A post full of thoughts on movies I saw this past week.
Usually, I write a review for each movie I see. But since I’ve seen so many movies in the last several days, I decided to condense them all into one post.
Enjoy! And click on the tiles of the movie to watch their trailer!
Beasts of the Southern Wild
photo courtesy: c-ville.com
Beasts of the Southern Wild is, without a doubt, among the most divisive films nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscar ceremony. Either you’ll fall in love with the film’s magical and childlike atmosphere (I did), or you’ll find its cuteness annoyingly overbearing.
Even if you’re in the latter, Beasts is undeniably one of the most imaginative American movies in recent memory. Set in a Louisiana bayou community that’s in danger of being lost due to rising waters from a catastrophic storm, the film follows newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis (who was six when the movie was filmed, and now an Oscar nominee at the age of nine) as Hushpuppy, a bayou girl trying to survive the storm along with her loving, but scary alcoholic father, Wink (a great Dwight Henry, why he failed to get any awards attention is beyond me).
Some of you may be turned off by the film’s fantastical tone, in which magic exists in this community that’s cut off from the real world, and the villains are a group of giant prehistoric pigs that were frozen during the Ice Age, but now roam the Earth as a result of the polar ice caps melting (seriously).
However, if you have the patience for it, Beasts will result in an unforgettable joyous cinematic that demands more viewings.
photo courtesy: latino-review.com
The best 3D movie of the year (suck it, Life of Pi) is also one of the best of 2012. Too bad it undeservedly flopped at the box office; many people don’t know what they missed out on.
Loaded with eye-popping visuals, stylish direction, and a hell of a performance from star Karl Urban (Star Trek), this adaptation of the Judge Dredd comic series differs greatly from the cheese-tastic 1995 film adaptation starring Sylvester Stallone with a gritty, low budget feel that should please fans of the comics as well as the average moviegoer.
With a very simplistic plot – Judge Dredd and his rookie psychic partner must battle their way through a futuristic 200 story Mega-City to defeat vicious crime lord, Ma-Ma (Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey) – Dredd is unrelenting in its use of over-the-top violence and 3D effects, it’s a blast.
If there’s any complaint, it’s that the film, which looked great on the big screen, doesn’t hold up on home viewing. Still, it’s a hell of a movie.
photo courtesy: slate.com
The Impossible is a terrifying film experience. Unlike your average disaster flick, it doesn’t glorify the carnage, but instead, by centering on a family of five who get separated during the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, it makes the action onscreen feel more intimate and personal.
The film stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor as Maria and Henry Bennett, (their real life counterparts were Spanish, here they’re nationalities are switched to British) as the parents and newcomer Tom Holland (in a hell of a breakout performance) as their eldest son, Lucas.
If there’s any reason to see this movie, it’s for the performances. Watts stuns in this role that’s built mostly on little dialogue, and packs a huge amount of maternal devotion in her role. Her looks of fear and pain never once look fake as she must rely on Lucas to protect her. Holland by the way, is one to watch out for. He commands our attention whenever he’s onscreen as a child who must become his mother’s guardian. As for McGregor, he’s equally strong and affecting,
While the movie eventually goes into Lifetime movie territory (hello overbearingly dramatic musical score!), I was quick to forgive it since the acting from everyone (even the child actors) is phenomenal.
By focusing mostly on relationships between the characters, the movie succeed in places where emotionally manipulative films don’t succeed in: actually deserving to make us cry.
It doesn’t just tug at your heartstrings, it punches them.
Here’s an interview with Maria Belon, the real life survivor who inspired Watts’ character.
Zero Dark Thirty
photo courtesy: slate.com
The main reason why Zero Dark Thirty, a dramatized account of the decade long manhunt to capture Osama Bin Laden, works is because of one person: Jessica Chastain.
Jessica Chastain plays Maya a young CIA officer who devotes most of her life to capture Bin Laden.
I was fascinated by her throughout the movie. Maya is one of the most compelling characters ever brought to the big screen and watching Chastain play her is something of a miracle.
After watching Chastain play a supporting role in several 2011 movies that got my attention (Take Shelter and Tree of Life are my favorites) watching her get her own movie makes me feel like a proud papa who’s seeing his daughter grow up.
She’s in practically every scene, and watching her react and wondering what she’s thinking makes the movie work. If any other actress was in her role, I probably wouldn’t be as impressed with the movie as I am now.
The only bad thing is that since it’s obvious that the screenwriters had a boner for her character, everyone else feels shortchanged and under-written. Characters come and go without much thought put into them, or reason to miss them.
But that’s a minor flaw in an otherwise gripping and fascinating film that you can’t take your eyes off. And when the film gets to its climax, the raid which results in Bin Laden’s death, I was on the edge of my seat.
So, any agreements or disagreements? What did you see this weekend? Sound off below! And don’t forget to follow me on twitter!