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Michael Joyce reviews his 2006 reviews and wonders if he always got it right

PUBLISHED: 11:11 03 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:30 07 September 2010

You really haven t lived until you ve experienced the power-mad thrill of dispensing stars. But with great power comes great responsibility and as it is traditional at this time of the year to fill space with a look back at the year just gone, I ve been

You really haven't lived until you've experienced the power-mad thrill of dispensing stars.

But with great power comes great responsibility and as it is traditional at this time of the year to fill space with a look back at the year just gone, I've been revisiting some of my judgement calls. I lie awake at nights wondering, "Did I really give My Super Ex-Girlfriend a higher mark than Scorsese's The Departed?"

But I did and I feel certain that history will validate me. How many of the critics who proclaimed this as "a return to form" were the same ones that called The Aviator a great film when it came out?

I'm not in a position to offer a survey of the whole year so here are a few reflections of the past five months.

Most exciting moment: the tingling anticipation while waiting to be let in to see Casino Royale. Not just the New Bond Film, but the New Bond. The merits of Daniel Craig's interpretation seemed to be an issue of national importance and for a few brief hours film reviewing felt like a patriotic calling.

Most awkward moral dilemma: choosing to stay to the end of The Great Ecstasy Of Robert Carmichael after even the editor of Heat magazine had stormed out of the screening in disgust at the graphic violence of the final gang rape scene.

Most against the grain review: Pan's Labyrinth. Apart from one Five Live listener who described it as Pants Labyrinth, I'm like the lame child that the Pied Piper left behind on this one.

Most embarrassing moment: running a review for a movie that didn't open in a single screen in London. Doubly annoying as I'd especially sought out the producers of the Liverpool-based Fated in an idealistic but misguided attempt to support small British films.

Most depressing moment: checking the UK box office top 10 and finding that Jack Black's Tenacious D had made almost twice as much money in a week as the rather fine British comedy Starter For Ten had in three. I can understand why audiences feel wary of our own movies - but it's dispiriting to see so many genuinely good home-grown films shunned in favour of sub-standard Hollywood fodder.

Best job perk: getting to see films in a state of innocence before all the endless, enthusiasm-sapping hype kicked in. It was great to see Borat the movie long before I got heartily sick of seeing Borat the performer on every TV show. Sometimes I'll wander into a screening with almost no idea about what I'm about to see. It's a great feeling and if you're wondering why these reviews are often light on plot and description, it's just my flawed attempt to in some small way extend that courtesy to you.

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