Friday, July 20, 2012

2012 King of the Hill: July Clean-Up

I thought it would have won...
Another Battle Royale
I just got back from The Dark Knight Rises and this movie needs a detailed review.  To get there, I need to clean out my ENTIRE July list of movies.  Yes, that's right, it is time for another speed review.  Nine films, four rounds, and all of it will be absolute chaos as I knock down the list to one film to go head-to-head with The Dark Knight Rises.

For those who do not know, the 2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge is my system for determining the best movie of year that I saw. One movie from each month will be selected and, at the end of the year, I will do a tournament style showdown where they will take each other on until the final movie has been selected. Bracket placement will be determined by the number of movies the monthly movie faced and won.

Round 1:  Bolt The Grey v Hugo

Bolt was the first movie that I watched this month and it was a good flick.  Bolt is an animated film about a stunt dog that thinks he has super powers.  After accidentally getting shipped to the other side of the country, he joins forces with a cat and a hamster to make his way back to his owner.  The movie was a great film, a bit emotional at times, and had a very satisfying ending.

The Grey is a must see film.  It is a powerful film that delves deep into the male psyche.  Liam Neeson plays a sharpshooter in Alaska.  His job is to protect the oil workers from wolves.  When the plane they are on crashes in Alaskan wilderness, he leads a group of survivors across the harsh wilderness before the wolves claim them.  The survivors are society's undesirables.  Yet, as the story progresses, you feel and connect with each of them.  The movie is a story of survival from yourself as much as surviving the world around you and impacted me to my very core.  My only complaint was my disappointment with the ending, but I understand it.

Huge sucked.  I hated it.  'Nuff Said.

Winner:  The Grey

Round 2:  True Grit v We Bought a Zoo v Sherlock Holmes

True Grit is a Coen Brother's western about a young girl played by Hailee Steinfeld.  She is seeking revenge for the death of her father.  She hires a US Marshal played by Jeff Bridges.  The US Marshall is less than satisfying for her needs.  The film is a dark story of the fall from innocence and the less that glorious truth behind western justice.  True Grit was a great film and I enjoyed it enough to call it my favorite Coen Brother's film.

We Bought a Zoo is a cute movie about a father of two trying to start a new life after the death of his wife.  The story is cute, heart warming, and more importantly, entertaining.  It is one of the better films out there about grieving for a loved one.  It isn't the best film in the world, but I enjoyed it all the same.

Sherlock Holmes was a movie I was afraid to watch and glad I finally did.  I'm a big fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes.  If there is one thing that this movie proved, it is that the marketing department of big movie houses suck.  The trailer for this film, made the movie like it would have no grounded connection to Conan Doyle's work.  The trailer was a lie.  This film hit the real Sherlock Holmes perfectly.  It was great film and I'm glad I finally got around to watching it.

Winner:  Sherlock Holmes

Round 3:  Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist v A Beautiful Mind v The Fall

This is a simple round because I hated two of these three films.  Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist wasn't a great film.  The term "hipster" definitely applies to this film.  Still, it was a cute film that was amusing and I liked watching it.

A Beautiful Mind is about a genius with schizophrenia.  The movie is unnecessarily long and is more focused on the life of John Nash (Russell Crowe).  The movie spends most of the screen time focusing on John Nash's life and struggle of social awkwardness and less about his issues with schizophrenia.  Actually unexplained by the film, those strange behaviors of John Nash are symptoms of his illness.  This movie, basically uses a unique story of a real person with schizophrenia to make a good story.

There is one good lesson to be taken from The Fall.  Alice was the one who pointed this out, and I think that it is worth mentioning.  Stories don't just belong to the creator; they belong to the audience as well.  This movie is basically about an asshole who manipulates a young girl so that he can attempt to commit suicide.  I did not like the movie at all.

Winner:  Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Final Round:  The Grey v Sherlock Holmes v Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.

The Grey and Sherlock Holmes both easily blow Nick and Norah out of the water.  The Grey and Sherlock Holmes are both good films.  They both had great stories.  Deciding which of these two films has been a struggle.  Though I greatly appreciate seeing a high quality Sherlock Holmes film, I cannot overlook the amazing work that is The Grey.  The Grey is an original story with an atypical ending and it leaves you feeling drained, but in a powerful way.  The movie was too good to be bested by the world's best detective.

Winner:  The Grey

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