Saturday, 30 January 2016

Top 10 Best Films of the 1950s

My third favorite decade in film, the ‘50s rock some of cinema’s funnest, funniest joy-rides- as well as lavish epics shot in radiant metrocolour that you can practically smell the money rolling off. Then again, as we shall see, this decade saw foreign films just as prevalent as Hollywood riding out the end of its ‘Golden Age’. Only one of these movies is in colour, despite its infiltration into the main-stream after the Archers seemed to steal it all in the '40s, and yet all of them are wholly unique. There are no cast-iron copies or intellectual cash-ins on this list- only genuinely fantastic works of cinematic art all more than worthy of anyone’s time as we head on into 2016. Grab a snack, a drink, and get ready to see a whole lot of black and white...

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

50s Reviews: Pather Panchali

The first of Sayajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy and the first Indian film I have ever seen- Pather Panchali is a movie I find it a little hard to talk about, even after a second viewing and a couple of days mulling it over in my mind. Following a young boy, Apu, and his experiences under the poverty, angst and disease of family life- I can’t fault the film for two impressive sequences peppered in at pertinent points- other than that, though…?

Sunday, 24 January 2016

80s Reviews: The King Of Comedy

The story of struggling sociopathic comic Rupert Pupkin’s attempts to become the titular ‘King Of Comedy’ on the Jerry Langford show, I know I’ll encounter some pretty hefty resistance in arguing that this is a ‘better’ movie than film that Scorsese made just before it: The gargantuan Raging Bull. Indeed KOC is in itself less of a great film, at least on the surface- but rather a peerless statement on celebrity and what it does to people.

Friday, 22 January 2016

50s Reviews: A Man Escaped

Following French resistance fighter Fontaine’s term in a Nazi occupied prison and his subsequent attempt to escape (if the title didn’t tip you off)- A Man Escaped was my first Robert Bresson film. I had only heard of this “patron saint of cinema” and edged in reluctantly, begging for the movie to be good an all my hopes for this reported master of the medium to come true. I have only two words to express what I felt after the credits finally began to roll...

Monday, 18 January 2016

60s Reviews: Le Trou

Set in 1947 and following the lives of five inmates sharing a cell, food, friendship and the fickle hope of escape- Le Trou was Becker’s final film for a very good reason. Nothing of his I have since seen has captured the same lighting in a bottle and zapped it so masterfully into a frame as ‘The Hole’- and few films about prison can muster the same devotion to detail and simplicity as this one.

Friday, 15 January 2016

1960: 365 Days in 10 Great Films

12 Films covered here, two of which I rank among my least favorites ever and which are both praised as some of the finest in cinematic history. Yikes. On the other hand- topping off this long list of classics well worth your time today make the shortlist for some of the best of the 1960s. Film gives us everything from beautifully realized works that can haunt your dreams with guilt and regret or edify your belief in self and all the wondrous problems we face in the world… or they can force you into copious amounts of coffee before a viewing just to stay the hell awake- That’s one of the many things I love about the movies. Not these first two movies though.

Not at all.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

2010s Reviews: Incendies

The story of a pair of twins’ search for their brother and father as instructed in their late mother’s will, as well as the life of said mother through flashback. Honestly, telling you anything about Incendies’ plot absolutely ruins the ride, so forgive me if this review is a little sparse- because I effectively can’t talk about the film- only of its parts.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Theming: A Definition

Movies have always been about telling stories: Ever since French scientists were shot into space in big bullets and train gangs robbed the 3:10 to Buffalo this has been a consistent through-line in film, be it vast and expansive or intricate and introspective. Pieces of art too, painted or pastille’d, present a gorgeous image for us to marvel over and often too tell its own personal tale. Music makes us dance and sing and do stupid things for the sake of a little old fashioned romance- but a constant purpose in all artistic mediums is the desire to elicit emotion from us. To make us feel. A gyrating mess of pixels projected by your beat up old Atari tries this just the same as some seminal text from the second century does- and what’s important here is that it does this specifically through theming. A movie can have you identify with the characters, but few have come close to having you become them (see. Rear Window). The lyrics to Stairway To Heaven or the words in chapter three of Heart Of Darkness can appeal to past experiences and form an emotional bond with their audience- but games attempt to bridge the plain between their virtual worlds and that of our minds (and occasionally hearts) in a totally unique way.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Game Reviews: Star Wars Bounty Hunter

Essentially the ultimate wish fulfilment game for any fan of Boba Fett (for whatever reason you would be… -_- Although to be fair he is my favourite character ;P)- Star Wars Bounty Hunter gives you control of his father Jango and throws an endless array of fitting challenges your way. I stress challenges there because, as a kid, I was awful at video games. Bar the easy ones like Battlefront I couldn’t beat any bosses or even beat any games- which might be why I stuck to RTS games lacking ‘endings’ for so long. As I said in my Castlevania review, I am now a hell of a lot better (I mean: I beat Castlevania and I was born in 1998) and thus I returned to SWBH to beat it and finally review this cherished little gem of mine. I still haven’t beaten it without cheats to unlock and play the later levels- though this is partly down to the result of bad design (dem excuses) but we’ll get to that later.

Teaching, Learning- and Gaming