VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)

3.6/5 stars, 7/10 from both of us.
5/5 stars,   8.4/10 was what we gave the first movie:
So this one’s worse.
Native rating: 3.7/5 stars, 4.6/10 (ouch) on IMDB:
So the public agrees.
Netflix’s guess for us was 3.8 which is pretty damn close.

It wasn’t as good as the first one, but it was still entertaining.

It was a very over-the-top with the comedy/Nic Cage acting. I wonder if he was still using Brian Bates’ Way Of The Wyrd (basis for Sabbat’s Dreamweaver concept album, which I wrote a 5900 word post about) as the basis of his acting. Maybe not. These are the Crank / Gamer directors now, and maybe they directed him to be more Nic-Cage-over-the-top.

Outlaw Vern, who I usually agree with, liked this better than the original:
His review includes a big quote from Nic Cage about Brian Bates’s book, as well as some mentions of Vampire’s Kiss. Outlaw Vern is right about the CGI being worse. What used to be a cool transformation is now kind of comical at times.

So yeah… This was worth seeing because we love the superhero genre, but it wasn’t good as the original.
Though apparently, some liked it better!


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Night Of The Living Dead (1990)

Clint: 3.2/5 stars, 7.2/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, 6.7/10 IMDB.

So we are apparently doing this backward. We watched the 2006 3-D remake-of-a-remake some time back. Now we are watching the 1990 remake. Meanwhlie, we’ve never seen the 1968 original.

Definitely one of the small-scenario zombie movies; more old school in that sense. Also old school in that there is some definite cheeziness and bad acting that wouldn’t pass muster these days. But still. This was good.

I really liked the ending… That was quite different than I was expecting. They added a whole social commentary angle to it. It wasn’t profound, but still. It could have just been nothing.

And I like how the main character was a completely different person by the end of the movie, transformed by the events of the movie.

And it was cool to see Tony Todd (“Candyman Candyman Candyman!”) after watching his guest appearance on the underrated awesome sitcom Holliston.

So all in all, I’m glad I finally saw this.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: I Saw the Devil (2010) (Korea)

5/5 stars, 8/10 from both of us.

Native rating: 7.8/10, 3.9/5 stars (Netflix guessed 3.7/5 for us–wrong!).

At first this started in 3-star territory: Interesting plot, good cinemtagraphy, nice budget.

But then, only 45 minutes into a 2.5hr movie, what would constitute a standard Hollywood plot was already done and concluded.

At that point, the story veered past what either of us could predict or anticipate. Fuel was thrown onto the fire, and it burned hotter and brighter and hotter and brighter.

Shit just kept on piling on, then piling onto that.

It broke into 4-star territory by the 1 hour mark, 5-star territory by the 2 hour mark…. By the end, it was a case of, “Holy shit”.

I definitely see why Ian recommended this.

Man those Koreans really love their revenge!

Or maybe that’s¬†selection bias on my part, as every Korean movie I’ve ever watched (except for Thirst?) has been about revenge of one sort or another (Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance, Memories Of Murder).

We felt that Oldboy was better than this movie, yet when we checked, we rated it the same. It may be that we need to up Oldboy to 9/10. Hmm.

And oh: Min-sik Choi is a GREAT actor! This is the 3rd movie we’ve seen him in.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Underworld: Awakening (2012)

7.6/10 from both of us (imdb avg is 6.5/10).
4/5 stars from Carolyn, 3.6/5 stars from me
(avg Netflix is 3.9/5 stars, with a guess of 4.1 for us)

I call this Underworld 3 because it’s the 3rd non-prequel movie in the 4-movie franchise. We now have 0 through 3.

Anyway, this was an improvement over the 3rd movie, Underworld 0:Rise Of The Lycans. Kate Beckinsale is back, since she was barely in the prequel movie (though it’s easy enough to mistake Rhona Mitra for Kate, if you forget the eye color difference).

It’s been too long since the first two Underworld movies for me to really say whether this was any better or worse than 1-2.

The main twist here is that vampires and werewolves are now known to exist by the general public.

For the most part, this just feels like a Resident Evil movie. Moreso than any of the previous Underworld movies. Whether that is good or bad is your choice.

This had some good action, as expected — but the story could use a bit of work. The movie was kind of short. Not too much happened. There needs to be more movies in the franchise, because this one created more new issues than it resolved.

But it was still good. High-budget, polished action.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Death Machine (1994)

4/5 stars, 8/10 from both of us, though the general public only rated it 2.7/5 stars (Netflix guessed 2.6 for us!) and 5.5/10.

This is the closest film I’ve ever seen to the movie Hardware (1990).

There are a few scenes that seem to be in DIRECT homage to Hardware. It lacks some of the comedy and psychedelia in Hardware, as well as the amazing cameos…

But in terms of cinematography, subject matter, style, and even character appearance (including the “villain”), this is simply a Poor Man’s Hardware. It even has William Hootkins (“we all sing, the wibbery-wobberly..walk!”), though he’s playing a suit instead of a perv.

Despite this being a poor man’s Hardware, it’s still better than 95% of scifi horror movies from the 1990s. So it gets 4/5 stars and 8/10, instead of the 5/5 stars and 9/10 rating that Hardware received.

Brad Dourif is pretty fricking crazy in this, and a lot of people are saying Heath Ledger must have watched this film at some point as inspiration for his insane portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight.

We watched the 111-minute (PAL/Europe) cut, though I would have preferred to get the 128 or 120-minute cut. Stay away from the 99-minute Netflix cut. You’ll be sorry. Get the PAL (europe) DVD if at all possible.



VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Smurfs (2011)

Clint & Carolyn: 3/5 stars (Netflix avg=3.6, guess for us=3.3).
Clint: 6.4/10 (high 6)
Carolyn: 6.6/10 (low 7)
IMDB: 5.3/10.

There is so much wrong with this, but could I really refuse to watch a Smurfs movie because I think it MIGHT be lame? No, I could not. Especially with Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays (Hiro’s perfect match from Heroes), and Sofia Vergara.

And was it lame? Yes, in some ways.

Of course, the original 80’s cartoon is pretty goddamn lame if you sit down and watch an episode of it in 2012, so one could argue that this movie was actually an improvement. The problem is peoples’ rose-tinted nostalgia that causes them to reject everything made on an old idea. But The Smurfs WERE ALREADY AN OLD IDEA when they came to American television. The Smurfs as a franchise are 50 years old; the cartoon is only 30 years old. It was already an adaptation before it was adapted for this movie. So get over it. The movie was fun.

They went into the real world, which is a cheesy plot device used in so many cartoon movies, as well as an excuse to cheap out on the animation budget by using live-action people.

But there was also a real charm in seeing Gargamel as a ridiculous live-action person caught in a world he doesn’t belong to. He assumes homeless people are other wizards. It’s funny, in a 3rd Rock From the Sun Season 1 kind of way, to see someone try to figure out a world they don’t belong in.
And the CGI on Azrael was really cute.

When all is said and done, we have to admit to liking this movie, even if it wasn’t great.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Scream 4 (2011)

4/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars (Netflix’s guess for us=3.9), 6.3/10 IMDB.

We definitely had to read the wikipedia summaries of the last 3 movies, because it has been soooo long since the first 3 Scream movies came out. Plus, the 2nd and 3rd ones weren’t as good.

Fortunately, Scream 4 seems to be continuing the trend of resurrecting old horror franchises with a sequel better than the last few sequels.

Final Destination 5 was better than FD3, 4, and maybe 2. And Scream 4 is better than S3 & S2.

Horray for fixing broken franchises!



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