fyre: (Films 2012)
[personal profile] fyre
So I've fallen a little behind with my film reviewing. I'll try and catch up:

#14 - Snow White and the Huntsman

The second Snow White film of the year, this one featuring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron.

It could have been brilliant. It could have been a study of femininity and Queenship in a world dominated by the patriarchy. It could have looked at the use of beauty as a weapon. It could have explored the differences in how a woman can be strong through power or through kindness.

It did none of these things. It was a beautiful film but such a jumbled mess. From the outset, the Queen was "fairest of them all", and yet, the moral of the film seemed to be that it was meant to be inner beauty that was more important. Which makes no sense when the Queen was never beautiful inwardly. She was a power-seizing witch who killed from the word go. The consistency was lacking. The charactersation was paper-thin. Snow White herself was little more than Mary Sue. I'm not even kidding. Everyone fell for her: the Huntsman, the Duke's son, the Queen's brother, the dwarf.

She hardly had any lines, save for ONE BIG DRAMATIC SPEECH OF DRAMA, and even that was cobbled together from every other dramatic speech ever. The scenes were clumsily put together. A prime example is when - for no reason at all - the Huntsman stops dead, hands her a knife, and says "this is how you kill someone". No reason given. He just chose to tell her significant Queen-killing-knife-move and then the scene went on as if nothing had happened.

It had the potential to be brilliant, it really did. Charlize Theron was mesmerising as usual, and Chris Hemsworth was such a great big teddybear, but it was pretty trainwreck, and I felt like I'd wasted an hour and a half of my life watching it.


In conclusion, argh. Yes. Argh.

#15 - California Solo

This was the European premiere of Robert Carlyle's latest film, and I'm very glad I got the chance to see it.

I saw it once and it hasn't left me. It's a fairly simple story: Lachlan MacAldonich is a Scots expat with a world of issues who is living a quiet, simple existence, working on a farm in California. He's an ex-musician, and does podcasts, remembering the lives of musicians who died tragically. His simple life - and tentative flirtation with a customer at his fruit/veg stand - takes a turn for the worst when a DUI charge drags a previous criminal record to light. Suddenly, his status in the US is in question, and he must face a past he's been avoiding for years to try and stay in the place he calls home.

There's just so much to this story. What starts out as Lachlan wanting to stay in his home opens a Pandora's box: his alcoholism, his broken relationship with his ex-wife and estranged daughter, the reason for his podcast, the reason he doesn't ever want to go back to Scotland, and the trigger of it all - the death of his brother.

The story unfolds so delicately, and Robert Carlyle is such a fantastically understated actor. You get the feelings of what might have happened, but when the truth comes out, it really as as brutal as a punch in the gut. You can see why he drinks. You can see why his whole life has fallen apart, and the fact he can never forget it. The subject of his podcast, the fact he clings to the tragic deaths of musicians, is a flashing sign of his burgeoning guilt, and the alcohol is the only way he can deal with it all.

He knows it's a bad thing, but when people keep on dredging up the past, bringing old skeletons from forgotten closets back to the surface, the more he's going to drink. And the more I look at it, the DUI only came AFTER he was shown a copy of his brother's album. Every time he drinks heavily, it's down to something to do with his brother or the music: the music night arranged by his friend's boyfriend, the song he sings, every podcast he does. It's in those moments when the guilt builds and builds and builds and the alcohol is the only way he can block out what happened and what he did.

He had put his past gently on the shelf. No one acknowledged it. No one cared. No one paid it any mind. Then someone noticed it. Someone noticed him, and because they noticed him, they forced him to face it, and he couldn't, and so he drank. And because he drank, his whole world - fragile as it was - shattered around him.

It was a hard film to watch. Beautiful, but understated and agonising and it hasn't left me yet. I can't get over it. I just can't. It's got into my head, and it's taking all the stuff that fascinates me about well-written films: it doesn't throw all the information at you, and the more you look, the more you understand.

At first, I saw Lachlan as just a drunk. But then, as the film unfolded, it became something much more tragic and painful than that, and I honestly don't know if I can watch the film again, because thinking back, seeing it all as a whole, seeing all of this as I write it down, it would break my heart.

I would like to think that with it ending the way it did, he can no longer run and hide from it all. He has to go back and face his family, face what he did, which is what he's been hiding from for so long, but he's broken and damaged and so guilty, that I don't think he can ever get over that. I would like to think the ending is hopeful, but I don't know if it really can be.


#16 - Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

It has Abraham Lincoln. Fighting vampires. Including Rufus Sewell. What's not to love?

I can't really say much more about this, except it was a world of fun. Honestly, I will watch most tongue-in-cheek vampire films, and this was high up that list. I wouldn't pay to see it in the cinema again, but I'll probably get the DVD, because it was just such a silly amount of fun, with over the top special effects, train chases, vampires, explosions and everything. I didn't go in expecting much, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to :)

#17 - The Amazing Spiderman

THIS IS WHAT I MISSED. I didn't really like Tobey Maguire's Spiderman and I couldn't put my finger on why, but this film showed me.

Andrew Garfield brings the snark back, and that's what I really, really missed in the other Spiderman films. He's smart, he's got attitude, he's a brat and above all, he doesn't whine all over the place. Maguire's Peter seemed a lot more whiny to me, and I don't think it was helped by Kirsten Dunst as whatsherface.

Gwen Stacey, on the other hand, is fricking adorable and smart! I love that we're getting more female characters in comic book films who are strong, smart and don't need to be rescued all the fricking time. She made a flamethrower! I squealed in glee!

Rhys Ifans was also brilliant as the Lizard, but really, supervillains who look that silly and weird just jar me slightly out of the film. Hulk, I can cope with. Giant lizard... less so, for whatever reason.

All the same, it had what I was looking for in a summer action film: exciting shots, snark, fake-science, crazy chases and awesome special effects.


#18 - The Dark Knight Rises

The end of an era, really, that's what this film is.

I was pleasantly surprised by Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. I have to say that first off. I wasn't expecting to like her as much as I did, and she was brilliant in the role. Likewise, Bane was perfectly cast. The more I see Tom Hardy in, the more I enjoy him.

But the film, though. I thought it was a slow starter, and it could have used some pruning and editing, but on the whole, it was a steady film. And when you get to the last half hour and you realise just how this is linked to both film one and two... well, I mentally flailed and bounced in my seat. I should have guessed, really, because I knew Rhas al Ghul only had a daughter, but I still didn't see it coming until the reveal.

My one big criticism, though, is that they didn't kill anyone. I thought it would have been that much more poignant if someone had died. Lucius being killed by the river would have been perfect, because the fact we only saw them lose one named character was hugely disappointing. "WE SACRIFICED SO MUCH! YES! WE SACRIFICED THAT ONE SKEPTICAL DUDE WITH A NAME!".

Still, a good ending to a solid trilogy :) And no more BatBale.
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