My Giveaways & Announcements
★ new rating system with umbrellas! because they are cute! ☂☂☂
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★ GIVEAWAY: Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings! (US/Canada)
2 copies with signed bookplates! ends December 21st!

Movie Reviews

I'm averaging about 5 movies minimum per month at the moment and thought I might as well post up some mini-ratings/reviews on them. Some I'll tag according to actor, but most are categorized according to genre...there's no way I remember every movie I've watched, so these should be the ones that left the biggest impressions, positive or negative. I'll make a note of which medium I watched each on, if I can remember - default is on disc.


Book Reviews


RoboCop (1987) ★★★.5 - class
mini-review: this was HILARIOUS, sometimes intentionally (ex. dialogue) and sometimes not (ex. buckets and buckets of "blood"); girl was kickass, Robo was poker-face funny, and there's lots of people getting mutilated, hilariously; oh and there's some hypocritical critique on capitalism and technology

Transformers (2007) ★★★ - theatre (x3!!)
mini-review: watched it in theatres, THREE TIMES.
I have no excuse, the acting and storyline were all quite average (and sometimes below that) but Transformers were my favourite toys growing up (mixed with Gundams...and Barbies lol)
my main issue was with the childish abuse of power for "revenge": setting the girl's thieving dad free? publically humiliating that mean agent? they've got the moral maturity of 9-year-olds

WALL-E (2008) ★★★.5 - class + rewatch
mini-review: the hazard of watching this in a class setting is that I have to analyze the shit out of it...meaning, I'm seeing some slightly horrific pro-Capitalist and anti-ethnic minority agendas hidden under the adroable little robot love story...only the "American consumers" seem to survive, were they the only ones with the buying power to ensure survival once they've wasted the whole planet? there's absolutely no evidence that any other country had similar funds or resources for their own ships; plus, now that they have robots to be their labourers, are the "actual" sweatshops (ex. third world minorities) just left behind like the garbage? I don't think I saw even ONE Asian adult on those chairs, or their babies in that creepy nursery
otherwise, the Wall-E and EVE storyline was very very cute

Star Trek (2009) ★★★★.5 - theatre + rewatch
mini-review: erm, thanks to this cinematic masterpiece, I actually went and took a Sci-Fi TV course, then proceeded to watch the entire TOS (and I didn't regret it one bit lol; I actually liked the depth of TOS a bit more, and I prefer TOS!Spock more too, since the decidedly younger Spock is a lot less morally mature and thus haven't grown into his role as the Moral Compass yet; the timetravel craziness pretty much matches in insanity with some of the shit that went on in the original, so I'm not that bothered (at least the smoother acting made up for it, tenfold lol); I wish they'd kept the Nero scene in the Klingon prisons though, he was a great "villain", I went and read the comics that served as the prequel for how Nero and TOS!Spock met, it really helped explain a lot of the character motivations...either way, it's pretty and I love the interactions between the entire cast ♥


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) ★★★.5
country of origin: UK
mini-review: I mainly watched this for the Slytherins, Draco especially of course ♥; Harry and his self-righteous whiney gang (Dumbledore included) are rather getting on my nerves, so I just skipped through their parts; hooray for Snape+Draco moments! CG is gorgeous as usual

The Lightning Thief (2010) ★★
mini-review: wow, there are no words to how cheesy and horrible this movie was; sure, it's got a rather pretty cast and CGI, but the pacing was choppy, the dialogue was lame, and the acting was WAY melodramatic; I don't get why the Greek gods are in America (WTF Olympus in Empire State Building???), why Persephone is a slut, why her pearls are owned by ppl like Medusa (are they hinting at them being lovers?); that last scene with Medusa's head reeked SO MUCH of abuse of power and chills me at how cruel children can be; heard Grover was MADE INTO the token black guy, and worse, into the "eager-to-please sidekick who is DESPERATE for female attention" next to the white main character who gets the girl by his ~*Many Manly Merits*~ UGH

Alice in Wonderland (2010) ★★★★ - plane
actors of note: Johnny Depp
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)


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) ★★★.5
country of origin: China
mini-review: it's certainly very very pretty, but the plot is kind of all over the place, and 3/4 of the cast had really bad accents (they're not native Mandarin speakers); I'm not a huge Zhang ZiYi fan, her acting style is rather bland, and Little Tiger's actor didn't really have what it took to be one of the leads...still, the Dragon-Tiger love story was sort of sweet

House of Flying Daggers (2004) ★★★
country of origin: China | actors of note: Kaneshiro, Takeshi
mini-review: Andy Lau actually didn't do so bad with his Mandarin, and I adore Takeshi, but this movie didn't really highlight either of their strong points, merely set them up as angsty love interests for the girl-with-the-mysterious-past; I don't even know how they explain the girl "faked" her condition, and by the end I was just like, "okay sure everyone just die"; I can't fault the cinematography though, especially the dance and fight scenes

Red Cliff (2008) ★★★★ - rewatch
country of origin: China | actors of note: Kaneshiro, Takeshi
mini-review: oh the cinematography and soundtrack are gorgeous, as are the cast lol; I adore Takeshi's playful interpretation of Zhuge Liang, and Hu Jun is so manly as Zhao Zilong ♥; I don't like that they dubbed over both Takeshi and Tony's voices though...even if I admit their mandarin needs some work lol

Red Cliff II (2009) ★★★★ - rewatch
country of origin: China | actors of note: Kaneshiro, Takeshi
mini-review: just as beautiful as the first installment, we get more of the women kicking ass here (figuratively and literally); Takeshi and Tony do a great job with their shared scenes, and even though I've heard some of the historical facts were twisted to fit, I did enjoy the little plots interspersed throughout

Sherlock Holmes (2009) ★★★★★ - theatre + rewatch
actors of note: Robert Downey Jr.
mini-review: the mystery is just as wacky as some of the original shorts (ex. Speckled Band), and just as wtf-ly enjoyable; RDJ and Jude Law's banter is so adorable; it's kind of disappointing how the women end up becoming less awesome, but really I watched this for hilarious!RDJ → spazzy!Holmes and it didn't disappoint ♥


X-Men (2000) ★★★
mini-review: action sequences made me laugh (in the bad way); Wolverine/Rogue friendship fluff was so adorable ♥

Spider-Man (2002) ★★★★ - theatre
mini-review: I remember really enjoying this when it first came out, something to do with the adorableness of Tobey Maguire's Peter and the fact that I liked the cartoons as a kid and this was probably the first superhero movie I watched in theatres

X-Men 2 (2003) ★★★
mini-review: action sequences have improved; there is an Asian character! I wanted pretty-boy Nightcrawler a la X-Men Evolution...

Spider-Man 2 (2004) ★★★.5 - theatre
mini-review: mostly watched this with my family for the sake of following the franchise I guess...don't really remember it much, other than that I was a bit disappointed walking out

X-Men 3: The Last Stand (2006) ★★★.5
mini-review: better action scenes, better CGI; speedoflight!pacing, random!deaths, abrupt!dis/appearances, horrible!romance (Wolverine/Jean is still the most random thing ever)...some good set-up scenes where there are debates about being a minority, accepting it, or hating the majority, etc., but by the end they COMPLETELY disregard the "abuse of power" theme; on the other hand, YAY PORCUPINE ASIAN GUY! YAY INVISIBLE ASIAN GIRL! YAY PRETTY SHOCKWAVE GIRL! Storm grows a personality! Kitty is smart! I like Jean's hair!...not enough Wolverine/Rogue friendly fluff though =(

Superman Returns (2006) ★★.5
mini-review: it was so BORING I almost slept through it; Clark Kent is such a typical pushover, and Superman doesn't really have much of a personality outside of love!angst; I LAUGHED MY HEAD OFF at that little twirl of hair on Superman's forehead like WTF? never liked Superman much anyway (preferred Batman/Spiderman a LOT more)

Spider-Man 3 (2007) ★★.5
mini-review: I don't even know what is going on feels like a disastrous blend of teen comedy mixed with superhero shenanigans; Peter's 180 was more hilarious than "cool" in most areas (though the dance and throwing the bomb were quite standalone scenes); and the way the women were treated (as interchangeable love interests) sort of disgusts me

Iron Man (2007) ★★★★★ - rewatch
actors of note: Robert Downey Jr.
mini-review: possibly the most AMAZING superhero movie EVER; the CGI is so sharp and smooth; the plot is twisty in all the right ways; Tony Stark as a character is just as interesting, flawed, and loveable as Iron Man, the superhero he becomes; it talks about issues of war and WMD, the responsibility that comes with such destructive power, and how it's not as clean-cut as blaming one person for everything that's gone wrong; and of course, ROBERT DOWNEY JR. ♥

Batman: The Dark Knight (2008) ★★★.5
mini-review: I enjoyed this movie more for the OMGAMAZING!Joker than for Batman; Bruce Wayne was quite boring, and so was the typical love interest/triangle, though I liked that they did something new with how it ended up; I think I saw some surprise cameos by HK actors, but I can't be sure...

Iron Man 2 (2010) ★★★.5 - theatre
actors of note: Robert Downey Jr.
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


Freaks (1932) ★★★.5 - class
mini-review: this was banned in a lot of countries apparently, since they starred actual "freaks" from circuses; it wasn't particularly stimulating, moreso trying to portray the "freaks" as sympathetic and human, rather than things to be looked at; kinda reflects the "popular kids get served by the nerds" troupe in teen movies

Dawn of the Dead (1978) ★★★★ - class
mini-review: gloriously gorey and crazy zombie film; I had to study its critique of consumer society, but that just helped explain why everything was so excessively violent; Peter and Roger are of course my favourites ♥ the ending was rather inevitable, but also quite innovative in letting those specific characters survive

Sleepy Hollow (1999) ★★★
actors of note: Johnny Depp
mini-review: it was amazingly pretty, though the blood was a bit too "paint splash" to me; acting was kinda stilted, I laughed in all the wrong places; the Horseman's growling noises were just kind of hilarious towards the end; not scary at all really...

Gothika (2003) ★★★.5 - class
actors of note: Robert Downey Jr.
mini-review: the 0.5 is for the movie itself (wasn't particularly scary, just dark, literally); the ★★★ is for Robert Downey Jr.'s 30-second appearances throughout lol; favourite moment: "Because you were married." adorable, lovesick, and ultimately a gentleman ♥

Zodiac (2007) ★★★★ - TV
actors of note: Robert Downey Jr.
mini-review: perfectly creepy, balanced out by RDJ and Jake Gyllenhaal's amusing mentor-kid interaction; unexpectedly I actually did get quite curious as to how the mystery panned out; the gore isn't explicit, but the murder scenes were quite chilling; too bad there's less of RDJ towards the end...

Let the Right One In (2008) ★★★★★ - theatre + rewatch
country of origin: Sweden
mini-review: this is one truly amazing vampire love story; it shows a rather realistic look at how a (child) vampire would live, but also delves into the inadvertent and intentional cruelty of human children as well; there's also some gender-role reversal (the boy is "girly" and the vampire is of ambiguous gender)

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 (he likes brainless action).

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...


Wonder Boys (2000) ★★★★★ - rewatch
actors of note: Robert Downey Jr.
mini-review: wonderfully quirky characters moving along a lively-paced plot; features teen angst, old-life crisis, mostly-gay RDJ and probably-gay Tobey Maguire, a dead blind dog, infidelity, and an ambiguous happy ending

Shaun of the Dead (2004) ★★★★★ - rewatch
country of origin: UK | actors of note: Simon Pegg + Nick Frost
mini-review: a parody of the zombie flick Dawn of the Dead, with just the right amount of gore and matter-of-fact humour (they stake a zombie to a tree to try and copy its behaviour as it struggles lol); this is an ensemble comedy and each actor brings their own humour to the table; if you think about it, this parody is an even more chilling criticism of consumer society than the original

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) ★★★★★ - rewatch
actors of note: Robert Downey Jr.
mini-review: a hilarious and realistic parody of detective drama cliches; the girl is smart and tough as well as beautiful; the gay man is the successful private detective who's stuck with babysitting Harry (RDJ), the adorable loser who gets into trouble even with the best intentions in mind; Harry is such a loveable IDIOT, and his little narrative breaks lends a lot to the dark-but-fun atmosphere of the film; the mystery itself is rather tight as well, but I watch it again and again just to see how the three of them become the snarkiest of friends ♥

Hot Fuzz (2007) ★★★★★ - TV (x2) + rewatch
country of origin: UK | actors of note: Simon Pegg + Nick Frost
mini-review: watched this with my brother in a hotel room and decided immediately that we would catch the rerun lol; IMMENSELY funny parody of police dramas with such a delicious dark twist from the tralala!opening; lots of poker-face humour and misused vocabulary, along with just a hint of gore (in the DVD version); SWAN!!

Tropic Thunder (2008) ★★★★ - rewatch
actors of note: Robert Downey Jr. + Ben Stiller
mini-review: seriously didn't recognize RDJ at first lol; Ben Stiller is another of my favourite comedic actors, and I love their whole "defy the expectations" theme; not a perfect movie, and I'm not impressed by the drug/potty humour, but it's really really entertaining to say the least; I WANT TO WATCH SATAN'S ALLEY *AHEM*=


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

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.

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.

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


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.