400 And Counting: Week 17 (Second Verse, Same As The First)

February 20, 2015

Last week I dived into the world of professional Magic: The Gathering; this week I’ve discovered a new podcast, The Worst Idea of All Time. In it, two friends watch and review a movie each week. That movie is Grown Ups 2. Every. Single Week. I’m only a few episodes in, but I love hearing them dissect the film and try to stay sane. It almost makes me want to re-watch Grown Up 2 (in my defence, I saw it during my ‘I see everything that comes out regardless of how crap it is’ stage).

So, on to this week’s movies. No, Grown Ups 2 isn’t one of them.

Glory Road (2006)
Director: James Gartner
1:58:00 (Completed)

I like sports movies a lot more than I like sports in general. I find them much more riveting and exciting than an actual game; they’re basically sports highlight packages mixed with an underdog story. This was the case with Glory Road, which also threw in a dash of racism to overcome.

Glory Road is the story of the Texas Western college basketball team who, in 1966, went to the national championships with a team of “coloureds”, who at the time were considered lesser players.

This is an inspiring story about an important game. The basketball was fast paced and fun to watch. There were two major problems with Glory Road: Remember the Titans and Coach Carter. Both these films have told Glory Road’s tale before and both handle it better than this one. It also criminally underused Emily Deschanel. She doesn’t get much time to act, a scene or two at most and than she’s basically a featured extra (…Look, I like Bones alright? I admit it).

But if you like your sports or 1960s period films, put Glory Road on your list.

Superman Unbound (2013)
Director: James Tucker
1:15:00 (Completed)

A lot can be said of the fight between Marvel and DC, the ‘big two’ in the comic world. Marvel may be king of the blockbuster, but one area where DC is pulling ahead is animated movies; another is non-superhero adult titles (shout outs to the Vertigo imprint!) This is helped with the casting of cult sci-fi and fandom actors, including Nathan Fillion, Neil Patrick Harris, Eliza Dushku and Katee Sackhoff. Superman Unbound is no expectation, with the female stars of Castle Stana Katic as Lois Lane and Molly Quinn as Supergirl.

Oh right, the story. Superman is being Superman when a robot lands on Earth. Behind it is Brainiac, a supervillain who captures cities, shrinks them down to preserve them and then destroys the planet it came from.

I haven’t read the original comic, so the movie didn’t do that much for me. It either takes a great writer (Grant Morrison on the top of his game, such as his All Star Superman days) or an interesting shift (Red Sun, where Superman lands in Russia) for me to be interested in the character. Still, this was a pretty enjoyable 75 minutes.

There Will Be Blood (2007)
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
2:38:00 (Completed)

This is, without a doubt, an epic. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis doing what he does best: Giving an incredible performance while getting too invested in the character (as method actors tend to do…)

He stars as Daniel Plainview, a self-proclaimed oil tycoon who will do whatever it takes to succeed and won’t let anyone stand in his way. Standing in his way, is Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), a preacher blinded by ambition. Their clashes and showdowns kept me hooked.

There Will Be Blood is a slow burner, but there is a great payoff if you stick with it. The film looks great, the wilderness of the frontier days brought to life. An excellent film with an amazing final scene!

You’re Next (2011)
Director: Adam Wingard
1:35:00 (Completed)

This film was my pick as the best film of 2013, so I was pretty excited to rewatch this and see how it held up.

It’s a home invasion film that’s a little different from most. It stars Sharni Vinson, who you may vaguely remember from Home & Away, if that’s your bag, or the unintentionally bad Bait. Again, I won’t reveal too much about the plot; the long and short of it is that Vinson kicks arse and so does the film.

This is a tense, edge of your seat ride that was just as much fun on second viewing.

Dom Hemingway (2013)
Director: Richard Shepard
1:33:00 (Completed)

This is a cool little crime film in the vein of Snatch, but not as good.

It stars Jude Law as the titular Dom Hemmingway, a safe cracker who did 12 years for his boss and, now that he’s finally out, he’s looking forward to collecting what he’s owed. Naturally, nothing goes to plan. Richard E. Grant is along for the ride as Hemingway’s friend and advisor to this new world of crime (safes are electric now!?). As usual I noticed the HBO actors in the supporting roles; Rome’s Kerry Condon and Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke were both good.

This is a fun little movie but nothing to really write home about. Richard Shepard did direct another film I remember really loving called The Matador, a film about a depressed hitman which starred Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear. I really should rewatch that.

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
Director: Matthew Vaughn
2:09:00 (Completed)

Regular viewers of 400 And Counting will recall that I watched this film just a few weeks ago. Since that viewing, I went and read the original comic, written by Mark Millar with art by Dave Gibbons (check out our interview with him).

The film and the comic tell a similar story with a few notable differences. The comic focuses more on the class system and the desire to escape from the commission flats, while the film focuses more on the Kingsman as a spy agency and school. The villains are pretty different as well.

On second watch, I picked up a few extra things; it certainly benefited from the additional time to breathe and add detail. I drew pretty much the same conclusions as my first viewing This is a fun, action packed Hollywood blockbuster and Colin Firth needs to be in more action films.

The Internship (2013)
Director: Shawn Levy
1:59:00 (Completed)

This is one of those movies I stumbled upon late at night and, against my better judgement, decided to watch through. It’s a Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson comedy. Just by reading those two names you should already know if this is the film for you. Like most okay comedy films, it has some funny moments, but this is mostly forgettable — I groaned more than I actually laughed. But how cool is Google?!?!?!11!?!

Film of the week: You’re Next
Movies watched this week: 7
Did Not Finish (DNF) this week: 0
Time spent this week: 13:07:00
Total movies watched: 92/400
Total DNF: 2
Total time: 180:43:32

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