| 100 Movies in 2008 Challenge!
||[Jan. 13th, 2008|12:08 am]
1oo Movies, Rules and Guidelines:
oo1. Watch 1oo movies or more in 2oo8.
**(SUCCESS! 100 and counting!)**
oo2. Keep track of how many I watch.
oo3. First-time movies only.
oo4. Leaving entry public. If you want to
recommend any movies, go for it.
oo1. "Waitress" (2007)
director: Adrienne Shelly writer: Adrienne Shelly
starring: Keri Rusell, Jeremy Sisto, Nathan Fillion, Adrienne Shelly,
Cheryl Hines & Andy Griffith
watched: Jan. 2 rating: 5/5
comments: This has become an all-time favorite of
mine. It's one of those rare movies that succeeds in evoking
feelings from you and resonates long after you're finished
oo2. "Fracture" (2007)
director: Gregory Hoblit writers: Daniel Pyne & Glenn Gers
starring: Ryan Gosling & Anthony Hopkins
watched: Jan. 5 rating: 4/5
comments: A great psychological thriller with wonderful
performances by Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins (that man
can play a villain like no other!), this film gets in your head and takes
you along for many twists and turns.
oo3. "Shadow Conspiracy" (1997)
director: George P. Cosmatos writers: Adi Hasak
& Ric Gibbs starring: Charlie Sheen, Linda Hamilton &
watched: Jan. 5 rating: 3.5/5
comments: I love a good poltical conspiracy, and this one
oo4. "Species" (1995)
director: Roger Donaldson writer: Dennis Feldman
starring: Michael Madsen, Natasha Henstridge, Marg Helgenberger
& Ben Kingsley
watched: Jan. 5 rating: 3.5/5
comments: This is one of those movies everyone seems to have
seen, so you feel like you have to although you really don't have any interest
in seeing it. It's not horrible, but it's not great either. The worst part of the
film is its laughable special effects. Do yourself a favor and opt for the better
90s' sci-fi franchise: "Alien."
oo5. "Species II" (1998)
director: Peter Medak writers: Dennis Feldman
& Chris Bancato starring: Michael Madsen, Natasha Henstridge,
Marg Helgenberger & Justin Lazard
watched: Jan. 5/6 rating: 1.5/5
comments: One of those sequels that just shouldn't have been made.
Not even Michael Madsen could save this one. I'll give it this, though: Unlike the
first installment, the effects aren't distractingly bad.
oo6. "Species III" (2004)
director: Brad Turner writers: Dennis Feldman
& Ben Ripley starring: Robin Dunne, Robert Knepper & Sunny Mabrey
watched: Jan. 5/6 rating: 1/5
comments: Don't you just hate when studios don't know when
to end a franchise? This one should've ended two installments ago. Though
made nearly a decade after the orginal - meaning more advanced technology,
and the studios' willingness to invest money more freely - it is unbelievably bad.
oo7. "Michael" (1996)
director: Nora Ephron writers: Peter Dexter, Jim Quinland,
Nora Ephron & Delia Ephron starring: John Travolta, Andie McDowell
& William Hurt
watched: Jan. 7 rating: 4.5/5
comments: I loved this! Very quirky and cute, but also
very sad. And John Travolta isn't too in-your-face.
oo8. "A Mighty Heart" (2007)
director: Michael Winterbottom writers: John Orloff
& Mariane Pearl starring: Dan Futterman & Angelina Jolie
watched: Jan. 10 rating: 5/5
comments: I've never cried so hard and long during a film.
This true story is as well-made as it is heart-wrenching.
oo9. "Sliding Doors" (1998)
director: Peter Howitt writer: Peter Howitt
starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hannah & John Lynch
watched: Jan. 10 rating: 4/5
comments: I wanted to watch something light-hearted
after "A Mighty Heart," and this was definitely not the best choice.
This made me cry too! It's a tricky concept, telling two stories at
once, but it's well-executed in this film. I just adore John Hannah,
and even the typically insufferable Gwyneth Paltrow is tolerable.
o1o. "Lucky Number Slevin" (2006)
director: Paul McGuigan writer: Jason Smilovic
starring: Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Lucy Lui, Morgan Freeman,
Ben Kingsley & Stanley Tucci
watched: Jan. 12 rating: 4/5
comments: A great crime thriller. The slow pace is balanced
with witty dialogue, colorful sets and inspired cinematography.
o11. "Eastern Promises" (2007)
director: David Cronenberg writer: Steven Knight
starring: Naomi Watts & Viggo Mortensen
watched: Jan. 26 rating: 4.5/5
comments: A little hard to follow toward the beginning,
made further difficult by the thick Russian accents and low dialogue
level (with loud background noise). It's worth straining to hear though,
it's a gritty film with a wonderful performance by Viggo Mortensen.
o12. "La Vie En Rose" (2007)
director: Olivier Dahan writers: Olivier Dahan
& Isabelle Sobelman starring: Marion Cotillard
watched: Jan. 26 rating: 4/5
comments: The non-linnear sequence of the
film is a little confusing, but the tale itself is very gripping
and well-told. Marion Cotillard delivers a masterful
performance depicting troubled artist Edith Piaf.
o13. "Basic Instinct" (1992)
director: Paul Verhoeven writer: Joe Eszterhas
starring: Michael Douglas & Sharon Stone
watched: Jan. 26 rating: 2.5/5
comments: Much of this film doesn't make sense
and the filmmakers don't bother explaing why anything's
happening. Plus, I found the lead character terribly unlikable.
I was kind of hoping he'd get killed in the end.
o14. "Atonement" (2007)
director: Joe Wright writers: Ian McEwan
& Christopher Hampton starring: James McAvoy,
Keira Knightley & Saoirse Ronan
watched: Jan. 29 rating: 5/5
comments: Such a tragic story, beautifully told with
captivating cinematography and riveting editing. I didn't know
a British period piece could be this edgy.
o15. "There Will Be Blood" (2007)
director: Paul Thomas Anderson writesr: Paul Thomas
Anderson & Upton Sinclair starring: Daniel-Day Lewis & Paul Dano
watched: Feb. 2 rating: 4/5
comments: A very intense film, but not the tour de force
its acclaim leads you to expect. Daniel Day-Lewis' performance,
however, cannot be overstated; his portrayal of a desperate man
descending into insanity is reminiscent of Robert De Niro's
historic performance as in "Taxi Driver."
o16. "Life After People (documentary)" (2008)
director: David de Vries writer: David de Vries
watched: Feb. 2 rating: 5/5
comments: Outstanding visual effects and computer
animation are utilized to explore a world post-human existence
in this fascinating and frightening documentary.
o17. "Good Luck Chuck" (2007)
director: Mark Helfrich writers: Josh Stolberg
& Steve Glenn starring: Dane Cook & Jessica Alba
watched: Feb. 3 rating: 2/5
comments: This sorry excuse for a comedy is even worse
than I expected. The already overly-touted Dane Cook is even less
funny than usual. The acting is sub-par and the jokes fall flat.
o18. "Ratatouille" (2007)
director: Brad Bird & Jan Pinkava writers: Brad Bird
& Jan Pinkava starring: Patton Oswalt
watched: Feb. 3 rating: 3.5/5
comments: A cute animated film that's not just for kids.
It's generally funny and entertaining, even if it is laden with blatant
o19. "The Assassination of Jesse James ..." (2007)
director: Andrew Dominik writers: Andrew Dominik
& Ron Hansen starring: Casey Affleck, Brad Pitt & Sam Rockwell
watched: Feb. 5 rating: 4.5/5
comments: A beautifully orchestrated film that adds
fantastic acting, captivating cinematography and great directing
and editing to tell an old story in a new and fresh way. However, the
achingly slow pace and long running time make it a bit hard to get into.
o2o. "Away From Her" (2006)
director: Sarah Polley writers: Sarah Polley & Alice Munro
starring: Gordon Pinsent, Julie Christie & Olympia Dukakis
watched: Feb. 6 rating: 5/5
comments: This heart-breaking story will penetrate even the most
hardened heart. Gordon Pinsent's portrayal of a husband helplessly watching
his beloved wife's descent into oblivion and Julie Christie's turn as that wife,
who ceases to recognize even her husband of 44 years, are both exceptional.
It's shocking that this film wasn't nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
o21. "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (2007)
director: Shekhar Kapur writers: William Nicholson
& Michael Hirst starring: Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush,
Clive Owen & Samantha Morton
watched: Feb. 6 rating: 3.5/5
comments: This film fails to really grasp you and pull
you in, and I didn't find the acting particularly remarkable, but
it's beautifully shot and I'm surprised it didn't receive an Oscar
nomination for either cinematography or art direction. At least
they got it right with a costume design nod.
o22. "The Story of Us" (1999)
director: Rob Reiner writers: Alan Zweibel
& Jessie Nelson starring: Bruce Willis & Michelle Pfeiffer
watched: Feb. 7 rating: 5/5
comments: A flawless film about the ups and downs of
marriage; an uncontrived look through the eyes of a couple struggling
to keep it together after 15 years. Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer
both deliver great raw performances.
o23. "Beautiful Girls" (1996)
director: Ted Demme writer: Scott Resenberg
starring: Timothy Hutton, Natalie Portman, Michael Rapaport
& Matt Dillon
watched: Feb. 7 rating: 4.5/5
comments: A great story about a guy who returns to his
small-town home for a high school reunion and also to figure out
his love life. Natalie Portman is fantastic as the 13-year-old girl next
door in this film chalk-full of big names (90s’ names that is: Matt Dillon,
Mira Sorvino, Uma Thurman …). Don’t let the raw facts fool you, it’s a
really well-made film and entertaining story. It also has a fantastic
soundtrack, with a great mix of contemporary and classic songs.
o24. "Interview" (2007)
director: Steve Buscemi writers: Steve Buscemi, Theodor
Holman & David Schechter starring: Sienna Miller & Steve Buscemi
watched: Feb. 7 rating: 4.5/5
comments: It's impossible to overly praise Steve Buscemi. A triple
threat, Buscemi wrote, directed and stars in this smart story of a journalist
interviewing a starlet (or is it the other way around?). Even the talentless
Sienna Miller couldn't bring down this film as an actress whose only talents
are lying, manipulating and partying (her perfect role!). The film's genius is
in its simplicity, taking place in only two primary locations and nearly all
in real-time it's a no-frills film that really showcases its acting and writing.
o25. "An American in Paris" (1951)
director: Vincente Minnelli writer: Alan Jay Lerner
starring: Gene Kelly & Leslie Caron
watched: Feb. 8 rating: 3.5/5
comments: A delightful musical that'll hold your attention with
its masterful tap and ballet numbers. Gene Kelly is charming and his
dancing is awe-inspiring in this whimsical romantic comedy. It's worth
seeing if only for its revolutionary 28-minute ballet finale, renowned
as the best in Hollywood history.
o26. "Smokin' Aces" (2006)
director: Joe Carnahan writer: Joe Carnahan
starring: Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven & Martin Henderson
watched: Feb. 10 rating: 3.5/5
comments: A long, slow build-up culminates in
an intense final 30 minutes. It's not as flashy, quirky or
funny as the trailer would suggest. A great sister film to
"Lucky Number Slevin."
o27. "Chinatown" (1974)
director: Roman Polanski writers: Robert Towne
& Roman Polanski starring: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway & John Huston
watched: Feb. 15 rating: 4.5/5
comments: A fantastic story with career-defining performances
and superb directing. The filmmakers do a great job at depicting 1940s
Los Angeles and rivals the best noir films.
o28. "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994)
director: Frank Darabont writers: Stephen King & Frank
Darabont starring: Tim Robbins & Morgan Freeman
watched: March 8 rating: 5/5
comments: One of the finest film's ever made. It's an utter shame
it was shut out of the Oscars; no wins out of seven nominations and frankly I think
it should have received even more nominations - Tim Robbins was completely
snubbed - but It had the misfortune of being released the same year as "Forrest
Gump." Everything comes together - writing, directing, acting, cinematography,
editing, score - to produce a profoundly moving and thought-provoking film.
o29. "Stuck on You" (2003)
director: Bobby & Peter Farrelly writers: Charles B. Wessler,
Bennett Yellin, Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly starring: Matt Damon,
Greg Kinnear, Eva Mendes & Cher
watched: March 9 rating: 3.5/5
comments: The Farrelly Brothers' best film since
"There's Something about Mary," this movie strikes the perfect
balance of humor and drama and reality and fantasy. It also boosts
some of the best film cameos I've ever seen.
o3o. "Without a Paddle" (2004)
director: Steven Brill writers: Fred Wolf, Harris Goldberg,
Tom Nursall, Jay Leggett & Mitch Rouse starring: Seth Green,
Matthew Lillard & Dax Shepard
watched: March 9 rating: 3.5/5
comments: This is a hilarious and touching film that is much
better than the trailer would lead you to think. A great adventure comedy
and compassionate story about childhood friends reuniting as adults
after a friend's death to fulfill his last wish, "Paddle" is like "Goonies" meets
"Now & Then" with more laughs. And the soundtrack is amazing!
o31. "Grease 2" (1982)
director: Patricia Birch writers: Ken Finkleman
starring: Michelle Pfeiffer & Maxwell Caulfield
watched: March 15 rating: 1.5/5
comments: “Grease 2” comes off as more of a spoof than a sequel
with musical numbers so awful you find yourself cringing, like in a scene at a
bowling alley where the cast sings, “We’re gonna score tonight.” There are two
kinds of bad movies: ones chalk-full of good campy fun and ones that are just
plain bad. “Grease 2” falls in the second category.
o32. "The Sweetest Thing" (2002)
director: Roger Kumble writer: Nancy Pimental
starring: Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate & Selma Blair
watched: March 15 rating: 3/5
comments: Another of Cameron Diaz's cute romantic/buddy
comedies, and while it certainly isn't as good as most her others
("The Holiday," "In Her Shoes," "Charlie's Angels" and, of course, "There's
Something About Mary" are all much better), it's still charming and thoroughly
entertaining. Plus, Jason Bateman provides a lot of laughs.
o33. "The Ice Harvest" (2005)
director: Harold Ramis writers: Richard Russo, Robert Benton
& Scott Phillips starring: John Cusack & Billy Bob Thorton
watched: March 30 rating: 3.5/5
comments: This movie had the potential to be so much
better than it is! John Cusack, Billy Bob Thorton, Christmastime, black
comedy with a noir theme. It sounds so good on paper, but the leads had
no chemistry, the plot was thin and the pace was painfully slow. The best
part of this movie was Oliver Platt as a drunk, providing comedic relief.
(*In the interest of full disclosure: I missed the first 10 minutes.*)
o34. "The Shrink Is In" (2001)
director: Richard Benjamin writers: Alison Balian & Joanna Johnson
starring: Courteney Cox, David Arquette & David James Elliott
watched: March 30 rating: 3/5
comments: Though very predictible, this romatic comedy has a quirky
edge that makes it very entertaining. Courteney Cox and David Arquette
are adorably eccentric and have tons of chemistry (obviously).
o35. "Daylight" (1996)
director: Rob Cohen writer: Leslie Bohem
starring: Sylvester Stallone & Amy Brenneman
watched: April 11 rating: 3.5/5
comments: My biggest fear is tunnels, so I knew a movie
about an explosion that traps people in a tunnel was going to freak me
out, but I didn't realize that it would put me on the verge of an anxiety
attack! This film is quick to establish the main characters and go right
into the action, but that doesn't mean it's thin on plot. I must say, even
Sylvester Stallone's acting is believable enough in it.
o36. "Shutter (original, Thai version)" (2004)
director: Banjong Pisanthanakun & Parkpoom Wongpoom
writers: Banjong Pisanthanakun, Sopon Sukdapisit
& Parkpoom Wongpoom starring: Ananda Everingham
& Natthaweeranuch Thongmee
watched: April 11 rating: 3.5/5
comments: Not unlike other Asian horror films ("Ju-On," "Ringu")
that rely on creepy corpses popping up around every corner, but it's good
for what it is. Original? No. Creepy? Yes. And though I haven't seen the American
remake, but from what I gather from the trailer it seems it sticks pretty closely
to the original. But if you want an Asian horror film that will really have you
jumping out of your skin I suggest you pick up "Ôdishon" ("Audition").
o37. "About a Boy" (2002)
director: Chris & Paul Weitz writers: Nick Hornby,
Peter Hedges, Chris Weitz & Paul Weitz
starring: Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, Toni Collette & Rachel Weisz
watched: May 11 rating: 4.5/5
comments: This is an amazing, unusual story. It doesn't try to
pigeon-hole itself into a hole like most American movies do; it balances the
serious - like depression - with comedy, never exploiting its characters.
o38. "An American Crime" (2007)
director: Tommy O'Haver writers: Tommy O'Haver & Irene Turner
starring: Ellen Page, Catherine Keener & Bradley Whitford
watched: May 14 rating: 4.5/5
comments: Seriously the most disturbing and saddening movie
I've ever seen. Catherine Keener's stellar performance is absolutely
haunting, as is the film as a whole. The fact that it's based on a true story
makes it even more disturbing. This is the kind of movie that stays with
you long after you've finished watching it.
o39. "Iron Man" (2008)
director: Jon Favreau writers: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby,
Art Marcum, Matt Halloway, Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber & Jack Kirby
starring: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges
& Gwyneth Paltrow
watched: May 14 rating: 4/5
comments: As someone not too interested in comic books or
action movies, I didn't have high expectations going into this, but I was
pleasantly surprised with it. It's very politically driven and and based in
thinly veiled current events, giving the film more depth than the average
super hero or action film.
o4o. "Baby Mama" (2008)
director: Michael McCullers writer: Michael McCullers
starring: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Greg Kinnear & Dax Shepard
watched: May 15 rating: 3/5
comments: Although mildly amusing, this film is not nearly as
funny as you'd think a Tina Fey-Amy Poehler film would promise to be.
Steve Martin provides a funny supporting character and Greg Kinnear is
charming as Tina Fey's love interest, but the leading ladies are disappointing.
o41. "What Happens in Vegas" (2008)
director: Tom Vaughan writer: Dana Fox
starring: Ashton Kutcher, Cameron Diaz, Rob Corddry & Lake Bell
watched: May 17 rating: 4/5
comments: I was thoroughly impressed with this comedy.
Lake Bell stands out in a very funny supporting cast, while the perfectly
matched Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher play amazingly well off each
other. Though pretty predictible plot-wise, it keeps you laughing.
o42. "U.S. Marshals" (1998)
director: Stuart Baird writer: Roy Huggins & Pogue
starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Snipes & Robert Downey Jr.
watched: May 18 rating: 3.5/5
comments: Having seen this before its predecessor, "The
Fugitive," I can say it definitely stands on its own. Five years is quite a
long time in movie technology, as the quality of this one - film, editing
and effects-wise - is far more advanced than the first film.
o43. "The Fugitive" (1993)
director: Andrew Davis writers: Roy Huggins, David Twohy
& Jeb Stuart starring: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones & Joe Pantoliano
watched: May 18 rating: 3.5/5
comments: Having now seen both I'll say Wesley Snipes is
no Harrison Ford. Ford's Richard Kimble is a much easier character to
empathize with than Snipes' Mark Sheridan and the premise of a man
solving his wife's murder proves more compelling than a former
government agent proving a set-up.
o44. "The Zodiac" (2005)
director: Alexander Bulkley writers: Kelley & Alexander Bulkley
starring: Justin Chambers & Robin Tunney
watched: May 18 rating: 2/5
comments: Perhaps if I saw this version before David Fincher's
"Zodiac" I wouldn't have found it so unimpressive, but I don't think so.
It is achingly slow and lacks any real plot; there's no basic structure with
a beginning, middle and end. The acting is sub-par, but you don't see
much of it because the movie is light on dialogue and heavy on scenary
shots. I also find the director's choice to be selective in what events and
facts to include in the film to be misleading. And it's not as though the
film was so action-packed it all just couldn't be fit in; the story is extremely
thin an stretched out.
o45. "Trainspotting" (1996)
director: Danny Boyle writers: Irvine Welsh & John Hodge
starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner & Johnny Lee Miller
watched: May 18 rating: 4/5
comments: This movie is wonderfully disturbing. Between the
disgusting shit scenes, a full-frontal Ewan McGregor, blonde Johnny Lee
Miller's crap Scottish accent and a hell of a lot of heroin you'd think there
wouldn't be much plot, but it's actually a well-rounded film. Besides for
that, the art direction is amazing.
(*I'm cheating a bit by putting this on my list because I've seen it before,
but I was like 10 and the whole thing was over my head.*)
o46. "Fired! (documentary)" (2007)
director: Chris Bradley & Kyle LaBrache writer: Annabelle Gurwitch
starring: Annabelle Gurwitch
watched: May 19 rating: 3.5/5
comments: This documentary is very amusing and, I’m assuming,
a bit comforting to anyone who has ever been fired. Featuring interviews
from people who have been fired from all sorts of industries – from human
resources and food services to sit-com writers and even an interview with a
former White House chef – and from celebrities to the average Joe, it’s a very
well-rounded tale of what it’s like to get fired in America.
o47. "Notting Hill" (1999)
director: Roger Michell writer: Richard Curtis
starring: Hugh Grant & Julia Roberts
watched: May 19 rating: 3.5/5
comments: Coming from the man who writes British romantic
comedies like none other, “Notting Hill” may not be Richard Curtis’
best but it doesn’t disappoint. Though “Love, Actually” and “Four
Weddings and a Funeral” are far better than this film, it still warrants
a place somehwere between those and his other works, such as "Mr. Bean"
and the two “Bridget Jones” installments.
o48. "Miss Potter" (2006)
director: Chris Noonan writer: Richard Maltby Jr.
starring: Renée Zellweger, Ewan McGregor & Emily Watson
watched: May 19 rating: 3/5
comments: For some reason I was under the misconception that
this was a kids' movie - perhaps because it’s about the most-successful
children’s book author in history, Beatrix Potter, and because she imagines her
drawings as moving images - but it’s far from a kids’ movie. It's a slow-paced
dramatic film that covers Potter’s booming professional and tumultuous
personal life. Renée Zellweger is as obnoxious as ever, but the underrated
Emily Watson is wonderful and Ewan McGregor provides humor.
o49. "Patriot Games" (1992)
director: Phillip Noyce writers: Tom Clancy, W. Peter Iliff
& Donald Stewart starring: Harrison Ford, Anne Archer, Sean Bean
& James Earl Jones
watched: May 19 rating: 4.5/5
comments: This movie is bit slow compared with some of Harrison
Ford’s other films (namely the "Indiana Jones" franchise), but it’s not completely
lacking in action, nor plot for that matter. The only real complaint I have about
this film is that Samuel L. Jackson is so under-utilized.
o5o. "Sex, Lies & Obsession" (2001)
director: Douglas Barr writer: Patricia Resnick
starring: Harry Hamlin & Lisa Rinna
watched: May 27 rating: 2/5
comments: This is about a very serious subject – sex addiction –
so it really shouldn’t come off as funny, but it does. OK, so it’s a Lifetime
movie, it’s not supposed to be good. But this movie takes it to a
whole new level of bad. First, somehow real-life couple of over 10 years
Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna aren’t believable as husband and wife – they
have no on-screen chemistry! Second, their acting is laughable at best.
Finally, the film seems to be poking fun at the subject at times more than
highlighting it as a serious disorder. I advise you to turn the channel when
this one comes on!
o51. "Scorched" (2003)
director: Gavin Grazer writers: Joe & Max Wein
starring: Alicia Siverstone, Woody Harrelson, Paulo Costanzo
& Rachael Leigh Cook
watched: May 29 rating: 3.5/5
comments: This movie absolutely exceeded my expectations. An
entertaining movie with a great ensemble, “Scorched” is really funny without
seeming to try too hard. The hilarious Paulo Costanzo (whom I’ve been a fan of
since “Road Trip”) is a stand-out, and the ladies are given a treat by way of Ivan
Sergei in a supporting role.
o52. "Clear and Present Danger" (1994)
director: Phillip Noyce writers: Tom Clancy, Donald Stewart,
Steven Zaillian & John Milius starring: Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe,
Banjamin Bratt & James Earl Jones
watched: May 30 rating: 4/5
comments: While not as action-filled or intense as its predecessor,
this sequel does earn its place as a follow-up to “Patriot Games.” Focusing
more on the criminals and less on Jack Ryan and his family, this installment
thrives on conspiracy and international politics.
o53. "The Hunt For Red October" (1990)
director: John McTiernan writers: Tom Clancy, Larry Ferguson
& Donald Stewart starring: Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery & James Earl Jones
watched: May 30 rating: 3.5/5
comments: Despite its achingly slow pace and lack of action, this film
still entertains and is ultimately a good, suspenseful political semi-thriller. I still
prefer the Phillip Noyce-directed Jack Ryan flicks (and Harrison Ford as Ryan for
that matter), but this movie is so different from those two installments you nearly
forget that they’re related.
o54. "In The Line Of Fire" (1993)
director: Wolfgang Petersen writer: Jeff Maguire
starring: Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich & Rene Russo
watched: May 30 rating: 3.5/5
comments: A great political thriller with Clint Eastwood at the helm.
A well-rounded cast – including John Malkovich, who is is perfectly eerie as a
psychopath taunting Eastwood’s Secret Service agent, Frank Horrigan, with his
intentions to assassinate the president, and a convincing Dylan McDermott as
Horrigan’s wide-eyed new partner – balances out Eastwood’s perpetual overacting.
o55. "The Firm" (1993)
director: Sydney Pollack writers: John Grisham, David Rabe,
Robert Towne & David Rayfiel starring: Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman,
Jeanne Tripplehorn & Ed Harris
watched: May 31 rating: 4/5
comments: This is a great suspenseful thriller with a phenomenal
supporting cast. Though, I must say, given that fact I’m more familiar seeing
his media hijinx than his films in recent years it’s a bit bizarre seeing Tom
Cruise as a young idealistic lawyer.
o56. "Bedroom Window" (1987)
director: Curtis Hanson writers: Anne Holden & Curtis Hanson
starring: Steve Guttenberg, Elizabeth McGovern & Isabelle Huppert
watched: May 31 rating: 3/5
comments: This is a great edge-of-your-seat thriller. The plot and
direction are good, but the acting is a bit sub-par. Although it fails in its
attempt at noir, it still succeeds in keeping you enthralled from start to finish.
o56. "Working Girl" (1988)
director: Mike Nichols writer: Kevin Wade
starring: Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford & Sigourney Weaver
watched: May 31 rating: 3.5/5
comments: This is such a cute movie! And that’s not something you
can say about many of Harrison Ford’s films. And this may be one of only a
couple roles in which the extremely soft-spoken Melanie Griffith is actually
well cast. Rounding out the fitting cast is Sigourney Weaver as a conniving,
o57. "The Paper" (1994)
director: Ron Howard writers: David & Stephen Koepp
starring: Michael Keaton, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close & Marisa Tomei
watched: May 31 rating: 5/5
comments: This is the most accurate depiction of a newsroom I have
yet to see portrayed on film. Everything about the first hour is spot-on, with the
latter part of the film dramatizing a bit for entertainment’s sake, but all together
the film doesn’t take too many liberties and provides an authentic and amusing
look into what life’s like at a newspaper, both professionally and personally.
o58. "Dave" (1993)
director: Ivan Reitman writer: Gary Ross
starring: Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver & Frank Langella
watched: June 1 rating: 3.5/5
comments: “Dave” is an adorably quirky and charming film.
Kevin Kline excels in juxtaposing roles as the crass, self-centered President
Mitchell and as the sweet, kind-hearted Dave, who is requested to imposter
him. This light-hearted film is a fun and entertaining watch from beginning
o59. "Psycho" (1960)
director: Alfred Hitchcock writers: Robert Bloch & Joseph
Stefano starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles & John Gavin
watched: June 1 rating: 5/5
comments: I can’t believe it’s taken me 21 years to see this movie.
I really wish I could have been around to see it when it first came out to fully
appreciate it. Not only had I already known about most of the plot points, but
also any chance of really appreciating Hitchcock’s innovative filmmaking
techniques has been spoiled by witnessing too many rip-offs produced over the
past 48 years. Also, I was surprised to learn that my favorite horror film ever,
the Japanese-language “Ôdishon” (“Audition”), is one of those films influenced
by Hitchcock’s setting up the film in two distinct parts.
o6o. "The China Syndrome" (1979)
director: James Bridges writers: Mike Gray, T.S. Cook &
James Bridges starring: Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon & Michael Douglas
watched: June 4 rating: 4/5
comments: This film features a deceptively slow build-up to a
climactic ending that brings you to the edge of your seat. The subject of
the film is made even more disturbing knowing that less than two weeks
later the frightening incident in the film actually happened in real life in
Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, which still to this day is the worst accident
in the nuclear power industry. Jack Lemmon is unbelievably good in his role.
o61. "The Producers" (1968)
director: Mel Brooks writers: Mel Brooks
starring: Zero Mostel & Gene Wilder
watched: June 4 rating: 3.5/5
comments: Gene Wilder is utterly adorable in this great comedy.
I haven’t seen the remake, but I’m sure that it can’t possibly live up to the
original. The laughs are provoked with understated attempts, especially from
a Mel Brooks film, and the acting strikes a perfect balance of being comedic
without going over the top.
o62. "Rollerball " (1975)
director: Norman Jewison writers: William Harrison
starring: James Caan, John Houseman & John Beck
watched: June 5 rating: 3.5/5
comments: A great, thrilling film that satisfies both action-seekers
and those more interested in a good plot. Plus, I love anything warning of a
future where government or technology gets out of control and threatens to
destroy us all.
o63. "The Cheat (Silent)" (1915)
director: Cecil B. DeMille writers: Hector Turnbull & Jeanie
Macpherson starring: Fannie Ward, Sessue Hayakawa & Jack Dean
watched: June 6 rating: 3.5/5
comments: While the plot is greatly stereotypical toward the image
of Asian Americans in film, the acting is great. Fannie Ward is exceptionally
wonderful. You forget that the film is silent because she’s so good at telling
a story with only her expressions, and Sessue Hayakawa is subtle and
unassuming as the dark villain.
o63-and-a-half. "Filipinos Retreat From Trenches (Silent/Short)" (1899)
director: Thomas Edison writers: N/A
watched: June 6 rating: N/A
comments: In this one-minute fictionalized recreation of an incident
from the Spanish-American War in which – you guessed it – Filipino soldiers
retreat from a trench as they’re being encroached upon by American soldiers,
the 10 or so “Filipinos” are actually played by African-Americans, which was
not uncommon in the early days of film with many minorities.
o64. "Broken Blossoms (Silent)" (1919)
director: D.W. Griffith writers: Thomas Burke & D.W.
Griffith starring: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess & Donald Crisp
watched: June 6 rating: 3.5/5
comments: Caucasian actor Richard Barthelmess plays
“The Yellow Man,” a Chinese merchant who takes in an abused British
woman looking for refuge in Griffith’s first film after his extremely
controversial epic “Birth of a Nation.” Great way to prove you’re not a
racist, D.W.! This is another example of the abysmal portrayal of Asian
Americans in early films. However, the film is actually really good. The
plot, acting, score, writing are all beautifully done.
o65. "The Bitter Tea of General Yen" (1933)
Dir.: Frank Capra writers: Edward E. Paramore Jr. &
Grace Zaring Stone starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Nils Asther,
Toshia Mori & Walter Connolly
director: June 6 rating: 4/5
comments: A fantastically orchestrated film in every way. An
enthralling watch from the very beginning, this Frank Capra film lives up
to his standard. Despite the injustice of having a white man play an Asian
character, Nils Asther does an amazing job with the role, and he and Barbara
Stanwyck have great chemistry.
o66. "Three Days of the Condor" (1975)
director: Sydney Pollack writers: James Grady, Lorenzo
Semple Jr. & David Rayfiel starring: Robert Redford & Faye Dunaway
watched: June 6 rating: 3.5/5
comments: A respectable addition to the spy thriller genre, this film
starts off very strong and ends kind of strong, but the middle is lacking.
Pollack’s straight-forward, no-frills direction may not add intensity to the
film, but it gives it a sense of realism. Added to that realism is the eeriness
of the life-imitating-art reasoning Redford’s CIA analyst character discovers
is behind the killings.
o67. "Saving Private Ryan" (1998)
director: Steven Spielberg writer: Robert Rodat
starring: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns & Matt Damon
watched: June 6 rating: 4.5/5
comments: This is the first film to make me cry within the first
five minutes. This is an action-filled, gritty war film based on mostly factual
history that keeps you glued to the screen to the very end. Superb acting,
beautiful cinematography and an amazing score all contribute to this film’s
o68. "Piccadilly (Silent)" (1929)
director: Ewald André Dupont writers: Arnold Bennett
starring: Gilda Gray, Anna May Wong & Jameson Thomas
watched: June 7 rating: 3/5
comments: The story of a seductive Chinese dancer that takes
over the job – and lover – of a Caucasian woman, this is a great tale of
opportunism, lust and jealousy. The extremely talented Anna May Wong
overshadows her cast mates with her acting and dancing.
o69. "Shanghai Express" (1932)
director: Josef von Sternberg writers: Harry Hervey &
Jules Furthman starring: Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Anna
May Wong & Warner Oland
watched: June 7 rating: 4/5
comments: A terrific ensemble cast spearheaded by the divine
Marlene Dietrich, mixed with an excellent plot and based in the claustrophobic
setting of a train make this an excellent film. Think of it as a black-and-white
“Pretty Woman,” but instead of laughs and whimsy there’s murder and intrigue.
o7o. "The 39 Steps" (1935)
director: Alfred Hitchcock writers: John Buchan, Charles
Bennett & Ian Hay starring: Robert Donat & Madeleine Carroll
watched: June 7 rating: 3.5/5
comments: Another great spy thriller, but this one has a comedic
layer to it. The dark subject matter and suspenseful tone juxtapose Robert
Donat’s wit and charm, which makes his character, who’s wrongfully accused
of murder and on the run, that much more likable. It’s sort of a mix between
“Dark Passage” and “It Happened One Night.”
o71. "Sabotage" (1936)
director: Alfred Hitchcock writers: Joseph Conrad, Charles
Bennett, Ian Hay, Helen Simpson & E.V.H. Emmett starring: Sylvia
Sidney, Oskar Homolka & John Loder
watched: June 7 rating: 4/5
comments: Much like Robert Donat in Hithcock’s earlier “The 39
Steps,” it’s Sylvia Sidney’s performance as a young trusting wife who learns
of her husband’s double life from a young, charming detective that drives
the film, with the mystery, deceit and murder taking a back seat. Sidney’s
ability to enthrall the audience and make viewers empathize with her is
o72. "The African Queen" (1951)
director: John Huston writers: C.S. Forester, James Agee,
John Huston, Peter Viertel & John Collier starring: Humphrey Bogart
& Katharine Hepburn
watched: June 7 rating: 3.5/5
comments: This film takes such a light-hearted approach to telling
its story. While essentially a love story, it’s set against a somber backdrop.
Escaping death at every turn this odd couple (he’s an alcoholic, she’s a
missionary) inevitably fall for each other amidst the chaos. The whimsical
music only adds to the stark contrast of the serious reality of the characters’
situation and the comical interaction between them.
o73. "Young Frankenstein" (1974)
director: Mel Brooks writers: Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks
& Mary Shelley starring: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Teri Garr,
Marty Feldman & Cloris Leachman
watched: June 7 rating: 5/5
comments: A flawless Mel Brooks vehicle. When Brooks and Wilder
team up it’s comedy gold. This film is such a reminder of how different modern
comedies are. While today’s comedies shove attempts at laughs down your
throat, older ones – especially those made by the genius that is Mel Brooks –
are more unassuming and subtle in their approach.
o74. "The Princess Bride" (1987)
director: Rob Reiner writer: William Goldman
starring: Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin & Andre The Giant
watched: June 8 rating: 5/5
comments: This is one of the most hilarious, enduring and cutest
films there is. Besides for combing action, comedy, romance and adventure
all to make this an amazing film for all ages, it also provides some of the best
movie quotes ever.
o75. "Stir Crazy" (1980)
director: Sidney Poitier writer: Bruce Jay Friedman
starring: Gene Wilder & Richard Pryor
watched: June 8 rating: 4.5/5
comments: Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor are arguably the best
comedy team in movie history. Forget Laurel and Hardy or Martin and Lewis,
Wilder and Pryor are comedy perfection. From the opening credits, featuring
Gene Wilder singing, “who needs Hollywood/ I hear they’re really nuts
out there/ give me a town like old New York/ with lots of trees and clean
fresh air/ I need a place where love is everywhere” you know you’re in
for some great laughs. Craig T. Nelson is especially comical as the straight
man, a hard-ass prison guard with it out for our lovable duo.
o76. "Waking Up In Reno" (2002)
director: Jordan Brady writers: Brent Briscoe &
Mark Fauser starring: Charlize Theron, Billy Bob Thorton,
Patrick Swayze & Natasha Richardson
watched: June 8 rating: 4/5
comments: Although it creeps by at a slower pace than most
would like, it’s necessary to set the tone of the film. The movie follows
two couples as they embark on a road trip from their simple homes in
Arkansas to a monster truck show in Reno, and you see the layers of the
characters unfold along the way. It’s really more of a character study than
anything. While the characters are lower-class southerners the film
portrays them as real people and doesn’t demean them. Theron’s southern
accent is laughable, but she plays her character well, Swayze is adorable as
her sensitive, dimwitted husband and Thorton plays his same old character
he plays in every movie, but it’s Richardson who really stands out as Thorton’s
quiet, unassuming wife. And by her impeccable southern accent, you’d never
be able to tell she’s British. Also look out for David Koechner in a small but
o77. "Relative Strangers" (2006)
director: Greg Glienna writers: Greg Glienna & Peter Stass
starring: Ron Livingston, Danny DeVito, Kathy Bates & Neve Campbell
watched: June 8 rating: 3/5
comments: This has the potential to be a really funny movie, but it
falls short. Very short. Ron Livingston does a great job as usual, but he’s not
given much to work with. And DeVito and Bates are ridiculously over the top
as Livingston’s carnie biological parents, as are Bob Odenkirk and Christine
Baranski as his conservative adoptive parents.
o78. "Muscle Beach Party" (1964)
director: William Asher writers: William Asher &
Robert Dillon starring: Frankie Avalon & Annette Funicello
watched: June 9 rating: 3/5
comments: The second installment in the Avalon-Funicello
Beach franchise, this film doesn’t provide the same campy fun as the
others. Sure, it’s campy, but it’s less fun than it is painfully bad. However,
look out for a young Stevie Wonder in his first movie appearance.
o79. "The Hebrew Hammer" (2003)
director: Jonathan Hesselman writer: Jonathan
Hesselman starring: Adam Goldberg, Andy Dick & Judy Greer
watched: June 9 rating: 4/5
comments: A fantastic parody that takes aim at “Shaft,” film noir,
religion, the holidays … I could go on. Possibly the first Jewsploitation film,
“The Hebrew Hammer” pokes fun at Jewish stereotypes respectfully and with
hysterical results. Adam Goldberg as the title character is utterly komish.
o8o. "The Way We Were" (1973)
director: Sydney Pollack writer: Arthur Laurents &
David Rayfiel starring: Robert Redford & Barbara Streisand
watched: June 9 rating: 5/5
comments: This is such a fantastic movie, but God, what a
frustrating character Robert Redford plays. You just want to slap him.
This is a love story from a realist’s point of view that enthralls you from
the very beginning. You can’t help but fall in love with Barbara Streisand
as the social activist who falls for the jock in college, only to be reunited
with him years later. A chronicle of a couple’s ups and downs, “The Way
We Were” tells their story masterfully.
o81. "Frenzy" (1972)
director: Alfred Hitchcock writer: Arthur La Bern &
Anthony Shaffer starring: Jon Finch & Barry Foster
watched: June 10 rating: 4/5
comments: Hitchcock’s second to last film, “Frenzy” is a suspenseful
and exciting thriller with great performances by the supporting characters as
well as the leads. Always the one for controversy, Hitchock came under fire for
this film for a graphic violence scene (graphic for 1972 anyway). That sort of
edgy choices and interesting camera techniques, mixed with Arthur La Bern’s
fantastic source material, come together to make this an amazing film.
o82. "Talk of the Town" (1942)
director: George Stevens writers: Sidney Harmon,
Dale Van Every, Irwin Shaw & Sidney Buchman starring: Cary Grant,
Jean Arthur & Ronald Colman
watched: June 10 rating: 4/5
comments: This is an adorable movie that balances the perfect
amount of comedy and drama. Cary Grant displays great comedic timing
playing a wrongly accused man on the run, Ronald Colman is perfect as the
stuffy Brit whose house he’s hiding away in and Jean Arthur is the stand-out
as the woman stuck between them.
o83. "Bull Durham" (1988)
director: Ron Shelton writer: Ron Shelton
starring: Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon & Tim Robbins
watched: June 11 rating: 4/5
comments: A fantastic film, even for those not interested in
baseball. It’s a witty, heartfelt character-driven movie that could be told
against any backdrop, but seemingly chose the perfect one with baseball.
It also features some of the best dialogue and one-liners of any movie.
o84. "Pajama Party" (1964)
director: Don Weis writer: Louis M. Heyward
starring: Annette Funicello, Tommy Kirk & Jody McCrea
watched: June 11 rating: 3.5/5
comments: Though not technically part of the “Beach Party”
series it’s impossible not to compare them because their so similar –
there are many of the same actors and themes. Noticeably missing
from the cast is Annette Funicello’s cohort Frankie Avalon (except in a
cameo). Released between the third and fourth “Beach Party” installments,
“Pajama Party” also follows a group of beach-dwelling teens who get into
many hijinx, but this film proceeds at a much quicker pace than some of
the actual beach films and although it too features the uber obnoxious
Don Rickles, it’s in a much smaller capacity (wow, do I hate Don Rickles).
This one also features some of the most infectious musical numbers.
Comic genius Buster Keaton is a special delight as Chief Rotten Eagle.
o85. "Kiss Me, Stupid" (1964)
director: Billy Wilder writers: Anna Bonacci, I.A.L.
Diamond & Billy Wilder starring: Dean Martin, Kim Novak,
Ray Walston & Felicia Farr
watched: June 11 rating: 3.5/5
comments: What a good sport Dean Martin was to play
this parody of himself – Dino, a famous night club owner and
performer. You’d never see that jerk off Frank Sinatra poking fun
at his image. It’s hard to believe this great film was a flop when it
came out in 1964, especially after the controversy its subject caused.
A hooker, a horn dog, bed-hopping and extramarital affairs, oh my!
But Billy Wilder does a fantastic job at presenting these topics in a
tongue-in-cheek way without being too risqué.
o86. "Enchanted" (2007)
director: Kevin Lima writer: Bill Kelly
starring: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey & James Marsden
watched: June 11 rating: 3.5/5
comments: I have to be honest: I wrote this off as a stupid,
pointless comedy before seeing it, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It’s extremely funny and entertaining. Amy Adams is perfectly cast as a
fairy tale princess and Patrick Dempsey is surprisingly funny as the
hardened New Yorker. This movie unabashedly explores all the fairy tale
clichés and leaves you laughing to the very end.
o87. "As You Like It" (1936)
director: Paul Czinner writers: J.M. Barrie, Robert
Cullen, Carl Mayer & William Shakespeare starring: Laurence
Olivier & Elisabeth Bergner
watched: June 12 rating: 2.5/5
comments: Though not my favorite (or second or third or …)
of Shakespeare’s works, “As You Like” is refreshingly witty and light-
hearted. This adaptation is well acted (Laurence Olivier is outshone only
by the delightful Elisabeth Bergner), but it drudges on unfocused for
most of its hour-and-a-half duration.
o88. "The Promotion" (2008)
director: Steve Conrad writer: Steve Conrad
starring: Sean William Scott, John C. Reilly & Jenna Fischer
watched: June 13 rating: 4/5
comments: This is just a great, solid film. It’s quicker-paced
than most indie films and the acting is amazing. Sean William Scott and
John C. Reilly both deliver spectacular performances in roles vastly
different than I’ve seen either in before.
o89. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (2008)
director: Nicholas Stoller writer: Jason Segel
starring: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell & Mila Kunis
watched: June 14 rating: 4/5
comments: I really didn’t expect much from this movie, but
I should’ve known a film produced by Judd Apatow wouldn’t disappoint.
This is a fantastic movie with hilarious performances. Paul Rudd is
especially great as the surf instructor.
o9o. "Blazing Saddles" (1974)
director: Mel Brooks writers: Mel Brooks,
Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor & Alan Uger
starring: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder & Harvey Korman
watched: June 15 rating: 5/5
comments: I’d heard great things about this movie, but I
doubted it could hold up after all these years as the masterpiece it’s
considered. I was absolutely wrong. This is the most impressive Mel
Brooks fete of them all. That man is infallible. I can’t imagine it being
any funnier in 1974 than it is in 2008.
o91. "Caddyshack" (1980)
director: Harold Ramis writers: Brian Doyle-Murray,
Harold Ramis & Douglas Kenney starring: Chevy Chase,
Rodney Dangerfield, Michael O’Keefe & Bill Murray
watched: June 15 rating: 5/5
comments: A classic in every sense, this is one of the most
quotable films out there. There’s even perfection in the details. Every
scene is more hilarious than the next and it’s hard to decide who is
funniest – Chevy Chase, Bill Murray or Rodney Dangerfield. They all
deliver flawless performances.
*I’d seen this before, but only vaguely remembered it*
o91. "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1956)
director: Alfred Hitchcock writers: John
Michael Hayes, Charles Bennett & D.B. Wyndham-Lewis
starring: James Stewart & Doris Day
watched: June 15 rating: 3/5
comments: This is actually my least favorite Hitchcock
film. I had high expectations for this movie, but was quite
disappointed by a number of factors. I absolutely love Jimmy Stewart
and Doris Day is amazing, but they’re just OK in this film. I also
found this movie lacking the normal Hitchcock wit.
o92. "Rollerball" (2002)
director: John McTiernan writers: William Harrison,
Larry Ferguson & John Pogue starring: Chris Klein, LL Cool J
& Rebecca Romijn
watched: June 15 rating: 0/5
comments: Wow. Just wow. This movie is the biggest waste
of film there is. It bears no resemblance to the original and is an
embarrassment to filmmaking. Chris Klein is possibly the worst actor
alive and Rebecca Romijn and LL Cool J aren’t much better. Rebecca’s
abysmal Russian accent is laughable (thank god she’s beautiful because
she sure doesn’t have any talent), but the worst comes when the camera
suddenly starts shooting in night vision.
o93. "The Fortune Cookie" (1966)
director: Billy Wilder writers: I.A.L. Diamond
& Billy Wilder starring: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau,
Ron Rich & Judi West
watched: June 18 rating: 4/5
comments: I can’t believe this was a flop when it was released.
It’s a really solid, amusing film. Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon are
amazing together and when given material as funny as what Billy Wilder
provides here they’re unstoppable.
o94. "Wayne’s World" (1992)
director: Penelope Spheeris writers: Mike Myers,
Bonnie Turner & Terry Turner
starring: Mike Myers & Dana Carvey
watched: June 18 rating: 4/5
comments: I know this is revered as a classic, but I thought
it was going to be silly. I was pleasantly surprised by how funny I
actually found it.
o95. "Derailed" (2005)
director: Mikael Håfström writers: Stuart
Beattie & James Siegel starring: Cive Owen, Jennifer
Aniston & Vincent Cassel
watched: June 18 rating: 4.5/5
comments: This movie is so underrated. I remember
reviews saying it was mediocre when it came out, but I found it to
be a quick, smart thriller with great characters and a fantastic plot.
o96. "The Graduate" (1967)
director: Mike Nichols writers: Charles Webb,
Calder Willingham & Buck Henry starring: Anne Bancroft
& Dustin Hoffman
watched: June 20 rating: 5/5
comments: This film was so ahead of its time. You would
never know it was created more than 40 years ago if not for the
wardrobe. The story and the way in which its told holds up
flawlessly, the cinematography is amazing and the Simon &
Garfunkel score fits perfectly.
o97. "Brubaker" (1980)
directors: Stuart Rosenberg & Bob Rafelson
writers: Joe Hyams, Thomas O. Murton, W.D.
Richter & Arthur A. Ross starring: Robert Redford
watched: June 20 rating: 4.5/5
comments: A great story about the eager and hopeful
new warden of an extremely corrupt prison whose only tougher
job than tackling the corruption inside the prison is tackling the
corruption outside of it. Based on the true story of an Arkansas
prison, this is a very gripping and intense film. Robert Redford
is amazing as the hardworking warden and the story of taking
on seemingly insurmountable odds to fight for what’s right from
the inside of the system couldn’t be any more poignant than it is
right now in the midst of this presidential election.
o98. "The Fog” (1980)
director: John Carpenter writers: John
Carpenter & Debra Hill starring: Adrienne Barbeau,
Tom Atkins, Jaime Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh & Hal Holbrook
watched: June 21 rating: 3/5
comments: This is a good old horror film. Half of it
doesn’t make sense and the half that does is still cheesy as hell,
but it’s all pure fun. The fog rolls in and with it comes the ghosts
of pirates killed 100 years ago that night wreaking havoc on a
small fishing town. It’s everything you expect from a 1980s’
horror film, nothing less and nothing more. The real treat,
though, is seeing mother-and-daughter horror film vets Janet
Leigh and Jaime Lee Curtis together on screen.
o99. "Jeremiah Johnson” (1972)
director: Sydney Pollack writers: Vardis Fisher,
Raymond W. Thorp, Robert Bunker, John Milius, Edward Anhalt &
David Rayfiel starring: Robert Redford
watched: June 21 rating: 4/5
comments: What a great character study. Robert Redford
pulls off a great performance carrying most of the film himself as a
man who flees to the mountains to start over and encounters various
characters along the way. I don’t know of any other actor who could
carry that much screen time alone without the film turning out
ridiculously dull. There’s also a great comedic undertone to what is
otherwise an intense and dark story.
o1oo. "The Slender Thread” (1965)
director: Sydney Pollack writers: Shana Alexander,
Stirling Silliphant & David Rayfiel starring: Sidney Poitier &
watched: June 21 rating: 4.5/5
comments: This is such an intense, captivating movie.
Told in real time, you hang on along with Alan (Sidney Poitier), a
college student and suicide hotline volunteer, as he tries to persuade
a suicidal woman (Anne Bancroft) to tell him where she is or to stay
on the line long enough for the call to be traced. Both Poitier and
Bancroft deliver unbelievable performances and have amazing chemistry
despite never sharing the screen.