2012 In Retrospect January 6, 2013Posted by badblokebob in : Editorials, 5 stars, year-end summaries, 2012 , add a comment
Top 10, Bottom 5, 50 Unseen, and more. It’s 100 Films‘ final review of 2012…
2012: The Full List January 4, 2013Posted by badblokebob in : Editorials, statistics, year-end summaries, 2012 , add a comment
What better way to kick off the first weekend of 2013 than with a look back at 2012!
The complete list — and a whole load of statistics — from my 2012 viewing:
December 2012 January 1, 2013Posted by badblokebob in : Editorials, progress reports, year-end summaries, 2012 , add a comment
How many films did I watch in the whole of 2012? Click through to find out…
2011 In Retrospect January 7, 2012Posted by badblokebob in : Editorials, 5 stars, Specials, year-end summaries, 2011 , add a comment
A week into the new year, it’s time to wrap up 2011…
Everyone has different criteria about what constitutes a Great Film. Some people despise Hollywood-produced mass-market action fare; other people it’s all they watch. Some people can’t stand a slow-paced meditative drama with subtitles; other people it’s all they watch. And, naturally, there are various less extreme opinions in between.
So choosing a best (or worst) films list is always a highly subjective and personal experience, and however acclaimed the critic or definitive the source it will always be so. There’s also arguably a difference between Favourite and Best, and I can never quite decide which my list is; never mind the initial hurdle that I have quite broad tastes. How do you qualify two vastly different films against each other?
But anyway, I’m sure you’ve heard such musings about the compilation of such lists before — I shan’t go on (for a change). Here’s some lists; they explain themselves. Through the cleverness of HTML, I shall provide a linked contents list:
- The Five Worst Films I Saw in 2011
- The Ten Best Films I Saw For the First Time in 2011
- Special Mentions
- The Films I Didn’t See
- A Final Thought
(OK, they’re not all lists.)
As ever, all of these are selected from what I watched this year, so the full list of eligible titles is here.
Cloak and Dagger
I think I’ve been quite generous with my scores this year — I was surprised upon reviewing my worst-of-the-year shortlist to find three stars on this review. Whether you’re looking at his German silents or Hollywood noirs, Fritz Lang is an exceptional director. But even exceptional people have off-days.
Valley of Fear
An easy one this, but hey-ho. It’s probably the least-well-regarded of the four Sherlock Holmes novels, and while it’s not the worst in this series of animated adaptations — the woefully misjudged version of The Hound of the Baskervilles takes that honour — it’s still not got much going for it.
Some people write off the Saw franchise too readily — while at its worst it does sink to the risible depths of torture porn, at its best it’s an engrossing and complex thriller. This franchise-ender is a disappointment even to those of us who border on liking the series, though. Full of good ideas wasted. Shame.
Here’s another one I gave three stars to (there are several not here that scored lower), but my memory of it is even worse. Despite some considerable talent — Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, Marilyn Monroe, Howard Hawks — it doesn’t tie together into something particularly entertaining, in my mind. Passable.
Beyond the Pole
I didn’t hate Beyond the Pole, but there wasn’t a great deal I enjoyed about it either. It’s good when a comedy makes you laugh and, unlike Monkey Business even, this one doesn’t really. It’s a waste of a talented cast. Impressive production values for such a small British film though.
“Go ahead tell the end… but please don’t tell the beginning!” Gambit is worth watching for its opening conceit alone, but once that’s done there’s tons of fun to be had with Caine and MacLaine, bumbling through a con in delicious fashion. Largely forgotten, it deserves to be remembered; perhaps the Colin Firth-starring Coens-penned remake will do it a favour.
With Scottish landscape shots to rival Lord of the Rings‘ New Zealand, Centurion is breathtaking to look at. Underline that with a tense story and a fantastic cast (not the last time Michael Fassbender will appear in this top ten), not to mention some brutal but not excessive action, and I think you have a winner. A little blokey, but also a little more.
8) Easy Virtue
Looking at reviews and aggregate sites, Easy Virtue seems to be almost maligned. Shame. Adapted from a Noel Coward play, it’s very witty, surprisingly dramatic, and with a outrageously cheeky score. This changeability and irreverence is, I think, quite British. Perhaps it confuses some by not being easily pigeonholed. I adored it.
7) My Neighbour Totoro
It’s hard to think of a film more gentle than Totoro, although some might find things like the cat-bus a bit creepy (me not entirely excluded). Gorgeously animated with a beautiful soundtrack, it lures you in to a world and tells you a thoroughly nice story, with no enforced peril or nasty characters. Refreshingly lovely.
Made for next to nothing and with all the computer effects home crafted by director Gareth Edwards, Monsters is an amazing technical achievement. But it’s also a character drama about disaffected twenty-somethings and man’s destructive nature, amongst other things no doubt. Edwards is unquestionably a genre filmmaker to watch.
It may have the same subject matter as Kick-Ass, but Super scores bonus points for its low-budget very-real-world aesthetic… in spite of featuring some of the craziest anime-inspired CGI you’ll see from a US movie. Very funny, but with a kick too, while Kick-Ass slid into fantasy this remains reality (pretty much). They make a helluva pair.
4) Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro
The first film from anime master Hayao Miyazaki has been described by no less than Steven Spielberg as “one of the greatest adventure movies of all time”. Do you need higher recommendation? Exciting and funny, while it may lack the emotional resonance that made Miyazaki so acclaimed later, it appeals rather to my blockbuster sensibilities.
3) Let the Right One In
This is how you do a vampire love story (for everyone but teenage girls). Genuinely touching and emotional, with highly identifiable themes and characters despite the story’s genre subject matter, Tomas Alfredson’s film is an affecting drama as well as a creepy and horrific fantasy thriller. Genre movies don’t get much better than this.
2) X-Men: First Class
Some reviews spied flaws, attributed to First Class‘ hasty production, but I don’t hold with that. As young versions of McKellen and Stewart, Fassbender and McAvoy bring as much acting gravitas as can be had from their generation. Vaughn manages genuine cinematic spectacle, something I thought lost in the age of anything-is-possible CGI. Marvellous.
1) The Social Network
Some unlikeable brats sit at computers programming websites and argue amongst themselves. Sounds like a bloody awful film, but with dialogue by Aaron Sorkin and direction from David Fincher, not to mention a cast of fine young actors, it’s engrossing, exciting and exceptional. It may be The Movie About Facebook, but it’s about so much more. Like.
Compiling this year’s top ten felt hard — I managed to get my typically long long list (42 titles this year) down to a short list of about 15, then set about re-reading my own reviews… but whichever film I last read about seemed an obvious contender. In the end I plumped for a couple that ‘needed the support’, as it were. Lingering just outside the ten — or perhaps simply unlucky on the day — were The Big Heat, Fritz Lang’s exceptional dark noir; How to Train Your Dragon, an exciting CG-animated movie that proves it isn’t all about Pixar; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, an effective procedural-ish thriller that gives the US remake a lot to live up to; The Three Musketeers, anarchic fun; and the new Winnie the Pooh, which was flawed but loveable.
As ever, I must also mention the 17 films that earned themselves 5-star ratings this year. Eight of them made it into the top ten, the most ever. The two that missed out were close too, but I think I may’ve got tougher as the year progressed: the last perfect score I handed out was in September, and before that July. Anyway, those in the top ten were Easy Virtue, Let the Right One In, Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro, Monsters, My Neighbour Totoro, The Social Network, Super and X-Men: First Class. From the handful that missed out, The Three Musketeers was also a five-star-er. The remaining eight were Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Dog Day Afternoon, An Education, Harry Brown, Holiday, The King’s Speech, Nanny McPhee & the Big Bang and Roman Holiday. Whenever I do this bit I always feel like there were some other films I should have given top marks, and maybe some that only deserved four, but here we are.
On top of those 17, David Fincher Week (I promise this is the last time I’ll mention it in these round-ups) furnished us with five-star reviews for two films I’d previously seen — namely, Se7en and Fight Club — and a third for the only-slightly-different Zodiac: Director’s Cut.
To finish off, then, here’s my annual tradition: an alphabetical list of 50 films, that are listed as 2011 on IMDb, that I didn’t manage to see this year. These are chosen for a variety of reasons, from box office success to critical acclaim via simple notoriety.
As usual I’ve stuck to my rule of only including films that are listed as 2011 on IMDb, irrespective of their UK release date. So no Senna, no Submarine, no Brighton Rock, for just three British-made examples; but films that aren’t even out here for over a month are included. What can I say, it’s a flawed system. Maybe I’ll finally change it next year.
The list may show a bias towards my personal interests — I do use this as a checklist going forward after all — but then I have quite wide interests, and I had a look at Box Office Mojo’s account of the highest-grossing films in the US to include all I’d not seen from the top 15 (I drew the line at Rio and The Smurfs), and a Best Of list or two too, so it hits most of the major bases. Nonetheless, I’m certain Stuff You’ll Have Heard Of is missing, but that’s what a limit of 50 does. Maybe I should increase it to 100 — that’d be fitting.
But I digress. Here are some films:
The Adjustment Bureau
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Attack the Block
Captain America: The First Avenger
Conan the Barbarian
Cowboys & Aliens
The Devil’s Double
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Fast Five (aka Fast & Furious 5)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Gnomeo & Juliet
The Green Hornet
The Hangover Part II
Happy Feet Two
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
The Inbetweeners Movie
The Iron Lady
Kung Fu Panda 2
Midnight in Paris
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
Puss in Boots
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
The Three Musketeers
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The Tree of Life
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1
That’s it for another year… well, apart from the 17 reviews I have left to post. Ought to get a wriggle on with those really.
With that, 100 Films is officially five years old. Oo-ooh! Originally I started it in February 2007, looking back on the first few weeks of the year to get it going (to this day I wonder if I forgot any films I watched in that period), and come the proper fifth birthday next month I may have a post or two to acknowledge the relative longevity of this enterprise.
But until then… well, I’ve got a lot more films still to watch…
2011: The Full List January 3, 2012Posted by badblokebob in : Editorials, progress reports, statistics, year-end summaries, 2011 , 4 comments
For only the second time in the history of 100 Films in a Year, I have watched 100 films in a year.
As opposed to over-100, which I’ve done twice, or the obvious under-100, which I did once. And indeed this year I didn’t watch just 100: that’s 100 feature-length films that I’ve never seen before. But you knew that, because that’s what this blog is about. I still think no one’s going to have remembered the rules. Best to be clear, eh.
So, as we’ve reached the end, here’s the first of two summary posts. More on the second post later, but first there’s the complete list of everything I watched: the main list of 100, in numerical order of viewing again this year, followed by lists of other things I decided to review — this year, a couple of shorts and most of the contents of David Fincher Week.
And then there’s the statistics. I love the statistics. There’s some interesting stuff in there this year — including graphs! — though the way things seem to be trending next year might be even more interesting. Only 52 weeks until we get to find out… But I’m getting ahead of myself. It may be 2012, but let’s luxuriate in the events of 2011 for just a moment longer.
#1 Saw VI (2009)
#2 Exam (2009)
#3 Genevieve (1953)
#4 Synecdoche, New York (2008)
#5 Melinda and Melinda (2004)
#6 The Invention of Lying (2009)
#7 Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
#8 The Big Heat (1953)
#9 Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro, aka Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro (1979)
#10 The Three Musketeers (1973)
#11 Bolt (2008)
#12 The Four Musketeers (1974)
#13 Harry Brown (2009)
#14 Alien³: Special Edition (1992/2003)
#15 Monkey Business (1952)
#16 True Grit (1969)
#17 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
#18 The Social Network (2010)
#19 Easy Virtue (2008)
#20 Once (2006)
#21 Roman Holiday (1953)
#22 Sabrina (1954)
#23 Clash of the Titans (2010)
#24 Nanny McPhee & the Big Bang (2010)
#25 Up in the Air (2009)
#26 Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
#27 Cloak and Dagger (1946)
#28 Unthinkable (2010)
#29 Let the Right One In, aka Låt den rätte komma in (2008)
#30 Let Me In (2010)
#31 The Damned (1963)
#32 Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)
#33 Death Race (2008)
#34 Night of the Demon (1957)
#35 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, aka Män som hatar kvinnor (2009)
#36 High Plains Drifter (1973)
#37 Young Guns (1988)
#38 The Day of the Locust (1975)
#39 The Girl Who Played with Fire, aka Flickan som lekte med elden (2009)
#40 Monsters (2010)
#41 My Neighbour Totoro (1988)
#42 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, aka Luftslottet som sprängdes (2009)
#43 Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
#44 La Règle du jeu, aka The Rules of the Game (1939)
#45 Cameraman: The Life & Work of Jack Cardiff (2010)
#46 A Bunch of Amateurs (2008)
#47 Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story (2005)
#48 Funny Face (1957)
#49 Catfish (2010)
#50 Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
#51 An Education (2009)
#52 (500) Days of Summer (2009)
#53 Salt: Director’s Cut (2010)
#54 The Princess and the Frog (2009)
#55 Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)
#56 Iron Man 2 (2010)
#57 The King’s Speech (2010)
#58 The Thief (1952)
#59 Jonah Hex (2010)
#60 X-Men: First Class (2011)
#61 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (3D) (2011)
#62 Ip Man, aka Yip Man (2008)
#63 Law Abiding Citizen: Director’s Cut (2009)
#64 Valley of Fear (1983)
#65 Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance., aka Evangerion shin gekijôban: Ha (2009/2010)
#66 A Study in Terror (1965)
#67 Saw 3D (2D) (2010)
#68 The Locket (1946)
#69 Tangled (2010)
#70 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
#71 Super (2010)
#72 Sucker Punch: Extended Cut (2011)
#73 Source Code (2011)
#74 Glorious 39 (2009)
#75 Nirvana (1997)
#76 The House on 92nd Street (1945)
#77 Browncoats: Redemption (2010)
#78 Bringing Up Baby (1938)
#79 Holiday (1938)
#80 How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
#81 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)
#82 Centurion (2010)
#83 Magicians (2007)
#84 The Brothers Bloom (2008)
#85 Batman: Year One (2011)
#86 Battle Los Angeles (2011)
#87 That Touch of Mink (1962)
#88 RED (2010)
#89 Gambit (1966)
#90 Cars (2006)
#91 Beyond the Pole (2009)
#92 Cruise of the Gods (2002)
#93 Diner (1982)
#94 Nativity! (2009)
#95 Hotel for Dogs (2009)
#96 The Spider Woman (1944)
#97 Faintheart (2008)
#98 The Man from Earth (2007)
#99 Winnie the Pooh (2011)
#100 The A-Team: Explosive Extended Edition (2010)
- Zodiac: Director’s Cut (2007/2008)
As I said, for only the second time ever, I watched exactly 100 films in a year — appropriate for my fifth anniversary. (That’s just the new feature films, as ever. All are included in the stats that follow, even if there’s no review yet.)
I watched a single film I’d seen before that was extended or altered in some not-particularly-significant way. (There was also the special edition of Alien³, which I deemed suitably different to include in the main list.) I also reviewed four others just for the fun of it (well, for that David Fincher Week actually). All 105 films are included in the statistics that follow, unless otherwise indicated.
I also watched three shorts (none of which shall be counted in any statistics). That’s the smallest number ever. Considering I own quite a few shorts DVDs, both contemporary and from the silent era, I really should make more of an effort.
The total running time of new features (the 100) was 170 hours and 23 minutes — not the shortest I’ve had, but certainly not the longest either. The total running time of all films (including, for this stat only, shorts) was 182 hours and 13 minutes — not the shortest I’ve had, but… you get the idea.
I’ve already watched one film from this list again, specifically X-Men: First Class. I think a couple of others may at this point require re-viewing before I can review them, though.
This year’s format victor is TV, for the third year running: with 49 (including 16 in HD) it represents almost half my viewing. That said, last year it was over half, so… At least Blu-ray ran it a close race, totalling 42 this year — that’s 13 more than last time, which was 23 more than the year before. DVD continues its inexorable slide into oblivion (despite my massive unwatched collection) with just nine films viewed on that format, down from last year’s 22. Poor DVD — it feels like an under-loved former-champion to me now. (Oh, now I feel I’ve been cruel to it. Sorry DVD! I’ll watch more of you!) Finally, I watched three downloads (one in HD) and made just two trips to the cinema, half of them in 3D. That’s 33% fewer visits than last year. Or, another way, one less.
The most popular decade was the ’00s, as it has been every year since this blog began. Its hold is beginning to slip though: with just 37 films this year it accounts for 35.2% of films viewed, down on last year’s previous low of 48.4% (the first time it fell beneath 50%). Running a relatively close second was a decade just two years old, the 2010s, with 29 films (27.6%). Nothing else came close, with a scattering across most of the 20th century: three were made in the ’30s, five in the ’40s, nine in the ’50s, six in the ’60s and seven in the ’70s (neat), and four in the ’80s. Finally, with just five films the ’90s had its worst result by half — literally: the previous low was 10 in 2009.
I believe I’ve said in the past that I feel I’ve been more generous this year, and it would appear I have: the average score is 3.8, the highest it’s ever been. Readers with strong memories may recall the previous high was 3.7 so it might not look like much of an increase, but it’s a bit starker if we add a few more decimal points and consider percentages. The previous years’ average scores range 0.77%, from 3.629 to 3.657; this year comes to 3.838, a 4.95% increase from the next highest. Still looks small? The gap between the old highest and new highest is 543% bigger than the gap between the lowest and old highest. So there.
This is helped by 20 five-star films, the second-highest year for those (there were 21 in 2009), and, for the first time ever, no one-star films. As ever, the majority of films — 54 this year — scored four-stars. Rounding it out were 25 three-star films, which is about average, and six two-star films, about half the usual number. So with no single-star films, a drastically reduced number of two-stars-ers, and a pretty generous lot of five-stars, no wonder the average comes out so high. Must’ve been a good year.
Seven films appear on the IMDb Top 250 Films as of New Year’s Day 2012 — not the seven I’d've chosen, personally. That’s exactly the same as last year, which is about half the amount in the two previous years, and just a third of the first year! This year’s positions ranges from 129th (The King’s Speech) to 239th (Ip Man). Not that I’m giving IMDb’s user-voted list special treatment, but… well, I am, aren’t I. There are too many other such lists out there I could cross-reference all these films with, so I won’t do any of them. As usual.
At the end of all previous years’ summaries I’ve included a list of 50 notable films I’d missed from that year’s releases. With 2011 over, I’ve managed to see one more from 2007 (bringing the total for that 50 to 26), one more from 2008’s list (bringing it to 14) and five more from 2009’s list (bringing that to 13). In the year since listing 2010’s 50 I’ve managed to see 16 of them — a bloody good start, as you can see from 2008 & 2009’s numbers! As ever, I hope further films from all four lists will appear during 2012 — and plenty from 2011’s too (coming soon).
A record-low 80 solo directors (previous: 87) and a record-high 11 directing partnerships (previous: 10) appear on this year’s list. Topping the list of those with multiple films is David Fincher, who has eight thanks to (of course) Fincher Week. Three of those counted for the main list, leaving him this year’s top director every which way. Seven others have two films apiece: Daniel Alfredson, Kevin Greutert, Henry Hathaway, Howard Hawks, Fritz Lang, Richard Lester and Hayao Miyazaki. For the curious, that leaves 72 directors (and all 11 partnerships) with just a single film.
Finally, 33 of the films (plus two of the shorts and all the Other Reviews) are currently in my DVD/Blu-ray collection, the smallest number yet.
Aren’t the statistics good? I love the statistics. I should save the statistics for last.
Oh, coming next? The bottom five, the top ten, and another list of fifty films from the last 12 months that I haven’t bothered to watch yet.
I better get writing…
December 2011 December 31, 2011Posted by badblokebob in : Editorials, progress reports, year-end summaries, 2011 , 5 comments
2011 is over. 2012 has just begun. But did I make it to 100 in time?
I did! Just. Three films in the final 24 hours of the year, the last of them finishing just an hour before midnight, see me reach 100 exactly this year. Phew!
In addition to that, six of the finishing eight features listed below were watched in the final three days of the year. Not quite as close to the wire as I had it back in 2008 (11 films in six days, seven of them in the last three), but I didn’t think I was going to get there.
So, my closing salvo included…
#93 Diner (1982)
#94 Nativity! (2009)
#94a The Gruffalo’s Child (2011)
#95 Hotel for Dogs (2009)
#96 The Spider Woman (1944)
#97 Faintheart (2008)
#98 The Man from Earth (2007)
#99 Winnie the Pooh (2011)
#100 The A-Team: Explosive Extended Edition (2010)
Thus, 2011 ties with 2008 as my third-best year. Hurrah! Though to put it another way, 2011 ties with 2008 as my second-worst year, so, y’know…
It does represent the greatest drop off in potential, though. At the halfway point of the year I was further ahead than I’d ever been — in best-ever-year 2007 I’d made it to 60; in second-best-ever-year 2010 I’d made it to 64; but this year I’d reached 68. In tied-with-this-year 2008 I’d only limped to 46. Clearly, I need to keep momentum up into the year’s back half.
But hey, 2012’s another year — who knows what’ll happen next time round!
Screw 2012, I’m not done with 2011 yet! There’s my great big long list of everything I’ve watched still to come, along with all those lovely statistics, and the list of films I didn’t see, and — best of all — the statistics.
Oh, I mentioned those? I love the statistics. But almost as good, my bottom five and top ten for the year.
And having to push hard to cross the finish line means I haven’t even made a start on any of that. This’ll be interesting… for me, anyway — you just have to sit tight ’til it all turns up. Probably not that much later than I usually get round to it.
Until then… Happy New Year!
2010 In Retrospect January 7, 2011Posted by badblokebob in : Editorials, 2010, Specials, year-end summaries , 2 comments
2010 has been kinder to 100 Films after the last two years, where I first barely scraped to 100 and then failed to reach it (not that I’ve gone on about it). This year, I made it to 100 in September before going on to a grand total of 122 — which, if you’re interested, makes it my second best year, behind the first by seven.
But now 2010 is over — well, obviously, it finished a week ago — but I mean that 100 Films’ 2010 is over, this being the final post related to those 122 films… other than the half-dozen reviews I’ve yet to post, that is (and that too is an improvement on last year, when I had 20 left over). This final look back has my usual mix of features: a ‘Bottom Five’, a ‘Top Ten’, some ‘Also Ran’s, and ‘Didn’t Run’s too.
I’m sure you don’t need reminding at this point (but just in case) that this is all a review of my 2010 — the films I saw for the first time, not those that hit cinemas for the first time. If you’d like a list of the 122 titles that had a chance of reaching either of these lists, please look here.
Sitting comfortably? Good. Then how about:
This year’s only single-star film nearly didn’t sink to such depths, but it was ultimately deserved. It’s an action movie without much action; a thriller without any thrills; a fantasy movie that isn’t meant to be one. It’s also a load of rubbish and you should avoid it. Play the game instead.
De Niro and Pacino, together, for a whole film! Cor! Except it’s more bore (see what I did there?) in Jon Avnet’s needlessly complex thriller, with filmdom’s most guessable twist — there’s a good chance you’ll’ve got it from the trailer. Watch their one shared scene in Heat on loop instead.
The Seeker: The Dark is Rising
Another British children’s fantasy book series reaches the big screen, but unlike uber-success Harry Potter or the Narnia series, this is ruined the traditional way: Americanisation. Though set in Britain with a largely British cast, ruinous changes abound. A few good moments can’t redeem it.
If you thought Daredevil was bad, don’t even consider going anywhere near its spin-off. I liked Daredevil, but I could find little to enjoy in this sloppy, ill-considered fantasy/action flick. It’s this kind of incohesive tosh that kills whole genres. How do such risible screenplays even get made?
The Emperor’s New Groove
I could’ve put something like Iron Eagle as my last choice, but I just don’t care enough about it to hate it. Emperor’s New Groove, on the other hand, is a Disney animated film — I always want to like Disney’s animated films (I guess it’s a childhood thing) and this one is rubbish. Boo.
This year’s top ten seems inordinately coloured by comedy — perhaps, more than ever, it’s not so much the “best films I’ve seen” as “my favourite films I’ve seen”. Look out for a few more serious honourable mentions at the end.
I think it’s safe to say Clue isn’t the greatest film ever — indeed, I’ve ranked nine above it (ho ho), and there are certainly Better films I’ve left off this list — but I enjoyed it immensely, now that I’ve finally seen it. I can’t help but think its lowly-to-non-existent reputation means a lot of others who’d enjoy it haven’t seen it either.
9) Is Anybody There?
Comedy-drama — or “dramedy”, if you’re American — often comes in for stick for being neither funny enough to be a comedy nor dramatic enough to be drama. And, sometimes, this is rightly so. When pitched right, however, it’s like real life, and that’s the tone Is Anybody There? hits. An affecting exploration of loneliness, regret, hope, and more.
8) Sherlock Holmes
The Guy Ritchie-directed reinvention of Sherlock Holmes could — perhaps should — have been a blockbusterised disaster. Instead, he’s still the genius detective we know and love, only now with added ass-kicking abilities. No, it’s not the definitive Holmes, but it is a jolly good and surprisingly inventive take on the character.
7) His Girl Friday
Sharp, fast, intelligent, hilariously funny — they don’t make films like this any more. Quite literally. Instead, we have the risible …Movie series pumped out at us every year. Something to do with the lowest common denominator Hollywood world we live in, I’m sure, though that’s an explanation rather than an excuse.
Last year two documentaries formed the centre point of my top ten, this year it’s two children’s films — but both are ready to be enjoyed by adults too. In fact, Coraline’s so dark and scary in places one might argue it’s more aimed at a slightly older audience. Plus Eamonn Holmes hates it. What more recommendation do you need?
5) Nanny McPhee
More childish than Coraline, perhaps, but there’s an awful lot to enjoy nonetheless. Far more than the Mary Poppins rip-off it looks like from the outside, Nanny McPhee rattles along through a colourful but grounded tale that imparts moral messages without battering you round the head. It’s properly magical.
4) Anatomy of a Murder
Procedural crime dramas relentlessly fill our TV schedules these days, but few can hold a candle to Otto Preminger’s masterpiece. The precision-engineered storytelling masterfully refuses to deviate from the case at hand, and who but James Stewart could be a lawyer defending a murderer and still have us cheering for him to win?
Christopher Nolan’s latest managed the rare feat these days of being a genuine blockbuster with an original story, and converting that into high praise and box office too (and without the ticket-selling boost of 3D). More impressively, it did this while baffling much of its audience. Remains to be seen if it benefits or suffers from repeat viewings.
2) Toy Story 3
Returning to a beloved franchise over a decade later would be a mistake in the hands of most filmmakers, but this is Pixar. Toy Story 3 is a worthy successor to its ’90s predecessors; a funny and moving tale that tackles big, emotional themes while still providing a kid-friendly adventure-comedy. It may well be the best film of 2010.
I’ve not had so much debate over my #1 film before (though 2008’s 2 & 3 kept me busy for a while). Despite provoking outrage in some quarters, Kick-Ass is an arresting deconstruction of the superhero myth, both as “what if someone really did it?” and how the genre has been presented on our screens. Funny, exciting, it really does… yeah, you can add the pun.
As usual, I just want to highlight a few other films, for various reasons.
I normally mention the 5-star films first, but this year I found it tougher than usual (or, at least, tougher than last year) to settle on the final few slots in my top ten. The films that consequently just missed out by a sliver of fate — and the way my opinions wavered on that particular day — were The Hurt Locker, M and Speed Racer. A few others survived almost as long, but those are the ones I really struggled with.
Secondly, then, I must mention the 16 films that earned themselves 5-star ratings this year. A very respectable seven of them made it into the top ten, namely Anatomy of a Murder, Coraline, His Girl Friday, Inception, Kick-Ass, Nanny McPhee and Toy Story 3. It always seems silly to include 4-star films over some of those that achieved full marks, but that’s life. Two more are among those ‘almost’s — The Hurt Locker and M — while the other seven main listers I left out were The Damned United, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Miracle on 34th Street, Die Puppe, Slumdog Millionaire and The Spiral Staircase. Finally, from outside the main list, was The Special Edition of Beauty and the Beast — or Beauty and the Beast SE to you and I.
Penultimately, a quick mention for a few noir-ish oldies. None of them quite managed to squeeze into my top ten, but this year I’ve really enjoyed the likes of Ministry of Fear, The Outrage, Odd Man Out and, of course, The Spiral Staircase. Plus, the cake-centric intro to my Ministry of Fear review is still one of my favourite things I’ve written for this blog.
And finally, while I’m on older pictures, a quick nod to the rest of the Ernst Lubitsch silents I watched in a rather intensive week back in January. Die Puppe was my favourite, but it was great all round to indulge in a chronological run of one filmmaker’s early work. I find silent movies to be a rather rich flavour of film — there’s much to appreciate, but too many too close together and it gets a bit sickly. I rather gorged on them that week, hence why there’s been no repeat (as yet) of my Silent Week concept. Hey-ho.
As ever, allow me to remind you that this hasn’t been a Top 10 of 2010 (only my 2010), but as new films do feature it’s worth considering that there were, as always, a number of notable releases this year that I’ve yet to see. Unsurprisingly — I mean, I only made three trips to the cinema and only saw seven 2010 films in total.
In my annual tradition, then, here’s an alphabetical list of 50 films — chosen for a variety of reasons, from box office success to critical acclaim via simple notoriety — that are listed as 2010 on IMDb and that I’ve not seen.
This year, I considered changing my remit to cover films released in the UK in 2010, for a more accurate account of what I might actually have seen. Using IMDb’s dates means various films fall through the cracks — foreign films that take time to get here usually, but also productions like Season of the Witch, which was made in 2009 but not released ’til early 2011. But I hate it when you see all of [X Year]’s Best Picture nominees turn up in an [X+1 Year]’s list of best films simply because over here they were released a couple of days into January instead a couple of days before it. IMDb’s year of production is, one might argue, as arbitrary a way of dividing them up as UK release date, but it does last longer in the consciousness — and it stops The Best Picture Of [X Year] turning up in a My Favourite Films Of [X+1 Year] list. I suppose I’m at a slight advantage though: by definition I don’t have to have seen these films, whereas a magazine / website / film review programme / blogger has to have had the chance to see something (and, obviously, to have used that chance) to put it in their year-end Top 10.
But hark at me, I’ve waffled on for an age about something fundamentally unimportant. Here’s the damn list.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Clash of the Titans
Eat Pray Love
Exit Through the Gift Shop
The Ghost (aka The Ghost Writer)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Hot Tub Time Machine
How to Train Your Dragon
Iron Man 2
The Karate Kid
The King’s Speech
Knight and Day
The Last Airbender
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
Let Me In
Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Resident Evil: Afterlife
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Shrek Forever After
The Social Network
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
That’s the end, then. And if you read it all, you encountered somewhere in the region of 78 films (slightly more if you followed the Lubitsch link). That was worth coming all the way down here for, wasn’t it?
Right, I’m off to watch some more films. I’ve got another 100 to get through you know.