Sunday, April 1, 2012

Monthly Round-Up: The Best Films I Saw in March

March, as per usual, was a busy month. My job kept me active with big audiences for the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival - and I watched seven films from the Festival - and plenty of screenings. I also had a birthday (my 24th), and had the opportunity to watch so many great films, but was unfortunately unable to fit them in. I was lucky enough to see the Paradise Lost documentaries early in the month, and yesterday I posted an article outlining my feelings about those films and the case they cover. 

My two DVD purchases (A Man Escaped and Hidden) are immediately two of my prized possessions. Thankfully I have seen my numbers steadily increase over the course of the Month, and I am starting to get back on track with readership and exposure. Big hits came for my reviews of John Carter, The Raid, The Hunger Games and Mirror Mirror as well as my articles on Titanic 3D and my 40 Favourite Directors.

I have decided that April will be the month where I focus on the films by Studio Ghibli, and most directly on those directed by the great Hayao Miyazaki. I have had some prior exposure to Miyazaki's film - Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. Unfortunately, the latter I didn't like so much, but the two former are amongst my all-time favourite animated films. As part of this focus, I intend to review Laputa Castle in the Sky, and then watch/review Grave of the Fireflies, My Neighbour Tortoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Porco Rosso and Ponyo for the first time, and re-watch Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.

Finally, we are a quarter of the way through the year so I thought I would quickly list the Top 10 films of 2012 so far, by Australian release date: A Separation, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Descendants, The Raid, Weekend, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Shame, The Artist and Carnage.

New-to-me: Cinema/DVD (In Order of Preference)

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders of Robin Hood Hills

A Man Escaped

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Laputa Castle in the Sky

Sherlock Jr.

The Raid



Free Men (FFF)
18 Years Old and Rising (FFF)

A Dangerous Method

Margin Call

The Well Digger's Daughter (FFF)

The Rum Diary

Nobody Else But You (FFF)

Elles (FFF)

Mirror Mirror

Wrath of the Titans

I also watched a Korean/New Zealand documentary called Moving, which tells the unique and extraordinary story of a Korean couple who move to Christchurch and build a successful business through hard work over a number of years, only to have their business destroyed in the Christchurch earthquake. It was unconventional in style and pacing, but didn't rouse as many emotions as it could have, considering how tragic the event was.

Re-watches: Cinema/DVD (In Order of Preference)

The Godfather

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope






Current 2012 Tally: 56 + 36 = 92 Films Viewed. 20 Reviews in March.


  1. Laputa is probably my second favourite Miyazaki film, I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it! (Just re-watched it last night, actually). I also got to watch Sherlock Jr for the first time (Keaton is hilarious!).
    Glad to hear your views are getting back on track!!

    1. I watched Sherlock Jr. on Youtube one night after discovering it was only 40 something minutes. Enticing. It was indeed hilarious. I really enjoyed Castle in the Sky - probably sitting behind Spirited Away and Mononoke - but I intend to give them both a re-watch in this marathon.

  2. Great to see Dragon Tattoo, Shame and The Artist in your top 10! I know nothing about anime and animated movies so I can't really comment on the films you are going to watch, but I will certainly check out the reviews.

    1. The Artist I have forgotten about a little bit (and I know you loved it) despite really enjoying it on both viewings. Still, it will be better than most films I see this year. A Separation is my undisputed #1 at the moment, but I have an obsession with TGWTDT. Love it.

      I hope you enjoy the Ghibli reviews and find something that interests you along the way. Some of Miyazaki's films are well worth checking out.

  3. I am also trying to get through all the Miyazaki Films - Nausicca, Kiki and Porco Rosso left. Saw Castle in the Sky recently and loved it. You haven't seen Grave ?? It's devastating movie but I love it. I hope you will like it too.

    I have heard a lot about Paradise Lost documentaries. I will love to check them out soon.

    1. I have now seen GRAVE. Yesterday! It was indeed devastating. Speaking of devastating, look forward to your thoughts on the Paradise Lost docos when you get around to seeing them.

  4. If you can find it, see if you can get hold of Ghibli's Whisper of the Heart. One of their finest.

    1. I intend to. Thanks for the recommendation, James. Ruth has just watched it and loved it. I have never heard of it, but will try and squeeze it in.

  5. I am literally sitting down to watch Oldboy right now.
    Some great films you saw. How did you like Withnail and I? I saw that recently and I have such an urge to learn all the lines in it and use them all the time :P
    I have to see more anime films.

    1. I liked, but not loved Withnail and I. It was odd, that's for sure. I loved how angry Withnail was - and how snobbish he was to EVERYTHING. Some classic moments - but the whole Uncle infatuation got a little tiring. I always find it strange that many of us bloggers watch the same films as one another purely by coincidence.

  6. Wait...there's a documentary about the Christchurch earthquake called Moving. How did I not know this?

    Anyway, it seems you had a good month. I kinda wish I got to go to the French Film Fest while it was here...but there wasn't a lot that really grabbed my attention.

    1. I didn't see anything part. strong either. Missed Cafe De Flore, which was the one I wanted to see the most. Yes, there is a doco covering the earthquake. I assume it would be fairly accessible there in NZ. I went to the Australian premiere at the Korean Cultural Office the other night. The producer came to introduce it.

  7. Great month for you, Andy! I hope you had a nice time on your birthday- get anything nice?
    The Raid on your top 10 of 2012 list? uuu...I have to see it soon!

    1. I actually got the lovely My Neighbour Totoro from a writing friend of mine, but apart from that surprise gift, nothing too exciting. 24 isn't a part. interesting age hehe. Thanks Diana. Yes, you should see The Raid. It is something else. Gave it 4 1/2 Stars.

  8. That's a sexy looking top 10 of 2012 so far you got there. And 92 films watched this year is very impressive!

    1. I have worked hard, and as a result, I have seen some great films. That is a strong Top 10, but when you look at it, almost all of them are 2011 films with delayed releases here in Australia. When one narrows it down to official 2012 releases, it has been pretty slim pickings.