OBLIVION

I watched OBLIVION and MOON back to back. I’d been told that the former ripped off the latter. Both are future SF and certainly have parallels, but Moon is a psychological drama while Oblivion is an action flick. The subject matter (I won’t spoil it for you) demands certain dramatic epiphanies that make the second acts very similar. Moon is a one-man show starring Sam Rockwell who could easily have played Tom Cruise’s role in Oblivion, but I don’t think the opposite would work nearly as well. (That sentence makes sense to me, hope it does to you.)
Oblivion FF=1
Moon FF=2
(Moon has a higher FF because the first act, though necessary to set up the rest of the story, is plodding)

TRIANGLE (2009)

I’d never heard of this film until a reader sent me a copy. He advised me not to FF so I didn’t, and I’m glad I listened. A frightening variation on Groundhog Day that has you nodding appreciation as unexplained incidents in the first go-round are explained when seen through another POV on the second. Well worth the trip.

FF=0

EARTH TO ECHO

So, thinking this will be in the cute ET or Batteries Not Included genre, I gather two granddaughters and we sit down to watch.  They didn’t make the half-hour mark and I fell asleep soon after.  I woke up and FF’d through to the end.  No engagement.  Plus it’s got that annoying found-footage look.  A major misfire.  Rewatch the two I mentioned above, or maybe Super 8 instead.

FF=5

THE WORRICKER TRILOGY

There’s something indefinably appealing about Bill Nighy’s acting in that he doesn’t seem to be acting. This trio of BBC films don’t have much suspense and have a relaxed, ambling pace that usually gets on my nerves, but the cast is so good at what they do that you remain completely engaged. You simply enjoy watching them. I can’t think of a reason for you to expend a whole lot of effort to find these films (check PBS) but then I can’t think of a reason why you shouldn’t.

FF=0

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR

I loved the first Sin City with all its narrative and visual excesses. Now, almost a decade later comes the sequel. The same CGI sets, the same (purposely) corny dialog and narrative voiceovers, people surviving violence that would kill Wiley Coyote. I didn’t think I’d like it, I thought the novelty would have worn off, but I sat entranced and didn’t reach for the remote once.  The Sin City films are an acquired taste. You either like ’em or loathe ’em. And then there’s Eva Green. This movie earns it’s “R” so be warned.

FF=0

BAD WORDS

…abound in this quirky film filled with quirky characters. Jason Bateman expends a ton of effort on playing a misanthrope and does it well. You have no clue as to why he’s entering these middle-school spelling bees. He’s softened by his relationship with an Indian kid who’s a fellow contestant. The film has its funny moments (the humor often has a rough edge – there’s a reason for the R rating – “Don’t look at me!”), but then it becomes a revenge flick. If you like dark humor, you’ll like this a lot.

FF=1

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Ten years after the events of the first film, we’ve arrived at a tipping point between the apes and a plague-ravaged human race. The subtext is human hubris and racism, but there’s no shortage of action and violence. A little family drama is folded in to “humanize” the apes, but that could have been achieved much better with just a dollop of humor. These apes are the grimmest damn creatures. Make one of them a lovable clown to lighten things up. (Of course, you’d have to kill him…)

FF=1

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

Another excellent X-Men film. I was never into the X-Men comics – more into the indies while Chris Claremont was doing his groundbreaking runs in the series. An excellent cast and a satisfying storyline but, as usual, you have to provide your own exposition for the inevitable head-scratchers (like how did Magneto control the Sentinels and why did he have to uproot RFK Stadium, etc.?) and just go with it.

FF=0

EDGE OF TOMORROW

I didn’t think I’d like this because it looked like Ground Hog Day rebooted as SF and, well, it starred Tom Cruise. My bad. I cut my writing teeth in the SF field, so I gave it a shot and am very glad I did. This is top-notch military sci-fi. Cruise and Emily Blunt deliver. Don’t try to think too much about the time shifting — it will break your brain. Don’t try to understand why alien HQ is beneath the Louvre either. Just go with it. Lots of action and scary aliens that are truly alien. FF=1

HOSTAGE

I missed this Bruce Willis vehicle when it was fresh back in 2005. It’s darker than I expected, and Ben Foster’s turn as the psycho goth named Mars is deeply creepy. A complex plot with two sets of bad guys and some nice twists and turns kept me into this film and my finger off the FF button. (Well, almost.)

FF=1