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:

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