Catching Up with the Movies – Part Two: The Top Half

Very rarely do we actually go to the movie theater to catch a new release, but my guy and I do frequent the fabOoolous movie vending machines known as Redbox.  We also like to “rent” movies via OnDemand, whether it is the pay services or the free premium channels that accompany our cable plan.  Without fail, there’s always an “older” film we missed…

Every December, my guy takes an extended amount of time off and we use his vacation as our annual staycation.  Not only do we catch up on our sleep, but we also catch up on the latest releases we missed during their stint at the theater.  Usually we lean toward the comedies, wanting to relax and laugh the previous year away, but this time we frequented the drama and tension filled actions and mysteries.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a list of movies here at The Ooo Factor, so it’s time… but, warning: not all of the films I watch come highly recommended.

Two weeks ago, I published Part One of this list: Magic Mike, Killer Joe, and The Amazing Spider-Man.  Today, I share the remaining films ranked from our least favorite to the most.

Today’s flicks I do actually recommend…



#4 – Total Recall

If watching the remake of Total Recall taught me anything, I learned that I needed to rewatch the original.  My guy kept insisting that the two films while somewhat similar were still quite different.  Clearly, I don’t remember enough about the Schwarzenegger version; however, I do know this: if action is what you like, the 2012 release doesn’t disappoint.

One thing’s certain—Colin Farrell is much sexier as Quaid.  And Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel are not only gorgeous, but also well suited for action/adventure movies.

But if a trip to Mars is what anyone is looking forward to or expecting, let’s just say don’t get your hopes up.


#3 – The Raven

I’ve never really been a big fan of poetry, but when asked which poem is my favorite, I always answer Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”  Partner this with the fact the motion picture The Raven stars John Cusack, and I knew I had to see it.

Maybe it’s because I like him, but I personally think Cusack’s portrayal of the seemingly misunderstood, gloomy, and melancholy writer to be fantastic.  And while the story is believed to be fictional—at least I don’t think a madman ever recreated Poe’s murder scenes in real life to be true—it is still intense and highly believable… as in it “could” have happened.  It took me following the clues along with Poe and the inspector to truly figure out who was behind the madness, making it a great whodunit as far as I’m concerned.  There’s also romance, a sad and forbidden love shared between Poe and his lady if that’s what you like.

There are things I want to say about the ending, but I won’t.  I highly encourage anyone with any ounce of interest in Poe and/or mysteries to see this and experience it for themselves.


#2 – The Dark Knight Rises

Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney.  They’ve all played the The Caped Crusader, and all of their movies were enjoyable; but Christian Bale is Batman as far as I’m concerned.  It all started with Batman Begins back in 2005—a darker story with nowhere near the comedic aspects of the earlier films in the franchise.  And then there was The Dark Knight.  Not enough can be said about this installment, especially not when it comes to Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we pressed play on the final film in this trilogy, but every minute of the two and a half hours that we watched kept me on the edge of my seat.  This movie is intense from pretty much the beginning all the way to the very end.   I’m not saying The Dark Knight Rises is better than its predecessor, that would be difficult, but it also doesn’t disappoint.

Perhaps what I enjoyed the most was the ending… a part of me thought throughout the movie that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the real star of the film; it seemed to me his character was on screen more than Bale’s.  I couldn’t figure out why… until the ending.  I was shocked.  And I loved it all the same.  My guy said he saw it coming, but I didn’t.

Why they say this is the final film in this particular franchise is beyond me.  I would love to see it continue.

Oh, and Tom Hardy played Bane?  I had no idea!  After watching him and falling in love with him in This Means War, I seriously had no clue he was the masked man wreaking havoc on Gotham City in this movie.  None.  I can’t quite think of another antagonist to compare his performance to… Bardem’s portrayal of Silva in Skyfall does come to mind though.  Bane is bad; man, is he bad.  But I still felt myself liking this character.


And #1 – Savages

Savages… what can I say about this movie?  From the first time I saw the trailer, I knew I wanted to see this film.  Why?  Taylor Kitsch; Blake Lively; John Travolta; Benicio del Toro; and Salma Hayek.  Talk about an all-star cast!  I didn’t mention Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and that’s because I didn’t know who he was… not until watching the movie.  I still don’t know him from anything else, but now I will at least recognize his cute face.

So, back to Savages—a movie about two friends (a botanist and an ex Navy SEAL) running a highly lucrative marijuana business in California who run into trouble when a fading Mexican cartel wants to partner with them.  Why would a Mexican cartel, fading or not, want to partner up with two small town boys in Laguna Beach?  Because their strain has 35% potency, whereas most other strains have only about 5% potency.  I guess that’s some REALLY good pot…  Anyway, the boys try to walk away from the cartel… and well, that never ends well.

From the start of this movie, I was afraid we were walking into another “lorno,” or light porno, especially after watching Killer Joe earlier in the week.  But it wasn’t a lorno; however, there are a couple of really hot and racy sex scenes in the opening minutes.  And let me just say that Gossip Girl would have loved to report on Blake Lively’s shenanigans in this movie to her Upper Eastsiders…

This story is more about the back and forth between these two boys and the Mexican cartel.  And the dialogue.  The dialogue is probably why I chose this film as my number one over the holiday.  The back and forth between the two parties I expected; but the witty and smart one-liners are what really drew me in.  I laughed when the movie isn’t at all a comedy.  John Travolta proves that he isn’t one-dimensional.  Salma Hayek?  Well, you’ll have to see to believe… And Benicio del Toro?  I personally think he’s always great…

I watched this film not only with my guy but also with my mother.  She doesn’t usually like this type of film, but she watches because my father and I both enjoy them.  However, even she though this movie was very engrossing… and we’re both glad my nephews left earlier in the night.


Have you seen any of these movies?  If so, what did you think?  What movies have you seen lately that come highly recommended?  I’d love to hear from you!

7 Replies to “Catching Up with the Movies – Part Two: The Top Half”

  1. I’ve seen all of these except Savages. I will say that I liked the original Total Recall much better than the remake, but that doesn’t mean the remake wasn’t good. It’s just that Total Recall is my favorite “Arnold” movie. And I understood what was going on much better in the original. And there was Mars….

    I did enjoy Raven a lot. I wasn’t sure I was going to, but it didn’t disappoint. And I love John Cusack, too, so that was a big plus for me. And what an ending.

    To me, Michael Keaton was always Batman…I didn’t like Val Kilmar in the role, and especially not George Clooney. But when the first one with Christian Bale came out, I was hooked. He nails the role, in my opinion. And there are always good supporting characters. I thought no one could do the joker like Jack Nicholson, but Heath Ledger was just as good, maybe better. I guess, just different. Then there’s this movie. I can’t remember if hubby saw that ending coming or not. He usually does. I can’t believe it’s the last one. I want more!

  2. I missed Total Recall in the cinema but do want to see it. I think Total Recall was one of the first over 18s films I saw as a kid in my cousins’ house. My cousins, mostly boys, were older and I always got to see the grown up films with them 🙂 I haven’t see The Raven either, but I do like John Cusack, so I must put this on my list.
    Why don’t you like going to the movies? I thought a trip to see a great film on the big screen would be right up your alley?

  3. I really liked the Raven too and thought it gave a whole nother outlook on Poe. And it was creepy! Like gorier than I expected! Love John Cusack too.

    I must see Savages! It looks awesome and I didn’t even realize it was out already. So behind…

  4. I haven’t seen any of them. The movie that whets my appetite is Raven, since I love a good mystery, Edgar Allen Poe, and John Cusack. I hadn’t even heard of that film! Thanks.

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