Home > Year in Review > 2012 IN REVIEW – The Films I Didn’t See: January – April

2012 IN REVIEW – The Films I Didn’t See: January – April

Wreck-It Ralph - Bad-Anon meeting

2012 was a surprisingly satisfying year for movies, whether you wanted serious dramas or escapist fantasies, but it’s pretty much impossible to for any one person to see all the movies that come out within the span of one year, and I’m no different.

While I tried my best to see most of the big movies and the movies that came out in 2012 and all the movies that I was interested in, whether in theatres or on home video, there were many that I admittedly never got around to, didn’t care to getting around to, or had never even heard of to get around to them.

Though 2013’s just getting started, I’m going take some time to look back on the past year over the next couple weeks, starting with the films that I didn’t’ see. As with last year, the commentary below is not necessarily going to match up with my final impression of any given movie once I do actually come around to seeing them (if at all), and is solely meant to express why I never got around to it and, possibly, whether or not I intend to see it all. This is all based on plot synopses, Rotten Tomatoes scores, Wikipedia entries, a few external reviews, and, of course, the films’ trailers, and, once again, are not necessarily reflective of a final opinion of a film.

The Dark Knight Rises - Batman

I start, of course, at the very beginning for this first part. Lots of films released during this traditional dumping ground period were smaller films, films that were released in foreign countries or film festivals back in 2011, or were just outright given their timeslot because the studio just had very little faith in the film’s performance at the box office. Sometimes films fall into all three categories. You’ve possibly even forgotten about them or haven’t even heard about them, or maybe you forgot you heard about them and only vaguely remember the name, maybe a few clips from the trailers you saw some time long ago. I know that was the case for me.

But that shouldn’t discourage you from seeing some of these films. Many of them actually look quite promising, and I’ve even added several to my various media queues, too. Hopefully you’ll find some films among the rotting corpses of the genuinely awful ones that were exiled to the early year winter and feel compelled to give these films a second (or third) glance once you remember what they are.

JANUARY

The Devil Inside - Examination

The Devil Inside (Jan 6)

Wow. Yeah, here’s one I forgot existed. I guess the whole exorcism obsession carried into 2012 horror films. Or maybe this film just kind of spilled out into the new year. If anything, though, this faux-documentary about a girl who is investigating her demon-possessed mother’s murder may have spelled the death of that fad. Though it supplanted Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol from the top spot at the box office in its first week, the power of word of mouth take effect, as the critically panned film’s attendance dropped over 76% in the film’s second week, which at least proves that peace between the general public and critics is an actual possibility. Then again, it also turned a hefty profit despite this, so… expect some kind of follow up. Possibly a direct-to-video.

Beneath the DarknessBeneath the Darkness (Jan 6)

As of this writing, this is the first line of the film’s synopsis on Wikipedia: “Ely Vaughn (Quaid) is a beloved native of a small Texas town with a dark secret. formerly the star quarterback, now the local mortician.” The “Quaid” in this case is Dennis, who has certainly not moved on to better things later in his career. The film also involves a teenager with a dead sister who teams up with his friends in exposing Ely for the murderer that he is. Ely, meanwhile, is motivated by his still mourning the loss of his wife or something. It basically sounds like they just thought of ideas for a new line of Goosebumps novels, upped the gore factor (I presume), and hoped to bank on Quaid’s name recognition. That it was released on DVD and Netflix a month after a limited release in theatres speaks to the film’s desperation.

Contraband (Jan 13)

Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale. I already don’t like the sound of this movie. Oh, and it involves a high-stakes heist? Double crosses? Yeah, I’ve already checked out. Received “mixed” reviews and went on to likely be a footnote in the repertoire of all involved.

Joyful Noise

Joyful Noise (Jan 13)

I’m probably going to see this one day. My mom got it for her birthday this past year from my sister, and I actually was willing to watch it with her just out the niceness of my heart – and out of morbid curiosity based solely upon the fact that the film stars Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah as rivals in a church choir program whose grandson and daughter, respectively, fall in love with each other. Also, there’s a dead husband and a son with Asperger syndrome – respectively. There’s also some drama about church budget issues and choir competitions. Something tells me that they wanted to make something akin to a third Sister Act, but Warner Bros. didn’t have the rights and instead greenlit a spiritual successor, only with Parton and Latifah in the Maggie Smith and Whoopi Goldberg roles and a lot less humor. Also no Catholicism.

Beauty and the Beast 3D (Jan 13)

One of the best animated films of all time got a 3D update this past year. I didn’t see it in theatres, but I already owned the 2D Blu-Ray. I’m sure the 3D was pretty great and my opinion towards the format has decidedly warmed ever since the release of Hugo, but I can’t imagine that it added too much to the film, either. Kinda regret not seeing what a 3D-conversion of a hand-drawn film looks like on the big screen, though.

The Divide - The cast

The Divide (Jan 13)

It sounds like someone watched that one episode of The Twilight Zone where everyone’s trying to get into a bomb shelter but then said, “Wouldn’t it be so much better if the bombing actually happened and that there were these mysterious invaders doing creepy, mysterious things to people?” Apparently the film is about as good as that premise sounds, and the fact that the film stars Heroes’ Milo Ventimiglia and 80s action movie icon Michael Biehn kind of clues you in as to the film’s quality – not necessarily that those guys can’t act so much as the fact that they just really don’t get quality, high profile roles. (Face the facts, guys.)

HaywireHaywire (Jan 20)

Like The Divide, this originally premiered at a 2011 film festival before getting wide release. Its wider release in 2012 helps make this the year of Channing Tatum, who has come a long way since making his big screen splash in Step Up. This also makes Haywire the first of two well-received Steven Soderbergh films Tatum featured in (the second being Magic Mike). He wasn’t the star here, however, as the primary focus is on Gina Carano’s freelance covert operative seeking revenge and protection for her family after she is betrayed while on a mission. Admittedly, this film flew under my radar, but the warm reception has my interest piqued, and Soderbergh’s films are always at least worth giving a chance. I’ll rent it.

Underworld: Awakening (Jan 20)

I hated the first film and refused to willingly see any of the sequels, which apparently never got better. What makes you think I’m going to break that streak any time soon? Then again, my 7 ½ year avoidance of McDonald’s was also broken in 2012, much to my regret, so you never know. Actually, I don’t think I’ll ever be desperate for a viewing of Underworld as much as my family was for an emergency meal on Christmas Eve as with McDonald’s, so maybe not.

W.E.W.E. (Jan 20)

Madonna made her directorial debut with a 2011 film that saw wider-but-still-limited release in 2012. The reception for Madonna’s first film was probably about as well received as you would expect Madonna’s directorial debut to be received. It’s about two women whose parallel lives are separated by several decades – a girl named Wally, who fantasizes that her life resembles that of the other subject, Wallis Simpson, the American socialite who found herself stuck in unfulfilling and abusive marriages before marrying King Edward VIII, who provides the film its titular “E.” and who you may also remember better as Albert’s philandering brother in The King’s Speech. So, it basically sounds like a snootier, more depressing version of Julie & Julia without the Meryl Streep performance to hold it up.

Man on a Ledge (Jan 27)

I asked my roommate recently while discussing Terminator, “Is Sam Worthington doing anything these days, besides Wrath of the Titans?” Well I got my answer here, as he was apparently making this, yet another thriller involving a heist, this time with a high concept plot device involving a man who is threatening to commit suicide. In reading the synopsis, it actually makes a bit of sense in context, but it’s still pretty contrived once you find out how it all ties together. Personally, I’m not all that upset that I spoiled the movie for myself, and that’s saying something since I’ve given up on better works for a while just because someone spoiled them for me. I wonder if Worthington has trouble hiding his Australian accent here as he did in all the previous films I saw him in…

One For the Money - Debbie Reynolds and Katherine Heigle

One For the Money (Jan 27)

Katherine Heigl. The very name sends shivers down my spine. I can’t stand that self-important actress, though that’s admittedly more based on her apparent personality than anything she’s starred in. I can normally separate the artist from the work, even when they’re jerks, but the fact that she’s so self-important while starring in such crappy films (aside from Knocked Up) only makes my distaste for her, as a person, more volatile. All you have to know is that this film involves a quirky girl who needs a job and then lands one as an unskilled bail enforcement agent, who then chases after the man who took her virginity when they were in high school, only now he’s now wanted for murder. She, of course, finds herself falling for him once again as she realizes that he’s actually probably innocent. Guess how it ends. Wikipedia just saved us all an hour and a half of our lives. (Wait… Why is Debbie Reynolds in this!?)

FEBRUARY

Big Miracle - Drew Barrymore

Big Miracle (Feb 3)

There’s nothing wrong with a family-friendly message film if it’s skillfully made every now and then. Based on the 74% Rotten Tomatoes ranking, Big Miracle, which is based on the 1989 novel Freeing the Whales (itself based on the true story of a 1988 mission to rescue a pod of grey whales from an icy prison) was one of those rare message films (and the rarer John Krasinski film) that actually manages to be watchable. Sad, then, that it bombed financially, but it’s probably worth a look despite the lack of exposure, especially if you’re looking for some quality PG-rated entertainment.

The Woman in BlackThe Woman in Black (Feb 3)

Daniel Radcliffe’s first major film after the conclusion of the Harry Potter saga was an expectedly more mature film, though not in the same sense as his turn in Equus, a reference that will never get old when used in reference to Radcliffe thanks to the subject matter and giggle-inducing lack of clothing involved with the former child star. This adaptation of the Susan Hill horror novel received mild general praise for its low key chills in a genre overrun with rampant violence as well as for its overall decent construction. My stepsister is a fan, so I think it’s safe to say I’ll see it, and I may even possibly enjoy it.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (Feb 10)

Oh, look at you, Journey 2. You’re too hip to stick to conventional naming conventions. You’re gonna put a numeral where a preposition should be and make it a play on the fact that it’s also a sequel to the 2008 adaptation of Journey to the Center of the Earth, aren’t you? And you cast The Rock and former Disney Channel star Vanessa Hudgens in lead roles? Yeah… Here’s $325 million. You’ve earned it. Now, let’s see you incorporate the number 3, next time. How about Jules Verne’s The Adventures of Three Englishmen and Three Russians in South Africa?*

*Yes, I had to look it up…

Safe HouseSafe House (Feb 10)

As with Contraband and One For the Money, here’s a film where the casting choices and subject matter combined to form one of the more repellent films of the year for me – Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington in an espionage film where loyalties are called into question and highly choreographed action sequences are tossed in to break up the talking, except when Washington at least once does his usual schtick where he coolly and confidently explains his character’s strongly held perspective on how things actually are with rapid paced delivery. Pass for me, thanks.

The Vow (Feb 10)

Hello, again, Channing Tatum. Guess you had to star in something that had softer subject matter while doing all those grittier films. Mind telling Rachel McAdams the next time that you see her that we all like her but wish she would star in better films sometime soon? Use yourself as an example. I still say she’s an ideal Lois Lane, and she totally dropped the ball in winning that role over the admittedly more respected Amy Adams, you know. Would you mind telling her that?

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D (Feb 10)

Haha! Oh, George… We’re gonna miss you.

Rampart - Woody Harrelson

Rampart (Feb 10)

Despite an online P.R. fiasco involving its star’s ego, Rampart received generally good reviews that singled out Woody Harrelson’s performance as being a highlight, and the rest of the cast looks reliably good, too, including Steve Buscemi, Robin Wright, and Sigourney Weaver. This obviously wasn’t a priority film for me (too many big movies this year, I admit), but it’s certainly on my radar for the future.

This Means War (Feb 17)

I was mildly intrigued by the novelty of a romantic comedy with over-the-top action and fight sequences thrown in. Combine that with the fact that it starred Chris Pine, the excellent Tom Hardy, and Reese Witherspoon, who, once upon a time, won an Oscar, and I figured, hey, this might actually turn out to be dumb fun. Nope. Just dumb, apparently. I’ll wait and hope for it to appear on Netflix when I feel like watching something brainless. I kinda hope Reese Witherspoon turns out to be a double-crossing evil agent or something as a weird parallel of how she’s treated her post-Oscar career.

Gone - Amanda Seyfried

Gone (Feb 24)

“One night, Jill was kidnapped by a brutal serial killer who put her in a deep vertical hole somewhere in Portland’s 500 acre Forest Park. Jill finds human remains, using a bone to stab her abductor and escape from the hole using his rope ladder. When the Portland police are unable to find the hole, and discover that Jill had been committed to a psychiatric institution after her parents’ death, they believe the abduction only happened in Jill’s head, sending Jill back to a psychiatric facility.” Regardless of how this pans out, this set up sounds like the beginning of an amateur high school writer’s idea of a clever and compelling plot. Thank you once again, Wikipedia, for saving us some time!

Good DeedsTyler Perry’s Good Deeds (Feb 24)

Nooo! WHY!? Technically, the film isn’t officially titled “Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds,” but it may as well have the actor/director’s name attached officially, as it is his production and he does that naming thing with everything else he makes. (Does that mean he disowned this?) I know it’s been said time and time again, but I just don’t get this man’s appeal and power over audiences. He’s like the black, sophisticated and moralizing counterpart to Larry the Cable Guy’s white trash dumbass, and both of them manage to be equally insufferable while also remaining bankable, despite being so superficially different from one another. If they were to ever join forces and produce a film together, this would likely be the only reason I would go willingly to either one of their productions, if only for the fact that it would very likely be one of the worst things of anything ever and would thus likely never see the light of day again, facing a fate similar to The Day the Clown Cried, Jerry Lewis’ unreleased and mostly unseen seen film about a clown who inadvertently leads a group of children to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. That’s how bad it would be.

Wanderlust (Feb 24)

Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd in a Judd Apaatow-produced comedy film that… bombed?! Possibly one of the biggest shocks on this list, I know, and surely someone saw this as a sign of the then-upcoming apocalypse. Apparently the promise of watching the two attractive actors playing an attractive married couple who seek a refuge in a commune in Georgia when the economy collapses didn’t exactly entice viewers to the theatres, but the reception from critics was decidedly lukewarm, which is actually kind of more than I expected given that audiences didn’t even want to see it. Certainly wasn’t on my list of films to see. Then again, it kinda still isn’t.

This Is Not a Film - Jafar Panahi

This Is Not a Film (Feb 29)

I hesitate to call this a film not just because of its title, but because of the content within: a homemade work that is essentially a snapshot of a day in the life of Jafar Panahi. Panahi is an Iranian filmmaker who is currently under house arrest and is likely not going to be allowed to make an actual film for 20 years due to accusations of creating propaganda against his country. The film was reportedly smuggled out in possibly one of the most filmic ways ever, however – in a USB flash drive hidden within a cake. How awesome is that? It’s apparently more like a video journal than a film, hence the title. Unfortunately, it didn’t see wide release, but it’s apparently due on home video in February, so I look forward to that!

MARCH

BEING FLYNN

Being Flynn (Mar 2)

I kinda prefer the title of the memoir this film is based on: Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. Sounds more honest. Being Flynn sounds like the poetic personal memoirs of Jeff Bridges’ character from Tron as he was stuck in the computer with nowhere else to go. Apparently the actual film is about as shoe-gazy as you’d expect, but, being based on actual events, wherein Nick Flynn’s distant father turns up at a homeless shelter he volunteers at, maybe that’s the appropriate tone. Robert De Niro apparently turns in a great performance, no matter what you may think of the film, so that’s at least a reason to go see this one, eventually.

Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar MovieTim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (Mar 2)

This is actually sitting in my Netflix queue at the moment after what feels like months of neglect. Tim and Eric’s shows on Adult Swim are decidedly acquired tastes – Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! in particular was one that I personally had found myself watching in random bursts when I had cable, alternating between incredulous bemusement and outright confusion at the “skits” they performed and often wrangled better known celebrities into. (The movie features Jeff Goldblum!) It’s one of those things that you really have to be in the mood for, and even then, the 11 minute runtime of the show was just enough to satiate whatever craving you may have for their particular brand of humor. I’m willing to give the film’s low approval rating amongst critics a blind eye because of this, but I admit to having yet been able to find myself in the mood for 94 minutes straight of these guys, too.

A Thousand Words (Mar 9)

Eddie Murphy realizes that director Brian Robbins is not good for his career, right? He has to. The man directed Norbit and Meet Dave, for crying out loud! Why does he keep going back? Does he not care about his reputation anymore? Does Robbins own his soul or something? What the heck, Eddie Murphy? This film, which is about teaching Murphy’s character about the importance of using his words wisely and for good, or something, didn’t exactly entertain… well, anyone. It earning a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. Pretty much what you’d expect for a film that’s essentially Buddhist-flavor Bruce Almighty from the guy who directed The Shaggy Dog remake.

Silent House - Elizabeth Olsen

Silent House (Mar 9)

The film’s gimmick is that it’s made to look like a single shot and, therefore, it also takes place in real time, but, despite the film’s initial marketing materials stating otherwise, it was later revealed that the film was actually shot in multiple chunks and edited together to resemble a single take. How can you trust a film that lies? A remake of a Uruguayan film, the plot revolves around a woman, her father, and her uncle being terrorized by squatters in their vacation home. Aside from the whole gimmick thing, the film looks fairly run of the mill. Hopefully the Olsen Twins’ younger sister, Elizabeth, doesn’t ruin a career that started off with genuine critical acclaim by starring in these types of films too often, if any more.

Attenberg (Mar 9)

This 2010 Greek film, which I honestly haven’t even heard of prior to writing this, was unable to gain a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film back in the 84th Academy Awards, and I can honestly say, the trailer doesn’t exactly scream “Must See” to me, either. Maybe that should be all the more reason to see it, though? … Nah.

The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye - Lady Jaye and Genesis

The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye (Mar 9)

I’ve never heard of Breyer P-Orridge before, nor have I heard of Genesis P-Orridge and Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge, the individuals who fell in love, underwent plastic surgery to look more like one another, and formed the aforementioned “pandrogynous” single being they created before Lady Jaye’s unexpected death in 2007. Thus, I had also never heard of this documentary before, too. I’m sure it’s strangely intimate, but it’s not exactly on my to-see list.

FootnoteFootnote (Mar 9)

Yet another limited release from a previous year that saw wider release in the US once 2012 hit, this Israeli film about a strained relationship between a father and son who both work in the Talmudic Research department at the same university was actually nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2012. Probably worth watching.

Friends with Kids (Mar 9)

This film about two friends who decide to have and raise a kid together while skipping the whole marriage thing has a lot of stars in it that I like from various other works – Adam Scott, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph – and the film looks like an amusing delight when you’re in the mood for an edgy but lighthearted comedy, but it’s a film that I quickly forgot about after it came out, too, only to remember what it was when I started this article. As such, I have not seen the film yet. I may someday. But not now. I’m done catching up on 2012 films for now.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Mar 9)

The trailer for this reveals what looks to be a fairly enjoyable, fanciful film with a sweet romantic core to match its unusual plot. I’m sure I would quite like it given that I pretty much like everyone I recognize in it. There’s really no particular reason why I didn’t see this apart from the fact that I just haven’t seen it yet. It’s really as simple as that.

Artist Gerhard Richter at work, as seen in Corinna BelzÕs docume

Gerhard Richter Painting (Mar 14)

It’s a frequent joy to watch people who are passionate about their work actually creating their works, and this documentary aims to reveal more about the prolific artist with footage of him working in a modern studio while also revealing bits about him through older interviews. I can’t say that I’m all too familiar with Richter’s work (call me an ignoramus if you must, ‘cause I know some of you are probably thinking it and need to get it out of your system), but it’s a supposedly engaging documentary, and I’m certain that, if I watched it, I would gain some appreciation for the man who is considered one of the best modern artists still alive. Put it in my Netflix queue as a reminder.

Jeff Who Lives at HomeJeff Who Lives at Home (Mar 16)

Jason Segal’s really becoming a prolific lead actor, isn’t he? And with good reason – he remains one of the more engaging and likable actors on the never-ending How I Met Your Mother, a quality that has apparently carried on since the days of Freaks and Geeks. This, despite the fact that most of his characters have also remained fairly interchangeable to certain extents. You don’t really get much from the trailers for this film beyond the fact that it involves some suspected infidelities and co-stars Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, and Judy Greer, but given the likable cast and a generally warm reception, it’s been added to my Netflix queue.

 The Raid: Redemption (Mar 23)

This Indonesian film is already getting an American remake, for some reason, but since this is mostly a martial arts film, why not just watch the original, anyway? Even if you don’t catch all the words, you’ll still get what looks to be a stylish, action-packed show that’s most likely to satisfy. Something tells me that the plot’s not the most important thing here, anyway, but I could definitely be wrong.

A Royal Affair (Mar 29)

Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film this year, this historical period film looks pretty good, if a bit melodramatic. That’s… honesty all I have to say about this one. …

Wrath of the Titans - Sam Worthington and Rosamund Pike

Wrath of the Titans (Mar 30)

First movie was a fairly big pile of crap, aside from maybe the Kraken finale, where seemingly the entire budget of the film was concentrated (God, that Medusa sequence was shameful), and I had very little hope that this sequel to the cash-in remake would improve upon the formula. I was apparently right. The movie was panned. I laughed and didn’t see it.

GoonGoon (Mar 30)

I remember this one… Much like a lot of films on this list, I forgot that this film existed after seeing maybe one trailer. Possibly because some of the trailers were from 2011, as this was originally released that year at the Toronto Film Festival. But, joy of joys, it’s gotten good reviews, and so I actually kind of look forward to checking this one out – I see it’s on Netflix! It’s not often when a silly-looking comedy gets positive buzz, you know? Hard to do silly without being obnoxious or dumb, too.

APRIL

Titanic 3D (Apr 4)

I was tempted. I’ve always been an apologist for this movie from the time I had first seen it. I never thought it was the best film of all time, mind you, and I did tease the girls in my class when they were talking about how they had seen it multiple times already in theatres, but once it released on VHS and one of our neighbors let me borrow it (two tapes in one box!), I had actually felt a bit of remorse for having never seen it in theatres. Once this came around, I was truly tempted, if only to see the awe-inspiring sinking in all its horrific glory, and also to see how well Cameron handled the 3D conversion. Oh well.

American Reunion - The guys

American Reunion (Apr 6)

Some things are best left unrevisited, but don’t tell that to Universal and the filmmakers who made American Reunion. After years of direct-to-video spin-offs, the original cast returns to the franchise for another theatrical film – one that is not likely to be the last, as a fifth theatrical film has already been greenlit, largely thanks to this film making back nearly 4.7 times its budget. The new movie didn’t exactly thrill critics, but the series hasn’t been since the second film, anyway. And, let’s face it, this franchise isn’t really about the quality filmmaking. If you saw it, I hope you enjoyed it. Now let’s all guess the next film’s title. I’m thinking American Dream? Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan’s characters will likely be having kids… Or do they already? I dunno. Haven’t seen anything beyond parts of the third film.

Comic-Con Episode IV - A Fan's HopeComic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope (Apr 6)

Nerds have officially gone mainstream, and Morgan Spurlock’s documentary about five attendees who plan on attending the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con proves that the world is ready to get to know this once reviled and teased demographic intimately, too, with the film receiving largely positive response. Remember Trekkies? That’s kind of how I imagine this documentary to be, perhaps only lacking that film’s sometimes condescending tone.

Damsels in Distress (Apr 6)

I’m beginning to think that a large part of 2012 was lost upon me, despite my efforts to keep up with everything that’s been going on. Damsels in Distress is a perfect example of one of those films released in the past year that looks good from the trailer, was received warmly by critics, and comes from a critically acclaimed though not exactly prolific director, too – Whit Stillman. If only I had the time and money to see them all, but movie watching is a hobby… for now…. I checked Netflix. It’s not there. If there’s any justice, I’m sure it will be in the future.

Keyhole (Apr 6)

You gotta love a director who admits that the main character of his film is based on a mythological figure’s Wikipedia entry. For the record, though, I learned that fact from the Roger Ebert review of this film noir-inspired film. I watched the trailer for Keyhole, and it looks visually striking, if not particularly interesting. I’m certain that it will sit in my Netflix queue for some time before I watch it or Netflix is forced to remove it. Can’t say that I’m terribly compelled to make this film a priority, though, and I doubt I will even notice if it did disappear.

Surviving Progress - Jane Goodall

Surviving Progress (Apr 6)

A documentary based on a book and lecture series titled A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright, the film contains interviews with several figures, such as Jane Goodall and Stephen Hawking, as it examines the sustainability of modern society in contrast to societies that have fallen in the past, particularly our current environmental status. I can’t imagine that this film went mainstream. It is on Netflix, though, and my not-quite-so-well-kept resolution last year was to watch more documentaries…

We Have a PopeWe Have a Pope (Apr 6)

Oh irony. Many denounced this comedy when it was released back in its native Italy in 2011 as if its depiction of a cardinal who didn’t want to be the Pope and who needed mental attention once he was elected was somehow sacrilegious. Apparently no Vatican-sanctioned boycotts actually went out, however. In fact, they recognized that Habemus Papam (its original name) could’ve been a lot worse. To me, it looks decent, and though looks can be deceiving, especially from trailers, it doesn’t look nearly as mean-spirited as some may want you to think. It’s on Netflix. Maybe add it to your queue. I did.

Lockout (Apr 13)

Admittedly looks like dumb fun – Guy Pearce plays a gun for hire who is sent into a fancy space prison to rescue the President’s daughter when a mass breakout occurs and the inmates take over. Probably worth a try whenever I get in the mood for something less thought-provoking.

The Three Stooges - Will Sasso, Chris Diamantopoulos, and Sean Hayes

The Three Stooges (Apr 13)

This 2012 Farrelly Brothers’ revival of the old comedy team very nearly starred some big A-list celebrities, with Benicio del Toro cast as Moe, Sean Penn as Larry, and Jim Carrey as Curly, but through various circumstances, all three dropped out over time, leaving us with three decidedly lesser actors in the roles: Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes, and Will Sasso. The film is a series of modernized shorts that celebrate all things Stooges and Farrelly Brothers. I’m not particularly a fan of either one, so that’s why this film ended up being unseen by me. Admittedly, I’d see it out of curiosity if it showed up for streaming, though.

Monsieur LazharMonsieur Lazhar (Apr 13)

Nominated last year for Best Foreign Language Film, this French-Canadian film looks intriguing, and it only helps that it reminds me of that one episode of The Simpsons that many cite as being one of the best things that show has ever produced, “Lisa’s Substitute.” Basically , a new teacher, an immigrant from Algeria, is brought in when a local teacher commits suicide, and he stirs up controversy amongst the faculty and parents thanks to his unorthodox teachings that are based on his fears that the kids will grow up to be idiots. I don’t know about you, but that sounds awesome to me, which is why it has been put in my Netflix streaming queue as of this moment of writing. (By the way, this was not sponsored by Netflix. I only WISH it were and that I were getting some kind of kickback for this. Netflix reps, if you are reading this, free months are appreciated.)

Chimpanzee (Apr 20)

The trailers would have you believe that this documentary about a young chimpanzee befriending an older male chimpanzee happened by chance when the young chimp was separated from his family. While I’m certain that this mostly actually happened, I’m also certain footage may have been edited nicely together to help along Disney’s found-footage story. I’m still totally grateful for the fact that they continue to turn out impressive-looking nature documentaries that hopefully will fascinate children, though. Lord knows the Discovery Channel doesn’t really do it too often outside their annual Shark Week these days.

The Lucky One (Apr 20)

Oh boy. Nicholas Sparks is really still cashing in on his fans’ goodwill, isn’t he?

Think Like a Man - The cast

Think Like a Man (Apr 20)

It’s amazing what will be turned into a film these days. While the filmmakers for Surviving Progress went for the more suitable documentary-style for its adaptation of a non-narrative book, Think Like a Man took the Steve Harvey relational advice book and turned it into a “romantic comedy” directed by the guy who also helmed the awful Fantastic Four films and Taxi, that one movie starring Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon that nobody liked. If you read the plot synopsis of Think Like a Man, you also realize that the women in the movie are addicted to the book that the movie is based off of. How meta. That sounds more like an infomercial to me more than an actual movie. Oh, and scumbag Chris Brown is in it. In a film that’s about maintaining relationships. Think about that…

Darling Companion - Diane Keaton

Darling Companion (Apr 20)

Diane Keaton, what have you done to yourself? The last critically acclaimed movie that you starred in was Something’s Gotta Give, which came out in 2003! Did that last Oscar nomination go to your head and make you think that you could make anything gold? You can’t. Since then, you feel like you’ve become like the opposite version of Meryl Streep, and that’s a shame. When are you going to make good movies again, Diane Keaton? You were in The Godfather. You were a good actress! What is wrong with you?

Fightville (Apr 20)

I know some guys who would probably eat this up. As for me, I’m not really into sports where people beat each other up. Where’s the fun in that? That being said, I’ve liked several boxing and other combat sport films, including Rocky, Million Dollar Baby, and even the MMA movie Warrior, but that was more due to strong performances and production value. I do know that this didn’t get overall good ratings, so I’m unlikely to even queue this documentary for later.

Jesus Henry ChristJesus Henry Christ (Apr 20)

Oh, indie films and your existential issues… The trailer for this looks decent, despite also looking kind of rote, as an apparently incredibly intelligent kid goes to find his father, an anonymous sperm donor. Undoubtedly, he will question his very purpose in the world, being the result of his father’s undoubtedly desperate grab for money – perhaps his father wanted drugs that had the unlikely but fortunate effect of making Henry the intelligent freak that he is or something. What does it mean? What does anything mean? Why? How? And, more importantly, will I? The answer to the latter is, perhaps, but only because it’s there.

Marley (Apr 20)

I didn’t grow up and currently do not listen to reggae music, but it’s not because I hate it or anything – I just didn’t, and so I don’t. Perhaps I should watch this acclaimed documentary, then, which should give me a better understanding and appreciation for the man who remains an ambassador of his genre even long after his death.

Payback (Apr 25)

Not to be confused with the Mel Gibson film, this documentary examines the nature of various types of debt that people find themselves in – not just monetarily, but also spiritually and personally. Actually scored better with critics than Gibson’s film. Go figure.

The Five-Year EngagementThe Five-Year Engagement (Apr 27)

Jason Segal ekes out yet another film for 2012, this time writing alongside his acting duties with a romantic comedy also featuring Emily Blunt. So I like the two leads, and co-star Chris Pratt is one of my favorite parts about Parks and Recreation. So many mixed emotions about this one. The grandmother dying in the trailer suggests an edgier sense of humor than most romantic comedies, which is a plus, and I’ve seen this on the shelf at Blockbuster and have been tempted to give it a go multiple times for some reason, only to find movies that I was far more interested in investing my time in, regardless of quality. I suppose I’ll have to be in the mood…

The Raven (Apr 27)

So many things about this one suggested “darker Sherlock Holmes” to me, that I just really had no desire to see it. Then a friend informed me that it was more like a fictional speculation about the last days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life, and it suddenly became a bit more intriguing, though it still screams Sherlock Holmes cash-in, and its 22% Rotten Tomatoes score suggests that my initial feelings towards its quality were on the nose. A rental for when I’m in the mood for a bad movie, probably.

Safe (Apr 27)

Oh, Jason Statham. You are quickly becoming the modern day Steven Segal. At least your action sequences look far more interesting. This looks… typical.

Headhunters - Aksel Hennie

Headhunters (Apr 27)

It’s kind of funny when a trailer quotes a review stating the film is “crowd pleasing and doesn’t pander.” Something about it screams, “Set your expectations lower and you may be surprised.” It’s like they couldn’t find a better quote, which I doubt, because this film has gotten pretty good ratings, and it looks like it could be quite fun, with a charming but morally bankrupt protagonist who gets in over his head. Consider it queued.

Sound of My VoiceSound of My Voice (Apr 27)

This looks like a fascinating movie, if only for the subject matter. Basically, from what I understand, two investigative journalists aim to infiltrate a cult who follows a girl who claims to be from the future and is promising salvation of some sort from some sort of peril. As they go further into the group, the two journalists (who are in a relation of some sort) begin to struggle with keeping with their objective and not falling prey to the group and their tactics. The promise of a film that intelligently examines why intelligent people sometimes fall prey to cults is strong, but it’s probably better examined in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. Still, I’m hoping that this film will succeed in doing its own thing. The mystery of whether or not Maggie, the group leader, is a fraud or not is left open by the trailers, and I sincerely hope that it doesn’t end on an ambiguous note. (Don’t tell me, though, I want to see this.)

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  1. January 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm
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