The 30 Day Film Challenge

I saw a post on a tumblr page the other day called ‘The 30 Day Film Challenge’ and I thought I’d give it a go.

But as I am the most inconsistent person alive, I’m just gonna do it all in one go.

FIGHT ME BRO.

Day 1 – Your Favourite Film

Any of the Toy Story films really, for me, they are the pinnacle of all aspects of quality film-making.

Day 2 – Your Least Favourite Film

There are quite a few but the only one that springs to mind at the moment is Bridget Jones’ Diary. It’s a morally horrible and degrading film with camp, cheesy performances. Somebody explain to me how Zellweger was nominated for an Oscar for this?

Day 3 – The Last Film You Saw At The Cinema

Horrible Bosses 2. It was shit.

Day 4 – The First Film You Saw At The Cinema

I think it was Toy Story 2, that’s if my memory serves me correctly. I was very young.

Day 5 – The First Film You Bought On DVD

That’s too difficult. Probably something stupid like Help, I’m a Fish!

Day 6 – A Film By Your Favourite Director

This Is England by Shane Meadows. I’ve not yet seen a Meadows film that I’ve disliked. He’s a raw and down-to-earth filmmaker with a passion for realism and honesty.

Day 7 – A Film By Your Least Favourite Director

I don’t have a least favourite director but one of the worst directed film I’ve seen is M. Night Shyamalan job on he Last Airbender. That is a different kind of awful.

Day 8 – A Film With Your Favourite Actor

Locke featuring Tom Hardy. Once again, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film featuring Tom Hardy that I’ve dislike (Never seen ‘This Means War’. don’t plan on it either) but he is particularly stunning in the one man show that is Locke.

Day 9 – A Film With Your Favourite Actress

I don’t really have a favourite actress but one of my favourite female performances has got to be Charlize Theron in Monster. It’s not a performance, it’s an embodiment.

Day 10 – The Most Overrated Film You’ve Seen

Titanic. Apart from the last 30 minutes why does everyone love the film so much? It’s soooooo boring.

Day 11 – The Most Underrated Film You’ve Seen

44 Inch Chest. It wasn’t very well recieved by the critics and audiences alike but this Brit crime drama takes place in a single room and features a collection of powerhouse performances from some of Britain’s film greats such as Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Ian McShane and Tom Wilkinson.

Day 12 – A Film You Wish More People Had Seen

Happy-Go-Lucky. Mike Leigh’s brilliant character study has been seen by too few people and features two star-making performances from Sally Hawkins and Eddie Marsan.

Day 13 – A Film No One Would Expect You To Like

Notting Hill. It’s schmalzy and mushy and all sort’s of romcom wrong but the film has a certain charm that I just can’t resist (prrobably courtesy of Rhys Ifans).

Day 14 – Your Favourite Film As a Kid

Probably Toy Story again. Man, I love those films.

Day 15 – Your Favourite Animated Movie

Fancy taking a guess?

Day 16 – Your Favourite Foreign Language Film

My Neighbor Totoro. A beautful animated film from Japan’s Studio Ghibli that always leaves you with a warm feeling inside.

Day 17 – Your Favourite Super Hero Film

The Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. That is all.

Day 18 – Your Favourite Biopic

The Pianist. A tense and brilliant re-telling of a pianist’s struggles in the Second World War.

Day 19 – Your Favourite Trilogy/Quadrilogy/Etc.

Toy Story Trilogy. Woody and Buzz ftw.

Day 20 – The Funniest Film You’ve Ever Seen

Monty Python and The Holy Grail. Pure hilarity.

Day 21 – The Most Bizarre Film You’ve Ever Seen

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It’s a great film with great performances, but damn it’s weird.

Day 22 – The Most Depressing Film You’ve Ever Seen

Million Dollar Baby. Jesus, that film is so grim.

Day 23 – The Most Powerful Film You’ve Ever Seen

The Pianist. Never has my heart been in my mouth for so long before.

Day 24 – The Film You Are Most Looking Forward To Seeing

I’m looking forward to seeing The Reverant. Hot of the heels of his Oscar for Best Director, Alejandro. G. Inarritu will be directing Leo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson. That just sounds incredible.

Day 25 – A Movie You Could Quote Word For Word (Or Near Enough)

Napoleon Dynamite or Anchorman. Seen those films way too many times.

Day 26 – A Movie That Was Filmed Where You Live (Or Close To)

I live in Wales. I can’t recall anything being filmed here recently. Any Help?

Day 27 – A Film So Bad It’s Good

Crank 2: High Voltage. It’s just a complete chaotic mess of a film, which is why I loved it so much.

Day 28 – Your Favourite Movie Protagonist

Shaun from Shaun of the Dead. Just a likeable lead even when he is being a tool, and he comes through for us in the end

Day 29 – Your Favourite Movie Villain

SS Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds. Christoph Waltz is just pure evil in this Tarantino beauty.

Day 30 – Your Favourite Movie Cameo

Bill Murray in Zombieland is a pretty good one. Though I do enjoy Stan Lee’s cameo in Mallrats.

How about you give it a go? Let me know your answers?

– Iwan D

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My Top 50 Films of All-Time

Now, I did this list a while ago for wicid.tv so I’ll put the link to that at the bottom of this post. Those posts have a lot more detail on the films than this one will, but this is a more recent list as my mind keeps changing.

Anyway, here is the list, do you agree or not? What would be your list? Let me know…

50. The Big Lebowski (1998)

49. Kick-Ass (2010)

48. Dazed and Confused (1993)

47. United 93 (2006)

46. Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

45. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

44. City of God (2002)

43. Inside, I’m Dancing (2004)

42. Finding Nemo (2003)

41. Guardians of The Galaxy (2014)

40. Ray (2004)

39. Prisoners (2013)

38. Schindler’s List (1993)

37. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

36. Dreamgirls (2006)

35. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

34. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

33. Monsters Inc. (2001)

32. Up (2009)

31. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

30. Singin’ in The Rain (1952)

29. Wall-E (2008)

28. Let The Right One In (2008)

27. The Lego Movie (2014)

26. The Dark Knight (2008)

25. The Station Agent (2003)

24. Dead Man’s Shoes (2004)

23. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

22. Shaolin Soccer (2001)

21. Memento (2000)

20. Birdman (2014)

19. Ed Wood (1994)

18. Forrest Gump (1994)

17. Pulp Fiction (1994)

16. The Raid: Redemption (2011)

15. The Imposter (2012)

14. Whiplash (2014)

13. Gravity (2013)

12. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

11. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

10. Shaun of The Dead (2004)

9. Life Is Sweet (1990)

8. Anchorman (2004)

7. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

6. Inglorious Basterds (2009)

5. The Pianist (2002)

4. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

3. Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975)

2. This Is England (2006)

1. The Toy Story Trilogy (1995, 1999, 2010)

Here’s the last list I did:

Part 1: http://wicid.tv/en/news/my-top-50-fi-time-part-1/17428.html

Part 2: http://wicid.tv/en/news/my-top-50-fi-time-part-2/17429.html

Part 3: http://wicid.tv/en/news/my-top-50-fi-time-part-3/17439.html

Part 4: http://wicid.tv/en/news/my-top-50-fi4-the-top-10/17489.html

Hope you enjoyed

– Iwan D

Toy Story 4?

As many of you may already know, Pixar have announced that they will be releasing Toy Story 4 in 2017 and original director John Lasseter is to take to the director’s chair once more.

Now, I love the Toy Story fims, but maybe that’s my problem?

I think that the trilogy is so perfect as it is, so why would Pixar want to another film to the series?

On the other hand, I am very pleased that most of the original creative team is on board, but, Pixar’s latest efforts have not quite lived up to the standards of classics like Toy Story, Monsters Inc and The Incredibles.

It is also another chance to revisit old characters that I loved as a child, but isn’t that what rewatching films is for?

I did feel that Toy Story 3 was a near perfect way to end the trilogy, so I’m struggling to think how they could possibly improve on what has already been and continue the story.

But we won’t know if who’s right, Me or Pixar, until the finished product is released, but until then, it seems I have 3 years of anxious waiting to see if Pixar improve on or ruin my favourite film series.

What’s your opinion on the news? What do you think of the Toy Story films? Let me know.

– Iwan D

My Top 5 Robin Williams Performances

It’s true that I was one of the many millions of people who were deeply distraught over the death of Robin Williams earlier this year. He was truly gifted actor both comedically and dramatically.

So, I thought I’d do a recap of my top 5 performances of his.

Now, I haven’t seen all of his films but this is my personal top 5.

5. The Birdcage

Williams is wonderfully camp as Armand Goldman, but never over plays the stereotype. He briliantly goes beyond the stereotype to bring depth and humanity to the character. He’s also hilarious.

4. Good Vietnam, Vietnam

Combining his talent for improvisation and realistic acting, Williams is perfect as Adrian Cronauer and manages to lift the energy of the film throughout, proving that he is a very powerful screen powerful.

3. Good Will Hunting

Williams nabbed his first Oscar for ‘Good Will Hunting’, and quite rightly so. Williams is so natural in the role and his sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic interactions with Matt Damon’s character are some of the film’s highlights.

2. One Hour Photo

Beautifully creepy and always causing tension, this rare Robin Williams thriller really puts the actor’s acting talents to work playing a loner photo technician who begins to spy on a family. He is odd and strange throughout and it’s definetly one of his cleverest performances.

1. The Fisher King

The part Williams was born to play, his comic and dramatic acting are expertly combined by Gilliam in this excellent picture. Williams plays Parry with such sensitivity and depth, it’s heart-breaking and hilarious. Not to mention, his interactions with Jeff Bridges character are masterful and electric making The Fisher King a perfect showcase for all Williams’ talents.

What are your favourite Robin Williams performances? Do you agree with my list?

Please share the blog if you’ve enjoyed it so far, and thanks to all that have read so far.

– Iwan D

My Top 5 Paul Dano Performances

In my opinion, Paul Dano is one of the most talented actors working today. I knew he’d go on to big thing after seeing him in ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, and even though I haven’t seen all of Dano’s filmography, this is my personal top 5 of his performances:

5. Ruby Sparks (2012)

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In ‘Ruby Sparks’, Dano plays a one hit wonder author who suffers from writer’s block and begins to see one of his literary creations come to life. It’s a wonderful display of a man’s descent into madness and features another classic Dano meltdown. Also showing comic acting chops, Dano shows once again that he’s not just a one dimensional actor.

4. There Will Be Blood (2007)

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This is one annoying guy. Dano plays Eli (and Paul, briefly) Sunday, a church pastor. Dano is excellent at subtlety aggravating Day-Lewis’ Daniel Plainview and his fear shown in the last scene is clearly a real one. Dano’s creation is vile in the best kind of way.

3. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

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One of the most underrated performances of the film, Dano doesn’t feature in the film very much but is so horrible and disgusting that his character’s evil, ugly face will still haunt long after the film has finished. It’s a wonder how he wasn’t praised as highly as Fassbender because he is honestly excellent.

2. Prisoners (2013)

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Dano’s portrayal of alleged child abducter Alex Jones is perfect. The film’s sinister and creepy tone can mostly be accreditited to him. Dano is a master of making his fellow actors react and does so brilliantly here as his character is socially awkward and on the verge of being a mentally disabled man. It’s a great performance by a man who keeps surprising us with how many layers of excellence he has.

1. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

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The performance that kick-started Dano’s career. In ‘Little Miss Sunshine, Dano plays Dwayne, a teenager who has taken a vow of silence until he reaches his dream of becoming a pilot. His silence is golden and his interaction with the other characters is sublime. Socially awkward Dwayne shows us that Dano can add so much depth to a character that may not be as fleshed as others. Another famous Dano meltdown adds to the incredible emotion Dano can portray, and that’s why this is number 1.

What are your favourite Paul Dano performances? What other actor would you like me to do a list for?

– Iwan D

The performances that have inspired me as an actor.

As some of you may or may not know, I’m an actor, well, an aspiring actor. I’ve always watched film performances in a very odd way, trying to pick up on specific characteristics that make the character what it is.

So, I thought I’d make a list of a couple of performances that have made me want to become actor and those performances I’ve taken inspiration from in some of my own work. Here they are:

Christoph Waltz – Inglorious Basterds

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Waltz’s terrifying portrayal of SS Colonel Hans Landa is enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine. He has the rare ability of making the audience feel tense by just changing his facial expression. Waltz, who was practically unknown outside of Austria until the film’s release, redefined the modern villain and showed that quiet and friendly could be just as scary as evil and shouty.

Leonardo DiCaprio – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

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I went into the film knowing full well who DiCaprio was and what he’d done in the past, and for me to forget who the actor was by the end of the film is some achievement. DiCaprio plays a mentally handicapped young man without ever overdoing, he completely transforms into the role and, in my opinion, it’s the best performance he’s given. His little mannerism and characteristics never slip and he never once breaks character. To win an Oscar nomination when you’re 18 is amazing, but to give a performance of this calibre when you’re 18 is outstanding. It really shows that whatever age you are, you can still steal the show.

Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

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A performance so good, Christopher Nolan let him direct the handheld footage alone in character. Ledger is everything you want from a villain, he’s creepy, scary, violent and insane. But this isn’t your typical villain as you get the impression that Ledger’s Joker isn’t sure of what he’d doing either and is genuinely not right in the head. He plays the character with a controlled psychotic feel that is so intense, you instantly feel threatened by his sheer presence.

Will Ferrell – Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

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We all know that Will Ferrell is a funny man, but this is definetly one of his most accomplished performances. As Ron Burgundy, he is selfish, ignorant and sly, and we love him for it. Only Ferrell could’ve played a character so repulsive yet make him so sympathetic, something I think makes the film work as well as it does. He never drops the Burgundy character, often, riffing/improvising in the character are the funniest bits of the movie. It’s a great comic performance by a guy who clearly understands his character and makes it work so well.

Joe Gilgun – This is England

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I could’ve picked almost every performance in This Is England for this list, but Gilgun’s is one that stands out for me. He is definetly a supporting character in the film (but a lead in the series), but his performance is so natural it almost looks like he’s making up half his lines. Gilgun is excellent at sensing an atmosphere and doing what he can to stick to that specific tone, and showcases that excellently here. He’s one of the most natural actors in British cinema/tv at the moment and he well deserves his place on this list.

Paddy Considine – Dead Man’s Shoes

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Shane Meadows is excellent for getting brilliant performances from his actors, none for so than Considine. He his frightening as hell in this awesome psychological thriller, his constant blunt look and jerky movements portray a man on edge and leaves the audience anticipating when he’s going to flip. Considine’s performance of a mentally unstable ex-military man is brilliant because it doesn’t try to copy anyone else, it’s an haunting performance for a haunting character.

Jean Claude Van Damme – JCVD

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Never has an actor surprised me as much as Jean Claude Van Damme in JCVD. In this French indie flick, Van Damme plays himself in the middle of hostage hold up ina bank. It’s hard to believe the emotion that Vam Damme conveys throughout films, successfully showing the audience that he can be more than just a hard man. With the highlight being a brutally honest 8 minute monologue, Van Damme proves to everyone that he can act, and really, really well.

What are the film performances that have stood out for you? Which one did you enjoy?

– Iwan D

Is it me or is Zac Efron not as bad as everyone thinks?

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Bare with me on this one…

After watching Bad Neighbors last night, the first things I thought after I watched it were:

1) No way would Rose Byrne be married Seth Rogen

And Secondly,

2) Zac Efron was awesome in that

Seriously, he’s a proper scumbag in the film and can also be quite scary on occasions. It’s a really great performance that could’ve only come from a proper actor.

I understand that most people may think that Zac Efron is just a computer generated species who’s only on this planet for his looks but you only have to look at his filmography to see that that cringey, long-haired muppet from High School Musical has actually carved out a pretty good career for himself.

The first film after HSM he did was Hairspray which maybe to fluffy for some but I think it’s a great example of perfect casting in a film, even Zac Efron, who seems to be parodying himself on occasions.

After the High School Musical series was finished, he starred in 17 Again proving he possessed some comic acting chops in a film that all together wasn’t too bad (far from great but not that bad).

An appearance in Me and Orson Welles gave Efron a chance to work with Richard Linklater, which is no mean feat in my books. And even though I haven’t seen the film personally, I’ve heard he does a pretty good job in it.

But, even I have to admit that a collection of Rom-Coms from 2009-2014, have really dragged his reputation in the acting world and also, in my books. Films like Charlie St. Cloud, New Year’s Eve and The Lucky One made me think, ‘Maybe I got this guy wrong, maybe he really is a one-dimensional facial expression’.

But I believe that Efron’s performance in Bad Neighbors will lead to bigger and better things for the 26-year-old actor who has, admittedly, been around for a while now. Somewhere inside that ‘perfected physique’ is a real actor waiting to come out. But who knows, he could just give us another 5 years of dreary rom-coms?

What do you think? Do you think there is a future for Efron or not?

– Iwan D