The Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Monthly Update for October 2015

It was inevitable that the sheer size of September’s accomplishment would overshadow whatever I watched in October. After all, it was my highest-viewing month for over eight years — how long would it be before I could say that again?

Turns out: one month.

Though, actually, October 2015 isn’t my highest month for eight years — it’s my highest month ever.

(Alright, I promise to never use memes again.)


In a conversation in last month’s comment section, Tom of Digital Shortbread observed that my monthly updates had “lots and lots of stuff to take in”. As I responded, “I think I may have overloaded these monthly posts,” and I think I was right.

So this month I’ve slightly pared back, simplified, and rearranged (you can now find the Arbies right at the end, here) to focus in on what these are meant to be about: a progress report on my eponymous goal. Exorcised categories may resurface in other forms later, and things will be even more streamlined from December when my archive reposts are complete — and when I haven’t watched the most number of films ever, of course — but this is fundamentally it for the new new-look monthly updates.

The first thing I’ve done away with is the contents list, so it’s straight in to:


#142 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
#143 The Wrestler (2008)
#144 The Fifth Estate (2013)
#145 Twilight (2008)
#146 Ender’s Game (2013)
#147 sex, lies, and videotape (1989)
#148 Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)
#149 Supermen of Malegaon (2008)
#149a The Crying of Lot 49 (2007)
#150 Parabellum (2015)
#151 Dreams of a Life (2011)
#152 A Clockwork Orange (1971)
#153 Wings (1927)
#154 Jurassic World (2015)
#155 The Decoy Bride (2011)
#156 Coherence (2013)
#157 Circle (2015)
#158 Europa Report (2013)
#159 Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
#160 The Grandmaster (2013), aka Yi dai zong shi
#161 Back in Time (2015)
#162 Stoker (2013)
#163 The Golem: How He Came into the World (1920), aka Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam
#164 Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
#165 Mr. Holmes (2015)
#166 Life Itself (2014)
#167 The Machine (2013)
#168 Spectre (2015)
#169 Jupiter Ascending (2015)
#170 The Babadook (2014)
#171 Blue Ruin (2013)
#172 You’re Next (2011)


  • One more What Do You Mean You Haven’t Seen film this month: Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. I’ve got four left to get through in the next two months, now.
  • As I mentioned in my review, I was going to review the entire Twilight Saga for Halloween, but a free month of Netflix (which I had to take now lest it expire (oh the hardship)) saw to that.
  • Relatedly, a point about director Bill Condon: if the Twilight plan had gone ahead, he’d’ve gone from “never seen one of his films” to one of my top twenty-something most-reviewed directors in just one month. But I didn’t, so he doesn’t… for now.
  • After last month’s awesomely wide decade spread, this month I watched two films from the ’20s, one each from the ’70s and ’80s, four from the 2000s… and 24 from the 2010s. Business as normal, then.
  • I don’t think I watch a great many documentaries (though I have no stats to back that up), but this month I watched five. However many I watch normally, that’s certainly high for one month.
  • I also watched ten sci-fi films this month. That’s less surprising, but it’s still a relatively large amount.
  • Finally: thanks to all those films, the header image took me a couple of hours to put together. I mean that literally — it took the best part of two hours.


After discussing last month the uncertainty of how many films I watched in August 2007, which makes it hard to know whether it’s been surpassed or not… well, this month I soundly, definitively, unquestionably overtook it: that long, long list above adds up to 31 new feature films.

Now I just need to do it twice more and the August 2007 issue can be put to bed forever. I can tell you for nothing, it won’t happen this year (but we’ll come to that).

So what else is there to say about those 31 films? Well, obviously it maintains my ten-per-month goal, for the 17th month in a row now. It’s also the second month in a row with over 20 films, the first time that’s ever happened… which is unsurprising when you remember that before 2015 I’d only ever had one month with over 20 films. It also surpasses last October’s tally, because, obviously. That’s a full 12 consecutive months besting the previous year’s counterpart. And it goes without saying that it’s the best October ever (by 17) and the best month of 2015 (by eight).

For most of 2015 the rolling monthly average has been 15 films per month. September dragged it up to 15.67, the first time it had been closer to 16 since January was 16. October’s tally is pretty much double that, in the process single-handedly dragging the average all the way up to 17.2! It has even more of an effect on the all-time October monthly average, which goes from 10.0 to 12.6.

And all other year-to-date and entire-year records have already been smashed in previous months, so that’ll next be worth discussing after December.

So what about predictions for the remaining two months of 2015? Well, in January I laughed at the ridiculous suggestion that I could make it to 192 by the end of the year. That’s now just 20 films away, meaning I only need to watch my ‘minimum’ 10 films per month to pass it. And 192… well, that’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from 200. 200! 200! Two frickin’ hundred!

Now, let’s calm back down, because there are challenges in the way of such a bold target: later in November I’m away for most of a week, and there are a couple of time-filling TV series on the way (more on that in a bit), which will likely roll over into December, and before you know it it’ll be Christmas and all the travelling and spending time with family will hamper proceedings somewhat. Damn family.

Away from the real world and in the realm of numbers and statistics, though, we can conjure up the following array of possibilities. If I only reach my historical average viewing levels for November and December, I’ll make it to 190 — and thereby miss the aforementioned ten-per-month target, so I’ll be thoroughly upset with myself if that happens. As mentioned, achieving that target for two more months places me at 192. If I continue my other on-going streak — of surpassing the same month last year — than I’ll wind up at 202. If I manage the monthly average that I maintained for most of the year, that also puts me at 202. If I can hold up the new average of 17.2, though, I’ll get all the way to 206.

206! 206! Two hundred and frickin’ six!

Well, we’ll see.



This month’s flood of reposts takes us all the way through my recaps of 2008 to 2011, leaving the way clear for next month to be all about the year-end summary posts.

The pictures are all a bit samey, so let me guide you though them in clumps. The month began with a week-long rush through all of 2008, 2009, and the start of 2010:

Then it was on to the first ever monthly updates, which cover the bulk of 2010:

Finally, the entirety of 2011, across twelve monthly updates:

Now, 2011’s summaries are already online — you can peruse the full list and all the exciting statistics here, and learn about my top ten and bottom five here. Next month, as I mentioned, I’ll be reposting the summaries for 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, one year per weekend.



The 5th Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
In a month with so many films, there’s a fair chance a lot of them will be good — indeed, 15 of October’s films are on the long-list for my year-end top ten (I’m quite liberal with what goes on that list, but still). Pushing aside mind-boggling done-for-real action, hugely successful reboots of childhood favourites, atmospheric Gothic thrillers, and thoroughly terrifying horrors, is a little documentary that was shown in the middle of the night on Channel 4 about a bunch of amateur filmmakers in India. The only one of those 15 to have definitely reserved a place on my top ten is the life-enhancing Supermen of Malegaon.

Least Favourite Film of the Month
Similarly, in a month with so many films there’s a fair chance a few of them will be bad. There would indeed be a few contenders for the October wooden spoon, but they were all saved the dishonour by a rare single-star film: dull arthouse SF Parabellum.

Film You Have to Be Most Careful How You Talk About In Case Someone Thinks You’re a Paedophile or Something
One minute it’s Arya Stark having a sexual awakening about her brother, the next it’s Alice in Wonderland having an orgasm when she plays the piano. I think October’s pair of erotically-charged movies starring schoolgirls, The Falling and Stoker, can share this one.

Biggest Nostalgia Hit of the Month
It was pretty special to relive some of my childhood favourites through the documentaries Turtle Power (I had so many of the toys they showed!) and Back in Time (I really need to re-watch the BTTF trilogy), but this honour goes to the hair-raising thrill elicited when John Williams’ memorable theme swells under the unveiling of a place full of wonder in Jurassic World.

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
This crown was claimed and re-claimed several times during the month, but the final victor may not be that surprising: my moderately-speedy spoiler-free first thoughts on that always-popular topic, a new James Bond film: Spectre.


Jessica Jones comes to Netflix and The Man in the High Castle comes to Amazon Prime — on the same day, frustratingly. I won’t be reviewing either, but they’ll ultimately eat up around 23 hours of my potential film-viewing time, so let’s expect a smaller-scale month than I’ve achieved of late.

In amongst all that, hopefully I’ll finally find time to bloody well re-watch the Veronica Mars movie and bloody well get bloody 2014 bloody finished.

Also, when we meet again for one of these round-ups it’ll be December (already?!) and I’ll be launching my 2015 advent calendar, too. What larks!

The Hyperbolic Monthly Update for September 2015

September 2015 has passed targets, smashed records, and wound up as the biggest month of 100 Films in a Year ever!

…maybe.

All will become clear…


When I started this year’s WDYMYHS theme, I was worried I would quickly watch the six “populist” films (due to them being accessible and easy viewing), and be left with all six “critical” films to squeeze in (due to them being Worthy and Arty and stuff). Things have panned out quite differently, however: after this month’s viewing, I’ve accounted for all but one of the “critical” films, while four of the “populist” ones remain. They’re mostly the Worthier end of populist though, so go figure.

Anyway, this month’s film was one that’s sometimes cited as being among the greatest ever made. I confess I wasn’t so enamoured with it, though it had its moments. It was Jean Vigo’s only full-length feature, L’Atalante.


North West Frontier#119 Go (1999)
#120 Murder by Death (1976)
#121 One-Eyed Monster (2008)
#122 The Swimmer (1968)
#123 They Live (1988)
#124 The Dark Crystal (1982)
#125 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Ed Wood#126 North West Frontier (1959), aka Flame Over India
#127 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)
#128 Superbad (2007)
#129 What Dreams May Come (1998)
#130 Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
#131 American Sniper (2014)
#132 Willow (1988)
#133 The Informant! (2009)
Filmed in Supermarionation#134 Ed Wood (1994)
#135 Filmed in Supermarionation (2014)
#136 Foxcatcher (2014)
#137 Boyz n the Hood (1991)
#138 L’Atalante (1934)
#139 Spooks: The Greater Good (2015)
#140 Terror by Night (1946)
#141 The Falling (2014)


  • Most months I watch a selection of films from the 2010s, topped up with a couple of films from the 2000s, and maybe an earlier decade getting a look in or two. That’s not a conscious choice, just how things usually pan out. September has gone quite differently, though: this month I watched films from the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, as well as the 2010s (of course). Ooh, get me, right? But it’s notable for this reason if no other: that’s a better temporal spread in one month than I’ve managed in some entire years!
  • For what it’s worth, the 2010s still took the biggest share, with seven films — though in this particular month, that’s only 30.4%. Although they’re all Blu-ray or streaming views, five of them were only released to UK cinemas earlier this year… though two of those five were also big awards contenders from last year, so, you know, swings and roundabouts.
  • I’ve started so I’ll finish: to summarise the other decades, there were four apiece from the ’80s and ’90s (17.4% each), three from the 2000s (13%), and then one each for the rest.
  • #140, Terror by Night, is the penultimate Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movie. I’ve been slowly making my way through that series for most of this blog’s lifetime, and may now finish it this year. Maybe.


Even before we get into the regular “how does this compare to previous Septembers” and “what does this mean for the rest of the year” type stuff, there’s a lot to say about this month — multiple milestones have been passed.

So to tackle that claim from the introduction: last month, I’d’ve told you that December 2008 was my “best month ever” with 19 films. Now I’d tell you it’s my third best. What dark magic is this?! Well, with 23 films watched this month, September 2015 beats it and then some. However, I finally got round to going back through 2007, when I recorded such things in weeks / clumps of weeks (rather than monthly), as anyone who followed this month’s reposts will have seen, and tried to estimate what each month’s viewing was. That’s why September 2015 may be the highest month ever, because I can only say with certainty that in August 2007 I watched somewhere between 21 and 29 films. My best guess is (coincidentally) exactly the mid-point of that range, 25, which leaves September 2015 in second place. Either way, it’s undoubtedly my most film-filled month for almost eight years.

Such a strong month coming at this point also helps 2015 pass all kinds of yearly markers, too. So at #123 it became my blog’s third most successful year; at #130 it slipped into second place; and at #137 it took the crown of my blog’s most proliferative year. (That’s a good word, isn’t it? Thank you thesaurus.) Plus, at #136 it became my highest overall-totalling year — that’s also counting the alternate cuts, shorts, and the like — with a grand tally of 142; as of month’s end, it’s up to 147. With three months remaining, in which I should watch a minimum of 30 films (for this year’s ten-per-month target), 2015 will be well established as my largest year.

I suppose it now goes without saying that all the regular monthly and yearly goals and records were achieved or surpassed, too: it’s the 16th month in a row with 10+ new films; it single-handedly raised the September average from 9.71 to 11.38; it passed the 2015 monthly average of 14.75 (now 15.67 — the first time it’s been over 15 this year, and certainly the first time it’s been nearer 16… excepting January, that is, which by itself was 16); and it’s the 11th month in a row to beat its equivalent from last year.

I do like statistics.

Looking ahead, then, there are no more records left to topple (well, unless I have another exceptionally large month — you never know), only new ground to tread. The aforementioned “at least 30 more films” finds the year ending with #171; if I can continue besting the same months last year, it’ll make #183; if I slip back to the previous 2015 monthly average I’ll make it to #185, though if I can maintain that freshly-established one it takes me all the way up to #188.

188! That’s exactly double what I managed in my worst-ever year (2009). Insane.



The 4th Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
A tough call this month, but the joyous and information-packed Filmed in Supermarionation is pipped by the lovely surprise of unexpectedly discovering a marvellous Boy’s Own adventure in North West Frontier.

Least Favourite Film of the Month
I wasn’t sure what I’d make of L’Atalante, so wasn’t too saddened when I didn’t care for it all that much. However, I was quite disappointed by how much I didn’t enjoy cult favourite The Dark Crystal.

Film Where They Most Obviously Started with a Title and Went From There
One-Eyed Monster.

Award For Taking an Accidental Trope and Doing Something Ridiculous With It
“All our films end with huge flying things crashing into cities, but what if the huge flying thing was a city?!” Ah, Avengers: Age of Ultron, you were certainly… different.

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
It’s Keanu Reeves again, though this time without the aid of a retweet. I guess that’s the sheer popularity of the film in question: John Wick.


I’ve made a poor fist of reading others’ blogs this month, I’m afraid (clearly it’s all that time spent watching so many more films), but here’s a couple (literally) of things nonetheless:

Invictus (2009) @ Films on the Box
We’re still halfway through the Rugby World Cup, so there’s still much relevance in Mike’s praise for Clint Eastwood’s somewhat-overlooked true story drama about Nelson Mandela and the South African team’s success when their nation hosted the 1995 competition.

Top That: Five of My Favorite Directors @ Digital Shortbread
I feel like, recently, I keep reading about how Ron Howard is an average, journeyman kind of director, so it’s interesting to come across a short list of favourite directors that includes him — which Tom’s selection does, of course. For the other four worthy picks, take a look. (I really must come up with a list of my favourite directors someday…)


Not so many new reviews as I’d like this month (clearly it’s all that time spent… yeah, you know the story now).


This month’s repostathon updates can be split into two sections. First, the final editorials:

With those complete, it was time for an entire week-by-week recap of Year 1, aka 2007:

Next month, daily double bills will see us race through all of 2008, 2009, and half of 2010 in just one week, before slowing down slightly to cover the rest of 2010 and all of 2011. Exciting times.


In Memoriam

At the risk of making this a semi-regular feature, this month we had to quite suddenly bid farewell to my partner’s mother’s dog, Lupa. She was an Irish Wolfhound, a giant breed with an average life expectancy of seven years. Sadly, Lupa was just four — what initially seemed to be some kind of sprained ankle turned out to be aggressive bone cancer and, a little over a week later, she passed away.


Rory and Lupa.

Getting an Irish Wolfhound fulfilled a lifelong ambition, so Lupa was a little bit indulged. When she was younger she was boisterous, especially when it came to saying hello with the whack of a paw — we all endured some scratches and bruises to attest to that — but she was sweet-natured (the whacks were friendlily meant) and matured into a dopey softie. Once she realised Rory was old and doddery, she was always very careful around him. I know some people think dog owners confer too much intelligence on their pets, but as she played riotously with other little dogs (including our Poppy) she certainly knew the difference. She will be sorely missed.

Finally: I jest about this becoming a regular feature, but their other dog, Millie, is 15 and looking every day of it, so 2015 may not be done with us yet.


…will almost certainly not be as good as this month. Let’s just expect that now, then we won’t be disappointed.

#Repostathon update

The ‘editorials’ portion of my repostathon (details here) is at an end, with yesterday’s 2010 piece on “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”. As I put so much work into its header image, here it is again:

I culled twenty different DVD and Blu-ray covers for that. Twenty. (Actually, 23 or 24, because some didn’t really work.)

Anyway.

Tomorrow: the next phase commences, recapping 2007 in full.

Exciting times.

The Millennial Monthly Update for August 2015

After last month was all centennial, because I reached 2015’s #100, this month is millennial, because I made it to 1,000 Films in a Decade Eight Years and Eight Months.

More on that soon, as well as all this:


Shallow Grave#103 Space Station 76 (2014)
#104 The Thing (2011)
#105 Shallow Grave (1994)
#106 Sherlock Holmes (1922), aka Moriarty
#107 Life of Pi (2012)
#108 Contagion (2011)
#109 Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)
#110 Interstellar (2014)
#111 End of Watch (2012)
Stranger by the Lake#112 The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011)
#113 Inherent Vice (2014)
#114 The Theory of Everything (2014)
#115 Monsters: Dark Continent (2014)
#116 Shivers (1975)
#117 Stranger by the Lake (2013), aka L’inconnu du lac
#118 Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)


  • As you may have noticed, this month I reached my 1,000th film. More about that here.
  • Before that, there was a countdown — with pictures! Thrilling stuff. It’s archived here.
  • As #1000 was 15-hour documentary The Story of Film, it took over a few extra slots in my schedule. If I’d been watching regular-length films instead, August’s tally would be four or five films larger.
  • No WDYMYHS films this month — just The Story of Film adding more ideas for future iterations!


In October 2014 I commented that, at best, “one of 2015’s last films will be #1000”. Hahahaha, how times have changed! “One of 2015’s last films”? Oh no, dear sir (“dear sir” in this instance being “me 11 months ago”) — there are still four months of 2015 to go!

In fairness to past-me, the three previous occasions on which I’d reached a #112 (2007, 2010, 2014) were all in November. It just continues 2015’s extraordinary run, though: this month, it passed 2013 to become my fourth most successful year, even with four months still to go. #118 is further than I’ve ever reached by the end of October, never mind August.

As for this August in itself, a tally of 16 makes it the 15th month in a row to reach double figures. It easily passes the August average (previously 10.57, now 11.25) and is just above 2015’s rolling average (currently at 14.75). It’s the third month this year to reach 16, and the fifth ever, which makes it part of a five-way tie for my third highest-tallying month ever. It’s also the 10th month in a row to best the same period a year ago, when August 2014 totalled 15. That may be the end of that though: September will have to be my second highest-totalling month ever to beat its 2014 counterpart. Of course, if I can keep up my current pace — and without a schedule-hogging behemoth like The Story of Film to stand in the way — that’s not an impossible expectation.

Last August, I pointed out how inaccurate August was for predicting the final tally… but then used those inaccurate predictions to spot a new pattern and offer a revised prediction. Which, naturally, I completely obliterated: having predicted a final total of 115-120, I reached 136. Nonetheless, there’s no fun in offering no predictions — and I’ve been remarkably consistent with my viewing this year, actually — so here we go regardless.

To be honest, whatever I forecast is good news. Four more months of my ten-film-minimum goal has 2015 becoming my best-ever year before the end of October, and a final tally of at least 158. If my rolling average of 14.75 holds I’ll make it even further, to #177, and if I can continue my year-on-year monthly increase (with, as mentioned, September being the greatest challenge) then I’ll pass #178. I’ve been forecasting a finish in the 170s ever since February, so, to be honest, I’ll be a bit disappointed if I don’t make that. And all of these numbers are slight increases on their counterparts from last month, so perhaps #180+ isn’t out of the question…



The 3rd Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
It’s a toughie this month — lots of films I really enjoyed, including five I gave full marks to. Five! (If you were going to look to see which, know that I haven’t posted reviews for four of them yet.) But the one that most surprised me, and created the strongest emotional connection to boot, was Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.

Least Favourite Film of the Month
Conversely, not many poor films this month. That said, there were a couple I found to be below par, but none felt like they squandered their potential quite as much as Justice League: The New Frontier.

Space-Set CGI That Looked Most Like Models (Pleasingly)
Space Station 76.

Space-Set Models That Looked Most Like Reality (Pleasingly)
Interstellar.

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
It always helps give hits a boost if someone else promotes a post. In August, thanks to a tweet by the film’s producers, the most-viewed post was Space Station 76.


Ben-Hur (1925) A Silent Film Review @ Movies Silently
For her 200th silent film review, Fritzi has penned a “mammoth” about the first feature-length adaptation of Lew Wallace’s novel, including a comparison to the more-famed 1959 adaptation. “Mammoth” is the word: by my quick count it clocks in at over 12,000 words! I confess I haven’t even read all of it yet, but I think we can trust it to be worth every syllable.

The highest ranked feature length narrative film on Letterboxd for each year 2014-1920
An interesting way of looking at film history, shared by Letterboxd’s own Twitter courtesy of someone on Reddit who since deleted their name. The gallery can still be viewed here, though.

The Last Unicorn (1982) Review @ Cinema Parrot Disco
This month’s lesson is “don’t judge a film by its cover”, because The Last Unicorn looks like some dated, cheesy, little-girl-y crap, but table9mutant’s review makes it sound awesome, and there are lots of other pretty pictures to cement the point.

My Top 7 James Bond Opening Title Sequences @ Film Grimoire
Who doesn’t love a Bond title sequence? Here, Anna explains her top seven picks (in honour of 007, of course), and while I can’t say I agree with all of them (Quantum of Solace? No thanks) it’s still a good read.

My Top Ten Drew Struzan Movie Art Pieces @ Cinema Parrot Disco
What movie fan doesn’t love the work of Drew Struzan (even if you don’t know his name), the renowned poster artist who created enduring imagery for a host of ’80s and ’90s films, and whose style tends to influence at least one poster for every major movie still, even as they’ve moved on to nought but photo montage. Here, table9mutant takes on the tough job of selecting favourites from Struzan’s extensive oeuvre.

Peculiar opening credit text @ Dial M For Movies
Rhett Bartlett mounts a collection of opening-credit oddities, things “the film maker feels they must tell the audience” right at the start. My personal favourite is the first, from The Old Dark House: “We explain this to settle all disputes in advance…”

The Serpent and the Rainbow @ Vinnieh
The sad news of the death of horror auteur Wes Craven reached us yesterday, but this is an incidental tribute. A carry-over from last month, this write-up by Vinnie meant Craven’s true story-inspired tale of voodoo in Haiti really piqued my interest. It seems it was recently released on a poor UK Blu-ray, though a Shout Factory release is expected in the US early in 2016, which will no doubt be excellent.

Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) A Silent Film Review @ Movies Silently
The Wallace & Gromit spin-off’s spin-off movie opened to much acclaim here way back in February, but finally made it across the pond at the start of August. Here, Fritzi offers her typically irreverent take on why it really is a true silent movie. No, really.

Straight Outta Compton (2015) [Review] @ movieblort
It’s not an area of music I know much (read: anything) about, nor especially care for, but movieblort has me sold on why this biopic about the rise and fall of hip-hop group N.W.A. will be worth a look.

The Western Godfather @ True West
Bending the “articles from the past month” rule, but this interview — of Kurt Russell by Henry Cabot Beck — was too interesting not to share. In it, Russell reveals for the first time some of the truth behind the filming of Tombstone. The piece is nearly nine years old now, so I’m sure aficionados are well aware of its contents; but if you’ve not come across it before, it’s rather fascinating.



This is the last archive review summary. My dedicated effort to re-post all my old reviews began in July 2014, and 14 months later they’re finished. (After the reviews: what comes after the reviews.)


With all the reviews up, it’s now on to the rest of my unposted posts. More details in the first. (The one with the mop.)



Films I Hadn’t Heard of Before Watching The Story of Film
But Now Really Want to See

Mark Cousins’ documentary features somewhere north of 500 films. Kudos to anyone who’s seen all of them (especially if it was before the documentary came along and automatically became a checklist for some people). For us mere mortals, however, it’s a mix of ones we’ve seen, ones we want to see, ones we’re merely aware of, and a whole load of stuff we’ve never even heard of. The series also has a propensity to make you really want to see the films it features — not just ones you already knew you wanted to get round to it, but out-of-the-blue discoveries. So in tribute to the latter, I present this month’s highly personal (when isn’t it?) top five.

  1. Napoleon (1927)
    A cheat, because I have heard of Abel Gance’s 5½-hour biopic about the diminutive French general, but I’ve kind of ignored it because it’s hard for normal folk to see: Kevin Brownlow’s acclaimed restoration has never been released on any home format, only screening at festivals and the like (with two intermissions — one for dinner!), apparently due to some dubious copyright claim by Francis Ford Coppola. Shame.
  2. Cairo Station (1958)
    Cousins’ has a tendency to label films “the first great [insert name of place] film”, and I believe this was his pick for Africa; certainly for Egypt. Patrick Heenan in The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers may seem to disagree, but he does concur that it has “visual brilliance”.
  3. Black Girl (1966)
    Another thing Cousins has a tendency to do is give away the ending of films he covers. I suppose the only way to examine a work’s full meaning or worth is to discuss it in its entirety, and any truly great film is going to withstand having its plot revealed. Indeed, it may only have been Cousins’ full explanation of Black Girl that made it so intriguing.
  4. The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987)
    And the same could be said of this Japanese documentary, which follows a former soldier as he attempts to find out the truth about what happened to some of his comrades during World War 2, and unearths some very, very dark secrets. Sounds to me like a film about a kind of paranoia being vindicated.
  5. Hyenas (1992)
    Three of these films are from Africa, which possibly says as much about Western awareness of African cinema as it does about the inherent quality of that continent’s output. This Senegalese comedy-drama explores consumerism in a way that apparently “brings human folly and cynicism into sharp focus”.

…and there are so many, many more. Whatever you think of the documentary as a whole (and opinions are certainly mixed), as a showcase for great cinema it may be unparalleled.


After three months where the new-style titles of these progress reports actually signified something, the parade of meaningless monthly update adjectives begins…

And I’ll probably watch some films and write about them, too.

Archive Reposts: Mop-up & More

After 14 months of dedicated effort, yesterday’s repost of my Sunrise review means I’ve finally reached the end of my archive reposts… at least as far as reviews are concerned. There are a few posts left to go until I’ve fully re-uploaded all my priceless older content, and I’ve split them into the following categories:

  • Editorials — a handful of article-like pieces and ephemera that I’ve written down the years, which I’ll be reposting next at a similar rate to reviews (i.e. aiming for one per day). There will be about 19 of these.
  • Progress reports — via 23 ‘weekly’ posts in 2007, then sporadically from 2008, and then (finally) monthly from May 2010, I shared updates on my progress. I’ll be re-posting what remains of these after the editorials are done. There are 57, so it’ll take a couple of months… though some are so short and pointless (and only being reposted because of my completist drive) that sometimes I may dump a couple per day.
  • End-of-year summaries — full lists, top tens, statistics, and all the rest for 2007 to 2010 aren’t here yet. These will be the final things to be reposted (and no doubt the most worthwhile), at a rate of one year per day.

Then, finally, after all that, I’ll finally be done, finally.

Except for…

  • Miscellaneous crap — my thorough record of everything I’ve ever posted means there are a few other bits & bobs, most of which aren’t worth re-sharing (your mileage my vary on whether that’s also true for everything else I’m reposting). For instance, this includes the first time I had to repost all of 2007 — no one needs that recapping again, again. Any that I deem I want to keep online, for whatever reason, are in with the editorials; the rest shall disappear into the ether.

…but as I’m not reposting those, it’s not really an “except for”, is it? Anyway…

As you can see, it actually adds up to quite a few posts (84, to be exact), but it should still all be over sometime in November. As my goal was to get the reposting finished before 2016 started, that makes me happy.

Also, I shall be calling it the “repostathon”, because why not?

A pair of shorts for summer ³

Time flies: it’s five years since I last did a “pair of shorts for summer” post. But these things linger long in my memory, and so the series (I say “series” — I did two) is revived this year… but only with reposts.

So, we have the two previous “pair of shorts for summer” posts (a pair of pairs!), and the final two archive repost shorts (a new old pair! Or something.) Or, in its own way, 2x2x2 — 2³! I do think these things through y’know (well, sort of).

OK, I agree it’s not really worth getting excited over. But several of the shorts featured are actually very good, so there’s that.

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.

A pair of comedies — one with snow!

It’s Christmas Eve! Hurrah! All the best of the season to you, and that kind of palaver.

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.

Without further witter, then, here are some reviews. Snow first, quality second — it is Christmas after all…

Unfortunately it’s only mildly amusing rather than laugh-out-loud hilarious… On the bright side, it doesn’t go on about the green agenda too much… While I’m all for informing people and reminding them Something Must Be Done, battering viewers round the head when they’re expecting to enjoy a nice comedy is perhaps not the best way.
Read more…


Though the film pokes fun (fairly good-naturedly) at sci-fi obsessives, the underlying story here is about a man overshadowed by his past. In this Rob Brydon gives a strong performance — I think he’s a better actor than he’s normally given credit for… The biggest twist, however, is that Steve Coogan plays a nice character. There’s no surprise sting in the tail there, he’s just nice throughout. It’s weird.
Read more…


Merry Christmas!

November 2011

It’s the final countdown! Do-do-doodoo, dododododoo, do-do—

sorry.


The final countd— oh, did that already…

This year’s 100 Films is turning into a race for the finish line — always kinda fun, if not record-breaking. Back in June I reached a high for this year of 20 ahead of target (‘target’ being my running total for Where I Should Have Reached To Make Exactly 100 By December 31st… I probably don’t need to explain that every time I mention it at this point, do I?), after which it’s gradually slipped back, so that now — as I enter the final stretch — I find myself just one ahead.

To put it more plainly: there’s eight films to go to my goal. If I made that exactly, I’d equal my second-worst year… or, if you look at it another way, third best. Getting to 101 or higher (“higher” meaning “below 122”, which, c’mon, I’m not gonna get close to) will leave this year as both the third worst and third best. Right in the middle — somehow apt for a fifth year celebration. Not that apt, but shush, I want it to be.


Anyway, here’s the exiguous (thank you thesaurus) list of films that have got me to this point…

#89 Gambit (1966)
#90 Cars (2006)
#91 Beyond the Pole (2009)
#92 Cruise of the Gods (2002)


Stepping up

It’s not just film watching I need to push up a bit, but review posting too. You may have noticed this happen in the last three weeks or so… not as much as I’d’ve liked, mind, so maybe not. I’m currently thinking I’ll aim to post a review every other day, in an attempt to clear some of my large 2011 backlog before 2012 kicks in. Even at that rate I won’t get all the way through, but hopefully there shouldn’t be too many left as we go into the new year.


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

Next time I post one of these it’ll be the very eve of 2012! Will I have made it to 100?

Try not to ruin your nails biting them…

October 2011

Boo!

Cos it’s Halloween, see. Well, it was when I posted this. Just.


Quintuple X

Still not watched any of those films I’ve been aiming to watch.

Still not at 100.

I think I would have made it to 90 though, or possibly even a bit further, but I re-watched X-Men: First Class on Blu-ray last Friday night and got a burning desire to re-watch the rest of the X-Men films in chronological order (having started with the chronological first, that only seemed to make sense). So using my film viewing time for that these past few days left no room for anything after #88. Ah well.

Nearly done, though (it’s X2 in a bit, hopefully), so maybe next month… maybe…


Meanwhile, this month… er, last month…

#82 Centurion (2010)
#83 Magicians (2007)
#84 The Brothers Bloom (2007)
#85 Batman: Year One (2011)
#85a DC Showcase: Catwoman (2011)
#86 Battle Los Angeles (2011)
#87 That Touch of Mink (1962)
#88 RED (2010)


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

Maybe 100… maybe…