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 forth update, a rundown of my next five movies watched for the project and for those that listened to the HeyUGuys Mouthoff Podcast here, will know what my next five films were. I visited the wonderful world of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, the face off between the two legends of De Niro and Pacino in Heat, The legendary Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, a Charlie Chaplin work of brilliance in City Lights and one of the most brilliantly filmed Alfred Hitchcock films in Rope.
Again five stunning movies of which two I had never seen before in Rope and City Lights and both were absolute joys to watch and highlighted to me the importance of the early period of cinema especially between 1930-1960 which I have always seemed to neglect for modern films and therefore missed out on so many classic movies that are on the list. The IMDb project has instantly changed my personal favourite films of all time and i’m only 26 films into it.
No.55 – Sen to Chihiro no Kamilkakushi (Spitited Away) – Rating 8.4
Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar winning masterpiece that blows so many animated films out of the water with its incredibly imaginative story and fantastic memorable characters that stunned me when I first saw it and so started my love for Studio Ghibli & Miyazaki movies.
And now seeing it again for the IMDb250 project it has again given me 125 minutes of the finest animation ever seen and it’s no surprise Spirited Away is placed at such a high position in the list as it is that dam good, better in the original language but the English translation dub, led by John Lasserter, is astoundingly good too but criminally came about two years after the original Japanese release.
The story is of a young girl called Chihiro who, with her parents, accidentally end up in a magical realm populated by creatures and Spirits and when her parents choose to eat food from a restaurant they literally turn into pigs leaving Chihiro alone and a forbidden human in the world of spirits and strange creatures.
A boy named Haku appears as her guide, and warns her that a sorceress named Yubaba, who runs the bathhouse which seems to be the centre of this world, will try to steal her name and her identity and so to protect her encourages Chihiro to seek work in the bathhouse from the intriguing eight limbed Kamaji who helps her gain work that enables Chihiro to stay and figure how to save her mum and dad.
The film has Chihiro working her way in the bathhouse dealing with huge junk eating stinking spirits, Yubaba’s ginormous baby Boh, Yubaba’s twin sister Zeniba, Haku’s Dragon spirit form, a spirit called no face who causes mayhem in the bath house and so much more all to save her parents from turning into pigs forever, It’s a wonderful story that just cant be missed.
The story is just fabulous but it’s the characters that always stick in my head afterwards like the imaginative Spirit monsters and especially when Boh is turned into a little mouse and Yubaba’s pet bird is turned into a fly who team up with the to produce some of the most funniest and charming scenes in the film. If you haven’t seen this, put it to the top of your list.
No.123 – Heat (1995) – Rating 8.2
Any film that has Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in its cast is always going to be something worth seeing, The genius of it is that they share one conversation throughout the film with Pacino as detective Vincent Hanna and De Niro as crook Neil McCauley.
The film opens with a brilliant robbery of an armoured truck by McCauley’s men that goes a bit wrong with a new guy getting a bit trigger happy that leads to Vincent Hanna arriving on the scene getting the scent and the hunt is on, unfortunately for almost three hours which I feel was too long for the movie and I always struggle to enjoy every moment of it.
Never-the-less it’s an great film with Pacino at times over acting and De Niro playing one of his strongest roles in many a year and you just wish the film would focus on these two more and not delve into numerous pointless subplots that I think added little to the film as slowed the pace down to almost boredom at times.
Their were some brilliant cat and mouse scenes between the two crews like the set up where McCauley gets the cops where he wants them to take some pictures that Vincent cottons on to and it’s where they share admiration of each others talent and then later when McCauley is about to do a job but realises they are being staked out and walk away, It’s a very tense scene and more of the same cat and mouse would have made a more enjoyable movie for me.
The bank job near the end was phenomenal and easily one of the best of all time which just doesn’t let up and probably the reason, along with the entire cast, that the film is held in such high regard by so many but I’m undecided as I doubt I’ll want to watch it again anytime in the near future but it will definitely be worth seeing again at some point in my life.
Probably wouldn’t be in contention for my top 250 films of all time but not a million miles away.
No.209 – Duck Soup (1933) – Rating 8.0
Duck Soup is probably the most well known and is widely regarded as the best Marx brothers film ever. It’s Groucho at his sharp witted best playing Rufus T Firefly a dictator of a fictional land named Freedonia who starts a war with a neighbouring country over a girl.
The other Marx brothers Harpo, Chico and Zeppo play Pinky, Chicolini and Lt Bob Roland Firefly’s henchmen and spies who add the slapstick comedy and humour to the story and it is a reasonably fun movie but I don’t think it holds up that well with all its jokes failing to hit home with me but you can’t deny the Marx Brothers presence on screen that must have been incredible to see in the 30’s.
I did lose track of the plot as it was broken up by random slapstick moments of genius by Harpo and Chico Vs a Lemonade seller and some poor sounding musical numbers but the standout exquisite Groucho sparring with himself in a mirror is a priceless moment of the cinema that has been mimicked but never beaten in numerous films since.
Overall a decent movie that had its moments but I feel you need to have been a fan of the Marx Brothers to really appreciated the film. Reading some stories of the film it was a commercial and critical failure to begin with but has since been noted as their finest, I’m not sure myself as it’s topically not relevant anymore but it was great to see the brothers in full flow.
No.71 – City Lights (1931) – Rating 8.4
I was brought up a Laurel and Hardy fan and never got to see many Chaplin films, maybe because they were mostly silent movies that had no appeal to a young kid enjoying the audio of films in the 80’s so the Chaplin films passed me by.
I did eventually get to see Gold Rush back in early 2000 and it was a brilliant movie but still I never felt a love for the Chaplin movies. Then along came No.71 in our IMDb250 list, Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, and I now see the genius of Chaplin, the magic of silent movies and importance of a quality visual performance to make a movie like this work, It’s a stunning and perfect example of comedy and story telling that made me laugh so much.
Made three years into the era of sound Chaplin chose to stick with a silent film and I’m glad he did as it makes it a far more enjoyable film and I can’t imagine the film to be as successful with it, Chaplin even pokes fun at sound by adding gibberish yammering from politicians at the start of the film but of course the music is what carries the film and sets the mood for each scene.
Chaplin plays his iconic Tramp character who falls in love with a blind flower seller who believes him to be a rich gentlemen, The Tramp finds that a medical operation will return her sight and so sets out to make money so she can have her surgery.
He makes best friends with a drunken millionaire who doesn’t recognize him when he sobers up after promising to give the tramp money, The tramp enters the famous, hilarious and exceptional prize fight scene in which the Tramp uses his nimble footwork to always keep the referee between himself and his opponent that is pure perfection to watch and the build up to fight is also brilliant.
Every scene with his drunken friend are also brilliant as the pair get into all kinds of troubles and the scene that made me laugh more than anything were where the pair kept squaring up to anyone wanting a fight in a club by pulling their suit jacket off their shoulders in an act of aggression, it really has to be seen.
The film is a visual delight and one that has stuck with me since watching it, its comedy is sublime and the storytelling needing no words to make its impact. Easily one of my favourite films of all time. You have to see it.
No.217 – Rope (1948) – Rating 8.0
My second Alfred Hitchcock film of the IMDb250 project and a movie I’ve never seen before so I was incredibly excited about seeing another Hitchcock masterpiece of filming and James Stewart ruling the screen. Little did I expect a film like this.
Rope is a fascinating movie that has been celebrated for its technical achievements as Hitchcock filmed this story of two wealthy young gentlemen who decide to commit a murder for the fun of it then hide the body in a chest and have a party straight afterwards inviting the victims father all to prove it to be the perfect murder with the body concealed in the same room. It’s a brilliant and suspenseful idea that works perfectly.
Technical limitations prevented Hitchcock’s original idea of making the entire picture in one continuous long shot which must have been revolutionary for the time. Instead it’s made up of numerous continuous shots lasting about 4-10 minutes which was the length of film that could fit into one reel. Hitchcock used some very inventive and at times clearly obvious cutting techniques so the film appears to be shot in one take but it works wonderfully well and makes it so amazing to watch as the tension builds to its climax.
The cast is superb with James Stewart taking a back seat but being the one to detect something wrong and the two murderer’s played by Brandon Shaw and Philip Morgan equally show excellent confidence and nervousness in the situation that tug the film into a tense atmosphere almost unbearable at times but in the end it’s Hitchcock’s direction and stunning sense of story telling that make his films so watchable and timeless, easily the best director of all time for me.
That concludes my five films. See you next week for Bazmann’s next five movies.
Don’t forget you can follow our progress at http://twitter.com/baz_mann and http://twitter.com/gary_phillips_