Saturday, 1 January 2011

2010 Film Review Round Up

All the films that I couldn't be bothered to review at the time and then so much time elapsed that a belated review would be quite frankly embarrassing. So a round-up of sorts...

Heartbreaker (L'arnacoeur)
Struggling to find anything good to say about this one. I went to see this on a Summer afternoon at my local arthouse, hoping that, being French, this would be an above-standard romcom. HOW WRONG I WAS. Just because it's in a different, classier language does not mean it's any kop. It was so overly predictable, and what was worse was Vanessa Paradis (who needs a good meal frankly before she can be in any way desirable) is caught between two men, and the one who she is obviously going to end up with is the most unlikable! The other being the gorgey Andrew Lincoln - who is rich, kind, GORGEOUS, speaks French... and you leave him for a guy who can perform Dirty Dancing routines? Pah. Don't bother watching this balls.

Beauty and the Beast
An absolute classic, and I was so lucky to be able to see it on the big screen this Summer at End of the Road festival. I haven't seen this since the childhood VHS days, but it has been one of my favourite Disney films of all time, probably only surpassed by Aladdin. Every single song is an anthem, and it's rare you can say that anymore - Gaston's is my favourite (for the line: "when I was a lad I ate four dozen eggs every morning to help me get large/and now that I'm grown I eat 5 dozen eggs, so I'm roughly the size of A BARRRRRRRGGGGE!") Now it's been restored with an added new song (so-so, although the Wardrobe gets more to do) and it's just as good as it ever was. Must go out and get the DVD!

Easy A
I did love this, and it's charm made me overlook the slightly more cheesed up incredulous moments (her family did seem a little too cool, and half the things she does would never be allowed/pulled off in real life). Emma Stone absolutely lived up to the hype following her, although I did think her Golden Globe nod was a bit extreme! Some parts had me laughing out loud, leading me to believe it was my favourite thing ever at the time. I've calmed down now, but still excellent, smart teen film.

The Kids Are All Right
I've been wanting to gripe about this for ages! HOW OVERRATED IS THIS FILM! I'm stunned by the all the praise that's being heaped on it, how 'brutually true' it is of family life, how Julianne Moore and Annette Bening are the best couple since salt and pepper. At the time, I thought it was enjoyable, although the 'mothers' annoyed me so much I found it hard to sympathise. I also got very defensive about Mark Ruffalo's character who is ostracised for sleeping with Julianne Moore, yet she is forgiven. She was as weak as he was, so why doesn't he get a second chance? The ending was really unsatisfying, itchingly so. I've also decided I cannot stand Mia Wasa-Wasa. Throw her in the Gemma Arterton, Cameron Diaz, Katherine Heigl, Angelina Jolie pile.

The Social Network
Brilliant, one of my films of the year and so almost didn't get to see it! It was only through amazing (and surprising - come on, it's got Justin Timberlake in it) reviews from the media and my friends that I ended up going to see it about two weeks after it had come out. It was engrossing, emotional, fluid - how they managed to make such a story out of Facebook I am beyond belief - all credit to David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin and the cast. Jesse Eisenberg showing range above Michael Cera lite and Andrew Garfield just continues to impress. Even JT was alright *cough, cough* Highly recommend this, and dare you to be confounded as to how the twins are played by the SAME. PERSON.

Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader
Pleasant enough (if only for the Ben Barnes effect) but this is probably the last nail in the coffin for the Narnia franchise. I think the main problem is the film rides too much on the child actors, and over the years they just haven't excelled and matured. It speaks volumes that newcomer Will Poulter (Son of Rambow) waltzes in and steals the show. His relationship with Reepicheep (THE TALKING MOUSE!) is the best thing about this film, and all the goodbyes at the end had tears running down my cheeks, when I had thought I didn't care about any of them! The action sequences were Narnia-good, but there was no real peril and a lot of conflict seemed to pop out of the blue and was glossed over. The religious symbolism was a tad heavy too - Aslan may as well have just finished with: "in your world I'm known by another name - GOD." 3D pointless too. A shame - the potential has petered out.

Tron Legacy
Ended up being dragged to see this (I say dragged, people were going to the cinema so I went too like a magnet) even though I haven't seen the original film and didn't have a clue what to expect. The story rambles quite a lot, although the world in itself isn't too difficult to understand for a n00b like myself. It's just badly written, and the characters will run their course within the played before parameters, so there's not much to surprise. Thus I did find myself phasing out a lot in the middle section. The fight scenes are fun to watch, as is Michael Sheen who's been watching too much of David Bowie in the Labyrinth

The Way Back 
I'm tempted to go and see everything of Peter Weir's - the man is a genius (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Dead Poet's Society, The Truman Show), but sadly The Way Back feels like it could have been so much more than it is. The main problem I had with it was its unbelievability - not the story itself - a group of prisoners escaping a Soviet run gulag in 1940 and trekking thousands of miles across Siberia, Mongolia, Tibet into freedom in India - but just the general feel and look about the film: it felt like I was watching actors acting in a film, rather than watching real people in gruelling situations. It's difficult to put my finger on...perhaps it's best summed up by me agonising over the cynical old guy for an hour before suddenly yelling (in my head): "ED HARRIS! IT'S ED HARRIS!" - talk about itching a scratch. But that's what summed the film up for me. Ironically it's after big name star Colin Farrell departs that the film becomes truly interesting - the trek across the Gobi desert was my favourite part, utterly engrossing and emotional to watch. But none of the actors really excel (although Jim Sturgess is very pretty to look at). Another huge problem for me was the strange cutting of the film - some deaths/goodbyes would be alluded to but never actually confirmed, and some sequences would elongate for an hour (the desert) and others would be wrapped up in five minutes (the very brisk ending). The characters could have been better shaded out too - at times it felt like they were falling into ready made stereotypes. Altogether a patchy effort - parts of brilliance, parts of weakness - but I was never bored, so it has that going for it. A good epic watch for Christmas.

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