• Men in Black II

    Men in Black II

    ★★★

    100-word review: Still can't believe how they wrote off Linda Fiorentino's character in a single line of dialogue, especially given how the first film ended, and if Sonnenfeld and co were dead set on removing her all-together, the least they could do is make Frank the pug Jay's actual partner for the whole film! Men in Black II came out five years after the original with one and a half times the budget, yet the special effects are somehow worse; yes,…

  • Under the Silver Lake

    Under the Silver Lake

    ★★★

    100-word review: This felt strikingly Lynchian, specifically Mulholland Drive (the surrealism, the horror elements, the bizarre characters), and my opinion of it therefore is similar too, though slightly more positive: in the end, I loved individual scenes (the one with the songwriter was my absolute highlight), but the lack of sense of things eventually all coming together frustrates me, and makes it so that the film feels tiring and overlong to me. I don't derive much meaning from in without reading thorough analyses afterwards from people who are greater fans of this style of filmmaking than me. Definitely moments of greatness though.

  • Die Hard: With a Vengeance

    Die Hard: With a Vengeance

    ★★★★

    100-word review: McTiernan's return to the series is a remarkable one; I'm gonna go out on a limb here and call With a Vengeance an improvement over the original. It's more dynamic, and even though Jeremy Irons is no Alan Rickman — he's still better than any villain from 2 — the Willis-Jackson pairing is just *chef's kiss*. The whole 'race to the Wall Street subway station challenge' sequence especially is a thrilling, elongated action set-piece. Willis shows off his comedic…

  • Bullet Train

    Bullet Train

    ★★★

    100-word review: I for one dig the ironic spin Bullet Train puts on the orientalist aesthetic of 80s western action movies set in Asia, but even more so it's the ensemble cast that makes this entertaining; I'd argue Bullet Train is a character-driven film first, and action-driven film second, even if the action is cool. Now this thing isn't as original as it pretends to be: the humour, pacing, and drama are all reminiscent of action comedy contemporaries, including David Leitch's own Deadpool 2 (the reverse cameo joke). Still, I'm a bit of a sucker for the format it seems.

  • Die Hard 2

    Die Hard 2

    ★★★

    100-word review: The Die Hard universe is characterised by less than one out of ten cops not being an incompetent asshole (you know, unlike our universe). I'm of the scarce opinion that Die Hard 2 is hardly inferior to the held-in-classic-regard original; the action storyline is as streamlined, and the location (one of the strongpoints of the first Die Hard) — an airport instead of a skyscraper — isn't a much poorer setting either. None of the villains is anywhere…

  • Beverly Hills Cop II

    Beverly Hills Cop II

    ★★★★

    100-word review: Imagine getting referred to as a 'titty woman'. Foley in Beverly Hills Cop II is what you get when, as a bard, you dump all your points in charisma and take the expertise feat in deception; his ruses get exponentially more ridiculous, but they work like a charm every time. The Beverly Hills Cop seems defined by its people's collectively shared suspension of disbelief. They're funny though (plutonium nitrate multi-explosive sound-seeking projectiles in a paper bag). With the rate…

  • Die Hard

    Die Hard

    ★★★

    100-word review: With McTiernan in the director's chair, and De Souza as its screenplay writer, Die Hard (whoever came up with the title for this film is a genius) tells you all one needs to know to make an informed guess at what the genre might be of that what you've got in front of you. Personally, I don't find Die Hard as good as most action junkies (for a relatively serious action film it's still riddled with plot-holes), but…

  • Prey

    Prey

    ★★★

    100-word review: "If it bleeds, we can kill it." That quote isn't the only throwback to the original Predator, as with Prey Dan Trachtenberg takes the franchise back to its resolute action format, and away from last film's endeavour into comedy (which I thought worked, but wasn't something I'd wish the series to fully develop into). It's cool seeing that hyper-masculine original being offset by this solo-female-fronted adventure. The action is good, the kills bloody, and the visuals chilly (although some of the CGI animals look bad). The best of the franchise since Arnie got to a certain chopper.

  • The Hunt for Red October

    The Hunt for Red October

    ★★★

    100-word review: 'A Soviet sub, seeking to defect, caught between the Soviets who try to recapture it, and the Americans who mistrust it' is an exquisite premise for a (political) thriller story, but the way The Hunt for Red October tells this story is unfortunately so unthrilling that it put me to sleep during the third act. Sean Connery seems more in his element than he ever was as James Bond, and his deep voice fits the character of Captain Marko…

  • Beverly Hills Cop

    Beverly Hills Cop

    ★★★

    100-word review: The consequence of never watching any Eddie Murphy films (literally the first live-action one I watch as an adult) is that I can't unhear Donkey. Given that Beverly Hills Cop features Eddie Murphy in the lead role (and was co-produced by his own studio to boot), I fully expected it to be a full-blown cop comedy, hence the surprise over how relatively straight most of the story plays out. Pretty good, though it kinda fails to explain Foley's lack…

  • Lethal Weapon

    Lethal Weapon

    ★★★

    100-word review: Mel Gibson is an uncontrolled gun of frenzied 80s energy in this. The vibes he gives off are... singular. The first act of Lethal Weapon is essentially a repeated 'crazy eyes' stare contest between him and (the almost equally high-octane) Danny Glover. In a sense this is what Dirty Harry had been had it been a buddy cop movie. It thrives on the leading duo's synergy, which is played straighter (yet not devoid of fun) than most subgenre companions.…

  • Men in Black

    Men in Black

    ★★★

    100-word review: The quintessential, classic, alternate-universe buddy cop movie (which I somehow hadn't seen before yet) with fun alien shenanigans, designs, and voice acting, that iconic black-suit-and-shades look, and a great 'illegal aliens' joke in the opening scene. Yes, as a late 90s action comedy at least some of its current recognition relies on its pop culture stature, but for what it is, and what it represents, Men in Black is more entertaining than many of its contemporaries. Kinda looking…