "Blacksad", "Biker Mice from Mars", "Zootopia", "DuckTales", etc. you should give it a try.

The Day Time Ended

Amazing and highly underrated sci-fi gem!
The Day Time Ended. That's right. Not "The Day The Earth Stood Still". It's "The Day Time Ended" (1980). I decided to pull one out that probably none of you reading this post have watched or remember. I'm a sucker for sci-fi and I definitely enjoy well-made B-movies, and I would watch almost anything with practical special effects just to enjoy the atmosphere and the visuals. However "The Day Time Ended" is a whole different story. I actually LOVE this one. It's one of the best flick that Charles Band ever produced and it features some pretty neat cast, most notably Jim Davis. I rented it from a local video store, because come on, who can resist THAT VHS cover! And it totally blew me away! It is about a family that gets together in a remote house and suddenly the whole location goes bananas, as if they are all in the center of some inter-dimensional whirlpool, a place where space and time get all mixed up. There is no explanation for what is going on, weird, fantastic, creepy, scary and beautiful things happen and the characters react in their own way, not knowing what is the meaning of it all. It is so chaotic and random that it actually feels real, like when you are just thrown in a situation beyond your understanding. And as a kid I really related to that. Various creatures, from tiny aliens to giant reptiles, UFOs, spaceships and artifacts appear out of the blue and I was just bewildered. The stop motion special effects are lovely and they are more than enough to make "The Day Time Ended" worthy of your time. Matte paintings take you out of this world. Maybe you need to be a child when you watch it for the first time, I don't know. But "The Day Time Ended" captures the imagination, makes you wonder and dream, makes you wanna curl up under a blanket and imagine what the light through your bedroom window could be... Give it a try! :)

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz

The magic is here again!
Utterly cute, with beautiful animation and great character design, the new "Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz" (2017) TV series are both fresh and true to the classic. A great addition to the vast Oz universe which will please old fans and definitely will be a great introduction to the characters for the younger generation!

Dave Made a Maze

I don't know what Dave made exactly, but I enjoyed it!
I won't lie to you saying that I completely get this film and what's going on it it (I'm not even sure we're supposed to get it completely), but I will tell you this - I certainly enjoyed it.

The title is pretty self-explanatory. Dave's girlfriend comes back home to find out he's lost in a cardboard maze he built in the middle of their living room. Apparently the whole thing's way bigger on the inside. Dave's been inside for three days and can't get out. Friends come by to help, no one seems to believe Dave literally CAN'T get out of there, since the maze looks like a couple of boxes and paper leftovers taped together... and they get inside where weird stuff starts to happen.

Call it whatever you want and it's probably all that! This film is entertaining, abstract, surreal, surprising, bizarre, quirky, enigmatic, random, creative, experimental, funny, offbeat, thought-provoking, sarcastic, visually pleasing, playful, whimsical, hand-made...

I mean, it's a highly unusual mix, that makes watching it a really interesting experience. It feels like a commentary of 30s crisis, wasted youth and missed opportunities, artistic aspirations and all that, but it's also more. Every character is their own caricature. The film crew is especially spot-on, if you've ever had anything to do with the film industry you'd laugh out loud on some of their scenes.

If you want to escape from the cliché enter Dave's labyrinth! You can analyze it, or you can look at the diverse sets and curious production design, you can look for the parody moments and film references scattered around the scenes... You can also watch it with friends over a drink and laugh and point out all the WTF moments in there.

The film lasts a little more than an hour without the credits, so it will be over before it can bore you. Maybe :"Dave Made a Maze" won't stun you and puzzle you and get inside your head like Jim Henson's "Cube" (1969) or something by Terry Gilliam, but it's definitely worth checking out and has the potential of a cult following!

Monster Trucks

Two thumbs and four giant wheels up for MONSTER TRUCKS!
Not just every movie gets me so excited and pumped up as to just rush to IMDb and write it a positive review, but Monster Trucks sure is one of those rare cases! Seeing the trailer and knowing that this is a NIckelodeon movie I expected a good, fun, family friendly flick with a likable creature, but my expectations were quite surpassed. The movie really is all of the above-mentioned, but it just shines with a lot of positivism and heart. The creature-truck concept is really original, while the story is your classical coming-of-age, boy-against-world, boy-meets-girl, boy-comes-to-terms-with-step-dad- who-in-the-end-turns-out-to-be-a-decent-nice-guy, and of course, most of all, boy-and-unusual-out-of-this-world-friend kind of story. Some may call these themes repetitive, I call them eternal and engaging when done in the right way, and the cast and the director all do a lovely job to bring out the emotional charge in this one. Not to mention that Creech is extremely lovable from his very first appearance in the film, the effects are believable and quite well done, and the CGI is never overused as to overwhelm the scene. There is plenty of spectacle, plenty of action and some really fun (even if kinda guilty pleasure) scenes of destruction and smashing stuff. The humor is there too, and it never crosses any boundaries, no crude jokes or anything to really worry about. I would totally watch this film again, but this time with my two little daughters. This movie is like TREMORS meets FREE WILLY! It made me feel like a 10- year-old again and I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially if you're into stories about unusual friendships such as "The Iron Giant", "E.T.", "Lilo and Stitch", "The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep", etc. Two thumbs and four giant wheels up for MONSTER TRUCKS!

TIE Fighter

Most epic fan film ever created, pure awesomeness!
I just can't get enough of these 7 minutes! "TIE Fighter" is in my humble opinion the single most epic fan film ever created, and I have seen many. It is so incredibly well done that if I were an executive at Disney / Lucasfilm, I would immediately contact the creator and offer him a job! This is the living proof that Star Wars, anime and electric guitars mix really REALLY well and I would simply love to get a feature film done in the style of "TIE Fighter" or at least some more shorts or TV series. The camera angles, the movement, the sharp perspective, all trade marks of the anime action directing are present and it looks incredible. The level of detail is quite high, the atmosphere is incredible, the whole thing is just electrifying! It brings back so much of the best days of Japanese animation, back in the days when sci-fi, mecha and cyberpunk storytelling in anime was at its peak. Also some nods to "StarCom: The U.S. Space Force" that I appreciate so much. This is one legendary Star Wars music video that I find far superior to many officially licensed Star Wars visuals that are out there. The Force is more than strong with this one!

Robot Overlords

Robot Overlords is overloaded with awesome!
I can't help it but cheer for this movie! And here's why: It's like Dr. Who meets the Goonies! It's a brave all-age indie sci-fi adventure! It's the type of film that is centered around kids and teen characters, and still is not dumbed down as a kids-only film - something that you almost never get these days, with all the major studios "playing it safe". We had such films, but mostly in the 80s - stuff like "The Last Starfighter", "The Gremlins", "E.T.", "*batteries not included", "Flight of the Navigator" and "Short Circuit"... I mean, it is not today's kids movie, it does not seek to be mild or comedic or innocent, and it does not aim consciously at a specific target audience - it is just out there for whoever feels like watching it and it does not categorize or underestimate its audience. You cannot actually tell if it's made for teens, kids, young adults, family film, sci-fi fans... And I salute this boldness! In the recent decade there have been so few such films, in fact at the moment I can only think of J.J. Abrams' "Super 8", Joe Dante's "The Hole" and Garth Jennings' "Son of Rambow". It feels like a film made with heart! It has enthusiasm written all over it! I do not want to spoil or give out the story, go watch the trailer if you'd like. Anyway, such films are best enjoyed when you let them surprise you, no expectations needed! I will tell you about the atmosphere! If you have watched any British or Australian sci-fi TV series for younger audience, things like "Aquilla", "Escape from Jupiter", "Return to Jupiter", The acting is good, I really enjoyed all the characters, and by the way, is Gillian Anderson actually getting younger and hotter with time?! Geez, she looks so much better here than in The X-files! As far as the SFX and the CGI go - the digital effects may not be top notch, but do you actually need them to be? "Robot Overlords" has it all right where it counts! It's it's clearly done on a budget, it does not look like a 200-million-dollar picture, but I am so tired of shallow "all style and no substance" hyped up blockbusters that I even enjoy this indie feel of the film. Don't get me wrong - there's plenty of special effects (it's not all in the trailer, like with so many B-movies these days), and the effects are pretty decent and perfectly satisfactory. It's much better than anything you'd see on the SyFy channel for sure.

The camera-work and the editing, may not attract attention to themselves, but they are elements which often work best when unnoticed, which is exactly the case here. It's all on a level, none of that shaky cam and fast cuts which spread like a tumor in today's action scenes. The film's colour palette is eye-pleasing. The film is by no means gloomy and at the same time delivers a feeling of tension and peril with a pinch distopian atmosphere.

For me, "Robot Overlords" has all the elements of a modern sci-fi cult classic! I certainly hope it gets the attention and the recognition it deserves.

p.s. - It's not a flawless movie, but I give it 10 out of 10 to boost it's IMDb rating cause it's worth so much more than the current 4.something!

Vehicle 19

Very entertaining and worth watching!
I give it 10 out of 10, not because it's the most amazing film out there, but because I feel it's a shame it has a rating below 5, and I'd like to boost it as much as possible! The trailer says it all, what you see is what you get, plus some unexpected turns, which I will save you (no spoilers here!). This is your average "framed & chased by corrupt policemen guy in a car... in another country".

This is a solid entertainment, a highly watchable and quite tense action thriller, which is smart enough to keep it short and simple. Both me and my wife enjoyed it quite a bit.

The film is quite short - less than 80 minutes if you don't count the credits - and I think it's a good thing, because it's light and it's over way before it manages to get boring. I'm sick and tired of overdecorated and pompous action smash hits with tons of CGI, where everything is predictable and lacks any individuality.

Nothing here is over the top or out of place. The main character is far from a saint and still by the end he gets really likable and people cheer for him. The African setting is refreshing. It adds to the odds against Paul Walker, and helps the foreign audience identify with him - just like the guy we feel lost and kinda desperate.

To me it felt like an EuropaCorp flick - you know, the Besson-produced type of action. So if you like movies like the Transporter, Taken, B-13, etc. then I highly recommend this one! There are a few things I could criticize. The African rap for example annoyed my ears, but I admit it was well used to create atmosphere. In some scenes the character "explains" what happens, because it is not shown well (which is a kind of a cinematic failure) - like when two kids steal from him, I didn't get what exactly they took and there was a line like "They stole my glasses." - just a calm statement to make it clear for you. And they could actually add a minute in the end to show us the character AFTER all that happened, instead you get a voice-over of a news report, which explains you where he is and what happened with him, and then the credits roll. We could at least hear Paul Walker's voice... but it was like "OK, no time to shoot another scene, it's a wrap guys, we'll figure something out for the ending later." Here I felt like there's something missing to make the final scene really satisfying, but it doesn't mean you feel letdown or cheated in the end.

And to wrap it up myself - It's a simple entertainment and it's simply entertaining. Wish there were more movies like that coming out - engaging, fast-paced and short (or at least not too long!).

Papá, soy una zombi

Appallingly tasteless
What is wrong with you people? Pre-school girls play with slutty Gothic Lolita Monster High dolls and are being bombarded with brainwashing twisted cartoons... And the parents - they seem to tolerate or even not to notice this cartoon catastrophe.

This one obviously aims to ride that wave. And it also tries (and fails miserably) to imitate or rather to rip-off some Tim Burtonesque motifs. The animation is nowhere near good and there is nothing original in the visuals or the design of the film. Let alone the tasteless and quite often rather inappropriate scenes.

If you want to protect your children from severe brain damage, please, keep this one away!

Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness

Makes the first and the second film look like masterpieces.
Straight to the point - spare yourself the time and the pain and skip this god-awful (absolutely non-related to any of the other D&D films) sequel. As one can expect from a less-than-a-mediocre direct to video low budget sequel filmed in Bulgaria, this one aims to cash in on the popularity of the Dungeons and Dragons title. There's just a hint of writing, terrible acting combined with ridiculous make-up, cheap CGI, pathetic battle scenes... and tasteless random nudity.

Hey, count me in if it was a flick from the 80s - I'd put it along with DeathStalker, Amazons, Barbarian Queen, The Sword and the Sorcerer, Hundra, and all the other fantasy adventure B-movies. But releasing a film like D&D3 nowadays is just preposterous.

Battle of Los Angeles

Asylum delivers!
OK - we all know what Asylum is all about. Some time before the Hollywood releases a major blockbuster they release (straight to DVD or TV) their so called "mockbusters". Transformers goes TransMorphers, Death Race goes Death RacerS, 10 000 BC goes 10 000 000 BC, Lost + King Kong = King of the Lost World, etc.

But I'd like to underline - even if the titles, the topics and the posters and cover designs of the Asylum films are an undeniable rip-off of major Hollywood hits, the movies themselves are quite often original and far from the storyline of the imitated movie. Close your eyes for the rip-off factor and you get a decent TV-feature or an entertaining B-movie.

None of their movies is brilliant. They are far from masterpieces. But just plain hate is wrong. You have to appreciate them for what they are, not take them too seriously and if your expectations are not over the roof you might find yourself enjoying Asylum's titles.

So far I liked their Sherlock Holmes best - it was a fresh take and it had some quite cool ideas, even if the low budget and production value take away from the movie.

In the case of "Battle of Los Angeles" I would say that Asylum did way better than the original! Call me crazy, but I enjoyed their B-movie galore on SyFy channel far more than the misunderstanding called "Battle: Los Angeles".

The blockbuster is nothing but a flat storyline with cardboard characters, mixed with shaky camera, random shooting and average CGI. If there is something to be appreciated there it is the designs of the alien ships. But come on, "Independence Day" did way better and it did it 15 years ago! "Battle of Los Angeles" on the other hand manages to entertain quite a bit, despite the obviously low budget of the production and weak acting. The resources are used well, the movie doesn't take itself too seriously, and makes the most of what it has. There are some neat touches like a chick with a katana slicing flying robots, classic B-movie flying saucer invasion, post-apocalyptic sets, pilot in a WWII plane who came from another time, giant alien creature with tentacles and teeth, the katana chick gets an eye-patch... Come on, it's COOL!!! And it doesn't scream "I am an awesome movie, let me rob you of your 10 bucks and 2 hours, so you can enjoy my awesomeness on big screen!" In this Battle... Asylum wins for me! I give the movie 10 out of 10 because at the moment its rating is 2.2, which is a shame. I'd say it deserves somewhere between 4.5 and 5.2.

Give it a try, it's very watchable :)

Uchûsen Sajitteriasu

One of the best cartoon series ever made!
After I had the fortune to get my hands on the first 3 episodes of "Spaceship Sagittarius" with English subtitles, I decided that it's just not enough and I get the rest of the series (77 episodes total) in Japanese... hopefully my sister's Japanese will be fluent enough to translate if we watch them together! But it's just so awesome that I decided to share a few random images from various episodes. For some reason this show is widely forgotten, and it deserves to be in the hall of fame of the greatest cartoon series ever made! It just has everything you can imagine and everything you can't! Different planets, so many cultures, creatures, landscapes, all created with tons of brilliant imagination! Add to this hardcore sci-fi stories told with the simplistic and cartoonish character design which adds some kind of bizarre atmosphere and makes it feel even more appealing and out-of-this-world! And the fact that you don't see any human beings, but it's all anthropomorphic characters and aliens just tingles your mind! Where and when is this happening? It is a whole new galaxy that makes your imagination go wild! Imagine the impart it had on me when I watched it at the age of 5! I remember I was so amazed and even shocked by many of the episodes. It has childish fantasy, and it has deep, serious and mature themes. It has colorful and cheerful scenes, and it has sorrow, drama and tears.

I was so into it I actually straited taking apart calculators I found at home, because I was "collecting parts to build a spaceship"! :) It's Nippon animation at its best and it's a shame to be released in Japan only! I hope this series gets a well deserved international release! And here is some info straight from Based on an Italian comic book (Original title: ALTRI MONDI) written by Andrea Romori, this delightful series depicts a series of funny and thrilling adventures featuring the three main characters. Working for a multi-purpose space agency, Toppy and Rana make friends with Giraffe, a scientist, and go through various adventures in space. The three encounter danger at times, but their friendship always saves them just in the nick of time. Young viewers are certain to be attracted by the exciting story-line and the lovable characters. This series won the Atom Prize at the Japan Animation Festival and was selected as one of the best animation programs of the year.

Alien vs. Ninja

Could have been great! Still worth watching!
Unfortunately this promising title fails to deliver. When I started watching this I didn't expect so much goofy and campy humor.

Im a great fan of Keita Amemia's work, especially the ZEIRAM series and MIRAI NINJA. So when I saw the poster and the trailer for this film I expected something similar - cool Asian sci-fi action, with great atmosphere, created by the blend of genres. Aliens and ninjas - looked like this can't go wrong! But it did. There are a lot of boring dialogs. The movie's pace is messed up. Even for its 80 minutes it is still slow. It starts with a great opening shot that leaves you thirsty for adrenaline and you don't get it for the next 25 minutes. The real problem is the poor comedy attempts. The parody elements are annoying and they just ruin it all, which is a shame. It has a production value high enough to make it a modern B-classic.

It's obviously a B-movie and no one expects state of the art effects from it. Actually I prefer the practical effects - puppets, costumes and animatronics are a breath of fresh air in this CGI era.

What I like the most about it is the work of the art department. The character and creature designs are cool and the costumes are really neat. Some look like live cation versions of manga drawings. I guess that Ninja Gaiden fans would appreciate the looks of the main character.

The martial art scenes are decent, but nothing really remarkable. Directing, camera-work and acting are mediocre at best.

Alien vs Ninja is a great concept and I regret to see it wasted like that.

Toy Story 3

Simply brilliant!
I was about 10 or 12 when I watched the first Toy Story in the cinema with my little brother and sister. We were all enchanted! Years later Toy Story 2 came out and it was a blast! Again we all went to the theater to see it and we were so thrilled and excited after the movie! Im 24 now, and just yesterday I was at the Bulgarian gala-premiere of the film. My brother was fortunate to win an invitation for two (he took a photo of himself with our small collection of Toy Story toys and sent it to the website), and we had the chance to see the third part on its first screening... and for the 1st time in 3D! No doubt that the animation is better than ever, the guys from Pixar constantly push the limits, but that's kinda natural for them. But still it feels like 100% Toy Story, with all the improvements, somehow I don't feel this 15-years-wide gap between the first and the third part.

What matters more is the (Toy) Story itself! And it is just fantastic! I had really high expectations of this film and honestly, after seeing it, my expectations were surpassed! The plot is really emotional, with so many nostalgic moments... Being kinda grown-up myself, but doing my growing-up with the first two parts of Toy Story, I couldn't relate more with this one! I was really touched! I just wish the theater was empty. Then I could stop holding back my tears! And it's not just t the big story, but also all those little things that go on around it! I don't know how many of those references and gags were in the script and how many were put in there in the making process, but it's just amazing! Even if it's the most dramatic and the darkest of the 3 (as dark as Toy Story can get) the comedy is still there, and I was laughing out loud all the way through! It's a wild roller-coaster, and I'm not even sure who will have more fun with it, if it will be the kids, or their parents! There's just so much more in there for you to notice, admire and laugh at! And I'm sure that after watching the film again I'll find out even more! There's also a really neat Totoro cameo, and it's great of Pixar to pay homage to their old friend, Miyazaki san.

The old lovable characters are all here, and they are joined by an army of new ones, and each one of them has his real personality and you can recognize in them characteristics of someone, both visually and with their attitude they express different things and you instinctively feel what these toys stand for. It's really funny to recognize in them some movie archetypes or features of people that you know.

I realize that I just poured out tons of superlatives, but there's nothing else you can say about this film! It has everything! (And about how many 3rd parts you can say that?) The only thing I could criticize is that there is one really freaky baby-toy, that can give the creeps to the smaller kids, but it's done on a purpose and for me it was really an enjoyable touch to the atmosphere of the film.

To wrap up this review, I will just say - Thank you, Pixar!

Lucky Luke

Lucky Luke - Style over substance
I'm a Lucky Luke fan, I live in Bulgaria and I've seen and read as much as I could get my hands on here. I adore the cartoons, they are entertaining and stick to the style of the comics. I like the Terence Hill TV series - even that they really look quite different from the comic book character designs, they are entertaining in their own way, and watching Terence Hill is always a delight.

When I got to know that a new Lucky Luke film is in the making I got very excited, and when I saw the trailers I thought it looks great and it's going to be lots of fun and a comic book brought to life.

Well, that was partially true. This film is really great from a visual point of view - camera-work, costumes, sets, makeup... The production design stays as close to the comics as possible. There's an apparent care for detail and the film is an eye candy for sure. It's done on a budget, and it looks great on screen.

But the script... That's where the problem is, and that's what ruins the whole experience. I was excited when I got to know that so many characters will appear in the movie - except for Lucky Luke and Jolie Jumper we have also Pat Poker, Jessie James, Billy The Kid, Calamity Jane... But there is no coherent storyline or straight storytelling. The film is constantly swinging between the goofy comedy, the spaghetti western parody and the personal drama of Luke, presented as an orphan who witnessed the murder of his parents as a kid. There are some obscure scenes which seem to me like just randomly thrown around the script. The film couldn't make me involved, I didn't really care what's happening on screen, and after like 50 minutes I found myself bored and almost forcing myself to see the rest. Nevertheless, there were a couple of funny and cool scenes here and there, I especially love the sequence where Lucky Luke appears for the first time in the beginning of the film.

I feel cheated, because it could have been really an amazing movie, with such a great look, if only they paid more attention to the story itself.

Sherlock Holmes

Asylum's best movie so far?
Well, I have to say this one was actually a nice surprise. I'd give any movie a chance, and even after I've seen some really bad stuff from Asylum (famous for their , I still keep an eye on whatever they come up with.

"Princess of Mars" was a step forward, could be good, it had not bad SFX and kinda retro Flash Gordon atmosphere, but Traci Lords as a princess... Give me a break! Well, this Holmes movie, as far as it is from anything Holmes written by Arthur Conan Doyle, is actually pretty entertaining and looks very good! I'd say it's a really decent production, with good actors and very good effects, given its low budget. It's not cutting edge CGI, but it does the trick and creates a certain feel to the whole thing. What you see on screen is as good as the BBC or Hallmark adventure movies from the beginning of the 2000s. The script could use some polishing, but I won't grumble about it. If you chose to see a Sherlock Holmes movie with a giant octopus, a dragon and a Tyranosaurus on the cover, what the hell did you expect? I admit, I had low expectations, but I couldn't resist that poster, so I just had to give it a try... and I don't regret! Speampunk flavored mystery with a twist ending :) Don't expect a masterpiece, but enjoy the movie for what it is!


B-movie gem!
I must confess I was expecting something terrible. Honestly, do you believe that a movie called "Bloodsuckers" aka "Vampire Wars: Battle for the Universe" can actually be good? And in general I'm not into vampires, but the sci-fi element here made me give it a try. I intended to fast forward it and just go through the scenes with the special effects. But after a couple of minutes I found myself actually enjoying it! It's a B-movie, no doubt about it, but it's quite above the average and I think it's worth watching if you have the chance (and if you're into such genres). The good things about it: - First of all, it has a script. It's not brilliant, but it's good enough, and it has a couple of one-liners, some really good character relationship moments, homage to classic horrors (like Leatherface and Voorhees vampires), and a fun ending. - Neat atmosphere. Feels like half-budget "Firefly" meets "Blade". - The cast is quite good and they're doing great with what they have - it's not heavy drama with great character depth, but they manage to give certain individuality to their characters. Having Michael Ironside as the villain was a surprise and a treat. - The CGI is low budget, but decent. The costumes and the sets as well. I think the art department did their best with what they had. - The soundtrack is quite good, there are nice rock tracks in it and the songs fit to the scenes. - This movie looks good! Good camera-work, which I think is rare these days in B-movies, they all tend to shake and zoom, trying to give some "reality" feel to it.

If you'd watch every once in a while something different than Oscar winners and summer blockbusters, and if you like sci-fi flicks, I encourage you to see this one.

I'm giving it 10/10 cause I think it deserves more than 4-something, which is it's current IMDb Rating. Otherwise, I think it's 6/10.

Star Trek

Star Trek lives long, but does it prosper?
I got an invitation for the Bulgarian (pre)premiere of the new Star Trek and I saw it on April 27. It is an OK movie, but I feel that Star Trek and its fans deserve more.

The movie starts with a kick. Some huge and really advanced Romulan ship encounters a federation ship. The Romulan captain Nero is searching for Spock, but nobody has ever heard of him, and the Romulans lose their temper right away and kill the captain. The new captain is now Kirk Sr. who takes control over the Federation vehicle and sacrificing both the ship and his life rams himself into the Romulans, saving the lives of thousands of people, including his wife and newborn son - James Tiberius Kirk. Kirk the father flying towards his certain but heroic death while listening to his wife giving birth to his son, now this was some epic drama.

We see James T. Kirk racing down a country road in a stolen retro car, listening to the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" while being chased by some flying traffic cop, which was a cool scene, though completely irrelevant for the story.

We see young Spock teased and picked on in Vulcan school (I didn't know the Vulcan's have bullies at school as well) and having troubles because of having a human mother.

Then as expected Kirk has grown into a rebellious teen/young adult, and he is trying to use his charm on Uhura at a bar, in the process finds himself in a fight with four Federation cadets, and after being badly beaten is recruited by his father's old friend Captain Christopher Pike.

Little by little we see all the rest of the familiar crew - Dr. McCoy, Sulu, Chekov, Scotty and so on, and I admit that it's really fun to see them while they take their first steps towards the final frontier.

And from this point on the movie is quite predictable, there are no serious plot twists (but there are a number of plot holes).

Comes out that the Romulans are some angry miners from the future who are after Spock who didn't save their planet from annihilation. After seeing the end of their world they came back in time to get their hands on Spock, planning to destroy Vulcan and make him watch. Spock on the other hand came back in time hoping to make things right somehow. But the Romulans came like 25 years before Spock and when hey didn't find him it all ended with the death of Kirk's father.

Now the Romulans are here again, 25 years later, back in tie with a vengeance, creating a black whole that engulfs Vulcan among with Syler's... pardon me, Spock's mother. Captain Christopher Pike is captured, they want him to give them some security codes so they can do to Earth the same they did to Vulcan, and it is up to Spock and Kirk to stop them. I mean... it is up to Spock, Kirk and Spock to stop them.

The old Spock from the future is here now, helping Kirk to become a captain of the Enterprise, telling Scotty the beaming formula he is supposed to discover himself some years later, and telling the young Spock that he is actually Spock too...

Guess what? All this creates an alternative universe. That's the excuse they came up with for the reboot.

All in all, it is a good way to waste two hours, but it is nothing memorable. The main flaw is the unnecessary use of shaky camera and unstable frames. I know they use it all the time nowadays and we see it in like every action movie, but still it is not an excuse. I guess this is the way they want to create pace and make it more dynamic, but actually when you walk out of the cinema I wouldn't be surprised if you have a headache. The constant twitches are really annoying, and they were used even in simple dialog scenes. I really can't understand why they shake the camera so much and in some scenes it just made absolutely no sense. I mean, come on, you spent millions of dollars on sets and CGI, give me some static shot, stand still for a while and let us enjoy the view! Otherwise we have to wait for the DVD and push the Pause button, hoping that the creature or the spaceship will be on focus and we will be able to see some more details.

Speaking of CGI for millions of dollars... they created black wholes engulfing planets and giant alien monsters chasing Kirk through a snowy wasteland, but they didn't add steam coming out of their mouths. When it's cold and you breathe there is usually steam coming out of your mouth I wonder why there wasn't any while Kirk and Spock were in an ice cave... It's not the only movie where they make this mistake, but it's really annoying when you notice it and makes the whole snowy set look fake.

But let's point out some good things as well - fan service! The short skirt uniforms, Uhura is hot and there is a green-skinned Orion slave girl! Well, it's not like a blue Twilek babe, but after all it's only Star Trek ;) The best is that the ending pays homage to the original series and they finally play a motif from the Star Trek theme. I have absolutely no idea why they didn't use it throughout the whole movie, the old Star Trek soundtracks have brilliant themes and I think they should have used them.


Beowulf from Outer Space
"Outlander" is a great surprise by director Howard McCain - honestly never heard of him before, but I'll be keeping an eye on his work from now on! The movie opens with a spaceship crashing down on Earth, Norway 700 AD. The only surviour from the crew, Kainan (James Caviezel), is soon captured by vikings, who blame him for the slaughter in a nearby village. The outworlder claims he is not responsible and he has come to these lands hunting for dragons. The vikings don't trust a word... until their own village is attacked by a mysterious creature - something that Kainan brought with him from outer space...

Proving himself in battle Kainan gains the trust of the vikings and gets himself some trusty friends... and some interest from the King's daughter Freya (Sophia Myles). Together they have to face the alien beast Moorwen and find a way to destroy it. But Kainen is hunted not only by a monster, but by guilt and memories as well. He couldn't protect his beloved wife and son from the very same creature.

The story is simple and yet gripping. The idea that a pack of vikings and a spaceman battle an alien beast was exciting enough to make me interested and willing to see the movie. I approached it with no great expectations and I found myself pleasantly surprised! The movie is in fact very entertaining and involving. Jim Caviezel is an excellent choice for a tragic hero haunted by his past - a true Beowulf from outer space. The rest of the cast does a good job as well. I loved Sophia Myles in "Tristan & Isolde" and I was pleased to watch her again, this time as a bold Viking princess. In the supporting cast we have John Hurt and Ron Perlman (they've collaborated before on the Hellboy movies).

The Moorwen is designed by Patrick Tatopolous and if you're familiar with his work you can sense his style in it. I'd say there is some Godzilla-nuance to the Moorwen, but the luminous abilities of the creature were something new and exciting.

The production design, the sets and the costumes were also very good, but what really impressed me were the flashback sequences of Kainan's life before falling down to Earth. The Moorwen planet war scene is truly great and the only thing I regret is that they were not longer - I can enjoy out-of-this-world landscapes anytime! The CGI was impressive. I would play the movie again just to watch them once more.

The movie could use some faster pace at times and I find it slightly longer than it should have been, but by no means boring or trying. "Outlander" delivers an excellent sci-fi action-adventure - something we don't see too often these days!

O' Christmas Tree

A delightful Christmas animated movie
I played the DVD for the first time on Christmas Eve (yesterday :)) and my intention was to entertain myself and my brother and sister. But all of a sudden I realized that not only the kids but the whole family is watching with interest and following the story of this delightful Christmas animated movie. The animation style is neat and sweet - it is one of the several Christmas animated stories directed by Bert Ring and written by John Loy and they are all perfect for the holiday season! The characters are lovable and the story is really touching. So as I said, we all watched it for the first time yesterday, but I' sure that we will watch it again and again every Christmas to come!

Gran Torino

Clint Eastwood delivers the best movie I've seen in a very long time.
He's 78 and can kick your punk ass anytime.

He's got 4 Oscar-s and hopefully like he's gonna get a 5th one soon.

He's THE MAN! Clint Eastwood is back in front of the camera for the first time since his 2004 Best Picture Academy Award winner "Million Dollar Baby".

He stars and directs "GRAN TORINO" (and also contributes with some music) His character, Walt Kowalsky, is a grumpy old Koera vet. The movie opens with the funeral of his wife, where you pretty much get the picture - he's got two out-of-touch sons, and some disrespectful grandchildren, who are just waiting for him to kick the bucket to get their hands on his '72 Gran Torino that's resting in his garage. Having nobody but his dog, Walt spends his bitter days drinking beer on the porch, surrounded by Asian neighbours who look at him like he doesn't belong. Torn between his anger at the world and everybody in it and his inner demons - memories from the War and regrets about not being close with his sons Walt spits and snarls around, insults his neighbours and the local priest and the last thing you can call him is "politically correct". And he ain't doin' no apologizin'! He's the old timer, the outsider, the tough one and the stubborn one - something Clint Eastwood is surely familiar with. You can taste that Man With No Name attitude we all know and love in his movies.

One night the neighbours' kid tries to steal his Gran Torino and this triggers a chain of event that will bring back Dirty Harry from his retirement. When he points his M-1 rifle at the boy Walt Kowalsky can hardly imagine that soon he will be a father figure and a role model for him.

It's not just action or just drama or just comedy. It's one of those stories you can't really fin in the usual categories. It's a Clint Eastwood movie and it's what he does best - simple storytelling about what does it mean to be a real man. It's about growing up, it's about walking tall, it's about making a stand, and about doing what you have to do.

I can't come up with anything I'd like to criticize about this movie. 'd just advise you to watch it, cause it's a pure cinematic gem.

Dead Space: Downfall

Dead Space: Downfall
While I'm writing this review the current IMDb rating is 6.2 and I find it quite fare.

First of all let me say - I have no idea about the DEAD SPACE game and I'm not a fan of the game, but I am a hardcore animation fan and I follow pretty much everything that comes out. So when I got my hands on this one I was pretty excited - a brand new mature oriented animated feature!! And when I say mature oriented I mean that it has some swear words plus animated violence and blood, which we don't see every day, especially when it comes to western animation (cause if you're into anime you can't complain from the lack of these elements) "Dead Space: Downfall" is above average, but far from brilliant. And the reason for this is mainly the screenplay. The characters lack depth and emotional charge and the story itself is somehow ripping off key elements from John Carpenter's "The Thing" (the designs of the creatures...), Ridley Scott's "Alien" (the intro on the distant planet, the strong female lead, the ship sent by some corrupt institution we never really see...). There's nothing wrong in borrowing already tested classic elements, some fan-service is always welcome. The problem is that the story itself just fails to grab you. There's no background of the characters, too little information about the aim of their trip and the institution that sent them (some kind of a new religious organization... maybe it's the dystopian future when Scienthology rules the Earth?!? OMG!! I can hear Charlton Heston screaming "Damn you all to hell!", we'd prefer the rule of the Apes). The story lacks drama and suspense.

The voice cast is doing more or less OK, I guess that you can't expect them to put into their characters something that's not really there in the script and make them more interesting, so...

The music - during the movie I hardly noticed any music, but the ending credits were quite good I can say. And the use of "Twinkle, twinkle Little Star" is creepy for sure! The character design is very well done, nothing that will totally amaze you, but it fits perfectly well into the atmosphere of the movie. Everything from faces and expressions to clothes and hairstyles is neatly done.

The backgrounds are detailed and not in contrast with the coloring of the characters and the animated objects (unlyke some other animations where you can "feel" what moves and what doesn't just because the animated objects are colored differently). Even the CGI doesn't break the unity and doesn't feel out of place when it's there (mainly for the 3D models of the spaceships) The animation and the directing itself are quite good, well done boys! The perspectives and the camera angles are nice, the movements as well. It's a mixture of traditional western animation with some elements taken from the Japanese school (when it comes to the blood being splattered or the shrinking of the eye-irises for example).

I enjoyed the film, but I Felt disappointed by the story. The animation is stylish enough to accomplish more than that and with better writing it could be something of the class of "Heavy Metal" or "Titan A.E.". STill worth watching, though! Check it out if you have the chance.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Welcome back, Dr. Jones! We all missed you!
I just got back from the European pre-premiere of "Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"... I want to write my review right now, while the cheerful childish smile is still on my face and the theme is still echoing in my ears.

To write my review, but how? I am just... speechless!

George, Steven,Harrison, thank you guys! Once again - you did it!

I am totally not giving out any plot details or whatever information connected with the story - I think it's a sin to spoil this experience for you. Because it's not just a movie, it's an experience. As a hardcore Indy fan I was waiting for this movie ever since there were rumors for a new sequel. The waiting, the revealing of the first teaser poster, the trailer, getting my ticket weeks before the date... But let's get to the point :)

The movie's opening shot is an instant classic - the Paramount logo, usually fading to a mountain on the horizon a second before The Man With The Hat gets on the screen, this time is being minimized to a molehill and this sets right away the sense of self-parody.

The first scene... Just beautiful! A nod to George Lucas' "American Graffiti", retro, vintage, like a post-card from the 50s. There hasn't been more entertaining and fun movie set in the 50s since Robert Zemeckis' "Back to the Future" and Brad Bird's "Iron Giant". The only disadvantage of this time period - I admit, I really miss the Nazis. I know, Indy is punching commies now, but still...

The directing - the name Steven Spielber for me is more than enough to guarantee a great time in the cinema (at least). And for those of you who have been disappointed by "War of the Worlds" for example (I was not, but I know some of you were), for those of you who think that he has lost his touch or something - just wait and see!

The camera-work - Janusz Kaminski's work is recognizable and somehow typical (which by no means is bad!), though I read on the net that he studied and tried to imitate the style of Douglas Slocombe from the previous three installments. By the way, I watched the movie for the first time in Poland, Janusz Kaminski's native country :)

The special effects - is there any reason to talk about them? I'm sure you're perfectly aware of what the guys at ILM are capable of - they are simply the best. You won't see something absolutely new and groundbreaking here, though everything is masterfully animated.

And the soundtrack, oh the soundtrack... And I don't mean John Williams (who is, of course, brilliant as usual), but the classic Rock'n'Roll tracks, featured in the film... OK, I told you no spoilers, but I just can't help it! The movie opens with Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog"!

And of course, the actors... I don't want to get boring with another paragraph full of superlatives. The cast is amazing. All of the actors are just perfect. Unfortunately Denholm Elliott is not among the living anymore, he died more than 15 years ago, but they didn't forget him and the movie pays tribute to his character, Dr. Marcus Brody. And if you have been disappointed by Sean Connery's rejection to return at least for a cameo appearance - they didn't forget him as well. You'll get a lot of fan service from George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, I assure you! And for sure you won't miss the father and son relationship, the new generation is here in the face of Shia LaBeouf, who steps into the boots of Mutt Williams. Karen Allen IS Marion Ravenwood, and Cate Blanchett is indeed a chilling villain.

But I guess you want to know about Harrison Ford's performance. "Isn't he too old?", "Shouldn't he use a walking stick instead of a whip?"... Are you kidding me?! Geez, Mr.Ford is alive and kicking, and he kicks hard! Harder than ever actually.

Yes, Indy is older and we know it. But what's more important - he knows it as well and he's not afraid to admit it. You've already seen the "Damn, I Thought That Was Closer!" moment in the trailer, and believe me this is only a vague glimpse of the humor you're in for! Honestly, this movie is packed to the top with in-jokes and one-liners. Harrison Ford even has his trademark Han Solo style "I have a bad feeling about this" (repeated in every episode of Star Wars).

And by the way there are references to the old movies (which I'm not going to give out) and to the TV-series as well - at one of the scenes Indy tells Mutt about his encounter with Pancho Villa years ago (remember when Young Indy was in Mexico? :))

The movie has everything that you loved in the previous episodes - it's action-packed, emotionally-charged, mystery-filled, thrilling and entertaining to the max! It's a wild ride I wouldn't miss for the world. And the best in it are the characters' relationships - they are so much fun and at the same time sincere and human, it makes you both laugh at and identify with the characters. They still have that spark that we all love in the old three parts.

What can I say? The Adventure is back AGAIN, it has a Name and you know it!

Welcome back, Dr. Jones! We all missed you!

Turok: Son of Stone

Turok goes animated
Before I begin my review, let me say that I am not really familiar with the Turok comics or video games. So if you're a Turok fan you may feel that I lack the background knowledge on the history of these series. But I'm a huge dino-nerd anyway.

The story is really quite simple - one day Turok and his brother encounter warriors from an enemy tribe, and defending a girl from their village (Turok's brother future wife) they get into a fight. Turok goes berserker mode and slashes through the enemies... and his brother. In his rage Turok almost kills his brother and the shaman of their tribe sends him into exile. Some 16 years later Turok is asked for help by his brother's son. Turok seems grumpy for being casted away and refuses to take part in the action. But later the boy returns and brings news that his tribe is almost wiped out. Turok takes his tomahawk and goes to help his bro, only to find him almost dead... and he eventually dies after he asks Turok to swear that he will take care for the boy and his mother. Back to the village the leader of the aggressors recognizes Turok's tomahawk - it was his father's and Turok took it years before at that battle in the beginning of the movie. The bad guy wants to avenge his father's death and goes on a rampage, trying to kill Turok. Going through a cave the Indians find themselves in The Lost Land (quite like Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World) - where dinosaurs and prehistoric mammal beasts coexist with savage hordes of "The Missing Link" or something (you know, some huge ugly hard-to-kill humanoid hulks) and Indian tribes. The battle continues...

There is not much of a dialog. No memorable quotes, no one-liners. I feel that the characters are somehow flat, they lack emotional depth and motivation. No inner struggle, no inside conflict. And no comic relief.

The quality of the animation is above average, but far from great. Nothing you haven't seen - no innovative style or some recognizable character design. It's not bad, it's OK. And there are some nice looking Indian chicks :) The backgrounds are not really detailed, but on the other hand - what's there to be detailed? Rocks and cliffs? The dinosaurs are OK, but they lack color nuance and shading. And so do the characters in some scenes. And I forgot to mention - there is not a trace of some fancy 3D CGI cell-shading stuff, which I find good - old fashioned 2d works just fine for me. The only thing that seemed crappy were the computer generated flames for the fire effects in some scenes.

There's plenty of action, gallons of animated blood and even some cut-off limbs. But that will only shock you if you've been watching Bambie all your life. The blood and the battles are no match for a good anime style fight, where everything is presented with some wicked camera angles, fast movements and dramatic pauses. There's an attempt for a showdown at the end of the movie, but it doesn't really work out like in the spaghetti westerns.

All in all - the movie is worth watching, it has its moments, but it could have been much more. I enjoyed it because we rarely have the chance to see something more mature oriented and not-anime. If you're a fan of Ralph Bakshi's "Fire and Ice" or the "Heavy Metal" animated features I encourage you to check this one out, just keep in mind that it doesn't manage to entertain at their level. Somehow it lacks atmosphere and couldn't really captivate my imagination the way Filmation's "Flash Gordon" does for example.

And if you're a dinosaur/comic/video game freak I'll advice you to get your hands on the "Cadillacs and Dinosaurs" animated TV series based on Mark Shultz's "Xenozoic Tales" and "Cadillacs and Dinosaurs" comics. That's the real deal!


John Rambo
"John Rambo" is pretty much the same for the Rambo series what is "Rocky Balboa" for the Rocky series. Incredibly strong return after all these years, Stallone brings back his character in a way that stays true to the original and redeems the series after the not-so-good sequels.

This is one of the best action movies I've ever seen. The camera, the editing, the light, the sound - it makes you feel right there, you might want to clean the blood and the dirt from your face after you leave the cinema. I'd describe the style of "John Rambo" as Mel Gibson' Apocalypto with machine guns.

The movie has simple and realistic plot, which also manages to give a message to the audience. After I saw the movie I spent hours on the net reading about Burma - a country I only knew where to look for on the map. I live in Bulgaria, and really had no idea about the situation there. And this movie made me really care.

The conflict of the film might be military and political, but it's also an inner one - a matter of morality and faith. The idealism versus the harsh reality. You won't change a thing on you own, but somebody has to start.

John Rambo started. I hope others will join.

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