The Official Review Thread of 2012

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Sabin » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:21 am

Worldwide, it has taken in $234 million against a $250 million budget (before P&A) after two weeks.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby ksrymy » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:01 am

John Carter is currently, adjusted for inflation, the biggest box office bomb of all time.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Sonic Youth » Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:47 pm

John Carter

I took the plunge, so the rest of you didn't have to. The missus and I could've gone to see Hunger Games instead but we decided to wait it out until the crowds die down - say, 2014 - and I kinda felt sorry for this poor movie, so in the spirit of charity we dared ourselves to watch it. And there ain't no word-of-mouth like disasterous word-of-mouth. In a theater where three screens worth of Hunger Games were packed to the rafters, our auditorium was blissfully empty. It was rather poingnant, actually. I don't think I've sat alone in a movie theater since... hmmm, since "Rivers and Tides", the 2001 documentary about artist Andy Goldsworthy, which I remember because I had to complain to the manager for not starting the movie. And that was on a weeknight at the arthouse. This was Saturday night at the 9:15pm show at the multi-plex, and had we not gone there would have been no one to see this $250 million Disney extravaganza on its 3rd weekend of release. And how many other theaters had no-shows for John Carter during the weekend? Sad.

And the truth is, for the type of film it is John Carter isn't half bad. In fact, parts of it were quite good! I liked it more than any of The Mummy movies, or The Prince of Persia, or Thor or any other form of torture you'd care to name... and for the record, the list would also include Gladiator, Avatar, the two Dark Knight movies and maybe even TinTin. But note that I said "for the type of film it is", and what it is is a movie that spends most of its considerable running time in a bleak, orange desert-scape with lots of rocks and no vegatation, and there is no visual scheme I find more opressive than that. But particularly in the first half, there are some very clever special effects - some of it worthy of a Pixar trademark - and genuine wit in the direction. The sequence when he teaches himself to fly is great fun. But most appealing is the innocence, an old-fashioned they-don't-make-'em-the-way-they-used-to charm that some of the movies I mentioned above have tried to replicate but which John Carter actually succeeds at. Even at its campiest, with the silly, ornate costumes and soap-operatics, I was delighted if not enraptured. No, it's not a very good movie, but it doesn't deserve all the tar-and-feathering.

But nor did it deserve $250 million. However historical it may be, it's such a slight, quaint story that needed even more lightness which a hefty price tag deprives it of. And with the exception of some ugly, busy sets, I couldn't figure out where that money went. It looked like your ordinary $100 million Disney extravaganza to me. If I were the producer, I would've knocked off $50 mil and invested in a good actor to play the titular character because Taylor Kitsch is a sinkhole. He singlehandedly takes this mindless, innocuous bit of fluff and makes the film the uninteresting, uninvolving dinosaur it's now destined to be remembered for. It's not that he's awful, but he's disasterously wrong. In order to make a film like this work, the central character must be played by someone whom you can't see anyone else playing, like Harrison Ford in the Indy Jones movies, or Downey, Jr. in Iron Man, or Weaver in the Aliens films, and (some would say) Crowe in Gladiator and Bale in Batman, even Ahnold in the Terminator films. Kitsch gets the required grittiness down, but there is no personality, no energy, no charisma, no likeability, no authority, and no reason why he should be John Carter above and beyond anyone else. He has the star quality of Klinton Spilsbury, and may his career face the same trajectory before he puts another movie studio in financial jeapordy.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:41 am

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) John Madden 6/10

I've never been a fan of John Madden's 'work' but this is his most watchable film since Mrs. Brown. I was dreading this film, having endured the terrible trailer over the last 6 weeks or so nearly every time I went to the cinema, and the fact that the film is about 2 hours long. The screenplay may be cliched (it's by Oliver Parker so that comes as no surprise) and Madden's direction is laden and somewhat ponderous but the actors elevate the material, in particular Judi Dench and Tom Wilkinson, who have the better written roles. And India itself is such a magnet, makes one want to jump and plane and head there for a few months.

I doubt this will receive any Oscar nominations (and it really doesn't deserve any) but I would expect a few BFTA nominations at least.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:41 am

THE HUNGER GAMES
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones, Alexander Ludwig, Isabelle Fuhrmann, Amandla Stenberg.
Dir: Gary Ross.

I haven't read the books so I'm rating this purely from a movie standpoint. I do know of the plot of the novel it's based on so I was a bit surprised that Gary Ross was picked to do this film since nothing he has directed or even wrote in the past is even similar to this but in his first outing in this type of film, he did pretty darn well (it's better than Seabiscuit). Jennifer Lawrence fulfills the promise of her Oscar nomination and carries the film expertly. Even though I haven't read the books and don't know all the details, I was able to follow the film and I found it to be solid entry in the sci-fi post-apocalyptic genre.

Oscar prospects: Costume Design, Art Direction, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing are possible.

Grade: B

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:44 am

MIRROR, MIRROR
Cast: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Mare Winningham, Michael Lerner, Sean Bean, Robert Emms, Martin Klebba, Jordan Prentice, Danny Woodburn, Mark Povinelli, Joe Gnoffo, Sebastian Saraceno, Ronald Lee Clark.
Dir: Tarsem SIngh.

A lavishly designed reimagining of the Snow White lore suffers from an uneven tone. It wants to be goofy, comedic and campy while at the same time trying to tell straightforward fairy tale. It's a very tricky thing to do especially in a live-action film (Animated features can get away with this easier, I find). It's all over the place. I believe at least some of the fault lies on Julia Roberts, woefully miscast as the Evil Queen. She was trying to be both funny and menacing but failing both which throws off the entire film. This is the last film of costume designer Eiko Ishiaka and her costumes are gaudy, lavish and elaborate as always and compliments the great art direction.

Oscar Prospects: It's a strong contender for a Costume Design nom because a.) the costumes are flamboyant and showy and b.) it's Eiko Ishiaka's final film work and I believe that might help the campaign if they push hard enough for it. Also possible are Art Direction and Original Song.

Grade: C

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:18 am

JOHN CARTER
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, Mark Strong, James Purefoy, Thomas Haden Church, Willem Dafoe, Bryan Cranston, Polly Walker, Daryl Sabara.
Dir: Andrew Stanton.

It hurts me to write this review because I do greatly admire director Andrew Stanton. This is his live-action feature debut, an adaptation of an Edgar Rice Burroughs' sci-fi novel. It's got a lot of things going for it. Taylor Kitsch is a great find and makes a very charismatic lead, there are great visuals and some really good action scenes here but unfortunately everything that is good about it is all mixed up in a huge mess of a film which really could have used an editor with a better sense of pacing.

Oscar Prospects: Good shot at Visual Effects, Costume Design and Art Direction.

Grade: C

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:30 am

THE WOMAN IN BLACK
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds, Janet McTeer, Liz White.
Dir: James Watkins.

This is a British ghost story produced by Hammer Films and it's very much reminiscent of creepy haunted house films like The Haunted (the original one) and The Innocents. The film is nowhere near as great as those aforementioned films but is a passable enough entry to the genre with a few good atmospheric scares. Daniel Radcliffe acquits himself well in his first role playing an adult although I did have a bit of trouble buying him as a widowed lawyer even with the stubble. All in all, far from horrible but also far from the best of the genre.

Oscar Prospects: Art Direction and Cinematography are both exemplary but will probably not factor in the race.

Grade: B-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Sabin » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:56 am

Haywire (Steven Soderbergh)

Saw this one a few weeks ago and couldn't muster up much energy to write about it. It's of relative interest with the caveat that his lead actress Gina Carano is not very good. As a camera study, she is inexpressive and smug. What Soderbergh does with her is always stage her in motion, always moving, doing, fighting, something. Both he and screenwriter Lem Dobbs stage this film like a mix of his intimate studies like The Girlfriend Experience or The Limey and the feel of a heist like Ocean's 11 or Out of Sight. When it's impossible to care about the lead character, the result is a bit hit or miss. I can understand why Soderbergh considered quitting filmmaking halfway through. Clearly, he's only interested in the surface qualities of this film, like said moving, doing, fighting...something. It's stylish and fun in a way that I felt totally distanced from.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:28 am

THE GREY
Cast: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, James Badge Dale, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie.
Dir: Joe Carnahan.

A plane carrying a group of oil drillers in Alaska crashes and a small group of survivors must survive the elements and a pack of killer wolves. What seems like a typical action-adventure survival story is actually a very interesting, complex meditation on deeper spiritual and religious issues surrounding life, death and the brutality of nature. Liam Neeson delivers one of his best performances in a long, long time in this one after seemingly put on autopilot kicking people's asses in B-action movies the last couple of years. It's not a perfect film but one of the more interesting films so far this season.

Oscar Prospects: Liam Neeson could make another attempt for a Best Actor nomination if the cards are right but most likely only longshot contender for Sound Mixing and Sound Editing.

Grade: B.

NOTE: Man, two very good films in the first quarter of the year. Is there something in the water?

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:36 am

CHRONICLE
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Ashley Hinshaw.
Dir: Josh Trank.

I was very wary of the "found footage" format of this film. But I was surprised by how much it actually worked, at least for the most part. This film manages to combine two genres that are starting to show signs of fatigue and twisted it enough to make it new and fresh. It is a terrifically entertaining, above-average superhero movie (or should I say, an anti-superhero movie). It helps that the actors lend an air of credibility. Dane DeHaan in particular was terrific and he's an actor to watch out for, I believe.

Oscar Prospects: Visual Effects is a possibility.

Grade: B+

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The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:04 am

HAYWIRE
Cast: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Michael Angarano, Mathieu Kassovitz.
Dir: Steven Soderbergh.

This is an interesting piece of work. What it is, it's essentially a pure B-movie plot done in the distinctive Soderbergh-style, almost arthouse in its look and pacing. It sort of/kind of works but it would have been better if Gina Carano was a slightly better actress. She kicks ass extremely well but she's a barely adequate actress. The supporting cast (except for Channing Tatum, who's slightly BELOW adequate) give interesting performances. All in all, a nice try.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: C+


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