Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's Lycan Action-Horror Movie

Called 'horror' mostly for its Gothic style and for being about vampires and werewolves, it's not at all scary. But, it is full of action and an epic-style story. Plus some romance if you want that. :)

Personally I'd just call Underworld: Rise of the Lycans an action movie, but since it's placed in the horror genre (and there wasn't any other horror flick on that week o_o) I'll include it here.

But let's not let that bring us down! Yay! Action movie!

Right, so, it was pretty good. The effects were nice with some cool looking werewolves going around. Though there could have been more action sequences, what they had was intense. Everything from close combat to huge ballistae. I especially liked that they briefly had a human that could kick some butt too. Still, it delivered part of what we all went to see: more Werewolf vs Vampire craziness!

Yet, it didn't so much fill the other part: Underworld. The first movie (and even the second one) had more of a horror feel than this one. Creepy scenes, Gothic but also unknown, and even the style of a gritty underworld were lacking in this third installment. To me, it felt like a separate story, even though many parts were related to the other two films. Really, when you get right down to it, it might as well have been. As things stand though, it is Underworld, and I enjoyed watching it just fine. And to be fair, I guess the werewolves were at times a little intimidating. ;)
("Wanna be friends?! :D")

The cast was great. Solid acting all around. Michael Sheen returned to play Lucian and did his job in the rebel-slave-leader-who-is-also-a-werewolf role. Like everyone else, I was sad that we wouldn't be seeing Kate Beckinsale, but they brought in Rhona Mitra (woo!), which was nice. :) And then we have Bill Nighy returning as well as the tyrannous lead vampire Viktor. I once again loved how he played the cold, self-centered, powerhungry, merciless Viktor, unblinking and for some reason always seeming like he is trembling with wrath. That's him on the right. Creepy.

The romance was your typical star-crossed lovers thing... with wolf-mans and vamps, but yeah, same old. That was one of the big things that separated this movie from the others: deep down it was a love story. Sure the other ones had some romance, but this was Romeo and Juliet... if Juliet could kill a man with the flick of her wrist. Like I said, good for some movies, but is it "Underworld"?

Now for them critic people. They tossed this movie to the wolves (pardon the intended pun). Seriously, they tore it apart. Many were put off by how different it was than the others. One guy, Jeffrey M. Anderson, at Rotten Tomatoes had this to say on that note: quickly turns into a pretty standard-issue "revolt of the slaves" action picture...

I disagreed with some other things he said, but he's right there. However, some of the critics just plain sounded ignorant in their bashing of Rise of the Lycans. Some said Sheen's movement from roles in dramas (like Frost/Nixon or The Queen) made his place in an action movie awkward and laughable. Uh, sorry to disappoint those poor fools but he's been in action movies before either of those said roles (like Underworld and Timeline). Did I mention he did a good job in those action movies too? Oh, how silly of me, because he did. So, that was "dumb criticism #1" from them. Number two would probably just be the way they boohoo'd about how they didn't enjoy action and the story. The problem with many critics is that they get too involved in their own opinions and don't look at the movie objectively. Take a look at the review done at The Movie Blog by John Campea. He had some interesting things to say, but most of all he looked at the good and the bad and rated it fairly. Unlike the rot some critics spout out, senselessly declaring that they were bored or that it was stupid, or such things.

Overall: Definately worth the watch, especially if you're a fan of the series. It's different, yes, but a good different. And yes, for those of you who were disappointed in Underworld 2, this one makes up for it. I'd make some joke about how you could sink your teeth into it, but I wouldn't want to sound cliché would I? Oh.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Time For A "Horror Movie Awareness Day!"

We've got a couple horror films coming up, and I think its time to get all excited about them (if you haven't yet). Or maybe unexcited. Prepared! But unless some new announcements are made, there isn't much on the horizon past February. Lets hope we get more! If push comes to shove some weeks, I'll find and watch new-ish foreign horror to tell you about.

So, let's get right into it. Next week's release is The Uninvited. Yep, another Un- movie. From the commercial (Youtube, Apple), it seems... nothing special. The ghost-warning has been done before, and in possibly more interesting ways. I can't tell you which movies without ruining the twist though. Anyhow, the "person-everyone-trusts-but-you" thriller has been done nicely as well (like with Disturbia). Sure combining them is not so worn, but even so I don't see anything original coming from this one. Honestly it doesn't even seem that creepy/scary. But who knows, I could be way off. In some cases, I could never understand why the ghosts feel they have to scare the person they're trying to help, instead of just talking to them. Rules of some sort? Why not just scare off the evil person or haunt them into confessing? *shrug* Comes out the January 30th.

Next up on my list is probably the most anticipated horror movie in the near future: Friday the 13th. That's right, the story is being revived. The legend of Jason Voorhees. Check it out (Youtube, Apple 2a). Finally, the serial killer in the hockey mask has some mobility instead of being slow and stiff. It had always bothered me in the old movies when Jason would walk after sprinting teens and still somehow catch up. This looks like an interesting slasher. A big guy with a machete (and other sharp objects) and a scary mask popping out and attacking teens. What else do we need to make us insecure on a camping trip? It is possible that they could somehow mess it up, but there is a lot of expectation riding on this movie and the makers know it. Give us your best shot guys! Comes out in Febuary on Friday the 13th.

Now for something that's been kept more in the shadows. Another revival of a classic. The Wolf Man. There are no official trailers yet, but somebody recorded a preview at Comic-Con and leaked it on the internet. The quality ain't great, but enjoy! It looks very... classical. Old-fashioned, and that's not a bad thing. We're looking at a strong cast too. Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, and Hugo Weaving. I'm genuinely interested. Could be a wild ride. And its also coming out February 13th. Wait, wait. I just noticed that production got pushed back. Rotten Tomatoes had it set for February 13th, but now its aiming for November 6th. Awwww, man! People are saying it's because they want more time to market it, and on a My Bloody Valentine 3D wiki that has been taken down, the poster speculated that it may also have moved to avoid competing with Friday the 13th. Isn't that lovely portrait of Wolf Man to the left there cool? It's got my attention!

There are a few recent foreign movies that look interesting. First off is Eden Log, a Sci-Fi horror from France. It looks cool enough, but I can't really tell where its going. Plus the 'creature' looks less impressive than I was expecting. It came out in December. Then there's Dead Snow, a Norwegian movie about Nazi zombies. Yes, you heard me. And it looks as entertaining as it sounds. That can be good or bad depending on how it sounds to you, hehe. I can't believe they quoted Indiana Jones! The Movie Blog gave a review about it if you're interested. It came out earlier this month.

So for the near future, it looks like I'm going to pray that Friday the 13th turns out to be some kind of masterpiece.

Oops, and I fixed those last 5 pictures if you noticed they were down. :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Slasher + 3D = WIN

It's all in the math.
Although Bloody Valentine lacked in story and depth, it was just plain fun to watch.

Be warned, though. It's only worth watching in 3D. If you're going to watch it any other way, don't bother. Here are your trailers: Apple and Youtube.

Oh, and before I get started, when I opened the IMDB site for this movie, a random quote came up that horror movie fans should appreciate: "Michael: Jason, is that you?" Hehe, I thought it was a funny coincidence.

Alright, so the movie wasn't that scary. Sure there were a few things jumping out, but even those didn't get much out of me. Slasher movies, though, aren't really expected to scare you. They might, but mostly they're watched to 1. See how people deal with a psycho killer, and 2. the gore. Gore is sort of its own kind of scariness for squeamish viewers anyhow. And this movie had plenty of it. It had brutality and dismemberment coming out the wazoo.

Except for the effects, Bloody Valentine was more a tribute to old horror movies than a modern horror itself. I mean, the acting was pretty corny, but you could tell that it was supposed to be. The whole story and ending melodrama brought back memories of the good ole 80s slashers. Now lets get to the 3D. This is what made the movie. Literally everything is in 3D. Some people might think 3D means stuff popping out at you, and in some movies that is the case, but My Bloody Valentine impressed me by having every little detail in the film being three-dimensional. I'm usually put off by 3D in any movie, unimpressed by things 'trying' to jump out of the screen, but this one took the cake. Everything from weapons, body parts, gaping wounds, lights, tunnels, and even full frontal nudity (nudge nudge), all of it in glorious 3D!

(Hey! Where' d those clothes come from?)

At times it even became ridiculous. I felt more like I was at a Disneyland haunted house ride than a scary film. Well, except for the profanity and violence. This is a movie you watch to "ooooh!" and "aaaah!" and "woah!" and even laugh at times. My Bloody Valentine 3D is all about the entertainment.

But let me emphasize a little more about that 3D fun. If two characters are talking in the street, it looks like they are standing in front of a car and it looks like that car is in front of a store. No, not "looks", it feels like it. And the lights they beam at you... well, they're bright!
Of course, no slasher movie would be complete without cliché moments.
-A killer is on the loose, its night, the store is closed, the door opens and closes, and what does a worker have to say? : "Hello?" Is anybody there?
-At the start, a girl walks into the mines looking for her friends, and gets all scared about it: "Guys where are youuuu?" Boo! Just kidding.

Among others. But it was nice to see some people fight back against the killer instead of just curling up and taking it.

The critics had opinions all over the place, pretty much saying what I said: corny, but damned if that 3D wasn't awesome. Some were put off by the "corniness" and called this a typical slasher but in 3D. Mostly those ones sounded like they just didn't like slashers in general.

Overall: Not something to scare you. It's a slasher with fantastic 3D effects and any near-fan of the genre should have a good time.

PS: Oh yeah, I had to pay 3$ extra for the 3D glasses. Then, there was an announcement before the film asking us to give them back after the movie was over. Hohoho! Right, I just paid for these. I'm gonna keep them. In fact, I've been wearing them while I wrote all this, so there!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Unborn Potential

Though this wasn't a very noteworthy movie, it was enjoyable. And heck, there are much worse out there.

I was really excited about seeing this one. The trailer (Youtube, Apple) gave me high hopes. But, sadly, this was just another movie that fell short. It had its moments, and they were good ones, but it had just as many flaws. Those flaws brought it down.

Just to be prepared, I had a nice corny title in mind for this post in case it ended up really sucking: "The Unborn should have stayed that way". I'm glad I didn't have to use it.

Now, let's start with the good.

The acting was solid. Something we don't get in all our horror movies these days. Gary Oldman gave us a decent performance as the Rabbi. Some even say he stole the set when he was on scene, but I don't think so. The rest were nothing special, but nobody was "bad". Though I was surprised to see Carla Gugino and James Remar playing nothing-roles as Casey's parents.

Pretty much every other aspect of the movie, however, was "here and there". Like the special effects. They looked great when they were used to tweak the way possessed people looked, and when they created all that trouble in the public restroom. But at times they became obviously fake, taking me right out of the movie. Such as whenever the little creepy kid did his scream thing. It looked fake, it felt fake. The same goes for a portion of the scary-old-man scene. I think they should have moderated their CGI use, or at least make the less impressive bits harder to see with lighting or camera motion.

(She's scared, you see.)

"Its a horror movie, how about you get to the part about the scares!" Hey, I'm getting there! If I'm counting correctly, they had two "good" scares, three "properly" creepy scenes, and a bunch of "BOO!" scares. Yes, things-jumping-out-at-you is the main scare cause of most horror movies, but I don't count them as "good". They're alright. Good scares build up the atmosphere and stick with you. One in this movie really set you up for a scare, denied it, THEN got you. Disarming! Creepiness is its own category, and boy they had a few good ones. I mean, did you see the old man in the trailer? Unfortunately, the few noteworthy bits didn't leave a lasting impression (i.e. they didn't trouble my sleep at all). In fact, the movie's big climax wasn't even scary. It was like it turned into an action movie out of nowhere: I was excited rather than frightened. Really cool, but not horror.

Sadly, I did agree with some of what the critics said about the lack of overall scariness and quality in some areas (although they pushed those opinions further than I think was called for). But one thing many of them said bothered me: the movie was laughable? Lets look at Mr. Ratliff's comment on Rotten Tomatoes.

Ratings Image"The Unborn is so lame that even a scene where Nazi 'doctors' experiment on twin children by poking a needle in their eyeballs is more laughable than horrendous."

I... can't really see that being laughable in any context. I actually heard a guy laughing in the theater after every "scary" scene, but his laughs were delayed and sounded uncertain. Probably just another person trying to prove to nobody in particular that "I don't get scared of movies, no sir, not me!" I'll admit aspects of the movie may not have been top notch, but they were far from laughable.

The plot, while interesting, had some holes. For example, the spirit possesses people left and right, and yet "Jumby wants to be born now." Why go through all that trouble when you can take anyone anytime? Beats me. And maybe I missed something, but what were those bugs about? I couldn't see any reason for focusing on just the one type. If somebody gets stabbed, aren't police usually a little suspicious of anyone present at the time? And the survival of certain people is unclear at the end, which was tiny bit frustrating. But I do have to give them this: the girl knew to turn the dang light on when something scary was happening. Also, characters were willing to believe that crazy stuff was going on. Refreshing. If she told me all those insane things, I'd be inclined to believe in supernatural causes too.

Overall: if you like horror movies in general, you should be happy with this one. Chances are you've enjoyed ones that are much worse (I know I have).

The first and third pictures come from Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What We're All About

Hello! Welcome to The Edge of Your Seat, where we take a look at Horror Movies. Yes, the notorious type of film that many people dislike for any number of reasons.

I plan to watch and review some of the new ones to hit the cinema. Then, hopefully, I can help moviegoers resist that automatic skepticism that is had for Horror. I'll also let you, the readers, know about any interesting upcoming movies. Or I might talk about the horror movie genre, giving my fun little opinion about what they often do wrong, right, and how they try to scare us.

If, for some crazy reason, Hollywood isn't at any point pumping out another horror flick, I may even turn to a Thriller to fill the space. Hey, they can be scary too!

I'll admit it, I often disagree with the critics. They look too much for certain things in particular, and are automatically bent against certain traits. Such as? Let's see through the eye of many a critic:
-Remake: BAD (it doesn't measure up to the original? hate it!)
-'Americanized' Japanese Horror: BAD (they're are too many of them! hate it!)
-Certain Actors: BAD (I don't like that actor, so the movie: hate it!)
-Horror Movies In General: BAD (you call that scary? guess how I feel about it.)

It's unfortunate. They seem hell-bent against these things (I mentioned actors, but even directors or other cast members are targets as well). Keep in mind, not all of them are biased. Just a lot of 'em.

And let's take a look at ourselves. The audience, the people. Why do 'we' (I'll be diplomatic and include everyone) so very much dislike horror movies? I have a few theories, and I'll talk about them in more detail later. Basically it comes down to us not wanting to be scared when we go to watch the movie. Deep down, the watcher does not want to feel fear. Tell me this: if that's the case, why watch the movie at all? Answer: to prove that we are not scared. That's all I'll say for now.

Back to our look at this blog's future. I may often refer to certain websites that, I think, are great for learning about movies.
1. The Internet Movie Database. If you haven't heard of it yet, this is a wonderful site that tells you almost everything about a movie. Full credits, actors, pictures, runtime, FAQs (frequently asked questions), rumors, trivia, quotes, trailers, clips, bloopers, discussions, reviews, etc etc. Need I say more?

2. Rotten Tomatoes. This is the notorious website for criticizing the LIFE out of movies. If you want to see a vast amount of reviews and criticisms, this is the place for you. Now, considering that I just spoke against the reliability of critics, it might seem odd that I refer to this site. Well, if you see a movie get a bad review, but you still want to watch it, even negative comments about it can make you want to watch it more.

For example, you might see something like "As usual, Keanu Reeves' lifeless acting brought down what could have been a great film." You'd be surprised how many Reeves haters there are out there. Or maybe not. Anyhow, I'm perfectly fine with his acting. If that's the worst comment a movie gets, I'll want to watch it for sure!

You know what? Get this: I saw a review for Wanted that said it had too much action. Too much action! In an action movie. Any doubt that I would enjoy it was gone.

So be careful when looking at reviews: any positive comment might also encourage or discourage you to watch a movie. And now, let's get back on track!

3. Apple Trailers. Sure, you can get trailers quickly on Youtube these days, but for nice quality trailers, Apple is a good place to be. The only downside is that you need QuickTime to watch them, but many people have that anyways.

And now, back to Horror (don't worry; I'll stay on track from now on). The first thing I'm going to do is review The Unborn, which came out last Friday.

Don't be put off by my defense against the critique. I'll put a movie down where I think it deserves to be put down, and compliment it where it should be complimented. I try to have a fair look at a movie, pointing out the bad AND the good.

Well, I'll see you around! First up is that review. Then, either another review or my theories of why people can't help but hate on horror. From there? The world!