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