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Movie: Thriller

100 movies of 2012

100 movies: The Bourne Legacy

[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 Bourne Legacy The Bourne Legacy (13/08/12)

An expansion of the universe from Robert Ludlum’s novels, centered on a new hero whose stakes have been triggered by the events of the previous three films.

This is one of those films that inspires neither strong outrage nor strong joy. It just is. Films like that are incredibly hard to talk about.

The Bourne Legacy is meant to be a new jumping off point for the Bourne franchise but for me, it felt like a remake of The Bourne Identity. Sometimes it almost felt like there were scene for scene do-overs. I did appreciate the opening of Legacy mirroring the opening of Identity though. With Aaron Cross’ seemingly lifeless body floating in water. That was a nice throwback. But the rest of the film pretty much felt like it took Identity as a template. You’ve got the super powered agent. An innocent woman caught up in it. Serious conversations happening in the car between them. Nameless agents chasing them. The scene in the hotel with Marta and Aaron in front of the mirror. I was half expecting them to cut Marta’s hair off. Not that I would have been surprised if they did. Even the ending felt very much like Identity.

What it didn’t share with Identity was the energy, and funnily enough, the identity. The Bourne Identity felt like a very rough around the edges action thriller. Small, but it skipped along brilliantly. Legacy probably began to bore me. I was sitting there wishing for something to happen. When the action did kick in, it was fine. But it felt like it needed the action.

The saving grace for this film is Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz. They’re brilliant. It’s just a shame the film around them wasn’t better. Renner’s Aaron Cross is instantly more human and relatable than Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne. But Jason Bourne has more of a journey in the first film alone than Aaron did. There wasn’t that much development. Just revelations.

Is it me or did they showcase all the best stunts and sequences in the trailers? I was expecting more but the more never occurred. Also on the marketing side of things, I have a question about the posters. The phrase ‘There Was Never Just One’. Now before the film I always thought that referred to the fact that there was never just one Jason Bourne. I rolled my eyes and yelled out ‘DUH’! We know this from the first film! After the film, I’m wondering if the phrase is actually implying that there was more than just one Treadstone-esque project. *shrug*

I’m really torn on what rating to give this film. It was slow. Had bad pacing. Didn’t really add much to the Bourne franchise. But Renner was great. So I went back to my list of films this year to get a gauging point. I definitely enjoyed it more than a lot of the films I’ve given 2/5 but definitely less than some of the films I’ve given 3/5. I’m torn! So I’ve gone soft. Blame Renner.
Rating: 3/5

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100 movies of 2012

100 movies: We Need to Talk About Kevin

[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]

We Need to Talk About Kevin We Need to Talk About Kevin (07/07/12)

Kevin’s mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly vicious things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.

If there’s ever a film that could do more for teen pregnancy, then this is the one. I defy anyone not to sit through this film and then have second thoughts about having kids. It just gets under your skin!

This film is incredibly tense. From the beginning, every scene is tinged with a ridiculous amount of tension. I don’t think I’ve been this tense while watching a film since I saw Black Swan. From the start you’re made very aware that Kevin is not your average kid and in the future Kevin does something amazingly wrong and bad and just plain evil. Though all you can do is watch, scene by scene, as the past unfolds with the present rolling on, watching through the mother’s eyes.

Speaking of which, Tilda Swinton is fantastic as Eva. From the beginning, seeing her struggle with the infant Kevin, right through to his adulthood. I could feel her pain and frustration. Though, being a mother, she just takes it. Everything that Kevin throws at her.

Kevin himself… just despicable. Ezra Miller freaked me out completely. As Kevin, he just had a complete disregard for anything or anyone around him. Every moment I was wondering what his real motives were. Chilling.

I loved the colour scheme of the film. The red splashed across almost every scene. Reminding us, that all is never going to be right.
Rating: 4/5

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100 movies of 2012

100 movies: A Lonely Place to Die

[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]

A Lonely Place to Die A Lonely Place to Die 26/06/12)

A group of five mountaineers are hiking and climbing in the Scottish Highlands when they become caught up in a terrifying game of cat and mouse.

I’d be lying if I said that this film was totally not what I was expecting. Only because I’ve read a fair few people have that reaction before watching this film. But even with the vague knowledge that this film is in fact, not about mountain climbing, I was still pretty damn surprised.

One minute I’m watching some stunning cinematography selling Scotland’s amazing highlands. The next people are running, there’s screaming and gunshots are being fired. When the shit hits the fan, it really, really gets going. And I’m struggling talking about this film without actually talking about it. I’d like for other people to be as surprised as I was. A very convincing little thriller. I was definitely on the edge of my seat a few times. And I rarely am. My sofa is massive. It takes a lot for me to move that far.

Aside from the surprise, I enjoyed this film. Loved the little joke about Scottish money at the beginning. (I totally did that when I got given a Scottish £5 note!) Thought the ending got a little bit drawn out and despite the film coming in at just about 90 minutes, the last 20 minutes felt like double the amount of time. Melissa George is a great lead. She needs to do more films!

If you see this pop up on your radar, give it a go.
Rating: 3/5

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100 movies of 2012

100 movies: Killer Joe

[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]

Killer Joe Killer Joe 29/06/12)

When a debt puts a young man’s life in danger, he turns to putting a hit out on his evil mother in order to collect the insurance.

After watching this film you will not want to head out for a lovely bit of KFC for a while. Trust me.

Killer Joe sees Matthew McConaughey plays the titular Killer Joe, a police detective who also has a nice little side business of professional killer. For a price, he’ll kill whoever you want him to kill. Emile Hirsch’s Chris is in a bit of spot of bother – he’s in debt. The only way he sees how to get out of his debt is by killing off his mother and collect her life insurance. Chris isn’t the brightest spark in the book, so as you can imagine, things go very wrong.

Matthew McConaughey really does shine in this film. Joe is a charismatic, charming, slimy and calculating kind of guy. All of these qualities make for one interesting character. At one point I was very much on his side, thinking he’s an altogether good guy. Wow, did my views change throughout the entire film. I’ve avoided a lot of Matthew McConaughey’s romcom type of films. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen any. The last film of his I remember and enjoyed was Sahara. A guilty pleasure film of mine! He’s a completely different person in this film. For the good. He’s got such a command of the screen as Joe. Just totally drawn into him.

The rest of the cast is great. Thomas Haden Church has some fantastic lines that made me laugh out loud. Though I don’t think I’d say that this film is a comedy. A comedy of errors, but definitely not a comedy.

Felt like the first 45 minutes of the film were a little slow. I was getting shifty in my seat, waiting for something to happen. After that approximate marker the pace changed up a notch and it felt like we were finally heading towards something.

The final scene is brilliant. A little bit squirmy at points. Correction – very squirmy. The ending itself is all I could have asked for out of the film.

Killer Joe is a good film. Enjoyed watching it, with all the uncomfortable-ness in some scenes. I’m glad I decided to rush out of work on the Friday and peg it to my nearest cinema to see it. (In one of the tiniest screens known to man, I might add. It had 5 rows. And this was the Vue cinema at Westfield!) It’s just not the sort of film I’m rushing to go and see again.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year… Continue Reading

100 movies of 2012

100 movies: Insomnia

[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]

Insomnia Insomnia (16/06/12)

Two Los Angeles homicide detectives are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn’t set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.

There was a strong sense of familiarity while watching this film. Not the plotting so much but just the way it looked. Certain scenes. Use of score. In my head I could place scenes from everything from The Prestige to Batman Begins, Dark Knight and even Inception. I love it when you can see familiarity in a director’s work from his earlier films. The only difference I could call between this earlier film of his is that it’s a fairly normal and linear in the way the story is told. It is a detective story. A well told detective story.

The story itself was simple. Find the killer. Made more interesting by Pacino’s insomnia-ridden detective struggling with dealing with what he’s done. Whether he meant to do what he did or whether it was all just an accident. He was doubting himself. Which made me as the audience member, doubt him and what he himself was seeing.

I think the only weak point, which I couldn’t ignore in this film, was Al Pacino. I think he did a brilliant job and I’m not knocking his performance. It’s probably his last good film in recent years. But I couldn’t help but thinking the character called for someone a bit younger. Especially in the scenes where he needed to be a bit more, spritely. It just looked like he was struggling! Maybe that was the point. What with the whole insomnia thing.

Robin Williams was excellent as the creepy killer. He wasn’t overly creepy. Just weird enough. A muted performance. Him and Pacino worked very well together. Both the characters and the actors. Never thought I’d see Robin Williams and Al Pacino in the same film together!

Overall, a very good film. The ending didn’t really satisfy me. It felt too clean. Maybe I was wanting too much. But other than that, a good crime thriller with Nolan’s fingerprints all over it.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year… Continue Reading