The Week (more like a month and a half) That Was 11 November – 31 December

As appears customary at the start of so many of my posts I must (again) apologise for the lack of updates recently.  Life has slowly overtaken me of late mainly due to my folks have arriving from the UK for an extended stay.  Whilst this has many upsides there are also two regrettable (and purely selfish on my part) downsides.  Firstly it has curtailed my at home viewing options to almost none and secondly left me precious little time to update my two blogs.

However, things have slowly levelled off recently as we have all got into something of a groove.  I have managed to get myself slightly more organised and streamlined which has meant the screening numbers have once again started on an upward curve.  This is timely as for a while there I was slightly worried that I wouldn’t make my 200 tally by the end of the year, but as it turned out I sailed by this total in mid December

So lets get into it then and here is the tale of the tape for the last month or so.  As always you can check out my full 2012 watch list here. I have only included brief thoughts on new films rather than rewatches.

Cinema Screenings

Undefeated – Emotionally draining documentary focusing on an underdog American football team under the stewardship of coach Bill Courtney who between them are looking to turn their combined fortunes around.  Friday Night Lights, but for real.  ★★★★

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Pt 2  (Twice) – Reminded of myself: a bit flabby in places, slightly rambly at times and overly emotional, but underneath still quite a lot of fun.  Worth it for the final act alone.  ★★★

Skyfall – By far the most British of recent Bond films.  Sam Mendes masterfully continues the stripped back reboot from Casino Royale, whilst also celebrating 50 years of Bond.  Excellent performances all round, but none more so than from Roger Deakins who shot a simply gorgeous film from Shanghai to Scotland.  Craig cements his claim to the best Bond with a powerful display of  both the strength and fragility of Bond whilst additionally providing a long overdue insight into Bond the man. ★★★★★

The Perks Of Being A WallFlower – One of the films of the year. Stephen Chbosky brings to the screen a deeply personal project about love, courage, being a teenager, music and tunnels.  ★★★★★

Seven Psychopaths – Martin McDonagh’s follow up to In Bruges is a real mixed bag. Colin Farrell plays a struggling screen writer trying to complete a script who gets some help from Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken.  Farrell clearly could be McDonagh and you have to wonder how much of this was autobiographical.  ★★★

Celeste and Jesse Forever – This certainly felt like forever with its flat, 2 dimensional and vacuous characters with zero chemistry.  Insanely irritating.  ★

Pitch Perfect (Twice)  – Anna Kendrick continues her evolution as a movie star in this hugely enjoyable movie about colleague kids who make music with their mouthes.  Seen it twice with a considerably better experience second time round.  A definite Blu Ray purchase in the future.  ★★★★

Liberal Arts – Josh Radnor and Elisabeth Olsen star in this impressive coming of age drama about growing up and looking back. Terrible tittle though.  ★★★

The Sessions – A raw tale of the awkwardness of those first sexual experiences and the emotional turmoil that can follow.  Perfectly pitched with powerful performances from John Hawkes and Helen Hunt.   ★★★★ 

The Intouchables – I strangely could not connect with The Intouchables, but it seems that the rest of the world has.  Look out for this tale of two individuals who break down social and racial stereotyping during Oscar season.  ★★

The Life of Pi – Ang Lee films the unfilmable and delivers one of the most engrossing and visually engaging cinema experiences of the year.  Simply an outstanding piece of film making.  ★★★★★

Les Miserables – Ann Hathaway delivers one of the most emotive performances of the year in her heart wrenchingly raw portrayal of Fantine.  A film of soaring highs (Hathaway, Jackson and Cohen) and also some deep lows (Seyfried and Crowe).  But I would watch it again in a heartbeat just to see Fantine.  ★★★★

Margaret – Completely blindsided by this incredible film about the consequences of a vehicle accident in New York. The  two and half hour running time simply flew by. Mired by production delays, this is an important film, which deserves to be seen.  ★★★★★

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – An unexpected experience.  Personally I found the 48 fps a bit jarring to start with as it made everything look a bit like a set and additionally highlighted Jackson’s over reliance on CGI.  Everything felt too green screen for me.  However, an impressive piece of story telling, which whist it does take its time, remains always entertaining.  Martin Freeman is playing the role he was born to with just a touch of Tim from The Office thrown in.  ★★★★

Couch Screenings

Swerve – Below par Australian action/road movie with an attempt at QT dialogue.  Great scenery but spoilt by the wooden acting.  ★★

Drive – Rewatch ★★★★

Lola Versus – A dull, lifeless and predictable attempt at a romantic comedy/drama, with flat and truly unlikeable characters. ★

Bellflower –  Very odd and divisive tale about two friends building weapons for a post apocalyptic world.   You’ll either love it or hate it.  I’m a hater. Where on earth did the two friends get their money from?  ★★

The Ides Of March – Rewatch ★★★★

Like Crazy – Rewatch ★★★★

Casino Jack – Kevin Spacey is impressive in his portrayal of Jack Abarnoff a disgraced US political lobbyist, but let down by a weak supporting cast.  ★★ 

Killer Joe – One of the most unexpected films of the year.  A gritty, dark and twisted tale about the depths some families will sink to.  An outstanding cast who all deliver unflinching performances. Who feels like chicken tonight?  ★★★★★

Attack The Block – Rewatch ★★★

The Sapphires – Rewatch ★★★★

Not Suitable For Children – Rewatch ★★★

Love Actually – Rewatch ★★★★

Going The Distance – Rewatch ★★★

Up In The Air – Rewatch ★★★★★

The American – Rewatch ★★★★

The Social Network – Rewatch ★★★★

Best in Show – After seeing the judges in Pitch Perfect I had to see where they were drawing their inspiration from.  This is an amusing mockumentary on dog shows in the US with occasional laugh out loud moments.  What is most concerning is that this probably could have been a real documentary.  ★★★

TV Shows

Nothing – no time at all!


2012 Score Sheet

Cinema Screenings – 81
Couch Screenings – 75
Total (new films) – 155
Re-watches – 59
2012 Total film count – 215
How about you guys, seen anything good?

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