Monday, November 29, 2010

Directed by David Yates
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Alan Rickman, Julie Walters, David Thewlis, Michael Gambon, John Hurt, Brendan Gleeson, Evanna Lynch, Rhys Ifans, Bonnie Wright, Peter Mullan, Fiona Shaw, Richard Griffiths, David O'Hara, Timothy Spall

Geez, look at that cast list.. like the who's who of legendary actors and actresses. I'd also like to start by pointing out that once again I haven't read the original novels in which these movies are based on, so in my humble opinion that puts me in a very good position to rate these movies as stand alone pieces and not adaptations.

Harry Potter (Radcliffe) with his closest friends Hermione and Ron (Watson and Grint) are mourning the loss of Professor Dumbledore (Gambon) and preparing for the ultimate showdown against Potter's sworn enemy and the murderer of his parents, Dark Lord Voldemort (Fiennes). As the stakes get higher, the trio must also stay true to their friendship which is straining under the pressure.

Personally, I hated the first Potter movies The Sorcerer's Stone (2001) and The Chamber Of Secrets (2002) mainly because director Chris Columbus (Mrs. Doubtfire, Home Alone) made them out to be cheesy family movies with clichéd lessons towards the end, but now that the saga has advanced to it's 7th outing things are looking way up because Harry Potter isn't the simple fare it used to be. There are real, important themes at hand and the tone is dark, very dark. In fact, it might be a stretch to call these family movies at all since there are real scares which almost cross the line over to real horror. When the film adaptations of J.K. Rowling's books kicked off, I was pissed because somehow they had managed to collect the cream of British acting community under this childish lable but even that doesn't bother me anymore. The tone is very mature and these great legendary screen icons get to shine like they didn't before in the earlier installments (though I'll still take Hans Gruber and the Sheriff of Nottingham over Severus Snape any day of the week). The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 has been criticized for having a slow pace and being without action. Two arguments which are both completely without merit. There's constantly something happening and the screenplay by Steve Kloves (Wonder Boys, The Fabulous Baker Boys) moves along nicely. That's more like it!

Harry Potter ja Kuoleman Varjelukset, Osa 1 on loistava leffa saagassa, jota on ainakin ensimmäisissä elokuvissa painaneet raskaasti perhe-elokuvien kliseet ja mauttomat, rautalangasta väännetyt opetukset yms, mutta mitä pidemmälle tarinassa ollaan päästy ja nyt kun pääosatkin ovat varttuneet, on tarinankerronnalle ja elokuvien sävylle onneksi käynyt samoin. Potter-filmit ovat alusta asti olleet kyllästettyjä näyttelijän ammatin kermalla ainakin mitä sivuosiin on ollut katsomista, mutta toisin kuin sarjan alussa, nyt nuo legendat pääsevät ihan oikeasti näyttelemäänkin sen sijaan että olisivat vain tylsiä marionetteja taustalla kukkakepit kourassa. Tätä leffaa on moitittu tylsäksi ja vain aiempia tapahtumia kertaavaksi, mutta omasta mielestäni kumpikaan ei pitänyt paikkaansa. Kuoleman Varjelukset, Osa 1 on vauhdikas ja itsenäinen elokuva, jota voi suositella nimenomaan perheen varttuneemmille.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 at IMDb

The following trailer is in fact a combination of Parts 1 and 2:

Friday, November 26, 2010


Directed by Nimród Antal
Starring Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Louis Ozawa Changchien, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Laurence Fishburne, Carey Jones, Brien Steele, Derek Mears

The now legendary filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, Sin City) conjured the plot for this sequel back in 1994 but couldn't get it into production because the budget was considered too high at the time. Predators finally saw green light 15 years later and ended on the big screen this year. Rodriguez was originally going to direct his own script but later settled on producing with his script heavily altered and with directorial duties appointed to Antal (Vacancy, Armored). First mistake. Rodriguez's original script was much more based on the strange new world the characters find themselves in at the beginning of the film but Antal saw it fit to strip the script down to the more traditional hunting scenario. Second mistake.

A group of various elite warriors find themselves in a strange new world with no recollection of how they got there and soon realise that someone or something is hunting them for prey and sport.

Predators is not that bad. It starts off brilliantly and keeps rolling nicely accompanied with fresh ideas and genuine thrill of awe and wonder for the new world but then slowly and disappointingly starts to slip into the (perhaps way too) familiar set-up of rolling in the mud and running in the jungle. That familiar scenario might have worked fine with a better director but Antal isn't great with action and looses the momentum in the third reel and Predators somehow falls to pieces which are then desperately stitched together, hopelessly, thanks largely to a certain "shocking" and shitty character revelation. In the end the film isn't the worst action pic for the sunday hangover but a disappointment when you wonder what it could've been with Rodriguez's original script and direction.

Kaksikymmentä vuotta Predator 2 -leffan jälkeen sarja täyttyi trilogiaksi ja vaikka lopputulos on allekirjoittaneen mielestä saagan huonoin, on tämä silti ihan kelpoa mäiskintäviihdettä. Se ettei Predatorsia voi nostaa korkeammalle jalustalle johtuu suurelti ohjaajansa, Antalin kyvyttömyydestä pitää homma kasassa loppuun asti. Leffa hajoaa viimeisen kolmanneksen aikana ja vaikka sitä yritetään epätoivoisesti tikata kasaan, ei lopputulosta voi silmäänpistävän onnistuneeksi kuvailla. Tuottajaksi vetäytynyt Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Planet Terror) loi Predatorsin alkuperäisen käsikirjoituksen jo vuonna 1994 ja sen värikkäästä monipuolisuudesta on tässä esillä vain radikaalisti karsittu ötökkähippa vieraassa viidakossa. Suurin menetys tässä on ajatella millainen Predatos olisi ollut Rodriguezin alkuperäisellä kässärillä ja ohjauksella.. *huoh*

Predators at IMDb

Friday, November 5, 2010


Directed by Michael Patrick King
Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Jason Lewis, Willie Garson, Mario Cantone, Art Malik, Alice Eve, Max Ryan, John Corbett, Omid Djalili, Liza Minelli, Ron White

Well, there had to be a sequel. Sex And The City has become an idea, a concept rather than just a TV show not to mention a film based on a TV show. The first film, though by no means a disaster, left no need for a sequel but now here we are just two short years later with another tale of the fantastic four from the luxury life of Manhattan. And I must admit, it could've been better but I guess it could very well have been a lot worse.

 Carrie and Big have now been married for two years and the day to day life of that said relationship is bearing down on her. She misses the glamour of the nightlife and wonders why the man of her dreams settles for sitting on the couch and watching TV. Samantha is invited to a trip to Abu Dhabi where her ex is filming his new movie and she invites her three friends to tag along.

 That's really pretty much all the story there is to be had. The TV show had the strength to give each of the four girls solid story lines for almost each episode throughout it's run but given the film's lengthy 146 minutes running time there really should've been more interesting shit for Miranda to do and not  to be reduced to a simple comic relief. Samantha is going through menopause and though she's desperately trying to cling on to the handsome stud at the hotel, the end result just comes off as a woman on the very end of her lavish and free lifestyle. She's still having fun fucking but the reality is catching up to Samantha and like it or not, her time is almost up. The film might not give that message but it's obvious. The relationship between Big and Carrie really doesn't go anywhere where it hasn't been dozens of times before. Then again, does it really need to? I understand that some women just watch these kinds of films alone in their apartment, wearing sweatpants with a t-shirt and eating ice cream straight out of the carton. They are a substitute for romance that they don't have or have found it but it has faded. I get it and won't beat you up about it any further. Sex And The City 2 doesn't offer anything special or new to anyone familiar with the show so naturally it's been a huge hit around the world.

By the way, how in the hell did (the brilliant stand-up comedian) Ron White find his way into Sex And The City 2?! A small role, granted, but it still made my evening to see the guy.

Sex And The City - Sinkkuelämää 2 on yhtä harmitonta höpönpöppöötä kuin oli ensimmäinen elokuvakin ja siinä kai sen suurin rikos onkin. TV-sarja johon tämä kaikki perustuu oli rohkea, nokkela ja kantaaottava, kun taas siihen jatkavat elokuvat ovat tylsähköjä, pikkuhauskoja ja ennalta-arvattavia suhdedraamoja joissa vain toistetaan sarjan käyttämiä ideoita. Voisi käsittämättömän pitkän (146 min) kestoajan kai jotenkin huonomminkin viettää, mutta suosittelisin tätä silti vain SATC-faneille. Tätä leffaa katsoessa kun huomaa välillä ajattelevansa että miksi koko filmi on edes vaivauduttu tekemään, sillä se ei tuo hahmojen eikä tarinan kannalta todella mitään uutta sen säihkyvään, mutta sisältä onttoon maailmaan. Ei siis ihme että Sex And The City 2 on ollut maailman laajuinen hitti. Geez!

Sex And The City 2 at IMDb

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller, Kim Coteas, Boris Kodjoe, Shawn Roberts

It's the fourth chapter of the Resident Evil saga and the series has come a full circle in a way. The director of the original, Anderson has returned to his chair after making an ok action film (AvP) and a very good action film (Death Race) in between. 

 While still (sigh!) trying to bring down the evil Umbrella corporation, Alice (Jovovich) joins a band of survivors in L.A. who've set their goals in reaching a safe haven and virus free place known only as Arcadia. The undead are still everywhere and the diminishing perimeter starts to effect relations of the last survivors.

 Anderson also wrote the first two sequels to this series, Apocalypse and Extinction. Personally I thought the first film was mediocre at best and all the films after that have been even more boring and and without any vision at all with the exception of a few clever action beats. Afterlife is no exception. The only thing that separates this film from doomed straight-to-DVD fodder is the fact that they had more (wasted) money and a couple of C-list movie stars. Shawn Roberts' character, the main antagonist might just be the worst creation in years since he's obviously a cheap and evil knock off of Neo from The Matrix. At times it's almost embarrasing to watch Afterlife since it just wonders on and on without any direction of where it wants to go. And a memo to mr. Anderson: thousands of slo-mo's do not make good action scenes. Maybe if you're a fan of the game series I can understand if you hold this film up in high regard, but otherwise it's just dull and boring gun fire without soul. The only high remark goes to the gruesome character Axeman. Although we already saw that as well in another (and clearly perkier) game adaptation, Silent Hill (2006).

Resident Evil: Afterlife on erittäin sieluton toimintaraina, josta voisin kuvitella nauttivan ainoastaan niiden katsojien joille Resident Evil-pelit ovat olleet kova ja omaa sydäntä läheinen juttu. Ohjaaja Anderson joka aloitti leffasarjan vuonna 2002 (ja on naimisissa Jovovichin kanssa) on saanut tällä kertaa aikaan vain todella päämäärätöntä räiskintää ja haukotuttavaa säikyttelyä. Ainoa hieno seikka leffassa on brutaalin ja aidosti hieman ahdistavan näköinen, jättiläismäinen Kirvesmies. Tosin samantyyppinen heppu heilui jo selvästi paremmassa peliadaptaatiossa Silent Hill (2006). Eli se kai siitäkin sitten. Ainoa mikä tämän turhuuden erottaa suoraan DVD:lle saapuvasta kuonasta on hivenen isompi budjetti ja pari C-luokan leffatähteä.

Resident Evil: Afterlife at IMDb