Sunday, 30 October 2016

TV

Class
1x03 Nightvisiting
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Stranger Things
1x04 Chapter Four: The Body
1x05 Chapter Five: The Flea and the Acrobat

Would I Lie To You?
10x08 Episode 8
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

this week on 100 Films

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


The Big Short (2015)
The narrative is laden with concepts that are so complicated even people within the industry don’t properly understand all of them (however did the market fail?!), but the movie nonetheless attempts to explain them in an accessible way. It’s half successful: you kind of understand them at the time, about enough to follow along, but the chances of remembering them later are next to naught.
Read more here.


Christine (1983)
about as scary as… well, I was trying to think of something soft and fluffy that hasn’t ever been used in a horror movie, but that list is increasingly short. But you get my point: it’s not scary. Its 18 certificate is earned by an abundance of very strong language — which, according to screenwriter Bill Phillips, was added for that exact purpose
Read more here.


Cover Girl (1944)
Gene Kelly... provides two decent dance numbers: the first alongside Rita Hayworth and Phil Silvers, the second alongside himself, double exposure allowing his shop-window reflection to leap into the street. Otherwise the songs are forgettable, despite the fact it won an Oscar for its score
Read more here.


Doctor Strange (2016)
the story is familiar — but you can say that about most superhero movies, especially origin films. It’s only a problem if you think movies are entirely about their plot. What Strange offers to accompany this through-the-motions narrative is its visuals, and oh, what visuals they are. You’ve likely seen some of it in the trailers — the folding cities, which look like Inception run through a kaleidoscope. Certainly, their complicated detail and intricacy leaves Nolan’s movie in the shade.
Read more here.


The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again (2016)
If you suffered through The Rocky Horror Glee Show, as I did, you’ll know it was a travesty. Is this even worse? Well, that’s a bit like someone forcing you to eat a dog shit and a cat shit before asking you which tasted nicer. That’s a little unfair: the Glee version was meritless; this one has a couple of minor plus points — so maybe it’s like someone making you eat a very small shit while occasionally showing you a picture of a sexy half-naked person. But unless someone forces you to choose between only this and Glee, there’s no earthly reason to do this particular Time Warp again.
Read more here.


Also, my 100 Favourites series continued with 2 more posts...


Sideways (2004)
“If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am not drinking any fucking Merlot!”
Read more here.


The Sixth Sense (1999)
M. Night Shyamalan gets such a bad rep these days, it’s easy to forget how great his breakthrough movie was... even before that ending, it manages to mix plausible emotional drama with scenes of chilling everyday horror, crafting something that is undoubtedly a genre movie but also not out of place in a list of Best Picture nominees.
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Collection Count

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

Slightly delayed again this week thanks to a big set turning up on Saturday afternoon that I then had to include.

Of note this week: I've hit exactly 700 Blu-rays. Next week: I'll probably pass 1,900 overall titles.

Also, it's the monthly running time update. Yay!

Number of titles in collection: 1,896 [up 2]
Of which DVDs: 1,198 [down 1]
Of which Blu-rays: 700 [up 3]

Number of discs in collection: 4,884 [up 12]
Number of films in collection: 2,094 [up 1]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 7,467 [up 15]
Number of short films in collection: 496 [no change]

Total running time of collection (approx.):
361 days, 11 hours, and 11 minutes.
(Up 18 hours and 16 minutes from last month.)

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

TV

Castle
7x04 Child's Play

The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice
3x09 Episode 9
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Stranger Things
1x01 Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers
Finally getting round to what may be the most talked-about show of the year. It's an intriguing start, but it's got a long way to go to justify the hype.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Films

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)
[#167 in 100 Films in a Year 2016]

The Transporter Refuelled (2015)
[#166 in 100 Films in a Year 2016]

this week on 100 Films

It's the time of the month for 100 Films in a Year to look back at recent TV...




Also this week, I published 4 brand-new reviews...


Caesar Must Die (2012)
On the surface, this is a documentary about the inmates of Rome’s high-security Rebibbia prison — many of them with mafia connections — putting on a performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. However, it becomes clear fairly quickly that it’s all been staged... The question becomes: is that a problem? Because while it isn’t a documentary, it also is a documentary.
Read more here.


Charlie Wilson's War (2007)
Unlikely stories can make great movies, or at least fun ones, and if this isn’t the former then it’s largely the latter... Boasting a typically witty script from Aaron Sorkin, and a cast (including Philip Seymour Hoffman) capable of delivering it, it makes a potentially grim topic surprisingly entertaining
Read more here.


Lost River (2014)
there’s definitely some magical realism going on... Adult fairytale would be another term for it; there are slices of some form of Gothic, too. To put it another way, it’s definitely Lynchian. Other directors may have been an influence on Gosling as well, but it specifically brought Blue Velvet to mind for me, without in any palpable way being a clone of that movie.
Read more here.


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
very ’70s in its bleakness; also in being about someone sticking it to The Man, and The Man winning. We often conflate such qualities with realism — “it’s not all happy, it must be more like real life” — but I wonder if Cuckoo’s Nest is actually too on the nose as an indictment of the system.
Read more here.


Finally, my 100 Favourites series continued with 2 more posts...


Serenity (2005)
the real star is Whedon’s screenplay. Packed to the gills with the literate, witty dialogue he’s famed for, it also manages to be emotionally affecting, make points about governments and their power, engage with themes of belief and the importance of freedom, and weave in a subtext that reflects the real-life story of Firefly’s death and rebirth — though Whedon claims that last one was an accident.
Read more here.


The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
exactly the kind of movie primed to emerge as a consensus favourite: it has drama and darkness, but also humour and optimism, and elicits emotions across the spectrum — it’s neither too grim to depress people into not enjoying it, nor too sentimental to make them do that mock “throwing up” noise some people do when things get really schmaltzy.
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

TV

Black Mirror
2x02 White Bear

Class
1x01 For Tonight We Might Die
The new Doctor Who spin-off has a strong start here. It's basically The Sarah Jane Adventures multiplied by Torchwood, but with a good set of characters to help enliven that familiar format. Similarly, the bit where it tips its hat to all the other TV shows with a similar basic setup is funny, but does make you wonder how it might fare in the longer run. We'll see -- it's earnt a chance.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

The Great British Bake Off
7x09 Patisserie Week
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again
[#165 in 100 Films in a Year 2016]
Coming to Sky Cinema over here next Friday, when I'll review it.

Collection Count

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

Just one big DVD-to-Blu-ray upgrade this week, who's only really result impact on these stats is to halve the number of discs in that set!

Number of titles in collection: 1,894 [no change]
Of which DVDs: 1,199 [down 1]
Of which Blu-rays: 697 [up 1]

Number of discs in collection: 4,872 [down 21]
Number of films in collection: 2,093 [no change]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 7,452 [no change]
Number of short films in collection: 496 [no change]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 21 October 2016

TV

Castle
7x03 Clear & Present Danger

The Crystal Maze
Stand Up to Cancer Celebrity Special
[Watch it (again) on All 4.]

Articles

Black Mirror's Charlie Brooker interview: 'I'm loathe to say this is the worst year ever because the next is coming'
by Jacob Stolworthy (from the Independent)

An extended interview about the new season of Black Mirror, plus other stuff. Brooker's always worth a read.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Monday, 17 October 2016

TV

Black Mirror
2x03 The Waldo Moment [season finale]
This is by far the lowest-rated episode of Black Mirror according to IMDb users -- whereas all the others range from 8.1 to 9.0, this has 7.1. And they're not wrong. There are some interesting and sometimes amusing ideas, and like all the best Black Mirrors it's sickeningly plausible, but it ends rather abruptly without seeming to have reached an ultimate point, and a future-set coda gets kind of silly. Ah well.

Duck Quacks Don't Echo
5x07 Episode 7

Ripper Street
5x04 The Dreaming Dead
[Watch it exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.]

Films

Raising Arizona (1987)
[#164 in 100 Films in a Year 2016]

Sunday, 16 October 2016

TV

The Great British Bake Off
7x08 Tudor Week
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Ripper Street
5x03 All the Glittering Blades
[Watch it exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.]

Star Trek
1x28 The City on the Edge of Forever

Star Trek: The Animated Series
1x02 Yesteryear
All of the Star Trek TV series are available on Netflix, which I've currently got for Luke Cage, so I thought I'd watch some of the most acclaimed episodes while I can. I picked these two almost on a whim, not realising they're actually connected. How serendipitous.

this week on 100 Films

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


Armageddon (1998)
Many Hollywood blockbusters have ludicrous concepts, but Armageddon feels designed to plow new furrows of ridiculousness. Apparently NASA show the film to new managers and ask them to spot the errors. There are at least 168. It only takes a few minutes before it’s already so OTT that it seems like a spoof of Bay — I mean, the title card explodes for crying out loud.
Read more here.


Cop Car (2015)
The director of minor horror Clown and (more significantly to the history of cinema, maybe) next year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, Jon Watts drew the attention that landed him the latter job with this festival-hit thriller
Read more here.


Deep Blue Sea (1999)
There is definitely a level of “so bad it’s good” about it. It’s definitely not a good movie in the traditional sense, but it is fun; and unlike, say, Armageddon, it’s clearly not taking itself too seriously. Nicely, it gets by without the constant winks-and-nods at the audience you get in today’s deliberately-trashy genre movies
Read more here.


The Quay Brothers in 35mm (2015)
Christopher Nolan made a few headlines last year when his first post-Interstellar film was announced for near-immediate release... an eight-minute short documentary, Quay, about British-based American-born identical-twin animators the Quay brothers. The short was screened theatrically as part of a programme of animated shorts directed by the brothers, curated by Nolan to accompany his documentary, [which included In Absentia, The Comb, and Street of Crocodiles.]
Read more here.


The Salvation (2014)
The spirit of the Spaghetti Western is kept alive in this Euro-minded South Africa-shot revenge Western.
Read more here.


Also, my 100 Favourites series continued with 2 more posts...


Schindler's List (1993)
The stark black-and-white cinematography acknowledges the incomprehensibly horrific events, while Spielberg’s divisive penchant for sentimentality seems well-matched to the tale, offering a measure of hope from humanity’s darkest days.
Read more here.


Se7en (1995)
I normally say Se7en is my favourite movie... There are more easily enjoyable movies in my 100 Favourites, but there are none that are any better made, nor any that better expose the dark heart of humanity.
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

TV

Ripper Street
5x02 A Brittle Thread
[Watch it exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.]

Would I Lie To You?
10x06 Episode 6
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Films

Moneyball (2011)
[#163 in 100 Films in a Year 2016]

Collection Count

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

A number jumble this week, with some new additions, some upgrades, and some just being sold off.

Number of titles in collection: 1,894 [down 3]
Of which DVDs: 1,200 [down 5]
Of which Blu-rays: 696 [up 2]

Number of discs in collection: 4,893 [down 4]
Number of films in collection: 2,093 [up 5]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 7,452 [down 60]
Number of short films in collection: 496 [down 2]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 14 October 2016

TV

Black Mirror
2x01 Be Right Back
It's only taken me 3½ years to get round to this (seriously, where does time go?!)

Castle
7x01 Driven
Normally I prefer a gap between seasons of things, but as six ended on a cliffhanger...

Ripper Street
5x01 Closed Casket
[Watch it exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.]

Films

Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (2016)
[#162 in 100 Films in a Year 2016]

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Monday, 10 October 2016

Sunday, 9 October 2016

TV

Would I Lie To You?
10x05 Episode 5
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Films

A Knight's Tale (2001)
[#160 in 100 Films in a Year 2016]

The Quay Brothers in 35mm (2015)
[#159 in 100 Films in a Year 2016]
Including the shorts In Absentia, Quay, The Comb, and Street of Crocodiles.

this week on 100 Films

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


The Magnificent Seven (1960)
With even less screen time to go round than in Kurosawa’s original, the cast only get to provide thumbnail sketches of their characters. However, bearing that in mind, only Vaughn really feels shortchanged on time, while McQueen manages to steal every scene he’s in, even when he was supposed to just be in the background — much to Brynner’s annoyance.
Read more here.


Mr. Turner (2014)
There are two stars in Mike Leigh’s biopic of famed British artist J.M.W. Turner: Timothy Spall, grunting his way through the title role with a deceptively layered realisation of an apparently simple but deeply complex man; and Dick Pope’s cinematography, which makes almost every frame look like a rich landscape painting, so that you feel you can almost see the brushstrokes.
Read more here.


Pixels (2015)
the virtual definition of brain-off entertainment. The story has the plausibility of a kids’ daydream, the humour is frequently unimaginative, and the action sequences mostly coast on their basic concept rather than trying to elevate them... But for all that mediocrity, I spent 100 minutes feeling gently entertained. I laughed a few times; the action was, as I say, passable
Read more here.


Pride (2014)
Perhaps most remarkable is Dominic West as a veteran homosexual, whose dancing display has to be seen to be believed. Bill Nighy and Paddy Considine are understated as quiet, hesitant characters who have inner steel, and Jessica Gunning makes a similar impact as a housewife who is completely emboldened by the activism. I don’t like just listing actors, but it would be a disservice not to mention Faye Marsay, Andrew Scott, Imelda Staunton… I could go on. Screenwriter Stephen Beresford finds meaningful stories and character arcs for each of these, while director Matthew Warchus controls the story so that it never devolves into a collection of subplots.
Read more here.


Westworld (1973)
while the original film does offer Crichton’s superb concept, plus a few straightforward action/suspense thrills, it’s too slight to really deliver on the inherent promise.
Read more here.


Also, my 100 Favourites series continued with 2 more posts...


Saved! (2004)
At the first assembly of the school year, cool headmaster Pastor Skip flips onto stage (“Give it up to the Lord, Jesus is in the house! Let’s get our Christ on, let’s kick it Jesus style! … Who’s down with G-O-D? Alright! Jesus rules! Jesus rules!”), before... Cassandra starts ‘speaking in tongues’ (“mah puhsah issa hot puhsow”), though Hilary Faye sees through it (“she’s saying she’s got a hot p—!”)
Read more here.


Saving Private Ryan (1998)
the greatest war movie ever made? Maybe... It’s certainly the most influential World War 2 movie of modern times — nearly 20 years later, its desaturated colour palette remains de rigueur for films set in the war. So too its realistic depiction of combat, which is more plausible than some of the Boy’s Own adventures that came before, though not so ridiculously gruelling as some that have come in its wake.
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

TV

Castle
6x20 That '70s Show

Luke Cage
1x10 Take It Personal
1x11 Now You're Mine

Films

The Russia House (1990)
[#158 in 100 Films in a Year 2016]

Collection Count

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

Number of titles in collection: 1,897 [up 5]
Of which DVDs: 1,205 [up 1]
Of which Blu-rays: 694 [up 4]

Number of discs in collection: 4,897 [up 6]
Number of films in collection: 2,088 [up 4]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 7,512 [no change]
Number of short films in collection: 498 [up 25]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 7 October 2016

TV

Line of Duty
1x05 Episode 5 [season finale]

Luke Cage
1x09 DWYCK

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Monday, 3 October 2016

TV

Line of Duty
1x01 Episode 1

Luke Cage
1x03 Who's Gonna Take the Weight?
1x04 Step in the Arena

Red Dwarf
11x02 Samsara
Has it really been four years since Series X? Where does time go?! Anyway, I accidentally left it too long to see episode 1 on catch-up, but I get the impression watching them out of order doesn't matter, so I'll find it later.

Collection Count

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

I'm a couple of days late this week because it's time for the mega monthly running time update, and I'd got behind on keeping track of said running times. It's all good now, though, so here we go:

Number of titles in collection: 1,892 [up 2]
Of which DVDs: 1,204 [no change]
Of which Blu-rays: 690 [up 2]

Number of discs in collection: 4,891 [up 10]
Number of films in collection: 2,084 [no change]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 7,512 [up 64]
Number of short films in collection: 473 [no change]

Total running time of collection (approx.):
360 days, 16 hours, and 55 minutes.
(Up 2 days, 21 hours, and 33 minutes from last month.)

See you next week, faithful reader.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

TV

Castle
6x18 The Way of the Ninja

Would I Lie To You?
10x04 Episode 4
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

this week on 100 Films

2016 entered its final quarter this week, which meant it was yet again time for 100 Films in a Year to reflect on the past month...




Additionally, 4 brand-new reviews were published this week...


High-Rise (2015)
I was looking forward to this sci-fi-ish ’70s social satire, but, having let it percolate for a few months, I still have no real grasp of what it was about. I mean, it’s obviously about society, but what its point about society is… I have no idea.
Read more here.


Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
A story of young love, Wes Anderson style, the writer-director has described Moonrise Kingdom as “an autobiography about something that didn’t happen”. That feels like a good way to regard the film. There’s clearly an emotional truth to Sam and Suzy’s discontented lives and their desire to connect with a like-minded individual, especially at an age when romantic feelings are beginning to emerge; but there’s no way the rest of the events — which unfold with Anderson’s typical almost-real / almost-fantastical quirkiness — actually happened.
Read more here.


Rushmore (1998)
Having only seen Anderson’s three most recent films, it’s interesting to observe the early days of his distinctive style. The squared-off framing and blocking, the mannered acting, the interludes and asides, the not-quite-real / not-quite-fantasy quirkiness of it all… These things have only become more pronounced since, presumably as Anderson has become more confident in his own voice, or possibly as other behind-the-scenes forces have become more comfortable letting him do his thing.
Read more here.


Spotlight (2015)
As a film, this story is effectively a conspiracy thriller: a team of journalists expose a wide-reaching criminal cover-up within a respected and powerful institution. If it were fiction, you’d struggle to believe it, the scale of the conspiracy so vast that the very notion of it would be implausible. So it’s all the more astonishing — and horrifying — that it was real.
Read more here.


Finally, my 100 Favourites series continued with 2 more posts...


The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The outrĂ© style belies an underlying cleverness, with witty writing that features abundant references to sci-fi B-movie classics, precisely pitched performances, and, of course, the unforgettable toe-tapping tunes. Whether alone or in a packed auditorium throwing stuff and shouting back at the screen, it’s just fun. To watch it is to, indeed, give yourself over to absolute pleasure.
Read more here.


Romeo + Juliet (1996)
I alluded to critics’ dismissal of this adaptation — here are some choice quotes: “the kind of violent swank-trash music video that may make you feel like reaching for the remote”; “a classic play thrown in the path of a subway train”; “destined for the trash heap of Shakespeare adaptations”; “a monumental disaster.” I’d argue its subsequent, and largely enduring, success has put those old fuddy-duddies on the wrong side of history.
Read more here.


More next Sunday.