I’ve been unbelievably slack this year on the writing, no excuses though, that’s just the way things have worked out. There have definitely been some good releases in the past calendar year but I can’t really say there’ve been that many great ones. Definitely the top half of this list could be considered great, the rest are just good, in fact there were many good films that didn’t quite make the list so I will give them an honorable mention afterwards. Also, it doesn’t help that some of the best films to come out this year were anniversary re-releases such as Taxi Driver, Akira and Peeping Tom, these are disqualified from entry.
Cinema trend wise, people are still going bananas over comic book adaptations, franchises and 3D, crap rom-coms and generic “grindhouse” style movies but it has been good to see a rise in the quality of most multiplex fodder, several of these big-ish releases actually made my list, so you know I don’t just champion indie releases, though while we’re on the subject, now is the time to do your bit to support UK based indie distributors, many of which will face very tough times in all important Q4 as stock destroyed in the Sony DADC fire has to be re-made. As small labels they will be low down in the pecking order for remanufacture as the big sellers are catered to first. Ironically this is unneccessary as all major distributors will be covered for loss of earnings in such circumstances whilst small indies can’t afford high insurance premiums that cover acts of wanton, human destruction. So do your bit, buy the DVD if you can find it, pre-order the future release on Amazon so shops will see a demand and order more, or pay for download here. Anyway, I’m rambling, here’s my list.
1. Senna – I’m not in to Formula 1, don’t need to be, what an amazing guy, though they deffo sugar coated him a little and ignored his sexual relationship with a 15 year old, but such charisma and more screen presence than any professional actor in cinemas right now. The man that did Far North really outdid himself here.
2. Confessions – Unnerving and deeply disturbing, in a good way, not strictly a horror but scarier than most proper horrors.
3. Black Swan – Yeah it’s a bit wanky but it has atmosphere in spades.
4. Catfish – Though clearly contrived in some parts it remains an excellent piece of film making which genuinely stirs the emotions.
5. The Social Network – I wanted to hate this film, the trailer looked shite, stupid curly top, Michael Cera looking mofo acting all cocky but when I reluctantly went to see it I was amazed, such an intriguing story and you’re not necessarily meant to like the characters anyway.
6. Sparrow – Don’t sleep on this charming, stylish caper. Like a French nouvelle vague-esque, cinematic love letter to Hong Kong and the triple disc DVD is just beautiful, so buy it. (Shameless plug as I worked on this release but I’m not going to release something that I think blows).
7. Winter’s Bone – Them Missourri folk sure do like to stick to their own. Ice is one hell of a drug.
8. Limitless – Just a good old fashioned slice of action and entertainment.
9. Source Code – Like a video game as when you die you get another life and try again using the mistakes of your last play. Not as good as Moon.
10. Norwegian Wood – Stunning to look at though slightly differing from the novel, particularly regarding the significance of the song Norwegian Wood and if you haven’t read the book you may struggle to understand some of it but all in all, a thing of beauty.
Other gooduns that didn’t quite make the list for various reasons are; Somewhere, I Saw the Devil, 13 Assassins, Animal Kingdom, True Grit and Buried. I’m sure I have missed many films this year that may have made the list had I gotten round to seeing them at time of writing, I really want to see Cold Weather, Blue Valentine, Submarine, Meek’s Cutoff and Poetry, if you seen any of those, please tell me what you thought.
Keep an eye out later this year for Red Light Revolution. It i s a seriously funny comedy about the sex shop industry, set in Beijing. I really think this film deserves a wide audience though sadly, most cinema chains are reluctant to touch a Chinese comedy that is about the sex trade but doesn’t feature any sex. But it has been a festival circuit favourite and had me laughing all the way through it so please, keep an eye out for it.