Two men, sat in some sort of woodland, are swapping stories of unbelievable exploits they have encountered. One man, Francis, tells the tale of Dr. Caligari, a carnival performer with a somnambulist, or sleepwalker, who has been asleep for 25 years, but which Caligari will wake up as part of the show. As soon as the man and his attraction arrived in Francis’ home town of Holstenwall, strange murders began to take place, made even more bizarre by their apparent prediction by the sleepwalker. When his lady-friend seems likely to be the next victim, Francis attempts to uncover the truth behind the murders, starting with the prime suspect of Caligari, who may not be quite what he seems. Continue reading
I’ve been having a hell of a week. If you ever start thinking about moving house, just don’t, it isn’t worth the hassle. I won’t get into the sources of my strife, but let’s just say I’ve been party to some intensely aggravating people these past few days, and so I’m attempting to alleviate my frustrations by thinking about the even more annoying people that are out there that I could have come across instead (or may yet do).Sometimes characters are supposed to be annoying – you’re supposed to hate them for getting the hero’s girl, or to justify why the lead girl just punched the guy in the throat – but other times some characters are just completely misjudged in terms of how they’ll stack up against Wolverine scratching a chalkboard. Oh, and whilst making this list I found a lot of times I was just writing “The kid from such-and-such”, and “The kids from so-and-so”, so my list of annoying children in film is an entirely different one, that may well come up again sometime soon. To be honest, that one could be a top 100 list, probably. I’ve also tried to limit the entries to one-per-actor, as sometimes I find characters annoying purely because of who is playing them. And I’ve shied away from characters who are irritating because they’re such antagonistic dick heads.
So it turns out I’m fairly easy to annoy, and therefore I’ve got a hefty list of Honourable Mentions. Firstly, Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) is horrendously annoying in the first few Harry Potter films, before he worked out his face could pull expressions that weren’t ‘petrified grimace’. Marty Gilbert (Harvey Fierstein), Jeff Goldblum’s boss in Independence Day, is also very annoying, but this is mainly due to his unbearable grating voice, but fortunately he dies fairly early on, so there’s not too much of him to endure. Then there’s Hart Bochner’s Ellis from Die Hard, who I never want to stop punching, and Clifton James’ Sheriff Pepper from Live and Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun, somehow managing to be even more infuriating than Roger Moore’s Bond. Beth Grant’s character in Speed, Helen, the crazy woman who tries to jump off the bus, is also infuriating, but I’m going to give the award to Leah (Olivia Thirlby) from Juno, just for using such phrases as “Honest to blog.” They made me want to seriously harm that creature. Continue reading
In the small town of Bridgeport there lives a man named Bailey (Robert Mitchum). He leads a simple life running the town’s gas station with his deaf mute assistant (Dickie Moore), and frequently heads out with the town’s pretty girl-next-door Ann (Virginia Huston). He seems to be fairly well regarded by most people in the town – apart from Ann’s mother – but all this changes when a mysterious stranger named Joe (Paul Valentine) rocks up and takes Bailey away with him. You see, Bailey isn’t just a mild-mannered gas station owner. No, he has a past, and things are about to come out of it. Oh, I get where the title came from now.
Frank and April (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) are the Wheelers, a seemingly perfect couple living in suburbia in 1950s America. Frank works in the city, whilst April stays at home and takes care of the kids. Whilst from the outside they both seem happy, internally they both strive for something more, be it lost dreams, someone else to share the bed, or simply some good old fashioned happiness.
It’s time for another top 10! And you know what that means… it’s time for me to tenuously link it to something in my life that happened this week! And wouldn’t you know it, I was only on another bleedin’ podcast. I even hosted it! I know! They asked me back, who’d’ve thought? Anyway, over at the Lambcast I hosted a show featuring the discussion of Peter Jackson’s Braindead (or Dead Alive, as it’s also known), along with Dan from Public Transportation Snob, Kristen from Journeys in Classic Film and Lindsay and Jess, both from friend-of-the-site French Toast Sunday. Spoiler alert: I bloody well loved the film, and recommend everyone go see it, as long as they have a little tolerance for gross-out scenes, as there’s plenty in there. Which leads me to this week’s Top 10, a celebration of the scenes in films that have creeped me out beyond belief. I tried to limit the amount of these from horror films, but some of them just crept on there, what could I do? And I’ve also limited to one scene per film, as there’s a few that could have monopolised the list, but we’ll get to that. Oh, and there’s definitely spoilers here.
Honourable Mention: Braindead Well I had to include Braindead on here somewhere, seeing as it was the inspiration for this list. There’s a wealth of scenes to choose from, be it the removal of a zombie’s teeth with pliers or pushing in the bulging eyes of a recently deceased corpse (eye and teeth mutilation will be a running theme on this list), and the zombie baby came close – God I hate that zombie baby (also a theme), but the winner has to be the custard scene. After Lionel’s mother (Elizabeth Moody) is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey, she turns into a zombie, complete with a pulsating bite on her arm. This unfortunate turn of events just happens to coincide with an important dinner meeting she has with the Mathesons, head of a group she wishes to become a member of, so she insists her son (Timothy Balme) host the meeting anyway. During the meeting, her wound squirts a delectable blood/pus mixture into the bowl of custard belonging to Mr. Matheson – which he then eats – and her own ear falls into her own bowl, which she then eats. This is quite possibly the closest I’ve ever come to vomiting purely from a film, especially because custard is consumed with alarming regularity in my house, and ever since I’ve not been able to bring myself to eat any more without thinking of that scene, and that just turns my stomach.
Berlin, 1958. A teenage boy coming down with scarlet fever is briefly cared for by a woman whose apartment building he has just vomited in. Once he is healed, the two begin a secret relationship revolving around sex and literature, however his youth becomes a problem, and the pair are driven apart. Some years later, the boy becomes a student at law school, and ends up sitting in on a case in which his former fling has an important role, and only he may have the key to save her.
On the planet Krypton, the elders have disrupted the planet’s core and caused it to begin to erupt. Everyone on the planet is doomed, except for a small, barely explained plot contrivance that allows one newborn baby to be launched in a pod and sent to another planet that will be hospitable to him, but where the atmosphere and density are different enough to provide him with extraordinary powers. Krypton explodes, but the baby arrives safely on Earth, where he lives his life as a loner, the last of his kind, until General Zod, an exiled Kryptonian soldier, and his crew discovers the baby – now a man named Clark – on Earth. Look, it’s fucking Superman, alright? You know what happens. Alien baby, adopted by Ma and Pa Kent, Dad dies, kid can fly, run really damn fast, x-ray laser vision, falls in love, glowing green rock, Daily Planet, threat against the planet, saves the world. Yadda yadda yadda.
Nick Murder (James Gandolfini) is overweight, pig-headed and smokes far too many cigarettes, yet is not only married to dressmaker Kitty Kane (Susan Sarandon), but he’s also seeing Tula (Kate Winslet) on the side. When Kane finds out about this, she understandably seeks out Tula, whilst Nick attempts to please all of the many women in his life. Meanwhile, we also deal with the romantic tribulations of Nick and Kitty’s daughters, their friend, their neighbours, Nick’s colleague and Kitty’s cousin. Whilst singing. And, occasionally, dancing too.
Last weeks’ Top 10 1001 Films I’m Least Looking Forward To didn’t exactly leave me in a positive mood in terms of looking ahead at all the terrible films I’ve got to come, and to be honest your many comments regarding the films I’d missed off didn’t really help the situation either! This could be why I’ve not actually posted or watched anything this week, although I’ve not actually had the time to anyway. So, in an effort to cheer myself up and inspire me to move on with this list thingy, here’s my Top 10 1001 Movies that I’m Most Looking Forward to, and thankfully this was an incredibly difficult list to put together, mainly due to the wide variety of truly excellent-sounding films I’ve got to come.
My criteria for this list was simple, I just had to not have seen the film before, as this made the whole thing a lot easier, by jettisoning a good few hundred films, but still left me with the majority. As with the previous list, I’ve separated out the films into different categories, and only included one from each.
Honourable Mention: Metropolis
Metropolis is a film that I don’t think I’d ever get around to watching were I not going through the 1001 List, which is one of the reasons I’m working my way through it. This is mainly because it’s a silent film – something I’d never indulged in before the List – and also because it’s a German silent film at that. I’ve been introduced to director Fritz Lang’s work, and I must say that I loved M when I saw it a few years ago, so that it definitely one I’m looking forward to revisiting, but Metropolis looks amazing, and it heavily features a robot! The main reason I’m looking forward to it though is because there’s an episode of the Lambcast that’s been entirely devoted to it, and I’m refusing to listen to that episode until I’ve seen the film. The same can be said for Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, but I’m not looking forward to that one quite as much, mainly because I know practically nothing about it other than it features Johnny Depp.
I recently appeared on the LAMB’s second podcast, The Film Pasture, hosted by Pat of 100 Years of Movies. We, along with Steve from 1001Plus, spent the episode discussing that most illustrious and time-consuming of movie goals, the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, that both Steve and I are working our ways through, although o course Steve is both much faster and further along his quest than I am. As it stands, I have around 800 films still to watch and review from the list (which, including all the films that have been added or removed over the years, stands at 1103 films), however many of the reviews I have written didn’t necessarily give the film a fair chance, or they’re just not very good reviews, so I may well go back and re-review some of them – something I intend to do shortly with 1903’s The Great Train Robbery.
I started working through the List to try and gain a better understanding and appreciation for film, and there are many films amongst its pages that I am genuinely looking forward to watching. For many it will be a re-watch of something I’ve loved before, or possibly something that’s fallen from my memory, but for others I long for the experience of seeing a bonafide classic for the first time – something I experienced last year with the likes of Casablanca and Brief Encounter. However, the compilers of the List are a bunch of stuck-up, pompous, cruel sadists, who have taken it upon themselves to pepper the List with some of the most tedious, aggravating and downright grotesque productions ever made, and they even go so far as to claim that these outlandish qualities are the very reason they’ve been included. As such I thought I’d exacerbate my apprehension for eventually watching these films by looking into the List and picking out those films that I’m least looking forward to. I’ve tried to separate the films out into specific categories, and given the most egregious entry from each. As I haven’t actually seen these films yet, this is all based upon rumour, reputation and reviews from others in the 1001 club.
Honourable Mentions The Color Purple
There are some films on the List that I know a little bit about, or that I’ve read the book of. I’m quite looking forward to watching To Kill A Mockingbird, because the book is great and I hear only good things about the film. The Color Purple, on the other hand, is the worst book I’ve ever read, possibly because I was forced to read it in college, but also because it’s thoroughly depressing and downright difficult to read, given the unintelligible vernacular with which it was scribed. Therefore, I’m really not looking forward to watching it unfold on screen, even if it is directed by Steve Spielberg. The fact that it stars Whoopi Goldberg and features Oprah Winfrey may have something to do with it too.