Sucker Punch (2011)

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* Was the story any good?  Not only was it not very good, Sucker Punch was mired with strange imaginary battles that didn’t really make sense, but featured the girls, guns, katanas, zombie-like bad guys and lots of special effects.
* Were the girls at least smoking hot?  Well, they weren’t ugly, they just coated in a thick layer of make-up.
* Was the acting almost decent?  It was not even close to almost decent acting, AND we didn’t even get to see Sweet Pea do her ‘mesmerizing’ dance by the end.

In the end, I don’t really understand what Sucker Punch was about.  And it also really failed if it was just trying to show a movie with hot girls fighting.  I thinkSucker Punch was trying to tell the story of a girl being abused in a juvenile detention center for women through her eyes/mind.  From her point of view, I guess it was constantly an over-dramatic and over-exaggerated war between the guards and her five friends.

There is no reason I would ever watch Sucker Punch again, and there really is no reason to watch it for the first time either.

The Hunger Games (2012)

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The Hunger Games movie was pretty much exactly what I expected.  It was a white-people version of Battle Royale with less of a focus on the psychological aspect of the competitors.  Instead, The Hunger Games stressed the media and commercial aspect of the competition, and it actually reminded me a lot of The Condemned.  I was pleasantly surprised by most of the movie and Jennifer Lawrence was beautiful and innocent looking.  Strangely enough, she looked much better in the wild than when dressed up.  Also, I’m not used to seeing her in skin that isn’t blue.

I don’t think I’ll ever really understand why hosting The Hunger Games every year discourages rebellious uprisings.  If anything I’d think it would lead to more riots, much like what happened in District 11 after Rue’s death.  It was yet another classic scene showing what happens when people without guns stand up to people with guns.  I’m also opposed to the idea of in-game rule changes.  Although, I guess by doing so, they really demonstrate that The Hunger Games are indeed a giant commercial spectacle rather than a sport of history and tradition.

I wish that we could have seen the the games from some of the other competitor’s views as well.  At the end, it sounds like Cato also has his side of the story, fighting for his district, and living up to high expectations.  Unfortunately, the story only unravels from Katniss’s point of view and gives a very narrow perspective on the entire competition.  I’m not sure if this is the way the story was meant to be told, or if it is a testament to Jennifer Lawrence’s performance and the attention she was able to draw unto herself throughout the entire two hours.  I often found myself cheering for Katniss to win, but that’s partly because I didn’t know any of the other competitors in The Hunger Games either.  No surprise, at the end, nothing has really changed, and we can look forward to another exciting Hunger Games competition next year.  And sadly, the competitors didn’t even try anything revolutionary against the game creators or the president.  I guess we should expect a sequel.

I was surprised to see Lenny Kravitz play a key role.  As well I’ve been very pleased with Woody Harrelson’s recent roles.  The Hunger Games is definitely a  movie worth watching, but I’d invite anyone that sees it to compare it to the Japanese movie Battle Royale, or the manga if that’s more your thing.

The Three Musketeers (2011)

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武侠 『Swordsmen』(2011)

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In Time (2011)

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In Time is a prime example of a movie concept which had so much potential, but just didn’t quite deliver.  Before I watched it, I believed it had the potential of to make an Inception or Matrix like impact on the world.  However, it seemed as though the director of In Time didn’t know if he really wanted an action-packed movie or not, and so the film just fizzled into the finish line.

It’s not surprising that I like the concept so much since I am a big fan of Andrew Niccol, and Gattaca is one of my all-time favorite movies.  The problem with In Time was its attempt to be an heart-pounding action-centered film, when it really should have been a heart-pounding dramatic tale with action supporting it between scenes.  Instead, it couldn’t compete with other action movies of the year, and didn’t delve deep enough into the social issues which the drama was based around.

Some of the shockingly anti-climactic events of the movie didn’t really help its cause either, such as what happens when the time keeper finally catches Will Salas and the time keeper’s history is revealed.  Also, the duo breaks into banks to “give time away.”  But the banks were so shabby and unguarded, it only brings up the question of why wouldn’t people have broken in if all a person needed to do was drive a truck through the glass windows and through the paper thin walls.

The Robin Hood-esque storyline and the issues of gentrification combined with the futuristic concept of “time” being a currency were great ideas.  But they just didn’t come together in this film.  In Time is something that most people will watch and leave thinking, “That could’ve been a great movie, if only…”

Drive (2011)

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One of those movies that seemed to fly under the radar last fall, it was highly rated by many a critic, but faltered in viewer ratings, at least on Rotten Tomatoes.  I was also interested to see the 2nd sexiest man alive in a role that didn’t center around his “photoshoped body.”

I must say, he did very well in this role, but that may have been because he didn’t have to do or say too much.  He only needed to express two emotions:  awkward guy smile, and silent angry guy on a mission.  But he showed those two emotions well.  The entire movie moves at a very slow pace, but always makes you feel like something exciting is about to happen.  I think its a result of the perfectly-matched electronica music that’s playing.  The music is so ambient but with chords of uneasiness mixed in.

Finally, things do get exciting, but it can’t be compared to other vengeance seeking movies like Man on Fire or Taken.  It is a strange amalgamation of calm, cool, and collected with anger, action, and anxiety.  Unlike the aforementioned, it is not a pure action movie.

Overall, enjoyable, but you have to be in the mood to sit through a patient movie.  Somehow it manages to keep you on the edge of your seat with suspense and without ever having too much happen.

Real Steel (2011)

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I expected this movie to be very mediocre, and after watching it, I’m really glad I didn’t spend money to see it on the big screen.  In my mind, there is no parallel between human fighting and robot fighting.  A fight between people tests their spirit, but a fight between two robots, I feel, is just a test of engineering and programming quality.  A test of engineering quality deserves merit too, but it does not inspire people in the same way.

That is the main flaw with this movie.  It wanted to be inspirational, but it centered around a failure of a father/person as a protagonist who engages in robot boxing.  The whole movie felt like a weak, frail, lost little brother to the original Rocky.

Except Rocky was a good person who was a little mentally slow; traits most viewers empathize with.  But Charlie Kenton, on the other hand, was a man who gambles away his chances and abandons his own son; not the most attractive character.  Even at the end, when he was a better father, I did not like Charlie anymore than in the beginning.

And the flaw with the (not at all) epic final match was that it did remind me exactly of Rocky, with the underdog putting the champion against the ropes, but the final bell saving him.  In fact, I only enjoyed the last fight because, in my head, I was really re-living the first fight between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed; a fight that actually was inspirational.

In the end, this movie is predictable, and the story played out exactly the way I anticipated it to.  It was okay to watch, but I would recommend playing the movie on the side while you’re doing something else.  The film definitely does not require or deserve a viewer’s full attention.