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.

The Matrix (1999)

Weird that the poster is more purple-tinted than green

Directed by: The Wachowski Brothers.. now Siblings (Speed Racer wasn’t as bad as it was unnecessary)

Written by: The very same Wachowskis (I loved the hell out of V for Vendetta)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano, Gloria Foster, Marcus Chong, Julian Arahanga, Matt Doran, and Belinda McClory.

What it’s about: oh man, is it so old that people on the Internet don’t know what The Matrix is about?  Well, a man discovers that the life he thought he was living is based on a technological lie

B-Movie Alternate Title: A World Ruled by Machines

Movie Mash Up: Dark CityThe 13th FloorTRON

What I liked: The movie is a stunning technological marvel, even a decade later.  Highly influential, in both negative and positive ways.  It is a pretty interesting story, though I hate that it dulls the impact of TRON.  The action is great, and the entire movie looks gorgeous, especially on Blu-Ray.

What I disliked: Ehn, the acting isn’t stellar or anything.  Also, there are aspects of the movie that just seem hokey nowadays.  Sure, you can blame other movies for paying homage to The Matrix so much that viewing the original film has dulled any impact it once had.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Sure!  It has been a highly influential movie for the past decade (for better or worse) and everyone should see it at some point.  Just leave it at that.  Don’t watch the sequels that do not exist.  THE SEQUELS THAT DO NOT EXIST.

Rating: 4 / 5

At least it isn't one of those goddamn Magic Eye things.

At least it isn’t one of those goddamn Magic Eye things.

Memento (2000)

Full confession here: this is only the second time I’ve watched Memento.  It has been over a decade since I first watched it, and I sort of planned that way.  I wanted to have only the vaguest of recollections when I watched it for the second time, so it could be new to me again and that I could experience the mystery of it all over again.  And it worked, to a point.  I started remembering little details, but for the most part I just sat back in awe at what a tremendous filmmaker director Christopher Nolan has been for his entire career.

If you don’t know the plot line for Memento, well it concerns Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce), a man who suffers from short term memory loss.  There was an incident, and since that incident, he has been unable to form new memories.  You can talk to him for an hour and then see him the next day and he’ll have no recollection of that conversation.  Shelby is searching for the man that killed his wife (Jorja Fox), and since he can’t remember the facts he discovers, he develops a system of notes and tattoos to fill in the cavernous gaps in his memory.

The film is shown both in and out of chronological order, almost similar to what Irréversible did, minus the horrible 10-minute long rape scene.  If you haven’t seen it yet, any clues I drop here will potentially lead to the movie having less of an impact on you.  It is a masterful film, and one that I would say benefits from multiple viewings if I had not just taken a decade long break from watching it again.  Nolan gives us many clues throughout the movie, and it certainly invites a person to pay close attention to the details.  Pearce is off the charts excellent in his performance, and the movie itself should be required viewing for everyone that are sick of films that are basically commercials and don’t challenge you in the least.

5 / 5