Film Report #1

 Movies watched this week:

Constantine (2005)


This flick actually improves in second viewing. First time I saw it, I thought is was just a hodgepodge of recycled ideas about demons, angels, heaven, hell, and all that jazz. Second time around I still found it a hodgepodge, but at least it was an entertaining, well paced hodgepodge. Mind you, I’ve never read Hellblazer, the comic book series this movie is based upon, so I can’t say if it does justice to the literary source, but on it’s own, it’s a pretty entertaining film in the Dark Fantasy sub-genre. 

Keanu Reeves is basically fine, although a bit muted, but Rachel Weisz is fantastic. She imbues her character with the right amount of warmth and skepticism, as the lady cop who asks Keanu (as exorcist tough guy John Constantine) to help her find out what made her twin sister commit suicide.  Lots of great special effects and creepy imagery in that one. It doesn’t really make sense, not even within the boundaries of it’s own world, but the movie zips fast enough (except for a lull in the second act) that you just don’t care. By the way, the movie was supposed to be titled Hellblazer, as the comic, but was changed so that people won’t confuse it with Hellboy, another comic book adaptation that came out that same year.

The Eye (2002)


I’m a fan of Asian cinema, and of Asian horror cinema in particular, and this film, while not the best in the genre (try Audition for some nerve racking shockfest), is far from being the worst. The Eye, an import from Hong Kong, directed by the Pang Brothers, is the tale of a young woman, who’s been blind since she was two years old, and gets a cornea transplant which lets her see the world basically for the first time. But that’s not all she sees. Just like Hailey Joel Osmont, Mun starts seeing dead people. She sees all kinds of ghosts and apparitions around her, until she feels she is losing her mind. She enlists the help of her psychologist in order to help her find out what’s going on (and he of course has to believe her first). The film is slow moving and even a little boring at times, but it also has great atmosphere, a very good performance by Angelica Lee as Mun, and some truly creepy, frightening moments.

Many Asian horror flicks deal with ghosts and demons, and The Eye is no exception (the spiritual world is an integral part of Asian culture), and although Asian horror enthusiasts has already seen a movie or two similar to this (I can’t say for sure, but it seems Ringu was a big influence on The Eye), this flick is a well made, subtle horror tale.

The Eye has a sequel (which has nothing to do with the original) and an American remake is in the works (naturally!)

Flight of Fury (2007)


Ok, first of all, this is a bad movie. But I don’t really want to talk about this tale of a retired army colonel (or something) who is sent to Afghanistan to retrieve a State-of-the-art stealth fighter stolen by terrorists, but about the career of one of action cinema’s formidable action movie stars.

I’m talking about Steven Seagal.

Steven Seagal, Ikido master and a retired CIA operative (or something) started his film career with some great action/crime entries like Above the Law and Out For Justice, directed by some top action names such as Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, and who also directed Seagal later in Under Siege). He starred alongside great actors like Pam Grier and Tommy Lee Jones, and basically made good, clean, efficient, brutal and kick ass action pictures which were distributed theatrically.

But then Seagal suffered the same fate as fellow action has-beens Jean-Cleaude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgern (and to a lesser degree, Wesley Snipes), and was relegated to the Land That Time Forgot, or in other words – the land of direct-to-video movies.

For the past six or seven years, Seagal has been making them fast, cheap and furious. His movies never reach the cinemaplexes, but stop at the video stores, and quality has suffered as a result. Why did that happen? I honestly can’t tell. Did Seagal stop being a bankable star? I guess so. (I think Exit Wounds was his last theatrical release, but don’t hold me to that).

It’s always a shame when action stars deteriorate to crap like Flight of Fury. Seagal is maybe older and chubbier, but he still has charisma and the moves, but he must find better scripts and directors, and fast. We want another Executive Decision. Come on, Steven!  


1 comment so far

  1. Shel Berman on

    So this is what you have been doing the last week?
    What crap! in the first two I fell asleep in the middle and the last I won’t bother to watch.
    Give us some interesting stuff!

    Lior: You won’t bother to watch Flight of Fury?! But it has two lesbian spies kissing!
    To my defence, I watched it at work, so there you have it. Hope next batch will accomodate your artistic tendencies in a more satisfying manner. And I stand by The Eye, I think it’s creepy, albeit slow moving and yes, can lull you to sleep if you’re tired enough.

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