400 And Counting: Week Zero (It Begins!)

October 9, 2014

400 movies sounds like a lot. That’s because it is. An average movie is an hour and half. So 400 movies is about 36,000 minutes or 6,000 hours. That’s almost as many hours as New Game Plus has spent on Dota 2 (Editor’s note: New Game Plus’ current cumulative Dota 2 playtime is 9,580 hours…)

Why is this very basic math relevant? Recently SBS released 400 free movies available on its On Demand service (available in Australia only), and I’m going to watch them all! These movies are only available for 12 months, which means with work, the show and sleep it might be physically impossible.

This won’t however stop me from trying to watch all 400!

As this is the first in a series of weekly articles, I thought I’d introduce myself. Hi, I’m Liam and I’m one of the New Game Plus production team. On a weekly basis, I edit the reviews and also produce Graphic Content and Planeswalker Plus. More recently I’ve joined the on screen team with the movie review segment. I’ve studied film and television, and have made a number of short and feature films (mainly in the sound department). I’m a keen watcher of movies and TV. My favourite game is Magic: The Gathering. I enjoy reading, novels and comics of all kinds. I’ll talk about my favourite movie at a later date.

Many of these 400 movies I recognise. Some of them I’ve seen. There are, however, many I have never heard of. That sounds like the perfect start to a very interesting year…

The Guard (2011)
Director: John Michael McDonagh
1:32:39 (Completed)

The Guard has been on my list of films to watch since I saw the trailer years ago…and then promptly never got around to seeing it in cinemas. It’s a black comedy about an Irish cop in a small town who finds himself in the middle of a multi million dollar drug operation. The humour is dark, the jokes are funny (and very politically incorrect), but the film still manages to have some rather heartfelt moments. Brendan Gleeson is spot on, taking centre stage after the similar (and truly great) film In Bruges.

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991)
Directors: Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper, Eleanor Coppola
1:31:59 (Completed)

Hearts of Darkness is a behind the scenes look at Francis Ford Coppola’s mammoth Vietnam war film, Apocalypse Now. The documentary uses footage shot by Eleanor Coppola (Francis Ford’s wife) as well as interviews done years after the film was originally released to tell the very troubled story of Apocalypse Now’s production. The film was over budget, it was too long, it didn’t have an ending and there were all sorts of dramas involving actors, war and even government intervention.

An admission: I’ve never actually made it through the full 3 hours and 22 minutes of Apocalypse Now Redux, but now I think I could. Like all docos, you do have to wonder how much of it is actually factual. However, for everyone interested in seeing behind the curtain look at an iconic film, this is well worth a watch.

(This film was part of the regular SBS on-demand service and won’t be available at the time of publishing)

Nikita (1990)
Director: Luc Besson
1:52:19 (Completed)

What is to no doubt be the first of many subtitled films, Nikita is a French film by Luc Besson, better known for The Fifth Element and as the writer of Taken. Nikita is a 19 year old junkie punk who kills a cop. Rather than face life in prison, she is trained to be an assassin for the French government. What followed was not an action film like I was expecting, but more of a thriller. We follow her as she trains, is tested and goes out into the ‘real world’.

I’m making the film sound kind of boring, and in a way it was. I didn’t get invested in the characters, which makes it hard to care about their struggles and their transformations. I certainly don’t regret watching the film, and it had it’s moments, but I think I was expecting a classic — which this wasn’t.

Still, maybe you’ll get more out of it than me?

That concludes Week Zero of 400 and Counting. I’ll be watching a heap of movies in the next week, month, year. I’ll have some more reviews for you, however they won’t always be quite so long as these ones — there is going to be 400 of them! Until next week!

Film of the Week: The Guard
Movies Watched This Week: 3
Time This Week: 4:56:57
Total Movies Watched: 3/400
Total Time: 4:56:57


Come back on Thursdays for the next edition of 400 And Counting!

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