Monday, April 30, 2012

The Films That I Saw: April 2012

After a bad setback two years ago that had me stop writing for a while and then leave for good due to a lot of personal and professional issues. There was a thing I used to do back in called the Life Top Ten List that I modeled from a column that music critic Greil Marcus did. From May of 2003 to March of 2010, I always wrote an end of the month report on things that I saw or heard of in that month that was kind of a personal diary. Having not done that in 2 years and having become more guarded about my private life due to the issues I was facing two years ago. There had been a void of sorts of things I liked to do at the end of the month.

This new thing I’m doing that I’ll admit is not original. Other bloggers that I know have been doing this but my hesitation in not doing wasn’t to rip someone off. It was to because I would have difficulty keeping track of the films I had seen every month. Thanks to Letterboxd, I now have a way to keep track of everything I had seen in the course of a month. Last month, I saw over 50 films. Some were re-watches and others were first-timers including a couple of new films. This month, I saw about 38 films. 22 of them being first-times with the remaining 16 being re-watches.

With this new thing I’m going to do, I will make a list of the 10 best films I saw this month. These will be the new discoveries that I hope readers will seek out as I will just number them with the reviews in link. I prefer not to explain anything about them as I think the reviews are enough for an explanation.

10 Best First-Timers for April 2012:

7. Alien

That’s pretty much it though there’s a lot more that I saw that I enjoyed like The Town, Pushing Hands, Julius Caesar, and the director’s cut of Mimic that I’ve reviewed. Then there’s a bunch of other movies I saw that I haven’t written reviews on because I just don’t really want to as I’m always writing about something else. This is essentially a mix of films that I’ve seen in the past month that I like and dislike. What I will do with this section is that I’ll talk about a film and present them in mini-reviews. The Monthly Mini-Reviews

Bad Teacher

This was quite an enjoyable comedy thanks in part to Cameron Diaz’s very brash and no holds barred performance that proves that she is a true comedic presence. The film’s real scene-stealer is Lucy Punch as this very off-the-wall goody two-shoes teacher who serves as Diaz’s antagonist. It’s pretty funny as it’s got some noteworthy supporting performances from Jason Segal, Thomas Lennon, Phyllis Smith, and John Michael Higgins. The only thing in the film that I felt didn’t work is Justin Timberlake’s character. Timberlake isn’t bad but his character is badly-written as this very one-note nice guy who seems to have a thing for dry-humping and wanting to end slavery. Still, it’s worth seeing because of Diaz’s bawdy performance.


The hit comedy of 2011 finally arrives on HBO as I decided to see what’s the fuss about. It’s a pretty good film thanks in part some very funny performances from Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, and a scene-stealing performance from Melissa McCarthy. It’s got some charm and a lot of funny moments. I did however, had a few qualms about it. One was its length where I felt there were some scenes that dragged on for too long such as the engagement party scene where Wiig and Byrne were trying to one-up each other. I also had issues with Wiig’s roommate characters as I found them to be really unfunny and was really unnecessary to the story. There wasn’t enough Ellie Kemper and Wendi McLendon-Covey as the other bridesmaids while I also thought the film was a bit too dramatic considering all of the turmoil Wigg’s characters was going through. I still recommend it although I think it’s a very overrated film.

Fast Five

I’m not a fan of the Fast & the Furious films though I thought the second and third films were OK. I was not keen on seeing this thinking this was just another film about cars and all that. I was absolutely wrong. What I got instead was an action blockbuster that was really a whole lot of fun. Particularly as it was a well-crafted heist movie that took its time while not taking itself seriously. The cast is great that includes an electrifying performance from THE MOST ELECTRIFYING MAN IN ALL OF ENTERTAINMENT!!! The location is superb without being too much of a postcard look. Plus, there were some fine ladies as I can totally enjoy watching Gal Gadot in a bikini any day of the week.

Monte Carlo

OK, I don’t think Leighton Meester, Selena Gomez, nor Katie Cassidy are that bad. They’re actually quite tolerable as I find them to be attractive as long I don’t have to listen to them. OK, maybe Leighton Meester as I consider her to be the most attractive of the three. Yet, this film was absolute shit. I have never been to Paris or Monte Carlo but I don’t really think those places can be that beautiful. I was amazed at how much they were willing to suspend disbelief with its main characters as it turned out to be very dumb. I was annoyed by the very postcard look of the film as I think it’s dishonest. Then there’s the spoiled heiress character that Selena Gomez also plays in the film that has her butchering the British accent. That was just grating to my ears.


This film had a premise that should’ve worked as it was set in the early 80s in Texas about a skating rink manager trying to deal with what to do with his life as the skating rink is about to close. Instead, you have a very awful lead performance from Shiloh Fernandez where he just tries so hard to be dramatic and charming but couldn’t do either. There’s stuff in that film is very silly along with some very bad editing. It seems like director Anthony Burns was trying to make a film that was a tribute to the John Hughes film of the 80s as he dedicated the film to Hughes. While it has a great soundtrack of late 70s/early 80s music, I was annoyed by a few anachronisms such as a picture of Morrissey who wasn’t even famous at that time as the film was set in 1983. A year before the Smiths’ first album was released. Ashley Greene looked hot but she was really uninteresting.

The Re-Watches:

The next series of films are those that I’ve seen before but just watched them just to pass the time as they’re films that I would often enjoy seeing and such. Here’s a list of the films that I saw that I would totally recommend in no particular order.

1. Cronos

4. Girl with a Pearl Earring 

5. Major League

6. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

7. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

10. Shanghai Knights

Well, that is all for April 2012. Next month will be the Cannes Film Festival Marathon that will take place from May 16 to May 27 during the run for the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. I’ve already have made a list of films to see for the marathon which I’ll reveal next Monday. I am going to watch some of those films ahead of time like I did last year. I usually have family over around this time and watching a lot of films during duration will be too much to handle as I’m trying to pace myself. Expect a few reviews of films by Werner Herzog and maybe, Akira Kurosawa coming in May as well as reviews of upcoming new films like The Avengers and Prometheus. Until then, I bid adieu.

© thevoid99 2012


Stevee Taylor said...

Ehehehe, you saw Monte Carlo? That film was so bad. Let me guess, there was not one moment in it that left you guessing?

Alex Withrow said...

Of your first timers, my favorite would have to be The Last Temptation of Christ, then Sans Soleil… both great movies.

Of your rewatches, my favorite is Roger Dodger, a film I absolutely love and wish more people saw and talked about. Major League is pretty goddamn awesome too.

James said...

Glad to see you're getting into Bresson. One of my all time favorite directors.

Also, a little strange to see that you finally saw Alien. I guess we all have big titles we've yet to catch up with. That was one of those early films I watched when getting into movies, so I just assume most people have seen it.

Also, yes, Fast Five was a surprising amount of fun. Totally wasn't expecting that to be the case.

thevoid99 said...

@Stevee-It was like a guessing game and I got everything right. It was just dumb. It was on TV and I was like... "yadda-yadda-yadda... oh! Selena Gomez cleavage and... blah, blah, blah, oh! Leighton Meester looking quite pretty... blah, blah, blah".

That's my reaction to the film.

@Alex-The first Major League is a classic. The 2nd one was terrible and the third was OK but too formulaic.

@James-The Bresson films were on Turner Classic Movie last Sunday and I've been intrigued by his work ever since getting the DVD for Mouchette. I want to see more! Fast Five was a total surprise. I really hope they don't use Rhianna for the next film. Would love to fuck her but that's it.

Courtney Small said...

To this day I still stand by my love for Fast Five. The most fun I had watching a movie in 2011.

thevoid99 said...

@CS-I was shocked by the good reviews for that film. I was dumbfounded thinking that no way in hell this film should be this good.

I was wrong. It is a fun-ass movie. I could watch it all the time. It seemed like they finally got the actors to relax a bit and gave them a proper screenplay to work with.