La Horde (2009) – [rate 3]
In recent years, some excellent horror has come out of France (Inside and Martyrs were shown at previous AFFF editions) and I suppose it was only a matter of time before a typical zombiemovie was added to the list.
La Horde is likely to feel as a fresh take on the genre by those who don’t play a lot of computer games. It pits a number of highly unlikely heroes in an urban environment against an unstoppable horde of zombies. It offers no explanation for the source of the sudden breakout, nor does it offer any particular background as to why and when this is happening – to its credit in my opinion.
But considering the typical demographic this type of movie will reach, assuming they don’t play a lot of videogames is a bit of a stretch. And those that do won’t be able to watch La Horde without Left 4 Dead popping into their minds every couple of minutes. It’s definitely an original story that has little to do with that game, but the styling, the setting and the flow of the movie all reminded me of L4D.
And although the movie has great sound design, is properly scored, looks good in every way and has all the right actors in all the right places, it’s not really about anything. Sure, the cops have to work with the robbers and that yields some results, but nothing much beyond the predictable. Most zombie movies have an agenda, but in La Horde, it’s either absent or too subtle for yours truly.
Still a good watch if you really like zombie flicks in general.
Malice in Wonderland (2009) – [rate 3.5]
Having recently seen the new Alice in Wonderland, it was interesting to watch this adaptation of the classic to fit the current day London underworld. Amusing translations, like the Mad Hatter getting angry at Alice for eating all his cakes – in Malice, the Mad Hairdresser (who happens to be a madam as well) gets angry at Alice for “losing her tarts”, because she drive a truck full of prostitutes down the road without closing the doors and some inevitably fall off.
It’s that kind of gags that make Malice enjoyable, as well as the inventive adaptation of the story to the plight of a 21th century well-to-do teenager. The acting is a bit flaky and the production isn’t top-notch either, but it doesn’t get in the way of the movie and overall it’s worth seeing.
(2010) – [rate 3.5]
A typical Philip K. Dick type of story, this is not a bad science fiction movie at all. It tells of a near future where expensive cybernetic implants have become commonplace, but are very expensive to produce. People take on insane financial plans to save their lives and when they can no longer pay the bills, the repo man comes around to take back the company property.
You can pretty much see where that’s going and the movie couples it with a buddy movie of the ‘military buddies sticking together’ kind. The plot develops in a decent enough way and though it loses some of its pace halfway through, I found the ending redeeming.
But I did have many issues with it. The characters are stereotypical even though the movie offers ample opportunity to change that. Also, I was incredibly annoyed by the blatant Volkswagen ads that appear every few minutes, with no bearing on the story whatsoever. I would recommend that people who rip and torrent this movie take those scenes out, for the same reasons they take commercials out of TV series. (of course, you shouldn’t be doing that kind of stuff in the first place, but you know what I’m saying…)
If you like dystopic scifi and don’t mind a bit of very graphic body horror, this is probably going to be right up your alley. It sure beats watching pointless torture porn like Saw XIV and it has some interesting themes, but don’t expect a masterpiece.
Hellboy (2004) – [rate 2.0]
After watching Hellboy II on the big screen, I felt the need to rewatch Hellboy, since I’d missed the middle part the first time I watched it and never gave it a good look. One thing I immediately noticed is how much Hellboy and Hellboy II are the same. The story, the characters and even some of the visual jokes and action scenes are so much the same that, in retrospect, I should really lower the score (3.5) I gave Hellboy II. Continue reading Hellboy
Hellboy II: the Golden Army (2008) – [rate 3.5]
The signature style of Guillermo del Toro and Mike Mignola’s comic universe of Hellboy and the BPRD mix surprisingy well in this fantasy action thriller. Although the story is fairly straightforward and bears little hidden meaning, it’s entertaining and it looks great on the big screen. With a fantastic universe that’s likely to remind you strongly of del Toro’s recent Pan’s Labyrinth, the movie has its own feel, but lacks real originality, both in story and in setting. What originality it has, it lends from the comic book intellectual property of Mignola. Continue reading Hellboy II: the Golden Army
Wanted (2008) – [rate 2.5]
Wanted makes you wonder about the merits of rating movies with stars. Rating a movie with stars relates it to all other movies you’ve seen sofar, nevermind the genre, age or other attributes. Wanted is a pretty good movie if all you were looking for is entertainment, but it misses quite a few marks if you try to put it into a specific category of movies. Continue reading Wanted
Hancock (2008) – [rate 2]
When I initially saw the posters for Hancock, I thought nothing of it. Just another action flick to be ignored. But I let myself be trapped by reviewers who gave it more than the benefit of the doubt and awarded it decent marks. Frankly, I don’t really see why. Continue reading Hancock
The Dark Knight (2008) – [rate 5]
I’ve commented before on the effect of a story being told as a comic before becoming a movie. In the Dark Knight (and starting in Batman Begins (2005)) Christopher Nolan takes Batman in an entirely new direction, if you only take the previous movies as a reference. But if you like the relatively new series of Batman comics, Legends of the Dark Knight, you’ll see that Nolan is merely taking cinematic Batman on the same road as his paper counterpart. Continue reading The Dark Knight
The 300 Spartans (1962) – [rate 2.5]
It’s always hard to judge an movie in the action genre when it’s well over 4 decades old. On the one hand, you want to compare it to contemporary pieces, but on the other hand what really matters is whether you would recommend to anyone now. This becomes even harder when the movie has since been remade with up to date technology, with modern action iconography and choreography to look back on. Continue reading The 300 Spartans