Friday, 29 January 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 136 - 200 not out

Tonight sees me reach the giddy heights of having watched 200 out of the 500 films on the list. And 10 days ahead of schedule too.
Spent a little time on Amazon and Ebay tracking down a few more of those 'hard to find' titles.
If anyone has a copy of Spring In A Small Town (1948) or Z by Costa Garvas that I could borrow I would be most appreciative.

457 - Full Metal Jacket - 3 stars
If war is hell does that make R. Lee Emrey the devil?
This really is a movie of two halves:
First half focusing on a unit of grunts going through their marine training led by the motivational R. Lee Emrey who delights in verbally abusing the trainees, particulary Private Pyle (played by Vincent Dinofrio). He is so over-the-top with his verbal diatribes that he makes Gordon Ramsay look like Mary Whitehouse.
As the action travels to Vietnam, the film fails to recover from the loss of Hartman and Pyle. It is a problem with films that sometimes they can peak too early or have a defining moment early on that nothing else can compare to, like the space shuttle rescue in Superman Returns or Jennifer Hudson singing And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going halfway through Dreamgirls.
But I'm digressing slightly.
The second half follows Matthew Modine's Pvt. Joker as he becomes a field reporter during the conflict and charts the inevitable loss of innocence that comes from war and having to kill.
Here it becomes your typical war film complete with war cliche #104 with a sniper revealed to be a child.
Unfortunately I was completely taken out of the film at one point due to one scene featuring the song 'Surfing Bird' by the Trashmen, which immediately makes me think of this.

381 - Monty Python And The Holy Grail - 4 stars
My preferred cinematic outing of the two Python films on the list, despite the rather abrupt ending that some people hate.
Every scene is a comedy classic and immensely quotable with tons of memorable characters whether it is discussing the wing speed velocity of an unladen swallow, "The Black Knight always triumphs", Killer Rabbits,
Part of the genius comes from the low budget; Shot entirely on location; the Pythons doing their usual playing multiple roles; no money for horses forced the genius gag of banging two coconuts together, etc.
There is also a real spark to the musical number 'Knights Of The Round Table', which would go on to spawn the hilarious and musically brilliant show Spamalot, that I have seen twice - once with Tim Curry as King Arthur, the other time it was Alan Dale aka Jim Robinson from Neighbours.

Days remaining - 229 Films remaining - 300

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