Woohoo! Some decent horror films. Finally

Film

The horror film genre is probably one of my favourites. Something about sitting in a dark room waiting for something to happen but not knowing exactly what will happen. Well, that’s what a good horror film should be. In my eyes. It’s funny. I don’t actually get scared when watching horror films. I very, very rarely jump. Things have to engross me a heck of a lot to get a jump out of me. And yet, I just get some sort of kick out of horror films.

For me it’s all about films like The Shining, Scream, The Blair Witch Project, The Devil’s Backbone, An American Werewolf in London, Event Horizon, The Thing, Alien, Jaws, The Orphanage, [REC], The Cabin in the Woods, Final Destination.

Sadly, the horror genre’s not exactly got a good reputation. Things can get real schlocky and way over the top gory. As what happened with the Saw genre. Or just plain boring, as with the Paranormal Activity series. Or just tired and predictable – Sinister, I’m looking at you.

Thankfully, my faith in the genre’s been put at ease with two films. One new. One fairly old. Let’s start with the old.

100 movies: Safe House

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!

Safe HouseSafe House (24/02/12)

A young CIA agent is tasked with looking after a fugitive in a safe house. But when the safe house is attacked, he finds himself on the run with his charge.

So, we’ve got Denzel in another action packed film. Playing a little bit more a bad boy. Ryan Reynolds is the fresh blood. You know what? It all works well. Yes the plot is pretty damn predictable. There’s nothing new. I pretty much guessed from the get-go who was double-crossing who. Though, it’s a story that’s told well with some decent characters thrown in.

I have to say, I was pretty impressed with Ryan Reynolds. To me, he’ll always me Berg from Two Guys and a Girl. Think he held up his parts of the film well, playing a very fresh agent pushed to the limit.

Denzel Washington is… well Denzel Washington. He is great as Tobin Frost. Fair enough, he has played the same or very similar characters in the last few films of his. But he has such great onscreen presence and charisma, I can’t help but have respect for the man and what he does.

I am getting a little tired of action films having that over-saturated look that Tony Scott just loves. It’s like it’s needed to just show how sweaty and tough things are. It’s not necessary. Let Tony Scott keep his over saturated action films. (Which I will happily admit, are a guilty pleasure of mine.)

There are some great action set pieces. The initial car chase is superb. As is the chase through the township. You know what’s great about them? The fact that they’re on location. There’s none of this CG on-a-set crap. The fights were excellent too. Throwing punches that sound like they hurt.

All in all. A good film. Could have been great with a stronger plot and truly unbelievable twists. I’m not complaining. Too much.
Strong>Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

120+ Movies: Getting Back on Track

120+ Movies of 2011

The Hangover Part IIThe Hangover Part II (27/05/11)

Right after the bachelor party in Las Vegas, Phil, Stu, Alan, and Doug jet to Thailand for Stu’s wedding. Stu’s plan for a subdued pre-wedding brunch, however, goes seriously awry.

Going into this film I knew what I was expecting – more of what was in the first film and then some. So this film ticked that box well enough. It pretty much stuck to the same formula as the first film. Well, I think it treated the first film as a template to the second. Things almost happened exactly the same way as they did in the first with different variables. Some ludeness was upped. The amount of stupidity from Alan was upped, which did grate on my slightly.

Though I laughed throughout most of the film. There was plenty of stupidity. It’s not as good as the first one, because the first one set all the rules and this second film has stuck to the rules like glue. I probably won’t be buying this when it gets released on blu-ray/DVD, but it was a fun ride. Marginally disappointed in that this could have been one hell of an even funnier film given the talent.
Rating: 3/5

How to Train Your DragonHow to Train Your Dragon (28/05/11)

A hapless young Viking who aspires to hunt dragons becomes the unlikely friend of a young dragon himself, and learns there may be more to the creatures than he assumed.

Now this is a surprisingly good film! It’s a simple story. Young boy trying to find his place. Forms unlikely friendship. Everyone learns a vital lesson by the end of the film. But it’s so nicely told with some equally touching moments and brilliantly funny parts!

The bonding scene between Hiccup and Toothless got me to tears in record time, thanks to a really beautiful score by John Powell.

Think this is my favourite animated film from Dreamworks. It had some real heart to it, which I find other Dreamworks animated films just don’t have. I’m happy there’s a sequel, but I hope they get things right again and don’t mess with a great formula. Just maybe improve it slightly.
Rating: 4/5

ZodiacZodiac (28/05/11)

A San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac killer.

This is what I call a ‘heavy’ film. My brain hurt a lot after finishing with it. Not to mention left feeling a little bit unsatisfied. Well, that was my initial feeling after I’d finished watching the film. Looking back on it, how on earth could it have ended any other way.

Brilliant performances from all the cast in the film. The Zodiac killer himself terrified me. More-so due to the fact that he was/is real. Sends a shiver down my spine.

Loved the look of San Francisco and the colour tones in the film.A very beautiful looking film as well as packing a lot of substance.
Rating: 4/5

Up in the AirUp in the Air (30/05/11)

With a job that has him traveling around the country firing people, Ryan Bingham leads an empty life out of a suitcase, until his company does the unexpected: ground him.

My god, it took me so long to finally watch this film! But I’ve seen it now, so stop looking at me that way.

Brilliant film. Great dialog. Amazing cast. The ending of the film did not go where I was expecting it to go. I was expecting a happy ending, which I guess it was in a way.

I adored the opening sequence of the film and all of the aerial shots in the film. They were beautiful! I want to make a snapshot of one of them and put it on my desktop.
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: