Wednesday, September 19, 2012

207 - The Haunting (1963)

Four people visit a haunted house.

An allegedly haunted house, built 90 years ago, has claimed numerous lives and created the fear surrounding it. In the modern day, Hill House has been inherited through its original family, but now remains uninhabited.

Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson) is determined to find out the source of the haunting behind the house. He invites numerous people who have already had experiences with the supernatural, but only two show up - Eleanor Lance (Julie Harris) and Theodora (Claire Bloom). They are accompanied by another potential heir Luke Sanderson (Russ Tamblyn).

After spending a few nights in the house, Markway is convinced of the haunting, but his experiment appears to be having a bad effect on Eleanor.

Monday, September 17, 2012

206 - A Hard Day's Night (1964)

Following The Beatles in an irreverent day in their lives.

As the Fab Four (Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, John Lennon - all as themselves) gear up for an important television appearance they consistently get themselves into trouble much to the dismay of their manager (Norman Rossington).

Paul's Granddad (Wilfrid Brambell) tags along for the ride, and causes yet more mischief. Can the quartet arrive on time for their performance?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

205 - Happiness (1998)

Following many people in their quest for Happiness.

After a disasterous first date, Joy Jordan (Jane Adams) finds her luck with men running out. Her dead end job and lack of a love life is consistently under scrutiny from her sisters, Helen (Lara Flynn Boyle) and Trish (Cynthia Stevenson).

Their lives aren't much better though as Helen finds herself the subject of a creepy telephone call from her neighbour, Allen (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Allen meanwhile is the subject of another neighbours affections.

Trish lives a standard housewife's life with her two children and doting husband, Bill (Dylan Baker). Bill, though fantasises about killing people and has an unnatural fascination with his 11-year-old son's friend.

If that wasn't bad enough, the sisters' parents are going through a messy breakup.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

204 - Hamlet (1996)

The Prince of Denmark seeks revenge for his father's murder.

After the death of the King of Denmark (Brian Blessed), Prince Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh) is visited by the spirit of his father. He is told that the King's death was by no means an accident and that the King's brother Claudius (Derek Jacobi) carried out the murder to gain control of the throne. Hamlet vows to avenge his father's death.

Meanwhile, Claudius has married the late King's wife, Gertrude (Julie Christie), and is enjoying parading as the King. After Hamlet's occasional lover Ophelia (Kate Winslet) tells Claudius of Hamlet's changing attitude, Claudius worries that Hamlet is on to him.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

203 - Halloween (1978)

A psychotic killer escapes from hospital and returns to his home.

As a 6-year-old child, Michael Myers kills his sister which results in him being committed to Smith's Grove Sanitarium for the insane. Years later, Myers is routinely visited by his doctor, Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance), and he escapes, returning back to his home town.

Loomis, understanding this, attempts to warn the police about Michael's escape, but as Michael starts to stalk high school student Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), it seems he may be too late.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

202 - La Haine (1995)

Following three friends in a 24 hour period after a Parisian riot.

Vinz (Vincent Cassel) styles himself of a typical gangster. He hates the police, and when his friend Abdel Ichaha is beaten up by the police shortly before a riot he vows to kill a policeman if he dies from his injuries.

Hubert (Hubert Koundé) is a black boxer who often disagrees with Vinz, but finds himself dragged into the violent world despite his desperation to escape. He has his mother and sister to look after, but won't flee from a fight.

Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui) often finds himself stuck between Vinz and Hubert and their bickering. He has friends within the police who occasionally bail him from trouble much to Vinz disgust. A lot of people owe him money and favours, and he calls upon his friends to help recover the debt.

Friday, September 07, 2012

201 - Guys And Dolls (1955)

One guy bets another that he can't take a missionary to dinner.

Finding himself short of cash to organise the next big illegal craps game, Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra) realises the only way he can raise the money quick enough is to wager a bet. When Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando), a gambler willing to bet on almost anything, shows up, Detroit bets Sky that he can't take a girl of Detroit's choosing out.

The girl that Detroit chooses is a cold missionary (Jean Simmons) and Sky gets to work on asking her out for a date. Meanwhile, Detroit needs to sort out his own life. Desperately short of money and under pressure from a lot of people, he also finds his fiancee of 14 years pressuring him for marriage.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Films 201 - 210

The next ten films in the Empire 5-star challenge are:
  1. Guys And Dolls (1955)
  2. La Haine (1995)
  3. Halloween (1978)
  4. Hamlet (1996)
  5. Happiness (1998)
  6. A Hard Day's Night (1964)
  7. The Haunting (1963)
  8. Heat (1995)
  9. High Noon (1952)
  10. Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959)
Firstly, apologies for the triple scheduled Groundhog Day over the past three days. I just have an appaulling sense of humour.

As for the rest of the previous ten, there wasn't a film that I thought was below 4 stars which goes to show the strength of the films that I'm currently watching. The biggest surprise was The Gospel According to St. Matthew which was far better than I thought it was going to be. With a run of 5-star films including Grease and The Great Escape towards the end I have been thoroughly spoilt.

On the next ten, hmm. I haven't seen any of them before. I've seen parts of Hamlet which I watched when I was 14 years old for secondary school English, but other than that I'm a five-star-films-beginning-with-H virgin. The film I'm looking forward to the least is Halloween which may well cause many sleepless nights waiting for Michael Myers to arrive. I'm looking forward to Heat (everyone loves a gangster movie, right?) and I know that A Hard Day's Night is about The Beatles should be interesting.

Finally, keep an eye on the "Schedule" module at the bottom which notes the next ten posts coming up, including review dates. This will also include several new film reviews on movies that have just been released so watch this space!

Until next time!

Monday, September 03, 2012

200 - Groundhog Day (1993)

A man finds himself reliving the same day over and over.

Cynical weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is off to his fourth annual Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney where the groundhog predicts how much of winter remains. With him in Punxsutawney are his news producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliott).

The problem is Phil doesn't want to be there and when a blizzard keeps him in the city, he finds himself in a time loop reliving the same day over and over again. After numerous inconsequential flings and verging on going insane, Phil needs to reassess his life.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

199 - Great Expectations (1946)

A big screen adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic.

As an orphan boy who is looked after by his sister and her blacksmith husband (Bernard Miles), Phillip 'Pip' Pirrip helps an escaped convict 'Magwitch' (Finlay Currie) by stealing food and drink from his sister. Soon afterwards, Magwitch is caught and sent back to prison.

Pip is summoned by the odd Miss Havisham (Martita Hunt) as a plaything for her daughter, Estella. He soon finds out that Estella seems to dispise him and is only out to hurt him.

Later, as a young man, Pip (John Mills) comes into money from an unknown benefactor who wishes him to live a rich life in London. Pip, however, can't get thoughts of Estella (Valerie Hobson) out of his mind.