Hey kiddies, by now you should know the drill, this is just so I can make sure I know what I've seen this year. It's been a good year too. Maybe not at the cinema, but still. Wrap up tomorrow night!
Being John Malkovich - ****1/2
Pretty good, very original, and I liked the whole ending. And the trip sequences. Probably would have liked it better if the dvd player worked properly.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - *****
This is a good film. Really good. Very sad, but still good. It's twisted, and you can see things coming in a good way, but there's still surprises, specially in the subplots. Excellent movie, go and find it.
The Square - ****
Enjoyed this one, Australian neo-noir with the girl from the cop show and heaps of other familar faces like Julian from The Chasers. Harry Knowles thought it was one of the best films of the year for some reason. Still pretty good.
Up - ***1/2
It's Pixar, so it's excellent, but maybe this was a bit too much of a kiddie story, or an adult story. Bit of both. Seemed too short too.
Airheads - ***
Funny, not particularly awesome. Focused on the wrong early nineties music scene. So nineties it even had a cameo from Beavis and Butthead.
Hedda Gabler (50s) - **
Dull. Lots of unintended double entendres. Crappy camera work, acting and music. Bonus star for being amusing.
Alice in Wonderland - ***
Well, Alice herself, she was hot. The rest, not so much. Plot seemed a bit all over the place, then far too linear; Johnny Depp was doing the Hunter S. Thompson/Cap'n Jack thing with a funny accent, and the cgi was awkward and bad. Tim Burton seemed to have none of the visual flair he had in his other movies, I thought. I mean, the cards are cool, but everything else was a bit bland. But then, he's a Disney cash-cow at the moment, so he'll make billions off the Jayjays wannabe-mallgoth teenage-girls-with-painted-faces crowd. Meh. Would watch anything that Alice girl is in next though.
Under Great White Northern Lights - *****
If anything, there needs to be more footage. Catch Hell Blues, Blue Orchid, Icky Thump and Death Letter are standouts. I have new respect for Meg. Very good film.
Daft Punk's Electroma - ***
Too arty, too slow, but the visuals and soundtrack are very good. I liked the contrast change towards the beginning and the very last shot, not so much the long walk through the desert. Not bad, maybe not for everyone.
Elephant - ****
Genuinely chilling, based of a true story about a school shooting in the States. Was made all Memento style as well. Except for the gay scenes, which seemed tacked on and unneccessary (unless to gross us out, which it did), it was an excellent movie. The FPS scenes in particular were clever.
A Night At The Roxbury - ***
It's dated, but it's still funny. Prototype Will Ferrell, I reckon. Worth seeing. And that goddamn Haddaway song was stuck in my head, sucked.
Clash of the Titans - **
Crap script, crap acting, crap story (seriously, wtf Zeus), but I guess it looked good. Some bits seemed stolen right out of Lord of the Rings (looking at you mountain-walky-scenes and saddled scorpions), and both the Stonem siblings from Skins were in there, which was strange. I dunno.
Baseketball - ****
Really funny. A little dated, but very funny. Dunno about the Randy and Cartman cameos, but meh. Good.
Iron Man 2 - ****1/2
Best bit, by far, was the drunken brawl between two suits set to Daft Punk's Robot Rock. Very satisfying film, for all the slow bits and deus ex machinae and jaw dropping suspension of belief ("Congratulations, you have invented a new element" springs to mind), it was really good. Go see it, totally worth it.
Dogma - ***1/2
Funny bits, too many slow bits, predictable as buggery except for the big deus ex machina. Some good calls in it though.
Slaughterhouse Five - **1/2
Someone who hadn't read the book would not understand this. I didn't like it. Some bits were good. But they skimped on the aliens, and for that, minus a million.
Robin Hood - ***
Not fantastic, not woefully terrible either. The ending is unsatisfying, it seem ed that the entire movie was just one big introduction, there was no stealing from the rich to give to the poor apart from one scene. Lots of big battles, rousing speeches, all that crap. Meh, says I.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - ***1/2.
A little dated, but not bad. Kinda slow too, pretty preachy. Girl was hot.
Exit Through the Gift Shop - *****
It's a clever film. I don't know if I want to give it all away here. But Banksy's got the joke on the audience here. He's got the joke on everyone in the movie, pretty much. Very funny, and pretty awesome at times. I like that they went into Shepard Fairey as well. Guetta was so annoying though. Watch it if you can find it.
Toy Story 3 - ****1/2
The short at the start was clever, not as good as the birds one or Presto. Movie itself was excellent. The 3D wasn't INYOURFACEOMGLOOKHOW3DITIS! all the time, which is good. Plot was good, but it was similar to the second one. Got pretty intense towards the end. Still funny, still awesome at times, it felt a little rushed towards the end, but still damn good. Kinda relevant to us too, cos it's all about heading off to uni and leaving childhood behind. That or it's a metaphor for the holocaust, I'm not sure which yet.
Detroit Rock City - ****
Surprised me. This was actually pretty good. I'd swap Kiss for something a little... better, but other than that, very good film. Hangover-esque
Pan's Labyrinth - *****
Excellent film. Was not expecting the ending, it usually never happens. Was equally fascinated by the Captain's story and the fantasy bit, I just wish it went for longer
Daybreakers - ***1/2
It needed more development in the first half, once it hits the second act it loses steam, and the end is meh because it just ends. There's a lot of consequences that the ending implies. I think it wants a sequel, but this is not the most effective way to set it up. The Yank accents seemed a bit forced at time, and Isabel Lucas is neither a good actress nor is she attractive.
The Road - ****1/2
Relentlessly depressing, in a good way. This is another film where I wanted more. Cinematography was excellent. Kinda guessed the ending.
Silence of the Lambs - *****
Seen bits and pieces of this over the years, was good to sit down and watch it properly. Got sick of Jodie Foster's accent quickly. Really good movie. Dunno about rewatchability, unfortunately.
Hannibal - ***
The "OMG SO EXCITING" cuts and colour changes and random camera effects pissed me off. Yes, we understand that something important has happened. We don't need BIG FLASHY SPECIAL EFFECTS. Again, the accent of the main character pissed me off. Some bits seemed unneccessary. Ending was the best bit. That or the execution in Florence, I dunno.
Red Dragon - ***1/2
Interesting sort of plot. Subplot was good, for once. No annoying camera wiggling around. I liked the burning wheelchair bit. Not as good as the first one. Another tense ending, was good.
American Psycho - ****1/2
Entertaining, but occasionally a little slow. Ending was enjoyably open ended. The chainsaw bit was awesome. Thanks Tom.
Oldboy - ****1/2
The biggest mind-screw I have seen all year. Pacing's a little off, and I kinda guessed the ending fairly early, and there's a middle bit which is so confusing. But my god. Original story, awesome cinematography, and the violence is pretty cool. Tooth pulling and hammer fights and such. Worth watching, should probably lend it to Tom.
Leon: The Professional - ****
A bit clunky at times, but it's pretty good. Characters were interesting enough, action scenes were sufficiently awesome, and I'd watch a whole movie of Leon and his plant.
Trainspotting - *****
Taken me a while to get around to watching this one. Awesome, right from the start when they played Lust for Life. I like trippy movies and this one is awesome for trippiness. Soundtrack was good too, Danny Boyle really seems to like Iggy Pop. I liked this movie a lot.
Requiem for a Dream - *****
After Trainspotting last night, was interesting to compare these two films. This one's pretty good. Not sure which is better, though Trainspotting had the happier ending and humour. Here, the editing gimmickry adds to it all. Ending is confrontingly awesome. Definitely worth watching.
Hard Candy - *****
Woah. Was not expecting this. Pretty awesome. The cinematography in particular was weird. In a good way. Bloke from Watchmen is suitably creepy, girl from Juno seems a bit too old. But it's an original story, which is really what I'm looking for.
Inception - *********
It's a Nolan film, it's gotta be pretty good. If I may quote AICN, it "exceeds expectations". I've been watching a lot of excellent films in the last few weeks, and this one is as good if not better than the best of them. This is the sort of film I've been waiting for. It's deep, and you need to concentrate, but it all makes sense if you've been watching closely. There's subtle humour, love story isn't too over the top (except for the subplot), and my god, the action sequences. There's a sense of subtlety to everything that just builds and builds, and then the ending, which drags out a bit, just intensfies it a bit. That would be my only criticism, that the ending just seems to go on and on while nothing is happening. But the zero-g action sequences, and the Ocean's Eleven style team setup bits, and the sheer grandness of the idea, of dreams within dreams; that's just insane.
In The Attic: Who Has a Birthday Today? - ***1/2
Czechoslovakian Toy Story set in a Soviet-Era attic. Very creative, but it's still a kids film. Kruschev bust thing was pretty freaky.
1981 - ****
Clever film, preachy morals, but it's funny. French Canadian. I can see why it was made when it was made, what with it's "living within your means" thing. Not a bad film.
Moon - *****
Go see this film, it's awesome. Very sad, raises a lot of big questions, and the visuals are amazing. Think Fight Club crossed with 2001 or Star Wars or Alien.
The Royal Tenembaums - ***
Not as funny as I'd hoped, good, messed up story, trademark Wes Anderson visuals. Life Aquatic was way better.
The Expendables - ****
Big, stupid action. Huge budget Steven Seagal film. What's that, you want plot? You want character development? You want drama? No! You get mindless, badarse action. People getting blown in half and decapitated and stuff. This is 300-with-guns. Good film. Grows you chest hair.
Zombieland - *****
I like this film. Might have been because I read World War Z last week. Bill Murray is awesome. End scene is excellent.
The Warriors - *****
Another really good film, been on my list for ages. Not as violent as was advertised, and the costumes are a little off (dunno about the baseball bat guys), but a fun watch. Will watch again, and make sure everyone else does too.
Splice - ****
Dragged a bit, and you need a lot of suspension of disbelief (where is all the money coming from is the first question), but it's a pretty damn good film until the last half hour or so, then it gets weird. And it gets so weird, you're all like, this can't get any weirder, but THEN IT DOES. I've seen a lot of messed up films this year, but this one is pretty close to the top of the most messed up movies list.
The Game - ****1/2
Fincher film, can definitely see how Fight Club developed after this, and Zodiac (he seems to like San Fransisco). Very interesting, and it's claustrophobic by the end. I reckon the ending isn't real though, it just seems like too much.
Bowling for Columbine - ***
Michael Moore is a dick. And yes, it's a tragic story and all that, but he's just a dick. Glorified Today Tonight report, sometimes. Still. It's interesting. The ending cut out on me, which is annoying.
I'm Not There - ***
Disjointed, but not bad. Killer soundtrack, and some of the visuals are pretty good in the trip out sequences.
Beerfest - ****
Very funny cept the ending cut out on us. I wonder if this inspired Sam.
Repo Men - ****
Except for the laggy middle bit, OH GOD HOLY AWESOME. It's like a Guy Richie film crossed with Daybreakers. The opening was excellent, I liked all the subtle bits, and the ending was literally mindblowing. The hallway fight scene with the hammer reminded me of Oldboy, made me smile. Go see it, good film.
It Might Get Loud - ****
Much like watching Dave Grohl playing with JP Jones and Jimmy Page, it was so cool to see Jack White meeting his hero and playing along with him. Dunno about The Edge, it seemed that his bit was always "I push a lot of buttons and play simple riffs". They needed more time on Jimmy, especially at Headley Grange. The Levee Breaks bit was insane, and the last jam, over In My Time of Dying, was incredible. Worth watching, if you're a fan.
Good Night, and Good Luck - *****
Woah. Understated but awesome film. It just builds tension so well, even though you know what's going to happen. Tony Stark and wife plot seemed a bit tacked on, but still. The ending seemed genuinely powerful, and hell, I agreed with what he was saying. One for the Mad Men fans, this is right up your alley.
There Will Be Blood - ****1/2
Woah. The pacing's a little off, sometimes it just seems to drag, but woah. The last scene. Creepy, creepy preachers. Excellent film.
Se7en - ****
A little predictable towards the end. A fun ride, very gorey, nice soundtrack, Morgan Freeman. Can definitely see the development Fincher had between this and Fight Club.
The Men Who Stare at Goats - ***1/2
This is a very silly film. But hey, it's my kind of silly. Only problem is it seems to double back on itself and it kind of goes nowhere. But I can't argue with the main premise, which is all the crazy government conspiracies about weird crap in the military. Surprisingly awesome film.
The Fountain - **1/2
Trippy visuals, but it makes no sense on first viewing and really seems to go nowhere. I think there's a five minute sequence towards the end that would work as a Tool video. Reminded me of Requiem for a Dream messed up with Splice. Still interested in seeing Black Swan and whatever Aronofsky salvages out of Wolverine. Interesting director, I'll give him that.
Bad Boy Bubby - ****
Deliriously twisted. Just when you think it can't get any weirder, it does. Very Australian too, plus the by the end the band was practically The Birthday Party. Good film, but definitely not for the faint hearted.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 1 - ***1/2
Faithful to the book in that there's a lot of boring camping and angst. But some nice subtle humour, and the opening is very cool. I'd swap half the camping to fill in some more blanks though. Nick Cave on the soundtrack, my jaw dropped. Gets another star just for that. Hopefully when the next one comes out they'll have a back to back screening.
Frost/Nixon - ****
Actually very gripping, but you end up wanting to punch Frost. Worth seeing if you're into this sort of intrigue crap, I guess.
Scott Pilgrim vs the World - **
One star of that is for the soundtrack exclusively. Very disappointing. No wonder it bombed, it was just all over the place, there's no audience for it to appeal to. It tries to be funny, but fails because it's Michael Cera. It tries to be an action flick, but fails because the concept of Michael Cera using kung fu/flaming lightsabers/hadouken/etc is just wrong. Also, the only bad guy who seemed interesting was finished very quickly. Tried to be a girly romance thing as well, which devolved into whininess. There is a problem in a film that revolves around getting a girl when the girl in questio is hot but just a terrible and unattractive person. Eternal Sunshine did the hair changing thing better. And the videogame references just seemed to be there. I mean, yeah it's cool, I suppose, but why? Not really that entertaining. Except the soundtrack.
Planet Terror - ***1/2
Watched this with Denny. Good for what it is, which is a wannabe b-movie about zombies with actual moviestars everywhere. Very stupid but pretty cool despite this.
No Country for Old Men - *****
Probably one of the best films I've seen this year, and I've seen a lot. Paced just right, lot of tension. Plus hell, killing someone with an oxygen bottle is cool.
Chopper - ***
Seemed too short, and jumped around too much. Not a bad film. Reminded me of bloody Underbelly a little. Still, hearing Sale mentioned is a little special.
Crank/Crank: High Voltage - **********
AAAH awesome purified. Gotta watch them one after the other though. Just so stupid, but it's actually good. Was expecting Richard D. James' limo to roll up and Windowlicker to start blaring at any moment as well, bonus star for that. Very good pair of films.
In Bruges - ****
Slow, but subtle and eventually just stupidly funny. Reminded me of Burn After Reading, but in Europe with insane Englishmen.
Nightwatch - *
Something must have been lost in translation here, it just didn't make sense and ended up being far too melodramatic. Trying too hard to be cool, with it's annoying cuts and metal soundtrack. Not really interested in watching the sequel either.
Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus - 1/2
Watch when inebriated. Only when inebriated. Nothing redeeming about this film apart from how unintentionally hilarious it is.
Raw & Delirious - ***1/2
Eddie Murphy used to be hilarious, what happened.
Easy A - ***
Decent story, very hot lead character, though predictable by the end. Sort of like a smarter Mean Girls. Still pretty funny.
Ghost World - **1/2
Ryan and I aren't sure about this one. On one hand, it's basically live action Daria, a listless musing about Gen X and how pointless it all is. One of those indie/oscarbait films. I mean, it was amusing sometimes. But it didn't really go anywhere. Which is probably what it aimed to do anyway.
In the Loop - ****
Again, a little slow, but it's very good if only for the foul-mouthed media guy. Worth seeing if you have patience, I guess.
Ronin - ****
Not a bad action flick, definitely takes a couple of cues from the first Mission Impossible. Suffered from the whole "something exciting is happening, it should catch on fire" thing.
The Basketball Diaries - ***1/2
Reminded me a lot of Scar Tissue. Some pretty trippy sequences. Not bad at all.
Synedoche New York - **1/2
Kaufman being Kaufman. Seemed to spend too long establishing a fairly normal world then just scrunching it up and throwing it away with no explanation. At all. Things just got so weird... Yeah. A bit of a struggle to get through, but pretty good by the end, I suppose.
Megamind - ****
It's an enjoyable Will Ferrel in Anchorman mode film. Cast was impressive, and the layering of the jokes was skilled, we couldn't stop giggling at the Obama posters. Soundtrack was pretty good too. Not a bad kid's film at all, may as well check it out.