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Monday, June 23, 2014

The Nicsperiment's Summer Break Movie Mini-Reviews, Part Two

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I (emphasis on I) had so much fun doing two-sentence movie reviews of all the films I saw during the early part of last summer, I've decided to do it again. With no time to watch any films during the spring, I've used whatever free time I've had at the start of the summer to totally cram them-- new and old. Here are my mini-reviews, with the same disclaimer as last year:
Because the one star to four star film review scale is limited, outdated, and silly, I am going to score these on a one to ten basis, just like my music reviews. Also, I got a minor in film theory in college the first time through, so that slightly elevates my perspective from "some jackass" to "some jackass who got a film minor a decade ago." In alphabetical order:

Captain America:The Winter Soldier -- 8/10
Does everything you want a comic-book movie to do--great, real-physical stunt-packed action scenes, excellent character work, and a decent plot. Then it remembers it's a Hollywood movie and gives you an extra thirty-minutes of monotonously extraneous CGI destruction.

Captain Phillips -- 10/10
Emotionally gripping, compassionate film, where kidnapper and hostage are both given their honest due. Kudos to director, Paul Greengrass, for toning down his trademark handheld shaky cam, and creating perhaps the best feature of his oeuvre in the process.

Elysium -- 4/10
Never digs past the surface of its intriguingly difficult premise. Some decent action, but irredeemably silly, throughout, climaxing in a finale that is nothing more than a goofy commercial for President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Godzilla (2014) -- 8/10
The first 45-minutes is a completely useless subplot that has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. The next 90 minutes is so, so, so, so badass, and does an exemplary job of building anticipation for the final epic showdown of monsters.

The House of the Devil -- 8/10
The opening hour is a loving, yet incredibly suspenseful recreation of 80's horror cinema. The final half-hour is gory insanity just crazy enough to payoff the premise.

Knowing -- 5/10
Virtuoso sequences paired with a bunch of incredibly awkward and badly staged scenes. In other words, it's a Nicholas Cage movie.

Man of Steel -- 5/10
One montonouos gray-toned action scene after the other with stalemate after stalemate and scheme after scheme making little impact--on top of that, Superman and Lois have absolutely zero chemistry. The Man of Steel just can't catch a break.

Pacific Rim -- 8/10
As good a giant monster movie as Godzilla, with less pathos, but more, and crazier action. Director, Guillermo Del Toro, creates a neon-glowing fantasy world, which makes the movie less emotionally resonant, but which conversely, ensures every second of its two-hour running length is a blast.

Riddick -- 7/10
Shockingly good for an under the radar sequel to a sequel (financed by Vin Diesel, himself). Evenly trivides into a survival film, a standoff film, and ending as a monster movie, doing each part quite well, despite some cheesy dialogue.

The World's End -- 9/10
The fact that this Cornetto-trilogy-closing film is about how time does and does not change everything weighed quite heavily on me, as the original posse I saw the first film with (a decade ago) is long since broken up. However, watching The World's End alone, I still laughed my head off (and blue goo shot out of my neck), somehow feeling incredibly moved at the same time--these guys are geniuses, and they saved the best for last.

X-Men: Days of Future Past -- 8/10
If he can stay out of prison, Bryan Singer should be the only person allowed to direct an X-Men film, ever. Days of Future Past is smart, fast, funny, emotional, and action-packed, even if Wolverine doesn't get a trademark mano y mano fight with anyone.

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