News came late in the year that the hallowed institution of Hobart film goers, The State, was no longer an indie, having been sold to the Reading Cinemas. The State for years has been drawing the crowds with a cerebral mix of art house, foreign and the best of mainstream. Let’s hope that formula will survive under the new owners, for I doubt its longevity if it simply apes the Hollywood dross of the multiplexes. What has already made a visit to the movies, North Hobart style, more problematic was the decision of the HCC to triple the charges in NoHo’s only viable car park for cinema goers, thus adding $9.00 to the price of a movie ticket at the State. Despite outrage from the merchants along the strip at the sorry state of parking in the vicinity, it further convinces customers to spend their money elsewhere. The city fathers/mothers(?) seem to be sticking to their notion that squeezing every last cent out of the area’s patrons is the way to go. I suspect many, like me, will now change their cinema going habits, particularly if Reading shows similar disrespect to the State’s rusted on clientele.
The quality of this year’s list of ‘Best Of’ is somewhat down compared to previous twelve month periods. That being said, for various reasons, including the one stated above, I did miss many offerings I would normally make the utmost effort to attend.
1. Who You Think I Am – full of surprises and twists and turns, this French offering, with a cast headed by Juliette Binoche, is a stunner.
2. Green Book – a worthy winner of Best Film Oscar early in the year, this journey into the southern states of the US, still clinging to Jim Crow, by a gay musician and his minder, was a revelation
3. Cold War – From Poland this post-war love story, in stark black and white, was a winner at many festivals and a winner with this viewer.
4. Stan and Ollie – they were well past their prime but decided to have one last hurrah by touring Britain before they were completely clapped out – in both senses of the pun. Wistful and poignant.
5. Wild Rose – other music centred offerings, such as ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Rocketman’, may have had higher profiles, but to me this tale of almost rags to riches outshone them all. It helps to be a devotee of country music. Pleased to see the star, Jessie Buckley, get a BAFTA nomination.
6. Colette – This possessed the sumptuously winning combination of Keira Knightley and ‘Poldark’s’ Eleanor Tomlinson heating up the screen, as well as being a rattling tale of the life of the iconic writer – enough to win over any audience. It certainly did me.
7. Blinded by the Light – a Pakistani teenager falls in love with the music of the Boss and thus begins a life-long infatuation, resulting in a memoir and this most attractive feature.
8. Yesterday – for my generation, as well no doubt for the many following us, the magic of the Fab Four is still as fresh today as it was back in our pomp – given here an extra lustre through imagining a world without it.
9. Downton Abbey – the story line may have been twee but, oh dear, the yearning and the nostalgia!
10. Palm Beach – same as per above for the narrative, but with Bryan Brown, Sam Neil and Richard E Grant, how could you go wrong?
HMs – Fisherman’s Friends, Late Night, Rocketman, Tolkien.
David Stratton’s Best Movies for 2019 – Apollo 11, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Burning, Pain and Glory, The Irishman, Parasite, The King, Sorry We Missed You, Marriage Story, Stan and Ollie.