…and not the god awful screen rendered turd with Claudia Winkleman. I saw 10 minutes of it and decided that if I ever have the chance I will run a bulk eraser over the stacks of hard drives that they use to store the master recordings for the good of mankind.
So, this year I watched 52 films. Lots less than in previous years, but I’ve been too busy drinking (and have probably missed out a few from my list).
Here’s the big list (in sort of reverse order) and the traditionally pithy reviews. Italics are rewatches, bold is in the cinema:
- The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – very pretty, rather mad and wrapped in tragedy. Also quite a good film.
- The Blues Brothers – My Christmas movie, chosen due to someone using the phrase “we play both kinds of music” a few days earlier. I watched it sitting on my balcony in temperatures of -4°C due to the rather nice Montecristo cigar I was smoking. I bought myself a humidor for Christmas, this can’t be a good thing. It is humidifying behind my head at the moment – it’s at 60% humidity and rising…
- Iron Man 2 – excellent. It went BANG and WHOOSH and BRIEFCASE SUIT in all the right places. It was also my first rental from the PS3 store. It is my last rental from the PS3 store (took ages to download [1/2 my broadband speed] and their interface is shit).
- Aeon Flux – it was on the Lovefilm PS3 player, which is quite nice, and I was in the mood for some surreal Charlize Theron in tight clothing action. I need to watch my DVDs of the original animated series again.
- Superhero Movie – this was awful. There were laughs in it, but there was also much head in hands badness. Leslie Nielsen RIP.
- Dorian Gray – surprisingly good – I’ve heard it follows the book rather closely, but I’ve still not read the rather nice copy I’ve got. It has bad people being bad…and not a lot else. The first film I watched on the PS3 Lovefilm player – worth a watch.
- The Men Who Stare at Goats – Almost a brilliant film, but the there were the last 15-20 minutes. I bought the book within minutes of finishing watching it and look forward to seeing what Jon Ronson says, as I suspect the good bits of the movie were what he wrote. Clooney, Bridges and Spacey are great. Ewan McGregor is also pretty good. I think I love Jeff Bridges.
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country – The first time (surprisingly) that I’ve seen this all the way through. It’s no Wrath of Khan or Search for Spock (the trilogy of Khan, Search and Voyage Home are the only Star Trek films that need ever be mentioned. I consider Search for Spock to be the Empire Strikes Back of the Star Trek world. Yes, I am broken in the brain) but it’s fun and worth a watch.
- District 9 – I’ve not seen a film where I shouted at the main character for being a tit so much. Really good though – great handling of aliens.
- Inception – Loved it. Great physical effects, lovely idea and some good acting. I didn’t find it confusing and am very pleased to boast this to people. Like now.
- Zelig – I <3 Woody Allen. Liked this, but not his best.
- Paranormal Activity – Impressive, the finest microbudget film I’ve seen. Further down this list is Blair Witch – this pisses on that. From a height. I didn’t have trouble sleeping, unlike various professional reviewers.
- Gremlins – Yes. I know. This was the first time I’ve seen it. I had the sticker book, even, but have never seen the film after an incident when I was kid where a child minder put it on for a bunch of 10 year olds and I (with all of my prissy kid powers) refused to watch it due to not being old enough. I never got round to watching it until now. It is great, as you all knew already.
- The Black Dahlia – Meh. And Meh. The book was my first James Ellroy (accidentally stuck to the front of a copy of Loaded that I bought in a service station on the way to the Lake District on a school trip back in the days when Loaded wasn’t entirely full of soft porn [this issue had Leslie Nielsen on the front and was mainly about comedy]) and it was confusing and excellent. The film is neither confusing or excellent.
- Zombieland – strangely the bit I disliked of this was the ‘mysterious celebrity cameo’. If you chopped that bit out it would be really very good rather than very good. If you released the ‘mysterious celebrity cameo’ as a short film it would be excellent, but I don’t think it fit with the rest of the movie. I think I love Woody Harrelson.
- Scott Pilgrim vs the World – This film annoyed me. I love the books but didn’t like it and it felt like it was my fault. Edgar Wright made a great film and I didn’t like it. I am a bad man. I have bought all the Anamanaguchi albums I could in penitence.
- Che: Part Two – depressing and not as good as the first one. All of a sudden having this in reverse order seems like a bad idea. It’s because I’m too lazy to sort it the other way round.
- Che: Part One – the first part of my gradual shift towards being a communist this year, culminating in searching Wikipedia a lot after reading Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna (about Trotsky staying in Mexico with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and about McCarthyism in the USA – worth a read). Much more uplifting then the second part.
- The Book of Eli – Fallout 3 on screen (complete with HDR and oversharpened look) and a good post apocalyptic movie with a clumsy message about the power of faith. If they’d kept it non-explicit what the book was then I reckon it’d have been better.
- Gran Torino – Clint Eastwood can still both act and direct. This we all know.
- White Men Can’t Jump – I rather liked this. Can’t say much more as I was quite drunk when I watched it.
- Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro – A bit of fun and light Studio Ghibli that I chose to watch over Grave of Fireflies, which I recorded from the same season of films on Film 4. I’ve still not watched Grave of Fireflies…
- Rushmore – another one that I can’t remember much of, although this time due to general forgetfulness, but again I remember it was rather good.
- Midnight Express – I didn’t even remember that I’d watched this until I saw it on the list. I vaguely remember a wild looking John Hurt and an escape, and looking up Brad Davis to see if he’d starred in anything since. The answer – not really, and he died in 1991.
- Tell No One – a bit of a rubbish thriller that I still get confused with Liam Neeson’s Taken, despite there being no resemblance.
- Religulous – Bill Meyer does an okayish takedown of religion, while at the same time not doing much more than preaching to the converted.
- McVicar – Roger Daltrey in the British version of Shawshank Redemption? But with less tunneling through posters and more shouting at the screws.
- Doubt – Meryl Streep scares me. Philip Seymour Hoffman continues to be good. That is all.
- Bronson – Tom Hardy is rather excellent and this film is both pretty and mad. I like things that are pretty and mad.
- Changeling – Despite the various awards it garnered I expected to dislike this. I was wrong, it was good.
- Redline – Insane anime racing action that I saw at Sci-Fi-London due to it being pretty much unavailable through useful channels. You haven’t seen racing until you’ve seen a cartoon car overtaken by a cartoon trike the size of an aircraft carrier ridden by Satan.
- Universal Soldier: Regeneration – Mr Van Damme continues to try and make more poignant dramas where he has to act, and on top of that they added a bunch of shooting and Dolph Lundgren appearing for 10 minutes so that they could put him on the poster. This is the film that Sci-Fi-London put on at Eastercon. I hope we put something better on next year…
- Kick-Ass – I loved this until the very end when a couple of things (which weren’t in the comic book) broke me out of the movie as being ‘too unrealistic’. In a film where an 8 year with purple hair kills everyone. Everyone. My brain is broken.
- The Blair Witch Project – I got a bit bored, to be honest.
- Miller’s Crossing – I like the Coen Brothers. I am repenting for my earlier dislike by watching all of their movies – this one is good, like the other ones.
- Micmacs – While I’ve met Marc Caro (who was allegedly the visual part of the directing duo who did City of Lost Children, which is ace) it seems that Jean-Pierre Jeunet (the other half of the aforementioned directing duo) has pinched some of his former collaborator’s style and made this rather orange and blue, and very pretty movie. The first (and only) film I saw in the posh screen in Westfield. It was quite nice.
- Deaden – One of the stupidest films I’ve seen this year. Given to me by the director, Christian Viel, and self published due to noone wanting it, it’s a fairly trashy, alright-ish revenge movie. However, the first 10 minutes are some of the most offensive I’ve ever seen, almost as if they made a list of sexual and societal taboos and went through them ticking them off one by one. It’s a film designed to have early walk-outs and I can imagine Christian high-fiving his producer as each person left the premiere.
- Inglourious Basterds – I liked it, even if I did cringe in the ‘we can see what’s going to happen. nonononono!’ bits that Tarantino likes to sprinkle into his movies. He does tension well.
- Million Dollar Baby – See my previous comments about Clint. Excellent and a film that I was sure I wouldn’t like that much. I’m almost tempted to watch Invictus now.
- Sextette – one of the first to arrive off of my ‘worst films ever’ list from IMDB that I put on LoveFilm. It was entirely strange – well done Mae West.
- Once Upon a Time in the Midlands – anything that Shane Meadows makes is worth a watch (even the no money, early days of his career, 5 minute short ‘Where’s the money Ronnie?’ that I saw on Film4 as part of their lead in to This Is England ‘86 [which I didn't see. for shame])
- Sunset Boulevard – Rather good. As you’d expect for a film that everyone continues to say is rather good 50 years after release.
- Glengarry Glen Ross – Again, rather good. I’ve read a book by Mamet about the film industry and now need to continue working my way through everything he’s scripted.
- The Cat Returns – more Ghibli, this time doing its usual “harrowing tale of potential childhood tragedy hidden underneath beautiful animation and hope”. And the cat’s cute.
- Judge Dredd – I’ve never seen it all the way through. Now I have. Hmm. Never mind. They’re making another one I hear. Hmm. Never mind.
- The Hurt Locker – I hated this. Yes, it was well filmed and all that but I found it profoundly insulting to pretty much everyone involved in the war in the middle east (and the armed forces in general) whether they deserved it or not. A lot of shouting at the telly.
- Schindler’s List – Again, one that I have never watched. Impressive – the documentaries I’ve seen that mention it made me fear that Spielberg had gone for too much heartstring pulling, but he balanced it very well making it an interesting and tense war movie with a nod to the tragedy of history.
- Manufacturing Dissent: Uncovering Michael Moore – again, one that preached to the converted. Precis: Michael Moore’s documentaries aren’t balanced, they push a certain agenda using various trickery if the facts don’t match up. Meh, we knew that.
- My Neighbor Totoro – Brilliant. The background of my laptop is still (almost a year later) Totoro at a bus stop in the rain. It’s beautiful and up there with Spirited Away as my favourite Miyazaki movie. Catbus rocks!
- Underworld: Evolution – Cate Blanchett in rubber, Michael Sheen with long hair and that other bloke whose name I don’t remember showing his chest off. I don’t really remember it, I don’t think I can be bothered to.
- Lesbian Vampire Killers – it was free off of iTunes. I didn’t get it by choice. Really. It was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be and had Paul McGann in.
- Avatar – my first 3d movie. Fairly rubbish but pretty, and that was what it was going for.
Four trips to the cinema is rather low for me, I think I need to get out more. About half of the list above was from Lovefilm, the other half from TV (mainly recorded as I am rubbish at watching live television). On top of that I didn’t buy any of the films above (the only DVDs I bought this year were Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and Sapphire & Steele, both of which I’m still working my way through), rented one as a download (Iron Man 2) and watched a few at the end of the year through Lovefilm’s online service.
Along with my not buying DVDs I’m also selling many of mine through Amazon, although only the ones that are actually worth something. I have too many things and am slowly divesting myself of many of them so if you are interested in a riffle through my DVD collection I’ll do you a deal on a few fillums.
I wrote this mainly while watching Screenwipe 2010. I think I love Charlie Brooker.