Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) Review

Michael Bay IS the modern master of suspense. Forget Hitchcock, this guy can make me believe that this time things will be different between us. Maybe, just maybe this time will be the money. The first “Transformers” in 2007 was average but I can certainly see the appeal. The second movie, “Revenge of the Fallen” I had down as one of the single worst movies I have ever seen. “Dark of the Moon” in 2011 struck somewhere in the middle of those two quality wise, so when I heard that “Transformers: Age of Extinction” was going to be a “soft” reboot of the franchise I was almost excited. Michael Bay has kicked me in the teeth once again with a movie that is not only jarringly similar to the three previous “Transformer” films but is actually worse than the abomination that is “Revenge of Fallen”.

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From Russia With Love (1963) Review

Terence Young returned to direct the second Eon produced Bond film and he seems to have learned from his first entry “Dr. No”. That film itself was by no means a disaster but instead a tepid achievement that contained many characteristics that would be associated with James Bond in the future but not quite fully formed. “Dr. No” didn’t even have the character of Q to distribute to Bond his gadgets for the mission. “From Russia With Love” takes the foundations lade down by its predecessor and improves it in virtually every way. This film makes me excited to continue watching the Bond series in its entirety.

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Lassie (1994) Review

Having IMDB open in another tab has become something of a religious requirement for my reviews now. As a result, I am always conscious of the score that has been awarded to what I have just watched (though this never colours my perception of the film). “Lassie”, directed by Daniel Petrie, is a lovely family film that I found quite tough to dislike, not that I tried. Baffled then was I that the score on IMDB is a measly 5.8, a score that seems to almost guarantee mediocrity. Not this time, “Lassie” is a flawed film like so many others but children will almost certainly love it and as I said, it is difficult to not enjoy on some level.

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Cape Fear (1962) Review

Gregory Peck stars in “Cape Fear” though only when the credits roll. The real star without a shadow of a doubt is Robert Mitchum as Max Cady, the ex-convict who is now seeking revenge against Peck’s Sam Bowden — the lawyer that helped put him away. Mitchum, who also starred in the unprecedented “The Night of the Hunter” as a villainous preacher, seems born to play the bad guy. The scenes where he reservedly watches Bowden’s family at a distance all too close for comfort are disturbing despite us not actually witnessing any brutality from the man himself. The presence of the villain elevates J. Lee Thompson’s “Cape Fear” above the usual trappings of the revenge thriller.

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Blade (1998) Review

I have seen “Blade” before, I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was silly and indulged itself too often in dumb and over the top action sequences. Upon my second viewing of “Blade” I found myself liking it a lot more. This time I thought it was silly and indulged itself in dumb and over the top action sequences. It’ll split people that way, and maybe I have just loosened up since my initial viewing. Either way, “Blade” is a fun time even if it doesn’t exactly take the mind along for the ride.

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Frankenstein (1994) Review

“Thrilling horror… One to make the reader dread to turn around… To curdle the blood… And quicken the beatings of the heart.” 

This is what is spoken during the opening credits of “Frankenstein”. A quote from Mary Shelley herself, the author of what is perhaps the most famous of novels. Never before have I considered how disturbing a tale “Frankenstein” really was until I began to read the novel recently. We are filled with images of the square headed lug’s bolted head, and this image is forever engrained, but this version of the novel brings the creature back to its roots.  Kenneth Branagh stars and directs this new adaptation of one of the greatest Gothic novels to surface since the genres inception, and he does so faithfully. Much of the imagery is carried over and so are the themes and motifs, but the inconsistent narrative holds “Frankenstein” back from greatness.

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Captain America (1990) Review

There do exist those special movies that alert you to their awfulness minutes into the film. In “Captain America” we are instantly treated to a scene that should be poignant, but instead the foreign language scene leaves us confused due to the scene being half subtitled. Half subtitled shouldn’t be a thing, it’s all or nothing unless you have a damn good reason for it. This movie had a $10,000,000 budget, “Reservoir Dogs” — A film I didn’t enjoy but can still appreciate — was made for $1,200,000. Take this opportunity to really let that sink in. This movie wasn’t theatrically released in America until 2011, and that was to promote the vastly superior “Captain America: The first Avenger“. If I had watched this prior to seeing that then I can tell you I wouldn’t have bothered watching the new one, end of story.

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Dr. No (1962) Review

It’s been a long time, and James Bond has evolved yet stayed recognisably Bond even to this day. “Dr. No” holds the distinction of being the first James Bond film ever brought to the big screen. Any journey starts with turbulence and it ends with it too. Fortunately James Bond doesn’t look to be ending any time soon, but it had to start somewhere, and I found “Dr. No” to be slightly rocky but a promising effort nonetheless.

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The Punisher (1989) Review

One of Marvel Comics darkest characters, Frank Castle AKA “The Punisher” is unlikely to be back on the screen for a while due to the success of the family Marvel movie. He doesn’t have the star power to attract viewers, and if it isn’t appropriate for parents to bring their kids too, who will see it? The Punisher is a character that will only succeed on the screen if he gets out of comic territory and instead goes for a gritty story similar to how Christopher Nolan managed it with Batman. This rendition of the character — the first of three so far — is dark, brooding, and yawn inducing.

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Howard the Duck (1986) Review

“In the Beginning there was… Howard the Duck!”, I wonder if Wilard Huyck and George Lucas were anticipating the future success of Marvel studios when they decided to utter these lines in such a biblical fashion. Perhaps they thought that Howard would bring a new era of comic motion pictures that were non stop blockbusters that would cater to both adults and children alike. “Howard the Duck” was, in every sense, the furthest it could possibly be from this picture of family entertainment.

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