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I did a script writing course via PolarPix, and write scripts whenever time allows it. I've completed a few scripts and shorts.
My twin brother, Philip Cristian Claassen, is an accomplished actor and writer.
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Oh, wow, what a good movie! The film features mainly child stars, and they are fantastic! The visuals are good and there are a few very scary moments.
'Tigers are not afraid' has a distinct 'Pan's Labyrinth' feel to it, yet it is very different. The film depicts the sad and dangerous lives of young orphaned children during ruthless drug wars. It so effectively illustrates how these children - despite their circumstances - can still find joy and beauty in trivial things that might go unnoticed to the mature eye. They are ultimately just kids still.
The film soon spins out of control as the kids are being hunted by drug lords, and every day is a battle for survival. The climax is brilliant. This is a very disturbing film, yet also so beautiful. Awesome!!
I can watch this film just for the soundtrack...
'Drive' certainly is unlike any vengeance film I've experienced. The film's beginning is seriously short on dialogue. I mean, there are literally moments when characters are together without saying a single word. But the cinematography is so awesome that dialogue are sometimes not necessary.
The film's score is awesome! It has a tranquil synthesized mood, resulting in a serene feel, despite the dark theme. The film spends about 40 minutes setting up the scene and the characters (and is never boring), but when the action (and unexpected) arrives around the 45-minute mark, the film really hits you! It grabs you and doesn't let go. Be warned, despite the film's initial tranquility, it becomes brutal and gory - yet ever so stylish and effective.
Ryan Gosling is outstanding!! His character is mysterious and seemingly trouble-free (Dan Stevens' character in 2014's 'The Guest' was very similar). 'Drive' is beautifully filmed and will consume you with every frame. By the end of the film one can't help but think what a masterfully crafted film this actually was! Brilliant!!
The Curse of La Llorona (2019)
Nothing new, but well executed with good acting.
'The Curse of La Llorona' doesn't really offer anything we haven't seen before. Despite that, this was still a creepy tale.
The film features very good cinematography, great visuals, good acting, and a few very scary moments. The acting from the entire cast was excellent, especially Linda Cardellini as Anna, the mother. The film reminded me a lot of 'Mama' and the Russian film 'The Bride'. Staying within the Conjuring universe, this was not as good as 'The Conjuring' or even the 'Annabelle' films, but it certainly was much better than 'The Nun'. It is well worth a watch if you're into this genre.
Child's Play (2019)
Not all (that) bad, but rather watch the original...
This remake has been cleverly updated to include today's technology, apps and gadgets. However, with Andy now 13 years old and with all the technology, the innocence of the original film is lost. It is still not entirely believable for a 13-year old boy with mobile technology to be interested in a doll. (In the original film it completely made sense for a 6-year old Andy to be playing with dolls).
The opening scene and the reason for Chucky becoming a killer doll isn't nearly as impressive as the original. In the 1988 film, a ruthless killer transfers his soul into the doll just before dying, whereas in this remake, the doll simply malfunctions due to programming errors. Chucky - nor the film - is therefore as sinister as the original 'Child's Play'.
As for the acting and characters, the only characters that really stand out, is Andy and his mother (played by Gabriel Bateman Audrey Plaza). The rest of the characters are disposable, especially the Detective, who is a comic relief character who adds nothing to the film. (The detective in the 1988 film played a huge role in the film, and was so well portrayed by Chris Sarandon). The rest of the characters are silly with silly dialogue, and very little substance. Although I miss Brad Douriff voicing Chucky, Mark Hamill really did a very good job, as well. As for the new design Chucky, I don't like this doll at all!
I wonder what my opinion of the film would have been if I haven't seen the original film and had nothing to compare it to. Even so, the film has way too many credibility issues. Credit where credit is due, though, the killing scenes are very well made, cringe worthy and brutal.
In general this wasn't all that bad a film, but I'd much rather watch the original ten times over before watching this again...
An absolute MUST for Sam Elliott fans.
'Lifeguard' is a very realistic film with a simple premise. It depicts the day to day life of a lifeguard, with funny and serious moments. Sam Elliott is perfectly cast as lifeguard Rick. None of the other characters (or actors) really have a big impact on the film, although all the actors are very good. This is essentially a one-man show - it really is all about Rick.
The film so clearly illustrates how one should follow your heart's desires, regardless of the opinions of those around you. 'Lifeguard' is an uncomplicated film with characters we can relate to. Its an easy to follow, simple film, yet there's also a lot more substance here than meets the eye.
Sam Elliott is absolutely gorgeous, so if you're a Sam Elliott fan, this film is a must. If you like a tanned, hairy, muscular physique, then you will drool over Sam. The tagline reads "Every girl's summer dream". Well, clearly not only every girl, as I wipe the drool from my mouth...
What can I say; I liked it!
The secret to fully enjoying this film, is not to take it too seriously. Let's face it, nothing here is believable or realistic and is purely for fun and effect.
And fun it was! This is a very enjoyable horror comedy in a similar style to the 2006 Australian film 'Black Sheep', just not as satirical. 'Prey' was more suspenseful with nail-biting moments and quite a lot of gore. As for the humor, it was actually really funny and worked well. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and their back stories and Sophie van Winden was a likable lead.
The film has a great climax with a stunning twist ending. As I said, don't take it too seriously and you will have fun with this little film. (If you prefer a serious lion film, rather watch 'The Ghost and the Darkness'.)
Would I watch it again? Yes!
Way, way too much CGI for one film...
Luc Besson is a very visionary director, but 'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets' is a perfect example of way too much CGI for one film. Yes, the dynamic visuals does highlight this ambitious fantasy adventure, but - just like 'Jupiter Ascending' - the film drowns in its own ambition.
Most of the film plays like a video game. Due to the heavy CGI, the film offered very little reality, resulting in a film that left me emotionless. I didn't feel their fear, their agony, their enthusiasm. The virtual reality element is taken to the next level in the film, but as a result there simply is no suspense whatsoever.
The film is also overlong. There are so many scenes here that should have ended on the cutting room floor. The subtle humor in the beginning of the film became increasingly stupid to slapstick level as the film progressed, diminishing every inch of suspense the CGI didn't already ruin. The film's heroes are also much too young to be believable. Make no mistake, they are good actors, especially Dane DeHaan, but I didn't buy their characters as Major and Sergeant. This is an all-star cast and I can't understand why, as most of the actors are unrecognizable anyway. Rihanna was also just stupid as Bubble. (Ok, maybe she's not entirely to blame; Bubble was just an idiotic, stupid character.)
I only really found the film interesting during the final act, and interesting twist, as the heroes realize a "threat" was actually a cover-up.
It is so easy, though, to understand why this 'Avatar/Star Wars' wannabe film failed, apart from its excessive budget.
Would I watch it again? No, I doubt it.
It was good, but...
First things first: the visuals. Wow, impressive. Trust Guy Ritchie (and more than a generous helping of the latest CGI) to bring Aladdin to life in spectacular grandeur. The visuals in 'Aladdin' never ceases to amaze.
Now, the casting. I'm a Will Smith fan. He's a versatile actor and I think he makes a wonderful Genie. He fits the profile like a glove. Pity I can't say the same about our hero, Aladdin (Mena Massoud), and his love interest, the princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). None of these two young actors have much film experience and I didn't find them (Aladdin especially) strong enough to carry the film. There was no chemistry between them. (If there were chemistry between any of the characters, it would be between Aladdin and the Genie). The acting was unconvincing and left me cold. I felt nothing. Personally, I thought Aladdin was a stupid character and didn't really root for him.
Will Smith was by far the main attraction, from a comedy perspective, and from an interesting character perspective. He even had the most interesting back story. Of everyone in the film, I cared most about him.
The production design is superb and the musical segments are stunning! The film is bright and colorful and in general has a very happy, entertaining feel to it. The music and score is also fantastic (except for the new version of 'A Whole new world', which I didn't like at all).
The ending was oh-so-cheesy...
Not bad, not all that good either.
'Brightburn' is one of those films I didn't find particularly good (or special) and not all that bad either. The biggest problem for me was that I did't find the acting all that convincing. David Denman looks more suited for a character in 'BearCity', and doesn't really fit the horror-suspense profile. Jackson A Dunn is a good young actor, but the minute he puts on that stupid mask, he becomes a character I just don't care about.
The film had some very scary and suspenseful moments. Some scenes looked really low budget, while other scenes were incredible. At times the film gave me a sense of deja vu. In general, this is a rather entertaining film that features some cringe worthy effects. (The scene where one of the characters breaks his jaw was really intense!!! ). It certainly was better than expected.
The reveal of what is actually going on in the film is quite awesome, but to sit through an entire film just to enjoy the final 15 minutes is not exactly my idea of fun.
The film plays like two different films, one in the present and one in a fictional universe. There is no connection between the two stories - or so it seems, at least, until the final few minutes when everything starts making sense. I honestly couldn't make head or tails what this was all about, or the message it tried to convey. Jumping between the time periods added to the confusion. The film looked more like an advertising vessel, with the amount of sponsors clearly visible. (Then again, the film was funded by the National Lottery...that figures...).
I didn't - and still don't - understand the constant reference to faith and religion. This was uninteresting and rather boring, actually. The film and character motives only become clear towards the end, and yes, those final few minutes are indeed interesting, but it was not enough (for me) for the film to redeem itself.
Credit where credit is due: some of the visuals were really good, as well as interesting photography. But who (or what) is Franklyn???
In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
Great mystery thriller, despite being very weird.
Although this is an interesting mystery adventure, it is very weird and will not please everyone's palate. I enjoyed the film for its great make-up and visuals, and the mystery element.
The film effectively plays like a nightmare, and it really sucks you in. The premise is far fetched, but works so well thanks to Sam Neill's excellent portrayal as John Trent. John Carpenter truly is the master of the weird and wonderful, as he once again proves with 'In the mouth of madness'. The film deserves more than one viewing to consume everything he feeds you...
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)
Far better than the original.
Wow, a sequel that surpasses its predecessor by miles!! Those who enjoyed the lightheartedness of the first film might be disappointed to see this film takes a far more serious approach.
The action and excitement never ceases, resulting in a thrilling, full-throttle adventure ride. The action scenes are incredible! The film features so many jaw-dropping sequences, like the mountain scene. That scene indeed was certainly something I've never seen before. Director Jon M. Chu successfully pushed the action and stunt boundaries for this film to the limit!
I cared far more about the characters than those in the first film. Storm Shadow (Byung-Hun Lee) is back and once again steals the show (for me, at least). He is such a great actor. I loved everything about this film. It had a great script, great soundtrack, fantastic action, and great visuals. This is a must for action fans!
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)
Watch it for the action only...
I'm a big Stephen Sommers fan and I love action movies. Unfortunately for 'G.I. Joe' the annoying, unnecessary humor ruined even the most spectacular action scenes. And the action was spectacular indeed! The opening scene was sensational.
The characters are shallow and the film filled with so many flaws. Byung-Hun Lee was by far the best actor in this film, and also the most interesting character, Storm Shadow. The visual effects are also very inconsistent. Some moments are great, and some are really, really bad. Some action sequences are so overdone that it blows all reality out of the water.
I enjoyed the action sequences, but not the film in general, and one I probably won't be watching again in a hurry.
'Renegade' is such a delightful movie. This is a joyride of fun and adventure, centered around an unlikely friendship. Fate throws together a carefree traveler and a troubled youngster, and it was great to see how these two individuals realized they actually have more in common than they ever could have imagined.
I enjoyed the simplicity of the film and characters, without any forced love interests or complicated back stories. Terence Hill is awesome as Luke. He is a legend and a very likable actor who makes a likable hero. Ross Hill is also very good as Matt, the young son. Wanting to know more about him, I was distraught to learn that he died shortly after the film in a road accident, at the tender age of only 16.
The horse steals the show on several occasions! This is a wonderful coming of age, fun-filled adventure ride. I loved it!
Good enough, but not better...
The moto for this film must have been "bigger and better", which is understandable considering all the films out there competing for attention. The action sequences were good, but not spectacular. The acting was good, but not great. I didn't find Joel Kinnaman believable enough as Murphy/Robocop. Although most of his suit was an actual suit, it didn't look nearly as impressive as the 1987 suit. Some of the visuals were also clearly CGI/Blue/Green Screen and not entirely believable.
The film didn't blow me away as I wanted it to, and became formulaic. I also found it way too American. Everything revolved around "The American people" and "Americans" to the point where it became annoying. And the American flag was everywhere - so patriotic! CGI is all over the show in this film, and at times completely unnecessary. Even the office decor was CGI!! Worst of all, it was so obvious. Why, just why???
I can commend the film on its family values. Murphy actually has a family in this film and the bond between them was sincere and touching. Pity his son didn't feature more in the film. Although not a bad film in general, I didn't find it intriguing enough.
An all-time classic.
This all-time classic action adventure fantasy is still great to watch. The visuals are good in an age before CGI, and the RoboCop suit is real and not added in post production. Practical effects are always better, as it gives the actors something (real) to work with resulting in more believable acting.
Peter Weller is fantastic as Murphy/Robocop and I felt his agony and longing. This action thriller has heart and soul with a great script, wonderful action sequences and good chemistry between Murphy and Lewis (Nancy Allen) without becoming a love interest. This is a simple story without twists or complicated character backgrounds, and very well executed. Well done, Paul Verhoeven!
Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
Well made with great acting.
This is not entirely what I expected. The film is essentially nothing more than a child's fantasy that never got real, but is so incredibly well done. It is an effective visualization of kids fantasies. It also sends out a very strong message about bullying, and dealing with being an 'outsider'.
The visual effects are incredible, and the acting is convincing. The child stars are fantastic. The film has a twist towards the end that I never saw coming, which made the film that much more special.
The film was very disappointing, though. Apart from the fact that Lance Henriksen was only on screen for about 10 minutes, he contributed nothing to the film. He was purely used as a draw card and most of the film's budget probably paid for his salary, as this is a very cheaply made, cheap-looking film. The acting is bad, the dialogue is average to bad, and there's nothing special about the photography or cinematography. Much of the film was clearly made in a studio without good set designs. All the trademarks of a (bad) B-movie is evident.
The creature effects are laughable, and the film just got worse as it progressed. If you're into B-movies for the laugh of it, then this is the one to watch.
City of Ember (2008)
Kids might enjoy this...
This is an interesting idea, but sadly nothing is believable due to the heroes being too young. It was just way too easy for the teenagers to figure out everything, let alone also accomplishing the nearly impossible. There are so many issues with the film, like restricted areas not being monitored, and the teenagers easily gaining access to forbidden areas throughout the city.
Ultimately, this is a kids adventure movie, as grown-ups will certainly not buy all the conveniences and cheesiness it dishes up. In fact, I don't even think I'm going to remember this...
'City of Ember' bombed at the box office, only earning $17.9 million on a $55 million budget. Well, that proves my point...
Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012)
Another enjoyable action adventure.
More new characters are being introduced in this installment. Manny's daughter is all grown up and the film now also effectively illustrates a lot of teenage issues teenagers can relate to. The age old desire to 'be cool' and 'fit in' is so well demonstrated.
In the opening scene of the first 'Ice Age', Sid wakes up with his family having deserted him. We finally meet his family in this film, although only for a while, and clearly understands why they left without him in the first place. We also meet his Granny - a wonderful (ugly) character!! Granny is a completely different character to the rest of the gang and a fantastic addition to the franchise.
The film is filled with lots of action, adventure and intrigue, and features a great antagonist - the first real antagonist in the series - the Pirate Captain Gutt. Diego also finally meets another Sabre Tiger.
I really enjoyed this installment, as well. This was another great action adventure thrill ride.
One word: AWESOME!!
All our favorite characters - including the new ones introduced in 'Ice Age 2' - are back for yet another adventure. It was delightful to see the new characters were not as annoying as in 'Ice Age 2'.
This installment plays like an 'Ice Age' vs 'Journey to the center of the Earth' meets 'Jurassic Park' - and its stunning! The element of danger is back, and - just like the first film - this one includes various genres including action, adventure, suspense, and humor that is actually funny - all at the appropriate time. The animation is stunning.
Scrat once again serves up a generous portion of fun and humor. The Tango scene is simply awesome!! (wonder how many times I watched this scene...). While other characters fall in love, Scrat still only has eyes for his beloved acorn. So funny! And then there's Sid, who discovers his Mother's instincts in this film... oh dear, oh dear, oh dear...
This was an amazing action adventure thrill ride that will appeal to young and old. Who doesn't like dinosaurs, and an unconventional rescue party...!
Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)
Not nearly as good as the original.
The original cast is back for another adventure. Although this film was good enough in its own right, it was unfortunately not as memorable as its predecessor.
The humor is not nearly as funny as the original, and more slapstick and cartoonish. There certainly is much to love about the film, but this installment is aimed at a younger demographic, with a very plain premise. The cute factor is gone, as well as the darker, deeper elements that made the first film so special and awesome. Some moments in the first film brought tears to my eyes, whereas this film never touched my senses in the same way.
The animation is still good and most of the characters are still lovable (especially Scrat!), but it didn't have the mature elements, deeming it purely a kid's movie. 'Ice Age 2' now also incorporates the age old boring subject they so love in films: love. The first film was about survival, action adventure and an instinctive call to do good. All of that and more is absent from this film. There are a lot more unnecessary characters here for the sake of comic relief, and most of these characters are more annoying than funny, like a Mammoth thinking she's actually a Possum!!
Ice Age (2002)
Still one of my favorite animated films!
Oh wow, this was simply awesome! From the animation to the great premise, this was an exciting and funny action adventure ride. This beautiful film has it all: humor that is really funny, thrilling action and adventure, wonderful characters and voice overs. The humor is brilliantly original and never really slapstick.
The film also features much darker elements like double crossing, scheming, and evil plans of revenge. There are also very sincere and emotional moments, like a mother willing to sacrifice everything to save her child, a mammoth longing for a family, and a villain becoming a hero. The cute factor is evident throughout the film, and the characters steal your heart every step of the way. The squirrel, Scrat, is just lovable and adorable!! I love the satirical elements, as well, as they illustrate why the Dodo became extinct...! This was awesome!
Not as good as the original
Sherlock Holmes is back along with the original cast. While there's much to enjoy about this film, it wasn't as good as the original. It felt as if they were trying too hard to equal or better the first film. The film features even more witty dialogue than its predecessor, and more frequent as well. (Wow, that's a LOT of dialogue!). A significant amount of time is wasted on trivial moments, hence the film feels much longer than the already long running time.
Guy Richie is back in the director's chair, yet the film is not nearly as visually stunning as the original. Nor is is nearly as masterful either. And not as interesting a plot either with conveniences left, right and center that diminishes all credibility. The humor at times felt forced and unnecessary. It even felt as if the actors had a difficult time reprising their roles.
The scene at around the halfway mark where the characters escape is INCREDIBLE!!! This scene features some of the most amazing photography and visuals I've seen in a long time. Its a pity Richie did not utilize this style and effects throughout the movie. Its as if he put all his time and effort into this one scene and it was indeed truly awesome!
As for the film itself, yes, it is a well made film, but I'd much rather watch the first film a few times over than give this one a second viewing. It simply did not do enough for my senses.
Dong wu shi jie (2018)
Well made but ultimately boring.
'Animal World' starts off looking like 'Men in Black' and develops into 'Casino Royale'. This is undoubtedly for an acquired taste, and I haven't quite acquired the taste for gambling movies. ('21' being the exception).
The film is visually stunning with incredible photography. It starts off very promising, but then becomes a gambling movie, with almost 100 minutes of the movie spent on playing a game. Although I found it interesting at first, it became tedious as I simply did not understand the game, and had no interest understanding it either. It became repetitive with very little excitement. If it wasn't for the incredible visuals and the great score, I probably would have stopped watching.
'Animal World' is incredibly well made and well acted, but this is simply not my type of film and not one I'll watch again.