3 out of 5 stars
I’ve actually seen better pandemic disaster movies, but I can’t recall the name(s) of them off the top of my head. I agree with most critics that the science and especially the government bureaucracy and corruption depicted in Contagion reflected reality (or predicable reality).
I found fault with the sporadic evidence of the aftermath and consequences shown. For example, we are shown empty sports clubs and malls, grocery stores being looted, trash left to pile up on the streets, nurses striking, police and fire departments woefully undermanned, yet the electricity, water and cell phones continue uninterrupted at the home of our ‘every man’ who is immune to the virus, but lost both his wife (the originating case) and his step son. As far as I can tell, he never leaves the house, except to scrounge for food for himself and his remaining teenage daughter, although they hardly look like they are suffering from starvation or other modern amenities.
So I’ll give the film an above average rating for medical science and government portrayals, but a below average for disaster depiction. Hence, my three out of five star rating.
And, no, I didn’t immediately rush out to my local pharmacy to purchase their entire stock of hand sanitizers. Hot water and soap used frequently throughout the day to wash your hands works wonders as well, and is usually less expensive.
I watched The Grey last night, and it left me thinking and dreaming all night long in the realm of nihilism. I cringed at writing an adequate review, as my understanding of the nihilistic worldview is hampered by my own Christian worldview. But I found this excellent review and decided to share it as a reblog. As far as a rating for the movie, I’ll give it three out of five stars.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
3.5 out of 5 stars
Perhaps I should have read the book first. Or at least read a plot synopsis. As much as I love hacker themes, I have a hard time swallowing and digesting violence, especially that perpetrated against women. That being said, I still feel a bit disappointed in Lisbeth’s response to her assailant. I thought she went too easy on him.
The ‘locked room mystery’ portion of the film held most of my interest, causing me to pause and rewind the BluRay several times, and play sections of it in slow motion. I love a great mystery and I adore female characters who don’t slow down for inferior intellects. Keep up, or shut up and get out of the way.
The ending convinced me to stick to non-contemporary literature for my fiction reading. What has that got to do with this movie? Well, as we all know, real life sucks. As far as I can tell, contemporary literature, especially crime novels, which this movie was based upon, exists to expose us to the absolute worst aspects of humanity and society, leaving us with little resolution and a scarcity of hope.
Give me a good fantasy film like The Prince Bride (the debut film for Robin Wright who also appeared in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) any day. At least then I won’t yell at my husband how much I hate men while watching it. (Yeah, I paid for that comment for hours after the movie ended).
Man on a Ledge (2012)
3.5 out of 5 stars
A better than average thriller starring a couple of my favorite actors: Sam Worthington and Ed Harris (although the latter looked like he had recently been ill and lost some weight). I enjoyed seeing Anthony Mackie again, whom I loved in The Adjustment Bureau, but can’t say I liked his character in this movie.
I can’t disclose too much about the plot without spoiling most of it (which is true for most thrillers). Worthington is a police officer, who lost his appeal and faces twenty-five years in prison. He knows he’s innocent (but haven’t we heard that from just about any convict?) and he’s got nothing to lose. He escapes while attending his father’s funeral and then places himself on a ledge high above New York City streets, but not for the obvious reason.
You’ll be on the edge of your seat trying to keep up with the twists, turns and surprises.
Dream House (2011)
3.5 out of 5 stars
I can’t relate much of the plot to this movie without giving away too much. I will limit my review to the performances of the actors, all of whom did well in this strange story.
Daniel Craig had me completely fooled right up until the point of revelation to the audience. Usually, I see these types of things coming from a mile away. I really should watch this movie a second time to catch all the clues I must have missed from before this point in the plot. Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts both also performed remarkably well, balancing out the dark and light halves of Daniel Craig’s character’s life.
I love watching a good thriller, but I vastly prefer those that are not gory (and come with a less than R rating). I selected this DVD from Netflix because it had a PG13 rating and better than a three star rating from Netflix viewers. This, I reassured myself that any scares and thrills I might experience would not overwhelm me with shock and gore. Dream House did not disappoint.
3.5/4 out of 5 stars
Summary from IMDB: Samuel Pierret (Gilles Lellouche) is a nurse who saves the wrong guy — a thief (Roschdy Zem) whose henchmen take Samuel’s pregnant wife (Elena Anaya) hostage to force him to spring their boss from the hospital. A race through the subways and streets of Paris ensues, and the body count rises. Can Samuel evade the cops and the criminal underground and deliver his beloved to safety?
I added this film to my Netflix streaming queue yesterday morning because after reviewing the DirecTV guide for Sunday the 15th, I could not find anything worth watching. Initially, I did not fully grasp the fact that the movie was filmed in France and had English subtitles. This did not put me off, though, as most action movies tend to have less dialog and I read very fast. Being able to pause and rewind also helps get the entire experience (not just the read dialog, but the body language of the actors).
That being said, this film impressed me. The story, the action, the stunts, even the acting, were every bit as good as movies made in Hollywood. In fact, it outshone many of those. This is by no means a ‘new’ twist on the ‘old’ crime thriller. It had all the usual suspects: organized crime henchmen and bosses, dedicated detectives and their bad apples (corrupt cops), innocent bystanders who push the moral envelope to ransom their kidnapped loved ones. Tons of tension and thrills abounded and I had no trouble staying riveted to the screen.
The Accidental Spy (2011)
Three out of Five Stars
My husband and I have separate Netflix queues (and have for years). This DVD came in the mail Saturday so we popped it in the player for Saturday evening entertainment. Who can resist a Jackie Chan action movie? Not me. The Turkish bath fight sequence brought a smile to my face. The plot was hardly believable, but I really didn’t care. It’s too much fun watching Jackie pretend to play the spy game.
CryoBurn by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Really only 3.5 stars, but the last chapter made it 4 stars for me.
If you strip away the space opera and science fiction, this story boils down to a mystery/thriller where the old adage ‘follow the money’ proves axiomatic again.
Miles is on a new (to us) planet, Kibou-daini (settled by people of Japanese heritage). An entire culture mortally afraid of dying (pun intended) to the point where millions, if not billions, of citizens have chosen cryo preservation rather than the more traditional final frontier (i.e. Death). Oddly, since they are not dead, as citizens they still retain their votes in this democracy, albeit by proxy held by ever larger more monopolistic corporations. This sparked quite a few intriguing interpolations both in the characters and my own internal ponderings.
As Emperor Gregor suspected, thanks to his Komarran familial connections, Miles uncovers a plot that could pose an inexorable glacial threat to a third of the Barrayaran Empire and manages, in his usual manic hyperactive style, to expose and diffuse said threat.
Cameos by Ekaterin, Mark and Kareen. Briefer cameos by Ivan and Gregor in the last chapter, but have a box of tissues handy.
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