July Blind Spot Review: Cronos (1993)

“You may continue the game. After all, you have the toy. But I’m keeping the instructions, and I’m open all night.”
– Angel de la Guargia

SYNOPSIS: A mysterious device designed to provide its owner with eternal life resurfaces after four hundred years, leaving a trail of destruction in its path. – via IMDB

Finally! I know it has been forever since I posted a Blind Spot review, but with the move and all that I just did not have the time, and had to get my hands on movies and get some time to blog and blah, blah, blah, but I finally have it. I have been really interested in seeing Cronos for some time as I really love Del Toro’s Spanish work.

I have never really read too much on this movie because I like to go in to watch things with as little knowledge as possible, so that it is a totally new experience for me. Definitely what I got here. For one, I was shocked that sections of it were in English, though the majority was Spanish. I also was not impressed with Ron Perlman, but that is just me. He irrationally annoys the crap out of me, and this was no exception.

The movie is shot well, and has the beginnings of that magical charm to it, but never realises it quite like The Devil’s Backbone or Pan’s Labyrinth. The dark fairytale teases but never fully comes to life. The storytelling is a bit uneven, too. We get the whole concept of life everlasting, then the Alchemist is dead, this antiques seller has the archangel statue that houses this “eternal life”, he mistakenly finds it and then is suddenly using it and the people searching for it immediately know he has it and… yes, I could go on, but it is all so messy and sudden.

The story I liked, but was a bit disappointed that ultimately it was all about vampirism, and the insect running the show was never explained. I wanted answers! Once I accepted that the life everlasting was vampirism, there was a lot to appreciate. I did enjoy the undertaker/makeup man, he provided some solid humour to the movie, and I also liked the fact that, while this is ultimately vampirism, it is different from what we are traditionally used to (the turning, for instance). The movie also has a darker tone to it, and weaves a few different themes throughout it to varying degrees of success.

Cronos is worth a watch, and it shows that Del Toro is gifted, I just felt that it was a little underwhelming, more like his English works (though still better than the rest) than his Spanish fantasies that I have come to love. I know a lot of people love this movie and think it is brilliant, and I am glad that I have watched it, but it is certainly not my favourite of his, but worth a watch.

Rapid Review: 13 Sins (2014)

13 sins cover

“I will dance with the golden toad.”
– Elliot Brindle

SYNOPSIS: A cryptic phone call sets off a dangerous game of risks for Elliot, a down-on-his luck salesman. The game promises increasing rewards for completing 13 tasks, each more sinister than the last. – via IMDB

13 sins cuts

GRADE 7Another movie from the horror box set from mah bestie! This one was chosen randomly to watch by my fiancé, and let me tell you, we were quite impressed (even though it featured both Ron Perlman and Rutina Wesley). What you expect to be a by-the-numbers film actually brings more to the table than one would expect, even if there are times where you just cannot buy into the logic. The characters, too, are not exactly people you are going to warm towards to actually care about, but they do serve the purpose of moving the story along, and they do deliver suitably solid performances. There are a lot of questions that are raised and, unsatisfactorily, not all of them are answered (especially a big one that I really wanted to know about). There was definitely more potential than was tapped into here, but that does not, for one second, mean that this is a hollow film. In fact, it is quite the enjoyable flick with a few funny moments and an intriguing premise. There was definitely potential for more thrills and tension, and while that is not constantly evident, the movie keeps you entertained. I was intrigued by Elliot and his situation, as well as how he was actually going to handle playing this game with some unseen caller. I also liked seeing how he was changing as he was playing the game. There was some fantastic material to explore there, though the movie didn’t focus on that too much, just enough to let you know psychologically the game was affecting him. There were some twists and turns in the plot, too, some which were expected, and others that came as a surprise, so that was nice.  I wish that Pruitt Taylor Vince had been given more screen time, he is an actor I really do enjoy. I don’t think this film has the guts, content, and execution to linger too long after you have watched it, but that does not mean it isn’t worth a look see, especially for a movie night with friends.

Rapid Review: Blade II (2002)

blade ii poser

“We’ll play along for now. They’ll take us in deeper than we’ve ever been. Get a chance to see how their world really ticks.”
– Blade

SYNOPSIS: Reapers, a new breed of vampire that feed off humans and vampires, emerge with plans for world domination and Blade must team with the Bloodpack, an elite team of vampire warriors specifically trained to hunt him, in order to defeat this new menace. – via IMDB

blade ii]

GRADE 7.5The second installment of these movies is usually widely regarded as the best. I am sure this is because it happened to get a bigger budget, had a decent plot (though it was nothing revolutionary or supremely complex – doesn’t change the fact that it had one) and because it had a lot of action packed in. Blade II has aged pretty damn well, and corrected on a lot of things that were wrong in its predecessor. Plus, there was Norman Reedus for me to look at, even though he was a little sketchy (as a character – still pretty, so I am not complaining). The reasoning and logic was a bit buggered in here (like how Nyssa just immediately knew all sorts of things about this new breed of vampire without actually examining it or running tests). But then this is usually the case with action flicks. The dialogue was still a bit cheesy, but again, this is just inordinate amounts of fun and it has been put together very well. Gotta say, Ron Perlman truly pisses me off. He is such an annoyance and this movei was no exception in my mind. Whistler returning is something I have always appreciated, I like the humour he brings to the movie. Typical Del Toro style, he goes a little overboard on the CGI in some places (I am looking specifically here at certain fight scenes), but is still much better than a lot of his English speaking films (truly – I do prefer his native work). Blade II is shot well, looks great, has awesome action sequences and choreography, and is well worth the watch, especially seeing as the vampires are nasty and get uglier if they are the new breed. I reiterate again, no twinkles to be seen. Whoop! I think these movies will always have a soft spot in the hearts of those that grew up watching them. And if you didn’t watch them growing up and haven’t watched them before, that is something I seriously recommend you rectify as soon as possible!

Review: Pacific Rim (2013)

pacific rim poster

“When I was a kid, whenever I’d feel small or lonely, I’d look up at the stars. Wondered if there was life up there. Turns out I was looking in the wrong direction. When alien life entered our world, it was from deep beneath the Pacific Ocean. A fissure between two tectonic plates. A portal between dimensions. The Breach. I was fifteen when the first Kaiju made land in San Francisco.”
– Raleigh Becket

In 2013 massive alien monsters called Kaijus start attacking Earth. They have access through a oceanic portal in the Pacific, and they are wreaking havoc on Earth. They seem unstoppable, but then the humans start fighting back. They build massive warriors, weapons, called the Jaegers. These are collosal war machines, something manufactured by all the Pacific Rim nations. The technology used is that two people are linked together mentally to operate the machine, sharing the load. The pilots become famous, the Jaegers are successful, and they finally have some form of a defense against the massive and scary Kaijus. Two such pilots, two brothers, Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) and Yancy Becket (Diego Klattenhoff) are called one night to take down a Category 4 Kaiju. While out there, Yancy is slain and Raleigh is terribly injured. He ultimately takes down the Kaiju, and manages to singlehandedly get the Jaeger Gipsy Danger to shore, where he leaves that life behind.

pacific rim brothers
“There are things you can’t fight, acts of God. You see a hurricane coming, you have to get out of the way. But when you’re in a Jaeger, suddenly, you can fight the hurricane. You can win.” – Raleigh Becket

The governments call for the Jaeger program to be discontinued due to it being considered ineffective. Instead they focus their resources on building Kaiju-resistant walls to protect the cities. Raleigh now works on one of these construction sites, moving around and building. When the program is shut down, his old commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) appeals to him for assistance. He wants Raleigh to accompany him and the remaining Jaeger pilots to Hong Kong, where the four remaining Jaegers await for them to defend the coastal line while the wall is being erected. Pentecost has a plan to destroy the portal with a nuclear bomb, something that had failed in the past. He calls in two scientists, Dr Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day), a tattooed Kaiju enthusiast, and Dr Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman), an introverted Englishman. The two are tasked with generating predictions of the Kaijus to come as well as find a way to break through their portal. Raleigh, meanwhile, needs to find a co-pilot, and he is not greeted particularly warmly by Chuck Hansen (Robert Kazinsky), who feels that Raleigh is in the way and weak, while Herc Hansen (Max Martini) believes that Raleigh will help.

pacific rim scientists
“Fortune favours the brave, dude.” – Dr Newton Geiszler

Raleigh is having difficulty finding anyone that he will be suited with, and ultimately it is Pentecost’s right hand woman, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), whom he seems best suited to work with, but who Pentecost point blank refuses to send out in a Jaeger to fight, though it seems to be her dream. He seems to be very protective of her. Raleigh and Mako seem to connect on a whole new level, something more akin to what he and his brother once had. Dr Geiszler wishes to create a bridge with one of the Kaiju brains that he has in his lab, trying to connect with it like the Jaeger pilots do with one another, to see what memories they hold. Instead he opens a can of worms that is more than he can control. It would seem that the Kaiju fight as soldiers for an alien race that wishes to destroy Earth. The Jaeger pilots need to get themselves ready for the coming war, though Raleigh is still reeling from the loss of his brother five years before, and Mako deals with her fear of the Kaiju, feelings of vengeance as well as attraction towards Raleigh.

pacific rim mako and pentecost

Will the Jaeger pilots be able to shut down and destroy the portal that the Kaijus are using to get to Earth? What is with Pentecost’s intense protection of Mako? What is in her history, and will she be given the chance to exact her vengeance upon the Kaiju? Both Dr Geiszler and Dr Gottlieb are onto something, but how will it impact the mission to protect the coast lines of Hong Kong? Will their research change anything? What do the aliens want with Earth after the humans are exterminated? Will the Jaegers be able to withstand and battle against the Kaiju, which are coming up as stronger categories?

pacific rim raleigh and mako
“Haven’t you heard Mr. Beckett? The world is coming to an end. So where would you rather die?” – Stacker Pentecost

GRADE 4Another movie that everyone insisted was a fantastic summer blockbuster and fun and all these many things that they promised, none that delivered (with the exception of the scientists, they were hilarious). So we watched this, and I was rather let down. For one, Del Toro seems to be hooked on overkilling with CGI, what is up with that? Secondly, Charlie Hunnam is a second rate actor. I am not a fan, and whenever he tries to pull his angry/serious/peeved face, he succeeds only in looking like someone wiped something really freaking nasty under his nose. And this is not saying anything against the character he played, I actually quite liked him. Then there is Idris Elba, who was probably the best thing about this movie, though I was not a fan of his accent really. Rinko Kikuchi irritated me endlessly, her character was an annoyance of note. The relationship between her character Mako and Hunnam’s Raleigh could have been much better had it just been developed a bit more. As it stands it happened out of nowhere and ludicrously, in a way that (yes I know this is an action and these things can be overlooked) that I just couldn’t choke down. These Kaijus confused me, too, because some Category 4 types are being cut down with swords (which seems most effective if only these chops would stop using guns and canons and start using the blades), and then they cannot be ripped apart by canons and crap, but when they are dead they are being harvested by men just being all regular and all that. I mean really? The whole way through watching this all I wanted in my life was for the new Godzilla to hustle the hell up so we can see some real dangerous and scary monsters (ED: that’s how long ago I watched and reviewed this – pre-May release). Anyhow, there was so much going on in the fight scenes I could not tell if they Jaegers had the upper hand or the Kaijus, which does not really make for good fight scenes. I was told that this would probably have blown me away in theatre, but I intensely doubt my feelings would have changed. I just didn’t really like this, and that is just that.