Looking for something to watch on Netflix or LOVEFiLM this weekend? Come this way!
2012 (Roland Emmerich, 2009, USA) – Netflix – HD – 5.1
Say what you want about Roland Emmerich but he destroys our beautiful mother Earth with more verve and enthusiasm than virtually any other filmmaker who has ever walked the planet. 2012 would appear to be the end word of this from him, a film in which everything is thrown at the wall. While not all of it sticks, a great deal certainly does.
As with most of Emmerich’s films, he brings together an interesting cast of solid character actors led by John Cusack and Amanda Peet as well as unexpected figures such as The Station Agent director Thomas McCarthy who has a surprisingly large role. While Emmerich gets more than his fair share of critical derision, he clearly seems to be pretty popular within Hollywood.
The film isn’t really about the cast though. There’s more character based work such as in his last film Anonymous (swallowed up by production design and CG) but 2012 genuinely shows you sights you haven’t witnessed before. Great cracks form within cities as buildings collapse all around, seas wash away entire pockets of civilisation and, in one barn storming moment, a Naval warship is essentially chucked into the White House by nature. It’s overblown and at heart absurd stuff but it leaves an impression and remains a bit of a technical marvel.
For well-made blockbuster entertainment which has a sense of its own ridiculousness, I maintain Emmerich is a treasure and 2012 is yet another example of this. A weekend spent with a few beers and 2 and a half hours of this film is, for me, not a wasted weekend at all.
A low-key entry in the classical Brit horror of stately locations and sins of the past, The Awakening is not perfect but it’s got more than enough to recommend a watch.
Rebecca Hall plays a paranormal investigator who doesn’t believe in the supernatural and wants to expose those who prey on the weak (something which was also explored well in this year’s Red Lights) but she faces a tough challenge when she is asked to go to a boy’s boarding school where mysterious happenings are starting to get more sinister.
Hall is certainly the highlight here, as those who know her work would probably expect, and she elevates what becomes increasingly hokey material. The film tries to hit more emotionally resonant beats but instead only amplifies some rather large plot holes. Hall engenders sympathy throughout in a role which could come off as cold but instead her reserve and stoicism capture a woman who is strong but also relatable. She is ably supported by the likes of Dominic West and Imelda Staunton but this is her show, as it should be.
The film also has a fair bit of technical prowess behind it, with first-time feature director Nick Murphy knowing his way around a scare scene. There are a few effective jump moments and creepy bits of imagery which refuse to get off on gore along with production values which lift this up above many other films of its ilk. While the film does lose the plot, from this point of view, the film is an easy recommend.
A nice little chiller for a time when nights get increasingly longer, this should prove popular and deserves a bit more of a life than it had on the big screen.
A film which, on my first and only viewing, had the poor luck of being seen almost immediately after the glorious Drive, Warrior is one I was impressed with first time round. I’ve been itching to give it another go, especially with ESLF’s editor-in-chief Jordan McGrath recently insisting on our podcast 35mm Heroes that the film is one of “the great sports movies”.
It’s a film which lives up to that tradition in grand style. The addition of a second protagonist shakes things up well, and I’d be
inclined to argue that a film solely focused on either one of these characters would not work nearly as well. Instead the contrast between Joel Edgerton’s hard-working average guy who can’t catch a break and Tom Hardy’s snarling, at-times almost feral and obviously hurt tough guy makes for drama which remains affecting throughout, even if the plot beats are simultaneously expected and ridiculous.
With stonking support from Nick Notle in an Oscar bothering turn, an introspective feel to the cinematography and the score leaving a
melancholic impression throughout, writer/director Gavin O’Connor obviously poured an awful lot of himself into this and the result is a commercially overlooked film which demands attention from far more people than it’s captured so far.