May Movie Watching in Review

It is hard to keep up with my film reviews–between work and stuff it gets difficult sometimes…(as you ALL know, I am sure!)  So, I decided to make compilation posts a monthly thing.  It may be cheating ;D but hey,  it will be a great way to wade through all the films I watch and for it not to end up being 6 months later.  😀

After Earth

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Oh, M. Night!  I really, really what him to do well…I miss him.  Unfortunately, After Earth is not his triumphant return.  It is NOT as horrible as everyone is saying–but it is NOT that fantastic either.  It is safe and bland.  I almost understand how M. Night Shyamalan would be scared to do anything “special” since he has been panned by critics and fans alike for so long now–almost understand.  But, by playing it safe, After Earth is perfectly mediocre.  It has a creative premise that is then saddled with typical themes and characters.  I enjoyed the performances by Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith but it was not enough to save the film.

Now You See Me

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I love magic and films about magic–so, I was excited about this.  Well, Now You See Me is guilty of a lot of things–being a cool story about magic is not one of them.  Director Louis Leterrier‘s style may pass the empty-action test but when given a real scenario with real people well…he seems to have some trouble.  Let me count the ways… 1.  It tries WAY too hard to be clever.  2.  It is shallow and superficial, which is a pity because it had so much potential.  3.  It has ZERO character development–and I mean ZERO!  4. There is no chemistry between the cast, which is surprising because this is a notable ensemble. So, at the end I was left  shaking my head and a bit sad because of its lack of  “magic”.

The Company We Keep

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This Robert Redford directed films hails an impressive cast and although they all give good performances, The Company We Keep is flat and kind of boring.  I have to think hard to remember what all happened. Yeah, that’s not a good sign.  😀

Dark Skies

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So close to being DAMN good!!  The ending of this thriller is frustrating enough to taint the film.  What a shame too, because writer/director Scott Stewart creates a unique look at what can be an over done alien theme.  With the fresh approach I was invested.  I loved the time spent on the family and their dynamic.  It had several good scares and some really cool stuff going on.  Kerry Russell and Josh Hamilton give strong performances and I love J.K. Simmons small appearance.   See?  All good.  But it unravels at the end.  Sad.

The Guilt Trip

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I love Barbara Streisand!  Period.  The Guilt Trip is exactly what I expected…some Streisand time! LOL!  Hey, this is a paint by numbers movie.  Predictable themes, but Seth Rogan and Babs have some good chemistry and sell the mother/son connection.  I laughed and enjoyed my time visiting an old friend.

Safe Haven

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OH!  I remember this one…it’s Sleeping with the Enemy–right?  Wait…OH!  Nicholas Sparks.  I get it. Actually. No. I don’t.   One thing though, the adorable little girl?  Is almost an exact replica of my daughter at that age…awwww!  So cute!   That’s it.  That is all I got from that.  😀

The Last Stand

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I was thinking this could be fun–maybe even good.  The return on Arnold Schwarzenegger–YES! (I am a child of the 80s ;)).  Directed by Kim Jee-Woon, who had haunted me with I Saw the Devil.   This could be really good.  Well…I was wrong.  It’s terrible.

Side Effects

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OMG!!  This movie was so awesome–when it was titled MALICE!  -_-

Steven Soderbergh has left me feeling “meh” a lot lately…sure…I can find some good things, but I have to really look hard because the “meh” is too powerful.  Meh.

Well, folks.  That’s it.  Let’s see what June offers…

Later! 😀

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Finally, I post my Top 25 Films of 2012!

I know this is late. I have been occupied with vacationing (an Eastern Caribbean Carnival Cruise–which was wonderful) and other life stuff, which has kept me from watching a few key films before I could make my list. Now, I am back and ready to post my top choices of 2012. I know–most folks list only 10, but I always want to mention #11 and then 12 (so and so on)–so I just go for 25.

First of all, 2012 was a very good year for cinema. There were many excellent films and many were original and fresh ideas. Super cool, because we all know that is a rare thing indeed.

Now, my standards for best film is simple–I have to feel a connection to the narrative (which leads to some unconventional choices sometimes) and I must not want to change anything about it. I have attached links to my full review if you care to visit or revisit my full musings. 😀

I have to admit that 2012 was difficult–I did a lot of shuffling–but, I feel pretty good about this…

25. Chronicle

This film surprised me and ended being a creative, unique spin on supernatural powers and found footage genres. Well played. Dane DeHaan had a breakout performance and now his star is definitely on the rise.

24. Jeff, Who Lives at Home

This solidified my growing love for writers and directors, the Duplass Brothers. Sometimes a simple story about life is all you need.

23. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

This is the way romantic comedies should be told! With perfect chemistry between Blunt and McGregor and a realistic approach on relationships, SFITY stands tall among the usual.

22. ParaNorman

I love stop-motion animation! And this a new Halloween classic!

21. Holy Motors

Art on film. To me, this french fantasy is definitely a surreal journey. Denis Lavant gives an incredible performance–actually, several–he changes characters as easily as if he were changing his hat. Wow!

20. Ruby Sparks

A block of text with a blank space forming the outline of a woman. A man carrying a woman over his shoulder.

Yes, I like quirky and unique rom-coms! And this one, is one of the most original, well constructed I’ve ever seen.

19. Perks of Being a Wallflower

A lime green wall with the words 'we are infinite', a boy stands beside a girl, she leans her head on the shoulder of another boy.

Not many “high school” movies get it right. This one does. And the best part? It transcends adolescence and tells a human story.

18. Sleepwalk With Me

This is a clever, hilarious, poignant and most uniquely formatted, realistic story–that just happens to be 100% true!! Wonderful.

17. The Raid

FRACKIN’ BADASS! Enough said.

16. The Hobbit

A wonderful return to Middle Earth. Pure happiness.

15. The Dark Knight Rises

A great ending to one of the best trilogies–ever.

14. Cabin in the Woods

I adore Joss Whedon. This year, the rest of the world came around–this was the beginning.

13. Beasts of the Southern Wilds

This is an honest portrait of a remarkable American community. It is powerful and unforgettable.

12. Wreck-It Ralph

Theatrical release poster depicting the protagonist, Ralph, along with various video-game characters

This is the first time, in many years, that a Pixar film did not make my Top 25! Ralph was my “Pixar” film this time–A wildly imaginative and creative story, told with charm and revealing a lovely tender heart. LOVED it!

11. The Avengers

Uh, did I tell you I adore Joss Whedon? And now the world does too! 😀 One of the best superhero movies–EVER! A big gamble that paid off.

10. Zero Dark Thirty –I have YET to see this one–still, EVERYONE is telling me to save it a spot–so, I put it in #10–once viewed (this weekend) and reviewed I will place it accordingly.

09. Looper

Original. Creative. Badass. Willis. Gordon-Levitt. Yeah…it’s awesome.

08. Silver Linings Playbook

A film that kind of defies a genre. It is just an excellent film. Period.

07. Argo

A tense, suspenseful ride. So well-directed and constructed, that I think it might win big at the Oscars. This is, simply, storytelling at its best.

05. Cloud Atlas

Oh, Cloud Atlas! You were a head of your time. Many did not understand or appreciate your amazing qualities. But, I believe with time they will. One day you will be hailed as the masterpiece you are–one day…

04. Lincoln

Revealing. Thought-provoking. Surprisingly funny. Excellently written, beautifully directed and brilliantly portrayed.

03. The Grey

This started my year as #1 and although 2 surpassed it–the others (for some reason or another) could not duplicate the emotional connection I had with The Grey. A beautiful, haunting portrait of life and our instinct for survival, not only physically–but emotionally and spiritually. Liam Neesom was robbed of a nomination–he has never been better. Powerful.

02. Django Unchained

Tarantino is knocking out of the park–again! There is nothing wrong with this film. Perfect.

01. Moonrise Kingdom

I struggled with the top 3–each perfect in their own way–but Moonrise touched me and stayed in my conscience ever since the first viewing (there has been 5 viewings since ;D) . It is funny, touching, thought-provoking and wonderfully silly at times. An absolute magical delight. This is Anderson’s masterpiece.

Well, I finished! Whew! Now, let us hope that 2013 becomes just a memorable as 2012!