Friday, October 4, 2013

Night Watch (2004)

Number Rolled: 44
Movie Name/Year: Night Watch (2004)
Genre: Thriller
Length: 114 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Writer: Timur Bekmambetov, Laeta Kalogridis, Sergey Lukyanenko
Actors: Konstantin Khabenskiy, Vladimir Menshov, Valeriy Zolotukhin, Mariya Poroshina, Galina Tyunina, Yuriy Kutsenko, Aleksey Chadov, Zhanna Friske, Ilya Lagutenko, Viktor Verzbitskiy, Rimma Markova, Mariya Mironova, Aleksey Maklakov, Aleksandr Samoylenko, Dmitriy Martynov, Anna Slyu, Anna Dubrovskaya

The Protectors of Light and the Warriors of Darkness learned that they were equal in strength, neither able to win a direct war. So, they came to a truce. The two sides police each other, separating into Night Watch and Day Watch. The Others (supernatural humans) that make up the warriors, are held to specific rules in order to ensure the truce is not broken. However, when a prophecy comes to light, proving that they may be forced to call off the truce all together, it comes down to one basic and necessary question: Will the Great One choose to lend his power to the light or to the dark?

“Night Watch” wasn’t really something I would have chosen to add to my queue on my own. Truth is, I’m not really the biggest fan of subtitles outside of the anime genre. However, a friend of mine brought it up to me. At the time, only “Day Watch” was available on Netflix, which is the second film, and since I was unsure if the second of the trilogy could stand on its own without the back-story, I waited until “Night Watch” was available. That was a little over a month ago.

Visually, the movie was absolutely breath taking, except there was a bit too much slow motion for me. I get what the director was trying to do with it; I just don’t think it fully worked. Like in “The Matrix,” the slow motion was used to capture an aspect of non-mundane notion. For “The Matrix” that conveyed idea was the lack of reality in the matrix, in “Night Watch,” it was meant to portray general supernatural nature. In some cases it worked, in others it just seemed like the movie was stalling itself, trying to reach a certain maximum time. At one point I could swear I watched a nail fall for about ten minutes. Ridiculous. Slow motion is good in smaller doses; at least in anything that isn’t supposed to be a comedy.

I did get bored; which is a shame, because the story was really great. There were little twists and mind games – which is exactly what I like to see in my thrillers. The concept of the two sides policing each other (good vs. evil) and the necessity of free will in order to keep the truce, was one I really enjoyed seeing.

Although the method used wasn’t one of my favorites, I would still recommend “Night Watch” to others.

Overall Opinion – 3.5/5

P.S. Only the beginning is in English, the rest is sub-titled.

P.P.S. “Night Watch” is loosely based on the book “The Night Watch” by Sergei Lukyanenko and is the first of a trilogy. (“Day Watch” and “Twilight Watch” being the last two, in order.)

Movie Trailer: 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

Number Rolled: 53
Movie Name/Year: The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Genre: Children & Family
Length: 78 minutes
Rating: G
Director: Mark Dindal
Writer: Chris Williams, Mark Dindal, David Reynolds, Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall, John Norton, Roger Allers, Matthew Jacobs
Actors: David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton, Wendie Malick, Kellyann Kelso, Eli Russell Linnetz, Bob Bergen, Tom Jones, Patti Deutsch, John Fiedler, Joe Whyte

Kuzco is a self-absorbed emperor. He’s not cruel, per-say, just completely unaware that anyone in the world aside from him has wants and needs. After finding Yzma, his advisor, trying to do his job behind his back, he fires her. In what may be the biggest over-reaction ever, she turns him into a llama. His one hope to get himself back to normal is Pacha, a man who knows helping him will result in his village being destroyed.

It’s been a really long couple of months. Murphy’s Law made itself very well known. So, bringing in the month of October with an upbeat Disney movie is pretty much exactly what I needed.

It wasn’t my favorite, but it was more of an opinion than an execution thing. I really don’t like the narration style they went for. They used the kind where half the movie is narrated then you catch up to the first panel and watch the rest happen. I hate to admit I’m conventional in any sense of the word, but when it comes to narration, I am. I don’t like books that change tense in the middle, and I don’t like it in movies either. It’s distracting. The two exceptions I’ve found to the rule are “Army of Ghosts” and “Doomsday” both from the tenth doctor’s first season in Doctor Who. Of course, if there’s one exception there may very well be more.

Aside from that, I thought the movie was really cute. I especially loved the ending. No reason, I just thought it was adorable and uplifting.

In the long run, it was a good, solid, Disney movie.

Overall Opinion – 4/5

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, September 30, 2013

eCupid (2011)

Number Rolled: 45
Movie Name/Year: eCupid (2011)
Genre: Romance
Length: 94 minutes
Rating: NR
Director: J. C. Calciano
Writer: J. C. Calciano
Actors: Andy Anderson, John Callahan, Galen Drever, Morgan Fairchild, Joe Komara, Matt Lewis, Mike C. Manning, Brad Pennington, Houston Rhines, Matthew Gittelson, George Gray, Peter A. O’Riordan, Gary Riotto, Chris Rubeiz, Noah Schuffman, Scott Pretty

Marshall has been with his boyfriend for seven years. In that time, he’s become a bit bored with life. His job sucks, his boyfriend is always tired and he’s just generally in a rut. One night, while his boyfriend sleeps, he comes across a site that promises to find him true love: eCupid. He signs up and the site begins to take over his life.

This movie plays on the fear of everyone in a good relationship: that things will get stale. A lot of movies utilize that common fear for their stories and most of them have the same exact recipe as a result. “eCupid,” is no different.

The acting wasn’t really all that great and the story was – for the most part – unoriginal; despite that, there were definitely parts of it that I enjoyed. The dynamic they created with the sentient computer program almost gave the movie a depth to it that suggested it could turn into a thriller at any moment. It didn’t, mind you, but that feeling that it could was pretty cool. There were also plenty of laughs throughout the film.

Unfortunately, I know I liked this movie more than I should have, and I have to take that into account. Not a single actor throughout the entire movie was even remotely believable and there were aspect of the story that just didn’t quite add up.

Overall Opinion – 2.5/5

The Random Rating: PG-13 for crude/suggestive humor and explicit language

Movie Trailer: