Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2018 - Tim Hoar (BeerMovie.net) ""

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Film Discoveries of 2018 - Tim Hoar (BeerMovie.net)

Tim Hoar is an Canberra Australia based film lover. He occasionally podcasts at Driving home from the cinema reviews, even more occasionally blogs at www.beermovie.net and much more regularly sits on twitter when he is meant to be working @beer_movie.

I feel we are living in somewhat of a golden age for the discovery of older films, despite ongoing issues of access exacerbated by the rise of streaming, and in my case geography. But podcasts (for me, the Brian Saur Podcast Empire and 80s All Over in particular), boutique physical media labels and services such as Mubi are keeping exciting new discoveries a constant of the film-loving life. Here are six that I dug in 2018.

· The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960), Jack Sher 
– Indicator have very quickly established themselves as one of my absolute favourite blu-ray companies. This was the third film in one of the two boxsets I picked up from them last year (Vol. 1 of their Harryhausen series). There’s a charm to the storytelling here and a Bernard Herrmann score never hurts. The script is quite good too, landing a reasonable amount of the satire’s absurd humour. It’s really quite funny. And Harryhausen gets a vintage moment when Gulliver has a run in with a giant squid.
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· One Hundred and One Nights (1995), Agnes Varda 
– One of the real strengths of Mubi is the number of films directed by women that pop up there. I caught this quirky 90s film about film from Varda on the streaming service. This one shouldn’t work and in the hands of a less genuine director would be insufferable. But this is a playful, fantastical, joyful, reference filled expression of a love for cinema. Perhaps no film has ever loved cinema as much as this one.
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· Knightriders (1981), George A. Romero 
- What a director Romero was. Here the brains behind some of the better horror films ever delivers a drama about a unique subculture. A portrait of a group of people who choose to live apart. The themes of ideals vs reality is really nicely done. The poison of commercialisation of ‘selling out’. But you know, with heaps of sweet bike tricks too and it concludes with an awesomely brutal motorbike destruction derby. Watched on Arrow’s sweet blu-ray release.
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· Alice Guy-Blache shorts, particularly A Story Well Spun (1906) and The Girl in the Arm Chair (1912) 
– As fun as watching silent films on YouTube is, there’s nothing quite like seeing them in the best possible quality on blu-ray. Last year I worked my way through a fair amount of Flicker Alley’s Early Women Filmmaker’s boxset. The films of Alice Guy-Blache were a standout. A Story Well Spun (otherwise known as A Rolling Story) is basically just some jerk rolling a dude trying to have a nap in a barrel down a hill. But it’s funny and farcical. The stunts are great and the shooting uses the frame beautifully. Then there’s The Girl in the Arm Chair which shows Guy-Blache’s technical mastery. Depth of field and use of space onscreen. There’s a fair bit of plot in this one, highlighted by the brilliant imagery of a nightmare sequence.

· Wargames (1985), John Badham 
– I get that this film is not the usual obscure title you expect to see in one of these lists. But it was certainly one of my favourite discoveries of the year. I was pretty dismissive of the potential for an adventure film to be made about potential nuclear annihilation. However hearing Scott and Drew talk about this one on 80s All Over convinced me to give this a shot. It manages to be both scarily non-dismissive of the nuclear threat, examining the cold increasing computerisation of military structures, whilst also working as a family adventure film. That’s a pretty remarkable tone to nail. A young, very charismatic Matthew Broderick and the presence of Ally Sheedy alongside him really bring you along.
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· Testament (1983), Lynne Littman 
– The second in my nuclear themed 80s All Over discoveries is a rather different experience. This film crushed me. Establishes a very focused sense of normality then a terrifying, understated and chilling nuclear explosion. What follows is a slow, often excruciating, microcosm of the world unravelling. There’s a few moments of real beauty. But this is mainly about the quiet tiredness that sets in after a few weeks and never leaves. The film eventually rendering a stark, devastating helplessness.
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