Elysium (2013)


In the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. A man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.
On a visceral level, it mostly succeeds: Damon is a solid lead (though Foster is awful), great visuals and soundscapes immerse you in its frightening future world(s), and the action sequences know how to amp up the tension (see the data heist; twisting climax). Its emotional backstory and Earth vs. Elysium big picture lack subtlety though, and the latter feels implausible in the end (see the easy everything is happy ending), severely weakening the otherwise well-paced and compelling narrative.
6.5/10 (Alright)

Panic Room (2002)


A highly engaging thriller featuring some really cool swooping film shots and solid acting all around. There are a couple of questionable plot points and the bad guys seem a bit too conveniently incompetent at certain important moments, but none of this ever keeps you from the edge of your seat. The central concept is interesting, and the tension, action, and emotion that surround it make the film an entertaining watch overall.
7/10 (Good)


Taxi Driver (1976)

The sleazy and haunting urban atmosphere created by this film’s gritty cinematography and beautifully melancholic soundtrack is incredible and thoroughly compelling. The plot, meanwhile, is quite loose and meandering with no real destination, so the film could only fully succeed and captivate with a strong central character study: Fortunately, it has just that, with De Niro consistently excellent in his many solo scenes (“You talkin’ to me?”) as the unnervingly unstable and violent Travis.
8.5/10 (Amazing)