100 movies: Lawless

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]

LawlessLawless (30/08/12)

Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a bootlegging gang is threatened by a new deputy and other authorities who want a cut of their profits.

Lawless was a film I was looking forward to. I was looking forward to Lawless being that end of summer hit. After all the blockbusters were over with, in would come this great little film with a fantastic cast that would just end the summer film season perfectly.

I didn’t quite get my wish. See, I think my expectations were too high. Aside from the Shia inclusion, I was blown away by the casting in this film. Not just Tom Hardy in a leading role, but Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain and Guy Pearce. That is a whole lot of good to fit into a film. And it turns out, there just wasn’t enough film to fit all those good people in it.

Lawless is based on the true story of the Bondurant boys – a family of bootleggers. Like the IMDB summary says, their way of life is threatened when Guy Pearce’s Rakes enters the game and his only goal is to get shot of al booze in the county. Simple story. Which is fine. But the story itself didn’t amount to much. Thing happened. But there was never a real climax. It felt like watching a very pedestrian story of a family of bootleggers. Well, ignoring all the bloody violence, of which there was a fair amount of.

Alongside that, the players in the film, while great, I left the cinema wondering why they were in it. Gary Oldman’s Floyd Banner was pretty much a cameo appearance. I wanted more Oldman – he was great in those short minutes we got him. Jessica Chastain’s Maggie was barely in it and her role just about amounted to a bit of eye candy. Why was she there? Tom Hardy was fantastic as one of the Bondurant boys. With a mere grunt he could convey so much! Also, I don’t think there has been such a manly man who can pull of cardigans as well as Tom Hardy did here. Jason Clarke was another stand-out for me. The ever loyal but oh so drunken Howard. The last thing I saw him in was The Chicago Code (which I do still miss). What about Shia LaBeouf? Well, I was pleasantly surprised by his performance here. BUT. I don’t think he has the chops for such a heavy leading role.

Lawless did have a great score and a beautiful selection of songs. It felt like it could be authentic. That you were watching this true story of the Bondurant boys. I just wish something happened towards the end.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

100 movies: Prometheus

100 movies of 2012

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!

PrometheusPrometheus (03/06/12)

A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

There was just utter silence from the audience when the credits rolled for this film. You could and most definitely would have heard a pin drop. There wasn’t a single sound. Not even the scrunching of a sweet wrapper. Just silence. There were a few seconds where everyone just stayed sat in their seats in silence.

There’s good reason for this. Everyone was probably just trying to take everything they’ve just seen, in. Boy was there a lot to take in.

It feels like it’s been a very, very long time since we’ve had a straight up sci-fi film. It doesn’t disappoint. Prometheus is very much in the same vein as Alien, but at the same time, a completely different beast. If that makes any sense. You’ve got your Ripley-esque character in Noomi Rapace Shaw. I swear, as the film went on, she even began to look more and more like Ripley! Though, Prometheus is much less of a horror film. Much, much less.

It throws out there the biggest question for humankind – what the heck we’re all doing here. Interesting. I like where they went with it. It certainly gave my brain a bit of a work out.

Michael Fassbender’s David is creep-tastic. One of the creepiest/nicest androids to grace the big screen in a very long time. His mannerisms and speech were all so … robotic, yet laced with a hidden intent. Brilliant work from him.

Ridley Scott has succeeded in making one fantastic looking film. The sets are excellent and the world that’s created in it just looks beautiful.

While this wasn’t the film I was expecting. I left wanting more and being ever so slightly confused in some part. But I left asking questions and wanting to seek answers. Can’t remember the last time a film did that for me. Though, my all time favourite Ridley Scott film is still Gladiator, Prometheus is one of his better recent efforts.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

100 movies: The Hurt Locker

100 movies of 2012

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!

The Hurt LockerThe Hurt Locker (21/04/12)

Forced to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the chaos of war, an elite Army bomb squad unit must come together in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb.

With Jeremy Renner turning up in this week’s big release – Avengers Assemble – I figured now would be a good time to catch up with the role that really put him out there.

Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker is probably one of the most realistic war film I’ve seen in a while. It feels like a bit of a muted affair. The emphasis is purely on following the bomb disposal team. Which is where this film wins for me. It gives you, probably, a good idea of just how high the stakes are for these guys out there who do what they do as regularly as we, say, go to work. Only their work environment’s a bit more prickly.

Jeremy Renner’s great. His character’s clearly cracking at the seams. He’s holding it together. Just. It’s his work that gets him through. Despite his character being a little bit tough, I found it easy to connect to him. To get behind him.

There was one scene that really stood out for me. When the team were pinned down and they were trying to out-snipe being sniped themselves. That was intense. It felt real.

However… I didn’t quite see what all the fuss was about with this film. I don’t not think it’s a good film. It is. But not sure I get the hype that surrounds it. Like I said before, I won’t deny this is a superbly made film, I just don’t quite see the amazing in it. Definitely appreciate it for what it is though.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

120+ movies: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

120+ Movies of 2011, Annual Movie Challenge

Looking back to last year’s film watching challenge, I am way behind on my target of over 120 films watched in a year. This time last year I’d seen nearly 100 films already, and my target was only 100! Eep! If I have any chance of hitting over 120 this year I have some major catching up to do.

Don't Be Afraid of the DarkDon’t Be Afraid of the Dark (12/10/11)

A young girl sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend discovers creatures in her new home who want to claim her as one of their own.

I love a good horror/ghost story. Now that Halloween’s not far off, all the scary films are coming out thick and fast. Good news!

While DBAOTD had a few shortcomings, I really enjoyed it. I don’t scare easy and I can’t honestly remember the last film I saw that genuinely scared me. Oh wait, it could have been Black Swan. But that’s a different kind of scare. I digress!

DBAOTD felt like, to me, that it was trying to be a more traditional scary film. It definitely felt like The Shining at points with the young girl and the old knowledgeable grandfather type man. There were some good jumpy moments. Some nice tension building – mostly down to the score by Marco Beltrami and some really beautifully set up shots.

I was saddened by Guy Pearce’s lack of acting. Anyone could have played his character of the father who doesn’t know what to do with his child. Katie Holmes actually surprised me. I didn’t think she was awful! The real star of the show was Bailee Madison. She stole the show and sold the fear that poor Sally was feeling.

With Guillermo del Toro’s hand in this pie, you’ve got the creatures looking that distinct Guillermo way. While my brother groaned and rolled his eyes when he saw the tree carving in the door and the look of the creatures, I was quite happy to see his style back on the big screen. In fact, it made me want to watch Pan’s Labyrinth again.

All in all, a good scary film. A good one for Halloween.
Rating: 4/5

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

120+ movies: The King’s Speech

120+ Movies of 2011

One final movie before I head off on holiday.

The King's SpeechThe King’s Speech (19/01/11)

The story of King George VI of Britain, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.

The King’s Speech really is as good as everyone is saying. It’s touching, funny and dramatic all at the same time. Colin Firth deserved to have won the Golden Globe for his role as King George VI and I do hope he goes on to get nominated for an Academy Award for it. All the actors cast in the film were brilliant to watch. Geoffrey Rush made for such a nice character. I couldn’t find a single flaw to him. And yet, he’s still so likeable.

I also loved the look of the film. The muted colours. The way some of the scenes between Bertie and Lionel were shot – really focussing on a portrait or face-on, close to the camera. Really stunning looking film.

Also, this poster image I’ve used – love it! It seems a bit unconventional for this type of movie. Looks more contemporary but I love it. The orange and the simplicity of it. Brilliant.

Excellent film, with great performances from everyone and just a joy to watch. See it!
Rating: 5/5

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