Thursday, January 19, 2012

Retro Reviews

Hey, did you check out the new link on the sidebar? It's a list with links to all the movie reviews I've written to date. And as I was compiling this list, I decided to go rummaging through my old blog to see if I couldn't dig up a few of my reviews that predate this blog. So then, here's a handful of "retro reviews". They're not exactly my best quality stuff, and a few of my opinions have changed slightly over the years, particularly those concerning The Dark Knight and Revenge of the Sith. But even so, it's still kind of interesting to go back and see what I thought of these movies at the time and how I rated things back then.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
(originally posted May 22, 2005)

Just saw Episode III tonight. Holy shit, this movie was awesome! I think this may very well be the best Star Wars movie made! I'm not even exaggerating, it's that good! The dialogue is poorly delivered at times, but that's the only problem I had with the movie, and it's something that was a problem with every Star Wars movie, so I can't really hold that against it. This movie just ruled, though. It was just full of pure emotion, and despite the fact that I knew the ending going into it, it just sucked me right in anyways. And some of the fight scenes were just wicked. The action in this movie was top notch stuff. By far and away better than Episodes I and II, and I think it may very well be better than IV, V, and VI as well. Great stuff here, and a great flick to kick off the summer. George Lucas finally got it right with one of these prequels!

(originally posted September 6, 2006)

The 2006 movie of the year is Crank. Without a doubt, this movie is the best thing to hit theaters since Star Wars III. I was hooked from the first time I saw the trailer for this movie. Some people said this looked like it was gonna be The Transporter 3 based on the previews, but I had never seen any of those movies, and was never really interested in seeing them either, so I can't really make the connection myself. But unlike the Transporter movies, the previews for Crank had me very interested. "My name is Chev Chelios, and today's the day that I die." That line in particular caught my attention the first time I saw the trailer, and the more I looked into the movie, the more awesome it seemed, and the more I had to see it for myself. I went in with high expectations, and not only did this movie deliver, it somehow managed to surpass what I had expected of it.

Just non-stop adrenaline pumping action from start to finish, there's never a dull moment here. And not only is this movie filled to the brim with bad ass action scene after bad ass action scene, it's a visual feast for the eyes as well. Many unique filming techniques are used here, which compliments the fast paced, and sometimes messed up mood of the movie very well. Not to mention there is some awesome music choices here. Hearing Refused's "New Noise" in particular was a pleasant surprise, and a perfect song that fit this movie well. The story's kind of simple, but going into a movie like this, I don't need, nor necessarily want a complex story. And Jason Statham is absolutely awesome here. He played the part of a frantic vengeful hitman on the verge of death perfectly.

This movie is absolutely fantastic. If you haven't seen it yet, then what the hell are you waiting for? Go see Crank! Now! Do it! Go go go go go!

Underworld: Evolution
(originally posted December 28, 2006)

Kate Beckinsale, the hottest woman in the world, has never looked better, and for those of you who've seen the original, get ready to fall in love with her all over again. This is the Underworld sequel about an ongoing underground war between vampires and lycans. I felt that this movie was pretty much on par with the original, not really better, but not really any worse, either. Where the original was set more in an urban environment, this one changes the scenery a bit to a more old time middle age type setting, and the change works quite well. It prevents giving us basically the same movie all over again, instead giving us a fresh perspective in the story that picks up right where we left off in the last one. Evolution is filled with beautiful action scenes and an interesting story that'll make you want to go back and rewatch both movies again.

Jackass: Number Two
(originally posted December 28, 2006)

I haven't laughed so hard at a movie since Bad Santa. Rarely will I consider a comedy one of the top movies of the year, however this year, Jackass: Number Two just has to be added. This is a genuinely hilarious movie that's even funnier than the original, though it's also a helluva lot grosser, too. Watch it with a group of friends, and get drunk!

(originally posted December 28, 2006)

I hadn't seen a Saw movie until about a month before this movie released. I had originally just shrugged the whole series off as just another horror series, but once I finally watched Saw II, I instantly fell in love with it. I had never seen a movie quite like this before, the brilliant twists, the sickening traps, how everything just ties together almost perfectly, the Saw series had immediately become my favorite series in the horror genre, and I had to see Saw III when it came out.

Sure enough, it met my expectations, and is possibly the best in the series, with some of the best twists and torture games yet. The ending to this one I felt was more messed up than anything else I'd seen in either of the other movies, and it's also one of the best twists in the whole series. I love how they continue to tie everything together throughout all of the movies, and not just the current one we're watching, making the series as a whole feel important. Apparently there's a Saw IV scheduled for next year, though with the way this one ended, I'm not quite sure how they can do another Saw movie. Still, it's already a must see movie of 2007.

(As it turned out, Saw IV sucked.)

V For Vendetta
(originally posted December 28, 2006)

I couldn't stop hearing people talk about this movie all year long. And finally, the day after Christmas, I managed to watch this film for myself. It was so good that I just had to watch it again right then and there, and so I watched it a second time. And upon that second viewing, I had confirmed to myself that this movie was in fact everything that I'd heard it was, and then some. It caught me off guard how much this movie exceeded my expectations for it, and I think it may even be not only the best film of 2006, but the best comic book film to date as well, topping even Spider-Man and Batman Begins.

There's just so many brilliant scenes and quotes in this movie that I've continued to play in my head over and over even when I'm not watching. And the transformation that we witness the various characters go through is just stunning, in particular the beautiful Natalie Portman as Evey, who still looks hot even with a shaved head. Hugo Weaving as V shows more emotion behind a mask throughout the entire film than most people do without one. And his story of vengeance against the corrupt government, and his revolution for a new free world will stick with you and make you think like no other movie this year. V For Vendetta is one of the best movies I've ever seen. I can't recommend this movie enough, and I can't believe it took me this long to finally see it myself. If you still haven't seen V For Vendetta, don't wait any longer.

(originally posted January 18, 2008)

So I saw Cloverfield today, a movie I've been hyped about since the first teaser played during Transformers. I was very pleased with what I saw, as this movie met most of my expectations. The whole movie is filmed in Blair Witch style, so it's obviously not for everyone. And while some people thought this a questionable way to film the whole movie, I loved the concept. I think we've pretty much seen every other way to see a big monster movie like this, and this was the freshest way left to do this film. The opening scenes in the movie do drag on a little, but once the action starts, oh, it's good!

The movie is one man's tape documenting the evening, which originally started out just being a going away party for Robert Hawkins. During the party, we're introduced to our main characters who we'll follow through the movie, which is being filmed by Rob's best friend, Hud. The party doesn't go so well for Rob, as he and the girl that he loves, Beth, don't exactly end things on the best of terms on Rob's last night in the city. That's when the shit hits the fan.

Once the monsters start to wreak havoc (there's more than one here), we follow our cast as they, along with the rest of the city, try desperately to evacuate. One voicemail later changes their plans though, as Rob receives a call from Beth that disturbs him, so he decides that he's gotta save her. That's the basics of the story here without giving too much away. So in the end, Cloverfield is a love story, but it's a damn fine one I feel.

The acting is believable for the most part I felt, though there are times where things get a bit cheesy. The action is where it's really at though. There are some absolutely awesome scenes here. It is slightly annoying at times watching with the camera shaking so much, but I think it does add to the overall effect. And yes, you do see the monsters quite a bit throughout the film, and even get quite a few very clear shots of it. But I'm okay with that, as otherwise my curiosity would just be driving me batty if we never got to see them.

Overall, this movie isn't for everybody, but I really enjoyed it myself.

The Dark Knight
(originally posted July 18, 2008)

Initial Reactions:

I struggle to think of another movie I've been more hyped to see in my life. For over a year now, the most anticipated movie I've been looking forward to has been The Dark Knight. There was absolutely no way that I wasn't gonna see the midnight showing for this one. Batman Begins was one of my favorite movies ever, and possibly the best comic book movie I've seen. It set the bar high for the sequel, and as such I went in with high expectations. For the most part, I think it met a lot of those expectations, though I'm not entirely sure at the moment just how great I think the movie really was. I certainly enjoyed every minute of it, though that's not to say it was perfect.

The one thing that caught me off guard was the length of the movie. This is a long one, a lot longer than I expected. It honestly feels like two movies merged into one, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to find out if that was in fact the case here. It works in that instead of giving us only half a story we're treated to a complete film, though in particular with the second part of the film, certain aspects of it feel cut short, if a bit rushed at moments.

Those certain aspects, to be more specific, are the Two-Face portion of the story. We have a similar effect here going on that we witnessed last year with Venom in Spider-Man 3, in that we have a new major villain introduced late in the story, with not a whole lot of time to really get to know him. This is where if given his own film to star in as the main villain, like I think was likely the original intent, then he could have had a lot more time to completely flesh his character out. Instead, his character comes off a bit one dimensional, and then it's over. I suppose it's useless hoping that they went a different rout here though, and if nothing else at least this gives us a complete story instead of making us have to wait another couple of years.

As for our other major villain, lets just say that there is absolutely no competition here. Heath Ledger completely blows Jack Nicholson's Joker out of the water. This guy stole the whole damn show quite frankly. A completely sadistic, chaotic psychopath, whose only real motive is seemingly the amusement he gets out of seeing everything around him crumble down. And I loved that we didn't get an origin for him here too, his bullshit origin stories he kept wanting to tell everyone had me floored. It'll be interesting to see how they deal with this character in later installments since, while Ledger's dead, the Joker's still alive at the end. I suppose they'll just say he was locked up though.

One thing that kinda got on my nerves here more so than it did in the first movie was the way Christian Bale talks as Batman. His gritty voice sounds so forced. Other than that though, another good performance here from Bale as well. The fights and the action sequences were a lot easier to tell what was going on this time around compared to Begins. And the story told, as I said before, was very enjoyable. Though, there are moments where things seem to be a bit too extravagant, if not convenient, if that makes sense. Despite it's flaws though, in the end, everything comes together in one complete package, and I left satisfied for the most part. I'll likely see it again, though with the length of the film fresh in mind, it probably won't be nearly as soon as I originally thought it'd be.

Updated Reactions, July 24th, 2008:

Upon further reflection and a second viewing, I've come to the conclusion that, despite its flaws, The Dark Knight truly is an absolutely phenomenal movie. The best Batman film to date, and the definitive comic book movie released thus far. If ever there was a comic book film that could be described as epic, this is that film. Seriously, so many other great films in the genre really just pale in comparison after watching the latest Batman flick. I really never even realized, for instance, just how campy the first two Batman films of the original series, Batman and Batman Returns, were until after watching this movie.

Earlier I complained about the way Two-Face was used in the film. While I still feel to a degree that the character had the potential to carry a future Batman film as it's main villain, I can accept his portrayal as being more of thematic importance to the movie over character importance. Either way though, Aaron Eckhart did a brilliant job as Harvey Dent in the film, and deserves some praise of his own among all of the well deserved Heath Ledger love running rampant.

I honestly can not recommend this movie enough. With as many records as it's broken there's a good chance that you've already seen it yourself, but even so, go see it again. And if you haven't seen it yet, well then what the hell are you waiting for? Believe in the hype on this one.


  1. "I'm Batman!"

    Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise is the best and so far, I've learned a lot about crafting villains from him. The Joker is a sick, sick villain who does bad things for fun. Two-Face is an interesting character and I can't wait what they are planning for him in "The Dark Knight Rises."

    V for Vendetta is another great movie as well. That was when I started to pay attention to Natalie Portman's work.

    The other movies: I either have no intention to watch or would like to watch in the near future (Star Wars.)

  2. It's confirmed that Two-Face actually won't be in Dark Knight Rises. After all, he did die at the end of the Dark Knight. And unlike most comic-related media, Nolan's Batman universe is based entirely around being as realistic as possible, so he won't be coming back from the dead. ;)

    And you should totally check out Star Wars if you haven't yet! Still one of my all time favorites! :D