The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

ballad_of_buster_scruggs_xxlg

An anthology film comprised of six stories, each dealing with a different aspect of life in the Old West. (IMDb)
The discomforting and racist villainous portrayal of “Indians” should’ve been thrown away but the rest of the classic Western potpourri here provide lots of cozy charm (love those songs sprinkled throughout) and frigid chills amidst what is a uniquely curated collection of stories (some delightfully bizarre like the titular tale with its compelling narration and amazing climactic duet; others a bit more plodding and unremarkable) about death and judgment and the diehard American dream.
7/10 (Good)

Paddington 2 (2017)

paddington2poster

Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen. (IMDb)
Keeps the cute British humour of the first film, with another delightful villain and some added Wes Anderson-esque flair (see the opening character updates; prisoners’ introductions), and within this quirky framework floods you with overwhelming emotion (see the lovely tie-in of Mary’s training at the climax, and of course that beautiful bear with the most selfless of souls showing the radical power of kindness: Knuckle’s first taste of marmalade was his first taste of love and I’m sobbing).
9/10 (Amazing)

Mission: Impossible II (2000)

MPW-28145

IMF Agent Ethan Hunt is sent to Sydney, to find and destroy a genetically modified disease called “Chimera”. (IMDb)
Dripping with dumb late 90s/early 2000s action movie machismo (see the nearly lethal sports car joyride, helpless female eye candy, ridiculous climactic motorcycle joust), and there isn’t much to mask it (though there are like a billion uses of masking technology *eyeroll*): the plot is average action movie fare (the added cheesy romance just makes it worse, so does the repeated slow motion) and the villain’s annoying. The chemistry and spy-work of the central trio keep this watchable.
6/10 (Mediocre)

 

The Company You Keep (2012)

A former Weather Underground activist goes on the run from a journalist who has discovered his identity. (IMDb)
A stacked cast does not disappoint here; LaBeouf is particularly electric as the savvy journalist uncovering for us a fascinating web of former radicals still on the lamb. The past-present element is compelling and produces a refreshingly old and textured cast of characters, while the cat-and-mouse game is exciting without resorting to cheap action. The underlying themes of truth and justice aren’t given quite enough oomph but the movie remains an engaging thriller that looks great to boot.
8/10 (Great)

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.
7