What I Watched

What I Watched, What You Watched #176

A little light in the watching this week, but heavy in the working

SeahawksThis was one hell of a packed week for me with Oscar nominations and my Top 50 Most Anticipated Movies list taking up most of my time. Now tonight brings the 2013 Golden Globes, which we'll be live-blogging, and I need to begin putting together the 2012 RopeofSilicon Awards.

Last week I watched Criterion's Two-Lane Blacktop and my goal was to review it on either Monday or Tuesday, but that didn't work out. It was all I could do to get my review for Gangster Squad written after seeing it on Monday night.

I have a bunch of Criterion titles here I actually want to review along with the new Blu-ray for The Duellists, but it's all a matter of finding the time. This week, all I could manage was to watch a few episodes of "The West Wing" as I'm still revisiting that series for the first time in several years, but other than that I've been reading Anthony Everitt's "The Rise of Rome" and once that's done, someone purchased Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" for me for Christmas and that will be my next read.

So, unfortunately I don't have a lot to share with you this week, which puts it on you. What did you watch in theaters or on television? Share your cinematic hits and misses for the week below.

Oh, and as if the image above wasn't obvious enough.... GO SEAHAWKS!!

SIDE NOTE: I'm going to be asking for your thoughts on Gangster Squad in another post in a few hours. So if you saw it, maybe just hold your thoughts for that post or just know I'm going to open the floor for that discussion separately.

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

    Check me out on Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/as/

    Note: Hopefully I’ll be able to see Life of Pi (the only notable film from 2012 I haven’t seen) by this time next week and if I do, I’ll be posting my complete “Best of 2012” & “Worst of 2012” lists.

    At the theater (first viewing):

    Gangster Squad – Terrible. As Brad said, this is really starting the year off in a bad way. The screenplay is a whole new level of awful. It’s got every ridiculous cliché in the book. The characters are paper-thin and the action sequences are dull and lifeless. A.O Scott put it best in his review in the NY Times: “the hysterical, brainless animation of dead clichés reduced to purposeless, compulsive killing. Too self-serious to succeed as pastiche, it has no reason for being beyond the parasitic urge to feed on the memories of other, better movies.” By the end, with 15 minutes left to go, I felt like getting up and walking out. I should have.

    2 / 5

    At the theater (repeat viewing):

    Django Unchained (2012) – Having seen it twice now, I feel comfortable saying that Django is 2/4 of a great film and 2/4 of a really good movie. The first half is 4/5 stars. However, once they show up in Mississippi and DiCaprio comes on the scene, it becomes a 3.5/5 star movie with moments of 4/5 sprinkled throughout… if that makes any sense. The ending still bothers me, although not as much. DiCaprio, while very good, still doesn’t impress me as much as Jackson & Waltz. Definitely QT’s weakest film and his Best Director snub doesn’t really bother me (although, Django is obviously a million times better than those other nominees).

    3.5 / 5

    At home (first viewing):

    Taken 2 (2012) – Meh, it is what it is. It’s ridiculous and way over-the-top, but for 90 minutes I was entertained.

    3 / 5

    Brubaker (1980) – An excellent film about the for-profit prison industrial complex in the United States and the inhuman conditions prisoners are subjected to. Redford is terrific as usual. I recommend this to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

    3.5 / 5

    Hitchcock (2012) – Over the top at times, but overall it’s pretty average. Hopkins & Mirren are both good, but neither are award worthy.

    3 / 5

    The Impossible (2012) – Emotionally manipulative with some very corny moments but it was well acted. Also, good makeup and CGI.

    3 / 5

    The Sessions (2012) – Well made, but a bit too sentimental at the end. Hawkes, Hunt and Macy are all very good.

    3 / 5

    Les Misérables (2012) – I don’t typically like musicals but I couldn’t help but admire the sheer craftsmanship on display in this film. The cinematography is fantastic (much more interesting that Hooper’s last film) and the direction is impressive. I can see why Hugh Jackman scored an Oscar nom because he’s terrific here. Also, I had no problem with Crowe’s singing so…The film loses momentum just before Jackman lets Crowe escape and it drags slightly from there on out. Still, a very well made film (much better than many of the Oscar frontrunners).

    3.5 / 5

    Searching for Sugar Man (2012) – An interesting documentary about a musician who apparently had the talent of a Bob Dylan, but with none of the fame. It’s well made, but I don’t know why this got an Oscar nom over something like Queen of Versailles.

    3 / 5

    Silver Linings Playbook (2012) – Excellent. With his last film The Fighter, and now this, Russell has proven himself to be a brilliant director of actors. With Playbook, he takes a tired and clichéd genre and does something interesting and different with it. Russell also has a great gift for comedy. I haven’t laughed this hard in a while (the wedding tape scene with De Niro on the front lawn in his pajamas was priceless). The performances from the entire cast are terrific. I’d never really thought much of Cooper but he’s definitely gone up in my book after this. I’d almost written off De Niro (what with all the trash he associates himself with these days) but watching Playbook I was immediately reminded of why he is one of the all-time greats. Russell’s screenplay is consistently smart, humorous and clever and it’s a damn shame that Lincoln is nominated for Adapted Screenplay because SLP deserves to win. It would be so great if by some miracle Silver Linings Playbook picked up enough momentum to take the big Oscar (cause Django doesn’t stand a chance). I’d be happy with an SLP win.

    Side note: Loved seeing Chris Tucker back in the game.

    3.5 / 5

    On TV:

    Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States: Part 7 & 8 – This whole series should be required viewing, but if you had to limit it to one part, Part 7 is the one to watch.

    Luther (Season 2): Episodes 3 & 4 – The first half of the season was clichéd and predictable, the second half, however, writes those wrongs and reminded me why I like this show so much.

    The Critics’ Choice Awards – Terrible humor and a tribute to Judd Apatow… that pretty much says it all. I enjoyed seeing Skyfall win a couple of awards though.

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

      I'm happy you like SLP, it was my favourite of the year. I feel the exact same about Cooper. I can't remember ever enjoying him in a movie before this one.

      As for Les Mis, I basically felt the same way. One of my main problems were those drawn out scenes (like Jackman's soliloquy) where the camera seemed inches from the actors' faces. It looked almost as if they were fighting not to glance directly into the camera. It was a little distracting

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

      You sounded pretty effusive about SLP, why not a higher grade?

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

        I normally define a 4/5 as this: "A great film. One of the very best films of the year. A movie worth buying."

        While I really liked SLP, I don't think I'd watch it more than twice and I certainly wouldn't buy it.

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

          and as I've said before; it takes a lot to get a 3.5/5 from me so that rating means more to me than it does to most people.

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

            So which of the three did you like best? Django, Les Mis, or Silver Linings?

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

              Either of those 2 films come anywhere near Django (even though I gave them all 3.5's).

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

    Pitch Perfect 5.5/10. Some funny scenes and songs, Anna Kendrick is good as always and Rebel Wilson is Great as Fat Amy, but nothing special.

    Silver Linings Playbook!! 9.5/10. David O'Russell does it again, After the fighter he again made a movie with a maybe cliché plot interesting, and never boring. With these great performances and the way he combined drama and comedy in such a natural way and a way i and i think a lot of people could relate to these people, he has made one of the best movies of 2012 and the best romantic comedy i have seen.

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

    Zero Dark Thirty- I found it to be exciting, but in a way that was incredibly realistic. It did get a little draining, but that was small price to pay for an excellent film. 8/10

    AT HOME:
    Night Train To Munich- Fun, adventurous entertainment. Carol Reed pulls off a Hitchcock, and does it with ease. 8.5/10

    Design for Living- Frothy, bubbling film directed by the master of charm, Ernst Lubitsch. Enjoyable all the way. 9/10

    Margin Call- I missed this when it first came out, so I finally decided to catch it. It's not a bad film, the cast does very well, but it seems a little empty when it's over. 7.5/10

    Beau Geste- It never really achieves greatness. The mystery is never that mysterious, and the battle scenes aren't that entertaining. The opening is really good, however. 6.5/10

    The African Queen- One of the best adventure films out there, Bogart and Hepburn are wildly entertaining. 10/10

    White Heat- Cagney is electrifying, and the film manages to cobble together all of the best parts of a gangster movie, and mix them into a full blown film noir. 8.5/10

    That's all, I guess. In television, I finished watching season one of Game of Thrones, which was quite good. I also (finally) finished reading Light in August, which I started back in August.

  • Liathach

    127 Hours - What a bravura piece of film-making, much better than Slumdog Millionaire. Danny Boyle shoots it with such verve and imagination. I loved the way the beginning is just perpetual motion, bursting with energy, before the entrapment to come. The unrelenting brutality of the Utah landscape is very striking (but then I live somewhere extremely wet). And Franco is brilliant. I'm really glad I saw this - but Touching the Void moved me more.

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

    I feel a little lazy today so i'll just go straight to the points, i'll just post and paste my reviews from Rotten Tomatoes on couple first watches.

    In Theaters (finally the movie i've been anticipating since early last year):

    Zero Dark Thirty (2012) - Kathryn Bigelow returns and hits it BIG. Zero Dark Thirty is masterpiece filmmaking from a master filmmaker. One of the best actresses out there today, Jessica Chastain gives the performance of her career so far as CIA Operative Maya (fictional name, real life name is Jen). She is absolutely terrific without any effort. The rest of the cast is brilliant especially from the likes of Jennifer Ehle, Kyle Chandler, Edgar Ramirez, Joel Edgerton & Jason Clarke (who is Oscar-worthy here but didn't get nominated which I felt he could have).

    With a terrific quiet, tense score from Alexandre Desplat, excellent editing, continuously intense back & forth scenes & absolutely gorgeous-driven Oscar-worthy cinematography. With the last 30 minutes being so brilliantly spectactular & intense. Zero Dark Thirty is the most intense, ballsy, challenging & well-crafted film of 2012. Don't worry Kathryn, you're nominated in my books and a winner for Best Director. By far, one of my top 2 favorite films of the year (TDKR being the other and Chronicle at distant 3rd). I'll be seeing this multiple times, that's how much I loved the movie. Hell, the movie's been out in theaters few weeks now and already, I can't wait to get it on Blu-Ray. 10/10.

    At Home:

    Total Recall (2012) (Netlix, 1st viewing): To be honest, I was looking forward to this remake. Thought it would be solid, action-packed & fun 2-hour flick. Instead, it's a pretty disappointing remake even if I haven't seen the original. Colin Farrell does his best, i'm a fan of his but he's just doesn't fit into big budget flicks, so much comfortable in smaller budget films. Jessica Biel, Bill Nighy & Bryan Cranston are wasted here. Bokeem Woodbine is decent in his small role. Kate Beckinsale is the only one here that has the most fun with her character and brings the movie to life whenever she's on-screen.

    As a fan of Kate's, despite me saying she's the best thing of the entire movie, this isn't one of her best in action flicks. At times I could see her slightly getting bored with the character even when she's seems to be having fun. I wish she could take a break from action movies and take on more serious roles (like Nothing But The Truth, Fragments, Snow Angels, Laurel Canyon & Brokedown Palace), she's underrated as dramatic actress.

    Aside from Beckinsale, great futuristic set pieces & visuals, Total Recall remake is pretty boring at times. Lacks humor, cool characters, pacing & even action. It has few good action scenes but there are not a lot of them due to pacing issues. 4.5/10.

    Alien (1979) (caught it on TV even though I already have it on Blu-Ray, 3rd viewing) - I feel a little lazy today so i'll just go straight to the points. Yeah this is still, a classic to me. Still, one of Ridley Scott's best. Still, love it. 9/10.

    The Green Mile (1999) (TV, 4th viewing) - Haven't seen this in a while but it's still one of the most powerful, emotional & saddest movies around. Exceptional acting from Tom Hanks & Michael Clarke Duncan. Terrific performances all-around from David Morse, Sam Rockwell, Michael Jeter, Barry Pepper & Doug Hutchison. Stephen King knows how to write books and almost all his books adapted to the big screen are great. You got to give credit to Frank Darabount, very underrated director as well. Thomas Newman's score is so beautiful & emotional that by the end of the movie, you'll want to listen to the beauty of a score he composed. Last 10-15 minutes always gets me bad, just want say amazing & inspiring acting from Michael Clarke Duncan and may he R.I.P, he was one of the very good ones. I miss him a lot. The Green Mile is just an extrordinary, beautiful & powerful experience. 9/10.

    That's it. Today's my birthday btw. Turning 22, yes sir.

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

      Happy B-Day.

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

        Thank you AS, I appreciate it!

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

      Happy birthday, Michael!

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

        Thank you, G-Man!! :D

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

      Happy Birthday!

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

        Thanks Corbin. All right guys, going to church and after that, going to be celebrating my birthday. Go ahead & send me birthday wishes & thoughts on the movies I just saw this past week if you want. If u don't see me replying to your comments, it is because i'll be unavailable (obviously) most of the day. I'll read them later. See you later, guys.

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

      Happy birthday :)

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

        Thanks, Randall :)

  • Winchester

    I had a light week this week because I had had a heavy couple of weeks over Christmas.

    At home -

    The Sting (1973): Blu ray, first watch - I enjoyed this one a lot but it struck me as odd that in it's day it was a big Oscar winner and a big financial hit as well. It's a well built, scripted and acted gambling caper film but it's hard to see Best Picture looking back at it after 40 years. I guess it's kind of like a predecessor of something like The King's Speech where a well done crowdpleaser marries critical acclaim and then rides the Oscar train home. It was a good and enjoyable film though and while I would not rush to watch it again I wouldn't avoid it either.

    The Kids are All Right (2010): Blu ray, first watch - I struggled with this one even more. I missed it when it was one of the Indie critical darling's of 2010 and I now wonder why it was to begin with. It just felt like it was trying waaaaay to hard to be achingly hip and indie and I really at first didn't like any of the characters nor the dialogue or scenarios at the start. I did kinda begin to warm up a little as things progressed but overall I wasn't really left all that wowed by this one. Performances again just felt as if everyone was trying hard to BE indie and it didn't really feel organic and natural like some other indie cinema. It was OK but I don't intend to watch it again.

    Red Tails (2012): Blu ray, first watch - It wants to be a Lucas style Boy's own adventure like the serials which have inspired Lucas before but it also feels like a group came together wanting to make a hobby film playing with their CGI toolbox to create (adnittedly enjoyable) dogfights and aerial action sequences and decided to throw in a loosely historical version of The Tuskegee Airman into the mix. And thanks to a poor script, dialogue and direction it doesn't really work all that well. Unfortunate as there's the glimmer of potential buried far down beneath what's actually onscreen.

    In TV land as I have mentioned on and off I also have been continuing to watch 'Cheers' on TV the last few months. This week I finished Season 4 (1985-1986) and next week will begin Season 5 (1986-1987). I'm still really enjoying it. I was too young to see all these early years first time round and it's been good to go through it. It's still a lot better than some sitcoms around just now.

    That was all this week.

  • Cordia

    Les miserables 6/10

    A lot worse than i hoped for, it is really good for the first maybe hout but really bored after, They expect me to care about characters that i just saw on screen for 1 scène and then cry? Come on..no build up.
    I did like Hathaway and Jackman and Barks..crowe was ok and it was technicly good as well, but it did not move me at all. Only Hathaway did that a bit

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

    Pitch Perfect:

    I saw this in theaters and I remember it being two things. Freaking hilarious and sloppily constructed. Now that I've seen it again, it's still both of those. The bad on a second watch becomes very evident. Characters are so poorly developed inside of their strong superficial character. Performances all around are stronger than really need be for a movie like this. It gets by wholly on the potency of the comedy throughout. It's fast, smart, and varied. It's just so obviously cliche, I probably won't bring myself to ever watch the movie again. C

    Valhalla Rising:

    Refn is a master. I said this on Letterboxd, but him and Tarantino are eerily similar. Heightened sense of reality, strong characters, dramatic silences and exploitative violence are staples in their filmmaking. I just think that Refn does it better. B

    The Impossible:

    Fantastic acting, effect, and directing. The story is a well worn and somewhat manipulative one but I think that this is the best version of it. It's still not something that I take to. Either way, it doesn't even matter what movie it's in, when Ewan McGreggor cries...I cry. B+

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

      Missed one...

      The Gold Rush:

      First Chaplin movie I've sat down to watch. I tend to have an issue with older films for some reason. I get how influential they are but sometimes it just doesn't connect. This one did though. The comedy was spot on and the social commentary very potent. B-

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

        The Gold Rush is one of my favorites. Glad to see you enjoyed it.

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

    Now that Amour has been nominated for 5 Oscars, I'd like to hear people's opinions on it.

    Personally, I find it a film that's hard to grade. I won't deny that its very well made, and incredibly emotionally powerful, but did I "like" it? Thinking back I can't say that I did. It was probably one of the worst times I've had watching a movie this year. The drawn out sequences and 2 hour runtime just sucks the life out of the audience. Admittedly, this could very well be what Haneke was going for (after all, we're essentially watching a woman die slowly over the course of 2 hours). I can't say it was bad, because I thought it was incredibly powerful, but I can't say its good because all I wanted while watching it was for it to be over.

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

      Haven't seen Amour yet, but I gotta do it at some point soon since it got the Best Picture nomination.Feel like I'm gonna be sad for two hours though, which makes it tough to motivate myself to go. :/

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

    As mentioned last week, if anyone wants a MoviePass invite, put your email below. I have 7 invites left.

    Only two watches for me this week that I finished:

    First watches:

    Predator (1987) - DVD Netflix - A fun action movie with some kickass scenes. I'm sure it was even more awesome back when it came out. Now I know where the "You Son of a Bitch" line in the Arnold prank calls comes from. 7.0 / 10 or "B-"

    A Haunted House (2013) - Theatre - Believe it or not, I wanted to see this more than Gangster Squad yesterday. While there were a few funny parts / lines, overall it was pretty bad with some awkward silences from the audience when I think they were trying to be funny. I actually think this could wind up being better than Scary Movie 5 (which I'll probably watch too). 4.5 / 10 or "D"

  • Matt

    Not too much to contribute this week, unfortunately...

    In Theaters:

    Zero Dark Thirty- An extremely well made and captivating film that I wanted to watch again right away. One of the very best films of the year, in my opinion, and probably the most well directed. I'm much more upset about Bigelow's snub as opposed to Affleck's. Jessica Chastain is great in the lead role. It's rare that in one year we get two performances (I'm also referring to Jennifer Lawrence) that I feel are worthy of the Best Actress Oscar. I prefer Lawrence's maybe a tiny bit more, but would be happy with either actress winning, they are both deserving. I also really liked the performances from Jason Clarke and Jennifer Ehle. I definitely want to see it again to see where it stands on my Top 10 list for the year. As for the torture controversy, I just want to throw my two cents into the ring and say that I really don't see where the controversy is coming from. I don't see how anyone can see this film and accuse it of being "pro-torture." Just my opinion though. As for the film, I'd give it an A.

    At Home:

    Moonstruck- Meh. I really liked Cher's performance but otherwise I wasn't swept away by this movie. It all felt very bland. It was certainly more creative than your average romantic comedy, but it never really felt all that special. It was still fairly charming at times, mostly thanks to Cher, but it failed to meet my expectations, which were fairly high given all the Oscar wins/nominations it had back in the year of it's release. B-

    The Hours- The three performances at the center of this film, particularly Nicole Kidman, are absolutely incredible and make this film worth watching. That being said, the film never really connected for me and, thus, failed to ever have much of an emotional impact. The film just sort of plod along without ever really going anywhere and, in my opinion, the connections between the three stories and the three women just weren't there. B-

    Compliance- I was completely absorbed by this film from beginning to end. Having heard about these crimes prior to becoming aware of the film, I didn't find the film difficult to believe in any way. The performances felt very natural, the film was tense throughout and the film managed to depict the subject matter in a way that, to me, didn't feel exploitative in any way. A-

    Dredd- A decent action film, but I just can't help but feel like this film is getting way too much praise for, simply, being entertaining. Nothing about this film really stood out to me, and whenever there weren't any action scenes I quickly became bored. The fact that this film is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes is pretty surprising to me. C+

    Heathers (re-watch)- My all time favorite comedy. I could watch this film at any time and laugh out loud. It's incredibly quotable, intelligent, and well acted. A+

    Magnolia (re-watch)- An extremely well made and powerful drama. It may get a bit too hectic at times (particularly in the first hour) but it's captivating regardless. Great soundtrack too. In terms of the performances, I feel that John C. Reily, Melora Walters, Julianne Moore and Tom Cruise are the stand outs. A-

  • m1

    Looper (2012)-My favorite movie of last year so far. A great concept with a COMPLETE story that does not pull any ambiguity crap at the end, and thank god for that. The performances are fantastic (especially Emily Blunt's) and it's a shame the movie did not get a screenplay nomination. Oh well. 10/10

    Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)-It does wander for the first 30 minutes but then it finally picks up steam, offering an emotional, unique experience. Wallis is fantastic and so is Henry (he was robbed!). I was worried that the film would be forgotten by nomination time; so glad it wasn't. 9/10

    Innocent Voices (2004)-A compelling, at times horrifying, movie about the El Salvador civil war and its impact on children. It's a heavy movie but one worth seeing. 8/10

    Ted (2012)-Basically one half a brilliant movie and one half an awful movie. Wahlberg, with this and The Other Guys, has proven that he is a very solid comedian and Kunis makes the most of her role. I'm sure MacFarlane is going to be a great Oscar host but hopefully he comes up with a better story for his next movie. 5/10

  • Sean R

    Zero Dark Thirty-A: This is one disciplined film. While the two hour and forty minute film felt a bit bloated from time to time, you really don't mind so much just because every shot and every performance keeps you on the edge of your seat. It is truly a master film from a master director, Kathryn Bigelow is honestly in top form here. She directs one hell of a movie and it is nothing short of a practical joke that she wasn't nominated for a Best Director Oscar.

    Django Unchained-A+: This is definitely my favorite film of the year sitting side by side with Silver Linings Playbook. I know that Django has had everyone from everywhere say something about it so whatever I say is just going to be regurgitating all of what has already been said. Overall, kick ass movie, Waltz steals it and DiCaprio steals it from him. This is the true masterpiece of 2012.

    Dredd-B: This was just hardcore violent fun. You take your brain out for a minute to enjoy this one...

  • Dale

    Not much of interest in theaters that I haven't already seen, so I started watching some classic films for the first time on Blu-ray and on a 55-inch screen, and I have to say it's quite a thrill. I've already amassed a number of Blu-rays, so it will take me a good while to get through them all. I started with "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (classic Bogart), "Chinatown" (an all-time favorite), and "West Side Story" (dazzling). I'd be interested to see "Broken City" when it opens next weekend - I hope it isn't the letdown that "Gangster Squad" turned out to be.

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

    Follow me on Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/xarnis/

    Zero Dark Thirty - Bigelow delivers yet again, in her follow up to The Hurt Locker. Jessica Chastain shines throughout, in her excellent performance as CIA agent Maya. The intelligent script provides her (and the strong supporting cast) memorable lines and intelligent dialogue. The aforementioned supporting cast is great, with the likes of Mark Strong, Jason Clarke, and Kyle Chandler playing their roles with confidence. Kathryn Bigelow's direction is masterful, as she condenses 10 years into 157 minutes. Throughout the runtime, I was always entertained and the narrative is fluid. The last 40 minutes (The raid) is executed brilliantly and is incredibly tensinous, even though you know what the outcome will be. In my opinion, this is the best film of 2012, and the only film I have given this rating to in 2012

    Today is pretty packed, as I'm going to see Life of Pi (i'll post my thoughts here), then watching the Texans (my home team) play the Patriots. Then the Golden Globes. Looking forward to the live blog.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AndrewJ.S./ Andrew J.S.

    Now that my packers are out I'll be cheering for the Seahawks the rest of the way. I love Russell Wilson.

    - Zero Dark Thirty (4/4) Technically speaking, it's perfect. The narrative moves along really smoothly and even when it gets into moments filled with jargon, it's able to keep hold of the audience and catch it up to speed. I appreciated that it was more than just a good procedural drama, but also a really compelling character study. Chastain's performance was subtle that early on I was puzzled what everyone was so excited about, but as it went on her performance got more interesting. In short, the film is able to ask questions about what it means to serve your country, in that it makes you realize things are not as black and white as we think. (read my full review at letterboxd - http://letterboxd.com/andrewjs/film/zero-dark-thirty/)
    - Warm Bodies (2.5/4) sets out to charm audiences with a fairly standard but nontheless potentially worthwhile premise. The problem is that it doesn’t build off the premise, instead just solely relying on it.

  • JN Films

    My Week with Marilyn - Too much Eddie Redmayne not enough Michele Williams, besides that I loved it. 3/4
    Blue Valentine - Very well done, reached it's full potential. 3.5/4
    Tree of Life - This is a re-watch but I still love it, cast is great, the film is visually stunning. 4/4
    The Thin Red Line - I only saw some of it, but I thought it was a decent film. (3/4)
    Brokeback Mountain - I loved the approach Ang Lee took to this film, not running off of stereotypes but creating something that has never been done like this before. 4/4
    The Descendants - I thought everything was A plus work, but the music grew bothersome at times since some of the music didn't fit with the emotion of some of the scenes. 3.5/4

    • Chris138

      I love The Thin Red Line, you should watch it in its entirety sometime. Malick's best film, in my opinion.

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

    Django Unchained - A : Saw this a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Three fourths of the film were great, moved along smoothly and was quite funny. I thought it hit a bit of a wall in the last fourth of the movie when they got to Candyland. Still had good scenes when they got there but didn't flow as well. Overall I really liked it and can't wait to rewatch it.

    Zero Dark Thirty - B+ : Really well made movie with a great ending. I felt the length of this movie though, at times getting a little bored. (I did have some guy who talked during most the movie so he might have made the viewing not as enjoyable as it would have been.) The acting was great as well as the directing, and the last thirty minutes were great. Another one that I want to revisit in the coming weeks.

    In TV land:

    Friday Night Lights: My roommate started watching this and got me hooked. Took me about a week to go through the series and I loved it. I mainly watch comedy's on TV and the only drama I watch is Breaking Bad, so I wasn't sure how I would like this. The acting is great, as is the directing. An emotional show that had me invested in every character, and the final episode was perfect. I recommend this to anyone who is looking for a great TV show to get hooked on.

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

      Forgot to put go Hawks and Pats today and clear eye's, full heart's, can't lose!

    • Jake17

      I'm SO glad to see another FNL fan on here! Clear eyes, full hearts....

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

        NBC has some great shows but I feel like their goal is to make sure people don't watch their shows. Ha.

        • Jake17

          This is absolutely true. I'm a big fan of their comedies (Community, Parks And Rec, 30 Rock), but they almost never market them, and if they do, they do it in the completely opposite way in which they should.

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

    In Theaters:

    Flight - I was really disappointed with this one. While the opening is great, it just goes downhill after that. They hit you over the head with the alcoholism to the point where r becomes unbearable and the Nicole character doesn't really have a point being in the movie. The religious themes also felt pointless to me. Denzel Washington is great in it and I wanted more scenes with him and Don Cheadle who is pretty good. I can understand why Denzel got a Oscar nomination but Best Screenplay is a mystery to me. It's disappointing because I'm a fan Robert Zemeckis and movies. I love Forrest Gump, Roger Rabbit, Cast Away, Contact and I even like Polar Express. He's a much better director than what he shows in Flight, aside from the opening.

    Hitchcock - An entertaining biopic, but it's more of a love story about Hitch and Alma then the making of Psycho. The performances are all pretty good and it's a pleasant watch though I wish they hadn't included the scenes with Hitchcock and the real killer. I thought they were distracting and didn't add much to the movie. The rest of it is fine though.

    Lincoln - I thought this was a great movie. The acting and direction are all great and I wasn't even bothered by the long running time. I also thought the family dynamics in the movie was well handled and didn't hurt the movie at all. The political scenes are by far the best. The writing throughout is great and compelling and the acting shows it. It's great to see Spielberg make a strong comeback after Crystal Skull, War Horse and Tintin. While I don't think any of those 3 movies are that bad, they don't represent the best of what Spielberg has to offer. Lincoln, however, is a strong film and, in my opinion, worthy of all it's acclaim.

    Silver Linings Playbook - Another great film that I saw in theaters this week. I've always liked Bradley Cooper as an actor and he does strong work here and has great chemistry with Jennifer Lawrence. Robert De Niro also shows that he is still a great actor and I hope he does more performances like this in the future. The mental illness problems are also handled well in the film. The one problem I have with this movie is that the mental illness is eventually pushed aside and the movie becomes more of a traditional romantic comedy. That's minor though because it is all done so well by David O. Russell and it's hard not to feel happy by the end of it.

    At Home:

    Raiders of the Lost Ark - Not much to say about this one other than it's a great action movie and one of my favorite action movies.

    I'm seeing Zero Dark Thirty in an hour so I might have to add more later or save it for next Sunday. Either way, I'm really excited to see it!

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

      Just got back from Zero Dark Thirty and here's my take:

      This is a great movie about the hunt for bin Laden. It's well acted, very intense, especially in it's final act, and extremely well paced for a 2 and 1/2 hour movie. Jessica Chastain gives a great performance and fully deserves her Oscar nomination as Maya. Mark Strong, Jason Clarke and Kyle Chandler give strong performances as well. Even Chris Pratt and Joel Edgerton are memorable in their roles even though they have limited screen time. I was hugely impressed by how well Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal were able to condense the entire hunt of bin Laden into 2 and a 1/2 hours. Not once was I bored or ever felt the movie was too long. I was completely intrigued throughout. After seeing this, I really wish Bigelow received a Best Director nomination. Her work here is great and, in my opinion, superior to The Hurt Locker. Oh well, at least Mark Boal was nominated.

      Can't wait for the live blog tonight! And to second what Jake17 said below, Go Patriots!!!

  • Chris138

    I've heard about that book "The Rise of Rome" but haven't gotten around to reading it myself. How is it so far, Brad?

    First time watches this week...

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - A pretty good spaghetti western that I felt was a little too long, but still worthwhile. The scale of the battle at the end is incredible, and the film contains some of the best cinematography I've ever seen in a western (or any kind of movie, for that matter). Strangely I watched this without seeing the first two films in the Dollars trilogy, but I'll have to get around to watching those now. 3.5/5

    Les Miserables (2012) - A mixed bag. I don't think it's a terrible movie, but it's definitely a bit of a mess. Hugh Jackman was good and I can see why he was nominated for best actor. Anne Hathaway was good as well, but I thought her performance was a bit overhyped. Personally I thought Samantha Barks was better and her performance resonated more with me. With the exception of "I Dreamed a Dream" I can honestly say it's one of those musicals that I don't remember any of the songs from. And much like The King's Speech I thought the cinematography wasn't very good. I'm not surprised at all that Hooper didn't score a director nod, or that it didn't get recognized in editing, writing or cinematography. Overall I think it's a pretty problematic film that isn't a complete train wreck. 3/5

    Kill Bill Vol. 1 - A very fast paced and entertaining movie that's fun to watch. Uma Thurman is quite good here, although I think she's even better in Vol. 2, and the fight sequences are very well staged and shot. Strangely I don't have a whole lot to say about this one, but I did enjoy it. 3.5/5

    Kill Bill Vol. 2 - This movie, however, I thought was even better. I'd certainly put this among Tarantino's better efforts, I enjoyed the more relaxed pace that this film took in contrast to the first part. As I mentioned before, Uma Thurman is really good here and David Carradine steals every scene he's in. I'd say this is one of the most satisfying conclusions you could have to a story like this and I was rather impressed overall. 4/5

    Beasts of the Southern Wild - A movie that I found easier to admire than to really love. I can see why Benh Zeitlin scored a best director nomination, as I do think it's quite impressive what he was able to pull off. Wallis is also quite good, and it's astonishing to think she was six years old when she made this movie. At times I was reminded of Terrence Malick's films when watching this, and it has similar ambitions but isn't always quite as successful in its execution. Still, there's a lot to admire here and I think it's worth checking out at least once. 3.5/5

    Death Proof - Not one of Tarantino's better efforts, in my opinion. For the most part I found the film too talky and full of characters who are not all very interesting, but I admit that the last 25 minutes or so with the car chase was quite thrilling and, at times, nerve-wracking to watch. It's amazing to watch Zoe Bell in action as she's hanging off that car. I'd say she definitely earned her paycheck for that one. 3/5

    Frankenweenie - An uneven film that ultimately won me over because of the heart that was evident throughout the story. Perhaps there is some kind of a bias here to me since it brought back some memories of my old dog. As I said, the movie is uneven and goes from starting off strong to weakening for a bit and then picks back up again toward the end. It's not one of Tim Burton's best movies but it's a decent little entry into his canon. 3.5/5

    ParaNorman - There seem to have been a lot of Halloween-themed movies coming out around the same time last year. This is, in my opinion, the best of the three and arguably the most depressing and grim. I never saw Coraline but I thought the animation on display here was quite good, and there were some parts that were a lot funnier than I expected them to be. I still have to see two more of the animated films that are up for best animated feature, and while I haven't been overwhelmed by the three I've seen so far (Brave, Frankenweenie and now this), I would say that this is the one I enjoyed the most overall. 3.5/5


    Do the Right Thing - One of Spike Lee's best movies that I hadn't watched in years. I forgot how transporting I find this movie to be; I really felt like I was taken to that area of Brooklyn on an incredibly hot day in the summer. There are a number of things that go into achieving that feeling for the viewer, and the cinematography certainly has a lot to do with it. The film definitely looks like a product of its time, but I think the film still holds up rather well even by today's standards. The famously controversial ending still packs a punch, and while many will argue about whether or not Mookie 'did the right thing', I think the central point is highlighting the sad inevitability and stupidity of racism in modern society and what it all leads to. 4.5/5

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

      I was so close to walking out on Les Miserables because of how problematic it was

      • Chris138

        Yeah, as I said it's definitely problematic, but I didn't think it was a total disaster. I don't know if I would really have any interest to watch it again, though.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/chewbaca38/ Baca

    How about them niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiineeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrs.

    • Jake17

      GO PATS!!!!

      • Jake17

        That was supposed to say go Pats AND Niners, but somehow I didn't get tha out right. :/

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

    Bad Teacher- Laugh out loud funny with some great performances 4/5
    Flight Of The Conchords (season 1)- Overrated but still funny 3.5/5
    Ted- Hilarious and my favourite movie of last year 5/5
    Batman Begins- A great action film that is very well executed 4.5/5
    The Dark Knight- Worst of the trilogy, but still good 4/5
    The Dark Knight Rises- Best of the trilogy despite it's glaring flaws 4.5/5
    Fast Five- Overrated but still decent 3/5
    John Carter- Underrated film that is surprisingly good 4/5
    National Lampoons Christmas Vacation- Funny christmas to watch even when it's not the holidays 4/5
    That's My Boy- Hilarious underrated comedy that occasionally goes a little too over the top 4.5/5
    The Watch- Another hilarious underrated comedy 4/5

  • http://smartfilm.blogspot.com SmartFilm

    Finally saw Bellflower and was pretty stunned. I haven't seen a film that's affected me this much in a while. It would be impressive even if it wasn't made for a meager 17 k.

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

      Not enough people have seen Bellflower. It definitely sticks with you. Great movie

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

    I have to cover my past two weeks, as I missed last Sunday. Also, I spent some time on a bus with my swim team, so I viewed a great many movies in a short period of time:

    Looper: I really enjoyed this film. Rian Johnson set it up well, the story flowed, and the depth in it was impressive. However, the strange thing is, I actually enjoyed the beginning the most, and liked the film less once we reached Bruce Willis (despite him giving a great performance). Once we got to Emily Blunt and everything, I found the film less interesting (well, less interesting than the first part, which is still impressive). I also found some of the time travel to be filled with paradoxes and gaps of logic, but oh well. I still give this movie an 8/10

    The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel-I watched this film to prepare for Maggie Smith's Oscar nom that apparently did not happen. Oh well. The film was light and entertaining. It kept my attention. Maggie Smith was great, Judi Dench was entertaining as someone who isn't uptight and in command, like Shakespeare in Love or the Bond films, and I like Dev Patel, so it was nice to see him in a good role. Overall, 7/10

    Pitch Perfect-the girls (and my) pick was to rewatch Pitch Perfect. I still enjoy this film, and I found it even better this time. Adam Devine was funnier this time around, I picked up on some points missed the first time, the vocals sounded even better, but the most important thing was Rebel Wilson. When I first watched it, I didn't think her comedy was anything special. Focusing specifically on her, I not only got more of her jokes, but I noticed how much was improv. So much so, that it looks like a Peter Sellers movie the way you can literally tell the people in the background are trying to keep from breaking character. I go 8/10, for sheer enjoyment.

    The Avengers-third time watching it, still liked parts of it, but I got so bored knowing all of the key parts this time around that I watched Best Exotic instead on my own. I stand by whatever grade I gave it (it was probably an 8 or 9), but I just wasn't having it on a small screen on a cramped bus.

    The Dark Knight Rises-third time watching it. Go back two weeks to whatever I gave it when I saw it the second time.

    The Bourne Identity-this is my first time watching it since 2007. This film, and the following one, helped prove my beliefs on the Bourne Trilogy. The first film had a very strong story, unlike the next two, but the next two are so perfectly done that they make the first one look inferior. Matt Damon gave my favorite performance in the first one, though, and despite awful Foley work, I still liked it. 7.5-8/10

    The Bourne Supremacy-Paul Greengrass is an action movie god. While I didn't find the film followed much of a plot, or at least an entertaining one, it didn't matter. The film went from action sequence to action sequence, each one better choreographed. The car chase at the end is one of the best ones I've ever seen, and Bourne's quick lines where he reveals he is watching the CIA are just too entertaining-the final line going into Extreme Ways puts the first use of the song to shame. I'd go 9/10 on this film.

    21 Jump Street-third watch. It was just as entertaining as usual. Channing Tatum is just really fun in this film, and the film was enjoyable despite Rob Riggle (he and Rob Schneider are probably the worst actors. Period. Take that Pauly Shore). I'd go 8/10 (which is what I think I gave it the first time).

    Just Friends-this film is my guilty pleasure. The film's plot isn't necessarily the strongest, but that doesn't really matter, as it seems to be more of a character study on people and the friend zone. The one liners are some of the best I've seen in a film, and Ryan Reynolds, Chris Klein, Anna Faris, Julie Hagerty and Chris Marquette are just top of the line in their roles, giving each cliche they portray a sense of realism and twist the stereotypes to their advantage. I really love this movie, despite its flaws. I'd say 9/10, but grading a film like this is not really appropriate

    • Matt

      I completely agree with you on "Just Friends." Not a great film by any means, but I laugh out loud every time I watch it. I've watched this many times with both my family and friends and always enjoy it.

  • The XWF Outlaw

    Week 2 for the new year and while last week was on the light side from me I have come back with a vengence of movies this week.
    Again, let men know what you think.

    In Theaters:

    Promised Land: I may be in the minority here but i belive that Gus van Sant may be one if not the most overrated director working today. He got lucky with "Good Will Hunting", & "Milk" was always going to play into the hands of it's audiance with it's material, other than that, he has not done anything worth mentioning. We can now add "Promised Land" to that list of forgettable GVS movies. An overlooked and important topic of fracking for natural gas is used for the base of a mediocer melodrama. No bad preformances to mention, (athough Lucas Black's character could have been cut out), but still no noteworthy performances either. No redeming qualitys with its story, writen by both stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski. One would wonder if they could have put more effort into their own characters that they themselfs wrote. If you want to see a movie that covers the subject matter much more better i would definetly recommend the awsome documentary "GasLand". 5/10

    Texas Chainsaw- 3D: A movie I had my reservations for, but to no avail this still is no big winner here. With an interesting ending & a bunch of easter eggs for TCM fans, this is by far the best of the TCM reboots thought that's not saying much. However, Between the first 15 mins and the the midway point is were it completly lost it with unintenionally laughable acts, but once the carnage hits the screen, then it begins to get interesting. The twist is a good opening for the proposed sequel that will follow, and i feel ok with that, but please avoid if your looking for scares (None at all) & Not in 3D (None at all). TC-3D is not a movie that undoubtedly is not for everyone (TCM fans will love it) and it is definetly not the worst of the franchise, ("The Next Generation" still has the title, ugh) I'd be ok with a sequel. 5.5/10

    A Haunted House: There has not been a funny spoof movie since "Superhero Movie ". This movie will not take that title but boy, it had the potential. Marlon Waynes returnes to the spoof genre he created with his brothers & David Zuckman (Friedberg & Setzler are dead to me). It is clear that Waynes knows what he's doing in this movie as the gags he and his female lead Essence Atkins provide. It is only when the supporting actors appear on screen is when the movie turns to utter sh*t. Nick Swartson, Cedric The Entertainer, David Koechner & company are dreadfuly unfunny and compleatly takes the wind out of the sails that Waynes & Atkins try to create. Definetly will be considered for my worst of '13 list next year. 4/10.

    At Home: (Redbox overload this week. Watching the Seahawk/Falcons at time of this posting)

    Beasts of the Southern Wild (DVD): A magical independent movie that includes oscar worthy performances by Wallis & Dwight Henry (who does IMO a better job than Wallis, she's mainly just voice-overs). Sets look SO good for a low budget movie not to mention the soundtrack is supurb. A little bit of a rocky beginning but other than that this is one movie i could see again. 8/10

    Butter (DVD): A clever comedy that got buried by Radius-TWC, some incredibly funny moments and some great performances by Jennifer Garner,Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Rob Corddry & young Yara Shahidi built into an interesting original premise. The blemish is Hugh Jackman's shoehorned character preformance that was just... no.
    Personal Side Note: Olivia Wild is sooo Smoking HOT! (childish i know)

    Ruby Sparks (DVD): My movie buff cousin gave me the blu-ray for christmas but decided to Redbox it before opening it. Got to say this is an interesting pic. A pretty poetic turn as writer/star Zoe Kazan plays her own character witch was refreshing. Sags in the middle with the changing of the personalities by Dano on Ruby & the dark turn towards the end was it's major flaws as the latter was just not Dano's character at all. I was expecting something great with others that have seen it, maybe i was just underwhelmed. Ok I guess. 7/10.

    10 Years (Blu-Ray): Not a bad movie just not a worthy movie. A allstar gathering of actors & actresses that seem to have came the the same party and never felt anything different than that. It's like if you yourself went to your high school reunion. Akward, embarrissing, and the feeling you want to just punch something or someone. By all means this is not a bad film, realy. I can't find a very bad moment or good moment. I feel so indiffrent about this movie. Very predictable & cliche, this should be avoided just because it has no watch-worthy moments in a not that bad movie. 6/10

    I was also going to write a review on "Killer Joe" but the Redbox i got was the R-rated version and would be an injustice if i reviewed the version of a movie that was not the director's vision. Maybe for next week though.

    Next week look out for reviews for The Impossible, Rust & Bone, & Silver Linings Playbook. Maybe also The Last Stand or Zero Dark Thirty if I have time. Till next week. ^-^

    • The XWF Outlaw

      BTW Butter's review was 7/10

  • Jake17

    The Pirates! Band Of Misfits: I was really disappointed by this one. Hugh Grant was great as the voice of the pirate captain, but the plot is ridiculous, the story uninteresting, and the characters are all one-dimensional, even unlikable. I couldn't even recommend this for young kids. 4/10

    Think Like A Man: A pleasant surprise! I'm not sure I'd revisit it anytime soon, but it works mainly because of some great jokes and a game cast, mainly Kevin Hart, who really surprised me. 7/10

    The Cabin In The Woods: A witty, enjoyable, but never great horror comedy. Fran Kranz was excellent as the pothead. 7/10

    Bottle Rocket: Wes Anderson's debut has all his trademark quirkiness, but he's still trying to find himself as a director. 7/10

    Rushmore: This, on the other hand, is a very good movie. Fantastic performances from Jason Shwartzman, Bill Murray and Olivia Williams, Rushmore is a delightful dramedy. 9/10

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

    Not a lot this week. In fact, only 2. They were:

    Paranorman: This is the 4th Best Animated Feature contender I've seen so far, and I have to say, it is a solid film. I didn't love it, but yet I didn't hate it. It was perfectly OK, and neutral. There were some good jokes in there, and it does tackle some surprising stuff for a kids movie, but overall, it was just ok. 6.5/10

    The Hunger Games: This was a film that I placed on my top 10 of the year, simply because I needed to round out the list, because I hadn't seen enough movies. Once I see a few more, I can assure everybody who in fact reads this one comment that it will be moved out. It is overly cliche and gets going far too late. Of course it had to follow the book, but in the end, it is merely throwaway popcorn entertainment, albeit good popcorn entertainment. I did not hate this film, I just think it could have been better. To say something good about this film Jennifer Lawrence is great, and I haven't seen her do better work in 2012 (note: I have not seen Silver Linings Playbook yet). Plus, my sister goes to school with the girl who plays the girl from District 2, Clove.

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

    Frozen River (B) - first time watching - This is my first time watching this and it reminds me of Winter's Bone about a struggling family trying to make ends meet, it's very different from Winter's Bone, but alike in many ways. It is a very well put together rural crime drama. Melissa Leo gives a hell of a performance as the struggling mother of two who will go to extreme length to make ends meet. The story take place in the countryside of New York where the winter are brutally cold. So when desperation hits there is no limit to what one will do to get what they want or need. I understand and respect that, there is nothing more important than family and this film shows us the extent of one's love of family. The film runs about 93 mins. and the pacing runs rather smoothly and quickly. I recommend watching this film if you haven't it is worth it.

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

    I am back from the theatre, so let's talk Life of Pi

    Life of Pi is visually on of the best movies i have ever seen. The cinematography, visual effects, and direction from Ang Lee are all superb. However, the film is held back by its storytelling. There is too much exposition and backstory, and the beginning of the movie drags. Once the ship sinks, it gets interesting. Pi has a territory war with the tiger, Richard Parker, and it is fascinating to watch. The time when Pi is at sea is the most interesting part of the movie and features some true visual spectacles. However, towards the end (SPOILER ALERT) When Pi tells the second story, the film falls apart. The whole time we are led to believe that Pi went on this amazing journey and then we learn it's all a metaphor. Or is it? It would have been better, if the first story was the only one that was told, the film would have been more satisying (SPOILER OVER). Throughout the Film, Pi is shown talking to a journalist, retelling his story. If that angle was removed, there would be greater sense of peril throughout the movie. Overall, LIfe of Pi is a visual masterwork, but the story is lacking

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

      Opposite of you, I found the backstory in Life of Pi to be a big boon to the film and really enjoyed the slower opening.

      I'm intrigued that you found the film fell apart when Pi tells the second story. You said, "The whole time we are led to believe that Pi went on this amazing journey and then we learn it's all a metaphor. Or is it?" This is the primary crux of the film: Pi has a story that is supposed to make us believe in God.

      Here's my take: I think that the addition of the second story actually bolsters the ending (depending upon what you believe, I suppose). Pi goes on this amazing, fantastic journey, one he should have never survived. He tells his tale to the investigators, and they don't believe him. So he tells the second story, replacing the animals with humans and turning his epic, adventurous journey into one of bottom-line human survival.

      Some are quick to jump ship and believe the second story because it seems more plausible. One can see how this compares to various stories of religion, be it Christianity or Hinduism or Islam, or what have you. It can be easy to abandon faith if the search is for plausibility. But some stories, like Pi's first tale, are so miraculous they must be believed; these stories survive to affirm our faith.

      In my opinion, to believe in the first story requires faith, and to believe in it after hearing the second story requires endurance of faith. And that is what I think Ang Lee is challenging in Life of Pi.

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

    Finding Nemo in 3D (rewatch) - 8/10
    Its my first time watching it in 3D and I guess I watched it with high expectations and what I got was just an average Pixar movie with some good moments in it. I loved Willem Dafoe's voice performance in it and I found a reference to The Shining in it, which is weird because there were references to another Kubrick film in Wall·e too. I know Lee Unkrich is a fan of The Shining and I think its cool to see them do that. Still for a better Pixar film I prefer The Incredibles, Toy Story 3, or Walle.

    The Raid: Redemption (rewatch) - 9/10
    I think this is a great movie, its pretty similar to Dredd, but much better in my opinion.
    It has this thing that Battle Royale has were the emotions change from humor to horror and the other way around all the time. Its kind of surreal in a good way and the dialogue can be pretty cheesy at times, but at other times it reaches Tarantino levels when the main villain is talking. The action is amazing, the fights in it are maybe the best I've ever seen in a movie, even better than the ones in IP Man or The Matrix.
    The choreography of the fights and everything is jaw dropping.

    Hitchcock - 8/10
    Its an okay movie, I enjoyed it and the make up on Anthony Hopkins was actually good, I thought it would bother me but it really didn't. I loved the story of Vertigo told in the movie, it was pretty interesting and made me see it in another way. I wasn't a fan of Scarlett Johansson's performance though.

    Collateral (rewatch) - 8/10
    I liked it a little bit better this time, after all Brad talked about it I decided to buy the blu ray and give it a shot. Its what I call a light movie, a movie that just passes by with a simple storyline and is easy to watch, kind of like Forrest Gump or The Breakfast Club, there's nothing wrong about a light movie, its just a movie that keeps it simple like Collateral. The cinematography was good at times, but at other times it was horrible.
    I found the editing to be pretty cheap too, at times Tom Cruise's character walks out of the room in the middle of an action scene and we're still in the room he walked out of 5 seconds ago. It felt like what QT called digital films "TV in public".
    Still, I did enjoy Tom Cruise's performance very much, some of the dialogue I liked a lot and that scene with the coyote was awesome.

    The Last Picture Show - 8/10
    I liked this a lot, it reminded me of Y Tu Mama Tambien in a way, I enjoyed how the story doesn't really focus on one main character, it just passes on from one to another carelessly.

    Carlos (rewatch) - 9/10
    I watched the long version again, its 339 minutes long and still its a very good movie, Edgar Ramirez's performance is amazing but I found it to be dull in some scenes were he's speaking in spanish. The music they chose for the film fits perfectly and makes the movie a lot more thrilling. I love the scene were they raid the OPEC, its very tense and so is the scene were a french detective comes and visits him in his girlfriend's apartment in Paris.

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

      I also thought Zero Dark Thirty could've benefited of being done as a mini series like Carlos instead of a rushed movie with no time to get to know the characters.

      I also watched True Blood season 4 and it was awesome.

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

    A lighter week for me, what with the spring semester starting and all. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that from here on out my contributions will be much lighter, seeing how I likely won't get to more than a couple of titles in a given week. As always, check me out on Letterboxd for full-length reviews and additional ratings and lists: http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/


    None, sadly, though I aim to see Zero Dark Thirty for the second time and Amour for the first time in the coming weeks.


    End of Watch: Generally speaking, I hate the found footage filmmaking technique. All that seems to come of it are largely un-scary horror movies like The Blair Witch Project or the Paranormal Activity films. But David Ayer's buddy cop flick End of Watch, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña as two partners who stumble onto a dangerous drug cartel, breathes new life into this tired brand of filmmaking. Overall, End of Watch is a good action thriller that uses found footage methods to its advantage, showing that a lazy and stale moviemaking technique can work if utilized properly. But the true reason to watch is the on-screen dynamic between Gyllenhaal and Peña. 4 / 5

    The Intouchables: I said it after seeing Silver Linings Playbook, and I'll say it again here. Sometimes, movies just work, telling a story worth watching, with characters you truly care about. And French sensation The Intouchables does just that, telling the story of Philippe and Driss, two very unlikely men who share a special bond. Rarely are films this easy to take in, but The Intouchables goes down like a glass of ice water on a hot summer day. It doesn't present me with a lot to discuss, but it is wholly enjoyable nonetheless, with two characters at its center that you are bound to love. 4.5 / 5

    Pitch Perfect: After seeing this for now the second time, I believe I have reached my conclusion on Pitch Perfect: it is a light-hearted, serviceable, fun, even cute comedy that ultimately rides on the shoulders of the aca-dorable Anna Kendrick. I still don't care much for Rebel Wilson, so I guess I'm just indifferent to her brand of comedy, but she was more bearable this time than the first go-round, surprisingly. Pitch Perfect is one of those movies that I ultimately don't mind, and if it's on while I'm flipping through premium cable channels, I'll probably watch it if nothing else catches my eye. 3 / 5

  • Cory

    An interesting week of cinema.

    Killing Them Softly (2012), Personally, this is a step WAY down from Jesse James. I could say it was entertaining but I'd be lying. I just felt the thing was kind of a wash, except for James Gandolfini. In his extended cameo, he basically steals this film from everyone else. It's not even up for debate.

    The Silver Linings Playbook (2012), On second viewing, I actually thought it played much, much better. While I still feel it's being overpraised to the hilt, it is a very, very good film that lets the brilliant performances mask the same troupes of the romantic comedy genre. Easily the best work of Bradley Cooper's career. And what else can be said about Ms. Lawrence. She's a marvel here. Between this, Winter's Bone, and Hunger Games, she's playing a whole different ball game, compared to her peers.

    Zero Dark Thirty (2012), On second viewing, this film played a bit less than on first. It's still pretty damn good, even if you do get a Homeland vibe from it the second time around. Still, Chastian is absolutely wonderful, convey so many feelings so subtly. It's a star making turn.

    Les Miserables (2012), Despite Hooper's best efforts to destroy this film with his directorial choices and the structure of the source material, damn it, I kind of really loved this film, mainly for the performances. Yes, you really don't care much during the second half as the first but I was into it from frame one. Crowe's a rock God and Jackman really surprised me. We saw glimpses of how good he really can be in Nolan's the Prestige but here, whole new level. And speaking of whole new level, yeah, Anne Hathaway complete owns it. This has been her year. She's stunningly wonderful in the Dark Knight Rises (should've been nominated) and here, she's just heartbreaking. Everything that's been said about her performance is true. It's a showstopper. She'll clean house at all the awards ceremonies. And Seyfried's voice is so sweet and beautiful. She really didn't have much to do here but she's great here with what she has.

    Samsara (2011), Cinema for 2013 is pretty much over for me after witnessing this documentary. As much as I admire Malick (the New World is one of my all time favorite films), I don't need to see another Malick film after watching Samsara. It's everything Malick wants to do and more. The imagery is unlike anything I've ever seen in the last 20 years. This is a documentary you watch once a year to observe the beauty and horror of this world. Saw this on Monday morning and I'm still letting the images wash over me, it's so incredible. Not saying that there won't be great, great films this year but they're not going to Samsara.

    Is it one of my all time favorite film after one viewing? It might be.

  • JAB

    Finally caught "Zero Dark Thirty" & loved it. It may not as flat out entertaining as "Argo"(or "Lincoln"), but it is one of the past year's 4 great films that I've seen --adding TDKR to other two I've mentioned.
    Going back into the Christopher Nolan's past work, I revisited "Memento" after about 10 years I'm really pleased to say that it hasn't aged one bit. I almost forgot how great this film is (pun intended).

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

    In Bruges - way better than I expected

    Take Shelter - i love this movie!

  • http://www.everyorsonwellesmovie.blogspot.ca/ IngmarTheBergman

    I finally saw Silver Linings Playbook!
    ...Then I saw it again....
    ...and again.

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

      It's just one of those movies, man!