Tag Archives: fantasy movies

Movie Review: Underworld: Evolution

Two words: character development. (Say it like you’re in an echo chamber for dramatic effect)

Underworld: Evolution isn’t an evolution nor a revolution. It’s a destabilizing presence, one that pushes me to the precipice of tolerance.

Wiseman’s second departure from the set is a clogged drainage pipe filled with convenience and cliché, sealed together with a solemn dialect of common abandonment that it itself created. It’s no wonder a community doesn’t want to be associated with a product of formidable fabrication. A puppet act is fruitless if you can see the mind pulling the strings.

This is why all of the goals this film attempts to accomplish are so brazenly obvious, leaving Evolution falling on its face like a drunk girl on five-inch heels at a rave. With the little dignity it possesses, Evolution goes on a pleasant stroll through the park while discussing a near 600-year war that is of little consequence to us. While unfettered, Evolution is more than content to walk in the same footsteps that it did the last time they went through this debris field. Undeterred by feedback and uninfluenced by common sense or basic luxury, Wiseman remains stringent in the detailing of this absurd fiction that gets more complex as it progresses rather than less.

The plot bounces on a trampoline, believing motion, not weight, equates to intrigue. Wiseman’s proclivity for plot twists rivals Shyamalan here, although to Shyamalan’s credit, he always knew how many was enough. I’m using past tense because Shyamalan is in my corner of no return. He’s dead to me.

Wiseman is not a wise man here, parading plot twist after plot twist with the apparent objective of seeing how many times he can flip us on our heads rather than give us a coherent story that makes any semblance of sense.

After revelation after revelation, Evolution becomes a Clue gameplay more than a movie. It’s more about finding the answers than it is about the natural growth of the characters and slow but adept formation of the plot. Evolution is a poorly done television crime drama, not a movie.

In between following the bread crumbs, Kate Beckinsale is left with a character who changes at the whim of a pen stroke. Random traumas are thrown in for giggles it seems while Beckinsale is supposed to filter through all of it and find some worthwhile message, lesson or trait to stir up any halfhearted appeal.

Underworld:Evolution gasps for air the entire running time and all I could wish for was that some magician would come into the production and do this film a mercy by instilling some talent into this or that a doctor would arrive and put it out of its misery. Clearly no magician found this 2006 fantasy worthy of his talents. Doctors evidently labeled it a lost cause not worth treating. It’s hard to blame either professional for hightailing it out of there after viewing ominous red flags.

As I mentioned earlier, the phrase character development remains ringing in my ear. 2003’s Underworld didn’t have much advancement in terms of character and yet for reasons unknown ($), here I am again, sitting in front of a presentation that has more questions but not more answers, except for the five-minute excerpt in which one character obviously has all the answers and proceeds to rattle them off like an expositional megaphone or an overly intoxicated person that happens to know everything there is to know about everyone. I’m unsure if this person is a Jeopardy champion in this universe or if Wiseman has a screenwriter come on screen for this part of the action. It’s as off-putting as it sounds, destroying any natural rhythm that Evolution might but probably never did have.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Captain America: Civil WarDeadpoolAvengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe Babadook)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Olympus Has FallenThe Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of Tomorrow)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Running Man10 Cloverfield LaneCreedScouts Guide to the Zombie ApocalypseCrimson Peak)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Batman ForeverThe CrowHardcore HenryBatman v Superman: Dawn of JusticePride and Prejudice and Zombies)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (UnderworldThe Do-OverX-Men: ApocalypseD-Tox/Eye See YouConstantine)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Batman & RobinBloodsportWar, The Ridiculous 6The Lost Boys)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The Crow: City of AngelsCenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (Avalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe VisitThe Fantastic Four)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for Underworld: Evolution: 48.

Teetering on the brink of extinction but adamant to remain, Underworld: Evolution breathes desperation. It’s a film willing to do anything in the name of survival, the sad, lonely and pitiful existence that it is.

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Movie Review: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

Another Statham film. I know, guys, that it seems that all I review is Statham films, but I review other things, too…sometimes.

It’s hard to describe my dedication to Statham. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a bromance, but I’m definitely a big fan of the guy, which is why when he offers me a rotten apple of a film and I’m understandably disgusted with it afterwards, I’ll still go back to the guy. I know he’ll always give it his best shot even if the tools he’s given for filming are inadequate.

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale is that and so much more and by so much more, I mean so much more trash to take to the curb. A decent cast list might be there, in Statham, John Rhys-Davies, Ron Perlman and Ray Liotta but the talent is so misused or not used at all that it’s a total waste.

Statham is Farmer. You might read that and think, “I don’t think that sentence is correct. I think there was supposed to be an ‘a’ between ‘is’ and ‘Farmer’. On the other hand, why would he capitalize Farmer?”

Doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it? Statham is Farmer is what I meant to type. His character’s name is Farmer. Really.

Calling a character by their occupation is stupid. The film will go on to say Farmer is adopted and was never given a real name so he just went by Farmer which leads me to ask, why would you name yourself after an occupation? That’s like naming yourself Burger Flipper or Garbage Man. Just imagine this dialogue for a few seconds:

“I love the way your hair flows. You’re beautiful.”

“Why thank you! My name’s Emily.”

“I’m Garbage Man.”

“Oh, you’re a garbage man? Ok, what’s your name?”

“Garbage Man.”

“Yeah, I heard that. It’s not a big deal, I can deal with that. What’s your name?”
“Garbage Man.”

“What’s your problem?”

“I don’t have a problem! My name is Garbage Man!”

Aside from completing ignoring their main protagonist, which is one of the more important aspects of character writing, In the Name of the King has no support structure to hold it up either. John Rhys-Davies is so bad in this film, it’s hard for me to fathom this is the same man who played Gimli in Lord of the Rings, easily some of the best films of all time. Ron Perlman holds no purpose in the equation and holds a winless record for me right now. He’s 0-4, starring in the two Killboy films, Pacific Rim and this butchered carcass. One of these days, perhaps a day soon, I’ll write posts discussing my winning and losing actors, actresses and directors in my little book here but for now, let’s at least try to stick with this film.

Trying is probably all that can be done with Uwe Boll’s medieval skirmish. A 4% on Rotten Tomatoes is certainly warranted and Boll has a losing record with me as well, even if it’s just 0-1 at this point.

The term “brainstorming” came to mind more than a few times during my viewing of this travesty. Was any brainstorming or pre-screening talked about with this film or did they just jump in and hope the ink pool would manifest itself onto the page? Unscrewing the pen and draining the stored ink onto the page would be just as productive. The story never divulges any deeper than the platform it was born on and shows no want to remain in our hearts and minds. It’s about having fun. If only there was fun to be had.

The acting is torturous by all parties involved, even my man Statham. He had no clue what to do with this material.

Ray Liotta looks high on acid during most of his screen time but resides as the film’s only memorable role.

The dialogue is chunkier than Chips Ahoy and is neglected by any editing from its crewman. This boat was sinking before it sailed and somehow no one, including “Captain” Boll, managed to notice.

Burt Reynolds is probably the worst of them all, starring as the king, and is pertinent ability to not give a rodent’s behind about his reputation is quite astonishing. I understand that he’s broke but maybe if he wasn’t so zealous with his earnings that wouldn’t have been a problem. Second, his problems are not my concern. There was a great tweet I read the other day from Philadelphia Eagles WR Jordan Matthews. He tweeted, “90% of people don’t care about your problems…10% are glad you have them.”

It’s cynical but it holds a lot of truth. I’m sorry, Reynolds, but I don’t care. You’ve bathed in luxury your entire life and you somehow managed to waste millions of dollars. That does not deserve pity in my opinion. If you want to go do something meaningless and make some cash, go work a 9-5 minimum wage job. Learn what it’s like to be an everyday joe because the fact that Reynolds can still profit from cobweb performances like this disgusts me. If an everyday guy would give a substandard effort, he’d get fired. If Reynolds gives a substandard effort, he still gets paid. The privileges of the upper class!

As if the clichéd characters weren’t enough, the film plagiarizes consistently. Uwe Boll clearly wanted his own Lord of the Rings but to try to attempt to make a medieval film right now is just a major no-no. The genre is basically off-limits for the next ten years, five if you’re pushing it. Regardless of whether it’s fair or not, any film that tries to breach the void will be held to the Lord of the Rings standard instead of being viewed as its own experience. The visual effects and costumes are third-rate and it’s a film devoid of fantasy dreams. This is not the world cosplayers dream of.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (American BeautyGone GirlMulanGuardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the Apes)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young Guns)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(SnowpiercerThe FamilyWhen the Game Stands TallBlack Hawk DownRed Dawn(2012))

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (TwistedParkerHouse at the End of the StreetThe RavenDead Snow)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (RageZoolanderThe Expendables 3HomefrontG.I. Joe: Retaliation)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (ErasedI, FrankensteinThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly Madison)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (SabotageGallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafeWatchmen)

My score for In the Name of the King: 21.

The action sequences are flacid, the acting turns stupendously stupid and the story arc expressionless, In the Name of the King is one of the worst films I’ve seen but somehow avoids a suckage label, if only because I love mocking this film’s attempt at seriousness.

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Movie Review: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Everyone I’ve talked to has confirmed that Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is a terrible, terrible film. Some have even gone so far as to say it’s the worst cinematic picture they’ve ever seen.

I’m at the fifteen minute mark and I haven’t seen anything that has enraged me yet. Considering this is an 88 minute affair, that’s pretty good.

The half hour mark and I’m still safe and sound. Have to admit I’m a little worried now because that means this must go into a full nosedive.

The End….What was so terrible about that?

I’m not sure what it was about this film but I really didn’t have any serious concerns with it nor could I admit to any sort of rage whatsoever. Dare I say, I had fun with this.

The concept is pretty preposterous and no realism is to be found here but it’s based on a fairy tale so I feel like the options are available for them to go haywire here and there. The action sequences were pretty solid from my angle, even though there’s no doubt Hansel and Gretel would have suffered concussions, broken ribs, separated shoulders and maybe even a punctured lung.

It’s safe to say Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters falls into the category of mindless action. Watch it, have fun, have a few laughs and move on. Wikipedia calls this an action comedy and I certainly wouldn’t call it that because Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton take this material very seriously. Really, I think everyone takes this seriously. No one is acting like this is time to screw around and I don’t think there’s ever a shift to the tone of this film at any point. Considering the opening sequence starts with Hansel and Gretel burning a witch alive, I don’t think there are many giggles or gut-busters in this film.

I’m not sure how this film got an R-rating. Aside from a small nude scene that was no longer than 15 seconds and really didn’t need to be there in the first place, there’s nothing overly sexual here and the violence never reaches the carnage level of brutality most films that have that label reach. Some of the kills are so absurd you smirk at them. I’d be surprised if anyone was shaking in their chair because of what they’ve seen. Given all that, I’m curious why they went for the R-rating. Hansel and Gretel feels like a PG-13 film in every way, from the witty lines to the action sequences.

The attitude is dark and deadly serious but the production quality is where the “comedy” parts come in. Some of it is just not good, especially some of the blood effects but I think everyone knows that, including those involved with this film. It was produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay and if you know anything about those guys, it’s that they live and breathe comedy. They don’t sponsor action films. Obviously they found some of the dark humor funny enough to give it a couple bucks.

The plot is blunt and while there was one major question I had early on, the film retreated back to give me an answer to it. I didn’t find any bloated plot holes or script discrepancies.

Finally, the acting was concrete. I haven’t seen Jeremy Renner in much but I have a favorable opinion of him so far. This didn’t change that and I think it actually won him a few points in my book. I think he’s a little flamboyant and he doesn’t seem to fear any role or what anyone may think of him and I admire that fearless trait and not letting other people hold you back.

It was nice to see Gemma Arterton in something other than Clash of the Titans. Really, really didn’t like Clash of the Titans.

Just as it was nice to see Gemma Arterton removed from that shoddy material, it was cool to see Famke Janssen out of the grasp of the X-Men films for more than five seconds. I know she’s got to have talent but she never seems to get a chance to show it because she’s always tied down and judged because of Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand. I really enjoyed her ferocity and enthusiasm in this role.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Guardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the ApesTransformers: Age of ExtinctionJack ReacherGodzilla)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Tears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young GunsCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(Red Dawn(2012)MaleficentRise of the Planet of the ApesTransporter 2Battle: Los Angeles)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyThe TransporterSpeedGodzilla(1998)The Incredible Hulk)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (HomefrontG.I. Joe: RetaliationVantage PointThe Starving GamesYou’re Next)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly MadisonA Haunted House300: Rise of an EmpireCowboys and Aliens)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Planet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice, The Contract)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (X-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (WatchmenClash of the TitansA Haunted House 2Open GraveAlien 3)

My score for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters: 66.

I don’t know if you would call this a guilty pleasure because I’m not sure if I’ll watch it again, but I certainly found Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters to be an enjoyable experience, even if there’s no overall message or lesson to take away from it aside from “Don’t eat the candy.”

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