Category Archives: Movies

Yes Man

I have had a hankering to watch a Jim Carrey film film recently, so I chose this one.

The last time I watched this was back in 2011, and I had seen it at least once before that, so I remembered most of the story and jokes. Still, I found it to be quite enjoyable again.

Jim Carrey was the highlight of course, but Rhys Darby was great in his role, basically playing his character from Flight of the Conchords again. Zooey Deschanel was also tops.

The story was a bit silly, and quite standard really, but Jim made it fun to watch, although he has been funnier in other films.

He seems to have stepped away from comedic roles, and films in general. I see on Wikipedia that he will be starring in a new TV series next year called “Kidding”, which is described as a “dramedy”, he is also one of the executive producers.

Not essential, but it is harmless fun.

Date watched: February 17th
Score: 7/10
Film count 2018: 16

The Devil’s Backbone

This is a 2001 Spanish/Mexican film directed by Guillermo del Toro.

The story is of an orphan boy taken to an orphanage where he discovers it is haunted by a boy ghost. The villain of the story is a helper who grew up in the orphanage, and who knows that the people who run the orphanage have some gold bars somewhere in the building, and he will do anything (mostly dastardly) to get it.

It is set in Spain towards the end of the civil war (1936 to 1939).

The story was reasonably original, and there were a few surprises, but it was also quite predictable at times. The acting was superb, especially from the young boys, and it was nicely shot.

I liked the way the ghost was portrayed. I won’t go into detail, but I thought it was better than the usual scary ghosts we see in most films.

A very worthy ghost tale.

Date watched: February 15th
Score: 8/10
Film count 2018: 15

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

In my recent book review I said that “Antarktos Rising” is something The Cruiser might be interested in making into a film, but after watching this I am not so sure now.

Tommo is looking just a bit too old for this kind of rough and tumble acting, he seemed slow and tired most of the time, much like the film’s plot. We didn’t get to see the famous “Tom sprint” at all…

cruiser-run

He was trying though, and we all know Tom does not give up.

The actual film though was tedious and underwhelming, it felt more like a made-for-TV flick than a 96 million dollar blockbuster. They just pulled out the book of Hollywood action cliches, watched a few Clint Eastwood films, then started filming. There was a lot of talk and excessive mobile phone use, with little action, most of which was fisticuffs and shootin’. There were no decent car chases, motorcycle stunts, holding onto aircraft as they take off, or vehicles being exploded then flipping right over people. There were some rocket launchers, but they were not used and were just stuffed with drugs…disappointing.

So I think it is time for Tom to start making family films, or perhaps experiment with independent films…ha!

He is working on the new Mission Impossible now, and perhaps that will be a return to form, but I suspect not. Surely it will be his last action film, and he will get to work on the “Kindergarten Cop” remake.

Date watched: February 12th
Score: 5.5/10
Film count 2018: 14

Mama

I heard somewhere online that this Spanish/American film was a good one, so I got it out on DVD.

It is the story of two girls aged 3 and 1 who are for various reasons left alone in a cabin in the woods, and are brought up by a ghostly spirit. Years later are discovered and sent to live with their uncle. The ghost goes along too, but is jealous that her human kids are being taken care of my mere mortals, so goes a bit berzerb.

There are some scary scenes in the film when we don’t really get to see “Mama” directly, just fleeting glimpses of her. As the film goes on though the scariness is not cranked up to 11, and by the end it becomes more of a fantasy film that a horror. Gore fans will be disappointed as there is no blood or entrails.

The acting was good, especially the two young actresses, and it all looked good and had a slick soundtrack.

A guy by the name of Javier Botet played Mama. Because of his unique physical traits he has been in a few horror films. Read about him here.

Overall it was good, but I was expecting just a bit more.

Date watched: February 11th
Score: 7/10
Film count 2018: 13

Fast & Furious 8

As I have seen all of the other atrocious films in this series, I thought I may as well watch the latest (on Amazon Prime). Five minutes in I was regretting my decision, but as I have a policy of finishing every film I start, I carried on.

The opening scene involved a race between Vin Diesel and a repo-man who at first seemed like a really obnoxious guy, but after Vin won in the most ridiculous way possible (of course), he turned out to be a stand-up guy after Vin won him over.

It was all even more downhill from there with all of the usual over-the-top action sequences, bravado, silly one-liners and predictable jokes, and what-not. The CG in places was terrible.

But, there were two scenes which saved the whole film from instant bargain-bin DVD hell. The first was Helen Mirren. She was very funny as the hard-talking, potty-mouthed mother of Jason Statham’s character. She only had a few minutes in all, but she alone made it all worthwhile. Another scene involving Jason Statham and a baby on a plane as he fought off several bad guys was funny too. Kurt Russell was good because he is Kurt Russell. Everything else was pretty forgettable, in fact it is already disappearing from my long-term memory.

I am quite convinced the story was written by a bunch of teenagers, and all of the dialogue was ad-libbed by the actors to save money so they could spend it on sports cars and a submarine. Vin Diesel was probably told to mention how important family is, and to say it at least 100 times throughout the film.

Looking back at my Fast & Furious 7 review I see that I enjoyed it, mostly because it was just so over-the-top and silly fun. This one though was just more of the same, too much of the same.

The next installment is due out in 2020…I guess I am bound to watch it.

Date watched: February 10th
Score: 3/10
Film count 2018: 12

A DECADE UNDER THE INFLUENCE

I last watched this back in 2012, but decided to watch it again as it is a very good documentary about movie-making.

It starts off in the late sixties when films were made big and starred The Kirkster amongst others, then moves onto the seventies when new directors started experimenting and made films that were about real people and real life. By the end of the seventies they were making films like Star Wars and Jaws, pure escapism and more uplifting. It was quite a decade really.

There are interviews with people like Francis Ford Coppola, Bruce Dern, Julie Christie, Roger Corman, Sydney Pollack, Peter Bogdanovich, and Dennis Hopper.

I have seen many of the films mentioned, but there are just as many that I have not seen, so I am going to seek some of them out.

A very good watch if you like a bit of film history.

Date watched: February 8th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 11

Countryman

This is probably the third time I have seen this, the last time was back in 2011.

Here is my review from back then:

I think I may have seen this ages ago. I remember getting a Jamaican video from Alice’s and maybe this was it. None of it rings a bell though, all I remember is the cover.

Not much of a story or acting but the main character, Countryman (playing himself) and the reggae soundtrack make it worth watching. Countryman is a cool dude but a little difficult to understand at times, strong Jamaican accent. There is a funny scene where he does some kind of spiritual kung-fu fighting, and he runs around a lot.

Entertaining.

The same goes this time around, and the score stays the same.

I the meantime though, the man himself, Edwin “Countryman” Lothan, died in 2016 from cancer. He was quite a fellow it seems. Read about him here

Date watched: February 5th
Score: 7/10
Film count 2018: 10

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