The 100 greatest American movies of all time?

100_US_FILMS

Film critics have done the unthinkable and come up with a contentious list of their 100 greatest American movies of all time.

Polled by BBC Culture, the 62 international critics represented countries from all over the world and handpicked their favourite US films before scoring them respectively.

Four directors – Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Billy Wilder and Steven Spielberg – procure twenty of the slots in the comprehensive list.

Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Charlie Chaplin each take home recognition for their work over the years, as does the incredible Orson Welles.

Below is the full list (personally I think Blue Velvet should have ranked a lot higher) in all its glory:

100. Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951)

99. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013)

98. Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980)

97. Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)

96. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)

95. Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)

94. 25th Hour (Spike Lee, 2002)

93. Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973)

92. The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)

91. ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982)

90. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

89. In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950)

88. West Side Story (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, 1961)

87. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)

86. The Lion King (Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, 1994)

85. Night of the Living Dead (George A Romero, 1968)

84. Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972)

83. Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)

82. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)

81. Thelma & Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991)

80. Meet Me in St Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944)

79. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)

78. Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

77. Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939)

76. The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980)

75. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977)

74. Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994)

73. Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976)

72. The Shanghai Gesture (Josef von Sternberg, 1941)

71. Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)

70. The Band Wagon (Vincente Minnelli, 1953)

69. Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1982)

68. Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946)

67. Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)

66. Red River (Howard Hawks, 1948)

65. The Right Stuff (Philip Kaufman, 1965)

64. Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954)

63. Love Streams (John Cassavetes, 1984)

62. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

61. Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)

60. Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)

59. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Miloš Forman, 1975)

58. The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940)

57. Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woody Allen, 1989)

56. Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)

55. The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967)

54. Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950)

53. Grey Gardens (Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer, 1975)

52. The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969)

51. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)

50. His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

49. Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978)

48. A Place in the Sun (George Stevens, 1951)

47. Marnie (Alfred Hitchcock, 1964)

46. It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)

45. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1962)

44. Sherlock Jr (Buster Keaton, 1924)

43. Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948)

42. Dr Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)

41. Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959)

40. Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, 1943)

39. The Birth of a Nation (DW Griffith, 1915)

38. Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)

37. Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959)

36. Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)

35. Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)

34. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)

33. The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)

32. The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941)

31. A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes, 1974)

30. Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)

29. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)

28. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)

27. Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick, 1975)

26. Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1978)

25. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)

24. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)

23. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)

22. Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924)

21. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

20. Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990)

19. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)

18. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)

17. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)

16. McCabe & Mrs Miller (Robert Altman, 1971)

15. The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)

14. Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975)

13. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)

12. Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)

11. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)

10. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)

9. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)

8. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

7. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)

6. Sunrise (FW Murnau, 1927)

5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)

4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)

3. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

2. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)

1. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

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Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Rated 2.5 out of 10 on IMDb and handed a 25% score on the Tomatometer by critics at Rotten Tomatoes, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) directed by Nicholas Webster is a bizarre sci-fi festive comedy caper mash-up.

Although often included on lists of the worst films ever made, SCCTM ticks all the boxes for a successful Christmas movie:

  • Santa
  • Elves
  • Reindeer
  • Toy workshop
  • Children
  • Snow
  • Martians?!?!

I needed a Christmas themed film to over-indulge in, along with the copious amounts of food and drink over the festive period. I decided to go for the cult classic about a hoard of martians who kidnap Father Christmas and take him half way across the galaxy to Mars.

The meaning of Christmas

On their native homeland, the band of martians headed by their leader Kimar are concerned by their children’s sudden change of mood.

After consulting the wise Chochem they’re informed that the reason for their nippers’ unhappiness is the lack of Christmas cheer on Mars, and most notably the seldom giving of presents.

Kimar concludes the only thing to do is to kidnap Santa Claus and bring him to Mars. Thus resulting in a Sci-fi Christmas caper that eventually found fame in the 1990’s after being featured on the US comedy series, Mystery Theater 3000.

Saint Nick is joined on Mars by two small earth children, Billy and Betty, and must find a way to escape the painted green clutches of the martians.

Beloved by fans for its bad special effects and odd plot, SCCTM is a whacky alternative Christmas film which is well worth a watch over the festive period…

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The return of UTOPIA

Channel Four's UTOPIA Contains spoilers

When a group of strangers find themselves in possession of the manuscript for a legendary graphic novel, their lives brutally implode as they are pursued by a shadowy and murderous organisation…

Last night saw the return of Channel Four’s excellent drama, Utopia, with episode one of series two.

Full of secret government plots, references to pop culture and a helping of ultra-violence, Dennis Kelly’s Utopia is perfectly directed, expertly written and beautifully scored. Utopia is truly ground-breaking.

Last night’s episode “Pressing Matters” took viewers back to where it all began. Back to the 1970’s to explain in much detail the story behind The Network’s interest in Professor Phillip Carvel’s (Tom Burke) Janus experiment.

“We’ve got a very odd first episode,” said Dennis Kelly about series two, “people are either going to really like it or really say ‘what the fuck did you do that for?’.”

Fiona O’Shaughnessy as Jessica Hyde in UTOPIA series one

We got a glimpse of Arby (Neil Maskell) and Jessica Hyde’s (Fiona O’Shaughnessy) traumatic upbringing and origins of The Network’s Milner – White Rabbit (Geraldine James and Rose Leslie). Episode one is unique in that it steps away from the timeline that we focused on in series one and instead took us back more than thirty years.

A bold move, but one that has paid dividends.

In the series one finale we were left with the harrowing discovery that Janus is actually inside Jessica Hyde. And it appears that The Network have their woman right where they want her.

Comic book fans Becky (Alexandra Roach), Ian (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), and Grant (Oliver Woollford), were also left in a tight spot when we saw them last. The next episode of series two will undoubtedly bring us back up-to-date with series one and carry on surprising, shocking and entertaining us.

Fast-paced, fresh, clever, and British. Utopia is absolutely fantastic in so many ways. Bring on the rest of series two…

Series two, episode two of “Utopia” is on tonight at 10pm on Channel four.

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Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories

WARNING: Please be advised that Ghost Stories contains moments of extreme shock and tension. The play is unsuitable for anyone under the age of 15. We seriously advise those of a nervous disposition to think very seriously before attending.

Written and directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, Ghost Stories premiered at the Liverpool Playhouse in February 2010 before being relocated to the Lyric Hammersmith in London.

A horror story, full of interesting characters that never appear to be what they seem, is actually full to the brim with moments of humour.

Upon entering the small dark, dingy looking theatre just off the bustling streets of Leicester Square, very dark, with odd cryptic numbers on the wall the anticipation of what’s to come is almost too unbearable for some.

Between June 2010 and July 2011 the play was shown in the Duke of York’s Theatre in the West End. Now it has shape-shifted during the night to the Arts Theatre, where it has been since February of this year.

Throughout the play the sounds seem to be the most haunting part, accompanied by imagery just as harrowing, Ghost Stories really is a clever play.

It takes you on a psychological journey that keeps you guessing right until the very end.

Ghost Stories has gone onto break many box office records, it even ventured to internationally to Toronto and Moscow.

The play’s cleverest trait is that due to its clever marketing (as little as possible) audiences have no idea what to expect. So you keep guessing right up until that curtain is drawn, and you are not disappointed…

Ghost Stories is on at London’s Art Theatre until 17 August 2014.

PLEASE NOTE: There will be no re-admittance into the auditorium during the performance.

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The Big Bournemouth Beer Festival 2014

Beer Festival

In April I visited Dorset’s 5th annual ‘Big Bournemouth Beer Festival.’

Held once again at the BIC centre on the South Coast, this year’s event offered up over 200 varieties of beer available from breweries across the UK.

Last year, around 3,500 people attended the beer extravaganza and for 2014 the attendance was expected to surpass even that.

Craft beer

As well as beer, cider and a wine bar the event also gave us a selection of live music in association with Bournemouth Folk Club.

The music included Quinn’s Quinney, Mother Ukers plus the 10-piece Latin reggae act Pachango.

Offering such delights as Indian Pale Ale, Wheat Beers and Stout there was almost something for every beer-drinking connoisseur.

Live folk music

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to try all 200 beers, but the ones I did try I made sure to score accordingly – by taste, smell and colour.

 

Scores out of five

GOLDEN SALAMANDER 4.5%

Brewed with challenger and Syrian Goldings hops this beer has assertive hop bitterness. 3.8

 

DARWIN’S ORIGIN 4.3%

Darwin’s Origin is an eclectic mix of hops from across the world. Crisp, tart, fruity and refreshing but also with a juicy malt background. 4.0

 

MAIDEN VOYAGE 4.2%

Chestnut in colour, a fresh bitterness with slight nutty and caramel undertones followed with a bitter-sweet finish. 4.2

 

DEVIL’S WATER 4.1%

Copper-coloured best bitter, well-balanced with a slightly fruity, hoppy finish. 4.6

 

SUNBEAM “California Steam Beer” 3.8%

An ale brewed in the American post-prohibition way using lager yeast and Northern Brewer hops. 4.6

 

BEIJING BLACK 4.4%

A strong dark mild. Dark chocolate and coffee aroma. Balanced flavour with a fruity and roasted finish. 4.8

 

Facts

The largest beer festival in the UK is The Great British Beer Festival held annually in August in London. Organised by the Campaign for Real Ale. Back in 2006 over 66,000 people attended the event, which was founded in 1977. 350,000 pints of ale were consumed over the five days.

The 2nd largest beer festival in Germany and probably in Europe, is the Cannstatter Volksfest, hosted on the Cannstatter Wasen in the Bad Canstatt district of Stuttgart.

The largest and longest running beer festival in New York City is Brewtopia: The Great World Beer Festival.

The Shanghai International Beer Festival is one of the biggest beer festivals in China. It attracts more than 30,000 people every year and is held right in the city centre.

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Online Portfolio

Fear and Loathing in Southampton

Below is just some of my published / un-published examples of work.

A selection of published movie reviews on Independent Cinema for the online magazine: Directors Notes

A feature written for the online magazine, Best Horror Movies: Dracula vs. Blacula: Which blood sucker is the baddest?

A double- page spread feature published in Professional Builders Merchant magazine and online: Social Media in the merchant industry

An article published on PHPI magazine’s website: Time to rethink heating?

A two page feature as featured in Synaesthesia Magazine‘s July 2013 edition, “7 Deadly Sins,” pp.36-37: Beard Envy: Living with the condition

A published feature in Synaesthesia Magazine‘s September 2013 edition, “Cities,” pp.82-84: Fear and Loathing in Southampton

A selection of published articles and news-stories on the Online Lifestyle Magazine: Yuppee online magazine

Various blog posts regarding my 2012 and 2013 MOvember attempts: MOvember

A light-hearted blog about my love for all things Middle-earth: Middle-earth: the ongoing fantasy

An interactive look at Brighton’s “Beach of the Dead 2012” using Twitter, qik and Storify: Zombies Takeover Brighton Town

A video news story covering Bournemouth’s annual German Christmas Market: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frBuSO4wx2k

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From International Day of Happiness to Talk Like a Pirate Day

HAPPINESS

Today we marked the celebration of the UN International Day of Happiness.

Created in New York in 2012 this global celebration is coordinated by Action for Happiness and looks to promote… well, happiness.

People around the world are encouraged to look on the bright side of life; I don’t know maybe paint a lovely watercolour of some flowers or run as fast as you possibly can through a green meadow then laugh hysterically as you fall over. Just be happy…

Seeing as though today, 20 March 2014 is International Day of Happiness, it got me thinking how many other weird and wonderful days of celebration there are out there? Below are just some of my favourites:

3 January: Drinking Straw Day

16 January: Appreciate a Dragon Day

22 January: Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day

23 January: Measure Your Feet Day

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1 February: Car Insurance Day

3 February: Carrot Cake Day

19 February: International Tug-of-War Day

CARROT CAKE

3 March: What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day

20 March: Snowman Burning Day (today’s alternative)

27 March: Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day

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8 April: Be Kind to Lawyers Day

10 April: International Safety Pin Day

23 April: Administrative Professionals Day

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9 May: Lost Sock Memorial Day

14 May: Receptionists Day

29 May: Put a Pillow on Your Fridge Day

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7 June: VCR Day

11 June: Corn on the Cob Day

29 June: Log Cabin Day

VCR

10 July: Don’t Step On a Bee Day

12 July: Cow Appreciation Day

25 July: Talk in an Elevator Day

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5 August: Underwear Day

28 August: Race Your Mouse around the Icons Day

30 August: Slinky Day

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19 September: Talk like A Pirate Day

22 September: Hobbit Day

30 September: Ask a Stupid Question Day

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22 October: CAPS LOCK DAY

26 October: Howl at the Moon Day

30 October: Create a Great Funeral Day

31 October: Frankenstein Day

FRANKENSTEIN

12 November: Pizza with the Works except Anchovies Day

15 November: Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day

20 November: Name Your PC Day

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4 December: Wear Brown Shoes Day

13 December: Christmas Jumper Day

27 December: Make Cut-out Snowflakes Day

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