Wrap Up of Films Watched in January of 2009

This is new for 2009. I’m keeping track of all the films I watch. This includes new viewings and reviewings of films. Here’s the list with ratings and an IMDB link along with a summary for January 2009:

* denotes first time viewing.

1. 1/1 – White Heat* – 9.5/10
2. 1/5 – The Element of Crime* – 9/10
3. 1/6 – The Connection* – 7/10
4. 1/6 – Rashomon* – 10/10
5. 1/7 – Epidemic* – 8/10
6. 1/8 – Repo! The Genetic Opera* – 9/10
7. 1/8 – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button* – 9/10
8. 1/9 – Being John Malkovich* – 9.5/10
9. 1/10 – Green For Danger* – 9/10
10. 1/10 – Gran Torino – 9.25/10
11. 1/12 – Revolutionary Road* – 9/10
12. 1/12 – Vicky Cristina Barcelona* – 8.5/10
13. 1/13 – The Wrestler – 9.5/10
14. 1/13 – RocknRolla* – 7.5/10
15. 1/13 – Wall-E* – 8/10
16. 1/14 – Repo! The Genetic Opera – 9/10
17. 1/16 – The Enforcer* – 7/10
18. 1/16 – No Country For Old Men – 10/10
19. 1/18 – Waltz With Bashir* – 9.25/10
20. 1/19 – Persepolis* – 9/10
21. 1/20 – The Ninth Gate – 8/10
22. 1/20 – Downfall* – 9.5/10
23. 1/21 – The Night of the Hunter – 9.5/10
24. 1/21 – Doubt* – 9.25/10
25. 1/23 – Underworld: Rise of the Lycans* – 6.5/10
26. 1/24 – Slumdog Millionaire – 10/10
27. 1/25 – The Reader* – 9/10
28. 1/26 – The Mirror* – 8/10
29. 1/28 – Hana-bi* – 9/10
30. 1/29 – Slumdog Millionaire – 10/10
31. 1/29 – Sin City – 9.5/10
32. 1/30 – Taken – 9/10

January was a month spent largely viewing films up for Oscar consideration as I’d like to see as many as I can before the actual awards ceremony takes place in February. Other than that I went through my Netflix rentals (which I plan to put on hold midway through February so I can sift through the films I own and haven’t watched yet). Had a few multiple viewings including The Wrestler, Slumdog Millionaire and Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Best Film (New Viewing): Being John Malkovich
I may have rated Rashomon higher but that isn’t exactly how I’m judging these categories Being John Malkovich was a film that took me too long to see. Going into it I had absolutely no idea as to what to expect from the plot, acting or mood. It all was grand, just grand. I can imagine watching this film over and over again. Runners-up: Rashomon, White Heat, Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Best Film (Repeated Viewing): No Country For Old Men
A tough choice. Slumdog Millionaire gave this one a good run for its money but NCfOM stood strong. I’ve seen this film a good four times now and STILL noticed a few new things I just never caught before. I’m a sucker for the Coen Brothers and my love for this film proves it. It’ll be an all time classic before all is said and done. Runners-up: Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler, The Night of the Hunter, Sin City.

Worst Film: Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Warning: this doesn’t mean the third installment of Underworld was bad. I actually quite liked it. Check out my review of the film a few posts back. Something HAS to be the worst and this mindless vampires vs. werewolves was, unfortunately, it. I love lots of films and have a very high tolerance. Nearly everything pleases me in one way or another. Not that I don’t have limits (Saw V, I’m looking at you), but I typically look for good things in ALL films. Runner-up: The Connection.

Most Surprising Film: Waltz With Bashir
I know what you’re saying. An Oscar nominated film is your most surprising viewing? Yes. I expected it to be good in some way, shape or form. I just didn’t know in what way. Oh boy did it please me in the right ways. The art animation style was so beyond what I expected and really allowed this documentary to succeed. We saw things we couldn’t see in a natural documentary and it was all done extremely stylishly. It was packed with meaning and left an impression. I came away wowed. Runners-up: Persepolis, The Element of Crime.

Most Disappointing Film: The Mirror
The only Tarkovsky film I had seen prior to The Mirror was Stalker. I absolutely fell in love with it. From there, I didn’t know where to go. For one reason or another The Mirror landed high on my Netflix queue and from there I went. Perhaps the fact that this enigmatic film is one of his most personal films is the reason I didn’t love it like I wanted to. Visually this film was outstanding. Conceptually it was rather brilliant. It just didn’t stick with my like Stalker did which led to a little disappointment. Runners-up: Epidemic, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Most Overrated Film: Wall-E
Ah, before you kill me, please hear me out. I appreciated this film. I just didn’t care for it the way the rest of America did. It was “cute”, sure, but it just wasn’t that impressive. The art was extremely well done. I guess I’m just not one for two robots saying their names to each other. I also got sick of their social commentary on the status of American’s health and the environment of the planet. Jeff Garlin outside of Curb Your Enthusiasm sucks, by the way. Runner-up: None.

Most Underrated Film: Green For Danger
Really one of the better thrillers of the 40’s. Very Hitchcockian in nature and superbly filmed by Sidney Gilliat. I’m easy to please when it comes to the genre and wish these films got more respect than they do. They paved the way for cinema as we know it. Runners-up: Repo! The Genetic Opera (This, of course, is underrated in terms of mainstream critics).

There you have it. I watch too many films. Check back at the end of February for month number two!

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