In Retrospect - Issue 17

Page 1

Contents: 3-15:

Reviews of this month’s film....






Our Top 10 films of 2012...

17 - 22

All of our top ten films of the past year


Contributor features...

24 - 25:

2013 Oscar Predictions by Daniel Prinn


On DVD this month...

27 - 29:

What’s being released on DVD this December


In cinema next month...


What’s being released in cinemas next January

8-9 14-15



Charlie Derry

Darryl Griffiths @LegallyBOD

Editor’s Note:

Ben Harris @benh4rris

Hope you’ve all had a fantastic Christmas, and Happy New Year.


Daniel Prinn @DanielPrinn

Reviews of this month’s film...


T he Hobbit Written by Charlie Derry @charliederry Prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and set sixty years before, Peter Jackson returns behind the camera to direct one of 2012′s most anticipated films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first instalment of a threepart film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien‘s 1937 novel, The Hobbit. Focusing on the character of young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) has chosen him to accompany thirteen dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), on an ‘unexpected’ quest to reclaim their stolen mountain home, the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, from a dragon named Smaug.


Following a somewhat similar storyline to The Fellowship Of The Ring as a hobbit, a wizard, and thirteen dwarves set off an adventure across Middle Earth, The Hobbit has a bit of everything you love about the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and because of that it’s hard to fault. Whilst I have to agree with a large part of the criticisms for this film in that it does fall short on story line in places, and that it is padded out by much walking and many, many chaotic chases, I don’t feel that the film ever felt slow or that it became tedious in its three hour length. With Jackson splitting this one book into three films, we shouldn’t

expect anything more; of course there is going to be a big focus on the journey itself. However, some of these walking scenes were the most epic – the goblin chase, the rock giants, just to name a few. The visuals were fantastic, and whilst these scenes often went on much longer than needed to, the film really did take you along with the adventure. It even improves with the addition of some much welcomed comedy, with scenes including the trolls and Gollum’s riddle game really standing out. This journey may be a little less serious than the one Frodo took, but the addition of humour brings something fresh to the similar

premise. This time around we can feel like part of the fun, because that’s really what it’s all about! The cast, too, made a considerable improvement in some places, whilst having many actors reprise their roles from the original trilogy. With a brilliant set of new characters, with Martin Freeman, especially, standing out as a much better protagonist to follow than Elijah Wood, the film was very easy to engage with. Of course, we have to mention the dwarves at this point. Whilst none of the actors that played the dwarves were actually dwarves, they were a whole lot of fun. And there really is no other way

to describe them. Introduced fantastically, its easy to find yourself liking every one of them, hoping that none of them will stumble off a cliff to their demise. Gollum (Andy Serkis), also, looked fantastic, making yet another improvement to the already brilliant franchise. For many reasons I will always prefer the original trilogy, but this new trilogy definitely had, and is sure to bring more, brilliant moments of pure entertainment. If only we didn’t have to wait a whole year for the next instalment!

Release Date:

13th December 2012


Peter Jackson

Famous Faces:

Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen and Richard Armitage


Life of Pi If 1997′s Titanic won eleven Oscars, this should get twelve. Based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel, this is an incredible story of adventure and discovery, centering on Pi Patel, the curious son of a zoo keeper. He and his family hail from Pondicherry, India, but they want to move to Canada to seek a better life. They hitch a ride on a large cargo ship that is destined to sink. After a shipwreck, Pi finds himself adrift on a 26-foot lifeboat accompanied by an orangutan, a zebra, a hyena and a fearsome Bengal Tiger called Richard Parker. The film starts out with a beautiful opening sequence with multiple animals running all over the screen, as if they are running off of Noah’s Ark. From there, it delves right into the story, as an older Pi tells his life story to a writer through flashbacks and reflection. Since an older Pi is telling the story, there’s no question of whether or not he survives or not; the story is not about that it is about how he does. Irfan Khan


(Slumdog Millionaire and The Amazing Spider-Man) portrays the older Pi, while the younger Pi is portrayed magnificently by acting newcomer Suraj Sharma. Like Dev Patel’s film debut in Slumdog Millionaire, this is a great and promising start to a career. We, the audience, have the pleasure to watch a star being born. The only other well known actor (to the Western World, at least) is Rafe Spall (Anonymous, Prometheus, Hot Fuzz), who portrays the writer who may just sell Pi’s life story. Pi’s story is a very interesting one. We see him grow up as a very curious boy who gets mocked at school because of his name (he gets called Pissing for a short period of time because his real name is Piscine). He is also a young boy of

self-discovery who is interested in Hinduism, Catholicism and Muslim beliefs. He doesn’t know who he is quite yet, a feeling all of us experience when we are young. When Pi and his animal friends set adrift to the center of the Pacific Ocean because of the unfortunate shipwreck, the majority of the animals don’t last very long. They say their hello’s, and then soon enough the quick good bye’s come around and Pi and Richard Parker are the two remaining beings. They start off as sort of how an only child might feel if an adopted child is brought home, they both are skeptical of each other, and because of that they must keep their distance. Over

time, the bond grows, and Pi and Parker become beings that must rely on each other. This transition is quite beautiful. Who said a man’s best friend can only be a dog? The measure of faith that Pi possesses is inspirational, and brings some great themes of religion and hope to the feature. The CGI effects are great and the visuals are magnificent. The hailing of this being the next Avatar is quite accurate (in regards to the visual beauty, only). The story is about as great as Slumdog Millionaire, and the shipwreck sequence is both thrilling and terrifying, comparable to both White Squall and Titanic. This film is not fit for the faint of heart. The shipwreck sequence is exciting and terrifying and very intense, such as the sequence involving the tiger; the viewer knows that the tiger is in the lifeboat, but we do not know where

exactly he is, or when he will jump out and roar. This really brings on the conflict of man vs. carnivore. Other conflicts are: man vs. nature, and man vs. self. Both Pi and Richard must fight against waves and crazy storms. Pi struggles with his own faith and wicked hunger. Life of Pi is a near-perfect film that gets its pacing thrown off at the ending. The ending raises questions of all the events that have preceded it, and it adds a great sense of ambiguity. Nonetheless, it is very thoughtprovoking. Life of Pi is a visually beautiful film that is a surprisingly funny film that has a great story, great direction, wonderful cinematography, great conflicts and relationships, and it has many aspects of it that can be magnificent, terrifying, thoughtprovoking and saddening. The actors bring it all to the table, and short list of performers carry the film very well. This is one of the best films of the year that will be a large Oscar contender. If you’re going to see this, see it in its full 3D glory.

Release Date:

20th December 2012


Ang Lee

Famous Faces:

Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, and Rafe Spall

Written by Daniel Prinn @DanielPrinn


psycho paths 8

Marty (Colin Farrell) is a struggling writer trying to write up a screenplay entitled ‘Seven Psychopaths’. He doesn’t really know how to start it out, and is struggling to find inspiration. His friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) tries to offer him some inspiration, despite constantly accusing him of being an alcoholic. Marty soon becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld, much to his dislike, after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s (Woody Harrelson) prized Shih Tzu. The screenplay is smart and fun; the plot is great and the film is just a fun experience; the pacing can feel a little off, and the plot can get quite ridiculous, but that’s what makes it fun. If there’s any message I would have taken from this is that McDonagh makes great and original films, and his humour can sometimes be similar to that of Quentin Tarantino. The film is fun and can get a little crazy, but who could have thought up a plot so ridiculous? There is a lot of humour found in the most intense of situations, and I love that. One of the funniest things about this film is all this carnage was started over a little Shih Tzu. Nope, not a wife, not a bunch of stolen cocaine, not the kidnapping of a best friend (even though a dog can be a man’s best friend) or anything like that – but a freaking Shih Tzu dog named Bonnie. I love the characters. Even Harrelson, who is the

main antagonist, is a great character. Who thought psychopaths can absolutely be this lovable and hysterical? My favourite character would be a hard answer to give. The female psychopaths (played by Abbie Cornish and Olga Kurylenko) would be out first, because they hardly have a lot of lines of dialogue at all. Tom Waits’ character of Zachariah is hysterical. Of the main protagonists, Billy (Sam Rockwell) would be the funniest, and then Hans (Christopher Walken). Generally, Charlie (Woody Harrelson) is my favourite, because he is just hysterical. Each character is welldeveloped. For those of you who may have seen McDonagh’s In Bruges, will be familiar with his certain sense of humour, and you may also know that his films have the tendency to get extremely gruesome. There is gore left right and centre in this film, but for anybody who likes that sort of stuff – will be probably love this. The film offers a laugh at least every two minutes, and its spikes of crime and violence are great. Some of the time there are flashbacks and stuff which are good, and there are also movie-within-a-movie subplots which are effective. The moods set for this film is great, and all the subplots and general plot are extremely clever. Seven Psychopaths stars

Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Olga Kurylenko, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish and Zeljko Ivanek. Seven Psychopaths is a clever screenplay that can have some poor pacing, and offers a fairly simple, ridiculous, yet clever plot; but, it is another winner from writer/director Martin McDonagh. It can be equal parts brutal, clever and hysterical. It is most of all extremely memorable, has great characters and a very good cast. Each cast member portrays their characters well. This is yet another 2012 film (I’m talking about Ted or 21 Jump Street, not Project X) that proves that this is a year to beat for comedies. and this may just have to get an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Written by Daniel Prinn @DanielPrinn Release Date:

5th December 2012


Martin McDonagh

Famous Faces:

Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell


h c t i P fect r e P 10


Directed by Jason Moore and loosely adapted from the novel of the same name by Mickey Rapkin, Pitch Perfect follows Beca (Anna Kendrick), a freshman at Barden University who is tempted into joining her school’s all-girl a cappella group The Bellas, which includes the popular faces of Brittany Snow, Anna Camp and Rebel Wilson. Whilst Beca attempts to modernise and inject some much-needed energy into the group, The Bellas must take on their male rivals, the Treblemakers, in a campus competition. With screenplay by Kay Cannon, the idea of the Pitch Perfect novel came from the senior editor at GQ magazine when he followed a group of a capella groups in America and wrote about their singing, groupies, partying and rivalries that were all part of the experience. I have a feeling the article would have read a lot better than how it comes to life on-screen, however. The story was one that always intrigued me, as a journalist myself I was interested to see what goes on off stage and out of class, the side of a musical group that we don’t get to see in Glee. Sadly that isn’t what Pitch Perfect is about at all, and whatever you think about the film, it is still very much Glee. This isn’t exactly a negative. I’m a big fan of the TV show and

this is still a film I enjoy despite it not going anywhere further than the classroom (I’m aware it does venture outside, of course, but the situations are still all very much high-school related). Moreso, I was hoping it wouldn’t be as Americanly clichéd or as pathetically sentimental, but it really was. The point where the cast sit down in a circle to talk about their feelings made my stomach churn, and then the stomach churning scenes themselves (who snow angels in a pile of sick?!) would have been the point where I walked out at the cinema if it wasn’t for the amazing musical performances. There was a huge part of me that was disappointed by Pitch Perfect, as you can read, but it wasn’t that I hated it or even disliked it, it’s just that it wasn’t anything special. It didn’t go beyond an American high school drama, as we follow a girl who is looking to come out of a shell and a handsome male that helps her to do so. I had hoped there would have been more to it, but the story line took a back seat to make room for a focus on many a’ great sing-off’s instead. Fortunately, there was a lot of greatness around these small flaws which enabled the film to get away with them for the most part. Full of great performances, brilliant mash-ups and excellent singing from its cast, this film is entertaining from start to finish. With songs including David

Guetta’s Titanium, Blackstreet’s No Diggity, and La Roux’s Bulletproof, it really is all about the music (and I’m not going to lie, The Breakfast Club references also turned it in my favour!). The film’s biggest quality, however, is its excellent cast. I’ve only recently started coming around to Anna Kendrick since her role in Twilight, but she really suits her role in this film alongside a very funny Rebel Wilson. The whole cast was fantastic though, with comical supporting roles from Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, too. This really is a film worth watching, if only for its decent cast and great musical sequences, even if you don’t like Glee. Nevertheless, I’m still not quite sure what all the appraisal is for, but don’t let that put you off.

Written by Charlie Derry @charliederry Release Date:

21st December 2012


Jason Moore

Famous Faces:

Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson


Jack Reacher A homicide investigator, Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims. Yes, the plot is as simple as it sounds. But it’s effectively simple. It seems that McQuarrie adapts the novel, ‘One Shot’ by Lee Child, very well. While the story is as simple as mystery/ thrillers get, it is exciting, and it’s a mystery that often keeps you guessing who is innocent, and who is guilty. Unfortunately, the simple plot can get silly, and there are a few holes in the story telling. The motive of the baddies is stated, but it is never explored or even fully explained. They’re just up against Mr. Reacher. Initially, there was some skepticism behind the casting of Tom Cruise, a miniature 5-foot-7 man, playing the 6-foot-5 brute from the novels. There’s a pretty large difference between the two statures. Because, hell, if Reacher is 6-foot-5, I’m Michael Jordan playing basketball poorly. It’s just not something you’re going to believe. Anyway, the end product is superb. Cruise

kicks major ass, and after seeing him do it so well, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the shoes of a not-so-over-bearing Reacher. This is a mystery/thriller that should be treasured during this century. It’s an incredible simple mystery that has some real oldfashioned action sequences that hold you by the throat. Cruise’s undeniable charisma and the helpings of funny lines make it that much more enjoyable, and it holds one’s attention even more. If you ever start to find yourself uninterested, don’t worry, there’s probably a chase scene or a fight scene just around the bend. Hang in there! The supporting cast help out with carrying the flick, too. Pike is just mighty sexy, and she’s a great British actress to watch. Richard Jenkins is great in just about everything he does, also. Robert Duvall offers more than a few funny lines, and his role is great for that. There are many other performers there, but this is very much Cruise’s show – and no one steals that from him. If there’s anything better than Cruise himself, it is probably the interesting

Written by Daniel Prinn @DanielPrinn


cinematography or the morethan-unsettling opening scene. The camerawork and there are some nice angles worked into the feature. In the opening scene, the viewer sees all the victims get shot. Right through the scope of the man’s sniper rifle. It goes over everyone the man is planning to kill, and it does it to the sound of his heavy breathing. It is mostly suspenseful because you do not know who he is going to choose. It is one of the most grippingly suspenseful scenes of the feature, and there are only a few other scenes that are better than it. In a nutshell: Jack Reacher is a very fun mystery action/ thriller that offers solid entertainment and more than a few memorable action scenes. The plot is effective and there may be some holes in its story, but that really doesn’t get in the way of enjoyment during. The surprising bites of humour make it that much more and enjoyable, and I am pleased to welcome this oldfashioned-lives-by-his-own-rules investigator to action cinema.

Release Date:

26th December 2012


Christopher McQuarrie

Famous Faces:

Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, and Richard Jenkins


Parental Guidance Artie (Billy Crystal) has just finished up a season as being “De Voice” of the local minor league baseball team, the Grizzlies. Much to his dismay, he gets fired because the team wants someone younger and more modern, preferably someone who has made social updates on Twitter and Facebook. Soon, he and his wife, Diane (Bette Midler), get asked to look after their three grand kids because their parents need to go out of town. The mother, Alice (Marisa Tomei), stays home for a little longer than expected, and Artie and Diane’s old-school parenting skills collide with Alice and Phil’s 21st-century parenting skills. Chaos soon ensues, but Artie might finally get to live his dream of being the voice for the San Francisco Giants (and keep using his signature sign-off of “Lights out, Alice”). As this film teaches, it’s all about meeting halfway and learning to bend that binds a family together. Parental Guidance may be a film with good intentions, but the target audience is unclear.


Are the children supposed to enjoy it more, or are the adults? It passes itself as a family comedy, but the humour is hard to find in a few areas. A film that resorts to hitting a character in the balls with a baseball bat, and then have that said character throw up on the young child, isn’t exactly funny, it’s simply immature. Still, there are a few yuks to be had, and it’s at least a little funnier than The Guilt Trip. The family comedy’s intention is to express that grandparents and parents must come to an understanding of how to deal with their children. This is also a film about second chances, because Artie and Diane did a poor job with their children, so they want to do it better with the grandchildren. However, this is going to appear difficult, as the grandkids don’t know them well, they think of them as the “other” grandparents. This family comedy is simply redundant, because there are other, better comedies to express a family connectedness

round the holidays (like This is 40). It also redundant because themes it tries to explore, like the parent feeling abandoned by their children or vice-versa, have already been explored in features like This is 40 and Trouble with the Curve. There are laughs, but a lot of the feature is tedious. There is one scene where a character has a sort of self-realization moment, which is supposed to be sentimental, but it was so tedious that it made two minutes feel like seven. The performer is loud and boring, and that isn’t a good combination for any working actor. There has never been a time during a film where I would have just loved a baseball bat to my grapes instead of watching the scene. The three kids are silly, but the charismatic Bailee Madison makes the best of her character. Harper, the character Madison portrays, is a tightly-wound violinist trying to get into a competitive musical arts school. She just wants to live a little, with her mother pushing her

the most. Turner (Joshua Rush) is the stuttering middle child who gets bullied at school. Finally, we have Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf), a kid who wants to be bribed by Farty (his nickname for Artie) and has an imaginary Kangaroo friend, Carl. Artie and Diane try to bring in their old-school parenting skills, but the writer should have expressed that conflicts can’t be solved with cake and ten dollars. Any conflict that comes also gets resolved in about seven minutes or less. The writer makes most characters have what Hollywood calls self-realization/overcoming obstacles moments, and most of them are sweet and are nice attempts as being sentimental. Others are just tedious and irritating. The story is also nothing you’ve seen 102 times before, and about four times already this year. A main problem with this is performers with no charm. Billy Crystal is the most charming and the funniest. Bette Midler is a onejoke woman, and just because she gestures and does facial a

lot doesn’t mean she’s a good actress, or even fun to watch. Admittedly, Crystal and Midler do have a decent-enough chemistry. Marisa Tomei and Bailee Madison (who really is a great young actress) are the only other performers that are easy to watch. Tomei and her husband, played by Tom Everett Scott, have one really bad inside joke they share. Tomei may just have had better chemistry with the young Barker’s imaginary kangaroo friend, Carl. It doesn’t help the film that Barker and Turner aren’t charismatic. They’re cute, sure, but they’re loud and annoying. They’re miniature, manipulative demons, and their presence gets irritating quickly. Can’t you tell how bratty they are from the poster? In a nutshell: There are quite a few yuks in Parental Guidance, mostly given to you by Billy Crystal, and a Chinese restaurant owner, Mr. Cheng (Gedde Watanabe), but there should be more than one funny character and another supporting funny character

with three minutes of screen time. For all the sweet or good moments, there’s a failed sentimental moment. It’s a sub-par family comedy with good intentions that doesn’t work well, and it is merely watchable because of the great Billy Crystal. It might bring in some real-life issues, but it’s still a predictable, sometimes tedious, and familiar ride to the ole ball game. This is De Voice of Daniel’s Film Reviews saying: Lights out, Alice.

Written by Daniel Prinn @DanielPrinn Release Date:

26th December 2012


Andy Fickman

Famous Faces:

Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, and Marisa Tomei


Our Top 10 films of 2012...


Editor’s Choice: It’s been a very hit and miss year for film this year with some exceptional releases scattered throughout 2012, but with some completely disappointing films filling in the months between (Anything involving Taylor Kitsch, I’m looking at you!). From the end of trilogies to the start of new ones, to the combination of many film characters into one big blockbuster and to some brilliant novel adaptations, we’ve certainly had it all.

10. On The Road This was one of my most anticipated films of this year and whilst I’m still yet to read the novel it is based on, I wasn’t completely satisfied but it was still a good watch. The cinematography is stunning, and for as far as I can comment I found that the casting worked well too. The lead males, especially

Sturridge, had a strong, and very homoerotic, chemistry, whilst Stewart, who I am a fan of anyway, gave something more than her morbid expression that many often criticise her for. It felt a little empty in places but it was an adventure I enjoyed going along with. And now I want to go travelling, but whilst I save up money I’m going to go read the book.

Release Date: 12th October 2012

Director: Walter Salles

Famous Faces:

Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart

me feeling so happy but so sad at the same time. A film hasn’t done this to me, at this level, in a long time.

9. We Bought A Zoo I didn’t think this would shift my Top Films of 2012 list, but it’s quickly gone as close to the top as it can! Oh my. I thought

Release Date: 16th March 2012 everything about this film was absolutely beautiful, from the soundtrack (full of Sigur Ros) to all of the overly cute moments. Yes, the fact that it is overly ‘cute’ may be seen as a bad thing to most and it is usually a word that I despise but it’s left


Cameron Crowe

Famous Faces:

Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and Elle Fanning


out horribly on screen; it needed to be emphasised more that she was doing it all for the cameras and that she was always longing for Gale back home, but instead it came across a bit too Twilight-y. Apart from that, I had no other complaints and I absolutely loved it.


The Hunger Games This was another one of my most anticipated films after reading the trilogy (or most of it) beforehand. This first instalment is a great adaptation, working really well on screen with director Gary Ross managing to

capture Collin’s dystopian world incredibly. This was it’s biggest quality, creating a real sense of fear in this futuristic setting. With a host of solid performances, too, Jennifer Lawrence was superb in the lead and the whole cast generally fit their parts really well. The one flaw, I found, was the romance between Peeta and Katniss which was played

Release Date: 23rd March 2012

Director: Gary Ross

Famous Faces:

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, and Elizabeth Banks

Moonrise Kingdom Another wonderful Wes Anderson classic, and probably my favourite so far. It’s quirky, with stunning cinematography, and it is, as always, very well scripted. Whilst it is set around another detached reality that is sometimes Anderson’s biggest downfall in his films, the innocent structure works at its best here with the premise set around a boy scout camp. Anderson develops his characters incredibly, and let’s not forget the cast themselves, which is always one of the most stand out qualities in Anderson’s


7. films, this time including a number of brilliant additions to the Anderson’s originals, with Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, and Tilda Swinton. However, it is the young stars that lead the film who deserve the credit here. Everything about this film is just charming.

Release Date: 25th May 2012


Wes Anderson

Famous Faces:

Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton

6. The Dark Knight Rises Whilst I found The Dark Knight Rises a little boring at first, after the first hour and half it was completely epic. The score was amazing, the latest villain Bane was brilliant, and there was so many great surprises! It definitely has its flaws – mainly a lack of an emotional core until the very end – but

nonetheless, it is a fantastic end to Nolan’s brilliant trilogy. The cast, as always for a Nolan film, is one of the most engaging for a Batman film. His dark tones really give the film a fantastic edge with this final film and, not considering its unnecessary three hour length, I will be watching this over and over.

Release Date: 20th July 2012


Christopher Nolan

Famous Faces:

Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Joseph GordonLevitt and Anne Hathaway



Despite the negative reviews I read beforehand, I bloody loved Prometheus. It’s a great sci-fi that is full of suspense, and was brimming with the kind of fear that Scott’s Alien films are all good for. Whilst it wasn’t a direct prequel I felt that the story line was strong enough to set the film up as a stand alone film as well as being part of the Alien franchise. There was pretty decent visuals throughout, and the futuristic setting looked absolutely incredible. With brilliant acting from all involved, the cast was another great aspect of the film, with Michael

Fassbender and Noomi Rapace standing out, especially.

Release Date: 1st June 2012

Director: Ridley Scott

Famous Faces:

Noomi Rapace, Logan MarshallGreen, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron, and Michael Fassbender



Looper Looper quickly flew to the top of my list as an all-round brilliant sci-fi. The best part about this film, for me, was the “TK” sub-plot as none of this was to be expected from

the film’s promotion. Because of this, the plot had a depth to it that I wasn’t expecting, and I found myself constantly being surprised even though I went into the cinema thinking I knew all that was going to happen. This part of the story also opened up some visually striking scenes of slow motion action, which looked absolutely fantastic. Even JGL looked good, becoming a believable younger Bruce Willis in his prosthetics, both of whom gave solid performances throughout. I was a little put off by the child actor, only because he was five years old and acting in a tenyear-old’s part, which didn’t fit visually, but at the same time this is only more reason to applaud his flawless acting.

Directed by Stephen Chbosky and adapted from his own novel, it was hard for this film to go wrong, yet it still exceeded my expectations on so many levels. Following a modern day John Hughes’ type high school drama, the film tells the honest coming


Release Date:

28th September 2012

Director: Rian Johnson

Famous Faces:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt

enabling the audience to feel something for his every action, Emma Watson shows that she is no longer Hermione Granger and gives a brilliant and sexy performance, and Ezra Miller, well, just wow! The trio are completely likeable, even lovable, and have such an incredible chemistry.

3. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

JGL and Emily Blunt definitely needed more chemistry, and the lack of emotion here would be my only real flaw. On a whole, the film was pretty powerful and left a huge impression on me, from the scene where a man’s limbs disappear making my stomach knot to the film’s end which even made me shed a tear.

of age story of a troubled boy, and the people he meets who help him to find out who he really is. Highly relatable, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is emotional, heartfelt, and has a surprising depth that will leave most audiences effected in some way. It’s main quality, however, is its three fantastic lead performances – Logan Lerman finally takes a decent lead with a role that is both engaging and moving,

Release Date: 3rd October 2012


Stephen Chbosky

Famous Faces:

Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller and Paul Rudd


Shame I know this was released in 2011 in the US, but I didn’t get to see this until January over here. Despite it’s early release in the year, this was undeniably a film that stuck with me. Shame is raunchy yet deeply informed, dealing with its subject matter brilliantly. Michael Fassbender is just beautiful and he gives such a strong (get it?) performance. Carey Mulligan, as well, is brilliant, just like her role in my top film of last year, Drive. Because of their brilliant chemistry it’s really easy to engage with what’s happening, and

it is for that reason that it leaves such an impact. The cinematography and score are both outstanding, with Steve McQueen creating yet another masterpiece.

Release Date: 13th January 2012


Steve McQueen

Famous Faces:

Michael Fassbender, and Carey Mulligan

1. film had an hilarious script written by the incredible Joss Whedon, yet it still managed to avoid becoming a comedy. The mix of genres was just spot on, and the whole cast And of course, Avengers Assemble remained at the top came together superbly with of my list for most of the year. a brilliant chemistry, whilst With some of the best CGI and each of them were developed really well individually at 3D I have seen, which only the same time. It was just enhanced the action scenes rather than blurred them, the amazing in every way.

Avengers Assemble

Release Date: 26th April 2012

Director: Joss Whedon

Famous Faces:

Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston and Scarlett Johansson


And as for our contributors this month....

Ben 1. The Dark Knight Rises 2. Skyfall 3. Untouchable 4. Frankenweenie 5. Looper 6. The Raid 7. The Hunger Games 8. Prometheus 9. The Woman in Black 10. Dredd

Daniel 1. Django Unchained 2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower 3. Silver Linings Playbook 4. Argo 5. Wreck-It Ralph 6. The Cabin in the Woods 7. Flight 8. Life of Pi 9. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 10. Looper

Darryl 1. The Master 2. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower 3. Shame 4. The Dark Knight Rises 5. Untouchable 6. Amour 7. Moonrise Kingdom 8. The Raid 9. Cosmopolis 10. Argo


Contributor features...


2013 Oscar Predictions: Daniel Prinn discusses his predictions for the upcoming awards season, looking at some of the possible nominations and winners.

Best Picture Argo Beasts of the Southern Wild Django Unchained Les Misérables Life of Pi Lincoln The Master Moonrise Kingdom Silver Linings Playbook Zero Dark Thirty What is (probably) going to win: Zero Dark Thirty, for being both thrilling and exciting, all the while bringing knowledge to the greatest manhunt ever executed. What I’d like to win: Silver Linings Playbook, just because it’s hilarious and it has a great emotional core.

Best Director “Argo” Ben Affleck “Django Unchained” Quentin Tarantino “Life of Pi” – Ang Lee “Lincoln” – Steven Spielberg “Zero Dark Thirty” – Kathryn Bigelow Who’s (probably) going to win: Kathryn Bigelow for ZDT because she did such a great job with The Hurt Locker. Who I’d like to win: Ang Lee for Life of Pi, because it’s just such a magnificent achievement.


Best Actor “Les Misérables” Hugh Jackman “Lincoln” Daniel Day-Lewis “Silver Linings Playbook” Bradley Cooper “Flight” Denzel Washington “The Sessions” John Hawkes Who’s (probably) going to win: Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln) because he brought such a great historic figure to life, while expressing Abe’s will to get things done, and his funny-averageJoe side. Who I’d like to win: Denzel Washington as Whip Whitaker (Flight) because he plays a man who must fight his itching alcoholism and hope a wicked lawsuit simply goes away like a bad rash.

by Daniel Prinn

Best Actress

Best Original Screenplay

“Silver Linings Playbook” Jennifer Lawrence “Amour” Emmanuelle Riva “Zero Dark Thirty” Jessica Chastain “The Impossible” Naomi Watts “Rust and Bone” Marion Cotillard

“Django Unchained” Quentin Tarantino “Looper” Rian Johnson “Zero Dark Thirty” Mark Boal “The Master” Paul Thomas Anderson “Moonrise Kingdom” Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola

Who’s (probably) going to win: Jessica Chastain (ZDT) or Jennifer Lawrence (SLP). It’s such a battle, Lawrence is so awesome, but Chastain has been getting so many accolades.

Who’s (probably) going to win: Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty, because it’s a story everyone would want to see.

Who I’d like to see win: Jennifer Lawrence, because she continues to show much capability in the acting game.

Who I want to win: Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained, because he gives us a great story with dark humour, and he expertly explores racism and slavery.

Best Adapted Screenplay “Argo” Chris Terrio “Lincoln” Tony Kushner “Life of Pi” David Magee “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” Stephen Chbosky “Silver Linings Playbook” David O. Russell Who’s (probably) going to win: David Magee for Life of Pi, because he did something no one thought could be done: he adapted an unadaptable story. Who I’d like to win: Stephen Chbosky for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, because he made his novel so much better the second time, and he made one of the best, and most criminally unseen, films of the year.


On DVD this month...


December DVD Releases: The Watch Date: 26th December Four men who form a neighbourhood watch group as a way to get out of their day-to-day family routines find themselves defending the Earth from an alien invasion.

The Bourne Legacy Date: 3rd December

Total Recall Date: 26th December

An expansion of the universe from Robert Ludlum’s novels, centred on a new hero whose stakes have been triggered by the events of the previous three films.

A factory worker, Douglas Quaid, begins to suspect that he is a spy after visiting Rekall - a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led.

Berberian Sound Studio Date: 31st December A sound engineer’s work for an Italian horror studio becomes a terrifying case of life imitating art.

Ice Age 4 Date: 10th December Manny, Diego, and Sid embark upon another adventure after their continent is set adrift. Using an iceberg as a ship, they encounter sea creatures and battle pirates as they explore a new world.

The Expendables 2 Date: 10th December Mr. Church reunites the Expendables for what should be an easy paycheck, but when one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory.


The Dark Knight Rises by Daniel Prinn Eight years after Batman took the fall for Harvey Dent’s crimes, a new terrorist leader, Bane, is threatening Gotham. There hasn’t been a spotting of Batman for eight years, and Bruce Wayne has become a recluse. Wayne must overcome his own personal turmoil and once again protect the city that has branded him an enemy. Writer/director Christopher Nolan delivers us a great blockbuster, that has incredible thrills, great plot execution and great direction. It is also a thoroughly impressive end to a great trilogy, it’s a slight stepdown from the high standards set by The Dark Knight, but it is better than Batman Begins. The character of Selina Kyle/ Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) is a nice presence, but she doesn’t quite get the attention for stellar character development. The other new characters, like Bane or Officer John Blake, are great, and they each receive solid backgrounds. The new character of Daggett is generally uninteresting and irritating. Though, the old characters are great, as it should be expected. This is one hell of a superhero action film, that should become the new basis for super-hero films. The build-up is slightly slow, but it leads to one hell of a climax. The overused plot involving the inevitable good vs. evil premise is made different by Nolan’s incredible versatile skills of writing and directing. Also, some of the realism of the whole thing feels


off in areas. But it is a super-hero film, so some of it just has to be unrealistic. This highly anticipated feature lives up to its hype. The cast is stellar, with a scenestealing performance from Tom Hardy. He is mostly impressive because he acts mainly with his eyes, voice, and gestures. His British drone makes him hard to understand (subtitles would really help in some areas) but if you listen well, you should be able to make it out. I shall now do the inevitable, and compare Bane to former villains in this trilogy. Bane is better than Ra’s Al Ghul (as Ken Watanabe), but not Cillian Murphy’s The Scarecrow and especially not Heath Ledger’s The Joker. All Bane has really is a frightening stature, strength, and the whole mystery of why he’s wearing that freaking eerie inhaler thingy-ma-bobber. That isn’t very scary, right…? He’s probably not the best villain because he doesn’t use a whole lot of psychological warfare, and I personally love when the villain uses mindgames. But any WWE fans will probably love Bane. The Joker played with his opponents’ mind all-too-well, and he is simply terrifying with his psychopathic nature. The Dark Knight Rises is an extremely impressive atmospheric piece of cinema that may be flawed, but it’s still incredible. It isn’t as great as The Dark Knight, but this is still of must-see status.

DVD Release Date:

3rd December 2012


Christopher Nolan

Famous Faces: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Joseph GordonLevitt and Anne Hathaway

Life Just Is Written and directed by Alex Barrett, serving as his feature directorial debut and premiered at this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival, Life Just Is follows four university graduates living in London – Pete (Jack Gordon), Tom (Nathaniel Martello-White), Claire (Fiona Ryan) and Jay (Jayne Wisener) – who find themselves having trouble making the move into adult life. As they hang out, throw parties, and attempt to navigate their new responsibilities, romantic tensions stir and desires to find a spiritual answer to life’s meaning arise, as the true meaning of their friendships are put to the test. Freeing himself from any distractions due to the film’s small budget, Barrett’s directorial style is very simple, but Life Just Is avoids the flaws of many independent films and doesn’t fall flat to inexpensive looking frames or poor definitions. With minimal cinematic interferences and the use of only a couple of sets, the focus is instead put solely onto the characters and their relationships, allowing Barrett to create strongly developed characters. This is

a key success to this film, as the audience get to know the small cast well, and see their characters grow as they begin to discover who they really are for themselves. With the intention from Barrett to explore the lives of young adults in today’s society, Life Just Is is a highly relatable film, especially as a recent university graduate myself. Whilst we have series such as Skins and Fresh Meat currently airing in the UK, the film is a fresh look at this twenty-something age group, exploring a number of realistic situations that the young adults of today are faced with. Without using any comic or dramatic exaggerations these character portrayals are very real and easy to relate to, but this also makes it difficult to find any of them genuinely likeable, as the film’s compacted 102 minutes falls short on allowing us enough time to become emotionally invested in their roles. What the characters do benefit from, however, is the superb performances that the largely unknown cast pull off. Whilst some of the actors can be recognised

from TV series such as Misfits, The Inbetweeners and Eastenders, this is the first feature leads for them all, and for that they deserve a great credit for holding up the film pretty strongly. The only problem I have with Life Just Is is that it doesn’t completely work as a film, though it does stretch beyond the efforts of a TV series set up. Whilst its conversational style allows the film to explore a range of subject matters in depth, it only makes for a thoughtprovoking film rather than an entertaining one. Sat around the living room watching the film with my own friends, we had to find distractions of our own and ended up discussing our own experiences of the situations that the film was exploring as it went along to keep us from losing focus. Whilst this emphasises the film and its characters are engaging, encouraging you to put yourself in their shoes and attempt to understand their situations as if you were sat around the coffee table with them, it’s not a film that you will easily find yourself drawn into. Nevertheless, Life Just Is is a great effort for Barrett’s debut, ensuring that we will be keeping a safe eye on his future work.

DVD Release Date:

10th December 2012

Director: Alex Barrett

Famous Faces:

Will de Meo, Jack Gordon and Nathaniel Martello-White

by Charlie Derry


In cinemas next month...


January’s Cinema: Gangster Squad Date: 10th January In Los Angeles in 1949, a special task force known as the Gangster Squad attempt to take back their nascent city from one of the most dangerous mafia bosses of all time, Mickey Cohen.

Les Misérables Date: 11th January

Lincoln Date: 25th January

In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s daughter, Cosette.

As the Civil War continues to rage, America’s president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield and as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.

Django Unchained Date: 18th January With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner, starring Christoph Waltz, Jamie Fox, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Zero Dark Thirty Date: 25th January

Movie 43 Date: 25th January

A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L.

The film intertwines a number of different tales, with different segments directed by twelve directors, starring an ensemble cast including Halle Berry, Elizabeth Banks, Emma Stone, Gerard Butler, and many more.