Monday, January 26, 2009

Today on twitter

  • 23:22 Lost is back, baby! And it's seemingly getting exponentially more complicated... #

Sunday, January 04, 2009

2008 in film

As usual, I saw a lot of films in 2008, so here are some comments on those that I can remember. First my top 3 of the year:

1: There Will Be Blood
2: The Dark Knight
3: Burn After Reading

As I have said before, TWBB stands head-and-shoulders above almost every other film that I've seen, so it was a clear winner. Batman was a near-masterpiece only let down by being a little long, and Burn After Reading got mixed reviews but was easily the best comedy of the year. Other contenders for my top 3 included Speed Racer and Cloverfield, both excellent genre movies.

Here are the films that I can remember seeing. I'm sure that I've missed a few.

There Will Be Blood: One of the best films that I have ever seen. Enough said.
Cloverfield: A true one-off: wonderful concept, wonderfully-executed. The inevitable sequels and copies will be pale shadows of the original.
Sweeney Todd: I love Burton, but this was a minor disappointment. Sacha Baren-Cohen was magnificent, though.
I Am Legend: Good, but nowhere near great.
Son Of Rambow: Really excellent and heartwarming. This is from the same man who directed the remake of Hitchhiker's Guide, which I absolutely loved (seriously, its one of the better films that I have ever seen) when everybody else said meh.
The Spiderwick Chronicles: A classic example of a good genre film. This was made for children, made well, and didn't suffer for it at all. If it wasn't for Speed Racer this would be the kid's film of the year.
Vantage Point: Terrible, terrible stuff. The worst film that I saw during 2008 (excluding some of the dross that Niall subjected me to on Sky Movies). Horrible premise, poorly-executed, and a terrible waste of some really good actors. This film stank.
10,000 BC: And so did this. The only way to sum it up is "fucking stupid".
Iron Man: Really good. Spot-on casting and so well-done that things are looking up for the Marvel films, which I was beginning to get bored of. If it wasn't for Batman this would possibly be the best comic-book adaptation.
Speed Racer: A massive surprise. The Wachowskis seemed to have fluked it with the first Matrix, because the second and third Matrix films (along with V for Vendetta) were no good. Speed racer was as different to those films as it is possible to get, with the Venn diagrams of their colour palettes not even touching. Imagine a cross between Mario Kart, Manga, and family comedy, and you end up with a film that makes you feel that you have just eaten a bag of sugar and are coasting the high. It has a chimp sidekick, for goodness sake. John Goodman = genious.
Prince Caspian: Much better than the first Narnia film, but still worse than most other films.
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull: A disappointment, sure, but not the systematic and brutal dismemberment of our entire childhood that some are trying to make it out as. It was silly, Harrison Ford is too old, and Transformers guy does not have any charisma. Any chance of a decent film was killed by the baffling direction that Spielberg and Lucas took the final third of the film in. Aliens! Crystal Aliens! !!
The Happening: One of the worst films ever, and almost one of the best films ever for that precise reason. I love the first 3 films by Shyamalan, but this one was basically an ineptly-made TV movie. The acting is frankly bizarre, and it is actually a relief when a sidekick dies early on. Any more of him would have led me to spontaneously kill myself as well. Joe commented that the film could only have been better if Nicholas Cage was in it, which sums it up perfectly.
Wall-E: Excellent, but I woiuld put it at the top of the second-tier of Pixar films, behind The Incredibles and the 2 Toy Story films.
Hancock: A film of 2 halves, one clever, funny and intruiging; the other a boring cop-out laden with special effects and fights. An opportunity missed.
Hellboy 2: Story-wise I preferred the first, but visually this was one of the better films of the year.
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth 3D: Hmmm.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall: Actually pretty good, with Russel Brand stealing it by playing himself.
The Dark Knight: The best comic-book film that I have seen. Brooding, dark, stunningly-shot, and brilliantly-directed. There was so much hype about Heath Ledger's performance, but I thought that he was better than I had expected. An incredible way to go out. The film was perhaps 20 minutes too long, and cutting this would have taken it from genre great to filmic masterpiece.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor: Hmmm.
Tropic Thunder: Another film that was funnier than expected. Stiller is reliable, and Downey Jr was magnificent.
Burn After Reading: Brilliant. Hugely funny with an awesome cast. Everyone was great, with Malkovich the stand-out. I just don't get the flack that this film took. Sure, it was a bit smug, and it wasn't as deep as many Coen Brothers films, but boy was it a fun ride.
Changeling: Clint Eastwood knows how to take you from A to B in a story and did it here in a very understated way for what is a sensational real-life story. Another director might have turned this into a completely different film, which I'm not sure would be a good or bad thing. Jolie is not quite as good as the critics would have.
Quantum Of Solace: This also surprised me. I go slightly against the grain and say that it is better than the excellent Casino Royale. This was a nice, high-paced thriller and I think that Craig is clearly headed towards being the best version of Bond on screen.

2008 to 2009

Hello. That twitter thing didn't really work. For some reason it only puts posts up here intermittently. Shame.

Hopefully everyone has had a good holiday period. I've had almost 3 weeks off (my longest holiday in years) and had a nice quiet Christmas and a relatively busy New Year. Christmas with the family was about good food, pretty views, and near-murder during competitive board games. For Hogmanay, a small posse traveled down to Fife for a pleasant evening of poker, drink, and merriment. Some pictures from the Highlands here and Fife here.

So, 2008. An interesting year that seemed to fly by. Very busy at work, less so at home. I continued to have the luck of travel around the world with work, and adding in personal holidays 2008 saw me visit London (twice), Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stavanger (thrice), Louisiana, the Lake District, Istanbul, the US west coast, the Scottish West Coast, Saudi Arabia, and the Netherlands. As per usual with my work, various plans did not come to fruition, so in 2009 I can expect to be in some, all, or none of Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Venezuela, Argentina, Malaysia, London, Egypt, and Norway. I'm supposed to be off to Kazakhstan in a little over a week's time, but to be honest I don't see that one happening.

So, 2009. The year between the classic 2008 and the hotly-anticipated 2010. What will it bring? Hopefully some more photos from me; this year I need to try and take my "instinct-based" style (which relies a little too much on the camera doing things for me) to something a little more technically-sound. I need to hope that my Dad's back gets better so that we can do the long-planned refit of my bathroom. Other than that, I'll just wait and see what heppens. Probably nothing.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Today on twitter

  • 10:58 Happy new year etc. #