100 movies: Watchmen

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!

WatchmenWatchmen (14/04/12)

In an alternate 1985 where former superheroes exist, the murder of a colleague sends active vigilante Rorschach into his own sprawling investigation, uncovering something that could completely change the course of history as we know it.

This film is heavy. Heavy in terms of the context and the characters. While watching, I found that there was a whole lot to get through and to just think about. But it’s all put together really well. Especially if this girl here who hasn’t read the comic could take something away from the film.

It is a world I took a little while getting used to. A cross between a film noirish world with comic book heroes but all set in the 80s. Zack Snyder pulled it together surprisingly well.

Like I said before, there’s a lot to get through in the film. There’s the interpersonal stuff going on between the characters and the massive wider scale issue of the possible total wipe out of humanity. Tying the two of those together was almost successful, for me. Though there were times when I got lost or just confused as to how things were getting tied together. That happened more in the beginning of the film, so was probably more to do with the fact that I was still trying to get into the film.

The action sequences in the film were pretty damn breathtaking. Beautifully choreographed and were really enjoyable to watch. Some of the best I’ve seen. They packed a punch!

The core message of the film is, like I said before, heavy. I’m not sure if it’s been as well communicated as it has in the comic book. I know there was some uproar from comic book fans when this film was originally released. A lot of people didn’t seem happy. As there was so much going on, would this film had been better off it was split. To give more time for more development of the characters and just give it more room to breath?

Despite feeling bogged down while watching, I enjoyed it. Great visuals and a rather more dark comic book film makes for a nice, welcome change.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

100 movies: Faster

100 movies of 2012

FasterFaster (19/02/12)

An ex-con sets out to avenge his brother’s death after they were double-crossed during a heist years ago. During his campaign, however, he’s tracked by a veteran cop and an egocentric hit man.

Well this film was a little bit of a surprise. I was expecting 90 minutes of ridiculous action, some beautiful cars driving around and nothing much else. Well, I was going by the poster and the fact that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was the leading character. My preconceptions were a just a little bit wrong.

This film is a revenge film. In the same vein as say Kill Bill. In the sense that the leading character’s relentless need for revenge is the driving force behind the whole film. Pure revenge and nothing else. Makes for a pretty good film. Dwayne Johnson is a solid lead here. He’s believable in the role. He doesn’t have much to say. But that’s because he’s only got one thing on his mind. Billy Bob’s Cop was an interesting guy. As was the character known only as killer. All three of these leading character’s stories intertwine in a way I wasn’t totally expecting. They all gain something different from their stories.

Perhaps the fact that the film wasn’t quite what I was expecting meant that I enjoyed it that much more. It’s just a straight revenge story with a fair bit of violence. There’s no relentless action. Though when there is some, it’s there for a reason. For the plot. Dwayne does a good job holding the film up. I come down on the side of respect for him and his acting career.
Rating: 4/5

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: Long Overdue Update

120+ Movies of 2011

Long time no update! Well here’s finally an update to my movie tally for the year. I’m getting there. Though if I want to hit my target I might need to speed things up again.

Sucker PunchSucker Punch (02/04/11)

A young girl is institutionalized by her abusive stepfather. Retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, she envisions a plan which will help her escape from the mental facility.

Well, erm, it looked fantastic. That counts for something. Well for me that counts for at least 1 point out of 5 that I’ve given it. It all starts off brilliantly, but as soon as we slip into the various fantasy lands things go very wrong. The fantasy lands look amazing though. Some stunning set sequences. Sadly the storyline, characters and dialog aren’t the strongest parts of the film. The dialog in particular, at times, made me cringe it was so bad. And I like films like Fast & Furious, which isn’t known for having great dialog! OK, along with looking very slick the film does have a fantastic soundtrack. Which is on my list of things I need to buy very soon.

Nice attempt from Zack Snyder to create his own movie but it just didn’t work for me. Would have made a great plot line for a console/PC game though. Shame there wasn’t a game tie-in.
Rating: 2/5

CarriersCarriers (03/04/11)

Four friends fleeing a viral pandemic soon learn they are more dangerous than any virus.

I thought this was going to be a straight up road trip movie turned zombie flick. I think it got half way there. From the outset I think, as a viewer, you’re meant to think it’s an average college road trip film. But they jump into the apocalypse type world slightly too quickly, as if they’re worried you’ll lose interest if they don’t throw it in from the get go. None of the characters are particularly likeable, so it’s hard to root for any of them when things start going wrong. However I was grateful for the bleak ending. Not everything’s happiness and sunshine.
Rating: 1/5

Source CodeSource Code (06/04/11)

An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.

From the director who brought us Moon. That fact alone had my bar raised significantly for this film. Maybe the bar was set a little too high, but that’s not to say Source Code isn’t a brilliant film.

In the beginning I felt as disoriented as Colter Stevens. Though as Colter began to get a grip on things it felt like I did too. Sure a lot of the main plot of the film is devoted to your standard get the terrorist but you’ve got Colter’s story interwoven in that fairly well. Loved the twist at the end. Great performances from everyone. Didn’t quite reach the levels of slack-jawed wow that Moon got from me, but still, one of the better and more intelligent sci-fi films to come out this year.
Rating: 4/5

3:10 to Yuma3:10 to Yuma (09/04/11)

A small-time rancher agrees to hold a captured outlaw who’s awaiting a train to go to court in Yuma. A battle of wills ensues as the outlaw tries to psych out the rancher.

My second Western movie remake of the year! Probably my last too. Only because I can’t think of any others. Oh wait, The Magnificent Seven. Maybe I should aim to add that to my list of films to watch this year.

Really liked the film. Ben Foster plays a creepy villain. Just had sadistic written all over his face. Russell Crowe and Christian Bale were great as the two leading men. I was more impressed by Logan Lerman in this than his recent role in Percy Jackson. Thought he did much better in this film!

I haven’t seen many Westerns so I don’t think I can compare it to anything. Fun to watch with some great action sequences. Can’t ask for much more in a Western.
Rating: 3/5

Walking TallWalking Tall (12/04/11)

A former U.S. soldier returns to his hometown to find it overrun by crime and corruption, which prompts him to clean house.

Second film remake on this update. Though with this one, I had no idea it was a remake. This was just one of those films that happened to be on whilst I was up and I sat there like a lemon and watched it.

Not a great film at all. Though I had fun spotting various Canada based actors like Ryan Robbins, Aaron Douglas and even Cobie Smulders in it. Lots of action, but none of it anything more than loads of bullets getting flung around. I think I lost the main plot of one man’s mission to single-handedly clean up his home town in amongst the action. Johnny Knoxville actually amused me in parts. Which worried me a little.
Rating: 1/5

Your HighnessYour Highness (13/04/11)

When Prince Fabious’ bride is kidnapped, he goes on a quest to rescue her… accompanied by his lazy useless brother Thadeous.

I think when I first heard about this film and saw clips/trailers I had my hopes set fairly high. I was imagining something like The Princess Bride crossed with Pineapple Express. Almost, but not quite. Thankfully just before I went into the film, I had my hopes knocked down a few pegs.

It’s your typical stoner film with the usual kinds of jokes thrown into a fantasy-esque setting. There was a lot of effort thrown into the film for some of the bigger set sequences. The score soundtrack from Steve Jablonsky did a good job of creating some sense of gravitas in said set sequences. Even though on more than a couple of occasions I was reminded of Transformers and was expecting to see some Autobots roll out.

The accents were all over the place, the jokes were lewd and obvious but I laughed more than once and had fun watching it. It’s what filmage is about!
Rating: 3/5

El MariachiEl Mariachi (14/04/11)

A traveling mariachi is mistaken for a murderous criminal and must hide from a gang bent on killing him.

I love Desperado. I think it’s my favourite Robert Rodriguez film and I promised myself one day I’ll sit down and watch the film that spawned that and Once Upon a Time in Mexico.

Had I not been such a fan of Desperado I’m not sure I would have enjoyed this film as much as I did. Spent a lot of the time watching scenes unfold and remembering those same scenes, polished up a fair bit in Desperado. None of the acting’s particularly good, but that’s not the point. In fact there’s one actor in it who’s Spanish was pretty damn bad.

Once the action started going it got more of a fun film to watch. Though I found it amusing seeing the blood packs underneath a lot of the guys shirts when they were shot. A shot later, the blood pack would be gone and all you’d see is a torn shirt! Magic!
Rating: 3/5

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

100 movies: What the kids are watching

100 movies of 2010

I may be bingeing on Christmas season TV…

Race to Witch MountainRace to Witch Mountain (15/12/10)
Harmless film, easy enough to watch with a very simple plot. There weren’t much surprises but it was entertaining enough. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was a good enough leading man in it. The actors who played the kids – AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig weren’t all that amazing, but did an okay enough job I guess. Why did I watch it then? Well it was on TV and I had done packing. That a good enough reason?
Rating: 2/5

ShrekShrek (23/12/10)
How have I gone this long without ever having seen Shrek? I remember vaguely seeing the second one at some point or another but not being all that impressed. The first one was a lot better than I was expecting. Some good jokes, fun music and a nice twist on some fairy tales. Of course the animation quality has aged the film a fair bit. Though you could say the same thing about Toy Story. I’m not as in love with Shrek as some people got, but enjoyed it while I watched.
Rating: 3/5

Shrek the ThirdShrek the Third (25/12/10)
Christmas day is to be spent laying like a lump on the sofa watching whatever turns up on TV. Shrek the Third happened to be one such item. Not nearly as good as the first. The music was still good though. Jokes were a bit weak and not all that great to laugh at. More rolling of my eyes than anything else.
Rating: 2/5

March of the PenguinsMarch of the Penguins (27/12/10)
Beautifully made documentary narrated by one of the best voices to narrate anything like this – Morgan Freeman! It was interesting to watch but you really have to respect the people who were out there to make this documentary. Not only were the penguins out there in -80 degree Celsius weather but so were the film makers! Penguins have it really hard, it’s a wonder that they’re not extinct if you combine what they have to go through in order to have children and humankind’s impact on their environment. I’m perhaps giving this a higher mark than I was initially thinking, only because of how much respect I have for the people who were down there filming all of what I saw.
Rating: 4/5

Happy FeetHappy Feet (27/12/10)
Penguins dancing and singing – more amusing than I initially thought it would be. Drawn in by the cuteness of the animated fuzz balls the songs were fun and the tap dancing was kind of very cute to watch. The obvious message behind the film was the effect of humans on the environment felt a bit forced towards the end. Jammed in there just to make sure the film had a message in it. I don’t personally feel it was needed, but then again, I don’t know where the film would have gone had that not been put in there. Fun, cute and even more cute.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see the full list of movies seen this year: