The Blues Brothers (1980)

2008 #99
John Landis | 142 mins | DVD | 15 / R

The Blues BrothersCult comedy musical, with a more-than-healthy dose of the surreal, about two brothers on a mission from God, here watched in the extended DVD version (full details at IMDb). Maybe this is why it takes a while to get going — the first hour or so could do with a kick up the proverbial — and has a tendency to sprawl like an unruly first draft.

On the other hand, its insistence at being random, crazy, and incessantly silly throughout is beautifully anarchic. There’s an array of fabulous cameos — Ray Charles! Aretha Franklin! and Carrie Fisher, feeding the anarchy with her ludicrous attempts to kill one of the titular pair. While there were fewer songs than I’d expected, they’re all classics rewarded with infectiously fun performances. Then there’s the climactic car chase, which surely challenges many more serious examples for pure excitement value.

And any film which sees Neo-Nazis jump into a river to avoid being run over has to be good.

4 out of 5

The Blues Brothers is on ITV4 tonight, Friday 26th September 2014, at 11:35pm.

(Originally posted on 24th January 2009.)

Ray (2004)

2007 #50
Taylor Hackford | 146 mins | TV | 15 / PG-13

RayIt’s easy to see why Walk the Line has been described as “Ray with white people”; but Ray has also been described as being an outstanding performance in an average film, and I’d pretty much agree with this too.

Jamie Foxx is indeed an amazingly accurate Ray Charles (based on the little I know of the man, anyway) and deserving of his Oscar. It would be unfair to say such a performance is wasted in this film, but it is true that no other element is quite up to the same level.

While Ray is good, I personally thought Walk the Line was a better film.

4 out of 5

Ray is on ITV3 tonight, Sunday 19th April 2015, at 11:10pm.