Friday, August 09, 2013

Review - White House Down, Byzantium, Disconnect

Short reviews on some new and old movies that I recently watched. These films include Byzantium, White House Down, Drug War, Disconnect, The Big Wedding, Animal House, The Wicker Man, Vertigo and The Talented Mr. Ripley.  Check out my reviews.

Byzantium (2013)
Earlier this year I watched The Host starring Saoirse Ronan and boy was she terrible in it. However she's solid in this vampire drama but unfortunately the movie itself is rather boring and not even the back-story could have saved it. Byzantium has lovely cinematography, a chilling atmosphere and decent acting -- but having to sit through this uninteresting vampire/harlot story was not so great.
Rating: 5/10

White House Down (2013)
2013 produced two films in which the white house is taken over by terrorists. The first is called Olympus Has Fallen, and then there's this movie called White House Down. The movie stars Channing Tatum and as usual, he is pretty uncharismatic and dull as the lead. While Olympus Has Fallen went all out with its action sequences, White House Down tried a different approach - comedy. It worked fine for the first 45 minutes or so until it became unbelievable corny and painful to watch. This experience was made worse in the sense that I couldn't take any of the characters serious. 
Rating: 4/10

Drug War (2013)
Drug War is a well acted action flick about the war on drugs in mainland China. Louis Koo plays Timmy Choi, a captured drug lord who bargains for his life by becoming an informant for the police (led by Honglei Sun) and must help them take down the rest of drug cartel. It is a story we are familiar with but nonetheless Drug War was a slow and interesting buildup to a fantastic and riveting shootout ending.
Rating: 8.5/10

Disconnect (2013)
A movie with a structure similar to the movie Crash where we see independent stories interweave in an interesting way under a common theme. The movie focuses on human exploitations through the internet and we see how each character is affected by it. I think this movie did a good job with tension build-up and it definitely toyed with my emotions -- but then all that build-up was wasted in the film's final 10 minutes with a cheesy and implausible ending.
Rating: 7.5/10

The Big Wedding (2013)
For a movie titled The Big Wedding, one would expect something grand at the end, but this movie was a disaster. The film features a star studded cast including Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Topher Grace, Katherine Heigl etc and it's such a shame I had to watch them sleepwalk through a lazy script and boring cliched story. Absolutely horrible.
Rating: 0/10

The Wicker Man (1974)
I expected a horror film but instead The Wicker Man is a slightly unsettling musical. I enjoyed Edward Woodward's performance as the determined police officer keen on solving the disappearance of a young girl on an island. The musical bits were cool and the movie showcases an unexpected and impressive twist. Way better than the horrible remake starring Nicolas Cage.
Rating: 7.5/10

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
A very interesting tale about a young man yearning to be somebody. Solid performances from its cast and lead Matt Damon was great as usual. It has elements of neo-noir which are well done and its story features a lot of turns and even tense moments. An interesting ride but the cliffhanger ending threw me off a little.
Rating: 8/10

Vertigo (1958)
Alfred Hitchcock is the master of suspenseful slow thrillers and it was no different in Vertigo. The buildup was perfect; you know something is going to happen but you're not sure what until the end. Vertigo is well written, well acted and the plot twist is perfect and surprising. Only thing that stopped me from giving this movie a perfect score was the cheap ending. Another great from the great Alfred Hitchcock.
Rating: 9.5/10

Animal House (1978)
Animal House is very influential to its genre and paved the way for many films that we love today, such as Revenge of The Nerds and American Pie. So upon watching I expected something memorable but I did not get that - I was left disappointed by this unfunny comedy. I guess it was funny back in 1978 because I found this film rather boring for most parts. I probably chuckled twice but this didn't age well at all.
Rating: 6/10


  1. I'm sad you didn't like WHD, lol. :P
    I meant to check out Disconnect, but I missed it when it was playing in town. Might have to check it out at some point, though another movie with a shoddy ending doesn't sound too enticing...

    1. I recommend it, not great but it didn't feel like a waste of time :)