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Disappointing finale but could've been alot worse.

Posted : 11 years, 6 months ago on 9 May 2011 01:52 (A review of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest)

The Millennium trilogy has been on such a great role after two great predecessors and the final film in the trilogy is here and after loving The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire, expectations were very high for The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest but guess what? It was such a disappointment for me but I didn't hate it. Why was it disappointing? Well, first of all the film wasn't really entertaining as a film and I just felt it went a bit flat especially after a huge build-up at the end of The Girl Who Played With Fire, it surprisingly was the most complex film of the trilogy. I mean, I can handle a lot of complex films but mixing a very complex and rather un-entertaining dialogue together just didn't work. Plus, it wasn't tense, emotional or anything. In fact, I can't think of any feeling I felt about the story and pacing of the film apart from the two words ''flat'' and ''boring''.

Despite the flaws, there were some good qualities that the film had that were strong persuasions for me not to hate it. The acting once again was splendid from pretty much everybody involved, the technical qualities such as art direction, make-up and especially cinematography was very good as well but even those didn't completely save the film. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest really was unnecessarily too long and perhaps could have been about 110 minutes long, not 150 minutes!

Recovering from her wounds in hospital, Lisbeth Salander is also in police custody. Her attacker, Alexander Zalachenko, is just down the hall from her, also recovering from his wounds. At a minimum, she is to be charged with attempted murder but it is soon evident that the forces that had Lisbeth committed to a mental institution at the age of 12 would like her to again be committed for an indefinite period. Mikael Blomkvist meanwhile is preparing a special issue of his magazine, Millennium, dedicated to demanding justice for Lisbeth. Soon however, his apartment is broken into and his colleague and lover Erika is receiving e-mail threats. He sets out to unmask the conspirators who are clearly prepared to go to great lengths to silence Lisbeth and bury their secret forever.

Michael Nyqvist is a good actor don't get me wrong and has delivered three decent performances as Mikael Blomkvist but where I think he really lacked a soul in his role in this film is that he just didn't make Blomkvist act emotional towards and about Lisbeth and just didn't show that much desperation to un-cover the truth. I seriously doubt that Daniel Craig will beat Michael Nyqvist but I'm sure he'll be good nevertheless. Noomi Rapace is officially one of the most underrated living actresses especially after her outstanding performance in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, her second great role in The Girl Who Played With Fire and another good performance in The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest (which is in fact the best quality that the film has). In all three films, Lisbeth Salander becomes almost a different person by acting more of a bad girl but looking less of a bad girl as the films progress. Even though her roles in the trilogy are extremely underrated, she needs a breakthrough performance in Hollywood.

Daniel Alfredson who directed The Girl Who Played With Fire really looked like he would do such a grand job with the final installment in the Millennium trilogy but I'm sorry, I think he just failed with this one. In a way, like Gore Verbinski with Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End seeing as the second installment had such a teasing end, expectations were very high for the final installment and to be honest, they both felt unusually boring and rushed. Admittedly, the script wasn't too bad but I think if they cut at least 15-20 minutes out, it truly would have been a fantastic film but.. wasn't to be.

Overall, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest became a disappointment for me but it wasn't entirely awful. Yeah, had one or two qualities which is exactly what a lot of disappointing films but is easily forgettable and it could have been a lot better. Now after seeing this, I am beginning to think that a remake is a bad idea but you never know. It was a disappointing finale but the trilogy itself is great that I really enjoyed and would watch regularly (except this one).

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Surprisingly a 'Thor'-nderous achievement!

Posted : 11 years, 7 months ago on 6 May 2011 01:52 (A review of Thor)

This is coming from one who had almost no knowledge of the Thor comics before seeing the film and when the trailer aired, it looked like a very enjoyable film and would have stunning effects with a lot of good fun coming out of it. However, in many ways the film both really surprised me and expectedly blew me away. As predicted, the cinematography, art direction, visual effects and the action Thor was exactly what was required: magnificent and should pull off a few Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and maybe even Best Costume Design. However, what was so surprising about Thor was how emotional it turned out to be, how gripping and epic it felt from the first shot to the last and despite that some may not believe it, Asgard and other worlds show that there could be another world like it and that the Universe is like a tree with planets on the end of the branch.

Just like Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk and the upcoming Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor is another MARVEL build-up to The Avengers which is due for release in 2012 and now after seeing this, I am even more excited about it and Thor truly is the dark horse of those films. In fact, the dark horse of all MARVEL films thus far seeing as I underestimated it to start off with and look how great it turned out to be. This does have its similarities with Ancient Greece such as the Gods and monsters within and I do think that some kind of inspiration from that went towards the Thor comic itself but it still is an absolutely fantastic MARVEL creation with such a solid, imaginative and entertaining story.

At the centre of the story is the Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. As punishment by his father King Odin or Asgard, Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.

Chris Hemsworth didn't seem entirely convincing as Thor to start off with seeing as in my opinion he looked rather flat for the character and perhaps could have picked a list of actors who looked like a better choice for Thor (my favourite pick was Paul 'Triple H' Levesque). However, he was more or less an unexpected surprise and played Thor absolutely brilliantly. Hemsworth provided everything that is the Thor character in a nutshell: badass, a heartthrob and a bad boy turned to real hero. The Thor film itself as well as the Thor character is, in my mind, MARVEL's own version of the greek mythological hero Hercules and the Gods and humans involved that are alike in so many ways and its funny that neither of them are classed as princes seeing as they are the son of a leader/king of Gods. Chris Hemsworth is one of those actors who not many people had even heard of before Thor was released but now it has been, it has truly become his breakthrough performance and hope to see more great roles in the near future, including The Avengers coming up in 2012.

Natalie Portman makes her return in a summer blockbuster for the first time since Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith and guess what? She delivers exactly what you expect of her: brilliant acting by playing such a lovable character which wasn't really a huge surprise although her appearance in Thor made the film even more interesting. Jane Foster had so many similarities with Megara in Hercules (apart from being a scientist) due to the at-first oddness about Hercules and then binding love for him despite being so different. The great Sir Anthony Hopkins makes an appearance as King Odin (father of Thor) and to no surprise, gave a great performance. The character Odin had a lot of similarities with Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator who was portrayed by the late Richard Harris by both looks and personality and how they act towards their younger protégés. Stellen Skarsgard, Tom Hiddleston, Kat Dennings and Idris Elba gave good performances too. Also, keep an eye out for Jeremy Renner in this film. His role may be minor but his appearance of what we saw was pretty awesome.

Speaking for perhaps a lot of people who thought Kenneth Branagh as director of Thor was really surprising but my response to it was ''Uhh.. What?'' especially the fact that his previous works as director have been films based on plays by the great William Shakespeare (Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet) so, yeah films totally different. Anyway, I as well as a lot of people were proven wrong and truly did underestimate Branagh's directorial role in Thor. They perhaps couldn't have found a better director now after watching it and it makes us all think now that if Bryan Singer, Brett Ratner, Jon Favreau or anyone else who has been the director of a MARVEL film before could have made it too soppy and like a lot of Hollywood crap we see nowadays. The action scenes were filmed unbelievably seeing as during throughout every single part, it really looked like real action rather than overloaded CGI effects like in a lot of films we see nowadays. I hope Kenneth Branagh considers making another action film like Thor or maybe even the sequel if planned because he went somewhere really special with this one and is bound to blow the audience away and totally surprise them.

Overall, Thor is such an entertaining, epic and highly intense MARVEL film that is perhaps is the dark-horse of summer blockbusters in 2011 (maybe even of the entire year) and was a surprisingly amazing film and the same thing could be said for J.J. Abram's Star Trek in summer 2009. It is definitely the best MARVEL film in years (probably the best one since Spider-Man 2 in 2004). If this doesn't pull off a few Academy Award nominations, they will need a brutal beating! Amazingly, Thor manages to provide both typical Hollywood and something that we haven't seen before or at least something that we haven't seen for a long time: a comic adaptation with a strong soul and was in a word; epic. I didn't see the film in 3D but even after watching it, I wasn't entirely convinced that a 3D release of the film was a good idea but Thor is still a brilliant film nevertheless. Thor will bring even more excitement to The Avengers! Speaking of which, if you are about to see the film at the cinema and are reading this review, make sure you stay until the ending credits for one last exciting build-up scene.

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Great remake of a great film!

Posted : 11 years, 7 months ago on 4 May 2011 12:11 (A review of Let Me In)

Until recent years, there have been English language remakes of foreign language films and like remakes in general, they flopped or became great successes. However, regarding Let Me In, expectations weren't very high because I was at first against the idea of an American remake having loved the original Swedish version Let The Right One In and I ended up surprised at how good this film really was although I still prefer the original version. There were many positive signs about this film seeing as it almost spits in the face of those atrocious American fantasy horror films we see nowadays, the filming of it was just splendid and the acting was so good.

However, what were the negative key points and weaknesses within Let Me In? First of all, it felt like a typical Hollywood film and didn't quite bring anything new to the screen whether part of the original version or not, secondly it didn't bring anything new that we hadn't already seen before and thirdly, it wasn't as scary or as emotional as the Swedish version was. Then again, the third point could be because I (as well as those who have seen the Swedish version) perhaps knew what was coming so this perhaps is a film that is more for fun entertainment than anything else. No, the film isn't terrifyingly scary where nightmares could be along the way but it does have its moments where you will get a lot of fun out of. Also, because the title of the film is so similar to the original film, it didn't completely feel like an individual American film despite being a remake.

The sensitive target of vicious bullying at school, 12-year-old Owen (Smit-McPhee) is a social misfit from a broken home. By day Owen dreams about laying waste to his classroom tormentors; by night his attentions turn to his reclusive neighbors in their austere apartment complex. One evening, as Owen takes out his pent-up aggressions on a tree, his new neighbor Abby (Moretz) appears over his shoulder. A young girl wise beyond her years, Abby just moved in next door to Owen with her stoic caretaker (Jenkins), who seems to harbor a sinister secret. Compelled by Abby's apparent imperviousness to the harsh winter elements, her frail disposition, and the fact that she's nowhere to be found before the sun falls, Owen senses a kindred soul, and strikes up a friendship with the girl, despite her repeated attempts to maintain an emotional distance. Simultaneously, their community grows vigilant following a series of vicious murders, and Abby's caretaker vanishes without a trace. Later, as Abby begins to grow vulnerable, her bond with Owen strengthens. By the time Owen begins to suspect that his evasive new friend is something other than human, it starts to seem as if Abby could use a good friend after all. Given that his bullies are growing more emboldened by the day, so too could Owen.

Two leading child stars who are becoming worldwide recognition for their fantastic roles in films in recent years (Chloe Moretz in Kick-Ass and Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Road) and now it is only fitting that if they are going to make a remake of a film that was released only a short time ago, they would need two child stars to portray the leading roles and what a fantastic choice it was to select Smit-McPhee and Moretz! Kodi Smit-McPhee - an admittedly underrated child star who gave a great performance in The Road alongside Viggo Mortensen but this time he stars in something different than anything he has been involved in. At first, there were uncertainties that McPhee would give the leading boy (Owen in Let Me In and Oskar in Let The Right One In) an innocent touch and make us feel sorry for him but he surprised me and he pulled it off really well. No, he wasn't as good as Kåre Hedebrant in Let The Right One In but Kodi Smit-McPhee was definitely the best child actor to choose for a remake.

2010 has been the breakthrough year in Chloe Moretz's childhood as well as acting career by first portraying Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass and now playing Abby in this one. If there is anything that Moretz has proved thus far in her career is that she seems to lean closer towards playing darker characters in adult themed films. Another strong reason why Smit-McPhee and Moretz portrayed the two leading roles together is because both show the innocence of children at the same time especially Abby seeing as she wants to be a normal girl but she is almost like in the complete control of her vampire self and she becomes a whole different person when that happens. In many ways, her performance was like Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil in The Exorcist but in a few others, its totally different. I can't choose who was better out of Chloe Moretz as Abby or Lina Leandersson as Eli in Let The Right One In.

Matt Reeves, who was previously known as the guy who directed Cloverfield goes somewhere slightly different where he hadn't been before not only from a film that involves romance but the style of filmmaking as well. I wasn't keen on Cloverfield but now after making a successful remake and filming it well, he has made up for Cloverfield and now has become in my good books and hope he goes on to make some more decent films in the future. However, I will say that it will take some beating to top this one.

Overall, Let Me In is an absolutely brilliant (but rarely successful) remake that was a true honor to its original film. However, Let The Right One In was better because it was scarier and more emotional and together (perhaps more the remake seeing as it is American), they both show exactly what the Twilight film franchise should have been like as apparently shown in the books. It perfectly manages to slide away from vintage Hollywood crap that we see nowadays and it felt very surreal and rather unorthodox like the original Swedish version and the original novel does. Fair enough if one decides to see the remake first but still need to see both American and Swedish versions. In a word; bravo!

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Beautifully crafted but lacked soul.

Posted : 11 years, 7 months ago on 24 April 2011 09:32 (A review of James and the Giant Peach)

Admittedly never really being a huge fan of James And The Giant Peach as a young child and only started watching it as a teenager and having liked it then, I think after a while I noticed the flaws within this film and how I think it could have been so much better. I mean, the weaknesses of this film in my opinion are that I didn't find the young man who played James entirely convincing, it lacked emotion, heart and inspiration of James venturing to New York City and as much as I like musicals, I really didn't like how they added songs into a story where there is nothing musical about it (especially when it's a children's novel by Roald Dahl).

However, despite these flaws there were some absolutely fantastic qualities in this film such as the beautiful making of the film. In comparison to the effects nowadays, some of the effects in James And The Giant Peach are incredibly cheesy but there is still no denying that it was brilliantly filmed. The stop-motion animation scenes on the journey to New York City were pretty impressive although I personally found some of those scenes quite boring despite its short duration. Although it is still, of course, is one film, it had a mixed combination between live-action and stop-motion but only involves them both at the same time, once or twice.

Roald Dahl's classic novel tells the story of a young orphan boy named James Henry Trotter whos parents were eaten by a rhinoceros and now lives with his cruel and greedy aunts Sponge and Spiker. They emotionally and physically abuse him like treating James like he is nothing and is like a slave. Before his parents died, his first dream was to visit New York City (like James and his parents were going to before they died) but now he has another dream: to escape the evil clutches of Sponge and Spiker. However, one early morning when James is rescuing a spider, he is confronted by an old man who tells him that marvellous things will happen and happens to give him little green magical things and just after a peach appears on a dead tree and when it begins to grow, James finds new friends Mr. Centipede, Miss. Spider (who was that spider that James rescued from Sponge and Spiker), the Old Green Grasshopper, Earthworm, Mrs. Ladybug and the Glow-worm and their adventure begins.

Paul Terry, the young boy who plays the hero of the story and main character James had the almost exact looks as the character is described in the novel but his performance wasn't very good and I really do think that he lacked the courage within the character and also lacked making the audience feel sorry for him, not so much living with Sponge and Spiker (feel really sorry for him), but the fact that he lost his mother and father out of nowhere. Yes, there have been worse child stars (such as Jake Lloyd) but due to the fact that Paul Terry fitted well with the character regarding looks but not acting, it is neither one of the best nor one of the worst child performances. Joanna Lumley and Miriam Margolyes were both absolutely fantastic as Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker (especially Lumley)! They were perhaps the perfect actresses to play such hideously disgusting and extremely psychotic aunts who one would truly be terrified of the, let alone hate to live with them. Their acting together was brilliant and what made Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker such strong yet rather pathetic characters (how they are, not Dahl creating them) is that they think they are doing right, they think they are incredibly attractive by wearing fancy clothes and later revealing brown-haired wigs but because they are both so ugly, they played them both so well. I think Joanna Lumley would have been a good Cruella DeVil (perhaps not as good as Glenn Close was, though). The film also featured the likes of the late Pete Poslethwaite and the voices of Simon Callow, Richard Dreyfuss, Jane Leeves, Susan Sarandon, David Thewlis and Miriam Margolyes (she played two characters in this film).

Roald Dahl perhaps was and still is now the greatest novelist for children's stories of all time. However, Tim Burton and Henry Selick who worked on The Nightmare Before Christmas together three years before perhaps were the best directors to have been involved in this film due to the uniqueness of the story and the fact that it includes characters that could be used for either CGI effects or stop-motion, they chose to make this film. Anyway, Roald Dahl's original novel is a beautiful story with a lot of heart and courage but I think Tim Burton and Henry Selick perhaps tried to make their own version despite it having the same dialogue and characters within. I mean, yeah it is child-friendly enough to watch, of course, and I did like how they made the film a little darker such as the background settings especially Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker's home and the neighbourhood. I would like to see them work on another film adaptation on one of Roald Dahl's novels (such as a live-action/stop-motion version of The BFG) even though Tim himself already worked on another Roald Dahl book Charlie And The Chocolate Factory in 2005. The script was decent but I think on a lot of occasions such as James standing up against his cruel aunts, the writing of it was a bit flat and perhaps could have improvised a bit more on that. Yes, that is including the actions as well.

Overall, James And The Giant Peach is a decent enough film that is a recommendation for families to enjoy but lacks some things in the great novel. No, James And The Giant Peach isn't my favourite Roald Dahl novel but there's no denying that it is one of his best works and I myself prefer some other film adaptations of Dahl's work. Tim, Henry, you both did well enough in this film and despite the flaws and weaknesses that the film had, I would still watch it again.

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Duncan Jones's second great triumph in a row!

Posted : 11 years, 7 months ago on 22 April 2011 11:35 (A review of Source Code)

Over the past couple of years, there have been a lot of typical action-science fiction films that have been good fun but nothing special or serious. However, as far as Source Code is concerned, expectations were exceedingly high seeing as it is directed by the same guy who directed Moon and that was an outstanding debut from director Duncan Jones so I already knew that we would see something new from Source Code that we hadn't seen before. Anyway, Source Code certainly delivers everything that a sci fi-thriller should and would show and for that reason, I absolutely loved it! It is full of pretty much everything despite its short 1 hour 34 minutes duration so it is almost the entire package.

Although Source Code does have its complex moments, the task within where the bomber needs to be investigated and goes back in time, it sort of makes us think ''What if we could really do that? What if that could be a possible invention is a few years time and to go back in time to prevent these crimes and solve them?'' and I think that is one of the key moments that I think could possibly become true in the future. Also, it is like if you go back to the past and do the slightest thing, it could change the course of the future completely. To be honest, a lot of people perhaps would disagree but I wouldn't really call Source Code an action film so it is more of a mystery sci fi thriller in my honest opinion but of one or two action segments such as fights, it is great. If there is any comparison that Source Code has with any film, it would have to be a bit like both Groundhog Day (like a science fiction loose version of that) and Final Destination regarding death and fate.

A bomb explodes on a Chicago train, derailing the locomotive and killing hundreds. In an attempt to identify the bomber and prevent another, larger attack on downtown Chicago, Captain Colter Stevens agrees to take part in a clandestine government experiment dubbed "Source Code," which allows him to enter the body of a male passenger during the eight minutes before the man is killed. But during his first trip back, Capt. Stevens fails to gather enough clues to prevent the second attack. With time quickly running out, he repeats the mission ad nauseam in a desperate race to head off one of the most deadly terrorist attacks ever to take place on American soil.

A film with Jake Gyllenhaal in the leading role? I'll be there to see it! He really is a Hollywood star now after his great performances in serious roles (Brokeback Mountain, Donnie Darko (although I'm not entirely keen on that one), Brother) and ones in entertaining films (Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time, The Day After Tomorrow). As for his role in Source Code, his performance was once again great and it is perhaps a performance of both seriousness and entertainment which is probably because of what the film in general is like. Colter Stevens is a decorated army helicopter pilot whose last memory is of his mission in Afghanistan, flying with his team while taking on an enemy gunfire but wakes up on a train heading for Chicago with literally no recollection of how ended up in that predicament so he looks the same but he inadvertently has two identities. Michelle Monaghan is an actress who is perhaps underrated for some of her roles but the films she stars in are overrated. As for her performance in Source Code, I not only thought that she was drop-dead gorgeous in it but she really made Christina like this ordinary young innocent woman who unfortunately ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Vera Farmiga gave a breakthrough appearance as Madolyn in Martin Scorsese's The Departed, a great but underrated performance in The Boy In The Striped Pajamas and most recently in her fantastic Oscar-nominated performance as Alex Goran in Jason Reitman's Up In The Air. As for her role in Source Code, it is the most different compared to anything else she has been involved in but it was still a good performance nevertheless. Jeffrey Wright is another underrated actor who is only perhaps best known for appearing as Felix Leiter in James Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace and I thought he was great in Source Code! However, he didn't quite manage to succeed like Gyllenhaal, Monaghan and Farmiga did in my opinion.

Duncan Jones already made the masterpiece Moon but unfortunately didn't receive very much critical acclaim as he deserved to for making something new which bought back old filmmaking techniques of science fiction films such as Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solyaris. However, as far as Source Code is concerned, despite the fact it is a science fiction film like Moon, Duncan Jones goes somewhere slightly different and makes something that is more of a thriller than an action-science fiction film. Anyway, the filming was simply outstanding with fantastic cinematography, great art direction and brilliant visual effects and make-up. Duncan Jones, you are on a role so keep bringing us more films to enjoy time and time again!

Overall, Source Code is an absolutely amazing film that was just entertainment at its finest from start to finish and for that reason, it is one of the best films of 2011 already. I mean, no, Source Code is no blockbuster but it certainly is a film that I think could possibly be the most entertaining film of 2011 already and is one outstanding film to watch. If there is anything that Source Code has taught us, its taught us that anything can happen at any time; even when you are at your happiest moments and also that you cannot tell who is innocent and who isn't and vice versa especially in a calm and civilised environment. Hopefully there will be a sequel to this and hopefully Duncan Jones will be the director of it if it'll be made. In my opinion, it couldn't have been any better than it turned out to be.

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Disappointing but it did have some fun moments.

Posted : 11 years, 7 months ago on 19 April 2011 01:58 (A review of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End)

The Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise have been in my good books after two fantastic films that we had seen thus far and the ending of Dead Man's Chest was such a tease and the trailer of At World's End looked epic and looked like it could be the best of the series yet. However, it turned out to be the worst of the trilogy, it wasn't even half as epic as expected but there were a few moments where I really enjoyed the film. The enjoyable parts consisted of obviously the great effects and action scenes, the humorous scenes and seeing Johnny Depp as Captain Jack once again.

However, the negative points were these: the film was really rushed despite it was longer than both its predecessors, the plot became quite confusing and didn't go into great depth like the two predecessors did and were really wanting badly out of this one and too many characters were killed off so quickly so throughout most of the time, it was rather flat. What At World's End lacked the most was emotion, the epic feeling about the film and there were quite a few almost completely pointless parts involved in the film. Those who have seen the film will know which particular part that I am referring to. Hint: 'romantic' scene in an awkward situation. Admittedly, it was a very funny film as predicted and there were a few good jokes but even that didn't entirely save the film.

Elizabeth, Will and the crew of the Black Pearl sail off the edge of the map with the help of mysterious Tia Dalma and the late Captain Barbossa who has been raised by the dead to save Captain Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones' Locker. He has been condemned to the terrible fate of remaining in the void of Davey Jones' Locker for eternity. Meanwhile, Davy Jones and his crew are now under the possession of Lord Cutler Beckett and the East India Trading Company seeing as they possess his heart and the odds are against the pirates to end victorious. Jack, Barbossa, Will, Elizabeth, Gibbs and all of the pirates unite and make their final stand to defeat the East India Trading Company and Davy Jones and his crew on the Flying Dutchman to earn their freedom.

Jack Sparrow's return and that he would come back after being taken to the Locker by the Kraken as well as the Black Pearl was an instant spoiler. I guess that was also the same case with Han Solo's return in Return Of The Jedi. There may have been a few more characters but in a lot of ways, it became another completely different story and that didn't quite work seeing as there were incredibly high expectations for this film. I mean, knowing about Calypso? Why was this not mentioned in Dead Man's Chest especially when that character was part of it and was actually quite a crucial character in it despite didn't appear that much. The exact same thing could be said in Geoffrey Rush returning as Barbossa when he died in Curse Of The Black Pearl and made a shocking return at the end of Dead Man's Chest. We saw a different bond between Jack Sparrow and Barbossa in At World's End because we all know they don't like each other due to the history between them but they are allies more than anything in this one despite their conflicts.

Orlando Bloom, just when I thought you couldn't sink any lower with your bad performance as Will Turner in both Curse Of The Black Pearl and Dead Man's Chest! He sinks to the lowest level of acting that he has ever done and quite possibly ever will do and there really was nothing exciting, heroic or even emotional about his performance in this film (not even the desire and desperation to free his father 'Bootstrap' Bill Turner from Davy Jones and his crew). So there was no surprise that he earned a Razzie nomination for Worst Supporting Actor and I am so glad that this is the last time we see Orlando Bloom in a Pirates Of The Caribbean film again. Keira Knightley makes a decent return as Elizabeth Swann and delivers another good performance. Like in Dead Man's Chest but even more in this one, Elizabeth Swann is no innocent woman anymore and one that you really don't want to mess with. She does show her beauty, of course but she is a bit like a bad girl especially because she is siding with the pirates, she is slowly becoming pirate herself.

After two great successful predecessors in the Pirates Of The Caribbean trilogy, I thought Gore Verbinski slightly went out of hand with this one and it became quite flat and rather rushed but it was still well-filmed on some occasions and has some great action as predicted. Knowing that he didn't direct On Stranger Tides (fourth instalment in the series), it is quite a good thing that he didn't because although the trilogy wasn't perfect, it still gave exactly what it was going out to achieve in the first place: excitement and great fun for adults and children around.

Overall, Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End is a neither bad nor good film that is a disappointment to Curse Of The Black Pearl and Dead Man's Chest but does have some good qualities that make up for some of those flaws. There were quite a few irrelevant and rather laughably pathetic scenes and changes in the story and I can understand why people either dislike or hate this film but the film, in my opinion, still had its entertaining moments. Admittedly, the ending was good and we were really expecting another instalment so let's see what Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides brings us in May 2011.

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Didn't HAVE to be made but glad it was in the end.

Posted : 11 years, 7 months ago on 11 April 2011 09:47 (A review of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest)

After the great success that was Curse Of The Black Pearl and even though it ended great enough and that story was told, Dead Man's Chest didn't exactly need to be made and they were my exact thoughts before I saw this. However, it actually turned out to be a very enjoyable film that almost became as great as the first film did. The best thing about Dead Man's Chest in my opinion is that to begin with, we thought it was like an unnecessary money-grubber so to speak but as the film progressed, it actually became like a franchise and looked like there needed to be another build-up finale which is exactly what we got.

It was brilliant how the makers added some older parts in the dialogue of the predecessor and how it became a totally different kind of story at the same time with different characters and even more adventures. Pretty much everything in the category of production such as the budget, effects amongst others in Dead Man's Chest was exactly what The Curse Of The Black Pearl had but higher. The effects in the film are just absolutely incredible! There are many moments in the film that has live-action/CGI together, motion-capture (actions of a person added to visual effects) and then obviously ones with no visual effects at all and was almost like basic filmmaking (but that was rarely the case).

As they are getting married, swashbuckling former blacksmith Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan, daughter of Governor Weatherby Swann, are both arrested by Lord Cutler Beckett and are sentenced to death. Beckett makes a deal with Will for his freedom, Beckett wants Will to find his old friend, pirate Captain Jack Sparrow and give him Jack's magic compass. Agreeing, Will tracks down Jack and finds him and his crew of The Black Pearl on a tribal island inhabited by cannibalistic tribal warriors. Jack makes a deal with Will and he will only give Will his compass, if Will agrees to help him find a key to a chest containing the heart of the octopus like Davy Jones, captain of The Flying Dutchman, so he may free his soul from eternal servitude. Pursued by Davy Jones and his crew of undead warriors and his creature that lives in the sea "The Kraken", Will and Elizabeth go in aid of Jack as they set out to get to the chest first before Davy Jones does, which could spell doom for Jack and his companions and Will must succeed in giving Lord Beckett, the compass, as Beckett plots to put a end to the pirates forever.

At the time of Dead Man's Chest's release, Johnny Depp really was in everybody's good books after his outstanding performance in Curse Of The Black Pearl and other films in between such as Marc Forster's Finding Neverland as Sir James Matthew Barrie and Tim Burton's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory as Willy Wonka. His return as Captain (yes, definitely Captain now) Jack Sparrow was, as predicted, a magnificent one! Because of his truly great performances as the character, we can truly tell that he takes great pleasure playing Cap'n Jack. He may not have received as much recognition and credit regarding awards as his role in Curse Of The Black Pearl did but for me, he deserved just as much! At least he got a Best Actor Musical/Comedy nomination at the Golden Globes in 2006. Orlando Bloom, just like in the first film, shows that he just does not fit the Will Turner character in the slightest. I'm sorry but there is hardly anything heroic, honourable or even wise about Will. Heath Ledger was still my favourite pick for Will.

Keira Knightley, like Johnny Depp, is in everyone's good books at the moment, also, not only because of the first Pirates Of The Caribbean but because of her Academy Award nomination in Pride And Prejudice for Best Leading Actress so expectations for reprising her role as Elizabeth Swann were rather high for me. Her performance was good once again but this time we saw a very different Elizabeth in this one. Elizabeth isn't this sweet and innocent woman she was previously but now she has become a bad girl so to speak who is slowly becoming like a pirate herself especially when she gets herself more involved with Jack Sparrow on her search for Will. Davy Jones's involvement is added to make it a more fairy tale fictional story seeing as Davy Jones is a famous fictional character in books and is mentioned in a lot of films like this. As for the performance as the actor who plays him - Bill Nighy, I thought his performance was quite disappointing because not only was the performance rather un-terrifying at times but also it became quite annoying on occasions. Why annoying? Well, Nighy kept constantly pouting, strange facial expressions and strange sounds in speech whether its in mid-sentence or the end of one. I got on my nerves quite quickly and I just think they could have found a better actor to play Davy Jones but still glad that Davy Jones was included in the film and didn't ruin my liking for the film. Jack Davenport reprises his role as James Norrington but not Commodore this time. He is howling for Jack's blood for ''ruining his life'' when it was in fact Will. He is, like Elizabeth, slowly becoming a pirate himself until he learns of the chest and what the content of it is.

Gore Verbinski really is one of the most underrated directors in my opinion despite he has made a series of films that perhaps are the most over-hyped films that have ever been made. His work on Dead Man's Chest as wel as At World's End required a lot more than what was required in Curse Of The Black Pearl seeing as the duration of the film was longer, more visual effects and perhaps even more actors and crew members involved. Dead Man's Chest perhaps isn't as scary to watch as its predecessor but it features characters that in many ways can be very uneasy for children's eyes such as a tribe of cannibals that does show a few parts of human flesh and skeletons, a man who cut out his own heart and put it inside a chest, a man with only one eye, a mysterious sea creature that is squid-octopus alike and destroys ships and eats the people on them amongst others but because it is a film by Disney and it wants its target audience to be everyone who sees it. Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio wrote another great script together especially when the film didn't need to be made and that a whole new story was created.

Overall, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is an absolutely awesome sequel to Curse Of The Black Pearl and honours it well and perhaps couldn't have done so any better minus a few exceptions. It has a very excitable and rather teasing ending where the hype of At World's End certainly arose to the highest standard (just too bad that it didn't entirely satisfy). Dead Man's Chest is underrated critically but really is far from underrated regarding popularity! In my opinion, it is one of the best sequels I have watched and is almost as entertaining and fun as Curse Of The Black Pearl.

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An absolutely amazing adventure! Love it.

Posted : 11 years, 8 months ago on 8 April 2011 12:18 (A review of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl)

Disney have been the creators of many landmarks of cinema mostly animation but have provided many great live-action enchantments over the years and Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl did two things: it had the Disney magic and that the adventure that is within the film shows what Disney is all about. It does have its dark moments such as cursed men who can turn into skeletons at night when the moon is out and scenes of violence but the hilarious comedy, the strong development of the characters, the acting, directing and the screenplay made it all the better to watch and made it magically enjoyable and pleasurable to watch.

Pirates Of The Caribbean (especially this first one) are a series of films of great seriousness and with a lot of jokes and over the past few years there have been films that have failed due to being one or the other when its purpose is to be both. As for Curse Of The Black Pearl, it really does deliver everything a film of pure entertainment does and should. The effects are all beautifully done obviously but perhaps the best technical quality, in my opinion, has got to be the music (same with Dead Man's Chest and At World's End) because despite the story is quite dark, it manages to provide the liveliness of the film and make it suitable for youngsters. I'm pretty sure some of you will disagree with me on this but I don't think that Pirates Of The Caribbean needed to be a franchise because without giving any spoilers: the story was told and ending was solid enough but I'm glad they still did the sequels despite they had more flaws than this one did.

This swash-buckling tale follows the quest of Captain Jack Sparrow, a savvy pirate, and Will Turner, a resourceful blacksmith, as they search for Elizabeth Swann. Elizabeth, the daughter of the governor and the love of Will's life, has been kidnapped by the feared Captain Barbossa. Little do they know, but the fierce and clever Barbossa has been cursed. He, along with his large crew, are under an ancient curse, doomed for eternity to neither live, nor die. That is, unless a blood sacrifice is made.

Johnny Depp was perhaps an actor who wasn't even half as popular up until the release of The Curse Of The Black Pearl so this is definitely his breakthrough performance which got him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Leading Actor (but lost to Sean Penn in Mystic River) a Screen Actor Guild Award for the same category and others. Out of the many films that have been done in the past and that I have seen, I really don't think there is an actor who is anymore perfect for a character than Johnny Depp is for ''Captain'' Jack Sparrow! I shockingly have to admit that Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl was in fact the very first Johnny Depp film that I watched and it was a damn good film to start off with because although this role in the rest of the series as ''Captain'' Jack is perhaps his most overrated role but it certainly is one of his best performances! Like Johnny Depp, this was actually the first film I saw starring Geoffrey Rush in as well. His performance as Barbossa was just amazing! In a lot of ways, it was hard to believe that it was in fact an actor playing a pirate because he truly showed those evil, menacing and rather dirty features within the Barbossa character that is an honour towards those legendary pirate villains such as Long John Silver, Captain Hook amongst others. Rush is one of those actors and is perhaps the only actor who is neither overrated nor underrated because everyone knows Rush mostly for playing Barbossa but he didn't receive as much critical acclaim for his performance like Depp did.

After his admittedly decent performance as Legolas in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, it was exciting at the time to see Orlando Bloom star in another adventure but my oh my! Did he flop or what? Orlando's god-awful performance as Will Turner perfectly shows how an actor can kill a very crucial character in a series and possibly kill the entire series. His performance was the only flaw that I think this film had. Pretty much every single word that came out of his mouth was either forced or just empty with no heart and no desire whatsoever. I mean, I like the Will Turner character but Orlando was totally miscast for that role. I would have cast Heath Ledger as Will Turner if the casting was in my hands. As for Keira Knightley's role as Elizabeth Swann, this may be her breakthrough performance and perhaps her best known role and my personal favourite out of any other film she has been part of but I didn't find her performance itself entirely as amazing as expected. Well, it was better than Orlando's but not even close to Depp's and Rush's outstanding performances. Elizabeth Swann is a good character but in all honesty, Knightley may have had the looks for the character but in terms of acting, I think that they could have possibly cast somebody else. Kevin McNally and Jack Davenport deliver good underrated performances too.

Gore Verbinski; a guy who throughout the majority of his career up until the release of the first instalment of the Pirates Of The Caribbean has done almost nothing like he had ever done before (previously directed Mouse Hunt, The Mexican and The Ring) and now after this first film and the rest of the trilogy and some of the other films he has done, I have great respect for him now. He manages to achieve a task that might not have been able to work seeing as it is quite a dark story and still manages to make it fun enough for families and youngsters to enjoy. The script was brilliant as well by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio with some brilliant jokes and had a lot of great knowledge about pirates and the eras of when this film was set. Some moments weren't actually originally in the script such as ''Savvy?'' and one of the final quotes in the film: ''Bring me that horizon'' which were quotes from Johnny Depp as part of an idea during filming.

Overall, Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl is a magical, hilarious and exciting adventure that will never be repeated and no matter how many films in the Pirates Of The Caribbean there will be, none of them will beat this one! Quite frankly after how this ended, I don't really think it needed to be a franchise but I'm glad they made a few sequels because they took us on different adventures over the seas and saw more new characters. It is definitely my favourite Disney live-action film and despite its one or two weaknesses, it is a great example for one to watch just for pure entertainment.

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Paranormal Craptivity.

Posted : 11 years, 8 months ago on 27 March 2011 11:29 (A review of Paranormal Activity)

Well, first of all, Paranormal Activity shocked and terrified its viewers and did become a success at the box office but as for me regarding both critically and box office takings, why? What was seriously so outstanding about Paranormal Activity? Although, there were literally one or two scenes in the film that could make viewers who are quite bored of it jump but it really was one of the most boring and uninteresting films that I have ever experienced. It just didn't scare me or make me feel sorry for any of the characters in almost no way whatsoever.

Ok, let's face it, how many times have we all heard supernatural films or some other horror films that are supposedly true stories? I am sorry but Paranormal Activity being a true story is absolute bullshit! I mean, if it was such a true story, they wouldn't even make a sequel and a planned third instalment. Plus, the fact that other horror found-footage films that have been made over the years are the supposed true stories and not many things in the film as well as found-footage films in general for that matter are not entirely convincing enough to be true stories. Seriously, why would you still have the camera on and while you're using it still be terrorised by so-called demons within the house? For me, that just totally ruins the reality of it entirely because I just cannot help but think that.

Katie and her boyfriend Micah have been living together for three years and out of the blue, they are haunted by an entity while they are sleeping. Katie discloses to Micah that she has been haunted since she was eight year-old. The skeptical Micah buys a camera to videotape the paranormal activity in their home during the night. Katie calls Fredrichs, to help them, but he explains that he is specialist in ghosts. However he feels the presence of a fiend and advises the couple to call a friend of his.

The so-called acting wasn't entirely convincing in my honest opinion and it was just really dry and plain. I mean, whoop-de-fucking-doo! The actors and characters have the same forenames but that doesn't mean that the acting was good. In fact, not that many people who liked it were, quite frankly, interested in the characters but cared more about the horror within and what their fates were going to be and how scary the film was going to get. So, that was just absolutely ridiculous and in my humble opinion, both of them bought it on themselves and I feel that everything about the actors and characters in Paranormal Activity in a nutshell is basically a couple messing around in a house and being over-obsessive with a camera!

As I said, I have never really been a big fan of found-footage films and I just cannot feel the horror or even believability for that matter in any of the films like that despite people rave about how good some of them are. Oren Peli makes his debut feature film and fails miserably so I think after this one, he isn't in my good books at all for any other film he ever does in the future. Despite the fact that the film is in fact only on for an hour and a half more or less seeing as there are one or two versions of the film, it felt like it was going on forever and it really never got going and caught attention and just got even more boring as it kept on going.

Overall, Paranormal Activity is (and including the sequel and planned third instalment) one of those films that you will either love or hate and I thought the latter after only 10 minutes of watching it. Although many with both agree and disagree with me on this one but Paranormal Activity really is one of the most overrated and overhyped films of all time that is perhaps as overhyped as the Transformers and Twilight franchises. Why there were any Paranormal Activity sequels, I will never understand.

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Hitchcock, Stewart & Kelly = awesome classic!

Posted : 11 years, 8 months ago on 27 March 2011 12:38 (A review of Rear Window (1954))

Rear Window was actually the first Alfred Hitchcock film that I saw and I absolutely loved it but now after seeing the majority of Hitchcock's films, Rear Window is vintage Hitchcock with gripping suspense, a story within great depth, engaging and strong chemistry between characters and a very solid script. Amazingly Rear Window could have received an R/15 rating due to its suspenseful dialogue and regarding the investigation of the mystery but Hitchcock has definitely made it into something that could perhaps be viewed by young people. I mean, if there is anything that Hitchcock and most of the other film that he has done has shown us, it is that suspense and thrills aren't always about violence like we see in some thrillers today. I mean, look at Psycho 6 years after Rear Window! That doesn't have any violence (well you see on their face but don't see it actually happen) and that proves itself as a great thriller also.

Alfred Hitchcock has proven himself to be one of the best directors of all time and that there never has been or never will be a director who can create films like this for however cinema lasts. It is unique how well a film can be written, filmed and as hugely successful especially when the film is based on either a very short story (which Rear Window is), loosely based on a poem or riddle or just a novel in general and Hitchcock is the one director who demonstrates that perfectly. I mean, the fact that the film involves murder and some possible murder attempts as you will see watching it, Hitchcock totally fits the PG rating of Rear Window perfectly.

In New York, the daring photographer L. B. Jefferies has been confined to his small apartment for five weeks in a wheelchair with one broken leg. He snoops his neighbors from his rear window to kill time and he is aware of the personal dramas of some of them. His fancy girlfriend Lisa Carol Fremont is pressing him to marry her but he believes she will not fit and feel comfortable with his brash lifestyle. When the invalid wife of the salesman Lars Thorwald vanishes, Jeff believes the man might have killed his wife. He tells his concerns to Lisa and to his nurse Stella and the women agree with his observations, but his friend Detective Thomas J. Doyle finds reasonable explanation for each remark. However, Lisa decides to go further in her investigation, getting closer to the suspect.

James Stewart already was a legendary actor before he starred in Rear Window and now after working alongside the great Alfred Hitchcock, he certainly delivers once again that he was and still is a legendary actor. After Stewart's first film Rope alongside Hitchcock was an extremely underrated motion picture and Rear Window was the one they did together that caught the audience's attention the most and at the very highest. Some perhaps prefer their work together in Vertigo but here's the punch line: if they failed in Rear Window, would we have a very successful Vertigo with? Hmmm… I think not. Jimmy Stewart is more or less an actor who will and did portray almost any kind of character you can think of and you can certainly find that out by reading his filmography or better yet, watch his films. He had a great career and I honestly think that his performance in Rear Window is definitely his most underrated performance ever.

You know what else made the film not only more interesting but made it hotter and more pleasurable to watch? Seeing the gorgeous and extremely talented Grace Kelly on the screen! She already made her famous mark alongside Alfred Hitchcock in the exact same year with her role in Dial M For Murder so her performance in Rear Window clearly wasn't going to be a disappointment. Seeing as Hitchcock had already worked with both Stewart and Kelly previously, he automatically knew that they were going to work perfectly alongside each other. Hitchcock normally tends to cast actors who has worked with before and, quite frankly, most directors are like that. Anyway, Grace Kelly's performance on-screen with Jimmy Stewart wasn't only cute, heartfelt, quite humorous on occasions but it was also quite arousing so that goes to show how much of a sex symbol she really was back in the 50s and became like a real opponent for Marilyn Monroe.

Thelma Ritter's performance was pretty good too as nurse and carer of Jeffries: Stella. As for Raymond Burr's performance as Lars Thorwald, it is definitely an underrated performance despite that we don't really see him talk during the film but his performance and from some actors that we have seen in the past, it goes to show that acting isn't just words. He bought out a great message to the Lars Thorwald. Well, great as in, like a good point in terms of a warning. As we saw at the start of the film, we analyzed the neighbours in the neighbourhood and observed that it does look a very peaceful area but when Jeffries begins to get suspicious, we don't see that innocence. That is exactly what Rear Window does show and unfortunately, not that many people who are selective enough to watch and read into it, notice it. So, basically it tells you that nowhere in the world is safe and you can't ever tell who is innocent and who isn't so it is sad but true.

Overall, Rear Window is another great accomplishment from Hitchcock that perhaps is in some people's opinions, the most overrated film he has ever done. As for me, a Hitchcock film underrated? There's no such thing! He does what he does best perfectly and has never failed throughout his entire career. I perhaps prefer Psycho and Rebecca over Rear Window but despite that, it still is a masterpiece that truly does show what thrillers are all about by the perfect man to show you.

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