My Rating System

Ever since I started not just reviewing movies, but really just having strong opinions on them, one thing people would always bring up with me would be how could I give XY movie and so and so score, and this other movie a lesser score. Do you really think this movie is better than that movie? Cause thats what you’re telling me giving one an 8 and one a 7. And I always had to try and explain to people how my mental rating system really worked. Fast forward to now and my time reviewing movies “officially” and the same kind of question do emerge. So I thought it apropos to give a real and in-depth explanation of how my system works.

To start with I do use a traditional 1-10 rating scale, on which movies are rated 1 the lowest and 10 the highest. Outside of that however things get a little tricky. The standard 1-10 system I see as a bit stiff and restricting. What I do, is I use my 1-10 system and tie it specifically to that film, by that I mean my rating is basically me giving that movie a 1-10 where the 1 is the lowest based on that films potential and the 10 is the most. So what that does, is it tends to make movies that I think have less potential, have a higher chance of scoring a bit higher on the scale, because I thought that movie was maybe closer to its full potential, whereas a movie that has much more potential, might fall short. Let’s look at some examples:

Power Rangers (2017)

My review score 7 out of 10    Rotten Tomatoes combined critic score 5.1 out of 10

Now I don’t think Power Rangers was a game changer of a movie or anything like that, but other than the fact that I had a lot of fun watching the movie, I also felt like the movie did a lot to live up to it’s potential. If I were scoring it based solely on a universal 1-10 scale, I would have had to have given it a lower score when I would have compared that 7 out of 10 to other movies that I would have ranked a 7 also. That however, didn’t seem fair to me when I considered what the movie was and what it was indented to be, and as such, people might just have looked at that score and not see the movie, when I actually want them to see it.

Another factor is that I see the middle point of  my reviews as a 5, unlike many people who see the tipping, middle point as the 6. If i had to really break down my 1-10 I’d say scores of 1-3 are for the movies I like least, 3-5 are for movies I don’t think are good particularly but can have redeeming qualities. 5-7 are for movies that I like more than less, and how close to each side depends on the movies potential, and the things that they got right or wrong. 7-9 are for movies that I really like, and recommend, and while they can have flaws, they are totally more good than bad, have lots of good qualities, live up to a lot of their potential and are pretty entertaining. 10 is a score really reserved for movies that I think are the best of the best and deserve some rarified air to be able to stand on their own.

so hope this has been helpful and that you have a better idea of what my scoring system means from my reviews.

 

Cheers

Review : Transformers – The Last Knight

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“Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.”

Transformer 5 or which ever one this is, is one of the most convoluted, frenetic, chaotic, and all over the place movies I’ve seen in a long time. The story takes so many twist and turns, and jumps and leaps around its story and the globe, and is a mind numbing task trying to keep them all together. The story itself I kind of understood, but it literally goes a mile a minute, and gives you no reason to fall in line with it. It also doesn’t give you any real reason to feel for the characters and care when they were in dangerous situations. I mean there is a plot in here somewhere, but I also genuinely couldn’t care less by like 30 mins into it. There are also a lot of moments when the movie most certainly pauses for either dramatic or comedic effect, and they pretty much all fell flat, with a silent cinema audience. There were also so many different characters crammed into every nook and cranny of this movie that you never had any time to breathe. The cgi and visual effects are most definitely up to par and then some, everything on screen really does look good, especially the cars when they were zipping around the place, but I must say, I really don’t think I’m a fan of the current character designs of the transformers themselves. Each movie they have gotten more and more anthropomorphic, and I think it really takes away from making the characters stand out more. All in all, Transformers 5 is really a bit of a cluster fuck, and for something so full of things always happening, its actually kind of boring.

Review Score : 3 out of 10

Review : Wonder Woman

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“Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.”

So just for full disclosure, I’ve had Wonder Woman’s theme as my phone ring tone, for like a year now, needless to say I have been nothing but super hyped waiting for this movie, and my expectations were super high. All that being said, this movie is pretty awesome. Gal Gadot, is honestly the greatest incarnation of the character we have ever gotten, and she brings everything to the role. She’s absolutely stunning, she brings the physicality, and she does excellent at playing both the strong, soft, and funny moments. However, she does have some help in here in a fantastically played secondary character in Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor. The two had a great chemistry and they played extremely well off of each other, especially in the softer more quiet moments in here. And even for all the great action in here, a lot of the best scene are honestly these soft, quiet, and subtle scenes between Chris and Gal (and some others with the other supporting cast). Like I said before though, the action in this movie is here, and its very well done. The film itself is also absolutely stunning when it needs and wants to be, doing a great job at juxtaposing the colour and vibrance of places like Themyscira, against the drab and dull world of man and of war. Wonder Woman is truly a film firing on all cylinders here, from acting, to action, and everything in-between. All in all, I think this movie will be a bit of a game changer, and come Monday, will likely be the most successful female directed and lead film we’ve ever seen. Go see it right now!

Review Score : 9 out of 10

Review : Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Men Tell No Tales

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“Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.”

When the first Pirates movie came out in 2003, it was a real surprise, partly because it had a real magic to it, and in large part because of Johnny Depp’s turn as Captain Jack Sparrow. And its the character of Caption Jack Sparrow, that has been the driving force of the pirates series ever since. Fast forward to 2017, and there has been a change in our beloved Captain, and not a change I like. This movie in particular brings to character to his lowest low, and relegates him to much more of a bumbling drunk that gets by solely on luck, when before Jack certain had his way with rum, but he was also always the most clever person in the room. The plot of this movie is there, and it makes sense mostly, but it also seems a lot more convoluted that it needed to be, and it felt like most of it really didn’t matter. There are even some characters in here, that just honestly didn’t feel like they needed to be, more would it matter if you cut them out of the movie. Javier Bardem’s Captain Salazar is a well done (looks wise) character, and he’s a lot of fun when he’s on screen and he certainly does bring a certain presence to the role. There are nice appearances from some of the original cast here also, but don’t look for them too much. All in all, Pirates 5 is a fun movie with some nice looking big set pieces, but it all feels a bit soulless.

Review Score : 5 out of 10

Review : King Arthur – Legend of the sword

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“Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy – whether he likes it or not.”

Is this the best film adaptation of the King Arthur story and mythos? Yeah most probably,  its also bad ass and a whole lot of fun. Now to be clear, I don’t think this movie is for everyone, but it should be entertaining to more audience members than less. King Arthur: Legend of the sword brings Guy Ritchie’s signature and infamous style, to a story and genre that its never been mixed with before, and works most of the time, and the times it works are so much fun. It adds more than just Ritchie’s fast paced dialogue and cuts though, it takes the mythology and ramps it up to 11 and isn’t afraid of going there. Filled with a stellar cast that are all built to deliver the quick one liners and tight action sequences, and a real tension building and pulse pounding score, King Arthur knows when to be light and when it can get heavy. There is also I think something to be said for having an English directed and English acted movie, thats based on an english tale. It manages to lend the movie a feeling of legitimacy, even with 100 foot tall elephants. All in all, I think Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur is a real refreshing and original take on an old and known story. Especially if you’re a fan of Guy’s style, and I can honestly say Charlie Hunnam comes of really great in the role. (ps don’t know why the critics are being so hard on this movie right now)

Review Score : 8 out of 10

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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“Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.”

Guardians 2 takes us back to the most unique corner of the Marvel cinematic universe, and it does so with some style. This movie is very much like the movie before it, but its also somewhat of the complete opposite to the previous film. What I mean by that, is that Guardians 2 takes the team and the story line to a place where the first movie never went as far as character development, and the relationships between them. The movie here while it tells also a smaller story, it still tells one that has universal consequences. All the main characters are back here, plus some new team members that add a surprising amount of heart and life to the team, and movie, that could have felt a little flat in parts if we only had the original cast here. This is also most certainly the most isolated of all the Marvel movies, especially with the story told in this second movie, which is good and bad. On the one hand, it does help keep the story trim and tight, but it also makes the movie devoid of that extra spark that playing off of all the previous movies in the universe brings. All in all, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, brings us another great soundtrack, some truly special and spectacular visual effects, and a real sense of family, but something about just seems to lack that little bit extra that the first movie had. Also, there are like 5 after/post/mid/during credit scenes here, so sit back relax and enjoy that.

Review Score: 7.5 out of 10

Léon: The Professional

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Léon: The Professional is a 1994 film by Luc Besson, who would later become most famous for his movie The Fifth Element. It tells the story of a young girl (12 from most accounts) who trough a series of events is reluctantly taken in by a hitman called Léon. The pair (not sure I want to use the word couple) then are beset down a path that neither of them can seem to veer off of, down a road of revenge, love, family, and many other themes as they both grow and foster a real relationship.

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The title character here Léon is played by Jean Reno, and it will probably always remain one of, if not his most recognizable performance. Reno does a lot to add to the character here in his portrayal, and he does so in some interesting ways. The tricky nature of the relationship that develops between his and Natalie Portmans’ character could easily go down certain roads if not for his performance here. He gives Léon an almost autistic (or at least on the spectrum) bend to his behavior and development up to the point at which the film begins, and this keeps his character and his intentions pure and they come across as totally sincere and genuine. This character without such a layer could easily be seen as the one in charge of the situation at all times, and as such, take away from development that they both need. It would also make him come of as much more predatory than his character actually is and should be.

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This movie was also truly a defining and break out role for the young Natalie Portman. She is charged with bringing the character of Matilda to life, but she really does deliver an amazing performance here. She gives Mathilda a genuine feeling of being grown up way beyond her years, while also maintaining the innocence (or what’s left of it) and ignorance of someone so young and so new to the world. This is juxtaposed extremely well against the sometimes “man-childless” of Reno’s Léon, and as expressed in the movie they are almost opposites of each other in many ways. The role also calls for some really tense scenes between the two, in which you see how easily control over the situation can swash back and forth between the grown but child like Léon and the young but way too grown Mathilda. and this is a fine line to walk, one in which the film tries to stay on, and avoid having to really push it to one side or the other. Portmans’ portrayal here is so grounded and honest, and she gives more than I even think the character originally asked for.

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Léon ultimately is a story about love, in the midst of an action movie that never seems short on either. I think it does a great job at asking some questions of the audience, but in a manner that seems both plausible and palatable. It is full of Luc Besson trademark style of action, while also being grounded with really layered and impressive performances but the co-leads here who play really well off each other and add what I truly think is the special sauce in what otherwise would have been a regular action movie without it. Have you seen Léon? What’s you’re opinion on it? The up coming Valerian movie made me want to take a look back at some of Besson’s work, and I think Léon is one of his best.