X-Men: Days of Future Past – Messing with my mind

Film

X-Men: Days of Future Past

It has been a very long time since I wrote down my thoughts on any film, long or short, here on my blog. Something I feel like I need to get into the habit of again. Admittedly, I’m no film critic – so far from it. But … I think I miss regurgitating my thoughts on films I’ve seen.

So here I am, starting it up again with the latest X-Men film – X-Men: Day of Future Past.

Crying my way through Les Miserables

100 movies of 2013

Les Miserables

In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever.

Shoot me. I’ve lived in London for my whole life and seen a fair few musicals and plays and what nots in the West End. Yet have I seen Les Miserables? No. I’ve even seen a handful of musicals a good few times. But still no Les Mis for me.

Saying that, it’s not as if I was unfamiliar with the music from the show. I knew of I dreamed a dream, Suddenly, On my own and One day more. The story? Not totally familiar. Just it was something French. Revolution-y. Ish.

Les Miserables is a powerful film. Powerful, emotional and, sorry if I sound terribly film poster-y, but it is a triumph. As the title of this post suggest, yes, I spent 90% of my time crying while watching this film. Nearly every song hits you right in the gut. Knocks the wind, and the tears, right out of you. Though, much like everyone else who’s seen it, it’s Anne Hathaway’s performance and songs that really hit me where it hurt. Never thought Anne Hathaway would have such an amazing and strong singing voice. Backed up by an absolutely heartbreaking performance. Yes, Hugh Jackman’s was fantastic too. But, I expected greatness from him. And he delivered. Like Anne, amazing voice and stellar performance too.

I know there’s been a big deal made of Russell Crowe’s vocal performance. From my point of view, I saw nothing wrong with it. Yes, he’s got a very different singing voice to everyone else. But, to my untrained ears, I didn’t hear anything out of tune. Very powerful. Very authoritative. Much like his character.

Having all the actors sing while performing, rather than have songs recorded in a studio, gave the film much more of a real feeling. Am I right? None of this dubbed over and lip syncing.

The film itself is beautiful. Think the barricade scene made me think I was watching a musical onstage. The set felt very like a theatrical set, rather than film set. Yet to decide whether that’s a good or bad thing.

You could do a lot worse than cry your way through Les Miserables. In fact, if you don’t, I worry for your soul. And now, I’m on the hunt for some tickets to the West End musical. Ahhh… there are tickets available near May/June time!

Les Miserables (Viewed: 23/01/13 | Rating: 5/5)

Check out all of the films I’ve seen this year:

100 movies: Real Steel

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]

Real SteelReal Steel (30/08/12)

Set in the near future, where robot boxing is a top sport, a struggling promoter feels he’s found a champion in a discarded robot. During his hopeful rise to the top, he discovers he has an 11-year-old son who wants to know his father.

Let me set the scene. It’s Friday night. I’m feeling somewhat lazy after a tough day spending money at everywhere from IKEA to the hairdressers’ and B&Q. The evening rolls around and I’m thinking I need a film to watch. But nothing too ‘thinky’. Enter, Real Steel.

Real Steel made a lot of noise when it first entered the cinemas. I did remember wanting to see it on the big screen. Robots. Hugh Jackman. Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis’ names both being attached to this film. Sounded like a lot to enjoy. Though the rumblings from the cinema goers was that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

I now agree with those cinema goers. Watching Real Steel on Friday night was fine. It didn’t stretch my brain. It didn’t make me think. But it didn’t stir much in me really. Neither love nor hatred. Real Steel is one of those films that is just so utterly mediocre that it stumps me for anything to say.

Real Steel should have been an emotional and heart warming film about a boy, his estranged father and their battling robot. But I just got no heart from this film. It takes very little to make me cry and this film couldn’t even get one tear out of me. Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo were a very convincing father/son team but there was just something missing from the film. I can’t put my finger on what exactly, but it lacked that spark. The film went from start to finish without a real deviance from the predicted story.

Oh well, at least the robots looked great and we were treated to Hugh Jackman without a shirt at one point.
Rating: 2/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

100 movies: What the kids are watching

100 movies of 2010

I may be bingeing on Christmas season TV…

Race to Witch MountainRace to Witch Mountain (15/12/10)
Harmless film, easy enough to watch with a very simple plot. There weren’t much surprises but it was entertaining enough. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was a good enough leading man in it. The actors who played the kids – AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig weren’t all that amazing, but did an okay enough job I guess. Why did I watch it then? Well it was on TV and I had done packing. That a good enough reason?
Rating: 2/5

ShrekShrek (23/12/10)
How have I gone this long without ever having seen Shrek? I remember vaguely seeing the second one at some point or another but not being all that impressed. The first one was a lot better than I was expecting. Some good jokes, fun music and a nice twist on some fairy tales. Of course the animation quality has aged the film a fair bit. Though you could say the same thing about Toy Story. I’m not as in love with Shrek as some people got, but enjoyed it while I watched.
Rating: 3/5

Shrek the ThirdShrek the Third (25/12/10)
Christmas day is to be spent laying like a lump on the sofa watching whatever turns up on TV. Shrek the Third happened to be one such item. Not nearly as good as the first. The music was still good though. Jokes were a bit weak and not all that great to laugh at. More rolling of my eyes than anything else.
Rating: 2/5

March of the PenguinsMarch of the Penguins (27/12/10)
Beautifully made documentary narrated by one of the best voices to narrate anything like this – Morgan Freeman! It was interesting to watch but you really have to respect the people who were out there to make this documentary. Not only were the penguins out there in -80 degree Celsius weather but so were the film makers! Penguins have it really hard, it’s a wonder that they’re not extinct if you combine what they have to go through in order to have children and humankind’s impact on their environment. I’m perhaps giving this a higher mark than I was initially thinking, only because of how much respect I have for the people who were down there filming all of what I saw.
Rating: 4/5

Happy FeetHappy Feet (27/12/10)
Penguins dancing and singing – more amusing than I initially thought it would be. Drawn in by the cuteness of the animated fuzz balls the songs were fun and the tap dancing was kind of very cute to watch. The obvious message behind the film was the effect of humans on the environment felt a bit forced towards the end. Jammed in there just to make sure the film had a message in it. I don’t personally feel it was needed, but then again, I don’t know where the film would have gone had that not been put in there. Fun, cute and even more cute.
Rating: 3/5

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

100 movies of 2010: Update

100 movies of 2010

It’s been a bit of a slower week this week with only 3 movies watched, but that’s better than I would have done had I not been trying to watch 100 movies this year. Another mixed bunch too.

Slumdog Millionaire (16/01/10)
For some reason the hype machine that was working for this movie last year skipped me. Well I saw the hype, but I felt it was over hyped. A lot of people saying it’s a really ‘good’ movie or ‘nice’ movie just put me off a lot for some reason. Also despite being Indian, I’m not a big Bollywood fan and the big thing about this movie was mixing of the Bollywood with Hollywood. Well that wasn’t totally accurate I found out upon watching the movie. It’s definitely a good movie. Danny Boyle’s direction really makes the movie look amazing. The way the story’s told also adds to the ‘goodness’ of this movie. I can’t really find too much fault with this movie, I did enjoy watching it. Though I don’t understand how overhyped it was. I felt it showed a bit of a one sided view of Mumbai, but I guess it’s the Western world’s POV of India. Still.
Rating: 4/5

Australia (16/01/10)
I really did want to see this movie when it was first released in the cinema. Baz Luhrman and Hugh Jackman … I’m not the biggest Nicole Kidman fan. I thought this would be a winner. I am now grateful I waited ’til now to see it. What on Earth was this movie meant to be about? It had so many different plots rolled into it and I don’t think it really knew where it was going. Overly long and without any real purpose. But speaking as a female – Hugh Jackman was much appreciated in this movie. Hell YES. But he alone wasn’t enough. Some great scenery and emotional stuff which got the tears out of me, but that’s getting easier and easier these days.
Rating: 2/5

Yes Man (17/01/10)
Not exactly something I really desperately needed to see, but a nice enough movie to spend a Sunday afternoon watching. I thought the whole cast was good, besides Jim Carey. He just seemed a bit of an odd piece of casting considering how much younger the rest of the cast were. Made his pairing with Zooey Deschanel all the more bizarre. It was nice enough. I’ve not read the book, though from what I can guess all they took from the book was the loose concept of saying YES to everything. Jim Carey did some gurning, he couldn’t go a whole movie without. It was great seeing Rhys Darby, though in a similar role as he was in Flight of the Conchords. An entertaining enough movie, I’m guessing, if you haven’t read the book.
Rating: 2/5

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