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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Christopher Nolan does the impossible. When no one thought it would ever be possible to create a superhero film that's better than The Dark Knight, Nolan dishes up The Dark Knight Rises. Which is actually better, and therefore the best film in what's definitively the greatest trilogy in the history of cinema.
While Tom Hardy's Bane certainly ain't as unpredictable and insanely humorous as Heath Ledger's Joker, there is no denying that Bane is still a very worthy villain and Hardy's portrayal of him is brilliant. Bane is a totally different villain than The Joker. While The Joker was just pure chaos and anarchy, without any particular reasons (which was very effective), Bane is a much more fleshed out character. He has an agenda and a history. Which, despite what Nolan did on The Joker, also makes Bane just as terrifying as The Joker. Bane's high self esteem and self confidence, as well as his pure brutality, menacing voice and intelligence makes him the definitive Batman villain.
Into the mix Nolan also throws Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (even though she is never referred to by that name). She is wonderfully portrayed and brings in some very appreciated sexiness and humor to the film. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is brilliant and that he is actually Robin, and the way he is introduced is nothing but the touch of a genius. Michael Caine is heartbreaking in his role, Gary Oldman is amazing, Marion Cotillard is great while the twist on her actually being Talia al Ghul was guessed before the film came out, it is still done with great skill. Her relationship with Bane is excellent. And Morgan Freeman is as great as always. Christian Bale does deliver his best performance in the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in this film.
Nolan is easily one of the most ambitious filmmakers living today and The Dark Knight Rises might be his most ambitious film, at least it is the largest. While being larger doesn't necessarily always mean it's better, that's the case here. The spectacle in The Dark Knight Rises is tremendous, gorgeously filmed with amazing special effects (and not overusing CGI). Nolan shows us yet again a very different, but exciting way of showing action. The way he edits the convoluted story, and how he still manages to keep the action and suspense trough the entire running time is spectacular.
Even greater than the amazingly action and effects is the story. It's a complex and convoluted story that requires one's full attention. While The Dark Knight referenced the paranoia after 9/11, The Dark Knight Rises put's in some clever references to the stock market's and elitists fall with some clear parallels too the French revolution. The story is a result of a man with very high ambitions and we are therefore rewarded with the best comic book film ever likely to come out, and one of the greatest action crime-flicks ever.
There is also the way that Nolan concludes his trilogy that makes The Dark Knight Rises shine as much as it does. By killing Batman (and possibly Bruce Wayne (a theory I have)), Nolan dares to go where no other superhero directors have gone. He explodes the boundaries of superhero films, and ends his trilogy in an emotional and effective way.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
This is how to create a brilliant rom-com. Instead of stuffing the film with those whimsical, silly and now downright annoying things that seems to massacre that genre, David O. Russell creates a rom-com that's grounded in reality. Everything in this film feels real. And that's because it features top-notch performances, a superb script that manages to tackle troublesome thematics while being emotionally engaging and humorous, and efficient directing.
This is one of those rare film experiences that manages to suck me in from the very first second. I loved every second of it, and if every rom-com from now on will be able to provide the same kind of freshness, affection and humour to them, this genre should have quite good future. But somehow, I doubt that any other film in that genre will be able to live up to the new standard set by Silver Linings Playbook.
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Zero Dark Thirty is not only a very strict, tense, suspenseful and gripping thriller. It's also a history lesson that gazes over the hunt for what was the worlds most wanted man with pure intelligence. As well as being devilishly entertaining and extremely interesting, Kathryn Bigelow has created a film that, not only portrays one of the most important historical events in recent years, but also raises several difficult questions. This is a thought-provoking film, and if you're able to follow the complexity of the details that led to Osama bin Laden's demise, I can't see why you won't be thrilled, fascinated or intrigued by this film.
Bigelow could easily have taken the easy way out and simply created a standard Hollywood military-thriller, but instead she's delivered us a film that goes beyond simple entertainment. Zero Dark Thirty is a film that, as I said, poses several important moral and political questions. Thankfully, Bigelow has decided to not let the film have its own opinion of those matters. Leaving the discussion entirely up to the viewer and the audience. Zero Dark Thirty does show what a huge power quality filmmaking can have on people. This film should provide for some interesting discussions. If one is able to survive the nerve-wrecking finale, that is.
Django Unchained (2012)
Django Unchained may not be as perfect as Inglorious Basterds, but this is a bloody entertaining film. Quentin Tarantino is an entertainer. He makes films for the audience. He goes out in full gear and creates a film filled with so much energy. A true crowd pleaser. It's bloody, memorable, bold and stylish. It's a long film, but it manages to be perfectly paced without boring me for a second.
Tarantino is a master at creating memorable characters. His writing abilities combined with outstanding performances from the cast is one of the many ingredients in this delightful film. If it were up to me, I would have given an Oscar nomination to Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as Christoph Waltz (who rightfully deserves his.) The thing that annoyed me about it was that Tarantino just had to show up in front of the screen. He can't act. Nevertheless, film is about entertainment and this was fucking entertaining.
Am I the only one who finds it a bit hard to write about some of Tarantino's films? Most of them are so bloody entertaining that it's hard to come up with suitable words. The best thing I have is "It's fucking entertaining."
The psychological issues that The Perks of Being a Wallflower raises occasionally might not work that well with me, as I feel it's partly out of place in this film. But that aside, this is a terrific film. Probably one of the best in this genre. Boasted by strong performances, a smart, charming and clever script, and heartfelt emotion, this was a wonderful experience.
It's one of those few films that I feel I can relate to in many ways. We might not have the same high school culture in Norway, but like the lead character, I could strongly relate to the confusion and awkwardness that comes around in this age. How its like to not be one of the "popular" kids and how troublesome your first real love can turn out to be. Rarely have I felt a connection like that.
The Hunt (2012)
The Hunt or Jagten as it's originally called in Denmark, is a damn good and more importantly, it's an important film that raises several difficult questions about some very strong and tough topics. This is a powerful film, emotional and effective film that's occasionally hard to watch due to its gripping and realistic tackle on the subject.
Mads Mikkelsen's performance is outstanding, and it's emotionally difficult to watch how the society unfairly treats him in this film. This is an uncomfortable film, and that's exactly why you should see it.
Tim Burton is a genius when it comes to animation (or films in general, if you ask me). I'm a huge fan of stop motion and this is quite possibly one of the best stop motion films I've ever laid my eyes on. A beautifully crafted, magnificent 3D horror adventure in elegant black & white.
Frankenweenie is a cute, heart-warming, macabre and extremely weird horror film for children, while remaining a wonderful homage to older horror classics for adults. But that's not to mean that we can't take part in this emotional journey or get affected by the massive amount of warmth that Frankenweenie offers. I love Tim Burton.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Films like this doesn't come very often. A rare, mesmerizing, warm, whimsical and beautiful film about dreams, friendship, young love and the need to sometimes get away from everything. It's a film that perfectly manages to hit the right spot in my heart, while still be capable to evoke awe and wonder.
The script is delightful and its turned even more delightful by the magical camerawork, editing and musical score, making Moonrise Kingdom feel like a child's dream. It's a wonderful feeling. The characters might lack some realism, but with two gorgeous young leads, they manages to charm me into oblivion. This is a magical film.
Cloud Atlas (2012)
Cloud Atlas may have some structure problems at times and it might be slightly confusing to keep track of the different actors throughout the different times, but this is a film that should praised. You do rarely come across a film with such high ambitions on a thematic, emotional and visual level as Cloud Atlas has. This is just fantastic film making.
A collection of stories spanning thousands of years apart shows us how the actions of different persons impact one another in the past, present and future. The film works around this philosophical question with great care, showing us how everything can be connected without shoving anything down your throat. It's beautiful and emotionally engaging to witness the evolution of these souls as they wander around throughout different times, while changing in to the better person. And man, if that musical score is not one of the most beautiful and most fitting film scores in recent years, then I honestly don't know. Cloud Atlas does honestly deserve much more words about how great it actually is, but I'll just finish with this: this is thoughtful, emotional, cinematic joy.
Outtake from my review:
"At last. Finally are we back in Middle-Earth. After several years in development hell, Peter Jackson takes us back to one of the most beloved and magical worlds in cinematic and literature history. Jackson did justice to J.R.R Tokien's The Lord of the Rings roughly ten years ago and the expectations for The Hobbit couldn't be any higher. Jackson decided to split The Hobbit into three separate films, including some other stuff Tolkien wrote, as well as Jackson's own artistic choices. And what we have here is the first film, An Unexpected Journey. The first step on this magical journey. For fear not, this is not the Lord of the Rings fans The Phantom Menace. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a magical film. It's not necessarily as good as The Lord of the Rings, but it's exactly what I hoped it would be. It's a whole different journey and it's a good one.
Opening up with Ian Holm returning as old Bilbo Baggins, as he tells the tale of how the dwarfs lost their home, Erebor, to the dragon Smaug, which is quickly followed by Elijah Wood returning as Frodo, talking to Bilbo. It all takes right before the opening scene of The Fellowship of the Ring. And from there I'm mostly sold. The opening prologues might occasionally feel a bit strange and overlong, but it's impossible to deny the impact it immediately stroke me with. I was back in the universe instantly. It's a powerful way to open the film and it got the exact right amount of majesty to it. The nostalgia, seeing it's about ten years since I saw this world at cinema, kick right in as well. Giving me a huge grin on my face, one that lasted through the entire film."
You can read the rest here: My review
A brilliant, inventive piece of Sci-fi. Possibly the best film in that genre since Christopher Nolan's Inception. Looper is on of those rare, clever popcorn films that manages to combine a smart, thought provoking script with well-written characters and thrilling action. It is an emotional film, in the meaning that we don't really know which character we should cheer for. They are wonderfully created and played. Bruce Willis might have given his best performance in years. So, seeing as we don't know which of them we should root for, as we wish them all the best, the ending feels like a punch in the stomach. It's the perfect emotional ending for a film like this.
However, while Looper is fantastic, it's still not perfect. The second half of the film is more appealing, seeing as we get much closer on the characters then. There are also certain plot holes that pulls some of the attention (although, with a film like this, that might be impossible to avoid). But that Rian Johnson managed to balance everything that makes Looper so great, without it collapsing from its own weight, is completely masterful.
The Woman In Black (2012)
I love these kind of horror films. Films that purely rely on a creepy atmosphere. The Woman in Black is a geniuinly scary, terrifying and creepy old-fashioned horror film that made me feel very little in my chair. Alongside the masterful Insidious, this is one of the best horror films in recent years. It's another statement that says that a mysterious and solid plot combined with slowly burned chills and atmosphere is the right way to scare people.
While the first thirty minutes might deliver some cheap, fake jump scenes, there is no denying that the last hour is pure class. There is barely any moment where I'm not sitting there with goosebumps. Everything from the wonderful cinematography, creepy toys, children and women to the delightful music and subtle acting from Daniel Radcliffe is top-notch. This is a film that never lets you go once it starts scaring you. And you will be scared.
The Grey (2011)
A very surprising film. I were honestly expecting an action film with Liam Neeson beating up wolves. Instead we get a very moving film, that still manages to produce enough thrills, without having to lower itself into a simple action fest. It does the right choice of not showing the wolves as much as they could have done. Which is the right choice, seeing as the did look a bit poor, but that also creates other forms to build-and-keep tension. It's the presence of the wolves we fear. That they are out there, lurking in the dark. Watching the men do whatever they think they need to do in order to survive is very thrilling! It's brutal.
But it is also very moving. It's a surprisingly emotional film. Much thanks to brilliant, subtle performances from the actors, particularly Neeson. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out, there are several moments that are on the edge of being completely heartbreaking. There is one scene with Neeson towards the end that nearly devastated me. This is easily one of the most beautiful and thrilling films I've seen in a while.
The Academy Award winning film Argo is a perfect example of a film that's almost perfectly crafted in every section. It's a terrific film. It's entertaining, clever and full of tension. The acting is superb, Ben Affleck is really showcasing himself as a masterful director and the story is skilfully told. Argo is simply a film that should be cherished.
But it's still lacking something, and in my eyes, Affleck's first directing feature, Gone Baby Gone is still his best work. Argo is lacking the extra sparkle or ingredients that would require me to absolutely love this film. But it's almost perfect.
Skyfall is not the best Bond-film so far, but it is easily one of the best. Gone is much of the nonsense from Quantum of Solace and we are instead back to a more traditional Bond. Sam Mendes have done an extremely good job in combining the old, traditional Bond with new innovations, without disrespecting the many elements that's required to make a successful Bond-film. The combination of the familiar and unexpected is the mixture that makes Skyfall work. We have the usual gorgeous female, the wonderful psychotic villain, brilliantly played by Javier Bardem, Bond's car and gun, and the iconic Bond theme. Even Q is back, but that doesn't mean we are getting loads of gadgets. "We don’t really go in for that anymore."
Daniel Craig proves again that he is the best Bond, capable to pull of every character trait that Bond has with ease. The action is terrific with awesome set-pieces. For example, the opening scene is one of the most thrilling and coolest action sequences this year. Heck, the whole film is full of scenes that could earn an award for being that. Another thing that is worth mentioning is Roger Deakins cinematography, which is completely dazzling and will definitely get an Oscar nomination.
My only problem with Skyfall is that I think it could have been tightened a bit, but that's just a small complaint in what's truly one of the best Bond-films. It's delightfully fun and entertaining.
Matthew McConaughey delivers an extremely strong performance, which has turned out to be quite usual for him lately, making it no surprise for me. Surprising however are the two performances from the young boys in this film, who are quite simply phenomenal.
Mud comes across as film that proves how good it can be if you've got a good story. This is great storytelling. Engaging characters interacting with each other in a simple, but solid story, that manages to be sweet and heartwarming without becoming too much. This is compelling cinema.
Amour could have been a tremendous masterpiece if Michael Haneke's style had been more varied during the film. It does get slightly monotonous and a bit too sterile eventually for me to like this film more than I already did. For me, this is a film that wins me over by its screenplay and acting, more than Haneke's directing.
It's a beautiful film. A courageous, powerful piece of cinema. A real, emotional and devastating portrayal of love and responsibility. I think this is a film many people can relate to in some way, at least it made me think of my great-grandparents. It's a sad film, a film that's though to watch.
Outtake from my review:
Prometheus is an excellent blockbuster and is so far the best film of the year. To begin with, the visuals are so awesome that I'm on the edge of having an orgasm. It's a visual triumph. The photography is beautiful, particularly in the opening scene, where the camera floats above the landscape. It's superbly designed. Everything in it looks great. The design of the aliens, the suits, the ships, the landscapes and the small little details. Everything is carefully constructed into perfection. Ridley Scott proves again that he is a perfectionist when it comes to the technical aspects of filmmaking. Even the 3D looks phenomenal, and this is perhaps one of the best uses of the technology that I have witnessed.
While it is not as tense or terrifying as Alien, Scott has still managed to create a suspenseful film. He does steadily allows the tension to build slowly and when he finally decides to unleash it, hell is definitely loose. Everything takes a turn for the chaotic and intense. The atmosphere is dazzling, the action is intense, the sound is brilliant, the score is majestic, it's a visual spectacle and despite it's flaws, it is always teasing my curiosity. I want to know more and I want to know it now. I'm hoping for a sequel, because this is one of the most interesting universes in film history.
You can read the rest of my review HERE
The Avengers (2012)
It's spectacular, it's solid and very entertaining. Still, it's not perfect. It does a fine job in combining all the heroes without reducing any of them to merely extras, and the script and dialogue is sharp and fresh. Even Tom Hiddleston's Loki (who I didn't care for in Thor) proves himself as a worthy villain. The action is brilliant and the humor hits a lot. There is particularly one moment with the Hulk and Loki that stands out.
Yet, I feel that there is so much more that could have been explored. That they could have reduced the slightly overlong action-sequences in favor for some character moments. You got all these great characters, why not let them interact with each other more besides fighting together? The scene where they all ends up arguing is fantastic! I wanted more of that.
The Hunger Games (2012)
To be honest, I was skeptical. I thought this would just be a gutless Battle Royale. But I was pleasantly surprised, and I do like how they decided to keep this mostly free for blood and violence. Only the implication is enough, and I like that the film takes a stand in it's portrayal of violence. It's social commentary is spot-on.
The thing that actually did surprise me the most is how emotionally engaging it is. Much thanks to a brilliant and affecting lead performance from Jennifer Lawrence, and her chemistry with Josh Hutcherson. They are on fire. They are so excellent that I do get completely engaged in what's going to happen between them, and that results in many scenes that are completely adorable, sweet, riveting and heartbreaking. I do sense that the sequels might give us a triangle love story drama like Twilight, only done correctly?
It's a film that is absolutely entertaining. It's well-acted, the production and all the technical aspects of it are excellent, but it do have it's share of flaws. It is running a bit too long, and some scenes could have possibly been trimmed. (I have not read the books, so I don't know?) And it is a bit too conventional perhaps. It takes the easy way out sometimes, when it possibly would have earned to walk in the darker paths it were starting to lay out. By that we lose some potential hard decisions for Lawrence's character, that would have possibly served the film. Nevertheless, this is an excellent blockbuster.
I want Karl Urban to play the next Batman. With that said, he's awesome as Judge Dredd in a film that turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Expecting nothing else but a simple, yet forgettable and soulless special effects extravaganza, I found myself to be digging this film. This is a well-made, badass and exceptionally entertaining action film.
I did not see it in 3D, but this is a film that I'm going to go back too just to test out the 3D. The film is full of moments that I believe would look spectacular in 3D. This is a film that perfectly manages to balance its action, without doing too much of a certain thing. There's enough variety in the use of slow-motion, violence and shootouts that manages to last just the right amount of time. Removing the risk for me to get impatient before the scene ends. This is a great action film.
This film did give me the creeps yet another time. It's just genuinely creepy. One might say that atmosphere is not always enough in order to create a goosebumps-inducing film, which I would normally agree with, but Sinister gets right under my skin because of its atmosphere. Still it manages to take that atmosphere and place it into some well effective scares. It's easily one of the scariest horror films in recent years, even if it can reach the same height as Insidious or The Woman in Black because of one simple thing.
And that's the ending. It's rushed. Is it unsettling and depressing? Yes. It's in many ways a good ending to this film, but it did come out of nowhere, and felt more like a last minute twist that wasn't really a twist.
I feel that this film is slightly underrated. It might not offer any real, dramatic or serious insight into Alfred Hitchcock and the making of Psycho, but what it delivers is an amusing and probably quite accurate portrayal of Hitchcock himself, and his marriage. It's rather light-hearted stuff, and it's very enjoyable.
Also slightly overlooked is Anthony Hopkins performance. I do honestly believe that it was worthy of an Oscar nomination. So was Helen Mirren's performance. Their relationship drives this film forward, and makes it not only an enjoyable experience, but also an interesting and curious watch.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
What seemed like an ordinary horror film about teenagers getting slashed at a cabin in the woods turned out to be exactly that, and everything besides at the same time! The Cabin in the Woods consciously sets up every cliche in the book in order for it to bring it'w own, original premise on board. It pokes fun at those standard, unoriginal horror films while being genuinely entertaining all the way through!
I don't really know why I'm not giving this film a higher rating. Maybe it was a bit slow to begin with? Did I want more character development? I don't know. But what I do know is that this is a very clever and fun horror film that manages to accomplish many feats, like introducing us to one of the wildest last acts I've seen in a while.
21 Jump Street (2012)
21 Jump Street is just a lot of fun. There are too many action comedies being made these days that fails to amuse or entertain me, so I've almost stopped seeking out films in that genre. But this is the kind of film that gives me hope for that genre again. Because it does exactly what its supposed to do. It entertains!
Fuelled by some great chemistry between its two leads, this film manages to provide an extremely high amount of dumb humour in a quite clever wrapping. The result is a non-stop thrill-ride for whatever muscles that has you laughing. The action scenes alone may not stick out as much as hoped, but the comedy in this film is gold.
I've never read the Frank Miller graphic novel, which is something I seriously should do. So upon seeing this film I had no clue what it was all about, and I couldn't compare it to the graphic novel in any way. Still, it's a film that I enjoyed.
It's a film that succeeds on a emotional level more than anything. The film perfectly captures Bruce Wayne's inner struggle when he is no longer Batman, and there's a whole layer of depression and fear surrounding Gotham and the film itself. Making the moment when Batman returns feel extremely powerful, with his climatic final battle stand out as the rise of Batman. It's done exceptionally well on an emotional level.
I do have some slight issues with it, though. Robin. No matter what, I can't bring myself to like Robin. No matter how important she (it's a female here) is as a character, I've always disliked Robin. I do also think that some of the voice acting is a bit monotonous and the animation in the beginning looked cheap and hastily done. But I thought this was overall quite good.
Iron Sky (2012)
Finally. I've been looking forward to this film for ages. It's a premise that's so awesome as you can get it, and it didn't disappoint. It's important to mention that this is a film you can't take seriously. It's more of a comedy, a satire, and it is totally hilarious.
There are so many clever, and hilarious references here (like the parody of a certain famous scene from Der Untergang), and everything is just taken as far as you can. It's hard to write about it, but it is awesome. See it.
Jack Reacher (2012)
Say whatever you want about Tom Cruise as a person, but as an actor I find him very likeable. And that's something that happened once again in Jack Reacher, which is his go at a character that could easily be mistaken for Sherlock Holmes. Anyway, I think that Cruise's performance (as well as Robert Duvall's and Werner Herzog's) lifts Jack Reacher to higher level quality-wise than what the actual story deserves.
The actual story is nothing special, but it's handled in a way that I found to be entertaining. It's a competently made action/thriller that could have been even better with a greater story.
Killing Them Softly (2012)
It might hit those sociopolitical commentaries it delivers in your head with a sledgehammer. But aside from that, Killing Them Softly is a tightly paced mob thriller that manages to create more tension from much if its well-crafted dialogue, than most other films do from meaningless action sequences.
It's a film that could be easily disposed for being so dialogue heavy, but once Andrew Dominik decides to show violence, he does it in a gloriously gritty and stylish matter that really manages to kick in.
Daniel Day-Lewis does completely vanish into the role of Abraham Lincoln. That's a reason enough to see Steven Spielberg's latest. A film that shouldn't be called Lincoln, but The 13th Amendment or something instead. That's not to say that Lincoln ain't a fascinating picture. Because it is. Carried by several strong performances, Lincoln offers itself as a solid history lesson and a film that's generally well-made all over.
But Lincoln can't help but feel a bit overlong and the ending is completely dreadful. It did not have to end with Lincoln getting shot. It does also at times feel like it's a film that's more of a chore to get trough than an actual film. The other 2012 film featuring Abraham Lincoln, that just happened to include vampires, were definitely more fun. But one can't avoid how much greatness that's been put into this film.
Superman vs. the Elite (2012)
Many of these animated superhero films are surprisingly, and quite sadly overlooked by most people. This short Superman vehicle might have some lesser impressive (and possibly too colourful?) animation, but with a well-written script, that boasts a very relevant story with some quite interesting moral questions, this Superman film turned out to be rather good.
With so many live-action failures of the Man of Steel, it's nice to see that there are animated incarnation of him that manages to deliver a fun time, that's still dark and morally complex.
Dark Shadows (2012)
I always look forward to a Tim Burton film. Because I love all of his films (I don't count the ape-thingy), so I knew I were going to like this one as well. Burton, Johnny Depp and vampires. I thought I would most definitely be in for a treat. And I liked it. It may not be as good as some of his earlier works, but it is still a very entertaining film.
I see some people have complained about the rhythm in it , that Burton doesn't manage to combine the comedy, drama or spooky horror in it. That's bullshit if you ask me. He does it superbly. It ain't even that much horror in it. Surely there are some slaughtering of some innocent people here, but I don't see why that would make this a horror film? It's more of a fantasy with several campy jokes. Why complain that it doesn't care you when it's not supposed to do so in the first place? That's like giving Schindler's List a poor rating because it ain't funny.
But this is much more of a comedy, and it's great at it! It's much funnier than several actual "comedy's". Several of the jokes regarding Depp's character and his small knowledge of the decade he has arrived in is hilarious. Speaking of Depp, he is great. His role might in some ways be a bit similar to other Burton-roles, but so what? It works. If it ain't broken, why fix it? He has great chemistry with Eva Green, who is criminally hot. The supporting cast is solid, particularly Jackie Earle Haley, who is very amusing.
You can't forget to mention Burton's amazing Gothic visuals. They are breathtakingly beautiful. It's a visual experience just as much as it is a fun comedy. Even the soundtrack is great and captures the feel of the 70's excellently.
Still, there are something I didn't like about it. Chloe Moretz as a poorly animated werewolf. That was completely unnecessary. It didn't add anything. Then there is some jokes that's possibly a little dumb, but that's something that happens in nearly every comedy. Some may dislike this, believing it's failure in genre-mixing. Well, you have missed the point.
The Expendables 2 (2012)
Awesome. Better than the first film. It's by no mean any cinematic masterpiece or whatever, not even a particularly great action film. But seeing all of these actors in the same film is just awesome. It's clearly that they did have fun when they made it, which affects me as a viewer. I had a blast. The action is good, there are some lines that are funny as hell, and the chemistry between all of them is perfect.
If I have to single out one particular actor from this awesome film, it would have to be Chuck Norris. His scenes are brilliant. Awesome. Kick-ass. Etc. If you've seen his scenes, you'll probably know what I'm talking about. Bring on the next film!
I guess I'm not the only one who is a bit tired of the "found footage"-genre. A genre that has produced a lot of poor films. Luckily, Chronicle is a little piece of fresh air. It's a film that's clearly made by some very competent people. The editing and special effects are superb. And the way the eventually decided to use the handheld camera is very effective and genius, and very much in line with the character development from the main character. Who is brilliant. The three teenagers gives very believable and credible performances that compensates for the lack of depth to the other characters.
It's a film that's filled with imagination. While things do get a bit carried away towards the ending, watching the boys learn and try out their powers is very entertaining. Watching them playing out tricks on small girls in the toys store or messing with a woman on the parking lot, it's incredibly fun! Naturally the film couldn't just include scenes like that, which is why we get an awesomely made, but still a bit disappointing ending that just didn't suite in with the rest of the film.
It's wonderfully animated. A beautiful mix of stop-motion and CGI. It's also a charming, clever and fun film, with several amusing references to older horror films. Making it at a good film to start introducing kids into horror films, or something.
It is a bit bugged down with all the different stereotypes it includes, and that it does constantly try to smash the story's morality into our heads. Particularly during the last act, which was a sweet (and quite spectacular moment), but it did get slightly annoying.
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Wreck-It Ralph's moral has been done to death before, and is starting to get really tiresome. But despite that, this is an extremely well-animated feature film with a lot of heart and emotion. The humour is often funny, the references are neat, and thankfully, not too many. There's a focus on the story here, and not just a bunch of possible cameos. Which is good.
The film moves ahead with frenetic pace, and the cutesy, colourful visuals of "Sugar Rush" does end up as being a bit too much eventually. Still, Wreck-It Ralph proved to be a lot of fun.
Into the White (2012)
A Norwegian film with nearly just one Norwegian in front of the camera for the most part, and he plays a German. The film is about two British, and three German pilots who must work together to survive the cold, though Norwegian wilderness. To be honest, I were expecting the film to take a turn into a more intense and psychological film eventually, but it is more a sort of "feelgood"-film instead. It shows in a neat, and sometimes funny way how you can start of as enemies, but end up as friends in the end. And I was enjoying that.
It's wonderfully acted, particularly by Stig Henrik Hoff, and even Rupert Grint delivers a fine performance in his post Harry Potter role. The Norwegian wilderness is beautifully captured, and the musical score is exceptional. Director Petter Næss keeps the story under his control for the most part, but the ending feels somewhat rushed, and doesn't create the same impact as the other parts of the film did. It ends a bit to simple, and to predictable.
Surprisingly enjoyable. I believe that Timur Bekmambetov's Wanted is a kick-ass action film, so it was pleasant to see that he has evolved his visual style further. It is a silly (but awesome) premise and it makes for a good action film. The tone might be overly serious (not that it bothered me), but that doesn't mean it is a fun film nevertheless. If you think it is WAY TO SERIOUS, I would say that the joke is on you.
The film struggles a bit in handling the supporting roles, but Benjamin Walker gives a solid performance as Mr. President. And seeing as we're mostly just watching this film to see him slay vampires, I can to a certain degree overlook some thin supporting characters and other flaws. To a certain degree, at least.
The Raven (2012)
This film was high on my mental list of films I were anticipating. I love serial killer films. Particularly from these days, when everything is just dark and dirty. The streets are covered in shit and blood. With macabre killings and such. Sadly, The Raven ain't the film I dared to hope for. It did kinda disappoint me a little.
It's worth mentioning that I have absolutely no relation or knowledge about Edgar Allen Poe. But after reading that there are still huge mysteries surrounding his death, I found this to be an interesting fictional "solution". The thing is, you shouldn't really take this film seriously. Even though I hoped for a serious film, it's nothing like Seven or something like that. Still, it features some really brutal and macabre kills. One of them is probably just as graphic as a trap from Saw V.
Shamefully, James McTeigue, who created the wonderful V for Vendetta, doesn't manage to do justice to the basics of the story. It struggles to figure out exactly what it wants to be. It's way to modern too be a costume drama-serial killer film, and as a pure serial killer film it bares a bit too many resemblances to TV-shows like CSI. Then there is some dumb things in the script. They mistake a fisherman for the killings. The fisherman has been in the town for five days. The murders obviously took longer than five days to prepare. And the ending after the actual ending is a bit silly.
However, it's looking great. The visuals are amazing, in the style of Sweeney Todd. So even if it sometimes gets a bit dumb, boring or John Cusack's Poe annoys you with his narcissism, there is always some impressive visuals to look at. You know, crows and stuff.
Brave is by all means a decent film, but when compared to what Pixar has dished up previously, it's safe to say that Brave is a major disappointment. It is however their greatest looking film so far. It's visually stunning and Merida's hair is very impressive.
I do like the first 40 minutes, which I find very enjoyable. I liked the direction the story was heading and I laughed quite a few times. Then it suddenly changed when the mother got turned into a bear. Comparing it to Brother Bear was unavoidable. I instantly thought it got much more tedious when that happened, and despite it pulling itself back up towards the end, it failed to reach true greatness.
Life Of Pi (2012)
You'll have to forgive me a bit when it comes to this film. I did occasionally almost fell asleep after the film had passed approximately one hour or something. That's possibly not the film's fault as I just saw it after an exhausting day at school, but it may also confirm what my first thought of this film was. That I think it's a little slow. I know this is a film that's supposed to be like that, but I've enjoyed several slow films before, so that's not the problem here. My problem here is that I don't find too much to enjoy in the slowness this time around.
Yes, it's a visual experience more than anything else, and Life of Pi does very often look like a beautiful postcard, but my fascination for the visuals does eventually settle down a bit. I've been used to it and then it's not that breathtaking any more (even if it is).
When it comes to the basic screenplay of the film, I'm not familiar with the source material, but I think the structure of the film is a bit messy and doesn't work that well when it comes to building up the film (the book might be the cause of this). The thing is, there is no doubt that Pi is going to survive, there's not even a slight possibility that he might die. By that, despite all the danger he's around, I never gets to engaged in his adventure. This is also a possible reason for why I think the film is a bit too slow.
Thematically and spiritually speaking I think the film handles its topic quite well. I do, unlike most people, like the ending. That's despite the spoon-feeding. I'm really not sure when it comes to my rating, but I settled on this. Man, this got messy.
Trouble with the Curve (2012)
It's a predictable and safe feel-good film about baseball and family that never reaches true heights because it never strays away from the familiar. It barely touches on some slightly darker sides, and probably more interesting topics, but it never dares to expand upon them. Which is a shame.
Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino beautifully marked the end of his acting career some years ago, but now he's back. And it's wonderful to see him back, and he still manages to show that he's a truly great actor. His chemistry with Amy Adams is very good, and it's because of them that this film becomes worthwhile.
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Beasts of the Southern Wild is in many ways a rather uplifting film, with its fair share of emotional moments and small scenes of beauty. It's also a very nicely shot film, and the rough look to the film feels suitable.
But despite all this, Beats of the Southern Wild is hampered down by some major issues. The constant metaphors felt unnecessary, and broke the flow of the film. There's also some inconsistency to the main characters, that makes them difficult to fully sympathize with. Which is something that turned out to be a problem for me.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
I personally believe that The Amazing Soider-Man does the best job, out of the films so far, in portraying Peter Parker. I think that Andrew Garfield, despite being way too old to be an 17 year old high school kid, is exceptional in the role of Peter Parker. He manages to get the social awkwardness that Peter struggles with down to perfection. This is the cause for a lot of great comedy in the film. Garfield's take on Peter Parker is loads of fun. His chemistry with Emma Stone is also undeniably great. She is also much more effective as a love interest and not anywhere close to be as annoying as Kirsten Dunst was in Raimi's Spider-Man-films. The film does a great job in mixing the comedy with drama, Garfield and Stone is a much better duo than Tobey Maguire and Dunst, but that's not where this film struggles. Because, the bit that has to with Spider-Man is a bit underwhelming.
There is not really much Spider-Man fun. Certainly, the way he toys with car thief is amusing, but there is rarely I'm really enjoying the action in the film. Not that the effects are bad or anything, it's just that I did expect more from a Spider-Man-film in 2012. It's a bit underwhelming, a bit disappointing. I also think the film skips and jumps too fast over certain things in the way Parker transforms into Spider-Man. While it does address the same plot points that Raimi did in his Spider-Man, I personally think Parker's evolvement to Spider-Man is too sudden. Yes, we do already know the story, but this is an origins film as well.
One thing that also feels a bit underwhelming is the villain. While Rhys Ifans gives his best shot, I believe that he is wasted in this film. The Lizard is just not interesting. This is a poor villain, that appears to be way too cartoony. He is never given any proper development and Dr. Curt Connors sudden turn into a evil Lizard is just not that interesting or enjoyable. His interactions with Spider-Man is also surprisingly lackluster.
Never seen the original, but there were a lot of intriguing and good things in this horror remake. The most obvious thing is that basically the whole film is shot from Elijah Wood's POV. Which is a nice little gimmick that's handled perfectly, and creates suspense in a whole different way. The first 40 minutes of this film is exceptionally well-done.
But the film starts to struggle when it tries to go into the maniac's past, trying to provide some sort of explanation for why he's doing the things he's doing. It feels unnecessary and drags me out of the films. Particularly as those scenes feels just like an excuse to show some graphic sex. I do also believe that things turns overly comical towards the end, and that it doesn't match up with the overall tone the beginning of the film had.
I would suggest that Ted is better off when you're only watching particular moments of it. There are some scenes that are very funny, and some are even hilarious, but seeing the film as a whole, it feels like a slight disappointment.
The reason for that is quite simple. The "girlfriend vs. best friend" story wears out its welcome quite fast, despite the twist on the story. Once you've been used to the fact that Ted is a teddy bear, it's all pretty familiar stuff with some occasionally crude (and funny) humour.
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
There's a small and simple, yet perfect story to be found somewhere in Safety Not Guaranteed. But I'm having trouble locating it, due to the film occasionally shifting focus over to characters and subplots that are completely unnecessary. The plot is pretty thin, so in one sense it's understandable that the film got a lot of "filler" stuff in order to stretch the length, but I still found it to be rather annoying.
The whole heart and emotion of this film lies in the chemistry between Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass,and it's their unfolding relationship that keeps me watching this film. It's sweet and charmingly awkward. But it's only about 65% of the film. That's not enough.
Spring Breakers (2012)
This is a difficult film to judge. It's not the kind of film you see everyday. It's a film that has several positive things about it, and it's a film that's filled with really strange choices and off-putting things. There are single moments that stands out, which are completely mesmerising. One of those moments is a montage with a Britney Spears song. And overall, this is a quite nicely shot film. It looks exceptionally well.
But the Spring Breakers is also quite annoying. It features quite a lot of scenes of people, particularly girls, with few clothes on them partying heavily and doing stuff that would make their parents disown them. This, with the help of some dialogue that's being said over and over again, makes Spring Breakers feel extremely repetitive. It doesn't work. It's not as deep as it thinks it is and it just comes across as pretty shallow. But the visuals and the ability the film has to draw me in some sort of trance should be admired.
The Punk Syndrome (2012)
A Finnish documentary about four mentally handicapped people who've grouped together to create a punk band called, Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät. It's a very gentle and human film that seizes the problems that these people face in everyday life, who reflects upon it through their music.
It's a funny, insightful and loving film. But not really my cup of tea.
Les Misérables (2012)
Beware, if your head can't tolerate nearly three hours of having pretty much every piece of dialogue sung, this ain't the film for you. I'm not the biggest fan of musicals myself, but despite it being definitely around 40 minutes to long, I got through it without too many problems. One of the main issues for me with this film is that there are several songs I don't like and that's a problem when many of them seems to go on forever. I do also think that nearly every character in this film is a bit boring. Certainly, they are capable to sing and throw some passion into their performances, but I don't really think that there's one strikingly memorable character here. People will remember the actors not the characters.
But there are several great things about, much of it which has to do with the production. Costumes, sets etc. I also think that the cinematography is magnificent. It manages to create to some truly sore, emotional moments, which is created by some terrific acting and, because of some beautiful songs. Most of them coming from Russell Crowe. He might not be a fantastic singer, but his voice and the way he sings strikes to me as one of the most enjoyable things in this film.
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