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Movie: Sci Fi

100 movies of 2013

The 100 movie catch-up post

I have seen a grand total of seven films since I last did a post for my 100 movies challenge for the year. SEVEN. That was back in February, when I saw Young Adult. It’s now April, going on May. Woops is probably not a strong enough word for this.

See, lots of things have gotten in the way. TV. Proximity to a decent cinema. (Compared to when was literally around the corner from my office.) And, well, spending time with the new man in my life. All could be seen as excuses. As in, they are excuses.

BUT I’m here to do an update! Just a small one. I honestly can’t remember the details of most of these few films I have seen. Again, no fault but my own.

Wreck-It Ralph
Enjoyed it. Fun, colourful with a little bit of heart. HOWEVER from last year’s crop of animated films, Brave still stands out more for me. Shut your slack jaw right now. Don’t get my wrong, thoroughly enjoyed Wreck-It Ralph but it just didn’t have the depth of characters that I enjoyed from other animated films. Shoot me!
Rating: 4/5

The Sandlot
Apparently it was shocking that I hadn’t seen this ‘classic’ film. The same sort of film as, say, The Goonies and Mighty Ducks, it’s all about growing up, friendships and a little bit of fun. Very fun film to watch. Some claimed it beats The Goonies, but it really doesn’t. What it does do is bring up my tally of baseball themed films up to three. (Moneyball and A League of Their Own.)
Rating: 4/5

John Carter
What on Earth (Mars?) was this film trying to be? A semi-serious sci-fi actioner? A jolly Disney jaunt a la Pirates of the Caribbean? Was it me or did John Carter have a bit of an identity crisis? Wasn’t all that entertaining. Perfectly fine to watch while I was coming out of a major bout of flu. Didn’t need my brain to watch it! But eh.
Rating: 2/5

We Bought a Zoo
Think the one word I can think of for We Bought a Zoo is cute. It is. It’s not the most original of films (Yes, I know it’s based on a true story.) but it kept me amused. Hard not to with Matt Damon in the lead role – always love watching films with him in it. The soundtrack gave it one more star for me – awesome work from Jonsi.
Rating: 3/5

Blazing Saddles
Slowly making my way through Mel Brooks’ films. Have to say, didn’t love this one as much as Young Frankenstein but it was pretty damn funny. Found some of the gags went on for a little bit too long. The obvious gags always got a chuckle out of me.
Rating: 4/5

Project Nim
Excellent documentary from the same people who brought us Man on Wire, which I loved. Don’t think this one is quite as strong, though the story of Nim and the moral ramifications of what they were trying to do was something I’d honestly never thought about. It’s a solid documentary.
Rating: 3/5

Tom Cruise can hold a film together. This isn’t a new fact. Just re-stating it. Had it not been for the Cruise, think this film would have landed flat on its face. It’s a fine enough sci-fi film, but it doesn’t give us anything new in the genre. It looks good, but not as stunning as I’d hoped. The soundtrack from M83 is good, but again, not as good as I’d hoped. Think Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy mixed with Hans Zimmer’s The Dark Knight Rises. Perfect film for having on in the background while you’re playing a game of cards.
Rating: 3/5

So let’s add this lot to the running tally. Continue Reading

100 movies of 2013

What if there was another you on Another Earth?

Another Earth

On the night of the discovery of a duplicate planet in the solar system, an ambitious young student and an accomplished composer cross paths in a tragic accident.

We’ve all been there. A moment where you could either hit CTRL-Z. If you said yes instead of no. What if you made a different choice? What if you just can’t come to terms with a decision you made and wish for a different life?

Another Earth has a sci-fi setting for a very intimate film about two people struggling to just keep going with their life after an event that changes both of their lives.

I love the idea of another Earth – a mirror planet that is identical in almost every way. Something I think about more often than I think I should. ‘What if…’ is such a destructive thought. You can’t do anything about the past so thinking of an alternate present because of that decision can really play havoc with yourself. Been there!

In Another Earth it’s the dwelling on the past that actually drives the characters forwards. But, they can’t forget about their pasts and move on. Even when they try they’re forced to see this mirrored Earth which represents the future they could have had. Could. They don’t know it for certain. Yet they choose to believe it.

The film itself is beautiful. In the past year I can pick out The Tree of Life and Skyfall as being two of the most cinematically beautiful films I’ve seen. And now I’m adding Another Earth to that list. I could pick out so many shots I’d want to frame and have up on my wall. Stunning work.

Got completely caught up in this film and its end brought a smile to my face. You need to see this film if you haven’t already.

Another Earth (Viewed: 29/01/13 | Rating: 4/5)

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

100 movies of 2012

100 movies: Looper

[yellow_box]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![/yellow_box]

Looper Looper (28/09/12)

Finally. The end of September rolls around and one of my most anticipated films of the year is finally out – Looper is here! It’s all I could have hoped for. And the best thing? The more I think about it, the more I realise how much of an excellent film it just is. It’s one of those films that the more you think about it after you see the film, the more you really appreciated it.

So we’ve got a film set in yet another dystopian future but Looper never falls into the trap of other sci-fi films set in so-called dystopian futures. Where crime’s abundant and somewhat more sophisticated and worse than you could imagine. People aren’t doing great. And the world keeps turning. With Looper you’re given an insight to this future but it’s used to tell the story. Rather than just being the backdrop for the film.

I’m not going to let on anything about this film. It just wouldn’t be fair. What I will say is that this film didn’t go anywhere near where I imagined it would go. Sure I was expecting some time-travelling, Joseph Gordon-Levitt channelling Bruce Willis on an uncanny level and a beautiful looking film thanks to Rian Johnson. But the story itself? It’s a thinking person’s sci-fi film. And it’s just been so long since we’ve had a truly intelligent sci-fi film. Well, I guess Prometheus wasn’t too long ago. But Looper just feels like it fits in a different category.

It’s been a couple of days since I saw this film and yet I’m still finding it hard figuring out what exactly it was about this film that’s really captured my imagination and is still making me think about it. It raises questions. Questions that I feel I can’t really say here without risk of spoiling Looper. Something I don’t want to do.

While occasionally the film stops skipping through quite rapidly and almost comes to a stop to concentrate on a single moment, those moments are worth it. Pulling you further into the film and the characters making the story one heck of a great sci-fi flick.

All the players are excellent. Like I said above, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance is excellent. His speech and physical presence is transformed. While it was a bit jarring at times. 90% of the time it was just uncanny. It’s interesting because JGL’s character, Joe, is not the most likeable of characters. And yet it’s not a hindrance for the film. More the opposite.

Great sci-fi film. Scratch that. Great, intelligent sci-fi film. Rian Johnson, please make more!

(Just wish the marketing for the film was a bit better. For one thing, the photoshopped Bruce Willis on the poster is awful – his head is too big. And whoever chose to use the quote “This decade’s The Matrix.” needs to rewatch Looper and never use such a phrase again.)
Rating: 5/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year… Continue Reading

100 movies of 2012

100 movies: Real Steel

[yellow_box]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![/yellow_box]

Real Steel Real Steel (30/08/12)

Set in the near future, where robot boxing is a top sport, a struggling promoter feels he’s found a champion in a discarded robot. During his hopeful rise to the top, he discovers he has an 11-year-old son who wants to know his father.

Let me set the scene. It’s Friday night. I’m feeling somewhat lazy after a tough day spending money at everywhere from IKEA to the hairdressers’ and B&Q. The evening rolls around and I’m thinking I need a film to watch. But nothing too ‘thinky’. Enter, Real Steel.

Real Steel made a lot of noise when it first entered the cinemas. I did remember wanting to see it on the big screen. Robots. Hugh Jackman. Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis’ names both being attached to this film. Sounded like a lot to enjoy. Though the rumblings from the cinema goers was that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

I now agree with those cinema goers. Watching Real Steel on Friday night was fine. It didn’t stretch my brain. It didn’t make me think. But it didn’t stir much in me really. Neither love nor hatred. Real Steel is one of those films that is just so utterly mediocre that it stumps me for anything to say.

Real Steel should have been an emotional and heart warming film about a boy, his estranged father and their battling robot. But I just got no heart from this film. It takes very little to make me cry and this film couldn’t even get one tear out of me. Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo were a very convincing father/son team but there was just something missing from the film. I can’t put my finger on what exactly, but it lacked that spark. The film went from start to finish without a real deviance from the predicted story.

Oh well, at least the robots looked great and we were treated to Hugh Jackman without a shirt at one point.
Rating: 2/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year… Continue Reading

100 movies of 2012

100 movies: Prometheus

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!

Prometheus Prometheus (03/06/12)

A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

There was just utter silence from the audience when the credits rolled for this film. You could and most definitely would have heard a pin drop. There wasn’t a single sound. Not even the scrunching of a sweet wrapper. Just silence. There were a few seconds where everyone just stayed sat in their seats in silence.

There’s good reason for this. Everyone was probably just trying to take everything they’ve just seen, in. Boy was there a lot to take in.

It feels like it’s been a very, very long time since we’ve had a straight up sci-fi film. It doesn’t disappoint. Prometheus is very much in the same vein as Alien, but at the same time, a completely different beast. If that makes any sense. You’ve got your Ripley-esque character in Noomi Rapace Shaw. I swear, as the film went on, she even began to look more and more like Ripley! Though, Prometheus is much less of a horror film. Much, much less.

It throws out there the biggest question for humankind – what the heck we’re all doing here. Interesting. I like where they went with it. It certainly gave my brain a bit of a work out.

Michael Fassbender’s David is creep-tastic. One of the creepiest/nicest androids to grace the big screen in a very long time. His mannerisms and speech were all so … robotic, yet laced with a hidden intent. Brilliant work from him.

Ridley Scott has succeeded in making one fantastic looking film. The sets are excellent and the world that’s created in it just looks beautiful.

While this wasn’t the film I was expecting. I left wanting more and being ever so slightly confused in some part. But I left asking questions and wanting to seek answers. Can’t remember the last time a film did that for me. Though, my all time favourite Ridley Scott film is still Gladiator, Prometheus is one of his better recent efforts.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year… Continue Reading