365 Films, 365 Days- June/July/August

Inspired by the Doug Benson Movie Challenge, I attempt to watch 365 movies over the calendar year of 2017. Any genre of film is eligible, including documentaries and Netflix originals, as long as it’s something I haven’t seen before (you’ll have to trust me on that). The hope is I can cross off some films I’ve been dying to see for ages but have never gotten round to, as well as discover some gems I might never have come across otherwise.

It’s been a dismal summer, here’s what went wrong…

June/July/August

It’s been a disastrous three months. Working 6 days a week, 13 hours a day, I always knew these would be barren months, but I didn’t even get close to my modest viewing goal of a film every three days, meaning everyday counts from here on out. The quantity wasn’t up to much, but there was certainly a fair amount of quality, so with that in mind lets press on…

These Months’ List

  1. Gregory’s Girl (dir. Bill Forsyth, 1980)
  2. The Seventh Seal (dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1957)
  3. Tarzan (dir. Chris Buck & Kevin Lima, 1999)
  4. Brassed Off (dir. Mark Herman, 1996)
  5. Eddie- Strongman (dir. Matt Bell, 2015)
  6. The Spirit of the Beehive (dir. Victor Erice, 1973)
  7. Raw (dir. Julia Docournau, 2016)
  8. Catfight (dir. Onur Tukel, 2016)
  9. The Great Dictator (dir. Charles Chaplin, 1940)
  10. Don’t Think Twice (dir. Mike Birbiglia, 2016)
  11. The LEGO Batman Movie (dir. Chris McKay, 2017)
  12. Beauty and the Beast (dir. Bill Condon, 2017)
  13. Batman: The Movie (dir. Leslie H. Martinson, 1966)
  14. The Break Up (dir. Peyton Reed, 2006)
  15. The Return of the Pink Panther (dir. Blake Edwards, 1975)
  16. Sing (dir. Christophe Lourdelet & Garth Jennings, 2016)
  17. Casa de mi Padre (dir. Matt Piedmont, 2012)
  18. The Lobster (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)
  19. Fifty Shades Darker (dir. James Foley, 2017)
  20. Sleepwalk with Me (dir. Mike Birbiglia & Seth Barrish, 2012)
  21. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (dir. Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone, 2016)
  22. The Little Death (dir. Josh Lawson, 2014)
  23. Okja (dir. Bong Joon Ho, 2017)
  24. Dunkirk (dir. Christopher Nolan, 2017)
  25. Prevenge (dir. Alice Lowe, 2016)
  26. Daddy’s Home (dir. Sean Anders, 2015)
  27. The Big Sick (dir. Michael Showalter, 2017)
  28. Man Bites Dog (dir. Remy Belvaux, Benoit Poelvoorde & Andre Bonzel, 1992)
  29. Personal Shopper (dir. Olivier Assayas, 2016)
  30. Modern Times (dir. Charles Chaplin, 1936)
  31. The Princess Diaries (dir. Garry Marshall, 2001)
  32. Hausu (dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977)
  33. Baby Driver (dir. Edgar Wright, 2017)
  34. Onibaba (dir. Kaneto Shindo, 1964)

 

Highlights & Standouts

This was probably the hardest month(s) to narrow it down a top 5. The fact that Modern Times, Okja, The Big Sick, Baby Driver, Personal Shopper, The Little Death and Hausu all missed out is testament to the films viewed this month.

I really want to single out The Little Death in particular, as it is a film that really deserves a bigger audience. Using multi-strand narrative, the film looks at how various fetishes effect different couples. It’s got a wicked line of jet-black humour running all the way through it, think a perverse, Australian, Love, Actually, and you’re somewhere in the ball park.

Low Points & Disappointments

The Break Up was a turgid affair from start to finish. A witless, charmless anti-romcom with unlikeable and unsympathetic leads. A criminal runtime at 1hr 46mins managed to make it feel like twice as a long again. I sincerely hope this is the nadir of the year.

It feels almost perverse to mention Dunkirk in the same breath as The Break Up, but it was a victim of impossibly high expectations, and for me it did not live up to the hype. That is not to say that it is not a magnificent technical achievement, and I thoroughly admired how Nolan seamlessly weaved the different timelines together, but I struggled to connect with any of the characters and was so wowed by the visuals that any semblance of tension passed me by.

Fifty Shades Darker was dreadful, and not even in a car crash, fun kind of way. But is that really a surprise to anyone?

Performance of the Month

I mean the correct is answer is of course Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator, probably closely followed by Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times. The man was a master, every scene he is in is planned out to perfection. He is never anything but a joy to behold onscreen. The Great Dictator is the first time I’ve actually heard his voice, and his words from his closing speech still ring in my ears.

chaplin

Benoit Poelvoorde deserves an honourable mention for his portrayal of serial killer Ben in Man Bites Dog. It is a charismatic and dangerous performance, a fascinating subject for the faux documentary crew to have stumbled upon. He rattles off his dialogue like machine-gun fire, turning from threatening, to funny, to offensive to insightful, all in the space of a single paragraph. He is the reason the film works so well.

 

Top 5 of the Month (in no particular order)

Raw– a vegetarian student begins veterinary school and develops a taste for meat. What could have been a shlocky-gorefest is in fact an fantastically artistic, immaculately performed, wince-inducing film that straddles multiple genres and is never predictable.

The Great Dictator- Chaplin’s a genius, and the film makes points still frighteningly relevant today. What more can be said?

The Seventh Seal- A slice of Quixotic existentialism from Ingmar Bergman. It’s beautiful, at times daft, but always fascinating.

Man Bites Dog- Provides the blue print for how to make a marvellous mockumentary/found footage film while at the same time makes it completely unnecessary to ever try to do so again.

Onibaba- Masterful tone and setting, you don’t even realise you’re watching a horror film until about 3/4 of the way through. The pacing is absolutely spot on, builds to a satisfying/horrifying climax.

Onibaba

The Year So Far

Breakdown by Decade

2010’s- 93

2000’s- 10

1990’s- 14

1980’s- 7

1970’s- 22

1960’s- 14

1950’s- 5

1940’s- 4

1930’s- 5

1920’s- 3

Days to film ratio

177 films watched in 243 days, meaning I still have 188 films to watch in 122 days. From here on out I will need to watch 1.54 films a day to finish on time. A total nightmare scenario to find myself in.

Total minutes of film watching

17,861 minutes of film watching, that’s over 297 hours, 12.4 days. Seems like a lot, and yet I’m so far behind.

Films by the Nations

USA- 100

UK- 42

France- 21

Germany- 11

Japan- 9

Belgium- 6

Spain- 5

Italy- 4

Netherlands- 4

Sweden- 4

Denmark- 3

Canada- 3

New Zealand- 3

Ireland- 3

Australia- 3

China- 2

Hong Kong- 2

Mexico- 2

Luxemburg- 2

Taiwan- 2

Norway- 2

South Korea- 2

Greece- 2

Brazil- 1

Austria- 1

Switzerland- 1

Romania- 1

Argentina- 1

Chile- 1

Soviet Union- 1

Cambodia- 1

Hungary- 1

Tunisia- 1

Jordan- 1

UAE- 1

Qatar- 1

Senegal- 1

Finland- 1

Indonesia- 1

Israel- 1

Czech Republic- 1

Some films are co-produced by multiple nations, which explains why the numbers may not add up.

Recurring Directors

Luis Bunuel- 3 (Los Olvidados, L’Age d’Or, Belle de Jour)

Danny Boyle- 2 (Steve Jobs, T2: Trainspotting)

Powell & Pressburger- 2 (A Matter of Life and Death, The Red Shoes)

Mike Mills- 2 (Beginners, 20th Century Women)

Ridley Scott- 2 (Thelma & Louise, Alien: Covenant)

Ingmar Bergman- 2 (Persona, The Seventh Seal)

Charles Chaplain- 2 (The Great Dictator, Modern Times)

Mike Birbiglia- 2 (Don’t Think Twice, Sleepwalk with Me)

 

The complete list so far…

  1. The Good Dinosaur (dir. Peter Sohn, 2015)
  2. Your Name (dir. Makoto Shinkai, 2016)
  3. Star Trek Beyond (dir. Justin Lin, 2016)
  4. Notes on Blindness (dir. Pete Middleton, 2016)
  5. Le Samourai (dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967)
  6. I am Not a Serial Killer (dir. Billy O’Brien, 2016)
  7. Bridget Jones’s Diary (dir. Sharon Maguire, 2001)
  8. Keanu (dir. Peter Atencio, 2016)
  9. La La Land (dir. Damien Chazelle, 2016)
  10. Train to Busan* (dir. Sang-ho Yeon, 2016)
  11. Don’t Breathe* (dir. Fede Alvarez, 2016)
  12. Nosferatu* (dir. F.W. Murnau, 1922)
  13. Carrie* (dir. Brian De Palma, 1976)
  14. Re-Animator* (dir. Stuart Gordon, 1985)
  15. Jack Frost* (dir. Michael Coon, 1997)
  16. Blair Witch* (dir. Adam Wingard, 2016)
  17. What We Did on Our Holiday (dir. Andy Hamilton & Guy Jenkin, 2014)
  18. The Devils (dir. Ken Russell, 1971)
  19. Eddie the Eagle (dir. Dexter Fletcher, 2016)
  20. Chef (dir. Jon Favreau, 2014)
  21. The One I Love (dir. Charlie McDowell, 2014)
  22. Steve Jobs (dir. Danny Boyle, 2015)
  23. Manchester By The Sea (dir. Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
  24. The Killing (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1956)
  25. In the Heat of the Night** (dir. Norman Jewison, 1967)
  26. Shakespeare in Love** (dir. John Madden, 1998)
  27. The Sting** (dir. George Roy Hill, 1973)
  28. Mutiny on the Bounty** (dir. Frank Lloyd, 1935)
  29. Patton** (dir. Franklin J. Schaffner, 1970)
  30. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (dir. Gareth Edwards, 2016)
  31. Little Men (dir. Ira Sachs, 2016)
  32. Julieta (dir. Pedro Almodovar, 2016)
  33. Fish Tank (dir. Andrea Arnold, 2009)
  34. Spa Night (dir. Andrew Ahn, 2016)
  35. 1984 (dir. Michael Radford, 1984)***
  36. 10 Rillington Place (dir. Richard Fleischer, 1971)***
  37. 44 Inch Chest (dir. Malcolm Venville, 2009)***
  38. Watership Down (dir. Martin Rosen, 1978)***
  39. Thelma and Louise (dir. Ridley Scott, 1991)
  40. David Brent: Life on the Road (dir. Ricky Gervais, 2016)
  41. The Fits (dir. Anna Rose Holmer, 2015)
  42. The Magnificent Seven (dir. Antoine Fuqua, 2016)
  43. Hello, My Name is Doris (dir. Michael Showalter, 2016)
  44. Toni Erdmann (dir. Maren Ade, 2016)
  45. Manhattan (dir. Woody Allen, 1979)
  46. The Clan (dir. Pablo Trapero, 2015)
  47. Black Sheep (dir. Jonathan King, 2016)
  48. T2: Trainspotting (dir. Danny Boyle, 2017)
  49. Florence Foster Jenkins (dir. Stephen Frears, 2016)
  50. Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (dir. Kihachi Okamoto, 1970)
  51. The Girl with All the Gifts (dir. Colm McCarthy, 2016)
  52. Hidden Figures (dir. Theodore Melfi, 2016)
  53. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (dir. Eli Craig, 2010)
  54. The Secret of the Kells (dir. Tomm Moore & Nora Twomey, 2009)
  55. Ixcanul (dir. Jayro Bustamante, 2015)****
  56. Aquarius (dir. Kleber Mendonca, 2016)****
  57. The Club**** (dir. Pablo Larrain, 2015)
  58. Los Olvidados**** (dir. Luis Bunuel, 1950)
  59. El Topo **** (dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1970)
  60. Get Out (dir. Jordan Peele, 2017)
  61. Wrinkles (dir. Ignacio Ferreras, 2011)
  62. Logan (dir. James Mangold, 2017)
  63. The Taking of Pelham 123 (dir. Joseph Sargent, 1974)
  64. Laura (dir. Otto Preminger, 1944)
  65. L’Age d’Or (dir. Luis Bunuel, 1930)
  66. Battleship Potemkin (dir. Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1925)
  67. Sausage Party (dir. Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon, 2016)
  68. Love and Death on Long Island (dir. Richard Kwietniowski, 1997)
  69. Moana ^(dir. Ron Clements, Chris Williams, Don Hall, John Musker, 2016)
  70. Sleepless in Seattle^ (dir. Nora Ephron, 1993)
  71. Paris is Burning^ (dir. Jennie Livingstone, 1990)
  72. Sixteen Candles^ (dir. John Hughes, 1984)
  73. National Treasure: Book of Secrets^ (dir. Jon Turteltaub, 2007)
  74. Like Crazy^ (dir. Drake Doremus, 2011)
  75. Kong: Skull Island (dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts, 2017)
  76. I am Not Your Negro (dir. Raoul Peck, 2016)
  77. Beginners (dir. Mike Mills, 2010)
  78. Godzilla (dir. Ishiro Honda, 1954)
  79. Tabloid (dir. Errol Morris, 2010)
  80. A Matter of Life and Death (dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1946)
  81. Pink Narcissus (dir. James Bidgood, 1971)
  82. The Devil Rides Out (dir. Terence Fisher, 1968)
  83. Somm (dir. Jason Wise, 2012)
  84. I Live in Fear (dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1955)
  85. White God (dir. Kornel, Mundruczo, 2014)
  86. Super Fly (dir. Gordon Parks Jnr., 1972)
  87. Foxy Brown (dir. Jack Hill, 1974)
  88. Black Belt Jones (dir. Robert Clouse, 1974)
  89. Blacula (dir. William Crain, 1972)
  90. Three the Hard Way (dir. Gordon Parks Jnr., 1974)
  91. The Mack (dir. Michael Campus, 1973)
  92. Whale Rider (dir. Niki Caro, 2002)
  93. Dragon (dir. Peter Ho-Sun Chan, 2011)
  94. The Love Witch (dir. Anna Biller, 2016)
  95. Distant Voices, Still Lives (dir. Terence Davis, 1988)
  96. Headhunters (dir. Morten Tyldum, 2011)
  97. Dead Ringers (dir. David Cronenberg, 1988)
  98. Love is Colder Than Death (dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1969)
  99. The Red Shoes (dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1948)
  100. La Promesse (dir. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 1996)
  101. Lion (dir. Garth Davis, 2016)
  102. To Kill a Mockingbird (dir. Robert Mulligan, 1962)
  103. Fences (dir. Denzel Washington, 2016)
  104. Theeb (dir. Naji Abu Nowar, 2014)
  105. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (dir. Lotte Reiniger & Carl Koch, 1926)
  106. Shaun the Sheep (dir. Mark Burton & Richard Starzak, 2015)
  107. Kirikou and the Sorceress (dir. Michel Ocelot & Raymond Burlet, 1998)
  108. Ghost in the Shell (dir. Mamoru Oshii, 1995)
  109. Corpse Bride (dir. Tim Burton, 2005)
  110. The Iron Giant (dir. Brad Bird, 1999)
  111. 20th Century Women (dir. Mike Mills, 2016)
  112. The Fate of the Furious (dir. F. Gary Gray, 2017)
  113. Free Fire (dir. Ben Wheatley, 2016)
  114. Eyes Without a Face (dir. Georges Franju, 1960)
  115. Room 237 (dir. Rodney Ascher, 2012)
  116. Mifune: the Last Samurai (dir. Steven Okazaki, 2015)
  117. Paterson (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  118. Stagecoach (dir. John Ford, 1939)
  119. The Assassin (dir. Hsiao-Hsien Hou, 2015)
  120. Black Girl (dir. Ousmane Sembene, 1966)
  121. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (dir. David Gelb, 2011)
  122. Grey Gardens (dir. Albert & David Maysles, Muffie Meyer, Ellen Hovde, 1975)
  123. The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young (dir. Anika Iltis, Timothy Anthony Kane, 2014)
  124. The Last Waltz (dir. Martin Scorsese, 1978)
  125. Where You’re Meant To Be (dir. Paul Fegan, 2016)
  126. We Were Here (dir. David Weissman, Bill Weber, 2011)
  127. The Look of Silence (dir. Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014)
  128. The Resurrection of Jake the Snake Roberts (dir. Steve Yu, 2015)
  129. Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 (dir. James Gunn, 2017)
  130. Chicken Run (dir. Peter Lord, Nick Park, 2000)
  131. Meek’s Cutoff (dir. Kelly Reichardt, 2010)
  132. Mindhorn (dir. Sean Foley, 2016)
  133. Commando (dir. Mark L. Lester, 1985)
  134. Sabotage (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1936)
  135. The Levelling (dir. Hope Dickson Leach, 2016)
  136. The Red Turtle (dir. Michael Dudok de Wit, 2016)
  137. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (dir. David Mirkin, 1997)
  138. Alien: Covenant (dir. Ridley Scott, 2017)
  139. A Fistful of Dollars (dir. Sergio Leone, 1964)
  140. Breathless (dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)
  141. Persona (dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
  142. Belle de Jour (dir. Luis Bunuel, 1967)
  143. Bonnie and Clyde (dir. Arthur Penn, 1967)
  144. Gregory’s Girl (dir. Bill Forsyth, 1980)
  145. The Seventh Seal (dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1957)
  146. Tarzan (dir. Chris Buck & Kevin Lima, 1999)
  147. Brassed Off (dir. Mark Herman, 1996)
  148. Eddie- Strongman (dir. Matt Bell, 2015)
  149. The Spirit of the Beehive (dir. Victor Erice, 1973)
  150. Raw (dir. Julia Docournau, 2016)
  151. Catfight (dir. Onur Tukel, 2016)
  152. The Great Dictator (dir. Charles Chaplain, 1940)
  153. Don’t Think Twice (dir. Mike Birbiglia, 2016)
  154. The LEGO Batman Movie (dir. Chris McKay, 2017)
  155. Beauty and the Beast (dir. Bill Condon, 2017)
  156. Batman: The Movie (dir. Leslie H. Martinson, 1966)
  157. The Break Up (dir. Peyton Reed, 2006)
  158. The Return of the Pink Panther (dir. Blake Edwards, 1975)
  159. Sing (dir. Christophe Lourdelet & Garth Jennings, 2016)
  160. Casa de mi Padre (dir. Matt Piedmont, 2012)
  161. The Lobster (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)
  162. Fifty Shades Darker (dir. James Foley, 2017)
  163. Sleepwalk with Me (dir. Mike Birbiglia & Seth Barrish, 2012)
  164. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (dir. Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone, 2016)
  165. The Little Death (dir. Josh Lawson, 2014)
  166. Okja (dir. Bong Joon Ho, 2017)
  167. Dunkirk (dir. Christopher Nolan, 2017)
  168. Prevenge (dir. Alice Lowe, 2016)
  169. Daddy’s Home (dir. Sean Anders, 2015)
  170. The Big Sick (dir. Michael Showalter, 2017)
  171. Man Bites Dog (dir. Remy Belvaux, Benoit Poelvoorde & Andre Bonzel, 1992)
  172. Personal Shopper (dir. Olivier Assayas, 2016)
  173. Modern Times (dir. Charles Chaplain, 1936)
  174. The Princess Diaries (dir. Garry Marshall, 2001)
  175. Hausu (dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977)
  176. Baby Driver (dir. Edgar Wright, 2017)
  177. Onibaba (dir. Kaneto Shindo, 1964)

*=Horror Week

**Best Picture Oscar Winners Week

***John Hurt Week

****Latin American Cinema Week

^ Wifey’s Choice Week

Blaxploitation Week

Animation Week

Documentary Week

1960’s Week

 

Ten Best of the Year So Far…

Your Name

The Great Dictator

Persona

The Devils

Train to Busan

I Live in Fear

Los Olvidados

El Topo

In the Heat of the Night

Get Out

 

Right that’s your lot for this month, you can track my progress on Twitter @clancyhighhat. Now leave me in peace, I’ve got a lot of work to do.

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365 Films, 365 Days- May

Inspired by the Doug Benson Movie Challenge, I attempt to watch 365 movies over the calendar year of 2017. Any genre of film is eligible, including documentaries and Netflix originals, as long as it’s something I haven’t seen before (you’ll have to trust me on that). The hope is I can cross off some films I’ve been dying to see for ages but have never gotten round to, as well as discover some gems I might never have come across otherwise.

As a fun little twist, every couple of weeks I will be drawing a random genre/category of film to focus on for the week’s viewing. This should hopefully keep things fresh.

img_2091

 

May

This Month’s List

  1. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (dir. David Gelb, 2011)
  2. Grey Gardens (dir. Albert & David Maysles, Muffie Meyer, Ellen Hovde, 1975)
  3. The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young (dir. Anika Iltis, Timothy Anthony Kane, 2014)
  4. The Last Waltz (dir. Martin Scorsese, 1978)
  5. Where You’re Meant To Be (dir. Paul Fegan, 2016)
  6. We Were Here (dir. David Weissman, Bill Weber, 2011)
  7. The Look of Silence (dir. Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014)
  8. The Resurrection of Jake the Snake Roberts (dir. Steve Yu, 2015)
  9. Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 (dir. James Gunn, 2017)
  10. Chicken Run (dir. Peter Lord, Nick Park, 2000)
  11. Meek’s Cutoff (dir. Kelly Reichardt, 2010)
  12. Mindhorn (dir. Sean Foley, 2016)
  13. Commando (dir. Mark L. Lester, 1985)
  14. Sabotage (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1936)
  15. The Levelling (dir. Hope Dickson Leach, 2016)
  16. The Red Turtle (dir. Michael Dudok de Wit, 2016)
  17. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (dir. David Mirkin, 1997)
  18. Alien: Covenant (dir. Ridley Scott, 2017)
  19. A Fistful of Dollars (dir. Sergio Leone, 1964)
  20. Breathless (dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)
  21. Persona (dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
  22. Belle de Jour (dir. Luis Bunuel, 1967)
  23. Bonnie & Clyde (dir. Arthur Penn, 1967)

Documentary Week

1960’s Week

 

Week 1- Documentary Week

This week was a lot of fun. Like with any theme week I aimed for a fair amount of variety, and this was easy to do in regards to release period, country of origin, subject matter and tone. Jiro Dreams of Sushi took a fairly light-hearted look at an expensive sushi restaurant and managed to tell a story that is more about the quest for perfection and the difficulty of living in your father’s shadow than a movie about how to prepare raw fish.

In Grey Gardens, the Maysles stumbled on documentary gold with the Beale’s as an eccentric subject matter, but their ramblings wore on me by the end, and the film ultimately revealed a lot less than the likes of Salesmen.

The Last Waltz and Where You’re Meant to Be, both music documentaries, with the former celebrating the end of an iconic group (goes great when you turn it up real loud and watch it with a glass of Jura), while the latter was about the preservation and rejuvenation of a form of music (Scottish folk), that is at risk of being lost forever.

And then there was The Look of Silence. Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow up to the startling The Act of Killing, returning again to the subject of horrific genocide in Indonesia, stripping back the theatrics of his first film but still delivering appalling testimonies of the atrocities. The pair together make essential viewing.

Week 2 & 3

It was a mixed bagged for a couple of weeks as I struggled just to keep my head above water. Despite high expectations Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, managed to deliver an unapologetically fun and exciting comic book adaptation. I may have enjoyed even more than the first one.

I finally saw Commando. So now everyone can get off my case about it (it was good ok, what do you want from me?).

Mindhorn was good value for money, and was delighted it went to US Netflix at practically the same time as its UK cinematic release. I always prefer Julian Barratt over Noel Fielding in The Mighty Boosh lineup, and it was good to see him shine in this. It lacked the out and out laughs of the Boosh, or the even better Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, but it was good fun from start to finish.

The Red Turtle was another real plus of the month. A triumph of simplistic storytelling that really hits home. The animation is restrained, the dialogue minimal, but it still manages to tug at the heart strings in a way few other films have managed this year.

And for the record Alien: Covenant is ok. Yes everyone in it’s an idiot, and the actual alien gets dispatched rather easily at the end, but I have seen a lot worse this year alone. Its biggest problem is that it carries the wait of being an Alien franchise film. With some minor retooling you could remove the alien, keep the twisted android antics, and have a film people are far more accepting of.

Week 4- 1960’s Week

Another fun week, although I didn’t see as many as I’d hoped. A Fistful of Dollars is perfectly good, without ever getting near the genius of Yojimbo.

Breathless went a long way to getting Godard back into my good graces after being forced to watch all of Weekend in a film class ten years ago. I like him a lot better when he follows a narrative and the film shares a lot of the same DNA as Fassbinder’s Love is Colder Than Death.

Persona was the highlight of the week (and one of the best of the year so far). Still trying to wrap my head round the whole thing, but will most definitely be watching more of Bergman’s work this year.

 

Highlights

A good month in general, the two theme weeks brought me to some awesome films I hadn’t even heard of before I started researching titles to watch. I’ve been singing the songs from Where You’re Meant to Be since I watched it, and the film brought a tear or two to my eye out of homesickness. The Barkley Marathon was also an awesome watch, a fun documentary about an insane race in the mountains of Tennessee and it’s masochistic founder. Highly enjoyable.

Low Points

My low point for the month is a film that I could not even add to my list, as I wasn’t able to complete the whole film; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This film might be my White Whale for this process. I rented it for three weeks and never found the time to sit down and actually watch the thing. The one time I did finally clear some time aside to watch the blasted thing, I fell asleep after about 45 minutes. It felt a lot longer than that. The parts I was conscious for was pretty dreary, the Harry Potter movie offerings were a mixed bag at best, but this seemed to be lacking the spark that they all possessed. I doubt I will go back for another attempt this year.

 

Performance of the Month

Despite being very different performances, I can’t choose between Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullman in Persona. Ullman is near mute for the entire film, while Andersson barely stops talking to draw a breath, but together they cast a mesmerising spell over the film that makes it hard to look away. For a film that is essentially one person talking and one person listening, if one of them isn’t on point the whole film collapses, but they make it work and the film is unforgettable because of it.

960

 

Top 5 of the Month (in no particular order)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2

Where You’re Meant to Be

Persona

The Red Turtle

The Levelling

 

The Year So Far

Breakdown by Decade

2010’s- 73

2000’s- 8

1990’s- 11

1980’s- 6

1970’s- 19

1960’s- 12

1950’s- 4

1940’s- 3

1930’s- 4

1920’s- 3

Days to film ratio

150 days gone by, 143 films watched. It’s not going to improve any time soon.

Total minutes of film watching

14,507 minutes logged, I have officially passed the 10 day mark for film watching. And I’m only about a third of the way through.

Films by the Nations

USA- 78

UK- 34

France- 17

Germany- 10

Japan- 7

Spain- 4

Belgium- 4

Italy- 3

Canada- 3

New Zealand- 3

Sweden- 3

China- 2

Hong Kong- 2

Ireland- 2

Mexico- 2

Luxemburg- 2

Australia- 2

Taiwan- 2

Netherlands- 2

Norway- 2

Denmark- 2

South Korea- 1

Greece- 1

Brazil- 1

Austria- 1

Switzerland- 1

Romania- 1

Argentina- 1

Chile- 1

Soviet Union- 1

Cambodia- 1

Hungary- 1

Tunisia- 1

Jordan- 1

UAE- 1

Qatar- 1

Senegal- 1

Finland- 1

Indonesia- 1

Israel- 1

Some films are co-produced by multiple nations, which explains why the numbers may not add up.

Recurring Directors

Luis Bunuel- 3 (Los Olvidados, L’Age d’Or, Belle de Jour)

Danny Boyle- 2 (Steve Jobs, T2: Trainspotting)

Powell & Pressburger- 2 (A Matter of Life and Death, The Red Shoes)

Mike Mills- 2 (Beginners, 20th Century Women)

Ridley Scott- 2 (Thelma & Louise, Alien: Covenant)

 

The complete list so far…

  1. The Good Dinosaur (dir. Peter Sohn, 2015)
  2. Your Name (dir. Makoto Shinkai, 2016)
  3. Star Trek Beyond (dir. Justin Lin, 2016)
  4. Notes on Blindness (dir. Pete Middleton, 2016)
  5. Le Samourai (dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967)
  6. I am Not a Serial Killer (dir. Billy O’Brien, 2016)
  7. Bridget Jones’s Diary (dir. Sharon Maguire, 2001)
  8. Keanu (dir. Peter Atencio, 2016)
  9. La La Land (dir. Damien Chazelle, 2016)
  10. Train to Busan* (dir. Sang-ho Yeon, 2016)
  11. Don’t Breathe* (dir. Fede Alvarez, 2016)
  12. Nosferatu* (dir. F.W. Murnau, 1922)
  13. Carrie* (dir. Brian De Palma, 1976)
  14. Re-Animator* (dir. Stuart Gordon, 1985)
  15. Jack Frost* (dir. Michael Coon, 1997)
  16. Blair Witch* (dir. Adam Wingard, 2016)
  17. What We Did on Our Holiday (dir. Andy Hamilton & Guy Jenkin, 2014)
  18. The Devils (dir. Ken Russell, 1971)
  19. Eddie the Eagle (dir. Dexter Fletcher, 2016)
  20. Chef (dir. Jon Favreau, 2014)
  21. The One I Love (dir. Charlie McDowell, 2014)
  22. Steve Jobs (dir. Danny Boyle, 2015)
  23. Manchester By The Sea (dir. Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
  24. The Killing (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1956)
  25. In the Heat of the Night** (dir. Norman Jewison, 1967)
  26. Shakespeare in Love** (dir. John Madden, 1998)
  27. The Sting** (dir. George Roy Hill, 1973)
  28. Mutiny on the Bounty** (dir. Frank Lloyd, 1935)
  29. Patton** (dir. Franklin J. Schaffner, 1970)
  30. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (dir. Gareth Edwards, 2016)
  31. Little Men (dir. Ira Sachs, 2016)
  32. Julieta (dir. Pedro Almodovar, 2016)
  33. Fish Tank (dir. Andrea Arnold, 2009)
  34. Spa Night (dir. Andrew Ahn, 2016)
  35. 1984 (dir. Michael Radford, 1984)***
  36. 10 Rillington Place (dir. Richard Fleischer, 1971)***
  37. 44 Inch Chest (dir. Malcolm Venville, 2009)***
  38. Watership Down (dir. Martin Rosen, 1978)***
  39. Thelma and Louise (dir. Ridley Scott, 1991)
  40. David Brent: Life on the Road (dir. Ricky Gervais, 2016)
  41. The Fits (dir. Anna Rose Holmer, 2015)
  42. The Magnificent Seven (dir. Antoine Fuqua, 2016)
  43. Hello, My Name is Doris (dir. Michael Showalter, 2016)
  44. Toni Erdmann (dir. Maren Ade, 2016)
  45. Manhattan (dir. Woody Allen, 1979)
  46. The Clan (dir. Pablo Trapero, 2015)
  47. Black Sheep (dir. Jonathan King, 2016)
  48. T2: Trainspotting (dir. Danny Boyle, 2017)
  49. Florence Foster Jenkins (dir. Stephen Frears, 2016)
  50. Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (dir. Kihachi Okamoto, 1970)
  51. The Girl with All the Gifts (dir. Colm McCarthy, 2016)
  52. Hidden Figures (dir. Theodore Melfi, 2016)
  53. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (dir. Eli Craig, 2010)
  54. The Secret of the Kells (dir. Tomm Moore & Nora Twomey, 2009)
  55. Ixcanul (dir. Jayro Bustamante, 2015)****
  56. Aquarius (dir. Kleber Mendonca, 2016)****
  57. The Club**** (dir. Pablo Larrain, 2015)
  58. Los Olvidados**** (dir. Luis Bunuel, 1950)
  59. El Topo **** (dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1970)
  60. Get Out (dir. Jordan Peele, 2017)
  61. Wrinkles (dir. Ignacio Ferreras, 2011)
  62. Logan (dir. James Mangold, 2017)
  63. The Taking of Pelham 123 (dir. Joseph Sargent, 1974)
  64. Laura (dir. Otto Preminger, 1944)
  65. L’Age d’Or (dir. Luis Bunuel, 1930)
  66. Battleship Potemkin (dir. Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1925)
  67. Sausage Party (dir. Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon, 2016)
  68. Love and Death on Long Island (dir. Richard Kwietniowski, 1997)
  69. Moana ^(dir. Ron Clements, Chris Williams, Don Hall, John Musker, 2016)
  70. Sleepless in Seattle^ (dir. Nora Ephron, 1993)
  71. Paris is Burning^ (dir. Jennie Livingstone, 1990)
  72. Sixteen Candles^ (dir. John Hughes, 1984)
  73. National Treasure: Book of Secrets^ (dir. Jon Turteltaub, 2007)
  74. Like Crazy^ (dir. Drake Doremus, 2011)
  75. Kong: Skull Island (dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts, 2017)
  76. I am Not Your Negro (dir. Raoul Peck, 2016)
  77. Beginners (dir. Mike Mills, 2010)
  78. Godzilla (dir. Ishiro Honda, 1954)
  79. Tabloid (dir. Errol Morris, 2010)
  80. A Matter of Life and Death (dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1946)
  81. Pink Narcissus (dir. James Bidgood, 1971)
  82. The Devil Rides Out (dir. Terence Fisher, 1968)
  83. Somm (dir. Jason Wise, 2012)
  84. I Live in Fear (dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1955)
  85. White God (dir. Kornel, Mundruczo, 2014)
  86. Super Fly (dir. Gordon Parks Jnr., 1972)
  87. Foxy Brown (dir. Jack Hill, 1974)
  88. Black Belt Jones (dir. Robert Clouse, 1974)
  89. Blacula (dir. William Crain, 1972)
  90. Three the Hard Way (dir. Gordon Parks Jnr., 1974)
  91. The Mack (dir. Michael Campus, 1973)
  92. Whale Rider (dir. Niki Caro, 2002)
  93. Dragon (dir. Peter Ho-Sun Chan, 2011)
  94. The Love Witch (dir. Anna Biller, 2016)
  95. Distant Voices, Still Lives (dir. Terence Davis, 1988)
  96. Headhunters (dir. Morten Tyldum, 2011)
  97. Dead Ringers (dir. David Cronenberg, 1988)
  98. Love is Colder Than Death (dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1969)
  99. The Red Shoes (dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1948)
  100. La Promesse (dir. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 1996)
  101. Lion (dir. Garth Davis, 2016)
  102. To Kill a Mockingbird (dir. Robert Mulligan, 1962)
  103. Fences (dir. Denzel Washington, 2016)
  104. Theeb (dir. Naji Abu Nowar, 2014)
  105. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (dir. Lotte Reiniger & Carl Koch, 1926)
  106. Shaun the Sheep (dir. Mark Burton & Richard Starzak, 2015)
  107. Kirikou and the Sorceress (dir. Michel Ocelot & Raymond Burlet, 1998)
  108. Ghost in the Shell (dir. Mamoru Oshii, 1995)
  109. Corpse Bride (dir. Tim Burton, 2005)
  110. The Iron Giant (dir. Brad Bird, 1999)
  111. 20th Century Women (dir. Mike Mills, 2016)
  112. The Fate of the Furious (dir. F. Gary Gray, 2017)
  113. Free Fire (dir. Ben Wheatley, 2016)
  114. Eyes Without a Face (dir. Georges Franju, 1960)
  115. Room 237 (dir. Rodney Ascher, 2012)
  116. Mifune: the Last Samurai (dir. Steven Okazaki, 2015)
  117. Paterson (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  118. Stagecoach (dir. John Ford, 1939)
  119. The Assassin (dir. Hsiao-Hsien Hou, 2015)
  120. Black Girl (dir. Ousmane Sembene, 1966)
  121. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (dir. David Gelb, 2011)
  122. Grey Gardens (dir. Albert & David Maysles, Muffie Meyer, Ellen Hovde, 1975)
  123. The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young (dir. Anika Iltis, Timothy Anthony Kane, 2014)
  124. The Last Waltz (dir. Martin Scorsese, 1978)
  125. Where You’re Meant To Be (dir. Paul Fegan, 2016)
  126. We Were Here (dir. David Weissman, Bill Weber, 2011)
  127. The Look of Silence (dir. Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014)
  128. The Resurrection of Jake the Snake Roberts (dir. Steve Yu, 2015)
  129. Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 (dir. James Gunn, 2017)
  130. Chicken Run (dir. Peter Lord, Nick Park, 2000)
  131. Meek’s Cutoff (dir. Kelly Reichardt, 2010)
  132. Mindhorn (dir. Sean Foley, 2016)
  133. Commando (dir. Mark L. Lester, 1985)
  134. Sabotage (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1936)
  135. The Levelling (dir. Hope Dickson Leach, 2016)
  136. The Red Turtle (dir. Michael Dudok de Wit, 2016)
  137. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (dir. David Mirkin, 1997)
  138. Alien: Covenant (dir. Ridley Scott, 2017)
  139. A Fistful of Dollars (dir. Sergio Leone, 1964)
  140. Breathless (dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)
  141. Persona (dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
  142. Belle de Jour (dir. Luis Bunuel, 1967)
  143. Bonnie and Clyde (dir. Arthur Penn, 1967)

*=Horror Week

**Best Picture Oscar Winners Week

***John Hurt Week

****Latin American Cinema Week

^ Wifey’s Choice Week

Blaxploitation Week

Animation Week

Documentary Week

1960’s Week

 

 

Ten Best of the Year So Far…

Your Name

The Fits

Persona

The Devils

Train to Busan

I Live in Fear

Los Olvidados

El Topo

In the Heat of the Night

Get Out

 

That’ll do it for this month, I’m going to get some sunlight.

Can’t wait a month to see how I’m getting on? You can follow my progress film-by-film on Twitter, @clancyhighhat.

365 Films, 365 Days- April

Inspired by the Doug Benson Movie Challenge, I attempt to watch 365 movies over the calendar year of 2017. Any genre of film is eligible, including documentaries and Netflix originals, as long as it’s something I haven’t seen before (you’ll have to trust me on that). The hope is I can cross off some films I’ve been dying to see for ages but have never gotten round to, as well as discover some gems I might never have come across otherwise.

As a fun little twist, every couple of weeks I will be drawing a random genre/category of film to focus on for the week’s viewing. This should hopefully keep things fresh.

img_2091

Here we go, let’s make April our bitch!

April

This Month’s List

  1. Super Fly (dir. Gordon Parks Jnr., 1972)
  2. Foxy Brown (dir. Jack Hill, 1974)
  3. Black Belt Jones (dir. Robert Clouse, 1974)
  4. Blacula (dir. William Crain, 1972)
  5. Three the Hard Way (dir. Gordon Parks Jnr., 1974)
  6. The Mack (dir. Michael Campus, 1973)
  7. Whale Rider (dir. Niki Caro, 2002)
  8. Dragon (dir. Peter Ho-Sun Chan, 2011)
  9. The Love Witch (dir. Anna Biller, 2016)
  10. Distant Voices, Still Lives (dir. Terence Davis, 1988)
  11. Headhunters (dir. Morten Tyldum, 2011)
  12. Dead Ringers (dir. David Cronenberg, 1988)
  13. Love is Colder Than Death (dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1969)
  14. The Red Shoes (dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1948)
  15. La Promesse (dir. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 1996)
  16. Lion (dir. Garth Davis, 2016)
  17. To Kill a Mockingbird (dir. Robert Mulligan, 1962)
  18. Fences (dir. Denzel Washington, 2016)
  19. Theeb (dir. Naji Abu Nowar, 2014)
  20. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (dir. Lotte Reiniger & Carl Koch, 1926)
  21. Shaun the Sheep (dir. Mark Burton & Richard Starzak, 2015)
  22. Kirikou and the Sorceress (dir. Michel Ocelot & Raymond Burlet, 1998)
  23. Ghost in the Shell (dir. Mamoru Oshii, 1995)
  24. Corpse Bride (dir. Tim Burton, 2005)
  25. The Iron Giant (dir. Brad Bird, 1999)
  26. 20th Century Women (dir. Mike Mills, 2016)
  27. The Fate of the Furious (dir. F. Gary Gray, 2017)
  28. Free Fire (dir. Ben Wheatley, 2016)
  29. Eyes Without a Face (dir. Georges Franju, 1960)
  30. Room 237 (dir. Rodney Ascher, 2012)
  31. Mifune: the Last Samurai (dir. Steven Okazaki, 2015)
  32. Paterson (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  33. Stagecoach (dir. John Ford, 1939)
  34. The Assassin (dir. Hsiao-Hsien Hou, 2015)
  35. Black Girl (dir. Ousmane Sembene, 1966)

 

Week 1- Blaxploitation Week

My knowledge of blaxploitation cinema doesn’t stretch much beyond the Shaft trilogy, so was excited by this theme selection to learn a little more about a genre I knew very little about. Of course, six films are only going to give you so wide a scope, but in between my hectic film watching schedule I was able to read up a little more about the creation of this often misunderstood genre. For sure the production values are lacking compared to other classics of the period, but there was something to treasure from all the titles I watched; be it Curtis Mayfield’s iconic soundtrack in Super Fly, the undeniably nasty direction taken in Foxy Brown, some genuinely scary and inventive shots in Blacula or the just joyful, ludicrous bombast of Three the Hard Way‘s conclusion. It was a highly enjoyable, eye opening week.

blacula-cape

Blacula is…actually pretty damn good.

Week 2

I made a real effort to avoid USA movies from this decade this week, and took advantage of a bank holiday to try and catch up a little. In doing so I was also able to wipe a few long standing films from my Netflix watchlist, with Whale Rider, Dragon, Headhunters and To Kill a Mockingbird all proving to be worth the wait. Dragon was probably the highlight of the week, a martial arts film mixed with Cronenberg’s A History of Violence and the BBC’s version of Sherlock, I had so much fun watching that film. I also lost my Fassbinder virginity with Love is Colder Than Death; minimalistic and nihilistic, the filmmaker certainly lived up to expectations.

Week 3- Animation Week

This week took some planning, having seen all of Pixar’s offerings, and knowing that Studio Ghibli has it’s own category that will come later this year, my goal was to ingest a wide a variety of animation as possible. The Adventures of Prince Achmed was certainly a left field choice to kick the week off. A dialogue free animated German film from the 1920’s was not the obvious choice, but really holds up in terms of imaginative animation, and honest-to-goodness adventure story-telling. Shaun the Sheep proved to be the delight we’ve all come to expect from Aardman Animations, made with love, and with a knowing nod to classic silent cinema, it appeals to the very youngest and oldest of us. Ghost in the Shell similarly lived up to it’s reputation as a wonderfully creative, thoughtful and shockingly violent pleasure I have come to expect from Manga movies. No remake needed there that’s for sure.

Week 4

A week off work proved to be a busy week for this project, which is fast becoming my 2nd, albeit non-paying, job (although I am open to sponsorship). I peaked at five films in a day in this period, but managed to close the gap between days past and films watched that opened up during March. This was a mix of cinema trips , Red Box movies, the BFI Player, and a couple of welcome new additions to Netflix. Free Fire was the standout of the week (and probably the month), a 90 minute gun fight that is constantly shifting tone from the comical to uncomfortable, with a terrific cast and expert direction. It is probably Ben Wheatley’s most watchable, crowd-pleasing film to date. I decided I didn’t want to wait for Documentary week to watch Room 237 and Mifune: the Last Samuari. The former is a real joy for cinema loving conspiracy theorists, while the latter has all but guaranteed that there will be a lot more Akira Kurosawa films on the list this time next month.

 

Highlights

Both the theme weeks proved to be something of an education, one learning about a genre I knew very little about, the other allowing me to dig deeper on a style of cinema I have been watching since I was little. Both were very much in the spirit of why I’m doing this experiment in the first place.

Low Points

Again no real stinkers, this process has been so arduous that I’m intentionally steering away from films I’m pretty sure I won’t like (perhaps I will push myself more in May), but there were a few that did not live up to expectations, without being all out bad. I had heard great things about The Love Witch, but ultimately felt it was more style than substance, Dead Ringers turned out pretty near the bottom of my list of Cronenberg films, and The Assassin just didn’t grab me in the way I was hoping it would.  Along with those, I was a little let down by The Fate of the Furious. Again not that it’s bad, but having unashamedly loved the previous two outings, this one felt like the fun had been sucked out of it slightly, and there was a real feeling that they were going through the motions.

 

Performance of the Month

The youngsters stood out again this month, with Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat in Theeb, Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider and Sunny Pawar in Lion all putting in terrific performances well beyond their years. The entire cast of Free Fire also deserve recognition, a fine example of how a well selected ensemble can elevate your title (Sharlto Copley and Armie Hammer were particularly excellent).

But it is hard to see past Pam Grier in Foxy Brown. Even with a bizarre plot and at times questionable dialogue, her star quality shines through the moment she appears on screen. She is strong, fierce, effortlessly cool, and not afraid to be vulnerable. Well played.

foxybrown1_758_426_81_s_c1

Pam Grier is cold as ice as Foxy Brown.

 

Top 5 of the Month (in no particular order)

Theeb

Free Fire

Foxy Brown

Dragon

Eyes Without a Face

 

The Year So Far

Breakdown by Decade

2010’s- 61

2000’s- 7

1990’s- 10

1980’s- 5

1970’s- 17

1960’s- 7

1950’s- 4

1940’s- 3

1930’s- 3

1920’s- 3

Days to film ratio

120 days gone, 120 films watched. Glad to be back on track, but come June I’m going to be working 12 hour days, 6 days a week, so going to have to get even further ahead before then.

Total minutes of film watching

12,323 minutes of strenuous, silver-screen surveying. 205 hours of frantic, film feasting. Over eight and a half days of move watching mania.

Films by the Nations

USA- 64

UK- 27

France- 12

Germany- 8

Japan- 6

Spain- 3

Belgium- 3

Ireland- 2

Mexico- 2

Canada- 2

New Zealand- 2

China- 2

Hong Kong- 2

Luxemburg- 2

South Korea- 1

Greece- 1

Brazil- 1

Netherlands- 1

Austria- 1

Switzerland- 1

Romania- 1

Argentina- 1

Chile- 1

Soviet Union- 1

Cambodia- 1

Hungary- 1

Sweden- 1

Norway- 1

Denmark- 1

Tunisia- 1

Australia- 1

Jordan- 1

UAE- 1

Qatar- 1

Italy- 1

Taiwan- 1

Senegal- 1

Some films are co-produced by multiple nations, which explains why the numbers may not add up.

Recurring Directors

Danny Boyle- 2 (Steve Jobs, T2: Trainspotting)

Luis Bunuel- 2 (Los Olvidados, L’Age d’Or)

Powell & Pressburger (A Matter of Life and Death, The Red Shoes)

Mike Mills (Beginners, 20th Century Women)

 

The complete list so far…

  1. The Good Dinosaur (dir. Peter Sohn, 2015)
  2. Your Name (dir. Makoto Shinkai, 2016)
  3. Star Trek Beyond (dir. Justin Lin, 2016)
  4. Notes on Blindness (dir. Pete Middleton, 2016)
  5. Le Samourai (dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967)
  6. I am Not a Serial Killer (dir. Billy O’Brien, 2016)
  7. Bridget Jones’s Diary (dir. Sharon Maguire, 2001)
  8. Keanu (dir. Peter Atencio, 2016)
  9. La La Land (dir. Damien Chazelle, 2016)
  10. Train to Busan* (dir. Sang-ho Yeon, 2016)
  11. Don’t Breathe* (dir. Fede Alvarez, 2016)
  12. Nosferatu* (dir. F.W. Murnau, 1922)
  13. Carrie* (dir. Brian De Palma, 1976)
  14. Re-Animator* (dir. Stuart Gordon, 1985)
  15. Jack Frost* (dir. Michael Coon, 1997)
  16. Blair Witch* (dir. Adam Wingard, 2016)
  17. What We Did on Our Holiday (dir. Andy Hamilton & Guy Jenkin, 2014)
  18. The Devils (dir. Ken Russell, 1971)
  19. Eddie the Eagle (dir. Dexter Fletcher, 2016)
  20. Chef (dir. Jon Favreau, 2014)
  21. The One I Love (dir. Charlie McDowell, 2014)
  22. Steve Jobs (dir. Danny Boyle, 2015)
  23. Manchester By The Sea (dir. Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
  24. The Killing (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1956)
  25. In the Heat of the Night** (dir. Norman Jewison, 1967)
  26. Shakespeare in Love** (dir. John Madden, 1998)
  27. The Sting** (dir. George Roy Hill, 1973)
  28. Mutiny on the Bounty** (dir. Frank Lloyd, 1935)
  29. Patton** (dir. Franklin J. Schaffner, 1970)
  30. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (dir. Gareth Edwards, 2016)
  31. Little Men (dir. Ira Sachs, 2016)
  32. Julieta (dir. Pedro Almodovar, 2016)
  33. Fish Tank (dir. Andrea Arnold, 2009)
  34. Spa Night (dir. Andrew Ahn, 2016)
  35. 1984 (dir. Michael Radford, 1984)***
  36. 10 Rillington Place (dir. Richard Fleischer, 1971)***
  37. 44 Inch Chest (dir. Malcolm Venville, 2009)***
  38. Watership Down (dir. Martin Rosen, 1978)***
  39. Thelma and Louise (dir. Ridley Scott, 1991)
  40. David Brent: Life on the Road (dir. Ricky Gervais, 2016)
  41. The Fits (dir. Anna Rose Holmer, 2015)
  42. The Magnificent Seven (dir. Antoine Fuqua, 2016)
  43. Hello, My Name is Doris (dir. Michael Showalter, 2016)
  44. Toni Erdmann (dir. Maren Ade, 2016)
  45. Manhattan (dir. Woody Allen, 1979)
  46. The Clan (dir. Pablo Trapero, 2015)
  47. Black Sheep (dir. Jonathan King, 2016)
  48. T2: Trainspotting (dir. Danny Boyle, 2017)
  49. Florence Foster Jenkins (dir. Stephen Frears, 2016)
  50. Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (dir. Kihachi Okamoto, 1970)
  51. The Girl with All the Gifts (dir. Colm McCarthy, 2016)
  52. Hidden Figures (dir. Theodore Melfi, 2016)
  53. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (dir. Eli Craig, 2010)
  54. The Secret of the Kells (dir. Tomm Moore & Nora Twomey, 2009)
  55. Ixcanul (dir. Jayro Bustamante, 2015)****
  56. Aquarius (dir. Kleber Mendonca, 2016)****
  57. The Club**** (dir. Pablo Larrain, 2015)
  58. Los Olvidados**** (dir. Luis Bunuel, 1950)
  59. El Topo **** (dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1970)
  60. Get Out (dir. Jordan Peele, 2017)
  61. Wrinkles (dir. Ignacio Ferreras, 2011)
  62. Logan (dir. James Mangold, 2017)
  63. The Taking of Pelham 123 (dir. Joseph Sargent, 1974)
  64. Laura (dir. Otto Preminger, 1944)
  65. L’Age d’Or (dir. Luis Bunuel, 1930)
  66. Battleship Potemkin (dir. Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1925)
  67. Sausage Party (dir. Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon, 2016)
  68. Love and Death on Long Island (dir. Richard Kwietniowski, 1997)
  69. Moana ^(dir. Ron Clements, Chris Williams, Don Hall, John Musker, 2016)
  70. Sleepless in Seattle^ (dir. Nora Ephron, 1993)
  71. Paris is Burning^ (dir. Jennie Livingstone, 1990)
  72. Sixteen Candles^ (dir. John Hughes, 1984)
  73. National Treasure: Book of Secrets^ (dir. Jon Turteltaub, 2007)
  74. Like Crazy^ (dir. Drake Doremus, 2011)
  75. Kong: Skull Island (dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts, 2017)
  76. I am Not Your Negro (dir. Raoul Peck, 2016)
  77. Beginners (dir. Mike Mills, 2010)
  78. Godzilla (dir. Ishiro Honda, 1954)
  79. Tabloid (dir. Errol Morris, 2010)
  80. A Matter of Life and Death (dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1946)
  81. Pink Narcissus (dir. James Bidgood, 1971)
  82. The Devil Rides Out (dir. Terence Fisher, 1968)
  83. Somm (dir. Jason Wise, 2012)
  84. I Live in Fear (dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1955)
  85. White God (dir. Kornel, Mundruczo, 2014)
  86. Super Fly (dir. Gordon Parks Jnr., 1972)
  87. Foxy Brown (dir. Jack Hill, 1974)
  88. Black Belt Jones (dir. Robert Clouse, 1974)
  89. Blacula (dir. William Crain, 1972)
  90. Three the Hard Way (dir. Gordon Parks Jnr., 1974)
  91. The Mack (dir. Michael Campus, 1973)
  92. Whale Rider (dir. Niki Caro, 2002)
  93. Dragon (dir. Peter Ho-Sun Chan, 2011)
  94. The Love Witch (dir. Anna Biller, 2016)
  95. Distant Voices, Still Lives (dir. Terence Davis, 1988)
  96. Headhunters (dir. Morten Tyldum, 2011)
  97. Dead Ringers (dir. David Cronenberg, 1988)
  98. Love is Colder Than Death (dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1969)
  99. The Red Shoes (dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1948)
  100. La Promesse (dir. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 1996)
  101. Lion (dir. Garth Davis, 2016)
  102. To Kill a Mockingbird (dir. Robert Mulligan, 1962)
  103. Fences (dir. Denzel Washington, 2016)
  104. Theeb (dir. Naji Abu Nowar, 2014)
  105. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (dir. Lotte Reiniger & Carl Koch, 1926)
  106. Shaun the Sheep (dir. Mark Burton & Richard Starzak, 2015)
  107. Kirikou and the Sorceress (dir. Michel Ocelot & Raymond Burlet, 1998)
  108. Ghost in the Shell (dir. Mamoru Oshii, 1995)
  109. Corpse Bride (dir. Tim Burton, 2005)
  110. The Iron Giant (dir. Brad Bird, 1999)
  111. 20th Century Women (dir. Mike Mills, 2016)
  112. The Fate of the Furious (dir. F. Gary Gray, 2017)
  113. Free Fire (dir. Ben Wheatley, 2016)
  114. Eyes Without a Face (dir. Georges Franju, 1960)
  115. Room 237 (dir. Rodney Ascher, 2012)
  116. Mifune: the Last Samurai (dir. Steven Okazaki, 2015)
  117. Paterson (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  118. Stagecoach (dir. John Ford, 1939)
  119. The Assassin (dir. Hsiao-Hsien Hou, 2015)
  120. Black Girl (dir. Ousmane Sembene, 1966)

*=Horror Week

**Best Picture Oscar Winners Week

***John Hurt Week

****Latin American Cinema Week

^ Wifey’s Choice Week

Blaxploitation Week

Animation Week

 

Ten Best of the Year So Far…

Your Name

The Fits

Le Samourai

The Devils

Train to Busan

I Live in Fear

Los Olvidados

El Topo

In the Heat of the Night

Get Out

This month was always going to be more about quantity over quality, that’s not to say I didn’t see some excellent features, or that I saw many turkey’s, but it’s telling that none of the films watched this month cracked the top 10 of the year, despite this being the most productive month in terms of volume of films watched.

That’ll do it for this month, I need to go check to make sure my wife hasn’t left me yet…

Can’t wait a month to see how I’m getting on? You can follow my progress film-by-film on Twitter, @clancyhighhat.

365 Movies, 365 Days- March

Inspired by the Doug Benson Movie Challenge, I attempt to watch 365 movies over the calendar year of 2017. Any genre of film is eligible, including documentaries and Netflix originals, as long as it’s something I haven’t seen before (you’ll have to trust me on that). The hope is I can cross off some films I’ve been dying to see for ages but have never gotten round to, as well as discover some gems I might never have come across otherwise.

As a fun little twist, every couple of weeks I will be drawing a random genre/category of film to focus on for the week’s viewing. This should hopefully keep things fresh.

img_2091

We all know the rules by now, let’s get into March…

March

This Month’s List

  1. The Club**** (dir. Pablo Larrain, 2015)
  2. Los Olvidados**** (dir. Luis Bunuel, 1950)
  3. El Topo **** (dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1970)
  4. Get Out (dir. Jordan Peele, 2017)
  5. Wrinkles (dir. Ignacio Ferreras, 2011)
  6. Logan (dir. James Mangold, 2017)
  7. The Taking of Pelham 123 (dir. Joseph Sargent, 1974)
  8. Laura (dir. Otto Preminger, 1944)
  9. L’Age d’Or (dir. Luis Bunuel, 1930)
  10. Battleship Potemkin (dir. Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1925)
  11. Sausage Party (dir. Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon, 2016)
  12. Love and Death on Long Island (dir. Richard Kwietniowski, 1997)
  13. Moana ^(dir. Ron Clements, Chris Williams, Don Hall, John Musker, 2016)
  14. Sleepless in Seattle^ (dir. Nora Ephron, 1993)
  15. Paris is Burning^ (dir. Jennie Livingstone, 1990)
  16. Sixteen Candles^ (dir. John Hughes, 1984)
  17. National Treasure: Book of Secrets^ (dir. Jon Turteltaub, 2007)
  18. Like Crazy^ (dir. Drake Doremus, 2011)
  19. Kong: Skull Island (dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts, 2017)
  20. I am Not Your Negro (dir. Raoul Peck, 2016)
  21. Beginners (dir. Mike Mills, 2010)
  22. Godzilla (dir. Ishiro Honda, 1954)
  23. Tabloid (dir. Errol Morris, 2010)
  24. A Matter of Life and Death (dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1946)
  25. Pink Narcissus (dir. James Bidgood, 1971)
  26. The Devil Rides Out (dir. Terence Fisher, 1968)
  27. Somm (dir. Jason Wise, 2012)
  28. I Live in Fear (dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1955)
  29. White God (dir. Kornel, Mundruczo, 2014)

 

Week 1- Latin American Cinema Week (continued)

Kicked off the month by wrapping up the Latin American Cinema week I began at the end of February. It turned out to be a great end to the theme week/beginning of March, as two of the three films ended up in my top 5 of the month. Luis Bunuel’s Los Olvidados was a magnificent look at young people growing up in the slums of Mexico City. The film is hard hitting social commentary, and a million miles removed from the next film I watched, El Topo. Written, directed and starring Alejandro Jodorowsky, the film is bonkers, with Jodorowsky’s title character wandering the desert like a blood thirsty Don Quixote, it’s bloody wonderful!

topo

El Topo is just…ridiculous.

Week 2

The second week of the month was busy as I crammed in a couple of movie trips and some lazy days trying to close the gap which is worryingly getting bigger and bigger. 10 movies in the week certainly helped, with some very decent films being added to the list. The February stats showed that American films from this decade are very much in the majority, so I am making a conscious effort to avoid films with one or both of these characteristics. That being said, the best film of this week was indeed from the USA, and is a strong contender for my favourite film of 2017. Jordan Peele’s Get Out has gained a lot of positive buzz over the past month, all of which is completely deserved. Rife with racial tension and excruciatingly funny/awkward, the film manages to straddle several different genres delivering a truly unique cinematic experience that will live long in the memory.

Week 3- Wifey’s Choice Week

The power was well in truly in the hands of my good lady wife this week (as it is every other week I suppose), as she got to pick what films I watched. God bless her, she does not share my passion for films, but her picks did allow me to fill some gaps in my cinematic knowledge with some popular classics such as Sleepless in Seattle and Sixteen Candlesboth of which were perfectly enjoyable without being earth shattering. Moana takes it’s place right in the middle of the most recent Disney Princess offerings, just a smidgen below Tangled, and a couple of levels above Frozen, the soundtrack has been stuck in my head for the past couple of weeks. Like Crazy is a film I’ve been avoiding since it was released in 2011 as it looked like weepy, Indie nonsense. I was left pleasantly surprised as what it actually is, is a really well judged and performed drama about the perils of the long distant relationship and a reminder of what a promising young talent Anton Yelchin was.

Week 4

Another random blitz of whatever was convenient, I tried to avoid movies from the USA from this decade, but it proved tricky at times; it may become a set rule for a week in April just to vary things up a little. The BFI+ Player came in handy again, with I Live in Fear being a standout of the week. A Japanese family drama, showing the terror of living in constant fear of nuclear annihilation, it’s not one of Kurosawa’s more celebrated pieces which is a shame because it bears all his usual trappings and is a real heart breaker.

 

Highlights

Some really awesome films watched this month, including a couple of very decent trips to the cinema; Logan provided a much needed break from the typical big budget, uber-explosiony fare of traditional superhero films. Kong: Skull Island was good fun, but a meh script mostly wasted a talented cast (except the great John C. Reilly of course). Writer James Baldwin was the focus of blistering documentary I am Not Your Negro, blending his words from the 1970’s with current events which highlights both the skill of director Raoul Peck, and the sad state of affairs we are living in today.

But the real highlight for the month was not so much a specific film, but rather the discovery of the BFI+ Player, a very decent streaming service. This discovery alone allowed me to watch L’Age d’Or, Battleship Potemkin, Love & Death on Long Island, the original Godzilla, A Matter of Life and Death, Pink Narcissus, The Devil Rides Out, and I Live in Fear. A very wise investment indeed.

Low Points

Again, no real stinkers for the month, although Sausage Party tested the patience at times, and National Treasure: Book of Secrets is only really worth your time to watch Nicholas Cage pretend to be a normal person. The real low point came from the fatigue that is starting to set in with this experiment, at time making me feel like I haven’t seen the sun in days. A couple of well timed hikes have certainly helped, but self care is going to be important going forward.

 

Performance of the Month

 

Many excellent performances I could go for, but it’s got to be Toshiro Mifune in I Live in Fear, for showing me another layer to his sizable talent. It was great seeing him in a non-samurai warrior role. Here he plays the patriarch of a large family who is desperate to escape what he believes is certain nuclear destruction, by relocating them to Brazil. His trademark gravel voice and outburst of rage are still on display, but there is a quiet panic to his anger that unravels as the film progresses. It’s a performance of great depth that really elevates the drama of the whole film.

mifune

Top 5 of the Month (in no particular order)

El Topo

Los Ovidados

Get Out

I Live in Fear

A Matter of Life and Death

 

The Year So Far

Breakdown by Decade

2010’s- 47

2000’s- 5

1990’s- 6

1980’s- 3

1970’s- 11

1960’s- 3

1950’s- 4

1940’s- 2

1930’s- 2

1920’s- 2

Days to film ratio

90 days, 85 films, the gaps widening…must do better.

Total minutes of film watching

8867 minutes of movie watching, nearly 150 hour, just over 6 days of film watching.

Films by the Nations

 

USA- 47

UK- 19

Japan- 4

France- 4

Germany- 3

Spain- 3

Ireland- 2

Mexico- 2

South Korea- 1

Greece- 1

Brazil- 1

Netherlands- 1

Austria- 1

Switzerland- 1

Romania- 1

Argentina- 1

New Zealand- 1

Belgium- 1

Chile- 1

Soviet Union- 1

Cambodia- 1

Canada- 1

Hungary- 1

Sweden- 1

Some films are co-produced by multiple nations, which explains why the numbers may not add up.

Recurring Directors

Danny Boyle- 2 (Steve Jobs, T2: Trainspotting)

Luis Bunuel- 2 (Los Olvidados, L’Age d’Or)

 

The complete list so far…

  1. The Good Dinosaur (dir. Peter Sohn, 2015)
  2. Your Name (dir. Makoto Shinkai, 2016)
  3. Star Trek Beyond (dir. Justin Lin, 2016)
  4. Notes on Blindness (dir. Pete Middleton, 2016)
  5. Le Samourai (dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967)
  6. I am Not a Serial Killer (dir. Billy O’Brien, 2016)
  7. Bridget Jones’s Diary (dir. Sharon Maguire, 2001)
  8. Keanu (dir. Peter Atencio, 2016)
  9. La La Land (dir. Damien Chazelle, 2016)
  10. Train to Busan* (dir. Sang-ho Yeon, 2016)
  11. Don’t Breathe* (dir. Fede Alvarez, 2016)
  12. Nosferatu* (dir. F.W. Murnau, 1922)
  13. Carrie* (dir. Brian De Palma, 1976)
  14. Re-Animator* (dir. Stuart Gordon, 1985)
  15. Jack Frost* (dir. Michael Coon, 1997)
  16. Blair Witch* (dir. Adam Wingard, 2016)
  17. What We Did on Our Holiday (dir. Andy Hamilton & Guy Jenkin, 2014)
  18. The Devils (dir. Ken Russell, 1971)
  19. Eddie the Eagle (dir. Dexter Fletcher, 2016)
  20. Chef (dir. Jon Favreau, 2014)
  21. The One I Love (dir. Charlie McDowell, 2014)
  22. Steve Jobs (dir. Danny Boyle, 2015)
  23. Manchester By The Sea (dir. Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
  24. The Killing (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1956)
  25. In the Heat of the Night** (dir. Norman Jewison, 1967)
  26. Shakespeare in Love** (dir. John Madden, 1998)
  27. The Sting** (dir. George Roy Hill, 1973)
  28. Mutiny on the Bounty** (dir. Frank Lloyd, 1935)
  29. Patton** (dir. Franklin J. Schaffner, 1970)
  30. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (dir. Gareth Edwards, 2016)
  31. Little Men (dir. Ira Sachs, 2016)
  32. Julieta (dir. Pedro Almodovar, 2016)
  33. Fish Tank (dir. Andrea Arnold, 2009)
  34. Spa Night (dir. Andrew Ahn, 2016)
  35. 1984 (dir. Michael Radford, 1984)***
  36. 10 Rillington Place (dir. Richard Fleischer, 1971)***
  37. 44 Inch Chest (dir. Malcolm Venville, 2009)***
  38. Watership Down (dir. Martin Rosen, 1978)***
  39. Thelma and Louise (dir. Ridley Scott, 1991)
  40. David Brent: Life on the Road (dir. Ricky Gervais, 2016)
  41. The Fits (dir. Anna Rose Holmer, 2015)
  42. The Magnificent Seven (dir. Antoine Fuqua, 2016)
  43. Hello, My Name is Doris (dir. Michael Showalter, 2016)
  44. Toni Erdmann (dir. Maren Ade, 2016)
  45. Manhattan (dir. Woody Allen, 1979)
  46. The Clan (dir. Pablo Trapero, 2015)
  47. Black Sheep (dir. Jonathan King, 2016)
  48. T2: Trainspotting (dir. Danny Boyle, 2017)
  49. Florence Foster Jenkins (dir. Stephen Frears, 2016)
  50. Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (dir. Kihachi Okamoto, 1970)
  51. The Girl with All the Gifts (dir. Colm McCarthy, 2016)
  52. Hidden Figures (dir. Theodore Melfi, 2016)
  53. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (dir. Eli Craig, 2010)
  54. The Secret of the Kells (dir. Tomm Moore & Nora Twomey, 2009)
  55. Ixcanul (dir. Jayro Bustamante, 2015)****
  56. Aquarius (dir. Kleber Mendonca, 2016)****
  57. The Club**** (dir. Pablo Larrain, 2015)
  58. Los Olvidados**** (dir. Luis Bunuel, 1950)
  59. El Topo **** (dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1970)
  60. Get Out (dir. Jordan Peele, 2017)
  61. Wrinkles (dir. Ignacio Ferreras, 2011)
  62. Logan (dir. James Mangold, 2017)
  63. The Taking of Pelham 123 (dir. Joseph Sargent, 1974)
  64. Laura (dir. Otto Preminger, 1944)
  65. L’Age d’Or (dir. Luis Bunuel, 1930)
  66. Battleship Potemkin (dir. Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1925)
  67. Sausage Party (dir. Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon, 2016)
  68. Love and Death on Long Island (dir. Richard Kwietniowski, 1997)
  69. Moana ^(dir. Ron Clements, Chris Williams, Don Hall, John Musker, 2016)
  70. Sleepless in Seattle^ (dir. Nora Ephron, 1993)
  71. Paris is Burning^ (dir. Jennie Livingstone, 1990)
  72. Sixteen Candles^ (dir. John Hughes, 1984)
  73. National Treasure: Book of Secrets^ (dir. Jon Turteltaub, 2007)
  74. Like Crazy^ (dir. Drake Doremus, 2011)
  75. Kong: Skull Island (dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts, 2017)
  76. I am Not Your Negro (dir. Raoul Peck, 2016)
  77. Beginners (dir. Mike Mills, 2010)
  78. Godzilla (dir. Ishiro Honda, 1954)
  79. Tabloid (dir. Errol Morris, 2010)
  80. A Matter of Life and Death (dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1946)
  81. Pink Narcissus (dir. James Bidgood, 1971)
  82. The Devil Rides Out (dir. Terence Fisher, 1968)
  83. Somm (dir. Jason Wise, 2012)
  84. I Live in Fear (dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1955)
  85. White God (dir. Kornel, Mundruczo, 2014)

*=Horror Week

**Best Picture Oscar Winners Week

***John Hurt Week

****Latin American Cinema Week

^ Wifey’s Choice Week

 

Ten Best of the Year So Far…

Your Name

The Fits

Le Samourai

The Devils

Train to Busan

I Live in Fear

Los Olvidados

El Topo

In the Heat of the Night

Get Out

 

That’ll do it for this month, with the nicer weather finally arriving, I’m going to watch as many films as possible outside to get my quota of fresh air, until then, ta ta for now.

Can’t wait a month to see how I’m getting on? You can follow my progress film-by-film on Twitter, @clancyhighhat.

 

 

365 Movies, 365 Days- February

Inspired by the Doug Benson Movie Challenge, I attempt to watch 365 movies over the calendar year of 2017. Any genre of film is eligible, including documentaries and Netflix originals, as long as it’s something I haven’t seen before (you’ll have to trust me on that). The hope is I can cross off some films I’ve been dying to see for ages but have never gotten round to, as well as discover some gems I might never have come across otherwise.

As a fun little twist, every couple of weeks I will be drawing a random genre/category of film to focus on for the week’s viewing. This should hopefully keep things fresh.

img_2091

Now that you’re all up to speed, let’s move on to round 2…

February

This Month’s List

  1. Julieta (dir. Pedro Almodovar, 2016)
  2. Fish Tank (dir. Andrea Arnold, 2009)
  3. Spa Night (dir. Andrew Ahn, 2016)
  4. 1984 (dir. Michael Radford, 1984)***
  5. 10 Rillington Place (dir. Richard Fleischer, 1971)***
  6. 44 Inch Chest (dir. Malcolm Venville, 2009)***
  7. Watership Down (dir. Martin Rosen, 1978)***
  8. Thelma and Louise (dir. Ridley Scott, 1991)
  9. David Brent: Life on the Road (dir. Ricky Gervais, 2016)
  10. The Fits (dir. Anna Rose Holmer, 2015)
  11. The Magnificent Seven (dir. Antoine Fuqua, 2016)
  12. Hello, My Name is Doris (dir. Michael Showalter, 2016)
  13. Toni Erdmann (dir. Maren Ade, 2016)
  14. Manhattan (dir. Woody Allen, 1979)
  15. The Clan (dir. Pablo Trapero, 2015)
  16. Black Sheep (dir. Jonathan King, 2016)
  17. T2: Trainspotting (dir. Danny Boyle, 2017)
  18. Florence Foster Jenkins (dir. Stephen Frears, 2016)
  19. Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (dir. Kihachi Okamoto, 1970)
  20. The Girl with All the Gifts (dir. Colm McCarthy, 2016)
  21. Hidden Figures (dir. Theodore Melfi, 2016)
  22. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (dir. Eli Craig, 2010)
  23. The Secret of the Kells (dir. Tomm Moore & Nora Twomey, 2009)
  24. Ixcanul (dir. Jayro Bustamante, 2015)****
  25. Aquarius (dir. Kleber Mendonca Filho, 2016)****

***John Hurt Week

**** Latin American Cinema Week

 

Week 1

February got off to a slow start, with just three films watched in the first week of the month. Spa Night was interesting enough, but some 28 days later I’m struggling to remember much about it. Julieta is one of Pedro Almodovar’s more straight-faced efforts, while still bearing a lot of his classic hallmarks, very powerful stuff. Fish Tanks was a great piece of modern British social drama. Michael Fassbender’s star quality was obvious to see even in this early role.

Week 2- John Hurt Week

Was delighted for this category to be drawn at random, as I’ve always been a massive fan of John Hurt. He has a voice you just want to hear read you a story as you fall asleep and I was deeply sadden to learn he had passed away. I kicked things off with 1984, probably his biggest role that I hadn’t already seen. The times being what they are, the film still feels frighteningly relevant, and it was nice to see Hurt playing something a little more restrained than I’m use to. 10 Rillington Place, is a pretty fantastic and unsettling thriller, although Richard Attenborough has to take most of the credit for this. 44 Inch Chest is pretty rubbish, with an inexplicably anticlimatic conclusion, but Hurt is probably the best thing in this, his repressed, explosive Old Man Peanut turns swearing into an art form. Would have liked to have seen more than four films in this week, but sadly life got in the way, putting me further behind and in need of a catch up week…

Week 3

Ah bless the long haul flight, coming to the rescue for the second month in a row. The variety of options wasn’t quite as strong but it was nice to catch up on some light fluff like The Magnificent Seven remake (a million more bullets than the original, a fraction of the charm), and Florence Foster Jenkins (feel good but forgettable). I also targeted shorter films in an effort to close the gap quicker, which led me to the quite excellent The Fits on Amazon Prime Video: a unique twist on the coming of age story, an examination on the power of peer pressure, and tremendous performances and camerawork. Not bad for 72 minutes. On the opposite end of the spectrum we have Toni Erdmann, an excruciatingly cringe-worthy, nearly three hour German comedy that had no business in working but totally did.

Week 4- Latin American Cinema Week

Will continue into March, but got off to a strong start with Guatamala’s Ixcanul and Brazilian effort AquariusIxcanul has an interesting dynamic of traditional, folk stories versus the harsh realities of the modern world, it plays out like a tragicomedy but the drama is never undercut. Aquarius shares DNA strands with Toni Erdmann, an aging, larger-than-life protagonist struggling to adapt to the harsh realities of living in the real world. It plays it straight faced as opposed to Erdmann’s excrutiating comedy, but it is just as compelling.

 

Highlights

Lots and lots of great stuff; The Secret of the Kells boasts some of the most delightful, intricate animation- Cartoon Saloon is a real standout animation studio- and encorporating traditional Irish folktales really works for it. I took a group of teenagers to see Hidden Figures, and it was a real treat to see them get the story in all the right ways. I was also lucky enough to catch T2: Trainspotting in the homeland, and while the film doesn’t quite capture the ferucious energy of the first film, I really liked that the characters felt like they had aged in the twenty years they’ve been offscreen.

Low Points

As much as I’ve enjoyed the work of Ricky Gervais in the past, David Brent: Life on the Road really is the pits. A pointless, mirthless follow up to the excellent The Office which recaptures none of the magic from the series. Gervais’ regular writing partner Stephen Merchant did not collaborate on this project and boy oh boy was his presence missed.

I found Manhattan to be a particularly tough watch. I’ve enjoyed a lot of Woody Allen’s work prior to this, but it’s very tough to root for Woody as he spends most of the film trying to convince his friends (and presumably his audience) that it’s ok he’s dating a 17 year old. Could just about be forgiven if not for Allen’s dodgy, real-life antics, but nah mate, not having that.

John Hurt week feels a little bit like a missed opportunity, admittedly I’d already seen his most famous roles, but other than 10 Rillington Place, nothing really stood out. Would have liked to have delved deeper with his films, but time got the better of me.

Performance(s) of the Month

Too many to nail down just one, but it was a stellar month for the younger performers. Katie Jarvis brings an aggressive fragility in Fish Tank, it is a perfect balance for a role that divides audience’s sympathies. Sennia Nanua delivers a similarly divisive performance in The Girl With All the Gifts, her infected Melanie is relentlessly chirpy and eager to help, with an underlying malevolencethe-fits. The marvellously named Royalty Hightower may just top these two performances with her very physical performance in The Fits. With limited dialogue, Hightower manages to relay a great depth of emotion through movement and facial expressions, a very mature performance from a promising young talent.

 

Not to be upstaged by the youngsters, there were plenty of great performances from the grown ups. Pretty much the entire cast of Hidden Figures deserve credit for telling a story that is historically important and interesting, but never feels overly weighty. Sonia Braga is quite wonderful in Aquarius, as fierce and fearless as any celluloid heroine. And the month would not be complete without mention of Richard Attenborough’s chilling portrayal of real life serial killer Charlie in 10 Rillington Place. Slimey, calculating, and manipulative, he manages to upstage John Hurt (no easy feat) and elevates the thriller from decent to excellent.

10-rill

Richard Attenborough is a right bastard in 10 Rillington Place.

 

Top 5 of the Month (in no particular order)

The Fits

Julieta

10 Rillington Place

Toni Erdmann

Aquarius

The Year So Far

Breakdown by Decade

2010’s- 34

2000’s- 4

1990’s- 3

1980’s- 2

1970’s- 8

1960’s- 2

1950’s- 1

1940’s- 0

1930’s- 1

1920’s- 1

Days to film ratio

59 days gone and 56 films watched so far, this month showed if nothing else how easy it is to fall behind if you’re not on top of things. Will have to close the gap in March.

Total minutes of film watching

6063 minutes of film watching in two months, that’s over 100 hours, slightly over 4 days spent on this…feels like a lot when you see it written down.

Films by the Nations

USA- 30

UK- 16

France- 4

Japan- 2

Ireland- 2

Germany- 2

Spain- 2

Brazil- 2

South Korea- 1

Greece- 1

Netherlands- 1

Austria- 1

Switzerland- 1

Romania- 1

Argentina- 1

New Zealand- 1

Belgium- 1

Guatemala- 1

Some films are co-produced by multiple nations, which explains why the numbers may not add up.

Recurring Directors

Danny Boyle- 2 (Steve Jobs, T2: Trainspotting)

 

The complete list so far…

  1. The Good Dinosaur (dir. Peter Sohn, 2015)
  2. Your Name (dir. Makoto Shinkai, 2016)
  3. Star Trek Beyond (dir. Justin Lin, 2016)
  4. Notes on Blindness (dir. Pete Middleton, 2016)
  5. Le Samourai (dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967)
  6. I am Not a Serial Killer (dir. Billy O’Brien, 2016)
  7. Bridget Jones’s Diary (dir. Sharon Maguire, 2001)
  8. Keanu (dir. Peter Atencio, 2016)
  9. La La Land (dir. Damien Chazelle, 2016)
  10. Train to Busan* (dir. Sang-ho Yeon, 2016)
  11. Don’t Breathe* (dir. Fede Alvarez, 2016)
  12. Nosferatu* (dir. F.W. Murnau, 1922)
  13. Carrie* (dir. Brian De Palma, 1976)
  14. Re-Animator* (dir. Stuart Gordon, 1985)
  15. Jack Frost* (dir. Michael Coon, 1997)
  16. Blair Witch* (dir. Adam Wingard, 2016)
  17. What We Did on Our Holiday (dir. Andy Hamilton & Guy Jenkin, 2014)
  18. The Devils (dir. Ken Russell, 1971)
  19. Eddie the Eagle (dir. Dexter Fletcher, 2016)
  20. Chef (dir. Jon Favreau, 2014)
  21. The One I Love (dir. Charlie McDowell, 2014)
  22. Steve Jobs (dir. Danny Boyle, 2015)
  23. Manchester By The Sea (dir. Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
  24. The Killing (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1956)
  25. In the Heat of the Night** (dir. Norman Jewison, 1967)
  26. Shakespeare in Love** (dir. John Madden, 1998)
  27. The Sting** (dir. George Roy Hill, 1973)
  28. Mutiny on the Bounty** (dir. Frank Lloyd, 1935)
  29. Patton** (dir. Franklin J. Schaffner, 1970)
  30. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (dir. Gareth Edwards, 2016)
  31. Little Men (dir. Ira Sachs, 2016)
  32. Julieta (dir. Pedro Almodovar, 2016)
  33. Fish Tank (dir. Andrea Arnold, 2009)
  34. Spa Night (dir. Andrew Ahn, 2016)
  35. 1984 (dir. Michael Radford, 1984)***
  36. 10 Rillington Place (dir. Richard Fleischer, 1971)***
  37. 44 Inch Chest (dir. Malcolm Venville, 2009)***
  38. Watership Down (dir. Martin Rosen, 1978)***
  39. Thelma and Louise (dir. Ridley Scott, 1991)
  40. David Brent: Life on the Road (dir. Ricky Gervais, 2016)
  41. The Fits (dir. Anna Rose Holmer, 2015)
  42. The Magnificent Seven (dir. Antoine Fuqua, 2016)
  43. Hello, My Name is Doris (dir. Michael Showalter, 2016)
  44. Toni Erdmann (dir. Maren Ade, 2016)
  45. Manhattan (dir. Woody Allen, 1979)
  46. The Clan (dir. Pablo Trapero, 2015)
  47. Black Sheep (dir. Jonathan King, 2016)
  48. T2: Trainspotting (dir. Danny Boyle, 2017)
  49. Florence Foster Jenkins (dir. Stephen Frears, 2016)
  50. Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (dir. Kihachi Okamoto, 1970)
  51. The Girl with All the Gifts (dir. Colm McCarthy, 2016)
  52. Hidden Figures (dir. Theodore Melfi, 2016)
  53. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (dir. Eli Craig, 2010)
  54. The Secret of the Kells (dir. Tomm Moore & Nora Twomey, 2009)
  55. Ixcanul (dir. Jayro Bustamante, 2015)****
  56. Aquarius (dir. Kleber Mendonca, 2016)****

*=Horror Week

**Best Picture Oscar Winners Week

***John Hurt Week

****Latin American Cinema Week

 

That’ll do it for this month, got some catching up to do in March, the last thing I want is for that gap to increase even further. Better get back to it…

Can’t wait a month to see how I’m getting on? You can follow my progress film-by-film on Twitter, @clancyhighhat.

 

365 Movies, 365 Days- January

Inspired by the Doug Benson Movie Challenge, I attempt to watch 365 movies over the calendar year of 2017. Any genre of film is eligible, including documentaries and Netflix originals, as long as it’s something I haven’t seen before (you’ll have to trust me on that). The hope is I can cross off some films I’ve been dying to see for ages but have never gotten round too, as well as discover some gems I might never have come across otherwise.

As a fun little twist, every couple of weeks I will be drawing a random genre/category of film to focus on for the week’s viewing. This should hopefully keep things fresh.

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With the rules out of the way, on with the show…

January

The List So Far…

  1. The Good Dinosaur (dir. Peter Sohn, 2015)
  2. Your Name (dir. Makoto Shinkai, 2016)
  3. Star Trek Beyond (dir. Justin Lin, 2016)
  4. Notes on Blindness (dir. Pete Middleton, 2016)
  5. Le Samourai (dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967)
  6. I am Not a Serial Killer (dir. Billy O’Brien, 2016)
  7. Bridget Jones’s Diary (dir. Sharon Maguire, 2001)
  8. Keanu (dir. Peter Atencio, 2016)
  9. La La Land (dir. Damien Chazelle, 2016)
  10. Train to Busan* (dir. Sang-ho Yeon, 2016)
  11. Don’t Breathe* (dir. Fede Alvarez, 2016)
  12. Nosferatu* (dir. F.W. Murnau, 1922)
  13. Carrie* (dir. Brian De Palma, 1976)
  14. Re-Animator* (dir. Stuart Gordon, 1985)
  15. Jack Frost* (dir. Michael Coon, 1997)
  16. Blair Witch* (dir. Adam Wingard, 2016)
  17. What We Did on Our Holiday (dir. Andy Hamilton & Guy Jenkin, 2014)
  18. The Devils (dir. Ken Russell, 1971)
  19. Eddie the Eagle (dir. Dexter Fletcher, 2016)
  20. Chef (dir. Jon Favreau, 2014)
  21. The One I Love (dir. Charlie McDowell, 2014)
  22. Steve Jobs (dir. Danny Boyle, 2015)
  23. Manchester By The Sea (dir. Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
  24. The Killing (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1956)
  25. In the Heat of the Night** (dir. Norman Jewison, 1967)
  26. Shakespeare in Love** (dir. John Madden, 1998)
  27. The Sting** (dir. George Roy Hill, 1973)
  28. Mutiny on the Bounty** (dir. Frank Lloyd, 1935)
  29. Patton** (dir. Franklin J. Schaffner, 1970)
  30. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (dir. Gareth Edwards, 2016)
  31. Little Men (dir. Ira Sachs, 2016)

*=Horror Week

**Best Picture Oscar Winners Week

Week 1

I wanted the first month of the year to be used as an excuse to catch up on all the films I missed from the year before, which is why there were 6 films from 2016 in my first week alone. A long haul flight allowed me to get a couple of days ahead of the curve, as well as gave me a chance to watch a film I had wanted to see for months, Makoto Shinkai’s spectacular Your Name. Even on a 10-inch screen the film’s beauty shone through, taking the traditional body-swap genre and turning it into something poetic, combined with gorgeous animation. Nothing else this week came close to matching it’s beauty, although La La Land was undeniably toe-tapping fun. A real treat if somewhat hollow.

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Your Name

Week 2- Horror Week

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Another mix of catching up with some of the bigger horror titles from 2016, mixed in with some classics. Horror is a broad enough category to allow me to explore around the sub-genres, sampling a mix of zombies, vampires, found footage and even some low budget nonsenseTimes change, and predictably the older films don’t quite hold up when it comes to out and out scares, but things like Nosferatu (framing), Carrie (studied in repressed teenage-angst) and Re-Animator (remarkable practical special effects) all had something to offer. Train to Busan was the highlight of the week. A relentless bloodbath of close-quarter rampaging zombies that still managed to include strong characters, subtext, and even a little heart.

Week 3

Back to a random mix, mostly selected for their watchable nature. What We Did On Our Holiday, Eddie the Eagle, and The One I Love were all enjoyable enough, but it’s unlikely I’ll remember any of them by the end of the 365 films. In contrast The Devils, Manchester By The Sea, and The Killing could all be in the ‘best of’ list at the end of the year.

img_2134Week 4- Best Picture Oscar Winners

This turned out to be tougher than expected. A quick Wiki search after the draw was made revealed I had already seen most of the Best Picture Films that were of interest to me. Shakespeare in Love was pretty much the most recent winner that I had not seen already and seemed like an easy enough choice (I’m not desperate enough to tackle A Beautiful Mind- not yet at least, and Chicago can wait until I draw the musicals category). The rest of the weeks viewings consisted of out and out classics; In the Heat of the Night deserved its nod for such a frank look at race relations in the south in the 1960’s, all the while touting the classic tropes of great film noir. The Sting is unashamedly good fun, although I’m shocked by how closely grifter movies have stuck to its template in the four decades that followed.

Highlights

By and large it’s been a great month; Your Name, Notes on Blindness, Train to Busan, La La Land and Manchester By The Sea all rank amongst the best of 2016. Le Samourai, In the Heat of the Night and The Killing represent three equally brilliant but very different crime thrillers, while The Devils was a blissful orgy of sinful decadence and religious hypocrisy.

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Notes on Blindness

Low Points

Nothing too disastrous thus far. Jack Frost and Bridget Jones’s Diary weren’t my cup of tea, but delivered exactly what I was expecting from them.  Keanu was a fun enough watch, but failed to produce any substantial laughs and so has to be classed a failure. As does Don’t Breathe, which I had high hopes for and was impeccably directed by Fede Alvarez, but disappointingly never got me to the edge of my seat. The curse of high(ish) expectations strikes for the first (and presumably not last) time this year.

Performance of the Month

Many standouts once again, Charles Laughton is irresistibly despicable as Captain Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty, a performance that renders his grotesque make-up work redundant. Pretty much everyone in  Manchester By The Sea deserves praise for managing to carry the weigh of grief and mourning present in the film while still managing to breathe life and even fragments of humour into proceedings. But there is one performance than stands head and shoulders above the rest; Oliver Reed’s lung bursting, scenery munching, put-upon Clergyman Urbain Grandier. The entire film is operatic decadence of the highest order, thanks in no small part to his powerhouse performance.

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Oliver Reed’s Urbain Grandier takes a break from chewing the scenery to take confession in The Devils

Top 5 of the Month (in no particular order)

Your Name

Le Samourai

Train to Busan

The Devils

In the Heat of the Night

Breakdown by Decade

2010’s- 18

2000’s- 1

1990’s- 2

1980’s- 1

1970’s- 4

1960’s- 2

1950’s- 1

1940’s- 0

1930’s- 1

1920’s- 1

Days to Film Ratio

Pretty much 1:1 so far which I can’t complain about, although I was hoping to open up a bit of a head start in the first month while I’m still fresh. Come May I will be working much longer hours until the end of August so it will be important to get ahead of the schedule by then to give me a fighting chance of finishing the year at 365.

That’ll do for this month, tune in same time at the end of February.

You can also track my progress in (almost) realtime over on Twitter. Be sure to send me any suggestions for films you think I might like.

Cheers

Review – ‘Anomalisa’

The Telstar Film Review

Release date: 11 March 2016
Certifaction:
15
Running time:
90 mins
Starring:
David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan

In 2008, acclaimed screenwriter Charlie Kaufman made his directorial debut with Synecdoche, New York, a baffling piece which saw Philip Seymour Hoffman’s theatre director disappear down a rabbit hole of ambitious projects, as he attempted to create a life-size replica of New York City inside a warehouse. Kaufman’s follow up Anomalisa has a sense of art imitating life imitating art;  the director spent three years painstakingly creating this moving and effective stop-motion drama. With over one thousand costumes and props meticulously constructed, everything in this world is built with the specific purpose of telling and intimate story about mental illness, loneliness, and 21st century malaise.

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Review – ‘Goodnight Mommy’

The Telstar Film Review

Release date: 4 March 2016
Certification: 15
Running time: 99 min
Directors: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Starring: Lukas Schwarz, Elias Schwarz, Susanne Wuest

Unsettling from the opening moments, this Austrian psychological horror from directors Severin Fiala and Veronica Franz keeps its cards pretty close to its chest throughout. We are given an intriguing set-up as our way in; two boys living in a modern, remote lakeside house with their mother, who has just undergone significant cosmetic facial surgery. Goodnight Mommy is intentionally secretive, preferring to create an overwhelming feeling of dread through impeccable sound editing and subtle shifts in perspective.

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Review – ‘Hail Caesar!’

The Telstar Film Review

Release date: 4 March 2016
Certification:12A
Running time:106 min
Directors:Joel and Ethan Coen
Starrring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Alden Ehrenreich, Scarlet Johansson, Channing Tatum, Frances McDormand

The Glasgow Film Festival enters its twelfth year in impressive fashion, kicking things off at its opening night gala with the UK premiere of Hail, Caesar!, the latest slice of mad cap comedy from Joel and Ethan Coen. Following in the footsteps of The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014, and While We’re Young in last year, the festival once again opens with a laugh out loud comedy from a high profile indie director (or directors, in this instance). These opening acts have allowed the GFF to stand apart from the Edinburgh International Film festival –whose credo is to highlight Scottish cinema at their galas-  by offering crowd pleasing efforts with a certain amount of Hollywood star power attached.

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Review – ‘Zoolander 2’

The Telstar Film Review

Release date: 12 February 2016
Certification:12A
Running time:102 min
Director: Ben Stiller
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Benedict Cumberbatch.

It’s been 15 years since Ben Stiller strutted his stuff on the catwalk in the original Zoolander, a pleasantly reliable comedy which combined the worlds of blissfully ignorant male models, and international political conspiracies. He was so hot back then. Developing something of a cult following, Derek Zoolander became to Stiller what Ron Burgundy was to Will Ferrell; a lovable oddball we all wanted more of. Or so we thought. Well we asked for it, and a decade and a half later, the sequel arrives. And it’s bad. Like, really, really, ridiculously bad.

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