Friday, 29 June 2012

Top 5... Funniest Musical Moments

It's Rhimenocerous extraordinaire Bret McKenzie's 36th birthday today, so in honour of him and his Flight of the Conchords cohort Jermaine Clement, let's have a look at the Top 5 Funniest Musical Moments in film.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Sophie's Choice

The unfortunately named Stingo (Peter MacNicol) moves from his southern home to be a writer in New York. He rents a room in a house, and so finds himself firm friends with a neighbouring couple, Sophie and Nathan (Meryl Streep & Kevin Kline). Sophie and Nathan have a tumultuous relationship, as she has a tragic past and he has issues of his own, and slowly Stingo learns of their history, and the hardships Sophie has had to endure.

Monday, 25 June 2012


Regardless of whether you know the story of Homer's Iliad, it's a certainty that you know of the expressions Helen of Troy, Achilles' Heel and The Trojan Horse. These plot points have become more than the legend of which they are a part, and have entered the modern lexicon as sayings and day-to-day phrases. They aren't anything new, you know what is means and have heard them a million times before, and the same can be said for every aspect of this film.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sense and Sensibility

 Lord Dashwood (Tom Wilkinson) passes away and, unable to split his vast estate between his two families, his wife and three daughters are ousted from their palatial mansion by their half-brother John (James Fleet) and his vile wife Fanny (Harriet Walter), and are forced to considerably downsize their opulent lifestyles. Hope, it seems, arrives in the forms of Fanny's reserved brother Edward (Hugh Grant) and the dashing Mr. Willoughby (Greg Wise), who each take a shining to two of the Dashwood sisters (Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet).

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

One of the most unusual romantic stories I've ever heard, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's film sees the widowed Mrs. Lucy Muir (the achingly beautiful Gene Tierney) fleeing her haughty, oppressive in-laws and moving to the seaside with her daughter Anna (a young Natalie Wood) and their maid, Martha (Edna Best). Upon arriving at Whitecliff-by-the-Sea, Lucy seeks the assistance of estate agent Mr. Coombe (Robert Coote) in finding a suitable property. She is immediately taken by Gull Cottage, despite the disapproval of Coombe and the warning that no other resident has managed to stay there for even a night. This probably has something to do with Captain Gregg (Rex Harrison), the former owner who passed away there some time ago, and whose spirit still haunts the house. In spite of all this Lucy moves in, and she and the ghost of Gregg form an unusual bond.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Top 5... Worst Cinematic Experiences

I was inspired to write this list after listening to a similarly themed podcast from The Film Vault a few months ago, plus it was a post I could write without having to do any research whilst on holiday in a technology-less cabin in Clydach. Now, this isn’t a list of the best and worst films I’ve seen at the cinema (Best: Toy Story trilogy, Lord of the Rings, Cabin in the Woods etc, Worst: Speed Racer, The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor), instead it’s when certain elements – be they oversights from the cinema themselves or my fellow cinema-goers – have come together to ruin what should have been something wonderful.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Night to Remember

You're probably wondering how long it's going to take me, in this review, to mention a certain other film from 1997, directed by James Cameron, that follows a similar plot to this film, and I'll tell you that it'll take exactly 48 words for me to mention Titanic. If you've never seen A Night to Remember, but are a fan of Titanic (as indeed you should be, for it is a much better film than it's cool to admit), then you need to start paying more credit towards Night's director Roy Ward Baker, for it is from his 1958 picture that Cameron stole most of his film.

Monday, 18 June 2012

The Ides of March

Ryan Gosling is Stephen Meyers, assistant campaign manager to Governor Morris (George Clooney, who also directed and co-wrote), who is currently locked in a battle with opposing democratic candidate Senator Pullman to win the Ohio Democratic Primary and eventually win the nomination as the next potential president. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti are their campaign managers, Marisa Tomei the Times reporter out for inside information, Evan Rachel Wood a young intern with her eye on Gosling's big man on campus, and Jeffrey Wright is the senator both sides are eager to please.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Once Upon A Time In China

It’s probably not a good thing that the only Jet Li movies I’d seen prior to this film are his most American ones – Lethal Weapon 4, Unleashed, The Mummy 3 and The Expendables, so his notoriety as a master of martial arts has been more than a little lost on me, as though he gets to show his stuff in most of these films, they aren’t built around him and he is far from the star. There are several other Li films on the List, including Hero and Enter the Dragon, and I hope that they aren’t as much of a mess as this one.

Holiday Apologies

Apologies for the lack of posts this past week, I’ve been on holiday in Wales and the cottage we were staying in had considerably less Internet than we were expecting. The Unlisted and Top 5 posts were hastily scrambled together the night before we left home, just in case. Fortunately the typically Welsh weather allowed me to watch a few more films than I thought I would (still only five from the List though) but a lack of researching ability meant few posts could be written unpublished. Ah well, I’ll try and get back on track in the coming week.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Top 5... Rainy Scenes

I'm on holiday in Wales at the moment, and whilst I'd like to do my Top 5 Welsh movies or Movies Set In Wales, I'm afraid I couldn't come up with very many for either category. Instead I thought I'd try and be funny and do my Top 5 Movie Whales, but I've only seen four films with whales in (4. Pinocchio, 3. Finding Nemo, 2. Free Willy, 1. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy) and I haven't seen any others (including Moby Dick, Whale Rider, Big Miracle and Star Trek VI: The Voyage Home). So instead I've decided to focus on Wales' biggest export, rain, and I'm celebrating those scenes made all the better because of a downpour. I've chosen not to include any John Cusack films on the list purely because he gets caught in the rain in every damn one of them, so if I ever get stuck for a list in the future, Top 5 John Cusack In The Rain Scenes may well crop up.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Scream 4

I wrote in one of my first posts aaaaaaaaaaages ago that I was really looking forward to this film, as I loved Scream and Scream 2, and enjoyed Scream 3 enough to justify owning it, but when the reviews came out and Scream 4 was deemed something of a failure I became lukewarm to the idea, and have put off watching it until recently. I went in with fairly low expectations, which is probably the best approach to take if you want to enjoy this film.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Top 5... Movie Monarchs

Last weekend was Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. I've mentioned before that I'm no Royalist, but it got me thinking as to the cinematic world's greatest rulers, so let's have a look at the top movie monarchs. I've broken this down into real and fictional.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Terror

There are at least six variations on the Dracula myth on the List, and probably hundreds that aren't. I'm ashamed to admit that the only other vampire movies I'd seen prior to this (other than Les Vampires, which doesn't really count) are a half watched Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Twilight, which I did not choose to watch and am still trying to scrub from my retinas. And yet, though my life has been surprisingly devoid of vampire fiction (I've never even seen an episode of Buffy, or an instalment of the Underworld or Blade films), I'm still well versed in the vampire mythology, as indeed is everyone else. It seems one is almost born knowing that vampire's transform into bats, suck your blood and can be vanquished with a stake in the heart, exposure to sunlight or too much garlic on their pizza.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

A Nightmare on Elm Street

I can only imagine Hallowe'en parties in 1984, but I'm guessing quite a lot of people were dressed up in a battered fedora, red and green striped sweater, poorly applied 'burned' make-up and a glove with cardboard blades glued on, for if anything has endured from Wes Craven's multiple-sequel spawner, it's Robert Englund's nightmare-stalker Freddy Krueger.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Unlisted: Midnight in Paris

Woody Allen continues his obsession with Europe (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, the upcoming To Rome With Love) and adds a little time travel into the mix with this delightful slice of whimsy. Owen Wilson picks up the Allen role as Gil, a writer tagging along with his fiance Inez (Rachel McAdams) visiting her parents as they embark on a business merger in Paris. Gil has made a name for himself writing not terribly good films for Hollywood, but has aspirations for writing novels, and dreams of moving back to Paris, whereas Inez and her disapproving parents seem far more level headed. On a late night drunken stroll Gil finds himself in the 1920s world he so wishes to live in, and gets to meet his idols from a time long passed.

The Queen

Well it's a bank holiday this weekend over here in Blighty, because our reigning monarch has succeeded in not dying for 60 years on the throne, and doesn't deem any of her offspring worthy enough to take her crown whilst she has enough life in her hands to grip onto it, so what better way of celebrating than by watching The Queen?

Diana, Princess of Wales, divorced wife of the Queen Elizabeth II's son Prince Charles and mother of her grandchildren Princes William and Harry, is killed in a car accident in August, 1997, causing uproar throughout the UK, not least for the royal family and the recently elected Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen). In the aftermath, the royal family take a period of mourning in their Scottish residence, whilst Blair remains in London to almost take advantage of the situation.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Top 5... Morgan Freeman Roles

Unbelievably, Morgan Freeman is 75 today! He is most famously known for his smooth, melifluous tones, making him easily the greatest narrator available for any story like to tug the occasional heartstring and culminate in an uplifting scene, but his lovable, greatest-grandfather-yoou-never-had persona has been perfectly suited to many other roles too. Let's have a look at the ones that fitted most perfectly.