Monthly Archives: March 2013

#171 Mr Deeds Goes To Town

(1936, Frank Capra)

“You are the sanest man to ever walk into this courtroom”

Mr Deeds Goes To Town sounds suspiciously familiar, doesn’t it? No, I’m not referring to the more recent Adam Sander remake Mr Deeds, I mean the title is remarkably similar to another of Frank Capra’s movies that we’ve already looked at: Mr Smith Goes To Washington. Are there any similarities? Is it a decent film in its own right?

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#170 Vertigo

(1958, Alfred Hitchcock)

“Anyone could become obsessed with the past with a background like that”

So, remember I said how much I like James Stewart back when I reviewed Philadelphia Story? Well, here he is again, and this time he’s directed by Hitchcock, so surely this can only be a recipe for success in my eyes?

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#169 Fish Tank

(2009, Andrea Arnold)

“Why should I care what you think?”

Britain has an entire genre of films and TV shows classed as kitchen-sink drama. They can be generally classified as slice-of-life dramas set in drab working class environments all about how hard it is to be a working class person in Great Britain. Fish Tank is a fairly recent addition to the genre, and is apparently noteworthy enough to be a film to see before you die. But is it that noteworthy?

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#168 A Nightmare On Elm St

(1984, Wes Craven)

“One, two, Freddy’s coming for you”

We’ve talked about slasher flicks before here on Sven vs. The Movies, from the films that kicked it off (Halloween) to the films that tried to play with the formula when it started to become tired (Scream), and now we find ourselves somewhere in the middle with A Nightmare On Elm Street, Wes Craven’s famous horror franchise about a man in a stripey jumper who kills people in their dreams.

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#167 Once

(2006, John Carney)

“I play these songs at night or I won’t make any money. People won’t listen.”
“I listen.”

You don’t hear much about Irish cinema. Sure, it’s not drastically different from its close cousin British cinema, but you’d think it wouldn’t be so strongly overshadowed. So, to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, here’s one of the few Irish movies on my list. This is Once, a romantic musical starring a couple of non-acting musicians. Oh dear, this could be bad…

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#166 Pi

(1998, Darren Aronofsky)

“Mathematics is the language of nature”

So, today is Pi Day, an international celebration of the number Pi (or π if you want to be technical), due to the American date being 3.14, equivalent to π. So to celebrate, here’s a movie named after that same number. It’s a movie about maths! I assume that means this will be a film only a mathematician can love, right? And since I have about as much skill with numbers as a dolphin does operating a tin opener, I should be bored stiff by this, right?

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#165 Philadelphia Story

(1940, George Cukor)

“I don’t want to be worshipped, I want to be loved”

I like James Stewart. I think he’s a very fine actor after seeing him in It’s A Wonderful Life and Mr Smith Goes To Washington. I seem to like any movie he’s in, and seems likely to end up on a list of my favourite classic actors as a result. So, by that logic, I should like Philadelphia Story, since he’s got a prominent role, alongside other classic icons like Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. Is this the case? We shall see.

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#164 Grease

(1978, Randal Kleiser)

“I got chills, they’re multiplying”

I’ve made it known on a few occasions how much I don’t particularly like musicals. Something about the constant shift into song and dance seems to always take me out of the movie rather than draw me in. The only exception thus far was Dancer In The Dark, and even then that was hardly a traditional musical (it centred around Bjork, after all). So, here we have another classic musical in the form of Grease, but will this one win me over?

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#163 Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer

(1990, John McNaughton)

“I’d like to kill somebody”

One of the most infamous serial killers of all time was Henry Lee Lucas, a man who claimed to have killed over 600 people during the sixties, seventies and eighties (although many of his claims were since debunked). A killer with claims such as these is bound to generate media interest, he did, to the point where even a movie was loosely based on him. That film was Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer. While many specific details are changed, the inspiration is still there.

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#162 The Diving Bell & The Butterfly

Le scaphandre et le papillon
(2007, Julian Schnabel)

“Other than my eye, two things aren’t paralysed: my imagination and my memory”

In 1995, the editor of Elle magazine, Jean-Dominique Bauby, suffered a severe stroke and fell into a coma. After 20 days, he finally awoke, but while his mind was intact, his body was not. Entirely paralysed save for his left eye, he was a victim of “locked-in” syndrome, where a patient essentially becomes trapped inside a useless body. Not letting this get to him, he managed to “dictate” an entire memoir entirely through the help of a speech therapist, a series of blinks and a frequency-ordered French alphabet.

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