Films 2012

Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows – Which was just what I wanted and expected in terms of all action and very little plot. I really don’t know why they bother with the girl characters, because for the most part their role could have been fulfilled equally well by a pet. But whatever.

The Artist – Oh, I liked this muchly! Surprising how much dialogue isn’t needed, and also surprising how much more physical and yet subtle the acting has to be to work instead. Ok, it slowed down a bit during Valentin’s gradual decline to poverty and obscurity, but at least he still had the dog.

The Woman in Black – Which was not helped by a ghastly audience of teens who ate, drank, chatted and texted their way through the film, while the unwholesome pair next to me added repeated, audible sniffing to their repertoire. FFS. Still, I don’t think the film could have been saved and I’m sorry for Hammer’s attempts to relaunch if the best they can do is a checklist approach to spooky films. It’s all the more a shame because while the book on which it’s based was ominous, scary, tense, creepy, unsettling and horrible, the film achieves none of this and then further buggers things up by adding its own crap ending. As for Daniel Radcliffe, I really hope he turns into a better actor but at the moment he cannot carry the weight of most of a film on his own.

Vicky Christina Barcelona – Meh. Except for Javier Bardem, with whom I’d have nipped off for the weekend in a heartbeat.

The Hunger Games – What I find with the movie of the book is that, whereas the book may rattle along at a fair old pace, the film drags. And so it was with this, which took ages to get going. It was a perfectly good and faithful film adaptation, slightly watered down because no heroine is going to be as unpleasant as Katniss and be sympathetic in film. Ideal for fans of the book but I won’t need to see the rest of the trilogy.

The Avengers Assemble – While I am a sucker for a good action movie, I’m not all that fussed about superheroes. But since this one has Robert Downey, Jr (swoon) playing Tony Stark/Iron Man and is directed by Joss Whedon, it was a no brainer. So off I went, and thoroughly enjoyed it: good script, decent plot, nice ensemble cast, the right amount of laughs and action a-plenty. Tick, tick, tick went the boxes, and future Avengers outings are well set up. In the meantime, I’ve added Captain America and Thor to my Lovefilm list.

Snow White and the Huntsman – Sigh. I was reasonably optimistic, based on the trailer but this didn’t work out so well. Charlize Theron was good as the psycho evil queen; Chris Hemsworth was fine as the Huntsman; Kristin Stewart couldn’t act her way out of a wet paper bag and had no on-screen chemistry with anyone.

The Angel’s Share – Which I went to see expecting it to be bleak and grim and a tiny slice of human misery. In fact, it was funny and uplifting and about giving people a second chance with the chance that their lives can turn around.

The Dark Knight Rises – Spoilers throughout, don’t read if you don’t want to know, ‘k?

For a start, it was very long, and if I’d checked running time I’d have gone to an earlier showing and then been able to concentrate better. (Yes, I am old and I need my sleep, now moving on.) I think it was a very good movie, although I don’t know if it was a good Batman movie. I’d see Avengers again because it’s a load of nonsense fun (and for my undying love of Robert Downey, Jr, obviously); I’d see this again because I suspect there are layers I missed first time round. I also continue to think that Commissioner Gordon is the real hero, and Gary Oldman has given three consistently excellent performances.

I read the key bits from an Economist review a few days beforehand, which said that while Batman had seemed to be turning into James Bond (action hero with handful of gadgets provided by Morgan Freeman being a Q-type character), James Bond, at least in Quantum of Solace, was turning into Batman (brooding outsider breaking the rules). I think there’s something in that. In this film, Batman qua Batman doesn’t make an appearance for a chunk of it, and then he’s only reluctantly drawn back into business and that in part from his own death wish. I do like that, in the end, after his metaphorical and literal climb back to the light, he gets to escape being both Batman and Bruce Wayne. They were both roles of which the man inhabiting them seemed weary.

Before that he gets his ass heavily kicked by the bad guy, who then proceeds to take control of Gotham in a way that made me think we were heading dangerously close to Hunger Games territory, only this time with a city full of contestants who were supposed to turn on each other to find whoever had the trigger to the bomb. At least, I think that’s what he said, there’s a problem with a bad guy who is largely incomprehensible when declaiming his evil plans to the city’s population.

It seemed timely that the big division was between the haves and the have-nots, though, and for me that was one of the emotional complexities because it is kind of hard to have sympathy with the stock exchange monkeys or the rich people having their bespoke suits dumped in the street by the guy who probably cleans their pool. My response is more along the lines of ‘Ok, fair call, exile the fuckers on the thin ice.’ (Not in real life, obviously. In real life, just tax the fuckers at about 95%, and if they try to dodge, get the money and then exile them. Thin ice optional.)

Catwoman? Always good to have a morally ambiguous female character who can fight her own battles, even if she is forced to dress in a costume straight out of male wish fulfilment with a figure FXively adapted to look more comic book in the waist-to-hip ratio. On the other hand, great boots and excellent bike handling skills, I’m just a teensy bit disappointed that she ends up with Bruce Wayne (a) because they had zero chemistry and (b) because clicheorama.

And, Robin. If there are further films, I think he’s going to be interesting as a character in his own right, and a whole lot less damaged than Batman himself. If Gotham is going to turn the corner, then it might need him.

The Bourne Legacy. Wow, so no. Not even with the sound down so I could just watch Jeremy Renner. It was long, it made no sense and the chase scene was a gallimaufry of bits cut from other films. My companion fell asleep for about 20 minutes, which was  a good tactical move in the circumstances. And, ok, I get that poor Dr Whatserface had been through a deeply traumatic experience, but did she have to be quite so crap? I wanted to backhand her and say ‘Pull yourself together, you dozy bitch, or you will die.’

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