Dark City – Director’s Cut

Feb, 11, 2017 – Watched:

Dark City (1998) – Director’s Cut

Had this film sitting on the HDD since last April and finally was in the mood to watch it. So lets break it down.

Conceptually this film had something going for it. Visually, this film had much too enjoy despite being a little too obvious with the miniatures laced throughout the scenes. With that said the cinematography was lovely.

But can that save a film from bad acting? Unfortunately not. The lead in this movie scores an A+ for bad acting. Over the top stuff from certain characters as well (Keifer), and I hate to say it, it’s laughable at times. And when you put that all together, its hard to take it seriously.

To sum it up, aesthetically pleasing to the eyes but the acting is too much to get over. This film had something going for it from the concept stage (enough that the Matrix used the same sets) but the execution of this wasn’t fulfilled properly.

6.5/10

VFX – 7/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118929/

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Moon

March, 25, 2016 – Watched:

Moon (2009)

This was different. And different is good in a world of repetitiveness.

I think I spent 2-3 hours hunting down a sci-fi movie to watch tonight that sounded interesting and promising. It was this versus a Ridley Scott picture, in the end, I picked this one. And thankfully it payed off. It’s a special little film.

This movie was different from your typical sci-fi stuff. What that something “else” was; I won’t really talk about (for reasons of spoilers and surprise).

Its got an interesting story for a backbone supported by Sam Rockwell’s compelling performance. The whole movie involves only him and him alone. From the first scenes to last, his time on screen is effortless it seems.

I found this movie minimal in nature, no prolonged or unneeded scenes, short in duration and to the point. The budget was low ($5 mil) and they made the best of it.

Visually it was inspiring. From the start I noticed a sense of realism that lacks in most Sci-Fi/Fantasty films (think Hobbit). Moon utilized Bill Pearson, (the supervising model maker on Alien) and the lunar rovers and harvesters were all models. This was such a breath of fresh air from the horrid CGI I see in films nowadays. That’s not to say there wasn’t any CGI in this film, but where it was implemented it showed, sadly (perhaps to the budget). As for the model work, it was pure perfection. 🙂

This one leaves you thinking…

8/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1182345/

The Thing (1982)

February, 20, 2016 – Watched:

The Thing (1982)

In the year 1982, John Carpenter decided to release “The Thing” – hailed nowadays as a “classic horror movie” by some. I’ve never had any interest in Carpenter’s work for the most part, and only by sheer chance tonight I decided to watch this film-making “attempt” at horror. I didn’t read into it, no reviews, no details, no nothing. Just sat down and watched it from start to finish.

So, I’m left with the burning question that most of us ask ourselves after watching a movie.

“Did we enjoy that? Was it good? bad? perhaps only mediocre?” “Did we waste our time on that? Was it life changing?” Thankfully, that’s an easy answer in this case.

The Thing starts off promising and suspenseful in the opening scene and quickly shifts into horrifically bad for an array of reasons.

  • No characters depth, no interesting developments, shallow plot.
  • Bad acting. What were they thinking? Kurt Russel’s stupid hat in the blistering cold? Come on, it was absurd and stupid.
  • Where was the script? All I heard was repetitive lines over and over again. Laziness at its core. The writing was bad and laughable.
  • Repeating story arc. One death after another for no good reason other then showing off the fancy 1980’s special effects.
  • Really boring score.

And that’s where we’ll stop. Too many flaws, no point in listing them all.

I really didn’t think much of this coming into it. So my disappointment isn’t really that high, its actually expected. It seems Carpenter’s work overall never really concentrated or achieved proper character design/development, which should of been a read flag from the start. Thankfully real horror gems (ie. Carrie, The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby) take all these important aspects into consideration and as a result stand the test of time.

The only good points in the movie? The VFX for the time period. Quite uncomfortable at times which was impressive (even now in 2016). And finally, the best for last, let’s not forget this:

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Albert Whitlock – “The Thing”

VFX – 8/10

The rest – 6/10

If you want a real horror, don’t bother with this, unless you want a “horrifically” bad attempt at a scare and storytelling.

 

Blade Runner (Final Cut)

Feburary, 13, 2016 – Watched:

Blade Runner (1982), Final Cut (2007)

Spur of the moment watch tonight. Completely unplanned for. It’s fucking freezing outside, so why not watch more films? 😀

Got my eyes on the Remastered Final Cut Blu-ray edition tonight and it was a hell of an experience.

I had some interest developing towards this one in the past few months but couldn’t find a good time to watch it. Either the mood wasn’t right or I simply wasn’t interested. Sometimes its better not to rush and wait for a practical time and place to view a film. Other times, its good to just take the plunge.

BR is a slow riser and builds up steadily. At first I wasn’t really that impressed or taken with it, but as time went on it dragged me in further and further. It requires multiple viewings to really appreciate it in its entirety, and seeing as I’ve viewed it for the first time tonight, I’ll be re-watching this one some time in the future again.

The opening establishing shot is something to really feast your eyes on. It’s long, slow and hauls you into a grim dystopian landscape. A lot of double exposure sequences in the fire scenes. The visuals throughout the film are from another planet. For 1982 this was a huge achievement.

Another thing to add is, unlike a lot of films nowadays that rely heavily on (poor) CGI that simply looks fake to the eye, this one relies on the various ancient methods of illusion and disbelief in film making. It’s got that 80’s charm to it, something that has been lost in the current films of this generation. (I may go into this in greater detail sometime later since its a subject of its own)

 

–  http://douglastrumbull.com/key-fx-sequences-blade-runner-hades-landscape

 

One thing that really escalates this sci-fi classic to another level is the score. It’s absolutely PERFECT from a musical standpoint. The minimal synths interact brilliantly with the shots and glide your eyes over the futuristic cityscape like nothing I’ve seen in recent memory. I could listen to the score alone for hours. Actually, I’m obsessed with the score. It’s haunting, dark, miserable and you can feel the hopelessness of this city within it.

It’s pure awesomeness and inspiring as hell.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083658/

8.5/10

The Martian

December 31, 2015 – Watched:

The Martian (2015)

 

VFX – 9.5/10

Story – 7.5/10

It’s a funny, sci-fi space adventure with stunning visuals/effects and cinematography.

However, it has several drawbacks.

No character development #1. We can’t get close to Damon despite his fantastic performance. It’s comedic, fun to watch, and well delivered, but other than that there is no emotional attachment to the character whatsoever. Other characters throughout the film are given very little screen time and are mostly used as pawns to move the lacking story gradually along.

Next, Kristin Wiig is a horrible excuse for an’actress’ (if you can even call her that). She doesn’t add anything to the film and her role is unnecessary filler with no substance. Not sure why she even got the part, good agent perhaps…

I excepted this to be a more serious take on the “mission gone wrong” scenario, something along the lines of “Interstellar”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. The ending was a your typical Hollywood ending. Another fault in the execution of the film. And lastly, the final weakness, was the predictability of each scene. We knew what was going to happen, there were no surprises, no suspense,  no big reveals.

Overall, it’s enjoyable and decent, but its definitely not in the “top” films of 2015. I’ll give it another re-watch to see if this changes. But I’m pretty sure it’s at 7-7.5/10