Sunday, January 30, 2011

002 - The Accidental Tourist (1988)

The Accidental Tourist - DVD Box
After the death of his son and the consequential breakdown of his marriage, Macon Leary's (William Hurt) life is changed when he meets Muriel Pritchitt (Geena Davis).

Lawrence Kasdan's The Accidental Tourist is a slow film that trundles through Leary's life after his wife leaves him. Hurt plays the role well, conveying a distinct lack of emotion throughout the film - and in fact he leaves his single smile for the final scene. His character seems oblivious to the world around him - lost to the stories and advice he offers travellers.

Theatrical Poster
Despite the slow storyline, Davis tries hard to inject humour into the situation, but this rarely breaks the sombre mood. Perhaps this is testament to some clever background music which beautifully aids Hurt's acting.

While the film may not be for all - my little brother walked out half way - it sticks to its guns and the ending is cleverly delivered and will please those who can stick out the previous couple of hours.

See The Accidental Tourist on:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

001 - A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

A.I. Artificial Intelligence DVD Box
Directed by Steven Spielberg - named "The 5-star Director" in the same issue of Empire - A.I. Artificial Intelligence was a good film to start the Empire 500 challenge. Being a modern film, it suited my 'typical' taste in film, while exposing me to something that I'll be having to get used to - new movies.

 A.I. tells the story of an advanced robot - in fact, the first robot that can love - being adopted into a family to emotionally replace their cryogenically frozen son. Just as the mother accepts the new addition, the ill child recovers and shatters the robot's dream of becoming the first robot to be loved in return by a human being.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence Theatrical Poster
It is easy to see where A.I. draws it's inspirations. Aside from the obvious links to Bicentennial Man, A.I. was developed at a time when thinking about 'our' place in the Universe was becoming a craze in movies. The Truman Show and The Matrix offered their version and Spielberg followed this concept marvellously.

From the first scene involving a robot with the aesthetics of a human splitting its face to show the inner workings, the movie's special effects are continuously impressive for a turn of the century film. Half-robot half-human creatures are thrown up throughout the film and not one of them looks tacky or out of place. Jude Law's plastic-looking gigolo is stunning to say the least.

The story is original, yet relatable and the ending is full of emotion - if not a little drawn out. The characters are portrayed brilliantly - Haley Joel Osment's acting shows a lot of maturity for an early teen and he is complimented well by Law although he seems a little overshadowed by him at times.

All-in-all a thoroughly enjoyable film, though the ending was suitable, it was a little too drawn out.

See A.I. Artificial Intelligence at:

Friday, January 28, 2011

One Final Rule

Before I settle down and watch A.I. Artificial Intelligence tonight, I thought I'd better clear up one final rule that I've set myself;

Every film must be watched in order to accomplish the challenge - including those which I have seen previously.

This rule is probably the most important - whilst I'm trying to keep a clear, objective mind, I know in my head which films in the 500 I really enjoyed and which ones I didn't like so much. By watching them again I will be able to compare them with other films that Empire believe are equally as good!

Oooh! Just a quick thanks (in advance) to my family, friends and girlfriend who have been leafing through and deciding which films they want to watch with me. My brother has even gone so far as to join me on the blogging route which is at (if you look closely, you may notice some elements of inspiration from my blog). He's also started a small buying spree to save my poor wallet from the brunt of buying 500 DVDs.

Finally, thanks to you guys for passing through! Without you reading it would be pointless me even writing! Please follow, tweet and 'like' the blog to show your support  :-)

Until later...

Thursday, January 27, 2011


The first few photos of DVD boxes are going up on Picasa and are viewable as a public album. The album will contain the majority of photos taken during the challenge, so please keep checking back for updates!

This blog features a slideshow of those photos on the right-hand-side, and you can click any of the photos to show the complete album on Picasa. Alternatively, click here!

For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, they will also be added into a Facebook album - although, because of album limits in Facebook this may well have to stretch to more than one album in the future!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Challenge Update - 2 days to go!

OK, so it's just two days until I begin my personal challenge to watch the 500 best 5-star rated films of all time (as laid out in Empire's Xmas 2010 special).

I have the first five films, and I am thoroughly excited about some genuinely good cinematic experiences. While I may not agree with some of the 5-star awards, I will try to offer my opinion on the movie showcases to come.

At the end of the challenge, I will label one film as the "Best Film of the Empire 500". Currently, out of the films I've already seen on the list, I'd award it to The Usual Suspects, with The Shawshank Redemption a close second.

Photos of the first few DVDs will start to appear on the blog within the next couple of days so watch this space!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Films 001 - 010

1. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Below is a list of the first 10 films that will be watched in the Empire 500 challenge.
  1. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
  2. The Accidental Tourist (1988)
  3. The Accused (1988)
  4. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
  5. After Hours (1985)
  6. The Age of Innocence (1993)
  7. Airplane! (1980)
  8. Aladdin (1992)
  9. Alexander Nevsky (1938)
  10. Alien (1979)

6. Airplane! (1980)
Previously Seen Stats
I am ashamed to admit that there is only one film on this first list that I have previously watched - Aladdin.

Buying Stats
  • 1 film on the list was already owned [Alien]
  • The other 9 films on the list have been bought totalling £47.79

Feel free to offer your opinions on these films by commenting below. Alternatively, tweet it with #empire500 !

Friday, January 21, 2011

Challenge Update

When I started this blog I mentioned that I would be watching the Empire 500... and it turns out that there are more than one.

I will be watching the 500 5 star rated films (The Definitive List) from the Xmas 2010 issue of Empire. I understand that this may make the banners around the edge of the blog a little confusing, but it's from the same magazine so hopefully I can get away with it without too much persecution...

Challenge Update:
500 films to go

Monday, January 17, 2011

What is the Empire 500?

Empire Magazine chronicled 500 must-see films
Empire 500, is a huge list of movies compiled by Empire Magazine and consists of the 500 greatest 5 star movies ever. According to the Empire 500 website; "10,000 Empire readers, 150 of Hollywood's finest and 50 key film critics voted in the most ambitious movie poll ever created."

What has this got to do with me?

Having picked up the magazine at the start of 2011, I made it my ambition to make my way through this list. As part of the challenge, I have set myself a few rules:
  •  Each film must be reviewed after it has been watched. The review will give my personal interpretation on the film. The review will link to The Internet Movie Database, Empire and any other articles on the film that I think are interesting.
  • The list will be watched in alphabetical order. This is different to a couple of other people who have set themselves the same challenge.
  • Each film will be bought as a DVD. I will keep a photo album containing the progress of the film collection growing. Each film will be bought as a DVD to keep consistency regarding picture and sound.
This challenge will take me well over a year - watching 500 films will probably take two or three years. I will re-watch the films I have already seen - yes, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy (again).