- Number Seventeen (1932), Alfred Hitchcock – Fantastic early Hitchcock mystery yarn with gothic overtones. Exhibits much of the maestro’s professed adoration of early German directors such as Murnau.
- The Other Guys (2010), Adam McKay – Pretty standard Will Ferrell fare. You either love or loathe his work and I belong to the former camp. Marky Mark is superb.
- Pumping Iron (1976), George Butler – Really well made bodybuilding doco featuring a relatively young Arnie. Notable for him saying how working out is like “caahmming” for him, and also the fact he’s a bit of an ass.
- Black Books Season 2 (2002) – Possibly even funnier than season 1.
- My Mother India (2001), Safina Uberoi – Simply shot but interesting Aussie doco which brings an alternate view of life in the diaspora. Aussie mother living in India is profiled by her Indian daughter living in Australia.
- Kick Ass (2010), Matthew Vaughan – Everything Scott Pilgrim coulda, shoulda, woulda been. Emotionally punchy, violent, utterly hilarious. Doesn’t take itself too seriously and features some rockin action sequences to boot. My favourite 2010 release thus far.
- Justice League – The New Frontier (2008), Dave Bullock – Cold War set animated feature clearly influenced by Alan Moore’s “The Watchmen”. Builds interesting, wonderfully ambiguous characters that overcome the OTT American patriotism, & the league’s triumph disappointingly being totally down to one character.
- Edge of Heaven (2007), Fatih Akin – I bagged Akin’s tepid In July last month but this film knocked me out. A gloriously shot chronicle of the gaps between generations, ideologies, families, ethnicities, borders, languages & classes. Powerful and crushing.
- Shakespeare in Love (1998), John Madden – I hated this when forced to watch it years ago. It’s actually piss-funny and even the slightest Shakespearean knowledge lets you in on a bevy of in jokes. Elevates in the second half into something quite special. A ‘romantic comedy’ actually worth seeing.
Not Worth Watching:
- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009), Niels Arden Oplev – Picturesque but overrated thriller featuring unnecessary depictions of violence & sexual assault against women. Two average lead performances anchor what is a pretty reprehensible film. Avoid.
- Bagdad Cafe (1987), Percy Adlon – Starts off very interesting. But the introduction of the usually intriguing Jack Palance in a posturing and annoying performance and a supremely unlikeable main character makes this easy to pass on. Equal parts boredom & overt sentimentality.
- Two Minute Warning (1976), Larry Peerce – A fantastic premise for an action flick – a sniper loose in a packed footy stadium. Most of it is executed well, especially the cool first person view shots from the killers perspective. But the ending is so horrible & incomprehensible that this definitely can’t be recommended.
- Henry V (1989), Kenneth Branagh – Branagh is an excellent director, but this film is riddled with miscasting – the director in the title role most of all, he makes an effeminate king. What’s with the Obi Wan Kenobi cloak? And most puzzling of all, why no explanation of the king’s lack of lips? Olivier told this tale on film much better.
- Absolute Power (1997), Clint Eastwood – This thriller is a pretty abysmal film. Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, David Palmer, David Palmer’s wife and Richard Jenkins all feature. They shouldn’t have bothered.
If you only have time to watch one Kick Ass
Avoid at all costs The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo