This was a year of political films. A year when directors couldn't help themselves from playing with time lines, and they often couldn't be bothered with the traditional cinematic conventions to signal flashbacks. It was also a year of superfluous final scenes.
In summary, this year's...
Best Film: Cell 211
French Farce: The Concert
Classic Film: Once Upon a Time in the West
Special Mention: A Prophet - educating us on how prison educates
- Predicament - the beginners guide to blackmail.
- The Concert - have conect booking, need orchestra.
- A Somewhat Gentle Man - adjusting to the madness of life on the outside
- Cyrus - the perils of dating a solo mum
- Four Lions - don't shoot the Wookie
All good, but The Concert just beats Four Lions, but I wouldn't like to pick a third place getter from the other three.
- Predicament - blackmail is such a dirty word.
- Animal Kingdom - you can trust granny, can't you?
- Cell 211 - let me tell you about my first day on the job.
- Farewell - how the French won the Cold War.
- The Ghost Writer - ghost writers are kittens, don't know.
- How I Ended the Summer - two men, one mistake, one short fuse.
- The Killer Inside Me - stylish, but flawed.
My pick is Cell 211 - tense from beginning to end.
Best Mystery Film
- Once Upon a Time in the West - why are they killing each other?
- Kawasaki's Rose - is Pavel Josek a hero or a traitor?
- The Ghost Writer - who is pulling whose the strings?
- The Double Hour - noises off.
- Triangle - why didn't they go straight to the bridge?
The best told, yet simplest mystery was The Double Hour.
Triangle was the most mind bending,
while The Ghost Writer was the 3rd most entertaining mystery.
Best Political Film
There were plenty of films with a political theme or drama based on political conflict this year.
- Kawasaki's Rose - who chooses the heros and the traitors?
- Four Lions - more dangerous to themselves than the public?
- Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story - is everything political in Egypt?
- The Time that Remains - are Palestinian Israelis frozen in time?
- The Ghost Writer - who pulled the strings?
- Agora - Christianity behaving badly.
- Lebanon - mummy I want to come home!
- Ajami - collision courses in Israel.
- White Material - can you be a white African?
- Russian Lessons - pawns in The Great Game.
Four Lions was the most irreverant, Russian Lessons was the most thought provoking, Kawasaki's Rose and Agora also made me think, while White Material, Ajami and Scherezade did a good job of presenting consequences of political conflicts.
- The Loved Ones - does for outback folk what Hitchcock did for shower curtains.
- Dream Home - an apartment to die for.
- The Human Centipede - mad doctor has it all sewn up.
- Wound - the angry by-product of being bored by the utterly predictable banality of our mainstream movies.
- Triangle - didn't I kill you five minutes ago?
- Splice - Picaso meets genetic engineering.
My pick is Triangle. Usually people take a cruise to escape, but these people want to escape from the cruise. Stylish Splice was my next pick, with The Loved Ones as the best of the splatter movies.
New Zealand Films
In order from best to worst:
- Predicament - what did you do in the school holidays?
- The Hopes & Dreams of Gazza Snell - come crashing down.
- Wound - love it or hate it.
The acting in the Kiwi films was often better than the films. In particlar Kate O’Rourke and William McInnes were outstanding and Jemaine Clement was delightfully spooky.
- Wound - too surreal for my poor brain
- The Myth of the American Sleepover - I'm not the target audience
This was a year where directors used non-traditional techniques jumping around in time.
- White Material - is it yesterday or tomorrow?
- Ajami - isn't he dead?
- Dream Home - 3 timelines, with subtle hints
- Triangle - its is meant to be tricky to understand
- Wound - surreal, 'nuff said
Superfluous Final Scenes
- The Housemaid - what's with that final birthday scene dubbed into English?
- The Loved Ones - should have stopped in reverse.
In addition Splice ran out of inspiration near end. The Time that Remains had superfluous scenes in 2nd half even though the final scene was great. While the final scene of The Killer Inside Me was full of problems.
- Kate O’Rourke acts her heart out in Wound
- Luis Tosar was mesmerising as Malamadre in Cell 211
- Everyone knows a Gazza like William McInnes
- Casey Affleck was The Killer Inside Me
Previously I have noted the unrealistic or unjustified use of a sexy actress. I didn't notice any blatant eye candy this year. Even Kim Cattrall and Rachel Weisz were looking restrained and aren't all female violin soloists beautiful?
But I have it on good authority that there were two pretty boys in The Hopes & Dreams of Gazza Snell.
Western: Once Upon a Time in the West - the best of the West?
Animation: In the Attic - junk having fun
Documentary: Russian Lessons - eye openning
Science Fiction: Splice - shock and humour
Surreal: Wound - amazing acting, pity about the film
Silent: Marvellous Corricks - weird and wonderful pre-1910 silent films