by Alarra

Woo! I managed to see 16 movies this year. That's a new record. And gah, I almost managed to see a movie a month, except October spoilt it (but there's one on the 1st of November, can I make that count?). Anyway, here is my end of year movie round up.

Roll tape!

Movies Seen By Alarra in 2002

in order by date seen, earliest to latest

1/1/02    The Fellowship of the Ring
I'll only gush if I write a review of this. Just take it for granted that I loved it, and can't wait for the next one.

12/2/02    The Shipping News
A bit disappointing, but I loved the novel, and it is a hard book to translate to screen for a popular audience. The actors do a good job, and it wasn't a bad film. It just lost some of the edges and some of the resultant bittersweet warmth of the book.

15/2/02    Ocean's 11
Hmmm. I thought it was fun when I was in the cinema, but the more I thought about it, the more I was disappointed with the wasted opportunities and cast.

17/2/02    Black Hawk Down
Yes, it was biased towards the Americans. Yes, it was contrived at times. I don't think this makes it any less powerful.

18/3/02    Kate and Leopold
This was cute. And in hindsight, pretty silly. But it was sweet, and Hugh Jackman is cool. Meg Ryan has been hurt a lot. It shows in her, which is sad.

2/4/02    Gosford Park
I quite enjoyed this, but I don't think my friends did. I found the little hive of intrigue and boredom interesting. Ryan Phillipe does good pouting pretty-boy acting, Maggie Smith is cuttingly funny, and the tension between Kelly McDonald's maid and Clive Owen's butler is very very well played. But the large cast of fine actors are let down by some stupid plot and dialogue - I can't believe Julian Barnes got an Oscar for the script, and I was so embarrassed for Stephen Fry.

22/4/02    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Hee. For the second time. Without the excitement of last year, I can still say this is a fun film. Just seeing things from the book brought to life on screen was cool. It is a patchy movie - the climax annoys me and is better in the book, but the trio's adventures at Hogwarts are definitely the highlight of the movie. Wish there were more scenes like that.

23/5/02    Attack of the Clones
Does George Lucas know how to make a comedy or what? I don't I've laughed so hard for a while. The only bit I actually enjoyed in the way Mr Lucas probably expected us die-hard fans to was Yoda kicking ass at the end.

9/6/02    Spiderman
To be honest...I didn't enjoy this. I thought there were things they could have concentrated more on the complex relationships between Peter, Harry, Harry's father and MJ and less of the silly cartoonish violence. But hey, it's from a comic. It was good while I was in the theatre.

4/7/02    The Importance of Being Earnest
I really like the play, and the movie tries its best to flesh it out to be appropriate for the screen. But this meant introducing some rather strange things, like a tattoo parlour and a burlesque show. The snappy wit and sarcasm in Wilde's writing remains wonderfully intact; Judi Dench and Colin Firth do excellent jobs (the interview scene had me laughing and laughing with delight) and the other actors are good. But it really shows that Wilde hated women because the girls are TWITS. Made me cringe to see how little has changed throughout the years.

1/8/02    About a Boy
I enjoyed this so much, I spilt a box of biscotti over myself. Really. Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult are terrific respectively as the 30 something slacker Will and bullied pre-teen Marcus. The pace is good; there are sad parts but the emotion isn't bashed over your head and there are hilarious parts. Nick Hornby is a good writer but this movie is better than the novel in my opinion.

26/9/02    Austin Powers 3: Goldmember
You know? I found myself laughing at things I normally wouldn't (I almost choked during "the mole" sequence), but not at the cleverer things that usually make me happy (like the opening sequence). I hate the actual character of Goldmember, but as a riotously crude but fun movie, this works.

1/11/02    The Nugget
I went expecting to dislike this, but it wasn't that bad. Yes, there were the expected ocker Aussie cliches, as well as cultural stereotyping of the highest order (your sleazy "wog", your devious broken English speaking Asian etc etc), but there were some genuinely funny scenario and some really likeable characters. Why that weird old dude was in it though, I'll never understand.

5/11/02    My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Eeeee. We went because we heard it was funny and there was a boybander in it for April, but it was lots of fun. Her transformation from frumpy to not is believable, and the jokes at the expense of her Greek family are gently funny.

3/12/02    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Woo! This was good. The books are still much better, but I did come out of this wishing there was more (yeah, freak that I am, I didn't find the 3 hour running time long at all). There was some unneccesary additions (the troubles with the flying car, the useless quidditch circling) but some absolutely dead on target casting and acting (Kenneth Branagh, I'm sorry I doubted you). Dan Radcliffe may actually find more than 3 expressions by the time his movie career is over (annoyed, startled, happy) and Tom Felton makes a good Draco, but I thought this from the first movie.

26/12/02    The Two Towers
I find it very hard to describe exactly what I feel about the LotR movies so far. As I discussed this one after we watched it, I realised there are many faults, yet when I watched it I was awed on the very scale it had been made. People *will* talk about these for years to come, because they really are an epic undertaking of an epic series, and I can't begrudge Peter Jackson for what he's done so far with rather difficult material to film. The movies are exciting and fascinating, gripping and enjoyable. Yes, I am waiting eagerly for RotK already.

Alarra's Top 3 Movies of 2002

Of movies released this year, my top 3 were:

About A Boy
The Two Towers
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Miscellaneous Movie Awards

The "Play it again, Sam" Award
I want to see TTT again. And About a Boy.

The Robert DeNiro "That was *you*?" award
You know, that very blue eyed army guy in Black Hawk Down reappeared later in the year as Legolas wannabe Lucius Malfoy, otherwise known as Jason Isaacs.

The "Give me my money back!" award
Ocean's 11 and Spiderman. OK, AotC got the lowest score, but at least I was expecting something fairly simplistic and laughable, and it was an enjoyable movie for the unintentional comedy. But Ocean's 11 and Spiderman were media-hyped and recommended, and I found them wanting afterwards.

Best overall movie that I would actually recommend to strangers
About a Boy. The LotR movies can scare people off by the length and scale and epicness, and Harry Potter isn't for everyone. But About a Boy was funny and sweet and sad and just a very good movie experience overall. I've hardly ever come out of a cinema as pleased as I was by that movie.

The movie that I should probably be embarrassed to admit I really liked
Austin Powers 3: Goldmember. Because it really is very crude, and roughly written at times, and relies a little too heavily on the same jokes. But I still laughed.

The "wow, that was a whole lot better than I thought it was going to be" award
The Nugget, which I thought was going to mawkish but was ok; and Black Hawk Down, which I thought was going to be a very 'boy's own' kind of movie, but was rather deeper.

The "Take $20 million out of the special-effects budget and buy yourself a better script" award
Hel-lo. AotC takes this one out, hands down. But Gosford Park, Harry Potter 1 and 2, Ocean's 11 and Spiderman could have all down with better scripts too.

Movies Alarra Wants to See in 2003

  • Chicago
  • Catch Me If You Can
  • Bowling for Columbine
  • Spirited Away
  • 8 Mile
  • Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
  • Lord of the Rings: Return of the King