Alphabet Movie Meme


I saw this idea initially over at The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger, although the idea originates from this blog:The Drama Llama and well I thought it was pretty cool.  Below you will see my choices and I heartily recommend you have a go yourselves!

Anticipating Movie Of 2014

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Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

I was very impressed with how ROTPOTA turned out… really well done origin tale of the whole ‘apes mythology and made me anticipate what comes next immensely.  That anticipation has died down in the few years since, but now it’s finally due out this year … I can’t wait.

Book Adaption I’d Like To See

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Before I Go To Sleep

I didn’t realise it was coming out, and as I am not an avid reader, of the very few books I have read, last year I got around to Before I Go To Sleep … a wonderfully thrilling and gripping story about a woman with 24hr amnesia, and the mystery of those in her life, who can be trusted and who is telling the truth etc.  The movie has Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth in it, very much NOT how I saw it, but will be interesting to see how S J Watson’s text translates to the big screen.

Celebrity I’d Most Like To Meet

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Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

I tried and failed to read his autobiography last year (will I pick it up again?) but have always been an admirer, not just down to his movies, but also his political career.

 

Dream Director / Actor Pairing

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David Fincher & Ellen Page

One of the best directors around right now with one of the best young actresses right now.  ‘Nuff said.

Essential Classic Film

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Taxi Driver – one of the most thought-provoking and daring movies of the 70s with  a superb Robert DeNiro and a stunningly convincing Jodie Foster.  Love it.

Favourite Film Franchise

I actually don’t think I have a favourite right now…titles like Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars etc come to mind, but firstly is ‘Rings a franchise?  Oh and Star Wars has disappointed me too many times to be a favourite.

Genre I Watch The Most

Thriller – I was going to go for drama, but I think I find myself watching crime movies, action, something with a bit of danger, violence or mature themes in it a lot… gritty you might say, so yes thriller kind of covers all those.

Hidden Gem

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Hmm, by this I’m guessing something fairly obscure that not many have heard about?  I’ll go for Let The Right One In … yes marginally famous but believe me, most who don’t have an awareness of world cinema (and have only seen the dire remake) will not know about this one.  And they really should do … now!

Important Moment In My Film Life

First time I watched Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.  I remember bringing it home from the rental store, on VHS and thinking I had something very special in my possession.  It remains my favourite movie of all time, endlessly watchable and has inspired my style of fiction writing and my love of great dialogue and the crime / gangster genre a whole.

Just Right Movie For A Rainy Day

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The Back To The Future Trilogy

I’ll go for these as they are easy watching, very easy to enjoy from the start, not overly deep, serious or complex and when not in the mood for anything else, superb fun. 

Kiddie Movie I Still Shamelessly Enjoy

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The Lion King

… a great story, beautiful hand-drawn animation and memorable songs!!

Location I’d Most Like To Visit

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The Shire … I mean, who wouldn’t?  Beautiful, and such lovely houses!

Marathon I First Attended

I haven’t ever done a movie marathon … to my recollection.  I don’t think I have the attention span.

Netflix Movie I Actually Watched

V/H/S – which I enjoyed a lot.  Strangely the last Netflix movie I saw too, if you don’t count documentaries.  I do intend to rectify this though as there are a few movies I plan on watching.

One Movie I Saw In Theatres More Than Once

I actually don’t think this has ever happened.

Preferred Place To Watch A New Movie

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Difficult one … I love the cinema, but technology being what it is now, I’d say the home get’s my vote.

 

 

Quote That Inspires Me

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This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time’ and pretty much most of Fight Club as well.

 

 

Remakes (Friend or Foe)

Neither

I don’t have a problem with remakes in theory, as long as they bring something new to an old idea, not just re-tread the same ground, often resulting in a poor imitation.  Which is often the case.

Snack I Enjoy Most

Anything chocolate based.

Twist That Boggled My Mind

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Hmm how to say this without a spoiler…so I wont… but pretty much the best goes to Twelve Monkeys.

Unapologetic Fanperson For

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Martin Scorsese … but who would apologise for that?  He’s amazing.

 

 

 

 

Very Excited For Award Show Season?

Mostly ‘meh’ … good movies rarely even get a nomination, let alone win, with some exceptions.  I’ll check out the winners and be happy if something I think is good walks away with something… but otherwise I’m not overly bothered.

Wish I’d Never Watched

Seed Of Chucky

How to kill a perfectly entertaining franchise … or at least I thought it had…until I heard of Curse Of Chucky.

XXX-Movie I Watched At A Really Young Age

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A Nightmare On Elm Street … scared the crap out of me, and I loved it!

Your Latest Movie Related Obsession

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Studio Ghibli

I love this style of animation, endless imagination, wonderful art and personality.  I haven’t yet seen a Ghibli movie I haven’t liked … and several I have loved.

ZZZ-catchers

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Anything with Harry Potter in the title … just does nothing for me and I am proud to say I have never watched even one of them.

Elysium


Viewed – 27 August 2013  Cinema

This was kind of a last minute decision.  I was after something with a bit more depth and a different flavor than what this summer has presented for the most part, and on seeing the trailer, it seemed this Matt Damon vehicle was exactly the ticket.  It’s 2154 and the wealthy live on a space station paradise while the rest of the population resides on a ruined, diseased Earth, until a man dreaming of escaping to the world above takes on a mission that could change everything.

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Director Neil Blomkamp’s last movie the rightly acclaimed District 9 was one of the most refreshing and interesting science fiction movies I had seen in a long time, and that same approach and almost documentary style realism (give or take the odd futuristic idea) is carried over to this .., bigger in scale and concept but equal in emotion and intimacy.  Like Hollywood had taken on board what he had achieved originally and said, OK son – here’s a few extra million – wow us.  And wow us he does.  The setting although not exactly new (the idea of the wealthy separated from the impoverished has been played out since back in Blade Runner days) … does justice to an old idea with an above average turn from Damon as well as good support from Alice Braga and also a boo-hiss Jodie Foster (a first?) – weird (even for her) accent aside.  Stealing the show however is Blomkamp regular Sharlto Copley (well, he was the star of District 9) who makes for one of the most relentless and brutal villains in movie history – I kid you not.  Influences from the world of video games can not go unnoticed either, with a clear borrow for Elysium from Mass Effect’s citadel.  Add to this a plot that is spilling over with immediacy and pace, and this was a breathless, gripping and fascinating experience.

Nit-picking would be to complain at the over-use of very strong South African accents considering the setting is Los Angeles, possibly echoing the director’s routes – but it’s a puzzling inclusion.  However Blomkamp still manages to prove himself a science fiction auteur, and with slick action and a dramatic, intense pace but with the intelligence to really make you care – I came away highly impressed,

Verdict:  5 /5

The Silence of the Lambs


Viewed – 12 April 2013  Blu-ray

Always nice to revisit a classic, especially on Blu-ray.  I have long loved this Oscar-winning thriller, that for me is still the finest serial killer movie ever made (with Seven being a close second).  Sitting down to this last night it wasn’t hard to see why it gained such acclaim.  The performances are perfect, with a vulnerable but tough Jodie Foster, near unrecognizable in a black hair dye-job (or wig?).  Mentored by Scott Glen’s equally well cast Jack Crawford.  Yet the big selling point for me, and what has gone on to define a career is Anthony Hopkins’ amazingly creepy but charismatic turn as Dr Hannibal Lecter – one of the greatest creations in movie villain history.

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Foster plays FBI agent Clarice Starling, given the task of interviewing imprisoned serial killer and former psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter as the FBI attempt to track down currently at large killer Buffalo Bill.  This is a movie that is just as much character study as it is a thriller, with exceptional performances across the board (with a very unnerving Ted Levine as Bill – ‘it puts the lotion in the basket’), and very well observed and realistic direction from Jonathan Demme.    Silence of the Lambs has become the blue-print for all serial killer movies from Seven, to Copycat and even has echoes in current TV series The Following, that for me it just can’t be faulted.  Yes over the years it has been satirized  which I think is a shame, because on its original release this hit viewers hard, and in my opinion still should.

The Blu-ray isn’t quite as impressive.  The picture, whilst acceptable and with moments of good detail, seems overly soft.  The sound in 5.1 DTS Master Audio is decent and punchy however with good crisp dialogue, which is very important in this particular movie.  Extras are mostly carry-overs from the previous DVD editions, but remain extensive with several documentaries and featurettes, trailers, deleted scenes and outtakes.  The only exclusive to this HD release is a feature-length bonus called ‘breaking the silence’ that has the movie playing as interviews with the cast and film makers pop up as well as interesting bits of trivia.  An audio commentary would have been nice but is sadly absent.

Verdict:

(the movie)  5 /5

(the Blu-ray)  3.5 /5

Carnage


Viewed – 04 February 2013 Blu-ray

As far as my knowledge of Roman Polanski stretches, several memorable films (Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby) and something about him being banned from the United States is all that comes to mind.  However, let us not forget that first and foremost he is a director and so we come to his latest offering, that is based on the play by Yasmina Reza.

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Two slightly upper class couples come together one day to discuss what should be done following an incident where one of their children has hit the other in a near by park after a disagreement.  This highly believable and surprisingly engrossing premise brings together four acclaimed actors, namely Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly as the one couple and Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz as the other … all big personalities where it’s our job to sit back and watch the fire works.

On a whole this felt very Woody Allen-esque in it’s comically tense and accurate observations.  I found myself laughing, gasping and grinning throughout like that person at a party, not knowing where to look as others argue – a perversely entertaining experience aided by four decent performances by some of my favorites.  OK, Foster goes a bit into overdrive after a while, and an increasingly manish Winslet fairs little better.  Both however are over shadowed by the utterly wonderful Waltz and Reilly who prove a lot more interesting.  At under 80 minutes this flies by, doesn’t outstay its welcome and is very well written … even if, perhaps like real life it doesn’t really get anywhere.

Recommended.

Verdict:  3.5 /5

Inside Man


Viewed – 21 May 2009  DVD

Now this ticks two boxes to my liking straight away … the always reliable acting talents of one Denzel Washington, probably my favourite African-American actor (yeah, even more so than Samuel L, folks), and secondly, the fact this is a Spike Lee joint.  Now this director has made plenty of celebrated films, not all of which have I actually bothered to see, but it has to be said, when I do take the time to take a puff on said joint, he impresses.  Do The Right Thing is a definite classic, and I also recommend Edward Norton vehicle The 25th Hour for fans of quality, no-holds-barred acting.

Now back to the feature in hand.  Lee has long since graduated from being the black-folks voice of a generation, and is now one of the most assured and skillful directors working today, and this very well done thriller is no exception.  Step into the breach one Clive Owen, another actor I admire but don’t always manage to see the best of, and here he plays a clever-ass bank robber with an ingenious plan up his sleeve.  On his tail is dapperly-dressed NYPD detective Denzel, ready to pitt wits with the criminals and hopefully save the day … but what he hasn’t banked on is just how damn clever this robber’s plan is, and not even a smug, shady government-type (Jodie Foster) can out smart him.

This is gripping, stylish and very well acted, even if a few of the cast-choices seem a little wasted (really, what is Willem Dafoe doing here?  And Foster, although beautiful and sophisticated, has handled much meatier roles than this).  But the story held my interest – I was eager to see how it all played out, and the timer on the DVD was not looked at once (a habit I fall into when a film looses me somewhere).  No fear here, and although the final, drawn-out pay off is a little ‘meh’, this was a solidly entertaining 2hrs.

Verdict:  4 /5