102 Articles


4 years Ago

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2015.7

Published by marco on

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV.

Police Story 3: Supercop (1996) — 6/10
This is a decent farce action/adventure through several countries with... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2015.6

Published by marco on

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV.

Everest (2015) — 7/10
Kath and I went to see this in an actual theatre, complete with 3D glasses and... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2015.5

Published by marco on

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) — 7/10
This is the slasher film that redefined what it meant to be a... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2015.4

Published by marco on

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie.

Citizenfour (2014) — 8/10
This is Laura Poitras’s Academy Award-winning documentary about the events surrounding Edward Snowden’s revelations and release of the documentation that proves that the United States and its NSA has been and continues... [More]

5 years Ago

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2015.3

Published by marco on

Scanners (1981) — 6/10
This is a David Cronenberg movie about very special people who can control other people’s minds with their own. The movie is very much of its time—it is basically an action-adventure story of conflicting mind-control factions. The pacing is quite slow by today’s standards, but the story is pretty interesting—even if the parts involving computers are laughable. Also, about a quarter of the movie is taken up with people squinting and sweating at each other, trying to... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2015.2

Published by marco on

The Unborn (2009) — 5/10
This is a decent horror-film concept wrapped in a movie with terrible dialogue and acting. The main character is a nearly impossibly thin and tall young lady of indeterminate age. She and her friends are uniformly vapid, dim, anorexic, entitled, rich (look at their houses!) and bitchy. It nearly goes without saying that no-one is funny. I watched half an hour, during which my attention drifted. I was brought back by the movie breaking the “show don’t tell” rule in... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2015.1

Published by marco on

Bill Burr: I’m Sorry You Feel That Way (2014) — 10/10

I just saw this. I’m still in pain. That was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life.

Filmed in black and white. And the title is just perfect. He doesn’t say the title, but you can hear him saying it.

Religion, racism, adoption, helicopters, euthanasia, what else?

He hit 55 minutes and could have walked off on that joke. It was brilliant. Beautiful build-up. Perfect ending. Just drop the mic and walk off.

Not Bill.

He... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2014.7

Published by marco on

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) — 6/10
An F. Scott Fitzgerald story directed by David Fincher and starring Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt and Julia Ormond sounded great on paper. It was a good movie, although at 2:45 a bit long, with many interleaving vignettes and stories from the lead character’s life. Benjamin Button is a man who was born old and lives his life backward. The filming and plot reminded me of Forrest Gump with Pitt playing Gump and Blanchett playing “Jenny”. Pitt even... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2014.6

Published by marco on

Lee Camp: We Are Nothing (2014)
Lee is a pull-no-punches political comedian who started with his A Moment of Clarity podcast. This eventually expanded to a longer format, then moved to YouTube as a multi-episode and community-sponsored video series. He’s since been picked up for his own show on RT, called Redacted Tonight. In this standup special, he started out with his weakest material, but warmed up quickly to much better and stronger material, which he delivered with his typically honest... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2014.5

Published by marco on

Man of Steel (2013) — 5/10
This movie starts off super-strong with a council meeting on Krypton. It’s exciting because they filmed it with a shaky cam. It moves on to Russell Crowe as Jor-El (Superman’s father) steal “the codex”—half a skull that kinda lights up?—engage in meaningless heroics in a chamber that looks ripped right out of the Matrix’s breeding chambers, but without the menace or back-story. There’s little back-story or character development at all to make you care about who... [More]

6 years Ago

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2014.4

Published by marco on

He’s Just Not That Into You (2009) — 3/10
A star-studded cast can’t save this utterly derivative and cliché script. Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Scarlet Johannson, Justin Long, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck. And Busy Phillips—of Freaks and Geeks fame—had a small role. This movie purports to dispel the myths of dating, marriage and male/female relationships. Though it may appear to do so superficially—at least it very clearly tells you that it is... [More]

Movie recommendations #1

Published by marco on

I’ve been asked for movie recommendations often enough of late that I thought I’d put together a bit of a summary of the mini-reviews I’ve made over the years.

The following list is not comprehensive nor does it necessarily comprise my favorite movies, though many favorites are here. I made the list with a particular couple of friends in mind and tailored it to include the movies I thought they might find interesting but had most likely not heard of or hadn’t yet seen. I also only chose movies... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2014.3

Published by marco on

Gravity (2013) — 6/10
I can only say what I thought of this movie based on the way that I saw it: in HD on a conventional screen at home. I can imagine that the experience was very different in 3D and on a giant screen with a kick-ass sound system. The only downside I can think of is that if the sound-leveling was the same in the theater, it would have been an ear-blistering experience. If you set the volume high enough to hear the occasional radio whispers, many other parts of the movie... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2014.2

Published by marco on

The Thin Red Line (1998) — 7/10
I was not surprised in the least to confirm that Terence Malick directed this film about the US attack on Guadalcanal in the Pacific Theater in World War II. The film starts with character portrayals of the various sailors on the vessel with a lot of the by-now classic Malick voice-overs. The cast is just loaded with acting talent (male-only), featuring Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, John Travolta, Adrien Brody, Jim Caviziel, Elias Koteas, John C. reilly, Woody... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2014.1

Published by marco on

The Thing (1982) — 8/10
John Carpenter’s classic horror film, set in Antarctica. The sets and effects are really, really good. Not even just “for that time”, but just good in a timeless way. This is a great example of how you don’t need CGI to make a good movie. Just the models alone are a terrifying vision of twisted horror. The camera knows enough to linger on them without anyone saying anything. Spoiler alert: the “thing” is a shape-shifting, virus-like alien life-form that can’t really... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.10

Published by marco on

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2005) — 6/10

This is a Steve Coogan vehicle which is kind of like a documentary about Steve Coogan making a movie of the essentially unfilmable post-modern novel Tristram Shandy, a humorous, rambling book that is describes as follows in Wikipedia:

“ostensibly Tristram’s narration of his life story. But it is one of the central jokes of the novel that he cannot explain anything simply, that he must make explanatory diversions to add context and colour... [More]”

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.9

Published by marco on

Rampart (2011) — 7/10
Woody Harrelson oozes menace as a cop in the Rampart department in Los Angeles. This department is embroiled in, as department lawyer Sigourney Weaver calls it, “a shitstorm”. Harrison smokes where he’s not supposed to (which is pretty much everywhere in LA), goes out drinking seemingly every weeknight and hooks up on a work night—but only after being turned down by both sisters he lives with, with whom he’s had a kid each. To top it all off, he listens to/is steeped in... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.8

Published by marco on

The Conspiracy Files: 9/11 the Third Tower (2008) — 6/10
A documentary putting out the evidence that Truthers provide for Tower 7 and then debunks it piece by piece by piece. It’s quite well-done, letting some pretty damning evidence speak for itself. Availalble online (YouTube).
The Name of the Rose (1986) — 7/10
This is a crime movie that takes place in a 12th-century monastery. The monks are twisted and disfigured and seem borderline mentally unstable. Sean Connery stands out as one who at least... [More]

7 years Ago

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.7

Published by marco on

Jewel of the Nile (1985) — 5/10
The cast of Romancing the Stone returns for this sub-par sequel, made back when sequels did not necessarily have a number in their titles. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner play the lead couple and Danny DeVito reprises his role, but this time on their side rather than against them. The hijinks feel forced and the magic of the first film isn’t really there.
Snakes on a Plane (2006) — 4/10
It’s fun to try to imagine why someone with Samuel L. Jackson’s... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.6

Published by marco on

Argo (2012) — 6/10
Ben Affleck directs and stars alongside John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin and Zeljko Ivanek in this movie about the CIA pretending to make a movie in order to smuggle US-embassy employees out of Iran during the hostage crisis. The cast is good and the idea isn’t bad but the execution is a bit slow, especially in the second act, where I felt that they didn’t sustain the suspense well at all. The direction and cinematography were quite good, but not exceptional for... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.5

Published by marco on

Alien (1979) — 9/10
The classic film, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver (Ripley), John Hurt and Tom Skerritt. It documents the journey of a commercial deep-space mining ship on its way to investigate an S.O.S. call from a distant planet. The ship lands and sends out a landing party, which discovers an even larger, alien craft that seems for all intents and purposes to have crashed long ago. Something survived, though and it wants to breed again. And for that, it needs a... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.4

Published by marco on

X-Men: First Class (2004) — 9/10
Possibly the best of all of the X-Men movies so far, with Jean Grey coming from the dead as Phoenix and fighting with Professor X himself for supremacy. They took out Magneto—made him human—and man was I rooting for the Phoenix to make a clean slate of things at the end. Mainstream movies always cop out when it comes to destroying the world, though. Still recommended, though, and highly recommended for fans of comic-book movies.
Kill Bill Vol. I (2003)... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.3

Published by marco on

Blade: Trinity (2004) — 7/10
Wesley Snipes stars as the daywalker in the third film of the trilogy. Instead of just Kris Kristofferson’s Whistler, he’s aided by the Nightstalkers, a band of vampire hunters comprising Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Biel and Patton Oswalt (Oswalt was clearly thrown in for balance because Biel and Reynolds were apparently way too much eye candy). Parker Posey (Louie’s girlfriend in the TV show Louie) is off the rails as the leader of the vampire gang, which comes up... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.2

Published by marco on

Tangled (2010) — 5/10
Disney’s take on the story of Rapunzel, done in modern, 3d-animated style. The characters are unsurprising: there’s a beautiful virginal girl who sings, a young handsome rogue who sings and an evil old witch. The story is only tangentially related to the original Grimm’s fairy tale: in the original, the witch was initially the wronged party; in the Disney version, there’s no gray area and the witch is evil from the start. There were no real star voices and only a... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.1

Published by marco on

Manufactured Landscapes (2006) — 9/10
This is a documentary about manufacturing—mostly in China—about the world that humanity creates for itself and about the lives that people live in this world. The film starts with a long, slow pan along a factory floor that seems to last for kilometers. It is equal parts horrifying to think of how people can live and work in places like this and awe-inspiring to think what gigantic structures man has created. The documentary also acknowledges its own... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2012.9

Published by marco on

Joe vs. the Volcano (1990) — 8/10
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan star in a movie that starts off like Brazil, depicting the life of a wage-slave—an empty, meaningless and mind-numbingly boring life. The kind of life that probably more rather than fewer people live today than in 1990 when the film was made. The entrance to the company where Joe works—which manufactures rectal probes and lube (really subtle)—is a jagged, winding path cut into what looks like volcanic, blasted terrain. The atrium... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2012.8

Published by marco on

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009/se) — 8/10
This is the original Swedish filming of the book by Stieg Larsson with Noomi Rapace in the eponymous role (she went on to star in Prometheus) opposite Michael Nyqvist, who’s got this utterly believable early-Gerard Depardieu vibe to him. Just as in Prometheus, Ms. Rapace is in phenomenal shape; seriously, she’s ripped and way more buff than in the book, where The Girl is described as a stick. She looks good doing it though, and it’s completely... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2012.7

Published by marco on

Johnny English Reborn (2011) — 8/10
A surprisingly amusing and refreshingly good sequel to the original Johnny English. This one drew the line farther from slapstick than the original—and skirting entirely the scatological humor that induced squirms. The story was decebt and the cast was good (Gillian Anderson and Rosamund Pike were both very welcome additions). English, as played by Rowan Atkinson, is even more skilled than in the first film, though he still swings between utterly... [More]

8 years Ago

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2012.6

Published by marco on

Crank (2006) — 6/10
Grand Theft Auto started out by copying action movies and now the circle is complete as movies like Crank are copying the cinematic style of GTA. It does a great job of raising adrenalin levels. About halfway through the movie, he’s even dressed as Nico from GTAIV (when he visits his girlfriend). As a concept, it’s quite a bit of fun, although it drags a bit toward the end. In that way, it emulates the feeling of having stale adrenalin in your veins, so that’s good I... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2012.5

Published by marco on

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) — 5/10
This sequel, worse than the original, is, on top of it all, showing its age. This time, Max cynically helps a settlement try to get petrol while the forces of Humungus (the evil, Bane-like leader of the marauders) try to destroy them and steal all of their supplies. Everything is very post-apocalyptic and the final half of the film is an interminable truck chase across the Australian wastelands. Not really recommended; watch the first one instead.... [More]