Re-Rated: Movie Reviews I May Have Gotten Wrong

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I know a couple of people here have in the past picked on my “rating system” when it comes to my movie reviews. I admit I’ve made mistakes… I have a tendency to rate new releases too highly, probably partly due to hype & partly due to my enjoyment of seeing a new film in the cinema/theater. However, there are also times when a movie goes up in my estimation after I’ve reviewed it. I love it when that actually happens!

I’ve never really explained my rating system here (which is on a scale of one to ten, ten being the best). I think it’s really simple – it’s based almost entirely on MY own personal enjoyment but I do take “worthiness” into consideration somewhat if reviewing a classic for something like my IMDB project. Hence, something like Adventures In Babysitting gets a 9/10 from me while On The Waterfront, which I found boring, will get a much lower rating than that when I eventually get around to reviewing it. I’m not saying that Adventures In Babysitting is the better film – I’m just saying that I like it more. Makes sense, right??? 🙂

Below are some films I watched for the first time since starting this blog two & a half years ago which I feel I either gave too high or too low of a rating. None have changed too drastically. I’m extremely opinionated when it comes to movies I like or dislike so I’d never change my mind completely. Let’s start with the ones I think I rated too highly:

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Godzilla (2014)
Original Rating: 7/10
New Rating: 6/10

This damn movie! I think I ended up liking it even less after a few of you picked on me for trashing it in my review then giving it a 7/10. I don’t know… I think I try to be nice with my ratings sometimes as it’s not like I’ve ever made a movie. This wasn’t the worst thing ever plus Godzilla looked great (when you finally got to see him after watching a bunch of idiots you didn’t care about for the first hour). It needed a better script & characters, though.

Pacific Rim
Original Rating: 7.5/10
New Rating: 6.5/10

WHAT?! 7.5? What was I smoking??? Here’s where I’m going to get in trouble – I gave this a higher rating than Godzilla when it was far more guilty of having a godawful script. However, I’m still giving it a higher rating than Godzilla since I did actually enjoy it slightly more, even if it was dumb as hell. Sorry! At least the first half wasn’t boring as shit.

Pretty Much Every Superhero Movie Other Than Guardians Of The Galaxy:

I won’t list them all since I think I’ve reviewed every superhero movie that has been released since I started this blog. I still really hate Man Of Steel – I gave that a 6/10 but I’d like to change that to 5/10. I admit I rated The Amazing Spider-Man 2 too highly since I like Andrew Garfield more than Tobey Maguire but, still – I haven’t exactly loved any of the Spider-Man films. X-Men: Days Of Future Past was a mess so I’d probably knock at least half a point off of that now. Actually, to be on the safe side, just take half a point off every rating I give superhero movies from now on. 😉 They’re such fun popcorn movies that I kind of get caught up in the moment when I review them right after seeing them. I’d even already lower my Avengers: Age Of Ultron & maybe even my Big Hero 6 ratings. However, Guardians Of The Galaxy remains a firm 8.5 & I was considering raising it to a 9. We’ll see if any future films taint things or not.

American Hustle
Original Rating: 7/10
New Rating: 6/10

Why did I give this a 7?! I must have been blinded by the fact that I love the 70s. This should never have been up for a Best Picture nomination & wasn’t worthy of the hype. It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t anything that special. I also think Silver Linings Playbook is overrated – knock half a point off of that too! Maybe I’m just not a David O Russell fan.

Interstellar
Original Rating: 6.5/10
New Rating: 6/10

Screw this movie. I was going to give it a 6 in the first place but got too scared of the Nolanites.

Now onto the movies I think I rated too lowly:

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The Warriors
Original Rating: 8.5/10
New Rating: 9.5/10

Yes, 9.5 is very high. I think I’ve only given that twice on this blog (to The Breakfast Club & WALL-E) plus a 10 only once (to The Shawshank Redemption). Those three are all movies I already loved from my pre-blog days, though (there would be more 9 & up but I’ve given up on reviewing old all-time favorites for now as I just don’t have the time). My two favorite things about having a movie blog are 1) chatting with like-minded movie fans and 2) discovering new (well, mostly old) movies that I now love. I’ve forced myself to watch movies I’d probably still be putting off watching if I didn’t have this blog making me feel like it’s almost my job to watch things that have been on my “To Watch” list for years. I can thank this blog for my new love of Charlie Chaplin and probably also Studio Ghibli as I may have not watched the fabulous Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind or some of the other great Ghiblis beyond My Neighbor Totoro otherwise. But Chaplin & Studio Ghibli are highly regarded & I gave them all very high ratings when I reviewed them. However, if I’m completely honest, The Warriors is my very favorite CPD “new discovery” that had been on my To Watch list for years and, along with a John Carpenter film I watched for the very first time recently, it would now be up there as an all-time favorite film of mine. I’ve given an 8.5 to some very good recent films such as Her & Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. Those will never be all-time favorites, though, so I think The Warriors deserves a much higher rating than 8.5. It deserves a place among the the likes of Adventures In Babysitting! (And while I’m at it, I’d like to up the ratings by half a point for two other pre-blog favorites: Dawn Of The Dead (2004) & Hardware. Yes, Hardware. Deal with it!) 😉

Hobo With A Shotgun
Original Rating: 6.5/10
New Rating: 7.5/10

I won’t go into this one much as I still have no clue why I like it. In fact, please don’t go read my review because it’s embarrassingly shit! I’m still as clueless now as I was then as to why I enjoyed this thing but it’s one of the movies I saw in the past few years that I think of most often. There’s just something about it & I don’t know why it’s not a bit of a cult classic yet (or is it? I have no idea). I really want to re-watch this now…

The Man Who Fell To Earth
Original Rating: 7/10
New Rating: 8/10

This was a hard movie to rate in the first place as it’s, well, not exactly good. But I like it. I LOVE David Bowie, though, so I’m going to like it much more than someone who doesn’t. It’s a very odd film but, like Hobo With A Shotgun, it’s one of the movies I’ve thought about the most since seeing it. It’s very artistic & iconic. Bowie is far from the best actor ever but I like this beautiful, weird ass movie a lot.

The Great Escape
Original Rating: 8.5/10
New Rating: 9/10

Not a huge difference in the rating but this was one of my favorite IMDB Top 250 movies I’ve watched & I think it deserves a 9/10 just as much as The Bridge On The River Kwai, which I did give a 9/10. Both are true classics & made me realize that maybe some war films actually ARE really bloody good after all.

A Lot Of Horror Movies:

I’m always a little harsh on horror movies here at CPD. Horror has never exactly been a favorite genre of mine but when good horror films actually do get made, I absolutely love them. Stuff like The Shining, The Omen, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Romero’s zombie films… Love them! The problem is that there are SO many bad ones these days that I probably don’t give the few decent ones the credit they deserve. I tend to rate them in comparison to non-horror movies when I should be comparing them to other movies in the horror genre to be more fair. These are all horror movies I’ve really enjoyed since starting this blog & I’d up all their ratings by half a point:

It Follows
Tucker And Dale Vs Evil
Grabbers
The Babadook

Also, I thought The Descent was pretty damn good but I think I gave it a fair rating of 8/10 – I just feel it’s worth another mention.

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Hmm. I did this as I wanted a quick thing to post but it ended up taking ages with all those links. I should have just reviewed Big Game instead (FYI – I’m thinking I’ll give it a 6/10 but it probably doesn’t deserve it because it’s pretty bad!). Sorry I’ve not been around much lately. I have a lot of real life things to deal with & my weekends have been too busy, which is when I usually try to catch up on reading other blogs. The blogging thing will have to go on hold for a little bit but I’ll do my best to write more of my high quality reviews that I squeeze into my 30 minute lunch breaks. 😉

The Great Escape (1963) Review

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The Great Escape (1963)

Directed by John Sturge

Starring:
Steve McQueen
James Garner
Richard Attenborough
James Donald
Charles Bronson
Donald Pleasence
James Coburn

Music by Elmer Bernstein

Running time: 172 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia):
The Great Escape is a 1963 American film about an escape by Allied prisoners of war from a German POW camp during World War II. The film is based on the book of the same name by Paul Brickhill, a non-fiction account of the mass escape from Stalag Luft III in Sagan, in the province of Lower Silesia, Nazi Germany. The characters are based on real men, in some cases composites of several men.

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My Opinion:

This is the 23rd (and probably final for this year) movie I watched for my IMDB Top 250 Challenge. 23 in a year – I’m slacking! Just too many new movies to watch as well.

As I’ve said before, I’m least looking forward to all the westerns & war movies in the Top 250. But then I watched The Bridge On The River Kwai and it ended up being one of my favorite films I’ve watched this year (Review HERE). So I figured I’d give The Great Escape a chance as well. I’m glad I did – it’s brilliant!

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I didn’t know quite what to expect and I have to admit that I’ve never seen Steve McQueen in anything before this. I was surprised that he’s not exactly the main star of this – this is filled with lots of great actors who all share some equally big roles. I know he’s considered super cool and all that but I’ll stick with sexy Paul Newman as my favorite cool guy in old films for now. McQueen’s character is great in this, though – I should give more of his films a watch. ALL the characters are great in this film, which I think is what makes The Great Escape such a widely loved classic.

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I loved how they all had such different personalities in this film and they were all so well developed & the acting was superb. It’s one of those movies where you really feel like you know the characters by the end and this is probably the most important thing to me in a film. If you can’t connect with the characters, what’s the point? And they each have their own “specialty” when it comes to preparing their big escape. Brilliant! It’s hard to pick a favorite character in this as they’re all so good in different ways. Richard Attenborough has one of the most important roles as the brains behind organizing the whole escape and he’s very serious and it was weird watching him as I’ve only ever known him looking like he does in Jurassic Park (I know I know – I have no culture).

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Back to Steve McQueen: His character is cool & cheeky and maintains this great optimistic attitude in terrible conditions. He’s the guy who annoys his captors with his constant escape attempts. He’s called “the cooler king” as he spends most of his time locked away from the other prisoners after he keeps getting re-captured. He does his own thing & the only negative was that we don’t get to see him interact with the other characters much as he’s so often locked away. He develops a great friendship with another prisoner, though, who is also locked up next to him and this was my second favorite relationship in the film. There are several different relationships going on and, again, I’m sure everyone has their own personal favorite.

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I’m sure some guys go for the “tunnel kings”, the two guys in charge of digging the escape tunnels. Charles Bronson plays one of the tunnel kings. I have a little crush on Senior British Officer, Group Captain Ramsey (James Donald). I was excited to see him in this as I loved him in The Bridge On The River Kwai and he gets an even bigger role in this one. I loved how he supports & looks after his men and stands up for them by saying “it is their duty to try to escape” when he’s told by the German commandant of the camp that “there will be no escapes from this camp”.

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I’m leaving so many characters out but I’ll be here all day if I go into each of them in detail. The final ones I’ll mention form my favorite relationship in the movie: James Garner as “the scrounger” who finds ways of getting people the tools & other things they need and Donald Pleasence as “the forger” in charge of getting the forged documents ready for when the prisoners have escaped. Donald Pleasence was my favorite character in this film full of SO many likeable characters (even though I kept thinking he looked a bit like Phil Collins).

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This review is getting too long and all I’ve done is talked about some of the main characters but this film really does have one of the greatest casts and most memorable & likeable characters I’ve seen in a very long time. The story itself? Brilliant, of course. It’s about a massive escape attempt from a POW camp so it’s very tense & exciting and even though it’s a very famous movie I honestly had no clue how it was going to end as I’ve managed to avoid all spoilers for this. What I was surprised at was the “light” mood it managed to maintain throughout most of the movie. The prisoners have such positive attitudes and some have a great sense of humor and, of course, there’s the uplifting score with one of the all-time catchiest theme tunes EVER that I couldn’t help but whistle for days afterward. Considering the subject matter, it doesn’t go all “gritty” like modern war movies. Films were so different in the old days and feel so much more “epic” than what we get nowadays. Why is that??

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Summary:

I’ve been rambling on for ages & everyone has probably stopped reading by now so I’ll wrap this up. The Bridge On The River Kwai remains slightly ahead in my opinion – I think it’s a better film overall with some of the best acting I’ve ever seen thanks to Alec Guinness but The Great Escape, with its overall lighter tone and immensely enjoyable characters, is a very close second favorite war movie for me. Both films had the ability to leave me dumbfounded and just sitting there staring at a blank screen in silence for several minutes after they ended while I let what I’d just witnessed sink in. Such powerful films & mind-blowing endings – I find that very few movies in this day & age leave me feeling quite the same way. Brilliant stuff. I highly recommend The Great Escape (and The Bridge On The River Kwai) to anyone, like me, who is unsure of watching “war movies”.

My Rating: 8.5/10

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Why are there so few great theme songs for movies these days?