Short Movie Reviews 2011-2015

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January 29, 2011

Mega Piranha

Much better than Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, in that this movie doesn't take a break from the ridiculous to have pieces of boring.  It's just balls-to-the-wall crazy.  Recommended.

February 23, 2011

Birdemic: Shock and Terror

A one note movie, but what a ridiculously insane note.  Possibly the strangest climate change warning flick yet.

March 12, 2011

Black Dynamite

What Lost Skeleton did for 50s sci-fi movies, Black Dynamite does for 70s blaxploitation movies.  Black Dynamite (the character) could kick the asses of all characters from movies I've reviewed.

March 13, 2011

Lady in the Water

Ordinary people stumbling upon extraordinary circumstances.  Very compact, taking place entirely in and around an apartment building.  I enjoyed.

March 21, 2011

Serenity

Firefly wasn't really a "heroes save the world" type of show, but they pretty successfully elevate it to major issues in its own way here.

May 4-5, 2011

The Godfather

Veteran becomes increasingly involved in the family business, finds it a transformative experience.  Also long, dramatic, and well acted.

June 12, 2011

Big Fat Liar

Hollywood dick rips off a kid's story. Then it becomes sort of like Home Alone, if Kevin had gone on the offense instead of playing defense. Contains both Jaleel White and Dustin Diamond.

June 13, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

The shit hits the fan. Even with only half a book to cover some pretty big stuff is left out, but definitely feels less rushed than the previous few.

July 7, 2011

The Godfather Part II

Turns out balancing safety, business success, and family happiness is tough.  There are two pretty good movies in here, and it feels like enough subtext that there's an invisible third.

September 1, 2011

Fright Night (2011)

A fun enough suburban vampire watch, but without one great thing in particular that sticks out to comment on. Just solid all around. Some 3D effects were a bit gratuitous.

September 5, 2011

Turtles Forever

It could've been even better with the proper old voice actors, but this is just a fun blast of nostalgia even if you're not familiar with all the crossed-over Ninja Turtle branches.

October 15, 2011

Zookeeper

As far as heavily animal-based romantic comedies produced by Adam Sandler go, at least this one has fewer bestiality jokes than The Animal. Decent CG animal lipwork.

November 1, 2011

Pirates of Silicon Valley

I'm sure it's mutated and exaggerated, but an interesting history of the first decadeish of Apple and Microsoft. Just feels like it's part 1 of what should be maybe 3 parts by now.

November 11, 2011

Aliens vs Predator - Requiem

Night vs Darkness, in the shadows. Seriously, I couldn't see shit. Pieces of monstrous things did damage to each other and a slew of humans. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

December 3, 2011

Inception

A strange one. A series of simple enough motives and action scenes, but told in a layered and visually fantastical way--with a slightly unrealistic take on the nonconsequences of overclocking.

December 11, 2011

The Smurfs

Hank Azaria as Gargamel is pretty cool. The plot is even more lightweight than one would expect from a "Smurfs stuck in New York" premise, though.

Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown

People have a variety of problems. Emotional, financial. But the common solution? Beating the shit out of each other.

December 22, 2011

The Adventures of Tintin

Strange combination of kid-friendliness with guns and booze. CG used to great effect for seamless action shots. Didn't always keep my interest in between, though.

December 31, 2011

Our Idiot Brother

It's generally unpleasant watching a nice, too-trusting character get shit on by his troubled family, his ex, and the law.

January 15, 2012

JCVD

Strange. Tries to be both serious and a bit parodic. Real and fictitious. Not sure where it ended up.

January 16, 2012

Project A

Film quality and dubbing do it a disservice, but a fine Chan (and buddies) movie.

January 27, 2012

Project A 2

Good fun. Many factions allow for all kinds of shifting situations. Feels less cheap than the first, but Sammo and Biao are missed.

January 30, 2012

Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie

Amazing to see T&E; at such a large scale, but not as many laughs as watching as many minutes of Awesome Show.

March 9, 2012

John Carter

Changes from the source material sometimes help, sometimes make it less alien and more modern cliche. Delivers on fantastical adventure spectacle, though, which is what I was looking for.

May 4, 2012

How to Train Your Dragon

"Black sheep does right and saves the day" isn't new, but done well enough here. Also convincing: the non-lingual interspecies communication.

May 5, 2012

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Being very much a Part 2 it tells far from a whole story, but is a rarity among big series conclusions for having more than enough room to breathe rather than rush through things.

May 6, 2012

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Fairly faithful adaptation of dead serious source material, not so much made a knee-slapping comedy as replacing some characters with exaggerated caricatures.

May 20, 2012

The Hangover

"Bad things keep happening to good guy" type movie, except there are several of them, and they're all pretty much screwups who cause their own trouble.

May 27, 2012

St. Elmo's Fire

This 80s movie takes place in the 80s and 80s 80s 80s 80s 80s 80s 80s.

June 8, 2012

Prometheus

Goes a little off the deep end, but I loved seeing some modern high budget exploratory sci-fi taking itself seriously.

June 9-10, 2012

Singham

"The proper response to crime and corruption is sometimes MORE illegal police action" is an awful lesson, but the rest of the movie is fun and with great style.

June 22, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

By taking big time jumps, introducing characters, changing motivations, and having hyper-real action sequences, it really loses the grounded suspension of disbelief the book allowed.

June 24, 2012

Timecrimes

Messed up short story of a movie, showing the dangers of same-day time travel.

August 18, 2012

Cromartie High: The Movie

Meh. Large amounts of rehash from previous Cro High versions, but with less craziness. Still, it's fun to see things like live-action Mechazawa.

5 Centimeters Per Second

Beautiful. Both in visuals and letting us get a peek into these characters' heads as they deal with... well, hope and change.

September 28, 2012

Looper

What if the Biff/Biff meetups they were contentious hired guns? The movie does a lot right, though has a few apparent gaps that seem like they need fanon to make sense.

October 5, 2012

Tropic Thunder

If Three Amigos took itself less seriously, it might be this. Pretty over-the-top, but people like Ben Stiller and Jack Black are probably best going broad.

October 28, 2012

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Some great footage of the titular cave and some other objects, but not much else. The real 3D is hurt by the presence of very fakey 3D.

November 2, 2012

Joe Versus the Volcano

I don't know what to think of this movie. Goes from bleak to weird to weirder. Too many Meg Ryans for any to get fully realized.

December 14, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Some parts were too LOTR-y or felt like "The Gandalf", but on the whole it was like the best bits of Fellowship exploded plus whimsy.

December 22, 2012

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Fair job of compressing 6 volumes of content to sub-2 hours. Visually and aurally arresting.

December 24, 2012

Jack and Jill

A movie that tries to put in a positive light an intentionally uglier, screechier Adam Sandler. Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?

January 21-22, 2013

Beck

Necessarily a loose adaptation of the source material to fit in movie length, it really does (sorry) hit the right notes. The characters feel like themselves.

February 17, 2013

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Jr.

Want Ace Ventura catchphrases from a much less charismatic actor, and the secret of the Ventura Y chromosome? No? Well then.

February 27, 2013

Conan the Barbarian (2011)

It is a time before history, and there is... mostly gore porn. But also softcore porn.

February 23 & March 3, 2013

The Muppets

A fine enough excuse to gather the Muppets around again, but the singing and dancing humans usually seem a bit awkward.

April 13-14, 2013

Lupin III vs. Detective Conan

It takes a while for it to feel like a crossover rather than parallel stories, but once it does it's quite cool and uses both franchises well. Watch if you like both (which you should).

April 19, 2013

Birdemic 2: The Resurrection

A surprisingly small amount of bird, because they've tossed in a wider variety of weirdness that keeps you saying "What!?". Very entertaining for those familiar with the first.

April 21, 2013

Click

Saw the second half first. Surprisingly dramatic (for Sandler) tale of a man discovering priorities. Then the first half showed where the dumb commercials came from.

April 28, 2013

Bruce Almighty

Interesting concept handled mostly tritely.

May 16, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness

As a Trek fan there's both a lot to like and a lot to get annoyed with. I haven't felt this conflicted about a movie since, well, Star Trek.

June 6-7, 2013

Dr. Who and the Daleks

It's basically one of the first serials sped up and in color, and with Peter Cushing acting somewhere between William Hartnell and ST:TNG's version of Mark Twain.

June 12, 2013

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

A pivotal book in the series gets if anything TOO much time (nearly 3 hours) to work its way through the story in movie form, but it's well done.

July 12, 2013

Pacific Rim

Finally giant robots vs giant monsters looks convincing, and it's dead cool. Perhaps the best big-budget eastern-western fusion of recent decades that doesn't involve Wachowskis?

July 21, 2013

Gamera: Guardian of the Universe

Generally reminded me about how earlier monster movies were too obviously fakey, and without a whole lot else of interest going on. Some cool imagery, though, like Gyaos at Tokyo Tower.

July 28, 2013

The End of Evangelion

A character in the movie is speaking for the movie as a whole when he says, "I'm so fucked up."

August 13-14, 2013

Starship Troopers

Feels like, well, a seriousish book through the prism of the director of Robocop. Sometimes funny, sometimes gratuitous. Heinlein is probably rolling in his grave, though?

August 17, 2013

A Christmas Story 2

If they'd made a Christmas Story sitcom, this'd be a decent season 6 episode? Also the narrator sounds like Adam West.

August 23, 2013

The World's End

The well-crafted comedy with a heart we've come to expect from these folks, plus British comic actors in their 40s trying their best to do Jackie Chan fight scenes.

August 25, 2013

Julie and Jack

Not wild like Birdemic, but beneath the incredibly amateur everything it feels like there's something honest in this wacko love story. So it's actually kind of watchable?

September 4, 2013

Stardust

A fair bit changed the source material, like always, though in this case doing a fairy tale for adults in PG-13 hurts it. On its own, though, still good fun. Especially Robert DeNiro.

September 13, 2013

Occult

Simple but gets tense to watch, as many weird-shit-filmed-documentary-style things do. A few times gets broken by something looking or seeming too silly, though.

September 13-14, 2013

Battle Royale

Kids forced to do the worst to survive. Modified, condensed, and with fewer looks into characters' heads it feels a lot shallower and schlockier than the book, but still has plenty of moments.

September 14, 2013

Noroi: The Curse

Definitely of a kind with Occult, though this one gets to feeling faker and more movie-ie sometimes.

September 22, 2013

Uzumaki

Abridged content, hammy acting, Casioey music, and a Japanese effects budget can't match the creepiness of Junji Ito's black and white images.

September 23, 2013

Tomie

Tomie was not my favorite Junji Ito work, but it was varied. This greatly narrows the scope, and ends up boring. Unsuccess.

September 24, 2013

Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman

Very unlike the director's other movies. Just a supernatural slasher of the kind I've always tended to ignore.

October 4, 2013

Gravity

If you want space disaster porn, this is THE place to get it. If you want anything else, you will probably not find it.

November 25, 2013

An Adventure in Space and Time

A fun look back at the early days of Doctor Who, though everything felt a bit exaggerated and... overcharactery, more than seeming like a completely realistic telling.

December 13, 2012

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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December 22, 2013

The Dark Knight Rises

Lacks the novelty of the first or the character of the second, but does have a pretty grand scope and bring things to a nice conclusion.

January 8, 2014

A Clockwork Orange

It's been 15+ years since I read the book, but seems an accurate adaptation. But boy do gangs of the "future" look ridiculous.

January 26, 2014

FDR: American Badass

A crazy take on history that is just... generally not funny. Pretty painful, really. Some good performances, though.

February 2, 2014

X-Men: First Class

Doesn't gel perfectly with the previous movies, but works alright as its own superhero/origin/cold-war story.

February 23, 2014

Game Change

The story of Sarah Palin's rise to prominence goes from making everyone in the McCain campaign seem sympathetic, to feeling like a supervillain origin story.

February 24, 2014

Caddyshack

Funny and filled with big personalities, but the movie wanders all the hell over the place.

April 6, 2014
Too Big to Fail
Succeeds in making it look like the financial sky was falling in late 2008, but doing so with 5000 characters is hard to follow.

April 21-22, 2014
Godzilla (1954)
Cheesy-looking, but way more serious and somber than the majority of the genre it spawned.

April 30, 2014
Godzilla (1998)
As far as a monster movie turned into Americanized action, it could be worse. Decent cast. Halfway through turns into Jurassic Park, though.

May 19, 2014
Godzilla (1984)
Much like 1954 Godzilla with slightly-less-obsolete effects. More explicitly a "living nuclear weapon", and nearly causes nuclear missile disasters, too. Few, but welcome, moments of levity.

July 15, 2014
House II: The Second Story
Went in expecting schlocky horror; but instead got a fun, funny, cheesy comedy adventure movie.

July 21, 2014
Monsters
Weird little movie. The obvious monsters and sci-fi circumstances are mostly a backdrop for the interpersonal story.

July 27, 2014
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The CG is preeeeetty obvious. The story works pretty well, though, with the results of a near-human ape being treated in sub-human ways.

July 29, 2014
The Incredible Hulk
Banner on the lam was interesting enough, but I didn't fully buy the motivation of the antagonists so the story has a gaping void.

July 30, 2014
Iron Man
Good casting and a protagonist made out to be a ridiculously rich supergenius and full of himself for it make for a fun watch.

July 31, 2014
Iron Man 2
I like seeing a superhero without a secret identity, for better and worse. More fun casting.

August 6, 2014
Johnny Slade's Greatest Hits
A concept that started as a drama before being made a comedy, and it kind of feels like it. As much funny-strange as funny-haha.

August 11-12, 2014
Thor
The leads had fun moments, but it seemed like the shallowest of the MCU movies yet.

August 13, 2014
Captain America: The First Avenger
Classic underdog power fantasy, given a big scope, retro setting, properly over-the-top villain. Maybe my favorite yet?

August 20-21, 2014
Threads
Bleak and unflinching look at the people of a British city before, during, and after The Bomb hits.

August 27, 2014
The Avengers
The disparate-but-related established MCU characters are forced to come together, and nobody hogs the limelight. Big spectacles, big disagreements, big crossover, big fun.

September X, 2014
Iron Man 3
For a third movie, it brings a lot of interesting new things to the table rather than resting on its laurels.

September 6, 2014
Thor: The Dark World
More eventful than the first, but still Loki is much more interesting than the rest of the movie.

September 11, 2014
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Loses most of the retro feel, but is a pretty thrilling tale built on Captain America vs the sort of conspiracy theory you'd read about on the Internet.

October 8, 2014
Triangle
A tricky movie I often felt like I knew where it was going, but it still threw some surprises. Hard to say much without being super-spoilery.

November 19, 2014
Spider-Man 3
Too full of different new characters to give proper depth to any particular story thread. Alien-influenced Peter Parker is silly fun to watch, though.

November 20, 2014
The Amazing Spider-Man
A lot like Spider-Man, but with goofier hair, costume, and mumbling.

November 21, 2014
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man continues to fight villains that are like some know-nothing's worst nightmares about science come to life.

November 29, 2014
Underworld
There's style over substance, but this is like dividing over zero. Never have I seen a movie so wish it was The Matrix.

November 30, 2014
The Dukes of Hazzard
It has its moments, but mostly feels like a crude parody of the source material.

December 15, 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy
Big action, big music, big weirdness... but somehow it felt like it never got fully cranked up. This one doesn't go to 11.

December 29, 2014
Gekijouban Doubutsu no Mori
Like the game, pretty plotless. It captures the look, sound, and feel much better than most game-to-movie adaptations, though, so for a guy like me this was definitely worth watching.

Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome
Definitely feels more pilot-y than movie-y. Nothing to write home about.

December 31, 2014
The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies
FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT... The End?

January 1, 2015
Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.
More First Doctor episodes remade with colorful visuals and Austin Powers-approved music.

January 5, 2015
Zomvideo
One of the most rigoddamndiculous zombie movies I've seen. Has some funny moments, but is definitely no Shaun of the Dead.

January 6, 2015
A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner!
A pretty decent way to stretch a crazy cartoon premise beyond its limits.

February 13, 2015
Underworld: Evolution
Marginally better than its predecessor, if only because they managed to take the action outside of underneath New York.

March 1, 2015
Million Dollar Arm
Based on a true story, but basically feels like a less-exaggerated version of movies done before. Sports players deal with both their special skill and fish-out-of-waterness.

March 2, 2015
Hugo
Urchin gets involved in things by chance, sticks his nose further in because what else is he gonna do? Has its charm, but seems a pretty simple movie and an excuse to watch pre-talkies in 3D.

March 10, 2015
Trail of the Screaming Forehead
All the Blamire regulars blam it up big time. Which is a good thing.

March 25, 2015
Source Code
Groundhog Day meets Quantum Leap meets less compelling characters than either.

May 1, 2015
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Avengers are great as ever, though Ultron is no Loki. Crossover stories good for not having things end up "The hero right, the other people acting stupid".

May X, 2015
American Sniper
War. War never changes. But it can really screw with a guy's life.

June X, 2015
Dracula Untold
Dracula not a generic enough vampire character for you? Try him as a generic historical fantasy character instead. Meh.

June 25-26, 2015
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
It's like Twin Peaks, minus most of the characters and tone, and made three times as inscrutable.

July 1, 2015
Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles
Somehow it's both tired rehash and fun to watch.

July 3, 2015
Terminator Genisys
Can't be what T2 was in 1991, but much more interesting and impactful than the last two. Time travel craziness with some ideas similar to the TV show, and others to crazy ideas I've had.

July 10, 2015
The Wolfman
A 1930s monster movie with 2000s gore and effects. Didn't catch my interest much, but the creature look seemed surprisingly faithful to the old.

July 17, 2015
Ant-Man
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids + Mission Impossible + Pikmin, though not quite as impressive as them individually.

August 4, 2015
Wet Hot American Summer
Story goes in 10 directions, like a more-held-together Caddyshack. Totally stupid in almost all of the right ways.

August 5, 2015
Death Note
Fairly faithful adaptation, right down to the totally BS gaijin names. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

August 6, 2015
Death Note II: The Last Name
Much more condensed and modified, this conclusion may actually be more satisfying than the drawn-out source material.

Early September-ish?, 2015
The Hulk
Some visually interesting stuff, though the CG doesn't really hold up. Hulk capabilities and backstory preeeetty weird. Nick Nolte as himself.

October 10, 2015
The Martian
MacGyver/Robinson Crusoe in space. Matches the beats of the source material pretty closely.

November 6, 2015
Blade: Trinity
Dipshit vampires and dumb vampire versus asshole vampire and mortal morons. Who will win? Who cares?

November ?, 2015
Creed
Like the third in the series to try to rererevisit elements of the original Rocky? But it mostly works.

December 17, 2015
Star Wars: The Force Awakens A movie by people with Death Star-sized boners for A New Hope, and who also think you've got to make things bigger to be more impressive.