What’s your racket? Yes, I do want to speak like they do in Gangster Squad

100 movies of 2013

Gangster Squad

Los Angeles, 1949: A secret crew of police officers led by two determined sergeants work together in an effort to take down the ruthless mob king Mickey Cohen who runs the city.

I’m just going to come out and say it. Yes. I enjoyed Gangster Squad. There. Done. Happy? Confused? Does it feel like I’ve let you down?

You know, the thing with Gangster Squad is that, like a few other past films that have disappointed film fans, there was a lot of hype behind it. The cast. The whole look and feel of the trailers that were getting pumped out. It looked effortlessly cool and a film to be looked forward to.

I didn’t let my expectations get the better of me. And it worked. Sure, Gangster Squad is laden with gangster and crime drama clichés. Everything from the dialog to the characters to the story. It’s all very predictable. But damnit I didn’t give a crap.

The characters are perfectly clichéd. The gruff police sergeant, the smooth talker, sharp shooter, the dame, etc. All expertly played by the impressive cast members. None of the characters are a stretch for any of the actors to play. But this gal sure didn’t care. The action is perhaps a little over-stylised. I’ve never been a huge fan of computer generated blood splatters, but director Ruben Fleischer seems to love them. But, the action sequences were still fun to watch.

Of course, this increased enjoyment factor could all be down to the fact that I saw Gangster Squad in a stunning little cinema. I wonder if I’d have thought the same if I’d have seen the film at my usual multiplex.

Gangster Squad (Viewed: 15/01/13 | Rating: 4/5)

Check out all of the films I’ve seen this year:

100 movies: You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

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!

You Will Meet a Tall Dark StrangerYou Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (17/03/12)

Follows a pair of married couples, Alfie and Helena, and their daughter Sally and husband Roy.

I’m not all that well versed in Woody Allen. I remember trying to watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona last year and turned off after about half an hour because I was bored. Oh yes. Thankfully, I managed to make it all the way through this film. Not sure if it was for the better.

Here’s a film that looks at the different stages in relationships and marriages and through it all I just didn’t care for any of the characters. Well, I did have a small connection to Sally, but I honestly couldn’t care less for what anyone else was up to in the film.

I just found them all a little frustrating. What they were doing in their lives and relationships. I wanted to grab them all and give them a massive shake! These days, I’m finding it really hard to get into films when I can’t sympathise with at least one of the characters. I just switch off.

While I’ve not seen many Woody Allen films, so I can’t really compare. But this felt like a bit of a weak film.
Rating: 2/5

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.
Rating:3/5

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.

100 movies: Milk, Jesse James, Rendition & The Reader

100 movies of 2010

I’ve been a little bit poorly the last few days. Good thing? I relaxed, recouped and watched a few movies. Sadly, I had no movies that were what I wanted to watch – brainless, action and unthinky. The only movies I had were big dramas that are all fairly intense. They all required a certain amount of attention. Oh well!

Milk (26/02/10)
The true story of Harvey Milk, brilliantly portrayed by Sean Penn. Loved the movie very much. Everyone in it was brilliant, though Sean Penn did blow me away. So convincing in this role – couldn’t imagine any other actor in the role. A part of American history that I knew nothing of, so I felt that I walked away (figuratively) from the movie a little better educated.
Rating: 5/5

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (27/02/10)
Another ‘based on true story’ type of movie. I seemed to be watching a lot of those movies this year. While I did enjoy this one, it didn’t amaze me like I thought it would. Don’t get me wrong I did really enjoy it and everyone’s performance in it was brilliant, I just felt that it dragged. I usually love a good long movie. Length of movies doesn’t usually phase me. Only when it doesn’t feel like the movie is long for me. This movie felt long to me. Casey Affleck lifted this movie for me. He was brilliant!
Rating: 3/5

Rendition (27/02/10)
A good ol’ political drama. I think this is the first movie I’ve seen where Jake Gyllenhaal was playing an adult! Well, someone close to his own age. Though I didn’t think he did very much throughout the movie, except look a bit moody. It was a good enough political drama, though I didn’t feel the tension. Or any kind of real feeling to any one character. The saving grace was the bit of a twist in the movie time line that happened towards the end of the movie. Didn’t expect it but fully appreciated it!
Rating: 3/5

The Reader (28/02/10)
Amazing movie. I had no expectations from this movie other thank I knew I was meant to think Kate Winslet was amazing in it. And she was. Very beautifully told story with a really good performance to the actor who played young Michael.
Rating: 4/5

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