The World’s End (2013)

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Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from twenty years earlier unwittingly become humanity’s only hope for survival. (IMDb)
Underneath its fun tapestry of endless witty banter, zany apocalyptic sci-fi, and action ’til you’re blue in the face are some wonderful nuggets of character drama and thematic debates on nostalgia, authenticity, friendship, and personal growth. There’s only one Gary King (or is there? Should there be? Are we always the same person?); he’s a “fuck-up” but he’s human; his devil-may-care attitude is wildly concerning but helpful when the devil himself comes to call at the world’s end (“Fuck it.”).
8/10 (Great)

 

Hot Fuzz (2007)

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A skilled London police officer is transferred to a small town with a dark secret. (IMDb)
Hot damn, this is jam-packed full of all the riotous comedy and insane action sequences you could ever want in one movie, with the clever whiplash editing cinching it up together with the surprising whodunit plot into a compact water balloon of explosive fun to smash in your face. The sleepy yet secretly sinister small town setting is executed to perfection thanks to a great supporting cast and Pegg and Frost are a highly enjoyable odd couple at the forefront. Marvelously scripted throughout.
8.5/10 (Amazing)

 

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

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A man’s uneventful life is disrupted by the zombie apocalypse. (IMDb)
The set-up here is brilliant, with all its sly foreshadows and that amazing one-take shot of Shaun heading to the store, and while the more straight-forward horror comedy that follows doesn’t wow as much as the comedic/dramatic irony of the first act, it’s always entertaining (a scene highlight: sifting through the records in the backyard), with weirdly but appreciably genuine pathos (see Ed and the cigarette in the cellar) and apocalyptic character tension (see the Winchester wars of words).
8/10 (Great)

 

The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

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Intrepid reporter Tintin and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock’s ancestor. (IMDb)
An incredibly fun film: the treasure-hunt adventure plot is well-crafted without being too complicated, the action is excellent (see the wild goose-I mean falcon chase through Bagghar), the animation makes full use of its creative power (see the delightful transitions and Haddock’s recollection), and there’s just the right amount of great comedy (see Thompson and Thomson of course, but Haddock is hilarious too: “I lit a wee fire” “In a boat?!”) added to the suspense (see the ship escape).
8/10 (Great)

 

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

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Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong. (IMDb)
“So where are we going?” “So what’s the plan?” I feel like these exact phrases have been used so many times in every M:I flick but call me Pavlov’s pup cuz the way they’re continually followed by second-to-none, high-octane action, I’ll continue to salivate at their delivery. Gorgeous scenery accompanies the action here (that helicopter chase was just amazing), as does some engaging, twisty-turny espionage (the additions of Cavill’s moody Walker and Kirby’s enigmatic White Widow help here).
7.5/10 (Really Good)

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

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Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate – an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF. (IMDb)
A ridiculous, fantastic opening sequence with Cruise’s all-in-all-the-time Hunt (“I’m not in the plane, I’m ON the plane!”) sets the stage for another wonderful batch of thrilling action that is just so insane and entertaining and well-made that you often forget what the plot is in the midst of it-and this time around the plot has its moments of deeper intrigue and character nuance (Ilsa’s a nice addition here, sans those gratuitous bod shots) like M:I 1, so it’s not like that’s not saying much.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

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The IMF is shut down when it’s implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization’s name. (IMDb)
The stunts and sequences are even better than that of its stellar predecessor (see the hotel con and climb, insane parking garage fight), but the characters are not (Pegg’s comic relief aside) and the main plot starts to get a little silly, morphing into a bit of a cliche end-of-the-world deal complete with Euro villains. To its credit, it does embrace some of its ridiculousness (see Hunt’s failed “Mission accomplished!”). Not to its credit are the terrible placecards (Verdana of all fonts??).
7/10 (Good)

Ready Player One (2018)

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When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. (IMDb)
The OASIS is fun (maybe more for others, but I’m glad to say I thoroughly enjoyed The Shining visitation), but it’s the back-and-forth dynamic between it and reality that’s really well done and makes for lots of entertaining action hi-jinks (see the fooling of Sorrento). In the end though, it wastes the potential of its characters (there should be a whole movie made about the tragic Halliday) as well as the deeper reality vs. entertainment theme underlying the sadly neglected dystopian setting.
7/10 (Good)