Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind

This is a very recent documentary from HBO about my most fave comedian.

It starts off right at the beginning, telling us about his parents and two half-brothers, as well as his school life. From there it goes into his early days as a stand-up comic, then his break into television and films.

There was plenty of behind the scenes footage of him, the scenes of him goofing around on set were very funny. A speech he made at the People’s Choice award after he lost out to Jack Nicholson and Daniel Day Lewis (both tied, with Robin the only other nominee) was a hoot. And there were interviews with all kinds of people including Billy Crystal, Eric Idle, Billy Crystal, Pam Dawber, Whoopi Goldberg, David Letterman, and plenty others including his half-brothers, first wife, and some of his children.

As we all know he was a comedy genius, but also quite tormented in various ways. He also seemed to be a very genuine and caring guy too, and completely lacked a Hollywood ego.

The documentary itself was well done. It didn’t gloss over his troubles with drug and alcohol addiction, and totally relied on the interviewees and archive video and audio from Robin himself to tell the story.

Excellent stuff. And Robin has to be added to the MBMS Page of Fame of course.

Date watched: July 22nd
Score: 10/10
Film count 2018: 46

Star Wars: Episode 4

There is no real need to write much about this as I have already written about it four times previously in this blog (although I have seen this film at least twenty times).

What I will say again is that the “improvements” Georgie added in are very annoying and do nothing for the film at all. Why, Georgie, why?

Date watched: July 8th
Score: 10/10
Film count 2018: 39

2001: A Space Odyssey

I have seen this at least two times before, but it is one of those films that one must return to every now and then because it is just so darn good, and a real thought provoker. I last watched it in 2008.

It is quite mesmerising from beginning to end, even though it is quite long. The opening scenes involving the apes doing their thing, then going ape-crap over the monolith is superb. The ape suits were very well done, better than those in the original Planet of the Apes.


Behind the scenes photo.

Then there was the spaceship and it’s revolving set, very impressive for a film made 50 years ago. You can read about how it was done here, along with the zero gravity shots.

The highlight of the film though is the last thirty minutes where the astronaut (played by Keir Dullea, now 81), goes on a trippy trip through space and time to a very nicely furnished room, then is reborn as a giant baby in a bubble the size of Earth. What this is all about is purposely not explained in the film, Stanley Kubrick wanted people to come up with their own theories as to what it is all about. The book, by Arthur C. Clark, one of my fave Sci-Fi writers, was a little more clear about this apparently. I have read the book but I forget how the ending went now…must read it again.

I gave this nine out of ten in my last review, however I have decided that a perfect ten is in order this time as I cannot think of any space film that is better than this, there are certainly none anywhere near as majestic.

Date watched: May 29th
Score: 10/10
Film count 2018: 36

Chinatown

I first watched this film back in 2012, and I gave it a rapturous review back then, and adding it to my list of best films ever. So, it was my intention to watch this again someday, and so I did. And just as last time, I found it to be a most excellent film, just as good as I remembered.

Most of the excellent-ness is due to Jack Nicholson’s and Faye Dunaway’s acting, both were brilliant, almost as good as Humphrey and Bacall. It also felt a lot like a Humphrey crime noir film both in it’s intricate story and cinematography (except that it was in colour).

There were one or two very minor directing niggles from Roman Polanski (this was his last film in the U.S.), but it was well paced and always engaging.

Do yourself a favour and watch this again.

Date watched: April 18th
Score: 10/10
Film count 2018: 29

Everybody Street

This is a 2013 documentary about thirteen well-known New York photographers, looking at their photos and how they go about getting them.

Some of the photographers are interviewed, and we follow some of them as they terrorise the streets of the city, quite literally in some cases. One dude by the name of Bruce Gilden basically jumps right in front of people, camera in right hand, a flash in his left hand and quickly takes a photo of them before they realise what is happening, then walks off. You can see him at work here. The other photographers are not as extreme, some of them are quite subtle yet get some fantastic shots. A few of them have been roughed up, which is not surprising at all. One guy spent time with young gang members getting shots of them playing around with guns and pointing them directly at the camera, risky stuff.

We also meet Ricky Powell, you will recognise his name from the lyrics of the Beastie Boys song “Car Thief”. He was their photographer for a while, and considered by the band to be the unofficial “fourth Beastie Boy”. He also worked with Run DMC.

The photography by all of them is fantastic, really makes me want to go out with my camera and take some snaps in the central city. I might just do that.

The documentary itself is very well made. The photographers themselves do all of the narration and tell their own stories.

An excellent watch.

Date watched: October 6th
Score: 10/10
Film count 2017: 113

Children of Men

I have seen this before but it is totally worth watching again, top stuff. Great story, amazing filmmaking and just great all around. By Alfonso Cuarón, the chap who made Gravity. Clive Owen (what happened tom him?) and the great Julianne Moore star, plus a bunch of other recognisable faces, including Michael Caine of course.

Date watched: 14th September
Score: 10/10
Film count 2017: 52

Amazing stuff:

Le Quattro Volte

Italians really know how to make darn good films, and this one is no exception, especially as this is virtually free of dialogue.

It is split into four distinct parts. The first part follows an old goat herder who goes about his daily rituals but is very sick. With him is his trusty dog who causes a bit of mischief and provides some humour in the film. The second part follows a kid goat literally from birth, and again we are given a bit of comedic relief because kid goats are just so much fun to watch. The third part follows the final days of the life of a tree which is cut down by the village folk for use in some kind of religious festival (this was filmed in a very remote mountain village in Southern Italy). And the last part follows some villagers as they make charcoal, which is a very interesting thing to watch.

There is of course a lot of meaning behind these different parts which is all explained if you look it up, but it is not hard to figure it out yourself, and I guess each person has their own interpretation of it all.

The cinematography is superb and mostly involves fixed shots or slow moving pans. A scene involving the mischievous antics of the dog was done very well. It was just a series of right-to-left, then left-to-right pans, all done slowly and timed very well. I was also impressed by the dog’s acting, it did not seem as though it had been trained at all to do what it did.

Despite not having dialogue and being slow moving it was a mesmerising film and constantly thought-provoking, and just plain fun to watch. I will be watching this again some day.

Bravissimo!

Date watched: September 9th
Score: 10/10
Film count 2017: 102