Category Archives: Film Reviews

DVD Collection

Back in 2000 I got my first DVD player. With it I got my first DVD, a special edition of Raging Bull (Love that movie). I had loads of VHS at the time, but I was instantly hooked on DVD’s. The quality, the way they worked, the extra features. They where amazing. Not to long after I got a job at Blockbusters and had access to even more films. Awesome.

So while at Blockbusters I started to collect DVD’s. I aimed to get around 100 a year which I could afford at the time as that’s literally all my wages went on (Along with figures and comics). I had 10 free rental’s a week as well so along with buying the films and having sky at home I watched a lot of films back in those day.

Believe my final Blockbuster rental account was about 2200 films in the first shop I worked in and about 500 in each of the other two shops I ended up managing. Lots of free rentals. And that’s not including borrowing colleagues accounts when I’d used all ten of my free rentals by Wednesday which happened a lot. But that’s a different blog for the future.

So back to the collection.

Fast forward half my life time and 16 years after starting at Blockbusters I had just shy of 2500 films. Easily exceeded my 100 a year, especially when I became a manager. Could have been a lot more too but at different times I traded DVD for tapes so I could watch more films and have things like DS9 marathons by buying up all the tapes for the cost of trading a few DVD’s. Now neither tend to be worth anything.

I couldn’t leave the house without buying a DVD. Just wanted more and more. My Dad built  special shelving in my room for them. I had to stack them double deep. These shelves held nearly 2000 like that but it wasn’t enough. So stacked them on other shelves. Then on the floor at the side of these ones. Was just crazy. By the time I moved out 80% of my boxes where boxes containing DVD’s. Then there was the process of buying some bookcases to fit them all. Again stacked double deep. Ended up getting rid of about 500 just to make them fit.

By this time however I wasn’t really watching them anymore. Was easier to use Netflix than to get to a DVD despite having them all listed on an app on my phone. This is when my mindset started changing about them.

When I moved back home I had the same amount of DVD’s. I had stopped buying them. Just didn’t have the room and there where plenty that I hadn’t watched. So my new priority became trying to watch the ones i’d hadn’t seen. I’m not sure how many movies I’ve seen. My IMDB tells me I’ve rated just under 4000 but I know I haven’t gone back and rated loads that I’ve seen in the past, or a lot of world cinema. If I had to guess I’d say it probably close to 6000. So it was time to watch ones I owned but hadn’t watched.

But now I’m uncertain about my collection. I don’t know how much I want it anymore. I’ve gotten rid of another 500 maybe. Maybe more. I’ve lost the appeal of collecting films. Somehow other things have gotten in the way. I used to love buying a new DVD. I’d watch the film, then I’d watch all the extras, then I’d listen to the audio commentary. I can’t tell you the last time I watched all the extra’s or listened to the commentary but I know it’s years. To be honest, that saddens me.

The collection used to be something that defined me. I was the guy with the massive DVD collection and huge film knowledge. But I don’t need that collection to be knowledgable of film, and I don’t feel like I use that collection correctly anyway if I don’t get the most out of the DVD’s.

So what’s this blog really about?

I’m thinking I’m going to trade most of the collection I have left. It’s not so much that I need the room anymore, I just don’t use it. I started buying films recently that I wanted to watch and then trading them back and that worked just as well as rental ever did with second-hand films being so cheap. I feel like if I buy a movie to watch it, rather than just to own it, that I will appreciate the extra’s more and that will become part of my film education again. (Does that make sense).

My collection has served me well, and obviously I won’t get rid off all. But I feel like over the course of the year I’ll probably get rid of 90%. I want to travel in the future and it’s not like I can take them with me and it’s not like it’s hard to buy any film I feel like watching. I started with the right intentions. I wanted to watch everything I could and I’ve really watched most of them. But now the collection doesn’t excite me anymore and doesn’t really serve a purpose.

So it’s been great while it lasted, but it time to give the films I buy more meaning now rather than just sliding it on the shelf and forgetting about them.

 

Stephen

 

Film That Make Me Want to Travel

If I was ever going to write a different type of blog it would be a travel one. It’s the only other thing in life that gets me more excited than films and creativity.

Sadly I haven’t traveled to much of late but in my younger years I took every chance I had to see a bit more of the world. I’m sure these days will return again soon and I will fully take advantage, they have too.

For the moment I can somewhat torture myself by watching films that just absolutely make me want to jump on a plane and experience everything. Most of them aren’t really globe-trotting movies, there’s just certain vibes in these films that I adore and make me reach for my passport.

So here is my top 5.

5. Ghost World

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Ghost World involves no real travel at all but there’s just a certain urgency about the film that makes me think of travel. The characters are conflicted on what they want, with Enid looking for more adventure and Rebecca looking more to settle down. You can just see how Enid feels so clearly when they look to get jobs and a place and have responsiblity. The desire to bolt is strong. Just something about the film that lets off this travel vibe through-out and the desire to experience everything the world has to offer.

4. Y Tu Mama Tambien

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For me this is the perfect travel movie. Covers everything I want in a film genre and characters. Have always had a soft spot for road trip movies and adore these very real characters. The tone is very up and down but love to watch the development of the two guys as they learn about life while being on the road. Features some gorgeous scenery and beautiful moments. One of my favourite films.

3. Lost in Translation

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I’ve watched this movie so so many times. The travel vibe is strong in this one. Can feel myself packing my bags the second the dvd starts. It’s probably not the best sign how much I can identify with all the characters in this film but is just one of those movies that come along and just gets you (Much like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). Like this film could be made specifically for me. I love the colours and vibe in this movie immensely. When they’re out and about on the streets enjoying themselves I just can’t stop smiling. Honestly believe this will be a film I’m still watching 50 years from now.

2. Before Sunrise

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I’m a big fan of the sequels as well and tend to always watch them as a trilogy but the first one is just incredible. Possibly the most romantic film I’ve ever watched. There can’t be too many people alive that don’t want to experience this type of day (or maybe I’m just weird). The characters are so incredibly real, the city is its own thing within the film, the support characters add to the flavour of everything. Even the train at the beginning has a magical quality about it. I’ve been to Vienna and love the city so just find it to be one of those films that I can truly identify with on every level.

I remember being at a low point in my life many many years back working a job I hated opposite a train station. This film would just run through my head constantly as I sat eating lunch watching the trains go. I swear if I had ever brought my passport to work I would have ended up in Austria again by the end of the shift (With even more debt on my Credit Card).

And the number one film that makes me want to travel the most:

Into The Wild

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I’m fully aware of the controversy towards this character, and have read the book as well so know a little more. But I don’t care. I could never up and leave the way he did but at the same time I get it. I root for him the entire movie. To make such a brave decision (which it is despite how cruel it feels to others in his life) and to set about experiencing life the way he does is just amazing to me. I think the fact that it’s real, or at least based on real events, gives it that added power.

Much like another film (and book) I like with a similar name “Wild” it makes me want to do the Pacific Crest Trail, but also to just get out there and experience loads outside my comfort zone. This film gives me an excitement rush and an anxiety attack at the same time.

I find this whole movie to be just beautiful. Has a direct line to my heart and puts me in a zombified state for days after watching it.

Stephen.

Plans for Review Channel

Towards the back-end of last year a friend and I started a movie review channel where we mostly looked to review Asian films for a Western audience. Alongside the Asian reviews we’re also doing hollywood films and other movies from around the world, but Asian films tend to be what we watch and love the most.

The channel’s started off pretty slowly but its early days yet and YouTube is a big competitive place. Our immediate goal is to get some content up and then be able to update regularly and grow our audience through-out the year.

We started the channel because we spend most of our time talking about films, like non-stop, so it seemed like a natural progression to show that. I wish over the years we’d recorded some of our conversations as I’m sure they would have made interesting watching but hopefully we can correct that oversight with the reviews.

My plans for the channel in 2017 are to have more scheduled updates and uploads. To try to upload every Tuesday and Friday. Want to make sure that the channel is getting consisted attention and that we’re keeping on top of things.

We’re looking to do plenty more ideas to go with the two regularly things we already have of together reviewing an Asian film and me carrying on my I don’t care I love it series. Can’t share any of these idea’s yet as nothing has been finalised but will hopefully involve us having even more fun with the reviews.

As the year progresses I’m sure we will work on getting the sound as good as possible and continue to learn the editing better. Would love us to have our own set in the future but for the moment we can look into having a stronger background. Everything will evolve over time.

Am wondering whether it’s a good idea or not to just have normal video clips of us before we watch a film and normal film conversation or whether that will take away from the review setting, but we’ll see what the year brings.

I love doing the reviews. The chance to talk about films even more was always going to appeal to me. I don’t know why this wasn’t something I started doing 10 years ago and I don’t know how possible it is to make up for lost time, but I will definitely give it a go.

I want this channel to be a passion of mine, something that I really put a lot into. Whether it will ever grow the way I’d like I don’t know, but what I do know is that I’ll never tire of making the reviews. It feel natural (whether it looks it is another thing). I love being able to express what I enjoy in a movie and how positive I am about films.

I tend to like most things I watch, and can find something in films I don’t that I still enjoy, so being able to get that across is a thrill.

So the plan is to add regular content, grow the channel, enjoy making reviews and hopefully find an audience. If the last one doesn’t happen, it won’t affect the first three because I’m loving doing this and want to continue on with it for as long as possible. Maybe a little slow starting with the channel this year due to a few things, but once it gets going (Probably February), will be full steam ahead.

The channel is at I Saw The Movie, there’s several reviews all ready up and plenty more to come from next month onwards.

Hope plenty of you watch and enjoy the reviews and subscribe to keep up to date with our latest uploads.

Thanks

Stephen

My Top Ten Flicks for 2016

 

If I’m going to be brutally honest, I don’t think it was the best year for films, especially from Hollywood. I still liked a lot, but didn’t love as many as usual and certainly had a fair share of disappointments. I rarely hate anything, and that still rung true this year with Yoga Hosers being the only film to score a 1 from me. But there where a little too many 2’s and 3’s from films I hope to give more too.

But this isn’t about what I didn’t like, this blog is about what I loved. So before I name my top 10 in descending order there’s a few films that didn’t quite make the cut that I’d also like to mention as they where awesome. They are:

In a Valley of Violence, Swiss Army Man, The Shallows, Conjuring 2, Midnight Special, The invitation, Hush, Hail Caesar! and The Big Short (which I’m not sure if its 2015 or 16)

So.

10. The Nice Guys

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Just loved this film. Was so incredibly fun and funny with great performances. The plot was typically all over the place in that Shane Black style and had one of the funniest scene’s of the year for me when Gosling fell off the hotel roof top towards the end. Could watch this film over and over.

9. 10 Cloverfield Lane

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From the second this film was announced I was super excited about it and it didn’t disappoint. Incredible performances, fantastic story and pacing, awesome ending. Just a great film.

8. The Wailing

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This film just blew me away. I can’t believe how darkly funny something so serious can be. This is probably the most powerful film on the list and maybe the most technically sound. It’s definitely not for everyone and I won’t even go into the ending but it’s a fantastic achievement for a director that just only seems capable of making masterpieces.

7. Captain America Civil War

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This is probably the film I was looking forward to most this year along with the underwhelming Rogue One and this one delivered. Big Time. Fair to say I haven’t had any more fun in the cinema this year than I did watching this film. Had everything I wanted and plenty more. More than made up for Age of Ultron.

6. The Hateful Eight

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Speaking of directors that only make masterpieces there was a new Tarantino film this year (although maybe 2015 elsewhere). Loved every single frame of Hateful 8 as once again Quentin made an incredible movie. More tense than his others but also with everything I love about him. Adored the horror sound track as well.

5. Neon Demon

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Nicolas Winding Rein definitely isn’t for everyone so I’m sure this will be absent from a lot of people’s list but once again I thought he made something incredible. Never fails. Just an absolute nightmare mood piece with strong performances, incredible moments and a killer look. No one makes movies like NWR and I love him for that.

4. Hell or High Water

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This was the biggest shock of the year for me. I had high expectations for this film down to how much I loved the cast but never thought I’d like it even more than Hateful 8 or Neon Demon. Just loved it. I hope it features in the Oscar race, it deserves it,  because this movie just doesn’t stop and it’s perfect.

3. At Cafe 6

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This one was a last-minute entry to the list and shot all the way to the near top. Am not sure how people will feel about it generally and I can’t really give the reasons why I think so highly off it without giving spoilers but this movie just hit me hard. I watched it a few weeks back and it’s still front and centre in my mind. Love it.

2. Your Name

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I really wanted to give this movie the number one spot and still could change my mind because it’s the most beautiful movie I’ve seen in a long long time. I have no idea how the director made it so easy and clean to follow with such a complex and beautiful story but he did. Love the look, care so much about the characters and just flat-out adore this incredible film. Forget best animation, I’d give this movie best picture because there isn’t a better film this year except one…

…So the number one spot goes to…

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Train to Busan

Zombie films won’t win best picture but this is more than a zombie film. This film is the definition of perfect. Considering they hadn’t really made a zombie film in Korea before they won’t make better. No one will. Which considering its a genre I love is saying something.

Never before has every character in a film like this been so damn well-developed and meaningful. I cared about everything in this film and the script is about as good as it gets. The action is incredible, the set pieces insanely good, the pace, editing, plotting, performances all just brilliant. To round it all off the kid in the film is beyond great as well, how often does that happen.

I will never have enough good things to say about it.

So that’s my top 10. Feel free to let me know what you think.

Stephen.

December = Film Watching Month

It’s been a long year. A really long year in a lot of ways. So I figure it’s time for a month off to watch a lot of movies. I’m sure I’ll still get some writing done, and know I have some reviews to edit for the YouTube channel so even a month off isn’t like full rest, but it’s time to take it a little easier.

The target I’m setting myself in December is 100 films. Roughly 3 a day. Still have to do my Job job, but think that’s easy enough to achieve if I dedicate myself to not leaving the house much and stay away from TV reruns. (Which considering the temperature and the fact that I’ve already rewatched Modern Family and Californication shouldn’t be too difficult).

Want to mostly watch films that I’ve either not seen before or haven’t seen in ages and can’t remember. Maybe find some to review as well (have some ideas). Already giving myself more work before I’ve even finished the blog about not doing any work but there you go.

Could do with a good mix of English language and world cinema. Want to catch some more animation from around the world too. Couple of classic’s from the golden era. Maybe a silent film or two. Just a good enjoyable mix. Can maybe fill some gaps on my IMDB top 250. There isn’t many,  but are some. Might even be time to watch the last few epics I haven’t seen if I find myself with a spare 5 hours for Ten Commandments.

Have a lot of ambition for 2017 and am getting myself into a position where I can properly have a good go at a lot of that, but want to be fresh and inspired. Can’t think of a better way to feel that than to watch a ton of films. 🙂

Stephen

You Tube Channel Started: I Saw The Movie

So the day has finally arrived that we’ve launched our YouTube Review channel. Has been something that I’ve been meaning to do for some time along with a friend, and now it’s happening.

We will no doubt review a ton of Asian films and world cinema and have plenty of ideas for series of reviews and other playful stuff on the website. Will be loads of American films on there as well.

Have started the channel with my review/love fest for Jason X.

Going to have a lot of fun with this channel and dedicate plenty of time to it. Looking to upload a couple of reviews a week. Can’t wait.

So… Here’s the link for the site,  Enjoy:

I Saw The Movie

Stephen

 

Sharknado Trilogy (Sorry 4th isn’t on Netflix yet)

So I finally watched the Sharknado films. Long overdue. Anyone who knows me will know my opinion on them straight away, kinda loved them. I wouldn’t exactly give them high ratings, but as entertainment they’re great.

And they just get dumber, somehow. You would think the initial premise is dumb enough and hard to beat, but no, they go that little bit stupider every time until you end up with Sharks in Space.

Kinda reminded me a little of the Phantasm films the way they expanded the world. (That’s not for a second to say they’re as good as Phantasm because they’re not close). But they are fun and I like the way the characters are coming along and all the cameo’s that are in the Sharknado universe.

I enjoyed the hammy performances, liked the main Fin character, Tara Reid is getting more fun as the films go on. Nova is a cool character and kinda want to see her have a spin-off somewhere in the Asylum universe, that would be cool. Have always been a fan of the company since watching all the rip offs of the big movies back in my blockbusters days so cool to see them hitting it big with the Sharknado series.

I’m definitely up for their being more after I watch the 4th, could easy handle another few but no idea where you’re going to go from here. Bet the writer is enjoying himself coming up with ideas though, he surely has free licence to just do whatever crazy shit he can think off. Fun job.

Have notes somewhere for a stupid shark movie myself, maybe will have to look into that again one day, although going to keep my premise under wraps until I do. (Although have told a few people about it). Always have a soft spot for disaster films and throw them together with monster movies and you have my attention and Sharknado definitely did.

All in all, good fun and enjoyed watching them back to back, felt right.

Stephen