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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday Screening: Summer 2010

A monthly meme where I post about movies I've recently watched and ones I'm dying to see. I'll do a mini ★ review for each movie I've seen, and express in ♥s how excited I am for trailers of movies soon to be released. See all of my movie reviews here.

Recent Screenings: 10
Anticipated Screenings: 2

Recent Screenings

Iron Man 2 (2010) ★★★.5 - theatre
mini-review: I was very disappointed in this sequel. I thought, with RDJ, nothing could go wrong...and I was sorta right. RDJ was AWESOME. the rest of the cast, not so much. the dialogue was a bit lifted-from-dramatic-comic-bubbles; the minor characters' acting was stilted (except for RDJ, who NEVER looks stilted in any role really); and the plot was more about emoing!Tony than anything else. I did like the Black Widow character, and Happy lol! the briefcase suit was MINDBOGGLING-Y WICKED, but might have somehow turned into the highlight of the movie...ohoh! I LOVED Whiplash's bird XD anyway, decent action movie, but doesn't live up to the amazingness that was the first

Knight and Day (2010) ★★★ - theatre
mini-review: admittedly I was a little ticked that I didn't get to watch Louis Koo's Triple Tap because my dad wanted to watch a brainless action movie (only slightly paraphrasing his words here)...well, I'm not really a Tom Cruise fan, but his character was hilarious in this movie, in the adorably CRAZY way. I liked that the girl wasn't a pushover, but I thought she was gonna be a spy or something too...and you'll need the typical action-movie suspension of belief that she would pick up firing guns THAT quickly; romance was a little cliched and I didn't like that he kept knocking her out, but the little "revenge" she got on him in the end slightly made up for it, heh

Unthinkable (2010) ★★★★
mini-review: the only reason I watched this was because my dad borrowed it (he likes renting lots of action flicks for the weekend), and it's kind of funny how I got much more out of it than my dad did. this movie is very intense (though kinda unintentionally funny too, in the way that some of the characters are SUPER CLICHE DRAMA KINGS), it has torture (of the SHIELD YOUR CHILDREN'S EYES way) and lots of discussion on wartime morality. the woman is the embodiment of wartime empathy and sympathy, she's the one who has to step up and stop the men from doing things that make them monsters. the torturer asks the tough questions, but does as he's told, he's the anthropomorphized weapon that gets out of control. I liked the ambiguity the ending presented, is being "humane" worth it if you get thousands of people killed? is doing the unthinkable worth it, even if you save so many more lives? this may be because I study media theory and develop the habit to look at the deeper semantics behind every media text, but I was kind of disappointed the movie's message didn't seem to have sunk in for my dad at all. I was in a bit of tense state after that, because I know my dad doesn't like to overthink his entertainment and the friends of mine who could have talked it out with me were asleep halfway across the world...I got over it by looking up korean celebrity gossip.

Accident (2009) ★★★★★
country of origin: China/HongKong | actors of note: Louis Koo
mini-review: OH MY GOD. this movie was AMAZING, though I can't say too much or it would spoil everything =X it had the nostalgia factor, filmed in that kind of "HongKong style" where it looks old but new. it had the LOUIS KOO factor ♥ (and surprise!Richie Ren) and it had the factor of INGENIOUS HOMICIDE PLANS THAT MASQUERADE AS "ACCIDENTS". I really wished there were more Accident Plans done by the group, but seriously, a paranoid assassin Louis Koo is worth anything. and wow, the ending was HEARTBREAK-inducing and release of TENSION all at once, I didn't see it coming (though maybe I should have). in very traditional HK style, they FORCE you to look at the complexities of the human condition, motivations, and conclusions. also, LOUIS KOO.

Alice in Wonderland (2010) ★★★★ - plane
mini-review: I was a bit hesitant to watch this at first, but since it was available during my BORING-ASS 13-HOUR FLIGHT, I watched it. I'll have to say, Johnny Depp hasn't lost all his charms for me (though I'm never going to watch Pirates of the Caribbean 234234) and I ADORED the slightly sensitive Mad Hatter he portrayed. I liked Alice too, because she's snarky and don't care about defying social standards, and she wears a SUIT OF ARMOR YAY! I liked the Red Queen because she's evil but sad (though the fact that they BLENDED her together with the Queen of Hearts was very very stupid), and the White Queen because she's trying to be the "perfectly" gentle queen even though she's a bit crude lol; I don't really remember much about Through the Looking Glass so I'm not sure if the movie storyline follows it, but I enjoyed it as a wacky but relatable story (I refuse to watch movies in 3D lest my eyeballs break from the discomfort and my wallet breaks from the inflated ticket pricing)

Liar Game: The Final Stage (2010) ★★★★ - plane
country of origin: Japan | actors of note: Matsuda Shota
mini-review: I still laugh myself silly over the DEAD ANIMAL living on MatsuSho's head, but still...ahh, I adored the Liar Game drama, Toda Erika is a perfect Nao, and her fearful trust dynamic with MatsuSho's Akiyama is great. as always, I loved the game itself, and just trying to imagine ways that the people will (and they DEFINITELY will) cheat - all the tension and suspense is delicious. of course, the fact that people BURST INTO MANIACAL LAUGHTER to REVEAL THEIR SECRET IDENTITY AS THE ENEMY gets old after the first FIVE TIMES it happens. I really wish the directors allowed their cast to tone down their DRAMA a bit, I would be able to take it more seriously and not snort all over myself that way...the little conclusion for Nao and Akiyama's relationship was really adorable too, though I liked the ambiguity of their mentor-keeper-friend relationship more...

Step Up (2006) ★★★★
mini-review: I watched this after watching the sequel (Step Up 2), and it paled in comparison just a little, maybe because I like dance groups more than dance couples. either way, I loved Tyler's close friendship with Mac and Skinny, the comments made on how poverty makes you feel like you've got nothing to lose. I loved the short little scenes with Tyler and his fellow foster siblings, letting Camille sit with him when their foster parents argue. I loved Tyler and Nora being difficult but reluctantly curious about each other, and how Tyler turned into a great big puppy under Nora's disapproval. the mix of hip-hop music/dance and ballet was really really cool to watch too. I'm a little miffed at how Lucy's previous boyfriends all had to be jerks and she was all but pushed crying into Miles' arms, but I liked Miles so whatever. I also liked the reality of what happened to Skinny, how it was built up since the first scene, and how it affected the people around them and inspired them to rethink their future.

Step Up 2 The Streets (2008) ★★★.5
mini-review: the best step up movie in my opinion, dancing-wise. plot-wise...first of all I really liked Andie, she's no Nora, she's the tough girl with the street connections and the bravado. Chase...was rather boring really. and then, there's ~*MOOSE*~ (or ~*Robert Alexander the Third*~). he's so wiry and nerdy-looking, but in such an adorable way, and then he starts DANCING and he becomes TOTALLY BADASS. his dance scenes are the ones I keep replaying over and over because they are MINDBLOWING and INTENSE. ahem, I also liked the group-dynamics, it's typical outcasts-gather-to-win-approval, but their friendship is cute, and I liked each and every one of them. not sure how I feel about Kido's accent joke, but she's an amazing dancer and doesn't seem to be particularly discriminated against. the Chase-Andie thing was a little...premature? they kinda just gravitated towards each other...I guess action movies don't really need to breed chemistry outside the UST caused by all the...action. I did like how the Sophie didn't end up just using Moose to get to Chase, their little romance was quite adorable. now, the issues I had: the whole idea of the video making fun of Tuck was just so CHILDISH and really, extremely uncalled for, no matter what his attitude was, I really didn't feel sympathy for what happened to Chase after; while I do like the idea of "taking dancing back to the streets, where it originated", I'm not sure how I feel about the white people preaching this to the black people, who invented breaking as a way to battle oppression...the whole 180 change in parental approval thing and swimming through crowds for a final kiss scenes were a bit cliche seeing the second time around

Step Up 3D (2010) ★★.5
mini-review: the ONLY reason this movie didn't fail was because ~*Moose*~ was in it, and it had the group dances again. EVERYTHING ELSE SUCKED. the main romance was so FORCED, I KNEW what Natalie was before the supposed "big reveal" because it was SO OBVIOUS. and speaking of, her and Camille were pretty useless female characters, both lead around by their noses by their men. I really didn't care at all about Luke and his puddle of emo (I liked Kid Darkness, an "evil" side character who appeared for like, 5 minutes, MORE than I like Luke); unlike Step Up 2, the ensemble here didn't strike a chord with me at all, they were just a random group of people who didn't have particularly developed personalities; plot and character development seemed to just be OVERSHADOWED by the OMG! 3D DANCING ACTION! even some ideas were recycled from Step Up 2 (ex. Moose's water dance). plus, the whole side plot where Moose gives up school to come to underground dance competitions is just way too irresponsible, to himself, Camille, and his parents (add onto the fact that Luke practically COMMANDS him to do it); STILL, redeeming qualities: Moose and Camille's little best-friend-turned-lovers side plot was kind of cute, and their duet was a little adorable (AND OMG THE ASIAN KID WAS HILARIOUS). Moose turning his BADASS NERDAGE on the people making fun of him. Moose's WATER DANCE (because it's still awesome even if it's reused). the Robot Dancer. Step Up 2 ensemble's cameo! the actual dancing (it's pretty good, and the light show was pretty). the "last-minute show of support" thing and "kissing after moving through a crowd" is getting ridiculous in its repetition through these movies though.

The Cat Returns (2002) ★★.5
country of origin: Japan
mini-review: I thought it would be good, since it was produced by Studio Ghibli, but I was wrong. this must be what a condensed version of Spirited Away for the attention-span challenged must be like. the plot is confusing at best and rushed at most-of-the-other-times, the main character becomes an Uber Damsel in Distress: she's FORCED into marriage to a cat that she saved, TURNED into a cat, and then RESCUED by an animated cat statue. the evil guys are evil and brainwashed and creepy and loony, the good guy is chivalrous, the fat cat is made fun of, and they all get saved by a deux ex machina BRIDGE MADE OF CROWS...on the plus side, the animation is GORGEOUS and SMOOTH and NATURAL. that's about the only thing I liked though.

Anticipated Screenings

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (November 2010) → anticipation: ♥♥♥.5

well, I never read the last Harry Potter book, mostly because I suddenly realized that I really didn't like the Trio and their self-righteousness, and because everyone said the epilogue sucked lol. also, because Draco apparently doesn't appear in it for much, and since he's my favourite character, I decided to just wait for the movie. it seems he's not in part 1 much though, so I'm only really going to watch this for sake of completion. argh, part 2 comes out NEXT YEAR. WHYYYY?

Paul (March 2011) → anticipation: ♥♥♥♥♥

LOVED Shaun of the Dead, LOVED Hot Fuzz, WILL DEFINITELY LOVE Paul ♥
I'm curious as to what flavor icecream this movie will be ;D

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