Sunday, October 24, 2010

Random Ratings of 2 recent films

Had the privilege of going out on a movie-date with my husband last week. His amazing boss offered free babysitting AND gave us movie vouchers so we could have a grown-up night out.
We chose to see 'The Town', opening that day here in Australia.
Such a frikkin awesome film! I'd heard great things - namely, that "Ben Affleck should stick to directing, cuz he's awesome at it". And indeed that is the case. A film with such a brilliant cast it hurts, 'The Town' is not only great action, great plot and great writing, it's got heart.

Thoroughly well done.
(and psst, I even thought Benny boy was great in his role. And he's lookin a bit hot here, for the first time. mmmrow)

5 out of 5 monkeys

Watched this over the weekend -was very keen to see it, especially after the Oscar nods (and win for the phenomenal Jeff Bridges).
Well acted and very depressing was the film. But something about it just didn't click for me. Or bored me, rather. This story has been told many times before, and while this was a decent take on it, I still think it gets only about 3 1/2 Monkeys.


Rear Window - Hitchcock (1954)

Not on the list - but a classic thriller I recently watched for the first time. LOVED it! Such dramatic tension. They don't make 'em like that anymore, that's for sure, the drawn out thriller.
Loved the cheesyness even, of the climax bit.
And Grace Kelly is dreamy, purrrrre dreamyness.

So well done. I kindof wish I was a forced peeping tom.

4 out of 5 monkeys

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. THE definitive spaghetti western. A Sergio Leone masterpiece.

Again, not on the official list, but on my list. And I recently borrowed a stack of dvd's from a friend, so am going through some films such as this and Full Metal Jacket.
So I agree it's a "masterpiece"? No. Not in my book, but I am indeed swayed by a general dislike of the western genre.
Highlights for me in watching this?
-the score. love love love that music.
-the cinematography and direction, which are great even by today's standards.
-seeing the direct links to Quentin Tarantino's films, and just how heavily influenced Tarantino is by Leone's spaghetti western style.
-Clint Eastwood, yummy yummy yummy, as a young attractive cowboy. ssslp.

I hate to admit it, but I am definitely with the oodles of fans who agree that this film, at 2 hrs 41 min, is seriously too long. I'm an impatient viewer, even with such a great epic western as this.

The dragging out the plot seemed to be a way for Leone to keep on with such spectacular landscape shots - however, that isn't quite enough for this viewer.

All said and done, I am Not a Western fan. At all. But the stylised spaghetti western, with its humour, wasn't too too bad.

I suppose if I were in a more relaxed mindframe to take in such a slow, laborious journey as this, I might agree more with Rotten Tomatoes' 98% rating. Por moi, it gets a stern

3 out 5 monkeys.


Full Metal Jacket (1987)

I'm back!

And without further ado (nor excuses) I will immediately dive into blogging my review...

Full Metal Jacket!
A Stanley Kubrick classic & highly regarded film, and one in which I had never seen until now. Alas, it is not on The List, but it has always been on my personal list of Great Films I Should See.

It's funny - I never would have thought of myself as a lover of "war films". But, as it turns out, I realise I really do love me a good war film. With such a huge, catastrophic subject matter as 'war', a film that is done well on this subject is beyond riveting.

And so was the case in this, my first viewing of Full Metal Jacket.

The first half of the film built such a sense of the life of a recruit, the dehumanizing effects of boot camp & war in general. I wasn't surprised that the brilliant Drill Sergeant, played by R.Lee Ermey, was a real-life Drill Sergeant who originally was only meant to consult with Kubrick on the film, but ended up in the role due to his persistence. Jack-assed and overbearing with insults, Ermey was no-holds barred. making the murder-suicide by 'Gomer Pyle' (so strange to see a young Vincent D'Onofrio, whom I only associate with Law & Order, hee hee)seem wholly inevitable.

Apparently, this was the first film to depict the severity of boot camp training, and I can only imagine how in-your-face this must have been in '87 with its release.

But the second half of the film, depicting a slice of war life in Vietnam, was even more gripping. I felt the same tense captive-ness I felt while watching 'The Hurt Locker'.
But Kubrick also manages to create moments of humour, and uses music in a quite ironic way. Brilliant stuff.

I also am amazed that the film was shot in England! - flying in both fake & real palm trees, recreating a replica of the destroyed city of Hue - all to avoid flying, as we all know Kubrick's immense fear of flying & refusal to do so.

Righty. Well, I am definitely not rested enough to intelligently discuss this masterpiece of a film as well as one should. But for the sake of my blog & project in watching Classics As Yet Unseen, I will sihn off here with my rating...

5/5 Monkeys!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick) - 1968

At #26 on The List is Kubrick's science-fiction masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This film is perhaps one of the biggest gaps in my filmic knowledge. Despite it being the all-time Favorite Film of many many friends and relatives, including my own father, I have never seen it.

Heh, well, firstly and most importantly, I dislike sci-fi.
I dislikes films that take place in space (generally speaking and Star Wars exempt). And furthermore, I am not the biggest Kubrick fan.

So it's no surprise that this wasn't quite my cup of tea.
That said, I really did (am) giving it a fair go.
I use the present tense in brackets because I am simultaneously typing while watching said film. Or rather, I watched 45 mins last night with my hubby (who incidentally is another person who loves the movie) before bed; Now, we are at the 1 hr 28 minute mark, and while I don't *dislike* the film, I am rather impatient and finding it slow-go.
So I will use my ability to type without needing to look at the keyboard while I watch the rest of this film.

From a purely visual point of view - this film is MINDBLOWING. Even by today's standards, but one can only imagine the impact it made in 1968. And I would love love love to see it on a big screen.

I'm not necessarily one who like films that are visually spectacular, but lacking in other areas. I do appreciate that film is, in and of itself, primarily a visual medium. But I truly believe that a film that lacks cohesiveness of the visual with other aspects of film, fails inherently.

2001: A Space Odyssey quite obviously doesn't fail per se...
But, and this is rather unpopular to say, I must agree with the critics who've said that it was "somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring." and "2001 is a disaster because it is much too abstract to make its abstract points."

The film is slow.
A tad boring, minus the oooo-ing and aaah-ing over the gorgeous shots and nifty cut-aways, or the few captivating points of creepiness (usually coinciding with excellently haunting music).

Where is it goooooing, for god's sake?
What about plot?

I hate the too-abstract. The purposefully and pretentiously abstract.
And seriously...3 minutes in the frikkin dark, with nothing but manipulative music to set the scene, as a start to the film?
Puh-lease, Stanley Kubrick.

Apparently the book is excellent, and explains things which Kubrick has purposefully left vague, for viewers to prescribe meaning unto. My husband has pointed out gaps which the book explains -and also offered that the novel is on the shelf, should I ever want to read it (...hmmm, can't quite see that happening).
And I'm not an idiot who needs things to be spelled out to me, Hollywood style.
I just don't find myself riveted by the concept.

I like my films with a large side helping of meaning and emotion.
I know the themes tackled in this film were large and "profound", but the way in which they were handled left this viewer less than dazzled.

But hey, at least I know have basis for the zillions of references to this "epic film".
And I was dazzled by visuals and brilliant use of music/sound.

So, 3 out of 5 monkeys then.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Third Man (Carol Reed - 1949)

"Alright, Calloway, you win. I'll be your dumb decoy duck"

Oh Zither, Zither, how I can't get enough of that zither sound...

Number 65 on The List is Carol Reed's post-war British film-noir classic 'The Third Man'. One of my favourite films already, it was a pleasure to watch it again after some time.
I first encountered this film in the film class, where I studied it whilst living admist Eastern Europe, in a setting that nearly matched that of the film. It was exciting to watch this film while living in Prague, and seeing it now takes back to 2001, and the cobblestoned streets thereof.

An excellent mystery, The Third Man is the story of Holly Martens, "a hack writer who drinks too much", who arrives in sketchy, black-market-ridden post-war Vienna, to find that his friend (the wonderfully named Harry Lime) is dead. Circumstances surrounding his death are sketchy, and Martens is determined to find out 'the truth'.

The suspenseful and well-crafted solving of that mystery is just part of what makes The Third Man a great noir.

Also remarkable is, of course, the fantastic & quirky musical score (zither!), and the black & white "expressionist cinematography", in particular - bizarre camera angles. Add to this the dodgy eastern european characters and locations, and the brilliance of Joseph Cotte, Allida Valli and Orson Welles' performances, and you have one grrrreat film, which I definitely give

5/5 Monkeys

Friday, July 2, 2010

(Mistake - Correction)

I wrote an entire blog about Sex IN the City. Which should have obviously been Sex AND the City.

I'm more sleep deprived & mush brained than I thought.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Touch of Evil (1958) - Orson Welles

So so so so so good. Loved this film. Love Orson Welles' work. Love this genre of film - a dark, brooding film noir (supposedly the last film noir from the classic noir era - early 40's to late 50's).

Coming in at #54 on The List, this is one film that probably should be a bit higher up than it's slot.

I wish I could say I watched this uninterrupted, curled up with a coffee in a cozy winter living room - but the truth is that it took me three days of stopping & starting to finish this fantastic film (ahh, life). I intend to one day watch it properly, that is, so that the flow of the film is not lost.

I am pressed for time at the moment and will dot point random thoughts about this wonderful piece of cinema, as opposed to a review of sorts.

A. It has to be said - why oh why is Welles such a fatty boomba in this? Hee hee. He is on a looong list of famous male celebrities who were hot in their youth, but turned into unattractive fatty boombas (Elvis, Brando, Travolta, Jack Nicholson, etc etc).

B. What's with Janet Leigh and hotel rooms? Sheesh. :)

C. The kidnapping scene of Leigh, in said hotel room, is absolutely terrifying, in a very unusual way. Well done, well done, that scene.

D. Charlton Heston is freaky looking. Spray tan a'la trying-to-be-mexican? Hmmmm...

E. Welles' performance was astounding. His giant physical form was menacing on screen. He towered over every one and every thing, it seemed. I marvel at how one can act and direct with such clarity.

F. Marlene Dietrich! WOWZA. awesome gorgeous, slightly haunting performance, in her small supporting role. Welles' captured her unique face with such divine use of light and shade.

G. A review of this film would be nothing without mention of the famous opening tracking shot- but there are, in my opinion, even more notable moments throughout the entirety of this film, in terms of brilliant filmic technique and excellent shots (lovely low angles, for instance). Welles was ahead of his time, it seemed, in making cinema. Or perhaps it is more a case of his creating a new style of cinema, pioneering new technique.

Well, that's a wrap.
I wish I could discuss this film in a more intelligent way than "I loved it" and "Orson Welles is obese", but I'm incredibly sleep deprived at present and can only muster the above.

5 out of 5 monkeys

Next up - "Mr Smith Goes to Washington"
"The Third Msn"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rubbish in the City (2)

Well, I'm halfway through 'Touch of Evil' (which IS actually on the list), but alas I am going to write a quickie here about my recent viewing of 'Sex in the City 2'.

I finally got around to taking in a 'Babes in Arms' session at the wonderful Westgarth last week. Awesome concept, which I plan to take advantage of more often, especially while baby is still immobile and will sleep in me arms.
Anyway, they were playing Sex in the City 2, which as you can imagine was quite popular amongst the mums. :)
I knew this film got absolutely panned, and was expecting it to be bad. And bad it was.
That said, it was also quite fun. Albeit, in the incredibly shallow contrived way you might expect.

Let's back up...
much to my husband's horror, I actually enjoy the tv series SITC. Infact, most of the ladies I know do - somehow, it appeals to many "types" of women, myself included. It's a guilty pleasure. It's fun, it's girlie, it's fluffy. I am not one of the women who like it for the whole fashion aspect - I honestly couldn't give a hoot about a Prada bag or a pair of Manolo Blahnik. Sure, I do mildly enjoy the fun crazy Carrie Bradshaw outfits, but that's about it.

I also completely understand why SITC (the series) would anger people. It's shallow & sometimes vapid content is questionable. And then of course there's the main reason why my hubby despises the girlie franchise - he referenced an early episode whereby Charlotte encounters an uncircumcised man, and is utterly appalled by his genitals. I haven't seen this episode in question (there's huge gaps in my SITC viewing), but apparently Charlotte provides the gentleman with an ultimatum, in that she insists he gets circumcised before the relationship continues (and/or a sexual relationship ensues).
My husband's point - and a very good one - is that if the shoe were on the other foot, and a tv series had a man asking a woman to mutilate/change her genitals, rest be assured we Chicas would be outraged. And so should we all be at this particular episode in question.

Anyway, I digress.
I am WAYYYyyy off topic.

The first SITC movie was grouse. Loved it. Well, hated hated hated the plot factor of Carrie taking back Mr.Big. But it was a lovely little film.

And they should have stopped there.

This second film was devoid of many things...plot and integrity mostly.
There were some entertaining and fun bits ('Lawrence of my Labia'...Charlotte & Miranda's candid talk about motherhood...Liza Minelli's "All the Single Ladies" cameo -wow, what legs she has for an elderly lady!).
But there was a distinct lack of substance and a potent sense of desperation to this venture #2 in film. Seriously, ladies, why did you agree to this?

Ah yes, and the answer would be - $$$$$.
As the scathing reviews of the movie state, ANY SITC movie WILL bring in generous revenue, despite any bad criticism of the film. Loyal fans and ladies worldwide love the SITC franchise, and will pay the ticket price no matter "how awful" the film is reviewed to be. Hell, I did it meself.

My biggest issue with this film? (Well, besides having to endure Sarah Jessica's Parker's drag-queen-esque face in closeup from the 5th row of a large screen theatre).
Carrie Bradshaw's heightened sense of shallowness and selfishness.
The way she treats her husband is not grounds for role-model status nor protagonist behaviour.
Big buys her an anniversary present (a plasma screen tv, installed just near the bed), which Carrie instantly rejects as awful, and whines about how "a piece of jewelery would've been nice".
Um...ingrateful bitch?
Who would have the gumption to do that?
then, to make matters worse, she whines like a big baby the entire movie, kisses another man (her ex, Aidan) while overseas, and is REWARDED upon return to her husband, who produces a giant ring for her to wear as "punsihment" for her infidelity.
I kid thee not.
Awful. Just plain awful.
As were the terribly convenient plotline of Charlotte's fear of Harry cheating on her with the nanny, which was conveniently wrapped up by the nanny being revealed as a lesbian. And the out-of-nowhere gay marriage between "the two gay best friends", who've hated each other throughout the series, but somehow found love.
Not believin it.
I could go on and on, especially in regards to the horrible shallowness of the girls' trip to the middle east, the posh princesses amongst minimum wage servants, but I won't. Because I've taken up farrrrr too much time on this film.

Friend Nellie & I were chatting about my film blog project last week (Hi Nellie!) and she encouraged me to write a scathing blog of SITC 2, so I hope this was a bit feisty.
I shall return to life outside of Miranda, Carrie, Samantha and Charlotte.

P.S. This film received a whopping 16% of rotten tomatoes! SIXTEEN! that is lowwww folks, laughably bad. There were also some doozies of reviews on RTomatoes that cracked my shit uppp. Some great one liners:
"Sex and the City has turned into a bloated juggernaut of pointlessness. Its female characters are now beyond unbearable, none more so than Carrie."

"Whenever the light is just right and the angle is just plain wrong, each star gets an unflattering close-up that leaves them looking like drag-queen stand-ins."

With SATC2 we were supposed to get a peek at what's next. Instead we got a fanciful vacation and a lame and fluffy version of female power.

1.5 Monkeys / 5

Friday, June 25, 2010

'PRECIOUS' (To get back into the swing of things)

Well ,why not get the ball rolling with some review, ANY review, to perk this halted blog up.

I rented a stack of movies yesterday, all on the list except 'Precious', which I've been wanting to see since it hit theatres last year (And after the Oscars, even moreso!).

Knowing lots about the story of this film, I was deeply afraid of how difficult it would be to watch. There's a part of me that is slowly losing the ability/desire to watch such horrific depictions of things (such as abuse, in this film's case), simply because I see it as somewhat exploitative. That being sad, Precious was carefully constructed in such a brilliant way that I never, ever felt there were any gratuitous displays of violence/abuse.
Crafted artfully, in such a unique cinematic style, Lee Daniels' award-winning film truly struck a cord. He pushed the envelope with this, going to a very dark place, unafraid to show ugliness. I absolutely adore his style of filmmaking - his storytelling is quick, sharp & poignant. I like directors who don't insult their audiences by "spelling it all out". Daniel's storytelling & editing is seamless and moves forward at such a perfect pace, as if you're given a gliding-over sense of Clarice "Precious" Jones' sad sad life.
The juxtaposition between the grimy, awful life circumstances of reality - and that of Precious' numerous dreamscapes - is incredible and extremely telling in and of itself. You could watch this film without any sound and know exactly what was going on.

When he does slow down, the potency of what is being said is all the more hardhitting. Nothing illustrates this example more clearly than the climactic scene, in the social worker's office with both Mary and Precious.

Wow wow yikes yikes yikkity yikes.

So. Hard. To. Bear.
I haven't seen anything like Mo'Niques acting, particularly in this scene, in a very long time. She plays Mary Jones with such originality, and without any stock-characteristics one might be tempted to utilise when portraying a mentally-ill, incredibly abusive person.

Mo'nique is utterly deserving of the Oscar for this performance.
Her speech, in that (second to) final scene there in the social worker's office, is heartwrenching. I found myself cringing and not breathing, stuck in a state of horrified disbelief. I also felt this overwhelming sense of pity, much like that of which was plastered all over (Mariah Carey's) the social workers face.

For the first time in the film, you feel this utter sense of pity for this monster of a woman. Her babbling, rambling insane chatter makes you wonder - What. The. Fuck.
And how? HOW on earth could NOBODY in the system have noticed how sick sick sick this woman was? And taken away her very very VERY abused daughter.

When I first heard about the film 'Precious' and exactly the circumstances of Precious' life, I thought, you have to be kidding me. I thought, aren't they overdoing this piece of fiction? Emotional, sexual and physical abuse? By both parents? Illiteracy? Not one, but TWO children as a result of her father's abuse, by the mere age of 16? Being kicked out of school? Discovering an HIV positive status?
I mean, the only thing they've left out of this story of utter horror is perhaps Precious getting in an accident that paralyses her. And perhaps being brutally murdered as well.
No, but, in all honesty, the story IS insane to someone lucky like myself, because it's so horrific. But the sad fact remains that it's not "out there" and sensational - there are girls like Precious out there. Right now. Every day. Past, present and future.

And how great is it that Daniel's film was dedicated "to all the precious girls out there". I've been curious enough to look up interviews on Youtube with Gabbourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique, and they are right...this film will hopefully save somebody's life.

5 out of 5 monkeys.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I'm Back (I swear!)

hello hello, film loverssss.

I am back from an unexpected hiatus from this here 100 Project. I have been focused on life and baby and more life and more baby, and the project took a backseat for a bit.

Finally the other day I sort of "remembered" my blog, and oh yes, that I am in the middle of this project.
And while it will indeed ebb and flow this year, I definitely do not want it to Fizzle Out.

So this is an official verbal self-kick-in-the-butt to get back to the list...

and now to plan a trip to the (good) video store and the next up...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tally from The Hundred

It's time to check-in, folks, and see how many/which films have been viewed and blogged about for this here 100 Project.

12 /100 Greatest Films
2 / 25 Alternate Must See Greaties

14 TOTAL for Le'Project

It's a Wonderful Life
West Side Story
Jules et Jim
Annie Hall
Star Wars (ep IV - A New Hope)
Pulp Fiction
La Dolce Vita
Blue Velvet
Airplane! (aka 'Flying High')
To Kill A Mockingbird
A Streetcar Named Desire

Any suggestions for must see next? Let me know. I'm really in the mood for Casablanca,

Chinatown (1974) - Roman Polanski

Sigh. Chinatown.
Ah a most depressing, dark & disturbing neo-Noir.

For some reason this film didn't impress me as much the second time around just now. I imagine this is largely due to the fact that I knew the outcome of the movie, knew the plot. Lack of shock & surprise.

But even still, just a bit underwhelmed for some reason. Yes, it is a good film. Yes, Roman Polanski is a strange and creepy man (love his cameo though), albeit a great filmmaker. But I just didn't love it as much as the first time; perhaps it's due to the fact I studied it intensely in my film course and had to write a paper on it, thereby having been guided into a richer interpretation thereof.

Jack Nicholson is spectacular, as is the demure Faye Dunaway.I love watching Jack in his hayday, before he got fat & yuckmo.
There's some great sassy dialogue in this film - I particularly dig Jake Gittes' potty mouth which he generally fails to censor around the lady (it being the 1930's and all).
A great haunting soundtrack, some interesting shots. A well-crafted film and excellent film noir indeed.

It's the highest on The List that I've yet watched for this project - coming in at #4. Do I agree with this rating?
Erm, not so much really. I know that's not going to be popular to say, it being the one and only Chinatown. But I think I give this approx 3.5 Monkeys.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946)

"Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he? " - Clarence, the wise old fool...

Coming in at #56 on The List is Frank Capra's uber classic, feel-good holiday-time movie, "It's a Wonderful Life".
Would you believe that despite it being aired on television at least once or twice per year at Christmas time, I still had never seen this? (I think perhaps my love of Christmas cartoon movies - Peanuts, Burl Ives' Rudolph, etc. trumped this film when networks air multiple movies during the XMass season.

Alas, it's not anywhere near Christmas (though it is chilly here in Melbourne), but I picked this up the other day and watched it yesterday.
I liked it. I indeed liked it. Very nice little old film. Some BEAUtiful close ups, of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed (a gorgeous one of Reed when her husband comes home all disturbed).
I appreciated the storytelling device of an angel looking down upon the important snipets of someone's life. It makes you sort of take stock of your own important bits, which evidently is the point. To love & cherish the life you've been blessed with. To realize that we're all important, in the grand scheme of life.

"Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends."

A great little love story, holiday movie meets Death of a Salesman.
I liked it. 4/5 monkeys


Yay...for more blog followers! Yay!

Tre' exciting.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Jean-Pierre Jeunet I Love Love LOVE You...

And I LOVE French cinema!

My Mother's Day treat (in addition to a wonderful lunch and a new Wii game) was a ticket to see a matinee of Micmacs at the art cinema while hubby took care of baby.

...YES!!! Just. What. I. Needed.
To spend an afternoon baby-free, recharging myself, wandering around a'la Artist Date style, and then cozying up in a tiny cinema to watch one spectacular film, by one spectacular director, who may just have to be considered my favourite director (I have a hard time committing to one favourite of anything..;)

Micmacs was magic. Pure magic.
Jeunet's films are poetry in motion.
There is something about his work that makes your heart soar & bubble & burst with glee. That makes your weary soul realize how blessed you are and how amazing LIFE really is.
Spellbinding. Lovely. Enchanting.

Amelie is my all time numero uno favourite movie (ok, so I 'spose I can pick just one for some things. hee). And I firmly believe that one should make it a point to watch his/her all time favourite movie atleast twice a year - or whenever you need a swift kick in the ass, or pick me up, or...
After seeing the delightful, satisfying Micmacs, I am going to start watching Jeunet films in general to cleanse my spirit, so to speak.

There is something about Jeunet's filmmaking and writing that makes me feel giddy and kidlike. Stylistically, Micmacs was all industrial-punk-grungy-apocolypse-chic.
More importantly however are Jeunet's rich characters, endearing and strange. So well cast, as per usual in his work. He even manages to throw in a darling little love story between Bazil and the Contortionist, alongside the intricate and hilariously crafted revenge-plot.
(And I adored Dany Boon! Great lead. Jeunet picks actors with such watchable, interesting faces)

I can't say enough great things about this movie. If it weren't for my severe sleep deprived state of being, I'd keep going for pages. In fact, obviously I have strayed from the task of my 100 list in blogging here about this ,but it just couldn't be helped.

...and so the Not So Snobby Film Snob has a vivid moment of Film see, I was meant to see this film a few weeks back, with members of my new mum's group (there is a theatre that does a Mums & Bubs session once a week). Anyway, I ended up not being able to make it then, much to my chagrin. So recently when I caught up for coffee with the mum's group, I asked one of them how the movie excursion went. She replied "Oh great, it was nice, only two of us though. Well, the movie wasn't any good but it was nice just being out".

Hrmmm...I know you can't force someone to like anchovies if they just don't like anchovies.
But I must say that after watching this brilliant film yesterday, I'm judging those two women. ;-) Can you blame me?!
Honestly, to NOT like something like Micmacs is just reedunkulous.
It makes me a bit sad, that I might not have much in common with these new mums (which I have begun to suspect anyway. sigh).

Alas, my point is...
6 out of 5 monkeys! :-))

Saturday, May 8, 2010

the next two

Next up, sitting on the coffee table ready to be watched n' reviewed...


It's a Wonderful Life


Friday, May 7, 2010

West Side Story (1961) - Jerome Robbins

ahhhh, what a classic, classic movie musical. Based on such a quintessential stage musical.
West Side Story has it all...saucy dancing, over the top cheesy love story, gushy ballads, fun upbeat numbers, all intertwined into a modern day version of Romeo & Juliet. How can one NOT like West Side Story, I ask?
It's barrels of fun, with lots to sing along to and even more to poke fun at.
um....gangs of dancey fairies?!! HAaaaaa! love me some gay.
If Scorsese made this film, it would've been called 'Gays of New York'. hee!

Hee, sorry, I'm not being politically incorrect - lord knows I'm the biggest fag-hag fruit-fly out there (for those readers who don't know me personally). But the opening sequence, oh mannnn, soooooooooo gaaayyyyyyy (said in the voice of a 13 yr old teenage girl, of course). Love. It.
The world's least threatening members of society - pretty, well-trained dancer gay boys - posing as a "scary new york city street gang of hoodlums"....ha!

and then there's UBER gay Tony, played by way-too-pretty-boy Richard Beymer. And his slew of super F-A-G-G-Y moments, singing 'Maria' and the very daggy 'Something's Coming". Telling Maria he loves her a couple hours after meeting her, after they've exchanged perhaps 70 words total.
Love it!
There is something hilarious and fun about the disgusting commitment to love at first sight, that Tony & Maria display. Great cheesy acting (well, one couldn't pull off Tony & Maria without such) that depicts the neo Romeo & Juliet characters as blinded by ideals and passion and lust. It's comical, seeing two people like that. But you're still WITH them, you know.

So, I was watching this and felt almost like I was in a theatre. The theatricality captured on screen was brilliant - although, cinematically, the film is excellent as well. So many gorgeous bird's eye views shots of new york and the 'burb depicted.
GREAT use of camera work for the choreography (which I loved as well).
I was telling my partner that I know the story, and I know all the songs, and have seen some classic scenes from the film - but, I truly don't think I have watched this movie fully before now. How pathetic, really, a theatre artist with a degree & special affinity for musical theatre. shocking.

I am soooo an Anita, though. Rita Moreno rocks this role out, but of course. But I would love love love to play Anita in a production of this one day. Sassy, saucy, and full of gusto (unlike the sappy, purebred role of Maria. Those girlie high-soprano roles are DEFinitely not my bag...All the Natalie Wood's of the world can keep 'em).

My fave number choreographically - "Cool"
World's most narcissistic, yet endearing, song - "I Feel Pretty"
Gayest song ever - "Maria"

4 out of 5 stars! fun time, folks.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

west siiiieeeeeeeed

In the middle of watching West Side Story (also in the middle of baby sleep-training, so I'm a bit preoccupied in this hellish attempt at training my bub into some daytime normalcy...).
I just peeked at The List and realised, whoops, it's not on the 100, but rather the 25 Alternates. Ah well. I shall still review it and count it toward my hundred. ;)

more to follow.

I'm thinking next perhaps Chinatown and Casablanca. Two films I love love love & am eager to see again.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Jules et Jim (1961) - Francois Truffaut

Coming in at number 33 on the list...

Loved loved loved this!
Been wanting to watch Jules & Jim for years, ever since studying Truffaut with 'The 400 Blows' in film class. It was everything I expected & hoped for.
And I wasn't the only one loving French films - little baby Felix was awestruck with it for some reason. I think he liked the soothing male french accents. ;)

I am at a loss for what to say specifically about this lovely film. I finished it yesterday but alas I have forgotten (baby brain!) all the highlights I wanted to mention.
It's enchanting, poetic, fun, serious. Catherine -is she the ultimate psycho crazy chick or what.Jesus. Talk about a nutter.
Jules & Jim, endearing and likeable for different reasons. The film captures pre and post WWI in such distinct lights. I like the use of third person voiceover narration.

Definitely a 5 out of 5 monkeys

Sunday, April 25, 2010

now what?

I've not seen 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' - I picked this up at the vid store the other day, thinking it was on the List. Alas it's not, but no harm done. Like 'Goodfellas', it's yet another film I've been wanting to see.

So I've got that on my coffee table, along with...JULES ET JIM!!! Very much looking forward to Le Frenchy film de' Francois Truffaut.

Now to find a time to watch it. One would think having a baby would mean lots of sitting around time - but I'm finding now that there's less and less. He nurses too quickly! ;-)) And daytime napping is a bit of an issue, so when/if he goes down for a piddly cat nap, I am either A. Ensuring it's suuuper quiet, and thus nothing on the tv. or B.Passing out on the couch for some much needed snooze.
And at night, when he goes to sleep?....Ha! I am right behind him, early bed for me. I miss the days when I'm not so exhausted & gleefully pop in movies late at night, curled up on the couch.
Well, when he starts sleeping thru the night...ahhhhh, it will be glorious for so many reasons.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

ANNIE HALL (1977) - Woody Allen

"Touch my heart, with your foot..."

Woody love love his films. I know lots of people can't get past his disgusting "I married my adopted step daughter" factor, but I do.

Annie Hall is, arguably, a film about nothing, much like Seinfeld was a show about nothing. Sure, yes, it's a romantic comedy, it's about relationships, and in particular one specific relationship. But ultimately, it's the small nothing in this film that make it so charming, funny and interesting (like the waiting in line at the cinema, with the pretentious film-talker behind him / or the lame actor ex boyfriend of Annie's who rambles rubbish about his craft).
That and the breaking of the 4th wall within the film, a device I love when used well.

Diane Keaton is lovely & even Woody Allen doesn't bother me as much as he does when he acts in his other films (because he' always the same neurotic character, essentially, himself). Perhaps if he'd only stopped putting himself in his films with Annie Hall, his later works would be even more enjoyable.
But yes, even Alvy is a great character -flawed and melancholic. But real.

Hadn't seen Annie Hall for awhile now - must say it really does stand up, even against his recent works. I love Woody Allen's film & this is amongst my faves.

5 out of 5 monkeys!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Goodfellas (1990) - Martin Scorsese

FACT - "The word 'fuck' is used approximately 300 times in the film. Ninth most in film"

So, just had to throw in the above factoid, as seen on wikipedia (which of course means it may or may not be correcto).
Well, as you might have guessed, I've detoured from the official Top 100 List by watching and blogging here about 'Goodfellas'. But how could I resist, when
A. This was my first time watching Goodfellas. And seeing as my 100 project is all about my wanting to watch fantastic movies I "have been meaning to see", it fit perfectly
B. It's a Scorsese film, thus, wunnnnderful. And considered one of the greatest mob movies ever made. Rotten tomatoes gave it 96%! (as you might have noticed, I adore rotten tomatoes and tend to agree with it's reviews/ratings)

So, anyway. LOVED this film. Loved the script, the actors, the acting, the editing, the shot sequence, the use of voiceover, the music. Everything. A real sense of time and place and mood was created. Scorsese is excellent at that. You're right there, in the world of whomever is on screen. In this case, mobsters from the 1950's thru to the 80's. A grimy underworld of violence, machismo, cocaine and crime crime crime.

DeNiro! ohhh how great De Niro is in this. But Ray Liotta stole the show for me. Him and Lorraine Bracco, all the chemistry and 'crazy love'. Yikes. Suddenly makes any bad relationship you might have had look not so nutty.

Not sure what else to say about this film - it was just enjoyable. I love me films where I'm shown an underworld. How fascinating and depressing is it to watch how mobsters live. And the fact this is based on a true story is most delightful - not that I'm condoning violence or saying Yay! to the mob - I just love watching true stories depicted on film. It makes the viewing experience completely different from watching a purely fictional one.
Do you agree?
And Scorsese, time and again, has a knack for showcasing true stories that are unbelievably wild.
Do you agree?

I am a bit brain dead on account of my baby not sleeping as much/well as he previously did. Thus, a slowdown on films & reviews. And a bit too mush-brained to write anything more of real intelligence here about Goodfellas.

Would love some discussion...Any Scorsese fans? Un-fans?

So now is a good time to make the ultimate confession...I have never seen The Godfather trilogy!!!!
Wait, maybe I already did confess that in an earlier blog.
Seeing Goodfellas gets me all revved up for one day watching The Godfather for the first time. As you know, it's numero uno on The List, and I am sooooo damn excited to finally sit down over a weekend sometime soon, and watch all three.
But I think I will save that for last, after I've ticked off more from El Listo.

Goodfellas = 5 out 5 monkeys

*Annie Hall is sitting on my coffee table, due tomorrow, waiting to be watched and reviewed. It's been a few yrs since I've seen this one. Was waiting to try and watch it with Hubby, who hasn't seen it, but we haven't found the time. Doh.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

STARS WARS!!! (1977) George Lucas

"The force is rather strong with this one..."

Number 16 on the list, is Episode IV, the original sci-fi classic that created a massive following & made George Lucas a god amongst nerds.

I was saying to my husband that I wouldn't dare blog much about this film, for I am not a "star wars fanatic", per se. That's not to say I don't enjoy the films, but I don't love love love sci-fi by any means. My nerdiness is of a different type.
That said, for someone who notoriously hates books/movies that A. Take place in space. blech. and B. Have lots of action sequences, I love Star Wars.
I haven't watched this movie since I was a kid, or maybe a teen. I have an older brother who of course loved star wars, so watching it again reminds me of being a kid and liking things my big brother did. :)

I had a permanent sense of deja vu while watching the film, because it's so known, yet the many many years between now and my last viewing provided this feeling of, well, yeah, deja vu. Very cool feeling. nostalgia.I remember watching it with my "kid eyes".

So out of curiosity I looked up what rating Star Wars received from Rotten Tomatoes...94%! not surprising, from this "arguably one of the most inventive and entertaining films ever made". I was picking Jono's (hubby) brain throughout our viewing, since he is of the sci-fi Star Wars loving of my questions was what made this film so amazing, to SW geeks. His answer was that it was a lot to do with the world Lucas created. Such detail, such an interesting world. Believable, and yet foreign. Accessible to humans - addictive to sci-fi junkies.

I now feel the need to watch the rest of the star wars film again!
4 out of 5 monkeys.

NEXT UP--> Annie Hall!!!! Some woody allen action, folks

Monday, April 12, 2010

PULP FICTION (1994) - Quentin Tarantino

Coming in at #29 on The List, one of my absolute favorite films of all time. And a film that definitely solidified my love of good movies, back in the day, 1994, when I was a mere 15 year old girlie.

I haven't watched Pulp Fiction in many years, and what a treat it was to review this film with 30-yr-old eyes. It made me utterly nostalgic for my teenage days of becomming an alterna-teen. Some of my fondest memories from those formative teenage years are surrounding films like Pulp Fiction (and Trainspotting, etc. etc.). I recall driving from Westland to Ann Arbor with car loads full of friends, to catch the midnight show of PF at the groovy art cinema, only to return home at 4am after a kickass excursion.

I watched this film endlessly, as it was "So Cool" and, well, I'd never seen anything like it before. Most people hadn't. PF made 'Tarantino' a household name. Infact, I've had the discussion with film-nerd pals about how strange it must be, for Tarantino, to peak at such a young age, with one of his early films. Because truly, I don't believe any of his subsequent films have been as amazing as PF. The Kill Bill films? - excellent. Jackie Brown - quite good. Inglorious Basterds? - fantastic. But I reckon he peaked with PF. Pulp Fiction is brilliant.
Mostly because his style of cinema was unheard of at the time. He became a well known director, whose style could be talked about in terms of "very Tarantino like".

So, in my viewing of this film the other day, I was delighted that I could still recite many scenes verbatim. In year 12, I remember doing the Mia/Vincent restaurant scene as my final acting project and receiving an 'A'. I looooved being Mia Wallace. The button up white shirt, the stern makeup, and, best of all, the alluring way in which she smoked, blowing the ciggy trail up from one side of her mouth.
Call me silly & pretentious (and oh how I was at age 15, hee hee), but oh how I wanted to smoke like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. And speak like her - well, not just her, but everyone. In the overly cool, overly affected way in which everyone spoke the hipper-than-could-possibly-be dialogue.

Everything about this film was - and is! - exciting. The music. Ohhh the music. I bought the CASSETTE TAPE soundtrack, and listened to it endlessly. Infact, how many people can hear a song like "You'll be a woman soon" and NOT think of pulp fiction?

So how has Pulp Fiction changed for me, seeing it as a 30 yr old in a totally different place in her life?
Well, to be annoyingly mom-like, I do see now how gratuitously violent the film is, and how it most definitely could be deemed as "glorifying drugs". Although, I really really Hate when people criticize films for glorifying drugs. Mostly because I am fascinated by drug culture and love watching drug movies, simply for the fact that it (drug culture) is so far from my world, and so unbelievable to me. It has never, nor will it ever, encourage me to try/use drugs, as so many conservatives believe drug depictions do.
So yeah, I see Tarantino's use of violence and drugginess as a bit gratuitous. Sure, he tries to make the gansta' life look somewhat appealing (well, if you can call getting gunned down on a toilet appealing, I spose ;), but it's a film. It's entertaining. It's well done. It's interesting. And most of all, it's excellent filmmaking.
And my god ,how young do Sam Jackson & Uma Thurman look? And Tim Roth?! a little youngin. I feel old. :)

5 out of 5 monkeys, most definitely.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

next next

coming up...
Decided to go with some of the ones I've seen numerous times already -

Pulp Fiction!
Star Wars (ep 4)

But it's been quite awhile for both. Nor have I ever viewed them with a critical eye and intent to blog.


La Dolce Vita (1960) - Fellini

"I like the three big evasions: drinking, smoking and going to bed."

Yes yes, alcoholic prophet. I concur.

Well well well.
I don't dare try to pretend I can write well enough about film as an art form to give justice to one of the greatest directors, and one of the greatest films. Coming in at #6 on the List, 'La Dolce Vita' (or 'The Sweet Life'), is one of the "biggies", in my book and in probably most Great Film lists.

Highly stylized, highly visual and overly poetic are Fellini's films. I loved everything about this film - though I firmly believe that there's still a lot of it I don't "get" yet. I simply need more viewings of it, to be able to take it all in.
In any case...
I was sucked into the rich world painted by Fellini's "fantasy-laden images".
I left feeling jaded and depressed by the depiction of this pathetic Marcello's pitiful life. I find it no wonder to read that Fellini was himself an utterly depressed individual.

Each separate "chapter" of the film burns in one's memory, for various reasons. I think I was most fascinated by the Sylvia scenes, as Fellini managed to captivate his audience in the same way in which Marcello, the paparazzi and everyone else are obsessed with the blonde bombshell of an Actress.
I found myself pathetically wanting to be a voluptuous trend-ite in 1960's Italy...only to loathe myself by mid-film for being seduced by the glamour of it all (as was Fellini's intent, I can only assume...)

I simply cannot sign off without mention of how INCREDIBLY yummy I find Marcello Mastroianni. Ohhh what a European stud muffin he is - or rather was. sigh.)

Highly deserving of it's spot as #6, I give this pic 5 out of 5 monkeys. :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fellini time

Have been out-of-film-commission due to a long 4 day weekend spent with my hubby & baby.
Next up though will be 'La Dolce Vita', which is pretty damn high on the top 100 list, so I have high expectations. I can't remember at the moment if we watched this in the film course I took in Prague. We studied one of Fellini's films and it escapes me which at the moment (there was, after all, a LOT of beer and absynth drinking during that semester in the CZ)...

So...Fellini....overrated? thoughts?
will hopefully be blogging about this within the next 24 hrs, though my son is a bit wild at the moment (i.e. not liking day sleep) so we'll see

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

what's next?

first off, I am slowing down with films a tad (from what I did last week). This is due, admittedly, to my obsession with the tv series 'Lost', and the fact that I've finally found a video store that rents Season 5. So I will be going thru the rest of Season 5 - and also finishing off West Wing Season 1. Then I can hit up the 100 list very hard.

That said, on Friday I plan to grab a couple dvd's...I'm thinking something foreign this time. Fellini's 8 1/2 or La Dolce Vita, or perhaps 'Jules et Jim' by Truffaut.

Also something not foreign - Tootsie? Annie Hall? could definitely go those.

Or maybe you readers can propose something from the list?

"Here's to swimmin' with bow legged women!"

JAWS (1975) Steven Spielberg
#52 on the list

How on earth can I be seeing Jaws for the first time at age 30???!!!

Jaws is frikkin awesome! Don't ask me why I was "dubious". I don't necessarily enjoy horror/thriller movies, and I thought Jaws would be fun but very cheesy. In fact, it's a really really well done, awesome little film. Or rather, BIG film, I should say, as Spielberg's sensation was anything but little, and now lives as a classic.
According to the list, it beats out 'One flew over the cuckoo's nest', which didn't make the 100 List (though is on the 25 worth mentions additionals), but did beat Jaws that year for the Best Picture Oscar.

It's funny when you finally see a film that's so iconic, particularly the highly recognizable musical score (everyone loves singing that "dun uh, dun uh, dun uh" spooky tune at some point, eh?), which did infact win the Oscar that year.
Fantastically shot, very very enjoyable. Not "scary" per se, but it's not supposed to be. Spielberg's goal (I reckon, anyway) was to create a "timeless film that continues to make entire generations afraid to go in the water". And while I won't be keeping out of the ocean after this ,certainly the next time I dive in I'll be thinking of this film! :-)

I have to say, I really enjoy Steven Spielberg. Obviously he's one of the most recognizable names, in terms of directors (if not THE most recognized). How great that such an early work as Jaws received such acclaim and recognition.

Things I loved...the boobs and 70's bush seen at the start of the film. oh how hilariously gratuitious! When Quint is swallowed whole by sharky. Seeing that dude's severed leg fall to the bottom of the ocean. And what a great realistic looking shark, for the mid-70's! well done, Hollywood. Not too too shabby.
I loved the shanty song singing on the boat between the 3 men, just before the shark attacked & punctured the boat. I also liked cheesy Richard Dreyfuss' facemaking at Quint, due to their working class/rich dude natural rivalry.
Ah, but Quint - he was a great character, and my only wish was that I could fully understand him. I lost like 50% of what he was saying, due to his mumbling of lines, grrr. hate that.
I also loved Roy Schieder in this. Loved his wimpiness. Such a fine actor to watch (all I can see though is him as Bob Fosse in 'All that jazz'!!). I liked the pouring of wine into a giant tumbler after a bad day.
There's lots of little subtle moments and one liners in here that are golden, which I didn't expect. All in all, tops!
5 out of 5 monkeys!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

tally thus far

5 out of 100 viewed.
X number of days to go.

Next up...JAWS!!!!!!

Would you believe I've never seen it in full?
And I call myself a film geek, huh!

(which is precisely why I'm doing this project, I need to be able to really be a well rounded film geek...;)

Blue Velvet

Howdy everyone (thank you to you lovelies who are reading this - please click on the thingo to follow this blog too ).
So I watched Blue Velvet on Friday afternoon and it's now Sunday. But the film is still relatively fresh in my head. After all, Lynch paints such grotesque images, how can one shake them so easily?

Let me begin by reiterating that I was apprehensive to watch this film, as I had quite a shite experience watching Lost Highway many years ago. I was so disgusted & creeped out by this film, I remember having the most visceral reaction to a movie I've ever had before or since. It's one of a handful of film I will never watch again.

That said, I liked 'A Straight Story', and I like what I've seen of Twin Peaks (this series is next on my "watch the whole series" list, after I finish West Wing). I also loooove Angelo Badalamenti (Sp), his music is amazing and haunting.

So, Blue Velvet. Yes. I was 7 when this film came out (1986), so my frame of reference when watching Laura Dern is Jurassic Park, and Kyle MacLachlan - Sex in the City. Sad, huh? That's what I instantly thought of when seeing these two. Can you blame me though? what kind of parents would let a seven year old watch David Lynch?

I really liked this film. I can see why it's noted for its cinematic greatness, coming in at #37 on The List.
My husband owns a copy of this dvd, a Lynch fan himself. He was noting how Lynch's aim as a director is to depict our worst nightmarish scenarios and images on screen.
Indeed, there is something so eerie about his films, you find yourself cringing and shuddering. Again, quite a visceral reaction.
His nightmarish depictions are both overt and subtle.
How completely FUCKED UP is Dennis Hopper in this film? And the classic scene when he first comes to Isabella Rossilini's apartment, the oxygen mask, the awful, bizarre, horrible sexual act. BLECH!
Loved the colour palette of this film, loved the full circle the film comes, of portraying crisp, pristine 1950's "white suburban bliss" - then the dark dark underworld of smut & perversion - then back again to robins chirping and white picket fences.
Lynch loves the contrast of the perverse that lies underneath the seemingly normal, and this film captures that sentiment brilliantly.
Yes, it was creepy & captivating. But I wasn't wanting to cry & vomit like I felt after Lost Highway, so maybe Lynch wasn't as messed up back in the 80's. ;)

4 out of 5 Monkeys.

Friday, March 26, 2010

next up...

Blue Velvet, number 37 on the chart.

Review to follow.
I'm completely and utterly freaked out by David Lynch, so this oughta be interesting...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

'Vertigo' (1958) by Alfred Hitchcock

Vertigo -#19 on the Top 100 List by EW

So this is one of those films for me whereby - I can see why it is revered, why it's a classic, and why Hitchcock is such a respected director. wasn't exactly my thing, and I wasn't too excited by it. Though perhaps it was because I ended up having to watch this movie in shifts (due to having a newborn) - perhaps this disrupted the flow that should have ultimately led to the suspensefulness of this psychological thriller.

So, yes. I do like Hitchcock, in general. And I like films of this era, cheesy though they tend to be compared to modern day film (particularly acting-wise).
But 'Vertigo' made me impatient - I kept wanting it to wrap up. Never a good sign. I'd think it was over, and then a new scene would start and I'd utter aloud "for fuck's sake!".
Too slow - or maybe I'm just too modern of an impatient viewer (?).
The things I appreciated about this film? - Hitchcock produces some absolutely beautiful shots. The opening shot of Novak's mouth/half face. gorgeous. The stunning shots of San Francisco - esp that of the golden gate as seen from the bay below.

But man, what a creepy story - I like that we, the viewer, are at a loss as to how this psychological mystery will unfold. Hitchcock does a great job, as usual, in keeping the viewer in the dark. Love the story - bleak and creepy. Actually, what's VERY yucko is Jimmy Stewart's portrayal of Scotty, and his utter controlling, abusive, creepiness. Blech.
Cheesiest moment? - No, not the swelling music each time Novak & Stewart kissed. The "I'm going crazy depressive" weird animated sequence of Scotty's! Hee! So bad it's good. Then again, I need to put into perspective the time period in which it was made, and how innovative this particular cinematic usage must have been.

All in all - meh. Wouldn't feel the need to watch this again, honestly.

2 outta 5 Monkeys

Blank out of 5 possible Monkeys

Rather than using a simple old "5 Stars" system of rating, I hereby shall use the system of Monkeys to rate films.
(and when I become a bit more computer/blog savvy, I can actually add icons to the bottom of my page accordingly)

5 Monkeys = It was amazing! Wowza! Loved this frikkin film. Go Bananas!
4 Monkeys = Really liked it - Banana Split but no cherry
3 Monkeys = It was ok / liked it but...
2 Monkeys = Meh, it was alright in some ways, but I'd be more excited eating a bunch of bananas really
1 Monkey = Rubbish!

why monkeys? Because I love monkeys. that tis why. :-)

Monday, March 22, 2010

interjection - Ponyo

Just had to write a little interjection here, as I watched Ponyo today, for the first time. (so yes, this blog has nothing to do with my 100 Project. apologies)
Hubby & I had been wanting to see it for ages, and the day we went to the art cinema (our anniversary!) it was sold out. boo.
So finally we got around to it.
Nothing will beat the first time seeing Spirited Away, of course, but I was still incredibly delighted (enchanted perhaps) by this lovely film. Ponyo is so loveable & hilarious - as a goldfish she reminded my partner and I of our little chubby son. :)

the colour palette, the music, the story, the pure magic of it all - what is not to love about Miyazaki's film?!

and Ponyo, we all want a little ham, my dear.

5/5 stars

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Airplane! (aka Flying High)

Well, talk about a switch in gears...! I knocked off two films today from the list, it being a sickly Sunday por moi. Decided to watch Airplane! this evening, which comes in at #67 on the Greatest list. This 1980 satirical comedy is something I'd expect to see on a cult classic list, not the "serious" film list which I'm following - I must say I was giddy when I saw this made the cut (and to think it placed higher than Mockingbird).

I'm sure anyone who reads this will have seen Airplane, and agree with me that it's cheesy style of one liners lends itself to being a highly quotable comedy. And I Love me some highly quotable comedies.

Actually, I was a bit late to the party on this one. I didn't see this film until 2006, when I was doing my second student teaching round at a prestigious, schmancy private school here in Melbourne. One of the classes I was teaching as part of my English teacher training was a Year 10 elective - "Film as Text". Holy moly was I in heaven in teaching this! :-))
I taught a unit in comedy and a unit in horror. Exciting schtuff. My supervisor told me which films I was to teach and thus happened my introduction to Airplane! (although it's called 'Flying High' here in Australia).
Imagine "studying" this film in a serious capacity. tee hee hee.
In truth I can't remember exactly what I did with this - but I do remember the reaction of my room full of 30 or so teenagers, most of whom groaned and rolled their eyes as each corny joke came their way.
This style of humour is different than the stuff of today. Each having their merits, of course.
I love love love love love Airplane!. I don't know where to begin...Leslie Nielson's dry humour. Striker's 'drinking problem'. The older woman who speaks jive. The rolling gag of "I chose the wrong week to quit..."Not to mention all the brilliant one liners and dialogue. The 9 year old girl drinking her coffee - "No thanks, I like it black. Like I like my men." Oh yes and boobs. Gratuitous boob close up during the panic scene. hee. :)
I also like this film's *Blink and you'll miss it* style of constant jokes. You can really find something newly hilarious upon each viewing.
Bottom line - Airplane! is excellently silly and I am a huge fan of silly.

(and Good'On'Ya EW for including a spoof on your list)

4/5 stars

To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

ahhhh, sigh. Harper Lee's classic novel turned into a classic & captivating film. I can't remember if I've seen this film before today. I do remember studying the novel (and loving it) in maybe grade 10 or so. It impacted me a lot during my high school years, this book. I reckon perhaps we were shown the film in school one day, upon completion of the text study. But in any case, today was the first time I've really *seen* it, and with adult eyes.

Despite at times thinking perhaps Peck's acting a bit melodramatic and too stoic, the truth is that he was the perfect Atticus Finch.
The film paints a picture of a time and place so remarkably, it's depressing.
Perhaps watching it on a Sunday afternoon whilst I'm coming down with a cold/flu was a good thing, in that the powerful and depressing story affected me a bit more.
Ahhh racism. Good old fashioned American southern racism.
But there's more to this novel/film than the subject of racism. I simply adore the way in which the film depicts the lives of the children - Jem, Scout and Dill. As a viewer you feel childlike again, along with Scout's point of narrative. The mysterry surrounding Boo Radley, the sneaking out behind Dad's back, not understanding exactly what it happening with the adult world around you, but guessing the gist of it.
I think that's why I loved this book in the first place, way back when.

Great film, very happy it's on this list.
4/5 stars

Saturday, March 20, 2010

next up

Note to self - Finish 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. Having an infant means not always finishing what you start.

After this...'Vertigo'!! Alfred Hitchcock. haven't seen this one yet. Hubby has and is excited to watch it with me.

It's Saturday arvo - the goal is to watch & blog about both these flicks by weekend's end.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

and -

not to be forgotten is my favourite line from the film/play...

"I don't want realism. I want magic!" - Blanche DuBois, a woman who makes me look perfectly, utterly normal. ;)

And also, must restate againnnnn, how incredibly HOT brando is! sheesh. even whilst playing the pig that Stanley Kowalski is, he is yum yum yum.

A Streetcar Named Desire


Well, I'd seen the famous "stella!" scene many a time, but never the full film until now. I'm a theatre person, and thus know & love Tennessee Williams' work. Such great stories & rich characters.
Blanche DuBois is, of course, one of those "roles of a lifetime" for female actresses, one which I probably could never do even remote justice to myself. I was fascinated by Vivien Leigh's performance - but also of Brando and Kim Hunter.
ohhhh the melodrama!
I can see why the all Oscar noms - beautifully crafted, Elia Kazan's direction portrayed a grimy, seedy, dingy world. I loved the use of music in this film as well.
Ahh classics, "they just don't make um like they used to", to use a cliched line. Nothing like a shadowy closeup in an old black and white film.
Brando's intensity was full-on. I was watching this while trying to keep my infant son asleep, and every time Brando would throw or hit something, the sound would wake up my baby! :)
Good stuff - a brilliant piece of writing, a stellar cast, and excellent direction.
4 out of 5 from moi.

Monday, March 15, 2010

First up! - an alternate

On the list of 25 alternates is...

A Steetcar Named Desire (1951).
By the fabulous Tennessee Williams, but of course. The theatre geek in me is excited to finally watch this classic film (and yummy Marlon Brando, in his prime).

will report upon viewing. I didn't mean to start with an alternate, but it appealed at the video store, and I'm certain it'll eventually replace a hard to find film of the 100.

On the horizon, next up - #85..."To Kill A Mockingbird"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

la list

After some consideration of which "Top 100" list to follow, I've come to a conclusion. I've chosen Entertainment Weekly's "100 Greatest Movies of All Time", a hardcover guide published by Time-Life Inc., and reproduced on the net (follow the link to the right).

This list was broadest, in that it was not simply the greatest American (only) films. Nor does it keep to an English-language only format. After all, what kind of list wouldn't include Truffaut. Or Fellini.

It also includes a list of 25 films under the heading "Just too beloved to ignore". Which I like. Sortof like the runners up. I am going to use this list as my alternates. For example, if I can't get my hands on "Celine & Julie Go Boating" (number 100 on the list, and probably tricky to find), I can swap that for 'The African Queen'. But only if need be.

ta. g'night.