Cinema-Maniac: From Russia With Love (1963) Review

After watching Sean Connery first outing as Bond in Dr. No I was looking forward to the sequel. It did not disappoint and is better than Dr. No.

James Bond willingly falls into an assassination ploy involving a naive Russian beauty in order to retrieve a Soviet encryption device that was stolen by SPECTRE. The was much better than Dr. No, but it didn’t have the world being in danger feeling like in Dr. No. It does better when it comes to giving us a better written and more intelligent Bond. The story brings the excitement of a Bond movie that I personally felt Dr. No was lacking.

The action is well done, well filmed, and intelligent. Beside the action, the characters are more interesting and feel more devious than in Dr. No. This also introduced Bond first gadgets which I have to say has to some of the best in the series. I felt it did a good job, even though it is part 1 of a 2 part story, I felt that anyone who watches this will be more than stratify with it even if they don’t see Goldfinger.

Even you’re not a Bond fan, you’ll still enjoy this movie. I highly recommended to anyone who loves spy movies or good movies.


Cinema-Maniac: On Deadly Ground (1994) Review

Steven Seagal, just like many stars in his time, set back American movie back because they played invincible characters that took away any of the excitement we want in a action movie. On Deadly Ground delivers nothing from the action that people like in a Steven Seagal movie and is just another joke in his career.

Steven Seagal plays, and i’m making this up, a martial artist/environmental agent who takes on a ruthless oil corporation. I know story is mostly a Seagal movie weak point, but did the writers have nothing in mind besides extending every scene longer than it needs to be. The movie also has some pointless scene like the vision scene which just add an extra layer of badness to the movie. I haven’t watched a more poorly written story developed since I saw BKO: Bangkok Knockout.

I never found Steven Seagal to be a bad-ass for numerous reasons, one being is that he barely or never get hit at all in his movies. Second being he can’t act as everyone knows, so I find no reason to root for him as a hero in any movie. Third, he always plays a tough guy which makes us wonder if he’s badly acting the main character over and over. The only redeeming value are shots of the mountain in the beginning of the movie.

I never like Steven Seagal to begin with, nothing against him personally, it just his awful movies that I don’t like. To think what started as man being used in a bet ended with Steven Seagal being the most boring action star we’ll ever have.


Cinema-Maniac: Jet Li’s Fearless (Huo yuanjia) (2006) Review

It seems that almost every Chinese good Chinese star that goes to Hollywood lack the success they did in there home country. Thankfully Jet Li made another traditional martial art that is spectacular.

This film tells the story of Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia (1869-1910). Huo Yuanjia was the founder and spiritual guru of the Jin Wu Sports Federation. It’s does it job at entertaining, but I personally feel it lacks the emotional attachment to our hero is missing. The action is great and superbly filmed.

Not much I can say about this movie personally, but I think you should check it out.


Cinema-Maniac: Tiger Cage 3 (1991) Review

Finally, i’ve finished the Tiger Cage franchise and I can say like many movie franchise, the third film is the weakest. Suffering from the usual uneven acting that plagues the franchise and the action is not any better.

Basically the plot is that an uninteresting protagonist sporting a gold mask because he disfigured his face. He seeks revenge, but not before the terrible story chugs along with painful melodrama. The Tiger Cage movies aren’t exactly known for good stories let alone the acting. Unlike the first two film which had an uneven scenes with good acting and bad acting, Tiger Cage is just bad when it comes to it actors.

The only redeeming value is the action, though not good enough to recommend. I’m guessing the main actor didn’t want to do anything as slightly above average as Donnie Yen in Tiger Cage 2. It’s a poorly done franchise that lacked improvement needed to stand out from so many movies like it.

The Tiger Cage franchise is not a franchise worth checking out if you’re an action fan. It’s just another cop franchise from China that does little to nothing to stand apart from other movies in the genre and those are the reasons why no one remembers these movies.


Cinema-Maniac: From Hell It Came (1957) Review

From Hell It Came, as the title suggest, is a movie that literally came from hell. Never have I seen a more poorly made movie since the Gingerdead Man franchise which I truly hate.

It’s start with an accused South Seas prince being executed, and then returns as a radioactive walking tree stump. That’s right, a radioactive tree that kills people. Thankfully for most of the movie the killer tree doesn’t appear because when it does it’s unspectacular and boring.

The only thing more wooden than the tree itself is the acting. Most likely because everybody working on this has never seen another movie. Now what make this possibly the biggest waste of time is the the way the people kill the tree. They shoot a dagger that was already in his heart, which makes this one the most flawed movie ever made.

I wouldn’t recommend this, my suggestion is if you find a copy of this movie. Get a cross, a priest, and send this movie back to Hell where it came from.


Cinema-Maniac: Drag Me to Hell (2009) Review

When it comes to horror movies, the most important thing that’s always missing is the “horror” in this genre. Sam Rami embraced this idea of taking away the “horror” and adding a layer of comedy.

Here’s a basic summary, a loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point. I know it sounds boring, but it’s the opposite of that. I was actually engaged in the characters and I wanted them to actually live. That’s important in a horror movie, you want the characters to live, unless were talking Friday the 13Th franchise than I just those sex craze teenagers to die.

It doesn’t really offer any sense of horror, but it’s humorous moments will leave you laughing. This is actually one of the few horror movies that I actually found entertaining. I mean I take a look on the modern horror movies and there usually filled with blood and gore. Not this one, it separate is itself with s strong female lead and good direction.

Drag Me To Hell might not be the horror movie for you, but it’s certainly one of the original horror movie that not a remake or a sequel. So in genre lacking engaging stories and actual enjoyment, Drag Me To Hell is one of the few modern horror movie that provides the entertainment.


Cinema-Maniac: Shaolin (2011) Review

I hesitated considering to watch this seeing the Tomatometer of the users rating. After watching this, I knew I was watching one of the most under-rated movie to ever be reviewed by critics and users.

The problem with most of these user reviews is that they excepted ton of action and were disappointed for some reason. It’s like watching Red Cliff and Bodyguards and Assassins, I expected allot of action, but it didn’t make them bad movies. While you may disappointed in the lack of action, like other users, the action sequences it does have are terrific in many ways and won’t disappoint.

Another complain I want to address is that people thought the movie was predictable, when I watched it didn’t feel predictable. I actually thought the characters were well written and the actors fit well into their role. The story on the other hand was superb in my opinion, I just couldn’t believe how this movie blew my mind away. I think most of these negatives came from people who missed the great spiritual dialogue coming from the Buddhists and the spiritual message of the movie.

In my opinion, it’s great movie with a good story line and though lacking in great martial art sequences to some, the action in this won’t disappoint. So, don’t let the score fool you, pick up this movie, and hopefully you have same experience as I did when I watched it.


Cinema-Maniac: The Gingerdead Man (2005) Review

Six words: Gary Busey is the Gingerdead Man. Picture it: Busey dressed up in a gingerbread man costume, hacking, slashing and making pastry-based puns along the way. You can’t imagine the amount of money we would have paid to see that. Actually, you probably could have imagined it (it’s less than a dollar). That’s just the beginning of this bore fest.

Well Gary Busey is the Gingerdead Man, kind of. Gary only appears in the movie’s first five minutes as the world’s worst robber: He enters a diner, riffles through the cash register but takes no money, shoots people instead, gets caught and, in the end, is sent to the electric chair. So what we get from then on is a very, very describable awful puppet voiced by Gary Busey. Apparently the stories get worse, somehow, for some reason his mom bakes his cremated remains and thous you have the perfect recipe for the worst horror monster ever baked.

As you can guess by the title, yeah it not horrifying at all. Heck, it’s badness it not even enjoyable at all. The most pathetic attempt to make pastry scary ever. I mean even when the gingerbread man has a rifle (you read that right) it’s that unconvincing. I thought about giving this a 10% percent, that was until the ending when the main hero eats the gingerbread man and than says, “Got Milk”. I’m not making this stuff up, you can type it in YouTube.

Stay away from this, it doesn’t fit in the so bad it’s good category. This horror movie brings the horror in horrifyingly bad movie.


Cinema-Maniac: Dr. No (1962) Review

James Bond is undoubtedly the world most famous spy, for good reason too. With Sean Connery introducing to the character who wouldn’t want more to see Bond movies.

James Bond’s investigation of a missing colleague in Jamaica leads him to the island of the mysterious Dr. No and a scheme to end the US space program. All without any gadgets, I thought a Bond movie without the gadgets wouldn’t be as entertaining, I was wrong. The story actually gets more intelligent as it progress and adds a sense of realism that some of the more recent outing lack.

Sean Connery performance is just perfect in this, he captures Bond effortlessly which is why no doubt he’s still one of the best Bond. What it lack was the thrills and action that Bond movies generally provide, while the more realistic approach works for the story, the movie is without thrills and exciting action. Still, that not enough to ruin the film for you.

Sean Connery first outing as Bond is no doubt memorable. If you’re a fan of the current Bond, you’ll be disappointment in terms of action, but everything won’t be.


Cinema-Maniac: The Gold Rush (1925) Review

There’s a reason why classical humor is more appealing to me, unlike modern comedies that focus on sex jokes, the silent era humor is more about character humor. No doubt Charlie Chaplin’s, The Gold Rush, is one of the best example of this.

The story is actually more entertaining and heartfelt than most of the modern comedies in recent years. Charlie Chaplin plays the Tramp and goes to the Klondike in search of gold and finds himself some humorous situations. Chaplin alway plays his characters with such grace that imitating him is just impossible. The jokes are actually funny, the characters are worth caring about, and since it’s a Chaplin film, prepare yourself for some of the most hilarious moments ever filmed.

What else can I say about this movie, it helds up really well. Unlike most comedies where the humor dies off with passing years, this film has only gotten better. I have to say the best thing about this is the production value. Every characters is worth watching, every shot captures the scene perfectly, the pacing is just terrific in every way possible, and it’s just a joy to watch. I honestly can’t remember the last time a movie has made me laugh as much of this.

The Gold Rush proves that comedy can timeless if done correctly. Even though the current state of the comedy genre is not so good, it’s great that a talented artist like Chaplin made this movie for generations to smile, laugh, and bring them an unforgettable experience.