January in Review

I’ve started the year with the intention of reviewing or at least commenting on everything I watch this year- that’s ‘new’ movies, old movies I’ve already seen but have rewatched and also tv box-sets that I get through. Don’t know if I’ll manage that throughout the year, but I’ve certainly managed it for January so at least I’m off to a good start.

Naturally the initial impact is that the number of posts has gone up -15 this month, which is pretty considerable for me. I’ve also started numbering all the ‘new’ stuff I’ve seen; you’ve probably noticed the prefix of the year and then a number at the front-end of some reviews. It’s something that Richard does for obvious reasons on his 100filmsinayear blog and I’ve always been curious about just how many ‘new’ films I myself manage to watch in a year and this is one way of finding out. I’m counting tv series in the list but I figure that’s reasonable since a) there shouldn’t really be many of them and b) they take so much time just to watch compared to movies and since that impacts the time available to actually watch any movies, I figure including them is a fair trade.  We’ll see how it goes and where I end up at years end.

So January is done; let’s see how it was with a look at the month’s posts, here’s the list-

  1. (2016.1) Terminator Genysis
  2. Georges Delerue’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (Unused Soundtrack)
  3. (2016.2) Fear The Walking Dead Season One
  4. (2016.3) Inside Out
  5. Three More Years
  6. A Tale of Two Recalls
  7. (2016.4) Ted 2
  8. (2016.5) True Detective Season Two
  9. (2016.6) Snowtown
  10. (2016.7) The Revenant
  11. (2016.8) Boardwalk Empire Season Five
  12. (2016.9) Child 44
  13. Dances With Wolves
  14. Blade Runner Details
  15. (2016.10) It Follows

With so many tv series in that list(catching up on some of last years highlights) there is a lot more viewing-time in there than might first appear, but I’ve also managed to watch seven new films during the month, including one trip to the cinema with The Revenant, which as an extraordinary film and no doubt already a possible Film of the Year. Re-watches were the two Total Recall films on consecutive nights and the four-hour extended cut of Dances With Wolves. I was pretty pleased managing the latter as I really want to hit the ‘to-watch’ pile this year. I didn’t make a ‘to-watch’ list for 2016 but I’m conscious that some of the films that were on the 2014 To-Watch list still languish on the shelf (Betty Blue, The Maltese Falcon etc) and I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend good money on discs and never even watch them. Its a bad habit and an obvious waste of money. A particular target this year will be some of the Anime box-sets that have piled up over the past few years. A Glasgow-based label, All The Anime, have been releasing some gorgeous blu-ray sets over the past few years and I’ve been buying them up (as most have been limited editions) but I haven’t been knuckling down to actually watch them. Part of it is because my wife isn’t into anime so I have to watch them when she’s engaged elsewhere and its been difficult, but anyway, I must do better. (My wife doesn’t like Blade Runner either, which is why I didn’t watch my favourite movie of all time at all last year- something else I must attend to).

Best film of the month was naturally The Revenant, worst film was Snowtown, which was just horrible (I still feel somehow dirty from watching it and intend to dump that disc in a bin somewhere soon unless someone wants a freebie). I hope Snowtown turns out to be the worst film I see all year, because I’d hate to think of seeing anything worse.

Regarding those tv shows, as usual the quality was pretty high (to be honest it should be as I’m selective what I watch). True Detective had bad word-of-mouth but really surprised me, I thought it was excellent and deserved better reviews.  Boardwalk Empire had a pretty good send-off with its final season. I do think some of these high-profile A-list shows are often superior to what passes for film entertainment these days and merit inclusion on this blog.

My favourite post? Well, I think my post about the two Total Recalls was fun to write. I don’t consider it a review piece, more an opinion/commentary piece given the benefit of the distance of time/hindsight, and watching the two films back to back over two nights was a nice experiment and opportunity to compare them. It was nice to look back at when I first saw the original and consider how my thoughts have changed about that film over the years, and it will be interesting this year to possibly see how many 1980s films have aged well (or not!).

So anyway, I’m pretty pleased with how January went. Maybe the dark winter nights and lousy tv schedules have helped (certainly regards finding opportunity to work through those three tv shows), we’ll have to see how better weather and other distractions impact things as the year progresses.

February next, with some important blu-ray releases, offering the chance to rewatch some of last year’s highlights like Sicario, The Martian and Spectre, and also some ‘new’ films like the long-delayed Evangelion 3.33.  Amazon Prime has a few films on there now that I really must get around to watching, and I’ve at least one tv series to get through (American Horror Story: Hotel just missing the January list). I’m sure there will be a few surprises too, and hopefully something from that dusty To-Watch shelf...







7 thoughts on “January in Review

  1. I’m glad to hear that you liked True Detective Season 2. I didn’t love it, but I felt that it wasn’t as bad as the weekly reviews made it out to be. Unfortunately, I think it ended up being something that was fashionable to hate-watch and complain about.

    1. There’s a lot of damage done by ‘fashionable’ hate and bad reviews. I’m thinking about decent films like John Carter or The Lone Ranger where the knives were out even before they were released. What annoys me is that it isn’t fair, and that really bad films seem to get a pass. Who decides this? What background forces and vested interests manipulate the zeitgeist of general opinion?

      True Detective 2’s crime seems to be that it was too much of a leap from the first series. Maybe that what indeed the case for many viewers, but judged for what it was (a film noir homage/potboiler) it was well crafted, well written and well acted and better than many films. Of course it wasn’t for everyone. But for HBO top-brass to come out apologising, thats just overkill.

  2. re: including TV, the introduction to Sight & Sound’s last review-of-the-decade has really stuck in my head (for 6 years now!) The editor wrote that they debated allowing TV series into voting for the decade’s best films though ultimately decided against it, but he expressed the opinion that the 2000s were the last decade where that would be a reasonable position to take. It’s a point of view I subscribe to (though obviously I don’t practice what I preach on my blog) and has only become more pertinent since, not just in terms of TV’s quality, but also the increase in cinema screenings of TV shows and Netflix releasing entire seasons on one day, encouraging people to think of them as really long movies (and if you leave their auto play options on, it even cuts out the title sequence on episode 2+; and probably the end credits too, as they seem to have little respect for those). A little while ago Empire even abandoned the pretence that they were just a film mag and now run features on TV series (though they haven’t made it into the review section yet, I don’t think). Not sure if S&S have done the same.

    As to all the stuff coming out in February, I noticed the other day that I have a pre-order Blu-ray coming every single week (through to the end of March, actually). Tomorrow there are two, so I have to decide whether Sicario or Macbeth takes precedence in my viewing. Very excited for Evangelion 3, too — it’s been a long enough wait! Must make time to re-watch 1 & 2 first.

    1. Yep February is looking to be a busy month if the to-watch pile isnt going to get added to. I intend to rewatch Eva 1 & 2 somehow before 3 comes out too.

      Regards the quality of tv shows, I wonder if the reason why movie screenplays are so bad and full of plotholes is because all the best writers have moved to the premium tv outlets like HBO.

      1. I think the good writers in movies (major movies, anyway) get shafted by the studios, or the producers and directors, who demand stuff whether it’s good writing or not. Not to mention pile dozens of writers on a project, and do daft stuff like have two writers pen competing screenplays and then get a third to try to merge them together.

        On premium TV, conversely, I get the impression they’re more hands off, at least once a show has been commissioned. Execs having the trust that they’ll get what they’ve asked for, and that a writer knows how to write something better than middle-management do, would benefit movies.

        Saying that, the leaked producer notes about Spectre‘s third act were rather insightful, so it’s not always the studio’s fault!

  3. Pingback: The Past Month on TV #1 | 100 Films in a Year

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