The Annual Christmas Half Watch - 2011

We've all done it. You settle down to watch a film and before you know it, you're snoring away in the corner like a grizzly bear with a serious cold. Or, you flick on a film over the holiday season just as a relative marches in to demand you play the traditional game of Scrabble or some other assorted board-based torture method. They're known as the Christmas Half Watches - the films you caught a glimpse of, possibly never to see again, before shuffling off to find some more Christmas cake. Here are this year's seasonal confessions and incomplete opinions. Last year's Half Watch can be found here.

Love Actually

Richard Curtis' festive romance has Hugh Grant on foppish best form and Bill Nighy as a fairly hilarious ageing rocker but spends a lot of time away from them focusing on a mixture of the saccharine (Liam Neeson's story) and the glumly pointless (Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman). Nearly all of the characters are stereotypes and the charm slowly erodes as the directing gets worse, eventually eliminating two characters just before the grand finale, something which it should have done at the very start of the scripting process. Features more breasts than I remember.

Little Fockers

I'm a bit lost as to where we are now with the Fockers phenomenon and, for a time, I was a bit lost as to which one of them I was watching. Like the others I laughed on occasion but none of the jokes are well crafted, there's very little to attach yourself to and not really any character you can warm to. I don't trust comedies which star Robert De Niro. I don't understand what Jessica Alba is doing/has done with her career.

Prince Of Persia

This was flat on first viewing, escalating to really pretty poor with hindsight. On repeat viewing it is all of those things, unimaginative and poorly acted. Never the best game franchise to try and adapt, this is very poor work from people who are normally much better.


On first watch this was good and on second it gets a little better. It's an espionage thriller with a hard edge and a major star on top form. You don't get these that often any more.

The New World

Looked good. Fell asleep. Strenuously deny any alcohol was involved. Shall return to it on Blu-ray shortly.

AVP: Alien vs. Predator

This has a bad reputation based on the fact that it's a schlocky Sci-Fi/Horror without the smarts of the first couple of Alien films and the first Predator outing but, if you accept that it hasn't got the brain power, or the scares, of those films then it does become a decent little creature feature. The acting is ropey, the character motivations are dubious and the scope could be wider but there's a lot here to like too and the fulfilment of the legend Predator 2's alien skull promised is significant. Enjoyed it for a second time.


  1. Oh... the Blu Ray version of The New World is its extended cut. I would more recommend getting the shorter theatrical version on DVD which is about 30 minutes shorter although there isn't really much difference between the two cuts.

  2. Thirty minutes shorter? That is quite a difference. Hmm, now uncertain what to do. Someone else has recommended I specifically see the blu-ray version!