Thursday, February 28, 2013

Apocalypse Now (1979)

This film truly shows the absurdity of war.  The story is about a man sent on a secret mission to kill a rogue colonel in Cambodia.  He travels by boat to get there, and sees all sorts of craziness. One dude is surfing while bombs are going off, and later the man passes a stage of playboy bunnies and witnesses the soldiers rush the stage. But he stays true to his mission, he's off to kill that guy.  But the colonel, whose name is Kurtz, is ready for him. He wants to die as a soldier, not waste away in the jungle. He tells him, "Horror...Horror has a face, and you must make a friend of horror." This movie is crazy, and violent, and dark, so I give it an 8/10.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Birth of a Nation (1915)

After 4 days and an entire box of lemon Girl Scout cookies, I have finished The Birth of a Nation. The birth of my daughter Azalea took me 24 hours. This movie is over 3 hours and is just as painful.
The first half is a tedious personalized account of the entire civil war. Now, my family lives in Florida, but we are from Alabama.  So every year in school we were taught all about the War of Northern Aggression over and over. That's all they really focused on.  I don't even know what happened during the Vietnam War. So I don't need yet another long history lecture again. Yes I know Lincoln was shot. He died on my birthday, April 15th.  The first half was like living my childhood history lessons all over again. I thought I was done with that. In fact, the only way I could sit through a silent movie is to provide a soundtrack of my own. So the entire time I was watching it, I played Rage Against the Machine.

   So the second half is where it gets interesting. I could show this to my in-laws, tell them it's a documentary, and they would accept it as fact. That fact I find hilarious.  My half of the family is white, while my husband's is Native American. He said that "you won't hear us whining about reparations, and they took our land". Probably why you don't see any Native Americans in this film.

After the civil war, it shows how Congress gained its first black members.  They drink alcohol, eat fried chicken, and put their bare feet on the furniture. These are terrible people.  Something must be done, and the main cute white guy in the film sees some kids being scared off by other kids under a sheet, like a ghost costume. Ghosts are really scary, but not as scary as Ferris wheels. I don't know about you, but I am terrified of Ferris wheels.

The main evil guy in the film is Silas, who is half black and half white.  Unlike panda bears, who are both black and white and everybody loves them, Silas is a shady ass motherfucker who is bent on power.  In school we would have referred to him as "shady tree". He tries to force the pretty white girl to marry him against her will, but luckily she is saved by the unicorn people.

The other little girl in the film gets chased by another black guy, but leaps off a cliff to avoid him. However, she doesn't die immediately, she dies a slow painful death, like a Shakespeare character. Actually everything is slow and painful in this movie. This movie gets a 7/10 because I understand that it was groundbreaking, but it was too long.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Psycho (1960)

This review will have spoilers in it. Although I don't see how as everyone on Earth has seen this movie.

This movie was great! It was scary, but not overly gory (or "gross" as I like to say).  Gore itself is not scary, but filmmakers today seem to think it is. In this movie we only see two people get stabbed but the scariest part is wondering about that guy, Norman Bates, and wondering what is wrong with his mom.  Then we see his mom is dead and has no eyeballs! Lack of eyeballs is definitely scary!  Her son is really hot though; it's too bad he's crazy.

The morning after the movie, my husband asked me if I understood why it was called "Psycho". I told him I had a pretty good idea.  He said it was because of Marion, the girl who steals the money. She keeps hearing voices and becomes super paranoid of that cop, buys a car and takes off. He said if she wasn't so paranoid she wouldn't have stopped at that sketchy motel in the first place and that is why she is psycho. I told him, "Babe, I think it's called "Psycho" because the dude dresses up as his mom and kills people." But we had to agree to disagree once again.  This movie gets a 9/10 from me.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Double Indemnity (1944)

This is the very first film noir I have ever seen. Actually I have no idea what "film noir" means, and after watching this, I still don't.  I just could not take this movie seriously. This is all I kept seeing throughout the whole thing:

This is one of the unintentionally funniest movies I have ever seen, besides Final Destination. I'm sure that movie was supposed to be scary, but I could not stop laughing.  Double Indemnity had every '40's  stereotype I can think of.  The best line in the whole movie was, "There’s no getting off till the end of the line, where the cemetery is. And then I thought about what cemeteries are for – they’re for putting dead people in."

I don't even know how to rate this, since being the first film noir I have seen, I don't know what to base it off of.  Since I have read that this is a particularly good film noir, I give it an 8/10 and will base subsequent film noirs on how they compare to this film.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Steamboat Bill, Jr (1928)

I have a hard time with silent films because they rely almost entirely on visuals, and I have difficulty following them. But I did enjoy this film, as well as most of the films featuring Buster Keaton. His athleticism adds to the physical comedy. Also, the movie inspired Steamboat Willie, which was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon with sound.

It was amazing how he just ran from one boat to another, all the way to the top of the wheelhouse. Dude just leapt all the way up their.  Then he rescues his dad from jail and there's a cyclone and everything. So much was happening. One of the most famous scenes is when the wall falls down on Buster Keaton, and he passes safely through a window. That was actually done with a full-weight wall and would have killed him if he missed.  I give it an 8/10.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

This movie isn't on the 1001 list, but I still wanted to give my input so I have created a new list of "honorable mentions".  Just because a movie isn't on the list (yet), doesn't mean that it can't be enjoyable or thought-provoking.

My daughter Azalea enjoyed the colorful scenery and fun characters.  As a child of the '80s, I had fun recognizing all the old video game characters and jokes that only we could get.  For example, Ralph goes to a support group for video game villains. Some of the other group members are Dr. Robotnik, Scorpion, a zombie, and Bowzer.  When the bad guy of the film (I won't say who is really the bad guy) unlocks a game's code to reprogram it, the secret code he uses is Up-Up, Down-Down, Left-Right-Left-Right,  B, A, Start.

    Fix-It Felix is voiced by Jack McBrayer, better known as Kenny from 30 Rock, and Wreck-It Ralph is voiced by John C. Reilly.  One thing I noticed is that Fix-It Felix and Wreck-It Ralph, the two main characters of their arcade game, are comparable to the Norse gods, Thor and Loki.  The Hero is Felix, who fixes everything Ralph destroys with his hammer.  But, it's not just any hammer. We learn from Ralph that it is actually a magic hammer given to him by his dad. "If he were just a regular contracter, he'd have a more difficult time".  Ralph is the jealous, destructive villain who is despised by the other games inhabitants.   Ralph, like Loki, creates chaos wherever he goes, even when he doesn't mean to.  

Tired and lonely because of his villain status, he leaves his own game in search of another to win a medal and become a hero for once. He winds up in "Hero's Duty", an cross between "Halo" and "Metroid".  He grabs the game's medal and tries his best to return to his home game, but there are many obstacles in his way.  The only person who sets out looking for him is Felix, who realizes his value to the game.  He even refers to Ralph as "brother" a number of times.

After winning his medal, Ralph crashes into "Sugar Rush", a candy go-kart racing game, and meets a girl with a glitch who is just as hated as he is. Through her, he soon learns that he can use his destructive powers for good as well as evil. (How does he set off the Diet Coke volcano? With Mentos!).  I am rating this movie a 10/10 for being one of the most well-written animations I have ever seen.

Friday, February 22, 2013

My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)

The most stereotypical Irish family of all time, except one of their hundreds of children happens to have cerebral palsy. This is his story.  The movie itself felt quite inspiring, and Daniel Day-Lewis did a fantastic acting job even with the completely predictable plot. I give it an 8/10.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hugo (2011)

I've been wanting to see this since I saw a preview on the Oscars. So I found it on Netflix and watched it with Azalea, my daughter.  It's a very kid-friendly movie. Of course she also watched The Thing with me and clapped and cheered whenever there was an explosion.

Hugo starts off like a typical children's novel. Kid living by himself but doing great emotionally and healthwise and always clean.  There's obviously some kind of adult who's hellbent on catching him. Drama! Bleh.

Hugo keeps a remarkable creepy robot-thing in his train station apartment and busies himself trying to fix it, just like his dad did before he passed away. Hugo keeps it at the table, like a doll or plaything. But look at this thing!

I could never keep something as creepy as this in my house. It spent the entire movie glaring at me with its soulless eyes, like a shark’s. I kept expecting for that thing to stand up and stab Hugo.

Then the story really begins to pick up whenever they discover what the robot-thing can do - It drew a picture of the moon from A trip to the Moon (1902).  I am super glad that I watched this movie before I watched Hugo, because Hugo really focuses on old movies and one of their directors, Georges Méliès.  It showed his passion for movie-making and story telling, and how the reality of war cut that short.  He lost his dream and now is stuck working at a shop in a train station. No wonder he is depressed.  But, at the end, he is finally recognized for his genius, and many of his films are found and restored, including the one I watched.

I will give this a B+ because it reminded me of an Asimov novel - It was a beautifully intricate film, it just took forever to get to its point.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1993)

This is a documentary by Nick Broomfield profiling Aileen Wuornos, the first female serial killer who murdered men on I-75 in central Florida. That's just north of where my family lives.
The Son of Sam law is supposed to prevent people from profiting off their crimes, but Aileen and her family demand $25,000 for an interview for the documentary.  Nick interviews her born-again Christian adoptive mother, Arlene, who won't tell him anything without the $25,000 either. She says she was in an accident and "her love for Aileen pulled her through".
According to the tv news show, Arlene doesn't want any book or movie deals, and that the only motiviation for the adoption is "good old fashiioned Christian love." That, and $25,000 of course. The worst is her lawyer, Steve. That dude is straight-up crazy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

I never thought I would hear Jack Lemmon say the word, “cocksucker”. Just wouldn’t
That adorable man from The Apartment and The Odd Couple, is now an old dude who says, “cocksucker”. This makes me glad I don’t own a tv, and just watch Netflix and dvds on my computers.  Yes! Computers! Plural!  The FCC isn’t going to tell me what I can and can’t see, and I don’t like anything censored. I want to see films and listen to songs the way the artists intended them.

What was I doing? Yes, watching the angry version of Death of a Salesman. There’s still over an hour of this left and I had to stop just to write this.  Kevin Spacey is doing a great performance as the cold boss. This is like my second favorite performance of his since The Usual Suspects.

Did you ever take a dump that made you feel like you just slept for 12 hours? Profound question. Other than that, this whole movie is a bunch of white guys insulting each other.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The African Queen (1951)

Mosquitoes, crocodiles, hippos, disease, fire, death, and Nazis.  All reasons to Never visit Africa.

I wanted to like this movie.  I really did.  It's just something about movies set in Africa, somewhere I've never been, that's intriguing.  But I did not like this movie.  Maybe it's because Humphrey Bogart is in it.  I have just never enjoyed any movie he's in and I cannot tell you why.  I don't like his style.

This movie was so predictable it's not even funny.  I knew the stuck up Rose Sayer would change her entire personality during the film. It wouldn't be a romantic adventure if she kept refusing to be near him (Charlie Allnut, played by Humphrey Bogart).  Come on, he's not even remotely handsome and he's dirty.  But, he is the only non-German white guy around.  She has to be with somebody.  That would suck only having one choice for a man.

They decide to destroy a German warship using homemade weapons (torpedoes) from their little boat, The African Queen.  Will they succeed even though their plan is really far-fetched?  Of course they can!  This movie writes itself!

The African Queen sinks before they have a chance to strike.  The Nazis aboard the warship capture Rose and Charlie and plan to hang them.  Charlie asks the captain to marry them before they die, because it would mean a lot to Rose.  (Why?  Because Katharine Hepburn was 44 years old at the time of filming, so I assume her character would be the same age.  If she was that old and never married, she might end up in cat lady heaven, which is filled with cats. Charlie does not want this.)  So the captain agrees to marry them.  Before they die, the warship explodes!  It explodes because it ran over The African Queen and set off the torpedoes.  So, they were successful in destroying it.  Also, even though the warship exploded with them on it and almost everyone died, Charlie and Rose are totally unhurt and float away to safety.  I am not even making this up.  OMG, the more I write about this movie the more I hate it.  I will give this movie a 5/10.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Neco z Alenky (Alice) (1988)

Now I have officially seen every film adaptation of Alice in Wonderland that has ever been made. Some of them are okay, and some are terrible. This is Czech director Jan Svankmajer's version.

There's a lot of focus on dead animals, even in the beginning of the film. A dead stuffed rabbit in Alice's room springs to life, puts on some clothes, and hops away. Sawdust spills out of his chest, where he keeps his pocketwatch. Every time the white rabbit speaks, it's actually Alice narrating, and it shows a close up of her mouth and nothing else whenever she narrates.

The worse part is that when she shrinks, she somehow becomes a doll. This is the least scariest image I saw from the film. 

And what is it with all the drawers? And why can't Alice ever open them properly? For the most part, this film follows the book almost exactly. However, all of the scenery is dirty, rusty, and uninviting. And the animals aren't cuddly cute cartoons. They're either dead stuffed animals or skeletons.

Yes, weird, I know. This whole movie is entirely bizarre. The Caterpillar is a sock with eyeballs. I have no words.

However, I feel this is a superior version to the animated Disney movie. In Disney's Alice in Wonderland, they took both Alice in Wonderland and Alice's Adventures Through the Looking Glass, ripped the pages apart, and put them back in completely random order.  Also, the characters are colorful and have cute voices. This is not meant to be cute. It's about a girl trapped in a bizarre dreamland who is trying to make sense of anything.  This film should be disturbing, if done properly, and this film is by far the best conceptually. This gets an A+.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Thing (1982)

  This movie is so scary! The alien monster thing is scary, but what's worse, is not knowing what the monster could be. It mimics other life forms, so your friend could really be the monster in disguise. It's the distrust of the characters in the movie, not knowing who your enemy, and the cold isolation of the setting that makes the movie even scarier.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Let the Right One In (2008)

12-year-old Oskar is the constant target of bullies. He seemingly has no friends until he meets new neighbor Eli (pronounced "Ellie").  She is 12, "more or less".  As they become friends, she notices a wound on his face inflicted by the bullies. "Hit back," she says, "Hit harder than you dare. Then they'll leave you alone." He tells her it's three against one. "I can help."

He discovers that she is responsible for the town's murders and that something is not right about her. All of her windows are blocked, and she sleeps in the bathtub. She also happens to be a vampire. She points out that she only kills because she has to, while he is always plotting revenge against his bullies.

One of her victims survives, because she's kicked off before she can finish. The victim realizes she is getting strange symptoms and believes she must have caught it from the girl. In the hospital, she asks her doctor to open the blinds:

Look at that! That is some amazing special effects right there. Beautifully done. And since this is a vampire/human movie, I must say the famous words: Still A Better Love Story Than Twilight.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

"For the uninvited, there is much to fear."

This film is based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe and stars Vincent Price.  I invite you to read the story before you watch this film.  The scenery and costumes are beautiful, and the entire film has the air of foreboding found in Poe's tale. A truly magnificent piece.

There is no one else who could have played the evil Prince Prospero than Vincent Price.  He saw the old lady with the Red Death in the village and promises safety in his castle.  But truthfully, he is the one who brings the death to the castle.  Edgar Allan Poe saw this firsthand when all his loved ones died one tuberculosis and then finally succumbed to the disease himself.  The story is not just one of a depraved man, but of facing one's mortality.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ôdishon (Audition) (1999)

   I was informed this was a terrifying horror film. It is actually a long drawn-out drama with a gross ending. There is a bit of shock value, but I don't understand how the main character, Aoyama, finds all this out.  He sees the man with the missing fingers in her house, and then it shows he was in his own house the whole scene. Where did the man go?  And the man in the wheelchair.  First he had a head, then he lost it, and now he has a head again. I'm not a doctor, but that doesn't sound normal.

I will give this movie a C- for wasting my time. I could have watched other movies for Horror Week.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Poltergeist (1982)

   I didnt want to choose a slasher flick right now because I don’t like seeing humans mindlessly killing other humans. I’m too empathic and can’t see that as entertainment. That’s why I can’t stand the Law and Order shows. I am aware  that there are some dramatic violent films on the top 1001 list, and I am planning on watching them. But not now.

   Poltergeist is one of the most genuinely scary movies I have ever seen. The fear is there because you see your house as the safest place, but these monsters are invading it. Now they will have to leave the sanctuary of their home, which is being consumed by the evil. 

  "Poltergeist” is actually German for “noisy ghost”. They are not real. Monsters are not real. For example, think about World of Warcraft that my husband plays all the time. Nothing in the game is real. Giant flying tigers, dragons, and panda people are not real. At all. And then I see this in the movie:

I have to go lie down now.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

I wanted to review at least one film that depicts science as a means for horror. The movie is full of antiquated ideals, for example the idea that science allows us to "defy" God and that we were not meant to know more than we are supposed to.  Science is a way of learning more about ourselves and the universe.  It is a way of connecting to each other and sharing our knowledge.

I laughed when they were creating the monster bride.  Dr. Pretorious states, "The heart is the most complex part of the body".  Then it pans over to the monster bride, all wrapped up. He touches her head and claims that inside her skull is an artificially created human brain, which he grew in a lab "like living tissue grown from a culture". If they had any idea back then how truly complex the brain was, this would have been a lot longer movie.

About the characters:

Baron Frankenstein is too over-dramatic, like a woman in a Spanish soap opera.  Dr. Pretorius is delightfully mad, and will go to any means to acheive his experiment, even going so far as to kidnap Frankenstein's wife. Frankenstein's monster. So misunderstood and lonely. "I love dead. I hate living".
I saw a much more human side to the monster, especially when he befriends the blind man. He can never have a normal life because most people judge him as a monster before they can get to know him.      I noticed a theme of prejudice in the film, as well as the more obvious mad-scientist one.

I give this film an A, because it depicts a noticeable sadness around the stereotypical old Sci-Fi/Horror movie.

Horror Week starts right now!

To keep myself organized, I like to set up little themes when I complete lists.  It makes it more fun and it helps me complete the smaller lists faster, too.  The themes can be anything from genres of films, to a certain actor, director, or time period. I think for my birth month I might do  
all 80's movies.

Anyway, the first theme is going to be horror. When I was little, I was never allowed to watch horror films. So now I am an adult, and I am going to watch a lot. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

This short film uses clever camera angles and editing to provide the viewer with a sense of a dreamworld.  It's more of a surrealist art piece than a plot-driven movie.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Black Swan (2010)

A ballet thriller? Yes! The story is told from Nina's perspective. Nina, the daughter of a ballerina, is now a ballerina herself.  She is thrilled to get the part of the Swan Queen in the upcoming production of Swan Lake.  Her part is actually two - the white swan and the black swan.  She is flawless as the gentle white swan, but lacks the raw passion necessary to be the black swan.  As the stress of training for the two parts wears her out, she begins to have frightening hallucinations. For her, everything is real. It is up to us, the audience, to decide what is real and what is fantasy. Will Nina survive the mental strain of stardom?

Bonus points for special effects here. I am impressed.

Friday, February 8, 2013

She Done Him Wrong (1933)

There's not one reason why this movie should be on any top list. It's not funny enough to be comedy, not thrilling enough to be a thriller, and not scary or dramatic enough to be a horror or drama. There is little if any plot, and it could barely keep my attention at all. I don't even know what to tag this. I'm actually just going to file this under Crap.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Children of a Lesser God (1986)

 I was told I watched this movie when it first came out. However, it was released October 3rd, 1986, which would make me only 6 months old and there's no way I would remember it. So I watched it again.

I rather enjoyed this film, and I'm not one to ever watch romance films or chick flicks. But there was more than that to this movie. I saw the struggle of two different cultures - the hearing and the hearing-impaired. Sarah is a former student, about my age, who was given every chance to excel but chooses instead to work at her old school as a janitor. Mr. Leeds is a speech teacher who sees something special in her. Yes, we see a strong Good Will Hunting vibe here. But in this case, Mr. Leeds is attracted to her rebellious and mysterious nature and falls in love with her. It helps that she swims naked at night in the school pool. I would do that too in our community pool except there are cameras EVERYWHERE. Prudes.

Sarah never made it to the "real world" because she feels more comfortable in school. She's smart enough to go to college, but refuses to speak. This provides problems for the speech teacher, who believes all deaf people can speak if they practice. Sarah would rather sign. Why does she have to speak, why can't everyone else learn to sign to her? Why does she have to conform to the rest of the world? Why can't they conform to her? What makes them so great?
I'm not going to tell you whether she learns to speak or not. But regardless, she and Mr. Leeds both find happiness. There are many questions left to be answered, but I don't see it as a happy ending. It's a happy beginning.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Anvil!: The Story of Anvil (2008)

This is the first documentary I've watched for this list.  Anvil was a heavy metal band that reached its peak of fame back in the 1980's, before I was born.  After that, they never achieved the success their peers reached. Normally I never feel sorry for anybody. I can't; I work in a resort and if I took every complaint to heart and gave them free stuff, we'd go broke.  But these guys I can't help but feel sorry for. They truly believe that they will someday make it big even though they're pushing 50.

Truth is they sound awful. They keep sending out demo tapes and at one point we get to hear it. And it's awful! And I enjoy listening to metal.  I have heard that after this movie came out, they finally received recognition and are putting out more albums, but I would never buy one.  But the movie isn't about metal. It's about people who have a dream so deep and sincere that they never let go of it no matter what. Grade: A.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

I decided the first film I would write about would be the one in the most top lists, 35 to be exact.  But honestly, I can't see what is so great about this movie. Yes, it was a visual treat, but seemed to be just an exercise in showing off the latest special effects technology, which in 2013, isn't much.

The movie starts off with a black intro, in which I thought my laptop was malfunctioning again. So I skipped ahead to the monkey scene, which has nothing at all to do with space, but let's watch it anyway. Suddenly a giant black bar thing appears near the monkeys.  Will this bar be explained? No! Next scene jumps randomly to space!  The movie cover said it was supposed to be a "dramatic film transition". I didn't know they meant "random-ass jump".

But now we get to see space. After all it is a space odyssey.  There is a micro-plot here about an evil computer that kills people. No, not Glados, HAL 9000.  However, the scenes are completely devoid of emotion. Aside from the visual aspect, there is nothing to hold our attention.

After the evil-Hal episode ends, Dave, the guy that HAL famously refuses to open the doors for, flies towards Jupiter. Apparently landing on Jupiter involves a techno laser light show.  Then, Dave appears in a stately 18th century home.  I can't even begin to explain what happens in the next scenes, and I feel the only way to really grasp what's going on is to read the book.  But why would I sit through an almost 3 hour movie if you're going to make me read the book too?

Overall I will give it an A-, because although it's supposed to be the all-amazing film, there is hardly any  plot, nothing is explained, and the pace is slower than I-4 in the afternoon.

Monday, February 4, 2013

First Post

This is my first post for my blog, Lindsey watches films. My name is Lindsey and I watch films. It's a very straightforward blog.
My most lofty goal is to complete a list entitled "1001 Films You Must See Before You Die".  Right now I'm 26 and I would like to finish this list before
I turn 30.  So that's over 3 1/2 years.  I don't own a tv, but I do have Netflix, which is a great source for recent movies, and I live near the library, which also has a decent collection of movies.  By completing the large list, I will undoubtedly finish off several smaller lists as well.
I am a member of, where I can check off the movies I've seen, and it keeps my lists organized. Pretty much all the award-winning lists and critic's lists are on here. The website also gives out awards for completing parts of lists. 50% of any list gets you a bronze award, 75% is silver, 90% is gold, and completing 100% is platinum. I have never gotten a platinum award. My username on icheckmovies is Starfoxie, so you can check my progress there too.
Since I don't own a tv, I don't mindlessly watch anything.  Sometimes I watch cooking shows online, and usually I just watch a film when I have free time anyway. It might as well be a good film that is on the list.  I will post a review of each film I watch and grade it, too.