Bewitched (2005)

bewitched_ver2_xlg

Thinking he can overshadow an unknown actress in the part, an egocentric actor unknowingly gets a witch cast in an upcoming television remake of the classic show “Bewitched”. (Letterboxd)
Call me bewitched but I found this really charming. It doesn’t waste any screen time (love how it introduces the “want to be normal” crisis right off the bat), and the many narrative states (on TV, in real-life, in a dream, in an alternative timeline, under a spell) put a unique twist on the typical romantic arc. Ferrell and Kidman are both engaging in their own way, and the side characters have their moments too (Nina especially: “We could electrocute him. There’s a ton of wires around here”).
7/10 (Good)

Now You See Me 2 (2016)

now_you_see_me_two_ver15_xxlg

One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their mind-bending spectacles, the Four Horsemen resurface only to find themselves face to face with a new enemy who enlists them to pull off their most dangerous heist yet. (Letterboxd)
Whyyyeye must there be a second twist at the end again? It’s not a good thing if it’s unfounded and ruins all the fun that came before and NO ONE CARES ABOUT THE EYE THING. The first twist with the plane also isn’t great cuz you know it’s coming and they explain it to death. Also, is it just me or does Mark Ruffalo’s character NOT look like a Dylan? Lots of specific complaints here cuz it’s just more of the same, though that goes for the good stuff too (that card-throwing heist was pretty cool).
6/10 (Mediocre)

Now You See Me (2013)

now_you_see_me_xlg

An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money. (Letterboxd)
The end sucks, not just because the twist is nonsensical (flashbacks of the person in a hoodie “there the whole time” isn’t enough explanation), but because the dumb carousal final scene leaves behind the cool Robin Hood-esque motivations of the team for some lame secret club idea–and the cocky characters already weren’t that likeable. Magic and heists are fun though, and fortunately that makes up most of the movie, making it fully watchable when the camera isn’t making you dizzy.
6/10 (Mediocre)

Interstellar (2014)

A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity’s survival. (IMDb)
The years-long save-the-world plot, poignant near-future setting, and infinite themes both heady and heartfelt are all undeniably epic and compelling, and while the exposition weighs quite heavy at times (see the repeat of the ghost revelation), it doesn’t stop the film from reaching many incredible cinematic heights both emotional (see the devastating return from Miller’s planet) and action-oriented (see the spinning dock sequence), helped as it is by stunning visuals, music, and performances.
8/10 (Great)

Tenet (2020)

Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. (IMDb)
Couldn’t hear half the dialogue and only understood half of the rest, but it’s a testament to Nolan’s ambitious and undeniably exciting brand of filmmaking that I was on the edge of my seat throughout regardless: the espionage plot and sci-fi concept are both confusing but compelling, the action is brilliant, the technical aspects top notch. It’s a shame the only emotion is found in yet another Russian villain and a simply modernized damsel-in-distress (Debicki’s turn remains excellent though).
7.5/10 (Really Good)

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

the-muppet-christmas-carol-movie-poster-1992-1020190528

The Muppet characters tell their version of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser’s redemption on Christmas Eve. (IMDb)
To an already moving tale of redemption is added some delightful puppetry (right down to singing vegetables), catchy and even occasionally poignant sing-alongs, unique on-the-spot omniscient narration by the outrageously funny duo of Gonzo and Rizzo (“I am here to tell tell the story” “And I am here for the food”), along with other excellent bits of comedy (Marley and Marley are hauntingly hilarious) and Christmas fuzzies (Scrooge’s Christmas morning journey through town is all kinds of happy).
8/10 (Great)

 

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

dirty_rotten_scoundrels_xlg

Two con men try to settle their rivalry by betting on who can swindle a young American heiress out of $50,000 first. (IMDb)
Takes too long to set up its juicily comedic premise (a boring training montage headlines a needlessly in-depth relationship history) but it’s pure hilarity and delicious dramatic irony as soon as Freddy rolls in on that wheelchair, hamming it up. Lawrence’s first counter-move is probably the funniest (see the leg-whipping scene) but I would be remiss not to mention the delightful ending that subverts the scoundrels’ sexism with not one but two punches–the first being shame, the second mercy.
7/10 (Good)

 

Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)

austin-powers-in-goldmember-movie-poster

Upon learning that his father has been kidnapped, Austin Powers must travel to 1975 and defeat the aptly named villain Goldmember – who is working with Dr. Evil. (IMDb)
There are moments that reflect the energetic creativity of the first two films (see the meta-opening credits, subtitle mix-up at the office, “boobs” naming gag) and the Mini-Me+Austin slapstick scene was pretty funny, but besides that it’s pretty much all distasteful potty humour (see especially Fat Bastard after sumo-wrestling), overly sexual and laced with homophobia and misogyny. In this mostly humourless context, the brief yet somehow still incoherent story is beyond aggravating.
5.5/10 (Poor)

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012)

journey_two_the_mysterious_island

Sean Anderson partners with his mom’s husband on a mission to find his grandfather, who is thought to be missing on a mythical island. (IMDb)
Better than its awful predecessor (despite a more annoying Sean–now an arrogant and angsty teen), thanks mostly to superior visuals (the slow-motion was a nice touch; see the helicopter crash), but also a script that actually builds some suspense (see the devastating cliff collapse) and hints at decent character work (see Alexander’s brief moment at the campfire) amidst its still rushed adventure plot (they get to the island very quickly) with poor dialogue and failed attempts at humour.
5/10 (Poor)

The Prestige (2006)

prestige

Two stage magicians engage in competitive one-upmanship in an attempt to create the ultimate stage illusion. (IMDb)
From an initial point of drama comes both the pre- and post-conflict timelines, which together expertly unravel in a most satisfying way a bevy of exciting secrets that reveal the stunning story behind the beginning intrigue. Driving forward this intricate plot is a tense dual-character study (both Jackman and Bale excel) set within the dark and unnerving world of professional magicians conveying the drastic–even deadly–effects of ambition and rivalry. A masterfully layered yet cohesive film.
9/10 (Amazing)