A maybe monthly round-up (1)

Life

Bye-bye October. Hello November. October has gone by ridiculously quickly. Wasn’t it just September? Oh, wait, is that just senility creeping in early?

I survived St Judes Storm! *sigh* The build up over this was hilarious. Bigger than the storm of 1987, they were saying! I remember the storm in 1987. It was terrifying. Sure I was three. But I remember being terrified. St Judes Storm managed to blow my bin open. WOOOO. My 50ft trees in my garden were still standing. Though public transport ground to a halt. God bless British public transport.

Exciting stuff. I got my G+ vanity URL! Along with hundreds, probably thousands, of other people. But it still managed to excite me – http://google.com/+JainaMistry

In other terribly unexciting social media news, I’m back on Pinterest. I never really left as such. But, I just forgot about it and didn’t think I had a use for it any more. Oh no. I’ve remembered why I liked it and so, will be pinning like a fiend from now on. Maybe not quite fiend-like. Near-fiend. Feel free to follow me.

So, back to something vaguely interesting. How was October? Well, it went quickly and quietly…

100 movies: New York, I Love You

100 movies of 2012

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!

New York, I Love YouNew York, I Love You (25/05/12)

An anthology film joining several love stories set in one of the most loved cities of the world, New York.

After watching this film, I don’t think I ‘get’ anthology films. Or maybe this was just a particularly bad one. It felt like it was going to go on forever, one story following another, with no end in sight. And no real tangible thing connecting the stories. Maybe I missed some of the points.

Here we have a collection of love story-esque stories happening across New York, across the races, ages, everything. All the short films are directed by a bunch of different directors, including Brett Ratner, Joshua Marston, and Natalie Portman herself. Maybe it was all the different directors which made this anthology just feel too disjointed. I get it’s not a typical film, but it just didn’t work for me.

The film does do a good job of selling New York and there are some very nicely put together shorts. Ethan Hawke’s little section stood out for me. Always love the characters he plays, no matter how seedy they can come across.

Some good performances, but towards the end of this average length film I was just willing it to end. Finally it did. To my relief.
Rating: 2/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

120+ Movies: Summer Blockbuster season is here!

120+ Movies of 2011

The InternationalThe International (23/04/11)

An Interpol agent attempts to expose a high-profile financial institution’s role in an international arms dealing ring.

What have I learnt from watching this film? The world’s banks are lethal corporate machines and rule the world with an iron fist. Or something like that. What else have I learnt? The subject of banks don’t necessarily make for an interesting thriller. I got lost in a lot of the details.

Plotting was pretty slow. I admit I did get very bored and woke up somewhat just as the excellent scene at the Guggenheim museum played out. Loved that scene and the use of the structure of the museum was brilliant.

Can’t remember the outcome of the film, but by the end I didn’t care too much. None too thrilling characters and heavy dialog meant I got lost along the way!
Rating: 2/5

ThorThor (25/04/11)

The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.

The first time I saw the trailer for the film I was a little scared. It looked like it could be a major car crash of a comic book film and not at all paving the way for The Avengers film. The look of Asgard looked so absolutely over the top. I couldn’t imagine that playing alongside the very normal Earthbound scenes.

The film was anything but a car crash. It was brilliant! Loved it. Chris Hemsworth made a fantastic Thor. Going from an arrogant, cock-sure god to a much more human god. Asgard looked absolutely stunning as did all the very elaborate Asgard-ian outfits. Great storyline – simple but there was no need for it to be any more complicated for the sake of it. Loved the cameo from a certain Avenger and the post-credits scene just made me excited about The Avengers movie.

Natalie Portman didn’t have a whole lot to do. Shame, but that’s what the role called for. All of the attention was firmly on Thor and his journey. As an origin film for a comic book character, that’s what the film needed to be.

Having the film in 3D is utterly pointless. Some of the action sequences were so frenetic that it all looked like a blur in 3D. Though that’s more the studio and marketing people’s insistence on making films 3D when there’s absolutely no need for it.

I think the bar has been raised very high for the rest of the comic book movies that are due to be released this year. It also has bonus points from me for using Foo Fighters.
Rating: 5/5

Fast & Furious 5: Rio HeistFast & Furious 5: Rio Heist (28/04/11)

Dominic and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent.

This film doesn’t claim to be anything other than what it is – a balls out ridiculously large action film with some of the most beautiful cars seen onscreen since Gone in 60 Seconds. And for that I absolutely loved it.

The plot’s simple, even with a couple of hiccups along the way, the film goes from A to B with few deviations from the course. You’ve got some fantastic action sequences set in the favelas of Rio. Those really were fantastic to watch. I think I caught a little bit of CG when Brian and Mia went crashing through a rusted roof – they suddenly looked very plastic-y! Other than that, the action sequences looked refreshingly real – something a lot of action films lack these days.

Same with the car chase sequences. All were done with real cars and some skilled stunt drivers. That’s another reason to applause the film. I still think my favourite car chase sequence of all time is shared between Ronin, The Bourne Identity and Supremacy. However the final car chase with the bank vault was so ridiculously audacious and just plain massive, it’s got a special place on my favourite car chase list.

The car themselves? Can I just say wow? The 2002 Porsche GT3, 1966 Ford GT40, Koenigsegg CCX, 1972 Nissan Skyline, I could go on! Too many pretty cars for me to list them all, but those are my favourites. I think. The list is sure to change the next time I see the film, when I buy it on blu-ray!

Brian Tyler’s back with the scoring duties and he’s pulled it off again. Fantastic action movie score to add that little bit more to the film. It’s hard not to love it.

Fast & Furious wasn’t a movie franchise I thought I’d be a fan of. I just ignore films 2 and 3 in the franchise. 1 and 4 were fantastic films and Rio Heist is a great addition to the franchise.
Rating: 5/5

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

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:

100 movies: V for Vendetta

100 movies of 2010

[yellow_box]Updated 30/12/11: Today I rewatched this film. I promised myself I’d do this because after watching this film I did say to myself I was clearly missing something. Now that I have rewatched, I get what I was missing. Feels like my eyes have been opened! I take back my original score and give this what it deserves. A very solid 4/5[/yellow_box]

V for VendettaV for Vendetta (06/11/10)
Clearly I’ve missed something while watching this film. It’s got an average rating of 8.2 on IMDB and I honestly can’t think why! Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood to watch this film, but I just couldn’t connect with it. I think the one set of scenes which really grabbed me and got me to pay attention was when Natalie Portman’s Evey was being held prisoner, going through daily torture and surviving it all. Then to realise what was really going on. Possibly my only liked bit in the film because it felt well thought out and I understood, that for Evey to understand what V went through she had to go through it herself.

Other than that, I was at a loss with the film. It’s very possible I wasn’t in the mood for it as I did keep nodding off. I know it went through development hell, James Purefoy being cast, then dropping out, and a host of other issues. But I just couldn’t get into it! Maybe I’ll give it a try another time. Not any time soon. There’s got to be a reason it was given 8.2! I’m probably giving it a slightly higher score than I should because I thought Natalie Portman was very good.
Rating: 2/5

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