My Top Ten Leonardo DiCaprio Movies

As it looks like Leo may soon *finally* get that Oscar he deserves, I figured it was time for me to do My Top Ten Leonardo DiCaprio Movies.

DiCaprio would also easily make a list of My Top Ten Actors but, although we’re the same sort of age & I’ve grown up with him since the days of Growing Pains, I never would have called him one of my favorite actors when we were younger. However, I’ve really respected his acting ever since What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.


Look at how cute he was in Growing Pains!

I often say that I don’t think Leo got the respect he deserved in the past because he was too much of a pretty boy but I think I was also guilty of feeling that way about him. I mean, look at that baby face he had! It also kept him looking much younger than he really was. And although I have his two big “romance” movies high on my list, I can’t say I ever crushed on him. It was Johnny Depp I had the hots for in things like Gilbert Grape, it was never ever Leo. I just didn’t see him in that way. I think I have a slight crush on him now as an adult, though, with his baby face gone & his starring in proper “grown-up” movies.

Even though I always liked him, I’m not sure when it was that I finally started taking him more seriously. I think it was possibly thanks to Catch Me If You Can & then The Departed. And then, of course, Django Unchained (he really should’ve been up for an Oscar for that role). But, as I ALWAYS say with these lists but will still get asked about it, I’m ranking these according to my favorite films, not Leo’s performances. That list would vary quite a bit, I think (number one would stay the same but I’d have others much higher). I just happen to care about liking a movie first and then I care about the performances. But Leo is great in everything. 

As I’ve already typed out absolutely everything of his that I’ve seen and as he’s been in so many damn good films and only one rather dodgy one, I figured I might as well just rank them all. (And, yes, I like number four. It’s good. I don’t see why some people have a problem with it). So here are My Top Ten Leonardo DiCaprio Movies (including the remaining films as honorable mentions):

Honorable Mentions:

16. Poison Ivy
15. Revolutionary Road
14. The Man In The Iron Mask
13. Shutter Island
12. The Great Gatsby
11. Inception

Top Ten:

10. The Aviator

9. The Revenant

8. TIE: The Basketball Diaries & The Beach

7. Django Unchained

6. The Departed

5. Romeo + Juliet

4. Titanic

3. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

2. Catch Me If You Can

1. The Wolf Of Wall Street

**Aww – check out this interview where he talks about joining the cast of Growing Pains. He was so damn cute. :-) Why didn’t I have a crush on him? Just too pretty for my liking back then, I think.

The Big Short (2015) Review

The Big Short (2015)

Directed by Adam McKay

Based on The Big Short by Michael Lewis

Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Big Short is a 2015 American biographical comedy-drama film based on the non-fiction 2010 book of the same name by Michael Lewis about the financial crisis of 2007–2008, which was triggered by the build-up of the housing market and the credit bubble.

My Opinion:

Seriously? The Big Snore is up for the Best Picture Oscar?? No. Just… No. It’s not a bad film but it is pretty damn… Hmm. I don’t know! Pretentious? Up its own arse? Kind of like the Academy, I suppose.

This was the movie I was talking about in my review of Spotlight when I said that the Academy is out of touch with the general public. This feels like the kind of movie that they nominate because they feel like they should. I’m not saying that stuff like Trainwreck or Jurassic World should be up for Oscars or anything like that. The general public likes a load of shit! But can a film not be “worthy” AND also be entertaining? Too many Oscar nominees in the last ten years are, quite frankly, just plain boring to watch. And what happened to movies that are just beautiful pieces of art? I’d say The Revenant fits that description – it’s absolutely beautiful. Where the HELL am I going with this argument?! I have no idea!!! ;-) I mean, Mad Max: Fury Road is up for Best Picture and that movie kicks m*%#erf*%#ing ass so it invalidates my argument. Back to The Big Short

It probably doesn’t help that I was really disappointed at having to go to this movie since The Hateful Eight was sold out. However, it’s an Oscar nominee so I figured I’d at least appreciate it after making myself sit through it. Dammit – I can’t say that’s what happened.

The Big Short is not all bad and the story itself, although too complicated for us everyday idiots (as the movie constantly points out to us morons) is pretty damn fascinating. But, yes, you’re SO right BigShort-makers – I clearly am an idiot because all the talk of loans and numbers and banking did indeed make my eyes glaze over. Yes, I fully admit that I couldn’t follow any of that but I found the celebrity-cameo-fourth-wall-breaking childish explanations to be completely obnoxious. And they still made no damn sense of it all.

All the condescending breaking of the fourth wall aside, I did really like following some of the individual stories. This movie feels a bit messy as it focuses on so many different characters but I suppose it also gave me something to look forward to during the parts I didn’t care about so much.

My favorite parts by far involved Brad Pitt and the two young men his character worked with during this housing market loan bubble thingymabob gobbledegook. I thought Pitt was really good. Remember his very very early days when his acting was pretty dodgy? No, you’re all too young. Trust me – he’s now a very good actor compared to how he started out and he’s one of a handful of actors that may make me actually watch a movie I otherwise might have avoided.

I can’t stand Christian Bale (no reason – just can’t) and his character was in danger of being an annoying caricature but, by the end, his story was the one I enjoyed the most after the Pitt trio. But anytime Steve Carell or especially Ryan Gosling were on screen, I lost interest. They just didn’t work for me, especially Gosling’s arrogant whatever-the-hell kind of rich, straight, white, male scam artist he was.

The Big Short takes what could potentially be a rather boring story involving financial matters that it knows most of us won’t understand and manages to make a movie that is not only rather boring but also obnoxious by infusing humor that doesn’t quite work and by constantly reminding us that it’s smarter than its audience. But, if I’m not being so cynical, I suppose that’s the point the whole film is trying to make so it’s actually quite brilliant.

Basically, loads of Americans were lied to and sold the “American Dream” thing by big banks who ultimately f*%ed them over the way big money always does and the little guys all lost their homes while rich bankers got even richer. The rich bankers are smarter than us and the rich filmmakers are smarter than us. Okay, The Big Short, I guess I get the point you’re trying to make. Too bad I was too bored to care.

I’d watch a movie about this topic again as I do think it’s one hell of a crazy & scandalous story but I think I’d prefer to see it from the viewpoint of us everyday schmucks who always get screwed over. Or maybe in a slightly different style, at least. Financial shit is boring as hell but, hey, The Wolf Of Wall Street was FAR from boring. Maybe this would’ve been a better film if it had been made by Scorsese. Bonus points for Brad Pitt’s & Christian Bale’s characters, though – those bits help liven up what is otherwise a movie not really worthy of a Best Picture nomination.

My Rating: 5.5/10

** I went to Spotlight & The Big Short two Sundays ago on my own and, in between the two movies, I texted my husband. I just thought I’d share this as the predictive text really cracked me up. I’m easily amused… ;-) My texts are in blue:

Catch Me If You Can (2002) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Satu of Fairytale Pictures. Thanks for the review, Satu! :-) Now let’s see what she thought of Catch Me If You Can, IMDB rank 240 out of 250…

There are another 16 movies available if anyone wants to do a guest review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos at the top of any of these guest reviews.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

I originally wrote this review/summary for my scriptwriting course, so there’s more plot details that I usually include but change is good, right? I also added some points. Hope you enjoy reading it. Spoilers ahead.

Sometimes it’s easier living the lie​​​​

Catch Me If You Can is a crime dramedy based on a biography of Frank Abagnale Jr., American con-man who succeeded in forging millions of dollars of fake checks while pretending to be a Pan-Am pilot, a doctor and a lawyer, all that before his 19th birthday. The film is directed by Steven Spielberg. It was released 2002 and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a main character Frank Abagnale Jr., Tom Hanks as a federal officer Hanratty chasing him and Christopher Walken is Frank Sr.

I saw Catch Me If You Can for the first time when it was released in Finland in 2003. I liked it back then and I liked it this time even more, probably because I paid more attention to the details of the film. Spielberg knows how to do details, his films are always looking and sounding great. The film is not overly emotional, so, even though I’m quite emotional person, I didn’t cry during the film. Mostly I guess I was exhilarated and afterwards relieved and in the end, disappointed, at least a bit. The main character is likeable and a con-man, so it’s easy to get excited for him and feel relieved after he manages his mischiefs. Disappointed-part is debatable.

(SPOILERS IN THIS PART) “Sometimes it’s easier living the lie”, says Hanratty at the end of the film. The phrase summarizes the film. Catch Me If You Can is a story of responsibility, growing up and bringing up. It’s a story of owning up. The film might be an adventure to viewer but it also makes you think what is justified in order to get around in one’s life. But in the end, I figure that Catch Me If You Can is a bit too much of a “lesson” about what kind of life you should live. And that is what let me down; the film ended up being one those familiar stories; bad childhood, rebelling child, moral aberrations and again, happily ever after. I kind of wished a bit more demanding ending, I guess.

Even though Spielberg has yet again a child as his lead, Catch Me If You Can is very stylish crime thriller. It has this adult feel and I believe children or even teens would be bored while watching it. The film must be PG because there’s basically no violence and very little of sex and nudity but the story and especially how it’s told tells that the target audience is civilized, smart adults who has taste and style. Catch Me If You Can has jamesbondish vibe to it without the sexual content. One of the Abagnale’s alter-ego is even named Mr. Fleming.

All of the actors are great; obviously. What else would you wait from DiCaprio, Hanks and Walken? Amy Adams also makes unforgettable role in the film as Abagnale’s love interest. That must have been one of the bigger roles in the beginning of her career. Catch Me If You Can got two Oscar nominations for Walken as Frank’s dad, deservedly so, he’s heartbreaking in a small kind of a way, and un-surprisingly to John Williams who smartly scored the film, I liked the music a lot. DiCaprio was also nominated for the Golden Globe. All in all, the film is good, solid 8/10 but it misses the last punch.

Spotlight (2015) Review

Last weekend, I tried to catch up on watching some Oscar nominees. Of the Best Picture nominees, I’d already seen Mad Max: Fury Road (awesome), Room (amazing), and The Revenant (pelts!). I went to Spotlight & then what I really wanted to see was The Hateful Eight but it was sold out & I was stuck having to go to The Big Short instead. Were Spotlight & The Big Short worth my time? Let’s find out. I’ll review Spotlight today & The Big Short on Wednesday. 

Spotlight (2015)

Directed by Tom McCarthy

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team, the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative unit in the United States, and its investigation into cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic Priests. It is based on a series of stories by the real Spotlight Team that earned The Globe the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

My Opinion:

Yes, Spotlight is a good film. It’s very much “Oscar material”, so I can understand why it’s up for awards. Is it the BEST MOVIE EVER?? No. Is it one of those Best Picture nominees that people will barely remember ten years from now? Hmm. Yes, I think so. Sorry. It’s pretty much your typical “serious true story” made into a Hollywood drama just in time for Oscar season. I mean no disrespect to the unthinkable true story behind this film but, judging it just as a film as opposed to the topic the film covers, it’s indeed a solid piece of filmmaking but is certainly not up there with some of the absolute classics that have been nominated for Best Picture in the entire history of the Oscars.

But, yes, it’s at least worthy of a nomination (for Best Picture – not so much for the acting categories). Sorry to start out sounding so negative – I promise that I have nothing bad to say about this movie from here on out (I’ll save my negativity for my next review). I’ll talk about all the things that I thought were good about Spotlight. There’s honestly nothing at all bad about it – I think my negativity is aimed more at the Academy being so out of touch with the general public nowadays. But I’m getting ahead of myself again – that complaint belongs in the review I’ll be posting on Wednesday. I apologize to Spotlight – I think it’s just unfortunate that I saw it on the same day that I saw The Big Short!

Spotlight takes a serious issue and, thankfully, doesn’t exploit it. Movies based on true stories can often take things too far down that tearjerker, emotional DRAMA(!!) route and quite often end up feeling insincere. The story focuses mainly on the Spotlight team of investigators as opposed to the actual victims of sexual abuse by their priests and I think that was the best way to approach telling this story. We don’t need to see the abuse or get specific details – just knowing that such a thing could happen and that it was so widespread is bad enough. It disgusts me that adults in a position of trust can betray children in such a horrible way. But back to discussing the movie itself, not the topic it covers…

I liked this film’s approach as I’ve never been a fan of over the top melodrama and I think the quiet & subdued performances in this are much more realistic. However, it also felt like any professional actor could have played any of the roles in this film so I’m quite surprised that both Mark Ruffalo & Rachel McAdams are up for acting Oscars. I don’t think they have any chance of winning. It’s not because they’re not both good in this (they are) but these just aren’t exactly defining roles. Actually, the best performance here may be from Stanley Tucci in a small role. 

I think the Academy too often confuses “worthy topic” with “good filmmaking & acting”. But a lot of what I’m saying may also be down to my own personal preference – I like a worthy film now and then but I most often watch a movie for escapism so will almost always choose sci-fi, fantasy, etc, over a dramatic true story. The story behind this film is a very important one so it’s great that they did a Hollywood film about it as that’s (sadly) sometimes the only way the public becomes fully aware of a certain topic. But, for me personally, after watching movies like these I often feel like I’d be better off just watching a documentary (if one exists) instead of the Hollywood version of true events. Spotlight is a good film, though, and most certainly one you should watch if you like the genre and want to see how they’ve handled the story.

My Rating: 7/10

Music Video Friday: Irene Cara – Flashdance… What A Feeling (1983 Oscar Winner)

As the Oscars are coming up at the end of this month, I thought it might be fun to post some of the Best Original Song Oscar winners (and nominees) for the next four Fridays.

This song is (obviously!) from the 1983 film Flashdance. I was too young for the movie when it came out so saw it when I was probably about 20. It’s not exactly the best movie ever but it’s fun enough and the “splash” scene above is very iconic. And, screw it – I like the dance at the end. I can be girly sometimes!

I just remember that the film was seen as a little “naughty” at the time and, as a reward, my school’s wrestling coach let the boys pick a movie to watch after they won a wrestling (um, tournament? match? game? meet??) when we were about 13/14 and they chose Flashdance. Horny bastards. I don’t want to know what they all did while thinking about Jennifer Beals that night.

As for the song, though, it’s a classic and far better than the movie. It’s one of those occasions where the song made the film and the movie definitely wouldn’t be as well known without it. It was written by Giorgio Moroder (the music) with lyrics by Keith Forsey & Irene Cara. Well of course it’s awesome – Giorgio Moroder was involved! Even Daft Punk think he’s cool enough to devote a whole song to him. (Moroder also won an Oscar for Berlin’s Take My Breath Away from Top Gun – maybe I’ll post that one next week!).

Anyway, here’s a video of the lovely Irene Cara (of Fame fame. HA!) and Keith Forsey accepting the Oscar from Jennifer Beals and a very young Matthew Broderick. By the way – the Fame theme song, sung by Cara, also won the Best Original Song Oscar. Six degrees of Oscars separation!

And then, of course, is the video for Flashdance… What A Feeling. Take your passion! And make it happen! This song is totally stuck in my head now!!! But that’s okay. :-)

My Top Ten Jennifer Jason Leigh Movies

Happy Birthday to Jennifer Jason Leigh, who turns 54 tomorrow!

Leigh is of course up for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in The Hateful Eight at the end of this month so it seemed like a good time to do a top ten. BUT! I have not yet seen The Hateful Eight… I will at some point as I do like Tarantino and then I suppose I can update this list as I’m hoping it’ll easily make the top ten??

At the moment, I’ve seen exactly ten of Leigh’s films (the other one that I really want to see besides The Hateful Eight is Rush). So, right now, these are My Top Ten Jennifer Jason Leigh MOVIES (not roles), counting down to my favorite:

10. Single White Female

9. Backdraft

8. Dolores Claiborne

7. The Spectacular Now

6. The Machinist

5. The Jacket

4. Road To Perdition

3. The Hitcher

2. eXistenZ

1. Fast Times At Ridgemont High

Which Book Should I Read Next? (A Poll!)

Last Christmas (2014) I got a lot of books as gifts, which I worked my way through in 2015 (the only one of those that I haven’t read is A Game Of Thrones – I don’t have the energy to start that yet!). I did a Top Ten (okay, 14) of everything I read last year including reviews of each of those books HEREif you’re curious.

I have to say that I really lucked out last year – I absolutely loved several of the books that I read (especially Ready Player One and The Martian plus I read my first George R.R. Martin and Joe Hill books, which have me definitely wanting to read more by those authors). This last Christmas, though, I got no books. However, I got a load of vouchers! So what did I buy? Books! They’re in the above photo, including some I’ve had for years but still not read.

I mainly stick to reading Stephen King most of the time. And, okay, I admit it – I read way too much Dean Koontz. I’ve just always loved horror and the supernatural when it comes to books but for some reason have barely explored the genre I love above all others: sci-fi. I like fantasy as well but have read very little of it (I do adore The Hobbit & The Lord Of The Rings).

I think, with sci-fi, I’m scared of it. I don’t have a science-y mind. Those books are for smart people! The technical gobbledygook in Star Trek: The Next Generation confused me enough as it was (god I loved that show). Maybe it’s why I like sci-fi comedy when it comes to reading (The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is my favorite book ever). So I thought it was time I try some new authors. The first two books I picked up were a Neil Gaiman & a Terry Pratchett. Look at me! Expanding my horizons and shit!

I’m in the middle of reading Stephen King’s The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams at the moment but I thought it might be fun to do a poll asking everyone which book I should read next. It’ll give me an idea of what’s the most popular. I would also love it if people would like to recommend any other authors, especially in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. Or horror & supernatural… The one thing I never really like is “crime” novels, though – the Patricia Cornwell was given to me and I don’t know if I should read it or not. Any fans of hers here?

Enough of my blathering – here’s the poll. You can choose up to three. And feel free to discuss any in the comments – I love a good book chat. :-)

Whiplash (2014) Review

As part of my IMDB Top 250 Challenge, I’m reblogging this review I did of Whiplash since the Oscars are coming up soon and this of course won an Oscar for J.K. Simmons last year. Also, I’m lazy. I’ve watched a bunch of new Top 250 films but am not in a reviewing-mood lately. Anyone feel free to send me a guest review to post! ;-) The films available for guest reviews are listed below. (Whiplash is currently at number 44 out of 250, blah blah blah)

Cool Hand Luke 1967
The Wrestler 2008
The Graduate 1967
The Lives of Others 2006
The Sting 1973
Die Hard 1988
Léon 1994
The Hobbit 2012
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991
All About Eve 1950
2001: A Space Odyssey 1968
Rain Man 1988
The Best Years of Our Lives 1946
Before Sunrise 1995
Before Sunset 2004
The Help 2011
Catch Me If You Can 2002

Cinema Parrot Disco

IMG_8632

Whiplash (2014)

Directed by Damien Chazelle

Starring:
Miles Teller
J. K. Simmons
Paul Reiser
Melissa Benoist

Running time: 106 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.

IMG_8674

My Opinion:

This is another one of those “Oscar Season” movies where the performances are a bit better than the movie itself. Well, the performance from J. K. Simmons is, at least. However, I did at least enjoy this movie which wasn’t so much the case with Foxcatcher or especially Birdman.

IMG_8676

J. K. Simmons is great as the music instructor who goes too far in pushing his students to be the best. He’s SUCH an amazing prick! He’s like R Lee Ermey’s Sergeant Hartman shouting horribly inappropriate insults at the soldiers in

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My Blog’s January 2016 Stats

Happy February everyone! :-) Can you believe January is over?! Man, I hate January… Good Riddance!

I haven’t done one of these monthly “blog stats” posts in a while. I just always enjoy having a look at what posts got the most views and/or comments each month (usually not my favorite posts!). And, as always, I find the bizarre Search Terms amusing.

So first I’ll have a look at My Top Posts for January:

I’m happy that my top post by far was the one where I chose the 12 Blind Spot movies that I plan to (hopefully) watch & review throughout the year. I’m cutting back on blogging but that’s the one new project I’ve decided to attempt this year (and I’ve already watched two of them and reviewed one: An Education & Summer Wars).

I also got a scary number of hits on my very old Cast Of Labyrinth Then & Now post and my very short David Bowie tribute post. People do love a tribute post, I guess, as My Top Ten Alan Rickman Movies also got a lot of views. January was a sad month for celebrity losses. To be honest, I still can’t even really talk about Bowie without getting far more upset than I ever expected so let’s move on.

Since January is so depressing, I decided I’d go & watch that heartwarming Leonardo DiCaprio film with the big cuddly bear. I was surprised to see that my review for The Revenant got so many views. I apologize for not being able to take that review seriously! It was a very good movie and all that, but… You couldn’t drag me back for a second viewing.

There are two movies I really want to mention once more as I feel they deserve attention. I’ve already watched 14 movies in 2016 (is that excessive? well, it was January – it’s too cold to do anything else!). Anyway, of those 14 one is a new favorite while another is one of those very rare types of films that could, quite possibly, change someone’s life for the better (not mine, though – maybe if I’d seen it in any month other than cold & bleak January!!!).

The new favorite is a pretty obscure film called In Your Eyes, which did get quite a few views but not many comments as I suppose most people have never heard of it. I was therefore very happy when two bloggers gave it a watch because of my review and they both loved it too. It’s a surprisingly simple love story (rare for me – I’m not big on romance) about two people with a telepathic connection. It was written by Joss Whedon and it’s a good script with great characters and it just worked. For me, anyway… I’m now totally in love with the dude in it (Michael Stahl-David, in the above photo). *sigh*

The other movie, which isn’t high in my stats as I only just posted the review last Wednesday, is Room. I believe I told someone here that this is the type of movie that makes me wish I was a writer so I could put into words exactly how I felt about it. Well, I attempted to in my review but nothing I say could do it justice. Just…. Watch it. Please. If you’re a film lover, it’s one you need to see. I watched it last Tuesday and it’s still playing on my mind. It gives such a bizarre mixture of emotions – thinking about it now I don’t know whether to smile or burst into tears. It’s an extremely powerful film, probably more so than anything I’ve ever seen in my (many) years on this Earth.

Yikes. Let’s lighten the mood and look at My Top Search Terms for January:

Okay, pervy Googlers! Seriously – get over the girl in Odd Thomas in her panties and the girl in the short skirt in The Purge. And I’m sure all the boys DO love Mandy Lane nude scenes but you’ll find none on my blog (plus, I don’t actually remember a nude scene in that movie…).

I had no idea who the hell Ron Mlodzik was so I had to look him up. Looks like he was in David Cronenberg’s Shivers but I didn’t even mention his name in my review so I don’t know how that search led someone to my blog. Well, here you go – I think this is Ron Mlodzik?? That’s one way to clean glasses, I suppose:

I also had to look up Ken Duken to see who the heck he was. Oh – he was in the unexpectedly enjoyable Chalet Girl! I’m sorry to say I have no naked photos of him on this blog, though. It would certainly be better than nude photos of that Ron Mlodzik dude.

Finally, I’m happy that my post about the Steve Buscemi/Roger Daltrey episode of Tales From The Crypt (Forever Ambergris) got some hits as I had a lot of fun with that post.

I hope you all have a lovely February! It can’t be worse than January, right?! :-)

Music Video Friday: Blur – Coffee & TV

Today’s Music Video Friday selection is Blur’s adorable anthropomorphic milk carton video for Coffee & TV

Every once in a while I do an “Anthropomorphic Cuteness” post (you can see my very first post explaining my obsession with inanimate objects being given human characteristics & cute smiley faces HERE). I haven’t actually done one of those posts in a while – I should get back to doing them again! Just like these Music Video Friday posts which no one ever looks at, I selfishly post those for myself because it’s something I enjoy. Someday I’ll find someone who shares my love of anthropomorphism! ;-) But now let’s talk about Blur & this video…

I do like Blur but I totally missed out on that whole Blur vs Oasis thing since that happened before I moved to the UK. Well, I’d have most definitely been on “Team Blur” since I hate Oasis (but I actually prefer Gorillaz, singer Damon Albarn’s other band). Coffee & TV is good but isn’t exactly my very favorite Blur song. However, the video would very likely make my list of Top Ten Music Videos (which is a top ten you know I’ll be doing at some point). It’s a classic. 

The video was directed by Hammer & Tongs (aka Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith). They did a lot of other great music videos also worth checking out (such as Pumping On Your Stereo by Supergrass and Right Here, Right Now by Fatboy Slim). What I didn’t realize is that they also made the movies The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (which I found very disappointing – I actually liked the BBC adaptation more) and Son Of Rambow (which I always wanted to see but never got around to). But Coffee & TV, in which a “missing person” milk carton goes off in search of the guy in the photo (Blur member Graham Coxon) is the very best in the fairly long list of Hammer & Tongs videos. 

Check it out if for some strange reason you missed it: :-)

Now take my poll which is only almost 20 years too late! 

My Top Ten Diane Lane Movies

Happy (belated) Birthday to Diane Lane, who turned 51 on January 22nd. I’ll be honest – I never really noticed Diane Lane that much when I was younger as she was mostly in movies that were just a little bit too old for me. Heck, I’ve only just watched Streets Of Fire and The Outsiders for the very first time this past year! Shame on me.

I think that I first started paying attention to her after the movies Unfaithful and Under The Tuscan Sun. Although I’m not normally into movies aimed at “middle-aged women” (even though I AM one), I think I just really appreciated how sexy the late-thirties Lane was in those films. And she’s still gorgeous at 51! Hollywood has always been obsessed with youth, especially when it comes to actresses, so I love seeing those such as Lane still in the acting game.

I decided to fully explore her older films after watching and thoroughly enjoying the obscure Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains. So I’ve now seen just over ten of her films, which means that two not-very-good ones are included at 9 & 10.

So here are My Top Ten Diane Lane Movies, counting down to my favorite film (not ranked by performance. no, I’m not saying I prefer her as a cartoon – number 1 is just an excellent film). ;-)

10. Man Of Steel

9. Jumper

8. The Perfect Storm

7. Under The Tuscan Sun

6. Streets Of Fire

5. Unfaithful

4. Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains

3. The Outsiders

2. Chaplin

1. Inside Out

Room (2015) Review

Room (2015)

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson

Based on Room by Emma Donoghue

Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers, William H. Macy

Plot Synopsis:
I’m not putting a synopsis in this time. I, like most everyone who has seen this movie, knew exactly what it was about before going to it. My hubby didn’t know a thing, though, and I think it helped – he thought it was fantastic. If you somehow still know nothing about this movie, keep it that way before watching it. My review will be as spoiler-free as possible.

My Opinion:

This film has finally come out in the UK (along with all the other big Oscar nominees) so, therefore, I’ll be considering it a 2016 movie when I do my year-end lists in December. Then half the bloggers will go “that’s a 2015 movie!”. So annoying. ;-) I know I’ll be having to address comments like that once again, though, because I know already that Room will still easily be in my 2016 Top Ten by the end of December. It’s so good.

As I said when I didn’t include a plot synopsis, I’ll try to remain as spoiler-free as possible but this won’t be an easy film to discuss without giving any idea what it’s about (the pictures will be a clue as well but I won’t include many). It’s one I’d highly recommend to any fellow movie bloggers who still haven’t seen it as it’s the exact sort of movie that us (often misunderstood!) cinephiles can truly appreciate. It doesn’t assume its audience isn’t smart enough to fill in some of the blanks and it leaves just enough not fully explained and/or explored, leaving the audience to think about the movie afterwards and to wonder how they may behave in similar circumstances (as crazy as it may seem, it is a real thing that happens).

This movie may also be a “drama” but it’s not one that plays up to that fact. There are no over-the-top melodramatic moments that feel fake or contrived, which is something that drives me nuts about a lot of films. The characters feel like very real people who happen to be in a situation that most of us can, luckily, not even begin to imagine. I know this was a book but it’s one that I wasn’t at all aware of until now. After the film, I looked it up to make sure it’s up for best adapted screenplay (which it is – I was happy to see that). That’s when I noticed that the novel’s author also wrote the screenplay. Well, she did a fantastic job so I now really want to check out the book as well. I think a novel’s author should also write the screenplay more often if this is the kind of result.

I think one sign of a really good film is how much it gets people talking about it afterwards. My husband & I discussed it for a pretty long time. We go to quite a lot of movies but, most of the time, we have very little to say. Well, we’re big movie fans so we perhaps don’t really count anyway – we discuss movies more than the casual cinema-goers. But a lot of the time I’ll come out of a movie and, if people are even discussing the film at all, they never say much more than “that was good” or “that was bad”. This time there was a woman who clearly wanted to discuss it with everyone who walked by. I thought it was quite cool to see that for a change! She asked people if they’d just seen Room and said how fantastic the kid was and that she’d not felt anything like that for a kid in a movie since Kramer Vs Kramer and The Champ (oh, yes! a Ricky Schroder mention in 2016! made my day!!). As we left, I saw that she’d gone over to discuss the movie with those working in the cinema. It was just great to see such public enthusiasm for a film that so genuinely deserves a lot of praise.

Onto the acting (as mentioned by the lady at the cinema)… The performances in Room are superb – not only from Brie Larson (who very much deserves that Oscar nomination) but especially from the young Jacob Tremblay. Wow. The cinema lady is partly right – it’s up there with Ricky Schroder’s tearfest in The Champ in a way. However, it’s a much more understated & more “mature” performance than Schroder’s. It does make me wonder how you get such an outstanding performance from a kid so young. I assume some of the credit must also go to the director? So I’m very glad that he’s also up for the best director Oscar. It’s great when small films such as this one do get some recognition: It’s nominated for Best Film, Best Actress, Best Director & Best Adapted Screenplay. Excellent! But I’m not stupid – I don’t think it’ll get anything other than, most probably, Best Actress (I really wish Tremblay was up for Best Actor too, though – the Academy so rarely likes to nominate kids. What a shame).

The little films like this never win much, though. But hopefully the big nominations will at least get this film watched by people who otherwise may have never even heard of it. It’s a film that deserves to be seen and should be seen. Room is only in its second week of release in the UK and I’ve only just managed to catch it (on a tiny screen where my local cinema shoves all the indie films that no one wants to watch, which means it’s unlikely to be showing anymore beyond this week). Why don’t people go to movies like Room? It makes me sad in a way, which is why I enjoyed hearing that woman talking so excitedly about it after seeing it. This is the kind of film that I want to experience more often. Yes, it’s a difficult subject matter but it’s handled respectfully and the film is very well written with characters who are so believably portrayed. And Jacob Tremblay’s character may just make you want to look at life in a whole different light. Only the best movies can do that.

My Rating: 9/10

Prisoners (2013) Review

As part of my IMDB Top 250 Challenge, I’m reblogging this review I did of Prisoners (I didn’t love it). This movie entered the Top 250 after I started my little project. It is currently at number 229 out of 250.

There’s a big list of new Top 250 films available for guest reviews. Let me know if you’d like to sign up for any of the films listed below. :-)

Cool Hand Luke 1967
The Wrestler 2008
The Graduate 1967
The Lives of Others 2006
The Sting 1973
Die Hard 1988
Léon 1994
The Hobbit 2012
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991
All About Eve 1950
2001: A Space Odyssey 1968
Rain Man 1988
The Best Years of Our Lives 1946
Before Sunrise 1995
Before Sunset 2004
The Help 2011
Catch Me If You Can 2002

Cinema Parrot Disco

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Prisoners (2013)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Starring:
Hugh Jackman
Jake Gyllenhaal
Viola Davis
Maria Bello
Terrence Howard
Melissa Leo
Paul Dano

Running time: 153 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
When two young girls go missing, the father of one of the girls (Hugh Jackman) feels he must take matters into his own hands while the police investigate but seem unable to find out what happened to his daughter & her friend.

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My Opinion:

This will be a quickie. I’ve been a terrible movie blogger lately! I’ve been busy so have done very few reviews & when looking at the list of films I’ve watched this year, I see I’ve not reviewed 24 of them. Pathetic! So I’ll try to crank out some short ones over the next few weeks. I’m too wordy anyway!

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The Story:

Prisoners is very highly rated & recommended but I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed by…

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An Education (2009) Blind Spot Review 

An Education (2009)

Directed by Lone Scherfig

Screenplay by Nick Hornby & Based on An Education by Lynn Barber

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper, Olivia Williams, Emma Thompson

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A coming-of-age story about a teenage girl in 1960s suburban London, and how her life changes with the arrival of a playboy nearly twice her age.

My Opinion:

This is my first Blind Spot review of 2016 (you can see all 12 of my Blind Spot choices HERE). I’m even managing to do this in January! Maybe I can aim to do these on the last Monday of every month. Maybe. I did start with the “easiest” watch, though (I’ll have to work up the nerve for things like Battle Royale). This movie was pretty good. Nothing too memorable but a solid film all around with Carey Mulligan in a star-making role.

There were two main reasons I’ve been meaning to watch this movie: Nick Hornby & Carey Mulligan. I like Nick Hornby’s books (High Fidelity being the best) so I was interested in this as he adapted the screenplay, which earned him an Oscar nomination. I also should really try to watch Brooklyn now since he’s again nominated for the adapted screenplay Oscar for that as well. Anyway, An Education is a well-written film (I suppose credit also goes to the novel’s author, Lynn Barber) with a good story and a strong young central character played convincingly by Carey Mulligan (which also earned her a best actress Oscar nomination). Oh, and the film itself was also nominated for Best Picture that year so it was up for three big awards and I’d say it deserved each of those nominations.

I first noticed Carey Mulligan in the absolutely fantastic Doctor Who episode Blink, in which she carried the whole show. I think this was back when they decided they’d have one episode each season which wouldn’t really feature The Doctor? They should do that again since Blink was a million times better than Doctor Who now – I don’t even watch it anymore. :-(


This photo is from Doctor Who, not An Education. Although it would’ve been cool to have some Weeping Angels in this movie…

Anyway! I’m assuming that role may be what got her noticed as An Education wasn’t long after that? I have to say I’ve been disappointed with some of her roles since (especially in The Great Gatsby) but I don’t know if some of that has been a fault with those scripts. She’s perfect in An Education, though, and utterly believable as a 16/17-year-old girl in 1960’s London. It looks like she was about 23 when she filmed it but I had to look into it as I did wonder if she was actually only a teenager at the time – it did seem like she could be (she doesn’t look like the thirtysomething cast of Grease!).

This isn’t a big flashy film and it’s not one that everyone would necessarily go for but it’s a good “Sunday afternoon” watch. Which sounds kind of insulting but I don’t mean that in a bad way. I’m also doing my best to not call this film “nice” as that word annoys the hell out of my husband. But, well, that’s how I feel about this one! So I’ve looked up “nice” at thesaurus.com:

An Education is “admirable, amiable, approved, attractive, becoming, charming, commendable, considerate, copacetic, cordial, courteous, decorous, delightful, ducky, fair, favorable, fine and dandy, friendly, genial, gentle, good, gracious, helpful, ingratiating, inviting, kind, kindly, lovely, nifty, obliging, okay, peachy, pleasant, pleasurable, polite, prepossessing, seemly, simpatico, superior, swell, unpresumptuous, welcome, well-mannered, winning, winsome”.

HA! I like “ducky”. This movie is ducky!

1960’s London (and also Paris) is a great time period & setting so I really enjoyed that. And Mulligan was adorable in that dress in the movie’s poster! The story, although slightly less relevant nowadays, is one I’d like to have my daughter watch when she’s the same sort of age as Mulligan’s character. Basically, the story is about Mulligan falling for a charming older man and how she’s willing to give up everything for him (mainly, her education – she’s a smart girl who plans to go to Oxford University).

I guess the only complaint I’d have about this film is that I hated Peter Sarsgaard’s smarmy character. I honestly don’t know if that was the point, though, or if that’s just how he happened to come across? I was thinking “how could she fall for this idiot?” but maybe the whole point is that a 16-year-old girl doesn’t know any better? He actually gave me the creeps. It just kind of sucked as I felt he let the film down and I wonder if I’d have liked it a bit more with a different actor. He just seemed so “wrong” while Mulligan felt so “right”. That’s my only real complaint, though. Overall, I enjoyed An Education although it’s not really something that would become a favorite or anything like that. It’s worth watching just once if you think you’d like it. It’s ducky!

My Rating: 7/10

Music Video Friday: Kim Wilde – Kids In America 

This week’s music video is Kim Wilde’s Kids In America. Why? No reason, really. I just like the song. It’s so gloriously 1981 (or 1982 when released in America).

I find it weird that I never even knew this song until I moved to the UK over a decade ago & I wondered if it had not been released in America. So I of course looked it up on Wikipedia and saw that it got to number 25 on the US Billboard Hot 100 (it got to number 2 in the UK). So… I dunno. I think it just never made it to the radio in my little hick town! Which is a shame as I’d have loved it at the time. 

So, while it doesn’t exactly have the nostalgia for me, I still think it’s a great, pure 80’s pop song. And it’s one of my daughter’s favorites to play with me on Just Dance on the Wii. ;-) The video is pretty bland, though! Here you go…

My Top Ten Alan Rickman Movies

I did My Top Ten David Bowie Songs last Thursday so this week I figured I better do My Top Ten Alan Rickman Movies. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter films (I far preferred the books) but Snape was a great character & Rickman was perfect in that role. As always with these actor Top Tens, though, I’m ranking these according to how much I like the film. Maybe someday I’ll do these based on the actors’ specific roles.

R.I.P. Alan Rickman (1946 – 2016)

Here are My Top Ten Alan Rickman Movies counting down to my favorite (I’ve seen exactly ten of his films! But I’ve counted the Harry Potters as one):

10. Alice In Wonderland

9. Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves

8. Love Actually

7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

6. Dogma

5. Galaxy Quest

4. The Harry Potter Movies

3. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

2. Sense And Sensibility

1. Die Hard

**This is a quick note to thank Luke of Oracle Of Film for once again running Fantasy Acting League, in which bloggers choose three actors & three actresses for the year and then earn points according to their starring roles and what star ratings are given to their movies by Empire magazine. You can see all of this year’s teams in Luke’s post HERE. I had a lot of fun with it last year (and came in at a very close second place!) so am looking forward to seeing how my team does this year. :-)

My Choices:

Actors
Michael Shannon
J.K. Simmons
Woody Harrelson

Actresses
Rooney Mara
Teresa Palmer
Kristen Wiig


Help me win this year, Teresa Palmer!

In Your Eyes (2014) Review

In Your Eyes (2014)

Directed by Brin Hill

Written by Joss Whedon

Starring: Zoe Kazan, Michael Stahl-David, Nikki Reed, Steve Harris, Mark Feuerstein, Jennifer Grey

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Two seemingly unconnected souls from different corners of the United States make a telepathic bond that allows them to see, hear and feel the other’s experiences, creating a bond that apparently can’t be broken.

My Opinion:

How did this movie so completely pass me by? It’s fantastic. I’m usually pretty informed about this sort of thing but I don’t think I’ve even seen this one mentioned by any fellow bloggers. I added it to my Netflix list ages ago after reading what it was about & thinking “that sounds sort of interesting – I’ll watch that by myself one night if it’s one of those very rare occasions where I’m in the mood for some girly chick flick“. But it’s not just another girly chick flick… It’s GOOD. And, I never thought I’d say this but I think I have my new Say Anything. I think I have my new Lloyd Dobler! Here he is – the perfect boyfriend:

He’s so boy-next-door cute and so sweet in this movie. Yeah, I’m old now but I can still have a crush on a movie character! Anyway, I’m not one of those girls who’s a big fan of romantic movies. Most of them make me want to puke because the characters are so unbelievable & usually so goddamn attractive that they don’t seem real & I can’t relate to them in any way or buy into their love story. Not that Zoe Kazan & Michael Stahl-David are exactly unattractive but they felt like real people and I loved their unconventional romance.

So, like the synopsis says, these two have a telepathic connection that they feel at various points throughout their lives but which fully comes into effect one day when they’re adults. It allows them to see through each other’s eyes and to talk to each other whenever they want. I really loved the concept – it’s very simple yet works perfectly in this film (probably, again, mainly due to the characters being so fully believable and the film being well written).

Yes, this was written by Joss Whedon & I didn’t know that until I started watching it. I’m sure that has probably piqued the interest of those reading this who are fans of things like Buffy (I never watched that – I was too old for it) or Firefly (great show) or even The Cabin In The Woods. I’d say that this movie has the same sort of overall feel as all of those but is a little more grown-up (I’m not sure of the characters’ ages but I’m guessing around 30).

I liked that they didn’t spend ages explaining the “telepathic” thing. There was no need to. These are just two people with a great connection having chats & sharing their lives with each other the same way any good friends would in normal circumstances. I’m a big fan of good dialogue & characters that don’t feel fake or forced and I instantly bought into the way these two talked to each other as though they were just having a normal long distance chat on the phone with a good friend. It’s like any long distance romance movie, I suppose, but with a more unique twist and with characters I actually believed & cared about.

Summary:

I’ll wrap this up before I ramble on and just keep saying the same things over & over. What can I say? I loved this film. It’s rare that a romance works for me but, as with Say Anything as well, I guess that’s the difference a good writer and strong characters makes (and it certainly didn’t escape my notice that this movie shares its name with the Peter Gabriel song made so famous by my beloved Lloyd Dobler & his boom box). 

I won’t pretend there aren’t cliché moments (he’s a poor ex-con living in a trailer in sunny New Mexico, she’s a well-to-do doctor’s wife living in snowy New Hampshire) but it doesn’t matter when the movie is actually good. And the contrast between their two worlds was quite beautiful – there are so many lovely shots of New Mexico that I want to move there right now. Into a trailer with Michael Stahl-David’s character! But, seriously – don’t write this one off just because it’s a romance. I almost did and I’d have missed out on a new favorite if I had.

My Rating: 8/10

Django Unchained (2012) Review

As part of my IMDB Top 250 Challenge and with The Hateful Eight having just come out this past weekend in the UK, I’m reblogging this review I did of Django Unchained. This movie entered the Top 250 after I started my little project. It is currently at number 58 out of 250.

There’s a big list of new Top 250 films available for guest reviews HERE (and also listed below). Let me know if you’d like to sign up. :-)

Taxi Driver 1976
Cool Hand Luke 1967
The Wrestler 2008
The Graduate 1967
Gone with the Wind 1939
The Lives of Others 2006
The Sting 1973
Die Hard 1988
Léon 1994
The Hobbit 2012
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991
All About Eve 1950
2001: A Space Odyssey 1968
Rain Man 1988
The Best Years of Our Lives 1946
Before Sunrise 1995
Before Sunset 2004
The Help 2011
Catch Me If You Can 2002

Cinema Parrot Disco

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Django Unchained

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Starring:
Jamie Foxx
Christoph Waltz
Leonardo DiCaprio
Kerry Washington
Samuel L. Jackson
Walton Goggins
Dennis Christopher
James Remar
Michael Parks
Don Johnson

Running time: 165 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)

Set in the antebellum era of the Deep South and Old West, the film follows a freed slave (Foxx) who treks across the United States with a bounty hunter (Waltz) on a mission to rescue his wife (Washington) from a cruel plantation owner (DiCaprio).

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My Opinion:

Django Unchained got second place after Stoker when I asked all of you which film I should review next. Sorry it’s still taking me a bit of time to get around to these reviews.

I should maybe re-watch this one as I saw it in the cinema back in January but I remember it well anyway. I still consider it my favorite film of 2013 (UK…

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The Revenant (2015) Review

The Revenant (2015)

Directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Based on The Revenant by Michael Punke

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820’s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team

My Opinion:

PELTS! I’ve never heard that word so many times in my life… Man, January is a tough month for movies. As if winter isn’t depressing enough as it is?? (I’m not a fan of winter. Winter can go screw itself). Seriously – why can’t they release lighthearted, happy films in January? I’ll admit that The Revenant is good, though. Grim as hell! But good grim. Your typical Oscar-Worthy January Release Grim.


PELTS!

I fully admit that I watched this movie for one reason only: Leonardo DiCaprio. I’ve always thought Leo was a fantastic actor who didn’t get enough credit in his early days because he was too “pretty” (he’s luckily getting the recognition he deserves the past few years now). I’ve only seen one of the other Actor Oscar nominees (Fassbender in Steve Jobs) but I’ll be very surprised if Leo doesn’t finally get his gold statue this year. He definitely earns it in The Revenant and the movie is worth watching for his performance alone.


LUCY VAN PELT!

That’s not to say that The Revenant isn’t a good film without Leo – it just isn’t my sort of “thing” and I know I wouldn’t have watched it if it had starred someone else. I have to say that it’s breathtakingly beautiful and if I didn’t hate winter & cold with a passion, I’d want to visit the places where this was filmed. Gorgeous. And I don’t know exactly how much CGI was involved in this overall but nothing looked iffy to me & the bear attack looked damn good (I know Leo is a very dedicated actor but I’m assuming he wasn’t attacked by a real bear).


*Actual scene from The Revenant

This movie is even more brutal than I was expecting for its 15 rating in the UK (I’m assuming it’s rated R in America?). But, as I said with Dead Snow (and the curiously snowless Dead Snow 2!), there’s something quite striking about red blood-splattered snow and you get plenty of that here. Does that make me sound like a psycho?! I just mean, artistically, it looks cool. I’m a wuss about violence, though, and The Revenant certainly made me squeamish a few times. Hell, just seeing the eating of all the raw animal meat was gross enough for me! I’d have made a really shitty frontierswoman. I could never even make it very far through The Oregon Trail before dying of dysentery.

Summary:

The Revenant is a beautifully shot story of survival & revenge with stellar performances from all involved (but especially DiCaprio – his performance blows everyone else’s away). It’s epic in scope and if you have a spare 7 hours & 36 minutes, I’d certainly recommend this film as I’d be very surprised if it doesn’t get that Best Picture Oscar as well as Best Actor Oscar. As always, though, my ratings are based first & foremost on my own personal enjoyment of a film with about 30% based on a film’s “worthiness”. The Revenant is worthy and I’m glad I experienced its beauty in the cinema. I hope it wins lots of awards but I’d prefer to not sit through it again anytime soon.

My Rating: 7.5/10


BJÖRK PELT!

Music Video Friday: David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes

Today’s video for Music Video Friday is David Bowie’s Ashes To Ashes.

I actually had a bunch of posts scheduled for this week but, after hearing the news of David Bowie’s death on Monday, I didn’t feel like posting them. I did a very short tribute post on the day but have otherwise not really said anything about it. I’m not a writer – I do this blog thing as a way to chat with people about movies (and some music & books) that I like. What can I say? The world has lost an extremely talented artist & I (and many of us) have lost a hero. It sucks. But I do this music video thing every Friday so there was no way I was going to post anything other than a David Bowie video today.

Obviously, there are loads of Bowie videos to choose from but I immediately knew that I’d go with Ashes To Ashes. Because of my age I grew up hearing 80’s Bowie the most (things like Modern Love & Let’s Dance will be the first songs of his that I’ll have really been aware of) but it’s his 70’s music that is most near & dear to me now. That’s probably my favorite decade for music overall and I think it’s also when Bowie did his best stuff. I suppose I like the song Ashes To Ashes as, being 1980, it’s kind of between those two Bowie eras. According to Wikipedia,

Bowie said that with “Ashes to Ashes” he was “wrapping up the seventies really” for himself, which “seemed a good enough epitaph for it”.

(Which was of course pretty obvious from the lyrics concerning Major Tom now being a junkie)

The video was directed by David Bowie & David Mallet. I’ve been looking into the directors of videos more since I started this music video series & I “discovered” Mallet when I did a fun post with Brian of Hard Ticket To Home Video about Billy Idol’s White Wedding (you can check out that post HERE if you’re interested). Mallet did loads of videos throughout the 1980s for Idol & Bowie as well as for artists such as AC/DC, Queen, Def Leppard, Joan Jett, etc etc. But I have to say that Ashes To Ashes is definitely his most stylish & artistic video and of course contains yet another one of Bowie’s (many!) iconic looks (the great costume was designed by Natasha Korniloff).

Enough of my rambling. Here’s the video. It’s weird. It’s artsy. It’s stylish & cool. It’s totally Bowie. :-)

My Top Ten David Bowie Songs

Today I’m reblogging one of my Top Ten lists from the very early days of my blog: My Top Ten David Bowie Songs

Cinema Parrot Disco

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In order starting with my favorite:

1. Ziggy Stardust
2. Heroes
3. Life On Mars?
4. Space Oddity
5. Moonage Daydream
6. Ashes To Ashes
7. Starman
8. Golden Years
9. Changes
10. Magic Dance

Honorable Mentions:

Andy Warhol
Fame
I’m Afraid Of Americans
Under Pressure

And…
All The Young Dudes (he wrote it)
The Laughing Gnome (I’m sorry but I kind of like it…) ;-)

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The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) Review

I’ve mentioned David Bowie a lot in various posts on this blog but haven’t written about much of his work. I’ve watched his most well known movies but know I need to finally get around to watching the rest. Today I’m reblogging my review of the one movie of his that I watched for the very first time since starting this blog: The Man Who Fell To Earth

Cinema Parrot Disco

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The Man Who Fell To Earth

Directed by Nicolas Roeg

Starring

David Bowie
Rip Torn
Candy Clark
Buck Henry
Bernie Casey

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia):

Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth from a distant planet on a mission to bring water back to his home planet, which is experiencing a catastrophic drought.

Newton uses the advanced technology of his home planet to patent many inventions on Earth, and acquires incredible wealth as the head of a technology-based conglomerate, World Enterprises Corporation, aided by leading patent attorney Oliver Farnsworth. His wealth is needed to construct his own space vehicle with the intention of shipping water back to his planet.

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My Opinion:

I’d been wanting to see this movie for a very long time and finally got the opportunity when it was on TV a couple of weeks ago. I’m a huge David Bowie fan. Okay…

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Network (1976) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

I’m starting up the IMDB Top 250 Guest Reviews again (link to list of available films below) & today’s review comes from Keith of Keith & The Movies. Thanks for the review, Keith! :-) Now let’s see what he thought of Network, IMDB rank 171 out of 250…

There are another 23 movies available if anyone wants to do a guest review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos at the top of any of these guest reviews.

***WARNING: SPOILERS***

“Network” is a film that I have probably seen if you piece together all of the portions I’ve watched over time. But it qualified as a Blind Spot because I had never sat down and watched it through. I never could put a finger on what kept me from investing the time to watch a film that many categorize as truly great. Upon watching it in its entirety, I was reminded what first drew me to the movie as well as what pushed me away.

For me “Network” is a mixed bag that is hard a narrow down or label. To call it messy would be an understatement, but there is a reason and motivation behind its messiness. “Network” seeks to push every button it can reach. It strives to be a full-blown outrageous satire, an insightful look behind the scenes, and a sermon on nearly every social or political concern of 1976. Director Sidney Lumet and writer Paddy Chayefsky never allow their film to be pigeonholed but at the same time its constant shifts in tone and voice, specifically in the second half, do more to distract than enlighten.

The film begins by painting itself as a behind-the-scenes expose on a struggling television network. UBS makes the decision to fire their longtime evening news anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) after a steady ratings decline. During one of his final broadcasts Beale threatens to kill himself on live television (an idea inspired by Christine Chubbuck’s on-air suicide in 1974). This infuriates the network heads who have him removed immediately.

Beale’s best friend and news division boss Max Schumacher (William Holden) allows him to appear one more time in order to bow out with dignity. Beale uses the opportunity to go on a mad rant which again angers his bosses but spikes the network ratings. Programming director and ruthless ratings hawk Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) convinces her boss Frank Hackett (Robert Duvall) to exploit Beale’s obvious mental breakdown much to Max’s disapproval.

But “Network” then shoots off into a number of unusual directions including an ill-fated romance between Diana and Max. Diana is incapable of loving anything other than television ratings while Max flippantly and emotionlessly leaves his wife of 25 years Louise (earnestly played by Beatrice Straight who won an Oscar for her whopping 5 minutes of screen time). It is a weird side road that only plays out in spurts. There is a compelling current in each of their scenes yet we are never allowed the time to fully understand the relationship.

The film also branches off into a Patty Hearst-like side story complete with an urban leftist militant group directly patterned after the Symbionese Liberation Army. These scenes start off strong but intentionally grow more absurd. These things all clash together before culminating in an ending which is completely off the rails. Again, none of this is by accident. Lumet and Chayefsky have so much to say, so much to explore, and so many indictments. Some of it is chilling and prophetic while some gets lost in the melange of loud rants and pointed lectures. But somehow it is always compelling.

“Network” was a huge success in 1976 and was widely applauded by critics. It won a total of four Oscars (for Dunaway, Finch, Straight, and Chayefsky) and was nominated for six more. It is a film that does so many interesting things and it subverts nearly any expectation the audience may have going in. Yet despite its irreverent ambitions it is messy to a fault. The clashing between seriousness and satire is jolting and not always in an entertaining way. I also don’t think the film lives up to its own lofty feelings of self-importance. It ends up being an engaging but frustrating road full of many ups and some disappointing downs.

VERDICT – 3 STARS

David Bowie 

I don’t normally do any kind of tribute post when a celebrity dies. I mean, it’s not like I’ve ever met these people. But, damn – this one upset me.

No one feels like a true original anymore. David Bowie was truly one of a kind & I’ll miss him. I know a lot of people will, including my husband and even our six-year-old daughter. She hears the music her crazy mother plays all the time and has grown to love Bowie too. I love having that connection with her. To her, that’s DAVID BOWIE in Labyrinth, not just Jareth or the “Goblin King”. David Bowie was far cooler than just some movie character. David Bowie was the best.

R.I.P. David Bowie