Category Archives: Year-end reviews

2012 in Film: The Overrated | HuffPost Entertainment — Selections


☞ Narrative plays a very important part in the selection of the best, or negatively in this case, the over-rated movies of the year. The other aspects of filmmaking, such as cinematography, editing, format etc. are subservient to narrative. These other aspects should contribute to the narrative, and they do not count in the overall assessment of the movie if the narrative falters.

The Dark Knight Rises: “The story is a complete mess, spending the first half of the picture setting up an arc only to send you back to square one and reset said arc.  The action is mostly uninspired and the plot feels like a cobbling of Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Rocky III.  It’s not a case of nitpicking plot holes but rather that the movie lumbers for so much of its running time that you have time to pick the film apart.  The alleged political content is so arbitrary and of little consequence (it theoretically shows the underclass embracing terrorism against the upper class yet considers poverty a virtue) that it almost feels like exploitation.  I didn’t expect a film as good as The Dark Knight or Batman Begins.  I merely wanted a third Batman film superior to Batman Forever.”

Django Unchained: “Take away the fact that it’s a western about a slave that takes place during the height of American slavery, and this is actually a pretty generic revenge story.  The plot doesn’t so much twist as unfolded in a relatively expected fashion, right up to the theoretical finale that takes place a punishing 45 minutes before the film actually ends.”

Les misérables: “The acting is so good (especially by Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, and Eddie Redmayne), and the camera stays so close, that many of the songs become emotionally redundant.  The second and third acts fly by with barely a moment to establish time and place.  The show/film attempts to invest us in a love story that occurs in the blink of an eye, at the expense of the first act’s powerful social/political critique.  Thin characterization, inappropriate comic relief, and irksome plot holes that didn’t quite register on stage come to the forefront onscreen, not only hurting the film but marring the legacy of the show as well.”

Skyfall: “Sam Mendes borrows from the Chris Nolan school of intimate big-scale blockbusters even as the pieces don’t quite fit.  Most importantly, James Bond is forced to defend his relevance by repeatedly failing at every single major task handed to him, a deluge of incompetence that somehow amounts to a spiritual cleansing and a reaffirmation of 007’s worth in a post-9/11 world. The story doesn’t make sense and thus the film doesn’t quite work.”

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Christopher Nolan’s Following, from Film School Rejects’ “Year in Review: The Best of Criterion in 2012”


☞ It’s the end of the year, and writers and periodicals produce lists of the best (or worst) films of the year. In Film School Rejects’ “Year in Review: The Best of Criterion in 2012,” the most narratively interesting brief review is of Christopher Nolan’s first feature film, Following.

“Earlier in his filmmaking career Christopher Nolan was drawing comparisons to Quentin Tarantino in his toying with writing structure by breaking up his linear story line into movable chunks that could be mixed and matched to move the story forward to a more entertaining effect than had the story been told in sequence. Also like Tarantino it was with his second feature film that Nolan would make his more prominent impact. While the two would separate themselves from comparison beyond that point their roots remain planted in similar soil.

In Following Nolan tells of a writer who chooses to stalk people to assist in getting material to write about. In doing so he meets a professional thief who gives our unsuspecting writer a tour in the life of a criminal. Like in his second feature, Memento, Nolan does a fine job of locating the climax in his story and ensuring that while the plot doesn’t follow a sequential timeline, the events that occur are told to us as they should be in order to accommodate a familiar, expected, and enjoyable rhythm. – Adam Charles

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