A-Z Film Challenge: Day Five

I have made it to day five, and the letter ‘E’. Thanks to those of you who have stuck with it, and the new visitors who have come aboard for the ride.

Once again, I am starting this with the certain knowledge of my top spot. However, ‘E’ has been something of a challenge, so I really had to put my thinking cap on.

Unsurprisingly, a foreign language film comes straight to mind. The wonderful Brazilian film from 2007, ‘Elite Squad’. (Tropa de Elite) This is a terrific no-holds-barred look at the work of the special police squad trying to tackle out of control crime in the slums and shanty towns of Rio. Police corruption is rife, and the gangs are left free to control their territories. When the Elite Squad move in, they face extreme violence, as well as betrayal from within. A hard-hitting action film, that is thoughtful as well as very exciting.

Two American motorcycle films come next. ‘Easy Rider’ (1969) brought us the definitive ‘road film’, along with a great soundtrack, and compelling performances from Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, and a young-looking Jack Nicholson. This is a trip back to pot-smoking, free-love nostalgia, at the end of the ‘Flower Power’ era. I have written about the cop drama ‘Electra Glide In Blue’ (1973) before, but could not leave it out of ‘E’. Robert Blake’s best performance, and superb support from the underrated Billy Green Bush.

Not a great film, but one I have always liked, ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ (1976). This is the wartime tale of German paratroops arriving in a sleepy English village. They are disguised as friendly Polish troops, but their intention is to assassinate Churchill. It has some flaws, but was so true to the novel, that I couldn’t help but like it. Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, Donald Sutherland, Jenny Agutter, and Treat Williams all acquit themselves well. Even Larry Hagman shows up! Spielberg again, but with a very impressive debut in a lead role from the young Christian Bale, in the 1987 epic, ‘Empire of The Sun’. This is a star-studded adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel, dealing with events surrounding the internment of a British family in China by the Japanese, during WW2. As well as Bale’s impressive turn as a schoolboy, you get John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, and Nigel Havers too.
And the underrated American actor, Joe Pantoliano.

James Dean had a short-lived career, and though his angst-ridden, cry-baby acting style is a matter of taste, it showed promise of things to come that were never to be. ‘East of Eden’ (1955) is a great drama, directed by Elia Kazan, and starring Raymond Massey, as the overbearing father of Dean’s character. Based on the Biblical tale of Cain and Abel, this is a faithful adaptation of one of John Steinbeck’s great american novels. Forward to the 90s, and a completely different genre, the science fiction film ‘Event Horizon’ (1997) was made almost twenty years after ‘Alien’, and is nearly as good as that seminal film. Hardly mentioned these days, ‘Event Horizon’ is an exciting tale of a lost space ship, and the crew that are sent to rescue it. Packed with atmosphere and suspense, great special effects, and convincing leads from Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, and Joely Richardson. If you have never seen it, what are you waiting for?

I have barely scratched the surface of ‘E’. Once I started looking, I could have written a whole blog about the films beginning with this letter. But I will leave it to you to come up with some other suggestions. Here’s my top pick. Historical drama, the early years of photography, cameras, and subtitles. A film that was made to order for me, and without doubt one of the most magical I have ever seen, with one of the best central performances from an actress that I can recall. From the moment I saw this film advertised, I knew I would love it. And I was right. ‘Everlasting Moments’ (2008).

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83 thoughts on “A-Z Film Challenge: Day Five

      1. I will do that, Pete. But at the time ER was released, I had a high school boyfriend who rode a motorcycle – a small one, and a Honda at that. He and his friends all fancied themselves to be Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper on a perpetual road trip.

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    1. Thanks, Abbi. Glad to hear from another fan of EM. Try ‘Event Horizon’ again, now you’re older. It’s often on TV, so you can hide behind the sofa!
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  1. Old one: Eraserhead (1977) and new one: Eastern Promises (2007) even if it’s ten years old now. I’m going to be another one to say I haven’t seen your pick so it’s another one to check out.

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    1. Lynch’s film is an unusual one, and much admired, including by me.
      I have ‘Eastern Promises’ on DVD, and always like Mortensen in almost anything.
      And it is directed by Cronenberg too, so that sealed if for me.
      Thanks for your choices, William.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hadn’t heard of Everlasting Moments but it looks beautiful.
    My suggestions would have been Fatih Akin’s look at Turkish-German cultural mixing, Edge of Heaven or The Enigma of Kasper Hauser for some old-time German weirdness. There was more to E than expected!

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    1. I have ‘Kaspar Hauser’ on DVD, and watched it at the cinema on release. A truly marvellous film that has nothing to compare it to, with a spellbinding performance form the non-professional Bruno S. It is a very ‘niche’ film though, so I didn’t feature it. (The same with ‘Aguirre’, which I adore, but has limited appeal to many.)
      I haven’t seen that Turkish film you mention, but a Turkish film will be featuring much lower down the alphabet. See if you guessed it right!
      I have a real ‘thing’ for ‘Everlasting Moments’. I just cannot get it out of my thoughts.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  3. In my DVD collection, I have everything from “The Exorcist” to “Eyes Wide Shut” to “Enemy Mine” to “Eight Legged Freaks” to “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark,” and also film series like “Emmanuelle” (but only with Sylvia Kristel) and “Evil Dead.” I have not seen “Everlasting Moments.” I’ve also not seen “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” but I thought maybe, based on what I’ve read about this film, you might pick that one. But for my #1 film pick, I’m going to go with one that I imagine you’ve seen, but which may not have been in the crosshairs of your mind, as your opinion of it is probably lower than mine. In fact, film critics don’t much care for it, either. It’s earned a “rotten” score of 54% at RottenTomatoesβ€”but ask me if I care! I’m going with “Enemy at the Gates” (2001), starring Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes, Ron Perlman, Ed Harris, and Rachel Weisz. Balanced against a short but epic Battle of Stalingrad sequence is a laser-focused plot that pits sniper against sniper. This is one of my favorite war films, along with “Patton” and “The Great Escape.”

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    1. I used to have ‘Elvira’ on VHS, and have fond memories of that sexy vamp. I have ‘Enemy At The Gates’ on DVD, and also watched it at the cinema. It is very good of its type, but I do not think it is very convincing overall. It is based on real events though, so worth watching for us war film buffs. The sniping scenes are suspenseful, and very well done. As a war film covering the same events (the steel works and tractor factory fighting), I prefer the German film, ‘Stalingrad’. The non-dubbed version from 1993.
      I would never have chosen ‘Eternal Sunshine’ for any list, other than one of bad actors. It stars Jim Carrey, and I cannot stand the man. I can’t even bear to look at him.
      Thanks as always for your detailed comment.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d like to see “Stalingrad.”

        As for Jim Carrey, it really depends on the film. The only one I have on DVD is “The Mask,” which I originally watched in a movie theatre in Paris back in 1994. It was presented in V.O. (version originale). I was seated with a young Dutch lady, and we laughed ourselves silly from start to finish. I’ll always remember that we burst out laughing at times when the French audience, stuck with reading the subtitles, was dead quiet. For example, when Stanley Ipkiss (Carrey) is in jail, and his dog comes to the rescue, Milo is instructed to go fetch the jailor’s keys. Instead, he picks up a slice of cheese off the jailor’s lunch plate. What makes this funny is that Milo, clever as he is, mistakes “keys” for “cheese.” This doesn’t work in French because “clΓ©s” and “fromage” don’t rhyme. Another example is when Ipkiss says to Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz), “Je t’adore. Je t’window. I don’t care!” The French audience didn’t catch that joke because it requires a knowledge of basic English vocabulary. As a result of moments like this, some of the people in the audience turned around to look at us. We didn’t know if they were puzzled, or simply annoyed…

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  4. I went to see The Eagle has landed at the pictures and it has always stuck with me, I will always remember the moment the soldier dives in the save the child from the water wheel, but not himself!
    I shall have to buy an extra hard drive for the server soon then brake a leg so I have time to watch all these and past selections πŸ™‚

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    1. The water mill scene is memorable, as it leads to the discovery of their German identity, when the soldier saves the child. Please don’t break a leg to watch them all. Maybe just a mild dose of the ‘flu?
      Cheers, Pete.

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  5. Pete, “E” was a treasure trove – yes, “Electra Glide In Blue” is a cult classic from the early 70’s, and “Easy Rider” signaled a sea change in American moviemaking at the end of the 60’s…all of your choices are great, and I can’t wait to seek out “Everlasting Moments”…two I will add: Bruce Lee’s martial arts masterpiece “Enter The Dragon” is one – the other is the challenging but brilliant “Enter The Void” by Gasper Noe – check it out! – https://johnrieber.com/2014/11/01/audacious-mind-blowing-cinema-enter-the-void-vanishing-waves-and-holy-motors/

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    1. ‘E’ really surprised me, John. I could have gone on all day! I am not a fan of martial arts films but I concede that Lee was the master of the genre. From your link, I have seen ‘Holy Motors’, and will happily seek out the other two choices.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pete, I totally agree – I had a number to share as well…your list is a whole lot of fun – looking forward to “F”- being in Chicago this week, “The Fugitive” came to mind – it was filmed here!

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        1. You are a day early, but I will happily accept Ford’s turn as ‘The Fugitive’. Though for me, it will always be the TV series, with David Janssen as Richard Kimball. I followed that religiously!
          Best wishes, Pete.

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