It's the time of year for lists - here goes with my top 5 movies of the year, all seen either at the cinema or on DVD.
Like a cross between Return of the Jedi, Ferngully & Last of the Mohicans, with the make up done by the people who brought you 'My Little Pony' - that sounds awful, but like gravy on your chips, don't knock it til you've tried it!
This was quite simply the most spectacular film of the year & seemed to work on so many levels. As a straight forward action movie with a bit of obvious romance thrown in, or with all the post modern undercurrents of eco worship, pick & mix world faiths. The message that collonialism is as much in our future as it is in our past is strong, & the frightening American foreign policy of invasion for natural resources is ruthlessly played.
Avatar wins on every count. The action scenes are great, the cinematography breathtaking, even in old fashioned 2D at our local cinema. This is the movie of the year because other film makers will copy it relentlessly now. Any film that changes the genre of movie making deserves this kind of attention. Avatar gets it.
Perhaps the only let down was the contrived happy ending. The truth is, the super power always come back & win in the end.
What a fantastic family movie. Right up there with Toy Story for this type of film. Funny, sad, gripping & endearing all in equal measure.
3/ The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
This is my marmite choice - you'll either love it or hate it - I loved it. I found the idea of following a life moving backwards from old age...well.... moving, & the romance between Pitt & Blanchett, though obvious, worked well. I cried buckets. Interestingly, Button & Up are both films which portray old people in a really positive light & bring out some top characterisation in this way.
4/ District 9
This was a really interesting movie. Again, a cross breed between a space shoot 'em up & a sideways glance at racial tensions & the plight of refugees the world over. If it had been set in the USA it would have ended up as a Men in Black tribute act, but moving the setting to Johanasburg made it happen. The scenery, the accents, the Afrikans swearing were tremendous - then you forget the strong social justice message & just enjoy the bad guy coming good & getting back. Top film!
Bill Maher's critical look at fundementalist Christianity was always going to be anarchic, & I wouldn't watch it with your vicar or your Nan in the room. Having said that, it was the most helpful thing I've seen in terms of helping Christians understand how the world out there sees us - & it was painfully funny. The moment where Maher tries to provoke a fight with 'Jesus' on a visit to Bibleworld is the kind of thing you watch through your fingers. Or how about where Maher asks the Pastor of the Church of Cannabis (yep, you read it right the first time) in Amsterdam 'Don't you worry that all this drug use will affect your short term memory?' twice in 60 seconds to a deadpan response of 'Nope!'
Mahers stance is flawed & he ultimately shows his hand as an apologist for atheism, but the early parts of the movie should be staple viewing for every lazy Christian who has ever relied on cliched responses for their belief in God.
There were a number of close calls, but that is my top 5 for the year.
Pants film of the Year goes to Young Victoria. I would rather sit through the school recorders practise without cheese in my ears than be subjected again to this nauseating, fawning, Daily Mail Royal fanclub portrayal of the Royal Family. This was strictly for Womans Weekly readers that eat sunday tea from hostess trollies & wish Diana was still with us. Whatever you do, don't be tempted by the DVD on the shelves this Christmas.