Happy new year. As always, the first post of the month is the review of the previous month and the Movie of the Month award that goes with it:
Saving Mr. Banks: The true story of Walt Disney’s battle to make Mary Poppins despite the objections of author P.L. Travers. Most notable for fantastic acting and less sentimental than you would expect.
Carrie: Remake of Brian De Palma’s classic horror movie based on Stephen King’s novel. Julianne Moore does a good job, Chloë Grace Moretz gives a good performance but is miscast. There is nothing really wrong with it but it’s a shadow of the original movie.
Kill Your Darlings: Daniel Radcliffe plays Allen Ginsberg in this story of the origins of the “Beat Generation”. Well made and well acted but probably one for fans of beat literature and not casual moviegoers.
Homefront: Jason Statham stars in this revenge action thriller written by his Expendables co star Sylvester Stallone (screenplay). Not a great film but Statham does what Statham does making for a fun film. James Franco, Kate Bosworth and Winona Ryder appear to be having fun. Based on a novel by Chuck Logan, there are another four films in the series, sequel?
Getaway: Ethan Hawke plays a former race-car driver tasked with driving around an unnamed eastern European city causing traffic chaos in order to save his kidnapped wife. Selena Gomez and a customised Shelby Mustang provide support. It isn’t much good but like Homefront its good fun.
Oldboy: If you saw this movie in isolation you would probably think it was an original and interesting thriller. However Spike Lee’s movie just doesn’t work when compared to Chan-wook Park’s original masterpiece. Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen and Michael Imperioli are all good but Sharlto Copley and Samuel L. Jackson look like they have stepped in from a different movie.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: after being underwhelmed by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I was pleasantly surprised by this second outing. Jumping straight into the action and not letting up for most of 161minute runtime.
47 Ronin: A surprisingly good retelling of the legendry tale of the 47 Ronin (as depicted in the 1941 movie of the same name) with the addition of Keanu Reeves. Despite the high fantasy trailer, this is actually a traditional samurai movie with a couple of fantasy elements added for modern taste. It is surprisingly good.
All Is Lost: did you see last months movie of the month Gravity? Imagine the same story set at see instead of in space and you have All Is Lost. It isn’t as good as Gravity, but Robert Redford’s performance is sensational.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Star/Director Ben Stiller and Writer: Steve Conrad retell James Thurber’s short story in the modern age. Stiller is both unusually restrained and funny. A surprisingly good movie that I enjoyed far more than I thought I would.
I could have changed my movie over the month with virtually every film I have seen this month. Although not terrible, Carrie and Oldboy were a waste of time and you would be better off watching the original movies. Homefront and Gateway were the most fun and Nebraska was the best film. But those who have read previous examples of this post will know being the best isn’t always enough to be Movie of the Month. The movie of the month is the uplifting and surprisingly good (and funny) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: