Title: Hacksaw Ridge
Director: Mel Gibson
Category: #38 A movie about war
Hacksaw Ridge is the true story of conscientious objector Desmond Doss during WWII, although the movie centers on Desmond Doss throughout his training as well as war experience it is primarily his actions at the Battle of Okinawa that have caused his fame.
Desmond desperately wanted to serve his country but didn’t want to kill people, in fact he refused to carry a rifle and was trained as a combat medic. Despite being the only one on the battlefront without a weapon he showed a great deal of courage saving many people (including some enemies) following their injuries in the war.
I’ve seen a few war movies including Gallipoli possibly a hundred times because Australian schools just love to make students watch it over and over again. I also somehow ended up watching Full Metal Jacket when I was about 10 or 11 (if you’re thinking that’s a good idea… don’t). There have been a few that I’ve loved and a few that I haven’t enjoyed much but this one I really loved. It’s such a great story and I loved that there was a chance to get to know the characters before they went off to war.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Director: Wolfgang Peterson
Category: #29 An apocalypse/dystopian film
As someone who grew up in a time where The Poseidon Adventure (1972) was played as the midday movie at least a few times every year, I was a bit hesitant to watch this. I loved The Poseidon Adventure, every time I noticed it was on I’d be watching it, I often saw only part of it and it’s honestly possible I never saw the whole thing beginning to end but anyway.
The basic premise of the 2006 version is the same – A passenger ship is hit by a rogue wave on New Year’s Eve and the ship flips upside down. The people left alive have to try and find a way out while wandering about in a topsy turvy world. Whilst not technically an apocalypse movie I was incredibly short on choices because it’s one of my favourite genres so I’ve pretty much seen them all. In the end I stuck with disaster movie since it’s often the same type of conventions.
Anyway. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. There wasn’t as much character progression as I’ve seen in some movies but it felt pretty right for the genre as a whole and well worth a watch even if you liked the original.
Rating: 3/5 stars
Title: Welcome to the Dollhouse
Director: Todd Solondz
Category: #21 A cult film
I chose this one for my cult movie largely because it stars Heather Matarazzo. I first saw Heather Matarazzo in the Princess Diaries where she was amazing as Anne Hathaway’s slightly dorky best friend. Honestly, her character there could easily have been the older version of this one.
This movie is a bit like every other coming of age movie you’ll see in that we get to see her figuring out what’s important to her. The big difference here is that instead of getting drunk, and having harmless fun, Dawn is a much darker character. The kind you might find shooting up a high school for instance.
I absolutely understand how this became a cult classic but honestly, I think the storyline could really have done with some work. It just didn’t feel very cohesive and it’s probably not something I’ll be heading out to recommend to my friends.
Rating: 2/5 stars
Title: Florence Foster Jenkins
Director: Stephen Frears
Category: #27 A film starring Meryl Streep
Okay, so I’ve watched a lot of Meryl Streep but this is one I hadn’t bothered to check out because I didn’t love the idea of it very much. But it was quite funny in places and very well put together. It’s the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins who was known for her truly terrible singing abilities.
Florence has an unusual relationship with her husband (played by Hugh Grant) and also quite a lot of money. We get to see her succeeding in her singing career despite not being able to sing at all.
Honestly, I would’ve been much happier rewatching Mamma Mia or the Devil Wears Prada but I decided to pick new movies for all of my choices so here we are. Meryl Streep is someone who often stars in hilarious movies like Mamma Mia but just as often appears playing real people such as Julia Childs. Much like Julia this movie is well worth a watch but probably won’t make it to my top five Meryl Streep movies.
Rating: 3/5 stars
Director: Seth Gordon
Category: #36 A movie with a rotten tomato score of less than 20%
I didn’t need to watch this movie to know that it would be some combination of awful and ridiculous and I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you either. But it was.
This one follows on from the original TV show but now it’s The Rock who runs the beach. Welcome Zac Efron who’s an Olympic swimmer with a bad reputation and a sense of entitlement. Cue drugs showing up on the beach and the Baywatch folks getting caught up in a mystery that really should be left to the cops. Add in a healthy dose of character growth and a lot of gratuitous shots of male and female bodies in swimsuits and you’ve got Baywatch.
Honestly though, it had a pretty coherent plot which is more than I can say for a bunch of things I’ve seen this year so it gets some points for that and the acting was okay. The plot was certainly a bit predictable in places and there was nothing particularly amazing about it. But honestly, if all you want from your movie is a distraction from your real life and some pretty men/women to look at then this is a great choice.
Rating: 3/5 stars
Title: Bourne Identity
Director: Doug Liman
Category: #16 The first film in a series
Again, I’ve seen parts of this series (not even sure which movie) but never the whole thing. And I remembered the part that I’d seen being quite interesting so I figured I’d check out the whole thing.
I didn’t mind this movie but I also didn’t think it was anything to rave about. Maybe it’s because it’s fifteen years old now and hasn’t aged well. Maybe it’s just not my cup of tea. Either way, I don’t think I’ll be checking out the rest of the movies in the series.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Title: A Christmas Prince
Director: Alex Zamm
Category: #23 A Christmas Movie
Okay, it’s no secret that I absolutely love Christmas movies, you guys are lucky I didn’t complete this one way back in July except that no one is releasing Christmas movies in July and I’ve already seen the rest. Every year I make my fiancee sit through at least a few Christmas movies with me whether that be the Grinch, Elf and probably Love Actually, even though she really doesn’t like Will Ferrell and has an irrational dislike for all things British. So of course when I saw my favourite zombie (Rose McIver) starring in a Christmas movie on Netflix I was ready to crack out the popcorn.
If you like Christmas movie you’ll probably enjoy this, if you like trashy romantic comedies, you’ll probably enjoy it. If you don’t like either of those two things… run. Lucky for me. I love both of those things.
This movie is so predictable that it hurts and so sickly sweet but god it pulls at your heartstrings. Yes, of course she’s keeping a secret, of course someone is going to find out. Of course there’s a happy ending. But that’s what Christmas rom-coms are all about.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Title: Shutter Island
Director: Martin Scorcese
Category: #11 A horror/thriller
I’ve seen bits of this movie before but never the whole thing. I’ve also loved Leonardo Dicaprio since I first watched Titanic when I was 7. Then I realised that it had Michelle Williams (possibly better known from her role as Jen Linley in Dawson’s Creek) and Mark Ruffalo (better known as the Hulk). They had so many great casting choices in this movie that even if you don’t love the storyline the acting more than makes up for it.
I love movies like this because you’re never quite sure what’s real until the very end and even then, there’s still a few questions. This one was filmed beautifully so if it sounds like the type of movie you love then this one is well and truly worth a look. Besides, what could possibly go wrong when there’s a thriller set in an insane asylum where a prisoner has escaped.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Title: Summer Wars
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Category: #10 An animated movie for adults/anime
This is such an odd little movie that I really don’t know where to begin explaining it. Basically it’s the old girl asks guy to be her fake boyfriend for the weekend trope. Except that instead of being a romantic comedy the story instead centers on what happens when the online community he works for is hacked by an AI and he’s the only one that can help fix it. With some help from the girl’s family.
Honestly, I didn’t love this movie. There’s been anime movies that I have loved and while I found this concept to be great I found the execution somewhat confusing. Largely it was just unclear to me how exactly you connected to the online community and did things in it, and why people were even using it since it wasn’t quite VR it was just something you could click around.
If you love anime then it’s probably something you’ll enjoy but if you’ve not watched much anime I think you’re better starting with a different movie, perhaps Spirited Away of my all time favourite Grave of the Fireflies.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Title: Thor: Ragnarok
Director: Taika Waititi
Category: #42 A movie recommended by a friend
Ah yes, another Marvel movie for my list. Honestly, I skipped the second Thor film until recently as you know but I’m glad I got to this one immediately. This one was so funny that I spent most of it laughing, the new characters and location were just great and it was full of surprises.
I definitely don’t want to spoil this one for you except to say that it really was great to see what Hulk has been up to for the last little while. Also, it was interesting to see more of the Avengers fighting against one another. I’m excited to see everyone pull together next year for Infinity Wars.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars