Jumping on the Snowpiercer Bandwagon

Film

Snowpiercer

Before this bandwagon leaves the station, I need to get on it, and just tell you how much I too enjoyed Snowpiercer.

But before I start, do yourself a favour. If you haven’t seen Snowpiercer and do intend to at some point in time, don’t read this. Please. I don’t spill any major spoilers, but even then. Just do yourself a favour and stay dark on this one.

100 movies: Looper

100 movies of 2012

[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]

LooperLooper (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…

120+ movies: Skyline

120+ Movies of 2011

Had I remembered that this film I was going to watch next was going to be my 100th, I think I would have tried to see something a little bit, well, better. This film does not deserve to be the 100th of mine of the year! But it is…

SkylineSkyline (25/12/11)

Jarrod, an artist, and his girlfriend Elaine have flown to Los Angeles for Jarrod’s best friend Terry’s birthday party.

So someone watched Cloverfield one too many times and decided they wanted to do their own version, but only a lot crappier. Hello Skyline! Right, it’s not exactly Cloverfield but there some similarities. Alien invasion. A string of ever so slightly annoying characters who you could’t give a fig as to whether they survive or not. Following said group of increasingly annoying characters do their best to avoid the invasion.

It’s just a bad sci-fi film. The only redeeming quality I found was the imagery of the people getting sucked up into the ships. That did look good. Everything else was bad. From start to the ridiculous end. Just because a woman is pregnant doesn’t mean the viewer will immediately feel sorry for her!

Just bad. Though it killed some time.
Rating: 1/5

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

120+ Movies: Update!

120+ Movies of 2011

This post has taken me over a week to finally finish writing. Must not leave it this long in between updates!

I dread to think how much money I’ve spent going to the cinema this year….

X-Men: First ClassX-Men: First Class (01/06/11)

In 1962, Charles Xavier starts up a school and later a team, for humans with superhuman abilities. Among them is Erik Lensherr, his best friend… and future archenemy.

X-Men 1 and 2 are among my favourite comic book films. You’ve got to hand it to the first X-Men film, that effectively kicked off all of the current comic book movie adaptations we’ve got now. Well, you might or might not be grateful for that.

Last Stand had some good bits, but on the whole it was a mess. The less said about Wolverine, the better. So First Class had a lot of work to do. The terrible film posters before release didn’t help it.

Though am happy to say that it surpassed my expectations! Okay, so said expectations were probably quite low, but they were still surpassed.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender held the film together brilliantly. I loved James’ portrayal of a young Xavier. Michael’s Erik was excellent too. Even if his accent slipped all over the place a little bit.

Some of my favourite bits were the training montage of the new mutants. Love me a bit of split screen. The closing credits were beautiful! I just blocked out the song they were playing over it. Oh and the score has been one of my favourites of the summer blockbuster season.

The not so good were probably the villains. Not Kevin Bacon (who was rather good!), but the other villainous mutants. January Jones sucked the life right out of Emma Frost. Azazel and Riptide weren’t given the courtesy of actually having a character past their mutant abilities.

The cameos were brilliant and I may have snorted a little bit when I saw Michael Ironside appear in the film. He has that reaction for me when I see him in any film these days!

While Thor remains my favourite comic book movie adaptation of the summer so far, this is a close second. Glad to say the X-Men movie franchise has found it’s feet again.
Rating: 4/5

Electra LuxxElectra Luxx (04/06/11)

Life for porn actress Elektra Luxx gets turned upside down when she finds out she’s pregnant.

For the love of JGL. That’s the reason I watched this. It’s turning into a habit. First GI Joe and now Electra Luxx. However, unlike GI Joe, this was more of a better film! With the added bonus of Timothy Olyphant. I’m not a totally fickle film viewer, honest.

It’s a funny little film. Funny ha-ha, not funny odd. Well, maybe a little odd, but the good kind of odd.

Sadly, it’s been so long since I saw this film I can’t remember all too much about it save that I enjoyed it, laughed a little and at the end was rather happy that I decided to watch it.

Oh and the opening credits are among the best I have ever seen. Reminded me heavily of the Queens of the Stone Age music video for Go With the Flow. Just gorgeous to watch!
Rating: 3/5

The Usual SuspectsThe Usual Suspects (05/06/11)

A boat has been destroyed, criminals are dead, and the key to this mystery lies with the only survivor and his twisted, convoluted story beginning with five career crooks in a seemingly random police lineup.

Yes, it has taken ME this many years to see this film. Woops! Was the whole ending ruined for me? Not really. Somehow I’ve shielded myself from seeing the twist here from the never-ending lists on film sites about the ‘best film twist ending’. Probably my own subconscious knowing that some day I would finally see The Usual Suspects.

Loved it. From start to end. Very tense. Very cool. Questions at every turn, up until the ending. Not much more that needs to be said! I understand why this film is a modern classic. Though I think I need to see it again.
Rating: 5/5

SennaSenna (10/06/11)

A documentary on Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, who won the F1 world championship three times before his death at age 34.

In 1994 I was 10 years old and I remember watching the Formula 1 race at Imola that Ayrton Senna had an un-spectacular crash that ultimately killed him. I also remember playing my F1 game on my Amiga and the only driver I wanted to play was Ayrton.

I’ve been looking forward to the release of this film since Jeremy Clarkson mentioned it way back on Top Gear. Though, this was not the documentary I was expecting.

What I got was an impressive documentary magically stitched together using footage from races and the behind-the-scenes of Ayrton’s life as a racer and a very proud Brazilian. No talking heads. Instead we’ve got Ayrton narrating his own life along with the people he worked with and his family.

The film charts his life from his go-karting career into F1 where he his the spotlight being a bit of a risk taking driver. No doubt about it, when he got into the cockpit and out onto the track, all he wanted to do was win. And why not? He was known for doing some insane things on the track and you get to see a few of them.

The portrayal of the ongoing battle between him and Alain Prost was amazing to see. I’m not sure how much of it was over-hyped for the documentary’s purpose. Or how the saga had been manipulated for the film’s purpose. It made for some good drama.

There were lots of emotional moments in the film. Seeing the aftermath of Martin Donnelly’s crash was tough to see. Equally emotional was watching Ayrton Senna’s career unfold.

But the bit that hit me hard was moments before Senna’s own crash. I knew it was coming. I remember, vaguely, watching that race. I think my heart was beating in my throat, then it happened. My memory made it look a lot more violent than it actually was! Strange to think that that was the accident that killed Senna. After that, my emotions were all over the place. Which made Senna’s funeral all the harder to watch with tears streaming down my face!

Right, this is a bit long already. I should end it now. Go watch Senna. Even if you’re not a driving/racing fan. I’m not an F1 fan. I was back then. I went with a non-petrol head person and he seemed to enjoy it! Senna is a brilliantly put together documentary with a very moving soundtrack about one of the best sportsmen of our time.
Rating: 5/5

The Human CentipedeThe Human Centipede (10/06/11)

A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a trio of tourists in order to reassemble them into a new pet – a human centipede.

From Senna to this. And the less said about this the better. It’s a very bad film. Sure the subject matter is horrific, but in the execution of it, they’ve skipped the majority of the gross-ness.

Bad acting, bad dialogue, bad everything. Why did I watch this? Like a lot of people – I was curious!
Rating: 1/5

Green LanternGreen Lantern (17/06/11)

A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

Considering how many comic book films there are already out, getting released and have all ready come and gone, there’s a bar up there which they all need to hit. Green Lantern just didn’t cut it.

As origin stories go, this was your average story. Childhood trauma leads to unstable adult who eventually overcomes his own shortcomings to become the hero he’s known to be. There was nothing along the way to attempt to change things in any way. Just to shake it up a little bit at least.

Ryan Reynolds made the film watchable and amusing at times. The rest of the cast weren’t all that engaging. The CG wasn’t all that fantastic. There just seemed to be so much of it. I understand the need for it, but if you’re going to throw that much CG at a film, at least make it good. Most of the time it looked like I was watching a digitally animated film. Yes, those moments on the Green Lanterns home planet.

The underlying notion of will vs. fear was an interesting one, though I don’t think they made full advantage of it. It was just used in passing to explain a few little things. Which is a shame – could have been what was needed to give the film some added depth.

Had I seen the film in 3D, I might have called it a waste of money. I was grateful that there was a 2D showing that I could see. Which might have given me the inclination to give this film one more point that maybe it’s worth. It’s light entertainment. Not a great comic book film. Not a terribly bad one either. Definitely not as bad as Wolverine. Just doesn’t match up to what has already come this summer with Thor and X-Men: First Class.

(I think I’ve been a tad harsh giving this film a 2/5, but I couldn’t justify a 3! Even though I did partly enjoy it.)
Rating: 2/5

PaulPaul (18/06/11)

Two British comic-book geeks traveling across the U.S. encounter an alien outside Area 51.

I think Paul lived up to expectations. Funny, silly and full of Simon Pegg/Nick Frost bromance. With an added alien. Lots of fun cameos. Jason Bateman being pretty damn awesome. Tonnes of other sci-fi movie references. Made for a very entertaining film.

I didn’t find it hilariously funny. Just had a bit of a smile on my face throughout the film. The film rattled through to the end pretty swiftly. With one little surprise.

Paul himself I loved. I wouldn’t mind my own little Paul. He made me laugh! And surprisingly good CG on him.

Fantastic score too – thanks to David Arnold. Really made a big impact during the more action packed scenes. It’s not the kind of film I’d pair up with having a score on par with Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace. Wouldn’t have been possible without David Arnold.

A very silly but fun little film.
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: