What I've been watching: Last five films

What I’ve been watching: Last five films

Film

Pre-Bahrain I spent a fair amount of my weekends in Summer at the cinema. Well, maybe not weekends, but certainly a lot of Friday nights. See, I’m a sucker for blockbuster films.

Sure we get them here. But as I’ve mentioned before, films can tend to be cut. But you’re left guessing as to which films and what’s been cut. The safest thing for a film fan like myself to do is just see the film on the small screen. So while I wait for summer blockbusters, I catch up on other films.

It’s been such a long time since I mentioned anything film related on this blog. I’ve been wondering whether it fits in anymore here. But I tend to over think things. So to tell with the wondering and here’s the last five films I’ve seen. That are mostly not even recent releases.

Film Review: Interstellar

Film

Interstellar Film Review

The wait to finally see Interstellar was painful. Painful. Absolutely wracked as to whether I should risk seeing it in the cinema over here in Bahrain, or just wait until it’s “accessible” for me. There’s no such thing as an IMAX cinema here, so there was no chance of getting to see Interstellar in all its glory. And I figured, seeing most of the spectacle on the big screen would be worth the thought of potentially having the odd swear word or something cut here or there. So cinema it was. THANK FUCK I DID THAT.

100 movies: Take Shelter

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]

Take ShelterTake Shelter (15/09/12)

Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.

If you were having wicked crazy dreams of the mother of all storms, would you go and make sure you’ve got a shelter to run to? I reckon I’d be rocking back and forth in the corner of my bedroom. But it’s good to see that there are some more pro-active people out there. Even if they are fictitious.

Take Shelter is one of those films that just keeps questioning what you really think is going on as well as the main character. At times I was fully onboard with Michael Shannon’s Curtis just going a little bit crazy. But then other times I was right there with him. I think much of that has to do with Michael Shannon’s performance. He makes you fully believe. Believe in his own inability to tell reality from fiction.

Jessica Chastain’s got another great role under her belt here. Before this year, I hadn’t seen a single film of hers and now I’m up to four! All of them she’s been very, very good. Her performance here is up there with how great she was in The Help and The Tree of Life. Jessica’s Samantha seems like quite a fragile woman on the surface, but she’s incredibly strong. But Jessica has a knack for almost under playing the strength. In a good way.

I do admit to getting a little bored towards the end section. The build up was just building and building and I was left waiting for something to happen. It meandered a little too much in the middle for me.

Visually, it’s stunning. There are so many beautiful shots in this film. From the flock of birds, the storm, when Curtis looks to the sky so many times. Beautiful.

Very engaging and beautiful looking film. Keeps ya guessin’!
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

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: The Help

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 HelpThe Help (11/08/12)

An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.

Playing catch up with the last year’s (or so) major films. When The Help hit cinemas over here I can’t say I was too pushed to want to see it. It just looked like familiar awards season fodder. For the most part, I do still think it is. But it’s got a heck of a lot of heart.

I’ll get over the things that didn’t make The Help a 5/5 film for me. It’s a simple story. Which isn’t the bad thing. But it’s the characters in the story that I found a little simple. The portrayal of the white people of the time are mostly the same – obtuse about the whole racial situation. And in the black community, there are no ‘bad’ black people. As such, it’s a very black and white story. I guess it’s the lack of the grey area which made this film great Oscar fodder.

Okay, that’s the cynical stuff done. What did I enjoy? Pretty much everything else. It’s a really interesting story about a time in American history when everything was beginning to change. But what I found really interesting was that this really wasn’t all that long ago. The 1960s aren’t a decade I think about and think that was eons ago.

The performances are excellent all around. The stand out for me was Jessica Chastain’s Celia Foote. I really warmed to her completely ditzy but ultimately, warm-hearted character. I loved how her relationship with Minny evolved.

Emma Stone’s Skeeter was someone I wished I could be. She had very strong beliefs and nothing would change them. Not family or friends. She stuck to them in a time where those beliefs could very easily have gotten her killed. Considering where she lived. I admired her while watching the film.

The Help is a lovely film. Though, it’s the sort of film where you know it’ll have a happy ending from he get-go. But the story is so well told and performances are so good, it’s hard to let that get to you.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…