Wednesday, 30 September 2015

TV

The Great British Bake Off
6x09 Chocolate
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Mock the Week
14x09 (24/9/15 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Films

The Falling (2014)
[#141 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

TV

Castle
5x05 Probable Cause
5x06 The Final Frontier

Films

Terror by Night (1946)
[#140 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]

The 13th, and penultimate, film starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. After years of 'work', I've very nearly finished the series!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

TV

Castle
5x04 Murder He Wrote

Mock the Week
14x08 (17/9/15 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Films

Boyz n the Hood (1991)
[#137 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]

this week on 100 Films

Four brand-new reviews were published to 100 Films in a Year this week, and they were...


American Sniper (2014)
an adequately-made film. Eastwood’s direction is at best workmanlike, at worst laughably clich├ęd. Jason Hall’s screenplay rehashes better movies’ insights into the mental effects of war on combatants. Neither elicit much excitement from a half-arsed sniper-vs-sniper storyline.
Read more here.


High Noon (1952)
No one will stand with Will. Interpreted by the American left as an analogy for people being afraid to stand up to McCarthy’s HUAC witch-hunt, some on the right were less impressed: John Wayne and Howard Hawks made Rio Bravo as a direct riposte. Both are regarded as classic Westerns, so in that respect there’s no ‘winner’ there.
Read more here.


Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
the end result feels a bit like two different movies stuck together: the very Mad Max-y first part in Bartertown awkwardly transitions into the society-of-kids segment, before the two clash for a Mad Max 2-emulating chase-through-the-desert climax. It might not make for the smoothest through line... but at least it exposes us to a different facet of the series’ post-apocalyptic Australia.
Read more here.


Raging Bull (1980)
the boxing scenes were some of the bits I liked the most — they’re very well done; immensely effective. Unfortunately, they make up barely ten minutes of the running time, and it was the rest I didn’t care for.
Read more here.


Plus eight archive posts were reposted on the new blog...


Week 31
This is the first single-week entry since week 14. As well as a concerted effort (such as three films on the Friday), it’s helped by a lessening in the amount of TV I’ve been watching — last entry’s list of 19 on-going programmes has shrunk to 13 by the end of this week. Some might say I watch too much TV…
Read more here.


Week 32
Some might say I’ve been generous with the five-star ratings of late — four in the last two weeks, compared to a total of six in the 29 weeks before it. Maybe I have. There aren’t any to be seen this week, though that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen any good films. In fact, some only fall slightly short.
Read more here.


Week 33
The biggest news this week: I've passed 90. 90! Only ten films to go 'til I hit the final aim -- I think I can manage that in 19 weeks, to be honest.
Read more here.


Week 34
several over-long reviews this week — I appear to be losing my self control on that front. They’ll have multiple paragraphs before long, you mark my words!
Read more here.


Week 35
the four I have watched leave me only two short of the long awaited number 100! But that’s for next week. So, here are those four films, each from a different decade, across almost 60 years no less.
Read more here.


Week 36
This week is an unusually short one. Normally I’d just carry it over into the next entry, but one very important thing stops me…

I’ve reached 100!
Read more here.


Weeks 37-40
It’s an all-action extravaganza this entry, with no less than four films with a distinctly violent centre. But don’t think it’s all the same, oh no no — between them they cover several continents, even more countries, and spread out from the ancient past to the distant (or, at least, alternate) future, via the present day of course. There are spears, swords, guns and fists causing pain left, right and centre… and a few more unusual objects too. If you thought “action movie” meant endless bullets and slow motion… well, it does tend to involve at least one of those… but still, have a look and see that there is room for some variety.
Read more here.


Weeks 41-42
I do feel a tad arty this week, actually. Of the six films listed below, two are French, one German, one Japanese, two are shorts, and five are between 77 and 94 years old. That’s two weeks at the start of a University film module for you!
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

TV

Doctor Who
35x02 The Witch's Familiar
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice
2x08 Episode 8
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Films

Foxcatcher (2014)
[#136 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

After last week, which had increases across the board -- and some of them huge -- this week there's nothing to report. There's a pre-order in the post for next week, though; and it's also the running time update, which should be a big'un.

Number of titles in collection: 1,798 [no change]
Of which DVDs: 1,209 [no change]
Of which Blu-rays: 589 [no change]

Number of discs in collection: 4,521 [no change]
Number of films in collection: 1,946 [no change]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 6,801 [no change]
Number of short films in collection: 455 [no change]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Monday, 21 September 2015

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Films

Willow (1988)
[#132 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]

this week on 100 Films

Four brand-new reviews were published to 100 Films in a Year this week, and they were...


How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
Part of its success stems from being bold with the concept. Rather than just rehashing the first film’s story, or taking it in only a slightly different direction, returning writer-director Dean DeBlois jumps the story forward five years, in the process changing the status quo of the film’s world enough to keep it fresh.
Read more here.


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014)
If you’re not au fait with the first two Hunger Games movies, there’s nothing for you here... Even for those of us who are, Mockingjay Part 1 throws us in at the deep end, starting a little while after the end of the last film and challenging us to keep up. It’s a little frustrating at times — if you’ve not watched the previous movies into the ground, there are points where you wonder if you’ve forgotten something or just not been told it yet — but ultimately helps make for an engrossing, mature movie.
Read more here.


John Wick (2014)
John Wick is an action movie. I know you know that, but what I mean is, that’s kind of all it is. There’s no transcendent deeper meaning here; no attempt to explore the real life of a hired killer. If anything, this is an ultra-heightened universe, where the criminal underworld has an entire society and set of rules unto itself, including a raft of familiar faces in cameo-sized roles.
Read more here.


North West Frontier (1959)
I caught a few seconds and thought it looked fabulously shot — I confess, that’s the only reason I’d got hold of a copy. I’m so glad I did though, because it’s excellent stuff — a rollicking, action-packed, old-fashioned (in the good sense) adventure, full of peril, derring-do, chases and shoot-outs.
Read more here.


Plus 11 archive reposts begin the story of 2007, the blog's first year...


Weeks 1-7
The aim of the original idea from which this blog is adapted is to read 50 books this year and list them here. There’s no way I’d manage that, to be honest. Yes, I’m an English Lit student — that doesn’t mean I read! So my version is to try to watch 100 films this year... we begin here, covering weeks one to seven of this year.
Read more here.


Week 8
Number of films per week required to achieve 100: 1.93. Current average number of films seen per week: 2.63. More than on target. Excellent.
Read more here.


Weeks 9-11
I’m not doing too badly — not yet a quarter of the way through the year and I’ve passed the quarter point in my total. There is hope yet!
Read more here.


Weeks 12-13 (Statistics)
The end of the second week here marks the exact quarter-way point of my filmic quest (in time terms anyway) and so it seems an appropriate point to reflect a little on my quest so far. So here are some numbers, all totalled up to the end of week thirteen
Read more here.


Week 14
this week I’ve hit an exact average of three films per week — if that were to continue I’d easily pass 150 films by the end of the year! It’s really beginning to seem that 100 is a rather easy mark to cross, while 150 would be more realistic… though only if I kept this rate up, and if I slipped I would fail. That’s never fun.
Read more here.


Weeks 15-18
After a glut of movies during the middle of the holiday things have slowed down a tad again. I say “a tad” — you can see how much by the sheer volume of weeks included in this entry and the relatively sparse number of films! (To be technical, the average-films-per-week in this entry is 1.75, compared to 2.72 overall and 6 (yes, 6!) last time.)
Read more here.


Weeks 19-20
In which I don’t see Spider-Man 3, because I don’t care enough to brave the huge opening weekend crowds (and it’s not meant to be very good anyway).
Read more here.


Weeks 21-23
This time I do see Spider-Man 3!
Read more here.


Weeks 24-26
I’m halfway through! For anyone who can’t remember how many weeks there are in a year… well, there’s 52; and half of 52 is 26; and the week of June 25th is week 26 of 2007, meaning that July 1st is just about halfway through the year (though, to be precise, there’s actually 52 weeks and one day in a year… well, actually, 52 weeks, one day and a quarter day… anyway…)
Read more here.


Weeks 27-28
I've done really pathetically in the last couple of months -- my average number of films per week has dropped from 2.7 for weeks 1 to 18 to just 1.5 for weeks 19 to 26! I ain't gonna get to the end that way... Actually, I'd hit exactly 100 by the end of the year if I carried on that way. But still, reaching 'only' 100 when I was more on track to hit 150 does seem like a slight disappointment.
Read more here.


Weeks 29-30
Another two week stretch on my quest to see 100 new films by the end of the year. I'm just not seeing enough films per week to warrant entries that often, it would seem. This time round I blame TV -- so many new things have started, as well as continuing shows, that I spend most of my time keeping up! During these two weeks I've been watching...
Read the list here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

TV

Doctor Who
35x00b Prologue
35x00c The Doctor's Meditation
35x01 The Magician's Apprentice
Two short 'prequels' (viewable at the above links, and via various services like Amazon Instant Video) and the season premiere proper. I enjoyed it on the whole, though as with all two-parters, you can't judge it properly until next week's conclusion.
[Watch The Magician's Apprentice (again) on iPlayer.]

The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice
2x07 Episode 7
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Films

American Sniper (2014)
[#131 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

Last week I mentioned that a complete TV series box set would provide a numbers boost this week. It did... and then I bought another one (both were thanks to great offer prices), and so the number of TV episodes gets a massive boost. As does the number of discs, of course.

The running time update in a couple of weeks should be pretty hefty 'n' all...

Number of titles in collection: 1,798 [up 3]
Of which DVDs: 1,209 [up 1]
Of which Blu-rays: 589 [up 2]

Number of discs in collection: 4,521 [up 58]
Number of films in collection: 1,946 [up 2]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 6,801 [up 167]
Number of short films in collection: 455 [up 1]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Films

Superbad (2007)
[#2015 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]

this week on 100 Films

Three brand-new reviews were published to 100 Films in a Year this week, and they were...


Contagion (2011)
Director Steven Soderbergh takes the methodology he used to depict the drug trade in Traffic — an ensemble cast divided among a portmanteau of colour-coded storylines to examine different aspects of the theme — and applies it to the outbreak of a devastating global pandemic.
Read more here.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
If you’ve read or seen a previous version then you know the story, which hasn’t succumbed to a massive reworking for this American remake — it’s still set in Sweden, even. If you don’t... The novel’s original title translates as Men Who Hate Women, and that’s a pretty succinct summary of the grim, violent, nasty places the stories take us.
Read more here.


Shivers (1975)
The first commercial (i.e. non-student) feature by horror maestro-to-be David Cronenberg, Shivers depicts the sexually-charged chaos that erupts after the spread of a man-made sexually-transmitted parasite in an isolated hyper-modern tower block.
Read more here.


Plus six archive posts were reposted on the new blog...


Audrey Hepburn, er, ‘Week’…
Channel 4 attempted a week of Audrey Hepburn films. Except for some reason they didn’t schedule one for Monday. And then Friday’s, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, was replaced by delayed horse racing. And for my part, I forgot to record Thursday’s film, Funny Face. So following Valentine’s Day, Channel 4 showed a pair of Audrey Hepburn films
Read more here.


Hercules’ New Groove
Hercules and The Emperor’s New Groove are connected by two things: firstly, they’re among the first Disney films I didn’t see because I’d Grown Up; secondly, I’m not sure I’d’ve wanted to see them anyway because I always thought they looked rubbish... Finally seeing this pair now, I find that my expectations were surprisingly flouted in one case, and sadly vindicated in another.
Read more here.


A pair of comedies — one with snow!
It’s Christmas Eve!... As I have no Christmassy films stacked up in my big pile of things I need to get round to reviewing, I’ve decided the nearest I can offer to the Christmas spirit is a pair of British comedies (comedies being kinda jolly, see), one of which has snow, which is always Christmassy. Except when it’s just at the North Pole. Like in this film. Oh shh, it’s the best I could do.
Read more here.


Robin Hood, without the realism
By the vagaries of chance, I wound up watching two classic (read: old) Robin Hood-related films around the time Ridley Scott’s new realistic (read: still all made-up, but ‘gritty’) film was in cinemas. So for those who felt Scott's Robin Hood lacked the necessary swashing of buckles, what about this pair?
Read more here.


A week of vengeance
Each day this week I’ll be posting a new review of a film about vengeance... The films I’ve picked out are British thriller Harry Brown, flop comic book Western Jonah Hex, classic ’70s Western High Plains Drifter, and violent action-thriller Law Abiding Citizen.
Read more here.


What price a 'Definitive Cut'?
The question of a ‘definitive version’ comes in the multitude of Director’s Cuts, Extended Cuts, Harder Cuts, Extreme Cuts — whatever label the marketing boys & girls slap on them, Longer Versions You Didn’t See In The Cinema is what they are. But are they better? Or more definitive? Does it matter?
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Films

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014)
[#127 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]

North West Frontier (1959)
[#126 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]
Known in the US as Flame Over India and in Australia as Empress of India.

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

A couple of movies this week. Next week, a big whole-TV-series box set -- should make the next running time update (in a few weeks) a big'un.

Number of titles in collection: 1,795 [up 3]
Of which DVDs: 1,208 [no change]
Of which Blu-rays: 587 [up 3]

Number of discs in collection: 4,463 [up 6]
Number of films in collection: 1,944 [up 4]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 6,634 [no change]
Number of short films in collection: 454 [no change]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Films

'80s Day! (Not deliberately.)

The Dark Crystal (1982)
[#124 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
[#125 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]

They Live (1988)
[#123 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

TV

Cowboy Bebop
1x16 Black Dog Serenade
An episode or two once a month may not be "a reasonable timeframe", but at least it's better than it was before!

The Great British Bake Off
6x06 Pastry
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Sunday, 6 September 2015

TV

8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown
9x17 (4/9/15 edition) [season finale]
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Films

Murder by Death (1976)
[#120 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]

this week on 100 Films

It's so long ago you may've forgotten it happened, but September began this week. That means it was time for 100 Films in a Year to look back at August:




Relatedly, this week I launched a poetical new feature. Learn more about it in the...




Aright, back to business as normal: two brand-new reviews were published this week...


Monsters: Dark Continent (2014)
this sequel to Gareth Edwards’ low-budget sci-fi indie-romance takes things in a completely different direction: we follow a troop of soldier mates as they’re shipped off for their first tour in Nonspecificstan... The guys’ macho posturing is soon undercut by the realities of a combat zone, especially when they’re dispatched to rescue four soldiers left behind deep in the infected zone
Read more here.


Salvation Boulevard (2011)
A soft-toothed satire of America’s fundamentalist mega-churches, Salvation Boulevard trailed very well, but they must’ve stuffed all the funny bits in, because in the final film such moments of hilarity are few and far between.
Read more here.


Plus five archive posts were reposted on the new blog...


Alien vs Predator – Part 3
Having already published my thoughts on the two franchise starters and the remaining films in the Alien series, this is the concluding entry in my coverage of the Alien, Predator and Alien vs Predator franchises.
Read more here.


And the Oscar for Best Picture... of 2007...
It seems appropriate timing to finally publish this group of reviews for (most of) 2007's Best Picture nominees (a 'feature' I've had in the planning for well over a year -- oops). Yes, it's two ceremonies ago, but it's the best I've got.
Read more here.


The ‘Best Pictures’ of the Noughties
With 2010’s Oscar nominees due to be announced tomorrow sometime, I thought I’d have a look back at how I’ve done seeing the Best Picture nominees from the noughties. Feel free to play along.
Read more here.


Do You Wanna Date James Cameron’s Avatar?
when I heard, on the same day, of the expected success of the trailer for James Cameron’s Avatar... and the surprising success of The Guild’s music video for (Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar… well, I couldn’t help seeing what would happen were the two to collide…
Read more here.


Wallander 2 (or 6) and 3 (or 13)
There are multiple TV/movie series based on Henning Mankell’s detective Kurt Wallander. This particular one, begun in 2005, features an adaptation of one novel followed by twelve original stories. Of these thirteen feature-length episodes, three were released theatrically — episodes one, six and thirteen — and, because of their initial cinema release, I’ve reviewed those three as part of my objective.
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

TV

The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice
2x05 Episode 5
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Films

Go (1999)
[#119 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

Just one new title this week, but it's also the running time update, so there's that.

Number of titles in collection: 1,792 [up 1]
Of which DVDs: 1,208 [no change]
Of which Blu-rays: 584 [up 1]

Number of discs in collection: 4,457 [up 1]
Number of films in collection: 1,940 [up 1]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 6,634 [no change]
Number of short films in collection: 454 [no change]

Total running time of collection (approx.):
321 days, 2 hours, and 51 minutes.
(Up 15 hours and 54 minutes from last month.)

See you next week, faithful reader.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Fiction

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
Chapter 6 [the end; 2nd read]

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

TV

The Americans
3x12 I Am Abassin Zadran
3x13 March 8, 1983 [season finale]
As great as The Americans is (and it is), that wasn't much of a finale. A very good episode in and of itself, but it feels like we're right in the middle of a story rather than at the end of one.

Films

The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011)
[#112 in 100 Films in a Year 2015]
Part 12 Fight the Power: Protest in Film