OWF Film Diary: The Return

Long and short of it ladies and gentlemen, is that The Diary was cruelly bumped in favour of our focus on other more pressing matters- like winning Sky Movies' Blog of the Year- but it was always here, bubbling under the surface, waiting for me to stop watching Groundhog Day and endlessly replaying it in my head. And now, today heralds a second coming, the first in a new line of weekly updates (and it's a meaty one to get us all up to speed). Part two of the catch-up will follow closely after.

Anyway, happy reading...

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...Film #11 Fantasia

Responsible not only for beginning my love affair with the famous Mouse House, Fantasia also introduced me at an early age to classical music, at a period in my life when I was flirting dangerously with New Kids on the Block. I actually credit the film with significantly broadening my tastes, both in terms of the music I found I could enjoy and by establishing for me the relationship between music and storyline. And thanks to the iconic nature of several of the scenes I will now forever associate certain pieces of music with those scenes- and while I can appreciate Paul Dukas' composition in itself, the title The Sorcerer's Apprentice will forever conjure images of Mickey Mouse and those troublesome brooms. Ignoring even the stunning animation, and the astounding attention to detail, that legacy is enough for me to proclaim its genius.

Score: 4.5/5

Film #12 Fantasia 2000

Pretty much the only Disney film I didn't see on release (apart from the old ones of course), but a wonderful experience all the same. While it's association with the original inevitably makes it a classic, it lacks some its predecessor's heart and feels somewhat lightweight in comparison to those earlier iconic scenes. But as a stand-alone film, the animation is exceptional, the musical choices perfect and the whole execution a marvel, and given the time that Fantasia has had to nestle in our collective consciousness, affection should grow for this oft-forgotten addition to the Disney canon.

Score: 3.5/5

Film #13 Love & Other Drugs

Did anyone else notice that this horrendous affair was effectively just a Tom Cruise movie in different pyjamas? I mean, come on, Jake Gyllenhaal even wears the same sunglasses, and pulls the same open handed pleading routine through his redemption scene at the end (featuring that fucking horrible monologue that made me cringe). But that isn't really that much of a fault in light of all of the film's other problems- firstly, it is just horribly overt- we need to know he's a nymphomaniac who could sell whatever he wanted, so we are treated to an entirely unnecessary scene at the start which is nothing but exposition (which shows the films utter contempt for its audience) where he sells some stereos and fucks some ladies. And secondly, not contempt with treating its audience like idiots, it is also horribly manipulative- chief among the torments is the soundtrack, which features a repeated "soul" track of woman moaning her melancholy over the visuals, as if we are supposed to be sad alongside her.

Oh, and one last thing. Why is there so much nudity? It's totally off-putting. But then, it would probably be incredibly cool and fashionably dismissive to say that the only redeeming point about the film is the appearance of Anne Hathaway's tits, so it's lucky I whole-heartedly agree. Score: 1.5/5 Film #14 Home Alone 2

At least once a year I watch this and the first in the franchise. But never those dirty other additions, as they should be permanently stricken from the record. Slightly better than the original, given the added depth of the cast (and particularly great turns by Tim Curry and amazingly Rob Schneider) and the necessary increased grandeur of the final set-piece pitched battle with the Sticky Bandits. A great family film that I return to repeatedly, and will continue to.

Score: 4/5

Film #15 The Other Guys See full review here. Film #16 Soul Men See full review here. Film #17 Grown Ups See full review here. Film #18 School of Rock

Probably the last of Jack Black's films that I actually enjoyed- his silly man-child routine was yet to wear its tread too thin, and Black is clearly always happiest when he's channelling a part of himself in his roles. Here his musical passion fleshes out the Dewey/Ned character, and it is incredibly difficult to resist his charm and enthusiasm. It's just a shame that later directors confused the success of this performance as a triumph of slacker silliness, pricked with moments of "hilarious" physical comedy and used that version of Black in every film since. The day he realises the fact, and stops playing the mugging clown in favour of more High Fidelity or even simply more humanist comic roles will be a great day.

Score: 3.5/5

Film #19 Pulp Fiction

The coolest meta-film of all time. Tarantino at his ultimate magpie best, stealing, begging and borrowing from every genre he loves, with a typically icey soundtrack and some seriously "Holy Shit!" performances. Forget John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson; Bruce Willis is incredible and doesn't quite get the deserved plaudits thanks to his dancing screen-fellow.

Score: 4.5/5

Film #20 Smokey & The BanditSee my full review here.Film #21 Back DraftSee my full review here.Film #22 The Breakfast ClubSee my full review here.Film #23 Intolerable CrueltySee my full review here.Film #24 LemmySee my full review here.

Film #25 Something's Got To Give

It begins quite strongly, in an As Good As It Gets sort of manner, only with the obsessive compulsive disorder being replaces with a chauvinistic sexual promiscuity and heart failure double-team. But the end is a total mess, and Keanu Reeves' overall involvement is extremely off-putting. Still, Jack Nicholson is very good as the charming rogue, and Diane Keaton offers him the perfect balance, and it's almost enough to help you forget that this is ostensibly just a film about old people having sex.

Score: 2.5/5 Past Entries:Film #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 Speech

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