Mike has written 22 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ .

  • Predator

    Predator

    ★★★★½

    Twists are for pussies. No fuss, down-the-line, straight up and super-effective, it is what it is: a bunch of muscle-bound freaks fighting an alien in the jungle.

    The alien itself, the eponymous Predator, has stood the test of time, and while some movies have since diluted the stock somewhat, this monster's sheer physical and technological superiority still gives me the willies. I'm glad it was Arnie doing the fighting and not me.

  • The Terminator

    The Terminator

    ★★★★½

    "I'll be back" … ahem … "Ah'll be bahck" … closer … "Arh'll be Bach" … you be Beethoven … ha ha ha … "Ahl be bauck" … so many vowels happening at once … "Ah'll be bauch" … hmmm … "I shall return momentarily, good sir!"

  • Super 8

    Super 8

    ★★★★½

    Aiming for a small-scale Spielbergian epic as seen through the eyes of an every-boy and incorporating the staple 1980s small town/suburbia and an outwardly scary alien, Super 8 repeatedly smacks me between the eyes with a nostalgia stick. It smoothly mixes the subtle innocence of E.T. with the enthusiasm of The Goonies, accompanied by the occasional JJ Abrams-trademarked lens flare and the in-joke of amateur film-making on 8mm stock, and frames the whole thing beautifully with a timeless story about loss and acceptance.

  • The Aura

    The Aura

    ★★★★½

    Poetically prosaic, or prosaically poetic: I'm not sure. Whatever way around it is, it's a curving, uniquely interesting, heist story, filmed with a languid and deliberate poetry, the dream of a would-be criminal mastermind in desaturated green and gray.

    The world of cinema lost a visionary with the untimely death of director Fabián Bielinksy.

  • The Avengers

    The Avengers

    ★★★★½

    My favourite bit was when Hulk smashed stuff. I also liked Iron Man. He is funny. The explosions were fun. And I laughed when funny stuff happened. That was a lot, but I didn't get it sometimes. I didn't like the baddie. He was evil. The other baddies were scary. When I grow up I'm going to be an Avenger. Probably Hulk, or Iron Man, or Captain America, or the other guy who I forget, because he turned good. Not Thor. He talks funny. Not the girl, because she's a girl. Unless I get one of those operations, like my second mummy. SMASH!

  • Jurassic Park

    Jurassic Park

    ★★★★½

    Newwmannn!!

  • Primer

    Primer

    ★★★★½

    Press play >

    …yak…yak…yakyak…yakity…!…huh?…!!…muthafuckingtimemachine!!!!…!?…??…??!??…!!?!??…??????????!!????????!????????????!!!???????????????????

    Stop. Mind blown.

  • Aliens

    Aliens

    ★★★★½

    It must be said: I hate space marines. Gung-ho, trash-talking numb-nuts. Are they really the best soldiers Earth (or at least Weyland-Yutani) has to offer? I seriously doubt that. Anyway, they got their just-desserts. Well, actually, they just became the desserts. For the xenomorphs. Ah ha ha ha.

  • The Mist

    The Mist

    ★★★★½

    The horror and tension is top-notch; the monsters suitably scary; the human relationships annoying, as they probably would be in real-life; and that ending, whoa: one of the best "fuck you, audience" endings ever. No matter the quality of the preceding 95% of the film, that last 5% adds the colour to our perceptions. I personally love it.

  • School of Rock

    School of Rock

    ★★★★½

    Jack Black was made for this film. Or this film was made for Jack Black. Either way, it's the ideal fit. Set at a playful level and of course wildly unrealistic (how many musical geniuses can one random classroom have?), the feel-good story is pitch perfect, much like the impressive child actors playing their instruments.

  • Drive

    Drive

    ★★★★½

    Born of Shane and Clint Eastwood and Heat and Ghost Dog, a beautiful modern-day fairy-tale told with a lullaby feel and hints of extreme violence. Gosling is resplendent as the superhuman hero, raging in suppressed savagery against the comic book villains to save the damsel in distress. Stunning.

  • The Insider

    The Insider

    ★★★★½

    Love him or hate him — OK, hate him, haters — but Russell Crowe powers this film. The man may like to foight, but he's got serious acting chops. Cross that with Michael Mann and Al Pacino and it's far more interesting than a film about a guy talking to a reporter has any right to be.