Tuesday 18 August 2020

30-Day Film Challenge Week 4

At long last, as we feebly stagger up the last remaining steps of this seemingly interminable journey, the clouds part and we finally see the last installment of this flamin' film challenge. Yep, it's Week 4 and it's  -

Day Twenty-Two
A film that made you angry

Not many films have done this ( no, not even Suicide Squad ) but I'm going with Michael Moore's
Bowling For Columbine ( 2002 ), a frankly frightening look into America's obsession with guns. It can be argued ( mostly by the NRA ) that this movie is a polemic, one-sided and biased  -  and well, obviously it is  -  but that's to hammer home its message and for me ( and probably any other non-gun-toting goon ) it works. By the way, if anyone objects to my choice of this movie, feel free to not comment, I'll only delete it. ( See... still angry. )
"Thanks for not shooting me."

Moving on...
Day Twenty-Three
A film by a director that is dead ( Not for the first time  -  who writes this stuff? )

I Know Where I'm Going ( dir. Michael Powell 1945 )
Known more for his colourful epics ( in collaboration with Emeric Pressburger, of course ) such as The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus, this is a lovely little black and white film from the legendary Powell, full of heart, humour and subtle magic. Wendy Hiller, as the headstrong, brittle Joan, and Roger Livesy, as Scottish laird Torquill (?) MacNeil are both wonderful as the mismatched couple who seem to be thrown together by the very elements of the Hebrides. There may well be another Michael Powell movie later in this challenge. Okay, maybe at the bottom of this very page...

Day Twenty-Four
A film you wish you saw in theatres ( or "at the cinema" as we might say here in Blighty )

Alien ( 1979 )
I was desperate to see this film at the cinema but, as it was an "X" certificate ( that's an 18 for you young 'uns ) and I was only 12 at the time, it didn't happen. Of course, I've seen it many, many times since then. We re-watched it a few weeks back, during lockdown, and I was happy to see it had lost none of its power. Our daughter Sophie had never seen it before and even she was impressed with this 41-year old "haunted house in space" movie. Ridley Scott's finest film? I think so.

Day Twenty-Five
A film you like that isn't set in the current era

David Eggers' seriously creepy, Puritan-era Folk Horror Movie
The Witch ( 2015 )
Featuring Black Philip, the scariest goat in movie history...

"Would'st thou like to live deliciously?"

Day Twenty-Six
A film you like that is adapted from somewhere

Released 10 years ago (!) last week, Edgar Wright's dazzling, underrated adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novels  -  Scott Pilgrim vs The World ( 2010 )
You can read my original review of this movie here, should you want to of course. I still can't believe I took James to see this film when he was only 10. Sadly a flop on release, Scott Pilgrim's reputation has grown over the last decade and it's now regarded as a cult classic  -  although some of us knew that from the start...

Day Twenty-Seven
A film that is visually striking to you

So many films I've already posted would fit this category ( the one above being a prime example ) but I'm going with the wuxia epic Hero ( 2002 ) by Zhang Yimou
Every shot in this movie is just gorgeous

Day Twenty-Eight
A film that made you feel uncomfortable

Pan's Labyrinth ( 2006 )
I'm in a minority here but I really don't like this movie. For a fantasy I found it totally lacking in a sense of wonder and I hated the "real-world" scenes of violence and torture. I've got nothing against Guillermo Del Toro  -  he always comes across as a very affable, intelligent film-maker who is a tireless exponent of horror and fantasy movies  -  I just don't like his films very much.

Day Twenty-Nine
A film that makes you want to fall in love

Midnight In Paris ( 2011 )
Owen Wilson and Marion Cotillard fall for each other and for Paris in Woody Allen's charming, witty time-travel romance

And finally, Esther...
Day Thirty
A film with your favourite ending

I could pick many, many great endings ( Some Like It Hot, The Truman Show, Don't Look Now, Inception, Planet Of The Apes,Casablanca, The Godfather, Withnail & I etc etc ) but it had to be
A Matter Of Life And Death ( 1946 )
Powell & Pressburger's remarkable romantic fantasy ends with David Niven's character being saved by Kim Hunter's love. It's arguably corny and sentimental but it's actually just perfect

And that's it for the film challenge. Thanks to anyone who stopped by and a special shout out to Paul McScotty and Sean for leaving comments and giving me ideas for more films to watch.

"Stay classy... Planet Earth"

Monday 17 August 2020

Black Cat Appreciation Day 2020

It's black cat appreciation day every day in this house.

Hero agrees...

Sunday 9 August 2020

30-Day Film Challenge Week 3

It's that time of week again, cinephiles  -  the third week of the never-ending  ongoing film challenge  -  and we're starting with an absolute classic. ( Yeah, I know I say that a lot but this one really is. )

Day Fifteen
A film that makes you happy

Singin' In The Rain ( 1952 )
Yep, every time. Just a joyous movie, every frame filled with colour, movement and sheer exuberance. The ultimate Hollywood musical.

Day Sixteen
A film that is personal to you

Not quite sure what this means but I'm going with
Star Wars ( 1977 )
When this movie was released in the UK I had just turned 11-years old, the perfect age for Lucas' space epic. Like most kids of my generation I was completely knocked out by it  -  I hadn't known it but this was the film I'd been waiting for...

Day Seventeen
Favourite film sequel

The Godfather Part II ( 1974 )
Most sequels are a case of diminishing returns but Coppola's second installment of his Corleone family saga is a masterpiece. So much so that, like the first two Superman movies, it's difficult to separate them. The cinematography, the score, the dialogue, the performances  -  all unbeatable.

And, as if the cast of the first movie wasn't wonderful enough, the sequel added Robert De Niro as a young Vito Corleone. Just outstanding.

Thank God Coppola didn't make an inferior third movie long after the fact.
( What do you mean he did??? )

Day Eighteen
A film that stars your favourite actor / actress

It's very hard for me to pick a favourite actor ( even if it was "pick a fave actor from a particular decade" it would be difficult unless it was the 1910s ) so I'm going with
The Philadelphia Story ( 1940 )
Here are three of my faves in one movie ( and one promotional photo )  -  Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart:

Day Nineteen
A film made by your favourite director

Another nigh-on impossible choice so I'll cheat and go with one classic / one modern
The Lady Vanishes ( dir. Alfred Hitchcock 1938 )
Baby Driver ( dir. Edgar Wright 2017 )

Day Twenty
A film that changed your life

Believe it or not it's the lame Bruce Willis / Kim Basinger comedy Blind Date ( 1987 )

There was a girl at work I liked and I knew she liked me. I asked her to see this film with me ( I knew she was a fan of Willis in Moonlighting ) ...and we're still together 33 years later.

Day Twenty-One
A film that you dozed off in

Avengers: Age Of Ultron ( 2015 )
My family can attest to the fact that I can fall asleep anywhere any time but this particular superhero slugfest seemed to go on for sooooooooooo long that the old eyelids began to droop somewhere during the climactic battle...

Sorry Ultron, I know you tried your best.

Okay, just one more week to go and, as the number of categories goes up to 30 ( it's a month! ), this final post will probably be on 18/08 if I can get my act together. That's a big "if"...

As ever, if anyone would care to join in with this challenge then please leave a comment, it would be very welcome. Cheers!

Sunday 2 August 2020

30-Day Film Challenge Week 2

Here we go with week two of the film challenge where I collate all my biased, ill-informed Tweets from the last week into one handy, celluloid-based post...

Day Eight
A film where you liked the soundtrack more

Fantasia ( 1940 )
Whilst obviously ground-breaking and technically brilliant I find this film incredibly slow and I'd rather just listen to the score which is basically Classical Music's Greatest Hits.

Day Nine
A film you hate that everyone else liked

The Shawshank Redemption ( 1994 )

Painful, smug and painfully smug. And it features Tim Robbins. No more needs to be said.

Day Ten
Your favourite superhero film

While we're clearly living through a golden age of superhero movies ( okay, pre-pandemic ) I always go back ( unsurprisingly ) to Superman The Movie ( 1978 ) / Superman II ( 1980 ), still my absolute, inseparable faves.

Day Eleven
A film you like from your least favourite genre

As I said here in my original Massive Movie Meme posts, my least-favourite genres are a tie between what I think of as "cowboy musicals" and the odious "torture porn" horror movies. Neither of these fit the bill so I'm going with romantic comedy. I'm not a great fan of rom-coms as I find many of them too formulaic but Marc Webb's ( 500 ) Days Of Summer ( 2009 ) is an exception  -  bittersweet and genuinely funny with two eminently watchable lead actors and a cool indie soundtrack.

As a bonus treat, here's another photo of the lovely Zooey Deschanel. You're welcome.

Day 12
A film that you hate from your favourite genre

Well I don't hate it but Silent Running ( 1972 ) is a science fiction film that has a lot going for it  -  still impressive special effects from Doug Trumbull, a typically twitchy performance by Bruce Dern, cute robots  -  but the whole premise is fatally flawed ( why would a dying Earth send its last forests into space? where are they going? ) even before the point Dern, a botanist, realises going further away from the sun will kill the forests ( duh! ). And then bloody Joan Baez turns up to warble over the end of the movie. ( At least it's not as painful as her murdering The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. )

Day 13
A film that put you in deep thoughts ( ??? )
Who writes this stuff?

The Ninth Configuration ( 1980 )
William Peter Blatty's sort-of follow up to the themes of The Exorcist. An arty, pretentious but brilliant movie about the purpose of evil, God's indifference to Man and the difficulties of adapting the works of Shakespeare for dogs.A truly unique film with unforgettable performances and cracking dialogue. Warning: although very funny this film also gets extremely dark and despairing before the final, redemptive scene.

Day 14
A film that gave you depression
Again, who writes these categories???

No film "gave me depression" but the 2015 documentary Amy is one of the saddest movies I've ever seen, documenting the meteoric rise and heart-breaking fall of Amy Winehouse.

Day 14 ( supplemental )
I don't really want to end this post on a downer, so I'll just mention that James and I ( finally ) watched Bong Joon-ho's extraordinary Parasite ( 2019 ) on Blu-Ray yesterday. Is it as good as they say? No, it's even better. Part black comedy, part horror, all social satire, constantly twisting and turning, and beautifully shot... even the scenes of toilets overflowing. Highly recommended.


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