One of my New Year’s resolutions was to keep a log of the movies I watch and the books I read, and as a result, here is the first installment of “What Have I Seen?!?” Warning: There are plenty of spoilers, so stop reading if you don’t want to reveal any plot points.
Movies Watched in January 2013
In order of most favorite to unwatchable. My ranking system is primarily based on how much i enjoyed the movie–i.e. would I watch it again, and recommend it to others. An asterix indicates whether I have seen the movie before.
Serenity*- Such a great, fun movie (except for Wash dying and all). Nobody can write humor into an action movie like Joss Whedon. River’s fight scene at the end has got to be one of my favorite action scenes of all time.
Looper – One of the best stories I’ve seen in a while — I had no idea how it was going to end. Great, spare use of the supernatural elements (that kid is freaky). Got totally lost in this movie and loved every minute, despite the fact that none of the characters are really heroes.
The Dark Knight Rises* – Not my favorite Batman movie, but it was definitely better the second time I watched it. Still hated Bane’s voice. Not sure why they wasted money on Tom Hardy when any actor could have been behind that mask.
Jaws* – Still holds up after all these years.
Haywire - Loved this one for its close combat fight scenes. Mallory Kane kicks some serious ass. Great acting by big name stars like Michael Fassbender. Soderberg’s way of telling a story was great at parts, but lacked in others — didn’t care for the whole car ride bit where Mallory tells her story to some guy she just kidnapped. Isn’t her life supposed to be top secret?
Bourne Legacy – Not the best Bourne movie but definitely good. Not sure about Jeremy Renner. He looks the part but a Bourne character with his voice and light-hearted demeanor seemed odd.
High Plains Drifter* – A lot of movies don’t age well, but Westerns are timeless. This one still holds up really well, and the site of the town painted red is always awesome. Clint is such a jerk in this movie, but it fits his character well. This is one of the movies that is always on cable and whenever I stumble across it, I end up sticking with it.
Conan the Barbarian* – Not nearly as bad the second time around, but still not very good. It really felt like they wanted to make a Pirates of the Caribbean movie out of Conan. This movie needed to be grittier and dirtier to work for me.
Joe Kidd* – Classic Clint.
Battleship – Liked this a lot more than I thought I would. The movie could have lost the first half hour and been fine. Rihanna was definitely out of place in the cast. Action scenes were fun and I actually choked up a bit when the veterans walked onto the ship ready to go to battle. Stupid but fun.
The Three Musketeers – Popcorn movie fun. I can’t resist movies with swordplay and tight bodices, and this movie had plenty of both. It was a wise decision to depart from the source material and go more towards the fantastical with the airships. If you’re going to go in a new direction, you might as well go big.
Judge Dredd – I’m not sure what the final death count in this movie was but I think it had to be the highest I’ve seen since the 1980’s. Violence doesn’t usually bother me, but the slow-mo deaths were head turning moments. The highlight of this movie for me was Olivia Thrilby — she pulled off something that few female actresses are able to do — she was utterly believable in an intense action role. Consider me a big fan. Most actresses tend to overdo the sneering and screaming in action movies, but she played the role perfectly. I enjoyed the movie once, but probably won’t clamor to see it again–not much story here and almost zero character development
Everything or Nothing - The Untold Story of James Bond – You can never get enough Bond history, and this documentary covered every Bond from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig. Unfortunately, Connery did not contribute, but seeing how the film villified him so much, I can’t say that it’s too surprising. One thing I didn’t care for was Bill Clinton’s commentary–doesn’t he have better things–he’s an ex-president for crying out loud.
Real Steel – I was hoping this movie would be better than I thought, but I was wrong. The father-son relationship really never came through with the emotion. Hugh Jackman’s character is an awful father figure and never really redeems himself.
Safe House – Forgettable Denzel movie that got lost in its plot. Still a fan of Ryan Reynolds and wish he would excel as an action star. Not a fan of movies that paint every high-level member of the CIA as bad guys.
Contraband – Mark Wahlberg plays Mark Wahlberg. Plot was a mess. Kate Beckinsale’s assets were wasted in this movie — her main role was to get beat up — not cool. Learned a lot about the shipping industry. The happy ending was strange in this gritty movie.
Agent Cody Banks – Watched this one with the kids. 80’s kids movies were waaaay better than this dreck. Malcolm in the Middle did not age well. I actually enjoyed the Spy Kids movies, but this ripoff was not very good. Seeing Al Swearengen as the bad guy was the only highlight for me.
Moneyball – I’m sorry but Brad Pitt can not act. He might be the most handsome guy on the planet, but his swagger in this movie irked me to no end. Film about a washed up loser who loses. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s talents were untapped.
Super – Not so much. I really don’t know what they were going for, but this was not a fun movie to watch. I honestly can’t say I liked anything about this movie.
Books Read in January 2013
The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfus – It’s been a long time since I read The Name of the Wind, the first book in this series, and I forgot most of it, but Rothfus tells a good story. This one was true page-turner for me. I wish I didn’t have to wait for the third installment.
The Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher – This is the first book I’ve read by Butcher and will definitely seek out more. He is so prolific, I wasn’t sure where to start, so when I saw this one available from the library’s Kindle section, I gave it a shot. Book was a fast read and my only complaint was that the main battle scene went on way too long–I think it might have been written in real-time. I can’t wait to read the second book in the series and then the third, fourth, fifth… does it ever end?
Son of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs – Anything ERB wrote is tops in my book. This one was more of the same, but still fun.
Robocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson – Not bad, but read too much like a Hollywood movie script for my liking. This would make a great movie, but the book made some pretty huge logic leaps for me to find believeable. I felt like I was reading a book from the Terminator movie franchise. Overall, a fun popcorn novel.
S**t my Dad Says by Justin Halpern – Funny stuff, quick read. I like his dad, but he sure would cause some neuroses in his kids.