Thursday, January 31, 2013

#2 The Impossible - Review

Spoilers!

The trailer for The Impossible reduced me to tears each and every time I saw it, so I was very much braced for impact when it came to seeing the film itself. And it is heart-rending stuff - the suffering of this one family standing in for all the pain and sorrow suffered by so many people during and after the tsunami. And since this is a true story of triumph over the odds, there is something positive to be taken from their suffering. Despite the severe and long-lasting injuries suffered by Naomi Watts' character and the trauma and distress the children and her husband endure while not knowing if their family are alive or dead, at least this family survived while so many did not. 

In focusing on this one family, it could be argued that the film-makers have ignored the devastation to all the other people whose lives, homes and possessions were destroyed. But unless a film about a natural disaster has some kind of focus, it would fail to make an impact: one person's death is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic. It seemed to me that the epic scale of the destruction was never ignored - the impact of the hospital scenes alone make it clear that the country has been overwhelmed by the disaster and that the Thai people are making extraordinary efforts in terrible circumstances to help the injured, the lost and the dying, whether those people are Thai or tourists. It's extremely affecting to see villagers helping Naomi Watts and her son who would have died without their intervention.

Naomi Watts is very good in her role - and has been duly Oscar-nominated - although there isn't much subtlety required. Ewan McGregor doesn't get the showy role, as the husband searching desperately for his wife and son, but he has one outstanding scene in which he makes a phonecall home and breaks down when trying to explain the situation. The elder of the three boys is played by newcomer Tom Holland, who is simply excellent. He reminded me very much of Jamie Bell in Billy Elliot.

Apart from such good performances and an emotionally engaging script and story, the real reason to see this film is the incredible sequence when the tsunami hits. It is visceral. All around me in the cinema, I could see people wrapping their arms around themselves, tense and frightened by the force of the images and sound. I can't imagine it will have anything like the same impact on the small screen and I am so glad that I got to see it at the cinema, with powerful speakers and a big screen filling up my vision with the horror of nature.

January 2013 - Total of 27 movies watched

1. Moonrise Kingdom ***** new
2. Up ****
3. An American in Paris ****
4. The Bourne Legacy ****
5. Blue Valentine **** new
6. Rosemary's Baby **** new
7. Pitch Perfect **** new
8. The Impossible **** new
9. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2012) ****
10. Les Miserables **** new
11. Fracture ***
12. Gangster Squad *** new
13. Silver Linings Playbook ****
14. Where Eagles Dare ****
15. Django Unchained **** new
16. The Bourne Legacy ****
17. Prometheus ***
18. The Hurt Locker *****
19. Unbreakable ****
20. Dogfight ****
21. Serendipity ***
22. A little trip to heaven *** new
23. Zero Dark Thirty **** new
24. Take *** new
25. Lincoln **** new
26. Zero Dark Thirty *****
27. Avengers Assemble *****

Friday, January 11, 2013

#1 Pitch Perfect

It's aca-awesome!

Went to the cinema to see The Impossible but it was sold out so I ended up at Pitch Perfect instead, which was pretty much at the opposite end of the emotional spectrum from what I'd planned but howanever! It was FUN.

Loner wannabe music producer Beca (Anna Kendrick) accidentally ends up in the all-female Barden Belles acapella group in her freshman year at Barden College, where the all-male Treblemakers are still lording it over the ladies after an unpleasant vomiting incident ended the Belles' hopes at a victory the previous year. The Belles aim for absolute perfection, making their singing rigid and boring. Beca, who likes to remix music, ends up remixing the Belles' music, falling in love and finding herself. And there's a LOT of singing.

What saves Pitch Perfect from being another High School Musical or later-season Glee is that it's actually very funny. The various oddballs in the Belles and Treblemakers are all weirdly funny, from the perky perfectionist Aubrey to the teeny-voiced psycho Lilly to the hyper-confident Fat Amy (standout Rebel Wilson), and Beca is played by Anna Kendrick so she is wonderfully awkward and mocking and adorable. And she also raps, embarrassingly. The boys are less interesting, although equally strange. Skylar Astin as Beca's love interest Jesse hasn't much to do but be funny and sweet to Beca and also is obsessed with movies (which I always appreciate in a man...). There seems to be some dangling plot-thread over a possible love triangle between him, Beca and the fantastically-abbed DJ on the college radio station so maybe he had more to do in the original script. He does sing wonderfully though and his version of It Feels Like The First Time by Foreigner during a riff-off between the various groups is excellent. There's additional comedy from inappropriate competition commentators Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins.

All-in-all, this is a fun movie, if you liked early season Glee and Bridesmaids. The music is really terrific, especially if you like mash-ups (which I do, a lot) and I appreciated the female bonding, which felt genuine and heartfelt and very much Bechdel-test-pass-y! Less vomiting would have been nice but you can't have everything.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Movies of the Year 2012


I saw 300 movies in total in 2012. About 80 of those were seen in the cinema - several were repeat viewings of new films while some were re-releases of classics. In total I saw 58 separate new films, all of which (bar one or two) were 2012 releases. 

Here are the Ten Best Movies I Saw In 2012 (in alphabetical order):

Argo
Avengers Assemble
Looper
Skyfall
The Artist
The Cabin In The Woods
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Master
What Richard Did

Honourable mentions: Being Elmo, Chronicle, End of Watch, Killer Joe, Magic Mike, Shadow Dancer, Shame, Silver Linings Playbook, The Grey, The Hunger Games.

And here's my list of Favourite Movies Of 2012 (in alphabetical order):

(I tend to judge this on re-watchability and I've seen most of these films at least two or three times, either in the cinema or on dvd)

21 Jump Street
Argo
Avengers Assemble
Chronicle
Haywire
John Carter
Lawless
Looper
Magic Mike
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Prometheus
Shame
Silver Linings Playbook
Skyfall
The Artist
The Bourne Legacy
The Cabin in the Woods
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hunger Games
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Five Year Engagement
Brave
Liberal Arts

December 2012 - Total of 28 movies watched

1. Great Expectations *** new
2. Serenity ****
3. The Vow ****
4. Billy Elliot *****
5. Silver Linings Playbook ****
6. Across the Universe *** new
7. Scrooged ****
8. War of the Worlds ***
9. What's Your Number? **
10. Superman Returns ****
11. The A-Team *** new
12. When Harry Met Sally... *****
13. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ***** new
14. Gremlins ****
15. The Hunger Games ****
16. Young Adult *** new
17. A Perfect Getaway ****
18. It's A Wonderful Life *****
19. Life of Pi ***** new
20. Journey to the Centre of the Earth ***
21. Couples Retreat ** new
22. Smilla's Sense of Snow ****
23. The Bourne Legacy ****
24. Superman ****
25. Silver Linings Playbook ****
26. Miss Potter ****
27. Jack Reacher ****
28. A Star Is Born *****

November 2012 - Total of 16 movies watched

1. Punch-Drunk Love **** new
2. Harper ****
3. North Country *** new
4. All About Eve *****
5. Brave ****
6. An Affair to Remember ****
7. Argo ***** new
8. Skyfall ****
9. The Hunger Games ****
10. When Brendan Met Trudy ****
11. Lockout *** new
12. The Master ***** new
13. Chopper **** new
14. Silver Linings Playbook **** new
15. End of Watch **** new
16. Red Dawn **** new

October 2012 - Total of 24 movies watched


1. One for the Money ** new
2. Hunger **** new
3. Atonement *****
4. A Single Man ****
5. Sunshine ****
6. The Man from Snowy River ****
7. The Artist *****
8. Definitely, Maybe ****
9. Casino Royale ****
10. Australia ****
11. What Richard Did ***** new
12. Vertigo *****
13. The Ugly Truth ***
14. Psycho *****
15. Looper ****
16. You've Got Mail ****
17. Sleepless in Seattle ****
18. What Richard Did *****
19. Pillow Talk ****
20. Notorious *****
21. To Catch A Thief ****
22. Quantum of Solace ***
23. Skyfall ***** new
24. The Shining *****