Moneyball (2011)

2016 #163
Bennett Miller | 133 mins | streaming (HD) | 16:9 | USA / English | 12 / PG-13

MoneyballBased on a true story, Moneyball concerns the management of baseball team Oakland Athletics during the 2002 season. General manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) struggles to put a squad together due to a comparatively low budget for players, which has seen all his best ones drift off to richer contracts elsewhere. Fed up with the traditional scouting system, he recruits Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) to use statistical analysis to select a cheap team of quality players. The rest of his staff despair, including coach Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who refuses to play the team as Beane and Brand suggest, which unsurprisingly leads to self-vindicating failure — until they force his hand…

So Moneyball is a movie about sports and statistics — a pair of topics that will bore some people to tears, while still others will enjoy one but not the other. Generally, I couldn’t care less about sport, but statistics? Well, maybe.

Unfortunately, despite what you might’ve heard, Moneyball is more about sport than statistics. Worse, it makes too few concessions to people who know fuck all about baseball. You can follow the general arc, but it’s like turning on a real game of any sport you know nothing about: you can discern some stuff, but the coverage is not being produced for you. At one point it cuts to a match and a caption informs us it’s the “bottom of the 9th”. I’m sure that means something to baseball fans, but I can tell you the rest of us haven’t got the foggiest. Is the “bottom” at the beginning or the end? Or somewhere in the middle? Or is it something to do with score rather than time? The 9th what? And is it the 9th of 9 or the 9th of 10? Or 12? Or 15? Or 18, or 25, or…? Or is it the fact it’s the 9th that’s significant here? Maybe there’s normally only 3 or 4 of whatever it is? For Moneyball as a movie in its own right, rather than some niche special interest thing, this attitude is a drawback.

Brad to batProblems extend beyond the sporting specifics. It’s quite some way into the movie before it gets stuck into the meat of the plan working, and before that it often throws in asides that meander around through Beane’s earlier playing career and current family life. The former has some bearing on the plot, though feels inadequately integrated — as one flashback it might work, but as a series of them it’s not enough to constitute a parallel story. The latter, his family life, provides character texture, but it’s slight, uninformative, and ultimately unnecessary. You could cut it and the film would lose nothing.

Moneyball was going to be directed by Steven Soderbergh, who apparently had some interesting ideas about how to present the wealth of statistical material — ideas that were too interesting for Sony, as it turned out, because they shut down production days before shooting was due to start and kicked Soderbergh out. He was replaced with Bennett Miller, who previously directed Capote, which was fine, and later did Foxcatcher, which I didn’t really like (I gave it 4 stars, but my review reads more like 3 and that’s how I remember it). I’m beginning to dislike the guy. According to IMDb his next project is A Christmas Carol, because we really need another version of that.

On the bright side, Soderbergh’s departure was when Aaron Sorkin came on to write a new version of the screenplay. Swings and roundabouts, eh? But this does not feel like a film written by Aaron Sorkin. Where’s the sparkling dialogue? Where’s the impressive structure? The former is perfunctory and functional; the latter is, if not a mess, then certainly lacking the rigour of his other work. Apparently Sorkin only agreed to do a re-write if previous screenwriter Steven Zaillian kept a credit, because Sorkin felt the script was great “This screenplay's shit.” “Well I didn't write it.”and didn’t need any work, which probably explains why it’s not so Sorkin-y. Zaillian is not a bad writer — his credits include Schindler’s List and Gangs of New York, both of which are in my 100 Favourites, and the US remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I gave full marks — but I wouldn’t say he has a unique voice. Moneyball’s screenplay is fine for what it is, but it doesn’t have that frisson that Sorkin brings.

Baseball doesn’t interest me in the slightest, partly because I’m not interested in much sport, partly because I’m not American. So I watched Moneyball for three reasons: one, because it seemed like it might be more about the stats than a traditional sports movie. It’s not. Second, because it was written by Aaron Sorkin. But the screenplay displays little of his usual verve. And third, because it’s a Best Picture nominee from this millennium and I’m intending to tick all of those off eventually. In that respect, at least, it was a success — of course, it couldn’t fail to be.

3 out of 5

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2015: The Full List

At one point, people were calling 2015 the “best year for movies ever”. The current superhero craze was going to reach new heights with both Batman vs Superman and the sequel to the highest grossing film of all time not directed by James Cameron, Avengers 2; there was to be a follow-up to the first billion-dollar Bond; and there was the little matter of the return of Star Wars to boot. Of course, things didn’t pan out that way: Batman v Superman (not vs) got kicked to 2016; Avengers 2 disappointed quite a few people and didn’t set any box office records (which these days is essentially a failure, right?); but hey, at least Bond and Star Wars turned up… to a predictably mixed response.

Even if the wider world was mired in some form of disappointment or other, at least 2015 was the best year for movies ever for me. Regular readers will have already learnt about some of this year’s extraordinary numbers through my monthly progress reports, and there are even more to be found in the statistics section of this post — aka the best part of the entire year. And this year, there are more graphs than ever before!

So without further ado…



Here’s a graphical representation of my 2015 viewing, month by month. Handily, each of these images links to the relevant monthly update, where you’ll find the numbered list of everything I watched this year (amongst plentiful other jollities).












And now, in alphabetical order…


Alternate Cuts
Other Reviews
Shorts

I watched a record-obliterating 200 new feature films in 2015. (All are included in the stats that follow, even if there’s no review yet.) That’s far and away my highest tally ever, beating last year’s previous best, 136, by 47%.

I also watched three features I’d seen before that were extended or altered in some way, and chose to review two others for the fun of it. Four of those films are included in the statistics that follow, the exception being Transformers: Age of Extinction, which I ‘reviewed’ without actually watching.

I also watched five short films, which is within my usual range. Also as usual, none of them are counted in the following statistics (apart from the one that mentions it includes them).

The total running time of new features this year was a mind-bending 369 hours and 56 minutes. Put another way, that’s just shy of 15½ days. Unsurprisingly, it’s a new record. How much so? Well, for perspective, 2013’s running time was also a record-setter, exceeding the previous best by 58 minutes. Then 2014 broke that record by a massive 28 hours. Now 2015’s done it by almost 133 hours. That increase alone is equivalent to 5½ days of solid viewing. To round that out, the total running time of all films (including shorts) was 381 hours and 31 minutes. Here’s all that as a graph:

Now: the who, what, where, when, and how of that viewing. (This is a theme that will become apparent as we go, I promise.)

In a massive upset to the status quo, this year’s most prolific format was streaming — and not just by a little: it accounted for 96 films, a massive 47% of my total. Who’d’ve thunk that a few years ago?! It was ‘big news’ last year when it was in third place with 23, but this year more than quadruples that. Partly that’s because this year I’ve finally used some free trials: at one time or another in the past 12 months I’ve had Now TV (i.e. Sky Movies), Amazon Prime Instant Video, MUBI, and Netflix, not to mention taking advantage of those digital discounts Amazon sometimes give to rent newer movies.

That means the previous two years’ victor, Blu-ray, comes second. I watched 49 films on that format, the exact same number as last year… which of course means it’s lower in percentage terms, at 24% vs. last year’s 35%. I really ought to shift my viewing habits away from streaming and in favour of Blu-ray, because I have tonnes of the things stacked up.

Third place belongs to television, with 32. A slight decrease from last year (and even more so in percentage terms, obviously). Why? Who knows. Partly, I expect, because a lot of channels seem to show the same films on loop. I’m also not very good at being beholden to TV schedules (I barely watch any TV ‘live’ either) and my V+ box is permanently almost-full with stuff I’ve already recorded and not got round to.

In fourth we have the once-mighty DVD, with just 16 (7.8%). That’s better than 2010 to 2012, but a bit down on last year. I have even more of these unwatched than I do Blu-rays, so I ought to get stuck into them more. I say that every year, though.

Penultimately, downloads accounted for nine films this year. Bigger news, though, is last place: this year, I actually bothered to go to the cinema for the first time since 2012 — twice. Such is the lure of new Bond and new Star Wars. And y’know, it reminded me that sometimes it’s worth the extra effort and expense. With some big spectacle-y movies coming up this year, maybe I’ll make the effort more often.

Finally for formats, I thought I’d tally up how many films I watched in HD vs. SD. In the superior quality camp, you’ve got all the Blu-rays and my pair of theatrical viewings, plus 86 on streaming, seven on download, and three on TV. For SD, that just leaves the remaining 29 TV viewings, 16 DVDs, 10 streamed films, and two downloads. To summarise, 72.1% of my viewing was in glorious high definition.

That’s the ‘how’ I watched my films, but what about the ‘when’: how old were the films I watched in 2015? Well, last year the most popular decade was our current one, contributing a “whopping” (to quote year-ago me) 50.7% of my viewing. That was the first time a single decade had accounted for over half my viewing since 2009. This year, the 2010s are top again, with 128 films — which is 62.75%! I’m always trying to catch up on recent films, and I guess the deeper we get into the decade, the more “recent films” are from it.

In second place, unsurprisingly, was the next-most-recent decade, the ’00s. With 18 films, aka 8.8%, it wasn’t even close. What it was close to was third, which is a surprise-high finish for the ’80s, on 17 (8.3%). I must say, it definitely felt like I watched a lot of ’80s movies this year, exacerbated by their mini stylistic revival in films like The Guest. In fourth place is the only other decade to make double figures, the ’90s, with 12 (5.9%).

Moving further back in time, every decade since the ’20s was represented. Last year I managed to stretch back to the 1910s, but I skipped the ’20s, so it’s all equal. In fact, the last time I watched a film from the ’20s was 2010. They fared considerably better this year, reaching six (2.9%). Just ahead of them were the ’40s with nine (4.4%), and just behind were the ’60s with five (2.5%). Rounding out the field, the ’50s and the ’70s tied on four (2%), and the ’30s brought up the rear with one (0.5%).

Next up: ‘where’ — as in, where were the films from? We’ll begin with the better indicator: language (because, as we’ll see, “country” gets all mixed up with co-productions). As ever, English was massively dominant, featuring wholly or in part in 187 of the 204 films. That’s 91.67%, a minor increase on last year’s 91.3%, but hardly a meaningful one. For one thing, several films you would certainly label as “foreign language”, like Force Majeuere and Le Mépris, feature enough English to have it as a listed language and therefore contribute to this total. Despite the possibility of such shared languages, nothing else comes close: French is second with eight (3.9%), closely followed by silent films with seven (3.4%). Better were the number of different languages heard: last year reached a high of 15, which 2015 exceeds with 24 (plus one for “silent”, in each case). More uncommon ones include Acholi, Hawaiian, and Scottish Gaelic.

There’s a similar increase in countries of production: last year there were 27, this year it’s 32. It’ll come as no surprise that the USA once again dominated, with 153 films. As ever, thanks to co-productions these aren’t all films you’d identify as “American”, but I guess that’s balanced out in the final tally by all the international co-productions that you wouldn’t consider to hail from those countries either. Nonetheless, 153 is exactly 75% of this year’s films, which is slightly down on the 80.4% the US represented last year.

In second place, an equally-unsurprising showing for my home team, i.e. the UK. Producing or contributing to 54 films gives it 26.5%, a nice increase on last year’s 18.1%. Last year there were only five other countries that could claim a part in three or more films, but this year there are 11. Heading up the board is France with 17; joint fourth are Germany and Canada with 10 apiece; China had a hand in seven; and Antipodean cousins Australia and New Zealand both tallied six (with significant help from George Miller to the former and Peter Jackson to the latter). Also with 3+ were: Hong Kong (five), Japan and Ireland (four each), and Belgium and Sweden (three each). That leaves six countries with two, and thirteen with one. Those with a definite claim to “country of origin” include Argentina, India, and the Soviet Union.

In terms of ‘what’ I watched, there are a few different observations. First up: how the BBFC and MPAA classified them. Showing the parity everyone always perceives, both the BBFC’s 12 and MPAA’s PG-13 totalled 41 films this year. That’s about the same number as last year, meaning the 20.1% it represents is down. The most prolific certificates this year are, respectively, the 15 (83 films, 40.7%) and R (86, 42.2%), because I’m a growned-up, innit. You can never discount the MPAA’s unrated category, which bests even the PG-13 with 50 titles (24.5%). Rounding out the field, the BBFC seem more prepared to go for their child-friendly U (20, 9.8%) than the MPAA do their G (four, 2%), while the figures for PG are about equal, with the BBFC on 26 (12.7%) and the MPAA on 23 (11.3%). In fact, in both instances the increase is likely thanks to older films, which tend to sit at the U/PG level, and the BBFC still have to classify but the MPAA don’t (so they go into unrated). Oh, and the BBFC’s 18 equalled the U with 20 (9.8%), while somehow 14 films (6.9%) managed to go BBFC-free.

15 films from the main list appear on the IMDb Top 250 at the end of 2015 — the exact same number I achieved last year. It would’ve been slightly more if I’d finished What Do You Mean You Haven’t Seen, as the three of those I missed are also on there. The positions of the ones I did see range from 29th (Interstellar) to 231st (High Noon). I currently have 83 of the Top 250 left to see — the first time I’ve got that number below 100. Lovely.

Now, a new addition to the stats: as I’ve started including a “most read new post” part in my monthly progress reports, I thought I’d do so here too. As if to prove the endurance of having a review archive, this year’s most read (or, at least, most visited) new post was only the 12th most-read post of the year. It slips in behind not only three Harry Potters but a few (well, eight, obviously) other randomers (2 Fast 2 Furious is third — why?!) And that victor is… a little surprising, because I have no idea why it’s been so well-read — it wasn’t posted for a blogathon; it didn’t get retweeted by a fan group, member of the production team, or Film4 (all of which have happened to other of my reviews this year). It is a damn fine film, though: it’s Requiem for a Dream.

Speaking of additions, every year I feel I’d like to include stats on which genres I most watched, or which actors were regularly represented. This year, for instance, it felt like I watched a lot of Channing Tatum films (there were five), and Rachel McAdams kept cropping up towards the end (three times in December) — but is that so unusual? I mean, for starters, there were three supporting-lead roles for Harrison Ford in my viewing this year, but they were less noticeable because they were more spread out. I never add these things because, due to the way I compile my stats (I shan’t bore you with the details), it would be very hard/impossible. Hey, maybe next year.

One thing I did do this year, however, was inspired by my comment that I seem to have watched a lot of documentaries. Consequently, I tallied how many of the films I watched were documentaries, how many were animated, and dumped the rest into “live-action fiction”. Not quite a genre stat, more a form one. And the results were: 13 documentaries (6.4%), 18 animated movies (8.8%), and 173 live-action fiction movies (84.8%). Obviously the last category dominates, but I don’t think that’s by any means a bad showing for the first two. (For what it’s worth, I counted The Dark Crystal as live-action, because it’s puppets filmed in real-time rather than, say, stop-motion animation.)

At the end of every previous year-end summary I’ve included a list of 50 notable films I’d missed from that year’s releases, and have since tracked my progress at watching those ‘misses’. In 2015, I’ve seen more movies from every year’s list. To rattle through them, with the overall total I’ve now seen in brackets, this year I watched: two from 2007 (32); four from 2008 (19); one each from 2009 (23) and 2010 (25); three from 2011 (27); six from 2012 (28); and 13 from 2013 (29). That’s a moderately consistent number watched from each year, with the exception of 2008’s lowly tally. I don’t know what I did wrong with that year’s 50, but it’s become a real black sheep.

Finally, in the first year of 2014’s 50, I watched 20 of them. That’s the best ‘first year’ ever (besting the 17 from 2007 I watched in 2008), and is more in one year than I’ve managed in the seven since 2008. Seriously, what was wrong with that list?!

The graph shows my progress year by year (obviously), but I can tell you I’ve seen 203 out of 400 ‘missed’ movies, which is 50.75% — a tidy improvement on last year’s 43.7%. Of course, I own or have access to over 100 of the remaining 197, so I could do even better.

After ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, and ‘how’, all that remains is ‘who’ — who made these 204 feature films? A total of 155 solo directors and 17 directing partnerships appear on 2015’s main list. Obviously that’s the most ever — considering this year is up 47% on even the next-best year, which was itself a significant record-breaker, then of course the director total is up a lot too. It’s not up 47% though, but 33.3%.

That’s because a massive 23 of those directors have multiple films on the list (for perspective, last year it was just 10). Most prolific is Steven Soderbergh, with four. Next, George Miller has three to his own name, plus he was part of a partnership. There are three each from Jamie Benning, Bill Condon, David Cronenberg, Roger Michell, and Roy William Neill, while Bryan Singer has two main list films and an extended cut, and Peter Jackson has one main list film but two extended cuts. With two main list films each we find David Ayer, Brad Bird, John Carpenter, Clint Eastwood, David Fincher, Ron Howard, Richard Linklater, Carol Morley, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Colin Trevorrow, and Adam Wingard, while Stanley Kubrick has one main list film and one other review. Finally, Dean DeBlois has a solo credit and another as part of a partnership.

At a time when their prevalence (or lack thereof) is a point of discussion, I can say that eight of those directors were female, as was half of one directing partnership. I’m sure that’s better than it has been in the past, but, as you can see from this graph, it’s not actually very many…

And so we come to the climax of the statistics: how I rated 2015’s viewing.

I’ll start by saying that almost all of these are their highest-ever total — no surprise considering how many more films than normal I watched this year. The only exception, happily, is one-star films, of which there were two. Appropriately, that rating usually only totals ‘one’, so for it to come to double that in the year I watched exactly double my target… well, that’s just synergistic.

At the other extreme, this year there were 40 five-star films. That’s 11 more than the next best year, which will surely make compiling my top ten fun, but it’s still just 19.6% of 2015’s viewing. For perspective, my all-time percentage of five-star films is around 17.2%, so it is marginally above average. In terms of all previous years’ percentages, it ranks third.

The most prolific ranking, for the eighth year (of nine), is four-stars, of which there were 92 in 2015. At 45.1% that’s almost bang-on average (44.8%), and ranks fourth all-time. Second most prolific, for the seventh year, is three-stars, with 51 films, or exactly 25%. That’s also darn close to the all-time average (26.2%) but ranks joint third, just behind the anomalously high percentages of 2012 (38%) and 2013 (35.8%). Have I got more lenient since then? If anything, I think I’ve started marking a little tougher… I just endeavour to watch fewer weak/middling films. Finally, there were 19 two-star films, which at 9.3% is — as you’ve likely guessed — broadly in line with the previous average (10.3%).

Finally, the all-important average score — the marker of the overall quality of my viewing this past year. Officially, it comes out as 3.7, the same as 2007 and 2009, but I can tell you that it’s actually the third best year ever, with the more precise figure being 3.730. If I scored in percentages, that would be 74.6%, slipping in behind 2011’s 76.6% and 2014’s 76.1%, and ahead of 2009’s 73.1%.

And that’s it for another year, ladies and gents.


Next time: the best and worst films I saw for the first time in 2015.

2015 in Review, Part 1

As a wise man once said,

So this is Christmas
and what have you done?
Another year over,
and a new one just begun.

He may have been wise, but he clearly wasn’t so hot on timekeeping if he thinks the new year begins at Christmas…

Anyway, I’ve been quieter than intended this past week thanks to that unwellness I mentioned rumbling on, turning my efforts to reach #200 this year into a knock-down drag-out battle against both that and the sheer volume of worthwhile TV this year (if you’re one of the apparently-few who missed the Beeb’s classy three-part adaptation of Agatha Christie’s proto-slasher-movie And Then There Were None, may I recommend you rectify that).

Whether I achieved that double-sized goal or not will be revealed tomorrow in my December summary. As usual, over the next week-ish I’ll follow that up by looking back over the last year in two lengthy, information-and-excitement-filled posts. To start this year-in-review season, though, it’s WordPress’ auto-generated site-statistics-thing:

Here's an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Observations:

  • As well as the 248 new posts it mentions, the blog’s archive was further swelled by 272 reposts from 2007-2011.
  • My “posting patterns” are far, far more consistent than last year. So that’s nice.
  • I’ve noticed other people’s summaries include a bit on how many pictures they’ve uploaded. Mine doesn’t. I’m hard done by, I tell you!

Anyhow, thanks to everyone who’s read and/or commented here in 2015 — a Happy New Year to you all!

2014: The Full List

So here we are: as revealed in the December update, 2014 has proven to be the biggest year of 100 Films ever! Now it’s time to look back at the whole shebang and analyse and rank it.

Today’s post is The Big One… until I call the next one The Big One. But really, today’s is a long’un, full of information and fun. Yes, fun: good golly gosh, it’s statistics time! Best bit of the year, right there.

In case you’re not interested in reading it all, or in breaking your scroll wheel as you have to whizz past seemingly never-ending lists, here’s a handy clickable contents:

Without further ado:


As It Happened

One of my favourite things since I moved to WordPress is this incidental pleasure: a month-by-month visual representation of my viewing, derived from the header images on my monthly updates. More usefully, each of the twelve images below links to the relevant monthly update, where you’ll find the numbered list of everything I watched this year, and other fun stuff too.













Now, the main event — the full alphabetical list of my 2014 viewing (with links to reviews, where available):

The List

Alternate Cuts
Other Reviews
Shorts

The Statistics

All told, I watched a record-smashing 136 new feature films in 2014. (All are included in the following stats, even if there’s no review yet.) The previous best was my very first year, 2007, with 129. It feels pretty good to finally best that — as five of the intervening six years have finished with 110 or fewer, it’s often felt insurmountable.

I also watched one feature I’d seen before that was extended or altered in some way (well, I watched two, but the other counted on the main list). I also chose to review one other for the fun of it. (All 138 films are included in the statistics that follow, unless otherwise indicated.) It’s worth noting that this tally bests 2007 too, which stood at 135 all-in.

I also watched two shorts… depending on how you count it, because one of those was made up of four shorter-shorts. Either way, none of them shall be counted in any statistics (apart from the one that says it counts them).

The total running time of new features in 2014 was a stonking 237 hours and 15 minutes. For perspective, last year’s total running time was the highest ever, beating the previous best by 58 minutes. This year now exceeds even that by just over 28 hours.

The total running time of all films (including shorts) was 247 hours and 43 minutes. That’s less of an increase on last year (8 hours and 14 minutes, to be precise), but it still leaves 2014 as the longest year ever. No surprise, really.

2014’s most prolific format was Blu-ray for the second year in a row, though at 49 films its total is lower than last year. That’s not the first time it’s dropped, but the only other was tiny (from 42 in 2011 to 41 in 2012), so it’s the first significant one. To be honest, that has nothing to say about the state of Blu-ray — I’m still merrily buying lots of them — and more about the fact I cancelled my LOVEFiLM subscription, so there were fewer Blu-ray rentals. That number has been absorbed elsewhere, as we shall see shortly…

Television came second again, though continued to slide in importance with just 36 watched, none of them in HD. I think I mentioned at the time that my V+ box crashed and had to be reset, creating a shedload of space on its hard drive… which I promptly filled with new, more watchable films (and not in HD, to maximise space). To be frank, were it not for those recordings TV would have disappeared even further — I don’t think I watched a single thing ‘live’ this year.

Arguably the biggest news is third place, however. The past two years have seen me increase my use of streaming, with four films in 2012 and six in 2013. This year, it came to 23. A big increase but, mulling on it, still not particularly good value for money: I currently have Now TV, aka Sky Movies, whose service is based around having lots of major recent movies about six months after their DVD release. Dividing the subscription price between what I actually watched works out around the same as it would cost to rent a film in HD from Sky/Virgin/Apple/etc on its DVD/BD release date. That’d be the same spend, same number of films, but they’d be newer. I may need to reconsider my options here…

In fourth place was DVD, which reached double figures for the first time since 2010… and then went a bit further, eventually hitting the giddy heights of 18. I still have hundreds of the things unwatched, though.

Finally, downloads accounted for 14 films — another highest-ever total. Not sure why, to be honest. It’s a mix of 99p rentals from iTunes, having to finish films where the LOVEFiLM disc went screwy halfway through (because of that, you’ll find the formats total 140 rather than 138), and just… other stuff, I guess. Hm.

(You may also note that means no films seen at the cinema, for the second year in a row.)

The most-represented decade this year was the 2010s. Only five years old, but it totalled 70 films, or a whopping 50.7%. That’s the first time a single decade has accounted for over half my viewing since 2009 — which makes sense when you think about it. The ’00s are a distant second on 29, which at 18.8% is a slight rise on last year. In third place, there’s a bit of a resurgence for the ’90s. Only 13 films (9.4%), but that’s enough to put it ahead of the pack, whereas last year it was down amongst them.

In fourth place we have the ’80s, with a semi-appropriate eight (5.8%), before the rest descend in size quite neatly: the ’50s are on six (4.3%), the ’40s just behind with five (3.6%), then the ’30s manage four (2.9%), the ’70s clock three (2.2%), the ’60s have two (1.4%), and the 1910s finish us off with one (0.7%). That really just leaves the ’20s, with zero (0.0%).

Moving on from time to space — where were the films I watched in 2014 from? Let’s start with language: as usual, English dominates, with 126 of the 138 films being wholly or significantly in our greatest export. That comes to 91.3% — a continued decrease from last year’s 93.5% and 2012’s 98%. I’m getting gradually Cultured, innit. While no single other language comes close to that (French and Mandarin share second place with three (2.2%) each), the total number of languages heard also continues in the right direction: from four in 2012, to 11 in 2013, to 15 in 2014 (plus one for “silent”). More uncommon ones include Persian (from This is Not a Film) and American Sign Language (from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes).

Similar to the English language’s dominance, the USA has a near-stranglehold on my viewing: 111 films were either produced or co-produced in/by the US. Defining a film’s country of origin is always tricky (see: the controversy around Gravity’s Best British Film BAFTA), and in this day and age an awful lot are co-productions anyway — several films you’d define as culturally somewhere-else (e.g. No) contributed to the US’s count; equally, some ‘Hollywood’ blockbusters also give credit to foreign shores (including such uncommon examples as Cyprus and Malta).

Behind the US comes the UK, with 25, which at 18.1% is significantly down on last year’s 29.3%. No idea why. France once again have eight, Australia are a ‘new entry’ with six, right behind them are Germany with five, then on three it’s both New Zealand (all thanks to Peter Jackson) and Japan. A further 20 countries had a hand in one or two films each, with those holding a genuine claim to “country of origin” including (but not necessarily limited to) Chile, Ireland, Hong Kong, and South Korea.

For the second year, I totalled up the BBFC and MPAA certificates of my viewing. Things skew ‘mature’ this year: in 2013, the BBFC’s PG, 12 and 15 certificates were more or less equal, while the MPAA’s meaningless Unrated (not just signifying “too extreme to be classified!” but also “so old it doesn’t need to be reclassified”) came top, closely followed by PG-13. In 2014, however, the 15 certificate (41, 29.7%) edged out the 12 (37, 26.8%), with 18 in third place (21, 15.2%) and PG just behind (18, 13.0%). Technical last place goes to U (15, 10.9%), although six films weren’t BBFC certified at all. “But that’s illegal!” Well, not for internet-distributed films that weren’t specifically released over here.

On the other side of the pond, this year it was R that claimed the top spot (43, 31.2%), pushing Unrated into second place (39, 28.3%) and PG-13 down to third (38, 27.5%). The MPAA’s distaste for lower ratings continued with 14 PGs (10.1%) and just three Gs (2.2%). If you’ve spotted that those add up to 99.3% then… why are you checking my percentages? Don’t you trust me? But also, the 0.7% goes to a sole NC-17 film. As I’ve not posted a review yet, I’ll tell you that’s Requiem for a Dream.

In a stat that’s improved for the second year in a row, 15 of my main list films appear on the IMDb Top 250 at the start of January 2015. Their positions ranges from 7th (12 Angry Men) to 203rd (X-Men: Days of Future Past), and 10 of those 15 are thanks to What Do You Mean You Haven’t Seen (the two not present are The Searchers (yes, really) and Blue Velvet). Ticking off 12 Angry Men also means I’ve finally seen all of the Top 250’s top ten. However, I still have 102 of the Top 250 to see — a lot, but also a nice little improvement from last year’s 114.

At the end of every previous year-end summary I’ve included a list of 50 notable films I’d missed from that year’s releases, and have since tracked my progress at watching those ‘misses’. In 2014, I’ve seen more movies from every year’s list (worth mentioning because I didn’t last year). Noteworthy points include that, after six years, I’ve still only seen 15 films (30%) from 2008’s list; and although I only watched one apiece from 2007’s, 2008’s, and 2010’s lists, I watched an anomalous five from 2009’s. As with so many things, I’m not sure why that should have happened. Rounding things out, I watched four from 2011’s list and eight from 2012’s. The newcomer is (of course) 2013, and I got off to strong start by catching up on 16 of those 50 — more in one year than I’ve managed in six from 2008. Don’t know what’s wrong with that list (and you can’t find out either, what with FilmJournal being down again. I’ll repost it all someday…)

That graph shows my progress year-by-year, but in total I’ve seen 153 out of 350 ‘missed’ movies, or 43.7%. Of the remaining 197, I own or currently have ready access to around 106. Which is ridiculous. I shall chastise myself.

The count of directors on the list this year is complicated by some mix-and-match directing partnerships. So for starters, there are 112 solo directors… but one of those, Frank Miller, also directed a film with Robert Rodriguez, and another with Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino; and Rodriguez directed another again, with Ethan Maniquis. Counting all the different combinations as unique, there are 129 directing credits this year… although that doesn’t include the one film that didn’t even have a credited director! I despair. Whichever way you cut it up, it comes out as the most directors ever. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but there it is.

Aside from Miller and Rodriguez, those with multiple films are headlined by David O. Russell and W.S. Van Dyke with three each. There’s two apiece from Tim Burton, Justin Lin, Roy William Neill, Phillip Noyce, and Steven Spielberg, while Peter Jackson has one main list film (The Hobbit 2) and one extra film (The Hobbit 1 Extended).

Finally, as always, we come to the scores:

First up, there were a record-high number of five-star films this year: 29. Of course that’s partly due to the sheer volume of films, but at 21.0% of my viewing it’s only just behind 2009’s 21.2% in terms of highest percentages. That makes five-stars the second most-awarded score this year, which has only happened once before (also in 2009), and even then it was tied for second (with three-stars). Have I become more lenient, or have I been watching a higher standard of films this year? Not sure, to be honest — there may have been a couple of occasions when generosity got the better of me; equally, there were a couple where I’d initially thought of giving full marks but pulled back in the end, so I guess it averages out.

The most populous score is, as usual, four-stars, with 68 films. That’s not the highest total ever (that goes to 2007’s 72), nor the highest percentage (several years best it), but it still comes out at 49.3%, which is pretty good going. See above for my thoughts on leniency vs. quality.

There were 27 three-star films, which works out at 19.6%. That’s the lowest percentage ever for this rating. It comes after the two most three-stars-y years ever (38% in 2012 and 35.8% in 2013) — the more of these stats I trot out, the more you can see why I’ve been wondering if I’m going soft.

The lowest two rankings remain within their usual parameters, however. There were 13 two-star films, which is darn close to the 2007-2013 average of 12. Finally, there was just one one-star films, which is the same as four of the previous seven years. I’ve always been toughest when it comes to rating films just a single star — something has to be pretty irredeemable to get to that point, as proven by the fact that neither G.I. Joe: Retaliation nor Transformers: Dark of the Moon sunk so low. Maybe I am getting lenient…

Last of all, the average score. As you’d expect from those numbers, it’s a high one: 3.8. To be precise, it’s 3.804, just behind 2011’s 3.829 but (in percentage terms) notably above third-place 2009’s 3.657. (If I scored in percentages, that would make this year’s average 76.1%, with 2011’s high as 76.6% and 2009’s third as 73.1%; 2012’s lowest-ever of 3.352 would be 67.0%.)

And that’s your lot!


Coming soon…

(“Soon” as in “soon as I can decide what they are and write up 15 mini-blurbs”, that is.)

My Top 10! And all the other bits that always come in that post!

And then we can finally move on to 2015, I promise.

2014 in Review, Part 1

It’s that time of year again, dear readers, when we look back at all that has occurred over the past 12 months.

Coming soon: my final monthly summary of 2014, about December (obv.); the full list of my 2014 viewing, with all the exciting statistics; and my summary of the highs (top ten!), lows (bottom five!) and in betweens (50 films I missed!)

But first, the now-traditional WordPress-provided summary of how many people bothered to visit my blog and which pages they bothered to visit:

Here's an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Notes:

  • It wasn’t just new posts that grew the archive of the blog: 145 reposts from 2007-2011 helped increase the tally from last year’s 552.
  • My Harry Potter 1&2 reviews remain dominant, and I think will for all time.
  • I like that new “posting patterns” bit, even if it does show up how rarely I posted reviews for a good chunk of the year.

Tomorrow: my December summary.

2010: The Full List

I did it!

After last year’s slight shortfall, that’s the big news this year. And unlike 2008, where I scraped to 100 in the year’s dying days, I instead made it in the dying days of September — leaving a whole three months to spare! Sadly I didn’t use those to beat my previous best, 2007’s 129, but there’s always next year.

So, here’s the list of all I saw. Slight change this year: the list is in numerical order, aka order viewed. Because I don’t post reviews in order any more, and because there’s an alphabetical list of all reviews, this seems the most unique — and therefore vaguely worthwhile — way of doing it. I go back and forth on whether numerical or alphabetical is ‘right’ every year, so don’t be surprised if it changes back in 2011.

After the lists comes the usual array of fascinating statistics. If you’d like to skip straight down to those — scrolling can be an awfully tiring business after all — then please click here. Otherwise, on with the 131 things I have to mention…


The Full List

#1 Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
#2 His Girl Friday (1940)
#3 The Man Who Sued God (2001)
#4 Ich möchte kein Mann sein, aka I Wouldn’t Want to Be a Man (1918)
#5 Die Puppe, aka The Doll (1919)
#6 Die Austernprinzessin, aka The Oyster Princess (1919)
#7 Sumurun (1920)
#8 Anna Boleyn (1920)
#9 Die Bergkatze, aka The Mountain-Lion (1921)
#10 Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin: From Schönhauser Allee to Hollywood (2006)
#11 Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
#12 Wallander: The Secret, aka Mankell’s Wallander: Hemligheten (2006)
#13 Air Force One (1997)
#14 Million Dollar Baby (2004)
#15 What About Bob? (1991)
#16 Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
#17 Saturday Night Fever (1977)
#18 Kung Fu Panda (2008)
#19 Elektra (2005)
#20 M (1931)
#21 Speed Racer (2008)
#22 Frankenstein (2004)
#23 Doctor Faustus (1967)
#24 Deja Vu (2006)
#25 Juno (2007)
#26 The September Issue (2009)
#27 Choke (2008)
#28 Clue (1985)
#29 Death Wish (1974)
#30 Seraphim Falls (2006)
#31 Waitress (2007)
#32 The Illusionist (2006)
#33 Lesbian Vampire Killers (2009)
#34 Saw V (2008)
#35 Titanic (1997)
#36 The Condemned (2007)
#37 Ghost Town (2008)
#38 Alice in Wonderland (3D) (2010)
#39 Kick-Ass (2010)
#40 Wallander: The Revenge, aka Mankell’s Wallander: Hämnden (2009)
#41 Evangelion: 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone, aka Evangerion shin gekijôban: Jo (2007/2009)
#42 Burn After Reading (2008)
#43 Inkheart (2008)
#44 First Blood (1982)
#45 Sherlock Holmes (2010)
#46 Righteous Kill (2008)
#47 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)
#48 Taken (2008)
#49 Sherlock Holmes (2009)
#50 Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960)
#51 Tu£sday (2008)
#52 Insomnia (1997)
#53 Coraline (2009)
#54 Knowing (2009)
#55 Ivanhoe (1952)
#56 National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)
#57 Max Payne (Harder Cut) (2008)
#58 Public Enemies (2009)
#59 Final Destination (2000)
#60 2012 (2009)
#61 The International (2009)
#62 True Lies (1994)
#63 Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
#64 Mulan (1998)
#65 Get Smart (2008)
#66 Guess Who (2005)
#67 Pale Rider (1985)
#68 Is Anybody There? (2008)
#69 Inception (2010)
#70 Ministry of Fear (1944)
#71 Panic in the Streets (1950)
#72 Terminator Salvation: Director’s Cut (2009)
#73 Dragonslayer (1981)
#74 Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
#75 Nanny McPhee (2005)
#76 Final Destination 2 (2003)
#77 Total Recall (1990)
#78 Late Spring, aka Banshun (1949)
#79 Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)
#80 Ocean’s Eleven (1960)
#81 Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
#82 Bride & Prejudice (2004)
#83 Final Destination 3 (2006)
#84 Matchstick Men (2003)
#85 The Damned United (2009)
#86 Snake Eyes (1998)
#87 Daylight (1996)
#88 Night at the Museum (2006)
#89 The Seeker: The Dark is Rising (2007)
#90 Bhaji on the Beach (1993)
#91 The Band Wagon (1953)
#92 Force of Evil (1948)
#93 Brigadoon (1954)
#94 The History Boys (2006)
#95 Gigi (1958)
#96 Robin Hood: Director’s Cut (2010)
#97 Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996)
#98 It Happened Here (1965)
#99 Hercules (1997)
#100 The Hurt Locker (2008)
#101 Road to Rio (1947)
#102 The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
#103 The Good German (2006)
#104 Witchfinder General (1968)
#105 Grindhouse (2007)
#106 Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
#107 Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
#108 The Night Listener (2006)
#109 Born Free (1966)
#110 Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
#111 Living Free (1972)
#112 The Spiral Staircase (1945)
#113 Solaris (1972)
#114 Toy Story 3 (2010)
#115 Odd Man Out (1947)
#116 The Outrage (1964)
#117 The Wolfman: Unrated Version (2010)
#118 Surrogates (2009)
#119 Rambo III (1988)
#120 Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
#121 A Good Woman (2004)
#122 Iron Eagle (1986)


Alternate Cuts
#100b Angels & Demons: Extended Version (2009)
#115a The Special Edition of Beauty and the Beast (1991/2002)


Shorts
#20a Zum Beispiel: Fritz Lang (1968)
#40a Pixels (2010)
#66a 1945-1998 (2003)
#88a The Met Ball (2010)
#100a Tales of the Black Freighter (2009)
#103a How Long is a Minute? (2001)
#118a Verity (2010)


The Full Statistics

In the end, as you can see, I watched 122 new feature films in 2010 — my second-best year. (All films are included in the stats that follow, even if there’s no review yet.)

Plus, I watched two features I’d seen before that were extended or altered in some way — three if you count Evangelion: 1.11. (All 124 films are included in the statistics that follow, unless otherwise indicated.)

I also watched seven shorts this year (none of which shall be counted in any statistics).

The total running time of new features was 208 hours and 12 minutes. The total running time of all films (including shorts) was 213 hours and 50 minutes.

This year I’ve re-watched just one film from the list already, which was Clue. Toy Story 3 and Inception very, very nearly managed it though…

Last year, for the first time, DVD slipped from the top spot of my viewing format of choice, bested by TV. The story’s even worse this year. TV is more definitively the leader with 68 films, including 24 in HD. Both those numbers beat DVD. Second is Blu-ray with 29, a massive increase from last year’s six. And so DVD comes third (or fourth, if you split TV in two) with just 22. How the mighty have fallen, and all that.

Of the rest, there’s 2 downloads (one in HD) and, more depressingly, my cinema tally: I saw just 3 films on the big screen this year (just one in otherwise-abundant 3D). That’s down on previous years’ totals of (in chronological order) nine, ten, and last year’s six. Quite by bad coincidence, I started this blog at a time when I began going to the cinema an awful lot less — just one year earlier and it would’ve been bursting with theatrically-viewed films. My record on this front is now a bit meagre, really. Finally, VHS stays dead — having dropped from five in my first year to zero last year, I don’t even have a machine set up any more. Poor VHS. (What I failed to notice last year was how that’s almost an exact inversion of Blu-ray, which progressed over the first three years from zero to two to six. Neat.)

The most popular decade was, as ever, the ’00s, with a round 60 films. The competition is for second place, then, and this year it goes to the ’90s with 15. Despite few trips to the cinema, new-boy decade the 2010s managed a fairly respectable 7, leaving it joint 5th. In an improvement on the last two years, every decade since 1910 is represented this year. In chronological order, 3 films were made in both the 1910s and the 1920s, 1 was from the ’30s, 10 from the ’40s, 6 from the ’50s, 8 from the ’60s, 4 from the ’70s and 7 from the ’80s. Diverse.

The average score this year was 3.6. That includes 16 five-star films (joint lowest with the first year) and just 1 one-star film (an improvement on last year’s four). As usual, the majority of films — 62 — scored four stars. There were also 31 three-star films and 14 two-star films. All numbers fall more or less in line with my previous tallies, which is a nice mark of consistency — indeed, the average is the same as 2008, which is only 0.1 less than 2007 and 2009. I’m alternating; how lovely.

7 films appear on the IMDb Top 250 Films at the time of posting. Their positions ranges from 6th (Inception) to 241st (Kick-Ass). As ever, there are too many other lists around to consider them all.

At the end of all previous years I’ve included lists of 50 notable films I’d missed from that year’s releases (and, as usual, 2010’s lot will be in my next post). This year I’ve managed to see 4 more from 2007 (bringing the total number seen from that 50 to halfway, 25) and 9 more from 2008’s list (bringing that total to 13). From the freshest batch — i.e. 2009’s selection — I’ve seen 8. Hopefully further films from all the lists will crop up as I go through 2011 — heck, maybe one day I’ll have even seen them all! Probably not though.

A total of 99 solo directors and a record 10 directing partnerships appear on the list this year. The most-represented is Ernst Lubitsch with six films, followed by Vincente Minnelli with four. Those with two films to their name are James Cameron, Gurinder Chadha, Clint Eastwood, Jonathan Frakes, Fritz Lang, Ridley Scott and James Wong. Also, R.J. Cutler manages one feature and one short. The remaining 89 directors and all 10 partnerships have, naturally, one each.

36 of the films are currently in my DVD/Blu-ray collection (plus three of the shorts). I’ve also got one digitally downloaded (it was free).


Coming soon…

Last year I still had a huge pile of reviews to post well into January; this year, only a handful. And quite aside from them, there’s my ever-so-exciting Top 10 and Bottom 5!

Stay tuned.

Or, y’know, go away and come back later.

2009: The Full List

Introduction

So, 2009… the first year I failed to reach my stated goal. Still, I saw 94 new films and bothered to review several others — and here’s a full alphabetical list of the lot of ’em!


The Full List

Airplane! (1980)
Aliens (1986)
Alien³ (1992)
Alien Resurrection (1997)
Alone in the Dark (2005)
An American in Paris (1951)
Angels & Demons (2009)
Anne Frank Remembered (1995)
La Antena (2007)
The Apartment (1960)
Ashes of Time Redux (1994/2008)
Avatar (2009)
AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)
AVPR – Aliens vs Predator: Requiem (2007)
Babel (2006)
Batman (1966)
Big Nothing (2006)
Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982/2007)
Brute Force (1947)
Children of Heaven (1997)
Cinderella (1965)
Copycat (1995)
Culloden (1964)
Dark Floors (2008)
Eastern Promises (2007)
Exiled (2006)
Fatal Instinct (1993)
A Few Good Men (1992)
Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
Flesh for Frankenstein (3D) (1973)
For All Mankind (1989)
For Your Consideration (2006)
Friday the 13th Part III (3D) (1982)
Glory (1989)
The Great Dictator (1940)
Hamlet (2009)
Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour (3D) (2008)
Hard Candy (2005)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
High Anxiety (1977)
High Society (1956)
In Bruges (2008)
In the Shadow of the Moon (2007)
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Insomnia (2002)
Jumper (2008)
The Kite Runner (2007)
The Knack …And How to Get It (1965)
The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
Lethal Weapon (1987)
The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
Marnie (1964)
Michael Clayton (2007)
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
No Country For Old Men (2007)
Paths of Glory (1957)
Predator 2 (1990)
Rage (2009)
Red Riding: 1974 (2009)
Red Riding: 1980 (2009)
Red Riding: 1983 (2009)
The Right Stuff (1983)
Ripley’s Game (2002)
Rock n Roll Nerd (2008)
Runaway Train (1985)
Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic (TV edit) (2005)
Saw (2004)
Saw II (2005)
Saw III (2006)
Saw IV (2007)
Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)
Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
Sherlock (2002)
Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943)
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)
Solaris (2002)
Son of Paleface (1952)
Son of Rambow (2007)
Stand By Me (1986)
Star Trek (2009)
State of Play (2009)
Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Transporter 3 (2008)
Wallander: Before the Frost (2005)
Wallander: Mastermind (2005)
Watchmen (2009)
Watchmen: Director’s Cut (2009)
Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)
The X Files: I Want to Believe – Director’s Cut (2008)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

Alternate Cuts
Alien: The Director’s Cut (1979/2003)

Other Reviews
The Birds (1963)
Flash Gordon (1980)
Predator (1987)
Some Like It Hot (1959)

Shorts
Commentary! The Musical (2008)
Cut (2009)
The Gruffalo (2009)
The Lunch Date (1990)
The World of Tomorrow (1998)
The Wraith of Cobble Hill (2005)


The Full Statistics

In the end, I watched 94 new feature films in 2009, the first year I’ve failed to reach 100.

I watched three features I’d seen before that were extended or altered in some way. Two of them even factored in the main list. I also reviewed four films I’d seen before. (All 99 films are included in the statistics that follow, unless otherwise indicated.)

I also watched six shorts this year, which by some coincidence falls exactly mid-way between the number I saw in 2007 and the number I saw in 2008. Exciting stuff. (Shorts aren’t counted, except the total total running time.)

The total running time of new features was 166 hours and 51 minutes. The total running time of all features and shorts was 177 hours and 44 minutes.

I saw 6 films at the cinema this year, including, for the first time, one in 3D. That’s far beaten by the number of new films I saw on DVD though, which stands at 29 (rising by just one if counting extended/altered films, five if counting all features). Surprisingly, however, that’s also soundly beaten by the number I watched on TV: 44, including 8 in HD and, appropriately, 3 in 3D. This compares to 14 in 2007 and 10 last year, making 2009 a highly unusual year by comparison. Otherwise, I watched 8 via download, 6 on Blu-ray and 1 via online streaming, which is a first (for a feature-length film) for me. VHS has finally disappeared however, dropping steadily from five in 2008 to two last year, and now to zero.

The most popular decade this year was, as ever, the 00s, with 51 films. Of the rest, 10 were made in the 90s, 12 in the 80s, 5 in the 70s, 8 in the 60s, and 6 each in the 40s and the 50s. The oldest film on this year’s list dates from 1940. (Where alternate cuts offer up multiple decades (Ridley Scott, I’m looking at you) only the decade of production/original release is counted.)

My average score was 3.7, equal to 2007’s and 0.1 higher than 2008’s. Seems I’m consistent. This year that average comes from 21 five-star films (up on both previous years) and 4 one-star films, the first year I’ve doled out more than one of the latter. The majority of films, as usual, scored four stars (there were 42 of them this year). There were also 21 three-star films (down on 2008, which was down on 2007) and 11 two-star films (in the same ballpark).

15 films appear on the IMDb Top 250 Films at the time of writing, which is slightly up from last year. Their positions range from 28th (Avatar) to 231st (Glory). From Empire’s Top 10 of 2009 (only to be found buried away here, apparently) I’ve managed just two. As ever, there are too many other lists around to consider them all.

At the end of both 2007 and 2008 I included lists of 50 notable films I’d missed from that year’s releases. With all of 2009 taken into account, I’ve managed to see four more from 2007 (bringing the total number seen from that 50 to just 21), and, equally, a mediocre four from 2008’s list (shamefully, I actually own or have recorded 14 of the remaining 46). Hopefully further films from both lists will crop up in 2010.

A total of 87 directors appear on this year’s list, as well as two partnerships (both pairs of brothers) and two directing teams. Topping the list of those with multiple films is Darren Lynn Bousman with three (all Saw sequels), while there’s two apiece for James Cameron, Alfred Hitchcock, Rob Reiner, Ridley Scott and Billy Wilder. Zack Snyder also appears twice, with two cuts of the same film.

35 of the films are currently in my DVD/Blu-ray collection (plus four of the shorts).


Still to come…

I’m not done with 2009 yet. Aside from 21 outstanding reviews (by which I mean they’ve yet to be posted, not that they’re exceptionally good), there’s my Top 10 and Bottom 5 of what I saw this year. All of that to follow shortly… or, y’know, one day…

2008: The Full List

Introduction

And so the end is here, and here is the end — part one. I’ve flipped the final two entries this year, so my top ten (and bottom five) will be here in a day or two, but before that…

Although there’s now a full list of reviews (with handy links to every one), I’m still posting this list of all I saw in 2008 because, while it may not be as useful as a complete reviews archive, it still shows what I watched this year.

This year hasn’t been quite as successful as last, at least in terms of film viewing. As the year neared its end I didn’t think I’d make it to 100, and was all prepared to settle for 90 around Christmas time, but a final push saw me make it in the nick of time. Hurrah! On the other hand, the move to FilmJournal has had a huge, positive impact on readership. In that vein I’d like to thank everyone who’s commented on the blog, as well as all regular (and irregular) readers who don’t — I know I follow several FilmJournal blogs and never or rarely comment, so I’m sure there must be some doing the same with mine. And while I definitely appreciate all comments (even if I don’t reply, or agree!), special thanks to Colin and Mike for their regular and enjoyable comments on my Rathbone Holmes reviews, even when my articles are neither.

With that said, here’s the list. Scroll to the end for a bunch of irreverent stats about my viewing this year.


The Full List

24: Redemption (2008)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)
After the Sunset (2004)
Agatha (1979)
Almost Famous (2000)
The Aristocrats (2005)
Atonement (2007)
The Baskerville Curse (1983)
Batman: Gotham Knight (2008)
Be Kind Rewind (2008)
Becoming Jane (2007)
Beowulf: Director’s Cut (2007)
Best in Show (2000)
The Blues Brothers (1980)
Brideshead Revisited (2008)
The Cable Guy (1996)
Calendar Girls (2003)
Cathy Come Home (1966)
Chicago (2002)
Churchill: The Hollywood Years (2004)
Clockwise (1986)
Cloverfield (2008)
Cube²: Hypercube (2002)
Cube Zero (2004)
Dark City (1998)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Die Hard 2 (1990)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
Done the Impossible: The Fans’ Tale of Firefly and Serenity (2006)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (2003)
Enchanted (2007)
Field of Dreams (1989)
Fist of Legend (1994)
Flushed Away (2006)
The Fountain (2006)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
The Golden Compass (2007)
Great Expectations (1998)
The Green Mile (1999)
Hairspray (2007)
Hamlet (1996)
The Happening (2008)
Hard Boiled (1992)
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
Henry V (1944)
Henry V (1989)
Hitman: Unrated (2007)
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)
Hulk (2003)
I Am Legend (2007)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
The Invasion (2007)
Iron Man (2008)
The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)
Jane Eyre (1944)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Leon: Version Integrale (1994/1996)
Madagascar (2005)
Mamma Mia! (2008)
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
The Mirror Crack’d (1980)
Notorious (1946)
Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)
Quantum of Solace (2008)
Rashomon (1950)
Ratatouille (2007)
Rebecca (1940)
Road to Singapore (1940)
A Room With a View (1985)
Russian Ark (2002)
Scenes of a Sexual Nature (2006)
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943)
Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942)
Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)
The Simpsons Movie (2007)
Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Southland Tales (2006)
St. Trinian’s (2007)
Stardust (2007)
Starwoids (2001)
Stay (2005)
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Sunshine (2007)
Superhero Movie (2008)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Swing Time (1936)
Texas Across the River (1966)
Throne of Blood (1957)
Transformers (2007)
Troy: Director’s Cut (2004/2007)
Ultimate Avengers (2006)
Ultimate Avengers II (2006)
Vantage Point (2008)
WALL-E (2008)
Wanted (2008)
White Christmas (1954)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Zodiac (2007)

Alternate Cuts
The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience (2008)
I Am Legend: Alternate Theatrical Version (2007/2008)

Other Reviews
Casino Royale (2006)
Cube (1997)

Shorts
Gasman (1997)
Inside-Out (1997)
Presto (2008)
Wallace and Gromit in A Matter of Loaf and Death (2008)


The Full Statistics

Before we begin, I’ll just point out that all of these stats include every film on this list, even if I’ve yet to post the review.

In the end, I watched exactly 100 new feature films in 2008. While this is a 22% drop on last year’s total of 129, it’s still my target (obviously).

I watched three features I’d seen before that were extended or altered in some way, two of which I’d only seen for the first time earlier this year. This is three less than in 2007, which, really, is neither here nor there. I also reviewed two films I’d seen before, in each case because I was about to watch their sequel(s). (All 104 are counted in the following statistics, unless otherwise indicated.)

Additionally, I watched four shorts this year (none of which shall be counted in any of the statistics), half of what I saw in 2007. Somewhat surprisingly (to me, anyway), three of these can be found in my DVD collection.

The total running time of new features was 175 hours and 57 minutes. The total running time of all features and shorts was 184 hours and 55 minutes — almost 8 days’ solid viewing, which doesn’t sound much put next to the 366 days available.

I’ve already seen six films from this list again — specifically, The Green Mile, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Mamma Mia!, Stardust, The Dark Knight (on IMAX) and I Am Legend (in its alternate cut).

I made 10 trips to the cinema this year. That’s far beaten by the number of new films I saw on DVD however, which stands at 64 (rising to 67 with those extended/altered/seen ones). It’s downloads that (just) come in a distant second place with 11, while TV equals the cinema with 10. VHS still skulks around with two, and there are three formats new to this blog as well: Blu-ray, also with two, and one each for IMAX and in-flight. A ragtag bunch if ever there was one.

The most popular decade was once agin the 00s by a long way, with 65 films — 62.5%, easily topping last year’s 52%. The nearest was the 90s with a mere 11. A somewhat surprising third was the 40s with eight, closely followed by the 80s with seven. Of the rest, the 30s managed four, the 50s a marginally better five, and the 60s and 70s had two a piece. Nothing before 1936 though.

The average score was 3.6, marginally lower than 2007’s average of 3.7. This year there were 19 five-star films (slightly up from 2007’s 16) and just 1 one-star film (equal to last year). The majority of films — 45 — scored four stars, compared to a huge 72 last year. There were also 24 three-star films (down from 32) and 15 two-star films (practically equal to last year’s 14).

13 films appear on the IMDb Top 250 Films at the time of writing, about two-thirds of 2007’s 21. Their positions ranges from 4th (The Dark Knight, of course) to 199th (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). Some of the films undoubtedly appear on other ‘Best Films Ever’ and ‘Best of 2008’ lists, but I’m hardly going to research them all.

At the end of 2007, I included a list of 50 notable films I’d missed from that year’s releases. With all of 2008 taken into account, I’ve managed to see 17 of them, more or less a third. They’ll probably continue to pop up in 2009.

A total of 88 solo directors and 8 directing partnerships (or teams in some cases!) appear on the list this year, 15 less than last. Coincidentally, 15 directors had more than one film on the list in 2007 — one managed seven (that was Martin Scorsese) — but only six manage a second appearance this year, and none a third or more. Those with two new films are Kenneth Branagh, Marc Forster, Alfred Hitchcock, Julian Jarrold, Akira Kurosawa, and Billy Wilder. Additionally, Francis Lawrence and Christopher Nolan each put in a second appearance with the same film.

And finally… 56 of the films are currently in my DVD collection, once again nearly identical to 2007’s 57. (The IMAX Dark Knight doesn’t count, incidentally, because the IMAX scenes aren’t integrated on DVD.)


Still to come…

My Top 10, and Bottom 5, and other such things. Nearly over…

Two-thirds done

With August now behind us, 2008 is two-thirds complete. And so, as I missed halfway, now seems like a moderately appropriate time to reflect on how well my aim of watching 100 new films is going in 2008.

By this point in 2007 I had made it to 98 films, which makes my current tally of 60 look a little lacklustre (reviews for ten of which are still in the works). At least it’s a nice round number. Still, there’s 17 weeks of the year to go — that means I need to average 2.4 films per week, or 10 per month, from here out. Considering my averages to this point are 1.7 and 7.5 respectively, it’s still all to play for.

I would say the summer blockbuster season has given me a hand though: at the end of the year’s first third I’d only made it to 22 films (averages: 1.3 per week, 5.5 per month), but, since Iron Man dragged me to the cinema for the first time in nearly a year, I’ve visited the big screen a total of eight times — not exactly a mind-blowing number, but at 8% of my aim (obviously) it’s not wholly insignificant.

Here’s a few more largely-pointless statistics to round out this post: as well as those eight cinema trips, I’ve seen 39 films on DVD, six via downloads, four on TV, and even one on VHS. There’s also been my first two films on Blu-ray, and one each for the new additions of IMAX and “in-flight”.

I’ve seen five alternate cuts (three of which warranted proper numbering) but just one short. Of all the features I saw, 16 ran over two hours (two made it past the three-hour mark!) and 15 didn’t even make it to 90 minutes! Films are often accused of having spiraling running times these days, but that’s clearly not the case for much of my viewing. I’m reviewing films from across the history of film, of course, but 10 of those 15 were produced in the last decade.

I’ve seen eight feature films that the BBFC awarded a U certificate, 20 that require some PG, 16 that warranted a 12 or 12A, 12 that pushed things to a 15, and just four of those naughty 18s. Two were unrated.

I did a statistics post earlier this year, for 100 days. Back then, I hadn’t seen any films from the ’70s, ’60s, ’50s, or before 1939. While I’ve still not managed anything from the ’70s or before 1939, I have at least seen two from the ’60s and four from the ’50s. As well as that, I’ve watched three films from the ’30s, five each from the ’40s and ’80s, and six from the ’90s. The 2000s still sit proudly atop the pile however, with a grand total of 37.

Three directors have managed to squeeze more than one film into the total so far — namely Kenneth Branagh, Alfred Hitchcock and Akira Kurosawa, each with two films. (Francis Lawrence and Christopher Nolan don’t really count as they appear twice thanks to alternate versions of the same films.)

Finally, I’ve handed out ratings right across the board. Animated Sherlock Holmes mystery The Baskerville Curse grabbed only my second-ever single-star rating, while seven films merely managed a lowly 2 stars. Ten films are theoretically average with 3, while the majority (30) made it up to 4. A total of 12 films so far this year have touched the giddy heights of 5 stars (not counting The Dark Knight twice). All of this leaves my average score for first-view films at 3.75 — as ever, I’m either largely watching good films or am just fairly generous with my scores.

That’s all for now. Back to actually watching films then… or maybe even getting round to reviewing them…

100 Days

April 9th: the 100th day of 2008! As it’s just over a quarter of the way through the year (that would’ve been March 31st, more or less), and also a nice round number in its own right, and as I did a similar thing at roughly this point last year, it seems an appropriate time for a statisticstastic look at how things are going so far.

I’ve seen a total of just 15 films so far. That makes my weekly average a lowly 1.07, meaning I’ll manage a paltry 56 films this year should that continue. Oh dear. (At this point last year, I was on course to see 145!)

Of those few films, eight were released in the 2000s, two each in the 1990s, ’80s and ’40s, and one in the ’30s. That means I’ve seen nothing from the ’70s, ’60s or ’50s, or before 1939.

I saw nine of them on DVD, four via download, and two on TV. Nothing on VHS, and I haven’t been to the cinema yet this year.

Ratings wise, I’ve so far handed out three full marks. Those were to Atonement, Dark City and Rebecca. Of the remaining twelve, five garnered 4 out of 5, four managed a 3, and three were awarded just 2. Nothing has been poor enough to merit a 1… yet. The average rating is therefore 3.5, exactly the same as at this point last year and a pretty averagey average.

With 38 weeks of the year to go, I have 85 films left to reach my target — that’s an average of 2.2 new films every week (or 9.5 every month) from here out. Quite low, one might think, but I’ve clearly not been living up to it.