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?