Wednesday, 14 April 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 210

I'm feeling a sense of pride today as I have managed to view over 300 of the 500 films on the Empire list. Just 198 films to go which works out at 1.277 a day. I'm feeling good about the rest of the list as I have managed to get a hold of Heimat and Songs From The Second Floor, which were a couple of the most difficult films to track down. If I can get my Lovefilm list down to around 80 then I think this is achievable.

265 - A.I. Artificial Intelligence - 2 stars
Against my better judgement I found myself admiring aspects of the film that Steven Spielberg made from Stanley Kubrick's vision. It had some interesting ideas about what it means to be human, excellent production design some seamless special effects and Jude Law being less slightly annoying than usual.
But somewhere in the back of my mind was this niggling feeling that I really didn't like this movie.
And then the movie came to its conclusion with robot David returning to his makers in his quest to become a real boy... but it then went on for another 30 minutes... and aliens turned up!
Then I remembered the reason why I hated the film, this awful ending where aliens are suddenly introduced which shattered any good faith I had in the film up to that point.
Look fair enough if alien life forms had been present or even alluded to previously, bu just randomly showing up at the end. I can buy the fact that acompany is creating lifelike human robots because that is the story being told and that wrld has been created for the film... not an alien world.
Similar feelings during Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skulls, where I really didn't want it to be aliens but it was.

245 - Downfall - 5 stars
One of the greatest war films of all time, in fact the greatest war film I have watched so far on this list.
Extra special because this is a German film that creates a fascinating, detailed portrait of the fall of the Third Reich at the end of the second World War.
While the film is flawless, the true power of the film lies in the performance of Bruno Ganz. Most films that feature Hitler potray him as a monster or caricature of how we want to see him, but Ganz plays him as a man.
You see the tyrannical leader losing the plot as his empire crumbles around him but also there are glimpses of the charming man who entranced a nation. One of the all-time great screen performances.

217 - The Magnificent Seven - 2 stars
Apart from the enduring and famous theme tune and Eli Wallach's entertaining bad guy, I didn't find much to like in this film.
The trouble with an ensemble film like this is you have to spend a long time introducing each character then have to keep several plates spinning by featuring them frequently.
As such, several of the 'magnificent' seven get lost in the mix with most of the focus being on Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and the young kid called Chico.
So much so that during the final battle, when some of the seven die, don't worry I won't say who, but there isn't as big an emotional punch as there should have been. In fact most seem to be shot by some mysterious sniper off screen.
It might be awful to say, but I actually prefer The Three Amigos!

Days remaining - 155 Films remaining - 198

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