Godzilla (2014)

★★★★ / 👍

Godzilla (2014) poster

When I saw Godzilla 1985 for my sixth birthday, I was underwhelmed. When I saw the Godzilla In Name Only at age 20, I was furious. Today I saw an IMAX-sized Godzilla on an eight-story screen, and am very happy indeed.

The film takes itself seriously, but isn’t afraid to wink at the audience on occasion. The human leads are fine but bland; you don’t mind too much when they are, inevitably, dwarfed by the spectacle. The film is a bit too coy about withholding said spectacle, but it hews closer to the slow-burn template of Jurassic Park than the tedium of Jackson’s King Kong. When it did finally come, the action fulfilled the dreams of my inner first-grader, which is honestly all I wanted from this movie.

Easy Money (2010)

★★★★ / 👍

Easy Money (2010) poster

The Talented Mister Ripley meets Layer Cake in a crime thriller with above-average performances, cinematography and editing compensating for a somewhat uninspired script.

Joel Kinnaman’s “JW” is a cipher, a penniless business school student struggling to keep up appearances with his wealthy classmates at all costs. His few relationships are superficial, deceitful or both, and are contingent (at least in his own estimation) on continued access to cash. When illegal but lucrative opportunities beckon, JW’s willingness to commit himself is entirely plausible. (Less so is the overall plotting, which leans heavily on tropes like the career criminal who literally needs “one last job” before getting out of the life.)

13 Assassins (2010)

★★★★ / 👍

13 Assassins (2010) poster

Good-to-excellent samurai movie which includes a particularly well-staged sustained battle sequence. Of the dozen or so Takashi Miike films I’ve seen, this is one of the most straightforward, and one of the easiest to recommend, at least to those who can stomach a bloody samurai tale.