Last year seemed to be a banner year for me, as I saw thirteen films in the theatre. Usually it’s about half that number. Did it help? Well, let’s go see! (Note: I’m not counting 2005 stuff I saw on DVD, like Hitch or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.)
Are We There Yet? Okay kid’s comedy, not really aimed at me. Funny at times, but remarkable for its predictability.
Batman Begins A lot of people loved this one. I admired it, but it was too cold for me to really get involved. Like the last Christopher Nolan movie I saw (Memento), it seemed more like a technical exercise than a story. Still, it was fun in spots and had the right tone. Not as good as the cartoons, though.
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe Excellent. Really classic storytelling, where the film-makers aren’t ashamed to believe in the world they’ve crafted. Though long, it never feels that way. I’d love to see the next one.
Corpse Bride Do I need to say anything? My favorite movie of the year. Like last year’s Sky Captain, it seemed personally made just for me, and I responded as I rarely do at the movies. Yeah, I already have it on pre-order….
Fantastic Four A “shrug” movie. Didn’t do much for me, though I enjoyed it while I watched it. I wonder why the makers of live-action comic book films have such a compulsion to screw with the core elements (Doctor Doom, in this case). Animators, like those responsible for “Batman: The Animated Series,” are able to stick to the core elements and make terrific entertainment. Why can’t live-action movie-makers? I would suspect that the animators just want to tell the story, while the live-action guys feel that it’s not their project unless they can put their stamp on it (ie, screw it up).
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire All the Harry Potter movies are great, this one no exception. Like Narnia, not embarrassed to believe in the fantasy without a lot of self-satisfied in-jokes and poke-in-the-ribs film references. And an admirable job of compression. A lot of it was better than the book, though necessarily less rich with detail. (Thank God they didn’t have the damned elves.)
King Kong I kind of liked it, though it didn’t really fire my imagination. Better than a lot of summer fare, but too long. I really lost patience with it toward the end—I was tired of it and just wanted it to be over. It’s much harder to remake a classic film than it is to remake a failure—there are so many expectations brought to it, by both film-makers and audiences. Still, a good film, I guess.
Land of the Dead Another “shrug” movie, though very watchable. Probably the summer film I liked the most. Considering the competition, that’s not high praise.
Madagascar A kid’s comedy, again not really aimed at me. I found many parts of it funny, but the energy level was set at “feverous” and it started to become exhausting.
Serenity Yet another “shrug” movie, though better than the others. I liked it, I thought it was smart and fun, and it didn’t seem to hurt that I hadn’t seen the TV show it was spun off of. I did sort of feel like I was overhearing a private conversation, though. Dumbest title of the year.
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith Good grief, Charlie Brown, another “shrug” movie. This whole second trilogy really went downhill after Phantom Menace (there’s a slide). It began to seem like a series of Jeopardy questions (“He started out as a young slave child, and—“ DING “Who is Darth Vader?”) or, as I mentioned in my review at the time, the first fan-fic movie ever made by professionals.
Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Lots and lots of fun, clever, thoughtful, admirable, hilarious, appealing on many levels…probably my second favorite film of the year.
War of the Worlds I bought this on DVD when it came out, thinking it couldn’t have been as bad as I remembered, and I was right. It’s worse. I honestly don’t think Steven Spielberg has any idea of what makes a story work—to him, I would suspect, everything is The Shot. Either that, or he was bored out of his mind making this movie. Easily the worst 2005 movie I saw.
What’s coming up for 2006?
Films I’ll see: M. Night Shyalaman’s Lady in the Water, David Lynch’s Inland Empire. I’m a big fan of these guy’s work. Even at their worst, there’s an intelligence and a vision to their films that I rarely see elsewhere. Christopher Guest’s For Your Consideration. Sure, his films are all the same thing, but they make be laugh like a fool.
Love That Title: Snakes on a Plane. I heard Samuel L. Jackson signed on just because of the title.
Damn: John Carter of Mars. In the hands of Robert Rodriguez or Kerry Conran, I’d be there in a heartbeat. Jon Favreau? Wait for the DVD, if then. The books are a lot of fun, and this should be too, but I dunno. I’d want to be sure before I stood in line.
Mmmmmaybe. The third X-Men movie (yawn), another Superman movie (not really interested), Aqua Teen Hunger Force: The Movie (love the ATHF, but a whole movie of that?), the new Pirates of the Carribean movie (kind of liked the first one), Pixar’s Cars (they usually make good stuff, but the appeal varies). Everything else is either remakes, sequels or TV shows. Sometimes all at once.
I may save some money this year, looks like.