Movie Review: Underworld Awakening (2012)

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Plot: When human forces discover the existence of the Vampire and Lycan clans, a war to eradicate both species commences. The vampire warrior Selene leads the battle against humankind.  

The fourth film in the Underworld franchise, Awakening, was incidentally my first exposure to them. I watched it with my then boyfriend in cinema, and was slightly bemused by it all. It probably would have been more efficient to have watched the first three before watching the fourth, but I wasn’t as smart back then. Five years later I have now watched all five films can tell you that Awakening still isn’t my favorite film in the series. The return of Seline should have been enough to make Awakening exciting, but even Kate Beckingsale can’t save this mess.

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The biggest flaw of Awakening is that the lycans as the disgusting enemy again. Where the four previous films made a bit of effort to give a showed that the ancient war between the two species is much more than just black and white war, Awakening parrots the introduction of the very first film.

The decision to include humans and make them aware of the existence and the subsequent outbreak was an expected but disappointing decision. I was perfectly fine with a covert war continuing.

Charles Dance has such an ability to be cast as some vampire / ancient douchebag. He has a twinkle in his eye which tells me he had a lot of fun being a vampire. I enjoyed him thoroughly.

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I will take some Theo James any day, but really now, he’s no Scott Speedman. I refuse to believe Michael is dead, and even if he is brought back in the very final film, he better be bought back. I’m glad they didn’t try and push another romance here, I would have been furious – Michael and Seline for life.

Introducing a kid – also something I wouldn’t prefer but it is the natural process for Michael and Seline to have a kid. India Eisley as number 2 / Eve was quite terrifying when she transformed.

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It came as surprise during the last part of the film when you realize what is actually happening in the city. I didn’t see it coming, and I usually catch a plot twist a mile away, so that was pretty good work by the writers.

I really like how short these films are. They are mostly under two hours and works to underline that they are good and honest fun, not to be taken seriously. I am still really interested in the lore here and I think some parts of the franchise could have been better managed, but for the most part this remains a sexy, dark story of the world’s creepiest creatures.

Rating: 6.5/10

 

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Movie Review: The Accountant (2016)

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Plot: As a math savant uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities and the body count starts to rise.

Rating: 7/10

What I’ll say off the bat is this: Of the two films that released in 2016 casting Affleck as a lead, The Accountant is infinitely superior to Batman Vs. Superman. Everyone, including Affleck apparently, is ready to forget all about that blunder. Ben Affleck is something of an anomaly to me. He is A-list, very famous and considered incredibly successful, and for the life of me I have no idea why. He’s a decent actor, but where does this level of fame come from? I really liked Gone Girl but that is pretty much the only film I can pin on him that went really well. In The Accountant he proves that he is worth his paycheck and works hard to give a credible portrayal as an autistic accountant. What bothered me is that his face is so tightly controlled at times it looks like he has toothache. Apart from that, I liked the character. He is meticulous and well programmed and highly functional, yet there are times when the empathy with his lonely life becomes overpowering.

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I particularly enjoyed Jon Bernthal. He seems to excel when he is playing someone cocky and arrogant, and he looks to be enjoying himself quite a lot.

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Anna Kendrick did a fine job of not being a pain in the ass. I’m still flabbergasted by her current success. It is not that I think she’s a poor actress, I just never expected her to keep going from Twilight. She is also consistently cast in the same role and that becomes tiring quickly. Dana wasn’t her typical role and it is clear that when she is given a chance, she takes it and works hard to do well. Can I just say a quick thanks here that the character at least attempted to defend herself and didn’t just curl into a ball and cry about her problems? Whoever had the balls to write a woman who would defend herself, thank you.

JK Simmons. All I see when I see this guy is Whiplash. It was good to watch him as a friendlier, saner man. Despite the excellent acting I failed to see the reason to include the treasury department in The Accountant. They served only as narrators and poor ones at that.

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The story has a very interesting premise. An interesting premise is null and void if there is no proper execution though. I was not surprised by the big aha moment in the film. If you paid attention from the start any person who has watched movies previously would have caught that. The different parts of the story failed to properly mesh – Chris has to solve who is taking out a hit on him and Dana, the mysterious man who is appearing and killing shady characters, and the Treasury department director trying to find Chris for some unclear reason. I truly think the Treasury department was only included to be the vocal part of who Chris is, because they lacked any other driving force for the film.

That stupid ending. It was nice to see what Chris did with his money and that there was a great well of caring under the tightly controlled exterior. The rest felt so rushed. It was as if the director suddenly decided they had had enough and just wanted it finished in one scene.