Ten years after initially meeting, Anakin Skywalker shares a forbidden romance with Padmé Amidala, while Obi-Wan Kenobi investigates an assassination attempt on the senator and discovers a secret clone army crafted for the Jedi. (IMDb)
Dare I say it starts off with almost cool neo-noir vibes? It ain’t no Blade Runner but the mystery plot, dark city setting, and moody Anakin make for a compelling first act (dated SFX aside, that city chase was great–and the Jedi duo generate surprising humour). The rest is solid as it sticks with a straight forward dual-narrative following Obi’s investigation and angsty Annie’s relational drama. Gets cheesy as it goes on (and on–it’s too long) but it’s fun (see C3P0’s head gag).
Two Jedi escape a hostile blockade to find allies and come across a young boy who may bring balance to the Force, but the long dormant Sith resurface to claim their old glory. (IMDb)
The core here is solid: one part engaging political power-games plot, one part planet-hopping adventure (loved the journey underwater: “There’s always a bigger fish”) with some moments of intrigue on the side (see the princess twist, Jedi council debate on the kid, the mysterious menace). Its often distasteful decoration (sorry Jar-Jar, you’re just a bit much; annoying Anakin isn’t helped by the script: “I’ll try spinning, that’s a good trick!”) weakens it but overall it’s still enjoyable.
When Prince Fabious’s bride is kidnapped, he goes on a quest to rescue her… accompanied by his lazy useless brother Thadeous. (IMDb)
I suppose there’s some humour to be found in throwing crude content and expletives into the typically haughty dialogue and setting of a medieval period piece, but it’s done to such a (literally) gross extent here it wears very thin very quickly, and when even the (bland and suspense-less) main plot is misogynist and centered on sex, the whole film just feels like the adventure fan-fiction of a snickering 15-year old who plays Age of Empires and has porn mags stashed under his mattress.
A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply. (IMDb)
Ultimately unhelpful flash-forwards and -backs mar an otherwise immersive (viscerally more than intellectually–the ending didn’t satisfy) sci-fi experience initiated by the haunting homecoming scene early on: solid turns, an intense score, and monumental visuals carry the film from spooky (see the first wake-up) to grisly (see the bear attack; stomach cut) to weird (see the trippy cave scene), with just an unforgettable sense of “WTF is going on!?” (both in awe and terror) pervading it all.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
A quietly troubled young man returns home for his mother’s funeral after being estranged from his family for a decade. (IMDb)
Should’ve ended with that great climactic exchange at the quarry (“Good luck exploring the infinite abyss” “You too”) or at least before that saccharine final scene at the airport, because everything previous is nearly perfect in its achingly poignant and tastefully quirky young adult character study that nails its depiction of depression, awkward homecoming, and early romance through thoughtful dialogue, strong performances, calm cinematography, and a fittingly melancholy soundtrack.
When Dr. Jane Foster gets cursed with a powerful entity known as the Aether, Thor is heralded of the cosmic event known as the Convergence and the genocidal Dark Elves. (IMDb)
Another predictable plot with a still insufferably lame Jane in the still mostly cheesy CGI fantasy land of Asgard (the funeral scene being a beautiful exception) is iced with enough good stuff to elevate it above its predecessor. There’s better self-aware humour (see the hammer hang on the coat rack; Thor on the subway), a pretty cool–if far-fetched–final action sequence, and engaging relational development between Thor and Loki (regrettably reversed during a stupid final-seconds twist).
The powerful but arrogant god Thor is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders. (IMDb)
It’s a little hard to get past the two wildly contrasting worlds, especially when the futuristic-space-viking one is saturated with CGI and cheesy costumes (though Elba’s gatekeeper intrigues). Story-wise, a decent arrogant-hero-humbled premise headed by the charming hunk Hemsworth (the supporting characters are largely forgettable) is weighed down by a cliche jealous brother/father’s approval sub-plot in space and a dull romance on earth (Portman’s strong scientist Jane feels cheapened here).
A year after their father’s funeral, three brothers travel across India by train in an attempt to bond with each other. (IMDb)
The estranged brother dynamic is well-written in the dryly humourous first act as keener Francis initiates their adventure, secrets are leaked, and the backstory is patiently exposited. The rest of the film loses some momentum (despite great music, slow-mo, and tracking shots) thanks to too many vaguely significant but unsubstantiated scenes (see the unearned melodrama of Jack’s farewell to Rita), though the dramatic tragedy of the second act (“He’s all bloody!”) certainly isn’t one of them.