George Isaacs's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Logan
Logan(2017)
½

Didn't really care for this. Great for about 40 minutes (been saying that a lot lately) and then kinda falls off a cliff, for me. Acting's on point. No issues with direction or cinematography, save the point where I start to lose interest in the action scenes (been saying that a lot, too). Main issue was that the narrative wasn't going anywhere I cared about, and reminded me of an eighties film I didn't care for the first time I saw it, though last time I saw it, it was part of a much better movie, in the same series.

The Lego Batman Movie
½

Started out wildly hilarious, ended feeling kinda maudlin, like the sappy ending of an episode of a 1970's sitcom, after a valuable lesson has been learned. The first 30-45 minutes (approx) was the movie I wanted to see. The rest of it was some old bullshit.

The Birth of a Nation
½

Beautifully conceived, photographed, and acted as mythology. A man learns that the lesser of multiple evils, is still evil, and ends his compliance.

X-Men: Apocalypse

Just bad enough to have been written by Chris Cleremont, himself (I don't think the Apocalypse storyline was his - I stopped reading X-Men before that). Things get more entertaining soon as Quicksilver shows up and the rest of it is at least watchable.

Body and Soul

Narratively ... weird. Interesting performances, even for a 1920's silent film. Robeson possesses an oddly contemporary swagger (I haven't seen his other films, yet).

Lawrence of Arabia

Had to watch it over two nights. The intermission came on at around the 2 hour 18 minute mark.

Symbol of the Unconquered
½

There's a chunk of this film missing, centered around a scene of Klansmen getting beat down by a brick-wielding "negro". Going to venture a guess it was Abraham. Might've added half a star for that scene alone. The Max Roach soundtrack is a nice touch to this otherwise silent film.

Suicide Squad
½

I quite enjoyed this and only got bored a little during some of the fighting later on. Some nitpicks including todlder-esque drawings attributed to a 12 year old girl, and an ending I didn't find completely satisfying (no spoilers). The Ghostbusters (1984) interdementional villains and the modern trope of "big machine that shoots bright light into sky" I can live with.

Within Our Gates

Fascinating, though disjointed, and abrupt of ending. Micheaux is a much better filmmaker than historians have given him credit for. I've only seen this one film, and perhaps I speaketh too sooneth.

Star Trek Beyond
½

Actually a pretty solid action movie,... it's just not quite Star Trek. There was a sliver of a philosophical idea that could have been the basis of a better movie, but even that wouldn't have been Star Trek. The one thing that was very Star Trek was Karl Urban's DeForrest Kelly impersonation, but I found that somewhat annoying. Why now? I dunno. 3 stars if you're not an OG Trekker, 2 anna half if you are..

Hardcore Henry
½

Not quite as interesting as watching somebody else play a video game. it's not that shooting a whole movie in first person POV is a terrible idea, it just needs a better movie (story or some related device) for justification.

Scaramouche
Scaramouche(1952)
½

I have to track down Rafael Sabatini's novel. There's a great story here, and it's too big for this movie, though it was done justice as Executioner's Of Shaolin, if it turns out this was an inspiration. It clearly has many of the elements of a 70's era martial arts film, including the training montage. The bad news is that this movie is as corny and melodramatic as one imagines movies this old to be (and I say this ass a fan of old movies). Only Mel Ferrer's performance manages to transcend his b-movie trappings (and i say this as someone who loves b-movies.

The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun (La dame dans l'auto avec un fusil et des lunettes)

Title was all I needed to start watching. Slightly (?) unhinged, freckled red-dead in short skirt keeps the ride going.

Ninja: Shadow of a Tear

It's not shot on video, but I think this might be badly edited episodes of a TV series. I see a couple of familiar Shaw Bros. faces (don't recognize the names in the credits), and the fight choreography seems reminiscent of Shaw production. Worth watching even though it's mostly crap. Well worth the buck for this and Ninja Death III.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
½

I loved Man Of Steel, and thought the bad reviews I was hearing about this movie might be more of what I heard from fans about the last film. Nope. B V S started out well enough that I un-lowered my expectations, but somewhere along the line, things got kinda stupid, and then really, really stupid. A big part of it is Luthor's role in this story, which doesn't require his intervention. A smaller part is Jesse Eisenberg's inability to rise above what was written for him. Obviously not his fault, but he's not helping. There are other problems, but I won't go into those, now. Man Of Steel introduced some interesting mythology that could have (and may still) contribute to some decent world building. Snyder and Goyer need someone smarter to bounce off of, and right now, the Nolan's aren't that interested.

My Dinner with André

Inconceivable (!) that i could stand to watch this on Youtube at 320p, but I did. There's not enough landscape porn to make hi-def viewing a pre-requisite, but I will be getting the blu-ray and putting it next to The Matrix and Groundhog Day.

Deadpool
Deadpool(2016)
½

Am I the only one who thinks Ryan Reynolds looks better as burnt John Malkovich? Enjoyed this quite a bit. Deadpool is among a number of characters I'm unfamiliar with from that era of comics, but I fondly remember Keith Giffen's Ambush Bug from the eighties. Giffen will find no reason to cry foul as there was karma due on his earlier plagiarism of an Argentinian (?) cartoonist back in the day, and of course characters like this are part of a lineage (Spider-Man, Bugs Bunny, Brer Rabbit) that date back to a Yoruba Spider Trickster-God in ancient West Africa, Anansie. Giffen Also created Lobo, and a movie version of that may gain traction based on this film's success. Don't know him, either, other than he looks like an albino biker. From the same time period as Deadpool, I think. Giffen may come out ahead on this in the end.

Chi-Raq
Chi-Raq(2015)

This...is terrible. Starts out pretty decent. Impressed with the idea of Sam Jackson playing Dolemite, (pronounced with Latin Vowels). Somewhere along the line a decent idea turns into a bad parody of a combination of Afterschool Special and TV Movie Of The Week.It's mostly the writing. The writing is moronic.

The Man Who Fell to Earth

A pretty bad B-Movie made to appeal to the arthouse crowd. If it succeeded on that front due to it's lush photography, then I can dig it. There are some ideas that could have been turned into a compelling TV drama (though, not in that era). The funniest thing to me (and the least of this films problems) is how massively most of these characters age within the space of a single decade. From the moment Bowie's TV antenna'd limo arrives onscreen, we never leave the 1970's. Speaking of aging, it's not until he gets the old man make-up that I begin to recognize Rip Torn.. Wonder if that's a cinematic first.

Sicario
Sicario(2015)
½

I think the lead character is supposed to be the conscience of the film as she's quite outraged about something or another. What she isn't outraged about and what this film isn't concerned with is that the war on drugs is a complete sham directly impacting everything from immigration to this current nonsense morons like to refer to as "gun violence." Aside from that, we have a beautifully filmed, somewhat slower paced action film.

The Martian
The Martian(2015)

Space operas and superhero films aside, we seem to be getting spoiled with better than decent sci-fi films on an almost regular basis.For the genre, I consider once a year (sometimes two or three, including smaller films) to be an abundance of riches. Bonus points for that sound that marks each date, either being a sample or inspired by a sound used in Pink Floyd's Echoes, or one of the songs from Pompeii. Also for taking one of the cast members of the Fantastic Four and actually sending her into outer space. Extra bonus points for having her married to The Winter Soldier. Not to mention giving Matt Damon's character from Interstellar a really interesting backstory. A cast that includes Kristin Wiig, Donald Glover, and Eddie Ko from Heroes Shed No Tears (John Woo flick) and hundreds of other HK kung fu movies and TV series (a Chinese subplot inserted, no doubt to ensure distribution in China). The movie, itself? It's good! Watch it.

Reindeer Games (Deception)

Bad movie gone good, not to be confused with "so good it's bad." Or good movie that doesn't live up to it's potential?
Affleck's part of the problem here, and I'm not one of those guys who thinks he's a bad actor. He's not very versatile, it's true, but folks who think John Wayne or Burt Reynolds weren't good actors are idiots who apparently aren't aware that "specialist" is a concept that works in entertainment as it does in every other field. Now, I wouldn't give Affleck an award for his best work over Ben Kingsley in that Marvel One-Shot he did, but that's beside the point. Affleck was the wrong guy for this.
They should've gone with a comedian and kept mostly everything the same. The story could use some work, especialy that GTFOH moment, but a comedian or an actor with great comic timing could have at least elevated this to something better than it is. Everyone else is great and bonus points for Clarence Williams III whom I didn't recognize til Affleck gets his pecan pie.
Missed this the first time around 'cause I thought it was some kind'a Die Hard thing. No idea it was a heist movie. Die Hard *is* a type of Heist movie, I guess, but you know what I mean.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
½

No spoilers. 4 anna half outta five seems like I've rated this higher than the original trilogy films, but I can only go with how I feel like right now, and will adjust over the next decade or so.

Spectre
Spectre(2015)
½

Enjoyable. Wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, but fun. Pretty much everything you want in a Bond film.
I re-watched On Her majesty's Secret Service just before seeing the first trailer to this one, and it had a revelation I hadn't caught before. Bond's family crest contained the motto "The World Is Not Enough", which I thought was interesting aside from being the title to one of the later pre-Craig Bond films. Was expecting it might be a clue to the shadowy secret promised in the trailer, but not quite.
Had to pee really bad near the end, so I missed a small bit of the climax, but nothing important. Would'a held it, but you can't trust a movie to get right to the point nowadays (kinda like me, right now).
Nice to have another movie tackle the surveillance state, even if the story is about a government assassin. Some of the bureaucratic wrangling got a bit tiresome. 3 anna half outta 5.

Raw Force
Raw Force(1982)

A truly great, great bad movie! Martial arts vs. zombie ninja, monks, samurai and what have you. Sad looking strippers, cannibal monks, prop swords that bend, and character actors I know but can't name or place where I've seen them without IMDB. An interview with the director reveals that the sequel would've co-starred Johnathan Winters.

Solaris
Solaris(1976)

Pretentious nonsense with it's most decent ideas already explored on Star Trek a few years before, but maybe given a pass because film critics at the time were mostly Communists and they thought Russia was the future? I dunno. Reading that Tarkovsky was talking mad Spike Lee level shit about Kubrick and 2001 didn't help me in appreciating this film, either.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Not super familiar with the show, but I quite enjoyed this. Way more than I expected.

Zombieland
Zombieland(2009)

Favorite zombie movie, as it runs counter to a general feeling of escalating hopelessness that one tends to find in the genre. Shaun Of The Dead, an exception, except I still didn't like it as much. What's most important, though, is that it is truly hilarious.

Constantine
Constantine(2005)
½

Despite making the character American to avoid the embarrassment of having Keanu attempt a Geordie accent, this is a pretty good adaptation of the comic book. So much so, that i didn't realize on first viewing, a decade ago, how wrong he was for this part, no matter what nationality. Nick Cage, however, would'a made this a bonafide classic, everything else remaining the same. I don't remember Shia LeBoof playing the same sidekick role he had in I Robot.

Black Magic
Black Magic(1975)
½

Wonderfully insane! Probably inspired more by Voodoo/Santeria than Chinese magic, though my knowledge on the subject is limited. I remember friends talking about this when it hit a local dollar ($1.50?) theater back in 1978-ish. Finally bought the DVD a few years ago and was initially disappointed, but now I kinda love it. I mean even the dog can't act. No kung fu despite the presence of Ti Lung, Lo Lieh, and cameos by Yueh Yua (sp?) and (Norman) Tsui Sui-Keung. There is an epic magic battle at the end with state of the art (1975) special effects.

Saw III
Saw III(2006)

Two more movies in this series, but I'm 'a stop riiiiii - c'here.

Killer Snakes
½

Sad loser with an inherited bondage fetish makes friends with injured snakes (gall bladder removed and served as delicacy) and they become his vehicle of vengeance. Shaw Bros. production with no kung fu, but lots of nudity and animals were probably harmed during the making of this film.

Eraserhead
Eraserhead(1977)

The second time I've seen this, and I'm not gonna pretend I know what it's about. The first time (which was within the last few years) I had the creepy feeling that I wasn't watching fiction, which is not the same as believing this is a documentary (those are often a type of fiction as well). There was a little of that this time, but with more of a sense of watching a dream of someone watching a dream. Aren't dreams fiction? No. Not necessarily. Dreams are often an arrangement of sights, sounds, and (or) sensations that try to make sense of one's current state of being, mentally and most likely physically (it's one machine). There's a non-linear logic at work, but it's still truth, not fiction.

Saw II
Saw II(2005)
½

I saw Donnie Walberg's name on the blu-ray case and thought Mark Walberg. No disappointment as they pretty much play the same dude. Movie's not that good, though. No disappointment there either.

Human Lanterns
½

Martial arts, serial killer, Chen Kwan Tai, Lo Lieh, and a couple of Venoms. What more could you ask for?

Saw
Saw(2004)

A li'l hokey, but also quite brilliant in a way. It not only holds up, eleven years later, but I'd forgotten this was not well loved by critics.

The Ninth Gate
½

Supernatural, but basic film noir. The longer it goes on, the flimsier it gets.

The Hunger
The Hunger(1983)
½

An interesting, less glamorous take on everlasting life, presented, of course, with Tony Scott's characteristic 80's glamour.

Rabid
Rabid(1979)

Early Cronenberg, and not very good, but kinda funny in parts. If I had seen it back then, I wouldn't have predicted that he'd have a future in film, and that Ms. Chambers would go back to her day job.

Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman
½

A rare (I believe) international cross-over. A couple of interesting elements; 1) Wang Yu's Wang Kang character retains abilities unique to the wu-xia/kung-fu genre(s) of the time (mostly trampoline and backwards jumping), while everyone else adheres to the relatively grounded rules of this series of films. Had ninja been present, it would be a different story, but no ninja here. 2) Ichi doesn't speak Chinese and Wang Kang doesn't speak Japanese. It's logical, I just didn't expect it.

Return of the One Armed Swordsman (Du bei dao wang)
½

Chang Cheh doing what he does best; painting the town red (with blood) and featuring a band of killers, each with his/her own specialty. Tones down the whole bare-chested men thing a li'l bit. It's still the sixties. In addition to a young Wu Ma, Ti Lung and Liu Chia Liang (Lau Kar Leung), a couple of blink and you'll miss 'em appearances from David (John) Chiang and (I *think*) Yuen Wo Ping as the "Flying Sword King". The folks who did the commentary track on the first movie were looking for him there (IIRC), and might've gotten their info mixed up. If I ever act in a movie, I'd like to die like a character in a Chang Cheh film. That looks like fun.

Dao (The Blade)
½

Tsui Hark's re-imagining of One Armed Swordsman that itself was an unofficial adaptation of a tiny bit of Louis Cha's second Condor Heroes novel. This one done either as a parody or maybe an acknowledgement of Wong Kar Wai (Ashes Of Time). It does become its own thing, and is unlike anything Tsui had done, before or since. It meanders a bit, but I like it much more now than I did about twenty years ago.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation
½

Decent enough James Bond/Jackie Chan action fest, but it goes on way too long. There's also some odd stuff happening between the lines, like the Anonymous styled video that introduces us to The Syndicate, a group dedicated to destroying "the System" which "our" heroes must protect. But maybe I'm reading too much into it. Co-produced by a Chinese company, by the way.

Ha-Trempist (The Hitch Hiker) (An American Hippie In Israel)
½

It's a half star (outta five) movie, actually, but amusing to watch for about 45 minutes or whenever that infinitely repeating folk song starts to gnaw at your sanity.

Keith Richards: Under the Influence

Keith Richards talking with guitar in hand? I could watch that for several hours.

Se diu ying hung ji dung sing sai jau (The Eagle Shooting Heroes)
½

My understanding was (based on a dvd commentary from some other kung fu movie or another) that this was filmed while Ashes Of Time was on hiatus due to a lack of funding. So, it's not a parody of that film per say, though it uses the same cast and is directly named from the source novel (also called Legend Of The Condor Heroes). Like Ashes, it appears to be a prequel (no Guo Jing or Huang Rong) and also like that movie takes huuuuge libertites with those characters, only in the service of completely bat-shit comedy. Some of it works in a Looney Tunes / Benny Hill / Carol Burnett sort, and some of it doesn't. It's mostly incomprehensible nonsense, perhaps in part due to cultural differences, but then again, perhaps not. It takes some time to get into, and then after about an hour and a half it gets a little tiresome. Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (one of two Tony Leungs who appear in both films) trade roles, while Jacky Cheung reprises the role of Hong Chi Gong, by now the leader of the Beggar Clan. Sammo Hung handles the fight scenes (Chin Kar Lok's name also in the credits), which is not obscured by blurry cam and editing, this time. It's mostly 90's wire-fu, which a lot of people complained about at the time. Wonder if they miss it now that it's been replaced by CGI.

Fantastic Four
½

This actually isn't terrible. It just isn't nearly the movie it needed to be. I was actually debating whether this film really deserves a full three stars on it's own merits, but there are problems, likely resulting in sacrificing characterization in favor of pacing. The only real chemistry is between Johnny Storm and Von Doom, for example, and while their relationship seems somewhat antagonistic, they appear to have more of a bond than any of the other characters, including long time buddies Reed and Ben. The exception to that being Dr. Storm to his kids, individually, though not as a family. Not to mention that there may be a whole other half movie, based on complaints from the director and the number of scenes identified from the trailer that don't appear in the finished project. That movie wasn't gonna be nearly the film this needed to be either, but I hope to see it at some point.

Tomorrow Night
½

Early film by Louis C.K. I'm a huge fan (Pootie Tang is a favorite), but this isn't good. Was available on his site for 5 bucks. May still be, but obviously I don't recommend it.

Martial Arts of Shaolin

On Netflix!!! My first time seeing this in non-bootlegged form. Lau Kar Leung (Liu Chia Liang) directing (or co-directing?) a Mainland Chinese film starring Jet Li and the results are as brilliant as one would hope (but wouldn't dare expect). Why isn't Gordon Liu in this? The Shaw Bros. fanfare at the beginning seems like a ret-con, as well as the "Another Shaw production" at the end, but I don't really know the history behind the production, and I could never watch those awful bootlegged copies all the way through.

Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane(1941)
½

Gorgeously photographed and staged, but as someone who's not a film student, I can't fully appreciate some of the other elements; the rapid fire dialog delivery that was expected of actors of that time and a story (and approach to story) that has become a template for pretty much every Oscar-bait bio-pic that has come along since. Still, I enjoyed it this first time around, though I've known what Rosebud is for something like forty years. If I see it again, it'll be with the sound off.

Spirited Away

Everybody else's favorite Miyazaki film. Not mine, but still pretty great. I get a weird pedo vibe from that No-Face character, though... Don't like him one bit.

True Lies
True Lies(1994)
½

Probably James Cameron's best film (haven't seen The Abyss). Still not on Blu-ray, because Jihad or something.

Ant-Man
Ant-Man(2015)
½

Here's a movie I did not want made, but I am so glad it was. Great, great movie with an extraordinary cast and terrific writing and a totally unexpected cameo from TV's first Ant-Man (most people won't get it, but that was worth a half star by itself).

Zardoz
Zardoz(1974)

Interesting class-warfare fable that can work equally as well from a leftist or rightist point of view. That's my take, anyhow.

Spy
Spy(2015)

Melissa McCarthy is hilarious (sometimes), but Paul Feig is not a great writer or film-maker. I'm not looking forward to his version of Ghostbusters.

Message from Space

There's a bunch of cheap knock-off Star Wars type flicks i somehow never got to see, but always kinda wanted to. This is one. The effects are actually pretty admirable, even when they remind one of the opening sequence to Mystery Science Theater. These sequences represent a lost art. It's the story that's absolute shit. Was disappointed to see Shotaro Ishimori's name on the end credits. Back around 1980, the animated version of Cyborg 009 cemented my interest in Japanese animation (back then, you could catch Japanese programming during some hours on the Spanish UHF channels).

Inside Out
Inside Out(2015)

Sticking to a tried and true Pixar formula; bunch of anthropomorphic (thanx, spellcheck) thingamajigs get lost/waylaid and must get home. Still, this movie about emotions got me emotional and it says something that doesn't often get said.

Big Trouble in Little China

Aside from John Carpenter's electronic score, this movie has aged very, very well. I like it better now than I did when i first saw it. if only John Wayne could've lived to see this... well, he wouldn't be flattered, and he'd want to know what the hell was going on here. Kurt Russell does a great John Wayne impersonation and John Carpenter has probably made the best U.S. film to incorporate elements of Chinese fantasy (that I can think of at this moment).

El Dorado
El Dorado(1967)

Probably my favorite John Wayne movie, though my first time watching it from the beginning (caught it on TV once; missed the first 30-45 minutes). Also my favorite of the trio of films that are considered to be pretty much the same by some fans. I recall Rio Lobo to be quite different from this and Rio Bravo and not as good as the other two. Leigh Brackett, the woman credited with making Empire Strikes Back the strongest of the original Star Wars movies, narratively, is the writer here and I only take issue with some of the dialog written for the female lead. A great action film that also features James Caan and Ed Asner, dated mostly by a lack of flowing blood and Nelson Riddle's musical cues which sound like they belonged on the Batman series he was working on at the time.

John Wick
John Wick(2014)

Didn't expect this to live up to the hype, which is why I took my time in getting around to it. John Leguizamo, who's in this, once told a story of walking in on a crying Steven Seagal (sp?) who'd just read the greatest script evar, "Who wrote it?" John asked, naively. "I did." Answered Steven. I imagine that script looked a lot like what this movie does on paper. Ridiculous, but somehow it became a thing of violent beauty. There is one particular cliche I could have done without; A typical bad guy moment, but I won't go further.

Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo

Mifune plays a Yojimbo (bodyguard), but it really isn't the 30 year old (insert name of plant) who's actually almost 40 from the Kurosawa films. That guy was funnier and smarter (and didn't talk so much). The movie fails, though because it isn't very good, despite shedding or modifying some of the formulaic elements of the Zatoichi series. It just doesn't live up to it's ambitions. Has my favorite Zatoichi quote, though; "I'm done with Hell." Should'a moved that from the beginning of the film to the end.

Slow West
Slow West(2015)
½

"In a short time...This will be a long time ago."

Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjûrô)

"A stupid friend's sword is deadlier than an enemy's"

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Better than the comicbook. Still not very good.

Maggie
Maggie(2015)
½

Well done, but...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................it's a zombie movie and these things tend to be depressing as fuck all. The reason why Zombieland is the only such film in my collection (that I can think of).

Mad Max: Fury Road

A lot of the chaos at the beginning was a bit fatiguing, and threatened to put me to sleep. I know that *sounds* counter-intuitive, but it's true. Somewhere along the line the movie captured my attention and I was along for the ride. I'd read some rumblings about a feminist agenda poisoning the movie and found that not to be the case at all. At least not the social-control man-hating non-sense that often parades itself as feminism nowadays. Was surprised to see Brendan McCarthy's name in the story credits and thought it must be a different dude, til his design credit soon followed. I'm gonna guess he came up with some of those odd character names. I'm a long time fan of his comicbook work (and his animated series, Reboot).

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
½

Harmy's DeSpecialized edition - 20th Century Fox Fanfare, Darth Vader doesn't yell "Noooooooo!!!!!!, and Hayden Christiansen doesn't replace Sebastian Shaw as Anakin's force ghost.

Tokyo Tribe
Tokyo Tribe(2015)

So... Not as much fun as I thought this would be.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

A bit disappointing, but following Winter Soldier and Guardians wasn't gonna be easy. And I didn't think Whedon's first Avengers film was *that* great either (better than this one, though). Both of his entries in the Marvel series feel a bit like superhero porn or some flavor of fan-service. All of these films are, to some extent, but most don't seem so forced. I also can't get past my disdain for a character who utilizes a bow and arrow for every fight. If he had super arms/shoulders, at least it could work in the context of this fantasy. And then there was a large segment (at least it felt to me that it went too long) that appeared to be a critique of Man of Steel and how Superman didn't make that much effort to reduce collateral damage while he was in the middle of a fight. It could be that I'm a cold hearted bastard, or it could be that dwelling on the impossible logistics of saving pretty much everybody from a crumbling urban setting (yeah, even in fantasy) just might be tedious as hell. But aside from all that, it's decent spectacle and mostly fun, and I'll get the Blu-ray when it comes out, but I'm glad Joss Whedon isn't coming back.

Fifty Shades of Grey
½

Entry level BDSM set within the trappings of those awful turn of the millennium romantic comedies.

Samaritan Zatoichi (Zatôichi kenka-daiko)

More like "Zatoichi, the lousy yakuza he always told you he was." Still the same old Zatoichi, but he actually regrets doing something that for once doesn't involve manipulation (despite the description on this site), self defense, or accident. And that regret only comes when he finds there's a girl involved. Okay, some manipulation, but he was totally cool with killing a debtor for money. Also, not clear if that scene where he cheats with weighted dice was a ruse or not. The weird eye shadow make-up seems new, too.

The Taking of Tiger Mountain
½

Fun post-WW2, pre-Communist (?) adventure. I did get a weird Commie vibe at the end with those green uniforms. Why that made me feel uncomfortable, I dunno. Not Tsui Hark's best, but he might be getting his groove back.

The Man with the Iron Fists 2
½

Well, it's not "turrible". They got a pretty decent looking film for what was most likely a fairly low budget. Like much of what actually comes out of China nowadays, not that bad, but not that good, either.

Kink
Kink(2014)
½

Not exactly balls deep in it's examination of this industry, especially given it's focus on and cooperation of a single company (and yes, I'm familiar with some of their work). A fun look behind the scenes, but with a sense the whole truth isn't being told, except for the detailed answer a dominatrix gives to a question regarding whether she'd like her children working there.

Furious 7
Furious 7(2015)

As with Fast Five, the sequence of spectacles is enough to entertain, even if you don't know or don't care (like me) about these characters. However, even the non-explodey-speedy-punchy moments are not half bad this time and do more than let you catch your breath before the shit hits the fan again. Some of it could be the effect of sympathizing (a li'l bit) with the untimely death of one of the actors, but some is that the writing is not as nauseating as it used to be. There is an aspect of the narrative that bothers me (won't spoil it), but it might be something that's resolved in a sequel.

Straight to Hell
½

Not as spaghetti Western as the trailer (and many critics) make it out to be, unless you count Jorodowsky's El Topo as spaghetti western. Also not very good, but I find myself coming back to it, like once a decade. I hear there's a remix or something made with out-takes. May have to take a look.

The Krays
The Krays(1990)

Hilariously over the top and over dramatic (and just about incompetent in some ways), but kinda fun. The Kemp Bros. (Spandau Ballet) are the infamous Kray Bros., representing that London thug life. Stephen Berkoff (Under The Cherry Moon) shows up to do his best Bob Hoskins impersonation. Glad I waited 25 years to see this.

Pi
Pi(1998)

Not being orientated to the maths, this movie makes more sense to me as a prequel or side story to The Matrix, alongside Groundhog Day, Vanilla Sky, Last Year At Marienbad and maybe a few others.

Citizenfour
Citizenfour(2014)

A bit dry, or maybe raw, would be a better term. It's a visual documentation of what should prove to be a pivotal moment in American history.

You Only Live Twice

They need to bring back Tiger Tanaka.

House (Hausu)
½

This might be the weirdest movie I've ever seen, and I've seen more than a few.

Tian can bian (Bastard Swordsman)

Where-in we learn that, Wu-Tang is, in fact, something to fuck with.

Nightcrawler
Nightcrawler(2014)
½

Jake Gyllenhaal has that creepy sociopath thing down pat. He's uncomfortable to watch for all the right reasons.

Time Bandits
Time Bandits(1981)

Jolly good! Something kinda eerie about "Evil"'s plan to launch a technological dawn based on his understanding of the silicon revolution's true potential... in 1981 (and then his subsequent efforts to study up on computers). It's not actually prophetic, but then it sorta is.

Jimi: All Is by My Side

Andre Benjamin is very good as Hendrix. Too bad that performance is wasted on this movie.

Birdman
Birdman(2014)
½

Just F*ing fantastic.

Ganja & Hess
Ganja & Hess(1973)

Freaky, but fascinating. Bought the DVD like 15 years ago. Watched about 15 minutes, stopped it and filed it for later. I understand the new Spike Lee film is some sort of interpretation of this concept, so I thought it was time to dig it out (there's an upcoming blu-ray release, but I'll stick with the DVD).

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
½

One Movie... too many. I just stopped caring about these people about fifteen minutes in (some of that could'a been tacked on to the last one and done!). the spectacle of it kept me awake, but did not excite me. The comedy from that weird not quite Russell Brand guy did not make me laugh. In fact I'd give this movie an extra half star if his entrails had been splashed upon the screen, somewhere around the twenty minute mark or earlier. Some of the drama WAS funny, though, especially the way everybody tried to out gravitas each other with the pronunciation of "war" ("Wohr!!!). Even though he was almost always present, I feel like not much time was spent on the Hobbit himself who was well played by Martin Freeman, whose experience in comedies does make drama seem easy.

Kung Fu Killer

Fantastic modern day kung fu flick with a few notable cameos and visual references to the past (was confused when David Chiang was credited as John Chiang at the end - turns out David was a stage name from his Shaw bros. days).

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Initially had some issues with this, over a couple of things that were left unexpressed. However, I realize now (saw this a couple of weeks ago) it isn't necessary to have characters in a film confirm through dialog what was strongly implied through the narrative, though it kinda *felt* like it was needed. As for the legend itself, i'm only familiar with it through a brief mention in Takahata's previous (and brilliant) work, Our Neighbor's The Yamadas.

Gone Girl
Gone Girl(2014)
½

Oh, that was some good shit. There's a couple of points where the story could have ended and it would have been good enough, but unlike others (especially movies that don't know when enough's enough), it got better and deeper.

Zatoichi's Pilgrimage

Zatoichi - High Noon style. The cinematography is better than usual here. The comedy is still there, but the drama rises up a notch. There's this one beady eyed dude who keeps showing up in these films. he can't be playing the same character (or in this case that same character's brother), can he? If he shows up again, i'm calling bullshit!! Should be available on Hulu.

Master of Disaster (The Treasure Hunters) (Lung fu siu yeh)

Any movie with Gordon Liu, Wang Lung Wei and Fu Sheng is a must watch for the fight scenes alone (and that girl with the double blades was awesome, but I don't know who she is - must investigate), but the comedy is just atrocious, Sesame Street level shit. I take it that the Shaws wanted to compete with the slapstick films Yuen Wo Ping and his clan was making with and without Jackie Chan for Golden Harvest at this period.

Big Hero 6
Big Hero 6(2014)
½

Somewhat predictable in one key area, but otherwise fun.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

Watched the "Despecialized" version. I didn't recall any glaring changes to this one (who shot first/swapping in Haden whatshizface or Ewan McGregor or NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!), but still wanted to see this version.

Johnny Guitar

One for the "So bad, it's hilarious" pile. Once you get past the notion of Joan Crawford, a former hooker (suggested, not actually stated), so successful, she bought a saloon/casino joint and the two men who vie for her heart, The Dancing Kid and Johnny Guitar, (even the young gun-slinger, Turkey, has a thing for her. - Man, it must've been real lonely in the old west) the real star of this show is Mercedes McCambridge. Her female James Cagney-esque character seems like it was created and played by Martin Short, even down to that weird, crazy smile.

Dracula Untold
½

Way better than I expected.

Duel
Duel(1972)

Somewhat ludicrous, but not all-together bad. There's something really uncomfortable in seeing Dennis Weaver (McCloud - not the one with the sword) play a character that is a little less than manly. Also, did somebody say "Shit"? Thought this was a TV movie from 1971. I think I saw Spielberg's reflection on the telephone booth around the 56 minute mark. Amateur.

Kuroneko
Kuroneko(1968)

Vengeance and interpretive dance... and something about the elevation of the warrior class above peasantry, which has some modern relevance.

The Rum Diary

An older Depp returns to a different, younger and fictional (more or less) Dr. Thompson. Less mumbling dialog than Fear and Loathing and Where The Buffalo Roam, but he's just finding his voice...and LSD (spoiler alert).

The Raven
The Raven(1963)
½

From the same year as Dr. Strange's debut. Co-inky dink? Maybe. Karloff's performance (when trying to be nice) reminds me a bit of Benny Hill's Fred Scuttle, which probably came later (I found one skit from '65). Used to watch this a lot in the 70's when it aired during the 4:30 Afternoon Movie on ABC.

Hercules
Hercules(2014)

Brett Ratner and Dwayne Johnson will naturally get the blame for making yet another shitty movie. However, it's not what Ratner delivers behind the camera, nor what Johnson does before it. They're both better than what most people believe, at their respective jobs. It's just that neither one of them appear to have the intellect to look at a script and say; "Okay, this, this, and this, is stupid. Can we get a re-write?" It's not like they don't have the clout.

Bullet Ballet
½

My expectations and reaction were colored by my mistaken belief that I was watching a Seijun Suzuki film (somehow got this mixed up with Pistol Opera). Didn't realize til now, it's from the guy that made Tetsuo - The Iron Man (the use of industrial-esque music makes waaaaay more sense, now). Don't know if I would have enjoyed it more, but I would have been less disappointed... maybe.

Stretch
Stretch(2014)

Most interesting work from Chris Pine since the last time he worked with Carnahan (Smokin' Aces).

Kenau
Kenau(2014)
½

TV movie-esque dramatics of a quasi-historical Dutch legend of a Haarlem uprising against the Spanish. A villain who's one part Al Pacino and one part Rowan Atkinson (in Black Adder mode, not Mr.Bean), and throughout this whole thing, I can't help but be distracted by thinking, "I guess we know what Tina Fey is gonna look like in twenty+ years."

Charlie Chan at the Opera
½

So, I'm watching this and a few minutes in, I'm going "This really isn't racist at all." Enter John Henry Allen as Streamline Jones; "Yah Suh! He' ah is!" #OhJeez!!! Otherwise, pretty solid.

22 Jump Street
½

Fantastic end credit sequence.

The Equalizer
½

Man On Fire II is pretty badass. It's surprising that more action movies aren't set at Home Depot. My only complaint is the actor playing the villain. He spent the whole movie going "Here's my impression of Kevin Spacey playing Hitler, but without all the yelling (since the script doesn't really call for it)." Looking forward to Man On Fire III: Cleanup in Aisle 8.

Holiday
Holiday(2014)

Only in India can a movie start as a cute romantic comedy, only to be interrupted by a hard ass counter terrorism drama/John Woo-eque action film, which sporadically resumes and departs, so that our hero can get back to cutting off the pinky fingers of the bad guys BEFORE he interrogates them.. Also: Song and dance numbers - now with auto tune (but some how less annoying in Hindi).

The November Man

Enjoyable til it starts to go off the rails towards the end.

Bullitt
Bullitt(1968)
½

Before Hunger, before Shame, before 12 Years a Slave, there was another named Steve McQueen...

Highlander
Highlander(1986)

Time has not been kind to this movie. Even if you look past getting a Frenchman to play a Scot and Scot to play an Egyptian/Spaniard (neither of whom making much effort to conceal their natural accents), this is a two star film which only earns it's third via Clancy Brown's performance as The Kurgan. If i were a film-maker asked to remake this "classic", I'd say "Sure. As long as I get to make it about The Kurgan." He's the only interesting character here.

Braveheart
Braveheart(1995)

Seemed like a good time to watch this.

2001: A Space Odyssey

A singular experience unlike anything before or after. The closest would be the dialog free works of Ron Fricke and Godfrey Reggio, reluctantly classified as documentaries for want of a better term. Visual poetry? Yes. That works for this as well.

Lifeforce
Lifeforce(1985)

Hmm. Not as good as I remembered it, but Mathilda May was perfect (as opposed to Mila Jovovich in 5th Element, which was somebody else's idea of perfect). Sir Patrick Stewart has been roughly the same age for the last thirty years. This raises questions.

The Unknown Known

How can you not love this guy? Sure you can be mad, but there's something endearing about a man who can smile at the world while he's sending it to hell.

Black Brigade
½

Not very good (except as a TV pilot for it's time), but way better than Miracle At St. Anna.

Whistle
Whistle(2002)

On the Blu-ray of Moon. Short film kinda about drone kills.

Wrong Cops
Wrong Cops(2013)

This might be a depiction of the lives of people in Hell (if such a thing were to exist), then again I might ave no idea what this is. It is hilarious, though. Also, Ray Wise!

The Rover
The Rover(2014)

Mad Max 1.5? Not when you realize there's plenty of places in the world where this story could take place, right now. However, setting this in any of those places would just turn this story political, and politics tend to be a distraction from the heart of any matter.

Neighbors
Neighbors(2014)
½

Some funny bits, but not that enjoyable. Also, did they clone John Stamos?

Cold Fish
Cold Fish(2011)
½

Dark and disturbing in a way you just can't get with horror movies.

Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

It's a damn shame we won't see anymore of these on the big screen. A damn shame. Nice we got the two that we did, though. And we'll always have the comics. My only complaint about this sequel is that the final sequence went on a little long.

The Lost Boys
½

Easy to forget that outside a couple of Batman films, Joel Schumacher ( who wrote Car Wash and Sparkle???) is a pretty capable film-maker. Antlers are not made out of wood, so somebody should be okay. Always thought writers mis-understood how wooden stakes were supposed to work, anyway.

Get On Up
Get On Up(2014)

Everything I hate about bio-pics and more. Taking a bunch of things that happened to someone interesting isn't storytelling. There are a number of interesting stories that could have been the focus of a decent film and they are just relegated to events of a timeline or aspects of a character. Add to that the Jo-Jo Dancer-esque "artistic" flourishes and you have the makings of a truly awful movie. The performances save it from being that bad, but for the most part they mimic what already exists on film. I'd much rather have the Paris Olympia show on blu-ray than James Brown for Dummies.

Only Lovers Left Alive

Must. Have. That. Soundtrack.

Near Dark
Near Dark(1987)

A product of it's time, but not much more. Might'a liked it if I caught it back then.

Belle
Belle(2014)

A bit more uplifting than I expected. Had a copy of Django Unchained on standby, in case things went south.

The Black Six

Worst blaxploitation movie? Worst one I've seen. Wonder if the finale inspired part of the Night Rider sequence in Django Unchained?

Love Exposure

I.. don't know if I have the words. A four hour Catholic guilt comedy-action epic, doesn't do it justice.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Sooooooooooooo bad. On soooooooooo many levels. I knew Orci and Kurtzman, the geniuses who gave us tea-bagging Transformers and a cure for death in Star Trek Into Darkness were writing this and lowered my expectations accordingly. No. Not low enough. This was a god-damn train wreck, which is why I guess I kept watching, despite the fact I quickly got tired of looking at these stupid people's faces.. This movie brings back the glory days of Shumacher's Batman And Robin, only without nipples on the costumes. I'm clad I pirated this shit. Excuse my German.

Castle in the Sky

Fun Fact: Laputa has been removed from the U.S. title because of an unfortunate Spanish translation. Less fun: the U.S. blu-ray/DVD release uses dubtitles; subtitles that reflect the English dialog, which has subtle, but occasionally nauseating changes. Only an issue if one prefers to watch in Japanese, which I do. Though not an issue if you speak Japanese (I only know a few words).

Lucy
Lucy(2014)
½

This movie doesn't need a sequel, but if Marvel doesn't give Johansson her own Black Widow film (which I can do without, honestly), she can always go back to Europe and make this a franchise. Luc Besson leased the finished product to Universal for 40 mil, and they made it back in three days.

Bad Words
Bad Words(2014)

Funny as (insert bad word here).

Do the Right Thing

I miss Robin Harris. As to the rest of the film, it's a bit more nuanced than most people give it credit for, including, especially, those who sing it's praises. All the while Spike Lee (in public) pretends to embody the nature represented by Giancarlo Esposito's character, Buggin' Out.

Desperado
Desperado(1995)
½

Can't believe this is the first time I've watched it in 19 years, but it is. Played the soundtrack album consistently over that time, though.

Once Upon a Time in Shanghai (E zhan)

Nice old-school beat 'em up flick with brief but welcome performances from Sammo Hung, Chen Quan Tai, Yuen Wo Ping, and some other dude who looks familiar, but whose name I don't know. Written and directed by Wong Jing.

Sabotage
Sabotage(2014)
½

Seems like all of David Ayers films are episodes of The Shield, but not as good.

Flight
Flight(2012)

Holy Shit, that was a good movie! Excuse my German.

My Neighbor Totoro

Still my favorite movie of all time (Tied with Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is a different experience altogether).

Zatoichi On the Road
½

Zatoichi's always on the road, though. Never at home. Zatoichi at home would be a change of pace.

Black Dynamite
½

"Donuts don't wear alligator shoes."

Lilo & Stitch
½

Should'a won the Oscar, but I maybe need to see Spirited Away again. Something tells me Robert Crumb would appreciate some of the character designs, but I don't think he'd watch this film.

Sign o' the Times

Oddly, three of the best songs from the Sign O' The Times album (and among my favorite Prince songs), Adore, The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker, and Starfish And Coffee were not included in this concert film. Two of them probably did not fit his narrative ambitions for the film, but none were played live for the albums tour, if I recall correctly. The addition of the music video for U Got The Look was also weird, as it looked like crap on film, and not very well on this DVD release by Alliance Atlantis, which is otherwise fantastic.

Prince: Gett Off

A different video for just about each version of the song, a couple of them with completely different lyrics (Violet The Organ Grinder, and Gangster Glam, where-in Prince demonstrates that he's representing the streets...or something).

Under the Cherry Moon
½

I've gone on record liking this movie. Gonna have that record expunged, til I change my mind, again.

Prince - Rave Un2 The Year 2000
½

Holds up better than I expected. Didn't think much of this show on first viewing.

Graffiti Bridge

About 22 minutes into this, characters IN THE MOVIE starts walking out. Reminds me, that a friend of mine saw this in the theatre. He saw a dude sneak in to see it. Then saw him sneak back out. There's a legend that says Prince suffered from a bad Ecstasy trip back in 1988, which caused him to see devils chasing him. This prompted the last minute shelving of The Black Album, and the quick assemblage of it's replacement, Lovesexy. It's clear that he continued to work through his acquired demons even two years later, with '89's Batman soundtrack ignoring the movie and documenting his own spiral into insanity which brings us to this... this... work of therapy. The following decade would find him killing off Prince to become a symbol, so that he could learn to become Prince once again.

The LEGO Movie

Lego are a bit different than when I was little. Batman and Morgan Freeman were hilarious. Some interesting and possibly subversive cultural critique mixed in with the usual warm and fuzzies.

Once Upon a Time in China

When I first saw this twenty-three years ago, I wasn't sure i was watching a kung fu movie. Quite different, tonally, from what I was used to at the time.

Godzilla
Godzilla(2014)

Good. Not great. Better than the one in 1998 that should'a been an Alien sequel.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

Four stars is for a version not called Episode IV: A New Hope. It's for a restoration of the 1977 film - A "Despecialized Edition" by someone called "Harmy" that removes most of the tweaking added by Lucas over the years.

The Raid 2
The Raid 2(2014)
½

Too god damn long, but good fight scenes.

Noah
Noah(2014)

Guess I kinda liked it, overall?? It's a dreadful story, but it looks good, is acted well and the subject matter is fascinating.enough for me to want to delve into the mythology a bit more...

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
½

Captain America, Fuck Yeah!!!
Also: A superhero movie for the Ron Paul / Wikileaks era? I think so.

The Counselor

I can see why a lot of people did not like this. It's great, though.

Frozen
Frozen(2013)

The horror. The songs. The horror...of the songs.

Police Story: Lockdown

Best Jackie Chan film in 20 years, though not a return to form, cuz that can't happen. He's in more dramatic territory, but this time in a good movie (unlike Little Big Man, Shaolin, and 2004's New Police Story).

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
½

So much cheese, but I'm still gonna catch the next one, illegally. Like I did this one.

Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman (Tráiganme la cabeza de la mujer metralleta)

Somebody wants to be the next Robert Rodriguez. It's no El Mariachi. Too much time is wasted on the male lead (Hollywood would approve) and not enough on the Machine Gun Woman. Amusing enough, though.

The Family
The Family(2013)
½

Another spaghetti (garlic? What do they eat in France?) western from Luc Besson. Which means that once again, the critics are mostly clueless as to what they're seeing. Doesn't mean there isn't anything to criticize. Just that they don't know where to start. Go back and read those reviews for the first Taken film.

Oldboy
Oldboy(2005)

Decided I need not see the remake when I can just watch this whenever I want.

Five Element Ninjas

Director Chang Cheh's hilarious decade (and a half?) long obsession with male cleavage reaches it's apex with this epic of kung fu BDSM and explosive bloody dismemberment. Among the last of his films for the Shaw Bros. as HK cinema found itself changing under the guidance of Tsui Hark, Wong Jing, Jackie Chan, John Woo (a former Chang assistant) and others. I didn't appreciate this film when I saw this back in the day (except for the unintentional laughs), but as it's unlikely we'll ever see movies like this again, it's easier to see what hat a wonderful work of art this is.

Thor: The Dark World

Frikken awesome! I liked it. I expected Hiddleston's "Look at me! I'm EVIL!" bit to get tiresome, but glad to be wrong.

Gravity
Gravity(2013)
½

Holy shit! That was bananas!!!

Only God Forgives

#Colonialism, which is why many can't relate. Pretty straight forward for something dedicated to Jordorowsky. Seems to take most of it's visual cues from Lynch and Kubrick, though.

Miami Connection

"Uh, oh! Ninjas." The worst acting I've ever had the pleasure, yes, pleasure to witness.

Berserk: The Golden Age Arc 3 - The Advent
½

My copy says Advent, not Descent. Awesome, heartbreaking close to The Golden Age. Hopefully, the film-makers continue into The Dark Age.

Olympus Has Fallen
½

Very good Die Hard at the White House flick (haven't seen the other one, yet). Extra points for casting Rick Ducommun and for not having a twist ending where the real bad guys are in the govmnt. Sure, sometimes the enemy is us (to paraphrase Pogo), but it's cool to see that cliche ignored once in a while.

Ponyo
Ponyo(2009)

Didn't care much for it in the theatre. Like it much better now, but still among the weaker of Miyazaki's films.

A Good Day To Die Hard

Pretty good, except for the parts where people talk.

Fast & Furious 6

Not as good as Fast 5 (which was awesome), but anyone who liked 1-4 ought to enjoy this.

Star Trek Into Darkness

A lot of flaws with this thing, but enjoyable as spectacle. Some of it actually pisses me off.

Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3(2013)
½

I have some minor gripes: Post credit sequence not really worth it, and something else that isn't really spoilerish, but I'll hold off for now, but overall, a nice bookend to the trilogy (or quadrilogy if one includes the Avengers, and I guess one should).

The Croods
The Croods(2013)
½

Mistook Nick Cage's voice as Keannu Reeves. I guess they sound alike when Cage isn't losing his shit.

Lincoln
Lincoln(2012)

I dislike bio-pics, so was pleasantly surprised this was more of a political drama.

Holy Motors
Holy Motors(2012)

Doesn't quite do it for me.

Tai Chi Zero
Tai Chi Zero(2012)
½

It's half of a movie, with a second part on it;s way. Kung Fu was good (courtesy of Sammo Hung). Acting, not so much, except for the older cast members. The Scott Pilgrim shtick got old pretty fast.

Django Unchained

I'm glad Will Smith passed on this, though maybe he could'a pulled it off. I'm mad, though, that Tarantino isn't working on his next movie, RIGHT NOW.

The Dark Knight Rises
½

Didn't think I'd enjoy this so much after my initial semi-conscious viewing, but it's a near perfect end to this trilogy. (Heath Ledger's Joker would'a made a better judge for the tribunal, but you can't have what you can't have)

Skyfall
Skyfall(2012)
½

Greatest Bond movie? No. Pretty good? Yeah.

Ted
Ted(2012)

Wow! That was just awful.

The Man With the Iron Fists
½

Closer in style to post Tsui Hark wu-xia films and Ma Wing Shing comic books than to old school martial art films, despite cameos from Gordon Liu and Chen Kwan Tai. But still, the movie ends up better than the genre has managed for much of the last decade or so in films from HK/China.

Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas(2012)
½

Rarely (Never?) has a film left me feeling so little. Kept my attention well enough for a nearly three hour film, but emotionally un-engaged.

Hulk
Hulk(2003)

Flawed, and made obsolete by both it's sequel and The Avengers, Ang Lee's take on this character is still a worthwhile effort..

Looper
Looper(2012)

Time travel, Bruce Willis, JGL, an extended cameo from a former Terminator (from the TV series, not Der Arnuld or that other guy), telekinesis, ... fun stuff and twisted.

Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows(2012)
½

Much better movie than the trailers would lead one to expect.

The Road
The Road(2009)

Less than two hours long. Feels way longer.

Purple Rain
Purple Rain(1984)

Still a brilliant movie despite obvious shortcomings (the only two actors in the film have supporting roles). I suspect that if David Lynch made this, it wouldn't have been that different, except we might have more of a clue what "The Kid's" mother was doing out there "on the streets" and it might be scarier than what we (or is it just me?) imagine.

The Raid: Redemption
½

Brutally brilliant or brilliantly brutal?

Shonen merikensakku (The Shonen Merikensack)

Didn't care for the first hour, too much, but it gets much better after the "who farted?" bit.

From Up On Poppy Hill
½

Cute. Better than the elder Miyazaki's last two films, though it's worth noting that he wrote and produced this one. Perhaps making up for cock-blocking his son's (the director of this movie) last feature, which admittedly, was way worse than Ponyo and Arriety. (Just remembered Arietty wasn't directed by Hayao Miyazaki, either)

Prometheus
Prometheus(2012)

Outstanding! Maybe it's actually 4 1/2 out of 5 stars, but I'll need a second viewing to be sure. The 3D was actually effective here. Great performances all around, including my favorite African American actress, Charlize Theron. Not sure I understood the beginning of the movie, though.

21 Jump Street

Ice Cube? Not that funny. Everything else is pretty much gold.

The Shining
The Shining(1980)

"Just cause he's Black don't mean he's got The Shining." Oh, that's actually from The Venture Bros.

Legendary Amazons

Disappointing epic about the mostly female remnants of the Historic (?) Yang Clan (their spear techniques are quite famous) from director Frankie Chan. Starts off great, but then gets sillier and sillier.

Safe House
Safe House(2012)

Predictable. Do modern screenwriters believe we can't figure out who the bad guy is, when they write the same plot over and over again? But the action was good, and Mr. Washington (somewhat) compensates for the presence of that guy with the beady eyes too close together that he co-stars with.

Marvel's The Avengers
½

Very enjoyable, but just a bit short of great. Marvel films don't seem to allow for strong personal visions like you get with Nolan's Dark Knight. That's fine, I guess, cause there's a risk of ending up with something like Ang Lee's Hulk (which I liked, but many did not). Whedon certainly utilized many of his strengths in making this film as good as it was. Ultimately, it's Marvel's Avengers rather than Joss Whedon's Avengers, and that's the film we want, not the film we deserve.

This Means War

When I saw the credit "A film by McG" at the beginning, I should'a turned this crap off (though I did like the first Charlie's Angels flick).

The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate
½

Tsui Hark and Jet Li, together again. Hark directs a remake (not really) of a remake he produced back in the 90's. Not great, but better than either of them have managed for a little while (a while longer for Tsui Hark - Detective Dee was OK, and I haven't seen his remake of What Women Want. Probably won't). Gordon Liu Chia Hui's appearance is a highlight, but of course he's under-utilized.

Ronal Barbaren (Ronal the Barbarian)

Kinda like How to train Your Dragon, but with less dragons, more nipple twisting and, uh, balls. Also, it's actually good.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
½

Not quite as bad as I heard, but pretty disappointing considering the levels of crazy I imagined from a Cage/Neveldine/Taylor team up.

Immortals
Immortals(2011)
½

Release the Titans!

The Lost Bladesman (Guan yun chang)

A kinder, gentler (not to mention shorter and paler) Guang Yu? I dunno 'bout all that. Methinks China is learning all the wrong lessons from Hollywood. But at least the kung fu's good.

Jackie Brown
Jackie Brown(1997)

"How can you live like this? This some repugnant sh*t."

The Butcher, The Chef And The Swordsman

Excellent and bizarre! If it's Chinese action and not well liked by critics, it's most likely a winner. Just like the old days!

Apocalypto
Apocalypto(2006)
½

Damned impressive!

True Romance
True Romance(1993)

"He must'a thought today was whiteboy day. Today ain't whiteboy day, is it?"

Die Hard 2
Die Hard 2(1990)
½

Hey! Another Christmas movie!
John McClain Vs. Django. At first I thought he was Dos Eqis Most Interesting Man In The World. How could I not recognize Franco Nero?

The Skin I Live In

OK. That was... freaky. I can see Chan Wook Park saying "Yo. That was kinda messed up."

Colombiana
Colombiana(2011)
½

Always down for a Luc Besson joint, even if he's not directing.

The Twilight Samurai (Tasogare Seibei)
½

A pleasant surprise. Not at all what I was expecting.

Bunraku
Bunraku(2011)

Ambitious attempt at... something. The writing (dialog, narration) gets in the way of enjoying the visuals and not even the abundance of martial art scenes can keep me awake for more than about 40-45 minutes at a time (that being the fault of the director, not the choreographer).

Bai she chuan shuo (The Sorcerer and the White Snake)
½

Visually spectacular. Ching Siu Tung is probably the only HK director from the 80's/90's who has gotten better with age (though John Woo still makes better movies). However the people who wrote this crap and much of China's (including HK's) cinematic output for the last 10 years or so (with exceptions of course) have only gotten more retarded.
Still, I liked it well enough, and it's got Jet Li.

Our Idiot Brother

Nope! Can't say I cared for it.

Drive
Drive(2011)

Bloody brilliant! Also brilliantly bloody, punctuating lots of awkward silent pauses, 80's sounding music, not actually from the 80's, NIN music from The Social Network (might be an unfinished print with temp soundtrack?), and a great cast. Might give it 5 stars after I see a non-bootleg version.

Space Battleship Yamato
½

Well, that was pretty freakin' awful. So much so that an ending theme song by Steven Tyler just makes perfect sense. Someone said "Let's take one of the greatest cartoons of all time and turn it into a Star Trek movie made by Michael Bay."

Win Win
Win Win(2011)

I wonder if Burt Young is the illegitimate father of Tracey Morgan?

Let the Bullets Fly

Strange little movie, this. Seems like the sort of thing Tsui Hark would'a had a hand in, back when he was interesting. Also detect a hint of Leone's Duck, You Sucker.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
½

Not as bad as I expected, but still pretty stupid. 20-30 minutes shorter would'a made it more tolerable. However the audience really enjoyed it, bad sitcom humor and everything.

Source Code
Source Code(2011)

When David Bowie told the world he named his son Zowie, I guess he was just effing around?

Chôjikû yôsai Macross: Ai oboeteimasuka (Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?)
½

An old favorite. Certain elements haven't aged well, though. Some might not appreciate the use of Hikaru's pimp hand near the end, but sometimes you need a pimp hand and a pop song to save the universe.

Paul
Paul(2011)

Exceeded lowered expectations.

The Protector (Tom yum goong) (Warrior King)
½

3 1/2 stars for Tom Yum Goong. Haven't seen the chopped up US version (The Protector).

Drive Angry
Drive Angry(2011)

A future cult classic not currently appreciated by those who clearly do not know better.

Thor
Thor(2011)

As good as Iron Man, not as great as Dark Knight, but not many movies are. Jack Kirby would'a been pleased.

The General
The General(1927)

I see this wasn't that entertaining by 1927 standards either, according to Mordaunt Hall's NYT review from that year.

The Warrior's Way

Well bloody done!!! And Ti Lung as the Saddest Flute!

Shaolin
Shaolin(2011)
½

Nope. Didn't like it.

The Manchurian Candidate
½

Not quite as good as I remember it, but still way better than the remake. The martial arts fight between Sinatra and Henry Silva (mob boss in Ghost Dog) is still hilarious, though.

Sucker Punch
Sucker Punch(2011)

Man, I feel like I somehow got tricked into seeing that Cher/Christina Aguilera movie (Burlesque?) mixed in with some nightmarish Baz Luhrman bullsh!t (like Moulin Rouge). And it kept getting worse and worse.

Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec (The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec)
½

I think I'd read some of this in Heavy Metal back in the day.

Groundhog Day
½

One of my favorite movies about The Matrix.

Let Me In
Let Me In(2010)
½

More "entertaining" than the Swedish film, but still a bit of a cop out on one particular aspect. Not as much as a cop out as I expected, however.

Fire Of Conscience (For lung)

Very little kung fu, but excellent film-making and a cameo by Chen Kwan Tai.

Triple Tap
Triple Tap(2010)
½

Interesting product placement: Members Only jackets, or reasonable facsimiles thereof.

Black Belt Jones

Good movie? No. Worth watching? Yes. Why? Scatman Crothers doing Karate, girls on trampolines, and Jim Kelly's "Ooooooooooy!!!!!!"

Machete
Machete(2010)

Badass and hilarious.

Lost Highway
Lost Highway(1997)
½

Also one of my favorite soundtrack albums of all time, though I've had it for like 13 years and never saw the movie til now.

The Chronicles of Riddick
½

Quite possibly the greatest Conan The Barbarian film that'll ever get made. Anybody who didn't like it, don't deserve anything this cool.

True Legend
True Legend(2011)
½

Wasn't sure anything this cool would ever come out of Hong Kong again. Okay, it's probably mainland China, but I had my doubts about them, too. And it has classic HK actors Leung Kar Yan and Gordon Liu as well as Jay Chou who almost convinced me he was David Chiang (with the clock turned waaaay back).
The last half hour needlessly apes territory mined by Fearless and the Ip Man movies and that's the only reason this doesn't get five stars from me.

The Spirit of the Sword
½

Just awful. Worse, there's 40 episodes of this crap, not just 26. I don't know the original story, but I bet it was mostly ignored and re-imagined as Louis Cha meets Twilight.

Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3(2010)
½

An extra star for Totoro!

Red
Red(2010)
½

I enjoyed the eff out of this.

Movin On Up - The Music & Message Of Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions

What sets this apart from most other music docs are the (mostly) complete performances of about twenty songs (plus bonuses) taken from TV appearances, concerts and maybe a promo film (music video, but they weren't called that back then), instead of the snippets we usually get. These can be accessed from the menu of the DVD independent of the documentary itself.