Tag Archives: potted film review

Potted Film Review: Friday the 13th (1980)…

Starring: Adrienne King, Betsy Palmer, Kevin Bacon

In the slasher horror genre, the Friday the 13th series is about as seminal as it gets, and many of those that you can see today owe a debt to the ninety minutes on display here.

There are countless better horror movies out there – ones that have more creative kills; ones that are more professionally made; ones with a tighter script and finer acting – but this little gem is worth seeing just for the history.

There’s not too much that’s good here, and nothing I would say that’s great, but if you’re interested in the genre at all this movie is required reading.

Recommended (just)

Potted Film Review: 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

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Starring: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes

There is no other way around it, 2 Fast 2 Furious – even by the franchise’s own ridiculous standards – is a silly movie, but not even silly in a good way. It takes all of the borderline plausibility of The Fast and the Furious and turns it up to eleven. Even the title is terrible.

Although Vin Diesel could not be regarded as a great actor, his absence here is sorely missed. I know he comes back into the franchise, and if this is what the movies without him are like, his return cannot happen soon enough.

The cars may still be cool, but I would be very surprised if there is a worse entry in the series.

Not Recommended ⇓

Potted Film Review: In the Shadow of the Moon (2019)

MV5BN2I1MGQ2ZjMtMjc1My00YzU1LThjNzktNzJlMWRkMTc0NjZhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ@@._V1_Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Michael C Hall, Cleopatra Coleman

A surface-level synopsis of this movie may make you feel like this is ripping off The Terminator, but once you dig down you will find that this Netflix offering is a little more complex than that, and perhaps a tad more grounded as well.

Time travel in movies is an easy sell for me, but it can be a difficult concept to pull off successfully. Although it ties itself up in knots in the final quarter hour, and the reveal is a little hard to swallow, In the Shadow of the Moon earns its stripes by managing to sidestep many of the head-scratching problems a movie like this faces.

Recommended (but you will need to keep your brain switched on) ⇑

Potted Film Review: Fractured (2019)

MV5BZTE0MWE4NzMtMzc4Ny00NWE4LTg2OTQtZmIyNDdhZjdiZmJhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzY0MTE3NzU@._V1_UY268_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Starring: Sam Worthington, Lily Rabe

Sometimes movies try to be too clever for their own good, and the writers will throw up any number of roadblocks and red herrings just to ensure the viewer doesn’t figure out what is going on.

Fractured is a psychological thriller and could very easily have been one of those movies, but instead it kept me on the hook right until the end, even if I had pretty much (mostly) figured out what was going on before the credits rolled.

Although it does change things up a bit, what’s on offer here is not an original concept – and to say too much about the plot would be to spoil it, so I won’t – but it’s all done very well, to the point where the movie is thoroughly engrossing throughout.

Recommended ⇑

Potted Film Review: Backtrace (2018)

Starring: Matthew Modine, Sylvester Stallone

I am an unapologetic Stallone fan, but he has made a lot of less than stellar movies. Backtrace – in which he plays a supporting role as a cop still working a case from the best part of a decade earlier – is one of them.

His performance (for what there is of it) is fine, as are those of the rest of the cast, but from start to finish this by-the-numbers crime thriller feels like a movie you would find at the bottom of the bargain bin in your local supermarket. It’s not a terrible movie, or a great embarrassment on anyone’s resume… but it’s just a completely forgettable ninety minutes.

Not Recommended ⇓

Potted Film Review: Rambo – Last Blood (2019)

Rambo_-_Last_Blood_official_theatrical_posterStarring: Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta

The biggest problem with the latest (and hopefully the last) installment in the Rambo franchise is that it isn’t really a Rambo movie at all. Sure, Stallone is in the title role, and he gets to enjoy plenty of gratuitous violence, but with his short, neatly styled hair, he doesn’t even look like the John J. of old. I would argue that this may have worked better if you take the title character out of the story and just make it a generic revenge tale… because that is kinda what it is. In fact, now that I think about it, this would have been more appropriate for the next Expendables movie.

At under 90 minutes Last Blood is a relatively short ride, the first half of which is far superior… which says a lot because the revenge part (the part of the movie you’re really meant to get into) happens in the second half. Yeah, I understand Rambo’s motivation to do what he does, and the blood being spilled when he does it is pretty fun, but this script does not need to have him in it, and it feels a little weird that he is.

Ironically, if you’re a completist then you need to see this as (hopefully) a button on the series, but for the casual action fan there are far better offerings out there. It pains me, but I can’t recommend this as the fifth Rambo movie, and ultimately that’s how I have to view it. Somewhere along the line Stallone lost the essence of the character, and the guy on screen here is only superficially the same person, to the point where I am almost convinced that Rambo was just shoehorned into the plot to add a little cache to the production.

Not Recommended (as a Rambo movie) ⇓

Potted Film Review: Super 8 (2011)

super8587783329.jpgStarring: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler

Spielberg, kids, aliens. Back in the eighties that was a three-pronged recipe for blockbuster success. A couple of decades later, and although Spielberg may have fallen from his lofty perch, his name continues to hold cache, and he still knows how to produce a compelling tale.

The kids in Super 8 may not be as entertaining, and the story here may not be as effectively told as anything from Spielberg’s heyday, but it’s still a pretty good yarn… just not as good as it could have been. 

There’s a fantastically realised train crash to set things up, but other than that, Super 8 is not particularly memorable. 

Recommended (slightly) ⇑