July 24, 2006

50 Films You Must See Before You Die?


According to Channel 4 and it's panel of 'experts' (how I hate that term), this is the list of 50 films you should see before you die apparently:

Apocalypse Now
Possibly the greatest anti-war film of all time? It was a production nightmare for sure, but elicited a career performance best from Martin Sheen and some memorable cameo appearances. But number 1 film to see before you die?
The Apartment
I had to IMDB this one as I had never heard of it. Anyone know anything about it? A Billy Wilder comedy - these things just leave me cold. Number 2? Nope.
City of God
A Brazilian film with subtitles. Great! So I have to read, watch the acting AND follow the plot? Bah. But wait, this is a powerful social drama that hits home hard. While it doesn't portray Brazilian life in the ghettos as anything other than harsh, brutal, almost feral it does give an insight into gang culture, making you realise that the loyalty and terror these gangs inspire is universal.
Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston all giving it everything they've got in a densely plotted, brilliantly acted film. It evokes the right sense of period, the plot never becomes secondary to the sets and all things conclude in just the right fashion.
Sexy Beast
Ben 'Ghandi' Kingsley has never been scarier. The Costa Del Crime is shown in all its gritty, seedy Londonesque gangsterish nightmare qualities. Ray Winstone is believable and sympathetic, in something of a role reversal from being the heavy of the piece normally.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Almost as painful to watch as it was to read. Brilliant set pieces and effects (for the time) do not make for a riveting film. Some of the scenes are truely iconic, the creepiness of HAL (and giving the computer a personality of sorts) was a clever twist but the performances of the principles was wooden and uninspiring.
North by Northwest
Hitchcock, Cary Grant, spectacular set pieces and a convoluted plot make for one of Hitch's best films. The Mount Rushmore set piece, the cornfield crop duster attack, classic stuff the lot of it.
A Bout de Souffle
Pretentious French pap. I hate 60's French films.
Donnie Darko
What can I say about this film that critics have not already said? Creepy, superbly acted, with a plot that leaves you guessing at every turn. It's like a John Hughes 80's film if John Hughes had been a paranoid schizophrenic.
Arrrrrrrrrrrrgh. Woody Allen. Most over-rated film maker on the face of the planet EVER! F**k off with your Jewish angst and guilt. We don't care. Seriously.
Claustrophobic sci-fi horror with memorable set pieces and a true sense of impending doom for the whole crew. You know they're screwed as soon as John Hurt goes belly up and this adds to the tension. Beautifully shot, it also makes the most of a very simple plot that in retrospect seems cliched due to the number of other films that have drawn inspiration from it.
Lost in Translation
I like Bill Murray. However I cannot bring myself to like this film. Smug, unbearable, all the things I hate about this kind of alleged 'gentle rom-com'. Take it away and never bring it back.
The Shawshank Redemption
Best adaptation of book to screen? Quite possibly. Tim Robbins gives an impeccable performance, the supporting cast are spot on, the plot is uplifting but yet at the same time incidental. There have been other films in this mould before, true, as there is nothing stunningly original here, but it has been crafted with care and real affection.
Lagaan: Once Upon A Time in India
Pulp Fiction
Brilliant. Have either John Travolta or Samuel L Jackson been this good since? Gangster cool, scintillating dialogue, black humour, superb cast giving excellent performances (yes, even Eric Stoltz).
Touch of Evil
Orson Wells? Charlton Heston? In a film together that has Wells not directing? I like this film- it's the kind of film noir that stays with you long after the credits have gone but I don't like it as much as the critics apparently do.
Jenny Agutter in a Nicholas Roeg film? Why the hell is this film in there and Performance or The Man Who Fell To Earth not???? OK - it's an interesting premiss but I just don't understand why it's here.
Black Narcissus
Boyz n the Hood
Perhaps single handedly this film made us understand what pressures there are on urban african americans and the dominance of gang culture with inner city low rent neighbourhoods. The causal brutality, absolute lack of regard for their fellow man, the way that they try to get the gang to supersede the family unit and lack of respect for any kind of authority except for might is right gives us this taste of the pressures and tragedy facing these people every day.
The Player
Infuriatingly smug 'comedy' and 'satire' from one of the more over-rated directors, Robert Altman. The fact he has two films on here just goes to show that the word 'expert' actually means 'pretentious twat'.
Come and See
Erm. Yep. So good I know nothing of it.
Heavenly Creatures
A Peter Jackson film that involves neither hobbits nor apes! Rejoice world, as it is based of a true story and shows inventiveness, effects that enhance but don't overwhelm, and a plot that is macabre and portrays the girls fantasy world as something that is captivating, culminating in true horror.
A Night at the Opera
Marx Brothers classic! Was Groucho ever better? Did the scripts peak at this point? Inspired lunacy, a plot that existed literally to hang off spectacular word gags and puns and the blistering pace made a truely enjoyable film.
Erin Brockovich
Can't see the attraction of this film at all. Sorry.
A film so Scottish it neede subtitles for the American market! Awesome performances and these people, whilst being bottom of the food chain, elicit a certain sympathy from you. I knew people like this. Frightening.
The Breakfast Club
As a snapshot of early/mid eighties youth culture it is a reminder of what things used to be like, albeit shown in the most basic of stereotypes (which is interesting as part of the message about the film is not to judge people on appearance alone). As an exercise in understanding youth alienation at a time of quite radical socio-economic change it provides some interesting insights. I look back on this film with some nostalgia - whereas I wasn't an American teenager with their problems it did remind me of issues I had of my own and how I worked to beat them.
We saw this the other night on satellite. Why had I not seen this before??? Subtitled, OK, but the plot (based off a true event in early Chinese history) was moving, the human emotion so very raw and the way that there were multiple interpretations of the same event made it compelling viewing. The cinematography was astounding. It was literally like someone had painted the screen in these colours that perfectly matched the emotional impact of each scene.
Fanny and Alexander
Pink Flamingos
They are only pink if they eat the right kind of shrimp.
All About Eve
Someone is going to sit here and tell me this was the best film that Al Pacino was in? Seriously? Then get out! It's over the top and stretches the bounds of credibility to a point where when the end came I just thought "Thank God".
Terminator 2
Over the original? I don't know about that... Arnie almost parodies himself to a point of ruining the film, the plot won't hold water but the set pieces and special affects are awesome. It does ask some interesting questions but at times they are threatening to be overwhelmed by the action.
Three Colours: Blue
More pretentious Euro cinema twaddle. Take it away.
The Royal Tenenbaums
Argh! An "actors" film. Then f**k off with it and stop inflicting it on the rest of us.
The Ladykillers
Not the dreadful remake thank god but the original with Alec Guiness and Alistair Sims. Black comedy has never been so delicious.
Fight Club
The first rule of Fight Club is to watch Fight Club. The second is to be left reeling from it's savage attack on consumerism gone wild, alienated 30 something people desperately trying to find meaning and their place in a world that not only doesn't care but wants to package people into handy demographic targets to aim their brands at. It asks us where our souls are, whether we have become faceless people that are drowning in a see of products.
The Searchers
Big John Wayne and John Ford. About searching. For his daughter I think. Taken by Indians. Somewhere. Oh, it's a western.
Mulholland Drive
David Lynch and lesbians! Never seen it. Couldn't care less.
The Ipcress File
Michael "I'll act in anything so long as I'm paid" Caine in a Harry Palmer thriller. Harry Palmer was a kind of anti James Bond in many ways. The best thing I can say about this film is that Caine is very good and it's very of it's time.
The King of Comedy
Over hyped claptrap. Scorcese has done better sitting on a toilet.
Glad to see this got the nod ahead of Silence of the Lambs as it is a more taut, cleverly plotted film with Lecter here being less of a caricature and more menacing as a result. It's so 80's in its look though!
Dawn of the Dead
Zombies!!! Sequel!! Saw it when I was 13 and it was that good I remember nothing about it.
Princess Mononoke
Raising Arizona
Coen brothers get decent performance from Nicholas Cage shocker!
Why is this film here? Were there a lot of gay voters on the panel? It's s**te. Liza Minelli go away!
This Sporting Life
Erm, no idea.
It's more bizarre than a whole day of watching 12 Monkeys. It has a cameo by De Niro, and like a lot of Python spin offs it's utterly overrated.
Aguirre: The Wrath of God
Erm, nope.
Secrets and Lies
F**k off with your Mike Leigh films. I hate them. Utter tripe.
Martin Sheen and Sissy Spaseck go killing a lot of people and being very bad. Never seen it.

Posted by AlexC at 10:57 AM | Comments (2900)

July 18, 2006

What little-known rights are terrorists entitled to under the Geneva Convention?

I couldn't resist this one...

1: All terrorists are allowed $65 dollars of duty free goods and merchandise.

2: Those having been incarcerated in Camp Freedom are allowed on Cuban Cigar each.

3: Under the Geneva Convention you are allowed one genuine Swiss Cuckoo clock and some chocolate.

4: All stolen works of art can be stored in Geneva too.

5: You are allowed, as a terrorist, first pick of the Red Cross charitable donations.

6: "Fair treatment" can be broadened to flag burning and taking shop classes in making President Bush/Tony Blair effigies.

7: The right to a "fair trial" - this means that being shipped off to Colombia and tried in a jungle clearing by 5 armed soldiers is now not allowed.

8: "Fair treatment" - not being forced to use your head to clean the toilet by passing Marines (shame).

9: No more replacing prayer mats with the old bed of nails mat.

10: In the unlikely event of a terrorist surviving a suicide bombing they can now be expected to receive treatment BEFORE being spat and stamped on.

11: We will now shout "Put down the gun" before opening fire. We apologise for any inconvienence this may have caused.

12: We will stop charging them for being incarcerated in Camp Freedom.

13: We will now extend the questioning beyond "Are you a terrorist?" and "When exactly did you decide that strapping explosives around your waist would be a good idea?"

14: There go the bright orange jumpsuits... but you looked so good in them!

Posted by AlexC at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

Why Internet Social Networking is a Misnomer

Morning. Infrequent post number 2 for the week!

I was reading about MySpace being hacked with racist messages and the like, and how it is described as a social networking site. From what I can see about MySpace it is nothing more than an extended AIM/MSN Messenger, populated by kids who all type in dudespeak and have no concept of design or colour. Either that or by people/bands/companies that are into self promotion like it is going out of fashion.

But what is a social networking site, and why has this kind of thing become so big? Last night I was round at the neighbours trying to fix their Windows Live Messenger for them and the sheer desperation in their voices as I realised it was due to incompetent uninstalling and reinstalling (and my refusal to try to clean out the registry entries for them - I have enough to do) made me really confused. "But," said the daughter "I have 217 contacts on there! They will wonder where I have gone!" Perhaps to get a life? The dad was even more distraught. "I've had that username for years, all that information gone now."

I always thought this is what address books and diaries were for. Things that were really important and that mattered.

These things are all life-lite. They really require no social skills, no efforts, no rewards for building a meaningful relationship. They are like a lot of other things in life now - entirely disposable. Bored of the people you talk to on there? Block them. Don't want someone to find you? Change your username. The daughter with her 217 contacts - how much time does she spend actually talking to them? Or does she just get messages and circular emails with jokes or "send this email to 10 friends and a panda will mate" things?

Things like that make society quite insular. We become more withdrawn and despite there being more people on the planet we interact less socially, making our own cliques and not having to put anything more than minimal effort in. Don't get me wrong - these things have their uses for long distance contact and the like. It's cheaper than a phone call too. But things like MySpace are a paedophiles dream, surely? Would you want your kids on there?

We may be the last generation that views social interaction as actually seeing and meeting people, about time and effort, about seeing past the instant impression we get from someone and actually finding traits and interests that are common.

I find that quite sad.

Posted by AlexC at 11:02 AM | Comments (1781)

July 13, 2006

Comments of Crap

Hello, good evening and... WTF? Where the hell did all those comments come from? Spammers you say? No! Really?

God damned bots. Or zombie PC's. Or idiots. I tried going into my Gmail account and found that there were, oh, I don't know, several hundred comments of utter sh*te in there. Makes me wonder where the people who do this for a living get the time to indulge in their other hobbies of puppy hurting and stealing candy from babies. Bastards.

I wonder if the people who run these sites for penis enlargement have large, happy manhoods who have no need for this or whether they are some sad sacks who really have nothing better to do than to flood my blog. Keeps it alive at least I suppose....

Other Irritants

Kylie Minogue had breast cancer you know. However, unlike tens of thousands of other women who get breast cancer Kylie has a shit hot medical plan that probably requires her to have a 6 monthly check up, much like the one that Sharon Osbourne has. So, unlike hundreds of thousands of other women worldwide, Kylie's was caught at such an early stage that a masectomy was unlikely to be needed and she was pretty much guarenteed a full recovery.

Good for her. However please stop ramming this down our throats. She has excellent health cover and benefits, much like many other famous people, and this means that things like that, or drug addiction for other celebs, can be treated with an excellent chance of recovery. Most of the public may, it seems, be naive, but not all of it. Now shut up, resume your career and enjoy the gift of life.


Things are going well here in the Capricious household. The new house is great, we laid flooring downstairs and I will never be repeated THAT exercise again thankyouverymuch, we have started to kit out the house in the things we want and all thanks to an increase in work. This means though that I will not be on here anything like regularly, but on the upside is some of you lot out there who have my email can DROP ME A LINE! I can get away with answering some personal emails on other people's time but not blogging :P

I spared a moment's thought for the people caught up in 7/7 and the anniversary (I remember the frantic emails from Contagion and Harvey asking if we were OK), but it was a peculiarly British thing - quite muted, no big fuss. We remembered, reflected, realised it could be like this for a long time, and moved on. It is quite possibly the biggest act of defiance we could have against the perpitrators of something like that - we accept that life goes on despite their best efforts.

Lack of decent summer films
Da Vinci Code? Crap. X-Men 3? Lacked the spark of its predecessors. Superman Returns? Not seen it yet but reviews look good. PotC? Wasn't really into the first one.

So who took all the decent summer films and hid them then? Eh? Own up! I sae the movie industry complaining about the low ticket sales. Perhaps if they made better films we would want to go and see them? Idiots! Your product is crap so we vote with our wallets - simple economics I would have thought. This is why file sharing is so popular - they see a bit of it (or all of it depending) then decide whether they want to go to see it or not. We're not convinced by trailers anymore (although the Jessie James thing with Brad Pitt looks very very good indeed, and Spiderman 3? Oh yes...).

I need a film to want to see. Recommend something to me!

Posted by AlexC at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)