Wreck It Ralph (2012)
Yes, I went to watch Wreck It Ralph because it is a movie about video games, but this is a thoroughly enjoyable movie in its own right. It follows the tale of Ralph, the “bad guy” in a classic arcade game that borrows some inspiration from titles like Donkey Kong and Rampage. He’s tired of being the bad guy and wants to finally enjoy the accolades and admiration that good guys receive. Along the way, he “game jumps” to other titles in the arcade, like the Halo-inspired Hero’s Duty and the Mario Kart-esque Sugar Rush.
The voice acting by Jane Lynch (Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun) and Sarah Silverman (Vanellope von Schweetz) are fantastic and while it does get a little mushy at times, this film is thoroughly enjoyable for gamers and non-gamers alike. As an added bonus, all of who have been playing games for years will love the cameos by everyone from Sonic the Hedgehog to Q-Bert too. Yes, Ralph, you deserve a medal.
Opening with a thrilling high speed chase, Skyfall certainly doesn’t skimp on the action. If you’re looking for explosions, motorcycles on rooftops, and plenty of close calls, this latest installment in the James Bond franchise will not disappoint. What I did find was this film was much more straightforward than previous efforts involving Agent 007, not leading us through nearly as many complicated plot twists and turns. A list of all the MI6 secret agents gets stolen, Bond and M have to hunt down the villain, their lives are threatened, and it all culminates in an epic final battle.
That said, I really enjoyed Javier Bardem’s performance, adding just enough humor into his evil mastermind role. No, you really don’t get anything in terms of real Q gadgets (they intentionally poke fun at them even) nor do you get nearly as much “super spy” kind of content or even a real “Bond girl,” but this is still a great action film with stunning visuals and a reasonably strong story.
When I first heard about the premise behind Argo, I was skeptical. Even though it is based on a true story, not unlike Hurt Locker, I didn’t find it particularly compelling. Then, it started to get all sorts of Oscar buzz and I felt I had to see what the hullabaloo was all about. While I certainly don’t think that Argo is a bad film, it’s not all that fantastic either. It’s inherently predictable, but I never got that sense of extreme tension that I was expecting. It also didn’t help that it took them an hour to get Ben Affleck into Iran.
Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)
They’re just milking a franchise for all it is worth. The first “found footage” film had a unique appeal, but this fourth installment is even worse than Paranormal Activity 3. The beauty of the original was the incredible tension built up by the nothingness, getting us spooked by the most subtle of benevolent motions. This movie is just trying too hard and ends up falling flat on its face.
Seed of Chucky (2004)
A child’s doll that gets possessed by the spirit of an evil serial killer, Chucky has become one of the most treasured characters in the history of the horror genre. He gained a wife in Bride of Chucky, but in Seed of Chucky, he gets a child of ambiguous gender. At first Glen/Glenda is a pacifist, but you know those murderous bloodlines get expressed eventually. This movie makes no sense whatsoever and it’s far more gory than it is scary, so I’m not sure I can recommend it. It is worth a few cheap laughs though.
The Eye (2002)
Have you ever wondered what happens when you get an eye transplant from someone who had the ability to see dead people? Borrowing a little from movies like Sixth Sense, The Eye tackles this exact question. There is only one real scare in this film, but they do go much deeper into a back story than you would normally find in a campy horror flick. I haven’t seen the 2008 remake with Jessica Alba, but this Chinese take on seeing the dead was mediocre at best.
This Means War (2012)
This romantic comedy has a bit of a twist: the love triangle involves a couple of super spies who utilize their super-spy expertise and infrastructure to win over the girl. Aside from the involvement of explosions and fisticuffs, This Means War is a fairly standard rom-com with a standard predictable ending. Even so, Reese Witherspoon is as charming as always and the action carries along at a pleasant pace. Love is war and, yes, there will be blood.