Monthly Archives: December 2011

That 2011 Year Ending Post (which is one day early)

A Disclaimer (or Introductory Rambling) from the Evil Doctor (who happens to be an elementary English Teacher)

First of all, I decided to write this now instead of tomorrow or on January 1 as tomorrow is New Years Eve and there will be no way for me to write this entry properly in the middle of all the food, fireworks, and my nephew and I playing Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater on my brother’s Playstation 2. Plus, I return to work in the first week of January, so there wouldn’t be enough time for me to write this too in the middle of crafting lesson plans, rereading Arthurian legends, and coming up with questions for Wordsworth’s I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. *sigh* Such is the life of one belonging to the academe.

Secondly, you must have noticed that I haven’t written that much reviews this year (then again, I didn’t either in 2010). That’s because I haven’t had the chance to go to the movies frequently this year. Sure I may be working now, but with the work comes more work and less time for leisure (except on weekends, where I’m content to fattening myself with food and countless hours of playing Star Craft with my college friends).

So in short, I apologize for having fewer movie reviews and more movie rants and ramblings. I really hope that next year would see this review blog having more film reviews than brain-farts.

2011 in Film

Well, I sure missed a lot of films this 2011. I wasn’t able to see Immortals, Midnight in Paris, Cowboys and Aliens, Fright Night and some other films. Additionally, David Fincher‘s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has yet to be released here in the Philippines, courtesy of the Metro Manila Film Festival (where moviehouses, except Imax cinemas, only show locally made films).

As such, the films on this list are the films which truly made an impact for me in 2011, both good and bad.

Dr. Bok’s Films for 2011

1. The Tree of Life: I was planing to watch this on video for the subtitles as Terrence Malick films are notorious for their narration. This wasn’t any different, but my goodness how I regret missing this on the big screen. While I am not a huge fan of Malick, this truly polarizing film is worthy of recognizing for its ambition, its visuals, and its coming of age story sandwiched in images depicting the violent birth and death of the universe, as well as the peace in between.

2. Drive: What we have here is an art-house film with cool action sequences, or should it be an action film with an art-house feel? Regardless of this, Nicolas Winding Refn‘s Drive is definitely one of the best films of the year as it features strong performances from its actors (Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, and Albert Brooks), tension-filled sequences (the opening heist and the elevator sequence being good examples), and some of the best use of gore in recent years (without being overtly gore-nographic about it).

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: 2011 will be a special year for Harry Potter fans as it is the year that the film franchise ended. Admittedly, the film suffers from the source material’s inherent weakness. However, due to strong performances from the performers (especially Alan Rickman), and great direction from David Yates, the film manages to dance around the inherent story weaknesses and provide us with one of the best film conclusions in recent years.

4. The Rite: The last great exorcism film was The Exorcist. This is the next. While definitely not a perfect film (and not to mention having a specific target audience), the film excels in its mostly cerebral scares, tension filled scenes, and a performance where Anthony Hopkins channels his inner-Hannibal Lecter for his *SPOILER ALERT* demonic performance as the exorcist turned possessed victim.

5. hopefully David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Steven Spielberg’s War Horse…

Honorable Mentions of 2011 (in no particular order)

1. Source Code: I would definitely look out for Duncan Jones in the future. His film debut, Moon, while being strangely predictable, is one of the better sci-fi films in recent years. His sophomore effort, Source Code, again while flawed, offers enough thrills and wows, and definitely cements Duncan Jones’ reputation as sci-fi filmmaker.

2. Thor: While suffering from weak script, Thor  just proved two things to the world: that Natalie Portman is capable of having more emotion other than what she showed in Black Swan, and that Kenneth Branagh could handle mainstream action films.

3. Insidious: My review of Insidious wasn’t exactly that favorable, except for the part where I mentioned it being an experiment in using minimalism and surrealism in horror. In those two aspects, Insidious deserves some recognition.

4. The Adventures of Tintin: Spielberg may not be at the top of his form with Tintin, but he was able to handle the often problematic medium of performance capture animation and succeed where Robert Zemeckis failed with The Polar Express, A Christmas Carol, and Beowulf.

5. Transformers 3D (Transformers: The Dark of the Moon): While not necessarily profound or life-changing, Michael Bay’s third entry to the Transformers films is worthy of recognition for the fact that this one had a story and that shooting it on 3D forced Bay to keep his cameras relatively still.

Dr. Bok’s Hate List of 2011

1. Melancholia: A pretentious title. Some heavy-handed musings on depression. A repulsive theme. Need I say more?

2. The Adjustment Bureau: While Emily Blunt was admittedly pretty to look at, the ridiculous contrivances of the angels and Terrence Stamp in this film sure wasn’t.

3. Breaking Dawn Part 1: They showed the trailer during a screening of The Deathly Hallows Part 2, so I’m required to hate this film on principle.

4. The Human Centipede Part 2: I didn’t see it. I have no plans on watching it. I hope nobody sees it. I hope nobody ever makes trash like this again.

5. Sucker Punch: All style, no substance, and a non-existant plot narrative. Zack Snyder should just direct and not write his films.

HAPPY NEW YEAR MY DEAR MINIONS! SEE YOU WHEN THE DARK KNIGHT RISES IS RELEASED! 🙂

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To Watch List of 2012

2011 will be remembered as the year over-saturated by superhero films (Thor, Captain America, X-Men: First Class, and Green Lantern), and the year when Harry Potter ended. In short, it was an okay year (still waiting for Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to be released here in the Philippines though).

Meanwhile, I still haven’t seen a promising film for 2012…save for the following. With that, here’s my “To Watch List for 2012″…

1. The Dark Knight Rises: This should be quite obvious. Christopher Nolan‘s about to close his take on the Batman legend, and we’re all anxious as to how he’ll do it. He’s surprised us before with Memento, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, and Inception. Let’s hope he doesn’t burn out with DKR.

2. The Avengers: Honestly, I’m not fully sold here yet for a couple of reasons. As talented as Joss Whedon is, let’s face the fact that his audience never seems to be the mainstream (except for the Buffy TV Series). His directorial debut, Serenity, while loved by fans, was largely ignored by the general film goers. In short, I still don’t see him as a commercially viable director.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed all the recent Marvel Studios releases (The Iron Man films, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America). So I guess Whedon’s take on The Avengers would be worth checking out.

3. The Expendables 2: Stallone, Willis, Schwarzenegger, Van Damme, and Chuck-F*cking-Norris. Plus, Simon West (who directed Con Air) is helming the film alongside Stallone as the writer and producer. Need I say more?

4. Prometheus: The title may be pretentious as hell, and Ridley Scott‘s career may be plateauing with his recent films. Still, this won’t stop me from heading over to watch what could be one of the best Alien films since…uh… Ridley Scott’s Alien and James Cameron‘s Aliens. Plus, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, and Noomi Rapace (the original Lisbeth Salander) are in it. Fine, this may be the weakest reasons, but screw you, I’m the writer here! :))

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5. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: My MA Thesis was on the heroism of Boromir, the virtue of Faramir, and the demise of Denethor. I wouldn’t be a Tolkien fan if it weren’t for Peter Jackson’s adaptations of The Lord of the Rings. Let’s just hope Jackson’s able to capture lighting in a bottle for a fourth time with the “prequel” to LOTR.

See you at the movies! 🙂