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 Kids Are All Right

100 movies of 2010

The Kids Are All RightThe Kids Are All Right (15/11/10)
Really enjoyed watching this film. There was some laughter and a couple of teary eyes. Great acting from the whole cast and a really nice and smart story. It was the end that got a few tears out of me. When Joni was thinking her family just left her! The ‘unconventional’ family didn’t feel unconventional at all, which was a nice surprise. Think some films try to make too much of a point of it. However, while I did really like and enjoy the film, it’s a bit ‘forgotten’ with me now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I went to see and I’d like to see it again. When it eventually makes its way to Sky I think.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see the entire list of the movies I’ve seen this year.

100 movies: From animated to just plain weird

100 movies of 2010

I think this is the highest number of movies I’ve seen in a single week. Or the last couple of weeks. It’s what helps me feel better when I’m not so well. So here’s the last few days worth of movies.

Alice in Wonderland (05/03/10)
I didn’t have the highest of high hopes for this movie. I was going into it expecting some amazing stuff from Tim Burton’s mind, crazy stuff from Johnny Depp’s and general entertainment. That’s roughly what I got. I did go and see the 3D version of the film and, to be honest, the 3D didn’t grab me. As more and more movies try out the 3D I’m finding myself getting more and more jaded by it. Not once did I oo or ahh at the 3D. In fact I was vaguely more impressed by the 3D trailer for Toy Story 3 and the Sky 3D advert! Some people in the cinema ooo’d when a teacup came flying at the screen, but in my mind it wasn’t really coming out of the screen.

Enough poo-pooing 3D, what about the film? I really enjoyed it, as I already said. The couple things I really liked was the vision and the casting. Tim Burton’s mind never fails to give you something that looks amazing. And I wasn’t disappointed at all here. Wonderland looked amazing. All the characters were brilliantly conceived. Just lovely to look at. Then there’s the casting, which in my mind was perfect. Everyone from Mia Wasikowska as Alice to Anne Hathaway as the White Queen. I couldn’t fault any of the cast on their roles. Just perfect casting. And Johnny Depp? Well he plays crazy really well and I thought he was great as the Mad Hatter.

I was slightly disappointed with Danny Eflman’s score. It really wasn’t that memorable. I can’t remember the last score of his where I thought ‘wow’.

It was a nice enough story. Nothing mind blowing and nothing unexpected. Good entertainment in my mind. I think my score might look slightly inflated, but I really loved the look of the movie.
Rating: 4/5

Bolt 06/03/10
Disney’s Bolt – a movie about a girl and her dog. Or just the dog. I’m a bit upset at myself for waiting so long seeing this movie. I’m a dog lover and I lap up anything that involves dogs and Disney. Yes, even Snow Buddies. I loved the film. Much funnier than I was expecting and I warmed to all of the characters more than I thought I would. I even forgot Miley Cyrus was in it! Bolt just reminded me of Axel so much at times! I miss that dog. So I had a fair few tears watching the movie. More than I was expecting. Rhino was hilarious. He really made me laugh. All in all a be-awesome Disney movie!
Rating: 4/5

Gran Torino (06/03/10)
I wasn’t expecting to laugh in this movie. All I knew was that it was Clint Eastwood going all badass on a bunch of neighbourhood thugs. There were quite a few laughs! Just at the bits where Walt is getting to know his neighbours and really getting into the community spirit. Fantastic film. Clint Eastwood was brilliant and I just really enjoyed the whole thing. Not completely what I was expecting, but that was a good thing. And the car? It is a thing of beauty! And here it is!
Rating: 5/5

Franklyn (07/038/10)
Umm, I don’t know what to say about this film. Throughout most of the beginning I was clueless as to what was going on. I thought the two narratives jarred incredibly. I understood how the two narratives were connected, but I just couldn’t buy into it. I was impressed by Ryan Philippe’s English accent! Eva Green was good too. Just couldn’t get behind this film much.
Rating: 2/5

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