Part 3 of the films I saw in 2012.
(Starring the voices of Emma Thomson, Billy Connolly)
Princess Merida is a skilled archer. Her father Fergus lost a leg fighting off a bear to save her. When her mother Elinor tells her that she is to be betrothed to one of three suitors from clans allied to her father, Merida is angered. When Elionor recites a legend about a prince who sought absolute power for himself She proceeds to ruin things by proposing an archery challenge, then outshoots the suitors. A furious Elinor throws her bow into the fire but immediately regrets her actions. Upset, Merida storms off and meets a witch who gives Merida a cake to “change” her mother. It changes Elinor into a bear. Now Merida has to keep her mother safe and find a way to change her back. She also discovers that the legend her mother told her is true.
(Starring Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Nathan Lane)
Another retelling of the Snow White story, but with a lighter touch than “Snow White and the Huntsman”. When Snow White’s mother dies, her father the king marries Clementianna. When the king disappears, Clementianna assumes control and turns into a wastrel, bankrupting the kingdom. When Prince Alcott arrives after being mugged by seven dwarves, Clementianna tries to seduce him with comic results. Helped by the seven dwarves, Snow White releases her father from an enchantment and marries the prince, freeing the kingdom from Clementianna’s profligacy.
The Chernobyl Diaries
On a trip to the former Soviet Union, a group of friends illegally enters Chernobyl, the town where a nuclear disaster occurred in 1986. Once in there, mysterious things start happening, and one by one the friends and their guide are murdered.
Katy Perry: Part of Me
A documentary about the singer Katy Perry. This deals with her world tour and concurrent breakdown of her marriage to British Comedian Russel Brand. The music is brilliant.
(Starring Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby)
The film is set in Mega City One, a megalopolis along the East Coast of the US in a post-apocalyptic future. Investigating a double murder at a skyscraper, Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is ordered to field test a recruit (Olivia Thirlby) with psychic powers who narrowly failed her exams. The person responsible is a gang leader named Ma-Ma, who controls the supply of the drug slow-mo, that speeds up mental processes and makes users feel as if time has slowed down. Ma-Ma then locks the building down and attempts to kill the two Judges.
Dredd was filmed in Johannesburg and Cape Town. It was quite striking to notice familiar points in the scenery.
The film is the grittiest I have ever watched. In this future, the Judges are only able to respond to 6% of crimes and a high percentage of Judges don’t survive their first few weeks on the job. As a result, the Judges are as brutal as the criminals they are fighting. In one scene, the psychic has to execute an assailant, only to find out later that he was married and his wife has a child.
(Voices of Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg)
Dracula (Adam Sandler) has opened a hotel in Transsylvania where monsters can stay. He is also very overprotective of his young daughter (Selena Gomez). A human backpacker (Andy Samberg) happens across the hotel and doesn’t at first realise that it’s for monsters. Comedy ensues.
(Starring Josh Tickell)
Josh Tickell has an interest in oil and biofuels. Several years back he travelled the US in a biofuelled van named the “Veggie Van”. He also looks at the damage caused by petrochemical refining. One of the interviewees in the film is his mother, who suffered nine miscarriages while living near an oil refinery.
The film was fascinating. One of the most interesting things happens near the end. Tickell shows that petrochemicals are inefficient from an energy perspective (it takes more energy to extract and refine a barrel of oil than there is in the oil), but that traditional biofuels are not much better (to create a barrel of biofuels expends the same amount of energy that is in the biofuel) and that our best hope may be algae-based biofuels.
The Five Year Engagement
(Starring Jason Segal, Emily Blunt)
This follows a couple (played by Jason Segal and Emily Blunt) who get engaged to be married, but one thing after another intervenes and the engagement last, well, five years.
I disliked this film. When it comes to comedy, the US has this tendency to take a good idea and beat it to death. So it is with this film, even though the name gives a warning. By the end, I wanted to say “what took you so long?” Also, some of the female characters came across like no women I’ve ever met.
A retelling of the Frankenstein story with Victor, a child with a keen interest in science. When Victor’s dog dies, Victor brings him back to life. When the other schoolchildren find out, they want him to do the same for their pets.
A good film, ruined by a preachy, moralising ending.
Rise of the Guardians
(Voices of Isla Fisher, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, Chris Pine)
When Pitch the Bogeyman tries to mount a comeback, the Man in the Moon instructs the Guardians (Easter Bunny, Sandman, Santa Claus and Tooth Fairy) to stop him, and appoints Jack Frost as a full Guardian to help.
(Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Maeryl Streep, Steve Carell)
Jones and Streep play a married couple whose sex life is nonexistent. Out of desperation the wife books a week’s stay at a clinic run by Carell’s character in the hope of bringing the spark back.
(Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis)
This was the last film I saw in 2012.
The film is set in the year 2044. In 2075, time travel is both possible and illegal. It is also impossible to get away with murder as forensic science and police investigative techniques are just too good. So criminals in 2075 send victims back in time to 2044 where hitmen called “Loopers” kill them and dispose of the bodies in return for Silver bars. Whenever a looper in the future gets to be too big a risk, he is sent back to be murdered by his past self who is paid in gold – an action termed “closing the loop”.
Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper. When Joe (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to be killed, he escapes from his past self and sets out to murder “The Rainmaker”, a new boss who ordered the closing of all the loops and caused the death of Joe’s wife.
This film raises interesting questions about the paradoxes that time travel could cause.
Next post will probably be either about antivaccination in South Africa, or flu vaccination.