Archive for the ‘movie reviews’ Category

March 7, 2019

“A Prayer Before Dawn” (2017)

I stumbled into this gem of a flick by chance. Normally, with a title like that (which is boring and corny as fuck), unimpressive rating (it hasn’t got a good rating in IMDB or tomatoes), and the list of unknown cast like that (although some of the Thai actors apparently are famous in their own right), I’d normally take a pass at such suspiciously B-grade low budget indie movie. But for some reason, something has drawn me to it. Maybe because it was because it has got the words ‘muay thai’ and ‘prison’ in its description.

It was a surprisingly good watch. Not for the faint hearted but, you’d know what I mean if you’ve watched it (irony). This is the kind of movie that will make you squirm and gasp and freak out. The environment makes you feel and smell things, and would continue to haunt you even way after it is over. Little of it has to do with brutal fighting or action though, unlike how I originally anticipated, but more on psychologically haunting – quite contrary from its description as ‘drama’.

Story’s about a British guy who got hauled to prison in Thailand for drug possession, and got caged in a small overcrowded communal prison space with a bunch of other Thai prisoners. Being a white guy, he attracted a lot of attention and the story details about his daily struggle in the prison. There’s this super fucked up disturbing scene where some of the dominant prison inmates dragged a skinny ass guy and gang raped him at night, much to the horror of the protagonist in this story. I fucking squirmed like a roly poly, and this prison rape scene haunted me for days. The even more fucked up thing was, the guy who got raped sounded a lot like a counterpart of mine at work, and whenever I am in the meeting hearing that counterpart’s voice, I’d think of this prison rape scene (FML). There’s also the romance between this British farang and a transgender guy in the prison, and they actually made out. Fucking disturbing to the max!

Anyway, I can’t help but admire the work of whoever that cinematographed the whole flick. It was gritty, real and very immersive. Plot’s a bit weak, but it was the projected environment that made the watch enjoyable. The director did a good job conveying the experience to the viewer through a masterful use of the camera and set. I read around that the movie is based on a true story, but the events in the movie were spiced up for ‘creativity and dramatic purposes’. *shudders* I’d rate it 8 out of 10.

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November 19, 2017

“Annabelle: Creation” (2017)

People have been talking about Annabelle for some time, like it’s the dopiest horror movie ever created (the demon doll only made a brief appearance in The Conjuring, and people have been hoping for a spin-off since then). So it finally came out in 2014, The Conjuring spin-off called “Annabelle”. I watched it with high expectations, but came out disappointed. It was boring and not scary at all. And perhaps that lowered my expectations a little when I laid my hands on the prequel to the 2014 Annabelle – named “Annabelle: Creation”. So this was supposed to tell how Annabelle originated and came to be such a defective product.

The plot was alright, wasn’t very creative, but fared fine to my lowered expectations. It all started with a couple who lost their daughter in a freak accident, and when they prayed for a chance to see their daughter again, they got more than what they asked for. Their weak in faith, paved way for a devil to manipulate their belief, and manifested itself as their daughter and asked for a permanent residence in Annabelle the doll (why would the devil need to ask? I wonder…) whom they welcomed in their everyday life like she was with them. Then one day, the mom accidentally saw the ‘daughter’s’ actual self through the reflection of the mirror, that it was actually the fucking devil itself! Freaked out, she tried to banish the devil with a lame ass wooden cross (bad idea), the devil clawed the shit out of the mom’s face and she became like Harvey-Norman-2-face-Batman-villain-lookalike. Shocked at how shit escalated so goddamn quick, the husband got some priests over, and contained the demon doll in a closet with some holy water and printouts of the Holy Bible (instead of say, burning the doll into obvlivion).

Things got a lot more calmer after that, and the couple soon came to terms with their daughter’s death. Then many years later, the couple offered shelter to a bunch of orphans, and that was when Annabelle got up to no good. It was like watching a high budgeted hide and seek game. Scary for the children, entertaining for the adults. (Oh, that Marilyn Manson lookalike Nun made an appearance in this movie too. I like that guy but, I don’t know how the hell he fitted in the story, it just didn’t make a lot of sense. It’s like you’re watching a family movie then suddenly BAM! Dick scene).

For some weak hearted people, this might be the ‘scariest movie they’ve ever watched’, but for me, I’d say it was below average as a horror movie. It was pretty lame for a devil’s standard to be able to just kill only a couple of people throughout the entire movie. There were a lot of senseless scaring, and very little violence. Some of the acts were non-value added and could’ve been done without. Had the devil used a wee bit of common sense, he’d have killed more children with less effort. In my book of evilness, the devil failed in his job (read more about my opinion about haunting here) and fared even lower than the humans. We need something stronger guys! This is lame!

4 out of 10 (ok plot, poor haunting, felt like a PG13 instead of R rated)

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July 4, 2016

“Eye In The Sky” (2015)

Don’t you hate it when a flick has to waste 40 – 50% of its entire screening doing some background sub-story for the protagonist – which probably has no significance to the main plot? Fucking annoying, isn’t it? Why can’t every movie just start midway, just like Dredd or Children of Men? Or this, Eye In The Sky?

Awesome piece of shit, this movie. If one knows my preference, you’d know that I like engaging flicks with very little bullshit background storytelling and one that leaves me plenty of room to do some thinking instead. This flick is one stellar example of how it should be – virtually no character building kinds of shit that I abhor and straight to the point. All the character building will be from the viewer’s own judgement based on what transpired in the plot. Who’s cold, who’s soft, who’s the pussy, it’ll be built in the mind when the movie ends.

The plot of this flick revolves around a military drone monitoring cum capture mission of several prized terrorist targets, which then turned into a goddamn assassination mission after the targets changed the meeting place to an unsafe (for capture) zone. Unbeknownst to the soon-to-be-dead terrorists, the whole house (meeting place) was being monitored by no less than a dozen strangers through a drone plane high def camera, comprised of military men/women and ministers of a few nations (a joint military operation). But what was initially a straight forward guided missile strike, soon escalated into a predicament, when a fucking kid came into the picture to complicate the situation. So there’s the question of protocol, morality, legality and humanity to defuse the tension – kill the kid and save the public? Spare the kid and risk the public (there were suicide bombers in there…)? The plot even throws in some light comedy as well, which was brilliant. And it was all in 1 sitting. Just a little more than 90 minutes, it is a gem to watch. (at one point, it even reminded me of the red tapes I faced at work in real life…)

8 out of 10 (engaging plot, solid performance especially from Professor Snape, a little gore to the taste)

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March 14, 2016

“The Hateful Eight” (2015)

When a Tarantino flick gets out, you can best bet your ass that I’d flock to catch it. Has always been a fan of Tarantino and will always be. When “The Hateful Eight” got out, I was all so excited about it. I didn’t read a shit to keep the suspense up, and hell, kept me glued it did. It’s a western flick, just like the one before it – “Django Unchained” (2012). Only that it’s heaps better than Django, despite what people have been saying. I felt that it’s much simpler, and the plot blended very well with Tarantino’s way of storytelling. For the first time in many years, I felt Tarantino has got back his “Pulp Fiction” days mojo. I like Tarantino because he doesn’t give craps about getting his flick R rated, the guy just wants to keep it original and let his creativity flow. Welcome back, Jimmy.

The story revolves around a female murderer called Daisy Domergue, who was on her way to get her ass handed back to her through the hangman’s noose at a town called Red Rock – brought possible by her captor, John “The Hangman” Ruth, who’s a bounty hunter known to have the fetish to deliver his bounties alive for the noose (hence the nickname). John Ruth, chained to Daisy the prisoner, is in a six horse carriage in a heavy blizzard, when a black bounty hunter called Major Marquis – who’s also heading for Red Rock to deliver his dead bounties – blocks their way to request for a hitch. Reluctantly, John Ruth agrees to pick him up… only to stumble into another hitcher, Chris Mannix, who claims to be the new Sheriff of Red Rock on his way to be sworn in (coincidentally, who also will be the one to pay for the bounty, once he becomes the Sheriff). Now, with the blizzard getting worse, they travelling group (inclusive of the stagecoach driver) decided to detour to an inn-like shack called Minnie’s Haberdashery, only to discover a few shady characters in it instead of Minnie the owner and her husband. And here it goes on, the tale of the 2 bounty hunters in that treacherous shack, with the plot of having to deal with Daisy Domergue.

In the story you’ll find deceit & treachery, gun fights, murder & violence & gore, profanities & racial slur, and dark comedy. It’s one of the best flick in 2015, only bested by Mad Max, in my humble opinion. The whole plot if you think of it, is kinda similar to that old Chinese flick “Dragon Gate Inn” (1967), which was also remade by Tsui Hark as “New Dragon Gate Inn” (1992) – you know, standoff between shady characters in an inn, with treachery & deceit, and ended into a full scale fight between all characters. This is like the gunslinger version.

8 out of 10 (a must watch if you’re a Tarantino fan, a must avoid if you’re sensitive to gun violence, gore, violence against women, usage of coarse/vulgar language, sight of excessive blood)

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March 11, 2013

“Dredd” (2012)

Oh man, it’s been some time since I’ve written a review about a movie. Not that I’ve stopped watching them, but, just plain old laziness bug.

Anyway, those of you who knows me well enough should be able to tell that I dig movies with guns, gore and girls. And if the plot – be it simple or complicated – manages to keep me glued to the flick for the entire length, it will get inducted into my book of ‘must watch’ list. This flick ‘Dredd’, is one of such flick. It has guns, gore and girls. Plot’s simple, but interesting nevertheless. For those of you who does not know what ‘Dredd’ means, it’s actually the short for ‘Judge Dredd’. It’s an adaptation of a violent comic series that revolves around a futuristic era that is so rife with crime that law enforcement is overseen by individuals who act as an enforcer, a judge and an executioner (hence, the tag ‘Judge’). Go wiki it you fucks.

So there’s this judge called Judge Dredd. He pretty much goes around ruining every bad guys’ shit, as appropriately intro’ed in the beginning of the movie. Instead of flying around with a hover bike (like that first lame instalment back in the 90’s starring Sylvester Stallone), this one made it gritty on wheels. He is all good and awesome, until he gets assigned to assess a trainee female Judge – which means, babysitting and dealing with crappy judgement of a noob (but this female rookie possesses some psychic abilities that allows her to read minds). And as if it is not enough, his next assignment is to investigate a triple drug-deal-gone-wrong-murder case reported in the nastiest mega tenement cum slum in the city. The ultra cool Dredd, along with his rookie female colleague (who is, by the way, quite hot), then stumble into a massive lockdown by the drug lord during their assignment… The drug lord, a sadistic, violent and scarred ex-prostitute-turned-boss called Ma-Ma, is trying to prevent both of them from leaving with one of the murderers – which is Ma-Ma’s marketing man or something, and she is afraid he might cave to interrogation and bring unwanted attention on her flourishing drug business. Shit then goes bad in the lockdown, that entails the most awesome ass kicking ever seen by yours truly in years.

What really blows my mind about this flick is, the way it manages to capture the emotion and feeling of every scene. In other words, the flick is so good that it makes shooting someone’s brains out beautiful. I love the slow motion and that psychedelic effects of people on drugs. If you love gun battles and gores like me, go watch this flick. It’s damn fucking good.

7 out of 10 (would have scored higher if not for the main actor whom I think is not tough enough to play Dredd)

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