Another round of reviews from Robin one of our members…
It’s been a far better month for film viewing and I have the 11 new films I’ve seen this month ranked from worst to best. Thankfully in this post I won’t be trashing any popular films. I would not recommend bothering with numbers 8-11. Nothing more to say. 11 movies I’ve watched this month, ranked. Enjoy!
The loser of July 2014 is…..
11. The Happening: 1/10 AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! This one is difficult to review as M Night Shyamalan has described it as a horror movie before changing his mind and saying it was a B movie. I’m reviewing it as the former. A mysterious force is causing anyone who comes into contact with it to commit suicide, and this is a scary premise. Genuinely. And the movie is very scary. Its acting, writing and directing are so dreadful you’ll be hiding behind the sofa to get away from it. Aside from the strong premise and the typical flair of Shyamalan’s cinematography, this has nothing going for it. Mark Wahlberg gives one of the worst movie performances ever, lectures a student on science and talks to a plant. A guy randomly rambles about hot dogs. Entire ‘scares’ consist of wind rustling the plants… that’s it. Creepy things happen which are about as scary as Twilight. And more wind. Enough said already.
10. The Monuments Men: 4/10 how did this happen?! An interesting true story about men rescuing works of art from the Nazis. A good director. A great cast. A strong title. An interesting trailer. How can that not be good? Exactly the question you’ll be asking after watching this. There’s only so long I can wait for something to actually happen before I lose patience. A film taking 70 minutes to start is ridiculous. The cast are mostly subdued, while George Clooney goes the motions behind the camera. Despite the good intentions and some better stuff it’s all wasted in a film so boring it feels like a parody of boring movies. Are the people who made this so deluded they actually thought anyone would be genuinely satisfied with this?
9. Non-Stop: 4/10 this is the sort of thing you’d only watch if you were on a plane and had nothing else to do. Since this film involves Liam Neeson (Big fan) dealing with a villain who is killing someone every 20 minutes unless $150 million is transferred to an account where it can be accessed while on a plane, this would never be an inflight movie so basically just don’t watch it. An uneasy mix of brutal action thriller and interesting whodunit without showing much commitment to either with a plot so ludicrous it makes Snakes On A Plane look like a documentary, this totally wastes its awesome premise. It has its moments, with some good performances but in the end it’s far too forgettable and nonsensical to satisfy.
8. Along Came A Spider: 5/10 I read the book this month, so I was interested to see the film but it was a disappointment. This, like the book, is about detective Alex Cross (Played by Morgan Freeman in a less interesting performance than normal) investigating a kidnapping. The book was packed with human drama and thrills, but this lacks most of that and goes down the generic route with great enthusiasm. With some good moments and thrills, it’s a perfectly OK thriller but having read the book, it was a bit disappointing. Still, you can’t really expect too much from anything directed by the guy who did Die Another Day.
7. Halloween II: 6/10 the above entry was a let down but this is a pleasant surprise. This sequel is set on the same night as the first (John Carpenter’s brilliant slice of horror heaven and a true masterpiece) and Michael Myers continues to chase the heroine (Played excellently by Jamie Lee Curtis). It’s nowhere near as good as the first, with fewer scares, more reliance on gore and not quite as much suspense, but it’s still an enjoyable and interesting sequel which is far better than many horror sequels. It uses shadows very well, it has many tense sequences and it still makes an old Captain Kirk mask painted white scary. With some illogical things (How does Michael Myers keep surviving? why does the hospital only contain some very irresponsible staff, one patient and a few babies?) it’s a rather silly movie, but it’s also a good one. Underrated.
6. Signs: 7/10 despite the backlash that this, M Night Shyamalan’s last good movie, has received, don’t be fooled. This is a good and interesting film. It follows a family trying to survive an alien invasion after finding strange symbols in the crop fields with some very interesting Religious themes. Like his other 2 good films, this takes a genre known for set pieces (Alien invasion) and turns it into a quiet, deft, suspense filled drama which emphasizes emotion over thrill but still has some very effective jump scares. As virtually every frame of this beautifully filmed movie oozes suspense, you’ll be on the edge of your seat. The religious themes are very interesting and set this film apart from others of its kind. However, the script is uneven, with both good and groan inducing lines and the film is often illogical, with a massive plot hole big enough to fly a UFO through. Despite that, this packs plenty of punch without relying on big set pieces.
5. The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty: 8/10 despite mediocre reviews, this is actually pretty good. Ben Stiller directs and stars in this comedy drama about a bored office worker who uses fantasies to escape from the boredom of everyday life before embarking on an adventure for real. Although Walter actually doing adventurous things slightly misses the point, it can feel quite style over substance and the final twist is so obvious it’s painful, this is a visually stunning and thoroughly uplifting movie, benefitting from Ben Stiller’s skill both in front of and behind the camera and its awesome visuals. While nothing groundbreaking, it is a really nice movie and far better than much of the garbage that came out during 2013.
4. You’re Next: 8/10 the fact that rubbish and I mean proper rubbish like Movie 43, Pain & Gain, Pacific Rim, White House Down, Insidious 2, Man Of Steel, Thor 2, Zero Dark Thirty and Now You See Me get far more attention than this is deeply offensive. This is a home invasion thriller which plays around with conventions a bit, and the result is a delirious, darkly comic, energetic and intense burst of delightfully unrestrained horror fun. Although a bit obsessed with the red stuff and a bit weak structure wise, despite becoming a bit numbing towards the end this is well acted, written and directed, and is a very enjoyable and impressive breath of fresh air. It’s not as good as The Conjuring 2013’s horror masterpiece- but it is a strong addition to the horror genre and should not have gone over audience’s heads. Sadly, it did.
3. Silver Linings Playbook: 9/10 this mixes American Football, mental illness, humour and romance into one. It shouldn’t work, but it genuinely does. Aside from the occasional jarring tonal shift, this is excellent stuff. David O Russell once again proves himself a smart and imaginative director, while the script walks the tricky thematic tightrope and makes it look easy. However, what really sets this apart are the powerhouse performances from Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert de Niro, and this brilliantly acted movie is genuinely affecting as a result.
2. Terminator 2 Judgement Day: 9/10 this brilliant sequel makes the bad guy the good guy, and Arnie’s terminator returns to protect John and Sarah Connor from a new, more lethal terminator. Although there are anticlimactic moments and John Connor sometimes veers into annoying child sidekick territory, this fantastic piece of action filmmaking powers along with the force of a truck, and endlessly thrilling set pieces pile up to create a devastatingly powerful thrill ride which doesn’t pause for breath. What’s even more impressive is the depth of the characters, a despite being a summer blockbuster there are some genuinely touching moments. An innovative, ground-breaking sequel with plenty of punch, swagger and heart.
And the winner of July 2014 is…
1. Boyhood: 10/10 the most amazing boring movie you’ll ever see. Not much actually happens, just a boy growing up. Filmed over 12 years with the same actors, this is like time-lapse photography of a human being. Now add amazing direction, great acting and a smart script. Now multiply. You’re starting to get an idea of how brilliant this. Although almost 3 hours long it doesn’t feel like that, and with its genuine emotional punch, honest truths about life and fascinating narrative, it’s by far 2014’s best movie. To all the other movies in 2014, I wish you luck. Despite the fact almost nothing happens, it packs a huge punch and has a huge impact, making it essential viewing. Funny, tender, smart, powerful, superbly made, beautifully written and acted and endlessly fascinating. A masterpiece.
Thanks for reading!