The Revenant (2015)


Wow, just wow!  Following on from the critical success of Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu presents us with another Oscar-baiting film.  I have never seen Birdman, but if the Revenant is anything to go by then the 2014 film must have been tremendous too.

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The Hateful Eight (2015)


Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film (not just setting the historical context, it actually announces it at the beginning of the film) continues his love for the Western.  Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, in a similar way to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly; but rather than depicting the dynamic between three main characters, The Hateful Eight tries it with, well, eight.  Not as successfully IMO.

A further link with Sergio Leone’s masterpiece is the Ennio Morricone score, which incidentally also links it with The Thing (1982).  That’s not all; let’s face it OB’s character is essentially MacReady (Kurt Russell’s character in The Thing) complete with corks hanging from his hat and snow glare sunglasses. Morricone score is generally excellent, but occasionally strays into odd Hammer Horror territory, particularly in the very first shot.

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Oblivion (2013)


I first saw Oblivion almost two years ago as an inflight movie:

Oblivion is one of the many films I wanted to see last year, but I just didn’t get the chance.  I’d heard mixed responses to the film so I was keen to take a gander myself.  Tom is usually good to watch, and Oblivion is no different.  Morgan Freeman is the other big name, but I felt he was mostly wasted, rather like in Wanted.  Andrea Riseborough is good as Victoria, the soulless robotic woman who is Tom’s partner, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister) is fine as Morgan Freeman’s head of security without really being able to excel as he does in GOT.  The design was terrific and the effects were top notch, though overall I thought the film was missing something.  All the best Sci-Fi has something to say about human nature, and I’m just not sure what this was saying.  Maybe it’s because it borrowed from some of the best Sci-Fi: there were definite strains ofPlanet of the Apes, Moon, Logan’s Run and perhaps even Silent Running; the result is quite a mish mash of themes.  A very enjoyable film (with an excellent soundtrack), just lacking that little bit extra to make it a really good film.

I must say that I think I enjoyed it rather more this time; that could be a combination of a bigger screen (cinematography by Claudio Miranda (Tron Legacy, 2010; Life of Pi, 2012) is stunning), and the fact that I really quite love the score composed by Anthony Gonzalez (M83).  I still think there are many different Sci-Fi tropes as mentioned above, but with less mish-mash than I previously commented.  But, you know, that’s just, like, my opinion man.

Labyrinth (1986)


I wish the Goblins would come and take you away! Right now!

Our local Picture House cinema The Belmont, is currently showing several classic 80s films.  Back to the Future and American Werewolf in London have been and gone, and the next in line was Labyrinth.  I know a lot of people talk about The Princess Bride as being a childhood adventure favourite, but I didn’t see it until I was in my 20s so didn’t really get the appeal; for me Labyrinth is the iconic childhood adventure (as well as The Goonies naturally).
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Waterworld (1995)


So, one of my New Year’s Resolutions, well challenge really, is to watch a film relevant to specific dates. Eg, Halloween on Halloween, V for Vendetta on 5th November etc.  I fear the hard part will be trying to track these films down.

Just watched Waterworld which I thought was appropriate to all the water in Aberdeenshire just now.

So, here is my list.  Any other suggestions for my list would be appreciated.

And now my thoughts on Waterworld.

Kevin Costner is Robin Cod, Prince of Waves in Mad Max on water: Beyond the Floodedzone.

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The Third Man (1949)


The Third Man is perhaps the best known film from British director Carol Reed.  Set in an atmospheric, tired and cynical post-war Vienna, the film tells the tale of an American novelist who arrives to meet a friend, only to find that he has recently died; hit by a car.  He stays to investigate his death which soon becomes a search for a “Third Man” who was present at his death. Continue reading