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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 5:40 PM | Posted in

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The Top Ten Best Films of 2012
The Top Five Worst Films of 2012

There Will Be Blood (2007)


Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 12:10 PM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 9.1/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 10/10 (Full Score)

THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007) - Paul Thomas Anderson

Remember Charles Foster Kane? The wealthy dominating monster of the world that he lived in. Imagine him to be grittier, with a voice that is both tough and deep. Imagine him to regret nothing in his life, and hates everyone else in the world. Meet Daniel Plainview, incredibly and shockingly portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis. To quote Roger Ebert, Plainview "lacks a 'Rosebud.'" Brutal and maddening in his performance, Daniel Day-Lewis deservedly won his Oscar for There Will Be Blood.

Very loosely based on the 1927 novel Oil!There Will Be Blood revolves around Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), an oilman on a ruthless quest for wealth during Southern California's oil boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After the first hour, the film quickly and efficiently escalates into a character study between Plainview and Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), a pastor for the Church of the Third Revelation.

This is inevitably one of the greatest films in American cinema, from its themes and humanism to its cinematic scale and exploration of an American past-time. For a film that portrays this and goes the extra mile (ten miles), There Will Be Blood is skillful directing at its largest power. In combination with Oscar-deserving cinematography, Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the most knowledgable directors of our time, knowing when to give long single takes for powerhouse performances while immersing the audience into his world with location-use.

As the film progresses, it feeds the audience more and more on its themes, ranging from greed, madness, and the conflict between business and religion. Forget large sets. Forget visual aids. Go all the way back to solid screenwriting, incredible acting, and old-fashioned filmmaking. This is a film that could have been made in years as early as the 70s, and that is what makes There Will Be Blood, a 2007 movie, so ingeniously crafted. It towers over the audience, and packs the greatest punch it can manage. In agreement with Peter Travers, the film "hits with hurricane force." However, what makes this film unique compared to others? Well, when you have a work of cinematic art that is both gripping and strange and disturbing, yet combines it all as one constructive force, you get one of the most surprising achievements in the movie industry in years.

I am surprised that Paul Dano was not nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, for he executed Eli Sunday with great life, especially under his limited given time. Although Dano plays twin brothers in the film that never appear at once, the writing of both characters and the portrayal of both characters are so detailed that one will never come close to complaining. By the way, every scene that is only Paul Dano and Daniel Day-Lewis is embossed in gold.

Once again, Daniel Day-Lewis proved to the world that he is one of the very few actors who can fully transform himself from actor to character. Here, with the help of the Oscar-winning camerawork, and the genius of Paul Thomas Anderson, Day-Lewis has found himself well-supplied with so much freedom to expose his talent. With a plethora of long single takes, Day-Lewis manages to shift his facial expressions from one minute to the next while sitting in a chair. Soon, he gets up and talks to another character, as the camera "gets up" as well as follows him. By now, we have forgotten that this was all one take. Instead, what we are given is a brand-new character whose name will be remembered for years, thanks to a whole new realm of realism provided by the filmmaking crew and Day-Lewis. The perfect combination gives you the perfect outcome.

On the contrary, it is understandable that some will criticize the pacing of the film  and the bizarre (if that is the correct adjective) atmosphere it has throughout. However, I would argue that if one refuses to watch There Will Be Blood because of this very reason, then at least watch it just for Daniel Day-Lewis' performance. You might just find yourself instantly pulled into the narrative with Day-Lewis' guidance.

Arguably, There Will Be Blood is not a perfect film. It has flaws here and there and some may even find the ending unsatisfactory. But what brings me to award this film its full score rating is its wide ambition and its overall accomplishment, in addition to the fact that this film was made in the 2000s. Hell, the acting in the film has already sold me within the first hour. As a controversial opinion, I do not believe There Will Be Blood is a masterpiece. I do however believe this is a brilliant piece of innovative filmmaking, and for its execution, energy, and raw power, it deserves my greatest respect as a film critic and as a young filmmaker.

In conclusion, There Will Be Blood is a fantastic film, a film that every American needs to see, maybe not because it is the best film ever made, but because it deserves to be seen by everyone -- like it or not. However, what you will like, and admire, is Daniel Day-Lewis' sensational performance. As for Paul Thomas Anderson, he will be remembered as one of the best directors that we still have today, alongside Spielberg, Scorsese, and Soderbergh. Although it is debatable whether There Will Be Blood holds up for multiple viewings, it is gifted with an extraordinary cast, along with amazingly simple cinematography, skillful directing, and a grand scale of cinematic filmmaking.

Upcoming Reviews


Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 7:47 PM | Posted in

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Expect reviews to return on the 18th. Thank you for your patience.
Below are a few movies that will be reviewed in the future soon!

There Will Be Blood (2007) - under request
Pitch Perfect (2012)
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
King Kong (2005)
Unstoppable (2010)
Premium Rush (2012)
Looper (2012)

The Apparition (2012)


Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 5:26 PM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 0.4/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 3/10

THE APPARITION (2012) - Todd Lincoln

When a movie trailer is released, we are always given an impression of what the film is about and what themes it is going to explore. Ever seen a trailer where it is completely different from the film itself? Worse, ever had that happen to you where the trailer ends up being more interesting than the actual film? For a movie that was not screened early for critics, The Apparition is a prime example of this confusing misstep. The scariest part about this movie is the fact that the company that was hiding this from pre-screening was actually Warner Bros.

The Apparition begins with six people in 1973, conducting the Charles Experiment, where they attempt to summon a spirit. The film then jumps to present time and revolves around young couple Kelly and Ben (Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan) who find their house being haunted by spirits. This haunting is caused by four college students, including Ben, who attempted to recreate the Charles Experiment by using modern technology and ended up opening a portal between the supernatural world and the human world.

The acting in this film is very flat -- the only good thing is Ashley Greene, but only if you are already a fan of her in the Twilight franchise. Other than her, Sebastian Stan is flat, and even Tom Felton appearing in a minor role is flat. Come to think of it, Felton is now the second Harry Potter actor who approaches the horror genre when the franchise ended, the first being Daniel Radcliffe in The Woman in Black. To be a little forgiving, I would not say that the acting is "bad." However, I would say that the actors had almost nothing to work with here and as a result, their performances are simply uninteresting. The pacing of the script is lackluster. The dialogue is lackluster. Literally everything that shapes the substance of a film is lackluster here. It seems here that the filmmakers are not even trying to make a cinematic piece of horror. They refuse to take the time to flesh out characters, they refuse to take the time to explain the rules of the film's world. They just simply take the audience, throws them into the dark, and "pokes" them once in a while with loud noises.

The Apparition is not scary at all. This is a movie that is completely flooded with horror cliches, where if you are smart enough, you can see every single scare coming. When something intense is coming up, the music queue kicks in. When some loud noise is coming up, the movie goes dead silent. It is utterly predictable, familiar, been-there-done-that, and sometimes even tedious. To quote Entertainment Weekly, the only reason you will have a restless night is because "you fell asleep in the theater."

The worst part about The Apparition is that not only is it cliche in the horror genre and offers nothing new, but the film also kept trying to be a spin-off of The Grudge. The whole idea that the spirits are malevolent and follow the characters no matter where they go -- it is almost a rip-off of the curse in The Grudge, where it never lets you go. The problem is that The Apparition is just not scary, and in finishing this movie, there is nothing more than wanting to re-watch The Grudge. In enhancing the negativities of this film, what is worse than a movie that is not scary? A movie that is also uninteresting and slow.

The Apparition is the perfect example of everything that is wrong with Hollywood in the horror genre, where people in the industry just sit around and come up with a list of gimmicks that are designed to just scare people in a dark setting. However, if you grade it on a curve, this is even worse because of the lifeless narrative. Now, for the trailer.

Let me make this as simple as possible: Go online and watch the trailer. At least that is free. Anything you hear and see that is related to the words "believe" and "real," they are not here in the actual movie. Let me just put it at that.

In conclusion, The Apparition is a terribly uninteresting horror film that drags in its narrative and leaves the actors in limbo not knowing what to do but act scared. To be honest, the story could have been somewhat interesting, and if the film made us care about the characters, this could have been a terrifying thriller that is comparable to this year's Sinister. Sadly, The Apparition does not even try to be a work of horror filmmaking. Instead, it pummels us with flat (not always bad) acting, mediocre dialogue, a lot of blackness, a lot of cliches, and has no point at the end of the day. It is the most shameful disappointment of a horror movie and might even be put into a book called "How Not To Make A Horror Movie 101." If you watched the trailer like I asked you to, you have seriously seen it all. Literally.

Ted (2012)


Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 10:22 PM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 6.9/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 7/10

TED (2012) - Seth MacFarlane

It is 1985, in the city of Boston, where lonely John Bennett one night wishes for his new teddy bear to come alive and be his best friend. On a night with a falling star, John's wish miraculously comes true, and Ted becomes an international sensation.

Known as his first live-action debut, Seth MacFarlane directs Ted, which follows John (Mark Wahlberg) in the present day pursuing a four-year long relationship with Lori Collins (Mila Kunis). Lori wishes to marry John, but feels that they cannot move ahead in life with Ted (Seth MacFarlane) around, who has now become a vulgar, perverted, obnoxious talking teddy bear.

As the film begins with hilarious narration by Patrick Stewart (Yes, by Professor X), Ted makes itself very clear on what kind of movie it wants to be. Before we get to see Wahlberg, we get an extremely short eight minutes showing Bennett's life as a kid. Despite the narrator making it clear to us that Bennett is the most unpopular kid in the neighborhood, the film never took its time to get us to care for him. The worst thing that happened to him on screen was getting yelled at. Never once do we feel sad for the protagonist and therefore, we lose the desperation he has when he wishes for a best friend, especially when young John is horribly portrayed by a child actor.

The main plot of Ted is a conflict of romance and bromance, where Bennett is supposed to be stuck in a dilemma where he needs to choose his girlfriend of four years or his only friend ever since he was a kid. This is where Ted could have been better in its first act. It wants us to understand that Ted is almost like a turning point in Bennett's life, but the film never showed that to us. As a result, the audience does not feel stuck in this problem either. Ted only covers this within the first ten minutes, then jumps right in into the smoking and sex jokes with Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane in teddy bear form. In a way, it is almost like the filmmakers do not care about young John, so why bother? Fortunately, this is not a big problem in the movie, mainly because the second and third act improve drastically as the film progresses. However, it is certain that Ted's storyline arc would have been better if its introduction received an extra ten or fifteen minutes. Enhance the backstory. Make us care about the screen duo with passion, not just humor. Make that tweak, and Ted is one of the most refreshing comedies of this year.

Without a doubt, Seth MacFarlane steals the show as the potty-mouthed teddy bear, but the film does make it clear that he is not just a talking stuffed animal. He is indeed a character. By the way, the visual effects are indeed impressive. In spite of him being the most vulgar, perverted character he is, I still cannot help but find Ted's appearance incredibly cute. Another refreshing factor the movie bears is the fact that even though MacFarlane steals the show, he still gives most of the film room for Mark Wahlberg and even Mila Kunis to display their skills in comedic acting. Yes, they have a good chemistry on screen, although it is debatable whether Wahlberg and Kunis is better than Timberlake and Kunis from Friends With Benefits. Once again, Mila Kunis proves that she is not just an actress being "used" as a sex icon on screen, but also an actress who takes her roles seriously and shows effort in her performance. Any day, better than the "hot girls" from a Michael Bay flick.

On a comedy level, Ted is a hit and miss on its jokes. When it misses, it is unbearably dreadful. When it hits, it is absolutely hilarious. Fortunately for Ted, it shoots the hoop constantly with a plethora of jokes and mostly makes the basket, which manages to keep you interested and "on board" throughout. There is a lot of Family Guy-style humor here. There is a lot of pop culture humor here. Oh, and do not get me started on the sexual humor. That is where we draw the line.

In terms of its jokes, Ted may be funny, but it still lacks wit and cleverness at times, which leads me to conclude that it is a good comedy, but definitely inferior to an earlier comedy this year, 21 Jump Street.

Yes, Ted is rated R and believe me, it is a very rated R movie. No matter how much kids want to see a talking teddy bear, lean them away. This is not for them. Even with a goofy premise, this is even more vulgar than The Hangover.

In conclusion, Ted works as a comedy. It takes a simple but funny concept where a teddy bear comes to life but won't leave the house and turns it into the most entertaining party-fest of a movie. It may hit and miss on its vulgar jokes, and the elementary/high school chemistry between the pair could have been fleshed out more to make us care, but Ted works as a comedy and as a film in general due to Seth MacFarlane actually paying attention to the script, taking it to hysterical heights, thoughtful peaks, and even warm themes. By the way, here is a short tutorial on how to enjoy Ted at its full potential. Grab a few beers and sodas, and watch this with your thunder buddy.