Monday, February 19, 2018

Movie review: Fear Dot Com

 When there are four seemingly related deaths in New York City, Det Mike thinks they bear a striking resemblance to an unsolved case involving The Doctor. When Dept. of Health worker Terry gets involved, she and Mike team up to track down the killer who is broadcasting murders on the Internet. Before long they realize the victims all die within 48 hours of viewing a site called feardotcom.

Stephen Dorff (Det Mike), Natascha McElhone (Terry), Stephen Rea (Alistair, The Doctor), Udo Kier (Polidori).

Wow, a lot of harsh reviews of this one. Yes, this film was obviously riding the success wave of The Ring. It also seemed to steal from Untraceable and a few others. That said, I thought it was a pretty good flick. The movie kicks off with some interesting deaths right away and slams characters together for development before the blood can even dry. At that point the plot starts running away from us with some twists and turns and confusing side trips into individual fears. Punctuate with gratuitous torture shots of half-naked women and things get even more interesting.

Acting was mediocre by most. Dorff was a bit flat while McElhone seemed to try and compensate for him using over-animation. Rea was awesome as usual and Kier also delivered well.

Effects, gore, BOO moments, sets, and backgrounds were all nicely done if a bit lean on details. Sound and dialogue was decent throughout as was camera work. I think the film likely had a decent budget, and definitely a decent cast, but was probably put together hastily as evidenced by storyline shifts without explanation. Such as people somehow getting from one place to another without explanation, and no reason given for them going to the places. A bit disjointed at times.

Overall I don’t think this one deserves the hammering in reviews I have seen. It is a decent horror flick and there is a heck of a lot worse out there.

Violence, torture, nudity, language, blood, guts, and gore Oh my! So save this for adults.

Released: 2002
Reviewed: 2.5.18
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Horror, Slashers and Serial killers, Crime, Thriller, Horror

copyright ©2018 Dave Riedel

Friday, February 16, 2018

Movie review: Gods of Egypt

 Inspired by Egyptian mythology, god of darkness Set is determined to rule both the gods and mankind, starting with the murder of Ra. Ra's son, Horus, joins forces with a mortal thief and the goddess of love to stop Set, saving men and gods alike in an epic battle.

Brenton Thwaites (Bek), Courtney Eaton (Zaya), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Horus), Elodie Yung (Hathor), Rachael Blake (Isis), Bryan Brown (Osiris), Gerard Butler (Set), Chadwick Boseman (Thoth), Geoffrey Rush (Ra).

Gods of Egypt begins with a bit of backstory and plot setup before moving to the main event. The story is simple; Set wants to dominate everyone and kills Ra as a start. Horus stands against Set but is injured. Mortals help Horus and a battle for humanity begins. However, there is much more to this film. Along with some humor, we see some romance, ethical and moral questions, and growth by most every character in the film. The result is an enjoyable, fairly fast moving, film on several levels.

Acting was solid with Butler doing quite well in an action role that fit him perfectly. Thwaites was enjoyable and solid throughout. Rush as Ra also fit his role wonderfully. Yung, Eaton, Boseman, and the remainder of the supporting cast delivered well with good emotion and energy.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were larger than life and heavily blended with CGI, which was well done. The film felt like it had depth and physical substance. Action scenes were numerous, intense, and enjoyable. Dialogue was good, though some accents were a challenge. Sound and soundtrack are solid.

We really enjoyed Gods of Egypt. No, the story probably doesn't follow mythology exactly. But the film is quite entertaining with some laughs, action, moral revelations, and romance. Those who enjoy Egyptian mythology or action flicks should enjoy this one.

With some mild sexuality and nudity, plenty of strong violence and some gore, this really should be fine for teens and above.

Released: 2016
Reviewed: 1.30.18
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Mythology

copyright ©2018 Dave Riedel

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Movie review: Myths & Monsters

 Myths & Monsters takes a deeper look at the stories we all know and the history behind them.

Nicholas Day (Presenter)

The first season of Myths & Monsters includes 6 episodes covering heroes, villains, war, love, revolution, and death. Each episode is a self-contained examination of a popular story or myth using narration, animation, and brief commentary from historians, authors, and educators. The episodes not only tell the popular stories we all know, but provides more detail about the stories including some relevant history and lesser known facts. Commentary helps explain the stories and presents theories about their origin and style.

Not much acting here as commentary is presented as interviews or lectures. Day does nicely as Presenter.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds are minimal in the series which instead uses graphics, paintings, and animation. Presentation of historical items helps keep things interesting. Dialogue is solid and enjoyable. Sound and soundtrack are mild but fitting.

If you are someone who enjoys learning more about the common myths, stories, and legends we all know this series should appeal to you with short episodes that stick to the story.

Nothing here that would limit audience age.

Released: 2017
Reviewed: 1.25.18
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Documentary, Fantasy, TV Shows, British TV, Docuseries

copyright ©2018 Dave Riedel

Monday, February 12, 2018

Movie review: Pathfinder

 Following a battle between Vikings and Native Americans, young Viking Ghost is left behind. Raised by the tribe, Ghost becomes their victor when years later the Vikings return to eradicate the Native Americans.

Karl Urban (Ghost), Moon Bloodgood (Starfire), Russell Means (Pathfinder), Clancy Brown (Gunnar), Jay Tavare (Blackwing), Nathaniel Arcand (Wind In Tree), Ralf Moeller (Ulfar), Kevin Loring (Jester).

Pathfinder begins nicely with the Vikings arriving in North America and immediately waging war. The film slows for a moment as the left behind Viking boy, Ghost, is adopted by the Native Americans. Fast forward and the Vikings return to again wage war. But now Ghost is an adult and understands how the Vikings fight prompting him to lead the charge to save his people. The remainder of the film looks a lot like an entry from the Predator franchise.

Urban did a nice job in his role with solid emotion and energy. Bloodgood was enjoyable as always. Means was enjoyable and fitting in a role that fit him well, as was Brown. The remainder of the supporting cast was solid and delivered nicely.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were interesting and appear to be blended heavily with CGI, but presented well. Action scenes and stunt work in particular are very nicely done with a strong impact. Dialogue was decent. Sound and soundtrack are fitting.

Pathfinder is a solid action & adventure flick with a somewhat unique plot. Beyond that, the film doesn't add much to the genre, relying instead on action and guerilla warfare for entertainment. The result is a fairly entertaining film that moves at a good pace.

With added sexuality, nudity, foul language, and a whole lot of violence save this one for older teens and above.

Released: 2006
Reviewed: 1.24.18
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Action & Adventure, Period Pieces

copyright ©2018 Dave Riedel

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