100 movies: Take Shelter

[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

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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 LegacyThe 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

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

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 KevinWe 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: 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 DieA 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

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

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 JoeKiller 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 →