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. 😉

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Under The Skin (2013) Review

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Under The Skin (2013)

Directed by Jonathan Glazer

Starring:
Scarlett Johansson
Jeremy McWilliams
Joe Szula
Kryštof Hádek
Paul Brannigan
Adam Pearson
Michael Moreland
Dave Acton
Jessica Mance

Running time: 108 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Under the Skin is a 2013 British-American science fiction art film directed by Jonathan Glazer, and written by Glazer and Walter Campbell as a loose adaptation of Michel Faber’s 2000 novel of the same name. The film stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien seductress who preys on men in Scotland.

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My Opinion:

Finally! I finally managed to see this movie after looking everywhere for a cinema actually showing it when it came out and having no luck. I was intrigued because, first of all, it looked like “The Woman Who Fell To Earth“. Being a big David Bowie fan and loving The Man Who Fell To Earth way more than I should, I really wanted to see this. Plus, I found out that the director has made some of my favorite music videos (more about that later). So did Under The Skin live up to all the hype in my head? Yes and no.

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I mentioned this movie when I reviewed Lucy HERE on Monday and, yes, I think Under The Skin is the superior film of the two although I did really enjoy Lucy. Scarlett Johansson is indeed the true star of both films and, I think, makes both movies far better than they would’ve been with a different actress (and this is coming from someone who has never really been a fan of hers). Under The Skin is a very brave role for her to have taken on and I think, along with Her, it’s paid off and made her a far more respected actress. Under The Skin could have been a massive failure for her and, although there will certainly be plenty of people who hate the film, I think it’s a huge success as far as her professional career is concerned. As for the movie…

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Yes, it’s weird. Very very weird. It’s exactly what I expected, though, having seen The Man Who Fell To Earth (it does have plenty of similarities so it’s hard to not compare the two). I enjoyed it a lot although I don’t think it’s quite as iconic as the Bowie film (which is NOT a good movie but it’s hard to deny that Bowie is extremely fascinating and certain images from the movie will stay with you). In the same way, there are images from Under The Skin that will never leave my mind. I think that’s a good thing, though. I see that as a sign of a great piece of art. As a coherent and fully rewarding movie-watching experience, however, Under The Skin falls a little short. For as much of a mess as The Man Who Fell To Earth was, we at least had a backstory and knew what Bowie’s alien’s purpose was on Earth. If you’re the type of person who wants a movie with a proper storyline & a satisfying conclusion, Under The Skin may not be for you. If you want a nice piece of art to look at (like, weird & abstract art – not Norman Rockwell or Thomas Kinkade), you MIGHT enjoy Under The Skin.

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Summary:

Well, I don’t think I really need to say much more than I already have. Basically, Under The Skin is weird and you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. I found it to be an interesting piece of art and, as the director has made music videos before, perhaps that’s why this feels a little like something in between a music video & a movie. If you want a straightforward movie or even something that has some deep meaning, you won’t get that here (but I may just be too stupid to figure out some “deeper meaning” to this film). You will, however, get a good performance from Johansson and some images that you’ll never get out of your mind. I really enjoyed the film.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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Here’s a list (thanks Wikipedia) of a few of the music videos made by the director of Under The Skin (Jonathan Glazer). I’ve included two of my favorites (FYI – the UNKLE one isn’t one to watch if there are kids around):

Karmacoma by Massive Attack
The Universal by Blur
Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai
Karma Police by Radiohead

Plus my two favorites:

Street Spirit (Fade Out) by Radiohead:

Rabbit in Your Headlights by UNKLE ft. Thom Yorke:

**I’ve recently participated in the Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon being hosted by the robust Rob of MovieRob and the zany Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. You can read my contribution, a review of Hitchcock’s 1964 film Marnie, starring Sean Connery & Tippi Hedren, HERE. Thanks, Rob & Zoe, for hosting this blogathon! 🙂

The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) Review

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The Man Who Fell To Earth

Directed by Nicolas Roeg

Starring

David Bowie
Rip Torn
Candy Clark
Buck Henry
Bernie Casey

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia):

Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth from a distant planet on a mission to bring water back to his home planet, which is experiencing a catastrophic drought.

Newton uses the advanced technology of his home planet to patent many inventions on Earth, and acquires incredible wealth as the head of a technology-based conglomerate, World Enterprises Corporation, aided by leading patent attorney Oliver Farnsworth. His wealth is needed to construct his own space vehicle with the intention of shipping water back to his planet.

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My Opinion:

I’d been wanting to see this movie for a very long time and finally got the opportunity when it was on TV a couple of weeks ago. I’m a huge David Bowie fan. Okay – More a fan of his music than his, um, acting. But I’m glad I finally got to see this intriguing, unusual, crazy, slightly fucked up, and totally 70’s film.

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This film is a bit of an incoherent mess, quite frankly. It starts with Bowie coming to Earth. Then we suddenly get this college professor, Rip Torn, screwing lots of college girls. LOTS of screwing. There’s a lot of sex in this movie. And nudity. And naked Bowie (yes!).

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They show Bowie experiencing new things on Earth while Rip Torn does lots of screwing. I think they’re trying to show that he & Bowie have some sort of psychic connection? Then Bowie meets a sweet & simple girl, Candy Clark, and they start a relationship. And have lots of sex. And Bowie drinks a lot and watches multiple TVs all at once. And we see Bowie’s wife & kids slowly dying back on his home planet. And we see Bowie penis! And we see weird alien sex involving a milky substance that looks a bit like when Bishop is ripped apart in Aliens. And all of a sudden Bowie has a spaceship to fly back home and, oh yeah, I forgot that was the whole point of the movie. Then people are getting thrown out of windows and I’m losing the plot a bit. And the guy who’s the teacher in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is suddenly in the movie and I’m still not sure what his role was. Then there’s crazy gun sex and contact lenses and nipple tweaking and WTF. The end. Well, not quite the end but I won’t give the end away.

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So, yeah. When this movie finished, I admit that I just kind of sat there going “WTF?”. I watched this two weeks ago. Since then I’ve started to think that, actually, this movie was kind of freaking awesome. In a totally fucked up way. Why? Well, that’s simple: David Bowie, of course. He always has been and always will be thoroughly intriguing. Who better to play an alien? And being an alien excuses any less than perfect acting, I guess. How are we meant to know how an alien would actually behave? 😉

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Candy Clark is very good as Bowie’s girlfriend on Earth. For me, the best parts of this movie by far are the ones focusing on their relationship. Whenever they focused on any characters other than these two, I lost interest. They were great together and it was fun watching their dysfunctional relationship. And their crazy gun sex.

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Summary:

I honestly don’t know what else to say so I’m going to just sum things up now. This movie is not good. Iconic, yes. But not good. But I didn’t care. Because… It’s David Bowie. And I love him. He makes me feel kind of funny, like when we used to climb the rope in gym class. (Does that line work if a girl says it? Also, we never actually climbed any ropes in my gym classes at school). This movie LOOKS cool. Especially Bowie – he looks cool as hell. I mainly wanted to write this review just for the cool pictures I could post. No, this movie is not good. But I liked it. It’s horribly awesome and I have to own it on DVD. If you’re not a Bowie fan, though, you’ll probably want to avoid this movie.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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I’d like to also add that I recently went to the “David Bowie Is” exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. If you’re a Bowie fan and live anywhere near London, I highly recommend it. You get to see SO many personal items – I especially loved all his handwritten lyrics to all my favorite songs and his many costumes. It was excellent.

My Top Ten David Bowie Songs

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