A Strange Variety of Film Reviews by CosmicRunaway

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"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."

Terminator Genisys

Dir. Alan Taylor
Starring: Jai Courtney, Emilia Clarke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke

I was a defender of this movie when it was first released. There were enough elements and scenes that I enjoyed, which allowed me to overlook a multitude of things that I disliked. And while I do still enjoy those parts, I've since become less forgiving of everything else. The opening scenes of this movie are still amazing though, with a gorgeous set and great use of both practical and CG effects. I would've loved to see more of the future war, and if this movie had just ended when they sent Kyle Reese back in time (and saved this mess of a plot for a sequel), I'd be completely happy with that.

Besides a generous heaping of recycled dialogue, Genisys does a number of near short-for-shot remakes of iconic Terminator moments, including the arrival of the T-800 in 1984, and Kyle Reese's run through the shopping centre. To me, this didn't come across as lazy or as an unnecessary retreading of old ground. Instead, I found it to be a fitting homage to the Terminator series and thought it was entirely appropriate for a plot that's playing with our expectations by changing what we think we know about the Terminator timeline. It's unfortunate that the big twist was ruined in the trailers and marketing campaign, but they did the same thing with Terminator 2, so I guess we can chalk that up to simply following tradition. It's a shame because if they had waited until farther into the story to make that reveal, it might've changed the whole dynamic and set-up enough to make it interesting.

Lee Byung-hun does a great job replicating the quiet intensity of Robert Patrick's T-1000, and despite hailing from different parts of the globe, there is an uncanny resemblance, particular when the T-1000 is in its liquid form (though that could just be the effects team's work). I also thought Jason Clarke was good as John Connor, but I absolutely love that man so take my opinions of him with a large grain of salt. Also as expected, Arnold Schwarzenegger is great and provides a lot of much needed comedic relief. Unfortunately Jai Courtney and Emilia Clarke are horribly miscast and do not seem to embody any of the qualities we've seen these characters exhibit in previous entries to the series. On screen, Courtney seems to have more chemistry with Jason Clarke than he does with Emilia, and neither of the two leads really have any screen presence.

However the single most disappointing thing about the movie is how much work went into making these beautiful set pieces, which were then mostly ruined in post production. Matt Smith looked like he had recorded his lines in a booth and they just rendered his face in afterwards, so imagine my surprise when, in the special features of the BluRay, I saw him on set with the others. Similarly, the stage for the final confrontation and Jason Clarke's presence in the room looked like it was spawned entirely by CG work, but they had actually built most of that set, and Clarke was there being thrown around in a performance capture suit. So much time was spent making real things look fake that it's simply mind blowing. Perhaps if they had put that energy into the script instead, we would've ended up with a satisfying movie. On the plus side, it's still not as bad as Termiantor Salvation.

If the plots holes in this movie won't retroactively make you question why you liked
the first two Terminator films in the first place, or if you just want some pointless action
with frequent references to the rest of the franchise, then give Genisys a chance.

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Cryptic (2014)
Dir. Bart Ruspoli, Freddie Hutton-Mills
Starring: Ed Stoppard, Vas Blackwood, Dan Feuerriegel

wants audiences to believe that it's Reservoir Dogs in a tomb (one of the characters even says as much, without outwardly stating the film's title), but the truth is that the movie is nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is. The entire movie takes place in a small crypt, as a group of unstable, armed criminals, including a gun runner, sex traffickers, drug dealers, and a rapist, trap themselves inside while waiting for their boss to arrive. After a message reveals that one of the men inside is a traitor, the tension between the characters is pushed to the limit, and when rumours of a vampire start to spread among the more gullible members, an interesting premise is born.

Being an independent production, I was not expecting much in the visual department, however I was expecting more than what ended up on screen. There's nothing creative or even vaguely interesting about the set, lighting, or individual shots, and I'd go as far as saying that the sound design was really poorly handled. The only thing I really liked the look of was the opening credits. I do appreciate that the film tries to infuse some comedy into the cold atmosphere, with a couple of dangerously incompetent characters overreacting to every new piece of information, however their inherent campiness is unfortunately downplayed when it would've worked better had they been exaggerated instead.

The film relies almost entirely on its dialogue to carry viewers' interest, and to its credit most of the actors do give really good performances. Both Dan Feuerriegel and Sally Leonard attempt accents that fail to hit the mark, though they're not going to make or break the movie. Instead, your enjoyment of this film will largely hinge upon how you feel about Ed Stoppard's performance, because he carries the brunt of the film's lines, and barely gets a minute to catch his breath. I personally think he does an admirable job and is fairly entertaining to watch, however I was growing tired of his character around the midway point.

Though it started out as an interesting concept, Cryptic unfortunately ends up being underwhelming with a disappointing and predictable climax. I think I would've liked this move more a decade ago, and I actually think the story would lend itself well to being a stage play instead of a film. If you're a big fan of movies like Hateful Eight, then perhaps you will be more entertained than I was.

Do not, like I did, fall for the way the film markets itself on its DVD cover.
Check this out only if you want a subdued dialogue-intensive movie that is
light on both intrigue and suspense.

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Do not, like I did, fall for the way the film markets itself on its DVD cover.
Check this out only if you want a subdued dialogue-intensive movie that is
light on both intrigue and suspense.

Will you ever not recommend a movie?
"Well, at least your intentions behind the UTTERLY DEVASTATING FAULTS IN YOUR LOGIC are good." - Captain Steel
Movies / Anime / Ultimate Showdown / Veg*nism / Action 2015

Will you ever not recommend a movie?
The point of the blurbs I've been putting after the rating is less of a recommendation, and more so just my way of saying what kind of person the movie might appeal to, regardless as to what I thought of it. If you don't match a particular description, then I don't really recommend watching the movie.

The point of the blurbs I've been putting after the rating is less of a recommendation, and more so just my way of saying what kind of person the movie might appeal to, regardless as to what I thought of it. If you don't match a particular description, then I don't really recommend watching the movie.
Certainly handy.

If for some reason I can't think of any type of person a movie might appeal to, then you can be certain that that film is nothing but absolute trash haha.

Filth (2013)
Dir. Jon S. Baird
Starring: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan

Unlike Cryptic's deceptive marketing ploy, Filth's claim of being the spiritual successor to Trainspotting is a fair argument, especially considering that both films are based on novels by the same author: Irvine Welsch. From a narrative perspective, Filth is very similar to Danny Boyle's Trainspotting, and the two do share a few stylistic choices. Even though this film fails to capture most of Trainspotting's passion and cultural relevance, it does have a similarly strange and alluring draw to it.

McAvoy plays a very cruel, yet delightfully despicable character. All of his schemes are completely deplorable, but at the start of the film he's clearly having fun doing it, so it's fairly entertaining to watch him work his magic. Perhaps this speaks more to my own sensibilities than I would like, but I found myself laughing quite a bit during this first act. Things do quickly start to get serious as his mental state deteriorates, and the film's atmosphere appropriately becomes increasingly more unwelcoming with each passing scene.

Filth is a little uneven, but I think that might've been intentional because the movie isn't a fun, enjoyable time; you're supposed to feel a little uncomfortable and put off by what you're seeing. The visuals are not new, exciting, or innovative, but they do really seem to work well with the concept of the film as a whole, and with the exception of a few intentionally odd and unreal scenes, never distracted from the stellar on-screen performances. However if you're not a fan of characters who breath the fourth wall, then you might find yourself agitated as there are quite a few instantness where the main character talks to the audience and looks directly into the camera.

About midway through the film's runtime I was starting to lose faith in the movie, yet despite guessing what you could consider to be the film's major reveal (fairly early on at that), the end of the film astonishingly grabbed my attention again, and ultimately I rather enjoyed the entire concluding act. Despite circumstances being more dire than they were at the start of Bruce's story, the cheekiness of the introductory scenes comes back for the film's final moments, and at least for me, makes the slog through the middle section worthwhile.

Check it out if you're a fan of Trainspotting's brand of humour, but
want something a little more cynical and somewhat less sympathetic.

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Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (2014)
Dir. Kiah Roache-Turner
Starring: Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey, Leon Burchill

Wyrmwood is a zombie apocalypse done Mad Max-style on a low budget of just 160,000 USD that it raised through crowd-funding. It looks astonishingly good, especially when you consider that it only had 25% of Kung Fury's budget, which had to last for 98min as opposed to the 2015 short film's 31 minutes. With a clear love for the films it drew inspiration from, Wyrmwood is a surprisingly competent action-horror-comedy that is more enjoyable than many other similar films with a much higher budget.

To be honest though, this movie did not grab me at the start. I had grown tired of the whole washed-out aesthetic long before it became as wide-spread as it currently is, and particularly so with this genre of film. One day I will make a post-apocalyptic movie that knows what colours are, and it'll blow people's minds. But just as I was growing tired of the visuals and the initially unengaging story, a bit of life was injected into the film with a refreshing twist on its zombies, as well as a bit of campiness which adds just the right amount of absurdity and fun to warrant continuing to watch.

Colours occasionally (though still rarely) make a bit of a comeback, particularly in the scenes where a mad scientist performs experiments on zombies (as well as humans with a particular blood type), and the liberal use of practical effects kept my interest long enough to see the movie go into full Road Warrior mode, at which point I was firmly on board with it. I also liked that the zombies of Wyrmwood were a combination of the traditional slow moving zombies and the fast-paced modern ones that genre buffs like to debate over.

I always love practical effects, makeup, and physically built props, and despite the occasional cheap CG work, Wyrmwood really delivers in that department. I was rather impressed with how it all looked, and that was even before I found out what the budget was. While the movie does start off rather dull, just like the reanimated corpses it features, it manages to jump back to life with enough momentum to deliver a fun and relatively novel take on an otherwise tired genre.

The marketing for this movie makes it clear: it is Dawn of the Dead meets Mad Max.
If that sounds relevant to your interests, then Wyrmwood is the movie for you.

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Some of these movies sound cool as hell and Ive never heard of them. You got a great eye CR Ill try and see Wyrmwood and Cryptic.

What you say is a "great eye", my room mate tends to refer to as "terrible taste". I think I prefer your term.

"BEHOLD as I prepare to assimilate the disparate qualities of one genre of movie with ANOTHAH!!
Who here wouldst DARE sip but a drop of this potentially LETHAL CONCOCTION!?!?"

*raises hand* I would.

I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
The marketing for this movie makes it clear: it is Dawn of the Dead meets Mad Max.
If that sounds relevant to your interests, then Wyrmwood is the movie for you.
That does sound relevant to my interests, added to my queue

Bon Cop, Bad Cop (2006)
Dir. Eric Canuel
Starring: Colm Feore, Patrick Huard
Language: English/French

At face value, Bon Cop, Bad Cop sounds like your typical unoriginal buddy cop thriller, and to an extent, it is. You have a straight-laced, by-the-books detective clashing with an edgy, loose cannon variety of policeman as they try to solve a series of murders and decipher the clues left behind by the killer. So, what makes this movie different from all the other films based on the same premise? Well Bon Cop, Bad Cop is well and truly Canadian.

How Canadian, you ask? The Ontario Provincial Police and the SŻretť du Quťbec have to work together after the body of a hockey executive is found directly on the border between the two provinces, with each new victim having a tie to the National Hockey League. Rick Mercer plays a character who is clearly a parody of Don Cherry, and if the bigotry and cultural stereotypes between the anglophone and francophone characters were not enough for you: half of the dialogue is actually in French. Just throw in a moose and some maple syrup and we'd have Canadian Stereotype Bingo!

That might come across as rather negative, but it's actually part of the film's charm. The movie has a very dark sense of humour, but it's also very fun. There's an entire scene where Bouchard gives Martin a lesson on swearing in French. While having knowledge of both languages might be necessary to appreciate all of the jokes, the film is still very accessible to monolingual audiences, with English subtitles for French parts (or French subtitles for English parts if that's your jam). There are a number of references and comedic elements that non-Canadian viewers might not understand, but I don't think they're overly critical to enjoying the movie as a whole.

It was recently announced that this movie would be getting a sequel, despite the fact that it's now been 10 years since the original. To quote Louis-Josť Houde's character in the film: c'est weird, eh? While this movie is not quite as unique or stylish as I remember it being years ago when I first saw it, now that a sequel is in the works it might be worth your time to check out. Perhaps you'll even learn something new about Canada, even if all you come away with is ďhosties de pourrisĒ.

If you are Canadian, this film is mandatory viewing, no exceptions.
If you are not Canadian, then give this movie a shot if you want something
similar to, yet inherently different from American buddy cop thrillers.

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