2007: The Full List

Introduction

And so the end is here. Yes, finally this time! (Check out the previous post for my best and worst of the year.) A nice round 25 entries, too… well, 26 with the Star Wars one

Anyway — as we’ve reached the end, here’s the full alphabetical list of everything I saw, followed by some intensely interesting statistical whatsits.

What a year, eh?


The Full List

300
Alfie
American Dreamz
Annie Hall
Basil the Great Mouse Detective
Before Sunrise
Before Sunset
Berlin: Symphony of a Great City
The Black Dahlia
Blood Diamond
Bonnie and Clyde
Boogie Nights
The Bourne Ultimatum
Breathless
Brick
Brief Encounter
Bringing Out the Dead
Bullets Over Broadway
C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America
Capote
Casanova
The Cat’s Meow
Chinatown
Chocolat
Citizen Kane
A Cock and Bull Story
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
Confetti
The Crowd
The Departed
The Devil Wears Prada
Doom
Educating Rita
Eragon
Fantômas: In the Shadow of the Guillotine
Fantômas: Juve Versus Fantômas
Fargo
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Flight 93
For Your Eyes Only
Garden State
Goodfellas
Great Expectations
Happy Feet
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Heat
Hellboy: Director’s Cut
Hello, Dolly!
Hidden
Hot Fuzz
An Inconvenient Truth
It
It’s All Gone Pete Tong
Johnny English
The King and I
The King of Comedy
Kinky Boots
Kramer vs. Kramer
Ladies in Lavender
The Last Days of Pompeii
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
Manhattan
Manhattan Murder Mystery
March of the Penguins
Mean Creek
Mean Streets
Miracles
Monster
Mrs Brown
Mrs Henderson Presents
Mystic River
The Naked City
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion
The New World
New York Stories
Night Watch
Nosferatu
Notes on a Scandal
Ocean’s Twelve
Octopussy
On the Town
Ong-Bak
Over the Hedge
The Paleface
Pan’s Labyrinth
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Piglet’s Big Movie
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Play Time
Point Break
The Prestige
Primer
The Pursuit of Happyness
Ray
The Reckless Moment
Right at Your Door
Ringers: Lord of the Fans
Road to Morocco
Romance & Cigarettes
Secretary
Sense and Sensibility
The Sign of Four
South Pacific
Spider-Man 3
Starter For Ten
Stormbreaker
Stranger Than Fiction
A Study in Scarlet
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
Taxi Driver
Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny
This is Spinal Tap
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Three Colours: Blue
Three Colours: White
Three Colours: Red
Thumbsucker
Thunderbirds
Traffic in Souls
Trainspotting
Transporter 2
United 93
West Side Story
While You Were Sleeping
Wild at Heart
Wilde
The Woodsman

Alternate Cuts & Other Reviews
Crash: Director’s Cut
Gone With the Wind
Spider-Man 2.1
Star Wars – Episode 4: A New Hope – DVD Edition
Star Wars – Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back – DVD Edition
Star Wars – Episode 6: Return of the Jedi – DVD Edition

Shorts
Bus Stop
The End
Manhatta
Nine 1/2 Minutes
Park
A Propos de Nice
Skyscraper Symphony
Telling Lies


The Full Statistics

In the end, I watched 129 new feature films in 2007.

I also watched 6 features I’d seen before that were extended or altered in some way. (All of those are left in the statistics that follow unless otherwise indicated.)

I also watched 8 shorts (none of which shall be counted in any of the statistics).

I’ve already seen 2 films from this list again (specifically, Happy Feet and Hot Fuzz).

I saw 9 films at the cinema this year. That’s far beaten by the number of new films I saw on DVD though, which stands at 97 (rising to 103 with those extended/altered ones). I also saw 14 on TV, 4 via downloads, and 5 on good ol’ VHS.

The most popular decade by far was the ’00s, with 70 films — that’s 52%! Of the rest, 4 were made in the ’10s, 5 in the ’20s, 1 in the ’30s, 8 in the ’40s, 2 in the ’50s, 6 in the ’60s, 7 in the ’70s, 12 in the ’80s, and 20 in the ’90s. That’s every decade of the 20th Century covered.

The average score was 3.7 out of 5. That includes 16 five-star films and just 1 one-star film. The majority of films scored four stars, with a total of 72 receiving that mark. There were also 32 three-star films and 14 two-star films.

21 of my new films appear on the IMDb Top 250 Films at the time of writing. Their positions range from 15th (Goodfellas) to 247th (Manhattan). None of them are bad enough to make it onto the Bottom 100.

Additionally, 4 films appeared on Empire’s 25 Greatest Films of the YearNotes on a Scandal (at #14), Letters From Iwo Jima (at #11), Hot Fuzz (at #8) and The Bourne Ultimatum (at #1). Many of the films undoubtedly appear on other ‘Best Films Ever’ lists, but I’m hardly going to go research them all.

A total of 111 directors (or directing partnerships) appear on the list. Martin Scorsese appears most often with 7 films. He’s closely followed by Woody Allen with 5 and Krzysztof Kieslowski with 3. Others with multiple films are Clint Eastwood, Louis Feuillade, Lewis Gilbert, John Glen, Paul Greengrass, Lasse Hallstrom, David Lean, Richard Linklater, Ian Mackenzie & Alex Nicholas, F.W. Murnau, Sam Raimi, and Guillermo del Toro. Also, Gene Kelly and the pairing of Hideaki Anno & Kazuya Tsurumaki directed 2 films each, but in both cases one of them was co-directed with someone else. Obviously, the other 94 just directed one film here.

The actors and actresses who appear multiple times are too numerous and difficult to list. There were at least a few though.

In film titles, the most common first letters are B and S (the latter thanks to a big boost from the alternate cuts). The next-closest were T, C, M and P. A total of 17 titles begin with “The”, while just 3 start with “A” or “An”. (Also, can you see the places where I’ve cheated slightly in the alphabetical list above?)

57 of the films are currently in my DVD collection.


The End…

So that was 2007. Here’s to 2008!

2007 In Retrospect

Introduction

It may be getting on for the end of January 2008, but finally the penultimate entry of 100 Films 2007 is here! Read on for my five least-favourite films I’ve seen this year, and (more interestingly, I’m sure) my top ten — in a lovely countdown and all!

(Yes, I said penultimate entry: still to come, a statistics-tastic one!)


A Bit of an Explanation

I’d like to point out that these lists aren’t based on the ratings I gave at the time. That is to say, if I gave out precisely ten 5-star ratings it doesn’t mean those will be my top ten. A slightly strange thought I know, but opinions can change and therefore so may mine. The title of this entry sums it up: in retrospect these are the films I wanted to pick out as the best I’ve seen in 2007. Hard work it was choosing too!

I’ve included a “see also” section for each of the top ten. These aren’t supposed to be the ten next-best films I’ve seen this year, but are instead other films I’ve seen this year that are in some way related (with the briefest of explanations as to how). These are really just a chance to point out films that are of similar interest; I wanted to stress that they’re not necessarily numbers 11 to 20 on my list.

As a final note, I’ve not considered any of those controversial different-cuts-of-films-I’ve-seen-before for inclusion here. If I had then I’m sure Crash would’ve been high in the top ten.


The Five Worst Films I’ve Seen in 2007

Flight 93 (#26) 1/5
The only film all year to achieve the lowest possible score; if this list were numbered, it would surely be my worst film of the year. Nothing in it is above the level of cheap TV movie — which it is, but that’s no excuse. The script, acting, direction, effects… I genuinely failed to find anything worthwhile here, especially in light of the excellent United 93, a truly brilliant film of the same story. Some say this makes a good companion piece to the movie, but I really don’t think it does: the latter is a respectful, realistic, thoughtful piece of filmmaking; this is tacky and unrealistic, and tries so hard for an appropriate level of sentiment that it often winds up being laughable. And laughable is not something this event was. In short, don’t even bother.

New York Stories: Life Without Zoe (#117) 3/5
It seems almost churlish to pick out one segment of a film, but as it’s an anthology where the other two parts are pretty good it would be even more churlish to slate the whole film. The centre short of New York Stories, an anthology film by Scorsese, Coppola and Allen, is second only to Flight 93 as the most painful thing I’ve had to sit through this year. The characters are irritating, the performances weak, the writing twee… Sofia would obviously go on to better things (Lost in Translation mainly), but Francis Ford seems to be firmly leaving the quality filmmaking behind at this point. (As a side point, I thought Scorsese’s short in this film was decent enough, while Allen’s is utterly brilliant. The listed score is the one I gave the whole film.)

Play Time (#118) 2/5
Jacques Tati has his fans. Filmmakers such as him (especially foreign ones) inevitably do. But I just can’t fully get to grips with his style of comedy, and I suspect many truly discerning critics wouldn’t either. There are gags, but they’re slipped in among long stretches of interminable boredom where literally nothing happens, and when they arrive they have a tendency to run on too long. Tati is undoubtedly making some points about the state of the modern urban world with this, but that doesn’t make it any more entertaining. Repetitive and flat, it’s not worth sitting through for the handful of genuinely good comic moments.

C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America (#79) 2/5
As well as being a poor film in its own right, this represents a variety of films which failed to live up to my expectations. In this case, I was looking forward to a well-developed alternate history of America, where things were vastly different because the Confederates won the American Civil War. Instead, the film is almost solely concerned with the idea that, if they had won, black people would still be slaves. This preoccupation is unsurprising when you learn the background of the filmmakers, but the film isn’t sold as simply a “what if black people were still slaves?” piece. Most major historical events play out as they did anyway… except that black people are still enslaved! It’s far too one-dimensional.

Thunderbirds (#85) 2/5
I was left with a few potential final choices from my short list of bad films, all of fairly equal poorness. This is the worst though, because, like C.S.A., it’s so disappointing. I didn’t have great expectations for this film thanks to all the bad press it received at the time of release, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that Thunderbirds is a great TV series full of wonderful and entertaining ideas, most of which are squandered in this poor Spy Kids rip off. The only good thing about it are the ship designs, which faithfully modernise all of the Thunderbird craft. Other than that, it’s a poor script, poor story, and pretty poor acting too (even from Sir Ben Kingsley, who camps it up something rotten). What a waste.


The Ten Best Films I’ve Seen For the First Time in 2007

10) Blood Diamond (#19) 4/5
Ed Zwick pulls off the impressive task of making a Moral Message Movie that is also a proper action thriller, something which (as far as I’ve seen) usually leads to a film winding up greatly more in one camp than the other. The action sequences are exciting and impressively staged, the message is conveyed but not over-played, and within this there’s still room to focus on the characters and their personal journeys. All of the actors perform well in their roles, though Djimon Hounsou can still be singled out as the best of the bunch. Important and entertaining — a rare feat.
See also: The Bourne Ultimatum, a more widely praised gritty action-thriller.

9) 300 (#101) 4/5
Pure testosterone-fuelled entertainment. That’s a pretty simply way of summing up what is, at the end of the day, a pretty simple film. It looks gorgeous, with cinematography, design and CGI combining to create a series of hyper-real, beautiful visions. The fight scenes are brutally excellent, though in danger of becoming a bit repetitive if they’re not your thing. The story is also a little slender, padded out with copious slow motion and a bolted-on political subplot in the final act, which could have been excellent if integrated better. But none of these flaws really matter, because 300 does what it sets out to, and it does it bloody well.
See also: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, an equally CGI-heavy bit of constant action.

8) Three Colours Red (#42) 5/5
This really (slightly cheekily, but unashamedly) represents the whole Three Colours trilogy. You see, while each film is completely standalone and works excellently in its own right, they still work best when viewed together, in order, at which point the ending of this (the third part) is wonderfully effective. The trilogy explores the three values represented on the French flag: freedom, equality, brotherhood; but these are clearly themes with broader resonance, which gives these films a more universal appeal. They do tend toward the slower-paced and slightly ‘arty’ end of the filmic spectrum, but, considering that’s a style I don’t generally get on with either, these are nonetheless brilliant.
See also: Hidden, another French film with occasionally similar themes.

7) Citizen Kane (#100) 5/5
Widely regarded as one of, if not the, best films ever made, Citizen Kane has certainly had to fight hard for such an accolade. But it’s pretty well deserved: almost everything about the film still stands up well today, from the engaging mysteries of the plot, to the collage of styles, timeframes and unusual camera moves that can still seem innovate 66 years on. As I said in my original review, there is masses that can (and has, and will) be said about this movie. You shouldn’t need me to tell you that if you have any real interest in films you ought to at least give it a go. For me, it mostly managed to live up to its colossal reputation.
See also: Chinatown, an acclaimed noir-ish & unsolvable mystery of America’s wealthy.

6) Brief Encounter (#76) 5/5
Most classics are so for good reason; and, chances are, the older a film oft-cited as a classic gets, the better the chance of it genuinely being one (as the lesser films drop away in favour of newer ‘classics’, you see). At 62 years old, then, Brief Encounter stands a fair chance of being a damn good film. And, lo and behold, it really is. The social conventions of a bygone age are beautifully played out — while things certainly wouldn’t go this way today, one can still oddly relate to it all. With a touching, funny script, note-perfect performances, and terrific direction, you don’t get them much more classic than this.
See also: Before Sunrise, a modern take on railway-related romance (that only narrowly missed a spot here).

5) Stranger Than Fiction (#81) 4/5
This is a wonderful conceit for a film: one day, a man begins to hear his life being narrated, as if it were a novel. And then the novelist tells him he’s going to die. To explain what happens from there would ruin it, of course (and take too long), but it’s variously fantastical, romantic, thoughtful, and fun. It’s stylishly directed by Marc Forster, who’s fast becoming one of my favourite directors (I expect Bond 22 to cement that opinion), and has plenty of originality. While some plot threads may be pretty standard fair, they’re well executed too, which makes for a highly entertaining whole.
See also: While You Were Sleeping, a quirky (though not as fantastical) setup for a rom-com.

4) The Prestige (#14) 4/5
I must confess to being a bit unsure about The Prestige at first. Not that I didn’t think it was good, just that I wasn’t sure how good. In retrospect, it’s good enough to make it this high on my list (beating off most of the films that I rated higher than it!) Nolan is a great storyteller: the chronology of the film is all over the place, yet never once is the viewer lost as to what we’re seeing when. It’s all propped up by a brilliant cast and a central mystery that is intriguing, with a number of neat twists in its resolution. The more I remember it, the more I like it.
See also: Primer, a somewhat similar mystery in a (sadly) less satisfying film.

3) Mean Creek (#69) 5/5
It’s a simple concept: a group of kids take the school bully out to teach him a lesson and it all goes horribly wrong. But it’s not a sanitised, irritating kids movie, with shiny little brats and a beautiful message about friendship; it’s an indie with a realistically dark heart, and thankfully not one that has succumbed to the “nothing happens because it’s about the characters, see” school of ‘intelligent’ filmmaking. The kids carry the movie (barely an adult is seen, and even then only briefly) and their performances are all strong, often a worry with child actors. It’s a tense, believable story, with a good exploration of the consequences of their actions, including an appropriate level of ambiguity. A fantastic little drama.
See also: Brick, another indie of middle American kids in potentially murderous situations.

2) Hot Fuzz (#20) 5/5
The Shaun of the Dead team return, this time spoofing action movies (as opposed to zombies). Many say this isn’t as good as Shaun, but I rather suspect they’re mostly the sort of people who are into the niche-y zombie films in the first place (don’t get me wrong, mind, I love Shaun). Hot Fuzz is funny throughout, has a good stab at some exciting action sequences, and the cast of British stalwarts are fantastic. It was a big hit in the UK and deservedly so. It’s set to form a loose trilogy with Shaun and an as-yet-unrevealed project, which I feel we should all be looking forward to immensely.
See also: Stormbreaker, a kid-centred slice of tongue-in-cheek British action.

1) United 93 (#22) 5/5
Paul Greengrass didn’t stand a chance at the Oscars, as Scorsese had finally got round to making another film good enough for them to finally give him an award. Greengrass deserved it more though. The Departed was a decent film, but as this is the only mention of it in this entire article you can see I was hardly blown away. But this is all beside the point: United 93 is a great film. The direction is perfectly suited to the subject matter, the storytelling appropriately tense and with a good dose of realism, and the performances utterly believable. The fact that this is endorsed by the families of those who died is the final stamp of approval. The men and women who were on board United 93 are all heroes — not in some cheesy Hollywood way, but in a very real-world way. This captures that, and feels an appropriate tribute.
See also: Right at Your Door, a fictional tale of terrorism’s potential effect on ordinary people.


Special Mentions

I just wanted to take a moment (or, a section) to highlight a few other films, for various reasons.

Firstly, I can’t end this without mentioning the 13 films that earned themselves 5-star ratings this year, as only six of them made it into the top ten — those being Brief Encounter, Citizen Kane, Hot Fuzz, Mean Creek, Three Colours Red, and United 93. Perhaps I was less certain about rating some so highly in retrospect, but, regardless, the other seven were: Chinatown, Educating Rita, Goodfellas, Heat, The King of Comedy, Kramer vs. Kramer, and Trainspotting.

As the year went on I kept a running list of potential contenders for both my bottom five and top ten. The former eventually totalled 15 films (some were shortlisted not because they were truly bad, but due to the level of disappointment involved, such as Spider-Man 3). The list for the top ten reached the giddy heights of 48 films — 37% of the total! Maybe I’m just the generous sort. As well as the top ten itself (obviously), some of these were the other 5-star-ers listed above, and several more have been named in the “see also” sections. Rather than list all the remaining 24 (you do the maths), here’s nine of them that stuck in my mind enough to warrant mentioning:

Night Watch, an entertaining epic/fantasy/horror mash-up from Russia.
Perfume, a visually pungent, thoroughly bizarre adaptation of the popular novel.
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, a classic silent urban fairytale.
Manhattan, a beautiful black & white relationship drama.
The Woodsman, an intelligent and character-centric study of a difficult issue.
Pan’s Labyrinth, an engaging blend of fantasy and cruel reality.
Bullets Over Broadway, an amusing and entertaining take on the mob and the theatre.
Octopussy, a surprisingly entertaining Roger Moore Bond film.
Basil the Great Mouse Detective, an underrated Sherlock Holmes-riffing Disney flick.


The Films I Didn’t See

Of course, this obviously isn’t a Top 10 of 2007 in the traditional sense. But, nonetheless, new films do feature, and with that in mind there were a number of notable films released this year that I’ve yet to see.

Here, then, is an alphabetical list of 50 films made in 2007 that I’ve missed. (To be fair, some of these aren’t actually out over here yet… but when I finally see them they’ll be listed as 2007, so on this list they go! Equally, a fair few films have cropped up on best-of-year lists but are technically from 2006, so have been left off.) The films listed here have been chosen for a variety of reasons, from box office success to critical acclaim.

2 Days in Paris
28 Weeks Later
3:10 to Yuma
30 Days of Night
Across the Universe
Aliens vs Predator: Requiem
American Gangster
The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford
Atonement
Becoming Jane
Beowulf
Blades of Glory
Charlie Wilson’s War
Control
Die Hard 4.0 / Live Free or Die Hard
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Enchanted
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Ghost Rider
The Golden Compass
Grindhouse (or its constituent parts individually)
Hairspray
Halloween
I Am Legend
I’m Not There
Juno
Knocked Up
Lions For Lambs
The Man From Earth
Michael Clayton
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
No Country For Old Men
Ocean’s Thirteen
Ratatouille
Resident Evil: Extinction
Rush Hour 3
Shrek the Third
Sicko
The Simpsons Movie
Southland Tales
St. Trinian’s
Stardust
Sunshine
Superbad
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
There Will Be Blood
TMNT
Transformers
Waitress
Zodiac


A Final Thought

It’s been very strange, looking back over this list to pick my choices. Some films I saw at the beginning of the year feel like they were just the other week; others seen more recently feel like they were an age ago. It’s quite an interesting experience — one that I’d recommend.

Piglet’s Big Movie (2003)

2007 #129
Francis Glebas | 72 mins | TV | U / G

Piglet's Big MovieI used to enjoy the Disney Winnie the Pooh series when I was younger. I also used to love the original books by A.A. Milne. In fact, I still enjoy the books — they’re witty, knowingly written, and often sweet. Sadly, Disney’s interpretation seems to have faired less well.

In this case it’s largely down to the first half, where the mostly original storyline and weak & randomly inserted songs simply aren’t up to scratch. However, things improve massively with a couple of fairly straight adaptations of Milne’s original tales.

Mildly amusing at times and with a positive (if predictable) message about friendship and self-worth, this would undoubtedly entertain young children — which, to be fair, is its intended audience. While it initially seems to fall far short for older audiences, it turns out to be not all bad.

3 out of 5

While You Were Sleeping (1995)

2007 #128
Jon Turteltaub | 99 mins | TV | PG / PG

While You Were SleepingI wound up accidentally watching this on TV, and was ultimately glad I did.

If you’ve ever seen a ’90s romcom then the general shape of everything here will be familiar, though it does have a neat coma-related twist at its core. In spite of this predictability, and Sandra Bullock, I found it to be very enjoyable. It’s not a laugh-out-loud comedy and it is (of course) heavy on the sentiment, but it does have a lovely Christmasiness that is perfect for this time of year. It made me all nostalgic for the ’90s — they don’t make ’em like this any more. I don’t think. I don’t really watch rom-coms…

I can easily see myself tracking this down in time for next Christmas, and probably Christmasses after too.

4 out of 5

Telling Lies (2001)

2007 #127a
Simon Ellis | 4 mins | DVD

A simple idea, very well executed: as we listen to a series of phone conversations, the speakers’ dialogue appears on screen… except instead of transcribing their exact words, it reveals their true thoughts. At only a few minutes long this doesn’t outstay its welcome, instead maintaining the basic idea well and crafting a neat and amusing little story with it. Worth checking out if you have a chance.

4 out of 5

Telling Lies is available on the DVD Cinema16: British Short Films or can be watched on Vimeo for free.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

2007 #127
Paul Greengrass | 110 mins | DVD | 12 / PG-13

The Bourne UltimatumThis final instalment in the action-thriller trilogy was recently announced as Empire magazine’s film of the year, following wide praise on release that dubbed it the best action movie in a long time. Unfortunately, I fear it may’ve become a victim of its own hype.

It’s certainly a good film for many reasons: its appropriately unrelenting momentum, even in dialogue scenes; several stunning action sequences; a mostly decent plot. But it’s also flawed: despite the globe-hopping, complex plot, it feels somehow slight; several villains and plot devices seem tacked on to create an over-arching plan for the trilogy, when Bourne had really dealt with all these matters in the first two.

Ultimately, it simply didn’t feel as entertaining as the first two instalments, though I had an odd sense that I should be liking it more. Perhaps future re-viewings will aid my appreciation.

4 out of 5

2007 | Weeks 51-52

And so here we are: my 23rd entry, the final two weeks of 2007, and the end of my quest! You can look out for summaries of the year to be posted in the next few days, and then it’s thoroughly done.

…for 2007. I’ll be starting afresh for 2008 though, right back down at #1.

After the emptiness of my last entry, I have actually watched some films this time. Three of them, in fact — my final three films of the year! And one short too.

They were…

#127 The Bourne Ultimatum

#127a Telling Lies

#128 While You Were Sleeping

#129 Piglet’s Big Movie

2007’s summary posts will be republished in November.

2007 | Weeks 49-50 (2008 Preview)

It’s the last month of the year! The winter holidays have started! There’s only a week (and a bit) ’til Christmas! And, after the fourteen-film craziness of the last entry, in the past two weeks I’ve only watched… well, NO films!

Yet there is still an entry. Why? Well, I resolved that, regardless of how many films I watched, I’d post double-week entries for both this one and the next. And I haven’t watched any films, so there’s none here. A silly resolution, obviously. Incidentally, this all means you can expect the final chapter of my 2007 quest to appear on Monday December 31st. How very appropriate.

So instead of film reviews, but in light of the fact I’m posting this anyway, I’ve decided to share with you some of the changes I have planned for 2008. I’m sure there’s nothing mind-blowingly exciting here, but maybe it’ll be of vague interest.

2008 Preview

The most notable change to the blog will be that, instead of large week-spanning multi-film round-ups, I’ll be posting reviews individually. The weekly format is a hold-over from the blog’s deviantART origins and obviously isn’t as blog-like as individual entries will be.

In a similar vein, there’ll be a few more details beyond the current year/director/format selection — for example, the running time, or the BBFC classification (perhaps the MPAA one too). These things are hardly integral to the content, I know, but it might make the whole thing feel a bit more well-informed.

In the unlikely event anyone particularly enjoys my little introductions and updates, something like these will crop up from time to time in a new format — expect ‘editorials’ scattered amongst the film reviews at imprecise intervals.

I had also considered adding in reviews of other things, such as re-watched films and TV shows, in a similar way to the editorials. I decided this would dilute the focus and clutter the blog, however… but be sure to check out my new sister blog, Smaller Screens, which will cover those things with a broadly similar ‘voice’ to this blog.

Finally, I might actually start using keywords. I tried initially for this year, but it seemed a little pointless. I’ll try to keep them general and helpful, rather than bogging them down with one-off things like the film’s title. Information like the director, the genre, the year of production, the format, and so forth, will likely go in the keywords, to create some sort of browsable thingamie on the sidebar.

Maybe one day I’ll go back and mix some of these changes into how the 2007 posts are organised, just to streamline the whole thing. But don’t count on it. [2015 note: Hahaha! Dear God, the number of times I’ve re-posted and re-formatted the 2007 entries now…]

Next Time

It’s the final entry of the year! And then two more… You’ll see.

See you on New Year’s Eve…

Mean Streets (1973)

2007 #126
Martin Scorsese | 107 mins | DVD | 18 / R

Mean StreetsSemi-autobiographical New York gangster movie, guaranteed a place in history as the first collaboration between Scorsese and De Niro — what a place to end my little season!

As with Goodfellas, it’s someone else who’s the main character; and, as with Goodfellas, De Niro’s supporting character is a disturbing presence even when off screen. The similarities don’t end there, but I’m not going to go into them in detail. Suffice to say, Mean Streets feels a bit like a less epic, oddly less focused, grittier, and perhaps more realistic, prototype for Goodfellas. But even then it’s only that in some ways — the two are notably different enough to make each worthwhile.

4 out of 5

Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

2007 #125
Woody Allen | 95 mins | DVD | 15 / R

Bullets Over BroadwayThe final Woody Allen film of this little ‘season’ is that rare thing: one that doesn’t star him!

This is its biggest flaw, as John Cusack spends the entire film doing a blatant and middling impression of the writer/director. But he nonetheless does OK, and when the rest of the cast are note-perfect, the script pacy and funny, the photography gorgeous, and the long takes never more appropriate, it’s hard not to be impressed. Special mention for the final scene, a four-way shouted conversation between two high windows and the street — it’s beautifully written and executed.

Another underrated Allen film, and probably the most down-right entertaining of his I’ve seen so far.

4 out of 5