** The Avengers
Yet another interchangeable superhero movie, this one with a grabbag of said üaut;berbeings working together. Immemorable superheroics and explosions.
** Batman - dir. Tim Burton
** Batman - The Dark Knight Rises
Okay, I missed the last part of this, where Batman recovers from his medieval jail and kicks some serious Gotham ass, but I think I get the picture. Lots of cool black suits and futuristic vehicles, a hot Anne Hathaway and a guy obviously meant to recall Hannibal Lecter. Sigh. Goodbye, Batman.
**+ Batman Begins
** Batman Returns - dir. Tim Burton
** Blue Crush
**+ The Dark Knight
*+ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Might as well stick with the cheesiness of the originals. CGI and better monkey suits make for more glamour, but there really was no need for this re-boot of the classic campy movies.
*** Die Hard 1
**+ The Edge
**+ Enemy of the State
** The Fantastic Four
The origin story of the Fantastic Four comic strip, a rather straightforward affair with its share of explosions and testosterone lacking the rather key ingredients of tension, good acting, and a plot worth a damn.
*+ Fantastic Four 2
*** First Strike
** Ghost Dog
**+ The Hunger Games, Catching Fire
Intended for younger audiences, these movies are perfectly serviceable vehicles for a good idea, one which layers action/adventure over political concepts of freedom, choice, war. Children from various provinces of a nation are culled to battle unto the death for the amusement of those who previous won their place as their rulers.
** Hunger Games: Mockingjay
There is no one way to escape the The Hunger Game franchise. I think I was spooned this episode on an airplane - which is not to say that it wasn't visually sharp, nor was it too annoying to suffer through or a bad idea, either. But...
** The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 2
The conclusion to the overwrought drama of a planet broken into sectors and ruled quite explicitly by divide and conquer. A certain amount of eye-appealing flash, to be sure, but this didn't need to be drawn out this far and long. Any emotional attachment to the characters likely ended somewhere around the beginning of the first sequel.
Confusion reigns in this one, but that's okay. Suspension of belief is necessary in the first place when we go a-time-travelin'. But the effects are eye candy and the pacing keeps the viewer from actually taking the time to say "Wait! WTF?"
***+ Indiana Jones et al - dir. Steven Spielberg
** Iron Man 2
***+ Jaws - dir. Steven Spielberg
**+ Jurassic Park, The Lost World- dir. Steven Spielberg
Seen in the big theater, these were gems of Dolby and dinosaur. They wear less well over time, however, with the advances of computer graphic technology clouding the sheen of what's still an interest idea, that of bringing dinosaurs back to life.
***+ Kill Bill, Vol. 1 - dir. Quentin Tarantino
**+ Kill Bill, Vol. 2 - dir. Quentin Tarantino
Kind of a different take on James Bond, more focused on an academy that in general is taxed with keeping the world safe from bad guys. A fun ride with that crisp British touch that is shaken, not stirred, in its own way. And not likely to spur sequels, although it holds its own against many a corny Bond flick.
* Last Action Hero
*** Long Kiss Goodnight
**+ Mad Max: Fury Road
A surprise, one I wouldn't have even have thought to give a bother if it wasn't for so much Oscar buzz - which I guess confirms the value of the damned gold statuettes to the industry. Yes, it's a dystopic world that makes minimal sense, but it makes sense enough and the visuals which are stylish exaggerations of the wet dreams from auto shop class are absolutely top-notch.
** The Matrix
** Minority Report - dir. Steven Spielberg
** Mr. Nice Guy
**+ Quantum of Solace
**+ The Recruit
**+ Rocky 2
**+ Rocky 3
** Rocky 4
** Rocky Balboa
** Rogue One - dir. Gareth Edwards
The first of the Star Wars standalone movies, this one explains the whole bit about how the plans to the Death Star were stolen in the first place to set off the original film. It's a nice world to again be a part of, to be sure (love the cinematography), but the unending battle scenes are past getting old and the reliance of one-liners (mostly spoken by a new robot to the stable) is becoming ever more necessary.
*** Rumble In the Bronx
*** Running Man
** Rush Hour
*** Sin City
Yes, Daniel Craig is losing his freshness - how could he not? - but Bond is still Bond, James Bond, and this is a very fun ride. This is the action series that still gets it right.
**+ Spider-Man 2
** Star Trek
** Star Trek: Into Darkness - dir. J.J. Abrams
Something of a backstory for old school Trek nemesis Khan - I think. Improbabilities heap on top of themselves to become an atrocious mess of unbelievability that kicks into overdrive especially as the movie nears its end. But there are lots of nice sounds and explosions and stuff that help move the popcorn. Would've been much better at an half hour less.
*** Star Wars - dir. George Lucas
** Star Wars: Attack of the Clones - dir. George Lucas
*** Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - dir. George Lucas
** Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Fun visually and playing well with nostalgia, this reboot of the series after Revenge of the Jedi some thirty years into the future is also in many ways just a grand retread of many scenes from the original trilogy.
**+ Star Wars: The Last Jedi - dir. Rian Johnson
Post the original trilogy, a better Star Wars than any of the prequels and its very own prequel in this sequel trilogy. Exactly. The action and the lines just work better in this one; the Force must be getting something right again.
** Star Wars: The Phantom Menace - dir. George Lucas
**+ Star Wars: Return of the Jedi - dir. George Lucas
** Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith - dir. George Lucas
*** Terminator 2
Whether Thor is from Marvel Comics or another brand, I have no idea, but there's a nice level of pizazz to this telling of some part of his story, a conflicting one between the heavens of Aasgard and Earth. The special effects crew did some worthy work on this one, even if it's about as cornball as the next superhero movie. With the luminous Natalie Portman, surprisingly.
*** Tomorrow Never Dies
***+ Total Recall
*** True Lies
*** True Romance
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