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.

 

 

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