Seconds before pressing ‘send’ on the original version of my newspaper column this week, the news about Philip Seymour Hoffman broke. At the moment, we know very little, other than he was found in his home, and it’s suspected he died of a drug overdose. Over the coming days there are going to be thousands
Alright, here we go, my top 10 films of the year. It’s time for the annual onslaught of tweets and emails telling me that I’m too stupid to live.
As usual, my top 10 list is entirely subjective and in no particular order, and if I was doing a top 50, your favourite would probably be in there. But there are only 10 spots, so like Nick Clegg deciding on whether to force a smile by pinching his leg or biting the inside of his cheek, tough decisions had to be made.
Sometimes one scene is all it takes to elevate a film from being an also-ran to a sure-fire member of my coveted Top 10. And so it goes with Captain Phillips. Paul Greengrass’ true-life tale of ship captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) as his vessel is boarded by pirates moves along slowly, but is always tense, and Hanks’ final scene is some of the best acting of the year, if not ever. I can’t not mention Barkhad Abdi as Musa, one of the pirates, whose lack of acting experience only makes him more impressive.
Ever heard of the Bechdel test?
Don’t worry if you haven’t, chances are you’re going to hear about it a lot in coming years.
For those of you that haven’t stumbled across it before, the Bechdel test came about due to a comic strip by cartoonist Alison Bechdel (hence the name), and it lays down three simple rules that decree whether a film is gender-biased or not.
1. Are there two or more female characters with names?
2. Do they have a conversation with each other?
3. Do they talk about anything other than men?
Sounds straightforward enough, but it’s surprising how many of your favourite films will not pass the test. The original Star Wars trilogy, the Lord of the Rings films, and all but one of the Harry Potter films fail. Of course, they aren’t exactly festering with misogyny, but they do not pass the test.
Last week I was engaged in every geek’s favourite pastime – arguing online about Star Wars.
A review of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D had fired up emotions between two equally passionate factions, so I stepped in with the following: “I think I’m probably representative of a lot of people who loved the originals, was disappointed with Episode I, but is still interested to see what the pod race and big battle with Darth Maul look like in 3D. Although I know it’s going to leave me disappointed, and filled with hate over the stupid cutesy rubbish (again), and even though I completely trust the reviewer’s opinion – my inner fanboy means I have to see it for myself.”
Of course, this wasn’t exactly what I said – it was online so slightly fruitier language was employed – but it’s how I have felt since the 3D rerelease was announced.
But now I’ve changed my mind. And this is why: IT’S NEVER GOING TO END.