The Driven Monthly Update for July 2017

It may be the silly season in cinemas, the time when summer blockbusters are at their most prolific, but July is traditionally one of my worst months for viewing — it has the lowest average (just 7.1) and is also the only month in 10½ years of 100 Films when I’ve failed to watch a single film (back in 2009). The story’s a little different this year, though…


#91 Big (1988)
#92 Headshot (2016)
#93 Inferno (2016)
#94 Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
#95 ’71 (2014)
#96 Planet of the Apes (1968)
#97 Jersey Boys (2014)
#98 War for the Planet of the Apes 3D (2017)
#99 22 Jump Street (2014)
#100 City of God (2002), aka Cidade de Deus
#101 The Driver (1978)
#102 Dunkirk (2017)
#103 Lion (2016)
#104 Get Out (2017)
#105 Free Fire (2016)
#106 Drive (2011)
#107 Sing 3D (2016)
War for the Planet of the Apes

The Driver

.


I observed lots this month, as you can see…

  • 17 new films watched makes July the second best month of 2017 so far (behind February’s 20) and by far my best July ever (beating the 12 of both 2015 and 2016).
  • Obviously that surpasses the July average, increasing it from 7.1 to 8.1 — still the lowest of any month. It also beats the rolling average of the last 12 months (previously 14.2, now 14.6) and of 2017 to date (previously 15.0, now 15.3).
  • As you may’ve noticed, one of those was #100. I know it’s the title of the blog ‘n’ all, but, frankly, this is the fifth consecutive year that I’ve passed #100 before even reaching December — it hardly feels worth commenting on in depth. That said, its the second earliest I’ve got there, behind 2016’s May 28th and, having watched it on July 15th, just ahead of 2015’s July 27th.
  • Also: the #100 club is still a small group with just nine previous members (including one #200), so I did bother to try to pick a worthy film. City of God has been on my must-see list for almost 14 years, ever since it topped Empire’s “best of 2003” list, and was included in my 2015 WDYMYHS selections too, so it seemed a good pick.
  • This month’s proper WDYMYHS film: as if watching both Baby Driver and The Driver in the space of a month wasn’t enough, I also flung in Nicolas Winding Refn’s modern classic, Drive.
  • This month’s Blindspot film: in honour of the franchise’s latest instalment arriving in cinemas, I finally watched the original Planet of the Apes. It’s good, but I must admit I prefer the new ones. I still intend to watch the remaining four originals.
  • Weird coincidences: last July I watched Zootropolis, this July the broadly similar Sing; last July was when I last watched a new Ben Wheatley film, High-Rise, while this July it was Free Fire; and last July I watched the archetypal heist movie, The Sting, while this July I rewatched all three Ocean’s movies. None of those were intentional. Good thing I’d already watched Split (which shares a director with The Visit) and haven’t got round to Passengers (which shares a director with The Imitation Game), otherwise this would be going beyond a coincidence.
  • Finally: it’s the first time since records began (i.e. June 2008) that I’ve watched a film on July 12th. Yes, I have records of funny things like that. The fact I’m mentioning it now when I don’t normally shows how rarely this happens. Relatedly, then: how many days are there on which I’ve ‘never’ watched a film? Eight. That’s 2.2% of the year. Those dates are January 5th, May 23rd, June 29th, July 16th, July 19th, September 2nd, November 4th, and December 22nd. There’s no special significance to any of those (not that I can think of, anyway), it’s just random.



The 26th Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
It was a pretty good month all round, looking back on it. Still, apes together strong — so strong that War for the Planet of the Apes is my pick this month.

Least Favourite Film of the Month
No outright stinkers this month, so, living up to the category name, I think my least favourite film of the month was also my last: Illumination Entertainment’s Sing, which is decent fun but no Pixar movie.

Greatest Meet Cute of All Time
If the rest of 22 Jump Street was humourless dross (which it isn’t), it would’ve all been worth it for the sublime ‘meet cute’ gag.

Best Death Involving a Motor Vehicle of the Month
Sure, The Driver and Drive may be all about using cars for action, but generally that’s for escaping. For murderousness, you have to turn to Free Fire, which (spoilers, cos it happens near the end) uses a van to go all Oberyn Martell on one of its characters.

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
Everyone has something to say when there’s a new Christopher Nolan film, and it appears people like to read what other people say too: the clear victor this month was my review of Dunkirk.



I’m still more than a month behind on my Rewatchathon, but hopefully now that I’ve passed #100 I’ll be able to drag myself away from new stuff a little more often. I’ve got a long list of “must rewatch”es raring to go, so it shouldn’t be so hard.

#21 Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
#22 Finding Nemo 3D (2003)
#23 Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
#24 Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)

Rewatching the Ocean’s trilogy, I came to the conclusion that Twelve is a much better and more interesting film than Thirteen, though the first is clearly the best of all. Anyway, as seems to be becoming my MO with these rewatches, I wrote a little bit about Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen on Letterboxd.


has already begun.

Brazil (1985)

aka Brazil: The Final Cut

2015 #100
Terry Gilliam | 143 mins | DVD | 1.78:1 | UK / English | 15 / R

I normally aim for a “critical” (for want of a better word) rather than “bloggy” (for want of a better word) tone in my reviews, just because I do (that’s in no way a criticism of others, etc). Here is where I fail as a film writer in that sense, though, because I’m not even sure how I’m meant to review Terry Gilliam’s dystopian sci-fi satire Brazil, a film as famed for its storied release history as for the movie itself.

It’s a film I’ve long looked forward to watching, utterly convinced it was “the kind of thing I’d like”, but then almost put off by the fact that I should like it. I was rather pleased when it finally popped up on this year’s What Do You Mean You Haven’t Seen because it’s precisely the kind of film (or “one of the kinds of films”) that project was meant to ‘force’ me to watch. And, thankfully, I did really enjoy it. It’s clever, it’s funny, it’s massively imaginative in both its visuals and its storytelling, and its influences on the 30 years of dystopian fiction that have followed is… well, fairly clear, because it also has influences of its own, so whether future works are influenced by the original influence or whether the influencee has become the influencer is an over-complex matter for over-complex people to discuss ad infinitum.

I can tell you, factually, that there are at least four versions of Brazil: differing European and American theatrical versions; the “Love Conquers All” version (which according to the Criterion DVD is a cut for syndicated TV that made all the changes Gilliam refused to make, but may never have actually been released outside of that box set (IMDb implies it was never shown)); and the “Final Cut” that Gilliam assembled for Criterion in 1996 that is now the version released everywhere always (to the best of my knowledge). I’m sure there’s a thorough list of differences somewhere, but one good anecdote from Gilliam’s audio commentary tells how the ‘morning after’ scene was cut from the European release so last-minute that it was literally physically removed from the premiere print. (Gilliam regretted it immediately and it was restored for the video release.)

I can also tell you that I now struggle to read the word “Brazil” without hearing the “Braaziiiil” refrain from the soundtrack.

Brazil was 30 this year, but its particular brand of retro-futurism hasn’t dated, and its themes and issues are as relevant as ever. It’s a bit of a head trip of a film, which is what one should always expect from the guy who did the cartoons for Monty Python, I figure. I don’t know if it always gets its due in the consensus history of sci-fi cinema — in “best ever” lists and that kind of thing — though I’m not doing anything today that will help improve that.

The best I can say is that, if you like a bit of dystopian SF but have somehow (like me, until now) missed Brazil, that’s a situation you want to rectify lickety-split.

5 out of 5

Brazil was viewed as part of my What Do You Mean You Haven’t Seen…? 2015 project, which you can read more about here.

It placed 8th on my list of The Ten Best Films I Saw For the First Time in 2015, which can be read in full here.

This review is part of the 100 Films Advent Calendar 2015. Read more here.

Braaziiiil…

The Centennial Monthly Update for July 2015

It’s a month of mixed emotions here at 100 Films, not least thanks to it being the earliest I’ve ever made it to #100.

But before even that, this month’s menu:


What Do You Mean You Haven't Seen…?

This month I was, happily, faced with the choice about what should be 2015’s #100. Fundamentally this doesn’t matter, of course — it’s just another thing watched, which just so happens to be the 100th new thing I’ve watched since a point in time we have decided marks the beginning of a new time-cycle (…just to suck all the romance out of it, there). Given the aim and title of this blog, however, of course #100 takes on significance. In a last-week-of-December scramble-to-the-finish situation, which film is #100 doesn’t matter so much as the very existence of a #100 does; in the more leisurely situation of reaching that point in July, however, there’s time to reflect and consider what film will join the likes of Citizen Kane, The Hurt Locker and Lawrence of Arabia in the 100 Films #100 Club. And I mention this in the WDYMYHS section, rather than Viewing Notes or Analysis or something, because the natural choice for such an accolade seemed to be a WDYMYHS film. So from the list of what was left, I selected the movie I felt most likely (based on its reputation and so on and so forth) to chime with my own tastes — the movie I most felt ‘should’ wind up being a personal favourite.

But first — I’m behind on WDYMYHS, so have been intending to watch multiple selections within a month for a while now, and this month I finally managed it. So before the glory of #100, another WDYMYHS graced my list at #97: John Carpenter’s The Thing. I thought there was a lot to like, but I didn’t love it.

Then on to #100 — the movie I felt most likely to love, that I should find a personal favourite. I have to say, it’s the kind of film I started WDYMYHS for — the very point of the exercise is to make me watch films like this; ones I’ve been meaning to for years, have been led to believe that I will love, but for whatever reason haven’t had a pressing enough reason to get round to. So that’s what led to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil being 2015’s #100. Thank goodness, it lived up to the hype. Naturally I watched the “final cut” he created for Criterion (is any other version readily available these days? Apart from the “avoid except for academic interest” “Love Conquers All” version Criterion bundle in, that is), which I might think is a little on the long side, but, well, I still greatly enjoyed it.

Anyway, that’s 100 done. Hurrah! And with that said, of course July wasn’t just about those two films…


July's viewing
Scanners
#91 Returning to Jedi (2007)
#92 Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics (2013)
#93 Scanners (1981)
#94 Song of the Sea (2014)
#95 The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? (2015)
#96 The Voices (2014)
Brazil#96a X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut (2014/2015)
#97 The Thing (1982)
#98 Lilo & Stitch (2002)
#99 TMNT (2007)
#100 Brazil (1985)
#101 Salvation Boulevard (2011)
#102 RED 2 (2013)


Viewing Notes

  • I backed The Death of “Superman Lives” documentary on Kickstarter a couple of years ago now and have been patiently waiting for it to turn up ever since, so it was kinda weird when half the internet (not to mention Proper Film Magazines ‘n’ that) was talking about it a few weeks ago. At some point I’ll post a proper review, but if you’re interested in its topic then it’s definitely worth a look.
  • Utterly meaningless, but it’s also the first film I’ve watched this year that’s title begins with ‘D’. Odd for such a common letter. (The only other unrepresented letters at this point are Q, U, Y and Z. And X, technically, as Days of Future Past isn’t on the main list.)


Analysis

July 2015 was a month of mixed results. On the one hand, watching 12 new films ticks a number of boxes: it smashes July’s low average (previously 5.86, now 6.63); as that might indicate, it’s also the highest July ever; it continues my at-least-10-per-month-all-year goal; and it’s the ninth month in a row to show an increase year-on-year.

On the other hand, it’s the lowest-tallying month of 2015 so far, and only the second month to fall short of the yearly average (which still rounds up to 15). That said, not included is that I spent time this month re-watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in its extended form to boot. Add that to The Rogue Cut and you get 16 films for the month — much more normal (well, normal for 2015). So, y’know, swings and roundabouts.

And, as mentioned, I made it to #100 — that excuses plenty in my book. It’s the earliest I’ve ever reached it, the previous best being September 9th. That was all the way back in my first year, 2007, making it perhaps the only record 2014 didn’t claim. This year has been rather good by my standards, so it’s one I don’t foresee breaking again. I mean, if I had five consecutive best-ever months (i.e. better than I’ve ever done, x5) then I could squeeze it in by the end of May. Well, you never know.

Over in prediction corner, if I can keep up my ten-minimum for another five months, as desired, 2015 will end no lower than #152. Remember, my previous best is 136, so that alone would leave me feeling pretty darn chuffed. Bolder estimates: my pace so far has me reaching #175; if I could consistently reclaim the 2015 mode average (which is 15), I’d hit #177; if I can manage to continue the year-on-year monthly increases (an increasingly tough task, as the end of 2014 was so strong), I get as far as #178. A finish anywhere northwards of #170 is a 25% improvement on my previous best, so that’d be more than grand.


The Arbies
The 2nd Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
A few films this month were good but didn’t quite live up to my expectations, which makes this feel like a pretty clear choice: it’s Brazil again.

Least Favourite Film of the Month
It’s taken me eight years to get round to it, so I clearly can’t’ve been that fussed, but I really wanted to enjoy TMNT. I didn’t not enjoy it, per se, but it wasn’t all I wanted it to be either.

Best Portrayal of a Dog, Cat, Deer, Fish and Bunny Monkey
Ryan Reynolds, your superhero sins are forgiven. (Also, the Comic-Con Deadpool trailer looked great, so that too.)

Most Evil Alien
The Thing from The Thing, or Stitch from Lilo & Stitch? Stitch from Lilo & Stitch, or the Thing from The Thing? Oh, it’s a tough call! Ok, Stitch does redeem himself (itself?), so I guess the Thing edges it.

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
This award goes to another award — my Liebster Award! Maybe y’all want to know about me more than I thought you did.


Reviews


Archive Reviews


In Memoriam

Just a couple of weeks ago, I commented here on the enduringness of our elderly dog, Rory. Sadly, not very long after that post, his long-standing health problems meant it was time for us to choose to say goodbye.

I know non-pet-owners often don’t ‘get it’ when a beloved pet passes away — I grew up in a very non-pet-y home, so I’ve been that person in the past. However, it’s a terrible wrench, even when it’s been inevitable for a while and you know you made the right decision.

Rory was a rescue, found as a stray, with enough health issues that we’ve been taking him to the vet essentially non-stop since we got him. He certainly went through the ringer even with us, starting with a dreadful skin condition, which eventually cleared up entirely after years of uniquely-formulated treatment. He lost the tip of one ear in an assault by another dog, and had his neck punctured in another (both encounters entirely unprovoked!) Then there was the more regular old-age ailment of arthritis; and, two-and-a-half years ago, he slipped a disc and his gall bladder packed up at the same time, leading to a tense Christmas/New Year spent at a specialist vet hospital (and to me not making it to 100 films in 2012).

Experienced owners in the family said they’d never seen a dog be so ill and pull back, but pull back he did, and for another couple of years to boot. He’d been judged too old and fragile to endure a back operation, so he lived with that slipped disc for those years, on pain killers of course, but he kept on. He was a little fighter, right to the end. In his last week, his spine problems finally reached a point where he could only stand for short periods intermittently, even for his beloved food, and that really meant it was time.

We’ll never know what happened to Rory in the years before he knew us, but — in spite of his catalogue of woes — we gave him six years, one month and one day of loving happiness. I don’t believe in an afterlife, but if there is one, I do believe dogs are far more deserving of it than any of us humans. I’m sure Rory would enjoy being able to run free again, in between eating copious amounts of bacon and sausage. It breaks my heart that I’ll never see him again, but at least he’s at peace and out of pain.

(“From around the blogosphere”, the list of 5, and so on, will all return next month.)


Next month…

With the thrill of #100 passed, there’s a whole new level of excitement…

#1000 is coming.

The countdown begins imminently, as 2015’s #103 (i.e. the very next new film that I watch) will be the blog’s #991.

Expect banners, people.

December 2011

2011 is over. 2012 has just begun. But did I make it to 100 in time?


If you follow me on Twitter you know

I did! Just. Three films in the final 24 hours of the year, the last of them finishing just an hour before midnight, see me reach 100 exactly this year. Phew!

In addition to that, six of the finishing eight features listed below were watched in the final three days of the year. Not quite as close to the wire as I had it back in 2008 (11 films in six days, seven of them in the last three), but I didn’t think I was going to get there.


So, my closing salvo included…

#93 Diner (1982)
#94 Nativity! (2009)
#94a The Gruffalo’s Child (2011)
#95 Hotel for Dogs (2009)
#96 The Spider Woman (1944)
#97 Faintheart (2008)
#98 The Man from Earth (2007)
#99 Winnie the Pooh (2011)
#100 The A-Team: Explosive Extended Edition (2010)


Where does that leave us in the grand scheme of thi— well, this blog?

Thus, 2011 ties with 2008 as my third-best year. Hurrah! Though to put it another way, 2011 ties with 2008 as my second-worst year, so, y’know…

It does represent the greatest drop off in potential, though. At the halfway point of the year I was further ahead than I’d ever been — in my best-ever-year, 2007, I’d made it to #60; in my second-best-ever-year, 2010, I’d made it to #64; but this year I’d reached #68. In tied-with-this-year 2008 I’d only limped to #46. Clearly, I need to keep momentum up into the year’s back half.

But hey, 2012’s another year — who knows what’ll happen next time round!


But before all that…

Screw 2012, I’m not done with 2011 yet! There’s my great big long list of everything I’ve watched still to come, along with all those lovely statistics, and the list of films I didn’t see, and — best of all — the statistics.

Oh, I mentioned those? I love the statistics. But almost as good, my bottom five and top ten for the year.

And having to push hard to cross the finish line means I haven’t even made a start on any of that. This’ll be interesting… for me, anyway — you just have to sit tight ’til it all turns up. Probably not that much later than I usually get round to it.

Until then… Happy New Year!

2011’s summary posts are already available here and here.

September 2010

And lo, in the 9th month of the 10th year, I didst see 11 new films, and one of them was


Number One-Hundred

Excuse me while I do a little victory dance.

After last year’s failure (not sure if I’ve mentioned that?) it feels very, very nice to reach my goal with several months to spare. Indeed, I’m almost drawing equal with my most successful year, 2007, when I reached 100 in early September (and 104 in early October, hence why I’m not that far behind).

“What were those final 11 films?” I hear you cry in the desperate thirst for knowledge. Well, dear reader, I happen to have a handy list right here:


#90 Bhaji on the Beach (1993)
#91 The Band Wagon (1953)
#92 Force of Evil (1948)
#93 Brigadoon (1954)
#94 The History Boys (2006)
#95 Gigi (1958)
#96 Robin Hood: Director’s Cut (2010)
#97 Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996)
#98 It Happened Here (1965)
#99 Hercules (1997)
#100 The Hurt Locker (2008)


So, what next?

My goal’s achieved — no more new films ’til January 2011!

Ha, not bloody likely. I may not push myself quite so hard now — I’ve got a pile of reviews to catch up on and the Battlestar Galactica box set calls to me again — but I also have another target in mind:

In 2007 I made it to 129 films, so naturally I’d love to get to 130.

It’s a pretty doable aim, too — I just have to keep my current rate up. I’ve averaged 11.1 films per month so far this year, which if continued would see me up to 133(.3) films this year. And in fact, if you took out my incongruously weak worst month (April, with 3 films), that average jumps a whole film to 12.1, which would mean 136(.3) films this year.

But that’s all theoretical and entirely unrelated to real life, of course. So we’ll see. If I don’t make 130 I won’t be too upset — just one more film and this will be my second-best year so far, and I reckon I can manage that much in three months! — but it gives me something else to aim at for now.


Next time on the all-new 100 Films in a Year monthly update…

The afterlife of 100 Films in a Year. As it were.

Which does not mean a month of death-themed films, no no no. But rather, how far will I reach in the first instalment of my three-part quest to reach…

130 Films in a Year!

A final push…!

So today is the final day of 2008, and so the final day of this blog’s second year. And have I made it to 100?

Not yet.

A quick look at the coming soon page reveals I’m up to #97 — only three films to go, with 24 hours left. I didn’t think that would be the case: as little as 10 days ago I’d given up on making 100, thinking to hit even 90 would be an achievement. But with a bit of motivation I’ve nearly done it at the final hurdle (which I think is an incorrect reversed metaphor, or something).

December’s turned out to be pretty good throughout, actually. While I may’ve managed just 7.4 films a month (on average, obviously) in the year’s first 11 months, I’ve already watched 16 in the last 30 days — and that’ll be 19 if all goes well. If I could keep that up all year round I’d be closer to 250 Films in a Year! (Don’t worry, I’m not crazy — next year’s aim is still just 100.)

Additionally, this year’s In Retrospect and Full List (for last year’s see here and here) will now appear by 4th January, all being well, which gives me time to factor in the final few films.

24 hours, three films. Sounds easier than it is, I’m sure.

2008’s summary posts will be republished in November.

2007 | Week 36

While I’ve managed to keep things to single-week entries for a fair while now, I suspect it’ll be back to double-weekers for at least next week. I’m off to New York for eight days, y’see (also explaining why this entry is ever so slightly earlier than usual), and my film watching is likely to be minimal. Though there’s a cinema right near the apartment, so you never know. Maybe I’ll finally see The Bourne Ultimatum

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!

Hurrah! And, as predicted, I’m there well before the end of the year! In fact, there’s only just shy of a third of it left, meaning that my average viewing has me hitting 145 by year’s end. Quite a bit more than 100, clearly. Of course, the spacious summer weeks are now giving way to term time work, so quite how well that whole average thing will work out is another matter entirely.

But, for now — 100! Whoo! And I specially picked a pretty momentous film to view in celebration of the achievement. In film terms, you’d struggle to find any more significant than… well, read on, and you’ll see…

#99 Starter for Ten

#100 Citizen Kane