OWF Film Diary: 10th- 23rd March

The more I look at that picture above, the more I think it is a shame that Liam Neeson has never played Dracula. Anyway- here we go with the latest update of my OWF Film Diary- almost at the end of the third month and creeping towards three figures slowly but surely, and with the viewing schedule I have planned in the next few weeks I should be at 100 and beyond before we know it. I'm not sure I've ever had a reviewing schedule like this one- most of these titles, you'll notice were for reviews within a week- but I wouldn't change it for the world! As long as I'm immersing myself in film universes, what's to complain about? For anyone who missed it, here€™s the skinny. Basically, what I€™m presenting here is my attempt to chart a whole year€™s worth of film-watching €“ something I have wanted to do for some time now. The aim is to post frequently, chronicling every film I watch this year €“ both offering reviews and setting myself the ultimate goal of watching (and writing about) as many films as humanly possible, without abandoning the necessary functions of normal existence€Film #59 Schindler's List Director: Steven Spielberg Year: 1993

Some unkind soul put this three hour and twenty minute behemoth of a film on at close to midnight, so with the addition of advert breaks it was like firmly tomorrow when it got to that bit where all of the surviving Schindler Jews put rocks on the real Oskar Schindler's grave. Almost four hours, man. But Spielberg's epic holocaust film is one of the few films that would inspire that kind of devoted early morning watching- hinged on phenomenal performances by all of the cast, particularly Messrs Neeson, Fiennes and Kingsley, it is the ultimate in emotionally loaded story-telling. Shocking without being exploitative, beautifully shot, terrifically executed from the soundtrack to the editing- it's about as good a film as you'll ever see, and the reason Spielberg will never leave the top bracket of best working directors while he's still around in the business. Score: 4.5/5Film #60 Jackass 3 Director: Jeff Tremaine Year: 2010 See my full review here. Score: 4/5Film #61 Battle: Los Angeles Director: Jonathan Liebesman Year:2010

Big silly and utterly brainless- Battle: Los Angeles has more in common with a video game than it does any other films. For God's sake, it's even split into levels, or phases, rather than a simple progressive Beginning, Middle and End format. The viewer is dropped sort of unsuspectingly into the middle of battle, and it flows relentlessly from there, as we are met with set-piece after set-piece, and a series of characters who are about as fleshed out as you would expect from a video game. Aaron Eckhart struggles manfully on despite the material he is given to play with- which features some great chewy cliches and clearly has a general disdain for all human players- but ultimately Battle: LA is an exercise in momentary escapism, hardly long-lasting and just about distracting enough to get you through. Score: 2.5/5Film #62 Midgets Vs Mascots Director: Ron Carlson Year: 2009 Full review here. Read it if you dare. Score: 1/5Film #63 Taken Director: Pierre Morel Year: 2008 A second Liam Neeson film within a week, and this time showing the other end of the giant actor's range. That moment when he chillingly and frankly quite menacingly utters his threat of vengeance on his daughter's captors was the irresistible moment that Neeson's potential exploded within this genre. We knew he had poise and presence and dignity, but now we now he can mix it up with the best of them, in true, gritty throw down style- and the fact that he can actually act bodes well for his presumably limitless potential association with the genre. Okay, so the script isn't great, and there is a faint whiff of racism (look at the villains, seriously, it's France but almost everyone getting punched looks distinctly Arabic), but it's a high-octane winner as far as I'm concerned. Score: 4/5 Film #64 The Long Kiss Goodnight Director: Renny Harlin Year: 1996 Read my review in full here. Score: 3.5/5Film #65 WWE Survivor Series 2010 Read my full review here. Score: 3/5Film #66 Knucklehead Director: Michael W. Watkins Year: 2010 Full review here. Score: 1.5/5 Film #67 Sympathy for the Devil Director: Jean-Luc Godard Year: 1968 Read the full low-down here. Score: 2/5Film #68 Jack Falls Director: Paul Tanter & Alexander Williams Year: 2011 Find the full review here. Score: 3/5Film #69 Sleepers Director: Barry Levinson Year: 1996 Read my full review here. Film #70 Ray Director: Taylor Hackford Year: 2004 Reviewed here. Score: 4/5Film #71 Skyline Director: The Brothers Strause Year: 2010 Reviewed in full here. Score: 1/5Film #72 Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Director: Adam McKay Year: 2004

Has a film ever been this quotable? I mean, come on, there are even more infinitely reusable lines in Anchorman than there are in Airplane! And that, my friends, is some achievement- especially when some of the lines (like "I pooped a hammer" for instance) didn't even make it beyond the outtakes. Unthinkably, my sister walked out of the cinema when she went to see this first time round- and now regrets it I might add- and I have to admit that the humour probably isn't for everyone. But dagnabit, it is for me. I was going to restrict myself to giving this 4 out of 5, but film is after all a subjective experience based on enjoyment and you know what- fuck it- it's kind of a big deal. Score: 5/5Film #73 Kalifornia Director: Dominic Sena Year: 1993

Probably my favourite Brad Pitt performance, other than Fight Club, and I firmly believe he is best when playing slightly unhinged, off-kilter characters, despite the Hollywood marketing machine's obvious attempts to present him as a new, softer-edged version of Robert Redford. Here he is energetic, egomaniacal, mesmorising and malicious as Early Grayce, opposite David Duchovny, who does his best to offer the perfect vanilla counterpoint to the bundle of jittery energy that Pitt offers, and who is totally shafted in the poster above- it's a strong performance, and one that indicated that Pitt is a lot more than the occasionally vapid looking hunky poster-boy that he often threatens to be reduced to. Incidentally, Kalifornia is probably also my favourite One Hit Wonder film- a classification of film that I pretty much just invented the specifications for. The idea is that the film in question must be directed by someone who has otherwise made terrible, terrible films and that that director must have made more than ten movies to make sure the form isn't a blip, but that the judgement has to be personal, so financial success and critical reception are not necessary factors in the equation. As an indication of what I mean, Dominic Sena this year made Season of the Witch. That's probably all I need to say... Score: 4.5/5Film #74 Forgetting Sarah Marshall Director: Nicholas Stoller Year: 2008 What's that? The film that pretty much launched Russell Brand as a film actor (though he spends most of his time just thrusting his oddly shaped groin at things) isn't appalling? Who'd have thought it? But then it is one of the better films from the Judd Appatow stock, with star Jason Segel in particularly fine form (he does emotional wreck very well), and the jokes staying just the right side of the immaturity line for the majority of the film. The characters are very well written, and the humour is very effective while thankfully never quite compromising the gentle Island Life tone of the thing. Oh and it launched the possibility for subsequent shockingly good Brand vehicle Get Him To The Greek (which I liked more), so it scores a few extra points for that as well. Am I alone in thinking that Peter's Dracula puppet musical should be made? It makes me so glad that Segel is involved in the upcoming Muppet movie, I'll tell you that for free. Score: 3.5/5Film #75 Universe: Seven Wonders of the Solar System See my full review here. Score: 4/5 Previous EntriesFilm #1 Big & Film #2 Toy Story 3Film #3 Around the World in Eighty Days & Film # 4 EnchantedFilm #5 Iron Man, Film #6 The Incredible Hulk & Film # 7 The IncrediblesFilm #8 The Simpsons MovieFilm #9 Tron LegacyFilm #10 The King's SpeechFilms #11- 25Films #26-35Films 36-46 (11th- 23rd Feb) Films 47-58 (24th Feb- 9th March)
Want to write about The-Long-Kiss-Goodnight, Taken, ray, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Battle: Los Angeles, Skyline, Knucklehead, Jackass 3, Sympathy for the Devil, Jack Falls, Sleepers, Midgets vs Mascots, Schindler's List, Anchorman and Kalifornia? Get started below...

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