Directed by Quentin Tarantino
The question you have to ask yourself going into this, is: do I like Tarantino? If you do, you'll probably love it. He delivers his usual witty dialogue and over-the-top thrills, but this time in an excess I found at times distracting and monotonous. Most people seem to point to DiCaprio as the film's highlight, but I personally found his performance incredibly hammy and felt Waltz was the one to watch. Foxx felt like a placeholder for someone more interesting, and ultimately does nothing spectacular. But it's not the acting I have problems with here: my problems revolve around Tarantino himself. His style overwhelms his movies in a way I don't much care for. Still, it's a pretty entertaining movie, even if it falls apart in its second half and does nothing to add to Tarantino's artistic palette.
Directed by Andy & Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer
When I initially saw about this movie, my first thought was: "wow, this looks confusing and kinda stupid". I'm glad I was convinced into watching it, because in spite of its flaws and overly-theatrical nature, this is still one of the most interesting movies of 2012. The makeup (though sometimes silly), visual effects, and set design are all terrific, with a few strong performances and interesting storylines which all blend together surprisingly well. All of this complemented by a wonderful musical score -- which is probably the best of the year. For a movie with 6 separate and largely unrelated central stories, it all flows quite fantastically. Quite an interesting and moving experience.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Directed by Peter Jackson
The Lord Of The Rings trilogy are some of the most fantastic, epic, groundbreaking and wholly entertaining movies ever made. This is pretty much a fact, so holding this movie up to them is an unfair comparison. That being said, this movie is still a letdown. Everything about this movie is recycled from the original trilogy. It's as if Jackson had no creativity left in him after The Return Of The King and just wanted to do the same thing over again, only less interestingly. This movie is essentially The Fellowship Of The Ring, only with less complex characters (a mob of dwarves whose identities are reduced to the size of their noses and color of their beards) and more CGI. Even the music is almost all pre-existing material. The visuals are strong, the performances are adequate, and from a nostalgic point-of-view, it's nice to be back in Middle Earth again. But nostalgia is almost the only draw for me. I enjoyed watching it, but the lasting effect for me is only disappointment.