King Kong (2005)

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A greedy film producer assembles a team of moviemakers and sets out for the infamous Skull Island, where they find more than just cannibalistic natives. (IMDb)
“It was beauty killed the beast”: A stupid line that botches the promising thematic arc. This character was the one who dragged Kong from home to hellhole for a life of humiliation all for his own gain but sure, let him end the film with this bullshit poetic proclamation that places blame on the fucking sunset and the woman who literally just tried to save Kong’s life. It’s a great film otherwise: the action-adventure is truly breathtaking in spite of dated CGI and cringe-y native portrayals.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

 

Predators (2010)

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A group of elite warriors parachute into an unfamiliar jungle and are hunted by members of a merciless alien race. (IMDb)
Sure, the self-serious expository dialogue is a little contrived and cheesy at points (lots of “what’s going on?!”) but when the actual plot is written and directed as well as it is, you can let it slide. Right from the opening pre-title plunge, the unraveling mystery and monster-suspense–while nothing groundbreaking–is presented appreciably well (acting, cinematography, and music are all solid). The first character twist is a good one, but the last one isn’t (where was the motivation?).
7/10 (Good)

 

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

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A year after their father’s funeral, three brothers travel across India by train in an attempt to bond with each other. (IMDb)
The estranged brother dynamic is well-written in the dryly humourous first act as keener Francis initiates their adventure, secrets are leaked, and the backstory is patiently exposited. The rest of the film loses some momentum (despite great music, slow-mo, and tracking shots) thanks to too many vaguely significant but unsubstantiated scenes (see the unearned melodrama of Jack’s farewell to Rita), though the dramatic tragedy of the second act (“He’s all bloody!”) certainly isn’t one of them.
7/10 (Good)

 

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

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The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. (IMDb)
The visuals are so remarkably entrancing and vibrantly varied here (hotels, prisons, mansions, and mountaintops) that you find yourself as excited to see what the next scene looks like as much as what happens in it–and that’s not to say the writing is sub-par: Within a cute 4-tiered narrative, a wild and wacky plot of murder, money, and escape takes place with plenty of quirky characters (Fiennes is fantastic) and well-placed bits of goofiness and expletives that break up the dazzling dialogue.
8.5/10 (Amazing)