Movie Roundup December 05



A great Christmas and a bunch of new films watched. Time for the second of my monthly Movie Roundups 🙂

Ghost Dog – Way of the Samurai

A wonderful film with Forest Whitaker as Ghost Dog, a hitman who follows the teachings of the Samurai. His master is a gangster who saved his life and is now his employer. A simple mistake, which wasn’t his fault, means that the gangsters want Ghost Dog killed which leads to a him fighting for his life. Ghost Dog is a solitary person who’s best friends are a Haitian man who only speaks French (which GD doesn’t understand), and a young girl. Forest Whitaker isn’t the first person you would think of as a Samurai hitman but he plays the role perfectly and I can’t imagine anyone else as the lead. I really liked this film and would recommend it to anyone.

Batman Begins

I loved Memento and when I heard Christopher Nolan would be directing this I knew the film would be… special. His previous films were all very different but they weren’t action oriented, so an action based franchise like Batman was going to ask something else from him. It turned out pretty well, although I’m a little disappointed in the realisation of Gotham, I really like the gothic stylings of the Tim Burton Batman films and, apart from the monorail, that was lacking in this version. The back story was nice though, and it’s set things up well for future movies. Apparently at least two sequels are planned – I’m praying they won’t go the way of the Joel Schumacher Batman films (cheesy day-glo campness, not the best look for someone who models himself on a bat).

Ong Bak

A martial arts movie set in Thailand and featuring virtually (literally?) no wire stunts or CG. Starring Tony Jaa as a Muay Thai fighter from a small village in Thailand. A statue of the village God, Ong Bak, is stolen and Tony (Ting) sets out to bring it back. The action is pretty unique using moves rarely seen in martial arts films (head buts, and elbows features quite a bit). There are elements of Jackie Chan comedy and Bruce Lee style action. To me some of the fighting felt a bit stilted with things like the slide under a car (which is very cool) feeling like an obvious set up. I guess since it’s the first film he’s starred in as a lead (Tony was a stuntman previously) he’s got plenty of time to improve, and I’m certainly interested in seeing what else he can come up with.

Fantastic 4

I had heard mixed reviews about the Fantastic 4, but I’m a fan of Jessica Alba’s so had to have a look. I must say I was pleasantly surprised, whilst I love all out action movies, I also really enjoy character driven stuff. Fantastic 4 is pretty slim on the action but the characters all get the opportunity to show off their leet skillz and, compared to most super hero films, all have a certain amount of depth. It was fun, and that’s all that really matters isn’t it?

Phantom of the Opera

The film version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. When I was little the music to this film was very popular in my family, I’ve seen the show and can sing along with most of the songs, so this was a film I was interested in seeing. Basically it IS the musical, there are differences but if you know the stage show (which is very good BTW) there won’t be much that will surprise you. The biggest difference is the fact that the story takes place in a proper set rather than entirely on a stage. I think my inner movie director would have done things slightly differently though – it should have been MORE theatrical with grander sets and more atmospheric lighting. Overall though it was a decent way to spend boxing day afternoon with the family.

Starship Troopers 2

I’m a fan of the original Starship Troopers – It’s over the top cheese, with extra ham, and is great fun because of it. This sequel… sucks. They clearly had a smaller budget and the effects show this quite nicely. It tries to be a horror movie but fails miserably, it’s the sort of acting and action you expect on a tv series, not a Hollywood move. If you haven’t watched the original it makes even less sense as you won’t be able to understand any of the back story (erm… what back story there is). I wouldn’t bother if I were you.

The Princess Bride

Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father: prepare to die

I’d always wondered where that quote comes from, and now I know! Turns out I had seen this before but I didn’t realise until about halfway through. Kind of enjoyable but is showing it’s age. Apparently the book is really good so I’ll have to give that a go.

Was it good/ useful/ a load of old rubbish? Let me know on Mastodon, or BlueSky (or Twitter X if you must).

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