Like an ancient Roman version of 2012, this disaster epic is a pure guilty pleasure, sparking plenty of laughter along with the massive effects-based carnage. It also helps that the screen is packed with muscle men in skimpy skirts. The actors dive in with gusto, adding plenty of personality to the ridiculous dialogue, while director Paul W.S. Anderson shamelessly ramps up the action mayhem.
It begins in AD 79 Britain, where Roman Senator Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland) is on the rampage, slaughtering the entire Celtic community of young Milo (Kit Harington), who is taken to Londinium to become a gladiator. When he rises to fame, he's transferred to Pompeii, where he immediately catches the eye of young noblewoman Cassia (Emily Browning), much to the scowly disapproval of her politically active parents (Carrie-Anne Moss and Jared Harris). An outsider among the local slaves, Milo is befriended by tough guy fellow gladiator Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). And when Corvus comes to town to claim Cassia as his bride, Milo decides to take a dangerous stand for both revenge and the girl. Meanwhile, Mount Vesuvius is rumbling, getting ready to unleash plenty of movie-style havoc.
It's impossible to watch this without thinking of the cheesy, similarly styled TV series Rome or Spartacus, with their corny melodramas, excessive violence and bare flesh. Even though this is on a much bigger scale with seriously enormous 3D special effects, it's just as cheesy. And equally entertaining as well. Harington is terrific as the hunky hero, building much stronger chemistry with the honourable Akinnuoye-Agbaje than the distressed Browning. And seasoned veterans like Harris, Moss and Sutherland clearly have a great time chomping madly on the scenery as Pompeii burns.
Continue reading: Pompeii Review
Fans of Cassandra Clare's book series won't mind that this film is overcrowded and chaotic, but the uninitiated will be worn out by what feels like a superficial mash-up of leather-clad stereotypes. Director Zwart (who remade The Karate Kid) certainly creates a lively sense of energy, zipping through each scene as if he's trying to cram every moment in the book into two hours. But as a result, nothing grabs hold.
Our hero is Clary (Collins), a New York teen whose mother (Headey) never told her that she was a Shadowhunter, a half-angel whose job is to protect humanity from demons. But just as she meets goth dreamboat Shadowhunter Jace (Campbell Bower), her mom is kidnapped. So she and her best pal Simon (Sheehan), who has a secret crush on her, travel with Jace into the city's underworld of angels, demons, werewolves and vampires. At the secret Shadowhunter headquarters, she meets leader Hodge (Harris) as well as siblings Alec and Isabelle (Zegers and West). And everyone warns her about the villainous Valentine (Meyers), who has some sort of nefarious master plan involving Clary and her magical cup.
The film is structured as a series of quests, as Clary learns about her supernatural abilities by visiting the City of Bones under a cemetery, breaking into a church to collect a stash of demon-fighting weapons, consulting with a variety of magical creatures, and so on. But these individual sequences never quite connect together into a story with any momentum. It's simply impossible to get involved in these events without being able to identify with the characters, none of whom are properly developed. Obviously, readers of the books won't have this problem, but such a fragmented film is unlikely to draw new fans to the franchise.
Continue reading: The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones Review
Nice-guy Doug (Scott) works as a bouncer in Massachusetts, hanging out with his chucklehead pal Pat (Baruchel) and wondering when he'll discover something he's good at, like his doctor brother Ira (Paetku). His parents (Levy and David) don't conceal their disappointment when Doug joins a hockey team as a hard-headed goon whose role is to fight opponents. Then he's picked up by a professional team in Canada, which puts him on a collision course with his idol Ross (Schreiber). And his natural leadership skills strain his friendship with his failing all-star teammate Xavier (Grondin).
Continue reading: Goon Review
There's an ongoing war between two lupine factions. On the one side are those who feel that the ancient ability to shapeshift is a curse, and want desperately for an ambiguous prophecy to be fulfilled. Then there are the blood-addicted, supernatural junkies who love killing so much that they want to keep the foretold omen from occurring. And what is this fabled forecast? Seems a young boy, born of human mother and wolfman seed, will turn 13 and... well, that part's not all that clear. Apparently, once the kid hits puberty, he will put the depressed beasts out of their misery while buzz killing the other lycanthropes happy hunting. So naturally, one side protects the brat (named Timmy), while the other is looking to carve up his adolescent guts.
Continue reading: Skinwalkers Review
Meet the Don
Don Carmody Interview
The name of Don Carmody may not be a name that is familiar to most filmgoers; however, it is highly likely that you have seen at least one of his films. From Oscar winning hits like Chicago to computer game adaptations such as Silent Hill and Resident Evil, Carmody has overseen production on well over seventy films.
Although he is not as well known as other Hollywood moguls like Joel Silver and Jerry Bruckheimer, you won't hear Carmody complain: "It's the name of the game. A producer generally subverts his ego to those of the creative elements. He goes along to get along."
As one of the hardest working producers in the business he shows no sign of slowing down. Living in Montreal, Carmody takes immense pride in making big budget Hollywood features in his home country. When asked what his greatest professional achievements were he simply replied: "Winning an Oscar for Chicago and bringing world class films to Canada."
Continue reading: Don Carmody Interview
I'm willing to bet most people don't even remember Porky as a person at all. For the amnesiacs out there (and given the overally quality of Porky's, you're forgiven for that), Porky is a fat guy that runs a sort of night club/strip joint/brothel on the edge of the movie's small Florida town. (It was filmed in Fort Lauderdale.) At the local high school, we meet a bunch of guys. There's Pee Wee and the burley Meat, plus frat-boys-in-the-making Billy, Tommy, Mickey, and, uh... you get the picture.
Continue reading: Porky's Review
A car accident, a nosy cop on a motorcycle (Deborah Kara Unger), and Sharon's escaping into the deserted town that rains ash, all collide in a chain reaction that leads Rose into a literal heart of darkness. Silent Hill, the town, inhabits a peculiar limbo - it is quite literally cut off from the rest of the world - where air raid sirens (surely some of the creepiest sound effects you're ever likely to hear in a film) precede the coming of a dark tide that washes over the ghost town with surprising regularity. With the arrival of the eldritch dark, the walls literally shred away, revealing an industrial hellscape that lies somewhere beneath the reality of the decaying town, populated by human-faced, screaming insects, twisted lava infants, and something called "Pyramid Head," that has an incredibly unwieldy helmet and one of the largest swords in cinema history. It's a brutal, dark, and hideous place and the highlight of the film.
Continue reading: Silent Hill Review
Gothika does its damn best to convince us that Berry, as Miranda Grey, is quite the serious prison therapist, sitting straight-faced through her sessions with insane convict Chloe Sava. (That's more than the audience can do, watching poor Penélope Cruz, as Chloe, actually try to act.) Dour-faced as she is, Grey seems to love her job, having a loving husband (Charles S. Dutton) as her boss at the women's prison, and a funny co-worker (Robert Downey Jr) who has a pretty serious crush on her. Then, driving home one rainy night, she crashes her car to avoid a girl standing in the rain. She then walks up to the crazed-looking girl, who then bursts into flames. Grey wakes up in one of the observation cells at the prison three days later, unsure if what happened was a dream, only to be told that she's been there three days and that she killed her husband.
Continue reading: Gothika Review
This is the world of writer William Gibson, and it seems like a pretty interesting place to visit. It's unfortunate that Johnny Mnemonic does very little in this setting and comes off as little more than a remake of Tron, without the lightcycle sequence.
Continue reading: Johnny Mnemonic Review
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