To that guy who asked why I didn't put up every single film that's opening: It was impossible to do, and here are a couple of reviews I wasn't able to see because they didn't have press screenings. Notice that if you go to the Greenwich Villiage Gazette, you will see the one for "The Nomad," which I will put up here as well. I hope I won't have to do this in the future.
Universal Pictures, 89mins, R
Written and Directed
by James Wan
“If you even THINK of saying I told you so, I’ll shoot you!” So says
Det. Jim Lipton(Donnie Wahlberg) to hero Jamie Ashen(Ryan Kwanten), when the former discovers the latter is, of course right. This is a great line and the reason I’m telling you this is now you don’t have to see this movie and thus save yourself or your significant other upwards of thirty bucks [what with popcorn and all]. That’s my job, after all.
Auteur James Wan and his co-writer Leigh Whannell the people who wrote the really scary and original “Saw” series, have decided to revisit the overused “Killer Dummy” genre with a allegedly twisted tale of a ventriloquist Mary Shaw(Judith Roberts), who was murdered by vigilantes back in the days before Pearl Harbor, because they thought [rightly] that she had murdered a kid(Steven Taylor), who was heckling her during her act. They even made up a nursery rhyme about her.
So we start with Jamie and his lovely wife Lisa(Laura Regan) doing the usual stuff in their New York apartment, when they receive a strange gift. It’s the dummy we’ve seen on all those ugly posters!
With the obvious happening and Det. Lipton thinking that Jamie is guilty as sin, our hero heads up north to his childhood home in the village of Raven’s Fair, which seems to have undergone a major war sometime in the recent past, to confront his father(Bob Gunton) and his wife Ella(Amber Valletta), who are obviously up to no good, and then the local undertaker(Michael Fairman), who has an insane wife
(Joan Heney), and here’s something new: Instead of teenagers, the monster lady gets to kill off senior citizens! That’s two out of six hundred for the filmmakers.
The film pretty much goes forward on autopilot, what with all that idiot plotting. There is that one great line and some decent scenery, but the acting isn’t all that great, and there isn’t all that much gore.
These guys have talent, and you can’t hit a home run every time. So perhaps their next outing might be better. In the meantime, don’t bother.
Nomad: The Warrior
Directed by Sergei Bodrov,
Ivan Passer and Talgat Temenov
Allegedly made to counter Sasha Baron Cohen’s Borat. This is the national epic of Kazakhstan, where the national hero is sent by providence to save the nation and live on in the hearts of all who live in said nation forever onward.
Now the Kazaks haven’t make many epic films in recent years. After all, they’ve been recovering from two hundred years of Russian domination since finally getting independence in 1991 and there hasn’t been very much in the way of creativity to make it to the outside world, which is why they had to hire two Slavs to direct.
The film starts sometime at the end of the 17th or beginning of the 18th centuries, and mystical Kazak warrior Oraz (Jason Scott Lee), who can talk to the animals, is arrested by the agents of the Kazak Galdan Ceren (Doskhan Zholzhaxynov), who threatens to put him to death if he doesn’t pick out the perfect horse. This, is somehow the best way to inspire loyalty over there in Central Asia, I dunno, but Oraz has the gift of prophecy, and he knows immediately, where the Kazak Christ is born. Unfortunately, so do the Uigars, who send some baddies to kill the kid, who’s saved by Oraz and is raised by him to become Mansur Khan(Kuno Becker), who looks Aryan and can do pretty much anything.
The script is simple to be just above idiotic. The various main characters, like the love interest(Ayanat Yesmagambetova). and the best friend(Jay Hernandez), are complete morons, and that pretty much moves the plot forward. The good guys are the good guys and the bad guys are the bad guys, and Kazakhstani steppe looks very much like the Midwestern prairie, and the scenery looks gorgeous, but we don’t see enough of it to really appreciate it.
Also, they filmed quite a bit of it in English for some reason and decided to dub the rest into English as well. This helps a little, but since the film really isn’t worth viewing, it’s still a waste of money for the people at Weinstein. Maybe the Kazaks will make something really entertaining to show the world what they can do. But this isn’t it. Sad, really.