Five Movies I’ve Rewatched in 2010…

December 20, 2010

…on the 7th day of Castmas the Chrazzas gave to me…

As I’m sure you no doubt know, I’ve been battling my way through three hundred and sixty five movies this year. One of the conditions I set myself was that all of the movies had to be ones that I hadn’t seen before and as such I’ve resisted watching movies I’ve seen before wherever possible to fully maximise my chances of achieving this monumental feat. There have however been a few occasions throughout the year where someone has suggested we watch a movie that I’ve already seen and I’ve happily obliged. These five are the best of the bunch and needless to say if I was prepared to rewatch them whilst trying to catch as many new movies as possible, they all come come highly recommended.

1. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
Speculatively written off before its release as a complete waste of time, South Park The Movie showed that the duo of Parker and Stone aren’t just potty mouthed idiots out to cause offense and earn a quick buck, whilst also demonstrating an expert use of satire that has gone on to influence all the pair’s subsequent work, as well as the course of the TV show itself. Perhaps one of the most reflexive movies ever written, South Park feeds off its own notoriety and masterfully prods the finger back at critics who used the TV series as a scapegoat for “the collapse of society” and every misdemeanour carried out by a viewer of the show. All that would be for naught though if it wasn’t such fun to watch, and as long as your on board with its comic stylings you’re on for ninety minutes of pure hilarity. Even years later I still don’t think this movie is given the kudos it deserves; it’s so much more than just another lazy TV to big screen cash in and contains such great music that it baffles me why it isn’t more widely regarded as a great modern musical. With the advancement of the animation, writing and technology behind current episodes of the TV series, I’d love nothing more than to see a sequel.

2. I Love You, Man
Undoubtedly one of my highlights of 2009 and a film I know I’m going to keep watching over and over as time goes on. Peter Klavin (Rudd) has recently got engaged but has a problem, he doesn’t have any guy friends to be his best man. Klavin eventually meets Sydney Fife (Segel) and what follows isn’t quite what you’d expect… I Love You Man sneakily takes the classic rom-com formula and stands it on its head; delivering a movie that is not only hilarious but is also genuinely touching. I like Paul Rudd a lot but have never really seen him as a strong leading character, but his well worn straight man routine gets its strongest outing here thanks largely to how straight Jason “how have I not been in more movies yet?!” Segel plays it right back at him; that’s not to say that it isn’t funny though, as this movie contains some of the best awkward humour of any film in recent memory and is perhaps the most quotable movie since Anchorman.

You got it Jobin!

3. Team America
Another entry for Parker and Stone? Sure enough they once again take a potentially volatile subject and point fun at it in such a way that makes viewers ask “hey what’s the fuss all about?!” Team America focuses on the eponymous band of do gooders who travel the world doing whatever they must to eliminate the terrorists that threaten world peace, whilst inadvertently proving themselves more effective than the terrorists themselves. From the moment the film opens and we’re greeted by puppets controlling puppets, we’re treated to ninety minutes split evenly between the best puppetry we’re ever likely to see on the big screen, and jokes made at the limitations faced when using marionettes. As explosive as it is skilful and as stupid as it is well observed, Team America proves that Parker and Stone have got a lot more in them than just South Park – even if it does run the names of Casta favourites Clooney and Damon through the mud whilst it does so.


4. 17 Again
My initial resistance to this film last year proved to be hugely unfounded. Knowing little more of Zac Efron than that he was the smiley singing punchworthy guy from the High School Musical trilogy, this film correctly changed my opinion of him to potentially being one of the most watchable new performers on the big screen, and (if he plays his cards right in the future)  surely one of the biggest names in Hollywood. The classic “one more chance at youth” narrative is given a run over once again but, for potentially one of the only times for movies of this genre with the same target audience, isn’t given the heavy handed sanitising that usually comes with the standard *cough Disney cough*  big studio backing. Efron proves himself a joy to watch throughout and events on screen prove to be just as funny and awkward as you imagine they will be. A great addition to the ranks of the teen comedy.

5. Back to the Future
I wrestled long and hard with whether or not to include this in my count of 365 being as its cinematic rerelease gave me the first opportunity I’ve ever had to watch it on the silver screen. However after much deliberating I decided that this (along with Toy Story 2) couldn’t really count, as the digitally remastered audio and visuals (and indeed the 3D in TS2’s case) didn’t constitute enough for me to count it as a “new movie experience”. Lucky then that I have this opportunity to talk a little more about it.
Cast your mind back and you may well remember that Chris and I went nuts for this back in Episode 24 – Cast Boot and for jolly good reason. Twenty five years on and it’s still every bit as funny, clever and charming as it was upon its release and I don’t think another twenty five are going to do it any harm either. If you didn’t catch this on the big screen for its rerelease then you missed out on one of the best cinematic experiences of the year.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for day eight of the Twelve Days of Castmas, a festive treat with some very special guests!


Episode 25 – To Cast a Thief

October 19, 2010


To Cast a Thief (right click and “save as” to download)

Welcome back Casta fans to another fun filled episode of your (now actually) regular movie podcast funtime! This episode we review The Social Network, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and the NT Live showing of Complicite’s A Disappearing Number. Chris also racks my brain with Back to the Future questions in Castamind and I make fun of him for being old. Win!

Don’t forget to check out our ongoing Human Centipede poll on the right there too – sound off and make your vote count!

Five movies I wouldn’t switch over…

October 11, 2010

You know the situation, we’ve all done it before; there are always movies that no matter the fact you have them sitting on your DVD shelf and quite in spite of the fact that you’ve seen them tons of times before, if someone else is watching them or they’re showing on television you find yourself quite inadvertently glued to the sofa watching for the umpteenth time – even with all the advert breaks!

Here then are five movies which I never seem to be able to switch over whenever I stumble upon them;

School of Rock
Starring: Jack Black

Genuinely, I’ve probably seen this film more than any other film ever. Seriously. And you know what? Every time I watch it, it’s a blast. Jack Black plays his usual over the top obnoxious character but, perhaps oddly for him, actually has a development arc that is both realistic and satisfying. The jokes are funny, the kids are amazing and perhaps most importantly, the appreciation and love of Rock is worn firmly on this film’s sleeve from the moment it opens right up until the second it closes. The final pay off is perhaps the best part of this movie, it sends shivers down my spine and brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.

Highlight: Jack Black’s vocalising during band practice of the solo he later plays at the battle of the bands.


Starring: Nicolas Cage & John Travolta

This is one of the films that I can really credit with getting me into movies – I first saw it when I was about fifteen and it completely changed my opinion of what action movies could be – it shifted my opinion of them from being musclebound guys effortlessly fighting off entire armies to character pieces involving trapped heroes, personal threat, intrigue and a countdown to destruction; that’s not to say it was the first one action flick ever to do that, but it was certainly the one that broke the mould for me. The action is fast paced and intense, the direction is Woo’s usual dovey best and Cage and Travolta are compelling in both roles.

Highlight: The escape from the floating prison has always been a favourite of mine, as well as the opening shoot out at an airfield (which I usually miss if I turn it on part way through).


Back to the Future II
Starring: Michael J. Fox & Christopher Lloyd

As referenced in the last episode I am firmly of the opinion that Back to the Future II is one of the most complicated films ever written – which is somewhat exacerbated (or perhaps caused) by the fact that I’m usually drunk whilst watching it – worrying considering it’s usually on at about six o’clock on ITV2 on a Saturday afternoon… Seriously though this film is a wondrous sequel which realistically needs no real knowledge of the original and has enough gripping and hilarious moments throughout to hold your attention no matter what point you tune in. Tell me honestly you haven’t dreamed of owning one of those hoverboards!

Highlight: The ending where Back to the Future II Marty is stuck in 1955 and receives a letter from 1985 Doc Brown who is now trapped in 1885 and rushes to see 1955 Doc Brown just as Back to the Future I Marty goes back to 1985. Mind boggling!


Notting Hill
Starring: Hugh Grant & Julia Roberts

Perhaps the most off the wall of the list and the one that maybe needs the most explanation. I grew up surrounded by women, living in a house of three sisters and a mother who all love rubbish films and a father who (much like myself) preferred to just let them get on with it rather than have the hassle of trying to convince all four of them that whatever sopfest they’re watching is infinitely less interesting than the F1. Occasionally though there’s a sopfest which stands out above all the others and is at least watchable, and king amongst all of them is Notting Hill.

Hugh Grant is on form at his awkward British best, Julia Roberts is at her most vulnerable and perhaps best looking and the periphery characters all play their part without being too intrusive (including a noteworthy career launching performance from Rhys Ifans). If you’ve never seen it before, it’s as simple as thinking Four Weddings meets Pretty Woman and try to ignore the awful Ronan Keating song that accompanied it.

Highlight: Perhaps one of the best passing of time montages committed to celluloid.


Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger & Linda Hamilton

No list of mine is complete without an Arnie film and what more appropriate to drop into this list than the very film that Casta is named in honour of. Cameron’s stunning and character shifting sequel has the original Terminator switching sides and an even more fearsome threat in the shape of Robert Patrick as the T-1000, which may look kind of dated now, but was revolutionary at the time and really brought computer generated imagery to the forefront of Hollywood cinema. This really is one of the ultimate action movies and it’s fit to burst with memorable characters, frenetic action scenes, well thought out time travel and a healthy dollop of comedic wit on the side. Absolutely incredible from whatever point you watch it.

Highlight: Every second Arnie is on screen.


Needless to say then that I love the five films above and, quite surprisingly for once, all of them are widely considered to be at least quite good. That’s not to say however that there aren’t completely awful movies that I wouldn’t sit through were I to stumble upon them (some of which figure in my earlier critics got wrong posts) – these were just the first five that came to mind.

I’m really interested in hearing what you sit through time after time so why not share your thoughts in the comments below?

Episode 24 – Cast Boot

October 6, 2010


Cast Boot (right click and “save as” for download)

Unbelievable! We’ve actually stuck to schedule for about two months now! Get ready for your regular dose of Casta antics with reviews of The Town, Buried, Devil and a special shout out to Back to the Future. HELLO! MCFLY! ANYBODY IN THERE?!

Listen in for those but stick around for Castamind, a new inductee in the Casta club, ponderings as to the origins of denim and the announcement of the winner of our very first competition!