Movie Reviews 2012: Part 4
August 11, 2013
I love how out of eight reviews this time, five are from the horror genre. Probably because it was the Halloween period in October… can’t wait for that time to come again this year! 😀 Meaning reviews for films released and seen in 2012 are coming to an end, not sure whether to continue with 2012 films seen this year.
21. The First Time | 第一次 (8/10)
I love this movie… it had the kind of atmosphere, setting and tone that I like so much. Or maybe I just had enough of typical Hollywood romances where everything is so unoriginal, cliche and predictable. I never once felt it was any of those things even though the ‘sick girl falls in love’ idea has been done a thousand times. This had a really unconventional and refreshing storyline, with a few surprisingly ‘twists’ I didn’t see coming.
Angelababy is so good to look at hahaha. The cast gave pretty good performances as well; Angelalababy as the terminally ill girl with big dreams, Mark Chao as the guy with a troubled background, and Jiang Shan as the protective mother who just wants the best for her daughter.
I really felt for the characters. I felt her disappointment each time he failed to turn up for one of their dates, I felt how happy she was when she finally achieved her dream and danced on stage, I felt his pain every time he had to deal with his father and for all the dilemmas he faced.
Love all the romantic scenes between the two main characters such as how they communicated via a tape recorder while he was on the roof; their conversations, everything. Especially the singing scene where he sings ‘Stand By Me’ in a band to pacify her. Totally reminded me of Heath Ledger singing ‘Can’t Take my Eyes Off You’ to Julia Stiles and 10 Things I Hate About You (which is a 10/10 movie hands down).
Beautiful and bittersweet ending which made me cry, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It also had a great soundtrack to boast of, especially since the male lead plays a musician and music was a huge part of the movie. Not forgetting the cute animated visuals which add on to the sweetness that is The First Time.
22. Imperfect | 我们都不完美 (5.5/10)
Not much to say about this local production actually because it was rather mediocre. Watched it because I really enjoyed ‘On the Fringe (边缘父子)’ which featured the same cast. It was really good and probably the only MediaCorp drama I watched that year, as well as the very last one I watched till now. Lol I love Li Nanxing.
Basically the movie is about gangs and I thought it had a lot of potential, but it was in fact really bland and straight-forward. The antagonist played by Xavier Ong was as unlikeable as the actor himself and his online personality. Some characters were under-developed and more like bystanders watching from the sidelines rather than being in the movie themselves.
The film tries to be surprising but fails to do so (everyone knew the mother’s revelation even before she said it, even though it was out of the blue and there was no hint of it. We just knew because the cliche was so painfully obvious lol). It wasn’t the only scene that was terribly predictable either. Another showed the villain about to kill a guy but stopped when the police yelled, “Freeze!” I think everyone in the cinema already saw it in their heads even before it happened.
My mother and I were saying that it would be so much better if the villain continued his attack anyway, but only stopped because he got shot and died, giving things a final resolution. After all, the reason why they brushed aside the option of calling the cops in the first place was because it would make no difference whether the villain was in jail or not, as he had his men everywhere. So what happened to that??
There was one part of the movie I really couldn’t stand and that was the torture scene — something I would never expect to see in a local film. It wasn’t gory or graphic, but antagonising to watch all the same. Pretty violent and the victim just kept screaming helplessly… urgh.
At least it was a ‘show not tell’ type of film. Shows the consequences of getting embroiled in gangs without being preachy, which I appreciate. The plot was relatively simple but portrayed the bad side of being in gangs effectively enough.
23. Paranormal Activity 4 (3/10)
LOL… I don’t even know what to say about this franchise. Seen all four because it’s a tradition between You You and I, and not because it’s insanely good or anything. Not even the first one with all the attention it garnered. So you can say it’s out of loyalty. I mean, why not, right? Even though it’s already 2013 and still nothing has been explained as to what’s going on. Ghosts? Demons? Witches? Cult? What the heck is it?!
My order of preference would be 3, 2, 1, 4 (that’s the chronological order in the PA universe too). Meaning that this is the worst of the lot. I loved the twist in 2 which led back to 1, I liked how 3 was the scariest in the series and still pretty much tied-in with its prequels with the same characters at different points of their lives. Well, PA 4 sticks out like a sore thumb.
First of all, the focus was on an entirely different family. Planting a pretty young teen as the lead isn’t going to work if everything else is bad. I don’t get the two boys — if one of them is the missing Hunter, then who is the other one?? The whole movie was just weird and out of place, especially with the appearance of the creepy women at the end. It ruined everything that was good and unique about the series in the first place, whose strong point was the unseen. Not a bunch of creepy women in black.
I don’t know… I just feel that more explanation should be given because things are getting way too bizarre. In 1 and 2, we were given satisfactory and convincing explanations, and then the weirdness started in 3 but that was still fine because of the background it set. But this???
Anyway, if you have never watched any of the Paranormal Activity films and plan to, I’d suggest you not waste your time on the franchise. Every films follows the same structure anyway — Really boring for the first half, things get weird and creepy in the second half, then shit hits the fan in the last 10 minutes. ALWAYS. Hahaha. And yet… I’m still going to watch the 5th one anyway 😀
24. Bait (0.5/10)
I can’t believe that I thought this would be good for even a second. Maybe because I enjoy survival films where the characters are stuck in one single place. A supermarket, in this case. But this was bad… like really bad. The kind so awful that you wonder if it was meant to be like that. Shoppers threatened by sharks after a tsunami… interesting yet unrealistic.
I only watched it in Digital even though it was available in 3D (thank goodness). The visual effects were one of the worst I’ve ever seen and that is saying quite something in this time and age where CGI is used in practically every film. Everything looked so fake and cartoony.
Throw in terrible acting, script and dialogue into the equation. No wonder none of the cast were well-known people… maybe except for Phoebe Tonkin. The worst acting came from the two local actors in the film though — Adrian Pang and Qi Yu Wu. I like the Chinese shows they’ve starred in and they have always been likeable, but not in this Hollywood production. What’s with the horrible fake accents? So cringe-worthy and almost embarrassing.
Let’s not forget this memorable line:
“Give me your shoes, to break the windscreen.”
“Are you crazy, these are $300 Gucci!”
And that line just had to come from a blonde, huh? But well, I doubt anything can top that line form Piranha 3DD which I’d mentioned in an earlier review.
Of course, the characters had to be mostly stupid too because after all, what’s a Hollywood horror film without people who do dumb shit, argue and turn on each other, and deserve to die? Not that it matters since the audience do not care about them anyway. Because they are all so uninteresting, stiff and hard to sympathise with. I think I speak for everyone when I say the only character we cared about and did not wish to see dead was Blondie’s dog.
So yeah, nothing outstanding about the movie though at least it wasn’t completely boring and had some funny moments (thanks to that couple in the car). I like the final shot of when the survivors were finally able to leave and were greeted with nothing but a sight of devastation too.
25. Wrong Turn 5 (0.5/10)
Omg this franchise is another to which I have nothing say about other than LOL. My order of preference would be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (chronological order in the WT universe would be 4, 5, 1, 2,3). So yes, it gets steadily worse and yet again, I watch them anyway. Call it my guilty pleasure if you will. As shit as the films can get, they are entertaining and fun to watch at home.
This latest one is full of shit and also has the stupidest characters I’ve ever seen in the whole horror movie universe. They basically all ran out looking for death. Why couldn’t they just stay together at one spot indoors? Why did they always have to be so reckless and impulsive? Urgh it was so frustrating to watch them. I didn’t feel sorry for anyone at all, not even the Final Girl nor the one that’s supposed to be the smartest (the female sheriff).
I mean, for instance, just look at the above picture I used. He ended up in that state because he ran out looking for the cannibals and chased after them. Wtf? Talk about stupidity. And I don’t know why but this particular film makes you think that every character has a chance in every scene, except that your hopes (not that I have any in the first place since I don’t feel for any of the characters) always end up dashed.
1 was good on its own, with likeable and strong characters and little use of explicit gore. I love the forest setting and chase scenes. The scene when they were trying to leave the cannibals’ home was one of the most intense I’ve ever seen. 2 was fun because of its premise and had a wonderful Final Girl, but even then I thought the gore was a a bit too much. 3 was draggy and boring, but was still consistent with the forest setting and the cannibals’ use of traps. These two factors are what make the series and its villains unique but they were absent in the last two films. 4 was way over the top with violence and gore, to the point that I was scarred for nights, but was still more entertaining than 3 and 5.
Can’t believe I’m hoping for a 6 -_- though the director said it was unlikely. It was already ‘unlikely’ at the third film, which was why they made 4 and 5 as prequels that were set way before events in the first three films.
26. Sinister (6/10)
An okay and slightly overrated movie with its own strong points. Definitely not the scariest movie in recent years like what people seem to keep saying though.
Ethan Hawke gave a wonderful performance as usual. Romantic flicks, drama films, horror movies — is there anything this guy cannot do? His acting was the film’s biggest strength, in my opinion. He conveyed fear so effectively and I love the portrayal of his growing obsession with the strange disappearances and happenings.
I like how the tapes were creatively named… so punny. The twist about moving house was my favourite one, though the rest weren’t that impressive or convincing. This was especially more so since hardly any explanation was offered about the plot. They tried, but so many ‘but why?s’ remain. Maybe I just didn’t really buy the whole demonic boogieman thing. So does it possess the children or what?
There was a lack of character development as well and I almost wondered if the movie and parents forgot that they had two children, not one. Why was the son experiencing night terrors and behaving strangely when all along it was the daughter who the Bughuul wanted? And I don’t know what everyone else except for Ethan Hawke’s character is doing.
The buildup of fear and tension was pretty effective despite being mostly cheap scares. You know, the usual appear-in-the-dark-from-behind etc etc. However, there is just something about Ethan Hawke in an empty room with nothing but his screen and a box of tapes. I get nervous everytime he is creeping or out of the attic.
27. LOL (5/10)
Have never seen the original French film, but I didn’t think this was that bad so I’m not sure why all the greatly negative reviews. Might have something to do with Miley Cyrus haha. Then I searched for Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never (2011) in IMDB and was astonished it got only a 1.7 rating which is like the lowest I’ve ever come across on the site. Although it was average and propaganda at best, I would still give it a 5?
Anyway, I don’t have much to say about this typical and even more forgettable film. I honestly think the fics I read are more engaging, interesting and clever as compared to this movie. They deal with the same issues of high school, friendship, parents etc but the drama in LOL is silly, rushed and unconvincing. Very common problems that were portrayed and resolved just as superficially.
So she breaks up with her cheating boyfriend and suddenly realises she has feelings for the best friend that she has known her whole life? Ok. So the leftover male and leftover female end up together? Oh, of course.
The cast is full of eye-candy, including Ashely Greene, Douglas Booth and George Finn. I don’t really like Miley Cyrus but she was actually quite bearable this time. Demi Moore plays the protective and slightly annoying at times single parent. I thought that the mother-daughter relationship was developed and explored quite well, one of the film’s finer points.
Would have liked it if there was more focus on the other characters and not just the female lead and her love interest. They all had potential to be interesting but as usual, relied on stereotypes instead. And the Paris trip should have been longer… because it’s Paris! I’m just saying there was opportunity for so much more.
But that’s really it because the film is that… ordinary.
28. Apartment 143 | Emergo (0.5/10)
How do you review a movie that you don’t understand at all????
I don’t think anybody does. I can’t even find any useful info on Wiki, IMDB or anywhere else. This is what happens when there are no subtitles on a movie, not even one in Chinese. Or maybe they were trying to be vague and ambiguous on purpose… which would make it a very poor attempt.
Basically a team of parapsychologists enter this house which a father resides in with his daughter. Their mother has died though I’m not sure of the cause because the dad keeps changing his statement. The daughter seems to hate him and there is implied sexual abuse, but then turns out the daughter is cranky too and starts acting possessed, so it is implied that she had been lying. Apparently her mother behaved the same way even in thier old apartment. The daughter was later taken away because she is “schizophrenic”. The experts told the dad that actually there are no such things as ghosts. Everyone leaves the house and a ghost appears on the ceiling.
Lol what? Go figure. Plot aside, it is one of those mockumentary-style, found footage movies and has a striking resemblance to Paranormal Activity. Minus points for lack of originality.