Author Topic: Achim's entirely random reviews  (Read 14732 times)

Offline Achim

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Achim's entirely random reviews
« on: August 23, 2009, 11:58:15 AM »
I am not planning to do this in any regular shape or form. Just sometimes, when I feel like recommending a film or warning you of a bad one maybe, will I use this thread.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2009, 12:03:24 PM by Achim »

Offline Achim

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Let The Right One In
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2009, 12:03:57 PM »
MOVIE / DVD INFO:

Original Title: Låt Den Rätte Komma In
Year: 2008
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Rating: 15
Length: 115 Min.
Video: Widescreen 2.35:1
Audio: Swedish: DTS 5.1, Swedish: Dolby Digital 5.0, Commentary: Dolby Digital Stereo
Subtitles: English

Stars:
Kåre Hedebrant
Lina Leandersson
Per Ragnar
Henrik Dahl
Karin Bergquist

Plot:
Twelve year old Oskar is an outsider, struggling to fit in at school and left alone to fend for himself at home whilst his mother works nights. One evening he meets the mysterious Eli. As a sweet romance blossoms between them, Oskar learns to overcome his tormentors and discovers Eli's dark secret and the connections to the gruesome events occuring across town. Together they must help Eli be gone and live, or stay and die.

Brutal, bloody and tender, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN weaves friendship, rejection and loyalty into a disturbing and darkly atmospheric, yet poetic and unexpectedly tender tableau of adolescence.

Extras:
Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes
Gallery

My Thoughts:
While technically a vampire film (while the overview doesn't say so, I think this is not a spoiler...) the main focus is on the love story not on the horror. Yes, it's a love story among 12-year olds, but as they are pre-teen everything is very innocent and pure, without any sexual implications (as pointed out by the director during the commentary). It's all about the two characters getting to know each other and finding that they should be together. Oskar is heavily bullied at school and has to learn to deal with that situation, the relationship with Eli giving him emotional support on his path.

The story unfolds very slowly and quietly, even the few scenes of violence (rather graphical, too) are not emphasized by overly dramatic music or sound design. The whole film has a rather sad atmosphere, emphasized by the lack of color, border-lining on depressing (as my friend out it). Many ideas and concepts are shown or implied in the film which makes it a rather dark affair, providing many discussion points. Of course all that serves the story, it's just not something you want to get into lightly.

Very enjoyable was that they kept all (most) the well known rules for vampires, such as the bite marks on the neck, sensitivity towards sunlight and having to be invited in.
(click to show/hide)




I recommend listening to the director's and author's commentary. They talk rather slow (I assume partly because English is not their first language) and often simply explain what you see, but in other parts they discuss important ideas how things could be interpreted. For example they explain the meaning of the Rubik's cube early on in the film (it's a reference to Hellraiser) and give one possible explanation of the ending.

Note:
While the Blu-ray is labeled Region B it actually does play in Region A players, even the PS3 (which is PAL sensitive). The only feature I couldn't access was the Photo Gallery.

Offline Achim

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Re: Achim's entirely random reviews
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2009, 12:27:10 PM »
MOVIE / DVD INFO:

Title: Coraline
Year: 2009
Director: Henry Selick
Rating: PG
Length: 101 Min.
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1
Audio: English: DTS HD Master Audio, Spanish: DTS 5.1, French: DTS 5.1, Commentary: Dolby Digital Stereo
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

Stars:
Dakota Fanning
Teri Hatcher
Jennifer Saunders
Dawn French
Keith David

Plot:
From the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas comes a visually stunning stop-motion animated feature – the first to be originally filmed in 3-D! Discover how the filmmakers and artisans created the magical handmade world of Coraline, exclusively in this 2-Disc Collector's Edition!

Coraline Jones is bored in her new home until she finds a secret door that leads her into a world that's just like her own...but better! But when this fantastical adventure turns dangerous and her "other" Mother tries to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness and bravery to get home. Coraline is a "visual marvel" (Claudia Puig, USA Today).

Extras:
Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes
Featurettes
2D, 3D versions, DVD, Digital copy, BD Live, U-Control

My Thoughts:
A beautiful film, deserving all the praise it has received. Wonderfully executed (Henry Selick obviously obviously knows what he is doing, and in that reminds of the people at Pixar a lot) and due to its digital source beautifully represented on Blu-ray (and probably DVD as well).

I found the story to be far more grown-up than the PG rating would suggest. Lots of jokes seemed to be targeted at an adult audience and the second half of the film is scary and has almost dark themes. Maybe I am just old fashioned that way...?

There is not really much more about the story I can tell, the overview says all you need to know. It's ultimately all in the details...


RossRoy

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Re: Achim's entirely random reviews
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2009, 01:12:12 PM »

Title: Coraline

Thanks for the review Achim. Guess I now have to get it even more than I did before!  :laugh:

Offline Achim

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Re: Achim's entirely random reviews
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2009, 02:04:58 PM »
Thanks for the review Achim. Guess I now have to get it even more than I did before!  :laugh:
If you liked the trailer already, then by all means! I had by far not the feeling that the trailer gave away the best bits and the friend I watched it with loved it all the same.

Offline goodguy

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Re: Achim's entirely random reviews
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2009, 05:30:12 PM »
Title: Coraline

Did you watch the 2-D or the 3-D version? I just peeked into the 3-D version a little. While the 3-D effects are sometimes really nice (the mice, the hands), the colors get really murky. I suppose that's always a problem with 3-D - I have no experience in that regard as I have actually never seen a 3-D movie before.
Matthias

Offline Achim

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Re: Achim's entirely random reviews
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2009, 07:07:39 AM »
Did you watch the 2-D or the 3-D version? I just peeked into the 3-D version a little. While the 3-D effects are sometimes really nice (the mice, the hands), the colors get really murky. I suppose that's always a problem with 3-D - I have no experience in that regard as I have actually never seen a 3-D movie before.
I watched 2D for 2 reasons. First I had read a review saying that the 3D is good in parts but being the color-3D it is it messes up the color schemes of the film and should really be seen as an add-on gimmick. Secondly the friend I watched it with is color blind (I think green-red) so even it's purple-red here we decided not even to try.

So yes, you are right, it's a common problem with color 3D that color gets reduced to a far simpler scheme, often appearing like "green-red black & white". Maybe next year this issue gets resolved, as it seems Sony plans to release a stereoscopic TV using those "grey" glasses (like they use in the cinema now) allowing for almost normal coloring.

Offline goodguy

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Re: Achim's entirely random reviews
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2009, 06:32:58 PM »
...using those "grey" glasses (like they use in the cinema now) allowing for almost normal coloring.

I didn't even know that there was another way to do it than what you call "Color 3-D".  :-[

Anyway, I have now watched both versions, the 3-D one while listening to Selick's commentary. As you said, it really is more of a gimmick. There are some nice effects, especially when something jumps out of the screen. But I had a slight headache afterwards from viewing it.

As for the "real" movie. Overall, I really liked it, but it is a bit padded out at times. Selick has expanded and changed the story to make it into a full-length feature. I don't think that was a good idea. The shorter Corps Bride and Nightmare before Christmas work better.

Also, while Coraline seems to be a big technical advancement in stop-motion animation, that advancement and the mix with CGI actually makes it less interesting. In Nightmare, you could tell you were looking at puppets, in Coraline it becomes increasingly difficult. For me, that takes away some of the magic.
Matthias

Najemikon

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Re: Achim's entirely random reviews
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2009, 06:36:27 PM »
Overall, I really liked it, but it is a bit padded out at times. Selick has expanded and changed the story to make it into a full-length feature. I don't think that was a good idea. The shorter Corps Bride and Nightmare before Christmas work better.

I haven't seen the film, but the original book by Neil Gaiman is pretty short. Can easily be read in one sitting, and that's one sitting by anyone's definition... ;)

Offline goodguy

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Re: Achim's entirely random reviews
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2009, 06:43:44 PM »
I haven't seen the film, but the original book by Neil Gaiman is pretty short.

Yeah, Gaiman said in the Making-of his story would probably only be a 45min movie. Selick's version runs 1h40min.
Matthias

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Re: Achim's entirely random reviews
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2010, 11:20:34 AM »
MOVIE / DVD INFO:

Title: Where the Wild Things Are
Year: 2009
Director: Spike Jonze
Rating: PG
Length: 101 Min.
Video: Widescreen 2.40:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio: 5.1, French: Dolby Digital: 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital: 5.1, Portuguese: Dolby Digital: 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish

Stars:
Max Records
Pepita Emmerichs
Max Pfeifer
Madeleine Greaves
Joshua Jay

Plot:
Nine-year-old Max runs away from home and sails across the sea to become king of a wondrous realm of gigantic fuzzy monsters – but being king may not be as carefree as it looks! Filmmaker Spike Jonze directs a magical, visually astonishing film. version of Maurice Sendak's celebrated classic exploring the joyous and wild rumpus of the time - and place we call childhood.

Extras:
Scene Access
Featurettes

My Thoughts:
Usually a good thing when the film's message is not in your face the whole time, here I was missing the clarity at times. The film is rolling along having fun with Max and the Wild Things and only near the end the meaning becomes obvious. Maybe what I was missing a bit was more of a gradual growth for Max...? Maybe I was looking at it the wrong way, but the occasional realization of Max was not clear enough to me. But I am nitpicking, really.

The transition to the Wild Thing's world is done with a safety net, like indicating that Max is dreaming really. Only the one shot of Max pulling away from shore with the boat has an unreal quality to it, but it should only be obvious to those looking for such a hint (like I was :bag:).

The Wild Things are awesome and an enjoyment to look at. Especially their expressions with the eyes and their mouth movements are excellent (the latter supposedly mostly real, only improved via CGI; I am not sure though). Max Records is bringing all subtleties of Max"s feelings across wonderfully. I was a bit baffled by Mark Ruffalo being in this and then only being on screen for about 1 or 2 minutes...


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Assault on Precinct 13
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2010, 06:31:06 PM »
MOVIE / DVD INFO:


Title: Assault on Precinct 13
Year: 1976
Director: John Carpenter (1948)
Rating: R
Length: 91 Min.
Video: Widescreen 2.35:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio: 5.1, English: Dolby Digital: Mono, Commentary: Dolby Digital: 2-Channel Stereo, Music Only: Dolby Digital: Mono
Subtitles: English, Spanish

Stars:
Austin Stoker
Darwin Joston
Laurie Zimmer
Martin West
Tony Burton

Plot:
Isolated, cut off. Inside an abandoned police station, a handful of cops and some convicts on their way to Death Row must join forces and defend themselves against the gang called Street Thunder, who have taken a bloody oath to destroy.

From the director of Halloween andThe Thing, ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 combines elements of the classic western and modern thriller to create a cult favorite, one of John Carpenter's very best films.

Extras:
Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Feature Trailers
Gallery
Interviews
Radio Spots

My Thoughts:
Basically a remake of Rio Bravo, this is only John Carpenter's second movie, counting his student film Dark Star.

Tightly scripted, with sparse effective dialog and most importantly some tough yet likable characters. The first 30-45min are all setup, slowly moving all characters towards the precinct where the siege takes place. It is made clear that the otherwise mainly faceless enemies don't care whether they survive the night.

Acting is quite well and for such low budget film the production values are good. This gets better for me with each viewing!


Offline Achim

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Re: Achim's entirely random reviews
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2010, 03:00:37 PM »
MOVIE / DVD INFO:

Title:Warrior King [Tom yum goong]
Year: 2005
Director: Prachya Pinkaew
Rating: 18
Length: 106 Min.
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Audio: Thai: Dolby Digital: 5.1, Thai: DTS: 5.1
Subtitles: English

Stars:
Tony Jaa
Petchtai Wongkamlao [Phetthtai Wongkhamlao]
Bongkod Kongmalai
Jin Xing
Nathan Jones [Nathan B. Jones]

Plot:
Hot on the heels of his incredible ass-kicking performance in Ong-bak, the greatest action hero of the decade, Tony Jaa, is back in Warrior King - with a bigger budget, a Western setting and even more of his amazing trademark "no wireworks, no CGI, no stunt doubles" action!
Thai village boy, Kham's peaceful world is rocked when illegal animal smugglers kidnap his precious pet elephants, stealing them away to the seedy underworld of Australia's Sydney to meet a dubious end. They have picked the wrong guy to mess with: the elephants are like family to Kham, and he sets out to bring them back, beating to a pulp anyone who stands in his way.
His journey pitches him against one fierce opponent after another, each more skilled and deadly then the last- the perfect recipe for the most bone-crunching , jaw-dropping action ever!

Extras:
Scene Access
Feature Trailers
Featurettes
Multi-angle

My Thoughts:
A Thai action flick with Tony Jaa. Oddly paced, it seems to run out of steam at about 45min in (not that I expected a deep story from this movie...). However, they then threw in some more plot elements to get the movie along to the end at a breakneck pace again. While in overall the story just serves it's purpose, it was involving enough to keep me entertained between the fight sequences; what more can you ask. Along with all of that comes a animal rights message, not overly heavy handed, just enough to get your brain going a little bit.

The fight sequences are the real focus of this film. They are quite violent, which is enhanced by the sound design (lots of bone crunching noises which occasionally made me flinch on the couch :laugh:) and big thuds for the fists or feet landing on opponent's body parts. Most impressive is the scene where the fight goes up on a big round staircase, filmed in one continuous shot which is approx. 4min long; must have been a stunt coordinator's nightmare but came out incredibly well :thumbup: The final fight is extremely vicious and pits Tony first against a horde of minions and then against some rather large western guys. It goes on for a long time without outstaying its welcome. Loads of broken bones in this one, I still wonder whether it was well applied prosthetics or CGI.

So, nothing that will cause long discussions afterwards, but if you are looking for well done martial arts with a punch behind them (pun partially intended), then look no further.


Najemikon

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Re: Achim's entirely random reviews
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2010, 07:33:19 PM »
I remember doing a review for this. Not here, but somewhere...  :hmmmm: I seem to remember liking the staircase, but just about nothing else. The story was terrible and it wasn't a patch on Ong Bak. I was really surprised just how different they were.

Offline Achim

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Re: Achim's entirely random reviews
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2010, 05:57:07 AM »
I remember doing a review for this. Not here, but somewhere...  :hmmmm: I seem to remember liking the staircase, but just about nothing else. The story was terrible and it wasn't a patch on Ong Bak. I was really surprised just how different they were.
While the story is not great, in this kind of film you have to giver points for trying :laugh: I remember Ong-Bak's story being just the same, basically the means to get the main character from one fight to the next...? I mean, they clearly tried adding some meaning by bringing in the animal issue and the Thai-Australian cop even has character development! Who would have thunk?

So, sure, I mainly liked it for the fights, but it's Tony Jaa, so who are we to expect seep complex story?