My Fortnight in Film, 2016 Weeks 45 & 46

This has been my most productive film-watching (and reviewing!) fortnight in a long time, even if none of the films I watched were for reviewing purposes. Aisha and I had a couple of sickly weekends (we’re both still under the weather now, but less so than before), and much of them were spent wrapped up warm in the familiar embrace of Pixar. Speaking of which, as there’s a lot to discuss this week, let’s get straight into what I’ve been watching recently. I’ll most likely be keeping it brief on the films I’ve discussed before, and focusing more on the new stuff:
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Top 10… Movie Spiders

So apparently all I’ve got time to write at the moment is my weekly top 10 lists. Sorry about that, I’ll get back onto the reviews in good time. I’m especially annoyed because this year I was planning on celebrating Hitchcoctober, which of course would have been dedicated to reviewing as many Hitchcock films as possible, but as I still haven’t moved yet and my girlfriend probably doesn’t want to be subjected to lots of old and/or scary films, that will have to wait until next year, I suppose. But I’ll be doing at least something a little topical with a few horror-themed Top 10s.
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First up, spiders. Now, I’m not scared of spiders, I just fucking hate the little shits. The way they skitter about, can seemingly climb anything (other than bathtubs, suckers) and just have far too many legs than any living creature should. So many joints! If I could select one species to be wiped clean from the Earth, I’d pick spiders in a heartbeat. Actually, I’d pick daddy-longlegs (otherwise known as crane flies) because they’re just as horrifyingly hateful as spiders, except they can fly, and have seemingly no real purpose or knowledge of their surroundings. They just float around, this way and that, not giving two shits about where you are and how many rolled up socks you’re throwing at them. Fuck crane flies. Sorry, I got a little side-tracked there.
Eight-Legged-Freaks-1-9VAP4UZ5G0-1024x768Spiders are evil, hateful demons from the dusty, unswept corners of Hell, who purposefully leave cobwebs across doors or alleyways, just for me to walk through and become semi-cocooned in. And I’m not the kind of guy to trap it under a glass and release it back into the wild. No, those spiders came into the house for a reason; they like it in here. And if you let them outside, they’re just gonna come straight back in again. Therefore, the only resort is arachnicide, preferably via flip-flop. There’s no need to be unnecessarily cruel here – I’m not the kid from Chronicle – I get it over with quickly, and hope that all the other spiders get the message. I think I’ve rambled on long enough now. Proof of just how horrible spiders are can be clearly seen in how often they appear in films as monsters. As such, here’s my top 10 movie spiders. Oh, and I’ve immediately disqualified Eight Legged Freaks and Arachnophobia, because there’s nothing but spiders in those films, and I can barely remember them.Chronicle-1 Continue reading

Top 10… Animated Voice Performances

I’m not really one for new year’s resolutions. Regardless of how many things in my life I’d like to change – weight, social life, number of films I watch – the whole resolution concept is one I’ve just never comfortably got behind. However, at the start of this year I made a small mental note that I’d like to podcast a bit more, with the specific aim of appearing on one podcast in particular – the Milfcast, the official podcast of manilovefilms.com. Hosted by Kai and Heather, it’s easily one of the most entertaining podcasts available, and covers such diverse subjects as the Alien franchise (particularly Aliens) and defecating in cereal (particularly Cheerios). A few months ago I was fortunate enough to appear on a Lambcast episode with Kai, during which I’d intended to ask him how one would become eligible to guest on his great show, only for him to invite me on before I had a chance. As such, you can hear Kai, Heather and myself discussing all manner of film-related things on the latest episode of the Milfcast, which can be found here.

On the episode, the general discussion topic, as selected by myself, was our favourite voice performances of animated characters. I mention on the show that this was perhaps the hardest list I’d ever compiled, mainly because it could only consist of three entries. However, with so many possible entrants available I just had to expand it, so here’s my top 10. Oh, and I limited myself to just one selection per film, if you were wondering.

Honourable Mention: Mr. DNA (Greg Burson), Jurassic Park    Mr. DNAIf there is any possible way that I can crowbar Jurassic Park into a Top 10 list, you can rest assured that life will find a way. Although Mr. DNA doesn’t have much screentime in Jurassic Park, he has one of the most important roles in the film – delivering the most perfectly executed exposition sequence in movie history, and he sounds exactly like the kind of second rate educational short films you’d be forced to sit through at school.
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Top 10… Most Annoying Film Characters

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).tumblr_lcg89rivMX1qd7rsjSometimes 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.
idharveyHonourable mentions:
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.juno Continue reading

Top 5… Dinosaur Movies

Dinosaurs! It’s no surprise to anyone that I love me some prehistoric beasties. I can probably trace my love of dinosaurs back to the child I’ve never really stopped being, but there’s something about the fact that these giant, terrifying creatures once ruled the very land we walk upon that captures my imagination. Sadly, dinosaurs have become somewhat scarce out in the real world in recent millenia, so the best place to see them at their finest is in the movies. This list is probably one of my least surprising, especially the top 2, as they’re films I rarely go a day without mentioning, but the list was an inevitable one, and I was at a loss for what else to do this week, so here it is:
 
5. Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
I think the Ice Age movies have been cruelly ignored, deemed ‘lesser animation,’ and basically dismissed by many people who haven’t seen them. Whilst they’re certainly nowhere near as good as most of Pixar’s output (but then, what is?), the Ice Ages are actually worth your time. Part three, The Dawn of the Dinosaurs, though not technically historically accurate, is probably my favourite of the bunch (I’ve not seen part four, Continental Drift, yet), and whilst including dinosaurs probably didn’t hurt it’s cause, the main reason I like it most is Simon Pegg’s deranged one-eyed ferret Buck. I’d also like to use this opportunity to complain about Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. At one point, the herd (comprised of Ray Romano’s Manny the mammoth, John Leguizamo’s Sid the sloth, Denis Leary’s Diego the sabre-tooth tiger, Josh Peck and Seann William Scott’s possums Eddie and Crash and Queen Latifah’s Ellie the mammoth-who-thinks-she’s-a-possum) encounters an expanse littered with erupting geysers. Manny wants to cross, but Diego warns him that “It’s a minefield out there!” The one part of this film’s suspension of disbelief – of which quite a lot is required – that I just cannot overcome is how exactly does Diego know what a minefield is? Small gripe, I know, but it never stops annoying me whenever the film is on TV.
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Top 5… Trilogies

Truly great movie trilogies are few and far between. Historically, it seems fairly straightforward  to make a good film and a sequel that either equals, tops or slightly disappoints, but then the whole thing gets sullied by a dismal third film. I’ve done what I can to find trilogies where all three films stand up. I’ve also somewhat reluctantly ignored any franchises with more than three films in it, so I’m afraid Die Hard, Indy and Star Wars didn’t get a look in, even though in each case the first three films are quite clearly the greatest. Annoyingly this also meant I couldn’t use Resident Evil as the worst trilogy, ah well. Also, no loose trilogies, like Baz Luhrman’s Red Curtain trilogy or Park Chan-Wook’s Vengeance trilogy.