A Life in Movies

Posted on May 8, 2011. Filed under: Memes and Blogathons, Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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…

1988

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.

1989

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.

1990

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.

1991

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.

1992

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….

1993

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

1994

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

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.

1996

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.


1997

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.


1998

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.

1999

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

2000

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 trilogyThere 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.

2001

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.

2002

Not even the release of Spiderman can topple Tolkein in ’02.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

2003

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.

2004

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.

2005

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

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.

2007

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 😛

2008

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.

2009

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.

2010

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.

2011

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.

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The Marvelous years ahead

Posted on May 8, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

It’s no secret on this blog that I am a Marvel comic book geek.   So I’m excited at the new pathway into the Marvel Universe that the Iron Man films have opened up.   When you combine that with the X Men films that are lining up behind Wolverine you’ve got a pretty full calendar over the next couple of years.  Here are some provisional dates for your diary:

Thor: 20th May 2011

We got a tiny taste of this at the end of Iron Man 2.  He’s probably the least well known of The Avengers, so I didn’t expect him to get his own movie so soon, but what do I know?  Not one of my favourite characters, but then neither was Iron Man ’till the movie came out.  Looking forward to being converted.  Kai has got one of the first released pics over at The List for you to take a look at.

X-Men First Class: 3rd June 2011

I am a huge X Men fan but to be honest I’m not that bothered by this film.  The absence of Wolverine is a major downside in my opinion, and to be honest I don’t really care about the teen dramas of Cyclops and Storm.  Having said that, I’ll probably end up seeing it, and as we don’t have any trailers or anything yet they still have a chance to completely change my mind. Hope so.

Captain America: 22nd July 2011

Alternating with the X Men, we’re back with The Avengers.  This guy is a bit of a household name whether or not you know who he is.  Although Ross McG does think he’s Captain Planet.  My only concern with this one is that Chris Evans is cast. (For Brit readers: not that one, the other one).  Which means Human Torch and Captain America are the same person.  Not only does that mess with my head, but I didn’t really like Evans in Fantastic Four. So he’s got some ground to make up.

Deadpool: 2011

If that character double up wasn’t enough to make my head spin, the defection of Ryan Reynold’s to the DC camp to play The Green Lantern as well as Deadpool is a real shocker.  However, this film is most likely going to be awesome.  We didn’t get much Deadpool in Wolverine, but we got just enough to leave us wanting more.  And this should be good.

Wolverine 2: 2011

We left him in a bar in Japan (or not depending which stinger you had).  A lot of you out there weren’t convinced by Wolverine, but personally I can’t wait for another helping.  Expect more indestructible fighting, but this time with samurai swords.

The Avengers: 4th May 2012

They might throw in another Hulk movie first, but RDJ’s cameo was probably enough set up to finally get the team together.  This is the big finish, but it could also be the beginning of a whole new series of films.  With an infinite number of cross over characters. Exciting stuff.

Iron Man 3: 2012

Will it come before or after The Avengers? Not sure. But more Tony Stark is always a good thing in my world.

And that’s the cinema sorted for the next two years. Good times. 🙂

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Top 5 Movie Fight Scenes

Posted on October 18, 2009. Filed under: Ramblings, Top 5 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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.

5. Daredevil

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.

How not to fight

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.

2. Equilibrium

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. 🙂

He's beginning to believe

Honorable Mention:

“Come back and I’ll bite your legs off!” The Black Knight always triumphs.

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Factoids

Posted on May 11, 2009. Filed under: Trivia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Here’s some random Wolverine trivia I’ve picked up from various sources….

  1. The part of Wolverine was originally offerd to Joaquin Phoenix but he turned it down. Thank God! As much as I love Phoenix (before he became an *ahem* rap artist) that would never have worked.
  2. Wolverine?Three Mile Island, the site of Stryker’s base in the film, exists, and suffered a partial core meltdown in 1979.  In the film, Gambit remarks on how no-one wants to get too close to a nuclear reactor, so the goings on at the base are kept secret.  The destruction of the cooling towers by the Wolverine/Weapon XI showdown is a nod to the meltdown, implying that the government used it as a cover story.
  3. When Logan rescues the prisoners form the base, the party includes Toad, who reappears in X1.  Also incarcerated is Quicksilver-Magneto’s super-speedy son.  He’s the white haired mutant tied up in what looks like bungee ropes and trying to escape by running at the bars.Quicksilver
  4. Dominic Monaghan was originally cast in the role of Beak, but the part was changed to Bolt during filming.  This is probably due in no small part to the fact that Beak’s only ability is turning into a grotesque (and painful) half-bird half-man mess!
  5. On the back window of the truck belonging to the nice old couple who rescue Logan is a sticker saying “Not all those who wander are lost.”  This is a line from Tolkein’s ranger poem:

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost,
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring,
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”

I have more, but I reckon I’ve probably written too much about Wolverine on here now.  I’m off to see Star Trek on Wednesday…

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Wolverine

Posted on May 9, 2009. Filed under: Movies to see before you die | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Well, it was worth the wait.  Wolverine was definitely one of the best films I’ve seen in a while.  The fight sequences are awesome (particularly when you’re sitting in the front row of a big screen) and everything moves at just the right pace.  The opening credit sequence was particularly good, reminiscent of Watchmen in its journey through the American Wars.  I also thought the actual story was good, and although the twist is guessable in part, the reveal did draw some breath in the cinema.

The continuity with the other 3 films is also not bad.  Yes, Sabretooth is played by Tyler Mane not Liev Shreiber in the first film, meaning he looks pretty different, but thats just about passable in the grand scheme of things (one could argue that since he was becoming more and more animal he turned into one….)  And while we’re on the subject of Sabre, Liev Shreiber definitely has a lot to do with what makes this movie great.  He’s the perfect foil for Jackman and makes a chracter that has been pretty much sidelined in the films so far into a memorable legend.

Sabretooth

As for our other mutants, Wolverine falls into the same trap as Last Stand by introducing lots of exciting new powers and then not using them.  Dominic Monaghan’s Bradley (AKA Chris Bradley AKA Bolt-although we’re never told that) is in the film for less than five minutes, while Wraith (Will.I.Am) and Blob (Kevin Durand) get little more to do.  The most under used though, is Taylor Kitsch’s Gambit, a character there’s been much furore over in the lead up to the film and who could have been better used.  I didn’t think I was that bothered by Gambit, but Kitch’s charismatic performance meant I was sad not to have him on screen for longer.  Having said that, focussing on these other characters would have dragged the story away from its focus, and then we’d probably be criticising it for being to long.

One new addition who seems to have caused outrage across the comic book geek community is Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds)  I’m not close enough to the comics for the change to his character to really wind me up, and I actually thought the transition was kind of cool (minus the claws which were lame) but even I know that that’s not what was supposed to happen.  However, for those of you that are getting really worked up about it, you might be interested to read this, which explains how in the upcoming Deadpool spin off, he’ll be less Frankenstein and more the “Merc with a Mouth” we all know and love.  What I do find confusing is the ambiguity over who actually played Weapon XI, Ryan Reynolds says it was him, imdb begs to differ, so if anyone can clear that one up for me…

Deadpool

I have read a lot of criticism for Wolverine, but I’m yet to find any I can truly agree with.  I think Jackman is great in the role, and while the current film may have had less of the wisecracks that we’re used to, there were still enough to keep the audience laughing.  The whole point of the film is that this is the Logan before; the one we’ve seen in later films (and comics) is the one who has had to rebuild his life out of nothing, so of course the character will change slightly.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen a film and instantly wanted to start again, but that was true for Wolverine.  In fact, it’s worth going again, not only for the film but for the after-credit sequences of which I know there are at least two (I had the Wolverine one, I’ve not seen the Deadpool).

If you haven’t already, ignore the critics and go see Wolverine, it’s definitely worth it.  If you have, go again.  I know I want to.

Origins

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I’m finally going to see Wolverine!

Posted on May 8, 2009. Filed under: Ramblings | Tags: , , , , |

WOO! It’s taken way too long. And I don’t care about people badmouthing it all over the internet, I’m still excited.

Vue Leicester Sq

Also my first time in the Vue instead of the Odeon Leicester Square.  Review up ASAP. I still reckon its gonna be better than Star Trek which, incidently, I’ll probably be seeing next week…

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It’s finally here!

Posted on April 29, 2009. Filed under: Trailers | Tags: , , , |

I first heard about this film 3 years ago when there were rumours of two X Men prequels, one following the back story of Magneto, and one about Wolverine.  As a big fan of the films, I was hugely excited that The Last Stand was as much the end as a Stones farewell tour and even happier when I heard the Wolverine film was coming first.

X Men Origins:Wolverine opens in the UK today and I cannot wait to see it.  I’ve managed to resist the leaked version that’s been circulating on the internet, which took some restraint, but I’m really hoping it’s gonna be worth the wait.  I’m taking my sister to Leicester Sq next weekend for her birthday (she was the one who heard about it first) and I’ll be posting as soon as I’m back.  Until then, I’ll make do with the trailer….

PS. There’s been no more word on a Magneto film and the idea may have been shelved, but there is talk of a movie focusing on Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool who turns up for the first time in Wolverine.

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