Thursday, 22 December 2011

Movie Binge December

I've been watching a lot of movies recently so I thought I'd do a review post. I should point out that I saw none of these films in 3D (which may or may not explain some of my views).



HUGO ~ Very poor visuals (perhaps they're more impressive in 3D) with very obvious fake backgrounds and way too much CGI endlessly weaving between passengers on train platforms. A sweet message about the love of imagination, but quite a long, drawn out narrative structure with lots of Tell me/It's a secret/ But you must/No, I can't/Oh, go on/No, really, I can't... And quite a few plot holes too, where stuff that's important one minute is totally forgotten the next.


TINTIN ~ Visually very impressive, really used the freedom of the CGI world to get the camera to do things you couldn't do in real life. Action set pieces were very good, although the story itself suffers from the same problems as the source material (Tintin tends to solve cases through luck and coincidence), although fortunately they toned down the casual racism in the books. Still prefer Asterix and Obelisk, myself.



EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE ~ Extremely slow and incredibly boring. If a story turns out to move you that's all well and good, but this very clearly thinks it has you by the emotional balls (metahphorically speaking) and really tries to manipulate the shit out of you. Bad movie.



MIDNIGHT IN PARIS ~ I've seen just about every Woody Allen movie (Celebrity, Scoop, Jade Scorpion — I've seen 'em all), and I don't hold out very high expectations anymore, but I was pleasantly suprised with this one. It helps that it's about writers and writing, I guess, but it also manages to be funny and insightful. If you've lost faith in Woody's movies, this one might get you back. I expect his next one to be rubbish though. Obviously I'll still go and see it.



THE ARTIST ~ A silent movie in black and white that is filmed to look like it was made in the period it's about (the late 1920's). The story is basically A Star is Born with some Singing in the Rain elements thrown in. Technically it's brilliant, very cleverly done. The acting is a little (intenionally) larger than life, although some of the actors manage it better than others. The male lead does very well (he even looks the part, like a cross between Douglas Fairbanks and Gene Kelly), but the female lead doesn't quite pull it off. Some great visual gags, but also some rather heavy-handed metaphors (they meet on the stairs as his career is failing and hers is rising). But the exuberance and panache more than makes up for an shortfalls.


As a love letter to movie-making far more effective than Hugo.



TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY ~ Well acted and fantastic production design, but ultimately a bit flat. Everyone's doing the same kind of underplayed acting (althoug it's a hell of a cast, so they all do it pretty well) and Gary Oldman's performance, although very accomplished, just kept reminding me of Alec Guiness's from the television series. Certainly very watchable, but lacking in something (me caring, I think).


THE DESCENDANTS ~ An odd film, not the quirky comedy the trailer makes it appear. Quite a slow and complentative story about a man responsible for a Hawaiian family legacy. About trust and priority and family, with a very solid, charming performance from George. 



YOUNG ADULT ~ Yikes. Awful, cliched, hackneyed, fake Indie movie about a YA writer who's life is crappy so she decides to go back to her home town and win back her high school boyfriend (who's married with a kid). Nothing wrong with that, but like the director and writer's last collaboration (Juno) it is full of Indie movie tropes and stylings without any of the heart or soul. It's like when some music coporation puts together a band and hires the right people to give them cool hairstyles and a 45 year old songwriter to pen their hits. People buy their songs, but it's all fake and manipulative. Just like this movie. An example of the kind of thing to expect: you know the nerd guy is a nerd because he's 35 and collects action figures (not saying it ain't true, just that it's lazy and obvious).


THE FUTURE ~ Very endearing, quirky, disturbing, funny, cool, fantastic (in every sense of the word) movie. Plus it's narrated by a talking cat.  If you want to see the difference between a fake Indie movie and a genuine one, watch this and Young Adult back to back.

Seen any of these? Plan to? Would enjoy reading your views and thoughts on these or any other recent releases.

25 comments:

Ben said...

You went to town huh? New girlfriend? Usually a movie binge is a telltale. Only saw THE DESCENDANTS out of the lot. Good that you liked THE ARTIST, though. I have a good vibe about this one.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I plan to see Tintin at some point. Got two other movies on my list for the weekend, though.
As far as animated films go, did you ever see Rango? If it doesn't take the Oscar for Best Animation, I'll be stunned. Amazing graphics! And such a quirky, fun film.

mooderino said...

@Ben-no, I get sent screeners for the awards season so watch these at home.

@Alex-I thought Rango was very odd. I liked the animation, and the Eastwood character was spot on (thought it must have been a cameo by the man himself until I saw the credits), but couldn't quite get into it as a story.

Grumpy Bulldog, Secret Agent said...

I hadn't heard of "The Future" yet. I think the Oscar race will boil down to "Hugo" and "The Artist" since there are no WWII or royalty movies this year the next best thing Hollywood likes talking about is itself.

Beverly Diehl said...

I love people like you who save me the bother of sitting through a bunch of crap. ~kisses~ Sorry about the Diablo Cody movie - I liked her "voice" in Juno and her United States of Tara series. Happy to hear the new Clooney movie isn't a dog; I always enjoy watching him just cause he's pretty, but it's easier if the flick isn't godawful.

Just got an Amazon gift card for the holidays and just ordered 11-12 of the books from my wish list, so I'll be readin' rather than watching movies.

mooderino said...

@Grumpy-I don't think there are any clear frontrunners yet, but you make a very valid point.Hugo does have someone with a gimpy leg, which might swing it for them (Hollywood loves a little disability).

@Beverly-her voice to me feels like pretending to be dark and edgy, but actually falling somewhere safe and in the middle ground. Which is of course ideal if you want mainstream success.

Ben said...

Hey I want screeners too! How do you do that?

Angela Brown said...

The only movie mentioned here that I considered seeing was Tintin. Sounds like I may want to get myself set to check it out.

Aguilar Elliot said...

i've been wanting to see tin tin, used to watch it as a kid, thanks for sharing your opinion of it.

mooderino said...

@Ben-you gots to know a guy who knows a guy.

@Angela-I think it's the most visually impressive of the animations this year.

@Aguilar-I used to watch it on tv too. Graphics have been somewhat improved.

The Golden Eagle said...

I read the book Hugo's based on, and really liked it--I want to see the movie, if just to find out if it's at all like the novel.

mooderino said...

@Golden-I'd love to know how it compares, hope you'll do a post on it.

James Ross (author) said...

The Descendants and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (not mentioned here) have been my favorites so far. My rating on the The Descendants is much higher than yours. I thoroughly enjoyed that flick. It might be the best I've seen in several years - but I'm more of a story guy than an action guy. The stars on Rooney Mara's name will be shooting in orbit after she becomes a sensation in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. What a great performance.

mooderino said...

@James-I saw the Swedish version of Dragon Tattoo, and that pretty much filled my rape and incest quota for the year. Don't feel all that keen to see the remake, although Fincher is a fine director.

I think The Descendants was really well acted but the story never really went anywhere. I found the relationship with the father-in-law more interseting than the whole search for Brian storyline, and it was kind of obvious where it would end up.

Brent Wescott said...

The only one on your list I've seen is Young Adult. Though I didn't detest it as you did, I was torn about it. It's not as clever as Juno by half, as you indicate, which was a disappointment, and my wife an I argued about whether anything happens at all since she ends up in the same place she started (oh, spoiler alert?), but I tend to like endings that only slightly hint at any kind of dynamic change. It reminded me of Monster's Ball where eating ice cream on the porch and the only soaring music cue of the entire film indicate that life just might get better somehow.

mooderino said...

@Brent-I thought the ending, the idea she was about to change her life around when Patton's sister convinces her not to, a kind of darkly comic reminder that no matter how ridiculous and crappy life might get theer are still people out there who aspire to be the Kardashians and Jersey Shore, was a nice idea. But it felt like the whole film was a long set up for that one gag.

The idea she used to be able to stand around being pretty and get what she wanted made sense, it just wasn't very interesting to watch. And the whole writinf career felt tacked on as a device for the narration.

Jenny said...

I wanna see TIN TIN. it looks freakin awesome :D

Michael Offutt, Supra-Genius said...

I've never read any of the Tin Tin books. What kind of racism is there in them? I was thinking of investigating after the movie because I liked the movie so much. But if I'm missing the racism that I should have picked out, I don't think I'll read these books. That kind of stuff really bothers me.

mooderino said...

@Jenny-I think the visuals deliver, even if the story has a few dull moments.

@Michael-mainly it's colonial stuff, grass skirts and spears and big lips, classic black people as savages kind of thing, calling Tintin "Master". A lot of black villains got phased out over the years and replaced by Arabs (so much more acceptable). Amercian editions had blacks removed entirely (not for PC reasons, but because they didn't like to see blacks and whites integrated, even as enemies - no joke).

Nancy Thompson said...

I'll never see either one. But someone just told me that The Descendants was the best movie they've ever seen. Happy holidays, Moody!

mooderino said...

Well, it all comes down to personal preferences and there is no right or wrong. But clearly your friend is wrong.

Have a merry xmas, Nancy.

Melissa Bradley said...

Great round up. I'm not sure about Hugo or Tintin as i can't stand films that use all CGI. Give me real actors in real make up on real sets, I say. I haven't heard of The Future, but now I'll be looking for it.

Komal said...

I agree with you on 'Hugo' - I hope you don't mind me referencing your comments on my own review of the film :) http://note2screen.blogspot.com/2012/01/hugo-far-cry-from-being-masterpiece.html

mooderino said...

@Komal-you're more than welcome to do that.

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