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Oroborus's Reviews

Displaying Review 1 - 5 of 7 in total

  • Written by Oroborus on 05.10.2009

    Equilibrium explores vaguely similar ideas to those dealt with in The Matrix, but, in my opinion, it is not just a copycat film made to cash in on the success of The Matrix. For such a low budget film what has been achieved is very impressive.

    It takes some fairly standard SF ideas: dystopian, post-apocalyptic future; oppressive omnipresent State machine; a group of rebels fighting for change and puts a different slant on them.

    Equilibrium examines the idea of the State forcing people to taking mood-suppressing medication to prevent negative, destructive emotional consequences such as War. This is supposedly a sincere attempt to protect Society from further collapse. However, the State's fear of strong emotion means it also suppresses positive, creative emotions like Love and it kills those who refuse to subscribe to its ideology. In the film the State's argument is that Liberty for citizens breeds chaos and danger: therefore sacrificing individual freedom will protect Society as a whole.

    The film's main character John Preston undergoes a conversion from perfect State enforcer without a conscience to passionate Rebel quite simply because he accidentally misses a dose of the universally dispensed mood suppressant "Prosium". He begins to feel emotions for the first time in his life. His consequent emotional confusion leads him to make a snap decision to save the lives of Rebels he was sent to kill. His ultimate role in the film is to turn the skills he was taught to kill Rebels against the State that created him.

    Preston has to come to terms with the consequences of his past actions as a tool of State oppression. His naivete and lack of experience in dealing with his newfound guilt and emotions causes complications that lead to his potential destruction and that of the rebellion.

    Christian Bale gives a moving and credible performance in the role of John Preston. The range of physical and emotional talents he displays in this film is impressive. His portrayal of a man dealing with feelings for the first time in his life is sensitively handled and is far from stereotypical. In fact the entire cast of this film give strong performances.

  • Written by Oroborus on 07.10.2009

    Dark humor is a growing trend in films since the explosion of Pulp Fiction. Some films get it right, like Fight Club. Some films fall flat, like Rules of Attraction. This film, The Salton Sea, gets it right. Whenever you're laughing and simultaneously thinking, "I should NOT be laughing at this", you know you're watching good dark humor.

    There are a few great moments like this, but added to that are some well crafted scenes, good acting, and a plot that is better than nearly every other drug-themed film I can think of. Films like Trainspotting and Requiem for a Dream are excellent examinations of drug use and addiction, but in terms of real plot, things really are on the thin side. This film gives you the visual goodness that comes with exploring a drug culture, but takes the plot above this, leaving it in the background.

    The less you know about this movie before you see it, the better. But I will tell you this much: do not expect your typical "my life sucks so I destroy myself with drugs so pity me" kind of film. Early on in the movie, the main character says "I know what you're thinking, but don't give up on me yet." This is a good bit of advice, because you just might end up rooting for this guy by the end of the film.

    If you look for flaws, they are there, but well painted over with great visuals, great humor, and an marvelous shift from lazy introduction to mounting intensity. Occasionally the main character lets himself meander off the path a bit too far with pointless poetic ramblings, but it's only mildly annoying. There are a few scenes that don't hold up under scrutiny, but the problems don't get in the way of a great plot.

  • Written by Oroborus on 28.10.2009

    Pixar are still producing interesting and enjoyable films, but lately the famous creators of the first ever fully computer generated film 'Toy Story' 1995 have been losing their touch. The possibly last real masterpiece 'The Incredibles' 2004 really shone as a spectacular ,unique and altogether wonderful film. Cars 2005 was interesting but used up most of its originality at the beginning.

    Now 'Ratatouille' doesn't have the vast quantity of brilliance that the earlier films had but who could criticise a film with such heart. It's told us that cooking is not a chore but an art. If you take pleasure out of cooking then you will like watching this and people who aren't so keen will most likely have their opinions altered.

    This movie's central character is Remy, a rat with great dreams, passion, intellect and smell. But he lives with hundreds of other rats who eat mindlessly out of garbage bins and have very different points of view. One day after a disastrous and near fatal encounter with a mad, elderly lady all the rats are forced to flee their home. But during the escape Remy goes astray and ends up at a Parisian restaurant that was once famous but now neglected. There he is saved by the soft heartedness of a simple garbage boy named Linguini who is trying to live up to his father. When the two friends combine each other's assets they become a very fine chef that begins to restore the sensation of the restaurant.

    But when Anton Ego – a superficially harsh and sinister food critic, hears of the new success of the restaurant and of Linguini he decides to review the restaurant once more. His visit diminishes the friendship of the now former companions and the happiness of the story. Then when the pressure of the situation dives away all of the other chefs Linguini, Remy and the newly located other rats must reunite and stop the restaurant's reputation from being ruined beyond repair.

  • Written by Oroborus on 29.10.2009

    Lush, gorgeous, glitteringly dark--a gloomy, misty landscape of twisted, black trees, and looming shadows--Sleepy Hollow is visually breathtaking. Budding directors, cinematographers, and set directors should be required to watch this film as a textbook study into how one establishes atmosphere. Elfman's score is a jewel as well, the perfect complement to all this visual mastery. At once sumptuous and ominous, brooding on horrors seen and horrors to come, it sets off the misty, haunted look of the thing perfectly.

    Beyond this, cast and casting are inspired--a wonderful gallery of oddly matched talents, note-perfect in their various roles. Depp is a strangely lovely Ichabod Crane, faithful, all the same, in spirit to the original: quirky, overwrought, his constant efforts to exude competence and confidence are continually undermined by the brutal reality that he is never more than a few short steps from becoming entirely unhinged by the wanton irrationality that abounds in this haunted rural corner of early America. This is Crane as a would-be man of science; uncomfortably finding himself on the trail of a headless ghost, he's determined nonetheless to rise to the challenge and see that justice is done. In his portrayal, Depp achieves a stammering, flustered delivery and gawky physicality that evoke the character perfectly. Ricci, for her part, is cast smartly half against type: playing a coolly beautiful, wide-eyed fairy tale princess, she brings a note of self-assurance and self-possession to the part that makes it as memorable as any of her more overtly dark roles: she's a heroine to complement Depp's Ichabod, composed where he's addled and alarmed, in her element where he's out of his depth. And yes, they do look awfully good together. Add to these principals a wonderfully mixed and matched stable of fine, nuanced English character actors, one icon of the horror genre and a few familiar old faces and favourites of Burton: Richardson, Lee, McDiarmid, Walken, Gambon, Jones, and there's some serious wattage on the screen, here, all generally put to very good use. There are some nice flashes of dark comedy, too, as you'd only expect from Burton. All of which makes the film, all in all, a fine mix of beautiful things.

    That's what's great about Sleepy Hollow; see it, if for nothing else, for all that mist and shadow--on the big screen or in the gorgeous HD DVD version, if you possibly can, for Burton works this canvas beautifully, and you do want to see it in all the detail you can. And see it for Depp and Ricci, Lee (in a cameo, technically, but it's a key one, and he makes every second count), and Richardson.

    There are, however, also more than a few weaker spots, here. Burton billed Sleepy Hollow as an homage to the classic Hammer horror films, and it does evoke that very feel, frequently--both for better and for worse. Yes, there's mist and mystery, a suggestion of supernatural dread lurking in every long shadow, and some reasonably affecting horror--but there's also a fairly liberal dash of fake blood (occasionally used for a nice comic effect, but then overused), and a little more latex gore than I've a taste for, personally. The failing is a common one in horror: the old 'too much on the screen/not enough left to the frightened imagination' problem. Having established that beautifully spooky, haunted atmosphere, Burton seems to think he can lean harder on it than he can, goes all kinetic and bloody, in the end, and the whole winds up a good notch or two more overt than it probably should have been, reveling just a little too much in the gore, and inevitably failing, therefore, to use it as powerfully as it might have to terrify. The horseman of the title itself, especially, though brilliantly menacing, initially, loses much of that menace as it becomes too familiar a presence on the screen, and this only gets worse and worse as the film proceeds. I found myself almost wishing Burton had had slightly less effective effects at his command: it might have helped, a little, if he'd been forced by technical limitations to keep his beloved whirling headless horseman o' death in the shadows a little more, let us be a little more afraid of what we can't see.

  • Written by Oroborus on 09.11.2009

    Snakes on a Plane (2006) is a movie of firsts. It marks the first movie driven to commercial success by the internet, so in respects, Snakes is a landmark film, paving the way for upcoming features fueled by the likes of and online trailer sites (note: the success of 300, for example). It is the fist movie I have been intrigued by solely because of the title. I have to admit that I approached this movie with a rare excitement, understanding that S.o.a.P. admits its tawdry style, so it can be viewed almost as homage to stylish thrillers by mimicking and paying tribute to them, rather than actually becoming one. I was mistaken. The result, another first: Snakes may wind up to be the first cult film with no following.

    The movie is problematic from the start as the long "Lovely Day" title sequence creates a misleading mood for the film, especially when the following scene involves a human piñata. From here, the "plot" (in quotes because it is simply used as a device to get us to the plane faster) unfolds as Sean (Nathan Phillips), the sole witness to a murder, reluctantly joins FBI Agent Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson), who convinces him to testify against the brutal murderer Eddie Kim (Byron Lawson). No prosecuting witness has ever survived long enough to testify against Kim, so we can imagine how high the stakes are. To get to trail, Sean and Flynn must travel from Honolulu to Kim's hometown of L.A. on Pacific Air's Flight 121; a plane Kim has filled with the world most deadly vicious snakes in order to kill Sean.

    The plane itself is filled with an array of personalities, each stereotypical and more of a caricature than a character. The black men are either rappers or tough guys, the white men are nerdy and uptight, the young women are sexual with no inhibitions, and the old women are helpless victims. There is a flamboyant steward, a few small children, a woman drinking whiskey from her metal flask (post 9-11 security?) and of course Samuel L. Jackson, whose presence alone allows the movie to be, I don't want to say worth watching, but most definitely entertaining. Nearly everyone on the plane is overtly rude and self-centered, able only to say exactly what is on their mind at the exact moment they are speaking (take the woman who was coarsely treated, as she says to her dog in response to her assailant, "Don't worry Mary-Kate, his hair plugs won't hurt you.") Because we don't care about the characters, we don't mind seeing them die at the jaws of fierce snakes. We are introduced to snake vision, akin to the sight of Predator (1987), as the snakes make their way from the cargo area to the bathrooms (and I thought Jackass 2 would be the only movie of 2006 where a man gets his penis bitten by a snake), and steadily make their way down aisles, through overhead compartments, into circuit breakers (a scene which was reminiscent of Jurassic Park (1993), still the go-to movie on reptiles gone wrong), and into the cockpit. The snakes are unprejudiced in their assault, gnashing at peoples eyes, necks, arms, backs, legs and tongues and although it appears as though the movie sounds chilling or gory, the obviously computer animated snakes do not lend themselves well to atmosphere created in the film, thus alleviating any terror or suspense.

    The real excitement comes when Samuel L. Jackson's tyranny of evil is released on the snakes, killing them by whatever means possible. Some of the weapons include a taser gun, a hand gun, an ax, a fire extinguisher, a microwave, a blowtorch and yes, a harpoon (why am I not so worried about the whiskey flask anymore). And then, the infamous line: "Enough is enough! I have had it with these mother f_cking snakes on this mother f_cking plane!" Oh, Samuel L.

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