120+ movies: The Big 3-0

120+ Movies of 2011

Wahey! I’m up to 30 films this year already. I do believe I’m right on track for 120+ films this year. Barring any unforeseen happenings.

RangoRango (09/03/11)

Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.

It’s only March but I feel like I already know this is the animated film of the year. Fantastic animation and a great story with some unique characters. On the surface you’d think this is just your run of the mill non-Pixar animated film with animals replacing humans. Below the surface Rango’s a western with a lot of heart. I dare anyone not to fall completely in love with Rango.

I had no clue going into the film who was voicing various characters, apart from Johnny Depp as Rango. As the credits rolled on I was surprised to see such names as Alfred Molina, Timothy Olyphant, Vincent Kartheiser and Bill Nighy, among others! You wouldn’t recognise a single one from the characters they play. Which is why Rango works so well – it’s not a vehicle for a star. The actors are just simply there for their voice talent.

Talking of the credits, the post credits animation is amazing. Beautiful animation combined with stunning typography. Stands up alongside’s Buried‘s opening credits.

Just before I repeat how much I loved this film a couple of things which robbed it of a 5/5 rating from me. The score – which is a brilliant Hans Zimmer score. But when I was watching the film, all too many moments sounded like they were from a Pirates of the Caribbean score soundtrack. Listening to Rango’s soundtrack on its own, there was even more Pirates of the Caribbean than I initially thought! Though one good thing was that the score doesn’t sound overly ‘western’. Favourite track is definitely ‘We Ride, really!’.

The second thing was that the film was probably just a little bit longer. Things slow down a fair bit before the end and my mind began to wander away from what was happening onscreen.

Rango’s definitely an animated film that’s a whole lot more entertaining for the adults than it will be for the kids. Go see it!
Rating: 4/5

The CraziesThe Crazies (11/03/11)

About the inhabitants of a small Iowa town suddenly plagued by insanity and then death after a mysterious toxin contaminates their water supply.

I like a good horror film. I like a good zombie film. The Crazies was both of those with the lovely Timothy Olyphant playing a very convincing hero just trying to survive with his wife.

I’ve not seen the original, so I don’t know how it compares or how similar the storylines are. I was entertained for the duration. There weren’t any major jumps from me, but the initial scenes when the military swoops in and takes everyone into their quarantine zone was pretty harrowing. Loved the scenes in the service station/garage too.

Have a feeling with the success of The Walking Dead, reckon we won’t be seeing a decrease in zombie films any time soon.
Rating: 4/5

Lakeview TerraceLakeview Terrace (12/03/01)

An LAPD officer will stop at nothing to force out the interracial couple who just moved in next door.

Am wondering what drove me to watching this film. Maybe it was the thought that perhaps it would be fairly watchable stuff with Samuel L. Jackson in it. Just like Snakes on a Plane was. Think I was ever so slightly wrong.

The main problem for me was Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson’s characters. I felt sorry for them with this crazy of a neighbour, but they were just slightly bland and marginally awful people. To me, I couldn’t feel sorry for them long enough to get into the story. Then Samuel L. Jackson was such a one-sided character, I couldn’t care that a lot of what he was doing was down to his inability to forgive what his wife did. Just a boring thriller which goes on one hour too long.
Rating: 1/5

Battle: Los AngelesBattle: Los Angeles (13/03/11)

A Marine Staff Sergeant who has just had his retirement approved goes back into the line of duty in order to assist a 2nd Lieutenant and his platoon as they fight to reclaim the city of Los Angeles from alien invaders.

I would also describe this film as a mash-up of Black Hawk Down, Independence Day, a little bit of Saving Private Ryan and a dash of War of the Worlds. It wasn’t a terrible film. Very watchable stuff with some characters you can really get behind. You’ve got lose your cynicism and just watch the film. At times I had a couple of problems doing that.

Some of the battle scenes are pretty impressive. They feel as hard as they look. Though if you’ve seen Black Hawk Down and you’re anything like me, your mind won’t be able to help comparing. Black Hawk Down’s win out, hands down.

The rag-tag bunch of soldiers and the unwilling leader in Aaron Eckhardt are a fun bunch to get behind. With some deaths thrown in you do feel as though the film could swing either way. I felt a bit robbed by the end of the film. Wanting something a little more depressing and less easy. But you can’t have everything.
Rating: 3/5

SubmarineSubmarine (14/03/11)

15-year-old Oliver Tate has two objectives: To lose his virginity before his next birthday, and to extinguish the flame between his mother and an ex-lover who has resurfaced in her life.

Now here’s a surprising little film. Charming, funny, touching and beautifully shot. There were so many moments throughout the film where I wanted it to just stop so I could take a photo of the frame.

I wasn’t expecting it to be as funny as it was. Lots of great comedy moments in dialog as well as some great scenes. Paddy’s character’s a little bit of a caricature but not enough for it to taint the film.

It feels like a very real film. From the characters to the setting and the story. It took me a while to warm up to Jordana, but turns out she wasn’t a completely heartless girl.

Fantastic film!
Rating: 4/5

The Adjustment BureauThe Adjustment Bureau (16/03/11)

The affair between a politician and a ballerina is affected by mysterious forces keeping the lovers apart.

Another film listed on IMDB with a rating far too high. In my opinion.

Before I saw any trailers or posters, this sounded like a good little sci-fi film based on a Philip K. Dick story. Once I saw some footage I started to get a little more excited. Also Roger Stirling in a film! Well, of course it’s not him, but he’ll always be Roger Stirling to me. The film went a little downhill in my eyes, before I saw it, when I saw it was being touted as this year’s Inception. Sigh.

If you suspend your belief and just watch the film, it’s fairly entertaining. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt hold the screen well, they’ve got great onscreen chemistry – you really buy their relationship. It’s just he main concept of the film I had real trouble believing. The whole notion of fate and free will – that everything that was happening to the characters was planned out and no one had any free will to make their own decisions. Buying into that was hard for me.

This would probably make a good film for TV on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Rating: 2/5

Percy Jackson & the Lightning ThiefPercy Jackson & The Lightning Thief 18/03/11)

A teenager discovers he’s the descendant of a Greek god and sets out on an adventure to settle an ongoing battle between the gods.

I was hoping this would be one of those kids-ish films that adults would have a fun time watching. I was really wishing it was that for me, but I just got slightly bored towards the end and was wishing for the film to just finish.

It started out with promise. Nothing mind blowing, just a fun little film to watch with your typical story of a teenager learning of some great and fantastical secret leading to some great adventure.

I can’t think of anything in particular I didn’t like, just didn’t entertain as much as I wanted it to. Though I spent a large amount of time wondering where I recognised Annabeth from. It hit me like a brick wall after an hour or so – White Collar!
Rating: 2/5

The HappeningThe Happening (19/03/11)

A strange, horrible and unprecedented crisis begins in Central Park. A high school science teacher, his wife and a young girl do what they can to survive it.

Wow. What a shockingly bad film. I was fully expecting it to be bad but I was expecting so much bad in one film. I feel really bad for Zooey Deschanel and Mark Wahlberg – two actors who are capable of far better. They did the best with what they got.

There was some shocking dialog in the film. All I remember is sitting on the sofa listening to some of the lines and just wondering how in the hell those lines made it into the final script.

The message in the movie was a nice subtle message, until you get to the end and you’re punched with it in your face.

M. Night did some good stuff with The Sixth Sense and my favourite of his films – Unbreakable. Where did it all go wrong?
Rating: 1/5

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

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: 3 more films down

100 movies of 2010

Wonder if I can hit 120 films before the year’s out….

A Serious ManA Serious Man (19/11/10)
Coen brothers do good on another film. Loved A Serious Man. I was a little confused at the beginning – I really had no clue what was going on. But by the end I think I understood the purpose of that little scene. More than once I found myself laughing at various bits in the film. Not to sound terribly racist, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film about the Jewish culture before. A very smart little film that kept me watching and had me entertained.
Rating: 4/5

Away We GoAway We Go (20/11/10)
I think I liked this film. Honestly I can only just remember watching it. Sadly, it was fairly forgettable. It’s a really sweet story about a couple trying to figure out where they want to be, physically and spiritually. I felt a bit bored and frustrated by Burt and Verona’s aimless meanderings. I could see where they were going, but the journey didn’t interest me. All the different types of parenting felt a little too obvious. Nice film, glad I saw it, but wouldn’t jump to see it again.
Rating: 2/5

Law Abiding CitizenLaw Abiding Citizen (20/11/10)
I think the only way to describe this film is a cross between the Saw movies and TV’s Dexter. A law-abiding citizen, played by Gerard Butler, is bent on revenge after his family are killed during a home invasion. But he’s no ordinary revenge seeking murderer. Much like Saw’s Jigsaw and Dexter, he’s educated himself on the best ways to get his revenge on those that wronged him. There’s only really one way this film could have ended and it did just that. However along the way I wasn’t hooked into the film whatsoever. Jamie Foxx played a character who I couldn’t care much for and so struggled when I was meant to be on his side of the story. Gerard Butler did well enough in his role, but just failed to capture my imagination. This law-abiding citizen is no match for either Jigsaw or Dexter.
Rating: 2/5

Read on to see the entire list of the movies I’ve seen this year.

100 movies: One a day (For the weekend at least)

100 movies of 2010

Salt (20/08/10)
I think this film was being marketed as the female Bourne. Erm, not quite. It’s not as slick or well crafted as the Bourne films, far from it. The action’s not as ‘real’ and it’s just not comparable. However, saying that, Salt’s still an incredibly entertaining action flick. Some nice action sequences and a few explosions. The ‘twist’ I could see coming from the beginning of the film, but it didn’t hurt the film that it was that predictable. Angelina Jolie’s an awesome action actress. I reckon she’s the best action movie actress out there at the moment. The pace of the movie’s very good, there wasn’t a single moment where I felt like I could start drifting off and wondering where the film was going. It skips along very well to the end which leaves you feeling pretty satisfied.
Rating: 4/5

Piranha 3D (21/08/10)
I feel as though I need to defend my rating of this film. The fact that I rated it so highly! Piranha 3D never claimed it was going to be the most thoughtful horror movie this year. It blatantly claimed it was going to be cheap, trashy with loads of blood and gore. All those boxes were definitely ticked! It’s one of the most entertaining horror films I’ve seen. Loads more laughs than you’d expect. There were some brilliant and imaginative death sequences. Some made me ‘OH!’ and others made me laugh out loud. The cast are brilliant too – great to see Christopher Lloyd go a bit Doc Brown! Go see it. With a big group of friends! The only thing that did disappoint was the 3D-ness. I was expecting more. There was the odd occassion where something would jump out of the screen, but there wasn’t enough.
Rating: 4/5

Adventureland (22/08/10)
A nice little dramedy. Jesse Eiseberg’s good, Kristen Stewart didn’t completely annoy me. Though her portrayal of either annoyance, anger or being upset by ruffling her hair did start to annoy me slightly. The music was brilliant. Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig made me laugh. A nice little story. Nothing more to really add other than that. A good little film.
Rating: 3/5

100 movies: Piling them in

100 movies of 2010

My weekend of nothing was spent well watching far too much TV and movies!

Dead Like Me: Life After Death (14/08/10)
Oh dear. All I can say. The film did have some merits, mostly Mason being Mason. But it totally lost the feeling of what the original TV series felt like. At times it felt like a Hallmark Lifetime movie type thing! Question: Was there really a need for this film so long after the series ended?
Rating: 2/5

Pour Elle (Anything for Her) (15/08/10)
French film about a wrongly a woman, who was wrongly accused of murder and sent to prison for twenty years. Her very normal husband thinks the only solution is to break her out. That’s the film in a nutshell. It’s a bit ridiculous to see this very normal man, French teacher, turn into a mastermind at breaking out of prisons. I couldn’t quite buy into that part of the plot. Every now and then when I did, I enjoyed the film. Family drama stuff mixed in with a bit of a thriller. Though the actor cast to play Diane Kruger’s husband, wasn’t he a bit old for her?
Rating: 3/5

In Bruges (15/08/10)
A DVD that’s been sitting on my shelf for far too long. Loved it. Equal parts funny and quite disturbing. The midget obsession reminded me of someone I used to work with. It did well to advertise Bruges too, I think I want to go and visit! Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson were fantastic. Great ending too.
Rating: 5/5