2012 was a much better year in terms of movies than the one that came before.
My favorites as follows, in no particular order:
- The Secret World of Arrietty: An excellent Studio Ghibli animated film based on the book The Borrowers. A good watch if you, like me, are someone who likes imagining what you would do if you were very very tiny. I blame a childhood spent watching George Shrinks.
- 21 Jump Street: I don’t usually enjoy modern comedies, but this is one of the few exceptions. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are great together, the premise is good, and performances are good all around.
- Moonrise Kingdom: Moonrise Kingdom was my first Wes Anderson movie and one of the first movies where I really realized how amazing the theater experience can be. It’s an aesthetically beautiful movie, a musically beautiful movie, and my enjoyment of it was certainly aided by the freshness of never before having seen Anderson’s particular style of quirk. That all said, it’s one of his best and is probably one of the more important films in my movie-viewing history.
- Rise of the Guardians: This is an underseen, under-rated animated Christmas film that takes place around Easter. Long story short, a group of magical mythical heroes (The Tooth Fairy, Santa, the Easter Bunny, Sandman, and Jack Frost) must team up to protect the children and the hopes and the dreams from Pitch Black/The Bogeyman. The Easter Bunny is Hugh Jackman. Santa/North looks like a very Daddy version of Auguste Rodin. Jack Frost is also hot. Wholesome content.
- Skyfall: I very much like Daniel Craig James Bond and this is one of his better ones (Second to Casino Royale).
- Django Unchained: I used to think I couldn’t stand Quentin Tarantino but have come to a change of opinion, largely through Inglourious Bastards and Django Unchained. I was thinking recently about how some of Tarantino’s movies seem to show a desire to retcon history, to take injustices and rewrite them. I like him best when he plays in this sandbox.
I didn’t see: Monsieur Lazhar, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Magic Mike, Samsara, The Master, Looper, A Late Quartet, or Amour.
I saw The Big Sick the day before yesterday! It was pretty good but not as excellent as I was hoping it would be. It’s hard to get a romcom right- I mean it’s hard to make an intelligent romcom. Without spoilers, a few of the things I found lacking: a number of the best jokes were used in the trailer, and I found myself wishing I hadn’t seen the trailer so I could appreciate the film more. Kind of says something negative re: rewatchability.
Also, the movie, despite being a romantic comedy, is too much about the male main character, Kumail Nanjiani. Given that the female protagonist is in a coma for the majority of the film (not a spoiler; that’s the premise), it’s an easy hole to fall into. But even when Emily’s parents (Holly Hunter!) show up to stand in for her, the film still leans into being a coming of age story for Kumail Nanjiani (which, he did do a lot to make this film happen, so I can see how it focuses on his experience). The romantic plot line and family merging took a backseat to his personal development, to the extent that Emily’s coma feels more like a plot device to trigger Kumail’s transformation, rather than the premise of the film. And even though she’s based on a real person, Zoe Kazan’s Emily (through no fault of Zoe Kazan’s, who had to spend most of the film being coma patient) comes across as more manic-pixie-dreamgirl. Probably as a result of the script more than anything else.
But it was a good movie. It was funny and quick, even if it was not as insightful or deep as I was hoping it would be. Continue reading “2017 Films I’m Looking Forward To”
I was lucky enough to see Gabriella yesterday. We met in middle school and were very close throughout high school- and we’re still close even tough we see each other only over the summer and breaks.
Naturally we got around to talking about movies because going to see them was always a favorite pastime of ours (and we’re always those people who are too loud in the theater and I can’t stop making sarcastic comments). But she’s seen Kubo and the Two Strings! Not enough people have seen Kubo and it’s such a lovely, magical, wonderful animation.
And then she asked if I had seen The Book of Life! Which yes, I have, but it was so awesome to hear that she had as well because if few people have seen Kubo then even fewer have seen The Book of Life.
So I’ve gotten to thinking about the underrated and unmentioned animations in the world (omitting Disney and anime, and going light on Dreamworks). It’s a post that’s been nesting in my brain for a long time and talking to Gabriella really galvanized me. The main reason I hadn’t written it yet? I haven’t watched all of the animations in the world and I worry about omitting something.
But I suppose I have to give in: no one knows everything about anything and so that’s no good reason not to list and list and list and list. Continue reading “Animated and Under-Appreciated I”