Saturday, April 10, 2010

#86 Grave of the Fireflies - this was in the KIDS section??!? You've GOT to be kidding me!

1988. Dir. Isao Takahata, starring Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi. Japanese with subtitles.

Seen it before? No.

I know this is movie number 86 which means I am eleven behind so let's try to catch up...

One thing I can say about this movie is that it really, truly depressed the hell out of me. See, it's a cartoon, so you think, well, light-hearted and kid-friendly, but the overwhelming theme here is death and consequences...and I should have gotten that since the title has the word GRAVE in it.

An adolescent boy and his much younger sister are sent to a relative's home when their mother becomes gravely ill (and then passes away) after getting bombed in WWII Japan. Their father is in the Japanese navy and the boy sends word but never gets a reply. Meanwhile the aunt treats the kids poorly and steals from them forcing the boy to make a decision to live in an abandoned mine and fend for themselves...not the smartest idea...

You know what's worse? This is based on a true story meaning many more kids in Japan during WWII probably went through the loss of both parents and siblings just like in this movie...

Sam and I talked about it. This movie vs Requiem...the main difference is that there were circumstances beyond the kid's control in this movie whereas the four main characters in Requiem screwed themselves up...

NEVER seeing this again
Don't want to own it either.
If I want to watch a sad movie I'll watch A Walk to Remember thank you very much.

#85 The African Queen - Can you make a torpedo? <--THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!!!!

1951. Dir. John Huston, starring Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn.

Seen it before? No.

On Facebook I believe I said that I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. Did you know that The African Queen was a love story? I didn't! It was fun, with witty dialog and that Katharine Hepburn is awesome as a British missionary who wants to sabotage a German boat as revenge for burning (and terrorizing) her village. Humphrey Bogart was pretty hilarious as the captain of the small ship. Their banter was great - kind of like Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable in It Happened One Night. The chemistry of the two actors playing their characters was subtle but very believable unlike the last movie mentioned!

I particularly liked when they realized love was staring at them in the face and asked each other what their first names were...

Watch it again? HECK YES!
Own it? Sure!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

#90 Goodfellas: Now, now, you insulted him a little bit.

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

Seen it before? I could probably recite the entire thing from memory at this point

Scorsese's masterpiece, which somehow lost out to stupid Dances With Wolves at the 1990 Oscars. Ray Liotta plays real-life Mob informant Henry Hill, and we see his rise to wealth and power, and then his decline. Memorable performances all around; Robert DeNiro is quietly intimidating. Joe Pesci uses "fuck" the way most people use commas. In fact so does everybody else, this movie is like a F-bomb symphony.

My favorite scenes:
  • "What, like a clown? Like I'm here to fuckin' amuse you?"
  • "Now go home and get your fucking shine box."
  • The scene where Henry introduces all of the gangsters. Love Pete The Killer ("I took care of that thing for ya") and Jimmy Two Times ("I'm gonna go get the papers get the papers.")
  • Tommy's mother making dinner for them at 3 AM... Tommy borrows the butcher knife.
  • The famous Copacabana tracking shot.
  • The whole "Jump Into The Fire" sequence where Henry is strung out on drugs. It's 9 minutes long, and he just gets more and more jittery and paranoid. I find this Karen line hilarious for some reason: "Will you please stop feeding the dog from the table... from the plate on top of it!"
  • The scene where they're in prison, and Paulie is shaving the garlic with the razor blade. I gotta try that.

    Position on the list: 15
    Animaniacs: Hey, remember the Goodfeathers? That shit made no sense until I saw this movie. Why would they have expected kids to have seen an ultraviolent, swear-filled R-rated movie? Sheeeeeeeit.
  • Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    #89 My Neighbor Totoro: It was a dream! But it was not a dream!

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

    Seen it before? No.

    Our third and final voyage into the twisted labyrinth of Hayao Miyazaki's mind. This one was probably our favorite. It's the story of a father and his two daughters (ages 10-ish and 4) who move into a run-down house in the countryside.The girls seem pretty enthusiastic about the move, and they find strange and mysterious creatures as they explore the new house.

    Bambi was worried that this would turn into Grave of the Fireflies and that they would die horribly but thankfully everything was fine. Rated G so no horrible vomiting pigs or decapitations here. "Totoro" is pretty funny, I guess he's supposed to be a troll but he looks more like a panda or something. Oh and there are three of them for some reason. I don't know. This makes more sense than Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke but that isn't hard to do.

    I have to say I liked this better than what Disney was doing at the time. It's rare for a kids movie to have actual children in it who actually act like children.

    Position on the list: 242
    Daniel's favorite part: The Cat Bus. Exactly what it sounds like.

    #84 Glory - a ballad for otherwise unsung heroes

    1989. dir. Edward Zwick, starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman, Andre Braugher.

    Seen it before? Yes.

    Yes, Sam, we DID have to watch this movie in hs history class.

    When I was younger I wanted to watch every single Matthew Broderick movie and this was one I watched...though not in 1989. Have I mentioned that I hate it when attractive men get hurt in movies or television shows? I think so...this was no exception...Denzel's whipping scene where you see the tear come from his crushes me every time.

    Since Sam already summed up the movie I'll move on to the motivations behind people's actions...we can already figure out the reason behind Robert Gould Shaw's actions - treating his childhood friend turned volunteer soldier like all the rest to avoid favoritism, making sure his men were equipped properly since they were not given the proper shoes or guns, not accepting pay because the men were not getting equal amount of money as the white soldiers, etc. Noble, honest, Shaw was portrayed as a great man who was fighting for a great cause. But why did his father volunteer him for such a responsibility as commanding the first troop of black soldiers? Was it because he didn't think his son would actually have to go into combat? The asshole white soldiers...COME ON! The black soldiers are on the same freaking side! Why treat them with such disrespect? ARGH!

    The battle scenes were excellent considering no CGI was used. I loved Cary Elwes in this too. Especially when he called Robert on being unkind to the men and the line about the Irish...HILARIOUS!

    See it again? Yes
    Own it? I would
    Last thoughts...Yes, Sam, it would appear Morgan Freeman hasn't aged in the last 20 years...I think he's a robot...

    #88 The Matrix: I know kung-fu.

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

    Seen it before? Yes.

    I've only seen this once before, back in college. One of the guys in the dorm had this amazing new device called a DVD player (A whole movie? On a CD? Get the fuck out of here) and this was the movie we watched. All of us were blown away by the amazing visual effects, which still hold up today. You know, like when Neo ducks backwards under the bullets, and you see the vapor trails? Or when Trinity jumps up in the air, pauses, the camera rotates 180 degrees, and then she kicks the guy in the face? It's all still awesome. Unfortunately, one thing that does not hold up is the script...
  • I hate to belabor a point that's been made a thousand times already, but it must be said: The machine's plan makes no sense. You're keeping the humans alive for what, heat, electricity? You have to feed them something (no, feeding them ground up dead people isn't enough) and you'll get a very low power yield, something like 1-2%. But OK, if you must have "bio electricity"... why not use chimps? Or pigs, or dogs, or cows? Less likely to form a resistance.
  • But OK, fine. I guess there would be no movie if they did that. So there's this complex computer simulation where everyone's mind is trapped. The machines use "agents" to keep people from trying to escape. The agents are bound by the same laws of physics as everyone else. WHY? Clearly these people have never designed a computer game. If you want an unbeatable AI, CHEAT! Give the agents super weapons with unlimited ammo! Make them fly, make them invisible, make them all-knowing, make them indestructible! Why not? It's a computer simulation, you can do anything you want.
  • Neo, we're told, is "The One". Like, the Chosen One. Ugh. I hate this narrative device. It was lame when Harry Potter used it, it was lame when Star Wars: Episode I used it, and it's lame here. He's chosen. By whom? How? Why? He has super powers because he's the One. He's the One because he has super powers. WTF???
  • Speaking of Star Wars, could they have ripped off Obi-Wan or Yoda any more blatantly with Morpheus's dialogue? I half expected him to say "Search out with your feelings, Luke."
  • Why does almost everyone on the Nebuchadnezzar have to go with when Neo visits the Oracle? Why was this so important? The Oracle gave him a bunch of vague meaningless bullshit advice. Couldn't they have done this over the phone?
  • This gives Cypher the chance to betray everybody. he kills everyone who isn't a main character. Then, even though he blew a huge hole in Tank's body, Tank gets up and kills him right before he can kill Neo or Trinity. How conveeeenient. Tank seemed fine after that, because I guess the movie needed him to work the computers during the final battle scene. It's like they forgot that he got shot at all.
  • Morpheus says: "No one can explain the Matrix to you." Uh, yeah, you can! Read the Wikipedia article on this movie, it explains the whole thing in like four sentences. Maybe if you told these people what they were getting into before making them swallow the red pill, you wouldn't have gotten betrayed. Just sayin'.

    Position on the list: 25
    The most disappointing movie-going experience ever: The Matrix Reloaded. can't believe I wasted 9 bucks on that...
    Actually, wait, that's not true: Both Pirates of the Carribean sequels