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Last year I only went to the cinema fourteen times. For 2006, I made extra effort — once a week.

Part of the appeal of regular cinema-going is seeing bad films and still getting something out of it. It helps with a sense of perspective, and with building film literacy. Going once a week also forces you to broaden your definition of “watchable”, which turned up a few gems.

A few films were as good as they say — critically acclaimed, and worth it. Strongly recommended.

  • La Double vie de Véronique
  • Volver
  • Brick
  • Walk The Line
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Pan’s Labyrinth

Others were, in their own way, better than expected. I expected some of them to be extremely poor, others just to be mediocre. Either way, they all outperformed.

  • Borat
  • Click
  • Flushed Away
  • Severance
  • Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
  • Clerks II
  • A Scanner Darkly
  • Cars
  • Match Point
  • Friends with Money
  • Stranger than Fiction

A few others got good press but didn’t quite sparkle for me. They’re certainly good films, though.

  • The Departed
  • Syriana
  • Grizzly Man
  • Pandora’s Box
  • Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
  • A Cock and Bull Story

We’re still in the realm of good films that are well worth watching, mind.

  • Casino Royale
  • Harsh Times
  • Good Night, And Good Luck
  • Talladega Nights — The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
  • V for Vendetta
  • The Prestige

Possibly the blandest group was films that were exactly what I expected them to be. Watchable every one, but deeply replaceable. Some of them seem like intentional filler, others have grander aspirations. It’s increasingly likely you could find something better to do.

  • Ice Age 2
  • Superman Returns
  • Snakes on a Plane
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
  • Miami Vice
  • The Producers
  • X-Men — The Last Stand
  • Deja Vu
  • Inside Man
  • 16 Blocks
  • Crank
  • Confetti
  • Mission: Impossible III
  • Jarhead
  • Flags of our Fathers
  • Romance & Cigarettes
  • The Last Kiss

In retrospect, a lot of pretty good cinema. But these ones; they weren’t so great.

  • Ultraviolet
  • Thank You for Smoking
  • Silent Hill
  • A Good Year

Special do-not-watch section

  • Underworld Evolution
  • The Holiday

In summary, I enjoy foreign films about death and CGI films for children.

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February 2011

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