Mini-Reviews #5

Alright then, another round-up of short reviews; waited a bit longer, so that means this time there are some more than usual.

Film

Now You See Me
Was off to a good start, but lost momentum after the initial 30 minutes.
World War Z
Watchable; not as bad as I feared, but also no milestone. Astonishingly, the lack of gore in this Zombie flick didn’t rub me the wrong way as much as I expected.
Pacific Rim
Didn’t really expect anything positive for this one and my expecation was fulfilled: A slightly darker twist on the Transformers theme, but neither the logic of the film’s world nor the characterization did work for me. And the visual effects didn’t save this one either.
Oblivion
A pretty slow, unexcited (in a positive way) film, reminded me a bit of the SF films of the 1970s; stole quite some ideas from other movies but was still original enough to be a good movie; and the visuals and production design was great.
The Heat
Hoped for much more, I don’t think I laughed once — and that’s not good for a comedy!
Captain America: The First Avenger
Aaand yet another Marvel movie. Several years ago, I’d had given a leg and an arm for well made superhero films, but by now I’m pretty much fed up by the endless stream of origin stories and episodic special-effects showcases.
The Lone Ranger
Mixed feelings about this one: Very entertaining first half, but declining thereafter. The long runtime wasn’t helpful either, could have done easily with 30 minutes less.
Man Of Steel
The previous one, Superman Returns, was indeed a snooze-fest. This one has more action, but still lacks soul, or any kind of humor, or any kind of interesting plot, or interesting characters, or… (But it gets a bonus point for having Antje Traue in it: View Pandorum).
Welcome To The Punch
A british crime thriller. I hoped for more, but it was just OK.
The Croods
Similar to the (Marvel) superhero output in recent years, the mainstream animation films seem to stagnate on their current level of nice and not offending family movies with a couple of funny scenes sprinkled through their runtime. It’s quite watchable, but will not linger on your mind after the end credits have stopped.
The Wolverine
Yawn, what a bore. The action pieces were few and laughable and the characters and the story didn’t connect with me.
Promised Land
Had some nice scenes, but overall it wasn’t really convincing, storywise (and that’s ignoring the fact that it played like your average TV-movie-of-the-week).
Side Effects
Interesting thriller; took its time to get rolling, but at the end it was a satisfying film — not great, but good.
Riddick
I didn’t understand the cult appeal of the first part (“Pitch Black”), part two (“The Chronicles of Riddick”) was a convoluted mess and this one is a kind of rehash of the first movie and didn’t entertain me the slightest (expect maybe for the interrogation scene).
R.E.D. 2
I was pleasently suprised by part one, and this one was also very entertaining. Not high art, but some fun hours.
Snitch
A very mediocre film, with a slow build-up (unnecessary, since the characters were missing depth anyway) and finally a ho-hum 5-minutes action piece as the climax. Skip it if you can.

TV

Dexter — Season 7
Well, the best times are over for this show (and I’ve said that for 2 or 3 seasons already). This one was better than the last season, still it’s good too know that next one will be the last.
Homeland — Season 2
Also, mixed feelings for this (and I’m not the only one, looking at other reviews on the internet): Swinging from character-driven psychological thriller to anti-terror-action and back, getting neither one really right. Plus several unconvincing plot twists (without spoilering too much: the thread that involved the heart pacemaker was cringeworthy unbelievable).
Damages — Season 4
Season 1 to 3 were some of the finest drama in televison I’ve watched so far. But this season was… different. Not bad, but for example, one could really see the cut in the budget: I couldn’t imagine it at first (the series always played more or less in the same offices, some outdoor scenes… — what difference would a smaller budget make here?), but since this one had flashbacks to Afghanistan, one could really see it. Also, Goodman as ‘Erickson’ was unconvincing: The boss of a multi-million-dollar security company, mostly wearing lumberjack outfit and residing in what looked like a cabin and appearing more whiny than mighty.
Additionally, the main story didn’t really had that refined, sophisticated, well-planned, thought-out structure that I’ve expected from this show (didn’t check: different authors maybe?).
And the characters also were mostly underwritten or not convincing.
True Blood — Season 6
True Blood has always been a guilty pleasure: A bit too much camp, relying a bit too much on the “shock value” of nudity and gore and often taken itself too serious. But the direction of the last couple of season, including this one, raises really the question: Why am I still watching this?!
But I know why and I’ll endure the pain like a brave soldier and will tune in next year 😉