Friday, March 04, 2005


169) Cradle 2 the Grave. Pretty formulaic action picture, right down to the terrible one liners and comic relief by Tom Arnold. Still, the fight and stunt sequences were well done and the strip tease by Gabrielle Union was pretty damn hot. My only real sticking point is DMX's performance. He was so good in Never Die Alone that I expected more, but he wasn't very good at all in this.

170) Head of State. I can't believe I'm about to say that a movie starring both Chris Rock and Bernie Mac sucked, but here I go. A movie starring both Chris Rock and Bernie Mac sucked. Big time. The whole crazy Robin Givens/Security joke showed flashes of Pootie Tang, but overall it just wasn't funny. I was quite disappointed.

170 down, 830 to go.


167) The World According to Garp. I've always shyed away from this because of Robin Williams (who annoys me to no end) but I've also always wanted to see it. Miserable Whore of an Ex-Girlfriend's mom gave me A Prayer for Owen Meany after she found out MWOAEG and I had seen and liked Simon Birch because the book was supposed to be so much better. Since I never got around to reading the book and I was forbidden by MWOAEG to see Simon Birch (or any other Ashley Judd movie) again, my brief exposure to the works of John Irving came to an abrupt end. Anyway, I really enjoyed this until it got weirdly sad and violent at the end. John Lithgow was excellent and I didn't even mind Williams. He played everything really low key proving that he can act if he wants to, he just never wants to. Robin called about ten minutes before it was over and blathered on and on about how people that live outside of Atlanta are dirty and violent scumbags so that was an interruption I could have done without. She's so the new IT girl.

168) Boris and Natasha. I confused this with The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, so instead of 90 minutes worth of silent longing for Rene Russo I got an aged Hot Lips Houlihan and the Beav and brother I was pissed. Okay, mostly I was just upset about the severe lack of Rene Russo in my life (and bed! ooooooooooooo....I'm soooo baaaaaaaaaaaaad!) because there were actually some pretty good laughs in this. It had a very silly sense of humor, which I like, so after I got over my mistake I was able to chuckle along. I'm okay with it.

168 down, 832 to go.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


165) Higher and Higher. How did Sinatra get mixed up in this mess? It wasn't so bad that it was just unwatchable, but a lot of the setups were ruined by weak acting and the punchline didn't really connect. Mr. Drake was absolutely hysterical and would have fit perfectly in a Marx Bros. movie but otherwise this was pretty lackluster. Whatever.

166) Phantom of the Opera. Actually, this was really good. When the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical hit so big everyone I knew had the CDs and I wound up listening to them and liking them so I picked up a copy of the actual book in the 8th grade and it was so much more horrific and wild but I liked it too. When this came out I really wanted to see it but somehow never managed to and then just kind of forgot about it. I'm glad I saw this on the Cinemax schedule so I can see it and the ALW version. The Amazon review is dead on that this one is pretty true to the book. I was afraid it was going to be an "Uptown Nightmare on Elm Street" kind of picture, but I was pleasently surprised.

166 down, 834 to go.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


163) The Stranger. Oh man. I've always thought of Welles's work as the seemy flipside of Hitchcock's. They both tend to deal with a lot of the same subject matter but, whereas Hitch usually uses wealthy, charming, and sophisticated characters/actors, Welles's movies always seem to be...dirtier? Like his characters are always so gritty and desperate that even the mundane seems more dramatic and suspenseful than it really is. I love Citizen Kane and I'm not just saying that because it's "the greatest movie ever" or anything, but I always enjoy the Touch of Evils and Lady From Shanghais from Welles more. Kane is the "better" movie as far as vision and sheer artistry goes, but his noirs are all so gripping because of the scripting and acting. But even then the visual aspects are still so impressive! This one completely lives up to those expectations, too. Just brilliant. I will own this.

164) The Night of the Iguana. Oh Tennessee Williams. You and your sexual frustration have provided hours of entertainment to the world and for that, we salute you. Excellent performances and exactly what you'd expect from a John Huston directed adaptation of Williams.

164 down, 836 to go.

Yay for Luke!

Monday, February 28, 2005


160) Papillon. As I feared it began to drag near the end. There were several interminable scenes that could have been edited better, but for the most part it was well worth watching. Only Steve McQueen could make a Frenchman cool.

161) The Four Days of Naples. This is why I'm on board with the Italians. While the French were still cheerfully loading their Jews onto train cars they were out shooting Nazis. This was a superb telling of the story of the Neapolitan rebellion against the Nazi occupation after the Italian army surrendered to Eisenhower. Most war pictures are shown from the point of view of soldiers but seeing the ordinary citizens take up arms to drive out the Nazis after they execute one of their own was far more affecting. I liked this a lot, but sadly I can't seem to find anywhere that has it on VHS or DVD. I hope it gets a release because it's a great movie.

162) I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang. It's always kind of funny to see early talkies because the stage actors are still acting to the back of the house even if the camera is two feet away. I wanted to watch this because I had heard that O Brother, Where Art Thou? was heavily influenced by this but wherever I read that was completely wrong. Other than the fact that Clooney and company are fugitives from a chain gang, these two had nothing in common. I could see it's influence more in than anything Cool Hand Luke. Anyway, this was a pretty brutal picture and hard to watch at times but it was definetely a well done "social" drama, especially for it's day. Just further proof that the government is not to be trusted.

162 down, 838 to go.

Starting this Saturday there shall be westerns on TCM again! I am so excited I could pop!

got a nine pound hammer...

it's a little too heavy...

So I got about 90 minutes into Papillon last night and I really enjoyed it but around midnight I knew it wouldn't be long before my eyelids got way too heavy so I shut it down to get some sleep. I can tell that it's going to feel like every one of it's 150 minutes, but not in a bad way. It's just going to take that long to do the story justice. I'm looking forward to finishing it when I get home so I hope it doesn't dissapoint.

I looked at the Oscar winners list and gave it my usual "eh." I'm glad Million Dollar Baby won for Best Picture because it really was the best but I'm not sure how I feel about Scorcese getting beaten by Eastwood. It's tempting to say that so much more was going on in The Aviator and that only a truly great director like Scorcese could pull something like that off and it was probably more of a challenge than Million Dollar Baby but MDB wouldn't be the superb picture it is without a brilliant director's hand so I'm really torn on that. But whatever, like it matters. Both are good movies and the Oscars are usually a load of crap anyway.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


A little more productive of a day than yesterday and I was really back into the mood for movie watching so hopefully I can put in some solid time in front of the tube this week. No Desperate Housewives tonight because of the (blech) Oscars so that helped. I'm going to start in on one more (not sure what) as I go to bed but I don't know if I can keep my eyes open for it or not.

154) Disraeli. I imagine this was an early talkie since it seemed more like a filmed play than an actual film. I've always been intrigued by the figure of Benjamin Disraeli so I was interested in seeing this when I saw it on the TCM schedule. Decent biopic but it was pretty shallow, focusing only on the purchase of the Suez Canal.

155) The Lives of a Bengal Lancer. Excellent old adventure picture. Kept me thinking about Gunga Din and how I'd like to see it again. I hope this one gets a good DVD treatment if Universal ever gets around to releasing it cause I'd like to have it.

156) Libeled Lady. Good to know that journalists were scumbags back then, too. Pretty standard screwball farce but the whole thing is enjoyable to watch. Jean Harlow is as gorgeous as always, but Myrna Loy's head is too small for her body and it totally creeped me out.

157) Cobra. Oh how I love the Stallone. This was so bad it was freaking awesome AND one of the killers is the Alien Bounty Hunter! What's not to like? Van, you have got to rent this. You will love it.

158) Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. I wanted so badly to like this, but it just had too many things stacked against it. First off, the whole "lookee here what we can do with computers nowadays" was at once incredible and distracting, but it leaned more towards distracting. I can appreciate what all went into the effects and really thought it was done superbly, and I understand that they were going for a real fantasy/adventure kind of feel and maybe it was supposed to seem a little cartoony but at times it was just too cartoony. Secondly, Gwyneth Paltrow can be about as wooden as a hobby horse at times and that was plainly on display here. Some of that might be attributed to having to act with nothing but a blue screen behind you but still, act like you're trying. They might can CG in all kinds of crap behind you, but until they can put a blue screen over your talent and add something there you're going to have to put in a little effort before a woodpecker mistakes you for a post and swoops in. Also, if I can't get on board with you as the leggy intrepid reporter then something is terribly wrong, because I'm all about leggy intrepid reporters over here. And Jolie? HATE. I don't really have a reason to hate her, but the hatred is there and it apparently is never going to go away. So yeah, I wasn't all that thrilled with it. Oh well, at least it was a free rental so I didn't waste any money.

159) Friday the 13th, Part V: A New Beginning. And another one gone/And another one gone/Another one bites the dust... I am so into these right now, I can't WAIT for the next one.

159 down, 841 to go.