My Year at the Movies
Rick and I have a fun New Year’s tradition: we save all of our ticket stubs – movies, plays, airline tickets, anything at all – then on New Year’s Eve we get them out and look at them and remember the fun things we did during the year.
So I happen to have a fairly complete record of what movies I saw in the cinema this year. Here they are, in chronological order:
Milk, which was as good as everyone said it was. We joined a marriage equality march the following week, inspired by Harvey Milk’s heroism.
Azur & Asmar, a ravishingly beautiful animation by French director Michel Ocelot. It had a very unique look that was literally dazzling on the big screen.
The Magician, a 1926 horror film that we saw as part of the Silent Movie Mondays series at the Paramount theater, accompanied by the mighty Wurlitzer. There was a little girl sitting next to me who was a little frightened. This made it more fun, since I’m a bit too movie-jaded to be frightened by mad scientists coming at damsels with scalpels.
Slumdog Millionaire, was a bit of a disappointment. I guess we expected something more, since it was so stupendously popular. It was rather jarring to go to what we expected to be an uplifting film and have it open with a gruesome torture scene.
Doubt was great fun. I like movies made from plays, if the play is a good one and the movie is done right. I loved the parable of the feather pillows. And the acting was unsurprisingly top-notch.
Escape to Witch Mountain, a childhood favorite, was shown as part of the SIFF children’s matinee series. You never know when you see a movie that you liked as a child whether it will have lost its charm in the interim, but I really enjoyed it. Still get a magical feeling when Tony catches that baseball.
Coraline was nifty, natch.
Star Trek was way, way better than we expected. Perfect for those who, like us, cherish a fervent affection, but not an obsession, for the Star Trek universe.
Romola was another of the Silent Movie Mondays. It’s based on George Eliot’s novel of the same name, which is not my favorite of her novels, but the Renaissance Florence setting made for great costumes and crowd scenes, and lots of nice location filming. The scene of the execution of Savanarola is indelible.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the 1916 silent version. Amazing early underwater cinematography and impressive underwater stunts, all seen in a crisply restored version. Here’s a clip (unrestored, unfortunately, but it gives you an idea).
Still Walking, by Hirokasu Koreeda, who is fast becoming one of my all-time favorite directors. We had seen his brilliant fantasy film After Life and his heartbreaking based-on-a-true story Nobody Knows, and wondered if he could possibly make another movie as good. Turns out, he can. I plan to see every single one of his movies.
So, did you see any good movies this year?