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Everything I write here including the message boards is not to be taken seriously or personally.
Love movies and love to share recommendations.
One of the best films of 2018 & destined to be a cult classic
Directed by and "based on a dream of his about the book", Alex Garland (who made Ex Machina) brings us something so intensely beautiful, haunting and mesmerizing that it makes one question the sanity of whoever decided to not release it on theaters worldwide.
(It's sad that everyone got to see the completely unnecessary PC "Ghostbusters" remake with an all-female cast, but this brilliant film had to be Netflix-only. Wow.)
Featuring an almost entirely female cast, starring Nicole Portman as Lena, a cellular-biology professor and former soldier and an ensemble piece really, with quality acting from all fronts - including Jennifer Jason Leigh in a great role.
It features an alien invasion... but it's probably not how you expect it to play out. Think "Stalker". Think "The Happening", but a marvellous work of art instead of a waste of your time.
More than a few scenes here are particularly tense, bone-chilling and memorable, and the story is ambiguous enough to make you want to see it a second time right away. Every scene looks fantastical, beautiful, out of this world, and both natural and supernatural. However there are some very ugly things that happen, and there's some gruesome "body horror" for good measure.
I can't really go into the technical details as I'm not an expert, but from the direction, to the screenplay, from the cinematography to the acting this is a perfect, completely solid science-fiction film that also serves as an allegory and metaphor for guilt, grief, disease, self-sabotage and frankly, evolution and life itself - but in the most amazing and natural way possible.
The Soundtrack is also very notable and is used incredibly effectively. It's a masterpiece of sorts and compliments the movie perfectly.
Science minded people will not be disappointed and neither will most cinephiles who have a preference for movies that are able to both respect and awe their audiences. This is one of those such rare movies which deserves to be seen and appreciated.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
Hilarious and effective comedy "horror" done in a different way
Tucker & Dale vs Evil is a movie I've cherished for quite a few years now, having seen it shortly after it was released. I've just finished rewatching it for the the nth time now, and I just have to recommend this as great entertainment.
It's a shame this movie isn't more well-known, for it is a perfect exercise in taking a premise and turning it upside down on its head. The movie is smart as well, featuring and exploring the ideas of perception, prejudice and lack of communication, but in a quick and very entertaining way. The acting is top-notch, specially Dale as portrayed by Tyler Labine.
I don't want to get too much into the story, but when the villain(s?) are made clear, it's actually scary, and the ending was honestly quite riveting, with a perfect, sweet last shot that left me more than satisfied - and still laughing as the credits rolled.
Totally recommended if you want a great bonafide comedy that's both smart and a laugh riot.
Before I Wake (2016)
Dark fantasy-horror hybrid Fable
Having seen and liked Flanagan's other movies, I still approached this with some caution. The reviews and even the director himself were referring to this as a dark fantasy tale, but having seen it I would classify as a mix of that and horror, because there are certainly some horrific events taking place in this movie - until you realize, by the end, that it's also a fable and a dark one at that, for my money.
While I didn't know in which direction this one was going, I can see some why folks might have frustrated by this - either because it's not a pure horror film, or those who may have seen the ending coming from a mile away.
I would summarize this movie as a series of metaphors about how we deal with loss, memories, and the limits of imagination. At the same time, I can't help but think of this movie with fondness and awe of the beauty of these things, but also knowing one has to let go, after all - life goes on.
Having seen and appreciated Mike Flanagan's "Ouija: Origin of Evil", I decided to watch this with reasonably high expectations.
The plot is basically about an alledgledly "cursed" mirror, which is mainly explained to us through the eyes of Kaylie, brilliantly played by Karen Gillan. He brother is released from a mental hospital from some dark event that happened when they were kids. The film takes its time and is very well paced and this works in its favor.
This is a solid horror film that plays with time, reality and illusions, and it succeeds at every level, not letting go until the very end - which is weirdly satisfying.
Just as a sign of how much this film moved me, this is my first review on IMDb after 3 years of not having much to add or say about countless other movies.
As other reviewers have written, it's tough to talk about "Leave" without spoiling it.
The best I can do is recommend you read the synopsis, perhaps watch the trailer and make up your own mind. Don't fall for the abysmal ratings on IMDb. You can leave and dismiss it as I almost did or stay and be surprised. Do what you want.
You have a choice. One minute into the film and I wasn't sure if this was for me. I chose to let go and enjoy the trip. Turns out this was just what I needed.
I'd describe it as a slow paced psychological thriller. It's a short movie and it's perfect as it is.
I can say I've watched this twice in a row and I'm still thinking about it. I cannot recommend this enough.
The Chosen One (2010)
Light hearted, spiritual drama with a few comedic elements
I found the above description on this movie's board on IMDb, and it's better than anything I could come up with.
This is relevant because anyone expecting a typical Rob Schneider movie (The Hot Chick, Deuce Bigalow, Big Stan) will be very disappointed, or worse, depressed.
Rob Schneider plays Paul, a depressed alcoholic car salesman who tries to kill himself after being dumped by his lady. 3 shamen and a girl from Colombia find him, claiming he's the chosen one who will save their mountain. Paul then faces a series of situations at work and in life which help him make an important decision.
I certainly didn't expect a movie like this, as it is very bittersweet, and potentially a career-destroying move. But it has its heart in the right place, it feels honest, and I believe it must be commended for that.
Unfortunately, I can't say it's very good movie. "The Chosen One" looks cheap and feels very disjointed, with special effects that look like the ones found in Discovery Channel's documentaries from ten years ago. The pacing is weird, everything seems a little bit "off" and "direct-to-dvd".
The few comic moments are mostly black humor, and almost all of them are in Steve Buscemi's scenes. He's a top notch actor, and his superior quality clearly shows here when he elevates the whole movie to a whole new degree.
But I did like it, amazingly, and can certainly recommend it to people who need a little more light in their lives.
Just don't watch this thinking it's a comedy.
Insutanto numa (2009)
After watching "Adrift In Tokyo", I couldn't wait to check out other works from director Satoshi Miki. So, hoping for the best, and intrigued by the one review I had read, I decided to risk this. I was not disappointed.
"Instant Swamp"'s masterful hyperactive opening lets you know right away that this is not your regular quirky movie. However it's a bit of a red herring, at least in the beginning, as it takes some time to get used to the not-that-fast pace and the characters' mannerisms. But once I was in, I was hooked.
This is full of surprises, and I was glad to see a movie that wasn't either too predictable nor too weird. It's hilarious too, some times very subtly, but still packed with gags. I can't say enough good things about the acting, specially Morio Kazama (Light Bulb) and Kumiko Asô (Haname), who carries this movie and really makes it work.
As in "Tenten", half the fun here is in experiencing the events unfold, in a sort of free-form mode. The plot is about Haname, a (very) lively young woman. Among many other things, her mother goes into a coma and Haname wants to find out about her toys which she threw into an allegedly "cursed" swamp. Doesn't help much, right? Don't worry though... one thing I can guarantee is that there isn't a single depressing or boring moment in this film.
This isn't for everyone, that's for sure. Those with low tolerance to people constantly screaming in Japanese, fantastic/ridiculous events and somewhat aimless humor will be quick to dismiss this one. But if you like Miki's style or you're a fan of over-the-top quirkiness and fun, chances are you'll be satisfied.
The Invention of Lying (2009)
Could've been a masterpiece, but it's still hilarious
I'm one of those who really likes Gervais type of humor, but I understand those who hate it. Different tastes, and that's okay.
If you're like me, be sure to check out this one. It's hilarious, really, and probably his best movie yet. I liked Ghost Town though.
This has parallels with "Liar Liar", which was a disappointment to me, and the "Life Of Brian", probably my favorite movie ever. That's kinda how I feel about "Invention Of Lying".
Ricky chooses a great concept, inserts hilariousness and surrealism, some drama, but gives in, rather sadly, to Hollywood conventions and sappy romance, specially in the second half. This mix doesn't work at all here, in my opinion. There are other problems, like some jokes which are repeated ad nauseam once the movie goes out of steam, and the casting of Jennifer Garner, which doesn't work for me.
It's all good though, and I still recommend this if you want to laugh and maybe think a little about life.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
You could say I'm a big Wes Anderson fan, with the exception of "Rushmore" (which I plan to rewatch now). But I confess I wasn't very excited about "Mr Fox". Perhaps because it was marketed as a kids movie (which it is, if you're a kid), and an animated film which took a lot of time, I didn't think Anderson was exactly the right person for the job. Silly me.
I will spare you the details of the plot which you'll find in other reviews. But I found myself mesmerized by this film. The voice actors are superb. George Clooney was simply perfect as Mr Fox. And the animation... Wow.
There are so many little fun details in this, that I was laughing to myself replaying them in my head after watching the movie.
Worth watching? Cuss yeah! 9/10
The Brave One (2007)
The Problem With Violence
Call me a superstitious wuss, but at my age I'm usually more sensitive to what I do with my body and life, be it food, bad influences, or violence.
"Once you've seen it, you can't unsee it" - and that makes me avoid movies with gruesome violence, or news about barbaric murderers or any kind of 'depraved' act, that shall taint me soul forever. There are numerous exceptions, I love South Park. I wish I hadn't seen Irreversible, but now that is... irreversible.
I wasn't always like that. I used to be a horror fan. But then, some things happened in my life that made me understand exactly where Foster's character was coming from.
An older, but still cute Jodie Foster, walking with her boyfriend (Sayid from LOST) and their lovely dog, encounters some really coward thugs in Central Park at night. Barbarism ensues. Next thing, Erica is in a Coma.
Anyone who's been through a traumatic experience like that can relate to Erica Baine, I think. Terence Howard does a good job here, as a good cop, but it's Foster who makes the movie.
I noticed many elements from Neil Jordan, which are very subtle with some clever camera trickery, and many throwbacks to movies Foster was in - Taxi Driver, Accused and a few others.
The racist/feminist cries this movie gets are not really valid, but the point of the matter is that the filmmakers just didn't care about these often so important 'details'. So, it's racist, but it's anti-racist. It's feminist, but actually no, it's not. Fine by me, I just completely suspend my disbelief, since this is more of a character study anyway. I'll just ignore (or laugh at) the exaggerated stereotypes.
This is a dark movie, really, and the topics here - violence, gun control, vigilantism - are really divisive, BUT very worthy of some healthy discussion.
Worth watching, except for those with serious problems in their lives right now.
Men at Work (1990)
When Charlie was on SNL he 'apologized' for Men at Work. That and some reviews led me to think this was a disaster of a bad movie.
For me, it was a very fun way to pass the time. This is not laugh-out-loud funny, but the (few, subtle, stupid, recycled) jokes in this movie do work. Some smart movie references here, too.
If you like Charlie Sheen and/or Emilio Estevez (the movie's writer and director), check this one out.
BTW, the actor brothers are clearly having fun, and one performance in particular, by the main 'villain', John Getz, manages to be somber, and yet hilariously campy. Some of the actors can't hide their laughter very well, and it shows. Well, at least we know that production was harmonious.
Forget plot. Forget logic. Accept it as it is.
And as it is, I think it is a fun, harmless, refreshing comedy.
The Ten (2007)
Not even close to a Ten
This is a bit like Kentucky Fried Movie, only about stories loosely connected to the Ten Commandments, complete with intermissions by guest star Paul Rudd. It's a bit SNL-ish, too.
The movie uses the same actors and characters in an interesting way, intertwining their stories. There are a LOT of pop culture references here, and I bet Juno would love this movie. Unfortunately some of the best jokes are kinda 'buried' within the stories.
While this is not a bad movie, it's not as funny as it could have been. Some jokes just don't hit the mark, and some are kinda unnecessarily offensive.
However, most of the 'episodes', or sketches, have something memorable and really funny in retrospect, in some weird way. It's a great film for drinking games or for those who like hilarious one-liners.
The greatest thing about "The Ten" are the subtleties. These are the things that made movies like Airplane! and Naked Gun so funny. In the case of The Ten, there's not as much humour or laugh-out-loud moments, but the subtle jokes and set-ups, which require some attention from the viewer, make this movie worth watching for those who like comedies.
"The Ten" has very little to do with religion, and a lot to do with sex. There is no 'christian agenda' at all as some claim. It's a silly comedy with some great moments, and it works as a good, quick escape from reality.
Disaster Movie (2008)
Not that bad
There seems to be a boycott going on against this movie (and the 'spoof movie' series), as the rating indicates. Granted, those movies have an old, tired formula, and they're all very similar, so I really don't know why people who don't like these kind of movies insist on watching them.
Silly jokes, vulgarity, impersonations - that's what this movie is about. It's a mindless comedy that tries to cram up as much pop-culture as they can make fun of. The plot can probably be summarized in one line. You don't really have to pay attention to this movie, and as such, I was entertained.
There were several laugh-out-loud moments here, but unfortunately this movie (like all others in this vein) suffers from over-repetition of jokes, some go on for too long and some that are not really funny.
While "Disaster Movie" isn't a comedic masterpiece, it's not nearly as bad a film as people make it out to be. I'd say it's okay. So if you don't like silliness, stay away. I had some fun, and that's what I was expecting.
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind
It's very easy to understand why people hate this movie.
Blindness is directed by acclaimed film-maker Fernando Meirelles, with a story based on a novel by award-winning writer Jose Saramago. It stars Julianne Moore and Gael Garcia Bernal. What could go wrong?
Well, this is one the most depressing movies I've seen in recent years.
Don't be fooled, the genre of this movie is Horror, albeit done in an ultra-realistic way, much like the Brazilian movie wave of the 70/80's - gritty, violent, dirty, and ultimately hopeless.
However it's not a horror movie in the common sense. It's not scary because it has ugly monsters. It's not frightening because there is a lot of gore and blood. What freaks me (and others) out over this movie, is that it tells a story that could happen, and actually, is happening. If one can't see that, then one is as blind as the characters in the film.
The movie is technically brilliant, with great acting and top-notch effects. The story takes place in a non-specific city, but some of it was clearly filmed in São Paulo. The movie poses the question, "what if suddenly everyone in the world became blind"? This is a practical question as much as a metaphorical one.
I don't think this movie can be "enjoyed". The violence is suggested rather than seen (which IMHO makes it scarier). It can, however, be appreciated, as its shocking nature is nothing more than a wake-up call for humanity.
Having said that, Meirelles took a huge risk (the novel was considered to be un-filmable) with this film, and the result was a lynch-mob reaction from both critics and audiences. I wonder how this will impact Meirelles' future works.
I will dare to suggest that, if this had been filmed in Spanish or Portuguese, it might have been hailed as a cult movie. As it is, it's too alienating for audiences that are used to happy endings and fake-violence, or people who watch movies solely to pass the time.
This one is for 'hardcore' movie fans - don't watch it if you're depressed or sad. And it offers the viewers very little in the way of comfort. However, it's so well-executed and disturbing, that you can't help but agree that their goal was reached. Unfortunately, the marketing and the names involved with 'Blindness' misled many viewers who otherwise would never dream of watching this.
It's not a perfect film by any means, though. The music (specially in one crucial scene) just feels out of place sometimes. And If you can't picture yourself as a blind person, some things may not make a lot of sense, too. There is a scene however in which one of the characters sings a very popular song in a slightly different way - one you are not likely to forget anytime soon.
Approach with caution, and preferrably, alone. You don't want to lose any friends or potential dates. But I also think that to miss out on this movie is like losing a chance to watch one of the most thought-provoking films of this year.
Human Nature (2001)
Humans are weird
As a fan of Charlie Kaufman's works (and Gondry's as well) I was missing out on this movie big time. That's because I was initially put off by the description and most reviews which consider this a lesser movie. Well, they were wrong - this is an excellent movie on its own right.
"Human Nature" is an extremely ironic and realistic movie in an exaggerated sort of way. Granted, it's not for everyone - there's a lot of semi-nudity (very light stuff), sexual tension and a story that requires you to think a little bit.
Actually, that's a lie - this movie has layers upon layers of symbolism, and that's just half the fun. The main characters are well thought-out and have their 'peculiarities' (like all humans do) taken to the extreme, which serve to illustrate the point further. And the execution is brilliant, with Kaufman's usual non-linearity - you never know exactly what's going to happen.
The casting is perfect. Great acting all around, and Rhys Ifans in particular does a marvelous job here. You can also spot Hillary Duff as a younger Lila.
And finally, pay close attention to ending. Hilarious. My vote is
Geomi sup (2004)
"Spider Forest" is a South Korean movie which would be better classified as a psychological thriller, in my opinion. Some would say it's a drama. Others would argue that it's really a horror movie, depending on your interpretation.
And that's what this movie is about: Interpretation. Much like David Lynch's puzzle movies, this one is all about what's real or not, and it's up to you to decide what's happening.
Two things I can say about it - it's that the movie has a cyclical nature, and that there's no real closure on screen. The ending can be interpreted as hopeful or depressingly frustrating, or anything else entirely. It's up to the viewer to decide.
So, While "Spider Forest" has many elements borrowed from other movies ("Mullholland Dr", "The I Inside", and to a lesser extent "Memento" and even "Lost" in the forest scenes), they are done well here, and help make a quality movie that poses a lot of questions, answers them all only to have you wondering what really happened in the end.
If you like this kind of movie (I know I do), get inside the Spider Forest...
While She Was Out (2008)
The Magic Toolbox
This is what you need to know about this movie, besides the fact that I recommend it as solid thriller: Kim Basinger, suburban mother of 2, lives with abusive husband. On Xmas she decides to go buy some stuff at the mall and while she's out, a series of bad things happen - getting her into serious trouble.
I wouldn't read more before watching the movie. Not because there are any great twists, but because it's worth watching without any, even minor, spoilers. It's also filled with irony - sometimes it reminded me of Predator and Home Alone - being a horror movie only in the sense of the cat-and-mouse game hunt.
In a role that's surprisingly physical, Kim Basinger does a good job as the protagonist. I can't help but remember what Kim went through with her marriage problems and all, and somehow connect this movie as a catharsis of sorts for her.
"While She Was Out" might not be very well-known, but it should, in my opinion. It's a refreshing take on a genre that's been tirelessly explored, and most important of all, fun.
Different stuff from Milla
I went into this movie thinking it would be another one of those predictable, but usually fun action movies in which Milla Jovovich kicks ass. She carved a nice niche for herself with "The Fifth Element", then with the "Resident Evil" series and even "Ultraviolet", all of which I hold dear in my heart - although I never watch them for the story, just for the action. So in my mind Milla was as much as an actress as Arnold Schwarzenegger for example.
".45" it's quite the opposite of what I've come to expect from her previous movies. Angus Macfadyen plays Big Al, a small-time sleazebag guns dealer who kinda owns the neighborhood, with the right tones of menacing and pathetic. Stephen Dorff and Sarah Strange both want to take Milla's Kat from Big Al, whose relationship is doomed from the very start.
There are interludes with the main characters' parents, trying to explain what happened to each of their kids, but only succeeding in showing the cycle of abuse, violence and disregard for each other in our so-called "normal" lives. Kat is a complex character, but Milla does a fantastic job here - I can now safely think of her as a serious actress. The movie has its twists and turns, and the action is not presented the way you might think it would.
There are indeed some flaws in the movie, but nothing that made me too curious.
Overall, a movie that manages to touch several subjects in a refreshing and novel way. Just don't expect your usual Jovovich kicking zombie ass.
Burn After Reading (2008)
The Burn Supremacy
Burn After Reading is in many ways a typical Coens movie. It's filled with dark humour and quirky characters. But after No Country for Old Men, a fantastic movie, they decided to reinvent not only one but a few movie genres, including their own of course.
The A-list cast serves a well-defined purpose, which to an extent is to parody themselves. With the exception of Tilda Swinton, all of the characters were written with the specific actors in mind, and it works very well. In particular Brad Pitt seems to be having a lot of fun and Clooney plays one of his strangest and funniest characters ever. Coens "Regular" McDormand plays a cosmetic surgery / internet love obsessed gym staffer and Malkovich, well, he has had some experience with self-parody and it shows.
In fact the whole movie is a role-reversal of sorts, specially spy/thriller movies - Burn After Reading has all the right elements but twisted in the Coens own particular way. One of the reasons this movie works is because there is a constant feeling of "what's gonna happen next?", which keeps it interesting; and the constant surprising twists and turns the story takes. Even the McGuffin element here works this way.
This is a sometimes dark, but always humorous film - the CIA scenes in particular cracked me up. If you're a Coens fan, this is an obligatory treat.
However, if your first and only exposure to the brothers work was No Country For Old Men, be prepared for something very different in both scope and approach; perhaps a viewing of their previous movies would be in order for this to be fully appreciated.
Pineapple Express (2008)
Forget about the p(l)ot. and enjoy
Pineapple Express is the name of the strain of cannabis that serves as the McGuffin in this movie. It's fair to say this film is closer to the original buddy-stoners, Cheech & Chong, than anything else, including Harold & Kumar which are awesome too, in their own way.
Seth Rogen kinda trades places with James Franco, who plays the dealer/stoner Saul. Rogen is Dale, who witnesses a murder which gets the pair in trouble. Confusion and laughter ensues. So forget about the p(l)ot.
This movie has a very 80's feel to it, and sometimes feels like it's paying homages to many different movies. There's action and some blood, but everything is done with some humor, including the bad guys. There's a lot of subtle satire here, but, surprisingly for me, not as much stoner humor as you'd expect.
The great thing here are the convos between Rogen and Franco, who react realistically in unrealistic situations. It's a great mix of action and comedy, and you've ever been a dealer or a 'client', you'll relate to this on a 'higher' level. However it's not a non-stop laughter movie, but it's one that will make you smile for the duration, provided you don't take anything seriously.
Great to watch stoned, too! While it's not the definitive modern stoner movie many were expecting, it's a treat. If the Apatow crew keeps it up, they'll be the John Hughes of the 2000's.
The 'Burbs (1989)
The Burbs takes place in a cul-de-sac neighborhood, and Tom Hanks plays Ray, a man who just wants to chill in his house during his vacation from work. But the strange family that lives next door make him and his other neighbors highly suspicious, and then plain paranoid.
Don't be fooled by the poster picture, which shows only Tom Hanks. His character is very restrained, and he does a good job. But Bruce Dern and Rick Ducommun as Rays neighbors definitely steal the show here, with the first delivering great one-liners while Rick is hilarious in his ADD paranoid portrayal of Art. Corey Feldman is here as well, and his presence is an instantaneous flashback to the 80s, which was refreshing given the movie sometimes dark settings.
The beauty of this film lies on its unpredictability on a first viewing, and hilariosity in repeated ones. There are so many good one-liners, shots, and unexpected things that makes you want to revisit the movies universe.
Joe Dante directed this piece, and it shows. The plot is focused on the quirks and behavior of the neighbors, and in particular the characterization, its a simple thing so well done, that at the end of the film I felt like I knew the surroundings just as well as them.
What can I say? This is one of the rare comedies in which everything works.
Fun, but too long
Adam Sandler, as Zohan, is a semi-superhuman Israeli agent whose dream is to become a hairdresser. This premise alone looks funny on paper, but does it work on screen?
It did for me. Sandler does a very good job of becoming the Zohan, and this is crucial for a movie like this to work. However, there are many jokes that will be inevitably lost on a non-Jewish audience. The underlying message throughout the movie - stop the senseless and seemingly endless fighting - is very refreshing.
So I enjoyed it, but some things were unnecessary (like the scene with the cat - you'll know when you see it - why did they think that was funny in any way?), others were obscure (for me) and in the end I think this movie suffers from over-exposure of jokes.
There is too much focus on Zohan's "abilities", in fact, so much that they cease to be funny at a certain point. The story, which is simple, becomes a little convoluted as scenes that do nothing to further the plot or make you laugh (because you've seen it many times already) are crammed in for no apparent reason. There's a "big-bad-corporation" subplot that could have been cut short. More restriction in the editing room would be a wise move for Sandler's next works.
With that said, it was funny and I can't really ask more from an Adam Sandler comedy.
The Brothers Solomon (2007)
Strange Little Movie
Like other reviewers said, the opening titles of this movie will pretty much predict if you're going to like it or not.
My thoughts were, WTF was this? And indeed, that was my opinion of the movie after finishing it.
Two weird brothers look for a baby so that their dying father can see his grandson. Laughter ensues? Sometimes. They act like a washed-out crossover between "Dumb & Dumber" and the "Butabi" brothers (which, BTW I dearly missed here). John (Will Arnett)'s behavior, with women in particular, is either hilarious or annoying.
If the two main characters had been replaced with more 'suitable' (I don't want to say 'talented') comedians this movie would have been much better. The hollow script relies on physical gags and the brothers weird-but-supposedly-funny behavior. I really like Will Forte in SNL, and here he is bearable.
However, to do what Will Arnett attempted to do here, you need to have a funny face. Some actors have it and some don't - Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey come to mind. Arnett certainly doesn't, and comes across as a psychopath rather than a funny guy making a fool of himself. It's not funny - it's uncomfortable and embarrassing. If that was their objective, it worked.
This movie certainly has a style of its own, however. James provides some extra laughs, but I suspect most people will be turned-off by the dry nature of the humor here.
Low budget surprise
Just so you know, I liked "300" and loved "Meet The Spartans". And still, when I came across this one, I thought "Man, this is going to be the worst movie ever".
And that's the surprise: although there's minimal money and cast, these are set aside for a "spin-off" of sorts - about 5 Spartans that weren't in "300". From then on, it's not just a spoof, but a whole new story of its own.
And, yes, funny. Maybe because everything is so damn absurd. It's shot in a mockumentary mode, and that adds to the silliness of everything. It's not for everyone's tastes though. If you don't like silly comedies that don't take anything seriously you won't like this.
So if you don't mind the VERY low budget, you might find some unexpected laughs in here. I think they did a pretty good job.
Awesome War Movie
Man, was I surprised with this movie. You'd never expect a movie from Khazakhstan to be this good (specially after Borat's antics), but they've done it, and in a way that many Western film makers would be wise to reproduce.
And yet, this movie has enough Hollywood-like conventions to entertain nearly anyone in the world who likes action films. You know Braveheart, Gladiator, 300, Apocalypto, you name it. This is better.
One of the reasons for this is the compelling life story of the yet-to-be Genghis Khan, Temudjin. Although I love history I must admit I knew very little of his accomplishments. Needless to say this movie made me go out and find out more about him.
As presented in this movie, Temudjin goes through all kinds of hell, betrayal and violence, event though, by the rules, he should be the official Khan. But this movie shows what he had to endure, and how this molded his personality into becoming one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) commanders in human history. This makes us sympathetic to his plights and his fight. In real life Khan was probably a bit worse, but in this movie he's a more of a hero, and accomplished Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano is perfect in his portrayal.
Apart from that, there are awesome battles, examples of Mongol customs, male bonding and the hierarchy in their society. The scenery and cinematography are jaw-dropping. As a foreigner this is incredibly fascinating to watch.
Last but not least, this movie hints that Genghis Khan was as good a commander as a wife-chooser. Khulan Chuluun is stunningly beautiful, and she does a fine job. I feel she will go on to greater things.
I would compare this to the also great "House of Flying Daggers" or "Hero", but honestly, this movie is better. From what I understand, this is part one of a trilogy, which makes it even sweeter. I can't wait for the sequels. I highly recommend this one.