“Well, What Does She Expect? You Leave Your Navigator Lying Around, Naturally Somebody is Going to Run Over Him.”

Sometimes, when I’m not around to entertain her with my sheer awesomeness, Mekaela watches movies without me. These are usually movies I have little to no interest in, and if they end up being particularly crazy and/or dumb, I’m liable to get Puppet Recaps, as I did with Now You See Me and Machete Kills. (Okay, they’re mostly Stuffed Animal Recaps. I don’t own a lot of actual puppets, only the Wile E. Coyote one. Regardless, they’re very amusing. I’d record one for you guys sometime, if I thought my sister would let me.)

But sometimes a movie comes along that is so spectacularly insane, it cannot merely be recapped with plushy toys. It must be shared with your fellow sibling. It must be a bonding experience for the both of you. Or so Mekaela claimed when she told me I needed to watch Death Race 2000.

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For my part, I argued that Touch of Evil had been sitting on our living room floor for over a week, and maybe it was time to give that a try, since there are grave, grave Battlefield Earth level of horrifying consequences if I don’t finish watching my noir films by the end of the year. Problem was, we were being super classy with our choice of chili dogs for dinner that night, and, well. You just can’t be watching some critically acclaimed, black and white film noir when you’re eating chili dogs, right? Chili dogs are a meal best accompanied by ludicrous plots, terrible fashion, and unrepentant violence.

All in all, Death Race 2000 felt like the most valid choice.

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“So, It’s You and a Syringe Against the Capitol? See, This is Why No One Lets You Make the Plans.”

Hunger Games: Catching Fire came out in November. I finally saw it last weekend . . . with about forty other slackers who randomly decided to also watch the film months after it opened. Bastards. One of these days I’m going to go see a movie with no one else in the theater but me and my friends. Alas, last Saturday was not that day.

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On the positive side, I really enjoyed the hell out of Catching Fire.

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“As For You, Ma-Ma . . . Judgment Time.”

I haven’t finished my Iron Man 3 review yet — work keeps getting in the way, dammit, and also writing that could, at least potentially, make me some money, and reading too, because The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is the BEST — but I do at least have a Baby Review for you.

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I’d planned to see this in theater (mostly because I kept hearing good things about it, which surprised me) but I never quite got there. So my friend Denise and I did a little movie exchange: she borrowed my copy of the original The Thing, and I borrowed this.

Dredd is a lot of fun, but it’s getting the Baby Review treatment today, partially because I’m a busy nerd who wants to get back to her regularly scheduled reading time, but also because I just don’t have a lot to say about it. I can’t compare it to the original comics because I’ve never read them. I can’t compare it to the Sylvester Stallone movie because I’ve, thankfully, never seen it. And the film makes absolutely no attempt to be any deeper than it needs to be. Judge Dredd himself (Karl Urban) has virtually no kind of character development or backstory of any kind. They tell you absolutely nothing about him, just that he’s a badass. Sometimes, I’m okay with that. This is one of those times.

Here’s what I can say about Dredd:

1. Despite being set in a dystopian America where crime is so prevalent that the police are authorized to be judge, juries, and executioners, Dredd has a very similar plot set-up to The Raid: Redemption, an Indonesian martial-arts action movie that I also really liked.

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2. Karl Urban is fun as Dredd, all stern and badass and very Clint Eastwood — who apparently was a big inspiration for the character in the comic books. Also, he never takes off his helmet, which is apparently a Big Deal. (It’s okay. I can wait a couple of weeks to see Karl Urban’s pretty face in Star Trek: Into Darkness.)

3. Olivia Thirlby plays Dredd’s new, psychic, probationary partner, and she gets the unenviable task of being the I Must Learn The Will to Kill girl — at least to an extent — but she does the job pretty decently, I think, and overall I like her quite a bit.

4. Also, psychic showdowns? Kind of awesome. I love it when mental battles are actually done well in movies.

5. Lena Headey continues to be a Bad Ass in all things.

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5. This is the rare film where all the slow-motion action is actually highly plot relevant and surprisingly works pretty well. (I do think they use it maybe one or two more times than they need to, and occasionally the shiny-ness of it all is a little silly and would probably look better with a bigger budget, but overall it works.)

6. Decent foreshadow and set-up in this movie. I can’t go into detail without spoilers, but I approve. I also like that this isn’t a big Save the World story, that it’s just a job, one day’s violent BS in a long string of violent BS-filled days. That works for me.

7. Dredd is a pretty violent film, which also works for me. There are a few surprising moments too, just stuff you don’t normally see in action movies like this — like what might happen to innocent bystanders during those big cop car chase sequences — and I enjoyed those little moments.

CONCLUSIONS:

Fun, solid action flick.

MVP:

Karl Urban. He basically has to do all of his acting with his voice and chin, so even if there isn’t much in the way of character to explore — you need a strong lead to sell this.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B+

MORAL:

There is no negotiation.

“Come At Me. Every Inch of Me Will Resist You.”

When my friend Robyn came to visit, we attempted to watch Coons! Night of the Bandits of the Night, and barely made it through the trailers before giving up. (So, Rob? Congratulations. You broke me. I am a broken woman now. I hope you’re happy.)

We decided to watch this instead:

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I have this poster on my wall, and though you can’t see it from the picture, it has the very best tagline ever. Said tagline?

Survivor Who Kill Everyone Even Though Best Friend.

This is a fair representation of the translation quality throughout the film.

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“This Is My Life Now. I Earned It. You Had Yours Already.”

My love for Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been well-documented on this blog — he was a big motivator in seeing movies like G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Stop-Loss, and he’s pretty much the only reason I saw Premium Rush at all– so I don’t imagine it’s any big surprise that I went to see Looper in theater as well. But the truth is, as much as I like JGL on his own, it was the reunion of him and Brick director Rian Johnson that made me desperate to see this film for over a year.

For my money, it’s not perfect. But despite its flaws, it’s still a pretty damn good movie.

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“May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor.”

The whole point of going to a midnight movie is to avoid teenagers and crying kids and annoying people who talk incessantly on their phones right in the middle of a climactic scene. Unfortunately, when you go see an adaptation of one of the biggest YA books known to mankind, squarely in the middle of Spring Break, well, the odds are decidedly not in your favor of having a wonderful cinematic experience.

Thankfully, despite the Team Peeta versus Team Gale crowd, I still enjoyed this movie quite a bit.

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“I Heard You Were Dead.”

The thing you have to know about me is, I’ve seen Overboard about 876 times. It’s one of my mother’s favorite movies, and I grew up with it the way other kids might have grown up watching E.T. or The Dark Crystal. I know every single word of that movie. I could perform my own one-woman Overboard show.

So, when someone mentions Kurt Russell, my mind automatically goes to an Elk Snout Mountain Man working on a closet and sweating all over the place.

Other people, quite understandably, think of this guy instead:

Snake Plissken . . . so badass he doesn’t need depth perception.

I watched Escape From New York for the first time as part of my ongoing sci fi movie effort, and I have to say . . . I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. Parts of it were pretty awesome. I was definitely into some of the movie. But I had issues with the film as well.

It occurs to me that I might just be a picky bastard.

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