Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Movie Review: 2012 Review Summaries - Part 1


Five Reviews in total:  21 Jump Street, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Amazing Spider-Man, Argo, & The Avengers.

Can you tell I'm going in alphabetical order?

21 Jump Street (2012).  Starring Jonah Hill & Channing Tatum..  Directed by Phil Lord & Chris Miller.  Rated R.

Story: 3 / 5
Direction: 3 / 5
Acting: 3 / 5
Visual: 3 / 5
Overall Rating: 3 / 5

A continuation (not a reboot) of the 80’s TV series that sees two bumbling cops, Hill and Tatum, go undercover as high school students to infiltrate a drug ring.  Everything about the movie was a surprise, because I expected it to be terrible.  Why did I see it?  Because people said it was good.  I hope that explains that.

Would I recommend this film?  Definitely.  It’s a well rounded and entertaining film.


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012).  Starring Benjamin Walker & Dominic Cooper.  Directed by Timur Bekmambetov.  Rated R.

Story: 3 / 5
Direction: 3 / 5
Acting: 3 / 5
Visual: 2 / 5
Overall Rating: 2.75 / 5

The title tells you everything you need to know about the plot.  It’s Abraham Lincon, our beloved 16th president, and he hunts vampires.  Despite the unfortunate title and absurd sounding premise this turns out to be a pretty fun little romp.  Turn off your brain and just enjoy.  The look of the film is cheap however.  Some of the special effects are dodgy, and a lot of the cinematography is dull and grey.  Perhaps that was an intended look, I don’t know.  But I would guess it was done to cover up the poor visual effects.

Would I recommend this film?  Of course, just don’t expect it to be anything more than an absurd romp.


Amazing Spider-Man, The (2012).  Starring Andrew Garfield & Emma Stone.  Directed by Marc Webb.  Rated PG-13.

Story: 2 / 5
Direction: 2 / 5
Acting: 2 / 5
Visual: 3 / 5
Overall Rating: 2.25 / 5

The Amazing Spider-Man is an in depth analysis of why it’s a bad idea to reboot a film franchise so soon after a better version of the film was already made.  Boy gets bit by spider, becomes super powered, uncle gets killed, and he becomes a crime fighter.  We’ve seen it all before, and in the hands of a more competent director who understands the tone of Spider-Man.  The success of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films had Hollywood scrambling to try and reinvent the comic book film genre in that same tone.  It works for Batman and a few others, it doesn’t work for Spider-Man.  Spider-Man is colorful and corny, not moody and serious.

Would I recommend this film?  No.  Go watch the Sam Rami film from 2002.


Argo (2012).  Starring Ben Affleck & Bryan Cranston.  Directed by Ben Affleck.  Rated R.

Story: 3 / 5
Direction: 4 / 5
Acting: 3 / 5
Visual: 4 / 5
Overall Rating: 3.5 / 5

Argo is the story of how a white CIA agent with some minor help from the Canadians (I will rant about that in a moment) manages to free US embassy workers from Iran during the hostage crisis.  It’s actually a very good film, with near perfect execution.  Some overly dramatic elements are put in place that defy all logic and reality, but they work and the result is a really entertaining and compelling film.  My problem with the film comes from looking up the details after seeing it.  The protagonist, Tony Mendez, is played by Ben Affleck.  There are many white looking folks with the name Mendez, this guy isn’t one of them.  Were there no Latino actors available for the role?  The film also downplays how heavily involved the Canadian government was in pulling this off.  That annoys me.  In this day and age Americans need to recognize we’re not alone, and more importantly we can’t plough forward alone.  We have friends and allies in all corners of the globe and it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for, accept, and recognize their help.

Would I recommend this film?  Yes, just don’t focus on the details.  It is otherwise a well executed caper film.


Avengers, The (2012).  Starring Robert Downey Jr. & Chris Evans & Scarlett Johansson & Chris Hemsworth & Mark Ruffalo & Jeremy Renner & Tom Hiddleston & Stellan Skarsgard & Clark Gregg & Gwyneth Paltrow & Mace Windu.  Directed by Joss Whedon.  Rated PG-13 (for graphic scenes of man-in-robot-suit homoeroticism).

Story: 3 / 5
Direction: 4 / 5
Acting: 3 / 5
Visual: 4 / 5
Overall Rating: 3.5 / 5


The Avengers is a story about a giant and powerful entity attacking the Earth that Superman would have no problem containing, but in the Marvel universe it takes a whole team of them to deal with.  Along the way the quarreling heroes learn about life, love, and how to forgive the most important person of all... themselves.  Seriously this is a good film and a load of fun.  Hard core nerds may find some things to nitpick, like anyone being able to defeat Thor, but it’s pure enjoyment and solid film making.

Would I recommend this film?  Without question.



Explanation of Ratings

All ratings are on a 5 point scale where 1 is the lowest possible score.  A score of 3 indicates the film was simply effective in this regard.  A score of 5 indicates perfection in a given category.  The overall rating is a simple average of the four scores.

  • Story -- How well the film was written?  Did the story make sense?  Were there plot holes?  Was the dialogue natural for the style/genre?
  • Direction -- How well was the film put together?  Did all of the elements come together properly?  How was the pacing?  Was the tone consistent and effective?  A subcategory of this would be editing, but for the purpose of these reviews it is combined into one category.
  • Acting -- How good were the performances?  In a drama did the lead actor/actress draw the audience in?  In a comedy where the performers funny?  This is an amalgam score of all the performances in the piece.  A single great performance can elevate the entire score, but a bunch of bad performances can just as easily bring it down.
  • Visual -- How did the film look?  If there were visual effects were they used appropriately and did they look good?  Did the overall look enhance the telling of the story?

3 comments:

  1. *adjusts wide-frame glasses* Now listen here you plebian. All these films are overrated pap, and you should feel bad for admitting to having seen them, let alone recommending them. *flips scarf over shoulder*
    Good day, sir.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But Argo is a proper film. It may get nominated for awards... not that it matters. Those snobs in Hollywood only nominate boring films that nobody has an interest in seeing. Where are the awards for The Avengers and Twilight?

      Delete
    2. Oh, Twilight will get its awards. At the Razzies.

      (Also, I will not use Blogger again on mobile device. See previous post with deleted comments.)

      Delete