This is a Meme that has been doing the movie blog rounds. Okay, it’s supposed to be drawn out over 31 days but, partially because I don’t have the time and partially because I’m like a kid on Christmas morning who wants to open all his presents right now, I’m going to do this in one swoop. Join in!

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DAY 1: A SEQUEL THAT SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN MADE

Saw II.

That, and every subsequent Saw movie. The first one was clever, chilling and well executed. The rest have been a steady plopping of tedious, repetitive turds.

DAY 2: A MOVIE MORE PEOPLE SHOULD SEE

The Corporation.

Everyone should see it. A documentary scarier than any horror movie.

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DAY 3: FAVOURITE OSCAR-NOMINATED MOVIE FROM THE MOST RECENT BALLOT

Up in the Air.

One of the best movies of the year.

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DAY 4: A MOVIE THAT MAKES YOU LAUGH EVERY TIME

Withnail and I.

“We’ve gone on holiday by mistake.”

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DAY 5: A MOVIE THAT YOU LOATHE

Van Helsing.

A travesty. Stephen Sommers manages to piss on every classic Universal monster in one movie. Not even Kate Beckinsale in tight leather can save this abomination.

DAY 6: A MOVIE THAT MAKES YOU CRY EVERY TIME

V For Vendetta.

Valerie’s story, written for Natalie Portman to find in her cell, gets me every time.

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DAY 7: LEAST FAVOURITE MOVIE BY A FAVOURITE ACTOR

America’s Sweethearts.

What was John Cusack thinking?

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DAY 8: A MOVIE THAT SHOULD BE REQUIRED HIGH SCHOOL VIEWING

Battle Royale.

This is what we have in mind for you, you little bastards.

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DAY 9: BEST SCENE EVER

Raiders of the Lost Ark.

😛 The opening scene. Spiders, Golden idol, rolling boulder, Alfred Molina and Spielberg doing what he does best.


DAY 10: A MOVIE YOU NEVER EXPECTED TO LIKE BUT LOVED

Sherlock Holmes. I’m a big Sherlock Holmes fan so I was sceptical about Downey Jr. (who looks nothing like the character) and Guy Ritchie (who hadn’t made a movie I liked until this) doing a decent job of this. Kudos to them for making it work and capturing the spirit of stories.

DAY 11: A MOVIE THAT DISAPPOINTED YOU

The Expendables.

Big disappointment, and I wasn’t even expecting that much. Jeez.

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DAY 12: BEST SOUNDTRACK/BACKGROUND MUSIC IN A SCENE

Kick-Ass.

The Banana Splits theme (Tra La La song) playing while 10 year-old Hit Girl slices up a roomful of bad guys. Laughed my ass off!

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DAY 13: FAVOURITE ANIMATED MOVIE

Ratatouille.

I never imagined a story about a rat who loves cooking could be so utterly enjoyable.

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DAY 14: FAVOURITE FILM IN BLACK AND WHITE

Goodnight and Good Luck.

Clooney’s second movie looked to the past to comment on the present. Brilliant.

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DAY 15: BEST MUSICAL

Once.

Not sure if it really qualifies as a musical or not. But I loved it.

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DAY 16: YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE MOVIE

Charlie’s Angels.

Shut up.

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DAY 17: FAVOURITE SERIES OF RELATED MOVIES

The Bourne trilogy.

The only franchise that gets better with each movie.

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DAY 18: FAVOURITE TITLE SEQUENCE

Se7en.

See my last post for more details.

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DAY 19: BEST MOVIE CAST

Wonder Boys.

Michael Douglas, Robert Downey Jr. and Frances McDormand for a start. Yum.

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DAY 20: FAVOURITE KISS

Spider-man.

The upside-down kiss in the rain. Makes me want to pull on my tight spandex.

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DAY 21: FAVOURITE ROMANTIC COUPLE

The Fisher King.

Robin Williams and Amanda Plummer. Awwww.

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DAY 22: FAVOURITE FINAL SCENE/LINE

The Godfather: Part III.

Michael Corleone dies alone and tortured by the life he royally screwed up.

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DAY 23: BEST EXPLOSION/ACTION SEQUENCE

The Matrix.

The lobby shoot-out scene, which probably would have been three minutes shorter in normal speed.

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DAY 24: QUOTE YOU USE MOST OFTEN

The Big Lebowski.

“Lotta strands in ol’ duder’s head.”

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DAY 25: A MOVIE YOU PLAN ON WATCHING

Inception.

Still haven’t seen it and it’s getting harder and harder to avoid the spoilers.

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DAY 26: FREAKISHLY WEIRD MOVIE ENDING

Memento.

The ending is at the beginning. But…but…but….

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DAY 27: BEST VILLAIN

The Joker.

Heath Ledger nails the iconic character.  And, no, it’s not a sympathy vote.

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DAY 28: MOST OVER-HYPED MOVIE

Avatar.

Dances with Pixels. In 3D. Yay.

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DAY 29: MOVIE YOU HAVE WATCHED MORE THAN TEN TIMES

Jaws.

Never gets boring. Never. Not ever. And never will. Amen.

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DAY 30: SADDEST DEATH SCENE

Million Dollar Baby.

So utterly, uncompromisingly sad that even Clint Eastwood cries. I don’t stand a chance.

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DAY 31: SCENE THAT MADE YOU STAND UP AND CHEER

The Contender.

Joan Allen’s courageous Senator Hanson finally sticks it to Republican puritan Shelley Runyon (Gary Oldman) and becomes Vice President. Yay!


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Have you ever felt like you are the only person who loves a particular movie, or indeed has even seen it? Yeah, me too. There are some films which you watch, adore and then wonder why no-one else is talking about them. Somehow, they slipped through the net and swam away unnoticed, barely causing a ripple in the water. Some receive critical applause and yet make no money at the box office, some receive neither critical applause or commercial return at all, and some simply don’t enter the annals of their genres with the amount of respect and recognition that you feel they deserved.

Here are the five movies which I feel deserved a far bigger fanfare than they were accorded. My overlooked gems. Feel free to add your own.

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Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang

Having written some of the sharpest and wittiest action movies of the last twenty-five years (Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight), Shane Black finally got the director’s chair with Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang. Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer share a great comic chemistry as a petty thief mistaken for an actor and a gay Private Investigator, caught up together in the intrigues of a seedy Hollywood. The plot is a tightly woven web of insane circumstances, paying an almost sarcastic homage to classic Noir, right down to Downey Jr.’s self-aware narration and love of crime novels featuring a detective with the inspired name of Johnny Gossamer. Val Kilmer has never been funnier, Downey Jr. is at his world-weary best and Black’s dialogue is of the sparkling standard that Tarantino has wet dreams about. And as far as I can tell, no-one saw it.

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May

Little known writer/director Lucky McKee should have made his name with this psychological horror, his second movie. However, even more deserving of wider recognition was lead actress Angela Bettis. May, a lonely young woman traumatised by an isolated childhood and minor disfigurement, is desperate to connect with someone, anyone, but lacks the social skills necessary to do so. May is a misfit in the deepest sense of the word, unable to exercise the normal modes of interaction which bring the world closer. As she tries, and fails, to develop relationships with those around her she gradually unravels to heartbreaking and horrifying effect. This is the kind of movie that hinges on a single performance and Bettis is phenomenal. Whether May’s actions are clumsy, vindictive or ultimately deadly, Bettis never allows our sympathies to drift away. That she did not break out into greater success on the back of this performance is a tragedy.

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Shadow of the Vampire

There are probably as many vampire films as there are Westerns, so popular is the genre, but ask anyone to name their favourite vampire flick and it’s unlikely that Shadow of the Vampire will be among many lists. That’s too bad because it gave a tired genre just what it needed; something a little different. Shadow of the Vampire is based on the actual production of Nosferatu, F.W. Murnau’s 1922 adaptation of Dracula, with one fictional element; Max Shreck, the actor who portrayed Count Orlock, is a vampire in real life and director Murnau is the only member of the crew who knows it. Willem Dafoe has a ball as the bald, rat-like Shreck and John Malkovich is at his lunatic best as the tyrannical filmmaker, allowing the vampire to consume expendable crew members, and promising him the leading lady at the end of filming in return for his co-operation. You are left in no doubt as to who the real monster is.

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Veronica Guerin

Taking a break from producing big, dumb summer blockbusters, Jerry Bruckheimer got behind this true story of the Irish journalist murdered by drug dealers in 1996. Slated in some quarters on its release, and ultimately recouping just over half its budget, Veronica Guerin is still a deeply affecting piece of cinema. Cate Blanchett, in the titular role, and director Joel Schumacher, wisely avoid going the route of presenting Guerin as a two-dimensional ‘plucky’ heroine. Instead we see a whole person; an obstinate, driven, but morally laudable woman who pursues the truth even when it threatens her and her family’s safety. And yet, thanks to Blanchett’s usual great work, she remains noble, admirable and completely sympathetic. The performances from all concerned are first class, and it’s a credit to Schumacher that the final, tragic resolution loses none of its impact, despite the foreknowledge.

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Wonder Boys

Coming off the success and acclaim of L.A. Confidential, journeyman director Curtis Hanson’s next project was a fantastic adaptation of Michael Chabon’s novel Wonder Boys. Charting one weekend in the complicated life of English Professor and novelist Grady Tripp, Hanson’s movie boasts a mouth-watering cast. Michael Douglas gives a career best performance as the pot smoking, crumpled writer, circumnavigating a multitude of woes in the midst of his faculty’s annual Wordfest convention. Tripp is juggling the exodus of his wife, the arrival of his editor (Robert Downey Jr.) who is keen to view the manuscript which Tripp cannot finish, the news that his girlfriend (Frances McDormand) is pregnant, the amorous attentions of one of his students (Katie Holmes) and the clingy depression of another (Tobey Maguire). Douglas is charming, witty and a lot of fun to be with, and so is Wonder Boys. A mystery, then, that the movie only managed a worldwide gross of two thirds its production budget.