Ten-Second Movie Reviews (Storytelling in Movies)

My love of stories started with books and got an adrenaline boost with movies. It’s all storytelling. Read. Watch. Learn.

And eat popcorn. Lots of popcorn.

Jupiter Ascending
I wanted to love this movie. I mean, Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum? Hot. But the Wachowskis skimped on story here, and it shows. Eddie Redmayne, stellar in The Theory of Everything, attempts to intimidate as villain Balem Abrasax but comes across as petulant. No wonder he and Mum had issues. And Chan’s gravity boots? Not sexy. Next time, put the pretties on a flying motorcycle instead of forcing Mila to ride piggyback.

Pitch Perfect 2
Less story, more singing. And you know what? “I don’t care / I love it!” It’s disappointing to see Beca lose her cool edge in this sequel that trades plot for a bigger dose of music. But director Elizabeth Banks gives moviegoers what we want, culminating in the anthem “Flashlight,” written by Sia and Sam Smith, sounding like they were inspired by Beyonce’s hit “Halo.”

Jurassic World (3D)
Chris Pratt. Velociraptors. What more do you need? (I’m paraphrasing my 24-year-old niece.) Yes, Bryce Dallas Howard’s heartless career woman runs in high heels on mud and grass and concrete throughout the entire movie without breaking an ankle. Deal with it. We choose to suspend our disbelief for the privilege of watching @PrattPrattPratt for two hours and five minutes. Swoon.

Melissa McCarthy is courageous. She never fails to push the comedic limits, and the results benefit us: laughter so hard and frequent, you get an abs workout. Plus, Jude Law channels his glory days (and a full head of hair) from The Talented Mr. Ripley. I’ll have what Rose Byrne is having.

Mad Max: Fury Road (3D)
The first half-hour blasts you with nonstop action, introducing viewers to an intense, intellectually challenging ride. Except for one bikini-car-wash inspired scene, this is a feminist take on the franchise by long-time Mad Max director George Miller. Charleze Theron and Tom Hardy rock. Thanks to author Chuck Wendig for the astute observation that Max may be the main character, but Furiosa is the protagonist. Grrrrl power.

Far From The Madding Crowd
Was Thomas Hardy a feminist? He created a strong female character, then made her go all weak in the knees for the wrong–horribly wrong–man. You be the judge. In the meantime, swoon over Gabriel’s silent, enduring love for Bathsheba Everdene (whose namesake is my favorite YA character, Katniss Everdeen).

The Clouds of Sils Maria
Talented, beautiful, and aging actress Juliette Binoche plays a talented, beautiful, and aging actress invited to resurrect the play that made her famous. But this time, she’ll play the older woman instead of the ingenue. The story-within-a-story blurs fiction and reality, and gets a little weird, but that’s part of its charm.

Authors Anonymous
I thought it would be quirky and fun. I was wrong. Try relentlessly annoying and boring. Don’t waste even $1.61 on this straight-to-DVD Redbox rental. This is the first time I’ve asked for a refund because a movie is unwatchable: “Is the DVD damaged?” “No.” “It was just the movie itself?” “Yes.”

The amused customer service rep gave me a free rental, which I used to check out…

Fifty Shades of Grey
Director Sam Taylor-Johnson turns the much-maligned Twilight fan-fic into visual art. You’ll be pleased to hear the movie lacks the novel’s ridiculous dialogue that makes every character sound like a 50-year-old British woman. Thank you, Bret Easton Ellis, for voicing this observation.

And by the way, I’m claiming the last word on the debate. Every sexual act in the book–and movie–is consensual. The End.

Happy Independence Day, dear readers!

Katherine Valdez laments the proliferation of trailers and movie reviews that give away the plot. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @KatValdezWriter and www.KatValdezWriter.wordpress.com. About two posts per month. Fewer if she’s participating in Camp NaNoWriMo.


  1. Did it really take only 10 seconds to write each of those tho? 😉 well written, and I quite liked how all the bullshits cut out. I’ve followed and I’ll be sure to check out some of your other posts. I’m a fellow writer myself and would love to get your feedback on some of my posts if you have time. I’m working on a novel currently and I post short stories on my blog. If not, thanks anyway, have fun writing and keep it up 🙂

    • Thanks for taking time to comment, Kasim! Each review should take about 10 seconds to read. I’m swamped with Camp NaNoWriMo (which this post is for) and critiques for my writing group. Research organizations for your genre to find an online or local critique group. Peer review is so helpful!

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