Mike has written 14 reviews for films rated ★★★ .

  • Commando

    Commando

    ★★★

    Fuck that "no underpants" shit. Going commando to me will always mean delivering pithy one-liners while you use new and ever more inventive ways to annihilate the scum of the earth.

  • Prometheus

    Prometheus

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I'm not sure I can think of another film off the top of my head that shows such expert execution in the art of film-making but such stupidheaded stupidity in so many aspects of its story. A film that's a curious mix of clichéd horror movie tropes, a patchwork of go-nowhere themes, a mysterious just for the sake of being fucking mysterious back-story all set to an old-school, yet still fresh — if done right — story.

    My lament: it could have…

  • Transformers

    Transformers

    ★★★

    Big and loud and dumb, with a story an average six-year-old playing in the sandpit (fittingly with Transformers) would make up on the spot. It's the film equivalent of a candy store: it's fun while you're there and the content goes down easy, but every visit requires a subsequent brain diet to work off the mental flab the flicker of allsorts CGI metal and caramel Megan Fox skin induces.

  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

    The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    The tracking shots of Bruno running through the forest, arms outstretched, are wonderfully innocent. So innocent, you know something bad is coming.

    Come the bad, however, I got the feeling my morality had been fiddled with. Sure, it is Bruno's story, and it is sad, but I can't help being conflicted at having to feel for his situation, for his family, especially his father, who is certainly no innocent. By centering on their distress, and treating the hundreds of undeserveds about to die as background – let's face it, even had Bruno got out, they would still die – is a little warped, no?

  • The Artist

    The Artist

    ★★★

    A charming little tale, told in a charming manner with charming actors and a charming little dog. Unfortunately, the charm can't dissuade me that this feels like too simple a story and that, while it exudes mastery of a long since discarded art form, it shows nothing more than straightforward execution, adding nothing new. If not for the exaggerated brilliance of Jean Dujardin, who was made for this film, I doubt it would have had the same impact. In any case, I think that sooner rather than later we'll look back and see it join the (unfortunately large) congregation of bleh Oscar winners.

  • Invictus

    Invictus

    ★★★

    Christchurch, wee small hours, 25 June 1995. My flatmates and I bathed in flickering bright, live light from Johannesburg that belies our dark thoughts. We had Jonah. We had Fitzpatrick. Kronfeld. Mehrts. Zinny. The Golden One. Bunce, the human wall. How did this happen? How could we lose?

    Deep down, though, we felt kinda happy for that small grey-haired smiling chap in the Springboks number 6 jersey. He who'd been imprisoned, degraded, but was now free and a beacon of change.

    Not perfect, this feelgood film brought it all back: some things were just meant to be.

  • Contraband

    Contraband

    ★★★

    Mark Wahlberg play-acting his ego-enhanced "ubermensch Mark Wahlberg". A first-time director mishmashing Michael Mann elan with Tony Scott INYOURFACE. A foreign film's storyline churned through the Hollywood machine. Not promising.

    However, in something of a surprise, this film had me rather tense: despite the stock shootouts and backstabbing machinations, there was enough peril to suggest a major character may end prematurely. Would this film confound the clichés, take the less beaten path?

    No. Of course not! What was I thinking? It took the weak, predictable, "happy" way. But still, three stars for having me going for a while there.

  • The Next Three Days

    The Next Three Days

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Here's my beef. My slab-of-steak beef. The filmmakers objectively show the events of the inciting incident — the murder that puts the wife in jail — at the end. If the events had been left subjective and not justified Russell's actions, at least in our minds, I get the feeling the movie would have been that little bit stronger.

    Here's another, sandwich-sized, beef. A tale of two Russells. The Jeffrey Wigand Russell, the passive, nervous, sweaty Russell. And the Maximus Russell, the incredibly competent, don't-fuck-with-Russell Russell. We get both Russells; the transition, whilst superficially plausible, is a stretch.

    Mmmm, beef...

  • Back to the Future Part II

    Back to the Future Part II

    ★★★

    For a completely unnecessary sequel it doesn't suck too bad. But this and Part III are really just mediocre fanfic: take a genius concept and imagine what happens to the main characters after the real story has ended.

  • Real Steel

    Real Steel

    ★★★

    You've got your standard washed-up hero. There's a child. A wizard; a tech-wizard, but nonetheless. Who's also the love interest. There's triumph over adversity. There's baddies and an invincible monster. It's the new definition of the word formulaic. A predictable flight-of-fancy as finely tuned as one of the outlandish robots it depicts, the perfect product of a Hollywood that bangs two things together — boxing and robots this time — and hopes they stick. And dang it all, they kind of do here.

  • The Rite

    The Rite

    ★★★

    Not a horror, unless you count the horrors your own imagination conjures as you wait in vain for the vaguely disturbing to turn full-blown. The Exorcist is still king of the frights by some distance. But this film does have atmosphere, Anthony Hopkins in fine form, finally getting to play someone Welsh after years of cannibals and Kiwis, and a solid basis in an increasingly irrelevant, but still rich, Christian mythology.

  • Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

    Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

    ★★★

    Yessir, I done seen this and done think it okay. The gruesome deaths was funny.