Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Notable Films of 2012: Volume Eight

In this eighth volume I look at films that include James Bond returning to his old school ways, an 80's rock musical, an old fart & a robot becoming a pair of thieves, a teaming-up of various fairy tale characters, Jason Statham kicking ass, a Denzel-led action thriller in South Africa, an Australian Dreamgirls, and an Oliver Stone pot dealers vs. cartels drama.
There's also a dark epic fantasy take on "Snow White", the latest animated feature from Studio Ghibli, Nicolas Cage going all vigilante, a re-teaming of talents behind "In Bruges", Hollywood's greatest filmmakers discussing the jump to digital, a spook house tale done in a single shot, and a drama of alcoholics in love.
Snow White and the Huntsman
Opens: June 1st 2012
Cast: Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Clafin, Ian McShane
Director: Rupert Sanders
Analysis: Initially it was a film that left many scratching their heads. In the wake of the billion-dollar success of Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland", the studios seemed to be in a race to get out new cinematic takes on famous fairy tales and public domain literature with this new version of 'Snow White' seemingly the first to move forward. Numerous names were linked with the project during the casting phase, and various people came and went before the key three (Theron, Hemsworth, Stewart) were settled on.
The director was an unknown, the budget relatively tight ($70 million), writer Hossein Amini's hadn't really done much since the late-90's, and a similar sounding rival project was on the way. Then the first inklings of something different emerged at Comic Con last year where character sketches and artwork drew good reaction.
The game changer though came late last year when a teaser trailer hit and shocked the hell out of everyone - this looked good. Sanders delivered a visually impressive take that lived up to the claims of the movie having a "Lord of the Rings"-style tone with large battles and a dark heart that didn't soft pedal the darker and more twisted aspects of the Grimm brothers original story. If anything it made it more epic in scale and trounced the trailer for said rival ("Mirror Mirror") flat.
While Theron looks deliciously evil and Hemsworth is a suitable choice, the casting of "Twilight" star Stewart is still the unknown. Given the right material she can be a solid little performer, but oddly no promo material so far has her speaking a word of dialogue. Even if she proves a weak link, she's surrounded by a top notch cast and crew including some of the greatest British actors alive playing the assorted dwarves. An unexpected tentpole but its one that will likely surprise.

darkhorizons for the rest


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