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.
The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed a lack of awards chatter on the blog this year. This is for two reasons. Firstly, having written posts the last two years I’m not sure there’s anything new I can bring to the party when it comes to debating the differences in the British and American voting systems; and secondly, I’ve been completely useless at getting to the cinema since I started my new degree and so have seen very few of the nominated films
Last night however, I finally managed to get myself to Leicester Square again for a long overdue appointment with The King’s Speech. As one of the last people in the universe to see this film, I thought rather than write you a straight review repeating what everyone has already said about how this really is a groundbreaking piece of cinema, I’d break it down in terms of last week’s BAFTA sweep, with one eye on the coming Oscars at the same time. Kind of two birds with one stone.
Best Film (and Outstanding British Film)
Well, this one is a bit of a no brainer. The King’s Speech is not a film I would ordinarily seek out, but the trailers caught my eye and once the critics started going insane about it I knew I had to get to the cinema. I think the best thing about this film is the way it focusses a very down to Earth problem in an impossibly ostentatious setting. Not being able to express yourself is one of the most frustrating feelings, and combatting that as someone who is supposed to speak for the nation is a very strong starting point for a story. It could have worked just as well as a film about a normal man with a stammer, but the fact that he is a kind of second-choice King brings a grounded humanity to the character which has the audience really rooting for him. It’s a testament to both the direction and the performances (more on that later) that we can feel a connection with a family who are as far removed from the common man in the cinema as you can possibly get.
An undeniably deserving BAFTA win, but I’m not sure it’ll repeat the success at the Oscars. I’d like it to, but I have a feeling True Grit or The Social Network might take it.
It’s a very British screenplay: filled with emotion but in an incredibly understated way that suits the tone of the film perfectly. There are some, now infamous, scenes which will probably stick in the collective memory for a long time, but some of the more subtle moments are what gives this film its class. Two particular moments for me were when Bertie (if Lionel can call him that so can I!) is coming to terms with the fact that he’s going to become King, and the final scene where he delivers his speech. That last movement is so wrought with tension it shows just how much we’ve invested in the characters.
As far as the Oscars go, I can’t call this one.
Original Music-Alexandre Desplat
I’d spotted this win before I went so I was keeping one ear on the music while I watched. It’s a gracefully understated score, with simple piano and strings mirroring the drama in a totally non-invasive way. I’m definitely going to have a listen to it again now that I’ve seen the film to properly admire the work that went into it. He’s in with a shot at the Oscars, but Zimmer might just beat him to it.
Supporting Actor-Geoffrey Rush
For me, Rush very nearly steals the film out from underneath Firth. He is instantly likeable and wonderfully down to Earth. His complete lack of reverence for the monarch is fantastic, and r elatable in our increasingly non-royalist culture.
I went in expecting to see a knock out performance from Firth, but Rush really surprised me. I shouldn’t have been shocked really, he’s always good in eveerything he does. I really hope he gets the recognition he deserves at the Oscars. If he doesn’t I think it might go to Bale.
Supporting Actress-Helena Bonham-Carter
I can go either way with Helena Bonham-Carter. I’m never quite sure what I think of her but she tends to be better than I expect her to be. That’s definitely true in this case. She gives an very strong performance with just the right amount of dry wit and tenderness. I think she’s got serious competition from Hailee Steinfeld at the Oscars but I’m glad she got the British award for a classically British character.
Leading Actor-Colin Firth
Well, this is what everyone is talking about isn’t it? In the last few years, Colin Firth has remembered that he is an actor and a very good one at that. He’s finally got out from under the shadow of the RomComs and Mr Darcy and started making films where he gets to play someone other than the uptight Englishman.
His portrayal of King George feels like it is coming from someone who really knows the man. He shows both the sensitivity and the strength in his character as well as capturing the exasperation of someone who has a lot to say but cannot say it. It’s a very respectful depiction, but it’s fearless enough to show him as a human being rather than an untouchable.
He’s in with a very good chance at the Oscars. And I really hope he wins, because he deserves it.
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Catching the final showdown of a soon to be named action movie on TV a little while ago got me thinking about the best fight choreography to hit the big screen. The following debate with my sister made me realise that a blog post was in order, so here are my favourite movie punch ups.
Just so you know, I’m not counting full on battles here, more one on ones (or one on manys). Coming up with a top 5 was really tricky, and there are lots of great films that aren’t on the list (Die Hard, Fight Club, Spiderman, Star Wars…) so try not to get too angry if you’re favourite isn’t there. And please, remind me of the awesome punch ups I’m bound to have forgotten.
Maybe a controversial one here, since I seem to be pretty alone in liking this film, but I reckon that the first meeting between Matt and Elektra in the playground is a great movie moment. It’s a tie between that playground fight, and the showdown in the bar with some cocky criminals for best fight in the movie. What makes the latter so great is the point of view stuff, showing what Daredevil “sees” and making the fight a lot more interesting.
4. Bridget Jones’ Diary
It’s the ultimate anti-fight. Two posh public school boys try to knock the stuffing out of each other without getting their expensive suits dirty. Outcome? Definitely one of the best on screen fights ever. I think what makes it so good is the fact that it seems perfectly likely that if Hugh Grant and Colin Firth ever do get into a fight, this is exactly what it would look like. The best part is when they sing happy birthday.
3. X2: Wolverine’s Revenge
When I’ve watched Origins again, this may well get replaced by one of the Wolverine/Sabre fights, but when I first saw X2 and the set up starts for the battle between Wolverine and his female counterpart Lady Deathstrike I knew it was gonna be good. It’s a dual of the immortals and the fact that the pair are so evenly matched is what makes the fight so awesome. And the way he wins, you’ve gotta admit, is pretty inventive.
Gun Kata. All hail the guy who came up with that one. It’s not quite Martial Arts, it’s not exactly a shoot out, it sure is awesome to watch! The whole film is filled with wicked fight moments, but I think for obvious reasons the ultimate fight sequence of the movie has got to be Preston’s final show down with “Father”. Damn that was good.
1. And the winner is….The Marix Trilogy
The film I was watching when this idea came to me was Matrix Revolutions, and despite the flaws in that film, I still think the so called “super-burly brawl” at the end is the best bit of fight choreography yet to be committed to celluloid. I mean, their punches stop the rain for god’s sake! The effort that went into the visuals of that scene is just staggering, the row upon row of Agent Smiths that appear even in the windows of the skyscrapers for example must have taken hours of post production. Of course, the focus on visuals rather than plot is probably what killed the two sequels, but you’ve got to hand it to the Wachowski brothers, they know how to stage a punch up. In Reloaded we have the (not quite as super) burly brawl where Neo and a metal pole take on the legions in yet another stunning combination of wire work, kung fu and bullet time. If you’re not into the sequels, the sequence which follows: “What do you need?” “Guns. Lots of guns,” in the original is just epic. And since it’s pretty clear that fights liked this spawned our number two spot, it gets extra credit.
I could go on about Matrix fight scenes for a long time. The thing about The Matrix is, the films changed our expectations of movie fights; with the invention of bullet time one of the major landmarks in visual effects history. Thanks to them, fight choreography isn’t just about one guy swinging at another, it’s an art form in itself. Which keeps action junkies like me very happy. 🙂
“Come back and I’ll bite your legs off!” The Black Knight always triumphs.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 27 so far )
Following on from my recent post about adaptations and free from reading revision-type books, I found myself racing through The Importance of Being Earnest yesterday. The Colin Firth/Rupert Everett film is well known, so having really enjoyed the play (I think it’s the fastest I’ve ever read anything) I was eager to watch it straight away.
I’m happy to say that it is a brilliant adaptation of a brlliant play. Firth and Everett are both perfect in their roles, topped only by the incomparable Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell.
The only real changes to the script were some shifts in the timeline, aided by the freedom a film has over a stage play. The cinematography is clever too, with Cecily’s fantasies adding humour to an already hilarious script. It’s pretty much impossible to improve on Wilde’s writing and luckily Screenwriter Oliver Parker doesn’t mess about with it, keeping most lines in tact and just adding a few new ones which blend seemlessly with Wilde’s style. The result is a great portrayal of Wilde’s dry wit and cutting satire.
The most notable difference was the addition of a song, performed by our male leads. Those of a weak disposition, be warned, you will be exposed to Colin firth singing, and I’m still having counselling after Mamma Mia. Luckily in this instance the duet is performed with much passion, little accuracy and tongue firmly in cheek. especially if you carry on listening throughout the credits.
Both play and film are very good, a great example of Wilde’s genius if Dorian Gray hasn’t quite managed it for you. I think in this case, it doesn’t really matter whether you read or watch it first, as the adaptation is so close, as long as you do both!
OK, this should be a quickie, since I have an exam tomorrow and am (clearly) not revising for it, but I wont be able to concentrate until I’ve blogged. (I think it’s becoming an obsession).
Last night a rediscovered a film I hadn’t seen in ages and I wanted to remind you all of it ‘cos I’m willing to bet most of you have forgotten about it too. Depite the fact it won 7 Oscars. In fact, the reason for me not watching it for so long was that I only have it on video…that was an old school experience.
The film in question is Shakespeare in Love. It’s a brilliant movie, imagining how the great writer came up Romeo and Juliet based on his own experience as a star cross’d lover. With an awesome ensemble cast featuring everyone from Ben Affleck to Geoffrey Rush via Martin Clunes the film is pretty much flawless; both funny and tragic (not unlike the play). This was the film that gave Gwynnie her Oscar (I think she’s still crying) and also features a brilliant Joseph Fiennes-the far superior Fiennes brother but much overlooked in favour of his irritating brother Ralph (even more annoying because it’s pronounced “Rafe”). Judi Dench won Best Supporting Actress for the film, all the more impressive since she’s on screen for less than fifteen minutes. She’s just that good. Not one member of the cast lets it down, and the (Oscar winning) writing is perfect. The score (Stephen Warbeck) is also one of my favourites.
The juxtaposition between the on stage rehearsals and the writing process is brilliant, particularly when Fiennes recites Juliet’s lines to Paltrow’s Romeo. And for Bard scholars (or just people like me who can recite a few Sonnets) the film is littered with references to the other great works. Keep an eye out for Sonnet 18, a definite Banquo’s ghost moment and of course, Twelfth Night. Not to mention some nod’s to the Kit Marlow conspiracy and an appearance from a young (and disturbed) John Webster.
In Shakespeare in Love, you’re really getting two movies for the price of one, as most of the play is also seen. While it may be a complete work of fiction, it’s beliveable enough that Shakespeare could have been inspried by a muse like Viola, particularly if he looked like Fiennes rather than the bald guy we’re used to. Having recently watched Moulin Rouge, I have an idea where Baz Luhrmann’s inspiration came from, but as a plot device, having the writing and rehearsal of a play taking place simultaneously is really engaging. The cast being so good, I always end up wanting to see their version of the great tragedy. I have a feeling it’d be pretty awesome.
You may well have seen it before, but if you haven’t I defintely recommend it. In fact, I’m keeping my eye out for a DVD so that next time I watch it the picture isn’t a bit wobbly (I’d forgotten the dodgyness of the old VHS). It helps that Romeo and Juliet is my favourite play, but even if you hate Shakespeare I defy you to dislike this film.
Right…revision….really…Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 5 so far )
Another chance for me to save you from painful suffering, and this time I don’t think I’ll get much argument.
God knows why this was such a success. Well, actually, I do know, it was all about nostalgia. But if you want to reminisce about the 70s stick ABBA Gold on, don’t make a terrible movie!
There are moments of this film which almost redeem it, the plot, for example, is quite good and the script is funny at times. Unfortunately, I couldn’t notice much of this because I was watching the film through my fingers with an expression of abject horror! Why such an extreme reaction? Pierce Brosnan. Singing. Or at least he thought he was. And Colin Firth doing….well I don’t know what he was doing but it wasn’t pretty.
Now I’m not an ABBA fan, and I really dislike this wave of greatest hits albums being turned into musicals, but I decided to give this film a fair try (mostly because it was Christmas). In fact, turning ABBA hits into a musical worked more successfully than any other attempt I’ve heard, although I will never forgive whoever thought “Chiquitita” being sung in a toilet made sense. This wasn’t my main concern though, what had me diving behind the sofa was the woeful performances given by almost every member of the cast.
I’ve already mentioned Brosnan and Firth’s pathetic vocal renditions, which could almost be excused if it hadn’t caused them to forget how to act. Brosnan especially seems so caught up in becoming the next Bruce Springsteen (try Billy Mack) that he loses any (limited) credibility he ever had. It would have been easy enough to dub the actors, although I suppose this would have caused criticism, but after 10 minutes I was begging for mercy. Meryl Streep is better than I would have expected, and she does put in a good performance, but there were some seriously flat notes in “The Winner Takes It All” which could have easily been tweaked could the sound editor have been bothered enough.
Bad singing aside, there isn’t much going for this movie, (besides the ever-wonderful Julie Walters). I get that it’s supposed to be fun and light hearted, but you get the feeling that no one invilved in making this movie was really committed to the job, they were just mucking about with some cameras and a few million dollars. This film is definitely aimed nowhere near my generation. Even the young couple who the film is supposedly about get barely any screen time compared to our parenting team. This is a film for the mums, which is fine, but you’d think that Hollywood could come up with something a bit less tragic.
Everyone knows that Dads dancing at a wedding is a pathetic site. So why make a movie about it?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 12 so far )