100 movies: This Means War

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!

This Means WarThis Means War (02/03/12)

Two top CIA operatives wage an epic battle against one another after they discover they are dating the same woman.

Hand on heart, this was probably the most fun film I’ve seen this year. Yes, it’s just another McG mindless action film. Yes, the plot’s very simplistic. But you know what? I enjoyed it. Sometimes, I need a bit of mindless fun.

I know a lot of people are asking why on Earth Tom Hardy felt like he had to do this film. I’m glad he did. Yes, he’s an incredibly strong actor with some amazing performances behind and ahead of him. But he got to do something a little light here. For that, I’m grateful. And yes, I might just be a little bit more in love with Tom Hardy now.

I thought the film flipped between your typical romcom to action film fairly well. The action sequences were done well enough. Nothing amazing, but they weren’t botched. Tom Hardy and Chris Pine were great together. Bromance lives!

When the film ended the audience actually applauded. This just doesn’t happen (often). Especially not here in England. We’re just too uptight! And yet, the entire packed cinema were applauding and cheering.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

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: Checking in at 115

100 movies of 2010

I think I might just be able to hit my adjusted 120 target for the year. Which scares me a little. Why? I wanted to aim for more movies next year. I don’t think I could top 120 for next year!

UnstoppableUnstoppable (26/11/10)
Unstoppable has all the ingredients of an extremely enjoyable and fun to watch popcorn film. You’ve got Tony Scott directing, Denzel Washington playing the hero, Chris Pine playing a younger hero and the villain of the piece is an unstoppable train. Of course you need the two heroes of the piece to start on rocky ground and then through the events of the film, they grow to be friends. All of this works in Unstoppable’s favour. The movie does take a little while to get into, but once the action kicks in, it’s a fun ride. You do know how it’ll all end before you get there, but there’s enough banter between Chris and Denzel’s characters for you not to care. There are some fun action set pieces and the score by Harry Gregson-Williams is brilliant (With a throwback to his work he did on Man on Fire). A very good action film to lose a few hours to.
Rating: 4/5

The SoloistThe Soloist (28/11/10)
I wanted so much to enjoy this and really like this film. But I got slightly bored and frustrated. I honestly did wonder why Robert Downey Jr’s character cared so much for this homeless but brilliant musician. Of course you can do things out of the goodness of your heart, but I didn’t get any of that from him. Well, not in the beginning. Both him and Jamie Foxx did a good job with their performances; Jamie Foxx in particular. I just didn’t feel the ‘heart’ of this film at all. Everything seemed too superficial, as if it was just skimming the surface of what the real point of the film was. I’m probably missing something. Highlight of the film for me was LaFayette (Nelsan Ellis) turning up as a person who runs a homeless shelter.
Rating: 2/5

The Next Three DaysThe Next Three Days (30/11/10)
Remake of the French film Pour Elle which I saw earlier this year. Back then I had no idea they were remaking the film. When I did find out I knew I wanted to see it. Just to compare. It’s pretty much a straight remake, with little variance from the original. The scene where the wife is arrested is almost exactly the same and there are a few others which are dead on too. The remake is definitely more ‘American’. In the sense that there’s a bit more explanation of the whys and whats. There’s more action. There’s less style. The French version had a bit more realism in it. The Next Three Days is a good enough thriller, if exceptionally slow. It did not feel like a film that was just under two hours. There were far too many endings. Though the cast were all good. Russell Crowe did an ample job of playing the helpless father and Elizabeth Banks the locked up mother. If this sounds like your kind of film just watch Pour Elle instead. It’s much better.
Rating: 2/5