Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a reboot to the 1960's and -70's Planet of the Apes franchise.

While looking for a cue for Alzheimer's Disease, Will Rodman (James Franco) tests his drug on apes in preparation for human trials. After finding his drug enhances the apes' intelligence he prepares to present his finding to secure the funding for human trials - until the intelligent ape escapes, causing havoc.

Any further experiments are off the cards and all of the apes are put down. It is later discovered that the intelligent ape was merely protecting a secret baby which Will decides to adopt.

The young ape, later named Caesar (Andy Serkis), grows up in the care of Will who finds that it displays an abnormally high intelligence rate, but things start to become complicated when Caesar's over-protective nature tears him apart from Will when he is impounded.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Sherlock Holmes is back to face his old foe Professor Moriaty.

Dr. Watson (Jude Law) is getting married but Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) recognises various crimes around the city as the work of his old foe Professor Moriaty (Jared Harris).

Holmes latches onto a clue - an undelivered letter for a gypsy woman (Noomi Rapace) from her brother who is working for Moriaty - and she agrees to join forces with the pair before the peace summit in Switzerland.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Nightmare at Christmas

The watching of films over Christmas this year has been a nightmare.
OK, so there has been a bit of radio silence on the blog over the past week or so. Here are my excuses:
  • The next film I have to watch - Day For Night - is notoriously difficult to get hold of in the UK and I have now just ordered up my third copy to arrive in from the United States after the two previous versions were only in French audio with the option for French or Italian subtitles. I don't speak either of these languages with any conviction.
  • It's Christmas! There are a number of reviews on the way (the new Sherlock Holmes and an Eastwood special Magnum Force are included), but for the meantime you'll have to accept my silence as me enjoying a nice relaxing Christmas with the family watching those truly awful films that gets shown around this time of year.
Happy Christmas Everyone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

131 - Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Dawn Of The Dead is the second of George A. Romero's zombie Trilogy of the Dead.

The apocalypse has started and zombies are now roaming the planet. Anyone they bite will turn into a zombie when they die so the human race is fearing for its life.

Four such survivors steal a helicopter and begin their hunt for supplies. They reach a shopping mall infested with zombies and attempt to hold it for as long as possible - against all foes.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Films 131 - 140

The next ten films in the Empire 5 star 500 Challenge are:
  1. Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
  2. Day For Night (1973)
  3. Day Of The Dead (1985)
  4. Day Of Wrath (1943)
  5. The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)
  6. Days Of Heaven (1978)
  7. Dead Of Night (1945)
  8. The Deer Hunter (1978)
  9. Deliverance (1972)
  10. Departures (2008)
After a slightly disappointing start to the previous ten (I didn't truly understand Cutter's Way despite watching it twice in two days), I was pleasantly surprised by the final few films. The delicious Dangerous Liaisons was the spacer between The Dark Knight and Dancer In The Dark - two films that are polar opposites in terms of theme but both outstanding in terms of their quality. Das Boot was equally good and deserves commendations.

The standout films in the next section are the two from The Trilogy of the Dead. These are the final part of only one of three three-part franchises that have been awarded five stars for each film so I am expecting big things despite not being a big lover of horrors.

The Deer Hunter has come with high recommendations from my girlfriend's mother who, when I first announced the challenge, asked whether it was on the list. Shamefully, The Day The Earth Stood Still is the only other film I've heard of thanks in part to the 2008 remake.

So, until next time!

Friday, December 09, 2011

130 - Das Boot (1981)

Das Boot follows the journey of a German U-boat for a few months in the middle of the Second World War.

Despite a strong start to the war the tide has turned on the infamous German submarines as the Allies develop tactics to deal with the U-boats in the Atlantic.

One such submarine is led by Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock and his crew of young men. Also on board is a correspondent who is there to gather material to add to the Nazi propaganda machine.

They soon find out that living in cramped conditions under constant threat from drowning is far less glamorous than the honour it was thought to bring.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

129 - Dark Star (1974)

Dark Star tells of four bored astronauts in space who are on a mission to destroy unstable planets.

Lt. Doolittle (Brian Narelle), Boiler (Cal Kuniholm), Talby (Dre Pahich) and Sgt. Pinback (Dan O'Bannon) are nearing the end of their mission to destroy unstable planets ready for colonisation.

They must cope with a runaway alien that resembles a beach ball, a computer system that is on the blink and a bomb that believes it's God.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

128 - The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight is the follow-up to Batman Begins and is the second of the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy.

After restoring order to Gotham's streets in Batman Begins, the criminals of old are looking for somewhere to hide their ill-gotten gains. After choosing Lau Security Investments, a new criminal bursts onto the scene. The Joker (Heath Ledger) tells the mobs that the only way to keep their money is to remove the Batman (Christian Bale) which he offers to do for half their money.

As Batman joins forces with district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) and Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), The Joker pushes each to their limit as he tries claim the city for his own malevolent reasons.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Lurking at the bottom of a lake at the end of an Amazonian estuary is the Creature From The Black Lagoon.

After digging for years for prehistoric beasts, Dr Carl Maia (Antonio Moreno) chances upon the fossilised hand of a creature from the Devonian period.

He visits his marine biologist friend Dr David Reed (Richard Carlson) who manages to persuade both his girlfriend (Julia Adams) and a financial backer (Richard Denning) to go ahead with the expedition.

They return to camp to find Maia's support crew dead and, after being attacked by a bizarre amphibious humanoid, they decide to track the creature to its natural habitat to try to unearth the greatest archaeology discover of all time.

Monday, December 05, 2011

127 - Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Dangerous Liaisons tells of bored aristocrats that seek revenge using seduction.

Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) seeks revenge on her ex-lover Gercourt. She enlists the help of another of her ex-lovers - Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovich) to deflower Gercourt's betrothed, the innocent Cécile de Volanges (Uma Thurman). Valmont declines as he has his own conquest in mind, Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer).

Merteuil offers him a reward for his troubles with Trouvel, offering herself for a single night if he can get written proof of his encounter, but as he starts to fall in love with Trouvel he must use Cécile as a pawn in order to lever himself into Trouvel's life.

Friday, December 02, 2011

126 - Dancer In The Dark (2000)

Dancer In The Dark tells of Selma, a lady who is going blind who is trying to pay for her son's operation.

Shy and retiring Selma (Björk) loves musicals. With her sight slowly getting worse due to a hereditary disease she makes the most of all of the sound around her to transport her to her own private fantasies.

This often gets her into trouble at work as her daydreaming leaves her accident prone in charge of machinery. Much of her work money goes towards saving for an operation for her son to cure him of the imminent blindness.

Her police officer landlord has financial trouble himself and when he finds Selma hiding the large sum of money he takes it, forcing Selma to make a life or death decision for the both of them.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

5plit Reel - 123 Films You Should See

In 2011, 5plit Reel published a list of what is described as "not a list of the 123 best films of all time. This is a list of films, that have quality that everyone should experience. Whether they're uplifting, devastating or intriguing, every single one of these films holds a dear place in [her] heart".

The list may be subject to revision, and this version was correct as at 1st December 2011.
  1. Adaptation. (2002)
  2. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Alien (1979)
  3. An Affair to Remember (1957)
  4. ✓ see review ★★★★★ American Beauty (1999)
  5. ✓ see review ★★★★★ American History X (1998)
  6. ✓ see review ★★★★ Amores Perros (2000)
  7. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Back To The Future (1985)
  8. Beau Travail (1999)
  9. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Being John Malkovich (1999)
  10. ✓ see review ★★★★★ The Big Lebowski (1998)
  11. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Blade Runner (1982)
  12. Bloody Sunday (2002)
  13. Blue Valentine (2010)
  14. Brief Encounter (1945)
  15. Broken Flowers (2005)
  16. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Boyz N The Hood (1991)
  17. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969)
  18. Caché (2005)
  19. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Casablanca (1942)
  20. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Chinatown (1974)
  21. ✓ see review ★★★★ A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  22. ✓ see review ★★★★★ The Conversation (1974)
  23. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Dancer In The Dark (2000)
  24. ✓ see review ★★★★★ The Dark Knight (2008)
  25. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Das Experiment (2001)
  26. Das Leben Der Anderen (2006)
  27. ✓ see review ★★★★★ The Deer Hunter (1978)
  28. Der Untergang (2004)
  29. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964)
  30. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Die Hard (1988)
  31. ✓ see review ★★★★★ The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (1972)
  32. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
  33. Du Levande (2007)
  34. Easy Rider (1969)
  35. Efter Brylluppet (2006)
  36. El Aura (2005)
  37. The Element of Crime (1984)
  38. ✓ see review ★★★★ Eraserhead (1976)
  39. The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)
  40. ✓ see review ★★★★ Fantasia (1940)
  41. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Fanny And Alexander (1982)
  42. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Fargo (1996)
  43. Festen (1998)
  44. Fight Club (1999)
  45. ✓ see review ★★★★★ The Fly (1986)
  46. The Fountain (2006)
  47. Gattaca (1997)
  48. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Gladiator (2000)
  49. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Ghostbusters (1984)
  50. Gomorrah (2008)
  51. The Good, The Bad and the Weird (2008)
  52. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Good Will Hunting (1997)
  53. Goodbye Lenin! (2003)
  54. Half Nelson (2006)
  55. Hellboy II : The Golden Army (2008)
  56. High Fidelity (2000)
  57. Hoop Dreams (1994)
  58. Hot Fuzz (2007)
  59. Hunger (2008)
  60. In Bruges (2008)
  61. Idioterne (1998)
  62. Jaws (1975)
  63. ✓ see review ★★★★ La Haine (1995)
  64. La Pianiste (2001)
  65. Last King of Scotland (2006)
  66. Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (2007)
  67. Lilya 4ever (2002)
  68. The Lion King (1994)
  69. Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)
    1. Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001)
    2. Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
    3. Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King (2003)
  70. Los Cronocrímenes (2007)
  71. Lost Highway (2007)
  72. Los Amantes del Círculo Polar (1998)
  73. L.A. Confidential (1997)
  74. Malcolm X (1992)
  75. The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
  76. Mean Streets (1973)
  77. Memento (2000)
  78. Mies Vailla Menneisyyttä (2002)
  79. ✓ see review ★★★★★ Moon (2009)
  80. Mulholland Dr. (2001)
  81. Nanook of the North (1922)
  82. Natural Born Killers (1994)
  83. No Man's Land (2001)
  84. Oldeuboi (2003)
  85. On the Waterfront (1954)
  86. Once (2006)
  87. Ondskan (2003)
  88. Pi (1998)
  89. Primer (2004)
  90. Rain Man (1988)
  91. Raging Bull (1980)
  92. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  93. Rear Window (1954)
  94. Repulsion (1965)
  95. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
  96. Rocky (1976)
  97. Romper Stomper (1992)
  98. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
  99. Satyricon (1969)
  100. Say Anything (1989)
  101. Se7en (1995)
  102. Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989)
  103. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  104. Silence of The Lambs (1991)
  105. Sin City (2005)
  106. Solyaris (1971)
  107. Sånger från Andra Våningen (2000)
  108. Schindler's List (1993)
  109. Star Wars (1977-1983)
  110. Submarino (2010)
  111. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
  112. Terminator 2 : Judgment Day (1991)
  113. This is England (2006)
  114. Trainspotting (1996)
  115. Training Day (2001)
  116. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
  117. 2001 : A Space Odyssey (1968)
  118. Un Chien Andalou (1929)
  119. Un Prophète (2009)
  120. The Verdict (1982)
  121. Vertigo (1958)
  122. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
  123. The Wrestler (2008)

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Diamonds Are Forever is the seventh James Bond film, and the sixth to feature Sean Connery.

Bond (Connery) follows a seemingly simple diamond smuggling operation under the pseudonym of Peter Franks. He teams up with Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) in order to join the smuggling operation from Amsterdam and the trail leads him to Las Vegas and his old nemesis Blofeld (Charles Gray).

He must try to find out Blofeld's plan and what it has to do with the missing diamonds, whilst avoiding his two hitmen - the bizarre Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint.