George Beremov of CineMarvellous! Reviews His Top 5 Movies of The First Half of 2012:
Half the year is now gone, so it’s time to announce arguably the five best movies released in the first half of 2012, which promised to be a great year for movies, and so far doesn’t disappoint. Check out the top 5 list below, and if you happened to miss any of these cinematic gems, catch up as soon as you can. For those of you who haven’t heard of the Indonesian action masterpiece placed at No.1… GO SEE IT NOW and prepare to be blown away.
#1 – The Raid: Redemption (10/10)
Brief review: Gareth Evans’ “The Raid” may have a simple premise, but its plot works perfectly, and that combined with the slick execution, leaves a big impact on the viewer. Why? Because “The Raid” is the real deal! It starts off at a frenetic pace and never lets go, quickly turning itself into a shockingly brutal, ultra-violent, tense and thrilling adrenaline rush of a movie, that features some of the best action scenes ever put on film. Just when you think there’s no chance for the next fight scene to top the last, it happens, and that proves Evans’ out-of-this-world skills as a director and his ability to deliver a progressively mind-blowing action. Considering the movie’s low budget, the technical quality of “The Raid” exceeds expectations big time. Evans’ truly innovative direction features an impressive variety of camera angles, razor-sharp editing and camera movements so vigorous, they’ll spin your head off. The big, old, dark, filthy building is the ideal setting for the hard-edged story, the amazing soundtrack and crisp sound effects match the high-octane intensity of the film, and the bluish, almost violet, tint of the cinematography has a subtle stylishness about it, that takes the film’s visuals to another level. Although there’s very little character development the main character, Rama, played by Indonesian martial artist Iko Uwais, is so brave, bold, good-hearted and likable, you can’t help but fall for his character.
Overall summary: With its masterfully choreographed and executed action sequences, heart-pounding pacing, inventive direction and highly stylized visuals, Evans’ “The Raid: Redemption” is sheer brilliance, and the ultimate cinematic ecstasy pill for every true action junkie.
#2 – The Avengers [3D] (9.75/10)
Brief review: Sorry “The Dark Knight” fans, but Marvel’s superhero gathering, “The Avengers” easily outshines every other entry into the popular genre. The effectiveness of the otherwise familiar story lies in the ideal balance of its script. Not only the script is smart, humorous and wonderfully-written, but it allows each of its many characters to develop equally and shine on their own. The pacing is quite brisk, yet slow when needed, but the movie never loses its steam and remains engrossing from start to finish. Technically, “The Avengers” delivers and then some. Whedon’s direction is so stylish, diverse and accomplished, it’s hard to belive that this is only his second feature film. Some of the scenes seem impossible to shoot, but at the same time they feel effortlessly-executed. There’s one particular scene during the final battle (where the camera skillfully ‘jumps’ over from one Avengers member to the next, showing them kicking asses with style), that is so exciting and brilliantly-shot, it will literally blow you away. The rest of the action is first-rate as well, and the CGIs are astoundingly polished and pretty much flawless, apart from the 3D, which is good, but rather unnecessary. The cast is superb in their roles. Hemsworth, Evans, Ruffalo, Johansson and Renner all do a stellar job, but Robert Downey Jr. is the one that steals the show. Hiddleston also turns in a strong performance as the malicious villain, Loki.
Overall summary: Clever, amusing, perfectly-balanced, skillfully-shot and jaw-droppingly action-packed, “The Avengers” is the ultimate dream come true for every single fan of the genre, and arguably the best and most spectacularly entertaining superhero movie ever made.
#3 – Prometheus [3D] (9.00/10)
Brief review: Scott’s most talked-about movie in years, “Prometheus”, can be considered a prequel to “Alien” as it’s similar in style and has a last-minute connection with it, but it also works as a standalone piece, that deals with a completely different subject about discovering the origin of mankind. Even though “Prometheus” leaves more questions than it provides answers, it’s still a constantly intriguing and quietly absorbing sci-fi horror with a taut, thoughtful and intelligent story, that grabs your interest and never lets go. There are some truly intense and frightening moments in it too, with the ‘surgery’ and ‘engineer vs creature’ scenes deserving a special mention. Even from the stunning opening sequence you could tell that “Prometheus” will be yet another strikingly-looking movie from Ridley Scott, who once again demonstrates his unique visual style and attention to detail. There’s a certain sophistication about his direction, that makes the film gorgeous to look at, but in a subtle sort of way – the set design is imaginative, the cinematography is atmospheric, and the use of 3D is impressive. The cast is absolutely stellar. Noomi Rapace delivers an engaging performance as the clever and daring, yet fragile scientist, Elizabeth, Idris Elba is superb as the spaceship captain, Fassbender is perfectly-cast as the insensible android, and Ms. Theron draws the viewers’ attention every time she shows up on screen.
Overall summary: Compelling, expertly-made and visually-stupendous, Ridley Scott’s “Alien” prequel-esque “Prometheus” is an out-of-this-world cinematic experience, that lives up to the hype, thanks to the unlimited creativity and remarkable directing skills of its genius creator.
#4 – Chronicle (8.25/10)
Brief review: So far, we’ve had tons of POV / Found Footage horror films, but Josh Trank’s debut feature, “Chronicle”, has to be the first-ever sci-fi flick shot in this style. Luckily, the hand-held filming technique adds some authenticity to the already clever story with a refreshing spin on the concept of superheroes, and truth to be told, if the movie wasn’t presented this way, it wouldn’t have been as effective. While the first half of “Chronicle” is mostly ‘fun’, where the characters enjoy their newly-gained superpowers and play harmless games with them, the second half gets a whole lot darker – the anger unleashes, the violence starts to dominate, and the consequences become disastrous. The chaos-fueled superpowers (imagine X-Men’s Magneto, but without the ‘metal only’ limitation) match well with Trank’s inventive and energetic direction, the special effects are pretty much impeccable most of the time, and the action sequences are visually-astonishing, exciting, and heart-pumpingly spectacular, featuring lots of smashed cars, destroyed buildings, fast moving objects and even Superman-like flying. Both, Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan deliver solid and convincing performances, but it’s Dane DeHaan, that steals the show as the anti-social teenager, Andrew, who tries to cope with his repressed anger, aggressive father, deathly sick mother and out-of-this-world telekinetic powers all at once.
Overall summary: Seemingly fun on the outside, yet darkly grim within, “Chronicle” is an imaginatively-crafted and highly entertaining sci-fi flick, that not only impresses with its creative take on the superhero genre, but also manages to use the POV gimmick to its advantage.
#5 – The Grey (7.75/10)
Brief review: Every once in a while a film comes along, that grabs you instantly and throws you into an experience so deeply compelling, that you forget about everything else. Joe Carnahan’s thoughtful, intelligently crafted effort, “The Grey”, is one of those movies. It’s a fight for survival against the harsh nature under terrible circumstances, so believably depicted and so emotionally profound, it will make you experience the struggles of the characters in a way you don’t expect to. Even though “The Grey” seems familiar on paper, it turns out feeling different and unlike anything you’ve seen before, due to its strong, well-written script, multi-layered performances and Carnahan’s smooth, yet taut direction, that keeps the narrative tense, neat and in focus. The movie is not only constantly intense, but also scary, in a realistic sort of way. While the remote location, snowy environment and whistling blizzards are enough to give you the chills, it’s the wolf attacks that are truly frightening. The plain crash sequence and the one involving a rope over a precipice also deserve a special mention, as those are also nerve-wrackingly terrifying. Set in Alaska, “The Grey” is just as visually astounding as it’s chilling, featuring stunning locations and a beautifully bleak cinematography with some shots that will take your breath away. Liam Neeson delivers a powerhouse performance as the despaired man who revives his faith in order to survive, and the supporting cast is pretty much on par.
Overall summary: As substantial as its characters and as chilling as its harshly beautiful setting, “The Grey” is a frighteningly realistic story of survival with a surprising emotional depth, that will keep you intrigued, entertained, and on the edge of your seat until the very end.
View More Movie Reviews at CineMarvellous!
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