Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Christmas Story (1983)

Today's film is A Christmas Story.  Every year in school we had to read this story, and then we watched the movie before winter break.  Every single year.  I have seen this movie like way too many times.  The teachers would break up the story into bits and we would have to write papers about it.  Watching this film just feels like another assignment to me.

Even though this movie takes place in the 40s, it could have taken place when I was a kid or even today.  Ralphie wants a BB gun even though his mom thinks its a bad idea.  Well, kids are always wanting stupid gifts.  Kids still act the same way they did a long time ago (when they are not buried in their smartphones).  There are still bullies, fighting, and daring your friends to do stupid things.  Ralphie is engrossed in listening to his Little Orphan Annie show and even buys a secret decoder ring to be part of her club.  Guess what movie just came out in the theaters?  Annie!

While in school, the teacher makes them do theme writing, and the theme is "what I want for Christmas".  I find this ironic because I had to do lots of theme writing on this movie.  So he's doing classwork and I'm doing classwork at the same time.  He writes about his BB gun and all its features.  The teacher marks it as C+.  Notice that there are no red marks anywhere on the paper, meaning there are no mistakes, nothing to justify such a low grade.  Maybe the teacher simply didn't like the paper.  Sometimes the teacher bases the grade on her opinion rather than actually grading it.  Sometimes teachers are just bitches.  Fuck you Mrs. Haines.



One thing I really like about this movie is that there's no magic in it.  Every Christmas movie we're forced to watch as kids has to have magic in it.  The gift he wanted the whole time was given to him by his dad, who, by up to this point hadn't appeared to be the most caring person.  He was a stereotypical hardass yet kind of stupid dad we see on too many comedies. It wasn't Santa Claus who gave him his gift, it was his dad.  Even though he couldn't afford a new furnace, he still managed to get his kid the gift he wanted the most. I like the dad and his obsession with his precious sexy leg lamp.  Where did that even come from.  I have to rate this movie pretty high because I was forced to watch it every year and I don't hate it.  So I will rate it a 7/10.



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Magnolia (1999)

Hi, today's film is Magnolia, which starts off really good, but then, well you'll see.

The movie consists of several plots happening all at the same time, and you're gonna need to pay attention to all the different stories. As we watch, we see how the characters are related to one another.

Ok, here comes the tangled web of plot.  Earl Partridge is dying of cancer and wants to see his son again, the one he abandoned as a child.  The child is now grown up and runs one of those scummy "harass women at night clubs so they'll sleep with you" seminars.  Meanwhile, a game show host is also dying of cancer.  He goes to see his daughter, but she screams and throws him out of the house.  The game show consists of kids challenging adults at a quiz/trivia show.  The child star knows lots of trivia, but is too pressured, especially by his dad, who uses him as a meal ticket.  Also, a former child quiz show star grows up to be a total loser.  The game show host's daughter is confronted by a nervous cop for a noise violation.  Later, he asks her out on a date.

I was really tempted to post a pic
of the "rain of frogs glyph" from World of Warcraft.

So, we see all these people as they interact with each other; and it's intriguing.  What will happen to them? Will they find happiness?  Then, it gets more and more dramatic.  Like, too dramatic.  Like, come on, this is too dramatic.  Then, you just know one of them is going to try to shoot themselves.  Because that is so cliche.  When it happens, I wasn't the least surprised, but then, it starts raining frogs.  This, itself, didn't shock me.  Because, throughout, there are a ton of references to Exodus 8:2, which basically talks about the plague of frogs.  But, to me, it felt like the movie was getting so dramatic with all these people, that they didn't know how to end it and just tacked on a weird frog rain ending there.

The worst part is that the movie was great up until the 2 hour mark.  I thought it was going to end there.  But, it just had to drag on for whole other hour.  I can't believe I stayed up for three hours to watch this with the stupidest ending I have ever seen.  I will give this film a 6/10 because the acting was good for the most part.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bridesmaids (2011)

Today's film is Bridesmaids.  If this is supposed to be a great female comedy, that makes me ashamed to be female.  It was boring, unfunny, and I hated it.  I'm too lazy to read the CIA torture report, but I'm sure this has to be on it.



The film focuses on the maid of honor, Annie.  She's lost her boyfriend and business (a cake bakery) and is very bitter.  She spends her days working at a jewelry store. Not well, I might add, since she likes to convince people not to buy rings since their relationship must be doomed as well.

Annie's friend since childhood, Lillian, invites her to be her maid of honor.  Annie feels out of place since all of Lillian's friends are much wealthier than she is. Lillian's other friend and bridesmaid, Helen, throws her an engagement party, which Annie embarrasses herself at when she tries to upstage her at the speech.  See, this isn't humor.  I hate seeing people embarrassing themselves because I feel awkward.  I've seen Kristen Wiig on SNL and I know she can do better than this.

Annie takes the bridal party to a dive restaurant, which gives most of them food poisoning.  It doesn't hit them until they go to the bridal shop and try on expensive dresses.  Then, cue the puking and diarrhea.  My husband makes me watch Family Guy all the time and they use this humor as well.  I always think whenever I watch a wedding movie or romance film, Gee I wish there was more diarrhea in this.



Then, Annie starts going out with a cop, Rhodes, for no reason than we need to have some sort of romance in a woman's film.  After all, we're women, can't have a film without romance, right?  Annie once again embarrasses us by acting a fool on an airplane, and later cussing her own best friend, the bride, at her bridal shower.  She is so selfish and bitter and brings down everyone around her.  They were going to have the bachelorette party in Vegas, but didn't get to thanks to Annie.

Lillian kicks Annie from her position as maid of honor, and she responds by trying to talk a teenager out of buying a friendship bracelet at work.  Her attitude gets her fired, and is forced to move in with her mother.  Then, all is forgiven in the last few minutes so we can have a wedding and happy ending.  The worst part of this film is not just the plot, but the sheer length of the film. If it were shorter, they could have crammed more laughs in there.  If they were any, they're too far and few between to notice. In honestly this film was quite boring.  I'm giving it a 3/10.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Short Reviews of Short Films

Der Firmling (1934)

A father takes his son out to celebrate his confirmation and gets piss-ass drunk.  If you like drunken buffoons and Three Stooges-like antics, you'll like this one. 7/10

The Gunfighter (2014)

An unknown gunfighter enters a Western saloon while being narrated by Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec).  However, everyone in the saloon can hear the narrator.  As the narrator reveals everyone's inner thoughts and desires, they begin to turn on each other.

This short was filmed on the set of Deadwood so everything looks authentic. This short is absolutely worth watching. 9/10.

La jetée (The Pier) (1962)

A time travel short that is shown through  a series of photos rather than video.  A French prisoner uses a childhood memory to travel back in time (in order to save the present) but is unaware that he is the cause of the memory in the first place.  This film is the inspiration for Twelve Monkeys.  9/10

Méditerranée (1963)

A documentary featuring the beauty of the Mediterranean countries, but focuses more on the morbid aspects.of everything.  Too many bullfighting scenes.  Not a first date film.  6/10.








Monday, December 8, 2014

Smultronstället (Wild Strawberries) (1957)

Today's film is Smultronstället (Wild Strawberries). It's about an elderly doctor, Isak Borg, who travels to receive an honorary award and while on the way, reflects on his life and dreams.

In the beginning, he's supposed to fly, but he decides to drive last minute. This irks his housekeeper, Miss Agda, who I think wanted to fly with him.  Isak's daughter-in-law, Marianne, goes with him.  Thanks to Google maps, I know the trip from Stockholm to Lund should take around 5 hours and 39 minutes.  We've learned that Isak doesn't have any relationships and can feel lonely sometimes.  He had a wife who cheated on him, but that's about it.

While they drive, they stop at Isak's old house, where he reminisces about his childhood, and his hot cousin Sara. She ended up marrying his loser brother.  He meets another Sara on the grounds, and she asks if she and her two guy friends can catch a ride with them.  He tells her about the other Sara, who he called his first love.  Right now, she is 75 and still beautiful according to him. So, we know his brother is dead, as well as his cheating wife, and his first love is still here. Well damn son go marry your hot cousin.  It doesn't matter if you're old.  Old people get married all the time.


They encounter many things on their way to Lund.  They get hit by a Beetle and have to deal with the arguing couple inside.  They meet Isak's cold mother and Marianne sees where he gets it from.  Isak also is praised by a country couple and he realizes that maybe he shouldn't have left his hometown. The hitchhikers are young and cheerful and are almost the opposite of Isak's personality.

Another thing is that he dreams a lot while traveling.  Well, he's old and it's a long drive.  You can tell what he fears and what he worries about from his dreams.  While driving, Marianne tells her she's pregnant and her husband, Isak's also cold son, doesn't want any children.  So she's going to keep it even if it meant losing him.  Isak offers to help her, but she doesn't want any help.

So, they get to Lund, where Miss Agda and Marianne's husband are waiting.  He takes her out for the evening and wants her to stay with him.  His son is a lot colder than he is.  After the ceremony, he talks to Miss Agda and says that since they've known each other for a long time, it was okay for her to just call him Isak instead of Professor.  She says she won't, which makes him kinda sad.  However, on her way to her bedroom next door, she tells him she'll leave the door ajar if he wants anything wink wink wink.  She is totally flirting with him.  I hope he realizes it.  I will give this film an 8/10.  When it comes to movies featuring cranky old men, this movie was 10 times better than Up.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Wolf Man (1941)

Today's film is The Wolf Man.  It's not the best werewolf movie ever, nor is it the first, but it is the most well known.  Also, a lot of the myths surrounding the werewolf came from this movie, not from folklore.

While watching this film, I kept wanting something more.  It wasn't what I expected.  The man who becomes the wolf man, Larry, visits his dad's house in Wales.  He hits on a local girl almost to the point of being creepy.  During this time, everyone talks about wolfs and wolfs-bane and all this, and  it seems out of place, but there's doing that as super obvious foreshadowing.

Larry and the girl, who sold him a silver tipped cane, go visit a gypsy encampment together.  The gypsy dude turns into a wolf, attacks Larry, and he beats him with his cane.  Once the wolf dies, he turns back into a man.  What's weird too is that Larry's wound heals super quick.


The old gypsy lady knows what's happening, and she gives him a protective amulet.  He gives it as a gift to the girl.  He is so stupid.  That was for him, and plus, she already told him she has a boyfriend and he still won't leave her alone.  So, he hits on her, and now is giving her gifts despite knowing she's already with someone.  He is such a creeper.

He turns into a wolf man, which somehow involves him changing clothes without actually changing clothes.  Also, wolf man is a far more appropriate term than werewolf because he's just a guy with a really hairy face.  Plus he strangles his victims.  Or, strangle/bites them.  Wolves don't strangle their prey.  Anyway, he dies so that's the end of that.  I'm gonna give this film a 5/10.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

El secreto de sus ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes) (2009)

Today's film is El secreto de sus ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes).  It comes to us from Argentina, and is the winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.  It didn't really read as a mystery to me; more like a crime drama.

Benjamin Esposito is a retired deputy who is writing a novel about one of his most difficult cases.  The crime happened over 25 years ago, when a woman was raped and murdered.  He visits his former coworkers and other people affected by the crime, and learns more about it as he goes along.


Benjamin has always been in love with his superior, Irene, but the love has never been quite returned.  She reads his draft of the novel. It ends with him riding on a train and her chasing after it on the station, you know, like the most cliche movie move ever.  She tells him how ridiculous that is, and if she was doomed to be alone for the rest of her life, then why didn't he take her with him?  So, he asks her out and she tells him it will be complicated.  Will they end up together? We don't know.

Benjamin also visits the victim's husband's house.  That's where he learns more about how he coped with his wife's death as well as his response to the killer's freedom.  Overall, it was a good film, but it wasn't anything outstanding.  I will give it a 7/10.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Badkonake sefid (The White Balloon) (1995)

Today's film is Badkonake sefid (The White Balloon) and it comes to us from Iran.  It's a pretty simple film with some decent children acting (child acting? I don't know).  If your kids are able to read subtitles (or if you describe it like I do) they might enjoy this film too.

So, in Iran, people are getting ready for the new year celebration.  This isn't the worldwide new year in January everyone celebrates, this is the solar new year, which next will happen on March 21st. Sort of like a Spring Equinox celebration.  Anyway, everyone puts a goldfish in their house to welcome new life for the new year.  A little girl named Razieh desperately wants a new goldfish.

Her family's pond in the courtyard is full of goldfish, except she wants to buy one, because you know how kids are.  Razieh reminds me of my daughter, Azalea, in a lot of ways. Except the speaking part of course.  They are both determined to get what they want and are very stubborn.  Also, they can whine like nobody's business.


Finally, the mom relents and lets her go buy a goldfish.  They cost 100 tomans, and she has a 500 bill she gives her.  I would have never given her money much less let her go by herself.  She almost loses it a few times, and finally it falls down a grate.  Some adults try to help her, and some don't.  Later, her brother comes and helps her fish it out.  Even though Razieh was careless in dropping the money, she was mature enough to figure out how to retrieve.  Still, I wouldn't give my child cash and expect something not to happen.  I will give this film a 7/10.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Captains Courageous (1937)

Today’s film was enjoyed by both my daughter and I together.  It is an old film, but still can be enjoyed by kids today. Today’s film is Captains Courageous.

So, our main character is Harvey, who is a spoiled brat.  His father is a business tycoon, who is very busy doing business all the time.  He shows his love to his son with gifts and money, not by spending time with him.  Harvey is the worst kind of child, who already at his age is using his wealth to get his way and also to be mean to other children.

Since Harvey was suspended from school for his behavior, his dad decides it's time for them to spend more time together.  He takes him on a boat trip to his next business trip.  While on the boat, Harvey falls overboard and is picked up by a fishing vessel.


Harvey soon learns that his money means nothing to these fishermen.  He has to wait a few weeks before going to shore because they're not going to give up on their fishing season.  Nobody coddles him and no one puts up with his whining.  The fisherman who watches over him the most is Manuel.  The only problem I had was having a hard time understanding Manuel, and yes, I speak Portuguese.  I just couldn't place his accent anywhere.  I looked it up, and apparently, Spencer Tracy based it on a Yiddish accent he used this one time in a theater performance.  So, just so you know, Yiddish=Portuguese obviously.

Harvey bonds with his new father figure, Manuel, who spent more time and attention on him than his real dad ever did.  Unfortunately, Manuel dies accidentally before they reach the shore.  At the shore, Harvey is reunited with his father, who is surprised at how mature he's become.  Well no shit, somebody actually parented him during that time.  Moral of the story: Spending time with kids is more important than spending money.  I will give this film a 7/10.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cidade de Deus (City of God) (2002)

Today's film comes to us from Brazil.  It's Cidade de Deus (City of God).  It shows the history of a slum (favela) near Rio de Janeiro, and how the drug trade affects residents there.  Many of the actors in this movie are from nearby neighborhoods.  They couldn't actually film inside the real City of God, because it is too dangerous.

It starts off in the '60s, where kids watch older teenagers commit crimes and learn from them. One kid, Lil Dice (later Lil ) starts off robbing a hotel and killing it occupants, and as he grows up, uses his thirst for killing to control the entire favela.  He deals drugs, and literally kills off his competition.  

Another character, Rocket, also grows up in the favela, but dreams of being a photographer.  He starts off small, but gets his chance when a photo he takes of Lil Zé and his gansters gets published in the newspaper he works at.  Meanwhile, a war erupts between Lil Zé and Carrot, the last remaining rival, which is made worse by their endless supply of weapons.  Rocket gets caught up in the war between the drug lords and the cops, when all he wants to do is take pictures and not die.



I liked how the camera shook sometimes.  It really showed the hectic pace of the scenes.  Other than that, it flows nicely from decade to decade as we see how the drugs take over the neighborhood.  It also shows that in what looks like a beautiful beach resort city has areas that are filled with crime and violence, that often go forgotten, and I think that's true in a lot of cities.  I will give this film an 8/10.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ringu (1998)

Today's film, Ringu, comes to us from Japan, and basically started our obsession with Japanese Horror films in the '90s.  It relies on tension and mystery to carry the story.  There are no jump scares, and no gore.

It starts off as an urban legend, anyone who watches a certain film will die within a week of seeing it.  Reiko Awasaka is a reporter researching the deaths of the teenagers that watched this film.  Her niece passed away of an apparent heart attack, which we know really came from watching the film.

Throughout the film, we follow Reiko as she uncovers the mystery of the film.  She also watches the film. So, she knows the film will kill her, but she watches it anyway.  She also makes a copy for her ex to watch.  They learn about who created it and where they last live, so they go up there.  Reiko's ex uses his straight up magic psychic powers to look into the past and see Sadako, who created the video as her curse.  Also, their son watches the video because they didn't lock it up properly like they should have.

They see that Sadako's dad pushed her into a well, which they determine is close to the site where the video was found.  They go there, and enter the space below to find the well. They decide to go into the well to find her body.  So, yeah, it's pretty gross how she's done there when she finds the skeleton.  Reiko's time is up, but she survives.  As a result, they believe that they have broken the curse.  But they didn't.  So, her ex dies and Reiko realizes why she lived and he didn't.  She had made a copy and he watched it.  So, to free yourself from the curse, you have to make a copy and make someone else watch it.  She has to find someone to watch a copy in order to save her son.  That's where the name Ringu comes from, it has nothing to do with an actual ring, it refers to the cyclical nature of Sadako's curse.

This movie was okay, but I think I already knew too much about it anyway.  So, it really didn't affect me as much.  I haven't seen the American remake yet, either.  I am giving this film a 7/10.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Out of Africa (1985)

Today’s film is Out of Africa.  I watched this film purely for the landscape shots.  I think that the countryside of Africa is absolutely gorgeous.  I would totally move there if not for the malaria and other diseases they have there.
Our main character, Karen, married for title and money, not for love.  Big mistake there.  She moves to Kenya from Denmark with her husband with hopes to start a plantation.  But her husband changes his mind, and his idea for a coffee farm loses them money.  Meanwhile, Karen falls in love with the rogue big-game hunter, Denys, played by Robert Redford. She totally cheats on her husband with him, but it’s okay, because it’s true love.

Meryl Streep did a great job in this movie as Karen, and her character holds the movie together.  Originally, she was not even considered for the part because the director didn't think she was sexy enough.  She got the part because during her meeting with him, she went all out, wearing a push-up bra, low cut shirt, and everything.  You gotta do what you have to the land the big parts.

Much romance and drama happens, and then Denys dies in a plane crash.  So that’s the end.  It would be a typical cheating-on-spouse love story, but what really sells it is the beauty of the surroundings.   I liked how they tried to keep their stuffy European ways even in a wild setting.  Some parts drag on, but it is an overall decent film.  I will give this film a 6/10.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Profondo Rosso (Deep Red) (1975)

Today's film is Profondo Rosso.  After seeing a few of Dario Argento's films, I have realized that they are pretty predictable.  Or, they follow a certain pattern.

In this film, a British musician's psychic neighbor is murdered, and he sets out to investigate.  Meanwhile, more people are being murdered as well.  I had a hard time keeping up with all the people.  It was like they just threw in extra characters so they could be murdered.  The musician is helped by a reporter.  It's not a bad movie.  It is a good mystery, especially with all of its plot twists.  I will give it a 6/10.

I wondered why the psychic's house is covered in all those creepy paintings.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Onibaba (Devil Woman) (1964)

Today's film is Onibaba, meaning "demon woman".  Not surprisingly, the demon woman turns out to be the mother-in-law.

A long time ago, in 14th century Japan, a man named Kichi has been forced to fight in some samurai's war.  He leaves behind his wife and mother in the grassy wetlands.  The war has destroyed everyone's livelihoods.  No one can even grow food because the farmers are either fighting in the war or don't want to be killed in the fields while others are fighting.  So, lots of people are starving.

Kichi's wife and mother make a living by ambushing weak soldiers, tossing them in a pit, then selling off their belongings.  One day, Kichi's friend and fellow soldier, Hachi, returns from war.  Unfortunately, Kichi has been killed in war.


Later, Mrs. Kichi, now single, starts going out with Hachi, much to her mother-in-law's disappointment.  She does everything to prevent this relationship, but it doesn't work.  I think she is afraid of being alone.  Mrs. Kichi sneaks out every night to have hot sex with Hachi,

The mother-in-law meets a samurai wearing a demon mask.  She kills him and uses the mask to scare off her daughter-in-law from meeting Hachi.  She truly believes it is a demon and is terrified.  But, soon she finds out the truth about who this demon really is.

The movie overall wasn't scary, but it was creepy and atmospheric.  It also shows that there are other good Japanese films that are not Kurosawa films.  I will give it a 7/10.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vampyr (1932)

Today's film is Vampyr.  Yes, it is another vampire film.  Yes, I am totally over watching all these vampire films.  Our hero, Allan, is interested in vampires and other supernatural things.  His travels take him to the countryside.  While staying the night in an inn, a random strange man unlocks his door, leaves a package for him, and leaves.  I would be so freaked out if a stranger came in my room like that.

The package says "To be opened upon my death".  Well that's creepy.  Meanwhile, Allan walks around the inn and sees many strange things.  A shadow climbs up a ladder, but there is no actual person climbing the ladder! There is other shadow work that is well done for the time.


Throughout the film, we see a large old woman, and a doctor that looks like Einstein, so I'm calling him Dr. Einstein.  Later, Allan sees someone shoot the strange man, and runs to help him.  Unfortunately, it's too late.  The strange man had two daughters, and one is mysterious ill and anemic.  We know it's the work of a vampire.

Allan opens his package, since the strange man is now dead.  It's a book explaining the vampire legend and how to kill them.  So, Allan and the house servants set out to complete the task.  Only when the vampire are killed can the daughter be freed.

The only thing I didn't like was all the reading.  It was almost like a silent film with all the title cards and writing.  Otherwise it was okay.  I will give this film a 6/10.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Phantasm (1979)

I told my dad that I was watching lots of horror films this month, and he suggested a movie to me.  He remembered that he watched it in college, and it had a silver sphere that floated around and killed people.  So I researched ‘70s horror films and found out what it was.  Today’s film is Phantasm.
What, I don’t even know the deal about this movie.  The plot is just everywhere.   There is a mortician called the Tall Man, because you know, he’s a tall man.  He takes corpses in his morgue and shrinks them into midget zombies to do his bidding as slaves in a parallel universe.  The gateway to the parallel universe is in the funeral home.

The sphere, I think, is guarding the parallel universe gateway.  It also prevents anyone from getting near the midget zombies.  It shoots spikes at people and can kill them.  It doesn’t appear as much as I thought, especially since this is the only thing my dad remembered about the movie.
The main villain is the Tall Man, rather than the sphere.  He attacks the main character, his brother, and their best friend that happens to be an ice cream man.  This also somehow works into the plot.  There are not enough drugs in my house to fully appreciate/understand this movie.  I am totally baffled.  I will give this film a 3/10 for poor writing, but it was somewhat entertaining.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Man who Laughs (1928)

Today's film is The Man who Laughs. There is so much going on, with so many long names of characters, that I feel like I should read the book before I watch this.  But I'm not.  It's not a horror film, but instead is an underrated example of German Expressionism.  Its moodiness and balance of shadows, along with its hideous star, can easily make someone think it's horror.  It's more of romance than anything.

Gwynplaine was the son of a nobleman who insulted King James II.  His father was killed, while he was permanently disfigured by comprachicos so that his mouth would have a permanent grin - so he could "forever laugh at his fool of a father".  According to Victor Hugo, the author, comprachicos were like surgeons that would mutilate children early in life so they would grow up to be freaks.  Gwynplaine is said to be the inspiration for the Joker.


Gwynplaine, alone, and having no memory of his father, wanders around and finds a baby.  He brings it to a house and begs to come inside.  The man who takes them in is Ursus, a mountebank (later a playwright).  The baby, who is blind, is named Dea, and together they grow up.  Dea grows up to be very beautiful, and she is fond of Gwynplaine.  However, he doesn't feel that he deserves anyone's love or to marry anyone because of his disfigured face.

Someone recognizes the adult Gwynplaine and tells the royal court that he should be a member because of his father.  Lots of royal court drama happens, and Josiana, the duchess who currently holds Gwynplaine's position in court, goes down to see him at work.  Right now Gwynplaine and Dea are putting on a show that Ursus has written.  Everyone laughs at his face, even though he looks terrifying instead of funny, but Josiana likes him.  Still, in the end she is put off by his face.

More royal court drama happens, and Queen Anne (who succeeded King James II's place) orders Josiana to marry Gwynplaine so he could have his spot back.  But, Gwynplaine, realizing that he and Dea belong together, refuses and runs away back to Dea.  However, Ursus and Dea have been banished from the country.  Gwynplaine finds them at their ship in the harbor and sails away with them.  He would rather be poor and be with his true love then live life as a nobleman without her.

Even though a lot of stuff happens, it feels that even more stuff was left out.  Also, some scenes take a while to get to their points.  Still, for a silent film it isn't too over-acted.  I will give this film a 7/10.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

King Kong (1933)

Today's film is King Kong.  I watched the new one directed by Peter Jackson first, and I really liked that, so I wanted to see the original.  The part of King Kong shall be represented by pictures of Rob Ryan, because I can.





So, we have our director, Denham, who is famous for making dangerous adventure films in the jungle.  His latest film expedition will take him to a remote island, where he is sure he will see something amazing.  The only problems is that the critics pan his films because there’s no romance in them.  So now he has to find a girl brave enough to come on expedition with him.  Most actresses’ agents won’t even let them audition for him. 
Denham finds a starving artist/actress while walking the streets of New York at night.  Her name is Anne and she agrees to go with him.  One of the sailors is mad because supposedly having a woman on board is bad luck (but sailors think everything is bad luck anyway) but we can tell he is totally crushing on her.
They get to the remote island, called Skull Island, in time to witness some kind of ceremony.  The chief and medicine man spot Anne and offer to trade six of their native women for her.  They say something about a bride for Kong, but at this point we don’t even know what a kong is. 
Late at night, the native sneak on the boat and kidnap Anne!  The men on the boat go to rescue her, but she is already in the clutches of King Kong.  King Kong is a giant gorilla that has taken an instant shine to Anne, because she is so beautiful.  



I wonder what happened to all the other girls that were supposed to be his brides.  King Kong, and the men who follow him, are attacked by all sorts of dinosaurs.  Everything is done in stop-motion, like the dinosaurs in Land of the Lost.  When the men encounter the dinosaurs, they instantly start shooting at it.  It's like, Oh look a majestic creature no one's seen in millions of years - let's throw gas bombs at it!

Now, hang on, I've seen enough episodes of Dinosaur Train to know that sauropods don't eat people.  Also, they need their own car because they are so big.  I had hoped they would only throw a gas bomb to knock them out, but they also shoot the dinosaurs to death, so if all the dinosaurs in the world weren't extinct then, they certainly are now.

King Kong defends his lady against the dinosaurs that attack him, as well as the men he perceives as a threat.  He very easily disposes of the humans, and wrestles the various dinosaurs to death.  I think that King Kong was the most powerful creature on the island, and as long as the natives left him alone and did whatever ceremonies they do, he protected them from the dinosaurs as well.  After he defeats a creature, he beats his chest and makes his triumphant cry:



Denham, and the remaining surviving crew gas-bomb and capture King Kong, as Denham intends on bringing it back to the mainland as an attraction.  Sort of like a giant sideshow.
Lots of questions arise for the transporting of King Kong.   Where did they keep him?  In the beginning, they mentioned have too many men, and yes some of them died, but where are they housing everyone on this boat, and now there’s a 50 ft gorilla?  Or is he an ape?  What’s the difference? 
So even though we’re not sure how he got there, he ends up in New York City, where Denham plans to display him for $10 a ticket.  Man I don’t have $10 for a ticket now, that must have been a million dollars back then.  Then, King Kong totally escapes and starts rampaging the city.  Even though New York has the biggest cop force in the world, they must not have shown up today and King Kong manages to kidnap Anne again and climb up the Empire State Building.

As King Kong rampages the city (also earlier in the jungle), we see he likes to pick up people and put them in his mouth.  He doesn't eat them, but they die anyway.  Now we know what happened to his other brides.  As he climbs the Empire State Building with Anne, the police send out airplanes to shoot him down.  Even long before I watched the movie, I already knew how it ends, mainly because the image of King Kong swatting at the airplanes while high atop a skyscraper is so famous.  Here's what King Kong would have looked like when he saw the "weird birds" (cause he doesn't know what planes are) surrounding him and knowing there was no escape:


So, that's the end of King Kong. This movie has been re-released and remade since the 1950s.  So I'm sure we will see more installments.  I will give this film a 7/10.  Now, normally I don't post pictures of my family, but here we are at the King Kong ride at Universal Studios in the 1980s.  I'm the one in the pink:


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Strangers on a Train (1951)

In horror films, the plot progresses because the main character/s make bad decisions.  If they would have made a good decision, there might not even be a movie at all.  Today's film is Strangers on a Train.  If you are thinking, wait, this isn't a horror film, just trust me.

Our main character is Guy, a super hot tennis player caught in a bitter divorce with his ex-wife.  He's riding on the train when approached by a man named Bruno Antony.  He seems okay, and is a fan of Guy.  So, being a sports celebrity, it is relativity easy to find out about him.  It's not like today, with facebook and instagram, where everyone puts there info online and it's incredibly easy to stalk anyone.  Bruno knows about Guy's ex-wife and how he feels about her.  He then proposes his amazing idea of the perfect murder - to switch murders so both parties have no motive yet get rid of their victims.  Now is the time to scooch away as far as you can.  But, nope.  Guy makes a bad decision and condescendingly nods and listens to Bruno's grand idea.

Bruno wants to kill his father, because his father wants him to get a job.  So, murder is totally the best route here.  But, Bruno knows he will be arrested because of his motive.  So his idea is to kill Guy's ex-wife while Guy kills his father, so neither will be caught.  Guy just entertains his idea, not realizing he is 100% serious.  I think Robert Walker's performance of Bruno is probably the best part of watching this film.

So Guy goes to see his ex-wife, who is the town bicycle (because everyone's had a ride).  His ex-wife is pregnant with someone else's baby.  She decides that since Guy finally has money and fame from his tennis career, she's going to refuse to divorce him, ruining his chances to marry his girlfriend.  She is such a slut bitch and Guy is furious.  He yells that he wants to strangle her.  Bruno, meanwhile, stalks her for a bit, and then actually strangles her.


Bruno waits for Guy outside his house, and informs he what he's done.  Guy is horrified that he was serious.  He wants to go to the police, but Bruno talks him out of it. Another bad decision by Guy.

Later, Bruno realizes that Guy isn't going to kill his father like he'd hoped.  He decides to plant evidence to convict him of his ex-wife's murder.  Guy's girlfriend tries to help, but makes it worse.  She is also smart enough to figure out what's going on without anyone telling her.

The only bad part about this film, which forces me to lower the score, is the carousel scene.  Guy and Bruno are fighting on the carousel and it explodes.  What.  What a cheap ending, all this intriguing stuff going on, and you're going to make a carousel explode.  That makes no kind of sense.  I don't like that at all.  The cops want to arrest them, and Guy wants Bruno to confess.  Bruno dies, and his evidence falls out of his hand.  If Guy would have just gone to the police a long time ago, and explained everything, none of this would happen.  So the moral of the film is, don't make bad decisions or a carousel will explode.  Still not one of the best Hitchcock films, but it's better than Rope cause that movie succkked.  I will give this film a 6/10.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Amityville Horror (1979)

Well, I just finished watching the most boring haunted house movie.  Today's movie is The Amityville Horror.  In 1974, in Amityville, New York, Ronald "Butch" Defeo, Jr, shot and killed the other six members of his family while they slept.  He originally appeared to be an innocent witness, but as the detectives chipped away at his story, he was revealed to be a sociopathic killer.  I listened to an interview of his, thirty years after his arrest, and he is downright proud of what he has done.
 
A year later, George and Kathy Lutz, along with their children, moved in.  Supposedly lots of weird shit happened, and they determined that the house was possessed.  This was also one of the first famous cases of the "demonologists"/con artists Lorraine and Ed Warren.  Both actors who portrayed George and Kathy Lutz didn't believe the story at all.
 

There just wasn't enough there to warrant being scared of this movie.  Because of the phony demon story, the Amityville house is one of the most famous "haunted" houses of all time.  It recently went on sale for over a million dollars.  I wanted to tour the house, but my husband was much too scared.  Like I said in my Exorcist review, he believes any demon-related story he hears.  I am including this movie in my list of haunted house films, however I think the real story is much scarier.  Butch appeared to be a sound human being, but underneath lurked a darker side, in which he killed his defenseless sleeping family without warning.  He is in prison for the rest of his life.  During his trial, he stated "When I got a gun in my hand, there's no doubt in my mind who I am. I am God." 
 
I think that the whole haunted house story the Lutzes concocted actually insults the memories of the true victims of the Amityville House.  As for the movie, I didn't expect much, but I ended up being bored.  There's nothing scary in this whole movie.  The film takes itself way too seriously, and doesn't have the scare power to back it up.  If you're looking to watch a haunted house film, I would skip this one.  I'm giving it a 4/10.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Christine (1983)

Today's film is Christine.  It's about a car that kills people.  A car.  That kills people.  The reason we're starting off October with this film is to illustrate a different kind of horror film.  Most horror films involve a human or creature killing people, but what about inanimate objects killing people?  How can you stop something that isn't technically alive?

Here in Florida, we have a museum exhibit dedicated to Robert the Doll, a very evil doll, but there's no movies about him yet.  Also, there's the story of Annabelle, the demented Raggedy Ann doll.  There is a movie coming out about her soon, but she's been replaced by super-evil looking doll.  I hope to focus more on films focusing on killer inanimate objects this month, because they are super scary.



Christine is one of those campy films you watch late at night with friends, but doesn't have any real scary moments.  It is said that Christine was a demonic car, but I think it was actually controlled by a virus/parasite.  I say virus in the sense of a computer virus taking over the system, and a parasite which controls its host.  When Christine is threatened, the virus takes over to protect itself.  She is bought by a meek teenager, Arnie, who is also changed by the virus to some degree.

His bullies go out of their way to smash and destroy his car, and I thought, well that's a shitty virus, can't even stop bullies from attacking it.  However, Christine is able to heal itself quite well, and in turn hunts down the bullies. Arnie's friends are concerned with his change, and when they discover Christine is a murderer, try to destroy it.  But how can they kill it?  I will give this film a 5/10.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Tampopo (1985)

Today's film is Tampopo.  I love food.  I love reading books about food; I love watching shows about food on networks about food.  So, when I watch any movie, I'm always eating something.  However, if you want to watch this film for the first time, you need to eat beforehand.  It's the same way that you shouldn't go grocery shopping hungry.  This movie is food, food, food.



The film starts with a man asking me what I am eating while watching this film.  I look down at my lap, and say, "Cheerios".  No, it's not fancy, but I like Cheerios.  He mentions that right before we die, we see a final movie of our life.  He is excited to someday see this movie.  Then, our movie starts.


A pair of truckers is going down the street.  The passenger is reading a book about noodles and the enjoyment of them.  This is just the beginning of noodle love.  Caress the pork, caress it.  This makes both of them hungry (because they didn't eat first like I told them to) and they stop at a little noodle shop.  These noodles are bad.  The noodle cook is a sweet widow named Tampopo and asks them for help.  One of the truckers, dressed like a cowboy, agrees to teach her.

Meanwhile, a group of businessmen in town enjoy a different kind of fare - French food.  Compared to the simple noodle soup, rich buttery French food is a completely different world.  We also see a group of women learning to properly eat pasta as to not offend foreigners - no sounds, no slurping, while a nearby American happily slurps away on his pasta.  Sometimes we worry too much about what others think about us, and forget to enjoy things like this American is doing.

There are other vignettes focusing on food, too, but I'm not going to mention all of them.  The man at the beginning and his girlfriend hot with some food porn action, including pass a yolk of egg from one mouth to the other.  Also, lots of licking food off body parts.


As Tampopo learns more about cooking noodles and broth properly, so do we.  The images of food are amazing in this film.  All of the different vignettes in this film are all united by the common bond of food.  I liked the scene where they snuck into a kitchen to make a rice omelet.  This is one of the most enjoyable films focusing on food there is.  I will give it an 8/10.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My Fair Lady (1964)

Today's film is My Fair Lady.  How this won the Best Picture over Mary Poppins is beyond me.  Mary Poppins had better acting, better writing, special effects, songs, everything.  The songs weren't that great, either.  I don't like songs that are "talking" songs and that seems to be what most of them were.

It starts off with Eliza Doolittle, a flower seller, who is busily hollering at everyone.  She has a nasty accent, and this professor named Henry Higgins makes fun of her accent and even sings a few songs about it.  He specializes in speech and meets another man, Colonel Pickering, who specializes in Indian dialects.

Eliza goes to Professor Higgins to pay for speaking lessons, so she can get a better job.  He replies by ridiculing her again.  Later, he bets Pickering that in 6 months he can pass her off as a lady.  So, most of the time, she is practicing her alphabet.  He tries to pass her off at the ascot, but she reverts back to her normal voice when she gets too excited at the horse race.


Later, some hot guy comes to her door, because he was intrigued by her at the ascot.  This leads to more songs.  Eliza goes to a ball, and excels at pretending to be a lady.  Now, all of a sudden, she doesn't like being a lady.  She goes back to where she was selling flowers, and sees her father.  He also has come into money, and is more frustrated than he is happy.  Then, she goes back to the Professor, who spent all that time making fun of her, and the movie ends right there.  I don't like how it suddenly ended.  I'm giving it a 6/10.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Today's film is Kramer vs. Kramer.  Ted Kramer's wife, Joanna, is tired of her life and fed up with her workaholic husband.  One day she packs up and leaves.  As a result, Ted has to learn how to be a parent for the first time.  I enjoyed watching him grow as a parent.
 For example, the first morning, he is impatient and makes gross terrible french toast.  But by the end, his french toast is perfect.  At first, he drops his son off and rushes to work, not even glancing behind them.  By the end, he looks behind him the entire way as he goes away to work.  First, his priority was work work work, but now his child is his priority.  In fact, he even changes jobs to one that will better allow him to take care of his child. 

Dustin did an amazing acting job.  I really believed that he was a frustrated workaholic that magically transformed into a superdad when his child needed him the most.  I didn't really like Meryl Streep's character, because she abadoned her child, but maybe she had her own reason for doing that.
Then one day, Joanna reappears and wants her son back!  What follows is a bitter hateful custody battle in court, where lawyers coerce them to be mean to each other.  Later, Joanna realizes that Ted is the best person to take care of her son, and she gives up her custody battle.  I will give this film an 8/10.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Short reviews of short films

Wavelength (1967)

It's just 45 minutes of staring at a wall. Reminds me of a slow day at work. 1/10.


Dog Star Man (1962)

I know that only the first part is in the list of 1001 films, but I went ahead and watched all of the parts.  Don't do that.  It's a completely incoherent mush of colors, mixed with random nude naughty parts. 2/10.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Deliverance (1972)

Today's film is Deliverance.  I was under the impression that this was a disturbing/terrifying film.  Well, that may have been true when it was made in the 1970's.  It still has its moment though.

Four friends get together to canoe down a river before the whole area is flooded (for a dam I think).  Canoeing and White water rafting is a fun and relaxing pasttime.  Well not this time.  Two of the friends get separated and get out onto land, where one of them is raped by a hillbilly.  That hillbilly is shot by Burt Reynolds, and they all carry him away and bury him together.  There is much arguing and speculation about what the other hillbillies will do once they find out he's missing.


Since there weren't any cell phones back then, and their cars are waiting for them at the end of the river, they have no choice but to continue on the path they're on.  They go over the waterfall and crash down to the bottom.  One of them was not wearing his life jacket and drowned.  Burt Reynolds (I never learn his character names because he's just Burt Reynolds) breaks his leg or something, so the remaining two have to help him get to safety.

One of them scales the cliff to shoot the hillbilly and is careful about coming down.  This is especially exciting since the actor is actually scaling up a real cliff.  They finally make it to their cars, where the creepy banjo playing kid is eyeballing them.  All the hillbillies in this creepy, but not like mutant creepy.  I will give this film a 6/10.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

21 Jump Street (2012)

Today's film is 21 Jump Street.  No, I never watched the TV show, but the film was really funny.  It starts off in high school, where Jonah Hill plays a dorky nerd, Schmidt, and Channing Tatum is the hot yet dumb Jenko.  As we would expect them to.  Seven years later, they are both in the police academy and have become friends.  They would have never been friends in high school, because high school forces you to separate into your own interests, but as an adult, anyone can be friends.  My husband and I were complete opposites in high school, but as adults we get along.


After graduating, Jenko and Schmidt are given park watching duty.  They try to arrest some rough drug peddlers, but Schmidt freezes when trying to fire a gun.  Meanwhile, Jenko catches his perp but is too dumb to remember the Miranda rights he's supposed to say.  As a result, they are sent to 21 Jump Street, where they are told to go undercover at a high school and bust a drug ring.

It's very different going back to high school, and this time Schmidt is finding himself to be more popular.  It helps that they mixed up their schedules, which causes lots of comedy opportunities.  Also, there is plenty of drug related humor and explosions!  This movie is simply fun to watch.  No, it's not as good as Superbad, but it does have its moments.  It's silly at times and is overall fun.  I will give it a 7/10.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Trois couleurs: Bleu (Three Colors: Blue) (1993)

Today's film is Three Colors: Blue.  While yesterday's film was a thrilling mystery, today's is a sad drama.  We start off with our main character, Julie, losing her husband and daughter in a car accident.  She is unsuccessful at killing herself in the hospital, and is later released to her humongous house complete with housekeeper and gardener.  Turns out her husband is a famous composer, but we learn that maybe Julie was the one doing the actual composing.  She packs up and leaves her house and gets an apartment without telling anyone.

I liked this because Julie is played by Juliette Binoche, who also played Vianne in Chocolat.  I love how she acts, it's just unfortunate she had to have that awful 90's haircut.  Also, the scenes are filled with only blues, cool tones, and earth tones, nothing bright.  So, in every scene, whether it's something big, like the beaded chandelier thing, or the light on someone's face, there is an element of blue.


I didn't like how Julie handled her grief.  She never talked to anyone about it, she just shut down inside herself and moved away from any kind of support system.  She even has sex with someone she knows cares about her, just to dump him and run away, prompting him to look for her for months.  He does find her and together they finish her late husband's last music composition.  The chorus is some Greek bible verse which I'm not going to bother to look up.  Anyway, if you're depressed please talk to somebody, not do anything that Julie did.  I will give this film a 5/10.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cube (1997)

Today's film is Cube, where an unseen villain places unsuspecting victims in, literally, a giant Rubik's Cube, where they must work together to navigate through a maze of traps.

I don't want to give too much away, because the suspense is the best part of watching this.  Which rooms will have traps?  What are they?  Who will die?  Let's say that only two people are actually useful, in that they can use their math skills to solve the puzzle of the Cube.



Who made this Cube?  Was it the government?  Was it aliens?  Is the government run by aliens?  Also, the cop who takes control and later beats people is by no means unexpected and should not be considered a spoiler.  After the puzzle of the Cube has been solved, what happens to those who survive?  What is on the outside of the Cube?  A new, bigger Cube??  What if its a series of cubes-within cubes within cubes???  Where does it end people?

This movie was enjoyable because it was a psychological thriller with a touch of mystery, and enough gore to keep me somewhat entertained.  I do enjoy good gore.  I will give this film an 8/10.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Footlight Parade (1933)

Today's film is Footlight Parade.  The first part of this film is completely forgettable.  The only reason this film might be worth seeing is for the final three numbers, in which we actually get to see the musical prologues.  However, to me they didn't work.  In the "Waterfalls" number, how did fit an entire waterfall into a theater??  Then they had an entire pool!  In the last number,  the actors held a sign above their heads, which, if looked above, showed a picture of the flag and then the president.  This is for a movie theater audience, right?  How are they supposed to see that?  It wasn't worth it to me to watch this film, and I have no reason or desire to ever watch it again.  I will give it a 4/10.




Monday, August 25, 2014

Good Bye Lenin! (2003)

Today's film is Good Bye Lenin!  A long time ago, Germany was split into two different countries: East Germany and West Germany.  East Germany was communist while West Germany was not.  In this film, Alex lives with his family in East Germany.  His dad runs off to the West, and his mother breaks down.  We learn throughout the film that Alex's mother really cannot take any kind of shock.

Eventually, his mom leaves the hospital and returns to take care of Alex and his older sister.  Fast forward several years later, and people are protesting the regime more and more.  Alex's mom witnesses him being arrested during a protest, and collapses due to a heart attack.  She stays in a coma for 8 months.  During this time, Alex forms a relationship with a cute nurse, while the two sides of Germany reunite.  Mom finally wakes up, but the doctors say she cannot take any kind of shock or it may kill her.  Alex wants to bring her home.

The problem is that Mom loved her country, and was very active in the communist community.  If she learned that everything she believed in and worked for is gone,  she would be shocked to death.  So, Alex goes out of his way to pretend like everything is the same.  This gets harder and harder as Western capitalism, think: Coca Cola, invades their precious country.  Alex's friend helps him make fake news reports to "explain away" all this Western influence.



As time goes on, we learn that not only is Alex preserving the old country for his mom, but perhaps he is doing it to instill a sense of nostalgia, like he's remembering the good old days of when his family was all together.  But, perhaps his mom has some secrets of his own.  Alex's girlfriend and sister think he is taking it too far with all this pretending.  But, I see it the same way we tell our children about fairy tales.  It's making a perfect pretend world where everything is safe and nothing has changed.  His mom doesn't have very long time to live, so he's making her last few months comfortable.  He wanted her to die happy.  If she would have lived for several more years, then he would have had to explain that their country had reunited and that communism had failed.  However, he does find his dad because she wanted to see him one last time.  After she died, they put her ashes in a firework and shot it into the sky.


This film shows how an adult child will go out of their way to make sure their parent is safe and happy in their final moments.  Even though we may not understand or agree with how they do it, we know that his mom died where she was happy.  I will give this film an 8/10.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Queen Christina (1933)

Today's film is Queen Christina.  We really liked it.  It's not entirely  historically accurate, but it is a good story and is romantic.

Christina's father was the King of Sweden, who was caught up in the constant warring of the day.  He died when she was 6, and she was crowned as an adorable little Queen.  She was given the best education possible, and constantly read to learn more and more.  In real life, she was told to back off studying for a bit because she was wearing herself out.

She grew up to her 20s as a tough, tomboyish queen, always dressing as a man when she went out riding or hunting.  At this age, she was expected to marry, but she wasn't ready for it yet.  Every one wanted her to marry her cousin, Karl, but she was like, yeah no.  Another problem is Magnus, who is in love with her and is a jealous person.



While she was out riding, she comes across the visiting Spanish envoy, whose carriage is stuck in the snow.  She laughs, which is interesting because I thought the tagline for Ninotchka was "Garbo Laughs".  She laughs in this too, apparently, and this movie came first.  Those Spanish people.  Always getting stuck in snow.  She later meets him in a tavern, and with him still believing she's a boy, hangs out for awhile.
How can Antonio believe Christina is a boy if she's obviously wearing lipstick?  Well, she's not.  This is what I think is called, "suspending your disbelief".  Christina lived a long time ago and was a tomboy, so she wouldn't have worn lipstick.  Greta Garbo is wearing lipstick as an actress.  So, Antonio can't see it, but we can.

So, convienently, the only room left is her room, so they have to share.
He asks her, "Aren't you going to get undressed?"  It's in that second that she realizes she has never undressed herself before and isn't sure what to do.  As a queen, she has always had her servant dress/undress her.  So she clumsily fumbles around her clothes and they clatter to the floor.  Finally, Antonio realizes she is a woman.  So they get it on for five days.  As the snow clears, she leaves but promises him that she will see him again.

When Antonio arrives at the castle, he discovers that Christina is the Queen.  Of course Magnus is like totally jealous and turns the peasants to riot against her.  Christina's like "fuck this I'm out" and leaves the throne to travel to Spain with Antonio.  However, Magnus kills him before they leave.  So it's a sad ending, but hopefully Christina will have a better future.  This movie was enjoyable and great.  I will give it a 9/10.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

The New 1001 List of Films

Here are my thoughts about the new 1001 films you must See Before You Die list for 2014.  So far all the editors did was remove a bunch of recent films and add a bunch of different ones.  This decade isn't over yet and there may be a really great film coming out that we don't know of yet.  I know that the editors put out a new book every year to sell, but I think that changing a "definitive list" every year is not a good idea.  How can they call it a "definitive list" of films if it is going to change every single year? 
 
My idea is to put out a new list at the start of every new decade.  That way we have time to watch new films and learn and then we will know what are the best films.  None of this changing recent films back and forth.  Also, there are some older films that are still on there that are terrible.  Just because they are old does not mean they are good.  I think instead of constantly adding films, they need to whittle the list down a bit to make it a truly great list.  Less is more.  After all, this is the 1001 list, not the 1001 films plus some others I like.   The number is getting too high.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Awful Truth (1937)

Hi, I'm back from the hospital with what should hopefully be one of my last surgeries.  I've been relaxing at home for a while now.  However, one of my stitches popped and now I know what death feels like. One the plus side, I taught Azalea how to say "nipple" which is hilarious, because she keeps poking her dad in the chest and saying it, which irritates him to no end.

Today's film is The Awful Truth, a romantic comedy starring Cary Grant.  You already know my opinion on Cary Grant, which is not much.  So let's talk about the film.


Grant plays Jerry, who is married to Lucy, played by Irene Dunn.  After an argument, they decide to divorce.  However, they try to sabotage each other's new relationships and then realize that they do want to stay married after all.  The best way to a happy marriage is to find someone as weird as you are.

I understand that Jerry wants to get back with his ex, but he does it all wrong.  He keeps going to her apartment on the pretense of seeing his dog, who by the way is the same dog from The Thin Man,  but we all know he's going to see her.  If I were divorced, the first thing I would do is change the locks.  And he's there at all hours! Without knocking, just appears out of nowhere because he's "making a drink".  Then when the country boy is flirting with Lucy, he hides behind the door and tickles her to distract her.  Think about that for a minute and realize that that's actually pretty creepy.  He's there all the time.  Lucy never knows when he'll appear again.  Behind a door?  In her room?  Fixing himself a drink?  He could be hiding in the closet right now, watching her through the slats in the door.  

Let's talk about Irene Dunn.  It didn't feel to me like she was acting.  It just felt like she was imitating Katherine Hepburn.  Anyone can do an impression of someone (good or bad).  But, her performance didn't seem genuine.  She could have been legitimately funny if she was just being herself.  But, she was imitating Hepburn's tone, inflection, laugh, poise, everything.  I like Katharine Hepburn, but if I wanted to see her, then I want to see her, not someone imitating her.

Anyway, they get remarried as expected.  This is like the third movie I've seen where Cary Grant's character is divorced and trying to win his wife back.  How many times can they redo this story?  I'm giving this a solid 5/10.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Today's film is Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  The title has nothing to do with the film other than the fact that they sing it a couple times.  Since one professor teaches history and the other biology, I don't see why they would care who she is or why they would be afraid of her.  Anyway, she's dead so maybe her spirit will come back and bore them to death.



The film takes place between 2 am and dawn following a faculty party.  A young biology professor and his ditzy blonde wife visit an old associate history professor, George, and his wife, who is the daughter of the university professor.  His wife, Martha, is played by Elizabeth Taylor, who is wearing the worst old-lady makeup in the history of film.  Actually, it might not be so terrible if I wasn't watching it on my modern hd tv.  First world problems.  Yes, their names are George and Martha.  Beneath their alcohol-fueled arguments and insults lies a thinly disguised emotional dependence on each other.  Listen, if I wanted to listen emotionally co-dependent weirdoes berate each other and whose only entertainment seems to be making everyone else feel awkward, then I would go to my mother-in-law's house.

The second I heard that Martha had mentioned a son, I thought, "there's no way those two assholes had a child together".  And I was right.  Huge shocker.  Then, comes the weirdness.  Not the weirdness that comes from a get-together at 2 am.  I've been to those.  I mean the weirdness that comes from Edward Albee's works.  Also, Nick and Honey could have left anytime and they don't.

I love how they refer to Honey's "slim hips" as if that's why she hasn't had any children yet.  Lol, I'm way smaller than she is and I have a child. Honey supposed had a "hysterical pregnancy" but it went away.  Chances are she had a miscarriage or an abortion and didn't want to talk about it with anyone.  She might even be pregnant now, what with her constant throwing up and all.  Or, she could have a digestive disorder and need to talk to someone about it.  Throwing up all the time isn't normal.

George seems to have the most problems of them.  He tells this really off-putting story about a boy with kills his mother with a shotgun, then accidentally kills his father while learning how to drive.  He tells it to Nick, a man he has just met for the first time.  He says the boy is in an asylum and still hasn't spoken to this day.  Why would you tell him something like that?  Then, we learn that it is part of a book he was writing, but the university president/his father-in-law forbid him to publish it.  Then, I get the feeling that this might be something that either actually happened to him, or he is the boy in the story.  He has a psychopathic vibe to him.  Like I wouldn't ever want to be alone anywhere with him.

Nick and Honey both represent threats to George and Martha, even if they don't intend to be.  We already know George feels threatened by Nick because he is young (I love how they call 28 young. That made me feel real good) and ambitious, and probably wants to sleep with his wife.  Well of course he does, she's Elizabeth Taylor!

On a similar, but more subtle note, Martha feels threatened by Honey.  All she wanted was for her husband to take over the college, but he wasn't ambitious or aggressive enough.  So, as a housewife, obviously she wanted a baby, but she never could, so she makes up the story of her son, who's "away", in order to cope.  She's jealous of Honey, because she reminds her of a younger version of herself.  In fact, she first describes her as slim-hipped as an insult (as an opposite to bigger, child-bearing hips) to make herself feel better.  She knows that Honey's husband will rise quickly in his department because he has the opposite personality of her own.

At the end, Nick and Honey leave in the morning, and George and Martha are left alone.  We see that they really do love each other, but have a weird way of showing it.  If you enjoy Edward Albee's works, or really want to see how my in-laws would act if they were literate, then please watch this film.  I will give it an 8/10.