Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Figured I'd swing in here and say Happy Holidays to anyone who may be reading this. I appreciate all the support that some of you gave me this year and I hope you'll continue to follow me in the upcoming year and when I decide to make my return to the "1001" project. I will be back at the end of December/beginning of January for a December Recap. I obviously didn't watch any "1001" movies in December, but I did catch a few Christmas movies and I'll swing in and give my thoughts on those. Also, I'm pretty sure that "Santa" will be bringing my my long awaited "The Art of Buster Keaton" Collection, so maybe I'll have time to watch a few movies out of that as well. Anyway, Happy Holidays to you all. I really hope everyone who happens to be reading this has a very, very good Christmas, or whatever holiday it is that you celebrate at this time of year.

I'll say goodbye, but don't you cry...I'll be back again someday!

December 24, 2010 3:23pm

Monday, December 6, 2010

November 2010 Recap

NOTE: In case you haven't realized it already, I'm going to be taking a break from the "1001" project for a little while. This usually happens when I hit any kind of a milestone and with the watching of 201 movies and with only 799 movies to go, it felt like a good time to take a break. Not sure when I'll get back to it, but as always I WILL get back to it. However, I still thought it would be nice to drop in and give a quick "November 2010 Recap"...Here we go.

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die - As seen in November 2010
1) Halloween (1978 - John Carpenter) 9/10 - See the TOP 20: #102 - #201 for updated thoughts.
2) Marnie (1964 - Alfred Hitchcock) 7.5/10
3) Toy Story (1995 - John Lasseter) 10/10 - See the TOP 20: #102 - #201 for updated thoughts.
4) White Heat (1949 - Raoul Walsh) 9/10 - See the TOP 20: #102 - #201 for updated thoughts.
5) Psycho (1960 - Alfred Hitchcock) 7/10 - Great film, just not on par with some of the other Hitchcock films that I watched. I think it's hype precedes it and slightly diminishes the final outcome.
6) L.A. Confidential (1997 - Curtis Hanson) 6/10 - Another fairly decent film that just doesn't add up to some of the other stuff I watched last month.
7) Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942 - Michael Curtiz) 5/10
8) The Birds (1963 - Alfred Hitchcock) 7.5/10 - This one was more fun than good...if that makes any sense.
9) Irreversible (2002 - Gaspar Noe) 6/10 - One that kind of stuck with me for longer than I thought it would. Still not seeing the mass underground appeal of this one, but certainly one that keeps you thinking about the possibilities of it's message and ending.
10) Frenzy (1972 - Alfred Hitchcock) 9/10 - See the TOP 20: #102 - #201 for updated thoughts.
11) If... (1968 - Lindsay Anderson) 3/10
12) Wings of Desire (1987 - Wim Wenders) 5/10 - This one was more of a disappointment than anything. If I had gone into it not knowing anything about it, then I probably would've liked it a lot more. Going in with as much anticipation as I had for it, may have ruined it.
13) Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004 - Michael Moore) 7.5/10
14) The Wedding Banquet (1993 - Ang Lee) 7/10 - I definitely was being extra generous when I gave this a '10', but it's still a really good film that comes with my high recommendation.
15) Sideways (2004 - Alexander Payne) 10/10 - See the TOP 20: #102 - #201 for updated thoughts.
16) The Ice Storm (1997 - Ang Lee) 8.5/10 - See the TOP 20: #102 - #201 for updated thoughts.
17) Broadcast News (1987 - James L. Brooks) 5.5/10 - Just didn't hold my attention as much as I thought it would, especially being a James L. Brooks and a William Hurt fan.
18) Wo hu cang long (2000 - Ang Lee) 2.5/10
19) Roger & Me (1989 - Michael Moore) 8/10 - Came extremely close to making my TOP 20.
20) La jetee (1961 - Chris Marker) 4.5/10 - I guess I just really don't get the appeal of short films, at least ones that are meant to be taken seriously anyway. This one didn't do much for me, but in longer form, it could have been brilliant.
21) Brokeback Mountain (2005 - Ang Lee) 8/10 - See the TOP 20: #102 - #201 for updated thoughts.
22) Louisiana Story (1948 - Robert J. Flaherty) 5/10
23) Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982 - Amy Heckerling) 7/10
24) Reservoir Dogs (1992 - Quentin Tarantino) 9/10 - Much like the first time I watched it, this one is, once again, growing on me after a rewatch.

NON-1001 Movies - As seen in November 2010
1) Toy Story 2 (1999 - John Lasseter) 8/10 - My least favorite of the "Toy Story" trilogy, but still a damned good outing from the people at Pixar. This one is almost as much fun as the original, with the addition of the Round-Up Gang (including Cowgirl Jesse, Stinky Pete and Woody's horse Bullseye). I also liked the inclusion of a second Buzz Lightyear and his evil nemesis Emperor Zurg. Lots of fun to be had here.

2) Toy Story 3 (2010 - Lee Unkrich) 9/10 - Another really good installment of the "Toy Story" story. This one isn't stale at all and manages to come up with yet another fiasco for Andy's gang of toys to get into. This time the gang finds themselves donated to a day care center, where they meet such toys as Lots O' Huggin' Bear and Ken (of Ken and Barbie fame). The film tells like a prison movie as the toys try to escape the evil toys that reside at the day care center and Woody tries to get back to Andy, before he goes away to college. This one didn't disappoint and lets hope they end it there, before they end up making a sham of the whole series.

3) A Bug's Life (1998 - John Lasseter) 6.5/10 - One of my least favorite Pixar movies, but there's nothing too terrible going on here. "A Bug's Life" tells the story of Fleck, who, in an effort to save the ant colony from the oppression of the grasshoppers. He ventures into the city and returns with "Warrior Bugs" in tow. However, the "warriors" are actually a group of traveling performer bugs. The film includes some good voice work from people like Kevin Spacey, Denis Leary and Brad Garrett. This one just didn't give me that warm, fuzzy feeling that some of the other Pixar movies gave me and in my opinion, "A Bug's Life" is more geared toward kids than the other Pixar's.

4) Monsters, Inc. (2001 - Pete Docter) 8/10 - Another really good outing from the people at Pixar. I'm gonna' keep these short, as the Pixar movies for me are all very similar, in that they all really tend to appeal to me, where other animated movies don't. This one tells the story of Sulley and Mike, two employees of Monsters, Inc., a company situated in Monstropolis, that works to supply power to the community through the use of children's screams. The top scarer in the company is Sulley, but when he wanders into Boo's bedroom one evening, he gets more than he bargained for and realizes that there's more to life than making children scream.

5) Finding Nemo (2003 - Andrew Stanton) 9.5/10 - The broken record rambles on: Another really good one from the guys at Pixar. Behind the original "Toy Story" this has got to be my favorite Pixar release and cannot, for the life of me, figure out why this isn't included in the "1001" book. I think this movie does well at mixing many different genres: action/adventure, drama and comedy and putting them to good use in the world of animation. Nemo has been captured by a deep sea diver and his worry-wort father is ready to do anything he has to, to get him back. This includes teaming up with fellow fish, Dory, and heading farther than he's ever been to locate his son. Meanwhile, Nemo makes friends with the fish in the local dentist office in Sydney, Australia and finds out that his fate will soon be in the hands of Darla, the dreaded niece of the dentist, who has a history of killing fish.

6) The Incredibles (2004 - Brad Bird) 7/10 - Are you noticing a theme here? After watching the "Toy Story" trilogy, I just went all out and decided to give all the Pixar movies another go around. Previous viewings of "The Incredibles" have left me calling IT the worst Pixar movie to date, but this viewing had me changing my opinion and really seeing some fun qualities. The movie's central character is Mr. Incredible, a superhero who's best years are behind him. After a lawsuit leaves the heroes of the world forced to act as civilized, everyday citizens, Mr. Incredible misses the excitement of his former life and hates the mundane, day to day office job that he holds down. His wife is the former Elastigirl and soon they'll find out that they're kids are "supers" too. The villain this time around is especially fun and is the dreaded Syndrome (voiced by Jason Lee to whiny perfection).

7) Cars (2006 - John Lasseter) 7.5/10 - Last Pixar of the month, I promise. It's good (big shocker there, eh?). In my opinion, Pixar has a knack for giving inanimate objects great human qualities and then forcing us to fall in love with them over the course of ninety minutes. Also, seeing as how they're dealing in inanimate objects, the films also give more of a range to situations that you can't see anywhere else. Lightning McQueen is the chief character here, the top race car who gets caught up in the middle of a three way tie at the Piston Cup race. He, along with Chick Hicks and The King are then carted off to California to compete in a three-car finale for the coveted Piston Cup. Along the way, Lightning McQueen finds himself stuck in Radiator Springs and forced to repair the road that he damaged, causing his race to be put in jeopardy. Along the course of the film, McQueen learns so insightful lessons about himself and what is and isn't important in the world.

8) What About Bob? (1991 - Frank Oz) 6.5/10 - This is a little known Pixar movie that a lot of you may not have heard of...just kidding. I hadn't seen "What About Bob?" since I was a young'n and was actually surprised to see it sitting on my DVD shelf, as I do not recall purchasing it. Me and the wife, bored one evening, decided to pop it in and give it a whirl...again. I mean, who in their right mind doesn't love Bill Murray...the guy is hilarious and I think everyone in the world has a favorite Bill Murray film. This one is a little silly, upon another viewing, but that's one of the things that makes it a lot of fun. I recommend this film highly, but only if you plan to watch a movie that requires NO thinking and lots of laughing.

Well that about does 'er for another month of movie watching. If I don't find my way back to the pages of the "1001" book in the month of December, then I'll still try to sneak in at the beginning of January and give you a little info on what I DID watch in December. 'Till next time folks and Happy Holidays.

December 5, 2010 10:31pm

Sins of Omission - Entry #94: ZODIAC (2007)

Running Time: 157 minutes Directed By: David Fincher  Written By: James Vanderbilt, based on the book by Robert Graysmith Main Cast : Jake...