Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Films, Books and Television

 Here's a little round-up of my favourite/least favourite films/books/tv shows from the past year.

**Possible spoiler alerts**
Favourite Film

This has been a relatively quiet year of film watching for me. Looking at "Top 10" lists on other sites usually leaves me only recognising a minority of the films listed. Inception is one of those. I liked it, but more in the way I like a beautiful mathematical formula. I failed to connect with the film on an emotional level, which brings it down a notch. I also agree with a reviewer who said that for a film about dreams it is much too orderly. Harsh as it may sound, I think Inception lacked imagination.

The prize, then, goes to The Social Network. To make a two-hour film about designing a website is an achievement in itself, but to make it compelling is something else. The Social Network captures the spirit of our age. It may not represent accurate history, but the story it tells represents reality as we know it.

For better or worse, Mark Zuckerberg has defined a generation. The Social Network is therefore not just good; it's significant.

Most Disappointing Film

I could give this to Robin Hood. That would be a reasonable thing to do. I wrote about that mess after watching it, and stand by every word. Instead, the winner of this dubious award will have to be The Town.

Watching The Town was just like one of my sunny days. The worst thing I can say about it is that I'm not sure I'm able so say anything good about it. An unbelieveable male lead -- that is to say, a male lead who cannot be believed -- is the start of its troubles. A female love interest who is a love interest because, well, it's convenient for the plot doesn't help. Then there is the investigator who spends the entire film showing us how big his testicles are...metaphorically of course. Why do we even need an investigator in this film? He doesn't actually do any investigating, at least to any fruitful end.

Funnily enough, the most outrageous character in the film was actually the most believable, and therefore represented the only glimmer of light in a dark tunnel. Jeremy Renner played the part of psychotic hatchetman to perfection. His unwavering committment to violence and mayhem made some of the scenes worthy of a second watch.

But if The Town was hanging by a thread coming into the final stretch, Ben Affleck came on the scene with a high-powered chain saw and put it out of its misery. The last 20 minutes or so is as bad a resolution to a film that you'll see. Watch it, and see if you don't vomit in disgust. As I commented on Facebook afterward, "He now has a beard - he must have found redemption!" (How funny am I!?)

The strangest thing is, people rate this film very highly. It has been mentioned as a worthy follow on from Heat, which is tragic. It has a 90+% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Why? What do people like about this film? It is, as far as I'm concerned, a movie that is (vaguely) about redemption that has no redeeming qualities. The best thing I can say about The Town is that it makes me appreciate Michael Mann's cops-and-robbers classic all the more.

I'll fill in the blanks in due course...

Favourite Book

Most Disappointing Book

Favourite TV Show

Most Disappointing TV Show

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