Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Film Review: As The Light Goes Out (2014)

As The Light Goes Out (Review)
China/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...some glaring flaws with the story and storytelling, but I was ultimately entertained."

Hong Kong firefighters fight a vicious fire as it approaches a natural-gas power plant...

As The Light Goes Out starts off a little rough. Immediately, the film tosses you in the middle of a firefight while simultaneously showing the consequences; three friends disobey orders and end up disciplined, only one is promoted. A year later, Yip (Fai?) (Andy On) is captain, Sam (Nicholas Tse) is waiting for his transfer, and Chau (Shawn Yue) is a regular firefighter. As Christmas Day looms, a fire hits a winery near a natural gas pipeline. Sam warns his superiors, they don't listen. The boss of the power plant is warned, he doesn't listen. So, as you'd rightfully guess, the forewarned fire occurs and the firefighters race to fight it. That's about it. The film ends as one would expect, but it was emotionally effective.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Film Review: Animal (2014)

Animal (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...severe lack of ambition gives us a bland and generic experience."

A group of friends enter the woods for a weekend vacation, but find themselves hunted by a vicious creature...

Animal is a very straightforward and cliché creature-feature -- what can you really expect from a film generically titled Animal, anyway? A group of cardboard characters enter the woods, deliver some obnoxious jokes, then stumble upon a horribly mutilated body. The group are hunted by an unidentified creature, which corners them in a cabin in the woods. There, this vacationing group meets up with another trio of survivors. At this point, it kind of follows the same formula: try to escape, someone dies, try to help, someone dies, and so on. It ends like almost every other horror film in existence.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Film Review: Collateral Damage (2002)

Collateral Damage (Review)
United States/2002
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...its action is more than enough to warrant a rental or stream."

When his wife and son are killed in a terrorist attack, Los Angeles firefighter Gordon Brewer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) hunts down the person responsible...

Collateral Damage is a fairly straightforward plot. The film starts almost immediately with the terrorist attack that kills Brewer's wife and son. In turn, this leaves little time for effective character and relationship development. Then, the film gets into the politics of the search. Since the government won't search for the terrorist responsible, Brewer decides to take it into his own hands. So, he heads to Colombia, where El Lobo – the terrorist responsible – is hiding, and begins his vengeance. The climax isn't half-bad, but the ending was a little cheesy.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Film Review: V/H/S: Viral (2014)

V/H/S: Viral (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...worst of all, this "horror" film is lacking horror!"

An ice cream truck is the center of a police chase. When the ice cream truck miraculously abducts his girlfriend, Kevin chases the truck around town, along with others looking to capture viral videos...

V/H/S: Viral is a horror anthology. The frame story is titled "Vicious Circles," and it follows the ice cream truck. "Dante the Great" follows a magician named Dante, who acquires inexplicable magic powers from a mysterious cloak, and his assistant. "Parallel Monsters" follows Alfonso, who creates an inter-dimensional portal that allows him to interact with a parallel version of himself. Finally, "Bonestorm" follows a group of douchebags skaters as they head to Tijuana to finish their skate video; they are subsequently attacked by a mysterious cult. Unfortunately, the film's ending is as disappointing as the rest of the film.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Film Review: The Silence (2010)

The Silence (Review)
Germany/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...will stay with me long after I finish this review – that's saying something."

In the summer of 1986, a young girl was raped and murdered in a wheat field. 23 years later, the exact crime is committed again...
 
The Silence primarily follows unstable detective David (Sebastian Blomberg) and senior detective Krischan (Burghart Klaußner), who investigated the original case, as they race to track the suspect. In the meantime, the film also follows the family of the victims and the family of a suspect. It's not necessarily a surprising or twisted plot, but it's definitely well-executed. The ending, however, left me questioning the overall competence of the cops. The film takes place in 2009, it shouldn't be that hard to link the pieces – then again, maybe I'm nitpicking.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Film Review: Red Dawn (2012)

Red Dawn (Review)
United States/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

When the United States is invaded by North Korea, a group of young people unit to protect their backyard...

Red Dawn primarily follows U.S. Marine Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth), his brother Matt (Josh Peck), and a few others after the invasion. Jed trains the young group and they form the Wolverines -- a group fighting the invaders. So, the group miraculously learn how to flawlessly handle their weapons and outsmart a military that somehow invaded mainland U.S. That's about it. The group attack an outpost, escape the invaders' clutches, attack again, and repeat. It makes for a decent blockbuster action film for the first hour, but becomes too repetitive and exhaustive towards the predictable ending.