Movie Review – 9


The movie 9 is an animated post-apocalyptic story about some reanimated dolls and their struggle to survive.

This moderately interesting movie garners a 6. Put the rating and the title together, and it might rate a higher level of entertainment.

The animation was very nice but not dramatically impressive. Don’t get me wrong; it was visually enjoyable on the big screen, just not groundbreaking.

The plot is the typical post-apocalyptic story – a good survivor finds others and struggles against the evil survivors. 9 is the protagonist – a burlap bag-skinned doll with a zipper to access his electric innards. He is pretty clueless as to what he is or what is going on and proceeds on a journey of discovery in the desolated remains of a nameless city. Various snippets of the past show us that a semi-fascist (very Germanic looking – is it intentional or coincidence?) society hijacks a scientist’s discovery of how to give robots artificial intelligence, creating military robots that eventually turn against mankind. Not at all like Terminator…

The story is a bit disjointed and quite improbable in places. The ending seems pointless and illogical but doesn’t make it impossible to enjoy. I have read that it becomes more clear and enjoyable after a second or third viewing. No thank you. I suppose a little bit of mind-altering chemicals would make this a lot more believable and fun. Try that and let me know what you think…

The voices are supplied by a notable group of actors: Elijah Wood as 9, Christopher Plummer as 1, Martin Landau as 2, John C. Reilly as 5, Jennifer Connelly as 7 and Crispin Glover as 6. The voices fit the characters very well. No complaints on this aspect.


~Elric the Damned

Movie Review – Jennifer’s Body

jennifers_body_xlgJennifer’s Body is a classic teen slasher movie about cheerleaders and demonic possession.

If I were17 again, I would have given it more than the 6 (leaning towards 5) that old me gives it now.

I had arrived at the theater with no time to spare to see Paranormal Activity when the ticket chick said that only the first 3 rows of seats were available.  After a panicked scan of the other movie times, I decided on Jennifer’s Body (maybe it’s nostalgia, I don’t know).  All I knew about it was that it had Megan Fox, cheerleaders and some sort of satanic goings-on, and that was good enough for me.

While Megan Fox is nice enough to look at, she is not the world’s greatest actress.  She was convincing when her character was required to act as though she didn’t give a fig about anyone else, which was most of the time.  For an R movie, there was an appalling lack of nakedness – sigh.  Anyway, Megan is a hot cheerleader that begins to kill everyone after appearing to her best friend late at night covered in blood and spewing a spikey, black goo all over the kitchen.  The best friend has to stop her before everyone dies or some such nonsense.

This movie came from the same production team that did Juno.  However, they tried but failed to pull off the cutesy charm of Juno, which I loved.  The story was pretty decent and the acting was, well, there sort of, kinda.  I’ve seen worse.  It took me quite a while to figure out that the frizzy-haired teacher with glasses and a very familiar voice was J.K. Simmons from The Closer, where he is bald and no glasses.  It was an effective disguise only betrayed by his voice.

Rental at best.

~Elric the Damned

Movie Review – The X Files: I Want to Believe


The X Files: I Want to Believe was a poor attempt to revive the X Files for movies.

This uninspired ghost from the past just gets a 6.

While the usual elements were there, it was the pale reflection of a good episode. The studio limited the budget to $30 million (avg budget is around $70m these days) to reduce the risk of a lack of appeal to general audiences. The movie is set post-trial (last season finale) and Mulder has been in hiding for years. Fox and Scully are pretty much themselves but with a clumsy attempt to show that they have changed or moved on with their lives. It seemed like a half-hearted attempt to grow the characters. Failure of mission. Gillian Anderson seems to have aged significantly. She seems to be shrouded in a cloud of bad times and sorrow. Assistant Director Skinner makes a brief cameo adding little more than nostalgia.

The plot was interesting but lacked energy. The FBI offers amnesty to Mulder if he will help them determine if a psychic can help them find a missing agent. It actually developed kind of well and had a pretty interesting ending. However, they should have spent more time, detail and special effects dollars on the plot at the end. That would have stepped up the energy and interest.

It was nice to see two Battlestar alums in the cast. Callum Keith Rennie (Leoben the Cylon) plays one of the bad guys and does a nice job but nothing very impressive. The other was the priestess from Gemenon as a doctor interacting with Scully via video-conference. At least it looked like her.

Sadly, this was essentially a long, mediocre X Files episode. I write this with a heavy heart as the X Files is one of my all time favorite shows.

Movie Review – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the fourth installment in the series.

This contrived failure limps by with a 6.

Indiana Jones tracks down a Crystal Skull and the mythic temple in the Amazon from which it originated while battling the ruthless KGB agent (Cate Blanchett) who is also seeking it and its fabled powers. Don’t blame Harrison Ford for this being the worst of the four movies. He plays Indiana Jones well and keeps him in character. It’s not easy being such a stud when you’re 66 years old. Indy has an amazing punch and huge capacity to take damage for such an old guy, but he plays the character as an older man for the most part. His acting and character kept me sane and in my seat. This movie almost sunk to a 5 as I almost considered considering leaving.

Cate Blanchett did a decent job as Irina Spalko in her mad quest to get the skull and its purported powers. She was a pretty good bad guy but lacked the ruthless evil that the antagonists in the other three movies possessed. None of the bad guys in this movie were driven by the joy of hurting others like in the other movies. They were bad, but not evil. It was nice to see Karen Allen again. She was good reprising her role as Marion Ravenwood and seemed to relish it. Shia LaBeouf (Transformers, Disturbia, I Robot) was also pretty good as Mutt Williams and in his function as a draw for the younger movie crowd. It has been 17 years since the last Indiana Jones.

So why am I so unhappy? The movie seemed to be contrived. It seemed that they tried to jam too many references or gimmicks from the other movies into this one but did it poorly and superficially. Jones is sinking in quick sand and all they can find in the jungle to pull him out is a great big snake? No sticks or vines nearby? It wasn’t funny at all. Then there were several things that were just totally outrageous with no possibility of being believed: refrigerator, monkeys, jeep in tree, waterfalls, etc. Yes, this is supposed to push the limits, but some things are just too ridiculous to believe or enjoy. When two dozen trained KGB soldiers are firing at Indy with automatic weapons at short range, how can every single one of them completely miss him? Spielberg could have used fewer soldiers or had them start shooting when Indy was further away or had some cover. But no, why bother having any sense of reality? In so many cases, they made it so hard to believe in the movie when it was so unnecessary to make it like that. When they are actually exploring the various tombs and crypts, the movie glides back to its roots and is believable.

I liked the plot. It was the execution and script that sunk it. One category that I really enjoyed was that the movie used special effects similar to those from the 1980s. It kept the feel of the movie in line with the first three. It was a good nostalgic effect.

I love the Indiana Jones movies and walked into the theater wanting to enjoy the movie. But from the first scenes, it just made me angry and disappointed.

Movie Review – One Missed Call

One Missed CallOne Missed Call is a remake of the 2003 Japanese thriller.

While entertaining, this only rates a 6, almost a 7.

A woman is shocked to discover that her friends are dying.  Each one receives a voice mail from three days in the future from the phone of a person that is dying right now.  The message is the words or sounds that they will make when they die in three days.  Kind of neat idea.  The plot was pretty decent and generally made sense.  It was somewhat believable and predictable (don’t go into that building all by yourself!  Wait for backup…)  The ending did have a decent amount of suspense.

The acting was alright.  Edward Burns was the cop (looked familiar but I couldn’t place him.  From Saving Private Ryan).  Margaret Cho made a cameo as another cop at the station and did not impress.  The other actors were stock horror flick types and did a workable day’s work on it.

I enjoyed it, but it was not challenging or anything special.  As the credits rolled at the end, I heard a teen girl exclaim, “This was the worst movie ever!”  Everyone’s a critic…