The Shop Around The Corner
The more I embark down the road of my cinema addiction, the more I realise that I have, for too long, been just confining myself to the latest Hollywood blockbusters. Moving to an area with one (now two) good quality arthouse cinemas to complement the multiplexes has helped me no end, and also setting myself the goal of seeing large numbers of films has encouraged me to expand my horizons. For me, the distinction is not that I’m watching the kind of movies I’ve never watched before, but until now I may not have chosen to watch them in a cinema.
I’ve also been guilty until recently of another kind of shameful snobbery – while my broad tastes now take in everything from the broadly experimental to the mainstream, I had held off on catching classic movies at the cinema, for fear that in watching those I would lose the time to watch modern day fare where it should be watched. I had also assembled quite a series of the classics, which sit in my DVD collection and are just waiting for me to find the time. But my ethos is, of course, that any and every film is improved by watching in the cinema, so why would I ignore the golden oldies? (The answer is, of course, because I’m an idiot.)
Is is the end of another year already? I swore, after my attempts to watch 100 movies in the cinema in a calendar year two years ago, that I would never again scale such ridiculous heights of cinema addiction. 119 movies and counting this year, and every time I set foot in the cinema, that pointless personal milestone is edged ever further upwards, until the fateful day four weeks from now when the counter will reset to one again. I’m averaging about ten a month at the moment, so I’m guessing I’ll end up somewhere around the 130 mark – but what delights await me, and indeed all of us, in this final month of the year?
Well, first off is Monsters, which allows me to remind you of my self-imposed condition that any movie I’ve already seen doesn’t make this list. Well, I’ve already seen Monsters, I loved it (you can find it in my Best of 2010 list, link at the top of the page), and I hope you will too, but it has slightly Marmite tendencies. Well I love Marmite, and I loved Monsters.
Anyway, it’s out, and also not making the cut are a number of other big names: Jolie and Depp in The Tourist, which tonally lurches about through the trailer like someone trying to riverdance on a mountain bike; the third in both the Narnia and Fockers series, and given that I’ve had no interest in the first two of either, am not inclined to the third movements (and neither trailer had anything to convince me otherwise); the Christina Aguilera campfest Burlesque, where Xtina’s normal singing style, when she sounds as if she’s gargling meerkats, appears to be her one and only burlesque talent; and Love and Other Drugs, which has the positive of top Hollywood stars forgetting where they left their clothes but also Oliver Platt doing a bizarre Jack Black imitation. (Speaking of Jack Black, well, let’s not. Let’s just not. Please, let’s never speak of him, or the Swiftian grave-spinner that is Gulliver’s Travels, again.)
Most tragic of all is the omission of Of Gods And Men, the highly rated French movie, which isn’t included because there wasn’t a decent trailer on YouTube and I couldn’t get the other one I found to embed properly. Along such fickle lines the dance of fate takes place. Anyway, here are the six I was most taken by this month.
I’m a sucker for a good Christmas movie. Frankly, who isn’t? I’m a bit of a walking Christmas dichotomy, though; on the one hand I’ll lap up traditional Christmas fare like It’s A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street, but on the other I need some Bad Santa in my life as well, and everyone of course knows that the best Christmas movie ever is Die Hard. (I’m not even joking.) Please be aware that, although this is a PG site, there is a rather naughty word at the end of the trailer. Hopefully it’s worth it.
I can remember an office trip to see Lost In Translation many years ago. Two of us were completely in love with the movie at the end, the other was totally disaffected. Such is the way of Sofia Coppola, and while her work can sometimes be incredible, this trailer seems to be a supreme attempt not to give anything away about the movie, other than it’s got Stephen Dorff in it, and Dakota Fanning’s sister looking so much like Chloe Moretz you wonder if there’s some odd Hollywood actress laboratory churning these girls out from their magnificent cloning machine. Still, it has an actual mumblecore soundtrack, and it couldn’t feel more classically “indie” if it tried.
The Shop Around The Corner
One of the highlights of my movie year was my trip to the BFI and Empire Movie-Con this summer, about which I blogged extensively. As I happen to be down in London for something else, I’ll be taking the opportunity to catch this while there, as I attempt to improve on my desperately poor knowledge of classic movies. Jimmy Stewart is also one of the finest actors of all time, so to pass up the opportunity to see him on the big screen would be a crime. Even the trailer is great – they absolutely don’t make ’em like this anymore, and that’s a shame. It’s so great to get away from our over-processed, fast food lives and luxuriate in something like this.
Here’s where the self interest ramps up a notch. It really wouldn’t take much convincing to get me to any movie with the legend that is REG (or Richard E. Grant as he is known otherwise) to it, and throw in Tamsin Greig, so great earlier this year in Tamara Drewe, and I’m there. As it turns out, when I am there, so will be the writer / director, Richard Bracewell, for one of my local cinemas, the Abbeygate Picturehouse in Bury St. Edmunds, is having a Q & A with Richard. Which I will be hosting. I will be astonished if that last sentence hasn’t prompted you to whip out the credit card and head to the booking site right now. Go on – we’ll wait for you.
There now follows a brief intermission to allow people to buy tickets.
Right. Done? Excellent. See you there.
Another of my highlights of the year was my IMAX double bill of Toy Story 3 and Inception. The IMAX couldn’t be further removed from somewhere like the Abbeygate, with its comfy sofas on the back row in the cosy upstairs screen, but I love these different aspects of the cinema experience, and TRON is about as big as it gets. This will be my fourth visit to the IMAX this year, and if you’ve never been then there may never be a better time – TRON is what the IMAX experience is made for. Apparently, the beginning of the movie is in 2D, but they’ve brightened it up so you can carry on wearing the silly glasses before it gets to the fun stuff.
And we finish the year on the most intriguing movie of the selection. Part of the value of this is going in not knowing the outcome, so it’s a shame that I inadvertently read an article in the Guardian magazine the other weekend which has blown the whole thing. So whatever you do, don’t go and Google that article – stay as fresh as possible, for from what I know, it should be well worth it.