Monthly Archives: March 2009

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)

My Rating : 3.5/5 STAR
MovieStudio Quote >> “Expectations failed, yet enjoyable CGI and FX for a change!”

The third film in the UNDERWORLD saga goes back hundreds of years to explain the origins of the feud between the vampire Death Dealers and the werewolf Lycans. Taking over directing duties from Len… The third film in the UNDERWORLD saga goes back hundreds of years to explain the origins of the feud between the vampire Death Dealers and the werewolf Lycans. Taking over directing duties from Len Wiseman is rookie Patrick Tatoupolos, known for his creature-designing duties in GODZILLA (1998), I AM LEGEND (2007), and the first two films in this series. Less an action-horror film than an old-fashioned “sword-and-sandal” film with monsters, RISE OF THE LYCANS finally gets to the root of why those vampires and werewolves really can’t stand each other. Ruled by Viktor (Bill Nighy, VALKYRIE), the aristocratic, vampiric Death Dealers keep the wolflike Lycans as slaves.

Underworld

Underworld

When a captive Lycan woman births a human boy, Viktor resists the urge to kill it, instead naming him Lucian and keeping him as a pet. Lucian (Michael Sheen, FROST/NIXON) grows up to be a blacksmith with the ability to change between human and wolf and begins a clandestine romance with Viktor’s daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra, DOOMSDAY). Viktor learns of this forbidden romance and takes drastic steps to ensure that Sonja will never be able to see Lucian again. Lucian, in retaliation, leads a Lycan slave revolt, resulting in an all-out assault on Viktor’s kingdom.

Underworld

Underworld

Though viewers who have skipped the first two installments of the saga may feel a little left out when it comes to the mythology of the series, LYCANS hits the ground running and doesn’t allow much time for questions. While Sheen has been lauded for his work in more traditionally dramatic films, here he gives his all to every growl and battle cry. Mitra is an appealing presence as Sonja, and Nighy is visibly relishing the opportunity to glower in his blue contacts and chew the moonlight-bathed scenery.

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The Strangers (2008)

My Rating : 4/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Spine Chillin Tasty – This is what I call a Suspense Thriller @ MovieStudio!”

For his film debut, director Brian Bertino has crafted a fantastically creepy horror flick based on the very simple premise of strangers who come knocking late at night. Kristen (Liv Tyler) and… For his film debut, director Brian Bertino has crafted a fantastically creepy horror flick based on the very simple premise of strangers who come knocking late at night. Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman) have arrived at a secluded vacation home in the woods after attending a friend’s wedding. It’s four in the morning, and they’re both tearful and emotionally exhausted after a disagreement about their relationship. As they awkwardly try to navigate the long night together, they are distracted by the sound of a heavy knock at the door.

The Strangers

The Strangers

They open it to find a dazed young woman hidden in the shadows. Assuming she is lost, James sends her away, but Kristen is disturbed by the late-night visit. When James leaves to go on a drive and pick up some cigarettes, Kristen is left alone, and we watch her move through the huge house in a painfully eerie silence, all the while knowing that she is being watched. By the time James returns, Kristen is in hysterics, and together they must face the terrifying fact that they are indeed in grave danger. Both Tyler and Speedman give excellent, understated performances that lend the film a truly frightening edge of realism.

The Strangers

The Strangers

The story’s simplicity is a refreshing change from over-the-top torture films like SAW, and the violence in the film is minimal, and much of it off camera. THE STRANGERS also lacks any big-budget special effects. You won’t find any CGI creatures or armies of zombies. The only monsters depicted here are the very real human kind, which is what leaves you thoroughly spooked and shaken, and ready to push a chair against your own front door.

Ong Bak 2 (2008)

My Rating : 4/5 STAR
MovieStudio Quote >> “Classic martial arts movie made from mythical culture – Splendid!”
Tony Jaa is back, but not exactly with much of a vengeance. ‘Ong Bak 2’ is not the nonstop, leg-breaking, elbow and knee flying action adventure we’ve been hoping for. Don’t get me wrong.

Ong Bak 2

Ong Bak 2

There is plenty of Jaa throwing his appendages about knocking out bad guys in black with impacts that sound like gunshots. However, ‘Ong Bak 2’ still has a story to tell, and it is going to tell it come hell or high water.

Ong Bak 2

Ong Bak 2

Set in 1431 Thailand, the film tells the story of Tien (Jaa), a young boy whose father, a general, and mother are slaughtered by Lord Rajsena and his marauding army. Tien is the only one to survive the slaughter, and he is taken under the martial arts tutelage of Chernang. Years later, Tien has mastered his skills, learning to combat using all sorts of weapons including stampeding elephants, and, after taking over the leadership of Chernang’s clan, he sets out for his revenge against Rajsena.

Ready or Not (2009)

My Rating : 3/5 STAR
MovieStudio Rating >> “Exciting bachelor party gone terribly wrong – hilarious!”

A typical Las Vegas bachelor party takes a dangerous turn of events when four college friends become stranded in Mexico and must race to get back to the United States in time for the bachelor to reach the alter in time for his wedding.

Ready or Not

Ready or Not

Penniless, being chased, falling in love, and fighting, they must make it back across the border in time for the wedding.

From Within (2009)

My Rating : 4.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Scared the shit out of me, a classic thriller!”

Noted cinematographer Phedon Papamichael (3:10 TO YUMA) turns director for this haunting horror film. FROM WITHIN is set in a small town where suicides begin to reign. As she watches those around her kill themselves in brutal ways, teenage Lindsay (Elizabeth Rice, MAD MEN) worries that she may be the next to succumb.

From Within

From Within

This horror movie also stars Adam Goldberg (2 DAYS IN PARIS), Rumer Willis (THE HOUSE BUNNY), Thomas Dekker (TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES), and Steven Culp (JAG).

Perkins’ 14 (2009)

My Rating : 3/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Quite slow, but quite gory and suspense filled!”

A decade ago, 14 people–including the son of policeman Dwayne Hopper–disappeared with almost no clues as to their whereabouts. When Dwayne meets a prisoner named Perkins who could be a suspect in the old case, he murders him in anger over his son who is presumed dead.

Perkins' 14

Perkins' 14

But his son and the 13 others aren’t dead; they’ve been brainwashed and now they are capable of murder. This is the second After Dark Horrorfest offering from Craig Singer, who also directed the 2006 film DARK RIDE.

Valkyrie (2008)

My Rating : 5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “An unforgettable story of honor and sacrifice!”

Based on a the true story of cadre of Nazi officers who grew to oppose Hitler’s murderous pursuits and made several attempts to kill him in the late stages of WWII, VALKYRIE features a top-flight… Based on a the true story of cadre of Nazi officers who grew to oppose Hitler’s murderous pursuits and made several attempts to kill him in the late stages of WWII, VALKYRIE features a top-flight cast, with drama and suspense in equal measure.

Valkyrie

Valkyrie

The film is a stylistic departure for director Bryan Singer (X-MEN, X2) and star Tom Cruise, with a screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie (THE USUAL SUSPECTS) and Nathan Alexander that is constructed like a heist film, with a team of like-minded men coming together for a common purpose and facing incredible odds. It is 1943, and though he has come to be disgusted by Hitler’s campaign of evil, Count Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) has risen to the level of lieutenant colonel in the German army.

Valkyrie

Valkyrie

Convinced that Hitler must die, Von Stauffenberg requests a transfer to Tunisia, where he loses his left eye and right hand during an Allied air raid. Falling in with a group of similarly disillusioned officers including Major General Henning von Tresckow (Kenneth Branagh), General Friedrich Olbricht (Bill Nighy), General Friedrich Fromm (Tom Wilkinson), and Colonel General Ludwig Beck (Terence Stamp), Stauffenberg is at the center of several attempts on Der Fuhrer’s life, culminating in a bombing that kills a handful of his officers and leaves Hitler only slightly injured.

Valkyrie

Valkyrie

Though advance photos of Cruise in Nazi uniform brought VALKYRIE negative publicity, his restrained performance is at the heart of this well-crafted, thinking person’s action movie. He is bolstered by an incredible British cast including Branagh, Stamp, and Wilkinson, and by the film’s dazzling art direction. Though it’s a story to which viewers should already know the ending, Singer still creates ample suspense. The result is a taut and effective historical thriller.

Killshot (2009)

My Rating : 3.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Exciting, Funny and a thrilling movie!”

John Madden (SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE) directs this taut thriller adapted from a novel by Elmore Leonard (OUT OF SIGHT).

killshot

killshot

Wayne (Thomas Jane, THE PUNISHER) and his wife, Carmen (Diane Lane, UNFAITHFUL), are in way over their heads after getting wrapped up in a con perpetrated by a scam artist (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, BRICK) and his partner (Mickey Rourke, THE WRESTLER), who also happens to be a hitman. Desperate to stay alive, can Wayne and Carmen avoid the bullets? Adapted by Hossein Amini (THE FOUR FEATHERS), this film also stars Rosario Dawson (SIN CITY).

The Butterfly Effect: Revelation (2008)

My Rating : 3/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Something is missing somewhere which needs to be fixed badly in part 4!”

The Butterfly Effect: Revelation revolves around a young man who discovers he has inherited the powers of “The Butterfly Effect” and attempts to solve the mystery of his high school girlfriend’s death using his new found ability, only to unwittingly unleash a vicious serial killer.

The Butterfly Effect: Revelation

The Butterfly Effect: Revelation

The premise of the third film is well thought out and interesting but unfortunately it does very little to really entertain or draw you in. The concept of a time jumper who jumps back to see murders and help solve them rather then changing the past is genius. No messing up the future per say and also helping bring closure for family members of murder victims. Things take a twist when he decides to jump back to solve his girlfriends murder and rather then observing decides to interfere and unleashes the noted serial killer.

Direct Contact (2009)

My Rating : 3/5 STARS
MovieStudio Rating >> “Something was missing here, smelt of  THE MARINE for once!”

Mike Riggins, an imprisoned ex-US Special forces operative in Eastern Europe, is offered his freedom and money to rescue an American woman, Ana Gale, who has been kidnapped by a ruthless warlord. But, shortly after freeing her, Mike discovers that the kidnap story was just a ruse to bring Ana out into the open.

Direct Contact

Direct Contact

Our hero suddenly finds himself and his charge being hunted by ruthless government, para-military, and underworld organizations – all who want him dead and Ana under their control.

Direct Contact

Direct Contact

With no one to turn to, and the enemies closing in, Mike must uncover the truth about Ana and bring her to the safety of the U.S. Embassy.