December 29, 2010


2010 has been an interesting year for me with the movies. A lot of that is due to this blog I’ve been keeping since midway through. I’ve noticed a distinct change from my first write-ups that I started as just something for me, and my more recent writings that tend to go on a bit longer. I hope this means my writing has improved and that I am thinking and engaging with these films more and not just becoming a pompous windbag. Although if this means I get to wear a crushed velvet smoking jacket, then I shan't worry overly much.

I think I’ll break up this end of year review over the next few days, finishing up with my final pick of films for 2010. In fact, probably not until early in the new year will I reveal my picks - there are still films to see in 2010! For now, I'll start with a more general wrap up of the year. Don't forget to email your lists in too! Be it movies, music or... well, anything really.

The General Wrap-up

2010 got off to quite a slow start. It wasn’t until the end of February and Scorsese’s Shutter Island that I was really well and truly impressed by something at the cinema. And it wasn’t until the end of March (a full quarter of the yea!) that we got a film that has made it on to my 2010 Favourites. The “summer” blockbuster season was, quite frankly, utter shit. This may have been due to some sort of ripple effect of the Writer's Strike of 08, but to me it smacks more of an off year. I’m one of the few who enjoyed Iron Man 2 but even I’ll admit that it was underwhelming. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was absolute goat-balls and none of the other big studio releases really inspired - I just plain stayed away (no Expendables or Salt for me); until Inception and Toy Story 3 anyway.

It has been one of the strongest years for animation though – How to Train Your Dragon, Toy Story 3, The Illusionist, A Town Called Panic etc. These have been heartfelt, moving, hilarious and, well, a damned sight better than a lot of the live-action releases. Anyone who says animated movies are just for kids... well, we need to have words. Which makes it all the more baffling they couldn’t get enough nominees (short by one film! One!) to widen the Oscar field.

This year’s annual Film Festival was the biggest for me, in terms of films seen. In two and a half weeks I saw 47 films (only three shy of my initial target!) and successfully blogged about them (check 'em out on the right!). It was… exhausting. But exhilarating at the same time. 47 was a lot of films, with a fair share of duds and unwatchables but then there were also the blasts of cinematic awesomeness that make it all worth it.

I’ve been ushering/cashiering the Festival since 2002 and this was one of the smoothest Festivals I’ve been involved in. Yes, there was a missing row of seats at the Paramount (quickly replaced), and there was a ticketing balls-up that meant some of the earliest ticket buyers got some of the worst seats but these sorts of issues were handled. There was no fire alarm between two full houses. No film sliding off the platter mid-show. No flairs on the stairs.

No, the biggest problem at Film Festival 2010 was… the audiences. I don’t know if it was because I was an usher this year (and thus more exposed to the seething mass of idiots that make up the mass of consumers) or if it was the continuing spiral downwards but the audiences this year were some of the worst I’ve ever encountered. Which is not to say that the vast majority of people were puppy-murdering jackanapes, but at every single screening there were late-comers (as in, 20 minutes) and texters. The bane of my cinematic existence; texters. You would think (or I would hope) that the audience at a film festival would have less idiots on their cellphones. Not so much.

Outside of the Film Fest and in direct contrast to previous years, there was a paucity of superhero/comic-book films at the multiplexes. The aforementioned Iron Man 2 was the biggest tentpole release, with Kick Ass and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World being somewhat smaller in scale (and, sadly, box office). Don't take this for the beginning of a trend though.

My big thanks for the year are saved for the Embassy Theatre/Event Cinemas. Throughout the year the Embassy has had Friday night screenings of some beloved classics (mainly from the 80's). And after Event took over the cinema arm of Sky City Entertainment they treated us to Sunday matinee shows of bonafide classics. So, thanks to these guys I've seen not only Ghostbusters and The Goonies in a cinema but also Touch of Evil and Badlands. That is my definition of awesome and I hope they keep it up (and moreso) next year.

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