The 250 Film Challenge:
Halftime Update

The 250 film challenge is a charity challenge where I aim to watch 250 films in 2016. An average of 21 films a month, or 5 films a week or a film every 1.48 days. Below is the latest update covering the first six months of the year. You can support the challenge by donating on the challenge Just Giving page and all the money goes direct to the housing and homeless charity, Shelter.

The full list of films watched is also provided at the bottom of this page. But before all that, here are the simple rules…

  • The films must be watched in full, part watched films do not count
  • The films can be new or old and from any genre (including documentary and non-fiction), but feature length TV episodes do not count
  • Watching films that have been seen before is fine, but repeat watches of the same film do not count (this is 250 films, not 250 views)


  • 151 films (60%) watched
    • 25 films per month
    • 5.8 films per week
    • 0.8 films per day (or 1 film every 1.2 days)
  • 4 films (3%) films rated as Bad (<2 stars)
  • 38 films (25%) rated as OK (2 – 2.5 stars)
  • 62 films (41%) rated as Good (3 – 3.5 stars)
  • 46 films (30%) rated as Excellent (4 – 4.5 stars)
  • 1 film (1%) rated as Unmissable (5 stars)
  • The highest score is 5 stars (The 7th Seal)
  • The lowest score is 1.3 stars (Hardcore Henry)

Q2 Highlights

Seventh-Seal-PosterThree films scored highly in the second quarter and they are all very different. First up there is the Coen Brothers comedy about the golden days of the Hollywood studios, Hail, Caesar! that scored 4.5 stars. Gaining the same score was Child 44 which sees Tom Hardy playing a Russian captain in the Ministry of State Service. The book it is based on is part of a trilogy and I really hope we one day see the sequels.

However, the highest score of the quarter and of the full half year was reserved for a 1957 Swedish film. Ingmar Bergman’s classic about the travels of a disillusioned knight during the crusades sounds that an exercise in tedium, but The 7th Seal‘s combination of humour, existentialism and some stunning cinematography make it an all time classic and the first film to get a full 5 stars.

Q2 Low Blows

hardcorehenrySimilarly, we have three films battling it out at the other end of the leaderboard. the 1982 film Joysticks took the video game explosion and turned it into an offensive and unfunny ‘geekspoitation’ movie. Friday 13th Part VIII (yes, eight!) was subtitled ‘Jason Takes Manhattan‘ and was not only unscary and unfunny, it wasn’t even in Manhattan!

The worst however and scoring the lowest rating on this website is the first-person action film Hardcore HenryWhilst not quite proving that this kind of film is impossible, it did prove that it is harder than just sticking a Go-Pro on a stunt man and getting Sharlito Copley to play up a bit.

Q1 Highlights

imagesWith the awards season falling in the first quarter of the year, most of the top rated films were from the nominations list.

Stop-motion animation Anomalisa lost out in the Oscars Best Animated film category, whilst The Big Short and Room were both losers for the Best Film Oscar. Star Wars The Force Awakens was also an Oscar loser in the technical categories. The other two films receiving 4.5 stars were Ridley Scott’s Sci-Fi classic Bladerunner and little known Scottish drama Red Road which tells the tale of a CCTV operator and her obsession with following the movements of an ex-convict.

Q1 Low Blows

images-1By far the worst film of the 83 watched was the Gerrard Butler/Aarron Eckhart action sequel London Has Fallen. Trying to cover up a dreadful script and horrible acting with gunshots and explosions, the film loses everything that made Olympus Has Fallen so much fun and makes an odious case that the life of POTUS is more important than the whole of London.

The other film of note to be on the wrong end of the list is the film that got Jennifer Lawrence an Oscar nomination, the rather joyless Joy. A trite tale of America and the land of the free, where an oppressed single mother can go from social security handouts to millionaire by selling mops.

250 Film Challenge

FilmRating (Stars)CommentsWatched
10 Cloverfield Lane3.5March
45 Years3.5A tale of keeping a secret for a very long time. there is far less to the film than the premise suggests. Saved by fine performances by the leads.January
A Christmas Carol (1984)3.5December
A Field in England4September
A History of Violence3Feels low budget and has some poor choreography, but it is still a good enough examination of the monster amongst us.June
A United Kingdom4October
Absolutely Fabulous2November
Alien 33July
Alien Resurrection2.5July
America 30003November
American History X4June
American Ultra2November
Amy2.5Poorly made and avoiding any level of detail. January
Anomalisa4.5You've never seen a more real and touching sex scene that the one between two puppets in this film!January
Ant Man3An amazing model city scene and some great humour, but not quite the all round super film. Ant Man 2 could be great though.January
Army of One3December
Arthur Christmas3.5December
Assassin's Creed2.5December
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)4October
Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)2.5November
Attack the Block4November
Avengers Assemble4March
Avengers: Age of Ultron3March
Bastille Day3August
Batman vs Superman2.5March
Beasts of No Nation4The young lead is brilliant but many of the accents are hard to understand and this can detract from excellent portrayal of the brutality and futility of war.January
Black Mass3February
Bone Tomahawk4March
Bottle Rocket3September
Boy and World2.5February
Bridge of Spies3.5A little too 'Speilburgy' for my liking, but a great performance from Rylance and an interesting and unusual spy story.January
Brighton Rock (1947)4September
Brooklyn4A nice and gentle tale that is beautifully shot and features great supporting performances from Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent.January
Bullet to the Head3March
Cactus Jack2March
Cafe Society3September
Captain America: The First Avenger4March
Captain America: The Winter Soldier3.5March
Captain Fantastic3.5November
Carol3.5Not really about Carol at all, the film is nicely shot but far too predictable.January
Catch Me Daddy4June
Central Intelligence3.5Tries its best to ruin things for itself with some shockingly bad jokes, but is still the best Hollywood buddy-comedy for some time.June
Changing Lanes4August
Child 444.5A great story brilliantly told. I hope to see more of the books translated to film.June
Clown Town1.5September
Cop Car4Displays an amazing sense of innocence from the two kids and a wonderfully desperate performance from Kevin Bacon.January
Couple in a Hole4November
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Sword of Destiny2.5March
D.O.A. (Dead or Alive)3.5April
Dads Army2June
David Brent: Life on the Road1.5December
Dear White People3July
Deepwater Horizon4September
Doctor Strange3.5November
Dog Eat Dog2November
Don't Breathe4November
Double Dragon2April
Down Terrace3.5September
Dr. No3August
Drinking Buddies3.5July
Eddie the Eagle4March
Edge of Tommorow3.5Some stupidly large plot holes and a terrible end, but otherwise it is a lot of fun watching Tom Cruise die over and over again.June
Everybody Wants Some4December
Evidence of Blood2.5July
Eye in the Sky3.5September
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them3.5November
Frank and Lola3.5December
Friday 13th Part VIII1.5May
Gone Baby Gone3.5March
Green Room4A crocodile of a movie. Long periods of calm punctuated with violent bursts of energy. Beautifully shot and sickeningly gruesome.June
Grudge match4April
Hail, Caesar!4.5April
Hard Tide3May
Hardcore Henry1.3April
Hateful Eight3.5The first part is too short,the second too long and it would probably have been more interesting as the Hateful Five. But overall Tarantino keeps up his usual high standard of old fashioned violent story telling. January
Hell or High Water4November
Hello My Name is Doris3July
High Fidelity3April
High Rise2.5May
Hunt for the Wilderpeople4.5November
I am Not a Serial Killer2.5September
I Robot3.5February
I, Daniel Blake4.5October
If Cats Disappeared from the World4November
In a Valley of Violence3November
Independence Day Resurgence1.5July
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade4February
Indiana Jones and the Legend of the Crystal Skull2.5February
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom2.5February
Inside Llewyn Davis4December
Inside Man3.5November
Inside Out3Reinforces too many of the stereotypes that it is claiming to smash with the fat miserable girl and beautiful happy girl.January
Into the Wild3February
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back2.5October
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit2.5Generic spy-action thriller set in the US and Russia but with an almost entirely British cast?? January
Jackie Chan's Project A3June
Japan Sinks2.5Focuses a little too much on the people and not the action, making for a stilly dull affair.June
Jason Bourne3August
Jewel of the Nile2.5February
Jimmy Vestvood3September
Judge Dread3March
Key Largo4November
Kicking Off3.5May
Kill List3.5September
Kill Your Friends2.5August
Kindergarten Cop 22May
Kitchen Stories4February
Kubo and the Two Strings4December
Le Diner de Cons (The Dinner Game)3April
Let's Be Evil2November
Level Up2September
Lo and Behold3December
London Has Fallen1.5March
London Town1.5November
Long Kiss Goodnight2.5July
Look Who's Back4June
Mad Max: Fury Road4Basically just a single car chase, a testament to this film is that Tom Hardy is the worst thing in it. The stars of the film are not actors, rather the production designer and cinematographer.January
Magnificent 7 (2016)2.5October
Mean Girls2April
Midnight Cowboy4March
Midnight Special3May
Miller's Crossing3.5December
Minority Report4September
Mississippi Grind4.5December
Money Monster3.5June
Mortal Kombat2.5April
Myra Breckinridge1.5November
Neon Demon4September
No Country for Old Men3.5July
No Escape4June
No Way Out3If it wasn't for the twist the film would be no more than a generic thriller.January
Nocturnal Animals4December
November Man3.5Action, suspense and a great performance from Pierce Brosnan, but nothing new.January
Once4Gloriously beautiful tale told with completely believable characters.June
One Hundred Streets3November
Our Kind of Traitor3September
Over the Top3.5April
Paper Man4A lovely tale of loneliness with fantastic performances from all 4 of its stars.January
Party Party2September
Pete's Dragon (2016)2.5December
Presumed Innocent4April
Raiders of the Lost Ark4February
Ratchet & Clank2.5August
Reach Me2April
Red Road4.5March
Rocky 34.5December
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story4.5December
Romancing the Stone3February
Room4.5A simply stunning film that switches from claustrophobic to agoraphobic with effortless ease.January
Sausage Party2August
Sex Lives of the Potato Men2May
Shenmue The Movie2May
Sicario3A great first half descends into hysterical girl fights bad good-guys for doing bad things for good reasons. January
Silent Running3An engaging tale despite terrible acting, shoddy effects and a bizarre soundtrack.June
Sing Street3December
Sleeper3At some points a masterpiece and others a bore. Half Keystone Cops and half 1984, it doesn't do enough with either to fully excel.June
Son of Saul4.5December
Special Correspondents2.5May
Spotlight3.5Interesting and hard hitting, but certainly not entertaining. If a film is going to bring so much reality to the pursuit of justice then they may as well have made a documentary.January
Star Trek Beyond2October
Star Trek Generations3.5May
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones2.5The worst of all the Star Wars films by a long way due to its inclusion of an awful love story and some dreadful set pieces. But on returning to the film this year I found it much less offensive than I had remembered.January
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith3Sith does much to redeem the trilogy after the disastrous Clones, but it is still burdened with the same millstones (namely Christensen and Lucas). January
Star Wars: The Force Awakens4Not exactly breaking new ground story-wise, but the film hit virtually every branch of the fandom tree as it fell to earth.January
Stay Alive2April
Straight Outta Compton3.5Skips too much of the real story to ensure that Dre and Cube come off as angels and the manager as the devil.January
Street Kings2.5A Forrest Whittaker action scene, who saw that coming??January
Suicide Squad3August
Swallows and Amazons (2016)2December
Swimming with Sharks4February
Swiss Army Man4September
Tango and Cash3March
Tank 4323October
The 7th Seal5April
The Accountant2.5December
The ARQ2.5September
The Big Short4.5The funniest 'factual' film you will ever see. "The truth is like poetry ... and most people fucking hate poetry".January
The Bourne Legacy3.5Whilst Damon's Bournes are personal and about how he deals with the system, this takes the opposite route and looks at the system and how the subjects fit into it. Unfairly marked down by comparison, it is a good film in its own right.June
The Brand New Testament4.5November
The Danish Grl3.5Vikander is superb in this engaging story, but it is hard to get past Redmayne's annoying hand acting.January
The Double4July
The Double3November
The Drop3.5December
The Firm3August
The Fog2.5October
The Good Guys4August
The Greasy Strangler4October
The Gunman2Starts as you run of the mill black-ops for hire flick and gets progressively worse as the film drags on.June
The Intern2.5March
The Jungle Book (2016)4April
The Lady in the Van4March
The Legend of Barney Thompson3.5June
The Legend of Tarzan3July
The Lobster3An interesting premise turned into an unlikable film due to some apparently deliberate bad acting. Somehow left me wanting to watch it again though??January
The Long Good Friday3December
The Lords of Flatbush3March
The Martian3.5At its best when it is just Damon and the camera, so the start and end are a bit flat. Some odd secondary casting too.January
The Ones Below3.5May
The Program2.5March
The Puffy Chair3.5July
The Purge4March
The Purge: Anarchy3March
The Purge: Election Year3July
The Reluctant Fundamentalist3.5September
The Revenant4A rare beauty and a vicious beast. This year at least, the Oscar hype surrounding Alejandro G. Iñárritu's latest film is fully justified.January
The Shallows4.5November
The Shrimp and the Whale4July
The Train to Busan4November
The Trust4April
The Survivalist4May
The Warriors4May
The Witch4December
They Live4October
Tiger Bunny: The Beginning2.5Superb concept that fails to translate into a good movie. Hopes are high for the rumoured live action remake though.January
Time After Time3December
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy3.5April
Together in Electric Dreams4May
Tomb Raider2May
Trespass Against Us4December
Triple 93April
Trumbo4An excellent story that needed to be told. Has scary parallels to Donald Trump's distorted view of the world.January
War Dogs3.5August
Way of the Gun3March
Weiner Dog3August
When Marnie was There3.5February
Wings of Desire4February
X-Men Apocalypse3Shoddy effects and a pretty pathetic story, but a great start and some nice set pieces stop it being a failure.June
You're Next4October
You, Me and Everyone we Know4July
Zootopia (Zootropolis)4December

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Halftime Update

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