December 31, 2010


As with any year, there are certain films I've missed at the cinema. Whether it's because they were only out for two weeks, I never got around to seeing them or they just plain never came out, what follows is a run-down of some films I totally and utterly missed. And then there are some films I saw that were utter mindfucks. 


Being in New Zealand means we can miss out on a bunch of movies sadly. What with us being way down in the nether regions of the world the actual cost of freighting an actual, physical film print must be, well, pretty astronomical (as a side note, I wonder how the digital distribution of films will affect the release slate here?). So, distributors must surely have some sort of arcane formulae for calculating whether they'd make a profit or not, right? They couldn't just randomly decide what films would be release and what wouldn't, could they? 

Waking Sleeping Beauty
This is a film I've read a little bit about from a variety of American movie websites: it's a documentary on the Mouse House and the animators who used to work in the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney. It's a film I'm hoping to see next year: whether at the World Cinema Showcase or the Film Festival I would be gobsmacked if this doesn't play somewhere in NZ next year.

Valhalla Rising
By the beard of Odin! This is a film I've been looking forward to for at least a year. It's directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (the Pusher trilogy, Bronson), has Mads Mikklesen (Casino Royale) as a one-eyed viking warrior and, oh yeah, it's about frakking vikings! It even made Empire magazines end of year Top 20. I felt for sure this would've been at the Film Festival or at least as a limited release at the Paramount. No such luck. Perhaps it'll be at the 2011 World Cinema Showcase.

Le Donk and Scor-Zay-Zee
Yet another Festival favourite director not making the cut this year. This time it's Shane Meadows and his mate Paddy Considine with a musical mockumentary thing. I don't even know if this has a DVD release here.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
This is one that truly baffles me. Nicolas Cage going batshit. Festival favourite director Werner Herzog. Outstanding reviews (if not outstanding box office). In fact, the Film Festival wanted to show this. But the distributors, in their infinite wisdom, saw fit to send it straight to DVD. 
This annoys me.

This well reviewed French crime thriller starring Vincent Cassel was split into two parts. It actually played at the French Film Festival: but with only one showing and in the middle of the day during the week it was a bit hard to get to. Baffling programming.


And then these are the films that were release, that I wanted to see and then... didn't. Machete and Centurion were out all of two weeks before disappearing from cinema screens. The others here... well, I just didn't quite make it to the cinema. It happens. This list DOESN'T include films that came out in 2010 that there was no frakking way in seven hells I was going to see. Like Marmaduke.



The Ghost Writer


The Expendables

Fish Tank

Nowhere Boy




2010 seems to have been the biggest year for mindbending going on at the cinema. Even one of the biggest hits of the year had people scratching their heads and engaging in long conversations about what it all meant. And then there was Inception.

I'm still undecided about this film. You cannot deny it's powerful and that it provokes debate though. Is it misogynistic? Shocking for shocking's sake? An art-house horror? And what the fuck was with the talking fox? I certainly won't be watching it again, but there is a little part of me that is glad this film is out there. It's many things at once and I think von Trier disappeared up his own arse, but the fact that there is this... thing, this direct contrast to the mind-numbing blockbusters. Well, that is a good thing.

Enter the Void
And talking about disappearing up one's own arsehole... well, what can one say about this loose adaptation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead? What I can say is, without a shadow of a doubt, there was not another film like Gaspar Noe's Enter the Void this year. It's a marathon watch: epileptic fit-inducing credits, beautiful imagery, repugnant characters played by terrible actors, wandering non-plot...It really is endurance cinema as it meanders for over 2 and a half hours! But you cannot vault the bravery and vision on display. Again, it's not one I'll watch again and it certainly won't make my end of year list... but it's a film I'm glad is out there; that there is still room in this world for something so... unique.

Ahem. I saw this on the last day of Film Festival, exhausted and more than a little hungover. I'm sure I nodded off a couple of times. That may actually have worked for the film, with it worming it's way into my subconscious. There wasn't much plot to be had and the whole thing was incredibly oblique. But it had an obvious love for the old Italian genre/giallo films that soaked through the screen.

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