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Film: 2010’s Films By Month

This is the fourth of a series of posts looking back at my entertainment consumption over 2010. I’ve already posted about 2010′s gaming backlog, the games I played, what games I played each month, what games I finished and what films I watched, and still to come are posts about the DVD backlog, the TV I watched and the books I read. There won’t be a game of the year post because that’s an ongoing project with a long way to go.

I didn't watch Avatar in 2009 but searching Google for a generic movie calendar was proving difficult (click the image for a link to the source).

This is the same list as yesterday’s but everything here is listed in the order I viewed them (and split by month), to get a better look at when I watched films and where there were any highs or lows in activity. After each monthly list I’ll share some thoughts on the month’s viewing. As I did yesterday I’ll be putting 2010 releases in bold and films I watched for the first time in italics:

January (31 films)

  • Rambo: First Blood
  • Rambo: First Blood – Part II
  • Rambo III
  • Rambo
  • Planet of the Apes
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1961)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Escape From the Planet of the Apes
  • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
  • Tales of Despereaux
  • Battle For the Planet of the Apes
  • Brazil
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Citizen Kane
  • Waterloo
  • Team America: World Police
  • Sita Sings the Blues
  • Tron
  • Braveheart
  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence
  • Big Fish
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • Blade Runner
  • Ghost World
  • Enchanted
  • Garden State
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Spirited Away
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • House of Flying Daggers

That there were thirty-one films watched in January wasn’t a coincidence. From Christmas Day onwards I was working through gifted DVDs (which included the Rambo, Planet of the Apes and Orson Welles collections) and, upon realising that I was watching a film every day, decided to try and keep that up for the whole month. I liked doing it, though you can see a point from Braveheart onwards where I was clearly raiding the DVD shelf for things to watch as most of it progresses in roughly alphabetical order for the rest of the month (which is also when it switches from being mostly unseen films to ones I’d seen before).

Any month that included 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Citizen Kane and Spirited Away can’t help being a good month for film.

February (14 films)

  • Princess Mononoke
  • Laputa: Castle in the Sky
  • Nausicaa: Of the Valley of the Wind
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service
  • Porco Rosso
  • Apocalypto
  • Pom Poko
  • Up
  • Two Brothers
  • The Castle of Cagliostro
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • The Cat Returns
  • Last of the Mohicans
  • Whisper of the Heart

I watched less than half the number of films this month compared to January, averaging out at one every other day. I made a point of not watching anything on Febuary 1st to break the ‘film a day’ streak, and a lot of the films I did watch that month were from Studio Ghibli, which I watched with my nephew to help expose to some animation that wasn’t coming out of Pixar or Dreamworks.

The highlight was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a film often brought up in web discussions but one which I’d never seen. Ferris is a fun character, even if it’s easy to make a case for him being some sort of psychopath or sociopath.

March (18 films)

  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Tales From Earthsea
  • The Fly (1986)
  • Runaway Jury
  • Over the Hedge
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
  • Titan A.E.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • Alice in Wonderland (2010)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Malice in Wonderland
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Night at the Museum
  • Night at the Museum 2

March was another month dominated by viewing things with my nephew, chiefly the Harry Potter films, of which Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban remains my favourite (both film and book). Outside of that there were several good films watched through the month but nothing that particularly stands out. Night at the Museum 2 was disappointing even without me expecting that much from it and Malice in Wonderland was just weird.

April (16 films)

  • Treasure Planet
  • Spider-Man
  • Spider-Man 2
  • Spider-Man 3
  • Iron Man
  • X-Men
  • Solaris (2002)
  • X-Men 2
  • The Abyss
  • Solaris (1962)
  • Predator
  • Predator 2
  • X-Men 3: The Last Stand
  • The Evil Dead
  • Aeon Flux
  • Fantastic Four

April was the month I made an effort to expose my nephew to superheroes, running through the ones I have on DVD. It’s heavily dominated by Marvel as I don’t own any Superman films (I’ve only ever seen Superman Returns myself) or the original four Batmans (and I don’t think Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are really going to appeal to him yet).

I wrote about the newer Solaris yesterday but April was also when I watched the original. They’re both quite different films despite the similarities and I might actually like the newer one more (though the 1961 version had occasional moments of dodgy subtitles that likely affected the experience). The Abyss was probably my favourite new film of the month, with Ed Harris in particular having some great moments in it.

May (11 films)

  • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
  • Planet of the Apes (2001)
  • The Transporter 2
  • Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Let the Right One In
  • Labyrinth
  • The Breakfast Club
  • The Lion King
  • Crash (2004)
  • La Antena
  • 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days

The Planet of the Apes remake was quite a departure from the original, changing a lot of things unnecessarily and radically altering a lot of what was significant about the setting. While I do think it had the occasional worthwhile moment most of it is just forgettable. I didn’t think Crash was as good as it should have been considering it won the Academy Award for Best Picture. It was pretty heavy-handed with its racism theme and some of the resolutions to the storylines were a bit silly. La Antena was an odd one, not really doing as much with its premise  – a town where everybody has lost the ability to speak – as I would have expected.

Let the Right One was a good film, doing far more interesting things with vampires than certain other popular films and telling a great story about the two main characters. The Breakfast Club is the other big John Hughes film (along with Ferris Buller’s Day Off) that I’d never seen, and again it’s easy to see why people think of it so fondly as it’s a great film.

The Breakfast Club soundtrack? Oh, I can’t wait until I’m old enough to feel ways about stuff.

Philip J. Fry

June (14 films)

  • National Treasure: Book of Secrets
  • Prince of Persia
  • The Jungle Book
  • Robin Hood (1973)
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Michael Clayton
  • City of God
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
  • 101 Dalmations
  • The Darjeeling Limited
  • The Little Mermaid

Every film I watched for myself this month was something I’d not seen before, with everything else being something I was watching with somebody. I don’t recall why it was but my nephew became a little obsessed with krakens, so I sat down to watch the second Pirates of the Caribbean film with him to show him the one in that. Upon realising it was the second film he insisted we watched the first one, even after I pointed out that he’s already seen it and it doesn’t have a kraken. I like both films so I was happy to do that but then came the third film, which I’ve mentioned before that I do not like (and explained it in enough detail that I won’t go over it again). It doesn’t even do anything good with the kraken, removing it in a pointless fashion and in the process seemingly contradicting the motivations of a key villain from Dead Man’s Chest.

The biggest problem this time around was that upon seeing we were about to watch At World’s End my sister (who hadn’t seen it) decided to watch it with us, which left me wondering whether I should warn her that it’s not very good. I ultimately opted not to because I didn’t think it fair to colour somebody’s opinion like that, but it meant that she joined us in watching a medicore film that runs for far too long, and by the end she didn’t like or even follow most of it, while my nephew was mostly just bored. It was nice to get confirmation that it’s not just me who likes the the first two but has issues with the third though.

I’ve already covered how little I liked Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and don’t ever want to watch it again (especially after the effort it took to get the screengrab I used in the linked post). Little Miss Sunshine was a sweet film that I very much enjoyed and The Darjeeling Limited was also a good one, while City of God was excellent, and those three more than made up for the mediocrity of At World’s End and the awfulness of Revenge of the Fallen.

July (14 films)

  • Finding Nemo
  • Toy Story
  • Toy Story 2
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • The Magnificent Seven
  • Amélie
  • Shrek Forever After
  • Fight Club
  • Grave of the Fireflies
  • Dan in Real Life
  • Eastern Promises
  • The Host
  • The Eye (2002)
  • Goya’s Ghosts

Mid-July marked the start of the 30 Movies in 30 Days project and was when I started watching some films to help confirm my choices, specifically Amélie, Fight Club and Grave of the Fireflies. I already shared my thoughts on the month’s final three films here (which also covers quite a few from August), and I mentioned yesterday how much I liked Dan in Real Life. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was another excellent film. Locked-in Syndrome is popping up quite often these days (House MD had one episode filmed almost entirely from a sufferer’s point of view) for something that I’m guessing is quite uncommon. It’s a fascinating and horrible affliction, a person trapped inside their own body and almost wholly unable to communicate, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly really was a great film.

August (15 films)

  • Lady in the Water
  • 2046
  • Jackie Brown
  • Kingpin
  • Red Eye
  • Airplane
  • Deep Impact
  • Road to Perdition
  • Starchaser: The Legend of Orin
  • Candy
  • Vanilla Sky
  • Watchmen
  • Moon
  • Good Will Hunting
  • E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

In a rare bout of thoroughness I actually managed to post about every single one of these films, either in the second or third round-up posts or in topic posts for 30 movies in 30 Days (with Airplane featuring here and Starchaser: The Legend of Orin in this one). The highlight of the month was Moon, but as I already repeated myself yesterday I won’t say anything more about it here.

Lady in the Water still impresses me with just how daft it is.

September (3 films)

  • Lolita
  • 28 Days Later
  • 28 Weeks Later

Yes, I watched just three films in September. I was on holiday for the first week and September was when I started work and suddenly lost four days of every eight to pretty much anything but work and sleep. Where my gaming activity dropped by about a third because of work my film viewing all but bottomed out. Those days where I did watch films were those immediately after returning from holiday and before I jumped properly into work full-time, after which my attempts to cram all my entertainment into much less time saw films shunted aside. Those three films were all good though, and I shared my thoughts on them at the bottom of this round-up.
October (0 films)

I watched absolutely no films this month.

November (1 film)

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1

The only reason I actually managed to watch a film this month was because other people were going to see it and I went with them, otherwise this would have been another empty month. I thought the film wasn’t bad, but it’s all based around the less interesting half of the book and would probably work a lot better with the second half.

December (4 films)

  • Blame it on Fidel
  • Back to the Future
  • Back to the Future Part II
  • Back to the Future Part III

Blame it on Fidel managed to get me to watch it because it appeared on the BBC’s iPlayer service, where films only stay up for a week. I figured if I let it pass I’d never watch it and it sounded interesting enough that I didn’t want that to happen. I’m glad I made the effort because it was a good little film.

The Back to the Future trilogy was something I watched over Christmas with my nephew. I think it was the release of Telltale’s new BttF game that got me wanting to watch them again, and as he’d never seen them it helped encourage me to do it. They’re all great films, even if the second is noticeably weaker.

*****

Looking at it like this makes it clear that I need to make more effort to watch films around my job. Obviously I knew I wasn’t watching as many but it’s ridiculous that I only managed seven films in the last four months of the year. I’ve already taken steps so far in 2011 so hopefully it will make for a more consistent year. Films can be too good for me to just ignore like that.

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