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"


McSCOTTY said...

Some great films here including the marvellous A Matter Of Life And Death) to the beyond disturbing “Bowling For Columbine” and of course the game changing SF film Alien. I know I have seen “ I Know Where I'm Going” but cant quite remember too much about it so will check it out. Like yourself I don’t like Pan's Labyrinth. I really must watch Scott Pilgrim. as I have heard a lot of folk saying its good (I thought it was just a young teen movie).

Day 22 – A film that made you angry – Do the Right Thing

This film takes place over a single day in Brooklyn and showcases the racial tension that exists within it. The story in itself looks at the total stupidity of racism. The brutal ending which shows a police officer using excessive violence against a person of colour shows things haven’t changed as can been seen today following the tragic events surrounding the death of George Floyd.

Day 23 film by a director that is dead - Goodbye, Mr. Chips – Samael Wood

An unapologetically sentimental but truly lovely film with Greer Garson and Robert Donat. About Mr Chipping a school teacher and former headmaster of a boarding school who recalls his career and his personal life from his years as a teacher to meeting his wife, becoming a head master , the death of his with in childbirth to his retirement.– I don’t know a lot about Samuel Wood although I read that he was quit right wing which does not show through in this film

Day 24 - A film you wish you saw in theatres – Empire Strikes Back

I saw ALIEN at the cinema but didn’t see the first 2 Star Wars movies as I never thought they were going to be that good. As a wee aside we tend to see films at the “Pictures” in Scotland.

Day 25- A film you like that isn't set in the current era – Schindler's List

Not sure if this is still in the current era but as it is set in WW2 I will add it here – great film

Day 26- A film you like that is adapted from somewhere – Ghost World

Underrated film starring a young Scarlett Johanson and Thora Birch based on Daniel Clowes graphic novel. I have only ever skimmed the novel but the film was (fat the time at least) fresh , dark and fun.

day 27 - A film that is visually striking to you – Arrival
Was a tough one for me as so many striking films from as Apocalypse Now to Jungle Book (2016) etc but picked this as I loved the film

Day 28- A film that made you feel uncomfortable – Eraserhead

Just too weird and unsettling even for David Lynch – I first saw this on TV in the early 80s and some of the scenes have stuck with me since (along with the burning question “what was that all about?)

Day 29 - A film that makes you want to fall in love - Say Anything.
Just for that iconic boombox scene.

Day 30- A film with your favourite ending – Planet of the Apes

Got to be this classic ending but closely followed by Casablanca and the Graduate for me

Simon B said...

Hi Paul! Thanks for your comment - what a great list of films! Taking them in order...

Do The Right Thing. I haven't seen this in many years but my son recently bought a copy, after watching Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman, so we may get around to watching it. As you say, the film's themes are sadly still very topical.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips. I've never seen this although I'm aware of how well-loved it is so should really give it a go. I've only seen Robert Donat in The 39 Steps and he was great in that.

Empire Strikes Back. Hard to believe this movie is 40 years old this year. Makes you think. About what I'm not exactly sure. Probably spaceships.
I can definitely remember using and hearing the phrase "going to the pictures" a lot more when I was young. It seems to have fallen out of favour with us lily-livered Southerners.

Schindler's List. A film I can admire but not love - a very tough watch. I do remember seeing this "at the pictures" with my Dad, Pete ( I may have mentioned this before but I never called him "Dad" ), my uncle and my cousin - probably the one time all four of us watched a film together. So, that's a special memory as there's only me and my cousin Paul left from that group.

Ghost World. I'd completely forgotten about that film!I remember it being the epitome of indie cinema cool. One to rediscover...

Arrival. Yeah, definitely agree. One of the best SF films of recent years, far more interesting and intelligent than yer average blockbuster. Visually striking indeed and another film with a great, bittersweet ending. I can't wait to see what Arrival's director Denis Villeneuve does with his adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune.

Eraserhead. I'm not really a fan of this one, either. I can sort of appreciate the art-school weirdness of the film but it's just soooo bloody slow.

Say Anything. Another movie I've never seen, even though I know the scene you're referring to. ( I'm more familiar with the homage to that scene in Spaced, with Simon Pegg taking the place of John Cusack. ) Incidentally, I always thought Cusack would have been perfect casting for DC's Starman - the Jack Knight version from the '90s - if that had ever been made into a film. He's too old now of course...

Planet Of The Apes. "You maniacs! You blew it up!" Of course, this film has one of THE great endings in cinema history and is one of my all-time fave movies. I'm glad that when I first saw it on telly in the '70s I had no idea how it ended so was totally knocked out by the shocking final scene. My DVD copy has that final image on the cover so totally spoiling it for anyone who hasn't seen the film. Ho hum

Thanks again for playing along with this challenge, Paul. It's been very much appreciated. I'm glad that there's still life in this ol'blog yet and that you've found something of interest here. Take care, mate.

McSCOTTY said...

You should get a wee copy of Goodbye Mr Chips and a packet of tissues and settle in for a great film and a wee bubble. Yeah I see what you mean regarding John Cusack and Starman.

McSCOTTY said...

Actually that sounds a bit rude "a wee bubble" is a wee cry.

John Shaw said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi Simon, finally got to Week 4.

A film that made you angry - Zulu (1964)
Plucky heroes of the empire sort out the natives. Grrrrr!

A film by a director that is dead - Fistful of Dynamite/aka Duck You Sucker/aka Once Upon A Time in the Revolution (1971)
A film so good it has three different titles!
Who doesn't love Sergio Leone westerns? Most people probably think of the Dollars trilogy, but the revolutionary setting of Dynamite makes for a more interesting take than the straight forward cynicism of the Eastwood ones imo.
"I don't want to be a hero, all I want is the money..."

A film you wish you saw in the cinema - Django Unchained (2012)
Hadn't liked Inglorious Basterds - and before that Kill Bill vol2 didn't really do it for me - so as I wasn't getting out much at the time anyway, it was easy to give the (then) new Tarantino a miss.
But its one of his best, and while it has its flaws (particularly the second half) Tarantino does seem to think in terms of a big screen and I reckon I might well have liked it even more in the cinema. Especially in a crowded one, where it surely gets a reaction.

Don't know why Paul regrets not seeing the first two Star Wars flicks on release. Lucky him (;

A film you like that isn't set in the current era - Alexander (2004)
No, I'm not kidding! If there was a category for a film you like that no-one else seems to, this would be it.
I accept that Colin Farrell is miscast, but other than that its really good - proof that an extended director's cut isn't a waste of time (maybe a lot of the criticism was for the original release in cinemas, which was disappointing). It must be the only ancient world epic thats historically accurate, and it looks fantastic - the battle scene in India with the elephants was amazing.

A film you like that is adapted from somewhere - Reds (1981)
Based on John Reed's Hundred Days that Shook the World... ok, thats a bit of a cheat maybe, but I'm not generally keen on adaptations.
Anyhow, Reds is great - kind of amazing a big budget film about the Russian revolution with that point of view got made in Hollywood. And even more amazing it did quite well at the box office!
I like the way it puts forward a definite perspective, but doesn't feel programmatic like, for instance, a Ken Loach film (and I say that as someone sympathetic to Loach's views).

A film that is visually striking to you - Holy Mountain (1973)
Alejandro Jodorowsky going for it - 'nuff said.

A film that made you uncomfortable - Not sure what that means really. A film I don't like? Theres a lot of those, but they generally annoy or bore me rather than cause discomfort. Or one I found objectionably out of order? But that doesn't sound quite right either.
Anyway... how about a film that makes you really think about your views on free speech, art, and all that stuff? Salo (1975)

A film that makes you want to fall in love - Jackie Brown (1997)
That might seem like an odd choice, but I really like how the Max/Jackie relationship was done, from when he first sees her right up to the end.
Max wasn't getting any younger, and now I that I'm not either - and highly unlikely to "fall in love" like a twenty year old - it looks quite appealing. Now all I need to do is meet someone like Pam Grier...

A film with your favourite ending - Dunno, its late and I need to wrap this up... Dark Star (1974)? The fella surfing down to the planet was pretty memorable.

Ok, thats it for now. Had intended to reply to some of your replies too, but... maybe later. This took longer than expected - it was hard to decide some of these! Thanks for the opportunity to exercise my brain (;


Simon B said...

Hi Sean. Apologies for the late reply - we've been down in Cornwall for a week so I haven't really had the chance to look at the ol' blog. First of all, I'll have to make the embarrassing admission that I haven't seen the majority of the films you've mentioned. ( Some film fan, huh? )

Zulu. Yes, this movie is obviously problematic in subject matter nowadays but I don't remember it being overly jingoistic, in as much as the characters were products of their environment and thought they were on the "right" side because they didn't know any better. The film-makers on the other hand...

Fistful Of Dynamite. I've probably seen about 2 1/2 "spaghetti westerns" in my life so I'm not familiar with this one. You say "Who doesn't love Sergio Leone westerns?" - well, me for one, but I should really check them out properly as it's a gap in my film knowledge.

Django Unchained. Hey, I've seen this one! Not my fave Tarantino but it has some great moments and memorable performances and I'm sure it would have looked good on the big screen. I've only seen two of QT's movies at the cinema - Pulp Fiction and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. I really wish I'd seen Kill Bill Vol. 1 at "the pictures" because it's probably his most purely cinematic film.

Alexander. Nope, never seen it. I've never been a fan of Colin Farrell but a couple of his more recent movies, In Bruges and the remake of The Beguiled, have made me reconsider this. Maybe I should check out his Alexander. ( Ooh er, sounds a bit rude! )

Reds. I think that I may have seen part of this movie once, late at night, but I can't really remember it. I do recall an interview in a film mag many years ago where some famously right-wing producer ( nope, can't think who ) bemoaned an American studio making this film and referred to it as "Commie Dearest"...

Holy Mountain. Guess what? Yep, that's right - I've never seen a Jodorowsky film although I know I should give his stuff a try. I have read ( or half read ) The Incal, the graphic novel he created with the late, great Jean "Moebius" Giraud, so that's something :-)

Salo. Hmmm. Haven't seen it and I don't think I want to, really. It all looks a bit too grim. Grant Morrison ripped off... sorry, "paid homage to"... the movie in The Invisibles and that was as much as I could handle. I'm such a wuss!

Jackie Brown. It was quite a brave move for Tarantino to centre the movie around middle-aged characters in such a way. Fine performances all round and a more mature, understated style make JB an underrated gem in QT's portfolio.

Dark Star. Yeah, that final image is unforgettable. It's a fun little movie, the deliberate antithesis of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and a remarkable calling-card for Carpenter and O'Bannon. Hollywood certainly noticed!

Thanks again for taking part, Sean, and I'm glad it helped to exercise your brain! We all could use that sometimes ;-) Take care mate and drop by again when you get the chance.


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