Looking back at the films seen and movie memories of 2004 I can see that I pulled back a bit from Awards nominated films and went a little more indie and a little more fantastical. It's also a bit of a strange year with not having reviewed any of the films, and also not owning any of the films not on this list - although I almost picked up Troy at HMV for $6 this week, although that is a whole other ball of wax I'll get more into in January 2010.
As with previous years 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 the parameters or the list are films seen theatrically, no series included and films are listed in the chronological order in which I saw them. This is a list of favourite movie memories, not a best of list.
Born into Brothels
I saw this film at the Cumberland and wow, it had such an impact on me. I wasn't ever a big documentary fan, not that I didn't like them but other films always interested me more so I didn't usually get to docs but Born into Brothels changed my opinion. The film follows a group of children of prostitutes in Calcutta and it fearlessly, yet tactfully tells their stories. Add to that it also shows the power of art, hope, belief and opportunity. Extremely powerful.
My lovely friend Danette & I saw Childstar over at the Varsity and it was the first time I actually saw something in one of their VIP theatres full with cushy seats and little tables between said seats. It's a fantastic comedy from writer/director/star Don McKellar that also infuses commentary into the world of the experience of child actors. And yes, it's a comedy and a hilarious one at that.
It feels like post 2002 Spider-man lots of comic book films cropped up and Hellboy was one that I was thrilled to see on screen. Being completely unaware of the source material I had no idea what I was in for and with every turn I was impressed by the films cleverness in now it explained science with fable & fantasy instead. It was like X-Files meets steampunk or soemthing. The charismatic characters and great performances make it really memorable and I enjoyed it through and through. Wish I could say the same about the sequel.
So now we take the train less travelled. This is one film that I wish I had looked into a bit more before seeing it, but after loving The Scorpion King (which made my 2003 list) I was prepared to see anything by The Rock. Not a good choice. This film was so harsh that afterwards I wished I could wash the images from my brain which ranged from lots of scantily clad-ness to gratuitous torture to what oddly felt what who inept people would beat each other up. Ugh. I don't need any of that. It did solidify that I really have zero interest in revenge films.
Oh how I wanted to like Van Helsing. First up: casting - Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale? Awesome. Add the whole historically set monster hunter and I'm so there. I can't remember much beyond that - I think it was a vampire film with other monsters, therefore a hybrid film? Not sure. So much potential but just was so not good. I went with my Mom and we were both so disappointed. I think it was still early CGI days too and used too much.
Another film I went to purely out of timing, although add epicness and big stars and I'm sure I'd have seen it eventually either way. I went one day after work to see it at the Rainbow Cinemas, which were newly opened but feel oldschool - it's so strange. What I really remembered about the experience was not planning the timing out well and meaning to go grocery shopping after but the time the film was out the store was closed. Guess it was a long one!
I'm a big fan of M. Night Shyamalan (save The Happening) and it's been interesting to see the reactions to his films over the years. Everyone seemed to love The Sixth Sense, and some people dropped off with Unbreakable (which I loved) and more with Signs (which I loved) but I didn't understand that. Now with The Village (which I loved) I do understand how there can be a divide as it is a very different type of film, but I still love it. I love how it plays with your perception of things and how it can be scary in a different way. It's hard to explain, I know some people felt 'tricked' or that they 'figured it out' but I find with this one - it doesn't matter, it's really about the journey not the destination.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
This is a title that I'm sure will grace many lists of 2004 and I do love and appreciate it for the amazing film that it is but the memory I hold with it is that going to see it theatre with my sister Jamie we were so surprized that it was PACKED! I mean really, really packed with almost zero marketing. Now that is star power.
This is one of the films of the year that I saw purely for awards nominations. I'll give it that it felt like seeing a relationship (not romance) film from a man's perspective but that's about all I can give it. I really disliked Clive Owen playing a meanie, isn't that strange? I didn't want to believe it but I did! I didn't like any of the characters in it which always makes a barrier. It feels like quite a divisive film and I know which side of the divide I am on!
There always seems to be one film on the list that made me cry and for 2004 it was Finding Neverland. I'm still not entirely sure why, and I've not braved watching it again. Although thinking about it now it might be because it so beautifully shows bringing together family & friends through art. Dangnabit I might need kleenex pronto!