Wednesday, 14 October 2009

(500) Films of Empire - Day 27 & 28

The holiday to Madeira did not get off to the best start as I was sidelined by a migraine for the best part of 24 hours - travelling on an airplane with a migraine is no kind of fun!

The only bonus (if watching movies when you should really be outside enjoying the sunshine is a bonus) was the chance to sneak in a couple of movies.

For the holiday I took a selection of DVDs borrowed from my sister, as there is a TV and DVD player in the apartment, so this week I will mostly be watching Disney cartoons and musicals.

343 – Monsters Inc – 3 stars
Another slam dunk by Pixar, who must have one if the highest hit ratios on the list (only Cars and A Bug’s Life are not in the 500). Unusually for an animated film, John Goodman and Billy Crystal got to record their lines together allowing them to have a wonderful chemistry. Also gets bonus points for having a proper baddie in the form of Steve Buscemi’s Randall. The best in-joke is the restaurant called Harryhausens.

436 – Beauty And The Beast – 4 stars
Saw this for the first time today and believe that this is a true classic Disney highlight. Also the only animated film nominated for the Best Picture Oscar (long before they created the best animated film category). It has one of the all-time great Disney songs in ‘Be Our Guest’, so good that not only did I adapt it for a recent Student Show called ‘Dial M For Mastrick’ but The Simpsons did a brilliant spoof of it called ‘See My Vest’.
Could have got very close to a five star rating if it wasn’t for the voice of Celine Dion appearing over the end credits to perform her version of the title song.
Is it wrong to find Belle extremely attractive? Think she is the hottest Disney character ever!

Day 28 was a bit more productive, a wander around the town, a swim, etc. But I don't get a suntan, I burn! So I can't stay in the sun too long, so I broke up the day with a few movies, one after breakfast, one after lunch, and one before bed. What a routine I have.

407 – The Jungle Book – 1 star
The single star is just for the songs ‘Bear Necessities’ and ‘I wanna be like you’. I really did not like this film seeing it again. The story is tediously repetitive; Mogwli doesn’t want to leave the jungle so tries to fit in with various animals. Sing a song with some elephants, doesn’t work out. Sing a song with monkeys, doesn’t work out. Etc, etc. Then after 90 minutes of saying that he doesn’t want to go live in a Man village, one glimpse of a girl and he forgets his pals and joins the village, making everything that has gone before rather irrelevant.

444 – Hairspray – 2 stars
Ricki Lake solves the problem of racial segregation in 60’s Baltimore, not through her TV talk show, but through the medium of dance on the Corny Collins show in John Waters’ tale of how music can bring people together. As un-PC as one would expect from Waters but overall it’s possibly his least schlocky work, and went on to inspire the hit musical, which is a more accomplished and complete work.

442 – Atonement – 4 stars
Very accomplished filmmaking by Joe Wright that was slightly overhyped by the British media and BAFTA on its release but still has some masterful touches: the use of the typewriter in the musical score, THAT steadicam shot along Dunkirk (there was a similar 10 minute tracking shot in P&P that I thought Wright would have one in every movie he made, so was disappointed when it didn't appear in The Soloist). But the high point of this film are the performances. James McAvoy delivers on the promise shown in Last King of Scotland and pitches a perfect accent too as Robbie the man accused of a terrible crime that parts him from his love Cecilia, played by Keira Knightley, Joe Wright seems to be able to bring out the best in her. But the central focus of the story is Briony, in a star-making performance by Saoirse Ronan (soon to appear in Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones) and Vanessa Redgrave who should have received an award nomination for her one scene confession of how the story ends, truly heartbreaking.
And the film also contains the c word used in a way to create the most terrifying use of a typewriter since The Shining!

Right, blog update done, time to get some sun!

Days remaining - 337 Films remaining - 449

1 comment:

  1. Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King were both visually stunning, but Beauty and the Beast had the better story...better writing, and better music. I saw the Broadway musical adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, and the "Be Our Guest" number was one hell of a showstopper.

    Monsters Inc. is my favorite Pixar movie to date. There is a short on the DVD that you need to watch if you haven't already. It's called, "For the Birds," and it made me shoot Diet Coke out my nose.