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: 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:

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: