#180 / 365 – ‘Donnie Darko’ (2001) – 113 mins
IMDb Challenge #107 / 250 – Ranked #134 – Via Lovefilm
A troubled teenager, Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal), escapes death when a jet-engine crashes in his bedroom, because he follows a giant bunny leading him outside. The bunny, called Frank, tells him that the world will end in 28 days. As the final date comes closer and closer Donnie is drawn into an alarming series of events that may or may not be a product of growing insanity.
Donnie Darko is a dark and mesmerising fantasy trip into an exploration between fear and love, it displays a see-saw of gloom and doom, as you count down to the expected end of the world in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. The entire film is peppered with a jukebox of haunting Eighties ballads, most notably Tears for Fears ‘Mad World’, to perfectly set the dark mood of the Richard Kelly’s cult classic.
Donnie Darko has often been described as piece of genius that David Lynch would have summoned up, as like ‘Mulholland Drive’ it’s a perplexing film in many ways and one that lingers with you days after viewing as you scratch your head trying to make sense of it all, which I truly believe no one ever will – have you?. Despite it being a challenging watch it’s highly recommended as it does intrigue throughout its entirety to let your imagination soar.
#181 / 365 – ‘The Smurfs’ – 103 mins
Cinema Challenge #74 / 115
When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world and into ours — in fact, smack dab in the middle of Central Park. Just three apples high and stuck in the Big Apple, the Smurfs must find a way to get back to their village before Gargamel tracks them down.
Yes it’s happened. The Smurfs have conjured up their first own live action movie, or a least director Raja Gosnell (‘Scooby-Doo’ and ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua’) has. Despite the film being aimed entirely at the younger audience it does for the older generation evoke good memories of the ’80s television series. With ‘Super 8’ its been a week of nostalgia.
With it having and eye-watering budget of $110,000,000 it does satisfy in its visuals as Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters), Smurfette (Katy Perry), Brainy Smurf (Fred Armisen), Gutsy Smurf (Alan Cumming), Grouchy Smurf (George Lopez) and Clumsy Smurf (Anton Yelchin) go about their adventures. Like in Night at the Museum 2, Hank Azaria is great as the villainous wizard Gargamel, however he does get slightly annoying by the films end.
The simplistic story does run out of ideas at the around the 80 minute mark and really should have been trimmed. But you will have a bit of charming and harmless fun with the little blue people as they sing their La La La La La La song and work hard together gathering smurf berries.
#182 / 365 – ‘Wild Strawberries’ (1957) – 91 mins
IMDb Challenge #108 / 250 – Ranked #128 – Via Lovefilm
Explores the disillusionment of an elderly physician, Professor Isak Borg, as he reflects upon his life and begins to perceive his mortality. As he travels to Lund to receive an honorary award after 50 years of medical practice, he finds himself repeatedly affected by intrusive dreams and hallucinations that expose his darkest fears. He slowly comes to realize that the choices he made in the past have created a cold and empty life, devoid of real meaning or value. Finally, he achieves redemption and reintegration through forgiveness and the love of his family.
I have now encompassed 3 pieces of Ingmar Bergman work on my IMDb quest. This, Persona and Fanny and Alexander and to be honest with you I’m really struggling to make sense of what all the fuss is about the Swedish director being a cinematic genius. Like all of his previous work, Wild Strawberries is exquisitely shot in black and white and has a score to match its visual beauty. Apart from this I found the one mans journey through time, space, and memory pretentious in its output. I await the catcalls…
#183 / 365 – ‘Snatch’ (2000) – 104 mins
IMDb Challenge #109 / 250 – Ranked #129 – Via DVD Collection
Turkish (Jason Statham) an unlicenced boxing promoter is pulled into trouble when he becomes involved in big time criminal Brick Top, who wants him to arrange a fight and fix it. Meanwhile, a diamond theft goes down but the 84 karat stone goes missing. This leads Avi, the boss who was supposed to receive the stone, to come to England to search for it, with the help of his cousin, Doug The Head and Bullet Tooth Tony. As events twist and turn, the two situations blend into one with a chain reaction of events carrying on for each and every character.
Guy Ritchie’s follow-up and which in many ways you could label it has a sequel to his creme de la creme ‘Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels’ is more of the same – and like they say when you’ve got a hit, why change the winning formula?. And he doesn’t.