The Half Dozen: Anniversary Special – Your Help Needed

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There were seven wonders of the ancient world, but apart from the Pyramids of Giza they were not wondrous enough to stand the test of time. There are probably more than seven wonders of the modern world, if you were to try to count them up, but one of the most significant is undoubtedly the fact that I’ve managed to keep churning out this blog to the same middling quality for almost a year now. Yes, on the 27th April I will have been writing this blog for a year, so I thought I needed to do something to mark the occasion, and that seeing a whole day’s worth of films would be as good as any option.

It’s a regular occurrence for me to spend the day in the cinema, and seeing four or five films in the course of a day is not an uncommon occurrence for me. Indeed, I’ve managed to squeeze in seven a couple of times, and I’ve also achieved some other feats of endurance, including seeing over 100 films in a year at the cinema twice, and a period last year when I racked up 21 in 11 days during the Cambridge Film Festival. Over the next month, I’ll be blogging about all of these feats, and also why – and how – you should give them a go, if you haven’t already.

But rather than just a day in the cinema any old where, I thought I’d spend it in London, where the streets are paved with gold and idiots in large hats stand on street corners pointing at major landmarks exclaiming “London, baby!” at every given opportunity. The film that tempted me into doing so is Kim Jee-woon’s I Saw The Devil, which is playing at the ICA on the 29th and 30th April. So I’ve booked myself a ticket for the 6 p.m. showing on Saturday 30th, and now just need to fill up the rest of the day. The possibilities already on offer showcase the best of cinema, and exactly why I advocate the cinema experience – the sound, picture, themes and above all the communal experience of these films shouldn’t be passed up.

I am, however, spoiled for choice. For those like myself, running around London like a complete muppet, stopping frequently to see films is a perfectly normal way to spend a day, but I could do with some thoughts on what to watch. Even though it’s still four weeks away, there’s plenty of choice already on offer, and a few films out that weekend that would also be good to catch. So please, have a look at the trailers (and yes, I’ve cheated – there are a lot more than half a dozen), see what you like the look of and if you have any other ideas for what I could see on Saturday 30th April, then please do let me know. And if you like the look of any of these, feel free to tag along for part of all of my epic quest – I’ll publish my full itinerary nearer the time.

So here’s a taste of what I, or indeed you if you’re just crazy enough to join me, could be watching that day.

ICA – I Saw The Devil

So first up is the trailer for the film around which I’ll be building my day. I loved Oldboy, but only saw it on DVD, and its star is one of the leads here in what’s already an extremely well-reviewed slice of Korean revenge drama. With Confessions sitting pretty at the top of my Best of 2011 list and Miike’s 13 Assassins landing in May, I have a feeling I’ll be watching a lot of Asian cinema this year. Goody.

General Release – Thor

Out that weekend, and demanding to be seen on the biggest screen around, is the first of Marvel’s extended trailers for next year’s The Avengers. Marvel have done well to attract the likes of Sir Anthony Hopkins and Dame Natalie Portman for this, and I’m intrigued to see what Kenneth Branagh brings to this. Also it’s keeping Captain Kirk’s dad in work, which is nice. Let’s hope this doesn’t follow Iron Man 2’s example and end up being just one giant tease.

General Release – Cedar Rapids

Like John C. Reilly but can’t face the shouty stylings of professional man-child Will Ferrell? Like Ed Helms but can’t cope with the gorgeous manliness of Bradley Cooper? Well, you’re one picky customer, but I think I might have just the thing for you. There’s an excellent The Wire reference in here, apparently, which I could tell you about if I’d ever seen The Wire instead of spending all my time in the cinema. (Will somebody please show The Wire in a cinema?)

General release – Tracker

Oi! You slag! How can you leave out Ray Winstone, gravelly voiced working class hero of our times? But Ray’s branching out, here styling a South African accent (which, impressively, doesn’t follow the path that many take of jst lvng ll th vwls aht f th wrds), and it looks as if he’s going to chase after Boba Fett’s dad for a bit. Based on the trailer, fans of Winstone, gravelly voices and punching won’t be disappointed.

BFI Southbank – Peter Pan

Next up, the BFI Southbank, who are running a season of all of the first fifty Disney animations during the course of 2011. This weekend, they’re up to number 14, Peter Pan. As I’ve only seen seven of the fifty in a cinema, and one of those was Dinosaur, this feels like an ideal opportunity to not only add to my tally, but to provide some crazy counter-programming options to the likes of the above. Any good cinema day should lurch from the sublime to the ridiculous if at all possible.

BFI Southbank – Battleship Potemkin

The BFI is also showing this cast-iron classic, and by that I mean it appears to be made out of cast iron. Eisenstein’s work has inspired countless movie-makers over the past eighty years, but for some reason the only one anyone ever remembers is Brian De Palma and The Untouchables. (I wonder if Snake Eyes will still be inspiring directors in seven decades’ time?)

BFI Southbank – The Conformist

Or for another BFI option, there are a couple of Bertolucci films showing, and it would seem to be a day for the classics; just another day at the office for the BFI, I’m sure. The other BFI options for the day are Before The Revolution, Bertolucci’s second film, and the Coen brothers’ umpteenth classic, True Grit. Having just seen that recently, I think I’ll rule it out for now.

BFI IMAX – Mars Needs Moms

I saw Toy Story 3 and Inception in an IMAX double bill last year; it was one of the greatest days of my cinematic viewing life, an incredible pleasure enhanced by a giant screen, incredible sound, a beer and an odd hot dog and the novelty of the tiny person who appears in the spotlight at the beginning and tells you what you’re about to watch. Sadly the IMAX options for this day are weak at best, Mars Needs Moms looking the best of the bunch, with turtles and punching suckers the even less inspiring choices. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, I’ll be back at the IMAX.

Prince Charles Cinema – Ghostbusters

Trailers have a particular style to them, depending on their era, and when voice-overs were more ominous than gravelly one of the classic comedies of the Eighties came upon us. I’ve seen this in a cinema before, and owned it on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray, but the chance to see it again on the big screen may be too good to pass up. The evening showing is Anchorman, which I would’ve considered had it not clashed with I Saw The Devil.

So there’s the possibilities so far. Plenty more films, including Arthur, Fast and Furious 5: Rio Heist, Apollo 18, Beastly, Adele Blanc-Sec, How I Ended This Summer, Pina (the Wim Wenders film IN 3D) and Zombie Undead go on release the week before and might be part of the solution; they’re almost certainly part of the problem. The problem being that there are only 24 hours in a day, and cinemas typically open for about 14 of them. So tell me, what would you do?

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