My plan to not get behind in my film reviews this year nearly worked, I have a small handful outstanding and have decided to plump for a slight cheat to get up to date rather than miss them out. Still have a few more films to see before I can do my official best of for 2013 though.
Loved, loved, loved:
Saving Mr Banks - Emma Thomson and Tom Hanks on fine form as the prickly P L Travers, writer of Mary Poppins clashes with the affable Walt Disney and his team making the film of her book. Also good to see Colin Farrell in a non-action film and doing a sterling job
Stan's rating 80%; IMDB 79%; Metascore 67%; Rotten Tomatoes 80% and RT Audience 91%
Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Second in the trilogy and they continue to do a superb job bringing the books to life retaining the somber, fearful atmosphere and deep sense of foreboding that is ingrained in the books. Superb cast, Jennifer Lawrence beautifully captures the awkwardness, conflict and emotional scars of Katniss. I'm going back to see it again.
Stan's rating 91%; IMDB 81%; Metascore 75%; Rotten Tomatoes 90% and RT Audience 92%
Philomena Based on a true story, this is moving, warm and funny and brilliantly acted by Dame Judi in the lead. I laughed and cried and this is certainly a film I'll pick up and watch again when it eventually makes it onto TV.
Stan's rating 79%; IMDB 79%; Metascore 76%; Rotten Tomatoes 91% and RT Audience 90%
The Butler - Has its moments and there are some really superb performances but it feels just a little too broad in scope (and worthy) to really get properly under the skin. It felt like a long film which is never a good sign.
Stan's rating 63%; IMDB 68%; Metascore 66%; Rotten Tomatoes 73% and RT Audience 81%
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug - Think when I reviewed the first Hobbit film I said that I'm nearly over all things Tolkien and that remains the case. This is all very well done of course and visually stunning but I just found the story plodding and un-engaging - in essence I just didn't care enough. The only reason I'll see the final film is because I've come this far I might as well.
Stan's rating 55%; IMDB 83%; Metascore 66%; Rotten Tomatoes 75% and RT Audience 87%
American Hustle - Was looking forward to this and there isn't a duff performance among the starry cast (Jennifer Lawrence once again hits the ball out of the park). However, in the end those performances overpowered the story. There is, I imagine, supposed to be intrigue as to who is actually telling the truth but three quarters of the way through I didn't really care. Christian Bale's terrible haircut and Amy Adams tit-tape manufacturer profit boosting dresses were a constant distraction but others may enjoy them.
Stan's rating 55%; IMDB 83%; Metascore 88%; Rotten Tomatoes 94% and RT Audience 85%
The Counsellor - the cast for this is amazing but in the end they did the best the could with a duff script. Cormac McCarthy should stick to novels rather than screen writing because his philosophising soliloquies even genius actors like Javier Bardem just sounded like incomprehensible sludge. As a result the plot became quickly uninteresting and it was as much as I could do to sit it out to the end of the film. Probably the biggest disappointment of the year.
Stan's rating 39%; IMDB 58%; Metascore 48%; Rotten Tomatoes 35% and RT Audience 26%