100 movies of 2012: The final tally and the 2013 challenge

Another year and another 100 movies challenge that I set myself, has ended. How did I do? Well, sadly I didn’t hit my target of 100 films in the year. Managed to fit in 90 new-to-me films. That’s not a bad tally, right?

Still trying to figure out where I went wrong there. By the end of September I had already seen 75 films. Looks like the new TV season played a massive part in sucking time away from film watching. Happens every year!

Enough of me judging myself, what about the films I saw.

Continue reading 100 movies of 2012: The final tally and the 2013 challenge

100 movies: The Gods Must Be Crazy

[yellow_box]Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy![/yellow_box]

The Gods Must Be Crazy The Gods Must Be Crazy (28/12/12)

A comic allegory about a traveling Bushman who encounters modern civilization and its stranger aspects, including a clumsy scientist and a band of revolutionaries.

The Gods Must Be Crazy has a solid score of 7.1 on IMDB and 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet it features the acting talents of a real life Bushman called N!xau and many, many extras whose talents definitely don’t lie in acting. But you know what? The Gods Must Be Crazy is a ridiculously fun film.

It begins as something like a documentary. But slowly descends into some epic Benny Hill style comedy, complete with sped up ‘action’ scenes. Don’t let that put you off. The Gods Must Be Crazy is a very likeable film. And that lies in the sheer innocence of the film itself and its leading character of Xi, the Bushman on a journey to give back to the Gods what they gave to his people. Along the way he gets caught up in the ‘modern world’ but still maintains that innocence of someone who’s not exposed to it. There are some hilariously childish consequences. But I challenge anyone not to laugh at them. You will fail.

The film was a bit of a hit. Grossed $100 million worldwide. Spawned three sequels (All of which don’t exactly look great.) N!xau even managed to get a house with electricity for his family after his first starring role. I’d call that a win for him!

I was hoping to end my 2012’s film watching year with a decent film. And I reckon I have. The Gods Must Be Crazy hasn’t got high production values. The actors should probably be called ‘actors’. But it is a ridiculously fun ride.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year… Continue reading 100 movies: The Gods Must Be Crazy

100 movies: It’s a Wonderful Life

[yellow_box]Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy![/yellow_box]

It's a Wonderful Life It’s a Wonderful Life (24/12/12)

An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.

It’s Christmas Eve and there’s nothing on TV. No films that remind me of my Christmases gone past. Not that my Christmases are all that memorable, other than an over indulgence of food. There was just nothing. So what better time than to give It’s a Wonderful Life a watch for the first time? Good idea, right?

Great idea. It’s a Wonderful Life is probably the perfect viewing for Christmas Eve. Any other time of the year, I’m not sure it would have felt ‘right’.

It’s a Wonderful Life is a good, classic film. James Stewart’s George Bailey could quite possibly be the most selfless and genuinely nice film character I have ever come across. Though for this cynical person, that was a bit hard to swallow at times. But it was Christmas Eve and I was getting into the spirit of things.

It’s a simple story with some very heart warming characters that you can’t help but fall for. BUT. But, by film’s end I honestly didn’t understand quite how much love this film gets. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a good film and I can understand why it’s a classic. But I didn’t connect with it as I hoped I would. It was an enjoyable enough film to watch, but when it finished I wasn’t left with any lasting feeling. You know?

So yes, I appreciate this film. Glad I watched it. Think it’s a definite classic for a reason. But will I be itching to watch it again? Probably not. Sorry!
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year… Continue reading 100 movies: It’s a Wonderful Life

100 movies: Midnight in Paris

[yellow_box]Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy![/yellow_box]

Midnight in Paris Midnight in Paris (22/12/12)

While on a trip to Paris with his fiancé’s family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight.

Woody Allen films aren’t a group of films I have seen many of. In fact, I think the only other Woody Allen film I’ve seen is You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. And that wasn’t a great one at all. Last year I attempted to watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona and had to stop about 20 minutes in. Boredom and frustration were the main reasons. Also, the tone of voice. It didn’t speak to me. If that makes sense.

Midnight in Paris felt different. Sure, I was struggling with it a bit in the beginning. But something felt like it was worth sticking through. Well, that and the fact that pretty much the entire blogosphere raved about this film.

Glad I stuck with it. For one thing, Midnight in Paris went in a direction I was not expecting whatsoever. The fantasy aspect of the film blind sided me a little bit. In the good way. It helped with the storytelling and re-emphasised the notion that we all believe in that golden era. That the time we’re living in is nowhere near as great as things used to be. Heck, I’m guilty of thinking that every now and then!

Midnight in Paris did an excellent job of showing off Paris. It’s been years since I last visited. But I never thought I needed to visit it again. It definitely wasn’t among my top 5 European cities I feel like I need to visit. But now, I think it’s creeping back up there. I want to see if I can see that whimsy and magic! (Perhaps it’s the seasonal time of year talking there!)
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year… Continue reading 100 movies: Midnight in Paris

100 movies: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

[yellow_box]Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy![/yellow_box]

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (13/12/12)

A curious Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, journeys to the Lonely Mountain with a vigorous group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug.

The Hobbit was one of my most anticipated films of the year at the beginning of the year. With a whole year to wait, the anticipation and excitement was only going to rise. And it did. With every production diary video I watched, the more impatient I got. December rolled around and tickets were booked as soon as they were available. Though… in boring old 2D.

While I’m all for pushing the boundaries with technology and all that new stuff, I’m fairly old-fashioned with my cinema viewing. I don’t want to have to wear anything on my face. I don’t want to be told where to look. I just want to enjoy the story and film making.

So this is a non-HFR, non-3D review of The Hobbit.

What of The Hobbit? Well, in a nutshell, I enjoyed it. It was a welcome return to Middle Earth. It felt like going back to an old TV show and already knowing what to expect. But in a good way. That nice familiar feeling watching the camera roll around Hobbiton. It felt like home!

Howard Shore’s score made it all the more familiar with themes from The Fellowship of the Ring creeping in every now and then. I really loved Over the Misty Mountains Cold. Really beautiful bit of music. Solid score. I expected nothing less.

The characters were all brought to life brilliantly. Young Bilbo was a bit more sullen than I expected. Gandalf was as I remembered him. Exactly how I wanted it. Gollum – wow. Sure he was only onscreen for a short amount of time, but he lit up the screen. Loved the riddle scene so very much.

The dwarves were all brilliant, but they came off as more comic relief than anything else. Which was a shame. While watching this troop I couldn’t help but compare to the Fellowship and how they were all such individual characters and, yes at times, comic relief, but they had purpose. The dwarves all blended together a bit for me. Which was a shame.

I’m amazed that from this one film we have only got a portion of The Hobbit. The good sort of amazed. There’s a lot of Middle Earth history, which I appreciate and look forward to seeing more of. I’m not sure how successfully it was intertwined with the story of The Hobbit. I think LOTR did a better job with their pre-title prologues.

The set pieces of the film let me down a little. Not visually. But just that there were quite a few of them. Lots of fighting. Not in the spirit of the book. But guess they have to cater to the mass cinema going audiences.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed The Hobbit. Probably more so because I saw it in 2D. It’s a welcome return to Middle Earth, but it’s not on par with The Lord of the Rings for me. So far. It lacked the heart of Fellowship but hoping that will change with the next two installments.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year… Continue reading 100 movies: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey