Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Films I Liked Most At The Pictures in 2010

I think I saw more films at the pictures this year than in any other year ever, probably thanks to getting a membership card for the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff (a bargain at £25 for me and my girlfriend). Some of them were right clunkers - especially The Ghost (which was simply preposterous) and Iron Man 2 (which struggled to shoe-horn its 'expanded universe' into anything resembling a plot). Some of them were brilliant. Here, in no particular order, is them:

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans

I've not seen the original all the way through, but that apparently means I've seen more of it than Werner Herzog, who directed this remake. Out goes Catholic guilt. Out goes New York City. Out goes Harvey Keitel. In comes Nic Cage being completely insane as he tries to solve a murder in post-Katrina New Orleans. Words cannot do it justice.

The Social Network

A brilliant portrait of a young man with no social skills who revolutionises how people socialise. Director David Fincher reins in his visual style and lets the script 'do the talking' (that's a joke about Aaron Sorkin's dialogue!). Much more than just a "film about Facebook".

Four Lions

Chris Morris generates a brilliant amount of humour by (FILM STUDIES) juxtaposing the absurdities of extremism against the mundaneness of modern life.

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

Won my heart with its opening scenes and didn't let it go for the film's duration. I can appreciate that it's not for everyone (read some of the 1 star reviews of the DVD over on Amazon) but I thought it was great (though the ending wasn't as good as the comics).

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Albums I Listened To Most This Year.

I don't use Last.fm or anything, so this won't be based on anything other than my selective memory, but never mind. In no particular order, I give to you...

Yeasayer - Odd Blood

Mostly for Ampling Alp and O.N.E I'll admit, but this album lived in my kitchen and pretty much sound-tracked all my cooking for a good few months.

Surfer Blood - Astro Coast

I found this slightly underwhelming at first. The first 2 songs are great but the rest of it didn't really do anything, but for some reason I kept going back to it and now I'm completely in love with the whole album. Especially the track 'Anchorage', which starts quite slowly and then explodes into life as it progresses. Deceptively simple.

The National - High Violet

Pretty much a victory lap after Alligator and Boxer. Utterly brilliant nonetheless. Probably the best band in the world.

The Walkmen - Lisbon

Unfortunately they'll probably always be "that band who did The Rat" (I think when they last played Cardiff that was even on the poster), but away from that undoubted 'indie disco' classic they've, in their own way, slowly started to equal The National for that whole 'bruised masculinity / triumph in the face of adversity' thing.

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

Not quite as good as Funeral (obviously) but a slight refocusing and a move away from the bombast that made Neon Bible a bit overbearing at times. I really like this album.