2017 Top 5 Films

First off Merry Christmas to all as I write this on 25th December. With just 1 week left off the year I thought I do a post of my top 5 films off the year, I still have at least 2 more to see (Pitch Perfect 3 & The Greatest Showman) in the next few days but not sure if either will dislodge any of the films I have in my Top 5. I will have seen 87 films in 2017 after I see the 2 mentioned films.

I started on 2nd January (as this was a bank holiday last year) with Assassins Creed and currently I will end with the Greatest Showman on Saturday 30th December though I may see a film on the 31st as not planned this day yet. So here are my Top 5

5. Miss Sloane – Starring Jessica Chastain as Miss Sloane it follows a lobbyist who defects to a rival firm over the lobbying of a gun law and is brought in front of the senate to answer charges related to her practice at her previous firm but a Senator who was against the proposed Gun changes. Miss Sloane received many film award nominations including the Golden Globes

4. Beauty and the Beast – Disney Live action remake of the animation starring Emma Watson as Bella and Dan Stevens as their Beast (Prince). This is one of a very few that have made me completely lost in a film and I loved the chemistry growing between Bella and The Beast, the humour and the music worked well in the film and I’m sure this will be nominated for some awards too.

3. Lion – Nominated for 6 Oscars including best film it follows the true story of Saroo Brierley after getting lost whilst going with his brother to his job and ending up being fostered by an Australia couple and years later tries to track and finally succeeds in doing so and and finally reunites. The film is a moving story and anyone that watches it will find it both terrifying and moving. Dev Patel starred as Saroo and really made the role come to life.

2. Manchester By The Sea – This actually started as my number 5 before finally deciding it should be number 2, again it’s a moving film and sees a boy being looked after by his Uncle after his father dies and shows the ups and downs of the relationship and how both come to terms with the situation. Again it nominated for the Best Picture at the Oscars but also didn’t win. This is a film I think works better as you watch more as after I first saw it I didn’t take everything in it was only when starting write a review and rewatching the story in my head that it started to improve (i find the best films do this IMO). Casey Affleck I think came out of his brother’s Ben shadows in this film whilst Lucas Hedges showed what a talent he can become.

Now my top film off the year.

1. Hacksaw Ridge – I predicted this would be an Oscar winner but it ended up just a nominee in the Best Picture category. Starring Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss a 7th Day Adventist who refused to hold a weapon during the Second World War and won the Medal of Honor for the courage he showed by rescuing over 75 men during one night on his own. Andrew’s performance is one of the best I’ve seen and this was an absolute fabulous film and is up in my top 10 of all time films now, it had everything a try story, plenty of action, guts and bloody parts and also a romance.

I could’ve chosen several other films that I think were good enough to be in my top 5 such as Moonlight which won Best Picture at the Oscars and even Hidden Figures. Other films I think deserve a mention are Wonder Woman probably the best DC film made along with Justice League, Gifted which I really enjoyed and of course it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention The Last Jedi the latest in the Star Wars Saga.

I look forward to beating this total next year and also to see what films are nominated for the Oscars as in the UK these films tend to come out in January.

Movie Remakes

What do people make of Movie Remakes or as sometimes called Reboots? I’m going to mention just a few that I watched recently or watch often.

The one I’ve just watched The Miracle on 34th Street; I can’t remember when I learnt this was a remake of the 1947 version, but I’ve just can’t seem to get into it since I watched the 1994 version. So for me I prefer the remake of it. Last year saw a reboot of the Ghostbusters movie with an all female cast which whilst it was only loosely based on the original it’s always compared to the 1984 original and though the effects are better it still doesn’t live up to the original so I was wondering what films I have watched that are not original and what films I’ve watched both versions. I’m not going to include Disney’s remakes of Animation to Live action like Beauty and the Beast as though the same story they’re going to be different as both have limitations.

Annie I know has been done at least three times and besides the Superhero reboots (Batman, Superman etc.) is the only film that I can think of that has been done (Update: The Count of Monte Cristo has been done 4 times and Carrie has also been done 3 though I’ve only seen the original Carrie), originally released in 1982, it was redone in 1999 and then 2014 where it was brought up to date. Personally I prefer the 1999 version. Update: It turns out the Miracle of 34th Street has been done a few times (1955, 1973 as well as the 2 mentioned previously)

Fame and Footloose have also both been remade but I again prefer the originals though the Fame remake is pretty good. The Murder of the Orient Express has been remade a few times but I’ve only seen the most recent version and not read the book.

The Karate Kid was remade in 2010 again to make it more modern with Jaden Smith being the boy trained and was a film I don’t see as a remake or reboot but as a separate film the same as Ghostbusters reboot.

One film I often watch and didn’t know was a remake is Brewster’s Millions as was original done in 1945 though I expect a different storyline to the 1985 version I watch. Another I used to watch regularly though not seen for a while is Poseidon which is a remake of The Poseidon Adventure that was released in 1972 which I have also watched and like both versions.

Films that I watched this year that are remakes include Going in Style which I didn’t know was a remake, Pete’s Dragon which was one of my favourite childhood films and Tarzan. Flatliners was also remade this year but have not watched the new version so not able to compare.

Difference between Remake and Reboot to me a remake is the film done with the same storyline and plot whilst a reboot is with same characters but freshened up or modernised for example The Karate Kid and Ghostbusters can be classed as Reboots (though neither has progressed any further) whilst Poseidon and Annie would be remakes.

I’ve noticed whilst researching the difference some people are mentioning Star Wars Force Awakens as a reboot but to me this is part of the original series as continues the story whilst the Prequels released after the original trilogy gave the start of the story George Lucas was unable to do at the time.

My Top Christmas Movies

As it’s fast approaching that time of the year I start to watch a Christmas Movie every weekend until Christmas plus whatever news ones are at the Cinema, last Thursday saw me watch A Bad Moms Christmas which is the start of my Christmas viewing and possibly the start of a few Christmas Movies at Cineworld (Daddy’s Home 2, The Star) so I thought I’ll do my top 5 Christmas Movies.

1. The Polar Express – I feel in love with this movie when I first saw it, it’s a Animation film but features real people but animated using live motion capture. It follows a young boy who has started to disbelieve in Christmas as he boards the Polar Express where he learns along with other children about Friendship, Bravery and the spirit of Christmas which is what I loved about the film

2. The Santa Clause – Starring Tim Allen this is a Disney live action film where a separated father accidentally kills Santa and after putting on his suit takes on the role of Santa even though he doesn’t believe in Santa and is taken to the North Pole by Santa’s Reindeer where he has to believe but he still doesn’t for the following year until he finally accepts it.

3. The Santa Clause 2 – Set 10 years after the original Scott (Tim Allen) is happy in his role of Santa when the Head Elf shows him the Mrs Clause Clause where he has to find a wife or he will stop being Santa. I loved the way the teachers act when they get gifts they wanted when they were kids that Scott had got them whilst he tries to impress Carol (Elizabeth Mitchell) who is Charlie’s (His son) teacher.  This is only below the Original Santa Clause because it is a sequel.

4. Elf – Probably one of the most popular Christmas I only watched this for the first time last year and absolutely loved it. Buddy as a baby stowed away in Santa’s toy sack and was raised as an Elf in the North Pole but as he gets older and bigger he starts to get in the way due to his size so Santa sends him to New York to hunt for his father. This is a lovely film and really good for families to watch.

5. The Miracle on 34th Street (1994) – This for so long was my favourite Christmas film even though was released the same year as The Santa Clause (above) as loved the ending (I still love the ending and I believe should be the message we send out at Christmas). Starring Richard Attenborough as Kris Kingle it’s Mara Wilson as Susan that is the true star of the film. This is a remake of the 1947 film which didn’t have the same feeling as the 1994 version though as now been watching some of the old films I might give it a go again.

Though I also watch A Wonderful Life, The Santa Clause 3, Arthur Christmas amongst other Christmas Films, during the writing of this post I’ve watched both the Holiday Inn (where the song White Christmas was first sung) and White Christmas which are both brilliant films.

I have 2 new films to watch this year – A Christmas Story and Four Christmases as both I’ve not watched and tend to be high on the list of Christmas Movies to watch.

Horror Films

How do we decide what are horror films and what isn’t? I’ve been having this discussion with a couple of people and it’s still difficult to say. This is what the internet defines a Horror Film – “A horror film is a movie that seeks to elicit a physiological reaction, such as an elevated heartbeat, through the use of fear and shocking one’s audiences” (source Wikipedia). The comment that I think is reverent is “Horror films often deal with viewers’ nightmares, fears, revulsions and terror of the unknown” I think this is what defines whether it’s a Horror or Fantasy/Thriller for example IT is often described as a Horror due to it playing with peoples fear and especially of Clowns for the Pennywise character however if you don’t have those fears it’s more thriller/fantasy than horror. When I was growing up the main one was Nightmare of Elm Street though technically I wasn’t old enough to watch them these were to me genuine horror movies as scared me, they don’t anymore though, but ones like Child’s Play which gave us Chucky never did though I know for other people it did.

Thriller movies like 47 Meters Down could also be classed as a Horror like Jaws was though I found 47 Meters Down kept me on the edge of my seat with heart racing whilst IT besides one scene never did though I enjoyed the movie as a whole.

Horror films seem to be split up now too so you have psychological horror which mother! has been classed under as relies on religion the scare; Sci-Fi like the Alien films; Slasher/Splatter like Saw, Friday the 13th; Supernatural like Exorcist, The Omen and Zombie/Vampire ones. I however would include Nature in to Horror like The Day After Tomorrow and San Andreas Quake which are disaster films which to me are more Horror as could happen or more likely to happen then the majority of Horror movies which scares me more. These are some films I’ve been told are good Horror Movies to show the range of Horror –

Se7en – a Crime/Thriller rather than horror where police have to solve 7 murders based on the 7 deadly sins.

Final Destination – a series of films where a group cheat death after a premonition but each individual then dies through freak accidents, started off well but got predictable.

28 Days Later – A Danny Boyle film and probably one of the best Zombie films.

Friends Request – this is my favourite as even though you could guess what’s happening it still surprises you when does.

The Shining – This returning to some cinemas shortly for a special run, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson it’s another based on a Stephen King Novel and is often in the top 10 Horror Movies though not originally a success.

Psycho – possibly one of the best known and most famous horror scene.

Carrie – based on a Stephen King novel possibly the best known as well as first adaptation and a coming of age film.

They’re hundreds of other good Horror Movies and I’ve only mentioned a few, other horror films I grew up with apart from ones mentioned early were poltergeist, Friday the 13th and Halloween.

I think Horror is probably the Genre of Movies that has the most released as normally one every other week (or so it seems) this week sees Happy Death Day in the UK.

Personally I’m not a major fan of Horror as rather than what’s happening on screen it’s the loud music that annoys me, I know possibly part of the package but it ruins the film for me. The scenes that scare me the most are ones where you see someone at a window and not only in Horror movies as I remember a scene from Only Fools and Horses that was similar and scared me, I do like a good thriller though as find they have a better story behind it.

Ana de Armas

In my review for Blade Runner 2049 I mentioned this was first time I’ve seen Ana in a film but I then realised I had seen her in War Dogs but she looked completely different, she also appeared in Overdrive which is on my to watch list as didn’t get to see at the cinema earlier this summer. When looking on IMDB I noticed she was the trending star of the week so thought I’ll find out a little about her. She’s 29 and Cuban and though she’s been around for a while it seems it’s only since last few years when she moved to LA from Spain that she’s appeared in more mainstream films such as Watch Dogs, Overdrive and Blade Runner 2049. I expect she will start appearing in more and I can even see her finding her way into Marvel/DC universe.

I may carry on doing little blogs on Actors/Actress and even directors like this as I also learn from doing it.

Movies, What do people want from them?

Whilst I write a review I tend to draft out what I’m going to write using notes app on my phone before laying it out (now on word) and uploading to WordPress, after I’ve drafted it I tend to check facts and read other reviews and I’ve noticed points in other reviews that I feel are daft in my opinion, their entitled to say it as that’s there opinion so I thought what do people want from films? It started a while back but it was whilst reviewing The Mountain Between Us that got me thinking about it as someone put in they review it was unrealistic as no-one said “I’m Cold” in it; so do we want it to be realistic, a good story, good setting, good morals, something you can relate too, something to make you scared, think or something different?

Personally I like a good story that draws you in and takes you away from everyday life, I now watch different genre and different types of films I didn’t use to watch, those that read my blog can see that my fave films are, Room which is based on a real story and it draws you in, The Day After Tomorrow a Sci-Fi/Thriller I guess unrealistic, probably, but again a good story that sucks you in and The Breakfast Club, something most people can relate to but again the story to me sucks you in.

I don’t everybody to like what I like and that’s a good thing and I like reading other people reviews even if I disagree with them, I’ll only comment if I think a fact is wrong though occasionally it’s because we’ve watched a different version of the film as there is slight differences in some movies between US, UK and other International releases.

So what do people want from a film? I don’t think there is a real answer to it as people want different things the same as in life.

So what do you want from a film?

New Music Friday

Okay nicked this idea from many Music TV, Radio and Streaming services but downloaded some new tracks during the week and here is my verdict on them. 

Taylor Swift – Look What You Made Me Do – well no matter what you think of Taylor she produces hits and this will be a massive hit, she can sing and write hit songs. This has number 1 written all over it and though not a track you dance too this will be on loads of playlists and the mix of BPM will also make this perfect Gym song too. 

Paloma Faith – Crybaby – I’ve always liked Paloma Faith as she’s unique and has a unique voice in my opinion and whilst this is probably not her at her best it’s a nice easy track to listen to and will be a hit. 

Charli XCX – Boys – after in my opinion a poor few tracks Charli is back with a nice simple track that shows off her Vocals which I think are brilliant, she is as talented singing as she is writing. 

Taylor Swift – Ready for it – this is kind of strange as seems like 2 tracks in 1, whilst this makes a good album track I don’t think it has the staying power for a single. 

Kelly Clarkson – Move You – Kelly’s back, I’m no doubt biased as Kelly is one of my favourite singers and her American X Factor (or Pop Idol or whatever) is the only final I’ve seen. This again shows off her vocal range and her new album will no doubt be a smash hit. 

Mollie King – Hair Down – I’m not sure if this is Mollie’s first or second solo release after the Saturday’s, this is back to 90’s teen pop and a tune you’ll have at a party to dance too, I expect this will be a successful as will appeal to teenagers and she has the looks to back up and it’s a safe song but there is better songs out there. 

Kelly Clarkson – Love So Soft – this track reminds me of Nelly Furtado where it’s more of speaking singing then most of her other songs but is easy to listen to and probably a hint at her new album which I’m certainly looking forward to hearing. A hit in the making but I doubt will be a roaring success in the main charts.