20 films from LOVEFiLM – 1 to 10

Published on 31 July 2012 in , , ,

Back in October last year I got a new job. It was with LOVEFiLM. You may have heard of them. Most people have.

Given I was working for them, I thought I’d better see what all the fuss was about and promptly signed up for a subscription. And so it was that I started getting some DVDs through the post.

But which DVDs? Well I thought, for a laugh and in celebration at moving from LOVEFiLM’s office in North Acton, I’d tell you. Well the first 20 anyway. And on this page, only the first 10. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the rest.

1 – The Princess Bride

So as I recall, back in February, this was the very first film we watched. I should warn you that the list below probably isn’t in 100% accurate “watched” order – the order’s taken from when the titles were dispatched from the warehouse.

Anyway, this was a fantasy film that Catherine remembered from her childhood. And it has Peter Falk and Andrew the Giant in it. There’s a princess called Buttercup and the entire world seems to be very medieval. So quite why the film makers gave it a very 80s synth soundtrack is another matter. Not as good as Labyrinth, which is the master of the genre, but it’s fun and probably best as a good family film. Plus it has Billy Crystal in it.

4 stars

2 – Micmacs

Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet directed the fourth Alien film, but frankly his best work is in the genre of “completely bonkers French films”. And Amile which is only slightly bonkers.

Micmacs was released in 2010 and sees a man who has been made homeless and jobless after a bullet got lodged in his brain, join a motley crew of people who do strange things. One of them is called Elastic Girl. Another called Calculator. See, you’ve no idea what I’m talking about but it doesn’t matter as the whole film is basically a David and Goliath affair with some serious humour.

Plus it has Dominique Pinon in it. What do you mean you don’t know who Dominique Pinon is? He’s been in every Jean-Pierre Jeunet film ever! Even Alien Resurrection!

5 stars

3 – District 9

Ho yesh, bring on the South African sci-fi thrillers! Absolutely stunning film about what would happen if a load of aliens ended up being marooned on earth, and unable to leave.

Cue a world where they live in their own ghetto and are treated pretty crappily. Absolutely amazing film that looks at social segregation and xenophobia, and is, rather obviously, heavily inspired to what really went on in South Africa in the apartheid era.

Presented mostly in a mock-documentary format, it’s gripping stuff and exceptionally well made.

5 stars

4 – Life is Beautiful

More people probably know this film thanks to the antics of its star at the Oscars, but Life is Beautiful is so much more.

An Italian romantic comedy (sort of), it tells the story of a young Italian Jew who marries a non-Jewish teacher. They live happily and have a child.

And then World War 2 starts. Well you can see where this is heading and the family get taken to a concentration camp. There the father attempts to protect his son and keep him innocent by making out it’s all a game, whilst doing all he can to ensure his offspring remains alive.

It’s beautiful. It’s funny. It’s sweet and it’s touching. And frankly I can’t believe I’d never seen it before.

5 stars

5 – Alien

I’d never seen any of the Alien films before so now seemed as good a time as any to rectify the problem.

You know the score. Alien found. Bursts out of chest. Only Sigourney Weaver survives.

3.5 stars

6 – Ladyhawke

It’s a classic tale. A curse is made and a woman becomes a hawk by day whilst her lover is human during the day but a wolf by night. How many times have we heard that tale?

What was that? Only once?

This was another of those films Catherine wanted to relive but as we both realised, it’s a bit naff and dull. Even Rutger Hauer could not have saved it. And he didn’t.

2 stars

7 – Aliens

Ah, we come on to the second of the Alien franchise, and the one that everyone thinks it’s best because James Cameron’s film is more accessible than Ridley Scott’s.

You know the score. This time there’s more than one alien and Sigourney Weaver runs around with big guns. Much more fun than the first in so many ways.

4.5 stars

8 – Dr Strangelove

Right! Time for some Stanley Kubrick and Peter Sellers action in the classic black comedy which takes a wry look at nuclear scares and almost sees Sellers play three roles.

Frankly if you’ve never seen it, you should because it’s completely bonkers and has an ending that just makes you go “whhooattt?”

You’d think that ever more if you saw the original ending where, instead of nuclear explosions, everyone has a custard pie fight.

4.5 stars

9 – 2001: A Space Odyssey

More Kubrick and here we are with the classic Arthur C. Clarke co-written masterpiece about space. In the future.

Or something. It’s one of those films that’s always in the must see lists. And you must see it. You really must. But only so you can see how deathly dull the whole thing is.

The good bits are the effects. The bad bits are, well, everything else.

2 stars

10 – The Road

Nothing like a good American road movie. And The Road is nothing like a good American road movie.

Cormac McCarthy’s novel of a father and son who travel through a devastated American landscape, fighting off the twin traumas of hunger and people wanting to eat you, is a very difficult but rewarding read. The film is, if anything, slightly less difficult, but is still no easy a watch. This one sat on the shelf at home until the right moment.

Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee play the two main roles in a film that deserves to be watched.

4.5 stars

Another ten tomorrow then! Oh and by the way, Kung Fu Panda above? Well he’s in LOVEFiLM’s reception in North Acton.