Soundtrack pick: The Knick

Music

The Knick is the best TV show you’re not watching right now. FACT. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Clive Owen, it is quite possibly my favourite thing to watch on TV at the moment.

But, I’ll wax lyrical about the actual TV show another time. Right now, I want to introduce you to the soundtrack. The Knick is scored by Cliff Martinez of Drive, Contagion, Traffic and Solaris fame. And he brings exactly what you would expect to The Knick:

120+ Movies: Summer Blockbuster season is here!

120+ Movies of 2011

The InternationalThe International (23/04/11)

An Interpol agent attempts to expose a high-profile financial institution’s role in an international arms dealing ring.

What have I learnt from watching this film? The world’s banks are lethal corporate machines and rule the world with an iron fist. Or something like that. What else have I learnt? The subject of banks don’t necessarily make for an interesting thriller. I got lost in a lot of the details.

Plotting was pretty slow. I admit I did get very bored and woke up somewhat just as the excellent scene at the Guggenheim museum played out. Loved that scene and the use of the structure of the museum was brilliant.

Can’t remember the outcome of the film, but by the end I didn’t care too much. None too thrilling characters and heavy dialog meant I got lost along the way!
Rating: 2/5

ThorThor (25/04/11)

The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.

The first time I saw the trailer for the film I was a little scared. It looked like it could be a major car crash of a comic book film and not at all paving the way for The Avengers film. The look of Asgard looked so absolutely over the top. I couldn’t imagine that playing alongside the very normal Earthbound scenes.

The film was anything but a car crash. It was brilliant! Loved it. Chris Hemsworth made a fantastic Thor. Going from an arrogant, cock-sure god to a much more human god. Asgard looked absolutely stunning as did all the very elaborate Asgard-ian outfits. Great storyline – simple but there was no need for it to be any more complicated for the sake of it. Loved the cameo from a certain Avenger and the post-credits scene just made me excited about The Avengers movie.

Natalie Portman didn’t have a whole lot to do. Shame, but that’s what the role called for. All of the attention was firmly on Thor and his journey. As an origin film for a comic book character, that’s what the film needed to be.

Having the film in 3D is utterly pointless. Some of the action sequences were so frenetic that it all looked like a blur in 3D. Though that’s more the studio and marketing people’s insistence on making films 3D when there’s absolutely no need for it.

I think the bar has been raised very high for the rest of the comic book movies that are due to be released this year. It also has bonus points from me for using Foo Fighters.
Rating: 5/5

Fast & Furious 5: Rio HeistFast & Furious 5: Rio Heist (28/04/11)

Dominic and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent.

This film doesn’t claim to be anything other than what it is – a balls out ridiculously large action film with some of the most beautiful cars seen onscreen since Gone in 60 Seconds. And for that I absolutely loved it.

The plot’s simple, even with a couple of hiccups along the way, the film goes from A to B with few deviations from the course. You’ve got some fantastic action sequences set in the favelas of Rio. Those really were fantastic to watch. I think I caught a little bit of CG when Brian and Mia went crashing through a rusted roof – they suddenly looked very plastic-y! Other than that, the action sequences looked refreshingly real – something a lot of action films lack these days.

Same with the car chase sequences. All were done with real cars and some skilled stunt drivers. That’s another reason to applause the film. I still think my favourite car chase sequence of all time is shared between Ronin, The Bourne Identity and Supremacy. However the final car chase with the bank vault was so ridiculously audacious and just plain massive, it’s got a special place on my favourite car chase list.

The car themselves? Can I just say wow? The 2002 Porsche GT3, 1966 Ford GT40, Koenigsegg CCX, 1972 Nissan Skyline, I could go on! Too many pretty cars for me to list them all, but those are my favourites. I think. The list is sure to change the next time I see the film, when I buy it on blu-ray!

Brian Tyler’s back with the scoring duties and he’s pulled it off again. Fantastic action movie score to add that little bit more to the film. It’s hard not to love it.

Fast & Furious wasn’t a movie franchise I thought I’d be a fan of. I just ignore films 2 and 3 in the franchise. 1 and 4 were fantastic films and Rio Heist is a great addition to the franchise.
Rating: 5/5

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

100 movies: The last of 2010

100 movies of 2010

I managed to sneak one more movie in 2010, which brings the total up to 124 for 2010.

Elizabeth: The Golden AgeElizabeth: The Golden Age (31/12/10)
I’d not seen the first Elizabeth film, but I don’t think it mattered too much. Elizabeth’s the queen and there’s a holy way about to start. Don’t think I needed much back-story than what was supplied to me in the introduction. Cate Blanchett was really very good as the equally strong and fragile Queen Elizabeth. She held the film together when I started losing interest mid-way when they decided to forget there was a Spanish Armada heading to England and instead decided to concentrate on the lack of love life for our queen. This historical epic didn’t blow me out of the water, but it held my interest. Wow, that’s a bad compliment to pay something, isn’t it?
Rating: 3/5

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

100 movies update

100 movies of 2010

Derailed (28/08/10)
Vincent Cassel plays a brilliant bad guy. He really is. I don’t think this film would have been quite as watchable had he not been as good as a villain. It’s a decent enough thriller with a decent enough twist. Nothing really takes it beyond being just good enough. Which isn’t a bad thing. Oh and it had Russel from True Blood in it! Momentarily.
Rating: 3/5

Atonement (29/08/10)
Another DVD that’s been just sitting on my shelf, being unwatched for far too long. Very good film beautifully made. I loved the scene at Dunkirk, on the beach. Just amazing! The ending makes it all worthwhile. Great film.
Rating: 5/5

Sky High (30/08/10)
This film was an accidental watch. It’s a Bank Holiday, you’ve just come back from spending the morning shopping and feeling a little bit tired. Slumped on the sofa, not wanting to do much but watch some mindless TV. This was what was on and it was entertaining enough. Bit more than Derailed – there was a little bit too much typical teen stuff going on for me. Think I’m getting old! Only ‘young’ face I recognised was Mary Elizabeth Winstead! Hello Ramona Flowers! Oh and Bruce Campbell probably gives it one more point than it should do.
Rating: 2/5

I had plans on having a French-ish film weekend. That didn’t quite work – maybe next weekend!

Though talking of French films, I’ve just found out that the French film I saw the other weekend – Pour Elle has been remade as an American film starring Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks and is titled The Next Three Days. I feel like I need to see the remake, just so I can compare.

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

100 movies: Getting back on track

100 movies of 2010

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (23/07/10)
I loved the first Ice Age movie. It looked lovely and the story brought tears to my eyes. But this one? Oh dear. I don’t understand why they keep giving Scrat more screen time. It’s just annoying and repetitive. I get it, he wants his nut! The underlying story of a mixed up family was done far better in Up. However the film did look great. BUT.. that’s not enough for me.
Rating: 1/5

Mars Attacks! (24/07/10)
I don’t know why I still hadn’t seen this film. CRAZY! At least the problem is rectified now. A very funny, satirical movie that’s just a lot of fun to watch. With a heck of a lot of famous people in it! Tom Jones made me laugh more than he should have. Loved the shoddy CG. A very fun film to watch.
Rating: 3/5

Inside Man (25/07/10)
I thought this was your typical bank heist movie. I was ready to settle into the usual routine of hostages, negotiator and usual action. I was a little bit wrong and very grateful for that. I spent a good part of the film trying to figure out what the hell was actually going on. I like films that tax my brain a little. But by the end make sense. Though I remained confused as to the choice of opening and closing song for the film – a very popular Hindi song. I didn’t understand and still don’t!
Rating: 4/5

Read more to see the full list of movies I’ve seen so far this year.