Tuesday, 22 November 2011

... After a Long Break.

As I said, I went away to study in Frankfurt, unfortunately I subsequently dropped any blogging activities, which I intend now to recommence. I’m back in England, studying in Birmingham, and back to weekly cinema visits.

That isn’t to say however that there have been no cinema visits since leaving for Frankfurt. To give a comprehensive list of the films I have been out to see (trying not to miss any out): Source Code, Beastly, Arthur, Your Highness, Thor (the last 4 within 4 consecutive days!), Pirates of the Caribbean 4, the Hangover Part 2, X-Men: First Class, Transformers 3, Harry Potter 7 Part 2, Horrible Bosses, Captain America, Arietti, One Day, Friends with Benefits, Troll Hunter, Jane Eyre, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Crazy Stupid Love, the Three Musketeers, and I bring you up to date with last week’s visit to see the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Not to mention all the films I have watched in the comfort of my – or a friend’s – own home.

For this week’s top 5, I shall do the top 5 of these films I have watched over the past 7 or 8 months:

1. X-Men: First Class
My favourite film of the year, this immediately also became my favourite of all of the X-Men films. I almost missed this in the cinema, being in Germany and not being surrounded by my usual gang of nerdy chums, but I am SO glad I persisted. Michael Fassbender is my new God and the chemistry between him and James McAvoy as the two lead males is impeccable. They are both very funny but also capable of very serious moments. My favourite scene of the entire film has to be the two of them – Xavier and Eric – out on the lookout for new mutants. It may be a cheesy montage, but it’s hilarious. Plus the film has good X-men action at the end when the mutants face Kevin Bacon (who cannot be out-creepy-ed), the film’s villainous mutant, and the American navy (led by none other than Michael Ironside from Starship Troopers!!). This film drew my attention right from the start as the first 15 minutes or so involve young Eric and then older Eric (Michael Fassbender) moving through an amazing variety of languages – German to French to Spanish to English, which as a linguist, I gotta appreciate. So many aspects of this film recommend it to a true comic book or adventure film fan.

2. Harry Potter 7, Part 2
As Part 1 was one of the best films of 2010, of course I believe that this is one of the best films of 2011 and probably the best of all the Harry Potter films. The main reason? Alan Rickman! Though Helena Bonham Carter, as always, is just fabulous and the embodiment of cool and what I want to be, she does not feature as much as I would have liked. Alan is one of the few adults in the film given decent screen time and he uses it SO well. I think an Oscar may be necessary. The Pensieve montage of his memories would break anyone’s heart and is played out so beautifully. Adding to this the fact that the film mainly consists of one giant fight in the Hogwart’s grounds, how could it not be entertaining? As with any HP film, there are a few details from the book which they have changed and I do not approve of – Neville is WAY cooler in the book, though he is still pretty cool in the film – generally I think it did justice to the fantastic finale of a fantastic series.

3. Arthur
This film was so much funnier than it should have been. The advert drew me in straight away: “I don’t trust horses. Their shoes are permanent. Who makes that kind of a commitment to a shoe?” There are so many great lines in the advert, but unlike many comedies, they are not the only ones in the film. I find Russel Brand very endearing, and anyone who finds him annoying should steer clear, but I think this is a sweet, funny-until-the-end film.

4. Troll Hunter
This is a brilliant Norwegian mock-umentary about three young amateur film-makers following a guy they initially believe to be a rogue bear hunter. Like all Scandinavian films it is well-acted, well-written and has a brilliant atmosphere. It doesn’t try to overdo it on the giant troll action scenes, you genuinely feel like you are watching a documentary.

5. Thor
Another film that was much better than I expected. There has been a multitude of comic book films this year, Thor, X-Men, Captain America, the Green Lantern, and I think I expected the least from Thor. But I’d say, after X-Men, I enjoyed it the most, even more than Captain America which may be the better film... It’s fun and Chris Hemsworth proves that choosing a relatively unknown lead can pay off. He’s hot, he’s funny and he’s likable. It looks amazing – much of it being set in Asgard, the home of the “Gods” – and it has good action scenes as well as the standard romantic subplot (with Natalie Portman) which isn’t as annoying as many are in superhero films.

Film updates: Still to look forward to for superhero fans we have the Amazing Spider-Man and the Dark Knight Rises next year, which both boast fantastic casts (as Christopher Nolan films always do). For the rest of this year I am looking forward to 50/50, coming out this Friday the 25th, starring the AMAZING Joseph Gordon Levitt (JGL) and Seth Rogan in what all critics are saying is a funny - while not overlooking the serious content -, heart-warming film about two best friends trying to deal with the fact that one of them – JGL – has cancer. It was written by Will Reiser, who fought cancer and on whom JGL’s character is based and not only that, but Seth Rogan is playing the part of friend which he played to Reiser in real life. I am also looking forward to the next in the Guy Ritchie - Sherlock Holmes franchise, A Game of Shadows, coming out December 16th, and the American remake of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – though I still think it’s too soon -, coming out December 26th.