For today’s 30 Days of Film challenge we are looking back at films with a number in their title. Will they all be 5-star classics, or 1-star catastrophises?
120 BPM (2017)
By the end of this I was crying at light shining on some dust particles. One of those films where you look around after it’s finished and everything just seems different.
Set in 1990’s Paris in the middle of the AIDS crisis, it follows a group of queer activists fighting quite literally for their lives against an uncaring government and public. The film exceptionally combines the tender intimacy of a new relationship between two members of the protest group with the visceral anger of a daily fight against homophobia and a political health crisis. With outstanding editing, acting and pace, 120 BPM manages to do justice to the vivacity and courage of the protestors while making equal room for their lives of dancing, sex, friends, laughter. It does the title justice by having a real, painful heartbeat.
Also bonus points for Adèle Haenel. The personal is political, Ignorance=Fear, Silence=Death, and please watch this film!
Se7en is possibly one of the greatest films I’ve ever watched in my lifetime without a doubt. 90% of horror films nowadays get nowhere near as creepy or lurid as Se7en does. David Fincher definitely knows how to build an atmosphere and create tension and suspense. The grit, the grime,the merciless scenes that the characters find themselves in is depicted perfectly through the cinematography. From start to finish, you can see the hard work, the dedication and the effort that these filmmakers poured into creating this film and it definitely pays off.
The performances from actors Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey and Morgan Freeman are also brilliant with Brad Pitt giving one of the best performances of his careers – in my opinion – at the end of the movie. It’s heart-breaking, it’s gut wrenching, it’s astounding and it will never not have me on the edge of my seat with my hairs pricking up in suspense. I can watch this film over and over again and I suggest you watch it at least once before you die.
The Fifth Element (1997)
Starring Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, and Gary Oldman, The Fifth Element (1997) is one of the most iconic science fiction movies from the 90s. While I wouldn’t say it’s a cinematic masterpiece by any means, it certainly is a fun watch. Set in the far future Bruce Willis is tasked with saving the world, like most 90s films, by collecting four elemental stones and an unknown fifth element. The movie is a ride from start to finish with explosions, guns, aliens, more guns and more explosions. It’s basically every science fiction nerd’s wet dream. The set pieces and props are a brilliant and fun look at a possible future. The costume design is out of this world (no pun intended) with all kinds of bright colours almost like they are ready for a rave.
Bruce Willis basically plays John McClane in funky space clothing while Milla Jovovich looks like a lot of us right now after dying our hair out of sheer boredom. For anyone who loves 90s movies like The Matrix (1999), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), or Independence Day (1996) this is certainly one you should tick off your list.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Now this is a real classic. Directed by Gil Junger, 10 Things I Hate About You is a loose modern re-telling of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. The romantic comedy stars legend Heath Ledger and the lovely Julia Stiles, along with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Larisa Oleynik. When new student Cameron (Levitt) wants to date Bianca Stratford (Oleynik), he realises he has to get past Bianca’s strict father, who sets the rule that Bianca can only date when her ill-tempered sister Kat (Stiles) does. Cameron finds his way around this through fellow ‘bad boy’ student Patrick, who attempts to win Kat’s affections.
10 Things remains to be one of the best and funniest rom-coms. It’s pretty self aware, and so cleverly written. The chemistry between Kat and Patrick is truly unmatched. Also, Patrick serenading Kat with “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”? Iconic. The movie gets its name from a poem that Kat writes about Patrick, a scene that makes me cry every time. If you still somehow haven’t seen this one, get on it.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
I don’t think there’s ever been a more relevant film that addresses our current climate then Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” This Oscar winner allegorically challenges the “evolution” of mankind and their “exploration” with technology.
The film begins with our primal ancestors showing early signs of space aspirations and later transitions to a Lunar mission, aided by the H.A.L. 9000, a supercomputer.Throughout the course of this space mission, the audience hears the optimistic sound of technological advances – a theme song heavily permeated in pop culture today – and eventually witnesses the “birth” of unimaginable successes. Yet, Kubrick layers fear, uncertainty, and unsettledness that accompanies technology through the actions and the mind of this supercomputer.
The H.A.L. 9000 begins to reject the astronauts’ commands and ultimately becomes a source of endangerment to the lives on board the space craft.And, while this film was released the year before a man walked on the moon, its message about scientific and technological advancements is ahead of its time.Most of us find ourselves communicating over Skype, Zoom, and WhatsApp with loved ones during this COVID-19 quarantine and are grateful for the capabilities that technology has to offer.
But, there’s fear in technology as well. Are we giving too much information away to others? Are we constantly under surveillance? Are we losing touch with one another? Are we beginning to rely on computers more than people?Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” might seem primitive to the graphics in films today. But, the debate about whether technology is helping or destroying humanity still prevails as this classic continues to uphold its relevance.
Sweet Sixteen (2002)
This gritty Ken Loach film is my choice for today as it was a film in which the honesty and humanity of the characters hit me hard. Liam is a sixteen-year-old waiting for his Mum to be released from prison. In preparation for this he desperately searching for a way to make money to get him and his Mum a home in time for her release. Inevitably this draws him to a life of crime. It’s a truly gut-wrenching story with the pace and excitement that isn’t usually present in Loach’s work. If you’re ready for a tearjerker this is a film that will certainly do just that; to see the lengths that people will go for those they love is a very powerful thing.
13 Going On 30 (2004)
Not only does this film have a number in the title, it has two! 13 Going on 30 (2004) might not be the most sophisticated film, but I love it so much. If I’m sad, this is the film I’ll put on to cheer me up. If you’re somehow unaware of the plot of 13 Going on 30, Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner) on her 13th birthday wishes to be “Thirty and flirty and thriving” and it comes true. However, although she has the body of a 30-year-old, she is still 13-year-old Jenna Rink inside.
The film is all about her struggling through adulthood and trying to amend the mistakes she made, so parts of her future won’t end up this way. When she’s 30, she is no longer friends with her best friend Matt (Mark Ruffalo) and though she may have her dream job, Jenna isn’t proud of the persons she became within the 17 years she’s skipped. I love that although Jenna is very childlike, she still succeeds. There’s probably a good message somewhere about not losing your inner child and allow yourself to have some fun. I love how unapologetically 2000s this film is, and how it really leans into the fact that Jenna is childlike. In particular, I’m thinking about the ‘Thriller dance’ moment and also the scene when Jenna’s boyfriend tries to give her a striptease and she is mortified. It’s brilliant. Oh, and Jenna’s outfits are literally iconic- chopsticks in her hair? Revolutionary. A butterfly necklace, high pigtails and a rainbow stripe dress? Somebody call Anna Wintour.
If you want a film that’s full of fun, a great cast, a 2000s cheesy flair and an AMAZING soundtrack (I have a playlist of it downloaded on Spotify) then this film is for you.
Child 44 (2015)
A lot of people haven’t heard of Child 44 and I’m not surprised as it wasn’t a film I had come across before until I searched war films on Netflix, and it popped up as a suggestion.
If I’m honest seeing Tom Hardy playing the protagonist encouraged me to watch the film more than the plot summary, however, the film was incredible and since watching it I have recommended it to nearly everyone and even bought the book. Netflix suggested this to be a film based around a war-era however, this film isn’t actually related to any war and is more of a mystery thriller. T
he film didn’t get many good reviews when first released in 2015 however, I personally really enjoyed it and found the plot captivating. The story, set in the 1950s, follows a Soviet secret-police agent (played by Tom Hardy) who investigates a series of child murders. However, he gets demoted by his superiors and exiled to a remote town with his wife, where he decides to pursue the case on his own and track the serial killer of these young boys.
27 Dresses (2008)
Twenty Seven Dresses…or should I say twenty eight?I’M SORRY, it’s another cheesy, cringey type of film. But if that does not bring you comfort in lockdown, then what does?
As Jane tries on all of her 27 dresses for Kevin Doyle, we all know that it will not be long before she wears a wedding dress for their own special day. And yet, despite the ending being very clear from almost the beginning of the film, the plot still manages to warm your heart. From when Kevin helps her get home the first time that he meets her, to when they get drunk and sing on top of tables together in a rural pub, their relationship has something enviable about it. Their constant ‘accidental’ bumping into each other leads Jane to favour him over her old crush (you would NEVER have guessed that he was a money driven egotistical businessman).
Cringey? Yes. Classic? Yes. Crack open the popcorn and watch while in lockdown worthy? Definitely.
Last modified: 19th April 2020