Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 11

6. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)                                                                 IMDB Rotten Tomatoes

Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by Benh Zeitlin, and starring Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry.

Interesting. So very interesting. This film is definitely one of the most original works I've seen in a while. The concept is very...fresh, and the presentation is captivating.

I want to say that I am very impressed by Ms. Wallis in this film. At the mere age of five, she is able to keep me interested in the film the entire way through. Very impressive. I'm not really sure why she's nominated for an Oscar, because I feel like she's just considered good for her age, and not comparable to any of the other nominees. But that doesn't matter much; I enjoyed her performance.

Now, as much as I enjoyed this film, I never really knew what it was about. It doesn't follow the standard story-telling arch, where you can tell how close the film is to being done. It just presents the lives of these people, in 90 minutes. Even now, I'm still not sure what the film is about. I understand it's about the lives of these people, and the importance of home. But why? Why does it matter? That's what I'm still trying to figure out. And the metaphor of the large swines? Not really sure.

Nevertheless, I was impressed, enchanted, entertained, and taught something. Though I'm not sure what.


January 11

5. Gangster Squad (2013)                                                                                   IMDB Rotten Tomatoes

Up next is Gangster Squad, directed by Ruben Fleischer, and starring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Sean Penn. First of all, this film currently holds a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. Which I find absolutely ridiculous. Of course, we all know that Rotten Tomatoes is never an accurate telling of a movie's quality, but I find it outrageous that Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand, which looks like absolute shit, stands 20% higher than this one.

Now that that's finished, I want to say that this film does exactly what it sought out to do. This film has all the marks of a standard gangster film, and the script, art direction, and acting all follow accordingly. Yes, it is not the most original film, and yes it does not break any boundaries or do anything spectacular, but I don't think it needs to. We have solid performances from Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling, though I believe Emma Stone is a bit lacking, and Sean Penn is a bit over-dramatic. The script is solid, and takes you through an interesting story.

My main complaint would be that there is more violence than what the script calls for. I'm all for violence in films. I love me some Tarantino. But the violence has to have a purpose. In this film, it seems like the violence is there to make the situation seem more dire, even though it isn't needed. That turned me away from it a bit.

However, possibly my favorite part of the film, is its art direction, the way it adds little moments of interesting camera work, like Sin City or something. Someone pulls out a lighter, and the film shows a high definition, slowed down shot of the sparks lighting the gasoline, and the flame roaring up. Little things like this really make the film work, as well as the accurate representation of L.A. in the 40's.

Solid film, solid script, solid acting, but nothing special.                                                                


January 6

4. Rise of the Guardians (2012)                                                                          IMDB Rotten Tomatoes

Rise of the Guardians, directed by Peter Ramsey, and including an all-star cast of Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, and Isla Fisher. I have to say this film is fantastic. In my recent post I talked about the lack of quality in so many of the animated movies coming out these days, but this film is not one of them. I could not believe how well this film was made. For one, it is absolutely gorgeous. It took me a solid 20 minutes of the film just to stop drooling over the absolutely beautiful character and environment renderings.

The film also has an absolutely fantastic concept, and proved to be one of the best family Christmas movies that I've seen in a very long time. It has the right balance of emotion, awesome-ness, impeccable acting and story-telling, and holiday cheer. I walked away completely amazed by this film and would definitely watch it again. I rank this film amongst the great animation successes of Pixar, though it was made by Dreamworks, and definitely think it should have won the Golden Globe for "Best Animated Film", as opposed to Brave. What a masterpiece.


January 5

3. Hotel Transylvania (2012)                                                                              IMDB Rotten Tomatoes       

Next film is Hotel Transylvania, directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, and starring Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, and Selena Gomez. I was excited for this film for quite some time, as it looked like a really fun concept. I never had the time to watch it last year, but I finally found some time many months after its initial release. With these sorts of films, whether its Dreamworks or Pixar or even Columbia Pictures, the entertainment factor is always very high, no matter the quality of the film.

I found the film to be very fun and highly entertaining, though I definitely recognize that it's not a very well-made film. Just like most of Adam Sandlers films now a days. Speaking of which, I really hope that Andy Samberg didn't leave SNL just so he could do movies like this with Adam Sandler. Sandler was once a great contributor to the film industry, but now he just pumps out movies because he can. Samberg should definitely do his own thing before he steps into that. However, I really enjoyed this film, and I thought it had a great concept. The writing is definitely...lacking, but the presentation is fantastic.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

January 4

2. Looper (2012)                                                                                               IMDB  Rotten Tomatoes

Second film of the year is Looper, directed by Rian Johnson and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt. Great film. The story is definitely what I liked most about it. JGL has some good moments in the film, and so does Emily Blunt, but I think the main focus of the film really is the script. It is such a refreshing and different plot, taking something like time travel, which has been in many aspects of science fiction over the years, and putting a brand new spin on it. The script has emotion, plot twists, and I really like the ending. It's very easy to complicate a film such as this, as you have to keep in mind all the time fluctuations and discrepancies, but I think the production team pulled it off.

The film was highly rated by many critics, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I'm sad not to see it nominated for any award. This is probably because no particular part of it really outshines other films of the year; it is just a fantastic balance of everything a good film needs. Highly recommend this one. Though it is a bit weird to see JGL's face scrunched up like Willis the entire time.


January 3

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)                IMDB Rotten Tomatoes

First film of the year is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, directed by Peter Jackson and starring Martin Freeman and Ian McKellan. I'm so glad this one starts out the year, as I absolutely adore this film. This was my second time seeing the film, as I'd already seen it at the midnight premiere, though I never saw it in 48 fps. And I don't plan to. I'm well aware of what the technology does, and I believe the realism that it brings isn't necessary in the world of film.

The film itself is a worthy adaption of the book series. Yes, it adds, amends, and takes out some things, but I think it was a fine decision. Never once did Jackson declare that this was a clone of the original book. This film is only an adaptation of Tolkien's work, and in that case is fantastic. It runs a tad long, but so do all Lord of the Rings movies. I think the film keeps a good pace, has a strong balance of humor, emotion, and action, and includes some impeccable acting from Martin Freeman (Bilbo) and Sir Ian McKellan (Gandalf). I'm still hoping they'll give Ian McKellan a Golden Globe or Oscar for his performances in these films, because he does a glorious job every time.

Though I completely understand some of the criticism this film has received, I believe that as a film adaption of the classic novel this movie stands strong and is a beautiful and entertaining journey.



Fellow filmophiles, this site is an articulated record of every movie I will watch in the year 2013. Each entry will include the title, a poster, the viewing date, a score out of 10, and a bit of my thoughts on the film, objective criticism and personal experience.

I'm an actor, and I believe it is of great importance to study other films and learn as much as you can from the countless talented actors of this world. Consequently, you may find that some my short reviews will focus more on the acting portions of the film, but I will try to stay as all-inclusive and objective as possible.

If present, "repeat" indicates that I've already seen the movie before, and I'm recording it again for the sake of continuity.