29 Days of Romance, Review #27: Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)

29 Days of Romance, Review #27: Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)

 

Blue is the Warmest Colour, poster
IMDb

Directed by: Abdellatif Kechiche. Starring: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche. Runtime: 3h. Released: May 23, 2013 (Cannes).

Some spoilers follow.

I’ve seen debate about the length of films lately, especially with the release of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, which clocked in at three and a half hours. Personally, I don’t have a problem with seeing a three-hour movie at a theatre, if that running time is justified.

Some of my favourite films are nearing or over three hours: my all-time favourite is The Green Mile (189 min), and two of my favourites from the last 10 years are The Wolf of Wall Street (180 min) and Django Unchained (165 min).

I’m working on watching longer films this year that are on my watchlist, because I know I’m missing out on a lot of great cinema being spooked by runtimes. For my 29 Days of Romance marathon, I watched Blue is the Warmest Colour, a coming-of-age story about a high school junior, Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) who meets Emma (Léa Seydoux), a young woman with blue hair, who teaches her about desire, passion, love and loss.

Winner of the Palme d’Or prize at Cannes in 2013, this was the first film to be awarded to actors as well as the director. With what the two main actresses were put through over the five-month shoot, constantly having to do numerous takes until it felt natural enough, it’s well-deserved. Director Abdellatif Kechiche was apparently intensely demanding and that’s why there were so many takes.

The performances are worth it, though, as Exarchopoulos and Seydoux are both excellent. They feel like real people with great chemistry and the film’s portrayal of their relationship is raw and passionate. We’re like a fly on the wall during their sex scenes and it looks like the real deal.

Blue is the Warmest Colour, article
Adèle Exarchopoulos in Blue is the Warmest Colour. (IMDb)

I’m a big fan of Seydoux but Exarchopoulos is fantastic, and someone I haven’t seen act until now. She’s in virtually every scene as she explores her own sexuality. It’s Adèle’s story for all of it and she doesn’t meet Emma right away. Before they officially meet, they exchange a glance passing each other on the street. While Adèle explores a relationship with a boy at school, Thomas (Jérémie Laheurte), her mind is still on the girl with the blue hair. Some of the rejection Adèle faces in finding herself is heartbreaking. Exarchopoulos makes you feel everything and scenes of rejection hit hard. The rejection is more powerful when it comes from friends because she simply hangs out with Emma.

The best part of Blue is the Warmest Colour is the film’s first half. The way it portrays the initial passion of their relationship and Adèle’s discovery of her own sexuality is pitch-perfect drama. I also love how Emma’s blue hair symbolizes Adèle’s view on passion, love and happiness, and the colour palette in the film in general. It’s brilliant how the film uses the blue. When her hair is blue, the audience is lifted up. When it’s blonde, we’re stomped down and it takes a bit of our heart, too. It’s reminiscent of Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine in a way, as one half is falling in love, the other half is falling apart.

I like raw drama, but when it gets real in the second half, it hurts and the performances are great in these moments. It’s a realistic depiction of relationships, but I think the blame game could have been played a bit better and I generally liked Adèle’s character better. I was emotional for Adèle and not as much for Emma in these moments. Seydoux still plays the character phenomenally, I just connected with Adèle more for reasons that would discuss even more spoilers, so I’ll refrain.

Blue is the Warmest Colour, articyyyy
Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Colour. (IMDb)

I like this film better than something like Blue Valentine because the conversations are enjoyable. They discuss philosophy and while I don’t know the first thing about philosophy, these two actresses are in top form as we watch their romance grow. Longing glances feel as passionate as the intimate sex scenes, and that’s good acting. By the way, these sex scenes are incredibly NSFW.

Blue is the Warmest Colour just feels like a film of two halves. When the blue is lost, much of my interest was lost, too. I was also more consistently bored with the film in the second half. The conversations are less interesting and the screenplay less engaging (it’s written by director Kechiche and Ghalia Lacroix, based on a graphic novel by Julie Maroh). The only engaging parts of this last hour is seeing where Adèle’s life is headed, and there’s also one amazing scene between Adèle and Emma. Otherwise, I started to feel the length of the film.

I talked about film length at the beginning of this review and how I don’t mind a long film if it feels justified. There are some scenes here that are less necessary than others, and I think this film could be 150 minutes and still have the same impact. Alas, I’m not the editor and I’d still consider Blue is the Warmest Colour a must-see film, because Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos are so, so good.

Score: 80/100

 

 

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a SlaveReleased: November 8, 2013. Directed by: Steve McQueen. Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch. Runtime: 134 min.

Imagine you’re at home enjoying your life as a free black man in upstate New York. Your beautiful wife and kids go away for two weekends, and when two men approach you with an opportunity to make some money, why not say no? One couldn’t predict that by saying yes to making a paycheck, they would then be drugged and sold into slavery. That’s exactly what happens to Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a real person sold into slavery in 1841.

The premise is part of what makes “12 Years a Slave” such a powerful film. In any case, anyone being uprooted from their life is a terrifying reality, even today. Back then, it seems that many were a bit more clever than staging a home invasion. Solomon is backstabbed by business parters he trusted, portrayed by Scoot McNairy and Taran Killam. This film might just be the one to open people’s eyes as to why the black people of today are so protective of their rights.

It’s an educational feature, and the most powerful film of the year. It’s one of my favourite slavery films as well, at least for educational purposes. I’d give this a rewatch with pleasure, which would also allow me to watch a few scenes again that I didn’t comprehend completely. I prefer Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” but that and this cannot be more different in tone. “Django,” to sum it up in so many words, is an entertaining treat. Another similarity is that both films probably hit the 100-mark with using derogatory statements, mainly the ‘n’ word. Paul Dano might have said it about 40 times it one cruel Southern tune.

John Ridley (director of “All is By My Side” which I didn’t like) adapts Northup’s 1853 novel very well, and director Steve McQueen knows what makes humans tick. This film is the platform for a harrowing odyssey of a man’s bravery and will to survive. Solomon’s drive is his family and he is making sure he does not sink into despair, by keeping their memory alive. He doesn’t know if he’ll ever see them again, but he tries to be as cooperative as possible in order to survive – which isn’t very at times, when he cares about fellow slaves. One of his friends is a woman named Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o) who plays a critical role in the film. He meets her on Edwin Epps’ plantation/farm.

Epps is portrayed by Michael Fassbender, in a haunting villainous performance. Don’t be surprised to get chills from him in a few scenes. Epps is known famously in those parks for breaking his slaves’ spirits, it seems – even if his wife (Sarah Paulson) thinks he could do a better job. He is a malevolent soul, and he makes a previous slave owner of Northup’s (Ford, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch) look like a saint – and he already was a very considerate man. Northup meets several characters along his long journey, helping this film have a star-studded cast, even if some big-name actors have about seven minutes of screen time (like Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti and Garrett Dillahunt – to name some).

There’s one main problem that the film has, it never really allows viewers be aware of what year it is. The only clue is the title. It starts out in 1841, and since there’s a scene at the beginning that shows up again in roughly the third act, we know that we’re caught up – but we still can’t tell what year it is. It doesn’t affect one’s enjoyment severely, but even cues like older make-up for Solomon would assist the film. It would give us an idea of how long he has been slaving for. There are some scenes that feel like they will go on forever, but that is purposeful in one scene to show that slaves cannot interfere when someone is being punished, so to speak. That being said, this has quite a few shocking moments – so it’s not for the faint of heart!

The film’s power is greatly prominent in Ejifor’s performance, as he tries to hang onto his humanity, not give up his hope and not sink into despair. Many slaves give up much faster than Solomon Northup, but he has something to fight for; and that’s what makes this film so inspiring and moving. It also helps it become an unforgettable experience.

Score95/100

Identity Thief, Side Effects (Box Office Predictions: 2/8 – 2/10/13)

The new releases

Identity Thief
Identity Thief
Side Effects
Side Effects

 

 

 

 

The two new movies coming to theaters this weekend is Seth Gordon’s Identity Thief, starring Melissa McCarthy as the woman who steals the identity of Sandy Patterson, played by Jason Bateman. He is playing the straight man, and it’s a role he plays very well in the comedy genre. It will definitely get over $20 million this weekend because it has no competition in the comedy genre yet this year (Movie 43 seems to be rushing out of theaters) and it could turn out to be the first good comedy of the year. However, the Rotten Tomatoes critics’ appreciation of the film may state otherwise (as of now, 24% of critics have liked it). Melissa McCarthy is very popular, it has a solid premise, and it could turn out to be surprisingly good. I hope. I also really hope they didn’t show all the funny scenes in its trailers. It really was a large marketing campaign.

Side Effects is a little more on the down-low. I have seen many TV spot trailers but I can’t recall seeing the trailer at the movie theaters. It is being advertised as a star-studded clinical thriller from the creator of Contagion. The story goes like this: Emily and Martin are a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily’s psychiatrist – intended to treat anxiety – has unexpected side effects.

It really does sound intriguing, and Soderbergh rarely brings a stinker (even though I didn’t enjoy Michael Clayton). I have expectations for this one, and I think it will gross at least $10 million this weekend. Also, part of the attraction is the cast that includes Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

 

Here’s how I see the top 10: 

Title/Prediction

1. Identity Thief/ $24, 000, 000
2. Warm Bodies/ $13, 100, 000
3. Side Effects/ $12, 200, 000
4. Silver Linings Playbook/ $6, 000, 000
5. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters/ $4, 100, 000
6. Mama/ $2, 900, 000
7. Zero Dark Thirty/ $2, 600, 000
8. Bullet to the Head/ $2, 500, 000
9. Argo/ $2, 200, 000
10. Django Unchained/ $1, 700, 000

Warm Bodies Scares Away the Competition (February 1-3 Box Office Results)

"I'm da winner zombie!"
“I’m da winner zombie!”

Warm Bodies opened to a great $20.3 million on the Superbowl weekend, and it’s also a really good film. Stand Up Guys opened to $1.5 million at 659 theaters, which is pretty decent. However, Sly proves that this is not a good year for solo outings for The Expendables co-stars. Arnie’s vehicle, The Last Stand, only grossed $6.2 million in its opening weekend; and Jason Statham’s vehicle, Parker, only grossed $7 million in its opening weekend.  Click the title for my review.

Top 10 Box Office, The Results (Estimates)

My Prediction/Off by (Over/Under)

1. Warm Bodies*$20, 353, 967

– $18, 700, 000$1, 653, 967 under

*Review will be up on Friday

2. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters$9,423,274

– $12, 400, 000$2, 976, 726 over

3.  Silver Linings Playbook$7,738,058

– $7, 650, 000$88, 058 under

4. Mama: $6,590,970

– $5, 620, 000$970, 970 under

5. Zero Dark Thirty$5,176,428

– $5, 530, 000$353, 572 over

6. Bullet to the Head$4,548,201

– $9, 200, 000$4, 651, 799 over

7. Parker$3,302,415

– $4, 065, 000$762, 585 over

8. Django Unchained: $3,002,769

– $2, 920, 000$82, 769 under

9. Les Misérables: $2,420,885

– N/A.

10. Lincoln$2,402,224

– N/A.

Other predictions

15. Movie 43$1, 641, 849

– $1, 970, 000$328, 151 over

18. Stand Up Guys$1,486,390

– $2, 000, 000$513, 610 over

New releases total difference: $6, 819, 376

Holdovers total difference: $5, 562, 831

Zombies Will (Probably) Devour Stallone, Elderly in a Crime Comedy, and the Rest of the Competition

The new releases

Bullet to the Head
Bullet to the Head
Stand Up Guys
Stand Up Guys
Warm Bodies
Warm Bodies

 

 

 

 

This weekend, there are three new releases coming along: the zombie-love story, Warm Bodies; Stallone’s new vehicle, Bullet to the Head; and a limited release of Stand Up Guys, where Alan Arkin, Al Pacino and Christopher Walken team up for a crime comedy.

Sylvester Stallone is breaking off from his The Expendables series for a solo outing with Bullet to the Head. Here, Stallone plays a hit man situated in New Orleans. The story follows Stallone and a Washington D.C. detective who see their respective partners die, and they then form an alliance in order to bring down their common enemy. Stallone is a fairly popular action hero whose popularity has grown with his start of a new ensemble action series, The Expendables. Stallone’s average opening weekend earning is $13.079 million, with The Expendables being his best number with $34. 825 million. Bullet to the Head probably won’t meet his average earning, but his new vehicle will draw a nice crowd for those who need their Sly fix.

Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin team up for a buddy crime comedy, Stand Up Guys. The film follows Val (Pacino) who has just been released from prison, as he and his buddy Doc (Walken) try to get the old gang back together for one last hurrah, before one of the guys takes his last assingment — to kill his comrade. It’s really all a great formula for a potentially great action comedy.

But the real winner of the weekend will be Warm Bodies, a new comedy horror that might be considered Twilight with zombies, but I truly hope, nor think, this is the case. This feature feels like it really might reinvent the genre, and do it successfully. This film follows R (Nicholas Hoult), a highly unusual zombie who saves a human, Julie (Teresa Palmer), from an attack. Their growing bond may just change the lifeless world altogether. You’ve seen the whole odd relationship before: an average girl and a boy of the supernatural kind. But this is different. This is set in a post-apocalyptic world where zombies are the norm, and humans are odd. Another interesting concept is this flick is actually suggesting the main girl is hot enough to reanimate a whole lifeless world, and make the zombies real again. Sure, Palmer’s hot, but she’s no Megan Fox. She’ll have to do. This makes the film have an original concept, and from the trailer, the humour looks like the strange, awkward brand of comedy that I love. This flick will also attract fans of the novel, as well as those who are interested in this awesome feature, like myself. This zombie feature looks cool, smart, and original. One thing that could make this film a certified sleeper hit is expert writing and direction from writer/director Jonathan Levine (50/50). I’ll appreciate this as long as there aren’t any love triangles…

Here’s how I see the Top 10:
1. Warm Bodies/$18, 700, 000
2. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters/ $12, 400, 000
3. Bullet to the Head/ $9, 200, 000
4. Silver Linings Playbook/ $7, 650, 000
5. Mama/ $5, 620, 000
6. Zero Dark Thirty/ $5, 530, 000
7. Parker/ $4, 065, 000
8. Django Unchained/ $2, 920, 000
9. Stand Up Guys/ $2, 000, 000
10. Movie 43/ $1, 970, 000

‘Hansel and Gretel’ Comes Out on Top (Jan. 25-27)

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters came out on top with $19.69 million, and Mama drops 53.9% to $13.088 million this weekend. Parker made $7 million, while Movie 43 proves to be the worst reviewed film of the year so far, and the largest box office bomb with a measly $4.8 million.

Click the title for my review.

Top 10 Box Office, The Results (Estimates)

My Prediction/Off by (+/)

1. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters: $19, 690, 956

– $19, 000, 000$690, 956 Under

2. Mama: $13, 088, 145

– $16, 900, 000$3, 811, 855 Over

3. Zero Dark Thirty: $9, 700, 132

– $9, 500, 000$200, 132 Over

4. Silver Linings Playbook: $9, 444, 039

– $7, 300, 000$2, 144, 039 Under

5. Parker: $7, 008, 222

– $9, 400, 000$2, 391, 778 Over

6. Django Unchained: $4, 946, 932

– $5, 000, 000$53, 068 Over

7. Movie 43: $4, 805, 878

– $12, 500, 000$7, 694, 122 Over

8. Gangster Squad: $4, 278, 235

– $4, 000, 000$278, 235 Under

9. Les Misérables: $4, 221, 055

– $4, 800, 000$578, 945 Over

10. Broken City: $4, 019, 558

– $4, 000, 000$19, 558 Over

New releases total difference: $10, 776, 856.

Holdovers total difference: $7, 085, 832.

 

 

January 25-27 Box Office Predictions

The new releases

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
Parker
Parker
Movie 43
Movie 43

 

 

 

 

 

There are three releases coming out this weekend: an action-comedy cross-over, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; a crude comedy, Movie 43 and; a new Statham vehicle, Parker.

The most intriguing, to me, is Hansel and Gretel. I love a good twist on a classic tale, and Will Ferrell and Adam McKay on as producers catches my attention even more. The story follows the titular pair of the classic fairy tale, but this time they’re bounty hunters who hunt witches all over the world. They are also now facing a new form of evil.

One of the most recent classic twists on a fairy tale, Red Riding Hood, made $14 million in its opening weekend. Though, this one is in 3D and it has the popularity of Jeremy Renner going for it. I also hope it’ll be a bigger hit than R.R.H. I think this will gross $19 million this weekend.

Movie 43 seems like a new New Year’s Eve for the crude comedy genre, and for the modern internet age. The story: A series of interconnected short films follows three kids as they search the depths of the Internet to find the world’s most banned movie. It has a bunch of different directors and practically everyone in it, so it has that going for it… It also looks incredibly stupid. New Year’s Eve grossed $13 million in its opening weekend, and Valentine’s Day grossed $56.26 million in its opening weekend, but I highly doubt this will get an opening weekend return anywhere near Valentine’s number. I think it will gross a little less than New Year’s Eve number. With better execution than 2012’s V/H/S (a film that also used short films as a major contribution), this could turn out to be a hit. This will still earn a nice profit in its opening weekend because of its solid marketing campaign and buzz on thee ole Twitter-sphere. I think this will gross $12.5 million this weekend.

Statham’s most recent action vehicle, Parker, teams him up with Jennifer Lopez. The story: A thief with a unique code of professional ethics is double-crossed by his crew and left for dead. Assuming a new disguise and forming an unlikely alliance with a woman on the inside, he looks to hijack the score of the crew’s latest heist. For 2013, the gross for the one action flick with a primary action hero isn’t too promising (Arnie’s The Last Stand, grossing $6.28 in its opening weekend). Statham has an average opening weekend gross of $12.19 million. Whilst that’s more than decent, my interest for Statham has been wavering as of late. His last two leading man action flicks haven’t produced great returns – Killer Elite: total gross of $25 million (with $9.35 in its opening weekend) and; Safe: total gross of $17.14 million (with $7.89 in its opening weekend). This time, though, he’s being paired with Jennifer Lopez, and the film could be a winner. We’ll see what happens, but I think it’ll make $9.4 million this weekend.

Here’s how I see the top 10:

Title/Prediction/Studio

1. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters/ $19, 000, 000/ Paramount
2. Mama/ $16, 900, 000/ Universal
3. Movie 43/ $12, 500, 000/ Relativity
4. Zero Dark Thirty/ $9, 500, 000/ Sony
5. Parker/ $9, 400, 000/ FilmDistrict
6. Silver Linings Playbook/ $7, 300, 000/ Weinstein Company
7. Django Unchained/ $5, 000, 000/ Weinstein Company
8. Les Misérables/ $4, 800, 000/ Universal
9. Broken City/ $4, 300, 000/ Fox
10. Gangster Squad/ $4, 000, 000/ Warner Bros.

My Top 25 Films of 2012

2012 saw some great films, and some real stinkers. I have seen 68 of them. These are my top 25 favourite films of 2012, and also the ten worst.

Oh and, some of these films don’t have the highest scores, but they’re higher up on the list. This is because some films (like The Hobbit) have grown on me a lot since I’ve seen them. Click on the title in the caption to get to review (and the titles in the ‘worst of’ list). Anyway, here’s the list, starting with #25:

#25 - Pitch Perfect
#25 – Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect is a fairly original (at least in cinema) and entertaining Glee-inspired musical comedy that may be predictable, but it’s a toe-tapping experience that has a fine plot, great music, some strange characters (most notably Lilly, a character who looks like that creepy big-eyed girl from Frankenweenie), show-stealing performers (like Bridesmaids‘ Rebel Wilson who portrays Fat Amy) and a memorable ensemble cast.

#24 - This is 40
#24 – This is 40

This is 40 is not quite as good as Knocked Up, but it’s a satisfying sort-of sequel. This is sometimes over-dramatic because of the numerous conflicts, but it is driven by fresh, laugh-out-loud comedy that helps Apatow get the message, of overcoming family differences and a mid-life crisis, across very well. Laughs, conflict, and advertisements for iPhones, Apple products, TV’s Lost, and a good role for Megan Fox are all present.

#23 - Ted
#23 – Ted

Ted‘s screenplay may be crowded but we must understand that MacFarlane’s comfort zone is a mere 22-minute slot, while this is a whole 112-minute feature. The end product turns out to be better than anyone would think a buddy comedy between a talking teddy bear and an immature man could be, and Wahlberg and Ted’s chemistry help make this one of the best buddy comedies of the year. I’m excited to see what else first-time director MacFarlane has in store for the silver screen, and I say bring on the sequel.

#22 - The Hunger Games
#22 – The Hunger Games

The film starts out fairly slow, but once the games come around the bend, it instantly becomes intensely engaging and entertaining. The screenplay maintains the fascinating theme of propaganda [and how corrupt the government may become], but doesn’t capture the extreme violence that we fans handled in the novel itself, and there isn’t quite enough bonding time with select characters. The adaptation is nonetheless great, and since it was not followed to a tee, there is room for surprise. Anyone who is willing to accept this fresh experience will enjoy it, as it is a promising beginning to a new teen franchise.

#21 - Rise of the Guardians
#21 – Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians is a slightly flawed, but wildly inventive, animated adventure that may have some deeply thematic material and action sequences that could be midly scary for small children. The main flaw is the disorganized beginning – but it finds its pace soon enough. The concept is a sort of edgy animated feature, but is a great end product. This is one of the most original animated features of the year, mainly because of the alterations to the beloved Guardians, like making Santa Claus look like a Russian biker, are very fresh. This is a great message to teach the kids this holiday season – don’t only believe in Santa around his season, also believe in all the other heroes, at least when their time comes around the bend.

#20 - The Grey
#20 – The Grey

The dialogue of this film allows characters to be thoroughly developed and compelling concepts to arise. When the characters aren’t talking, it gets engaging and thoroughly thrilling. The anti-climactic ending says Carnahan has learned to resist throwing full-throttle action at us, and he instead resists the urge and keeps the astounding and exciting survival film as tame as could be. The mostly unknown actors make the spotlight shine directly on the star: Liam Neeson.

#19 - Lincoln
#19 – Lincoln

Spielberg seems like, at this point in his career, is interested in making ambitious biopics instead of blockbusters like Jaws. The intelligent monologue-filled feature intricately throws information at you, and at times it can be quite a bit to absorb, but it is usually engaging. The cast of Lincoln is impressive, most notably Daniel Day-Lewis, who delivers a kind-hearted, endlessly charming performance that adds layers to one of the greatest figures in American history. Day-Lewis captures Lincoln’s will to get things done, and his genuine and kind self.

#18 - Killing Them Softly
#18 – Killing Them Softly

Killing Them Softly is a clever mafia tale of violence and despair with a great leading performance from Brad Pitt; with his mysterious character delivering us plenty of violence to keep us happy. This tale is also a social commentary on the local criminal economy in 2008, before Obama stepped into office – the concepts are complex, but there are not difficult to comprehend. The not-so-subtle message may be annoying to some, but the story is very engaging. It is a thought-provoking film brought to life by Andrew Dominik’s stylish and artistic direction.

#17 - End of Watch
#17 – End of Watch

The abrupt ending keeps this from being flawless, but this is a stellar crime story with intelligent writing by writer/director David Ayer (who previously wrote Training Day) with some of the best chemistry I have seen all year. End of Watch does for the real lives of cops what Ladder 49 did for fire fighters, but it’s about twenty-six times better.

#16 - Chronicle
#16 – Chronicle

Chronicle is one of the most surprisingly amazing features of 2012. The rushed pace is its main flaw, but it is an awesome experience for the 84 minutes it stays around. It obtains must-see status because of its thoroughly thematic and disturbing content. It is the most must-see found-footage feature of 2012, perhaps of all-time.

#15 - Seven Psychopaths
#15 – Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psychopaths has a clever screenplay and is a fantastic second feature from writer/directer Martin McDonagh. It is equal parts brutal, brilliant and hysterical. It is extremely memorable and has great characters and a superb ensemble cast. It is one of the most original screenplays of the year, and it’s another comedy that proves 2012 is one of the best for that genre.

#14 - Les Misérables
#14 – Les Misérables

The story may have ideas crammed in the feature, it undeniably has a very emotional core. If the actors weren’t singing the vast majority of their dialogue, the film wouldn’t be quite as exciting or engaging. This combines a great period piece with a profound musical, and it makes this one of the best features of the year.

#13 - 21 Jump Street
#13 – 21 Jump Street

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum create a superb chemistry, and this is one of the finest comedy ensembles of the year. The comedy is always funny, and this is the best action-comedy of the year. The real bite about this is that no one expected it to be very good, and yet, it is a hilarious and exciting ride.

#12 - The Dark Knight Rises
#12 – The Dark Knight Rises

Writer/director Christopher Nolan delivers us an impressive and atmospheric piece of cinema that has incredible thrills, great plot execution and great direction, character development that has room for improvement and a slow build-up that leads to an incredible climax. It is also a thoroughly impressive end to a great trilogy, it’s a slight step-down from the high standards set by The Dark Knight, but it is better than Batman Begins.

#11 - Skyfall
#11 – Skyfall

Skyfall is a compelling experience with great pacing, a great story and great humour. Javier Bardem is simply astounding. His presence is really worth the wait. He is one of the greatest criminal masterminds of recent memory, comparable to both Heath Ledger’s The Joker and Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter. He is the second best villain of the year, right behind Leonardo DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie in Django Unchained.

#10 - Looper
#10 – Looper

Looper offers an entertaining and memorable action experience with a great story and characters, making it a film that should be cherished. Looper is slightly flawed because of a sometimes crowded screenplay and numerous antagonists, but it has a complex story that’s surprisingly easy to follow, with great characters like Jeff Daniels’ nice-guy-ruthless-when-he-wants-to-be crime boss.

#9 - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
#9 – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a thoroughly satisfying start to a new Middle Earth trilogy. Its usually silly undertone may frustrate some, but to most, like myself, it makes for a great experience. The many expendable dwarfs may get a lot of the attention, but it is very much Bilbo Baggins’ show. That is until the show-stealing Gollum shows up for one of the best scenes of the feature. I cannot wait to see what the trilogy looks like when all of the films are released.

#8 - Life of Pi
#8 – Life of Pi

Life of Pi is interesting because it is not afraid to bring in concepts of faith and religion. It is also visually beautiful, sometimes funny, thought-provoking, magnificent, terrifying and saddening. There is also a  great story, great direction, wonderful cinematography, great conflicts and relationships present. The actors bring it all to the table, and a short list of performers carries 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.

#7 - Flight
#7 – Flight

The drama is solid and the overall film if profoundly enjoyable, compelling, emotional, sometimes funny and often gripping. The suspenseful scene at the beginning is the only action scene in the feature, and it soon turns into a character study, with fascinating concepts of addiction. Those who find the concept of addiction fascinating will enjoy this even more.

#6 - The Cabin in the Woods
#6 – The Cabin in the Woods

Many may think it is simply just another teen slasher, but what gets thrown at you is surprising, extremely fresh and endlessly entertaining. This is one of the most original horror films of all time, with signature bites of comedy from Joss Whedon.

#5 - Wreck-It Ralph
#5 – Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph is the finest animated feature of 2012 and is generally one hell of a nostalgic and enjoyable film. This is like the Toy Story for a new generation. Disney has delivered us a great film yet again, and mashed two generally loved things together: their acclaimed animation, and video games. I had high expectations for this film, and this really rocked my world.

#4 - Argo
#4 – Argo

One of the most captivating things about the nerve-racking Argo is the boiling suspense of the situation, and the viewer can just feel it build throughout. Argo plays out like an assassin giving you his first choke-hold, he’s inexperienced and you may feel the grip loosening from time to time, but then it strengthens again and doesn’t let go until the very end.

#3 - Silver Linings Playbook
#3 – Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook is hilarious, beautiful, meaningful, sad, emotional, and very dramatic at times. It is a truly magnificent blend. One thing that helps the film is the impeccable writing by David O. Russell, and Matthew Quick who originally wrote the novel. The viewer may not be able to relate to the exact situation of these characters, but they could fully understand their motivations – and most may have felt similar emotions that these characters express on a daily basis.

#2 - The Perks of Being a Wallflower
#2 – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The profound analysis of teenage angst is accurate, brilliantly touching, and heartbreakingly poignant. The performances are great, the story is awesome, and the atmosphere it offers is perfect. This is a film that I’d like to watch over and over. That’s one heck of a definition for an enjoyable experience.  It’s a fine, under-seen classic of 2012 that can define a generation as well as John Hughes could.  If it comes to your town, get off the couch, grab a few friends – but if you don’t have any, it’s okay to be a wallflower – and go see this movie!

#1 - Django Unchained
#1 – Django Unchained

Django Unchained is a modern masterpiece, and is Tarantino’s finest film yet (even if I’m the only one to think so). It’s a great story about survival and it has great themes of racism and slavery, that Tarantino explores expertly. The performances, the writing, the soundtrack the direction and the themes are all immaculate. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the best villain of the year.

The ten worst of 2012:

10. The Watch

9. Chernobyl Diaries

8. Silent House

7. ATM

6. Red Dawn 

5. Dark Shadows

4. Mirror Mirror

3. Project X

2. The Lucky One

And the true test of patience…

#1 - That's My Boy
#1 – That’s My Boy

Well, there you have it. Hopefully you agree with some of my picks, like them, dislike them, or even detest them. Feel free to leave comments!

January 11-13 Box Office Predictions

The first weekend of 2013 had surprising earnings with Texas Chainsaw 3D, but great nonetheless. It won’t hold the top spot a second time, I think that’ll go to Zero Dark Thirty. Here are the  new releases for the weekend:

A Haunted House
A Haunted House

Plot: Malcolm and Keisha move into their dream home, but soon learn a demon also resides there. When Kisha becomes possessed, Malcolm – determined to keep his sex life on track – turns to a priest, a psychic, and a team of ghost-busters for help.

Marlon Wayans brings us a feature that parodies popular horror films months before Scary Movie 5, a series he and his brother started. I’m not sure if Wayans is attempting to reinvent the parody genre, but if anyone can do it, it might just be him. Even though I laughed once at the trailer. It won’t be as big a hit as Scary Movie, but it’ll certainly be better than anything those idiots Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (Disaster MovieMeet the Spartans) can dish out to the unsuspecting public. The opening weekends of the Scary Movie have faced a range between $20.5 million (with the second installment) and $48.1 million (with the third installment). And the Friedberg/Seltzer films’ opening weekend range from $5.8 million (Disaster Movie) to $18.6 million (Epic Movie). Anyway, I think A Haunted House will gross higher than Disaster Movie, but lower than Epic Movie. It’ll be somewhere in the middle.

A.H.H. Box Office Prediction: $10, 500, 000

Gangster Squad
Gangster Squad

Plot: A chronicle of the LAPD’s fight to keep East Coast Mafia types out of Los Angeles in the 1940s and 50s.

The real attraction of Gangster Squad is its true crime story vibe and its ensemble cast (including Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, Sean Penn). It will also be interesting to see comedy director Ruben Fleischer (30 Minutes or Less and Zombieland) direct this cast, and what he’d do with this 1949 crime drama. A similar film to this, American Gangster, grossed $43.5 million its opening weekend and the other crime drama in theaters right now, Jack Reacher, grossed $15.2 million its opening weekend. I don’t think it’s very realistic that it would gross close to American Gangster’s number, but it will most likely make more money than Jack Reacher. 

G.S. Box Office Prediction: $21, 000, 000

Quartet
Quartet

Plot: At a home for retired opera singers, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents.

The limited release of the weekend, Quartet comes to a mere two theaters. This is Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut, and it is a comedy that mostly appeals to adults that makes me think of 2011’s Hope Springs and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Quartet Box Office Prediction: $16, 000

Zero Dark Thirty
Zero Dark Thirty

Plot: 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. Team 6 in May, 2011.

It sure is the greatest manhunt in history.  Zero Dark Thirty also seems like an incredible film to watch unfold. Kathryn Bigelow is the director to take on this project. It’s already made $4.6 million, and now it’s going wide. Right after the Oscar nominations are being released tomorrow. The Hurt Locker grossed $17 million, but it wasn’t a very wide release. This is going to gross more in its (wide) opening weekend than T.H.L. grossed in its entire run.

Z.D.T. Box Office Prediction: $23, 500, 000

The holdovers of Django Unchained and Les Mis shouldn’t drop severely because of the Oscar nominations tomorrow. Here’s how I see the top 10:

Top 10 Box Office Predictions

Title/Prediction/Studio/Rotten Tomatoes Score

1. Zero Dark Thirty/ $23, 500, 000/ Sony/ 94%
2. Gangster Squad/ $21, 000, 000/ Warner Bros./ 55%
3. Django Unchained/ $16, 250, 000/ Weinstein Company/ 89%
4. Texas Chainsaw 3D/ $15, 000, 000/ Lionsgate/ 19%
5. Les Misérables/ $14, 000, 000/ Universal/ 70%
6. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey/ $12, 000, 000/ Warner Bros./ 65%
7. A Haunted House/ $10, 500, 000/ ORF
8. Parental Guidance/ $6, 000, 000/ Fox/ 19%
9. Jack Reacher/ $5, 900, 000/ Paramount/ 61%
10. This is 40/ $5, 350, 000/ Universal/ 51%

January 4-6 Box Office Predictions

Texas Chainsaw 3D
Texas Chainsaw 3D

Plot: A young woman travels to Texas to collect an inheritance; little does she know that an encounter with a chainsaw-wielding killer is part of the reward.

The world has seen many films revolving around the the Sawyer family legacy. This is the first wide release for Leatherface in quite some time, so horror fans will most likely be lining up to see this. I’ll be seeing it this weekend if I have time (The Impossible and Promised Land are higher priority for me).

T.C.3D Prediction: $12, 500, 000

Top 10 Box Office Predictions

Title/Prediction/Studio/Rotten Tomatoes Score

1. Django Unchained/ $26, 000, 000/ Weinstein Co./ 88%
2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey/ $23, 800, 000/ Warner Bros./ 65%
3. Les Misérables/ $22, 000, 000/ Universal/ 71%
4. Texas Chainsaw 3D/ $12, 500, 000/ Lionsgate
5. Jack Reacher/ $10, 000, 000/ Paramount/ 61%
6. Parental Guidance/ $9, 500, 000/ Fox/ 18%
7. This is 40/ $8, 000, 000/ Universal/ 51%
8. Promised Land/ $6, 500, 000/ Focus Pictures/ 47%
9. Lincoln/ $5, 000, 000/ Buena Vista/ 91%
10. The Impossible/ $4, 000, 000/ Summit Ent./ 78%