So here’s the last batch, from March onwards where ones new Years Resolutions start drifting away. And rather than great, or bad movies, these are all a bit of both, rather reliable and stolid rather than stuff worth writing about. All films i would recomend people saw without out trying to tell them that they are the best film ever. You know, the bread and butter of the film industry, even if they all potentially offered a lot more.

Watchmen: One of my favourite movie going experiences of 2009, merely because it made good one of my other New Years Resolutions. Namely I saw it with a lot of people. I think about eight of use sat in a prime location in a packed Vue Islington, and enjoyed watching a comic we had all read being turned into a film which was nearly exactly like the comic we had all read. And in retrospect, what more did we want? We all came out with very few complaints, we all agreed that the one significant change (SQUID) made lots of sense and then also agreed that Watchmen is Ok but not the best thing ever anyway. In a year that I would characterise for its excellent credit sequences, Watchmen had one of the best, a masterclass is effortless world building. The rest of the film was less of a masterclass of adaptation, really too long and not quite as portentous as it wanted to be. But then that is the case with the comic, and we all agreed in the pub afterwards. It reminded me that watching a film with people really is a different beast, and part of the point of cinema. It was a fun afternoon.

Outlander: I saw this with Mark, and he was toying with writing about it so I backed off. In the end though it is a silly little B-movie yet again trying to retell Beowulf, this time with ALIEUMS!!! Outlander is almost as much fun as a film about Vikings and Aliens and Alien dragon monsters can be. It has John Hurt in it. It has a feisty Viking warrior princess. It has a mystery glow in the dark space alien dragon. And unfortunately in the lead role it has about the dullest actor working in Hollywood at the moment, Jim Calveziel. Even his dullness cannot strip the film from its simple b-movie joys, and luckily much of the rest of the cast do overact into his blank alien canvas. He is the acting version of A Spaceman Came Travelling here, which is what he is playing, your least favourite bit of the thing he seems to have become a vital part. So it lacks the complete bonkersness it really needs, but well worth kicking back with for a laugh.

Synedoche, New York: You know the way that no-one likes a smart arse? I sort of feel that way about Charlie Kufmann’s film. Phillip Seymour Hoffmann is a terrific actor, but rarely a sympathetic one, and pile this with the standard Kaufmann conundrum plot and the film is the kind you describe as impressive. It is impressive, but hard to love. And I often wonder if the rest of the world is super dumb if they find all of kaufmann’s ideas so mindblowing. Synedoche, New York’s great idea is that his playwright lead basically constructs a play of his life, in real time, in a smaller scale (which then breeds its own inner play within the play). And it goes on for twenty years, and he still doesn’t get to understand why he is unhappy. And there are no end of great questions about art, theatre, and particularly movies nested in there. But unlike Being John Malkovitch or Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind there isn’t also a master story, or connection with a character I cared about. I cannot say I enjoyed the experience even: I enjoyed the mulling over it more afterwards. Though this time that mulling was heavily predicated on how I might have made it better. I want Kaufmann to continue, but hopefully this has got the blurting everything out stage out of his system.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: I still don’t think I have anything left to say about this juggernaut series. I haven’t read the books and am genuinely enjoying the films as a regular saga, without really buying into the mythology or really caring about the destinies of these characters. Indeed I tend to prefer the slower developmental aspects of the series, the bits where we see the kids slowly growing up, and so Hermione and Ron are at this point much more interesting to me than Harry. And yet, even Harry interests me as a protagonist, as he drifts comfortably away from being the complete Joseph Campbell hero type, and the series is capable of surprising me. I still hate its twee 1950’s throwback public school feel, but since that is central to the premise I won’t escape it. But all the above could have been written about any of the Potter films, and this one has just drifted into the bunch. Nowhere near as badly directed as the Chris Columbus pair, but nothing much of importance really seems to happen in it.