So 2008, the year this whole ‘trying to be funny and opinionated about movies’ thing kicked off. A fellow projectionist asked me if he thought I could watch all the movies released in our 14 screen multiplex. I, quite foolishly, said yes and set about watching and reviewing each one. You can find them all here at Confessions Of A Projectionist. All 189 of them.
But as you can’t be arsed to read all that here’s a rundown of the good, the bad and the downright loveable.
The first week of this enormous challenge showed that while good cinema in the form of ‘The Kite Runner’ was there for consumption, I’d also have to partake in eating big bowls of shit like ‘P.S. I Love You’.
Then came lovely awards season and with it three bona fide classics. ‘No Country For Old Men’ was a palm-sweatingly taut thriller with the usual Coen black wit, while ‘There Will Be Blood’ had a helluva lot more to it than just an awesome Daniel Day Lewis performance.
Lastly, ‘The Diving Bell And The Buttefly’ was a film that defined ‘struggle over adversity’ without ever being maudlin or cheap. Instead it is, quite simply, one of the most life-affirming movies you’re ever likely to see.
As good as he was as Jean-Do, Diving Bell star Matthieu Almaric couldn’t stop ‘Quantum Of Solace’ being a touch too tedious. Putting water prices up isn’t exactly as diabolic as holding the world to ransom with nukes now is it? Another old hero returned in the form of Mr. Jones and his Crystal Skulls. As derided as it was, there were some fun moments and as blockbuster distraction goes it almost worked. ‘Almost worked’ would be a good desciption of ‘Hancock’ too. ‘Iron Man’ however, thanks to Bob Downey, could drop the almost.
Perhaps inevitably Indy and co. were always going to be forgotten about in a year when ‘The Dark Knight’ reigned supreme. An exceptional piece of cinema that for once treated its audience with respect. Long without ever out-staying its welcome, expensive without ever being showy and full of performances from Caine though to Ledger that you really don’t expect from a box-office behemoth. Still it didn’t make as much cash in the UK as ‘Mamma Mia’. Go figure.
On a lighter note (well, lighter than ‘Mamma Mia’) the comedies of the year were wrapped in great storytelling coating. ‘Juno’ has yucks aplenty but never at the expense of the tale. The same can go for ‘Burn After Reading’ perplexing as it was. The king of the comedies however was ‘In Bruges’. Containing jokes about death and kiddie fiddling it may have been comedy of the black kind but it was written with the kind of love for its characters that any screenwriting wannabe should look very closely at. And it had Colin Farrell karate chopping a midget.
My Film Of The Year
Looking back on it I was a bit spolit in 2008. There may have been a ‘Sex And The City’ Movie for every ‘Waltz With Bashir’ but its comforting that I could have easily picked one of 5 films for title of ‘most favourite bestest’ film of the year. Saying that, as soon as Michael Crawford started belting out ‘Put On Your Sunday Clothes’ I knew the film in question would take some beating.
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An absolute genius of a man once called Wall-E “cuter than Natalie Portman wearing mittens, working in a button shop, surrounded by puppies and kittens”. And he wasn’t wrong. But that isn’t even the beginning of the draw of Pixar’s 9th feature.
The old Disney maxim of ‘for every laugh there should be a tear’ is well and truly present as every Wall-E pratfall is paired with a longing look from Wall-E that puts the Twi-Hard faithful to shame. The animation is breathtaking throughout with a dark edge that ‘kids’ films aren’t really noted for.
But ‘Wall-E’ isn’t a kids film with adult bits. Or even an adult film with kids bits. It’s a film for absolutely everyone that loves even anything about films. And so for the millionth time since I’ve started writing on this site, here is a video that makes me weep.