For better or for worse, the Academy Awards are at the pinnacle of film recognition in the English speaking world. Since 1927, awards have been handed out to hundreds of movies, many deserving, some less so. If you look down the list of winners you’ll find some of the best films of all time. Citizen Kane, The Godfather and Casablanca all won Oscars, though with just seven between them, perhaps not as many as you’d have expected. Each year there are films which are overlooked by the Academy and this week I’m going to be looking at Six of the Best… Films without Oscars, the films which didn’t receive a single one. In other words, this is a list of films which have one fewer Oscar than How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Pearl Harbor. So here they are; six films without Academy Awards.
Sunday, 9 June 2013
Sunday, 26 May 2013
Some film directors are able to maintain success over several decades and get bums on seats or haul awards for almost every film. A select few are able to do both. Whether successful or not, every director has to start somewhere. Steven Spielberg started promisingly with Duel in 1971 and Martin Scorsese’s debut Who’s That Knocking at My Door has its charms but neither film set the world alight. Some director’s though burst onto the scene with critically acclaimed works in what is their debut feature. With often minimal experience, little support and tight budgets, several directors have created debut films which astound audiences and critics alike. Here are Six of the Best…
1. Quentin Tarantino – Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Although he had shot the amateur My Best Friend’s Birthday in the mid to late 1980s, Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs was his first real feature. A dialogue driven heist movie, the film was a hit on its initial release and has since gained cult status. Many of the tropes that have come to define the director’s career are evident in the movie and a lot of people, including myself, still consider it amongst his best work. Its bold, violent approach set it apart from the action heavy thrillers of the time and an impeccably neat script not only impressed audiences but also the actor Harvey Keitel who liked it so much that he co-funded, produced and agreed to star in the movie. The direction is slightly more conventional than in his later work but is still recognisably ‘Tarantino’ with long, slow dialogue heavy scenes interspersed with frantic action and innovative camera movement. Reservoir Dogs was released independent of the major studios and as such it afforded the director the freedom rarely found in modern cinema to follow his ideas through to completion unmolested.
Wednesday, 16 January 2013
A couple of nights ago I saw an interview with Quentin Tarantino on Film 2013 ahead of the release of his latest picture Django Unchained. The interview touched upon a lot of his films and with each film mentioned I turned to my girlfriend and said “Ooh! I really want to watch that again soon” while turning to my DVD shelf. When Reservoir Dogs was mentioned I looked for my DVD copy and suggested we watched it that night but my girlfriend told me that it was playing for one night only at our local multiplex the next evening. Five minutes later the tickets were booked and my excitement grew as I was getting the chance to see such an iconic film on the big screen, twenty-one years after its release. Reservoir Dogs burst on to the scene in late 1992 and unusually went on to make more money at the UK box office than in the US but following the release of Pulp Fiction two years later became more widely known and is today recognised as one of the greatest independent films of all time as well as one of the greatest debuts by any film maker.
Featuring a lot of the themes which define Tarantino’s filmography such as a non-linear story, extreme violence, pop culture references, rock and pop soundtrack, rich and deeply woven dialogue and a plot based around an accident, Reservoir Dogs takes place before and after an armed robbery orchestrated by Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) and his son ‘Nice Guy’ Eddie (Chris Penn). We see various meetings and discussions which take place before the heist as the crew is slowly formed but the most famous and memorable scenes take place following the robbery when the various members of the group make their way back to their safe house. The audience never sees the robbery itself but with some of the gang dead and others badly wounded it is soon obvious that something went wrong and that they have a rat in their midst, but who?