Saturday, 30 March 2013

Top 10... Movie Rabbits

Rabbits. Bunnies. Hares. Lepus. Conies. Floppy-eared, fluffy-tailed harbingers of chocolate eggs. Whatever you call them, their distinctive profiles, cute demeanour and oh-so-adorable little twitchy faces makes rabbits one of the many animals that crops up in films far more often than you might think. And seeing as it's Easter this is the perfect time to celebrate those bouncing bundles of fluff that are the rabbits of the movies. There's some notable omissions - I haven't seen the likes of Watership Down or Rise of the Guardians, haven't overly liked any version of Alice in Wonderland and couldn't bring myself to include The House Bunny on any list. Fatal Attraction deserves a place on a list of best scenes involving rabbits, but that is not this list, and the rabbit in question doesn't have too much of a personality, or even a name if I remember rightly, much like the dinner caught by Gollum in The Two Towers. And this has nothing to do with the quality of the films, it's just how much I like the rabbits in question. 

Honourable mention: Jack Rabbit Slim's, Pulp Fiction
Personally, I'm amazed it's taken me this long to wrangle Pulp Fiction onto a list. Technically there are no actual rabbits in this film, but then that's also the case for at least two other films on this list, but Pulp Fiction is the most tenuous link, hence why it's only the honourable mention. Also, it's a part of my least favourite storyline in the film, as I'm not much of an Uma Thurman fan, and could have done without the Mia Wallace segment. The club itself is pretty damn cool, even if the milkshakes cost $5.00, as the chance to be served by Marilyn Monroe, James Dean or Buddy Holly (Steve Buscemi) is just awesome. The only downside is the dance contests.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The 39 Steps

Richard Hannay (Robert Donat), a Canadian man visiting London, thinks nothing of assisting a strange woman (Lucie Mannheim) to escape a theatre riot, especially when, after the melee, she requests he take her home with him. She seems rather odd, with an indistinguishable European accent and clearly fake name, hiding from the windows and the reflection of the mirror, scared of a ringing telephone, and it turns out she's being pursued by a gunman over some business involving a secret being smuggled out of the country. Hannay of course is sceptical, until she winds up dead on his living room floor, a knife in her back and a map in her hand, with Scotland's Alt-na-Shellach circled. Hannay suddenly finds himself in the frame for murder, and must flee up north if he hopes to clear his name and save the secrets.

Sunday, 24 March 2013


'Scottie' Ferguson (James Stewart) is a detective in San Fransisco who suffers from crippling vertigo, exacerbated by his most recent rooftop scuffle culminating in the death of a colleague and the escape of the perpetrator being pursued. He therefore retires, only to be called upon by an old college friend Gavin (Tom Helmore) who is concerned about his wife Madeleine (Kim Novak), who may or may not be occasionally under some form of supernatural possession from an ancestor who committed suicide at the same age Madeleine is now.

Top 10... Remakes

More and more it seems there's no original ideas in mainstream Hollywood, but it turns out that this has always been the case, and it just seems more prevalent now because there's so many more films released each week, and less original stories to go around, so therefore there's more rehashed versions of films gone by available to us on a weekly basis. 2012 saw three remakes in the Box Office Top 20 (The Amazing Spider-Man, Snow White and the Huntsman, Les Miserables), and this is far from new, hell, even The Wizard of Oz was a remake back in 1939 of three silent films that came before it (and a book, but everything's a remake of a book these days). The thing is though... I don't mind. I have no problem with modern film makers updating older films to introduce them to a wider audience - there have been several instances where a remake has inspired me to go back and see the original, and I've discovered a classic that I otherwise may have never found (Scarface springs to mind).

So what inspired this list? Well, The Film Vituperatum's movie of the week is The Adventures of Robin Hood, which whilst I haven't seen it yet and therefore haven't got around to reviewing, I am more than familiar with the story, mainly due to the various adaptations of it. If I had to guess, I'd say the story of Robin Hood is probably one of the top three most adapted tales in history, after A Christmas Carol and Alice in Wonderland, but my list of top 10 Robin Hood adaptations would see Kevin Costner taking third place behind John Cleese in Time Bandits and an animated fox, at which point the list would end because I haven't seen any others, so instead I'm going to celebrate the greatest remakes that I've ever seen, regardless of whether I've watched the originals or not. Oh, and The Wizard of Oz didn't make the list, because I'm fairly sure I've never seen it all the way through. The list also doesn't include any English-language remakes of originally foreign works, because that would be another list entirely, and one I'll save for another day - perhaps when Ringu is selected for movie of the week?

Monday, 18 March 2013

Pre-View: Man Of Steel

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I've never been a fan of Superman. He just seems too uninteresting as a character, with his only inner turmoil being his fish out of water last-of-his-kind predicament, that I'm sure would become annoying and whiny if dwelt on for too long. My disinterest with him also stems from the fact that I've spent so little time with the character. I have technically seen Richard Donner's 1978 Superman, but I can't remember a single thing about it (literally nothing), and my hatred for Superman Returns is well documented. I also wasn't much of a fan of Smallville, barely making it halfway through the first season, and I doubt I've seen more than a couple of episodes of Lois and Clark, although I did like Ben Affleck's performance as George Reeves in Hollywoodland. As such, I can't say I'm really looking forward to the upcoming Man Of Steel, despite the interesting trailers and general buzz over it all.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Nevada Smith

When three men, claiming to be friends of his father, ask young half Native American Max Sand (Steve McQueen) the way to his parents' depleted gold mine, Max doesn't hesitate in giving them directions. Something seems up, so he heads after them, but upon arriving discovers the three men have tortured and killed his folks, even skinning his squaw mother, once they had found out the mine had only produced one nugget in the past two years. Max burns down the house, not wanting anyone to see his family in that condition, and heads out into the world with just his horse, a rifle, $8.00 to his name and a vivid memory of the three men who killed his parents, and who he will not rest until they have been killed by his hand.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Top 10... Movies With Title Songs

This week's movie of the week over at the Film Vituperatum is Cabaret. Now, I didn't submit a review for this because I watched and reviewed it during the period of my blog that I call 'Reviewing for the Sake of It' in which it was more important to me to watch, or at least sit through, a playing of the film, and record the briefest of comments upon it, as then I could get to the part I was most looking forward to, crossing it from the 1001 List (or whichever list it came from). a little while ago I decided this was ridiculous and wasn't benefiting anyone, at which point I decided to try and expand upon my reviews. I've made the intention to go back and re-review some of the films I'd not given enough respect to in the past, but there are some films I'd really not rather watch again, and amongst those is Cabaret. If you really want to, you can read my 130-word review here, but personally I wouldn't recommend it. Anyway, I wanted to do a list that somehow ties in with the movie of the month (this won't always be the case, but it seems to be working so far). My initial idea was to do my list of Top 10 Worst Movies I've Ever Seen, in honour of Liza Minnelli's cameo in Sex and the City 2 (second place, after Home Alone 4), but instead I opted for movies with songs in them of the same name as the film, as of course the film features Minnelli belting out the titular Cabaret.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Hideous Kinky

Julia (Kate Winslet) has upped sticks from her one-bedroom London flat and moved to Marrakech after her partner cheated on her and left. Accompanying Julia are her two daughters, seven year old Bea (Bella Riza) and five year old Lucy (Carrie Mullan). Whilst in Morocco, Julia runs into financial difficulties and seeks romance, eventually finding it with street acrobat/quarry labourer Bilal (La Haine's Said Taghmaoui), before continuing to travel around the foreign lands with her children.

Monday, 11 March 2013

The Skin Game

Mr. Hornblower (Edmund Gwenn) has just purchased a rented house from Mr. Hillcrist, under the circumstance that the former does not evict the long-standing tenants of the house, the Jacksons (Herbert Ross and Dora Gregory). However, as soon as Hornblower has bought the place the Jacksons find themselves homeless, which starts a familial war, or 'skin game' between the two families.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Top 10 Worst Movie Mothers

The movie of the week over at Film Vituperatum this week is Psycho, hence why I posted a review of it yesterday, and seeing as it is Mother's Day this Sunday the two events seemed to coincide far too perfectly for me to not create a Top 10 list in celebration. I was a little unsure of which direction to take this in, but then I considered that the mother in Psycho probably wouldn't have sat too well on a list of the all time greatest movie mothers, so forgive me but this is a more negative view of cinematic matriarchs. So here is my run down of the movie mothers that make me oh so very grateful for the one I ended up with, as opposed to any of these raving bags of lunacy.

Now as it turned out Psycho's Mrs. Bates didn't make an appearance on this list, as all she was really guilty of parenting-wise was maybe loving her son a little too much - something which a member of this list attempted to take a bit further. Also, any US readers who may have gotten terrified of the mention of it being Mother's Day this Sunday should not be overly concerned; we celebrate it a couple of months earlier than you guys, so you've still got until May to buy those flowers. So, without further ado, here's my list of mothers who would at best deserve a hastily purchased card from a petrol station, if that.

Honourable mention
Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
On the surface, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) doesn't seem to be too bad of a mother. She doesn't do much wrong other than get herself kidnapped and wear the same forced, frozen smile on her face for the entirety of this intolerable movie. In fact, she's done a fairly reasonable job of raising a son almost single-handedly, whilst maintaining a career along the way. Yes, that son has turned out to be Shia LaBeouf pretending to be Marlon Brando, but it could have been worse. Shia LaBeouf pretending to be Shia LaBeouf, for example. No, Marion's crime is in denying her child, Mutt Williams, of the knowledge of his father's true identity, that of [REALLY OBVIOUS SPOILER] Indiana Jones. What boy growing up wouldn't want Indy to be his father? He's possibly the coolest man in existence, and even with the lack of stability and large periods of time spent travelling the globe in search of historic artifacts and sexy historians, he'd still have been one hell of a father figure to look up to for any growing boy. Plus, she let her son go around with the nickname Mutt.

Thursday, 7 March 2013


On a bright December Friday afternoon, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) returns to work after some afternoon delight with her similarly cash-strapped lover Sam (John Gavin). When her boss sends Marion to the bank to deposit a client's $40,000 in cash, on a whim she hastily backs her bags and flees with the money, but draws the attention of a road cop during her escape. When darkness and an incessant downpour prove too much for Marion, she checks into the run down, deserted Bates Motel, where she meets motel manager Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a kind yet awkward young man, unfamiliar with pretty young women entering his life. Norman's bedridden mother disproves of the presence of Marion, and refuses to let her into the house, but this is no concern of the girl's as she still has to plan what to do with the money.

Monday, 4 March 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Charlie (Logan Lerman)  is starting his first day of high school. He has no friends, a distant family, and is too painfully introverted to change any of this. Fortunately when he starts school he falls in with Patrick (Ezra Miller), Sam (Emma Watson) and their small group of "misfit toys," who all help Charlie to realise who he is and what is important in life, and what may have led to the way he is.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Barbarian Invasions

Remy (Remy Girard), a college professor with a womanising history, is mere days away from death. His wife (Dorothee Berryman), from whom he separated fifteen years ago when he refused to give up his philandering ways, summons their son, Sebastien (Stephane Rousseau) to see him. Sebastien and his father have never been close, with the son playing the father for destroying the family, and the father being disappointed his son never became a cultured intellectual, even though he is now a fantastically wealthy international businessman. Sebastien uses his fathers last days to reconnect with his old man, and make his remaining time happy, by contacting his father's old friends, disrupting the Canadian health system to get him a better room, and making an arrangement with a heroine addict (Marie-Josee Croze) to make his father more comfortable before the inevitable happens.