The entire premise of Cinefessions is admitting one’s cinematic secrets; those facts that we may be embarrassed to admit (like we haven’t seen Film X, or haven’t seen a film from Director Y). We all have them, and Cinefessions looks to help wash those away, one film at a time. What better way to kick things off here on the new Cinefessions site than posting a full list of my own “movie sins”, as Nostra from My Film Views puts it. Nostra is hosting a Movie Confessions Blogathon, hoping to get those dirty secrets out in the open, and I’m jumping on board with bells on!


Which classic movie don’t you like/can’t enjoy and why?
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1964

I understand that many people find this to be one of the greatest dark comedies of all-time, and some even rank it as one the finest pieces of film out there, but I just don’t see it. Sure, there are some funny moments that had me grinning, but not many that actually made me laughing out loud. This may just be a case where I don’t know the source material enough (which is the Cold War and the people surrounding it), but whatever it is, I did not enjoy this movie much at all. I’m sure I’ll give it another shot in the future, but not until I do a Kubrick filmography marathon.

Gladiator
Dir. Ridley Scott, 2000

One can only give a movie so many tries to keep one’s attention. I’ve tried watching Gladiator at least four times now, and I have never – not once – been able to stay awake. I find this incredibly boring, and extremely overrated. I cannot believe it is rated so highly, including five (5!) Academy Awards wins, and another 7 nominations. I just don’t get it. I would like to give it another shot, but I really don’t see that happening. Ever.


Which ten classic movies haven’t you seen yet?

How will I ever narrow this list down to just ten films?

The thing I have to constantly remind myself is that I only started watching film seriously less than three years ago. Before that, I would just see the latest Hollywood blockbusters, have a good time, and move on with my life. It wasn’t until I started really delving into film, thanks in large part to the creation of The Movie Files (which has now transformed into Cinefessions) in 2010. Since then, I have watched a load of fantastic films, started working as a film writer for multiple sites, and even taught a film history course (French New Wave through today) at a major American university. It’s incredible what a difference a couple years can make!

All of that, in reality, is just a bad excuse for me to not feel badly about not having seen these ten films. These ten picks are not necessarily the “greatest” or “most important” of the classics I haven’t seen, but are ten classic films that I will attempt to watch and review on Cinefessions by the end of 2012. I love challenges, and that’s what these represent. The list is presented in order of release, and do your best to keep the judgements to a minimum, please!

01. The Kid (1921, dir. Charlie Chaplin)
02. The Rules of the Game (1939, dir. Jean Renoir)
03. The Seventh Seal (1957, dir. Ingmar Bergman)
04. Touch of Evil (1958, dir. Orson Welles)
05. Vertigo (1958, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
06. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, dir. Stanley Kubrick)
07. Rosemary’s Baby (1968, dir. Roman Polanski)
08. Badlands (1973, dir. Terrence Malick)
09. Annie Hall (1977, dir. Woody Allen)
10. Raging Bull (1980, dir. Martin Scorsese)


Have you ever snuck into another movie at the cinema?

I have honestly never done this. Too scared to get caught, which is pretty much the story of my life.


Which actor/actress do you think is overrated?
Anne Hathaway as Catwoman (Selina Kyle) in The Dark Knight Rises

This is a really tough question because there are not many actors that I find overrated that I feel fit for this question. Sure, I find Robert Pattinson extremely overrated, but he’s only looked at as a “good actor” by Twilight fanatics (mostly), so I don’t feel he fits. Instead, I went with a specific role.

It’s not that I find Anne Hathaway overrated in general, because that simply isn’t true. I enjoy her in most of her roles. I found her portrayal of Catwoman, though, lacking, and most everyone disagrees with me.

For my money, Hathaway was trying too hard to be “sexy” and “cool”, and it never works when an actor tries too hard. The way she handled herself felt forced and unnatural, which is insane because Hathaway is one of Hollywood’s most naturally sexy women. If she would have relied on her innate charisma and charm more instead of trying to “put on” the persona of the cat burglar, Selina Kyle, she may have stolen the show. She kicked ass in the action sequences, but otherwise, I have to give Michelle Pfeiffer the nod as the better Catwoman.


From which big director have you never seen any movie (and why)?
Ingmar Bergman and Woody Allen

Honestly, I could fill another embarrassing top ten list of famous directors whose films I haven’t seen yet, but I’ll just stick with these two powerhouses for now. I have no reasoning behind why I haven’t ventured into the land of Bergman or Allen, I just haven’t gotten around to either of them yet. This will change soon, as I have The Seventh Seal sitting near my Blu-ray player, ready to be popped in. I also plan on watching some of Woody Allen’s films this year, which is why you saw Annie Hall listed above. I can’t wait to get to either of these legendary directors, and I’ll be sure to share my experiences once I do.


Which movie do you love, but is generally hated?
Hostage
Dir. Florent-Emilio Siri, 2005
Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer: 35%

I had to choose between Hostage and 16 Blocks for this question. Even though I love 16 Blocks even more than Hostage, Hostage has a lower score on Rotten Tomatoes, so I had to go that route. I adore both of these Bruce Willis driven films, though.

The first time I seen Hostage was late at night while I was staying at my uncle’s house. I was sleeping in his basement, which had an old, broken tube TV. It was broken in that it had no color, only black and white. Hostage was on, and I randomly decided to watch it. Seeing the film in black and white is an experience I’ll never forget (there is one scene in particular that absolutely thrives in B&W that just doesn’t have the same impact in color). I fell in love with Hostage that night, and am reminded of that wonderful experience every time I put it on. I still love the movie in color (how it is intended to be seen), but if there were one film I wish I could convert to B&W, this would be it. I’m not really sure why this is disliked so much because it works incredibly well as an action film. There is just the right amount of the human element to take it above “merely an action film” for me, though, and that’s what keeps me coming back.


Have you ever been “one of those annoying people” at the cinema?

I am proud to say that I don’t believe I’ve ever been one of “those” people. I will admit, though, that I do have a rather distinguishable laugh, and I love to laugh, so I do so often. If I find something funny in a film, I’ll let my freak flag fly, so to speak, and that has gotten some comments from other viewers, which is always disappointing. How dare they try to stifle my genuine reaction! Jerks.


Did you ever watch a movie, which you knew in advance would be bad, just because of a specific actor/actress was in it? Which one and why?
Skyline
Dir. Colin Strause & Greg Strause, 2010

This is one that we definitely expected to be less than stellar thanks to word of mouth, and virtually every review I read of the movie, but we still had to see it. It wasn’t for Eric Balfour, either. It was for the supporting actress Crystal Reed. Crystal and I went to undergrad together for a couple of years before she decided to leave school and head to Chicago for a modeling and acting career (we can see who made the right decision there, eh?). When I first saw this trailer, I nearly had a heart attack because it was the first time I recognized someone I knew in a film, and knew we had to see it. We missed it in theatres, but were able to rent it once it came out on Blu-ray. I can honestly say that Crystal is the best thing about the movie.

We’ve also watched a couple episodes of Teen Wolf (where Crystal plays the love interest of the main character), and the episode of Rizzoli & Isles she was featured on. She really is an excellent actress, and it’ll be fun to watch her career continue to grow. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to work together on a project again in the future.


Did you ever not watch a specific movie because it had subtitles?

I never watched a subtitled film until I discovered the foreign film section of my local video store. I started with horror films, got spoiled on how great they were, so I gave even more a try. Since then, though, I have never not watched a film because of subtitles. That said, I have put off films for the next day, or another time, if I just wasn’t up to reading that night, which I’m sure is not unique to me.


Are there any movies in your collection that you have had for more than five years and never watched?

Oh, absolutely. A large portion of my DVD collection is still sealed, and I bought a good number of them over 5 years ago. One that immediately comes to mind is Clerks II. Clerks is a personal favorite of mine, and I missed the sequel in theatres, so I bought it the year it came out on DVD. I have yet to open the DVD, let alone watch it. Again, no reason, just haven’t. I only started really collecting Blu-rays about three years ago (going on four), so none of those would count. Ask me again in a couple years, though, and the results will be just as disappointing, I’m sure.


Which are the worst movies in your collection and why do you still own them?

As a genre fanatic, I own a ridiculous amount of terrible films. There is one that stands above the rest, though, and that is Sledgehammer, which I reviewed last year. This is definitely one of the worst films ever made, and I adore it. Birdemic would fall into this as well. I just love the hell out of my bad flicks, so they won’t be going anywhere any time soon.


Do you have any confessions about your movie watching setup at home?

None at all. I’m happy with my setup, which is a modest 42″ Panasonic 1080p HDTV with a 5.1 Sony surround sound system. I would love to upgrade my audio set-up in the future, but that will come after an upgraded 3DTV, which I hope to get sooner rather than later. I am not overly excited about the 3D capabilities, but I want a larger size TV (though mine is practically perfect for my current living room), and 3DTVs are generally the best HD quality TVs out there right now. The 3D effects are just the gravy on top (that I will use only rarely, I’m sure).


Any other confessions you want to make?

This isn’t so much a confession as it a disappointing fact: I don’t get to the movie theatre nearly as much as I should/would like to. I have found that if I am focusing on watching classic films (like I was really doing the second half of last year), it leaves me with less time and energy to see new releases, so they tend to get pushed aside. This year, thanks to the lack of funds, I also haven’t been going to the theatre too much. I have seen the major releases (Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, and so on), but not much else. My girlfriend keeps pushing me to see the latest Step Up film, which I’m not crazy about, but I’m sure it’ll happen soon enough. I just wish I had more money and time to see everything that I wanted to see.

Oh, here’s a good confession for everyone: I am a huge Nicolas Cage fan (as is my girlfriends). I genuinely enjoy his often crazy, always fun work. I think it was Adaptation that truly won me over as a Cage fan for life.


Check out the original blog post from My Film Views right here!

Branden Chowen
Editor-in-Chief at Cinefessions
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn't until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor's and master's degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.