Movies I’ve watched recently - Feb 2013, part 2

5 minute read

Continuing on from part 1, thoughts and ratings on a bunch of movies I’ve watched recently. Just realized I didn’t split these very well, and this part has way more movies… oh well.

Note: may contain spoilers.

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011) - I really like a lot of the concepts in the Green Lantern comics, and was (like pretty much everyone) quite disappointed with the live-action Green Lantern movie (I gave it 3/10). So I was looking for a palate cleanser in this animated movie, and it delivered. The voice acting was excellent, there was some interesting character development on various members of the Green Lantern Corps, and the visuals embrace the comic style just the right amount. The main story line was only a prop to tie together the side character development arcs and could’ve been more substantial, but it was sufficient. I had fun, and my palate is cleansed. 7/10

Salt (2010) - An entertaining modern-day spy movie, though I honestly hadn’t thought the US was still that involved with Russia. Anyway, that point aside, the plot is mostly good, the cast is good, the production is good – all around good, but not beyond that. I think I could’ve found a few holes in the plot if I’d been so inclined, given it’s general twistiness, but I was busy being entertained so let’s just leave it at that. 7/10

Inception (2010) - If you somehow haven’t seen this by now, you probably should. It’s a mindbender, taking the idea of story within story and questioning reality to fun new places via the mechanic of dream manipulation. The later Matrix movies could’ve been a lot more interesting if they’d delved more into this type of idea, but c’est la vie. Across the board very well done, and I quite enjoyed it, though I wasn’t as thrilled with some of the unresolved threads as other people seem to be. I also think it could’ve been tightened up a bit as there were times I noticed it’s 2.5hr length. 8/10

2012 (2009) - I’d watched this one before, but re-watched it recently as my wife hadn’t seen it. It certainly lives up to it’s “epic adventure” tagline, if only in length and quantity of special effects. Unfortunately the rest of the movie is not great. A lot of the acting seems forced or overblown, which is surprising given the cast. The writing is dull and not believable, the effects are over the top, and taken as a whole it’s just more spectacle than quality. 5/10

The Hunger Games (2012) - My daughter just read the book, so of course we had to watch the movie. And for the most part, aside from a few timeline changes and omissions, this seems a competent on-screen rendition of the story from the book. 7/10

Brokeback Mountain (2005) - This is not my kind of story. I don’t mean in the particular content of this story, I fully support people finding and embracing whatever their sexual direction is, and I’m not naive enough to believe that anything in this movie was unrealistic. What I mean is that, generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of movies about real, everyday situations. If I want real, everyday situations I can go talk to random people out in the world, I don’t really enjoy it as entertainment. However, that aside, this is obviously a superbly crafted movie across the board, and at times I found myself drawn in to specific scenes just by the writing or performances. 7/10

Elf (2003) - I’d seen parts of Elf before, probably on TV, but I’d always considered it another of the crop of comedy movies in the past decade that try to be funny just by being stupid. But my daughter wanted to watch it again near the holidays, so I agreed to watch it again, and found it less stupid and considerably funnier and more heart-warming than I’d remembered. 7/10

Tower Heist (2011) - A fun comedy, though the number of holes in the plot are not small, from people to security to physics. Good to see Eddie Murphy being funny in person again, and the rest of the cast did a good job. I think Alan Alda was miscast as the rich asshole, something just rubbed me wrong every time he was on screen, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what. Anyway, enjoyable, if you don’t think too much about what’s going on. 6/10

The Recruit (2003) - Another spy movie, this time a CIA recruitment story. I didn’t like where the plot of this movie wound up, it seemed like two separate teams of writers handled the first 2/3 and the last 1/3. The cast was good, though Pacino was overcast for his character. Dunno, the general impression I have looking back is “meh”. 5/10

DOA: Dead or Alive (2006) - Hahaha… well, it’s a movie adaptation of a video game series known primarily for women characters with large breasts doing martial arts. So, you know, expectations are low. It reminded me a bit of the Mortal Kombat movies (not surprisingly, since the games are similar), but with weird side plots going on. Fun, lots of eye candy and action, but don’t be looking for anything approaching viable plot, writing, or acting here. 4/10

Iron Man 2 (2010) - Took a long time to finally watch this, considering how much I liked the first one. This continues on the same road, but dips a bit in quality of story, and the obvious Avengers links being setup cost a bit of tightness and focus. 7/10

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) - I have always had a fondness for Captain America in the comics. I really enjoyed this adaptation, though some of the changes (like the inclusion of the Howling Commandos as Cap’s team) were a bit surprising. I would’ve liked a different resolution to his relationship with Peggy as well – I don’t remember how it played out in the comics but I would’ve liked that particular thread not left hanging, it just bugs me. But all in all quite good, and I look forward to the next Cap movie. 8/10

Dredd (2012) - I like Judge Dredd. I liked the comics, and the 1995 movie is a guilty pleasure that I’ll happily re-watch, though I only rate it 5/10. This Dredd movie was not very good. The cast was OK, and the movie’s feel was right, but… Too many plot holes and obvious character missteps (why is she doing that?!), too much pointless torture-porn-level gore, and not enough Dredd being a convincing BAMF. I have no plans to watch this one again. 3/10