Monday, 24 December 2012

December Watch List

Last of this year's Watch lists.

1. Great Expectations

As expected, fabulous looking costumes, a great cast and reminder to me of what the end was. BUT alas, although it was many times better than the BBC effort (last year/this year, not sure) it still didn't have anything new to say apart from that Helena Bonham Carter made an excellent Miss Havisahm and Jeremy Irvine needs to be in more good films (note: Now Is Good is NOT a good film). The classic Dickens coming-of-age story of Pip a young orphan who inherits a living from a mysterious benefactor and is swept away to London. This, unfortunately, won't be the last adaptation of the novel but it would be nice to see a less known novel made into a film or better yet a TV series. 3/5

2. Rise of the Guardians
Based on a series of children's books, the Guardians of Childhood, the story brings the existing guardians, Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman together to fight Pitch, better known as the Boogeyman.  They need another to join them in the fight against Pitch so they enlist Jack Frost but of course, for story purposes he is reluctant. Reading the story made it sound naff, I wasn't that impressed by the trailer as it seemed to be all about Jack Frost, who is definitely not the best character, that would be Sandy (the Sandman) who doesn't talk, just creates amazing dreams, especially at the end. To be honest all the characters have likable quirks, even the Australian Easter Bunny. The story on the big screen isn't naff at all, its exciting, the story is fast paced and the villain is an actual threat. Although its in 3D, not needed by the way, the film is pretty spectacular, I really hope there is a sequel, and I don't say that often.  4/5
3. Damsels in Distress
Seen by very few but loved by those who did. It is strange and i can see why, if anybody who did see it, dislike it. It's very odd. The main characters have a strange understated way of talking and usually that would really annoy me but I'm starting to warm up to Greta Gerwig more and more. Shes funny in this but I'm not shes meant to be. Described perfectly as 'deadpan hilarity' the story is about a group of 'damsels' attending college who run the Suicide Prevention Centre and about their various distress' (the boys). It's difficult to explain anymore than that as there is no real steady plot apart from Violet, the leader, wanting to start a new dance craze, the Sambola. The cast actually perform the dance at the end, its brilliant and understated, the film, not the dance. The dance is good though. 3.5/5

4. Side by Side
The documentary discusses one of the major issues in the film industry, can film survive the digital wave. There are so many interviews with all the best and brightest cinematographers and directers and each of them has something interesting to say, even George Lucas is annoying but he was one of the first to film digitally. Not only is it interesting for those tech enthusiasts but its also a history lesson in how things were done back way when. Not the film studies kind of history lesson either, the interviewees talk about how they worked. Everyone is different. Most of the English directors and DoPs are actually really funny and all the Americans are set in an argument and all the Europeans are very serious about their craft. It's a great documentary, but if you're looking for a conclusion you will be disappointed. There is talk that all the interviews that were cut will be released at a later date as well as longer cuts with people who were in the film.  I saw this documentary at the BFI as I thought there was no UK release date, luckily its out in February.  4/5

5. The Amazing Spiderman

So they rebooted Spider Man, it's only been 10 years since the first one came out but Spider Man 3 was terrible I can see why they were calling out for another. In a way I thought the first Spider Man was still pretty good. But this film is indeed amazing. I don't know the comics that well but I knew that Peter Parker made his own spider web machine, which I preferred. I also preferred the casting for Uncle Ben and Aunt May as Martin Sheen and Sally Field were more like family to the character and less annoying. Andrew Garfield is a fantastic Spider Man and is extremely believable as the intelligent, science nerd turned vigilante. The story was good too, just enough origin mixed in with present day plot. Love the reboot!  4/5

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