RSS

Tag Archives: Rhys Ifans

My Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2001

Time to set the time machine to 2001, a year that like many others had a great deal of great films to offer. There’s a nice mix to be had with this list, I think. Sure, it leans slightly towards comedy as my lists tend do – although there’s nothing here that i’d classify strictly as a laugh-out-loud type of movie – but there is some international variety. USA, France, Spain and Norway are all represented in one way or another.

I don’t normally do honorable mentions for these lists, but I do need to give a shout-out to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The trilogy as a whole is a remarkably ambitious cinematic accomplishment which does such a great job of bringing the world of the novels to life. Both The Two Towers and The Return of the King barely missed out on spots on their respective year lists. The Fellowship of the Ring – my personal favorite of the three – was sitting at #9 on this list at first draft. Then along came a movie I hadn’t seen before (#7), and Fellowship got bumped down. And then I realized a teriffic film I thought belonged to 2000 was actually released in 2001 (#2), and just like that, Fellowship dropped off. So an honorable mention goes out to that film and, by extension, the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.

On to the list proper. As always, this is 2001 as listed on IMDB to avoid confusion with international release dates.

10 – HUMAN NATURE (Michel Gondry)

“Remember: when in doubt, don’t ever do what you really want to do.”

The most overlooked of the films written by Charlie Kaufman, Human Nature is a movie of many questions about – of course – human nature. What’s fun is the strange ways in which it goes about asking them. The central characters are a scientist (Tim Robbins) trying to teach mice to have a formal dinner, a man (Rhys Ifans) who grew up in the wilderness thinking himself to be an ape, and a woman (Patricia Arquette) who voluntarily abandoned civilization as an adult due to feeling out of place because of her thick body hair. This story proves to be a good fit for Michel Gondry, here making his feature film debut and immediately establishing his unique style – how many directors would go with a sudden Disney-esque song number in a film like this? Human Nature is both funny and thought-provoking, and it deserves more attention than it tends to get.

9 – A KNIGHT’S TALE (Brian Helgeland)

“Now that I got their attention, you go and win their hearts.”

Wikipedia describes this as an action-adventure film. This is false. A Knight’s Tale is very much a sports movie, with all the familiar story elements and tropes associated with the genre. It just so happens to take place in medieval times, with the sport in question being jousting. What makes the film stand out even more is the anachronistic music. Here we have a dance scene in at the royal court set to David Bowie’s “Golden Years”, and joust audiences clapping along to Queen’s “We Will Rock You”. Heath Ledger makes for an effective protagonist, Shannyn Sossamon is as radiant as ever as his love interest, and Paul Bettany and Alan Tyduk as comedic sidekicks take turns to steal the movie. Often hilarious, always feel-good. A Knight’s Tale never fails to put a smile on my face.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
22 Comments

Posted by on 25 January, 2012 in Lists, Top 10 of a year

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Films I’ve forgotten, and why

I got a bit bored today, so inbetween a couple of failed attempts at writing new blog posts, I went to Swedish movie site Filmtipset, which is my main record-keeper as fair as what movies I’ve seen is concerned. I noticed that I had commented on some 500-odd films during my time there, so in lieu of anything better to do, I read through them all. It turned into a fun little trip down memory lane. Sure, the actual comments weren’t very enlightening (“[Actor] and [Actress] are pretty good, but the story isn’t anything special”), but I was reminded of the existance of plenty of films I had forgotten ever seeing.

Why did I forget these films? Most of them are, simply speaking, unremarkable. Not terrible, not great, maybe kind of decent. They may have a generic title. Perhaps the premise is just something seen many times before. A lack of big names attached is another possibility. But I believe the main reason is just that they’re never talked about. Nobody mentions them when discussing awful films, or great films, or underrated films. Few people see them, so theres no random “Hey, I just saw this film, anyone else seen it” conversations. Even just a passing mention of a film at some point can be enough to refresh its presence in one’s memory banks for a long time. When no such mention is made, the movie fades from memory.

Rick Kirkham, TV Junkie

I there’s one of these films I rediscovered that you ought to see, it’s definitely TV Junkie. It’s a documentary on TV reporter Rick Kirkham, who for 14 years filmed himself every day of his life. The footage of these personal recordings make up the bulk of the film, and it’s quite harrowing. His drug addiction takes a tremendous toll on both his career and his family, and we see it all just as it happens. It culminates in a really uncomfortable domestic arguement, as Rick and his wife scream and fight right in front of their kids. It’s a shame this one has slipped my memory for so long, beause it’s a really good film that I remember reacting very strongly too. I’d love to call it unforgettable, but that’s obviously not the case. Definitely worth checking out, though.

The Dark Hours was a real headscratcher for me when I came upon the title. More so than any other film on here, I really struggled to remember anything about it, even reading the short plot synopsis on the site. It took a trip to IMDB for even the vaguest of bells to ring, and I still can’t really tell you anything about it. It’s a thriller, at least. Canadian. Wikipedia says it made $423 at the U.S. box office, so it’s no wonder it’s rarely talked about, I guess.

A movie that should have been memorable is Danny Deckchair. Rhys Ifans plays a man who, after having his vacation unceremoniously cancelled by his girlfriend, attaches a bunch of helium-filled balloons to his deckchair and just flies away (think Up on a smaller scale). A novel idea, but it all devolves into a fairly standard romantic comedy as it goes along, unfortunately. Not a bad film by any means, as far as I recall, but not worth going out of your way to see either.

Knockaround Guys has a fairly star-studded cast (Vin Diesel, John Malkovich, Dennis Hopper, Barry Pepper and more), but all I can really remember about it is that Seth Green‘s character loses an important briefcase at some point. Hospital horror Sublime is another one I can’t recall much of, except that it careens off in a weird direction towards the end. At least the DVD box art is kind of nifty. And The Salton Sea has Val Kilmer playing a saxophone. Possibly in a burning building. Drugs might be involved at some point. That’s about it as far as my memory goes.

Pathfinder I can’t remember anything about except that it was really damn boring. American Crude has some degree of name value to it (Michael Clarke Duncan, Rob Schneider and John C. McGinley), but it has a muddled plot with weird characters that obviously failed to leave much of a lasting impression. The Deaths of Ian Stone, meanwhile, is a god-awful horror fiilm, and I’m glad it had managed to drift out of my memory for so long.

Love Object at least has a neat-sounding premise about a guy who buys a custom-made sex doll based on the appearance of a co-worker he has the hots for. Complications arise when he finds himself starting a real relationship with said co-worker, however. The comment I made on this film at the time was actually fairly positive, so maybe this one’s unfairly forgotten.

One film that actually did cross my mind briefly just the other week is Lost in the Dark, a movie about a blind girl who ends up alone in a cabin with criminals soon popping in to harass her. It briefly came to mind when I was watching Audrey Hepburn-flick Wait Until Dark, in the form of “Hmm, didn’t I see another thriller once about a blind girl?”. Well, Lost in the Dark was it. An okay film, as I recall, but Wait Until Dark is definitely superior.

An interesting case here: The Girl Next Door. No, not the teen comedy with Elisha Cuthbert. No, not the horror film based on a Jack Ketchum novel based on a true story either. This one’s a documentary on adult actress Stacy Valentine. You’d think I’d remember a film like that, but apparently not. I assume title confusion is part of why this has gone forgotten. I can’t recall any other trio of films I’ve seen that all share the same name.

Kristen Stewart, Speak

Last on this list are two films featuring now-famous actresses early in their careers. Speak stars Kristen Stewart and arrived two years after her initial breakthrough in Panic Room. In Speak, she plays a teenager who stops talking upon returning to school after a summer holiday. An intriguing little film, actually. I recall liking this one. And then there’s The Last Supper, only the second movie in the career of Cameron Diaz. A very black comedy in which five friends invite guests for dinners and, if they deem them “bad people”, kill them. The film is a bit stiff at times, but at least it presents some interesting questions and has a fairly delightful supporting turn by Ron Perlman.

Time will tell if I’ll forget these movies again. Maybe some film I saw just the past week will meet a similar fate. With the exception of TV Junkie, there’s none of these that I’d call essential viewing, so it’s not a big crime that I haven’t remembered them. But forgetting TV Junkie is bad enough. If there’s one think to take away from this blog post, it’s this: Remember to talk about good films! Don’t let yourself forget them. They deserve better.

Have you seen any of the films I’ve mentioned in this post? What did you think of them? Have you had any similar experiences yourself with remembering long-forgotten movies? Leave a comment!

 
19 Comments

Posted by on 1 November, 2011 in Misc.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,