It’s because of this that we at HeyUGuys (and in this case, we, is myself and Barry) have decided to set ourselves a project. To watch and review all 250 movies on the list! We’ve frozen the list as of 1st January this year. It’s not as simple as it sounds, as we’ll be watching them in one year, 125 each.
This is our eighteenth update, a rundown of my next five movies watched for the project. Again another week of great films all deserving there place on the IMDb 250 best films ever and it was an absolute treat to watch Terminator and Terminator 2 back to back which really showed the quality of the films as a pair and less said about the following films the better, Chaplin shone with The Kid and Pixar again delivered a stunning animated film this time about rats, I finished with another first time viewed film in Frank Capra’s brilliant and highly entertaining Arsenic and Old Lace.
(You can find all previous week updates here)
No.160 – Ratatouille (2007) – Rating 8.1
The wonder of Pixar strikes again. Ratatouille again shows the brilliance of Pixar running at full steam creating one of the most visually and beautifully told stories of 2007. The story of a Rat named Remi that has a taste for fine dining and the skills of a Michelin star chef who after being split from his extended family and arriving in Paris, uses a clueless chef wannabe named Linguini to be his way into his cooking ambition at the world famous Gusteau’s Restaurant.
The Way Remi and Linguini team up to cook is hilarious as the little rat sits under his hat using Linguini’s hair to control him like a marionette doll and as his fame rises so does the suspicions of head Chef Skinner (voiced immaculately by Ian Holm) who will do anything to stop Linguini becoming the rightful owner of the restaurant when it’s found that Linguini is the son and heir to Gusteau’s.
Remi also has his problems, with the way humans treat rodents especially in restaurants and the reuniting with his hungry family, Remi has to fight to stay alive and keep his family content which jeopardizes his friendship and partnership with Linguini. It’s such an incredibly impressive animated movie that just stuns throughout with its typical Pixar attention to detail and animation and mixed with a wonderful story with the pacing, humor, excitement and enjoyment perfect to suit children and adults alike. Then add to all that a faultless and extremely memorable list of characters found throughout like Anton Ego the food critic and the other chefs like Horst, Colette and the Ratzenberger voiced Mustafa, Ratatouille is easily one of the greatest animated films of all time and fully deserving of its place on the IMDb 250 list.
No.193 – The Kid (1921) – Rating 8.0
Chaplin makes another appearance in the IMDb list with his 1921 classic The Kid. For me it has nothing on the comic genius of City Lights or Modern Times but as a warm and heart breaking story it beats Chaplin’s other films by miles.
The Kid was Chaplin’s first full length feature film and was a huge breakthrough for the comic legend as he was no longer confined to limit his creativity to the twenty minute short films he previous made and although lacking the comic genius that filled his later films The Kid certainly has a wonderful feeling to it and plenty of laughs.
The story is of a confused and desperate mother abandoning her newborn baby inside of a limousine hoping the child will have a better chance in the home of a wealthy family; however thieves steal the limousine and find the baby dumping it in an alley where the iconic Tramp finds the baby and raises it himself. Five years later, the Tramp and the boy, John (Jackie Coogan) live together and survive by using a con routine where the boy smashes windows and Chaplin arrives to fix them. This catches up with them when the law catch them at it which leads to a truly heart wrenching scene where they come to take his son away from him and Chaplin battles to save him.
Chaplin and Coogan’s onscreen relationship is not only one of the funniest and endearing father son bonding I have ever seen on film, but also one of the most genuinely authentic which makes the film work so well. There is a brilliant child fight scene which is hilarious as Chaplin watches his son beat the hell out of the other kid whilst the other kid’s BIG brother tells Chaplin he will beat the hell out the father of that kid causing Chaplin to try and influence the fight so his boy loses. The heart wrenching adoption fight scene is unforgettable and even the surreal dream sequence at the end which seems out of place is nicely done and from what I’ve read is reference to the fact Chaplin lost his own son shortly before filming and his state of mind due to it.
The star of the film was Jackie Coogan, the little kid showed incredible talent to mimic Chaplin’s mannerisms and put in the perfect performance especially during the adoption scene where he looked genuinely terrified and distressed, Coogan eventually went on to play Fester in the Addams Family TV series after a . Not the best Chaplin film but still deserving of its place on the list.
No.159 – Terminator (1984) – Rating 8.1
Dun Dun Dun, Der Dun. Dun Dun Dun, Der Dun. And repeat in increasing volumes.
The music of Terminator is so simple, recognizable and so dam cool that as soon as it kicks in at the start of the film I was filled with excitement to be watching it again after a pretty long hiatus from the early franchise films.
The iconic story of Sarah Connor’s fight to stay alive when a robot from the future is sent back to kill her to prevent her from having her son John who will turn out to be the leader of the resistance in the war of humans vs. machines is a brilliant one that has continued to spawn sequels and TV series (although no word yet on the supposed continuation of the story after the rights are in limbo) for over 25 years since the release of The Terminator in 1984.
James Cameron well and truly launched his career by writing and directing Terminator and what could have been another unsuccessful B-Movie following on from Piranha 2, The Terminator turned into one of the most popular and well loved Sci-Fi films of all time. The action is immense, the tension is stunning and although the Special FX is extremely dated, particularly Arnie’s animatronic face, it gives the film a real unique feel that just works from start to finish.
Michael Biehn has never performed better than when he played Kyle Reese, the solider sent by future John Connor to protect Sarah, excellently carrying the burden of his mission against an almost indestructible enemy, Linda Hamilton starred as the unlikely heroine and Arnold Schwarzenegger is stunning as the emotionless cyborg killer that will always be his most greatest role in both iconic terms and verbally as The Terminator was when he first uttered the line “I’ll Be Back”.
The ending of the film is just utter magic, the long long chase scene going from vehicle to vehicle then on foot as the incredible Stan Winston created Terminator metallic skeleton rises from the flames to chase Sarah Connor is one of the best action scenes ever that probably helped make the film so popular and give it that push it needed to set it above all the other Sci-Fi films of the time, I loved it.
No.45 – Terminator 2 (1991) – Rating 8.5
This is how you make a sequel and just like Alien, James Cameron took on a very well respected film and made a sequel that splits opinions as to which is best. For me I prefer the original Terminator in terms of story but Terminator 2 has such incredible action set pieces that it’s a far more enjoyable ride.
Following 11-13 years after the end of Terminator (depending on what timeline you follow) we are introduced to two Terminators this time, one an original Arnie killing machine and a new type of Terminator taking the form of ‘That guy from Terminator 2’ Robert Patrick. This time Arnie Terminator is sent back to 1994 to protect John Connor from being terminated by a new liquid metal shape shifting Terminator.
On route they pick up Sarah Connor from a mental ward, flee from the Terminator and try to stop Skynet from being born by destroying the man responsible and the items recovered from the destroyed Terminator in part 1. The story ties the two movies together brilliantly and James Cameron again raises the bar for Special FX, very similar to what he did with Avatar, by using digital morphing techniques that were jaw dropping at the time and still very effective today and fully deserving of the Oscar’s it won.
Linda Hamilton puts in a brilliant character changing performance from the original film as Sarah Connor is hard as nails ready for the war, Arnie is superb as the good Terminator but still having elements of his original emotionless performance, his relationship with Edward Furlong’s John Connor worked 100% and was the heart of the film which spawned another iconic phrase in “Hasta La Vista, Baby” which was probably the most used saying in the early 1990’s. Robert Patrick as the T-1000 was also excellent and offered a really interesting alternative to Arnie’s huge figure and presence with a smaller, intimidating, faster and evil looking model that Arnie’s T-800 could ever offer.
James Cameron really created something special with both Terminator movies creating a wonderful story, exceptional characters and a superb sci-fi mythology and by using new technologies he took film making to new level but that led to some good and some very bad films following with the new dependence on CGI. It’s a shame the films have been tainted somewhat by their further sequels and the TV Series which all had some really good elements to them but on their own offered nothing anywhere close to the original two movies.
No.246 – Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) – Rating 7.9
Recipe for Murder: 1 teaspoon of arsenic, half a teaspoon of strychnine, and a just a pinch of cyanide to 1 litre of elderberry wine.
Never did I expect a movie like this. It had Cary Grant in an over the top outrageous comic performance, lovely old women being serial killers, the creepiest looking bad guy ever and a story so entertainingly funny that I was still chuckling to myself for days afterwards.
Arsenic and Old lace is a wonderful film from director legend Frank Capra (It’s A Wonderful Life) based on the play by Joseph Kesselring where Cary Grant plays well known drama critic Mortimer Brewster who has just married his childhood sweetheart Elaine (Priscilla Lane) and on returning to home to tell his Aunts Abby (Josephine Hull) and Martha (Jean Adair) of the news he discovers his adorable sweet aunts, who raised him as child, have actually murdered thirteen men and buried them in their basement with the innocent help of his slightly insane brother Teddy (John Alexander), who believes himself to be Teddy Roosevelt with regular calls to “CHARGE” shouted as he runs from room to room.
Being a shocking revelation to Mortimer, especially as the women seem so jovial about the murders, he attempts to try to understand, hide, solve and reason with what is happening, but when Jonathan (Raymond Massey) his long estranged escaped convict brother turns up at the family home with his associate and personal plastic surgeon Dr Einstein (Peter Lorre) and a dead body of their own things start to get out of hand.
The film roars along at a fast pace set almost entirely in the Brewster home with Cary Grant being highly enjoyable and completely over the top with his lines and quips that had me laughing throughout and suits the film perfectly and one of my favourite Cary Grant roles ever. The two murdering Aunts are exceptionally performed by Josephine Hull and Jean Adair, never have two serial killers been so likable and as funny as this as their explanations and justifications for killing the men are delivered in the funniest deadpan way possible. But the star of the film for me was the returning son Jonathan played by Raymond Massey; he looked like Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein and offered such a wonderful intimidating performance opposed to Grant’s zany antics that he stole the film from the murderous Aunts and Mortimer’s panic stricken dilemma’s. A truly wonderful film.
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