Celebrating Great Films

Thursday, December 17, 2009


AvatarUnranked at time of writing.

James Cameron (or at least his marketeers) claimed that Avatar will change cinema forever. Having watched the preview in front row seats at IMAX last night, I finally understand what he means.

Avatar is a stunningly beautiful, comprehensively realised vision that absolutely must be experienced in a cinema. That’s the kicker – I doubt this film would have anywhere near the same impact on a TV screen. Two dimensions would not do this movie justice.

So if Avatar changes cinema it will be by making it more like going to the theatre – you have to see it live. More likely, I think, is that this movie - which is James Cameron’s first outing since 1997’s record-smashing Titanic - will precipitate the advent of 3D in our living rooms (for one thing, they might have to sell a lot of DVDs to break even – the production is rumoured to have cost $300m and as much again is being spent on marketing).

3D films often feel fairly flat, apart from the occasional thing jumping out at you, but the 3D in Avatar has an incredible depth of field. The landscapes of the planet Pandora seem to stretch away for miles. Another bar raised is the CGI. The attention to detail is breathtaking.

Yes, the story uses every trick in the Hollywood book to hook you in, but – wow! – Mr Cameron is a master of those tricks. The pace and interest don’t flag for a moment in the 162 minutes running time. It’s truly epic; it feels like the three Lord of the Rings films rolled into one.

You might argue that the characters and the plotting are a little close to formula, but as an aesthetic and dramatic experience, Avatar is – without exaggeration – the film of the decade. Truly hypnotising.

Monday, December 07, 2009

A Serious Man

A Serious ManUnranked at time of writing.

The Coen Brothers have a unique style, and this film is a prime example. It is confident, surreal, knowing, and darkly funny.

Joel and Ethan Coen love to break all the rules, and it doesn’t always work. Yes, they’ve made some truly excellent films, like The Big Lebowski and Fargo; but sometimes the overblown characterisations and quirky storytelling just don’t work – like O Brother Where Art Thou? and Burn After Reading.

Well, somehow, A Serious Man hangs together. Despite an opening sequence that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film, and an ending that resolves exactly nothing, I enjoyed it. I left the cinema feeling satisfied.

It’s a hard movie to pin down, but it helps to know that it’s based on the biblical book of Job (in which a lot of bad things happen to a good God-fearing man without much explanation), transposed to 1960s suburban America.

If you like the Coen Brothers, you’ll love this. If you don’t know their style, be prepared for a weird experience.

Oh, and the Jefferson Airplane soundtrack rocks.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Man Who Married Himself

Remember a few posts ago I said that a film was being made from one of my short screenplays?

I've been a bit quiet about it because it seemed to good to be true, but a couple of weeks ago I visited the set during filming - so now I know it's really happening!

The Man Who Married Himself

The short is called "The Man Who Married Himself", and it stars Richard E Grant, Emilia Fox, Celia Imrie and Warren Clarke. Directed by Garrick Hamm (who co-wrote the screenplay with me), a big-time designer who's hoping to break into filmmaking. It's currently in post-production.

It was awesome visiting the set and seeing dozens of people haring around with lighting equipment and odd props and things, all working to make my story come to life. I tried to keep a low profile, but it was nice that whenever I introduced myself as the writer I was treated like a VIP (which is not the Hollywood way, I reckon, so I appreciated it even more).

I chatted to Richard and Emilia - they were both very friendly and complimentary about the script. Richard even asked me to send him the novel I'm working on! He's been asked to be a Booker judge (although he said he's not sure if he'll accept as it involved reading about four books a week for six months), so it's a great honour if he wants to read my stuff.

Pardon me for effusing, but I'm excited!

Now I am working on a feature length film script to try and take advantage of the momentum from this short. Watch this space...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Zombieland#185 at time of writing.

This film is heaps of fun, but Shaun of the Dead did it better. The first half of Zombieland feels like a sit-com, and only in its second half does it get into its stride - gently teasing and subverting the zombie genre conventions. Indeed, the script started off as a TV pilot, and I'm sure it would have made a cracking series.

Having said that, this film delivers more laughs per minute than most, so I'm all for it.

You can guess the story: There's been a zombie apocalypse, and a few remaining survivors coalesce and go on a quest to find some purpose in this broken world. And - ahhh - they find each other. Meanwhile, in the background, lots of dead people are walking around spewing black blood and threatening to eat them.

Of course, the characters do all the things we all know we shouldn't do in horror movies, like go into dark buildings, leave your car to dash up the open road, and other such tropes. But the result of such acts generally defies the expectations of the genre, with comic effect.

Probably short-term Top 250 fodder.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

No Country For Old Men

No Country For Old Men#110 at time of writing.

This film's antagonist, Anton Chigurh as played by Javier Bardem, is the most uncompromising character ever to grace the silver screen. The story isn't about him - it's about the cop who chases him and the crook who's running away from him - but it's Anton Chigurh and his cattle bolt-gun that linger in the mind after the credits roll. He is the ultimate bad-ass. It must be true, Vanity Fair says so.

I've said before that I find the Coen Brothers variable, but this reasonably faithful Cormac McCarthy adaptation bolts the nail in the head. It's the most heavily Oscared Coen Brothers film, and deservedly so. (In fact, only two Best Director Oscars have ever been split between two directors - this one and West Side Story.)

The story is simple: A hunter in the middle of the Texan desert stumbles upon some dead bodies, a stash of heroin and more than $2 million in cash. He takes the money and runs, with a jaded cop and a motley crew of criminals in pursuit. The result is a wide-open Western-style film - full of deserts and death. It's bleak, violent, tense, blackly funny and meditative, with a creepy sense of fated inevitability. Pure cinema.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kids In Mind

The MPAA and the BBFC give films age ratings so you know if they're appropriate for your children. And recently they've started giving a brief bit of consumer advice alongside, like the laughable "Contains mild peril" (Finding Nemo), or the ridiculous "Rated PG for non-stop frenetic animated action" (The Powerpuff Girls).

But Kids-In-Mind reckons that's not enough - parents need better information so they can make up their own minds rather than the MPAA deciding for them. Kids-In-Mind claims to provide "Ratings that work".

To this end, they've condensed all worldly vices into three categories: 1. Sex & nudity; 2. Violence & gore; 3. Profanity. And they've given every film a score out of ten for each. (Apparently, other morally dubious activities such as drug taking, theft, racism, etc. don't matter so much.)

So, for example, the recent remake of Halloween gets 10.10.10. The 10 for sex/nudity is for a variety of reasons including, shockingly, "A husband and wife kiss."

The Muppet Christmas Carol gets 0.1.0. The 1 for violence/gore is because "some of the ghost scenes are a little scary and may bother younger viewers."

Year One gets 8.7.5 - a high score despite being only a PG-13. The Favor gets 3.2.3, a very low score for an R.

For me, this just serves to highlight the absurdity of any supposedly objective ratings system. The idea of a bunch of indignant puritans subjecting themselves to ghastly movies just so they can warn other pious parents that there are 398 instances of the word "fuck" in Casino strikes me as hilarious.

This is all very harmless and amusing, but the fact that the official ratings organisations routinely cut material out of films before we can watch them is something else. Why should I be allowed to watch some of the rapey sex and wincey violence in Ichi the Killer, but not all of it? How is anyone qualified to draw that line for all sixty million of us Brits? What's the point if I can just get the uncut version anyway? Isn't the whole system deeply flawed and deeply hypocritical?

Kids-In-Mind might not be the right solution, but they're raising good questions.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Up#37 at time of writing.

My wife and I attended a preview screening of Pixar's tenth feature at the BFI Southbank last week. My love for Pixar only grows.

There was a particular sequence within the first 15 minutes of the film that made me cry. Within the first 15 minutes! I can't think of any other film that has achieved that, ever. Beautiful, touching, bold, genius. It was followed by a good hour of belly-laugh comedy excellence, and then the end just about lived up to the beginning.

The plot of Up is (typically for Pixar) wonderfully left-of-centre. A 78-year old widower ties thousands of balloons to his home and flies it to the tepuis of South America, accompanied by an unexpected companion. I can't think of any Hollywood films that dare to have an old widower in the starring role since, I dunno, About Schmidt.

Director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera were in attendance for a Q&A after the film. It's wonderful watching a film alongside its creators - the audience was much more vocal than a normal cinema audience, clapping and cheering and laughing out loud.

Pete had lost his voice, so Jonas did all the talking. He spoke of many things. There were no new technical challenges in Up (like fur in Monsters Inc, water in Finding Nemo), which allowed them to focus on design. And it shows - Up is gorgeous. Although come to think of it, isn't being in 3D a new technical challenge?

Talking of 3D, the extra dimension is used subtly to add depth to the sweeping Venezuelan vistas, rather than to make things jump out of the screen. This was the first 3D film, as well as the first animated film, ever to open the Cannes Film Festival.

The producer admitted that they had trouble with the villain character, and indeed I think the villain's story is the weakest link in an otherwise flawless film. The villain Charles Muntz is named after Charles Mintz, the Universal Pictures executive who in 1928 stole Walt Disney's production rights to his highly-successful "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" cartoon series. This led Walt Disney to create Mickey Mouse, who soon eclipsed Oswald in popularity.

Up with Pixar, say I! Bring on Toy Story 3, Cars 2, The Bear and the Bow and Newt! (And 1906!)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

District 9

District 9#44 at time of writing.

Hollywood (specifically New Line Cinema) took a punt on Peter Jackson, entrusting $270 million to him to film Lord of the Rings despite the fact that the highlight of his CV until then was Heavenly Creatures. The investment paid off in spades, and now PJ has a blank slate to do whatever the hell he wants with Tinseltown's seemingly infinite money and influence.

So what does he do with it? Well, OK, first he finishes his project that had been shelved since about 1997 - King Kong - a cheesy and indulgent all-American movie, right up the Hollywood executives' alley.

But then he throws a curve ball. District 9 is a movie about aliens - so far so Hollywood. But it's set in Johannesberg, presented (mostly) like a documentary, it stars complete unknowns, and it's a cracking story bursting with originality and imagination. Anti-Hollywood on all four counts. Well done Mr Jackson, you are now my hero.

It's not a perfect film. Its metaphors are not subtle, and the storytelling has some hideous point-of-view violations, but the sheer wacky bravado of the endeavour means that all can be forgiven.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Big Lebowski

#158 at time of writing.

Colourful scenery and colourful characters, with a wonderfully wry and highly quotable script. The warped imagination of this film bowls me over.

The Big Lebowski

The Coen Brothers' taste for surreality can sometimes detract from their stories for me, which made me wary of this film on first viewing, but it has grown on me hugely. The Brothers can be hit or miss, and this is a hit.

The sense of humour is reminiscent of Pulp Fiction, with its bumbling gangsters and irreverent dialogue. The dysfunctional buddy couple at the core of the film, The Dude and Walter as played by Jeff Bridges and John Goodman, spark off each other wonderfully. John Goodman's misguidedly aggressive character, apparently his own favourite performance, is oddly familiar - I knew a guy like that.

Having raved about their film, I should say that I watched an interview with the Coen Brothers on the DVD extras (actually, VHS extras) and they are incredibly boring.

The Big Lebowski - dancing girlsComedy Central produced a wonderful example of preposterous TV censorship when they aired this film, dubbing Walter's dialogue in the scene where he is destroying the Corvette with a crowbar. Instead of repeating "This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass" he says "This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps" and then, even more bizarrely "This is what happens when you feed a plover scrambled eggs". See it for yourself.

The Dude's car is a 4-door 1973 Ford Gran Torino. Two vehicles were used in filming: one was destroyed during the filming, the other was destroyed in Season 8 of The X-Files in an episode called "Salvage".

Friday, August 07, 2009

Only votes from regular (American) voters are considered

The more time I spend on IMDb's Top 250 list, the more flaws I find with it. Not that I'm ever likely to watch a dud film if I stick to the list, but I will doubtless miss many hidden gems.

I knew that IMDb doesn't include documentaries in its Top 250 (and therefore ignores such unmissable treasures as The King of Kong, The Corporation, Koyaanisqatsi, Touching the Void, Capturing the Friedmans, Man on Wire...), but what else gets excluded? Well, according to their FAQ, films with fewer than 1,300 votes, films shorter than 45 minutes and non-theatrical releases are also excluded.

Furthermore, only votes from "regular voters" are considered when calculating the weighted average rating for each film. What constitutes a regular voter is explicitly mysterious.

The following films have received over 20,000 votes on IMDb, with an average rating of 8.1 or higher (which would be more than enough to secure a place in the Top 250) - and yet they are excluded from the Top 250, presumably because fewer than 1,300 of those votes came from "regular voters".

Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle & My Neighbour Totoro
Barry Lyndon
Infernal Affairs
The Celebration
The Hate
The Man From Earth (the only US title on this list)
Fa yeung nin wa
The Sea Inside
The 400 Blows

Two conclusions can be drawn: 1. Regular voters seem to be significantly biased against foreign (ie non-US) films. 2. Either the "regular voters" bar is set very high, or there is an awful lot of unsportsmanlike ballot-box stuffing going on.

An extended listing of the Top 500, following the same criteria, is available to IMDbPro subscribers. I wonder how many of the films mentioned above are in 251-500 - implying that "regular voters" gave them slightly less high ratings? If the answer is "not many" or "none", my conclusions become more acute.

Turkish voters deserve a special mention for being particularly zealous. With over 10,000 votes, Babam Ve Oglum has a phenomenally high score of 8.9, which would place it at least 7th on the Top 250 - but the "regular voters" obviously disagree. Gegen die Wand (score 8.1, 14,167 voters), Eskiya (8.2, 8,229), and Hababam sinifi (9.0, 5,817) are also neglected - they have cracked the Top 250 briefly in the past, but then mysteriously dropped away.

Monday, July 20, 2009


MoonUnranked at time of writing.

It's a conspiracy! This film has been voted for by enough people, who have rated it high enough, yet it's not on IMDb's Top 250!

It easily deserves to be. It's a quiet, creepy and wonderful character-based science fiction yarn. No alien invasions nor CGI explosions, just a lonely man working out his time on a lunar mining base.

Directed by Duncan Jones, aka Zowie Bowie, and featuring a tour-de-force performance by Sam Rockwell, this wonderful story manages to pay homage to a golden age of celluloid sci-fi (think 2001, Silent Running, Alien, Outland...), and yet still be totally original. It brings the old tropes right up to date.

Moon was screened at NASA's Space Center Houston at the request of a professor there, as part of a lecture series. Softcore punk porn site SuicideGirls interviewed Duncan Jones about it:

"He'd been reading online that we'd done this film about Helium-3 mining and that's something that people at NASA are working on," said Jones. "We did a Q&A afterward. They asked me why the base looked so sturdy, like a bunker, and not like the kind of stuff they are designing that they are going to transport with them. I said 'Well, in the future I assume you won't want to continue carrying everything with you, you'll want to use the resources on the moon to build things' and a woman in the audience raised her hand and said, 'I'm actually working on something called Mooncrete, which is concrete that mixes lunar regolith and ice water from the moon's polar caps.'"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lawrence of Arabia

#41 at time of writing.

Some films belong to the director - it is the director's vision that makes them great. Some belong to the writer - the script is solid gold. This film belongs to the cinematographer. Director of Photography Freddie Young won the first of three Oscars in a row working with David Lean with this masterpiece of desolate beauty.

The music and acting style seems a little florid by modern standards, but the overall experience is too grand to be let down by such petty things. This is a true epic. Not only is it a very (and perhaps unnecessarily) long film telling a sweeping tale of flawed heroism in a wonderfully majestic setting, but the story behind the film is equally impressive.

Lawrence of Arabia

The film is based on the real T E Lawrence's arguably exaggerated autobiography "Seven Pillars of Wisdom", covering his involvement in the Arab Revolt against the Turks during World War I. At the time he was seen as a dramatic paladin, largely thanks to the theatrical efforts of photo-journalist Lowell Thomas (on whom the Jackson Bentley character is based), but this film depicts Lawrence as a strange and conflicted character - vain and modest, moral and immoral, heroic and cowardly.

Fascinatingly, this production left an unexpected legacy. King Hussein of Jordan lent an entire brigade of his Arab Legion as extras for the film, so most of the "soldiers" are played by real soldiers. Hussein frequently visited the sets and became enamored of a young British secretary, Antoinette Gardiner, who became his second wife in 1962. Their oldest son, Abdullah II King of Jordan, ascended to throne in 1999.

Lawrence himself left an unexpected legacy - when he was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident in May 1935 (age 46), one of the doctors attending to him was a young neurosurgeon, Hugh Cairns. He was so moved by the tragedy that he began a lifelong and ultimately successful campaign to make crash helmets compulsory for motorcycle riders, which has saved countless lives.

Trivia: Although nearly four hours long, this film has no women in speaking roles. I can't think of another film that features no women, can you?

Friday, June 26, 2009

There Will Be Blood

#128 at time of writing.

This film aspires to be a sweeping epic about family, greed, religion, and oil, centred around a turn-of-the-century prospector. It was released a week apart from No Country For Old Men (they were even filmed at the same time in the same area of Texas), and both films were seen as behemoths battling it out for Oscar glory. History seems to be favouring No Country For Old Men, and rightly so.

Daniel Day-Lewis turns in the performance of a lifetime as amoral Daniel Plainview (winning his first Best Actor Oscar for 18 years), but the rest of the film just gets swallowed up by him. If Eli the preacher had been cast as someone capable of facing up to Day-Lewis, the result would have been astounding - but Paul Dano fails to cut it. Who the hell is he anyway?

There Will Be Blood

The film progresses slowly, and somehow doesn't quite hold together. The characters do not grow and it's hard to care about any of them. There is nothing in this movie as big as Day-Lewis' performance, and the story remains off balance from start to finish because of it. I'm glad I watched it, it's a great film, but it's a hard film to enjoy.

Looking through director Paul Thomas Anderson's other films (in particular Magnolia and Boogie Nights), I'm beginning to suspect that I just don't like his style...

The fictional character of Daniel Plainview bears some resemblance to a real early 20th-century Californian oil tycoon named Edward L. Doheny. The monologue about milkshake delivered in the film is based on transcripts of congressional hearings concerning the Teapot Dome Scandal, in which Doheny had been accused of bribing a political official. The film's concluding scene was filmed at Greystone Manor, a California estate Doheny built as a present for his only son.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Don'ts and Be Carefuls

During the relatively socially liberal 1920s and early 30s, Hollywood was increasingly seen as a breeding ground for immorality.

Films frequently included such conservative vices as sexual innuendos, references to homosexuality, miscegenation, illegal drug use, infidelity, abortion and profane language. This reputation was made worse by stories of decadent dope parties, which were connected to the fall of silent film stars like William Desmond Taylor and Fatty Arbuckle.

The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (later renamed to today's MPAA) didn't yet have the clout to enforce censorship. That is, until Will Hays got into his stride.

In October of 1927, Will Hays published a set of censorship guidelines split into things that must never be portrayed on film, and things that required "special care". The Hays Code, which became known in the industry as the Don'ts and Be Carefuls, formed the basis of the guidelines that governed the production of almost all USA motion pictures until 1968, when age-related ratings were introduced.

Below, unadulterated apart from the comments in [square brackets], is the complete original list of Don'ts and Be Carefuls. How times have changed.


1. Pointed profanity - by either title or lip - this includes words "God," "Lord," "Jesus," "Christ" (unless used reverently in connection with proper religious ceremonies), "hell," "damn," "Gawd," and every other profane and vulgar expression, however it may be spelled. [Hence why Clark Gable's famous line in Gone with the Wind was so controversial. Frankly my dear, I think you should see The Aristocrats.]
2. Any licentious or suggestive nudity — in fact or in silhouette; and any lecherous or licentious notice thereof by other characters in the picture. [In silhouette?!]
3. The illegal traffic in drugs. [An odd choice for the one of the few crimes in the Don'ts.]
4. Any inference of sex perversion. [In other words, except for a man kissing a woman (who he's married to) on the cheek, don't show anything.]
5. White slavery. [Why is this at number five? Would portraying it encourage it? Or would it offend the white slavers?]
6. Miscegenation (sex relationships between white and black race). [The same people who supported rules like this have moved on to hating gays and barring them from getting married. And they'll look just as foolish when the history books are written.]
7. Sex hygiene and venereal diseases. [Would that get portrayed a lot if it wasn't banned, do you think?]
8. Scenes of actual childbirth - in fact or in silhouette. [Fake childbirth ok then. Storks.]
9. Children’s sex organs. [Like, babies?]
10. Ridicule of the clergy. [Does the pope shit in the woods?]
11. Willful offense to any nation, race or creed. [Isn't number 6 itself a willful offence to race?]

Be Carefuls

1. The use of the flag.
2. International relations (avoiding picturization in an unfavorable light another country’s religion, history, institutions, prominent people, and citizenry).
3. Arson.
4. The use of firearms.
5. Theft, robbery, safecracking, and dynamiting of trains, mines, buildings, etc. (having in mind the effect which a too-detailed description of these may have upon the moron). [The moron! Ha!]
6. Brutality and possible gruesomeness.
7. Technique of committing murder by whatever method.
8. Methods of smuggling.
9. Third-degree methods. [ie torture]
10. Actual hangings or electrocutions as legal punishment for crime. [Perhaps if you're ashamed about showing it, you shouldn't do it...]
11. Sympathy for criminals.
12. Attitude toward public characters and institutions.
13. Sedition.
14. Apparent cruelty to children and animals.
15. Branding of people or animals.
16. The sale of women, or of a woman selling her virtue.
17. Rape or attempted rape.
18. First-night scenes. [Eh?]
19. Man and woman in bed together.
20. Deliberate seduction of girls.
21. The institution of marriage.
22. Surgical operations.
23. The use of drugs.
24. Titles or scenes having to do with law enforcement or law-enforcing officers.
25. Excessive or lustful kissing, particularly when one character or the other is a "heavy." [A what?!]

Of course, these days the list would be very different:


Be Carefuls
1. Two girls, one cup.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back#10 and #112 at time of writing.

I watched these two in quick succession today. The Empire Strikes Back is too... unfinished to watch on its own. It starts off slowly - the whole ice planet sequence is disappointingly reminiscent of the interminable desert planet scenes from the original Star Wars. But it picks up. A few buckles are swashed, sure enough.

It received mixed reviews upon release. Inevitable, I suppose, after the impact of the first in the trilogy - expectations were impossibly high. But since then it has come to be considered as the best Star Wars film.

Certainly, the emotional resonance of these two films is much more effective than the first film. They're packed with action, Henson muppets and glorious, glorious incest.

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the JediReturn of the Jedi is the best of the three, in my opinion.

The epic backstory is implied with such pizazz that there would be no need to actually make the prequels...

I wonder if episodes VII-IX will ever get made? Actually, I'm sure they will, even if it's over George Lucas's dead body.

During the 2001 Census there was a viral email campaign encouraging people to record their religion as Jedi. You can't be prosecuted for lying about your religion on the Census, so I thought I'd register as a Jedi myself. I wasn't alone. In England and Wales 390,127 people (almost 0.8 percent) stated their religion as Jedi on their Census forms, surpassing Sikhism, Judaism, and Buddhism.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Raiders of the Lost Ark

#19 at time of writing.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

This is a near-perfect film, from back when George Lucas still had new ideas. Actually, it is perfect. A script full of wit, cracking characters, wonderfully tongue-in-cheek hokum, truly creepy bad guys...

It's the king of B movies, with a depth of attention to detail that surpasses even the best high-budget flicks. This movie has it all: action, romance, comedy, and suspense. From beginning to end you are hooked. Critic Bernard Weinraub said it best: "Deliriously funny, ingenious, and stylish." Harrison Ford is at his best as Dr. Jones. Can you imagine Tom Selleck as Indy, as was originally intended? Hm...

It starts with one of the most memorable opening sequences of all time, lifted from old Scrooge McDuck comics. Then it sprints from set-piece to brilliant set-piece, packed with iconic moments from the red line travelling across the map to the warehouse full of boxes.

Matt Groening has said that the secret of designing characters is to make them immediately recognizable in silhouette. Indy's fedora and whip ensures that he fulfills that criteria. The original kangaroo-hide bullwhip was sold in December, 1999 at Christie's auction house in London for $43,000, and again in 2008 for $57,500.

Indiana Jones

The infamous scene in which Indy shoots a flamboyant swordsman was not in the original script. Harrison Ford was supposed to use his whip to get the swords out of his attacker's hands, but the food poisoning he and the rest of the crew were suffering from made him too sick to perform the stunt. After several unsuccessful tries, someone made the off-handed remark, "Why doesn't he just shoot him?" Steven Spielberg immediately took up the idea. (But, someone tell me please, hadn't this already been done in a Bond film? You Only Live Twice or something?) Another great ad-lib was Indy's line to Marion when they are on the ship - "It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."

The music is fantastic - as good as Star Wars. But, unlike Star Wars, there are some scenes that dispense with music altogether (like the brawl in Marion's bar) and the tension is compelling on its own merit. The editing is ten times pacier than Star Wars. The cheesiness is a few Hobo Power units more tolerable.

Forget Star Wars. This is it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Star Wars

Star Wars#12 at time of writing.

Star Wars. You had to be there.

I don't doubt that for teenagers in 1977, it was an absolutely mind-blowing experience. It's ambitious, and peppered with iconic (and very parody-able) moments. The universe is thoroughly imagined. But, well, it's not actually very good is it?

I avoided seeing Star Wars until I was at University in 2000, and predictably it didn't live up to the hype. It starts off promisingly enough, but then there's an interminable series of arid scenes on the desert planet and it doesn't get much better from there.

The acting is horrible, the story is unoriginal, it has plot holes big enough to drive the Millennium Falcon through, and the dialogue is beyond silly. That's not to say it wasn't an important film. Most know that Industrial Light and Magic was formed to do the special effects for Star Wars, thereby ushering in the age of the special effect driven movie.

The special effects were mind-blowing at the time, and so was the marketing. George Lucas may be a hack director, but he is a master of marketing. Star Wars was the first film to successfully create a line of merchandise and toys. And they sold like gangbusters, even though the first action figures were an empty box with an IOU inside!

I'm sure I'm being unfair. But there are certainly more than 11 better films. For one, Raiders of the Lost Ark was twice as good. Mind you, Empire Strikes Back was a vast improvement, and Temple of Doom was rubbish.

Having said all that, I remember enjoying Flash Gordon on Betamax when I was a kid, and that's a fucking awful film.

Flash Gordon vs Star Wars

Believe it or not, several Star Wars characters are derived from Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress. George Lucas acknowledges this in the first conference room scene on the Death Star. Just as an Imperial Officer is saying the line "...the Rebel's hidden fort..." he is telekinetically strangled by Darth Vader, shutting him up before he can say the full title.

Shame that Carrie Fisher did a Judy Garland and ended up addicted to drugs and wishing that she had turned down the film that made her famous.

For interest, here's a review from 1977. And for fun, here's the Star Wars Kid. This trailer made me laugh as well - why wasn't Fanboys released in the UK?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Keep it on the QT, but...

You may recall that I was writing a couple of short-film screenplays.

The first drafts are done, and so far both are on track to be produced (one in England, one in Germany).

I received some very exciting news about the English one this weekend. A well-known British actor wants to star. I almost feel like I shouldn't be telling anyone in case I jinx it. But yes, I am excited. :)

I'm meeting my MA Creative Writing screenwriting tutor tomorrow, and I'm pitching a feature-length idea to him to try and interest him in co-writing it. Hollywood, here we come.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Hangover

The Hangover#130 at time of writing.

This is a very funny film.

It's a wonderfully obvious idea for a film, like it should always have existed. You know exactly what's going to happen, but the joy is in finding out how it happens - just like sharing morning-after tales with a group of buddies.

Pure entertainment, but I predict that it won't last on the Top 250. We're supposed to care about the protagonist's marriage, but he's missing for most of the film so we never truly engage with him. Thus, the heart is missing. Laugh-out-loud comedy works best when it surprises you with an emotional punch while your defenses are down. Superbad did it better. Juno did it better still. Why aren't they in the Top 250?

On a side note, the character played by Ed Helms had a missing tooth that was remarkably convincing. I couldn't see how it could have been done with effects or prosthetics. It turns out Ed Helms never had an adult incisor grow, so he just had to take out his fake one. What an odd casting call that would have been.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Best Year for Film?

I was musing the other day about how 1999 was a truly fantastic year for film. Fight Club, The Matrix, American Beauty, Being John Malkovich, South Park... even Toy Story 2 was colossal. I used to love films, but after 1999 I became obsessed.

I wonder, what year was the best ever for film? 1939 also seems stuck in my head as a great year (The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind). But what about the sixty years in between?

Geeky as I am, I decided to run the stats on IMDb's Top 250 list. Here's the rundown:

The earliest film on the Top 250 is from 1921 (The Kid). Since then, only seven years do not feature in the Top 250 at all: 1924, 1928, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1937 and 1947. (1947 misses out despite Miracle on 34th Street - which goes to show how many wonderful and well-loved films must fall just short of IMDb's Top 250.)

Years that appear once each in the Top 250:
The early 1920s is in danger of dropping off the list altogether.

Years that appear twice each in the Top 250:
Although 2009 may yet get promoted.

At this point there are only half a dozen years left before 1950. Does that mean that films didn't used to be as good? Or that our tastes have moved on? Or that the best early films just don't get watched any more? Most likely all of the above.

Years that appear three times each in the Top 250:
Well, this is a very unscientific measure, but there goes 1939...

(Actually, this is quite a scientific measure, but therein lies it's fault. You can't rightly judge great films using scientific measures.)

Years that appear four times each in the Top 250:

Now the big hitters. There are fifteen years left - the fifteen greatest years for film.

Years that appear five times each in the Top 250:
Good to see that plenty of golden oldies are still very much appreciated.

Years that appear six times each in the Top 250:
So 1999 truly was a great year for film after all. Yet 1994 was even greater - with The Shawshank Redemption in the #1 slot and Pulp Fiction at #5.

Finally, the top 5 years for film... drumroll please...

#5: 2004
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Hotel Rwanda
Million Dollar Baby
The Incredibles
Kill Bill: Vol. 2

#4: 2006
(Same number of films on the Top 250 as 2004, but higher rated on average, so more likely to stay there.)
The Departed
The Lives of Others
Pan's Labyrinth
The Prestige
Children of Men
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine

#3: 1995
The Usual Suspects
Toy Story
Twelve Monkeys

#2: 1957
The top ten years are all within the last decade and a half, except 1957. This defiance of the bias suggests that 1957 is our true winner.
12 Angry Men
Paths of Glory
The Bridge on the River Kwai
The Seventh Seal
Witness for the Prosecution
Wild Strawberries
Nights of Cabiria
Sweet Smell of Success

#1: 2008
No fewer than nine films in the Top 250, with a very strong average ranking - although not as strong as 1957.
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire
Gran Torino
The Wrestler
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Let the Right One In
In Bruges

Top 250 by year and sum of ratings

Friday, May 29, 2009

Star Trek

Star Trek#82 at time of writing.

Batman Begins did it. The Pink Panther did it. The Incredible Hulk did it. And now, Star Trek has rebooted too. This is not a straightforward prequel to the franchise, but a resetting of the entire story world. The rules have been rewritten, and now anything can happen.

And, wow, director J.J. Abrams has set the bar high.

This is the fourth film in the series to use time travel as a plot device. An extremely disgruntled Romulan is accidentally cast 150 years into the past, determined to avenge the destruction of his home planet (which hasn’t, of course, happened yet), coincidentally arriving at the moment of James T. Kirk’s birth. Thus, an alternative timeline begins.

Now, I’m a Next Generation guy. Shatner was too smug for me, and DS9 was trying too hard. But this? This I can get on board with.

I was grabbed right from the opening scene: We've all seen epic space battles before, but grounding the action with the emotional and intensely human experience of giving birth (while the daddy is about to be blasted to smithereens) - that gets my attention.

After watching this, I watched a bunch of old Star Trek on You Tube. Tribbles rock.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Day The Earth Stood Still

The Day The Earth Stood Still#228 at time of writing.

The Time Machine got the treatment. So did The War of the Worlds. And the latest golden age sci-fi epic to be remade Noughties-style is The Day The Earth Stood Still.

I saw the remake last year, and I left the cinema feeling kind of empty. It should have been a great film - indeed it started excellently (as far as I can remember, the start is the only bit that's similar to the original, which tells you something) - but it ended up being special effects over substance.

(To be fair, the remake did have one or two good moments. I liked the "You came to save the Earth... from us" twist, even if it was awfully delivered. Oh stop whining at me for giving away the twist, just watch the original instead.)

So I was excited about seeing the original. Did it, as I hoped, better fulfil the potential of the idea?

Yes. Much better. And much simpler. The story focusses on the characters, with few special effects. The background of paranoia creates ample tension, injected as it is with the 1950s Cold War mentality. The extra-terrestrial visitor has moments of convincing alien-ness despite appearing to be human.

After being poisoned by the remake, I was expecting a climactic ending, but the original ends abruptly. I felt like I wanted more - but on reflection, I am thoroughly satisfied.

In an echo of Warner Bros' attitude to Casablanca (as previously blogged), actress Patricia Neal has admitted in interviews that she was completely unaware during filming that the film would be considered a great science-fiction classic. She assumed it would be just another one of the then-current and rather trashy flying saucer films that were popular at the time, and she found it difficult to keep a straight face while saying her lines.

As an aside, this is the 1950s version of special effects: To give the appearance of seamlessness to the space ship, the crack around the door was filled with putty, then painted over. When the door opened the putty was torn apart, making the door seem to simply appear.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Movie Posters

Recently I got a big payrise at work. And I spent it all on film posters.

There are some great films with terribly mediocre posters. Either they just have mugshots of the top-billed actors on them, or they try and crowd too much stuff on. Or both (see Lord of the Rings).

And there are some excellent posters for awful films. For example...

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman

I tried to find the happy medium, whilst avoiding the too-popular choices (Pulp Fiction) and avoiding posters that my wife would never let me put up (Phase IV).

So, several hundred pounds later (framing is expensive!), our lounge sports these:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Man On Wire

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Our hallway features:


Run Lola Run

The spare bedroom has:

Requiem for a Dream


Forbidden Planet

And a Bilinsky in our bathroom:


Monday, April 27, 2009

The Lives of Others

The Lives of Others#52 at time of writing.

I saw this film for the second time today, and I think I appreciated it even more than before. It portrays a sense of claustrophobia and paranoia, corruption and injustice, with perfectly judged subtlety. An absolute triumph for Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's directorial debut. Bittersweet and moving.

The story is set in East Germany in (appropriately) 1984. Captain Wiesler, an agent of the secret police, conducts surveillance on a writer and his lover and gradually finds himself becoming absorbed by their lives.

The actor playing Captain Wiesler, Ulrich Mühe (who sadly died shortly after the film was released), was once the subject of Stasi surveillance himself, and his story mirrors that of the film to an eerie degree. While the film itself is fictional, it is real enough to make you think.

I watched it today with my Film Club at work, and one of my colleagues was particularly affected by it. She lived in Iran before the 1978 revolution, and she remembers the feeling of constantly being watched and judged. She remembers having to whisper in her own home if she wanted to say something that might be interpreted as subversive. She remembers finding forbidden material (a book in English, a countrywide rail map) that someone must have dropped because they thought they were being followed - or perhaps an unfriendly neighbour left it there to frame her family?

I wonder what I would do if I found myself trapped in a society in which I could get arrested merely for owning a book.

Much more worryingly, I wonder if I already live in that society?

Since the various Terrorism Acts in the UK, it is now illegal for me to photograph a policeman. I can be detained for 28 days without charge - indefinitely if I was a foreigner (which, with dual nationality, arguably I am).

And I'm constantly being tracked by five million CCTV cameras, credit card transactions, my Oyster card, NHS patient records, mobile phone triangulation, licence plate recognition cameras, shop RFID tags, Internet cookies, Google, Facebook, and no doubt lots else. (Wow, looking up all those references has made me even more paranoid.)

Yes. Makes you think.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Let the Right One In

Let the Right One In#192 at time of writing.

I'm not big on vampire movies. But this is a little vampire movie. Not a little movie, you understand, but a little vampire.

On the face of it, the story is simple: Bullied pre-teen boy falls for outcast pre-teen girl - but she ain't no ordinary girl.

The atmosphere and the actors, particularly the child actors, elevate this film into something both tender and horrifying. It's a love story, a coming-of-age story, and a frighteningly bare horror story.

It's satisfying to see a film once in a while that Hollywood couldn't possibly have made. Grubby, sexualised children? Not since The Exorcist. Ooh, me Hays Code is itchin'...

Makes me want to see more Swedish films. What else is on the list? Seventh Seal no doubt... hold on a sec while I have a look... aha, Wild Strawberries as well. Both of those are from the 50s. Well, Swedish cinema, welcome back.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Gran Torino

Gran Torino#77 at time of writing.

Violence begets violence. And casual racism makes you a hero.

I have a feeling I'm not going to be entirely fair on this film.

Don't get me wrong, it's good, I liked it. But it's too flawed to be so high on the Top 250. It's as subtle as a breeze block wrapped in silk. The acting is occasionally shaky (although not from Clint Eastwood). It's stuck between parable and realism in a way that niggles at my suspension of disbelief.

But the characters are cool, the dialogue is witty, the story is simple and compelling. So maybe I'm being unfair, but this gets a solid seven out of ten for me - and no film would get into my personal Top 250 without at least a high eight.

Entertaining? Yes. Makes you think? A little. All-time great? Nah.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Snapshot afterthoughts

I found a breakdown of the IMDb Top 250 movies by genre here (as of October 2008).

And it occured to me that you can see historical lists of IMDb's Top 250 films using the Internet Archive (also try this link). Back in 1996, IMDb users rated Star Wars as the number one film, and Trainspotting as number two...

Snapshot of IMDb's Top 250 films - Feb 2009

I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but wouldn't it be interesting to see how the Top 250 changes over time?

Below is a snapshot of how it looks today. Since I blogged about them:

7 films have gone up in the ranking (including The Prestige, which gained an impressive 104 places).

6 have stayed the same (including Little Miss Sunshine, dammit!).

And the rest have gone down - including five films that have disappeared from the Top 250 altogether (Walk the Line, Star Wars III, Pirates I, Hero and - I'm particularly disappointed about this one - Almost Famous).

My mission is about 14% complete...

IMDb Top 250 films as of 09 February 2009:

1.9.1The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
2.9.1The Godfather (1972)
3.9.0The Godfather: Part II (1974)
4.8.9Buono, il brutto, il cattivo., Il (1966)
5.8.9The Dark Knight (2008)Yes
6.8.9Pulp Fiction (1994)
7.8.8Schindler's List (1993)
8.8.8One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
9.8.812 Angry Men (1957)
10.8.8Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
11.8.8Casablanca (1942)Yes
12.8.8Star Wars (1977)
13.8.8Shichinin no samurai (1954)Yes
14.8.8The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
15.8.7Goodfellas (1990)
16.8.7Rear Window (1954)Yes
17.8.7Cidade de Deus (2002)
18.8.7Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
19.8.7C'era una volta il West (1968)
20.8.7The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
21.8.7The Usual Suspects (1994)
22.8.7Fight Club (1999)Yes
23.8.7Psycho (1960)
24.8.6The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
25.8.6Sunset Blvd. (1950)
26.8.6Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
27.8.6Memento (2000)Yes
28.8.6North by Northwest (1959)
29.8.6Citizen Kane (1941)
30.8.6The Matrix (1999)
31.8.6It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
32.8.6The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
33.8.6Se7en (1995)
34.8.6Slumdog Millionaire (2008)Yes
35.8.5Léon (1994)
36.8.5Apocalypse Now (1979)
37.8.5American Beauty (1999)
38.8.5Taxi Driver (1976)Yes
39.8.5Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
40.8.5WALL·E (2008)Yes
41.8.5American History X (1998)
42.8.5Vertigo (1958)
43.8.5Paths of Glory (1957)
44.8.5Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le (2001)
45.8.5Forrest Gump (1994)
46.8.5M (1931)
47.8.5The Wrestler (2008)Yes
48.8.5Double Indemnity (1944)
49.8.5To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
50.8.5The Departed (2006)Yes
51.8.5Alien (1979)
52.8.5A Clockwork Orange (1971)
53.8.5The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
54.8.5Das Leben der Anderen (2006)
55.8.5The Third Man (1949)
56.8.4The Shining (1980)
57.8.4Chinatown (1974)Yes
58.8.4The Pianist (2002)
59.8.4Saving Private Ryan (1998)
60.8.4Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)Yes
61.8.4Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)
62.8.4Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
63.8.4Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
64.8.4Aliens (1986)
65.8.4L.A. Confidential (1997)
66.8.4Requiem for a Dream (2000)Yes
67.8.4Das Boot (1981)
68.8.4The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
69.8.4Laberinto del fauno, El (2006)
70.8.4Reservoir Dogs (1992)
71.8.4City Lights (1931)
72.8.4Rashômon (1950)Yes
73.8.4The Maltese Falcon (1941)
74.8.4Raging Bull (1980)
75.8.4All About Eve (1950)
76.8.3Metropolis (1927)
77.8.3Modern Times (1936)
78.8.3Der Untergang (2004)
79.8.3Singin' in the Rain (1952)
80.8.3Rebecca (1940)
81.8.3Gran Torino (2008)
82.8.3Some Like It Hot (1959)
83.8.3The Prestige (2006)Yes
84.8.3Amadeus (1984)
85.8.32001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
86.8.3The Elephant Man (1980)
87.8.3Vita è bella, La (1997)
88.8.3The Apartment (1960)
89.8.3Nuovo cinema Paradiso (1988)
90.8.3The Great Escape (1963)
91.8.3Sin City (2005)Yes
92.8.3Full Metal Jacket (1987)Yes
93.8.3Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
94.8.3Touch of Evil (1958)
95.8.3The Sting (1973)
96.8.3The Great Dictator (1940)
97.8.3No Country for Old Men (2007)
98.8.3Hotel Rwanda (2004)Yes
99.8.3Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
100.8.3Sjunde inseglet, Det (1957)
101.8.3On the Waterfront (1954)
102.8.3Ladri di biciclette (1948)
103.8.3Back to the Future (1985)
104.8.3Braveheart (1995)
105.8.3Batman Begins (2005)Yes
106.8.3The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
107.8.3Jaws (1975)
108.8.3Strangers on a Train (1951)
109.8.3Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
110.8.3Blade Runner (1982)
111.8.3Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
112.8.2The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
113.8.2Unforgiven (1992)
114.8.2There Will Be Blood (2007)
115.8.2Notorious (1946)
116.8.2The Green Mile (1999)
117.8.2High Noon (1952)
118.8.2The Big Sleep (1946)
119.8.2Fargo (1996)
120.8.2Oldboy (2003)
121.8.2Gladiator (2000)
122.8.2Cool Hand Luke (1967)
123.8.2Per qualche dollaro in più (1965)
124.8.2The Wizard of Oz (1939)Yes
125.8.2Die Hard (1988)
126.8.2Mononoke-hime (1997)
127.8.2Yojimbo (1961)
128.8.2Donnie Darko (2001)
129.8.2Ran (1985)
130.8.2The General (1927)
131.8.2Annie Hall (1977)
132.8.2Smultronstället (1957)
133.8.2Salaire de la peur, Le (1953)
134.8.2Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
135.8.2Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
136.8.2It Happened One Night (1934)
137.8.2Heat (1995)
138.8.2Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)Yes
139.8.2The Deer Hunter (1978)
140.8.2The Sixth Sense (1999)
141.8.2Ben-Hur (1959)
142.8.2Platoon (1986)
143.8.2Into the Wild (2007)
144.8.2Million Dollar Baby (2004)
145.8.1The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
146.8.1Notti di Cabiria, Le (1957)
147.8.1Life of Brian (1979)
148.8.1Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
149.8.1Diaboliques, Les (1955)
150.8.1Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
151.8.1 (1963)
152.8.1Ratatouille (2007)
153.8.1The Big Lebowski (1998)
154.8.1The Killing (1956)
155.8.1Amores perros (2000)
156.8.1The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
157.8.1Finding Nemo (2003)Yes
158.8.1The Graduate (1967)
159.8.1Snatch. (2000)
160.8.1The Night of the Hunter (1955)
161.8.1Brief Encounter (1945)Yes
162.8.1Stand by Me (1986)
163.8.1Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
164.8.1Gandhi (1982)
165.8.1The Wild Bunch (1969)
166.8.1The Gold Rush (1925)
167.8.1Gone with the Wind (1939)
168.8.1Trainspotting (1996)
169.8.1V for Vendetta (2005)Yes
170.8.1The Princess Bride (1987)
171.8.1Scarface (1983)
172.8.1The Thing (1982)Yes
173.8.1The Incredibles (2004)Yes
174.8.1The Lion King (1994)
175.8.1Groundhog Day (1993)
176.8.1Harvey (1950)
177.8.1Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
178.8.1Battaglia di Algeri, La (1966)
179.8.1Toy Story (1995)
180.8.1Children of Men (2006)
181.8.1Sleuth (1972)
182.8.1The Terminator (1984)
183.8.1The Hustler (1961)
184.8.1Umberto D. (1952)
185.8.0The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
186.8.0Twelve Monkeys (1995)
187.8.0The African Queen (1951)Yes
188.8.0Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)Yes
189.8.0Låt den rätte komma in (2008)
190.8.0Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
191.8.0Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
192.8.0Duck Soup (1933)Yes
193.8.0The Conversation (1974)
194.8.0The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
195.8.0The Lady Vanishes (1938)
196.8.0The Kid (1921)
197.8.0Stalag 17 (1953)
198.8.0The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
199.8.0Casino (1995)
200.8.0Hotaru no haka (1988)
201.8.0King Kong (1933)
202.8.0Scaphandre et le papillon, Le (2007)
203.8.0Crash (2004/I)
204.8.0Dial M for Murder (1954)Yes
205.8.0Ed Wood (1994)
206.8.0The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
207.8.0The Exorcist (1973)
208.8.0All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
209.8.0In Bruges (2008)
210.8.0The Lost Weekend (1945)
211.8.0Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
212.8.0Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)Yes
213.8.0A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
214.8.0Rope (1948)
215.8.0Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
216.8.0Patton (1970)
217.8.0Rosemary's Baby (1968)
218.8.0Wo hu cang long (2000)
219.8.0Frankenstein (1931)
220.8.0Glory (1989)
221.8.0Little Miss Sunshine (2006)Yes
222.8.0Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
223.8.0His Girl Friday (1940)
224.8.0Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
225.8.0Magnolia (1999)
226.8.0Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
227.8.0Strada, La (1954)
228.8.0Safety Last! (1923)
229.8.0Belle et la bête, La (1946)
230.8.0Network (1976)
231.8.0Spartacus (1960)
232.8.0The Philadelphia Story (1940)
233.8.0Manhattan (1979)
234.8.0Big Fish (2003)
235.8.0In the Heat of the Night (1967)
236.8.0Great Expectations (1946)
237.8.0Roman Holiday (1953)
238.8.0Mystic River (2003)
239.8.0Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
240.8.0Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
241.8.0Rocky (1976)
242.8.0Dolce vita, La (1960)
243.8.0Frost/Nixon (2008)Yes
244.8.0The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
245.8.0Laura (1944)
246.8.0Planet of the Apes (1968)
247.8.0Changeling (2008)
248.8.0Harold and Maude (1971)
249.8.0Eskiya (1996)
250.8.0The Message (1976)