I won’t hesitate to say that the month of June was a pretty spectacular one in terms of my film viewing. Although I literally just missed out on seeing Moonrise Kingdom under the wire, there were a handful of well above average productions I had the pleasure of viewing both in and out of theaters, but as to be expected, not everything was savory. Enjoy, and as always, feel free to comment on whatever you’d like!
Not afraid to show its teeth, Lorene Scafaria’s debut feature is an agreeably bleak look at the apocalypse, and a peculiarly amiable one at that, making it the first true sleeper hit of the year thus far. Carell and Knightley’s chemistry compliments their impending doom admirably, even though a majority of the film’s lighter side was unfortunately put on display throughout the film’s sparse marketing campaign. In short, it’s a relief to witness something as ballsy as Seeking a Friend play out onscreen, what with the entire film not opting for the easy way out as various insights are shared pertaining to just how meaningful life is to certain individuals when Doomsday is staring both them and you dead in the face.
Another example of how exceedingly high expectations tend to pave the way toward disappointment, Ridley Scott’s indirect prequel to his 1979 sci-fi classic Alien is an escapist’s paradise, and a visually enthralling one at that. Pairing the panache that garnered the latter a solid chunk of its notoriety, the script, albeit somewhat of a mess, is chock full of intricacies that lead up to one hell of a climax. Like you may have already heard, more questions are asked than are answered, but to be perfectly honest, Prometheus is just a hell of a lot of fun when paired with the trite drivel released throughout the first half of 2012.
Ceylan’s characteristically mellow direction goes a long way with his 2006 effort, exploring the disintegration of a long-term relationship with steadfastness and poise. Avoiding excess so as to shed light on the problematic mantra of the male suitor at its core, Climates focuses primarily on his flaws in relation to the issue at hand, ensuring that the film moves unperturbed toward a particularly gratifying, non-textbook conclusion.
Magic Mike is an unexpected rarity these days, coupling the more obvious trashy nature of the male stripper profession with something more, the latter of which may not be as readily apparent to those looking for an overabundance of bare skin. Desiring a more meaningful lifestyle via chasing the lifelong amibition he’d let stand by the wayside, Channing Tatum’s Mike takes young Adam under his wing as he inadvertently steers him toward the same fate he presently suffers with. Quickly falling for Adam’s sister,Magic Mike seems to head toward substandard cliched territory, however Soderbergh’s deftness behind the camera assures that sidestepping what we’d expect of such a narrative twist is to in fact be expected, warranting those not inherently fond of male nudity to give the film a go for the sake of appreciating what it has beneath the surafce… no pun intended.
Exploring the emotional and verbal disconnect between members of a close-knit family in the wake of an unspeakable political scandal should sound like an overblown powerhouse of a film. In the case of Three Monkeys however, overblown clearly doesn’t fit into Sir Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s vocabulary. As always, we’re treated to sumptuous Turkish locales that permeate the more emotionally driven side of these individuals’ worsening predicament, the both of which pair to accentuate the auteur’s expertise in pairing the aesthetically pleasing with a steady resolve that rarely falters in keeping its primary subject in focus. In short, Three Monkeys is a masterful breath of fresh air within an oft-explored niche of contemporary cinema.
Total number of films watched (including re-watches): 11
Other first-time viewings (in alphabetical order): Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Bekmambetov, 2012), Entrance (Hallam & Horvath, 2012), Final Destination 5 (Quale, 2011),Rock of Ages (Shankman, 2012)