Let’s start with a negative. I’d just like to put in my usual gripe that the World of Cine in Cheltenham can let human beings down, as multiplexes invariably do. As someone who has an unhealthy obsession with the Kermode and Mayo podcast which reviews all of ‘the week’s new releases’, I’m continually being disappointed by my local cinema deciding not to screen anything but the most commercial blockbusters.
There are films that I have been eager to see, and that have topped critics’ films-of-the-year roundups, but haven’t made it to our beloved Cheltenham Cineworld. The three films that I’m thinking of here are Tyrannosaur, Kill List and The Artist, but there would have been more; I’ve now begun to tune out when listening to reviews of independent films, not because I’m not interested, but because I know they won’t be coming to Cheltenham.
One movie highlight of the year has been on the small screen. Watching Mark Cousins’ incredible documentary series The Story of Film: An Odyssey, I’ve been reminded that films can create a strong emotional impact in so many more ways than by using ‘jaw dropping special effects’ and ‘stunning’ action sequences. The series has reminded me why I love films so much.
So, my new year’s resolution will be to make a note of the great films that get reviewed, but which won’t be coming to the multiplex, then adding said titles to my Lovefilm rental queue six months after they’ve been released.
Having said all that, I’ve really enjoyed this year’s movie trips…
An arthouse crime movie. The lead character, played by Ryan Gosling, was a stunt driver for the movies who, in the evenings, would moonlight as a getaway driver. Despite his professions, he existed in a controlled and subdued world. The movie put this across brilliantly, and had the film not been enslaved too much by the twisting plot conventions of a crime movie, it would probably have been my film of the year.
We Need to Talk about Kevin.
Tilda Swinton’s character sits on a plastic chair in a travel agent’s office waiting to be interviewed for a job. It’s hot, and there’s an oscillating fan cooling the place. Opposite her on the wall there’s an underwhelming poster advertising somewhere far away. The poster isn’t stuck down at one corner, and as the fan turns to the wall, the air catches it and the corner of the poster curls up and flutters in the breeze. The fan turns away, the poster stops flapping, for a moment.
Wim Wenders documentary about dancer Pina Bausch. I’ve seen a lot of contemporary dance productions in the theatre, and I’ve worked as a designer with one dance company, but it wasn’t until I actually saw a film about dance that I actually began to get it. Wenders shot new footage of Pina’s productions in theatres and outdoor locations and the 3D did give it an element of live performance. The powerful theatrical performances become hugely cinematic.
Well done Cineworld for showing Pina 3D, even though it was only for one night. It’s my film of 2011.