Catching up 2012… Movies

I’m going to get back to reviewing individual films this year, I swear. For 2012, you get one blog post and a few sentences on the meager handful of films I managed to see.


I hated Fellowship of the Ring when I first saw it. I was very protective of the books I’d read as a kid (and multiple times as an adult) and didn’t particularly like the liberties they took with the story.

I eventually came around after watching the extended versions and by the third film in the trilogy, even the scrubbing bubbles army of the dead scouring the landscape like so much soap scum didn’t bother me all that much.

All of that means I was perfectly suited for the video game antics in The Hobbit. The other films at least kept with the tone of the original stories, this adaptation alters the film in a lot of ways that, in hindsight, bother me. The Hobbit is a much more innocent story than the LOTR. Somehow, The Hobbit, as a film gets amped up to the point where I half expected Milla Jovovich to pop out flanked by a couple of zombies.

Still, it’s wildly enjoyable if you don’t worry about the spinning around Tolkien is doing in his grave.


I have nothing good or bad to say about this movie. I watched it and came away almost perfectly neutral. I don’t think I’ve ever been so meh about a movie.

Oh well.

Election II

Do I think this is one of the 10 greatest Hong Kong filmes ever made? I don’t think so. Do I think it’s close, if it’s not in the top ten? Hell. Yes.


While not as complex as the sequel I preferred this film as entertainment.

36th Chamber of Shaolin

At one point my love for this film would have been as obvious as the fact that I know a little bit about making web pages. That was 15 years ago when I was writing about movies all the time and saw more Hong Kong movies every year than some locals. I STILL LOVE THIS MOVIE.

Hara Kiri

I don’t buy into the cult of Takashi Miike. I think he’s a painfully uneven filmmaker- bouncing between chilling brilliance to pure mediocrity only notable for shock tactics. This remake of Masaki Kobayashi’s classic falls well along the mediocre end of the spectrum. It’s a shame, since the original source material was so good.

As an aside, if you like movies and don’t know the name Kobayashi off the top of your head, you’re missing out in a big way: The Human Condition trilogy, Harakiri, and Kwaidan are more than enough proof of that.


I couldn’t figure out why Martin Scorsese made this movie and then, of course, I realized the plot fit right into his, “golly I love movies” wheelhouse.

Shut Up Little Man

In the end, the funny part of this movie won out over the disturbing part.

Now you know.

Super 8

I love this movie.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

If you like art, or the internet, or free speech or cats that can open doors, then see this movie. Ai Weiwei is an important person in a lot of different ways and this film serves as a good introduction to the many facets of this fascinating artist and activist.

Return of the Jedi

Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars

Yeah, these.


What a simple, yet perfect movie. It’s really three parts.

  1. A bad thing happens
  2. The hero tells the bad people that they should undo the bad thing or they’ll get killed
  3. The hero kills the bad people who don’t undo the bad thing

Simple genius.


I didn’t hate this. That’s probably the best I can say about it.

Black Hawk Down

I remembered liking this when I saw it, but nearly a year later I can’t remember a single thing about it. Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker basically wiped the memory of this movie out of my mind.

Top Hat

For real. Fred Astaire!

Double Indemnity

This is a goddamn classic movie. Goddammit.

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