Thursday, December 10, 2009

Paranormal Activity (2009)

Score: 7/10

First of all, this movie is different than other horror movies. The movie was filmed using a handheld camera all the time, which creates an interesting experience for the audience. It seems natural and it makes us part of the movie. The way the movie builds up the anticipation is good. It often makes us curious and wanting for something to happen. The hype says that this is the scariest movie ever made. Well, it is scary and creepy at times, but scariest? No, I don’t agree unfortunately.

The movie follows a couple, Micah and Katie. Katie has experienced some strange phenomena and occurrences before, but Micah is skeptical. He buys a camera (used as the vantage point throughout the movie) to find out the truth and record paranormal activities, if any. At night, the camera is filming their bedroom.

After some nights, Micah manages to capture some strange activities and noises. They are getting stronger every day and Micah does not have a choice but to believe that there is something abnormal happen. It seems that Katie is the source of the problem because the same situation has happened before when she was younger. The tension is mounting up and some creepy moments ensue. In the end, we can see the reason behind those occurrences as well as the end result.

The acting is not bad from the two main casts. They way the act toward certain things is a bit weird though. It seems that they just let those things happen without doing something to remedy the situation besides filming. The movie is a bit too long in the beginning. Too much waiting for something to happen. Still, this is a good horror flick. I heard that the budget of the movie is extremely low, thus the movie can be considered as a success.

For more information on Paranormal Activity, you can go to:
- IMDB - Paranormal Activity (2009)
- Official site of Paranormal Activity

"Somebody (or something) hates you."

Monday, November 30, 2009

2012 (2009)

Score: 6/10

Another disaster movie, but this one increases the devastation exponentially. In the movie, December 21, 2012 is the end of the world because it is the date where ancient Mayan calendar comes to a stop. The source of the calamity in this case is the sun and the synchronization of the planet in the solar system. Huge solar eruptions happen in the sun and the eruptions radiate the earth with neutrinos. These neutrinos somehow heat up or, as the movie says, microwave the core of the earth.

In other movies, normally some genius and macho scientists strive to do something to stop the disaster. In this case, however, nothing can be done to prevent the doomsday. So some country leaders are working in secret to prevent the humanity from being swept clean from the face of the earth. Of course, only certain people with special capability (and money) who are considered to be saved during the crisis. Governments around the globe are also working together to prevent the plan from leaking out to the public.

To make the movie more exciting, the movie focuses on the life of Jackson Curtis (John Cusack). He is an unsuccessful writer and a divorce dad with two children. During a camping trip with his children, he meets a hippie (Woody Harrelson) who somehow knows that the world is going to end and he knows the secret project that governments are doing to save the humanity (well, some of them). He even has a map of the location of the secret project.

Jackson thinks that the hippie is crazy at first, but then some chain of events starts happening which force him to believe. He manages to grab his ex-wife, her boyfriend, and his children to find a safe place as hinted by the hippie. This is the exciting part where Jackson and his companies run away from disasters by different means including foot, a limo, an RV, and airplanes (a big one and a small one).

The special effects are amazing. California slides into the ocean with trains flying and toll ways crashing down. Hawaii is consumed by lava. Magnificent volcanic eruptions. The destruction of Sistine Chapel. Tsunamis that affect even the highest landscape around the world. Some important casts do not survive the disaster, which also includes the US president (Danny Glover) being crushed by one of his aircraft carrier.

The casts are decent and they have performed well in general. The story itself is naturally weak. The source of the disaster is just some humpy dumpty science (although it is sufficient for this kind of movie). The safe haven is a bit ridiculous as well. “The engine can’t start because the gate does not close properly”. Yeah right, that is the stupidest reason I have ever encountered. The movie works when the casts are being chased by some disaster. However, when they start having lengthy discussions to each other, the movie becomes irritating. Some parts of the movie could be cut to shorten the duration, which more than 2.5 hours by the way.

In overall, this movie is quite enjoyable to watch during your spare time (if you have more than 2.5 hours to remind you again), especially if you like those crazy special effects with a lot of destructions and explosions. Expect nothing from the story though.

More information on 2012, the movie, can be found in:
- IMDB: 2012 (2009)
- 2012 official movie site

"Honey, don't look back!"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Star Trek (2009)

Score: 9/10

This Star Trek prequel explores the childhood and young lives of Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto). I don’t want to spoil anything here, but let’s just say that they have a very rough beginning here. The appearance of Captain Nero (Eric Bana) with his bulky ship does not help the situation either. Many hand-to-hand combat, shooting matches, and space battles continue afterwards. The beginning of the movie is amazing as well and the ending is very proper (bring back memories). Purely cool and even touching.

This is definitely the best Star Trek movie ever! It’s cool, it’s younger, and it’s gripping. The crews are likeable if not lovable and they performed admirably. Each of them has special function and it’s entertaining to see them work together to achieve common goals. It’s fun to see the young version of Captain Kirk. Young Mr. Spock is calm, collective, and logic as usual, but he also shows some surprising bursts of emotions here and there. Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood), communication officer Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Bones (Karl Urban), pilot Sulu (John Cho), and engineer Scotty (Simon Pegg), and copilot (I think) Chekhov (Anton Yelchin) with his cute accent and jumpy, but reliable conducts, complete the wonderful arrays of casts. The bad guys are okay, could do better perhaps, but they don’t really have much screen time to be fair.

The action sequences are really satisfying, while the special effects are simply brilliant and engaging. The story is quite good, although in some cases some behaviors of the enemy and flow of events are questionable. The movie time is a bit too short as well. It flashes by and ends too quickly. A slower pace might be beneficial for the movie. All in all, this is still a very solid and highly entertaining movie. I’m impressed with the director, J.J. Abrams. This is a firm foundation for more Star Trek movies in the future.

For more information on Star Trek, you can visit:
- IMDB - Star Trek (2009)
- Star Trek movie official site

"Somebody is out of uniform!"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

District 9 (2009)

Score: 7/10

This science fiction movie offers something unique and it is the ultimate strength of the movie. It is a bit confusing and difficult to be digested in the beginning. However, the movie keeps moving forward, stamps its authority, and the bizarre things can be accepted as real things.

There is a huge alien mothership that, without any apparent reason, hovering overhead Johannesburg, in South Africa. After three months without any successful contacts, the government decides to enter the mothership. They find alien inside the ship alright, a million of them in fact. They are starving and living in a very sad condition because it seems that the ship has malfunctioned. The aliens have four limbs, walk on two feet, but their outward appearance is like the crossover of a bug and shellfish creature. Hence, they are nicknamed prawns.

The aliens are welcomed in the beginning. It is the first contact after all. The movie jumps directly to 20 years and the condition turns worse. There are lots of tensions between human and the prawns. In fact, the prawns are located in a prison like slump called District 9 under tight securities.

Here comes our main character Wikus van de Merwe, who is played brilliantly by Sharlto Copley. Wikus is a staff of MNU, the corporation responsible to manage District 9. One day, he is appointed to become the head of operation to relocate 1.8 millions of prawns to a new location hundreds of kilometers from the city of Johannesburg to ease the alien hatred condition there.

Unluckily, Wikus accidently exposes himself to a strange liquid from an alien canister. Soon, his body slowly transforms to become the prawns. MNU sees the condition as an opportunity to disintegrate his body and use it to operate alien weaponry. Wikus manages to escape and he allies himself with a prawn and his son to find the cure for his transforming body. As a pay off, Wikus helps them to escape to the mothership.

The concept of the movie is unique. It is difficult to interpret its meaning. It might indicate that we, human beings, are racists and we cannot accept others who appear differently. It also exposes that the government uses any means necessary to get what they want and twist the reality from the public. It shows that we have actually become barbaric inside although we look righteous from the outward.

The acting is brilliant, especially from Copley as Wikus. The cinematography is very good. Sometimes they switch from the news setting, to handheld, and to widescreen. It mixes perfectly and makes a unique experience for the audience. The special effects are sufficient as well, although as I said before, I think it’s difficult to make bad effects with current technology.

The biggest problem for me is the story itself. There are many sequences that are questionable. It seems that they are just being put there to make the story flow even though sometimes they are just so unusual. It also has loose ending and it might make you ask what the real purpose of the movie is. This is, I think, a love- or hate-it movie, depending on your preferences. For action lovers, you can expect to see some shooting matches intensified by alien weaponry and some blood is of course splattered generously along the way as well.

For more info on District 9, you can visit:
- Distric 9 official movie site
- IMDB - District 9 (2009)

"An (malfunctioned) alien mothership hovering over Johannesburg (for 20 years).

Friday, August 14, 2009

Inkheart (2008)

Score: 3/10

Mo Folchart (Brendan Fraiser) is the key character here. He is a silver tongue, which means he can read and then bring characters out of books into the real world. One night he reads a story to his wife, Resa (Sienna Guillory), and young daughter, Meggie (Eliza Bennett). He reads a story called Inkheart and he brings Dustfinger (Paul Bettany) out from the book. Unfortunately, he also brings some evil characters, including Capricorn (Andy Serkis), a criminal master mind. To make it worse, he sends his wife into the book. It seems that every time he brings characters out, another character is sucked into the book as a kind of replacement.

After 10 years, Mo still tries to find a way to bring his wife back. He keeps everything in secret even to his daughter and he searches everywhere for another Inkheart book to read his wife out from the book. At the same time, Capricorn manages to find another silver tongue and he brings many of his accomplices into the real world. As usual in a criminal master mind, he wants to rule the world.

The movie sounded interesting and promising when I planned to watch it, but the experience was completely the opposite. I was so bored and I wondered how I could finish watching the movie. The story is illogical and has so many plot holes. Yes, it’s a fantasy I agree, but still it needs some flow, some logic, and some people who aren’t so stupid like some characters in the movie. The actions of the characters completely bewildered me. I have no idea why they do such things, when clearly there are better ways to achieve their goals.

The special effects are ok. They aren’t special, but sufficient (with today’s technology, it’s difficult to make bad effects I guess). The acting is not bad, it’s rather good in fact, especially for Andy Serkis. The main problem is the story, which makes the whole experience exceptionally boring and unappealing.

You can find more info on Inkheart from:
- IMDB: Inkheart (2008)
- Inkheart official movie site

"Let me out of this film!"