To me, Elf (2003) is up there with Home Alone (1990), Miracle on 34th Street (1947) and The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) as one of the greatest Christmas films ever made, but watching it on Christmas Day whilst in New York made me appreciate it even more. As a great man once said: “New York I love you, but you’re bringing me down.”
Melancholia (2011) opens up with a beautifully crafted prologue featuring some stunning abstract imagery, soundtracked by Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. This use of orchestral music is reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which featured music by Richard Strauss; a composer who was greatly influenced by Wagner. The links between these musical choices could be interpreted as a playful homage to the sci-fi genre.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Bill Murray recently. To be honest, this is nothing new. If you’re reading this Mr Murray, lets be pals. Anyway. I was thinking: is Bill Murray a star? Is he a celebrity? Is he a cult-hero? Or is he simply Bill Fucking Murray!?
The cultural impact of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994) is unquestionably impressive and far-reaching. References, tributes and homages to the movie can be found everywhere from countless “Pulp Fiction Wedding First Dance” videos on Youtube, to Harvey Keitel (oh, Harvey) turning up as Winston Wolf in, of all things, a Direct Line (2014) advert:
Ordinarily, I’m not a huge fan of Westerns, but The Wild Bunch (1969) isn’t any old Western. It pushed the boundaries of the genre and played with the audience’s expectations of what they’d see in a Western. As a result, the film and its director, Sam Peckinpah, have unsurprisingly become pretty influential on the next generation of moviemakers.
For example, Hurt Locker (2008) director Kathryn Bigelow has been heavily influenced by Peckinpah. Pramaggiore and Wallis (2011) discuss how Hurt Locker “incorporates the visual strategies and thematic ideas” of Peckinpah’s “gracefully choreographed and violently bloody Westerns.” They also point out that Bigelow isn’t shy in acknowledging her appreciation of Peckinpah either: “in 2010 she introduced The Wild Bunch for the ‘Films That Inspired Me’ series at Hammer Museum in Lost Angeles.” Unsurprisingly, Peckinpah has a few other fans in the directing world too: