Quite a diverse collection of films this week, wouldn’t you say?
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) - 3/10 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is without a doubt one of the most hated films in recent years, and even though I really loved the first movie, I never got around to seeing this one until recently. Considering what everyone’s been saying about it, I was prepared for something bad, but I never actually expected the film to turn out to be as terrible as it did. In short, some things you may have heard about the movie may seem like exaggerations and I’m sure some of them are, but you’d be surprised just how much of the negativity surrounding the film is actually true. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen suffers from too many flaws to recount, but some of the most important ones include the film’s excessively long running time, lack of intelligence and the absolutely abysmal writing that, more than anything else, brings the entire movie down. The special effects are quite impressive, that much is true, but that matters little when faced with the myriad of problems that keep popping up throughout the movie. There’s the muddled storyline, the unnecessary amount of characters, some of which are downright offensive, the cheesy dialogue, the confusing editing, and much, much more. If you’ve been avoiding Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen up to this point, I say there’s absolutely no reason not to continue doing so in the future.
Juno (2007) - 8/10
I’m glad I revisited Juno again, because it left a stronger impression on me the second time around. Few indie flicks possess the cinematic power and originality that this one does, and that’s what makes it such a memorable film. It’s not every day that you see a film production in which the directing, writing, acting, and pretty much everything else complement each other as perfectly as they do in Juno. I believe that Diablo Cody makes the most contribution here with an outstanding screenplay, but director Jason Reitman and the amazing cast of actors aren’t far behind either. Ellen Page delivers both a solid performance in the leading role and an important one as well, as the movie would definitely not have been the same without her. Other actors such as Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons, Allison Janney, and many more are also solid in the roles, making Juno a near flawless picture acting-wise. The movie also features an excellent soundtrack comprised of many songs that are not only fitting to the storyline’s upbeat tone, but are also highly memorable by themselves.
The Warrior's Way (2010) - 4/10
I’ve had quite an on and off relationship with The Warrior’s Way. At first, I was very much looking forward to its release thanks to the trailer and the film’s promising look. However, my excitement diminished considerably when the movie finally hit theaters, with mixed to negative reviews coming in from all directions. I eventually decided that The Warrior’s Way wasn’t worth checking out after all, so I went ahead and moved on, forgetting about it fairly quickly. I recently discovered the film again and, considering that I didn’t have much to do at that time, I ultimately gave it a go just to see if it’s any good. In the end, the film turned out to be just as weak as everyone made it out to be, though there were some worthwhile moments to be had here and there. Let’s start with the good – the opening sequence detailing the main character’s past was quite impressive, so there’s that. There was also Kate Bosworth’s energetic performance that really stood out and saved a couple of scenes that would have been terribly dull otherwise. Bosworth really seemed to enjoy working on the film, and that’s always a plus in terms of viewer satisfaction. Danny Huston also did a fairly good job, with his depiction of a nasty and despicable antagonist hitting all the right marks. The rest of the cast did not deliver, unfortunately. I’m sure Dong-gun Jang is a good actor and I’d love to check some of his work in the South Korean film industry, but in this movie he just seemed to struggle a little too much with his English, something that ultimately prevented him from shining in the leading role. I was very disappointed to see that Geoffrey Rush wasn’t given enough screen time or character development to show off what an amazing actor he is, but alas, he wasn’t the only one in that situation. Some of the special effects also looked relatively cheap, delivering an underwhelming visual experience. I also found most action scenes weak and not very well choreographed, with most fight scenes involving the main character playing out too similarly, with him barely making an effort to dispose of his enemies. I’m stretching this out quite a bit, so I’ll just conclude by saying that The Warrior’s Way does not present many redeeming qualities, making it not worth checking out in the long run.
Limitless (2011) - 7/10
I actually had the chance to check out Limitless during the time that it was still showing in theatres, but decided to skip it due to the fact that it looked like a run-of-the-mill action movie to me. It was only some time later when I read up on the film’s premise and glanced over a couple of more reviews that ultimately pushed me to give it a watch when it hit disc shelves. I’m glad that I eventually saw Limitless, because it turned out to be quite a good film. It’s definitely not your average mindless action flick – it’s relatively ambitious as a whole and, more importantly, there’s a specific visual flair about it that sets it apart from the rest of the genre films that are similar in nature. As far as the plot goes, the storyline was interesting and engaging, the dialogue was well-written and the finale wasn’t as conventional as one would expect. Bradley Cooper is definitely on his way to becoming the next big thing in terms of leading men, and this movie only went on to further exemplify his undeniable screen presence and solid acting skills. I was kind of hoping for more from Robert De Niro’s part, but much like most of his roles in recent years, his character’s limitations did not give him the opportunity to shine. Getting back to the actual film, Limitless is solid cinema entertainment, so you really can’t go wrong with it.
The Tunnel (2011) - 5/10
I heard a lot of good things being said about this little independent horror movie, so I went ahead and gave it a go recently. Unfortunately, while it did deliver some genuinely creepy moments here and there, it ultimately turned out to be nothing more than just another one of those found footage films with a little bit of mockumentary thrown into the mix. The Tunnel can be surprisingly atmospheric at times, and there are some memorable scenes throughout, but it’s just not enough to make it stand out from the crowd. What really brings the film down is the excessive amount of exposition – it takes almost half (if I remember correctly) of its overall running time before the movie finally gets going, and until that point it all feels like too much of a drag for the viewer to care or maintain interest in the story. The acting is also quite weak, which coupled with the underwhelming dialogue makes for some really cringe-worthy moments, particularly towards the end when the film desperately tries to get the viewer to care about the main characters. All in all, The Tunnel isn’t a ride worth taking for most, though fans of the progressively increasing found footage genre may find it worth their while.
Insidious (2011) - 8/10
I’ve been dying to see Insidious ever since it came out and the surprisingly generous reviews started coming in. Considering the poor state that horror filmmaking is in right now, having an above average flick come along is quite a reason to celebrate, and Insidious definitely stood out from the very beginning. Sadly, as fate often likes to play games, the film never ended up showing at any theatre near me, so I had to wait for it to be released on Blu-ray slash DVD. Recently, the waiting ended, and I finally got the chance to see Insidious. As it turned out, I actually ended up watching the film twice in one week, which should give you a general idea towards how I felt about it. It is without a doubt one of the most effective horror movies in recent years – I’d love to say that it’s one of the scariest films I’ve ever seen, but then again, some would say otherwise. Nevertheless, it’s quite an intense ride and the movie packs as many jump scares as two or three highly horror flicks, though compared to other movies, most scares here work very well. While some may see the third act of film as sort of a weak point, I was rather impressed by how creative and inventive it became at that point, further setting it apart from most other similar movies. Lovers of horror films and especially of supernatural fares will surely enjoy Insidious, that’s for sure. Waste no time checking it out.