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Island Escape (2023)

Island Escape (2023)

Least creative name ever? But a good movie! Surprisingly so. I recognize some of the actors. Not sure of names...

Was never a big fan of the big blue-eyed guy specifically, but he does alright here. The cast bond and get along. It's a good team. The premise is good. It's creepy. The props realistic. The special effect gun effects maybe not so much - but overall.

Initially I wondered if maybe it'd be like Dead Island. A zombie movie - island style. But it was so much more wasn't it... not bad at all.

I like the Northern Lights effects in particular, although it seems they keep effects on screen for all too short a duration most of the time. Maybe for fear of them actually looking sub-par if you look closely. But they really aren't... and they do a great job portraying the rage in the fights - even if the fights themselves are shamefully choreographed.

Guys with training ought be a bit more adaptable.

Maybe the title's not bad either. It's matter-of-fact. It gives you the premise, but doesn't spoil the twist! I like the mystery. Reminds me a bit of Lost too.

Good watch after all.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Extreme Movie (2008)

Extreme Movie (2008)

I somehow grew away from movies like this, apparently.

I don't mind the sex it's just... way too over the top. I thought. Initially. It does get better though - and it does get extreme! That 'don't be a pussy, just tell me who you are' line got me, and after that... I'm enjoying this more than I really want to. The Abe Lincoln time travel bit too, oh my gawd... they don't hold back.

It's good to see Andy Milonakis here too, and the whole cast's gold. I did not realize Kevin Hart was in this either last time! Small role but... still. And the cellphone skit. XD That, the time travel and Andy's one are most definitely my favorite three.

They have some unexpectedly big names here overall, did not expect to see Michael Cera or or Ryan Pinkston (I think? The guy doing the monologue promo bits) - or the guy from Tenacious D either! Some you recognize from the Scary Movie cast list - though no Anna Faris unfortunately. Nor Marlon Wayans. Nor Regina Hall. Was it made by the same director though? Nope.

Wonder if they've made any other spin-off parodies like this. Maybe the Scary Movie franchise was the only one that really took off.

In the end it's all a mix of sex-related sketches, and characters, and they keep coming back to Sex Ed class for the main cast and continuity. It goes full circle in a wholesome way there when it's over.

It's cheap humor but it does entertain! And it ends in an unexpectedly lighthearted way considering the extreme thing.

Killer musical. Great watch, after all.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

Read on...

Terminator (1984)

Terminator (1984)

I've seen the second Terminator many times already - the one you might consider the best of all, figured it was time to give the true original a chance too, and all these years later - forty years exactly real soon - it still holds up!

The story itself's an age-old one, both timeless and relevant now more than ever - and more and more with each passing day.

The fact that it came out in 1984 isn't lost on me either. George Orwell.

The action's gritty, the soundtrack's memorable, and the scripting's good.

It flows well. It explains well. It breaks the pace occasionally, but never long enough it doesn't still feel panicked - as it should when there's a merciless cyborg from the future on the chase (a theme for many a B-movie both before and after this - just goes to show how well they made this one when not once does that feel like a joke).

The special effects aged well too (if there were any? Maybe they're real effects?). The props aren't always as ageless as the effects - you spot the transition when Arnold's working on his eye all too easy - and there's plenty of stopmotion involved at the end - but it does look good enough to not destroy the experience overall), and the typography, the title screen... everything's thorough. Although most at the start. After a while it's not all as authentic-looking, even if it's still great. The angles are great. The beads of sweat, the spray of gasoline, the blood falling in the water...

Brad Fiedel composed some truly iconic music for this too!

I thought John Carpenter scored this - seemed psychedelic enough to be his style. Plus the same era.

And props Harlan Ellison for the backstory - at least certain inspirations on which they based these movies.

I'm really close to giving this a top score, but it's not all the way there after all. It is initially. For its time it still is a friggin' masterpiece, and though the moments in present time are the ones I enjoy the most I'm especially impressed with how well they manage making the flashbacks so seamlessly dystopian and futuristic. There's not a prop to be spotted there. It looks raw. It looks real.

It's a glimpse into the future that'll make you appreciate what you got, too. The fire in the TV's a nice touch, and how they move the camera to first make it seem like they're actually watching something on it.

I'm impressed with the transitions, and the cast, the chase, the commotion, how well they manage to build the atmosphere and sense of despair that stays with you for the full duration of the film... it's almost friggin' awesome all the way.

Iconic film.

Compared the second one... the Arnold here really is almost not Arnold at all. He's so cold. In some ways this probably was better than the second. Burning his eyebrows really makes him look all the more a machine - completely devoid of relatable facial features and cues of expression, and the scene where he's surveying the scene from the cop car, and faking voices - a simple trick to do post-production but ohmygawd the chilling effect that gives!

They were ahead of their time there too. I could go on but...

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Read on...

Getaway (2013)

Getaway (2013)

I think I've seen this one before...

It's a hostage scenario. Plus a keep-driving-or-something-happens scenario. But with less desperation. Since they stop sometimes. And then keep going. And certain actions they take have no repercussions!

They handled the edge way better with Liam Neeson's more recent chase movie, or more ironically with the classic Speed. This was... sub-par.

I like Selena Gomez. Initially she comes across quite the asshole here - and Ethan Hawke in contrast an an almost unnaturally calm and submissive guy - but she grows on you. Even if the scripting's fairly inconsistent, with her for example shouting 'this is awesome' during a particularly wild part of a chase - at a point you figure she's taken a liking to the main character - to just moments later tell him that she really hates him.

Their bonding process comes with both certain obstacles, and certain inconsistencies, you might say.

There's also a gap of realism in how timely the police show up after they've hotwired the cam, and how easy it was to hotwire in the first place.

Would they really immediately understand what's going on before they've reached the hangar? Would they also subsequently immediately allow Ethan to just drive away - intent on saving the girl as he is? And didn't he get shot?!

They just glance over that little detail.

But the one thing that bothers me absolutely the most is how much AWESOME car chase footage is wasted on all too many cuts, and close-camera footage. The explosions at the train park, the power plant - there's so much creative car-related choreography as they float through the city on robust wheels and that awesome shielded Shelby GT500 Super Snake (that does look realistically bashed up at the end of it all)... WASTED!

They have ONE continuous car-chase sequence towards the end of the movie that truly delivers. Where they blaze through intersections, overtake cars, and buses, and move through open but not entirely empty city streets in a mad pace - and you can clearly feel the speed and exhilaration. And they have a few scenes where they have a camera in a fixed location that allow you to survey a particular slice of action in a good way - like when that truck rams the vehicle at the intersection.

Other than that they waste so much! They cut from one driver to the other, to wheels, to chassis, to distance shot, to close-up shot, to rear lights, to windows, to characters, to vehicle side, and so on, and so on, and so on... and they never let you focus!

What's the benefit of this being a chase you can experience through a movie when it's cut up this much - to the point you lose all sense of speed and timing?

They do convey the chaos and carnage, but so much of that is lost too when you never get a more distanced view of collisions and explosions.

Did they get too much good footage they just didn't want to waste? They seem either overly ambitious or incompetent with the edits. And it's unfortunate, because the chases really ARE bad-ass.

You just don't get to see them that way.

Initially there is way too much focus on the characters inside the car as well, even though all of the intensity's situated outside it.

It ends well, and with a twist, and the cast and plot was good but... what a shame on all that good footage.

Props Jon Voight too. And that unexpected end.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

The Stratum (2023)

The Stratum (2023)

Here's a spacey, post-apocalyptic, futuristic, sci-fi movie, about a world where the air's no longer breathable, and humanity is ruled by one great, benevolent corporation... with an unexpected NWA acronym - that worked better than expected! Nicely done.

The special effects suck, everything else is great. The tech, the props, the atmospheric lighting. But most of all the relationship between Crash Buist and Lauren Senechal. It's charmingly chaotic, and Lauren in particular is just wonderful. Great chemistry.

They turn a dystopian world into a better place... well not all the way. But they're working on it.

It ends a little like Alita: Battle Angle. But the other way around.

You'll get it.

Seems this could have a sequel but I wonder if it will... this is
wholesome too.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Rudrangi (2023)

Rudrangi (2023)

The post-colonial powers in India decided to take advantage of the situation and continue to oppress the downtrodden.

There's a non-descript description if I've ever seen one. Though... it works.

And the visuals in this! The sensuality. The bad-assary. The slow-mo and battles... it all goes beyond what I was expecting.

The story's an epic one too. Of lordship and defiance. Of slavery and love. Of sacrifice and power.

Though Mallesh sometimes seems so strong, and sometimes... not so much.

There are cultural elements here that feel a bit too foreign for me. Like for example there's a whole lot of talk on the topic of drinking someone else's pee - as if the ultimate form of submission and shame.

But the fights are still magnificent, and the romances maybe even more so, and in the end it really makes well do with the saying that 'absolute power corrupts absolutely'. From one tyrant to another...

Wonder if it's a pike at the social hierarchies of India too.

They still have 'em, after all.

Great watch either way. Visually amazing. Script-wise? A little messy. A little all over the place. A little baffling - though I don't know if that's a fault of the story or of the subtitles, or my outsider reference frame.

It might be both. Still all but lame this game, from ball and chain to appall and reign.

Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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