Chris vs Cinema Review of 2009


January 1st, New Years Day, 2009 – I watched six films and the seed of this blog challenge was born.  I’ve failed to achieve the main objective, but I think I’ve failed for all the right reasons.  This year has seen some fairly seismic shifts in my own life, not least the career change and birth of my son, Seth, which put a grinding halt to my blog writing exploits in September.  Factor in that it was an Ashes winning summer for the plucky England cricket team and I’ve had a pretty busy time of it.

What of the objectives though? Well I watched 206 films, some of them short films which I thought might be interesting or different and I tried to put a video embed or link on there for readers to try and watch them too.  The Hangover was the last film I watched before Seth was born and that numbered 186 on September 6th.  I was, at that point, managing over 22 films a month which is pretty strong going and I think 250 would have been easily achieved.  I’m fairly proud that I managed to write a fifty word review at least for each film, often a lot more than that.

If I were to pick one review that I was most proud of it would be the review of Cat’s Eye.  It is the kind of review that I’d like to read, not focusing purely on the film but on the nature of the creative process involved.  It’s not a co-incidence that that is the review that I spent the most time working on and researching.  By contrast the one I look back on with most regret is Let the Right One In.  I loved the film, one of the best I’ve watched all year, but the review doesn’t do it justice – I feel that I should have written more, said more about how brilliant it is.

What about the IMDB Top 250? At the start of the year I’d seen 134 of the films on the list.  Over the year I tried to watch as many as possible.  Due to the fluid nature of the list in some cases I’d watch a film that was on the list only for it to slide off as more people voted, Watchmen being a prime example.  Well, as of today (02/01/2010) I’ve seen 168 of the films in the list, leaving 82 to go.  Perhaps as of next year I’ll have reduced that by another 30 or so.  That’s not such bad going though and I’ve got a few of them on DVD ready and waiting.

That brings me to something else, my DVD collection has gone through the roof.  Not only through some judicious trading courtesy of the Sheffield branch of CEX but my birthday and Christmas have given me ample opportunity to build a bit of library of unwatched films.  Many thanks to the people who actually posted me films, lent copies and in some cases made copies of films for me.  You know who you are.

I even made a few appearances on the Sheffield Live! Film File podcast alongside my friend Jim Whiting and presenter Simon Thake, an experience I really enjoyed.  I made a guest appearance on Sarah Ditum’s Paperhouse blog and even made a few virtual blogosphere acquaintances, which sounds twatty but is actually quite a nice thing.  I even had a brief disagreement with Graham Linehan via Twitter over his opinions on Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds (he liked it!).

What about the films themselves then? There’s been so many, so many really enjoyable experiences and a few disappointments.  I’ve done a quick list of some that I liked and didn’t below but special mentions have to go to the films that took me by surprise, Nimrod Antal’s moody underground thriller Kontroll, the light whimsy of Mediterraneo and pulsing tension of Bronson.  All three were films I expected little of and they surprised me with how much I just enjoyed watching them unfold. On the other hand the live blog review of Shaft displayed what a crocked mess it was but the prize winning turd of the year for me was Red Dawn. A train crash of a film, awful stuff.

What to do with the blog then? Chris vs Cinema as I have used it in 2009 is over.  No more challenge, no more staying up to ridiculous hours of the morning to finish watching a film I’m not really enjoying.  I’m going to remove the references to 365 films in a year, that’s done with.  But the blog will continue as I continue to watch new films, I’ll even try to review every new film that I watch.  That might be less than 100 this year though.  I’ll be reviewing some books and other things connected with cinema too.  Once I’ve revised the look of the site then things will continue.

Once again thanks for reading, it’s been fun.


Note: I’ve popped the lists below – they aren’t comprehensive but then I find it very difficult to make lists like this.  That’s why I like reading other people’s.  I’ve not hyperlinked them but you can use the search function on the right if you fancy a reminder of my original comments.

The Good

Give ‘em Hell Malone

The Hangover


The Shock Doctrine

Roger Dodger




The Killing Fields

The Constant Gardener



Friday Night Lights


The Bad

Automaton Transfusion

What Just Happened?

Red Dawn

The Entity


Leprechaun in the Hood

Black and White

Terminator: Salvation


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