A Few Quick Movie and TV Reviews

While gaming has always been a passion of mine, I also have a love for movies, TV shows, and short-form video. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of movies and shows on various streaming services, and some of them have been extremely good! Others have been… well, let’s just say they were not great. I thought it might be fun to list them off, and here we are!

Now just a clarification – this is just a list of recent movies and shows I’ve seen in the past few months that left a mark on me in one way or another. Perhaps some of these are not “good” movies, but I think it is worth mentioning them. This is no particular order – just a stream of consciousness, as it should be.

Bullet to the Head (2012)

This is a fun one. It stars Sylvester Stallone and Sung Kang as the protagonists, and Jason Mamoa as the bad guy. The story revolves around Jimmy (Stallone), a hired hitman, that is thrown into a bad situation. Him and his partner were double crossed, eventually leading to his partner’s death at the hands of a dude named Keegan (Mamoa). That’s when Taylor (Kang) comes in to investigate. Many bullets are fired, and the bodies start to pile in this fun action-thriller from director Walter Hill.

Now I know Stallone doesn’t have the best track record in movies, but I thought he pulled this one off. Stallone was putting on years when this came out, but the make-up and cinematography largely cover that up… as well as the decent acting and action sequences. Stallone has always been good at portraying that “rough and tumble” anti-hero persona, and here is no different. He even throws in a couple of jokes.

Overall, I liked it. IMDB says it’s a 5.7, but I think it deserves a higher rating. I would give it a 7 as it is definitely better than some of the other movies I’ve watched this year (Meg 2: The Trench, I’m looking at you…). If you like action movies with lots of fire-fights, put this one on your to-be-watched list.

Batman (1989)

I recently watched this for the first time as a fully grown human, and I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. As I understand, it was one of the first darker (maybe noir would be a better word) retellings of Batman. This new style can easily be attributed to director Tim Burton and his over-the-top directly style. One thing I really like about this movie is that it feels like a comic book. Batman’s gadgets are fun, and Jack Nicholson as the Joker is a perfect match; he’s both whimsical and unhinged – the complete package.

This movie had a sequel, Batman Returns, a few years later. I watched this too, and I liked it. However, I don’t really have anything to say about it. Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) throws a wrench into Batman’s life, and Danny Devito as Penguin is funny, if not a bit gross at times.

If you haven’t seen them (or you like superhero movies), do yourself a favor and give them a watch.

Windtalkers (2002)

This movie is about the Windtalkers, a group of Native American codebreakers from World War II. If you didn’t know, the Windtalkers were a group of Native Americans that used a complex code to send information to their comrades. The code was encrypted in a way, it used the Navajo language and was very difficult for the enemy to solve.

Anyway, the movie centers on Joe Enders (Nicolas Cage), a war-torn soldier who is supposed to protect a Windtalker. Of course their relationship evolves as the movie goes on, but what really stuck out to me was how Cage acts like he belongs in Rambo rather than the islands of the Pacific. He constantly runs out of cover to blast away the enemy while holding his Thompson with one hand. It’s bogus.

While I applaud the history behind the movie, this is not the way to make a war film.

13 Ghosts (2001)

In one word? Forgettable. 13 Ghosts is a remake of 1960 film by the same name, and it’s… well, it’s just not very memorable. It’s about a family that inherits a strange mansion from a long lost relative, and there are a number of ghosts trapped within. Not all is as it seems, as the ghosts were put there for a reason (a sacred ritual) and that’s part of the intrigue, I suppose. This film tried so hard to make me invested in the characters and their motivations, but they’re all laughably one-note.

The ghosts are the most intriguing part, but they’re glossed over so quickly. There’s one that’s a giant, fat man baby who appears for just a minute or two. Another is called The Hammer, a giant and violent ghost who prefers to use a hammer to annihilate his victims. Very original, huh? Unfortunately the ghosts just aren’t given proper screen time when they are the most interesting part of the film. Even when they’re on screen, there’s not a whole lot of tension because the impenetrable plot armor of most of the cast.

Between the unnecessarily convoluted story, the poor acting, and the lack of any consequence, this movie doesn’t do anything particularly well. If you like older horror films, you might enjoy it.

Reacher (2022)

This is a show on Amazon Prime, and it is one of their “Amazon Originals”. It’s hard for me to get invested in TV shows, but I have been rewatching this with my wife and we both love this show. It’s funny when it needs to be, serious and tense when there are confrontations, and has great pacing to boot. It is based off the book series of the same name by Lee Child. It’s not the first adaptation, but it’s definitely the best!

The first episode is a master class in hooking your audience. It’s about a giant of a man, Reacher (Alan Ritchson), arriving in small-town Georgia and being blamed for the murder. Reacher is ex-military and has plenty of decorations to his name, and an almost Sherlockian memory with excellent deductive reasoning. I don’t want to spoil too much more, but I will leave you with this clip from the first episode.

Rapid Fire

Here are a few more where I don’t have much to say.

The Pyramid (2014)

I stopped watching this because it was too bad. It’s about a group of student scientists that get stuck in a pyramid in Egypt. While inside, they discover something is hunting them. I had to stop watching after about 45 minutes because it was just so boring. The monster is rarely shown in frame, the camera is all over the place with shaky-cam and jump cuts, and the acting and script was droning on… and on, and on, and on.

Meg 2: The Trench (2023)

Oof… This one is no bueno. I thought the first Meg was an “okay” summer flick, and the trailer for the sequel made it look like it could be a fun way to spend an evening. This movie is like Chinese propaganda turned up to 11, and it has some of the worst cinematography I’ve ever seen. There’s jump cuts, time skips, plot armor, and mindless action in droves. Hell, the movie is barely about sharks at all. I didn’t expect much, but this is significantly less entertaining than the first Meg.

I hope you enjoyed this little list! I hope to do this more often, but there’s just not enough time in the day. Until next time… またね!

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