Cinema-Maniac: Birdemic: Shock And Terror (2008) Review

By now, i’ve learned not to have any expectations when it comes to horror movies since I honestly have no idea what i’m going to pick up and watch. Even with low expectations it manages to be worst than I could have expected.

A platoon of eagle & vultures attack the residence of a small town for no reason because the writer/director is too inexperience to come up with a good reason. Yes, that basic plot synopsis i’m given it because this movie has some of the worst writing for a horror/romance. Hearing the poorly written dialogue I soon came to realize that the director has never had a date before. There is also unnecessary detail like the scene when some Solar-Panel sales man coming to the main character house and we see where it’s going to go because apparently it’s essential to the plot. I can’t honestly try to make this plot if I try, it’s just impossible and this is coming from the same guy who reviewed a movie base on a killer bed.

The acting is horrible, but it’s not the worst problem. The worst problem are the birds. For some reason when these birds that sound like planes when they crash and apparently according to this they blowup when they crash. We see a kid who parents just left him in the trunk for no reason, some poorly acted death scene, a random scientist explaining the reason for the birds which is that there is shortage on Polar Bear, and what got to be the worst way to end a movie with a line we can’t even hear.

0/10

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Cinema-Maniac: Kerd ma lui (Born to Fight) (2004) Review

I’ve seen many Action movies, both good and bad, but i’ve never seen anything like this movie.

A group of athletes helping a poor village must stop an evil tyrant and his men from terrorizing the village. One thing about this movie I think everybody will complain about is that the story is just a story in this movie. It never fully develops, the character development is barely passable, and doesn’t exactly add any emotional weight to the movie. Though the only thing good about the story is that it gives a solid motivation of the heroes to do there thing and save the day, but it doesn’t completely feels like it. The story really hurts this movie, it could have been better.

The action is entertaining, despite what the movie the title there’s actually a lack of actual fighting. It should have been called Born To Shoot since there is more shooting. While found the action in this movie in the slightly above average category which sucks because the last action scene has some amazing stunt-work. Considering the DVD case says from the creators of Ong Bak and The Protector I expected the same level of action, but it’s better than The Protector, but it’s not as good as Ong Bak, this fits in the middle of those two.

Born To Fight isn’t a bad thanks to the story-line giving our heroes a good purpose to fight the terrorists. As an action fan you’ll be disappointed as I was mainly because of the plot, if care for plot, the action won’t exactly satisfy you until the final action scene. All in all, it’s not a bad movie, but it fails to better than it should have.

6/10

Cinema-Maniac: Hak kuen (Fatal Contact) (2008) Review

While Fatal Contact may not be as good as other superior Martial Art movie in terms of choreography, it delivers on story for the most part.

A opera performer, who’s also a former Martial Art Champion, is lured to enter an underground tournament, competing against some of the top fighters of the world. The plot for the most part satisfy me, though I did feel at times some plot-lines are unnecessary. It really doesn’t get any better as it goes on, but it works for the most part as I found the twist to be interesting and liked the ending. Though my main complain about the movie it that it doesn’t with one last battle, now not all Martial Art movies are supposed to end with a final battle, but I still found it disappointing.

The choreography is decent and enjoyable. Out of all of the action scenes in this movie only two really wow. There’re filmed well and performed well, but considering the modern setting I was expecting the environment to be used in combat and it wasn’t used much.

Fatal Contact is an unusual Martial Art movie that doesn’t exactly does one thing better over the other. For what it was I enjoyed it, though I still think it could have been better. While you can’t go wrong with this movie, it’s mostly a you like it or you don’t opinion with this movie.

7/10

Cinema-Maniac: Jack Frost (1996) Review

So how do you make a good horror/comedy, nothing like this. I know it’s not meant to taken seriously as a horror movie in which it fails miserably, but it also fails to live up to the comedy aspect as well.

Serial killer, named Jack Frost (i’m not making this up) is genetically mutated in car wreck on the way to his execution. After which, he becomes a murdering snowman hell-bent on revenge for the sheriff who caught him, who lives in the town of Snomonton and the killer of this movie just happens to be Snowman. Okay, I thought by now I would be use to bizarre horror plot by now, apparently not as this totally took me by surprise. I mean it opens with annoying little girl wanting a story, and her father tells her a story of a serial killer named Jack Frost because nothing says Christmas better than a story about a serial killer. So moving on, I see the Jack Frost being taken to be executed during a blizzard and yet there’s no snow the ground. After those two annoyances we’re treated to the worst and cheapest car crash in movie history. Than Jack gets hit with some acid chemicals, dies, and mixes into the snow in a very cartoonish way.

So after seeing that nothing much interesting happens as the sheriff son cooks some disgusting looking food, a snowman building competition with a lack of snow in a sunny day, someone being killed a Arby oven-mit I presume, a sister who could care less that her brother died, a girl drying her already dried hair for like hours only to take a shower later on, and a Snowman raping a woman. So after the Snowman finish raping his victim he lights a cigar, I definitively didn’t see that coming. So after failing to kill Jack Frost the evil Snowman with a blow dryer, the sheriff goes into his car and slams whatever his son cook into Jack Frost face. I’m guessing it’s because it’s so poorly prepared it was that it would cause anyone to face to melt.

So after discovering it was anti-freeze the sheriff distracts Jack Frost by running into a building and interrupts someone having sex with a goat. I rewind the scene to make sure it wasn’t a goat, but as I have come to learn nothing is ever too ridiculous in horror movies. So they kill Jack Frost and bury him and comeback in the “You’ve got to f****n be kidding me” award winning sequel.

Jack Frost succeeds in only being funny in filming error and some ridiculous moments from the evil killing Snowman. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough for me as sometime random events in the background are more humorous than what in the foreground. I would recommend it for bad movie lover, but only if you could watch it as a comedy and not a horror. Other than that, it’s certainly not the worst i’ve seen in the genre so I gave it a an 10% just because it wasn’t completely un-watchable.

3/10

Cinema-Maniac: The Way Back (2011) Review

The Way Back doesn’t exactly belong in the “epic” film category when considering other superior epics. Other than that I liked the movie thanks to some great performances and camera work.

So Siberian gulag escapees walk 4000 miles overland to freedom in India. The story is interesting, but were treated to a journey in which we see allot of talking and walking and not enough of what happens. This sometimes made feel bored watching it as I usually don’t expect to see people walking for like most of the movie. Luckily there are some obstacles to keep things from being boring, though these obstacles won’t be enough for some. While I enjoyed the overall story, I think it could have been taken into a better direction.

The performances are what make it worthwhile, especially Jim Sturgess who should be more famous. The cinematography is fantastic as the camera actually shows you that this is no easy journey and I have to praise the director for some beautiful shots in this movie. Other than that, I can’t say much else, beside that is doesn’t feel like an epic. You know what comes to mind when I think of epics, Lawrence of Arabia, Seven Samurai, 13 Assassins, and even There Will Be Blood all come to my mind and The Way Back really doesn’t come close to what I consider a true epic to be.

The Way Back is a good movie with a story that’ll get mixed reaction from different viewers with a notable performance from Jim Sturgess and great cinematography.

7/10

Cinema-Maniac: Daikaij├╗ Gamera (The Giant Monster Gamera) (1965) Review

When it comes to monster movies you just can’t do any better than King Kong and Godzilla. What makes the first entry in the Gamera series a failure is that it borrows from Godzilla and anything original in the movie is not interesting and lacks entertainment.

From out of the arctic comes a gigantic flying, fire-breathing turtle that sets its sights on destroying Tokyo. Now the main thing that bothered me besides the dubbing, especially for Kevin (one of the main character), was that is had Americans. Americans in a Japanese monsters movie? I’m not trying to be racist, but it just that our involvement isn’t really required in this movie, I mean these are the same people that killed Godzilla. As the movie progress you’ll questioned that you’ve seen it before, you have. The movie best moments are copied from Godzilla. One thing that bothers me is that the characters that see Gamera just go on TV with a ancient rock and say Gamera is real, and people believe them. The reason it’s a problem is that in Godzilla the people got evidence to prove Godzilla was real, right here the character just say they saw it and are believed.

Now time to talk about the ridiculous Turtle monster himself, Gamera. I’m not going to complain how the costume obviously looks fakes, but I will say it doesn’t looks as good as Godzilla. For some reason this Turtle monster can breath fire, eat fire, and can fly with a rocket power shell. I don’t get it, just like how in one scene it almost looks like he’s dancing a little. Gamera only good moment is when he gets to destroy Tokyo, unfortunately the human characters have to kill that fun whenever they interrupt. Gamera as a monster just doesn’t look menacing, even the citizens in one scene laugh at the idea of running away from a giant Turtle

Gamera just doesn’t have any good original ideas and the only good moments from the movie are ripped-off from Godzilla. Gamera isn’t the worst movie monster movie i’ve seen in a movie, so I give it some points for actually trying to compete with Godzilla and making me laugh unintentionally. It might fails making a good first impression, but it succeeded in making me like the monster Gamera, whenever humans weren’t involve much that is.

3/10

Cinema-Maniac: 13 Assassins (2011) Review

13 Assassins is a truly epic movie and one of the best samurai movie ever made that can easily be compared to the classic Seven Samurai in terms of story, direction, and greatness.

The basic plot is a group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord. I found the story to be both involving and intense as we’re quickly introduced to our heroes and learned about their them. I will say on story alone it does a spectacular job of giving us a brutal and heartless villain, our heroes and there motivations, and a sense of realism from the story. It’s well pace to, I thought it would be a disaster to balance a 40 something final battle sequence, but somehow it has enough story before the epic battle start and ends that were left satisfy with the story.

Now on to what must have been one of the greatest epic battle i’ve ever seen captured on camera, there’s a body-count of over 150 and it’s entertaining to watch. The battle of course is 40 something minute and you would expect for the action to get tiring, except it doesn’t. The story gave us our characters, add emotional weight to them, and somehow it made the epic battle that much more intense and epic. It’s Asia cinema at it finest when comes to capturing something like this. The final shot before it fades to black will leave you with an impression on how truly bloody, epic the battle was and you’ll realize what you just saw is one of the best Samurai movie ever made.

13 Assassins is a great movie I would personally recommend to any movie lover. 13 Assassins is a movie that will give you a incredible and memorable experience.

10/10

Cinema-Maniac: Shanghai Knights (2003) Review

Wow, what a shocker, I didn’t expect Shanghai Knights to be as good as the original. Though while it may not be well put together as the first, I stilled had some laughs and fun.

When a Chinese rebel murders Chon’s (Jackie Chan) estranged father and escapes to England, Chon and Roy (Owen Wilson) make their way to London with revenge on their minds. I got the idea that the sequel could have been better, different location, more characters, and Donnie Yen. Unfortunately what we get is to much ideas in a movie that don’t work well together. At points some scene feel out of place or to long. Story wise, the original does a better job with a good pace that not to crazy.

What the sequel does improve on is the action. My personal favorite being Jackie Chan against Donnie Yen, though short, it’s rewarding to see these two legends in the same movie together for Martial Art fans. Though the most spectacular action sequence has to be the fencing match in the clock tower, a reference to what Chan did in his classic film Project A.

Like the original, it has references to famous icons. Like Charlie Chaplin as a kid being portrayed as a crook or Detective Arthur Doyle who wrote the Sherlock Holmes novels being an actual detective in this movie. I found the reference to Jack the Ripper to be the best, probably because I hate famous killers that got away.

So this is a rare case in which both films in the franchise are equal. If you want a good pace story with good humor, Shanghai Noon is the way to go. If you wanting good humor and action, Shanghai Knights the way to go. Though I don’t think you can go wrong whichever you choose to watch.

7/10

Cinema-Maniac: City on Fire (1987) Review

I was thrilled watching Reservoir Dogs so I decided to check out the movie that Quentin Tarantino borrowed heavily from, though not as good, I found it to be a great movie.

An undercover cop, played by Chow Yun-Fat, infiltrates a gang of thieves who plan to rob a jewelry store. The story sounds familiar, but Quentin Tarantino doesn’t borrow everything from this movie. For example, the bank robbery going bad is actually shown, Chou Yun-Fat character also has a love interest that wants him to commit to her, and Chow Yun-Fat character really wants to quit his job throughout the whole movie. Yet despite these differences, it’s not as good as Reservoir Dogs. The story main problem is that Chow Yun-Fat character back story to wanting a marriage with his girlfriend is really not that interesting at all or adds emotional weight to this character from the audience.

The good and bad things about this movie also comes from the bank robberies. The first took too long to execute and wasn’t all that entertaining and fun. Though the second and last robbery was a little better. Seeing the bank robbery go bad was entertaining in it own right, but the Mexican stand off at the end didn’t thrill as much as it should have. City on Fire is like Reservoir Dogs, except it shows the robberies, a marriage back story, and not as captivating performances.

City on Fire is a surprisingly good movie despite not being at the same level as Reservoir Dogs as a whole. While I stilled like the movie, I feel that anyone who seen Reservoir Dogs won’t be able completely enjoy it in the same level. Still worth checking if you’re curious where Reservoir Dogs came from.

9/10

Cinema-Maniac: Shanghai Noon (2000) Review

Shanghai Noon brings us the pairing of Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson together in a movie. This could’ve have gone bad in my opinion, but what we get is a hilarious and enjoyable Western.

Jackie Chan plays a Chinese man who travels to the Wild West to rescue a kidnapped princess. After teaming up with a train robber (Owen Wilson), the unlikely duo takes on a Chinese traitor and his corrupt boss. The story was well crafted, I found myself laughing and getting more interested as the story progress. Both Chan and Wilson work well on screen and makes the movie that much more fun to watch with a good pace script.

The issue I have in this movie is the action, while it delivers the humor. It fails in the action department, while it’s still entertaining to watch, it’s nothing special. Though the cinematography is spot on in every scene and every actor does there job.

I enjoyed this movie, while it may seem weird to pair a China man and a cowboy in a movie, Wilson and Chan pull it off and brings you one hilarious and enjoyable movie.

7/10