Tag Archives: Dull

Rebourne – Last Knights (2015)

Does anything really 'star' Clive Owen.
Does anything really ‘star’ Clive Owen.

“A battle for honor. A bloodshed for vengeance.”

Directed by Kazuaki Kiriya
Starring Clive Owen, Morgan Freeman, Cliff Curtis, Aksel Hennie, Ayelet Zurer and Tsuyoshi Ihara

The Original

The Ako incident was a historical event in feudal Japan, in which the forty-seven surviving retainers of Lord Asano Naganori took bloody revenge on the Imperial courtier who had their master dishonoured and executed. Fictionalised accounts of the event, known collectively as Chushingura, are a staple of Japanese literature, to the point that the true and fictional versions are difficult to disentangle. Hollywood finally copped to the story in 2013’s 47 Ronin. This film starred Keanu Reeves as the obligatory white character, although the rest of the cast was Japanese, and added fantastical elements. In 2015, a reimagining of the story was produced, with few Japanese cast and a mediaeval European aesthetic, but a Japanese director.

The Reimagining

After a great war, an order of warriors emerged to protect an Empire, the Knights of the Seventh Rank.

Led by Commander Raiden (Owen), the retainers of Lord Bartok  (Freeman) exemplify the code and honour of the knights in a time when they are in decline, with the Empire increasingly under the grasping hand of corrupt Minister Geza Mot (Hennie). Denied a bribe, Mot goads Bartok into striking him in order to have him executed and dishonoured, his retainers scattered and his family dispossessed.

Rebourne

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The Tomb (2008, or possibly 2009)

This one is going to hurt, isn't it?
This one is going to hurt, isn’t it?

“Death comes to all… but one.”

Directed by Michael Staininger
Starring Wes Bentley, Sofya Skya, Michael Madsen and Eric Roberts

The Story

So, I lined this one up for The Summer of Lovecraft, but it turns out this one isn’t based on Lovecraft’s ‘The Tomb’, but on, well…

This title is far more helpful
This title is far more helpful

The nameless narrator’s marriage to the beautiful, intelligent Ligeia ends with her tragic death. Sometime later, he marries the beautiful Lady Rowena, who also dies, then returns to life, but as Ligeia, who once told her husband that will could overcome death.

The Film

Jonathan Merrick (Bentley) is one of those independently wealthy English lit professors, with a beautiful fiancee named Rowena (Kaitlin Doubleday) and a promising career. But then in walks Ligeia (Skya), a sexy Ukrainian grad student researching the existence of the soul.

Continue reading The Tomb (2008, or possibly 2009)

The Summer of Lovecraft: The Unnamable (1988)

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“There are things on God’s earth that we can’t explain and we can’t describe.”

Directed by Jean-Paul Ouellette
Starring Charles Klausmeyer, Mark Kinsey Stephenson and Alexandra Durrell

The Story

This 1923 short (published in 1925) is basically a brief literary joke. Randolph Carter (although he’s not actually called that in the story; he’s just “Carter”) and his friend Joel Manton are arguing about weird fiction — specifically, Manton is making fun of Carter’s habit of referring to things as “unnamable” or “indescribable.” This conversation parallels debates between Lovecraft and his friend Maurice W. Moe. But when Manton has a run-in with a real monster, the only thing he can say about it to Carter is that it was “unnamable.” Jooooookes!

The film

Back in Olden Tymes, a man in a daft hat has a monster in his house. He keeps it locked up, but when he finally lets it out, it does a predictable murder on him. Superstitious neighbours, apparently dressed up for their school’s Thanksgiving pageant, order the house sealed. They bury him in a convenient nearby buryin’-ground.

summerattemp2

Continue reading The Summer of Lovecraft: The Unnamable (1988)

The Summer of Lovecraft: Die, Monster, Die! (1965)

It's German. It means 'the monster, the.'
It’s German. It means ‘the monster, the.’

“It COULD happen! It MAY happen! It MIGHT happen to YOU!”

Directed by Daniel Haller
Starring Boris Karloff, Nick Adams and Susan (or possibly Suzan) Farmer

The Story

In ‘The Colour Out of Space’, a surveyor visits a blasted farm near Arkham. Unable to learn much about it, he eventually finds one mad old man who tells how a meteorite brought an alien substance of a colour not of the known spectrum, which infested the plants and animals and eventually the Gardner family, before flying into space leaving a fragment behind in the well.

summerattemp2

Continue reading The Summer of Lovecraft: Die, Monster, Die! (1965)

Insurgent (2015)

Insurgent_poster

“Defy Reality”

 

Directed by Robert Schwentke

Starring  Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Octavia Spencer, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet

Insurgent is the much awaited sequel to young adult dystopian novel, Divergent (which I think I also reviewed for the Bad Movie Marathon), and set in the same future world in which all of mankind is allegedly dead and the only survivor’s live hidden behind a giant wall in a partly bombed out Chicago, divided into one of five factions; clever Erudite; kind and peaceful Amity; compulsively honest Candour; selfless Abnegation; fearless Dauntless. Each faction is dominated by one particular personality trait and teens are sorted into their factions at the age of 16. If you don’t have enough personality, you become factionless scum. If you have multiple personality traits and could be part of more than one faction, you are Divergent and are super scary and likely to be hunted down. You also get magic powers.

Continue reading Insurgent (2015)

100 Million BC (2008)

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“An elite mercenary team. Sent back in time. They will not return … Alone.”

Directed by Griff “Louie Myman” Furst
Starring Michael Gross, Christopher Atkins, Greg Evigan

An elite team of Navy SEALs (not, as the poster says, mercenaries) are sent back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth in order to rescue another team of Navy personnel who were sent back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Together with professor Frank Reno (Gross), they wander around the jungle, getting et one by one, until they find the stranded sailors, among them Reno’s brother Erik (Christopher Atkins) and former love interest Ruth (Marie Westbrook). The survivors return to the modern day, but a hungry T. rex follows them back to Los Angeles, where it rampages through the city until yet another version of Reno turns up, having time-travelled from the 40s, and sends it back where it came from.

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Minotaur (2006)

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“Curse the god. Slay the beast.”

Directed by Jonathan English
Starring Tom Hardy, Rutger Hauer, Ingrid Pitt, Tony Todd

It’s the Iron Age, or maybe the Bronze Age, and the powerful but decadent Minoan civilisation is collecting youths to sacrifice to the Minotaur, a big monster that lives in an underground labyrinth. Humble shepherd Theo (Tom Hardy) is upset because his love interest was sent to be eaten, but his dad (Rutger Hauer) is more worried about protecting him. When the Minoans show up, however, Theo sneaks into the tribute line and is dumped into the labyrinth together with a well-meaning sidekick, a sneering rival who does a predictable face turn, the sneering rival’s love interest, a mouthy girl, a girl who doesn’t talk at all, a crazy girl and a comedy fat guy. And maybe someone else, who knows.

Minoan queen Raphaella takes a fancy to Theo and tries to help him fight the Minotaur. Spoilers: the good guys win.

Continue reading Minotaur (2006)

Far Cry (2008)

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“Err… prompt”

Directed by Uwe Boll
Starring Til Schweiger, Emmanuelle Vaugier and Udo Kier

When boat pilot Jack Carver (Schweiger) accepts a job to ferry Val Cardinal (Vaugier) to meet her uncle and his old army buddy Max (Ralf Moeller) on an island, he finds himself facing off against an army of mercenaries and a cadre of genetically enhanced soldiers created by the sociopathic Dr Krieger (Kier).

Continue reading Far Cry (2008)

Nazi Zombie Death Tales (2012)

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“Sex! Zombies! War!”

(aka Battlefield Death Tales, aka Angry Nazi Zombies)

Directed by James Eaves, pat Higgins and Alan Ronald

This film is actually an anthology of three short films. As a result, I’m going to deviate from our usual system in order to take on each film separately. This is especially important because the films are highly variable in terms of their quality.

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Almighty Thor (2011)

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“The Legend is Born”

Directed by Christopher Ray
Starring Cody Deal, Richard Grieco, Patricia Velasquez and Kevin Nash

When demon dude Loki (Grieco) attacks vaguely Nordic castle-y place Valhalla, boss god Odin (Nash) throws the big stupid-looking styrofoam Hammer of Invincibility into the World Tree to prevent the baddie getting his hands on it before Odin dies. With Odin out of the picture, impetuous young god Thor (Deal) and love-interest/mentor Jarnsaxa (Velasquez) go traipsing around various dimensions (including our own world) to try and find it. Eventually Thor forges his own hammer or something and clobbers Loki with it. Goodness is restored, wickedness defeated. Thor and Jarnsaxa probably kiss, but I wasn’t paying attention by that point.

What’s wrong with it?

2011’s Thor, the film this stinker was designed to mockbust, had a strong cast, a simple but exciting story, and high-quality special effects out the wazoo. This thing … not so much. The sets consist of some fields and back alleys, the CGI is dreadful, the fights are plodding and unconvincing, and I couldn’t make out what the hell people were saying half the time. The film can’t even decide on a central plot, just shuffling its characters from location to location until a perfunctory baddy showdown. Loki isn’t so much menacing as kind of a jerk who happens to murder a bunch of people, Odin lacks majesty or dignity, and … it just … I can’t …

What’s right with it?

A crude knock-off of a fun and engaging film, Almighty Thor cuts every corner it can find in its quest to pad itself out to just long enough to be considered a feature film. There ain’t shit right with it.

I guess the fight between Thor and a big armoured dude is adequate, like an-episode-of-Hercules adequate.

How bad is it really?

Cynical, lazy, inept, dull, ugly, unimaginative.

Best bit (if such there is)?

Aaaand … nope.

What’s up with…?

  • Baldr is the battle-hardened warrior type and Thor is the dreamy young’un?
  • When Odin falls down dead, the tread of his completely modern shoes being visible?
  • Thor being brought to our modern world, but basically not interacting with anyone there? If you’re gonna rip off Masters of the Universe, at least do it. (Or Beastmaster whatever-it-was, for that matter.)
  • Odin having two eyes? I know this movie is cheap, but I don’t think eyepatches are expensive.
  • The dog-lizard things Loki summons? Are they meant to be wolves?
  • Loki’s wand thingy? It looks like it came from a Halloween store.

Ratings

Production values: the crappiest part of a crappy movie. 17.
Dialogue and performances: from basically capable but uninspired (Grieco) to barely there (everyone else). 17.
Plot and execution: a terrible story, terribly told. 16.
Randomness: a more or less consistent boring story about unlikable characters. 14.
Waste of potential: you get what you pay for, but the source material is full of good stuff that they just ignore. 12.

Overall 76%