Gattaca, The Lost Boys, John Wick, and The Avengers

The “Boy” Genres: Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Action, Superhero, (and Crime)

As you can see, I am beginning to like the new set-up of reviewing the films I’ve seen in the week. I’ve had a pretty good opportunity to do so in this last week of the Easter Holiday, and because my internet has been on the blink (which is why this Pick is late and why there are no pictures).

I noticed when I put these films up they fall into that “boy’s film” category. When I did my review on Love Actually, I talked about breaking the label of “chick-flick” in an effort to enjoy good films under an off-putting name for guys. Anyway, I’m not going to go over the same tracks, but keep that in mind as we look at these films:


QUICK SYNOPSIS: A future where your position in society is based on your DNA. Vincent Freeman was naturally born, making him inferior to his eugenically enhanced peers. However, he is determined to make it to the top, buying the identity of Jerome Morrow to – well – literally reach the top.

Fun fact! The title uses the starting letters of the nucleotides that make up DNA! Looks like that AS in Biology did teach me something. Aside from that, the film is more focussed on morals and themes like destiny, genetic prejudice and society as a whole. The characters portray these themes very well, with Jude Law, Uma Thurman, and Ethan Hawke performing at their best.

The downside? Plot. Yes, it’s all heart-warming of Vincent’s dreams of reaching the stars, but it was obvious the writers didn’t know how to rack up the tension. Obviously, a conflict was needed where Vincent’s hopes look like they are about to be dashed, but the whole murder mystery was half-hearted, and I didn’t buy it.

All in all, though, a great watch.

VERDICT: 7/10 – Didn’t quite reach the moon, but fell amongst the stars.

Vincent: You want to know how I did it? This is how I did it, Anton: I never saved anything for the swim back.

The Lost Boys

QUICK SYNOPSIS: Welcome to Santa Carla! Murder capital of the world! Lucy and her two sons Michael and Sam move to the sunny city, only for Michael and Sam to realise that when night falls, the Lost Boys come out to play. The vampire ones, not the ones from Neverland.

Been looking for a classic 80s movie? You can’t go too far wrong with this one. What I particularly liked was the wacky switch from the fairly eerie, but goofy atmosphere to an absolute blood-bath as the film gets closer to its gory conclusion.

It has all the 80s movies traits: montages of the “freaks” of Santa Carla, physical special effects, a cut-off ending (Karate Kid style) and one kick-ass 80s soundtrack. Hey, you may find it all dated, but if you’re in the right mood to skip over some dodgy plot-points and 80s drenched vibe, you’ll be alright! Classic.

VERDICT: 7/10 – The eighties. Enough said.

Grandpa: One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach; all the damn vampires.

John Wick

QUICK SYNOPSIS: John Wick’s wife dies, and in her final actions, she buys him a puppy so he can move on. However, a turn of fate sends home invaders (one the son of a criminal overlord) to steal his car, and kill the dog. One thing is left: revenge. Revenge by any means necessary.

Looks like the action genre is not dead. Actually, this has kick-started it with resounding success. I loved this movie. I’d go as far to say that this is the best role Keanu Reeves has had since The Matrix. Yes, it was that good.

Referring to the title, I let this one slide into more of a “boy’s film”. John Wick basically goes into overdrive of killing everyone that gets in his way. There are no half-measures (except that one time there was a half-measure, but she was hot so it’s all good). I take one point away for the fact that John Wick’s abilities are in question, that even though he’s apparently the best of the best, he’s still vulnerable. I guess everyone is human, but I wanted John Wick to be unstoppable.

VERDICT: 9/10 – Like Leonardo Dicaprio: deserving of an Oscar.

Viggo Tarasov: John wasn’t exactly the boogeyman. He’s the one you sent to kill the f***ing boogeyman.

The Avengers

QUICK SYNOPSIS: Pretty easy. Villain steals powerful artifact and superheroes in fancy clothing save the day and the people and the world.

Okay, you got me: I’ve never seen The Avengers until now. Yes, I’m shocked as well. With the sequel coming this week, I bought the original to watch. And I wasn’t disappointed.

I say “not disappointed” but I wouldn’t say I was particularly in awe. What? Compared to the other films on this list, it’s not my favourite, but it held its own. The stellar cast were enjoyable to watch, and the choreographed action was immense, but after hearing “you should watch it” for around three years or however long it’s been out, I think I was pretty numbed by the hype I got. While I’m pretty slow on watching superhero movies, I believe I’ve seen better.

But hey: I recommend this film with a big thumbs up if you haven’t seen it! I mean, it has Scarlett Johansson – who wouldn’t watch a film that has Scarlett Johansson?

VERDICT: 7.5/10 – Add a pinch of superheroes, two tablespoons of baddies, mix well and bake for 143 minutes.

Tony Stark: It’s good to meet you, Dr. Banner. Your work on anti-electron collisions is unparalleled. And I’m a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.

BONUS: City of God

QUICK SYNOPSIS: Narrated by the-only-honest-character-in-the-film photographer Rocket, the film shows the rise of the suburb of Rio de Janeiro through the gangs. From three amateur crooks, to a hostile takeover of the city, to a final all-out war, it’s a film not to be missed.

Yes, sitting here in Starbucks, I feel bad about it being Monday instead of Sunday, so here’s a bonus! And I’ve saved the best ’til last. Watching this last night (and parts of Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys) the film showed all sides of this dangerous part of the world. There are those who want to escape, those there for revenge, those who want to rule the whole city… it’s a place of lies, murder and deceit.

When I found out that all the actors were street-kids, that did it for me. This film is close to perfection, with clever cinematography, deep symbolism and some mindless violence that makes you wince in sympathy. Watch. This. Now.

VERDICT: 10/10 – Colourful, Violent, and Stunning

Buscapé: You need more than guts to be a good gangster. You need ideas.