Hello. It’s so cold. It reminds me of when Bill Callahan said, “Tonight, I’m swimming to my favourite island.” Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, here’s my thoughts on the films that came out this year.
1. Cold Weather – 9.5/10
It evolves from mumblecore to crime-thriller without losing its charm.
2. Melancholia – 9/10
A reminder that the end of the world will be slow, painful and a bit like the incinerator scene in Toy Story 3.
3. Black Swan – 8.5/10
Darren Aronofsky finds a dial labelled Polanski and turns it up to 11.
4. Another Earth – 8/10
Beyond the teenage angst is a surprisingly moving story about trying to hear violins instead of guilt.
5. Win Win – 8/10
Paul Giamatti shines as an exasperated family man tormented by being Paul Giamatti.
6. Midnight in Paris – 8/10
You can’t take New York out of the New Yorker, even if you stick him in Paris and introduce elements of time travel.
7. The Fighter – 8/10
A family drama about “heart”, loyalty and using sport as a distraction for the meaningless of life.
8. 50/50 -7.5/10
Very dark and very funny. Like watching the sunrise with your dentist.
9. Source Code – 7.5/10
A smart sci-fi thriller about wanting to die – something we can all relate to.
10. 127 Hours – 7/10
He says, “Thank you” once his arm is cut off, but he doesn’t become a better person – once he escapes, he takes water from strangers without saying, “Thank you” and then drinks it in a really wasteful manner, spilling down his shirt. In short: he will show his gratitude to an inanimate rock that has ruined his life, but he won’t say anything to the people who save him from dying of dehydration.
11. The Ides of March – 7/10
A soap opera crafted to fit a mainstream film structure, with sprinkles of digestible politics, which isn’t a bad thing.
12. Contagion – 7/10
Journalist versus biological warfare. A bit like my Christmas holiday.
13. Bridesmaids – 7/10
A funny film with 30 minutes of deleted scenes accidentally tacked on.
14. The Green Hornet – 7/10
An action film about people who can’t fight.
15. Super – 7/10
Surprisingly demented in a dementedly pleasant way.
16. My Idiot Brother – 6/10
Feels like a rehearsal for a brilliant film.
17. Sleeping Beauty – 6/10
Blandness becomes hypnotic.
18. Drive – 6/10
Ryan Gosling saunters through a supermarket aisle like a car, snaking past a row of breakfast cereal, heading towards the fresh fruit.
19. Super 8 – 6/10
Like marrying the first person you see standing outside a church.
20. The Future – 6/10
Sometimes weary, but often beautiful.
21. The Tree of Life – 5.5/10
A woman whispers, “Lord, where were you?” The screen replies with what looks like the default visualisations you get with Windows Media Player.
22. Crazy Stupid Love – 5.5/10
The apt title reflects a savvy take on films cliches without being particularly daring.
23. Paul – 5.5/10
Extremely repetitive. Extremely unambitious. Extremely frustrating.
24. Friends With Benefits – 5/10
Its message: all men are bastards, apart from your ‘fuck buddy’ who just so happens to be Justin Timberlake.
25. Insidious – 5/10
What is the latest, plain, by-the-numbers horror film you’ve seen lately?
26. Like Crazy – 5/10
A film that aims itself at girls with tumblrs.
27. Hall Pass – 4.5/10
It helps knowing the plot a few weeks in advance, to let it sink in.
28. Beautiful Lies – 4.5/10
Further analysis into the plot reveals plenty of nastiness, but it’s to the actors’ credit that your emotions are closer to incredulity than repulsion.
29. Welcome to the Rileys – 4.5/10
Kristen Stewart and James Gandolfini as you’ve never seen them before, and you’ll never want to see them again.
30. Horrible Bosses – 4.5/10
Forced, but watchable, like the QVC shopping channel.
31. My Week With Marilyn – 4/10
A bit like Twilight with the genders reversed.
32. Attack the Block – 4/10
Be careful if eating popcorn while watching, in case you miss something you’ve seen before or already predicted.
33. Limitless – 4/10
Apparently you only use 20% of your brain. Compare this with cucumber, which is 97% water. Am I really making a point? Not really, but neither is Limitless.
34. The Myth of the American Sleepover – 4/10
A bit like reading a stranger’s diary, then finding out they’re into trainspotting.
35. The Inbetweeners Movie – 4/10
It made me so sad about humanity that I didn’t even bother writing a review for it.
36. The King’s Speech – 3.5/10
1. DENIALThe praise for The King’s Speech is a temporary defence for humanity. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of positions and individuals that will be left behind after the death of Wikipedia.
2. ANGER How dare you say this film is educational.
3. BARGAINING I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed. Perhaps if they could remake it…
4. DEPRESSION It’s painfully tedious. I only watched it because I didn’t want to be left out.
5. ACCEPTANCE [speech] “Thank you for this Oscar.”
37. The Adjustment Bureau – 3.5/10
A film about the lengths Matt Damon will go to for a pretty girl on a bus.
38. Cedar Rapids 3.5/10
Ed Helms, the actor who plays Andy from The Office, branches out into films to stop himself becoming typecast, so he stars in Cedar Rapids as a character remarkable similar to Andy from The Office.
39. Your Highness -3/10
The best way is to describe Your Highness is that it’s like buying someone a birthday card, but forgetting to write a message inside, and it’s also not their birthday.
40. Bad Teacher – 3/10
It doesn’t pick up until the last 15 minutes by rising to a low level of mediocrity.
41. Chalet Girl – 3/10
Things I can’t digest: cellulose and Chalet Girl.
42. A Good Old Fashioned Orgy – 3/10
The film version of giving up.
43. 30 Minutes or Less – 2.5/10
A real tragic death turned into a comedy. The film is arguably a bigger tragedy.
44. No Strings Attached – 2.5/10
Ashton Kutcher cries less convincingly than a robot, or any other household appliance.
45. happythankyoumoreplease – 1.5/10
Josh Radnor, tell us who the mother is, then go away forever.
46. Beastly – 0.5/10
A Disney film where the moral is that you need brute force to make someone love you.
47. Sucker Punch – 0/10
One single sentence can’t explain why this is the worst film I’ve ever seen.
There are other things I missed that I’ve been meaning to catch up on, like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Moneyball, but is there anything else I should see?
Do you agree/disagree with anything on my list?
Any general recommendations?
What are you excited to see in 2012?
(I am looking forward to Your Sister’s Sister, Damsels in Distress, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Young Adult and Moonrise Kingdom.)
Tonight, will you be swimming to your favourite island?