Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

The Celluloid Zombie Guide to Becoming a Movie Snob – Part One

So, you enjoy movies, watch them regularly and feel ready to take the next step. That’s right, you don’t just want to be a movie buff, you want to be a movie snob. You’ve seen those shiny boys and girls, hanging outside the local multiplex, spouting on about Kurosawa or Mise-en-scène and you’ve thought to yourself, ‘I have no idea what they’re talking about but it sounds impressive. I want to be in that gang!’

My good friend, you have come to the right place. In two parts, Celluloid Zombie is going to impart great wisdom upon you and teach you how to blag, bluff and manipulate your way to Movie Snob Supremacy.


Lesson 1 – Know Your Directors

Take any movie, and an accomplished Movie Snob will usually be able to reel off the credits like last week’s shopping list. For the Snob, it’s not enough to be able to remember the title of a film (something that is often beyond the casual viewer), they have to be able to tell you who was in it, who wrote it, who scored it and, of course, who directed it. All with an air of insufferable smugness (see more advanced lessons).

This skill can take many years of total immersion in the field, and an equal amount of years of total exclusion from the real world, so the trainee Movie Snob should simply look to acquire a good working knowledge of directors as a solid grounding. And this means all directors. It’s simply not enough to know that Spielberg directed E.T. or Hitchcock directed Psycho. That’s like calling yourself a music expert because you know who sang Heartbreak Hotel.

Acquaint yourself with names like François Truffaut, John Ford, Frank Capra and Akira Kurosawa. Wikipedia will probably give you enough nuggets to bluff your way if you can’t be bothered to actually watch the movies. And remember, don’t forget those titles!


Lesson 2 – Use Some French Words

No Movie Snob’s arsenal is complete without a barrage of pretentious and mostly unnecessary French. Learn these words and phrases and then sprinkle them liberally in your conversations about cinema to demonstrate just how worldly and cosmopolitan you really are:

The stuff that a director/actor/whatever has done.
Example: ‘Are you familiar with Capra’s oeuvre at all?’

Rite de Passage
The journey someone goes through to go from being one thing to another thing. Usually applied to teen stories.
Example: ‘16 Candles is an engaging rite de passage story’ (even if it’s not).

What a scene has in it. The visual landscape of a scene or its components.
Example: ‘Hitchcock uses his mise-en-scène to denote the fragmented nature of Norman Bates’.

What happens at the end.
Example: ‘Sinking ships turn me on so I only watched Titanic for its dénouement’.


Lesson 3 – Stay for the Closing Credits

A true Movie Snob never, I repeat NEVER, gets up to leave the cinema during the movie’s credits. They remain seated until the lights turn on and the usher ambles in to sweep up the discarded popcorn kernels and half-eaten nachos. The truly dedicated may even still be there when the next lot come in.

To the Movie Snob, leaving as the credits roll is a heinous act of gross disrespect to all the Grips, Best Boys and Assistant Third-Unit Director’s Assistants who have worked tirelessly to bring you your latest celluloid fix and ask only that you remain seated for a few more minutes so you can see their name roll slowly up the screen in sans serif, white text. What’s wrong with you? Can’t you hold your bladder a little longer? It’s all me, me, me with you, isn’t it?

In addition, it is also important to adopt a series of disapproving noises and looks to aim at those inferior individuals who do choose to vacate the premises prematurely. Tut-tutting, heavy sighs, and exasperated shakes of the head are all excellent methods for communicating your disgust. Until the target of your disdain turns around and looks at you, of course. Then it’s time to start actually looking at the credits. Avoid eye-contact. The last thing you want to do is explain your disapproval to some 280 pound guy who’s desperate for the toilet and just forked out a small fortune to watch a shit movie.


Lesson 4 – Cultivate the Correct Shit-List

It is vital as a Movie Snob that you navigate the treacherous minefield of acceptable taste while in public. Sure, you can enjoy Bad Boys II in private, but some pleasures must be kept under wraps if you are to be taken seriously as one of the elite. So, from this moment on, you no longer publicly endorse the following:

The Wayan Brothers
Ben Affleck (the actor)
Paul W.S. Anderson
Michael Bay
Star Wars Episodes I-III

However, you are actively encouraged to publicly endorse the following:

The Coen Brothers
Ben Affleck (the director)
Paul Thomas Anderson
Michael Mann
Star Wars Episodes IV-VI


Lesson 5 – Learn to Read Subtitles

Repeat the mantra after me; ‘subtitles are my friend, subtitles are my friend’. It is no longer acceptable to say things like, ‘I can’t read and watch at the same time’ or ‘they go too quickly’. Never again can you wait for the US remake, just so you’ll have the luxury of being able to take your eyes off the screen for more than five seconds without missing vital plot points. Fix your gaze screenwards and do not deviate until the final credits are rolling. And watch those too, remember.

If you are to become one of the anointed, you must embrace movies that don’t come with American accents, product placement and uplifting dénouements. It’s time to venture into foreign lands.


Come back later for part two of my pointless post! Or not.




Celluloid Zombie’s Ten Best Movies of 2010

I’m making a list and checking it twice. Yep, it’s that time again, when you can look back on another year of celluloid output and try and decide which movies were your favourites. Pointless, perhaps, because to truly compile an accurate Top Ten you’d have to have seen every movie made this year. Which I obviously didn’t. I need to sleep and leave the flat from time to time, after all.

So, to give this post an accurate title, here are my Top Ten Movies of 2010 that I’ve Actually Seen. All films are considered according to UK release dates. Enjoy!


10. The Town

Ben Affleck continues to impress from behind the camera with this, his second movie. A tale of a group of bank robbers in Boston’s Charlestown, The Town is grounded with great performances, particularly from Jeremy Renner. And while it lacks the emotional punch of Affleck’s debut, Gone Baby Gone, he still produces a gripping tale of friendship, betrayal and the desire to leave it all behind.


9. The Last Exorcism

Slated by many on release, The Last Exorcism proved to be one of the year’s most divisive movies. Those expecting a hand-held, mockumentary version of The Exorcist were disappointed when it turned out to be something a little more complex. What really makes the movie stand out, however, are the two exceptional central performances from relative unknowns Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell.


8. Winter’s Bone

Hardly the most cheerful viewing, but Debra Granik’s second movie has a warm heart at the core of its bleak atmosphere. Jennifer Lawrence, onscreen for every minute of the movie, is remarkable as the 17-year-old Ree, holding her family together while searching for her drug-dealing father amid the broken lives of a small community in the Ozarks, Missouri.


7. Four Lions

Television satirist Chris Morris turns to the big screen for his tale of a group of incredibly inept British Jihadists, planning a suicide attack on the London Marathon and bickering incessantly amongst themselves. Morris spent three years researching the project and produces a funny and cutting comedy which proves that sometimes mockery is the best response.


6. Scott Pilgrim vs the World

Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright took on his first Hollywood gig with this adaptation of the comic books. Michael Cera is the titular ‘hero’, battling the seven Evil Exes of his new girlfriend. Wright injects the movie with the same hip energy he brought to TV show Spaced. Decide for yourself how much of the action takes place in reality or just in the fevered imagination of Pilgrim.


5. Toy Story 3

Pixar does it again, rounding off their Toy Story saga after 15 years with this funny, bittersweet third instalment. Choosing the perfect story to end on, we see what happens to toys when their owners grow up and they are forced to retire. Features one of the year’s best villains in Lotso Huggin’ Bear and a great turn from Timothy Dalton as Mr Pricklepants. Inspired, whether you saw it in 3D or not.


4. The Social Network

Who would have thought that a movie about the creation of Facebook could be so entertaining? I’ll never doubt David Fincher’s choices again. The director paces the story expertly, cutting between the origins of the site and the resulting legal challenges for credit, and the young cast are superb. You may want to give Mark Zuckerberg and Sean Parker a slap after seeing this.


3. Kick-Ass

Another comic book adaptation from another British director. Matthew Vaughn brings an anarchic energy to the story of naive teenager Dave Lizewski’s adventures as a costumed vigilante. Aaron Johnson is engaging as Lizewski/Kick-Ass, but it is the father and daughter combo of Nicholas Cage’s Big Daddy and Chloë Moretz’s Hit Girl that really make this memorable. Pure genius.


2. Inception

The Dark Knight was always going to be a tough act to follow, but Christopher Nolan couldn’t have done a better job than this imaginative, layered and visually stunning piece of cinema. Dreams within dreams, folding environments, trains rushing down main streets and another impressive performance from Leonardo DiCaprio. So, was he dreaming at the end or not?


1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Niels Arden Oplev’s adaptation of the first book in Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy is quite simply one of the best thrillers to have come along in years. Made in Sweden under the title of the book, Men Who Hate Women, the movie was renamed for international release. Noomi Rapace gives the performance of the year as the haunted, complex anti-heroine Lisbeth Salander.


And the worst…

The Expendables

Promised much but delivered nothing. The Expendables brought together all the big names of action movies from the last 30 years and embarrassed them. And us. Two hours spent watching them play bingo in a retirement home would have been more entertaining. One of the worst screenplays in living memory, with awful dialogue, crappy action scenes and Jason bloody Statham. Unbelievably shite.