Thoughts on each movie viewed in January 2015 with links to posts:
The Omega Man (1971). Rewatch. Last year I watched Vincent Price’s The Last Man on Earth and this is the same story (as it was for I am Legend), in which civilization has been wiped out and all that remains are zombie-like creatures and one normal human, in this case Charlton Heston. He’s a doctor/scientist who worked on the antidote to the albino undead. He goes out during the day to avoid being attacked by the creature mob which is led by former news anchor Anthony Zerbe. Heston’s made rather a nice life in his swanky penthouse apartment playing chess with a statue and eating and drinking whatever delicacies he scavenges from abandoned stores. Love the scenes where he drives or jogs through the empty streets and buildings of L.A., or enjoys a movie theater all to himself (watching Woodstock for the umpteenth time). One day he’s shocked to find that he’s not the only human left, and forms an alliance with other survivors to fight the zombies.
The Wolverine (2013). Rewatch. Already said a few words about this one last summer, but will repeat that I like it because Hugh Jackman finally got a better noirish story and a part to sink his claws into, which sounds strange since all the other X pictures are basically “starring Wolverine and some other X-Men.” Please Fox, make an old man Logan movie with Jackman!
Wolf Creek 2 (2013). Perverted serial killer hunts tourists in the Australian outback, maybe my mood but found it too bleak and revolting, not even scary but an exercises in soaking the scenery with blood.
Joe (2013). Nicolas Cage plays an ex-con and foresting company foreman who works hard and befriends new employee Tye Sheridan, a teen with an alcoholic, abusive leech father. Cage becomes father figure to Sheridan, and tries to help the kid get out of his horrible situation at home. Cage is excellent and Sheridan is a fabulous young actor whose work I loved in Mud (and just heard he’ll be playing Scott/Cyclops in the next X movie). Bleak, depressing view of the South and of human nature, full of losers who turn deadly on a dime and good people who aren’t rewarded for good deeds, but totally worth watching.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). Great, lots of fun, feels like an epic 007 installment.
Rust and Bone (2012). Slow moving French drama about a single father and his relationship with a whale trainer who loses her legs. It’s a few short stories melded together, and though I didn’t know that beforehand, some of the weaving of the plot threads did feel a bit forced and artificial, like it belongs to separate movies. Decent acting and a nice theme of being rehabbed from misfortune.
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013). Two vampires, Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, have been around for centuries and we meet them in our time as they try to stay busy creating music, traveling and getting blood through connections at hospitals, while consoling each other and lamenting the way modern society is losing touch with the great ideas and works of the past. Slow-moving in this case is part of the point, as these creatures are supremely bored and have only each other, their intimacy and understanding to keep them going. Great chemistry and light touch by Hiddleston and Swinton, who keep you fascinated and amused right up to the final scene where they choose their pretty prey and make the attack seem somehow uplifting.
Under The Skin (2013). Disturbing, visually impressive and I’m not sure what I watched, really. Wasn’t a Scarlett Johansson’s fan until her amazing performance here. She plays an alien, or rather plays the body that alien “wears” on this planet, the skin in which that alien trawls the streets, luring men to their doom. Her victims have the life vaccuumed out of them while suspended in a tar-like substance, in one of the creepier sequences ever seen. The parts where Johansson starts to enjoy her human form and tries to imitate real people by watching TV comedy, eating cake (and nearly choking on it) and falling in love, are by far the best parts of the movie. She ends up liking Earthlings so much that she’s an outcast among her own kind. The rest is slow and dull, but is sure to inspire long discussions on its meaning and Kubrick feel.
Collateral (2004). Tom Cruise as a hit man who commandeers Jamie Foxx’s taxi while he completes a long list of jobs. Good thriller with slick and gritty Michael Mann action, L.A. night looks amazing here, but predictable things like the subway story that you just know will figure later in the movie, the lecture Foxx gets about putting off his dreams for some time that’ll never come, and some overly scripted, unnatural conversations that precede the hits.
Ciguli Miguli (1952). This one is special and personal and will get a pretty big post as soon as I finish some more research. Hope you find it half as fascinating as I do when I tell you this movie’s story.
The Bourne Identity (2002). Rewatch. What’s left to say? Good spy movie, good action, great car chases, Clive Owen has a nice bit, Matt Damon nailed it and the movie’s style and success helped kick the 007 franchise back to life.