The West

Rarely has Hollywood promised so much and delivered so little. As the year began movie fans were drooling at the prospect of a myriad of mega productions seemingly guaranteed to have eyeballs leaping out of sockets and, in some cases, smacking against 3-D glasses.

Yet time and again we were let down by the likes of John Carter, Wrath of the Titans, Battleship, Dark Shadows, The Dictator, The Amazing Spider-Man, Prometheus, Men in Black III, Total Recall, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part II and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Even those blockbusters that delivered, such as The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, have faded from the memory faster than a Christmas hangover or, in the case of the James Bond hit, Skyfall, not nearly as good as early reports suggest. Indeed, critics in the US were so disappointed by what the studios are putting out that it has sparked a debate about how digital technology is bringing about the death of cinema.

Thus it is not surprising that popcorn pictures barely figure in our top ten lists (Shannon Harvey did manage to slip in The Dark Knight Rises under the wire and Skyfall has its supporters).

Instead it is the arty stuff all the way, with best picture Oscar winner The Artist, Martin Scorsese's groundbreaker Hugo, Paul Thomas Anderson's, the French-Canadian classroom-set heartbreaker Quebec and the unreleased cancer drama 50/50 dominating this year's top ten lists.

Interestingly, no Australian film cracked the top ten, not even Wayne Blair's box office hit The Sapphires, which gets my vote as the year's most overrated movie (Cate Shortland's Lore was the best of an average bunch).

Where Australia does flex its muscles is in the basement, with comedies in particular, headed by Any Questions for Ben? and A Few Best Men, making us wonder how such a funny country - look at the laughs our pollies provided this year - can be so unfunny on the big screen.

The West Australian

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