2009 certainly brought us a few cinematic corkers, from sci-fi epic Avatar to comic-book crunching goodness from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and Watchmen. But it wasn’t all wham, bam and explosions – will 2010 be a year of smarter movies? Judging this list… maybe.
It was about time Sherlock Holmes got the Hollywood treatment – audiences have been continually fascinated with Arthur Conan Doyle’s series of short detective stories through the years, yet they undoubtedly needed a little sexing up to succeed with a modern audience. Enter Guy Ritchie, whose new action-packed adaptation is certainly a departure from the original series, but nonetheless entertaining in its own right. The screenplay has enough intelligence not to completely insult fans of Conan Doyle’s stories, and it’s perfectly complemented by Downey Jr’s sarcastic, slightly camp take on Sherlock. This adaptation won’t set the world on fire, but it’s a fine two hours entertainment for a dreary winter’s night.
In this week’s Face/Off, we turn our attention to Christmas films. Classic feelgood fare or cynical attempt to convert a religious holiday into sweet sweet cash? Our dedicated team of writers take up the stance: optimism vs. pessimism, festive joy vs. humbuggery, Santa vs… well, Satan, we guess.
At least, not always. Films that studios allocate ridiculously bloated publicity budgets to are not always likely to be showered in glowing reviews and critical acclaim. Here we chronicle 2009’s most hyped films, some of which delivered and some that blew up in the studios’ faces big time.
“It is better,” said the essayist and moralist Joseph Joubert, “to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.” In the spirit of such a great man that we just found out about on Wikipedia, we present you, gentle reader, with the first in what may well be a series of debates on the state of modern film.
On December 11th, The Lovely Bones gets a limited release Stateside, with the full shebang rolling out a whole month later on the 15th. Over in the land of Blightly, we’ll get our fill of Peter Jackson’s latest a full six weeks later on January 29th, pretty much last in the world release queue. Not that we should feel maligned – the release date has been endlessly shunted about (it was originally slated for March 2008), ostensibly to ensure The Lovely Bones a spot on the Oscars shortlist.
Like turkey, disappointing crackers and the traditional game of ‘find grandad’s wig’, Christmas films are always the same. And the strange thing is, we wouldn’t want it any other way. What is on your essential Christmas film list? We bet you’ll find at least a few of them here…
There are some things in life that you hype up to such a ridiculous extent, there’s no way they’re going to live up to your expectations. The media frenzy surrounding New Moon ensured there was very little chance it would live up to expectations, and surprise, surprise, it doesn’t. Golden Compass director Chris Weitz places the film squarely in cheesy superhero blockbuster territory with exaggerated special effects and embarrassingly corny love scenes. The only bright spot on the horizon is newcomer Taylor Lautner, who brings a surprising amount of warmth and likeability to the role of Jacob Black.
CGI effects have revolutionised modern filmmaking to the extent that effects alone can make or break a movie. But is an over-reliance on CGI driving audiences away and cheapening the cinematic experience? We take a look at the computer generated revolution – and how the revolutionaries might soon find themselves in the firing line.
Hollywood’s bent for all things cheesy is perhaps best embodied in that most haunting of spectres, the child actor. From their cutesy giggles to their moronic lisps, we count down the five most irritating mugs ever to grace the screen at the tender age of precocious.