The Official Review Thread of 2012

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 6754
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Sabin » Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:29 pm

Kind of surprised that it took me this long to catch up with Wreck-It-Ralph, but here it is Christmas and another Disney Autumn offering has come out and here I am watching last years.

There's no point in exhuming the ol' "Why did PIXAR do Brave and Disney do Wreck-It-Ralph" conversation, but indeed it is odd. Irvin mentioned earlier in this thread that if the reason that Brave [sadly] won the Oscar wasn't the age factor, then it was how many women make up the voting constituency. While there is absolutely no way of knowing if there is any validating to this claim, the makers of Wreck-It-Ralph were clearly aware that they were making one of the most boy-friendly animated films in ages. The Academy isn't the only bunch of fogies in Los Angeles. Imagine the myriad, reference-happy pitches for Wreck-It-Ralph that just zoomed over the heads of the Mouse House Execs. Apparently this concept was languishing for some time and it was writer Jennifer Lee who gave them something they could use in the Vanellope storyline, which seems to have arisen from everyone realizing that Ralph can't become a true hero if he's stuck in one place for a long period of time and that's where Sugar Rush and his role of reluctant surrogate father comes in. Wreck-It-Ralph is the exactly the movie that grown children like me want it to be for thirty minutes exactly, and then it becomes a pretty good version of a movie I've seen many times over. At times very good.

Something that writer Jennifer Lee and the makers of Wreck-It-Ralph do exceptionally well is framing the "arguments" that lead us through the second half of the film. When Ralph is told why Vanellope can't be allowed to race by King Candy, it's a lie but it's an incredibly compelling argument. I mean, isn't it? We've seen this story beat many times before but it's done very well. And the Turbo reveal is pretty fantastic to be honest. Wreck-It-Ralph may not be PIXAR but it's absolutely operating from the Toy Story playbook. I'm a little conflicted because I know there's a way to do Wreck-It-Ralph that doesn't require the Vanellope storyline at all, but they do it about as well as one could imagine. Which is to say Wreck-It-Ralph hedges its bets, but it's still a winner.

There is something else that has been floating in my mind since I saw the film yesterday about why such an inspired concept that goes successfully in an admittedly traditional trajectory is yielding such pleasant sugar plum memories in my mind, and it's not simply how infectious the concept is. Ralph is a great character with a desire that you've gotta really work hard to screw up, he has a nice redemption arc, and he's perfectly voiced by John C. Reilly. I can think of two reasons why this film didn't win: 1) for a film about video games, it's strange content to be a satisfying, at times almost modest emotional journey rather than an animation extravaganza. The game-hopping finale that one would expect (well, I know I was expecting a Being John Malkovich-tumble through all of my favorite games, dammit!) doesn't arrive, and while Brave was as unsatisfying a journey as anything I saw last year, it looked stunning.
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 14715
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:24 pm

I wouldn't go so far as to say I couldn't stand Killing Them Softly, but I didn't like it very much.

To be honest, I dozed off after the first fifteen-twenty minutes and woke up when Pitt was in the car with Jenkins talking about hiring Gadolfini. I hated the climax when the only halfway sympathetic character in the whole thing is killed, not that I didn't see it coming. What was up with all those TV captures of Obama and Bush? One would have been enough to set up Pitt's last speech. Nice use of music, though.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 5800
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:39 pm

To judge by comments at the IMDB board, alot of people can't stand Killing Them Softly, but I found it pretty enjoyable -- as lowlife gangster gabfests go, I'd rank it above Seven Psychopaths (and Dominik clearly has greater visual gifts than McDonagh). Alot of people are going to call the dialogue Tarantino-esque, and James Gandolfini's hotel room rant probably was Quentin-influenced. But, for the rest of it, George V. Higgins got there first: the dialogue here is very reminiscent of what I heard decades ago in The Friends of Eddie Coyle -- and I'd argue it has a lighter, less self-impressed-ironic air than Tarantino ever manages, while still being often hilarious.

Not that the film adds up to all that much. It uses the financial meltdown as an interesting enough analogy-framework, but it doesn't go very far in plot terms (in fact, in the Gandolfini strand, it almost actively sabotages the drama). A trifle, really...but the actors make it work. Pitt has turned into a pro's pro, and his scenes with Richard Jenkins are particularly pleasurable. And it's fun to see how Dominik references the landmark crime stories of our day, with Ray Liotta in a key role, and Tony Soprano going after Johnny Sac one more time.

anonymous1980
Emeritus
Posts: 4876
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:58 am

THE SESSIONS
Cast: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks, Adam Arkin, W. Earl Brown, Robin Weigert, Rhea Pearlman.
Dir: Ben Lewin.

I was surprised by this film. The only reason I bothered to see this movie is that it's the only film to get a major nomination that I still haven't seen. Having a bit of an OCD about these things, I had to see this movie so I'd be set. I had no interest in seeing this film because I thought the concept, despite the promise of lots of sex and nudity AND the good reviews, the film sounds generic and boring. But again, I was surprised by how sweet, funny and moving it is. This is thanks to the terrific performances by John Hawkes and Helen Hunt (wonky accent notwithstanding).

Grade: B+

anonymous1980
Emeritus
Posts: 4876
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:37 am

DJANGO UNCHAINED
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Don Johnson, Dennis Christopher, James Remar, Jonah Hill.
Dir: Quentin Tarantino.

The last Best Picture of 2012 finally crossed off. Ah yes. Writer-director Quentin Tarantino doesn't say anything new about slavery and racism in the South. But what he does is an extremely effective highly stylized ode to spaghetti Westerns and exploitation flicks. It is a Tarantino film through and through, complete with the over-the-top violence and hilarious dialogue to go with it. It is NOT my favorite Tarantino flick but I'm an unapologetic fan of his work so this is indeed one of my favorite films of the year. I had a problem, at first, with its weird structure that introduces, what is essentially a fourth act but after thinking about it and letting it digest, I decided it was a real good touch.

Grade: A.

Okri
Professor
Posts: 2464
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:28 pm
Location: Edmonton, AB

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Okri » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:25 pm

I haven't seen the other nominees yet, so my thoughts on Brave are without comparative value. I thought it was just gorgeously realized - visually, aurally. I enjoyed the direction it went in (if this was Disney, Merridia would've found her true love by the end) and some of the light touches throughout (I love her dad's laugh after Merridia tells everyone to shut it, the bear-chase through the castle was amusing, the ending gag a delight - Julie Walter's character in general).

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12194
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby OscarGuy » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:32 pm

It's rather unfortunate the film doesn't speak to an older generation, but does it really need to?

The film shows that labels don't matter. They are merely just labels. What's important is what's inside you. The film speaks heavily against bullying, both on the "schoolyard" and in the office. While there isn't a direct connection drawn between how adults behave and how children behave, the parallelism provides needed emphasis that the problem is widespread and isn't just about children being children.

I'll admit that a lot of the video game references did make the film an overall better experience, but aren't animated films supposed to speak more earnestly to children than they are to adults. While we love to enjoy them ourselves, we cannot expect them all to conform to our ideas of what an animated film should be. I'm guilty of this kind of downplaying of animated films that are too childish, but Wreck-It Ralph balances between adult-oriented humor and aspects that appeal heavily to children.

Just because we don't get the jokes doesn't mean it's a bad film. The film wasn't exactly made for everyone. There is a universality to the film, but I can understand how it could be lost on a generation unfamiliar with the subject matter. And that's ok.
Wesley Lovell
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

anonymous1980
Emeritus
Posts: 4876
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:05 pm

FilmFan720 wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:
anonymous1980 wrote:Wreck-It Ralph wasn't going to win because it's about video games and most of the Academy is over 50 so their childhoods and adolescence would have all pre-dated Pong so they either would hesitate to see it or simply not get it.

Well, I'm 61, so don't paint us all with that broad brush.


You have to wonder, though, how many people didn't even give the film a chance and voted without putting their screeners in...that video game theme certainly turns away a population of people.


Anne Thompson, who is probably in her 50's, has said that she hesitated seeing Wreck-It Ralph for a long, long time because of the video game theme (though she did see it eventually and ended up loving it). Others would probably be like Big Magilla who simply didn't get it. Brave is the most successful of the nominees therefore the most widely-seen. It's also far more appealing to older viewers than a video game movie.

So really it's a no-brainer why it won.

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 14715
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:47 pm

Tripp, you didn't by chance happen to preview tomorrow's DVD Report did you? I definitely fit the Academy's demogrphic on this one.

What I had to say about Ralph was this:

"Another film whose popularity has me scratching my head is <em>Wreck-It Ralph</em>, a 2012 Best Animated Feature contender that many predicted would win the Oscar in that category. Thankfully it didn’t. The film is about a villain in a thirty year old video arcade game who wants to be a hero. Um, OK, but a two year-old could have figured how it would end after the first two minutes. The references to beloved video arcade game characters of the past were lost on me. My next visit to an arcade will be my first."

I don't know whether Brave is any better. I fell asleep on that one. I did like ParaNorman; The Secret Life of Arietty and A Cat in Paris which was somehow eligible for a nomination in 2011 even though it wasn't shown in the U.S. until 2012.

Bog
Assistant
Posts: 769
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:39 am
Location: United States

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Bog » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:27 pm

Mister Tee wrote:
I know there are people here who love Brave, but I have to say I don't get that at all. For me, Brave is to animated feature as Argo was to best film: decent enough, but deeply bland compared to its competition. I find it wholly without invention -- a too-simple story with little narrative surprise and an all-too-predictable finish.


That's the exact sum of the Oscars in this current format...simple (read formulaic), bland (read wide audience), decent (read overrated) thrown into a voter's box spits out a winner. Thus far we're sitting at The King's Speech, The Artist, and now Argo with the (ahem Dark Knight) expansion of nominees.

I found Brave duller than dishwater and a borderline nominee in other news.

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12194
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby OscarGuy » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:35 pm

Which goes back to the idiocy of letting people vote who haven't seen all of the nominees.
Wesley Lovell

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

FilmFan720
Tenured
Posts: 3342
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 3:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby FilmFan720 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:59 pm

Mister Tee wrote:
anonymous1980 wrote:Wreck-It Ralph wasn't going to win because it's about video games and most of the Academy is over 50 so their childhoods and adolescence would have all pre-dated Pong so they either would hesitate to see it or simply not get it.

Well, I'm 61, so don't paint us all with that broad brush.


You have to wonder, though, how many people didn't even give the film a chance and voted without putting their screeners in...that video game theme certainly turns away a population of people.
"Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good."
- Minor Myers, Jr.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 5800
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:25 pm

anonymous1980 wrote:Wreck-It Ralph wasn't going to win because it's about video games and most of the Academy is over 50 so their childhoods and adolescence would have all pre-dated Pong so they either would hesitate to see it or simply not get it.

Well, I'm 61, so don't paint us all with that broad brush.

anonymous1980
Emeritus
Posts: 4876
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:10 pm

Wreck-It Ralph is TECHNICALLY not Pixar but John Lasseter is pretty much in charge of Disney Animation so he's got influence.

Why did Brave win? Simple. Wreck-It Ralph wasn't going to win because it's about video games and most of the Academy is over 50 so their childhoods and adolescence would have all pre-dated Pong so they either would hesitate to see it or simply not get it. Frankenweenie is seen as a flop despite getting good reviews. ParaNorman and Pirates! are not seen as mega-successes and they won't inspire voters who hasn't seen it already to give them a chance.

Brave, on the other hand, IS a financial success. I don't know if the fact that it's PIXAR's first film with a female protagonist and a female director at the helm (and the firing controversy) had influence but it's the type of film that checks all the marks. It can also easily appeal to an older demographic.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 5800
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:14 am

So, now that I've finally caught up with Wreck-it Ralph, I have to ask: did Disney & Pixar get together and arrange a Trading Places-like wager? -- "We'll label our movie (Brave) Pixar, you'll call yours (Ralph) Disney, and we'll see if anyone notices"?

Is there anything about Wreck-it Ralph that doesn't scream Pixar? The out-there, borderline Charlie Kaufman-esque concept; the extraordinary, endlessly inventive visuals; the tight script, full of narrative surprises (was anyone expecting the Turbo character to play such a key role?); the assumption the audience gets offbeat references (the Mentos); the light touch with cultural touchstones (in most other animated features, "O-re-o" would have been hit twice as hard, to the point it wasn't funny). And I say all this as someone so unaware of video games that Pac-Man was the only one on-screen I knew; for younger generations it must have been an old-home-week like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was to mine.

I know there are people here who love Brave, but I have to say I don't get that at all. For me, Brave is to animated feature as Argo was to best film: decent enough, but deeply bland compared to its competition. I find it wholly without invention -- a too-simple story with little narrative surprise and an all-too-predictable finish. Its what I've come to expect from Disney as of late, which is why i suggest the Trading Places concept.

Why did it win? Well, I've been surprised at the number of female Academy voters who've spoken loudly about how important it was to them for a film with a central female character to win. The other films in real competition -- Ralph, Frankenweenie and ParaNorman -- all were centered on male protagonists (though Ralph did eventually offer up a female co-lead). And there was considerable dissension as to which of those was best (I myself have difficulty deciding between Ralph and Frankenweenie -- both of which I liked far more than last year's Rango). So it may be that a dedicated female core of voters coalesced around Brave and propelled it to a plurality win despite it being less well-reviewed that its competition.


Return to “2012”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest