Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscars 2011

Oscar time has ended for another year, but now the time has arrived for us to dissect the show and year past. Overall, it was a great show and the set was amazing, especially for a classic film nerd such as myself.

1. The Hosts - Anne Hathaway and James Franco

Full disclosure: My friends and I went to a small, Catholic university that happens to have Hathaway's parents as alumni. We claim her as our own and will defend her whenever necessary. We are a little biased towards her.

That being said, we loved her as a host. Franco was a little aloof and seemed...out of it...yes...we'll call it that. She had tons of energy and seemed genuinely excited to be there. She looked stunning in her various gowns (although, among our friends, the blue number at the end got some criticism.) Also, if the academy wants to have her sing every year, we would be OK with that. Now, I have loved some hosts more than others. Billy Crystal is the obvious front runner for my generation. Having him talk about Bob Hope was a nice connection between the old guard, the Baby Boomers, and the up-and-coming generation. In short, Anne can host anytime. Franco...drink a Red Bull...keep up.

2. The Clothes

Full disclosure #2: I missed the red carpet and the first hour of the show due to some silly traffic on 76, so I was not thrilled. However, I have done my research and feel that I can make some statements.

Again, Anne Hathaway was stunning in pretty much everything. She was put together by infamous fashionista Rachel Zoe, but based on Anne's past performances on the red carpet, it is pretty safe to say that she has excellent taste. Always a class act. Gwyneth Paltrow looked lovely on the red carpet, but I felt like the dress she performed "Coming Home" in didn't do anything for her figure. Also, gold isn't the best color on a person with her color palate. Mandy Moore had great style last night, although it was agreed among the group that the corset on the second dress managed to minimize the things it is intended to maximize. The blue color was glorious on her. Hailee Steinfeld was adorable and age-appropriate in her gown, which she co-designed. Most of the ladies on the carpet really did dazzle. There were a few misses (Melissa Leo and Annette Benning, we're talking to you), and a couple of odd-ducks we've come to expect (paging HBC...although her hair was pretty fab).

It must be noted how great Natalie Portman looked in her gown, which is a perfect color on her. There have been a few actresses-with-child to collect Oscars (Catharine Zeta-Jones and Meryl Streep come to mind), and Natalie really nailed it. Finally, can someone talk to Scarlet Johansson about her hair! And Colleen have four Oscars for costume design...can't you design a decent pair of gloves for yourself! However, All in all, a great year for timeless Oscar fashion.

3. The Awards

The awards themselves were a bit predictable. Many of the Golden Globe winners walked away with the Oscars, but the year was pretty solid. Additionally, while one always wants to cheer for dark horses and people who don't mar their reputations with heavy campaigning, the historical odds were in the favors of the front runners. Some examples:

Melissa Leo: First, she was in a movie that screams "OSCAR," and despite her campaign, she had good odds going in. Many felt, myself agreed, that Miss Steinfeld should have had a chance at the leading actress category, she really had little chance going in. Historically, the younger set is given a nomination to acknowledge a particularly great performance. It is the rare exception that wins (Tatum O'Neal and Anna Paquin). Even such epic child stars, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, and Shirley Temple either earned noms and wins later in life, or were provided with special "child" Oscars, which have been done away with.

Colin Firth: First, he deserved this. The King's Speech was my favorite movie of the year, and Colin Firth has been one of my favorite actors for years. However, he partly won this because of his loss last year for A Single Man. It is an unspoken but great Oscar tradition to acknowledge past performances in a present Oscar. Jimmy Stewart is a great example: He lost in 1939 for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (to Robert Donat for Goodbye, Mr. Chips). He won the following year for The Philadelphia Story. While The Philadelphia Story is a classic romantic screwball comedy, it can't hold a candle to his emotional performance in Mr. Smith.

Toy Story 3: In most years, if your animated feature is nominated along side a Pixar film, just be pleased with your nomination. This year, as in the last, Pixar not only received a Best Animated Feature nod (and win) but also a Best Picture nod. Only once before Up and Toy Story 3 was an animated film nominated for Best Picture (Beauty and the Beast), which was before the re-expansion of the Best Picture category to 10 nominees. If the academy deems your film good enough to compete with the live action films, it will most certainly win the animated category. There was no doubt that Toy Story 3 would walk away with the statue, especially considering it was the final installment of a beloved trilogy. My husband even speculated that Toy Story 3 could pull a LOTR: Return of the King and win Best Picture in order to recognize the larger body of work. Toy Story 1 and 2 were made before the category existed, but are largely responsible for the inclusion of the category in 2001. The addition of the category is one of the most profound changes to the Oscar race, and it says a lot about the state of animation in the contemporary film industry.

Again, I deem this year a success, and I look forward to next years ceremony and season.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The King's Speech

First, apologies for the extended absence. Graduate school and life took presidence, but here I am ready to review another fantastic film.

For my first review back, I have chosen a new film. The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Geoffrey Rush, is set in pre-WWII England and follows Prince Albert's (later King George VI) journey to stamp out his stammer. The acting is sublime. The story and screenplay is riveting. It is absolutely worth seeing in theaters.

It is more difficult, in my opinion, to discuss good acting and its parts than it is to discuss bad acting. There is no doubt that this film is well acted. However, what makes that so is more of a puzzle. I have always been a fan of Firth, because I am a woman and it is in our genetic make-up, but he was better than ever. He could convey all the emotion necessary in a simple look or word. Words in this film are more filled with meaning than ever, as certain words trigger the stammer, while others float blissfully out of his mouth without pause. Rush, as I'm told by my husband, was also in normal form. The person who struck me as most interesting in this film, when it comes to acting, is Carter. The movie-going public is accustomed to her appearing as the Queen of Hearts, Mrs. Lovett, or Bellatrix LeStrange, characters that are unique and incredibly out-of-this-world. She has no trouble bringing them to life every time, although there is something to be said for Angela Lansbury's Mrs. Lovett, but I digress. In The King's Speech, she plays Elizabeth, a woman known to the modern world as "The Queen Mother." She is not loud or insane, but simply a devoted wife and mother who reminds you of your own. This takes her out of her normal element, and I have to say, she was divine.

The film was also an incredible history lesson. All I knew about George VI prior to this was that he was Elizabeth II's father. I did not know he was Edward VIII's brother or that his name was actually Albert. On the topic of the former, the minute it was made clear that Edward was THAT Edward, I was squirming in my seat, knowing poor Bertie would have to become King. On the latter, I'm fascinated as well. Most kings just use their name. However, considering the looming Nazi cloud over Europe, Albert was thought too Germanic for an English King, and he took his father's name instead. On a side note, this is also when the royal family took the Windsor name, solidifying their nationalism in this time of crisis.

I loved The King's Speech, and I have no doubt that this was my first of many viewings.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ed Harris has the right stuff.

With the 50th anniversary of NASA being celebrated this year, and the Discovery Channel running their series "When We Left the Earth" (Sundays at 9pm), one has the potential for getting the "space bug".  Space, even if you aren't interested in science, is fascinating from a historical point of view.  If you find yourself in need of cinema therapy to cure the want for space, look no further.  It also helps if you like Ed Harris.

"The Right Stuff", a 1983 film based on the Tom Wolfe novel of the same name, follows the Mercury astronauts from their recruitments until the end of the Mercury missions.  It stars Ed Harris, Sam Shepard, Dennis Quaid, and has appearances from Jeff Goldblum and Harry Shearer.  This movie is fantastic.  The music, the beautiful views of space, archival footage, and the talented actors really make this film worth watching, even though it is 4 hours long.  They aren't a long 4 hours though.  Also keep your eye out from appearances from the real life people the movie is about throughout the film.  

Once you finish the Mercury missions, move on to the Apollo missions of the late 1960s and early 1970s with "Apollo 13", the better known 1995 gem from Ron Howard.  Tom Hanks stars as Jim Lovell, the commander of the almost-fatal mission, with Ed Harris as Gene Krantz, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinese, and Ron Howard's brother and dad (who make appearances in almost all of his films).  This film is inspiring and at times, suspenseful (even if you do know your history).  

Both movies were nominated for Best Picture in their respective years and have Ed Harris.   Why haven't you seen these already?  Get on that.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Sex and the City

Last night I ventured to the theatre that I used to work at to see "Sex and the City", the long awaited follow up to the successful HBO sitcom. I knew I wanted to see it because I love SATC, but I enjoyed it much more than I expected.

Essentially, the film is a two hour episode. Things happened, and they are resolved. I laughed, I cried, and I really felt connected with these characters. I don't care who you are, these four women are talented. Over the course of the series and the film, I have seen the women in every possible situation and convey every possible emotion. Never once have I felt like they have betrayed their characters or the show or the audience, so that's talent.

Of course, a review of this film is incomplete without mention of the fashion! I'm not a big shoe person...I mean, I love shoes, but not in the way my best friend or Carrie Bradshaw do. However, after seeing those blue heels that Carrie puts in her GIANT closet, I want shoes. The dresses were fabulous as well. Carrie's wedding dress was absolutely to die for. My favorite scene of the movie occurs when Carrie is moving out of her apartment and has a "cleaning the closet" fashion show, complete with 80's music.

Along with the talented core cast of women, the men of the cast also impressed me. I really can't say more without giving up plot points, but it was enjoyable seeing the couples interact with one another and grow beyond just the four single girls (although, that's what it always comes back to, so have no fear). Jennifer Hudson was also very fun and lovable as Carrie's personal assistant. She helped Carrie in ways that the other girls just couldn't, and it was nice to have another woman in the group, especially representing another view point other than rich, white girl.

So, overall, I give "Sex and the City" a favorable review, although it does wrap itself up a little too neatly in the end, probably to make it impossible to ever have a sequel. I mean, it could have sequel, but it would just be to to cash in on the success of this film. I also think that certain straight men would enjoy it, but wait for video. It's a rental for men, a theatre watch for women.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Michael Clayton

This past year everyone's favorite movie star, George Clooney (swoon!) starred in the "thriller" Michael Clayton. Only a week ago, Ms. Tilda Swinton won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at the 80th Academy Awards ceremony. After having missed a number of movies this year, due to being both busy and poor, I finally rented Michael Clayton to see what all the fuss is about. I am still wondering.

Michael Clayton is a middle-aged "fixer" at a high-power law firm in New York City. He helps fix things in court cases when they go wrong. Aside from this job that holds a considerable amount of responsibility, he also has gambling debts, a loan shark following him and his deadbeat brother, a son with his ex-wife, and the most unstable best friend a person could ask for. The law firm that Clayton works for is currently defending a corporation which seems like it should be right out of Silkwood or Erin Brockovich, and his friend, Arther Edens (Tom Wilkinson) is working on the case. Suddenly, he discovers some facts about the case that make him feel that he can no longer defend U/North (the corporation in question) and he also goes off of his medications. Soon he is parading through Milwaulkee...naked. What we, the viewers, are supposed to be asking ourselves is, "who is after Michael Clayton!?". What we really end up asking ourselves is "When will this be over, because my eleven year old figured it out seventeen minutes ago." Tilda Swinton plays an executive in U/North whose job relies on the case going through. She fails.

First of all, the Academy has got to re-evaluate how it votes on movies. Tilda Swinton was nothing special in this film. She was just prettier in the film than she is in real life (did anyone see her Oscar "dress"?!). The person from Michael Clayton who really deserved the Oscar was Tom Wilkinson, who was quite good as in the insane lawyer. The movie attempted to instill mystery into the plot, but for some reason, it was all quite obvious. The family angle could have been dropped almost completely, save for the brother who happened to work for the NYPD. This was also not George CLooney's best film, so overall, I was not pleased with it.

That being said, I do still recommend giving it your own watch. Perhaps I missed something or I'm just an asshole who hates Tilda Swinton because of her Oscar apparral. Who knows.

Monday, May 28, 2007

AFI = entertainment

Hello faithful readers...if there are any left.

This summer, I (Megan) will be choosing my movies from the AFI film lists. Before we start this event, I would like to go through the original 100 films list, take out the ones I've seen, and briefly talk about them. lets begin:

1. CITIZEN KANE (1941) - I watched this for Bill Wine's "Film as Art" class sophomore year. It is a great example of great film, however, I can't say that it's my favorite movie or anything. That being said, anyone who calls themselves a film buff or a film fan should watch this movie at least once.

2. CASABLANCA (1942) - The first time (or two) that I saw this film, I hated it. Then one day it was on TCM and I watched it and I fell in love. This is one of those movies for everyone. It has romance, action, some's a well put together film. And who doesn't love Humphrey Bogart? (Best Picture winner, 1943). Year of release is in conflict...

3. THE GODFATHER (1972) - I think I'm one of those weird girls who just loves The Godfather. I prefer the second one, but this movie, despite its length, just pulls you in and keeps you there until the credits are done. The music, the acting, the directing, the settings...all just breathtaking. It makes me wish I was Italian. (Best Picture winner).

4. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) - I've loved this movie since I was thirteen, although if you want to really do this film justice, just read the book. That being said, the movie is able to stand on its own and entertain the masses. WARNING: this movie is long. It runs 3 hours and 45 minutes, but it's worth the watch. (Best Picture winner).

5. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962)  - (edit: 1/5/2011) What an epic!  I've seen a number of films that define themselves as such, but this was truly fitting of the title.  The music was also sweeping and fabulous. (Best Picture winner).

6. THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) - Honestly, who over the age of 6 hasn't seen this movie? It's magical and original and full of populist symbolism. There isn't much to say that hasn't been said.

7. THE GRADUATE (1967) - The original teenage angst film. I love this movie. It introduced me to the greatness that is Dustin Hoffman. The soundtrack, by Simon and Garfunkel, is also worth checking out in its own right.



10. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952) - I personally feel that this movie is overrated. I refuse to believe that it is the perfect musical. It is good, I'll admit that. However, this just gets far too much credit as a movie musical. That being said...I do own the soundtrack.

11. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) - No Christmas season is complete without this movie. It's uplifting, romantic, and I defy anyone to say that they hate this film. Jimmy Stewart is at his absolute best here and you really feel for him, as well as identify with him and his situation. I'll watch this in July. Also, Frank Capra is the master of directing uplifting films, and this is easily his best film.


13. THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957) - This movie proved to me that Alec Guinness is more than just Obi-Wan Kenobi. I usually don't like war films much, as they are too violent or completely cheesy, however this film transcends that and makes for a great night of film. I watched this with my pappy...that set really enjoys this era of film. (Best Picture winner).

14. SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) - One of the funniest movies I've ever seen. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are fantastic as the two cross dressing band members who use a girls band to get out of Chicago after witnessing the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. With a start like that, its hard to believe that this movie could be very humorous. Add Marilyn Monroe and cast of stock mobsters from the 30s and 40s and you have a recipe for comedy.

15. STAR WARS (1977) - I love Star Wars and the entire trilogy. I would put the other two higher on the list, as they are better films than episode 4. However, Star Wars episode 4: A New Hope was the original in the innovation department. We wouldn't have the movies we have today without Star Wars.

16. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) - This movie reminds me what a good actress Bette Davis is. This is a movie for movie people, as it is about the entertainment industry and its just great watching these women stab each other in the hypothetical backs.

17. THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951) - The only pairing in film history of Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, and the movie that gave Bogart his only Oscar. Action, romance, adventure, and a little comedy...Everyone loves this movie. I enjoy the movie that covers the bases for everyone in the room.

18. PSYCHO (1960)

19. CHINATOWN (1974)



22. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)


24. RAGING BULL (1980)

25. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982) - I saw this movie for the first time when it was re-released in 2002, on the big screen. I'm really glad that that was the first time I saw this amazing family film. Just that one scene with Elliott and ET on the bike in front of the moon is reason enough to see the whole thing in a theater. If Bill Wine taught me anything, and he did, it is to see any movie you can on the big screen. It's 100% worth it.

26. DR. STRANGELOVE (1964) - This satire is hilarious and full of people who you would never expect, such as George C. Scott. This is wildly intelligent, so if that isn't your thing, I would stay away. I saw it when I was 13, and hated it, as I didn't get it. However, I reviewed it when I was about 20 and I definitely got a lot more out of it.



29. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) - This movie SHOULD HAVE earned Jimmy Stewart an Oscar, but he was beat out by Robert Donat for "Goodbye, Mr. Chips". Stewart won the following year for "The Philadelphia Story", but it was more like a consolation prize for being beat in 1939. If you like politics, watch this film, as it is refreshing and sweet.


31. ANNIE HALL (1977) - This is my favorite movie of all time. There's an entire essay about it on this blog. That's all. (Best Picture winner).

32. THE GODFATHER PART II (1974) - I think this is the superior film in the Godfather trilogy, perhaps because this the film where Michael makes the transition from semi-decent human to evil, evil man. This is a must watch after the first film, however you can skip the third part. It sucks. (Best Picture winner).

33. HIGH NOON (1952) - This is the only western that I like, aside from Blazing Saddles. I love Grace Kelly and Gary Cooper and the movie is just the epitome of suspense. The entire film you just wait for noon to roll's intense.

34. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962) - I watched this the summer before my sophomore year, just after reading the book for English class. While Gregory Peck is just fantastic, the reason this film is sooo amazing is because the piece of work upon which it is based is American writing at its finest. Check it out also for Robert Duvall's debut as Boo Radley.

35. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) - This is a rare comedy from this era, as the humor translates well to present day. Clark Gable is at his most charming, and Claudette Colbert is simply beautiful. This was the first movie to sweep the five major awards at the Oscars as well. (Best Picture winner).

36. MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969) - I first saw this movie as part of my "America and the City" class at school. It is quite a trip, I'll just say. Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight are amazing, but I think I can only watch this once. (Best Picture winner).

37. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946) - This is one of my favorite movies. It tells the story of three servicemen returning home from the European theater of World War II, all from different socio-economic backgrounds, but from the same town. The most touching tale is the story of Homer, the youngest of the group, who lost both of his hands and now uses hooks to get around. He was played by real life amputee from WWII, Harold Russell, who was given a special award at the Oscars for his service to the country, and also because no one thought he would win the Best Supporting Actor award that night. He went home with two Oscars. (Best Picture winner).


39. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965) - (edit: 1/5/12) I've been trying for years to watch this movie, and never seemed to make it past the first hour.  Finally, about two years ago, I made myself sit and watch it, and I'm really glad I did.  I'm inspired to read the book, and I love listening to the soundtrack whenever I ride the train.

40. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) - This was the first Cary Grant movie I remember seeing AND the first Hitchcock movie I ever saw. Needless to say, my love affair with both men artistically has remained since that day.

41. WEST SIDE STORY (1961) - A beautiful movie with music and dancing that make life worth living. When I've seen it live, its the only piece of theatre that pulls tears from me. However, Marni Nixon dubbing Natalie Wood kills this for me (See also: My Fair Lady and The King and I). (Best Picture winner).

42. REAR WINDOW (1954) - This is my favorite Hitchcock film, as I think it is almost a perfect movie. Only Hitchcock could shoot an entire film from one setting and viewpoint and still keep the action moving.

43. KING KONG (1933)


45. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951) - This is one of the few movies I've ever seen that gave the original work (book, play, etc.) that actually did the work justice. Marlon Brando is at his best, and Vivien Leigh is as crazy as ever in this film.

46. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) - The first time I saw this, I had to watch it in 20 minute increments, despite having read the book, as I was terrified. Another film that I will love, but probably never watch again. It's also another film wherein I highly recommend that you read the book...but be sure to purchase the British version (it has 21 chapters).

47. TAXI DRIVER (1976)

48. JAWS (1975) - This movie is just awesome.

49. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937) - Everyone has seen this, but it holds a special place for me because it is the first movie my grandmother ever saw when she was growing up in Nazi Germany. Any movie that makes my Oma that happy makes me happy.

50. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969) - Another movie that I just love. Newman and Redford are a great onscreen pair and this is an action movie that even I like.

51. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) - As anyone in my theatre group can tell you, I love this movie. The movie, in a rare twist, is better than the play. The play is just a tad too sophisticated and subtle for most audiences, where as the movie tweaks what just didn't work in the play to make for a more solid story with less confusion. Really funny and worth a watch.

52. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953) - Although this film is famous for the romantic scene on the beach, the real reason to watch this one is for Frank Sinatra's Oscar winning performance. This film has also stood the test of time, which is more than I can say for a lot of it's Best Picture counterparts of the same era (Best Picture winner).

53. AMADEUS (1984) - Long, but good bio-pic. I don't really remember the highlights of this movie, but I do recall that I enjoyed it a lot. I should probably give it another watch. (Best Picture winner).


55. THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965)- Last summer I watched this movie at least once a week. The setting is beautiful (who DOESN'T want to go to Austria?), Julie Andrews is fantastic, and those charming children! How could you go wrong? If you haven't seen this movie, you need to run to your local West Coast Video (do they exist?) and pick it up. Other wise, you have no soul. (Best Picture winner).

56. M*A*S*H (1970) - This military satire, which spawned the long running sitcom, is possibly better than the show. Chock full of great actors and it makes great points on the absurdity of war in the middle of the Vietnam era. A prime example of the genius that is Robert Altman.

57. THE THIRD MAN (1949)

58. FANTASIA (1940) - I think I'm one of the only people who counts this film among my favorite Disney movies. It spawned my love for classical music and the animation was well ahead of its time. This is the movie that proves to me that not only was Disney a great man with a big heart, but he was also a true genius.


60. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) - Harrison Ford! The Ford factor in this film is the highest it can be. This is the first film of a solid trilogy, which I could (and have) watch over and over again. It's one of those movies that can be classified as perfect, in that it has romance, action, and comedy all at the same time.

61. VERTIGO (1958) - I recall that this film confused me, but also reminded me that Hitchcock and Stewart are a solid film team. Just another quality notch in Hitchcock's large belt.

62. TOOTSIE (1982) - Another film that I first saw in Bill Wine's "Film as Art". Dustin Hoffman really can do it all, as this film proves. Just three years before he was a struggling single father in Kramer vs. Kramer, and now he's hamming it up as Dorothy Michaels. I'll see anything with him in it...even Meet the Fockers.

63. STAGECOACH (1939)

64. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977) - This was not what I thought it was going to be. Outside of the technical achievements of this film, I'm unimpressed.

65. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) - AAAAHHHHH! This movie scared the bejeezus out of me, as it should everyone else. Great film...I don't anticipate watching it ever again. If I do, it will be in a well lit room around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. (Best Picture Winner)

66. NETWORK (1976) - A time capsule of the 1970s. It magnifies the media corruption of the era, peaking with the "I'm as mad as hell and i'm not going to take this anymore" scene. My professor tells me that people actually did that after the release of the film. I think that my generation could use a film like this.


68. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951) - This is the film that I think should be at 10 instead of Singin' in the Rain. It takes the music of George Gershwin and tells the story in a full out way. It also uses the piece "An American in Paris", which Gershwin wrote as a "musical poem", and constructs a beautiful and sensual ballet and film out of it, which is genius in my book. Gene Kelly is in both films, so it's easier to compare to the two. (Best Picture Winner)

69. SHANE (1953)


71. FORREST GUMP (1994) - I have an essay in the works about this one. Either way, I love this movie. Edit: The Essay is complete! Check it out! (Best Picture winner)

72. BEN-HUR (1959)


74. THE GOLD RUSH (1925)


76. CITY LIGHTS (1931) - I enjoy Charlie Chaplin because of this film. I frequently get this and 'Modern Times' confused, however I love both and they should be required viewing for all who call themselves film buffs.

77. AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973) - This is another film that I love, if for no other reason, for the amazing soundtrack. It is full of top 40 hits of the 1950s and 1960s. It is also one of the first films for a number of actors of this generation, including Ron Howard (as an almost adult), Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, and Suzanne Somers. This is also Lucas' mainstream directing debut, and in that sense, it is quite better than Star Wars.

78. ROCKY (1976) - I go to school in Philadelphia, so this movie has special meaning to me as well. It is a true underdog story from in front and behind the camera. Sly Stallone is good in this and everyone should include it in their "uplifting sports film" repertoire. Rent it now. (Best Picture winner)

79. THE DEER HUNTER (1978) - Another film that I watched for my "America in the 1970s" class, and a disturbing one at that. If violence and war makes you uncomfortable, best steer clear of this Vietnam War era masterpiece. Along with the usual horrors of war, you also get Christopher Walken going insane and playing Russian Roulette...for fun! (Best Picture winner)

80. THE WILD BUNCH (1969)

81. MODERN TIMES (1936) - Another Chaplin film that I enjoy immensely. Famous for its scene where he flips and flops through the gears of a giant machine.

82. GIANT (1956)

83. PLATOON (1986)

84. FARGO (1996) - A Coen Brothers' masterpiece! This dark comedy about murder in North Dakota is well worth the watch. Highlights include: Francis McDorment playing a pregnant cop (for which she won a well-earned Oscar), Steve Bushemi, and a wood chipper.

85. DUCK SOUP (1933)



88. EASY RIDER (1969)

89. PATTON (1970) - I find this film boring...but my dad loves it, so I can't knock it completely. I figure I'll like it, or at least appreciate it, one day. (Best Picture winner)

90. THE JAZZ SINGER (1927)

91. MY FAIR LADY (1964) - This film is no where near as good as the play. That being said, it is an excellent family film and has quite the catchy little tunes. Again, Audrey Hepburn is dubbed by Marni Nixon (let her sing!) and she lost the Oscar that year to Julie Andrews, who originated the role on Broadway but was denied the opportunity to play the part on screen because Jack Warner didn't feel she was a big enough star for the project. She won for her part in Mary Poppins because Walt Disney is a genius. (Best Picture winner)

92. A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951)

93. THE APARTMENT (1960) - Jack Lemmon is at his best in this film, although I want to say that about every movie I have ever seen him in. He and Shirley McClaine make this dramatic romance quite enjoyable. Also, a Billy Wilder how bad could it be, really? (Best Picture winner)

94. GOODFELLAS (1990)

95. PULP FICTION (1994)

96. THE SEARCHERS (1956)

97. BRINGING UP BABY (1938) - I figure this is the representative for screwball, 1930s comedy on this list, as while it is enjoyable, I don't think it is really Top 100 worthy. It is funny to watch Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn interact with a leopard, to comic results.

98. UNFORGIVEN (1992)

99. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER (1967) - The classic film about race relations in the late 1960s. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (in their last film together...Tracy died two weeks after shooting wrapped on the project) star as a married couple who's daughter (played by Hepburn's real-life niece, Katharine Houghton) is coming home with her new boyfriend, who happens to be Sidney Poitier. Today, that would be like your daughter coming home with an unmarried, 20-year-old Barack Obama. Classic film.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

The "Happyness" of the Holidays

Welcome back, faithful readers. Apologies for not updating more often, but we do have lives.

Two movies to discuss this week. "The Holiday" and "The Pursuit of Happyness".

The Holiday
The Holiday was the perfect movie to see with my sister. It is a fabulous successor to "Love Actually", lending itself to all types of people and allowing you to follow a number of likable characters. Kate Winslet, as always, was warm and lovely and easy to like. When she cried, which she did quite a lot during this film, you wanted to cry because you had been there before. Jack Black was adorable, and more likable than in his other films. You liked him in "School of Rock" and "Orange County" but you didn't have this urge to smack him every ten seconds during "The Holiday". He was fantastic, and it really showed that he can act. Jude Law = adorable, as always, and the little British girls playing his daughters were so cute that every time they walked on screen or uttered a single word, you wanted to coo and awe. My only complaint was Cameron Diaz. She played the part perfectly, but the character was annoying as hell. Eli Wallach was endearing and he really made the movie something different. See this film with your girlfriends or sisters.

The Pursuit of Happyness
This film makes you thankful for every last dollar you have. It is also extremely depressing. This is the true story of Chris Gardner, a lower class man trying to support his family in 1981 San Francisco. He has their best intentions at heart all the time, but his wife doesn't trust him (don't worry, she leaves and is literally never heard from again in the film). Will Smith is incredible, and totally Oscar worthy, as is his son, real life son Jayden. The entire 2 hour film is engrossed in his hard times and only in the last five minutes of the movie does his life turn around for the better. So, you have to be looking for this film, now just seeing a movie on random. You almost have to be prepared for it. This is a reccommended film, however it was not uplifting in the way I thought it would be. It wasn't predictable, but that almost worked against it.

So, that's all for now. See these films and support your local movie theatre.

Next review: Keeping Mum, an indie film that is worth a view at the theatre.