Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Good, The Bad and the Finales

Overview of film in 2012

By the end of this week, I will have seen 134 films on screen this year. I worked hard for that number and ate a LOT of popcorn.  The year of the good, the bad and the finales is the best way to describe Cinema for 2012. Whilst film reviewing is somewhat subjective, a film should always be judged on how close it comes to achieving entertainment nirvana for its intended audience.
There is one film this year that hit—no smashed—the mark in achieving that. It won’t win the Oscar but certainly ‘Marvel’s The Avengers’ delivered not only box-office gold (with a box-office worldwide gross of nearly one and half billion) but it won hands down as the most anticipated film of the year.  In the capable hands of director and screenwriter, Joss Whedon, it was a fun, wild ride.
Then we had the ‘Finales’. The final to Director Chris Nolan’s ‘The Dark Night’ series, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, was a roller-coaster ride in pacing but arguably a very fine film and a fitting conclusion to the series—though the door does seem ever so slightly ajar for a follow-on film.
What will we do now that the Twilight Saga series is finally done with Bella and Edward and daughter Renesmee, living happily ever after ‘Forever’—their words not mine?  Perhaps the studio will resurrect the franchise with Renesmee starring in her own sequel. Why walk away when there are so many Twi-hard fans still eager to hand over their money?
We are also bidding goodbye to the ‘Men in Black’ series in fitting style with all questions answered in a zippy, fun film that, thanks to its belated finale, ten years after Number Two and fifteen since the original, meant that we could take our kids and share our original love for K and J and all the letters that we have come to treasure.
Just as we mourn the endings, we can also celebrate a very positive beginning of another popular young adult crossover film adaption with ‘The Hunger Games’. This film delivered thanks mostly to the enormous talent of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen.
For those who were missing their local Spidey super-hero, Sony Pictures kindly rebooted that franchise with well-chosen leads in Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man.’ Apparently there was an untold story they missed in the other three. But that only took up the first thirty minutes. The rest was same ol’.  But a same ol’ Spiderman is better than most. And this film was far more enjoyable than the gritty and violent ‘Dredd 3D’, a rehash of 1995 Stallone’s Judge Dredd. The original 1990 Schwarzenegger ‘Total Recall’ was just too good for this year’s remake to replace our memories of Arnie shooting Sharon Stone as his wife and uttering, “Consider that a divorce.”
Film studios are not ones for quitting when something is still working. We saw the next installments of popular franchises with ‘Ice Age 4’, ‘Paranormal Activity4’, ‘Madagascar 3’ and ‘Taken 2’, and the twenty-third Bond film, the thrilling ‘Skyfall’.
We all know 3D doesn’t make a huge difference except to your pocket but it became a great excuse for studios to drag out a few oldies and give them another twirl. Some cinema patrons may see it as a cynical cash-grab but perhaps think of it as an opportunity to again enjoy real classics on the big screen.  ‘Titanic 3D’ was every bit as epic as its first voyage. ‘Star Wars Episode 1 3D’ was really showing its age but Disney gave us wonderful treats with ‘Beauty and the Beast 3D’ and ‘Finding Nemo 3D’ with ‘Monsters Inc 3D’ scheduled for end of this year to welcome in the new prequel ‘Monsters University’.
Finally, for your viewing pleasure presenting my Best of 2012, in no particular order. Click on the title to read the review.  Leave a comment and let me know the movies you loved in 2012.

The Good…

John Carter3D—box-office disaster but a great film that suffered from the worst marketing ever.

21 JumpStreet—same address, but an hilarious renovation on the hit TV series.

Woman inBlack—Hammer Films old-fashioned haunting horror just how we love it.

Argo—Ben Affleck directed action film that had our stomachs churning with the tension.

Skyfall—nobody does it better than Bond. Possibly the best Bond yet.

Frankenweenie—Tim Burton’s stop-motion homage to the horror film. Critics loved it.

TheAvengers—the most fun you can have at the cinema. Number 2 not until 2015.

TheSessions—a small, poignant film but one that will have you choking back the tears.

Chronicle—another found footage teenage alien film but brilliantly executed.

SevenPsychopaths—a crazy, black comedy that left us worshipping Christopher Walken.

And the Bad…
Taken 2—ridiculous script, over-acted cash grab. Shame studios. Shame.

The Master—I know it has Oscar buzz but it’s boring & self-absorbed.
Mental—the worst film I have seen in decades. Not funny. Embarrassing. Director & Script Writer P.J. Hogan do not collect $200.
Three Stooges—they are turning in their graves.  Who do I punch or poke for this one?

The Darkest Hour—film’s darkest two hours. An awful script with awful actors. Read a funny review on it.
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia—once upon a time I fell asleep.

Snow White & the Huntsman—I really object to the over-hype of this lost opportunity. Read my funny take—Once Upon A Time in a Production Office.

What To Expect When You’re Expecting
—what to expect when you can’t write a funny script.

Dark Shadows
—no, no, what did you do to our favourite campy TV show Mr. Burton?
The Lucky One—anyone who saw this felt very UN-lucky.


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