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Lo imposible (2012)
Juan Antonio Bayona knows how to make a fine film.
Juan Antonio Bayona returns to the screen for the second time, after his first feature, the subtitled "The Orphanage." This time, he still captures a feeling of sheer terror, but from something completely different. Based on the true story of one of many families affected by one the biggest tsunamis to hit Asia in 2004. The consequences of the tsunami, and also the undying hope in a rapidly closing dark hole that they are all still alive.
Bayona really shined in this film. He knows how to direct actors, set up shots and craft a fine film. However, he was unable to salvage realism in the sappy, melodramatic scenes and more importantly the last 20 minutes. But then again, it's hard to find any director who could make those scenes any less than what they were, which is those exactly.
The dialog was gripping, there were a few unexpected developments in the screenplay, which poised a great deal of excitement. It grips you and never lets you go. I would say captivating, but that would be an understatement. Go see this film, it attained the perfect balance between being too exploitive and too childish. Not the best film of the year, due to a few scenes and maybe a bit on the children's acting side, but besides that, it is a great film.
End of Watch (2012)
Great film. But fell apart towards its long and delayed climax.
End of Watch follows two police officers - Brian Taylor(Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala(Michael Pena) - as they cruise around South Central Los Angelas. After a number of encounters with the typical people you'd find in the ghetto among other things, they end up becoming marked for death by the Cartels.
I loved the intro, however contradictory it was, and it attained my interest immediately. As the film progressed, it became more and more of a David Ayer film which is a good thing. His style of filmmaking and writing are instantly recognizable. The film promoted great performances from its two leads as well as its secondary characters and the chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Pena was great. It's one of the best buddy-cop films I've seen in a long time. It also puts a spin on the "found footage" type of making film. It doesn't have a cameraman, just Gyllenhaal and Pena's characters recording with their own cameras, more predominately Gyllenhaal. It was pretty authentic and seemed like it didn't listen to anyone. Except the end, where it fell apart.
I enjoyed the first while of it. I understood the film it was trying to be and it achieved that. Now that it was there, it didn't know where to go, it seemed like Ayer lost track of what he wanted to write and just continued on with same thing. It became a bit repetitive. After much deliberation with dragged out scenes and unnecessary scenes really, it got into it. And when it did, it didn't know which way was up. The ending should have been completely changed, the last 20 minutes or so. It didn't keep in tone with the whole rest of the film and just wasn't good. Could have been a bit shorter, and a better ending it would have been in countenance for the best film of 2012. Had so much hope and so much going for it. I'll still go and see the next David Ayer film however, as I did like this.
A modest 7/10.
You're gonna need a script.
Argo is directed by and starring Ben Affleck and is based on the formerly classified mission in which the CIA and the Canadians helped 6 American embassy workers escape from Iran. The film is filled with great, old-school actors like John Goodman and Alan Arkin.
The film itself is good. It is very enjoyable, which is to be expected from this genre of film. There wasn't one weak link in the whole cast if I'm honest. Not that they were great, but they were not all that bad either. The film, at first, grabs our attention and makes us what to know what will happen. However, the characters aren't so well written that we really care all that much. The only characters which I found the most interesting were John Goodman's character John Chambers and Alan Arkin's character Lester Siegel, who aren't in any danger throughout the film.
The film then begins to center on Ben Affleck's character, Tony Mendez, and I don't personally believe he brings enough to him to make us care about his wife and child and also his desperate attempt to get the six men and woman out. Towards the end, the film started to drag out a tad bit, they were delaying the inevitable. And I found the whole last 20 minutes to be quite unnecessary and over the top, which didn't suit the tone of the whole film if I'm honest.
The film is enjoyable and contains decent acting. Pity about the characters and about the last 20 minutes. But, excluding the last 20 minutes and for what it is. I'm giving a 7/10.
A very good film, only held down by very small faults.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows Charlie, a friendless freshman with a dark mind and an even darker past. He sits alone and has no one to talk to. Until a group of seniors invite him and let him join their group of outcasts.
The character of Charlie is portrayed by Logan Lerman, who does an extremely great performance as a shy, awkward teenager. Emma Watson and Ezra Miller also give a great performance. The film has quirky comedy elements and captures the essence and thoughts of being an adolescent growing up in a world inhabited by idiots. The music preferences, the friendless and shyness that comes along with being an adolescent is incorporated into the film. Also, the film includes some very serious themes that teenagers deal with. It is a very well portrayed and directed film, with a special nod to the writer and director who also wrote the book Steven Chbosky. I found that the character's all had something which we could relate to, it was accessible to all ages and had a very good ending which makes it situated at the top of the hill in terms of coming-of-age films.
However, with all that great, comes a few faults. A few of the jokes didn't land and a few scenes had a predictable outcome, which made the film feel predictable. I think it could've explored some it's themes a bit more. It felt like it stopped half-way onto something great and the reasoning behind that I'd imagine is that Steve wanted the film to be 15 or PG-13 at most. The performances lacked by the supporting cast, especially in comparison to the mains. A few scenes felt unnecessary and a few scenes also didn't make the transition from the book to film very well. But aside from that, it was a very good film, easily accessible and one of the best coming-of-age film I've ever seen.
Taken 2 (2012)
Does not match up to the greatness of its predecessor
Taken 2 is the sequel the highly successful Taken, and stars Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen who reprise their roles as Bryan, Kim and Lenore.
Taken was probably one of the best films to release in 2008. It caught everyone off guard in terms of it's rave reviews. Liam Neeson was fantastic in it. But I'm sad to say the sequel is nowhere near as good. Neeson, as much as I hate to say it, wasn't too good in this. A lot of scenes did not make any sense, and even though it is only 90 minutes long it felt longer. It was an unnecessary sequel which shouldn't have even been thought up of. The mere concept of it was stupid. However, that didn't stop me or the flocks of other people to not see it.
There were a few cool scenes, but they were mostly faltered by poor story telling and mindless actions by characters. This film wasn't all bad, it was good for the first while, although there is a lot to complain about. It's not the best thing to come out in 2012. But it's far from the worst.
One of the best modern horror films I've seen. But obviously cannot compete with the old-school.
I usually hate horror films. Not because they are horror films, but because they are usually clichéd, predictable and just plain bad. There hasn't been a decent horror film since Saw and before that, not since the late 80's. I wanted to give this one a go though because Ethan Hawke was in it and also because the plot was actually somewhat good and put a twist on the whole found footage thing. To my surprise the film was better than I thought it would be. It was good and enjoyable. Not an engrossing film and the characters are somewhat two-dimensional, although they do try to make them more.
The film was a bit predictable at times and had a few stupid horror moments, but I liked it. I like the fact that they created Ethan Hawke's character as a writer looking for his next big hit and that's why he stays on. Because to be honest, the second I saw the villain I'd be gone. But this character is determined to seek the answer to the question: who killed the family? There are a few jumpy bits, but it's because of the sound editing more than anything else. It is one of the best modern horrors I've seen. But obviously cannot compete with the old-school.
Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
It's mindless, unrealistic and horribly written in terms of dialog, but damn it, it looks like a whole bucket load of fun.
Resident Evil: Retribution 3D is the fifth installment in the Resident Evil franchise and written/directed by Paul W.S Anderson, whose had a string of bad films throughout his career.
I haven't seen the original few, the only one I saw was the fourth one and this one. The fourth one was alright, as was this one. I'm not a huge fan of action but this was just pure action. It was sort of like a fancy 80's action film. It had terrible acting, no character or plot development, characters I didn't care about, but it looked amazing. When action is done right, like cool slow-mo shots of one person conquering about 100 people, it looks cool. It's mindless, but looks cool. This whole film was mindless but looked cool. It didn't try and be more than it was, it knew it was cheesy, action and it ran with it. It is a bit predictable at times, but all in all, it is enjoyable. It's mindless, unrealistic and horribly written in terms of dialog, but damn it, it looks like a whole bucket load of fun.
A solid 6/10.
Highly overrated, but a fun time.
Looper is writer-director Rian Johnson's highly rated third film. It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt. I'm going to start right off the bat here and I say it is overrated. Completely overrated. However, I still do think the film is good. I mean, I'd probably watch it again, but it doesn't deserve the rating it gets. The acting wasn't even that good from everyone, it dragged on a bit and there was tons of stupid and unrealistic crap. Also, the whole film is not memorable.
When you make a film that is mind-bending a lot of people tend to pretend that they like it, even if they didn't understand it, and a lot of people tend to not like it because they didn't understand it. I don't think that is the case here, as this film isn't really mind-bending. It's just action attempting to be logical, and it does so, but I think it thinks that it is smarter than it is and so it tries to bring too much logic to action. The film couldn't decide whether it was action or logical. Because all action is mindless.
I did like the film however, I mean, it was enjoyable, as all action films attain to be. And, as I said, in that aspect it succeeds. But it tires too hard to be more than action and that was the wrong choice. It is highly overrated and a bit predictable with a load of stupid crap thrown in. But then again, the stupid crap comes with action and that's what this is. The acting wasn't too great if I'm honest. But you could tell that they were having fun, along with Rian Johnson, and along with me.
A solid 7/10.
Killing Them Softly (2012)
You can do a whole lot worse than Killing Them Softly.
Killing Them Softly stars Brad Pitt and he's as brilliant as ever. Certainly not his best role, but defiantly a high quality one. The other actors do their part well also, such as James Gondolfini. The acting was great from them two in particular and everyone else was good too.
Killing Them Softly won't sit well with a lot of people. I can understand that, but you have to at least appreciate it. The dialog was fantastically written, the action or shot-em-up scenes were superbly directed, as was the whole film in general, and they were also controlled and kept to a minimum. When it comes to these types of films in that genre you have to compare them to other films within the same genre, and it is no comparison to the likes of Goodfellas. But it does hold its own as a standalone film.
The pacing is a bit slow at times and there are a few dull scenes, but all in all it is an enjoyable film. I liked the characters but I think they could've had a lot more done with them. The message of American economy and democratic society was good and well included. Especially the last few lines said by Brad Pitt, which really wraps up the whole point of the film. I think people felt disappointed because it's not some sort of all-action shoot em up, and it's better not being that way. As a film, which doesn't try and take itself too seriously and doesn't try and be pompous about it. You can do a whole lot worse than Killing Them Softly. It's worth a watch.
A solid 7/10. So close to a 8/10.
Everything in this film is so clichéd that you stood nearly ten feet ahead of it.
House At The End of the Street stars Jennifer Lawrence and is about a daughter and mother who move into a house where the next door neighbor's's daughter killed her parents and fled the scene. She only left one surviving family member which was her brother.
A terrible name, terrible plot. Everything about this film is so clichéd that you stood nearly 10 feet ahead of it. There was no suspense and scenes that made you want to scream at the characters. And, just mentioning the characters, they were VERY one-dimensional. I didn't care about them, what happened to them, or what they will do. They all felt too generic to even listen to sometimes.
I kind of got the impression they were attempting a modernized Psycho- twist for teens. But it didn't come off, at all. The first half or maybe quarter was all right. But it went down-hill way too fast for me to comprehend. I thought the film could have went one direction, but when it came to the intersection, it looked at the right direction, gave it the finger, and went in the wrong one. I really had hopes for this one but it didn't deliver.
All in all, a terrible film. The only good thing about it is the first 20-30 minutes, some well-directed sequences and Jennifer Lawrence. That's all. Best to avoid this one, if you know what's good for you.
A low 4/10.
An entertaining 130 minutes. However, doesn't match the likes of The Departed.
The last thing Oliver Stone directed was Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps in 2010. The last good thing he directed was Natural Born Killers in 1994. Of course, his recent films are defiantly not anything to go by, considering all the films leading up to Natural Born Killers were great. But, 12 years later, he has made another good film. And hopefully this will restart his downhill career.
Savages stars John Travolta, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Blake Lively. A decent cast, the only real stand-out is Del Toro, who delivers a great performance once again and as always. The rest of the cast however, are mediocre at best.
I thought the premise was a bit silly and unrealistic and the annoying thing is that it doesn't give you any indication to whether it is trying to be silly and unrealistic or whether it's not. Because at times I was thinking, "well, yeah, I suppose that is pretty realistic." But other times the dialog and whole scenarios just seem too unrealistic and way over-the-top.
Sure, there are a few plot holes. And sure, it is a bit predictable at times. But I was enjoying my time watching the film and a few scenes are memorable. Most of them, if not all, include Benicio Del Toro. I'm going to say that the film wasn't supposed to be taken seriously. It wasn't trying to emulate the feel of a great gangster film like Goodfellas or The Departed. It was just meant for an entertaining 130 minutes. And in that aspect, it succeeds.
But my main complaint, would most defiantly have to be ending. I know, everyone is complaining about the ending and I am too. Even when it happened, a person behind me said, "ah for God's sake." And I'd have to agree. But it doesn't take away from the fact that the film is entertaining, very well directed and has a great performance from Benicio. However, it is nothing ground-breaking.
A solid 7/10
Everything seemed to good to be true. And it was, but only a little bit.
Lawless has a great cast - Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce. - And a great story about three brother's growing up in Depression- era Virginia and based on a true story. The three brother's are bootleggers, but when a special deputy and other police figures want a cut of their action, their whole world turns upside down.
Everything seemed too good to be true. The cast, the story, everything. And it was, but only a little bit. The film was great, very enjoyable to watch, great acting from everyone involved. But the film, I felt, lacked something. I didn't feel connected to any of the characters, as in they felt too two-dimensional. I didn't really feel how they felt at certain points and it should have showed the brotherhood more instead of opting for blood and violence. I think the film needed to be more humorous, because it needed something to ease the tension between those bloody scenes and I think that was it.
Shia LaBeouf was very good and Tom Hardy was even better. Even the smaller roles like Gary Oldman's character were acted well. I think it spent too much time on the whole romance aspect of it and it should have laid off of that a bit more. But the acting was great from everyone and it was an enjoyable time at the cinema. It is a good film, but didn't live up to the expectations I had.
A solid 7/10.
That's My Boy (2012)
A HUGE disappointment and Sandler's second worst film, next to Going Overboard.
That's My Boy is Adam Sandler's latest film and sees him as Donny Berger. A student who, in high school, had sex with his teacher which resulted in a pregnancy and the teacher been put to prison for 30 years. When she is pregnant Donny had custody of him until he becomes 18. When he turns 18, he leaves Donny's life and starts his own.
Let me say that this film released about 3 months in Ireland, where I live, after America. And so I was waiting for this film for months. I was dying with anticipation. I love all of Adam Sandler's comedies. Even Jack and Jill was decent. And I have to say, Jack and Jill is even better than this.
Adam Sandler puts on an annoying voice, even more so than Little Nicky, but at least I could stand Little Nicky as I thought it was a very funny film. This film however, was not funny at all. There was one funny bit, at the very end, and it's by Nick Swardson. The rest.... pfffftttt....
The screenwriter is the person who created Happy Endings, the TV show, and I really enjoy that. I just felt the jokes went-too-far. I didn't find them offensive and I don't care how vulgar and crude they are. I just felt they went to far in an effort to be funny. And the script tended to favor vulgarity and over-the-topness to actually being funny.
I don't usually like Andy Samberg, and he wasn't too good in this either. All the supporting cast were alright, and do something which makes me smile sometimes. But overall, meh. There was really no good parts in the film except for the fact that it didn't feel slow and dragged out. That's the only good thing I have to say, which when you think about it is good, as it is 2 hours.
Anyway, a HUGE disappointment and Sandler's second worst film, next to Going Overboard. I will give him another chance with Hotel Transylvania, hopefully he can do something. Come on Sandler, don't let me down.
A low 5/10.
Total Recall (2012)
If you're looking for a good action film, see this.
Colin Farrell stars as Douglas Quaid in this remake of a 90's classic with the same name. Set in a futuristic society where only two parts of the Earth remain. It is about a factory worker, who visits a place called Rekall which is a company who implant fake memories in a person's mind so he can believe he experienced them. While in the process of doing so, something goes wrong and Douglas must find the answer before it's too late. Nobody is who they seem.
Let me start off by saying, I have not had the "pleasure" of watching the original Total Recall so I will not be able to contrast and compare the two. So I thought that this remake was actually somewhat good. I'm not sure how true it keeps to the storyline of the original but here goes. Colin Farrell was good in it, although action films really aren't the best films to show off your acting abilities. I'm not a great fan of action and so I wouldn't rate this as highly as other people would, but I thought it was still good but for an action film it was pretty good. There was a lot of bits where people kept on missing him with the bullets and where they would aim, then something would happen and miraculously they wouldn't shoot, which is expected from these films. But it was still good.
So basically, if you're looking for a good action film, see this. However, as I said, I do not know how true it stays to the original although I know the three-boobed-woman is in it, and you see it all, in a 12A film. Anyway, I felt it was good, nothing great, but good. And it looked good too.
A solid 7/10
The Watch (2012)
It isn't the best film, but it does provide laughs, however rare and mildly amusing they are.
The Watch stars a big name cast - Ben Stiller as Evan, Vince Vaughn as Bob, Jonah Hill as Franklin and finally Richard Ayoade as Jamarcus. It is about a group of 4 guys who create a neighborhood watch because of a recent killing in their town. But when they find the killer they must overcome an alien force to save Earth from an alien invasion.
Good concept, great actors and Seth Rogen involved in the screenplay. What could possibly be bad about it? Well, a few things. First off, Ben Stiller isn't funny anymore. The script felt lazily written, and it seemed like they thought - "Oh well, it's a comedy so people won't really mind if we do this." - I didn't, but that still doesn't justify having a lazily written script. There was only a few funny bits throughout, and they were mostly from Jonah Hill. A lot of the jokes were overused and very basic. I just didn't find it funny, a few of the jokes were also a bit of obvious. I also thought, with a storyline like that, it would stray away from the usual sex jokes which have plagiarized modern comedies. But no, they were still there and plentiful and as always unfunny.
However, the film moves along at a nice pace and has my interest throughout. I liked the fact that it has a twist on the usual alien clichés we have becomes used to. Jonah Hill, as always, delivers nearly every time he's on-screen and I have to say, Vince Vaughn was actually good too, and I don't usually like him that much. Richard Ayoade wasn't the best in it, and I think they should have gotten Seth Rogan or someone more capable to play the fourth-person. As I heard a lot of it was improvisation.
It isn't the best film, but does provide laughs, however rare and mildly amusing they are. I felt they could have done a lot more with the film but as I said, it felt extremely lazy, like they thought they would make money with that cast, so there's no point in putting much effort into it.
A poor 6/10
Shadow Dancer (2012)
Overall, the film did not impress me.
Shadow Dancer follows an Irish woman, who has a son. She works for the IRA in the 1990's. When she gets caught attempting to place a bomb on a London subway she must become an informant for the MI5.
Interesting story. I really had no clue about this film, I was just bored and looking for a film to watch. So you can guess I have never read the book so I do not know how closely it follows it. However the author did write the screenplay. Anyway, I thought the film itself was OK. In general, everything felt like it was neutral/ on the line. Nothing really stuck out and there was no real memorable scenes. The film also seemed very slow and dragged out.
The acting from everyone involved was good. Nothing special, but nothing terrible. However, my main complaint would have to be the characters. I didn't feel connected to any of the characters, especially the protagonist , which is the main thing really. I felt the IRA characters were too clichéd and just the same generic IRA men as in every other film with IRA men in them.
Overall, the film did not impress me. However, I wasn't expecting anything special so I suppose it balances it out. I'd give it a solid 6/10. But, gun to my head - would I recommend it? - No. Probably not.