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Old 30th Dec 2014, 19:32   #1
JunkMonkey
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Join Date: 19 Oct 2005
Location: Highlands of Scotland
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Default Filmlist 2015

Jan.:
  1. Aliens (1986) - I swithered for a few moments between watching the Special Edition and the Cinema Release - the memories of watching Cameron's Director's cut of The Abyss still hurt - but came down on the longer version. Glad I did. Felt like a good solid piece of work that didn't outstay its welcome - which the longer cut of The Abyss did in spades.
  2. The Lego Movie (2014) - fun Friday night with the kids choice of Number One Son who has been singing 'Everything is Awesome' for months now since he saw it in the cinema. I can see why. I loved it - a wee bit treacly at the end but forgiveable. The second film in a row to feature our hero saving the day in the last reel wearing a yellow exoskeleton. Basically the Matrix in Lego - but funnier and making more sense.
  3. William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996) - long promised watch with Number One Daughter. I cried. She didn't.
  4. Mask of Zorro - a prequel which seemed to take an age to get going and then just turned into another Spielbergesque box-ticking rote 'Adventure'.
  5. Our Man Flint - after recommending it to a friend as a groovy spy spoof I thought I'd have another watch. It pays better in the memory than on the screen.
  6. Logan's Run (1976) - Pretty much ditto. And, totally coincidentally, from the same producer too.
  7. They Live ( 1988 ) - A rather superior little chiller from John Carpenter which lived up to expectations.
  8. Krull (1983) - a rewatch with the family. I still think it's dull but it was less dull than I remembered partially I suspect because Daughter Number One was laughing at some of my occasional soto voce MST3K-type comments.
February
  1. Shadow Hours (2000) - Now here's a bit of serendipity. 12 years to the day since I had my last drink and swore off the demon booze for the rest of my life (dammit, I still miss red wine!) the first movie off the top of the Unwatched Pile is about a reformed alcoholic and drug addict's decent into hell under the guidance of a wonderfully seductive Peter Weller. Not a great film but it felt horribly real.
  2. Superman Returns - a bit of a ponderous chore. That's Number One Son (aged 5) at the end of his Superman movie Friday Night boxset stint at last.
  3. Chicago Cab (1997) - low budget, based on a play, film following a Chicago cabbie through a 14 hour long shift. Great cast, Gillian Anderson, John Cusack, John C Reilly, Julianne More etc., popping in and out of the back seat to deliver two minute character sketches. Not as big as the sum of its parts but it had its moments and kept me watching.
  4. Brick (2005) - well that was a major disappointment. I'd seen the trailers a couple of years ago and immediately put it on my 'must see list'. I bought it and never got round to watching it. As the end credits rolled tonight I remembered why. Brick was written/directed by Rian Johnson who directed the vastly overrated and fundamentally flawed Looper. Somewhen since I watched Looper in November 2013 and now I had forgotten that fact. So, another good reason why I won't be rushing out to watch the new Star Wars films - he's the writer director of episodes 8 and 9 - unless I forget.
  5. The Railway Children (TV remake) - I cried.
  6. The Brady Bunch Movie - with Number One Daughter. We laughed.
  7. R.O.T.O.R. (1987)- and...
  8. Death Machines (1976) - a double dose of cheese night with Number One Daughter.
  9. Fucking Åmål (aka Show Me Love) - teen gay romance which manages to be very real and very sweet at the same time. A gem of a film.
  10. Evil Brain From Outer Space - a fever dream of a Japanese superhero movie made by chopping together three shorter films: The Space Mutant Appears, The Devil's Incarnation and The Poison Moth Kingdom...
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wikipedia
    which were 45 minutes, 57 minutes, and 57 minutes in duration respectively. The total 159 minutes of the three films were edited into one 78-minute film. Since the three original films were self-contained stories, three different plots had to be edited together, and a considerable amount of all three films dropped. The result has been called, "an alternately mind-blowing and mind-numbing adventure... a non-ending cavalcade of characters, chases, captures, rescues and fight scenes.
    All of which resulted in more 'What the hell is going on?' moments in just over an hour than David Lynch has managed in his entire career to date.
  11. The Bat - No. 1 D and I both fell asleep.
  12. Tron (1982) - Friday night choice of Number One Daughter. Good girl.
  13. Chicken Run - Friday night choice of Mrs JunkMonkey. A whole week since I watched a film!
March
  1. Fuk sing go jiu (aka My Lucky Stars 1985) - Jackie Chan in a overly long comedy-action film with some okay fight/chase sequences but weighed down with a heaviness of slapstick 'comedy' the Three Stooges would have found embarrassing. Why do Chinese film makers find the thought of mass diarrhoea so funny?
  2. Tron Legacy - my Friday Night Film choice. Depleted numbers in the audience: Number One Daughter, Number One Son, Number One Grandmother, and me. We all agreed the story was pants but it looked and sounded terrific. Just like the original.
  3. Epic - (Friday Night with the kids rewatch choice of Number One Son. Naff story, great design.
  4. Red Sonja - "We must find the Talisman!" A pretty dreadful film rescued (just about) by Ennio Morrecone's score and some great millinery.
  5. Fletch - I didn't want to think for 90 minutes so I watched a Chevy Chase film.... It did its job.
  6. Thunderbirds (2004) - I ignored my kids' advice.They did try to warn me. "Don't watch it, dad, it's crap!" Pah! I though, what what do they know? Apparently they know a crap film when they see one, it is fucking AWFUL!
  7. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - Well that was confusing. after a long gap we continue the family HarryPotterthon and I am totally baffled. Can't remember who half the characters are or what happened in the last film. Subsequently I haven't got a scooby what is going on in this one. I don't even understand the title! I know Snape announces he is/was the 'Half-blood Prince' at the end of the show but why this was important or why it was a mystery in the first place (or even what one is!) passed me by. On the plus side Harry was slightly less annoyingly weedy this time, was only rendered unconscious once, and the only school rule he broke (and for which he was immediately forgiven) was half-killing another pupil in a fight in a bathroom. (The Potter films do like their bathrooms.) Timothy Spall's name appeared well up the cast list but he appeared on screen only once. Unless I blinked and missed him turning up again I remember him opening a door at one point and (maybe) closing another one. I don't recall him actually saying anything. I wonder how much he got paid. Some of the music was interesting. You can tell I was gripped.

    Coincidentally the second film in a row I've watched to feature a bridge over the Thames being destroyed. What are the chances?
  8. Young Master - more of Jackie Chan's early Kung Fu capers.
  9. Timeline (2003) - another one of those films where the cast all shuffle about one nationality and play swap the accent. Most of the lead 'Americans' are played by Brits. The evil Englishman is played by a Welshman. The French heroine is played by an Englishwoman The Scottish professor (Billy Connelly being even more unconvincingly dreadful than usual) has an American son - and a couple of Canadians straddle the gaps. The story is hackneyed 1950s pulp with holes the size of small continents. One of those films where hardened, well-trained, brutal, armoured warriors are easily defeated in hand to hand combat by studious academics thrown in the deep end. This - as anyone who has fenced with anyone who has had any kind of training at all knows - is utter bollocks.
  10. X-Men - all American super-heroics with two Brits and an Aussie playing the three main characters.

April
  1. Charlie's Angels - Me: "Well... that was even shitter than I was expecting..." No 2 Daughter (aged 10): "Yep."
  2. X-Men First Class - That was fun! I really liked this. It had one "err... hang on!" moment when I was thrown out of the narrative. (The moment where Mystique appears in the guise of Sebastian Shaw wearing the soon-to-be-Magnito-helmet made me wonder how she knew about the helmet when she had never seen him in it and, as far as we knew, didn't even know of its existence.) It jarred at the time but was explained to my satisfaction in the post-match analysis by my ten year old daughter: "The brain readery guy told her about it!" Makes sense.
  3. How to Train Your Dragon (2010) - Friday night with the kids.
  4. Roma (1972) - I love Fellini. This wasn't his best but I do like his films. I don't understand them - there was little or no narrative structure in Roma just a series of seemingly unconnected impressionistic scenes which jump about in time from the early 1930s the present day. Fellini throws everything at the screen: breaks the fourth wall, has inbuilt critical insults - there's a moment where a young hippy type attacks the director for making the same old film over and over again and he does keep the camera moving moving moving: there's not a still moment. I liked the verve of it and the dreamlike qualities. I have a friend who is visiting Rome at the moment. I think I may have seen more of it than he will. I know if ever I go I will be vastly disappointed in the real thing.
  5. Speed of Thought (aka Scopers 2011) - talky little low budget SF about telepaths and nasty government abuse of them that nearly works. No explosions or stupid car chases just semi-credible what iffery. There are a couple of moments where you have to suspend your disbelief but they are character and plot moments not 'How the hell did he walk out of THAT without a scratch?' moments.
  6. Gregory's Girl - Watched as a Friday Night Family film. My 12 year old loved it.
  7. Shogun Assassin - two of the Lone Wolf series (about a wandering rōnin and his 4 year old son) chopped into one blood-filled slaughterhouse of a film. The back of the case described this film as "Astonishingly violent". For once the blurb writers weren't overselling the product.
  8. Quantum Apocalypse Sci-fi channel TV movie and a poor one at that notable only as a wee nexus for sad geeky Kevin Bacon moves. It featured turns from Gigi (Farscape) Edgley, Peter (Tron, Babylon 5) Jurasik, and Stephanie (Battlestar Galactica) Jacobsen. It's shite.
  9. First Men in the Moon (1964) - Friday night with the kids. Mildly entertaining.
  10. Quatermass and the Pit (1967) - prompted by the discussion we had after last night's movie (when I noted Nigel Neale's name on the writing credits) I introduce Daughter Number One to Professor Bernard Quatermass. She is less than overwhelmed - but is polite about it.
  11. Images (1972) - 100 minutes of Susannah York going bonkers in Ireland. Overly-arty twaddle but even second string Altman is better than 90% of the stuff I watch.
  12. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) - Whiz! Bish! Bang! Kaboom! - which was all very fine but looked so obviously shot in some form of High Def format. I know this is the norm these days but usually, with big budget productions, the show is filmized (horrible word) before we get to see it. The video cut video footage is made to look like it was shot on film. I can't understand how and why they spent so much money on this and have great chunks of it look like it came from a Sci-Fi Channel, straight to DVD movie. I'm not talking about the SFX, which were incredibly well done, but those parts of the show where the special effects guys weren't needed. A lot of simple dialogue scenes and close ups were so obviously shot on video it hurt.
May
  1. Frozen - Friday night choice of Number One Son (aged 6) - who has seen it before so has no excuse. Not as bad as I was dreading but the SONGS! Dear Gods! (Probably - almost certainly!- the first use of Fractals in a Disney movie in the lyrics to Let it Go: "My soul is spiralling in frozen fractals all around...") A couple of non Disney moments struck me as I watched it. For though this looks feels and sounds like a 'Classic' Disney fairy tale there is a great chunk of 21st Century feminist subtext going on here: the sudden sexualisation of Elsa as she builds her Fortress of Solitude was remarkable. And the Act of True Love that makes everything better in the end is not the expected heterosexual kiss but the heroine sacrificing herself for her sister. Very modern; almost interesting. If only it wasn't stuffed full of bloody awful songs!
  2. Voyage of the Rock Aliens - as bad as that title sounds the reality is worse.
  3. Humanity's End (2009) - About 5 minutes in I remembered where I had seen the director's name, Neil Johnson, before. He'd directed a piece of shit called Demons in my Head which (it turns out after a bit of poking about in my diary and the IMDb) I watched some ten years ago.* As it happens Johnson made Humanity's End, a zero budget Battlestar Galactica wannabe, ten years after he made Demons in my Head. He hasn't improved as a director or scriptwriter. The story is confused and doesn't make any sense, is badly told; the characters, not even paper thin, do stupid things and swap sides for no apparent reason, and have rambling, 'WTF is this all about?' inducing conversations at the drop of a hat. It's just a bunch of ideas and lines from other films piled up together in the hope that something will gel. It doesn't. A (very naff) self-published novel made flesh.
  4. Saint (2010) - stupidly gory Dutch horror film about a demonic Saint Nicholas who, every 32 years when a full moon falls upon December 5th, terrorises Amsterdam. Not often you see a film in which our hero is rescued from police custody by a horse falling from a rooftop onto a police car and then rescued from the horse's demonic owner by someone waving a flame thrower. I almost enjoyed it.
  5. Headspace (2005) - urban horror that started well but slowly slipped into very familiar territory and lost it when they finally showed the monsters - which looked very like the Creature from the Black Lagoon with horns.
  6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) - overlong but entertaining enough.
  7. Terrornauts (1967) - very dull piece of British SF which suffered the indignity of having TWO comic reliefs in the shape of Charles Hawtree and Patricia Hayes.
  8. Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva (2009) - an anime based on a puzzle game my 13 year old Number One Daughter plays on her DS. A confusing opening had multiple layers of flashback (which probably meant something to people who knew the games but left me sitting there in the dark for 15 minutes waiting for the film to start) the middle was like Scooby-do on acid and the last five minutes were an agony of 'don't know how to end the movie' flopping about - with a post credit sting that I don't think got get us back up through all the layers of flashback. Number One Daughter enjoyed it.
  9. Death Note (2006) - another Japanese film that starts with a weird disjointed flashback opening just like Professor Layton. After a few minutes I came to the conclusion the central character was an unmitigated arsehole and couldn't wait for him to get his comeuppance - it didn't happen. And it didn't happen very slowly. With lots of slow zooms and dolly shots to cover up the fact that not a lot was happening. Number One Daughter (who has read a couple of the books) enjoyed it.
  10. Beyond the Rising Moon (1984) - dull sf film which aimed, at times, for meaningfulness and missed.
  11. Twelve to the Moon (1960) - probably the dullest 'first men on the moon' film I have yet seen, though it does garner a few brownie points for having a mixed ethnicity crew (the non Caucasian members of which actually survive till the end of the film!) and messages about world peace and forgiveness. (The bad guy turns out to be the snarky French member of the crew who is thwarted by the snarky Russian member of the crew and the angry Israeli member of the crew dies in a Noble Act of Self Sacrifice with tortured German member of the crew, who is the son of the Nazi commander responsible for the extermination of the angry Israeli member of the crew's family etc. etc.). But, by golly, it was a grind getting to the end. There were, as was obligatory in space films of this period, unexpected meteor showers along the way which did nothing to alleviate the boredom. The end (the aforementioned Noble Act of Self Sacrifice) involved our heroes knocking up an atomic bomb out of bits lying about their spaceship and dropping it down the Popocatepetl volcano which will, somehow, by the magic of WTF 1950's movie science, unfreeze the whole of North America which has been plunged into an instant ice age by moon people.
  12. Starship (aka Lorca and the Outlaws 1984) - six years before making his masterwork, Battlefield Earth, ("This! This is the one I will be remembered for!") director Roger Christian made this flaccid, tedious piece of SF poo. I think it was about an evil corporation wanting to massacre all its employees and replace them with robots and the only people who can stop them are three, young, unemployable actors and a robot. Leaden-paced but with sudden out-of-nowhere bursts of confused, badly-staged action which made the film both boring and baffling at the same time - an interesting combination. The show culminated in a superb piece of Ed Wood like stock footage abuse when a couple of (very) long shots of quarry blasting were meant to stand in for the cataclysmic explosions bringing the down the evil guys' base - or something. I was too bored and baffled to be bothered working out what was going on at the end apart from noting that our hero couldn't even pull a lever convincingly. Apparently 1980's pop sensations Toyah Wilcox and Peter Gabriel were in it but I must have blinked and missed them.
  13. Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)
  14. Danger Diabolik (1968 )
  15. The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - not as bad as I remember it, but not good.
  16. Cry Baby - again. I have no idea how many times I have watched this silly little film. This time I watched it with Number One Daughter who seemed to find it as funny as I did consequently I found it even funnier because I was watching it with her. Most movies improve with communal viewing.
Abandonised during May:


Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus. I managed to get to the point where our three maverick marine biologists - trying to solve the problem how to contain a thawed-out Giant Prehistoric Shark, capable of leaping clean out of the sea and biting chunks out of long-haul passenger jets cruising at several thousand feet - took it in turns to peer down a small microscope for a few seconds. Crap, even by the Asylums's low standards.


June
  1. Journey to the Center of the Earth ( 2008 ) - the Brendon Fraser one. Again. Number One Son's Movie Night choice. My heart fell but I had forgotten how hot the lead female was - so not a totally wasted 90 minutes.
  2. Barbarella - As part of her whistle stop tour of Great 60s Trash (Last week it was Danger Diabolik) I introduce Number One Daughter to Barbarella. She loved it. This is the film that Starcrash - another of my favourite all time SF films - wanted to be. No 1 Daughter likes Starcrash too. Chip of the old block is my daughter, gladdens my heart it does.
  3. Happily N'Ever After (2006)- not very good kids' movie aiming for the Shrek target market and failing. I fell asleep.
  4. Forbidden Kingdom (2006) - I'm getting to like Jackie Chan films. Even the later CGI Wire-Fu stuffed ones. (Though anything with Chris Rock in it still gets a body swerve)
  5. The Scorpion King - Conan in all but name.
  6. Fritz the Cat (1972) - pointless, unpleasant, and boring.
  7. Lord of the Rings - for a second time and which I didn't hate as much as I did last time mainly due to having fun formulating several new (possibly libellous) reasons why I think LotR is crap.
  8. The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010) - this almost worked but just didn't gell for me. I love the comic books - what I understand of them. My French is very rusty but the film just missed somehow.
July


  1. Starcrash (for the umpteenth time)
  2. Kiss me Monster - incomprehensible piece of spy caper stuff from Jesus Franco that makes even less sense than I remember.
  3. Six Days and Seven Nights - Anne Hesche plays a heterosexual, Harrison Ford plays old, David Schwimmer plays the same twat he played in Friends - and it's crap. Anne Hesche does have nice tits though.
  4. Fatal Deception: Mrs Lee Harvey Oswald - Helena Bonham Carter in a TV movie which felt a lot longer than its 87 minute run time. Some nice location work, nice costume, and set dressing but let down by a script that clanked along but ultimately went nowhere.
  5. Wild at heart - not one of Mr Lynch's better films.
  6. Confidential Report -
  7. Orlando (1992) - shared with Number One daughter - who now wants a copy.
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 - only one more to go (huzzah!) and I'm pretty sure Dobby isn't coming back for it (double huzzah with sprinkles!). Christ! I was bored.
  9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 - ditto
  10. Elvira Mistress of the Dark - NORKS!
  11. The Two Towers - Which I enjoyed a lot more than number one .
  12. The Fifth Element - again.
  13. Lockout (2012) - overlong (it was 95 minutes and felt like two hours) violent piece of action shit which proved, yet again, that all futuristic prison movies are crap. As a measure of the overwhelming stupidity of the script I offer in evidence the fact that our heroes bosses', safe on-board an orbiting police station and closely monitoring the situation, only notice the gigantic orbiting space prison has deviated from its usual orbit and is plunging towards the earth after it has collided with, and totalled, the International Space Station.... Later the hero and heroine jump out of the plummeting space prison (wearing space suits) and start to fall to earth faster than it is falling. (Huh? I'm really not sure how that works but the script writers obviously couldn't think of another way to get our protagonists out of the way of the cataclysmic explosion about to occur - the usual bomb with a digital display timer on the outside - YAWN!). After entering the atmosphere (and not burning to a frazzle) our heroes discard their suits - a matter of snapping a couple of toggles and off it pops (death by accidental space suit toggle snappage while in a vacuum must be pretty common in this operation if they all come off that easily) and, as a cherry on the stupidity trifle, they parachute to the ground. All space suits come with internal parachutes apparently. Just in case.
  14. Brokeback Mountain -
  15. Car Wash (1976) - I like Car Wash. One of those cracking little films that just cheers me up.
Abandoned in July: The Idiots after twenty minutes. Lars von Trier does the Dogma thing (the cinematic version of finger-painting) and it's shit.

August
  1. Dark Crystal - a comfort watch after Daughter Number One and I realised (after 30 or so minutes) that both of us really weren't enjoying Pan's Labyrinth at all. So we turned to something familiar and undemanding to get the nasty taste out of our heads.
  2. Bride of the Monster - Ed Wood Jr's near masterpiece.
  3. Ed Wood - to my mind Tim Burton's best piece. It certainly feels the most honest and heartfelt. Daughter No 1's verdict? "What a sweet film!"
  4. Barbarosa - stultifyingly long 2 hour epic abut the formation of the Lombard League stuffed full of fascist symbolism and Rutger Hauer. Actually it was really stuffed full of horses. The script was a real clunker full of people telling each other historically important things the audience need to know but which they would have been fully aware - "Yes, these new taxes that the newly installed Pope Bendict the whateverth are really hurting the people..." Blah blah blah. Real local radio advertising dialogue. "Yes, June with the Lombardy League you get not one but two chances of fighting for.... " Blah blah blah. Mixed in with this guff there was a subplot about a woman who had visions, was due to be burned as a witch - but wasn't by order of the Empress (who burned someone else instead) and ended up, for some totally unexplained reason, in armour on the battlefield (though whose side she was on is anyone's guess). The only thing that kept me watching (apart from the insane hotness of the witchy woman Kasia Smutniak) was giggling with glee at every new interior. For some reason (maybe he had shares in a candle company) the director had his set designers stuff every interior full of candles. Inside a peasant's hut late at night as the occupants try to go to sleep there were at least a dozen candles alight in the room. A dungeon cell had another dozen and when the hero and heroine fall into bed at last - in daylight. In a ramshackle hut with sunlight streaming in through every crack and crevice - candles. (It rained on the funeral too. But only only round the grave itself. The people standing in the back were in brilliant sunshine and dry as bones.) Between the candle scenes we had the horse scenes. Horses filled up a lot of screen time. Some times they went this way sometimes they went that way, sometimes they were in slow motion (which usually meant there was a river, or at least a big puddle, coming up for them to splash through). I would guess a quarter of this film's running time was spent on shots of people riding across the screen. Gallumph gallumph gallumph. People appeared and disappeared from the narrative and then reappeared when you'd forgotten who they were. The whole thing looks like it was shot as a miniseries and they cut it down to a movie. And cut out the wrong bits. Another quid wasted in Poundland and another one off my 'Watch Rutger Hauer's Entire Career' list.
  5. Vertigo - for her turn in our nightly, while the rest of the family are away, turn and turn about movie watching binge Daughter Number One swithered between this and 2001: a Space Odyssey. Getting very grown up tastes in movies for a 13 year old is No 1 Daughter. I'd never seen it before. I loved it. Not sure she was deeply in awe of Mr H's sure direction and weird sexual overtones as I was but she enjoyed it. Had some interesting things to say about the acting too.
  6. Cabaret - with No. 1 Daughter.
  7. District 9 - Better than I was expecting but not as good as I hoped. It started out well but just unravelled. I can't understand for instance how in the humans moved all the aliens down to the surface they allowed them to take vast quantities of heavy weaponry down with them. A couple of handguns slipped by the security I could buy but a heavily armed exoskeleton walking tank thing? Nope.
  8. Amateur (1994) - Expanding No 1 Daughter's movie horizons again with a strange. Her reaction was, "Wow! That was great!" -and it is too. I renew my biannual vow to search out more of Hal Hartley's films.
  9. Akira - again and I don't get it - again (Japanese comic book 'meaningfulness') but I enjoy the lightshow and anime freak No 1 Daughter, who has been wanting to watch it for the last couple of years, is blown away.
  10. She Wolves of the Wasteland (aka Phoenix the Warrior) - another of the near inexhaustible supply of 1980s post Mad Max, post-apoc movies which ticked most of my post-apoc movie checklist: big hair, fingerless gloves, battered cars with excessive amounts of roll bars (but sadly no spikes this time), night scenes illuminated by pointless fires in old oil drums, an arena where our protagonist is expected to fight to the death, really crap acting etc. This time though the tedium was leavened with tits. Loads and loads of tits. It kept me watching. Whenever the scriptwriters ran out of idea (sic) they must have just pasted a page or two from Playboy into the script. (Actually there was one almost interesting scene in the film. - apart from the big breasted girl having the shower under the waterfall, and the dark-skinned naked girl doing the dance, and the.... okay, there was one almost interesting scene in the film that didn't rely on large breasted girls waving their norks at the camera: Our wandering fleeing heroes encounter a bunch of mutant types who worship the ancient ways and bury their dead in the open air, on hilltops, sat in recliner armchairs before an old television. An possibly novel idea which is allowed to fizzle out before it develops.) Did I mention the tits?
  11. Pirates of the Caribbean - better than I remember but still a little too long.
  12. Battlefield Earth - with daughter Number One who endeared herself to me for life (again) by muttering, at the 30 minute mark, "I'm rooting for the aliens".

    She also greeted every single one of the tatty wipes that transitioned between scenes with a cry of "Powerpoint!" - and then popped a cherry on by crying, after one of the Powerpoint wipes opened up on our hero being hosed down by prison guards, "Powerwash!"

    Great timing that kid.

    Her final verdict? "Well that was piece of shit!"

    I love her.
  13. Oblivion (2013) - which I really quite enjoyed in a 'I parked my brain' sort of way. (Which after all is the best way to watch films. Just surrender yourself to them.) Yes, I'm sure not a lot of it makes sense if you think about it for a few minutes but, while it was on, I happily surrendered to the seriously drop dead eye candy and the vaguely coherent story. (Ferrinstance if Morgan Freeman's character had thought to write Tom Cruise's character a short note explaining what was going on things might have been sorted out a lot faster without him losing quite so many people to the baddies). Coincidentally the second SF film in a row with a leading Scientologist in the starring role about the human remnants of a devastated world being mined of its natural resources defeating their alien occupiers by means of a suicide bomber. Is this a Scientologist thing?
  14. The Chaser ( 2008 ) - long violent Korean serial killer thing 'based' on real events. I doubt if I shall watch it again.
  15. White Cargo (1973) - I have a horrible compulsion to watch bad films. It's like the fascination many people suddenly develop to slow down and look out their side windows when driving past a seventeen car pile-up. There are all sorts of bad films out there but there is nothing quite as bad as a 1970's British Sex Comedy (the most oxymoronic genre title in history given that they never funny and barely even titillating). White Cargo is a particularly naff example of its type. Notable only for starring David Jason who later went on to be a much loved British sitcom staple (Open All Hours and Porridge) and one of those much loved British irascible TV detectives (Frost) - but will be longest remembered as the voice of Dangermouse!

    In White Cargo, he plays a bumbling Walter Mitty type who stumbles on and foils a white slaver gang working out of a strip club. As our hero first enters the club we get the only decent joke in the whole film:

    Hero: (Looking in some confusion at the ticket he has just been given.) "Just a minute, it says 'welcome to Woburn Abbey' on this!"
    Sleazy Night Club Owner: "We're a large organisation..."

    I almost smiled.

    Once we get going the film descends into a series of set pieces where our hero escapes and rescues the girls who do little more than stand around in 'saucy' 70 lingerie and don't get any lines AT ALL because they would have to be paid more. None of them even say 'yes' or 'no' to direct questions but are only allowed to nod or shake their heads.

    The comedy grinds on as our hero imagines, time after time, his heroic alter ego (nicer shirt and an annoying habit of straightening his tie) performing long-winded minor heroics before the same series of shots shows us his real kack-handed attempt to do the same thing. (Using the exact same setups each time. Most of the day on set must have been spent waiting for Jason to change his shirt between shots).

    In the end our bearded menacing villain (who has the minciest little girl running style you will ever see) is pushed into a canal and the film ends.

    I lost count of the number of times characters did that stock sitcom acting tic of signalling their apprehension of someone else's misunderstanding by making a little 'tut' noise followed by a tiny sigh and an upward eyeballrolling glance. "Oh! you didn't think... " Whatever happened to that? You don't see that any more. It was a very 70s thing.

    How and why anyone bothered to 'digitally remaster' this is a mystery. Dave Prowse is in it so Darth Vader completest might find about 3 minutes of it essential viewing. Though the really sad thing is that it was only about 3/4 the way through that I realised I had actually watched it before.
  16. Pirates of the Caribbean III: World's End - bored the pants off me but the kids seemed to like it.

Abandoned in August: Pan's Labyrinth


September

  1. The Shape of Things to Come (1979) - a tedious entry in the Star Wars Clone Mania of the later seventies starring Jack Palance. Supposedly based on the book by H G Wells (it isn't) the film is populated by extras from TV shows Jason of Star Command (which is funnier) and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (which is more credible) and is VERY BORING. The film was made even more tedious on my DVD player by the fact that the disc I own was dubbed into French (a language I can just about struggle through a comic book in) and had no subtitles - despite it saying that it did on the case. Mind you, the box also sported a random still from TV series Space 1999, possibly because actor Barry Morse was in both, possibly (though I doubt it) because some stock footage from Space 1999 was used. I didn't see any but then I was asleep for a while and may have missed it.
  2. Dragon Hunters ( 2008 ) - fun French Eye Candy kids film.
  3. Casino Royale - the 1967 David Niven one - and another one for the National Association of Darth Vader Completists as Dave Prowse is in it for a few seconds. It was his first film.
  4. Taste of Fear (1961 aka Scream of Fear in the US) - Nicely done modern little chiller from Hammer.
  5. Amazon Women on the Moon and
  6. Kentucky Fried Movie - in one night. I really didn't want to think much. With a bit of chopping there's probably half a movie's worth of retain-able stuff between them.
  7. Ball of Fire (1941) Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck and a raft of top rung character actors in a bit of lightweight froth that just cheers me up. A perfect wet Sunday afternoon movie.
  8. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) - big chested, hot-rodding lesbian killers on the rampage! High Trash at it's trashiest.
  9. Louise-Michel ( 2008 ) - a very dark (French) deadpan comedy. Disturbingly non-PC but very funny. Unemployed workers pool their redundancy money to hire a hit man to kill the guy who closed their factory. The man they hire to do the job is a total blowhard and can't even shoot a dog. The 'hitman', unable to do the job himself, farms it out to a series of terminally ill people on the grounds that they have nothing to lose. The moment when the wheelchair-bound cancer sufferer fails to put the brakes on his chair, fires the shotgun, and is propelled backwards into the path of the oncoming tram is one of the funniest ("I shouldn't be laughing at this") moments I've seen in years.
  10. Attack of the Crab Monsters
October

  1. Tonight the JunkMonkey Anglo-French Mobile Cinema (I cart a projector and a screen round to a French friend's house and we eat popcorn and enjoy a couple of movies) watched:
    ROTOR (my choice) - a stupendously crap Robocopy which I can recommend, unreservedly, for all connoisseurs of really crap films.
    and
  2. Le dîner de cons (her choice) based on a play and which I can recommend, unreservedly, for all connoisseurs of really well made, funny films. A delight. (It was Hollywood remangled as 'Dinner for Schmucks' which, apparently, stinks.)
  3. Lord of the Rings 3 Return of the King - gods I was bored. Thankfully it's now over and I never have to watch it again. the last twenty minutes was spent internally screaming "End... just end.. cut! Now! End! Just fucking end!" at the screen. The movie didn't listen.Mind you shouting, "get a room!" at Sam and Frodo denying their passion for each other was fun for a bit.
  4. Night of the Eagle aka Burn, Witch, Burn (1962) - small scale film about modern day witchcraft (or delusion and coincidence) based on a Fritz Leiber story and not bad; not bad at all. Some nice acting and some great camera-work.
  5. Thursday Nuit Movies:Le Prénom - funny French film about the dinner party from hell - obviously based on a play but nicely opened out in an intro and coda which probably weren't in the original but worked well. Having a whispered commentary on the political allusions and literary allusions that I would have otherwise missed added greatly to my appreciation of it.
  6. My choice: Orlando - the umpteeth time of watching for me and the first for her. One of my favourite films ever. I'm not sure my whispered commentary on some of the historical literary allusions helped her much but at least I had time to make them, by Christ, French actors can't half rattle off the dialogue fast when they get going.
  7. Dead of Night with Daughter Number One. Another off her bucketlist. A deliciously creepy, 1945 Ealing chiller. The final shot of Michael Redgrave in the ventriloquist story gave me the shudders. Great stuff. I was afraid she would find it talky, and slow, and dated but she loved it.
  8. Les Maitres du Temps - dull and pointless animated piece of French SF which has put me off forever rewatching the director's La Planete Sauvage.
    I saw La Planete Sauvage when it first played in the cinemas back in 1973 under the English title Fantastic Planet. I remember being mesmerised by a strange, lyrical wonderful film. I was about 15 and watched anything I could go see. In the last couple of years I've seen two of the other films from the same director, Rene Laloux, and been bored stupid by both.
    I'm not sure I could stand the disappointment of finding that La Planete Sauvage plays in my memory and is not as good up on screen.
  9. Le Nom de Gens (2010)- a pretty funny look at identity in modern France that had laughing out loud and falling in instant movie lust with the leading lady Sara Forestier. (At the SAME TIME!)
  10. OSS 117: Rio ne répond plus slightly less funny French Bond spoof. It had its moments.
  11. Steamboy - Anime. Lots of sound and fury which was much less than the sum of its explosions.
  12. Faintheart - Geek wins back the love of his wife and the respect of his son. Amiable little film which misses being not good by a wide enough margin to be enjoyable. If the mix had been slightly different it could have been a mawkish mess. Not brilliant but it worked.
  13. The Nightmare Before Christmas - No 1 son's choice for Pizza Night. - I fell asleep.
  14. Buckeroo Banzai - with Merriol.
  15. Pirates: an Adventure With Scientists
  16. Rocky Horror Picture Show - First annual Hallowe'en showing at the Baldwin Bijou Cinema. Next year with umbrellas, rice, newspapers, rattles and more people!



    Abandoned in October Diagnosis Murder



    November


  1. Earth Star Voyager - Disney pilot for an unpicked up series that started off interestingly enough - for a Disney movie - very Robert Heinleinlike with a crew of teenagers setting out on a 26 year mission to another planet to see if it was inhabitable and a suitable place for the teeming gazzillions of earth to screw up next. Somewhere along the line though it got very very dull and repetitive and somehow very familiar. Towards the end I had a revelation and realised it was a near a remake of Ikarie XB1 - Disneyfied.
  2. The Corpse Bride
  3. Clash of the Titans - the godawful needless remake.
  4. Neverending Story
  5. Withnail and I
  6. Dark Shadows - a crashing bore of a film. I think I am now sworn off Tim Burton films for life.
  7. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  8. A Knight's Tale - far funnier than I remember
  9. Theatre of Fear (2014) aka "The Midnight Horror Show" (original title) - Underachieving piece of British low/no budget horror that makes Richard Driscoll's movies look fast paced and interesting. A piece of shit I can recommend crossing the road to avoid. Ah well, another quid wasted in Poundland.
  10. The Rocky Horror Picture Show - in the cinema, in costume and props. We were the only ones who did
  11. Monty Python's Life of Brian
December


  1. Arietty - Studio Ghibli
  2. Bloodsuckers
  3. The Force Awakens
  4. It's a Wonderful Life



*Some days I think I will get over this bad movie jag I'm on - but after a decade I'm starting to suspect I'm stuck with it.



Last year's list


Previous Years' Lists: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
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Old 30th Dec 2014, 21:43   #2
Noumenon
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Default Re: Filmlist 2015

01 Charley Varrick
Bit dated (dating has certainly changed), bit fun. Walter Mathau as the titular crim, a relatively slimline Joe Don Baker as the mean-edged hitman sent to track down the mob-money Charley's gang mistakenly nabbed. I suggest you read Our Own Bill's blogpost about this, and Michael Mann's Thief, because that's why I decided to watch both of them.

02 Stoker
Strange one, this. I have to say, I liked it, in the way that the elaborately over-blown can be quite enjoyable. There's more than an argument to be made for it being style over substance, but I was never bored, occasionally winced, rolled my eyes from time to time, laughed once or twice... you could say it has it all. Nicole Kidman, Alice in Wonderland and the late-series love interest from The Good Wife star as participants in a spectacularly screwed up family drama - spectacular in its chilly, glassy stillness, and Korean director Chan-wook Park tinkers with the visuals for quite a while before letting loose with the kind of beats that made Old Boy and the Vengeance movies stand out.

03 The One I Love
Strange one, this. I have to say, I liked it, and now I'm getting a weird sense of deja vu. Daisy the Ad Man from Mad Men stars as one half of a self-destructing couple who are sent to a charming cottage in the hills to get away from it all by their therapist, Ted Danson, only to find that's exactly what they aren't doing. Exactly what they aren't doing. I'm not going to tell you what that means, because there's literally no way to say more without spoiling it - which includes warning you off from something you might not like, since-- even hedging like this is probably saying too much. Good, weird fun. Give it a try and don't blame me.

04 It's All About Love
Strange one, this. I have to say, I liked it, in the way that the elaborately over-blown can be quite enjoyable. There's more than an argument to be made for it being style over substance, but...

...hang on a minute.

So, another one dug up from the invaluable resource that is My Year of Flops, this features Joaquim Phoenix and Clare Danes (and Sean Penn, occasionally) in a sort of intra-apocalyptic romantic sci-fantasy, where Ugandans are threatened with levitation into the sky at any moment, New Yorkians are dropping dead of loveless heart failure, and the world's fresh water temporarily freezes solid on an annual basis. Snow in July, cats and dogs living in harmony, got to be the end of the world. The director is Thomas Vinterberg, who made the gob-smackingly excellent Dogme movie Festen. Hard to see the link, but there's something sort of hypnotic about this. A good pair for Stoker, maybe.

Think it's going to be a strange, three-star year for me, 2015.


05 Shock Treatment
Yep.

I've been musing over giving this a watch since Mark Kermode gave it props a year or so ago. I think I agree with him (I think he said this) that, taken as a set, the songs are better than those of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but what this most conspicuously boasts is a Tim Curry-shaped hole at its centre, and that rather sinks it as an attention grabber. The plot ends up tossed out but it was kind of weak to begin with and, coupled with there being no central font of charisma, I'm not all that surprised it ended what might have been a parade of vaguely counter-culture musicals before they really began.


06 Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Uh-huh.

So, last year I watched Great Balls of Fire, the year before (possibly, maybe, I'm not going to check) Walk The Line, and this year (because last year I heard about it) this, a goofy, funny spoof of one or both of those films, with Matthew C. Reilly starring as the titular breakout country star, featuring a few laugh-out-loud songs (the end credits one is a cracker) and nails every music biopic cliché in the book.


07 Gentleman Broncos
Still "Yep".

A silly comedy about the pains of niche genre authorship, in which Michael Angarano (Bertie from The Knick) is Benjamin, a young Utahian fan of a small-scale scifi author (treacle-voiced Jermaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords) who is inspired to write his own fiction. It's (very clearly) from the team that brought you Napoleon Dynamite and is suffused with exactly that sense of the absurd, and exactly the same affection for the same. Sam Rockwell provides strange-as-fiction backup in the visualised excerpts from the central story, Yeast Lords - The Bronco Years, which one man sees as his only hope to salvage a career on the rocks, two small town filmmakers sees as their 83rd and best motion picture, and Benjamin simply hoped would lift him and his mother to the life of their dreams...


08 The Imitation Game
I would like to pre-emptively deny the charge that I'm lying about my true star-feelings regarding films I watch this year.

This is a good film. It is also more than a bit of an easy film. It is full of tidy, within-the-limits performances that absolutely do the job, and the story is Hollywood perfect. I felt so carefully entertained, and therefore so unchallenged by it all that I had to stretch twice when it was over, partly because I'd been sat for two hours, partly because it hadn't stretched me even slightly. And even though there were a few cheesy things I didn't like, I'd still have given it four stars if it wasn't for them over-egging the pudding with the "but my brother, we can make an exception for my brother" moment, which was a terrible, manipulative misstep that had been made utterly redundant by everything that had happened not ten seconds earlier. Really, such a poor bit of blatant string-pulling that my eyes rolled right out of my head.


09 Warrior
Nor, while we're on the subject, am I deliberately seeking out films I somehow magically know I'm going to neither love nor hate. This one is a crunching martial arts drama, genre heir to the Rocky-style boxing movie, itself heir to the Barton Fink-style wrestling movie - where can this trend lead next, I wonder...

Anyway, Tom Hardy's pucker plays a former jar-head turned mixed martial arts kickpunching machine, who resurfaces out of nowhere intending to compete for the world's biggest MMA purse - a $5 million literal knock-out contest which, and I can't believe I'm about to say this, but which his estranged, on-the-verge-of-bankruptcy, family-man-science-teacher older brother also winds up competing in (played by a guy who looks like a ripped Conan O'Brien), all under the once gin-soaked gaze of their reformed alcoholic father.

Yes, you've guessed it: Nick Nolte.

In many ways, it's an interesting piece of work. It starts off working class low-key, with Hardy the grudge-bearing, taciturn prodigal to Nolte's sympathy-inducing weary old man, and kicks off (again, literally) fifteen minutes in with a (that's right, literally) gob-smacking fight that I'd guess lasts under thirty seconds, and you believe it would have. Then it takes a radical left-turn to introduce former fighter turned suburban dad Conan (fine, "Joel Edgerton", but compare) who's going to lose his house to debt, takes up illegal MMA fighting at the local level out of desperation and loses his job as a result. That $5 mil would pay a lot of bills...

During the various dramatic scenes that lead up to the big event it remains a fairly engaging watch, and the scraps are crunching throughout... but none of those battles really compare with the stunning opener. Instead we end up with gruelling, face-punching endurance challenges in which just the last ten seconds of a round drag on longer than the entirety of Hardy's brutally authentic thirty second thriller. Frankly, it all starts to drag. Come the climactic half hour, I was torn wondering which of the two clichés we'd end up with: A) the needy underdog perma-crippled before his tear-stained wife, so his freshly reconciled brother could take down Drago in revenge (yes, there is a Russian super-fighter here); or B) brother against brother in the grand final.

I think on balance they picked the better option, but ultimately the movie feels comically implausible, as well as drizzled with the kind of over-emotional cheesiness that only the original Rocky ever really got away with. And it's a shame, because keeping the two brothers' stories separate but letting the parallels between the glamorous and grotty chime off each other would have been far more convincing, far more moving, than beating down our sense of disbelief for a grandstand finish.


10 The Purge
Yay! Two stars!

Ahhhhh-merica: it's great! Unemployment and crime are all but eradicated, and how? Because the New Founding Fathers have decreed that, for a twelve hour period once every year, the Purge will take place, and then anything goes. All legal bets are off, the police, fire and medical services are off the clock, which instead is ticking on your night of guilt-free bloody violence. Probably not a good idea to live in suburbia...

Ethan Hawke and his trademark Beautiful Family have made exactly that mistake, and it isn't their last. He's sold expensive security systems to all their affluent neighbours, then rubbed their noses in it by building a castle-like extension to his sandstone mansion. His wife fails to appropriately mask her familial pride when gossiping with the glassy-eyed bitch from down the street. Senior teen daughter is rebelling over her forbidden love for the too-old boyfriend, who's snuck inside after the blast doors come down. And weird loner Junior Teen son puts those blast doors up again long enough for a homeless black man to escape the clutches of a sociopathic gang of trust-fund college kids, who really want him back.

Cue moral/immoral hijinks and Eeth an' Co try to decide if they can justify throwing a fat man onto the tracks to save themselves from being slaughtered alongside him. There's probably a pack of film makers out there convinced they've made a social satire akin to The Handmaiden's Tale for the armour-piercing generation. Proof, if proof be need be, that "high concept" doesn't mean "not stupid".


11 Panique Au Village


12 The Theory of Everything


13 Whiplash


14 Lucy


15 The Valley of Gwangi
Beginning of a "weird western" film-watching binge, ahead of some blogging later in the year. Stared with a ...classic... and found it to be the kind of thing Mystery Science Theatre 3000 would have targeted, assuming they didn't. Not very good, really.

16 high Plains Drifter
Very much of it's time - the sexual politics especially - but also a weird gem. Clint Eastwood rides out of the heat haze into a small frontier town where someone once came a cropper at the hands of just about every member of the community. Was it Clint? Was it his brother? Did he die, whoever it was, and is this his vengeful ghost? Who cares, what follows is a bizarre overturning of the citizens' lives in pursuit of justice, or maybe just ice - revenge best being served cold, after all...

17 Wild Wild West
Wow, what a turkey this was. Coming two years after Men In Black made Will Smith into a scifi comedy god, this feels like a hammy mess made half-a-dozen years earlier. It attempts to harken back to those rip-roaring silver screen adventures the way Indiana Jones did perfectly, but just fucks it all up.

18 Ravenous


19 Cowboys Versus Aliens
Cheesy attempted blockbuster that was doing okay for quite a while, but got progressively sillier the longer it went on. Shootout at the X-Files Coral.

20 The Birds
Watched because, A) I'd never actually seen it, at least not that I could remember; B) due to Slavoj Zizek's fascinating analysis, which I revisit every year or so; and C) so I could blog about intra-apocalyptic-fiction-in-films-and-fiction. I was really enjoying it, although I have to say I found the ending extremely anticlimactic; Hitchcock seriously pulls du Maurier's punch for her. Not, though, regarding his females - I can't help but feel that Melanie is being punished for not being a good little wifey.

21 On The Beach
Boring, stilted, and populated by far older young people than Hollywood (and its stars) try to get away with any more. I only watched it because, as I said, I'm on a post-apocalypse binge these days and wanted to write a blog post about a handful of them. The Death of Grass already provided the bad to go with The Birds' good, but this was so dull I left it out entirely.

22 John Wick
Keanu Reeves in The Matrix mode again: minimal acting, maximal action. I liked it, but I didn't pee my pants with ecstasy-laced champagne the way some people seemed to...

23 Guardians of the Galaxy
Worked for me in a way that most of the Marvel Movie Monsoon hasn't quite managed. Iron Man (1) and Captain America (1) probably remain my favourites to date, but this was good fun from the start, vastly better than the last big screen "space adventure" outings (ie: Star Wars 12&3 and the Star Trek reboots). I wonder how the next Star Wars trilogy will compare, especially since being helmed by J. J. Abrams it brings together both of those rivals...

24 Birdman
Hollywood gazes into its navel and wishes people took it seriously as art. You know, like they do with theatre. Really enjoyable nonsense (I thought the Academy didn't "do" comedies - this is one), but nonsense none the less.

25 Boyhood
Technical-conceptually smart, but that doesn't win you Best Picture and underneath this proves to be a typically Linklaterish semi-narrative, and neither do they. I started to roll my eyes every time the main character opened his mouth once he reached his teens; the know-nothing "wisdom" of kids talking to other kids may be brilliantly realistic, but it doesn't make for engrossing dialogue. Patricia Arquette is well worth her Oscar though.

26 House of the Devil
One for Junkmonkey and Bill here (though Bill's probably seen it).

An out-of-pocket college student somewhere in America agrees needs to make $300 so she can pay the deposit on a flat and get away from her promiscuous room-mate. In desperation, she calls the number on a baby-sitter needed sign on campus, and...

...the thing is, this is unashamedly an homage to those cheesy, low-budget horror flicks of the 70s and 80s. The chunky yellow title font, the flannel shirts and jeans, the brick-sized walkman our heroine lugs around, the editing--even the pre-spoiling "Back in the 70s and 80s everyone thought the Satanists were culting" is there to tell you, and we are there now. But, unlike Tarantino's screaming it in your face via digitally degrading the print for laughs, here there is just an old-fashioned horror movie, played straight, in an old-fashioned style. It might be a cliché, but when you do it with affection it can still be good.


27 The Burrowers
A horror western that starts out reasonably well, with at least the promise of being a character-driven "with monsters" version of The Searchers. And it's still going reasonably well right up to the point where A) we see the monsters, and B) you realise there's only about twenty minutes left and start to suspect the makers don't actually have an ending for this thing. They don't.

28 Mad Max: Fury Road ½
This film is too long by at least thirty minutes. Much of the dialogue is poor or unnecessary. IT'S AWESOME. Not a feminist screed in my opinion, although it does have "strong" female roles in it.

EDIT: I watched it again, and I was too tough on this. The dialogue is ropey in places, but it's not too long and it's worth a straight .

This is what all those movie remakes or reinventions should be reaching for, and consistently fail to achieve. Even beyond that, it's just a strikingly inventive action flick, one where the progression of format set-pieces are each distinctive in spite of the necessity of all being variations on a single theme. Loved it.


29 Erin Brockovich
Bad Tuesday made better.

30 The Babadook
A great piece of disturbing, low-key horror.

31 The Innocents ½
Badly dated in terms of line-delivery, at times, but wonderfully uncanny all the same.

32 An American Werewolf in London
Well, it's showing its age a bit now, but still good fun. The Yorkshire Brits are cold as the moo-oor, the London Brits are awfully plummy, Griffin Dunne is great, and the werewolf himself does fine.

33 CHAPPiE ½
Weak, another serious back-step for BlomKamp after showing such potential with the flawed but far from bad District 9. I thought I hated Elysium, but now I realise I didn't. This is seriously poor, an unfunny remake of Short Circuit that isn't saved by Hugh Jackman in shorts. Nor by Die Antwoord, an act I like - this is less interesting than a movie-length version of one of their music videos, thought it tries its hardest to be exactly that, with them trickling out of every background radio from start to finish.

34 Inherent Vice ½
Not bad, though after The Big Lebowski (of all things) it feels a bit light and in-cohesive in terms of story.

35 The Panic in Needle Park
Early Al Pacino flick that I'd never heard of, and which turned out to be really quite good.

36 A Midsummer Night's Dream
Oh my. This is the James Cagney 1935 "blockbuster", which apparently died in the box office, almost certainly due to Mickey Rooney's appallingly irritating turn as Puck - however, Olivia de Havilland as Hermia wasn't bad and occasionally shone in her first screen role, Cagney and Joe E. Brown (Jack Lemmon's husband-to-be from Some Like It Hot) are good fun in the theatrical troupe, and some of the fairy-scenes are lovely to look at. My tongue in cheek viewing log can be found here and here.

37 Jiro Dreams of Sushi
A sweet salute to a culinary treasure which is also fascinating for the insights it gives of Japanese culture. Jiro is a sushi master in his 80s who has dedicated most of his life to his art. His eldest son, upon whom an inevitable and weighty inheritance will one day fall, continues to work, willingly, in his father's shadow, even though the fate of the successors to unparalleled greatness can be a harsh one, dismissed as inferior by default. It's light, unsurprisingly always respectful, but there are wise lessons about hard work and commitment throughout. And the food looks delicious...

38 Indie Game: The Movie
One that's been on my radar for a while. Much like the fantastic Tetris documentary I watched last year, this may be one for the geeks on the surface. What we also get is a large slice of personality, meeting bedroom coders and computer game storytellers doing what the mega-bucks industry doesn't: handcrafting games that are a true labour of love, even if it means risking everything to do so.

39 El Secreto de sus Ojos (The Secret in their Eyes)
Argentina, 2000: a retired lawyer attempts to write the novel of the unsolved case that still haunts him. Argentina, 1975: Esposito works in the offices of a judge alongside his alcoholic friend and colleague Sandoval, under the command of Irene, their attractive and wealthy new boss. The murder of a gorgeous, sweet-natured young woman all but destroys her husband, and the unrivalled depth of love between them comes to obsess Esposito, who dedicates himself to finding the killer even in the face of institutional corruption that threatens all their lives. It's a straight forward piece of storytelling, which is usually the best kind. Crossing the decades results in a bit of iffy old-man makeup, but--once you're past the really quite grim opening minutes--it proves an enjoyable mystery with a hint of romance.

40 Josie and the Pussycats
Not my usual fare, but My Year of Flops forced my hand again. Stupid fun, I didn't like the music, but it is satire, not just an example of what it satirises. Also, Rosario Dawson is dreamy.

41 Frank
Strange, in the best way of being that. Domhnall Gleeson is perfect as the "normal" out of his depth amongst the creative madness, Maggie Gyllenhaal plays "emotionally hard" very well, the French rhythm section are suitably aloof, and Fassbender is... is a big fibreglass head. From the concept, it ought to be a Spike Jonze movie, but even in its more fraught sections it feels less melancholic than he would have made it, and the end result is a sweet-natured take on weirdness, the modern pseudo-family, and knowing who you are and where you need to be.

42 Ex Machina
Very, very good. Where CHAPPiE played the AI-genesis story as a juvenile slapstick shoot-em-up, this treats the subject seriously with a slick, intelligent execution. Low-key performances from Domhnall Gleeson (fast joining his dad as one of my favourite "British Isles" actors) and, necessarily, Alicia Vikander as the AI in question. Plus another strong turn from Oscar Isaac, who I'm yet to see put a foot wrong (although apparently he was in Sucker Punch - I must have blanked that).

I was fairly scathing of writer-director Alex Garland's first "serious" scifi effort, Sunshine, and I stand by that - people were calling it the new 2001, but for me it fell light years short. This, however, I would allow to sit on the same shelf Kubrick's sf-masterpiece occupies, and that's about the highest complement I can offer.

Marvel may bust the blocks, but given that Garland scripted 2012's DREDD, which I rank alongside Snowpiercer and this year's colossus, Mad Max: Fury Road, as the best pulp sci-fi flicks in a long, long time (to say nothing of writing 28 Days Later and Never Let Me Go, both of which I rate), I think he represents one of the quiet champions of contemporary spec-fic cinema.


43 The Bourne Legacy
Not bad, but the lead (whose name I can never quite remember, "Something Jenner"? The bow-and-arrow dude from Avengers) lacks leading-man charisma in my opinion, and the whole thing feels a bit half-arsed. The actions scenes are well-handled, but the main plot results in a flat anti-climax of escape from Random Hitman 8, someone only introduced two minutes or so before the big chase scene takes place; but, to compare with The Bourne Identity's cracking hot pursuit sequence, here this basically leads straight into the end credits, instead of setting the scene for another hour of mystery and action. The upshot is... er, they escaped from that last guy on a bike? The End.

Ed Norton is quite good as the CIA's administrative bad guy, but there's none of the integration of story-strands that the original Bourne flick enjoyed and his side of matters just... sort of... stops being there. Instead, it leads into cameos from previous admin-adversaries talking about, well, the other movies instead of this one, a strikingly weird choice in my opinion. It's little more than a talking-heads montage, and has the feel of something that was originally going to take place in the opening five minutes, not the closing ones.

Paddy Considine is in it, though, that made me perk up. Two scenes: one where he crosses a road, one where he gets shot in the face (plus, fair enough, his photo is on the news shortly afterwards: three scenes, but the same amount of dialogue). What's the point of that? His "investigative journalist" could have been played by literally anyone, there must be major footage on a cutting room floor somewhere, because why would anyone established even look twice at a role like that?

This is a nuts-and-bolts three star action flick, and that's just fine, but they screwed it up and lost a star by failing to include all the nuts and bolts.


44 Winter's Bone
Excellent. Jennifer Lawrence has skills.

45 Ruby Sparks
Problematic. I'll expand this at some point, but let's just say that if it hadn't been written by a woman (and by the actress playing that character, in fact) I could see feminist sparks flying at this. To be honest, I'm not sure why they wouldn't anyway.

46 Criminal Law
Now this is a mad-ass movie. To be continued.

47 Spy
Funny, really very funny. Silly, yes, really very silly. But funny. But silly. But Funny!

48 The Woman in Black
Solid stuff, some good flinch moments, some good chills. I'm not really convinced Daniel Radcliffe will ever be a stellar screen presence, but he's okay, and I had good fun with this.

49 Human Nature
To be continued.

50 Something Wicked This Way Comes
To be continued.

51 Detective Story
To be continued.

52 Once Upon a Time in America
Good grief. I had to watch this over three consecutive nights, I just couldn't endure the sloth-like pace across nearly four hours of movie. And in the final analysis? Well, it's baggy, and the story has some holes in it you could drive a bus through - not conceptual gaps, just absences of straight forward tell-the-story please connective tissue. Other bits are great, but this could be done in half the time and be far better for it.

53 The Invention of Lying
Also triggered by My Year of Flops, this Ricky Jervais vehicle (which he also built, drove and purchased, not just rode in) isn't bad, though it slides into bad towards the end. He demonstrates unexpected capacity for unexpected pathos in the central scene, inadvertently kick-starting the notion of religion in a world devoid of deceit, and for the most credible of reasons; but the false correlation that demands a world without lies to also be a world where everyone bluntly speaks their mind with "autistic" rudeness makes Jennifer Garner its bitch, and makes his deliberately pathetic pursuit of her a bit hard to credit. Fat people can't have love seems to be the message Ricky's here to save his people from, but that's not a lie in the real world because we're capable of fibbing. Still, more funny than not by a decent margin.

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Old 30th Dec 2014, 23:25   #3
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Default Re: Filmlist 2015

16. Little Women (1949) - TV
15. Gone Girl - DVD
14. Metropolitan - DVD Very odd but satisfying in a cute way
13. Boyhood - DVD
12. The Mummy - TV Oh Brendan Fraser, how lovely you were, and Rachel Weisz too...
11. King Kong - video (1933) Love this so much
10. The Wolf of Wall Street - DVD Laugh-out loud, horrible people, definite anti-hero, superb di Caprio and "Donna from Neighbours". Very long but even so....
9. The Good Shepherd - LF ½
8. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - TV
7. Big Fish - TV Such a sad film. One of Burton's best and not "samey" like pretty much everything recently.
6. Noah - LF ½ Weirdly, I thought this was okay.
5. Aladdin - TV ½
4. Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows - DVD
3. Snow White (2001) - TV Possibly the worst film ever made
2. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - TV
1. Quartet - TV - ½ oh Pauline Collins and Tom Courtenay especially lovely in this.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 13:38   #4
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Default Re: Filmlist 2015

1. Paddington

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Old 1st Jan 2015, 16:57   #5
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Default Re: Filmlist 2015

1. Grand Budapest Hotel
2. Birdman
3. Selma
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Old 3rd Jan 2015, 1:32   #6
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Cool Films/Movies seen for the first time in 2015:

Books: 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 Films: 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

- Frenzy (1972)
- Astro Boy (2009)
- Killing Them Softly (2012)
½ ted (2012)
.*****. - Toy Story 3 (2010)
- God Bless America (2011)
- The Devil's Teardrop (2010)
½ We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
- Haywire (2011)
- Savages (2012)
- Valkyrie (2008)
- Rogue (2007)
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Old 12th Jan 2015, 10:27   #7
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Default Re: Filmlist 2015

001. Birdman [2014; Dir: IÑÁRRITU, Alejandro González]
002. Taken [2008; Dir: MOREL, Pierre]
003. Taken 2 [2012; Dir: MEGATON, Olivier]
004. Into The Woods [2014; Dir: MARSHALL, Rob]
005. Taken 3 [2015; MEGATON, Olivier]
006. Locke [2013; Dir: KNIGHT, Steven]
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Old 12th Apr 2015, 15:16   #8
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Default Re: Filmlist 2015

In no particular order, and with gaps in my memory:
Wolf of Wall Street
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Lookout
Sin City 2
Looper
Skyfall
Killing Them Softly
Marvel Avengers Assemble
Hope Springs
God Bless America
Hobo With a Shotgun
Mississippi Burning
Argo
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Old 12th Apr 2015, 16:11   #9
Beth
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Default Re: Filmlist 2015

1. Argo
2. Point Break '
3. Roman Holiday
4. A Letter to Three Wives
5. Grand Budapest Hotel
6. Boyhood

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Old 12th Apr 2015, 20:58   #10
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Default Re: Filmlist 2015

Bearing in mind that I now have no ability to stay up past 9pm, and rarely get a babysitter my movie experiences this year are as follows:

1 - Noah (dvd) meh, started off quite well I thought (although complete suspension of disbelief as far as feeling it was actually Biblical at all) but the ending was awful, all over and done in a rush.
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