Short Review Roundup – Movie Edition, part 3

I got seriously burned out on watching speculative fiction movies for a while.  I’ve still managed to watch plenty in the recent past.  With somewhat mixed results.  Today’s offering brings one (good) serious movie and three pulpy offerings, two of which are great fun.



Arrival is honest-to-God science fiction with neither superheroes nor excessive CGI.  I appreciate that, and Arrival is very good, but if I’m looking for something to rewatch, I’m going to look to Interstellar or The Martian first.

4 of 5 Stars.



A fantasy movie!  It’s only about 10 years too late. I would say the intervening years made the necessary CGI possible…but the CGI still doesn’t look good.  The plot is meh, and the ending inconclusive and unsatisfying.

2.5 of 5 Stars.


Cowboys and Aliens

I never expected it, but Cowboys and Aliens is a heap of fun.  Except for Harrison Ford, whose acting is atrocious.  And the standard Hollywood CGI-fest for the climax.  But other than that, enormous fun.

3.5 of 5 Stars.


The Great Wall

The Great Wall is basically The Rule of Cool, the Movie.  It suffers from generic CGI mook syndrome, but otherwise it is gorgeous and inventive and has a surprisingly good love story.  It is also interesting for coming from a perspective foreign to American audiences, even if that perspective is ra-ra Chinese nationalism (although apparently the Chinese didn’t much care for it either).

4 of 5 Stars.

About H.P.

Blogs on books at Every Day Should Be Tuesday (speculative fiction) and Hillbilly Highways (country noir and nonfiction).
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8 Responses to Short Review Roundup – Movie Edition, part 3

  1. ModerndaySkirt says:

    I will confess that I HATED Warcraft. Ridiculously horrible fantasy. They forgot the part about needing a plot.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mark says:

    Arrival is one of the few movies to capture the sense of wonder I get from science fiction books, but I agree, it’s too weighty for frequent viewings (the Martian is perfect for that, and also hits some of that sense of wonder at the same time).

    I never saw World of Warcraft. I’m a fan of Duncan Jones, but I never played the game, fantasy is less my thing, and the movie didn’t look particularly interesting to me. If it ever shows up on a free streaming service, I might give it a gander, but your review seems common…

    I remember very little of Cowboys and Aliens, but I remember finding it mildly diverting, but ultimately aggravating.

    The Great Wall was underrated and unfairly maligned, I think. I mean, it’s not great cinema and this ranks towards the bottom of Zhang Yimou’s filmography, but that’s still pretty good compared to most films like this.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Bookstooge says:

    The only thing I liked about Arrival was Amy Adams. We can’t decode ancient languages, so suddenly we can decode “alien”? I don’t think so…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Liebster Award #2, and Sunshine Blogger Awards #3 & #4 | Perfectly Tolerable

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