30 Day Movie Challenge Day 28 – Favourite Title of a Movie

Sometimes I like poetic titles, so things like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind other times I like quite cheesy and campy titles, like It Came From Beneath the Sea. I also like puns but what I hate are movies like Action Film: Retribution Action Film: Revenge Action Film: Returns. So generic! 

I think my favoutie would have to be The Day the Earth Stood Still, it has a nice flow to it, it’s punchy without being in your face and it sounds epic and instantly draws the attention of the audience. 

 

 

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Movie Review – Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)

In this new release Chris Pine stars as the latest in line to play Jack Ryan, star of a series of Tom Clancy novels. I haven’t read any of the books but I have seen all of the Jack Ryan movies so far. This one shows the beginnings of Jack Ryan’s career when he gets caught up in a Russian plot to attack America and devastate its economy and has to find a way to stop them before it’s too late. 

I liked that it showed how Jack Ryan became an analyst and how he got involved with the CIA. I also liked how he actually used his expertise in economics to figure out what was happening, rather than simply being a generic action spy. It did seem more of a team effort, although there were a couple of points towards the end when it seemed like the titular character discovered things that other agents probably would have thought of before him. But although I liked that aspect of his character I found that the central threat of crashing the economy was a bit too abstract and I found it difficult to follow the Russian’s plans at some points. 

The supporting cast were pretty good. I liked Kevin Costner (although there is one really odd moment with a dog) and Keira Knightley was okay, although I wasn’t convinced by her American accent and the chemistry between her and Pine was only adequate. I also thought that her character was too distrustful in the context of everything we saw but I liked how she had an important part to play towards the end of the film. 

I liked the intrigue of the whole thing and there was a good climax that was a suitable payoff for the suspense. I liked the direction and there was a lot of tension throughout the film. I liked the atmosphere the director generated and there was a bit at the start that actually made me jump. I thought the pacing was good as well although sometimes the camera work was too frenetic, especially in one fight when both characters were wearing black so it became hard to tell them apart. 

I also have issues with the films tagline ‘Trust No-one’ because betrayal didn’t really play into the film at all. I was expecting some twists but there wasn’t too much that was surprising. Overall though I liked it, I thought it had good action and I’d check out a sequel if it was made. I do think there could have been a little more depth but I was mostly satisfied and entertained.

Movie Review – Grudge Match (2014)

Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro have both had iconic roles as boxers, De Niro in Raging Bull and Stallone in the Rocky series. Here they play two aging boxers Henry “Razor” Sharp (Stallone) and Billy “The Kid” McDonnen (De Niro). The two of them are both from Pittsburgh and caused a divide in the city when they first fought in the 80s. They both won one match each and now, 30 years later, a promoter is trying to get them in the ring again. 

Obviously the film has quite a few references to the other films but they don’t overshadow this original story. Both actors have fine performances and they didn’t resort to aping their previous roles. Grudge Match has a lot of drama and it’s not an empty film but the main strengths are the performances of De Niro and Stallone, and the nostalgia factor that the two bring to the roles. 

The thing is that at some points the movie feels like it wants to be a comedy and at others it wants to be a heavy-hitting drama and it doesn’t quite manage to strike the perfect balance between the different tones. Also, some of the humour comes out as a bit mean-spirited, and other parts seem to be out of place. I thought the dramatic parts were much more excellent and there were a few revelations that drew me into the picture. 

As for the final bout, well, although it was tense it did lack the drama of those from Rocky and Raging Bull. There was just enough to keep me entertained though, and I think if you like either Stallone or De Niro and remember their boxing films fondly you’ll get something out of it. Also, there are a couple of scenes that happen after the credits, one of which is really funny, so don’t leave right away. 

30 Day Movie Challenge Day 27 – The Most Surprising Plot Twist or Ending

Spoilers will be in this post, obviously. I do love a good twist and there are a few that spring to mind. Sadly there isn’t a feature to hide spoilers so I’ll try to leave a gap in between the films. 

Saw 4

 

I think it’s 4 anyway, it could be three. But it’s the one where the ending of the film leads in to the ending of the previous film. All the Saw films have good twists but this was one that actually blew my mind. 

 

 

My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

 

This is a really good romcom. It’s about a struggling writer who is involved with a girl who is also involved with another guy who’s practically the complete opposite of him, and I didn’t see the twist coming at all. 

 

The Reader

 

I should have really seen this one coming to be honest, but this one is a twist that’s powerful rather than shocking. 

 

Franklyn

 

This twist is a little predictable but it still has a lot of impact. 

30 Day Movie Challenge Day 26 – A Film that Changed My Opinion About Something

Ohhhhhhhhhh hmmmm. This is tough. I’ve seen a lot of films but usually I’m pretty firm i my opinions. I don’t think there has been a film that has dramatically altered my fundamental opinions but I think rather as I’ve grown up and learnt more about myself I see some films differently than I used to .So I can’t really think of any…I mean I like my opinions to be challenged but I can’t think of a singular film that has changed my opinion about something. If I do change my opinion about something then it will have been after a lot of introspection and after investigating multiple sources rather than just watching one film. 

 

Movie Review – Steel Magnolias (1989)

So this film deals with a small group of close knit friends as they deal with various things happening, like weddings and pregnancies and other things like that. It’s very much a ‘slice of life’ film in that it just depicts mostly ordinary events without any great plot twists or shocks or surprises. It has a pretty impressive cast, boasting Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis and Dolly Parton among its performers. 

Steel Magnolias is a decent film. It’s an inoffensive film that’s easy to watch and it meanders along at a gentle pace. It’s basically a movie that could easily be made by a national broadcaster and shown in the afternoon. It’s the same type of story as those things, but with better actors. The film is pretty sweet in places and I mean that it actually feels sugary. At points it does feel like it’s a film trying to depict real life, so I found that I couldn’t properly immerse myself in the story and because of this the emotional moments failed to have their intended impact. The problem I have with these types of films is that they show these people’s lives and it doesn’t give me any real reason to be interested in them beyond the fact that the movie was made. I didn’t feel that there was much depth and all the characters were quite broadly defined, it was just that the caliber of the actors was good enough that they were all able to elevate the film beyond the vanilla feel of the script. 

Nothing that happened was particularly surprising and its definitely not a film that will shake you to your emotional core. There are some really funny lines and the script is quite sharp in places but overall I feel that it’s the actors that make this film watchable rather than the story itself. 

Having said that I don’t actually dislike this film. Although I wasn’t moved by it or really affected by it in any way I wasn’t bored either, and there wasn’t anything I particularly disliked about it. Vanilla is a good way to describe this I think. It’s very easy to watch, there are some good performances and some funny lines. It’s not anything groundbreaking but it’s not dull. I don’t think it’s for everyone and really if you hear the synopsis of, ‘a bunch of women deal with marriages, pregnancies and other little dramas,’ and it doesn’t appeal to you then don’t bother watching it because it never goes beyond that description. But it is what it is, and it’s pretty decent. 

30 Day Movie Challenge – Day 25 – A Character I Can Relate to the Most

This is a hard one for me because I’m the type of person that sees himself in every role and finds some link between a lot of characters, but I think the overriding one would be Tom from (500) Days of Summer, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I’ve been through similar experiences to him and have pretty much the same outlook on love and what makes someone a soulmate, and some of the advice I’ve received has been eerily similar to the advice he receives from other characters. In fact after some of my friends watched it they pretty much said that that movie is me. I’ve had the same extreme reactions to heartbreak and I can’t count the times I’ve imagined things going differently than the way they actually did. Unlike Tom, however, I’m still looking for my Autumn. 

30 Day Movie Challenge – Day 24 – A Film I wish More People Would Have Watched

Hmm. I do love obscure movies and I always try and recommend them to friends but sometimes there are very popular films that go under the radar. The obvious example for me is Gone With the Wind because I think a lot people around my age and younger won’t get the opportunity to watch it. But some of the obscurer films I think are really good are –

Franklyn – One of my favouite films of all time. It is a bit slow to start but it’s really interesting and its central message is “Life is about the people you haven’t met yet.”

The Incredible Shrinking Man – This is a really cool movie from the 50s that tells the story of a man who gets exposed to radiation and ends up shrinking in size. The end scene is one of the most powerful I’ve witnessed. 

Downfall – This German film tells the story of the last days in Hitler’s bunker. It’s a great film because it doesn’t seek to humanize nor treat Hitler as a monster, it shows the human aspect of the last days and it’s really intense. Great movie. 

Ong-Bak: The Beginning – The first Ong-Bak was really good but it was a bit raw around the edges, the third is rubbish, the second, however, is slick and well-produced and it all just works. Tony Jaa is an incredible performer and the stunts are amazing. The scope is larger than in the first film and has more of an interesting narrative. 

Mystery Men – This one often gets overlooked since the movie world is dominated with actual superheros but this one is great fun and still holds up well against the Marvel movies. 

 

30 Day Movie Challenge – Day 23 – A Film I’ve Wanted to Watch for a Long Time but Still Haven’t

Had I done this list last year it would have been Gone With the Wind, but I did get around to watching there. I have made sure to get a number of classic movies watched over the past few years so there aren’t really that many that I want to watch but still haven’t. I’ve had most of the major ones out of the way and I’ve caught up with quite a few Elvis films. The main classic that I still haven’t watched is Citizen Kane which never seems to be shown on tv, despite its iconic status, but I don’t feel an urge to seek that out. It’s one that I’ll watch if I get the chance but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. 

The one that I really do want to watch is The Maltese Falcon. I like noir films but moreover I love Humphrey Bogart and it does annoy me that this doesn’t ever seem to be shown on any channel. I’d love to watch it and ever since I discovered the greatness of Bogart it’s one that I’ve heard great things about but still I just haven’t managed to see it! 

 

30 Day Movie Challenge – Day 22 – A Film That Makes Me Cry

Oh so many. I can be quite emotional. Let’s see. 

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Kirk’s eulogy at Spock’s funeral gets me every time. 

Casablanca – If you don’t cry at the end of this then…well….

Spider-Man – Oh Peter, don’t walk away from her!!

Saving Mr. Banks – This one had me crying tears of sadness and joy. Incredible.

Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie – Crying With Laughter.

Grave of the Fireflies – This was incredibly depressing, but such an amazing film. 

It’s a Wonderful Life – I do happen to think this is a little overrated as a whole, but the ending is overwhelming. 

The Holiday – this was incredibly affecting too. 

There are probably others but none come to mind at the moment and I’m not feeling great today so I don’t want to put too much brainpower into this. I do love tearjerkers though, maybe I’ll watch one tonight.