2010’s In Film Part Two (2012)

January – The Iron Lady

Not a part of the MCU, sadly. Completely different. Iron Man is about a rich merchant of death who’s arrogance leads to his initial downfall, but he eventually finds redemption before dying. This is about a woman who was the same, but didn’t bother with the redemption part.

February – Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close

This film was HATED when it came out. Deemed as exploitative (it’s very 9/11-ey) and is essentially emotional blackmail, but badly done. Initially released just after the 10 year anniversary of the attacks, which just adds fuel the fire that it was done to exploit the terror. So yeah, very negatively reviewed, yet somehow got nominated for best picture at the Oscars. I’m still not entirely sure how that happened.

March – The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists

Damn this film is funny. All you need to know about this film is that it’s made by Aardman (the creators of Wallace And Gromit), has Hugh Grant in it, plus has characters called:

  • The Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate
  • The Pirate Who Likes Sunsets And Kittens
  • The Pirate With Gout

That alone tells you what type of film it is.

April – Cabin In The Woods

Sooooooo much yes. I’m not sure how good this will be to people who aren’t familiar with horror movie tropes, but as someone who is a fan of the genre I love it. It potentially explains every single horror movie, connecting all of them under one umbrella. It has one plot issue that I dislike. It shows a bird flying into an invisible wall near a cave, being electrocuted and dying. This means that when someone tries to jump over the gap later on, you know it’s not going to work and that he’s going to hit the wall. If it came as a surprise then you would be in the same position as the characters and the shock would just kill your soul slightly. I highly recommend everybody see this film.

May – American Pie: Reunion

Is it weird that these films were really successful, people love them, and yet with a few exceptions, it made almost zero long term impact on popular culture. The actors in it had brief moments of being big but now the biggest one is probably Sean William Scott. It’s just weird that if you removed these films from history, not much would change.

June – Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Still haven’t seen this, because apparently, it’s actually quite serious. That’s weird. I thought a film like this would be a comedy. I just can’t imagine taking an idea like this seriously. Thankfully the film I wanted turned out to exist and was Pride And Prejudice and Zombies.

July – The Dark Knight Rises

I actually like this movie, I think Tom Hardy was great as Bane. I’ll admit I’m still not sold on Bale as Batman, he’s an average Batman and not a great Bruce Wayne. I’m just kind of disappointed that this was the final film. There seemed to be a lot of missed opportunities and I would have liked to have seen more Batman villains in the franchise to see how he would have handled them.

August – A Few Best Men

Better films were released this month, of that I am certain. But this one needs love, it’s funny and very British. I love it.

September – Resident Evil 5

How are there this many films in the franchise? I’ve watched one of them and all I can remember is that the last line in the film, the line which is supposed to make you go “wow, that changes everything and is very important”, is also the tagline of the movie. Stupid.

October – Skyfall

The only Bond film I’ve ever seen. It’s alright. I’m just not a fan of Bond. I don’t know why, I like the video games, and the music is great. But the actual films leave me bored. I realise they’re technically great, but I just don’t actually care about them. I should probably watch more (live-blogging those would be one way for me to kill a month or two). Maybe that’s why I don’t care, because there’s so many of them already so I feel when I’m watching them I’m watching them from a point of few of someone who doesn’t know everything I should. I wouldn’t understand any references if any are made. So I feel I’d be watching it a lower level than other people.

November – Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir

2012 featured a documentary about Roman Polanksi, as well as one about Woody Allen. Fuck ’em.

December – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

This film franchise is weird. LOTR was HUGE, and so was the first Hobbit movie. Lots of people very excited about it, and the screening I was dragged to in York was packed out and full of fans. Yet this, and the next film, were so badly received that by the time the third one came out almost nobody was talking about them. The box office didn’t drop that much, so it’s almost like people went to watch them just out of completion anxiety, and they weren’t actually excited about them. It’s a shame as Martin Freeman is perfectly cast, it’s just a shame the film isn’t that great. I’m not that big a Tolkein fan so I can’t judge why, I’m guessing it’s the stretching out one small book into 3 big films that people don’t like, and the HEAVY CGI use which makes it look like a video game.

 

So yeah, that’s 2012, not the end of the world as it turned out. Actually it was soon after this that I started paying more attention to film and seeing A LOT more at cinema.

My Five Favourite (Childrens) Book-To-Film Adaptations

More details were announced yesterday about the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them film. Well, films now, five of them in particular. I’ll admit I’m nervous that this will be just like The Hobbifilms, where people will be excited for the first one, interested in the next one, and then just completely ignore the film series from then on (I remember being online when the third one was released, and if it wasn’t for me looking at the cineworld website I wouldn’t have even know it came out). Fingers crossed it turns out great, but to commemorate the release details here’s my favourite book-to-film adaptations. I will freely admit these aren’t the “best”, these are definitely my personal choice, choices which are likely to change depending on what day I’m asked.

5. The BFG (2016)

The most recent film on this list, and the one most likely to not be on it if I was writing this on a different day. This definitely isn’t likely to be on someone’s top five list for this topic, truth be told it’s not even mine, it’s only here because of the negative reception it received. It’s currently got a 66 on Metacritic, which is the numerical equivalent of “meh”. I went into this with relatively low expectations, I saw Pete’s Dragon the same week and it did absolutely nothing for me, I appreciated what it did well, but I don’t need to see it again and I won’t recommend it to anyone. Also their was a family in front of me that I could tell were going to be problematic, with a whole bag of popcorn thrown on the floor behind them (i.e. in front of me) before the film even started. Yet within five minutes of this film I had completely forgotten Pete’s Dragon, I had forgotten the popcorn, I had forgotten the general feeling of ennui that accompanies my general existence, I was completely lost in the world that this film created. I completely brought into the universe that was created, if I saw this film whilst I was a child my parents would hate it due to the fact they’d have had to watch it every single day. This film also means that my list of for the “best performace” for the end of year blog now has two child actors in it. Ruby Barnhill is superb in it, she spends a lot of time being the only real thing on screen, so it’s down to her to convince you that the rest is real, and she manages it. So to summarise; some films are funny, some films are heart-breaking, very few films can be described as magical, this is one of them.

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4. Coraline

Because it’s been too long since I’ve seen The Witches and I wanted a film that scares the hell out of everyone, children and adults alike. This adaptation of the Neil Gaiman book also has one of the best uses of 3D in cinema. There’s a scene where somebody stares down a long and narrow corridor, the 3D in this helps enhance the vertigo-like feeling. Most films just go with the “oooo something is poking out at you, woooooo” with 3D, very few use it to enhance the universe as much as they should. The film also has a unique look, a look that is NOT TIM BURTON! People seem to forget that it wasn’t Burton that directed Nightmare Before Christmas, it was Henry Selick, and he is perfect for this film. Heavily influenced by the work of Japanese illustrator Tadahiro Uesigi.

He gives the film a unique look that is perfect for Neil Gaiman’s work, and it’s a real shame that he got pulled off the film version of The Graveyard Book (been replaced by Ron Howard, which could work, but will be very different)

3. Harry Potter

I’ll admit this isn’t the greatest film series, for one thing it’s missing Rik Mayall as Peeves. But it also did one thing very well; it accentuated the Harry Potter brand remarkably. Before this you could be forgiven for thinking the world had reached peak Potter, that the brand had reached a plateau, but the films pushed it through so it was no longer a well known book franchise, it was a global phenomenon. Without the films the chances of there being a Harry Potter world are a lot lower, as would be a lot of merchandising opportunities. Plus, it also gave us Alan Rickman as Snape.

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And now I have a sad

2. Matilda

I know, another Roald Dahl book, but there is no way I could not put this film in this list. One of my favourite books as a child, and one of my favourite films as an adult. Mara Wilson is of course, superb, whilst Pam Ferris is terrifying as Trunchbull. Back when this was released there wasn’t as many book-to-film adaptations as there is now, so seeing the shots of Trunchbull in newspapers in the lead to the film was genuinely exciting. A book which everybody read as a child was finally coming to life, if it went badly I would have been so disappointed that I probably would have developed a crack cocaine habit, trust issues, and a slightly itchy foot. Luckily it’s very good, the music is superb, Send Me On My Way in particular never fails to raise a smile. Actually that’s true of the whole film, it’s the film equivalent of a sweet heartwarming smile. The most disappointing part about it is that it didn’t lead to Danny DeVito having a glorious directing career, which is a shame as he completely nails it here, getting the tone exactly right, and he casts himself as a terrible person. Very few people would do that, most people when they choose to be villains do it in a “cool” way, make the character dark and brooding and misunderstood, DeVito plays his character as one of the most repulsive characters in cinema, and does it in a way that makes your skin crawl, it’s truly brilliant.

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This film really speaks to me for some reason

1. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Yeah, a third Dahl book. Truth be told I could have made this entire list Dahl adaptations, he’s lucky enough to have had a lot of very good books made of his work, but to me this reigns supreme. Not just one of my favourite children’s books adaptations, not just one of my favourite children’s films, this is one of my favourite films. It’s a shame Mel Stuart didn’t have a larger career after this, as visually this film is superb. Most of the acting is also pretty great (with the exception of one of the parents who is awful, just awful), but let’s be honest one of them stands head and shoulders above all the others.

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Just kidding, it was this guy.

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This film belongs to Wilder, his performance is like a sociopathic clown (something which 2016 is very familiar with), that scene in the tunnel in particular is one of the greatest scenes in cinema history, more so when you realise that Wilder never told the other actors what he was going to do, they all thought he was genuinely losing his mind, it’s brilliant. Now despite me loving this film, I’ve never read the book, I have read the sequel though, and this film sets the characters up so well in your head that it makes the book sequel better as you can clearly envision it in her head. The music is pretty darn good as well, Pure Imagination in particular surely has to go down as one of the greatest original songs created for film, it stands up as being so good it transcends the original source material, one of the only songs I can think that does that would be Rainbow Connection.

 

So that’s our list, where did we go wrong? Which Roald Dahl book should we have taken out? Why didn’t we put The Iron Giant in? If you have any questions comment and let us know, or do that if you have any other things you want to see us do.