We settled in for a quiet Friday night (post Thanksgiving festivities) with a crackling fire and a pair of small movies we thought would be interesting.

Uncertainty is a 4 year old Joe Gordon-Levitt outing, low budget, largely improv dialogue, about the decisions a couple take on 4th July in New York. The comparison to Sliding Doors is inevitable, but they choose chance, flipping a coin to decide whether to attend a family dinner or a friend’s party.

The film divides, following each option (handily colour coded for easy reference), with one thread following the quiet drama of Kate’s (John Carter‘s Lynn Collins) family as she tries to decide whether to keep her baby, and the other becoming a paranoid thriller after the couple pick up a cell phone in a taxi.

I’m going to spoil here, so stop reading if you’re curious in JGL’s back catalogue.

So, here's an experiment: watch along with the reptile.

If you haven't seen The Cabin in the Woods and you do want to, best not to go any further as I'm just going to react as I go. Yes, this is partially about reducing the jumps given my boy is on the other side of the world. This is why I'm watching Cabin and not going to go see The Shining (tempting, but I'm stupid, not crazy).

So without further ado…

I think the real problem with This Means War is that I know it’s terrible, but I still can’t resist the outrageous levels of charm exuded by its three stars (Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon).

Caught up last night with The Devil’s Double (in which Dominic Cooper reminds us that he can act, whilst remaining unaverse to chewing up scenery) and The Guard (in which Brendan Gleeson is unashamed of his pants). Two more dissimilar films may not exist, but we couldn’t face Drive after the bloodied insanity of Usay Hussain.

I used to try to remind myself (and inflict on you) what I particularly loved and loathed each year amongst the various books and films I consumed. Since joining the circus, I've failed to do this thanks to big work-related requirements in the first week of the year. However, it seems to be a week into 2012 and I'm procrastinating about going for a run, so this seems like a good time to revive that old meme.

We managed to get to the movies a lot more often this year, with several binges between long gaps of workiness. The habit of only going to things we really want to see on a big screen mean the hit rate of enjoyment was high (needless to say, no Transformers 3 for us). Honourable mentions go to Source CodeHannaTinker Tailor Soldier SpyThe Ides of March, and Contagion, all of which were thoroughly polished and much enjoyed.

The Ides of March has a lot to live up to: Clooney is Democratic candidate Mike Morris, gearing up to become the Democratic presidential candidate.

The comparisons with Primary Colors are inevitable. Ides is also told from the perspective of idealistic campaign manager (here a chiseled Ryan Gosling, using his soulful blue eyes to good effect); its candidate is charismatic and idealistic; and if the hard-nosed wrangler is Philip Seymour Hoffman rather than Kathy Bates, that’s hardly a shortcoming.

I shall barely let the leaves settle on the year before posting my thoughts on the best and worst of (what I experienced of) movies and books, because if I delay I’ll never get it done.

In spite of my feeling that we missed some great films this year (choosing to stay home and work on the house instead of going out), we managed to see 17 this year. Looking back at the last few years, this is a good crop. I also note a pattern: a solid rush in the first half of the year, followed by disinterest through the autumn and winter. My boy suggests this relates to good film releases early in the year for Oscar season; I note a reflection of early summer blockbusters, followed by meaningful movies on DVD.

Books fared less well. 2009 is the first year I haven’t passed the 50-book threshold. This reflects evenings spent working on the Grand Design, and a move to overland commutes: as the trains are often full by the time they reach my stop, I end up sardined in with no space to read.