It’s pretty much just a bunch of white guys in suits (space and business) getting tense while talking on headsets, doing math, and flipping switches, but it’s directed to plain procedural perfection; the swirling technical banter envelops you in the world (and out of it) and the methodical problem to solution plot points create suspense and release very effectively. To this formula are added nice touches of humour and emotion (“You never know what events are to transpire to get you home”).
On the outskirts of Whoville lives a green, revenge-seeking Grinch (Jim Carrey) who plans to ruin Christmas for all of the citizens of the town. (IMDb)
Giving the Grinch a backstory and making the Whos materialistic and snobby creates an interesting new dynamic but it means the mountaintop climax where the Grinch learns the meaning of Christmas misses the mark entirely: it was the Whos alone who needed redemption for their consumerism and fear-mongering; the Grinch just needed some love (and speaking of, the Cindy-Lou/Grinch relationship is a cute one). The film looks pretty bad, but Carrey’s wisecracking, slapstick schtick is fun as always.
When Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks, and together they must race across Europe against the clock to foil a deadly global plot. (IMDb)
Pretty damn grim at some points, both to its detriment (Langdon’s hellish and nausea-inducing opening nightmare sequence was a poor choice to have at the beginning of the film) and to its benefit (the unflinching camera during the plot’s moments of violence helped highlight the high stakes–see the two falls to death). The rest of it is a mixed bag as well: the clue-hopping remains fun but cheesy, the third-act character twists feel arbitrary but keep you engaged until the suspenseful climax.
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon works with a nuclear physicist to solve a murder and prevent a terrorist act against the Vatican during one of the significant events within the church. (IMDb)
I thought this film was going to be terrible after it began with yet another enormous pile of pretentious exposition (this time about anti-matter and the Illuminati of all things) but it actually turns into a pretty decent crime thriller after the eye-rolling set-up finishes. Gruesome violence, a quick pace, and interesting underlying political intrigue in the Vatican make the stakes feel high and keep you interested in spite of relatively unengaging characters. Not sure about that twist though.