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:

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:

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

100 movies: Partial scare fest

100 movies of 2010

Devil (24/09/10)
People trapped in a lift with the Devil himself. A simple movie with a decent story that rattled on towards a satisfying ending. Couldn’t ask for much more. It didn’t blow my mind, but I wasn’t bored. I did spend a lot of time trying to figure out where I’d previously seen various actors – Logan Marshall Green last see in Traveler, short-lived TV Show – that bit of recognition was bugging me the most! Also Caroline Dhavernas from Wonderfalls popped up! And then disappeared again. I did like it when the screen went black, you hear strange sounds and just see carnage. A nice thriller!
Rating: 3/5

Quarantine (25/09/10)
Remake of the Spanish horror film [REC] this is definitely a very inferior film. It’s pretty much a frame for frame remake with some recogisable TV faces – Jennifer Carpenter from Dexter, Greg Germann from Ally McBeal and Vicellous Reon Shannon from 24 (Briefly!). For some reason this film lacked any of the tension and just plain scare factor of the Spanish version. Their need to have a different explanation for what happened in the film is something I really didn’t like. I liked that there was no explanation! Let the audience figure things out themselves. The original didn’t explain things as events were going on but the remake did. Well it tried. Maybe that’s where some of the scares disappeared too. Also the old lady was nowhere near as hilarious and the little girl was nowhere near as terrifying.
Rating: 1/5

Read on to see all the movies I’ve seen so far this year.