Tuesday, 29 September 2009

(500) Films Of Empire - Day 14

A busy day today, working with Neil G, my operations manager, on some events ideas to give us an edge over the new Cineworld opening at the end of October.  We have to embrace our independent, alternative spirit by providing cool, unique events.  One idea was for a Lebowski-Fest style evening with some Wii bowling and White Russians in the bar followed by the film.  Anyone up for that?
Have started to get some comments posted on the blog.  Nice to know that people out there are taking an interest in my little project, with comments coming from as far as America.
Was very excited to read a comment left by Chris Hewitt.  Yes, Chris Hewitt of Empire magazine!  It turns out that someone following my progress on Twitter, forwarded it to Empire and they had a look at this blog and left a message of support, hoping I don't go too mad over the course of the quest.
Had the pleasure of meeting Chris and some of the Empire staff at the Movie-Con weekend in August, where I established my geek credentials by winning the Kim Newman 'Basterd-Hard' Movie Quiz.  Will be nearing the end of the challenge by August next year, but really hope to get to the next Movie-Con to try and retain my crown.
But I digress, back to the small matter of trying to watch films on the list:

337 - 300 - 3 stars
Zack Synder followed up the excellent remake of Dawn Of The Dead with this visually stunning, ab-ripping take on Frank Miller's graphic novel, paving the way for Watchmen.  Michael Fassbender was in this film, doing a yo-yo Christian Bale style diet to go from this to Hunger!  Gerard Butler is simply awesome in the role of Leonidas, so much so that you can't imagine anyone being able to scream "This is SPARTA!".  But it is essentially 2 hours of men fighting in their pants!!!

Monday, 28 September 2009

(500) Films Of Empire - Day 13

Another productive day at work enticing the students into the cinema with the promise of free membership to The Belmont, a local cinema for local people. It was extra busy, well busier than we normally are on a Monday, due to a local Bank Holiday Monday.
Once the rush had died down I had to make a round trip to Elgin and back to visit my grandmother in hospital after she had suffered a heart attack last week. Tough evening :(

433 - Good Will Hunting - 4 stars Movie before bedtime and picked up this one at random. Premiere called this one of the "top 20 over-rated movies of all time", but if you look at the list a lot of them were marketed by Miramax and Harvey W, so it might be a backlash against his aggressive, over-hyping Oscar campaigns (which you have to admit, have normally achieved a high return of little gold statues).
An Oscar baiting film for sure but it's on the list for a reason, not least for the great chemistry between childhood friends and writers Damon and Affleck, and Williams proving he is great at doing the quiet stuff as well as the over-the-top crazy stuff.
Some elements of the story may be considered slightly schmaltzy or hokey but if I won an Oscar for my first script, I don't think I'd be too worried about that!
Now how do you like them apples?

So what do you think the most overrated film of all time is?

Sunday, 27 September 2009

(500) Films Of Empire - Day 12 - Swayze Tribute

Sunday began with a DVD screening for the cast of the 24 hour musical which I had the to be a part of in August.

I hadn't done any onstage musical theatre since sixth year in secondary school but through writing for Student Show the last couple of years I know a lot of people on the Aberdeen Am Dram scene and they invited me to be part of the show where we found out what we would be performing on the Friday night (Anything Goes by the way), and performed it to an audience on Saturday

It was a chance for the cast to see what they achieved during the longest 24 hours of their lives from an audience's perspective, and they should all be very proud of what we acheived. I can honestly say it was one of the best days of my life... or should I say "I had the time of my life"...

A busy week lies ahead as we have our Operations Manager up to help us prepare for the battle that lies ahead when the new Cineworld opens at the end of October.

So Sunday became movie marathon day, with a Back To The Future double bill and a Patrick Swayze tribute evening.

23 – Back To The Future – 5 stars

It is a rare example of a perfect film.

498 – Back To The Future Part 2 – 3 stars

Unlike the first one, this has dated unfortunately. Mainly due to the fact that the year they go to in the future is 2015. That's right, six years from now. In six years time we will have flying cars! OK, maybe not but I do want Mattel to make me a hoverboard. Who didn't want one of these when the movie came out?!

Can't be watched on it's own, as it is really the first part of the double bill with the third one (as they were written and filmed together), but I couldn't do it as the third part is not on the list.

Also just too confusing for some people with paradox-causing plot holes popping up all over the place.

The TV was hosting a Patrick Swayze tribute night with Channel 5 playing Dirty Dancing and BBC1 screening Point Break (which I'd never seen before).

405 – Dirty Dancing – 3 stars

This is normally voted the favourite film by girls, so why so low on this list? Must have been a majority of male geeks voting for this list (and some with a secret love for this film, a guilty pleasure?). Have blogged about it recently but first time in years that I'd seen it. Still cheesy as hell but I can't really find anything bad to say about it. Interesting to see the choreography was by Kenny Ortega of High School Musical fame.

197 – Point Break – 3 stars

Yes, they poked fun at it in Hot Fuzz, but this is probably the best Simpson/Bruckheimer/Bay film that wasn't actually a Simpson/Bruckheimer/Bay film. After seeing Hurt Locker recently, Kathryn Bigelow is arguably the best female director working today. It has one of the best chases of all time, Patrick Swayze was never better than in this film (sorry girls), and even more homoerotic subtext than Top Gun.

(500) Films Of Empire - Day 11 - A Day Off?

Apologies for the delay in posting Day 11 but it was a very late last night and I was too knackered to blog at 3.00 in the morning!
I had thought that yesterday was going to be my first day of the challenge without watching a film. I felt that I had made enough progress (25 films in 10 days) to have some downtime.
That involved an evening at the theatre to see some friends perform Bat Boy (a darkly comic horror musical that is NOT as I found out, a prequel to Batman!).
Before heading to the theatre I has dinner at Yatai, a local Japanese restaurant, with my friend Rachel, who was up from Edinburgh to see the show. Food was terrific but ended up being late for the show as the restaurant was really busy and we were waiting on the Waygu steak.
But it was worth the wait! Waygu steak comes from cows that are feed beer and get massaged to make the meat more tender, and boy does it work, mmmmm.
My friend John once ordered this type of steak in Benihana in London and ordered it well done. The chef looked at him with a stare that said, I will use my collection of knives to turn you into shish kebab!
Bat Boy didn't disappoint either. The show was excellent and the whole cast was terrific. Well done everyone involved.
Just when I thought I'd made the whole day without watching a film, a bonus awaited at home. Rachel was desperate to watch X Factor but it wasn't on till 1.45 so there was time to fit a movie in, huzzah. Took a while to decide on what to watch but we went with WALL-E as Rachel had never seen it before.

373 - WALL-E - 4 stars
I wasn't gushing over like everyone else when I saw it when it was first released. My enjoyment was I felt it was too preachy about the environmental stuff and lost some of its magic when the humans were introduced to the story (same problem with I Am Legend). However watching it again on Blu Ray, I was swept up in the visually stunning, silent love story between WALL-E and EVE . Rachel didn't see all of it, falling asleep halfway through but she saw the best bit as the first half is still stronger than the second but Pixar showed that there is no studio more capable of producing exceptional, original movies (those people who keep making remakes of horror movies should take note).

Friday, 25 September 2009

(500) Films OF Empire - Day 10

I like to start the day by getting up early and watching a quick 90 minute film before heading to work.

448 - A History Of Violence – 4 stars

And nothing like a splattering of ultra violence to kick start your day. One of the best graphic novel adaptations, benefitting from restrained direction from Cronenberg (no fly puking here).  Viggo proves he is much more than just Aragorn from LOTR.  There is one moment in particular, when he has a look on his face, where Tom Stall disappears and Joey is revealed and it's a terrific piece of acting (that or Viggo is a complete psychopath!).

216 – Sunday Bloody Sunday – 2 stars

Another disc from Lovefilm awaited me when I got home.  Knew nothing about the film but the title reminded me of Alan Patridge saying “you know the feeling, you get up in the morning and think Sunday, bloody Sunday”.

The plot is that during the economic downturn on the seventies a man and a woman are both seeing the same young man, with all three aware of the situation.  However eventually someone ends up getting hurt.  You could remake this film today as an episode of the Jeremy Kyle show!

Interesting to see a movie from that era dealing with the homosexuality in such a non-sensationalist manner.

Perhaps it's the MTV generation part of me, but I did find it a little slow and full of odd little touches; a young June Brown (Dot Cotton), in the early seventies it was acceptable for children of five to smoke pot, a dog gets run over and no one gives a crap and Peter Finch addressing the camera at the end feels out of place.

BAFTA gave it Best Film in 1971, must have been a quiet year.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Love Actually?

I watched (500) Days Of Summer again today (and now pushing Moon off the top of my list of favourite films of the year).  There is a scene in the film where Tom (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) talks about how people can't really say how they feel anymore because of all the lies told by music, movies and greetings cards.

Take Valentines Day for instance.  You can be a great boyfriend, say I love you all the time, be romantic all year round but miss one particular day when you have to buy a tacky card and suddenly you are a terrible person.  Why?  Because a bunch of greetings card companies have told us we must act in a certain way.

It's the same with movies.  In Sleepless In Seattle, Rosie O'Donnell tells Meg Ryan “You don't want love, you want love in a movie”.

Everyone has seen so many love stories and romantic comedies these days, so much so that have movies distorted our view of love?

Women (especially Bridget Jones) want their own Mr Darcy and what man would say no if Julia Roberts told them “she was just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her”?

Yet as much as we would love real life to be like the movies, how practical is it?  Would a woman really be impressed if you stood outside her window playing her favourite song on a boombox while in your dressing gown?  Noise pollution.  Rushing to the airport to stop the love of your life getting on the plane?  Expensive (you would have to buy a last minute ticket to get to the gate) and impractical (security checks take forever after 9/11), plus I don't think the airline would refund your tickets if they do stay!

So while I wait to discover if my view of love is a real one or a fictional one, I'll just be repeatedly watching and reading High Fidelity waiting until I had a girl at "hello".

(500) Films Of Empire - Day 9

75 - A Matter Of Life And Death – 4 stars

Another Powell and Pressburger classic, this one was on More 4 this morning, what a stroke of luck.  One of the great opening scenes in movie history as a pilot facing certain death falls in love with a woman over the radio.

Spent a couple of hours at work sorting through emails and organising our new wine list that goes on sale tomorrow.  Think that will call for Sideways tomorrow night after work with a nice glass of wine.

After I was done, I caught the last screening we had of Mesrine: Public Enemy Number 1.  Vincent Cassell was fantastic as the charming criminal in a slice of French cinematic cool that was even better than a recent Johnny Depp film of a similar name.  Keep your eyes peeled on our listings as I will try to get it back as a double bill.

Checked my diary when I got home and remembered that I have a 10.00 – 6.00 shift on Saturday followed by a trip to theatre so that will mean zero films on Saturday!  How will I cope?  Will I get withdrawal symptoms?  So if I was to lose a day, I had to make up for it this evening.  Still inspired by Julie & Julia, I organised a Parisian cuisine double bill;

379 - Ratatouille – 3 stars

Pixar must love the fact that their early hits like Toy Story and Finding Nemo made so much money, as it has allowed them total freedom and control over their projects.  Can you imagine having to pitch to a studio head that you want to make a film where the lead character is a rat who wants to cook in a Paris restaurant?  Terrific as always (only Cars has been a disappointment) but not my favourite Pixar movie.  Feel that Pixar are best when doing non-human characters (similar problem in WALL-E when the humans appear 2/3 into the film).  Peter O'Toole is simply wonderful as the food critic though.

237 – Delicatessen – 3 stars

It is wise not to fall behind on your rent in this darkly comic tale of a butcher who keeps the people who reside in his apartment block with a supply of fresh meat.  Problems arise when the new tenant proves too popular to eat.  Elements of this movie turn up in Amelie but it proved that Jeunet was a talent to watch.  Hugely inventive, it's the kind of movie that Terry Gilliam would have made if he was French!

Ended the evening by locating a short film from the list on Youtube;

434 – The Cat Concerto – 2 stars

Not really sure why this is on the list.  A classic Tom & Jerry sketch but surely there have been more influential animations that are more deserving to be listed here.  Wasn't violent enough either, Itchy and Scratchy would have kicked both their asses.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

(500) Films Of Empire - Day 8

So I've been doing this for a week now and time for quick progress report.  7 days and a total of 15 films watched (averaging out at just over 2 a day, higher than the 1.35 needed to complete the challenge).  

Plan to keep up this pace for the next couple of weeks, as I have a week long holiday in Madiera coming up with not much opportunity for movie marathons then.

Have to mention that I saw my friend Charlotte today and when I told her about watching The Lost Boys, the first thing he mentioned was the greased up saxophone player.  Made me laugh.  Wonder where he is now?

Watched Julie & Julia at the cinema today, in order to see the film that has inspired this 'small' task.  Was intrigued to learn that Julie Powell was 29 when she started her experiment, nervous of the impending big 3-0 and desperate to finally finish something that she had started, having failed in an attempt at writing a novel.

Am I the same as Julie?  Subconsciously worried about a need to feel I have achieved something by 30.  

Sure, I've had success at the cinema, working my way up to becoming general manager of The Belmont but success in other aspects of my life have been difficult to come by; I couldn't honestly call my time at University an overwhelming success - graduating with a third (although Carol Vorderman got a third) or always talked about writing a movie script but never getting past the first few pages.  Only in the last few years by being involved in the Aberdeen Student Show and helping to write the scripts have I managed to feel a sense of achievement.  This blog could be my chance at producing something I can look back on with pride, combining my love of film and my desire to become a writer.

Like Julie, I just have to hope that there is someone out there reading this besides myself, not just ending up in cyberspace all alone.

Today's films were:

424 – To Have And Have Not – 3 stars

Smouldering chemistry between Bogart and Bacall (that generation's Douglas and Zeta-Jones) and that line but couldn't shift this feeling that everyone was desperately trying too hard to make another Casablanca; Bogart, the French resistance, piano player, and a sleazy bar were all there but the final film wasn't greater than the sum of its parts.  Give me Casablanca any day (and one day I will get it as it is number 18 on the list).

236 – Black Narcissus – 3 stars

Now here is a film that I would never normally watch, even on Channel 4 on a boring afternoon with nothing better to do, but this blog is forcing to watch these movies with an open mind and discovering some fantastic films.  At University I actually turned down a film studies class because I didn't want to watch a bunch of black and white, subtitled films, now look at me! It is part of the digitally remastered Powell and Pressburger series on at the Cambridge Film Festival at the moment and I got a copy on Blu-Ray from Lovefilm.  If I had to sum it up in one word, the word would be sumptuous.  It looked absolutely beautiful and the transfer to blu ray made the colours look fantastic as you would expect from P&P.  A slow start with a group of nuns working in a nunnery up a mountain (was this to be Sound Of Music without the music?), but turned into an examination of temptation and madness.  Worth a look if it appears at a cinema near you in the next couple of months.

Off to bed now but just found out it is the 10th anniversary of Spaced, one of my all-time favourite TV shows (and responsible for spawning Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz).  Should I take some time off from the list to do a Spaced marathon?  Skip to the end.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

(500) Films Of Empire - Day 7

Started the day with a morning viewing of;

470 – Glengarry Glen Ross – 4 stars

What a cast! Now this is what you call acting.  Try getting Pacino, Spacey, Harris, Arkin, Baldwin and Lemmon (ok maybe not Lemmon) together in a movie these days.  When you have actors like these with dialogue by Mamet, the result is 'Death Of A F*cking Salesman'.  Trivia fact for you - first film classified as 15 to feature the 'C' word.

Unfortunately, and perhaps unfairly given its background, I have to deduct points for being unable to escape the feeling that you are watching a play trying to be a film, but this is typical of all small, ensemble play adaptations (Closer, Doubt, etc).

Went to the cinema all jazzed up to sell some memberships (ABC – always be closing) but really ended up spending most of the day doing Pacino impressions at work “HOO-AH!”.  Saw a great clip on YouTube with a Stand Up comic doing an Al Pacino GPS, “What The F*CK are you doing? I tell you to go RIGHT, you go left”, with the secret to a good Pacino being that you shout, then you whisper.

After work, off to rehearsals for 'Red, Hot & Cole' as part of my new hobby of musical theatre.  Between that and this movie challenge that should keep my fairly busy and give me something to do that doesn't involve being at work!

Felt like I should have watched a musical when I got back but there wasn't enough time before Brazil was on BBC1, but there was enough time for;

438 - The Lost Boys – 3 stars

I will admit to being very nervous about watching this.  It can be dangerous to rewatch movies that you loved when you were growing up, as they may not be as good as you remember, especially ones made in the eighties (I'm looking at you Teen Wolf!).  Luckily, The Lost Boys has aged quite well in comparison to most.  Still a great mix of funny, scary and the two Corey's.  Must also mention one of the greatest extras of all time... the greased up shirtless saxophone player, 80's cheese at it's best, and the rare treat of a good film by Joel Schumacher.  One question though, why did Corey Haim have a poster of a pouting Rob Lowe on his wall?

Late night ahead with a midnight screening on the TV of Brazil.  Had the pleasure of attending a Q&A with Terry Gilliam at the Movie-Co weekend in August and he was a warm, funny man who was deeply passionate about what he does and very honest about how the troubles/barriers he faces in bringing his unique vision to the screen.

83 - Brazil – 4 stars  

Gosh, I haven't been this high up the list yet. Finally watching something in the top 100!  Was surprised to realise I'd never seen this before.  Unmistakably Gilliam in terms of story, style and design as Python does 1984.  It's wonderful to see what genius he is truly capable of when not held back by the studio.  Lovely turn by Michael Palin as the bad guy.

Monday, 21 September 2009

(500) Films Of Empire - Day 6

Had to be into work early this morning so no time for movie watching before heading to the cinema. Mondays are always a busy day as it's when we decide our film listings for the following week. Away We Go has not done very well so we're bringing in Hurt Locker and Dorian Gray, hopefully they'll prove more popular, fingers crossed.

Back from work and settling down for a quick movie before bed. With long days like these becoming a regular occurrence if I'm to have any chance of completing my challenge, it looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue!

368 - Airplane – 5 stars

Wow, the first film I've watched that I've awarded 5 stars to. Can't believe this is only at 368, surely the funniest film ever made and infinitely superior to the modern day spoof films like Epic Movie. Everytime you watch it, there is a new gag that you've missed. Really want to find a copy of Zero Hour!, the film that Airplane was based on/copied from, that would be an interesting double bill. Oh, one more thing, don't call me Shirley.

Six days in now and I've watched 12 films, an average of 2 a day, just hope I can keep up this pace.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

(500) Films Of Empire - Day 5

An early start today as I got up early to watch a movie before heading to the pub to watch the football and catch up with my mates.
I chose the shortest movie I owned so I had more time to get ready before heading out so it was 87 minutes long and;

322 - Aladdin - 4 stars
I haven't seen this film since the mid-nineties but still holds up well against classic Disney and Pixar productions.  Also the first post-modern film from Disney (years before Shrek thought of it) by referencing celebrity culture and other Disney films.  Also James Cameron needs to be held to account for stealing the whole "Do you trust me?" part for Titanic.  This film was the one that established the need for having a big celebrity name as part of the voice cast, don't think anyone apart from Eddie Murphy has come close to stealing the show as much as Robin Williams did as the Genie in this film.

So after this blast from the past I headed off to The Dutch Mill for a double bill of a different kind; Man U vs Man City and Chelsea vs Tottenham.  First game was fantastic and ended 4-3 (much to my friend's dad'd delight!) but second game was a disappointment (despite ending 3-0).
After the game was over, headed back to my friends flat for a curry and got them to watch a movie from the list;

374 - Hot Fuzz - 4 stars
Better than Shaun Of The Dead, a fabulous spoof of the Simpson/Bruckheimer/Bay action movies of the 80's/90's all the while set in a quiet West Country town.  The Pegg/Frost partnership from Spaced and SOTD grows and grows and could be this generation's Morecambe and Wise.  Top Marks to Paddy Considine for playing against type.  One of the best British films in years.

Right, I'm off to bed as I'm knackered and a little bit drunk!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

(500) Films Of Empire - Day 4

Saturday today, which meant a long shift at the cinema.  Early start and late finish, busy trying to sign up lots of new students to free memberships and giving the foyer a good spring clean (in the middle of Autumn).

Still time to squeeze in one film before getting some sleep. Disappointingly abandoned my attempt at linking the films together (tenuously or otherwise) because I have hit a snag... Lovefilm!

Wonderful resource in getting a hold of titles that are more obscure or I simply don't own but with a list of 272 titles queued up, I am at their mercy as to which films they send at any particular time.

And popped through the letterbox this morning was;

327 – Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas – 2 stars

Never seen this before and not sure if it was because it was really late and my mind was a bit switched off but I didn't really like this film that much.  Took ages to get going (which is not good for a 76 minute film), storyline was so-so, however the animation was excellent. Overall, I'm not sure what all the fuss was about. Certainly won't be rushing out to get a tattoo of it on my arm.

Friday, 18 September 2009

(500) Films Of Empire - Day 3

Keeping up a good pace with a further two films watched today.  From Robocop I moved to the man tasked with the remake/reboot/reimagining of the Robocop franchise; Darren Aronofsky.
And tonight would be a double bill of his two films on the list.

238 - Requiem For A Dream - 3 stars
Visually dazzling film where style nearly outweighs substance. Bloody hell, this is depressing stuff. Also features the scariest fridge since Ghostbusters!

Fortune favours the brave this evening as Film 4 was showing;

484 - The Fountain - 3 stars
I understood and appreciated this film a lot more second time around.  Probably Hugh Jackman's best performance. One thing is abundantly clear after this evening, Clint Mansell is the most talented composer working today (he also composed the score for Moon, the best film of 2009... so far)

You know between my ridiculously large DVD collection, Lovefilm and Film 4, I might just be able to do this.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

(500) Films Of Empire: Day 2

Started the day with an early morning viewing of the follow up to The Sixth Sense;

452 - Unbreakable - 4 stars
Probably the best comic book movie about comic books.  Grounded in reality, this unique take on the superhero origin story is elevated by the great central partnership of Willis and Jackson.

After squeezing in a bonus screening of Adventureland in the afternoon (very good by the way but totally mismarketed as Superbad 2), it was back home to continue the blog. And how to link from Unbreakable?  Comic books, Samuel L. Jackson?  It's got to be...

406 - Iron Man - 4 stars
Effortless charisma and cool as Tony Stark made RDJ the hottest star in Hollywood and the coolest man alive. Great first effort from Marvel Studios. Not quite as good as The Dark Knight, but a hell of a lot more fun.

From one man in a metal suit protecting people to another in...

404 - Robocop - 2 stars
Iconic film in the 80's but has dated quite badly. Still very violent in a few places e.g. Dr Romano from ER melting in toxic waste or ED-209's first arrest.  Would I purchase it for my collection?  Not at full price but "I'd buy that for a dollar".

Right off to bed before a long day at work tomorrow.  Should be able to squeeze in a film when I get home though.

Good Night and Good Luck

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

(500) Films Of Empire: Day 1

The challenge is underway and already three films down.

500 - Ocean's Eleven - 4 stars
Forgotten how smart and slick this blockbuster was.  Great dialogue, cool soundtrack and more star power than a Bob Geldof charity single.  Shame about the sequels though.

499 - Saw - 2 stars
Not as good as I remembered.  Terrific premise and awesome score by Charlie Clouser but some terrible acting.  Was originally blown away by the twist at the end.  Guess its like Brian Cox's Robert McKee said in Adaptation... "Wow them in the end and you've got a hit".

Two films in and already I'm thinking that working down the list in numerical order would be boring, and involve a lot of hanging around waiting for DVDs to arrive.
Instead I'll take a magical mystery tour through the list moving from film to film by finding a link between them.  Kind of like a 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon' way (although he is not well represented in the list, but I did see JFK somewhere on it, no Tremors unfortunately).

So from Saw with that cool twist to a film that became defined by its twist...

332 - The Sixth Sense - 3 stars
Difficult to review it after the impact of that first initial viewing and the resultant twist (which I had seen coming).  So does it stand up to multiple viewings?  Well its no Fight Club, but the script is still very clever and Bruce Willis deserved more praise for performance, proving he is more than just John McClane.

(500) Films Of Empire: Challenge Begins!

Today I begin my challenge of watching all 500 films on the Empire 500 Greatest Films Of All Time list, as inspired by the film JULIE & JULIA.  The challenge has been described as genius/madness/incredibly geeky (delete as applicable).

Before I start, here are the rules:
1) Each film on the list must be watched (at least) once during the 365 days.
2) I must start at number 500 (Ocean's Eleven)
3) I must finish with number 1 (The Godfather)
4) I can watch the other films in any order I choose
5) At the end of each day I must post a blog stating which films I have watched and a review of each film.
To complete my challenge I will need to watch an average of 1.3 films a day.  I am armed with 150+ DVDs from my own collection, a Lovefilm list of nearly 300 titles, a lot of caffiene and takeaway pizza.
To view the complete list of 500 films I'll be watching go to http://www.empireonline.com/500 
Take it away George...

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

(500) Films Of Empire: The Great Blog Challenge

One of the week's main releases at The Belmont was JULIE & JULIA. It's based on the blog by Julie Powell as she attempted to work her way through Julia Child's cookery book 'Mastering the art of French cuisine', a total of 524 recipes, in exactly one year.

This got me wondering what the cinema blog equivalent would be. Working my way through a list of the greatest films of all time perhaps? But which list?

All the 100 greatest film lists that appear on E4 or websites are normally voted for by the public and they end up voting for their favourite rather than the best. Also 100 seems too easy to complete in a year.

IMDB has a Top 250 list but this keeps changing on a daily basis as new votes are added by their users.

That's when I remembered something and dug out my copy of Empire magazine from November 2008. In it was a list of the top 500 films of all time as voted for by 10,000 film fans, 150 filmmakers and 50 film critics. Now this is a list that should cover every base.

So I have now decided to work through this list of 500 films in exactly one year. I will update the blog and Twitter (@dallas_belmont) to keep track of my progress and give my thoughts on each film I watch.

Stay tuned and wish me luck.

Nobody puts Baby in the corner: RIP Patrick Swayze

The sad news came in today that Patrick Swayze had passed away after a long fight with cancer.

An actor that had roles that appealed to many demographics; for the blokes there was THE OUTSIDERS, POINT BREAK and ROADHOUSE. For the girls, GHOST and DIRTY DANCING.

Now for my guilty confession. One Bank Holiday Monday a few years ago there was nothing else on the TV so my flatmates and I watched DIRTY DANCING. That's right, we got drunk and watched the whole thing.

I remember seeing it as as kid and back then it was a sweet summer romance story with a seminal soundtrack and all about the dancing, but seeing it again as an adult I started to notice all the pre-marital sex, cougars, backstreet abortion in the film... not to mention the main relationship is between a teenage girl and a guy who looks to be in his mid-thirties!

Still, watching that evening, I did have the time of my life!

Friday, 4 September 2009

The Anti Rom-Com

Recently the Romantic Comedy genre has become with insiped drivel like The Proposal, The Ugly Truth, New In Town, 27 Dresses, etc, etc. These colour-by-number films feature all the classic cliches that you expect from a Richard Curtis movie, and you can tell how it will end before you've finished watching the trailers.

That is why it was so refreshing to watch (500) Days Of Summer this week. It begins as the usual boy-meets-girl story but shifts in time constantly to show a relationship that might not be all that it seems. Full of lots of glorious little touches (the 'morning after the night before' dance being a highlight) and scenes that everyone can recognise from their own lives; it fits in the new genre of the Anti-Rom-Com - a film that puts a twist on a familiar formula to create something that appeals to both sexes and shows that love is not always all around.

Here is a list of my Top 5 Anti-Rom-Coms:

1. High Fidelity
2. (500) Days Of Summer
3. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
4. Swingers
5. Shaun Of The Dead - The original Rom-Zom-Com.

and favourite Rom Com of all time: When Harry Met Sally