Really good movie, weird and misjudged ending :/
The ending is the best part of the film, and that's not some joke about how I couldn't wait for it to end or anything. It's a great film and the ending brings it to its most perfect conclusion.Primer
An interesting premise, albeit far from an original one. It's handled nicely, although it constantly feels like an incredibly low budget, indie film. But then, it is.
The characters are the focus of the story and they're nothing particularly special, but the whole thing gels into a reasonably competent whole. Not bad. 7/10Mirrors
The Japanese original isn't half bad. It's creepy, plays on a nice, original premise and has a fun, if someone inconsequential and stupid twist. This film manages to sap the original of everything good it had going for it, pumping it up with bad CGI and hoaky performances from people that are capable of better. The only good thing I can say about it, particularly is that it has Amy Smart in it. I suppose it deviates from the story of the original nicely enough to, offering more back-story -but it only goes to make things cheesier than they need to be.
Basically, none of it works. It's a bad film. 3/10Red State
A very strange film. A real passion project from Kevin Smith and whilst I think what he was trying to do was commendable, particularly how he made this film completely outside of the studio system - it's undeniably his worst film to date.
It starts out as something of a kidnapping horror film using Westborough Baptist Church as the template for the villains -good idea. The problem is that it soon dissolves into a bizarre sort of satiric drama that was obviously written by a man that writes comedy but is trying his hardest not to be funny. It just doesn't work. It doesn't go anywhere. You don't really know what it's trying to say. And it feels extremely messy - countless characters are completely unwarranted and serve practically no purpose in the overall scheme of things. It makes me wonder if the film was originally a lot longer and got butchered when it came to editing.
Anyway, it's never boring and John Goodman is just as much of a joy to watch as he usually is, so there's that. It's worth watching just out of interest if you're a Kevin Smith fan. But yeah, it's not good. 5/10Fright Night
'Fright Night' was exactly the sort of film that shouldn't be remade. It's suprising then, that this remake sort of works. It can't hold a candle to the original film, but it's a reasonable bit of fun in its own right.
The original film benefitted greatly from two of its performances: that of Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowell. In this remake, they're replaced with Colin Farrell and David Tennant. Farrell is decent, nothing on Sarandon whereas Tennant is as excellent as ever, which means that he's not quite as good as Roddy McDowell, but that's not his fault -he still does a great job. On the flip side, the original film's other core-cast members were all really weird. In a distracting way. It was hard to put up with them on the screen. This film doesn't suffer from that, although Anton Yelchin is shit and I hate him.
The film does a good job of updating things to fit the modern world, particularly the relocation to Vegas, but these modern fixtures don't have the charm of things such as the old "Fright Night" movies that the characters watch on television in the original. Another reason why it works is that it swaps around a lot of the plot points from the original film.
It has a lot of little plot holes and unanswered questions, but for the most part, the film stands as a good bit of fun which strangley has pretty much the exact same tone as the original film, just 20-odd years later.
Not as good as the original, but as far as completely unwanted remakes go, it's not a bad effort. 6/10Solaris
Fucking Russia. 3 hours of pseudo-intellectual bullshit. Spread accross 2 discs on DVD. This film is just mind-numbingly dull and its artistry doesn't justify it.
Just because this film is all Soviet and doesn't make much sense until you watch it twice, doesn't mean that it's good. My guess is that it's so highly regarded because most people who dislike it don't persevere for 3 hours until the end and therefore don't bother voting for / reviewing it. 4/10Quatermass and the Pit
A brilliant overall concept and plot, but it's all so, so dry. Everything about the film seems designed to sap the fun from it. Shame, it could have been excellent. 5/10Departures
A nice concept with good performances and heart, but at 2 hours, 11 minutes, it begins to drag. The film doesn't have enough material to give to justify that length - after the first hour it just begins to feel like the film is intent on plodding along for no reason other than it'll help to make it seem more meaningful if it's longer.
Still, the awkward pacing towards the end stops it being the brilliant little drama/character piece it could have been, but it's still a reasonably enjoyable bit of work as it is. 7/10Boogeyman
I expected this to be one of those shit horror films that's a nice, easy watch. It isn't. It's just... it's one of the worst films I have ever seen. It completely fails to engage on any level whatsoever, the characters are bland, the story is shit, the special effects are horrible and everything about how the film is put together is off-putting. It's shot horribly and edited in that way designed to appeal to people not used to watching anything longer than a music video.
It's exceptionally shit, basically. 2/10Everything Must Go
Could have been brilliant. The concept isn't exactly new or innovative, but I'm always happy to see new takes on films about people having a mid-life crisis of sorts after being fired and left by their significant other. This film's problem is that it does nothing I haven't seen done in countless other indie films, and I've seen it all done better, too. To add to that, it's neither particularly funny or particularly touching. It could have been both but it's too meandering and vague about its world to let me really connect with its characters and it seems intent on not being funny because will Ferrell's trying to prove that he can act.
In fact, if it wasn't for the cast, it'd be a bad film. Thankfully, they're all likeable to the point that they bring the film back up. And Will Ferrell's performance is genuinely very good. If you've seen 'Stranger Than Fiction', you'll know that he's one of the Jim Carreys of the world who make funny films but are actually capable of doing a fantastic job in a serious role.
So yeah, this is one of Will's best performances ever in fact, it's just a shame that it's in such a mediocre film. 5/10Cedar Rapids
A good, likeable cast and a premise that's reasonably good fun -certainly very easy to sit through, are somewhat wasted by a lack of humour. There's a handful of good gags in this film, but not nearly enough to justify the comedic tone that the film has (that of a laugh-a-minute movie). If it'd been funnier, this would have been a winner, but sadly it's just very dry. It's not bad, but it's not good either. 5/10Death Becomes Her
A fun film with fun performances from Meryl, Bruce and Goldie. It's not exactly great, getting a bit lost during its overlong runtime and ultimately meandering a lot without saying as much as you feel that they set out to... also, it could have been funnier.
But yeah, I can think of worse ways to spend a feature film running-time. 6/10The Man Who Knew Too Little
A fairly cliched overall concept (mistaken identity / spy spoof) is executed quite nicely here. It's never hilarious, but it's constantly, at very least enduring -mostly thanks to Bill Murray who could make anything watchable, but also thanks to the likes of Alfred Molina and Richard Wilson.
It's not great, but it's not bad either. 6/10The Old Dark House
A film by James Whale that embodies everything about his style of film-making. It's not even close to being as good as 'The Bride of Frankenstein', but for my money, it's better than 'The Invisible Man'. It has the same mixture of the creepy and odd humour found throughout his filmography as well as the usual sorts of cast which this time round includes a man who appears to be Peter Kay having time-travelled back to 1932.
The film is let down by an abrupt and anti-climactic ending which lets the extremely strong first and reasonably strong second acts down. It's worth watching for James Whale enthusiasts - or purely for the strange oddities present in it such as a woman playing a man over 100 years old very unconvincingly but without a hint of irony or the opening title card that lets you know that Boris Karloff was also the monster in 'Frankenstein' in case you were wondering where you've seen him before. 6/10Son of the Mask
It's not half as bad as people make it out to be. I mean, it IS bad. VERY bad. But it's not worst-film-ever-made bad. And frankly, the first 'The Mask' film was hardly a masterpiece, either.
It's cinematography is worth noting because of how utterly baffling it all is. I can't tell if the director of photography was an inexperienced hack or trying to break crazy, new ground, but either way, what they did here doesn't work. Your eyes are constantly wandering to the wrong parts of frames, you're constantly expecting things to happen that don't and so forth - all because it's badly shot.
Still, aspects of the story are interesting. Loki coming to Earth to retrieve the mask for instance is quite a nice idea for a sequel. It's a shame that they threw in a load of crap about a baby. But even then, it's not like the Loki stuff is good. It's handled in a horribly cheesey way and isn't very funny.
Ultimately, this film slots right in with the list of other crappy Jim-Carrey-less sequels such as 'Evan Almighty', 'Ace Ventura Jr' and 'Dumb and Dumberer'. 3/10Tootsie
A constantly entertaining and very witty film. Its storyline and premise are unremarkable, but they're brought to life with a brilliant script and a cast featuring Dustin Hoffman (possibly my favourite actor when I leave ironic choices out of the mix) and Bill Murray. Dustin Hoffman shines as he always does, making something that could have been extremely distracting (a man playing a woman) - not to mention, extremely uncomfortable and filled with sexual undertones - feel completely natural and normal for the viewer after about 3 minutes of getting used to it.
But yes, my point is that this film is executed well and aside from the great performances, it's mostly due to its brilliantly written script which is full of great little one-liners and musings. 8/10The Day the Earth Stood Still
Given this film's existence as a remake of an intelligent and thought-provoking sci-fi classic, the presence of Keanu Reeves and the negative word of mouth, I expected this film to be a sure-entry for my "100 Worst Films I've Ever Seen" list. I was surprised, then, at how good it was.
I mean, it was bad, but it was watchable, had some nice ideas and wasn't too boring. Certainly not a contender for the list. It attempts to maintain the spirit of the original story whilst losing sight of the meanings and what have you in a sea of Hollywood bullshit, but it still makes for a more thoughtful than usual blockbuster. The ending is quite bizarre for a film of this nature, too -being incredibly downbeat when you stop and think about it, but served as if it's a happy ending because this is a Hollywood blockbuster.
So yes. It's a strange film and you're much better off watching the original, but it could have been oh so much worse. 5/10Jennifer's Body
A reasonably fun film. It was basically sold as a horror-edition of 'Mean Girls' and to be fair, that's pretty close to the truth. It's not as well written, funny or entertaining as 'Mean Girls', but it has a similar tone and flashes of the same winning brand of humour. It's just a shame that those flashes are just that, flashes. When this film actually tries to be funny, it is... and it's sometimes extremely witty too, you know? As if it were from the writer of 'Juno'.
But also, what's remarkable is that when it actually tries to be scary, it does a pretty good job of it, too. One scene in particular was more uncomfortable in a sort of scary way than any horror film I've watched in the last 4 months or so. When did 'Insidious' come out?
Anyhoo, it's a wasted opportunity more than anything, but it gets by as passable fair -mostly thanks to Amanda Seyfried (who I'm in love with) and a surprisingly competetent performance from Megan Fox. Also, J.K. Simmons. 6/10Stake Land
A bleak, boring affair that fails because it takes itself too seriously. It doesn't have the depth, intelligence or craftsmanship behind it to justify being as po-faced and sombre as it is and as such, it feels like they went with that tone because they watched 'The Road' and liked it.
That's the other problem with this film. It offers absolutely nothing you can't find done-better in other films, particularly 'The Road'. I mean, it is essentially 'The Road' with vampires, but with the 'with vampires' bit, comes the 'made on an indie horror film budget by inexperienced indie horror film makers' part. Also, the ending sucks. It feels like they ran out of ideas for where to take things, figured that they had a feature-length amount of footage in the can and called it a day.
So yeah, one or two nice ideas and set-pieces aside, this isn't good. 5/10Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Not only do Tom and Jerry speak, completely removing the cat-and-mouse-chases from the procedings spare for a couple of token moments, but they speak with two of the worst, most horrendously miscast voices I think I have ever heard.
I often hear people complain about singing in animated kids' films, often when praising Pixar. I've never really understood the complaint, I mean... I love the songs in the likes of 'The Lion King' and 'Aladdin'. I think this film might just be universally responsible for turning the world against singing in animated family fair... there's a song every 2 minutes and they all sound like flat, rip-offs of songs from 'Sweet Charity'. New characters are introduced all over the place to the point that you wonder why they bothered putting Tom and Jerry in the film. Neither of them are the lead character... that honour is held by some annoying little girl, you know? To appeal to the kids? Obviously Tom and Jerry will distance children because kids aren't cats or mice, they're humans. She's stuck in some boring quest to find her thought-to-be-dead father whilst escaping from her evil aunt who wants to keep her for her trust-fund. It's all just... bleh.
Oh, and as I mentioned, there are a handful of sequences with Tom actually chasing Jerry which are clearly designed as a little nod and wink to the cartoons, but they're all very dull and incredibly uninspired. Not only should they have been the bulk of the film, but if they were as energetic and clever as the original shorts and episodes of the show, this could have been a great little gem of a film. As it is, it's sub 'Tom & Jerry Kids', which for those of you who don't know, means it's very bad. 3/10Trust
An absorbing drama that handles difficult issues extremely well. It's sort of like 'Hard Candy' if 'Hard Candy' was much, much better. Story-wise there's little in common between both films beyong them both featuring a paedophile, but tonally they're very similar. 'Trust' is a far more intelligent film, however, and features some wonderful performances. Lisa Liberato is brilliant given her age whilst Clive Owen reminds us that he's actually not a bad actor at all.
It does derail somewhat by the end, leaving for an ending that isn't hugely satisfactory, but it's an overall strong piece of work and one that suggests that David Schwimmer is (quite surprisingly, I mean, who would have thought it back in the '90s?) a name to watch in the future. The film doesn't showcase any directorial flourishes, but it showcases a lot of very intelligent directorial decisions that will probably pass most people by. If anything, that makes for a better director than lots of whip-pans. 7/10Bad Teacher
An extremely messy film, but one with enough funny bits to justify its existence. It's certainly much funnier than other offerings from this year such as 'Cedar Rapids' and 'The Hangover: Part II', although it can't hold a candle to films like 'Horrible Bosses'.
It's certainly elevated by a number of good performances - particularly the lovely Lucy Punch who is brilliant as a goody, goody teacher rival for Cameron Diaz.
Unfortunately, there are just too many things that don't make sense or simply don't work and the film sort of falls apart - most noticably the completely unlikeable nature of the protagonist coupled with the film making no attempt to use that to make a statement (ala 'Bad Leuitenant') and no attempt to explain the reasons for why she's so unlikeable, so as to make us care in a back-door sort of way.
So yeah, it's not great, but it's an easy way to pass an hour and a half. 6/10The Guard
From the weaker brother of the writer/director that brought us 'In Bruges', comes this weaker brother of a film. It's no 'In Bruges' off the bat, but taken in its own terms, it's a nice little dark-comedy that seems to have sprung out of nowhere. It's got laughs and a lovely, dark sense of humour that really did it for me. It's got a good cast (Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle and Mark Strong). And as such, it's good. It just falls down for its pacing losing steam by the end (it begins to feel a bit bloated and bored of itself) and for it not really doing anything new.
Still, a good fillum and one of Ireland's better efforts. Shame that 'Submarine', essentially a Welsh film, also came out this year because that basically means that Wales kicked Ireland's ass and that's just embarrassing. 7/10The Changeling
I love haunted house stories and this one starts out brilliantly. Unfortunately, it blows its 'Jaws quotient' a bit early and we see too much 'big' paranormal activity, thus sort of stopping the ghost from being scary. Add into that that at nearly 2 hours, it overstays its welcome. Had it been a compact hour and a half, it would have been much stronger for it.
It remains a good film though, just one that could have been so much more. 7/10Legend
'Legend' proves that Ridley Scott is about as hit and miss as they come.
I rented this film thinking that I was getting a fun, possibly darkly comedic tale about an '80s businessman or something played by Tom Cruise, who'd be pulled down to Hell for whatever reason to face off with Tim Curry. I'm not sure why I thought this, but the film itself was not only dissapointingly different, but it was flat-out fucking terrible.
It's a load of 'Lord of the Rings'-esque high-fantasy bullshit about good and evil magic and light and darkness and blah blah blabberty blah. Now, I'm no fan of 'Lord of the Rings', but at least that film looked gorgeous and the special effects were realistic enough to take things seriously.
This film looks like 'Labyrinth'. It has the tone of a Jim Henson creation, but it's absolutely, 100% serious. Not even a hint of humour.
I can't take shitty puppets seriously in a film that takes itself seriously.
Not to mention all the awful, awful "nuke the fridge" moments such as when Mia Sara breaks into song after seeing a unicorn. This film isn't a musical, I should add. She just breaks into song ala a Disney princess and that's it. The film is full of bullshit moments like that. Hell, it's pretty much comprised entirely of them.
The only good thing I can say is that Tim Curry is brilliant (as usual) and his makeup is wonderful, terrifying, unique and totally badass. Every scene with him in is rendered watchable purely by his presence (although it irks me that the Devil has a british accent when most of the characters who live in the same place have American accents - what's that about?) but he's only in something like 8 minutes of the film's entire running time.
So yeah. This film is shit. If you have to see a Ridley Scott film with unicorns in it, watch 'Blade Runner'. 2/10Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Beautifully shot and acted tedium. This film looks breath-takingly gorgeous, that I can't deny. It also features one of the greatest all-star casts I've ever seen in a single film: Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, Mark Strong, John Hurt, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Graham, that Orson Welles impersinator and more! All of them do fine jobs so it's just a shame that the film is so incredibly, incredibly dull. And it relishes in its dullness which makes the whole thing feel smarmy and up its own arse... which I suppose it is, really.
It doesn't offer anything you can't find in other, much better films. It's just boring because apparently a film has to be boring to be taken seriously these days. 5/10I Spit on Your Grave
I haven't seen the original, but this is a competent enough bit of torture-porn. It doesn't really have a story. It just has part a: guys attack woman, followed by part b: woman attacks guys. It misses a lot of opportunities to examine the relationship between right and wrong and how things like revenge play into that, is vengeance justified and if so, to what extent? It's more content with showing you images designed to pray on the squeamish.
Frankly, it left me longing to watch 'Straw Dogs' again, a film with similar content, but handled far more intelligently. I suppose this film is basically 'Straw Dogs' if it were sapped of all its artistic merit and then made 10 times as violent. So basically, it's the upcoming 'Straw Dogs' remake with more violence.
Still, as mindless entertainment, it works, even if it's uncomfortable viewing and arguably exploitative. It's hardly a film I have any intention of ever re-watching, but it was easy to sit through and if anything, it's made me more interested in seeing the original. 5/10Friends with Benefits
A solid rom-com elevated above the rest by actually being (somewhat) funny and by its great cast. Justin Timberlake is surprisingly likeable, Mila Kunis is her usual self (hot and funny-for-a-girl). Plus Andy Samberg and Emma Stone both have small roles and Woody fucking Harrelson is in it.
Spare for a few cringey moments a younger me would have labled as 'totally gay', it handles the sappy aspects of things nicely and whilst we all knew what would happen just by watching the trailer, it made me care enough about things to enjoy the ride.
One thing I'll mention is that a lot of things led me to believe that there was an upcoming incestual reveal -that the two leads were long-lost siblings. I knew that such a mainstream film would never have dared to flip the proverbial middle finger so violently at its core audience of rom-com-zoms but, I was a little bit let down when things played out so conventionally. Anyway, that probably says more about my perverted mind than anything else.
Enjoyable. If you're one of these girl things that has to watch chick flicks all the time, you should definitely watch this one. 7/10Somewhere in Time
A really nice, somewhat original premise - utilising fairy-tale sci-fi most brilliantly, allows for a story featuring Christopher Reeve going back in time and being an absolutely gigantic stalker - but in a sweet way where girls will pine for him like those dicks in 'Twilight'. It's quite laughable how if this were the real world, people would think him to be absolutely creepy following a girl around so obsessively, but given how it's presented here, it actually is kind of touching. The whole film is as well as just the right amount of funny.
The film's very good up until it's ending which really lets things down. It comes right out of nowhere in terms of pacing and just feels like lazy writing. We're saddled with poorly explained things bordering on being massive plot-holes (he's sucked back to the present and this puts him in a depression - the film never explains why he doesn't simply go back in time again) and then the ending is that he dies and the girl he was chasing dies, but it's fine because now they can be happy together in Heaven. Fuck off. Awful ending to an otherwise great film. An awful ending that absolutely destroys what came before it. Such a waste. 6/10
(would have been an 8 if it weren't for that ending)