Apollo 13 (1995)

It’s pretty much just a bunch of white guys in suits (space and business) getting tense while talking on headsets, doing math, and flipping switches, but it’s directed to plain procedural perfection; the swirling technical banter envelops you in the world (and out of it) and the methodical problem to solution plot points create suspense and release very effectively. To this formula are added nice touches of humour and emotion (“You never know what events are to transpire to get you home”).

Titanic (1997)

A treasure-hunting team recruits an old woman to help them find a necklace in the ocean. They fly her over and she proceeds to move her entire life’s possessions on board before telling them a very long story that does not help them at all. Then we find out she had the necklace the whole time but she doesn’t tell them this and instead drops it in the ocean. Hilariously baffling narrative framework aside, the titular story in the middle is a good one: grandly romantic, exciting, and well-filmed.

Predator 2 (1990)

Lots of cringe-worthy sleazy action-movie schlock (cue the boobs and blood and Busey and cartoon-ish stereotyped baddies) but it’s mostly balanced out by the solid quartet of protagonists (Glover’s renegade Mike has a great dynamic with Paxton’s goofy Jerry) driving forward the story. The third act drags on though, and because it’s an investigative plot and not a survival one, it raises a lot of questions surrounding the Predator’s motivations (the biggest being why is here in the first place?)

Aliens (1986)

More people, aliens, and guns make this sequel more of an action-thriller than its slow-horror predecessor, replacing the latter’s subtle suspense and relatability with more straight-forward shoot-em-up fodder, but that’s not to say it’s always a bad thing (more aliens makes for a stronger sense of hopelessness; Ripley and the alien Mom’s unexpected final showdown is awesome) or that it doesn’t still have good character work (sniveling Burke is the perfect complement to strong-willed Ripley).

Twister (1996)


Bill and Jo Harding, advanced storm chasers on the brink of divorce, must join together to create an advanced weather alert system by putting themselves in the cross-hairs of extremely violent tornadoes. (IMDb)
The tornado chasing is exciting enough–the sudden get up and go (Hoffman’s wacky Dustin is fun), the dance with danger, the destruction (flying cows!)–but it gets a little tiresome by its fourth time around, and the rival chaser is a terrible cliche (see his all black convoy). Bill’s new fiancé vs. old life + ex-wife sub-plot, meanwhile, is so predictable that you find yourself rooting for the new girl to defy the script’s trajectory and overcome the ex-couple’s witty banter and shared passion.
6/10 (Mediocre)

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

An engaging aliens vs. humans action movie with a time-travel twist, giving it a more intelligent feel–and a fresher feeling plot–than most of its summer action-blockbuster kind. Unfortunately, the emotional ramifications of the film’s unique premise on Cage and Rita’s relationship, while touched on a few times throughout the film, are discarded in a final scene that takes the easy way out. All told though, with its great action and good turns by Cruise and Blunt, this is still a great film.