Jupiter Ascending (2015)

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In a universe where human genetic material is the most precious commodity, an impoverished young Earth woman becomes the key to strategic maneuvers and internal strife within a powerful dynasty. (Letterboxd)
The self-discovery journey has a passive and bland protagonist, the space politics plot is interesting but confusing, and the shallow romantic arc feels purely obligatory. Nothing works, and the serious tone, poor dialogue (“I love dogs”), and mediocre turns and VFX don’t help. With the ending repeat of Jupiter’s life on earth I almost forgave it all as a weird character growth metaphor, but then wolf-man boyfriend comes zooming in again on his sky skates and he’s grown wings now and.. yeah.
4/10 (Bad)

The Martian (2015)

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An astronaut becomes stranded on Mars after his team assume him dead, and must rely on his ingenuity to find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. (IMDb)
A skimming over of emotions and the consequences of time (particularly with the crew’s decision to go back) are the only standout flaws in this exhilarating thriller featuring a fast-paced back-and-forth between satisfying survival science-ing on Mars (Damon’s Mark adds a wry wit to the proceedings) and tense rescue-planning on Earth (a refreshingly diverse cast shines here). Any lack of suspense in the quickly solved conflicts of the first half is made up for in the nail-biting climax.
8.5/10 (Amazing)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

While Frodo and Sam edge closer to Mordor with the help of the shifty Gollum, the divided fellowship makes a stand against Sauron’s new ally, Saruman, and his hordes of Isengard. (IMDb)
The fragmented and widespread narrative here gives the film a monumental feel, but at the expense of the kind of tension and character development that require an unwavering approach–so despite this sequel’s equally masterful set design, music, and camerawork, delightful pops of comedy, and fantastic battle scenes, it still feels a shame that the tantalizing interplay between Sam, Frodo, and Gollum in particular struggles to get into a good groove, even within the film’s massive run-time.
8.5/10 (Amazing)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

A meek hobbit of the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring and the dark lord Sauron. (IMDb)
The mix of breathtaking bird’s eye pans and intense facial close-ups here showcase a layered tale that’s as much of a heartfelt character drama as a grand fantasy epic, with as many internal battles as external ones, and pleasant bits of humour from the homey hobbits sprinkled amongst the haughty and thick war talk that keep the narrative from melodramatic cliches. Excellent acting, music, and time-tested special effects ensure that this wonderful story’s film adaptation won’t soon be forgotten.
9/10 (Amazing)

North Country (2005)

A fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States — Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, where a woman who endured a range of abuse while working as a miner filed and won the landmark 1984 lawsuit. (IMDb)
Theron melts into her character here, displaying with ease both Josie’s brokenness and courage. Her experiences of abuse and her lonely fight for her rights are tough to watch but are thoughtfully shown, as picturesque scenes of the equally isolated Minnesota countryside and its bleak mines punctuate her story along with clips of her eventual court case. The supporting cast here is impeccable and solidifies this moving film that comes to a satisfyingly redemptive and tear-jerking conclusion.
7.5/10 (Really Good)