100 movies: New York, I Love You

100 movies of 2012

Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

New York, I Love YouNew York, I Love You (25/05/12)

An anthology film joining several love stories set in one of the most loved cities of the world, New York.

After watching this film, I don’t think I ‘get’ anthology films. Or maybe this was just a particularly bad one. It felt like it was going to go on forever, one story following another, with no end in sight. And no real tangible thing connecting the stories. Maybe I missed some of the points.

Here we have a collection of love story-esque stories happening across New York, across the races, ages, everything. All the short films are directed by a bunch of different directors, including Brett Ratner, Joshua Marston, and Natalie Portman herself. Maybe it was all the different directors which made this anthology just feel too disjointed. I get it’s not a typical film, but it just didn’t work for me.

The film does do a good job of selling New York and there are some very nicely put together shorts. Ethan Hawke’s little section stood out for me. Always love the characters he plays, no matter how seedy they can come across.

Some good performances, but towards the end of this average length film I was just willing it to end. Finally it did. To my relief.
Rating: 2/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

120+ Movies: Update!

120+ Movies of 2011

This post has taken me over a week to finally finish writing. Must not leave it this long in between updates!

I dread to think how much money I’ve spent going to the cinema this year….

X-Men: First ClassX-Men: First Class (01/06/11)

In 1962, Charles Xavier starts up a school and later a team, for humans with superhuman abilities. Among them is Erik Lensherr, his best friend… and future archenemy.

X-Men 1 and 2 are among my favourite comic book films. You’ve got to hand it to the first X-Men film, that effectively kicked off all of the current comic book movie adaptations we’ve got now. Well, you might or might not be grateful for that.

Last Stand had some good bits, but on the whole it was a mess. The less said about Wolverine, the better. So First Class had a lot of work to do. The terrible film posters before release didn’t help it.

Though am happy to say that it surpassed my expectations! Okay, so said expectations were probably quite low, but they were still surpassed.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender held the film together brilliantly. I loved James’ portrayal of a young Xavier. Michael’s Erik was excellent too. Even if his accent slipped all over the place a little bit.

Some of my favourite bits were the training montage of the new mutants. Love me a bit of split screen. The closing credits were beautiful! I just blocked out the song they were playing over it. Oh and the score has been one of my favourites of the summer blockbuster season.

The not so good were probably the villains. Not Kevin Bacon (who was rather good!), but the other villainous mutants. January Jones sucked the life right out of Emma Frost. Azazel and Riptide weren’t given the courtesy of actually having a character past their mutant abilities.

The cameos were brilliant and I may have snorted a little bit when I saw Michael Ironside appear in the film. He has that reaction for me when I see him in any film these days!

While Thor remains my favourite comic book movie adaptation of the summer so far, this is a close second. Glad to say the X-Men movie franchise has found it’s feet again.
Rating: 4/5

Electra LuxxElectra Luxx (04/06/11)

Life for porn actress Elektra Luxx gets turned upside down when she finds out she’s pregnant.

For the love of JGL. That’s the reason I watched this. It’s turning into a habit. First GI Joe and now Electra Luxx. However, unlike GI Joe, this was more of a better film! With the added bonus of Timothy Olyphant. I’m not a totally fickle film viewer, honest.

It’s a funny little film. Funny ha-ha, not funny odd. Well, maybe a little odd, but the good kind of odd.

Sadly, it’s been so long since I saw this film I can’t remember all too much about it save that I enjoyed it, laughed a little and at the end was rather happy that I decided to watch it.

Oh and the opening credits are among the best I have ever seen. Reminded me heavily of the Queens of the Stone Age music video for Go With the Flow. Just gorgeous to watch!
Rating: 3/5

The Usual SuspectsThe Usual Suspects (05/06/11)

A boat has been destroyed, criminals are dead, and the key to this mystery lies with the only survivor and his twisted, convoluted story beginning with five career crooks in a seemingly random police lineup.

Yes, it has taken ME this many years to see this film. Woops! Was the whole ending ruined for me? Not really. Somehow I’ve shielded myself from seeing the twist here from the never-ending lists on film sites about the ‘best film twist ending’. Probably my own subconscious knowing that some day I would finally see The Usual Suspects.

Loved it. From start to end. Very tense. Very cool. Questions at every turn, up until the ending. Not much more that needs to be said! I understand why this film is a modern classic. Though I think I need to see it again.
Rating: 5/5

SennaSenna (10/06/11)

A documentary on Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, who won the F1 world championship three times before his death at age 34.

In 1994 I was 10 years old and I remember watching the Formula 1 race at Imola that Ayrton Senna had an un-spectacular crash that ultimately killed him. I also remember playing my F1 game on my Amiga and the only driver I wanted to play was Ayrton.

I’ve been looking forward to the release of this film since Jeremy Clarkson mentioned it way back on Top Gear. Though, this was not the documentary I was expecting.

What I got was an impressive documentary magically stitched together using footage from races and the behind-the-scenes of Ayrton’s life as a racer and a very proud Brazilian. No talking heads. Instead we’ve got Ayrton narrating his own life along with the people he worked with and his family.

The film charts his life from his go-karting career into F1 where he his the spotlight being a bit of a risk taking driver. No doubt about it, when he got into the cockpit and out onto the track, all he wanted to do was win. And why not? He was known for doing some insane things on the track and you get to see a few of them.

The portrayal of the ongoing battle between him and Alain Prost was amazing to see. I’m not sure how much of it was over-hyped for the documentary’s purpose. Or how the saga had been manipulated for the film’s purpose. It made for some good drama.

There were lots of emotional moments in the film. Seeing the aftermath of Martin Donnelly’s crash was tough to see. Equally emotional was watching Ayrton Senna’s career unfold.

But the bit that hit me hard was moments before Senna’s own crash. I knew it was coming. I remember, vaguely, watching that race. I think my heart was beating in my throat, then it happened. My memory made it look a lot more violent than it actually was! Strange to think that that was the accident that killed Senna. After that, my emotions were all over the place. Which made Senna’s funeral all the harder to watch with tears streaming down my face!

Right, this is a bit long already. I should end it now. Go watch Senna. Even if you’re not a driving/racing fan. I’m not an F1 fan. I was back then. I went with a non-petrol head person and he seemed to enjoy it! Senna is a brilliantly put together documentary with a very moving soundtrack about one of the best sportsmen of our time.
Rating: 5/5

The Human CentipedeThe Human Centipede (10/06/11)

A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a trio of tourists in order to reassemble them into a new pet – a human centipede.

From Senna to this. And the less said about this the better. It’s a very bad film. Sure the subject matter is horrific, but in the execution of it, they’ve skipped the majority of the gross-ness.

Bad acting, bad dialogue, bad everything. Why did I watch this? Like a lot of people – I was curious!
Rating: 1/5

Green LanternGreen Lantern (17/06/11)

A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

Considering how many comic book films there are already out, getting released and have all ready come and gone, there’s a bar up there which they all need to hit. Green Lantern just didn’t cut it.

As origin stories go, this was your average story. Childhood trauma leads to unstable adult who eventually overcomes his own shortcomings to become the hero he’s known to be. There was nothing along the way to attempt to change things in any way. Just to shake it up a little bit at least.

Ryan Reynolds made the film watchable and amusing at times. The rest of the cast weren’t all that engaging. The CG wasn’t all that fantastic. There just seemed to be so much of it. I understand the need for it, but if you’re going to throw that much CG at a film, at least make it good. Most of the time it looked like I was watching a digitally animated film. Yes, those moments on the Green Lanterns home planet.

The underlying notion of will vs. fear was an interesting one, though I don’t think they made full advantage of it. It was just used in passing to explain a few little things. Which is a shame – could have been what was needed to give the film some added depth.

Had I seen the film in 3D, I might have called it a waste of money. I was grateful that there was a 2D showing that I could see. Which might have given me the inclination to give this film one more point that maybe it’s worth. It’s light entertainment. Not a great comic book film. Not a terribly bad one either. Definitely not as bad as Wolverine. Just doesn’t match up to what has already come this summer with Thor and X-Men: First Class.

(I think I’ve been a tad harsh giving this film a 2/5, but I couldn’t justify a 3! Even though I did partly enjoy it.)
Rating: 2/5

PaulPaul (18/06/11)

Two British comic-book geeks traveling across the U.S. encounter an alien outside Area 51.

I think Paul lived up to expectations. Funny, silly and full of Simon Pegg/Nick Frost bromance. With an added alien. Lots of fun cameos. Jason Bateman being pretty damn awesome. Tonnes of other sci-fi movie references. Made for a very entertaining film.

I didn’t find it hilariously funny. Just had a bit of a smile on my face throughout the film. The film rattled through to the end pretty swiftly. With one little surprise.

Paul himself I loved. I wouldn’t mind my own little Paul. He made me laugh! And surprisingly good CG on him.

Fantastic score too – thanks to David Arnold. Really made a big impact during the more action packed scenes. It’s not the kind of film I’d pair up with having a score on par with Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace. Wouldn’t have been possible without David Arnold.

A very silly but fun little film.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far:

120+ movies: The holiday films

120+ Movies of 2011

I am still here. Came back from holiday. Spent a ludicrous amount of time sorting through photos, which I’ve only just managed to almost finish.

On holiday I also managed to watch a few films. I can’t say they were all on my ‘to-watch’ list but killed some time.

The TownThe Town (20/01/11)

As he plans his next job, a longtime thief tries to balance his feelings for a bank manager connected to one of his earlier heist, as well as the FBI agent looking to bring him and his crew down.

Fantastic film. I really enjoy these kinds of films. Drama/thriller. A little bit gritty. Chuck in a bank heist, maybe more than one or some other criminal activity.

I thought everyone in the film was very good. I know Jeremy Renner’s one of the flavours of the moment after his turn in The Hurt Locker which I shamefully still haven’t seen. I thought Ben Affleck stood out a bit more. I know he hasn’t got that many fans, and I wouldn’t call myself a fan as such. Thought his performance was one of his best since Good Will Hunting. And I do like the films that he’s directed – Gone Baby Gone and this one.

I couldn’t see Jon Hamm as anyone but Don Draper. Even though the character clearly wasn’t, it was Don Draper the FBI man on the hunt for the thieves and waving his shotgun around.

Overall, brilliant film. Just wish I had seen it on a big screen. The poxy little screen on the aeroplane did the film no justice at all and I think I’ll go and search this film out on Blu-ray.
Rating: 4/5

Ninja AssassinNinja Assassin (24/01/11)

A young ninja turns his back on the orphanage that raised him, leading to a confrontation with a fellow ninja from the clan.

Not a film I would search out to go and see but it was on TV and I was awake. My reasoning behind watching this isn’t all that convincing, is it?

It was an okay film. Nothing all that impressive or completely original. It did entertain, there was some fairly impressive action and fight sequences. The plot was as bog standard as these kinds of films get.

It filled 90 minutes I had going spare.
Rating: 2/5

He's Just Not That Into YouHe’s Just Not That Into You (25/01/11)

The Baltimore-set movie of interconnecting story arcs deals with the challenges of reading or misreading human behaviour.

See reasons above for watching this film. I’ll be saying the same thing for another film in this update I think!

Your average romcom, with far too many actors thrown at it in some attempt to make it some money by attracting people to see it just because ‘so-and-so’ is in it. I think I might have smiled at a couple of moments in the film. Overall though I can’t really say that much about the film because it was less than average and very forgettable.
Rating: 1/5

Imagine ThatImagine That (27/01/11)

A financial executive who can’t stop his career downspiral is invited into his daughter’s imaginary world, where solutions to his problems await.

This is probably one of the ‘better’ Eddie Murphy movies I’ve seen where he’s not a talking donkey, a fat professor or some other character with a million layers of prosthetics on his body.

Typical family film where a career driven father takes care of his daughter and realises the true meaning of life. Or whatever you want to take away from the film. There were some truly embarrassing moments from Thomas Haden Church. I think I cringed every time he appeared on-screen.

What happened to the good, non-Eddie Murphy driven family films?
Rating: 1/5

Now the next couple of films weren’t seen while on holiday, but figured I’d save some space and add them in here.

Gentlemen BroncosGentlemen Broncos (04/02/11)

A teenager attends a fantasy writers’ convention where he discovers his idea has been stolen by an established novelist.

Well this was just a weird film. I felt mildly embarrassed watching it because some bits were just so weird. Jemaine Clement was funny and amused me. Though he looked awfully like Benicio del Toro in it. There was a lot of facial hair going on.

The ‘sci-fi’ sequences were the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I’m ever going to see anything like this film again. That’s a good thing.
Rating: 2/5

Hachi: A Dog's TaleHachi: A Dog’s Tale (06/02/11)

A drama based on the true story of a college professor’s bond with the abandoned dog he takes into his home.

Now I knew I was in for a tear-jerker before I even started watching this film, but I had no idea I’d be in tears throughout most of it. As a dog lover and part owner, this film broke me in the worst way possible.

It’s a really lovely film about love and loyalty that dogs to show for their owners and just how deep that bond can go. It really is very touching.

Whoever trained the dog/dogs in the film should be commended. From the puppies right up to the adult dog they used, they were the stars of this film. That’s why I’ve probably given this film one more point than it should really get. Getting dogs to do what you want them to do is hard!
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far: