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2010 catch-up: Films

Posted: January 3rd, 2011, by Marceline Smith

The best films we watched in 2010.

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
Hate me now, if you must.  In a universe almost but not exactly identical to ours, I’m disgusted at someone else for liking this film.  Well, I call it a film, but it’s not much more than two hours of rapidly-edited geek wish-fulfillment fantasy.  It cynically manipulated me, and I fucking loved it. (Alex McChesney)

My jaw literally hit the floor several times over one Friday night when I found myself subjected to Enter The Void. I went in expecting to see something that might blow my socks off but I was expecting to have a headache within a minute after experiencing the most intense opening credits of any movie ever. From here the visuals of the piece stunned me as the main character drifts above the streets of Tokyo for two and a half hours revisiting his life and of those around him and seeing where life is taking everyone. This was transgression to the max via lots of neon lights, bad taste and negative suggestion in a combination of the David Lynch sensibilities of Inland Empire crossed with Peep Show set in Tokyo with plenty of sexy time, an Eraserhead element ultimately looking towards a 2001: A Space Odyssey pay off and finale via copious amounts of hallucinogenic drugs. A film that recurringly smacks the viewer over the head there genuinely were moments in this movie that I never expected to see on screen including a “no he just didn’t” ultimate temptation. The film certainly put me off ever visiting Tokyo. After the viewing I attended director Gaspar Noe did a Q&A where he appeared wholly amused by our shell-shocked expressions. My other favourite movie moment was seeing a double bill of The Warriors and Repo Man at the Prince Charles cinema. (JGRAM)

Another Year by Mike Leigh is a beautiful film. It’s classic Leigh in that it’s slow-moving, nothing happens, it’s full of shots of grim bits of Britain, but it’s got great characters that have time to breathe and develop, and the most amazing undercurrent of sadness running through the whole thing. (Stu Fowkes)

Rinco’s Restaurant
I went back to Japan this year and amongst all the usual kind of blockbuster movies on the flight, I discovered this gem. It’s a Japanese film about a girl called Rinco who loses her voice and starts a restaurant in her mum’s shed, and all the meals she makes change peoples’ lives for the better. That could of course be terrible (the trailer is not entirely awesome) but it’s all very Japanese and charming and very twee. It also has some great stop-motion animation and songs and a flying pig. Do see it if you get the chance! (Marceline Smith)

Land of the Lost
I’ve long been rather frustrated with what I’ve termed the curse of Saturday Night Live: comedians are hilarious on the long-running comedy show and then go on to star in feature films that are complete and utter drivel.  Adam Sandler, for example, was featured in a number of terrific, almost Dada-esque sketches on SNL, then went on to find success with drek like “The Waterboy.” I’ve largely avoided the films of Will Ferrell for this very reason.  And the previews for most of his recent films haven’t really enticed me.  But I did come across the campy remake of classic kids television series “Land of the Lost” recently and you know what?  It wasn’t bad.  Ferrell’s playing his standard character — an overconfident idiot — but he can still mine the archetype for plenty of laughs.  Danny McBride, one of the best things to happen Hollywood comedies, is also along for the ride.  And the movie’s sarcastic sendup of science fiction clichés is solid entertainment.  Plus, “Land of the Lost” has one of the best uses of banjo in a movie theme song ever, surpassing even “Deliverance.” (Wil Forbis)

American Splendor
Cleveland’s Harvey Pekar, writer of bittersweet-mundane comics, died earlier this year. This film about his existentially-challenged 70 years could easily get carried away trying to stuff in persistent meta- perspectives (like the guilty Synecdoche New York) as it involves everyone significant in Harvey’s life as well as actors playing them. Luckily things don’t get too clever for their own good. A moving account of cancer, banality and dissing David Letterman on air. (Pascal Ansell)

I hate you Disney. While Ghibli’s latest animated film came out in the summer of 2008 in Japan, and a year later in the USA, we had to wait until February 2010 for a cinema release. And they wonder why piracy is such a big issue these days! There was also no option to see the original subtitled version but the dubbing was mostly fine (certainly nowhere in the league of Valley Girl Princess Mononoke). As with all the Ghibli movies, I was pretty much sucked in from the start – there’s not a huge amount of plot but it’s all so fun with some glorious scenes like Ponyo running over the waves made by giant fish, and a great mix of the everyday and the unexpected. I suppose it’s a cross between Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle which is alright by me. (Marceline Smith)

Marceline Smith

Marceline is the fierce, terrifying force behind diskant.net, laughing with disdain as she fires sharpened blades of sarcasm in all directions. Based in Scotland, her lexicon consists of words such as 'jings', 'aboot' and 'aye': our trained voice analysts are yet to decipher some of the relentless stream of genius uttered on a twenty-four hour basis. Marceline's hobbies include working too much and going out in bad weather.


3 Responses to 2010 catch-up: Films

  1. wil

    Yeah, I greatly enjoyed Scott Pilgrim myself.

  2. jgram

    Hell yeah! I can’t understand why so many people are hating on Scott Pilgrim. I loved it too.

  3. g-kit

    I am one of the haters. I thought it was pap. I’m in the opposite boat: I can’t fathom what people liked about it. Other than the Fairy Fountain theme.