Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in film.....

......was rather good. although i did not see nearly quite as many films as i wanted to, sadly. i just do not seem to get or be able to find the time!

it was rather fortunate that none of the films i did get to see turned out to be a waste of time. a happy accident, i suppose! easily the best of the films of this year was this one

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was excellent. i was not all that fussed at first as the film attracted nothing but bad reviews. as it transpired, though, the bad reviews were just plain lazy writing, and the people who saw it raved about it on the internet, causing the 'professional' critics to back-pedal like they have never done before.

whereas it is a science-fiction film, the best, most superb aspect of this film is the human drama side to the story. in this regard, John Lithgow is excellent, giving one of his best ever performances. there will be, as there so often has been in recent times, something very, very wrong indeed if the Oscars do not recognize his fine work here with a nomination at the least.

a close second would be the second film from the very promising talent that is Duncan Jones, Source Code

a bit like his stunning debut Moon, Jones has delivered another slice of what one could call "minimalist post-modernist science fiction" that certainly will not be for all tastes. i was impressed with it and its valiant and mostly successful go at re-imagining the consequences of the ability to travel in time. by no means is it straightforward, linear viewing, but it is worth a try all the same.

the funniest film i saw released in 2011 was easily Paul

to pick on lazy, professional (as they are called) critics once again, i got tired of reading how this one "was not as funny as" the two previous films featuring the lead actors, namely Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz. my view on that is so what, it's a tiresome comparison and one should perhaps just concentrate on the film they are watching rather than the ones they have before. and if you do so with Paul, you get some genuine roaring laughs, not to mention one or two knowing, obscure and non-distracting cheeky nods to films in the genre. well worth 100 or so minutes of your life.

a film which seemed to surprise many was Captain America, or The First Avenger as they chose to rename it in some countries.

apparently the makers got it into their heads that, as America is not as popular as it could be (politically) with the rest of the world, this film due to its name probably would not be popular or well received around the world. what utter, utter nonsense. Captain America is one of the more popular and less seen "super heroes" to come from the genre, and fans took to it no problem. oddly, us in the rest of the world are able to tell the difference between fact and/or news and a work of fiction.

how good was this one? even, and you may want to sit down here, my Dad enjoyed it. it had a bit of a slow start perhaps, but once it got going my word was it good fun.

although it was not quite as good as the other "super hero" film to see the light of day in 2011.

Thor was amazing. the decision to hand directorial duties to Kenneth Brannagh was inspired. noted for turning Shakespearian works into mainstream must-sees, here he delivers a wonderful film that anyone can enjoy, whether they are familiar with the comic book origins or not. it never takes itself too seriously but nor does it condescend or patronize. perhaps not as great as, but certainly worthy of sitting on the same shelf as the Batman films Christopher Nolan has delivered thus far.

a film that surprised me somewhat was Limitless

the film had little or no relation to what the write ups and promotion of it had led one to believe, but this is in no way a bad thing. it relied rather heavily on the myth that we only use a small percentage of our brain, but no matter, it is after all a work of fiction. this Bradley Cooper fellow seems to get better and better the more films he does, and this film also has an all too sadly rare thing these days - Robert De Niro taking a part more or less seriously and actually acting once again instead of simply just being Robert De Niro.

there were, of course, absolutely no surprises in Hobo With A Shotgun.

a classic, textbook example of a film doing exactly what it says on the box, really. except, i suppose, the hobo of the title (nice to see you, Rutger Hauer) doesn't always use a shotgun as he dispenses....i was going to say "justice" but in fact it's mostly just violence for the sake of it.

i will not trouble you with details of the "plot" or anything like that. the market for this film knows exactly who it is, and further were not you would assume disappointed with this one.

no one could be disappointed with Unknown either, i would have thought.

Liam Neeson appears to have been re-invented as an "action star" these days. mostly what this is doing is underlining my point that he should have been given the James Bond role nearly 20 years ago, instead of that girlie voice thing (Pierce something) that they cast instead.

it's very difficult to say much of this film without giving away the "twist" to it. i can say, however, that it falls into the twist category of "watch once and there's no point watching again", but it certainly is well worth a look the first time around. good film, Unknown is, with solid enough performances, an interesting story and well made in general being the phrases that spring to mind.

finally, the film that could have been so much more than it was, but was not nearly as bad as either it could have been or some complained of.

Conan The Barbarian had rather insane high expectations of it from a small but vocal elite bracket of the existing fanbase, not to mention a tough-ish sell in the face of how ripped off and disappointed movie fans in general were with the last "swords and sandals" film to be released, the truly horrid remake of Clash Of The Titans. it seemed not to do at all well in the cinema, which is a great shame as it turned out to be if not brilliant then certainly an enjoyable enough film to watch. perhaps it will catch on when it appears on a general DVD release, or maybe it will find a natural home on various "pay tv" channels around the world. it certainly doesn't deserve to be forgotten about.

well, that's the perhaps paltry nine films from the year i can recall seeing and truly enjoying. the list of films that i simply have not gotten around to watching as yet is no doubt twice as long, and then some!

as for 2012, well, there's the small matter of The Dark Knight Rises looming over just about all other films. we can but hope some more quality gets released before and after that one is unleashed on us!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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