Sunday, September 28, 2008

Current Projects

For various reasons, my movie-blogging habits have been very erratic lately and for that I do apologize. I am currently working on several different film "projects" at the moment, and I thought that I would share those film projects with you. When I say "projects", please do not think that I am actually doing anything of any real significance. What I am speaking of are mostly just personal OCD movie habits. As you saw with my "1500th" film, I take great pride in keeping careful track of the films that I see. Beyond just tracking the name of the films, I keep track of their director, year of release, genre, the date I watched it, their tag-lines, memorable quotes, best action scenes, best dramatic scenes, notable performances, technical achievements, and oh so much more. So, I take all these little items and constantly desire to rank them. Hopefully, these projects will find their way onto the site in some way or form, but it may take a little while, as these projects are still very early in development. So, without further ado, here is a small rundown of the current projects I am working on.

I have a current master list of films that I would like to see before I die. The list is sorted by year, and the films that are on it are any film that strikes my interest, has won serious awards, is seen as historically important, is a top entry into its genre, gained critical favor, gained popular favor, or gained cult favor. The list has allowed me to gain a good idea of what films I want to see for each year and decade. Obviously, this film list will always continue to grow because there are always new movies coming out every year that I add to the list. I have no ability to "finish" this list given the nature of it, but I am excited about "closing out" years. Closing out years to me is exciting, as I literally view every film from a given year that I want to watch. As I close out the years, I begin to include them on my next ongoing projects...

The Leaman Awards
Since the film year 2003, I have put together a year-end packet known as the Leaman Awards. They have evolved over the years into the current their current incarnation, which is a 40 page end of the year packet, awarding things from "Most Suprising Film of the Year" to "The Eric Bana Award" (which is given to the actor with the best performance in a bad film, as Eric Bana had in Troy). I'm currently working on my 2008 Awards, but every year I am also attempting to go backwards in time. Last year I re-made my 2003 Awards, and this year I am focusing on the year 1998. So I am currently focused on the movie year 1998, and closing out all the best films from that year. The most current one I've watched from that year is Jackie Chan's Who Am I?. Below is a fight clip from that film. Warning, the fight scene is incredible!

Best Action Scenes of All-Time
This is a fairly new database that I've created. I've always kept track of the good action scenes from a given years films, (in order to compile my top 15 Action Scene List for the Leaman Awards), but I am now putting all those lists into a database. Its long and taxing, but its ridiculous amounts of OCD fun for me. How else am I to compare the fight scenes I saw in Fist of Legend with James Cameron's True Lies?

Probably the hardest area to keep up with, but one that I hope to post in very soon. I've seen Burn After Reading and Ghost Town recently, and I really want to post my reviews for those fims very soon. In the meantime, Burn After Reading and Ghost Town each recieve a B- grade from me.

So there you have it, just a quick summary on where I stand at the moment. Got any idea's for any other great movie projects? Got any suggestions for great 1998 films that must make my viewing schedule? Seen Ghost Town or Burn After Reading recently? Let me know!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

1500: Fist of Legend Review

Overall Grade: B+

In a suble, laid back atmosphere, a small group of people (including myself) sat down and began to view what would become the fifteenth hundred film I have ever seen (and yes I have the database to back that up). I wrote recently about my thoughts on why I picked Fist of Legend as film #1500, and I must say that it didn't dissappoint.

Fist of Legend is an excellent example of a film being an excellent entry into its own genre. This is a martial arts film through and through. Where Hero or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon used much of the martial arts genre as a platform for drama that transcended martial arts, Fist of Legend is content to stick to martial arts, and truly glory in it. To that extent, the film is a success. The number one question when it comes to judging a martial arts film is, "Are the fight scenes any good?" The answer here is an emphatic, "Yes". Fist of Legend contains several great fight scenes, three of which are some of the greatest I have ever seen. The first standout scene takes place in a Japanese Dojo, and we see Jet Li take on a number of combatants (in a scene based on the Bruce Lee fight in the film Fist of Legend is a remake of). I have seen several fights where one man takes on multiple opponents, but the direction and fight specifics are especially good here. Good enough, that the Matrix films would later take several of the moves in this fight and pepper them into their other fights (in fact much of this film is recreated in The Matrix).

The second standout fight scene is a one on one fight that includes blindfolds. Its an incredible fight and the back and forward between the two of them, reminded me of some of the greatest wrestling matches I've ever seen. For those scoffing at that wrestling comment, I dare you to come watch a few of the greatest wrestling matches ever with me, and I will opine about there greatness (I am not talking Hogan vs. Andre here, but Micheals vs. Angle!) There is an intelligent pyschological battle within the physical battle. This is my favorite of the three fights, and one of the only ones that really reveals some of the major themes of the film. The film argues that the true essence of martial arts is not just to conquer your opponent, but to maximize one's energy. By learning from your oppenent, by stretching each other, you are able to better yourself. As one of the characters puts it, "If you want to conquer someone, use a gun". Probably the strongest point the movie had to make.

The last standout scene is a nearly ten minute fight between Jet Li and the ultimate bad guy. Its an incredible and exhausting fight, if not a little hollow in the end. It is brutal and a fitting ending, but it isn't as standout or creative as the first two described above. There are several more fight scenes in the film, but mostly just what I would consider filler.

The film is an excellent martial arts film and it instantly has become one of my favorites in the genre. I can definately see how it has attained its legendary status. If your interested in any of the fight scenes I described above then just look below for the video, let me know what you think. I am definately pleased with Fist of Legend being my 1500th film, and I'm already beginning to wonder what will be the big number 2000! I saw film number 1000 in December of 2005, so it took me roughly three years to watch 500 movies. I am thinking, what big films come out approx. three years from this time, Dec. of 2008...oh...would you look at that...The Hobbit is scheduled for Dec. of 2011...well that just might have to be it!

Here is the Video of the Dojo Fight and the Blindfold Fight

Here is the video of the Final Fight in the Film

Thursday, September 11, 2008

1500: What Should It Be?

Several years ago, I began to keep a running database of all the films that I have seen. I scoured the databases at IMDB, Boxofficemojo, and rottentomatoes, looking to add to my database any film that I have seen in my lifetime. In December of 2005, I went to see King Kong in the theatres, and it marked film number 1000 of all-time. Its been a little under three years since then and I am fast approaching on film number 1500 of all-time. My tally currently sits at 1498, and I am beginning to wonder what film I should make number 1500.
I want to make it a memorable film, since its a big number, but I'm not sure what film I should bestow this great honor upon. Should it be a theatre film? I thought about Burn After Reading since the Coens took my Best Picture honors last year with No Country For Old Men, but the reviews are rather poor and this one is looking more like Ladykillers than No Country. I'm not willing to wait until October to make Body of Lies my big 1500, although that seems to be the next biggest theatre film I would want to see. If I won't wait for Lies than that puts Saw V and High School Musical 3 out of the picture (Sorry Julie).
Maybe a classic film that I have missed? The classics that I have put on my "maybe" list are, Brining Up Baby, It happened One Night, The Night of the Hunter, and The Lost Weekend. I want to see all of those, but none of them really get me excited. Then, all of a sudden, a particular film darted into my brain. Its a film that I have been wanting to see for some time, and its a film in a genre that I would call a guilty pleasure for me. So what film is it? 1994's Fist of Legend.
For some time now, I have been wanting to bolster my Martial Arts credentials, and this is the top film on my list to do it. I've already seen a couple of the fight scenes on Youtube, and they are flat out awesome. Right now, its going to be my 1500. THAT IS, unless you can suggest a better one! I am planning on throwing a 1500 party here in the next couple days, and I think this might be a great group movie to watch (considering all the action badness on display). So if you can think of a better group movie that should be my number 1500, then let me know. Till then, your cordially invited to watch Fist of Legend with me very, very soon!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Coming Soon.....