A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity’s survival. (IMDb)
The years-long save-the-world plot, poignant near-future setting, and infinite themes both heady and heartfelt are all undeniably epic and compelling, and while the exposition weighs quite heavy at times (see the repeat of the ghost revelation), it doesn’t stop the film from reaching many incredible cinematic heights both emotional (see the devastating return from Miller’s planet) and action-oriented (see the spinning dock sequence), helped as it is by stunning visuals, music, and performances.
Maxwell Smart, a highly intellectual but bumbling spy working for the CONTROL agency, is tasked with preventing a terrorist attack from rival spy agency KAOS. (IMDb)
A few standout funny bits (I nearly cried laughing at that perfect in-tree cameo), a few standout not-funny bits (the fat jokes and xenophobia didn’t sit well), but mostly just a breezy and easily-consumable action comedy with a unique lead (Carrell’s dry delivery really works well with a character that’s sometimes the butt of the jokes, and sometimes making the jokes), good central odd-couple chemistry, and solid action sequences. Bonus points for the pacifist conflict resolve on the rooftop.
Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala. (IMDb)
A great cast of characters led by Bullock’s brazen Debbie (“It’s what I’m good at”), Blanchett’s badass Lou (that strut!), and Hathaway’s hilarious baddie (see her necklace moans) are let down a bit by a less colourful script that too often feels like a tame retread of familiar territory. Still fun though (deflating first twist aside), with some good comedy especially in the post-heist kerfuffle carried by Corden’s earnest insurance agent (“You’ve got two of those!”). Great soundtrack too.
70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin. (IMDb)
With his easygoing disposition, old-school work habits (“can’t leave til the boss leaves”), and wisdom overflowing, De Niro’s Ben is beyond adorable, heading a generation comparison that focuses on more than just easy cultural contrasts (still good; see his attache case), crafting dynamic relationships that bridge the age gap in hilarious (see the Ocean’s heist adventure) and moving ways (see the hotel scene with an excellent Hathaway). Matt’s cliche apology was an out-of-place climax though.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
Eight years after the Joker’s reign of anarchy, the Dark Knight is forced to return from his imposed exile to save Gotham City from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman. (IMDb)
The entertainment value here is again sky high, with nary a dull moment; the narrative is wonderfully layered with constant twists and turns at each level. It doesn’t feel quite as deep or dark as its predecessor, and Hardy’s Bane isn’t quite as interesting as Ledger’s Joker (although that was a tough act to follow), but the plot’s new lows of despair for Batman and Gotham, along with the cast additions of Hathaway and Gordon-Levitt, add freshness and help craft for it its own positive identity.
Mia Thermopolis has just found out that she is the heir apparent to the throne of Genovia. With her friends Lilly and Michael Moscovitz in tow, she tries to navigate through the rest of her 16th year. (IMDb)
The “nerdy girl becomes a princess” premise is a solid foundation for your typical but perfectly decent comedic family film with touches of drama and a heart warming conclusion (especially solid given Hathaway’s splendid turn as the lovably odd Mia), but the zany inconsequential characters (the melancholic neighbour, the bumbling police officers) and offbeat one-liners here give this film a sharp wit that raises it above others of its kind. A sweet and funny film that earns repeated viewings.