Tag Archives: movie

Top Ten of 2012

A list of my ten favourite films released theatrically in the UK in 2012.

Joseph-Gordon-Levitt-as-Young-Joe-in-Looper1

Okay, so I’ve decided to put together a list of the ten best films I have seen this year, I realise that the year is not quite yet over but http://www.heyuguys.co.uk are putting together their blogger list and lists had to be in for that by midnight on Friday.

That said I am very happy with my list, there are a few that didn’t make it that I’d like to give an honourable mention to, such as  – Amour, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Killing Them Softly, The Master, The Dark Knight Rises, Take This Waltz, Rust and Bone, The Raid and Safety Not Guaranteed, to name a few!

To be honest this list could have been much longer, there were so many films in my mind that I wanted to include, but, I had to narrow it down to ten! Which are…

Looper
Moonrise Kingdom
Killer Joe
Argo
The Avengers
Martha Marcy May Marlene
End of Watch
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Headhunters

If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know just how much I loved Looper and Moonrise Kingdom, they were the only two films I was 100% about and that have been on this list since I first saw them! The others are all films that I’ve either already seen multiple times or that I’m excited to see again.

I saw Perks of Being a Wallflower this week and was completely surprised at exactly how much I enjoyed it, I went in expecting a film I would think was okay and left with one I loved!

I saw The Hobbit on Friday night and I have to say Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Bilbo Baggins has joined Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in The Master and Matthew Mcconaughey in Killer Joe as one of my favourite performance’s of the year, they could not have cast it better!

So that’s it, my films of 2012, looking back it’s actually been a much  better year for film than I had realised. Let’s hope 2013 can be just as exciting!


Why I love…Superhero Films & Christopher Nolan

We appear to be in the middle of what could be described as a Golden Age of superhero films, here’s why this makes me exceedingly happy…

First off, a little bit of history. I am a comic book fan, have been since I was a kid and my Dad peeked my interest by getting me to read Spider-man and X-men comics. I was a huge fan of the Tim Burton Batman films, the Richard Donner Superman films, as well as all the animated TV shows that were on television in the early 90’s when I was a child. I should probably point out that to this day, Wolverine remains my favourite comic book character.

As I got older I started reading comics that weren’t strictly about superhero’s and getting into the work of Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman and of course the great Alan Moore. I’ve really enjoyed most of the films based on the work of these three as well, in particular, Sin City, V for Vendetta and Watchman. From Hell and Stardust were both good films that didn’t quite hit the standard of the three I previously mentioned and I think we can all agree that the less is said about The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen the better…

It was while I was a teenager that this current trend of superhero films got going, in particular when the X-Men and Spider-man films hit. I loved them. Looking back I still think Spider-man 2 is the best film based on a Marvel comics character (and yes I include The Avengers in that), I think Raimi’s first two Spidey films are severely under-appreciated and that people use the huge misstep that was the third instalment to trash them all. Alfred Molina’s portrayal of Dr. Octopus is easily one of my favourite performances in a comic book film. While we’re talking about under-appreciated films, I would like to take a moment to say I think Superman Returns is a very good film. I wish they had made a sequel because I think Singer would have taken the franchise to new heights of which we had yet to see even in Donner’s two films.

I consider myself to be a Marvel boy, but, as far as the films are concerned I think that Christopher Nolan’s Batman films are by far the greatest comic book films ever made. Batman Begins is easily the best origins story ever told, the fact that it takes around an hour for Batman to appear and still remains a great Batman film is testament to the talent Chris Nolan possesses. The man just simply knows how to make a great film. I was a Nolan fan before he got started on the Batman franchise (Following and Memento being two personal favourites) but even I was sceptical that this guy that produced a few small scale thrillers was capable of doing the caped crusader justice on the big screen.

Well if Batman Begins proved me wrong then The Dark Knight just hammered the point into my skull. It’s been said time and time again but The Dark Knight really is the best comic book film ever made. It doesn’t stick to a rigid formula and it doesn’t follow the rules most blockbusters do. The part of the film that to my mind illustrated this best is the chase scene. The film has music running throughout (like all blockbusters do) but at the point when the chase starts, rather than ramp up the music to tell us “shit is going down” the music cuts out and all we get is the sound of the vehicles and the street. It’s so simple yet so effective. Not to mention the absolutely superb all round performance from the cast, it goes without saying Heath Ledger was phenomenal as the Joker but I’ve always thought that Aaron Eckhart’s performance as Harvey Dent was very under-rated.

Needless to say I am rather excited about the imminent release of The Dark Knight Rises. My favourite thing about Chris Nolan as a film-maker is his reluctance to use CGI and 3D. Everything you see in his films is real, whether it’s through the use of scale models, controlled explosive or water canons, pretty much everything you see on screen is actually there and not a computer generated image on a green screen and it’s that kind of purity that I hope stays alive in film-making in the future.

Anyone who really cares about film-making will be hoping The Dark Knight Rises is a huge success, so that our blockbusters don’t become an endless parade of CGI and 3D gimmickry.


Storyboards and Writing…

Right, so my partner in film-making (not life, although some would make that argument) is off to the Benicassim music festival for a couple of weeks. Thus leaving me here in the cold rainy night to storyboard our next short all on my lonesome.

Storyboards are hard. Mainly because I can not draw at all and partly because it’s time consuming.

One thing that I find helps me is to keep it all as simple as possible, don’t try and put too much detail in there, just get the basics. Once you have the basic idea of what the scene will look like the rest seems to just fall into place. I must point out these storyboards are not for the same short we’ve been planning for AGES. This is another practice short, to just try a few things out and make sure our film-making capabilities are up to the standard we hope they are.

We’re planning to film maybe 3 shorts in the next 2 months, then another two after that, leading into a longer short (20-30 minutes long) which we are looking at as being something of a sample as to how close we are to being able to shoot a feature. Hopefully we’ll be ready, then after that we can focus on making a feature film, which is what this is all about isn’t it?

Speaking of a feature, I’ve been rather busy with the scriptwriting lately. The latest script that has potential to be our debut feature is tentatively titled “Hell of a Day!” and is about a homeless girl that receives a set of keys to a house. From there it all gets a bit crazy, I’m currently finishing off the second draft and it’s getting rather entertaining if I do say so myself. I enjoy rewriting, I like going back through and finding improvements to make, unneeded scenes to delete, characters to merge and the challenge to try and turn every scene into a good short film in it’s own right.

My hope is that I’ll have 3-4 potential scripts for us to choose from when it’s time for us to produce our first feature. So far there is this, Hadley’s Got A Problem and Pestilence. If I’m being honest Hell of a Day looks to be the best bet, Pestilence is a little to generic and to be honest Hadley’s Got… is very Wes Andersonish, which is something my early scripts all were. But in the last year or so I’ve purposely stayed away from Wes like material to try and stop this trend in my writing, which for the most part has been a success.

So yea, there’s a little update for anyone that actually cares. I said I was going to blog more often and I meant it…I’m definitely going to try and keep it up!


Why I Love…Woody Allen

“Dying is one of the few things that can be done as easily lying down” – Woody Allen

So I got a little spare time this afternoon and figured what the hell, let’s stick up another blog post! I’m a huge Woody Allen fan and so decided I’d do a quick post on why I love him so much.

When asked in an interview about his fans recently Woody replied – “I don’t know who they are, because they don’t seem to be any discern­ible group. They’re not older people, but they’re not young people. They’re not college kids. They’re not out-of-towners. I really don’t know who they are. I know this: There are not many of them.”

Well there may not be many of us but we are fiercely loyal and are all totally in love with everything this man creates. What other filmmaker has made a film a year for the last 40 years? Who else has been as consistently funny and appealed to so many different generations? Who else sacks off the Oscars (even when nominated) to instead hit a jazz bar and jam on the clarinet all night?

Often imitated but never equaled, Woody Allen is a genius writer/director/comedian. With Annie Hall he practically invented the modern romantic comedy and shook things up with it’s non linear style, very much a deserving multiple Oscar winner.

My personal favorite has got to be Sweet and Lowdown, even if it is just for Emmet Ray’s many amazing lines  (“wanna go to the dump and shoot some rats?” “First time I had sex, 7 years old” and the best one, while Hattie is replacing a tire on his car “What’s the matter? Nobody said it was going to be a picknick. You know I can’t risk my hands”). I love Sean Penn and Samantha Morton’s performances as well, both are perfect as the arrogant jazz guitarist and sweet mute girl.

I’m really excited for From Rome With Love, mostly because it serves as Woody’s return to acting. Owen Wilson, Larry David etc. have been great in his absence but I’ve got a feeling seeing Woody back on the big screen again is going to be something special. I just hope it gets a UK release date soon and that we don’t have to wait months after everywhere else has already seen it!

Basically I am a low-culture person. I prefer watching baseball with a beer and some meatballs.” – Woody Allen


Moonrise Kingdom

So I figured I’d do a review of sorts…

Over the last few months I’ve barely written on here and it’s basically because all my writing time has been taken up by scripts/storyboards. Also my writing time has taken a significant dent given that Euro 2012 has been on…

But today before the second semi-final gets underway I thought I’d do a review of Moonrise Kingdom, my favorite film of 2012 so far…

Most people agree that Wes Anderson’s first three features (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and Royal Tenenbaums) are great, but feel that his latter work is all style and severely lacking in substance. While some (like me) feel that all of his work is of the same high standard and that his unique style sets him apart from pretty much every other director working today. Needless to say Moonrise Kingdom had a lot riding on it with huge expectation from the believers and naysayers a like.

In my opinion the film more than delivers on these expectations. It has everything we’ve all come to expect from a Wes Anderson picture plus a whole lot more. The addition of Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, Ed Norton, Tilda Swinton and the two young leads adds a great new dimension to the regular cast members of Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman (although I have to admit that I missed the presence of a Wilson Brother).

Unlike Wes’ other films this was a lot more plot driven than character in my opinion and it was nice change, some people have criticized the final act and have stated that the films tone is a little erratic. I don’t see it, maybe I’m blind with bias for all Wes does (I say maybe but mean definitely)  but I loved the final act, it was so over the top and yes it shifted in tone from the rest of the film but I like it when a film keeps me on my toes!

As you would expect his usual visual flair and style is on full show, I feel it’s become a redundant topic with his films now, he has his style, you either like it or you don’t. I LOVE IT!

So yea in summary, I loved Moonrise Kingdom, it is by far the best film I have seen in 2012 (I think To Rome With Love and The Dark Knight Rises may give it a run for it’s money however) and I would advise you all to go and see it as soon as you possibly can before it leaves cinema’s!


So Last Night I Watched…The Artist

I finally got around to watching The Artist and I thought it was…

Brilliant! I thought that absolutely everything about this film was exceptional, but the performances by the actors are what make it for me. Jean Dujardin deserved the Palme D’or and Golden Globe for this wonderful performance, Berenice Bejo is captivating as the beautiful Peppy Miller and of course Uggie the dog is hilarious!

It was just brilliant, I absolutely loved it. I was worried going in as I was sure it could not possibly live up to the hype, but I was wrong.

I’m sure it will go down in history as a must watch for any film lover and if it cleans up at the Oscars I don’t think anyone would disagree (that said I do hope Hugo wins big on the night, as it was one of my films of 2011). The Artist had that rare quality in that as soon as it was over I was thinking about seeing it again. If you haven’t seen it already I can’t recommend it enough. Stop reading this and go see it now!


So Last Night I Watched…

Angels Crest

So Angels Crest tells the story of a small town in the Rocky Mountains that is ripped apart when a father (Ethan played by Kaboom’s Thomas Dekker) is charged with negligent homicide after his three-year-old son Nathan freezes to death. The two were out on a trip when the Ethan decided to go track a dear and leave Nathan sleeping in the truck. The son managed to get out of the vehicle, get lost and the next day he is discovered by Ethan dead. Once the father is charged everyone in the town reacts differently to the situation, with some being more understanding than others.

There is a very good/interesting idea at the heart of this film, there was a lot of potential to do something great with the set up. But once everything has been set up and the story should start to really get going and pull you in it just… doesn’t. I think a lot of the blame rests with the writer, the characters never really develop into fully formed people and it is damn near impossible to care for them. The performances of the actors are okay but nothing special, I actually thought Thomas Dekker was really good in Kaboom but I was a little disappointed with him in this.

All in all it was a little disappointing, but I will be keeping an eye out for the directors future work.