100 movies: Looper

100 movies of 2012

[yellow_box]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![/yellow_box]

LooperLooper (28/09/12)

Finally. The end of September rolls around and one of my most anticipated films of the year is finally out – Looper is here! It’s all I could have hoped for. And the best thing? The more I think about it, the more I realise how much of an excellent film it just is. It’s one of those films that the more you think about it after you see the film, the more you really appreciated it.

So we’ve got a film set in yet another dystopian future but Looper never falls into the trap of other sci-fi films set in so-called dystopian futures. Where crime’s abundant and somewhat more sophisticated and worse than you could imagine. People aren’t doing great. And the world keeps turning. With Looper you’re given an insight to this future but it’s used to tell the story. Rather than just being the backdrop for the film.

I’m not going to let on anything about this film. It just wouldn’t be fair. What I will say is that this film didn’t go anywhere near where I imagined it would go. Sure I was expecting some time-travelling, Joseph Gordon-Levitt channelling Bruce Willis on an uncanny level and a beautiful looking film thanks to Rian Johnson. But the story itself? It’s a thinking person’s sci-fi film. And it’s just been so long since we’ve had a truly intelligent sci-fi film. Well, I guess Prometheus wasn’t too long ago. But Looper just feels like it fits in a different category.

It’s been a couple of days since I saw this film and yet I’m still finding it hard figuring out what exactly it was about this film that’s really captured my imagination and is still making me think about it. It raises questions. Questions that I feel I can’t really say here without risk of spoiling Looper. Something I don’t want to do.

While occasionally the film stops skipping through quite rapidly and almost comes to a stop to concentrate on a single moment, those moments are worth it. Pulling you further into the film and the characters making the story one heck of a great sci-fi flick.

All the players are excellent. Like I said above, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance is excellent. His speech and physical presence is transformed. While it was a bit jarring at times. 90% of the time it was just uncanny. It’s interesting because JGL’s character, Joe, is not the most likeable of characters. And yet it’s not a hindrance for the film. More the opposite.

Great sci-fi film. Scratch that. Great, intelligent sci-fi film. Rian Johnson, please make more!

(Just wish the marketing for the film was a bit better. For one thing, the photoshopped Bruce Willis on the poster is awful – his head is too big. And whoever chose to use the quote “This decade’s The Matrix.” needs to rewatch Looper and never use such a phrase again.)
Rating: 5/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

100 movies: The Expendables 2

100 movies of 2012

[yellow_box]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![/yellow_box]

The Expendables 2The Expendables 2 (17/08/12)

Mr. Church reunites the Expendables for what should be an easy paycheck, but it doesn’t go to plan. Their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat.

Once upon a time it was okay and perfectly normal for you to be just an action hero. You just starred in action films. There was no amount of weight put on the films you were in. They were pure entertainment. Viewers didn’t care that the plot or dialogue was something that sounded like it was written by a child. All the viewers cared was that the action levels were high and stayed that way.

Somewhere along the lines, this sort of film was lost. Some would say for the better. Not me. When The Expendables hit our screens just a couple of years ago, I welcomed it. Yes, the dialogue was bad. The plot laughable. But it was a return of the action films from the 80s. Those silly, over the top action films that was just plain action and nothing else. What that film also brought back was some of the legends of that era. And you know what? They were all pretty damn good all bundled up into one film.

The Expendables 2 takes the same template as the first one. It feels like a slightly tighter and slicker film. But effectively it’s the same, simple story. Bad guys vs. Good Guys. Good guys win. Though, you could argue that here for the Good Guys there’s a much stronger motivation for them to go after said bad guys, than in the first film.

All the guys are back for a second round. Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzeneggar have much larger parts than their previous cameos. Chuck Norris is a welcome addition too. Though it’s not just a bunch of old guys. There’s some new blood in the shape of Liam Hemsworth and he’s definitely a welcome addition. Freshens things up and creates some new relationships within the team.

The film starts as it means to go on. Action. Blood. Bullets. Explosions. Everything skips along at such an incredible pace too. Sure it’s not a hugely long film, clocking in at just about 102 minutes. But it still feels a lot shorter than that.

There’s plenty of humour. Possibly more than the first. The majority of it is silly lines and throwbacks to all of their previous films and stuff they’ve done before. Which did make me laugh. Especially the Chuck Norris moments. It’s good they can poke fun at themselves.

The final showdown between Stallone and Van Damme was totally worth it. Brilliant fight scene. And you know what trailer making people? Unlike with The Bourne Legacy and countless other action based films out this year, all the best bits were NOT in the trailer.

It’s not a highly intelligent film. It never set out to be. It is what it is. A big, dumb action film. And for that, it did good. Oh and those Hemsworth boys? Boy do they have good genes!
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

120+ Movies: A big ol’ update

120+ Movies of 2011

This is a massive catch-up on films I’ve seen over the last few weeks. I promise to post something other than 120+ movie stuff on this blog some time soon.

True GritTrue Grit (15/02/11)

A tough U.S. Marshal helps a stubborn young woman track down her father’s murderer.

A simple, old-fashioned Western is how I would describe this film. Really enjoyed it. Didn’t tax my brain all that much. There was some gorgeous cinematography as well as some minor hokey bits of computer graphics towards the end. But overall, a really good film. Not just a film with good performances from everyone, but the film worked as a whole. Hailee Steinfeld was shockingly good for someone so young. She really held the screen well alongside Jeff Bridges. Who’s Western accent was very authentic. Though I think it got so authentic that I couldn’t actually understand what he was saying at times.

True Grit also has one of my favourite movie posters of the year so far. Love the typeface and the feel to it. More film posters like this please! Though obviously not exactly the same, but something other than sticking the main actors on the poster with no imagination.
Rating: 4/5

RedRed (19/02/11)

When his peaceful life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, former black-ops agent Frank Moses reassembles his old team in a last-ditch effort to survive and uncover his assailants.

Why on earth does this have such a high rating on IMDB? I think I got bored part way through the film and then completely forgot the plot points of the film to care much more as the film got to the climax.

The ongoing joke about these people being too old and yet getting things done got old pretty quickly. Though John Malkovich’s character kept me most amused. He was actually funny! Oh and Morgan Freeman did a good enough job too. But Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren? Poor show!
Rating: 1/5

InvictusInvictus (20/02/11)

Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

This is one of those films that has some great performances but ultimately just lands a little flat. Morgan Freeman really convinces as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon transforms himself really well to play a believable rugby player. Nelson Mandela’s story of trying to get a united South Africa did get transformed to screen well enough, the film just felt like it was missing something.

That something was missing big time during some of the rugby scenes towards the end of the film. There was just no drama or urgency to them. Whether it was to do with how they were shot or edited. They just didn’t pack the punch I was expecting them to.

I wish I could give this film a higher score, but it was just an average film with some great performances.
Rating: 3/5

CoralineCoraline (28/02/11)

An adventurous girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets.

A really good gothic feeling animated story. Aside from some lovely animation I wasn’t caught up in the spell of the film. I feel like I’m getting old! It was a very charming story but nothing in it really swept me up into the story.

Coraline herself managed to annoy and frustrate me at times with her petulance. Or what I translated as petulance. Maybe that little fact led me to not get caught up in the film. Shame!
Rating: 2/5

JunoJuno (02/03/11)

Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

I know, I know – it’s taken me a long time to see this film. I think I’ve got a copy of the soundtrack which I’ve listened to and loved before even seeing the film.

A nice fun and inoffensive film to watch. Ellen Page was great as the quirky Juno. I really warmed to Jennifer Garner’s character and her wishes and hopes of being a mother. Loved Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons as the parents too. Always love J.K. Simmons in almost any films he’s done – he makes me laugh!

Glad I finally got around to watching it.

Monsters vs. AliensMonsters vs. Aliens (06/03/11)

When a meteorite from outer space hits a young woman and turns her into a giant monster, she is taken to a secret government compound where she meets a ragtag group of monsters also rounded up over the years.

Distinctly below average animated film. The whole notion that we should be happy in our own skins is something that’s been done in other films before and a lot better. Of course I can’t remember any of those films off the top of my head right now, but they’re there!

Pixar’s raised the bar so high when it comes to the quality of computer generated animation it’s hard not to compare. Monsters vs. Aliens really can’t compare with any Pixar films.

There’s some good voice talent in the film, just a shame the actual film part of the film just doesn’t measure up.
Rating: 1/5

Jennifer's BodyJennifer’s Body (06/03/11)

A newly possessed cheerleader turns into a killer who specializes in offing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?

Hey, look, it’s Young Neil! That’s pretty much how I spent watching the film. I wouldn’t say it was a horrendously bad horror film but it’s pretty close to it.

I’m putting the blame firmly on Megan Fox and Diablo Cody. Diablo for trying to make an uncomprehendingly cool sounding script and Megan for just not being very good. When you’re meant to feel compassion for Jennifer, I couldn’t find an ounce of sympathy. She was just a bitca.

Poor Amanda Seyfried – she did the best she could and was the best thing in this mess of a film.
Rating: 2/5

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

100 movies: Nearly there!

100 movies of 2010

Nearly up to 90!

Sherlock Holmes (16/09/10)
Another film missed when it was released. I wish I had seen it in the cinema. Not because it’s an amazing film, but I like seeing action on the big screen. A fun movie with Robert Downey Jr doing a good job with an English accent and playing a somewhat different Holmes to what’s previously been portrayed. A fun film. It lost my attention for a few moments in the middle where the pacing was a little off. But Got it together for the end and I’ll quite like seeing what they come up with in the next film.
Rating: 3/5

Planet Terror (16/09/10)
Haven’t seen Deathproof and while I’m not itching to see it, I’m hoping to get round to it at some point. I’ve been reliably told that Planet Terror was the better half of the Grindhouse two parter. It’s a fun, messy little film. Like Holmes, a lot of fun to watch with a lot of silliness added into it. Liked the look of the film and the ‘missing reel’ bit made me laugh a little.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the movies I’ve seen so far this year.