Attack the Block
Joe Cornish is able to effectively mix multiple genres (science-fiction, comedy, horror etc.) with Attack the Block. The film follows a group of teenagers from the British hood as they try to survive an invasion by aliens. Cornish does everything right with the film from giving an interesting take on dialogue to making a very unique and memorable design to the aliens. The acting is also pretty solid, which is a surprise because the actors have very little to no experience. My only problem with the film is that it ultimately doesn't feel like anything substantial. Nevertheless this is an enjoyable flick.
Craig Gillespie delivers a remake that is actually worth it. Fright Night is a well made update as it includes more scares, more comedy and a much greater cast. Colin Farrell is continuing to prove that he is one of the most underrated actors as he carries this film as the charismatic vampire, Jerry. Anton Yelchin continues his great year with a solid lead performance and David Tennant gives a suitably goofy performance. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin from Superbad) shows up here as well and continues to show how good he is at picking scripts. After his breakout role, he has appeared in Role Models, How To Train Your Dragon, Kick-Ass and now this. My only problem with this film is that it gives no substantial roles to women. All of the women characters just seem to be decorations.
I also saw this film in 2D. The cinematography, however, seemed to suggest that this film would have been a good time in 3D.
Limitless is a surprising film. The advertising seemed to suggest this would just be your typical studio controlled film to give a rising star like Bradley Cooper a lead vehicle. While some of the elements of the film (especially the up-beat ending) reek of studio influence, Neil Burger does a remarkable job of making the film his own. The cinematography and editing gives the film a very unique and trippy style. The plot is also handled in an intriguing way. A plot about a man who takes pills that give him the ability to access all of his mind could have easily gone wrong, yet it doesn't. The film raises a lot of questions while still being enjoyable, and while the film doesn't follow through with all of these questions there are still remnants of ambition throughout the film. The performances are all top notch as Bradley Cooper actually shows some acting chops. Abbie Cornish and Robert De Niro also give decent supporting performances.
The Lincoln Lawyer
The Lincoln Lawyer only wants to tell your typical courtroom drama story with a twist here or there. With a story so simple, the makers of this film really needed to make this film perfectly to stand out in the crowd of films. Unfortunately, they are unable to do so. While the film is slick in the first half and features a bunch of great actors like Marisa Tomei, Bryan Cranston and William H. Macy, the film overstays its welcome quickly and just becomes boring. The only redeeming part about the film is a charismatic and stoic performance from Matthew McConaughey. It's just too bad that his best performance to date came in such a discardable film.
Of Gods and Men
Of Gods and Men is a film that at times is intriguing beyond its based-on-real-life constraints. Unfortunately, at other parts of the film, we are forced to watch characters do everyday tasks for ungodly amounts of time. This film is a complete mixed bag as it has moments that will bore you to tears along with some of the most memorable scenes of the year (such as an amazingly directed scene involving monks listening to music at a crossroads moment for them). The director decides to go the subtle route with directing and that is the main cause in the erratic nature of the film. The only actor in the cast that makes an impression is Lambert Wilson who plays the lead monk. He is able to subtly convey so much emotions (fear, stress, hope) without even saying a word.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Uncle Boonmee has to be one of the strangest and most original films out there. The plot definitely becomes convoluted at times and I don't know if the film succeeds in carrying out all of its messages. However, the film is easily one of the most visually stunning films of the year. The apparitions are so uniquely imagined and the cinematography really captures the beauty of its surroundings. While most of this film was almost incomprehensible, I can't say that I wasn't intrigued. The film has a special way of keeping your eyes on the screen and this is never more so the case in a bizarre scene involving a catfish and a woman at a lake.