Monday, January 2, 2012

Mamü's 2011 in Film

It probably seemed a little weird that I didn't write anything to commemorate the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. I actually did have something in mind, and I also planned to make use of a suggestion I received through email quite some time ago. But I don't know, man. I've been going through a really weird time of my life for the past God-knows-how-long, and the fact it's now 2012 freaked me out a lot more.

Well, I shall not bore you with the details, and I'll just present to you what I meant to post back on New Year's Eve itself, but didn't get around to do it until now. I give you, some pretentious awards along with some other commentaries about what I liked and disliked about 2011 in film.

Disappointment of the Year
Cowboys & Aliens

Earlier last year I joked about how the only good thing from this movie was the sight of Daniel Craig in leather chaps. Sure, you could argue that Transformers: Dark of the Moon too could have been 2011's biggest disappointment, as I'm sure that was the case for plenty of those in my circle of friends. But I have been sure from the start, since the first movie that Transformers had always been Michael Bay at his most self-indulgent, doing what he does best; And that is CGI wankfest.

The thing about Cowboys & Aliens, I didn't even put too much stock in it. I wasn't expecting much other than it being an entertaining alien invasion movie with a Western twist. Sure, technically that's what it was. But for some reason, its no-nonsense approach didn't work too well for the subject material, and it was a total bore.

I don't know how it could have been done differently, but I would have taken a page from Predator [1987]; My go-to example of an excellent alien invasion movie.

Most Unfairly Criticised
Conan the Barbarian

Look, I'm not saying it was a great movie, and my review of it wasn't exactly glowing either. Plus, I might care about it a lot less had the title role was played by someone who's not Jason Momoa ♥. But all the same, you have to give credit to it for being rather faithful to the source material, and for being a good throwback to the swords-and-sorcery subgenre.

But I digress. The biggest problem Conan had, was the fact that it was aimed at a niche audience, probably those like me who grew up watching testosterone-fueled flicks, and the same group of people who were super excited when The Rock (as he was known then) took some time off from professional wrestling to star in The Scorpion King [2002]. What happened to that group of people? We're still here! It's just that there aren't many of us left to help you earn back that $90 million production cost.

It certainly didn't help that the times are a-changin', and a lot more is expected from films as a medium of entertainment. It's no longer enough that a hero has to possess great physical prowess, but if he's looking to chop someone's head off, he'd better have a good enough reason that would hold up in any court of law. Well, Conan wasn't that kind of a movie. He's old school, and many are expecting him to stay there where he's still relevant.

Which is too bad, because I would gladly shell out another ten bucks for a sequel.

Most Unfairly Overlooked

While not exactly a box-office bomb, Warrior really should have been a hell of a lot bigger draw than it ended up being. I can't quite pinpoint what's the reason for it. But if I were to speculate, I'd say the marketing kinda sold the movie short. All the same I don't blame them because they did what they could to show that it wasn't going to be like Rocky [1976] but instead of boxing, it's Mixed-Martial Arts.

If only they took it down a few notches because the trailer gave away absolutely everything about the plot, leaving out only the intensity each lead actor brought to the screen. Nick Nolte, Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, they were all simply magnificent and I couldn't decide which one of them stood out more. But of course, I was just like you lot when I saw the trailer; A little too sure that it must be like a B-movie where the fight scenes would be its saving grace.

I was wrong. I ended up liking the dramatic parts a lot more, and thought of the fight scenes as simply the icing on the cake. Warrior was simply a sports drama done right.

Movie of the Year

I was hesitant about choosing Drive as my movie of the year, and I am sure you find it to be a questionable choice already. And such doubts are not unfounded, as I have yet not even seen 50/50, one of the few movies that I was really excited about but ultimately didn't see. Which is why I named the title of this entry as "Mamü's 2011 in Film", I can only talk about movies that I've seen.

So about Drive, all I can say is that it's a bit of an acquired taste, perhaps even comparable to the works of iconic director Stanley Kubrick. You'll either be drawn into it, or find it to be a total bore, because the movie used dialogues rather sparingly, and there was only like ten to fifteen percent of driving in the movie so you can cross out elaborate car stunts. What you will get instead is an atmospheric and ethereal movie, which I found to be such a delightful surprise.

There's little else I can say without repeating what I've already said about it in my review, so kindly check it out if you haven't, and if it sounds like it's right up your alley, give it a try. I hope you'll love it as much as I do.


Zulfahmi said...

I agree with u with Conan... It's not a great movie but I really had fun watching it...

and I can really understand y u pick Drive as ur favorite... It's very retro and Ryan Gosling did very well in expressing his character... Gosh... he's my man crush...

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

Yeah! I would love to see a sequel for Conan, especially since Momoa penned the screenplay himself. Wonder how that would have turned out.

And I'm happy to know that you liked Drive too! Leading man notwithstanding ;)

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