This is the year that I've had to accept that very few people agree with me as to what constitutes a great film. (That is to say, that they are probably wrong on mass.) Here is my round up of all the films I've watched this year and what I thought of them.
HeadHunters: This was one hell of an action film from Vikingland Norway. If you've ever wanted to see Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones blowing shit up this is the film for you. Better than average action fair, and more naked buttocks than an episode of the aforementioned.
Recommendation: Have a watch, but don't eat while you're watching the outhouse scene.
Chronicle: A pleasant sci-fi film that studies the implications of the young and stupid getting their hands on telekinetic powers (irony). While Scott Baio's conceit is that it would involve ladies tops popping open, (Zapped 1982) this film has a darker bent to it. There's nothing to surprise you but it's a well told tale of power corrupting.
Recommendation: Yeah. It's good.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes: There are quite of number of films I only saw for the first time long after they left the cinemas. RotPotA took its time to allow you to bond with the protagonists and thoughtful pacing pays off. By the third act a part of you is ready for all of humankind to crumble.
Recommendation: Another great sci-fi film with enough action to satiate the less cerebral.
Bridesmaids: I'd heard that this was a very successful film. It relied on that awkward style of humour that served 'Meet the Parents' so well and was probably a little too vulgar but the one thing it did do was introduce me to Chris O'Dowd. Be still my beating comedy heart.
Recommendation: It's worth it just so that you can discuss it with every single other person on Earth as it turns out they've seen it too. It is saved by Chris O'Dowd who is so charming I could watch him in even the shittiest of…
Frequently Asked Questions about Time Travel: Oops! I may have spoken too soon. Chris stars in this Time Travel comedy that sets itself up with the lofty goal of making a time travel film that's smart and fun. It fails. This mess just loses its way.
Recommendation: Avoid. This film targets a clever audience and misses by a country mile.
Cars 2: A little old but I did want to see it just to round out my Pixar experience. I wasn't a fan of the first 'Cars' film but the trailer to this one set it up as a totally new story. I figured I'd give it a go and it worked out okay. I did find it somewhat frustrating trying to deal with the logistics of cars being sentient. Why are there buses? Cars don't need to travel by bus? And then the cars get loaded into a plane. A sentient plane! And they're inside it! Is that perverted? Is it cross species? Perhaps I'm thinking about it too much.
Recommendation: It's not as bad as everyone says but I wouldn't climb any mountains to get my hands on it.
Brave: What the hell happened to Pixar? How could the same minds behind Monsters inc. and the Incredibles have put together this soulless, by-the-numbers pap? It completely fails to create likeable or even memorable characters and then trots out a worthless husk of a story.
Recommendation: Not truly incompetent but not really any fun. If you want a good family film there are better options out there.
like Megamind: I can't believe I'm recommending a Dreamworks film. I loved Shrek but after Shrek 2 and the abominable Shark Tale I decided to avoid Dreamworks pics at all cost. Somehow, someone managed to put something together that they cared about without the studio buggering it all up. The story of a super villain getting what he always wanted instead of what he needs is a frigging delight.
Recommendation: Go grab it. It's a brilliant film and when I watched it I figured that I wouldn't see a better family film this year.
I WAS WRONG!
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Someone seriously knew what they were doing. This film knocks it out of the park. Admittedly it is quite old so I was pretty late to the party, but if you've missed this one make a U-turn and check it out. It weaves together like one of those rugs that muslims have to intentionally put a flaw into because only Allah is perfect.
The Dictator: I did not expect to enjoy this film. By all accounts this humour is filthy and base, but there's a dark edged satire hidden in here as well. The people I saw it with were uncertain about it but I recall laughing my arse off.
Recommendation: Have a couple of drinks and give it a crack.
21 Jump st: Having been a fan of the original series I fully expected to not enjoy this film at all.
I did not enjoy this film at all
Recommendation: Don't watch films that you don't enjoy, like this one.
The Avengers: Well, this is the big one. I went in with low expectations and found it to be modestly entertaining. When I mentioned this to others they LOST THEIR FUCKING SHIT. Alliances unravelled, things were said that could not be taken back and my wife hasn't posted on twitter since. Look, the fight scenes were boring and contrived, the story was hideously shallow but some of the characters, jokes and dialogue were great fun. Not awful by any means but intermittently boring and very entertaining. It all balances out to be mediocre.
Recommendation: Don't listen to me. Everyone else loves this film. You should totally see it despite my indifference.
Batman 9: I didn't enjoy Batman 8 and I ended up having to defend my position with others for that too so it was with great delight that I finished watching Batman 9 and it was actually pretty good. It kept up a decent pace and had some great twists and turns in both the tail and the tale. I liked many of the characters and was invested in some of them not dying. Of course, everyone else hated it and now I'm caught in the same damn argument again. Just from the other side.
Recommendation: Christ! I just don't know any more. Make your own frigging mind up. I'm obviously not the person to come to regarding comic book film adaptations.
Hugo: I've always had a theory that films about film-making get an easier green light than other films because the people giving the green light are emotionally bonded to the subject matter. This kids' film was extremely weak. Narratively messy and entirely self-indulgent. Anyone who defends it is an art wanker. I don't want to judge most of the people who disagree with me regarding cinema but this is where I put my foot down.
Recommendation: Steal the DVD and burn it in a fire.
Skyfall: James Bond goes gritty then tries to sneak in the old Roger Moore jokes in the hope that we won't notice. I think most of us did. It was okay. You know? Like every other James Bond film.
Recommendation: There's shooting and dry one liners. You're getting what it says on the box.
Samsara: I do like this style of film-making. Hi-def clips of amazing vistas and communities. You could probably make the experience yourself by picking a bunch of cool stuff on youtube and projecting it at a cinema.
Recommendation: Chuck it on at a party once the second loud music complaint is issued by the cops.
Recommendation: Great films make you really think. This one? Well it's better off if you don't.
Men in Black 3: I hate long films. The perfect length for a film is 1 hour and 28 minutes. That is the length of Disney's Aladdin and it was great. Men in Black 3 was only slightly longer and this is probably why it didn't outstay its welcome. Will Smith reminds us that he cut his teeth on comedy. A fun performance and some pretty enjoyable set pieces. Not a train wreck.
Recommendation: If you had any time for either of the first two take a look at this one as well.
Wreck it Ralph: More Disney tripe. I would have thought that the subject matter was right up my alley but the characters were in no way likeable. The story pieced together at the end to save it from being an abomination but I spent a lot of time very, very bored watching this 2 hour long film.
Recommendation: Watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs a second time instead.
And so we come to my favourite film of the year. I copped some flack for recommending Justin Beiber's 'Never say Never' last year. This year I've been in the minority when it came to the Avengers and Batman 9 and I'm pleased to say I've picked a film that people can't get cranky about.
The Sapphires: A quartet of young aboriginal women and Chris O'Dowd (swoon) get sent to Vietnam to perform for the troupes. It's a truly well made film and it deals with race in a way that anyone who combats me regarding the quality of the film could risk coming off as a little big bigoted.
This film is funny and touching with exceptional performances by all involved. It captures something about the aboriginal culture that nothing I've seen before ever has. Like any great film, it makes me want to know more about the subject matter it touches on. It is wonderful and you should watch it as soon as you've finished watching 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs'.
I have much respect for people who can remember every film they've seen in a year.
Unless of course you've kept a written list. Why would you need to keep a written list of the films you've seen? No respect for the list abusers.
I agree with several of these choices too.
You caught me. Last year I tried to rely on my faulty memory and ended up having to rummage through my saved ticket stubbs. (Yes, I saved my ticket stubbs). This year I kept a list. (And threw out my stubbs) I think it's a healthy step forward.