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Hotel Transylvania (2012)

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

Deep in the woods, in an unexplored peak and valley landscape hidden in mist, surrounded by graveyards, Count Dracula has raised his daughter, and is now preparing for her 118th Birthday Party and the fated day when she's finally allowed to go out and see the world.

Though he has other plans, hoping to keep her locked away forever. From the humans.

But then of course a charismatic sample of said human race stumbles in and wrecks havoc upon his world.

Or more like: starts the party for real.

And falls in love with his daughter.

And vie versa.

It's such a feelgood movie. Not only does it have Adam Sandler doing the voicing (same as Despicable Me - wouldn't mind another actor though) but Andy Samberg, and Kevin James, and Selena Gomez! And a bunch of other voices you might recognize.

The animation's fun, the castle atmospheric, the script takes you places, and maybe most importantly it's got that ZING. And a lot of it too.

It's a simple concept but they really took it places. Don't remember what other animated movies came out in 2012 but this just might've been the best one that year, and a lot of years for that matter. Thoroughly enjoyable, wholesome, never dull, but not too fast-paced or ferocious either. Just right.

Hope to visit this hotel again soon, though doubt subsequent visits will match up to the first.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Kill Zone (2005)

Kill Zone (2005)

AKA SPL.

Cops and robbers. Surveillance. A ruthless gang boss and dirty cops. It's that kind of movie.

It's also another Donnie Yen classic - I've seen it at least a couple times before, and another tragic one. Even more than last. This is the Sammo Hung one. And the Jing Wu one. And once again, there's w wife and daughter involved, but this time they just so happen to be on the wrong side of justice...

It's a bit more brutal than Flash Point, a bit more movie-like with the criminal element - or maybe just with a different style.

Jing Wu has a tragic role as usual too... hope it's not like that for him in real life all the time too.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Ballistic Kiss (1998)

Ballistic Kiss (1998)

I knew this was the sad one. The classy, sensual, classic Donnie Yen + sad one.

There's a lot of blue. There's a little Léon The Professional inspiration with the elevator scene maybe. There's red too. There's flashy gunfighting, and speedy running, but unfortunately bad aiming, and the 'I don't miss' mantra quickly loses value as the movie progresses.

The romance keeps it strong though. Without that it'd be just another half-assed romantic action movie, fierce and smokey or no, but when they start talking of the injustices of the world and all, and share their final moments on the steps of the glass factory... well, you know, it's not bad after all. Just sad.

The hitman scene was a highlight too, and I wonder if the black dude was the same guy as in Tiger Cage 1/2, but overall it wasn't as amazing as I remembered it... I thought there'd be a bit more sensual stuff too. Maybe a good thing there wasn't though. Kept it classy. Somewhat.

Still though. I gotta give it a careful four. It is what it is. A classic. Ballistic Kiss.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Extinction (2014)

Extinction (2014)

Reminds a little of the Blair Which Project. Mixed up with a little
Jurassic Park.

It's a documentary-styled fictional venture into the uncharted forests of a parallel future, with a slightly annoying cameraman doing most of the narration and occasional reaction.

That said it wasn't as bad as I was expecting a few minutes in. It feels real. The camera shakes a bit too much occasionally, but for the most part it feels sloppy in a realistic kind of way. Expressions. Camera motions. Lack of make-up in the morning. The little things. It feels spontaneous to the point it just might have been choreographed masterfully and most of all real. Cause that's what they're going for, of course.

We also see a nice snake, and a few bugs, a nice dinosaur prop and a desperate farewell but... it doesn't feel 100%. And with this type of movie it feels like it has to, to really go all the way. Props on the reverse psychology with the 'no they'll probably think it's just a hoax' though, even if it rhymes badly with the more cliche ending. Retour. Sequel potential. Ominous road trip again.

It really wasn't bad though. If you really immerse yourself it may jump a rating.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Deep Blue Sea 2 (2018)

Deep Blue Sea 2 (2018)

Jaws might've tried to instill a fear of sharks into people, but this? It seems to be trying to dispel that bad mojo instead.

Come to think of it it might've been the same with the first Deep Blue Sea, made twenty years prior. One of the first things they did was to clarify that sharks aren't actually interested in humans... except scientifically engineered murder sharks of course.

It was the great white then, now it's bull sharks. All the more monstrous already; all the more murderous!

It starts gritty. And beautiful. What an intro. The music's perfect. The South African duo are bad-ass and the ambient swim after that's an appreciative break. It shows promise! And then it all goes to hell.

Not just script-wise.

You move to a lecture, and immediately realize the script's finna be bad one this time around. It gets worse. The conversations are all unreasonably provocative. The reactions exaggerated. The drone instead of the helicopter. The limited research facility budget and breadth. Too much God Complex talk. Too much flashy lighting instead of actual cinematographic detail. Too much special effects. Somewhat boxed in audio too if you don't listen via headphones.

I did learn a bit more about sharks, Danielle Savre has a wonderful cleavage, and the war of man against AI compared to that of carnal prehistoric beasts feels all the more relevant in our time, but otherwise this wasn't the comeback I hoped it'd be.

The first movie was so good. Not actors (with certain exception - the first two were great) nor location is a match here, and the dialog often feels superficial and lacking weight; authenticity; punchline. The characters make up for it with overly aggressive demeanor instead.

Sad to say this couldn't compare to the first one after all. But still, there's a third one too; I think I'll see that one next...

 rated 3/5: not bad

Bodyguards And Assassins (2009)

Bodyguards And Assassins (2009)

Why do all Chinese movies have to be so sad?!

It's a tale of the revolution this time, with Donnie yen in a sacrificial but honorable role, along with a big Shaolin monk and a prodigal martial kind of master, who all do their best to aid the revolution, laying their lives on the line just to get a prominent man - Doctor Sun - to a meeting.

It's a flashified variant of a probably real set of trials people went through in the stages of revolution that finally overthrew the Qing dynasty... but for what? Did China become the land of promise they hoped? Are they looking down and smiling now - happy that their country is in the hands of the noble caretakers they hoped would take over?

I don't mean to get all cynical, but the philosophy of blood paving the way for revolution feels so unnecessary here, honorable or no.

Then again maybe this historical glimpse was a subliminal call to action yet again. And if so I understand. Revolutions may be required. Regimes may need to be toppled. So that their aims may change and they may be noble once again. Who knows. If that is the intention here then bravo.

Either way it's a well-made movie. Sad but true, as they say. Well-placed. Well-filmed. Well... everything but the ending... but only the ending before the one to come when all is said and done.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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