Serbuan maut (The Raid: Redemption) (2012)

 

Serbuan maut (The Raid: Redemption)

Release Date: March 23, 2012

Director: Gareth Evans

Stars: Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapy

Runtime: 101 min

Tagline: 1 Ruthless Crime Lord, 20 Elite Cops, 30 Floors of Hell

 

Wouldn’t 30 Floors of Hell have made a decent title? Maybe I only think so.

Rama (Iko Uwais) is the rookie officer on a SWAT team that has just infiltrated a tenement run by a ruthless crime lord, Tama (Ray Sahetapy). After their cover is blown by a young spotter, Tama offers lifetime sanctuary to every killer, thug, thief and gangster who will bring him the intruders’ heads. Now Rama must guide the remaining officers through the run-down building – every floor and every room – and complete the mission, and escape with his life.

The actors aren’t very well-known, but some bring some solid performances to their characters, at least for a full-throttle action flick; and especially for most of them being stuntmen.  The Raid offers pure entertainment, and that’s the main thing I took from it; and that Indonesians actually make pretty impressive films, especially with a budget of  1.1 million dollars.

The characters are pretty well-developed, especially Rama as he has a baby boy on the way and we want him out alive, as we don’t a child without a father out there. The plot is also well-developed, with the a few pleasant plot twists that are thrown at you, which in ways are sort of surprising – but it also left me thinking, “I should have saw that coming.”

The only flaws that I felt the film possessed was that some of the action sequences felt a bit dragged out, making me want someone to win the fight already. Though, the stunts were still sweet and some fights you could really get into, and if the good guy loses, the characters are generally likeable that you can be disappointed to see them go.

It’s a film that doesn’t have many flaws. The action is pretty non-stop, which makes it that much more enjoyable. There’s a few minutes of character or plot development in between, but don’t you worry, the action will be back in about one to three minutes.  The action sequences are very memorable, and the stunts are very cool, and the kills are quite amazing – from people being killed with just their opponents’ hands; to guns, to knives, to walls, to even broken doors.

If you don’t like reading subtitles the whole way through, don’t worry for those of you just tremble at the very thought – you have the option to watch it in Indonesian, English or even French. I personally don’t prefer the English choice for foreign films as their lips are quite out of sync, and the people who do the voice-over just annoy the heck out of me (so I just went with Indonesian). I like to read books, so in a way you’re just reading a story with the visuals just laid right there for you.

I wouldn’t be so bold to say this should win Best Film in a Foreign Language at the Academy Awards, but I wouldn’t say it shouldn’t be considered for at least a nomination, as it’s pretty well done and uses its simple, and occasionally [somewhat] complex, plot very much to its advantage. If there’s an award for Best Action film in a Foreign Language out there, though, this film will have that one in the bag.

The film is well-edited and well-made, and was a wicked experience with very cool stunts, and is a film I wouldn’t be against watching again in the future (maybe at least two or three months).

This is where I’d usually say who the film stars, but there wasn’t any stars that I was familiar with.

It’s a little-flawed foreign film that should really be checked out, as a great film is offered for those action fans who have the lack of stunt action late-winter blues. Just those of the faint of  heart should beware, though it’s like an action fan’s (especially for those fans who love stunts) wet dream. Judging by its box office earnings, it hasn’t been seen by as many as it should be (cashing in a bit more than four million; hopefully it’ll do well with its home media sales). It offers a really stellar action film experience that should be seen, and is the finest action film of 2012 (but I’m seeing The Expendables 2 soon, so that statement may not stand strong in a few days).

 

80/100

‘Jersey Shore’ ends on the sixth (next) Season

MTV ends ‘Jersey Shore’ on its sixth season (which is next season, so it only comes back for one more season and then the torture’s over, my bad for misspeaking)  there’s only a few things to be said here.

A) I think the cancellation should have came sooner, sure it has a solid following among teens, but it’s like the stupidest thing on television. I don’t see the entertainment value in watching people act stupid and yell at each other.

and B) THERE IS A GOD! Sometimes He works late, but He’s here now in the form of MTV to end this “comedy (?)” torture.

The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers

Release Date: May 4, 2012

Director: Joss Whedon

Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans

Runtime: 143 min

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) make The Avengers. This film is pretty sweet.

The Avengers assemble to face off against the god of mischief himself, Loki (portrayed by Tom Hiddleston).

What does The Avengers have? Awesome visual effects; great characters; great direction; not the best plot. I can’t think of any other villains that they could have fought against, well villains of these superheroes. Magneto or a Batman villain could have worked, but of course that goes out of their section of villains. I just wasn’t feeling the alien invasion thing. Though, the action was incredible – and it prevented the viewer from becoming bored. The gags were really funny, Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk added charisma to the film. The film casts a big box office shadow for upcoming super hero films like The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises, so hopefully those don’t disappoint (I know those have came out, but I wrote this review a while back).

The only flaw of the film for me was the villain of the film, but the ensemble that is the Avengers is really great and the action sequences are really well done.

I really like the ensemble here, I’ve seen a minority of the films that led up to this (I’ve seen Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, but still have to see Iron Man 2 – I couldn’t get into the first – and The Incredible Hulk).

My expectations were high, from hearing all of the awesome things about it, so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.  And I also viewed the film in 2D and not 3D, in which it was made for, so that may have taken away from my enjoyment. Granted, the film is still better than one’s average super hero film and was still really enjoyable and not overly flawed.

90/100

Spider-Man 3 — A film review by Daniel Prinn – Sometimes, the third time really isn’t the charm.

Spider-Man 3

Release Date: May 4, 2007

Director: Sam Raimi

Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Topher Grace

Runtime: 139 min

Tagline: How long can any man fight the darkness… before he finds it in himself?

Sometimes, the third time really isn’t the charm; and apparently Parker’s charm just had to flee, too.

Peter Parker is still your always friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, well… kind of. When a mysterious black entity bonds with Peter, he must deal with relationships, numerous villains, temptations, a huge ego and revenge.

Some of the film is entertaining, but this is forgettable. It sucks that they made the worst (it isn’t retched, or anything, though) of the trilogy the longest. It’s the darkest of the series, but it doesn’t work well.

The numerous antagonists, and some subplots of revenge, make the film very crowded. There’s Harry, the New Goblin, who’s still bent on avenging his father’s death; there’s Flint Marko, Sandman, who is actually an unknown part of Peter’s past which starts yet another subplot of revenge; there’s Eddie Brock (Venom), a photographer who starts a feud with Parker at the Daily Bugle, and who eventually swears revenge on Parker (I don’t know why, but I’m just getting this odd vibe [maybe my spidey senses are tingling] that revenge plays a huge role in this film); and there’s also the usual relationship problems between Peter and M.J., and Gwen Stacy now seems to be  throwing some moves in on Spidey. [Phew!]

Peter, Peter, Peter, where in the world did your charisma go? All of the charisma of this film went to the freaking maĂŽtre d’ (a cameo from Bruce Campbell, star of the Evil Dead trilogy); I know the film isn’t supposed to be very charismatic, it’s supposed to be dark, which it is, but some of it doesn’t work. The unbearable part of the film where Parker is taken completely over by the dark entity is just so annoying, it taints my view of the overall movie. I’m not usually one for cockiness or a huge ego in the first place, and Parker isn’t even good at being cocky. Whenever, or if ever, I re-watch this, I’m going to use the fast forward button with pleasure through those scenes.

The positives are fairly limited. The film has entertaining sequences, and many solid performances. Whilst the sub-plots crowd the movie, they are, admittedly, interesting. Venom is the best villain of the series, but Grace doesn’t give the best villain performance of the franchise. (Who could beat Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin?) Venom is my favourite Spider-Man villain, and while I usually enjoy Topher Grace as an actor, he doesn’t work in this dark role. The villain does add some entertainment value to the movie.

Overall, it’s an entertaining ride with a crowded script. It’s a film that isn’t all bad, and the bad and good aspects balance out. It’s an average film, that is by no means horrid. Check it out if you like super hero films. 

60/100

Spider-Man 2 – A film review by Daniel Prinn – Spidey’s back for a winner

Spider-Man 2

Release Date: June 30, 2004

Director: Sam Raimi

Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina

Runtime: 127 min

Tagline: This summer a man will face his destiny. A hero will be revealed.

[Spider-Man 2] is a great example of a film where sequels turn out better than the first outing.

Everyone’s friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man is back for this really sweet sequel. Peter Parker is still dealing with his powers and responsibilities and how they often intrude with things of his “normal” everyday life. Parker is also dealing with relationships, and often feels there is just about too much on his feast of a plate. Also, well of course, he has to deal with new villains: Doctor “Doc Ock” Octopus. Octopus came to be after yet another experiment gone wrong (seriously, where do they find these  stupid scientists who always find away to screw the experiment up and turn to a life of crime?!). With the mechanical tentacles that attached to his back now controlling his every move, he tries out his new abilities on the innocent citizens of New York.

The film is quite solid and has memorable action sequences and is pretty well-paced; and the film really doesn’t drag on in many areas or overstay its welcome. This flick has better action sequences than the first and Parker has grown more charismatic as his confidence has grown. In some ways I enjoyed it more than the first, and in other ways not.

I preferred the villain of the first, because the character of Doctor Octopus doesn’t overly interest me, I mean it’s interesting that he’s being controlled by the mechanical tentacles and he’s bent on revenge, I just didn’t feel he was a great villain. And people don’t really watch super hero films for the hero (on most occasions), we’re in it for the villains.

Some of the flick is quite memorable, but other scenes are a little forgettable. It’s fairly well- paced and a great action film experience.

The film stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, Rosemary Harris and J.K. Simmons. The direction by Sam Raimi is also really good.

It’s the best film of the Spider-Man trilogy.

80/100

Spider-Man – A (short) film review by Daniel Prinn – A great start to a solid trilogy

Spider-Man

Release Date: May 3, 2002

Director: Sam Raimi

Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe

Release Date: 121 min

Tagline: Does whatever a spider can.

Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is an average everyday science wiz, until he goes on a field trip and gets bitten by a spider that gives him superhuman abilities. After tragedy befalls his family, Peter must use his abilities to become New York’s masked saviour.

Along the way, he deals with a number of things: coping with his newfound abilities, fight for the love of Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), and fight the evil Green Goblin.

It’s quite the action film; and it is one of my favourite super-hero films. The storyline is  well-structured, the characters are likeable, the acting is good, and the direction is great. I liked the villain in this one; but the action sequences aren’t very memorable.

The film also stars James Franco, Cliff Robertson, Rosemary Harris and J.K. Simmons.

It’s a good movie, and a great first film for a great movie trilogy.

 

75/100

Bad Teacher – A film review by Daniel Prinn – A short review for a bad movie

Bad Teacher

Release Date: June 24, 2011

Director: Jake Kasdan

Stars: Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel

Runtime: 92 min

Tagline: She doesn’t give an “F.”

I have to give it props for staying true to its title (the movie is bad, and she’s a bad teacher).

The film is about this woman called Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) who just got dumped by her sugar daddy and got a teaching position, and she doesn’t do her job very well. When she wants to woo a fellow colleague, she begins a feud with a well-respected teacher (Lucy Punch).

The film is vulgar and rude, which I could forgive if it were actually funny. I remember only laughing out loud once and chuckling once.

The acting isn’t grand, and the plot is quite done-before, utterly weak, and predictable; and the characters are hardly likeable at all.

This film also stars Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel, Phyllis Smith, John Michael Higgins, and Noah Munck.

It isn’t even worth the watch on TV. I really couldn’t recommend it to many.

30/100

August 28 Birthdays

There’s a few celebrity birthdays today: Jack Black (43), David Fincher (50), Sarah Roemer (28), Jennifer Coolidge (51) and Daniel Stern (55).

Jack Black

This comedy actor just turned 43 today. He’s been in School of Rock, Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, Tropic Thunder, Nacho Libre, and he’s been the voice talents for Shark Tale, Kung Fu Panda, and in Ice Age; he’s also a pretty good dramatic actor, showing those abilities especially in King Kong. I haven’t seen Bernie just yet, but I heard he was pretty good in that. I like this guy’s funny antics and his ability to be a pretty good drama actor as well as a silly one.

David Fincher

This guy right here’s one of my favourite directors. A lot of his films are just so pleasantly dark and I like the atmosphere of them. When I collected films and didn’t really pay attention to directors, I found out that I really liked this guy’s movies as I had most of them. The only flick of his I don’t have is Alien 3. And the only films of his I haven’t seen is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Alien 3.  A good director to me is when they really bring a signature atmosphere and also when I have a really difficult time picking my favourite by them. His other films include Seven (a.k.a. Se7en), The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac, The Social Network and the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

 Well, there isn’t a lot to say about this one. She’s a pretty face, who’s a pretty good actress, who just turned 28. I’ve only seen her on a few things, being the TV show The Event, and the films Disturbia and Fired Up!

           Jennifer Coolidge

This picture doesn’t do her a lot of justice, but I didn’t feel like finding another. She’s best known as Stifler’s Mom in the American Pie (original cast) films; and she’s also known as the wicked step mother in that Hilary Duff flick, A Cinderella Story.

Daniel Stern

 This guy’s best known as the idiotic burglar, Marv, in the first two Home Alone films. That’s really all I want to say about him.

Miss March (2009)

Release Date: March 13, 2009. Directors: Zach Cregger, Trevor Moore. Stars: Zach Cregger, Trevor Moore, Craig Robinson. Runtime: 89 min.

I watched this a few months ago, and I still get nightmares from this comedy failure. What is Miss March’s problem? It isn’t very funny at all.

Eugene (Zach Cregger) is a young college guy who raises abstinence awareness, or something like that, with his pure girlfriend, Cindi. He decides that he’s ready and he wants to ‘do the deed’ with her on prom night. On the night of prom, Eugene’s best friend Tucker (Trevor Moore), a sex crazy idiot, thought having a few pre-sex alcohol shots would be a great idea. Eugene thinks it’s a great idea to walk into the basement and fall down the stairs and go into a four-year coma. When he wakes up, he gains the knowledge that Cindi Whitehall is now a Playboy cover girl. So Eugene and Tucker set on the road to the Playboy Mansion. Along the way, they’re on the run from the crazed fire-fighter brother of Tucker’s ex-girlfriend.

Jack Torrance called, he wants his axe back.

The appearances of Hugh Hefner (and when he comes in he doesn’t even look like he’s into the project; he’s not even in any of the same shots as the guys) Sara Jean Underwood, poop gags, and an extended appearance from TV’s The Office star Craig Robinson (playing a character called Horsedick.MPEG, but he couldn’t even be funny because of the poor dialogue) couldn’t even save this poorly written flick.

It isn’t funny, it isn’t memorable, the characters are annoying, and I miss the five dollars I spent to buy this garbage. There’s not one solitary good thing about this flick, and is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. If only I could erase this one from my memory; where’s that company from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind when you need them?

It only gets two points for all of the sexy girls.

2/100