Tag Archives: Ian Holm

The Set of 400: #11 – My Favorite Breakdancing Wizard

Today! Because I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve –

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Directed by Peter Jackson (x5)

Starring Elijah Wood (x6), Ian McKellen (x7), Sean Astin (x4), Hugo Weaving (x5), Cate Blanchett (x6), Viggo Mortensen (x3), Liv Tyler (x3), Ian Holm (x5), Christopher Lee (x6), Orlando Bloom (x3), John Rhys-Davies (x4), Billy Boyd (x3), Dominic Monaghan (x3), Sean Bean (x2), Andy Serkis (x6), Marton Csokas (x3), Bret McKenzie (x3), Sarah McLeod (x2)

I was no Lord of the Rings snob going into these films. I had read The Hobbit in middle school, I want to say, and had an awareness that these other books existed, but I never sought them out to read until that first amazing trailer for Fellowship appeared around Christmas 2000. After that, though, I was quickly all in – I read one book a year as the films were released, just to keep it fresh, and like the rest of the world was generally blown away by the movies as they unfolded. I don’t think this is much of a stretch, but it has to be said – Fellowship of the Ring is the greatest fantasy film of all time, and a nearly perfect movie. The other LOTR films are great, too, and made this list, and carried over so strong that even the first Hobbit film holds a special place for me, but they all kinda pale in comparison to that first incredible film.

I said nearly perfect

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The Set of 400: #102 – My Favorite Elephant Slide

Today! Because there never was much hope. Just a fool’s hope –

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Directed by Peter Jackson (x4)

Starring Elijah Wood (x5), Sean Astin (x3), Ian McKellen (x6), Viggo Mortensen (x2), Billy Boyd (x2), Dominic Monaghan (x2), Liv Tyler (x2), Andy Serkis (x5), John Rhys-Davies (x2), Orlando Bloom (x2), Miranda Otto (x2), Bernard Hill (x3), Cate Blanchett (x5), Hugo Weaving (x4), Karl Urban (x3), David Wenham (x2), Ian Holm (x4), Marton Csokas (x2), John Noble, Bret McKenzie (x2), Sarah McLeod

This movie won Best Film Editing at the Academy Awards. Let that sink in for a minute. This movie – all 201 minutes of it, with all of those endings crashing awkwardly into each other over the last fifteen minutes of the film – won an Oscar for the film with the best editing. Like, look, I love The Lord of the Rings – it probably is the best film trilogy of all-time, and by the time it came to the conclusion it was bound to win all the awards, considering the near-perfect first film lost to the thoroughly meh A Beautiful Mind and the solid second film lost to, like, the fortieth best musical ever made in Chicago – one of the weaker film stretches ever. Still, this movie – drunk on the success of the Extended Edition DVDs I guess and flush with all the cash raked down from the previous two Decembers – chose to just go on and on and on. Maybe the Academy needed a few years to come around to the idea of awarding a pure fantasy Best Picture – it had never happened before – and maybe awarding it every statue it was nominated for seemed like a fitting tribute – it was 11 for 11 – but my God, Best Film Editing? You’re telling me every one of those 201 minutes was essential? You’re telling me that interminable ending sat perfectly with you? Okay, so 2003 wasn’t the world’s best year for movies – fucking Seabiscuit was up for Best Picture – but hell, Best Film Editing also featured Master and Commander and City of God, two absolute triumphs of editing.

And holy shit, if you haven’t seen it, go watch City of God

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The Set of 400: #127 – My Favorite Facelift

Today! Because if you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating –

Brazil (1985)

Directed by Terry Gilliam (x3)

Starring Jonathan Pryce (x2), Kim Greist, Ian Holm (x3), Michael Palin (x3), Robert De Niro (x4), Katherine Helmond (x3), Bob Hoskins (x2), Peter Vaughan, Ian Richardson, Jim Broadbent (x4), Barbara Hicks, Gorden Kaye, Simon Jones, Charles McKeown

Terry Gilliam’s dystopian, bureaucratic hellscape has very little obviously to do with the country of Brazil. Allegedly, in some deleted scene or old script treatment or something, the bug that falls in the printer at the beginning of the film that kicks off the whole misidentification caper is seen traveling across the globe from Brazil, thus the title and the modified usage of the great old tune “Aquarela do Brasil” as the theme song.

I also think of Brazil as the ultimate Gilliam movie, coming as it does after Python and his more fantastic adventures Jabberwocky and Time Bandits, but before the somewhat more realistic goings on in The Fisher King and Fear and Loathing (somewhat is the key there). It merges the two eras neatly – not unlike Twelve Monkeys would later – bridging pure fantasy/sci-fi with relatable human issues in a bizarro satirical context. It’s funny while being frustrating and horrifying in the world they’ve created, while also not being all that far afield from the mundane drudgery of working and living in an even remotely regimented society. Jonathan Pryce’s Sam Lowry being shifted between interchangeable government jobs under paranoid, crazed bosses and sharing a desk with a co-worker in another room all sort of makes sense once you’re out in the workplace for a bit. This is a movie I’ve long loved, for the weirdness and futurism, but have only really appreciated the underlying struggles as the years since college have piled higher and deeper. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #256 – My Favorite Multipass

Today! Because I don’t want one position, I want all positions!

The Fifth Element (1997)

Directed by Luc Besson

Starring Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman (x3), Chris Tucker, Ian Holm (x2), Luke Perry, Tiny Lister, Brion James, Lee Evans, John Neville, Charlie Creed-Miles, John Bluthal, Maiwenn

Luc Besson’s follow-up to The Professional, The Fifth Element is a crazy cartoon of a movie. A wildly twisted sci-fi film, but I think it’s safe to say this movie is more a comedy than anything else, right? Like, with all the effects (so many effects!) and weird aliens and shooting and explosions, what do you really take away from this film? Ruby Rhod’s crazy cylindrical hairdo! How Gary Oldman’s Zorg’s head would sort of…leak black stuff? Former wrestler Tiny Lister playing the president! “Multipass!” It’s all pretty bonkers.

One of the five best sci-fi hairdos ever?

And it’s just terrifically entertaining. The fact that for decades the only significant English language films Besson made were The Fifth Element and The Professional (which share very few similarities, besides some light moments and Oldman) is pretty astounding. Besson would more recently make Lucy (a decent if forgettable hit) and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (a colossal misfire, apparently aimed at the sect of the population who thought the Star Wars prequels were awesome [and shut up, I only like The Phantom Menace!]), but that’s about it, directing-wise. But what a great start! Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #362 – My Favorite Riddles in the Dark

Today! Because if Baggins loses, then we eats it whole –

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Directed by Peter Jackson

Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Lee Pace, Bret McKenzie, Benedict Cumberbatch

Now hang on a second, I know what you’re thinking – The Hobbit? Seriously? But while the unnecessarily expanded prequel trilogy was almost the definition of diminishing returns, I still think that first movie is pretty good. Is it far too much? Yes. But hell, what were Jackson and company supposed to think people wanted, when everyone was snapping up 4+ hour versions of the original films on DVD? They figured the more the better, right? So why not turn a 300 page book into nine goddamn hours of movies? And you know what, good for them. Sure, the whole trilogy doesn’t even come close to the Lord of the Rings movies, but they sure aren’t the complete troll orgies fans made them out to be.

Sexy!

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