Thread: Film Lists 2013
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Old 10th Jan 2013, 12:18   #12
gil
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Default Re: Film Lists 2013

60 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azhkaban One of the better Potters. I was more entertained this time than last.
59 Batman Begins In my opinion, the best of the Batmans so far. Motivationally speaking, it goes a little crazy towards the end, but the spectacle is consistently good.
58 Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps I enjoyed this. Skullduggery on the financial markets, but, frankly, I have a good grasp of the stockmarket having worked in dealing rooms, but much of it either went over my head, or wasn't real.
57 Ice Age: Continental Drift Watched about ten minutes of this, mostly the entertaining intro. Then we got to the bit where the mammoths were behaving and talking like an American Mum, Dad and the kids - see any US family sitcom. Sorry. Won't watch.
56 The Unbearable Lightness of Being Sex-heavy, sense-light drama about love and the Czek revolution. Very watchable, lots of good scenes including newsreel of the disorder, but the romantic plot a little stilted in my opinion.
55 Lights in the Dusk Finnish crime movie. Actually very good, and atmospheric.
54 Zodiac (2007) Immersive movie/dramadoc about the hunt for the Zodiac killer. Gyllenhall and Downey star.
53 American Psycho Ugly serial killer movie, redeemed to an extent by casting Christian Bale as the psycho.
52 Hidden (Caché) Michael Haneke's mysterious movie about surveillance and guilt. Beautifully made, great photography. Totally spoiled by having no ending. Haneke himself declines to interpret the plot. One is tempted to think they ran out of ideas.
51 Hush Evil mother-in-law movie.
50 LOTR 3 Fine enactment of Volume 3 of Tolkien. Would that The Hobbit were as good.
49 The Silence of the Lambs My umpteenth viewing of this, and it's still chilling. Recommended.
48 Conspiracy A movie about the Lincoln assassination, and the execution of some relatively imnnocent conspirators. I can't find it in IMDB under that title, so I probably got it wrong.
47 To Kill a Mocking Bird It's taken me a long time to see this movie. I never knew what the fuss was about, and the book, a school reader in the USA, was new to me, too. I enjoyed it, particularly the court scene. Gregory Peck was a little wooden, I thought, but the children were a treat. A moral tale, of course, with Atticus' defence of a black worker, and the revelation that the handicapped boy next door was quite the opposite of the monster everyone believed.
46 The Thin Red Line Mallick's war film set in Guadalcanal, WWII. Much more action, and suitably tense throughout. Really likeable and hateable characters. The movie was unnecessarily long, and too harrowing to be entertainment, but an excellent movie, nonetheless, with great photography and acting.
45 Jarhead Everything you didn't want to know about Army life in the US Marines. Sure, we know that all sorts of beastliness go on; yes, war is long periods of boredom and misery, interspersed with occasional moments of terror; oh dear, your girlfriend might find someone else if you're away for six months. As an unsavoury documentary, it succeeds. As entertainment, it doesn't even try.
44 Horatio Hornblower RN (1951) Gregory Peck as the famous sea captain, an excellent production. The cast includes Virginia Mayo, Robert Beatty, Stanley Baker, James Robertson Justice as a simple seaman, Christopher Lee as a Spanish naval officer. A little corny but I liked it.
43 Days of Heaven Beautifully filmed and much more satisfactory in its way than The Tree of Life, yet it was very slow in one way, in that we were treated to sunsets and landscapes and sillhouettes between the dramatic bits; in contrast, the story line often seemed rushed. A treat for its cinematography, and worth seeing just for that.
42 The Tree of Life I found it hard to rate this "masterpiece" from Terence Mallick. On the one hand, many of the images were excellent, many of the contemplations well thought-out and some of the irony cleverly portrayed. Yet my main complaints were that it was... boring, that many of the vignettes were not played out, that the "creation of life" sequence cleverly avoided any hint of the Evolution word, that the end sequence of everyone walking around the mudflats was inexplicable and that the representation of parenthood was at one and the same time overly disciplinarian and overly affectionate. Frankly, it was self-indulgent stuff. I look forward to seeing an actual drama directed by this chap. It could be quite something. But Tree of Life wasn't. 3 stars overrates it in the entertainment department, but the cinematography was good.
41 A Touch of Evil I love Orson Welles. I think he was a genius. I admired his The Trial, and always enjoy his acting, and his rich brown voice. But this movie, though often quoted as a masterwork, was desperately dated and uninspiring.
40 The Bed Sitting Room A fore-runner of much of British 'silly' comedy, It's set in post-nuked London, a man is turning into a bedsit. It's a bit like a feature-length Monty Python sketch, but not as good. It's too complicated. This is the Wikipedia entry. It was always too long, but now it's also tedious.
39 The Crying Game IRA murder plots, kidnap, violence, sex and seriously poor singing, yet well performed and filmed.
38 Mr Brooks A superficially average thriller redeemed by an engaging plot decoration in the form of Kevin Costner's alter ego, played by William Hurt. Recommended if you like thrillers.
37 Sleuth 2007 This remake 0f the 1972 original (itself a movie-isation of a stage play) is not successful. Michael Caine plays the part Olivier played in the 1972 version, while Jude Law plays the part Caine played in the 1972 version. It is immensely stylish, with lighting effects and some very uncomfortable interior decoration. The acting is great, but there's an insincerity about the screenplay, and an uncomfortably abrupt denouement. The same talents could have made a better movie than this.
36 Untouchable Very enjoyable French movie about a rich man, paralysed in an accident, and his helper, an immigrant from the housing schemes. It is said to be 'based' on a real story, but I cannot imagine the real thing would have been so entertaining.
35 The Bourne Legacy Begins well, otherwise it'd only have had 2 stars, then descends into a fine representative of the CGI smash, bang, wallop, shoot-em-up, inconceivably unlikely garbage that comes out of Hollywood these days. No sign of Jason Bourne, except for a WANTED poster. Contains a completely unecessary sub-plot about body-enhancing virus-vectored treatments. Finishes with an unconvincingly improbable car chase, followed by a totally obvious hook for another episode of the same. G R O A N.
34 22 Bullets (originally L'Immortel - why change it?) French gangster movie starring Luc Besson. OK. It's a gangster movie, but beautifully filmed, acted, and plotted. It looked real. What a contrast to the "CGI smash, bang, wallop, shoot-em-up, inconceivably unlikely garbage that comes out of Hollywood these days" (see The Bourne Legacy). Recommended. It's occasionally on Sky Movies.
33 The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn I was VERY impressed with this movie. It appeared to be made using similar technology to Hugo, but what a difference! There is only one scene, near the end, where I think the animation went over the top to the point where it defied the laws of the universe, but otherwise it was immaculate. Good script, good characters, imaginative plot, wonderful set-dressing, and it didn't lose the feel of the Herge original. Recommended.
32 Snow White and the Huntsman We were keen to see this, as some of the locations were near us. The fishing village and some of the forest footage were just half a mile from our house. The locations and costumes were excellent. The CGI was impressive, especially the phantom army and the wicked stepmother transformation. Unfortunately, the story was (I think the modern term is...) pants, the screenplay awful, and the acting, mostly as a result of the above, was meh, at best. The dwarves were a bevy of the usual character-acting suspects. Oh dear.
31 Princess Mononoke Certainly not as good as Howl's Moving Castle, the only Ghibli I have been able to sit right through. Having just watched two Disney offerings, the animation in this movie is clunky, characterisation very bland, and only interesting for the story. In contrast to the rather mechanical animation, the backgrounds are superb, so that's a plus point.
30 Disney's Winnie the Pooh And in total contrast to Bambi, Disney's version of the A A Milne classic is a deep disappointment. The one star I have given it is for the animators, who did a jolly good job of animating E H Shepherd's illustrations, but the corny trans-Atlantic voices and the efforts to spice the stories up are a complete turn-off. I suspect it should never have been attempted. And where did the ground squirrel figure in the English countryside?
29 Prometheus Waste of talent. Waste of CGI. Rotten story. Awful script. I won't be waiting with bated breath for the inevitable sequel.
28 Bambi Genius.
27 Blood Simple Complex, satisfying tale of crime and retribution, filmed by the Coens in a 40s noir style. It takes a while to pick up pace, but it's worth the wait, and the actors and direction are excellent.
26 Batman Begins Surprisingly good, though the unlikely motivation of Liam Neeson's character became a little irksome. However, it was good to look at, suitably dark, and not at all juvenile, unlike its predecessors.
25 We also saw another well-thought-of movie - Gambit which was SO bad, we ditched it about 20 minutes in, despite the fact we'd paid LoveFilm good money to see it, on the basis that the cast was promising (Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci, Tom Courtenay). Avoid.
24 Bright Young Things An adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel "Vile Bodies," ' A look into the lives of a young novelist, his would-be lover, and a host of young people who beautified London in the 1930s'. I really wanted to like it, but, hey, I didn't. It was detestable, to be honest.
23 Before the Devil Knows You're Dead Truly excellent, though violent, Sidney Lumet thriller with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei. Simply, a heist goes very wrong, and the subsequent tension is maintained throughout. While I usually abhor flashbacks, the flashbacks in this movie have a real and revelatory purpose. Truly recommended.
22 Body of Lies Leo di Caprio (white hat) and Russell Crowe (black hat) in a big budget CIA vs CIA vs Al Caida caper in the Middle East. It was OK up until the love interest, then it fell apart under the weight of its unlikely plot.
21 Shadow Dancer Low budget, grim little tale of a mole in the IRA. Clive Owen stars. Gripping throughout.
20 Margin Call Absolutely the best movie I've seen this year. No guns, no car chases, no sex, yet the tension is palpable throughout this believable drama set in a financial dealing organisation. Paul Bettany, Zachary Quinto, Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey and Stanley Tucci are in it. Recommended.
19 John Carter Some nice cgi, but really just kids' stuff
18 21 Grams Star-studded cast, hopelessly confused, especially in the first ten minutes. Flashback-mad direction. Hated it.
17 Battleship US Navy versus the Aliens. Load of tosh, really, but I adored it. The Sub-woofer on our AVamp got a great workout, the CGI was impressive, the plot predictable, most of the tech totally outside the laws of physics, but, hey, you can't have major fleet actions without making a bit of a compromise.
16 All About Eve Old b/w movie. Well-wrought story of arrogance versus ambition. I hate it, though, when they show you the end right at the start of the movie. It kind of takes the tension out of it.
15 Bram Stoker's Dracula Actually a lot better than I expected, though the end was a bit over the top.
14 Life is Beautiful Nicely made, but it gave me the creeps.
13 Men who Stare at Goats Fairly star-studded, but disappointing, movie (except for the goats, whose performance was most realistic). Too little substance and virtually no logic to the tale.
12 Wait Until Dark Thriller from the late 60s with Audrey Hepburn as a recently blind girl beset by drug dealers. Unlike many movies of that vintage, it still has tension and excellent acting.
11 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (The original one with Maggie Smith) Really excellent, but a little dated these days.
10 The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists Very good indeed in parts, but it kind of palled towards the middle and ended over the top, but not in a nice way. Great Aardman animation throughout.
9 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Expected to hate this, but it turned out to be rather good. Deeper and more affecting than the trailer and publicity would have you anticipate.
8 Festen Well-regarded Danish movie. But family movies are not really our thing.
7 Beautiful Boy Slow start. Promising cast. Exciting developments leading to... to nothing, really...
6 J Edgar I cannot, in all honesty, give it a rating, because I gave up after about 20 minutes of flashback / flashforward incomprehensible brutality and strangled accents.
5 Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - hated it. Tear-jerker with child star. Not my bag. I watched it all and wished I hadn't bothered.
4 Zatoichi [dir Takeshi Kitano who also stars] Not really a perfect 5-star, but such a headlong romp and pastiche of martial arts interspersed with comedy, and rounded off with a finale that puts Slumdog to shame, unexpected and fresh. The plot? A blind swordsman helps 2 geishas to get revenge. Many die.
3 Life of Pi Not as fantastic as I'd hoped. The tiger was grrreat, but the movie was too slow at the beginning and end, and sometimes boring . Maybe it'd be against the purpose of the novel, but why didn't they show both stories in movie form?
2 The Parallax View (1974) It may have been impressive in 1974, but it is awful now, except for a few very good images. The plot peters out disappointingly.
1 The Hobbit Points added on for the spectacle, art direction and set decoration. Points deducted for blatant profiteering by taking a relatively small book and making three feature films out of it. Shame on you. (Detailed review follows)

Last edited by gil; 10th Nov 2013 at 12:46.
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