Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Reviews on My Favorite Movies Before 2008 Part 1

Last year, I listed my favorite movies before 2008. Stepping into this new year, I actually managed to watch all of them. :D Here's a bit of my reviews on each of them.

1. D-War
Computer Graphic and creature designs are brilliant, and the composition of all that in the large-scale combat right in the middle of the city is just breath-taking. But apart from these elements, very little can be said about the story actually. I would say it's more suitable to be watched by kids, or younger audience who wouldn't really bother if the story makes any sense.

That's right folks, 3D giant serpent wrapping skyscrapers is the major attraction of this movie. I suppose that means other elements are less important? ^^;

More giant serpent roaring at pesky mosquitoes helicopters ^^;

Those are brilliant armor design if you ask me, but totally neglected with all the serpent-action going around in the movie.

But for me, this movie is just like another Jackie Chan's 'The Medallion'. As the plot line of a mystical Eastern legend blend so poorly in a Western movie, I would sincerely prefer the movie to be set in an Eastern country instead of America. Watching the antagonist, a Westerner, wearing ancient armors wielding sword with plenty of Kung-fu flicks was a bit hard for me to accept really.

2. Resident Evil: Extinction
To be honest, I didn't really like the second installment of Resident Evil, Apocalypse much, so I only watch this movie for the fake of finishing the trilogy (I want to know whether the Umbrella Corporation will finally be defeated), and for watching Milla Jovovich of course ^^

Many scenes designed to remind you of the previous two Resident Evil movies.

I don't mind being the employee of the Corporation here...
Oh, wait a minute, I didn't mean it! ^^;

But I never expected this movie to be so bad :(

Character wise, Alice is virtually invincible, and the story seems to be everything about her, rather than about the world around her. As a result, we see very little story about the other characters, like Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) and LJ (Mike Epps). Plus, they are truly expendable. You'll never know who's going to die next, and how many too, even for those characters from the second movie, whom are quite interesting and help to add more flavor to the entire movie are killed off as easily as the other 'human mortars'. Those who go back to watch Apocalypse after this movie might get a shock at how good those people were at surviving the Undeads back then.

I still prefer Alice in red gown and leather boots back in the first movie, or the 'walking arsenal' type in the second movie. This 'desert' type Alice makes Milla Jovovich seems really old.

Plus, no Jill Valentine! (Sienna Guillory) Totally unacceptable ^^;

3. Lust, Caution
For me, this is a very sad movie, especially for the protagonist, Wong Jiazhi played by Tang Wei.

In short, the movie is about Wong Jiazhi, a young university student who got involved in an espionage targeted at a Chinese political figure, Mr. Yee played by Tony Leung Chiu Wai. She had to use her beauty to entrap Mr. Yee while facing the danger of her identity being discovered at all time.

I felt the uneasiness of all the characters throughout the movie. I kept on feeling that something (bad) would happen now and then. Also, Apart from the difficulties of life during the time set in the movie, the sacrifice made by Wong Jiazhi is very tragic as well. Not only her, but the bunch of young university students who planned the espionage in the first place. They gave up their future, and risk their own lives just to assasinate one person.

Lust, Caution is actually the second Ang Lee's movie (after Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)I watched so far, and I'm really impressed with the details put into this movie. Apart from the story of the main characters, you can really feel the suffering of the people at that time. Also, you get to see the sad gap between the rich and the poor in this movie. The rich women play Mahjong day and night; while the poor line up on the street to get food. Sad. Ang Lee is truly a great director to be able to capture all those captivating moments in this movie.

Plenty of thoughts after this movie.

Even with very few lines of dialogue, Tony Leung's performance is still as wonderful like his previous movies I watched (and like very much), including 2046, Heroes, and Chung King Express.

Apart from her beauty, Tang Wei was perfectly casted as Wong Jiazhi. It's almost unbelievable that this is just her 4th movie so far.

4. Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Too many things happened in this second movie of Elizabeth. As Hollywood would have it, plenty of actions and explosion were added to match the many costumes designed and worn by the Queen and the members in her throne room. I enjoyed this movie very much, but I don't have the same sensation from watching it as compared to the first one.

For those who (still) think that this movie is very slow in its pacing, the first Elizabeth is way s-l-o-w-e-r, but with more powerful moments in my opinion.

The Golden Age tried to capture the melancholy of the Virgin Queen struggling between the world of her own and her throne, but with many 'side stories' added, which decreases the sentiment to expected from the audience on the Queen. As a result, you get to feel for Cate Blanchett for a short second, and the scene quickly shifts to the covert assassination gang; then back onto Cate Blanchett again; and the scenes just keep on changing. The feelings and thoughts at some moments in the movie were not developed well enough, as compared to the first movie again.

A troubled queen with her troubled love.

The burning of the Spanish armada is among the many breathtaking scenes in this movie.

Anyway, there are many awesome moments when I feel certain scenes can be made into painting, and lines from the script be made into famous quotes, and would still be equally powerful and magical as those historical moments. This is still a great movie nonetheless.

Also, Cate Blanchett must be awarded Oscar for this movie. Her performance as the Queen is simply breath-taking.

Can Cate Blanchett win the Oscar with this movie? I sure hope so.

5. 30 Days of Night
This movie reminds me of Blade somehow, since the vampires in the movie are like another species of human beings, complete with their own 'social network' (they hunt in packs and they have their own special language as well). Then again, unlike all the other vampire breed before, this movie features vampires void of any sense of humanity, who are driven by their basic instinct for blood only. No Dracula-style romance or Gothic design, just pure ruthless bloodthirsty beasts.

Hmm... I wonder who gives him the haircut ^^;

The movie is quite scary, that's for sure. Since the setting is during the night, many dark scenes are particularly scary. You don't get to see too many scenes of the vampire attack actually, but how the people fight desperately to survive tells the story. Like 'The Mist' mentioned sometime ago, the horror of this movie doesn't come from the creatures themselves, but rather the reaction of the people against them.

Having a beautiful sheriff sure lightens up this gloomy movie a lot ^^

I like the way how the characters are portrayed as being so rugged after the survival war against the vampires – just adds a lot of points to the feel of realism.

Quite a good movie really, I couldn't stop myself from feeling lucky that I'm able to see the sun everyday ^^;

To be continued tomorrow