My Movies of 2010

Here’s the list of movies I saw in 2010…  I saw 147 movies this year, exactly as many as the year before.  As I have done the past few years, my “Best of 2010” list will probably come closer to the Academy Awards, so I have the opportunity to see some of the well-regarded films of the year that I missed.

As I mentioned last year, in 2010 I gathered more data about the movies I see.  I also decided to no longer split up the list between “Theater” and “Home”, as the distinction doesn’t mean much to me anymore.  I did, however, gather statistics about how I watched a film, which you can view after the split:

Continue reading “My Movies of 2010”

2009 Films in Review

Better late than never, right?
 

The Movies I Saw in 2009

Here’s the list of movies I saw in 2009…  I saw 147 movies this year, which is just about where I was the year before.  I think the number of films I can see in a year given all of my other interests and responsibilities is right in the neighborhood of 150.  I haven’t really sat down and thought about my "best of" list yet, as I usually take January to try and catch up on acclaimed movies I missed, but my gut tells me it was a pretty good year for movies.   

I think in 2010 I’m going to keep more data about the movies I view, but I also think I may eliminate my distinction between "Theatre" and "Video" in the list I actually publish next year.  We’ll see.

The list is mostly in the order I viewed them, and I tried to italicize any films I had already seen.

IFF Boston 2009

While I missed the opening night festivities on Wednesday evening, choosing to go to the Sox game instead, last night the Independent Film Festival of Boston 2009 began for me.  Last year’s festival I set the goal of writing reviews of all 15 films I saw in the fest, but crapped out after 6 reviews.   This year, I’m trying to set a much more modest goal for myself:  Write a 140 character review on Twitter for each of the films I see this year.  I’ve already posted my first two mini-reviews last night over there, and will hopefully do better than I did last year with the bar set so low.

My current plan is to revisit some of my favorite films after the end of the festival with more in-depth discussions, but we’ll see how that plan turns out.

Also, if you’re interested in joining me for some of the films I’m seeing, here’s an iCal feed of the movies I’m planning on seeing.  There are descriptions, links, times, and locations in there.

2008 Films in Review

Another great year for film..  Trying to pick my favorites this year might have even been harder than in 2007.  

To reinforce my tradition of not placing importance of one film over another in each category, I decided to alphabetize the lists this year.  

The Movies I Saw in 2008

Here’s the list of the movies I saw in 2008…  I was a little lazier about keeping this list up to date this year, so it’s possible I missed one or two movies.   I saw 150 movies this year, which is a handful less than last year, but still fairly ridiculous.  This year was very polarized, with some completely amazing movies and some complete stinkers.  I’m going to wait a few weeks (until before the Oscar ceremony) to compile my "Best Of 2008" list, which should hopefully give me some time to catch up on some of the ones I missed this year.

Also, I am coming to the point, with my HDTV and surround sound system, that the distinction between "Theatre" and "Video" viewing is becoming rather academic.  I do still prefer to watch movies in the "art house" theaters in Boston, because the audiences are usually quite respectful.  But the downsides of going to one of the multiplexes easily match (and probably surpass) any downsides of watching a movie in your living room.  So it’s possible in the future I may not keep track of the distinction, but I haven’t decided yet.

The list is mostly in the order I viewed them, and I tried to italicize any films I had already seen.

    Continue reading “The Movies I Saw in 2008”

Baaa.

  1. What movie have you seen the most time in the theater? How many times?
    Semi-embarassingly, I believe the answer to this question is
    Jurassic Park.
    I saw it many, many times in the theater with back
    when it was current
  2. What was the last movie you walked out of in the theater?
    I almost never walk out. The last one I can remember was
    Brainscan. And I didn’t
    walk out until the last 5 minutes. I really tried.
  3. What is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
    I have a vague memory of seeing
    The Empire Strikes Back
  4. What is your favorite movie soundtrack?
    Repo Man
  5. Have you ever dressed up as a movie character for Halloween? If so, who?
    Yes.
  6. What was the first R-rated movie you ever saw? Were you allowed or
    did you sneak?

    I honestly don’t remember… I probably snuck in, though…
  7. Star Wars (orig. trilogy) or Lord of the Rings?
    Star Wars. No contest.
  8. Pacino or DeNiro?
    They are both caricatures of themselves at this point. Historically,
    though, I’d have to lean towards DeNiro. Although it’s more fun pretending
    to be Pacino. Especially from
    Glengarry Glen Ross.
  9. Titanic…did it suck or was it great?
    Pretty but awful.
  10. What’s your take on Cassavetes?
    Ignorance, unfortunately.
  11. Favorite John Hughes character?
    Ferris.
  12. What movie gives you a boner (or makes you tingle)?
    Crash (the real
    one).
  13. What movie always makes you cry like the big puss you are?
    E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
  14. What’s the furthest you’ve ever gotten in a movie theater? (i.e, second base…)
    No comment.
  15. Speaking of sports metaphors, what’s your favorite sports movie?
    Major League
  16. Favorite
    1. …teen movie?
      Real Genius
    2. …Quentin Tarantino movie?
      Reservoir Dogs
    3. …Bill Murray movie?
      Ghostbusters
    4. …romantic comedy?
      Amelie
    5. …gangster movie?
      My Blue Heaven
    6. …horror movie?
      A Nightmare on Elm Street
    7. …made for TV movie?
      Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of
      Bliss
    8. …director?
      David Fincher
    9. …drug movie?
      Fear and Loathing in Las
      Vegas
      or
      A Scanner Darkly
  17. What movie have you seen already but will never, ever, ever watch again?
    I’m fairly certain I will never watch
    Gerry
    again.
  18. What movie are you embarrassed to really like?
    The Wrong Guys
  19. What movie should be remade asap?
    Not a fan of remakes, generally.
  20. What’s your favorite musical?
    Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
  21. For the love of everything that’s sacred, please someone stop (insert
    answer) from making another movie!

    Darren Aronofsky and
    M. Night Shyamalan
  22. What movie do all your friends love but you’re not that crazy about?
    Pi sucks ass.
  23. What movie do you love but none of your friends do?
    Salo. My friends are
    justified.
  24. If you could hump/date/marry any movie character, who would it be?
    Any Alicia Witt character.

  25. Best…movie….ever?
    All of my “favorite” or “best” picks for this list are rather arbitrary,
    because really I have trouble picking one… Let’s say:
    My Blue Heaven
  26. Book you wish would be made into a movie, and who would direct it?
    I still hold out hope someone will let Chris Cunningham do Neuromancer. It would
    either be amazing or a beautiful failure.

Review: Frontrunner

“Frontrunner” follows
the presidential campaign of Dr. Massouda Jalal, a woman who ran in
the 2004 Afghanistan presidential election. The film moves from her
impressive performance in the 2002 interim presidental election through her
2004 campaign. Jalal entered a heated political environment emerging from
Taliban rule, and seeing the struggles and successes of her campaign was
fascinating as an outsider.

While this subject was fascinating, the film itself was a bit
disappointing. I just don’t believe there was enough meat for this to be a
90-minute feature film. Sometimes, instead of using other techniques to
communicate some of the periods of waiting, the film just showed the
waiting. This might have been fine once or twice, but it felt overused in
this film. I also would have liked to see more interviews with the
public, both her supporters and her detractors.

This wasn’t a bad film, but I think it may have been better as a
60-minute PBS special (or if it had had more of the public voice).

Review: The Greening of Southie

“The Greening
of Southie”
documents the construction and design of the Macallen
building in South Boston. Macallen is Boston’s first residential “green”
building, and the goal in desigining it was to achieve LEED “Gold” certification. The
film begins with the foreman briefing the crew on day one and continues
through the first residents moving in.

This was a pretty well-paced film, and took time to explain how the LEED
point system worked and how several design decisions effected the score.
Not only were the design and construction phases shown, but the film also
travels to the source of many of the materials, many of which were local to
New England, as LEED emphasizes local materials.

One of the things which struck me about this film was how the
construction workers reacted to the green mission of this building. Some
were skeptical, some embraced it, and others simply didn’t care one way or
another. Most seemed to acknowledge that green methodologies and design
would likely continue to effect their work moving forward. It is in these
interviews where the film finds its heart.

This film is airing occasionally on Sundance, so if
you are interested in green building or just want to see a solid documentary
with great interviews, check it out.

Review: Nerdcore Rising

“Nerdcore Rising” is a
documentary following the first national tour of the Godfather of so-called
“Nerdcore Rap”, Damian Hess, a.k.a. MC Frontalot, and his band.
Featuring interviews with figures such as Prince Paul, “Weird Al” Yankovic,
and Jello Biafra, this film spends some time upfront explaining and
justifying Nerdcore as a genre. From the beginning I was skeptical, and
honestly, I’m not exactly sure when a genre becomes ‘real’. In fact, I
suspect some of the musicians themselves are equally skeptical of the label,
but I guess in modern marketing, everything needs a classification.

Frontalot’s songs lean towards the witty and clever, but as Prince Paul
points out at one point, originally rap was about clever rhymes and
outsmarting your fellow MCs. Their tour resembles many bands first tours,
playing to sparse clubs, but computer nerds tend to be loyal to their own,
and there always seemed to be someone at each show who knew the songs.
There is a solid mix of live footage with backstage/van interviews, as well
as with other musicians and comedians.

I’m still not sold on the viability of Nerdcore in general, but that
doesn’t really hurt the film. Frontalot is charming if awkward, and his
band is a pretty fun funk unit. They are an amusing lot on and off the
stage, and this film does a great job of presenting it’s story.