HAMMY’S TOP 10…FILMS I’VE WATCHED MORE THAN FIVE TIMES

I’m a frequent reader of Den of Geek. Last Friday they posted an article entitled ‘The Top 25 Films (People Have Watched More Than Five Times). Would a Top 10 List of films I’ve watched more than five times be any different than a Top 10 Films of All Time? Well, yes, it probably would be. There are films that would be in my general Top 10 that I’ve only managed to watch once or twice. I’m thinking of the first two Godfather films, Doctor Zhivago, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blade Runner, Taxi Driver, or Schindler’s List. There are films that are just too overwhelming to watch regularly, due to their duration or subject matter. 12 Years a Slave was a powerful movie, but one I haven’t watched since I saw it at the cinema.

A great film, no doubt about that, but not one I’d want to watch on a regular basis

But there are those films I return to time and time again, acknowledging and perhaps welcoming the flaws that become apparent on repeat viewing. Or, conversely, there may be films on my general Top 10 List of Films that I have watched more than five times, but that very first time watching them has remained indelibly etched on my brain (the original Spider-Man film is not a great film, but that first experience watching it makes it one of my all-time favourites). There are those films that I put on in a drunken state, that I watch on a rainy day, or that I want to show a new acquaintance who hasn’t seen the film before. Of course, the older the film is, the more chance I’ve had of watching it multiple times. But there are a few recent films on this list as well…

  1. The Avengers

This would not make my Top 10 List of Films. It’s not a film for the ages, but it’s one of the most fun superhero films of all time. Yes, the MCU films are generally full of fun, but this first union of Marvel’s B List superheroes ramps up the fun and fantasy to sublime levels. There are periods that drag, and the plot’s flimsiness is more apparent on every viewing, but the characters, the wit and the action more than make up for the flaws. Loki’s the number one MCU villain and he’s at his best here. And that scene of seeing the superheroes united still gives me goosebumps. A joyous, fist-pumping slice of cinema.

(Click here for my full review!)

  1. Hot Fuzz

Out of the Cornetto trilogy, I’d rank Shaun of the Dead as the best, but Hot Fuzz is the one I frequently return to viewing. It’s overly long and the finale draws a fine line between parody/silliness, but there’s always something new to discover on each viewing, be it a pun, a joke, or just a little easter egg in the background. The jokes are rapid, and hit home more than they miss the target, which is surprising considering the number of them. I may prefer Shaun of the Dead, but Hot Fuzz is the one I frequently quote.

  1. The Empire Strikes Back

I’d include all three of the original trilogy here, as I’ve watched them countless times (and always together!). But it’s undoubtedly The Empire Strikes Back which is the cream of the crop. It’s funnier than the others, but at the same time darker and more mature. There’s not much else I can say about one of the greatest films of all time.

(Click here for my full review!)

  1. Robocop

This is a film which I often put on in a drunken stupor after a night out. Not because it’s sci fi trash, but because it’s a comfort. I’ve seen it so many times since I was young that it’s a part of my history (like some of the other films on this list). It’s a science fiction, satire, and flowing with OTT violence. It may be a Jesus Christ allegory, but I’m sure Jesus Christ never murdered people (even if they were criminals). Clarence Boddicker’s villainy becomes sweeter on every viewing. It’s perhaps Paul Verhoeven’s finest moment.

  1. Back to the Future

Who couldn’t watch this film just the once? It’s a film that begs to be rewatched. Is it the best film about time travel? Maybe, but it’s definitely the most entertaining. It’s through and through an 80s film, which increases its likeability. But the characters make the film, as much as the story or the special effects. Seeing two different time periods of Hill Valley is enough to rewatch the film and compare and contrast, but it’s the characters who I always go back to the film to watch.

  1. The Wrestler

One of the more recent films on this list, it was tough to choose between this Aronofsky masterpiece or his other one, Black Swan. The latter is a stunning film on all levels. But The Wrestler feels like a more honest film in some way. I’ve watched them each more than five times, but it’s always The Wrestler that springs to mind when I think of Aronofsky. From the raw performance by Mickey Rourke, to the grounded camera work, to the bittersweet tale of a man stuck in the past, it’s a brutal but powerful film.

(Click here for my full review!)

  1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

The original may be the superior film, but I’ve watched T2 so many times that every sound effect, every beat is a part of my consciousness. It’s a big budget repeat of the original, but it turns the original on its head by making (SPOILER ALERT) Arnie’s Terminator the good buy. Robert Patrick as the bad guy, the T-1000, is just as terrifying as Arnie was in the original. It’s loud, it’s perhaps overly long, but it’s one of the all time great big budget, blockbuster films. Yes, it does lots of CGI, but it doesn’t drown out the story or the characters. And if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, then may be we can too…

  1. Aliens

Alien may be the more streamlined and frightening experience, but for sheer enjoyment and rewatchability Aliens is clearly the better film. This time its war, and a small group of marines (plus Ellen Ripley from the first film) take on a horde of aliens. It’s light on scares, but piles on the tension and action scenes. It’s a nailbiting experience, one that doesn’t lose its tension on repeat viewing. It’s quotable (most coming from the late, great Bill Paxton). It’s star Weaver as the ultimate female bad ass. It also has Ripley inside a mechanical suit taking on the Alien Queen. ‘Get away from her you bitch!’

(Click here for my full review!)

  1. Drive

If I’d have watched ‘The Neon Demon’ a few more times, that might take Drive’s place on this list. But Drive never fails to impress me whenever I slot the disc into my PS3. I didn’t expect much of it on my first viewing, but it blew me away. It’s light on dialogue, but heavy on style, gore and character. You don’t need Ryan Gosling’s The Driver to speak; his actions (and facial expressions) speak louder than words. The brilliant soundtrack propels events along. The car chase scenes may not be as loud or CGI filled as those from other films, but they are raw and feel real. It’s another triumph of style over substance for Nicolas Winding Refn, but it’s a triumph that can be rewatched time and time again.

(Click here for my full review!)

  1. Gladiator

The only epic that I’ve watched more than five times, and probably would make the number 1 slot on my general Top 10 Films of All Time. Me and my friend originally went to the cinema to watch the cool sounding Angel’s Ashes. However, the newspaper had misprinted the title. It was actually Angela’s Ashes, and to our teenage minds, it looked boring. Luckily enough, Gladiator was the only other option. And what an option it turned out to be. A truly grand story or a soldier becoming a slave, who became a gladiator who defied a Roman Emperor. Everything in this film is close to perfect, from the script, the action scenes and the story. And each and every main character is memorable. Russell Crowe deserved the Best Actor Oscar, conveying everything with his face more than words. And who can forget his epic speech, ‘My name is…’?

Honourable Mentions:

Jurassic Park

The Terminator

Battle Royale

Black Swan

The Dark Knight

Agree or disagree? Any you’d take away or add? What is your Top 10?

HAMMY’S TOP 10…MODERN DOCTOR WHO EPISODES!

Saturday nights are now a night to stay in, because Doctor Who is back on our screens! Yes, Peter Capaldi is a great iteration of The Doctor, but he’s been served by some poor stories. Steven Moffat writes himself into a corner more often than not. He is mesmerised by his own Whovian lore. However, there are still some episodes that can rank as great television. Since Doctor Who was revived in 2005, there have been more than a few cracking episodes. Here are my Top 10 Modern Doctor Who episodes…(I will cheat for some of them by clumping together a two parter…)

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HAMMY’S TOP 10…STEPHEN KING FILM ADAPTATIONS!

I may make this feature a Tuesday regular, purely because “Top 10 Tuesday” rolls of the tongue! Or I could make it on Thursday…Last week, we saw the teaser trailer for the film adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘IT.’ So why not do a Top 10 List of Stephen King film adaptations? It’s probably a list full of obvious choices, but here we go anyway…

The man, the myth, the legend…

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Review: Ghost in the Shell (2017) (Another Dodgy Remake of a Japanese Classic?)

“It’s okay, just breathe”

Within a month or two, we’ve had two live action remakes of classic animations. The first was ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ which recreated the original faithfully but felt wholly unnecessary. Now, we have ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ a remake of the beloved 1995 Japanese anime. Yes, there were concerns about ‘whitewashing.’ Why cast Scarlett Johannsen as the main character? Why not a Japanese actress? But the whitewashing is one of the many problems that one encounters whilst watching ‘Ghost in the Shell.’ A lame script, an irritating Westernisation of the original’s plot and endless shots of the (admittedly impressive) futuristic city are among the other big problems. Continue reading

HAMMY’S TOP 10…UNDERTAKER MATCHES!

The Undertaker seemingly retired a few days ago at WrestleMania 33. He is a legend of the wrestling industry, with a career of over twenty five years. He carried what could have been a silly gimmick into one of the best and most beloved characters ever. Yes, he reinvented himself for a brief period as the “American Badass,” but he’ll always be remembered for being “The Deadman.” So, to honour the career of The Undertaker, here are my ‘Top 10 Undertaker Matches.’

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HAMMY’S TOP 10…WRESTLEMANIA MATCHES!

WrestleMania 33 is upon us! Yes, the most unanticipated WrestleMania since…last year will be held tonight. I’m finding it hard to care about it, but I’ll watch it anyway! However, I’ve been thinking about doing a regular “Top 10 Things List.” And what better time than now to count down my Top 10 WrestleMania matches? Here they are:

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Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #26 Triple H vs. Cactus Jack (WWF Championship, Streetfight, WWE Royal Rumble 2000)

20141106_EP_LIGHT_100best_2_home_nologo

​This is one of my all-time favourite matches. It  developed from  a believable and brutal rivalry between HHH and Mick Foley that really extended far back to 1997. HHH became a star and Mick Foley proved he could still put on a hell of a match after a relatively quiet 1999. We’ve already seen HHH and Cactus Jack fight in the Best 100…List (#94, click here for my review). This match is an evolution of that one. It ramps up the ultraviolence to a degree rarely seen in WWE, even back in the Attitude Era. They had a PPV level match on Raw in 1997. This actual PPV match at Royal Rumble 2000 is one for the ages. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #27 Ric Flair vs. Sting (NWA World Title, NWA Clash of the Champions I)

20141106_EP_LIGHT_100best_2_home_nologo(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v32286157?contextType=wwe-show&contextId=clash_of_the_champions&contentId=73027582&watchlistAltButtonContext=series )

Another Ric Flair match? Of course! He’s on the Best 100…List no less than thirteen times. That would be unlucky for some, but it’s lucky for one of the all-time wrestling greats. On this list, we’ve seen him wrestle other wrestling greats to wrestling green as grass big men (see #93 against Lex Luger, and click here for my review!). Here, he fights another fairly green man, in the guise of Sting. It’s obvious that Sting was catapulted to the top of the card due to his look, size and popularity. But not his wrestling. It’s a testament to Flair that this match is very good, but unfortunately Sting drags the contest down. He simply doesn’t have the ability to make his offence interesting for this drawn-out match.

What came first? The Sharpshooter,or the Scorpion Death Lock?

This match would benefit from a shorter duration. At 45 minutes, it’s too long for the newcomer Sting to hold his own against Flair. The constant reminder of the time (the announcer gives an update every five minutes) is a huge distraction as well. In Iron Man matches, for example, the time limit on screen is there for a reason: to count down the seconds and increase the tension as the hour/half hour passes. For this clash, the constant reminder of the time serves little purpose. There’s a time limit but do we need to be reminded of it? Why not tell us that there are five minutes left and leave it at that?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that you’ve accidentally hit rewind frequently during this match. I lost count how many times Sting went through a sequence of punching Flair in the corner and hip tossing him across the ring. In a match that went 20 minutes or so, the repeated sequence wouldn’t be so noticeable. But here, it is painfully noticeable. Sting’s limited move set harms the match. There’s only so many times that Sting can mount a comeback using the same sequence before it becomes boring.

However, the crowd go wild for everything he does. It’s a testament to not only his popularity, but Flair’s ability to manipulate the crowd as well. He sells Sting’s offence like a million dollars. We see the Flair flop and the usual Flair sequence of being whipped into the corner, going over the top, running to the next corner and being pressed off the top rope. But it’s all done to make Sting look awesome. In fairness, it often works. Flair plays the heel like no other, and this match is yet another great example of Flair at work. He cheats to get the advantage over Sting to build up the babyface’s comebacks. It’s a work of art and decreases the effect of seeing Sting repeat the same sequence over and over again.

The crowd and Ric Flair make this match special, and Sting, whilst he isn’t up to the task, is still treated like a megastar by the crowd. Sometimes it makes you believe that he’s a wrestling god. However, he still prevents the match from being a classic. Instead, it’s still a very good match that goes on for far too long. With a green big man, you make the match short. You make him batter the opponent. Let him show off his strength. At 20 minutes, this match would be great. As it is, it’s merely very good. I actually prefer another match on the Best 100…List from the same PPV over this one, the match between The Midnight Express and The Fantastics (click here for my review!). I’d also like to see a place for Ric Flair’s retirement match against Shawn Michaels on the Best 100…List as well…

VERDICT: 7/10. A potentially great match is curtailed by the inexperience of Sting and the duration of the match. However, the crowd and Ric Flair make it one to remember.

 

Does this match belong in the WWE Network’s ‘ 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die’ List? Leave your thoughts/comments below!

Click here for my review of #28 CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar (No Disqualfication, WWE Summerslam 2013)

Mass Effect And The Rebirth of Optimistic Science Fiction Part 2

Click here for Part I

Cinematic Science Fiction In the 1990s

Towards the end of the 1980s there was a trend for science fiction to return to emphasising the present with the aid of futuristic settings. ‘Robocop’ is one example. ‘The Running Man’ is another. A nation controlled by the mass media that has very few morals? Hmmm, familiar. This trend ran into the 1990s, a decade in which science fiction films were smothered with sequels and CGI. The Alien series should have been killed off with ‘Alien: Resurrection.’ The Robocop franchise should have been killed off after the first one. Independence Day was for the destruction fetishist. ‘Star Wars: Episode I’ erased all happy memories of the initial trilogy. ‘Doctor Who,’ that true testament to the future (before it became London-centric), almost died with the terrible 1996 film. Continue reading