Tag Archives: the dark knight

Chris’ Favourite Year of the Decade: 2006

So, which year in the last decade was the best for film? For me, the shortlist dropped down to two years immediately, 2000 and 2006.

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Chris’ Twenty Films of the Decade

Our brand new writer, Chris Inman, has not only provided the world with his top five movies of 2009, he now furnishes you lucky people with his top twenty movies of the decade. A couple of controversial more recent choices are included and should be debated immediately, but otherwise it’s a bloody strong list that will definitely find one followers amongst the existing MOD clan who will thoroughly agree with the winner.

Onwards then, and look our for more articles to come from Chris in the very near future as he kicks off his tenure with us in earnest.

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Sam’s Top 42 Films of the Decade

Just for the sake of my own sanity and desperate need to have these written somewhere, I give you my favourite forty-two films of the past decade. There are at least fifty-six other films I would like to put onto a list, but I think I need to forcefully prevent any more decade-based listmaking as quickly as possible. So beneath is the top ten list, along with a sentence or two on each film and then thirty-two, out-of-list-order, films which I had to include.

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Is Watchmen a Failure?

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Elizabeth Rappe wrote a nice piece for Cinematical today in which she questioned whether Watchmen, on the back of its 67 per cent second-week drop-off and trouncing by Race to Witch Mountain, itself admittedly exceeding expectations.

The film has garnered mixed reviews so its critical success is maybe debatable, but the achievement, be it artistic or purely admirable, is there for all to see. It may be far from perfect, but Watchmen is undoubtedly an incredible piece of comic book movie making, more uncompromising in its vision than anything to have come before.

Business-wise, it should never have been expected to make Dark Knight-like money, or even 300 money. 300 may not have had a built in audience, but it was easy to watch, entirely comprehendible and only 90 minutes long. By contrast, Watchmen is a 2-and-a-half hour plus marathon of hero deconstruction, paranoia and psychological exploration, even if not all of those things fully interested the action-minded Zack Snyder. Rappe points to an article by CHUD’s Devin Faraci on which he notes the film had a bigger opening that both Batman Begins and Superman Returns, both slower and less conventional comic book franchise movies for sure but coming with existing audiences and nostalgic appeal.

Maybe it won’t be a supersize hit, but take into account the mitigating factors surrounding it. 1) It is not part of any franchise. 2) The book on which it is based is canonised to an extreme which few books, let alone comics, are ever exalted to and is view with trepidation by large swathes of the marketplace for being a geek bible, itself a turn-off for so many unable to believe that comics can be a serious business. 3) The film is extremely violent and gained a US ‘R’ and an 18 certificate in the UK. This significantly drops the chances of continued business as those over the age of eighteen tend to work/have social lives/have children or families/have online role-playing games to get on with and therefore are not great repeat viewers.

I don’t know if failure really the right word. The box-office will be considered disappointing given the budget and the blanket promotional activity, but it pleased the fans and gained extra respect for Warner Bros for putting it out. The studio is now leading the pack in attracting filmmakers who are concerned about having to play the game and could become a home to a new, post-recession vein of filmmaking talent driving through. Watchmen may not be a world-beater, but I’m pretty certain it’s not a failure either.

Dr Parnassus Struggling, Bafflingly

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The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, the final film of Heath Ledger, is reportedly running into problems and is thus far without both a distributor or a set-in-stone release date. The film made a number of headlines, obviously, following Ledger’s untimely death last year and through his replacement by Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law.

Yes, it is directed by the notoriously troublesome Terry Gilliam. But really, with a budget of $30m, how on earth are people not diving on this film. You not only have the final burn of star power for Ledger, lest we forget the Oscar-winning star of the second-highest-grossing film of all time, and also that of Depp, the star of multi-billion grossing Pirates of the Caribbean series.

I realise Gilliam has a tendency to prove difficult to rein in, but there is not a chance on this planet that even he could go so spectacularly over budget that this film will not make $30m. It could easily do double that purely on the back of The Dark Knight hype. It says much about the general nervous sentiment amongst studios in the current climate that no one has yet picked up such a banker, no matter how odd it turns out to be.

Alternatives to the EW Twenty-Five Directors

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Entertainment Weekly recently posted a list of the top twenty-five active film directors. These lists will forever cause disagreement and controversy but some of the inclusions, and subsequent exclusions, on this list are pretty unforgivable. Even if you don’t find it too irratating, as a film fan and blogger I feel it only necessary to present some arguments both against the inclusion of some and against the exclusion of others while I would also like to take some time to argue for the inclusion of a few that I think may brook argument elsewhere.

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