Saturday, 20 December 2008

Two years at the pictures

Over the last two years I saw these films in the cinema:

Notes on a Scandal — Becoming Jane — Curse of the Golden Flower — Children of Men — Atonement — Michael Clayton — When Did You Last See Your Father — Elizabeth: The Golden Years — Les Témoins — Into the Wild — The Magic Flute — Earth — I Am a Legend — The Golden Compass — Bee Movie — The Valley of Elah — No Country for Old Men — Le Scaphandre et le Papillon — There Will Be Blood — 10,000 BC — The Other Boleyn Girl — My Brother is an Only Child — Wall-E — After the Rains — Man on Wire — The Duchess — Il y a Longtemps Que Je t'Aime — Dean Spanley

I have completely forgotten several of these and it is too early to say yet whether any of the others made sufficient impression be added to a list of all-time memorables. I do remember clearly several of the hundred or so films which I saw on the small screen in the last couple of years, including these two:

Vatel (Roland Joffé, 2000), for its extraordinary lavishness (it lost money); you can get an idea of just how lavish from the trailer (ignore the childish commentary). Gérard Depardieu as the seventeenth-century cook is not at his best in English, but the spectacular goings-on are hugely enjoyable.

El Aura (Fabián Bielinsky, 2005). I think we would all agree that playing the part of an epileptic taxidermist calls for great subtlety and restraint; Ricardo Darín handles it superbly by remaining almost expressionless for most of the time, though he does frown quite a lot and at one point almost smiles. One critic described the film as being "overly freighted with symbolism and meaning". That's as may be, though I have to say I didn't notice it, but this is an exceptional heist movie in that you have no idea of what is going to happen, but you want to find out. This trailer gives you the flavour.


Froog said...

Ah, more film recommendations - excellent! I do feel rather cut off cinema news out here. We can get all the latest releases easily enough on DVD, but I miss the reviews, the media discussion, the word-of-mouth recommendations from friends.

I have seen worryingly few of the films you mention from the last two years (although quite a few figure in my latest batch of purchases, and I hope to watch them over Christmas). Of those that I have seen already, There Will Be Blood is certainly the most resonant.

Tony said...

You haven't missed much. I don't know that I'd wholeheartedly recommend any of the films I list except perhaps Man on Wire and Le Scaphandre et le Papillon.

Anonymous said...

One film from the above list that I haven't seen, and would like to, is Dean Spanley. What did you think of that?

Tony said...

I wish you hadn't asked me that, because I don't quite know what I think about it, other than that I found it enjoyable but irritating.
This is not at all helpful, so you might like to read this perceptive review.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. It also mentions Helen Mirren in Inkheart. Have you seen that? Mirren is fairly great. I think Inkheart is a kid's novel / movie? But I don't mind good quality kid's literature or movies.