What I Watched

What I Watched, What You Watched #174

Here's to looking forward to a great 2013 and thanks for a great 2012

What I Watched : December 30, 2012For the most part I took a break from movies this week, though I did rewatch Lincoln before putting my list of Top Ten Movies of 2012 together and, as is necessary, I watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I also continued my journey into rewatching "The West Wing" and have so far watched the first 16 episodes of the first season and I simply can't get enough.

I don't watch a lot of television shows and, in fact, I'd say I have three shows I would call my favorites and with them I don't really need anything else. Those would be "The West Wing", "Seinfeld" and the original "Star Trek" (although I actually really liked the "Enterprise" series as well). With that I have my drama, comedy and sci-fi taken care of. Yeah, there's more out there, but there are also a lot of movies I have yet to see and, for me, those come first.

Otherwise, seeing how this will be the final What I Watched column of 2012, I wanted to extend a "thank you" to all of you that participate and read this Sunday column, it has become one of the best features on this site.

I'm sure many of you will remember back in July when I almost got rid of this column entirely. The number of comments had grown limited to the point on May 27 there were only three to the last three weekends where we had 110, 132 and 115 respectively and it's not a bunch of meaningless comments. It's actual conversation that's taking place. You are engaging one another, making suggestions and I see many of you actually watching the movies suggested by others. This is what a movie website should be and your dedication is only going to make it better and better over the coming new year.

So, thank you again and here's to what will hopefully be a fantastic 2013! Happy New Year and let's hear what you watched over the last week!

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  • http://www.criterion.com/my_criterion/27913-criterion10 Criterion10

    I apologize in advance for writing mini-essays, but it was a big week for me.

    Zero Dark Thirty – Last week, I proclaimed Amour to be the first film of the year that I can say I really liked. Now, I can happily proclaim that Zero Dark Thirty is the first film of the year that I loved. Trekking out to the city was totally worth it for this film, in which despite showing up shortly before the film started in a nearly sold out showing, myself, my dad, and a mutual friend were all lucky enough to get excellent seats. Anyways, I really liked this movie. And this is coming from someone who did not like The Hurt Locker at all. Everything about this movie is top class: Jessica Chastain’s performance, Mark Boal’s smart script, and Kathryn Bigelow’s excellent direction. This is simply a top-notch procedural film, and I truly became invested in the hunt for Bin Laden. One thing I was enjoyed was witnessing how complex and intricate the investigation became. Plus, the raid sequence at the end simply represented remarkable filmmaking. At the moment, this is my favorite film of the year. A+

    Side Note: People seriously need to stop drumming out controversy about ZDT. This film is not propaganda and never becomes political. It simply depicts the hunt for Bin Laden and what occurred along the way. And yes, torture was part of the hunt, and thus it is depicted as it occurred. The film asks the viewers to arrive at their own conclusion, as opposed to feeding them the beliefs of the filmmakers. This was another aspect of the film that I thought was particularly strong.

    Alps – The first of many films that I got for Christmas. I really loved Lanthimos’s previous film, Dogtooth, but was slightly disappointed by this one. It has his usual trademark of bizarre, surreal sequences, and the basic story was interesting. But, it never really amounted to much in the end. I found the opposite in Dogtooth, where the odd nature of the film was there for a purpose. Still, I was very entertained by this film, and there are many great moments to be had. I personally loved the cinematography of the film. It had a beautiful color palette. B+

    The Hunger Games – Pretty typical action film geared towards fans of the book. I personally hated the ridiculous, over the top style of the future that was depicted, filled with those ugly hair colors and whatnot. The shaky cam also bothered me very much. That one sequence where Jennifer Lawrence is bit by the bug and starts to hallucinate was simply nauseating, due to the manner in which it was filmed. Gary Ross really doesn’t know how to direct action. C+

    Tabu – A friend gave me a screener of this one, and I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed due to all of the hype surrounding this one. I actually really liked the first part of the film, but found the second part to be your typical forbidden love story with not much more to it. It started to run a little long in my opinion, and the film never really came together for me at the end. I definitely wasn’t in the proper mood while watching this film, so I plan to give it a second watch. But, overall, while it was an enjoyable, interesting film, it didn’t win me over by any means. By the way, I must admit that the cinematography was stunning. B

    Silver Linings Playbook – I did like this movie, though must admit I wasn’t blown away. The narrative is familiar, though that necessarily didn’t bother me. The best part of the movie to me was the excellent performances by Cooper, Lawrence, DeNiro, and Weaver. They all deserve Oscar nominations. The screenplay was good too, and O. Russell does a good job directing. The one thing I find interesting about his style is the way he uses the camera do capture close-ups of the actors. I enjoyed this movie very much while watching it, though I personally don’t really think I’ll be returning to it anytime soon. It was immediately gratifying, though somewhat forgettable. B+

    Following (Rewatch) – Second viewing on the new Blu-Ray that I got for Christmas. I like this first film from Christopher Nolan, though must admit that I feel as if the film would work better in chronological order as opposed the nonlinear method he utilized. It adds nothing to the story and only tries to complicate a rather simple, straightforward plot. I’d be interested to see the chronological version of the film that is featured as a special feature. It’s a pretty typical debut film, but for some reason I really like the two lead characters. They were very interesting and entertaining to watch. Nolan should’ve told this film linearly and further developed out the characters. B

    The Dark Knight Rises (Rewatch) – Third viewing on the new Blu-Ray that I also got for Christmas. I still maintain all of my criticisms (a terrible final act, poor character development, etc.), and I must unfortunately admit that repeat viewings do not help this film, in my opinion. The one thing I do love about this film is Bane. He was a great villain that needed to be utilized even more. B-

    Brazil (Rewatch) – Hadn’t seen this one in years, but got the Criterion Blu-Ray for Christmas. This is one of my favorite films, a true surreal odyssey mixed with action, drama, and wonderful black humor. Easily Gilliam’s best film. A+

    Django Unchained – Ugh. Well, it appears that 2012 was the year for disappointments, and Django unfortunately fits right into that category. Let’s start from the beginning. I fall somewhere in the middle on Tarantino’s films. Despite all of the indulgences that seem to follow his work (i.e. endless genre homages, lengthy dialogue sequences, etc.), I do like his films. Sometimes, I admit that he gets carried away with his own style, as I feel happened with Kill Bill and Death Proof. Anyways, I went into Django Unchained with an open mind. By the end of the first hour, I was won over by the film. I loved watching Django and Shultz in action, doing their usual bounty hunting business. Then, the second hour got even better. Never was I bored by the long dialogue scenes, as I felt that they added something to both the development of the plot and characters. I remember turning to my friend to ask him how he liked it, when we both agreed that it was a great movie. Then, came the final 25 minutes. And the film simply shot itself in the foot. I’ll try to avoid spoilers, and just conclude that the finale is a total mess, a disaster. So, what you’re left with is 4/5 of a great film, 1/5 of a terrible film. Otherwise, Waltz, DiCaprio, and Jackson were all excellent. I personally loved Waltz’s character, as I thought Tarantino developed him as a truly realistic person, as opposed to someone like DiCaprio, who was more or less a typical Tarantino villain. But still, DiCaprio’s character suited the film, and I had no problems with it. The soundtrack was great as always, and Robert Richardson’s cinematography was also excellent. Overall, Django is such a conflicting film for me, because what it needs is a new ending. It was as if Tarantino didn’t know how he wanted to end his film. He needed to go for a simpler, less violent ending that was a testament to the characters, as opposed to an action bonanza. B

    Lawrence of Arabia – My first viewing of this classic was with the newly restored Blu-Ray that I received for Christmas. Overall, this was a very good film, filled with excellent cinematography, wonderful sets and costumes, and a central standout performance by Peter O’Toole. This is a long movie, but for the most part it maintains its momentum. There are many great individual scenes, and for me the most fascinating part was the complex character of Lawrence himself. A

    Blade Runner (Rewatch) – Hadn’t seen this film in years, but I absolutely loved watching it this time around. What’s great about this film is the noir, detective genre mixed with sci-fi. Plus, the cinematography is simply stunning. A+

    In addition to the films I already mentioned, I also got Purple Noon and multiple box sets for Christmas (Trilogy of Life, Qatsi Trilogy, Bond 50, and the Universal Classic Monsters Collection). Everything was on Blu-Ray except for Alps, which sadly was only released on DVD.

    Should be seeing Les Mis sometime soon…

    • Winchester

      I would tend to agree on TDKR. Although I have to say I never found Bane very menacing or intimidating. I know I was supposed to but he rambled on so much at times I really just wanted him to quiet down. Or repeat himself for clarity. I've only seen it twice and it was definitely weaker even the second time.

      • m1

        I actually agree about Bane. He was scary, but under that mask, not as much as he could have been. I'm shocked that people are praising Tom Hardy for his performance in TDKR while criticizing Russell Crowe in Les Mis.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

          The issue with Bane is the script, not the performance. The Nolan brothers failed to write any real compelling dialogue for him. He existed only to be the "bad guy." Nothing more. He was so one-dimensional. If you compared it to Joker in TDK, you'd never believe that the same guys who wrote his dialogue also wrote Bane.

          • m1

            "He existed only to be the "bad guy.""

            Yes, but you could say exactly the same thing about the Joker. The Joker was given better dialogue, but his role in the 2nd film was no different from Bane's.

            I really liked TDKR, but I can recognize its flaws as well. It's a shame that Hardy was smothered beneath that mask. He could have been a better villain.

            • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

              He was definitely the villain, but in terms of complexity, there's no comparison. Bane was the typical "I'm going to destroying Gotham because I've got large muscles and I'm very intimidating" while Joker was so much more interesting. He didn't have an agenda. He was just an agent of chaos. He didn't have a philosophy or ideals; which made him much more disturbing. We've seen villains like Bane a million times, but Ledger's Joker? One in a million.

              • Winchester

                I think the problem around Bane is linked to this 'agent of chaos' aspect. He really is ultimately a bluff and once that becomes clear he has almost no rewatchability factor (for me anyway) from then on. And I don't feel much for or about him consequently. I also don't think he has strong dialogue but then I would argue that afflicts other characters as well.

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

                I would agree with everything you said.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Travis/ Travis

            I'd call his plan one-dimensional, but not the performance.That moment in the prison before he became got the mask, while some could say cliche, was definately well acted and added some depth to the character.

      • Chris138

        Any actor who followed Ledger's Joker was going to have an uphill battle. I think Tom Hardy did a good job, considering what he had to work with. I love the film but I agree it has flaws and that Bane is not quite as well written as the Joker. Regardless, I thought he was menacing and the way Hardy portrayed him worked for the kind of movie Nolan was going for. The only time I thought he sounded ridiculous and not very menacing was when he gives that speech at Blackgate prison before releasing all of the inmates. Aside from that I thought he worked as a villain, and he definitely had presence.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

      Interesting to note you didn't enjoy only the ending of Django. Personally, I thought it was the best part and had a wide grin on my face the whole time.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

        Actually dinner table scene is best, but still I loved the ending.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

          So did I, I thought it was the best shootout I've ever seen.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

    I apologize for going very VERY long thing week…

    Hit me up on Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/as/

    The Quentin Tarantino Marathon:

    12/23/12 –

    Death Proof (2007) – What can I say? I love love love this film. People can bag on it all they like, but I don’t know what there is to criticize about it. Is the dialogue trivial? Yeah, but so is the dialogue in Reservoir Dogs. I mean seriously, what’s the difference? In Dogs, they yak on about how black women would never put up with the shit white women put up with. In Death Proof, the girls yak on about how Abernathy isn’t getting any dick. Really, what’s the difference? You either like QT’s style or you don’t. I completely understand why non-Tarantino fans would dislike this film. But for the people who like every other QT film? I just don’t understand. I suppose if you don’t like the characters the film won’t work for you, but what’s not to like? Zoe Bell is fucking brilliant in this film (in more ways than one). She’s easily one of the funniest characters QT’s come up with. And Tracie Thomas? She’s the female Sam Jackson. And who doesn’t love Sam Jackson…. but I digress.

    Every time I watch Death Proof I have a perpetual grin on my face for the bulk of the films running time. It’s hilarious, thrilling and wonderfully acted. Whenever I think about the fact that Kurt Russell was ALMOST in Django Unchained I get bummed. He does Quentin’s dialogue as good as anyone and Stuntman Mike is one of my favorite QT characters. But in all honesty, can we not agree that this movie features two of the greatest car chase sequences ever committed to film? It just goes to show; Tarantino masters whatever genre he dabbles in. The goal was to set out and make a down and dirty exploitation movie. And what does QT do? He ends up making one of the greatest slasher films of all time. Even when he sets out to make a bad film, he can’t help but make a great one. God love him.
    Re-watching Death Proof, I can say with the utmost confidence that I think the final two chase sequences are the greatest directorial achievements of Tarantino’s career. While nothing could ever replicate the experience of watching this film in the theater, every time I watch it I’m on the edge of my seat. Oh, and Death Proof has one of QT’s finest endings. That’s all. Now on to Basterds…

    4.5 / 5

    12/24/12 –

    Inglourious Basterds (2009) – I was a little disappointed re-watching Basterds. This is the 4th time I’ve seen the film (the last time I saw it was in December of 09). It didn’t land with the same impact that it did before. I can’t really say why. I just wasn’t as impressed with it as I was in the past. What I still love: Christoph Waltz is absolutely brilliant, but that’s hardly news. My favorite scenes are the opening (which is masterfully done) and the La Louisiane sequence. Aside from Waltz, Michael Fassbender gives one of the best performances in the film. His phony laugh is priceless.

    Brad Pitt’s performance in Basterds is similar to his performance in Killing Them Softly in the sense that neither performance is particularly challenging or interesting. Neither film really asks anything of him. Both characters are kinda laid back and simple. Nothing terribly compelling about either of them.

    The ending is terrific, and by ending I’m not referring to the theater explosion. QT has knack for coming up with ironic, low-key and modest ways of ending very large and ambitious films. In Pulp Fiction (a long and weaving crime anthology) he ends the film by simply having the characters place their guns in their pants and walk of a dinner. No big dramatic shootout. It ends as matter-of-factly as it began. He does something similar with Kill Bill. Instead of a big fight scene between Bill and The Bride (which is what you’d expect) he concludes his epic tale of revenge with a calm ending. Bill just gets out of his chair and walks to his death. In this way, it feels like QT is always subverting expectations; which brings me back to Basterds.

    In the beginning of the film, we see Aldo carve a swastika in a German soldier’s head and the issue is never brought up again. Cut to two hours later; the Basterds mission is now complete and we’re left wondering how Tarantino is going to finish this whole thing off. What could possibly happen now? And then we hear Aldo inquire about what Landa is going to do when he’s sitting on his porch in Nantucket and that early scene comes rushing back to mind. Of course! He’s going to carve a swastika in his head. How else could QT end the film? The concept might not seem so brilliant at first, but Tarantino’s unique ability to bring everything full circle by the end is pretty clever (if you ask me). And the final line? After Eli Roth initially remarked that Aldo was “getting pretty good at that,” what else to say but “Ya know somethin Utivich? I think this might just be my masterpiece.”
    But in the end, I was ultimately left with a feeling of disappointment. Much as I enjoyed this little marathon, I did find myself underwhelmed by films I’d previously considered some of my all-time favorites. As a result of this, my expectations for Django Unchained have gone down slightly. Ah well, what are you gonna do?

    4.5 / 5

    I thought I’d take this opportunity to do a “best of” list for QT’s films:

    Best Picture: Kill Bill Vol. 2
    Best Actor: Samuel L. Jackson (Jackie Brown)
    Best Actress: Pam Grier (Jackie Brown)
    Best Supporting Actor: David Carradine (Kill Bill Vol. 2)
    Best Supporting Actress: Zoe Bell (Death Proof)
    Best Screenplay: Kill Bill Vol. 2
    Best Soundtrack: Kill Bill Vol. 2
    Best Cinematography: Robert Richardson (Kill Bill Vol. 1)
    Best Editing: Sally Menke (R.I.P) (Death Proof)

    At the theater (first viewing):

    Django Unchained – I think everyone misinterpreted that whole Mayan thing. I don’t think they meant the world was going to end in 2012, I think they just meant cinema was gonna take a dive in 2012… cause it did. 2012, for me anyway, will be remembered as The Year of Disappointment. It began with Prometheus (which to be honest, I didn’t really care that much about to begin with) and carried on throughout the summer as Savages, The Dark Knight Rises and The Expendables 2 (say what you will, but I liked the first one) all proved to be running on empty. It wasn’t a total loss though, Magic Mike, The Deep Blue Sea & Killer Joe (none of them films I expected much from) turned out to be excellent films. As we moved into September, the first big movie was The Master. I’d considered TWBB one of my favorite films of all time, so expectations were high. While I did appreciate the film, it failed to really compel me in any way. Next up was Skyfall, which, pleasantly, DID actually meet my expectations. And then of course there was Killing Them Softly, which I liked, but it didn’t come anywhere near Jesse James.

    Which brings us to Django… Now, some of you may have realized that I’m a pretty big Tarantino fan. So, naturally, expectations were high (although as I noted above, the QT marathon did bring them down a bit). I fully expected Django (especially after the series of disappointments) to be my surefire No. 1 film of the year. I mean, it didn’t have any real competition besides Skyfall & Killer Joe, and neither of those films really blew me away. It was Django’s for the taking… but alas, not so much.

    After watching Django Unchained once, I’m inclined to say that this is probably the weakest film Quentin Tarantino has ever made. I don’t know; I’m finding it difficult to put my finger on what specifically it was about Django that disappointed me. I don’t think I ever felt “compelled” while watching it and it never really felt “intense.”

    As far as the performances go, Jamie Foxx is good, but as I’ve noted before, QT’s protagonists are never as compelling as the supporting characters. Christoph Waltz delivers another brilliant performance and his character gets the brunt of the great dialogue. While Leonardo DiCaprio is terrific, I wasn’t as carried away with him as I thought I’d be. I just don’t think Calvin Candie is one of QT’s better characters. But after Waltz, I’d have to say that it was Sam Jackson who stole the show. He’s nothing short of magnificent in Django Unchained and no one could have played the part better. The one thing I was worried about going in was Kerry Washington, but while she didn’t have much to do, she was good. Don Johnson had a smaller part than I thought he would’ve (I’m sure QT probably cut a long dialogue scene between him and Waltz) but he was excellent as well.

    *If you want to avoid spoilers, skip the rest of this review*

    One thing I did want to bring up was the issue of brutality. I don’t think I’ve read a single article or review about Django Unchained since the screenplay came out that didn’t make note of how “incredibly brutal, sadistic and unsparing” the film was. I don’t know man, I guess I’m just less sensitive than most, because I really didn’t get that sense. For example: the Mandingo fight. Countless reviews cited this scene as being “horrific.” I mean yeah, it’s violent, but is it really any more brutal than something you’d see in the Expendables? Not really. It’s two guys punching the shit out of each other. We’ve seen this thing like a thousand times. The hot box, the whippings, the dogs, the shootings… it’s all bad, don’t get me wrong, but is it really that shocking? For my money, Killer Joe was 10 times more disturbing than Django Unchained… but that’s clearly just me…

    This next criticism I have also relates to the issue of violence. Nobody does satisfying violence better than Tarantino. That’s what he’s known for, after all. But the quasi-climactic shootout did nothing for me. It really did feel gratuitous, which I suppose goes without saying, but most people seem to just accept it as “fun.” It didn’t thrill me in the way that it was clearly supposed to. It’s hard to say why exactly. You COULD say that since you know Django isn’t going to die, all the stakes are removed and therefore the sequence fails to be compelling (since he’s never really in any danger). But I can’t say that because the same logic would apply to the Crazy 88 fight in Kill Bill, but that IS compelling, whereas this wasn’t. So I don’t know; it just didn’t work for me. Maybe I just wasn’t as invested in Django’s revenge as I should’ve been.

    The main problem I have relates to the films length. Now I’m usually the last guy to complain about length (ESPECIALLY when we’re taking about QT films) but Django felt way too long and self-indulgent. Where was “Harvey Scissorhands” when you need him? There were so many scenes that could’ve been cut out or shortened (the “Baghead” scene stands out in particular). But you really start to feel the length after the big shootout. It should’ve ended right there when it cuts to black. QT obviously could’ve re-worked the script so that Django didn’t have to surrender, because what was the point of having Django escape AGAIN, go back to the plantation, and have another little shootout in the same exact place? Sure, the little scene when Jackson walks in as Django is being tortured is good, but was it really necessary?

    The very ending felt pretty anti-climactic to me. Which is ironic, since QT has always been sooo good at coming up with dramatic endings. He ALWAYS cuts to black with the perfect piece of music playing on the soundtrack, and then the words “Written & Directed by Quentin Tarantino” flash on the black screen like a punch to the gut. Sadly, QT brakes formula for the worst and that doesn’t happen in Django. Instead, he goes with extremely anti-climactic red titles over the image. Fail.

    A word about the soundtrack: it’s good, and there are some very well-timed and memorable pieces, but it’s not one of his best.

    Now yes, most of this review came off pretty negative, but while I was very disappointed with the film, I did still like it. It’s just hard to deal with the fact that this is the first “not-great” movie QT has ever made (IMO, of course). There are definitely moments of greatness. That long dinner sequence at Candyland is pretty terrific.

    All in all, I think the reason I didn’t care for this film as much is because it’s one of QT’s lesser screenplays and the story just wasn’t as interesting as some of his other films.
    As far as the Oscars go, DiCaprio doesn’t give the runaway performance that I thought he was going to. And at the end of the day, I’d probably say that Phillip Seymour Hoffman gave the best Supporting Performance of the year. But I wouldn’t be disappointed if DiCaprio did win.

    Initially, I wasn’t going to see this a second time in the theater, but after much reflection, I do still really want to love it! Meh, who knows, maybe in a week or so I’ll give it another go… because fuck man, I wanted to fall in love with it!

    Some other observations:

    - I was extremely disappointed that Zoe Bell didn’t actually have any dialogue.
    - Walter Goggins was barely in it…
    - Was I the only one who didn’t hate Sam Jackson’s character? Cause in interviews, Jackson said his goal was to create the most detestable negro in cinema history…
    - I felt that on the whole, the characters weren’t among QT’s best. Did anyone else feel
    this way?

    - What did you think about the red title font? It felt cheesy and B movieish (which I know is what he’s going for, but at first I felt more like I was watching Machete rather than Django Unchained…).
    - It wasn’t as funny as some of his other films.
    - Really loved the MISSISSIPPI title card.
    - Most people seemed to think the “Baghead” scene was hilarious. It didn’t really do much for me. What did you guys think?

    Some favorite quotes:

    Dr. King Shultz: “My good man, did you simply get carried away with your dramatic gesture, or are you pointing that weapon at me with lethal intention…?”

    Dr. King Shultz: “So as I see it, when it comes to the subject of what to do next, you gentleman have two choices. One, once I’m gone, you lift that beast off the remaining Speck, then carry him to the nearest town. Which would be at least 37 miles back the way you came. Or… two, you unshackle yourselves, take that rifle over there… put a bullet in his head, burry the two of them deep, and make your way to a more enlightened area of the country. The choice is yours.”

    3.5 / 5

    At home (first viewing):

    Flight (2012) – One critic said it best: “I’ve never seen a movie go from being a B+ to a C- so fast.” The opening flight sequence is brilliantly directed. Sadly, the rest of the film is less so. Most of the film plays like a formulaic and clichéd addiction movie. But like the plane in the opening sequence, the movie quickly takes a nose dive and never pulls up. It all begins *spoiler alert* when Washington relapses in his hotel room before the hearing. Initially, I thought the hotel room fridge scene was a dream sequence because it was so absurd there was no way it could actually be taking place in reality… but then I remembered this was a Robert Zemeckis film…

    From there, the film goes from being absurd to laughable. As the union rep and CRIMINAL DEFENSE lawyer burst into the room, their solution is to pump Washington up with enough cocaine to “level him off.” Are you laughing yet? Because I was. They inexplicably know to call up Washington’s drug man (who somehow shows up in ten minutes). But as Sinatra said, the best is yet to come. At the moment of truth, Washington comes clean and (gasp!) seeks redemption. But all is not lost, because those prison boys aren’t so bad after all. If you thought THIS was bad, brace for impact, because his son is about to show up to deliver the film’s final, pathetic, heavy-handed, subtlety-of-a-sledgehammer, scene. He’s finally gonna get to know who his dad really is… To cap it all off, Zemeckis pulls out something that could’ve only been taken from the Spielberg handbook: in the background we hear the sound of a plane soaring in the sky. Fade to black. WOW!

    2.5 / 5

    Oslo, August 31st (2012) – This and Flight would actually make a very good double feature. Both films are about addiction, but one falls victim to every cliché in the book while the other finds a way to tackle the subject matter in an honest and truthful manner without ever resorting to sentimentality. The film is very well made and well-acted.

    3 / 5

    Lincoln (2012) – I always give credit where credit is due and Lincoln is not as bad as I’d feared. It’s still not terribly good though and my 3/5 rating is extremely generous. Lincoln is a fairly light and insignificant entry into the Spielberg cannon. Day-Lewis has given far better performances than this. But I suppose it’s not as much his fault as it is the fault of the middling material. The film is largely lifeless and it felt uninspired throughout. There are some truly terrible moments at the end (Stuhlbarg’s final concession, the “ah what the hell… YES!,” and Jones’ “gift” to his black partner) but it’s not as offensive as it first seemed.

    The only performances that didn’t work were Sally Field (who’s really bad at times) and JGL (who doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing in the movie). Oh, and by John Williams’ standards, the score is dialed back a bit…. but it’s hardly nuanced. Spielberg makes the inexplicable decision to feature Lincoln’s death (which makes no sense since the film is not a bio-pic, but a procedural on how the 13th Amendment was passed) and then, of course, takes the Spielberg way out and not actually show him getting shot. But who really cares anyway?

    3 / 5

    The Turin Horse (2012) – Forget waterboarding, they should just show Turin Horse & This is Not a Film back to back and even the most hardened prisoner would divulge every piece of information they had. I mean, I get it… you want to be profound and intellectual and make an art house film with a capital A, but did it have to be 2 hours and 35 minutes long? For those who don’t know, The Turin Horse has no plot and almost no dialogue. The film follows a father and daughter around their home in the desolate countryside as they go about menial tasks. They wake up, she goes out to get water, he tries to take the horse out but it won’t go, they put the horse back in the barn, she makes potatoes, they eat, they go to sleep and then the film just repeats itself over and over for the next 155 minutes. Clearly the filmmaker is trying to make bleak existential statements about the meaninglessness of life, but couldn’t he have done it in 90 minutes?

    2.5 / 5

    Out of the Past (1947) – It’s got a very smart script and some excellent performances (most notably Mitchum & Douglas). I might have scored it higher if the ending hadn’t been such a cop-out.

    3 / 5

    Footnote (2012) – A solid film. Don’t really have much to say.

    At home (repeat viewing):

    Manhattan (1979) – One of Allen’s greatest films. Brickman & Allen’s screenplay is pure genius. Woody Allen is the greatest because you can never watch his films too many times. I howl with laughter all throughout this film. One scene that kills me every time is when Emily starts reading excerpts from Isaac’s ex-wife’s book: “He was given to fits of rage; Jewish, liberal paranoia, male-chauvinism, self-righteous misanthropy and nihilistic moods of despair. He had complaints about life but never any solutions. He longed to be an artist but balked at the necessary sacrifices. In his most private moments, he spoke of his fear of death; which he elevated to tragic heights when in fact it was mere narcissism.” Who else but Woody Allen could’ve written that?

    4.5 / 5

    • http://www.criterion.com/my_criterion/27913-criterion10 Criterion10

      AS, I think that out of all the reviews I've read for Django, yours seems to be the one that I most agree with. For me, the film lost me at the last 20 minutes, when the quasi-climax occurred. The problem is that Django isn't a developed enough character to suddenly take the lead after Waltz's death. For me, Waltz was the character in the film I cared most about. Dare I say, he's even one of my favorite QT characters, due to the fact that QT makes him a likable person, a realistic one. Therefore, when his death is treated as it was no big deal, and there is no emotional pay-off, the film greatly suffers.

      QT should've made a big, crazy, climactic shootout at the house with an emotional payoff and ended it there. The current ending is too long, anti-climactic, and unsatisfying.

      Now, we differ in that I thought the film up until this point was excellent. I definitely wasn't as invested in DiCaprio's character, as he felt more like your standard villain than someone like Hans Landa, who was truly original. Still, this didn't bother me all that much as I thought it worked for the story. But, then again, his anti-climactic death really pissed me off. I actually am still debating whether or not Leo deserves an Oscar nomination (there were some really good supporting performances this year). However, Christoph Waltz certainly deserves a nomination, but as a lead actor, not supporting.

      The film was definitely brutal, though I wasn't as disturbed by it as I expected to be. Again, this isn't a flaw, just my personal reaction to the onscreen violence.

      I didn't care for the red title font either, and the way it played over the ending bothered me very much so. QT was trying too hard there to pay homage to that era, and this is an example of when his homages do start to bother me. It didn't bother me so much over the opening credits though.

      BTW, that scene with QT acting was simply atrocious. He needs to learn that he cannot act, and should stick to directing.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

        I actually didn't think QT's acting was sooo bad. I mean, he's done way worse than this. It was the sequence itself that was unnecessary and self-indulgent.

        One thing I noticed about Calvin Candie was that he didn't come off as reprehensible as he was supposed to be. For example, in the scene where Foxx pulls the guy down off his horse, Candie comes to Django's defense. He doesn't give a second thought about taking Broomhilda out of the hot box and he has no problem with Django sitting down at his dinner table. Idk, it just felt strange. It was almost felt as if he wanted to like Django.

      • Gerberzy

        I agree about the quasi climax/fake ending. The last 30 minutes really took away from the film. But I still think it's good and probably his funniest film. And personally, I thought QT's acting was some of the worst I've ever seen and it totally took me out of the movie, which is never a good thing.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

          Well, if you thought QT was bad in THIS, you should see Sukiyaki Western Django.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

      I can understand why you don't like The Turin Horse but I simply disagree. I actually found the movie to be quite comical and then the ending pretty much knocked me off my seat. I don't even know what to say about it.

      P.S. Is a 3/5 your go to rating or something? I feel like EVERYTHING you see is getting that lately. Oslo is definitely better than that. To say that it's only .5 better than Flight is a bit ridiculous.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

        As much as I'd like to be objective and understand all opinions, I simply don't understand how any human being could enjoy The Turin Horse. It's 2 hours and 35 minutes of static.

        Here's how my rating system brakes down:

        5/5 = A masterpiece. A flawless film. One of the greatest movies ever made.

        4.5/5 = An incredible film. One of, if not, the best film of the year.

        4/5 = A great film. One of the very best films of the year. A movie worth buying.

        3.5/5 = A very good film. Well above average. Not worth buying, but worth watching at least once more. Worthy of praise.

        3/5 = An average film. Fairly enjoyable, but flawed.

        2.5/5 = Not good. A mostly weak film with a few redeeming aspects.

        2/5 = A flat out bad film. Terrible. One of the worst films of the year. Difficult to sit through.

        1.5/5 = Horrendous. Vile. The worst film of the year. Nothing positive about it. Painful to sit through.

        1/5 = One of the worst films of all time.

        I enjoyed Oslo. I would never compare a rating for one film to a rating for another film. Flight and Oslo have nothing in common and just because I gave Oslo .5 more, that really doesn't say anything about Flight. I don't think in those terms. But I would never watch Oslo again and I didn't enjoy it nearly enough to give it a 3.5/5. I'm a hard grader, so a 3.5 is a bigger deal to me than it might be to most people. If I give most films a 3/5, it's because a 3 is an average rating. Most films are average.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

          When I said Flight and Oslo had nothing in common, I meant in terms of quality.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

          2 hours and 35 minutes of static is the point... Anyway that doesn't matter, I understand the hate. I just feel like there's a little too much wiggle room from 2.5-3.5. That's why I'm starting to REALLY hate any and all grading. I only use it as a barometer. I mean...why should I be sitting here and grading something like White Christmas? Or Oliver? It's all just feels so wrong.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

            Trust me, I know that that was the point.... but it was fuckin shitty point. I guess that's what I'm saying.

            To each his own, but I really enjoy rating movies. It helps me put certain films in perspective.

            • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

              Certain films is the idea. Do you not feel weird rating something like Manhattan? Rating newer films feels right but something about not being there when it was created just feels wrong. I don't know.

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

                Maybe I shouldn't have said "certain films" since I enjoy rating all films. To me, each of those ratings mean something. And I watch so many films that it's very helpful to refer back to a rating I gave a film and go "oh yeah, that's what I thought of it." And sometimes you watch a film again and you enjoy it more (or less) and it can be interesting to see how the film has changed in your mind by looking back at those ratings.

                As far as rating films that came out before you were born; I don't have any problem with that. Manhattan is one of my favorite films. I think it's brilliant. Is it an epic masterpiece? Maybe not. So a 4.5/5 is perfect. It's masterful but not earth-shattering. So, not a 5, but much better than a 4. Note: I obviously only give 5's to genius films. Out of all the films I've seen in my lifetime, I've given out maybe 10 or 11 5's. Which is as it should be. If you hand out a 5 to a film every year, does the 5 really mean anything?

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

                It's hard to sit here and quantify love though. The Social Network, Drive, Shame, Holy Motors, Inception, The Graduate, (500) Days of Summer, etc. These are some movies I give an A+ to. But I do love these movies in different ways. Some definitely feel lesser but I still love them as much as an A+ no matter what because they resonate on a personal level. It's hard to really explain.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

          AS, looking at your Letterbox and I see you gave "Wall-E" 1/5, making it one of the worst films of all time to you. Even though I don't think it's Pixar's best like many do, I still found it entertaining. If you don't mind, just curious what you hated so much about it.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

            I mean... I suppose that's more a measurement of enjoyment than quality. I really don't like animated films and the only reason I even watched it was because critics were comparing it to 2001: A Space Odyssey and calling it "brilliant." So I decided to broaden my horizons and see it. I was bored out of my mind and I thought the humor was incredibly stupid (which is to be expected in a kids film, but still...). I was so infuriated that I had just wasted all of that time and money on it that I just had to give it a 1/5.

            • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

              Fair enough. Same thing kind of happened to me with Les Mis.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Travis/ Travis

      Just out of curiosity, you made a comment about Lincoln's "middling material." Is this a reference to the script? Because I will agree up and down with you on Spielberg's weaknesses in directing on this film, but I thought the script by Kushner was one of the better things about the film. In fact, the way I view it, that and Day Lewis were why you liked it. The two were so good not even Spielberg could bring it down, no matter how hard he tried

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

        It's a reference to the whole production. I know Tony Kushner is a very respected and highly regarded playwright but the script wasn't all that compelling (just my opinion). I criticize Spielberg a lot, but like I said, Lincoln is not a bad film and he reigned himself a bit. I'll give him credit for that. But the thing about Lincoln is that while it's not bad, it's not particularly good either. Everything about it is simply average.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Travis/ Travis

          Fair enough

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fan/ Fan

      AS, how did you like the music? Tarantino always does a great job of blending the music and the storytelling together. I watched it with friends and they like the music till the Tupac song came on at the big shootout. It didn’t bother me; however my friends found it annoying in a western. I don’t know I thought it fit perfectly, maybe it is just me.

      Although it is a blend of a western and a Blaxploitation film, I felt and noticed that the first half of the film is more like a western until they meet Candie and then it became more of a Blaxploitation slavery film. Did you notice that? This might be the reason why Kurt Russell didn’t do the film as I recalled he said, “It wasn’t western enough.”

      Some of my favorite quote is from Don Johnson’s Big Daddy before the Bagheads raid, “I can’t see fucking shit neither. But all that matters is that the fucking horse can see. That’s a raid.” Lol, that gets me.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

        I thought there were some great musical pieces in there that were well-timed. I'm sure I'd appreciate all aspects of the film much more on a second viewing.

        I felt the Blaxploitation vibe running throughout the film; not just at the Candyland.

        Kurt Russell had to drop out because QT realized his film was going to be long enough already and he had to fold the Ace Woody character (which Russell was going to play) into the Billy Crash character. And he wasn't going to hire Kurt Russell to play such a small character.

  • http://everyjohnhustonmovie.blogspot.ca/ Timothy

    IN THEATRES:
    Les Miserables- I have never seen the stage musical, nor finished the book, but I did still have high expectations, despite knowing little about it. My expectations weren't quite met, but I still found the film to be worthwhile. It was certainly flawed, and completely ludicrous at points, but those flaws are what made the film work. 8/10

    Django Unchained- Not Tarantino's best film, it's a bit too long and some scenes feel odd when compared to the rest of the film, but I still enjoyed it, and it was a worthwhile trip. 8.5/10

    AT HOME:
    Make Way For Tomorrow- Reminded me a lot of Ozu's films, and Tokyo Story in particular. While I found this film to be better than Tokyo Story, it still suffered in my eyes, as I wasn't able to sympathize with the characters. 8/10

    Christmas in Connecticut- An enjoyable studio comedy, with Barbara Stanwyck a her comedic best. The plot is slightly unbelievable, but it works fine. 7.5/10

    The Bandwagon- A typical studio musical, not the best, but there is a great musical number at the end that makes the experience worthwhile. 7.5/10

    The Browning Version- A wonderful film, with Michael Redgrave giving his finest performance. That said, it can feel contrived at points, especially during the climax. 9/10

    Chronicle- One of the more interesting found-footage films. I'm not a big fan of the genre, but this film managed to be slightly different than others I've seen. 6.5/10

    The Man Who Wasn't There- Not the Coen's best film, but an interesting throwback to the film noir's of the 1940s. It is slow, but Billy Bob Thornton gives a great performance, and the Coen's direction is spot on. 8.5/10

    That's all for this weekend.

    • Chris138

      Make Way For Tomorrow is wonderful. You likely already know this, but Tokyo Story was essentially a remake of that film.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fox/ Fox

    Silver Linings Playbook - I've been waiting for a film to blow me away this year, and it finally happened. Three absolutely brilliant performances. i was shocked at how well Bradley Cooper did. I'd just sort of accepted that he wasn't a very good actor, but I guess I was wrong. I thought it was amazing how it could go from being laugh out loud hilarious (an AMAZING script), to incredibly heartwarming and even emotionally draining st some points. Basically, the entire film struck a real chord with me. I can understand if certain parts didn't for for some people (most of my family didn't like it), but this one for me was great.

    Perks of Being a Wallflower - Kind of a frustrating movie. At times it seemed to be so emotionally powerful, and had a real connection to me. There were some truly beautiful scenes. But for the most part, this film was too preoccupied with falling in love with itself. Everytime I thought I was starting to really enjoy it, it regressed to a point where I was actually mad at the film. For me, this one is probably a well made film based on a book that I think I would have a real problem with.

    Safety Not Guaranteed - The story on this one is that it was supposedly a cute little movie that did a lot with only a little. Too little in my opinion. I couldn't shake the belief that I was watching something that could have been filmed written and directed by a rather talented high school student for a school project. Maybe I went in with my expectations too high based on some glowing praise, but this one was a real miss for me. Not much worked aside from Aubrey Plaza's great performance.

    Les Mis - I wrote a little more about this one on the main article, but I have too say I was pleasantly surprised. It's probably as close to an 'epic' as anything we got this year, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had some major problems with the filming and Hooper's direction, but overall, this is one that definitely worked for me

    Christmas Movies

    Christmas Vacation - My favourite of the holiday season; a definite classic

    The Family Stone - My family loves this one, which is why I have to watch it every year. It is absolutely terrible, like nails on a chalkboard for me.

    Finally, I'm finally seeing Django tonight, so I may come back later and put my initial thoughts down (but I like to wait a little bit until I can actually share my opinion on a film)

  • Winchester

    Happy New Year to all when it arrives! Hopefully everyone had a good time over Christmas. I'm also glad to see how this column has been revitalised in recent months as it's one of my favourite features.

    Had a reasonable amount this week as I was off on holiday but most of it was rewatches really and catching up on stuff.

    In Cinemas -

    Life of Pi (2012): And I don't mind saying I was left very wanting and disappointed in this adaption to the point I was bored several times during it. I'm not a huge fan of the book as such but I felt that too much was weeded out. And I know book to film adaptions have to distill and narrow down almost all the time but even at that I think this failed as an adaption. My problem is the first third of the book where Pi explores the different religions because he has this immense fascination and interest in what they offer is expressed more in the film as him being a kid who just picks them like a fad. And because the film doesn't explore why he becomes fascinated by the stories of these religions I felt the film never really satisfactorily explains the central conciet of the story. WHY Pi chooses to retell his journey as he does before telling us the OTHER story. In the film there's no special reason why he does that. But I feel the book does. Anyway, the visuals of the film were OK and lovely at times but I was just left personally with something that just looked pretty but that I had little emotional connection with. I don't think I will ever rewatch this film again.

    At Home:

    Lady & The Tramp (1955): TV airing, rewatch - Not my favourite Disney but it felt oddly Holiday appropriate to give it a go and it does not run very long. I maybe enjoyed it a little more than the last time.

    Gremlins (1984): TV airing, rewatch - Not seen this in years and while it was entertaining I think it has dated very badly. But it is funny in places and feels weirdly Holiday like as well.

    Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988): TV airing, rewatch - Though again for the first time in years. Actually very very good and the visual effects still for the most part do hold up quite well. Good fun.

    The Last of The Mohicans (1992): Blu Ray, rewatch - But first on this format. Got this for Christmas and it is one of my favourite films, partly the photography and partly the majestic theme music. The transfer seemed pretty good to me overall and I really enjoyed it. I also went through the very good commentary by director Micheal Mann.

    The Nighmare Before Christmas (1993): TV airing, rewatch - A seasonal classic that has to be done around this time of year!

    Speed (1994): Blu Ray, rewatch - I watched this a couple weeks ago and for some reason decided to over the two commentaries on it. They were OK.

    Star Trek: Nemesis (2002): DVD, rewatch - I don't know why either. Much as I love TNG this is a terrible film though it features an early role by Tom Hardy as the villain before he bulked way up.

    The Orphanage (2007): Blu Ray, rewatch - Christmastime also demands a ghost story along the way and I chose to revisit this excellent genre film. Perfectly blending scares and an emotional payoff rather than cheap scares this is a great example of a ghostly horror.

    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2007): DVD, rewatch - This is a relatively faithful adaption of the Patrick Suskind novel which itself is almost all description with little dialogue but it gets the bulk of the book across. Nicely shot and starring Ben Wishaw in the title role.

    Total Recall (2012): Blu Ray, rewatch - One of the unfortunate things about being a bit of a sci-fi junkie is sometimes enjoying..............junky sci-fi! Plus it's better than Battleship. The extended cut is a little better, changing some characters relationships and restoring an Ethan Hawke cameo but I kinda like it's trashiness and production design/visuak effects.

    The Dark Knight Rises (2012): Blu Ray, rewatch - For me it's absolutely the weakest of the three Nolan films and while it's still OK I just can't be very enthusiastic over it as a film. But it's another film that's been talked to death.

    In TV Land I also watched all three seasons of 'Cougar Town' (2009 - 2012) in a marathon. I love it. It's cheery, bright and uncynical and I really enjoyed going through it all in one run.

    Re The West Wing I have to say I never really caught it first time around but I woukd like to go back and take a look at it. I aim to try renting it at some point but I have a lot of films on my rental list to catch up on first.

    That was all this week.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fox/ Fox

      I just rewatched Last of the Mohicans recently as well. It's so big and powerful. Plus DDL is amazing as always. A definite classic.

  • http://thebioscopist.com TheBioscopist

    Keep on crushing it in 2013 Brad. Happy New Year to you and the missus!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

    I only saw three movies in the past week but here goes.

    Django Unchained: I'm not the biggest fan of Tarantino. The only movie of his that I REALLY love is Basterds. Reservoir Dogs being the one that comes somewhat close. The rest kind of just pale in comparison. Even Pulp Fiction just doesn't do much for me. I should say that during my viewing and immediately afterwards, I thought the movie was easily his most entertaining and that doesn't change. My issues with the movie lie in it pacing. The editing is actually REALLY awful at times. Some of the cuts to flashbacks just scream amateur. The story itself is pretty good, though it does kind of resemble Basterds plotline. All of Tarantino's usual story beats like emotion, tension, and even the music, fall flat. I never feel anything throughout the run time. The comedy is the only aspect that really worked. For example, the dinner sequence in this film was SO predictable. I felt no tension. Compare it to the Basterds bar scene. They're technically the same but in Basterds, I had no idea how it was going to play out. The acting is amazing though. DiCaprio is pretty good, but he's definitely scenery chewing. It's Jackson who I think gives the most interesting performance. Waltz is good though it does feel the same as Landa. Kerry Washington I felt was pretty bad but I feel like that has something to do with character and QT's direction. Overall, I was entertained throughout but it just all feels so amateurish. The movie needs to be longer if anything, scenes are so fast and much more frenetically edited than normal Tarantino films. There's a good movie in here somewhere. In this form it's pretty disappointing. C+/B-

    Les Miserables: Better. Probably the best acting ensemble of the year. This movie gets by on it's sheer emotionality and ambition. I don't think there's anything left to say about Anne Hathaway and her "I Dreamed a Dream" performance, so I'll just say amazing. The story is the problem if anything. Things are very fast and you have to take for granted a lot of the relationships and the characters feelings but from what I've heard, it's the same in the show. What Tom Hooper did with the story is probably the strongest sheer direction than anybody has done this year. THIS is the definition of ambition. Trying something new and sticking with your guns to come up with something special. Yes he doesn't always hit it out of the park but when he does, it's out of this world fantastic. When he doesn't it's cringeworthy but I can overlook that. The highs are so high that little things really don't matter. "There is a life about to start
    When tomorrow comes!" B+

    I Saw The Devil: Action sequences really are so much better in asian films. This movie is INSANE. Total fun revenge flick. Definitely asks some hard questions as well. Who is wrong? Who is the monster? Really clever title too. I'm actually looking forward to The Last Stand now just because Ji-Woon Kim is directing. That taxi scene is AWESOME! A-

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

      I couldn't disagree with you more on Django. I thought the dinner scene was easily the best sequence in the movie and if anything, Django should have been much shorter.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

        Think about Tarantino's WHOLE career. Most of his movies play with silence and dialogue. This was so frenetic. He didn't let ANY scene breathe. The dialogue came and there was no retrospection to be had during. Yes, the dinner sequence IS the best sequence in the movie but that's because of DiCaprio's monologue. Never did I ever feel like ANYBODY was in danger. Tarantino doesn't flinch when killing his characters. So when it did come AFTER the dinner sequence, it's so vanilla and obvious. If we can agree than the editing was weak than that would be a start.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

          "He didn't let ANY scene breathe." - Well then I guess this just all comes down to subjectivity. There were many scenes that went on for a long time. For instance: when we first meet Candie. I suppose I don't know what you mean by "breathe." I definitely felt some breathing going on. And there's like a 25 minute sequence that just revolves around Django, Schultz and Candie riding down the path to Candyland. That sequence went on forever.

          I definitely wouldn't go so far as to say the editing was "weak." It wasn't as great as Menke's, but weak? My issues, in terms of pacing, fall more to the direction the narrative took in the last 20 minutes. It felt like QT wrote a whole alternative ending, but instead of being economic about it and cutting the second ending, he just went ahead and included it anyway. The momentum suffers as a result.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

            But even that 25 minute sequence is packed. Including Django throwing a guy off his horse, the dogs, DiCaprio yelling, etc. The whole movie is bombastic. I don't know. Everything feels like it JUST misses the beat. Even the music cues are weak.

            • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

              I guess we just agree to disagree then. It seems like you and I approach films with two entirely different perspectives. Which is interesting.

      • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

        @AS - Hammer, meet nail.

  • Cory

    Easily my best viewing week of the year:

    Lincoln (2012), This was a second viewing to try and firmly established my feelings on the film. I don't know what happened on that first viewing but this viewing sent it over the top. This is the best film I've seen this year. Even with that tacked on final five minutes or so, this film sings. It's a beautiful, yet sad film about our nation and the role of government. Give Daniel Day Lewis everything. He'll, give the whole cast everything. Stunning work by all. I honestly feel that this film is my second favorite Spielberg film of all time, behind Minority Report. Not the best, but my favorite.

    This Is 40 (2012), It seems Apatow has a knack for releasing a film that hits too close to home for me and my wife. First, it was Knocked Up and the situation that mirrored my marriage at the point of its release. Five years later and two more kids, Apatow launches this film that hit me and the wife right in the gut. It's his must mature work to date. Leslie Mann deserves and Oscar nomination for her work here. Raw and emotionally devastating. Rudd is Rudd. Apatow's two daughters are fantastic, especially Maude. She's got a future. Megan Fox gives her best performance to date and is completely hilarious and authentic in the role. 15 minutes too long but if you find a little bit of yourself in this film, you'll enjoy it. One of my top ten if the year!

    Following (1999), As a massive Nolan fan, it's pretty shameful it's taken this long to see his first film...especially in the wake of the Dark Knight Rises (gets better and better on every viewing). But with a Criterion purchase for Christmas and popcorn, I was finally able to see this film. In short, you see the beginnings of the director he is today. It's all there, even in raw form. I really thought that this was a solid film, even if the acting at times was a tad rough. Still, really interesting work considering the budget and the time it took him to get it together. Worthy purchase.

    Compliance (2012), The most fucked up, unbelievable film of the year. Just finished watching it and I'm still processes this entire thing. Kind of reminds me of Darabont's The Mist, in that it takes a microscope to the humanity of society. In short, I have less faith in people after watching this film. This is just a tense, horrific story directed and performed beautifully. Ann Dowd? Oscar nomination. Just...wow. That final scene in the film. She absolutely crushes it. One of my top ten of the year!

    Again, my best viewing week of the year!

    • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

      THANK YOU! Someone who shares my thoughts of This Is 40! I get Brad's critiques of it, but I don't agree. I absolutely LOVED This Is 40, and thought it was incredible as well! My first Apatow film, but I'm definitely going to see his other stuff now.

    • DavidG

      I agree with you about Lincoln. Really beautiful and well-done. Day-Lewis is transcendent.

  • m1

    Magic Mike (2012)-Not what I was expecting but still a good movie. I didn't really care about the stripping but this was a slightly different take on the "rise and fall of fame" story. Horn, Tatum, and McConaughey gave great performances while the other actors were fine. 7/10

    The Campaign (2012)-A typically funny Will Ferrell movie but considering this was an election year, I expected better. It is essentially an SNL skit stretched out to 80-minutes but it has its moments (especially from Dylan McDermott as Galifiankis' campaign manager). 6/10

    Young Adult (2011)-The last ten minutes really save this movie, when we are finally able to understand and sympathize with Charlize Theron's character. Maybe the point of the movie was not to sympathize with her, but to make fun of her. But even if this movie was a satire of adults who are trapped in the past, the movie is too dry and and too self-conscious to be entirely funny. Still, Theron and Oswalt's performances are terrific, and it does have enough moments that resonate, so I did enjoy the movie. 6.5/10

    Hope Springs (2012)-A pretty solid movie with great performances from Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. I don't think the story dug deep enough to reach "exceptional" territory, but with several great scenes, it did come close. Some parts of the movie are very out-of-place (movie theater scene, advice book written by the gay guy) but the movie suffers very little from them. 7.5/10

    Silver Linings Playbook (2012)-David O. Russell took a massive risk with this film, and it paid off immensely. The ending is rushed and there are some cliches along the way, but this movie takes a really different look at mental illness. The characters were complex and completely interesting. Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, and Chris Tucker were all fantastic. Hopefully more people will check this out. 9/10

    The Fighter (2010) (rewatch)-I watched Russell's most recent film this week as well and I don't think it's aging that well. I still think it's fantastic, but the script doesn't take any unique approach to tackling the remarkable story. It's a movie that depends largely on its directing and acting, and Bale and Leo deserved their Oscars. 9/10

    Les Miserables (2012)-I don't care that some of the camera angles were weird. I don't care that there were many close-ups. I don't care that it is nowhere near as subtle as The King's Speech. It was an amazingly well-acted, gorgeously shot, beautifully sung movie. It earns its tears by focusing on a vast, continuously engaging story. I thought it was very well done, and Hathaway will and should win the Oscar. 8.5/10

    Black Swan (2010) (rewatch)-I guess this movie isn't as mind-blowing now as it was when it came out, but come on, what it manages to do is really impressive. I always thought this was a slightly better movie than Inception, mainly because of Portman's superior performance, lack of verbal exposition, and better organization of plot. A movie filled with symbolism and ambiguity to the point that you could discuss it and not get frustrated. It moves at a great pace, and I truly love the ending. This is definitely a movie worth coming back to. The movie and Portman's performance still hold up. 8/10

  • m1

    I'm shocked that there's so much love for Inglourious Basterds on the internet. To me, it's basically Pulp Fiction set in WWII, with as much emotional subtlety as a baseball bat. The Shosanna storyline is the best part of the movie, but the rest of the movie is just okay.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

    Good week of watching for me. May go see something else tonight. Either The Hobbit, Jack Reacher, This Is 40, or Parental Guidance.

    First-watches:

    The American Scream (2012) - Netflix Streaming - Nice little documentary about three homes in the same Massachusetts town that work to build the ultimate haunted house each Halloween. Found the stories interesting. A good watch if you're into this kind of stuff. 7.5 / 10 or "B"

    Hope Springs (2012) - Blu-ray Netflix - The script was decent, but what really stands out are the performances of Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep. I've never seen Jones in this type of role before, but he nailed it out of the park in my opinion. Didn't care for Steve Carrell in his counselor role at first, but he grew on me by the end. I do like movies with a "small town" feel though, which helped in my enjoyment for this one. 6.5 / 10 or "C+"

    Django Unchained (2012) - Theatre - Now this is what I'm talking about! Django is off the chain! I posted expanded thoughts in the separate article Brad created, but I had such a great time watching this. The actors are all on their A-game and Tarantino kills it with the script. This is now my favorite Tarantino movie (haven't seen Grindhouse/Death Proof, Kill Bills, Jackie Brown). My second favorite movie of the year. 9.5 / 10 or "A+"

    Les Miserables (2012) - Theatre - Quite the opposite of Django, I can't remember being more bored during a movie this year. Anne Hathaway kills it for sure, but nothing entertaining to me besides her part. As I said in the other article, perhaps this one is "on me" since this is my first pure musical (99% of the movie is singing) and that just didn't work for me within the confines of the script. My mind was constantly wandering throughout the movie and I was so disappointed. Wish I could have been more interested, because then perhaps the ending would have worked better. 3.5 / 10 or "F"

    Jeff, Who Lives At Home (2012) - Blu-ray Netflix - There was nothing really wrong with this movie other than that the story wasn't all that interesting. Some good acting, especially from Ed Helms, but the plot never really took off for me. I like how it wasn't drawn out though, at a short 83 minutes or so. 6.0 / 10 or "C"

    Re-watches:

    A Christmas Story (1983) - TBS Marathon - Watch this every Christmas morning as my family unwraps gifts. Always a fun time and a timeless holiday classic for me. Thinking about watching the commentary on my blu-ray, even though we're past Christmas. 8.5 / 10 or "A-"

    Ted (2012) - DVD Home - A X-mas gift and parents hadn't seen it yet. My whole family loved this movie and the humor holds up well on re-watch. While the story isn't all that great, the laughs make up for it to me. Funniest movie of 2012, IMO. 8.0 / 10 or "B+"

    The Avengers (2012) - DVD Home - X-mas gift that parents hadn't seen. Unlike Ted and the next movie, my parents hated this, probably because they were unfamiliar with the backstory of all the characters. I must admit that while I still think this is a great, entertaining movie, each time I watch (3rd time now) it isn't quite as good. Lowering my rating slightly to 8.5 / 10 or "A-"

    The Dark Knight Rises (2012) - DVD Home - Parents hadn't seen and they enjoyed it. I've posted my love for this movie enough (and it still doesn't get old), so I will say that the DVD version is kind of crappy, especially after watching the blu-ray (parents don't have BD player). The aspect ratio doesn't change during the IMAX scenes, leaving the annoying black bars, and it's kind of tough to decipher the audio behind Zimmer's score. 10 / 10 or "A+"

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

      Had the same reaction to Les Miserables, most of the singing was during parts that didn't require singing, I know its a musical but thats just bad use of singing.
      I'm glad you liked Django, I had the same reaction its maybe my favorite QT movie now I just can't admit it right away, I'll have to see it at least one more time before deciding that.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Xarnis/ Xarnis

    Unfortunately, i did not get a chance to see Django Unchained, and wish Zero Dark Thirty would come out sooner. I guess i'll have to wait just a little more

    Les Miserables- I posted my review in the "Now Give Us Your Review" article, so i won't repost the whole thing here. I liked the overall story of grace and redemption, but the subplot between Cosette and Marius was just not good bad. their relationship had no development and the there wasn't enough emotion behind their performances to make us believe they were truly in love. I also had a problem with the camera work, as it frequently jumped to and fro and made it difficult to see what was going on. It seemed that the whole movie was just close ups of different people, and i noticed that there are rarely 2 characters on screen at the same time, unless its a big musical number. the film also dragged towards the end, which is usually one of the most exciting parts. However, Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway were terrific and most of the singing (aside from Russel Crowe and Eddie Redmayne, who were forgettable) was great. Overall, it's a good story at it's core, bolstered by some good performances, but latter half of the movie kind of fell apart
    C+

    The Dark Knight Rises [Rewatch]
    I received the Blu-Ray of this film for Christmas, so i figured I might as well watch it a third time. The first two times i watched it in the theater, i liked it about the same and gave it an A-. This time, I liked it a bit less. Bane's dialogue just seemed bad, and plot elements seemed jumbled, and it made me wonder how i caught on to them on my first viewing. I also realized how absent Batman is from the movie. Overall, I still very much enjoyed it, but found a few new minor nitpicks. If i were to rate it again, I'd give it a B+

    Monsters Inc [rewatch]- Since the movie was re released in theaters, I figured I'd pop in my old VHS tape (yes, they do still exist) of this film. This remains one of my favorite Pixar films, but I found some of the dialogue a bit dull. Other than that, I really had no other major problems with the film and i'm glad i returned to it
    A-

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Xarnis/ Xarnis

      Also, I continued to watch Season 4 of Breaking Bad. Phenomenal show with great performances and excellent cinematography. One of the best TV shows I've ever seen.

    • Jake17

      I'm not ashamed to say I always tear up during the last 10 minute of Monsters, Inc. It's not the best Pixar movie, but it's charming as hell.

  • Matt

    When I wasn't reuniting with friends or celebrating the holidays, I was watching a movie, so I have a lot to talk about this week...

    In Theaters:

    Django Unchained- This was probably my most anticipated of the year so to not have it as my favorite film of the year is a bit disappointing, I suppose, but I still really enjoyed the film. As with all of Tarantino's movies, I was drawn into this film right away and completely loved the first two thirds of the movie, even though I will admit that it was a bit slow at times. It was exciting, well acted, and had fantastic dialogue. Where the film lost me was after the big, climatic shootout. The final third of this film, while not bad, was drawn out and, as many have been saying, self indulgent. It certainly didn't ruin the film for me, and the film will more than likely make my Top 10 list for the year once I finalize it, but there's no denying that final third is heavily flawed. That being said, the film was gorgeously shot, very exciting, had fantastic dialogue and many great performances. I was impressed with DiCaprio and Jackson the most, but also loved Foxx and Washington, who I don't really see a lot of praise for. While Waltz wasn't bad, by any means, I just kind of found it too similar to his performance in Basterds (which, by the way, remains my favorite Tarantino film). Also, fantastic soundtrack, my favorite of the year (with the exception of that godawful Rick Ross song...). A-

    Lincoln- What a pleasant surprise- I went into this film with relatively low expectations considering how much Spielberg has disappointed me lately, and left the theater hugely impressed. The performances, cinematography, score, direction and, primarily, the screenplay were all top notch and amongst the best of the year. I loved how the film didn't feel, in any way, like the unwatchable Spielberg schmaltz we're now accustomed to. This is, by far, Spielberg's best work since "Saving Private Ryan", and renews my faith in him as a director. Fingers crossed he doesn't screw it up with his next film. My only real complaint is Sally Field. There was something about her performance that I just found grating. She was solid in some scenes (specifically her big fight with Lincoln about halfway into the film) but other scenes I just found her annoying (her first big scene). DDL and Tommy Lee Jones were Oscar worthy, in my opinion, and it's possibly my favorite script of the year. A

    Les Miserables- As excited as I was to see Les Mis walking in, I couldn't help but be worried by some of the very negative reviews I had been reading. Walking out, however, I just have to assume that this film is a love it or hate it sort of movie and I certainly fall into the former category. Having grown up with the musical's soundtrack playing in my house almost constantly (it's my mom's favorite musical) I was quite familiar with the story and loved how Hopper captured it on screen. I hate almost all the movie musicals I've seen, even if I was a big fan of the stage production ("Rent", for example) but the way Hopper captured the story helped to make it feel realistic and quite powerful. This is, without a doubt, my choice for the best ensemble of the year as there wasn't a bad performance in the bunch. Even Crowe, who so many have complained about, I found a fantastic choice for Javert. Hathaway, however, gave the performance of the year. The editing for the film was a bit jarring at times, and I wish Hopper gave us time in between some very emotional songs in order to reflect on what had just happened, but, all in all, this film lived up to my expectations. A

    At Home:

    Sideways- A solid, well written dramadey with four great performances. A bit too long in my opinion, but still quite good. I like how Payne isn't afraid to put some very negative qualities into his main characters, it's something we really don't see enough. Virginia Madsen was wonderful. B+

    Four Weddings and a Funeral- Bleh, I wasn't impressed. The fact that this got a Best Picture nomination is astonishing. Grant gave a good performance, but MacDowell was just boring in comparison. There romance was not compelling at all. The only segment I found interesting was The Funeral, but that only made up a small portion of an otherwise boring movie. C-

    Michael Clayton- A very good thriller, though I wasn't necessarily blown away like I thought I would be. The performances were stellar (Tom Wilkinson's monologue early on was incredible) but, for whatever reason, I just never got that into it. B

    Moonrise Kingdom (re-watch)- My current favorite of the year, though it's only slightly above "Silver Linings Playbook." This film is just so warm and lovable, and insanely quotable. My parents got it for me for Christmas and I was happy to share it with them over this holiday weekend, they both loved it. A+

    Ted (re-watch)- Another one of my favorites from the year, this is one of the few hyped- about comedies that actually delivered, in my opinion. I thought it was hysterical when I first saw it in theaters and still find it quite funny. A-

    Piranha 3D (re-watch)- The perfect movie to watch with your friends when you all come home from college for winter break. It was my first time being with all my friends since August, and we all had a complete blast watching this together. A terrific B movie. A-

    I've also begun watching "Breaking Bad" and am about halfway through season 2. It's pretty great, and I really hope once it ends that many of these actors go on to great things on film.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

      Great to see someone else who enjoys Piranha. All of my friends give me shit for liking it, but none are willing to give it a shot as a fun time.

      • Matt

        Haha yeah. Only one of my friends had seen it prior to Saturday night, when I showed it to them, so it took a bit of convincing. But right away everybody got really into it. It's a fantastic party movie.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

      Count me in as well as one of the people that enjoyed Piranha a lot, you nailed it: "A terrific B movie." I've seen countless of times on Showtime, I never get tired of watching.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fox/ Fox

        Sometimes a movie can be so ridiculously bad that it crosses into 'good' territory. To this day, I have never turned down an opportunity to watch "Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid", and have never regretted doing so.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

          I'm not an Anaconda fan because of my fear of snakes, saw the first one way back and had nightmares with it haha. But I agree with u, I have LOTS of guilty pleasures, man. Many bad movies I've liked.

        • Matt

          I've wanted to see the "Anaconda" movies actually, but didn't want to watch them by myself (it's no fun to watch a B movie alone...) and none of my friends seemed interested. I'll recommend it again next time, haha.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JoshB/ Josh B

      The best thing about Breaking Bad is that it gets better with each season.

      • Matt

        That's good to hear! I wasn't completely blown away by Season 1, but I just watched the episode "Peekaboo" from S2 (the episode when Jesse goes to the house of the couple who stole his money) and absolutely loved it though.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JoshB/ Josh B

          Yeah season 1 and some of 2 are a little slow. Glad to hear you like it though cause it's a great show.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Xarnis/ Xarnis

        Season 4 Finale... amazing

    • adu

      I noticed that too about Waltz. He was a good guy and is in a western, other than that he was retty much a replica of what he played in Basterds.

      Didn't bother me too much, but it was quite evident.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

    A lot of movies, I LOVE IT!! Here it goes:

    In Theaters:

    This is 40 (2012) (1st viewing) - Not Apatow's best but still freaking raunchy, crazy & hilarious. Leslie Mann & Paul Rudd are terrific. So are Maude & Iris. The supporting cast is brilliant: Albert Brooks, John Lithgow, Megan Fox (2nd movie in a row where's been actually decent), Robert Smigel & Jason Segel (in a cameo as Jason again from Knocked Up) But it's a couple members from Bridesmaids steal the supporting spotlight, both Melissa McCarthy & Chris O'Dowd. Again, not Apatow's best but crazy stuff, I liked it. 7.5/10.

    At Home (All Christmas gifts):

    The Dark Knight Rises (2012) (6th viewing, Blu-Ray-DVD combo pack) - Ah, you should already know by now since i've already reviewed this couple times here. Seen 3 more times, holds up extremely well. I could watch it all day. 10/10.

    The Bourne Legacy (2012) (1st viewing, DVD) - 4th Bourne movie finally been made after 5 years and "Legacy" delivers with action, great performances and well-written characters. Jeremy Renner (always loved this guy before The Hurt Locker) is terrific as Aaron Cross (this time, main focus of the movie) and continues to make his mark as not just a great actor but also potentially new action star. Edward Norton is never in a bad role, he's great on what he's given to do. Though Renner is the main focus in the movie, it is Rachel Weisz who really shines here as the shocked & worried doctor. Both her and Renner have terrific chemistry here as well. Weisz is one of my favorite underrated actresses working today and glad that she's finally back in big roles. Legacy has plenty of action and it does have the most dialogue (talking) than the last 3 but I could care less. I was hooked in on the story. I may be alone on this but I think I liked this better than Identity slightly, I love the story here a bit more. Supremacy & Ultimatum are above both though. Great movie and love that the franchise will go on, still have stories left to tell. 9.5/10.

    The Campaign (2012) (1st viewing, DVD) - Hilarious as I expected it, both Ferrell & Galifianakis are comedic geniuses (big fan of theirs lol). 7/10.

    Step Up: Revolution (2012) (1st viewing, DVD) - Want to get this off my chest: they finally find a really good-looking leading lady in the Step Up movies. No offense to Jenna Dewan but Kathryn McCormick is WOW! Back to the movie, "Revolution" is the most creative of lot but the most inconsistent of the last two (2 & 3) in terms of entertainment. It's pretty slow in parts but when they get to dance, now we are talking. Revolution may not be nowhere close as good as 2 & 3 and I thought the 1st one was still the weakest even though I thought that one was still decent, it's still a fun movie to watch. 6.5/10.

    Ted (2012) (1st viewing, DVD) - Hilarious no doubt but because of it's inconsistensy on laughs (which I hoped for), it's not one of the funniest movies of all-time as so many praised. I love Seth MacFarlene, he's very funny and of course multi-talented, so he's of course is great as Ted. Mark Wahlberg continues to prove that he can't only play those tough-guy serious roles but he can be really funny as a comedic actor. Mila Kunis (so beautiful as always), I love her in anything and glad she's not wasted here as she usually is some of her flicks ("coughs" Extract "coughs"). The first half is consistently hilarious, second half is ok with a couple of extremely hilarious moments. Ted is hilarious but disappointly not in Bridesmaids, There's Something About Mary & Superbad territory which some of my favorite comedies of all-time. 8/10.

    Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012) (1st viewing, DVD) - The weakest of the franchise but still pretty decent. Had some good laughs. The best parts were the pirates, squirrels & of course Scrat the Squirrel. If they do decide to continue the franchise, I hope it's the last one. They are starting to slow down, this one proved it. 1st & 3rd are my favorites. 6/10.

    Savages (2012) (1st viewing, DVD) - Oliver Stone, what can I say? I like some of his work (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Natural Born Killers, Nixon, World Trade Center, etc). Add Savages to the ones I...liked from him. Sure, it's a very messy movie and lifeless lead characters from Lively, Kitsch & Johnson (Kick-Ass himself, up and coming good actor) but it's violent, interesting & gritty. Also, good performances from the supporting cast including John Travolta, Emile Hirsch & Demian Bichir. They are all good but it's Benicio Del Toro (using a Mexican accent) playing the creepy Lado & Salma Hayek's rocking a Cleopatra wig and playing a monster of woman running the cartel (her best role since Frida and one of her best performances of her career) that runs the show. I kind of liked the twist at the end, thought this a good, dirty movie. 7.5/10.

    Django & Zero Dark Thirty (thankfully around the corner, can't wait any much longer), you're next.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

      I don't know if I should even watch This is 40, The 40 year old virgin is a classic in my opinion but after that Apatow hasn't made anything that I liked.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

    Given that you and I seem to have very similar tastes, I'll really have to consider The Bourne Legacy.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

      Haha. I actually knew it was going to be very good going in (I love the franchise for crying out loud lol) despite the mixed reviews, another reason why I don't always listen to them. There is "plenty of action" in it which was good but I didn't expected it to be just a tiny bit better than Identity. I just liked Renner's Aaron Cross & Weisz's Dr. Shearing story and their chemistry.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/ashdurdin/ ashdurdin

    In Theaters:
    Django Unchained: I think this is a movie that I will like more the more I think about it. I think it was really long, but I really liked the main characters, especially Schultz and I also found Django himself more compelling than most seem to.

    At Home:
    Cabin in the Woods: I re-watched the film as well as the commentary track. I really love this movie. It is almost as if it was made for me. The subject matter, the characters the themes are all things that appeal to me. It seems that Joss Whedon’s work is just something I really respond to as I love all his television shows as well. 5/5

    The Avengers: This is really the definition of a great popcorn film. It has just the right amount of spectacle and character. While it was not a great as watching in in the theater for the first time it is still a highly enjoyable film. 4.5/5

    Magic Mike: I thought it was alright, but McConaughey is great in it and deserves all the awards buzz. 3/5

    Brick: I love The Brothers Bloom so I decided to check out Rian Johnson’s first film and I really enjoyed it as well. I usually can’t stand movies set in schools, but the dialogue in this film is so entertaining that I had a smile on my face through the whole thing. 4/5

    Ruby Sparks: I love the fantasy concept that this movie puts forth, but I wish films like this would fully develop and explore the idea rather than just using it as a metaphor for real world problems. The idea of an author bringing a fictional character to life is the interesting thing, not their romantic relationship. 2/5

    Sleepwalk with Me: I really like the writer/director/star Mike Birbiglia as well as costar Lauren Ambrose, so I liked this. It is not really a laugh out loud comedy though, it’s more of a character piece. 3/5

    The New Daughter: A basic supernatural thriller with Kevin Costner. It’s alright, but the ending is pretty tacked on and stupid. 2/5

    Panic: This movie has the premise of a hitman questioning his line of work. It had some good characters like the man’s son and his father, but I think this idea has been done much better in films like Wild Target. 2/5

    • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

      Hah, the commentary for Cabin was great! Joss was funny as hell!!! Watch his commentary for ANYTHING, and you'll have to pause it at least once due to laughing too hard!!!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kessler/ Kessler

    In Theaters:

    Les Miserables - Already wrote about this one on the review article, but I loved it and am surprised that it's dividing people. I thought the acting/singing was great, the set designs were very good and the whole spectacle of it really worked for me. The only complaint I have is that it is too long and I can see why people got lost and felt tired by the end of it. Everything else just worked so well for me that I am able to forgive it's length. I will admit that if you don't already love the musical then you're probably less likely to enjoy it than someone who already does.

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Finally caught this one in theaters. This was one of my most anticipated this year and it lived up to my expectations. I'm a huge fan of the book and Stephen Chbosky did a great job of adapting his own material. The performances by Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller are all great and were perfect choices for their respective characters. I found the film to be very touching and don't see how Chbosky could've made it any better. Definitely one of my favorites of the year.

    Jack Reacher - Since Django Unchained was sold out, I decided to see this instead. This one was OK. I liked Tom Cruise and Werner Herzog, the action was good, and it was funnier than I expected it to be. The dialogue, at times, was stiff and the movie goes on much longer than it needed to. It's not a bad movie, but it's one where you should probably wait until the DVD/Blu-Ray. Which is what I should've done.

    At Home:

    It's A Wonderful Life - Watched this twice. Don't have a lot to say about it, but I love this movie and it's great to rewatch it every year.

    Magic Mike - I thought this was a pretty good movie, but I felt a little disappointed by the end of it. I really liked the performances by Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey and Cody Horn, who I felt brought a interesting style to her performance. Her romance with Mike felt awkward, honest and almost improvised. I really liked that about the movie and Mike's speech to her near the end also felt honest as well. McConaughey was also great and I'm happy to see him try something new and give better performances instead of going back to the romantic comedies. Alex Pettyfer is OK but not as good as Tatum, Horn or McConaughey. I really liked the idea that Mike works at a strip club, but when he's not there, everything else in his life is a like a strip tease around him. He wants to do other things with his life, but can't due to his job, the bank, and other things in his personal life. Occasionally he'll get glimpses of a way out, but then something else happens that prevents him from doing so. He sees what he wants but can't have it. I thought it was interesting how Mike's job consisted of "teasing" women and yet his life does the same thing to him. Unfortunately, I didn't think the movie was very engaging and sometimes boring and didn't really have a satisfying ending. But the more I think about it, the more it becomes interesting to me and I want to watch it again, so I guess that counts for something.

    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - Also watched this as well and it's still a very funny movie. The sad thing is that I'll have to wait almost a year before I can watch this again.

  • Jesse3232

    Django Unchained- It gets better everytime I think about it, definitely one of the very best of the year and in my opinion Tarantino's 2nd or 3rd best film. Some parts were definitely not easy to watch but overall he kept the audience engaged and every single person was loving it including myself. I absolutely cannot wait to watch this again and own this on Blu Ray! 10/10

    X-Men: First Class: I actually love this movie and it's been some time since I've last watched it. Phenomenal performances by Fassbender and McAvoy with a great story. I loved the whole revenge premise of the film and I was truly on Fassbender's side the whole time 10/10

  • Jake17

    Well, I'll be watching a lot today, so that I can get started on an end of year list. But here what I have for now.
    Rewatch: The Muppets(2011): This movie never fails to put a smile on my face. It has some issues, mainly that Walter is boring, and his storyline pales in comparison to the rest of the movie. But I still really love this movie, and it's just great to have The Muppets back. 9/10
    First Watch: Carnage: Ugh, what a mess. His was my first Polanski film and I have to say I was very disappointed. There's solid acting, but the movie fails to have an ounce of subtlety, and it's far too much to in love with itself. There's certainly fun to be had, mainly because of Jodie Foster and John Reilly, but they really don't have much to work with. Also, I know it's based on a play, but did it really have to be filmed like one? 4.5/10

    Love Actually: A cute little film that sometimes works very well, and sometimes doesn't. The Hugh Grant and Colin Firth stories were rather stale,which is unfortunate because the movie spends the most time with them. However, the Alan Rickman/Emma Thompson and Andrew Lincoln(who is surprisingly good in a pre-The Walking Dead role)/Keira Knightley storylines are great, as is the Laura Linney one. The porn movie storyline(with Martin Freeman, best known as Bilbo in The Hobbit movies, and Watson in the superb British show Sherlock)is cute as well, but it doesn't really add much to the movie. The Liam Neeson storyline is sweet, but a little boring. For me, the standout is Bill Nighy, who is absolutely hilarious as a washed up rock star. Overall it's a bit of a mixed bag, but worth renting at some point. 6/10
    Silver Linings Playbook: Wow. This was so, so wonderful. I haven't walked out of the theater that satisfied or happy in a long time. David O. Russell has crafted something really special here, mixing big laughs with extremely touching moments. Bradley Cooper has a career changing performance as Pat, and Jennifer Lawrence is an absolute delight as Tiffany. Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver are great as Pat's parents. All four of them should be nominated for Oscars. There are cliches, but everyone involved knows there are, and the movie uses them in such a great way. I can say it's easily my favorite movie of this year.
    The Perks Of Being A Wallflower: A sweet, funny, and sometimes very sad movie, that has its problems, mainly that Emma Watson is clearly struggling to speak with an American accent, and because of that isn't always able to convey the range her character required. But the other two leads Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller are excellent, Lerman and Paul Rudd is also very good in a small role as a teacher. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that Steven Chlbosky write the book this is based on, as well as the script, and also directed the movie, which is doubly interesting when you realize this is his debut as a filmmaker. An imperfect but well crafted movie that will certainly be a cult classic in the years to come. 8.5/10

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fox/ Fox

      I watched perks this week as well, and although I definitely didn't like it as much as you did (see my above review), I do agree about Emma Watson. Her american accent sounded Irish most of the time, and she really wasn't able to convey any emotion. This was especially noticeable next to Lerman's and Miller's performances.

      • Jake17

        Yeah, I was very disappointed with her, since I was such a big fan of hers from Harry Potter. It'll be interesting to see if she can get the accent right for The Bling Ring, a movie I'm very much looking forward to next year.

      • Jake17

        Yeah, I was very disappointed with her acting, since I was such a big fan of hers from Harry Potter. It'll be interesting to see if she can get the accent right for The Bling Ring, a movie I'm very much looking forward to next year.

      • Jake17

        Yeah, I was very disappointed with her acting, since I was such a big fan of hers from Harry Potter. It'll be interesting to see if she can get the accent right for The Bling Ring, a movie I'm very much looking forward to next year.

        • Jake17

          Oops, my comment was posted three times. Sorry about that.

      • Chris138

        Really? I thought her American accent was convincing. I didn't have any problem with it.

    • Jake17

      SLP gets a 10/10.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

      I wouldn't say Watson's performance is necessarily bad. I think the performance itself is good. The accent issue is what hinders it. If her accent was on point, I bet money that she'd be in the running for a Supporting Actress performance.

      • Jake17

        I agree that if she had had the accent down, she might be in the running. The problem is, because she's trying so hard through the whole movie not to speak in a British accent, she can't properly convey the right emotions. She isn't necessarily bad, she's just somewhat disappointing.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kessler/ Kessler

          I have to disagree with you guys on Watson. I also liked her performance and didn't have a problem with her American accent. I was actually impressed by her, especially since some actors have difficulty with changing their accents.

    • Matt

      Just to share my two cents on Watson, I thought she did OK but a part of me thinks her performance was a bit weak, especially compared to the rest of the cast, due to her being the wrong choice for the part. I'm not sure how many people on the site have read the book (it's one of my personal favorites and I've read it numerous times) but Watson never seemed like a great choice for the role. I see someone more along the lines of maybe Emma Stone (too old now, but when I first read the book I thought she'd be a great choice) or Shailene Woodley (who I really saw in the part the last time I read the book a few months ago). Still, loved "Perks" a lot. It's one of the year's best.

      • Jake17

        I haven't read the book yet, but after watching the movie I certainly plan to do so. I do know Watson is a big fan of the book and campaigned heavily for the movie to get made, so that's probably part of the reason she got the part. I think Woodley would have been a great casting choice. Emma Stone would have been great too, but yes, much too old. If this were a couple years down the road, I'd suggest Chloe Moretz, but she's too young at this point.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

          I've read the book several times and after seeing the movie probably three times, I don't see anybody else playing Sam other than Watson. Stone and Woodley are way too abrasive for Sam. Watson brings the needed sensitivity. Her accent was my only issue. The emotion and sincerity in the performance was there. Her chemistry with Lerman and Miller was great as well.

          • Matt

            Other than the accent, the main reason I couldn't buy into Watson as Sam was that I didn't believe Watson had Sam's "promiscuous" past. As you said, Watson nailed the sensitivity but she came off as, for lack of a better word, too "nice" for the part. I do agree about the chemistry, however, specifically between she and Lerman near the end.

          • Jake17

            Certainly her chemistry between her and Lerman was excellent, Other than the accent, I just thought she came off as too innocent to be, as Matt said, promiscuous. Also, Emma Stone is abrasive but definitely capable of showing a softer side.

  • Chris138

    Jack Reacher - A really well made movie that has the potential to be great in the first 40 minutes or so, but then loses some steam as it continues on. Werner Herzog brings a refreshing sense of camp and menace to the film and I still think is a genius piece of casting, even if he isn't given much to do overall. Tom Cruise's performance is odd and not always believable, considering the character is supposed to be dark and brooding while Cruise is smirking and awkwardly giving one-liners from time to time. If anything I'd say it's perhaps worth a rental and that's about it. 3/5

    Love Actually - I've heard so many things about this movie and how great it is, especially around the holidays, so I finally gave it a watch. It moves along at a brisk pace and, most remarkably, all of the stories are interesting. This movie has all the ingredients for failure in my eyes, since I am usually not a fan of these big ensemble movies at all. This is a likable film, however, and very sugary and upbeat. 3.5/5

    It's a Wonderful Life - Another one of those holiday movies that I saw for the first time this week, but this was on the big screen. I didn't quite look at this as a holiday movie like everyone else does, since the Christmas aspect of it really isn't toward the end. But it is a moving story and probably the ultimate feel-good movie you will see. Jimmy Stewart is also great in the lead performance. 4/5

    Life of Pi - One of the disappointments for me this year. I've never read the book, but I like Ang Lee's other films and I heard good things about this. On a technical level the movie is superb, with amazing visual effects and striking cinematography. The acting is decent, but my main problem lies in the story itself. It starts off interesting until Pi is stranded out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. From there on it is basically an hour and a half of watching Pi and the animals hanging around... with not much happening. The sequence at night with the jellyfish and the whale was absolutely stunning, though. I'd say it's worth a rental and nothing more. 3/5

    Parental Guidance - One of the worst movies I've seen this year. In fact, it just might be THE worst. I had absolutely no interest in this film based on the previews, and the only reason I saw it is because I was dragged by other family members who wanted to see it. It is just as bad as the previews made it out to be, and it truly says something to the directorial skills of Andy Fickman to make even Marisa Tomei look like a bad actress. Billy Crystal is his usual self, although he's made to give some real cornball jokes here. Everyone else is forgettable. Cheesy, cliched and contrived don't even begin to describe this film. It's safe and harmless, much like Billy Crystal's comedy in recent years. Just a real wreck of a movie. 1/5

    Re-watches:

    The Grey - I hadn't seen this film since it was in theaters in January. The film held up tremendously well for me, and I think Liam Neeson gives one of the best performances of his career here. The cinematography is certainly one of the year's best and deserves serious consideration for awards, although I feel that is highly unlikely to happen. This movie just makes you feel cold even if you're watching it in a heated room. I've seen this movie compared to Deliverance, but I think this is a much better film. The soundtrack is also fantastic and I think it's just an overall gripping experience that sticks with you long after the credits have stopped rolling. It ranks among my favorites of 2012. 4/5

    The Dark Knight Rises - Another film I revisited for the first time since it was in theaters. This was my third viewing of the film and it still held up for me. I know there have been criticisms, and the film is not above those, but I still think it's a satisfying conclusion to Nolan's Batman trilogy and works for me overall. It doesn't leave quite the same impact on the genre as the second film and I even think Batman Begins is better, but it's arguably Nolan's most technically accomplished effort to date. In fact, this was really the last superhero movie that I looked forward to. Everything else after it I'm pretty apathetic about, honestly. I realized this movie is really like an experience, which I think is why it resonates with me. I love the trilogy as a whole and will watch it continuously for many years to come. 4.5/5

  • http://hypethemovies.wordpress.com Jordan B.

    Another week where I have more than 1 or 2 films to contribute; thank God for Christmas break! If you want to check out some more in-depth reviews or other ratings from me, check out my Letterboxd profile: http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/

    IN THEATERS

    Les Misérables: A stellar first hour, a dwindling second half, and a solid few closing numbers make for a decent-yet-overstuffed (and not to mention lengthy) film opera directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper and shot in almost claustrophobic intimate closeups. Hathaway and Jackman shine as Fantine and Jean Valjean, respectively, with Hathaway's "I Dreamed a Dream" being the standout-but-all-too-soon musical climax and Jackman's "What Have I Done?" likely to serve as his Oscar telecast reel. Russell Crowe surprises here as Javert -- who knew he could hum, let alone belt out a tune -- and the rest of the supporting cast includes solid young voices in Samantha Barks (as Éponine), Amanda Seyfried (as Cosette), and Eddie Redmayne (as Marius). Loads of large, encompassing themes make this a film for almost all ages, though the length and bloat could very easily tire out even the most energetic of filmgoers. In all, Les Misérables is a good enough though certainly not great film that is well-staged but under-executed. 3 / 5

    Silver Linings Playbook: Since I first saw this on December 1, I've been replaying scenes and quotes in my head and knew that I needed to see it again. In between viewing #1 and viewing #2, I read the novel by Matthew Quick, which is quite great and definitely worth a read, though I like the movie better. I don't have much else to say other than that I loved this just as much the second time as I did the first time. Unless Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty, or one of the other films I have yet to see does something really -- and I mean REALLY -- special, Russell's Playbook will go down as my favorite of the year. 5 / 5

    The Guilt Trip: My mother's idea, not mine, and while I will fully admit that this most certainly is not a good movie, it still isn't what I would consider bad. There are some decent jokes scattered throughout, and while I normally don't like Barbra Streisand, I actually didn't mind her here; and Seth Rogen plays his typical self, more or less, so you know what you're getting from the start. Like I said, surely it's not anywhere near the conversation for the best movie of the year, but it wasn't terrible either. My mom and enjoyed a few laughs together at Christmas time; what more could I have asked for? 2 / 5

    AT HOME

    Midnight in Paris: I mentioned this on Letterboxd, which sparked an interesting mini-discussion with AS, but Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris has officially unseated The Shawshank Redemption as my favorite film of all-time. It's one of those movies that, no matter how I'm feeling, I can turn it on and I'm instantly taken, transported. Sure, it's a lighthearted and swift-footed romp, but plain and simple, Midnight in Paris produces in me an overwhelming sense of enjoyment. I absolutely, unabashedly, 100% love this film. 5 / 5

    Collateral: Second watch for me in as many weeks. I am visiting friends in Minnesota and my buddy happened upon this on one of the premium movie channels, so we decided to watch it to kill a couple of hours. This film moves along effortlessly like a freight train at top speed, on tracks laid downhill and with nothing in its way. I love Cruise's dark, brooding Vincent, and the morality issues at play as Foxx's Max tries simply to survive make for some intriguing internal discussions. My initial rating has been affirmed. 4.5 / 5

  • JN Films

    Movies I watched:
    The Guilt Trip - This movie made me cringe and I almost walked out 1.5/4
    Pulp Fiction - Very Entertaining and I loved the style of it 4/4
    Fantastic Mr. Fox - I loved it, it's pretty much Wes Anderson's Ocean Eleven 3.5/4
    Moulin Rouge - I loved every second of it and now I am a huge Luhrman fan 4/4
    Romeo + Juliet - I loved the style but its flawed 3/4
    The Journey - A very interesting low budget documentary 3/4
    O Brother Where Art Thou - Hilarious and Tarrantino style by the Coen Brothers 3.5/4
    Hugo - Visually Amazing and Imaginitive but a little to childish at times 3.5/4
    Mystic River - Very Good but I thought Sean Penn deserved some more screen time 3.5/4

    • Jake17

      That's an interesting way of describing Fantastic Mr. Fox, but I kinda like it.

  • Dale

    I saw "Jack Reacher," which I thought was pretty good, aided immeasurably by its supporting cast, including the always memorable Richard Jenkins and the legendary Robert Duvall, who can still command the screen at 81 (82 next month). And wouldn't Alfred Hitchcock have loved Rosamund Pike. I also saw "This is 40," which I enjoyed more than I thought I would although it was much too long for a comedy. And when will comedies get tired of toilet humor?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheMovieGuru/ The Movie Guru

    In Theaters

    Hitchcock- http://themoviegurusblog.blogspot.com/2012/12/hitchcock-2012-review.html. I thought this film was good but I'm a big Hitchcock fan so I had some serious problems with this film. It was light and enjoyable but not the serious Hitchcock biopic I was hoping for. 3.5/5

    At Home

    Cool Hand Luke- Bought this on Blu-Ray on black friday and went in with no expectations but ended up loving almost every minute of it. And I really don't know why I liked it!!! There was just so much there and it was a perfect melding of performance and setting along with some action, it just blew me away. George Kennedy gives a great performance as well. 5/5

    The Dark Knight Rises- This was a re-watch. I saw this film and loved it this summer and I saw it again for the first time on Blu-Ray. First off, this film had one of the best Blu-Ray conversions ever. The picture was so crystal clear, I was blown away. But it also was distracting that it switched so frequently between wide and fullscreen. Anyways, I still loved the film despite having a few more nitpicks this time around. Like why does the government agent or whatever he was come in and talk to Gordon and then get shot. I guess the government figures out it was a time bomb but what purpose does that serve the plot? I don't know. I still loved the film. 4.5/5

    Dracula- I am a big fan of Roger Ebert and he is one of my main inspirations for criticism but I thing that he was really wrong here. He list this among his Great Movies but This film, which was made in 1931 is not scary in the slightest. It suffers from a wooden script and overwrought atmosphere and has no redeeming value. There are a few good performances but it just was boring. It also had one very odd thing about it: no music score. Why? I don't know but the film suffered from it. 2.5/5

    Annie Hall- I had never seen a Woody Allen film but I figured I would give it a try. So I started with Annie Hall, a film which I found to be rather hilarious yet also rather random and silly at times. The film's humor is something I really found hilarious but I'm not sure the film really accomplished anything. It just bounces around from place to place but is rather satisfying in the end. Anyways, I intend to look for more Allen films in the future because this one was rather hilarious. 4.5/5

    The Third Man- I thought that I would get another Citizen Kane but what I got was a slow paced, uninteresting whodunit. I felt that while there were some great choices in the film when it comes to cinematography, it was just rather slow and boring. But that always doesn't mean that something is a bad film and this certainly wasn't but I didn't connect to the plot at all like other works. But the film has one great redeeming quality that makes it worth watching. The scene between Holly (Joseph Cotten) and Harry Lime (Orson Welles). Talk about one of the all time greats! This was a fantastic piece of acting and scriptwriting that I had never seen the likes of before. Overall, a good not great film. 3/5

    Double Indemnity- Billy Wilder has just joined the ranks as one of my favorite all time directors. Wilder directs the greatest noir ever with Double Indemnity that is just so ridiculously entertaining you get caught up in its world. Both of the leads give great performances and the setting and cinematography are once again superb. The only Wilder film that I had previously seen was Sunset Boulevard, a truly great film. And while Double Indemnity might not be quite as perfect as that film, it sure comes really close. 5/5

    Prometheus- Missed this film in theaters but finally saw it on DVD. And I thought that it was ok. I don't really know. It wasn't Alien and there were a lot of things that did not make a lick of sense. Why does David poison Charlie? Why do the engineers want to kill us all? But I found it mildly enjoyable and although I have several problems (one of which is that the film is not that exciting) it still is worth watching. That c-section scene was pretty awesome though. 3/5

    Big- I found this film to be pretty enjoyable and it was led by a very strong performance by Tom Hanks. It was a very fun film to watch and it didn't feel like three hours unlike other films that I watched this week. Just a fun and light film to enjoy that is also very well done and clever. 4/5

    Duck Soup- I had also never seen a Marx brothers film so I figured I would check this one out. It had me laughing from beginning to end. I just thought it was so funny and I loved the style of humor. I was never bored and it had me entertained from beginning to end. And it wasn't two and a half hours long! 5/5

    Some Like It Hot- While I did not find this film as downright hilarious as some others do, I found it to be very well made and something that I would be willing to watch again over and over. Something about Billy Wilder's films I just love and I don't even know what it is. Monroe is beautiful but that's about it but Curtis and Lemmon are great, although Lemmon is really annoying as Daphne. And "Nobody's Perfect" may just be the funniest film line ever. 4.5/5

    The General- Words cannot express my rage at this film. #18 on the AFI Top 100 and this is what I get! An hour long chase scene! I don't get what's so special about this film. If this is a great film than Transformers is the greatest film ever. It makes that film look like art. I just really hated this movie. I found no redeeming qualities, nothing smart about it. It's just a really dumb and boring silent popcorn blockbuster from 100 years ago. 1/5

    12 Angry Men- Caught this one TCM and at first thought I had another "The General" on my hands but what started off as a middling courtroom drama grows into a seriously entertaining and compelling feature. I think that the more you think about it, the better it is and there are some great performances in the film. It definitely was a tense and exciting feature with great performances from Martin Balsam, Lee Cobb and Fonda; practically everyone is good. 4/5

    The Sixth Sense- Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment have great chemistry in this film. I think that it is apparent and what helps this film work. And it is scary. Some moments in this film I was more scared than I had ever been with a movie. But the scares come too infrequently for this to be a terrifying experience. And also, the big twist at the end is good but ends the film on too sentimental a note. All the truly great horror films end with a bang. The Shining has Jack's picture in 1920. Halloween has Michael Myers gone after Loomis shot him. This one has Bruce Willis kissing his wife. C'mon! This isn't a great horror film but it does come close. 4/5

    This was a big week for me. I feel like I am missing some but I guess I'm not. I'll post if there are any I forgot.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/ashdurdin/ ashdurdin

      I know there is a version of Dracula that has a score by Phillip Glass. From what I remember it was good, but kind of distracting as it is very noticeable. I love all the Universal Monster movies but I have to say that Dracula is probably the weakest, but it is also the oldest and suffers from being an early attempt at a sound film.

    • Jake17

      If you're a Wilder fan, check out The Apartment, it's an excellent movie, though not quite as good as Sunset Boulevard. On to The Sixth Sense, I've never really considered it be a horror movie, it's more of a supernatural drama/thriller, IMO. I really enjoyed the ending as well, but I can see why you might be disappointed.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheMovieGuru/ The Movie Guru

        I actually just finished watching that film so let me give my review.

        The Apartment- I'm not really quite sure why this is considered a comedy, there are very few comedic elements to the story. It honestly is a somewhat depressing film. But honestly I found that it was a very good film but I didn't enjoy it anywhere as much as Sunset Blvd., Double Indemnity or Some Like It Hot but I still found it rather entertaining and that it holds up well today. Its themes are much more interesting than his other films in some ways. I think that there is a great conversation to be had around Wilder's films because they hold up so well and their themes are so interesting. But I liked the film very much and the cinematography was great. 4/5

        • Jake17

          Good review. I'll have to watch Double Indemnity soon, that sounds like a good one.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheMovieGuru/ The Movie Guru

            It is if you like noir films like Sunset Boulevard or just Wilder films in general. If I was going to rank the four, it would go:

            1. Sunset Boulevard
            2. Double Indemnity
            3. Some Like It Hot
            4. The Apartment

            But all four are very good watches and the black and white cinematography is masterful.

  • DavidG

    This week I watched:
    The Kid with a Bike- A+
    The Wedding Banquet- B+
    2001: A Space Odyssey-A
    All the President's Men-A+
    Blade Runner-A
    Donnie Darko- A
    Les Miserables- B
    In the Name of the Father- A
    The Crucible- B

  • Rick

    This is 40- Not as terrible as everyone says it is. Leslie Mann needs to star in more movies. She is phenomenal in this and makes me laugh everytime she is on screen. The daughters are also hilarious and have quite the future. Melissa McCarthy steals the two scenes she is in and is very memorable with her limited screen time as well as Jason Segel who returns as his character from Knocked Up. Charlyne Li who returned as well was also hilarious in each scene she was in. The story was great. Judd Apatow does a great job with mixing comedy and drama together. Just great, fun entertainment with great acting and dialogue.

    The Guilt Trip- Another film I checked out this week. Saw it with my Mom and the whole theater was sold out which is strange because the film has been doing poorly. The movie isn't bad, my mom and I could really relate to the film. Both being jewish and mother and son. Great to see Barbara starring in a movie again. It had some hilarious moments and the chemistry between Barbara and Seth was perfect.

    Silver Linings Playbook- My 2nd favorite film of the year. First, being the film below. I know this film doesn't have a chance to win best picture but it deserves to so bad. The film is incredibly entertaining and all the performances were incredible. Cooper and Lawerence are of course phenomenal and will be nominated (Lawerence has a good chance of winning). Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver were great as the parents. Can't believe they weren't nominated for Golden Globes and need to be nominated for Oscars. De Niro has a good chance for an Oscar, not sure about Weaver. Even the supporting cast, Chris Tucker and Julia Stiles, were very entertaining. Just a great film and it blew me away.

    Perks of Being a Wallflower- Hands down. My favorite film of the year. WHY IS THIS FILM NOT GETTING ANY OSCAR BUZZ?!?! It deserves it. The cast was great, the story is great, the music, direction, screenplay. Can't stress enough how moved I was by this film. It's going to stick with me for years to come. The academy really needs to look into this little film as it deserves a lot of attention.

    Pitch Perfect- Just a fun film. Really made me laugh. Saw it in theaters and got the dvd for Christmas. Holds very well. Rebel Wilson was hilarious and the music was very catchy. Very entertaining!

    The Amazing Spider-Man- My 3rd favorite film this year. Not a lot of people had love for this movie but I don't understand why. It was a lot better than The Avengers in my opinion. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone had some great chemistry. Just a fun movie to sit down, relax, and enjoy. Can't wait for the sequel!

    The Hobbit- A good half hour could have been cut out of this movie. It was good and everything but just too long. Some of it just was unnecessary. I liked the LoR movies and looked forward to this and enjoyed it but just thought the length was too much. Have no idea what they are going to do with the other 2. Though the scene with Gollum and Bilbo was worth the $17.25 I paid for IMAX 3-D. Favorite scene in the whole movie.

    Going to check out Django Unchained in a few hours :)

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Travis/ Travis

    I'll do my best to remember what all I watched.

    After my annual argument with my mother over It's a Wonderful Life vs. The Nativity Story (I'm the former, and I lost) I fell asleep until the latter was over and the former was halfway done. Still, I love that movie. Not going to review it, as I only watched half

    A Christmas Story 24 Hours-Always entertaining. I thought it was a well crafted film

    Les Miserables-I already reviewed this, although since posting my review, I have seen it again and will be seeing it a third time tomorrow. Still think it is amazing, and Brad, I think you should see it again on a big screen. Not because you got the review wrong (your opinion is valid), but because the first time I saw it was in a smaller theater, and the second time I saw it was a much larger theater with better screens and sound, and it is a much different experience. Still a 10/10.

    West Side Story-I love this film, this is about the fifth time I've seen it, but I must say that despite the amazing cinematography, choreography and editing, as well as supporting performances, it was really clear to me for the first time Natalie Wood was not good in this movie. Not at all. But the opening scene is still the best in film history, and the film still has the best scenes in cinema with the Dance, America, Tonight (Quintet) and Cool. 9/5/10

    Silver Linings Playbook-I didn't think it was an A+, but it certainly was excellent. One thing I did notice, however-everyone says Jennifer Lawrence could be getting an Oscar for her performance. While a nomination is a must, I don't think she deserves the win. In fact, a lot of people didn't think Bradley Cooper was going to get nominated (although now he seems like a lock), but I thought he was better than all of his costars, by a long shot. DeNiro was better than most of his performances recently, but I really only thought he was really good in the scene when he lost and he starts berating them, and then himself. But overall, a really good film (the Hemingway scene was excellent and foreshadowing too). 8.5/10

    The Dark Knight Rises (rewatch): I showed my family, as they had not seen it in theaters (my mother got freaked about Aurora). Some of the plot holes and cliches were more glaring this time around, however, there were some things that I noticed. Hardy's, Caine's, and Hathaway's performances all seemed better to me than usual. The cinematography was better than I remembered. And the ending that has been ripped to shreds really was only bad due to the wasted performance of Cotillard (why they gave her villain speeches is beyond me), and I thought the action was well done and the fact it was done in real time was impressive. Oh, and it still bothers me, just as Brad recently noticed and I noticed on my first viewing, that Bruce Wayne finds Miranda, then shows up as Batman and asks "Where's Miranda?" But the ending still blows me away, from Batman's death to JGL taking over. Oh yeah, I should warn about spoilers. Anyway, due to an equal amount of "that was better" "that was worse," I will stick with my 8/10.

    In TV Land, I watched a heck of a lot of Boy Meets World, best TV show ever, which I got for Christmas

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/HarryFuertes/ Harry Fuertes

    Late to the game but I'll catch up. Follow me on letterboxd if you have a chance-
    http://letterboxd.com/harryfuertes/

    PS- All these reviews are on my letterboxd profile. I just copy and pasted them. :)

    Django Unchained- A marvelous motion picture. Truly one of the best movies I have seen in years. It hasn't been since The Dark Knight where a movie I saw in theaters leaves a profound effect on me immediately once the end credits begin. And from Quentin Tarantino nonetheless! This film was below the radar on my anticipation levels but I truly underestimated the power it has.

    From Jamie Foxx to Don Johnson, this movie offers such colorful and memorable performances. Jamie Foxx as the title character does a solid job but as you know with QT, he always makes the supporting characters more interesting than the main character. But as a whole, Django Unchained features the best ensemble in a Tarantino film since Pulp Fiction. Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson all give amazing Oscar worthy performances. Each of them practically embody their characters and make use of every piece of dialogue they read. It's acting at its finest. Kerry Washington also does a fairly good job at being a well written damsel in distress. Not as good as other Tarantino females, but good nonetheless. The guest stars ranging from Franco Nero to Jonah Hill are each a delight to see as well.

    As per usual Tarantino feature, the little style quips and references are each a breath of fresh air. He definitely wanted to give the movie a spaghetti western feel and he masters the look and tone. But the thing that blew me away about the direction is the fact that Django Unchained is really two different films in one. The first hour is basically a "buddy cop" movie with the two bounty hunters going from one plantation to another finding people to kill for a reward. It's very episodic and refreshing. Mostly just action and quick reaction. But then comes the masterful final hour and a half where the movie transforms from a bombastic action film to a tense drama/thriller story. Most of this is just dialogue with only the last 30-40 minutes being action. The way QT directs this and adds layers of atmosphere is really fantastic. It felt like I was sitting there with the characters. Immersive and hypnotic. It is something to be seen on the big screen.

    Do I even have to mention the script? Well written, humorous, long intense monologues, and colorful characters. Sounds like your average Tarantino script. What he does with Django Unchained is different though. He has created his most ambitious, satisfying, and focused film. The problem I had with Inglourious Basterds is that the film strayed from the plot and just became meaningless and boring in some parts. Great movie, but Django Unchained remains focused on its plot and although it is 165 minutes, every minute is used wisely and has something original and fun. The argument can be made that the last 20 minutes were not needed, but I felt that the movie used them nicely and ended the film on a high note without crashing into a wall. The momentum was not lost. I considered it an epilogue in some ways. After all the big action is over with, then comes 20 minutes to cap all that action off intelligently and satisfyingly. In terms of being intelligent as I just mentioned, Django Unchained gladly smacks us in the face with the slavery aspect but it never becomes overbearing. It shows just enough, even when "enough" is a man being chewed apart by dogs. Tough to see, but it's necessary because chances are, it really happened. That was one of the things that stuck with me at the end. Like Schindler's List, several images from this film will be in my mind for years to come. That is real power right there.

    I'm still listening to the insanely amazing soundtrack for this movie. Many songs from the film are vintage instrumental music, but I was afraid on how the modern rap music would fit into the plot. Thankfully, it's used gracefully without being pretentious and annoying. However, there is one scene where I felt that one of the modern songs did not really fit and it semi-ruined a scene for me. It's in the climax so I can not say it. Besides that, like all of QT's films, the music only amplifies the quality and power of some scenes.

    The cinematography by Robert Richardson is rich, luscious, golden hued and gorgeous in some scenes. Every scene had something beautiful in it whether it was the angle, the floating camera around the characters or the brilliant singular shots that mirrored the western films of the 60s while being something completely original. Richardson has filmed a future classic here.

    The editing was fairly nice throughout although Sally Menke will be missed. Fred Raske fills in her shoes and edits the film like Menke would, but it comes off as a bit amateurish. Some scenes last too long and others edit too fast and not let the film breathe and enjoy an extra second of that one great shot. The editing itself was good, but Django Unchained doesn't have the tight hand that the dynamic duo of QT's previous films had. But it's nothing a few years won't fix if they decide to work together again, which I hope they do.

    This film is a masterpiece. Yes it has its minor flaws but every spaghetti western does, which is what Tarantino was aiming for. I loved every minute of it and I can't wait to see it all over again and truly dig into the little references and quips like I do with all Tarantino movies. But not only that, but this is a powerful movie that has a message on violence and slavery. Whether it will affect you or not depends on you entirely. It worked for me and while this film is hugely entertaining, funny, intense, and bloody, the history behind the story will always be on the back of my mind while I re-watch it over and over. Django Unchained is ambitious, tough, and bold and it is proud to be so. This will go down alongside Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction as Quentin Tarantino's best in the upcoming years. It is also one of 2012's best films and guaranteed a spot in my top 3. It has been a tough year for expectations, but in the end, it's the ones you least expect to be amazing that blow you away. 5/5- A

    Les Miserables-
    I just saw this an hour ago but I'll say that it was a great musical with a fantastic first hour, a muddling second hour and a magnificent final 30 minutes. I'll write a full review probably next week. 4/5- B+

    25th Hour-
    9/11 is 25 Hour's biggest backdrop (and flaw) in this confused but emotionally powerful film. In several ways, this was warranted due to the anniversary of this tragedy correlating with the release of this film. Maybe it held more power at that time, but today I feel as though the film could have been done without the use of the political speeches or the endless 9/11 images and pro-New York montages. I'm not sure what angle Spike Lee was aiming at, but what I saw and felt was probably not what he had in mind.

    Edward Norton delivers a powerhouse performance in a star-studded Oscar worthy cast of great performances. Another Oscar snub for one of Hollywood's most underrated actors. On the other hand, Rosario Dawson, Barry Pepper, and Philip Seymour Hoffman give great performances in their respected rights but it's Brian Cox who is the one who deserves the attention. He shows emotional strain, unrelenting love and care in what is probably the best written character in the film. He is the reason the tears almost came out. Very beautiful job. Anna Paquin's character is useless. She's only Phillip Seymour Hoffman's crush and easily could have been eliminated. But she did good with what she had. Which is being annoying and useless unfortunately. I have to give props to the dog who played Doyle, who was just fantastic.

    Spike Lee is definitely one to gloss over the film's theme and content. When it comes to the use of 9/11 (which was his idea) he not only took advantage of it, he really just grabbed it by the balls and really beat us over the head with it. At first it didn't bug me with only newspaper covers of Bin Laden and the double pillars of lights gleaming through the night during the film's opening credits. Subtle and out of the way. But there. Then it got really annoying when watching a conversation between two people had to have Ground Zero in the background. What's the point of it? Or how about the brilliant "Fuck You" scene with the inevitable inclusion of Bin Laden and terrorists? So many moments like these made the forced pro-New York stuff really unbearable. Yes, we get it. It was a tragedy. Stop showing us all these images as if they're worth something to the plot or the transformation of the character throughout the story. There is no payoff, outcome, or point to including all this political stuff just to have it. Please, Spike Lee. You're talented, but this is just a little much.

    Other than that major flaw, I felt the film had a wonderful script (before adding in the sentimental "New Yorkers rule" dialogue) and really humanized a plot that easily could have been told in an hour and a half. We really get to know to know these characters and begin to become attached. Seeing them go in the last thirty minutes really made it tough to know that these characters are leaving for good. That's master-class screenwriting.

    25th Hour is a great film with only one fatal flaw that keeps me from loving it. It's not a movie I'll probably ever see again because the power seeping from those last thirty minutes are probably not going to be felt again. The first hour and a half is good as well, but it's only a prelude to the cathartic event when Edward Norton's character realizes he's running out of time and becomes desperate when leaving his old life behind and preparing for the rough life ahead. Tough choices are made and his character's decision will spark debate among viewers for a long time. The frantic editing, the blaring and purposeful score, and the gritty cinematography only add to 25th Hour's pros. It is a one hit wonder that blows you away the second it's over, but in retrospect, the film's flaws begin clouding over those last few minutes that brought tears to my eyes. 25th Hour is a movie I can say I really liked, but not loved. I recommend it highly because I am sure other people will like it more than me. Just not my type of propaganda. 4/5- B+

    Contact-
    What a powerful experience. Contact asks the big questions, and although it doesn't deliver big enough answers, it is still an enthralling film and an incredible 150 minute look into humanity's greatest wonder. The huge space above us. Silent but watching.

    From the opening minutes, we see just how big this universe is. Or at least how big we think it is. It is a surefire way to capture your audience and keep them in their seats for the entirety of this epic. Although the first 45 minutes of the film don't really go anywhere and easily could have been shortened by 10 minutes, everything that happens afterwards skyrockets the movie into masterpiece territory.

    Featuring a wonderful performance by Jodie Foster as a determined yet emotionally detached woman seeking the truth after her father's death is one of Contact's highlights. She is touching, fierce, but delicate. Sadly, only the Golden Globes and a couple of small award shows nominated her work. Matthew McConaughey is fairly good, but nothing special. He appears for the first 30 minutes but disappears until the 75 minute mark. He holds little substance to the story although arguments can be made that he was shoehorned into the film to add some Science VS Religion debate to an already philosophy filled film. The rest for the cast is quite normal but I have to include a standout being John Hurt as S.R. Hadden, the film's most memorable character in my opinion. Every scene he's in delivers a sense of mystery and adventure. Definitely a great presence throughout although his scenes are short-lived.

    The story may not have much to warrant the two and a half hour runtime, but it doesn't matter to the average viewer. It's absolutely gripping and intense when it needs to be but several times throughout the film, I became teary eyed at the most powerful and touching scenes, which is often.

    Why this film wasn't in contention for the Best Visual Effects Oscar is beyond me. Some of the scenes that effectively use CGI, such as the cathartic climax, are just breathtaking for being made in 1997, the pioneering age for new movie technology. The cinematography is fluid and provides several excellent shots such as Jodie Foster running through halls frantically or when she quietly sits on the desert ground overlooking the canyons contemplating her life long journey in the films end.

    Contact may have its small flaws not allowing me to love it more, but for for what it is, it was really beautiful and truly makes me think about the worlds that we have yet to discover. It asks those questions, and like a good film does, we come up with the answer without them smacking us in the face with it. It is a shame critics and Oscar voters dismissed it when it was released, but Contact really is the definition of an underrated gem. It's everything a sci-fi movie should be. Capturing the sense of adventure and wonder is a hard thing to film effectively, but Robert Zemeckis really grabbed it and created something that'll be on my mind for several days. A high recommendation. 4 1/2 out of 5- A

    Paranorman-
    solid animated film that had lots of potential to be something great. The emotions feel forced and the story really dragged although it was only an hour and a half. Speaking of the story, it had something there, but overall it seemed empty and needed more substance to it for me to feel interested. However, the film had some incredibly witty humor and beautiful animation. In the end, I would never see this movie again, but it provided ninety minutes of pure escapism. Unfortunately, I hoped for something more like the ever watchable Beetlejuice or a future landmark in modern animation. Both would have been amazing. Paranorman is one of the years most disappointing films. 3/5- C+

    V/H/S-
    One of the best (if not the best) horror films of 2012. V/H/S manages to be a highly effective, intense, and well acted film while capturing the perfect Halloween atmosphere. I only wish I saw it on Halloween. That would have been great.

    - The acting is impressive for a horror film considering most of the actors in this film are unknown. The entire ensemble is good at capturing fear on the spotlight. I have to give them credit. However, there are no huge standouts.

    - Most of the film is hand-held camerawork in the likes of Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. It is used in this movie for maximum intensity and it works. People who don't like this style of film should stay away from VHS because it won't change their mind about it.

    - This movie is split up into six different stories. Each one, in my opinion, gave me the creeps and put me at the edge of my seat. I can't pick one over the other because each one was great in their own way. Whether it's intimately suspenseful or balls out scary, this movie never disappointed me in giving a fresh new take of stories that have been done to death in horror movies before.

    - Will I buy this movie on DVD? Will I see the sequel? A definite yes on both questions because this movie may not be remembered in five years, let alone next year, but it's probably the most ambitious horror film we'll ever see for a long time. I'm salivating for the sequel already.

    This is not a movie everybody will love, or even like. It's incredibly violent, super sexual, and very long at nearly two hours. If you love horror, this is a must see. After a bland year of horror films(except for Cabin in the Woods), V/H/S delivers the frights, innovations, and insanities that I have been craving for all year. A high recommendation for friends and some relatives. 4 and a half out of 5. A-

    A Christmas Story-
    A marvelous Christmas tale with endless amounts of memorable scenes. Pure nostalgia. Pure cinematic magic. I really can't see how anyone can simply not like this movie. It's hard not to be won over by its charming but honest qualities.

    - The acting by the entire cast is great from Ian Petrella's star making performance of Randy to the hasty elf twins working alongside the cruel Mall Santa. No role is too small to be great in this film.

    - The camera work is subtly stylish if need be and tranquil and still during the films most intimate scenes. Speaking of intimate, this is not only a wonderful Christmas movie, but an honest family drama with very true things to say about how our relationships with our mothers, fathers, and brothers affect us. Very subtle, but it's there.

    - The story may NOT have much there, but the movie is spread into many different vignettes of pure hilarity and there is no weak link in terms of which sub-plot is the best.

    - The use of holiday music was brilliant and only added to the atmosphere of Christmas, as if it didn't have enough already.

    - I can't stress how much this movie means to me personally. I watch this at least twice every Christmas season. There is no point in viewing this movie any other time of the year.

    A Christmas Story is the best of the Christmas films out there and definitely one of my favorite films. If you haven't seen this movie, wait till' Christmas Eve and then watch it with your family. Open your heart to it, and in return, it will love you back. 5/5- A

    The Dark Knight Rises-
    After watching this movie three times, I have formulated my final opinion of my most anticipated film of 2012. Waiting for The Dark Knight Rises before it came out was torture at its most painful. I followed every news story, watched every clip and trailer, read every interview and scoured the IMDB boards for reactions to the films early screenings. Finally, when the day came when I finally saw it, I was jumping in excitement. Now that I've seen it three times and have came to my final conclusion on this film, I can confidently say that The Dark Knight Rises is a mild disappointment, but it's nonetheless a fantastic blockbuster that blends emotions, bombastic action, interesting(but underdeveloped) characters, and an ultimately satisfying end to a great trilogy. It was worth the wait, just not in the way I expected.

    - The acting in this movie is overall fairly good(this being the best ensemble in a Nolan film), with standouts being Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, and Michael Caine(in his short three scenes). Joseph Gordon Levitt, Marion Cotillard, and Matthew Modine are pretty much useless in the plot but do best with what they have. Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman are sadly forgettable and don't have as much standing as they do in the previous films due to the overshadowing by the newcomers.

    - One place where Nolan has vastly improved with The Dark Knight Rises is the direction. A flaw I found in Nolan's previous films is that he hurts his directing hand and restrains himself from doing something truly great. An example of this is the endless amounts of edits in The Dark Knight, which made the movie seem choppy and unfinished. In TDKR, he buries that and his shots last longer than five seconds, which I loved. The movie was so fluid and much more easy to watch. Nolan just let go and lets us get swept way by the lovely visuals with no cutting most of the time. More style is what I want. However, he still has work to go because I felt some scenes ended too quickly and cut to the next scene JUST to get the story moving. Breathe, Nolan, breathe.

    - Here is the one major flaw of The Dark Knight Rises. After the complex and layered story of The Dark Knight, we all hoped for something that would turn us onto our heads. But what we got was a commercialized Batman story that fit the bill for the Joe Schmo audience. In other words, the story was uninspired, unoriginal, and just plain lazy. The script itself is well written with few flaws, but what this story needed was a longer runtime, less characters, and more originality. If this film had fifteen extra minutes, it would have done miracles. Characters such as Matthew Modine's annoying commander or the ridiculous romance between Marion Cotillard and Christian Bale were not needed. The writers should have done more work on this story and made it all it can be, because I'm pretty sure it could have been more. But, I have to give the story/script props for bringing the Nolan Batman trilogy full circle by pulling things from both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and mixing it all together and sticking to the themes that have been evident throughout the trilogy.

    - In the technical categories, The Dark Knight Rises is brilliant. The cinematography is beautiful and many singular shots will be engraved into the memory of superhero films forever. What Nolan has done here visually is just wonderful and ethereal with the soft glow throughout the film really bringing out the grey bleakness or the colors of some scenes standing out against a bland world. The score is booming and relentless, which is a good and bad thing. At some point, hearing Catwoman's theme every time she appears or her presence is felt in the frame does get really irritating and tedious. The same thing with the Bane theme and the everlasting two note Batman theme.

    Overall, this film warrants itself several viewings just because it is awesome and really has many standout scenes that would appear in a top ten list of best Batman movie scenes. It wasn't as stunning as I hoped, but what I received was a great, endlessly entertaining, emotional, strangely hypnotic, powerful superhero film that is definitely going into the top three action films of the year and probably my top ten films of 2012. Hopefully in the future, when all the dust has settled, the Nolan Batman trilogy will be remembered as one of the most consistently great trilogies of all time. Congratulations, Nolan. You have finished it on a high note. However, it could have been higher... 4 and a half out of five- A-

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

      You went all out with the write-ups. I too like Contact. Had a discussion with some friends about it the other week, specifically the ending. Having heard some people criticize it as anti-climatic, I am left to wonder what they could have done which wouldn't have been cheesy and would have been better. Still can't come up with anything.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/HarryFuertes/ Harry Fuertes

      I said it at the top but I just copy and pasted my reviews from letterboxd onto here. Too lazy to paraphrase. Contact was a pleasant surprise. I loved it and I'm glad I'm not the only one who loved the last 45 minutes.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mikey/ Mikey

    In theaters:

    Django Unchained: Well I though it was great. I think the relationship between Django and Schultz is some of the best stuff QT has ever done. The atmosphere and overall mood of this movie is wonderful, switching effortlessly from darkly comic to action-adventure to dramatic. At the moment, having seen everything of his but Death Proof, I'd say it's behind Kill Bill on my ranking of Tarantino films, and quite honestly, I don't think he'll ever beat that (although I welcome him to try). SPOILERS The only thing I ding this movie for is that after Django is captured after the shootout, a lot of the tension is sucked out of the film. At this point, it is quite obvious Django will live and seek his revenge so the hanging upside down and Australian QT scenes were entertaining but unnecessary and forgettable. However as soon as Django whispers "Auf wiedersehen" to Schultz, I got chills down my spine, and the whole final sequence is just pure QT bliss. To those who didn't like it, I see your points, I just don't agree with you. A

    Les Miserables: Close your eyes. Imagine a close up of someone's face as they are singing, then a lot of quick rapid cuts, maybe the camera gets tilted for no discernible reason, and then finally we pull back to see something in cgi. Does this sound like it could entertain you for 3 hours? Then go see Les Mis. For everyone else the performances are great (I can't believe Cohen isn't getting more buzz), but theres not much else. I will say there are some brilliant moments, but not even full scenes. Hooper seems to just build from one moment to the next, without connecting it all together. Too bad. I love the musical. C-

    At home:

    The Muppet Christmas Carol (rewatch): A story I love with the appropriate amount of muppet-y humor. Michael Caine is a great scrooge. B

    Jackie Brown: WOW did this come out of nowhere. The first twenty minutes are fine, but then the last two hours are nothing but tension. Samuel Jackson is absolutely astonishing and I can't believe this doesn't have a better reputation. Sure the story is pretty basic, but the direction and writing are everything I love about Mr. Tarantino (Tangling with Basterds for that third spot). A

    The Dark Knight Rises (rewatch): You say there are quite a few faults in this movie and that at times it is an exercise in sloppy filmmaking? I can't disagree with you. But at the same time, I've grown up with the character of Bruce Wayne and to see his story given such a wonderful, peaceful end (in a way the comics never could) is one of the most emotionally gratifying cinema experiences I will ever have. I love Batman and I love the way Nolan has brought him successfully to the screen. A

    The Dark Knight (rewatch): All my batman gushing from above but for a much better put together film. A+

    Up in the Air (rewatch): One of my favorites from rent years. Clooney gives a wonderful performance and Reitman is in total control. Waiting anxiously for Labor Day. A+

    The Last Emperor: A well-acted, well-directed, well-made epic. It's a little disjointed in the beginning and can be boring at times, but by the end I was quite glad I had watched it. The film paints a great picture of this man's life. B

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

      Told ya Jackie Brown was great ;)

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mikey/ Mikey

        Yeah I loved it. Now I'm just hoping I love Death Proof as much as you do.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

          About Django Unchained, SPOILERS you're right about the tension being sucked out after the shootout, I thought he was going to end it with Django getting shot by all those men who worked for Leo Dicaprio kind of like a 300 finale. The ending was just too good to be true, from the beginning of the movie its explained that its impossible for them to be together and then that happens, but who knows maybe some bounty hunter killed Django right after the ending.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fan/ Fan

    Django Unchained (A+) - first time watching - I have waited all year for this film. I am a huge, huge Tarantino fan and of western films. So, I was more than excited for this film. And for Tarantino to finally do a western after so many years admiring them I was just ecstatic of what he’ll do and I was not disappointed. It is full of action, comedy, great music and of course Tarantino’s poetic dialogue and the characters how impressive is this cast. I am always excited to see Tarantino’s selection of actors he cast for his films and you can’t go wrong with this batch. The standouts for me are definitely Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCarpio, and Samuel L. Jackson. Christoph Waltz is excellent he is quirky, smart, charming and deadly. Leonardo is explosive and animalistic he can be vile and low yet so childlike around Jackson’s character Steven. I thought they played off each other beautifully. Jackson is evil as hell and as funny as hell. Only Sam Jackson can play Candie’s right hand man that is evil and funny as hell at the same time. I loved it! It was worth the wait.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/czech/ Austin

    What I Watched

    Django Unchained - A
    Les Miserables - B-
    Star Trek V The Final Frontier - D
    Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country - B+
    Pursuit of Happiness (Rewatch) - B-

  • John W

    I have been off work for over a week so I have been watching a ton of movies and television. Something to that affect will probably be carved on my tombstone. Here's what I watched:

    -The Silent House (American remake) - I thought the original was slightly better. I didn't stick around through all of the credits so I don't if they did the same thing the original did.

    -Punisher War Zone - The closest they've come to the comic book version but still haven't nailed it.

    -Started watching Babylon 5, so far not really impressed, but then I was never really overwhelmed by Star Trek either, it's tough to do space operas on TV when you're confined to two or three sets

    -A Christmas Tale, with Catherine Deneuve, hey guess what, French family gatherings are just as dysfunctional as ours, except they drink more wine

    -Paprika - quite possibly the best anime I've ever seen. All other movies dealing with dreams and the subconscious should bow down to it.

    -The Proposal - A lot better than I thought it would be. Fun fact Sandra Bullock speaks fluent German.

    -Friends With Benefit. I cannot understand the accolades this film received. It was the same as the rom roms it was making fun of in the movie. Justin Timberlake is terrible, terrible, terrible.

    -The Thing (remake) Sucked really. Where as the original ratcheted up the suspense more and more as the movie went along this movie just shot its wad early and couldn't recover.

    -Fright Night (yet another remake) - Didn't hate it but I do not like Colin Farrell.

    -The Day the Earth Stood Still (..wait for it...another remake) Keanu Reeves cast as an alien unfamiliar with human emotions. Genius.

    -Halloween II (yes the Rob Zombie remake) meh.

    -The Quick and The Dead - The one thing that stood out for me was Leonardo Dicaprio. Which is quite an accomplishment considering the cast.

    -Redline - A decent anime about a crazy race on a distant planet.

    -Chained - A decent horror movie about a serial killer who imprisons the young son of one his victims at the age of nine and forces him to witness countless atrocities.

    -Excision - A horror movie along the lines of Lucky McKee's May about a high school student (Annalynne Mccord) obsessed with surgery, she dreams about it, sick and twisted dreams. She hopes to eventually cure her ailing sister.

    -The Fall - Great looking movie.

    -Fantastic Mr Fox - great animated movie. Bill Murray as a badger was hilarious.

    -Flawless - Michael Caine and Demi Moore plot to steal diamonds. Not bad.

    -The Heartbreak Kid - a Ben Stiller rom com. Wasn't terrible.

    -The House Bunny. Emma Stone and Anna Farris try to keep a sorority from being shut down. Anna Farris reminds me of Jack Black, depending on the movie she can either be great or terrible.

    -Iron Sky - man this movie really disappointed me. I was hoping for something along the lines of Shock Waves and instead I got something close to Spaceballs.

    -The Kill List - A weird horror/crime thriller hybrid. Has one of those ending you have to watch over and over to understand.

    -The Last Circus - Spanish horror film about two clowns who vie for the affections of a trapeze artist. All three have their issues.

    -The Last Emperor - I wonder why John Lone wasn't nominated for best actor, I would have nominated him over Robin Williams. Of course it won the best picture Oscar because these are the types of movies that do although movies like Predator, Fatal Attraction, and Robocop were more memorable.

    -My Name is Bruce - I like Bruce Campbell but this movie sucked. Sorry.

    -Zombie Strippers - Zombie strippers. Nuff said.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Maj.Kong/ Maj. Kong

    Watched a bunch of duds this week, with Wreck-It Ralph the only entertaining one.

    Wreck-It Ralph (2012): Very entertaining story with a great voice cast. While predictable, it did feel so while watching. 7/10

    Hysteria (2011): Fun subject, quickly told. Acting was a little over-played, but that probably has to do with the Victorian setting. 6/10

    Hope Springs (2012): I'm not sure even baby boomers would believe the basics of this plotline of a very "traditional" marriage that has gone cold, but is completely fixed with just the slightest bit of attention paid by the husband to the needy wife. Too easy and not entertaining from two exceptional actors. 4/10

    Total Recall (2012): Total dud. Granted, I really enjoy the original, but when they take away the most entertaining bits of the original - Mars, the tounge-in-cheek humor, Arnold - and make it an ultra-serious straight action movie with the downer Colin Farrell, it had no chance from the beginning. 2/10

    Butter (2011): Very mean-spirited film that thinks its a biting satire. Its a very fine line, and this one fails. See God Bless America as a recent film that succeeds in same genre. 4/10

    Queen of Versailles (2012): Lucky film-makers to start one project and fall into a wholly more interesting subject along the way and still be able to use both sides. 6/10

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JaneD/ JaneD

    IN THE THEATRE:

    “Les Miserables”
    I am a HUGE fan of the musical so I approached this adaptation with trepidation. I feel that it was a good but not great film. Basically it was Tom Hooper’s over use of the close-up and his fish-eye lenses that really bothered me and with all those close-ups the film actually became boring. I just wanted to yell at the screen, ‘you are in my personal space’. Also, I do not feel that the actual music, which for me is very emotional, was strong enough enough in the film. It was as though he toned down the music so as not to overshadow the actors’ singing voices. Overall I thought the singing was quite good. Anne Hathaway was excellent. 3.5/5

    “Flight”
    I wanted to catch this before it left the big screen because many have been praising Denzel's performance and the plane crash sequence of the film. The first act of the movie is quite incredible and this movie should never be shown as inflight entertainment on any commercial airline. Denzel Washington’s performance as a self-destructive, alcoholic was dark and complex. However the film drug on too long and the third act was emotionally uneven. The final scene of the movie was trite. 3/5

    AT HOME:

    “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
    I thought this was a charming, lyrical story of life from the perspective of a child. The relationship between Hushpuppy and her father, Wink, was a harsh but loving one and that kind of love made her self-sufficient and a problem solver. I thought the kindness all ‘The Bathtub’ residents showed for each other was quite beautiful. The young girl that played Hushpuppy was exceptional. 4.5/5

    “Sound of My Voice”
    This low-budget indie is an interesting exploration into cult initiation and how inductees are manipulated. The movie opens as a journalist and his girlfriend try to infiltrate a cult lead by a charismatic woman (the stunning Britt Marling) who claims to be from the future. The movie may seem slow but it is that quiet, deliberate pace that pulls the viewer into the cult world along with the inductees. The ending of the movie may be problematic for some, but it lead to lots of discussion in my house. 4/5

    “Safe House”
    OK, so this was on the movie channel last night and seeing that my daughter and I had watched Denzel earlier in the week in “Flight”, I thought we should give it a watch. Well, we should have probably found something else as. Denzel was fine as the bad ass and Ryan Reynolds was OK as the young-un that could hold his own, but basically this movie has been done before. 2.5/5

    Wishing everyone for a Happy New Year!

    Thanks for this great site Brad!

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JaneD/ JaneD

      Oops for got one

      "Dead Poets Society" rewatch
      I hadn't seen this movie in years and my teenagers wanted to watch it. I feel that this unsettling yet touching movie holds up quite well. Robin Williams gives an excellent, understated performance as the English teacher, Mr. Keatings, at a New England boys boarding school in the late 50s. He encourages the boys to think for themselves and seize the day. A young Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard (House), and Josh Charles (The Good Wife) are three of the students who Keatings encourages to 'carpe diem'. All the young men in the film give solid performances. Weir has incorporated some stunning landscape shots of New England in the fall and winter into the film. That last scene of the film still gets to me. 4/5

  • adu

    Django: 4/5

    Les Miserables: 4/5

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

    Sorry for being late,

    Fast Five (rewatch) - 8/10
    Great action movie in my opinion, its like they mixed every big budget action movie of the past decade and did this, they took a lot out of Ocean's Eleven and Bad Boys 2 and who knows maybe a lot more. I remember Tokyo Drift was a guilty pleasure of mine when it came out and I've seen it many times. I can't wait to where the story is going to go next.

    Religulous (rewatch) - 10/10
    My favorite documentary, the editing is brilliant and I just can't stop laughing with this film. I grew up in a catholic school so watching this is very relaxing. I think its a very smart film.

    Grown Ups (rewatch) - 8/10
    A guilty pleasure of mine, Adam Sandler movies always get me at least in some parts, he seems like a cool guy and I could bet he's also cool in real life.

    Kill Bill Vol. 1 (rewatch) - 10/10
    I love this movie so much, the cinematography is amazing, the fight scenes, and I like Lucy Liu's character a lot more than Bill's. They give her whole story and it makes me feel sad for her seeing her as a little girl when her parents get killed in front of her. Its like she's the perfect villain for The Bride, the balance between them is just what it needs to be, they both had people killed in front of them and had/want their revenge.

    Kill Bill Vol. 2 (rewatch) - 9/10
    This one is pretty awesome too and I love the dialogue in it but its much more of a hangout movie. Kill Bill is more action and this one is more chill. It even goes to follow Budd to his work place and in my knowledge the whole Pai Mei story is a Deux ex machina for The Bride to get out of the coffin. I liked the ending but I think I just prefer when QT endings end with a shootout (I would've loved seeing a shootout at the end of Pulp Fiction but thats just me). Both parts are very different films.

    Django Unchained - 10/10
    Wow, this is definitely the best movie I've seen all year. I was going to post my top ten but I hadn't seen many important films (and still have yet to see Zero Dark Thirty). Many scenes are very shocking and many are very funny. I felt for Christoph Waltz character a lot and I hope he gets some awards for it. I loved the scene when Django and his wife are escaping at the beginning to the song Freedom, it was awesome and it felt sad and epic when he was watching her get whipped. I loved the friendship between Django and Dr. Shultz and the humor throughout.
    The big shootout was amazing, maybe the best I've ever seen and I loved the reference to the Will Smith movie Wild Wild West at the very end. Will Smith could've been great but Jamie Foxx nailed it anyway so it doesn't matter. There were some scenes that I felt uncomfortable laughing to in theaters like the one where Jamie Foxx tells Leo Dicaprio's assistant "One could almost say you's a ni**er".

    Les Miserables - 4/10
    I don't even want to talk about this it was extremely bad.
    It had one or two great scenes though but thats all there is to it, I'm referring to the scene when Anne Hathaway sings I dreamed a dream and when the french revolutionaries sing all together.

    Jack Reacher - 7/10
    Its an okay mystery film and it has some laughs, but just as Jack Reacher felt when he's given only a knife to fight some guys with rifles, I felt like Tom Cruise (a very good actor) was given little to work with on this movie and if given a lot more it could've been great.

    Killing Me Softly - 7/10
    I liked Ben Mendelsohn's character (even though he looked all sweaty all the time, I mean come on take a shower or something) and that other kid's and the story was interesting but only when it was on their side, whenever the story went to politics or Brad Pitt I would sigh. Its an okay movie though.

    Silver Linings Playbook - 9/10
    I thought the ending was pretty cliched but other than that it was pretty good and I loved the crazy side in it, that was the good part. Chris Tucker is awesome and so is pretty much everyone else, like Jackie Weaver for example. This is the best Robert De Niro performance I've seen since I don't know when.

    I also started watching The Shining on christmas with my family, but no one was liking it so my mom put Grown Ups on :/

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

      Glad you liked Grown Ups. On Sandler, I love his movies, huge fan of his since his SNL days. Yeah I agree, he seems like a cool guy to hang around with.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Corbin/ Corbin

    I'm late to the party, but I don't have a lot of movies to talk about, so here goes:

    In Theatres:

    The Hobbit: Far too long. Thoarin Oakenshield was an unnecessary jerk. The only parts of it I thought were great were the Gollum scenes. I saw it in 48fps, and I wasn't bothered by it like most people were. 6.5/10

    Jack Reacher: A better film than I was expecting. It was a nice romp, nothing too spectacular. All in all, just a solid film. 7.5/10

    At Home:

    The Lovely Bones: I heard a lot of crappy things about this movie, and while it was overlong, and some performances were cheesy, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie. I didn't expect something this good. 8/10