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riczhang

Riczhang's Year 3 Reviews

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Basically how it works is that I will write a very short write-up (1-3 sentences) on each movie of the year, and I will assign each movie a grade from 0-10. Also, each of you can request for one of your movies to receive a detailed review, and I will also do detailed reviews on a few other movies in addition to the ones you request. (Hopefully, I get to every movie this year).

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January:

4-6 January:

House on the Hills: 1/10

Walking out of my screening, I’m not sure exactly what I saw. The storyline is boring, unimaginative, and overused, and the acting, and cinematography were both atrocious.

11-13 January:

Ninja 3D: 2/10

The film has nice action, and the 3D is fittingly used during the action sequences. There’s not much else there, and the small 15 million budget clearly shows.

18-21 January:

My Winter Retreat 2: 0/10

Why is this getting a sequel? That is all.

On the Loose: 5/10

The film promises fun, and action, and the film does deliver. However on almost everything else the film falls flat, but overall the film was still enjoyable considering what it promised.

25-27 January:

Lifeguards: 5/10

It is surprising what the film did with the boring premise of a city swimming pool. The jokes despite being on the immature side were for the most part funny. However, if you want a real good comedy, skip this one.

Carnival: 0/10

If a film looks like crap, it’s usually crap, and Carnival proves that theory to the extreme. I honestly have nothing to say to this film.

Only go see it if you want to go like this:

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I promise I'll stop after this month, and probably go write my long reviews for Prodigy, and Red Skin. :lol:

1-3 February:

Horror at the Superbowl: 4/10

The premise was interesting, but execution was poor. The film kept you interested enough that you wouldn’t fall asleep but not much else.

Paranormal lamronaraP: 5/10

We finally got the first film with a well thought out story this year, and it really showed in the quality of the film. However, the acting was a fail, and that killed the movie. If they had replaced the cast with a good cast with real acting skills, this film could’ve been very good.

8-10 February:

Midnight Part II: Turning Point: 0/10

When Twilight first came out in theatres, I thought that no vampire film could possibly be more crap than that. Last year, Midnight Part I proved me wrong, and this year Midnight Part II further proved the point. Nothing in the film works, except for the special effects, but that is the result of a 100 million budget rather than the competency of any creative talent on the film.

Barefoot on Everest: 8/10

I will admit that I’m biased towards any film Guy Pearce is in, however this is a genuinely good film. The film makers turned a very weird premise into a motivational and interesting story. However, the ending was a bit anticlimactic, and left me kind of disappointed. The one big qualm I had was that this film is not available in IMAX, which is a shame as the imagery, and scenery would’ve been a real joy to experience in IMAX.

15-18 February:

The Haunting in Wisconsin: 3/10

The film in and out of itself has potential to be great; however execution falls flat on many and most levels.

The Rescue: 5/10

It is a noticeable improvement from some adaptations of Nicholas Sparks’s novels, and the acting was pretty decent. The teenage girls should love it, especially with the Valentine’s Day release.

22-24 February:

Animal Farm: 8.5/10

Well executed, beautifully animated, Animal farm should do well with both the Children with it’s fun story line, and engaging antics; and with the adults with its message of anti-communism which despite being about 2 decades too late still resonates with many among the adult population. The fact that the story is very well planned out and coherent is a huge plus.

Blue Heart: 5/10

It was a very different film, and I am still trying to process what I saw. I’d suggest skipping this and going with Animal Farm if you want a more easy to watch animation, but Blue Heart could be rewarding to those who sit with an open mind about it. The animation, put against the non-animated bits could be in my opinion be called a failure as it is confusing, and creates a very disjointed atmosphere.

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Okay last ones for today:

March:

1-3 March:

Wolves of the Deep: 7/10

More explosions and kick-assness than anything else, the movie was enjoyable. Neeson was pretty great as well.

8-10 March:

The Last Projectionist: 8/10

I was disappointed to learn that Tarantino was not the director of the film, but as producer he still had considerable creative influence on this film as his style was apparent. Film’s one big lacking point is that the basis of this story on a projectionist is perhaps too radical, and too different for the general audience to enjoy, but give this movie a chance it is good.

Green Eggs and Ham: 4/10

It’s hard to go wrong with Dr.Seuss, but you can. Green Eggs and Ham is a screw-up of perhaps Dr.Seuss’s most famous story of all time. While the beginning was enjoyable, and the animation while not the best of the year, but still good, and the voice acting pretty decent; it is the ending of the film that leaves me wondering if Green Eggs and Ham is a fun children’s film like it was advertised as or a PSA. It is however enjoyable if you go see the film and then leave before the last act begins.

15-17 March:

Prodigy: 9/10

Prodigy is a film that values quality over quantity, and presents us with one of the rare early March big-budget films that not only is action packed, and adrenaline filled but also for a lack of a better word good. Where Prodigy succeeds that many other action films fail on, is that Prodigy’s storyline is complex enough that we feel that we are seeing a brand new story, but no so complicated that the story gets carried away with itself, creating as a result a convoluted, hard to understand, and often pretentious story. Prodigy is none of that.

The opening sequence of the film is gorgeously conceptualised, and the execution is exacting. The entire scene is pulled off despite its complexity seemingly effortlessly. The film itself is very well made on a technical aspect with brilliant cinematography that although shaky at times did not evoke nausea or any adverse reaction in me. The Director has to be commended for making some very good calls with shots, and many other decisions, leaving us with some memorable scenes, and shots.

One of the bigger qualms I had with the film was that the budget was definitely restrictive, and at only 90 million some of the effects looked lacking, and flat. I do hope that if this film does get a sequel that it gets a bigger budget so that the effects can actually look real. The other problem I had was that despite all around good acting from the cast members, that some of the casting could’ve been improved. For example Michael Caine was not a very good Beckett in my opinion, as he just simply doesn’t suit the role, and character of Beckett.

But overall the film was emotionally evoking, and very well done, and left me cheering for Nihilo, and Dr. Carson pretty much from beginning to end.

Barco de Oro: 9/10

It’s unusual for me to be seeing a foreign language film so early in the year, but this was one that is definitely worth the trip to the cinema to go see. Bardem’s acting is terrific as usual, and the film itself is interesting, and engaging. However, the lacking budget shows on screen, and the fast exchanges in the film, sometimes left me with not enough time to read the subtitles which had me a little bit confused.

22-24 March:

Sam and Max Hit the Road: 6/10

In a perfect world, reviewing 3 animations in short succession wouldn’t be a problem. But, when Sam and Max is the third animation I’ve seen in a short period of time, it is the one to suffer from my animation fatigue. The biggest shortcoming for me is that the film doesn’t engage me, as the storyline is too simple and straightforward, however this should be a hit with the kids.

Agent McCoy: 6/10

Good Action, Decent Story, Decent Acting, not much else.

29-31 March:

Divergent: 8.5/10

Mike Newell and the screenwriter do a very good job at expanding and creating extra scenes to fill in the gaps that the Tris-centric original story created. The direction is smart, sharp, and clean, and very fitting of the mood, as the dystopian society in the future is nothing if not clean, and sharp. The biggest plus of the movie is that it doesn’t waste unnecessary time before getting on with the story, and the smart, and logical pacing of the story will take the viewer on an enjoyable, and action filled ride through the entire movie.

The story is original, and very entertaining, and will be a huge hit with the audiences as it offers something for all types of movie goers. The mixture of sci-fi, dystopian, fantasy, drama, and etc. creates a movie that no matter what genre you like, there’s something in it for you, and it does so without making the movie seem too packed, and too convoluted for its own good. Throughout the movie there’s a sprinkle of lighter moments, and sometimes moments that are just short of flat out comedic, which brings much welcomed relief to the tension, and adrenaline filled moments, that build surely and slowly throughout the entire film. The tension is partly created through a beautiful, and often haunting score by Clint Mansell which is mixed into the movie so that it serves its purpose well, sometimes there’s just a hint, and other times it’s as if the heavens were shouting down on me, as the music guided me in the direction that the film makers wanted me and the audience to go in.

The acting in the film was superb, and for some stars it marks a noticeable improvement over past efforts. However, one drawback of the smart pacing is that there are a few moments in the film where some of the side plot points were not explained clearly, and I could see some of the members in the screening temporarily pop out of the movie as they become a little bit lost. Another problem I had was that with Caleb there was one extra plot line that seemed almost unnecessary, and in my opinion could’ve been taken out as even though it seemed important at the time, nothing ever came of it, and it is like the film makers forgot that it existed halfway through. This created some confusion with me, as I kept expecting a resolution to the storyline, which never ended up coming.

On the technical aspects of the film, the film itself is gorgeously shot, and the camera work is fantastic, as the crew creates emotion, and meaning through the use of various camera shots that in and out of itself are storylines of the rise, and fall of various people, and themes. However there is an excessive use of Dutch angles to create tension, and the repeated use of it especially near the end gave me a headache.

But overall, it should resonate very well with not only its target audience of teenagers, but also with the audience as a whole, as the story is one of empowerment, and overcoming adversity.

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If you're going to write up a couple longer, more detailed reviews, I would appreciate one for either Genesis or Black as Night, or both if you like them both enough (or hate them enough).

Genesis was getting one anyways, cus I need 5 paragraphs to express how awesome it is :lol: , so I'll take Black as Night as your request, and do both. :lol:
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April:

5-7 April:

Wall of Water: 4/10

I feel like I’ve seen this movie many times before, however that still doesn’t take away from the amazing special effects that made the tsunami look extremely real. Other than that, there really isn’t that much to the film, plot isn’t good, and acting is flat.

Beware of Zombies: 2/10

The movie sacrifices laughs to try to be scary, but fails to be scary as it tries to be funny. Everything about it falls flat, and it is surprising how badly the movie is acted, especially considering how great of an actress Portman is. This film is a snore.

51: 0/10

I am not sure what I watched.

12-14 April:

Tornado: 3/10

The tornadoes look nice in 3D…….. That’s pretty much all that this film can be complimented on.

The Untold Story of Hansel and Gretel: 4/10

The premise of the story felt disjointed, and it is almost unbelievable how the creative team came up with the combination of spying and Hansel and Gretel. The only distinction that this can take is being the most gorgeously animated film of the year so far.

19-21 April:

The Man and His Hat: 9/10

Reminiscent of Frakenweenie, and Coraline, Tim Burton has done it again, creating, a weird, funky little film. This film may be very difficult for some people to stomach, but it is a treasure for those who are patient and open enough when seeing the film.

Jungles: 10/10

Gorgeous. Beautiful. Engaging. Nothing else I can say, only when is this coming out in IMAX?

26-28 April:

Vault Break: 7.5/10

Thrilling, well acted, but the plot isn’t really original. However it is thoroughly enjoyable.

Stacy’s Mom Has Got it Going On: 6/10

This film feels like it’s been done so many times before. However, due to the acting chops of the leads, the film manages to save itself from boredom, and disaster, by being decently engaging, and above all funny.

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May:

3-5 May:

Genesis: 10*/10 (*: I’d score it higher if I could)

Wow, just wow. Genesis delivered so totally beyond my wildest expectations. It is smarted scripted, impeccably directed, and brilliantly casted and acted, which despite the many sci-fi’s that have been released this year feels like a breath of fresh air. I had huge reservations with this 150 million dollar film put into the hands of D.J. Caruso who brought us the film “I Am Number Four” which genuinely butchered what should’ve been pretty good source material for a successful, teen-oriented, action movie, so you’ll have to excuse my reservations going into the film, but it turns out that those worries are completely unfounded.

The way that the film opens right in the middle of the action is particularly effective as it grasps you right from the beginning because it provokes thought, questions, and thinking before you can get the entire picture, and the events. However, it is not so thought provoking, and confusing that leaves the reader, disengaged, and in the dust for the entire film.

Even though in the beginning there are many unexplained peculiarities in the world, but they aren’t really distracting from the story, and soon I felt myself not even wondering as the world itself and the generally vibe from it really just resolved any of these lingering questions about such peculiarities, and led to me just accepting it as part of the world.

The main plot line unfolds in a clever transition, and although there is a little confusion as to what the main storyline has to do with the opening sequence, a smartly written conversation quickly resolves confusion, which feels completely natural, and avoids feeling like it had been scripted and placed for the reason of feeding the audience information. The uncanny similarities between Emile Hirsch and Michael Douglas help establish that relationship as well.

Even though the premise of the seems like it has been done before, the film takes it in so many different new and interesting directions that it feels right off from the bat like a completely new, and unique film. It is the expert direction, and amazing acting from all cast members help the film take that extra gap in execution to allow a script with high potential achieve that potential and then some more.

The technical aspects of the film are also amazing, with amazingly gorgeous sets that seem impossibly large [or maybe it was just amazing CGI], coupled with seamless effects that makes everything so real, it’s practically impossible to distinguish between what’s CGI, special effects, sets, location shooting, and etc. This especially helps in immersing the viewer in the world that they have created.

The camera work in the film is pretty amazing, and the score is also very impressive which only helps to add to the film only seems to get better and better, which tops itself off with a full, emotionally fulfilling, satisfying ending, which redeems D.J. Caruso from the atrocity that was I am Number Four.

Only one suggestion, Nolan should direct the remake.

Was Kilroy Here?: 9/10

An all round well made documentary, that’s only drawback is that it left some ambiguity as to the essence of Kilroy.

10-12 May:

Karate Kong: 8.5/10

It’s fun, and I’ll admit that it’s childish, but it’s highly enjoyable, and the animation is very well done, which coupled with the excellent voice acting left me wanting a sequel.

Tyler Perry’s Madea Mother’s Day: 5/10

Madea Mother’s Day is still the type of movie that takes advantage of derogatory black stereotypes, which leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. However, this movie is a noticeable step up from the usual Tyler Perry fare, which renders a movie that despite being offensive, was genuinely funny, and entertaining.

17-19 May:

Salvation: 8/10

Salvation is a big step backwards from the previous instalment and there is still much room for improvement. The narration seems to be self-indulgent, and could’ve been better portrayed through action. The film seems to get quite depressing at time. However, it is still a decently made and acted explosive action flick.

24-27 May:

Interconnected: Culmination: 9.5/10

Interconnected is better thought out, and better executed than Salvation, which opens the previous weeks, and presents a not only a action packed film, but one of unanticipated quality. Interconnected, marks a noticeable improvement from the previous entry, and the 100 million budget is well worth it, as the film truly looks like the money’s been well spent. The ending however despite satisfying seems like it could’ve been better made as it feels like a letdown.

31 May – 2 June:

The Coming Storm: 10/10

The first historic epic of the year does not disappoint, as it delivers on its promise to bring a storm that’s coming on all sides. The film’s opening shot expertly creates the mood of the movie right off the bat aided by the 3D which feels like you’re falling into the world itself, wasting no time bringing you into the fantasy world that has been extensively imagined into real life.

The film is well structured as the entire plot is like an onion, and as we peel back each layer we see an intricately thought out web of events, ideas, and characters which makes this film so unique, and different. The most important thing that this film achieves is that it balances a fine line between complexity and simplicity of plot with surprising skill, as the plot still bears resemblance to one of betrayal and war, but beneath the surface has many twsits, and turns, and is one about finding your way back to the path, and of finding conviction in your values, and your beliefs. This results in a story that is relatable no matter what age, or gender, or culture you are.

The execution of the film doesn’t fall flat, and the camera work, music, lighting, and sets all dance an intricate dance that creates precise and accurate moods that in and out of itself is a story, which is only improved upon by the acting chops of all the cast members. I had my questions about Skandar Keynes playing Paul Bettany’s son, but even though the makeup department doesn’t quite pull the relation off seamlessly, Skandar and Paul’s acting more and makes up for the difference which is particularly noticeable in the more emotional moments of the film. I found that Roger Deacon’s style of cinematography particularly added to the film as it really fell in line with the vision of the director.

The big problem going in that I had was that the film was budgeted at 155 million, and it felt really excessive given the premise, and genre of the film, but after seeing the film I understand why it was needed, as all the sets, and effects felt extremely real, especially coupled with the 3D, which is utilised best in the little moments such as falling snow more so than the big moments(which could’ve had better 3D), that really brought the world to life all around you.

Lastly the ending while I felt was satisfactory, and a fittingly emotional conclusion to the exceptional ride that the movie was, however I can tell right off the bat that some people will find it perhaps lacking a bit, or overly drawn out, and perhaps too long. However, I say this to everyone, approach the ending with an open mind, and approach it from the perspective of the characters in the movie, and you may just find that you will thoroughly enjoy the ending.

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Hmm, someone's impressed. It was an idea I had back in the old CAYOM but I was too dried out to do it then, and I just did it on the spot here a couple weeks ago.

Did you? The movie felt very planned out, and I just really loved it. Can't even explain it, just do. :lol:
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A year ago when I was playing old CAYOM I thought about making a sci-fi blockbuster centerred around a plot similar to Genesis's. It would've been more emotional and probably better, at least in my opinion, the original way I had it. In that version, it involved the main character losing his wife/fiance and then winding up finding her alive again while vacationing in China on a business trip, and just all the chaos associated with it. I never had time or the will to flesh it out though, so I just incorporated ideas from that and made Genesis, but I pretty much just made it all up as I went along.Of my films this year, Black as Night was the one I fleshed out and planned out more, but I had a lot to go on already because I wrote it before, only upgraded it since I didn't have it saved anywhere.

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