Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Prestige

I was in sixth form when the Sixth Sense came out at the cinema, and unlike many of the people in my school I didn't go and see it the weekend it came out. That proved to be a big mistake when in the common room one afternoon and some loudmouth revealed the plot twist. When I went to see the movie that weekend I spent most of the time trying to work out if I would have been able to guess what was going to be revealed thus ruining the only good movie M Night Shyamalan has ever made... although that isn't really saying much...

I love movies with a twist, particularly one that is so unexpected (Usual Suspects and The Game spring to mind here), which is why I found the Prestige a little disappointing. I'm not saying all movies must have a twist for me to enjoy them, but if they do have a twist I want it to be something so surprising and unexpected that it leaves me with that sense of awe - and in the case of the Usual Suspects or The Game a desire to watch the movie again and again to see what cues I missed.

The Prestige tries to twist and turn its way through what I feel was a slightly disappointing storyline, where the only real dilemma I had was which character was the most annoying (Bale as a result of his accent). I hate sounding so big headed but the surprise twists weren't surprises to me; while I hadn't reached a firm conclusion all the "surprises" were thoughts that had already popped into my head as the story developed.

This film surprised me in being in the Top 100, even before I had seen it, and having watched it my opinion hasn't changed. If you want to see a movie like this then I would suggest watching the Illusionist instead - better story, better twist, only let down by a lack of either Piper Perabo or Scarlett Johansson...

Sunday, 12 June 2011


Reliant as I am on Tesco DVD rental, I take them as they arrive on my doorstep.

Which means rather unceremoniously the first film of the 100 is WALL-E... certainly not the one I would have imagined choosing to start the ball rolling!

I think this may actually be the saddest Disney film since Bambi, although is nowhere near the shear brutality of an American Tale - a film that traumatized me more as an 8 year old than my surreptitious viewing of Arachnaphobia, It or indeed Arnold Schwarzenegger's acting in Terminator 2... (unbelievably it is on this list - crazy people).

I think what makes this film work so well for me is that so much is left unsaid; the explanatory monologues that often plague Hollywood films, particularly those with unexpected twists, are unnecessary here. The problems in WALL-E's world are displayed for all to see, we don't need a news reporter or voiceover to explain what has happened and that is what is so stark about it all.

Yes it is a cartoon, but the parallels with our life of over consumption, monopolisation and living our life over the internet (Ed- yes I am aware of the hypocrisy as I type this on my mac, and then post it to facebook...) perhaps leave us with a warning for the future.

Oh and WALL-E and EVE are really cute together... God I hate being single!!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

A few explanations and clarifications

I debated quite long and hard over which top 100 list to go with, and it would seem that there are quite a few out there. In the end I plumped for the IMDB list, because it had a decent range of films both old and modern, was updated constantly and by people who I assume actually like films (although I know not why Inglorious Basterds is on there...)

I am conscious that I have seen about 40 of these films and I own about 20 of them, but the challenge is not so much to watch lots of new films, but to watch what are regarded as the best films. That and I don't think you can ever watch Shawshank Redemption too many times!

A new year... a new challenge!

So I may have failed miserably last year with the 50 books challenge, but as history tells us if at first you don't succeed then try and try again (unless of course it is Sky-diving...).

I did manage 45 of the 50 books last year and truthfully I am quite pleased with that, particularly as I never thought I would get close after getting stuck on Justfied Sinner back in September, October time. I still have Tolstoy and Dumas to read but I will get to them eventually, particularly with my new shiny Kindle...

So this year I want to set myself something just as self-improving, but perhaps a slightly easier goal to achieve in a year. To that end I have set myself the challenge to