Having previously been introduced to the paintings of Michelangelo da Caravaggio through R.E.M.’s Losing my Religion video and later through the excellent Simon Schama series, “The Power of Art”, his work has always been my favourite of the baroque and renaissance periods, so I was looking forward to number 93 – Caravaggio, the phenomenal Derek Jarman’s take on the artist’s life.
Like Carry On Up The Khyber, before it, I wasn’t looking forward to number 94 – The Belles of St. Trinians. It may seem po-faced but I’ve found the humour in both to be dated and neither has raised so much as a smile from me. That said, I did find the excellent Alastair Sim in drag as Millicent Fritton to be enjoyable and the late, great George Cole to be a fun turn as Flash Harry. Not one I could imagine myself watching again though.
Before today, the only two Mike Leigh projects I’d watched were the phenomenal Abigail’s Party and 2008’s Happy Go Lucky – both of which I enjoyed immensely. Though I’d been told to watch Secrets & Lies, Naked and, number 95, Life is Sweet, I never took the time. Life is Sweet is at times dramatic, at times mundane, and at times funny.
Robin Hardy’s acclaimed cult horror, The Wicker Man is up next at 96. I’ve never been a big horror fan, though I’ve certainly enjoyed psychological horror movies more than slasher pics. Certainly for this reason, the Wicker Man really struck me – not to mention it’s set on a small Scottish island owned by Christopher Lee in what surely is a stand-out role as Lord Summerisle.
I expected big things from Gary Oldman’s multiple award winning directorial debut, Nil By Mouth – 97 on the list – and my goodness, I wasn’t disappointed. It starts comparatively lightly with the main cast in attendance for a stand-up show at a mid-90s working men’s club. From there, the story unravels with the seemingly-affable Raymond (Ray Winstone) showing himself to be domestically, and brutally, abusive. And we find that his brother-in-law Billy is struggling with heroin addiction.
Thankfully, Carry On Up the Khyber was only a blip, as the next film in the list (98) was extraordinary: Gillies MacKinnon’s 1996 film set in Glasgow, Small Faces. It’s an occasionally bleak, often funny, at times brutal, and beautifully shot look at coming of age in the working class gang culture of the late 60s.
In sharp contrast to last night’s film which was captivating and moving, number 99 – Gerald Thomas’ appalling Carry On Up the Khyber – did nothing for me. Of course, the Carry On series is a dated, anachronistic series of spoofs based on innuendo and bawdy seaside postcard humour and it’s entirely possible it’s just not “my thing” – it can’t be so bad if it appears on a list of the greatest 100 British films.
At 100 sits a film by Roland Joffé that won 3 Oscars in 1985; The Killing Fields. The film stars the excellent Sam Waterston – most recently to be found in HBO’s The Newsroom – as journalist Sydney Schanberg, covering the civil war in Cambodia; and beside him is Dr. Haing S. Ngor as Dith Pran, a Cambodian Journalist and translator.
“Polish Indie Pop Perfection” Christmas Underground “Elegant power pop vibes” Destroy//Exist For Fans of… Alvvays, Bernard Butler, Dusty Springfield, Teenage Fanclub Warsaw’s Pop-up Books introduce themselves to the world with their debut single – a double-A-side featuring the joyous break-up anthem, “Without You” and the infectiously melodic sun-drenched pop of “You Are The Summer” – […]
It’s been a long time coming, to be fair, but I can finally tell the world about my new band, Pop-up Books. The band has grown out of a collaboration with Warsaw-based, Seattle singer, Jules Jones. Jules and I met a couple of years ago when she moved to Warsaw to work in the film […]