My Blog’s April 2016 Recap

Happy Bank Holiday Monday, UK people! Well, it’s finally May. Not that you’d know that from the weather here lately… Brr! Well, here’s a quick recap of what happened on my blog in April. 🙂

I started out the month with Coppola Week, in which I reviewed movies directed by Francis Ford & Sofia Coppola. I managed quite a few movie reviews in the month, including one IMDB Top 250 film (Warrior) & my April Blind Spot choice (True Romance). But I took it easy on my weekly Top Tens, just listing my favorite movies from various actors. I’ll try to put a bit more effort into the Top Tens in May.

POSTS

My Most Popular Post: My Top Ten Patricia Arquette Movies – This was surprising but, for some reason, this post was pretty far ahead of everything else when it came to number of views. I guess there are a lot of Patricia Arquette fans! (For the record, her movie that topped my list was A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors)

My Favorite Post: Probably my double review of Turbo Kid & Space Station 76. I really appreciated what both these movies did in trying to capture a specific era of film and think that Space Station 76 did an especially good job (although most people will probably prefer Turbo Kid). I even talked some people into checking these movies out! I love when that happens. 🙂 Both were fun & I’d love to see more movies like these get made.

I also really liked the sci-fi time travel film Predestination so I enjoyed writing that review & having a chat with some people about its mindfuckiness.

MOVIES REVIEWED

My Most Popular Movie Review: Midnight Special – This one wasn’t surprising as reviews of current movies always get the most views. It’s a solid sci-fi film from the director of Take Shelter & Mud and I’m certainly interested in seeing what he does next. I don’t think it will be at the very top of my 2016 list by the end of the year but I expect it will stay pretty high.

All Movies Reviewed (ranked best to worst):
Space Station 76
The Outsiders
Predestination
Midnight Special
True Romance
Turbo Kid
The Conversation
Kung Fu Panda 3
Marie Antoinette
The Bling Ring
Warrior
The House Of Magic
Muppets Most Wanted
Rio 2

MOVIES WATCHED

In Cinema (ranked best to worst):
Midnight Special
The Jungle Book
Kung Fu Panda 3

At Home (ranked best to worst):
Space Station 76
Predestination
True Romance
Turbo Kid
A Fistful Of Dollars
Pixels

(for the record, A Fistful Of Dollars is obviously a million times better than Pixels)

TOP TEN LISTS

I needed a break so took the easy option of listing favorite movies from specific actors/directors in April. They’re quick posts to put together but still end up getting a lot of conversations going, which is the whole point of this blogging thing. Who would’ve guessed that Patricia Arquette would be the most popular of these?

Top Ten Francis Ford & Sofia Coppola Movies
Top Ten Patricia Arquette Movies
Top Ten Jack Nicholson Movies
Top Ten Rob Lowe Movies

SEARCH TERMS

My Top Search Term: “the great outdoors pool stick between legs” – Yeah, my review of The Great Outdoors gets a lot of hits from people searching for Lucy Deakins. You have to admire how specific they got with the above search, though. I should never have included a gif of the above image in that post… Pervs.

My Favorite Search Term: Probably “movies and carpets” as that means my list of My Top Ten Carpets & Rugs In Movies finally brought someone to my blog. YES! 

Here are my top search terms for the month:

BOOKS

Books Reviewed:
Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin

Book I’m Currently Reading:
The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett

And according to my book poll results, it looks like I’ll be reading Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box next. I’ve been looking forward to that one!

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Clint Eastwood Week! I have Ennio Morricone playing in my head now… Well, it’s Mr Eastwood’s 86th birthday on the 31st of May so I’ve decided I’ll devote that whole week to him the same way I did Coppola Week this month. One of my alternate Blind Spot picks was his movie Play Misty For Me, which was the first one I watched back in January, so I guess I’ll make that my May Blind Spot review. I’ve also now watched A Fistful Of Dollars & plan to watch For A Few Dollars More so both can be ticked off my IMDB Top 250 Project list once I’ve reviewed them (plus, I figured I should finish the Dollars Trilogy after enjoying The Good, The Bad And The Ugly). So I just need one more Eastwood film to review for Eastwood Week: I’m thinking either Million Dollar Baby or The Dead Pool simply because I have access to both of those. Which should I watch?

Upcoming Movies:

As for movies being released in May, I’m still desperate to see Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! (finally out here on May 13th). And Captain America: Civil War came out on April 29th so I hope to have seen that by the time this posts on Monday. Green Room looks interesting (mainly because I love Patrick Stewart) and I know I’ll go to X-Men: Apocalypse but I’m not all that excited about it.

At home, I need to catch up on watching films on my Blind Spot list so Battle Royale is maybe the one I’ll watch this month. I also need to watch two more Eastwood movies for Eastwood Week. In between, I’ll watch whatever takes my fancy. Any recommendations? Oh, and I tend to watch one horror movie a month in preparation for October. Crazy, huh? This blog thing does change my viewing habits! Anyone have any UK Netflix horror recommendations? I’m especially interested in “killer doll” movies…

Happy May, everyone! 🙂 I usually end these with a song clip so, as I already posted a bunch of Todd Rundgren clips in my review of Space Station 76, I’ll post something from my April Blind Spot movie’s soundtrack (True Romance). Here’s Billy Idol’s White Wedding. For a thorough analysis of this classic 80’s exploding toaster video, check out my Music Video Friday post with Brian of Hard Ticket To Home Video HERE.

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True Romance (1993) Blind Spot Review

True Romance (1993)

Directed by Tony Scott

Screenplay by Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken

Music by Hans Zimmer

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Clarence marries hooker Alabama, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood, while the owners of the coke try to reclaim it.

My Opinion:

*This is my fourth Blind Spot review after An Education, Summer Wars & Natural Born Killers.

When choosing my Blind Spot movies for this year, True Romance was the first one I thought of as I’d been meaning to watch it for years but, for some reason, just never got around to it. I like Tarantino and love both Christian Slater & Patricia Arquette so I was really excited to finally make myself sit down & watch this. I ended up with two Blind Spot movies written by Quentin Tarantino as I also added Natural Born Killers as kind of an afterthought and wasn’t even really looking forward to watching that like I was with True Romance. However, I was very surprised to find that I was slightly disappointed with True Romance while I actually thought that Natural Born Killers was the much better film.

First of all, I’ll say that this movie has plenty of what Tarantino is good at: cool characters & fun dialogue. It also has another thing he’s sometimes good at: a messy plot. Normally, I don’t really mind that so much as long as everything else is good but I did find the messy story a little distracting with this one. I admit I watched this late at night & was very tired but did I miss whatever happened to Christopher Walken? It seemed like he was introduced & that he was important but then he just disappeared? I also thought the big finale felt a bit forced & silly. I wonder if the movie would be much different if it had actually been directed by Tarantino as well? This came out after Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (although I think it was written before?) but Reservoir Dogs is the much better film overall.

Don’t get me wrong, though – this movie is fun & I did enjoy it. It’s surprising I never watched it as I was totally in love with Christian Slater in those days thanks to Heathers, Pump Up The Volume & Untamed Heart (shut up – I adore Untamed Heart!). And he’s good in this but the true star is actually Patricia Arquette. I’ve really liked Arquette ever since A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors but have missed out on a lot of her movies (I recently did a top ten list of her movies HERE in which I kind of had to cheat to make it up to ten). I’ve never understood why she wasn’t in more movies so am glad she got recognized with an Oscar for her role in Boyhood. True Romance is surely her most defining role, though.

As with any Tarantino-related film, the cast they got together for this is super impressive. Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer, and…. Balki from Perfect Strangers?!? Okay, Bronson Pinchot felt out of place (plus it’s a fairly big role compared to some other big names!). Shall we have a look at those with much smaller roles? Hmm. Chris Penn, Tom Sizemore, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Rapaport, Saul Rubinek, James Gandolfini… so many well known names & faces in this! Although some weren’t as huge when this came out, I suppose. Such as Brad Pitt, who is adorable as a total stoner.

The two who really stand out in smaller roles, however, are Dennis Hopper (as Slater’s dad) & especially Gary Oldman (as Arquette’s evil pimp). I really miss Hopper – I always found him entertaining. He was loads of fun being a crazy bastard most of the time in things like Blue Velvet & Speed but I liked seeing him in a more straightforward role here & in a memorable scene with Walken.

I also like Gary Oldman (doesn’t everybody?) but, at the same time, I’ve never really noticed him all that much. He’s just one of those rare actors who is so different in every single role. For example, I love Jack Nicholson but always feel like I’m watching “Jack Nicholson” when I watch one of his movies. Oldman becomes the characters he plays and his role here, although far smaller than I thought it would be, is easily the most memorable thing about the whole film. I think James Franco clearly watched him in this before doing Spring Breakers. Oldman really deserves more recognition than he gets (but that’s probably because he’s so often unrecognizable!).

I suppose I was a bit tough on this film in my opening paragraph but, as is obvious from what I’ve spent the whole time talking about, the strong characters are what I assume make this film such a fan favorite. And it certainly feels like the films that Tarantino went on to direct himself due to the characters, the conversations, and of course the copious amounts of violence that I had to turn away from (one scene involving Arquette was a bit too intense for me). Shockingly, I found this more violent than the super violent (yet anti-violence) Natural Born Killers.

The thing that works the most, though, (for me at least) was the actual “romance”. I loved Slater & especially loved Arquette and wanted them to live happily ever after. These two had amazing chemistry in this! You just knew their characters had really hot sex. And, hey – they first meet in a movie theater & bond over a similar love of movies: that’s the perfect way to start a romance in this movie blogger’s opinion! Did they date in real life after making this like most stars do when they make films together? I have no idea but they should have. Hey – are they both single nowadays? I think they should hook up! Arquette totally should’ve married Slater instead of Nicolas Cage. Although I can’t blame her for marrying Thomas Jane. He’s a hottie.

Summary:

Well, I’ve said all I really need to say about this. True Romance is a really fun film thanks to Tarantino’s way of writing great characters & their interactions with one another but I was still a little disappointed that the story itself was weak. I also thought the scenes involving Elvis talking to Slater’s character didn’t really work & felt out of place. But I’d most definitely recommend this if you’re a fan of either Tarantino or Tony Scott or of the many big name stars in this movie. Like most of Scott’s films, this has a little bit of the gung-ho American action movie thing going on but it still mostly feels like a Tarantino movie (and it sure as hell is a lot more violent than Scott’s other work). I’m glad I finally watched this and the main things I’ll always remember are the fantastic performances from the likes of Arquette, Oldman and Hopper plus, of course, the romance itself. Slater & Arquette are perfect together.

My Rating: 7/10

My Top Ten Patricia Arquette Movies

Happy (belated) Birthday to Patricia Arquette, who turned 48 on April 8th.

I’ve always liked Patricia Arquette (and I loved her Oscar speech when she won for Boyhood!) but I’ve not seen many of her films. In fact, I started this post thinking I’d seen ten but, unfortunately, my math skills are shit & I’ve only seen nine. Oops. I must have counted Uncle Buck, which I was thinking of cheekily adding to this list as she apparently did “Additional Voices” for that. Well, to make this a Top Ten, I’ll have to include it anyway!

It’s fun (and easy) to do these actor top tens. I sometimes feel like I can’t do a list until I’ve seen ALL of someone’s work but that’s an impossible task. I don’t think I’ve seen every single movie from any one actor. So I figure, hey, I can update these lists anytime I watch a certain movie from an actor. So the next time I watch a Patricia Arquette movie, I’ll take Uncle Buck off this list. 😉 I should add that I loved her TV show Medium! But, yeah, that’s TV so won’t be included (although I have included an obscure TV movie that I saw years ago).

Anyway, here are My Top Ten Patricia Arquette Movies, counting down to my favorite movie (not ranked by performance):

10. Little Nicky (ugh)

9. Betrayed By Love

8. Nightwatch

7. Stigmata

6. Holes

5. Boyhood

4. True Romance

3. Uncle Buck 😉

2. Ed Wood

1. A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Yeah! Dream Warriors is AWESOME!!! First thing I saw her in and still my favorite of hers by far.

More That I Do Want To See:

Lost Highway
Bringing Out The Dead
Fast Food Nation (I can’t believe I’ve not watched this Richard Linklater film yet)

And last but certainly not least:

– Prayer Of The Rollerboys

What on Earth is this epically, beautifully, horrible-looking movie starring Corey Haim and how have I never heard of a 1990 movie starring both Haim & Arquette?! This looks fantastically awful! I must see this shit!!! Here’s the synopsis from IMDB:

Set in an unspecified time in the future, USA has declined and become a country of violence and racial prejudice. Griffin earns his living delivering pizzas while he tries to take care of his little brother. An old friend of his, Gary Lee, is the leader of a gang with big ambitions, the Rollerboys. Gary joins them to help the police keep track of the gang.

YES! That sounds f*%#ing great!!! Here’s the back cover:

Arquette looks like some sexy clown/mime thing. I must see this. It’s not available (I already looked). Damn!! Although, it looks like I may be able to watch it in chunks on YouTube. Hmm… There’s my weekend all planned out! I’m sure Uncle Buck is still a far better movie, though. 😉

Boyhood (2014) Review

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Boyhood (2014)

Directed by Richard Linklater

Starring:
Patricia Arquette
Ellar Coltrane
Lorelei Linklater
Ethan Hawke

Running time: 166 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Boyhood is a 2014 American drama film written and directed by Richard Linklater and starring Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater and Ethan Hawke. The film was shot intermittently over a twelve-year period, as Coltrane grew from childhood to adulthood; filming began in the summer of 2002 and was completed in October 2013.

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My Opinion:

I’ll get straight to the point: This movie is NOT for everyone. Unless you’re already a fan of Richard Linklater’s style, it’s very unlikely that you’ll enjoy this film. This is long (2 hours, 46 minutes). There’s a lot of talking. Not much happens. If you don’t like this type of movie, don’t go to it. Luckily, I saw this movie during the day with only a few other people in the cinema. My poor hubby saw it in the evening in a packed cinema. As soon as the movie ended, all he heard around him was people bitching about the movie. (“That was way too long!” “Nothing happens!” “Who would ever want to sit through that again?!”). This is where the general movie-going public gets on my nerves. Do a little bit of homework before going to a movie! There’s this thing called the Internet where you can find out what a movie is about. And when you looked it up to see the showtimes? Well, guess what: the length of the movie is listed there as well! Shocking, I know. Maybe look on IMDB & see if you like other films the director has done? If you can’t be bothered to do any of these things, either stay home or shut the hell up. Okay – rant over! Maybe I’ll talk about what I actually thought of Boyhood now…

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I went into this movie with very high expectations. I’m a Linklater fan – I love the “Before” films and Dazed & Confused is one of my very favorite movies. To be honest, I was kind of hoping for one of those “life changing” films. Fellow movie bloggers should know what I mean by that – You know how some movies really “move” you and make you want to be a better person & all that shit? Things like The Shawshank Redemption, Cinema Paradiso & WALL-E do that for me. Anyway, I didn’t really get that sort of experience from Boyhood. Watching a boy grow up before your eyes like that is a pretty cool experience, though, and you certainly have to give Linklater credit for taking on such a hugely ambitious project. To make a movie out of 12 years’ worth of filming is a hell of an achievement. Does it all come together as an enjoyable “movie”, though? Maybe not quite. In a way, it’s more of a “social experiment” than a film. As a social experiment, it works & it’s pretty amazing. As a movie, it falls a little bit flat.

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Boyhood is very much like Before Sunrise, etc, with the talking and the improvisation and the feeling that you’re just watching normal people going about their daily lives. The characters don’t work together quite as well as Hawke & Delpy did in the Before films and the banter feels a little less natural than it did in those. Plus, it feels like there’s even less of a “story” in Boyhood. I’m not really going to fault Boyhood for a lack of story, however, as that’s not really the point of the film. As much as I wish it was, life isn’t a movie. It’s filled with long, boring days. It’s how you get through those days and the relationships you have with others that really matters in life. And blah blah, yada yada… We all know this although very few of us choose to “seize the day” and all that (I know I don’t live that way). Boyhood attempts to show us this but, for me personally, it didn’t quite connect with me in the same way other films with a similar theme have.

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Summary:

I don’t feel I’ve done a very good job explaining my feelings in this review. I think Boyhood is very good. It’s unique & a great piece of art. Watching the character of Mason (as well as the real-life Ellar Coltrane & all the other actors in this film including Linklater’s own daughter) literally age 12 years in just under 3 hours is, well, pretty damn special. I did genuinely care about the characters (especially Mason but also his mom, played very well by Patricia Arquette). Boyhood is very much a Richard Linklater film – it’s all about the characters & their relationships. I sounded slightly negative in my review as I KNOW some people will hate this movie if they’re expecting something other than a Linklater film & I suppose I wanted to let those people know what they’d be getting themselves into if they choose to watch this. No, it’s not a movie I’m likely to watch again anytime soon but that’s because it’s not really that type of movie. It’s more of an experience and I’m happy I managed to see it in the cinema. I recommend Boyhood but probably only to Linklater fans and/or those who are interested in filmmaking in any way.

My Rating: 8/10

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