100 Movies in 5 Months

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 29th May 2012.

This past week I passed an important milestone. Sure, I celebrated my 24th birthday for the second time in my life. More importantly, I watched my 100th film for the year. Not bad for five months. Notice that I use the word “watched” rather than “enjoyed”. As a lover of cinema and a budding filmmaker, I believe that there is something to be gained from every film experience, even if it is learning what not to do. For every cinematic treasure, there are quite a few trashy clunkers. Here are three of my highest rated films (all 9 out of 10 in my books).

I really dislike 3D movies at the cinema. I find the picture too dark and have a hard time following the action. However, I love my 3D TV. The backlit LCD is easy on the eyes and I don’t have to pay extra for the glasses. Two of my top five are 3D documentaries that don’t use the extra dimension as a gimmick and are well worth hunting down.

TT3D: Closer to the Edge follows the riders who put their lives at risk to compete in the notorious Isle of Man TT motorcycle race. More than 200 riders have died since the inception of this race, all on public roads. In 2010, director Richard de Aragues filmed the trials and tribulations of leading entrants Guy Martin and Ian Hutchison. I have no interest in any motor sports (I drive a hybrid) but I was absolutely gripped by the nail biting race footage where every corner might be your last. This documentary cleverly lets the riders speak naturally rather than be interviewed and by the end, you can almost understand what drives these men (and women) to compete. Almost.

Werner Herzog is one of my favourite directors. Whether tackling fact (Grizzly Man) or fiction (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans), Herzog loves the idea of man versus nature and infuses all of his work with just a touch of crazy. Cave of Forgotten Dreams focuses on the discovery of the Chauvet Cave in France. Untouched since they were sealed by a landslide 25 000 years ago, the caves contain prehistoric paintings and fossils. The delicate nature of the artefacts means that people are rarely allowed to enter the caves and Herzog’s cinematic exploration may be the only way to see them. The 3D is breathtaking and the director’s trademark Bavarian accented musings and narration is unforgettable.

Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive is a gritty and violent crime thriller that deserved more attention than it received on release last year. Starring leading man on the rise Ryan Gosling as a stuntman who moonlights a getaway driver, Drive features an eighties inspired soundtrack and a remarkable supporting cast featuring Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman. The hardly original storyline of a disciplined criminal who breaks his own rules for a woman is freshened up with a tight script and expert cinematic craftsmanship from the cast and director. Not for the faint hearted, Drive will convince you that Gosling deserves his place on the A list and Winding Refn as the director to watch.

Rounding out my highest rated films are Hugo, The Hunger Games, Melancholia, The Hunter and Singin’ in the Rain.

Next week I’ll review my lowest rated films. Film 101 is already on the list and I’m on track to reach my goal of 200 movies for 2012.

My list is viewable online at http://www.imdb.com/list/e2oIoohE9ZM/

Published in: on June 2, 2012 at 09:55  Leave a Comment  
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