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My Best of 2011: The Adjustment Bureau & True Romance

It’s that time of the year. To celebrate 2011, and the countdown to 2012, I’m going to count down my own twelve favourite films of the year, one a day until New Year’s Eve. I’m also going to talk a bit about how or why I chose them, and perhaps what makes this list “my” best of 2011, rather than any list claiming to be objective.

The Adjustment Bureau is number nine. Check out my original review here.

I think this is probably the first truly surprising choice of my own personal countdown. After all, the film debuted to generally positive reviews, but hardly the most exceptional critical feedback. It wasn’t loved and it wasn’t hated, but it was fairly quickly forgotten. I suspect that I will be one of very few people to include the title in my end-of-year best-of list. Still, I loved The Adjustment Bureau. And I think that’s strangely appropriate, because I’d argue that The Adjustment Bureau is perhaps the purest cinematic love story that we’ve seen in quite some time.

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Right In Time: Are Some Concepts Just Too Silly For Movies?

I think it’s happened to all of us at some point. We see a poster for a film, or the start of a trailer that looks fascinating – all the right talent is involved to grab our attention, the technical stuff looks well-executed, it’s stylish and smart… and then we catch the plot of the film. It’s a plot that kind of makes us pause, drawing an almost unconscious, “huh?” from our collective lips. Maybe we read it twice to try to make some sense out of it, but there’s no joy. It still sounds as absolutely and impossibly silly as it did when we first read of the plot. It has happened to me quite a few times over the years, as I’ve found myself wondering how the hell such a concept could work on the big screen. I’ll confess, it happened when I read the plot summary for In Time, directed by Andrew Niccol, which drew this appropriate response

More at The Shiznit...

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March (2011) In Review

That was a fun month.

I’m still, to be honest, entirely speechless. I picked up the Best Pop Culture Award at the Irish Blog Awards earlier this month, and I’m still delighted and humbled and honoured and all those things. I know I don’t blog to win awards, but I really feel motivated to try even harder to justify the huge vote of confidence that it represents.


Other than that, there was tonnes of stuff. I’m currently blogging along with Things That Don’t Suck‘s  “Raimi-fest”, which is a blast. Always a joy to be asked to take part. March also had some fairly decent films – with two brilliant films in Source Code and The Adjustment Bureau, along with a slew of quite good films to go along with it. So that was pretty fantastic. Although maybe I’m just a big softie.

I got to ramble (at length) about the upcoming Superman film, and revisit Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy (and just why he was so damn suited to it). I had my first honest-to-goodness interview, with the wonderful Grace Dyas.

I defended big budget blockbusters, wondered who killed The Mountains of Madness and got to discuss why this year’s Academy Awards felt like a great big group hug.

It was a fun month. Hopefully the trend will continue!

Critical Predisposition: What Preconceptions Do You Bring Into Movies?

Over the last week, I had the pleasure to visit the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. I saw a lot of films as part of that, and the reviews have been popping up all week. Anyway, they give out an audience award, which gave me occasion to actually score films. Regular readers here know that I am loath to try to objectively rank cinema, as it’s a very subjective medium and I have difficulty reconciling relative grades, but I went along with it. Anyway, they use a four-point scale and, long story short, I found myself using a lot of “3” grades, which is the second-highest rank. This kinda got me thinking: Am I a little too generous to films I really shouldn’t be? How do I approach the cinema? Do I look for things to love? Do I have a pre-disposed bias? Do I want to love films, even if they aren’t especially great?

Me, aged about eight...

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February 2011 (JDIFF and For the Love of Film Noir) In Review…

Hey, I’ve been shortlisted for two Irish Blog Awards, Best Pop Culture Blog and Best Arts and Culture Blog. I’m honoured and delighted to make the shortlist which is, as ever, populated with some of the best Irish talent around. Anyway, February was a busy month, what with the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and the For The Love of Film Noir Blogathon going on. And I had my 1,000th post.

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Non-Review Review: The Adjustment Bureau

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

One of the joys of a film festival like the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival is that you get to see films that take you by surprise. Sometimes they are small foreign dramas which will never get a major release here, and thus haven’t been discussed to death on-line or in-print, but occasionally it’s a movie premiere of a big upcoming release which will impress. The Adjustment Bureau is hitting screens around the world next Friday, but film fanatics in Dublin were treated to a sneak peek (the movie’s second public screening and the first in Europe). As a movie that I honestly wasn’t expecting too much of, based on the trailers in front of every major release since last August that seemingly couldn’t decide on the genre of the film, what did I make of it?

A bathroom break...

I loved it.

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