I died for your sins, so accordingly, here are some inane musings to contemplate...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Final Reading List For 2009

Was a pretty good year for reading with Erikson releasing the stunning Dust Of Dreams and I started the really fun Shadows of the Apt series. Chelsea Cain came close to a major disappointment mainly due to the unthinkably stupid ending to her second Gretchen Lowell novel.

01. Richard Morgan - Black Man (A)
02. Paul Carter - Don't Tell Mum I Work On The Oil Rigs She Thinks I'm A Piano Player In A Whore House (B-)
03. John Lindqvist - Let The Right One In (A+)
04. Michael Capuzzo - Close to Shore (C+)
05. Hugh Cook - The Wizards and the Warriors (Chronicles of an Age of Darkness 1) (B)
06. Hugh Cook - The Wordsmiths and the Warguild (Chronicles of an Age of Darkness 2) (B-)
07. Greg Keyes - The Charnel Prince (Kingdoms of Thorn & Bone 2) (B+)
08. Greg Keyes - The Blood Knight (Kingdoms of Thorn & Bone 3) (B+)
09. Raymond E Feist - Rides A Dread Legion (Demonwar Saga 1) (B)
10. Alfred Bester - The Stars My Destination (B)
11. Brent Weeks - The Way of Shadows (Night Angel Trilogy 1) (B+)
12. Greg Keyes - The Born Queen (Kingdoms of Thorn & Bone 4) (B-)
13. David Gunn - Death's Head: Maximum Offence (Sven Tveskoeg 2) (A-)
14. Brian Aldiss - Non-Stop (A-)
15. Joe Abercrombie - Best Served Cold (A+)
16. Brent Weeks - Shadow's Edge (Night Angel Trilogy 2) (A-)
17. Brent Weeks - Way of Shadows (Night Angel Trilogy 3) (B+)
18. Peter Kocan - The Treatment and The Cure (A+)
19. Fritz Leiber - Ill Met In Lankhmar (B+)
20. Neil Gaiman - The Graveyard Book (A-)
21. Hugh Cook - The Women and the Warlords (Chronicles of an Age of Darkness 3) (B-)
22. Adrian Tchaikovsky - Empire in Black and Gold (Shadows of the Apt 1) (A-)
23. Adrian Tchaikovsky - Dragonfly Falling (Shadows of the Apt 2) (A-)
24. Steven Erikson - Dust of Dreams (Malazan 9) (A+++)
25. Adrian Tchaikovsky - Blood of the Mantis (Shadows of the Apt 3) (A)
26. John Scalzi - Zoe's Tale (A)
27. Terry Pratchett - Unseen Academicals (Discworld 37) (B+)
28. Ken Grimwood - Replay (A)
29. Chelsea Cain - Sweetheart (C+)
30. Peter F Hamilton - A Second Chance At Eden (B+)
31. Ursula K Le Guin - The Dispossessed (A-)

Moofies in 2010 - January (17 / 17)

Attempted to watch In The Name of the King - A Dungeon Siege Tale - and gave up an hour into it. It was absolutely awful but I was hoping so awful it was good, but that was not to be. I was just amazed that so many known actors would actually go for this tripe - the production values were quite high but the acting and script were just appalling. 0.1/5 (for some OK CGI and costumes)

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - meh, so-so. 1.5/5

Funny People - actually rather engaging and interesting. 3.5/5

Zombieland - absolutely FREAKIN' HILARIOUS!!! 5/5

Bottle Shock - good fun if predictable drama about a father and son trying to produce quality wine in Claifornia in the late 70s and a British wine snob who wnats to pit the US against the Frenchies to get on the good side of the Frenchies, little does he know... Exceptionally good performances from Bill Pullman and Freddie Rodriguez. 4/5

The Soloist - Robert Downey Jr plays a reporter who discovers a Julliard trained cellist who lives on the streets of LA battling with his schizophrenia. Actually quite good in the end with a real pathos given to the story by RDJ's great mumble/off the cuff acting style. 3.5/5

Sherlock Holmes - good fun with Downey saving what could have been a very dull flim. His banter with Jude Law worked wonderfully and apart from some very dreary greyness the film looked great as well. 3/5

The Blind Side - meh, it was OK. Really dunno why people are going all crazy over it. It was an interesting story but ultimately rather pedestrian. 2.5/5

Punisher War Zone - ultra violent, average story line, but lots f good fun at the same time. Shame no Thomas Jane as Frank Castle but at least there was no John Travolta. 2.5/5

I Love You Beth Cooper - average teen comedy that had a few laughs but was nothing special. Did get to see Hayden Paniterre side boob, so extra half point for that. 1.5/5

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies - rather dull and short cartoon with a fairly pedestrian story and some middling animation. 1/5

Angels & Demons - I haven't seen The Davinci Code or read any of the books but this was easy to jump into and had quite an interesting story to it. I figured out who was the bad guy pretty early on (the Red Herrings were just way too obvious) but it was still an interesting and fun ride. 3/5

Into The Wild - fascinating tale about a guy who, really, was totally nuts. Obviously some was overly dramatised but it worked quite well. A standout performance from Emile Hirsch and features the always luminous Catherine Keener. 4/5

Gone Baby Gone - sad and interesting tale, well directed by Ben Affleck and with Casey Affleck really proving his acting chops. 4/5

*A.I. - Artificial Intelligence - the effects stand up really well, the story is interesting and the acting by Frances O'Connor and Haley Joel Osment was quite great. The ending is a bit hit and miss with some people but I've always liked it. 3.5/5

Lions For Lambs
- I like films that have multiple story lines like this one but there was just something missing from this. Robert Redford seemed a little too preachy maybe, but the scenes with Cruise and Streep worked perfectly. 3/5

In The Valley Of Elah - Tommy Lee Jones is just marvelous in what turns out to be a very sad and depressing story. His controlled fury mixed with soul destroying sadness is just perfect. Sarandon's relatively small role was also played to perfection. Not the happiest of films but certainly a good one. 4.5/5

PROJECT 365: 190 - 209

Only made it to 209, ah well, shit happens.

190. Capitalism: A Love Story - typical Michael Moore fare where a lot of it is about himself rather than the problem at large. This is a lot more personal than Farenheit 9/11 or even Sicko and I think it weakens what could ahve otherwise been a very powerful film. Nonetheless it's quite entertaining whilst still delivering an important message, although he really does bang on the drum of "Capitalism is evil" a little too hard. 2.5/5

191. New World Order - absolutely pathetic pile of crap supposedly documenting the NWO that controls the world. In reality it's a half dozen absolute nut jobs spouting lies and filth about the most inane things with not a single "fact" even explored for accuracy - they just spout it off as truth and expect you to believe. Actually fascinating to watc in a way but still quite ridiculous, I fast forwarded the last 45 minutes or so. -50/5

192. The Answer Man - a quirky rom com about a reclusive author (Jeff Daniels) who wrote a book where he was in conversation with God and received all the answers to the big questions, it became a sensation and he fled all publicity. 20 years later he's a crotchety old dude trying to become one with the universe and not quite succeeding. Not your typical romantic comedy and for this I reason I quite liked it. Good performances and a relatively tight script, and although it goes into cliched areas it does it well enough that it's n0t a problem. Good Sunday arvo flick. 3.5/5

193. The Thaw (aka Frozen) - great idea, poorly executed and atrociously acted yet it still has an interesting take on what it could take for Humanity to finally wake up and smell the rotting mammoth. Quite ridiculous but amusing nonetheless. 1.5/5

194. *Moon - watched it again as made the housemate watch it and the ending didn't piss me off as much as the first time. Still an awesome film.

195. *Kill Bill (Vol. 2) - great film, better than the first, loved the confrontation with Bill at the end. 4/5

196. Pandorum - gave up a third through, truly awful film that had me angry after 5 minutes. DETESTED IT. -10/5.

197. The Informant - rather funny film where Matt Damon gets to really shine as a corporate whistle blower - but is he telling the entire truth? Fantastic music throughout and some real guffaws. 3.5/5

198. The Taking of Pelham 123 - I haven't seen the original but this was good, dumb, fun. 3/5

199. Where The Wild Things Are - I'd been waiting for over 2 years to see this film and apart from some minor soundtrack quibbles (I am not a Karen Oh fan) I absolutely loved it. 5/5

200. 9 - beautiful animation, great voice cast, intriguing story, quite a good script, I'd say this is one of the top animated films of 2009. 4/5

201. Up In The Air - George Clooney is great in the lead and for once Jason Bateman doesn't go over the top. The real stand outs are the two female leads with Vera Farmiga looking absolutely stunning (and she can act to boot!). Slightly depressing film but well worth it. 4.5/5

202. Avatar - stunning visuals, pedestrian but not boring story line, quite good acting. Cameron's restrained use of 3D (nothing charges out of the screen at you, it is used to give the visuals an added depth) is a big plus. 4.5/5

203. Downloading Nancy - 3 stunning performances - especially, I thought, from Rufus Sewell - give what could have otherwise been a sadistic torture-porn film a real edge and quality that was refreshing. When a woman can't stand to live her life and be in the body that has been damaged by past traumas, can she find some stranger to help her end her suffering? Based on an extremely sad but true event in the US, I was mesmerised from start to finish. Can be difficult to watch but worth it. 4.75/5

204. Ils (Them) - French thriller done quite intelligently and using suspense to great effect - almost no blood and guts, it's all about being scared out of your mind by strangers invading your home. Chilling ending as well. 3.5/5

205. Wyvern - SciFi channel schlock film that was so stupid it was fun. An Alaskan town is being attacked by a prehistoric Wyvern. It doesn't beat around the bush but gets straight into the silliness and gore, a great over-the-top performance by Don S. Davis in one of his last roles also has a simply hysterical exposition on the origin of the Wyvern. 3/5

206. The French Kissers - rather amusing French film about a group of young teenagers just discovering girls and wondering what it'd be like to pash on with them. Is genuinely funny in many places with a few "blink and you'll miss it" moments (I was the only person in the very small cinema who laughed out loud to the Rocco Siffredi joke). Some of the dead pan humour was great. 3.5/5

207. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time - a young girl suddenly finds that she can leap back in time to change the outcome of her various actions only to discover that the more she tries to change things or set thing right, the worse she is making everyone's lives around her. I had no idea I'd love this film as much as I did as I am not a huge anime fan but the humour and gentle beauty of this story just grabbed me from go to woe. Has some very very funny moments and a heart warming tale at its core helped along by some great animation. 4.75/5

208. Surrogates - typical Hollywood schlock that was still reasonably entertaining, thankfully quite short though - I get the feeling a lot of stuff was cut. 2/5

209. *Fight Club - watched it on Austar on the big screen at my folks' place at Christmas. Such a great, great film 5/5.

And so that was it. Didn't quite make the 365 but had fun trying, now I'll just watch films as often as I can... Just as I have for all previous years anyway!