A couple months ago, WHODEY in da 772 posted "A Random Fanpost...BSing about things not related", in which recent movies were discussed. I thought I'd prompt a continued discussion of movies, if any are interested and the moderators don't mind non-football talk. (I'm also upset I missed an opportunity to discuss movies, as I consider myself a bit of a movie buff).
I figured I'd start off with giving quick reviews of recently filmed movies (since 2012) I've seen in no particular - and not comprehensive - order and open up for discussion. Starting with the movies previously discussed in WHODEY in da 772's fanpost....
Hurt Locker - Mentioned in the other fanpost. Been out for a few years (2008), but I actually just watched for the second time. It's difficult for me to watch without heavy cynicism (for those of you wondering, no, EOD Soldiers do not typically travel randomly across Iraq/Afghanistan in a solo HMMWV, clear stadium-sized buildings with just three Soldiers, detonate explosives without clearance from higher, refer to superior ranking NCOs on a first-name basis, or randomly leave and return to FOBs by themselves in the middle of the night). However, it is a very entertaining movie and does offer some very realistic glimpses of life in that part of the world. I also like the main actor, Jeremy Renner.
Zero Dark Thirty - Not as good as I thought it'd be, but still very riveting and insightful. This movie consorted the entire spectrum of politics, CIA, and military operations towards the killing of Bin Laden. The main actress was a little annoying at first as she plays a very entitled and nettlesome sort of character, though I felt perpetually drawn to her as her eccentric obsession with hunting down Bin Laden becomes compounded with her increasingly self-imploding life.
Olympus Has Fallen - Haven't see this movie. Any opinions?
Argo - As commented in the other fanpost, very good movie. I have to admit, I am becoming a huge Ben Afleck fan - as a director. This movie provides a very suspenseful and thrilling account of the stealth operation conducted in 1980 to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel from the famous Iran Embassy attack. The ending was a little over-dramatic and embellished, however the movie seemed very realistic for the most part. John Goodman also played a small, funny role and nailed it, as he typically does. If you haven't seen any of the other Afleck-directed movies, I'd definitely recommend "Gone, Baby Gone" and "The Town" - both movies set in Boston.
Dredd - No affiliation to Sylvester Stallone's take on the comic book series, "Judge Dredd". This movie, as also commented upon in the other fanpost was totally bad ass. The plot was very simple, yet still had me engaged the entire time. The main character, Judge Dredd, appears to be your typical flawless, superman type hero - though had a unique sense of stoicism and stalwartness as he essentially embodies the archetype of those battling corruption in this future dystopian action flick.
Red Dawn - Ughh. One the most disappointing movies of 2012. I like Chris Hemsworth, but even he couldn't save this horribly directed, cheap remake of the classic. Patrick Swayze must have rolled over in his grave. I realize the underlying premise of the movie is young, immature teenagers suddenly becoming transformed into battle-hardened warriors through the humility of war that should galvanize the American patriotic spirit in all of us. However, the "protagonists" are so annoying, spoiled, and disrespectful, I had a hard time rooting for them and almost began pulling for the North Koreans at one point. It almost seemed like Hemsworth couldn't wait to get the movie over with....
Taken 2 - The MOST DISAPPOINTING movie of 2012. In fact, arguably the most disappointing sequel EVER (with the possible exception of Boondock Saints 2). Let me provide the background for this movie.... after being kidnapped with the intent of forced prostitution in Europe and subsequently rescued by her father who pisses off the entire Muslim human-trafficking underground community, somehow they feel it appropriate to travel back to Europe in an Islamic country along with the mother.... I don't see how this could go wrong.
Trouble with the Curve - Haven't seen it yet... any thoughts? The thought of Clint Eastwood, Justin Timberlake and baseball somehow doesn't appeal to me.
Oz - As a huge fan of "The Wizard of Oz", I was horribly disappointed with this movie. Don't even waste your time. I couldn't make it much more than halfway through this horrific prequel.
Erased (Originally titled Expatriate) - Actually a very thrilling and intriguing movie. Has a bit of a cliche-type plot involving former CIA agents, conspiracies, and cover-up schemes - though very entertaining. Not that this was necessarily realistic, but I felt like this was actually somewhat believable and the main character (played by one of my favorite actors, Aaron Eckhart) is very appealing and connectable.
Lawless - A little slow, but enjoyable. Had a very good cast (Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman) but I didn't feel they were properly utilized. I kept waiting for their characters to develop, but they never did. It seemed they were really just cast for billing purposes. The main actor ended up being Shia LaBeouf who gave me a nauseating feeling in the Transformers movies, but wasn't too bad in this one.
Jack Reacher - I have to admit one of my guilty pleasures is Tom Cruise. This movie was... entertaining at least. Very roughly directed, horribly acted (even Tom Cruise seemed a little off kilter - perhaps because he was trying to play a character who is 6'5" in the book series), and at times seemed too ridiculous. It was almost as if the directer realized this movie was going to flop if seriously themed, but could make it somewhat humorous by going over the top (similar to the Evil Dead series). The movie was also very predictable and almost insulting at times with obvious subterfuge interpolated throughout. Robert Duval did have a good, though limited part.
Oblivion - Another Tom Cruise movie, which was actually entertaining as well. A futuristic sci-fi movie which turns into a bit of a mind-bender with a lot of unexpected twists and turns. It was looking really good until Morgan Freeman appeared.... Has Morgan Freeman ever played a role whose character wasn't smug, disgruntled, and bickering?
Avengers - Awesome. Must see. Robert Downey Jr. delivers and pretty much carries the movie himself. Favorite line of the movie: Captain American: "Big man in a suit. Take that away. What are you?" Iron Man: "Uh... genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist."
Lincoln - I actually really enjoyed this movie. Very slow and a lot of talking... but provided a very authentic (IMO) glimpse of the political and behind the scenes struggle for emancipation and abolition of slavery. Daniel Day-Lewis never ceases to amaze me.
Looper - Interesting, mind-bending thriller with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Not great. Worthwhile, though a bit depressing. Still trying to figure out why they thought Bruce Willis would make a believable future self-version of Gordon-Levitt.
Tedd - Hilarious. Very raunchy humor, but I couldn't stop laughing the entire time. Mark Wahlberg can at times be very impressive as an actor (loved him in The Departed).
Prometheus - Interesting prequel to the Aliens movies. Felt like it could have been much better, but it wasn't too bad. I'm still having a hard time grasping the connection between this movie and Alien.... and what exactly the alien in the opening scene was doing... though I'm not losing any sleep over it.
Flight - Haven't seen it yet... I was about to, then I made the mistake of watching Deja Vu (which is one of the worst movies ever made) and that put a sour taste in my mouth for Denzel Washington. He was great in the Book of Eli though. Any opinions on Flight?
21 Jump Street - Horrible. I thought this was incredibly cheezy and I'm highly disappointed in Jonah Hill. After the first 10 minutes, I was ready for it to be over.
Total Recall - Haven't seen it. Something about Colin Farrell that just irritates me. I thought the original with Arnold was okay... didn't think this is even worth watching. Anyone beg to differ?
The Amazing Spider Man - Haven't seen this either. It just looks dumb for some reason...
Life of Pi - Very captivating and beautifully picturesque movie following the religious journey of an Indian boy as he floats adrift a boat with a tiger as a cast away.
Dark Knight Rises - I'm really sad the Christian Bale Batman series is over.... or is it? Loved the villain, Bane. Assuming everyone has seen this (if you haven't, you're wrong)....... I was a little perplexed at the whole captivity in a hole without guards concept... outsiders couldn't just lower a rope and allow their comrades out? And how indestructible Batman can be despite the endless barrage of beatings and injuries he suffered. Didn't realize you could recover from a broken back after a few months of situps.... And an interesting tactic employed to march several hundred police men down a funneled street at the risk of being completely obliterated by a few explosives or heavy machine guns. United we stand theme, I suppose....?
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - It was enjoyable... they took a lot of liberties with the book however. What should have been a two hour movie based on a 100 page book has seemingly been stretched into a 3-part series with each movie being just short of 3 hours.... It's been a long time since I read the book, however they definitely added several scenes and characters to the movie that weren't originally in J.R.R Tolkien's classic. And I frankly felt it unnecessary.
The Hunger Games - I actually wan't impressed with the movie and surprisingly feel like a minority in this perspective. They seemed to make a big spectacle out of futuristic, aristocratic fashion and the main character's personality, or lack there-of, was about as engaging as a door. I guess the intent, similarly to Bella in the Twilight saga, was so young teenage girls could easily manifest themselves into the character. The general concept of the movie was also a little weird for me. I still don't really quite get the whole point of it...
Skyfall - Was better than the last Bond movie, but not as good as the first one with Daniel Craig (who I do like as Bond - probably a close second behind Connery). I felt they tried to focus too much on commemorating the 50th anniversary of Bond movies. Perhaps if I was a bigger Bond fanatic, I'd appreciate it more, though felt many of the references and homages went over my head. Though still highly fast-paced and a bit confusing, they did slow it down enough to be able to follow along - unlike Quantum of Solace.
Les Miserables - Ehh, no thanks. No interest in yet another remake of the musical French version of Gone with the Wind.
Snow White and the Huntsman - Very captivating for the first three quarters of the movie. Then it suddenly self-destructs with horrible cliches and a predictable ending.
Dark Shadows - I watched the first 30 minutes of this movie and had enough. Johnny Depp + camera does not necessarily equal quality.
Men in Black 3 - I thought the second movie was a drop off from the first. Saw bits and pieces of this one and it seemed pretty silly. About the extent of the humor seemingly resided with Josh Brolin trying to mimic an earlier life of Tommy Lee Jones' character. It held my attention for a few seconds at a time.
Killing Them Softly - Haven't seen this yet... any thoughts or recommendations?
Django Unchained - I think I'll pass on this one. No further comment.
John Carter - If this movie came out 20 years ago, it would have been pretty awesome. I realize it's based on an older book, but pretty much every theme and plot device in this movie has already been exhausted to the point of nausea in Hollywood.
Expendables 2 - I don't care if the plot, green screen action sequences, ridiculous gun fights, and corny one-liners are incredibly cliche, the movie was AWESOME! I loved it. Even better than the first. It's still refreshing to see movies that pit actual good guys against bad guys. Chuck Norris also had a very entertaining cameo appearance. Between this, Copland, Rocky Balboa, and Rambo, Sylvester Stallone, in my opinion has redeemed himself for the horrible 90's movies he made.
Battleship - No desire to see Liam Neeson in some sort of Transformers ripoff.
The Campaign - Unsurprisingly another stink bomb by Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. Sadly enough, a large audience probably still enjoy this low quality, recurring humor.
The Watch - I think I've finally had enough of Ben Stiller movies... I'm just sad to see Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill being dragged into this heap of garbage. Another "comedy" where they have just enough humor scenes to fill previews and trailers with and nothing more.
The Bourne Legacy - Definitely the most under appreciated of the Bourne series. Jeremy Renner does a good job while starring in this final piece to the puzzle which provides some closure and answers to many questions regarding the Bourne movies. Opening 20 minutes were the best.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - I actually saw this one shortly after watching "Lincoln". Talk about polar opposite viewpoints of a historical figure. Eventually, Hollywood will stop exploiting every possible opportunity to make a vampire or zombie movie, right?
Wrath of the Titans - Liam Neeson, what are you doing with your career?
Lockout - Very surprisingly entertaining movie. Guy Pearce plays a wrongfully accused ex-Soldier type who is asked to rescue the President's daughter in a futuristic space prison. Worth your while to watch.
Contraband - A decent movie with Mark Wahlberg. Essentially the drug-running version of "Lords of War" with Nicholas Cage.
The Raven - Very suspenseful and thrilling. This movie takes a few liberties to portray a fictional explanation to the final days of Edgar Allen Poe's life (played by John Cusack) leading up to his mysterious death (in real life). I enjoyed the seemingly authentic depiction of Poe and life in the mid-1800's.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World - Steve Carell attempts to break his Michael Scott/Brick Tamland stigma and play a serious role again, only to fail... again.
Act of Valor - Loved it. The characters are played by real SEALs and the movie overall is very authentic. At times, the acting is rough, but I felt it just made the movie seem more realistic. There was a little too much Indian philosophy incorporated into it for my liking, but the action sequences and insight to how they operated, especially during the planning phases was very intriguing. My favorite character was the Chief (guy with the beard who interrogated the one suspect on the boat).
Pawn - Thrilling robbery movie that continually develops as more background information is revealed. Michael Chiklis (who puts on a surprisingly heavy British accent) teams up with Forest Whitaker again since the epic seasons 5 & 6 of Shield.
At this point, I realize I have watched entirely way too many movies... so I'll give this a rest.
Movies I'm looking forward to seeing include Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Evil Dead (is this going to be more similar to the first Evil Dead or Evil Dead 2?), The Wolverine, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Red 2, Kick Ass 2, Anchorman: The Legend Continues, Thor: The Dark World,