Films viewed in 2011

Posts Tagged ‘Sci-Fi’

225. Green Lantern

In Sci-Fi on September 6, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Dir. Martin Campbell

A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers and is tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

MY TAKE

People had a hate-on for this film from the first trailers, but the end result isn’t all that bad. Ryan Reynolds brings just the right amount of comic relief while keeping things serious, and you won’t find a better straight-from-comic-books face than Blake Lively. Unfortunately, all of Peter Sarsgaard’s supporting work amounts to nothing. At least the space sequences looked great (especially in 3D).

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208. X-Men: First Class

In Action on September 1, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Dir. Matthew Vaughn

In 1962, the United States government enlists the help of Mutants to stop a dictator who is determined to start World War III.

MY TAKE

X-Men: First Class is (almost) a full return to what made the first X-Men film so special. Even the opening is re-shot and expanded upon from the original film. Luckily, it works. The well-worn allegories of discrimination and segregation are also right at home in 1962 America, while stripping back the technology created fertile ground for character development.  James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender make the most of this, anchoring our attention from the otherwise forgettable side stories.

183. I Am Number Four

In Sci-Fi on August 26, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Dir. D.J. Caruso

Aliens are hiding on Earth from intergalactic bounty hunters, being killed off in numerical order, and Number Four is next on the list.

MY TAKE

This movie is just a series of paint-by-numbers comic book clichés, which explains the title. Some of the action scenes and even the villains looked good, but glowing hands are hardly an inspired “power”. And the almost identical looking lead actresses were just interchangeable cardboard cutout blondes.  Par for the course in this recycled money grab I guess.

112. Limitless

In Drama on August 14, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Dir. Neil Burger

A writer discovers a top-secret drug which bestows him with super human abilities.

MY TAKE

Few films create the same level of self-reflective escapism as Limitless. Drug enabled or not, the question of what we could achieve if we actually reached our full potential is an addictive thought. And although the film feels like it rushes the final act, the visuals, performances and story offer more than enough to chew on for days after viewing.

109. Pandorum

In Sci-Fi on August 14, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Dir. Christian Alvart

A pair of crew members aboard a spaceship wake up with no knowledge of their mission or their identities.

MY TAKE

This movie basically picks up around the point Sunshine jumped the shark. The cinematography is almost too underlit at points, but there is a prevalent dark mood that at least gives the film a distinct feel. Ben Foster gets rewarded for his efforts with yet another mediocre film.

105. Paul

In Comedy on August 13, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Dir. Greg Mottola

Two British comic-book geeks traveling across the U.S. encounter an alien outside Area 51.

MY TAKE

Seth Rogan’s refusal to grow up is getting old. His personality hijacks an otherwise promising comedy that could have been a cherry on top of the Pegg-Frost movie genre send-up trilogy. Jason Bateman is also wasted in a comically devoid supporting role.

81. Battle Los Angeles

In Sci-Fi on August 10, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Dir. Jonathan Liebesman

A platoon fights to reclaim the city of Los Angeles from alien invaders.

MY TAKE

Using shaky cameras to a detriment, not only do you never get a clean look at the invaders, but the action often is too muddled to follow. A prolonged sewer sequence also kills the pacing, rushing the third act to an unsatisfying finale. But I am a little boy inside, so guns + aliens does provide some inevitable satisfaction.

59. Repo! The Genetic Opera

In Musical on August 6, 2011 at 4:34 PM

Dir. Darren Lynn Bousman

A worldwide epidemic encourages a biotech company to launch an organ-financing program where defaulters pay the ultimate price.

MY TAKE

The set design is inspired, the story has its moments, but the characters are basically cartoons and the music feels like a complete after-thought. The film doesn’t seem to know it’s audience, and can’t commit to any particular style or genre. For a film featuring Paris Hilton, it also takes itself far too seriously.

52. The Thing

In Sci-Fi on August 4, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Dir. John Carpenter

Scientists in the Antarctic are confronted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the people that it kills.

MY TAKE

The legend looms large over this film, at least within the genre, and for the most part it doesn’t disappoint. The animatronics stand out in a different way than they probably did back then, but at least didn’t take me out of the story. Unlike most purists, I look forward to the inevitable remake.

10. Strange Days

In Sci-Fi on July 19, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Dir. Kathryn Bigelow

A former cop turned street-hustler accidentally uncovers a police conspiracy in 1999 Los Angeles.

MY TAKE

Great P.O.V. opening, interesting concept, and one “seriously?” twisted moment when a woman is watching herself be raped through virtual reality as it happens. The film holds up well-enough, but the turn-of-the-century angle feels undeserved and the film is generally overlong.