Daredevil (2003)

I don't plan on re-watching Elektra anytime soon.

I don’t plan on re-watching Elektra anytime soon.

Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson (well, this is his best movie, sad as that may be)

Written by: Johnson wrote the screenplay based on the Marvel Comics character of Daredevil

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Colin Farrell, Jon Favreau, Joe Pantoliano, David Keith and Leland Orser

What it’s about: a man struck with blindness as a result of a childhood accident finds his other senses are greatly heightened and uses those abilities to fight crime as both a super-hero and a lawyer

What I liked: To be clear, this was the Director’s Cut that I watched.  It’s a bit longer and in some cases it actually makes the film better.  Most of the action scenes are decent, as well as the special effects.  The costuming of the characters was a fairly decent translation from the comic books, as well.  I liked Affleck’s performance, as well as Colin Farrell’s enormously intense scenery chewing as Bullseye.  It’s also a fairly dark comic book movie, and I think it was actually ahead of its time.  If this movie were made today, it would be of a higher quality with more attention paid to the darkness of the character, as modern audiences are more accepting of those themes than they were 10 years ago.

What I disliked: At times it feels like a comic book, and that’s not a great thing when it comes to the execution of the story.  Pointless scenes featuring action hero poses, and lighting choices that make no sense when you take into account the fact that the character is goddamn blind.  Some scenes are positively goofy.  There was also the sense that – much like Batman & Robin – the story was trying to cram in as much Daredevil history as possible which just led to it being somewhat scatterbrained.  If you’re doing a proper Daredevil movie series, you don’t introduce Elektra until at least the second movie.  Also, the music choices for the movie just reeked of attempted cross-marketing, featuring two flash-in-the-pan Evanescence songs.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Sort of.  It is a decent enough comic book movie, but unlike the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy, it doesn’t transcend the genre.  All that being said, it is still a guilty pleasure of mine.

Rating: 3 / 5

See?  Goofy.

See? Goofy.

Seven Psychopaths (2012)

The most ridiculous of the poster options.

The most ridiculous of the poster options.

Directed by: Martin McDonagh (I absolutely loved In Bruges, and kinda feel like watching that again right away now)

Written by: McDonagh again.

Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, and a bunch of other sorta names in smaller parts.  Check them tags.

What it’s about: a wanna-be screenwriter ends up finding inspiration in the actions of his best friend

B-Movie Alternate Title: Se7en Adaptations

Movie Mash Up: In Bruges + Adaptation

What I liked: Well Colin Farrell has been knocking it out of the park for years, and he continues that record here.  Walken is sometimes the best part of a shitty movie, and in this case, he’s one of many parts, but so delightful to watch.  Sam Rockwell can be hit or miss, and for the most part here, he’s hittin’.  There are so many great actors in the cast, some getting the briefest of screen time, but wonderful to see nonetheless.  Loved the writing, especially the heavy-on-the-meta story line.

What I disliked: Unlike Adaptation, there wasn’t much of a “letting the viewer figure it out for themselves” aspect to the meta-ness, which is fine, but it just seemed a bit ham-fisted at points.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Yes and no, so I guess that means no.  It isn’t a movie for every audience, especially if that person did not enjoy In Bruges.

Rating: 4 / 5

Goddamn I would have loved to been on this set.

Goddamn I would have loved to been on this set.

Total Recall (2012)

I actually think this is a decent-looking poster.

I actually think this is a decent-looking poster.

Directed by: Len Wiseman (as mentioned last week, the best thing he’s ever done is marry Kate Beckinsale, and I guess Live Free or Die Hard is his best movie)

Written by: Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback, loosely based off a Philip K. Dick short story

Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho, Bill Nighy and Bokeem Woodbine.

What it’s about: a remake of the 1990 movie of the same title, a guy finds out that his memories aren’t really his or something, I don’t know, it is dumb

B-Movie Alternate Title: Total Recall: 2012

Movie Mash Up: The Bourne Identity + the original Total Recall I guess + a bit of Minority Report

What I liked: How much Wiseman likes to film his wife in her underpants.  Um, Farrell and Cranston were alright.  There were some great action set pieces and the movie looked – for the most part – quite slick.

What I disliked: Holy fucking lens flares.  I thought J.J. Abrams directed at least half this movie.  For the entire movie I was convinced I knew what the “twist” was going to be and then they didn’t even have the balls to use that twist which would have made more sense than the end result.  Maybe.  All I know is I stopped caring about halfway through.  I thought it was more dumb than cerebral.  There was no reason to remake Total Recall at all.  I barely remembered it to begin with, and now we’ve got Red Dawn 2012 and soon RoboCop: The Next Generation or something stupid.  FUCK OFF HOLLYWOOD.  There’s a reason my interest in watching new movies has dwindled considerably, because they are not new, they are just remakes, retreads, reboots or reimaginings.  Also, the fucking dubstep soundtrack/score.  Years from now people will hear it and remember that for a brief terrifying period in human history, we listened to actual noise for entertainment.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Not really.  I mean, there’s nothing significant about it at all.  Maybe if Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale had a spank-fight in their underwears during Farrell’s Rekall memory implant thing, I could endorse it.

Rating: 1 / 5

Fright Night (2011)

After watching the entire run of Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” multiple times over, I’ve got a concrete idea of what vampire mythology is all about.  Same thing with Back to the Future and time travel movies.  There are ideas that I will reject instantly because THEY AREN’T RIGHT like vampires sparkling in daylight and books for teenagers that are abstinence parables, because fuck that noise.  Vampires are soulless demons and there are many rules and such that apply to killing them and dealing with them.  THESE RULES ARE SET.

When I heard that there was yet another remake/reimagining/whatever bullshit you want to categorize it as, and it was based on a horror movie that I had never seen, I had no interest in seeing it at all.  Then I heard some pretty great things about Colin Farrell’s performance in it, and I kind of said “oh alright, I’ll check it out someday.”  Now I have, and immediately after watching the screenplay credit come up, I was delighted that it was written by “Buffy” vet, Marti Noxon.  As far as I’m concerned, that means it takes place in the same universe as “Buffy” and that is an awesome thing to have surprise you at the end of a movie.

I’m not going completely ga-ga for the movie though, since it was filmed for 3D and there are such stupid 3D set pieces put into the film that it definitely takes you out of the movie if you don’t watch it that way.  Great cast though, with Anton Yelchin still being able to somewhat believably play a nerdy high school kid, Toni Collette as his hot mom (I THINK SHE’S ATTRACTIVE SCREW YOU GUYS IF YOU DON’T), and perfect supporting cast members.  Lisa fucking Loeb has a brief appearance too!

Highly recommended, great fun, and another awesome Colin Farrell performance of scenery chewing to go along with Horrible Bosses earlier this year.  Dude is great.

3.5 / 5

Horrible Bosses (2011)

Going over the history of the pre-production and casting of this movie, there are numerous missteps that could have been made at multiple points that would have actually affected the badass awesomeness of this flick.  When you’re dealing with an ensemble cast, chemistry is of the utmost importance otherwise you just get something that resembles shiny shit like Valentine’s Day.  Jason Bateman – in my books – is a marketable guy for legitimizing a comedic film.  If he’s in it, I’m gonna give it a shot.  Hell I’d pay money to see Bateman co-star with Paul Rudd in a movie where they work in a diner and shoot the shit with the regulars, like Clerks 2 but funny (also, I think I just trademarked or copyrighted that idea).

Ashton Kutcher, Tom Cruise, Owen Wilson and numerous other actors were at one point attached to star in the movie.  Brett Ratner was supposed to direct it.  Thankfully, none of those things happened and instead we get a near perfect black comedy directed by King of Kong‘s Seth Gordon, with an awesome ensemble cast that knew their roles and were more concerned with the project actually being fucking funny.  Why else would Colin Farrell suggest that his character have a horrible comb-over, a pot belly and a fondness for Chinese dragons?  No ego on this film, and if there was, I saw no evidence of it.  Hell, Jamie Foxx was likable in it, as a character named Dean “Motherfucker” Jones and the origin story behind his nickname is just worth the price of admission on its own.

I actually started writing this up with the rating of 4 in my mind for the film, because y’know that’s very good for the genre of movie it is, but the more I’ve written about it and thought about it, well I loved it.  It’s a fucking great movie, one that I will look forward to watching again in the future.

5 / 5

And that’s my rating, but I’m also reading up on the movie and how some reviewers feel there’s homophobia and misogynistic tendencies throughout the movie and it blows my fucking mind.  Really?  I saw none of that, which clearly must mean I’m homophobic and misogynistic as well.  Fuck that noise.  These are reviewers that can’t seem to admit when they’re having a good time, like enjoying a Jackass movie is a crime against film.  I used to be a film snob like that, and I hate old pretentious me.  Fucking uptight twats!

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

It had to happen.  Sooner or later, Terry Gilliam was going to make a movie that I enjoyed.  Imaginarium is what I expected it to be, but also a bit more, considering I didn’t hate or dismiss it as pretentious drug twaddle (how weird is it that “twaddle” is apparently a real word?).  I’m not sure how much of my liking it was due to seeing how much of The Joker was in Heath Ledger’s final performance (he died during the filming), or how much I was drooling over Lily Cole.  Something to ruminate upon.

Either way, Imaginarium seems to have more heart in it than most Gilliam movies which seem to concentrate more on how much “fucked-upness” are in them.  There is a grounded reality to the movie, but also an otherworldly-ness that is well-balanced.  I’m thinking the Editor, Mick Audsley, has much to do with that, probably slapping Gilliam a lot and saying “let me handle it!”  I’ve just read that Gilliam thought of the Parnassus character as himself, which I can totally see, and see why this movie appears to be more well made than most Gilliam movies.

All snark aside, I think this film is mostly a labour of love.  From Gilliam’s semi-autobiographical stance to wanting to honour Ledger, it seems less hell-bent on being crazy than a usual Gilliam picture.  I sincerely enjoyed it, and I will recommend it to others, despite the presence of one Andrew Garfield.

3.5 / 5