In-flight entertainment… poor choices?

Film

Before heading off to Bahrain, it had been a very long time since I’d gone on a long haul flight. But I always have one rule when it comes to what to watch. Don’t watch anything that needs more than an ounce of attention and concentration. Keep it light. Because you know you’re going to have to pause for the food, drinks and random fellow passenger interruptions.

See, I was conflicted. There were so many films I wanted to watch – Mud, The Hunt, Monsters University, The Great Gatsby, among others. But I can’t do that to films. I can’t watch films that could potentially be amazing with a dodgy set of headphones and a tiny screen. I just can’t.

So what did I end up watching? Well nothing on the way there. Sleep was what I needed. On the way back? I needed to stay awake, so was intending to cram as many as I could in the 7 or so hours. Looked through the films that were available and was looking for some silly action, comedy, is short and anything that doesn’t require a single brain cell.

100 movies: The Muppets

100 movies of 2012

The MuppetsThe Muppets (15/02/11)

With the help of three fans, The Muppets must reunite to save their old theater from a greedy oil tycoon.

FINALLY! It has taken MONTHS for this film to finally make its way across the Atlantic to the UK. Clearly, it wasn’t travelling by map. While I would say it was worth the wait, as it definitely was. I just wish I didn’t have to have waited so long!

The Muppets is a big, huge, love letter to The Muppets themselves. And I loved it for that. The secondary plot line about Gary and Mary was a bit weak. It was fine, just didn’t think it was altogether necessary. Well, until it served its purpose.

The songs were all amazing. I’m still humming them now. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Bret McKenzie gets the Oscar for his effort. Man or Muppet felt very much like a Conchords song. For which, I loved it for.

Chris Cooper was excellent as the villain of the piece. Over the top. Maniacal laughter. His song/rap freaked me out a little bit. I wasn’t expecting that from him!

Walter was a great addition to The Muppets. I think I need to use the words ‘cute’ and ‘adorable’ about him.

When the cameos started appearing, they were coming thick and fast. I couldn’t help but grin and laugh at every one of them. Though it was great to see Ken Jeong closely followed by Donald Glover – Community FTW! The other favourite cameo of mine has to be David Grohl’s Animool – ha!

Ahem, back to The Muppets. It was a simple story. Or story within a story. But it’s one that’s been written and produced with so much heart, it’s hard not to fall in love with it. I’m really hoping that The Muppets aren’t gone from our screens. That they’ll be more.

Oh and one more thing I loved – most going to see this was that the cinema was almost exclusively filled with adults. As in people 25+. There were a couple of small children. No teenagers. And everyone was laughing out loud throughout the entire film. Though, it makes me a little sad that there will be a generation who just won’t get The Muppets. Even with this film’s release.
Rating: 5/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

120+ Movies: Lagging behind!

120+ Movies of 2011

I hit a dry-spell. Summer came along. I went on holiday. There is suddenly an epic amount of TV I have to watch on my list. Films just slipped away. Hopefully the next few weeks of film-age should change that.

Transformers: Dark of the MoonTransformers: Dark of the Moon (29/06/11)

The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets.

Sometimes I think I’ve given this film a slightly higher rating than it truly deserves. It wasn’t a great film. It bordered on being a good film at the best of times. And yet I’ve given it a 4/5. Why? My childhood bias, I believe.

Dark of the Moon isn’t nearly as strong as the first film, a lot stronger than the second film but with plenty of hiccups. It’s literally a film of two halves. The first half being filled with some of the worst characters I have ever seen in a film. The second half filled with some of the best CG and most awesome robots ever seen.

Question – what on Earth did they do to Sam’s character? He’s gone from being a likeable and very relatable character in the first film to being the most annoying in the third. I just wanted him to stop complaining and whining about his poor pathetic life and just get on with things.

I have to admit – Alan Tudyk’s character, Dutch, did make me laugh. He was funny! Well, he brought some light relief.

What this Transformers film did better was focus on the robots. They’re in the title after all! But still not enough. The battle in Chicago was awesome to see. Grateful that I chose 2D over 3D. My retinas would have been dying after some of the battle sequences. It should all have been about the Transformers and less about Sam’s inability to get on with his life and the weak politics of the great US of A.

Steve Jablonsky has once again produced a very fitting score. While he did produce a theme for this film, I couldn’t help but thinking of the score from The Last Samurai, when I listen to it.

If there’s a plan to do a fourth, there’s still plenty to learn from this third film.
Rating: 4/5

PredatorsPredators (30/07/11)

A group of elite warriors are hunted by members of a merciless alien race known as Predators.

I was expecting something along the lines of the original Arnie Predator when I started watching this film. I was mightily disappointed.

There was just nothing special about the film. Sure we see a slightly more evolved predator and there’s some more story given to those ugly aliens, but everything else was just blah. Nothing unexpected, nothing new. Felt like a very by the numbers film.

I thought with a name like Robert Rodriguez onboard they’d be something more in the film. Sadly there was not. I’d happily take Predator and Predator 2 over this one.
Rating: 2/5

Captain America: The First AvengerCaptain America: The First Avenger (31/07/11)

After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top-secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America’s ideals.

The onslaught of summer comic book films continues. I did enjoy watching Captain America, but it just lacked that something extra that made Thor and X-Men: First Class great comic book films.

Chris Evans did a great job as Steve Rogers. He filled out the role I was expecting of Capt. America. Gave the film some heart. Good job! The villain of the piece – Red Skull… he was, well just didn’t convince. Who else does the great Captain America go up against but a Hitler-esque adversary?

Or maybe it was the whole plot of the film. The plot didn’t veer from going from A to B. There weren’t any surprises. A lot of the time I couldn’t help thinking the plot was very similar to that of GI Joe: Rise of Cobra.

I think it’s getting harder and harder for comic book films to really stand out from the crowd. There are just so many of them. Captain America does blend into the background a little bit, but as it’s part of The Avengers franchise, we’ll be seeing more of Cap. And I’m actually happy about that. I see potential, everything’s there. Just a better story.
Rating: 3/5

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

120+ Movies: Getting Back on Track

120+ Movies of 2011

The Hangover Part IIThe Hangover Part II (27/05/11)

Right after the bachelor party in Las Vegas, Phil, Stu, Alan, and Doug jet to Thailand for Stu’s wedding. Stu’s plan for a subdued pre-wedding brunch, however, goes seriously awry.

Going into this film I knew what I was expecting – more of what was in the first film and then some. So this film ticked that box well enough. It pretty much stuck to the same formula as the first film. Well, I think it treated the first film as a template to the second. Things almost happened exactly the same way as they did in the first with different variables. Some ludeness was upped. The amount of stupidity from Alan was upped, which did grate on my slightly.

Though I laughed throughout most of the film. There was plenty of stupidity. It’s not as good as the first one, because the first one set all the rules and this second film has stuck to the rules like glue. I probably won’t be buying this when it gets released on blu-ray/DVD, but it was a fun ride. Marginally disappointed in that this could have been one hell of an even funnier film given the talent.
Rating: 3/5

How to Train Your DragonHow to Train Your Dragon (28/05/11)

A hapless young Viking who aspires to hunt dragons becomes the unlikely friend of a young dragon himself, and learns there may be more to the creatures than he assumed.

Now this is a surprisingly good film! It’s a simple story. Young boy trying to find his place. Forms unlikely friendship. Everyone learns a vital lesson by the end of the film. But it’s so nicely told with some equally touching moments and brilliantly funny parts!

The bonding scene between Hiccup and Toothless got me to tears in record time, thanks to a really beautiful score by John Powell.

Think this is my favourite animated film from Dreamworks. It had some real heart to it, which I find other Dreamworks animated films just don’t have. I’m happy there’s a sequel, but I hope they get things right again and don’t mess with a great formula. Just maybe improve it slightly.
Rating: 4/5

ZodiacZodiac (28/05/11)

A San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac killer.

This is what I call a ‘heavy’ film. My brain hurt a lot after finishing with it. Not to mention left feeling a little bit unsatisfied. Well, that was my initial feeling after I’d finished watching the film. Looking back on it, how on earth could it have ended any other way.

Brilliant performances from all the cast in the film. The Zodiac killer himself terrified me. More-so due to the fact that he was/is real. Sends a shiver down my spine.

Loved the look of San Francisco and the colour tones in the film.A very beautiful looking film as well as packing a lot of substance.
Rating: 4/5

Up in the AirUp in the Air (30/05/11)

With a job that has him traveling around the country firing people, Ryan Bingham leads an empty life out of a suitcase, until his company does the unexpected: ground him.

My god, it took me so long to finally watch this film! But I’ve seen it now, so stop looking at me that way.

Brilliant film. Great dialog. Amazing cast. The ending of the film did not go where I was expecting it to go. I was expecting a happy ending, which I guess it was in a way.

I adored the opening sequence of the film and all of the aerial shots in the film. They were beautiful! I want to make a snapshot of one of them and put it on my desktop.
5/5

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