Three more unreviewed. Two good one TERRIBLE. From which I think you are starting to get the view that I really like writing about mediocre films, or films that almost made it. Find me an interesting flaw and I will be all over you like a badger with binbag (full). Make a film I really liked, I want to keep that to myself. Which, as noted regarding Frozen River below, I really shouldn’t do.

District 9:
Sometimes there is no point to writing about a film. Usually there is something interesting to say, or at least some sort of critical dialogue, but with a film like District 9 all the interesting angles are really obvious. So Blah blah – apartheid analogy, blah blah alien invasion, blah blah low budget Peter Jackson. Even the interesting stuff I though I was the only one to notice was quickly battered to death by the media. Was it racists to Nigerians? (No). Does it give up most of its interesting ideas to become a war/chase movie in the last third (yes – but I am not convinced it is a bad thing). And like many films which a thoroughly entertaining when you are in the cinema, it is quite difficult to portray that outside of the movies: yes its a bit like Alien Nation, but with exciting bits in South Africa. For all of its many sci fi flaws (one wonders how bored humanity can get of a genuinely alien species to turn them into just another batch of refugees), its still one of the best films of the year, and can add itself to the genuinely grungy sci fi along with Cloverfield. And not Pandorum.

Frozen River: If there is one film I regret not having reviewed this year, its Frozen River. Despite being Oscar nominated, it got the mystery Oscar Nomination slot which meant it slipped in and out of cinemas without being noticed. The mystery Oscar Nom being Best Actress, with is an indictment to the importance and excitement placed on female lead roles. To cap it all Frozen River is an excellent indie border smuggling thriller, with two great female leads, culture clash, and honest to god suspense. ANd there is loads to write about it. There is at the heart of the film a real question as to how a female thriller works, there is a desperation in the film shy from most thrillers these days. There is also a question about the plotting of the film, which arguably fluffs its greatest moment of suspense by stuffing it at one hour rather than nearer the end. The real pity about not writing about it was I was unable to tell people to go and see it. Its probably on DVD now, where it will work just as well. But well worth seeing in the cinema.

Year One: On the other hand I was worried that whatever I wrote about Year One would be taken the wrong way. Its Jack Black and Michael Cera in a stupid knockabout comedy set in biblical times. That may not be a very enticing sentence to you, but it was enough for me, especially when coupled with “From The Director Of Groundhog Day”. Of course one should always remember that the phrase “from the Director of Groundhog Day” is also the same as “from the Director of Analyse This, Analyse That and the godawful remake of Bedazzled”. And for someone with such a great grasp on high concept, the biblical / stoneage mess that is Year One falls apart from its title onwards – in what way is the Year One? Not only does it waste a shed load of excellent cameo’s (David Cross just about redeems himself), but it takes a perfectly goofy Jack Black performance and squishes it with the weigh of plot. What could have been a fun romp through bits of the bible turns into a tirade of gay gags at Oliver Platt’s expense. A real waste. I really should have written about it
a) to warn people off
b) To go on at quite some length about how misleading the title is. I am not sure why calling a film Year One annoys me so much, but it really, really, really did.