Beast it! Beasts of the Southern Wild – Not quite so beastly

100 movies of 2013

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Faced with both her hot-tempered father’s fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.

Every ounce of me wanted to love this film. Wanted to get taken away with it. Wanted it to give me that warm and fuzzy feeling it’s been giving all you people who’ve seen it. This should be hint enough that it didn’t quite hit the mark with me.

Beasts of the Southern Wild lost me. I’m trying to pinpoint where exactly it lost me, but failing. Maybe about half an hour into the film I lost track of what exactly it was I was watching. Lost my grasp of where the film was going.

Don’t get me wrong. I fully appreciate the look and feeling of the film. Which I did enjoy. Beasts of the Southern Wild looks beautiful. The score and music matches the tone of the film perfectly. Little Quvenzhané Wallis made for a very endearing young heroine. But it was the lack of a more tangible plot that made me lose my grip on the film.

Maybe Beasts of the Southern Wild will be that film I revisit in a few years and I’ll see something else in it. For now, it’s just that okay film I wished I enjoyed that little bit more.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Viewed: 09/01/13 | Rating: 3/5)

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

100 movies: It’s a Wonderful Life

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]

It's a Wonderful LifeIt’s a Wonderful Life (24/12/12)

An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.

It’s Christmas Eve and there’s nothing on TV. No films that remind me of my Christmases gone past. Not that my Christmases are all that memorable, other than an over indulgence of food. There was just nothing. So what better time than to give It’s a Wonderful Life a watch for the first time? Good idea, right?

Great idea. It’s a Wonderful Life is probably the perfect viewing for Christmas Eve. Any other time of the year, I’m not sure it would have felt ‘right’.

It’s a Wonderful Life is a good, classic film. James Stewart’s George Bailey could quite possibly be the most selfless and genuinely nice film character I have ever come across. Though for this cynical person, that was a bit hard to swallow at times. But it was Christmas Eve and I was getting into the spirit of things.

It’s a simple story with some very heart warming characters that you can’t help but fall for. BUT. But, by film’s end I honestly didn’t understand quite how much love this film gets. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a good film and I can understand why it’s a classic. But I didn’t connect with it as I hoped I would. It was an enjoyable enough film to watch, but when it finished I wasn’t left with any lasting feeling. You know?

So yes, I appreciate this film. Glad I watched it. Think it’s a definite classic for a reason. But will I be itching to watch it again? Probably not. Sorry!
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

100 movies: Midnight in Paris

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]

Midnight in ParisMidnight in Paris (22/12/12)

While on a trip to Paris with his fiancé’s family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight.

Woody Allen films aren’t a group of films I have seen many of. In fact, I think the only other Woody Allen film I’ve seen is You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. And that wasn’t a great one at all. Last year I attempted to watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona and had to stop about 20 minutes in. Boredom and frustration were the main reasons. Also, the tone of voice. It didn’t speak to me. If that makes sense.

Midnight in Paris felt different. Sure, I was struggling with it a bit in the beginning. But something felt like it was worth sticking through. Well, that and the fact that pretty much the entire blogosphere raved about this film.

Glad I stuck with it. For one thing, Midnight in Paris went in a direction I was not expecting whatsoever. The fantasy aspect of the film blind sided me a little bit. In the good way. It helped with the storytelling and re-emphasised the notion that we all believe in that golden era. That the time we’re living in is nowhere near as great as things used to be. Heck, I’m guilty of thinking that every now and then!

Midnight in Paris did an excellent job of showing off Paris. It’s been years since I last visited. But I never thought I needed to visit it again. It definitely wasn’t among my top 5 European cities I feel like I need to visit. But now, I think it’s creeping back up there. I want to see if I can see that whimsy and magic! (Perhaps it’s the seasonal time of year talking there!)
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

100 movies: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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 Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (13/12/12)

A curious Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, journeys to the Lonely Mountain with a vigorous group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug.

The Hobbit was one of my most anticipated films of the year at the beginning of the year. With a whole year to wait, the anticipation and excitement was only going to rise. And it did. With every production diary video I watched, the more impatient I got. December rolled around and tickets were booked as soon as they were available. Though… in boring old 2D.

While I’m all for pushing the boundaries with technology and all that new stuff, I’m fairly old-fashioned with my cinema viewing. I don’t want to have to wear anything on my face. I don’t want to be told where to look. I just want to enjoy the story and film making.

So this is a non-HFR, non-3D review of The Hobbit.

What of The Hobbit? Well, in a nutshell, I enjoyed it. It was a welcome return to Middle Earth. It felt like going back to an old TV show and already knowing what to expect. But in a good way. That nice familiar feeling watching the camera roll around Hobbiton. It felt like home!

Howard Shore’s score made it all the more familiar with themes from The Fellowship of the Ring creeping in every now and then. I really loved Over the Misty Mountains Cold. Really beautiful bit of music. Solid score. I expected nothing less.

The characters were all brought to life brilliantly. Young Bilbo was a bit more sullen than I expected. Gandalf was as I remembered him. Exactly how I wanted it. Gollum – wow. Sure he was only onscreen for a short amount of time, but he lit up the screen. Loved the riddle scene so very much.

The dwarves were all brilliant, but they came off as more comic relief than anything else. Which was a shame. While watching this troop I couldn’t help but compare to the Fellowship and how they were all such individual characters and, yes at times, comic relief, but they had purpose. The dwarves all blended together a bit for me. Which was a shame.

I’m amazed that from this one film we have only got a portion of The Hobbit. The good sort of amazed. There’s a lot of Middle Earth history, which I appreciate and look forward to seeing more of. I’m not sure how successfully it was intertwined with the story of The Hobbit. I think LOTR did a better job with their pre-title prologues.

The set pieces of the film let me down a little. Not visually. But just that there were quite a few of them. Lots of fighting. Not in the spirit of the book. But guess they have to cater to the mass cinema going audiences.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed The Hobbit. Probably more so because I saw it in 2D. It’s a welcome return to Middle Earth, but it’s not on par with The Lord of the Rings for me. So far. It lacked the heart of Fellowship but hoping that will change with the next two installments.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

100 movies: Snow White and the Huntsman

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!

Snow White and the HuntsmanSnow White and the Huntsman (05/06/12)

In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to kill Snow White turns into her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen and help Snow White reclaim the throne.

Would someone please figure out a way to get an expression out of Kristen Stewart’s face. It would have made this film a million times better! Who on Earth thought it was a good idea to put her in the lead role which required her to be charming and gracious and get some sympathy out of the audience? Show me their face!

Aside from my annoyances with Stewart, I enjoyed this film. A nice bit of retelling of Snow White’s story. Surprised that there was actually a different spin left on this story which feels like it’s been done to death already with two other Snow Whites out there with Mirror, Mirror and Once Upon a Time.

Charlize Theron is the stand out performer in this film. She gets more to do other than walking into rooms looking dramatic and pissed off (Ahem, Prometheus. Ravenna is a very multi-faceted villain, unlike our ‘heroine’. By the end of the film I was beginning to feel for the pressures that Ravenna had put on herself because of her past. Yes, a little part of me wanted her to win out.

Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman was a good solid character too. I don’t think he was a stretch for Hemsworth to play, but I enjoyed his role. Even with his Scottish accent. Which wasn’t as atrocious as I was expecting. The Huntsman has always been such a quiet, untold character. I would have liked a bit more from him, heck, it would have been a great spin for him to have been the lead instead of Snow White. That’s just my brain talking crazy!

The film was entertaining. I believe it was trying to be massive in scope competing with the big fantasy films like Lord of the Rings. (There was one scene that felt right out of FOTR – Snow White getting chased by those black riders after her escape felt very similar to Arwen getting chased by the Ringwraithes.) I don’t think it quite pulled it off. But the film did create a rich little universe. I do like when fairytales are given a bit more of an edge.

Not as great as I’d hoped, but still a fun little ride. After the first hour or so.

Oh and fun fact, this is the fifth Chris Hemsworth featuring film I’ve seen this year. Nah… I don’t think I have a problem.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…