THIS BLOG HAS MOVED
Visit me now at my new blog.
The same quality reviews you have come to expect from this blog.
* Game Ratings (/10), Movie Ratings (/5)
|DS||Tokyo Beat Down||7.1|
|MOVIE||Knowing||5  CHOICE WATCH|
|PC||Left 4 Dead||8.7|
|Xbox 360||Mirror's Edge||8.5|
|MOVIE||Dead Space Downfall||3.5|
|MOVIE||The Day the Earth Stood Still||0.5|
|PSP||Super Stardust Portable||9.7  CHOICE PICK|
|PSP||Need for Speed Undercover||2.8|
Visit me now at my new blog.
The sum of its fun parts couldn't save it from its overwhelming ambitions.
Does terrain deformation give this game a facelift or does it sink it into a crater?
You need to know this.
RATING: 5/5 CHOICE WATCH
In my book, any movie with an aliens-arrive-on-Earth or end-of-the-world theme is worth the admission price. Regardless of the differences in creative interpretations, movies exercising any of the aforesaid themes pretty much guarantee a concoction of intriguing plotlines and explosive action with mostly impressive special effects. Knowing is the newest chief yet to cook us a tall tale about aliens and humanity being wiped out. After watching last year’s similarly-themed, yet disappointingly disastrous The Day the Earth Stood Still raze everyone’s attention to the ground, I have to admit that I was a tad sceptical about Knowing. But as I discovered, Knowing is a successful blend of elements from both themes as much as it is of a nastily intensifying and engaging production.
It is 1959 and students from an elementary school are asked to illustrate their predictions for the future. Rather unsurprisingly, objects like robots and flying cars are conjured up within the imaginative young minds of these children. Creepy little girl Lucinda Embry (Lara Robinson) thinks otherwise and goes on to agitatedly press a series of seemingly random numbers on her piece of paper.
The movie cuts forward to the present day, fifty years after the drawings are reposed in a time capsule and buried. We pick up with single parent John Koestler (Nicholas Cage) and his son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury), the later of who studies at the same elementary school Lucinda attended. As promised fifty years ago, the time capsule is unearthed and each student receives a drawing. Caleb is given Lucinda’s paper, setting up a plot point where John, a college professor specializing in astrophysics, becomes increasingly intrigued by the outwardly unconnected numbers on Lucinda’s paper. After an accidental discovery that one of the lines of numbers accurately represents 9/11 and its death toll, John immerses himself in more thorough research and comes to the conclusion that the other numbers on the paper are actually representations of various disasters which have occurred. 3 lines of numbers remain, and with the help of Lucinda’s daughter Diana Wayland (Rose Byrne) and granddaughter Abby (Lara Robinson again), both of whom John managed to track down, he must now find a way to prevent these supposedly predetermined catastrophes from happening – while also protecting Caleb from some eerie black-suited men who are seemingly stalking his son.
Alex Proyas’s prior directorial effort may have been the 5 years old I, Robot, but fortunately, his skills haven’t skidded off even by an inch. I enjoyed I, Robot tremendously and am certainly glad that the expertise shown in I Robot’s action scenes and plot turns have been carried over. If anything, Knowing is an impressive entry to the film library and is the perfect film to mark the return of Alex.
How am I supposed to know what these numbers are?
A comparison between a horror film and a piece of fish wouldn’t be overly conspicuous. Like allowing that tender slice of fish melt in your mouth, watching a macabre tale unfold on the screen never gets stale. Part of this could be attributed to the fact that there are many ways to approach the development of a horror movie – just like how there could be many ways to cook a piece of fish. Depending on the way it is cooked – be it subtle or drastic adjustments in the atmosphere and the music, the story, or the gore and special effects, a horror film could either produce a mildly tantalizing or distinctively spicy taste. But what happens when you don’t even bother to add the oil if you want to fry the fish, start the fire if you want to grill it, or boil the water if you want to make steamed fish? The result is a lackadaisical showing that shows paroxysms of potential, yet ends up as an idea best described as misbegotten.
Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman) is just another ordinary young woman jogging in the park one day when she sees a kid staring at her with an eerie gaze. Her life turns topside soon after as the kid starts stalking her and gradually killing people around her. With the help of her grandmother (Jane Alexander), Casey discovers that a curse has befallen her family during the Holocaust. The curse involves an evil spirit being constantly in search of a new body to inhabit. Casey’s mother (Carlo Gugino) passed away trying to stop the vicious cycle and the time has come for Casey’s turn to halt it. Aided by her best friend (Meagan Good) and her boyfriend (Cam Gigandet), Casey must now rush against time to search for a way to break the curse before the evil spirit claims her life.
Suffice to say that there is already an established set of elements which are necessary for a truly intriguing and engaging horror film and we have come to expect this set of elements in every macabre tale we choose to listen to. The most fundamental problem with The Unborn which makes it so annoyingly mediocre and hardly watchable isn’t with its idea – in fact, it has a great premise – but with how it chooses to discard the basic ingredients of a horror film ever so clumsily and ignorantly.
One of most cardinal devices needed to manufacture a respectable tale of fright and thrill is the story. The plot as shallow as it is – it’s literally about Casey being SUDDENLY haunted by a kid and having to get rid of it. It is a rather interesting premise that has lots of potential for plot expansions and I was waiting to see if David S. Goyer could conjure up any surprises. But as I was watching the movie, I realized that he was just mixing unnecessarily elaborate exposition with random ‘Gotcha! I scared you, didn’t I?’ crap. It’s painful knowing that the movie will never shift into second gear with all those RANDOM nonsense, but even more painful understanding that there would be no surprises. Watching The Unborn felt like watching a game of Whac-a-Mole. It’s a straightforward concept made better only by a few random pops. The result is a movie that felt like a collection of boring scenes strung together. Not even once was I made to care about what would happen to the characters. The movie just kind of moved along languidly and it ended on an equally predictable scene that hardly qualifies as a climax.
Equipped with a hopeless story, the only way The Unborn could be salvaged is by scaring us senseless with its random ‘Gotcha!’ scenes. As expected, it cheerfully puts itself beyond redemption by having a PG rating stickered onto it. I really feel that filmmakers need to understand this: If you want to make a film that caters to families – toddlers, children, parents, grandparents, you make an animated feature or a family-friendly flick like Journey to the Centre of the Earth, City of Ember or Race to Witch Mountain – a movie where everyone can enjoy. However, if you want to make a horror film, you make one – not one that stays on the line between a family-friendly flick and a horror film. Horror films cater to horror fans, not to whole families.
Little boy scares the heck out of everyone.
You can't signal perfection with a missing thumb.
When innovation works, it produces splendid results.