Month: March 2013

Domino (2005)

At one point in Domino, the main characters ingest the drug mescaline, which causes them to crash their vehicle, as it’s apparently hard to function normally while on such a drug. Given the way that the film was put together — the odd camera angles, the rapid-fire editing, the tint that made everything seem a little bit off — I would have assumed that the characters were always on mescaline. Nothing changes stylistically when they do the drug; we just see how it makes them happy and unable to properly control their tour bus. Perhaps it’s the filmmakers who were on mescaline when putting Domino together. Or it’s just Tony Scott being too self-indulgent once again, trying to make a film with style and energy — and nothing more. It’s loosely based on the real life Domino Harvey, but before the film starts it tells us that it’s only “kinda” using her life as an inspiration, and before the credits roll, Domino herself lets us know that we’re never going to learn what’s real and what was made up just for the movie. As such, and because I’m far too lazy and uncaring to actually look up what Domino’s life was like, I’m going to assume that anything that seemed to crazy to be true probably was. Domino wants us to believe that she, a model-turned-bounty-hunter, teamed up with...

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Camp (2003)

While Camp might not necessarily be a good movie, I can somewhat understand its appeal. Here is a film about a musical theater summer camp, one where relationships and performances go hand-in-hand. Most of the kids at the camp are outcasts, and they all have to go through their own minor coming-of-age storyline before the end. They’ll grow, either learning to accept their “uniqueness,” or to become more normal. How many movies about self-expression wind up favoring the latter? The main character is Vlad (Daniel Letterle), who is, as far as we can tell, the only straight guy at this camp, which is populated almost entirely by gay males and females. Of course, he’s more sexually ambiguous than most people initially assume — the film toys with whether he’s really as sure of his sexuality as he thinks — for reasons that would be spoilers. He’s the lead because we spend the most time with him, although there are a series of other interesting, if shallow, characters we’ll get to know along the way. It’s more of an ensemble film about the camp experience than a character drama about Vlad. I suppose claiming that we’ll “get to know” these other characters is a bit of an exaggeration. I’m not sure if I could name anyone else but Vlad without looking at a cast list online. It’s not so much...

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Movie Review of ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ (2013)

2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra had franchise potential written all over it, yet the flick severely underperformed at the box office, leaving sequel talks dead in the water for a few years. And now Paramount are trying again with G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which looks to start afresh with a new slate of characters. It was a golden opportunity for a different creative team to course-correct the series, and the effort thankfully pays off. Though not perfect, Retaliation is an enormously enjoyable actioner, benefiting from astute direction and a sharp script courtesy of Zombieland scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. This is easily the best movie produced under the Hasbro banner, clearing perhaps the lowest cinematic bar known to humanity. With a nuclear threat brewing in the Middle East, the G.I. Joe military group, led by Commander Duke (Channing Tatum), are sent to Pakistan to diffuse the situation. The Joes save the day again, only to be betrayed in a deadly strike that decimates the team. The only survivors of the attack are Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona), who suspect that the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce) has been replaced by master of disguise Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), a member of the Cobra unit. Once the Cobra Commander (voiced by Robert Baker) is broken out of prison by Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) and Firefly (Ray Stevenson), a scheme...

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Muay Thai Warrior

No, this movie is not the latest Tony Jaa film (like I’m sure a lot of people would think by the name.)  Instead, the movie has a Japanese protagonist.  Based on a true story, the film starred Seigi Ozeki in the lead role as a betrayed samurai that learns Muay Thai.  And it was directed by Noppom Watim, featuring some really well done fight scenes throughout.  Also, this movie is also known as Yamada: the Samurai of Ayothaya. The movie began with the titular samurai being betrayed and left for dead by the same group of samurai he had sworn allegiance.  He only survived, thanks to the warriors from a local Siamese (Thai) village.  Over time, he found himself growing more and more fond of the Siamese people than of the people of his homeland.  Eventually, he was taught Muay Boran (the pre-cursor to Muay Thai, otherwise known as Thai boxing) and very quickly mastered it.  This led to him being chosen as one of the elite Siamese warriors in a contest with the neighboring Burma (called Myanmar in the subtitles).  His side won, and he developed a brotherhood bond with one of the fellow members of his village (as well as a potential love interest with another, but that was never fully developed).  Eventually, he chose to face the Samurai that betrayed him as a way to keep...

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The Host (2013)

The Host — the latest overlong adaptation of a Stephenie Meyer novel — is terrible. There. I said it. Spoiler for the rest of the review: It will be one where almost nothing good is said about the movie. I had a dreadful time watching this movie. I hated almost every second that it played, and I felt sorry for everyone involved in its production, as well as anyone who is going to go see it. It has its target audience, I’m sure, but I could take nothing good away from this film. Starting off with a similar idea to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Host eventually transitions into one of the worst romance stories you’ll be able to see captured on film. The world has been taken over by aliens who consume the minds of humans everywhere, and continue to do everything that we do, except better. A voice-over at the beginning informs us that the environment has been fixed, nobody starves anymore, and there’s no war. Everything is perfect, save for a few survivors of the takeover. These rebels fight for their freedom, even though the aliens are more sympathetic — a problem already, but not the biggest one. Our hero is Melanie (Saoirse Ronan), who almost dies in her first scene. Almost captured by the “bad guys,” she decides to jump from a fifth story...

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