The ever-creative Andy has come up with another fantastic blog-a-thon idea and I’m determined to get in on the fun. The idea is to pick a favourite movie for ever year you’ve been alive. (I think it’s his sneaky way of finding out how old we all are.)
Notoriously indecisive as I am, this is probably going to be a tricky one for me…
That’s right folks, I reach the ripe old age of 23 this August
This is actually pretty tricky, putting aside such cinematic wonders as Crocodile Dundee 2 and Police Academy 5, this is also the year that brought us Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Big. The dilemma for me though is choosing between two of my favourite films: Rain Man and Die Hard.
In the end I’m going to have to go for Die Hard. It’s just everything I want in an action film.
This one is a bit easier. Although I’m sure that most of you who were around at the time will be picking Batman starring the fantastic Jack Nicholson as The Joker, I have to go for Dead Poet’s Society.
We’ll just gloss over the fact that this was the year that brought us Kindergarten Cop shall we? 1990 also saw the release of the final (and weakest) installment of the Back to the Future trilogy and the second (and weakest) of the Die Hard quadrilogy. Enough of the slightly dodgy though, there was also some good to ring in my terrible twos, including the surprisingly sweet Mermaids starring Cher and Winona Ryder, the quintessential Christmas film Home Alone and this year’s winner: Edward Scissorhands.
This might be an unpopular choice, but I’m going to pick Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. It might involve a more American Robin than we’re used to in the form of Kevin Costner, but Alan Rickman as the sheriff of Nottingham more than makes up for it.
Here’s where I start to change the game a bit….As I was working through finding films that were released in each year, I came across a problem. There are films that came out in these years that I absolutely adored at the time, and still love now, but there are also films I’ve come back to as an adult that might edge out those childhood favourites if I’m asked to choose. So from here on I’ve kind of cheated a bit. Sorry Andy. Hopefully as well as being a massive cheat, it’s interesting for people other than myself to see what I was into at the time, and what I’ve come back to discover later.
So what was the 3-4 year old watching in ’92? Aladdin of course! Meanwhile the grown up (well, not really) version looks back on ’92 as the year that gave us Reservoir Dogs. Bit of a contrast there….
This was a good year for childhood movies. Not only did it see the release of my guilty pleasure movie Free Willy but also Mrs Doubtfire and Nick Park’s brilliant short film The Wrong Trousers. The best childhood movie of ’93 for me though had to be Cool Runnings. Some people say you know they can’t believe….
Coming back to the ’93 films and I’ve got a tricky choice, but in the end I’m going to pass over Philadelphia in favour of the more feel good Benny and Joon
This seems to be the year of Jim Carrey, with both Ace Ventura and The Mask showcasing his “rubber faced humour” as they love to call it.
There’s no question that the 5-6 year old me’s favourite film is The Lion King, I can still vividly remember going to see it in the cinema. It still a contender for my favourite film of the year , but faces stiff competition from a whole collection of films I love including; Pulp Fiction, Speed, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. In the end I’m going to have to go with the perhaps predictable choice, but outstanding film, Forrest Gump
1995 was a big turning point for animated movies. It was the year Toy Story was released, becoming my favourite film instantly and holding on to that top spot for a long time.
Also that year came Apollo 13, Braveheart, Desperado, Die Hard With A Vengeance and The Usual Suspects, but you know what? I still love Woody the most.
This is an easy pick in both directions. My favourite film at the time (and I still love it now, because I’m cool like that) was Muppet Treasure Island. Tim Curry as Long John Silver. Yes.
But the best film to come out of ’96 has to be Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. I’ve written about it on this blog more than once, but it really is a fantastically made movie and a clever adaptation of the worlds best known love story.
OK, don’t judge me, but as soon as I saw this on the list of ’97 movies I knew what my favourite film at the time was….George of the Jungle
*ahem* Moving on.
Lots of big Sci-Fi movies in ’97: The Fifth Element is an under-rated movie, sitting alongside Men In Black and GATTACCA. This was also the year the world went crazy for Jack and Rose in Titanic, but I’m going to pick a film that you might not know: Donnie Brasco. It’s a great look at what it’s like to infiltrate the world of organised crime, made all the more significant because unlike the many other gangster movies out there this one is true.
In the year I hit double figures I have another very clear early cinema memory; going to see A Bug’s Life. This time it was my little sister (then 5) who was in awe of the big screen for the first time. She stood up for the whole thing.
1998 was also the year of the battle of the killer Meteorites, with both Deep Impact and Armageddon coming up with different ways to prevent the apocalypse. I’ve gotta admit I prefer the ever so slightly cheesy but more fun version involving Bruce Willis and a giant oil drill.
As much as I love both these films though, I think my adult film of ’98 is going to have to be The Truman Show because not only is it a much unloved movie with a beautiful soundtrack that more people should see, but it also proved to me that even though I’d always been a fan of Jim Carrey because his dumb humour made me laugh, it turns out he can actually act too.
It’s 1999! The year I started secondary school and everybody started panicking that the world was going to end when the millenium came. Light relief form these two distressing issues came in the form of a year of great movies including Sleepy Hollow, The Green Mile, Dogma, Notting Hill, The Talented Mr Ripley and 10 Things I Hate About You. This presents both the young and old versions of me with a dilemma because it’s quite hard to pick.
11 year old Katie is torn between The Iron Giant and Toy Story 2. Both amazing films. Both still watched with regualrity. I think my life long love of Pixar will win in the end though.
Meanwhile 11 years older Katie is debating whether I love Fight Club more than The Matrix. I don’t think I do.
Ps. Just in case you were forgetting/mentally blocking/still recevinign counselling for it, this is the year that George Lucas decided three epic Star Wars films wasn’t enough…exit, persued by a Gungan
The world didn’t end. Confused computers didn’t bring civilisation to a standstill and (scarily) we have reached the halfway point in my life. Quite a lot of good “family” films came out this year, and despite being 12 at the time, I still had a soft spot for movies like El Dorado and The Emperors New Groove. Kids movie of the year has to go to Chicken Run, especially because it’s better than the classic its based on.
And while I can imagine a lot of you bloggers out there will pick Gladiator as your movie that kicked off the noughties, for me film of the year is the one that started my transformation from realtively geeky kid into Marvel comic super nerd. Because this is the year they brought out X Men.
And here’s where the split ends….by 2001 I’m 13 and my favourite movies of each year at the time tend to still be firm favourites. That probably has a lot to do with the release of a certain trilogy…There are still a lot of movies that I discovered later, but there’s less of a stark split in tastes as there was in the earlier years, so I’ll stop cheating and go back to only picking one movie per year.
I’m not going to pretend that the next couple of years picks aren’t going to be pretty predictable. I could deliberately pick other movies in the interest of variety, but then I wouldn’t be picking my favourite film, which kind of misses the point now doesn’t it? 2001-2003 was all about three films for me despite other great releases including Donnie Darko and Moulin Rouge in ’01. But there’s never going to be any question that my film of the year is The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. If I hadn’t been to see that film, this blog would not exist. And that’s about all I can say that you haven’t heard a thousand times.
Not even the release of Spiderman can topple Tolkein in ’02.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
As one trilogy came to an end, Pirates of the Caribbean appeared to fill the hole. But the big finish was definitely worth the wait, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King delivered the epic battle scenes and final showdown we’d all been waiting for.
OK, no more LOTR, you can stop rolling your eyes now. ’04 is quite tricky for me because there are a lot of films I really like, but not one that stands out against all the others. There are some fun films like Spiderman 2, The Day After Tomorrow and Wimbledon but I think I’m going to have to go with The Motorcycle Diaries; a recent discovery that really surprised me with how good it was.
Even though one of my current favourites, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang came out in this year, I’m going to have to pick Brokeback Mountain because not only is it a fantastic piece of cinema, it was quite a moment in movie history, if only for showing us just how talented Heath Ledger was.
2006: I left school and set out for the big smoke to start my degree. 3 fantastic years of new friends and new movies followed.
Loads of great films came out this year, but I’m picking Casino Royale because it was the first film I ever saw on the big screen in Leicester Square, with 3 people who are still among my best friends. It also converted me on Bond films.
Lots of sequels in ’07: Spiderman 3, Pirates 3, Die Hard 4, but movie of the year for me has to be Stardust. Because its brilliant
I will never forgive 2008 for Mamma Mia. It still gives me chills. It does try to make up for it though with The Dark Knight and the possibly controversially picked, (but I am a Marvel girl after all) Iron Man.
The year I graduated from uni (the first time). The year I started this blog, and a big year for movies. No wonder I was inspired!
I find it impossible to believe that Avatar came out 3 years ago. I was also converted to the trekkie side by J.J. Abrams and got into endless fights with bloggers about why Wolverine should not be trashed all over the internet. It’s a tough choice, but I think I’m going to pick Sherlock Holmes as my film for ’09, because I can’t wait to see what happens next.
This gets easier as I’ve had less time to get to the cinema and so have seen very few of the films released in the last year. The ones I did see are all strong contenders though; Inception, Iron Man 2, Toy Story 3…I’m going with The King’s Speech. Partly because it got me to finally forgive Colin Firth for the sins of 2008, but mainly because it did what very few films manage to do, it lived up to the hype.
And here we are. Although I still have trouble remembering it actually is 2011. Depressingly this post has made me realise that I haven’t been to the cinema yet this year (is it really May already?) However, with Thor already out, Pirates 4 coming out on May 16th and X Men: First Class hot on its heels in June, I’m sure it’s going to be a very good year.
And there you have my semi-autobiographical life in movies. I’m back at uni again, and struggling a bit to find time to get to the cinema or post on here, but getting involved in things like this reminds me why I started STRM in the first place. Hope you all enjoy having a read through my tragic taste over they years. Looking forward to being trashed in the comments.
Click HERE to see what everyone else has picked.
A Knight’s Tale almost falls into that category of films not enough people know about. It’s not exactly a cult or unheard of movie, but it rarely pops up on blogs or lists of must-see movies, which I think is a shame because it’s a really great film. In fact, every time I watch it, I’m always surprised by how good it actually is, and so I thought a post was in order.
For those who don’t know, A Knight’s Tale is based on one of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and tells the story of William, a peasant who decides to pose as a Knight in order to achieve fame and fortune on the Jousting circuit. What writer/director Brian Helgeland does so well here, is seamlessly mix the modern with the medieval to come up with a movie which feels entirely up to date while at the same time being about what may seem (until you see the film of course) a rather quaint dark age pastime.
Jousters were the rock stars of the middle ages. They were the ridiculously overpaid footballers who people would argue about in pubs and cheer on in the stadium. And that’s what is done so well in this film. The matches are full of action, with some effective use of slow motion, and Helgeland really highlights the potential danger of charging at someone with a pointy stick! The rock star theme is furthered by some fantastic merging of modern anthems with traditional music. Queen’s We Will Rock You is used to get the audience straight into the right mindset, and there is a fantastic bit of work with Bowie’s Golden Years in the Banquet. One of my favourite uses of pop music in a movie because it’s done so well. Check it out for yourself:
The fusion of eras is at times anachronistic; femme fatale Jocelyn’s costumes and hairstyles would I’m sure make a few historians twitch, but it doesn’t matter in a movie like this, which is more about the feeling of the time than the actual detail. And it brings what could be quite a stuffy story right up to date, still feeling fresh now a decade later.
Not only does A Knight’s Tale have some quirky use of music and costume, it also has some knockout performances from a great cast. Heath Ledger is reliable as always, and Rufus Sewell fits easily into the brooding bad guy role, but for me the star of the show is Paul Bettany. As one of my favourite actors, I’m always a bit surprised that he doesn’t seem to turn up much in big movies. He seems to have taken a Depp-esque route of doing films you wouldn’t expect to find him in. As writer and overzealous gambler Chaucer, Bettany is just brilliant. From his first unflinching entrance through to his collection of awesome speeches he steals every scene and rightly so. He has a perfect balance of humour and heart which is reflected throughout the movie and I think has a lot to do with why this film works.
For those who have the DVD, there is a deleted scene containing an extra speech from Chaucer at the stocks and I can’t for the life of me work out why it was cut. It’s a beautiful moment and really should have made the final movie, so check it out if you can.
A Knight’s Tale really is a film that deserves more recognition. On the surface it looks quite fluffy, and it isn’t exactly Apocalypse Now, but it deserves some credit for telling an old story in a very new way. If you haven’t seen it yet then you really should. Definitely more worth your time than the endless Royal Wedding coverage this weekend anyway.
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Faithful followers will know that I was really looking forward to this films release. No doubt they will also have noticed the lack of review on this site. The inconvenience of having a full time job mean that I never got to see Parnassus in the cinema, but the epic rain that washed out the Bank Holiday weekend allowed me to finally get around to watching the DVD.
Let’s get the obvious bit out of the way first. Yes, it’s weird. In fact it’s very weird. But this is the mind of Terry Gilliam, where if you think it makes sense, you’re not getting it. So put that aside before you start and you’ll get on a lot better.
Gilliam is essentially an artist, and it’s the visuals that make this film. Each trip through the Doctor’s magic mirror takes us into a world beyond imagination that only Gilliam could create. But unfortunately it has little else to offer. I did enjoy the juxtaposition between the old-fashioned world of the Imaginarium and the modern world of it’s clientelle. The opening credits set you up for a period piece, but then a drunk guy wanders into shot from a nightclub and you realise you’re expectations were wrong. Just how Terry likes it.
I don’t want to call Parnassus a bad film, because it isn’t bad exactly. But I’m not sure what it is. The plot is as expected; convoluted and very hard to follow, but if you strip it down to the bare bones it’s actually relatively simple. The problem is the characterisation. I’m not really sure whose side we’re supposed to be on. There isn’t really a protagonist story to follow, the plot just seems to meander around a group of people.
As for the actors behind the performances, Tom Waits does a great underworld Mr Nick and Verne Troyer proves he can do more than just be the funny little guy in his first proper acting role. The focus however, falls inevitably on Heath Ledger. This is where it gets difficult. Neither Ledger, nor alter egos Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell, really get to stretch their acting muscles. If anything, the only thing that caught my attention was Ledger’s wandering accent, which never seemed to get hold of a region (Farrell on the other hand carried off an impressively non-Irish dialect.) It’s a shame to have four huge talents like that on screen and see them go to waste, but to be honest not many members of the cast get to do much.
The eponymous Dr Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) spends most of the time asleep, and it’s hard to keep up with who bet what to who and why. I’m still not actually sure who won. Lily Cole and Andrew Garfield are good though as Valentina and Anton. In fact, Garfield wins the prize for being the only character I actually cared about.
I’m so reluctant to criticise this film. Not only because it is Heath’s last, but because it had potential to be really good. Wishful thinking can’t rescue a film though, and I’m afraid I have to confine Dr Parnassus to the missable movies vault. Maybe watch it once just to say you’ve seen it, but I fear that without the macabre draw of this being a film where the lead actor died during filming, few people would have given it the time of day.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 8 so far )
I know I’ve been off the radar but I’m back with a review of a movie that I think is often overlooked.
10 Things I Hate About You could have been just another teen movie, but it’s not. As a rule, teen movies don’t really do it for me, but after catching twenty minutes of this on a recent TV run I went straight out and bought the DVD. It’s one of those films I forget how much I like until I watch it again, so I’m hoping to rekindle some interest out there in what is actually a pretty wicked movie.
Unlike a lot of high school dramas 10 Things has the major advantage of being based on a Shakespeare play, putting it way ahead in the plot stakes. Throughout the movie there are little nods to it’s Elizabethan heritage, such as direct quotes from both the play and The Sonnets, as well as giving the sisters the surname “Stratford” and even an appearance from “William” himself. The Taming of the Shrew has been re-imagined almost as many times as Romeo and Juliet, but I reckon 10 Things is up at the top of the list as an adaption that stays true to the play while still giving it an entirely modern spin.
My favourite thing about this film is that, unlike so many other ugly duckling stories, Kat doesn’t have to change who she is in order to get her happy ending. She keeps her fierce temper and “screw everyone” attitude, still managing to get the guy. I’m hard pushed to find another film where a character who so obviously stands out from the crowd doesn’t have to conform in some way, and for that 10 Things should be applauded. Correct me if I’m wrong, (I’m no expert) but as far as I remember even in the original text Katarina becomes submissive to her new husband and relinquishes her power to him.
A great plot can get you so far, but you also need great actors to pull it off. Luckily this movie has plenty of them, headed by the always brilliant Heath Ledger. I think this was the first film I saw with him in, and while a 20 year old playing a High School kid with a secretive past isn’t the biggest stretch in his tragically short career, he carries it off with effortless charm and appeal which make him the perfect foil for Julia Stiles’ Kat. While we’re on the subject, what happened to Stiles? Apart from a small-ish part in the Bourne films she seems to have vanished. She’s brilliant as Kat, bringing out her frustrated anger while still showing moments of vulnerability that make her sympathetic.
I could go on about this film for a while, but I’ll draw your attention to one final key ingredient that makes it so good. The soundtrack is brilliant. Perfectly matched to every scene, it really takes you back to the 90s, but steers clear of the mainstrem, just like our heroine. I think the best example of the use of music in the film is in the opening sequence; where the upbeeat “One Week” gives way to “Bad Reputation” as Kat’s car pulls up.
If you haven’t seen 10 Things I Hate About You I strongly suggest you pick up the DVD (it’s pretty cheap now, 11 years after it’s release….anyone else feeling old?) It’s a fun film with a snappy script and a feel good ending that’s still light on the sugar. I’ll leave you with the most famous quote from the film, Kat’s own version of Sonnet 141
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I hate the way you talk to me.
And the way you cut your hair.
I hate the way you drive my car.
I hate it when you stare
I hate your big dumb combat boots.
And the way you read my mind.
I hate you so much it makes me sick
it even makes me rhyme.
I hate the way you’re always right.
I hate it when you lie.
I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry.
I hate it that you’re not around.
And the fact that you didnt call.
But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.
Today is the premiere of one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year: The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. I really hope it lives up to the hype, because with a cast like that and Terry Gilliam at the helm it’ll have to work hard to go wrong.
Of course, there’s gonna be a lot of the same cautious criticism that there was with Dark Knight, and again there will be a significant proportion of the audience who wouldn’t have bothered to turn out to the cinema in different circumstances, but I’d like to think that the movie should be able to earn praise in its own right. It definitely looks like it’s gonna be one amazing ride.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 5 so far )
Tonight I found myself with some free time on my hands, which is becoming increasingly unusual for me, so I decided to re-visit the most hyped film of last year: The Dark Knight.
Raving about the brilliance of the film is old news, but I realised as I was watching it that there was no way it was ever going to live up to the expectations people had for it. Don’t get me wrong, I think its a great movie, and Heath Ledger is in a league of his own when it comes to performance, but I too fell victim to the hype and found myself rating this movie higher than perhaps it deserved when I first saw it in the cinema.
The cast is something to be envied, including star turns by Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, and the special effects are pretty awesome. Christian Bale also plays well, although I find his “bat-voice” increasingly difficult to take seriously. The main problem with the film is its length; clocking in at 2 hours 25 mins which I think must be something of a record for comic book films, and there are sections that feel slow, mainly because you’re just waiting for Ledger to reappear on screen.
*update: I thought it was long, then I saw Watchmen!*
It falls foul of the same problem that Spiderman 3 had: one two many villains. Even though the signposting for the transformation of Dent into Twoface is a delight to comic book geeks, it feels like the final half hour is actually another short film tacked on at the end, which could legitimatley have been saved for a sequel, especially since the actual ending is so clearly gearing up for one. In general the plot is good, but there are sections which are confusing. I’m still not that sure what’s going on in the car park at the beginning with all the copycat batmen….
Basically it boils down to this: The Dark Knight is an average film catapulted to mega-success simply because of Heath Ledger. I would like to believe that if the tragedy which brought the film into the media spotlight had not happened, the film would still have enjoyed the same hype on the basis of what really is an astounding performance. The scenes in the jail are creepily reminiscent of Silence of the Lambs and everything about the characterisation is completely unique. I guess we’ll never know, but it just goes to show that when tragedy is involved even critics draw in their claws and choose to overlook faults in favour of seeing the good.
Case in point: I’m a Marvel girl, I’ve never liked DC or Batman, mainly on the basis that he has one of the lamest costumes in superhero history! But I desperately wanted to see Dark Knight. Now, I have always been a Heath Ledger fan, and that was a big part of it, but I can’t help wondering if I’d have heard so much about his performance if he hadn’t died. I still maintain that it was for Brokeback Mountain that he deserved the Oscar.
I love Dark Knight, and I think everyone should see it, but without Heath Ledger, I don’t think I’ll be fighting to see the next one.
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