A more impressive number of films this month, weighing in at 17. Not bad at all given the Olympics started in July too! Bit of a delay in writing this up, partly due to idleness and partly because I wasn’t sure if anyone else was reading so I figure this is solely for my benefit these days. Anyway, on with the roundup.
2nd: Murder by Numbers – Admittedly, I watched this mostly because of Ryan Gosling. He’s rather young in this though and, crucially, isn’t much to look at. Still, it’s quite entertaining. Far from the most taxing of thrillers but passes a few hours nicely enough. Ryan Gosling is suitably unnerving and the ending is decent, plus Sandra Bullock is underrated as always.
4th: Friends With Kids (cinema) – A mindless rom com for a mindless cinema visit. It’s very predictable but quite charming. It tries a little too hard to be a comedy drama plus Chris O’Dowd’s accent is awful but other than that, it’s fine.
5th: Crazy, Stupid, Love – Oh hey there, Ryan Gosling again. Much, much hotter here. Also, a cracking film. As some box quote would say, it’s sweet, sassy and sexy. Or something like that. It’s certainly one of the best rom coms in recent times. I’d recommend it to those not keen on the genre usually as well as people like me who are suckers for rom coms.
6th: Safe House – I saw this originally at the cinema but fancied seeing it again. It’s not quite as good as the second time round and while I feel like I’m repeating myself, it’s easy enough viewing. Ryan Reynolds demonstrates he can do more than just smile nicely too.
8th: The Adventures of Tintin – What a surprise this was! I adored Tintin as a child, reading all the books and watching the cartoon. I wasn’t sure about the whole motion capture stuff but I loved this film. A friend described it to me as the Indiana Jones film that The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull wasn’t. He was right. It was great. Definitely a film I plan to buy at a later date.
9th: Contagion – Another one I’ve seen before. What can I say? I’m like that. Contagion is one of the few Matt Damon films I enjoy (more on that next month!). Much like The Hurt Locker, it shakes things up early on by killing a well known actor early on, ensuring we never know what’s going to happen next. It works well. Focusing on the disease rather than the people also helps a lot and makes you quickly conscious of people coughing and sneezing anywhere near you. Even more so when they start touching door handles and other things you need to touch at some point.
16th: The Help – I’ve been meaning to see this for a while. I was pleased with what I saw. Sure, it’s quite predictable but it tells a great story and one that infuriates too. Pretty much all the major roles are played impeccably.
17th: The Artist – Oh dear. I didn’t think I’d be keen on this given my snobbiness when it comes to silent cinema (my Dad studied and wrote a lot on it. It must have brushed off on me) and I was right. It’s ok but it deals with silence oddly. Characters speak, we just don’t know what they’re saying which goes against the way classic silent cinema does it. I wasn’t keen. It did have the odd clever moment but otherwise it was Singin’ in the Rain with none of the fun and delusions of grandeur.
18th: Ted (cinema) – Free tickets for a preview screening and I’d have been happy to pay good money to this! It’s incredibly crude but much like something like The Inbetweeners Movie, you can’t help but laugh. It slows down a little in the last 20-30 minutes but other than that, great fun!
19th: The Dark Knight – A last minute plan to see The Dark Knight Rises on release day meant that I only had time spare to see The Dark Knight rather than my original plan of Batman Begins too. The Dark Knight is one of my favourite films in recent years. It’s fantastic. Mostly down to Heath Ledger. I know the script but when I watch it, I remember seeing it at the cinema for the first time and being taken in by so much. Every time Ledger appeared on screen, I was almost holding my breath wondering what would happen next.
20th: The Dark Knight Rises (cinema) – So, biggest film of the year. I was way too hyped up and I suspect I really should see it again. I want to see it soon so hopefully in the next few weeks. It was decent but it was no The Dark Knight. Some hefty editing would have done it the world of good and the end was a bit of cliched nonsense. But it did also have some great moments. I don’t feel at liberty to elaborate in case someone reads this and they haven’t seen it yet. Maybe in the end of the year review, I’ll talk more. Oh and Joseph Gordon Levitt is brilliant in it.
21st: The Big Year – Quite a departure from the last film! Nothing great by any means although amazingly Jack Black demonstrates he can actually act. Watching a film about bird watchers travelling the world though? Nearly as dull as it sounds at times. Other times though, it’s ok. The best way of describing it is to say it’s the kind of film you’d watch on a Sunday afternoon because it’s on TV and you can’t be bothered to find the remote.
23rd: Mr Popper’s Penguins – I had a pretty mindless month, didn’t I? This one has adorable penguins in it though so I dare anyone to resist smiling here. Jim Carey isn’t too ridiculously manic here either. It’s just the right side of heartwarming.
24th: The Amazing Spider-Man (cinema) – I rather liked this. There’s absolutely no need for a reboot but Andrew Garfield does a fine job of playing Peter Parker and Emma Stone is consistent as always. A few moments didn’t quite add up but overall I’m keen to see another one.
25th: 50/50 – One of my favourite films of last year. It makes me cry but the story and script is fantastic. Joseph Gordon Levitt really stands out with a very touching portrayal and Seth Rogan isn’t bad either. An uplifting story about cancer sounds terrible. So does a film that will make you laugh and cry. 50/50 ably achieves both.
29th: This Means War – Ugh. I have a high tolerance for rom coms but this one was pretty dire even despite the presence of Tom Hardy. Just give it a miss. Only one scene stood out and that wasn’t enough.
30th: Moonrise Kingdom (cinema) – Hmm. I love Wes Anderson films but this wasn’t one of his best. It’s just a little too shallow although it does have a couple of great moments. As a coming of age film, it does the job and tells a rather bittersweet story. However, as a quirky, multi layered film like Anderson’s other work, it struggles.