Unfortunately, if there is so much as a gap in that collection we will shout, scream and flail (we're drama queens like that.) So here
The X-Files changed the TV for me – it made science fiction water cooler conversation, and it cast two charismatic leads, with oodles of chemistry – Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny. Added to this, Chris Carter flipped gender stereotypes and made Scully the sceptic and Mulder the believer.
Their chemistry was palpable, and arguably they had the strongest, emotional relationship on TV without ever sharing a kiss. They were compelling, often at odds and sometimes angry with each other, but their trust in each other was unwavering.
Intertwined with the monster-of-the-week stories was the underlying, series-long mythology. It was doled out every season with agonising slowness (for me) but never failed to keep me hooked. Carter mastered the art of mythology I think.
The popularity grew so much that a movie seemed to be a matter of time – and The X-Files happened. It was the first TV show I saw to successfully transition to the big screen and I can’t recall any others after it. Feel free to correct me on that!
But, the big screen everything was turned up to 10 and it was glorious. The chemistry, the mythology and the conspiracy and Mulder and Scully stayed true to themselves and the show from which they came. The movie is filled with such potential that I cannot help get swept up in the story, and groan when the bee makes its appearance.
The movie solidified the show and the characters’ enduring popularity and it’s place in my DVD collection.
This was an easy one for me!
I first saw Contagion when it was released on Blu-ray in January 2012. It was a shame I never got to see it on the big screen, as it immediately became one of my most favourite film in my collection. An all-star cast, featuring none other than my most idolised actress, Kate Winslet, Contagion is the story of a worst-case scenario regarding global diseases. I personally enjoy films which really make you stop and think about the world around you. The tagline ‘nothing spreads like fear’ is entirely and utterly correct, and the situation in Contagion make you truly concerned about what would happen if they transpired in the real world. Would we work together or, as we see in so many disaster films, would we lose control of ourselves?
Contagion is a brilliant portrayal of human behaviour and intelligence, amongst greed, fear, family and love. A brilliant mix of elements brought together to make a fantastic film complimented by a great cast, Contagion is certainly not one to be missed if you share my enthusiasm for gritty, emotional films which show the good and the bad sides of human nature without rose-tinted glasses to hide behind.
Miyazaki’s Spirited Away has virtually everything a film can offer. It’s a feel good magical tale that everyone should view at least once in their lifetime. We follow a young girl Chihiro as she moves to a small Japanese town only to get caught up in a mystical theme park that turns out to be a town inhabited by demons, spirits and evil gods. She meets a boy named Haku who tells her it isn’t safe for her here, except she gets caught up in working for the bathhouse where these creatures go to relax. Yes this film is animated and might seem childish on some level but this is a purely magical piece of eastern animation that the western world should cherish.
When you are feeling down it takes you to an enchanted world where anything can happen. One can watch Spirited Away in any mood given that the film embodies a number of genres and is even very dark in some places. Of course how can you single out just one film for a must have in your collection? It’s easy – it should be a film that makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you excited to be putting it in your DVD player. Whether watching in its native tongue or the dubbed version, Spirited Away embodies all of those qualities every time I view it. It flows seamlessly into comedy, tragedy and terror. Let Spirited Away take you on this journey. After all, no collection is complete without it.
There isn't a day that goes by when the haunting themes and disturbing psychological ploys of Hannibal Lecter don't surface in my mind. The incredible Academy Award Winning thriller based on the timeless book by Thomas Harris had everyone's skin on edge. It revolves around the ambitious Clarice Starling navigating her way through a career in the FBI. When she is plucked out of her class by Agent Jack Crawford and sent to interview an inmate at the Baltimore Institute for the Criminally insane, the last thing she expects to be doing is speaking face to face with the terrifying Dr Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist with culinary skills that extend to the leathery skin of humans. However, there is another killer slaying women and skinning them and soon Clarice finds herself in the centre of the murder investigation trying to solve the case.
Although horror and thriller have now placed their eggs in the gore and explosives basket in order to give audiences a fright, Silence of the Lambs by Jonathan Demme proved that you can be equally, if not more, terrifying. It isn't just the superb acting skills of Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, it's the geniunely creepy atmosphere. It's the electrifying score by Howard Shore. It's the intellect and murderous tendencies of Lecter, knowing he is always three steps ahead. It's the human element and the realism of the murders. It's Hopkins having 16 minutes screen time yet still scooping Best Actor because he stills the show. It is an impeccable movie. Astonishing from start to finish, it something everyone must have!
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was my first real adventure film. It was also one of the first films I watched with my dad, so it’s got some special meaning. The film has everything a viewer could want - adventure, mystery, a bit of romance, emotional moments - it’s all there. At the time, it was the final chapter of the Indiana Jones series, so it heightened everything in the film. The story revolves around Indiana being reunited, for the first time in many years, with his estranged father, Prof. Henry Jones Sr. Indiana (along with Prof. Jones, a Holy Grail scholar) is on a quest to find the Holy Grail and while on this quest, he encounters a variety of things, from the Nazis and Hitler himself, to the Holy Grail and its healing powers.
It’s a gripping adventure, filled with funny moments, bits where you’re gripping the edge of your seat, sad moments. With a good script, good acting, adventurous music and a gripping story, it’s a film that I know I would want to see, and I’m sure many others would want. Also, who else wouldn’t love a film with a decent theme song?
The Lion King, inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, tells the story of a disobedient young lion cub called Simba whose destiny it is to one day adopt his father Mufasa’s role as king of the pride – a strict patriarchal monarchy of Lions who rule over the local ‘Pride Lands.’
Simba’s uncle however, a physically weak but mentally cunning older Lion called Scar, conspires to murder Simba’s father and have Simba exiled to places unknown, allowing Scar to take the throne for himself. The plan ultimately works and Scar takes Mufasa’s place as king, leading the Lionesses to believe that Simba had died along with Mufasa during a well-planned stampede. But Simba survived, having gotten lost in a distant wilderness where he makes a new home.
Years after Scar becomes king and Nala – Simba’s childhood friend – finds Simba alive and well in a secluded forest, far from the Pride Lands. She convinces him to return home, accept his responsibilities as king and make his rightful claim to the throne. After a night of deliberation – and being hit on the head by a prophetic monkey with a stick – Simba decides that Nala is right.
But Simba’s return to the Pride Lands (which are now barren and largely derelict) initiates a violent revolt against Scar and his army of hyenas. The lions rally to Simba’s side and a battle ensues at Pride Rock, the centre of the monarchy, where Simba is ultimately victorious. Ultimately Scar is killed and the hyenas flee, and Simba is crowned the new king. The Pride Lands are rebuilt and balance is restored.
The Lion King, whilst certainly a highlight in terms of the high-quality animation and accompanying CGI in cinema at the time, is most notable for its soundtrack which was written and put together by Tim Rice and Elton John.
Every film boffin should have at least Hitchcock film in their collection. Very few directors have left such an indelible mark on the film industry, are still spoke of in such revered tones (about their work, by all accounts Hitch wasn’t the nicest bloke) and are as worthy of the title auteur. But while my selection of film is not my favourite of Hitchcock’s oeuvre, that honour going to Rebecca, nor is it as instantly iconic as Psycho, Vertigo has achieved that impossible feat, beating Citizen Kane to be crowned the greatest film of all time by the BFI. This film is entirely worthy of its title, featuring a spectacular performance from regular Hitchcock leading man, James Stewart, Kim Novak embodying the mystery, glamour and screen presence of all Hitchcock’s main ladies, and some dizzying special effects to highlight the acrophobia suffered by Stewart’s character. Deception, doppelgangers and devastation add up to one of Hitchcock’s most exhilarating and mesmerising pieces of work. Vertigo also boasts Saul Bass’ greatest work in creating movie posters, the typeface, and the silhouette of the man falling backwards almost as iconic as Hitchcock’s own silhouette.
But as an essential DVD? Vertigo offers very little in the terms of extra entertainment, which could be quite disappointing in this post-20 disc Lord of the Rings Box Set world. But Vertigo needs nothing in the way of special features. Vertigo is a necessary purchase on the strength of the film alone, one that warrants watching and re-watching, with something new evident to take your breath away with every new viewing. Whether you feel Vertigo deserves its placing above Citizen Kane or not, it is nevertheless essential viewing. And while you’re at it, you can get a box set of Hitchcock’s filmography pretty cheap these days, so why not check the others out too?