How to Train Your Dragon 2: Crying over an animated dragon

Film

How to Train Your Dragon 2

A few weeks later than planned, How to Train Your Dragon 2 was finally seen in the cinema. FINALLY. Happy to say, it was worth the wait. However, just wished we were able to see it at the “nice” cinema.

With How to Train Your Dragon 2 being a 3D film too, the “nice” cinema where we saw X-Men: Days of Future Past, was only doing 3D showings. Naive that we were, we just expected all the cinemas to be as lovely as that place.

100 movies: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

100 movies of 2012

[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 JourneyThe 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…

120+ movies: Getting behind!

120+ Movies of 2011

I think I’m running a bit behind this year if I hope to get to over 120 films for the year! Need to pick up the pace.

A Beautiful MindA Beautiful Mind (01/05/11)

After a brilliant but asocial mathematician accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn to the nightmarish.

Beautiful film. Really great film. Great performances from everyone and I think Russell Crowe’s best since Gladiator. Jennifer Connelly completely tore me up as John Nash’s world started falling apart. I completely and utterly believed what John Nash was seeing and doing. I didn’t really think that he might be hallucinating. Well, until things started going really crazy.

Loved the James Horner score. Think it’s my favourite score of his since Titanic. It doesn’t sound like a lot of his other scores, most of the time! The biggest problem I have with Avatar and Troy’s scores.

Very touching film that had me in tears!
Rating: 4/5

ExtractExtract (05/05/11)

Joel, the owner of an Extract plant, tries to contend with myriad personal and professional problems, such as his potentially unfaithful wife and employees who want to take advantage of him.

Thanks to my new love of Arrested Development I have a bigger love for Jason Bateman. Seeing his name listed in the credits for this film made me think it’d be worth a watch. Him and Mike Judge of Office Space fame, which was one of my favourite films I’d seen last year.

Extract just bored and irritated me sadly. There were some funny moments. JK Simmons made me laugh as did Bateman. But overall it just felt like a painful film to watch with none of the fun or wackiness that Office Space had.
Rating: 2/5

HannaHanna (06/05/11)

A 16-year-old who was raised by her father to be the perfect assassin is dispatched on a mission across Europe, tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives.

Loved this film. I really like my action-thriller type films. This one had the added benefit of Eric Bana. Even with a slightly unidentifiable accent he was very good in the film. However all the credit in this film goes to Saoirse Ronan. Fantastic young actress who can play a ruthless assassin as well as a very naive young girl who’s never been out in the world. Think the weakest character in the film was probably Cate Blanchett’s Marissa. She just felt a little one-sided to me.

At times the film felt a bit schizophrenic, but in a good way! Flipping from fast paced action thriller to an indie feeling film about a very innocent girl.

Loved the British family played by Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng. They weren’t caricatures, instead felt like real people. Funny people at that.

The score was awesome! I’m loving this trend of DJs scoring films. There was Daft Punk and Tron, Basement Jaxx and Attack the Block, and now we have The Chemical Brothers and Hanna. Loved some of the pieces they did during the action sequences.

I know there are talks of a sequel. I hope there isn’t one. Well, unless they can top this one!
Rating: 4/5

CatfishCatfish (07/05/11)

In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel’s brother.

A lot of hype surrounding this film and it’s hype I got caught up in. However, it still took me a long time to watch the film. I think the hype ruined it slightly.

I did enjoy the film but I think I was expecting a bit more of an ‘OMG’ twist towards the end. I kept hoping something else was going to happen. Though, after I’d watched the film and thought about the events a bit more, I did see the madness of it all properly.

Ariel really annoyed me throughout the film. I just got more and more annoyed with him. I can’t remember why, but I remember the annoyance!
Rating: 3/5

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger TidesPirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (20/05/11)

Jack Sparrow and Barbossa embark on a quest to find the elusive fountain of youth, only to discover that Blackbeard and his daughter are after it too.

I’m one of those weird people who enjoyed films 2 & 3 in the POTC series. Yes, they were long and convoluted. But they’re fun to watch and get lost in.

I did not get lost in On Stranger Tides. Johnny Depp is still fantastic as Captain Jack Sparrow and new additions Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane were great, but there were some other new additions who weren’t so great. The main plot line of the fountain of youth was a fun bit of adventure. The love story between Philip and Syrena felt a bit pointless and was just in there for extra padding. Neither character had much depth to them and I couldn’t get behind either of them.

There were some good set pieces, but none of them felt like they were as big in scope as any of the ones in the first three films.

I sadly did spend some extra money and see this film in 3D, due to lack of 2D screenings. There were some attempts at some things pointing out into the audience, but for the most part, like Thor, it just wasn’t necessary. Especially during the action and fight scenes where things are moving so quick it makes me feel slightly cross-eyed with 3D glasses on!

Wasn’t impressed with the scoring on this film either. I was looking forward to some good stuff from Hans Zimmer – I’ve loved his previous work with this franchise. But it just didn’t feel like this film had its own theme.

I hope there’s not a fifth film!
Rating: 2/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far:

100 movies: The last of 2010

100 movies of 2010

I managed to sneak one more movie in 2010, which brings the total up to 124 for 2010.

Elizabeth: The Golden AgeElizabeth: The Golden Age (31/12/10)
I’d not seen the first Elizabeth film, but I don’t think it mattered too much. Elizabeth’s the queen and there’s a holy way about to start. Don’t think I needed much back-story than what was supplied to me in the introduction. Cate Blanchett was really very good as the equally strong and fragile Queen Elizabeth. She held the film together when I started losing interest mid-way when they decided to forget there was a Spanish Armada heading to England and instead decided to concentrate on the lack of love life for our queen. This historical epic didn’t blow me out of the water, but it held my interest. Wow, that’s a bad compliment to pay something, isn’t it?
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see the full list of movies seen this year:

100 movies: Robin Hood

100 movies of 2010

I really do love the summer blockbuster season. Every single week there’s a new film out that I want to see. I haven’t been this often to the cinema in ages!

Robin Hood (15/05/10)
Reuniting Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe for a good olde historical epic film. It’s not going to be a horrendously bad idea, considering their last historical outing together – Gladiator was damn good and pretty much set the bar for movies of its kind.

Robin Hood doesn’t disappoint. I won’t give away too many plot points, but as most non-spoilery reviewers have said, it’s not the typical Robin Hood story. More of an origin story of a sort. Which is good, as you get to see the film in its own light, rather than comparing to previous Robin Hood stories.

The battle scenes are epic and brilliantly done. There’s a nice bit of humour in the film as well. Here and there, and not overly done. Accents however are a bit patchy, mostly Russell Crowe! I honestly don’t quite know what he accent was meant to be, but I’m guessing Yorkshire. Kevin Durand’s Scottish was pretty good and Scott Grimes’ Welsh wasn’t bad, though I honestly thought he was meant to be Scottish at a few points!

It’s no Gladiator, but a damn good film in my eyes. The beginning is strong, loses it towards the middle, but picks up towards the end of the film. Worth watching for a bit of history. Can’t guarantee many truths in the history.
Rating: 4/5

Read more to see the full list of movies I’ve seen so far this year.