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Rating History

Thor (2011)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Thor surprised me a bit. The reviews I read compared it to Iron Man and while there are some similarities its quite a bit different from any superhero movie that's come out in a while. I'll start with the bad though.

The soundtrack didn't flow with the movie. It didn't distract but often failed to capture the moment. The action scenes were messy. It's like you see as much action in any scene as you did with The Bourne Ultimatum except Thor doesn't have the excuse of using a shakey cam. Too blurry, too fast and too closeup. The romantic subplot seemed forced they should have either developed it more naturally or cut it.

On the positive side the plot was pretty original and unique for a superhero movie. Most superhero movies anymore seem to follow the formula: show good guy, give him/her motivation to fight crime, give him/her powers, show bad guy, show his/her motivation for evil, some plot twists and battle scenes later everyone lives happily ever after. Thor isn't like that at all. In fact I'm not sure how to describe its formula.

I liked how believable they made the mythology and relationships of "realms". They pulled off well the combination of a sense of the mystical and technological in Asgard. The main characters (Thor, Odin, Loki) were well developed with rich complex characters and relationships.

The morals the story told are not told nearly enough in cinema. Thor suffers from pride and Loki from jealousy, but the solution isn't to find a better version of oneself from within so much as it is to submit oneself to the consequences of bad choices, learn from mistakes and see how our sins affect others. There is a refreshing master plan that is at work in this universe where things work out for the best only through the difficult circumstances people create for themselves and others.

This is also the first Marvel movie that contributes to the Avengers movie that actually makes me hopeful The Avengers movie may be more than a bunch of superhero celebrities coming together to fight a yet to be determined boss in the cliche black/white good/bad battle royale for all the universe's marbles.

Kick-Ass (2010)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I was a bit surprised at the quality of this movie. I initially dismissed it as a hokey satire of the superhero genre. It is a bit of a satire but not at all hokey. I found myself engaged through the entire movie either because it was interesting or too weird not to watch. The acting was sufficient and the action scenes and soundtrack were done well. The turn off for me was the way it wants to be realistic but still has to assent to tired cliches of the genre in order to move the thing along. Kick-Ass the hero is interesting enough alone, but the writers had to include a bunch of one-dimensional support heroes and villains to keep the story moving.

What is more confusing is that it is setup for a sequel where Red Mist is the villain with an actual comic book type back story to motivate his revenge, so a sequel, in order to work IMO, is going to have to take itself seriously as a full fledged superhero movie instead of the satire it began as. But they won't do it so the sequel will have plenty of swearing, violence and action scenes with a joke here and there while being even more disjointed and unbelievable in the plot.

Exit Through The Gift Shop
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

A very challenging look at the "self-combustion" of street art through commodification, Exit Through the Gift Shop presents the viewer not only with behind the scenes footage of street art, but also a harsh critique of the viewer as gullible consumer. The documentary is in every way a Banksy creation. With "Mr. Brainwash" on display as Banksy's Frankenstein monster Banksy is honest enough to admit his own complicity in the degradation of an artform. I highly recommend the following reading:


Born Rich
Born Rich (2004)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

This is an incredibly interesting documentary that at surface level will challenge or affirm stereotypes of rich kids (most likely both). However, I didn't find it brilliant for kids behaving in expected patterns, but because of how well it illustrated the systemic embeddedness of wealth once acquired. Thinking more broadly the viewer can find ways to relate to many of the things these brats are going through on our own smaller less decadent scale. If I ever wanted to show a movie that illustrated white privilege this might be the first place I'd go.

Mr. Johnson might have thought to hire someone else to do the narration. His voice is exceedingly dull. The characters are great at grabbing your attention and holding it even if its because you're realizing what clueless snobs they can be. The movie shows its amateur nature but the lack of production quality is more than made up for in the interesting content.

Malice in Wonderland
7 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

This version of Alice takes a distinctly British gangster approach. The way elements from the original were adapted were quite brilliant the writers wove them in very smoothly. On that level it is the most intriguing adaptation I have seen so far. There was a mind-bending plot twist at the end that felt more Matrix-esque than Carrollian. The acting is sufficient as well as the cinematography. The major downfall of the movie is plot progression. The beginning is clever both in setup and dialogue to get the viewer interested, but after the first 30-40 minutes it feels like it drags until the last 10 or 15. In summary, it's worth watching for fans of Alice to see how the adaptation was done, but the story itself lacks much oomph in the middle.

Note: This is the 10th of 22 known Alice adaptations I've viewed (I hadn't actually known about this until I randomly found it on Netflix so it was never a part of my original list of adaptations to see, thus 10/22 instead of 10/21).