Fear Street: Part One – 1994 (2021)

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In 1994, a group of teenagers discovers that the terrifying events which have haunted their town for generations ​are all connected — and that they may be the next targets. (Letterboxd)
It’s not particularly stylish (the aesthetic is neither consistent nor enjoyable, but maybe that’s the 90s?) or well-crafted (the intriguing Shadyville vs. Sunnyvale narrative is dropped quickly; the kids vs. cop dynamic feels unwarranted), but its slasher thrills are solid (the multi-faceted grocery store showdown is intense) and the refreshing batch of teenage characters add a really unique and gritty edge to it all (lots of swearing, drugs, angst, hormones, and questionable decisions).
6.5/10 (Alright)

Now You See Me (2013)

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An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money. (Letterboxd)
The end sucks, not just because the twist is nonsensical (flashbacks of the person in a hoodie “there the whole time” isn’t enough explanation), but because the dumb carousal final scene leaves behind the cool Robin Hood-esque motivations of the team for some lame secret club idea–and the cocky characters already weren’t that likeable. Magic and heists are fun though, and fortunately that makes up most of the movie, making it fully watchable when the camera isn’t making you dizzy.
6/10 (Mediocre)

The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

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The human city of Zion defends itself against the massive invasion of the machines as Neo fights to end the war at another front while also opposing the rogue Agent Smith. (Letterboxd)
There’s a lot of stuff packed into this plot and it’s hard to make sense of it all, but as a trilogy finale it has a satisfying amount of fittingly epic highs and lows (see the grueling battle for Zion, ominous and lonely lovers’ mission to the Machine City, the unique climactic deal and defeat) to go with its hit or miss philosophical quips (Agent Smith’s frustrated post-fight speech was a highlight: “You can’t win. It’s pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?”).
7/10 (Good)

Dirty Harry (1971)

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When a madman dubbed ‘Scorpio’ terrorizes San Francisco, hard-nosed cop, Harry Callahan—famous for his take-no-prisoners approach to law enforcement—is tasked with hunting down the psychopath. (Letterboxd)
For a 100-minute movie it feels really long (see the numerous monotonous tracking/chasing shots), and its tangential scenes for character development feel completely unnecessary (see the bank robbery, suicide rescue) since the film never commits to being an in-depth character piece. Its central police procedural plot is done well though, with its fantastic music and atmosphere, a chilling villain, and a surprisingly intriguing underlying theme of the tension between justice and the law.
6.5/10 (Alright)

The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

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Freedom fighters Neo, Trinity and Morpheus continue to lead the revolt against the Machine Army, unleashing their arsenal of extraordinary skills and weaponry against the systematic forces of repression and exploitation. (IMDb)
It’s slow to load, with its first half marred by lifeless fight scenes (see the Chinatown fight which Neo just leaves after a while) and too much talking about who knows what (see the convos with the Oracle, Hamann), not to mention that over-indulgent dance/sex scene. On the freeway things pick up speed; the chase sequence is incredible and the final talk actually lands some philosophical punches (see Morpheus’ wind knocked out: “I have dreamed a dream, but now that dream has gone from me”).
7/10 (Good)

Margin Call (2011)

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A thriller that revolves around the key people at an investment bank over a 24-hour period during the early stages of the financial crisis. (Letterboxd)
For a good while it’s able to coast on its well-crafted rising tension (you know shit’s going down even if you don’t understand all the corporate jargon) but once the stakes are made clear it starts to feel as bloated as everyone’s wallets: half the characters are pointless, the others are rich white men we don’t care about (Bettany’s great though), and the vague melodramatic dialogue hits the wall hard: “Are you sure it’s the only or right thing to do?” “For who?” “I’m not sure” “Neither am I”.
7/10 (Good)

The Matrix (1999)

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Set in the 22nd century, The Matrix tells the story of a computer hacker who joins a group of underground insurgents fighting the vast and powerful computers who now rule the earth. (Letterboxd)
A few glitches (some dated VFX, a cheesy romantic arc), but nothing major to make me not want to take the blue pill and escape my reality for a couple hours. The simple premise is juicy steak-scrumptious (see the breathtaking first wake-up scene), and the script walks with sunglasses-cool perfection the line between fun action movie and philosophical sci-fi laced with emotion (see pre-rescue: “[He] believes in something.. I understand that now.. because I believe I can bring him back”).
8/10 (Great)

Rush Hour 3 (2007)

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After an attempted assassination on Ambassador Han, Inspector Lee and Detective Carter are back in action as they head to Paris to protect a French woman with knowledge of the Triads’ secret leaders. (Letterboxd)
So, Agent Carter is the actual worst (here’s a Triad for you: racist, sexist, and obnoxious!), and Agent Lee’s straight man doesn’t offer enough in the way of countering his shit this time around, so with the trilogy’s now completely uninspired lead duo, it’s harder than ever to stay engaged with the uninteresting and unintelligible detective plot, especially when Chan’s action sequences feel fewer and farther between and the translating nun is the only good comedy bit worth mentioning.
4.5/10 (Bad)

Meek’s Cutoff (2010)

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Set in 1845, this drama follows a group of settlers as they embark on a punishing journey along the Oregon Trail. When their guide leads them astray, the expedition is forced to contend with the unforgiving conditions of the high plain desert. (Letterboxd)
Appropriately slow–this survival western pulls no punches, and by punches I mean achingly long scenes of walking across barren landscapes, because there’s a lot of them. And they’re loaded with feeling: short in-between scenes lay out the stakes and ratchet up the unease and distrust, and then the journey (captured with poignant music and visuals–see that breathtaking long cross fade early on) continues, and in the film’s boldest stroke of all, it doesn’t end, just like it never began.
8/10 (Great)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

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Devastated Peter takes a Hawaiian vacation in order to deal with the recent break-up with his TV star girlfriend, Sarah. Little does he know, Sarah’s traveling to the same resort as her ex – and she’s bringing along her new boyfriend.(IMDb)
The broken heart to new love arc is generic, but constant pops (flashes? see Peter’s hilarious naked confrontation with Sarah) of goofy humour keep the film feeling fresh and engaging throughout, never taking itself too seriously (see the failed symbolic cliff jump). Other highlights include the CSI parody (Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime), Paul Rudd’s surf instructor (“Oh, the weather outside is weather”), and McBrayer’s nervous new husband constantly cursing the confounding human anatomy.
7/10 (Good)