Carter and Lee head to Hong Kong for a vacation, but become embroiled in a counterfeit money scam. (IMDb)
Casual racism and sexism aren’t funny (oh look, two grown men excitedly spying on a woman undressing.. hilarious), and a few scenes aside (see Carter’s commotion at the craps table) that accounts for all the humour of the film, tainting the otherwise charming odd-couple dynamic of 7-11 Carter and “student doing all the work on the group project” Lee. Elsewhere, the plot is fairly forgettable detective fodder but populated by lots of fun action sequences (highlighted by Chan’s incredible skills).
The story of a young man’s adventures in the California pornography industry of the late 1970s and early 1980s. (IMDb)
I dunno, amidst all its characters and plot lines, in the end it lacks a certain, ahem, thrust, with no clear arc or, heh, climax to speak of (the hypnotic back-and-forth between limo and truck came close but didn’t quite land). That said, its “slice of life” structure is certainly done very well, with the majority of its many characters and scenes quite memorable and mull-worthy (Reilly’s earnest Reed and the dramatic/comedic drug deal probably top the list). Great music and camerawork too.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe. (IMDb)
From the devastating opening scene to the goosebump-inducing climactic action sequence, the scope and spectacle here will blow you away. Rich with humour (Thor and Ant-Man are highlights but even stoic Cap hass his moments), emotion, and inside references, it brings the MCU to a remarkable climax and resolve. After the blockbuster-high wears off some issues emerge (the main plot concept is severely underexplained; some characters are–understandably–neglected), but it remains a monumental film.
A covert counter-terrorist unit called Black Cell led by Gabriel Shear wants the money to help finance their war against international terrorism, but it’s all locked away. Gabriel brings in convicted hacker Stanley Jobson to help him. (IMDb)
So, Berry shows off her bod, Travolta’s got blonde highlights, and Jackman looks like the sixth member of N’Sync: Not necessarily fatal to taking the film seriously but it says something that they’re almost the only things I remember aside from a couple good bad-guy monologues, one cool scene where a bus dangles from a helicopter, and one cheesy montage of our hacker protagonist dancing to funk while talking to his computer. A mildly entertaining action thriller, but it’s both dated and generic.
When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution. (IMDb)
Here we see our hero at his most anxious and out of control (see his panic attacks, bedside suit scare) but also his most focused and angry (see his workshop insomnia, challenge to the Mandarin); at his most technologically dazzling and powerful (see his army of suits in a great final action scene), but also back to his most humble creative roots (“I’m The Mechanic”). This strong climactic characterization, coupled with a brilliant turn (x2) by Kingsley makes for the best film in the MCU so far.
With the world now aware of his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with both his declining health and a vengeful mad man with ties to his father’s legacy. (IMDb)
The good outweighs the bad in this sequel: The “new” Rhodey is meh, but the rough and reserved Vanko and the annoying Hammer are each uniquely entertaining villains. A messy script fumbles its multiple plot threads (the requisite Avengers teasers don’t help), but Stark’s increasing ego and decreasing health, along with his government clashes and sinister copycats remain intriguing, if neglected. Finally, the robot-loaded climax feels weak, but the racetrack action mid-way through is great.
A volcano erupts in downtown L.A., threatening to destroy the city. (IMDb)
There’s some moderately engaging disaster-action here (the volcano in the city premise is certainly unique) with decent visuals for its time, but little else: Jones, Cheadle, and Lynch are decent but most of the minor characters are poorly acted and the attempts at humour, sentimentality, character development, and related side plots are embarrassingly weak. With virtually no supporting script for its only mediocre main disaster storyline, Volcano is ultimately a very forgettable flick.
Danny Ocean rounds up the boys for a third heist, after casino owner Willy Bank double-crosses one of the original eleven, Reuben Tishkoff. (IMDb)
Convoluted intro aside, the con job here is arguably–despite its unconvincing foundation–the crew’s most memorable: A delightful many-layered sabotage that pushes the boys outside their box to Mexico and even back to an old foe, sees the other 10 (minus Rusty) get a true chance at the spotlight, and moves them into a more satisfying and refreshing Robin Hood/anarchistic mindset. The dialogue and editing here aren’t on the same level as 11 and 12, but the caper might just be the best.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
Daniel Ocean recruits one more team member so he can pull off three major European heists in this sequel to Ocean’s 11. (IMDb)
The great style from the first film is still present here in the artsy titles, delicious dialogue, and rambunctious soundtrack, but the substance is different: There’s more comedy and humbling mishaps (the Julia Roberts scene is great), but there are also more characters (an overload), and a disappointing lack of actual heists considering the wealth of other plot material that’s jammed in. It’s a bit of a messy story, with a weak climax to boot, but the film still doesn’t fail to entertain.
Danny Ocean and his eleven accomplices plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously. (IMDb)
This film would be entertaining enough with just a neat, elaborate heist (which it has), but it takes it up a notch with a steady stream of quick and witty dialogue, smoothly delivered by the effortlessly charismatic Clooney and Pitt, matching the brilliance of their cool schemes punch for punch. The editing is just as slick, with retro slide scene transitions and a chill Vegas-flavoured soundtrack. The “got the girl” ending is the only thing that’s a bit distasteful in this great caper flick.