The Quiet American (2002)

Emmy says:
This look at the First Indochina War from a singular perspective is a marvellously faceted story. The ill fitting costumes of Thomas Fowler and initially lazy disposition to his work elucidated the character in this dialogue heavy film wonderfully. The journey of Thomas from a bystander to contributor is complex and internal, and completely engaging. 10/10.

Jeff says:
Graham Greene’s book is brilliantly brought to life by Phillip Noyce with outstanding performances from Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser. I thought this was a spy thriller, and while espionage is involved it is not really the point of the story. At the heart is a love triangle that mirrors the tensions that were going on in Vietnam at the time. The depth to the story is kept in the film and filming in Vietnam made the visuals more poignant. 10/10.

IMDb

The Hunt for Red October

Emmy says:
An absolutely gripping character driven story filled with brilliant actors. Loved the use of the compact sets and the camera motion to show the underwater movement. The seamless transitions between Russian and English are expertly crafted to show the shift of understanding. The only disappointing part was the extremely obvious green screen scene at the end. 9/10.

Jeff says:
Once again, thanks to Patrick (H) Willems for putting this on our sonar … although it took a while to finally get around to watching it. I have all the original Jack Ryan novels, and watched all the movies that were made from them. I love the stories, and this movie (despite Sean Connery not even trying to sound anything other than himself) is excellent. The cast is full of “hey! it’s that guy!” actors doing outstanding work as usual. The direction and cinematography were impressive for how long ago this was made. Very rewatchable. 9/10.

IMDb

A Few Good Men

Emmy says: A compelling story of personal honour and justice. Sorkin did a great job writing this intriguing plot and it made good use of his verbose style. The actors did brilliantly in their roles and it’s easy to see why the TV show JAG was successful after this. 9/10.

Jeff says: One of the classics, and an excellent example of Aaron Sorkin’s writing, probably helped Donald P. Bellisario get the TV series JAG idea taken seriously three years later. Excellent characters and dialogue – much of it so quotable that even people who haven’t seen the film know lines from it. 8/10.

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Dick Tracy

Emmy says: Oh wow! This movie looks so gorgeous and gritty, I’m astounded at how well it combines the two. The characters are bold and brought to life by a slew of top shelf actors. The gangster aesthetic of the characters and cars is wonderfully merged with a comic book style. This movie is crazy and great fun to watch. Definitely going to revisit this when our intern is old enough to understand it. 9/10.

Jeff says: Thanks to Patrick (H) Willems we revisited Dick Tracy. The colours and style are fantastic, the acting is bonkers for a PG film, the cast list is incredible, the songs are memorable. Fun and entertaining, it brings the funny pages to life 15 years before Sin City or 300. Not sure what to say that isn’t said better by Patrick, so go watch the movie and then Patrick’s video. 9/10.

IMDb

The Princess Bride

Emmy says:
The charm of this movie is pure and delivered impeccably by the actors. The dialogue is witty and it’s understandable how it has become so highly quoted. The choreography of the fighting is a delight as is the filming. A masterpiece. 10/10.

Jeff says:
Thanks to randomly watching a couple of Jill Beanup videos, Emmy was finally in the mood to rewatch this classic 80’s film. I don’t know what to add to her review. This movie is one of the most quotable films ever, and is beloved by many people I know. The fighting and dialogue is exceptional (even if the fighting dialogue doesn’t describe what they’re actually doing – but that’s a niche joke for those that know fencing). For a ‘comedy action’ film, there are serious feels that are earned. The cast is perfect. Our intern will be shown this movie again when he’s old enough to understand it. 10/10.

IMDb

Army Intelligence

(also known as Renaissance Man)

Emmy says:
A seriously delightful film. Carried by the dialogue and the actors spectacularly, the simple setting of the army allows the story to come forward. Great dissection of Hamlet, which gives access to Shakespeare for both the students in the film and the audience. 9/10.

Jeff says:
I love, and have always loved, this film. The gimmick of “Shakespeare for dummies” is brilliant, but it’s the background of the characters and the development of their relationships that is truly amazing. I have to wonder what the original idea for the film was – a fish out of water tail, or a character study about why some people join the army and the system failures that lead to some seeing it as their only option? Or is it merely a tale about the power of the right teacher with the right tools to reach you? This film is all of those things, and more. Victory starts here. 10/10.

IMDb

Wonder Woman 1984

Emmy says:
Loved the 80s outfits. Felt uncomfortable watching most of the characters. The opening sequence and the combat was wonderful, apart from the aerial combat at the end looked off. I don’t appreciate the resolution to all of the characters. In all I’m conflicted. 7/10.

Jeff says:
I don’t understand this movie. Don’t get me wrong – the plot was predictable, the resolution obvious, the visual effects were stunning. What I struggle with is all the whys. Why was it set in the 80s? Why does Wonder Woman turn into Spiderman, Thor and Superman in quick succession? Why does the obvious “we all have to do better” final act leave me bored, and why does it take so long? Why are there so many sequences where I’m left wondering if I missed something (a transition)? Why was there no direct payoff to the opening flashback? I have looked forward to this film since the end of the last one, before this film was even an idea. I’m sad that this is what it ended up being: so many missed opportunities. 6/10.

IMDb

Uncut Gems

Emmy says:
I’m not sure how I feel about this movie yet. I know I didn’t like any of the characters and felt a bit like I was watching a train wreck. The filming, directing and editing were stunning for the content, and I stayed for the end only to see how it concluded. Wanting to know that must mean it’s not a bad movie, but the characters were so well acted that I didn’t enjoy watching them. 5/10.

Jeff says:
This movie is … a lot. A lot of swearing, a lot of yelling, a lot of dumb decisions by many different characters, and a lot of time spent with very unlikeable people. The acting, however, is top notch. I don’t know that I’m on board the “Adam Sandler’s best role ever” bandwagon, but he was a force in this film. Given the background to how this story came to be, I understand the decisions made in telling this tale, but it was still a lot to take and I’m not sure I could actually recommend it to others. 7/10.

IMDb

Peppermint

Emmy says:
This movie delivers a tightly shot fervid spree of revenge, with very few extraneous scenes. Entertaining with the well choreographed combat and its predictable plot. 7/10.

Jeff says:
Decent story, although somewhat predictable. I did like that there was an in-story reason for her new-found ability to take a lot of damage – something a lot of revenge stories tend to forget. Good effects, and Jennifer Garner is always good in action. 7/10.

IMDb

The Mask

Emmy says:
Revisiting a movie from my childhood I am pleased to see it entertaining as an adult. The spectacle, costumes, music and premise hold up well. 8/10.

Jeff says:
I can still quote more than 50% of this movie, which says a lot. It’s still fun watching a young Jim Carrey when the schtick was funny and not worn-out. The soundtrack has always been the draw for me, and it still is. Interesting fact: when this came out it was the second highest grossing film based on a comic ever … after the 1978 Superman film. Not hard to see why. 9/10.

IMDb

Tenet

Emmy says:
A glorious mess of insanity. Many cool bits and convoluted choreography that was very entertaining to watch. Nolan certainly had fun. 9/10.

Jeff says:
This movie is an example of spectacle over substance. There’s also a little more than a whiff of Nolan’s pride at his own cleverness that isn’t really deserved. Full disclosure: I missed around 20 minutes near the start because our ‘little intern’ was being a bit loud, but I don’t think I missed anything of substance and it didn’t mean any of the plot elements were lost on me. The hook of this film is interesting, and executed faithfully in parts, but there are so many obvious flaws or pitfalls that were just ignored or hand-waved over. The set pieces were excellent, and one particular event that features both early and late in the piece was actually a delight even when clearly telegraphed. Acting was good, casting was top shelf, no expense spared on the visuals … but I was left underwhelmed by the narrative being told (or not told). 8/10.

IMDb

Enola Holmes

Emmys says:
The fantastic settings are shot to wonderful effect in this whirlwind of a story. Absolutely love the costumes and characters, and enjoyed discovering the facts with them. Great fun with the breaking of the fourth wall. 9/10.

Jeff says:
Not surprised this is based on the first book in a series … too much setup for there not to be (possible) sequels. I am completely there for them though! Well written and very well acted. There is some surprising darkness and even forthright violence which is more that I would have expected from something that might be considered a “kids” film. Well worth watching. 9/10.

IMDb

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