Re-Watch: The Tunnel (2011)

The Tunnel
Director: Carlo Ledesma
Writer: Enzo Tedeschi, Julian Harvey
Cast: Bel Deliá, Andy Rodoreda, Steve Davis, Luke Arnold
Seen on: 10.5.2022
[Here’s my first review.]

Content Note: misogyny

Plot:
Something is going on in the tunnels below Sydney, and ambitious reporter Natasha (Bel Deliá) is sure that the government is covering something up. She convinces her colleagues Peter (Andy Rodoreda), Steve (Steve Davis) and Tangles (Luke Arnold) to go investigating with her. But even with their suspicions, they never could have guessed what is actually happening.

The Tunnel is a mockumentary/found footage movie which is generally not so much my thing. But it was rather well-made and definitely shot in interesting locations, making it easier to forgive the often rather simple story. But then again, I realized only after having written this review that I had already seen the film, so obviously it’s not one to burn itself into your memory.

The film poster showing a close-up of Natasha (Bel Deliá) as she screams, the image made up of finely printed names.
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Re-Watch: The Meg (2018)

The Meg
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Writer: Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Based on: Steve Alten‘s novel Meg
Cast: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson, Cliff Curtis, Winston Chao, Shuya Sophia Cai, Ruby Rose, Page Kennedy, Robert Taylor, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Jessica McNamee, Masi Oka
Seen on: 16.1.2022
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Five years ago, deep sea captain Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) lost his job, his wife Lori (Jessica McNamee), his reputation after a mission that ended in failure and death – and his explanation that it was all caused by a Megalodon, a long extinct mega shark. Now his expertise as a rescue diver is needed as a submarine was stranded at the bottom of the Mariana trench – a submarine that happens to carry Lori and two other scientists. Called in by oceanographers Zhang (Winston Chao) and Suyin (Bingbing Li) to help, Jonas soon discovers that he faces the same threat he faced back then.

When I saw The Meg for the first time, I was surprised by how unironically I loved it. Seeing it again now, I’m not surprised anymore, but I still love it.

The film poster showing a bird's view of a shark with its mouth wide open swimming towards the surface where a woman is floating on an inflatable ring.
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Re-Watch: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien‘s novel
Sequel to: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Cast: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Andy Serkis, Sean Bean, Marton Csokas, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Craig Parker, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Bernard Hill, Miranda Otto, Karl Urban, David Wenham, John Noble
Seen on: 6.1.2022

Plot:
Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) have not only to find their way into Mordor, but also to Mount Doom, unnoticed by Sauron, to destroy the One Ring. Meanwhile, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) slowly claims his role as King and leads the human army into battle against Sauron to draw his gaze away from the hobbits and the ring. The time of decision draws near.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is my least favorite Lord of the Rings movie and probably the most boring of the three. But it is still a satisfying ending to a trilogy that I continue to love overall (much more than the books, probably).

The film poster showing some of the central characters, most in fighting poses.
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Re-Watch: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien‘s novel
Sequel to: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Cast: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Craig Parker, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Bernard Hill, Brad Dourif, Miranda Otto, Karl Urban, David Wenham, Brad Dourif, Sean Bean
Seen on: 6.1.2022

Content Note: racism

Plot:
The fellowship of the ring is no more. Sam (Sean Astin) and Frodo (Elijah Wood) are heading towards Mordor with the help of Gollum (Andy Serkis). Meanwhile Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) are chasing after Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) who were taken by orcs under the command of Saruman (Christopher Lee). Things are coming to a head.

The Two Towers does have a couple of blunders that really haven’t aged well, but other than that, it is still an excellent film (though it is only my second favorite in the trilogy).

The film poster showing headshots of the main characters arranged vertically next to a tower.
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Re-Watch: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien‘s novel
Cast: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Andy Serkis, Sean Bean, Marton Csokas, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Craig Parker, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving
Seen on: 6.1.2022

Plot:
Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) is an unusual Hobbit in that he actually left the shire to go on an adventure. Now his 111th birthday is approaching and Bilbo feels that it is time to withdraw from the shire. One of his birthday guests is Gandalf (Ian McKellen), a wizard and old friend who suspects that there is something more to Bilbo’s tiredness than his age. Gandalf’s suspicions harden when he sees that Bilbo has a magic ring. He gets Bilbo to leave it to his nephew Frodo (Elijah Wood) before leaving the shire. The end of Bilbo’s adventure is just the beginning of Frodo’s who needs to figure out a way to keep evil forces away from the ring.

It’s been many years that I last watched the Lord of the Rings movies, but given that they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary, I (and a friend) decided to make a day of watching all three movies (extended editions of course) just like we used to do when we were younger. I was afraid that it would be a little disappointing to do so, but really, the movies stand the test of time – especially the first one.

The movie poster showing Frodo (Elijah Wood) front and center, with the other main characers behind him, most in fighting poses. Below him we can see a group of hooded riders.
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Re-Watch: Inkheart (2008)

Inkheart
Director: Iain Softley
Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire
Based on: Cornelia Funke’s novel
Cast: Eliza Bennett, Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany, Sienna Guillory, Jim Broadbent, Helen Mirren, Rafi Gavron, Andy Serkis, Jennifer Connelly
Seen on: 1.1.2022
[Here’s my first review of the film.]
[Here are my reviews of the entire trilogy this is based on.]

Content Note: racism

Plot:
Meggie (Eliza Bennett) and her bookbinder father Mo (Brendan Fraser) have always lived rather withdrawn lives surrounded by books, traveling around where Mo’s work is needed. This gives Mo a chance to look for a rare book. Just when he finds a copy, Dustfinger (Paul Bettany) shows up. It’s clear that he is actually an old acquaintance of Mo’s. He warns of Capricorn (Andy Serkis) and his men who are coming for Mo. Meggie and Mo immediately head towards her greataunt Elinor (Helen Mirren). But Dustfinger is right behind them as he desperately needs something from Mo: his ability to read things out of books. It’s that ability that Capricorn is looking for, too and that puts all of them in danger.

Now that I finally finished (re-)reading the trilogy, I wanted to watch the film again, too. It is still a sweet adventure film that captures the essence of the book very nicely, albeit overshooting the goal a little.

The film poster showing Mo (Brendan Fraser) reading from a book. A golden glitterwave curls up from the book, and in it are a unicorn and the other main characters.
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Re-Watch: The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

The Matrix Reloaded
Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Writer: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Sequel to: The Matrix
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Harry Lennix, Harold Perrineau, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gina Torres, Gloria Foster, Nathaniel Lees, Helmut Bakaitis, Lambert Wilson, Monica Bellucci, Randall Duk Kim, Steve Bastoni, Don Battee, Collin Chou, Essie Davis, Terrell Dixon, Nona Gaye, Roy Jones Jr., Shane C. Rodrigo, Cornel West, Leigh Whannell
Seen on: 1.11.2021

Plot:
Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) have joined and built up a strong resistance against the machines, both inside the Matrix and outside of it. When they learn about plans of a large-scale attack on Zion, the one human city left on earth, they only have a short time-frame to prevent it. Meanwhile, Neo is plagued by dreams of Trinity dying that feel an awful lot like visions. Seeking the Oracle (Gloria Foster) for help again, he learns of what is needed. But getting it isn’t easy, especially since Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) also picked up a few skills.

With the upcoming sequel to the original trilogy, I didn’t want to leave it at just watching the first film although I knew that the second film couldn’t keep up with the first. Unfortunately, even with some distance from the hype that the first film generated, The Matrix Reloaded is a disappointment.

The film poster shwoing Neo (Keanu Reeves) and behind him Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) in a brick-built tunnel opening.
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Re-Watch: The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix
Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Writer: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Gloria Foster, Joe Pantoliano, Marcus Chong, Julian Arahanga, Matt Doran, Belinda McClory, Anthony Ray Parker
Seen on: 1.11.2021

Plot:
Thomas Anderson, better known under his hacker name Neo (Keanu Reeves), receives a mysterious message that tells him to follow the white rabbit, just before there is a knock on the door and a customer with a white rabbit tattoo leads him away. This fateful encounter brings him to Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), probably the best known hackers in the world, always on the run from the law. They offer him a choice: Neo can follow them and learn the truth about the world, or he can forget about everything and stay trapped. What Neo doesn’t know is that Morpheus is convinced that Neo can save them all. In fact, Neo isn’t even aware that they need saving at first. But he soon learns better.

To say that The Matrix is a formative movie for filmmaking is probably putting it mildly. Seeing it again now, more than twenty years later, the footprint it left is very obvious – and understandable. It is still an awesome film.

The film poster showing Neo (Keanu Reeves), and behind him Cypher (Joe Pantoliano), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). All dressed n black, wearing sunglasses and holding weapons.
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Re-Watch: She’s All That (1999)

She’s All That
Director: Robert Iscove
Writer: R. Lee Fleming Jr.
Cast: Freddie Prinze Jr., Rachael Leigh Cook, Matthew Lillard, Paul Walker, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Kevin Pollak, Anna Paquin, Kieran Culkin, Elden Henson, Usher, Lil’ Kim, Gabrielle Union, Dulé Hill, Tamara Mello, Clea DuVall, Tim Matheson
Seen on: 8.10.2021

Plot:
Zack (Freddy Prinze Jr.) is the star of his high school. He is gorgeous, athletic and rich, he has a beautiful girlfriend in Taylor (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe). He should be set to finish High School on a high as prom king with Taylor as prom queen at his side. But when school starts, he is unceremoniously dumped by her for reality TV star Brock Hudson (Matthew Lillard). Zack’s best friend Dean (Paul Walker) is ready to pour salt into Zack’s wound, so in an effort to reassert himself, Zack agrees to a bet with Dean: He can take any girl in school and make her prom queen. Dean chooses Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook) for the challenge: disheveled, outspoken and artistic, she seems like the perfect challenge for Zack. But as Zack starts to woo her, and Laney slowly gives into his wooing, he soon finds that there is more to her than just a bet.

I know that I saw She’s All That at some point, but I’ve only had a vague recollection of it. Unfortunately, re-watching it didn’t prove it to be some kind of 90s high school romance winner, but rather a pretty lackluster affair.

The film poster showing Zack (Freddy Prinze Jr.) and Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook) smiling.
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Re-Watch: The School of Rock (2003)

The School of Rock
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Mike White
Cast: Jack Black, Mike White, Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman, Adam Pascal, Lucas Papaelias, Chris Stack, Lucas Babin, Jordan-Claire Green, Veronica Afflerbach, Miranda Cosgrove, Joey Gaydos Jr., Robert Tsai, Angelo Massagli, Kevin Alexander Clark, Maryam Hassan, Caitlin Hale
Seen on: 30.6.2021

Content Note: misogyny

Plot:
Dewey (Jack Black) is a passionate musician, playing guitar in a band that has grown tired of his antics, feeling that he is holding them back with his talk about real rock instead of going in a more crowd-pleasing direction. That’s why they kick him out just before a big music contest. Hurt, Dewey withdraws to Ned’s (Mike White), where he lives for the moment, much to the chagrin of Ned’s girlfriend Patty (Sarah Silverman) who would like to see Ned, a substitute teacher, in a more settled position without any old friends who are freeloading. In short, Dewey needs a job, so when Ned gets a call to substitute at a prestigious school, Dewey pretends to be him. And when he realizes that the kids he should be teaching are actually good musicians, he hatched a plan to fulfill his dream after all.

I saw The School of Rock for the first time not long after it came out and I remembered it quite fondly. So when I was in the mood for a nice comedy, I decided to give it another try. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite hold up as well as I’d hoped, even if it is still pretty entertaining.

The film poster showing Dewey (Jack Black) in his teacher outfit with a guitar, in a full-on rocker pose. Behind him, we can see 8 children dressed as rockstars themselves.
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