Movie Review #302: Fast Five

Fast cars and fast-paced action kept my adrenaline pumping

You don’t expect films like Fast Five to stay in your memory for a long time. And frankly, I don’t think anyone cares about the story for this franchise. What you’ll get out of it though is heart-pumping action with cars involved. Think of all the things you can do with wheels because this movie will show it to you. Some of them you can’t even imagine.

Right out of the gate, the fifth installment exudes adrenaline. Every 20 minutes or so it stops as the characters of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster participate in some family drama and call out some of their friends from around the world to join them on their “last” mission. Later on you meet Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris and the very hot Gal Gadot among the new characters. They attempt to rejuvenate the franchise and prevent the story from stagnating but honestly even with their involvement they felt more of an accessory to a car than can easily be replaced as none of them really stood out for me, aside from Dwayne Johnson who’s pretty much the go-to guy for action sequels these days.

Still, the acting has very much improved and coupled with some nice stunts you can treat the film as some sort of stress-free joyride. Although the epilogue was way too long and some dialogues were unforgivably bad, at the end of the day it’s still a nice, fun film.

GRADE: B-

Movie Review #301: Jackass 3D

Slow-mo not my thing

The men of Jackass seem to have lost their touch with this eye-popping installment. Instead of giving us more outrageous stunts and funnier pranks, they resort to slow-mo cams and gimmicky 3D effects. While I credit them for at least trying to do something new, I just think it messed up the pacing of the non-movie movie. It was definitely entertaining to see those slowed reactions, but it became very tiresome by the end. The stunts wasn’t as exciting as the ones in Jackass 2, but I think overall it was still mildly entertaining.

GRADE: C+

Movie Review #300: Attack The Block

Finally, a British comedy I enjoyed

While cult classics such as Hot Fuzz and Shawn Of The Dead were somewhat disappointing for me (it’s average at best), this film has no doubt given me a lot more to enjoy, putting this one a notch above those two. The plot of Attack The Block was ridiculous, but I guess that’s what I liked about the film. The isolation of the story to a small area made the it lighter too. Other than that there’s nothing much to say about it except that it gave me some laughs but some scenes in the middle dragged a bit too much.

GRADE: B-

Movie Review #299: Who Slept With Her (aka Hot For Teacher) (2005)

Likable characters and a ridiculous plot makes this one a decent watch

Plot Synopsis from Asianwiki:

“Who Slept With Her?” takes place in a boys high school, where a bunch of male students and teachers are fascinated by a new student teacher at the school. As is expected, they all fight to get her. But when a rumor spreads that she slept with one of the men from the school, a group tries to find out his identity.

Beautiful, sexy Ji-young is placed at an all boys’ high school as student-teacher. Teenage boys in puberty think of her as a sex goddess and fantasize about her. Then from one of the classrooms, Dean of Students sees a silhouette of a couple embracing and hears a woman moaning. He goes to the classroom only to discover a pair of red stilettos. He suspects Ji-young and is resolved to protect the boys from her sexual charms.

Usually I don’t grade Korean movies the same way as American movies just because the plots the former country makes tend to be a lot more ridiculous and tongue-in-cheek. My conclusion for this one is that it’s crazy, yet it’s a good kind of crazy. And although the unrealistic story was very distracting, I found the characters and their interactions quite funny. Most notable is Kim Sa-rang, whose beauty and charm felt vibrant in the film. It’s a decent, raunchy flick which could be enjoyed with a group of friends.

GRADE: C+

Movie Review #298: White (2011)

An extremely slow film you can sleep on (or laugh at)

For those unfamiliar with this Korean film, here’s a brief synopsis from Imdb.com:

Girl group “Pink Dolls” is always pushed into the background by other popular idols. When the girls release their new song “White” – a remake from unknown origins they become instant sensations. The four members of “Pink Dolls” include Eun-Joo, a former break dancer, Je-ni, a singer insecure with hitting high notes, Ah-Rang, a singer addicted to plastic surgery, and Sin-Ji who can’t sing, but is good at rapping and singing. As the group becomes more and more popular, jealousy and competitiveness increases as all the girls tries to become the lead singer. But, when a member becomes the lead singer that person falls victim to a horrible accident, and one by one they die. Eun-Joo then realizes that the song “White” is cursed and she attempts to reveal the secret

            The only thing which kept me awake during this horror film was by laughing at the cheap tactics and other distortions made to deceive you into believing it was scary. White is a painstakingly dull movie made worse by poor acting – including the film’s lead, Ham Eunjung (of K-Pop group T-ara). The truth is, nothing here will frighten you except for a couple of scenes where jump scares can be found. And White’s climax can’t even be considered as one since it’s just like every other scene. It’s only saving grace I guess is its story which despite its bad execution was intriguing. It’s not a movie I’d want to see again and I definitely don’t recommend others to see it either.

GRADE: D+

Movie Review #297: L.A. Confidential

An example of two great leads pwning a film

Legitimately good detective movies are quite rare these days, and that’s why I had to travel back to 1997 to find one. I was merely three years old when this was released, and growing up I’d heard from my parents about actors like Kevin Spacey and Guy Pearce, who are hardly visible from Hollywood movies as of late. But the two actors I was talking about at the start was actually Pearce and Russell Crowe, whose contrasting characters were the obvious standouts. The story was quite compelling as well though I felt the plot was a bit confusing. It’s a clever, well-made classic.

GRADE: B

Movie Review #295 & #296: Daybreakers, Batman Begins

Here are two very short reviews for ya (under 70 words apiece)

Daybreakers

Stands out from other Vampire inspired films with a dark tale and bloody premise

I had little or no expectations coming into Daybreakers, a vampire-themed movie that actually sets itself apart from similar incarnations of bloodsuckers through its simple yet mildly compelling story. Ethan Hawke did well in the film; his performance added a sense of realism to a rather bizarre plot. If you’re bored and are eager to catch something different, here’s a mild treat for you.

GRADE: B-

Batman Begins

Nolan shows us exactly how superhero movies should be made

This is one of the best examples of a superhero film that makes a legitimate attempt at bringing a comic book character realistically into the world. Although its successors have undeniably surpassed it, I believe Batman Begins deserves some credit for giving the masked caper a strong reboot. It’s quite lacking in terms of intense action or a strong villain, but it was still very entertaining and highly enjoyable.

GRADE: B