Weekly Update: As the year beings to wind down, my film focus has moved to wrapping up as many 2016 releases as possible, but also plenty of others.
Curious what else I’ve seen on my quest to watch 365 new-to-me movies in 2016? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-
469. The Man from Snowy River (1982)
Starring Kirk Douglas in dual roles as two long estranged brothers, this Australian-set Western follows 18 year old Jim Craig (Tom Burlinson) as he comes of age as a ranch hand. His years living alone with his father in the mountains hardened him, but he has much to learn still to become a great horseman. The Man From Snowy River is a solid family-friendly Western that has become something of a cult item among horse enthusiasts, alongside Black Beauty & The Black Stallion & other such films.
470. The Three Dogateers (2014)
Hawk Ripjaw and I spent the evening watching this film together, as we were both looking for Class-A Christmastime entertainment. This low-budget quickie is at least as bad as A Talking Cat, but with the added bonus of some truly bizarre choices for comedic relief. These include a recurring Tim & Eric-inspired advert about Santa Claus at the Mall, a confusingly-accented Dog Catcher (played by B-Movie icon Bill Oberst Jr.) and the Jelly Donut song…
471. The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (2013)
This documentary about Hayao Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli animation house in Japan is a fascinating and sensitive portrait of a genius at work. Shot during the making of Miyazaki’s film The Wind Rises, which he insisted was to be his final film (until his recent announcement), the movie makes a very strong case for retirement, showing the long hours of his work, and the wear it clearly has on him and his staff. The film contrasts this with the mostly-absent presence of fellow animation director Isao Takahata, who takes far more time to produce his films. The movie doesn’t make a value judgement as to which is the better method, nor should it, as the films of both directors bear that out with equally strong praise.
472. Pork Chop Hill (1959)
This war film follows the events of the Battle of Pork Chop Hill, fought during the armistice negotiations between the Chinese, Korean, and American armies. The film stars Gregory Peck as Lieutenant Joe Clemons, a replacement commander new to combat. The film demonstrates the huge lengths both sides go to in terms of bloody personal sacrifice, to take a militarily insignificant hill just to please their commanders. A cynical, decidedly anti-war story rare in the 1950s.
473. The Blue Max (1966)
And speaking of anti-war, The Blue Max tells the story of a WWI era German pilot named Bruno Stachel (George Peppard) whose obsession with winning personal glory flies in the face of gentlemanly warfare. In the early days of the war Bruno’s actions are looked on with disdain by his fellow fliers. But some of the officers see Bruno’s take-no-prisoners spirit as the way to win a modern war. This quickly poisons the well, leading to increasing moral compromise.
474. For the Love of Spock (2016)
This documentary was made by Leonard Nimoy’s son about the life and times of his father and his father’s relationship with his most famous character, the Alien “Spock” from the Star Trek franchise. The documentary doesn’t really take a lot of chances, and is mostly a tribute to a fallen legend. But that’s not really a problem, as the film doesn’t pretend to be anything else.
475. Shout at the Devil! (1976)
Set just before the start of WWI, Shout at the Devil stars Lee Marvin as Flynn O’Flynn, an Irish-American expatriate living in British-controlled Zanzibar, as he plans a trip into German East Africa to poach Ivory. In need of a British subject to place blame on, he swindles Sebastian Oldsmith (Roger Moore) into his operation, which quickly goes horribly wrong.