Filmism.net Dispatch December 11, 2017

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I'm a collector, that's what I am. I'm more than just a movie fan, I've got a constant string of movie titles pervading my life, movies I want to see and fully intend to get around to.

Ask any movie lover and they'll have The List. It's the list of movies you want to watch and are constantly chipping away at but never getting to the bottom of. As we speak I've seen just over 4,300 movies in my life and reviewed them all on Filmism.net, so it'll certainly never end. It hasn't got much smaller than eight pages for the last decade or more, as many titles added to the bottom as taken off The List when I finally see them.

It's a living, breathing document, one that shifts and morphs according to my age, taste, what I've watched before and the context in which I want to appreciate what's to come after hearing movies talked about in relation to their place in cinema history. Movies that never would have caused a raised eyebrow in me a few years back now make me jump out of my skin in excitement.

It changes as you discover new directors you never knew, new performers, new writers, new genres and new styles. At the moment, for example, I'm working my way through the various iterations of the hired mercenaries protecting a peaceful people under siege by a tyrant. I knew I'd seen Battle Beyond the Stars as a kid, but I had no idea what a cinematic heritage it had at the time, so now I've watched the original The Magnificent Seven , which Battle was a remake of, and Seven Samurai, which the 1960 classic western is a remake of.

It's also not at all the case that you start at the top of The List and work your way down. It depends very much on the availablity of the movies. Even in this day and age where we think everything is there for the taking any time you want it, there's still plenty that are hard to track down if you have eclectic tastes and don't want to spend three quarters of your income at Amazon.com. It'd be nice (and easier) if you could simply add to the bottom and tick off from the top in order but territorial rights, distributors and online services throw it all into disarray if you're as OCD with keeping lists as I am.

Some titles are checked off almost as soon as I put them on The List. I might hear about a film coming up and be lucky enough to get a media screening or a link to a streaming copy they make available to film critics and it's crossed off just as quickly.

And some seem to stay on The List for an eternity. I still remember the print ad in the newspaper for a cheap Australian thriller called Frenchman's Farm back in late 1987 when I was 16 years old. It really sold me and I became determined to see it. Of course, in those days movies were even less available than they are now, so it probably played a handful of times in the Chauvel in Paddington or the Cremorne Orpheum (arthouse cinemas in my native Sydney), far from the cineplexes of my suburban youth. I finally saw it just a handful of years ago, upwards of three decades later.

I had a werewolf movie called Project Metalbeast on my list for over a decade. I didn't see the crowdpleasing hits Dirty Dancing, The Full Monty or the classic weepie Beaches until decades after their theatrical runs. Until recently I've been trying to hunt down an Australian ozploitation sex farce called Alvin Purple. As I write these words there was a screening at Quentin Tarantino's New Beverly in LA early this year that I missed, and I've only just discovered Australian movie and TV service Stan has it in their library, so it looks like I'll finally be crossing that one off.

What are the films you've always wanted to see but have never quite caught up with?

But it's new ones that have captured my attention recently. One is a small VOD release called Realive that's had almost no attention, but whose gorgeous production design and poetic approach to both the onscreen mood and the structure makes it a sci-fi dreamscape the likes of which you've never seen before.

I was never the biggest fan of the original Blade Runner, so it's strange that even though Blade Runner 2049 was so similar and did such a skilful job of expanding on and homaging it, I loved it.

But one of the biggest surprises in a year when discussion about the representation of complex, interesting women in films has reached fever pitch (and rightly so) was the sublimely talented Jessica Chastain as a political lobbyist in Miss Sloane.

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