May 2014: A summary

Another month has gone and it hasn’t been a great month for film viewing. It’s been an interesting month overall, including working as a runner on the set of Sheena’s short film which was very good indeed.

Here’s a top 6 and bottom 6 (because I’m nice) of the new films I’ve watched this month. Nothing else to say. Honourable mentions: Cube, The Bourne Supremacy. Dishonourable mention: Piranha 3D.

6 that you should watch

ocean's 13

6. Ocean’s Thirteen: 8/10 in the third and final film of the trilogy, Danny Ocean and his aggressively likable crew of criminals do one final heist as revenge to a greedy business owner who betrayed one of the thirteen. Returning to the formula of the brilliant first instalment with great success, this is a hugely pleasant surprise and a good watch. The more cynical filmgoers won’t like it and it has a few errors here and there (Don Cheadle’s accent) but although the heist set piece isn’t quite as awesome as it was in the first, it’s more inventive in many ways and Steven Soderbergh directs it with brilliant style. Most of the jokes hit and although the plot is a bit complicated, it still entertains. Ultra cool and ultra fun.


5. Godzilla: 9/10 Godzilla returns with a vengeance in this quality blockbuster. Basically, Godzilla’s back and he’s angry, but the themes of nuclear destruction from the Japanese original are still here. Gareth Edwards (Who directed a fascinating low budget sci-fi called Monsters a few years back) proves he can handle a big budget and his direction makes it intense, terrifying, epic and jaw dropping, even if he forgets to tell any of the human characters apart from Bryan Cranston to actually emote in any way. The script is decent enough and the film is an intense, hugely enjoyable romp. Big, loud and as epic at Godzilla himself, this is one to see in the cinema.

the terminator

4. The Terminator: 9/10 Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a terrifying cyborg hunting Sarah Connor, who will play an important part in a future war. A soldier from the future tries to protect her. You all know this one and it deserves to be known. Although there are a few too many car chases, this is breathtaking action cinema. With a great villain and a surprisingly interesting story, but overseen by James Cameron’s masterful direction, the tension never ends and it’s a complete and utter blast from start to finish. This is way, way better than Avatar.

the godfather 2

3. The Godfather Part II: 9/10 what do you get when you make a sequel to what might be the greatest film of all time? A contender for the greatest sequel of all time. Al Pacino, in one of the great film  performances, plays Michael Corleone, who after running his crime family for many years is a complete monster and deals with his personal and professional problems. In flashbacks, Robert De Niro gives a fine performance where you can really feel Marlon Brando as his father rising to the top of the crime world. It’s excessive length can blunt its emotional impact, but this is thrilling, intense, powerful and overwhelmingly brilliant filmmaking with the director, cast and writers all on top form. The only 2 problems are the length and the way it makes the memory of Al Pacino in Jack and Jill even more painful. This is how you do a sequel.


2. Reservoir Dogs: 10/10 in Quentin Tarrantino’s directional debut, we see the events before and after a disastrous heist as a group of criminals begin to suspect one is a police informant. Expect the unexpected as violence, emotion and pop culture references explode onto the screen, and the result is thrilling, jaw dropping and utterly brilliant. With dialogue so ultra cool it’ll make any screenwriter green with envy and smart, suspenseful direction, this could be the greatest independent film ever made. With it’s graphic violence it’s not always easy to watch but it’s not really even a movie. It’s an exhilarating powerhouse that threatens to burst through the screen.

And the best is…


1. The Third Man: 10/10 Britain’s finest ever film? Maybe. This follows an author in Vienna who is investigating the death of his friend. It’s a noir and a brilliant one at that. The performances, especially Orson Welles delivering one of the cinema’s greatest speeches, are top notch. The script is fascinating, suspenseful and unpredictable as it takes us through many twists, turns and thrills. The direction and cinematography are amazing, and the film’s use of Dutch angles, shadows and long shots is totally and utterly jaw dropping. It’s confusing, thrilling and endlessly compelling, and a ruthlessly riveting example of cinema at its best. Watch it.

6 that you shouldn’t


6. The Amazing Spider Man 2: 5/10 Spiderman 3 isn’t as bad as you remember, so why make another Spiderman franchise. Why, just why? It’s hardly intolerable, but it’s not a very good superhero film. I’m truly tired of people pretending the first amazing spiderman was good. It wasn’t. It was tired, bland, generic, hollow and less necessary than 2013’s Carrie remake. This is a little better but not by much. It’s some confusing storyline about Peter Parker finding out more about his parents and fighting loads of underdeveloped villains (For some reason they repeat the Spiderman 3 formula). Emma Stone is excellent as his girlfriend and Harry Osborn is very well played, but Andrew Garfield is NOT a good Spiderman. It has plenty of entertaining action sequences but it gets let down by its bloated length, lack of heart and overcluttered plot. Make the third one better. Or maybe we should just flush this franchise down the drain because it’s boring?


5. Thor The Dark World: 4/10 this movie sucks. I’m sad to say this because I like Marvel movies but it does. There’s barely any plot, just Thor fighting some space orcs. It’s not a complete flop. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston remain excellent in their roles and the direction and visuals are undeniably alright. It’s nice to look at but way too much time is spent on the alien worlds. It soon stops being a movie and starts being a boring video game instead. Add that to a total lack of tension, some of the most annoying marvel characters (Why is an Oscar winning actress like Natalie Portman playing such a bland comic book girlfriend), a slightly bloated length and a failure to distinguish itself from the others make this just a factory product. Between Captain America 2 and Iron Man 3 this is especially noticeable.


4. Lord Of The Flies: 4/10 this awful book to film adaptation doesn’t just miss the mark, it misses it by a long mile. William Golding’s haunting tale of boys stranded on an island gets the film treatment and loses almost all of its power. Since when were the boys American? Since when did they have an adult with them? Since when did Simon not talk to the lord of the flies? Since when were there no proper tribes? Messing with the source material so much it’s LOTF in name only, this is a mess. It has the occasional powerful moment and is well photographed and acted, but the script is a total mess. Since no-one making this understood the themes of the book, this is a boring way to spend 90 minutes.


3. Ocean’s 12: 3/10 there is no heist. Despite the fact that it is a heist movie, there’s no heist. What we get instead is a smug, lazy and illogical movie that had no right to be as bad as this. This extremely complicated storyline involves a robbery of a jewelled egg or…something? Despite some funny moments and Steven Soderbergh’s stylish direction, this is all wrong. The settings fall flat. The twists fall flat. Numerous bizarre scenes such as breakdancing through lasers and Julia Roberts’ character impersonating Julia Roberts fall flat. The lack of thrills and fun falls flat (obviously). The natural charisma of George Clooney and Brad Pitt falls flat. Don Cheadle was already falling flat thanks to his awful cockney accent and he’s falls even flatter. Matt Damon falls flat. Everyone falls flat. The script falls flat. Lock this up in a hi-tech security vault and don’t ask Danny and his team to come and get it. It doesn’t deserve it.


2. Crash: 2/10 The biggest question in movies is not how does Michael Bay/Uwe Boll/Kristen Stewart/Adam Sandler find work? Not how did Movie 43 get made? Not what happened to M Night Shyamalan? Not what possessed the writer of Sunshine to include that awful twist ending? The biggest one is how did this manipulative, preachy, patronizing mess win best picture? Is this a joke? This examination of race relations in LA is as subtle as a fast and furious set piece, and literally consists and manipulative, atrociously written scenes consisting of one dimensional stereotypes being horrible to each other. It sends the message that racism is bad with these manipulative scenes but it does so in the most tedious, intelligence insulting way imaginable. It’s very well acted but (Most will agree) this is the worst best picture winner ever. I…. Hated it!

And the worst is…


1. Disaster Movie: 0/10 in this Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (alarm bells) spoof, the apocalypse is happening and some repulsive 20-somethings go running around encountering loads of stunningly awful pop culture gags. Clearly not satisfied with Epic Movie and Meet The Spartans, Friedberg and Seltzer deliver this downright excruciating groan fest. Laugh as the coin toss scene from No Country For Old Men is replayed word for word! Chuckle as the characters drop loads of racist, sexist and homophobic jokes! Grin as Indiana Jones appears in some excruciatingly unfunny parody! Scream with laughter as the Marvel superheroes are repeatedly crushed by falling cows (that’s it)! It’s less funny than Schindler’s List, and a repulsive, desperately unfunny and heartbreakingly immature ‘comedy’. The worst film I’ve watched this month by some distance. But maybe it shouldn’t be on here as it’s hardly even a movie. It’s a 90 minute punishment vehicle.

Not a great month for film viewing overall. Hopefully June will be a bit better.

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