Welcome to the annual review of the year – in this post I’ll be looking over the Films – TV, Books and Music are all up as seperate posts – of the past year and just giving a couple of thoughts/comments on what has been seen/read/listened too/etc over the past 12 months. Hopefully you’ll find it vaguely interesting/gives something to think over. When I came to write this last year I found that I couldn’t remember that much of the year before so I’ve been making a real effort to keep track of what’s been encountered over the course of this year – hopefully it should give a more even spread of items from over the year.
To kick off just the top 10, thoughts/mini-reviews and more are under the “more” link.
This year I managed to get to see (according to my records at least) 52 different films (I think there’s also a couple that have slipped through the net…) This is including the Cinema, Blu-ray, DVD, and TV and is a bit of a strange mix. Of these 52 films here’s my Top 10.
This is a film I had on the pile for ages to watch, but was waiting until I could watch it in proper HD – it was worth the wait, it’s big, colourful and action packed; you’d be doing yourself a mis-service not seeing this in the best quality you can find. The stories a bit limp at the start but in the 2nd half when the film really gets going you’re not worrying about the story you’re just enjoying the completely and utterly insane car races they through up on screen in front of you – I’ve watched this several times throughout the year and each time I’ve found myself excitedly sitting on the edge of my seat at the end of the film despite knowing what’s going to happen – I look forward to repeat viewings where I get to share this wonderfully stylised film with others.
Inception was a thinking action film – a great combination to see that will hopefully lead to more films like this – the story was complex operating on several different levels, and the film expects you to keep up, but it’s worth taking that journey for the wondrous action sequences (the corridor fight is particularly stand-out, especially when taking into account it’s a practical set) and the ending that left the friend I went to see the film with shouting No at the cinema screen – if you’ve not seen this then you should look it up immediately!
The first of several animated films to make it into my top 10. This film is so completely and utterly daft, from the machine that makes it rain food, to the Gummy Bear obsessed Talking Monkey “Steve”. I found the main character fantastically easy to relate too – they’ve captured the nature of Geekdom perfectly and while the story has a moral it’s gently told amongst the sheer randomness that populates the film – another film that can’t be missed – I’m just disappointed I missed it at the cinema!
The third film (and hopefully final) film in the Toy Story series from Pixar this was a behemoth of a film that took you through a gauntlet of emotions. I was worried when I first saw the trailers for this film – it looked so bleak that there couldn’t possibly be a happy ending – however this is Pixar and they do work their magic. It has some of the best design I’ve seen in a film – making a friendly looking nursery look like a prison camp by night. As the film moved on through its story it got really terrifying at points (and this stands up to repeat viewing) Really worth seeing just for the emotions Pixar manage to drag out of you (and I don’t want to give away anything about the ending and the emotional rollercoaster it takes you on!)
Howl’s Moving Castle was the first film that I encountered from the fantastic Studio Ghibli. I’ll be honest it was a toss-up between this and Spirited Away appearing here. Both films have a wonderful timeless feel to them, set in a non-geographically specific region of the world and they both show that real imagination and thought has gone into the design of the film and the characters. The films both tell lovely stories and are very inventive and different at the same time really sucking you into the story – I can’t recommend the entire output of the studio more strongly.
This was a film that could’ve gone of one two ways – it could’ve been terrible fortunately it came through and was fantastic instead. The film works as an origin story, and has also modernised the franchise – they are involved in a heist set in the Iraq War rather than Vietnam and the film focuses around them escaping Jail and trying to clear their names rather than the Mercenaries for hire of the TV series. All said and done this film was fantastically good fun – it certainly doesn’t take itself seriously with big outlandish action sequences and some very clever plot twists running through – all that you’d want in a summer blockbuster. I should also add that this film holds host to one of the best comedy scenes that I’ve seen this year – I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving it away but Murdoch’s escape almost had me clapping in the cinema – much too funny for it’s own good!
This is another of the big films that didn’t take itself entirely seriously but was also fantastically stylised. The books (see below) are certainly the better way of telling the story – they give the characters more depth, and just the extra breathing space really gives the story a benefit but the film is still big, fun and worth a look.
This was the 25th Anniversary re-release that we went to go and see in the cinema whilst it was on – you can find my review for this here. The film really stands up to the test of time, it still looks good and is great fun – I challenge you to come out of the film without a smile on your face.
I’d forgotten how much fun this film is. A very dark black comedy with strong horror themes, its laugh out loud funny with darker moments throughout.
This was a bit of a late entry, and another Dark comedy. Following the mis-adventures of the Edinborough body snatchers this was a fun comedy with a good hint of drama as well. As the film progresses the tension gets ratcheted up but you do find yourself rooting for the main characters. The film is a classic who’s who of British talent with a huge number of cameos and it’s great to see Ronnie Corbett having fun hamming it up through the film as well – it was a bit of a flop at the cinema but worth a watch.
Finally I’m going to throw out a couple of honourable mentions to films I really enjoyed but they didn’t quite make the Top 10 – they are really good though so worth a look if you can find the time!
One final mention for the worst film I’ve seen this year (and possibly ever!) – The Room – words cannot describe this film, you have to experience it.