Finally back on deck after a couple of weeks away for Christmas and New Year’s. Will be working hard to update the site, though the next week and a little bit will probably be devoted to catching up on some final films in order to do my 2012 review.
- The Sessions (2012), Ben Lewin – An exceptional film, with three of the best performances you will see. William H. Macy, Helen Hunt and John Hawkes are all brilliant and make this a must. This is simultaneously a touching personal tale of one man’s sexual journey, but also everyone’s sexuality. In addition the film manages to weave poetry and faith into the story masterfully. A story that on paper could have so easily been cliché, but here it is told intelligently, boldly and dare I say it, brilliantly.
- Oliver and Company (1988), George Scribner – This very New York centric story is a lesser known Disney effort. Despite the failings, I’ve never seen an uglier Disney film and the odd annoying character spouting annoying ‘streetwise’ dialogue for starters, this has enough charm to win you over. You can really relate to Oliver, the main character and there is a definite charm to the dynamic of the gang. Also interesting to see a homeless dude at the centre of a Disney narrative.
- Choke (1999), Robert Raphael Goodman – This doco brings a philosophical bent to Vale Tudo, the spiritual successor of Mixed Martial Arts. It chronicles Rickson Gracie’s attempt to defend his title in Japan. The effects this has on Gracie’s wife and the politics of the age old striker vs grappler debate are both nicely shown. Less interesting, even for a fan of martial arts like myself, is the presentation of the actual tournament. Here is the film in full, it is quite violent, but there is plenty to interest here.
- Into the Abyss (2011), Werner Herzog – An exceptional examination of one crime and the societal causes and implications of it. Also an examination of crime more generally, the death penalty and the implications of both. Herzog is probably the greatest documentarian of our time. This is a dense, intelligent film – a beautiful examination of something incredibly dark.
- Bigfoot (2012), Bruce Davison – Oh man, starring a former Brady Bunch icon, there is plenty of so bad its good moments here. Lots of CGI madness to keep everyone happy even if it does go on just a little. But if you like comical performances, B-movie fantasticness and plenty of Bigfoot chompin on heads, you will probably get something out of this one.
Not Worth Watching:
- My Week with Marilyn (2011), Simon Curtis – Michelle Williams is a fine actress, but no one can mimic Marilyn Monroe’s sass and charisma, not even her. This should be such an interesting film, but it is bland with no sharpness or edge to it whatsoever. Williams is just a little hollow and Kenneth Branagh is disappointing as a leering Laurence Olivier. Not even fantastic performances from Emma Watson, Judi Dench and Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh make this worth the time.
- Here Comes the Boom (2012), Frank Coraci – This is amiable enough for much of its running time, but the second half is naff as it comes. By the numbers, ‘save the school’ story is not helped by Henry Winkler hamming it up in uber-annoying form. Though Selma Hayek, Kevin James and even MMA legend Bas Rutten in a relatively major role deliver much better turns.
If you only have time to watch one The Sessions
Avoid at all costs My Week with Marilyn
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“Avoid at all costs My Week with Marilyn”, alas, too late 🙂
You like it more than me?
No, I just wish I had read this before renting it 😀
Boo I was going to watch My Week With Marilyn, maybe I will give it a miss!
Don’t just take my word for it. Plenty of people really liked it (including my girlfriend who I watched it with).
Nice post. I wasn’t crazy about My Week With Marilyn but I enjoyed it much more than you did. Really looking forward to checking out The Sessions.