Friday, October 28, 2011

115 - Crash (1996)

Crash investigates a cult that become sexually aroused by car crashes.

James Ballard (James Spader) and his wife, Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger), lead very open sex lives, but when James is involved in a car crash and is left scarred he discovers a raw sexual energy with fellow victim Helen Remington (Holly Hunter).

James is transported into a sub-world of his new found sexual desire where leader Vaughan (Elias Koteas) shows that the cult feeds from the fetish of car accidents.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

114 - Coraline (2009)

Coraline tells the story of a girl who finds an alternative reality of her life.

Coraline (Dakota Fanning) is not happy with her life. She has just moved house with her parents and the neighbours aren't exactly pleasant. She would like nothing better than a way out, and when she finds a bizarre hole in the wall she is transported to an alternative reality featuring her ideals.

Initially she is happy with her new found life which features more pleasant versions of both her family and her neighbours; but behind every silver lining is a sinister looking dark cloud.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

James Bond Franchise

Current James Bond 007 Logo (Source: Wikipedia)
When Ian Fleming sat down to write his new secret agent novel, he planned to create a character with a boring name, who had exotic things happening around him. When the idea for a film eventually found its way onto Albert R. Broccoli's desk, Fleming could only wish for the franchise he originally penned to become the second highest grossing franchise of all time (behind Harry Potter).

With the release of Skyfall in 2012, Fleming's protagonist has been portrayed by six different actors in the 23 adaptations by Eon Productions and these are listed below.
  1. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Dr. No (1962)
  2. ✓ see review ★★★★ From Russia With Love (1963)
  3. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Goldfinger (1964)
  4. Thunderball (1965)
  5. You Only Live Twice (1967)
  6. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
  7. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
  8. Live and Let Die (1973)
  9. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
  10. ✓ see review ★★★★ The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
  11. Moonraker (1979)
  12. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
  13. Octopussy (1983)
  14. A View to a Kill (1985)
  15. The Living Daylights (1987)
  16. Licence to Kill (1989)
  17. GoldenEye (1995)
  18. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
  19. The World is Not Enough (1999)
  20. Die Another Day (2002)
  21. Casino Royale (2006)
  22. Quantum of Solace (2008)
  23. Skyfall (2012)
Alternatively, you can see all of the current reviews - out of order - by clicking here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

113 - Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Cool Hand Luke is a prison film about a man and his struggle against the system.

Lucas Jackson (Paul Newman) is sent to prison after knocking the heads from parking meters. Once there he is incorporated into a chain gang, cleaning the sides of the road. Initially he loses the confidence of his fellow prisoners by refusing to conform to their ways including refusing to take a nickname.

Eventually he befriends another inmate - nicknamed Dragline (George Kennedy) - who begins to respect Luke as it becomes more obvious Luke refuses to conform to the guards methods either. As Luke finds though, every time he tries to beat the system it'll hit him back twice as hard.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

112 - The Conversation (1974)

The Conversation tells the story of a man who is disturbed by the content of a conversation he is hired to record.

Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is a hired surveillance expert who specialises in spying on people using a combination of his own equipment and the latest in technology. During his personal life he is a recluse, living a life in solitude and even only rarely visiting the woman he loves for fear of commitment.

After being hired to discretely record a conversation between a young couple he becomes aware that his employer may be plotting to murder them. Having already had a similar experience in the past he must decipher the recording to try and understand the motives behind his employment or forever live with the consequences - again.

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
James Bond returns to as Britain's favourite spy must save the world once again.

Someone has managed to come up with a system to track the British nuclear submarines and immediately the Russians are blamed. As always, Bond (Roger Moore) must get to the truth - and the microfilm - before the old Cold War enemy.

The Spy Who Loved Me is James Bond's tenth outing (Moore's third appearance as the spy) and features one of the franchise's most famous villains.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

111 - The Conformist (1970)

The Conformist tells the story of a man who must decide between his morals and his feelings.

In 1938 Italy, Mussollini was in power and Marcello is working underneath him - joining him in his fascist views. In one assignment Marcello is asked to travel to Paris to kill an old professor that fled Italy once Mussollini gained control of Italy.

Marcello learns that the man he is to kill is Professor Quadri, his old teacher from college. Here he learns that he must either continue to conform to the system he has been ingrained in or whether he should abandon the fascist viewpoint in order to save a man he's long been respectful of.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Three Musketeers (2011)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
The Three Musketeers follows the adventures of Aramis, Athos and Porthos in an interpretation of Alexandre Dumas' famous novel of the same name.

After Aramis (Luke Evans), Athos (Matthew Macfadyen) and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) recover secret plans for a war machine, they are betrayed by Milady D'Winter as she joins forces with the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom).

Meanwhile, D'Artagnan has finished his training and moves to Paris to seek the Musketeers, where he finds they have given up hope having found that they had no purpose in the more modern France.

A plan to dethrone the king, however, forces the Musketeers from their early retirement.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Open Water (2003)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Open Water tells the true story of two divers that were left behind after an expedition in Australia.

Daniel and Susan enjoy their holiday while in the Caribbean and decide to leave on a short scuba diving expedition. While on the boat they are informed that - for safety reasons - everyone should 'buddy up' and leave the boat in pairs.

One diver forgets his scuba mask but after a young couple return from the sea, the diver and one of the couple go back underwater - forcing an error on the headcount for the scuba team.

As the last ones to return to the boat, Daniel and Susan realise that the boat has long since departed, leaving them with just the company of the sea - sharks and all.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Films 111 - 120

The next ten films in the Empire 500 5-star challenge are:
  1. The Conformist (1970)
  2. The Conversation (1974)
  3. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
  4. Coraline (2009)
  5. Crash (1996)
  6. Cries & Whispers (1972)
  7. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
  8. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
  9. The Crucible (1996)
  10. Cul-De-Sac (1966)
Wow, so the last lot of ten were pretty impressive. Citizen Kane was naturally brilliant, and it fully understandable why everyone raves about it. Also surprising was Charlie Chaplin's City Lights which I didn't think I'd enjoy - but loved.

Anyway, moving on to the next ten, I'm looking forward to Cool Hand Luke - a film that my father thoroughly loves as a fan of Westerns. I've never seen Coraline, and I'm interested to know why Empire picked this Crash over the Academy Award winner. Perhaps I shall have to find out!

Until next time....

Sunday, October 16, 2011

110 - Come And See (1985)

Come And See tells the story of the Nazi's homicidal blitzkrieg across Belorussia, wiping out entire villages in their path.

Florya and a young friend dig for weapons, knowing that to find them means they will surely be enlisted into the Belorussian army to fight against the impending Nazi invasion. Florya finds a machine gun and, against his mother's wishes, becomes a young recruit.

He gets left behind on a deadly mission and dips into psychotic hysteria after becoming shell-shocked and partially deafened from a dropped bomb, unhelped when he finds the remains of his village when he returns home with Glasha, a girl whom he met as a recruit.

Florya is enlisted into the resistance, where he further learns of the terrible deeds of the Nazi's move across Belorussia.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Empire's 100 Best British Films Ever

76 remaining
In 2011, Empire Magazine published a list of what they considered to be the Best British Films Ever. Below is that list. You can also view the list on the Empire website.
  1. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  2. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
  3. The Red Shoes (1948)
  4. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Don't Look Now (1973)
  5. Brief Encounter (1945)
  6. ✓ see review ★★★★ Shaun of the Dead (2004)
  7. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
  8. Trainspotting (1996)
  9. Local Hero (1983)
  10. Withnail & I (1987)
  11. ✓ see review ★★★★ A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  12. This Is England (2006)
  13. Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)
  14. The Third Man (1949)
  15. ✓ see review ★★★★★ The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)
  16. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Goldfinger (1964)
  17. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Billy Elliot (2000)
  18. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974)
  19. The Long Good Friday (1980)
  20. A Mattery of Life and Death (1946)
  21. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
  22. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)
  23. Rebecca (1940)
  24. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Moon (2009)
  25. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
  26. Shallow Grave (1994)
  27. Dead Man's Shoes (2004)
  28. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Borat (2006)
  29. Kes (1969)
  30. The Ladykillers (1955)
  31. Performance (1970)
  32. Sense and Sensibility (1995)
  33. ✓ see review ★★★★ Zulu (1964)
  34. A Man for All Seasons (1966)
  35. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
  36. If... (1968)
  37. 28 Days Later... (2002)
  38. The Descent (2005)
  39. The Italian Job (1969)
  40. Sweet Sixteen (2002)
  41. Monsters (2010)
  42. The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976)
  43. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Great Expectations (1946)
  44. Sexy Beast (2000)
  45. ✓ see review ★★★★ Black Narcissus (1947)
  46. The English Patient (1996)
  47. The Wicker Man (1973)
  48. Topsy-Turvy (1999)
  49. Look Back in Anger (1959)
  50. Hot Fuzz (2007)
  51. Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
  52. The 39 Steps (1935)
  53. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
  54. Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)
  55. Tom Jones (1963)
  56. Shakespeare in Love (1998)
  57. My Name is Joe (1998)
  58. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
  59. Peeping Tom (1960)
  60. A Hard Day's Night (1964)
  61. The Full Monty (1997)
  62. Secrets & Lies (1996)
  63. ✓ see review ★★★★ Chariots Of Fire (1981)
  64. The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
  65. Hunger (2008)
  66. Man On Wire (2008)
  67. In The Loop (2009)
  68. Went The Day Well? (1942)
  69. ✓ see review ★★★★ Blow-Up (1966)
  70. Casino Royale (2006)
  71. Control (2007)
  72. The Man in the White Suit (1951)
  73. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Atonement (2007)
  74. Brighton Rock (1947)
  75. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
  76. Naked (1993)
  77. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 (2011)
  78. Henry V (1989)
  79. The King's Speech (2010)
  80. ✓ see review ★★★★ Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
  81. The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner (1962)
  82. The Lady Vanishes (1938)
  83. A Room With A View (1985)
  84. Hamlet (1948)
  85. Billy Liar (1963)
  86. The Killing Fields (1984)
  87. Hope And Glory (1987)
  88. Gandhi (1982)
  89. The Railway Children (1970)
  90. Dracula (1958)
  91. The Remains Of The Day (1993)
  92. Four Lions (2010)
  93. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Brazil (1985)
  94. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
  95. Gregory's Girl (1981)
  96. Nil By Mouth (1997)
  97. 24 Hour Party People (2002)
  98. Oh! What A Lovely War (1969)
  99. The Ipcress File (1965)
  100. Darling (1965)

Friday, October 14, 2011

109 - Cloverfield (2008)

Cloverfield is a first-person science fiction monster film of a mysterious being attacking New York City.

Rob is leaving to go to Japan on work and his best friend Hudson and brother Jason decide to throw him a party to help in on his way. As a going-away present, Jason's girlfriend decides to make a video featuring good-byes from all of his friends and enlists the help of Hudson to film it.

During the party, a blackout occurs and it appears that all is not right in Manhattan and, after switching on the news to reveal disturbing activity in New York Harbour, the party-goers head to the roof of the apartment to get a better view. After seeing an explosion, they rush outside to see their city being destroyed - by an unknown creature.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

108 - Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind tells the story of a man who has an encounter with alien aircraft and feels compelled to find out more about it.

After a temporary black-out, Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) is sent to investigate. En route his truck mysteriously breaks down and the area is lit by strange lights from above.

As Roy investigates further he begins to feel drawn to a certain shape and, after relentlessly following the spacecraft's movements, he finds that other people have the same attraction to the shape as he does.

Meanwhile, the US Government are investigating how to communicate with the mysterious beings, and settle on a strange five-tone piece. The response they receive after pulsing this into space is equally bizarre.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

107 - A Clockwork Orange (1971)

A Clockwork Orange tells the story of a futuristic violent gang leader's desperate attempt to become good after being caught for murder and rape.

It's a picture of a futuristic Britain and Alex leads his 'droogs' (gang) around the city beating up old homeless guys and robbing and raping younger women.

Eventually his luck to avoid the law runs out and he is captured after his droogs stitch him up and he is led away to prison. While there he learns of a breakthrough treatment that will 'cure' him of performing bad deeds.

After undergoing the treatment, Alex is released from prison with his ordeal far from over.

106 - Clerks (1994)

Clerks tells the story of Dante, a lazy shop assistant, during a single working day.

After Dante is called into work on his day off and finds that the front shutter doors to his shop will not open, it becomes apparent that this will be one of Dante's more adventurous days.

As if dealing with rude customers, an anti-cigarette preacher and the usual dope-peddling chain smokers, Dante is forced to face certain facts regarding his love life, an impending hockey game and at least one funeral.

Still, it'll be OK as Randal, his equally lazy layabout colleague from the video store next door, is on hand to offer his expert advice.

Friday, October 07, 2011

105 - Cleo From 5 To 7 (1962)

Cleo From 5 To 7 tells the story of Florence 'Cléo', a French singer who is awaiting her test results for stomach cancer.

Set in 1960's Paris, Cléo sits nervously awaiting her results at a fortune teller and we get the first indication of a lady that is thoroughly superstitious. The fortune teller reshuffles the tarot cards claiming a false reading but Cléo senses that it is bad news.

She heads back to her assistant's house and over the course of the next two hours her outlook on life changes from being utterly self-important to being thoroughly humbled by a soldier about to enter the war in Algeria.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
After being forcibly retired after an operation in Hungary that results in an agent being shot, George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is returned to action to find a mole amongst the highest echelons of Cold War British Intelligence.

Smiley's boss, Control (John Hurt), was also onto the traitor before he was forced out of power and Smiley immediately narrows his search down to one of four people. "Tinker" is new boss Percy Alleline (Toby Jones) with "Tailor", Bill Haydon (Colin Firth) as his deputy. "Soldier" is Roy Bland (Ciarán Hinds) and "Poorman" is Toby Esterhase (David Dencik), who make up the final two top employees of the "Circus" - the British Intelligence Headquarters. Smiley learns that he too was a suspect, "Beggerman".

Aided by Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Mendel (Roger Lloyd-Pack), Smiley uncovers a secret Government funded operation, "Witchcraft", which is supplying information from an unknown Soviet source and is linked to one - or more - of the four suspects.