Film roundup – January

As a random ‘this seems like a good idea for the year’ thing, I’ve decided to keep track of what films I’ve seen. January’s over and I’ve seen 26 films which isn’t bad at all. So I’m going to write some very, very brief reviews of each, or just general ramblings of why I chose to see it.

1st: Scott Pilgrim vs The World – I received this for Christmas so it made sense to see it really! Awesome film. I wasn’t sure about it the first time round at the cinema but then I became hooked on the graphic novels and thus my interest in the film was renewed. It’s good too. Very geeky but well done. Even Michael Cera isn’t as intensely irritating as usual, probably because he’s not meant to be very likeable (I think).

2nd: Angels and Demons – It’s an absolutely ridiculous tale but it is a fun little romp. Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor are always immensely watchable and this is no different. It’s the kind of film you watch on a Sunday afternoon to pass the time.

3rd: Drag Me to Hell, The Lost Boys – Two films that day. Oooh, fancy. You can tell I was still on holiday clearly. Drag Me to Hell was very silly, wasn’t bad though, but I feel no urge to ever watch it again. Plus the woman in it deserved everything she got so ha! I’ve never seen The Lost Boys so it seemed about time that I did. Little dated but still enjoyable nonetheless. It’s odd seeing Jack Bauer as a young man, especially as he obviously had to wait to grow into that deep, deep voice.

4th: Avatar, The Pink Panther (1960s one) – I really didn’t like Avatar at the cinema. Visually stunning but the story seemed like utter crap (unobtanium, seriously?!). I thought I’d give it another shot though while it was on TV anyway. It was still awful. The dialogue is atrocious, the film is far too long and someone needs to tell James Cameron to get a grip. Oh and the acting is patchy at best. Still visually stunning but ugh, I want substance not pretty pictures. The Pink Panther was entirely different than how I remembered it, much more serious and seemed more of a vehicle for David Niven. Not bad though.

5th: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (cinema), Twin Town – First cinema trip of the New Year! My Mum’s choice as I’ve hardly seen any films but know the stories from the games. It wasn’t bad too. It’s encouraged me to watch the others although I haven’t got round to it yet. It’s a bit long and much like Avatar, could have done with a bit of editing, but other than that, it’s alright. I’ll have to make sure I see all the films in time for Part 2 in the summer. Twin Town is a local delight as it’s set in Swansea, although filmed across much of South Wales. It paints a dreadful picture of the city but I like it.

6th: The Invention of Lying – Not one of Gervais’s best but it’s easy to watch and has some good and/or clever moments. Particularly the scene where he writes the commandments on pizza boxes. It’s a very high concept film but it falls at a few too many hurdles to be ‘good’. Shame that.

10th: Beauty and the Beast – A childhood pleasure. I’ve not seen it in years. It’s not quite as good as I remember sadly. I really hope that doesn’t happen when I eventually see The Lion King after all these years.

11th: Star Wars Episode One – I could hardly remember this the first time I saw it so I thought I’d give it another shot. It’s ok but nothing great. I’m not a big Star Wars fan so I’m not insulted by it, just a bit bored of it. The original plan was to watch this followed by Episode Two and Three (which I’ve never seen) but I forgot to record them when they were on TV. Bugger. Oh well, always next time.

12th: The King’s Speech (cinema), Alice in Wonderland – Another two film day! The King’s Speech was fantastic. I never thought a story about royalty could be so compelling but it really was. Very well acted too. Colin Firth deserves all the awards he can get, he’s finally proven he can do more than just rom coms. Alice in Wonderland was the Tim Burton one, it was crap. I saw it at the cinema and it was passable but on a second viewing, it was so tedious. I hate the ending too. Just wrong. So wrong.

14th: All About Steve – It’s got Bradley Cooper in it. Do I need to say more? It’s had some terrible reviews but I don’t think it’s that bad. I’ve certainly seen worse romantic comedies and it’s an interesting mild twist on the norm.

15th: Shrek Forever After, Toy Story 3 – Ahh a double bill of 2010’s big animation sequels. Shrek Forever After is ok but very forgettable and not a patch on the previous films. Toy Story 3 blows it out of the water. Fantastic film. Better than Toy Story 2 and equal to the first one if you ask me.

16th: The Aristocats, Revenge of the Pink Panther, Sidewalks of New York – Ooh three films in one day again! Must have been a lazy Sunday. The Aristocats was another childhood pleasure and this time round it lived up to the memories! Lovely film with some great songs. Revenge of the Pink Panther was silly and much more like how I remembered the Peter Sellers films, good old Cato too. Sidewalks of New York…..I can’t actually remember it fully, but I think it was a comedy drama about a group of New Yorkers all intertwined in some way. It was quite good.

18th: To Catch a Thief – Old classic of my Mum’s choosing. I didn’t really watch this one properly, most looking up every now and then while working.

19th: Henry’s Crime (cinema), Inglourious Basterds – Henry’s Crime was awful, just plain awful. So awful I can’t be bothered to write about it. Just don’t see it. Shame on you Keanu Reeves, shame on you James Caan and Vera Farmiga. Inglourious Basterds was great. Plotholes galore but immensely enjoyable and also really rather tense at times, especially the opening chapter. Great work Tarantino, a return to form indeed. Christoph Waltz is a particularly psychotic delight here.

25th: Up in the Air – Great film, sad too, but great turns by all involved. Lots has been said in the past about it and obviously you’ve seen it, right? Right??

26th: The Dilemma (cinema) – Not bad actually. Much more serious than the fluffy rom com trailer suggested. Interesting ‘dilemma’. I say dilemma, I’d just tell the best friend their wife was cheating on them, but that’s just me. Vince Vaughn plays himself as always but luckily that’s a likeable persona so it works. Not really one to bother with at the cinema but rental or on TV would work.

29th: Funny People – I’ve been meaning to see this for ages. It’s smart, it’s clever, it’s funny and it’s sad. I’m quickly becoming quite a fan of Adam Sandler while he keeps doing stuff like this. I do need to erase the memory of You Don’t Mess With the Zohan from my brain though.

31st: Whatever Works – The latest Woody Allen on DVD. I should write more about my feelings on Woody Allen’s work and maybe I will in the future. For now though, Whatever Works is quite enjoyable. Not as good as Allen’s early work but also not as crap as Cassandra’s Dream.