THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE - 8/10 An ugly, disturbing, unsettling movie that's seriously impressive in how it holds up.
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 - 7/10 Hooper doubles down on the crazy, but turns up the production value who's very absence is a large part of what made the first film work. Only here, it's in service of crafting something sublimely insane that plays like a fever dream of remembering the original.
THE HILLS HAVE EYES - 9/10 Wes Craven was really REALLY fucking good, you guys. This film moves like lightning, has awesome set-up and payoff moments (rattlesnake), and even does a few things to subvert the tropes that it employs to disturbing degree. Also, that ending is amazing.
THE HILLS HAVE EYES (2006) - 7/10 A solid remake - it has some truly effective images, but doesn't seem to trust its images enough to let them play without reveling in the "sting" approach to horror of crafting jumps scares and "OH SHIT!" moments (the tweaked ending is a great example of this). Still, much better than most horror remakes.
THE MARTIAN - 9/10 Might go up on repeat viewings, but holy SHIT is this a great film. Scott hones in a tight, focused screenplay (major props to Drew Goddard here), and Matt Damon turns in a barn-burner of a performance to anchor one of the most impressive surrounding ensembles in a long goddamn time. Inspirational, thrilling, beautiful, funny, it's just flat-out great science fiction storytelling.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON - 9/10 How spoiled are we that a film as thematically dense, layered in character, and flat-out FUN as this has been deemed by some a disappointment? And how blessed are we by film in 2015 that this isn't even one of the Top 5 "big" movies of the year? Also, it's SO different from the original, from the crazy places it goes to the wholly altered feel of the style of film-making. The fact that Whedon managed to pull off both this and the original with such aplomb is a miracle.
OCEAN'S ELEVEN - 8/10 Arguably Soderberg's most entertaining film, and a highlight of the heist film revival of the early 00's. Slickly-paced while still feeling relaxed, funny without being obnoxious, smart (mostly in terms of relaying visual information) without feeling pretentious, and DAT FUCKING CAST.
You're both crazy, because the most recent two Wes Anderson films have been meaty as fuck. And who the fuck says we have to pick ONE? As for this, check out how deep the bench is on that cast - it's insane. Winners, all the way down: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0475290/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
As played-out as zombies are, Lily James wading through an R-rated genre movie in Regency-era clothing is something I NEED in my life. Also, the last time something like this happened, we got the delightfully unhinged ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, which I loved. So, fingers crossed.
INSIDE OUT is their most successful film this side of TOY STORY 3, but they're still making another fucking CARS movie. Still, (aside from CARS) even their "lesser" stuff is genuinely good (fuck you, I still like BRAVE, and MONSTERS U is genuinely really good), so there's that. And if we're getting sequels, at least we're finally getting the one sequel that literally everyone's been asking for for over a decade now.
THE LEGEND (OF FONG SAI-YUK) 2 - 7/10 Parts of this I liked better (it basically turns into a live-action RANMA 1/2 midway through the film, but I don't think the finale is as solid. Everything leading up to it was damn fine though, and the additional characters worked really well. Madam Wong for MVP still, though.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA - 8/10 It's good, but it felt like it went on a bit long. Lots of stuff felt like it could have been trimmed or cut entirely (I'm still not convinced that Foon was at all necessary to proceedings), and the film seemed to slow to a crawl on the way to the final action scenes. Still, love the score and the production as well as the fights (dat Woo-Ping Yuen), and watching this so close to THE LEGEND films showcases Jet Li's range.
THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM - 8/10 Yeah, the one with the random white kid in the Jackie Chan/Jet Li team-up movie. But you know what? It works, especially as a "gateway wushu movie" for anyone less familiar with the genre. For one, Rob Minkoff manages to not totally fuck up filming Jackie Chan and Jet Li the way most Hollywood directors do (in fact, their showcase fight is really damn good), and I love that Jason isn't allowed to be super great at kung fu because he's the Chosen Hero of Destiny. A) He still has to work his ass off to learn to fight, and B) he only learns enough to not die immediately when shit goes down. Also, Jet Li playing really hard against type is fun as hell to watch, and the score is beautiful.
LOVE this. Smart move of Marvel to move BLACK PANTHER up (to Black History Month!), and while I'm bummed that CAPTAIN MARVEL is pushed back 5 months, this means that Hope gets to make good on the promise that ANT-MAN's first post-credits sequence made to viewers. And that's cool.
Atom Smasher was a weak link, but literally everything else worked for me. Professor Stein naming the bad guy! Grodd reference! Dad feelings! MOTHERFUCKING FLASH SIGNAL! JAY GODDAMN GARRICK! I've missed this show, and it's soooooooooooo good to have it back.
Fucking called it. Also - GOOD. The fact that a sequel ever worked even once is a testament to Cameron's abilities as a film-maker AND the fact that T2 was a flat-out game-changer for action movies. Trying to make that lightning strike - not just twice - but FOUR MORE TIMES? Stupid. Let it lie fallow.