JULY Movie Watching Recap and Movie of the Month

MonthlyWatchingRecap_July

Happy August everybody! I missed June’s recap because it was such a whirlwind month for me, but it’s back now!

Whoah, it’s the last month of the year before we get to the ‘–ber’ month (or brrrrrr month if you’re in Minnesota!)… and that also means the end of Blockbuster Movies is near. I think there are only a couple of Summer movies left, Smurfs 2 this weekend, and We’re The Millers & Elysium next weekend.

Now, here are some of the posts you might’ve missed from this past month:

New-to-me Films Watched:

ACatinParis

A Cat in Paris (2010)

PacRim

Pacific Rim

DespicableMe2

Despicable Me

Tremors

Tremors

RED2RED 2

TheWolverine

The Wolverine

WereTheMillers

We’re The Millers (review next week)

ActOfKilling

The Act of Killing (2012)


Rewatches:

MansfieldPark1999

Mansfield Park

XMen

X-Men (2000)

BatmanYearOne

Batman: Year One

BatmanBegins

Batman Begins

VicarsOfDibley_ChristmasSpecial

The Vicars of Dibley (Christmas Special)

July seems to have gone by pretty quickly. I didn’t see any film the first weekend of July, but I guess I was able to see quite a bit of movies in about three weeks. The surprise film of the month for me has been Pacific Rim, which I saw twice in a month, with The Wolverine being the most disappointing.


Movie of the Month:

JulyMovie_TheActOfKilling

I was going to put down Pac Rim as movie of the month but that was before I saw this film.

The Act of Killing is a chilling documentary that recounts the mass-killings in 1965, which is the darkest moments in my homeland Indonesia’s history. I saw this a couple of nights ago and well, all the adjectives you’ve probably heard about this film: harrowing, disturbing, shocking, brutal, mind-blowing, etc. are no hyperbole. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before and one that I won’t soon forget.

This is what Werner Herzog, who was one of the producers of the film, said about it:

“I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal, & frightening in at least a decade.”

I’ll be interviewing director Joshua Oppenheimer tomorrow afternoon, so stay tuned for my review and the interview post next week!


Well, that’s my monthly recap folks. What’s YOUR favorite film you saw in July?

NOT-SO-SECRET SANTA REVIEW SWAP BLOGATHON: TREMORS 1990

This post is part of Cinematic Katzenjammer’s NOT-SO-SECRET SANTA REVIEW SWAP blogathon spearheaded by Nick. When I signed up to do this a month ago, I was a bit nervous what movie I’d end up getting, ahah. Well, it turns out to be a pretty fun movie!

TREMORS (1990)

TREMORSposterA small town gradually becomes aware of a strange creature which picks off people one by one. But what is this creature, and where is it? At the same time, a seismologist is working in the area, she detects _tremors_. The creature lives underground, and can ‘pop up’ without warning. Trapped in their town, the town-folk have no escape.

Director: Ron Underwood
Cast: Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Reba McEntire


I read on IMDb that although Tremors was not a big hit during its theatrical run, the film became a runaway smash in the home video market, and ultimately tripled its original box office gross with VHS sales and rentals. I’ve actually read a couple of reviews not too long ago and seems that this film is well-loved, some consider it a classic. Well, now that I’ve seen it, I totally see the appeal.

There’s an inherently likable and charming quality about this movie. It starts off with two handymen Valentine Mckee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Bassett (Fred Ward), two friends who have big dreams that some day they can make something out of themselves and perhaps the key to that is to leave the tiny town Perfection, Nevada. But just as they threw everything in their beat-up truck to get out of town, strange things start to unravel and they soon realize they just might be trapped in Perfection after all.

TremorsStill1

The movie poster pretty much gave everything away. We know there’s something lurking beneath the ground, swallowing the town’s sparse residents one by one, but the suspense build-up is pretty good. A grad student Rhonda (Finn Carter) happens to be in town’s desert to study the bizarre seismic activity, which turns out NOT to be volcanic vibrations after all. The three of them ended up teaming up to outsmart the 30-foot giant worms with eel-like tongues. Turns out there are four of them to be exact, and they grow more aggressive with each victim they devour.

TremorsStill2

Inspired by 50s monster flicks, Tremors is more humorous than scary. The attack scenes are actually not as gory as I expected, I mean people do get swallowed alive but these monsters are more disgusting and gross than terrifying. What makes the movie so fun are the characters! Kevin Bacon is perhaps the most successful out of the other actors in this movie (not counting Reba’s music career that is). Over two decades and about three-dozen movies later, it’s amazing that Bacon still looks pretty much the same as he was here. In any case, Bacon and Ward have a nice chemistry and their constant banters are amusing. The addition of Rhonda adds a bit of playful sexual tension amongst them. The ‘pole vault’ scene is a fun to watch as Rhonda got a brilliant idea to jump from boulder to boulder as the monsters can’t get to them that way. I include the clip here below:


I feel that this movie is great to watch with a group of friends, as there’s that sense of community where the people all band together to survive. The townsfolk are full of quirky characters as well. There’s Walter Chang (Victor Wong) who owns the only convenience store in town, which ends up becoming one of the hiding place until those monsters are smart enough to rattle the house down to eat them. Then there’s the gun-happy couple Burt & Heather Gummer (Family Ties Michael Gross & Country Music star Reba McEntire), seemingly ready for WW III with their stockpiles of ammunition. The scene of them blasting off one monster with every possible weapon they own is hysterical!! The monsters themselves are kind of goofy looking, well in a gross way, and surprisingly they’re not as dumb as they look.

TremorsStill3

So overall it’s quite an enjoyable horror-comedy, so thanks Nick for the movie ‘gift.’ Considering how popular this movie is, now I’m glad to say I’ve seen it. Apparently it’s Ron Underwood‘s feature film debut, which ends up being a rental hit that spawned three sequels and a Syfy network TV series! Underwood is now back doing TV work following the major flop that is The Adventures of Pluto Nash.

Tremors is a perfectly solid, cheesy B movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously nor try to be more than what it is. Not really interested in the sequels though, I’m sure it’s not gonna be as good as the first one anyway.


4 out of 5 reels

Thoughts on this movie? Well, let’s hear it!

Weekend Viewing Roundup, Quick Thoughts on Comic-Con, & RED 2 review

Hello everyone! Hope you had an awesome weekend. If you happen to be at Comic-con the past few days, then I’m sure you had a blast (and you know I’m so green with envy!!) It made me feel a bit nostalgic seeing all those SDCC pics, maybe one day I’ll make it there again. Now, I haven’t read all the highlights from the big event but if I were at Hall H on Saturday, these two would’ve surely been the most scream-worthy panels!!

XMenDaysOfFuturePastCast
Click for a larger version

Just LOOK at this X-Men: Days of Future Past cast… I mean seriously!!! It’s incredible how good Hugh Jackman still looks after his breakthrough role as Wolverine thirteen years ago. Can’t wait for this movie already!

LokiComicCon2013
Thor who? Loki ruled Hall H!

I LOVE Tom Hiddleston‘s theatrical style and boy, this would’ve been the closest thing a lot of the Comic-con goers to seeing him ‘on stage.’ He certainly brought the house down with his performance! You can watch a video of it here.

Well, my weekend was ok (well considering I wasn’t at Comic-con), but hey, I got to see TREMORS, thanks to Cinekatz‘ Not-So-Secret Santa Review Swap in which I was “gifted” the monster flick from 1990 (review coming soon). I also rewatched Pacific Rim at IMAX Saturday night, which looks absolutely glorious in the giant screen. So that’s TWO monster movies in one weekend, which is a record for me 😀

Tremors
TREMORS
PacRim
PACIFIC RIM

I also got to re-watch one of my favorite superhero movies of all time. Well, even with a slew of comic-book movies since, I still rate this very high on my list. Batman Begins is one of the movies I’d bring if I were stranded in a desert island and I’d definitely pick it again in a heartbeat!

BatmanBegins
BATMAN BEGINS

Now, here’s my new release review from the screening a few days ago:

RED2poster

Though I enjoyed the first movie, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the sequel. The only main draw for me is the cast and really, that’s the main highlight of this movie and the filmmakers knew that. You don’t go into these kinds of movies looking for an engaging story or character study, but you know what, they didn’t pretend to be a bombastic, over-the-top action flick so I still end up enjoying this quite a bit.

There’s really no point talking about the plot here, as the story is set up in such a way where it actually suits the actors playing these cartoonish characters. It’s as if the filmmakers had a checklist of what they want these actors to do in the movie and so the plot is written around that, if that makes sense. Seems like the actors are hired to do what they do best, some of them even did a parody to their famous characters they’ve done in the past (you’ll know it when you see it). The Retired-Extremely-Dangerous gang is once again on the run, being chased left and right as they attempt to solve the puzzle of finding a portable nuclear device.

Red2Stills

It’s too bad Karl Urban isn’t back to reprise his role as he was one of the highlights for me in the first movie. Also, instead of Morgan Freeman, we’ve got another seasoned actor (both happen to be 76 years old!) Anthony Hopkins. Nice to see him doing a comedic role though he’s not as fun to watch as Freeman.

Bruce Willis is back as Frank, which is basically a variation of John McClane (seems like Bruce is done with playing any other characters these days). Mary Louis Parker gets more screen time this time as his love interest Sarah, which is fine by me and she, along with John Malkovich‘s Marvin are the real comic relief in this movie. Their scenes together, especially the car chase all over Paris in a white Citroën, are preposterous fun. I guess you could describe the movie in that way as well. I don’t think I’d have enjoyed this movie as much if it weren’t for the actors. I love watching Dame Helen Mirren reprising her bad ass role of Victoria and her car case with Byung-hun Lee is hysterical! It’s right up there with all the outrageous action in those Fast & Furious movies.

Red2_DameMirren

I think the weakest link for me is Catherine Zeta-Jones as a Russian femme-fatale who used to be Frank’s lover. Her character is so darn boring and her romance with Willis’ character just falls flat. “Katja’s Frank’s ‘kryptonite,” Marvin explained to Sarah, which then drives her to do all kinds of jealous-driven shenanigans to one-up Katja. I do like charismatic Korean actor Byung-hun Lee here (not a bad replacement for Mr. Urban) who has a personal vendetta with Frank. He’s clearly hired for his awesome fighting skills and he totally delivered on that front.

Final Thoughts: The A-list cast seems to have a great time making this and it shows. Whilst it still brings the laughs and I was entertained for the most part, I do think the writing is so lazy and derivative. I hope they’re done with this movie, I mean how many franchises does Bruce Willis need?! I’m being generous here with my rating, because Mirren, Parker and Malkovich made me laugh so hard in this movie! Oh, there’s also Brian Cox in a small but memorable role, so yeah, there are TWO British thespians who’ve played Hannibal Lecter on screen!

3 out of 5 reels


Well, that’s my weekend recap. What did YOU watch this weekend?