recent movies

It's been more than a year since the last time I posted a bunch of movie reviews. I haven't been bothering because I've seen a whole lot of crap. For example, here's the review I would have posted last night:

    Kick Ass 2: Wow, what a worthless piece of shit. Why did I waste my time on that?

So, yeah, in the last 13 months, I believe I've watched 97 movies, so imagine about 87 more reviews almost exactly like the one above.

Most of those 97 movies ranged between "utterly forgettable" (Percy Instruments: Volume 1: The Beginnining or whatever this week's cookie-cutter Teen Paranormal Romance is) and "so insultingly stupid that they made me angry" (Elysium, Cloud Atlas), or, "wearing out my fast-forward button" (The Hobbit, which I watched all 3 hours of in 15 minutes, like this: Zipzipzip, "Wow, they're still in the house." Zipzipzip "Still in the house." Zipzipzip "Eating, still in the house." Zipzipzip "Singing, still in the house." Zipzipzip "Does that guy really have poop on his head?" Zipzipzip "Oooh, terrible CGI goblins." Zipzipzip, "Wait, it's over?")

Anyway, these didn't suck, in reverse chronological order:

    Red 2: Not nearly as good as the first one, but still fun.

    Curse of Chucky: I was really surprised, but this is actually a decent little horror movie. And it's a horror movie, not a comedy! I'm one of the few people who actually liked Bride of Chucky, but this one is much more like the first Child's Play than the others.

    Fright Night 2: Ok, I was really confused by this, because I had no idea that there had been a remake of Fright Night a few years ago, so I thought this was actually a sequel to the 80s version of Fright Night, or I wouldn't have bothered. And as a sequel to that one, it makes no goddamned sense. I mean, it's been years since I saw that one, so I wasn't sure at first, but no. Still, as dumb vampire hunting movies with boobies go, it's not so bad. Also I just realized that I don't remember the difference between Fright Night and Vamp, because I thought Grace Jones painted by Keith Haring was in Fright Night. No wonder it didn't make any sense.

    Pacific Rim: Not bad. Everyone I know was like, "OMG amazeballs!!111" and it's not all that, but it was good fun. Certainly better than Robot Jox. Even so, I think the only thing I can remember about it are the Ron Perlman scenes, and he was in the movie for like 3 minutes. Quality 3 minutes though.

    Europa Report: This is really solid hard sci-fi! It's a little slow, but I was not insulted by it, and that's so rare for a space movie. I was afraid it was going to be a piece of shit like Apollo 18. It was not.

    The Numbers Station: The plot is John Cusack Shoots His Way Out Of A Room, and I'm ok with that. But the surprising thing here is that there is a Crypto MacGuffin and they actually don't screw that part up. (Also I'm a sucker for anything to do with numbers stations.)

    The To Do List: It's a period piece, really. It's set in the early 90s and Aubrey Plaza is a teen lifeguard trying to lose her virginity to the jock. It's half "that movie" and half "parody of that movie".

    The Devil's Rock: It's short, but it's a solid little flick about a demonic infestation during WW2. Very, very good practical effects.

    Seeking a Friend for The End of The World: This is great. It reminded me a bit of Wristcutters: A Love Story. Which you should also see.

    Safety Not Guaranteed: Also great, and in kind of a similar way. Spoiler: contains no actual time travel. This is good news.

    Butter: It's about a butter-carving competition between a sociopathic homemaker, a stripper and an orphan girl. I really did not expect this to be as funny as it is.

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37 Responses:

  1. Pavel Lishin says:

    Kick Ass 2, at least, wasn't as bad as The Wolverine.

    • jwz says:

      I disagree. Kick Ass 2 was far, far worse than Wolverine 2. (Faint praise.)

      • Pavel Lishin says:

        There's no sense in discussing subjective opinion of movies... but I'll do it anyway!

        The best part of Wolverine was when the cripple managed to operate a giant robot samurai that had specific tools built into the hands specifically to drill out Wolverine's claws, where his magic smoke lives.

        The best part of Kick Ass 2 was a tie between the Chekhov Shark, and the weird mini-remake of Mean Girls that was shoe-horned into the film so hard, a podiatrist and a cobbler must have been on staff.

  2. Phil Nelson says:

    Safety Not Guaranteed surprised the heck out of me. I liked it a lot. Lauren LOVED it.

  3. John says:

    I'm actually curious about what your take on Gravity is, if you saw it.

    • jwz says:

      Haven't seen it yet.

      • John says:

        I actually really liked it. If you can suspend disbelief through the science-y parts they get wrong, there's still a really enjoyable movie left over.

        • cthulhu says:

          But it's sad that they didn't have to get the science-y parts wrong; they could have set up other situations that were reasonably scientifically correct and still had all the same drama. Great 3-D though.

        • Richard says:

          Saw it at the Castro a couple nights ago. Big screen. Threedee.

          Can I please have those hours of my life back?

          So very very bad. Even if you can ignore the orbital mechanics (gravity, duh), and ignore the rest of the F=ma business, and ignore the E-Z unisize space suits, and can ignore the massive unsecured objects, and ignore the computers on fire that all function A-OK, the fucking humanizing monologues ought to make anybody come over all stabby.

          Sandra is doing it all for her dead daughter! There's an empty space inside her. Tears, in 3D. She's in heaven with angels! Time not to die.

          • MattyJ says:

            Um, so, Gravity was a horror movie and not sci-fi, okay?

            • Richard says:

              Seems I slept through the with bit involving the babe-tastic heroine in her skivvies versus the chest-burster.

          • Ian says:

            This. Plus given how much of their screen time the 'acting' is done by acrobats, they should really just have 'voices by' credits.

  4. cowmix says:

    Well, you are definitely not the art-house type.. that's for sure.

    • relaxing says:

      What, were you not a fan of Robot Jox?

      • Ian says:

        I want to thank this post for reminding me that I saw Robot Jox on the basis of who directed it and wrote it.

        Before it started, I knew it could never be even nearly as good as Re-Animator - hardly anything is - but I was hoping for something as OK as From Beyond.

        Afterwards, I wondered how he could make something that wasn't just utterly stupid but also incredibly boring out of the material.

        'Just for the money' was my answer, and I'm sticking to it.

  5. krick says:

    Seeing you mention Seeking a Friend for The End of The World made me think about Atonement, which also features Keira Knightly. I only rented Atonement for Keira Knightly but it actually turned out to be a really good movie. Try to avoid spoilers if you think you might watch it.

  6. I could not watch Pacific Rim without fixating on the shiny floors in the robot storage area.

    In the future. Half the populace is given a mop.

  7. phuzz says:

    Thinking back, I've managed to see exactly two films in a cinema in the last year:
    The Hobbit, which was ok, and The Shining, which was a midnight showing and they'd decorated the whole cinema, everyone went in fancy dress and it was great.
    I've never been that bothered by the size of the screen, and watching at home is more enjoyable for me.

  8. MetaRZA says:

    I find it interesting you sorta-liked Pacific Rim. I spent most of the movie complaining about how bad it was. But by the end, I was thinking it was 20% a bad movie. As if someone was making some a good movie but gave up and made a Hollywood blockbuster.

  9. I could not stand Pacific Rim. The dialogue had me continuously rolling my eyes or groaning out loud and all the characters were laughable stereotypes. All the robots-punching-monsters in the world could not overcome that for me.

    • jwz says:

      It probably helped to think of it as a parody of crap like Top Gun. "You're out of control, you're grounded!" "I did it for Johnny!" "Everything I know about Russians I learned from Rocky 3!"

      • John Morton says:

        I found it puzzling that The World's End had better fight choreography than Pacific Rim. Pacific Rim needed more special attacks and less dialogue.

  10. moof says:

    FWIW, there was a Fright Night part II from the 80s; I don't remember it being very good.

  11. MattyJ says:

    Agree about Butter, everyone should seek it out. Olivia Wilde's conveyance was beyond hilarious.

    I was bugged by The To Do Lists' insistence that it was in the 90's. Every scene had some sort of cliche or catchphrase so you knew it was the 90's, but the 90's didn't play into the plot in any other way. They could have made the setting in a generic time and it would have been much better.

    And nobody asked, but On The Road, In a World..., This is the End, and The World's End were good. And if you're in the mood to get super depressed and angry about a documentary, you can't go wrong with Let the Fire Burn.

    • jwz says:

      I thought This Is The End, The World's End, and what was the other one, Rapturepalooza? were all not-awful but forgettable. I love it when they spin the Big Wheel of Plots and we get three nearly identical movies within months of each other.

      • Ben says:

        I saw This Is The End and just now had to IMDb it to remember what it was about. Forgettable indeed.

        Have you seen Cashback and Timer? I put them in the same category as Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and Safety Not Guaranteed (and Eternal Sunshine, though it's loved or hated).

  12. gordonzola says:

    "Bride of Chucky" is a masterpiece. Feel no shame.

  13. crowding says:

    Pacific Rim was the most orange/teal colorgraded movie I've watched. I can't really remember if I liked it though.

  14. James says:

    I really wanted to see Elysium until you said it was insultingly stupid. Why, because of the medical technology? That might be an attempt at allegory, and I still want to see the CGI for my upcoming mash-up of WALL-E, Safety Not Guaranteed, and Garden State.

    Similarly, I liked parts of Cloud Atlas but was very insulted that they didn't name the Prescient ship that rescued Hanks and Berry from Manoa, even after contacting all three of the scriptwriters. I figure it must have been some kind of a SKYLON-style single stage to orbit seaplane, perhaps with overhead engines.

  15. Nick Thompson says:

    No Upstream Color?