My quest to become a film geek?

This is quite a strange thing to admit, but I have always wanted to be a bit of a film geek.  I love watching movies, talking about movies, collecting movies and now I am even trying (pretty unsuccessfully so far) to write about movies. So it would appear on the surface I may well have what it takes to be a film geek, however I am concerned that my movie knowledge is…..well, what is the best way of saying it…..simply not geeky enough; especially if I want to write a movie blog.

Total Recall (or lack of)

My main issues is lack of memory.  I see a lot of films, I mean not a huge amount compared to some, but I can reckon to get at least 2 or 3 in an average week; last year I clocked up just under 150.  I have always been envious of people who are able to watch a film and immediately quote the actors and director’s career to date etc, so helping put the film into its correct context.   With the obvious A list exceptions, I tend to see ‘oh that Guy he was in that film from last year’ etc etc.  Having the IMDB app on my phone as had an extraordinary affect on my life in this regard.

Eve of Understanding

But I think my major problem is fully understanding what a film is trying to say.  As an example, whilst I generally understand most films, I am constantly amazed when I check the IMDB boards after watching and realise what was actually going on. I am not talking about plot twists etc, but I tend to miss the more subtle references and quite often the distinct themes the film is allegedly trying to address.  It is only on the second or third watch (normally armed with more knowledge)  that these issues become clear to me?  Why is this? Am I am not paying proper attention, or I am simply not watching critically enough?  Maybe I should takes notes?  If so, how and what is the best way?

Or maybe these issues or themes that I missed weren’t there in the first place.  I often think that people impose their own views and impressions onto a film as any story can be read in a number of different ways.   Take Monsters for instance.  In the commentary Director Gareth Edwards said that a lot of people asked him whether the film was a statement on the US led global war on terror.  Edwards said he had never had this in mind when writing or shooting the film, but a lot of reviews state this point of view.  If Edwards wasn’t trying to make this point, then surely the point is mute?

An Education

So to quote Ryan McNeil over at The Matinee, I have been thinking about what to use this little piece of cyberspace for.  I think it is to help me improve my knowledge of film.  I have been thinking about doing this for a while and since beginning the initial research I have come across a number of very impressive movie blog sites such as The Matinee, The Velvet Cafe and Front Room Cinema, to name a few, but certainly not all.   What all these sites have in common is that they have a very deep knowledge base on cinema and are keen to discuss their passion with anyone who stops by.  What I like most about these sites is their welcoming nature, they all true cinephiles and not elitist or arrogant in any way.  I have learnt a huge amount already from reading these sites and especially listening to their podcasts.

Back to the Future

So this leads me to ponder what it is the point in this site?  Beyond my own learning, to be honest I am not sure at the moment.  I know that I do not wish to imitate current movie sites, as what would be the point, but I hope to learn from them to widen my own knowledge base on film and maybe learn how to write about film.  If anyone happens to stop and read, then that would be nice, but not altogether essential.


50/50 – A Comedy about Cancer?

  • Director – Jonathan Levine
  • Starring – Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogan, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston
  • Writer – Will Resier
  • Year – 2011
  • Length –  100 mins

A comedy about cancer?  That can’t be right.   Surely cancer is about as serious as it gets.  The simple mention of the C-word normally fills people with dread; no one really knows how to react to it or what to say when they meet real life sufferers.  However the one thing that has been clear to date is that people know not to laugh at it.  That is until now.

50/50 is a semi-biographical comedy/drama penned by Will Resier, based on his own personal battle against cancer. It is the sort of script that you feel could only have been written by someone who has been there themselves and boy does it show.  In a film with subject matter as dark as this, delivering the right tone is essential.  Too dark and you lose the film, too light and you lose the audience sympathies.  It is with this in mind that Resier’s script is something of a masterpiece.  The tone is perfectly judged, delivering moments of genuine emotional turmoil, punctuated with relief bringing humour delivered via snappily written dialogue.  This is perfectly highlighted in the moments that Adam is told he has cancer – ‘I have cancer?  I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I exercise….I recycle….’. The whole tone of the film just feels real. You can imagine this is very close to how it was. (more…)

DVD or Download?

I can tell you the exact moment when I changed from DVD to download only.  It went something like this.

‘Daddy Daddy, look what I can do.’

‘What’s that sweetheart?’

‘If I press this blue button the DVD player opens.’

Game over for the DVDs there and then.  What followed wasn’t pretty. Sticky fingers, bent disks, crayon, felt tip and glitter.  None of which is conducive to good play back. But worst of all, putting the disks back in the wrong boxes. (more…)

Dinner and a Movie

A strange coincidence this evening.   My two young terrors chowed down on spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and as they were having a sleep over with their cousins, they all curled up afterwards and watched a movie.  They chose “Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs”.  I am not sure if  this was a subliminal reaction to dinner, but it got me thinking about other food and movie related mash ups.  A sort of different take on Dinner and a Movie perhaps.

So here is my top ten list of dinner and movie combinations….

1.  Dinner and Diner (1982)

2.  Chocolate and Chocolat (2000)

3.  Coq au Vin and Sideways (2004)

4.  KFC and Chicken Run (2000)

5.  McDonalds and Super Size Me (2004)

6.  Taco Bell and Tortilla Soup (2001)

7.  BLT and Babe (1995)

8.  BBQ and The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

9.  Cheese on toast and We Brought a Zoo (2012) – or anything by Cameron Crowe, the Cheesemeister.

10.  Swordfish and Swordfish (2001)

What about you – any nutritious thoughts?

Along a similar theme, the following tweet today made me chuckle:-

“You know what they call The Hunger Games in France?” “BattleRoyale with cheese.”


21 Jump Street

  • Director – Phil Lord and Chris Miller
  • Starring – Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill
  • Writer – Michael Bacall and Jonah Hill
  • Year – 2012
  • Length – 110 mins

At some point Hollywood is going to run out of 80’s movies or TV shows to remake.  I often wonder what will happen when they have all gone twice around the track?  Third time’s the charm?  Let’s hope not, this has to end at some point, doesn’t it?

It was with this feeling that I cautiously approached the latest 80s remake.  This time it was the turn of 21 Jump Street, apparently a popular US TV show from 1987, which famously gave Johnny Depp his big break, but strangely I don’t recall ever seeing it growing up. This time around we see Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), playing an ex-high school nerd and jock, who are forced into an unlikely pairing after enrolling in Police Academy and using their combination of brawn and brains to get through basic training.  After an enthusiastic and somewhat optimistic drugs bust goes amusingly array the two are shipped out to 21 Jump Street, an undercover unit run by Captain Dickson (Ice Cube), set up to infiltrate high school drug networks. (more…)