Seen

This page is more for me than it is for you. I’ve decided to maintain a list of all the films I have watched, with a nice little quick thought about each.

August 2012

Juan of the Dead

An enjoyable zombie flick from Cuba that comes with plenty of self-deprecating humour and a pleasingly playful politic subtext (zombies are initially dismissed as ‘dissidents’ ).

Pearl Jam 20

A thorough and emotional look at the history of one of the world’s finest rock bands. Engrossing and revealing.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro Ono, the subject of the character-study documentary, is an 85-year old sushi chef, widely recognized as the world’s best. His restaurant is located in an Tokyo subway station, where he draws in sushi lovers from the world over.

Thor

The last part of ‘Marvel Phase 1’ that I had not seen was much more enjoyable than I was expecting.

Midnight Run

I love stumbling across eighties classics that I have yet to see. This was great fun – Deniro on form in a rare enjoyable comedy role and

The Adjustment Bureau

American Reunion (2011)

I’m Still Here (2010)

The Hunger Games (2012)

July 2012

Nostalgia for the Light (2010)

The Three Stoogies (2012)

Birds of America (2008)

Corman’s World (2011)

A documentary about a man that you should have heard of. Roger Corman is a producer of low-budget movies who has released more than 300 films since the mid-fifties. Hugely respected within the industry, but often unknown to those not in the industry, Corman helped launch the careers of some of our best loved filmmakers.

An engrossing and informative documentary that will boost your knowledge of cinema history from the 50s onwards.

Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol (2011)

(Rewatch) The first live-action feature from Pixar’s Brad Bird is a strong addition to the series, the best since the original movie. The action sequences are sufficiently jaw-dropping, particularly those that take place a hundred stories up on the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai.

Indie Game: The Movie (2012)

A documentary that seeks to shed light on the difficulties and rewards of being an independent video game creator.

Following several game makers, Indie Game is my kind of documentary. It sheds light on a microcosm of human life, showing us a group of people who are driven, who care about what they are doing with their lives and are incredibly emotionally invested in their own success.

Bronson (2008)

A humorous and appropriately unhinged semi-fictionalised account of the life of Charles Bronson, Britain’s most violent inmate. Tom Hardy turns in an strong performance as Bronson in a film that is entertaining and thoughtful (in a psychotic kind of way).

20 Seconds of Joy (2007)

A peek into the world of BASE  jumping, a sport that has a higher risk of death than any other. 20 Seconds of Joy follows the career of Katrina Hollekim, perhaps the world’s most prominent female BASE jumper.

Blue Valentine (2010)

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams turn in perfect performances as Dean and Cynthia as we see their relationship blossom and, as the years pass, turn sour. Confidently directed by Derek Cianfrance (surely one to watch), Blue Valentine is engrossing and heart-wrenching.

Melancholia (2011)

Lars Von Trier tackles depression and the end of the world. Melancholia tasks itself with studying how people might deal with their inevitable destruction, yet it isn’t really about that at all (after all, the majority of the characters spend 90% of the film in blissful denial). It seems that the people best equipped to deal with such a weighty inevitability are those suffering from manic depression. An odd but engaging film.

The Raid: Redemption (2012)

Wow. It’s been a while since I’ve seen an action movie so committed to the excesses and beauty of on-screen violence. The Raid is perfectly constructed, well thought through and hugely enjoyable.

Project X (2012)

Initially it appeared that Project X would be quite dull, retreading the steps of countless other high-school / college movies that reveal the partying life-style of the American teenager.

But the party in Project X really does get out of hand and the film revels in the unexpected levels of insanity it achieves. And it does so whilst using the ‘found footage’ style and managing – just – to not appear tired as a result.

Trouble the Water (2008)

Comic Con: A Fan’s Hope (2012)

A wonderful glimpse into the world of Comic Con, seen from the perspective of several individuals who hope to sustain or start a career within the broad field of popular culture that ‘The Con’ brings together.

This film considers the way Comic Con has changed over the years, becoming more commercial and gradually being wrested away from the people who started it all, yet it also celebrates the diverse nature of the event as it occurs today and its unique position as a barometer for everything within the ‘geek culture’.

Wordplay (2006)

I’m love a documentary that gives you a glimpse into an unusual little slice of human society, especially if the people who inhabit that slice are a bit geeky about something. This film made me want to do crosswords.

Diary of the Dead (2007)

The most recent addition to Romero’s Dead series is a ‘found footage’ style movie. I enjoyed it quite a bit, in no small part thanks to the thoughtful way it was put together (the combinations of different kinds of camera footage, the way it was being put together by the characters as the film went along) and, of course, thanks to some entertaining, wry zombie action.

The Secret World of Arrietty (2012)

A simple tale retold with love and restraint by Studio Ghibli. The world of Arrietty, a very small person (a Borrower) who lives quietly in the walls of a family home, is beautifully realised and a testament to the merits of traditional animation techniques.

June 2012

Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2012)

Its always refreshing when you see much-loved comic actors show the world that they can turn in strong dramatic performances. In this case, it is Ed Helms (whose movie output has left me cold, but whom I love in The Office) and Jason Segal (who I have loved in everything from Freaks and Geeks through to The Muppets).

Jeff, Who Lives at Home is an unusual film, that doesn’t pander to cinematic conventions or audience expectations. You should watch it.

Dumb and dumber (1994)

Dumb and Dumber holds a place close to my heart. This was the first time I have watched the film in perhaps five or more years, yet it would appear I have retained 80-90% of the dialogue in my brain. I love Harry and Lloyd and get a great deal of pleasure from watching their exploits.

Day of the Dead (1985)

Part three of George A Romero’s Living Dead series may seem a little dated on the surface, but the story is so crazy, with unexpected twists and so much zombie action, that it ends up being quite entertaining. It was not the social satire I was hoping for, but it is still more intelligent that your average horror film and more fun than any other zombie film I can think of.

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Part two of George A Romero’s Living Dead series sees a group of survivors taking shelter in a shopping mall. Despite being a little over-long and not too well funded (zombies basically just have grey face paint), Dawn is a compelling story that plays out the satisfying premise of ‘what would you do left to your own devices in a shopping mall’ whilst successfully satirizing consumer culture in an unexpected way.

Men in Black 3 (2012)

This underwhelming sequel is better than the second movie, but still doesn’t really live up to the charm of the original. It’s saved by some imaginative alien work and the time-travel premise (although this aspect of the film never really lives up to its potential).

Goon (2011)

An entertaining comedy about Canadian ice-hockey. I enjoyed finding out about the unusual role of the enforcers, who are essentially on the team to threaten and beat up their opponents (when provoked). And I also enjoyed seeing Sean William-Scott in a more subtle role as likable, yet not-too-intelligent, enforcer Doug.

Into the Abyss (2011)

Director Werner Herzog makes no qualms about his position with regards to the death penalty in this documentary that follows two men convicted of triple homicide in Texas. That said, he tells the story of the perpetrators and the victims with a light touch, shedding light on how the crimes affected everyone involved.

May 2012

This is Not a Film (2011)

Not only is Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi under house arrest, he is also banned from film-making. That didn’t stop his from featuring in this unusual little documentary that sheds light on the frustration he feels, as well as giving us an insight into the workings of a directors mind.

Wasteland (2010)

A documentary that follows Brazilian artist Vik Muniz as he seeks to use art to raise the profile of workers at Jardim Gramacho, one of the world’s largest landfills. His work has a surprising effect on the people involved and this documentary serves as an interesting peek into the world of some people who might otherwise have slipped through the cracks.

Bus 174 (2002)

A documentary focusing on a hostage situation that occurred in 2000 when a man called Sandro Rosa do Nascimento took over a bus in Rio de Janeiro. The film focuses not only on an awful situation made truly terrifying thanks to poor crisis management by the authorities, but also on how poverty and slum life affected this individual and drove him to these horrible actions.

The Double (2011)

A spy film with a difference. Sadly, that difference (and Richard Gere) was not enough to save it from ho-hum plotting and a predictable ending.

Everything Must Go (2010)

A rare dramatic turn from Will Ferrell, who stars as a alcoholic kicked out of his house by his wife. He exists in an odd netherworld, living on the front lawn, amongst his worldly possessions, which he is ultimately forced to try and sell. A fantastically understated performance from Ferrell makes this a film worth watching.

Transformers 3: The Dark of the Moon (2011)

It was big, and surprisingly enjoyable! There is a slight risk of brain overload given the insanely high volume of effects shots, but if you approach it as you would a ridiculous cartoon, you’ll have plenty of fun.

The Interrupters (2011)

A fascinating look at some incredible people, the ‘violence interrupters’ of Chicago. Having escaped from a life of violence, these people have dedicated themselves to reducing violence and death within the inner-city youth communities.

Trollhunter (2010)

A Norwegian fantasy ‘found footage’ film reveals the existence of large, stupid lumbering beasts called trolls in the forests and mountains of Norway. What the film lacks in charactisation and plotting, it makes up for with effective special effects and humour.

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

One of the most realistic portrayals of court-room drama, Anatomy of a Murder provides a complex mystery and a satisfyingly realistic lack of a clear conclusion.

Conan O’Brian Can’t Stop (2011)

Conan is little-known outside America, but I had heard of him and was aware that he had been unfairly removed from his late-night talk show. This documentary film follows him on the tour he undertook during the period he was unable to appear on TV. Its a pretty interesting character study and a nice introduction to this popular personality for non-Americans.

21 Jump Street (2012)

Very entertaining comedy movie about two undercover cops who have to return to high school. Ridiculous, but very entertaining.

Jesus Camp (2006)

A scary portrayal of what can only be described as brain-washing and child abuse by individuals associated with the Evangelical Christian community in America. The film makes an admirable attempt at remaining impartial, but it is impossible not to be shocked at what these children are subjected to.

God Grew Tired of Us (2006)

An emotional look at the Lost Boys of Sudan, some of who moved to the U.S. after fleeing their country as children and living for years in neighbouring countries.

Bill Cunningham New York (2010)

Who would have thought that a documentary about a New York fashion photographer could be this affecting. A portrait of a fascinating man intent on capturing the fashion trends of the streets of New York, all the while leading a virtually hermetic lifestyle in a tiny apartment in Carnegie Hall.

Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography (1992)

An introduction to the art of Cinematography and the effect that cinematographers have had on the classics of cinema.

Overnight (2003)

A look at the risks of trying your hand at Hollywood. An egotistical bartender is given an opportunity by industry legend Harvey Weinstein to direct a film that he has written. Overnight follows Troy Duffy as he tries to get Boondock Saints.

Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

This might seem on the surface to be a nostalgic look at the lives of young people (think Dazed and Confused, but for the eighties), but it quickly becomes apparent that Wet Hot American Summer is more subversive than that. It was odd enough to leave me confused as to what level I enjoyed it on, but I definitely laughed.

The Way Back (2010)

Prisoners escape from a Siberian prison during world war 2 and embark on an epic journey as they walk 4000 miles to India and freedom. A good movie from director Peter Weir.

The Clash of the Titans (2010)

The mortal son of Zeus takes battles the ruler of the underworld to prevent him from conquering mankind. Big and quite silly with some enjoyable special effects.

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

A court-room thriller that tells the story of Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey), a lawyer forced to question his own morality when he represents a wealthy client who tries to beat the system. Enjoyable and compelling drama with a satisfying conclusion.

The Ides of March (2011)

A young campaign staffer finds out what you have to be prepared to do in order to succeed in politics. Powerful politic drama from director George Clooney, with an excellent cast including Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

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