Tuesday, 31 May 2011

A-Z #81: Forrest Gump

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#81 - Forrest Gump 

Why did I buy it?

Funnily enough, the DVD release coincided with the DVD release of Unbreakable. I watched both over the weekend and ... whats the connection between the two? Robin Wright Penn! But, I first watched this when a friend in Year 8 let my family borrow the video from him and, not only did my Mum and Dad love it, but so did I. I seriously think that comparing it to Pulp Fiction, as the Oscar Nominations did, is exceptionally tough. I really don't know which one to choose.

Why do I still own it?

It really is incredible. Ionly recently watched it as part of Film Club with pupils ranging from 12-14 and they all really enjoyed it - showing that even 15 years after it was made, it still holds. The special effects are subtle and incredibly effective with a brutal story told with such heart. I can only praise this film and, asked whether I think it is a better film that Pulp Fiction I seriously couldn't pick. Pulp Fiction is more ground-breaking but ... which one do I prefer ...

You guys think - Pulp Fiction or Forrest Gump?
Large Association of Movie Blogs

'Screen Insight' Statistics (May)

First, it is worth noting that this past month has seen a substantial drop in blog posts. I have published 17 new posts in May opposed to  a much more respectable 26 in April. Inevitably, this has factored in the visits tot he site as I have lost visitors in the past month. Last month I had a little over 700 and now it has dropped to only 678 visits. I've been exceptionally busy marking GCSE Art Coursework and Exam work whilst, the planning for a stag-do has taken up much of my spare time. Add to this the new Nephew that has been added to my family (requiring a visit to see family) and a gathering in Southhampton and we find that very little time can go towards blogging - and very little time towards film-watching...

Having said this, the average time on the site has risen to 1-minute 33-seconds, which is good to see. At the same time, the bounce-rate has decreased to 67%, again - a promising sign. The shortness of the A-Z posts do not require a long amount of time to read - and these were released alot this month because I had little time to type up huge essays and big Top 5 posts. I know already that June will have some big changes in blog posts and podcasts accessible on - and through - this blog ...

Top 10 Blog Posts
9. Across the Blogosphere... 02/05/2011 (NE)

It is interesting to note how the Top 5 posts seem to gain the most attention, whilst, the A-Z posts do not feature as specific pages people are visiting. I assume, if they are read, the are read on the main blog. It is a weak month overall - but I know that I only have myself to blame with the minimal posts published. I have a bunch of A-Z posts ready to release soon but some analysis of Classic Cinema need to be put together and, believe me, they will be released in due course ...   
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, 27 May 2011

Time for a Hangover...

Strangely enough, with the release of The Hangover: Part II, I am actually a part of a Stag-Do this weekend. That means a lack of new posts until Tuesday. But, I thought I should prepare and thought to myself now is the time to re-read this ...

How about that ride in?
I guess that's why they call it
Sin City.

You guys might not know this,
but I consider myself a bit of a loner.
I tend to think of myself
as a one-man wolf pack.

But when my sister brought Doug home,
I knew he was one of my own.
And my wolf pack, it grew by one.
So were there two... So there
were two of us in the wolf pack.

I was alone first in the pack,
and then Doug joined in later.
And six months ago...
...when Doug introduced me
to you guys, I thought:

'Wait a second. Could it be?'
And now, I know for sure.

I just added two more guys
to my wolf pack."

- All right.

- All right.

"Four of us wolves...

...running around the desert together

in Las Vegas...

...Looking for strippers and cocaine."

So tonight...

...I make a toast.

- Whoa.
- What...?
- What do you got there?
- Dude, what the fuck?
- What the hell are you doing?
- What is that?

- Blood brothers.

Alan, we're not gonna cut ourselves.

Give me the knife

[So ... cue Usher...]

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, 23 May 2011

Big Times Ahead ... First off - I'm on IMDB!!!

Having assisted on a great project with good-friend Rhys, I now have one credit on IMDB! Happy days indeed!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Incredible Soundtrack #11: American Beauty (Newman, Thomas)

The music attached to a film creates the environment, I believe, moreso than the literal environment depicted through the visuals...

I have always loved the soundtrack to American Beauty. Originally, I had the two well-known tracks "Any Other Name" and "Dead Already" featuring on a soundtracks compilation. But I still wanted more. I then found a soundtrack in a charity shop for a couple-o-quid and realised that only those two tracks from Newmans score featured on this soundtrack - the rest of the tracks consisting of the artists featured - such as The Who and Free. Don't get me wrong, I like the tracks, but it wasn't Thomas Newman's score.

Eventually, I hunted the score itself down and - because you can find the aforementioned tracks very easily, I have have chosen tracks which only feature on the score soundtrack

5. Mental Boy - This track begins with a sinister sound that is unsettling before the piano softly plays a melody that is innocent and sensitive. A great example of the balance Mendes tries to create in the film between innocence and deeply unsettling problems that affect families.

11. Weirdest Home Videos - Whilst we watch the sordid, peeping-tom nature of a character in the film, it is accompanied by the innocence of this track. It changes you feeling about what you are watching and distorts your perception. This is a perfect example as to how the soundtrack truly changes a film completely.

19. Still Dead - Almost a 'remix' of Dead Already but with much more percussion. A great example of the almost tribal soundtrack Nedwman creates.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, 20 May 2011

A-Z #80: Five Easy Pieces

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#80 - Five Easy Pieces 

Why did I buy it?

I was reading Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls and purchased this to help me understand the whole BBS $1m filmmaking method - of which, Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces were amongst them.

Why do I still own it?

Because I love the definition it provides of what defines a man - and what Nicholson is ultimately wants from life. Its not money, that's for sure. Nicholsons performance is brilliant and I firmly believe that more films should be made like this - opposed to the Rocky stories that generally present success and happiness as defined by financial wealth and 'beating' everyone else. Sometimes, people are happy to enjoy life as it is and that should be celebrated, not seen as a 'weaker' perspective on things.
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Man, I [Don't] Love Genre Discussion

I have recently caught up on a number of LAMBcasts and Reel Insight podcasts - and have visited the all new Dylan/Kai Combo-Blog Man, I Love Film and it has brought up a few talking points.

Primarily the topic of Genres. The Rom-Com discussion on the LAMBcast highlighted how films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Groundhog Day feature as Rom-Coms - the same genre as Leap Year and The Proposal and that the term 'Rom-Com' is generally applied to crap Romantic Comdies opposed to actual Rom-Com's. In the same way, akin to the Man, I Love Film Blogs "Top 5 'Westerns'" or "Top 5 'Vampire Films'", they equally use Genres to summarise their points. Finally, the talk of Ryan Gosling's roles in The Notebook  - categorised as primarily a 'romance' whilst Blue Valentine is categorically a 'drama' ... or an anti-romance, I guess.

Westerns, Sci-Fi, Gangsters, Romance, Comedy, Horrors, B-Movies, Drama (what is that?), Torture-Porn, Porn... they all count as Genre's. Then you have your genre combo's - Rom-Com, Zom-Rom-Com, B-Movie Horror ... etc.

Many years ago, in Sight and Sound magazine I read an article which, in passing, noted how the use of genre as primarily of commerical gain and not of any academic of artistic merit.

Comedy - for example - almost always features in a film. But that sure doesn't make it a comedy. Forrest Gump is incredibly funny ... but it isn't a comedy. Horror, I guess, is something scary ... but you have that slim line between Horror and Thriller ... to Crime and so on and so forth. Genre is a way to categorise films - a simpliciation of a simplistic category. Westerns are set in the dusty-scapes of America whilst Horrors 'have a kill within the first act' - ensuring the films remain within their codes and conventions. These are not set in stone though and, nowadays, the fact that they are not set in stone means that people play with the conventions - Scream, Grindhouse, No Country for Old Men, etc.

Genre is akin to the boardroom simplicity - Jan De Bont with "Its Die Hard but on a bus!" or D.J. Caruso with "It's Rear Window but updated, for kids!".

How often do you find yourself saying - "yeah, I didn't really like X thing in film - but, y'know, thats what [insert genre cliche here] involves". It doesn't have to. It could be anything you want it to be. As people have shown! Rom-Com's can be profound - see Woody Allen and Co. Rom-Com's can be surreal - see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Action films can explore the dreamscape - see Inception and Sci-Fi can be littered wiith a wide variety of philosphical musings - see The Matrix. Heist Films don't even need to show heist! (See Reservoir Dogs)

With all the 'meta' films and film-literate cinema currently out in the world, the use of genre to categorise films is redundant. If anything, if a film manages to stick successfully to genre tradition, then it clearly lacks originality because, by definition, it has been 'done' before. So lets put Genre to one side and hope that filmmakers expect more from their audience - because, seriously, I don't go to the cinema to see the guy always getting the girl or the butch guy always saving the day, I don't need the guns-in-the-air-slow-motion-sequence that manages to kill everyone in sight or even see see the big-breasted girl running from the guy with a knife ... I go to see a bloody good film and the genre don't make a blind bit of difference.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, 16 May 2011

A-Z #79: Finding Nemo

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#79 - Finding Nemo

Why did I buy it?

Funnily enough, I watched this at the cinema at a time whereby I believed Pixar films were too childish for me. I loved it, of course, but there is a period somewhere between Monsters Inc. and Wall-E that I really wasn't fussed about Pixar. Except for Finding Nemo. A truly beautiful film to look at with a heart felt story. Pixar at its best.

Why do I still own it?

For all the reasons above. The question truly is whether Finding Nemo is the best Pixar film. Again, the entire film looks beautiful whilst the story - though simple - is personal and hearfelt. No flash voices. No Tom Hanks, Paul Newman or Billy Crystal here. Only Ellen DeGeneres name-checked. Off the top of my head - I don't know any of the actors names. The big problem, I feel, that questions whether Finding Nemo is the best Pixar film. Wall-E. Though it dips, only slightly, towards the end. The visuals are fascinating and, the plot is simple to some extent ... but also profound. And Finding Nemo is a lot of good things ... but I don't think its profound.
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Incredible Soundtrack #10: Jurassic Park (Williams)

The music attached to a film creates the environment, I believe, moreso than the literal environment depicted through the visuals...

Anyone who has followed this site for any period of time will be well aware of my obsession with Jurassic Park. So it seems that it would be better to get the Incredible Soundtrack out the way sooner than later. Suffice to say that Jurassic Park was a soundtrack that, had it been easier to find, I would have hunted down a long time ago. Instead, I had to wait for the innovation that was Ebay to prompt me to hunt it down. I vividly recall having a difficult time finding the CD at any kind of reasonable price prior to this - as I simply wasn't prepared to spend over £10 on the CD. Luckily, Ebay provided the option for a very fair price.

This is one of those soundtracks whereby John Williams manages to have multiple melodies complemented by two - maybe three? - overarching themes that, on their own, stand high amongst William's greatest themes. I recall good-friend Rhys explain how the Jurassic Park  soundtrack was the last epic John Williams score. I think back to the films since 1993 - Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, etc - and he may have a point. As good as those soundtracks are, they are not as iconic as Jurassic Park. Having said that, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone was John Williams and, I think we can all hum 'Hedwig's Theme' to our hearts content.

4. Journey to the Island -  What is so impressive about this song is the wide and varied different melodies John Willaim's composed. We jump from an almost child-like excitement as the song begins to then move into the horn blasting out the definitive theme. Even following the main theme, we move into a lesser known melody that combines a little of the theme with a sprightly bounce that, again, recalls childhood wonder. And, then onto the fourth 'melody' as the fear begins to creep in and then evaporates as the brachiosaur is seen. The second iconic theme before returning to a more formal march, descending in the fear about what this could mean... Its a long track [And that was a long companion piece of writing!], but even without owning the soundtrack I could virtually hum this entire part of the sountrack because it always filled me with excitment as I 'entered' Jurassic Park.

8. My Friend, the Brachiosaur - The deeply unsettling beginning introduces one of the more romantic melodies in the film. The melody captures Alan Grants wonder and complete amazment at the dinosaurs. The same sequence shows Tim and Lex look, with wonder, at how fascinated he is with the brachiosaur. But again, the theme ends with the conflict between what is amazing and wonderful ... and what is dangerous and life-threatening. Beauty and Fear. It recalls Close Encounters of the Third Kind a little bit, but then, playfully, includes that childhood element again. What is stunning about this soundtrack is how clear Williams intentions are!

7. Welcome to Jurassic Park - The piano-riff begins the most memorable track as we begin from innocence and, almost fairy-tale-like, theme, it then builds into every other iconic theme from the incredible film: Jurassic Park.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Top 5 Best 'James Bond' Title Songs

Ultimately, there are so many good James Bond songs! I whittled out the bad songs on a previous post and now I have to choose my Top 5. First off, all the songs mentioned in this post are brilliant. None of them are specifically bad - in fact, I look at the likes of Live and Let Die by Paul McCartney and The Wings and worry that it should be higher ...  but then I look at my Top 5and can't see how it could be squeezed in. Chris Cornell's You Know My Name was incredible but is it as iconic as the Top 5 I chose? I think not. Even Matt Monroe and Tom Jones I decided against because Tom Jones i merely a male version of Shirley Bassey whilst Matt Monroe, though a great song, has very little correlation with the Bond songs that followed Goldfinger. The James Bond Theme from Dr No and the the title credits for On Her Majesty's Secret Service are both instrumentals and we have to have some rules - namely a singer-theme-song.

5. Goldeneye - Written by Bono and The Edge from U2, this again set the standard after the hiatus between Licence to Kill and Goldeneye. Tina Turner comfortably sings her way trhough, as Bassey sang many years prior. The opening credits sequence, additionally, introduces Daniel Kleinmann to the scene - taking the mantle from Maurice Binder by using Russian symbols and iconography linking with the plot itself. I was very tempted to put Tomorrow Never Dies at this very spot but thought, ultimately, Sherly Crows voice is nowhere near as strong as Tina Turners making it inferior. Though, I may be tempted to claim that Tomorrow Never Dies, as a song, is better ...  but shame about the delivery.

4. You Only Live Twice - Nancy Sinatra singing the Asian-themed tune of You Only Live Twice. A brillaint song which, in fact, was so good it was sampled by Robbie Williams for his song Millennium.

3. Goldfinger/Moonraker/Diamonds Are Forever - Yes, I have put all of Shirley Bassey's songs together because, even though Goldfinger set the standard, the songs which followed it became equally distinctive and impressive. Diamonds Are Forever sampled by Kanye West and, with Moonraker, John Barry even had a dance-version placed over the end-credits. Shirley Bassey can do no wrong.

2. Nobody Does It Better - Prior to Carly Simon's theme to The Spy Who Loved Me, other than Matt Monroe in From Russia With Love, the themes were bombastic, grand and loud ... Carly Simon sang a song that sounded personal and romantic. The side to 007 we never truly see ... 

1. A View To A Kill/The Living Daylights - by Duran Duran and Aha respectively. These two songs could be played continuously and they still have two things in common - both catchy pop songs that, even at the time, were highly successful singles. Secondly, the songs are rooted in the 80's scene - that I believe seems to give the songs a little retro edge now. If only Spandau Ballet sang Licence to Kill! I couldn't decide on which one is better, so I cracked and - again - but them both at Number 1.
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Saturday, 14 May 2011

A-Z #78: Fight Club

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#78 - Fight Club

Why did I buy it?

I was friends, when younger, with a guy called Mark. He was into football and was quite the ladies man. Ultimately, we didn't stay friends for very long but, considering how proud he seemed to be of his masculinity, it is ironic how he also introduced me to Fight Club and Snatch. Both very much about men and about being a Man. With a capital M.

Why do I still own it?

Mark owned the films himself so after watching the film once, I then hunted down the DVD - and ensured I got that sweet paper-like sleeve. David Fincher, when you watch this film, you realise is a masterful director. His incredibly savvy use of special effects and stylised shooting in this film completely contrasts to his reserved and non-stylised direction in The Social Network. You can see that he understood the zeitgeist - following the capitalism of the 80's, now people became obsessed with products ... to the point that products and items became to define people. Today, it still stands and the film hasn't dated as the older-PC's simply look retro in the grubby, dirty world that Fincher has created. Incredible filmmaking and, I believe, the most important Fincher film.
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A-Z #77: The Fifth Element

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#77 - The Fifth Element

Why did I buy it?

I won't lie. It was the box. It was a sweet box. It would slide open from the centre, revealing the DVD inside. At the time, I had not seen any Luc Besson and thought this was as good-a-place to start as any. Since then, I have seen Leon and realise that, ultimately, Leon is better but The Fifth Element will always be a must-watch film for Sci-Fi film buffs.

Why do I still own it?

The sweet box. Not really. I've watched it a couple of times and I think that it has something very unique about it - something Hollywood could not deliver. The humour within the film is all a little bit off beat - Chris Tucker simply looks nuts! That mental Opera! These memorable moments keep this as a cult classic. I think, to some extent, Bruce Willis is a little miscast. Stating "Die Hard in space" at the boardroom meeting must have been what guaranteed the budget. I personally love Gary Oldman's character in this - especially the black paste which oozes down his head for no clear reason except to add to the intense nature of his villain. Not a masterpiece but unique at any rate.
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Saturday, 7 May 2011

A-Z #76: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#76 - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 

Why did I buy it?

I remember when this film came out there was a bit of a buzz. Elijah Wood was not playing Frodo, Kirsten Dunst was not Mary Jane... Jim Carrey being taken seriously [again after The Truman Show] and the whole Michel-Gondry-Charlie-Kaufman combo. What would this be like? I think this was, ultimately, the peak of the Kaufman's Surrealist-Film Movement - following Being John Malkovich and Adaptation but preceding Synecdoche, New York. The difference being that, rather than an introspective analysis of the psyche and the process of creativity, this was [almost too much of] a twee Romance. With a capital R. About a break-up.

Why do I still own it?

Because it truly is flawless. Literally nothing is out of place. The idea of erasing-your-memory can very easily be associated with Arnie in Total Recall, but this is no-Total-Recall, this is a Romance. The break down of a relationship is tough for anyone and this film shows that, though sometimes the break-up is inevitable, the memories of the good times will always remain. The fact that this film appeared in many Top Film lists of the decade is not without reason - it has a concept that, if shot badly, would fall flat on its face, but as it stands, it is profound and personal. Relatable. Unforgettable. One of a handful of films I would never want to lose.

Having said that, I showed this to my Mum and Dad and they both thought the film was crap.
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, 5 May 2011

A-Z #75: Enemy of the State

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#75 - Enemy of the State 

Why did I buy it?

Early in the days, before I even owned a DVD-player, we had a DVD player on the PC. My first DVD I owned - the first ever? Goldeneye. The one-disc, trailer-and-commentary-only package. But my sister had a friend who had two DVD's. More importantly, she let us borrow them and, alongside The Craft was Enemy of the State. Suffice to say, I liked Enemy of the State enough to buy it myself in due course.

Why do I still own it?

The film has Will Smith in a thriller role. Almost akin to North by Northwest, as Smith plays the man-who-has-done-nothing-wrong-but-gets-caught-up-in-some-big-scandal situation. Combine that with 1998 technology and Gene Hackman reprising his role from The Conversation and, voila, Enemy of the State. There are some oof-beat actors littered throughout - Jason Lee, Jamie Kennedy, Seth Green, Jack Black - all playing very serious roles. No jokes. No Mallrats-comedy or Nacho-Libre-puns and Austin-Powers-jokes. [semi-] Serious acting. This alongside Jon Voight, Gabriel Byrne, Barry Pepper and Tom Sizemore. Did I mention Gene Hackman and Will Smith?

I love the pace of Tony Scott and the use of the satellite cameras as we scan rooftops and busy roads, really giving a sense of constant-surveillance. It drags a little bit towards the end but, all in all, its a great film. Though, having watched it multiple times, I still don't get the bit at the end when Will Smith is looking at Gene Hackmans old-man legs and grinning ...  almost aroused by those legs on a beach ... and waving like a loon at the camera a-top his TV ... still a very strange ending ...
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Top 5 Worst 'James Bond' Title Songs

I was all prepared and ready to complete a Top 5 Title Songs blog post, but alas, there are many good songs. I had to clarify, in the first instance, the good and the bad. From doing this, inevitably, I made an entire list of all the title songs and thought, why not prepare you for the Top 5 by revealing the worst 5 first!

The near-misses are The Man with the Golden Gun (though, ultimately a bad song, there is something funky and, dare I say it, "spunky" about Lulu), Die Another Day by Madonna - I have to concede that it is a bad song, but I respect that Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli and David Arnold on signing off such a weird and electronic track.  If you are thinking of a song I haven't mentioned and it does not turn up on the list, then I deem that song to be ultimately good, but have yet to arrange where it would be placed - and whether it would even get a look-in regarding a Top 5 songs.

Lets move on though! First off, the worst James Bond Title songs...

5. For Your Eyes Only/Sheena Easton - too romantic and too longing ... not much Bond-like charisma. I think it is more a song for the girl in the film, not for 007...

4. Licence to Kill/Gladys Knight - I can see how Michael Kamen wanted to move back to the Bassey style of vocal, with an 80's edge, but alas, it did not work.

3. All Time High (from Octopussy)/Rita Coolidge - so dreary. It sounds like she's high on drugs singing this boring song. No no no.

2. The World Is Not Enough/Garbage - How sad that the band is called Garbage. I can't even remember the song that did make them famous. 'Ready to Go' was Republica ... 'Neighbourhood' was Space ... from a band like A-ha and Duran Duran to crap-brit-rock-band Garbage. Upsetting.

1. Another Way To Die (from Quantum of Solace)/Alicia Keys and Jack White - What on earth happened here. I think Alicia Keys is great - i have three of her albums and I have no problems in getting another. I think The White Stripes are cool, but this just doesn't work. Especially when you have the whole is-it-a-guitar-solo section ... only to find out that the juttery, incompetant guitar player was actually the solo. In its entierety.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, 2 May 2011

'Screen Insight' Statistics (April)

I wrote a Statistics post for last month. My new URL began on 5th March 2011 and, I am sharing with you what these statistics have revealed as I try and re-establish a readership and build a blog that is primarily informative and, for me, reflective on my interest in film. Having said that I wanted to 'share' with you my statistics, there were some glaring omissions from last months statistics. This I shall attempt to rectify this month by comparing this month to last months.

In March - noting the first 5 days amounted to nothing - garnered me 310 visits (182 Absolute Unique Visitors). During April, it has more than doubled with 726 visits (568 Absolute Unique Visitors) - 73% of which are new to the site. So this, I believe shows how, very slowly, the blog is becoming re-established successfully and that Google is beginning to pick-up on all the old posts as it used to.

The bounce rate in March was 62% Bounce Rate, which I believe is a good. As I understand, a 'bounce' is a click to your site which is clearly unintentional or unwanted - and this is clear by the milli-second, or single-second the connection to your site. Clearly, if someone 'browsed' your site for one-second, it hardly counts as a fan or your website. Unfortunately, in April, my bounce rate has risen to 75% so I need to be wary about my content and ensure that everything remains relevant.

The average-time-on-site in March was 2-minute 40-seconds. In the previous blog, as I recall, it was always a struggle to maintain an average of over a minute, so this seems exceptionally good. Not to mention how the A-Z series probably takes barely a minute to read. Again, unfortunately, as I gain more visitors to the site, it appears that they don't read as much as my April average-time-on-site has dropped tremendously to 1-minute 12-seconds. Now, on 7th April and 24th April, the average time on the site was 4-min 42 and 3-min 27 respectively so I think I will have a gander of these dates and what blog-posts were released at that time because, it appears, this is what people are more interested in

So, the April Top 10 Blog Post are as follows:
10. Across the Blogosphere... 24/04/2011 (NE)

I think that's a good round-up. Everything, bar two posts which released at the very start of April - or the end of March - all appear. Again, the Incredible Soundtracks come up the top, with a suprise in the Gerard Butler post - I think I shall ensure that the Favourite Film Faces posts are exclusively shots of film stars in roles before they were famous because that is a great way to establish an ongoing theme - opposed to a show of Jon Hamm in Mad Men looking good.

The Leonardo DiCaprio post, I have a feeling, will remain high for a while. Namely because it appears that the most poular key words that bring people to my site at the moment are "leonardo dicaprio films" and "best leonardo dicaprio movies" (followed in third place by "gerard butler"). These words will be around for a long time to come ...

To finish, I direct people to the search-bars on the left to see the wealth of material accessible still...
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Across the Blogosphere ...

As usual, a link to Mad Hatter to start off. He has noted in previous years how his HotDocs coverage seems attract little attention so he has made sure he has put out all the stops this year to make sure it gets the attention it deserves. He has multiple podcasts associated with the festival and has already - pretty much daily - released reviews. So go there now!

Secondly, I have been privelidged to take part in two podcasts in the last couple of weeks. The distance the UK has from America constantly stops me from being able to take part in many instances. Additionally, most Saturday nights at 8pm I am rarely at my desk typing away - instead, out on the town drinking or crying myself to sleep as I realise I have no friends. But, for the LAMBcast about Scream 4, I managed to be back at 00.30 to take part and Nick Jobe woke him self up early to record a Demented Podcast titled The Simon and Jobe Show. Clever. Be warned, the Demented Podcast features an awful Jimmy Stewart impression (having listened to it, I am now aware that it needs work...) and has my attempt at The Tower... something I should have prepared much better for. Mental Note: Don't Choose 'Dream Films' as a subject speciality.

Thirdly, Fandango Groovers revied Luc Besson's latest film The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec. Now, I watched Leon for the first time last night and, I have a funny feeling it is better than this. Having said that, Fandango Groovers gave the film a great review... so if you are interested, have a gander!

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Sunday, 1 May 2011

A-Z #74: Empire of the Sun

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#74 - Empire of the Sun 

Why did I buy it?

Spielberg marathon. I vividly remember Empire of the Sun having a hearty recommendation from Dawson Leery on Dawsons Creek. If I recall correcltly, I think he may have stated that the film was "underrated". Suffice to say, the double-disc package was a must. The fact that Christian Bale as a young whipper-snapper and Ben Stiller was playing a non-comedic role was worth watching at any rate.

Why do I still own it?

So, I watched it once. I won't lie, I wasn't blown away. Now I know that Mad Hatter is a big fan and good friend Rhys has always praised the film rating it higher than some of the acknowledged 'Spielberg' classics. Therefore, I hold onto the film waiting to rewatch and re-judge. The thing is -  Spielberg has so many good films! Unlike 1941, which was sold on as soon as took the disc out of the player, Empire of the Sun has so many iconic shots that are unforgettable. The one I captured above is one of many, many shots. I think the child's perspective is an interesting route to watch the war through - but I question whether Christian Bale carried the film effectively. I think my gut feeling is that he did not...

Should I stick to that gut-feeling and sell it ASAP? Or should I trust the film-friends and wait for the rewatch?

Large Association of Movie Blogs