I've been posting reviews frequently lately that some may think what I really do in real life. Well, for a start, I work from Monday to Friday like most people, from 8:00 AM to indefinite time (sometimes I'm back at 9:00 PM, sometimes at 5:00 PM).

Usually I watch at least one movie each day, although on some circumstances I don't watch any. Weekends are when I watch multiple movies. When I'm watching series, I could watch them from morning to afternoon, only taking some breaks for a short while.

I have a long list of movies (including TV series) that I've watched and I think it will grow bigger and bigger. Actually, I'm rather picky when deciding what to watch, but my list consists of animated movies (American, French, Japanese), action movies, thriller, horror, drama, comedy, some documentaries, and some mixture between those genres. For TV series, I become more and more interested in Japanese taiga drama (right now I'm watching Toshiie & Matsu), while also watching series like House, CSI Miami, CSI Las Vegas, Heroes, Mad Men (in progress) and other series.

Movie Junkie is actually my way to achieve some goals. First is to share my experience in watching movies, then to learn how to make a good review (even now I still think that I haven't met my quality expectations yet), also I want to improve my writing skills. Other than these goals, I'm hoping that I could know some or lots of people that have the same interest with me, that is, watching movies (There are already some people that seem to be reading my posts recently and I'm very excited with it). Finally, I sometimes eager to learn about blog design, so I would like to improve myself in that area too (so far, still very mediocre design).

So, that's all folks. I hope my reviews could be helpful to readers, and I hope in time I would be able to improve myself, too.


Young People Fucking

Release Year: 2008
Starring: Aaron Abrams, Carly Pope, Josh Dean, Kristin Booth, Sonja Bennett, Josh Cooke, Diora Baird, Callum Blue, Ennis Desmer, Natalie Lisinska, and Peter Oldring
Directed by: Martin Gero
Written by: Martin Gero & Aaron Abrams
IMDB: 6.8 (1,705 votes)
RT: 80% (5 reviews)

A very provocative title, isn’t it? But wait, it’s not a porn, actually it was a comedy about how five couples with different stages of relationship deal with sex.

First was best friends Matt and Kristen, then husband Andrew his wife Abby, followed by Mia and Eric a pair of exes, Jamie and Ken who had their first date, and finally the roommates Gord and Dave and Gord’s girlfriend Inez. The latter was not a threesome, but rather Gord wanted Inez to have sex with Dave.

Of course, if everything went smoothly the movie would be definitely a porn. On the contrary of being smooth, each couple stumbled on different problems. The movie will take you from each stage of prelude, foreplay, sex, interlude, orgasm, and afterglow. Each couple would, in the end, find resolution to their problem.

Overall, it was a rather funny movie, not hilarious, but just fun. How the writer of the story managed to weave the story so well deserved a praise. Rather than disgusted, I felt amused. The problems in the movie were not made-up stuffs, but problems that could happen to every one of us, and this is the fine point of the movie.

While the story could have been more detailed, doing so could actually derail the film from its true focus. So, I couldn’t complain too much about that. Acting may not be stellar, but everyone played well enough to make this flick enjoyable. For that, I gave it a 7.0.



Release Year: 2007
Starring: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Simon Abkarian, Gabrielle Lopes
Directed by: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud
Written by: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud
IMDB: 8.1 (11,879 votes)
RT: 96% (115 reviews)
Metacritic: 90 (31 reviews)

I’ve waited for quite some time to watch this movie. I had a pretty high expectation on it, especially after reading some people rating it pretty high. Fortunately, it was a fantastic movie.

Women ought to watch this movie, because I believe they would be enjoying this one. Sure there were plenty of political messages here, but let’s not going nuts and accusing this movie as discrediting Iran. I think what happened in the movie could’ve happened anywhere, and thus, universal.

The animation was also amazing. In the extra (the making of), I found out that everything was drawn by hand. As almost the entire movie was in black and white and some shades of grey, coloring was somewhat minimal. The style of the animation was also excellent, setting it apart from those of Japanese animes and American animated movies.

You can choose whether you would have the audio in French or in English. I watched it in French, though. Interestingly enough, the dialogues (and monologues) were recorded without the presence of the movie, so go figure.

Overall, it was definitely impressive. The plot, the animation, and the voice acting, were all great. To award that degree of awesomeness, I gave it a 10.0. A very recommended movie!


Release Year: 2008
Starring: Rhona Mitra, Sean Pertwee, Bob Hoskins, MyAnna Buring, Adrian Lester
Directed by: Neil Marshal
Written by: Neil Marshal
IMDB: 6.3 (12,393 votes)
RT: 48% (61 reviews)
Metacritic: 51 (14 reviews)

Yet another apocalyptic flick. Wait, but this added interesting elements into the film that it made me pretty excited. Sure, while I decided to watch Cassandra’s Dream with some expectation that it would be a great movie, I chose Doomsday without setting any expectation except thinking that it’s probably just another disaster movie.

Well, lo and behold! Here we got guns, arrows, punks, cannibals, castle and virus! Not that typical combination, eh? And did I mention graphical violence? Yup, this one packed a nasty set of violent scenes. Blood and gore, but somehow would not scare you, but entertains you. Funny, no?

Anyway, don’t expect stellar acting here, though. The core plot was actually typical, only the additional elements made it a bit different than other similar movies.

For keeping me entertained throughout the movie, I’d give it a 7.0. Well, what do you expect? It’s still yet another disaster movie.

Cassandra's Dream

Release Year: 2008
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, Tom Wilkinson, Sally Hawkins, Hayley Atwell
Directed by: Woody Allen
Written by: Woody Allen
IMDB: 6.9 (8,897 votes)
RT: 51% (90 reviews)
Metacritic: 49 (31 reviews)

I found it a bit hard to watch this one. The flow was rather slow, so slow that I almost fell asleep. Colin Farrell played well, though. In fact, I believe he performed better than Ewan McGregor here. The supporting cast were also great, and probably the only weakness of this movie was in its pace.

The plot was rather similar to Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and some other movies where small problem escalated into a fatal one. Yes, there was the twist in the end and that’s what I like from any movie. Unlike Before the Devil Knows, there would be minimum action involved here, and that most of the movie would be spent on exploring the characters’ motivation and the implications of what they’ve commited.

Overall, this movie was fair, well played, but with lack of suspense. I think this ought to be a story with a suspense, and not purely a drama. For the final score, I gave it a 6.5.


The Condemned

Release Year: 2007
Starring: Steve Austin, Vinnie Jones, Robert Mammone, Victoria Mussett, Manu Bennett, Madeleine West, Rick Hoffman
Directed by: Scott Wiper
Written by: Scott Wiper, Rob Hedden, Andrew Hedden
RT: 15% (from 93 votes), IMDB: 6.0 (12,212 votes), Metacritic: 23 (from 24 reviews)

Death Match on an island! The participants: 10 convicts awaiting death penalties. The prize: freedom.

But those were not what made me watch the movie. What made me watched it was Vinnie Jones! The big guy always impressive (at least to me) whenever he did a movie. Steve Austin was also in the movie, but the rest of the cast were relatively new to me.

This movie’s plot was already set for a clash between McStarley and Conrad from the very beginning and what happened in the end was also predictable, although it could be modified to be better. For acting, well, you don’t need lots of talking here, just shooting and punching and kicking. The too-coolness of Steve Austin was too much, because everyone would have at least an anxiety for being pitted against a horde of convicts, each with the same goal. Only Paco (Manu Bennett) displayed the human side on this one and don’t forget McStarley, maniacal character but amusing.

"What do you think this is? A fancy dress party?"

I recalled Battle Royale, a Japanese movie with the same idea with this movie. I think it was sometime around 2000. That movie was way, way more sinister than the Condemned in a way that it pitted school students against each other in an island. The goal was the same: to be the last person standing. Now, which is more horrible: a bunch of convicts killing each other or a bunch of students killing each other?

While Ian Breckel didn’t represent the government, Battle Royale was a government program, although not aired publicly. If you like the Condemned, I suggest you take a look at Battle Royale.

For being typical man-to-man death match, I give the movie a 5.0. Low one, but honestly, I like Vinnie Jones in this movie.


Release Year: 2007
Starring: Eva Mendes, David Krumholtz, Rob Brown, Katie Cassidy, Jay Hernandez, Eric Lively, Monet Mazur, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Andre Braugher
Directed by: Bill Guttentag
Written by: Bill Guttentag
IMDB: 5.7 (825 votes)

Live! Is what happens when reality shows got so boring and you need a fresh one to throw a big punch to the competition. Your TV station is now on the edge of a cliff and you would do anything to get the number of audience. Yeah, some people would curse on it, but I personally bet that there would still be millions watching the show. It’s human nature, folks.

Who would participate on such freak show? Mostly desperate people who felt that they got nothing to lose, or thrill seeker, or people who just crazy enough. Yet in the movie, the final six participants consisted of five thrill seeker and one that was really desperate.

Six people, six bullets and one of them is live bullet. The one who dies will get nothing while the other gets $5 million. Seems a highly probable chance to win it, right? At first, the risk of getting yourself dead would be 16.7%, at the second turn it will rise to 20%, then 25% at the third turn, 33.3% at the fourth, and 50% at the fifth and 100% at the sixth turn.

Initially, I predicted that it would end on the sixth turn, because that would be a great drama, and that the sixth to pull the trigger would be the one so desperate enough to have that money. It would be ironic, right? That the others won money that they were not actually need it for (they actually thought they needed fame instead of the money). Alas, I was wrong, and when the show ended, the potential for that irony just gone away. It was a great pity though.

The cast was not that of famous people, but they played well. Eva Mendes was great and the participants were also great. Just look at the contradicting emotions the night before the show and during the show. It showed that no matter how ready you think you are to die, nobody is ready enough to pull the trigger.

For being rather a unique movie, I give this movie a 7.0. It could have been better, though. Also the start of the movie was rather too slow and uninteresting. Besides, is it really legal to air such show?


Release year: 2007
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendes, Ed Harris, Keke Palmer, and Luis Guzman
Directed by: Renny Harlin
Written by: Matthew Aldrich
RT: 20% (10 votes), IMDB: 6.1 (4,869 votes)

This movie was trying to be a mystery flick, but failed to do so. I could guess the answer after the first third of the movie. It was simply about good cop, bad cop, good cop gone bad for a wrong reason (a silly an unnecessary one, actually), and a father – daughter relationship.

The cast were not bad actually, but their performance were not stellar either. I guess the weakness was rather in the storyline. How predictable it was and weak logic surrounding it were two things that made the entire movie looked weak.

Tom Cutler’s fingerprint ought to be left behind on the door knob when he first entered the house, because at that time he didn’t wear his gloves. So, the cops should be able to identify him easily. Because Cutler was a cop, then his print would have been in the database. Another weak logic was in Eddie Lorenzo. If he could resist from being at the bribe list, he surely could hold his temper there. Funny that a good cop went down because of a silly misunderstanding. Threatening Rose would also unnecessary. What’s the motive? It would have been another story if Eddie was in the list because that would give him a motive. Instead, it was Tom who was in the list.

Somehow, guessing who put Tom at the crime scene was not that difficult. The story was rather similar to any episode of CSI Miami. You got some guest stars, you could narrow them down, and then you know which one, because it won’t be any other than the guest stars. That’s why I also think CSI Miami sucks in plotting a good mystery.

For its effort to be a mystery flick, I give the Cleaner a 6.0. Messy and uninteresting plot seemed to push aside the potential of the cast.


The Dark Knight

Release Year: 2008
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy.
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Written by: Christoper Nolan, David S. Goyer, and Jonathan Nolan
RT: 94% (193 reviews), IMDB: 9.6 (7,041 votes), Metacritic: 82 (39 reviews)

Finally! I went to see this just after work yesterday. Although I think that the film was too overhyped, the main interest that made me excited enough to see it was Heath Ledger’s final role as The Joker.

Well, why not Christian Bale or Aaron Eckhart? The problem is, if Batman dominates the screen rather than Bruce Wayne, then there would be hard to appraise Bale’s acting behind the mask. The voice? Forget it, the voice sounded the same as Batman Begins. The action? From the first Batman movie back then, not the Adam West’s Batman though, the bat suit was always the obstacle to mobility. It was like looking at a caped cyborg. It was different with Spider Man, where mobility looked a lot better.

What about as Bruce Wayne? Pretty good, but not spectacular. Sorry Mr. Bale, but I liked you more in Rescue Dawn and the Empire of the Sun (I haven’t seen the Machinist and I think I would revisit the American Psycho). Besides, Bruce Wayne got shorter screen time. The only memorable act was in Batman Begins when Bruce attended the trial of the killer who shot his parents. Honestly, I think Robert Downey, Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark is currently the best there is.
Let’s take a look at Harvey Dent, then. Unfortunately, Harvey lacked menacing looks. Of course, he was “half-menacing” after half of his face got burnt, but even then the “good half” still couldn’t be menacing enough. Perhaps too cute for Eckhart to play Dent?

What about Maggie Gyllenhaal? I definitely don’t think that she was the right pick to replace Katie Holmes. Why not Rachel Weisz or Natalie Portman? Maggie looked too old for the role. Not that she couldn’t act, but it was simply a matter of compatibility between the actress and the role.
Gary Oldman remained great, as well as Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. I believe these three will remain in the third installment.

As for the Joker, well he was the star from start to finish. I even thought: “Is this the Dark Knight or the Joker”. There have been only a few movies in which the excitement and power came from the antagonist rather than the protagonist, and the Dark Knight is definitely one of them. When you look closely at him, you would not say that he’s a vicious criminal. No, he’s not vicious. He’s simply crazy, but not a gung-ho type, no. He’s a calculating (but not a scheming, like what he admitted to Dent), crazy criminal. He enjoys doing crime. The goal of doing it was the pleasure of doing it. Remember Natural Born Killer? Well, sort of that kind of criminal, although he didn’t seem to be naturally born to kill. He got issues and based on those issues, madness consumed him.

The plot was rather usual. I didn’t see anything extraordinary, not from the story, not from the directing. So, in the end, the most powerful factor from the movie was simply Heath Ledger’s performance as well as some contribution from Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine. Although the plot was a bit similar to the Batman Begins, there was an opposite ending.

What’s beyond the Dark Knight, then? The mention of “cats” by Alfred immediately dragged my mind towards Catwoman. So, as the Dark Knight was left alone again at the end of the movie, adding Catwoman would be a good idea. The million-dollar question would be who would play the Joker? Maybe nobody could be as powerful as Heath, and maybe it would be best to have him locked in the asylum and just pop out a new one. But Joker also said that he and Batman were bound to combat each other forever. So, initially Joker was on the layout of the third part. Poor Heath. Still another powerful nemesis could be added, and it could be the Killer Croc. But then again, who knows?

I was hoping to give this one a perfect 10, but I couldn’t because with only one power factor, the movie got only an 8.0. And that was mostly for the Joker.

Red Cliff Pt. 1

Release Year: 2008
Starring: Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhang Fengyi, Chang Chen, Hu Jun, Zhao Wei, Lin Chi-Ling, Nakamura Shido, You Yong.
Directed by: John Woo
Written by: John Woo, Chen Han, Sheng Heyu, based on the Chronicle of The Three Kingdoms.
IMDB: 7.4 (453 votes)

Apparently, this was a two-part movie. Yet despite its length, it failed to capitalize the real story of the Romance of Three Kingdoms. One thing that I despise from movie makers was when the creativity went too far that it ruined the expectations. This was seen on The Three Kingdoms that starred Andy Lau. Way too re-created by the screenwriters that I watched it in utter disappointment.

Although Red Cliff wasn’t as awful as The Three Kingdoms, it was a disappointing one. The adaptation was crap. The cast were rather unsuitable for the roles, and it wasted a lot of screen time for pointless scenes.

The key of the real Red Cliff episode was Zhuge Liang. Zhou Yu was the second major character and Lu Su as the third. As for what it was all about, it was all about Zhuge Liang’s brilliance who not only brought victory to the allied Wu and Liu Bei (the kingdom of Shu hasn’t been established by then), but also managed to outwit Zhou Yu completely.

In the novel, Zhou Yu was actually attempted to eliminate Zhuge Liang repeatedly only to meet failure every time. Zhuge Liang was actually able to anticipate all of Zhou Yu’s strategies and intentions that in the end this killed Zhou Yu not with blade, but with wit.

Also, Zhou Yu didn’t actually visited Liu Bei, but he invited Liu Bei so that he could kill Liu Bei and one of Liu Bei’s wife was actually survived the attack. Liu Bei was also so upset that he dropped his son to the ground because he thought that Zhao Yun was a lot more valuable than his son (and he was right because Liu Chan was a stupid successor).

The battle plot was also flawed. There were no encounters between Cao Cao’s army and the allied army before the naval battle really began. Wu’s armada would fight the naval battle while Liu Bei’s army would intercept the fleeing Cao Cao’s army.

Another disappointing divergence between the real story and the movie was when Zhuge Liang debated with Sun Quan’s advisors before he managed to forge the alliance. Yes, it would be too verbose, but the point of the story was not only the grandeur of battlefield, but also in strategies and morals. It would’ve been very entertaining if it was told as is.

The cast wasn’t suitable with the roles. Zhuge Liang was supposed to look a lot more tricky but calm. Takeshi Kaneshiro was rather lacking in portraying that wily advisor. He was rather too tense in doing it. Tony Leung was too calm for his role because Zhou Yu was actually more devious and short-tempered. Liu Bei was portrayed less charming, Guan Yu less menacing and majestic. Only Zhao Yun and Zhang Fei got a somewhat great portrayal. However, instead the scene where Zhang Fei was doing calligraphy, it would be better that he was doing his drinking.

It seemed that the movie also wrote off Huang Gai, Xu Shu, and Pang Tong’s role in it (maybe they would appear on the second part?), and Zhuge Liang’s feat of borrowing 150,000 arrows from Cao Cao. Princess Sun’s scenes should have never existed at all, because it was not a romance flick. Last time the novel was transformed into a romance flick (The Legendary Prime Minister Zhuge Liang), it was an absolute disaster, although I think Adam Cheng was rather suitable for the role.

The production was actually ambitious. Yet despite the big budget, the execution was sub-par. Not from the directing, but from the story and the cast. I had a great expectation from this movie, but in the end I must say the TV series of the novel trumped this one by a wide margin.

For part 1, I give the score of 6.0.

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Release Year: 2008
Starring: Freddie Highmore, Sarah Bolger, Mary-Louise Parker, Joan Plowright, Martin Short, David Strathairn, Nick Nolte
Directed by: Mark Waters
Written by: Karey Kirkpatrick, David Berenbaum, John Sayles
RT: 79% (122 reviews), IMDB: 7.0 (8,199 votes), Metacritic: 62 (30 reviews)

Based on a book by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, this children movie starred Freddie Highmore who played double roles as Jared and Simon Grace (I actually didn't realize about this until I read it on Wikipedia. Silly me!). Just like other similar movies, this do not think this movie offered something new. Obviously, I haven't read the book yet, so I couldn't tell if this movie followed the book closely or if there were some loose parts. From what I know from Wikipedia, most of the contents from the fourth book were left out.

What made this movie rather different was that it added a slightly adult issue regarding the relationship between Jared's father and mother which was collapsing. Still, with all those movies like Harry Potter, Golden Compass, and Chronicles of Narnia, I regard this one as "just another children movie".

As for sequels, well, there are two more books on this series, so a sequel would be more likely to happen sometime in the next few years, especially that most of the receptions were positive.

Would I recommend this movie? Yeah, you bet. This one is rather unique. With some light humour and plenty of CGIs this would be able to entertain you. For a final score, I'd give it a 7.0.


Release year: 2008
Starring: Ryan Phillipe, Abbie Cornish, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Channing Tatum
Directed by Kimberly Peirce
Written by Kimberly Peirce & Mark Richard
RT: 65% (131 reviews), IMDB: 6.5 (3275 votes), Metacritic: 61 (35 reviews)

Stop-loss policy is described ala mobster language: “When I thought I was out, they pulled me back in”. This movie told the story of several young soldiers that went back from Iraq and the implications of the war to them. Somehow, none of them could actually shake off the shadows of their moments in Iraq.

SSG Brandon L. King was stop-lossed by the military and throughout the movie, it told how he dealt with the issue, how it affected his family, how he went AWOL and how he finally resolved the matter. Like a lot of other soldiers who came back from war, he was also haunted by an incident involving his unit and how he then realized that instead of fighting for protecting USA, the government was actually waging for a different reason. Essentially, King represented soldiers who got fed up by war and felt guilty for whatever happened to them and their fellow soldiers, as well as whatever they’ve done during the service.

Michelle and King’s family represented the society which grew tired of the war and questioned what good would come from the war.

Pfc. Tommy Burgess was a kind of soldier who failed to return to “normal” life. Frustration led him to drinking and eventually being booted out of the military. For someone with other talents, being booted out from the military would not affect much, but for soldiers like Tommy who thought that being a soldier was the only thing that he could do best would definitely destroy his morale. Feeling helpless, the drinking got worse and what would be worse than drinking?

Sgt. Steve Shriver was also another casualty of war. I wasn’t sure whether he was also stop-lossed, but he promised his superior that he would re-enlist as a sniper to “bail out” King, who got so deep in the trouble. Unfortunately, in the end Michelle left him after she thought that Steve preferred to be married to the military than to her.

Rico Rodriguez represented the casualties of war, physically. Blinded, lost one arm and limb, what could have been done to continue his life? For what good his sacrifice was? I watched it in horror that if the war is to be prolonged further, how many Ricos would be there? Worse, could the society treat people like Rico as normal? Would they be given jobs? Amazingly, Rico still felt grateful that he was still alive, although before King visited him, nobody did (not even his family, probably).

In the end, Augustine, Rico’s younger brother enlisted to service, too. How tragic it is, that watching the entire generation ruined by an unnecessary war.

The film was well performed and that it covered a lot of issues related to war and the implications. This is not a movie about the innocence of civilians out there in the battlefield just like what was depicted by The Battle for Haditha. Instead, it is a movie about issues on the other side, the soldiers’, and it became the main strength of this movie.

What I don’t like mostly was the ending. To me, it didn’t make sense at all. After all he did throughout the movie? Why did he finally take that decision? To what end? I was pretty much disappointed with how the movie ended. It’s as if the entire thing happened was for nothing.

Despite its ending, I would definitely recommend this movie. It would act as a reminder, especially for Americans, that those people out there in Iraq deserve a normal life too. Denying them their rights would not be fair. If nobody wants to enlist to the military again, that should be regarded as “we’re fed up by wars, enough is enough.”

The final score: 8.0.


The Bank Job

I first saw Jason Statham in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. I think that was the first time I felt that British movies are great. After that I saw Snatch, and then Mean Machine, Transporter 1 and 2, and then Crank. This one was equally enjoyable, but honestly, I like Lock, Stock, Snatch and Mean Machine.

Okay, back to the Bank Job, the story itself was based on actual event, although the characters’ names have been changed. The adaptation was good, though. As for the cast, they were good, but the acting was not that powerful.

In the end, however, the movie was enjoyable enough, but it could have been better. And for the final score, I gave it a 6.5.

September Dawn

Regarded as an anti-Mormon propaganda, the movie was rather good actually, ignoring whether or not it was authentically accurate. I see it from a neutral point of view, and on the usual aspects of my reviews: acting and plot.

Although not as graphic as Pathfinder or Apocalypto, but the violence in this movie was clear. It was always about lunatic fanatics. This was when once again, religion became the source of evil rather than good. I felt very disgusted by the killings. How cowardly they were, attempting to borrow the hands of the Indians rather than conducting the killing themselves (although in the end they would do the killings).

The good, the bad, and the emotionally disturbed

I believe the cast was also great. Every one of them portrayed their roles well. Jon Voight and Jon Gries especially great. So, overall it was a rather balanced movie, between the script and the acting. One thing that was a bit annoying was the scenes where Jonathan tried to tame the horse. I think that was somewhat overdone.

For final score, I give it an 8.0; and for an article about the Mountain Meadows massacre you can see it here.


I spent the first half of the movie wondering what was this all about. I initially stopped watching it because the story went on and on without a clear meaning at all. After a while, I resumed watching it and thank God the last half was more alive and interesting. In fact, I felt "awakened" with that sudden plot twist. Suddenly the movie ceased to feel “timid”.

For acting, I didn’t see anything powerful, so I guess this one scored a mere average on this aspect. So, in the end, the only strength of this movie was only on that plot twist. Unfortunately it was rather too late. Still, I’d give it a 6.5 for this one.

The Castle of Cagliostro

The Castle of Cagliostro (ルパン三世 カリオストロの城, Rupan Sansei: Kariosutoro no Shiro is an old animated movie (it was made in 1979!) from Hayao Miyazaki, who created Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and another bunch of movies. I really enjoyed the movie, from start to finish.

It was funny and despite its rather predictable ending, you would still enjoy it. Unlike Miyazaki’s other movies, this one had a wider cast and the lead role was a man, Arsene Lupin III. The graphics were not as great and colorful as Spirited Away, though.

For being entertaining enough, I give it a 7.5.


I was impressed by this rather old movie that I’ve decided to watch it again a few days ago. It wasn’t about the plot, because the plot was following a rather simple formula: Friendship and success ruined by a woman and greed.

The strength of this movie, however, was the portrayal of Nicky Santoro by Joe Pesci. I believe he was significantly remembered because of this role. Don’t let his posture fools you, he could beat a man to death because of a rather minor offensive words, and using simply a pen and his fists.

Ace Rothstein was rather of the opposite of Nicky. Calculating and calm, De Niro’s portrayal was great, too. The other key character was Ginger, played by Sharon Stone. I couldn’t help but feeling disgusted by her. It’s all about money, after all. If it wasn’t because of her, the entire thing could have been better. Still, Stone portrayed her very well.

Overall, it was a movie with a great cast. My favorite was Pesci, and without him I don’t think it could be a great movie. Final score: 8.0.

The Battle For Haditha

"The first casualty of war is innocence"

The above was the tagline of Platoon, a war movie which took the stage at the Vietnam war. Indeed, the entire sentence captured the pure essence of war, any wars. The Battle For Haditha exactly visualized this fact accurately.

I watched this movie about a week ago and I couldn't help but thinking that the victims of a war and any wars are the civilians first, then the soldiers the second. Nobody sane enough would have wanted to have a war raging on. We can't blame the resistance, we can't blame the civilians, and we can't blame the soldiers. The only side that we should blame at would be the ones who pulled the strings, the puppeteers.

Let's be honest, the Iraq war was never been for the sake of Iraq and even so, it was never for the sake of democracy. For the Americans? I don't think so. In fact, how many has been spent to fund the war?

Enough for the crap talk, anyways. The plot was smart enough not to create a one-sided opinion. You wouldn't be blaming the civilians, the soldiers, or the resistance. It would be more likely that you would be blaming the war itself.

Acting may not be the main strength of the movie, but compared to other war movies, this one is rather unique. I believe it deserved a 7.5.

Rocket Science

At a glance, this is a teen movie, but with much better quality. I was attracted to watching it after I've read a recommendation from the internet. After it's been idle on my shelf, finally I watched it yesterday. It could have been better, though. Fortunately, unlike other "high school movies", this one managed to set itself apart from the pack.

The acting was great, and the film was rather enjoyable. The only thing that rather confused me was whether the main plot was actually the debate competition or simply about relationship between Ginny and Hal. Either way, none of it seemed to be resolved. Hal never won Ginny, and he didn't win the competition too. It was rather surprising that Hal and Ben failed to anticipate the disqualification from the competition. They should've known whether their participation would be legit or not. If not, why bother to participate?

As for Ginny, I considered her as the antagonist. Recruiting a stuttered student for a debate competition? Come on, what's more cruel than that? Also, if she didn't like Hal at all, she should have just dodge the kiss. No need to make that bloke's life miserable because it's already miserable enough.

One more thing, I'm baffled. Do debate contests done in the way they were done in Rocket Science? If debating means talking as fast as Vicky Pollard, then how could the audience digest the matter being debated? Debates should be all about how reasonable and accurate your arguments are, not about talking faster than speeding bullet. Gosh, if only there are speeching tickets...

Overall, I give it a 7.0. Good potential, but somehow to me, it missed the point somewhere.



This blood and gore packed movie was filmed in a 300-style. Despite the "artistic" look, the plot itself seemed to be typical of "one man killing machine". And yes, it had a rather similar flow like Apocalypto (the second half of Apocalypto, to be exact). Acting was rather "so-so", and rather the leading roles were played by swords and blood. The whole plot was rather "generic", thus nothing new offered here.

Overall, the main strength and the only one positive point was its look, but not the content nor the quality of the acting. Even so, I gave it a 5.0 as the final score.

By the way, the picture above is rather odd, isn't it? Usually decapitation cuts the neck leaving the area below the nose to the, at least, jaw, intact. But I don't see the mouth. So, I assumed that Ghost yanked the helmet so hard that the Viking lost his wig and the helmet, but not his head. Yup, that must have been a wig and a helmet.


This movie has great script & great acting. What else would you want from a movie? It managed to deal with abortion issue neatly, I think. Despite the strengths, I wonder if it was realistic enough to expect anyone would behave exactly like in the movie. Tell me what would you do if you're on Juno's shoes? I bet most of you ladies would panic. And how would your parents react to that kind of news? Would they be as supporting as Mac and Bren? I doubt it. Generally, parents would go into berserk or crying. But that didn't happen to Mac and Bren.

Mac: Did you see that coming?
Bren: Yeah... but I was hoping she was expelled, or into hard drugs.
Mac: Yeah, that was my first instinct too...

I was amazed when I watched that scene. I wished that every parent would be as understanding as these two. Of course, that would be too hopeful.

The way the movie explore the abortion issue was also great. Juno knew she wasn't ready to keep the baby, but on the other hand she couldn't just throw it away or even abort it. Yes initially she thought of abortion, but she thought of a win-win solution to that issue, which was to let a couple to adopt the child. The couple would be happy, Juno would be able to continue her school without having to babysit her child, and the baby would be saved from doom.

Ellen Page was great, the entire cast were great, but I must say it must have been the script that made the entire movie great. My only issue was with the realism factor. Come on, how many similar cases (in percentage) could have ended up the Juno-style? Even to this day, there are still many would-be children killed by abortion. Pro choice or pro life? Well, I'd say both are choices.

Ellen Page was nominated for Oscar for her role as Juno, but apparently Marion Cotillard's was even better in portraying her role as Edith Piaf.

Overall, I'd give the movie a 9.5 (I still think it's too good to be real).

The Onion Movie

Right after I watched Chaos Theory, I grabbed The Onion Movie. Honestly, I was hesitated in buying the movie. The fact that Steven Seagal was in it made me think too many times before I checked the internet and saw some good opinions about it.

Well, I like parodies, so essentially, I like the movie. Yes, it sometimes went too far, but in the world of humor, I think it would be forgivable. Just don't expect this movie to be able to escape condemnation from the Middle Eastern.

From "Internet crash boosts productivity" to "Martyrdom made easy", most but not all the jokes were pretty good. But the smile on my face suddenly vanished whenever the Cockpuncher shows up.

The rewarding experience from watching this movie was simply I found a new source of laughs (that would be Onion's website) apart from Cracked.

For the efforts to ridicule, the movie deserved a 7.0. Could have been better, but Seagal ruined it.

Here's Martyrdom Made Easy:

via videosift.com

Chaos Theory

Just finished watching this a few hours ago, and I think it was quite good. I must admit that apart from Reynolds, only Stuart Townsend managed to somehow deliver a good performance. The rest of the cast were simply "so-so".

Initially I was intrigued by the title. Chaos Theory seemed like a promising theme, just like what were offered by No Country For Old Men, where a mere simple thing could entwine the destinies of many people, and to be more precise, displayed accurately by The Theory of Everything, one of the CSI's episodes in season 8.

The movie, unfortunately, stopped at Frank's unfortunate way of discovering that something has been awfully wrong all this time. And that's that. So what? Susan still loves him, Jessie, too, why taking it too hard? I mean, there's nothing wrong with Ryan's acting, it's just the plot that playing out that depression way too much.

I actually got and idea to make the plot interesting... Why not make Frank gone berserk and violent, putting on one of Jason Statham's badass look and accidentally or intentionally (I don't care, take your pick) shot Buddy? Still, that would be impossible for Frank Allen. Frank's a nice man, too nice. Yet that "nice thing" made it through the end without truly meaningful bang.

The final score, I'd give it a 6.5, saved a bit by Ryan and Stuart's performance.

The Forbidden Kingdom

Great scenery, good fighting scenes, interesting plot, a bit disappointing acting. While it was starred by two great martial artists Jackie Chan and Jet Li, I personally think that their individual movies were much better than Forbidden Kingdom.

The problem with this movie is the acting. I think it could be better if the movie was filmed in mandarin, not in English. Especially Jet Li, the English was awful. Jackie was slightly better, but not good enough. Also, I could swear that I heard Liu Yifei referring herself as "she"? Why not just "I"? Yet, if the entire movie was filmed in mandarin, that would pass the awkwardness to Michael Arangano. Perhaps a Babel fish would be the best solution?

Anyway, the scenery was great, and that was a plus for the movie. Still, I could only give 6.5 for this one.


It took me months before I finally finished watching this. No, not because of the duration or the gore of the movie, but because the movie's first half was boring. It progressed too slow. I wonder if a snail is faster than this.

Entering the second half of the movie, the real thing began. Blood and gore at the pyramid and the chase scene. Watching the ritual at the pyramid may be too gruesome to some people (not me, though. I'm cool with that).

Heart, Anyone?

Still, the chase scene was rather too hard to believe. How on earth someone who got shot by an arrow could run across the dense jungle, jumped off a waterfall, got shot again, yet still alive?

Nevertheless, I must praise Mel Gibson's effort in visualizing the entire story. The entire dialogue were in Yucatec Mayan and that reminded me when I saw The Passion of Christ (which was shot in Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin).

Overall, after considering the effort to authenticate the entire movie, I'd give it a 7.0.


I saw this movie last Friday. I must say that I were not impressed. Compared to Mary, Hancock is a wimp. Also, the whole premise about Hancock was rather pathetic. Alone, you're powerful, together, you're weak. I thought we were taught the opposite of that like, united we stand? Hancock alone is too powerful that I'd say it would be tempting to switch side to become a villain. Why not? He's been hated by the people, why not go all the way? With such power, why bother some pathetic PR thing? "You don't like me? That's your problem!" Of course, I haven't read the comic yet but, I'd still favor Superman than Hancock. FYI, I don't really a Superman's fan. Anyway, at the end of the movie, I still wondering what was that all about. An origin story is more like it. What about a sequel? Hell, I doubt that there's a worthy opponent for Hancock unless you tie him up with Mary and kick his ass. Prequel? Perhaps. However, that would be like imitating the Highlander storyline, right?

Compared to Mary, Hancock is a wimp

So, overall I'd give it a 6.0. And that's generous considering Charlize Theron's performance.


If you haven't seen this movie because you think that it's old, well that would be your loss. For a movie that was made in 1959, it's an amazing one. It deserved to received 11 Oscars for its quality. There's a subplot, no, a side-plot, about Jesus Christ. The story itself began in the year 0 with the birth of Jesus and actually ended with the death of Christ. Well, for one thing, you wouldn't be able to see Christ's face in the movie (He never looked towards the camera at a visible range).

Ye Olde Speed Racer

I've spent perhaps over 3 hours to watch this masterpiece. Exhausting, but it was well worth it. Charlton Heston was great, the rest of the cast were well, good. From Judea to the naval battle at the high seas, then to Rome and back to Judea where Ben-Hur raced against Messala in the chariot race, the impressive journey ended with the death of Jesus Christ.

Overall, the movie is still amazing even for today's standard. The fact that it was made in 1959 made it deserved at least 9.0 as a score.

The Bucket List

Nothing could be worse than being told that your days are numbered. Such thing could lead you to denial, anger, and then finally acceptance. This is the theme of the movie. An interesting one, more because of being greatly played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Two men facing the same fate, but each with different background.

Actually, I prefer if it adds another character, a younger one facing the similar fate. It would've been more 'tragic' instead of giving you a somewhat "mildly good mood" at the end of the film.

"Hey Carter, do you think they sell Kopi Luwak in heaven?"

With both actors played their roles well, the plot was also good, but not that great. Perhaps this movie was not intended to be a heart-breaking movie after all.

Overall, it's an enjoyable movie. I'd give it a 7.5 for the score. That means between good and above average.

King of Zipangu

I've known Oda Nobunaga and the Sengoku Jidai ever since I played KOEI's Nobunaga Ambition around 20 years ago. I always hoped that there would be a movie about him. Finally, I've finished watching the entire 51 episodes of King of Zipangu and so far, it was awesome. It was equally great with Shinsengumi!, another Japanese taiga drama.

The series began with Nobunaga's childhood and ended with his death in 1582. It started rather slow, focussing on the characterization of Nobunaga and historical figures around him. The movie also accompanied by a subplot regarding the early development of Christianity in Japan. Actually, the series was narrated from the perspective of Luis Frois, a Portuguese Jesuit missionary, whom was also a friend of Oda Nobunaga.

A character considered ruthless, Oda Nobunaga actually almost managed to unify the entire 66 provinces in Japan. He was on his way to invade Mori when his life was cut short by the betrayal of Akechi Mitsuhide. His goal was only to unify Japan, whatever it takes.

Naoto Ogata as Oda Nobunaga

I'm not sure if some of the scenes were fictionalized, but if there were, Nobunaga's desire that the people worship him as a god was probably a fatal mistake. Nevertheless, we'd never know about that for sure.

Okay, the good side about the series was the acting. Watching it just made me feel like watching the real events. The same goes with Shinsengumi! series. The cast was also perfect. Battle scenes, however, could've been a lot better. Unlike battle scenes in the movies like Lord of the Rings, the depictions were too simple. I guess it could've posed a titanic cost to shoot the scenes like those of Lord of the Rings movies. Too much emphasis on the Nobunaga's private life was also perhaps, too much. Still, that's what the series trying to tell. Also, the subplot about Christian missionaries were also too much. It could be simpler, though. The final episode was also too shallow. It should've been concluded with the Battle of Yamazaki between Hashiba Hideyoshi and Akechi Mitsuhide.

Overall, this is a series worth watching. The overall score is 9.0.

Veronica Guerin

This movie is about the true story of an Irish journalist, assassinated because her writings pissed off an Irish drug lord.

Surely, the movie successfully portrayed Veronica's persistent efforts to unveil the drug trafficking despite repeated threats to her family and her own life. Perhaps only a few journalists would dare to defy similar death threats. Although it cost her her life, the efforts were not in vain. And I guess that's what really matters in the end: to create a positive, significant change(s) in the society, if not the world.

Look, even Colin Farrell seemed to be awed by Veronica

Cate Blanchett was great, but perhaps a bit too cute to play the part. The story was pretty well told, although with less suspense. But I can't complain about that, because it's a true story, right? Nevertheless, overall, the movie is good. I'd give it a 7.5 as the final score.

Vantage Point

One incident, multiple perspectives. Yeah, that should describe this movie perfectly.

The plot was great. Some twists and turns throughout the movie, as well as a good play by Forest Whitaker made this movie enjoyable from start to finish.

Wow! Nice cam, Sir!

Thomas Barnes, played by Dennis Quaid, was either a character designed too serious and/or too super, or that Dennis Quaid overdid it. Forest Whitaker's performance, however, was great. Still, if you are on a tour and there was a bomb exploding nearby, what would you do? Would you run like hell, or would you "daringly" try to record the entire event happening around you? I bet anyone sane enough would choose to simply running scared. That's my objection to Forest's character.

Simply said, the power of this movie is in the plot, but overall the acting was rather average, with despite Forest's impressive play.

Note that I won't try to divide my ratings anymore but instead, I would give only an overall score.

For Vantage Point, I give it a score of 8.00.