September 20, 2011

69+ Films Before University

Can I do it? Doubtful. But I've set myself 68 DVD/BDs and my booked ticket of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spyto watch by the time my dad gets home from Spain early in the morning of the 23rd September: they are all the DVDs I own (including free ones from newspapers) which I haven't seen. The list is below and once I've seen them I'll put a rating and a short review!

EDIT:I have now added 5 films (the 5 different cuts of Blade Runner) to the list as I am now planning to do an entire day on Blade Runneron Sunday.

SECOND EDIT: I've now changed this challenge to be "Before University" so I have a better chance of actually completing any substantial proportion of this list! I will add any other new films I see before uni now and see how high I can make the list!

The 39 Steps (1935)
American Gangster
The Aviator
Ben Hur
Blade Runner
(US Theatrical Cut)
- 8/10; the voice-over and lack of unicorn sequence just... urgh. And a happy ending? Really? Why? Stupid studio. THAT WASN'T BLADE RUNNER I JUST WATCHED. IT WAS THE FUCKING SHINING.
Blade Runner (International Theatrical Cut)
- 8/10; same comments as the US Theatrical Cut with some more gritty violence...
Blade Runner (Director's Cut)
- 10/10; much better! Not quite got the completeness you expect once you're familiar with the Final Cut but still a superb film.
Blade Runner (Workprint)
- 8/10; weird stock music for the final act and some unfortunate choice of voice over after Batty's death... at least it has the proper ending.
Blade Runner (Final Cut) -
10/10; the perfect version of an already brilliant Director's Cut.
The Big Sleep
Boxcar Bertha
Casino Royale
- 6/10; funny at first but gets dull and just goes on for too long.
The Constant Gardener
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Das Boot
Doctor Zhivago
La Dolce Vita
Donnie Brasco
(seen but don't remember)
- 9/10; a lovely post-prohibition gangster flick with a few good FBI twists to the convention.
Don't Look Now
Ed Wood
- I can't give this a rating. It was a brilliant film but I have no idea why. Seriously, what the fuck?
Escape To Athena
Essex Boys
Family Plot
- 6/10; badly acted, much too long-winded and complicated for what it is. Oh dear, Alfred.
Flags Of Our Fathers / Letters From Iwo Jima
The Flowers Of St Francis
Gone With The Wind
The Great Escape
Heat & Dust
- 8/10; a very 80s look at an interesting sociological concept, but still feels like little more than your average teen flick.
The History Boys
- 8/10; another great play adaptation, if missing the exact charm of the original.
Infernal Affairs
The International
The King Of Comedy
- 9/10; a brilliant dark comedy bringing out a side in Scorsese I never knew existed!
Kiss Of The Spider Woman
The Last Waltz
Let Him Have It
The Lucky Ones
- 7/10; does the plot that it says on the tin: nothing more, nothing less.
The Man Who Knew Too Much
My Left Foot
New York, New York
The Pianist
The Piano
Rear Window
The Riddle
Righteous Kill
- 4/10; rubbish: pure, unadulterated rubbish.
- 9/10; a brilliant adaptation of what, I'm sure, is a brilliant play.
(Seen but part of the set)
- 8/10; good reinvention of the teen horror film, nice and predictable in a funny way.
Scream 2
Scream 3
Shadow Of A Doubt
The Sky Is Falling
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- 9/10; brilliantly designed and brilliantly performed if a bit too confusing for some people.
Torn Curtain
The Trouble With Harry
- 8/10; not quite what I've come to expect from Hitchcock but still a good romp.
True Grit
Twin Peaks (TV show)

The Usual Suspects- 10/10; outstanding crime film, what else can I say?
A Very Long Engagement
West Side Story

Now let's see how I get on!

September 07, 2011

Before I arrive…

I'm Vincente.

I thought I'd start this blog before I arrive at Warwick for a few reasons: firstly I'm getting increasingly impatient to actually arrive, so this is a way of feeling like I'm already participating; secondly I thought I'd get into the routine of posting before I arrive so that once I get there it's not another thing I need to think about doing for the first time; and thirdly, and most importantly to me, I saw The Skin I Live In (dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2011) last night and thought I'd start off by reviewing that whilst it's fresh in my mind.

So what can I say about The Skin I Live In? Firstly I'd like to point out that it's not an easy film to review without giving too much away, and I was personally very glad I hadn't read very much at all about the film before I walked into my local Picturehouse last night. I will confess that this is the first Almodóvar I've seen, despite rave reviews of films such as All About My Mother and Volver, and the only reason for this that I can think of is that I've never found myself with a copy of any of his films.

As you may have seen from another review or even heard from someone else who's seen it, The Skin I Live In is widely being described as a "horror", luckily not falling into the same bracket as films like I Know What You Did Last Summer or I Still Know What You Did Last Summer or even I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, and to be honest with you I wouldn't class it as a deeper psychological horror such as Duel or Coraline (yes, that film scared the crap out of me) because I wouldn't call it a horror at all. Of course I can see allusions to the genre, and without giving too much away there are some pretty horrific ideas and images in the film but to me that doesn't make it a horror; against dictionary definition I don't think something being horrifying makes it a horror, I need to feel a good dose of fear (or see a group of attractive teenagers being picked off predictably one-by-one) before a film becomes a horror to me, and in this area The Skin I Live In didn't deliver, and I don't mean that in a negative way.

Whilst I'm writing this I'm trying to think of any films to which I can compare Almodóvar's latest brain-musher, but I'm drawing a blank at every turn (nice mixed metaphor there, don't you think?) - maybe it has something to do with me not having seen another Almodóvar but I think it's more a credit to the film as a stand alone piece. It feels slow, subtly hinting at or reporting action rather than showing a lot of it, and relies much more on implication than spelling everything out for the guy at the back thinking "I don't get it", and yet very successfully manages to fit a story lasting longer than a decade neatly into just under two hours, so if I'm going to compare anything I'll tell you that you should see this if you prefer a 2001: A Space Odyssey or The Tree of Life to, say, Die Hard.

All in all I'd heartily recommend The Skin I Live In to anyone, purely as a psychological experience, and I apologise that having read this review you know very little more about the film than before you arrived at this page but if that's true then I have done my job well here today since my only motive has been persuading people to want to see it, not revealing any of the twists and turns offered on screen.

10/10. And that's not a rating I give too lightly.

I shall return soon with a more in depth review of something else, most probably The Lucky Ones (dir. Neil Burger, 2008), and definitely for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in a fortnight. But for now, lacking any in depth reviews, just go see The Skin I Live In and write your own spoiler-ridden review in your head. There, sorted!

I can't wait to start at Warwick - having already done one year at the University of Liverpool I can tell that it's going to be so much more fun with so many more opportunities (hey, Liverpool, try actually caring about extra-curricular arts, there's a good chap), the Warwick Arts Centre leading the charge along with Warwick TV, and I'm finally going to be studying the subject I love (after Maths for a year (what on Earthwas I thinking?)) so bring on three years of film, theatre and actually having a good time!

I'm signing off now with the message that, actually, I'm not Vincente, I'm Sam. Nice blogging to you!

P.S. I'm not filing this post as a "review" since it's just as much rambling about myself as reviewing a film, so I'll start that filing system with the next one.

June 2021

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