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I liked the majority of the films on the MoFo 100 horror list, so for the past week or so I've been tacking off the ones on it I hadn't seen:
The Entity

I know this film has a bit of a cult status. I didn't find any sequences terribly special, but I do think it's a pretty entertaining flick with an exceptional lead performance.
Black Sabbath

Even with an over-dramatic use of music and almost embarrassing English dubbing, this was perhaps the most entertaining film in the bunch. Impeccable use of lighting, atmosphere, and setting in the 2nd and 3rd stories. Also, I can't be the only one who thought the ending was out of place (but still funny as hell), can I?
Ginger Snaps
-
The only film on this list that I actively disliked. Bad, almost laughable, dialogue, weak performances, and nonsensical plot points. On the positive side, the art direction and lighting seemed above par.
Shivers
+
One of the few Cronenberg horror pictures that I still hadn't seen. Not as good as most of his others, but still pretty good.
Witchfinder General

I regret not having seen this earlier. One of the best roles I've seen Price tackle, and likely the most emotionally involving horror flick that Vincent Price had been involved in.
Tales From the Crypt
+
A good anthology film. Every story is entertaining, every performance is adequate, and every little surprise ending is satisfying.
Ringu

Technically I had seen this before, but since I remembered virtually nothing about it, I gave it a re-watch. Very entertaining horror flick that, at times, plays along the boundaries of psychological drama. While some scenes tend to drag, there's always a nice little surprise waiting around the corner to spark up some more interest.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Broken Embraces (Pedro Almodovar, 2009)




This is perhaps not one of Almodovar's top-tier flicks but it comes very close. It's all about making movies, has plot twists up the yin-yang, keeps you guessing most of the time, makes you wonder why men are such scumbags, and has perhaps the very best closing line the author has ever penned, at least as far as I'm concerned.

A Wicked Woman (Charles Brabin, 1934)


Borderline ridiculous melodrama filmed on sets but depicting the Louisiana Delta. The sets are incredibly flamboyant and add to the entertainment value of this otherwise trite tale of a mom who kills her husband during a storm to save her young children from their drunken and abusive father. The remainder of the flick is the audience wondering if she'll get away with this humanitarian deed.

Nightwatching (Peter Greenaway, 2007)
; Art House Rating:




This contains some of Greenaway's most-gorgeous imagery, and since it details Rembrandt's life, you could say that it contains some of the classic artist's best too, as well as a good depiction of how an artist paints what he "sees". However, since this is about one of Rembrandt's most-famous paintings, allegedly depicting a murder, it's up to each individual viewer to decide what they see and what they take from this deep, complex film.

Passion aka The Passion of Anna (Ingmar Bergman, 1969)
; Art House Rating:




First off, this film actually has no title displayed whatsoever during the film. Its titles are all of the advertising variety. Secondly, this is one of the first films (Godard be damned) where the film actually contains its own commentary because the four lead actors tell the viewers what they think of their characters during the unfolding of the movie. Otherwise, this is known for having early Sven Nykvist color cinematography, it tells its "story" while jumping six months at a time, sometimes it feels like it's an endless loop, but the fact is that it may not be, and just what, exactly, is going on with the brutal killer on the island and Liv Ullmann's weird dream which seems to be left over from Bergman's earlier Shame? This is probably a major work but it goes out of its way to obscure itself so much that even the potentially mind-blowing ending seems less important than it probably is. At this point in my life, it's the letters which carry the most resonance and the most mystery, although Ullmann's eyes are devastating and von Sydow's axe is awesome.

Faithless (Harry Beaumont, 1932)




Pre-Code melodrama set during the actual Great Depression which addresses how the wife (Bankhead) of a businessman (Montgomery) can spend so much money on so little of consequence. Needless to say, this spending causes a major marital rift between them. It's good to see Tallulah at such a young age (30) and she can toss around what witty dialogue there is. Unfortunately, the flick is more drama than comedy.

Hide-Out (W.S. Van Dyke II, 1934)
+



This one is a bit better than the last one for multiple reasons. It's a bit more witty, it's got Edward Arnold as the primary lawman out to get hood Robert Montgomery, and it's got the beautiful Maureen O'Sullivan melting in your mouth at almost every scene. She plays a farmer's daughter who falls for the crook when he hides out in the country, and Elizabeth Patterson is solid as her mom and Mickey Rooney is good as her younger brother. I may be slightly underrating this one.

Three to Tango (Damon SantoStefano, 1999)




I'm obviously not the "aficianado" I thought I was because I don't actually recall this flick ever playing at the theatre at all. It's cute, and the acting is pretty decent, especially by Oliver Platt as the comfy gay architect, but most of the rest is silly which gets by on mostly good intentions. I still have no major thoughts on Matthew Perrybutt except that he's apparently still making a living... Neve Campbell is quite sexy in her role but this is when she had to play it straight.

Ponyo (Hayao Miyazaki, 2008)




Incredibly-colorful Miyazaki masterpiece about so many things which are impossible to describe is still a wonderful tale to reflect upon and savor in a world which is just not all that full of wonder without his incredible stories. This one is somehow criticized for being more on the childish side than normal but that all depends on what the viewer brings to the magical table. Considering that much of it is based on Wagner's The Ring Cycle, I find that difficult to accept. Somehow this classic received no Oscar nomination.

An Education (Lone Scherfig, 2009)




This captures the period of 1961 England quite well and is very watchable, but in the long run, it's just a bit too-much on the pedestrian side to recommend as some newfangled classic. It's believable, honest, funny, and a tad surprising, but when it's all over and done with, it seems just a bit too easy for the teenage girl (Carey Mulligan) to both learn her lesson and walk away from it mostly unscathed. It's recommended but a little on the simplistic side.
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Be Kind, Rewind (2008)

This movies’ story is as ridiculous as they get: Mike (Mos Def) temporarily takes responsibility over Mr. Fletcher’s (Danny Glover) ramshackle, but cosy videoshop. Due to a freak accident though, his friend Jerry (a manic Jack Black) erases all the video tapes. In an attempt to save the nearly condemned videoshop, they begin making self-made remakes of the erased videotapes. And – surprise, surprise – the locals love them. And I loved it too! No melancholy Eternal Sunshine stories, no love troubles à la Science of Sleep, just a feel-good comedy about two likeable losers spiced up with some wonderfully smart touches by Gondry (the camouflage trick that Black comes up with!). It’s really a charming, honest little movie about the film medium in its purest form, the power of imagination and the importance of the increasingly scarce presence of a community feeling. Good enough? I mosdefinite do think so.







Before Sunrise (1995)

Who would’ve thought that a movie in which 2 people do nothing but talk and walk around a city by night would get such a cult following? I certainly did not and am wondering why it has. The quality of a movie like this relies on the scenery’s aesthetics (no problem there), actors’ performances (also good) and the dialogues. And it’s the last point I’ve issues with. I admit that there are some very cool dialogues that I enjoyed tremendously: the entire part when they meet in the train and the telephone conversation in the bar. But I found equally as much dialogue that was boring. As a result, I caught myself looking at my watch a little too often. I also didn’t like the ending very much.







Blow (2001)

Biopic about George Jung (Johnny Depp) who claims he was the biggest cocaine supplier in the USA during the 70s and 80s. Sounds interesting enough, the problem is that the characters are too bland and uninteresting. Except for Jung, they aren’t worked out at all. Liotta is boring, Penelope overacts and these are the most interesting supporting characters. Other than that, nice little movie that kept me engaged all the way through. Jung’s story is told logically and intelligently, showing what a selfish man he really is until he becomes a father. It was good to focus on Jung almost all the time, because the pace slowed down a lot when supporting characters got involved too much (ALL scenes with Liotta). So all in all, enjoyable but flawed.




Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.


Before Sunrise (1995)

Who would’ve thought that a movie in which 2 people do nothing but talk and walk around a city by night would get such a cult following? I certainly did not and am wondering why it has. The quality of a movie like this relies on the scenery’s aesthetics (no problem there), actors’ performances (also good) and the dialogues. And it’s the last point I’ve issues with. I admit that there are some very cool dialogues that I enjoyed tremendously: the entire part when they meet in the train and the telephone conversation in the bar. But I found equally as much dialogue that was boring. As a result, I caught myself looking at my watch a little too often. I also didn’t like the ending very much.


I pretty much agree with EVERYTHING you say here. However, I found the sequel, Before Sunset, which is superficially a remake, to be much more entertaining, profound and unbelievably romantic. Its ending is definitely the best part. I can still understand if someone is a bit underwhelmed, but I also believe that anyone in the right frame of mind would swoon over that flick, as opposed to the one you discussed.




Anna Karenina (Brown, 1935) and Anna Karenina (Rose, 1997)

There's a lot I don't fully understand about how these two versions worked cinematically. I watched them back to back, and the 1997 version which is 15 minutes longer feels a lot more than that. Both versions attempt to pack an 800 page novel full of psychological insights into 7 major characters and probably over a dozen minor ones into an under-two-hour film, so it's inevitable that they'd both jettison a lot of stuff.

The 1935 version cuts the story in half and Throws away the Levin-Kitty plot, focusing almost exclusively on Anna and Vronsky's doomed romance. This makes sense for the economy and clarity of the movie but it still ends up portraying that romance in cliched and nonsensical terms. The forshadowing at the beginning of the movie is a dramatic device only and isn't tied logically or in any other way to Anna's eventual epiphany, or even her relationship with Vronsky.

The movie makes sense, but without Anna's spiritual awakening it's pretty hollow. Basically this movie has no soul.



The 1997 version is a bit more ambitious in that it not only includes Levin but has him narrate both his and Anna's story, so that it fits into the slow growth of his views on life and death through which his soul is eventually born. It didn't really convince me and it sticks to the pretty awkward device of having Levin describe his conclusions, except at the beginning, where it introduces him via his nightmare.

The inclusion of other characters also makes this one move a bit slower.

(which might be a little high)



A system of cells interlinked
Wizard of Oz (Fleming, 1939)




Just an absolute classic in every way. This film just never gets old!

Swimming to Cambodia (Demme, 1987)




I liked this well enough, I guess. The guy clearly has some talent, but the issues he discusses here, although clearly important, are just sort of dated at this point, and not as relevant as they once were. I will give another one of his flicks a shot, but I have a feeling I may grow weary of his banter after a while.

The Commitments (Parker, 1991)





Hells ya! I LOVED this movie! The characters, the lingo, the music...this is just such a fun flick to watch!
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The People's Republic of Clogher
Slumdog Millionaire (2998, Danny Boyle)

4/5

Is Danny Boyle the best director in the world right now? If not, I think he's certainly the most versatile.

Little more needs said about his breakthrough to the mainstream and this was my 3rd viewing, first on Blu Ray, but I'll try.

I didn't have huge hopes when the film was announced, to be honest - Written by the Full Monty bloke, starring the kid from Skins and produced by the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire people. It sounded like DB was a director for hire in a glossy advert for the world-conquering TV show.

Wrong.

Slumdog Millionaire is as poignant and vibrant a take on street kids as City of God is. All 9 young actors (3 each for the main roles) are fantastic and they're surely helped by the masterful director of children that Boyle is. See Millions for further indication.

Celador (run by Jasper 'Funky Moped' Carrot, I kid you not!) were pretty darned brave in depicting their cash cow in such a way. Yes, the film builds on the 'change your life' aspect (all the more apt considering the poverty-stricken upbringing of Jamal) but the backstage stuff with Anil Kapoor didn't have to be there.

The only person I can think of still working who uses music as effectively as Danny Boyle in his films is Scorsese, and that's a high recommendation.

In fact sonically, Slumdog Millionaire is as good as Trainspotting, Shallow Grave or 28 Days Later and thanks to Anthony Dod Mantle it looks almost perfect - The over-saturated colour palate is warm and unsettling in equal measure as we traverse the streets of Mumbai. It was a concious decision not to make the slums themselves an overtly threatening place (some of the people who dwell in them are another matter) and I think Boyle and Dod Mantle pulled it off effortlessly, especially in the opening shots of the film.

Oh yeah, that Full Monty bloke's screenplay isn't exactly bad either.

So, is Danny Boyle the best director in the world right now?

I suspect so but one thing I think more certain is that Freida Pinto is the most beautiful actress on the planet presently. She's only in a handful of scenes but illuminates every single one of them like a flare going off in a wardrobe.

Top work, Mr Boyle. Top top work.



I had to.
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Nice to meat you. If you know what i'm saying.


3:10 to Yuma 2007

It doesn't take much to impress me, just a good performance and some good technical qualities. Yuma is at it's best when it lets Crowe do his work.





Shane 1953

Clone like in structure to High Noon. The momentum building gets so ridiculous that the finale couldn't deliver if Shane revealed he was a space dinosaur and blew up Earth with a giant laser. The guts are the performances, the actors get less room than feet in dress shoes and the mother (played by Jean Arthur) is completely overboard.





Alice in Wonderland 2010

I'm still baffled by the financial stats of this movie. It made 1 billion dollars and now 3 months after theatrical release it's coming out on DVD.

Anyway. Sometimes it looks good and I laughed once. Alright that's my compliment. The acting is wooden, the pacing is orderly in it's own stupid way, the screenplay is a template, and it's even long. Really it's a Tim Burton parody, directed by Tim Burton.





The Wizard of Oz 1939

Sorry Sedai and everyone else, but the adult in me rejects everything about this. As does the child in me. I've seen Oz very few times and this is my first viewing in years, to summarized I'm still profoundly stunned.

Dorothy gets knocked out by a window (that a tornado threw of course), because like all smart girls she stands in front of a window when there's a tornado 10 feet from her house. She wakes up in a technicolor world with pitch blue water and synchronized midgets. The houses are made out of plastic and the walls appear to be roads in a giant fantasy. Everyone is singing and annoying.

By all logical means I should hate this movie with my dying breath, and I actually found it merely sub-par. Which should say something about it's rambunctious craft and almost universal appeal.





Scarface 1983

It's awesome when pumping 80's jams and it's original synthesizers or selling the glossy Miami atmosphere. Pacino isn't nearly invested as his best performances, but he's wild fun to watch. It doesn't start to fall apart until the second half where everything bad about Scarface is not only exposed, but highlighted. It's way too long and the character relationships are shockingly over the top. Everything after "Push it to the Limit" could have been easily done in the montage.





The Wild Bunch 1969

There's a lot more truth here than most of the westerns I've been watching recently. The acting and chemistry is spot on, but as The Wild Bunch is just as much an action movie as it is a character study, it takes on a big penalty for mental asylum editing. The shootout scenes are completely incomprehensible, with cameras zooming and switching angles furiously and shots lasting less than a second.

The madman editing doesn't stop at gunfights though, even simple things like flashbacks hit you in the back of the head, turning on and off and on and off. My jaw hit the floor in bewilderment, when I found that a paid professional had actually edited this together and not a three year old with a severe coke habit.





The Good, The Bad and The Ugly 1966

It's taken me awhile to warm to this one. Once you buy into Leone's twist for twist, super linear story telling, it doesn't take much effort to enjoy this. It's not at all about giving you deep characters to evaluate, they're already labeled in the first couple minutes. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is all about big set pieces, western atmosphere, and finding out who the fastest gunslinger is. While some things haven't aged as well as others (like bad dubbing), it's great looking. Morricone's beautiful score injects a lot of life as well.





Once Upon a Time in the West 1968

I figured I should give this one another shot too. Bad move. Blank staring characters, minus the awesome music, big shootouts, and creative twists. I'm not even bothered by the length of this anymore, just the complete lack of any kind of substance.




Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
It doesn't take much to impress me... [but] the finale couldn't deliver if Shane revealed he was a space dinosaur and blew up Earth with a giant laser. I'm still profoundly stunned. The shootout scenes are completely incomprehensible, with cameras zooming and switching angles furiously and shots lasting less than a second. The madman editing doesn't stop at gunfights though, even simple things like flashbacks hit you in the back of the head, turning on and off and on and off. My jaw hit the floor in bewilderment, when I found that a paid professional had actually edited this together and not a three year old with a severe coke habit.



You ready? You look ready.


Cinderella Man- I dunno why, but this si definitely a movie to watch drunk. Maybe it's the the unfightable urge ot throw punches and the awesome feeling you get while your bordy feels all weird, but who knows. SOber or drunk, love this movie. Besides, give me an excuse to crack open the HD-DVD i Had of it.
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A system of cells interlinked
Oh, Meaty...

Stomping on Shane and The Wizard of Oz?

Tsk tsk!

Meanwhile:

Ninja Assassin (McTeige, 2009)




I didn't expect to like this as much as I did. One of the better martial arts films I have seen in a while - graded on a curve, of course.

LotR - The Return of the King (Jackson, 2003)




Lisa and I popped in Matric Reloaded, only to discover it is unwatchable at this point. So we took it out of the player and put in Return of the King, instead. This film is actually aging well and is still a great watch. I do like the first film in the series the best, but this one is certainly excellent, as well.



Meat's on a Western kick! Glad you're digging TGTBATU, but you've gotta increase that rating! By at least 12 more popcorns.

Re: The Matrix Reloaded. I can dig that. At the time I saw it, I liked it quite a bit, actually. Certainly a step down from The Matrix, but the fight scenes were tremendous. That said, my enjoyment was largely based on the assumption that the third installment would take it to a meaningful place, rather than get all wishy-washy. So I'd say that Reloaded is still good, but it's well-nigh impossible to watch it without the disappointing specter of Revolutions retroactively diminishing it. Grr.
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A system of cells interlinked
Well... The film just seemed downright BAD to us. It starts off at a weird pace with really no development at all. You are left feeling a little listless unless you already have your head in the Matrix universe, which we did not. The Xion stuff in the first section of the film seems hacked and sort of tacked on, especially the attempted characterization of Link and his wife, who just do NOT matter in the grand scheme of things. Don't get me started on the silly dance party scene.

As for the fights - perhaps it was because we had just watched Ninja Assassin, which contained some of the coolest fight sequences I have seen, but the kung-fu in The Matrix seemed extremely telegraphed and over-wrought. The fight and filming techniques they used at the end of the 90s to put these flicks together are looking a bit long in the tooth in comparison - I just couldn't buy the fights as having any sort of weight or believability to them.

And remember, I was one of the defenders of this film and the series as a whole back in '03.



More movies yo:

Lost in Translation (2003, S. Coppola)- 94/100

The Last Samurai (2003, Zwick)- 58/100

Charade (1963, Donen)- 84/100

Up (2009, Docter/Peterson)- 85/100

Brazil (1985, Gilliam)- 75/100 *


Lost in Translation-- I love it. I find this movie to be very relaxing and a sort of tranquil movie experience which forces your mind to escape to Tokyo with the lead characters.. It's true, Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson are really excellent in this film. All of the time in the film is spent on Bob and Charlotte, with long shots of Tokyo while making these characters seem small in this very large city. It has its fair share of drama but thankfully lightens the mood often with laughs along the way. I wouldn't recommend it for everyone, but it is one of my favorites of the decade.

The Last Samurai-- The historical war type movies that were put out last decade never interested me and I always found them to be boring, predictable, and just tiring after seeing only a few. Thankfully, this one is better than most. Directed by Edward Zwick whom I am familiar with for movies like Glory and Blood Diamond, and those movies are decent. This one follows in the same level of quality for me, though I probably like this the least. The battle scenes that this film advertises are actually really great, and Tom Cruise is decent as a white samurai. It's way too long, and is just like all of the others of its genre besides improving in other minor areas.


Charade-- What attracted me to this movie was a bunch of people saying that this is the film that is most like a Hitchcock film which is not directed by Hitchcock. And maybe Cary Grant, too. This movie is so much fun to watch, it remains to be lighthearted and fun yet have great tension and suspense. I thought I had figured out all of the twists and turns but was surprised by the end, so check this film out if you like any Hitchcock movies.

Up-- I'm way late in watching this film, and I had heard only good things about it. I just want to give Pixar a big hug after making this movie. An incredible animated movie that is Pixar's most emotionally involving film with a great mixture of likable characters (like Toy Story). Everyone knows how great this movie is, but it just might be my favorite Pixar movie.


Brazil- I'm still trying to recover from this crazy experience.



Will your system be alright, when you dream of home tonight?
UP- I laughed. I cried. I really really enjoyed.
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Originally Posted by Yoda
If I were buying a laser gun I'd definitely take the XF-3800 before I took the "Pew Pew Pew Fun Gun."



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
This is a friendly aside about all the love which Lost in Translation gets here at the site. I give it a borderline thumbs up, but that's me, remember. I'm such a cantakerous old fart that I was wondering, WB, if it was so relaxing and tranquil that you fell asleep and missed that its Oscar-winning script could have been written on a match book. (I could have said postage stamp, but pshaw!) There are plenty of what I consider overrated flicks in the 2000s, but this one is obviouisly so European, even when filmied in Japan, that it must [Editorial comment: not] be genius. For the record, I've only watched this three times. I prefer Sofia's brother's CQ.

Next chapter: I don't know, but it'll be a cliffhanger. There are just so many films at which to aim. (Talk about pretentious BS! )





Mystery Men

This is excellent ensemble comedy that holds up to repeat viewings. Love the eccentric production design.



Ghost Writer

Pierce Brosnan as a mediocre celebrity with a hot autobiography that turns out to be a clue to a conspiracy. Wonder what the ambiguous portrayal of a criminal in exile says about Polanski, if anything. What's more interesting is Ewan McGreggor, and his weird affair with Brosnan's wife. This has a lot of intrigue and it kept me watching but I'm on the fence for now about whether or not it's really a satisfying thriller. There are some borderline-interesting ambiguities but then the big twist comes on like a practical joke

it's okay


Date Night

overly self-conscious old-people romantic comedy with a few funny moments. The genre blending is pretty pedestrian too.



The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Lots of cliches in this cat-and-mouse-thriller, perhaps the most egregious of which is the ubermensch "I just do what all you non-rapists wish you had the guts to do if only you weren't such pu**ies" serial killer. That's pretty tired. It also has maybe too many subplots for a movie of this size since a big chunk is solved by an off-screen hacker. On the other hand I thought the goth heroin was interesting and even found the rape-revenge subplot pretty compelling as far as these things go. This is pretty much an average hollywood thriller in swedish.



Tampopo

Lots of fun with the narrative form but I found some of the gratuitous vignettes a little boring this time around. The cinematic food and the movie-gangster narrator keep this movie from ever getting old though.