Rob Watches Movies

Reviews of every film I watch. The Good, The Bad and The Mothman Prophecies.

Tag: 2012 (page 1 of 4)

Book Review: Nod

‘The object of words is to conceal thoughts…’

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12 Days of Christmas Films Day 2: The Snowman and the Snowdog

Doesn’t do justice to the original…

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Book Review: Artemis Fowl

‘Trust me, I’m a genius…’

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Frances Ha – 7/10

‘I’m not messy, I’m busy…’

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Short Film Sunday – Curfew

Title: Curfew

Director: Shawn Christensen

Released: 2012

Length: 19 min

 

Shawn Christensen writes, directs and stars in this Oscar winning short film about loneliness, family and redemption. Curfew opens with Richie sitting in the bathtub having just split his wrists. He receives a call from his sister begging him to look after his niece, a moral dilemma…

Christensen is excellent as the beleaguered protagonist and questions about his past are left vague enough to keep things interesting. In 19 short minutes the likeable Christensen has the audience rooting for him and the ending is emotional without feeling forced or contrived.

Not content with writing, acting and directing the damn thing, Christensen also wrote and performed the song that plays over a seminal and beautiful dance sequence in a bowling alley. Indeed the soundtrack is in general very good with Alex Ebert’s (of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s) beautiful track Truth fitting perfectly over the end credits.

Curfew has been my favourite of the Short Film Sunday series so far and it is easy to see why it won an Oscar back in 2013. Christensen turned this short into a critically acclaimed film titled Before I Disappear.

 

Celeste and Jesse Forever – 7/10.

Documentary asks ‘What happens next?’ When Celeste of Daphne and Celeste fame finds a new partner.

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Ok so it isn’t really about that, instead we have an adult comedy drama starring Andy Samberg and Parks & Rec’s Rashida Jones as a freshly divorced couple who remain friends and are unsure about their feelings for each other.

This is exactly the kind of grown up rom com that has rendered ‘wacky’ romantic comedies such as the lacklustre This Means War obsolete. Not quite in the same league as similar film 500 Days of Summer but there is still a lot to like in Celeste & Jesse Forever. It is nice to see Rashida Jones (who also co-wrote the film) move away from her usual supporting roles and she shows she has the chops to play the lead and it is also refreshing to see Andy Samberg playing a more restrained and believable character than his usual fare.

Eric Olsen and particularly Elijah Wood provide able support and a decent soundtrack results in an enjoyable and underrated film.

The Conspiracy – 7/10

Two aspiring film makers infiltrate a secret society that are trying to orchestrate a new world order only to discover they are all actually lovely chaps (spoiler – they aren’t).

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I don’t need to list the films responsible for the rise and rise of found footage horror films since Blair Witch Project arrived back in 1999 but you may not have noticed the modest ascent of cults and secret rituals in the horror world. Sound Of My Voice, VHS 2 and most memorably Kill List have tackled the subject in recent years with varying degrees of success.

What makes The Conspiracy unique is that it tackles existing and popular conspiracy theories. Most people can’t see the phrase ‘conspiracy theory’ without emitting a knowing groan but The Conspiracy at least sticks to some of the more widely known reptilian schemes (RMS Lusitania, 9/11, FEMA, JFK etc) and most pleasingly has no agenda other than to just make an entertaining and chilling movie. While you know what is going to happen within five minutes it is still executed very well and the last twenty or so minutes are genuinely creepy.

You normally expect some pretty crap acting in these low budget found footage films but everyone does well here and the two leads are very solid. Good enough to ensure I will watch first time director Christopher MacBride’s future work with interest.

Brave – 7/10

Scottish princess rebels against her imminent betrothal with un-bear-able consequences.

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At this point Pixar had just completely stopped giving a fuck about making appealing movies:

‘Unpronounceable movie about a rat becoming a chef in France’

‘Robots fall in love, barely any dialogue for the first twenty minutes’
and now:

‘Film about a country where the people have accents nobody understands, ridiculous and mental plot twist half way through, no recognizable stars’

Fuck you, we are Pixar, we do what we want.

Unfortunately Brave isn’t the unmitigated success that Ratatouille and WALL•E are. That is not to say that it isn’t beautiful in places and actually surprisingly touching throughout (especially the ending *sobs*) and anything involving the marvellous Kelly Macdonald gets my approval.

It remains to be seen whether Cars 2 and Brave are just a dip or the bursting of the bubble at Pixar but there is no doubting they don’t live up to previous releases. When there is still so much humour, fun and imagination on show however, does it really matter? Rob loves Pixar 4 eva.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer – 7/10.

An orphan with an advanced sense of smell goes to extreme lengths to find the perfect scent.

Perfume

Director Tom Tykwer showed us recently he is not afraid of making bonkers, lengthy and original cinema with his polarizing adaptation of Cloud Atlas. Perfume is equally if not more unusual but it doesn’t work quite as well.

Protagonist (or anti hero?) Jean-Baptiste Grenouille played by Ben Whishaw I found to be such a grotesque character that not only did I not sympathize with him, I actively wanted him to be caught which makes for a strange viewing experience and resulted in me disengaging at times.

Dustin Hoffman is a welcome addition despite being a bit camp and speaking in a pretty terrible French accent. Alan Rickman is impressive as ever but it is nothing we haven’t seen from him before.

Perfume starts off odd and just goes more off the wall as it goes on culminating in one of the most bizarre and unexpected endings I have ever seen. As with Cloud Atlas Tykwer could have shaved at least half an hour off and it wouldn’t have suffered but despite all this criticism I did find I couldn’t look away.

Byzantium – 7/10.

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Two immortal vampires try to exist in modern day Brighton attempting to hide their identity from the authorities and the a mysterious order known as ‘The Brotherhood’.

I will watch anything focusing on vampires or zombies. From the good (Underworld) to the terrible (Queen of the Damned). I’ve even sat through one and a half Twilight films. So where does Byzantium rank? Pretty high actually. The story is compelling, taking in a lot of vampire lore (although only picking and choosing. The vampires can walk around in sunlight but they still have to be invited in) and with some stunning imagery. It is the cast though that really elevates this above the average. Saoirse Ronan is humourless but intense and believable and Gemma Arterton pulls off ‘foul mouthed hooker’ surprisingly well. It is always nice to see Sam Riley in anything and he is probably the best thing about Byzantium. Letting the side down slightly is Caleb Jones who doesn’t seem to know if he is in the flashbacks or the modern day judging from his costume and speech. Despite being predictable (particularly the ending), Byzantium is surprisingly dark and nasty and is much more than just an ‘adult Twilight’.

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