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.

Top Ranked Christmas Movies

Going on the Ranker website I had hoped to embed the voting page with the top 50 Christmas Movies of all time but I was unable to get this to work so here is there list of the Top 50, I’ve only marked if I’ve seen it to see how many I have seen and how many I’ve yet to watch.

✅ – Watched

❤️ – Watch Reguarly

❌ – Not Watched or don’t think I have watched.

1 – It’s a Wonderful Life  ❤️

2 – A Christmas Story ✅

3 – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation ❌

4 – A Charlie Brown Christmas ❌

5 – Home Alone ✅

6 – Miracle on 34th Street (1947) ✅

7 – Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (2001) ❌

8 – Elf ❤️

9 – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ❌

10 – White Christmas ✅

11 – The Santa Clause ❤️

12 – Scrooged ✅

13 – Frosty the Snowman ✅

14 – The Polar Express ❤️

15 – Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) ❌

16 – The Nightmare Before Christmas ❌

17 – Die Hard ❤️

18 – A Christmas Carol (1984) ❌

19 – The Muppet Christmas Carol ✅

20 – Home Alone 2: Lost in New York ✅

21 – Jingle All the Way ❌

22 – Gremlins ❤️

23 – Miracle on 34th Street (1984)  ❤️

24 – Bad Santa ❌

25 – Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town ❌

26 – Holiday Inn ❤️

27 – A Christmas Carol (2009)  ❌

28 – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ❌

29 – The Nativity Story ❌

30 – A Christmas Carol (1938) ❌

31 – The Little Drummer Boy ❌

32 – Mickey’s Christmas Carol ❌

33 – Scrooge ❌

34 – Love Actually ❤️

35 – The Santa Clause 2 ❤️

36 – Jack Frost ❌

37 – Edward Scissorhands ✅

38 –  The Year Without a Santa Claus ❌

39 – Lethal Weapon ❤️

40 – Christmas with the Kranks ✅

41 – Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas ❌

42 – The Family Man ❌

43 – Santa Claus: The Movie ✅

44 – While You Were Sleeping ✅

45 – Arthur Christmas ❤️

46 – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys ❌

47 – Twas the Night Before Christmas ❌

48 – Jack Frost ❌

49 – Fred Claus ✅

50 – The Bishop’s Wife ❌

Movie Soundtracks

Listening to Don’t You Forget About Me on the radio on the way home got me thinking what’s the best Movie Soundtrack? My favourite theme is easy as it’s Star Wars as as soon as I hear the 20th Century Fox Jingle I get goosebumps even if not a Star Wars film (the story behind it is pretty well know for at least Star Wars fans but expect well known for all movie fans so I won’t tell the story here), though the latest digital release and the most recent films don’t have the fanfare on but I was around when the films were done originally, but I want to look at songs rather than themes. Some films have plenty and feature the main character (The Bodyguard – Whitney Houston, Purple Rain – Prince for example) not forgetting that there are Musicals that the main part of the film is the Music, musicals that stand out are Grease, Saturday Night Fever and The Sound of Music but the ones I love are St Elmo’s Fire (Running Man) from the film of the same name and The one that started this post off from The Breakfast Club that put Simple Minds into the limelight Don’t You Forget About Me. There are other films that song that is as famous as the film like Eye if the Tiger (Rocky), My Heart Will Go On (Titanic) and The Timewarp (The Rocky Horror Picture Show). I think there are Movies that became good because of the soundtrack (The Bodyguard for instance) and the song became famous because of the Movie (King of Wishful Thinking – Pretty Woman, springs to mind) but I bet everyone has a different favourite movie song and I’ve not mentioned hundreds of fantastic tracks and I’ve not even mentioned Disney films that always produce a song you’ll never forget.

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.

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?

Musicals Screen to Stage

I was watching Legally Blonde last night and it got me thinking as I’ve also see the stage Musical show as well whether we’re right to judge a stage Musical with the film version, personally I say no as with a Musical you’re limit with scenes and in some instances (like Legally Blonde) your changing it to a Musical rather than like Grease which is already a Musical (I think Grease went Stage to Screen to Stage), I think it’s like compare Classical music to Hip Hop. The Stage & Screen versions tend to keep to the same storyline/plot but with a stage you can’t chop and change scenes and you can’t have as many chatting scenes like the scene from Legally Blonde where we learnt the Bend & Snap, in the Movie you have a lot of chatting but in the Muscial they turned the Bend & Snap into a tune and song to keep the audience involved, that’s also another big difference in Film you don’t have an audience to participate you just have cameras and a director and plenty of takes and retakes and changing of Camera position, the stage is live and you have to carry on whatever, you can also get slight ad-libs (Michael Ball & Les Dennis in Hairspray) and mishaps (Debbie Gibson in Grease) which means the same show is never always the same. 

There are perhaps a few movies that have been made into musicals that don’t work and a few musicals that having been made into film that you don’t bring the same connection (for me Chicago is better on stage then screen as feel you’re disconnected to the music). I expect there are a lot of films that could become musicals (not talking films like Marvel’s, Star Wars etc.) but never will though I expect most Musicals have been turned into films whether a hit or not (there are a few I don’t know if have been done though). 

I started thinking maybe it depends on what you saw first but I saw Billy Elliott and Hairspray on stage before seeing the film and like both as equal as still see them as different format, I thought maybe I can differentiate between the two, maybe I can but I have started comparing books to films and vice-versa so not sure about that now but that’s a different blog. 

Anyway if you’ve never seen a Musical you should, it’s a very enjoyable evening and for most of them you will be tapping your feet.