Tag Archives: disappointing

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Sitting down to watch this movie, I was filled with mixed opinions. I liked the first one as a whole film. Then I saw the recent BBC adaptation of Sherlock in its modern day context and found a new interest in what used to be my favorite Disney film. What am I talking about, you may ask? The Great Mouse Detective, plain and simple. This story of rats, cats, and

The one, true Sherlock Holmes.

danger is one of my favorite stories and so cleverly done I think it should rank as one of the best Disney creations of all time. But enough about that. So, when I sat down for the sequel to Guy Ritchie’s critically acclaimed Sherlock Holmes, I wasn’t expecting the world of this film. Just some entertainment.

And it didn’t really do that, that much. I was constantly befuddled by the dialogue and the quick witted humor in its attempts to be funny, leaving me unsure as to what was more important, the characters or plot. The action took over all too much of the film and left the sleuthing for the last second. You would get a

Despised friends til the end.

few of those extended deductions, but not enough of any detail that I could have noticed myself. Moriarty’s storyline and relevance in the entire showdown was rushed and wasn’t developed very well at all. If I hadn’t had seen the first film (which this was supposed to stand alone as a Sherlock film) I may not have had any idea or interest of what was going on.

And then we come to my issue with Robert Downey Jr. in this film. I thought he made a great comeback, I don’t fault him for that. But what has he done in the last five years that could be considered a serious role? Or even a character that doesn’t have a swelled head? I’m seeing Zodiac back in 2007 and that’s about it. The persona he’s created

I forgot to mention Noomi Rapace was in this one…

since the success of Iron Man is that he is Tony Stark in every role. When you see these movies, it’s not “Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes.” It’s “Robert Downey Jr. playing a playboy, egotistical jerkoff.” If there was some range to his acting (other than a standout performance in Tropic Thunder) since his comeback, I would give him more credit. This movie was more of the same.

The playboy strikes again.

It wasn’t to say there weren’t things in this film I enjoyed. After watching the greatness that is Guy Ritchie’s Lock Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, I know the elements he brings to a movie are fast and slick. Jude Law comes off as a decently done Watson with all the hesitations and reservations he’s supposed to have. Hell, that’s probably because I’m a Jude Law fan. And Stephen Fry makes a great guest star as Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft. Although I don’t think you could ever consider the two brothers, maybe that wasn’t the point. Jared Harris’ performance was unremarkable, but I gave a sigh of relief at killing off Rachel McAdams early in the story. Not a spoiler; a message from the Hollywood gods that she really wasn’t meant to be in these movies.

So you add all these disappointments together into one movie and you end up with a confusing plot and rinse and repeat

Can we see some more explosions please?…

rapport between two characters seen countless times before. The classic buddy comedy with a facade as a thriller action film. I don’t mind all the action and high definition, slo-mo cameras, but this movie got a little ridiculous. The fight with the Russian assassin, the explosions and all the weaponry… This loose adaptation wasn’t really that close to the Sherlock Holmes story was it? I think it would be best to allow the BBC and the British to do what they do best with their British authors. Make television versions worth watching. 5.5 out of 10.

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The Woman in Black

I probably shouldn’t have watched this movie so late at night, but not for the reasons you’re thinking. I was falling asleep about 30 minutes in. I awoke for the more scary and chilling parts, but this movie really was your typical, “run of the mill” horror

A “dad” on a mission.

movies. It has the traditional elements (haunted house, ghosts and evil hags) you always see in films, but I think it attempts to rise above the others with one simple element. Daniel Radcliffe.

The Woman in Black is the story of Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe). Somehow a father at 22 (were they trying to pass him off as older with the facial hair?) but playing a 24 year old, I guess it’s not too far off to

The horrors pop up in places you wouldn’t expect…

assume this relationship was possible. A godfather to the son (Misha Handley) he has onscreen? That’s a bit weird… Anyways, Arthur is a lawyer sent to a small town out in the boonies (or British equivalent) in order to settle some business with an abandoned house that was recently vacated (or death-cated, wow, didn’t need to say that…).

While there, Arthur is shunned by the village folk, noticing a

Must… resist… eye…. twitch…

mysterious hint to the air around the town and what they’re trying to hide. With the help of an older gentleman, Mr. Daily (Ciaran Hinds), Arthur attempts to discover what’s wrong with the house and what The Woman in Black truly is. And, I’m telling you, it ain’t all pretty…

They killed Cedric! Wait…

As a whole, the movie isn’t that bad. It has it’s jumps and scares throughout in dark corners and at times you wouldn’t expect. In true haunted house fashion of the 1800’s, there are creepy old dolls (my favorite), squeaking chairs, and ancient vibes that make you feel unsettled because it is a time period so far removed from our own. I like that it chills in the traditional way. Doesn’t mean there aren’t its share of problems.

Daniel Radcliffe was picked, I feel, in order to raise buzz about the film. Plain and simple. It’s a damn shame that movies do this, but I don’t think this movie had anything else going for it anyways. In my opinion, I would’ve picked an older actor to portray a dad, because every fan of Harry Potter that went into this film was anticipating teenager Potter. I did too. And I was

One of the creepier parts of the film…

waiting for his lackluster acting and twitchy left eye to kick in as well… (Watch the HP series, you’ll see it all over every movie.)

The ending was sort of a dud of a twist, or a crappy cop-out. Arthur does what he needs to do. He sympathizes with the Woman in Black and lost his wife, all things that should’ve made him a worthwhile hero in this tale of horror. You were thinking man who conquers true life fairy tale. You get a relentless terror that doesn’t even know when the movie’s actually over. Arthur conveniently finds the clues he needs to solve the puzzle, moving quickly and not allowing any time to ruminate on the conundrum of the film. It’s a straight and away chiller with only a handful of good thrills. You know what’s going to happen

It’s not such a wonderful Wizarding world after all…

before it happens, leaving the plot as crap and the scary moments as the only things holding the film together. I don’t like to judge that harshly, but I have to put my foot down here.

So watch The Woman in Black if you’re not expecting much from a horror movie. If you are a horror fan, I would say steer clear of this one. You only feel disappointed by movie’s end. I give Daniel Radcliffe props for attempting to break the mold, but this wasn’t the movie to start it on. Better luck next time. 4.7 out of 10.


Romeo Must Die

In what was considered Jet Li’s breakout American performance, I was a bit disappointed. (I personally though Lethal Weapon 4 really showcased a lot more skills…) The plot is just a crude, urban sampling from Romeo and Juliet. There were minimal stunt/fight scenes. Overall it wasn’t as action packed as the cover had led me to think. I guess I should’ve

An awkward couple?

expected half-assed amounts of martial arts from the director of Exit Wounds, Doom, and Street Fighter. Thanks a lot, Andrzej Bartkowiak…

Let’s just examine the plot to get a what bothers me about this movie. Two warring families. You have the Sing family, led by Ch’u Sing (Henry O). Then you have the black family led by Issak O’Day (Delroy Lindo. He’s that intelligent black man you see in a lot of films as a stock character actor. The smart version of Ving Rhames.) O’Day? What kind of last name is that for a black mafia family? And when have black gangs ever organized like the mafia in the first place? Weird…

This is the second time in a film I’ve seen a guy throwing a girl around…

So yes, I get the two warring families with Jet Li and Aaliyah in the middle. They don’t really love each other at first and you never get that onscreen chemistry from them. Never even a kiss. Just a hug. What I find weird is that they shot the kiss scene (that could’ve been placed anywhere in the film) and they chose to cut it out. Racist anyone? The screeners said it was awkward… Hmm…

Anyways, Jet Li is Han Sing, escaped from a high security prison in Hong Kong. He creatively escapes during one of the cooler fight scenes in the film, but how does he escape the country and make it all the way to Oakland? There is a real lack of police interference in this movie… Aaliyah is a beautiful young actress who (after watching this and The Queen of the Damned) really was taken too quickly from the

It’s all about the shades for Wong.

silver screen. She wasn’t like other R&B actresses onscreen who kinda flaunted their sex appeal. She came across as the cute girl next door you could believe and fall in love with. (Not so much in The Queen of the Damned, but just as good in that movie too.)

A beautiful and tragic young actress.

So Jet Li makes it to Oakland to discover something fishy going on with his father’s gang enterprise. His brother Po (Jon Kit Lee) has been murdered and Han Sing is on the case to find out what happened. (He used to be a police officer. Jackie Chan anyone?) The two star crossed lovers meet (if you can call them lovers) and their families war around them. With some betrayal and only the slightest bit of martial arts, this movie comes to its conclusion: happy ending.

But it wasn’t such a good ride to the happy end. Coming from a 2000 film, the ghetto speak was tired and old. If I had watched it when it had came out, I might be saying something different. But all the dawg’s and yo’s really wore on me… especially when the Chinese gangs used that slang, AND if showed up in

Some of that minimal martial arts.

their subtitle translations for some strange reason… I don’t think they have that kind of slang in the Chinese language…

And how racist this film was! It wasn’t just the speech, it was the music. Sure you have an all star cast doing the R&B hits for all the black gang scenes, but when it comes to cutting over to a scene with Jet Li or someone in the Asian gang, classical oriental music. The clangs and bows of what every person in America hears when they go into a Panda Express. There couldn’t be an infusion or anything more original for both gangs? This movie just seemed like a compare and contrast of races. The only crossover was that some black gang members miraculously knew proper Karate/Wushu form for no reason. Fancy that…

Get your head around that…

The acting was fine and I had no major complaints about that. But for some reason, and I don’t know how to put it into words, Anthony Anderson (co-star of some of the Scary Movies… and Kangaroo Jack…) just rubbed me the wrong way. He wasn’t funny, and seeing him get his ass handed to him by Jet Li just seemed satisfying… Overall though, the whole movie put me in a sour mood. I’ve seen better from Jet Li. This movie is one of those Asian/American films that takes the whole action/martial arts thing for granted. It sickened me a little bit. It was just too dated for me. They should’ve changed the title too… Romeo Must Die? More like A Vague Racist Action Movie About Building A Football Dome. There you go, all fixed. 4.3 out of 10.


100 Feet

It’s not every day you see Famke Janssen under house arrest for killing her husband. And it’s not every day that you see a vindictive poltergeist wreaking havoc all over her life for killing him. In this version of what I would consider Jennifer Lopez’s “Enough” gone wrong, Famke Janssen is haunted by her husband she killed in self defense. There are some frightening scenes and I really enjoyed the way that the jumpy scenes are strewn throughout without warning, not just built up until the end. With a minimal cast and quality acting, this was a horror movie that was unfortunate that I hadn’t seen sooner.

Marnie Watson (Janssen) is a newly paroled felon who has just been released from prison and given house arrest in her house. This is the very house that she killed her husband in in self defense. A little twists is that her husband was a police officer, and the partner cop to the man who will stalkingly watch her for the rest of the film, Officer Shanks

Famke Janssen, terrorized all over again.

(Bobby Cannavale). I was semi-impressed with Cannavale’s performance in this film, only because it wasn’t a stretch for him to play a hardened Brooklyn cop. He’s a character actor and it’s all good.

So Famke’s ass gets locked up with a house arrest anklet that only allows her to go within a 100 foot radius in her own house. If she leaves the confines of the house, the alarm will set off and she has only seconds to return to the barrier. This is a problem because parts of her huge and nicely furnished house are off limits to her, including the basement. Plot device, anyone? So Marnie returns to a semi-life of normalcy and goes about buying groceries, cleaning house, ad finding anything she can do to keep busy.

The face of a wife beater…

It’s not any help that the entire neighborhood doesn’t believe that she fought in self defense to save herself. Looked down upon by everyone, only one delivery boy, Joey (Ed Westwick) finds no problem with her. Attempting to be her friend, Marnie copes with a life of solitude. Until her husband starts attacking her from beyond the grave. In a series of scenes that bust up her and her house, Marnie starts reliving all the horrible beatings her husband gave her in life. And this time around, Marnie has had enough of this poltergeist B.S. She’ll fight back at any cost necessary. Without being able to leave her house, this plot restricts her from running away. It’s time to kill again.

I really liked the simplistic plot of this film. It was a creative idea, although I’m not sure they would lock her up in the same house she killed in, as poetically justified it may seem. There are some great haunting scenes in the movie involving a lot of things breaking (including some bones). Ed Westwick plays a reasonably real character in this film, although he’s a straight tool for his work on Gossip Girl. I’d say this is one of his better works. Hauntings and devilish exorcisms and demons are more my style when it comes to horror, so this movie was right up my alley. There’s a great kill scene in the movie, and, although the CG effects in this movie are a bit Syfy channel middle of the road, it doesn’t detract from the whole overall

I know I’ve been stalking you for a while now, but did you know you look like that read headed wench from X-men?

experience of the movie. It’s brutal, and it does the job of performing as a threatening and horrifying film (didn’t scare me much, but all the same, the lights were on).

Most of the time, I’m a tool.

The one thing that will either disappoint you or make you laugh will be the end of the film. There’s some strange confrontation and a ridiculous explosion of an ending that would give Michael Bay a boner. It ruins the whole otherworldly feel of the movie and gives rise to a really dumb explanation of why he’s haunting her and how to stop him. Everything is resolved and, in a really sloppy style for a poltergeist, Shanks believes her and gives her the happy ending she wanted from the beginning. It just really comes down to the sub-par dialogue at the end and that explosion. I can’t get over how that ruined the movie.

But, from beginning to middle, this movie was well executed. It has the right amount of horror and plot, jumpy scenes and furthering events. Famke Janssen did her job (not as Phoenix from X-men, obviously) and gave the woman in peril role new meaning. She fought back with a butch attitude I wasn’t entirely expecting. She doesn’t frighten away like most women do in films and really sticks it to her husband in the film. There’s a real in your face attitude about this horror movie and that made it a breath of fresh air. It’s only the ending that takes down the rating. I’ll give this little horror film a 6.2 out of 10.

Janssen won’t back down easily.


Black Swan: I Kinda Laughed.

People may get pissed off at me for this one. I… laughed quite a bit at Black Swan. It wasn’t a bad movie overall, but the things I found strange or wrong with this movie made me laugh out loud, kinda like watching a dark comedy. Although this movie wasn’t a comedy. Oh well, it can’t be helped. I hope Natalie Portman never sees this post and hates me for the rest of eternity if some infinitesimal chance allows me to meet her. Let’s just keep this post a secret.

What a beautiful pout. Still in love with her since I was 9.

So this is a movie about the ballet Swan Lake. The twist? The ballet she is performing is Swan Lake and she is living out the events of Swan Lake. Oh the twist! Other than the WTF middle section of the film, yeah, it follows it pretty closely. Prince has party, Prince meets White Swan, fall in love, Black Swan tricks Prince, Prince and White Swan commit suicide for love. The end. I think it’s the liberties that Darren Aronofsky took at assuming ballet is synonymous with sex. I would sayyyyyyy… No. That is an artistic leap and assumption I wouldn’t necessarily associate.

So… plot now. Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is an up and coming ballerina at her dance studio. She’s nice and quiet and just hopes to make a bigger name for herself. And then her dance director Mr. French McCreepy Bastard, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) announces they’ll be having a Swan Lake run at their production company. He, like every other pompous director who thinks they’re a visionary, says they’ll be doing it differently than ever before. I guess he was going for more rape and sexy. Alright there Leroy, that’s your own choice.

Ah yes, the creepy mother.

Nina begs for the position and gets mouth fondled by Cassel, because for some reason in 2011, it’s still shocking for a director/boss to take advantage of his cast/employees. With all that said and done, Nina takes on the lead role of the White and Black Swan. From this point on comes some “messed up” and thriller like elements that push the boundaries of what’s real and what’s not. The arty version of The Matrix, if you will. And don’t call me sexist or naive or ignorant at this point. People can have their opinions about a film, negative or not. I can say these ignorant things because from what I’ve seen of the hundreds of movies I’ve seen before, this movie isn’t necessarily anything impressive in the way of

Vincent Cassel, crossing toolish lines since… this movie.

groundbreaking. It seems more important for me, at this point, to say how disappointed I was with this film. Because, as serious and mentally disturbing as it was supposed to be, I still laughed.

Should I talk about my problems with this film? Let’s go. I knew there was going to be a conflict when Nina’s mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) flips out. She’s bought Nina this nice big cake for getting the part and Nina simply says no, I can’t eat right now, my stomache is upset. Reasonable reason right? “Well that’s fine, don’t have any.” The music becomes serious and tension filled, she heads towards the can with the cake. A simple pleading no from Nina and you see the smile instantly and bizarrely  return to her face. I laughed. Hard. Yes, this was supposed to point out the stressed and overprotective relationship that sparks Nina’s problems in the film. But it was campishly delivered and I enjoyed it. For any Tim and Eric fans out there, this scene may tickle your fancy.

I wanted to put this next to the word “lesbian”.

All the lesbian/finger banging scenes in this film feel out of place. That’s probably because I don’t make an automatic connection in my mind between ballet and sex. For me, ballet in particular, is a purist sport. It has a set amount of moves that allow you to express a gamut of emotions. Other forms of dance, sure, why not? There’s sex everywhere at a high school dance. Just not with ballet. Nina is exploring her sexuality and, for the whole film, until she said it, I thought she was 18, maybe 21 at most. Living with her mother threw off my radar on her age and calling her Mommy (with her room and clothing choices) I assumed 18. Why would a 28 year old dancer be attempting to get big in dance? Her prime is gone. Error right there.

I disliked Vincent Cassel in this movie. I think you’re supposed to. To the extent I did, maybe was a bit extreme. Not death threat level, I’m talking more ruined any scene he was in for me. As a sex icon in the movie? Didn’t really believe it. Mila Kunis though? She was her normal, old relaxed That 70’s Show self in this one. Typical Mila out for a good time, who just happens to be a diabolical dancer. I did love

You made this movie better Winona.

Natalie Portman’s performance in the film. She did have to do a lot of things you never typically see her do in this film. And I was IN LOVE with Winona Ryder’s performance in this film. The fallen dancer and raging spurned lover? That was a convincing and devastating performance for her.

Let the weird begin.

Other than that, I don’t really wanna shit on this movie too much. I just didn’t like it. It wasn’t my cup of tea. I do see how this movie didn’t beat The King’s Speech for best film. It was too edgy for the Oscar community. But it was a well done film itself. The cinematography was jarring and uncommon, something I just can’t stand. Watch this movie again and see if the still shots outweigh the fluid and nauseating moving shots. You’d be surprised. The acting for the most part is what you would expect from a movie with Oscar buzz and all that good stuff. Just not my film. And because I’m the one rating for my own interest, I have to give this movie a 4 out of 10.