I think there’s something to admire about Vin Diesel and writer/director David Twohy’s attachment to the character of Riddick. I just wish it was a better one. I thought Pitch Black (2000) was quite fun, but The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) was kind of a mess. I like that they tried to go back to the spirit of the original, but it’s the same goddamn movie. It started off well with Riddick surviving in the wilderness, and some cool creatures. But once the marines/mercenaries characters that we’ve seen a dozen times before show up, it gets a whole lot worse. They’re boring, one-dimensional and too much time is spent with them. I was rather disgusted with Katee Sackhoff’s character being constantly sexualised, and then the implication that her homosexuality could be ‘cured’ by being fucked by Riddick. How is that shit still happening in this day and age? The film gets slightly better once Riddick re-enters the story, but it all ends up being pretty mediocre. The visual effects were sometimes good, but sometimes truly awful. All in all, it’s not terrible, but not memorable either. Also, they should have called it “Riddickulous”. That would’ve been awesome.
I read the book this film is based on a few years ago and I really enjoyed it. This adaptation is serviceable, but nowhere near as good as the book. It’s a pretty difficult book to adapt though, I imagine. The nuances are missing and we just don’t get to experience the story through Ender’s eyes in a movie version. The film’s strengths lie in what’s already in the book - there’s not much new brought to it. Everything was fine, from a technical standpoint. Asa Butterfield and the rest of the cast are good. I haven’t read any of the other books in the series, so I’m not sure if I’d want this film series to continue. Anyway, not bad, but I’d probably prefer to just read the book again.
I think David O. Russell is a talented director, but since The Fighter (2010) (which had its biggest strength in the actors, not the direction), he’s been steadily declining in my eyes. I thought Silver Linings Playbook (2012) was vastly overrated, and it’s pretty much the same case here. This film was just lifeless. I was never emotionally involved and I never really cared where the story was going or what happened to the characters. I don’t even really remember what the plot was now. Again, its highlight is the actors involved - all of them, barring Bradley Cooper, put in solid performances. Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence are very good, in particular. I wasn’t sure if the plot was convoluted or I just wasn’t paying attention, but I think it was both. I just didn’t care. The film didn’t make me care. Oh, the soundtrack was decent. So there’s that.
This was alright. It felt very much like a first film. That’s not to say it was poor in any way - Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a fine job in all areas. The story just isn’t all that interesting. It started off fun and felt like it had potential, but it just became kind of cliche in the end, even though it was trying not to be. Scarlett Johansson was good in it, but I’m not sure Julianne Moore’s character was fleshed out enough. Overall, a bit forgettable.
Well, this was… okay. It wasn’t terrible, but it was just so damn sanitary and dry. It played things very safe and ultimately a bit boring. It felt like a historical event checklist more than anything - all the presidents, assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr., the Vietnam war… All that stuff. You’d think it would be more about the main character, considering the title, but not so much. Probably the most enjoyable aspect for me was seeing which famous person played which president next - I didn’t know who was going to be in it, it was quite fun! I didn’t have a problem with the performances, but the direction felt a bit amateurish at points, and the pacing wasn’t great. The screenplay also seemed cheesy and unrealistic, which I found surprising, given that it was written by Danny Strong, who wrote Recount (2008) and Game Change (2012), both of which I enjoyed. Anyway, it’s fine for a basic history lesson, but I didn’t think it had much else to give.
I thought this was a really good film. I suppose it was a bit emotionally-manipulative, but what film isn’t? It’s a really sad story though, and I thought they approached it in a nice, human way. There were some good, heartwarming moments as well as tragic ones. Definitely an impressive debut film from director Ryan Coogler. Michael B. Jordan was impressive as a young teenager in The Wire and he’s brilliant here. Recommended, for sure.
Steve Buscemi is one of my favourite actors and I quite enjoyed Interview (2007), so I thought I’d check out another film he directed. It was nice enough. A pretty simply little story about a guy down on his luck in a small town. Buscemi does a good job in his direction and performance, and the supporting cast is good too. Chloe Sevigny, in one of her first roles, is great. I don’t have anything bad to say about it, but nothing spectacular either.
The true story of this film is pretty incredible and the resulting movie is very solid. It’s hard to compare it to Django Unchained (2012), and while they deal with the same subject, they’re completely different but equally good films. I liked that the main character wasn’t some extraordinary man - he was a normal guy who was put through some truly horrible events. People who criticise this film for not exploring the wider implications of slavery and the society that housed it are missing the point, I think. This film is simply about this one man’s experience, and it doesn’t need to be anything more. Some of those experiences were very hard to watch, too. I think Steve McQueen’s style was more suited to his previous films, Hunger (2008) and Shame (2011), but there were still many beautiful shots in this. Chiwetel Ejiofor was really good, but I think Michael Fassbender was even better. He’s truly one of the best actors working today. The rest of the cast were excellent, too. Overall, it was a really good film and I can easily recommend it to everyone.
I really liked Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), and while I personally prefer that version, this one was pretty good too. Like the original felt very much like a piece of the ’50s, this one felt like a piece of the ’70s. It was a bit too long though. The music was pretty cool, if a bit erratic, and the practical effects were awesome. The sense of paranoia the film created was nice. The ending was totally brilliant, too.
I just finished season 4 of Treme. Thoughts:
- Oh man, I feel so empty now.
- I feel like I’ve spent longer than just 36 hours or so with these characters.
- They felt so much more real than most of the characters out there on television.
- I’m so glad that we got one last season of this great show though, even if it was a shortened one.
- It’s a real testament to HBO’s commitment to quality storytelling that they gave this show 4 seasons even though it never rated highly, just like The Wire.
- This season was just as good as the previous ones, but yeah, it did feel too short.
- I’m truly going to miss the music, the look at New Orleans and, most of all, these characters.