The Official Review Thread of 2012

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:54 pm

I expected more. Certain aspects I liked - the loose narrative structure, the young actor's performance (he is actually very good, very promising), some moments which will ring true for anyone who's ever been a teenager (and, needless to say, we all identify with the sensitive and the outsiders, never with the "normal" ones). Other aspects will probably be more convincing for Americans - for example, do American teenagers (or did they use to, in the early 90s) spend their time acting in stage productions (of the Ricky Horror Picture Show, of all things)? I don't know, I'm not sure. And, American or not, cliches abound - including the inevitable "You'll become a writer" which the Literature teacher says to our young protagonist. And a writer is obviously, too obviously, behind all this - some characters are really only lierary constructions, including the flamboyant gay friend, who never even remotely resembles a real human being (dreadful performance by the way).

But, I mean, I would had forgiven anything - not the last fifteen minutes though. Not those, no. I don't want to SPOIL things for those who still haven't seen this movie, but anyway, it turns out that our hero (who's not more problematic than any other teenager, at least by European standards) has a deep, dark secret in his past which made him what he is now. And I won't go into too many details, but it's the typical, TV-style, "terrible accident" which happened when he was, of course, a child; as if this wasn't enough, the perpertrator conviently died in a car crash soon afterwards. Plus, this conventional explanation is never even vaguely doubted by the other characters. The possibility that, as it often happens, it mught be just a fantasy of the boy can't be considered in such a movie - he is, after all, our "hero". But it's a pity - it destroys the good things we had seen before. (And I don't see how such a screenplay should have been Oscar-nominated, as I've read on this and other boards).

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby OscarGuy » Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:01 am

I'm glad to see Lerman doing well. His first major venture wasn't quite the kind of movie a young actor needs to be taken seriously. The new Percy Jackson movie where he plays the title role is coming out later this year.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:37 pm

dws1982 wrote:
bizarre wrote:The acting is unimpeachable. Lerman especially is tremendous and in a just world should be up on that stage in a few weeks.

I'm not ashamed to admit that Lerman is the only Lead Actor I've seen this year who I would consider placing over Daniel Day-Lewis in my final year-end list. He really made that movie--even though everyone else was excellent, it really would've fallen apart if he hadn't delivered.


Steve Chbosky told me that Lerman was his absolute rock on the set, that some of the other young actors could get a little unpredictable at times, but with Logan, the director knew exactly what he was going to get from him every time, and that he took his direction impeccably. He also said that as soon as Lerman walked into the audition, the director knew he wanted to offer him the part, he felt he understood the character so perfectly.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby dws1982 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:20 pm

bizarre wrote:The acting is unimpeachable. Lerman especially is tremendous and in a just world should be up on that stage in a few weeks.

I'm not ashamed to admit that Lerman is the only Lead Actor I've seen this year who I would consider placing over Daniel Day-Lewis in my final year-end list. He really made that movie--even though everyone else was excellent, it really would've fallen apart if he hadn't delivered.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby bizarre » Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:41 pm

I was surprised by how much I liked Perks. I can see your issue with the dialogue, but these are all pretentious 17 year-olds aiming for arts colleges. I hung out with a lot of those in my high school and they talk exactly like they do in this movie. Even if it is accidental, it works.

The acting is unimpeachable. Lerman especially is tremendous and in a just world should be up on that stage in a few weeks.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:03 am

LES MISERABLES
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Samantha Barks, Isabelle Allen, Daniel Huttlestone, Aaron Tveit, Colm Wilkinson.
Dir: Tom Hooper.

Now this is another tough one. I'll say upfront that I love the musical (and musicals in general). Overall, I have to say that I did like this movie a lot. Some of criticism, however, I find myself agreeing with them: Tom Hooper's excessive use of close-ups (Tom, the medium shot is your friend), Dutch angles and off-kilter framing which, I think he mistakes for his "style" or "signature" ("visual crutch" is more like it) almost sinks the film. I've seen my share of all-singing musicals but this one felt a bit much despite the fact that I do adore the score. Despite all its flaws however the things it got right it REALLY gets right. The cast is pretty superb (Russell Crowe, IMO, isn't THAT bad, he's just not up to the standards of the rest of the cast). The big emotions (though a bit cheesy) of the original musical is present in spades here and for me, there's nothing wrong with that. It's a mixed bag but good overall.

Grade: B.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Sabin » Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:16 am

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)

William Goldman once wrote w/r/t Titanic that it absolutely deserved a screenplay nomination because structure trumps dialogue every time (paraphrasing). The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a bit tricky for me because I was impressed with these actors and these characters and the milieu and the way it was shot, directed, and put together. It's a little overstuffed with backstory ingredients, but it's always nice to see a film like this overreach. All of that stuff, terrific! But this dialogue is risible. These characters speak in a faux-profundity that sometimes feels like an old man trying to write like a dumb 16 year old or actually written by a 16 year old who thinks everything that is happening to him is amazing and infinite. I like movies like The Perks of Being a Wallflower that genuinely attempt to bring you into a group of friends and take you on a journey, but every second I spent with them I also was held at arm's length by the stupid things they would say. So, I can only mildly recommend this well-meaning but fairly engaging poseur-fest.

The ensemble makes the dialogue work better than it should. Logan Lerman especially has an almost unplayable role that flirts with laughable social retardation, but he completely pulls it off. The movie would be unbearable without him. Everyone else is good, especially Ezra Miller in his best role to date.

Although some of the visual choices are a bit OTN, I liked how it was shot. It was lensed by Andrew Dunn who did brilliant work on Gosford Park and apparently also shot Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire. From one end to the other on the spectrum of quality.
Last edited by Sabin on Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:06 am

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
Cast: Quvenzhane Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Lowell Landes, Pamela Harper, Gina Montana.
Dir: Benh Zeitlin.

This film is pretty much Brillante Mendoza meets Hayao Miyazaki for me. It's a pretty good combination. It's basically about a little girl and her relationship with her troubled father in the poor areas of Louisiana during, what I'm assuming is, Hurricane Katrina. The American poor here is depicted almost like its own subculture probably almost foreign to a middle-class city dweller. Personally, I have mixed feelings about over-romanticizing such things. However, the film is anchored by the wonderful performances by the two leads who are first-time actors (Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry) and I was unexpectedly moved by the ending. First-time feature director Benh Zeitlin shows talent and has a unique voice. Can't wait to see where he goes from here.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:48 am

JACK REACHER
Cast: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins, Werner Herzog, Jai Courtney, Vladimir Sizov, Joseph Sikora, Michael Raymond-James, Alexia Fast.
Dir: Christopher McQuarrie.

This film has a rather interesting conceit: Take a neo-noirish plot and put a modern day bad-ass action hero character as the lead. It could have been something great but the result is a mixed bag with some interesting and fun bits and pieces here and there but is overall simply disposable entertainment. I have to admit the only reason I bothered the see this movie is the fact that Werner Herzog plays the villain and he makes for a very interesting and rather scary villain but I felt the film's plot pretty much wasted him.

Grade: C

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:53 am

flipp525 wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:Amy Adams has never been better used before - this is by far her best performance: a subtly executed portrayal of a woman whose blandness is only on the surface.

Exactly. I couldn't agree with you more. Definitely her best performance. I wish she could be rewarded over Hathaway (on her fourth nod, no less—one almost every other year since 2005).



Yes, she probably should win over Hathaway (I haven't seen Les Miserables yet) - unfortunately when they start taking an actor or especially an acress for granted, they may nominate him or her forever without a win.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Sabin » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:26 am

Saw Zero Dark Thirty again. Really don't like it. More to come.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby flipp525 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:50 pm

ITALIANO wrote:Amy Adams has never been better used before - this is by far her best performance: a subtly executed portrayal of a woman whose blandness is only on the surface.

Exactly. I couldn't agree with you more. Definitely her best performance. I wish she could be rewarded over Hathaway (on her fourth nod, no less—one almost every other year since 2005).
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:29 pm

The Master may not have a traditional/conventional narrative structure and probably should be seen more than once - but it IS a movie, it's what I consider a movie, and it's also the kind of movie that can reconcile one with American cinema. I don't even know if it's a masterpiece - I don't care; what I know is that one could talk about it and its many themes for hours (I definitely could in my language, not in English) and that's enough for me. I even like the fact that it's so divisive - love it or hate it, it won't leave you indifferent: n an era of mostly predictable films this is, I think, something we must treasure. It's a very American movie - as American as a Faulkner's novel (and only slightly less good in opinion). And it's ABOUT America - America in the 50s but also America of today (a country as confused as its leading character). One could also see it as a movie about religion, or even about sex, or about mental illness - and all these themes are certainly there, but never banally exposed. It leaves to the viewer the task to interpret it - a bit like the Rorschach test that at some point the Phoenix character is submitted to.
And it's an intelligent movie. This is also something rare.
The acting is wonderful. Amy Adams has never been better used before - this is by far hes best performance: a subtly executed portrayal of a woman whose blandness is only on the surface. Philip Seymour Hoffman is, of course, a great actor, adding another memorable character to his already impressive gallery. But Joaquin Phoenix's performance is one of the best by an American actor in the last ten year - an almost unbearably tense, intensely physical turn and one of the great misfits in the history of film. If he hadn't been nominated, it would have been one of the Academy's worst, most embarassing mistakes in recent memory.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Sabin » Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:38 pm

Obviously, I have yet to see Les Miserables but there isn't a doubt in my mind that Joe Wright is better suited for it. The emptier the production, the better the result with him. Hanna doesn't have thought in its head and it's his best film.

You know who would have done an exceptional job of directing Les Miserables? Like, actually a brilliant job? You know who would have done a fantastic job of capturing every perfect glance and anguished look with his signature close-ups?

Steven Spielberg.

(Before you say I'm crazy, really think about how the film would look with how he shoots movies.)
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:27 pm

dws1982 wrote:Given the source material, and the talent involved, I think that a convincing case could be made for Anna Karenina as the worst movie ever made.


Occasionally I wonder if Tom Hooper had helmed Anna Karenina, and Joe Wright Les Mis, if those two movies could have been even more colossally miscalculated than they already are.


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