Tuesday, 10 November 2009

(500) Films of Empire - Day 56

273 - The Maltese Falcon - 2 stars
One of the first films that made Bogart a true Hollywood star, a lovable rogue completely at ease with the dialogue of the film noir period.
It benefits from a slightly less complicated plot than The Big Sleep, but I don't think that it as good as that film due to the lack of chemistry between the leads.  Big Sleep had the sizzling Bogart & Bacall, whereas the female lead in Falcon was Mary Astor who I didn't think was very good at all.
Do yourselves a favour and go watch The Big Sleep instead.

I know what film you think I should watch next.  Bogart, Lorre, Greenstreet... it's got to be Casablanca right... wrong.  It's one of my all time favourite films so I've leaving it till near the end.  Besides another Lovefilm double bill has popped through the letter box.

203 - The Exorcist - 3 stars
It had been banned for years!!!  I finally saw the first horror film to be nominated for best picture at the Oscars, in 1997 when it was re-released, so therefore it would always struggle to live up to the hype as "the scariest film ever made".  Also I had seen the spoof Repossessed before I saw The Exorcist.  I came out of the first viewing a tad disappointed.
Rewatching it now, I can appreciate what a great movie this is from a filmmaking perspective.  The direction, sound effects, visual effects are all superb and backed up with an amazing performance by Linda Blair who was only 13 when she made the film and earned an Oscar nomination as a result.
It still retains the power to scare and haunt audiences as they witness, not only, the battle between Fathers Karras & Merrin and Pazzuzo, the demon within Regan, but also the struggle between religion and faith, and science.
Oh, I must give praise to the documentary 'Fear Of God' about the film by Mark Kermode, who has an excellent film review slot on Radio 5 every Friday afternoon at 3.00pm.  Click here to hear his thoughts on some of the best and worst movies in recent years.

462 - Dead Man's Shoes - 4 stars
The only appearance of the list for Britain's DeNiro and Scorsese - Paddy Considine and Shane Meadows.
One could call this is a British Kill Bill with Paddy Considine playing a former soldier who returns to his hometown to seek revenge on the gang that abused his younger brother.
An absolutely brutal revenge flick with a mesmerising performance from Considine.  Recently he has shown great comedy chops in Hot Fuzz and Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee, but between this film and My Summer Of Love he displayed the potential to be one of cinema's best psychopaths.  The scene where the guy asks him "what the f*ck are you looking at?" and his reply is simply "you ya C*NT!" shows just how menacing and terrifying he is but also completely convincing.
A great British movie that shows Hollywood just how good we can be.

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