Monday 31 December 2012

Films Of The Year 2012

For the ninth year running, it's time to reflect on the films I've seen over the last 12 months.

During 2012, I went a little crazy - and went to the cinema a staggering 74 times, up from 47 last year and 33 in 2010. Admittedly I spent most of the year in a great deal of pain, making a cinema visit an easy and relatively comfortable outing, but it has also been a great year for film. There have been some great documentaries - The Island President, Searching for Sugar Man and Into The Abyss were great, while Marley and The Imposter were brilliant. The year ended strongly too - every film I saw from September's release of the remake of Dredd (which I really enjoyed, despite it having almost the same plot as The Raid) was highly watchable and five of them - Looper, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Skyfall, Argo and The Life of Pi - were unmissable.

Somehow, despite so many cinema visits, I managed to avoid every one of Mark Kermode's "Worst Films of 2012":

In keeping with previous years, I only count actual trips to a cinema - not films on DVD or BluRay - and as usual I've arbitrarily rated the films I've seen. You can find ratings for previous years here. Here's the 2012 list:

5 stars: Unmissable!
4 stars: Definitely worth seeing
3 stars: Decent film
2 stars: Disappointing
1 star: Pants
No stars: Why was this released?

In date order - five star films highlighted in bold:

The Artist (***)
War Horse (**)
Touch of Evil (****)
J Edgar (**)
Corionlanus (****)
Haywire (***)
The Descendants (*****)
Martha Marcy May Marlene (****)
Chronicle (****)
Carnage (****)
A Dangerous Method (**)
The Woman in Black (***)
Rampart (**)
Safe House (***)
The Raven (**)
Trishna (**)
The Hunger Games (****)
Into The Abyss (****)
The Kid With The Bike [Le gamin au vélo] (***)
The Island President (****)
Headhunters (***)
The Cabin In The Woods (****)
Marley (*****)
Being Elmo (**)
Marvel Avengers Assemble 3D (****)
Delicacy (**)
Dr Strangelove (****)
part of the Kubrick Season at Stratford Picturehouse
Dark Shadows (***)
The Dictator (no stars)
Monsieur Lazhar (***)
The Raid (*****)
2001: A Space Odyssey (****)
part of the Kubrick Season at Stratford Picturehouse
Iron Sky (****)
Town of Runners (***)
Prometheus 2D (***)
Moonrise Kingdom (*****)
Snow White and the Huntsman (**)
Ill Manors (***)
CoIntelPro 101 (***)
The Angel's Share (***)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 3D (**)
Storage 24 (***)
Quatermass and The Pit [1967] (***)
Anarchy Girls [Anarchija Zirmunuos] (**) - part of the East End Film Fest
The Amazing Spider-Man (***)
The Olympic Side of London (**) - part of the East End Film Fest
The Dark Knight Rises (****)
Salute (***)
Ted (***)
Undefeated (***)
Searching for Sugar Man (****)
The Bourne Legacy (**)
Shadow Dancer (****)
Total Recall (**)
The Imposter (*****)
Shut Up and Play the Hits (***)
Lawless (***)
Dredd 3D (****)
Looper (*****)
Killing Them Softly (****)
Liberal Arts (****)
Zaytoun (****) - part of the London Film Festival
On The Road (****)
Beast of the Southern Wild (*****)
SkyFall (*****)
5 Broken Cameras (****)
Argo (*****)
Silver Linings Playbook (****)
End of Watch (****)
Great Expectations (***)
Seven Pychopaths (***)
The Hobbit 3D (***)
The Life of Pi 3D (*****)
Jack Reacher (***)

Thursday 20 December 2012

Bah Humbug! Newham Council Halts 'Too Political' Performance by Disabled Theatre Group

It has been some time since I have been able to add a new blog post, due to the total shoulder replacement operation I had on 7 November and the long period of recuperation that followed (t was only yesterday that I was finally allowed to type with both hands). So with Christmas approaching, I wanted to share a festive story, one that reflects badly on Newham council and its attitude towards disabled people but is eventually heart-warming in its proof of the power of direct action.

In 2011, the council started to provide free space at Katherine Road Community Centre for a community group of disabled performers, Act Up Theatre, to rehearse and perform their play "Changing Attitudes". This year the group was asked to perform a new play at a council Christmas event held yesterday at the Old Town Hall in Stratford.

However, just days before the performance, the group was told that it had been cancelled, because the play, "Atos Stories", was not festive enough and too political.. A statement from the council said:, "we do not consider political satire or potentially distressing material to be in keeping with the theme or tone of this event". .This is despite the fact that, a month beforehand, Act Up Theatre had provided information about the play and were advised the council were happy for them to perform.

In a statement on Monday, Act Up said:
"We are deeply disappointed that despite having information about the play for over a month, Newham Council have not chosen to discuss this with Act Up until the 14th December. We are also disappointed that the Council hasn't stopped to consider the enormous barriers Act Up have overcome to even perform the play. The group have been working hard for the last three months, they deserve to be treated with far more respect than this.

We wrote Atos Stories because we were mad at Atos. We wanted people with disabilities and without to have vehicle to challenge the Work Capability Assessment in a creative and dramatic way. We thought Atos might stop that from happening. We never thought a local council would."
Yesterday, members of the group picketed the council's event, briefly blocking the the Old Town Hall. Proving the immensely positive impact of direct action, embarrassed council officers have apologised for what they called a 'fatal error' in the way they had dealt with the situation and have hurriedly promised to give Act Up an opportunity to perform at another council event in January.

In 2013, it might be a good idea too for the group to re-stage its play "Changing Attitudes" for the benefit of council staff, for it seems that some attitudes towards disabled people haven't changed that much, despite the repeated pledges made in the approach to the Paralympics this summer. Sadly,. Newham council seems more than happy to associate itself with Paralympians wrapped in the Union flag, but it baulks at the idea of people with disabilities who are political and justifiably angry about their treatment by Atos.

If you get a chance, do check out the Atos Christmas Carol Song Sheet, which is superb: all together now:
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,
Let nothing ye dismay,
For Atos your good saviour
will take your pains away,
And force you down to Tesco
To work till Christmas Day

Oh Tidings of Comfort and Joy, Comfort and Joy!

More information on the campaign against Atos can be found on the Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) website at

Random Blowe | Original articles licensed under a Creative Commons License.