Happy 3rd Blogiversary To Me

It’s my blogiversary! And I baked you all a cake!

Okay, I lie – I Googled “Studio Ghibli cake“. I couldn’t bake a cake to save my life. Also, my blogiversary was actually on Thanksgiving… Close enough! And I say this every year but I really can’t believe I’ve done this blogging thing for three years now.

As my blogiversary is so close to the end of the year, I always do a little recap of my year so far. The holiday season always gets very busy so I’ve been taking a bit of a break but, up until November, I kept up with my “post once a day every weekday” schedule fairly well. This is actually post number 995 for me so I’m finally almost to 1,000 overall. I haven’t yet reached 1,000 followers like I know a lot of you have recently but that’s also getting close (I currently have 980. Hi all!).

I was very happy to start the year out with Studio Ghibli Month in January. I only managed to review Grave Of The Fireflies plus all the Hayao Miyazaki-directed films (except The Wind Rises… I will do that eventually!) but I’ll still work my way through the remainder of the Ghibli movies at some point. You can find links to all my Ghibli reviews HERE.

The project I didn’t manage was to watch & review as many John Carpenter movies as I could throughout the year (you can see from My Top Ten John Carpenter Movies list that I hadn’t yet seen some popular ones). Well, I’ve only managed to watch TWO & review a whopping NONE. I can say that both of them will be added into that Top Ten: one very high (I’d put it at number three) and one very low, so it may not stay in there after I watch some more. Maaaaybe I’ll make another attempt at that project in 2016. Maybe. 😉

That leads me to the movies I’ve seen so far this year. You can see a very exciting list of EVERY SINGLE MOVIE I’ve seen in 2015, rated & ranked, HERE! Yeah, call me anal but it makes end-of-the-year lists very easy to put together. Here are my Top Five favorites I’ve seen at home & in the cinema so far:

Seen In The Cinema:

1. Mad Max: Fury Road – 9/10
2. Ex Machina – 8/10
3. It Follows – 8/10
4. Inside Out – 8.5/10
5. Suffragette – 8/10

Seen At Home:

1. Escape From New York – 8.5/10
2. Grave Of The Fireflies – 8/10
3. The Last Unicorn – 8/10
4. Escape From Alcatraz – 8/10
5. We Are The Best! – 8/10

I always like seeing which posts & pages get the most views. I don’t like how Worpress has changed Stats so that you can only see year by year instead of overall totals, which I’d find more interesting (maybe it’s different on a computer?). So above is a list of My Most Viewed Posts & Pages for 2015 only.

I’ve learned to accept the fact that my 2013 post of My Top Ten Shower & Bath Scenes In Movies will NEVER DIE. It’s always been & always will be number one. Thanks to the person who shared My Top Ten Body Horror Movies on Reddit (I know who you are! Thanks again! 🙂 ), that post gave me the most views I’ve ever had in a single day. I’m glad that my review for Mad Max: Fury Road has done well, since that movie RULES and that post isn’t pervy in any way. As always, a lot of the most-viewed are due to something pervy (Odd Thomas has a girl, Addison Timlin, in barely-there knickers and Spring Breakers of course has a photo of a topless girl). Believe me, I’m far happier when non-pervy posts get a lot of views. I still find it funny that so many people search for that gnome from Project X

I LOVE GNOMES!!!! I still want one just like that angry little dude. A “fuck you” gnome! Anyway – As you can see, that’s one of My Top Search Terms:

These search terms are the same as usual and, yes, “Mr Peabody & Sherman porn” pops up a lot. Seriously – what’s wrong with people?? Is there really such a thing?! I promise that is NOT on my blog (just a simple review of that crappy kids’ movie HERE). Lucy Deakins, from my review of The Great Outdoors, is always a popular search term (although I’m a bigger fan of her movie The Boy Who Could Fly). 

I knew exactly which posts were responsible for each of these search terms other than “Elyes Gabel shirtless” so I had to search my blog to find he was in World War Z. Sorry – I had no idea who he was & don’t have any photos of him without a shirt! I looked him up & saw that he was Rakharo in Game Of Thrones. Then, as there are approximately 132 characters in each episode of Game Of Thrones, I had to look up Rakharo (he was one of Daenerys Targaryen’s Dothraki “Bloodriders”). Okay, then – here he is with bare arms in Game Of Thrones:

Oh, yeah – I’ve also read a lot of books this year (for me) and even managed to review a few. Here they are! I’ll try to review a couple more of these before the end of the year. Maaaaaaybe.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Horns by Joe Hill
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The Martian by Andy Weir
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Revival by Stephen King
Florence & Giles by John Harding
The Gospel According To Drew Barrymore by Pippa Wright
The Shock Of The Fall by Nathan Filer
The Unlikely Pilgrimmage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Tank Girl by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin
Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin

Finally, thanks as always to everyone who stops by & “has a chat” with me in the comments. I love that! I didn’t really expect that when I started this blog but it’s the main reason why I still stick around. I’ve finally looked into these stats & see that they’re the top commenters based on the last 1,000 comments. It’s a weird way to do it & I wish WordPress would show more people but thanks to ALL of you, not just those below – everyone has popped up in these stats at some point. 🙂

Hopefully I’ll see you all next year for a 4th blogiversary celebration! Maybe I’ll bake a real cake next time. 🙂

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Terminator Genisys (2015) Review

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Terminator Genisys (2015)

Directed by Alan Taylor

Starring:
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Jason Clarke
Emilia Clarke
Jai Courtney
J. K. Simmons
Dayo Okeniyi
Matt Smith
Courtney B. Vance
Lee Byung-hun

Running time: 126 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, but when he arrives in 1984, nothing is as he expected it to be.

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My Opinion:

First of all, The Terminator is a favorite movie of mine and Kyle Reese is one of my biggest movie crushes (he’s in second place on that list although, at my current age, I’d put him at number one as I’m still totally in love with him). In fact, for years I had planned on naming a son I might have “Kyle” until South Park came along & ruined that idea. Second of all, sequels and remakes annoy the hell out of me (well, some are good – like Terminator 2 and Aliens! Yes, I was in love with Michael Biehn in Aliens too…). Anyway, my point is that I do NOT like favorite movies & favorite movie characters of mine being f*%ked with. It pisses me off! Finally, I hate stupid spellings (screw you, “Genisys!”). So I was feeling very unsure of Terminator Genisys. On the way out the door to see this, I said to my hubby “Let’s go see this shitty thing”. But I still had to see it because of my love for the first two Terminator films. Well, shit. I didn’t hate it….

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Really. I kind of enjoyed this movie. I did! WTF?! I was expecting to hate it. I actually liked it much more than the third & fourth films that I can’t even remember the titles of at the moment because I so completely put them out of my mind. Now, I should make it clear that this movie isn’t that great and it sure as shit doesn’t come even close to matching the brilliance of the first two. However, if you go into it without expecting it to be as good as the first two, maybe you’ll at least get some enjoyment out of it. I’ve watched this one much later than the rest of you and I’ve seen all your reviews pop up but I have yet to read any so I’m not sure what the general consensus is but I’m guessing that most of you don’t like it. That’s fine! I wouldn’t argue with anyone who hates this movie as I can understand why. But, sometimes, even grumpy old movie lovers like me can enjoy a movie that they know they probably shouldn’t. For me, it’s probably just because I liked seeing the characters of Sarah Connor & Kyle Reese once again in the same, yet somewhat altered, situation. I love their story from the first film so I got to kind of relive that again in a different sort of way. It should piss me off but it didn’t and, luckily, I don’t think it’s ruined the first movie for me as I’ll still only really ever think of the first two films when I think of Terminator. To me, I’ll always just see this one as more of a “reimagining” than as a part of the series.

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The thing I was most worried about with this film was that they wouldn’t get Sarah Connor or Kyle Reese “right”. How can they top the original people to play them?! They can’t, of course. However, I thought they were both fine. Sarah Connor is so different in the second film to how she is in the first but I never had a problem with the wussy, girlier Sarah in the first movie – they actually almost went overboard in T2 in making her a little too tough (for me. believe me, though, I like a strong female character!). Clarke’s Sarah is somewhere between the two and I liked her just fine. I do love Clarke as Daenerys in Game Of Thrones, yes, but I didn’t find that distracting as she looks & acts quite different in that than she does in Genisys. Yeah – I was fine with Clarke as Sarah Connor… I bought into her more than I did when Lena “Ceresei” Headey played her in the TV show. However, I was more worried about how Jai Courtney would do as Kyle Reese. I’d only see him in Divergent and hadn’t taken any notice of him. I was prepared to pretty much hate him in Genisys. Well, he’s no Michael Biehn and I don’t want to have his babies like I wanted to have “original timeline” Reese’s, but… Hell, he was fine! I ended up liking him. He’s not super hot but neither was Biehn. And, to be fair, Biehn was never exactly going to win any Oscars, was he? Biehn got the damaged, sensitive thing so right, though – he was perfect in that role and defined Kyle Reese for me. Courtney doesn’t quite manage the “damaged” thing as well but he’s likeable and someone you can imagine this new, tougher Sarah falling for. He even has a slight sense of humor, unlike the first Reese, which at first made no sense but then did when you think about the timey-wimey time travel thing going on (I’ll avoid spoilers as always but these aren’t the exact same characters we already know). There was actually quite a bit of humor thrown into this, mostly involving Schwarzenegger, and it worked fairly well. At least, as well as in T2 where it was also a little cheesy in a couple places.

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Oh yeah! Arnold Schwarzenegger! I’ve not even mentioned him. Lol! I’m such a girl…. Yeah, I clearly love the Kyle/Sarah story. So sue me. I have to be girly sometimes. 😉 Schwarzenegger was good! He was his usual self, really. It wasn’t “weird” seeing him older (which they quickly explained with one little line thrown in). It was great seeing him in this – I always preferred Schwarzenegger to Sylvester Stallone. Schwarzenegger was in far better movies (Terminator, Predator, Kindergarten Cop!). I would think male Schwarzenegger fans will love seeing him in this. But what do I know? I’m a girl who just spent ages talking about Kyle Reese. Oh! We get a little of this:

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Awesome. Love it. One of the most iconic things in movie history. We also get plenty of action – the action is similar to the level we got in T2. I enjoyed all that “boy stuff” too. The (first two) Terminator movies kick ass and I love them. I also love the “simplicity” of the story in the first film whereas Genisys is getting too convoluted. Plus.. they didn’t use the Terminator MUSIC until the end credits. How can you not use such greatness?! One of the best ever movie themes! But, as a lover of the first film, I loved all the little references plus certain scenes are re-enacted as some things are still the same in this timeline (although I do have to admit that seeing one iconic scene re-enacted poorly was just a bit too weird). I sure did love seeing Kyle in the same clothing again, though! Shit… I’m talking about Kyle again. It was fun seeing J. K. Simmons – he sure is popular at the moment but he sure was wasted in his role. I did not like Jason Clarke as John Connor. I’m not talking about what they did with the character (although I wasn’t really a fan of that either) but I don’t think he was the right actor for the role. And, speaking of John Connor, WHY oh WHY did they spoil that big reveal in the movie’s trailer???? Seriously! I won’t say what the big reveal is as some people don’t watch trailers but that has to be one of the biggest spoilers in a trailer ever. Ridiculous – the reveal isn’t even until the final third of the film. Oh well – at least this film’s main three characters worked out okay as that was the most important thing to me. I don’t actually care so much about the story in this – the story has already been done to death. But the relationships worked well, the action was fun (although it’s certainly no Mad Max: Fury Road), and I could possibly fall in love with this Kyle Reese if the first movie didn’t exist.

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Summary:

Terminator Genisys: I enjoyed it! I’d actually rank it higher than a lot of other big blockbusters this year, such as Jurassic World and Avengers: Age Of Ultron. I’m not saying it’s necessarily better – I just enjoyed it a lot more. I make no apologies. These things happen! I can’t be snobby all the time… 🙂

My Rating: 7.5/10

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*sigh*

Is There A Scene After The Credits?: There’s just a mid-credits scene that’s really nothing too special – just one of those annoying “we’re setting up a sequel!” moments. You wouldn’t be missing much if you missed it.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015) Review

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***SPOILER FREE REVIEW***

Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)

Directed by Joss Whedon

Based on The Avengers by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Starring:
Robert Downey Jr.
Chris Hemsworth
Mark Ruffalo
Chris Evans
Scarlett Johansson
Jeremy Renner
Don Cheadle
Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Elizabeth Olsen
Paul Bettany
Cobie Smulders
Anthony Mackie
Hayley Atwell
Idris Elba
Stellan Skarsgård
James Spader
Samuel L Jackson

Running time: 141 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.

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My Opinion:

I enjoy superhero movies. I go to them all (usually as soon as I possibly can after they come out). They’re fun! But then I kind of forget about them… I realized while watching Age Of Ultron that I rarely watch most superhero movies ever again after that first viewing in the cinema/theater. There’ve been a few exceptions – I watched The Dark Knight twice, the first couple X-Men movies at least twice, and of course Superman & Burton’s Batman several times. I really should have re-watched the first Avengers film before going to this one because I barely remember it. I think I’m a little superheroed out. I have a pretty good memory when it comes to movies (I mean, I’m a movie blogger after all) but I know I must not be too into these countless Marvel films when I keep having to ask my hubby questions during them. Things like “who’s THAT?” to which he rolls his eyes & replies “only someone who’s been in most the Marvel films so far!”. Also, as I always have to say in these superhero movie reviews, I ONLY have knowledge of the films. God – I can’t even keep all those straight in my mind! I can’t imagine actually reading the billions of comic books as well.

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So now that we know where I stand on these types of movies (I like them & have a lot of fun with them but wouldn’t say I love most of them), we can move on to what I liked & disliked about Avengers: Age Of Ultron. I did a super-short mini-review of the first Avengers movie HERE when I did a roundup of all the films I’d seen in 2012 (I see I ranked it as the 9th best film that year & gave it a 7.5/10). I’ll say I think Age Of Ultron is the better film overall. It drags a little in the middle but the second half is much better than the first half & I think it’s a better finale than in the first film. It’s close, though – I think people may be pretty evenly divided on which they prefer. Also, I thought they actually did a pretty damn good job on character development in this one considering just how many characters are in this thing. It must have been hard to get the balance right between that & all the kick ass action but I think they did very well. What I really liked is that they spent more time on the characters we don’t know as well from a million other movies (Hawkeye, Black Widow & Hulk) and I enjoyed their stories quite a bit (especially Hawkeye’s). Don’t worry – you still get loads of time with the others as well but we already know a lot about them from their own films. I’d have liked a little more focus on Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver but, like I said, there are so many characters that you can’t expect anything too in-depth with each of them in only 2 hours & 21 minutes.

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I guess I didn’t really list anything I disliked about this movie. Well, I suppose I didn’t really dislike much. I wasn’t crazy about Ultron’s voice but that’s because I’m old (that asshole in Pretty In Pink?!). It did feel a little overlong plus it didn’t really pick up until (a character who is on one of the posters but I still won’t name in case it’s a spoiler to some of you) showed up (he was great). There’s some light humor between the characters as always, which is fun (especially a bit involving Thor’s mighty Mjölnir). Speaking of Thor & his big Hammer, I was once again very distracted every time his bare arms were on screen. Chris Hemsworth is so insanely beautiful. Too pretty, really. Maybe it’s why my mind goes all loopy during these movies & I never fully know what the hell is going on. I’m just going to wrap this thing up – I’m picturing those arms again now & I can’t think straight.

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Summary:

If you love all the Marvel films & you loved the first Avengers film, you’ll love this one too. It’s, well, the same thing again. Which is fine… It’s a formula that clearly works. But I have to say I kind of prefer some of the individual films as, while it’s loads of fun seeing all the superheroes together, I like seeing & knowing more about each of their individual stories. I probably almost like the first Iron Man movie & maybe even Captain America: The Winter Soldier more. At least, I think they’re probably better films than either of the Avengers movies but they’re not quite as flashy or cool. We’re talking about superheroes, though, not the Oscars – flashy & cool is sometimes okay too. Avengers: Age Of Ultron has proven one thing to me, though – I really did LOVE Guardians Of The Galaxy. That felt unique instead of the same old superhero movie once again. I think it’s time I do a massive update of my Top Ten Superhero Movies because there will be a lot of changes. Age Of Ultron will make the ten but I’m not sure where. However, Guardians Of The Galaxy will be at number one. Sorry, Age Of Ultron! You were loads of fun. Thanks for entertaining me but I won’t remember much of you in a year. You’re still one of the better films in this genre, though.

My Rating: 7/10

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Is There A Scene After The Credits? Like, duh. It’s a Marvel film. However, there’s ONLY a mid-credits scene & nothing at the very end. However, do not take my word on this, Americans! We may have gotten this movie a week before you but we’ve been screwed out of end credits scenes in the past (the end credits scene from the first Avengers film wasn’t shown in the UK). There have been rumors & supposedly leaked footage of an end credits scene that wasn’t the one I saw here in the UK.

Does Thor take his shirt off once again? Yes. Yes he does. However, it’s not at all gratuitous like it was in his own films. He is, however, soaking wet while shirtless. But there’s no lingering shots. It’s quick. Too quick. I’ll have to buy the Blu-Ray…

What were we talking about again??

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Bad Neighbours (2014) Review (aka Neighbors)

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Bad Neighbours (2014) (aka Neighbors – US Title)

Directed by Nicholas Stoller

Starring:
Seth Rogen
Zac Efron
Rose Byrne
Dave Franco
Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Lisa Kudrow
Craig Roberts
Ike Barinholtz
Jake Johnson
Hannibal Buress
Halston Sage
Ali Cobrin

Running time: 97 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
A couple (Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne) have to deal with the difficulties of trying to raise their young baby after a noisy college fraternity suddenly moves in next door. It turns into an all-out war & (predictable) HILARITY ENSUES!

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My Opinion:

Don’t you hate when movie titles get changed for other countries? I think the dumbest one was maybe Adventures In Babysitting being called A Night On The Town elsewhere. Also, Joy Ride was given the (just as dumb) title of Roadkill in the UK. The first Harold & Kumar movie was called Harold & Kumar Get The Munchies as we don’t have White Castles here. Reindeer Games was renamed Deception (no clue why). The fabulous & underrated Searching For Bobby Fischer was renamed Innocent Moves (what a sucky title!). There are tons more but I won’t waste your time any longer. At least Neighbors being changed to Bad Neighbours isn’t too bad and I suppose makes sense as everyone here apparently loves a stupid-looking Australian soap opera named Neighbours that I’ve never seen but it seems every Australian actor has been in it at least once. But I digress. Massively. Onto the review…

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Bad Neighbours is, well, exactly what you’d expect from a comedy with Seth Rogen in it. I like some of his movies okay and don’t like others as much (This Is The End was decent but I don’t really get Superbad – maybe I need to watch it again). I liked The 40 Year-Old Virgin okay (written by the writers of Bad Neighbours). Basically, I can take or leave most of this kind of stuff – comedy isn’t really my favorite genre. But Bad Neighbours is, overall, one of the better ones in my opinion and I did laugh a good few times.

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As I knew beforehand, since I’m old, it was the couple with the baby that I could relate to in this & not the college students. I suppose they’ve kind of managed to hit two target audiences this way. Although, as the hubby pointed out, this feels like it was written by those more our age (I don’t know the ages of the writers) so it didn’t feel quite as natural during the Zac Efron/frat party scenes as it did when Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne were onscreen. I suppose this is partly why I found any scenes with Rogen & Byrne far more funny than those with just Zac Efron & his frat brothers (especially the Rogen/Byrne sex scenes – they were pretty funny & I’m not exactly into “sex comedies”). I was worried beforehand that I’d just be too annoyed by the antics of the fraternity (I’m old. I can’t relate to horny, drunken twentysomethings). 😉 But, luckily, I don’t think they went too overboard & they didn’t make any of them too hateful. Indeed, there are good & bad from each side of this “neighbor war” and you may find that you change sides at times. (Although I was ALWAYS on the side of the couple with one of the most adorable baby girls EVER! Look at her! Awww. So freaking cute!). 🙂

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So… Yeah. I don’t know. This movie was fun and I did enjoy it. It’s not the best comedy ever and it’s certainly not the worst. There are things I’d have done differently (such as the ending, which doesn’t quite feel resolved). But I didn’t HATE it in any way, which is how I feel about some comedies these days. There’s plenty of juvenile humor and loads of “dick jokes” but nothing I found totally stupid and nothing that I found offensive. And, I don’t want to sound uptight, but I think too much “comedy” resorts to sexist behavior that really gets on my nerves. There are some naked boobs in this, naturally, but for once the girls in a comedy weren’t treated like nothing more than a pair of tits. Yes, it’s of course mostly male actors as it’s a fraternity (I doubt it would pass The Bechdel test) but at least Rose Byrne’s role was just as big as Rogen’s & I think she did a really good job here and was very funny (Even though you see her boobs. Kind of. Not sure if they were really hers… Lol – You’ll see what I mean if you see it).

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Summary:

If you go to this expecting to have a few good laughs and to not have to think too much for 97 minutes, you should like this just fine. If you like Seth Rogen and/or any of the other people involved in this and the other movies they’ve made, you should like this just fine. I’m sorry this review makes it sound like I didn’t enjoy this much because I actually did – it’s just not my first choice of genre but I do like to have a bit of silly fun with a movie like this sometimes. I liked This Is The End and Bad Neighbours is kind of up there with that one for me – the concept is much more simple and it’s nowhere near as over the top but there are some genuinely funny moments in both movies.

My Rating: 7/10

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Thor! HUH! Good God. What is he good for?

(Answer: Looking hot & taking his shirt off. Phwoar!)

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Okay – I’ve had a lot of Thor-related stuff to post this past week but just haven’t had the time so I figured I’d stick it all in one place now. I really enjoyed The Dark World & thought it was fun (Don’t listen to the haters! You can read my review HERE).

First of all, the above poster is by Ken Taylor for Mondo (link: SlashFilm). There’s also the below Loki poster by Mike Mitchell at the link. I love Mondo posters.

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Next, it’s been all over the blogs by now but I LOVE that this fan poster ended up being used in all seriousness in a Shanghai movie theater for the film’s release:

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As for Hemsworth’s rather gratuitous and completely unnecessary (but oh so welcome!) shirtless scene in The Dark World, the actor was apparently not that thrilled at having to film the scene. Hey – if they can do it for Star Trek Into Darkness, they can do it for those of us who like boys as well. 😉

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“Take it off!”

Here’s quite an interesting article at SlashFilm: What Loki Scenes Were Added to ‘Thor: The Dark World’ and What Did Joss Whedon Rewrite?

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And for those who care about this sort of thing, here’s a good article at io9: 8 Things Marvel Got Wrong About Thor and Norse Mythology. (I’m not too bothered. I’m just happy to drool over Hemsworth)

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And some info on the two end credit scenes in The Dark World (hold your pee & stick around, people!). Obviously SPOILERS in the link if you haven’t yet seen the film: There Are 2 End-Credit Scenes In The ‘Thor’ Sequel — Here’s What They Mean For Future Marvel Films. (Link here: Business Insider)

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Here’s some info on the upcoming Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D/Thor crossover episode airing November 19th in the U.S. (Yay! I better catch up on those episodes): GeekTyrant

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And the following short Comedy Central clip of Loki asking kids who they like better: Thor or Loki? is pretty damn funny:

Finally, Chris Hemsworth told Jimmy Kimmel the other night about the 600 calorie a day diet he’s on for Ron Howard’s Heart of the Sea, which is about a bunch of guys starving to death while stranded at sea. 600 calories? Yikes! Link HERE.

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Now let’s end with a sexy photo of Chris Hemsworth. He’s so pretty…

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Thor: The Dark World (2013) Review

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Thor: The Dark World (2013)

***SPOILER FREE REVIEW***

Directed by Alan Taylor

Starring:
Chris Hemsworth
Natalie Portman
Tom Hiddleston
Anthony Hopkins
Stellan Skarsgård
Idris Elba
Christopher Eccleston
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Kat Dennings
Ray Stevenson
Zachary Levi
Tadanobu Asano
Jaimie Alexander
Rene Russo

Running time: 112 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Yada yada Odin. Yada yada Asgard. Yada yada something called Aether. Yada yada Malekith. Yada yada Rene Russo. Yada yada not much Loki. Yada yada Nine Realms. Hubba hubba CHRIS HEMSWORTH!

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My Opinion:

Chris Hemsworth is rather attractive. Like, almost annoyingly attractive. Like, “it should be illegal to be that attractive” attractive. If I was a man, I’d probably want to punch that pretty face. But I’m a girl so I just want to kiss that pretty face. And those eyes! I don’t normally like blue eyes but his are so lovely! You know someone is too attractive when Natalie Portman looks really plain standing next to them. And there’s a shirtless scene close to the start of this movie where they maybe linger a bit too long on the lovely half-naked Thor (which supposedly really annoyed Hemsworth?). I had no problem with this scene….

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Okay okay – That’s not from Thor. I can’t find an image from the shirtless scene but, trust me, I’ll post it when I do. You know I came through for you all in finding his bum scene from the wonderful Rush. 😉

Where was I? Oh yeah – Thor review! I got distracted. Well, it’s like my above plot synopsis. Blah blah weird names I’ll never remember blah blah Natalie Portman blah blah the necessary quick mention of S.H.I.E.L.D. thrown in there blah blah THOR! Okay – I know this all sounds like I didn’t enjoy this but I’m just exhausted and not in the right mood to do some serious review. I really liked The Dark World! I actually preferred it to the first Thor movie and it was, luckily, FAR better than this year’s other superhero films which I found extremely disappointing (Iron Man 3 & especially that OTT Man Of Steel).

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I’ve said it before with other films like this but I better say it again: I know nothing about comic books. I’ve never read any so, when I watch superhero movies, I know pretty much nothing about the characters and the stories. This is nice, though, because I don’t have to worry about all that fanboy (err… fangirl) stuff where they always end up pissed off about something. I can just enjoy the movie. Or not enjoy the movie. When Man Of Steel came out, I did a list of My Top Ten Superhero Movies HERE. I may have to update the list, actually, as I think Thor: The Dark World may now be at number nine or ten. 🙂

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With the first film… I dunno. I liked it but obviously they had to set up the characters and I really knew nothing about Thor and it all seemed a little weird. But now we know Thor, Loki, and Dr. Erik Selvig a bit better (especially after The Avengers) and it was easier to just sit back & enjoy the film without worrying too much about all the “blah blah Asgard yada yada” stuff. Actually, I liked seeing quite a lot of Asgard this time – I thought that would get boring. It’s lovely – especially that cool bridge thing (Um, the Bifröst? Thank god for Wikipedia!). I do love that funky bridge. And Heimdall is a cool dude.

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Rene Russo was good in this and I especially liked all the bits with her but I can’t say much more without spoilers. I like the Kat Dennings character and the comic relief she provides but that might not be for everyone. Loki is underused in this one which some probably won’t appreciate but I don’t care – it’s all about Thor for me! The bad guys looked kind of cool and I liked their masks – they looked like something out of Doctor Who. And speaking of Doctor Who, I didn’t even know that was Christopher Eccleston until the credits rolled.

20131106-092353 pm.jpgAll in all, I just really enjoyed all the “blah blah Asgard Aether Odin Nine Realms yada yada” stuff this time! Its only flaw (for me) is Natalie Portman. Not that I don’t like her – I do! But I’ve always felt it was an odd role for her and she just doesn’t seem to “fit” plus I feel NO chemistry between her & Thor. But this is really my only complaint – I like everything else about this. Oh, and the “final battle” was much better than in the first film – the end of the first film was a bit weak. To think some of this was filmed not that terribly far away from me in England! Chris Hemsworth was so close to me. So close yet… so far… *sigh*

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Summary:

Thor: The Dark World improves on the original film and I enjoyed it much more this time around now that I know all the characters a bit better. It’s a worthy addition to the superhero universe. I’m now once again looking forward to further superhero films – I’d lost hope after Iron Man 3 & especially Man Of Steel. The Dark World is funny when it needs to be, serious when it needs to be, and action-packed when it needs to be. I liked it a lot!

My Rating: 7/10

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Scene After The Credits? – Of course! It’s a superhero movie! And there’s not only one but TWO. One is halfway through the credits and the other one is at the very end. So stick around and try to hold in your pee.

Reviews Of Movies I’ve Seen In 2013

Rush (2013) Review

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Rush (2013)

Directed by Ron Howard

Screenplay: Peter Morgan

Starring:
Chris Hemsworth
Daniel Brühl
Olivia Wilde
Alexandra Maria Lara
Pierfrancesco Favino

Music: Hans Zimmer

Running time: 122 minutes

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia – I think everyone knows this):

Rush is a biographical action film directed by Ron Howard and written by Peter Morgan about the 1976 Formula One season and the rivalry between drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

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Before I Start The Review:

I’ll start by saying I hate sports. All sports. Racing? Don’t care. James Hunt & Niki Lauda? I’d never even heard of them before this film and knew nothing of this famous rivalry. So do you think I actually liked this film? Oh my god – I absolutely loved it.

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And now I have to say this – 2013 has been a disappointing year for movies. We’ve either had movies that were lots of fun but had terrible scripts & cliche characters (Pacific Rim) or we’ve had inferior superhero films (Iron Man 3) with over the top action sucking the soul out of something that had the opportunity to be a fresh new start (Man Of Steel). We’ve had a magic film (Now You See Me) already done way better in past films (like The Prestige) and a sci-fi film (Oblivion) already done way better in past films (like the myriad of sci-fi classics Oblivion wanted to be). And never mind all the sequels, remakes, and usual lack of any original ideas from Hollywood. And then there was Oz The Great And Powerful – don’t get me started on that…

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So that leaves us with “based on a true story” films. Usually a safe bet but quite often lacking in “fun”. Being a movie lover, I hate feeling like I’ve been really negative about films lately (like I was in all the reviews listed above). So it’s with great pleasure that I can FINALLY say this: Rush was the most rewarding cinema-going experience I’ve had in a very long time and you’re now going to read absolutely nothing negative. 🙂

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My Opinion On Rush:

Obviously I can’t speak of the true story (although I’m certainly interested in knowing more now!) so I’ll only be discussing Rush as a film.

This story, although in many ways quite a simple story about a sports rivalry, is absolutely fascinating. No wonder they based a film on it and how on earth had I never heard a thing about it? (That “I hate all sports” thing, I guess). Clearly by my excitement you can see you don’t need to be a racing fan to enjoy this film – you just need to be human and have at least a little bit of a heart (mine is pretty tiny). If you ARE a racing fan, though, you still won’t be the slightest bit disappointed. Howard gets the perfect balance, I think, between emotional human drama & edge-of-your-seat racing action. In a way I wonder if it was slightly more exciting for someone like me who had no clue how any of the races would end. I’m actually very glad I didn’t read up on any of the true story before the film as it probably made watching it much more intense.

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As for James Hunt and Niki Lauda, at least how they’re portrayed here, what a couple of great characters! As this took place in the 70s and (thankfully) way before the days of Twitter & celebrities airing all their dirty laundry in public and getting on our nerves, I don’t know how much of this rivalry was played out in public & how much was just written about? I don’t know just how intense it got in real life but it was a hell of a lot of fun to watch in this film. I loved how they were so different yet SO similar, especially in their arrogance. I like how this movie made them human and made us truly care about them despite some very big character flaws in both of them. I think one of the biggest things I’ve always hated about sports is the arrogance that you get from some of the sportsmen (and women? Don’t want to sound sexist!). That this movie had me loving two guys like this by the end of the film was quite a feat. Honestly – you have no idea how “unlike me” it is to like guys like these & to enjoy anything related to sports.

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Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt: Cocky, sexy, ladies man, bad boy all the girls want and all the men want to be, lives life to the fullest and doesn’t care about consequences. He was brilliant. Perfect. I couldn’t take my eyes off him and for once it was based on his performance alone.

Daniel Brühl as Niki Lauda: Cold, arrogant, intense, has no friends, personal lifestyle the exact opposite of ladies man Hunt. Also brilliant. Perfect. Possibly even MORE brilliant and perfect. And by the end I guarantee you’ll love him. And you’ll love Hunt. Even though they’re still the same people they are at the start.

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Summary:

Heart-pounding human drama that captures all the excitement and fear that are a part of racing & the risk of death those drivers face every time they get into those cars for another race. And what surely must be one of the most fascinating and intense rivalries in the history of sport between two men so different yet so alike that they can’t stand each other? THIS is the stuff of great movies. I fell in love with these men by the end of this film and now want to know more and, hell, may even start watching racing. I can’t emphasize this enough: making ME like these men and admit to MAYBE now watching a sport? Honestly, you don’t know me so you have no idea what that means. This film is THAT good. And I’m going to steal my hubby’s line after the film: “But which one of these guys was truly LIVING life?”. The film seems to ask this & everyone will have a different opinion on that just as the two main characters in the film clearly do. But should a sports movie really be making us question things so deeply? Bravo, Ron Howard! Your movie moved this hater of sports.

My Rating: 9/10

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And, yes – My list of 2013 Movies Seen has a new first place. As you might suspect. I’d use a racing term here if I knew any.

(Where are you Tim The Film Guy? For once you can’t say my rating is too low…) 🙂

Thor: The Dark World Director Alan Taylor Will Make The Next Terminator Movie

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Arnold Schwarzenegger is committed to return in the new film… Blah blah… It’s also believed that Linda Hamilton with return. Blah blah. And… possibly Michael Biehn! Oh yeah – I like a bit of Kyle Reese. 🙂

The film is to be the first of an entire new Terminator trilogy. Read more details here: Business Insider

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Pacific Rim (2013) Review

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Pacific Rim

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Starring:
Charlie Hunnam
Idris Elba
Rinko Kikuchi
Charlie Day
Robert Kazinsky
Max Martini
Ron Perlman
Burn Gorman
Clifton Collins Jr

Running time: 132 minutes

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia):

The film is set in the 2020s, when Earth is under attack by Kaiju, colossal monsters which have emerged from a portal on the ocean floor. To combat the monsters, humanity unites to create the Jaegers: gigantic humanoid mecha, each controlled by two pilots whose minds are joined by a neural bridge.

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My Opinion:

THIS is what I expect of a summer blockbuster. There are cool monsters (they even GLOW!), big funky robots, lots & lots of action, characters who are cliché as hell including generically attractive leads, and a story that’s totally predictable every step of the way. Turn off your brain, munch your popcorn, and just have fun. I really enjoyed this film as I got exactly what I was expecting.

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This movie is all about the action so I’m not going to go into any of that. All of that is really good and thoroughly entertaining. Instead, I’ll discuss the characters in the film a little bit.

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There aren’t going to be any Oscars handed out to anyone in this. But who cares? The main guy, Charlie Hunnam, really can’t get any more generically attractive. The good news is that he takes his shirt off a couple of times. The bad news is that those couple of shirtless moments are fairly brief and he’s otherwise always fully clothed. His storyline starts out OH SO PREDICTABLE and ends that way as well. As does the storyline of, well, absolutely everyone in this. Again, though – who cares? We’re all going to this to see monsters & robots! 🙂

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The other characters of note are:

– Idris Elba as the dude in charge of the Jaegers & their pilots. He was just right for the role and probably put in the most effort acting-wise.

– Rinko Kikuchi as “the girl”. Another very predictable storyline here but it was a decent enough story. And we see her as a little girl too and she’s adorable.

– The scientists (Charlie Day & Burn Gorman). You’ll probably love these guys or you’ll hate them. Predictably quirky & nerdy – they’re always competing with each other in trying to figure out the best way to save the world from the Kaiju. They’re the “comic relief” but you’ll probably be rolling your eyes at some of their antics.

– The other Jaeger pilots. There are a few other “teams” but the one focused on the most is a father & son (the son is the generically attractive “prick” these types of blockbusters call for). Again – their storyline is predictable but I liked it fine.

– Ron Perlman as the “lunatic”. I think his role is meant to be a bit of a surprise so I won’t say exactly who he is but he’ll be a favorite character, I would think, for anyone who is a Ron Perlman fan. He’s also in it to provide a bit of comic relief but I really couldn’t decide if I liked his character or not. It felt a bit too silly to me.

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Summary:

I know I’ve not said much about this film but there’s really no point. You won’t exactly increase your IQ by watching it but you WILL enjoy yourself. This movie does exactly what it sets out to do: keeps you entertained without requiring you to put much effort into “thinking”. And that’s fine when you’re expecting it – I have no issue with the braindead action in this whereas in something like Man Of Steel it annoyed me as I expected a film like that to be a little “smarter” and not have SUCH excessive action for such a large chunk of the film. And while I didn’t expect anything other than the cliché characters and predictable storylines, it does keep Pacific Rim from becoming something MORE than just “this year’s” big summer blockbuster. Plenty of other past summer blockbusters are now what I’d consider all-time favorites and, unfortunately, I don’t think Pacific Rim quite manages to make itself an all-time classic in this category. But I do recommend it, especially on a nice big cinema screen.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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Scene after credits?: Yes, there is a scene partway through the credits that you’ll probably want to stay for. There’s not a scene after the credits but there is a dedication to Ray Harryhausen & Ishiro Honda and the sound of a Kaiju roar.

Also, there has been talk of a Pacific Rim sequel! SPOILER if you haven’t yet seen the film:

The sequel, Pacific Rim 2: Electric Boogaloo, will focus on the Kaiju and the dance show they organize in an attempt to raise enough money for a new portal.

Man Of Steel (2013) Review

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Man Of Steel

Directed by Zack Snyder

Produced by
Christopher Nolan
Charles Roven
Emma Thomas
Deborah Snyder

Starring
Henry Cavill
Amy Adams
Michael Shannon
Diane Lane
Kevin Costner
Laurence Fishburne
Antje Traue
Ayelet Zurer
Russell Crowe

Music by Hans Zimmer

Plot Synopsis:

Honestly, I can’t be bothered. Lol! It’s Superman. You know the general plot.

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My Opinion (no spoilers):

My reviews have gotten way too wordy. This movie will have already been reviewed a lot (I’m looking forward to catching up on all your great reviews here now that I’ve seen this). So I’m going to try to keep this short & sweet by doing my “good” and “not so good” thing.

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The Good:

– The casting. It was excellent. So many people in this were the exact right choices for their roles. I thought the very best were actually Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Michael Shannon. Now, Crowe and Costner are NOT actors I like all that much. But they were bloody PERFECT in these roles. And, luckily, Crowe doesn’t sing in this one. Lol. As for Superman himself, Henry Cavill, he seemed the right choice. I’ve only just seen this so still thinking about it. He certainly has the perfect look to play Superman (as I picture Superman which, to my mind because of my age, is mostly Christopher Reeve). I know nothing of the comics (give me a break – I’m a girl). :-p But his look seems just right. And Amy Adams is my favorite actress so I’ll say nothing bad about her. She’s sweet and has an adorable little nose. But she’s the one my hubby didn’t think fit the part. I dunno. I’ll let others decide on that – I just like her as an actress.

– The beginning. It was a little hard to get into at first as it’s very different from the 1978 Superman I grew up with and have an affection for even though I know it’s far from perfect. But thinking about it now, I really liked how Man Of Steel started. It was great seeing so much of his world and getting to know more of his backstory than I previously knew (I have very little Superman knowledge).

– Superman’s families. On his home world and on Earth. As I said, it was great seeing more of his home world and his mother & father. Crowe was perfect as his father. Ayelet Zurer, his mother, seemed a good choice as well from what we see of her. And as I said, Kevin Costner & Diane Lane were absolutely perfect. My favorite bits of the whole movie were probably the ones with Superman & both these families. Very good character development as far as all the parents & their relationships with Superman were concerned.

– Shirtless Superman. Very nice. Overall, he’s not my type. The face is too chiseled and I like my dark-haired guys to have chocolate brown eyes and I like them to have more of a “boy next door” look. He’s too handsome. Nice bare chest, though! And a bit of hair on his chest – not one of these hairless girly boys. Think I preferred him with the beard, too – hides that crazy “man of steel” jaw. Am I going on too much? I’ll shut up now. (Thor is hotter) 😉

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The Not So Good:

– Too much action & too much CGI. Yes, there CAN be too much action sometimes and there was too much in this, especially at the end. And too much CGI ALWAYS annoys me. I’m old school that way.

– Some of the character development. It wasn’t too bad at first but I really was expecting more than we got and am a little disappointed by that. Lois Lane was probably the most underdeveloped. Oh, and those she works with – we were suddenly meant to care about them at the end when we’d seen so little of them. And Superman himself could have done with a bit more development. They did try with him, however. But it didn’t QUITE work for me. I didn’t feel his “internal struggle superhero thang” as much as I’d have liked – I think they almost achieved this then messed it up at the end by going so overboard on the action. I’m not entirely sure if this was the fault of the actor, or the script, or what. Perhaps he wasn’t exactly right for the role? I’ve still not decided. And I didn’t fully buy into his relationship with Lois Lane. That felt a bit weak. Thank god for Superman’s parents – without the scenes with them, I think I’d have felt nothing at all for his character. He just really lacks a personality in this. However, we get a little glimpse of personality at the end that I’m really REALLY hoping we get to see more of in a sequel. Give him a personality! And more shirtless scenes.

The flashbacks. This is a minor thing but I didn’t like them showing his childhood & teen years in flashback. I felt the movie kind of lost something doing it this way. I really would have liked to see him grow up on Earth in chronological order. I just didn’t like the “back and forth” at that point in the movie. Plus I’d have liked to see much more of his younger years to better understand his character, especially as the second half of the movie ended up so disappointing compared to the first half.

The finale. It was too much. It was too long. It was WAY over the top. The more I think about it, the more I really did NOT like the last 45 minutes or so of this film. Or however long it was – it FELT very long indeed. Very disappointing after such a strong beginning & middle.

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Summary:

A promising reboot with a good beginning & middle that is, unfortunately, almost completely destroyed by a very disappointing and ridiculously over-the-top finale. Some excellent casting, particularly both sets of Superman’s parents, is what saves this film and gives it the depth and character development needed to make the audience care in the slightest about these characters & what happens to them. Without Crowe, Costner, Lane & Zurer (the parents), I have to be honest and say that this film would have been a complete and utter disaster. The final scene, however, gave me a glimmer of hope for the sequel. Overall, the movie IS “promising” in that I think there’s the promise of a brilliant sequel in Superman’s future if they do things right next time and make it far more like the first half than the second half of Man Of Steel. Unfortunately, we’re only given the hope of a great movie in the future instead of a great one this time. Disappointing.

My Rating: 6/10

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So where does Man Of Steel rank in my recent list of My Top Ten Superhero Movies? Have a look HERE. 🙂

And here for all the movies I’ve seen in 2013.

*preparing for the angry comments… Lol!* *Especially now that I’ve edited this & lowered the rating…*