Saturday, March 27, 2010

Movie Review II - Blood: The last Vampire

After watching the feature film Blood: the last Vampire I felt it was yet another missed chance. Increasingly (and rightly so) a lot of Anime titles have been filmed. In recent news I heard that Leonardio DiCaprio picked up the biggest title Akira. I have no doubt that if they ever film it they will mess it up completely. That wouldn't even be so much their fault as Akira is very specific in its reference to the japanese culture and about the youth of a new generation taking over to lead a new culture - among other themes. Also the story is extremely complex and multi-layered making it extremely un-fitting for a large-audience action film.

But back to BLOOD
. The anime is actually a short movie (50 min. long) and was an attempt of bringing forward an original story instead of using existing stories (from the japanese Manga as is so often done).
Even for being a short film with a simple story it's again layered and feels like much more than just an entertaining short-film. The storyline is a Vampire Slayer (who is an old Vampire herself) is hunting down the Blood Suckers with the help of a secret organization. Her hunt leads her to an American military base (story takes place in Japan). However the story takes place during the Vietnam war, which I thought was a great twist. It made it more easy to connect to it somehow.

The feature film is hard to place as it's a collaboration brought up by the producer of Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger, with the help of PATHÉ (french film company), Manga Entertainment and Production I.G. (who made the original Anime version). The main actress is Korean yet the language used in the movie is English.
The director Chris Nahon is french and had done music videos and commercials previously. Why him?

The Korean actress is cute and has the right look for the role as well as being a decent actress...yet her English is terrible. It's a pain to listen to.
The simple enough story is messed up. Now it follows much more the daughter of a General on the base, a character that never existed in the original story. Next we have a "bad boss", the leader of the Vampires. Oh, and last but not least - the Vampires aren't really Vampires but some kind of Demons. There is a long scene from the past of our Vampire Slayer girl from ancient Japan which is nothing but a weird kung-fu action scene with some ninja-like guys supposed to be Demons. The main bad boss shows up and also looks very human.
I don't want to spoil the end for you who wish to see this movie ...but I can't resist as it made me laugh. As the Vampire Slayer is fighting the bad boss - who is a woman (again someone who can't speak English) - the Bad Boss reveals "I am your mother".

Brilliant. Not only do they use the Luke drama but both are asian women who are very hard to understand while they have this dramatic conversation. Made me cringe.

In the very end I save a scene I thought was a really bad rip-off. Check the clip below (with the kung-fu scene described above) but scroll to minute 7:30.

A Demon attacks them while they are driving a truck. Immediately I was reminded of this scene from Underworld: Evolution

Conclusion. Blood: the last Vampire was a movie I had actually been excited about after I first heard rumors they were making it into a feature film. Another great chance flushed down the toilet because people who don't know the material they are dealing with.

All in all 10 out of 10. ;)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Predators trailer

Should I dare hope...

here is the first trailer for the upcoming movie Predators (note the "sss") and below my thoughts on it.

I have to say, I'm actually excited. But it's the kind of careful "I may be setting myself up for a disapointment" excited. When I first heard of this movie I had gone through the traumatic experience of watching Aliens vs Predator as well as AVP: Requiem and just dismissed it as a disrespectful milking of a perfectly awesome movie concept.
However once again I will bring up the comparison to the Batman franchise as I think it's similar to the extent that it was going from bad to ...excruciating waste of time until Batman Begins turned it into what it should have been, recognizing it's true potential.
The Predator series was last sodomized by the Strause brothers, a director duo of Doom who proudly explained how they were bringing the franchise back to the fanbase by using the original soundeffects from both Aliens and Predator in the movie.....
For you who haven't had the pleasure to see this movie, yes, it sounds as bad as it sounds...if you get my meaning. It felt like copy - pasted sequences from other movies, which, in effect, it was.
Now with Predators I am daring to hope a little that this might be a joyride for an oldschool sci-fi horror fan such as myself. The reason for my optimism is both in the cast and the look/feel of the trailer. Adrien Brody was a great pick because never would I have thought of him and surpsises like that are only good, since a muscle packed Arnold-wannabe just wouldn't have felt right; plus Adrien is a great actor (YES, good acting is important). Morpheus is also a nice choice as he has the badass aura since the Matrix.
The other thing that I liked was the fact that from the trailer I didn't see so much cgi. It felt like hardset (real backgrounds as opposed to greenscreen cgi backgrounds) and real life effects and costumes which brings me back to my critique on overuse of cgi. The fact that you had the Predator there and not a pixel figure made all the difference and why the original Predator movie is still now extremely watchable. Real life effects don't age if they are done well. If you watch The Thing - the special effects still give me a chill down the spine... now that's what I'm talking about.

Lets see what Rober Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal bring to the table in July.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Movie Review I

What follows is my first movie review. I should call it rant though, because I feel a strong burning sensation within to rip this movie into pieces...verbally.

Last weekend me and my wife wanted to have a movie night, an evening I look forward to. "Could you pick a comedy" - my wife asked. So when I rented a movie called Funny People, I expected at least the standard comedy. Instead we sat through what I suspect will be the worst movie of 2010 - and the year just started.

Let the symphony of laughter begin. The movie stars Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen (recently seen in many comedies). As the titles began we see the hand-held footage of Adam Sandler with friends doing phone-pranks, none of which are funny. This was the first omen of what was to follow...
The basic story follows Seth as an amateur comedian who is picked up by Adam Sandler playing a famous, successful comedian (himself?). Sandler has just heard that he has an illness and may die soon. Ha-ha. We watch as the depressed Sandler struggles with his fame, loneliness, loss of humor and life itself. He hires Seth to write his jokes (which aren't funny) and be his bitch (tasks include talking Sandler to sleep and bringing him his diet coke at request). Sandler then finds out he isn't dying, tries to hit on his former girlfriend, who by now is married with two kids, fails and is a complete d**k the whole time.

Anybody found the punch line yet?

I said this was the basic story because it is actually way more confusing or should I say all over the place. We also follow Seth and his friends, all aspiring comedians - still nothing funny going on. Seth likes a girl who ends up sleeping with his roommate, Seth back-stabs his other friend out of the gig with Sandler and we see Sandler meet with other famous comedians or celebrities. Here is a scene - Ray Romano (from the show Everybody loves Raymond) is talking with Seth while Sandler sits at a table with Eminem. The whigged out rapper begins to shout at Ray Romano for staring at him which prompts Seth to throw this awesome line: "I thought everybody loves you?" Get it? Ray Romano - Everybody loves Raymond - Eminem doesn't.... somebody shoot me already.

NONE of the characters are in the least bit likable. With Sandler being the uber-d**k, rich and spoiled, treats Seth like his slave, ignores his family, easily picks up two girls, one of which was intended for Seth but ends up sleeping with both himself. He also visits his former girlfriend at her house, while her husband is away on a business trip, plays with her two daughters and then has Seth babysit the kids while he sleeps with their mom. He tries to get her to abandon her husband and destroy the family but fails.

By now surely you must have noticed the brilliant underlying Me neither.

All in all, this movie didn't know what it was trying to be - a comedy/drama/coming of age story. It fails miserably as it's not funny, you don't like the character to feel sorry for him (instead I was hoping he'd finally drop dead), and there is no realization, no self discovery going on. Sandler is a douche and stays a douche in this movie.

I haven't been this disappointed in a long time and part of it might be that I don't have the luxury to watch movies in piece with my wife very often.

I can only implore that if you see a copy of this movie around, burn it hastily so that it may fade quickly in the history of - the minutes of my life that I will never get back...

All in all five out of five stars. (kidding)