Another late film roundup for the month, my bad. The start of February has been hectic and annoyingly not in the satisfying way either! Anyway, 19 films were watched in January. Not too shabby.

3rd: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (cinema) – The first cinema trip of the year. How exciting! Good way to start the cinematic year too. Ghost Protocol is an excellent example of what Tom Cruise does so well and how much fun an over the top action blockbuster can be. I enjoyed it even more than Sherlock Holmes 2 which is saying a lot coming from me.

6th: The Inbetweeners – A Christmas present. I’d seen this twice at the cinema and loved it. It’s still great. I hadn’t really watched much of the TV series beforehand so having spent the intervening weeks watching it, it was great to see the film and get the in-jokes. It’s a film that knows when to stop with the laughs and not stretch a joke too far. Excellent fun.

7th: The 41 Year Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall And Felt Superbad About It (part) – The least said about this the better. To be fair, I knew it’d be crap. I didn’t realise how crap it would be though. Awful, just awful.

10th: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (cinema) – This one is tricky to discuss without spoiling for those yet to see/read it. I’ve not read the book or seen the original film. Daniel Craig is predictably great in it but Rooney Mara is fantastic in it. Real star in the making. It’s a difficult film to watch in places and I’m still not overly convinced that some of it needed to be so graphic. Somewhat disturbingly, an old guy in the audience at the cinema laughed at a few particularly unpleasant moments. Erm yeah. Odd. It’s a good film and I’m keen to see the sequels but probably not one that I would watch many times.

12th: Gulliver’s Travels, Horrible Bosses – Gulliver’s Travels was on Sky Movies which is why I bothered watching it. It’s really not very good.

Horrible Bosses is very formulaic and nothing that will stick in the memory for any great length of time but it does the job of making 2 hours pass smoothly!

13th: Stand By Me – I’ve never seen this before. People go on about it a lot though so I recorded it ages ago. Then Dark Bunny Tees were running an offer where you bought one t-shirt and got a random one free. I love the designs of their shirts and any excuse to buy one and all that. I ordered the Shaun of the Dead one and got the Stand By Me one free. Stand By Me is a good film. That’s about all that needs to be said. I can see why it sticks in people’s memories.

14th: Limitless, Made – Getting near to the end of our month of Sky Movies, this is about where I realised I’d seen everything I wanted to see. I own Limitless on Blu-ray yet I still ended up watching it. It’s got Bradley Cooper in it which makes me biased but I do contest that it’s a decent story. The book’s not bad either.

I watched Made as part of my free trial with Netflix. The cast looked ok. The film is not all that at all. Jon Favreau did a great job with Swingers and Iron Man but Made was not one of his great successes by a long shot.

16th: Limitless – I wanted something to watch with one eye while I worked. That’s my excuse.

17th: Midnight in Paris (cinema) – This is an awkward one for me to rate. For those who love the 1920s and the culture of it all, it’s amazing. It’s very self indulgent of Woody Allen and many fans of the decade will adore the nostalgic vibe that it gives off. Owen Wilson makes a fine double for Allen and demonstrates that he can actually act. The problem is I’m not a big fan of the 1920s culture so it didn’t quite work for me. I can see why it was nominated for so many awards though, it’s very well made and it is clearly Allen’s best work for years.

20th: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Vampires Suck – Eclectic mix I know. Fear and Loathing – erm yeah. It’s bizarre (although not the weirdest film I’ve seen all month – see below). I honestly don’t know what I thought of it. I’m probably just best off admitting it wasn’t for me.

Vampires Suck is beyond stupid and having only seen one Twilight film, I suspect I missed some references. It is silly fun though.

21st: The GameNokkonwud got me this for Christmas. I’d not heard of it before despite being a fan of David Fincher’s. It’s a great story. One that’s very difficult to talk about though without spoiling something. Do see it if you get a chance though. It’s worth it.

24th: Haywire (cinema) – This was interesting. Is it a regular spy/rogue agent action film? Is it a clever thriller? Erm, what is it? I don’t know. It’s very stylish, much like Soderbergh’s previous work. The action is quite brutal and realistic. The acting is OK but the likes of Michael Fassbender and Ewan McGregor don’t stretch themselves. Unlike many action film scripts, male roles feel underwritten and cardboard cutout-ish with the female lead written in a much more intruging fashion. It’s worth a watch.

27th: The Tree of Life – THIS is the most bizarre film I’ve seen all month (and currently all year too). I’ve never seen a Terence Malick film before. I had no idea what to expect and mostly chose to watch it as it’s nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. The story sounds simple enough. The tale of Sean Penn as a child growing up in heavily religious Texas in the 1950s and some struggles along the way. That part is quite interesting and straightforward. The weird part is interspersing it with what looks like the Universe beginning and some other very surreal imagery. It’d be interesting but those sections go on a little too long and I found my attention wavering. It’s an interesting film but one that requires some effort.

28th: Drive – Twitter followers will know how desperate I’ve been to see this. My local cinema only showed it for a week and then only at very late times, so I missed it then. So I was left to wait for the blu-ray. It was worth the wait. Loved it. Ryan Gosling is effortlessly cool and an exciting enigma of a character. Everything about his character is shades of grey rather than obvious. He manages to say so much while actually hardly saying anything. It’s exceptionally nasty in places but in a relatively realistic way rather than over the top. So glad to see the relationship between Carey Mulligan’s character and Gosling’s isn’t rushed through and feels like it’s naturally developed. It’s just fantastic.

31st: The Money Pit, 127 Hours – The Money Pit was a Netflix choice. It hasn’t aged hugely well but it has its moments of great humour.

In the case of 127 Hours, I’m undecided. I loved the ending (when he reaches safety – not the few minutes after that which was stupid and patronised the viewer). It genuinely made me feel happy even though I knew the result anyway. The rest of it though was unsurprisingly slow and sluggish. Worst of all, I felt no empathy towards the main character as he seemed like an arrogant idiot (which is a mean thing to say really considering it’s a true story!). Maybe I’m just heartless or maybe it was Franco’s portrayal but, excluding the last few minutes, I just didn’t feel enough towards him to maintain my interest.

Film Roundup – January 2012