A premature review of the year.

22Jan12

Looking back at my list to the right here of what I’ve seen this year (I’m talking of the ‘year’ as aligned with the Oscars. So 2011 started after last year’s award ceremony, and ends upon the arrival of 2012’s. In America, real and Oscar calendars coincide because to contend for awards films must be released before January 1st, but here in the UK they tend to trickle out either side of that deadline, and so it makes sense to group them in this way), I see that if my predictions for ‘Forthcoming attractions‘ were anything to go by, I’m almost done. On the Road and The Grandmaster turned out to have later release dates than I expected, but otherwise the only films from that list I still plan to see are J. Edgar, A Dangerous Method, Young Adult and Alps. All the rest I have seen, except Contagion and The Lady that both received consistently negative reviews, which was enough to make me not bother with either. But it also turns out I missed some big names: The Artist, though I could hardly be laughed at for that one, and The Descendants, a much bigger blunder. I also failed to find Drive, which I apologise unreservedly for. The same does not go for War Horse, which I have not seen and will not see; the sooner Spielberg soppiness ends the better.

The only new film I’ve seen this year that I did not review was Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I probably should have at least posted a paragraph warning you not to waste your money on such impenetrable claptrap, but I got worried at the time of watching it that I was simply somehow missing something here, and I didn’t want to look like a total fool. Unanimous praise had swept in for a film that I couldn’t follow a single plot detail of, but I soon saw even those speaking highly of it, deep down, knew they understood nothing. It’s a farcical situation. No amount of style can make up for a narrative defect that big.

I doubt any of the films left for me to see will infiltrate the top of my Best of the Year list, which as I’ve hinted at before will feature Tree of Life, Shame and Midnight prominently. Young Adult may change that (I love Reitman), but I can’t see The Artist doing so. Then again, I never dreamt I would end up hailing The Social Network as one of the finest films of the past decade.

Anyway, here’s a heads-up to a ‘Swoons & Snarls’ Awards post shortly once I’ve wrapped the year up, accompanied, of course, by obligatory Oscar predictions. I’ll reveal one easy set of decisions now: Streep to undoubtedly win Best Actress (yes, I know, no shit), and I should agree with it, but I don’t because I like to differ. Deep down my heart roots for Williams or Mara, or even Swinton.

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