Monthly Report: May + June 2013

01 Jul

I didn’t do a Monthly Report last month. The reason why is that the number of new movies I saw in May was a less-than-impressive 1, and making a blog post on just that seemed silly. Fortunately, June proved a bit more fruitful. My movie interest is perking up again, it would seem. It’s just a shame that these two months didn’t have more really great films to offer than they did, but what can you do.

Breakdown (Jonathan Mostow, 1997)
Solid thriller, albeit with no real stand-out quality. Nothing worth going out of your way to check out.

Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)


End of Watch (David Ayer, 2012)
The story is barely there. Just two cops doing their thing, presented partially found footage style that adds little to the proceedings. What makes the movie work is the convincing performances by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, as well as the many brief yet poignant insights into what it’s like to be a police. The movie manages to take familiar situations and tropes and show them in a way that make the implications of them really sink in for the first time. If that makes sense. This one’s worth checking out.

Kung Fu Dunk (Yen-ping Chu, 2008)
I was hoping for something similar to Shaolin Soccer. This one kind of was, only not as good. One problem was that the martial arts stuff felt shoehorned in and not played to full comedic effect. Even worse was the way too mushy and overly long ending. The early goings of the film did offer some giggles, but not enough to outweigh the bad.

Descent (Talia Lugacy, 2007)
Not to be confused with spelunking horror film The Descent. This is one of those movies that’s more interesting to think about afterwards than it is to actually watch. In its effort to keep the effects of rape “real”, it internalizes everything to too high a degree. The result is a viewing experience that keeps the viewer at too much of a distance. There are some interesting directorial choices here, and Rosario Dawson‘s performance is a strong one – that her character’s motives are kept somewhat in the dark seems to be the director’s choice – but once you realize what the movie is going for, you realize that it’s not enough to sustain its running time.

For a Good Time, Call… (Jamie Travis, 2012)
Not all chick flicks are bad. This one kind of is though, or at the very least “meh.” It’s generally a bad sign that when the end credits start rolling, you realize that nothing has really happened. Nothing has changed, there has been no real character growth, and there have been no laughs either – although some of the cameos are smirk-worthy. This film is also proof that dirty language alone is not enough to spice up a film.


Incendies (Denis Villeneuve, 2010)
A movie very much about its story. It’s full of intrigue and is told well – dual timelines can be tricky, but are pulled off without a hitch here – and I found myself more and more hooked as it went along. Sprinkled in are scenes of stark emotions and shocking violence, almost like interpunctuation. Check this one out if you’re in the mood for a tale with plenty of unexpected turns.

Hit and Run (David Palmer & Dax Shepard, 2012)
I really liked the dialogue here. The conversations and arguements, particularly the ones between Shepard and Kristen Bell – fiances in real life – had a way of drifting from the personal to the general that I dug like hell. Like, they’d start talking about who’s right, then it becomes about what’s right, then they take themselves out of it completely and try to see everything from the outside looking in. It’s hard to describe properly, but it stood out to me as something movies rarely do. The fact that it’s the same kind of conversations I often end up in myself might have something to do with my fondness for it here. Anyway, the rest of the film was cool too, with a story that hasn’t been done to death and fun characters. Could have done with tighter action scenes, perhaps.

The Dictator (Larry Charles, 2012)
Nowhere near as good as Borat or Bruno. Felt more like an excuse for Sacha Baron Cohen to try out a new accent for 80 minutes. I did like the helicopter scene and the climax, though.

A Beautiful Mind (Ron Howard, 2001)
I’m not convinced the movie need to go on for as long as it did; the ending did drag a bit. Overall, though, this was a fascinating story, helped along by two great performances by Russell Crowe (never better) and Jennifer Connelly.

Never Let Me Go (Mark Romanek, 2010)
This was fine. The acting is decent enough – I was particularly impressed by Andrew Garfield – and the story is a cool and unique one. I would highly recommend reading the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro instead, though. That one is superb.


Kiss Me (Alexandra-Therese Keining, 2011)
Not as good as that other Swedish movie about lesbians, but still fairly decent. As much of an infidelity drama as a gay romance, this one struggles a bit with an occasionally flat story – remove the homosexuality and marvel at how humdrum the whole thing would seem – but the two leads (Ruth Vega Fernandez and Liv Mjönes) have good enough chemistry and put in strong enough performances to carry the film to a passing grade.

eXistenZ (David Cronenberg, 1999)
I don’t get it.

Carnage (Roman Polanski, 2011)
Just four talented actors doing what they do best, with Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly in particular providing stand-out turns. The end felt a bit abrupt, but then it always seemed to be headed that way, so it’s not a huge drawback.

Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh, 2012)
Cool and clever film through which I was never sure what was going to happen next. Strong cast too. After In Bruges and this one, McDonagh is certainly a director to keep a close eye on.

The Campaign (Jay Roach, 2012)
Not the most subtle of satires I’ve seen, to say the least. There are some funny scenes here and there, but a lot of the humor just feels forced and hamfisted. I’m a fan of both Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, but neither manages to do much with what they’re given here. The ending is really damn weak, too.

Total # of new films seen: 16
Average score: 2.9 / 5
Best film of the months: Seven Psychopaths
Worst film of the months: Cosmopolis


Posted by on 1 July, 2013 in Monthly Report


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11 responses to “Monthly Report: May + June 2013

  1. vinnieh

    1 July, 2013 at 12:02

    I’ve been meaning to see End of watch, thanks for the reminder.

    • Emil

      1 July, 2013 at 13:09

      No probs. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. Movies - Noir

    1 July, 2013 at 14:26

    I’ve seen a lot of the ones you’ve seen this month, so let’s have a look.

    Breakdown – I like this one, not great, but works well on a rainy day. +3/5.

    End of Watch – I didn’t really like it from the get go, but it certainly grew on me and became better and better. I felt it could’ve ended a bit earlier (in the alley), but still good. +3/5.

    Incendies – I fully agree with you. This one is all about the story and it’s a good one that gets better and better. From the director that did the powerful Polytechnique. 4/5.

    The Dictator – I wasn’t impressed and it just felt lame most of the time. Better to re-watch Borat. 2/5.

    A Beautiful Mind – I also liked this one and it’s well worth seeing. 4/5.

    Never Let Me Go – I didn’t know anything about it and expected a so-so youth film. Was much better and deeper than I thought, so it worked really well. I suppose one shouldn’t read the book before watching the movie though. 4/5.

    eXistenZ – I actually watched it just a couple of days ago. I got it and all, but was somewhat dissapointed. +2/5.

    Carnage – A nice little film by Polanski which works because of the four performances and his direction. Not great and not for all tastes, but I liked it. +3/5.

    Seven Psychopaths – I had high hopes for this one, but it didn’t take long before I felt it was more style over substance, which didn’t really work for me. In Bruges was better (not great, but good). This one was pretty average, although the idea was not bad. 3/5.

    The Campaign – I felt it worked fairly well to begin with, but it went downhill after a while. No more than +2/5.

    The only film I haven’t seen worth commenting on is Cosmopolis. I was close to watching it a long time ago, but it just seems to be a waste of time so I’m glad I didn’t. I like Cronenberg for the most part, but lately he’s been making somewhat boring movies. I hope he gets back to his old self soon.

    • Emil

      1 July, 2013 at 16:11

      I think no matter what way you go with Never Let Me Go, you’ll never fully appreciate the version you don’t experience first due to how the story is set up. I’m still convinced that the book is superior either way though, if comparing films to books is something one feels like doing.

      The more I see of Cronenberg, the more I’m convinced he’s not really my cup of tea. A History of Violence is superb, but everything else ranges from “okay” to “bad” in my book.

      • Movies - Noir

        1 July, 2013 at 19:14

        True, even a remake can be superior to the original if you see it first :)

        It all depends on what you’ve seen by Cronenberg. Some of his best work came in the 70’s and 80’s. I agree with you on A History of Violence though which is his best “new” film.

  3. Nostra

    1 July, 2013 at 16:01

    Yeah Cosmopolis was really boring indeed!

    Happy to see you liked End of Watch

    Carnage was one I didn’t like personally.

    You have seen some good movies and also quite a lot which disappointed you…

    • Emil

      1 July, 2013 at 16:12

      Them’s the breaks sometime. I’m sure I’ll find some new pieces of gold soon enough.

  4. Alex Withrow

    2 July, 2013 at 23:00

    “Cosmopolis: Zzzzzzzzz…”

    YES! Ha, that made me laugh.

    Glad you liked Incendies. That one rocked me.

    • Emil

      3 July, 2013 at 00:35

      I wasn’t sure what to expect with Cosmopolis, as it had garnered very mixed reactions. Ultimately, a good friend of mine told me that I was bound to like it, so I went in with at least some degree of optimism. That was shot down in a hurry.

      Incendies was quite powerful indeed. The bus scene will stick with me for quite some time.

  5. Chris

    8 July, 2013 at 12:07

    Agree Cosmopolis was a snoozefest, not at all what I was expecting based on the misleading trailer.

    Yeah that helicopter scene in The Dictator was a stand-out for me too, but most of it was…just cringeworthy to sit through.

    I liked Never Let Me Go a bit more than you did, and you’re not the first person to recommend the book to me.

    Seven Psychopaths I liked a bit less than you. It has some entertaining dialogue, and good performances. For me, the film loses direction once they go to the desert. I didn’t care who lived or died, but it was an interesting screenplay experiment.

    • Emil

      8 July, 2013 at 13:25

      I never saw the Cosmopolis trailer, but it wouldn’t be the first time that a trailer misrepresents its movie.

      I’m always pleased when I see a film that keeps me wondering what’s going to happen next from scene to scene. When I see a film like that – Seven Psychopaths, Being John Malkovich, The Matador, or what have you – I realize how very many movies are content to just follow familiar formula. Being able to surprise me and keep me guessing – without resorting to out-of-nowhere twists – is a quality I value in a film. Seven Psychopaths certainly did that, especially towards the second half.


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