100 movies: Moneyball

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]

MoneyballMoneyball (27/11/12)

Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.

Still playing catch up on the previous years big award winners it seems. Moneyball is the latest in the long line of films I’m playing catch up with. A film about baseball. See, I like my sports films. But usually I have more than a vague idea about the sport. Baseball? It’s like cricket, right?

Thankfully, I didn’t really need to know much about the sport to get the film. All good sports based films should be like that, right? So with my little knowledge of baseball I managed to really enjoy the film. Moneyball is pretty much an underdog story. A well told underdog story with some solid characters and a tight script.

I remember Brad Pitt being praised for his work on this film. Now don’t get me wrong, I think he was solid in this film. But I have never seen the big ‘wow’ about Brad Pitt. In any of his films. He’s never blown me away. I’m not saying he’s not a good actor. He is. I reckon. I’ve just never seen a performance from him that’s left me reeling. In Moneyball, I thought Brad Pitt did a perfectly good job. Sounds a bit patronising, right? It’s not meant to be! I just can’t think of a better way to put how I thought of him in the film. More than adequate, but it’s not the sort of role that’s a stretch for him, right?

For me, Jonah Hill stood out a bit more. Here he is in Moneyball, a fairly serious drama. And he’s considerably more toned down than I’ve seen him. I’m not Jonah Hill’s biggest fan. I’m definitely near the other end of the scale, but he stood out for me here.

Moneyball’s a good film. A well told story. I like the message it brings across. It’s not the sort of film I’m dying to see again, but glad I’ve given it a watch.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

120+ Movies: Lagging behind!

120+ Movies of 2011

I hit a dry-spell. Summer came along. I went on holiday. There is suddenly an epic amount of TV I have to watch on my list. Films just slipped away. Hopefully the next few weeks of film-age should change that.

Transformers: Dark of the MoonTransformers: Dark of the Moon (29/06/11)

The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets.

Sometimes I think I’ve given this film a slightly higher rating than it truly deserves. It wasn’t a great film. It bordered on being a good film at the best of times. And yet I’ve given it a 4/5. Why? My childhood bias, I believe.

Dark of the Moon isn’t nearly as strong as the first film, a lot stronger than the second film but with plenty of hiccups. It’s literally a film of two halves. The first half being filled with some of the worst characters I have ever seen in a film. The second half filled with some of the best CG and most awesome robots ever seen.

Question – what on Earth did they do to Sam’s character? He’s gone from being a likeable and very relatable character in the first film to being the most annoying in the third. I just wanted him to stop complaining and whining about his poor pathetic life and just get on with things.

I have to admit – Alan Tudyk’s character, Dutch, did make me laugh. He was funny! Well, he brought some light relief.

What this Transformers film did better was focus on the robots. They’re in the title after all! But still not enough. The battle in Chicago was awesome to see. Grateful that I chose 2D over 3D. My retinas would have been dying after some of the battle sequences. It should all have been about the Transformers and less about Sam’s inability to get on with his life and the weak politics of the great US of A.

Steve Jablonsky has once again produced a very fitting score. While he did produce a theme for this film, I couldn’t help but thinking of the score from The Last Samurai, when I listen to it.

If there’s a plan to do a fourth, there’s still plenty to learn from this third film.
Rating: 4/5

PredatorsPredators (30/07/11)

A group of elite warriors are hunted by members of a merciless alien race known as Predators.

I was expecting something along the lines of the original Arnie Predator when I started watching this film. I was mightily disappointed.

There was just nothing special about the film. Sure we see a slightly more evolved predator and there’s some more story given to those ugly aliens, but everything else was just blah. Nothing unexpected, nothing new. Felt like a very by the numbers film.

I thought with a name like Robert Rodriguez onboard they’d be something more in the film. Sadly there was not. I’d happily take Predator and Predator 2 over this one.
Rating: 2/5

Captain America: The First AvengerCaptain America: The First Avenger (31/07/11)

After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top-secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America’s ideals.

The onslaught of summer comic book films continues. I did enjoy watching Captain America, but it just lacked that something extra that made Thor and X-Men: First Class great comic book films.

Chris Evans did a great job as Steve Rogers. He filled out the role I was expecting of Capt. America. Gave the film some heart. Good job! The villain of the piece – Red Skull… he was, well just didn’t convince. Who else does the great Captain America go up against but a Hitler-esque adversary?

Or maybe it was the whole plot of the film. The plot didn’t veer from going from A to B. There weren’t any surprises. A lot of the time I couldn’t help thinking the plot was very similar to that of GI Joe: Rise of Cobra.

I think it’s getting harder and harder for comic book films to really stand out from the crowd. There are just so many of them. Captain America does blend into the background a little bit, but as it’s part of The Avengers franchise, we’ll be seeing more of Cap. And I’m actually happy about that. I see potential, everything’s there. Just a better story.
Rating: 3/5

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