A Strange Variety of Film Reviews by CosmicRunaway

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A Strange Variety of Film Reviews

by CosmicRunaway


Since I never really introduced myself, he's a quick rundown of my background and a general idea of what you can expect to see in this thread:

As a former Film Studies student, I've taken classes on everything from the History of American Cinema, to Film Form and Film Theory, as well as discipline-specific classes like Philosophy in Film and Archaeology on Film. But that doesn't mean I know much about movies, or that I have particularly good taste in them; I just love talking or writing at length about my experiences with cinema. (:

I've been accused by friends of being too critical about things most audiences care little about (particularly editing techniques or shot composition), as well as being too lenient and forgiving of terrible movies. From my reviews you can expect to see comments about various aspects of cinematography, an admitted bias towards certain genres and actors, and an openness to discuss what you agree or disagree with.

Coming Soon

(currently undecided)

Now Playing
Black Sheep (2006) - page 3
Bon Cop, Bad Cop (2006) - page 2, Review
Blood Father (2016) - page 4, Review
Blood of Heroes (1989) - page 3, Review
Cryptic (2014) - page 2, Review
Deep Shock (2003) - page 3
District B13 (2004) - page 3, Review
Dredd (2012) - page 1, Review
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010) - page 4, Review
Filth (2013) - page 2, Review
John Wick (2014) - page 1
Kill Command (2016) - page 3, Review
Kingsman: The Secret Service - page 1. Review
Love Comes to the Executioner (2006) - page 3
Ragnarok (2013) - page 1
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990) - page 3, Review
Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983) - page 5, Review
Swerve (2011) - page 3, Review
Terminator: Genisys (2015) - page 2, Review
The Truth About Demons - page 1
White House Down - page 1, Review
Wyrmwood - page 2

The following lists include shorter reviews in order of the date they were posted.
All Hall of Fames are together at the start, with other tournaments after.

11th Hall of Fame
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), Her (2013), Good Bye, Lenin! (2003),
Moonrise Kingdom (2012), Samurai Rebellion (1967), The Dead Girl (2006),
Bringing Up Baby (1938), The Flowers of War (2011), Ronin (1998),
Ida (2013), Bashu the Little Stranger (1986)

Animation Hall of Fame:
The Last Unicorn (1982), The Secret of Nimh (1982), Treasure Planet (2002),
All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989), Night on the Galactic Railroad (1985), Tokyo Godfathers (2003),
Castle of Cagliostro (1979), Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008), WALL·E (2008),
Waltz with Bashir (2008)

40s Hall of Fame:
The Thief of Bagdad (1940), Rope (1948), Pursued (1947),
Murderers Are Among Us (1946), Laura (1944), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944),
Fantasia (1940), The Suspect (1944), Shadow of a Doubt (1943),
The Little Foxes (1941), Waterloo Bridge (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941)

12th Hall of Fame:
Barbara (2012), Withnail & I (1987), The City of Lost Children (1995),
Never Let Me Go (2010), Y Tu Mamá También (2001), Romper Stomper (1992),
The Man from Nowhere (2010), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Midnight Run (1988),
Sanshiro Sugata (1943), U-Turn (1997), Casablanca (1942),
Hiroshima mon amour (1959), Joe (1970)

4th Short Film Hall of Fame:
Animal Beatbox (2011), Bomb (2005), and Dust (2013),
Flankers (2014), Paperman (2012), and Spider (2007),
Feast (2014), Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo (2012), and Peace on Earth (1939),
The Cameraman's Revenge (1912) and La Maison en Petits Cubes, The Ventriloquist (2012),
and Envelope (2012)
, Pop Goes The Easel (1935), and The Rink (1916),
Everything Will Be OK (2006), and Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor (2007), A Dog's Life (1918),
Never Weaken (1921), and Mystery of the Leaping Fish (1916)

13th Hall of Fame:
The Hunt (2012), The Great Dictator (1940), Manchester by the Sea (2016),
Captain Fantastic (2016), Wings of Desire (1987), The Three Musketeers (1973),
The Quiet Earth (1985), Nightmare Alley (1947), Flesh and Blood (1985),
The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring (2003),
The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012), Buffalo '66 (1998), Dead Poets Society (1989),
Forbidden Games (1952), Dances With Wolves (1990)

40s Hall of Fame Part 2:
Double Indemnity (1944), Body and Soul (1947), His Girl Friday (1940),
Beauty and the Beast (1946), Odd Man Out (1947), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947),
The Sea Wolf (1941), Ride the Pink Horse (1947), Mr. Lucky (1943),
Day of Wrath (1943), Gentleman Jim (1942), I Remember Mama (1948)

14th Hall of Fame:
M (1931), Contratiempo (2016), Passengers (2016),
Empire of Passion (1978), Black Snake Moan (2006), Barton Fink (1991),
Lone Star (1996), La Grande Illusion (1937), Night on Earth (1991),
Mommy (2014), Time of the Gypsies (1988), The Hurricane (1999)

15th Hall of Fame:
Rebecca (1940), Glory (1989), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001),
American Graffiti (1973), The Station Agent (2003), Shallow Grave (1994),
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), In the Mood for Love (2000), The Elephant Man (1980),
Out of the Blue (1980), L'Avventura (1960)

Foreign Language Hall of Fame:
Phoenix (2014), Thelma (2017), The Age of Shadows (2016),
La Haine (1995), The Sword of Doom (1966), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964),
Benny's Video (1992), Millennium Actress (2001), La famille Bélier (2014),
Borgman (2013), Entre Nos (2009), The Saragossa Manuscript (1965),
Assassination (2015), The Leopard (1963), Pan's Labyrinth (2006),
Samsara (2001)

1930s Hall of Fame:
Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Gunga Din (1939), Pépé Le Moko (1937),
The Scarlet Empress (1934), Bachelor Mother (1939), Make Way For Tomorrow (1937),
Child Bride (1938)

Russian Hall of Fame:
Leviathan (2014), Planeta Bur (1962), Ballad of a Soldier (1959),
Solaris (1971), The Cranes are Flying (1957), My Friend Ivan Lapshin (1985),
Visitor of a Museum (1989), Stalker (1979)

17th Hall of Fame:
Incendies (2010), The Dressmaker (2015), The Aviator (2004),
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), Lean on Pete (2017), Rush (2013),
Amélie (2001), Let the Right One In (2008), The Innocents (1961),
Ghostwatch (1992), The Hawks and the Sparrows (1966), The Libertine (2004),
Day for Night (1973), Pixote (1981)

Second Chance Hall of Fame:
Ed Wood (1994), Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), Memento (2000),
Raise the Red Lantern (1991), After Hours (1985), Anatomy of a Murder (1959),
Le Trou (1960), The Man from Earth (2007), Pierrot le Fou (1965),
Farewell My Concubine (1993)

2nd Science Fiction Hall of Fame:
Turbo Kid (2015), Seconds (1966), Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964),
Liquid Sky (1982), Gattaca (1997), Coherence (2013),
Timecrimes (2007), Aliens (1986), Attack the Block (2011),
Déjà Vu (2006), Videodrome (1983), Minority Report (2002),
Forbidden Planet (1956)

2nd Animation Hall of Fame:
Your Name (2016), Spirited Away (2001), The Sword in the Stone (1963),
Tower (2016), The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), Meet the Robinsons (2007),
Ernest et Célestine (2012), Cowboy Bebop (2001), The Wind in the Willows,
Wizards (1977)

Japanese Hall of Fame:
The Third Murder (2017), High and Low (1963), Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984),
A Hen in the Wind (1948), Hana-bi (1997), Harakiri (1962),
Kamikaze Girls (2004), After Life (1998)

Film Noir Hall of Fame III:
Murder, My Sweet (1944), The Big Heat (1953), L.A. Confidential (1997),
The Stranger (1946), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Le Corbeau (1943),
Crossfire (1947), Angel Heart (1987), Double Indemnity (1944),
Spellbound (1945), The Third Man (1949)

22nd Hall of Fame:
Blue Ruin (2013), Mildred Pierce (1945), Shine (1996),
The Matrix (1999), The Last Picture Show (1971), State of Siege (1972),
Inglorious Basterds (2009), Dronningen (2019), Waco: The Rules of Engagement (1997),
I, Daniel Blake (2016), Joker (2019)

Fantasy Hall of Fame:
The Dark Crystal (1982), Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), Kwaidan (1964),
DragonHeart (1996), Dragonslayer (1981), Tideland (2005),
Excalibur (1981), La Belle et la Bête (2014), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982),
The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), The Return of the King (2003)

23rd Hall of Fame:
Jojo Rabbit (2019), The Fisher King (1991), The Reflecting Skin (1990),
The Great Mouse Detective (1986), Le Samouraï (1967), The Skin I Live In (2011),
Late Spring (1949), Stand By Me (1986), Yellow Submarine (1968),
Schindler's List (1993), Hunger (2008), Christiane F. (1981),
Al-Mummia (1969), Gangs of New York (2002)

Asian Film Hall of Fame:
Mother (2009), Rashomon (1950), Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (1978),
Paprika (2006), Chocolate (2008), Drunken Angel (1948),
Daimajin (1966), Tears of the Black Tiger (2000), Black Rain (1989),
Hanagatami (2017), Dust in the Wind (1986)

25th Hall of Fame:
BlacKkKlansman (2018), Bicycle Thieves (1948), Whiplash (2014),
Chimes at Midnight (1965), Vertigo (1958), Sundays and Cybèle (1962),
Les Misérables (1935), Themroc (1973), Os Verdes Anos (1963),
The Long Goodbye (1973), La Vérité (1960), American Movie (1999),
About Elly (2009)

27th Hall of Fame:
One Cut of the Dead (2017), Cure (1997), Jaws (1975),
Witness for the Prosecution (1957), True Romance (1993), Demons (1971),
Dolores Claiborne (1995), Thunder Road (2018), The Secret of Roan Inish (1994),
Apocalypse Now (1979), Mad Love (1985), Baby Face (1933),
My Dog Skip (2000), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Safety Last! (1923),
Magical Girl (2014), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Hall of Infamy:
American Flatulators (1995), Going Overboard (1989), Trog (1970),
Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966), R.O.T.O.R. (1987), Organ (1996),
Krampus: The Christmas Devil (2013), God's Not Dead (2014), Lust for Frankenstein (1998)

Personal Recommendation Hall of Fame VI:
Predestination (2014), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), Heathers (1989),
Children of Men (2006), The Night of the Hunter (1955), Ratatouille (2007),
Being John Malkovich (1999), CODA (2021), The Seventh Seal (1957),
Black Narcissus (1947), All About Eve (1950), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

MoFo Movie Roulette II:
The Raid (2011), Throne of Blood (1957), Ikiru (1952),
Memories of Murder (2003), Das blaue Licht (1932)

Chain Challenge:
Society (1989), After Hours (1985), Léon: The Professional (1994),
As Above, So Below (2016)

Rate the Last Movie You Saw:
2016 Posts
High-Rise (2015), The Nice Guys (2016), X-Men Apocalypse (2016),
Now You See Me (2013), Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising (2016), Zootopia (2016),
Warcraft (2016), The Conjuring 2 (2016), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016),
Ghostbusters (2016), Sharknado the 4th Awakens (2016), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016),
LFO (2013), Magnificient Seven (2016), Army of One (2016),
Doctor Strange (2016), The Princess Bride (1987)
2017 Posts
Split (2017), Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017), Logan (2017),
Fate of the Furious (2017), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2017), King Arthur (2017),
Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 (2017), Alien: Covenant (2017), Baywatch (2017),
Wonder Woman (2017), Baby Driver (2017), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017),
War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017),
Atomic Blonde (2017), The Dark Tower (2017), The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017),
IT (2017), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Thor: Ragnarok (2017),
The Disaster Artist (2017)
2018 Posts
Black Panther (2018), Annihilation (2018), Tomb Raider

About the Reviews
Since my ratings tend to be on the lower side, I thought that I should describe my scoring system so as not to alarm anyone. Now that I've fixed some of the really low scores, this scale should apply to all my ratings:

Literally unwatchable.
Very few redeeming qualities.
Probably boring, and does little right.
Fairly derivative, but has its moments.
Nothing special, but can still be enjoyable.
A good film with at least a few notable qualities.
Really good, enjoyable movie that does a lot right.
Very good movie, though it may still have a few flaws.
Awesome. There is practically nothing I dislike.
Absolutely amazing. I wouldn't change a thing.
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John Wick (2014)
Dir. Chad Stahelski, David Leitch.
Starring: Keanu Reeves,
Michael Nyqvist

At first glance, John Wick is a revenge story that audiences have seen dozens of times before, however directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch make an effort to add style to their action flick, without coming across as pretentious. Perhaps to the benefit of Keanu Reeves, who plays the titular character, there is a distinct lack of spoken dialogue, especially in early scenes. Instead the film uses atmosphere, its visuals, and sound design to set the story without needing to force unnecessary exposition on the audience.

For these reasons
John Wick is smarter than the average action film, allowing the audience to discover the meaning of events through context. The histories and relationships of the characters, the rules of their trade, and businesses such as the Continental Hotel are all easily understood without an outright explanation. However not everything in John Wick is that subtle. John Wick
unabashedly sports an R-rating from the MPAA at a time when most mainstream action films are cutting content to score a more accessible PG-13.

Viewers who were disappointed with the cuts made to other action films of 2014 will appreciate that
John Wick doesn't water down its content in order to be more marketable. The action is appropriately bloody, but not grotesque. Refreshingly unlike a lot of action films at the time, John Wick's fight sequences are not filmed with the often overused “shaky cam” technique. In a bold move, John Wick's scenes are framed in such a manner that all of the action is clearly visible. Viewers can easily follow the actors' movements, and are never left wondering “wait...what just happened?”.

The film also has a number of light-hearted moments which lift the mood with a quick laugh. They don't seem forced, but rather a quirk of the film's universe and the characters which inhabit it. The film does however get too corny with some of the subtitles for its Russian speaking characters, where key words will be in bold font and coloured for emphasis. The film otherwise follows the “less is more” mindset, but breaks that rule here in a jarring manner that pulls the audience out of of what is otherwise a relatively restrained movie.

If you're looking for a stylish take on a classic revenge story, then John Wick is the movie for you.

Full Disclosure: most of this review has been lifted from an essay I previously wrote for a film class while this movie was still in theatres.
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Dredd (2012)
Dir. Pete Travis
Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headly

Fans of Rebellion's 2000 AD comic series who were disappointed with the 1995 Judge Dredd movie can now rest easy knowing that the characters and world they fell in love with have finally been appropriately adapted to the big screen. Even if you're unfamiliar with the previous attempt or with the comic series in general, Pete Travis' 2012 film Dredd offers a beautifully violent, action-packed movie bursting with style that will satisfy anyone nostalgic for the R-rated action films of the 80s.

Dredd is a film that managed to legitimize two trends that I've absolutely hated about this past decade in cinema: the frequent use of slow motion, and the resurgence of 3D movies. It is actually one of a very small number of films that I wish could occasionally get thrown back into theatres because audiences deserve the full IMAX 3D experience. The visuals in this movie are simply breathtaking, with the 3D being used to enhance the atmosphere and provide an added perception of depth to the enormous 200 storey structure within which a majority of the film is set.

Whenever a character in the movie uses Slo-Mo, a new drug that causes the user to experience time at a fraction of its normal rate, we are treated to an absolutely gorgeous dream-like state that mimics what the user is feeling. The very first time this effect is used, it borders on outstaying it's welcome, but subsequent uses are much better, especially when when they are intercut with shots running at regular speed featuring characters not experiencing the effects of the drug.

Since Dredd is the first movie I have listed on my profile's favourites tab, my praise for this movie shouldn't really come as a shock. But oddly I was never really excited to see this film leading up to its release, mostly due to a lack of appropriate advertising that I'm sure hurt the film's box office numbers. Luckily the film has gained an amazing cult following that have been supporting the film's Home Video sales, which have raised the chances of this film getting a sequel from 0% after it's theatrical performance, to “it's possible, but it won't be easy”.

Do you want a violent action movie that's light on story but high on style?
Then watch this movie, then go support it by buying the DVD.

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Ragnarok/Gåten Ragnarok (2013)
Dir. Mikkel Brænne Sandemose
Starring: Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen, Sofia Helin
Language: Norwegian

Ragnarok is a difficult film to categorize, because it borrows elements from a number of different genres. There's an Indiana Jones-like quest to decipher runes discovered in the Oseberg Queen's burial site and some secret knowledge she may have of the Ragnarök legend, a dramatic trek through an abandoned no man's land between Norway and Russia, and a horrendous giant serpent seeking revenge on the party for its missing child. On top of that, the main character Sigurd is trying to mend bridges with his two children whom he has consistently let down since the death of his wife. So if someone can come up with a name for that, do let me know.

While being familiar with Germanic mythology certainly comes in handy, it is not necessary to understand the film's plot. Instead the movie makes clever references to Norse myhtology without alienating audiences who prefer their movies (even ones featuring giant monsters) to be more grounded in reality. The Oseberg Viking ship mentioned in the film is in fact a real archaeological site that contains the bodies of a high class woman and servant, so featuring it as a story element in the film helps to balance some of the more absurd (read: giant serpent) elements.

Visually, Ragnarok is nothing special. Most of the colours are muted, and while there are some lovely establishing shots, nothing about the cinematography is new or clever. The only unique thing it manages to do is to balance the elements of the different genres, while somehow managing to end on a rather light-hearted note. All I can really say about it is that it's a very strange film.

Ragnarok was a pleasant surprise for me. While the movie has a slow start, there's enough mystery during the protagonists' trip through Finnmark to keep me interested until the light horror elements started to surface. It's also nice to see a film archaeologist actually do some real archaeology by collecting, bagging and cataloguing artefacts, instead of being the typical treasure-hunting rogues we've come to expect.

If you're interested in seeing a tense adventure movie about an archaeological mystery
sprinkled with a dash of family drama that suddenly turns into a horror-inspired
survival film with a giant monster, this is the logical (if only) choice for you!

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An oddity? You have my attention.
Movie Reviews | Anime Reviews
Top 100 Action Movie Countdown (2015): List | Thread
"Well, at least your intentions behind the UTTERLY DEVASTATING FAULTS IN YOUR LOGIC are good." - Captain Steel

I'm not sure if anyone here has even heard of this movie, which is part of the reason why I wanted to write a quick review.
I haven't heard of it but it sounds good. I'll add it to my watch list.

The (Irrefutable) Truth About Demons (2000)

Dir. Glenn Standring
Starring: Karl Urban, Katie Wolfe, Jonathan Hendry

The Truth About Demons
is not a cinematic masterpiece. It is also not a particularly unique horror film, as it's story centres around a genre-typical demon worshipping cult in edgy atire. What this movie is, however, is pure entertainment. It's bizarre, bloody, it has a hilarious campy over-the-top villain, and our poor protagonist Harry gets dragged through hell throughout this entire movie.

One thing The Truth About Demons does well is playing the psychological angle. We're never quite sure how much of Harry's experiences were real, and what was imagined. It does go overboard with the demonic angle in the latter half, but instead of settling down there like many other films would, the movie instead opts to skirt closer to the ridiculous, before cycling back around to questioning the sanity of everyone involved. It straddles a fine line between stupidity and cleverness.

Unfortunately I am not a fan of Benny's character, and I could do without the whole scene in her apartment (it's definitely a low point for the movie). That said, the copious amounts of shirtless Karl Urban more than make up for her quirkiness. The film doesn't really have a particularly interesting style but I'd argue that the mundane visuals are a welcome contrast to the completely absurd costumes the members of the the Black Lodge are wearing

This movie was a top contender for my submission to Sexy Celebrity's Guilty Pleasures Countdown, but I didn't think anyone would know what it was. I first stumbled upon this movie about 10 years ago, and have since forced most of my friends to watch it. My life goal is to meet Karl Urban at a comic or Sci Fi convention and have him sign my copy of this movie on DVD. I need to see the bewilderment in his eyes when I pull out a copy of The Truth About Demons instead of Dredd or Star Trek.

Give this movie a chance if you like strange psychological horror films with a healthy dose

of camp, if you thoroughly enjoy Karl Urban, or if you want to see him beaten senseless.

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White House Down (2013)

Dir. Roland Emmerich
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx

If you had asked me in early 2013 which movie I was more interested in seeing: White House Down or Olympus Has Fallen, I would've said “neither”. Upon further questioning, I'd probably say that I'd rather watch Olympus, and then I'd have to kick myself later when realized how wrong I was. I'm not saying that White House Down is a particularly great movie, but it is an incredibly fun one if you're in the mood to look past all of the clichés and absurdity.

The single most impressive part of this movie is the fact that everything in the White House (including the exterior scenes) was filmed in a to-scale replica the crew built across a number of sound stages. Practically the entire production took place on sets they built themselves, and the fact that most audiences wouldn't even guess that speaks to the quality and detail of their recreation. So it's unfortunate that some of the special effects are not very realistic looking (I'm looking at you, helicopters), but in general the visuals are very pleasing to the eye, especially when you consider that other action movies at the time were terrified of bright lights and colour.

I was not particularly a fan of Channing Tatum going into this movie, but he seemed to be having a lot of fun with the role, and did practically all of his own stunts (the only exception I remember being a large fall through a glass ceiling onto a table, and that's completely understandable), which is something I appreciate as a viewer who seems to have an uncanny eye for spotting stuntmen. His performance in this movie, and his chemistry with Jamie Foxx really sold me on the idea of Tatum as an action star, even if I was sort of rooting for the head mercenary (played by Jason Clarke who I inexplicably always seem to connect with) to win.

White House Down has a few genuine laughs, but also a number of lines that will cause your eyes to roll, or for a groan to escape your throat. But to me, that's part of the film's charm. It's a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously, so if you're willing to laugh at the plot and it's silly resolution, then you'll probably have a good time. However if you absolutely hate Roland Emmerich's editing style, or are unable to forgive the unoriginal story and characters, then you'll probably want to pass this one up.

Watch this if you found Olympus Has Fallen too dull, or if you want
a harmless, cheesy action flick you can have a bit of a laugh at.

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Dredd is a film that managed to legitimize two trends that I've absolutely hated about this past decade in cinema: the frequent use of slow motion, and the resurgence of 3D movies. It is actually one of a very small number of films that I wish could occasionally get thrown back into theatres because audiences deserve the full IMAX 3D experience. The visuals in this movie are simply breathtaking, with the 3D being used to enhance the atmosphere and provide an added perception of depth to the enormous 200 storey structure within which a majority of the film is set.

Whenever a character in the movie uses Slo-Mo, a new drug that causes the user to experience time at a fraction of its normal rate, we are treated to an absolutely gorgeous dream-like state that mimics what the user is feeling. The very first time this effect is used, it borders on outstaying it's welcome, but subsequent uses are much better, especially when when they are intercut with shots running at regular speed featuring characters not experiencing the effects of the drug.
I'm glad you mentioned the Slo-Mo scenes because I think they are what lifts the film into something cinematic and really out of the ordinary. I haven't seen it in 3D but I can imagine it's a real spectacle. I loved the use of a real city for Mega City One as well, keeping it feeling realistic and possible.

I enjoyed White House Down. I'd never wanted to see either (this or Olympus) but I was steered towards this because it was stupid fun. Indeed it was. I can only imagine how awful Olympus must be.
5-time MoFo Award winner.

I'm glad you mentioned the Slo-Mo scenes because I think they are what lifts the film into something cinematic and really out of the ordinary. I haven't seen it in 3D but I can imagine it's a real spectacle. I loved the use of a real city for Mega City One as well, keeping it feeling realistic and possible.
Indeed! The visuals of the Slo-Mo scenes are just brilliant. Everything is so bright, and the colours are incredibly vivid. It's such a stark contrast to the general aesthetic of Peach Trees and Mega City One. It worked really well with the 3D as well, with the sparkling smoke rising to the foreground creating an otherworldly effect. "Spectacle" is definitely the right word to use.

There's a featurette on at least one of the BluRays (I own multiple versions and don't recall which one I saw it on) about the making of Mega City One, and that was exactly what they wanted. It looks futuristic, while also being ground in reality. While I would love to see more of Mega City One, I think containing most of the action to Peach Trees was a good choice.

I can only imagine how awful Olympus must be.
It wasn't terrible, it just wasn't interesting. The problem with Olympus Has Fallen is that, unlike White House Down, it takes itself very seriously. It was Die Hard in the White House without any of the charm Die Hard had. I liked Aaron Eckhart in it though. The visuals were bland, and I just found the entire thing to be boring. And that was before I saw White House Down.

I semi-recently rewatched Olympus because I was going to see the sequel, and I was equally unimpressed the second time around. It is, however, much better than London Has Fallen, which I would've left and demanded my money back from if I hadn't used a free pass to see it.

That is a good question that I'm not sure I have a reasonable answer for. I was somewhat curious to see exactly how bad the movie was, because it sounded terrible on paper to me. But the real reason is because myself and my room mate have a tendency to make a lot of poor movie choices despite knowing better.

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
Dir. Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson

John Wick, Kingsman, and Dredd are three of my favourite movies to come out in recent years, and since I've already covered my thoughts on John Wick and Dredd, it seems only fair to give Kingsman the same treatment. One thing you'll notice about these three films is that they are all stylish, violent, unashamedly R-rated celebrations of the action genre. After years of watered-down PG-13 sequels to older franchises, these movies were a very welcome return to form.

I am not familiar with the Secret Service comic series, but from what I've heard, Kingsman is only a very loose adaptation of the source material, so it's not required to enjoy the movie. The story is simple enough to follow, and it borrows heavily from spy films like the 007 series (which the movie even blatantly references on occasion), all while keeping its tongue planted firmly in cheek. The ridiculousness of the plot only amplifies as the movie continues on, with Samuel L. Jackson's villain unfortunately being the weakest part of the film.

is an incredibly violent movie, but it's intentionally over-the-top and so stylish that it never falls into the truly grotesque. Had Vaughn taken a realistic approach, part of the film's climax would've rivalled the most notorious horror films in terms of gore, but instead we're treated to an explosion of light and colours that create a vivid and even playful spectacle. All of the other fight scenes, particularly the one in the Church, are well choreographed and edited to the point where it even manages to make Colin Firth look like a viable action star.

As you would expect from a cast including the likes of Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson, and even Mark Hamill in a small role, the performances in this movie are top notch. Even newcomer Taron Egerton, who could easily have been overshadowed by the more experienced actors he shares the screen with, is perfectly cast as the smug, troubled youth the story follows. As I've already said, I was not generally impressed with the film's villain, but Jackson really commits to the character, and is entertaining enough in his own right (if only slightly annoying) to forgive his appropriately nonsensical master plan.

Add this movie to your list if you want a fun, stylish action movie with a few
laughs that manages to be both violent and light-hearted at the same time.

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Did you see it when it was new, or after you'd already heard a lot of hype about it?

I went to see it day one, before I saw a lot of other people's opinions of it. I also went into it not knowing what to expect, other than that one trailer I saw and the fact that I loved X-Men First Class. So to me it was surprising, and very much up my alley. I can certainly understand why it wouldn't appeal to a lot of people though, and why some people would find it disappointing after all the praise people have heaped on it since its release.

I had no interest in it at all. A friend of mine really liked it so I saw it last year and, as I said, it was OK, but most of the "woah! cool!" bits that people rave about just annoyed me (like the ending you refer to) and, other than a few chuckles, it did nothing for me.