It is almost impossible for me to get any trips to the cinema in during the festive period, the holidays being taken up not only by Christmas but also by my birthday and New Year celebrations. Therefore I have nothing to review for you this week, but instead decided to complete the ‘Alphabet Movie Meme Challenge’ created originally by The Drama Llama and seen by myself over on Davide’s blog Black Is White. Never being one to turn down a challenge, I thought I would give it a go. Do the same for yourself if you wish, and don’t forget to link me to your post down below, I look forward to reading everyone’s answers!
Anticipating Movie of 2014
I am a big fan of Wes Anderson whose last offering, Moonrise Kingdom, was one of the my top ten of 2012. The Grand Budapest Hotel looks like it will be picking up from where Moonrise Kingdom left off in terms of quirky humour, whimsical cinematography, a stellar cast and altogether barmy and eccentric style of film making. Roll on March!
Book Adaptation I’d Love To See
I first came across Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel ‘Maus’ whilst studying English Literature at university and it remains the text that moved and effected me the most. The complete version was produced from 1978 to 1991, and the illustrated pages cover the real life story of Spiegelman’s father Vladek and his extended family, detailing their horrific experience of the Holocaust. It would have to be done oh so delicately, but in the right hands I think ‘Maus’ would make an extraordinary motion picture, subverting the child like, often joyful medium of cartoon by instead portraying something tragic beyond belief.
Celebrity I’d Most Like To Meet
Not strictly film related, but the person I would most like to meet has to be J.K. Rowling. It’s a superlative thing to say but I often feel as though Harry Potter, namely the body of novels, is a part of me. To a certain extent, in fact, it is, as I have a Harry Potter inspired tattoo on my right wrist (text reading ‘All was well.’, brownie points to those who recognise the reference). I grew up completely engrossed in the characters created by this woman, and I feel that I could spend hours picking her brains or just sitting and listening to what she has to say. And hey, if you want me to talk about the movie franchise to qualify for the challenge, then I’m happy to do so.
Dream Director/Actor Pairing
This is a decision based entirely on personal preference, but I believe that a 1980s collaboration between Winona Ryder and John Hughes would have been absolutely iconic. John Hughes was the undoubtedly the king of eighties teen cinema, and Winona Ryder, in opposition to somebody like Molly Ringwald, was champion of a less mainstream, less bubblegum type of personality, a pre-dated contender for queen of the hipsters, if you will. Although films like Heathers gave us a grittier taste of what a Hughes/Ryder might be like, one can only be left to dream of what might have been. Something Ally Sheedy in Breakfast Club-esque, I like to think.
Essential Classic Film
In terms of a ‘classic’ film, 1940’s The Philadelphia Story ticks all the right boxes. Released in and around the golden age of cinema and starring three of the business’ greatest stars, all at the peak of their cinematic prowess, it is pretty much a perfect film. Rotten Tomatoes will attest to this, bestowing upon the picture the honour of a 100% rating, a rare feat in the universe of that website! Katharine Hepburn is as dazzling and hypnotic as you will ever see her on screen, and the chemistry displayed between her and both costars Cary Grant and James Stewart is something any filmmaker would kill to capture. Truly one of the all time greatest motion pictures, they sure don’t make ’em like this anymore.
Favourite Film Franchise
There are many, many quality franchises to choose from, but my heart will always belong to the Alien quadrilogy. Thinking back, the second film in the sequence, Aliens, was more than likely my first introduction to the world of Ellen Ripley. I can’t have been more than twelve years old but I was hooked, and a scramble to attain the other three episodes quickly ensued. I connected with the strong, independent female protagonist that Sigourney Weaver portrayed, and even though there are some bumps in the road with regards to the overall quality of the franchise, it will always be my favourite. I am even one of the rare breed that really, really likes Alien: Resurrection!
Genre I Watch The Most
A bit of a cop out answer but honestly, I will watch pretty anything. I find that I am much more driven by casting decisions than by specific genres. The actors I am most interested in tend to feature more on the drama/comedy side of cinema, a lot of the time in films released by companies like Fox Searchlight Pictures. I also have a well documented penchant for musicals, but they are few and far in-between these days. One type of film I do consciously try to avoid is the shoot ’em up, ten explosions a second, cat chase extravaganza action films, they just do not float my boat at all.
The Illusionist (original title L’Illusionniste) is a 2010 French animated film about a struggling magician and the peculiar relationship he strikes up with a young girl who is utterly convinced that his tricks are real. Though it was nominated for the Best Animated Feature Academy Award (losing, inevitably to Toy Story 3), I feel that the film is under watched and underrated by the masses. It is incredibly bittersweet and at times extremely melancholy, with the plot not necessarily taking the path that you would expect. The animation is warm, nostalgic and whimsical, perfect viewing for a rainy Sunday afternoon under the duvet.
Important Moment In My Film Life
When I was eight years old, I snuck in to my local cinema to see Titanic. The film is by no means one of my favourites of all time, but it was the first ‘proper’ film I had seen on the big screen that wasn’t specifically for children, and the sheer emotion and power of the picture absolutely blew me away and made me fall in love with the movies. Everything about it left me reeling, the score, the intense tragedy and the communal feeling of experiencing such a phenomenon with a packed theatre, an incredible shared experience. Also, the added risk of having fooled the ticket office for the first time gave me an incredible adrenaline rush!
Just Right For A Rainy Day
1990’s Mermaids has everything you are looking for when it comes to a film for a rainy day. It’s got drama, comedy, sentimentality, a killer soundtrack and you don’t have to think too hard whilst watching. That isn’t to say, though, that it is a silly film, it just doesn’t over impose itself and lets you take what you want from it, no overbearing moral message, just good plain fun with Cher, Winona Ryder, Christina Ricci and Bob Hoskins. Cher proves once again that she can rival Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand when it comes to singers who can act, and the whole film will leave you with a smile on your face and a tune in your head.
Kiddie Movie I Still Shamelessly Enjoy
The Land Before Time is still in heavy rotation in my life, though I still attest that it is one of the most devastating children’s films ever made. I am sure the tragic nature of the tale only creeps up on you as you grow older, because I used to watch this upwards of three times a week and it never made me too sad. Now, however, with life experience under my belt, I cannot seem to get through more than twenty minutes of the thing without reaching for the tissues. A film that, whilst being evidently and undeniably for children, never once patronises them, something the majority of animations today should learn to do.
Location I’d Most Like To Visit
More of a set than a real location, but as a child I had dreams of being able to visit the ‘chocolate room’ from the original Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. To an impressionable eight year old with a sweet tooth and endless imagination, it looked like absolute heaven. I could never decided exactly which treat I would have wanted to try first, probably the gummy bears that fall from the trees. I also love that the chocolate room was a real, physical place, everything was painstakingly created and it puts a lot of modern films to shame, including the dreadful Tim Burton remake of the very same film! The less said about that, the better.
Marathons I Watched
I have done plenty of movie marathons in my time, but the one I always enjoy the most is Star Wars. I like to watch in episode order from I to VI, rather than in the year of release order. The change in cinematography and special effects from seventies to noughties does not bother me, and I feel that I go against major film critic grain when I say that my favourite of the franchise belongs to the modern trilogy, Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith. Yes, there are some horrifically awkward moments in it but I enjoy the way it connects the two trilogies together, and the unveiling of Darth Vader is one of the coolest experiences I have had in a cinema.
Netflix Movie I Watched
The bulk of my Netflix time, of late, has been taken up by the decision to finally start watching Breaking Bad (just beginning season five, so help you if you spoil it for me!). I have, though, caught a couple of films in that time, my favourite of them probably being John Water’s 1990 musical romantic comedy Cry-Baby. I am a big fan of Waters’ other work but for some reason Cry-Baby has always alluded my line of sight, so it was nice to finally get to see it and it was everything I expected it to be, silly, saucy, at times sentimental, but always self aware and unpretentious. Not as good as Hairspray in my opinion but still a great movie, and Johnny Depp looks delicious.
One Movie I Saw In Theatres More Than Once
I don’t tend to do repeat viewings of a film at the cinema, but one movie that had me going back was Bridesmaids in 2011. This one took me by surprise. I didn’t expect it to be half as funny as it was, and ended up laughing more than I think I ever have in a cinema. Of course, once I had been and knew how hilarious it was, I then had to tell my friends about it and encourage them to go too. Being stereotypical young people, unable to organise a group trip, many individual trips followed, all of which I was invited to and all of which I gladly accepted. I still laugh now, and I must be on about my fiftieth viewing.
Preferred Place To Watch A Movie
Absolutely no question here, there is nothing like the shared experience of watching a film in a movie theatre. The lights, the size, the sound, the whole atmosphere is far superior to sitting in front of your television and watching a film at home. This is only true, however, if the audience with whom you are sharing the film are well behaved. There is nothing more infuriating than a group of people who talk the entire time, or play with their phones instead of watch the screen, or perhaps worst of all, spend two hours rustling their snacks louder than the film’s dialogue!
Quote That Inspires Me
“Because we are human, because we are bound by gravity and the limitations of our bodies, because we live in a world where the news is often bad and the prospects disturbing, there is a need for another world somewhere, a world where Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers live.”
I think that quote pretty much sums up my love of the movies, pure escapism.
Remakes (Friend or Foe?)
Overall, I’m going to have to say foe. Obviously, there are examples of remakes that have provided improvement on their original counterparts, but ultimately I feel that they have a negative impact on both the films that came before them and the movie industry as a whole. In my mind, a remake of an already popular film such as, for example, Alice In Wonderland, a film that is guaranteed to make money, will be green-lighted in favour of an original project that has potential but is not as immediately bankable. I personally would choose new content every time, and I feel that remake culture is leading executives to take less risks.
Snack I Enjoy The Most
When it comes to cinema snacks I’m a purist, salted popcorn. Nothing more, nothing less. Not much more to say about this so instead I will rant about the price of food in cinemas and how outrageous it is. When you think about it, popcorn is nothing, simply a vessel for whichever flavouring you wish to have. Why then, should I be made to pay upwards of £4 for a carton of what is effectively salty cardboard? I literally cannot remember the last time I actually bought popcorn from the cinema I was seeing a film at, always Tesco, always ten minutes beforehand, always £1, always a bigger portion, always satisfying. I have also been known to smuggle in a chocolate bar or two.
Thrilling Movie That Blows My Mind
A recent entry in my cinema going life, but I honestly cannot think of a film that blew my mind more than Gravity did back in November. I have certainly seen better movies, but Gravity without a doubt takes the prize for the greatest cinematic experience I have ever had. It is well documented on this site that I am not a fan of 3D, but Gravity is the first film I have experienced where the use of the medium is completely warranted and actually beneficial to the picture. There were times where I actually felt as though I were floating in space, and I haven’t been as tense during a film for a long while.
Unapologetic Fanperson For
For as long as I have been aware of film, I have been in love with Julie Andrews. She has the advantage of having played two of the most loved characters in cinematic history, Mary Poppins and Maria Von Trapp, and subsequently manages to steal the hearts of many children by the time they are nine or ten years old. I share the same surname, and took great satisfaction as a youngster in managing to convince school friends that she was my great aunt. I will watch anything she is is, and have had to sit through some might fine messes as a testament to my fandom, 1983’s The Man Who Loved Women starring Burt Reynolds springs to mind.
Very Excited For Award Show Season?
VERY. I know they do not always equate to the real quality and deservedness of films, but I am a sucker for showbiz and have Oscar night traditions with friends. We have had a long standing ‘Oscar night’ dating back to about 2005 as 14/15 year olds. Food, champagne, drinking games and the all important predictions sheet. Special prizes to anybody who correctly picks the winner for Best Sound Editing, because quite frankly, who knows? The red carpet coverage beforehand is compulsory viewing, and the R.I.P. montage is always a tear jerker and “Oh! I didn’t know he was dead” experience. Roll on March, Ellen DeGenerous will not doubt do a brilliant job.
Wish I Never Watched…
Diana was the worst film I have seen all year, quite possibly the worst film I have ever paid to see in the cinema. I was astounded by the amount of conjecture applied to the plot, and Naomi Watts, an actress whom I have enjoyed in a number of other films, looked as if she had been hired by a London tourist agency to bow her head in that Diana-esque way and bat her eyelashes. Acting, however, was not part of the deal. I am not a Royalist or maniacal Princess of Wales supporter, but even I was something close to offended by the way in which the title character was represented, nothing more than a Carrie Bradshaw rip-off. Sex and The City: A Royal Adventure.
XXX Movie I First Watched At A Young Age (R or NC-17!)
I have a rather vivid memory of being very young and finding and watching a VHS copy of Interview With A Vampire. As a young impressionable girl this film is extremely confusing, with three incredibly gorgeous men with beautiful long hair, biting each other in a homoerotic way, who have a girl very similar in age to myself at the time as a companion. Not to mention, the fact that said girl actually gets to kiss Brad Pitt, which was endlessly troubling to my young mind! I think I must have watched the film at least three times before I even tried to pay attention to the plot, it was more of a visual feast with an impressive score!
Your Latest Movie Related Obsession
I’m very in to watching feature length documentaries at the moment. I enjoy the revelatory, educational and at times cathartic nature of a good investigative work, and have no particular preference when it comes to subject matter, if the synopsis catches me eye I will give it a go. One documentary I watched recently that absolutely devastated me was Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father, a project to collect memories of a boy’s murdered father for his future reference that takes a turn so tragic that I cannot usually talk to people about it for fear of spoiling their viewing, and to suppress a wave of my own emotion. A hard watch, but an absolute must see.
ZZZ Catchers – Name A Movie That Has Put You To Sleep
It is one of my all time favourites, but I must admit that on more than one occasion I have nodded off during The Sound Of Music. I know, this seems hypocritical having just proclaimed my undying love for Julie Andrews, but the film has a very definite split in tone and atmosphere, at which point it becomes very easy to drift away if you are feeling that way inclined. The point of which I speak is at about the half way point when Maria and Captain Von Trapp marry. All of the best songs have been sung, and the film changes from a jolly frolic in to a sombre escape from the Nazis, and sometimes, just sometimes, I find myself waking up as the credits begin to roll, please forgive me Julie!