Blindspot 2017: Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

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Plot: Danny Ocean and his eleven accomplices plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously.

Rating: 8.5/10

Brad Pitt and Matt Damon really is everywhere on my Blindspot list this year. I’m back with Brad Pitt today and looking at the 2001 heist film that proves just how cool Brad Pitt and George Clooney it.

If you are a clever deducer (I know that is not a word), you realized by the rating that I liked this. A good heist film remains a good heist film, and a fast paced, no-nonsense one provides for good entertainment. I thought the heist was brilliantly planned. The film is intelligent and quirky and doesn’t take time to tell its’ story.

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The core actors certainly contribute towards the camaraderie Oceans provides in spades. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Casey Affleck, Bernie Mac – really everyone on screen was great to behold. There is a chemistry in the group that comes across as authentic. I especially liked George Clooney and Brad Pitt together. Both men were able to look and sound like old friends who were up to no good.

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My favourite girl crush Julia Roberts was on screen again. She’s so talented and drop dead gorgeous and she’s so classy on screen. It takes a lot of an actress to be cold and angry and charming at the same time.

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I really liked that this film didn’t take ages to get through and sort itself out – I hate a long drawn out affair as you all know. The plan was laid out, the men were recruited and informed and things went down. Can’t all films just go like that??

Have you seen Ocean’s Eleven? What did you think? I see the next film in the franchise is an all women cast – a relatively popular decision nowadays. What you all think about that?

Blindspot 2017: Seven (1995)

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Plot: Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi.

Rating: 8.5/10

Set in a dark and dreary city, homicide detectives Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt must investigate what is turning into a serial killer’s mad spree through town, emulating the 7 deadly sins in the most horrific of ways. Detective Freeman is retiring and after years of witnessing the horrors a decaying city can provide, he’s not too keen about taking up another job. But he somehow can’t pull away – he’s forced to worked with the new young detective and solve this last crime.

I enjoyed how dark and dreary the city was. The constant torrential downpour makes England look like a sunny palace. It’s so heavy, and combined with the decay of the city a sense of hopelessness lies in the air.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s character is a sharp contrast to the city. She’s everything the city isn’t – fresh and sweet and kind. I really liked her, how she balanced her husband out and wasn’t everywhere in the story and somehow remained so important in it.

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A thing that stands out sharply is the difference between the two detectives. Both are good men but so much difference in character. The younger detective is impulsive, perhaps because of his age. He’s by no means unintelligent but is far less cerebral than his older counterpart, who is often reflective and studies the crime and reasoning behind it well. The dynamic between the detectives shift – initially Freeman is cold shouldering his colleague (I think mostly due to impending retirement) but he begins to warm to Pitt with the case developing.

What is it about Kevin Spacey that he is so well capable to play such derange characters? It is creepy. He is creepy. So calm with an underlying menace. Madness coated in quiet demeanor. That flat of his. His belief in his work. A subtle creep. Sheesh.

How intense was the ending?! Edge of your seat business. John Doe concocted everything to make his plan infallible. I was horrified and entertained, because sheesh, what a nail biter.

Serial killers always have this dark glamour about them. It is wrong, but I have been interested in their mind games for years now – how they justify, what motivates them and how carefully they pick their victims. Seven is a film that follows one such killer in his demented ways in the best method I’ve ever seen. The film is backed by solid performances, directing, score and story to bring a thriller that will remain with you well after the end.

If you are looking for a film that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy, Seven is definitely NOT for you. It is scary and gross and relentless and keeps you nailed to your seat, but come prepared because scary man. Scary.

 

Blindspot 2017: Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

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Plot: Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. While the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won’t lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.

Rating: 7.5/10

My venture into the horror / thriller continues, this time with The Nightmare on Elm Street. It is yet another film that I was sure would be so icky and scary that I would just puke and / or cry throughout. And guess who didn’t?! ME!

I quite liked it, but for the horror movies I watched I certainly liked Scream the most. However, this was still quite good, in a perfectly 1984 fashion – the acting, outfits, hair and makeup are so bad. That pink knitted pullover? WHY? The mother had some really interesting makeup as well. I loved seeing Johnny Depp so extremely young. Back then he was quite good looking (he has now progressed to creepy and a bad looking wife beater). I thought Freddy was quite dramatic with his crazy claws and how he put them on. I wanted to yell at them just to go Sam and Dean Winchester on his ass and burn the claw, because we all know that he would immediately perish. Pfft. I thought the movie was cleverly laid out and designed, and even sleep specialists bought in to address what Nancy Thompson went through. Heather Langenkamp was a great heroine – no crazy antics and she decided to fight back pretty quickly.

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I don’t have too much else to say this – I really watched quite a lot of movies in a short time and had no brain cells that instructed me to quite write down an opinion on it at the time. I can tell you that as for the horror genre I am really enjoying Wes Craven’s work – it is witty and well thought out and creative. The Nightmare on Elm Street is definitely worth the time to watch, and rather short too, which is always a great thing in my book!

Blindspot 2017: The Departed (2006)

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Plot: An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston.

Rating: 8/10

I might get shot for this, but I’ve now seen two Scorsese films – The Departed and The Wolf of Wallstreet. Both are some of DiCaprio’s finest work, so I don’t have anything to complain about.  Are all Scorsese films this long? The length is about the only thing I didn’t like about The Departed. It’s three hours, and in my opinion only a few films are allowed to go on this long. It is good though, so I was able to sit through it and pay attention.

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Jack Nicholson makes a great gangster. He is criminal and cold and deranged in this film, and has a menacing presence even when he is nice to people. Finding Colin Sullivan and helping him out leads to Sullivan’s corruption, which makes that kind deed null and void on the scorecard of humanity. Colin Sullivan is portrayed by Matt Damon, a man so good at playing the good guy that I didn’t even think he’d do well as the bad guy. He was phenomenal as the reviled Sullivan, who has a perfect place in the State Police and so convincing even hardened cop Captain Ellerby (Alec Baldwin) suspects him of anything but a hardworking officer. Leonardo DiCaprio, the world’s boyfriend, plays Billy Costigan. In contrast to Sullivan, Billy entered the police force with honorable intentions. He is railroaded by his familial history, and Captain Queenan (Michael Sheen) and the cantankerous Staff Sergeant Dignam (Mark Whalberg) both have a hard time believing that he is what he says he is. They offer Billy a way to still serve his country despite his past, and plant him as a mole deep into the Frank Costello’s drug syndicate.

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I loved the smartness of the characters. Sullivan is immoral but is so fast on his feet that you can’t help but admire him. Costigan is increasingly desperate to get out and has sporadic outbursts no one can blame him for. I really liked Costigan – Leonardo is definitely one of the best actors I’ve ever seen on screen. He embodies his character, and although no outward displays of dread can be seen in Costigan, DiCaprio still manages to show you exactly how much anger and fear his character is dealing with. I also really liked Mark Whalberg’s character – he’s so ornery and ready to fly off the handle and action ready. He hated everyone and he didn’t care if anyone hated him back. Alec Baldwin as Captain Ellerby was an upstanding man. I liked him, his direct attitude and approach. He was a bit gullible in the end and quite easily fooled by Sullivan though. No one that pretends to be that good is really that good.

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The pace of The Departed is controlled, carefully laying out the story. It feels that it took ages to get to the end, the majority of the films time is spent developing every character’s situation properly and showing the viewer how incredibly close Sullivan and Costigan were to each other at all times. Being in love with the same woman is the best bit though. Beautiful poetry. The last twenty minutes keeps me from bitching too passionately about the length. Those 20 minutes were action packed and dramatic, leading to an enormously if shocking end. I appreciated the conclusion of the film and would have been furious if it had ended in another way – no justice would have happened.

If you haven’t seen The Departed yet and enjoy tense, complicated and well thought out films, you should definitely give it a try!

Blindspot 2017: The List

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A few things I can tell you about this list:

  • I deliberately chose “lighter” films than last year. My 2016 list and 2015 list contained some serious heavy weights. I’m happy I got through them all, but to change things up I chose some films that were in a different genre than the other frequenters of my Blindspots.
  • This list started forming as I was thinking about how little of Brad Pitt’s work I’ve actually watched – he’s quite popular on here.
  • I am going to have a lot of fun watching these, I can tell.
  • I actually have a small list of other films that I’ll post some time that I also want to watch this year despite it not being Blindspots.
  • Here is my actual list below that I hope to enjoy and actually post monthly for the rest of the year.
  1. Scream (1996)
  2. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
  3. The Departed (2006)
  4. Seven (1995)
  5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  6. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
  7. Ghost (1990)
  8. Basic Instinct (1992)
  9. Goodwill Hunting (1997)
  10. Interview with a Vampire (1994)
  11. The Italian Job (2003)
  12. Walk the Line (2005)

What did you choose this year? Let me know!

Blindspot 2016: final rankings

WOW. I’m done! Can you believe it?! I most certainly can’t. My 2016 Blindspot list was the list I’ve bitched about the most, not because of the bad movies but because I struggled so much getting time to site down and watch the films I chose. I’ve been really bad with schedules, which really ddin’t help the matter. But anyway, let’s stop that now because yet I still somehow managed to see all each and every film listed.

My list of 2017 is up tomorrow, and I’ve at least seen a number of them in preparation with my bestie and the remainders are great films won’t feel like a bit of a chore to get through. I also have most of those films already available, which was one of the reasons I took so long with 2016’s Blindspot – struggling to find these films.

Here’s a rundown of from least favorite to favorite. The scores are listed, but I’m not too worried about that right now, just basically listing what I remember actually liking the most.

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Spot #12: Home Alone (1990)

Rating: 6/10

This is definitely the movie on the list that I should have watched way early in my life to really love it. I can see why people my age would love it if they saw it as children, and probably has the same sentiment towards it as I do towards a film like Matilda, which again reminds me that I really want to watch Matilda again. Home Alone was lost on me, I really couldn’t find any interest in a story where the main character was a child.

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Spot #11: Love Actually (2003)

Rating: 6.5/10

There are people that actually think that this is one of the best romantic comedies of all time. I could not disagree more. There are critically few characters that are even remotely likeable and I was highly offended by most of their actions. Eugh.The best thing about this film is Colin Firth and Alan Rickman, and if those two men can’t convince me that a film is worth it, nothing can.

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Spot #10: Back To the Future (1985)

Rating: 7/10

The same as Home Alone here – missed my chance. It was much more appealing though as there were at least older characters, but I still felt my attention wavering once or twice.

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Spots # 8 & 9: Kill Bill Volume 1 (2003)& 2 (2004)

Rating: 7.5/10 and 8/10

Yes, I am fully aware that these are Tarantino films so low on my list, but I have my reasons – mostly (and I might get shot for this bout of honesty), is that I found the story a bit lacking on both and overly violent even for Tarantino. I am such a fan of Django Unchained, Inglorious Basterds (my favorite), and Pulp Fiction, and these two didn’t get anywhere close to touching my top favorite films of his.

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Spot #7: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Rating: 8.5/10

I had trouble finding films this year that convinced me of its originality, and ESotSM is one of the very few that could convince me that creative talent was still alive and well. I loved Kate Winslet with her crazy hair, I adored Jim Carrey, Mark Ruffalo was adorable and Frodo was a sufficient level of creep in here. Hey! Kristen Dunst didn’t make me gnash my teeth.

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Spot #6: Warrior (2011)

Rating: 8/10

This movie! I was bent double with anxiety. Who must win? Does any person deserve to lose? Performances by Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy were phenomenal. I cannot accept that this film tanked in the box office, it is truly great.

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Spot #5: Memento (2000)

Rating: 8/10

Another frequenter of my Blindspots has been Christopher Nolan. He’s such an intelligent man and it comes through in his films. Memento was this year’s pick, and I unsurprisingly loved it.

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Spots #3 and 4: Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986)

Ratings: 8.5/10 (both)

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Yes, I agree. How haven’t I seen these two films up until now?! I lived for 26 years without the knowledge of how awesome Ripley was or how gross the chestbursters are, and although my life wasn’t sad before, it is all the richer now.

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Spot #2: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Rating: 9/10

Both numbers one and two for me were really sad and thought provoking films that provided insight into the very best and the very worst of the human nature. Pan’s Labyrinth is the ONLY film that could have beaten out To Kill A Mockingbird.

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Spot #1: Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Rating: 9/10

The winner of the year is the gut wrenching and incredibly poignant Pan’s Labyrith. This is a bit touchy feely, but watching this film made me want to cry for two reasons – the beautiful directing and the sad story of Ophelia and her desperate escape methods from the horrors of her world.

Well, there we have it. I enjoyed the majority of this list – truly it is probably only numbers 10 – 12 that really grated on me, and yet I am not displeased about spending time with them. Did you do a Blindspot in 2016? Comment below t and I haven’t discovered your undoubtedly awesome page, send me the link below 🙂

Blindspot 2016: To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

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Plot: Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.

Rating: 9/10

YESSSSSS. Guess who is finally done with their 2016 Blindspot list?! MEEE! It hasn’t been easy. 2016 was such a busy, annoying year and I had some really heavy movies on my list. I was lagging behind all the time. It’s bad! Anyway, I finished this one up last night, and patted myself on the back.

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To Kill A Mockingbird was so good. I loved Atticus Finch (I guess everyone does) and Gregory Peck was so good in the role. The character is kind and wise and ahead of his time. I appreciated that he stood by his morals even when it would have been a lot easier than just to punch someone. The children were surprisingly non-grating and their games reminded me of an Enid Blyton book. They were sweet and adventurous. Scout was so amusing with her tomboy ways and love for fighting. Her brother was a young miniature of their father – admirable when Atticus Finch is your father. The kid actors were also all very good – that is so rare these days.

TKAMB also deals with material that could only have been considered extremely risqué in the time the book was published as well as the movie. It is now so clear to me why the book was banned. An innocent black man? That must have boggled everyone’s minds back then!

It always amazes me that black and white films manage to show so much more than color films, being able to draw attention the smallest aspects of the shot. To Kill A Mockingbird is surprisingly easy to follow despite many events occurring at the same time, which in itself speaks legions about how well the film was written and directed.

I really liked this film – it’s not upbeat and it’s not depressing. It manages to show both the best side of humanity and the worst side of humanity all in one go, and makes you think a bit about on which side you really are. I only have one request – that they NEVER remake this film.

PS: Robert Duvall is Boo Radley?!?!

Blindspot 2016: Memento (2000)

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Plot: A man juggles searching for his wife’s murderer and keeping his short-term memory loss from being an obstacle.

Rating: 8.5/10

The entire point of Blindspot is to see things that we were supposed to have seen ages ago but obviously never did for a number of reasons, most notably laziness in my case. Memento is definitely one of these films, and after watching it I am so happy that 1) I finally got to it and 2) somehow avoided spoilers all this time.

Directed by one of the craftiest and most intelligent filmmakers of our time, Memento is some of Christopher Nolan’s finest work. And it should be clear that nearly all of his work is fine – Prestige was on my Blindspot in 2015, I loved Interstellar, Inception blew my mind on a level that I still haven’t written a review for it. Those Batman movies? Dark and heavy and undeniably brilliant. Memento is some of his earlier work, and definitely some of the best that he’s ever embarked on. The directing is excellent, naturally – the black and white and color alternating between past and present. GENIUS.

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Guy Pearce plays Leonard, a man with short term memory loss. That alone fascinated me from a medical viewpoint.  Memories and retention of them are so fascinating and complex and the Nolan brothers managed to bring Leonard to life in a way that gives insight to the complexity of his problem. Leonard is highly organized and tackles his memory loss by notes and tattoos. I kept hoping he had some form of a tattoo on his back that would resolve a lot of his problems. Alas, he didn’t, but his tattoos on the front of his body were highly informative and disturbing. Pearce also gives the performance of his career in my opinion – tightly controlled and methodical, this role would have been a disaster in a less accomplished actor’s hands.

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The other characters are all a bunch of shady fellows you can never quite pin down – are they bad, are they misusing our guy, what exactly is going down. Assistance is provided due to the movie moving backwards – Leonard never knows what he did yesterday, but at least we do. It quickly becomes apparent that Natalie (Carrie Ann Moss) isn’t what she pretends to be to Leonard, and it is very very easy to quickly learn to hate her. I STILL have no idea whether Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) is a villain or what. He’s most certainly not a good guy and is one of the best grey characters in the story.

The directing is unique and brilliant – stark black and white alternating between current events that are depicted in color – I have to admit I only noticed that part afterwards reading up about it – it is quickly clear that the movie is moving backwards in a way, but the clear difference isn’t something I immediately picked up on. I’ll definitely have to see this again at some stage.

So that is basically it for my second last Blindspot of 2016. I kicked against watching it, but in the end I was so entertained that it will definitely make one of my favorites of this year.

Blindspot 2016: Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

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Plot: In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

Rating: 9/10

It is the most contradicting of feelings – to like a film so immensely and to be so depressed about it. Pan’s Labyrinth is a heartbreaking fairytale designed for adults, and follows Ophelia, who lives with her new stepfather and ailing pregnant mother in Spain in 1944. The movie is entirely in Spanish, which initially thwarted me, but it makes the film even more melodic and wrenching – there is something so rhythmical about that language. Pan is definitely a film for anyone who loves beautiful cinematography. Ophelia’s (Ivana Baquero) acting makes this film resonate more – she’s a young innocent in a world plagued by violence. The fairytale is extreme – the faun is faintly terrifying and that thing with the eyes will stay with you. Everyone watching this hated the Captain, no doubt about it and we can truthfully admit here that Sergi Lopez did an astounding job bringing this vile and sadistic creature to life. Mercedes is also a great character, a motherly figure that replaces roles that Ophelia’s mother is unable to fulfil. I lived in agony for Mercedes’ safety. I admired her bravery, even when she unfairly labelled herself a coward. Director Guillermo Del Toro is a mastermind – he took a fairytale and brilliantly bought it to life. The only other film that I’ve seen where he’s been the director is Pacific Rim, and how unfortunate is that, considering how good he actually can be? Pan’s Labyrinth is definitely one of my favorite Blindspots this year, and if you haven’t seen this film I cannot stress enough how urgently you should attend to it.

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Blindspot review: Aliens (1986)

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Plot: The moon from Alien (1979) has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough?

Rating: 8.5/10

Ellen Ripley has been floating through space for 57 years after fighting off the Alien and destroying the USCSS Nostromo. When she awakes she is interrogated, the Corporation being as sceptic about her claims about the monstrous alien as they are angry that she destroyed their ship. She is released of her duties, and starts to do some menial tasks around the spaceship (I assume until she can return home as a really young looking grandma). However, when contact is lost with the exomoon where the Alien so nicely attacked Riply, the Corporation quickly forget that they mistreated her and want her to travel to the moon with a bunch of super strong marines and go see what is cracking. Ripley knows exactly what they are about to face – but can she convince her crew and get out alive again?

What I loved about this film:

Ellen Ripley – eeek!! She’s so badass and ready to deal with an Alien once again. She’s capable and smart and knows how to handle herself, despite being a bit shaken up by her previous trip. She’s the ultimate girl power and Sigourney Weaver couldn’t help but rock the hell out of that role.

The cat stayed at home – I was way too worried about that damn cat in the first film.

Burke (Paul Reiser) was such an ass. He seemed WAY too nice at the start of the film, way too friendly and accommodating, and I suspected his sorry ass from the start. What he did to Newt and Ripley was terrible, and eventually revealed himself to be a power hungry fool.

I really liked Bishop (Lance Henriksen) – I understand why Ripley didn’t trust him one bit after her encounter with Ash but he at least seemed capable of dealing with drama and proving Ripley wrong.

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Replacing the cat as the-thing-Ripley-needs-to-save is Newt (Carrie Henn), the young little girl who managed to keep herself alive while the aliens killed her entire colony. I liked Newt, she was sweet and not nearly as annoying as I thought she would turn out.

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Hicks (Michael Biehn) was a great character. He had sense and leadership and a dash of badass and it was appealing. I was glad that he also got off the moon – thank GOODNESS.

The pace of the movie is relentless. So much intensity passes in the (astronomically long, TBH), running time. It’s attack after attack and similarly to Alien, just when you think the Aliens are GONE, there is yet another one that pitches. It would have been annoying if it wasn’t so well directed and the aliens weren’t so imposing, and the final fight between Ripley and the Alien queen was great. I loved Ripley’s line and her subsequent killing of the queen – it reminds me SO MUCH of what Molly yells at Bellatrix before she kills her in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Is there something I didn’t like? Well, I really thought the running time was way too long – it is a James Cameron film, and we all know he can go on and on if you let him. I rarely have the patience to sit down for so long – I’m fully convinced that I have adult-developed ADHD (as improbable as it sounds). I managed to get through this because it is good – but my goodness, it was long.

Private Vasquez  (Jenette Goldstein) was embarrassingly stereotyped – she was so butch and overly foreign (I don’t even know what they were aiming for). It could have been a more subtler approach, but hey, it was 1986, so I guess I shouldn’t expect too much. It was nice to have another ass kicking female on board though, not some screechy pain in the ass like in the first film.

Aliens was obviously a fantastic film and avoided being a failure of a sequel. Despite sitting away two and a half hours of your life on this, you will probably really end up enjoying it as I did.