Today, ladies and gents, is my 24th birthday. To celebrate I thought I’d list my 24 favourite things about films. From going to the cinema to my annual The Lord of the Rings marathon, there’s plenty of reasons why films are my passion. Ruth over at Flix Chatter was my inspiration for this post with her ‘59 reasons why I love Roman Holiday‘ post – check out her fantastic 5 for the Fifth posts as well.
1. Escapism – Though this list isn’t in rank order, this would be No 1 if it was. When I watch a film, particularly at the cinema, I stop thinking about everything else and just concentrate on the film – I really am a ‘sitting on the edge of your seat’ kinda girl when I go to the cinema.
2. The cinema – Thanks to Orange’s fantastic 2-for-1 Orange Wednesdays offer, going to the cinema every week is quite a regular occurrence for my boyfriend and I. On the odd occassion you do get chatterboxes who talk the whole way through the film but, for the most part, I always have a great time when I go to the cinema.
When I saw The Woman in the Black a couple of weeks ago literally two thirds of the audience – myself included – jumped when one of the characters turned a tap on. After we realised it was just a tap everyone started laughing. At that moment I thought to myself: “That’s why I love coming to the cinema.” The surround sound and giant screen are also a big plus, of course.
3. Locations – I’ve been very fortunate to have gone on many wonderful holidays abroad. However, there are still lots of places I’d love to visit. Through cinema I have been able to travel all over the world, from the lush green of New Zealand in The Lord of the Rings trilogy to the ancient ruins of Petra in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
4. Special effects – My favourite genres are fantasy, sci-fi and adventure. By their very nature these genres rely on special effects. From CGI to animatronics and pyrotechnics to bullet time, these effects make the impossible possible. A scene evolves from the very ordinary to the extraordinary.
5. Costumes – When I wrote my Troll Hunter review I remarked on how well the costume team did. Hans, a Norwegian battle-weary troll hunter, really did look the part. In my opinion, great costumes are as important as a well-written script. If a character doesn’t look the part it would be difficult to believe in the film, if that makes sense.
6. Make up and prosthetics – As with the above, good make up and – if used – prosthetics are of vital importance to a film. Though the film itself did drag on a little bit I was amazed by Brad Pitt’s transformation in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Johnny Depp is an actor who regularly spends a lot of time in the make up chair for his films. From a wild Caribbean pirate in the Pirates of the Caribbean series to a mysterious 19th century barber in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Depp has undergone many transformations.
7. Soundtracks – While writing this post one of the tracks that I listened to was How To Destroy Angels’ cover of ‘Immigrant Song’, which is featured in the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo soundtrack. A good soundtrack adds to our viewing experience, and enhances a scene rather than stealing our attention. A good soundtrack stirs our emotions and stays with us long after the film has finished. Three examples for me are John Williams’ ‘Welcome to Jurassic Park‘ theme, Clint Mansell’s Lux Æterna from Requiem for a Dream and Howard Shore’s ‘The Bridge Of Khazad Dum‘ from The Fellowship of the Ring. They are three different pieces of music that are emotive in very different ways.
8. Award ceremonies – Love them or hate them, award ceremonies are always a big talking point. Though I may not always agree with the results, or who in fact are the judges, I always look forward to the awards season. My girly side comes into its own as I cast my sartorial eye over what everyone is wearing. Come the end of February I am relived when the season is over, though. We can all move on and start commenting on the current year’s films.
9. Kate Winslet – Ms Winslet is one of my favourite actresses, and for this reason she is the figurehead for No 9. Where would our Hollywood hunks be without their leading ladies? Over the years there have been some very strong, iconic women. From Greta Garbo in the 1930s to Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn in the 1950s, there have been some extremely talented women.
The extraordinary Meryl Streep is undoubtedly one of the greatest actresses of all time, in my opinion. She has been nominated for an Academy Award 17 times and has won three, the most recent of which was for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady at this year’s ceremony.
10. Leonardo DiCaprio – As with the above, Mr DiCaprio is one of my favourite actors, which is why he is the poster boy for No 10. For me, he is consistently good. I’ve seen 10 of his films, though I can’t decide which is my favourite: I’m torn between Catch Me If You Can and The Departed. Other actors who fail to disappoint include Tom Hanks, Jeff Bridges and George Clooney. Clooney’s star began to rise after a longstanding role in ER. He is now an Oscar-winning actor and an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and director.
11. King Colin – While I do adore Mr Firth, No 11 is more about British actors and actresses in general. The UK has produced some very talented people over the years from the illustrious Colin Firth to the incomporable Christopher Lee, and from the ravishing Helen Mirren to the superb Helena Bonham Carter. One of my favourite Brit flicks is Calendar Girls, which is based on the true story of the ladies of the Rylstone & District Women’s Institute and their nude calendar. Heart-warming and wickedly funny, this is a fantastic British enseble film that features the likes of Julie Walters and Helen Mirren.
12. The fantasy genre – One of my favourite genres, if not my absolute favourite, No 12 goes hand in hand with Nos 1, 3 and 4. The fantasy genre cover a range of films from Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth to Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride. From the comfort of my own home and local cinema I have seen a myriad magical and wonderful creatures, and journeyed to such fantastic places as Middle-earth, Narnia and Pandora.
13. The sci-fi genre – As with the above, No 13 also ties in with Nos 1, 3 and 4. For me, the world of film would have been a much more boring, plain place without the likes of Alien, The Matrix and Blade Runner. Closely entwined with the fantasy genre, the sci-fi genre lets directors and writers run wild as they think outside the box, as far away as other planets in fact.
14. Conventions – While I’ve only been to Empire Presents… BIG SCREEN and Memorabilia so far, one day I’d like to head over to San Diego Comic-Con and experience it for myself.
15. Nights in – Wednesdays and Fridays are date nights in our flat, and they are normally spent going to the cinema or watching a DVD. It’s a chance for us to unplug from the internet and X-box and enjoy something together. Secretly he always wants us to watch horror films because he knows I’m a baby and will always let him cuddle me in bed!
16. Good writing – As I was reading Rodney’s ‘the top 10 greatest film lines of the modern age‘ over at Fernby Films the other day I was thinking about how iconic some quotes have become – those screenwriters sure are clever, aren’t they? Writing a good script doesn’t require a degree or qualification, just the ability to tell a story.
17. T-shirts, jewellery and more – While not everyone is a fan of movie merchandise, there is some pretty cool stuff you can buy. I’m a frequent shopper at Forbidden Planet, and I can happily spend an afternoon looking around its Shaftesbury Avenue megastore in London. From movie-related t-shirts to Han Solo ice cube trays, I’m pretty sure you would be able to find anything you wanted at Forbidden Planet and the various other movie merchandise companies.
18. Trailers – Whenever I’m at a loose end I always end up on the iTunes Movie Trailers website, and I normally watch most of the trailers whether they’re my type of film or not. Scott over at Front Room Cinema has a theory: if he likes the trailer then the film will be awful! I
19. Artwork – Again, when I’m at a loose end I like having a look at old posters. From finding posters to accompany my James Bond posts I think that posters from the 1960s are my favourites. If mounted on the wall they really would look like paintings!
20. Summer blockbusters – When the days start getting longer and the sun is out, I head to the cinema! Not every day, of course, but May to August is when all the big blockbusters come out. This summer I’m particularly looking forward to The Avengers, Prometheus, Brave, The Dark Knight Rises and The Bourne Legacy.
21. DVDs – By day I’m an editorial assistant on a couple of hobby magazines. When people asked me if I collect anything I used to say that I had an ever-growing collection of DVDs. Now, thanks to the LOVEFiLM rental service, my collection has slowed down, though it still hovers around the 200 mark. Naturally DVDs reflect what type of film lover you are, and I love taking a quick peek at other people’s collections.
22. Movie marathons – Recent additions to my DVD collection – well, I should say my joint collection as it is mine and my boyfriend’s collections put together – include the Back to the Future trilogy and the James Bond Ultimate DVD Collector’s Set. As well as watching the four DVDs sent out to us by LOVEFiLM every month, my boyfriend and I have movie marathons. Currently we’re going through the James Bond Ultimate DVD Collector’s Set and are about to watch number eight, Live and Let Die. Over the last 18 months we’ve watched the Alien quadrilogy, the Bourne trilogy, the Jurassic Park trilogy and the Back to the Future trilogy.
23. The Lord of the Rings – Aah, my beloved The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Ever since The Return of the King came out in 2003 watching the trilogy over the space of a day or a couple of days has become an annual event. As I explained in this post about my 10 year relationship with The Lord of the Rings, the trilogy is my absolute favourite series ever. If I had to name a favourite – which I’m sure I will do when Max and I tackle the series for Trilogy Thursday! – it would be The Two Towers followed by The Fellowship of the Ring. I think it’s important to revisit your favourite films and these are three films that I will never get tired of.
24. Talking point – It is because of my love of films that I set this blog up. Since I started writing it in September 2009 I have met some fantastic, friendly bloggers from all over the world. I’m part of a fantastic movie blogging community, and that’s what makes blogging so rewarding.