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Saturday, 2 July 2011

My Year in Film: June

I watched quite a lot of films this month (52 in total) so I feel quite proud of myself after last months pathetic total of about 2 dozen. I'm also rather surprised that I managed to watch so many given that I spent about 10 days in the middle of the month watching the first 2 1/2 seasons of House (which is a brilliant series, by the way). Anyway, here's my overview of the month...

160. 500 Days of Summer (2009)
161. Up (2009)
162. Sherlock Jr. (1924)
163. WALL-E (2008)
164. A Farewell To Arms (1932)
165. Cash McCall (1959)
166. Nothing Sacred (1936)
167. Forrest Gump (1994)
168. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
169. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
170. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
171. Lover Come Back (1961)
172. Dodsworth (1936)
173. Make Way For Tomorrow (1937)
174. Annie Hall (1977)
175. Citizen Kane (1941)
176. Cattle Queen of Montana (1954)
177. The Scarlet Empress (1934)
178. The Pianist (2002)
179. Midnight (1939)
180. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
181. Trouble in Paradise (1932)
182. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
183. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
184. The Third Man (1949)
185. Harvey (1950)
186. Out of Africa (1985)
187. Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
188. Marnie (1964)
189. Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid (1969)
190. Moulin Rouge! (2001)
191. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
192. One Way Passage (1932)
193. The English Patient (1996)
194. Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)
195. The Searchers (1956)
196. Big (1988)
197. High Noon (1952)
198. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
199. The Palm Beach Story (1942)
200. Young At Heart (1954)
201. Grand Hotel (1932)
202. Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
203. Atonement (2007)
204. Swing High, Swing Low (1937)
205. Lilies of the Field (1963)
206. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
207. The Eagle and the Hawk (1933)
208. True Confession (1937)
209. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
210. Notorious (1947)
211. Leave Her to Heaven (1945)

1920s - 1
1930s - 15
1940s - 6
1950s - 7
1960s - 8
1970s - 1
1980s - 2
1990s - 2
2000s - 9
2010s - 1

Most Watched Actresses

1. Carole Lombard - 4
2. Mary Astor -3
3. Beulah Bondi - 2
4. Claudette Colbert - 2
5. Doris Day -2
6. Kay Francis - 2
7. Miriam Hopkins - 2
8. Natalie Wood - 2

Most Watched Actors

1. Cary Grant - 3
2. John Barrymore - 2
3. Claude Rains - 2
5. Frank Sinatra - 2
4. Fred MacMurray - 2
5. Frederic March - 2
6. Gary Cooper -2
7. James Stewart - 2
8. Joseph Cotten - 2
9. Orson Welles - 2
10. Paul Newman - 2
11. Robert Redford - 2
12. Sidney Poitier - 2
13. Tom Hanks - 2

New To Me Films I Really Loved

Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Starring: Paul Newman, George Kennedy
I was really looking forward to watching this and it absolutely did not disappoint - if anything it exceeded my expectations. Paul Newman gave a spectacular performance as Luke, a prisoner in a chain gang in Florida whose cool, seemingly fearless nature earns him the respect of his fellow prisoners. George Kennedy was particular brilliant in the film I thought and IMDb tells me he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance. It's just a really amazing film.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Starring: Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Philip Alford
I'd never seen TKAM before June - I know, the horror! - and I am so thankful that I finally got around to watching it because it's BRILLIANT. There are no other words for it. Usually when I've heard so many amazing things about a film I feel let down when I finally watch it because it doesn't live up to my expectations, but this film is the exception. Everything about it is magnificent and I feel like watching it again because it just seems like it's one of those films that you get more and more out of every time you watch it. Gregory is such an amazing, darling man in it that I just want to give him a huge hug. He actually owns the role of Atticus Finch, no doubt about it. Mary Badham was brilliant too - what an amazing little actress. I give it A MILLION STARS!

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Starring: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury
I think it says on the poster for this film something like, "If you miss the first five minutes, you won't know what's happening!". So. True. I rented the film from the library and popped the disc in one evening just before I went to bed with a very vague idea of what it was about. Then, as I often do, I started watching it whilst doing stuff online. Some films you can actually get away with doing that but needless to say, I got about 20 minutes in and was like "Wait... I do not understand a single thing that is going on. I am so confused. *rewind*". So I started from the beginning again and my eyes were pretty much glued to the screen through the entire film (although I had to watch it in two parts because, riveting as the film was, my eyes decided they didn't want to stay open any longer!). I think there was a remake of it in 2004 (with Meryl Streep, I think) but I don't know if I'll ever watch it because there is absolutely no way you could improve upon such an amazing film.

Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)
Starring: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryō Kase
I saw Flags of Our Fathers, the companion piece to this film (both films are about the Battle of Iwo Jima and they were both directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood), earlier on in the month and I wasn't really that impressed. The word that comes to mind when trying to describe it is 'bland'. It was completely lacking of emotion and when you think about what a terrific film they could have made with the subject matter, it's all just a bit disappointing. Then I saw LFIJ. Everything that FOOF was lacking, this film made up for. I think one of the greatest assets of the film is that it manages to show that the Japanese weren't all like the evil villains we see in many war films - that there was good and evil on both the American and the Japanese sides. Just like on the American side, there were men there who would give anything to go back home to their family. I really can't recommend this great film enough.

(Just a quick note: There are no hugely graphic combat scenes in either film such as you would see in something like Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers but having said that there are certain scenes that were quite disturbing, possibly more so that a full on combat scene, so if you're not up to seeing people being blown apart by grenades and limbs scattered around you should maybe give it a miss for now.)

In the Heat of the Night
Starring: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger
I've been meaning to watch more Sidney Poitier films for a while now and the so the other day I watched Lilies of the Field (I read the book a few years ago for school) and In the Heat of the Night, both of which I loved tremendously. I especially loved ITHOTN though and even slyly recommended my brother to watch it when he text me asking if I'd seen any good films recently (if you're reading this oh brother of mine, you should go and watch it!). Sidney is an immense actor and they call him MISTER Tibbs! Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system. He's in a rather racist in Mississippi to investigate a murder (it's actually more complicated that that but you'll have to watch it to find out.) but because he's black the majority of the towns folk are not impressed. Sidney, or rather MISTER Tibbs, refuses to let the racists drive him out of the town before he solves the murder. Go and watch it now - even if you're not my brother!

Well, there you go! Speak to you all soon :)

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