Once again, I’ve been getting all goggle-eyed and checking out a whole bunch of films, old and new, for all age ranges. As you probably already know, I have quite eclectic tastes, so you can except everything from action adventure to romance, from kids’ entertainment to comic book heroes, from thrillers and chillers to horror and crime drama. Nothing gets left out.
So, here’s the run down of all the films I watched this month:
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston
Sequel to the very popular Thor (2011), and with all the main stars returning. Good special effects, decent performances, and semi-decent storyline, but not as exciting or as good as I had expected or wanted. There’s a nice little cameo in the form of one of the other Avengers (I won’t give the game away as it was a surprise that made me giggle, and I wouldn’t want to rob anyone else of that!).
Inspector Gadget (1999)
Starring Matthew Broderick, Rupert Everett, Joely Fisher, Michelle Trachtenberg
We used to watch the cartoon as kids, so we got hold of the movie for Tadpole and enjoyed it all over again. It’s basically Robocop for kids – a security guard who dreams of becoming a police officer has an accident and is selected to become a cybernetic cop with all manner of electronic gadgets as body parts, and goes up against a villainous, claw-handed millionaire who has stolen the technology for his own ends.
Starring Adar Beck, Gemma Chan, Nathalie Cox, Jimi Mistry
Although I suffer a little from claustrophobia, I do enjoy a good claustrophobic film, and that’s exactly what this is. It’s a tightly wound thriller that will keep you guessing (although it is a teensy bit predictable in parts, you’ll end up second guessing yourself). As a viewer, you know no more than the participants in the exam to land a high profile job with a mysterious company, in that you know next to nothing. It’s fun watching them all trying to work it out while y0u’re doing the same thing. The performances are pretty good too, making this an enjoyable way to spend 101 minutes, which is spent in real-time with the candidates.
The Faculty (1998)
Starring Elijah Wood, Laura Harris, Clea DuVall, Jordana Brewster, Josh Hartnett, Shawn Hatosy, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Piper Laurie, Bebe Neuwirth, Robert Patrick
Every kid, at some point during their school career, suspects there may be something wrong with at least one of their teachers. In this case, it’s ALL the teachers, and the kids in question ain’t wrong in their assumptions. There are a lot of pretty big names in here, both as the staff and the pupils (the latter went on to do other things for which they will be recognised by most viewers). It’s a bit of a humorous romp into sci-fi/horror territory that uses the school stereotypes (jock, geek, loner, stoner, prom queen and new girl) to the max. And it’s fun playing spot-the-star and trying to remember what else you’ve seen them in.
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Starring Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton
Classic cop caper with Murphy in his heyday as a Detroit police officer who doesn’t always play by the rules getting caught up in a case that takes him to L.A. Of course, in Los Angeles they are a whole lot more straight-laced and his off-the-cuff investigation lands him in hot water. It’s a lot of fun to watch and reminisce about a time when Eddie Murphy still made decent movies. Incidentally, this was made on a budget of a measly $14 million, and grossed $234,760,500 in the USA alone! It was also nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay. If you’d like to see who I’d cast in a remake of this film, you can check it out HERE.
Starring Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharlto Copley
We watchd the original 2003 Korean film three years ago and enjoyed it immensely, so we were looking forward to seeing it recast with Brolin in the lead (we both rate him very highly). Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to the original, which is one of Hubby’s favourite films, but it does have plenty of merit. It features a great performance from Brolin (as one would expect), and I feel, although Hubby disagrees with me here, that the finale made more sense in this version, but I agree with him in that the hammer/corridor scene fell far of matching the ferocity and impact of the original. Enjoyable enough, but if you really want to see the story in its full glory, you’ll have to sit down to the 2003 version with subtitles – it’s worth it!
Starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris
With a cast of Bullock, Clooney and Harris, you’d think we had the holy trifecta of awesomeness, and indeed, it’s getting a lot of notice in the form of awards nominations, but does it live up to the hype? In short, no. It does a good job of being claustrophobic despite the vastness of space, and there is certainly pace and adrenalin-pumping moments in abundance, but a short way into the film something happens that makes the rest of the film suck. I won’t say what it is, because it would be a major spoiler, but let’s just say that when you have only one star on screen for a long time, it’s all down to whether they can pull off keeping your interest for the long stretch. A perfect example would be Moon (2009), where Sam Rockwell was compellingly superb and kept me gripped from start to finish. Let’s just say, on this occasion, I wished the other star had been the one left onscreen. Not worth it. Nominated for ten Oscars, but only really deserves the nod for visual effects.
The Fifth Estate (2013)
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Carice van Houten
True-life drama following the rise and fall of Julian Assange who built and ran the Wikileaks website that revealed a plethora of sensitive documents to the world at large, much to the exasperation and anger of the powers that be. Cumberbatch is, as usual, a very strong player, although his Aussie accent sounds more South African most o the time. For me, Brühl was actualy the star of the show, as Daniel Berg who went to work with Assange. It’s a little show in places and at 128 minutes feels a little long. Completely ignored by the Academy Awards, but I consider that pretty fair to be honest.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Starring Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy, Charles Fleischer (voice), Kathleen Turner (uncredited voice)
It’s more than a little dated now, but at the time it was made, this film was cutting edge and brought characters from Disney and Warner Bros together onscreen with human performers. Very loosely based on the book Who Censored Roger Rabbit by Gary K Wolf, and with a budget of $70 million, it raked in over $154 million in profits in the US alone! It won three Oscars, all in technical categories, and rightly so – it was way ahead of its time. Incidentally, there’s a sequel planned for release next year…
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Starring Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D’Onofrio
This is one of only a couple of Kubrick films I like, and it’s a doozy! From Ermey’s offensively loud drill instructor, to D’Onofrio’s unravelling grunt, to Modine’s sensitive writer, the characters are all tightly written and tightly wound. Nominatd for only one Oscar (best adapted screenplay), it missed out on taking home any statues, and remains, in my opinion, one of the best movies never to win an Academy Award. It’s 118 minutes of sheer brilliance and everyone should see it at least once in their life.
Bedtime Stories (2008)
Starring Adam Sandler, Keri Russell, Courteney Cox, Guy Pearce, Russell Brand, Richard Griffiths
Sandler has pretty much gone off the boil in recent years, but this nice little film is entertaining both for kids and the adults who may find themselves blackmailed into watching it with them. Yes, we have Sandler being very juvenile and loud, but don’t kids just love that? Personally, I think Sandler has found his niche and should stick to this kind of fare for a while – it could be an inoffensive little money spinner for him and although aimed at a younger audience, harks back to the likes of The Wedding Singer, which was one of his best offerings.
A Time to Kill (1996)
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Platt
The full cast list of this movie reads like a who’s-who of Hollywood, featuring all the above listed actors alongside a host of others, including Donald and Kiefer Sutherland. Based on John Grisham’s best-selling debut novel, it highlights the inequality in the deep south. When a young black girl is brutally raped and beaten by two rednecks, it sets in motion a legal battle that could tear apart their community, especially when the KKK is resurrected! The performances from all involved are fantastic and it’s certainly one that shouldn’t be missed!