I've been catching up on some movies lately that I've missed. Here's a quick movie review of what I thought about them (in no particular order):
The Night Watch / Day Watch series - I decided to give this movie a try after hearing so much about it. Its supposed to a big hit based on a series of novels written by Russian author Sergey Lukyanenko. Its yet another movie whose plot revolves around vampires (or vampire-like creatures) who lives amongst us humans without our knowledge. The "light" and the "dark" ones are constantly keeping each others in check. And a child with great powers is prophesied to arrive and tip the balance.
Don't get me wrong -- I actually like watching these types of movies, but I have to say -- Night Watch (1st movie) and Day Watch (the second of the trilogy) are two really, really b-o-o-o-o-ring movies. I felt that since I've already invested a lot of time watching part 1, I might as well finish part 2. But it was just so lousy. It was like watching the Russian version of Ghostbusters without the funny antics of Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray. I guess I won't be watching Part 3 (Twilight Watch?). Big waste of time. My rating -- two thumbs down.
This Is It (2010) - This is the behind-the-scenes video of Michael Jackson's supposed last concert at O2 Arena in London before his untimely demise. It showed footages of the dancers auditions, as well as, Michael rehearsing. The man is really a musical genius. He is very hands-on with his production and has a very clear idea of how he wants his music and show to appear. A far cry from a large majority of canned artists today who just follow what they are told.
I was expecting them to include the footage of the Cebu prison inmates doing "They Don't Care About Us" in the main video. Michael's choreographer came over to teach the inmates the dance steps and the video has been uploaded to YouTube. I don't know if they just used the video material as a "teaser" or as a "bonus feature" to the full video. For all fans of the Gloved One, this one is not to be missed. My rating - 1 thumb up.
Up (2009) - I can understand why this Pixar animated movie is not going to make millions of bucks in merchandising deals unlike Cars or Finding Nemo. While the characters are lovable, the movie seems to be targeted more towards an older audience unlike the aforementioned movies. Its not really something that you'd watch over-and-over again (I can't count how many times Ethan has watched Cars before he got tired of it). Overall, its ok and it did get the Oscar nod for Best Animated Film for 2009. My rating - 1 thumb up.
2012 (2009) - Yet-another-end-of-the-world movie. And yes, once again, the culprit is the sun. I was actually half-hoping that this movie would talk more about the Mayan culture and calendar which predicted the end of the world by 2012, but the movie hardly made any reference to it. Unlike other doomsday movie, there was also no attempt to stop the impending disaster (not that anyone can really stop the sun).
The whole movie was like an extended car chase scene with John Cusack's character constantly running a few inches away from buildings, debris, mountains, etc. being thrown at them -- and he constantly escapes without a scratch. The effects were "ok"; nothing really that blows away the mind, or maybe all the recent computer-generated effects have already dulled my senses. My rating - no thumb up and no thumb down either. Its a popcorn movie that you can watch if you have nothing better to do.
The Passengers (2008) - This movie came out a couple of years ago but I did not even notice it. Maybe that's a sign already of its quality and popularity. The movie stars Anne Hathaway as a psychiatrist counselling the crash victims of an airline disaster. Then each of her patient started disappearing mysteriously.
When I downloaded this movie from thepiratebay.org, some guy hinted away the movie ending already. So that really spoiled the "surprise" twist, if there ever was one. For those of you reading this, well too bad because I'm going to reveal the ending! Bwahahaha! The Passengers is a poor copy of the Sixth Sense's plot. Yes, Anne Hathaway's character also died at the plane crash and she was not aware that she's dead. Hoo-hum. Basically, each dead person had to accept the fact that he is dead so he can "move on" to the next stage.
But what made the movie a poor copy of Sixth Sense, is in this one, the dead people were actually interactive with the "live" people which completely made no sense. When Patrick Wilson ran across the street to his dead pet dog, the car stopped when it almost ran over him, and the driver even stared at him. Now how was that possible if the "live" world could not see these dead people. Then there was the airport incident where one of the "dead" people was confronting the equally "dead" airline pilot, and the "live" people surrounding them were watching the argument. Again, how can that be possible? My rating - 1 thumb down.
Horsemen (2009) - Dennis Quaid stars in this Seven-wannabe. Unlike Seven where the serial killer used the 7 deadly sins of the Bible as his theme, this movie follows the theme of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The plot is lame, and the ending is equally lame (what exactly happened? Was the killer captured and imprisoned?). Zhang Zhiyi's character was pretty creepy. I've been a fan of hers since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Its good to see Asian actors making it to mainstream Hollywood movies. My rating - 1 thumb down.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009) - this is probably the surprise of this batch. This indie film is actually a remake of a really old movie of the same title. Its about a tv reporter who is out to expose the District Attorney whom he suspects of manufacturing "irrefutable" DNA evidence to close all his string of convictions. Michael Douglas stars as the DA in a supporting role, while the main role of the TV reporter went to a lesser known actor. Douglas' performance, nonetheless, was riveting. When he plays the bad guy, he's really makes you hate him.
The movie would have already been perfect were it not for the "twist" at the ending. Ok, I won't spoil this one in case there are some who want to watch this movie. The "twist" did not make much sense to me though as there seem to be nothing in the movie that supported it. My rating - 1 thumb up.
Surrogates (2009) - This Avatar-meets-District 9 movie likewise did not make a big splash in the box office despite having Bruce Willis as its lead star. The basic plot of an "evil corporation" out to replace humanity is also a tired subject. And I really hate it when movies use computer viruses to explain something as complex as frying the brains of people sleeping in their pods remotely controlling their "surrogate" robots. My rating - 1 thumb up.