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.