Movies 2013

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Movies 2013

Movies 2013

2k13/12

  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. 7/10. Difficult to rate. In practice many many parts are terrible. But conceptually I love it so much.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. 8/10. Holding up well over time.
  • Snowglobe. 5/10. Caitlin movie.
  • Downfall. 10/10. Richly done. Does an amazing job of capturing the banality, cowardness, and vileness of all involved, while also making them human, just short of sympathetic. Hitler and Goebbels in particular stand out as deeply deluded, pathetic characters, but yet human, not empty monsters.
  • 12 Dates of Christmas. 6/10. Caitlin movie.
  • Holiday in Handcuffs. 6/10. Caitlin movie.
  • The Avengers. 7/10. Remains pretty solid on second viewing.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger. 7/10. I think I liked this more the second time around. Opens well through the first half or so, then a little less interesting. Steve Rogers might be slowly becoming my favorite superhero though, as the only one that really stands for anything when push really comes to shove.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Season 8. 8/10. Generally solid, not as consistently brilliant, but a few real highpoints. The Halloween episode is amazing, in particular Charlie's rat monologue riff on Jaws.
  • Mirror Mirror. 7/10. Pretty clever in places.

2k13/11

  • The American. 7/10. There's not a ton of meat on this film, but it's stylish and subdued and quite likeable.
  • Flight.Movies2013 10/10. Incredible movie. The crash sequence is incredibly well done and as tense as any horror movie out there. The entire movie is very stylish. The soundtrack is filled with classic rock staples very well used. There's a number of great bad-ass-walkin'-here moments for both Washington and Goodman where the right song comes in at just the right time. Denzel Washington does a great job with a character simultaneously very sympathetic and yet deeply flawed. The movie also never strays into melodrama or really pulls punches... Until the end, and that is the one minor disappointment. !SPOILER ALERT! I think the movie would have ended much more strongly either right after Whip admits in the panel hearing that he's drunk right then, or, even better, right before, once it's clear he's going to answer the question but before he actually does. That would leave a huge unresolved thoughtline for the ending: Does he lie and save his ass, or does he finally stand up? I could see how that might frustrate people, though I think it'd be a great moral cliffhanger upon which to evaluate the character. So right after he answers would be a nice compromise. Another possibility would be in the AA meeting right as Whip admits he's an alcoholic, but before it pans around to confirm he's in prison and before all the speechifying about being more free now. As-is I think the ending sugarcoats the consequences too much.
  • The Road. 7/10. Well done, but it's hard to really connect with the movie. It also doesn't have the visual impact and style of the novel.
  • Aziz Ansari: Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening. 6/10. The first twenty minutes or so are actually fairly funny, but then he switches to scatalogical repetitiveness and the show degrades quite badly.
  • Think Like A Man. 8/10. Completely predictable, but actually pretty funny at times with some of the ridiculousness.
  • House of Cards. Season 1. 7/10. Very well executed, compelling at times, but it's just so cliched and predictable. Of course the scrappy young reporter is sleeping her way to the top. Of course Frank will be hurt when she rejects him. Of course he winds up murdering someone. It only starts getting really interesting once things start not going his way, and that comes very late in the season.
  • Burn Notice. Season 6. 7/10. In many ways this is the best season. It doesn't quite seal the deal, but it finally starts to get just a bit of poignancy and depth as Michael finally spends too much time too close to or over the line and his friends start to have real questions about him. Hopefully the 7th and final season can take that somewhere.
  • Redemption. 9/10. Well, if you ever wanted to watch Jason Stratham get it on with a nun, this is the movie for you. Actually, it's pretty good. Definitely among the best of his movies, especially among the not overtly comedic ones (i.e., not Snatch). The characters are not trivial and it doesn't resolve too prettily, but it couldn't really. Even some of the moments that bothered me at first---why does the Arab thug get the shit kicked out of him way worse???---actually could make sense on second viewing considering the background, though it literally puts another shade on Stratham's character, making him less sympathetic.
  • Real Steel. 7/10. Cute, well executed, very predictable. Doesn't actually get into any of the things it looks to be setting up, which is a real shame. I thought this was going to go into at least some of the robots being self-aware, but it stops short of that. In turn that actually makes it more uncomfortable because then the lead robot probably is actually a slave, unlike the others.
  • Skyfall. 9/10. Probably actually aging even better with repeat views, right up until the somewhat lackluster ending. More thoughts from original viewing.
  • Escape from LA. 6/10. Really the only good part about this is how over the top rightwing the messaging is, satirical or not.

2k13/10

  • Back to the Future: Part III 7/10.
  • Back to the Future: Part II 7/10.
  • Back to the Future: Part I. 7/10.
  • Arrow. Season 1. 9/10. Shockingly excellent.
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. 7/10.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. 7/10.
  • Upside Down. 6/10. Way too melodramatic, forced narration & all that. Could be nice otherwise. Seems like the ending got edited so that it doesn't make a ton of sense. When the hell did she get pregnant all of a sudden?!?!?!
  • Continuum. Season 2. 8/10. Very solid modern era/future times sci-fi. Lushly produced and some interesting themes. Occasionally really good soundtrack as well.
  • Straight A's. 7/10. Not terrible but fairly predictable. Hits some interesting notes though within that lack of surprise, e.g., as they read further into the grandmother's journal.
  • Ghostbusters. 8/10.
  • The Walking Dead. Season 3. Much more consistent than Season 2. Not as much payoff, but not as much slack either.
  • X-Men: First Class. 7/10. Pretty solid super-hero origin story movie. Magneto and Xavier together are a great dramatic story and this capitalizes well on that.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Seasons 1--7. 8/10. Latter seasons are definitely a bit uneven, but the opening seasons are brilliantly scatological and the middle seasons sharp commentary, if at times a bit heavy handed. Loses its way here and there---why is Mac being fat all of a sudden supposed to be funny, exactly?---but still largely going strong.
  • Dead Man. 7/10. Not as good as I was hoping for, but it's certainly an interesting art flick take on a Western.
  • The Rum Diary. 8/10. Depp is perfect for this material and entertaining as always. Lots of good side characters and zanyness. Surprisingly appealing movie.

2k13/9

  • Looper. 10/10. The fundamentals of the plot have some basic questions---really, this is the best they could come up with to do with a time machine?!?!---but if you can just set those aside this is a great movie. Fairly unpredictable, a time travel plot that actually works well within the assumptions it makes, great worlds both future and now and in-between, and good characters. Bruce Willis' best role in years and years.
  • The Score. 6/10. A fine movie, but it's just so damn conventional and predictable. Total waste of talent and production effort.
  • Continuum. Season 1. 8/10. Much better than I thought it would be. Very placed in modern times and the focus on mega-corporations. Many of the characters are actually fairly interesting, with conflicts and changing perspectives. Definitely going to fall into the sci-fi series trap though of everyone being related to everyone, which is a huge bummer. Still excited to see the second and third seasons though.
  • Stargate. 9/10.
  • Safe Haven. 8/10. Caitlin movie!
  • The Longest Yard. 6/10. Could actually be pretty funny, but relies much too much on racial stereotypes and prison cliches.
  • Four Brothers. 6/10. Marky Mark takes himself entirely too seriously in this.
  • Safe. 6/10. Yet more entirely forgettable Jason Statham. Why is everyone wasting this guy's potential?!?!
  • HottieBoombaLottie. 7/10. Not exactly bad, but weirdly paced, and has a couple parts where my only response is "Well, that worked out ok, but that was still really weird?" The scene of the older brother setting up the younger is great though.
  • Metalocalypse. Season 1. 7/10. Pretty funny.
  • Killer Elite. 6/10. Entirely forgettable Deniro/Statham matchup.
  • The Crow. 7/10. Hard to evaluate. I certainly don't see the originality and innovation that contemporary reviews & the public granted this, but perhaps it was the trendsetter that broke new ground? Certainly possible. Well done for a B action movie. Doesn't take itself too seriously, which is good.
  • Apollo 18. 7/10. Not actually awful, it's fairly well done, but there just isn't much to it. Not even any actual horror, let alone plot or character.
  • Super. 8/10. Super mixed feelings. It's crazy weird, on top of being super graphic. There's also a fair bit of unpleasantness. But, there's definitely something about to the movie. Where it really comes up short is that it doesn't go all the way with the realism and real world context. What would be the consequences of all their actions? How can the world just go back to normal? How does Frank not wind up in prison? If it'd gone more into those lines it'd probably be a great movie. As-is, it's interesting, but doesn't quite overcome some of the darker and weirder bits.
  • Parker. 7/10. Standard Jason Statham movie, only particularly interesting in some of the details of the denouement.
  • Zoolander. 8/10.
  • Hatfields & McCoys. 6/10. Almost very interesting, but after a while it just feels like a boring slugfest bag and forth of murdering and shooting. There's a fair bit of depth here---which side is really the villain???---but it's not fully exploited.
  • Dredd. 8/10. Holds up well on second viewing other than the dumb not-dead switch.
  • Stay Cool. 6/10. Almost pretty good, but it has some awkwardness to various plot points. E.g., outside of a romantic comedy it's not beautiful that a decade later he's still madly in love with this girl he never even really knew in the first place, way back when in high school. It's obsessive and stalkerish.
  • The Rundown. 7/10. Standard Dwayne Johnson: Fun, appealing, predictable. Disappointing toward the ending when he drops his no-guns policy.
  • Flypaper. 8/10. Surprisingly solid heist/almost rom-com movie. Pretty predictable, and some of the timing feelings a bit off or the editing not quite sharp enough, but a good bit of the dialog is actually pretty funny.
  • Love Birds. 7/10. Workable, low key romantic comedy. Reasonably cute and appealing, but feels labored and predictable, has some plot holes (e.g., how'd he know she'd be at the carnival?). Bonus points for the entire cast being realistic, normal looking people, an artifact of its non-Hollywood origin. Double bonus points for the climactic scene featuring Queen's Who Wants to Live Forever, a duck, and the pouring rain. That's actually pretty good. The credits are actually fun as well, riffing off the all-Queen soundtrack.

2k13/8

  • Life of Pi. 8/10. Very solid adaptation of the novel. Makes a few things a lot more explicit than I remember the novel doing, but it in no way detracts from the movie. Gorgeous animation as well.
  • Cloud Atlas. 8/10. Mixed feelings. Probably something I'd need to watch again paying more attention. On first viewing I did not find it as strong as the book. I think most people assumed the book's plot was too convoluted to transfer to screen, but that's definitely not the case---it's not nearly as complicated as people act. Probably many directors and writers could not do it, but the Wachowskis and team do a faithful and meaningful job with the translation, as expected. The problem is the interior monologues. The best parts of the book are so internal to the characters, and so necessarily cut down for the movie, that they don't carry over as well. You just don't get the same complexity and depth of feeling, e.g., from the Frobisher/Vyvyan portions, as you do in the book's lengthy treatment. Ditto Somni's education and setup, Zachry's inner battle with Old Georgi, etc. Some plot elements also seemed much more overt and/or changed. Definitely a good effort though.
  • Alphas. Season 2. 8/10. The second and final season of Alphas is pretty good. It's maybe a little more driven by the overall plot arc at the cost of character introspection. Some excitement is lost just by that plot being a lot more revealed, as well as the characters being more settled into their powers. I could also be convinced that it throws too many characters in, but the positive interpretation of that is it's because the show's trying to say a lot. Kat and Mitchell, for example, take away screentime from other characters, notably Clay, but are clear attempts to say something about Alzheimer's and other memory disorders. All in all, I strongly recommend the series. It ends on a real cliffhanger but nicely, good use of music, and it's not super clear how you could follow that up next season without reducing the dramatic impact.
  • Drive. 9/10. Pretty good! Lots of star attraction for a small movie, and nowhere near as ridiculous as the premise of "Stunt car driver leads double life of crime" would lead you to believe. The action is actually fairly limited, though well done. Most of it is moody and exceedingly quiet, with a great soundtrack. That moodyness is punctuated though by unexpectedly gory moments of violence. That's actually my only problem with the film. The ultra-violence certainly carries the point: These are ultimately sick people, and violence should never leave us comfortable. But it feels out of place, adding an element to the movie that has a lot of costs to tone and introspectiveness without necessarily adding anything. I'm not sure what the explicit violence and gore brings to the film. To me they're a distraction from a great quiet piece. Still, good movie, and probably something that could stand up to watching again.
  • Fringe. Season 3. 7/10. Has a lot of good elements, there's finally some real emotional drama from Oliva and Peter, some more complexity to Walter and Broyles, but... Toward the very end the whole thing just falls apart for me. Peter and Olivia are some sort of long awaited star children intended to bring the universes back together as predicted by a lost ancient civilization blah blah blah blah. Get a frickin' job!

2k13/7

  • Strange Days. 7/10. Solid movie. Probably actually pretty good but fairly predictable, some uncomfortable parts. I mean, why do all the good guys get to get off on watching the snuff films at least once before they go to do something about them?
  • Prometheus. 6/10. This is an unbelievable squandering of resources. Top flight cast---Idris Elba!---huge special effects budget, famous directors and writers, immense studio support... and it's terrible. It's ok enough to let it play through, I guess, but it's actually really bad and only saved by the pretty good, though not earth shattering, costumes, scenery, and effects. The biggest problem is that every character is not just terrible, but basically non-existent. Motivations are paper-thin or completely opaque. Almost all hew to a completely predictable pattern, as does the plot entire. The dialog is cheesy and standard. Almost every scene is just some random, boring stuff spewed by these one-dimensional entities on screen. It plays like a mid-quality undergraduate short film that's going for vague and dramatic by leaving everything out and just winds up with a bunch of scenes of people saying and doing random things. Tack on some huge, completely orthodox mythos---ancient aliens created us, shock!!!---and give the creators the best special effects money can buy to waste on the worst dialog money can buy and you've got Prometheus. Completely uninteresting, a horrible tragedy given that it had the support to be amazing, has a couple interesting ideas, but just doesn't get there.
  • Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. 6/10. Collected edition of a web series. It's not terrible, but it's not awesome either. Most of it feels like buildup and then the denouement is a little small and flat. The main character's big moment seems like just another stupid move that happens to work out well this time. Most of the effects and costuming are pretty good, though Master Chief's voice doesn't go well with the suit. Could be the actual voice from the game though. It would have been better if he never said anything. The best part of the whole show is definitely the title animation of Cortana losing her mind in the ship with MC in cryo. That segment's great.
  • Fringe. Season 2. 7/10. Loses me a bit this season with the typical over-connectedness TV sci-fi seems compelled to have. But it picks it back up a bit toward the end of the season.
  • Pacific Rim. 8/10. Absolutely the best kaiju-and-mecha movie made. The story is actually pretty solid. It's thin and fairly predictable, but hits the things it needs to and stays out of the way otherwise. The central premise of duo teams mindmelded to run the mechas actually raises a bunch of interesting thoughts, particularly the father and son team, and their dog Max. I also like that though arguably quite definitely headed in this direction toward the future, the movie refrains from a cliched boyfriend/girlfriend pairing of the stars. Visual effects are spectacular. Monsters and robots all look awesome. Great use of 3D as well. No real in-your-face cheap tricks, but excellent use of it to convey scale and the sheer enormity of the combatants. Probably visually loses a lot of color along the way, it's way dark (again, visually) for a del Toro movie, but worth it. Not the kind of movie that's going to set you thinking for a particularly long time afterward, but super polished, well executed, major fun, and just smart enough. Highly recommended.

2k13/6

  • Dredd. 8/10. This is a really solid, faithful film adaptation of a Dredd one-shot. It's strictly an action movie, covering a very limited amount of time and change. However, it does show hints of brilliance. I wish it had been more, or that it is given a sequel with some room to exploit those openings. In particular, there's a lot of sexual violence imagery, but women are actually given at least equal footing within this action movie. Notably, that's done not by making them crazy fighters or otherwise trying to compete with the men in a macho way. Instead they're emotionally and mentally tougher, smarter, or more psychotic. The Chief Judge is a woman, the villain is a woman, and Judge Anderson is a great character, arguably the main one of the film---Dredd himself isn't so much a character as an unchanging force, weapon, or piece of furniture. There are a few plot problems though. In particular, since the movie spends no time on larger world building and development, it's hard to take the antagonist gang all that seriously as a major threat or force in the city. Worse, there's a huge, distracting plot hole right at the end. The writer's never heard of a dead man's switch??? The culminating action makes no sense. Still though, the movie looks great and has some good female characters with interesting stories to them, a precious thing in sci-fi action. Hopefully there's more to come. Note that it is essentially overly gory, especially toward the beginning.
  • I Hate Valentine's Day. 6/10. Caitlin movie. Cute, friendly, never strays from the tried and true line and is the poorer for it.

2k13/5

  • Hancock. 7/10. Should have been incredible, but has some serious flaws. For one, they should have left it to the theatrical version. The added scenes do nothing but detract and confuse the tone. Second, the shift halfway through and sudden crazy plot shift basically scuttle the movie. The backstory suddenly has tons of holes, the motivations get all weird, and the tone changes completely. Bummer, could have been a really solid, fairly novel super hero movie if it had just kept going the way it was.
  • Assassination of a High School President. 7/10. Pretty good, but somehow manages to fall a bit flat. More creepy than compelling, which is unfortunate.

2k13/4

  • The Adjustment Bureau. 8/10. Feels a bit like a short story, which makes sense given the origin as a Philip K. Dick short, but it's pretty solid. Probably what makes it feel like a short is that there's basically one action piece, very few characters, and not a ton of development of them. Most of the latter actually comes from two of the somewhat secondary characters. The plot is solid and entertaining though, and the look stylish. The modern setting contrasted with the '50s looking characters is cool, and I love the notebooks. The city here---New York---doesn't have the same claustrophobic, twisting feel, but otherwise this is a lot like what I imagine Miéville's The City and the City would look like as an American movie.
  • Fringe. Season 1. 8/10. For a first season, a definitely solid X-Files knock-off.
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. 8/10. Surprisingly solid. It's absolutely ridiculous, but it actually has some depth to it if you're willing to buy into some of the allegory, pay attention to the very ending speeches, etc.. It does move along a bit too fast at times. E.g., Lincoln and Speed become the very best of friends all of a sudden, the latter making huge sacrifices, with no clear motivation why. Several other characters also aren't given the time they deserve, e.g., Vadome, the lead female vampire. The action sequences are very well done however. In particular, the two main set pieces of the horse fight and the train battle are excellent. The former is completely ridiculous until you think of all the times you've seen Bruce Willis or such going running across New York traffic, down the freeway, etc.. Now transport that to the mid-19th century and you get exactly the scene as depicted. Pretty awesome. The train sequence is notable for its excellent choreography of Lincoln and Will fighting together, seamlessly flipping Abe's silvered axe back and forth between them. Good stuff.
  • The Hunger Games. 7/10. Isn't so good, but it's not terrible either. Its lack of depth and failure to develop the characters does though actually highlight what depth and points of interest the book actually does have. I didn't think much of the book when I read it, but the cursory way the movie passes over it has actually elevated it a bit in my mind.

2k13/3

  • Jackie Brown. 7/10. This is solid though not super action filled and notable mainly for the female lead. It wouldn't be nearly as compelling otherwise. The bail bondsman character however is the real interest to me, especially ruminating on his motivations and fears approaching the end of the movie.
  • Arrested Development. Seasons 1--3. 8/10. I didn't find this to be quite the greatest thing ever made as many people claim, but it's certainly excellent. The comedy is light and brilliant, just short of scatological, but even better the characters actually pretty deep. There's an awful lot to mine and ponder in the relationships between Lindsay and Tobias, Michael and George Michael, and the others.
  • XXX. 7/10. I am a huge Vin Diesel fan.
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. 8/10. This didn't really blow me away like I hoped it would, but it's definitely a good, quiet spy movie.
  • Archer. Seasons 2 and 3. 7/10. Second time I watched the second season, and it's just as awesome. The two finale episodes of season 3 aren't so good, but there are some really funny bits in the remainder.
  • The Switch. 8/10. Excellent romantic comedy.
  • Jericho. Season 1. 7/10. Didn't actually get to the end of the season. It's ok, there's a bunch of interesting things going on, but it wasn't actually super compelling and moved quite a bit too slowly for me.
  • Then She Found Me. 6/10. Almost compelling, but winds up coming pretty short. Some quirky characters, some interesting bits, but all of the timing's kind of weird, people aren't quite believable, etc..

2k13/2

  • Sleepwalk with Me. 9/10. Great movie/personal quasi-documentary. Bonus points for not resolving in Hollywood fashion.
  • Outrage. 7/10. Well executed, though I'm having some trouble gauging how much depth there is. Certainly I thought it was going to go places it did not, and is probably better for it. Tons of violence though! People get cut and stabbed in their eyes, tongue, eardrum, all over. Very stylish though, I really like the use of color and the drawn out still scenes. Kitano does a great job as the aging, confused and betrayed crime boss.
  • Mona Lisa Smile. 7/10. Gratingly predictable and benign.
  • Earth 2. 7/10. A little too kidsy and goofy (what with the kids and goofy aliens) while also being a little too humorless, and yet not deep enough. The show has kind of an awkward middle hump: The early, more sci-fi episodes are solid when not wasting time with kid plots; the middle, more mystical episodes aren't very interesting; the later episodes get a bit more interesting again as their situation gets more serious. Parts of this show have real promise, notably the seamlessly strong female characters, but it doesn't really pack enough oomph. Could be amazing to remake by HBO or something where they can drop the kidsy plotlines and get a whole lot darker.
  • Barton Fink. 9/10. I didn't realize beforehand that this was a Coen brothers movie or I would have watched it right away. Definitely among the more literate movies I've watched in a good while now, with some strong twists toward the end that propel it from a really good character movie to a strong condemnation of 1930s intelligentsia.
  • Senna. 10/10. Non-fiction. Amazing documentary. Some of the imagery and symbolism is beautiful, e.g., Senna gets his first real F1 gig and there's a great shot of other cars pulling aside as he comes through to the starting line. Similarly, he gets his first taste of F1 politics and it cuts to a view of him putting in his earplugs. One thing I really like about this is there's no modern day footage. It's all voiceovers of 100% contemporary footage, which really solidifies that world and the grip of the story. There are a lot of really dramatic literary aspects to it as well---the dueling rivalry with Prost, Senna's doubts about his own safety overcome by ambition and drive, the broken friendships as he switches teams for better equipment. Awesome soundtrack to boot. Absolutely incredible film.
  • Wargames. 8/10. Pretty silly, but still holding up fairly well for an '80s hacker movie. So many classic lines, you just have to forgive the more dated and ridiculous parts.
  • Alonzo Bodden: Who's Paying Attention? 7/10. This is not going to age well, much of the humor is heavily based in a ~2009 context, so it's just hanging on by a thread at this point already. That said, Alonzo is pretty good.
  • Happy Gilmore. 7/10. I was seriously concerned when Caitlin sat down and started laughing at this, when I was expecting her to start harassing me for watching something so low-brow. Not even the best Adam Sandler comedy, but it's funny at times.
  • Dresden Files. 8/10. I like this a lot. Objectively it's probably only so-so, but there are a lot of good urban fantasy elements and likable characters. It seems a little unfocused, there's not a clear linear development of characters and a few things appear out of nowhere. But I think with time it could have been refined into something pretty good.

2k13/1

  • Equilibrium. 7/10. Aesthetically this is almost sort of interesting, but the gun kata isn't actually that great. A few scenes are pretty well done, but most of the time it's just kind of boring and violent without any art.
  • Justice League: Doom. 6/10. Lots of interesting stuff going on here. I love the scenes of Batman and the League, e.g., the end where he walks out on them. However, all of the powers are ridiculously silly and really drain the interest out of it. What tension can their be if the Green Lantern's ring lets him conjure up absolutely anything needed for any given situation?
  • The Avengers. 7/10. I've been pretty up and down on the Marvel movies. Some have been great, some not so much, and some kind of terrible. This one's pretty entertaining though. The characters are much more interesting and appealing and the movie does a good job of concentrating on them rather than fighting, crazy multi-dimensional background, and so on. I especially like this incarnation of the Hulk, and the first half of the movie is carried well by Robert Downey Jr as the snarky Iron Man. The Captain America movie was a bit of a disappointment to me---not terrible, but a letdown---but they seem to be doing well with the character here though they haven't really allocated any time to his adjustment to the new era.
  • Sons of Anarchy. Season 4. 8/10. In a very specific way this is getting a little long in the tooth: How many times can the club and most of the members face utter destruction yet walk out intact??? In every other way though this really tightened back down after the more sprawling, convoluted Irish arc. Tons of great characters in this season, from the Mexicans (especially at the end!) to the new Sheriff to Potter. The latter in particular is really fascinating and unique. In some ways I think the series blew some of the potential impact of the buildup by not actually ending things here. It would have been very nice and powerful. That said, they're still doing a good job so it could be interesting in the next season as well.
  • Iron Sky. 5/10. This could have been brilliant, I get that it's low budget, and it has some quality parts, but a lot of it is just pretty dumb. There are few sympathetic characters so I just couldn't really get into it enough for the handful of good moments.
  • Batman: Year One. 8/10. This is a short flick, but I really like it. I hardly remember the comic, but the movie seems very faithful. It's an interesting take on Chief Gordon as ultra-badass. I also like some of the scenes of Batman trying to figure out what he's doing, e.g., he beats up some guys but botches it a bit and starts cursing at himself "Amateur, amateur!"
  • For Love of the Game. 7/10. I'm a sucker for sentimental baseball movies and doubly so for Kevin Costner, so I'm all about this. It's predictable and pulls some obvious sucker punches, but it still works well.
  • mission: Impossible---Ghost Protocol. 7/10. Pretty ridiculous, but actually not a terrible movie.
  • The Company Men. 7/10. This is a pretty good movie, though it's a bit pat with its "Financial men inferior to People-who-actually-make-stuff" theme. I mean, that's clearly true, but it just feels a bit cliched, especially coming from a bunch of big name Hollywood stars. I guess the mainstream needs to see that message put in front of them and realize it's an actual thing, but it makes the movie a bit simplistic. I do really like though how the movie deals with some major developments. E.g., there's a really nice scene where the main character gets fired by his mistress, goes home, quietly turns back around, and goes to the mistress' house. Next thing he's seemingly gotten or getting a divorce and the movie just quietly moves on, not belaboring the whole thing but having a powerful moment. There are a couple things like this that are really nicely understated.
  • Into the Wild. 9/10. Even knowing pretty well how the story goes from the book, this is a great movie. There are a lot of fascinating characters I don't remember from the book, a bunch more detail and follow-up, and a lot of great scenes. Good music on top and a message close to home and I was really happy with this. Beautiful.
  • Hide Away. 6/10. There's nothing terribly wrong with this quiet romance drama, there's just nothing really compelling about it either.
  • One for the Money. 7/10. The Kopena/Thompson household officially approves of Jason O'Mara and Katherine Heigl and the movie doesn't have any particular flaws, so this is well worth watching. It's light but fun, end of story. It is sort of interesting that it holds back from the actual conclusion you would expect between the two of them. Also, I'm going on record here as saying O'Mara is the next Mel Gibson, in the action heartthrob sort of way rather than the crazy anti-semite way. O'Mara has a lot of the same look, voice, and mannerisms so maybe he'll hit it bigger. You heard it here first!
  • Highlander. 7/10. Has a ton of potential and you can see the appeal, but I think they didn't quite reach for enough with it. Though I clearly shouldn't, I have high hopes that the planned remake will give it more depth and emotional heft.
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