Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blog UPDATE for our few fans...

Today is the 17th of November and we have not posted anything since August 23rd. Since then we have watched several more movies from the list...I feel as though we need to let you know why the movie watching (and blogging) have taken a hiatus...The move, well, the move was horrific. There was a flood in the new house. Our landlord (for the Wheaton house) had asked if we could leave our lease early so that a new tenant could move in. Over half our new house was was lovely. So that was a set back. And then summer hit and we Bells don't like being inside when the weather is terrific...we had a family wedding, a vacation, friends from out of town, multiple trips into the city, the Botanic Garden and the Arboretum. Our tans were really great...the blog was really not high on the list.
Alas here we are. The weather is getting chilly. The leaves almost entirely raked. The entertainment season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years' Eve and Day) is upon us. We've just finished watching Ratatouille, in the middle of Grapes of Wrath, Gone with the Wind, The Sting, Chinatown, Apocalypse Now, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Toy Story 2, Hotel Rwanda, we decided to skip Crash(2005) (since we watched it already and HATED IT!)
So our promise, though we won't be done with the list by December 31, 2010, is to finish the list, including the new movies that have bumped the original list from this blog, by the time spring hits in 2011.
Thank you all for your patience and eagerness!

Monday, August 23, 2010

#137 Ed Wood: Future events such as these will affect you in the future

1994. dir. Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeffery Jones.

Seen it before? No.

Friday, August 20, 2010

#136 City Lights: Am I driving?

1931. dir. Charlie Chaplin, starring Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers.

Seen it before? No.

Another "little tramp" movie... meh, I didn't really feel this one. This time he's trying to woo a blind girl, and to do so, he tries to pass himself off as a millionaire. I liked the boxing scene, that was pretty damn funny. I also enjoyed the millionaire's oddly specific amnesia - he only remembers Charlie when he's drunk. I don't understand why Charlie didn't just slip him booze when he needed to at the end.

Position on the list: 68
In real life: Charlie Chaplin fired Virginia Cherrill from the movie, but had to rehire her because reshoots would have been too expensive

Thursday, August 19, 2010

#135 Memento: I've told you this before, haven't I?

2000. dir. Christopher Nolan, starring Guy Pearce, Joe Pantoliano, Carrie-Anne Moss.

Seen it before? Yes.

In my opinion, this is Christopher Nolan's best movie, although I haven't seen Inception yet. By the way, it's #3 on the Top 250 now!? It bumped Godfather Part II. Now I have to see it. Actually, looking over the list, there's a bunch of new movies on there... How To Train Your Dragon? Really, it was that good? Toy Story 3 is #12? Huh.

OK, so, Memento. It's the backwards movie. Well, not really - the black and white scenes go forward, and the color scenes go backwards. Neat device, and it works especially well because the protagonist has no short-term memory. Seeing this for the first time is very disorienting because basically everybody is lying to him and manipulating him, the poor guy.

Position on the list: 29
Hey! It's that guy! Stephen Tobolowsky! I sure as heck-fire remember you! Ned? Ryerson! Bing! Ok, I'm done.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

#134 To Kill A Mockingbird: Stand up.. your father's passing

1962. dir. Robert Mulligan, starring Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Phillip Alford, Brock Peters.

Seen it before? Parts of it, in HS English class

A great movie, but I still think the book was better. Here's a tip: if you want an A on your "To Kill a Mockingbird" essay in your Freshman English class, draw a comparison between Atticus shooting the dog, the police shooting Tom Robinson, and what happens to Boo Radley at the end. You know, the obvious stuff. High school was so easy.

While watching it, my wife and I were talking about what would happen if they tried to make this movie now, with the consensus being "they'd fuck it up royally", probably by casting Hannah Montana as Scout or some shit.

Position on the list: 55
The girl who played Scout: Had some "daddy" issues... watch the bonus features on the DVD and you'll see what I mean.

#133 American History X: Annnnzyle and Itterpretnl

1999. dir. Tony Kaye, starring Ed Norton, Edward Furlong, Fairuza Balk, Ethan Suplee, Stacy Keach, Beverly D'Angelo.

Seen it before? Yes.

and seeing it 10 years later, I realize it's genius. All white supremacists need is to be in prison with a black guy who does part of a Chris Rock routine, and boom, they're not racist anymore.

seriously though, this movie is just grating and annoying now, with a gratuitous "shocker" ending that comes out of nowhere.

Position on the list: 40

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

#132 Up: I do not like the cone of shame.

dir. Pete Docter and Bob Peterson, starring Ed Asner, Jordan Nagai, Christopher Plummer.

Seen it before? Yes.

LOVED the first ten minutes, where it shows all the decades of Carl and Ellie's life pass by, with all the joy and heartbreak. You NEVER see shit like that in a kid's movie. it's just... wow. OK, but then the rest of the movie: Carl somehow floats to South America by attaching balloons to his house, and there's a kid with him, and then it just gets silly, with talking dogs and shit. The main part of this movie is just as stupid as Bolt or any of the other dumb cartoons my son likes. Oh well.

Position on the list: 85
I did the math: You'd need about 1.2 million balloons

#131 Treasure of the Sierra Madre: We ain't got no badges... We don't need no badges!

1948. dir. John Huston, starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt.

Seen it before? No.

#117 Shadow of a Doubt - oh the creepiness that arises from naming your daughter after her uncle...

1943. dir. Alfred Hitchcock, starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey.

Seen it before? No.

The movie The Truth About Cats and Dogs with Uma Thurman and Janeane Garofalo had a line about loving your pets...
Abby: We can love our pets, we just can't LOVE our pets.
This movie reminded me of that because the admiration of the female Charlie, the niece to the real Charlie, for her uncle was really creepy. And there was also something creepy about the real Charlie...I'm sure it was a story telling device but he was duplicitous to say the least and I'm pretty certain he didn't really have a heart. It's thrilling but not nearly as much as the rest of Hitchcock's works.

See it again? Yes, surely I missed something...but I doubt it.
Own it? Why not?
Spoiler alert - glad Charlie snapped out of it in the end ha ha ha

Monday, August 9, 2010

#116 Judgment at Nuremberg - Star date May 16, 2010...oh wait...

1961. dir. Stanley Kramer, starring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Maximilian Schell, Marlene Dietrich.

Seen it before? No

Sam wrote, "This DVD has been sitting on the entertainment unit for about a week and a half. Staring at us with its unblinking eye. Taunting us. Daring us to watch it. "I'm 3 hours long! In black and white! I'm about the Holocaust!" So finally we watched it, and I have to say, we were riveted the whole time. Did not feel 3 hours long." It's like he took the words right out of my mouth! Another surprising movie that I stayed up for. And we watched it pretty late in the night if I recall.

A middle of the road judge from the northeastern part of the United States is flown to Germany to be the judge over a trial of former Nazi judges (including Burt Lancaster)...the defense attorney was impressive - passionate, willing to do virtually anything to lessen the sentences of the (sorry, I am totally judging) clearly guilty Nazi judges...Burt Lancaster as the judge who knew what he did was wrong and showed remorse was just amazing. Marlene Dietrich, who played Mrs. Bertholdt, was stunning (as usual).

I don't think I'll ever fully understand what happened in Nazi Germany. I don't ever want to time travel to that era in our world's history to find out. But I can tell you this right now...the actors in this movie played out the complexities of what it must have been like to be a part of something so cruel, so vicious, so unnecessary, with such elegance, stoicism and grace that you would have to be a vegetable not to see how terrific this movie is.

Watch it again? ABSOLUTELY
Own it? Sure
PS Sam, you spelled judgment incorrectly...
Last notes - Judy Garland looked like Liza does now...horrible and Chris Pine (who plays Capt. Kirk in the newest Star Trek) really does resemble the young Shatner... Finally...why does America always seem to be throwing down judgment on other countries? I so don't understand that.

#115 The Terminator - watched it again...I mean, for the first time.

1984. dir. James Cameron, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton.

Seen it before? kind of...

So I finally understand what Sam means when he says this is one of the best movies ever. I had seen only parts of this movie before May 16th which is when we actually viewed it...yes, I realize it's already August 9th but we'be been super busy and that's all I'm going to say about it so leave it alone!

In a phrase, this movie is SCREWED UP! From seeing the second one you know that Sara Connor is John Connor's mother. I get that. You meet her here. She's kind of weird. She's a server at a restaurant. And Arnold is BAD in this movie (as in the bad guy not horrible)! You do see his butt though...take that America you now have a governor (of over 7 years) who has shown his ass on film in front of millions and you still voted for him? Anyhow, I think I know why Maria Shriver married this guy from the future comes back (just like Arnold) to save Sara Connor...only the guy falls in love with her and gets her pregnant...My head hurts.

Seriously you need to see this movie. It was really great (it must have been since I stayed awake for the entire thing!).

See it again? Sure
Own it? Already do
Regarding Sam's comment - Hey, it's that guy! Bill Paxton is one of the punks at the beginning. I always get Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman confused. REALLY?!?!? You're CONFUSED!?!??! Bill Paxton has a gap between his teeth and is awful...Bill Pullman is the adorable guy next's not like Jeff Daniels and Jeff Bridges who actually DO kind of look alike!!! Get with the program Bell!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

#130 No Country for Old Men: Aw, hell's bells, they even shot the dog...

2007. dir. Joel and Ethan Coen, starring Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Kelly Macdonald.

Seen it before? Yes.

Monday, July 26, 2010

#114 Gran Torino - the tale of a cranky man who befriends Asians and begins to feel needed again

2008. dir. Clint Eastwood, starring Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Christopher Carley.

Seen it before? yes.

Before we started this cockamamie project Sam wanted to watch all the movies that were up for Academy Awards in previous years. This was one of them. And I'm pretty sure we saw it in December or November of last year...meaning it was watched exceptionally recently!

The first time I watched this movie I saw a cranky man with Hmong neighbors who reached out to him because he did them a favor. There were Hmong gang members trying to recruit one of their cousins. There was a brassy (untypical Asian female) character and it was refreshing to see she wasn't your run of the mill stereo-type. His family pissed me off. They got what was coming to them.

But the second time I watched the film I saw the movie for what it really is, a tale of an old, widowed man whose family didn't need him anymore claiming they didn't understand him when all they needed to do was take their heads out of their asses and interact with their dad/grandfather more...need him more. The kids knew nothing about their grandfather. Where I come from elders are to be treated with respect. Is that really a true depiction of how American kids act toward their elders? If so, YIKES! If Daniel ever acts like that I'll smack him!!! I digress. The relationship with the Hmong family was great because there was a reciprocity, a genuine feeling of caring. Clintwood's Kowalski visually changed in the movie from a gruff sounding old man to a gruff sounding NICE old man.

There were some parts of this movie that made me uneasy. You'll see what I mean when you watch it...and you definitely should.

See it again? In a while maybe
Own it? No need...I'm sure it will be in cable soon.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

#129 Trainspotting: Never Say Never Again

1996. dir. Danny Boyle, starring Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kelly Macdonald.

yeah... Scotland's worst toilet.

#128 Platoon: No right or wrong in them

1986. dir. Oliver Stone, starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe.

fortunately they were able to patch up their differences and play on the Indians.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

#127 Nights of Cabiria: She's a countess

1957. dir. Frederico Fellini, starring Giulietta Masina, François Périer, Franca Marzi. Italian with subtitles.

Seen it before? No.

Sometimes I think this whole project is ill-advised. Some of these movies are clearly meant to be enjoyed and savored like fine wine, and here we are gulping them down like a freshman playing Century Club.

Oh well, too late to stop now... on to Nights of Cabiria, starring Giulietta Masina as the titular Cabiria. She's a hooker, living in Rome with all of her hatchet-faced hooker friends, and she has various misadventures. In the first scene in the movie, her boyfriend shoves her into a river to steal her money. This pretty much sets the tone.

It's got kind of a Random Events Plot, but it's worth seeing for Masina's performance. She reminds me of Lucille Ball, or Charlie Chaplin.

Position on the list: 194
For those of you who did not attend college in the Midwest: It's a drinking game in which you attempt to drink 100 shots of beer (or cider) in 100 minutes. Not recommended.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

#126 High Noon: Do not forsake me O my darling

1952. dir. Fred Zinnemann, starring Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges.

Seen it before? No.

Gary Cooper plays Marshal Will Kane, who retires to marry nagging wet blanket Grace Kelly, who is like 30 years younger than him, but whatever. But on the day of his retirement/marriage, this criminal that he helped convict has gotten out of prison on a technicality, and is headed back to town on the noon train to get revenge on Kane. Kane tries to put together a posse to defend himself, but nobody is willing to help because they all suck.

The movie is shot in real time, sort of; you can watch the clocks in the background tick closer to 12 noon. (I think they stole that idea for a Johnny Depp movie a few years ago.) (EDIT: Yep. They did.) John Wayne hated it, because he thought it was un-American, somehow? He thought it was a metaphor for the HUAC and the blacklist, which, yeah, maybe, but you really have to strain to see it that way.

Position on the list: 127
Number of times Bill Clinton watched this movie while he was president: 17

#125 Spartacus: I fought fire with oil

1960. dir. Stanley Kubrick, starring Kirk Douglas, Jean Simmons, Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov.

Seen it before? Some of it. We watched it in World History class and Mr. Paris kept fast-forwarding the non-educational parts, i.e. most of it. So I probably saw 1/3 of this before.

Another big, 3-hour Roman epic. This came out a year after Ben-Hur and is comparable in scope and subject matter, so I guess comparisons are inevitable...

Protagonist: Kirk Douglas vs. Charlton Heston. These guys basically delivered the same performance, so it's a tie

Villain: Laurence Olivier vs. Stephen Boyd. Oh, this one is easy. Olivier by a mile.

Tacked-on love interest: Jean Simmons vs. Haya Harareet. I honestly don't remember anything about Harareet's performance. In six weeks, I don't think I'll remember Simmons either. Tie!

Score: Alex North vs. Miklos Rosza. North's work was okay, but Rosza is the clear winner here.

Gay subtext: The "snails and oysters" scene in Spartacus is gayer than anything in Ben-Hur, but not by much.

Big cool action scenes: Ben-Hur had the naval battle and the chariot race, both of which top anything here.

Oscars: Ben-Hur wins 11-4 in that department.

Position on the list: 241
Ben-Hur's position on the list: 142

Monday, July 5, 2010

#124 Million Dollar Baby: I think I did alright.

2004. dir. Clint Eastwood, starring Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman.

I just want what's best for you and Manushka...

Monday, June 28, 2010

#123 Dog Day Afternoon: Wyoming's not a country

1975. dir, Sidney Lumet, starring Al Pacino, John Cazale, Chris Sarandon, Charles Durning.

Seen it before? No.

Hola, amigos. How's it hangin'? I know it's been a long time since I last rapped at ya but we're moving, and there was a flood, and we've been too freakin busy to watch any movies lately. In fact i can see by the scoreboard that our projected finish date has slipped into 2011 - Oh shit! - so here's this.

Based on a true story. Sonny (Michael) and Sal (Fredo) decide to rob a bank. (oh, and a third guy, but he chickens out at the beginning, and we never see him again.) Since they are amateurs and don't really know what they're doing, what should have been a quick in-and-out turns into a multi-hour hostage situation. Oh yeah and the reason they are robbing the bank is to pay for Sonny's wife's sex change operation.

Good movie. Now I somehow have to find time to watch Spartacus so it might be awhile.

Position on the list: 166
The real guy: Died in 2006.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

#122 Cinema Paradiso: The soldier stood up, took his chair, and went away

1988. dir. Giuseppe Tornatore, starring Philippe Noiret, Marco Leonardi, Salvatore Cascio, Jacques Perrin. Italian with subtitles.

Seen it before? No.

@#$% 177 minute director's cut... burn in hell, Giuseppe Tornatore... (checks imdb, he's still alive) never mind.

Position on the list 84

#113 Bridge on the River Kwai - All that work for nothing

#113 Bridge on the River Kwai: Be happy in your work
1957. dir David Lean, starring William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa.

Seen it before? No.

Why oh why are most of these movies war movies? I know I've complained before and let me tell you I am not going to stop until we've seen the last one! American prisoners in WWII are commissioned to build a bridge on the River Kwai. What I didn't understand was how the Japanese army officers got the American soldiers to build their bridge without major physical seems to me there was a certain sense of civility, respect even, to how prisoners were treated by their captors...or was that just the beauty of the movie? Don't get me wrong, the lead officer refused to let his commanding officers work like the rest of the soldiers and therefore got punished by being placed in a box with barely any food for days on end. I mean, when you watch this movie you'll see just how much time and planning went into creating this bridge. It was crazy!

Favorite part - when the two guys at the beginning of the movie are creating grave markers in an attempt to get placed in the infirmary.

See it again? Sure
Own it? Meh
What has piqued my curiosity - the real life relationship of Commander Saito and the lieutenant/colonel.
Cool fact - Sessue Hayakawa made a script for himself that was only his character's (Saito)lines to create authentic reactions! How cool!!!

#112 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - You have to understand...

2004. dir. Michel Gondry, starring Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, Tom Wilkinson.

Seen it before? Bits and pieces

I am not a stay up late to watch a new movie kind of girl...and so, I will watch this movie, in its entirety after we move! =) 6-15-2010

#111 Psycho - Here's where I say....

1960. dir. Alfred Hitchcock, starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam.

SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT You're going to have to wait for me to re-watch this...and not just in segments...and not just the first ten minutes before my brain turns off for the night...SOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRY! 6-15-2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

#110 Amores Perros - I know what you're thinking, how can she forget about THIS movie?

#110 Amores Perros: If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans
2000. dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu, starring Emilio Echevarría, Gael García Bernal, Goya Toledo, Álvaro Guerrero, Vanessa Bauche. Spanish with subtitles.

Seen it before? No.

Sam's been pretty good about writing his posts but I haven't...aside from being terribly busy packing we've had an out of town guest and gone on vacation too...for this movie my excuse is that I was at a loss for words about what to think about this movie. It was confusing for sure but it was truly disgusting in the Michael Vick way so I am going to tell you now, do NOT watch this movie if you are a member of PETA or don't like animal violence (of any kind) is truly disturbing!

As Sam wrote there are three stories that intersect due to a violent car wreck. The dog fighting plot is the first set of tales. A boy wants his douche bag brother's wife and earns his money by bringing his brothers' dog to the dog fights. It is a brutal, brutal dog, to be fact, the third plot has a hit man/bum collecting stray dogs and the brutal dog from the beginning does not repay the mans' kindness by way of his dogs. Meanwhile the second plot is about a man who has an affair with a model...he's not that great looking so I don't get it...but she has a dog and it gets stuck under the floorboards because the condo they are living in is cheaply built...

To say I hated this movie would be wrong. I didn't hate it...I didn't love it either. I wouldn't watch it again and it truly did disturb me to no end. I get how they can say this is Mexico's Pulp Fiction I really do. I did stay up for it hoping it would get better and it just didn't. Sam mentioned this is from the guy who did Babel...that was another movie I was indifferent too but that's another blog post.

Friday, June 11, 2010

#121 Fargo: That guy's dead, and I don't mean of old age

1996. dir. Joel Coen, starring Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare.

Seen it before? Heck yah.

aw, hon, ya got Arby's all o'er me.

Position on the list: 117

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

#120 Stalag 17: Maybe he just wanted to steal our wire cutters

1953. dir. Billy Wilder, starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck.

Seen it before? No.

Feels like we've seen this one before... we just saw Bridge On The River Kwai, which also featured William Holden in a POW camp. Well now he's in Germany in black and white, instead of Japan and in color, and his fellow inmates think he's a spy. I really can't blame them, as the first thing we see him do is bet cigarettes that the two guys trying to escape will fail. I mean, right or wrong, that's a dick move. He quickly becomes the barracks pariah due to his negative attitude and suspicions about his loyalty.

It's a pretty serious story, which makes all the slapstick goofiness seem out of place. The show stealers here are the big hairy guy who loves Betty Grable, and Sgt. Schultz, who is basically the character from Hogan's Heroes. In fact the makers of this movie sued the makers of the show for stealing their idea.

Position on the list: 212
Hey! It's that guy! OK, this is a weird one, but apparently Ross Bagdasarian, a.k.a. Dave Seville, the Chipmunks guy, plays a soldier.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

#119 Se7en: We are not what was intended

1995. dir. David Fincher, starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey.

Seen it before? No.

I had some problems with this movie. Spoilers ahoy...

Brad Pitt is The Young Hot-shot Detective, and Morgan Freeman is The Grizzled, World-Weary Veteran Detective Who Has One Week Until Retirement. They are trying to track down The Evil Genius Serial Killer Who's Always One Step Ahead, who is murdering people according to the Seven Deadly Sins. Pride, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth. I think the movie would have been funnier if it was the Seven Dwarfs instead...

His scheme sort of makes sense, I guess. The gluttony guy is big and fat, and he kills him by making him eat too much. The greed guy was a rich lawyer, and he kills him by forcing him to cut off a pound of his own flesh. The sloth guy was... uh, a pedophile? Wait. What does that have to do with sloth? And why does he kill Gwyneth Paltrow? What was her "sin"? I think the screenwriter just got lazy.

OK, this part bothered me. Morgan Freeman starts picking up on the literary allusions in the killings: Chaucer, Milton, Dante, etc. So he types up a list of books that he thinks the killer was reading, and hands it to a crooked FBI guy, who looks up who checked out those books from the library. This somehow leads the detectives directly to the apartment of the killer. I have at least three problems with this. One, the books he checked out were common, well-known classics. Any English major would be familiar with all of them. Morgan Freeman's character was too... which leads to problem #2, it's all based on his guesses as to what he would be reading, not any actual evidence. Problem #3 - we see the killer's apartment, and it's full of books. Wouldn't he have bought the books, instead of checking them out from the library? He has the money for it.

One more question. The killer's plan relied on having a married detective chasing him. One thing I've learned from The Wire is that a lot of homicide detectives are alcoholic loners. Just like Morgan Freeman in this movie! How did he know his case would get a married detective assigned to it? How did he know exactly how long it would take them to do the fingerprint analysis and trace the next victim, when fingerprint analysis can take up to 3 days? They got there exactly a year to the day after he started taking pictures, right? Why was the killer soaked in blood when he came into the police department? From killing Gwyneth Paltrow, right? But then he had to pack up the head in a box and give it to the guy to deliver, so wouldn't the guy get freaked out by the killer covered in blood and go to the cops with it?

EDIT: I forgot to talk about the dumbest scene in the whole movie. So the two detectives show up at the killer's apartment, and he's not home. After snooping around for awhile, they leave, and the killer is standing in the hallway, and gets into a shootout with them! They chase him into the alley, and at one point he gets the drop on Brad Pitt and is about to kill him, but Morgan Freeman scares him off and he escapes.

So many questions. Why was he trying to kill the detectives in the first place? Wouldn't that ruin his plan? He needed Brad Pitt to be alive so he could execute the "wrath/envy" murders. He's also taking a huge risk of getting caught. How was he so sure that he could escape from two police detectives? Why didn't the detectives call for backup, or chase him? It seems like they wanted an action set-piece in the second act, but couldn't think of a way to have it make sense, but they went ahead with it anyway. I hate that shit.

Position on the list: 26
What city is this, anyway? I think it's New York because a population sign says 8 million people, and Gwenyth Paltrow talks about having lived "upstate", but it's never explicitly stated.

Friday, June 4, 2010

#118 Kill Bill Vol. 1: I have vermin to kill

2003. dir. Quentin Tarantino, starring Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Sonny Chiba, Vivica A. Fox.

Seen it before? Yes.

Annnnd we're back. i'll write something later.

Position on the list: 134

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

#109 The Bourne Ultimatum - Damon's kind of a Streisand in this movie...

2007. dir. Paul Greengrass, starring Matt Damon, Joan Allen, David Stratharin, Julia Stiles.

Seen it before? Yes.

The last of the Bourne series to be filmed...I remember sitting in the theater at Northbrook Court because it was the first movie Sam and I saw after Daniel was born. I also remember that there was a kid in the audience who was like nine or ten and watching with his mother...and I thought, who the hell would take their nine or ten year old kid to see this movie!?!? It was VIOLENT with a capital V and there was no way a kid would understand the plot. Hire a sitter for goodness sakes!

Despite my objections to the woman and her kid I actually liked the movie...though I will admit that I had a little bout of motion sickness because the cinematography was incredibly shaky. It left room for another Bourne movie in the event Matt Damon wanted to do another one...I truly hope they don't Bond this movie series.

The movie series does make you think...yes, all you conspiracy theorists out there, this one's for you. Could the government's secret agencies really be constantly hiring hitmen/women and have they brainwashed volunteers to do the bidding so that they know the distance between where they sit and all major exits, and that three of the people are carrying weapons, six of them are right handed, and the cook spat in the guys' coffee? Can you just imagine?

See it again? HELL Yes!
Own it? We did but I think someone "borrowed" it.

#108 La Strada - Wow...Anthony Quinn was young once.

1954. dir. Frederico Fellini, starring Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina. Italian w/ subtitles.

Seen it before? No.

And let me tell you, his character was an A-hole!!! I didn't like how he treated Gelsomina (his traveling companion and sidekick). I don't care that he fed her and gave her a place to sleep! What was with her sister dying (I am pretty sure that was what was implied at the beginning)? How? Why? What did he do to her? And what was her mother thinking selling her off to the man who came back to report that her other daughter (the prettier one apparently) was dead? ARGH!

I didn't like this movie, but probably because I didn't get it. Gelsomina was weird...I'm not sure what she would be diagnosed with in present day but there was definitely something off about her. Also, you didn't know who to root for. Was there a protagonist? Was Gelsomina in love with Zampano? No, I didn't ruin any of this film for you so if you're confused to go ahead and watch it!

See it again? Probably just to clear up any confusion
Own it? Nah

Friday, May 21, 2010

#107 The Lord of the Rings - visually stunning...

2001. dir. Peter Jackson, starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellan, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett.

Seen it before? Yes.

But I'll take Harry Potter any day...though Vigo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom are rather dishy.

We watched it on Blu-ray and I still can't tell the difference. If you have 178 minutes to spare and want to be taken away from your regular life and sucked into a fantastic world where creatures speak a different language and good and evil are not cut and dry, then watch this movie. I loved the relationships between the characters. The myth of the object (the ring for those who are still absolutely clueless) was interesting too since Hobbitts didn't get nearly as affected as others...why is that by the way? Gollem was (as was intended I'm sure) creepy to the core. I already don't like hearing how precious something is but then to have Gollem say it, well, it sends a shiver down my spine!

See it again? There are so many other movies I would rather see Vigo Mortensen in...
Own it? Yes, we do

For the record - I watched all three on big screen and I haven't read the books because Sam told me I'd hate them...considering I'm not 100% feeling the LotR love, I can totally understand why he told me that...

PS between Jar Jar and Gollem I will gladly take Jar Jar. There, I said it.

#106 Infernal Affairs - the Departed...Hong Kong style

2002. dir. Wai-keung Lau and Alan Mak, starring Andy Lau, Tony Leung, Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang. Cantonese with subtitles.

Seen it before? No

Sam pretty much covered all the similarities between this movie and The Departed. We watched it with the English subtitles so you had to pay attention. Good thing too because it would have been pretty confusing otherwise. Yan and Lau are Costigan (DiCaprio) and Sullivan (Damon). They both work for the police or investigations. They both are in Sam's (think Nicholson) working for Sam through the police, the other working for the police through Sam. The lack of an extra hour does make it hard to distinguish who the secondary players (in the gang and the police department anyway) are but if you have seen The Departed then you can pretty much figure out who plays whom.

See it or don't. It's fascinating to see the differences and the similarities in the two movies.

See it again? Yeah, I'd see it again.
Own it? Why should I when I own The Departed?

#117 Shadow of a Doubt: I broke my mother's back three times

1943. dir. Alfred Hitchcock, starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey.

Seen it before? No.

Sometimes we get asked, "How do you pick what order you watch the movies in?" Well, it's like this:

So today the dart landed on this movie... Joseph Cotten plays this creepy guy Charlie who's possibly a murderer. He gets chased out of Philadelphia by two detectives, and gets on a train to go see his sister in California. His niece (Teresa Wright) is also named Charlie and she's sort of smitten with him. eeww. Oh and there's also two annoying other kids; the girl sort of reminded me of Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine, or the kid from Head of the Class.

It's an interesting movie... not Hitchcock's best work, but still high quality. Good job, Dart Monkey.

Position on the list: 209
Telegram!: The characters in this movie send telegrams. I was curious and I looked it up... apparently Western Union sent its last telegram in 2006, and there were 20,000 telegrams sent in 2005. Who was sending them?!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

#116 Judgement at Nuremberg: The hare was shot by the hunter in the field

1961. dir. Stanley Kramer, starring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Maximilian Schell, Marlene Dietrich.

Seen it before? Parts of it... for school... doesn't really count

This DVD has been sitting on the entertainment unit for about a week and a half. Staring at us with its unblinking eye. Taunting us. Daring us to watch it. "I'm 3 hours long! In black and white! I'm about the Holocaust!" So finally we watched it, and I have to say, we were riveted the whole time. Did not feel 3 hours long.

Spencer Tracy plays a judge; he's presiding over a trial of some former Nazi judges - Burt Lancaster, Colonel Klink, and uhh, two other guys. Richard Widmark plays the prosecuting attorney, and Maximilian Schell (who won Best Actor) plays the defense attorney. Why don't they make courtroom dramas anymore? Aside from various bullshit John Grisham movies, I think the last notable one was A Few Good Men, and that was almost 20 years ago. I don't know why this genre has fallen by the wayside. Anyway this is a great movie. Don't let the length and the Nazi atrocities throw you.

Position on the list: 182
Two people I didn't expect to see in this movie: Judy Garland, who looks old and tired here, and pre-Star Trek William Shatner.

Monday, May 17, 2010

#115 The Terminator: Don't you have, uh, ray guns?

1984. dir. James Cameron, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton.

Seen it before? yes.

One of the greatest action movies ever made. About the only negative thing I can say is that it indirectly led to Titanic being made...

This is probably the defining example of the Stable Time Loop. In the future, the defense network, aka "Skynet" has become self-aware, so they decide to kill all the humans. They send a robot (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back in time to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), the mother of the leader of the human resistance, so the humans send back a soldier Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) to protect her. Reese ends up fathering John Connor, who, knowing who his father is, intentionally sends him back in time so he can, uh, exist. Oh yeah, and it's revealed in the next movie that they invented Skynet by reverse-engineering parts from the Terminator that was sent back, so... wait, how did all of this happen?

You can send metal back in time if it's wrapped in living tissue, so I would have surgically inserted a ray gun into a dog or something.

Position on the list: 158
Hey, it's that guy! Bill Paxton is one of the punks at the beginning. I always get Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman confused.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

#105 Taxi Driver: Another DeNiro movie...

1976. dir. Martin Scorsese, starring Robert DeNiro, Cybill Sheppard, Albert Brooks, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel.

Seen it before? No.

Here we go, another DeNiro movie. Unlike Brazil he's the main character in this movie. He plays, can you guess? Yep, that's right, a taxi driver in 70s NYC which is probably the scummiest place on earth. Not nearly what Times Square would have you believe. Porn theaters are everywhere, as are hookers...even super young ones like Jodie Foster...I know, what is with her and all her questionable roles? Anyhow, while driving around DeNiro sees an extremely hot Cybill Sheppard through the window of the political office she works in. He becomes bold enough to ask her out and then shows his true colors on the second date where he actually takes her TO a porn theater!!!

The movie constantly shows DeNiro writing letters to people and complaining about NYC and people in general. His character becomes increasingly insane and stalker like. He bumps into Jodie Fosters' character a few times and tries to save her from the life she's leading.

Since I didn't ruin the movie you'll have to either watch it or read it on some spoiler website.

See it again? DeNiro is beginning to grate on me...
Own it? UGH

#114 Gran Torino: Get off my lawn

2008. dir. Clint Eastwood, starring Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Christopher Carley.

Seen it before? yes.

Clint Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, who is a bitter, racist old man. His wife dies. He has two sons who are just awful people. I mean, who lets their kid wear a Lions jersey to a funeral? Or out in public? It is the clothing of failure.

Walt has some Hmong neighbors - the H is silent, it's pronounced "Mong". When Sue (Ahney Her) introduces herself to Walt and tells him that she's Hmong, Walt says "Hu-mong?" So either Walt can hear the silent H, or he read the script ahead of time. Sue's lackwit brother Thao (Bee Vang) tries to steal Walt's mint-condition Gran Torino, and at first Walt tries to murder him. But then he feels pity for him, and decides to help him instead. Yadda yadda, they all confront their prejudices, wait, is that Clint Eastwood singing? Ow, my freakin' ears!

Position on the list: 90
Shot on location! In fabulous Detroit, which really does look like crap.

#104 In Bruges - NEVER kill a kid!!!

2008. dir. Martin McDonagh, starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Clémence Poésy, Ralph Fiennes.

Seen it before? Yes.

I'll be the first one to admit it...I don't get Colin Farrell's appeal to women...Personally I think he's gross or the equivalent of a walking drunk...but in this movie, I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised at his acting ability...I was sympathetic to his character and didn't even mind his whiny moments. His scenes with Clémence Poésy were sweet because he was so self deprecating.

Brendan Gleeson (who you'll remember as being creepy Mad Eye Moody) was charming as Ray's partner who is trying to stay positive despite knowing what lies ahead. I loved how he was ordered to play tourist and therefore he was enjoying seeing the old buildings and the views from the top of the tower. I also loved that he kept tabs on Ray like a brother. He got him into this mess and he'd keep him from getting into further trouble - if possible.

Ralph Fiennes can be so freaking creepy!!! But I totally understood his character's ethic of NOT killing children. What kind of father would he be if he was okay with killing children...not to say that I didn't approve of his line of "work" of hiring hitmen but a job is a job I suppose. His is technically "crime boss."

See it again? I liked it so much I saw it twice...I would definitely see it again and encourage you to watch it too!
Own it? YES! =)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

#103 The Great Dictator - Prince meet the Pauper...a satirical play on Hitler...

1940. dir. Charlie Chaplin, starring Charlie Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardiner, Paulette Goddard.

Seen it before? No.

Charlie Chaplin speaks...and in a dual role as a communist leader and a Jewish barber who lives in the ghetto...Anti-semitic remarks and actions (unfortunately) run rampant as soldiers make the lives of Jewish people miserable. Barber shop scenes are pretty humorous (particularly the ones where he is shaving customers while music is playing); his love interest is a washer woman who is fed up with being treated poorly (LOVE HER!) and takes action by throwing fruit (or other things) at mean soldiers...FINALLY a character that doesn't just sit around and take it!

Serious themes also surfaced and the whole Prince and the Pauper things was predictable and inevitable0 since Chaplin played both the antagonist and the protagonist. The speech at the end was kind of like the one in the movie Dave where you left it wondering how the speaker was going to commit to action all the things he has said needs to happen...someone in the movie Dave says "You set out a bold goal
and you don't say how you'll do it.
" That's kind of how I felt after the credits appeared...interesting eh? What was that I said a while back about Hollywood running out of ideas?

See it again? For the schtick? Sure
Own it? Nah

#102 Brazil - this movie is all kinds of screwed up!

1985. dir. Terry Gilliam, starring Jonathan Pryce, Robert DeNiro, Katharine Helmond, Kim Greist, Michael Palin.

Seen it before? No.

The start of the movie has a man being arrested at Christmas time and his wife gets handed a bill for his arrest while his apartment (and the one of his upstairs neighbor) gets completely trampled on (understatement). The main character, played by J. Pryce, discovers the error - the guy who was supposed to be arrested had the name Tuttle and they arrested a man named BUTTLE...whoops...who's in charge here? Chaos and mayhem, and Robert DeNiro - as a duct engineer, ensues and the story is VERY weird...Mona from Who's the Boss is Pryce's eccentric surgery driven mother. Food comes in weird rectangle concoctions resembling nothing but a pile of crap and did I mention that the movie has 'duct engineers' because of all the tubes (read DUCTS) that are all over the world? And the same song "Brazil" gets played in different renditions...There's even a love story...kind of...

This movie would be fascinating if I wasn't so bloody confused! Women wear shoes on their heads. Men work in offices that resemble 20's newsrooms or the sewing room in the Pajama Game but don't seem to be getting anything done while the boss' door is closed (they watch a movie). Pryce gets promoted and has his own office but the wall (and the desk) are shared with a very weird man who keeps on pulling on his side so that he gets more desk space...comical but still weird...

OVERALL opinion - this movie would probably be really excellent if I was high.
See it again? Yes, but only because I'm sure I missed something the first time.
Own it? NO thanks

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

#113 Bridge on the River Kwai: Be happy in your work

1957. dir David Lean, starring William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa.

Seen it before? No.

Looking at the list, 1957 was an absolutely loaded year: 7 movies, compared to 1 in 1956 and 2 in 1958. This is that year's Best Picture winner, and it does not disappoint.

It seems like half of these movies are in some way related to World War II... anyway here we are in a Japanese prison camp near the River Kwai (which is in Thailand, I guess?) The prisoners are tasked by the cruel Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa) with constructing a bridge over the river. There's two prisoners of note: the American Commander Shears (William Holden), who escapes from the prison, and the British Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness), who decides to make the best bridge he possibly can, to keep up the morale of the prisoners. Shears then leads a commando raid back to the bridge to blow it up. Heh.

This reminded me of The African Queen, in that it has a very similar plot, and was also filmed on location in a jungle. It's a good movie but kinda long. Oh and they keep whistling the "Colonel Bogey" march, which they made us play in high school band, and MAN is it annoying.

Position on the list: 69
Another movie this reminded me of: The General, particularly the ending. Kabooms! Oh, uh, spoilers.

#112 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: You were lost and gone forever

2004. dir. Michel Gondry, starring Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, Tom Wilkinson.

Seen it before? No.

Imagine there's this doctor who figured out a way to erase specific memories in people's brains. He offers a service where you can go in and get a person removed from your memory so you don't have to think about them anymore. So: take a couple of minutes, and imagine all the different problems this might cause, especially if the doctor and his staff aren't real big on the whole "ethics" thing. Go ahead, write them down, I'll wait.




OK, done? You've just written the script of this movie. Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) have a nasty breakup, so she erases him from his mind. He finds out about it, and for spite, he goes in to erase her. It seems like if you're going to do this, you might also want to move to another city? So you don't bump into this person anymore, and confuse them? Clementine doesn't even bother changing jobs! And she works at Barnes and Noble, so Joel can just come in and visit her anytime! Jesus!

Ridiculousness aside, this is a pretty great movie... Only appearance on the list by the brilliant screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, who wrote Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, which were awesome, and Synecdoche, New York, which is where I think he went a little too far up his own ass.

Position on the list: 57
Brief semi-nudity: Kirsten Dunst - not technically nudity, but you can see her nips through her shirt (a.k.a. the Spiderman special.) yowza.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

#111 Psycho: A boy's best friend is his mother.

1960. dir. Alfred Hitchcock, starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam.

Ahh, yeah, so, spoiler warning.

What appears to be an interesting morality tale about a young woman (Janet Leigh) who steals a large sum of money from her workplace and skips town gets utterly derailed a third of the way through when she gets randomly stabbed to death by the guy running the hotel she stays at. He's dressing up as his mother - who died ten years ago - because he's crazy. Don't worry, a psychologist explains the whole thing at the end for us.

This movie fails my "twist ending" test, in that I don't think the movie really works if you already know how it ends. Movies that pass the test include: Empire Strikes Back, The Sixth Sense, and Memento, which I think are actually improved when you know what's coming. I don't think this holds up without the shock value.

Position on the list: 22
Wait, really? 22? Ooooooo-ver-rated where the wind comes sweeping down the plain

Sunday, May 9, 2010

#101 Paths Of Glory - not the worst of the Kubrick films IMO

1957. dir Stanley Kubrick, starring Kirk Douglas, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Adolphe Menjou.

Seen it before? No.

Those French military guys are some bad MFs!!! Actually, who really knows? I sure haven't spent enough time learning about WWI. Meanwhile the Civil War and WWII are crammed down your throats throughout high school. So Kirk Douglas leads his troop into battle but there is no honor among these men as one part of the regimen didn't make their way out of their barracks...and unfortunately Kirk Douglas' men have to pay the price with their lives.

You know it's funny how many times I would like to reach through the television screen and throttle some of the characters that appear in these movies. This movie was one of them. I would have liked to shake some of Douglas' superiors for being such, well, bastards...If you're going to screw up and cost men their lives fess up already dammit! The three men who ended up going to the "mock" trial - it was a "real" trial in that there were people trying to give proof of how these men were valiant soldiers but it was just staged to try to make it look like there was a legitimate reason for killing them - were men you could relate to...they had families and, for the most part, they didn't deserve to die. I was sooooooooooooooo pissed off by this movie!!!

See it again? NO THANKS!
Own it? Doesn't my answer to the above question say it all?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

#110 Amores Perros: If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans

2000. dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu, starring Emilio Echevarría, Gael García Bernal, Goya Toledo, Álvaro Guerrero, Vanessa Bauche. Spanish with subtitles.

Seen it before? No.

Starring this guy.

Some have called it the "Mexican Pulp Fiction". It's really three intersecting movies - well, in theory. The three plot lines come together in a violent car crash that is the climax of one plot, the start of another, and is witnessed in passing by the third. All three plots involve dogs in some way.

#1: Octavio y Susana. Octavio (Gael García Bernal) gets involved in the underground dogfighting circuit; makes a lot of money but then gets into trouble. Also he tries to steal his brother's woman Susana (Vanessa Bauche). His brother is a creepy asshole, and a criminal, but so is Octavio, so why should I sympathize with him? Oh, I guess the brother hits her and cheats on her, just as sort of a "kick the dog".

#2: Daniel y Valeria. While escaping from the gang, Octavio smashes into Valeria's (Goya Toledo) car, messing up her leg. Valeria is a model of some sort, having been introduced in an Unmotivated Close-Up on a talk show. Her dog gets stuck under the floorboards of her condo. Her boyfriend (Álvaro Guerrero) seems to take a very laid-back approach to getting it out.

#3: El Chivo y Maru. A craggy hitman known as "El Chivo" (Saddam Hussein) has to carry out a job, but he gets interrupted by the car crash. He steals Octavio's dog, and he has a daughter, and... eh, whatever, I didn't care by this point.

Don't see this movie if you're averse to animal cruelty; dogs suffer in this movie. (it says "no animals harmed", but I don't think I believe them.)

Position on the list: 163
While we're on the subject of Alejandro González Iñárritu: Babel. Saw it 2 years ago and I'm still mad. What did that stupid Japan plot have to do with anything? dammit.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

#109 The Bourne Ultimatum: You look tired

2007. dir. Paul Greengrass, starring Matt Damon, Joan Allen, David Stratharin, Julia Stiles.

Seen it before? Yes.

The third of the Jason Bourne movies, which I think makes this the only movie series with just Part 3 on the list. Hmm, let's see...
  • Parts 1, 2, and 3: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings
  • Just parts 1 and 2: Alien, Terminator, Godfather
  • Just parts 1 and 3: Indiana Jones (no love for Temple of Doom!)
  • Just Part 1: Back to the Future, Rocky, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jaws, Psycho, Exorcist, Die Hard, probably others
    Not sure where Silence of the Lambs fits in.

    Anyway, this is probably the shittiest of the Bourne movies. First of all, it;s directed by Paul Greengrass, who can't show something even as simple as a conversation between two people without the camera wobbling and shaking the whole time. The action scenes are dizzying, and not in a good way. Second, Jason Bourne is just not an interesting character here. He had some humanity in Identity and Supremacy, but here he's just this humorless boring invincible robot who goes from place to place kicking the shit out of people. Third, why so many scenes copied from the first two movies? Yes, yes, you're standing across the street looking right at them as you're talking to them on the phone. You did that in the last movie!

    I thought the whole thing had turned into a farce by the end. Let me describe a scene for you: Noah Vosen (David Stratharin) knows where Jason Bourne is, so he sends a bunch of agents after him. Bourne somehow escapes, and then they cut to Vosen looking frustrated and exasperated. This happens like 8 times! it got to the point that every time it happened I started saying "BOOOOOURNE!" in a Mr. Wilson from "Dennis the Menace" voice. It made the movie much funnier.

    Especially ridiculous is the part when Bourne breaks in to the CIA to steal some files from Vosen's office. He's created a distraction to get everyone out of the office - I mean everyone, because apparently there wasn't any security? How the hell did he do that? But then he's stuck inside the CIA, and the screenwriters don't know how to get him out; Vosen has realized he's been duped, so the building is surrounded by CIA agents and the NYPD. Bourne has to escape with the files, or else the plot is over, so how does he escape? Uh, he steals a police car and drives away. Some guys chase him, but then Bourne crashes the car and, uhh, just walks away. Give me a break!

    Position on the list: 151
    I owned this movie: But somebody stole it. BOOOOOOURNE!!!
  • Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    #108 La Strada: The Fool is hurt

    1954. dir. Frederico Fellini, starring Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina. Italian w/ subtitles.

    Seen it before? No.

    Anthony Quinn plays Zampano, a traveling performer. His act is to bend a steel ring with his pectoral muscles. Eh, not that impressive. He buys a girl, Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), to help him out. Yes, buys. I don't know if that sort of thing was legal back then, but whatever. Gelsomina is kind of slow and useless, which casues Zamapano all sorts of aggravation. She meets a guy she likes, another performer nicknamed "The Fool", whose act seems to involve walking a tightrope and being irritating. Zampano beats him to death, and I can't blame him.

    Let's see, what else happened in this movie? I saw it 2 weeks ago so I'm kind of fuzzy. ... drawing a blank. Oh well, the mind is the first thing to go.

    Position on the list: 224
    The score: Written by Nino Rota... you know, the Godfather guy

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    #107 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Drums in the deep

    2001. dir. Peter Jackson, starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellan, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett.

    Seen it before? Yes.

    Seen all 3 of these already but they just came out on Blu-ray so here we are. I tried reading the books once but I couldn't do it, mostly because Tolkien has this habit of making up words. It's very confusing... yes, I know, he's this genius linguist who invented whole languages, but I just want to be able to follow the story. Also the books went off on these long tangents that had nothing to do with the story, so in my opinion, the movies improved on the books by streamlining them. (Looking at you here, Tom Bombadil. I don't care what color your boots are.)

    The streamlining is needed because these movies are long enough as it is. They would be 5 hours long if they captured everything. Certainly they are great movies, but enough is enough, right?

    Position on the list: 18
    I don't get it: If the elves got rings too, why didn't they turn into Ringwraiths? Don't answer that.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010

    #106 Infernal Affairs: I don't know whether he's good or bad

    2002. dir. Wai-keung Lau and Alan Mak, starring Andy Lau, Tony Leung, Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang. Cantonese with subtitles.

    Seen it before? No, but I've seen The Departed, so sorta.

    Yes, total remake of The Departed, but with some key differences. in fact it's pretty amazing how different these movies are. Don't worry about spoilers, if you've seen one, you've seen 'em both, plot wise, anyway...
  • First and most obvious difference is that Affairs is nearly an hour shorter. Thus there is much less plot, and less character development. We don't really get to see how Yan infiltrates Boss Sam's gang. Most of Sam's gang don't really get distinct personalities.
  • Departed consolidated three of the women characters into one -- in Affairs, the psychologist, Lau's girlfriend, and Yan's girlfriend are three separate people. This was controversial; personally I like the approach Departed used better, mainly because two of the three women in Affairs were basically given nothing interesting to do. Like, Yan's girlfriend shows up in one scene, and has a kid; she doesn't tell Yan that it's his child. Annnnnd... that's it. Dead end, no further relevance to the plot.
  • Lau's girlfriend is an author, and the book she's writing mirrors Lau's conflict. Eh, I thought this was a little too obvious.
  • Inspector Lau is the story equivalent of Matt Damon's character, but is hugely different. We don't really get a lot of motivation for why he acts as a mole. At the end of the movie, he repents, and doesn't die, because...
  • there is no equivalent for Sgt. Dignam (Mark Walberg) from Departed. Too bad because he was my favorite character... Actually this sort of messes up the plot, because when SP Wong dies, Yan has no more contact in the department.
  • The villain is an actual villain, and not just Jack Nicholson playing Jack Nicholson. Score on for Affairs, I guess.
  • Affairs is very serious; Departed is actually pretty funny in some parts. I think it's because the longer run time allows Departed more room to breathe.
  • In Affairs, it's made clear from the beginning that Boss Sam has multiple moles in the police department, but in Departed it's a surprise. This opens a plot hole in Affairs - wouldn't Lau know about the others? Since he's met them?
  • The climax of Affairs is very stylistically shot, with lots of jump cuts and slo-mo. I think the end of Departed, which is shot in a very blunt, straightforward way, has much more impact.

    Position on the list: Bumped
    Apparently there were two sequels: Think I'll pass
  • #105 Taxi Driver: How long have I been sleeping

    1976. dir. Martin Scorsese, starring Robert DeNiro, Cybill Sheppard, Albert Brooks, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel.

    Seen it before? Yes.

    OK I'm like 8 reviews behind so let's do this. DeNiro is Travis Bickle, the titular Taxi Driver. Uhh, he's nuts. He thinks everyone in New York is deplorable scum and has all sorts of violent revenge fantasies. He meets a girl he likes, Betsy (Cybill Sheppard), and takes her out on a date. All goes well until their second date, when he takes her to a porno theater. (Let me point out here that there appear to be porno theaters on every street corner in this movie, not to mention various ho's, pimps, and thugs. New York in the 70's looks like a horrible, scummy place, and you could think of this movie as Scorsese's anti-Valentine to the city.) Well needless to say Betsy is turned off by the whole thing and starts to realize how much of a psychopath Bickle is. And then he goes further off the rails...

    This movie features Bernard Herrmann's last movie score. It's a masterpiece, alternating between this cool, relaxing saxophone music and the more intense psycho music. Oh, and I have a theory about the ending: he's imagining it.

    Position on the list: 39
    Travis orders: Apple pie with melted cheese. sounds tasty

    Monday, April 26, 2010

    #104 In Bruges: Purgatory's kind of like the in-betweeny one

    2008. dir. Martin McDonagh, starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Clémence Poésy, Ralph Fiennes.

    Seen it before? Yes.

    Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson play Ray and Ken, two hitmen who get exiled to Bruges by their boss (Ralph Fiennes) for botching a job - Ray was supposed to shoot a priest, but accidentally kills a little boy in the process. Bruges is a charming medieval town in Belguim. Ken loves it, but Ray is totally bored. I don't want to say any more about the plot because to do so would ruin it.

    This is a very funny black comedy. This is probably the only movie I like Colin Farrell in. His character is such a foul-mouthed prick. The ending is brilliant; it's absurd, ironic, shocking, and hilarious all at once.

    Position on the list: 186
    A reunion of sorts: Three people in this movie were also in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Hey, it's Fleur, Professor Moody, and Lord Voldemort!

    Sunday, April 25, 2010

    #103 The Great Dictator: Humanity was kicked around somewhat.

    1940. dir. Charlie Chaplin, starring Charlie Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardiner, Paulette Goddard.

    Seen it before? No.

    OK, so, you know how Charlie Chaplin looked sort of like Hitler? Well, apparently Chaplin himself realized this, and thus the idea for this 1940 comedy. Chaplin plays a dual role: he is a Jewish barber who fought in WWI and suffers from amnesia, and he is "Adenoid Hynkel", the raging ant-semitic dictator. (A title card at the beginning announces that any resemblance between the barber and Hynkel is "purely coincidence", surely a veiled Take That at Hitler's rumored Jewish ancestry.)

    It's partly comedy, and partly dead-serious drama about the plight of the Jews in Nazi Germany. The comedy parts are reminiscent of Duck Soup, but not quite as funny. Bonus points for timeliness though, and the guy who plays the Mussolini stand-in was a riot.

    At the end of the movie, the barber and Hynkel have switched places, but Chaplin pretty much abandons both characters to deliver a pro-democracy monologue directly to the camera, On Deadly Ground style. It must have been pretty shocking at the time, considering the US wasn't at war with Germany yet. It's great that he took the opportunity to denounce fascism, but it sort of derails the movie. Also, the economy is still in a depression, and since when does making speeches about hope and change actually fix anything?

    Position on the list: 95
    Fake language alert: Esperanto is used for the signs in the Ghetto. All the German is obviously fake also.

    #100 Star Trek - I'd be offended if it wasn't true...

    2009. dir. J.J. Abrams, starring Christopher Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Eric Bana.

    Seen it before? Yes.

    Oh Chris Pine, I love you so...whoops, sorry Sam. One could argue that the rest of the Star Trek series would be for naught but that would not take into account the point of this movie - to start a new set of stories...for a new generation of would-be Trekkies. Spock Prime, as Sam put him, still exists in this universe. He knows how the alternate reality unfolded. No big deal.

    First I have to talk about the casting...have you seen these guys?:

    The casting was spot on. At first I was like, Chris Pine as James T. Kirk? Sha, as if...but then I watched the movie and you know what? He wasn't half bad!

    I thought the story in and of itself was a world where time travel is possible why wouldn't it make sense that the old Spock stir things up (unintentionally) by coming back to the past and changing the history of the world he came from? I like the little twists of whom was a love interest for who and how Spock and Kirks' relationship was so rocky at the beginning...of this movie anyway. The special effects were amazing too!

    I could write about a million things but I really think you should watch this movie if you haven't already! As a person who watched the original movies and series I must say that I wasn't disappointed...on a side note - Sam called me a "Trekkie" as we got ready to watch this first I was shocked and asked him why he considers me a "Trekkie" he answered by asking me how many Star Trek movies I had seen in the theater...I was thinking about it, because I do remember having seen at least two or three on the big screen. And he said, "If you've seen more than one, you are a "Trekkie"!" REALLY!?!?!?!

    See it again? AND AGAIN AND AGAIN
    Own it? Already do!!! =)
    FYI - yes, that is Winona Ryder and oddly enough that IS Eric Bana...who knew?

    Saturday, April 24, 2010

    #99 The Sixth Sense - Where do I begin?

    1999. dir. M. Night Shyamalan, starring Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams.

    Seen it before? Yes, a few dozen times..

    You know how this one goes right? Oh, you don't? Well, where the hell were you in 1999?

    HJO plays Cole Sear a kid who is being followed by dead people who have tales to tell. They're not all mean to him, they can't see other dead people, and this makes him not so popular among his school chums. Bruce Willis plays Dr. Malcolm Crowe, a shrink who specializes in working with children...and can't understand why he can't talk to his own wife...Toni Collette is Cole's mom. She has no idea what her son is going through but is trying as best as she can to make things go as well for him as they possibly can. Olivia Williams is Willis' wife...and she seems sad...

    I'll be perfectly honest with you. I didn't get it until the very end the first time sitting through this. It chilled me to the bones and I wanted to see it over and over. If you're going to see this movie for the first time I recommend not reading Sam's post or any others about this movie. Let it get under your skin. It's more enjoyable that way.

    Cameo - yes, that is Mischa Barton as a young girl.
    See it again? Absolutely
    Own it? Sure, why not?
    BTW Sam said that they were initially going to cast HJO as Harry Potter in the series before deciding to go with an all British cast...thank goodness for that...I don't think I could have sat through the movies if it were anyone other than Daniel Radcliffe...Crap! Did I just admit to that?!?!?

    #98 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - sad story with a camera shot that made me dizzier than the Blair Witch Project

    2007. dir Julian Schnabel, starring Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze. French with subtitles.

    Seen it before? No.

    What would it be like to have your brain work perfectly well but have no other function (the ability to move or speak) available other than blinking? Watch this movie as it gives you a sad look at what happens if you a stroke and are confined to your body. Thankfully Jean-Dominuque Bauby has a team of people ready to help him communicate even if it is painstaking and through blinking.

    I would go absolutely crazy if I had locked in syndrome...I would probably blink 'just kill me already'...but JDB was able to dictate an entire book! How awesome is that?!?!? I felt for his poor father and his three children. His girlfriend annoyed me. I liked the relationship he formed with his therapist. She was truly an angel to him.

    It's not necessarily a tear jerker but I was pretty sad during the movie, when not completely irritated with how the director shot the film. JDB does give hope for people who have locked in syndrome...if you work hard enough you CAN communicate.

    See it again? No thanks but maybe I'll change my mind in a few years.
    Read the book? Yes, I think I will.

    Friday, April 23, 2010

    #102 Brazil: The morning found me miles away

    1985. dir. Terry Gilliam, starring Jonathan Pryce, Robert DeNiro, Katharine Helmond, Kim Greist, Michael Palin.

    Seen it before? No.
    "I want to talk to you about ducts."
    Ducts are everywhere in this movie, usually strung haphazardly through a room in a cluttered and disorganized manner. The ducts are a metaphor for the bungling yet omnipresent bureaucracy that controls every aspect life in Brazil, which is a twisted take on Orwell's 1984. The story centers around Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a low-level functionary who learns that the Ministry of Information has "deactivated" an innocent person, and tries to correct the mistake.

    Katharine Helmond (you know, from Who's the Boss) plays Lowry's mother, who wears a shoe on her head and has lots of plastic surgery. Robert DeNiro is in a couple of scenes as a rogue duct repairman. Oh, and Lowry keeps going into these fantasy sequences where he has armor and angel wings, and... yeah, I don't know. There's really too much bizarre stuff going on to keep track of. This movie is sort of like Blade Runner meets Beetlejuice. If you see this movie, watch carefully, because there are lots of little jokes and oddities in the background that sneak by.

    Position on the list: Bumped
    Policy on bumped movies: After we finish the "current" list, we watch the new ones. As of today, that includes Avatar, The 400 Blows, The Truman Show, and Shutter Island.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    #97 Rebecca - watch out for the woman with the creepy eyes

    1940. dir. Alfred Hitchcock, starring Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Judith Anderson.

    Seen it before? No

    Joan Fontaine plays an idealistic travel companion to a cranky old woman. Laurence Olivier plays a man with a secret who is stand offish and impulsive and ends up taking the former as his second wife. He comes from a lot of money and lives in a mansion that's more like a castle with a huge staff to fulfill every whim. In case you haven't already read Sam's post Joan Fontaine's character doesn't have a name. She is simply the SECOND Mrs. De Winter. In fact, the title character is never actually on-screen but comes to life in the deep devotion of her former staff, particularly her dear Mrs. Danvers...the woman with the creepy eyes.

    I would imagine that it must be difficult to be a second wife. Especially if the first wife died mysteriously. The great thing about a Hitchcock film is that you want to know the who, the what, the where, the why, and the how, and so regardless of the characters you do continue to watch. It's a good movie. You want to root for Joan Fontaine and you get totally creeped out by'll see.

    Final tidbit...cousin relations ARE incestuous right?
    See it again? Yes
    Own it? I don't know, is it still available?

    #96 Heat - whoa, is that Val Kilmer?

    1995. dir. Michael Mann, starring Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Val Kilmer, Ashley Judd, Amy Brenneman, Jon Voight.

    Seen it before? No.

    I almost didn't understand this movie but I think I got the gist of it. DeNiro is a thief. Pacino is a cop who is after him. They have a relationship that's supposed to be if one needs the other in order to be who he is...DEEP.

    Pacino's character tells DeNiro if he sees him again he'll have no choice but to kill him. Pacino's cops set DeNiro up to meet a guy who betrayed him...see? I told you it was confusing. He gets there to off the guy, does it, and without being caught...great job coppers! Oh, and DeNiro is going out with Judging Amy who is somehow putting up with his lies and the fact that he is clearly disturbed and up to no good.

    In other news Val Kilmer is one of DeNiro's associates. He's married to Ashley Judd who is none-too-thrilled with his behavior (absenteeism more like). DeNiro does the Goodfellas thing and smooths things over with her to stay with Kilmer. A young Natalie Portman is Pacino's step-daughter and tries to kill herself. Pacino's relationship with her mother is strained because she doesn't seem to get that he's a cop and sometimes he can't tell her what is going on otherwise he'll be compromising his investigations.

    Feeling toward the movie - not planning on seeing it again
    Own it? NO

    #95 The Seventh Seal - this is so confusing

    1957. dir. Ingmar Bergman, starring Max von Sydow, Bengt Ekerot, Bibi Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Nils Poppe. Swedish with subtitles.

    Seen it before? No.

    So much so that I'm going to have to watch it again...keep tuning in for my real review...for now all I can say is that I know Death is a character and it's really hard to tell "reality" from "fiction" if that makes any sense.

    #94 M - So there IS honor among thugs...

    1931. dir. Fritz Lang, starring Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut. German with subtitles.

    Seen it before? No.

    Peter Lorre is creepy and in this movie it suits him to a T. He is a child murderer who is on the loose and the cops and the bad guys are both after him. Wait, the bad guys are after him? You read right. They are tired of the frequent raids on their endeavors and are, in general, disgusted that they are being associated with someone who would murder they set up a network of street beggars to help find the guy.

    I was rather impressed with the splicing of the meeting of the police and the meeting of the crime bosses. It was pretty entertaining. The last major scene with the criminals was pretty entertaining too. I don't want to say too much because I really do think you should watch this movie but I will share my favorite interaction during that scene... the lead "prosecutor" for the bad guys gets questioned by the lead "defense" attorney -
    "defense attorney": "My learned colleague who just spoke...who is, if I'm not mistaken, wanted by the police on three counts of manslaughter..."
    "Lead prosecutor": "That's irrelevant here."

    See it again? Sure
    Own it? Why not?
    Moral of the story - watch your kids...don't let them just wander off and make sure you teach them to be wary of strangers!
    To Sam - I feel like I'm writing f*ing reading records for my Children's Lit course first semester....I HATED writing READING RECORDS!!!!

    #93 Bonnie And Clyde - Watching this ruins Clyde for me forever

    1967. dir. Arthur Penn, starring Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons, Michael Pollard.

    Seen it before? No.

    Warren Beatty is a very attractive man. Faye Dunaway is a very attractive woman. And the lives of the people they portrayed on-screen were interesting a very weird way. Who knew (unless you studied up on Bonnie Parker) that Bonnie wrote poetry? I just remember that there was the famous (or infamous) photo of her straddling a car hood and holding the gun. Who knew that Clyde was practically asexual in that he was not really good with intimacy and barely satisfied Bonnie? I certainly didn't.

    The story was interesting. All I knew was that Bonnie and Clyde were bank robbers and they were a couple. Seeing it come to life in a way that was moderately violent (although I am sure that in the late sixties this was terribly controversial) was interesting. Has Gene Hackman ALWAYS been that old? And the funniest part is that if Bonnie and Clyde were redone today Gene Hackman's character would be portrayed by John C. Riley I am sure of it!

    I wouldn't not watch it again but I wouldn't own it. I know Sam thinks Warren Beatty is a wasted talent and I am inclined to agree. Reds is on Netflix On Demand so I'm going to see if I have time to watch 3 hours and 15 minutes worth of one of Warren Beatty's best work.

    #101 Paths Of Glory: I'm not afraid of dying tomorrow, only of getting killed

    1957. dir Stanley Kubrick, starring Kirk Douglas, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Adolphe Menjou.

    Seen it before? No.

    Kirk Douglas plays Col. Dax, a French army officer in World War I. The commanding officers order a suicidal attack on a German fortification, which fails, so they decide to court-martial and execute three randomly selected soldiers for cowardice. Dax is outraged by the arbitrary, unfair punishment, so he takes up the defense of the three soldiers.

    There really aren't a whole lot of World War I movies, I suppose because it was so horrible, and there were no clear good guys or bad guys. This movie was banned in France, and you can see why; they make the generals out to be totally evil and sadistic. Of course that doesn't mean it was unrealistic.

    Position on the list: 49
    The title: From Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard":
    The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
    And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
    Awaits alike th'inevitable hour.
    The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

    #100 Star Trek: Prepare the red matter

    2009. dir. J.J. Abrams, starring Christopher Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Eric Bana.

    Seen it before? Yes.

    This is J.J. Abram's "re-boot" of the Star Trek movies, which had gotten increasingly low-budget and shitty. Good move starting over, as the Next Generation cast had been getting increasingly old and paunchy. This one is shiny and fun. And very shiny. J.J. Abrams sure does love that artificial lens flare effect. Hope nobody tells him about the star wipe.

    I think I would be pissed off about this movie if I was a Trekkie. OK, so Nero goes back in time through a black hole, and ends up completely rewriting the history of Star Trek. Oddly, pretty much everything ends up as the status quo, with Kirk as the captain, Spock as first officer, etc. But doesn't this mean nothing from Star Trek: The Original Series, or Star Trek: the Next Generation, or Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, or Star Trek: Voyager, or Star Trek: Special Victims Unit actually happened? Like, all the time people spent watching those shows was wasted?

    And gosh, wasn't it lucky that Kirk got marooned on a planet that not only had Spock Prime on it, but the only engineer in the galaxy who could figure out trans-warp beaming? Wasn't that convenient? Oh, and at the end of the movie, they blow up all of the Red matter and create a black hole, and Nero gets sucked into it. So wouldn't that make him go back in time again? I mean, that's what happened the first time...

    Position on the list: 159
    Dammit, Jim: I'm a doctor. They did a great job of capturing everyone's catch phrases. She canna take much more!

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    #92 Double Indemnity - I HATE how this guy says BABY!!!

    1944. dir. Billy Wilder, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Edward G. Robinson.

    Seen it before? No.

    See, the thing is, Fred MacMurray was in the Apartment and I think one of his trade marks in his movies is saying "Baby" to women in a tone that sounds so incredibly condescending...I digress...

    Walter Neff is an insurance salesman who falls in lust with the wife of one of his company's clients. They plot the man's murder in order to get double what she would if he were killed any other way. They carry out their plan almost perfectly but Neff's supervisor has a keen sense for things that are not on the up and up and he figures out something is wrong with the death. Chaos ensues.

    I'll be honest, I stayed up for 95% of the was late into the night and I just could do it. I can't stand Fred MacMurray using the word "baby." It is like nails on a chalkboard for me. Come to think of it I couldn't stand Barbara Stanwyck either. Her character was weak and mean spirited and whiny. Lovely way to portray women...really. The daughter/step-daughter was cute but she was weak too. Being treated badly is not a good thing isn't now and it wasn't back then.

    So, see this movie again? probably just the last five or ten minutes to see what happened...
    but in reality I saw enough!

    #91 Ben-Hur - there's a whole lot of sexual tension going on...

    1959. dir. William Wyler, starring Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd.

    Seen it before? No.

    Sam wanted to count this as his yearly "church" service in honor of Easter but we ended up watching it a bit after Easter due to my niece and nephew staying longer to play video games. After watching the movie I have decided that it does not contain enough of Jesus' story despite "Jesus" appearing in the movie...

    Judah Ben-Hur is a prince who happens to be Jewish. His long time friend Messala is a Roman who, in order to move up the ranks and show his ability to command, arrests Ben-Hur to make an example of him when a higher ranking Roman gets pegged by a tile which fell from the Hur compound. Somehow Ben-Hur ends up a slave and saves yet another higher ranking Roman who adopts him as his heir. A chariot sponsor admires how Ben-Hur handles his horses and hires him to compete in a chariot of his competitors? That's right, Messala...

    Where does Jesus fit into all of this? At the beginning there is a census that requires everyone to go back to their place of origin...completely improbable today...I'd have to go back to Quezon City, Sam would have to go to Ravenna, OH and so someone would have to take Daniel to Arlington Heights...I digress, anyhow, Mary and Joseph are heading to Nazareth to partake in the census and she is pregnant. Then we see Jesus (the back of his head anyway), as Ben-Hur is dying of thirst and is the only one of the slaves who is forbidden water, putting a ladle to Ben-Hur's mouth. When BH finally rises he looks in what I can only imagine is supposed to be awe (though it's Charlton Heston so you can probably figure out what his face looks like acting awe)...Jesus is referred to in later parts of the movie as a healer and preacher then gets crucified at the end (come on that is absolutely NOT a spoiler since most people know that's what happens to him according to the Bible).

    There are a bunch of sub plots...A strange sexual vibe between BH and Messala. BH hits on his slave girl (inherited from his father) who he gives permission to marry another. BH's mother and sister get imprisoned and end up lepers who miraculously become healed after meeting Jesus while he is carrying his cross to his death.

    It's a good story despite how long it goes on for. The first 6 minutes or so were excruciating...not because the score was bad, on the contrary it was actually quite good, but due to the fact that there was nothing going on but music...sounds dumb coming from me, a fan of classical and orchestral pieces in general but I knew the movie was over three hours long and I was impatient to be done with it so no action in the first 6 minutes or so of the movie playing without actors on screen got me antsy. The chariot scene was not what I thought it would be seeing as my only memories of Ben-Hur from when I was a kid involved ONLY the chariot race and I was disappointed (kind of) that the chariot race was not the main crux of the movie...ce'st la vie.

    See it again? Sure, I'm sure someday I'll sit through it when Daniel watches it in a few years.
    Own it? I'll buy it when the movie industry decides that they are making the last copies of the movie available for sale.

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    #99 The Sixth Sense: They don't have meetings about rainbows

    1999. dir. M. Night Shyamalan, starring Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams.

    Seen it before? Yes.

    It's hard, for some of these, to think of anything to say. Everyone knows this movie: The little kid sees dead people. They don't know that they're dead. They only see what they want to see. Bruce Willis is dead. Oops, spoiler.

    This movie is better than I remember, mostly because I've gotten so used to M. Night Shyamalan's movies sucking that I forgot that he was a pretty interesting filmmaker once. I think his main weakness is as a writer; once he ran out of ideas, his films have gotten increasingly ridiculous. (I would say starting with the last 10 minutes of Signs. Water kills the aliens? Are you kidding me!?) But this one was good, even if you already know the twist is coming. And really, wasn't it pretty obvious in retrospect? The movie certainly telegraphs it enough.

    Position on the list: 127
    I think they messed up: Malcolm's wife makes eye contact with him at one point in the restaurant scene. Kind of a cheat if you ask me.

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    #98 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: E, S, A, R, I, N, T...

    2007. dir Julian Schnabel, starring Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze. French with subtitles.

    Seen it before? No.

    This is the sad tale of Jean-Dominque Bauby, a magazine editor who had a stroke one day, and woke up 3 weeks later with his mind intact, but everything else paralyzed except one eye. Thus he was able to communicate using a series of blinks: an aide would read the alphabet in order of letter frequency, and he would blink when she got to the letter he wanted. That doesn't seem like a very intelligent system. He dictated an entire book this way at about 0.5 WPM.

    The movie is a dramatization of the writing of the book, interspersed with flashbacks and fantasy sequences. Much of it is shown in blurry tilted POV shots, I guess to make you empathize with Bauby's condition. Bauby is played by Mathieu Amalric, best known to American audiences as the bad guy in the Bond movie Quantum Of Solace. (side note: That movie sucked. His evil plan was to raise the price of water in Bolivia? Who the hell cares? I ask for one simple thing in my Bond movies, and that is to have a death satellite with a frickin laser beam attached.)

    Position on the list: 206
    In case I ever get "locked-in syndrome": I have a better plan. Write up a grid of letters like this:
    E T I H P B
    A O S R Y K
    N R U W J Z
    D L F Q X
    C M V #
    I'll blink the row number, then the column number. So "R" would be two blinks, then four blinks. OK? Seems like this would be quicker than reading the entire damn alphabet over and over.

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    #97 Rebecca: I've opened a window for you

    1940. dir. Alfred Hitchcock, starring Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Judith Anderson.

    Max De Winter (Laurence Olivier) is a wealthy aristocrat with a recently dead wife named Rebecca. He's on vacation in Monte Carlo and he meets a young woman (Joan Fontaine, whose character is never given a name) who he impulsively decides to marry.

    So he brings her back to "Manderley", his huge estate. The house is killer huge and has a small army of servants, most of whom immediately disapprove of the new Mrs. De Winter. The one who disapproves the most is the head housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) who keeps shooting icy death stares and poor whatever-her-name-is. It's a wonderful performance, and Hitchcock frames her so as to emphasize how much she unnerves Mrs. De Winter.

    It's amazing how richly developed the character of Rebecca is, considering she's completely absent from the movie. Joan Fontaine's mousy, anxious performance was a result of enforced Method acting... apparently Hitchcock told her that everyone on the set hated her. Hitchcock was a jerk.

    Position on the list: 97
    Hitchcock's cameo: I completely missed it. Oops

    #90 Goodfellas - just wait til I finish re-watching this...

    1990. dir. Martin Scorsese, starring Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino.

    Seen it before? Several times - and each time I watch it it gets better...

    I could probably write my review now but I'll rewatch it so that it's fresh...ha ha!

    It is now April 25th meaning I watched Goodfellas for the blog three days ago. I must say that every time I watch it the movie keeps getting better! Sam's right. It is super quotable. And I don't even mind the violence...I mean, come on, it's a gangster movie. If there were no violence I would question why the movie was made in the first place. My problem lies with the character Tommy played by Joe Pesci. Does he really swear that much? It's no wonder he doesn't have a girlfriend or a wife. I would never date someone who swore that much! And let me just say that I totally saw his demise coming. Served him right for f*ing with a made guy!

    My favorite scenes were the straight shot of Henry and Karen's first date from start to finish. How smooth was that!?!? "What do you do?" "I work in construction." Um, yeah right. The scene where the guys are in jail and making Sunday supper...any man who can shave garlic thinly with a razor is supremely talented...then again, where did he learn to do that? How cute was Tommy's mother making the guys dinner at three in the morning? If Daniel every pulled that I'd whack him! The wedding scene with all the Peters and Pauls and all the envelopes with the Benjamins! CLASSY! And then there's the scene Sam role-plays with me regardless of whether or not I plan on going shopping...Karen asks Henry for money to go shopping. Henry asks, "How much?" Karen holds up her thumb and forefinger about two inches apart and says, "This much." HA HA HA HA HA!

    I recommend you watch it with an open mind. Yes, there is violence...again, it's a GANGSTER movie! But if you can withstand that it really is a great movie and even better than that Kevin Costner film that won Best Picture in 1990.

    See it again? Yes
    Own it? Already do
    Last comment - it took me FOREVER to write this blog! I wrote it last night (4/24) but the cable modem died and didn't save my draft! GAH!

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    #89 My Neighbor Totoro - My goodness Japanese animators have amazing imaginations...

    1988. dir. Hayao Miyazaki, starring Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto. Japanese with subtitles.

    Seen it before? No.

    The third of the Japanese animated films and probably the kid-friendliest of them all. A family moves to a new home where the girls encounter strange creatures, a strange boy neighbor and his grandmother. Fantasy comes to life as the strange creatures help the girls grow trees, mysteriously appear (and disappear) and make life generally more interesting.

    Daniel liked the movie and was so upset the following day when I told him we couldn't watch it again because I returned it...I wouldn't mind letting him watch it was a bit weird but you know what? Kids come up with weird ideas in their imaginations so I'm on board with this.

    FYI there IS a mother but she's in the hospital...what is it with Disney movies and the lack of mothers...yes, I realize this isn't Disney per say but they did pick it up and redistribute it...and the girls DO have a mom but she's really not in the picture (much).

    Watch it again? Sure
    Own it? I don't know about that...
    another FYI...Daniel seemed to get the movie despite it being entirely in Japanese (with English subtitles, of course)

    #96 Heat: That's the discipline

    1995. dir. Michael Mann, starring Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Val Kilmer, Ashley Judd, Amy Brenneman, Jon Voight.

    Seen it before? No.

    It's the much-hyped first ever pairing of Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino - they were both in Godfather Part II but they had no scenes together. Here they have three, but two of them consist of the two of them firing guns at each other. Also, by this point, I think it was too late, as neither of them had much in the way of acting skills left. This was mumbly underacting DeNiro and shouty overacting woo-hah Pacino.

    The movie itself is pretty ridiculous. Pacino plays a detective in the shockingly inept LAPD, and DeNiro plays an elite bank robber. And there's lots of other characters too - Val Kilmer is one of DeNiro's partners, and Ashley Judd is his wife... Hank Azaria and Natalie Portman are in it for some reason... Hey, was that Dennis Haysbert? There are way too many people in this movie, and a lot of them don't need to be here. This movie has Magnolia disease: it's almost 3 hours long because there are too many go-nowhere subplots.

    The police are totally incompetent in this movie. DeNiro's crew robs a downtown bank in broad daylight. And by crew, I mean 4 guys. The cops show up, but SOMEHOW DeNiro is able to walk away with the money. I mean come on! Then, later, the police try to trap him by having a guy who betrayed him stay in a hotel, and then they tell people in prison where he was so DeNiro would hear about it and go try to kill him. (Uhh, great plan Walter. It's a Swiss fuckin' watch.) So DeNiro shows up at the hotel, but do they have anybody guarding the room? Nope. Anybody guarding the exits? Nope. Morons! Then he hops over a fence and tries to escape by RUNNING ACROSS THE TARMAC AT LAX. Huh!?

    Position on the list: 122
    Hey! It's that guy!: This guy in one pointless scene looked familiar, but I couldn't place him... turns out it's Tone Loc. Funky cold Medina!

    Friday, April 16, 2010

    #88 The Matrix - no, I don't want to know

    1999. dir. The Wachowski Brothers, starring Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Joe Pantoliano, Hugo Weaving.

    Seen it before? Yes.
    Understand it a little better? Yes
    Any questions? WHY!?!??!

    I know this goes against everyone thinking this is the coolest movie EVER but I really, really didn't care for this movie. Don't get me wrong, the action sequences were pretty freaking great, but the story made me want to beat my head into a wall and scream WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Why does "Neo" think it's a good idea to leave his world behind?
    Why does the Oracle not answer outright?
    Why does the whole crew take Neo to see the Oracle?
    Why does the minor character guy overcome his potentially fatal wound to save Trinity and Neo?
    Why would machines have to use humans to sustain life? Sam's right, can't they use animals?

    I have to say that I still have to sit through this whole's painfully boring to me. Yes, you can say I just don't get it. Frankly I don't care. There are other movies on the list that have caught and held my attention.

    See it again? Do I have to?
    Own it? ditto
    Why is my 'review' so short? Have you READ Sam's?!?!?!?

    #87 Spirited Away - this is MUCH better.

    2001. dir. Hayao Miyazaki, starring Rumi Hîragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki. Japanese with subtitles.

    Seen it before? No.

    a little girl and her parents are heading to a new town but take a detour (because the dad can't be bothered to ask for directions) that takes them on a very interesting journey to a land where humans are disgusting, workers are greedy for gold, and a witch rules a bath house while caring for a big baby...confused? So was I...

    Daniel saw this movie with us and he actually enjoyed it so much that the following day he became upset because I told him we returned the movie to NetFlix...whoops****. I thought it was much easier to follow than Princess Mononoke. Don't get me wrong, it's still incredibly confusing. The people who "work" in the bath house look (for the most part) human to me so I don't know why they don't smell.

    I promise you I haven't given anything away. You may not believe me until you watch it for yourself.

    See it again? Yes
    Own it? Eh
    Question...why are we watching so many damn cartoons in a row?!?!?! So much for SPACING them out!!!
    ****Actually I realized after writing my next post that it was My Neighbor Totoro that Daniel wanted to see again...this movie kind of creeped him out, especially the weird witches with the gigantic eyes!

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    #95 The Seventh Seal: Doomed, doomed, doomed!

    1957. dir. Ingmar Bergman, starring Max von Sydow, Bengt Ekerot, Bibi Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Nils Poppe. Swedish with subtitles.

    Seen it before? No.

    Netflix now has streaming content on the Nintendo Wii. We got our disc yesterday and this was the movie we watched. The interface is much more Wii-ish than it is on the PS3. The picture quality is a little worse, but that was expected (since the Wii doesn't do HD.)

    This movie takes place in medieval times, during the Black Plague. A knight (Max Von Sydow) is returning from the Crusades, and he encounters Death. He challenes Death to a chess match. Yep, just like Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. That's the aspect of the movie that everyone talks about, but actually that's only a small part of it. There's also some nonsense about a troupe of actors, one of whom runs off with the blacksmith's wife. There's a girl who's getting crucified for being a witch, and people whipping themselves for some reason.

    The title of the movie comes from the book of Revelation:
    And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
    Lots of lengthy religious discussions here, about doomsday and the absence of God and so forth. Kind of longwinded. Not being religious myself, I didn't really get most of it.

    Position on the list: 115
    So I have a question: Why is the Book of Revelation in the Bible? I mean, think about it. Any time I've asked people how they picked which books were included in the Bible, they say, "well, these are the ones that are historically accurate." Putting aside whether that's true or not, if all of the stuff in Revelation is going to happen in the future, how do you know it's accurate?