To me, films have always been something that have inspired or fascinated me. Even though I work in the post production side of television I can still look at films in two different ways. Due to the fact I work in animation, editing and graphics, I will look at some films with admiration due to the way things are edited or created and others I will just watch due to fascination as it is a comfort film or it just amazes me. There are certain actors that I find an inspiration, not because I want to do it as a career but throughout life I feel they have pushed me in some ways to go in a certain direction etc.
Singin’ In The Rain – Donald O’Connor
This is one of my all time favourite films – the main reason is because it is set in old Hollywood and focusses on the introduction of “Talkies”. I love films that are based around the production of films and films sets.
In 2013 I went to a lecture on this film by a Met Film School lecturer who was on a Cruise I did to the Caribbean. She explained that originally this song was not part of the film but Gene Kelly was so impressed with Donald O’Connors talents (his family were part of the circus and he learnt his unique gymnastic skills via growing up doing this) that he asked for the Producers / Writers to create a song just for him to sing and perform. This is the only original song in the entire film.
I find Donald O’Connor a huge inspiration, in the way that he dances, performs and his comedic factor. Every film I have seen with him he has taken it to the next level and always given that little bit extra that makes me feel that I can push myself that little bit extra. For example he tap dances on a xylophone in Call Me Madam (1953) and tap dances on roller skates before even Gene Kelly did it.
City Lights -Charlie Chaplin
As I have mentioned quite a lot already on this blog before, I am a huge fan of Charlie Chaplin and this is the first and by far one of my favourite films of his. The thing I love about the old cinema is the way that it is not the voice of the actor that creates the humour but it is the actions and the music of the film. This film is great, it has such a great little story running through and I have found it was one of the main reasons I really got into silent movies.
Shaun In the City (2014) – Aardman Animations
I am a huge fan of Aardman animations and absolutely love everything that they do. I am absolutely fascinated with the world of stop animation and even made my final project at university based around it and researched Aardman in depth (which made me love them even more). The one thing I love about Aardman is the level in which they create animations, not only do they create stop animations but they also create a whole another level to the concepts. They build so much humour and items hidden in the background that you can watch the same film or television show over and over again and never get bored.
I am a huge fan of Shaun the Sheep the television show and when the film came out I just knew I had to go and see it. I went and saw the first showing on the opening day and because it was a weekday i was the only one in the cinema and it was great – i could laugh my little heart out at all the references to other Aardman related projects that were in the background.
American Beauty (1999) – Sam Mendes
When I was in college, we studied in depth the mis-en-scene and cinematography of American Beauty. I found the in depth analysis of this film an eye opening experience just to how much work and effort is put into a film to make it have another level of meaning. After this Unit at college, I never looked at a film or a television show in the same way again and i think it pushed me into wanting to work in television and film more.
It was the first film that I had ever watched frame by frame, the opening sequence and was amazed at how much meaning and connotations could be received from a high angled pan going into a suburban area of America. The words, the colours, the leaves. It truly blew my mind away.
The Mask (1994) – Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey was basically my childhood hero, i would watch his films non stop and loved every single one. I was fascinated by his comedy acting and the characters that he played. One of my favourite 90’s films from Carrey (apart from Dumb and Dumber and Ace Ventura) was The Mask. I loved the Mask and still do today. I loved the whole way that he transformed and altered into this crazy green man but when he was not the crazy green man he was just a normal out of luck guy called Stanley Ipkiss – who i really liked the character of and still today Stanley is one of my favourite Carrey characters. I find Carrey has always been a massive influence on me and has probably developed me in some ways into what I am today.
Spideman (2002) – Graphics
I remember going to the cinema to see this really clearly. I remember sitting about 5 rows from the front and seeing this opening title sequence and thinking “this film looks like it is going to be awesome.” I think one thing that makes a great opening title sequence is the music – now i am a huge Danny Elfman fan (at the time i didn’t realise this piece of music was produced by him) but I think it is one of the reasons that it sticks in my head a lot these days as I have a playlist on Spotify with his music. The one thing that stands out for me in this opening title sequence is the webs and the way that the text transforms when it moves out of the web. It is one film that I find the opening titles sequence really interesting and I found it to stand out on its own when it was first released as there was not many introductions to films that were like this.
Drop Dead Fred (1991) – Rik Mayall and Graphics
This makes my choices firstly because of Nostalgia (it was one of my favourite films as a kid) and also it has always stuck in my head because of the child like drawings and because of the music. Also, I grew up watching Rik Mayall who i have always found such an extraordinary individual. I find that his physical humour as well as his acting is what defines him as a league of his own and whilst this is probably one of the most silliest films he has done, it holds a close place to my heart as it played a big part of my childhood.
Chaplin (1992) – Robert Downey Jnr
I have always been a big fan of Chaplin’s work and also fascinated by the production and editing process of early Hollywood. I love this film, not just because of the story but also because it takes you on a look at the production and the filming techniques that were used to make special effects when there was no computers around. I also think Robert Downey Jnr is fantastic in this film and plays the part extremely well.
Pleasantville (1998) – the use of colour
I hardly watch this film, but i love love love the cinematography in it. It is such a clever concept for a film and the use of colour in it. This film made me realise just like American Beauty that colour can be a very powerful tool in getting a point across.
Un Chien Andalou (1929) – Surrealism
I am not a fan of surrealism, I have watched a few of the films and I don’t like it when you watch something and it doesn’t make any sense. However, Un Chien Andalou makes my list because I have studied it in depth and made me have a greater understanding of the genre. By understanding a genre I do not enjoy means that it has made me more open minded when producing scripts. The one thing about Surrealism I do admire is the connotations throughout which do make it a very interesting batch of films.