Part 1 of the Thwipping Boys Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence Awards saw me cover TV, with Part 2 I covered Wrestling. Now, after a technical delay (ie. me forgetting to save my word document and my computer crashing) I present my Movie awards! It has been an interesting year for me when it comes to movies, as I have not seen many of the films that could be considered the best of the year, so no… No Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy on the list.
This was a film that I had little to no awareness of previous to actually seeing it, I had seen the trailer and thought it looked alright, but was shocked when I watched it to discover I couldn’t stop laughing. The film follows three honest hardworking guys; driven to the brink of despair by their bosses, fed up with their treatment they enact a plan to off their superiors. The main stars of Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis acquit themselves well, with Bateman providing the kind of sterling everyman comedy performance we have come to expect from him, and Sudeikis announcing himself as one of the funniest new comedy stars in Hollywood. What really makes this film shine though are the surprising comedic turns from Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston. Spacey is perfect as a power hungry, arrogant and oppressive CEO, crushing Bateman’s spirit under his boot. Farrell subverts his pretty boy image by piling on the makeup, playing a drug addicted, careless and obnoxious heir to a company Sudeikis has dedicated his life to. It is Aniston who is most shocking, destroying years family friendly rom-com tosh by playing a sex-crazed dentist, intent of jumping the bones of Charlie Day’s assistant at any cost.
I suggest anyone who has not seen this film as yet, go and see it, if only because Jason Bateman is pretty much awesome in everything he does.
Fast and Furious was crap, 2 Fast 2 Furious was even worse, Tokyo Drift was a pointless addition and The Fast & The Furious was mediocre at best, which really may seem shocking for me to announce that, to my knowledge, no action film gave me more enjoyment than Fast Five in 2011 and here is why. The FF (as I call it) franchise was born out of a short fad of mainstream interest in street races, when the world moved on, the franchise didn’t, it was only when they realised the possibilities of a genuine heist franchise that the concept began working. All of the major players from the previous films are back, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, Ludacris are all on fine form as their respective characters, buoyed by a few other inclusions that take the film to a new level. Yes… I am talking about The Rock, who is superb as a US Marshal/manhunter on the trail of Diesel and his crew, every moment in which The Rock’s mountainous form (larger in this film than undoubtedly ever before) was on screen was filled with a level of power missing from the previous films. While the bank vault chase that provided the climax of the film is undoubtedly the action set-piece, the one on one punch up between The Rock and Diesel is one of the most exhilarating fights in recent memory, it is brutal, powerful, and sorry but what more do you want in an action film than two 6ft plus hulking bald men (with only a beard to distinguish between them, and what a beard!) absolutely kicking the crap out of each other? And while I may not agree with how the fight ended (The Rock would lay the smackdown on Diesels candyass) I certainly enjoyed the ride!
With news that there are plans for a Fast 6 & 7 to end the series, and that EVERYONE will be back for them, there seems to be enough momentum to carry an otherwise dismal franchise to an exciting conclusion. Lets just hope the engine doesn’t blow just as it is getting up to speed.
Best Comic Book Adaptation
Since we are largely a comics blog and podcast, I felt it was only right to dedicate an award to the best comic adaptation of the year, and it was a lot easier than I thought. The year has had a number of adaptations, from Green Hornet, to Cowboys & Aliens and Tintin, but it has also been a year of mixed responses, almost every film was met with either mild cheers or soft groans, no outwardly bad films, just a whole slew of missed opportunities. The only film that was an exception to this was Thor, based on the Marvel comic and directed by Kenneth Branagh (one of England’s finest thespians), which was met with consistently high praise, maybe not as an outstanding film, but certainly as a good fun one, there are so many reasons you could attribute to the success of Thor, but I wish to pinpoint just a few. The first was Tom Hiddlestone as Loki, it is incredibly refreshing to see the portrayal of a villain that is not one-dimensional, especially in a comic book movie, Hiddlestone’s Loki is flawed yet relatable, his motives, while unclear, have a humanity to them which make you sympathise with him, it is very rarely you find yourself wanting to learn more of the villain’s story than the hero’s. Speaking of hero, Chris Hemsworth, Thor himself, had a lot resting on his shoulders as we entered the summer season, here was an actor who 99% of audiences would have had minimal exposure to, carrying what was undoubtedly the biggest risk of Marvel Studio’s small catagloue. Luckily Hemsworth pulled it off with aplomb, his Thor was certainly very different from the God of Thunder from the comics, but what differences there were mattered not in the end, much like Loki, Thor was an incredibly humanised character, he was arrogant, hot and hotheaded, but at the same time incredibly passionate, through all of this he felt incredibly grounded, and so instantly relatable. The final piece of the puzzle for me was the comedy element, not only in the writing but also in the delivery, the Marvel films have mostly been successful in integrating a light hearted sense of comedy through their films, and this was no different, every time I watch I find myself laughing at different things, the most important thing about this is that there was very little slapstick comedy (in fact, only one moment springs to mind) but plenty of witty dialogue to give a chuckle, Heimdall, The Warriors Three and Dr. Selvig all had some hilarious moments, but to me, this tops them all -
I was intending to have a Best Drama category included in these awards, but that became pointless when I finally decided which film would win each category, and they were one and the same. Darren Aronofsky is one of my favourite directors, capable of blending captivating tales with beautiful storytelling and art direction, while The Fountain is one of the most confusing films I have seen in years, it is undoubtedly one of my favourite due to its sheer beauty. With Black Swan Aronofsky once again managed do that which I have expected of him; no other film this year has been so beautifully dramatic, so psychologically intense, and as disturbing as the tale told within Black Swan. The film seamlessly blends delusion and reality, to the point where it is questionable whether Nina (Natalie Portman) is truly transforming in to a devilish looking black swan, or whether this is merely a visual manifestation of her decaying mental state, as she spirals in to madness. Aronofsky is always capable of producing films that end with despair, leaving the viewer incredibly uncomfortable as the credits roll, yet despite that, we cannot turn our backs and say the films were anything less than magnificent. Black Swan was released in early January here in the UK, and when I first saw it I instantly said to my friend “It’ll be hard to beat that this year”, it was an off the cuff remark, one I didn’t really felt, how wrong I was, because the 11 months that followed provided nothing better.
So there we go, what a year for film, lets hope next year is a knock out year as well! Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises, Avengers, MIB 3 and many many more. The last section will be up soon, so make sure to check back and keep an eye out, thanks!