I’ve been keeping a list of movies I watch in order to write reviews later, but for a while I haven’t had time/been interested. So instead
of a bunch of longer reviews I’m going to do a quick clearing of the backlog with a rating and paragraph about each one.
A Scanner Darkly - 8/10 - very cool animation style (computer-assisted rotoscoping), story intersting, acting is quite good. Most of the characters are high for the entire film, not sure if it’d be better or worse if the viewer was also.
Hercules - 4/10 - Dwayne Johnson is always entertaining, even if the film is utter crap. The cast has some startlingly good actors, and some of the visuals are impressive, but everything else is fairly horrible.
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb - 7/10 - If you’ve seen the earlier movies it’s much of the same, with some local British flavour added in. I generally enjoy these films for what they are, fluff mainly aimed at kids, and my expectations are low. Gets an extra point or two for being one of the last films for both Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney.
Snowpiercer - 6/10 - It’s always interesting to see an entirely new speculative fiction world, and this was no exception, though at a high level the ‘snow train’ concept seemed kinda dumb. Moving past that, it was generally consistent and believable, acting was pretty good, and some fun action sequences. The story was OK and kept me engaged right up until the very end when it abruptly stopped and left me thinking “That’s it? Well… ok then”.
The Machine - 5/10 - Set in another interesting new world, this story is about AI. I wasn’t impressed with the acting/directing (always hard to tell which one) or the visual choices (lighting, makeup, composition all off for me). I realize the unchanging android facial expression was supposed to give an Uncanny Valley feel, but it was just annoying. Overall this seemed to me like a fairly low-budget movie, and Googling now confirms that, but even given that it wasn’t what I’d hoped.
Hammer of the Gods - 4/10 - A fairly good Medieval Britain landscape movie. The visuals are quite good, and it was refreshing to see a British movie made by Brits instead of Hollywood’s vision. Unfortunately the plot is not great, the ending especially disappointed, and most of the action is a gore fest which isn’t really my thing.
Fame - 4/10 - My wife did lighting design for a community theatre production of Fame, so I figured I should finally watch the movie so I had some idea what it was about before I went to see the play. I did not like the movie – it mostly made me super happy I never had any interest in attending a school like that with people like them. The play, on the other hand, was really good – it had a subtlety that the movie completely lacked.
Jobs - 5/10 - So far my favourite depiction of the early years of Apple (and Microsoft) is the TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, and that hasn’t changed after watching this. It was very apparent that everyone worked really hard on this movie, across all areas. But at no point was I able to get past that I was watching Ashton Kutcher playing Steve Jobs and suspend my disbelief and get into the film. Having also read the Steve Jobs biography (well, listened to the audio book) and my general knowledge of Apple I also found it odd the parts of his life captured in this movie.
Sunshine - 6/10 - Again, the premise is a bit sketchy – 50 years in the future the sun is dying, and we have to send a manned ship to the sun to drop bombs to restart it, riiight. But once you get past that, this is a pretty good sci-fi thriller, the ship design is cool, and the visuals and acting are solid. Fun, but not stellar. (yuk yuk)
Vice - 3/10 - Yeah, well. A few interesting sci fi ideas about artificial people, and some interesting moments, but overall not great. Fairly surprised Bruce Willis was in this.
Sabotage - 2/10 - Arnold Schwarzenegger. Dirty DEA team. So much bro-ing down and general horribleness. Had a few fun action scenes, and the initial plot was actually a bit interesting, but ultimately just bad.
Sin City - 6/10 - Interesting visual style, and basically what you expect now from a combination of Tarantino and Rodriguez as directors. Good acting, and the plot was objectively good but I’m not a huge fan of Frank Miller’s dark horrible view of people and the world. So… if you like that thing it’s probably more for you than me.
The Iceman - 7/10 - Surprisingly compelling look at a fairly horrible contract killer. Acting was great, and entirely believable that it could’ve been shot in the 1960-1980s. I think the plot could’ve touched some different points, and later years are skimmed over somewhat, but overall it was worth the time, though definitely not comfortable viewing.
The Last Days on Mars - 7/10 - I actually thought this movie was pretty great. I’m surprised at the low budget (~$7m), I wasn’t pulled out at any time by bad CG or sets, pretty remarkable for a sci fi movie set on another planet. The plot has some holes, especially towards the end, but the acting is really good and the tension is real. You could do worse than
watching this one.
The Man with the Iron Fists - 3/10 - It’s been a while since I watched these, and I can’t remember why I gave this a 3, all my memories of this film are pretty bad. Perhaps it was for a few action scenes, heaps of cheese, and the pure cojones to actually make people pay money to see it. Probably a good choice if you’re inebriated.
Good - 7/10 - Viggo Mortensen plays a basically good academic pulled into the Nazi machine. Watching so soon after The Iceman was interesting, there was a similar feeling of “doing what has to be done”, though obviously the starting points and pressures on the characters were very different. Worth watching, though with all movies about the Nazis it’s subjective
whether it stays on the right side of exploitation.
Taken - 5/10 - Finally got around to watching this. Liam Neeson is obviously very fun to watch as a badass action hero, but all the characters (including his) are stereotypical and flat, and the whole movie is horribly misogynistic in the traditional Hollywood action movie way. Meh.
I’m about half way through my list and running out of time/energy… will do another bunch later and link here.