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Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe...


I'm baaaack!

Firstly: here are the answers to yesterpost's quiz. Well done for everyone who tried - 6/10 was the highest score, so possibly it was a bit tricky...

Secondly: holiday was miserable, but considering I saw 4 films on the way there (Little Miss Sunshine, Man on Fire, Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and Lady in the Water. Enjoyed all of them about equally - I didn't want 3 Burials to end, it was so great. Lady was wonderful, but I can see why people disliked it. Little Miss Sunshine was an ominous choice for a family holiday...and I've wanted to see Man on Fire for ages. Strange film. 50% sweet story of bonding and redemption, with 50% killing crazy rampage stuck on the end. Still...I wasn't complaining), , 5 while actually there (Full Metal Jacket, great, Apocalypse Now, great, Muriel's Wedding, great in its own way, Nightmare Before Xmas, great in a great way and High School Musical which...wasn't really great, but an awful lot of fun) and 6 on the way back it couldn't have been too bad (Those six were...The Departed, Fearless, Little Red Flowers, Scoop, An Inconvenient Truth and one more which I've forgotten.)

Thirdly: 2007 is here! 2006 is over! So it's time for my (drumroll please)



REVIEW OF THE YEAR

Hence today's post title :)

This was the year… I developed, suffered and survived (just) three irrational obsessions pretty much unscathed. I saw at least 125 movies for the first time, 26 of the imdb top list and 17 of the Total Film top 100 list. 3 films entered my own favourites; it’ll be interesting to see how long they stay. I went to the cinema approx. 6 times. I discovered Francis Ford Coppola, Sergio Leone, Woody Allen, Brian De Palma, Tarantino, Michael Mann, Hitchock, Kurosawa, Al Pacino, Robert deNiro, Marlon Brando, the Marx Brothers, Billy Wilder and had a good bash at Kubrick and Tony Scott. I even attended my own movie premiere, and won a prize (admittedly 3rd) in a filmy-scripty-contest. I’ve seen The Two Best Movies Ever Made (IMHO), met The Best Actor Ever and a few other good’uns along the way. And I discovered crime movies.
I saw only one M. Night movie, one Terry Gilliam (misfortune plagued my efforts to see both The Fisher King and Tideland), 2 Michael Caine films and 5 starring Robert Redford.

Best movie moments – definitely explaining Donnie Darko to my history teacher at 2:00 in the morning at Berlin airport. Though my sister walking into the room just before the “chest bursting” scene in a film I'm sure you remember, and all three of us simultaneously telling her to scram was pretty funny.

Things which are never funny and bound to be lameGodfather spoofs, Brokeback spoofs
Things which are always funny and never get old – re-cut trailers, Battleship Potempkin spoofs (Brazil, Bananas, The Untouchables)

Movie laugh of the year – Kevin Bacon playing Six Degrees on Will and Grace. (approximately: KB - “Will Smith told me that” ? – “but you’ve never been in any movies with Will Smith.” KB “No, but Will Smith was in M.I.B with Tommy Lee Jones, and he was in JFK with me.”) I don’t usually watch the show, I just caught that bit. Laughed mucho.

2 films I enjoyed, which I thought I’d hate
Phonebooth and the Beach
2 films I hated which I thought I’d enjoy
Seven Samuri and Asphalt Jungle

One “great film” I hated
Vertigo
One “awful film” I enjoyed
Godfather 3

Things I’ve learnt – the Godfather, BestMovieEver™, might actually be the best movie ever; Al Pacino, BestActorEver™, might actually be the best actor ever; just because it’s Hitchcock doesn’t mean it’s good; just because it came first doesn’t mean it’s better than the films that copied it (Seven Samuri and Asphalt Jungle); the hero’s partner has the life expectancy of a Spinal Tap drummer; never ever ever retire (SoaP, Spy Game, Behind Enemy Lines and pretty much everything else); you can kill somebody with a coathanger (Godfather 2, as I repeatedly assured mes amis when we wento to Berlin) and cure snake bites with pointy earrings (SOAP); taking part in heists is basically suicidal (see here), but make sure you take an umbrella (Rififi)some films can be watched over and over again (R+GaD, 12 times in * months and counting); reservoir contains 3 rs.

And now, the prizes, awarded to everything that impressed me this year. That’s right, just me – based on the films I got around to seeing. Which probably won’t make it a very fun read for you, and I’m sorry for that. Bear with me. This is why I started the blog to begin with – Oscar-bait movies never come to our cinema, so I rarely have an opinion on Oscar-nominated films and I wanted the fun of me own awards ceremony. Anyway…they always get it wrong…so with no further ado, and much Godfather praising before us, I present…the three awards catagories: people prizes, picture prizes and plot prizes.


PEOPLE PRIZES

This year’s best performances
Michael (The Godfather) – yes I know he’s got an advantage because I’ve seen three films, but really you’re just making excuses. The first nomination of the year, and it may as well have been the only one. Anyone who wants to take this up with me is in trouble, I refuse to budge on the issue. But in all honesty, who could disagree? Not only of the year, but of my entire movie watching life so far. And that’s not going to change for a long time. (also wins: Frodo Baggins award for best performance by a pair of eyes in a leading role)

Gordon (Batman Begins)
Interesting fact of the month: Gary Oldman can act. Really well. Watch how he actually reacts to everything in the scene. Observe how he never stops reacting and how he’s generally very good. It just quietly blew me away. It’s a lesson in how to pull off a tiny, unimportant role and do it well.

Sally (Cabaret)
This was the second one of the year, it was a long time ago and I really can’t remember anything great to say.

Marian (True Grit)
I thought she was sweet! Feisty and slightly charming, after her father’s death she stirs up a whole lot of trouble which results in 20-or-so people getting shot in variously unpleasant ways. Very determined, virtually to the point of being irritating, what I liked about her most was her accountant sided. How many accountant heroines has Hollywood known? At every turn she’s trying to get better deals and more for her money. So fine, it’s hardly a great performance (not like it ever stood a chance even if it had been) but she was a breath of fresh air and sparkled delightfully on screen.

Cromwell and Charles (Cromwell)
I decided against nominating more than one person per film in this category, and then I thought hey! What the hell! None of them are going to beat Michael anyway! So here we are, **’s positively Shakespearean rendition of Cromwell and Alec Guinness’ performance of King Charles. Besides, they both provide something for the other to fight against, producing an elegant game of ping pong which positively sizzles with frustration on both sides (good God I’m making it sound like a rom com…

Hermione (HP4)
Not exactly in the league of the rest of the competition, but still very good. Perhaps I was just looking for light in a messy movie? Perhaps it’s just the culmination of four films of regard, in which she is the only decent child actress. Whatever. She manages to hold her own around the, frankly, drippy Harry and Ron, and all the British thesps in their minor roles.

Tony Stephanois (Rififi)
He’s a crook, and a not entirely pleasant one, but you really do feel for him. It’s all in the eyes. He convinces you there’s something else there. And he gets one hell of a great scene with Cesar.

Whazzzisname, as played by Paul Giammatti (Sideways)
The hero guy. The one not getting married. Sorry, I haven't seen it for ages and imdb is blocked on the school computers. He’s so sweet. Really really sweet. Basically, I can’t say much more than that.

Mr Orange (Reservoir Dogs)
I know what you’re thinking. You’re accusing me of putting this merely because I’ve already given Gary Oldman a nod and I’d feel bad if I didn’t balance it out. And yes, I would feel bad, but that’s definitely not the reason. It’s because he’s got a fantastic voice, and can squeeze more meaning into two words than some people can during a whole film. And plus…not many actors could sustain what is basically a 90 minute death scene. Or manage to look this hot while doing it… (also wins: most huggable actor)

Stu (Phone Booth)
Because Mr Farrel carries this film. His performance absolutely sells the situation, and keeps you interested in staring at the same tiny location for 90 minutes.

Irwin (History Boys)
Not a massive role for overacting, but one or two scenes contained such sparkle…I remember a teary scene in a dim corridor I enjoyed. Memory going hazy…

This year’s coolest characters
(i.e. I loved ‘em for the lines not the acting, which might be the same thing really, but also again maybe not…)

Tuttle the heroic heating engineer! (Brazil)
The Critic He gets all the best lines, and sends up MNS's habit of tidily signposting his plots(Lady in the Water)
Dwayne, the Nietzche reading teen (Little Miss Sunshine)
The Drill Instructor, (Full Metal Jacket)
Withnail – Part misunderstood genius, part obnoxious drunk, wholly endearing. Somehow. (Withnail & I)

This year’s hottest guys
(aka the helpless drooling prize, in approximate order)

1 Robert Redford in the Sting. It’s the red suit-n-cap look. And the way he says “I don’t know enough about killing to kill him”.
2 Michael in Godfather 1. One word – eyes. Also wins: most unsuitable crush of the year.
3 Jimmie, the Commitments. Just fantastic.
4 Messrs Blonde, Pink and Orange. Can’t pick between them. All very hot.
5 Vincent in Godfather 3. Running out of gushing things to say.
6 Executive Officer Kane, Alien. Hey, I’ve always thought the actor was gud looking…even if I can’t remember his name.
7 The dark haired guy in the History Boys. Can’t remember his name either. Only remember he was hot.

This year’s hottest gals
(aka the insane jealosy award, in approximate order)
1 Mia, Pulp Fiction. So now I see why guys think Uma Thurman is attractive, cos I’ve never got that before. Mia is seriously stunning.
2 Marilyn in Some Like it Hot. Dictionary definition of gorgeous, even if not quite the dictionary spelling– totally lived up to me expectations.
3 Marla, Fight Club. I thought she was anyway...
4 Helen in Helen of Troy. Sienna Gullory will play me in my own biopic…
5 Inara, Serenity. Just pretty.
6 Ripley, Alien. Again, now I see why peeps think Sigourney Weaver is gud lookin.
7 Imelda, the Commitments. Very blonde, but pretty attractive.

Prize for the most unrealistically pretty castStarship Troopers. Seriously, have these guys been sculpted or something?! They look like Barbie and Ken.
Sweetest pair –
After some deliberation, I extended this to friends as well as lovers.
Dubey and Alice, Monsoon Wedding – who can resist a courtship made up of that wonderful mystical music? Who can deny that a heart made of marigolds surrounded by candles and prayers is not sweet. And who else thinks that for all the fun of the main party, they had the sweetest wedding of all?

Donnie and Gretchen, Donnie Darko – this is just plain beautiful

Gabriella and Troy, High School Musical – yeh…but…you do really want them to end up together, right?

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, R+GaD – a totally perfect pair. They just balance so well, and are soo sweet…I could talk for a long time on this topic…

Eddie and Bela, Ed Wood – Aw. This really, really made the film. I mean, Ed’s kinda exploiting Bela’s fame to get his films made, but the wonderful thing about Ed is he is just so good natured it’s more than that…

Special mention:
Denys and Karen, Out of Africa
Messrs Orange and White, Reservoir Dogs – speculation on the nature of their relationship not appreciated. Just buddies, ok? :)
Nick and Marlie, Runaway Jury – ok, so they weren’t sweet but they did look very good together.
Emma and Knightly, Emma – Anything involving Jeremy Northam has gotta be sweet.
Kaylee and Simon, Serenity – OK, so it may mean very little to you, but this is the culmination of 17 EPISODES of not getting around to it. Plus, the actual lines are totally fantastic.

Messiest and most miserable death
(Containing judicious amounts of blacking out)

Malone, Untouchablesthe baseball bat, the lift – some pretty sick deaths in this one, but I’m going to have to go with Malone. Why? It just looked…very painful. The murderers-eye-viewcam was hooking, and the dash of relief when he got foiled and oh its not fair.
The Cow,
Three Kingsjust because it’s not human, not to say it doesn’t have feelings! May I remind you the poor creature explodes? Our heroes are metres from a mine when saved by an unfortunate cow. “Anybody hurt?” someone cries to his friends, looking at the blood and carnage. “No…no, it’s all cow” comes the reply as someone removes the head from the truck bonnet. So sympathy, please…
Mengeler,
Boys from Brazil. The last scene is a bit nasty really. After their fight, both participants are given at least 10 minutes of sitting around time with their various wounds. Which is unpleasant to say the least, but it gets worse when the flesh-eating Dobermen are released
The chap in the loo,
Snakes on a plane There were a lot of nasty deaths in this one – the baseball bat, boils-and-foaming from snake bites and a friend voted in favour of the man trampled and stiletto’d to death. Well it was a tricky choice, but I’ve decided to go for this guy – which provoked simultaneous horror and smirks in the cinema. The mirror looked painful.
Mr Orange,
Reservoir DogsEw. OK, so you can argue it wasn’t actually the first bullet that did it, but then again you can also argue that he made it at the end and got to a hospital in time. Stop making excuses. He was most certainly on the way out, even if he didn’t quite get around to it…
Everyone in the first ten minutes,
Ghost Ship – I haven’t seen the whole thing, but I still haven’t got over the sheer cheek of this scene. The feeling of “Oh my…they can’t possibly do that!” after the wire has just hit.

Special mention:
Jack, Brokeback you only see 30 secs of this, but that’s enough.
Sonny,
The Godfather – did you know that the easiest G soundclip to find on the web is the sound of myriad machines guns going of?
Gatsby,
the Great Gatsby –waaaaaa! And it was such an awful bathing costume!
Stephane,
Room 69. Ahehehehehehehe…mwahahahaha, I’m sorry this humor is in rather bad taste, but I love this film absolutely. Perhaps the end was meant to be horrific – but it made me chuckle.
Teddy,
Memento. It’s the splatter of gore on the floor that gets me. So ok, it’s only a bullet to the head, not half as drawn out as some of the competition, but the sick beauty of the blood dripping up the wall has to be recognised.
Whozzername
from English Patient – dying alone in a cold dark cave, not messy as such but certainly unpleasant.
Mario,
Rififi. In fact, I could go for anyone (everyone?) in this film. But the sheer terror of the situation wins here, the poor poor darling….
Can't pick anyone in particular: Man on Fire.

Massacre award: Downfall. It might not quite kill off all its cast, but apart from the Goebbles junior, no one death stands out here as being especially unpleasant. It’s the relentless combination.
Gonna put the next set in a new post, just to keep things tidy

3 comments:

Rob said...

I agree with you on Vertigo. I didn't hate it, but it was very underwhelming, especially after all the hype I'd heard about it being Hitchcock's best. It's a solid detective story but nothing more.

I still regard Rope as his best. It's only nine shots long, he wanted to do it in one but it was technically impossible with the amount of film the cameras could hold. It's just the most interesting and plain entertaining of his movies. And in a lot of cases, the most technically interesting.

Ninquelosse said...

Well, I'll look out Rope. I would like to see one or two more Hitchcock films before forming a definite opinion...

Querida said...

Well written article.

 
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