[Movies of the Month] December

With a great selection of films on BBC iPlayer and LOVEFiLM, an eclectic mix of films was watched this month, with only three from the festive genre. I managed to make it to the cinema not once but twice to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which outshone its predecessor and paid a visit to my favourite Middle Earth characters, the elves. 

December

CINEMA VISITS
(twice) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Action-packed from start to finish, while it isn’t in the same league as LOTR, it is very nearly there. ★★★★
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – A brilliant sequel; not a single moment is wasted. ★★★★

REWATCHES
Immortals – Visually, it is stunning, but epic moments and witty one-lines are sadly few and far between. ★★★½
Star Trek Into Darkness – A solid action, sci-fi flick, happily as engaging as its predecessor. ★★★★
Tamara Drewe – A leisurely, ‘watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon’ type of film. ★★★½
The Duchess – A heartbreaking, beautiful story that is brought to life perfectly. ★★★★½
The Young Victoria – Blunt and Friend are on form, revealing the early years of the British monarch in a heartwarming way. ★★★★½
Nativity! – A fabulous festive favourite. ★★★★
Starman – Since watching it for the first time in September, this sweet sci-fi has quickly become a favourite. ★★★★

1ST TIMERS
Santa Who? – A light TV film to get into the Christmas mood. ★★★
Big Trouble in Little China – More bizarre than comedic… ★★★
Stepmom – First class acting from Roberts and Sarandon. ★★★★
The Look of Love – A brilliant Brit flick that has made me think differently about Coogan. ★★★★
Robot & Frank – A sweet, touching romcom with a difference. ★★★★
A Bunch of Amateurs – Very amusing Brit flick with perfect casting. ★★★★
New Year’s Eve – Easy watching to get into the NYE spirit. ★★★
Chalet Girl – Very enjoyable, and well worth a rewatch in the future. It has a fab soundtrack, too. ★★★★

Total: 17

December’s biggest surprise: There are many from my 1st timers that I would watch again, particularly Chalet Girl. I usually put a romcom on as a ‘background film’, but with this it kept my full attention. It’s a simple storyline but an enjoyable one, with great turns from Felicity Jones, Tamsin Egerton and, as always, Bill Nighy. 

December’s best actress: There were many leading ladies in the films I watched this month, and the top spot is awarded to both Keira Knightley for her turn in The Duchess and Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria. Both actresses shine in period roles, with each giving one of the finest performances of their career.

Since 1/1/13 
Cinema visits: 17
Rewatches: 62
1st timers: 90
Total: 169

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9 thoughts on “[Movies of the Month] December”

    1. Thank you. I think the format works well – I will stick with it this year!

      I’ve just checked out your DOS review. I completely agree that some of the dwarves are lacking personalities, as is Bard, to an extent, though I expect his past will be revealed more in the final film.

      On the whole, though, I really loved it. While I am a huge Tolkien fan, I’m not so much of a purist as other fans are, and any opportunity to visit Middle Earth is great in my books. Though, as you rightly point out, her interactions with Thranduil and Kili are rather lackluster, I thought the addition of Tauriel was fantastic, and Evangeline Lilly was great casting.

      1. I don’t like Tolkein’s books. Much at all. He crafts great stories, but his prose is too descriptive, too focused on setting and too unconcerned about character for my tastes. So it is I think the LOTR’s movies far better than their source material.

        And I’m fine with going off book in The Hobbit movies. I’ve accepted that Jackson isn’t making a film adaptation of The Hobbit – he’s making a prequel to The Lord of the Rings. Not only have I accepted it, but I could probably even enjoy it, if he were doing it better.

        My central issue, then, isn’t the changes to the book. (I actually agree that Tauriel and Lilly could have been great, for instance.) It’s that Jackson seems to have forgotten what, at its core, made LOTR so exceptional.

        There are no well developed characters in The Hobbit movies. No greater emotion, no larger thematic connection to the modern world, no actors being given space to really and truly capture emotion. No, in the Hobbit, there are just great effects, impressive set pieces, sweeping cinematography and loads of action. Which is why The Hobbit is no more than fluff entertainment, and not even great at being that.

    1. I look forward to reading your thoughts on it 🙂

      I only saw 15 films at the cinema, unfortunately, so from what I saw I would say The Hobbit: DOS, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Man of Steel.

      1. Have not seen The Hunger Games yet, so can’t judge on that but was not a fan of Man of Steel. I’ll put up a review of The Hobbit once I’ve seen it. Have put up my own list as well, should you be interested in checking it out.

  1. Santa Who? Haha, one of the made-for-tv Christmas movies I haven’t seen yet!

    Seems like you enjoyed most of the films you saw in December but very surprise Big Trouble In Little China scored so low, especially with your liking towards fantasy. That’s one of my favourites.

    Conversely, I was a bit disappointed by Star Trek Into Darkness. Didn’t like Cumberbatch in it and thought, while solidly entertaining, it was overall rather bland. Perhaps I expected more.

    1. Santa Who? is very sweet, and mainly because it’s got everyone’s favourite uncle, Leslie Nielsen, in it.

      Perhaps I was a bit distracted when I watch BTILC but I really didn’t enjoy it as much as I did. Normally I don’t mind – or, in fact, enjoy – watching ‘bad’ Eighties effects but they didn’t do much for me. I will give it another go.

      Yes, I prefer Star Trek to into Darkness, but Darkness had some brilliant action sequences and developed the characters more, IMO. Can you pinpoint what it was about Cumberbatch you didn’t like?

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