What’s your racket? Yes, I do want to speak like they do in Gangster Squad

100 movies of 2013

Gangster Squad

Los Angeles, 1949: A secret crew of police officers led by two determined sergeants work together in an effort to take down the ruthless mob king Mickey Cohen who runs the city.

I’m just going to come out and say it. Yes. I enjoyed Gangster Squad. There. Done. Happy? Confused? Does it feel like I’ve let you down?

You know, the thing with Gangster Squad is that, like a few other past films that have disappointed film fans, there was a lot of hype behind it. The cast. The whole look and feel of the trailers that were getting pumped out. It looked effortlessly cool and a film to be looked forward to.

I didn’t let my expectations get the better of me. And it worked. Sure, Gangster Squad is laden with gangster and crime drama clichés. Everything from the dialog to the characters to the story. It’s all very predictable. But damnit I didn’t give a crap.

The characters are perfectly clichéd. The gruff police sergeant, the smooth talker, sharp shooter, the dame, etc. All expertly played by the impressive cast members. None of the characters are a stretch for any of the actors to play. But this gal sure didn’t care. The action is perhaps a little over-stylised. I’ve never been a huge fan of computer generated blood splatters, but director Ruben Fleischer seems to love them. But, the action sequences were still fun to watch.

Of course, this increased enjoyment factor could all be down to the fact that I saw Gangster Squad in a stunning little cinema. I wonder if I’d have thought the same if I’d have seen the film at my usual multiplex.

Gangster Squad (Viewed: 15/01/13 | Rating: 4/5)

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

100 movies: Lars and the Real Girl

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]

Lars and the Real GirlLars and the Real Girl (28/11/12)

A delusional young guy strikes up an unconventional relationship with a doll he finds on the Internet.

Is it okay for me to call his film adorable? Because that’s exactly how I feel about this film. Maybe not in the beginning, but as the film picks up pace, it just made me want to say ‘aww’.

Before the ‘aww’ though, things are a little weird. For one thing, Ryan Gosling has something bizarre attached to his face! Oh, it’s a weird fuzzy moustache thing. Ryan Gosling plays the awkward Lars. He keeps to himself and goes about his life on his own. Despite all of the attempts of his sister-in-law. That is until he finds himself a girlfriend. On the Internet. Called Bianca. Who’s made of plastic.

What I really loved about this film was that it was more than just Lars’ delusion about Bianca, but it was about this whole town of people who come to accept Lars and Bianca and they get over their own issues about it. It’s a very touching film especially at the end. Yes, I did cry. It got very emotional! Not just over the loss of Bianca, but the journey that Lars’ had been on throughout the film and his relationship with Bianca. And how that was him helping himself.

Lars and the Real Girl was a lot more touching than I ever thought it was going to be. While I wasn’t expecting a laugh a minute, I wasn’t expecting such a heart warming film. Especially as, on the surface, it’s a film about a man and his plastic doll of a girlfriend.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

100 movies: Crazy, Stupid Love

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]

Crazy, Stupid, LoveCrazy, Stupid, Love (03/11/12)

A middle-aged husband’s life changes dramatically when his wife asks him for a divorce. He seeks to rediscover his manhood with the help of a newfound friend, Jacob, learning to pick up girls at bars.

Now this is a good film. Surprisingly good. See, I have a problem with Steve Carell. 90% of the time I don’t find him funny or even enjoyable to watch. Little Miss Sunshine and Crazy, Stupid, Love are the exceptions to said rule. Could be because I was very, very distracted by Ryan Gosling 90% of the time. Does that maths work out?

So, Crazy, Stupid, Love. A solid comedy/drama/romance film all successfully rolled into one. It’s a clever film. Or rather, it’s cleverly put together. Halfway through the film I was sitting there thinking whether the two sub-plots that were going on were going to meet at some point and they did! Even if the sub-plots connection is painfully obvious, it’s only obvious after it happens. That whole hindsight is 20-20 thing.

The cast in the film is impeccable. Golden boy and girl Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are perfect in their roles. Steve Carell, strangely, brings almost a sense of reality to the film. Making it grounded. Even if some of the things Steve Carell’s Cal did were somewhat unbelievable in the circumstances.

It’s funny. Crazy, Stupid, Love, on paper, is your average romantic comedy. But it’s just got so much charm stuffed in it, it’s hard not to enjoy ever second of it.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

120+ movies: The Ides of March

120+ Movies of 2011, Annual Movie Challenge

The Ides of MarchThe Ides of March (01/11/11)

An idealistic staffer for a newbie presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail.

There’s nothing like a good political thriller, eh? This was a very good one. I’ll be honest, I might have been a little bored in the beginning. But, it was very short-lived. Once the plot got rolling, it moved along at a good pace.

Great performances from everyone. Ryan Gosling is fantastic. George Clooney’s there, but that’s all he really is. Didn’t make much of an impact, apart from his character being fairly pivotal in the plot of the film. Ok, very pivotal.

It’s not an overly ‘think-y’ film. Nowhere near in the same vein as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which I liked. You just watched as the events unfolded and occasionally saw where things were going. Like the woman sat behind me felt like announcing any time such a thought popped in her head!

Aside from her, really enjoyed the film. Walked out with a good feeling and smile on my face. All films should do that.
Rating: 5/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far:

120+ movies: Drive

120+ Movies of 2011

DriveDrive (28/09/11)

A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong.

My good friend, novice_ninja said something about Drive that I believe to be very true:

…people were “fooled” into thinking it was a commercial film.

It definitely isn’t a commercial film. In some ways it is your ’70s style action film throwback, but with added flare and style. In other ways, it’s a very quiet character-centric film.

Loved the opening scene. Very nicely done. The film as a whole just looked amazing. When things get brutal, they get really brutal. A couple of people left the cinema I was in after the lift scene. I think it just got too much for them at that point.

Ryan Gosling – excellent. Last film I saw him in was The Notebook. Yet to see Blue Valentine. Thank you drive for reminding me of his brilliance. The rest of the actors are great in the film, but it’s all about Ryan and his character, the Driver.

As usual, I have to mention the soundtrack. Which I fell in love with. Not just a brilliant, understate score from Cliff Martinez, but the choice of the few songs they chose to put in the film. Gave them film a retro vibe, which I really appreciated. Now I understand why the soundtrack was getting talked about so heavily.

One thing’s for sure, I know I definitely won’t be seeing another film like Drive any time soon.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far: