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The Films I Watched In 2012 Awards

With 2012 drawing to an end, it’s time for my second annual year end awards. Just like last year, I have not had time to fully delve into all the films released this year to the degree I would like to, so I once again focus on what I saw this year, no matter when it was released.

Thus, I’m happy to present A Swede Talks Movies’ The Films I Watched In 2012 Awards!

I saw 204 movies this year (not counting rewatches), which is a slight step down from last year’s 229. This is fine, and expected. In matters not movie-related, this year was busier than the last one for me. I still got a lot of good watching done, knocking off some long-standing entries from my List of Shame, starting to explore new directors like Buster Keaton and Ingmar Bergman, venturing into Iranian cinema for the first time, and much more.

So without further ado, here are some random silly highly prestigious categories, and their respective victors!

Skärmavbild 2012-12-28 kl. 14.18.03Best Beatdown of a Puny God Award
Winner: The Avengers

I’m sure mine wasn’t the only theater in the world to erupt with laughter when Hulk went to town on Loki. I could hardly breathe myself due to laughing so hard. Unexpected, brutal, and hilarious. Surely one of the greatest moments in 2012 film.

Skärmavbild 2012-12-28 kl. 14.29.27Walken Award for Best Show-Stealing Performance In A Bad Film
Winner: Malcolm McDowell – Silent Night

Silent Night was quite the run-of-the-mill slasher flick, with nothing remarkable taking place throughout its running time. Nothing, that is, except for Malcolm McDowell as grumpy and in-charge Sheriff James Cooper. He is wildly off-key compared to the rest of the cast, chewing the scenery at every turn, and the writers seem to have expected this, as they’ve given him way funnier lines than anyone else in the film. “Big mistake: bringing a flamethrower to a gun fight!” If there is a reason to see the movie – and to be perfectly frank, there isn’t really – it’s McDowell.

GoodFellasBest Film That I Should Have Seen A Long Time Ago Award
Winner: Goodfellas
Runner-up: Jaws

I would say that Goodfellas and Jaws are the two movies I’ve gotten the most “You haven’t seen that one!?” comments about these last few years. It feels good to have finally gotten around to them, especially since both turned out to be pretty great films. Goodfellas is the richer of the two in my eyes, but it’s a close call. Prediction: If this category returns next year, I’d say Schindler’s List might be a potential frontrunner.

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Posted by on 30 December, 2012 in Year End Awards

 

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Monthly Report: June 2012

June turned out to be a month of solid movies for me. Very… even. The vast majority ended up in the 3-4 score range. There were perhaps some films I had higher hopes for than that, but c’est la vie.

Prometheus (Ridley Scott, 2012)
It’s not Alien, but it’s a more than adequate tribute to it that manages to bring up some interesting ideas. There are a couple of scenes that have really stuck with me since I saw it, and Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender are both great. My full review is available here.
4/5

Eat Sleep Die (Gabriela Pichler, 2012)
It’s rare for a Swedish film to accurately capture the way Swedes talk in real life. This one manages this perfectly. The story of 20-year-old Rasa (Nermina Lukac) who finds herself unemployed is a straight-forward one, but thanks to the characters and the down-to-earth nature of the material, it commands your attention more and more for each passing minute. There’s some real humor to be had here, the kind that’s funny because it’s true. I saw this at a cast screening, so the release is still some months away. Make sure to see it when you get the chance.
4/5

High Tension (Alexandre Aja, 2003)
A nice and simple premise sets the stage for a deadly cat-and-mouse game as a young woman (Cécile De France) tries to save her friend from a demented killer. This one took me by surprise with the frightening atmosphere it manages to pull off, often through the use of bloody violence. So often in horror films, gore is used for its own sake. Not so here. This is blood and murder to make you scared and worrying for the protagonist. The ending has apparently divided people on whether it’s good or bad. I wasn’t a big fan of it myself, and it’s the main reason why this one doesn’t cruise on to a full 5. I’d still call it the best horror film I’ve seen in quite a while.
4/5

Fast Times as Ridgemont High (Amy Heckerling, 1995)
I feel like I’m missing out on some of the appeal of this one by not having seen it when I was younger. Nonetheless, this is a pretty decent high school flick. It didn’t make me laugh as much as it was hoping for, but there are some scenes of unexpected heartfeltness and maturity. If the movie isn’t quite as good as I had been led to believe, the same certainly can’t be said of Sean Penn as surfer/stoner Spicoli. He absolutely nails the part. I was also taken by Jennifer Jason Leigh‘s performance as curious Stacy.
3/5

Red State (Kevin Smith, 2011)
Easily the best-acted Kevin Smith movie I’ve seen, and I’ve seen most of them. John Goodman, Melissa Leo and Michael Parks all put forth impressive showings. The film is very different from Smith’s usual fare in terms of content, yet some things remain the same. For instance, Smith remains better at writing than at directing. The dialogue is as compelling and snappy as ever – though less comedic than usual – but the pacing of the film is kind of awkward. Not his best work, but an interesting step in a different direction.
3/5

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (Gareth Carrivick, 2009)
Very self-aware British time travel comedy that keeps throwing surprises at you while still retaining an effective sense of humor. I like how it starts out narrow and “small” only to gradually widen its scope. Fans of the genre should definitely check this one out.
4/5

Turn Me On, Dammit! (Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, 2011)
Norwegian coming-of-age story about teenager Alma (Helene Bergsholm) and her struggling with ostracism and her sexual awakening. The film does a fine job of evoking small-town life, at times reminding me of Lukas Moodysson‘s Show Me Love in this regard. Compared to a lot of teen dramas of this sort, this one maintains a very low-key tone for the most part, something I found perhaps more interesting than effective. The story is compelling and held my interest throughout, although the ending ties things up a bit too nicely. It’s an okay movie overall, but I wish it had dug a bit deeper emotionally.
3/5

Rock of Ages (Adam Shankman, 2012)
This glossy musical succeeds and fails in roughly equal measures. I had a good time on average, thanks to the nice song numbers and Tom Cruise‘s superb performance, but I can fully sympathize with those who are put off by the wafer-thin story and the lack of an edge. My full review is available here.
3/5

Super (James Gunn, 2010)
I did not expect this film to be as violent as it was. Compared to other self-aware superhero films like Kickass and Defendor, this one comes up a bit short. It strives for a darker story, but its handling of its rough scenes are hit-or-miss. There’s a certain unevenness to its tone. Even so, it is reasonably entertaining, and Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page and Kevin Bacon (why did I ever hate this guy?) all put in fine efforts on the acting side.
3/5

Hot Tub Time Machine (Steve Pink, 2010)
Not God-awful, but certainly not very good either. There are some laughs to be had here, but for the most part, the comedy here is lame and obvious. It’s also a case of wasted opportunity, as there is certainly a lot of humor that could be mined from having people revisit the 80s. None of it is taken advantage of here, sadly enough. I’m probably forgetting something, but off the top of my head, I’d say this could be the worst time travel movie I’ve ever seen.
2/5

The Grudge (Takashi Shimizu, 2004)
For clarity, this would be the English language remake. A solid effort in the horror genre, with appropriate creepiness and a strong climax. It has some problems, however. The pacing gets a bit too hectic, for one. The jump scares become repetitive after a while. The story isn’t very original, and the non-chronological way of telling it adds little to the proceedings. These issues may sound big, but the movie still succeeds at being scary, so they’re largely forgivable.
3/5

Total # of new films seen: 11
Average score: 3.3 / 5
Best film of the month: High Tension
Worst film of the month: Hot Tub Time Machine

 
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Posted by on 1 July, 2012 in Monthly Report

 

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My first ever cast screening (Eat Sleep Die)

During the movie:

“Oh, hey, I recognize that man. I saw him as we entered the theater. And there’s the guy we talked to on the train here.”

At the party after the movie:

“I recognize all these people! They were all in the film!”

I could get used to going to movie premieres/sneak previews/cast showings. Hypothetically, that is. I don’t expect to get many more opportunities of this kind. Yesterday, I attended my first one, and I had a great time.

The film is called Eat Sleep Die (original Swedish title Äta Sova Dö). A couple of friends of mine had landed bit parts in it, and one of them invited me along to this cast showing, which was something like the second ever screening of the film to anyone.

I wasn’t the only one who was new to this kind of thing. Eat Sleep Die is the feature film debut of director Gabriela Pichler, who won a Guldbagge – Sweden’s equivalent to the Oscars – for her short film Scratches (Skrapsår) two years ago. Furthermore, none of the actors had any real acting experience. This was something new, in one way or another, to everyone.

While the film was playing, you could still tell that there was a certain something in the air. You’d hear a chuckle sometime even when nothing funny was happening, presumably from someone who just saw him/herself on the big screen for the first time ever. A whispered word here and there, somehow very different from the usual chatter you might hear in cinema. I know I certainly smiled broadly when one of my friends appeared in a scene, or when a familiar local landmark became the focus of a shot.

When the credits had finished rolling, Pichler invited every cast member down to the stage. This turned out to be a bit over half of the people present by my estimation, but there were still plenty enough of us left seated to applaud them all heartily.

After the film, we were all treated to finger food and champagne. I’m not the best in the world at the whole mingling thing, but it was a lot of fun to hear people talk about their experience with working on and seeing the movie. Some felt that they had stumbled terribly over their lines, an opinion that was always met with “Really? I didn’t notice that at all from you” from the other guests. A lot mentioned that many of their scenes had gotten left on the cutting room floor – a reaction Pichler had warned before the film that many would have, as they had shot a lot and had to get the movie down to a reasonable running length. What most everyone seemed to agree on was that this was a great one-of-a-kind experience.

In addition to exchanging a few words with some of the actors – who all seemed like great people – I also got to chat briefly with Pichler herself. She turned out to be a very kind person who was very thrilled about the whole thing – the film, the process, the positive reception from everyone, and also everything that still lies ahead for her and the movie. She was worried that the sound hadn’t been quite right on this showing, something I and others had noticed as well, with the dialogue at times drowning in other parts of the audio. It might have been due to this one particular theater we had been in, but it was something they were going to look into regardless. This lead to a discussion of how different various cinemas can be, and how Avatar‘s 3D had worked much better in that place than in that other one, and then on to Prometheus and so forth. Talking to her was a lot of fun.

All in all, I had a great time. As I said earlier, I have never attended anything of this kind before. No film festivals, no launch parties, no nothing. Getting to be one of the very first to see a film, and to then hang out with the people involved in making it, was very cool. I hope I get more opportunities like this in the future. If not, that’s fine too. Either way, I’ll always have this one to look back on fondly.

Big thanks go out to the people involved for a superb event! I’m very grateful to have been allowed to attend.

Oh, and as for Eat Sleep Die? You know, the actual movie? It was good. Very good, in fact. I might write a review of it at some point, so keep your eyes open.

Eat Sleep Die (Äta Sova Dö) is about life in Skåne, Sweden’s southernmost province. It follows 20-year-old Rasa (Nermina Lukac) as she deals with being suddenly unemployed. The film will open in theaters in Sweden sometime in late summer or fall of 2012. Before that, it might also play at Venice International Film Festival.

From left to right: Emil (Movie-Talking Swede), Gabriela Pichler (director), Daniel Nymberg (actor), Milan Dragisic (actor).

 
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Posted by on 7 June, 2012 in Misc.

 

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