Cloud Atlas (2012)

Its central conceit (“From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present”) and thesis (“by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future”) resonate, but marring the former’s clever edits and easter eggs are some discomforting cross-racial transformations and one can’t help but wonder if the thrust of the latter would’ve been stronger with a chronological narrative. As it is, some stories sit better than others (Ewing’s white saviour arc underwhelms; Cavendish’s caper is a hoot).
5

The Dressmaker (2015)

The typical shoot-em-up climaxes of revenge thrillers can’t hold a candle to the excellent ending here, as the just desserts are served in fabulous fashion with ingredients like hash brownies, red carpets, costumes, Kate Winslet, pools of blood, and towns on fire. The rest of the story is great too (save for a bit of sag in the second act romance) with its darkly comedic small-town-whodunnit vibe and memorable characters (love that the sargeant with a secret is given a meaningful arc).
7

The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

There’s a lot of stuff packed into this plot and it’s hard to make sense of it all, but as a trilogy finale it has a satisfying amount of fittingly epic highs and lows (see the grueling battle for Zion, ominous and lonely lovers’ mission to the Machine City, the unique climactic deal and defeat) to go with its hit or miss philosophical quips (Agent Smith’s frustrated post-fight speech was a highlight: “You can’t win. It’s pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you¬†persist?”).
6

The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

It’s slow to load, with its first half marred by lifeless fight scenes (see the Chinatown fight which Neo just leaves after a while) and too much talking about who knows what (see the convos with the Oracle, Hamann), not to mention that over-indulgent dance/sex scene. On the freeway things pick up speed; the chase sequence is incredible and the final talk actually lands some philosophical punches (see Morpheus’ wind knocked out: “I have dreamed a dream, but now that dream has gone from me”).
6

The Matrix (1999)

A few glitches (some dated VFX, a cheesy romantic arc), but nothing major to make me not want to take the blue pill and escape my reality for a couple hours. The simple premise is juicy steak-scrumptious (see the breathtaking first wake-up scene), and the script walks with sunglasses-cool perfection the line between fun action movie and philosophical sci-fi laced with emotion (see pre-rescue: “[He] believes in something.. I understand that now.. because I believe I can bring him back”).
8

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

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Steve Rogers, a rejected military soldier transforms into Captain America after taking a dose of a “Super-Soldier serum”. But being Captain America comes at a price as he attempts to take down a war monger and a terrorist organization. (IMDb)
The small (literally) beginnings of our hero (even post-serum, with his initial stint as a propaganda star) are uniquely compelling, and along with its gritty WWII setting, help create a welcome down-to-earth vibe for the first act. What follows is more of a mixed bag, with the villain throwing in some cheesy sci-fi, and the fantastic action sequences starting to ring a little hollow after he is never allowed any victory. A completely unexplained deus ex machina doesn’t end things well.
7/10 (Good)