Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Hit, Miss or Maybe List of 2013

This will obviously be HITs only. Let's not dwell on the bad but look back at the best.

Django Unchained

From start to finish I was laughing. Tarantino back to what he does best, expect his god awful scene where he tries to act again. He should just stay behind the camera. I read in a review that the supporting actors out shine Django, Jamie Foxx, and I have to agree. He's good but frustrating. Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio was electric, very funny and play their parts so well, I demand a spin off, but for those who has seen it, you know there will never be one. Some people who have seen this, didn't like the film, but when the reason was that it was too rascist, I can't help but say 'its a film, set in the time when people actually talked liked that, you need to look past that'. The soundtrack was brilliant too and I enjoyed a cameo from the original Django, an Italian actor who wore a mask in his films, see if you can spot him. HIT

Wreck-It Ralph

I know nothing about videogrames, but I did go to arcades when I was younger. I only played air hockey but still, I loved this story. Pixar gets you everytime. Just to mention that the short, Paperman, was beautiful and also an Oscar winner now. Wreck-It Ralph is about the 'bad guy' in a video game and how he's treated when the game switches off. The fantastic support group scene could have been a short all by its self, in fact I hope they do make a short of just those sessions. The fun begins when Ralph decides to leave his game after being snubbed for the hundredth time by the people in his game. He tries to win a medal in Heroes' Duty and then crash lands in Sugar Rush where he meets his soon to be partner in car racing in sugary sweet cars, Vanellope. I don't agree when some people have said, its just like Toy Story but videogames or its just a series of references, it's not, its friendship and survival and finding out what the hell happened to Turbo Man! Pixar Hit indeed! HIT

Slightly cheating here with two film, but there are just too good.

I loved everything about this film. I am an admirer of Park Chan-Wook's film 'I am a Cyborg' and everyone keeps going on about 'Oldboy' so my interest was peaked. Written by Prison Break actor, Wentworth Miller, the script was voted into the top 10 best unmade screenplays in 2010. The story was influenced by Hitchcock's 'Shadow of a Doubt' and not Bram Stoker or vampires. It has been described as a horror film but not in the conventional sense, there is barely if any, gore and surprises, at least that's how I felt. When India's father dies in a car accident, under mysterious circumstances, she is left with her estranged mother. But at the funeral she is introduced to Uncle Charlie, her father's younger brother whom she didn't know exsisted. No sooner has Uncle Charlie moved into the family home, people in the town start to go missing. Amazing trailer, that and the beautiful poster (not pictured) got me hooked. This is a masterpiece. HIT


After months of waiting, Danny Boyle's new film arrived. As I tried to convince my Dad to see it, I got as far as saying 'It's Danny Boyle's new film about this guy who works at an auction house and then he steals this painting' and my Dad said, 'yeh that sounds good, we'll see it'. But I'll continue the synopsis for those who aren't so familiar. Simon, an art auctioneer becomes involved with a group of criminals when they plan to steal Goya's Witches in the Air painting. But during the robbery, Simon is knocked unconcious and can't remember where the painting is. They use a hypnotherapist to help recover the missing painting. Of course there are twists aplenty and intrigue galore. It's a brilliant cast and its always good to see Vincent Cassel play this particular role (don't want to spoil it). The soundtrack is also quite perfect. Go watch it, the film is out now for you viewing pleasure. HIT

A Late Quartet

Never has a film made me cry as much since Where The Wild Things Are. When I say cry, I mean well up and a tear falls. That's a lot for me. And all my tears belong to the master, Christopher Walken. That guy deserves an award dammit. The poster basically says it all. When I came out of the cinema my parents said they'd never seen me so moved. This is true. The story is about a quartet, The Fugue, a famous group of musicians who are approaching they're 25th anniversary and with the announcement that Peter (Christopher Walken) is suffering from illness and might be able to play anymore, the other three members unleash secrets, lies, betrayal which could break them up for good. There are basically 5 people in this film, the Quartet and then two of the members' daughter. Each cast member has their own story to tell and no one is ahead of the other, they are equal, and that is actually one of the themes in the film. The music is amazing, the cast are mesmerizing and I cannot recommend this film more. HIT


Firstly, the adverts are wrong, this is not a 'Mad Men meets The Artist' is better than that. It is nothing like The Artist (a great but silent and black and white film) and it only share costumes and 1959 setting with Mad Men, that is all. This film is amazing, I was smiling all through, it is a romantic comedy that is actually good! The romance side played more into the typewriter until later. Set in Normandy, France. Rose Pamphyle, a young modern woman or at least she likes to think so, from a small village wants to be a secretary but her only skill is her typewriting speed. Never the less, she gets a job as Louis Echard's secretary. It is clear that she is not very good at being a secretary but Echard is intrigued by her speedy typewriting and decides to train her for the Speed Typewriting Competition.  From there they grow closer not only as trainer and athlete because, yes speed typewriting is a sport too. It is a delightful film and both leads are entertaining as well as heart warming. This is the definition of a feel good film and it does make you want to get a typewriter. I can't say how much I adore this story, its so new and fresh even though under neath the costumes, setting, typewriting, it is a rom-com but with spirit and drama too. HIT

Much Ado About Nothing
Words are not enough to describe how perfect this film is. Shot in black and white in one (amazing wish I lived there) loaction, Weadon's house, the cast is just utter perfection and the play, well it's one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. I couldn't ask for more! The cast, mostly from Weadon's past shows, used to gather at his house and read Shakespeare plays. So when there was a break between the end of Avengers shoot and post production, Joss Weadon shot this film on a very low budget and in a 12 days. There are a few stories going on but the one everyone knows is between Benedict and Beatrice who are are at war with each other but eventually fall in love as they are made for each other. Another main attraction to this film was obviously seeing Fran Kranz in a main role again, he plays the lovesick Claudio. I think I just love Shakespeare plays told in a contemporary setting that works. HIT

The World's End

It's been a while but Wright/Pegg/Frost fans, the wait is over, the third film in the unofficial Cornetto trilogy has arrived and its all we ever wanted plus its grown up. We've had zombie romances, buddy cop adventures and now its alien robot things. Gary King gathers together his group of mates who he has touch with, mostly because he's a selfish idiot. He convinces them to go back to their home town and finish 'The Golden Mile' pub crawl that they failed to complete when they were teens. But all is not what it seems, no one remembers then and are acting strange. Fantastic cast assembled with the token hilarious addition you wouldn't expect (Pierce Brosnan this time) as well as the familiar faces. Everything about this film screams tradition and old comforts back for one last hurrah. In a way its sad because it feels like there won't be another collaboration like this again, although the trio have said they will work together again. I really though this film great, genuinely funny, so much that I was still laughing about one joke half way through the film. I love how all these films have things in common, mostly small towns, pubs, drinking and surviving something but above all that, these films are very British and that is a fantastic thing. Shut up all you British (film) haters, this was a great British film. HIT

Up On Poppy Hill

I think this is a winning combination. Hayao Miyazaki scripted the film and his son, Goro Miyazaki directed, his second feature. It is such a delightful story about a girl who raises signal flags each day in memory of her father. She meets a boy who run the school newspaper, they share a bond and together try to save the school's clubhouse from being demolished. Set in the 60s, it makes a great period piece and as always, the artwork is amazing. HIT


I think they made a mistake when marketing this. A big deal was made about Chris Hemsworth who plays James Hunt when in fact it is Niki Lauda's film and then it is in fact all about Daniel Bruhl. I should make this clear though, I have been a Daniel Bruhl fan since 'Goodbye Lenin' so I may be slightly bias. Not knowing much, if anything about about Formula One driving I found this film fascinating and really thrilling, especially during the race sequences. The fact I didn't know the history about the races, apart Niki Lauda's infamous car crash, it was exciting to see who won and lost. The film follows the rivalry between the British driver James Hunt and the Austrian driver Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula One season. I have read everywhere that this will be Daniel Bruhl's breakout performance, in US anyway, but both the leads gave great performances. I agree both were good but Daniel Bruhl really does steal the scene every time he is on screen. You can see that he is, ultimately the better man and the better driver, especially as James Hunt retired from driving a few years after 1976. The end sequence, which mixes in real footage from the two drivers' races and actual footage of the real Hunt and Lauda, felt like a personal note to the drivers themselves. Although the voiceovers fro both the actors was annoying and I didn't think was needed as much, the final voiceover felt like a moment of praise and respect to Hunt from Lauda. A happy ending of sorts. This is one of the very few sports films I really enjoyed. HIT

If I exclude all the films that I saw at the BFI London Film Festival then it has to be:

Blue Jasmine

I haven't seen many Woody Allen films but I was particularly interested in this one for two main reasons. One, the protagonist was a woman, Cate Blanchett, who doesn't normally play this type and she was channelling an inner 'Woody Allen' either, like some other previous male actors have done. Two, there was a heavy influence from Tennessee Williams' 'A Streetcar Named Desire' in the film. Upon further reading about the film, I found out that Allen had used 'Streetcar' in his previous films so it was interesting to see how the film played out as I do love that play. As with most melodramas, it was brilliant, pitch perfect but also very depressing. Jasmine, as she calls herself, was the wife of a wealthy businessman who stole money from his clients and so ended up in jail and killed himself. Left with nothing, Jasmine goes to stay with her flighty sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins, also brilliant, playing against type). The sisters are close but continuous point out each others painfully obvious flaws. The plot line, sometimes veers towards being too 'Streetcar' but before it can get too serious, Allen, reigns the characters back in. It's a brilliant film and it is true what all the critics and people say. But it is quite depressing and amusing at the same time. HIT


Obviously. Catching Fire

Here is a special post about the awesome film. HIT

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

I had tried to hold back my excitement for this film, only to litterally scream during the credits on the day it came out, I was that excited and I am not ashamed. My co-workers were making fun of my fierce devotion to Middle-Earth, but I stood my ground (and won in my opinion). The story continues with the dwarves making their way through Mirkwood and the film takes a Lord of the Rings turn, the company splits up when they arrive at Lake Town, not in the book, Tolkien fans. Gandalf has his own storyline, also not in the book, but that doesn't matter, its amazing, not as interesting but bridges the gap between epics. As for the dwarves they have the best scenes, one of my favourite from the story is the barrel scene. The dwarves fight the elves and orcs while travelling at fast speed down the river, the co-ordination is perfect and even funny at some points. The additional character, Tauriel, seemed pointless at first but she's actually quite cool, that is until she is forced into the a stupid 'love triangle' with Legolas (yes he's back, he is a Prince of Mirkwood you know) and none other than Fili the dwarf. DOES NOT MAKE SENSE! After my anger had died down, they had got back to the story. I loved the introductions for both Bard the Bowman and Thranduil, King of the Mirkwood elves. Both were amazing and will definitely, if the final film follows the story, have bigger roles in the next film. I also love the actors too, so to me, excellent casting. Now for my final mention, Smaug. The mightiest of dragon foes, his scenes at the end were amazing. Someone said they found it dull, they are wrong, having read the book and loved the chapter where Bilbo meets Smaug, it was a childhood memory come to life, plus I do love dragons, evil or good. I know everyone mentions that its Sherlock and Watson, but you will forget this fact as soon as Smaug wakes up. The ending was sudden but effective, and excellent cliffhanger so I won't spoil it for you. Better than the first film and so many beautiful scenes!!! HIT


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