Thursday, December 31, 2009

Books Read in 2009

Since I'm on the topic of things I've done in 2009, I might as well cover the books I've read that year. It's a mix of books I had to read for school and books I read for myself. Anyway, here's the list:

Color of the Sea by John Hamamura
The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike
Misery by Stephen King
Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet
The Rustler by Linda Lael Miller
A Time to Kill by John Grisham
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Homecoming by Bernhard Schlink
The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry
The Film Club by David Gilmour
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
The Last Don by Mario Puzo
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammet
A Drinking Life by Pete Hamill
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Born on the Fourth of July by Ron Kovic
Montana 1948 by Larry Watson
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Not as impressive as the movie list, but still that's a lot of reading in one year. What do you think?

Movies Seen in 2009

It's been a helluva year for me. My interest in film has skyrocketed, hence the list. Anyway, here are all the movies I have seen in the year 2009 (yes, I keep track; I'm a nerd, deal with it):

A Beautiful Mind
On the Waterfront
A Few Good Men
Life is Beautiful
Rain Man
The Graduate
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The Maltese Falcon
The Soloist
The Godfather
The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part III
Casino Royale
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The Seventh Seal
The 400 Blows
To Have and Have Not
Citizen Kane
Ordinary People
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
12 Angry Men
The Verdict
Field of Dreams
The Caine Mutiny
Rebel Without a Cause
Up
Road to Perdition
The Untouchables
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Apollo 13
Love and Death
Sleeper
Manhattan
A Streetcar Named Desire
Network
High Noon
The Lost Weekend
Casablanca
From Here to Eternity
The Grapes of Wrath
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
The Manchurian Candidate
Animal House
9
Dog Day Afternoon
Rear Window
The Apartment
The Third Man
A Place in the Sun
The Hustler
Days of Wine and Roses
Psycho
Rosemary's Baby
The Shining
The Best Years of Our Lives
The Philadelphia Story
Quiz Show
It Happened One Night
Some Like It Hot
Sunset Boulevard
Philadelphia
Gentleman's Agreement
The Aviator
Mystic River
Walk the Line
Invictus
It's a Wonderful Life
Million Dollar Baby
8 1/2
Cool Hand Luke
Catch Me If You Can
Sherlock Holmes
Heat
Vertigo
Once Upon a Time in the West
Cast Away

ABOUT THE LIST
~ Number of movies: 76
~ There are two films from the 1930's, twelve from the 1940's, fourteen from the 1950's, twelve from the 1960's, nine from the 1970's, six from the 1980's, seven from the 1990's and fourteen from the 2000's.
~ Humphrey Bogart, Paul Newman, Tom Hanks, Jimmy Stewart and Al Pacino are the most represented actors with five films.
~ Diane Keaton is the most represented actress with six films.
~ Henry Fonda, Marlon Brando, Woody Allen, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Robert De Niro and Jack Lemmon each have three films on the list.
~ Sidney Lumet and Billy Wilder each have directed four films, making them the most represented directors. Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, Elia Kazan, Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen and Francis Ford Coppola each have three.
~ There are a total of fourteen Best Picture winners on the list.

Oh yes, I should add something before I forget. THIS IS POST #100! WHOO-HOO! *ahem* Sorry, I get like that when I'm excited.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Producers

You know how some directorial debuts become thet best-known works of a director? Some notable examples are Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men, Orson Welles' Citizen Kane and John Huston's The Maltese Falcon. Another good example is Mel Brooks' The Producers.

Theatrical producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) is having difficulty producing successful plays. He's stooped down to romancing elderly women for money. Accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) points out that Max made more money from a flop than from a successful play. Because of this, Max and Leo try to find material bad enough for it to be a flop. Their answer? Springtime for Hitler.

It usually takes a lot for a movie to make me laugh a lot. And having seen Brooks' two other well-known movies (Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein), I was a little uncertain that it would deliver. But hey, Brooks did win an Oscar for its screenplay. Not bad for first movie.

My Rating: *****

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dave

With Up in the Air getting Jason Reitman some of the best reviews of his directing career, I thought I might review a little-known movie his father Ivan did a few years back.

Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline) gets an offer from the Secret service: to impersonate President Bill Mitchell (also Kline) since they both resemble the other. Dave's doing it because Mitchell is having an affair with one of the staff from the White House. Mitchell gets a stroke in an awkward position and goes into a coma. Chief of Staff Bob Alexander (Frank Langella) tells Dave the news and to keep Mitchell's stroke a secret. Dave's now posing as the President of the United States until Mitchell recovers, which makes Mitchell's wife Ellen (Sigourney Weaver) skeptical of her husband's change in behavior.

The movie was enjoyable. It's definitely something that would kill the afternoon. Don't get me wrong, it's good but it felt like it needed something more.

My Rating: ****

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What movies...

changed your movie-watching experience? There are a few for me:

Jaws & Star Wars Thanks to Steven Spielberg and George Lucas' landmark films, they opened a new door for my rising interest in movies.

The Godfather If it wasn't for this movie, I wouldn't be interested in the classics.

The Seventh Seal I find this choice interesting because this one left a bigger impact on me than the ones previously mentioned. Mind you, I haven't seen that many foreign movies prior to this. The Seventh Seal, along with 8 1/2, is the type of movie that make you think when it's done.

So what about you?

How often...

do you re-watch a movie? Personally, I rarely do thanks to my good memory. Though that has a bit of a downside; do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to remember the final line of Some Like It Hot and try to contain your laughter without anyone noticing? It's not easy!

Anyway, what about you?

Friday, December 25, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life

You were almost expecting this today, weren't you? Anyway, onto the review.

George Bailey (James Stewart) has spent his entire life giving to the citizens of Bedford Falls. He longed to travel but can't because he has to prevent Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) from taking over the town. But after a mishap involving money from his loan company which could land him in jail, he has thoughts of suicide. His guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers) shows him what would've happened had George not been born.

You know how they are some movies that leave an effect on you after you watch them? That happened to me after I saw It's a Wonderful Life. I was in a good mood for some time after the credits had rolled.

The one that shocked me most about this certain movie is that it did poorly when it came out. Yes, you read that right. A Christmas classic bombed in its release. One contributor to that was the fact it came out a week after The Best Years of Our Lives (which ended up winning Best Picture for that year).

Sure it's schmaltzy in some parts but it did come out a year after World War Two ended, so what? You gotta admit it is a very good movie.

My Rating: *****

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Good Sites to Visit

It's interesting on how many bizarre, funny and unique websites you can find if you're careful enough. I shall list a few sites I have come across thanks in part to my boredom:

DIRECTORAMA: The site's comic strips is what got me hooked. The comics are about deceased filmmakers griping about the state modern cinema's in and talking about their styles of directing. Among the directors are Kubrick, Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Welles, among others. The first one's dated back to October of 2007, a few months after the deaths of Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni (who are also part of the comics). I liked the one dated January 28, 2008 (yes, it involves Heath Ledger). The humor is mostly film-based, so not a lot of people may get the jokes.

Listverse: I remember finding this site after it was mentioned on another blog (can't remember which one it was). A new list is posted every day and the topics are always different. Whether you're drawn to crime or art or politics, they have a list for what you're looking for.

How It Should Have Ended: This site takes humor to a new level. As you can guess by the title, the site posts animated videos on how some movies should've ended. Want to see how they wanted Twilight to end? They have it. And like DIRECTORAMA, they also have comics but these rely on pretty much being a big fan of all things geeky.

Homestar Runner: I found this site a few years back and I've recently revisited it. It's now a daily site of mine. The Strong Bad E-Mails are pretty much the highlight of the website, but the cartoons are pretty good too.

So what are some of your favorite websites? Please, PLEASE, don't mention your own. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Celebrity Comparisons

You know how some actors are compared to other actors? Well, here's a list of some comparisons that I know (and a few I made up):

Tom Hanks/Jimmy Stewart
How are they similar? Both are well-known for playing the likeable lead in their movies.

George Clooney/Cary Grant
How are they similar? Both are charming and sophisticated men. And oh so sexy.

Robert De Niro/Marlon Brando
How are they similar? Both are well-known for taking their roles seriously. And collaborations with two famed directors (Brando with Kazan, De Niro with Scorsese) doesn't hurt either.

Jim Carrey/Peter Sellers
How are they similar? Both are very versatile in playing multiple roles. Also they can do comedy AND drama with much success.

Meryl Streep/Katharine Hepburn
How are they similar? Really? I gotta explain this? All right, all right. Both are very talented actresses (Hepburn holds the record for most wins by an actor, Streep holds the record for most nominations by an actor). Ironic that Hepburn claimed to have despised Streep (I think she's jealous).

Oliver Stone/Otto Preminger
How are they similar? Both directed critically acclaimed but highly controversial movies.

Heath Ledger/James Dean
How are they similar? Both were very skilled actors who checked out too soon.

Steven Spielberg/Orson Welles
How are they similar? Both rose to fame at a young age and have enjoyed success since.

Quentin Tarantino/Sam Peckinpah
How are they similar? Both have directed movies that glorify violence. Ironic since both of them are very much against it.

Christopher Nolan/Francis Ford Coppola
How are they similar? They had a string of successful films, both commercially and critically. Those films later went on to be their best-known works. For Nolan, they were Batman Begins, The Prestige and The Dark Knight; for Coppola, they were The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather Part II and Apocalypse Now.

Clint Eastwood/John Wayne
How are they similar? Mostly renowned for acting in Westerns, they frequently play characters that don't take shit from anyone.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie/Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor
How are they similar? They're the most famous couples in Hollywood.

So let me hear what you have to say about this list. Any you want to add? One you want to change? I'm all ears.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MOVIE WATCHING UPDATE

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you may recall less than two weeks ago I compiled a list of movies I want to see before 2009 is over. Well, here's an update:

It's a Wonderful Life
Vertigo
Cast Away
Catch Me if You Can
Heat
Cool Hand Luke
Million Dollar Baby

8 1/2
Sherlock Holmes
Nine
The Imginarium of Doctor Parnassus

All right. Three down, eight to go. Man, this is going to be a busy next couple of days.

UPDATE: Found out that The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is going into wide release in January, so scratch that one off.

UPDATE #2: I don't really wan't to see Nine that badly, so that can be one movie for the start of 2010. Scratch that one off!

Monday, December 21, 2009

My view on the Oscars

I know the nominations aren't announced until February 2, but everyone is talking about potential nominees and all that stuff. One thing that had a lot of people talking then but not so much now is the ten Best Picture nominees. As for myself had they done this last year, I'd be happy.

Anyway before I go on a rant, I'll cut to the chase. One suggestion I have is to double the acting categories. That way you won't have people going, "Oh, he should've been nominated instead of him" or "Why wasn't she nominated?" It's getting really freakin' old, people! They're not gonna change the nominations if you keep bitching about it!

*cough* Sorry, that happens now and then. I'm suggesting this because I noticed that a lot of people were upset that Angelina Jolie wasn't nominated for an Oscar for A Mighty Heart. Same goes for Robert Shaw for Jaws (just throwing that one out there).

My point is that AMPAS should listen to who the viewers want nominated, not who they want nominated.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Books I Own

Having done a movie list a few months back, might as well tackle the books I own:

For One More Day by Mitch Albom
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
False Impression by Jeffrey Archer
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahme-Smith
----------
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
----------
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Rising Sun by Michael Crichton
Timeline by Michael Crichton
----------
Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
----------
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
----------
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Everything is Illuminated by Johnathan Safran Foer
----------
The Film Club by David Gilmour
The Appeal by John Grisham
Bleachers by John Grisham
The Broker by John Grisham
The Chamber by John Grisham
The Firm by John Grisham
The Innocent Man by John Grisham
The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
Marley & Me by John Grogan
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
----------
A Drinking Life by Pete Hamill
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammet
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
----------
From Here to Eternity by James Jones
----------
The Prodigal Spy by Joseph Kanon
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey
Algernon, Charlie, and I: A Writer's Journal by Daniel Keyes
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Misery by Stephen King
The Shining by Stephen King
Being There by Jerzy Kosinski
----------
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre
Making Movies by Sidney Lumet
----------
Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
Books by Larry McMurtry
The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry
The Rustler by Linda Lael Miller
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
----------
The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
Fools Die by Mario Puzo
The Fourth K by Mario Puzo
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
Omerta by Mario Puzo
----------
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
----------
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Homecoming by Bernhard Schlink
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
Love Story by Erich Segal
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
----------
Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
----------
Night by Elie Wiesel
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
----------
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

DVDs I Own

A rather large collection, I'll admit. A number of them I haven't seen yet. And yes, I'm embarrassed about some that I own:

12 Angry Men
50 First Dates
2001: A Space Odyssey
----------
Amadeus
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Annie Hall
As Good As It Gets
The Aviator
Awakenings
----------
Back to the Future trilogy
Batman Begins
A Beautiful Mind
Beetle Juice
Big
Big Fish
Brokeback Mountain
Bruce Almighty
----------
Capote
Casablanca
Cast Away
Catch Me If You Can
Chaplin
Cheaper by the Dozen
Cheaper by the Dozen 2
Chinatown
Chocolat
A Chorus Line
The Cider House Rules
Cocoon
Cool Hand Luke
Corpse Bride
Crimes and Misdemeanors
----------
Daddy Day Care
Dances with Wolves
The Dark Knight
Dave
Days of Heaven
The Devil Wears Prada
Dirty Dancing
Dog Day Afternoon
----------
Edward Scissorhands
Ed Wood
Escape from Alcatraz
----------
Far and Away
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
A Few Good Men
Field of Dreams
Finding Neverland
Forrest Gump
The Fugitive
----------
Garfield: The Movie
Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties
Gentleman's Agreement
Ghostbusters
Ghostbusters II
The Godfather trilogy
Goodfellas
Good Will Hunting
The Graduate
The Great Escape
Groundhog Day
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
----------
Hannah and Her Sisters
Happy Feet
Heat
Heaven Can Wait (1978)
The Hours
----------
In Cold Blood
Iron Man
----------
Jaws
Jerry Maguire
Juno
----------
King Kong (2005)
A Knight's Tale
Kramer vs. Kramer
----------
The Lady from Shanghai
A League of Thier Own
Look Who's Talking
Looney Tunes: Back in Action
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Lost in Translation
The Lost Weekend
----------
Madagascar
The Magnificent Seven
Mars Attacks!
MASH
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
The Master of Disguise
Mr. Mom
Mrs. Doubtfire
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Murder on the Orient Express
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
----------
The Natural
Network
Night at the Museum
The Nightmare Before Christmas
----------
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Ordinary People
Out of Africa
Over the Hedge
----------
Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Story
The Pink Panther (2006)
Places in the Heart
A Prarie Home Companion
The Prestige
The Princess Bride
Prizzi's Honor
The Producers (1968)
The Purple Rose of Cairo
----------
Raging Bull
The Rainmaker
Rain Man
Raising Arizona
Ray
Rebel Without a Cause
Regarding Henry
A River Runs Through It
Road to Perdition
Rosemary's Baby
Rocky
Roxanne
----------
Say Anything
Scent of a Woman
Schindler's List
Seabiscuit
Shakespeare in Love
The Shawshank Redemption
The Shining
Sleepless in Seattle
Sleepy Hollow
Some Like It Hot
Splash
Spider-Man trilogy
Star Wars trilogy
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
----------
Tender Mercies
Terms of Endearment
The Truman Show
----------
The Untouchables
----------
The Verdict
----------
WALL-E
The Way We Were
What Women Want
When Harry Met Sally
----------
Young Frankenstein
----------
Zelig

Special Set(s):
Columbia Pictures' Best Picture Collection

Twitter Conversation #4

It's that time again. Had another movie-based conversation on Friday at Twitter. Conversationists are Ryan from A Life in Equinox, Josh from I Are Movies, Julian from Movies and Other Things... and Danny from The King Bulletin. Started with something I pointed out that I've been doing:

MovieNut14: Weird. For the past three Fridays, I've watched a Clint Eastwood movie (Mystic River, Invictus, Million Dollar Baby).
isavedlatin89 (Josh): @MovieNut14 And that is why you are awesome.
MovieNut14: @isavedlatin89 LOL, thanks. I think I'm trying not to become a pariah on the Internet. Unlike @thekingbulletin who hasn't seen Casablanca.
202chicago (Julian): I haven't seen the classic film either :(
isavedlatin89: @MovieNut14 WHAT?! Is that true?!
MovieNut14: @isavedlatin89 BTW, don't expect this to be a running trend. There are a number of other movies I want to see. Tomorrow it's 8 1/2.
isavedlatin89: @MovieNut14 Score! I love 8 1/2...One of the ten best favorite films ever made, imho
202chicago: @isavedlatin89 Need to see 8 1/2... Totally stoked for when Nine comes out!!!
MovieNut14: @isavedlatin89 Sadly, yes. Along with The Wizard of Oz, and I few others I can't recall.
MovieNut14: @202chicago I saw Casablanca this summer.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 You've never seen The Wizard of Oz? It's a classic...
MovieNut14: @202chicago I'm seeing 8 1/2 in prep for Nine since I heard it's based off the Fellini movie.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 I'm really excited for whatever time I end up seeing Casablanca...
202chicago: @MovieNut14 About Nine - that's what I hear. I can play it on computer LEGALLY thru Netflix. Probably gonna do that tomorrow after work
202chicago: @MovieNut14 BTW was talking about 8 1/2 with the Netflix. Obviously not Nine lol
MovieNut14: @202chicago I saw it a lot when I was younger. Probably need to revisit. As for Casablanca, try to watch it during Christmas.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 Might beforehand. Going on vacay for Christmas and New Year's
202chicago: @MovieNut14 Sadly, I might not be blogging during that time :;(
MovieNut14: @202chicago Reviews for Nine aren't looking so hot; 49% at @RottenTomatoes, an improvement from yesterday's 34%.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 I know it's getting panned, but for me the reviews don't really matter when it comes to Nine lol.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 I'm a huge fan of musicals, so I'll probably end up giving it a 9.5/10 or 10/10 rating lol
MovieNut14: @202chicago BTW what I was saying about Casablanca and The Wizard of Oz, those are 2 movies @thekingbulletin has yet to see.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 Oh. Okay. Gotcha.
MovieNut14: @202chicago Well, another theory for the semi-crappy reviews is that it's in limited release.
isavedlatin89: @202chicago @MovieNut14 You all need to hop on those classics ;) JK...I only saw 8 1/2 a few years ago...I've never seen The Searchers...
202chicago: @MovieNut14 I could see that. Many people thought that Hudson was bad. And many are saying DDL was miscast, something I thought was impossible
202chicago: @isavedlatin89 Saw before I developed my love for film... and I don't really remember much about it
MovieNut14: @isavedlatin89 Hey, watch it man. I've seen more classics this year than I have ever. BTW, haven't seen any of the Scorsese/ De Niro films.
isavedlatin89: @202chicago Yeah, and I'm a big Western guy...just never got around to it I guess
isavedlatin89: @MovieNut14 *jaw drops* Those you really need to get on. At least the staples Casino/Goodfellas/Cape Fear...
202chicago: @MovieNut14 I noticed that you directed that to @isavedlatin89 but you talkin to me? Are you talkin to ME? Sorry. Couldn't resist that one ;)
Univarn (Ryan): @isavedlatin89 you're forgetting Taxi Driver. That's the real staple, the rest are just modern essentials.
202chicago: @isavedlatin89 Oooh Casino... never saw all of it, but loved what i did see of it.
isavedlatin89: @202chicago @MovieNut14 YES! Forgot Taxi Driver (Scorsese's best IMHO)
202chicago: @isavedlatin89 Better than The Departed... no comments beyond that unless I'm asked for one ;)
isavedlatin89: @202chicago @MovieNut14 Oh shit, Raging Bull too...Damn...those two need to get back together NOW
202chicago: @isavedlatin89 Yes. Absolutely.
isavedlatin89: @Univarn I know! I agree 100%
MovieNut14: @isavedlatin89 @202chicago @Univarn I HAVE seen two Scorsese and two De Niro movies this year, just different movies.
isavedlatin89: @202chicago Yeah, Casino isn't Goodfellas, but it's a great film indeed
MovieNut14: Great, jump dropped a bombshell.
isavedlatin89: @202chicago Uh, yeah, Taxi Driver kills Departed...The Departed isn't even the best version of that story (Infernal Affairs trumps it)
202chicago: @MovieNut14 I was just kidding btw lol. But yeah. Scorsese + De Niro = Magic. I can just tell you that only from one film and clips from another
202chicago: @isavedlatin89 Infernal Affairs... so that's the film it's based off of! Hmm... will check out sometime soon
Univarn: @isavedaltin89 Joe Pesci's character makes Casino fun.
MovieNut14: @isavedltin89 @202chicago @Univarn One reason I haven't seen a Scorsese/De Niro film yet is because my folks would FLIP OUT if they knew.
isavedlatin89: @202chicago Yeah, it's much more compact and economic of a film. I found the Departed a little long in the tooth...did like it a lot though
isavedlatin89: @Univarn Couldn't agree more
Univarn: @isavedlatin89 @202chicago @MovieNut14 for the longest time I would always watch those sort of movies when they went to sleep
thekingbulletin (Danny): @MovieNut14 Please don't be mad at me!
isavedlatin89: @MovieNut14 It's not that we flip out, it's that we are passionate about it, in hopes of getting you to see it. At least that's my idea
Univarn: @202chicago just be careful you get the chinese one which it's actually based off, not the Richard Gere one with the same name.
MovieNut14: @thekingbulletin I'm not mad at you. @isavedlatin89, @202chicago & @Univarn are now mad at ME for not seeing a Scorsese/De Niro movie.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 @isavedlatin89 @Univarn I used to so the same thing. Now they just don't care
202chicago: @MovieNut14 I'm not mad LOL
202chicago: @Univarn UGH! WILL DEF. AVOID RICHARD GERE AT ALL COSTS LOL!!!
Univarn: @MovieNut14 I'd only be mad if you said you didn't want to see them :P. you not seeing them doesn't upset me........much :P jk
isavedlatin89: @MovieNut14 Yeah, I'm not mad at you. I just really want you to see them, that's all. I'm a passionate person with film...that's all
MovieNut14: @isavedlatin89 No no no. I mean my parents would KILL me if they found out I saw a movie "not age-appropriate".
202chicago: @Univarn @MovieNut14 @isavedlatin89 Since we're already having a Twittersation, does anyone love the songs form Nine as much as I do?
202chicago: @MovieNut14 Parents used to be the same way. Ask them to watch one with you that you know isn't filled with content...
Univarn: @202chicago I've only heard the one, cinema italiano (or whatever) and wasn't that all impressed. I'll mostly be seeing it for Lewis & Cruz
202chicago: @MovieNut14 ... then they might not care. Worked for me ;)
isavedlatin89: @MovieNut14 OHHHHHH, I see what you mean. I TOTALLY understand...that sucks!
isavedlatin89: @202chicago @MovieNut14 @Univarn No, because I love them more.
Univarn: @MovieNut14 start them off with a warmer. An R film that isn't so violent (like Speed) and work your way up until they just don't care :)
202chicago: @Univarn Cruz's song is INCREDIBLE. That girl has killer pipes! As is the new one written for Cotillard called "Take It All"
202chicago: @isavedlatin89 Oh wow. Guess you plan on seeing it soon? Or is it part of your glorious Christmas day marathon?
isavedlatin89: @202chicago @MovieNut14 I see you two are using the web to tweet, I would really recommend you guys getting TweetDeck to make life easier
Univarn: @isavedlatin89 I keep telling myself to download it, but I'm lazy :)
MovieNut14: @202chicago @isavedlatin89 Sheesh, they got two other to worry about. One's in college, the other starting high school. (eye roll)
202chicago: @isavedlatin89 Downloading now and seeing how it works
isavedlatin89: @Univarn It is SO convenient...wouldn't know what to do without it
202chicago: @MovieNut14 Oh... hmm. That makes things complicated
isavedlatin89: @202chicago It's the start of my marathon lol
Univarn: @MovieNut14 haha my sister started college this year so all the years of my parents worrying about me at school went away in a hurry
MovieNut14: @Univarn I've BEEN doing that. I've sunk down to seeking them movies past them.
202chicago: @isavedlatin89 Nice!
isavedlatin89: @MovieNut14 Hahaha, I totally understand where you are coming from on that one
isavedlatin89: @202chicago Awesome. Your life won
isavedlaitn89: @202chicago *Awesome, your life won't be the same
202chicago: @isavedlatin89 LOL yeah... checking it now...
Univarn: @isavedltin89 @202chicago @MovieNut14 well I have to jet, lots of shopping to do tomorrow. good night everyone. Happy movie hunting!
MovieNut14: @Univarn @isavedlatin89 @202chicago This makes me REALLY look foward to college.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 It's the best lol
202chicago: @Univarn Aight. Tweet ya later!
isavedlatin89: @MovieNut14 Hahaha, as you should be! Great, great experience
202chicago: @MovieNut14 @isavedlatin89 Definitely better than high school. More work for sure, but it's all at the last minute lol
MovieNut14: @202chicago @isavedlatin89 @Univarn This conversation's getting good, but I'm beat. 'Night. Expect this convo on my blog.
isavedlatin89: @MovieNut14 Awesome. Have a great night!
202chicago: @MovieNut14 Aight tweet ya later!
thekingbulletin: @MovieNut14 Phew! I think we can call it even because I'm a big fan of the Scorsese / De Niro relationship.

As a footnote, I added something the next morning:

MovieNut14: Fine. In order to make @isavedlatin89, @202chicago, @Univarn @thekingbulletin to like me again, I'll make Raging Bull my 1st movie of 2010.
Univarn: @MovieNut14 we'll always like you :P. Just throw in Scorsese/DeNiro into your new years resolution :)
thekingbulletin: @MovieNut14 awesome. I love that movie, could be my favorite collaboration of theirs.

I still find it amazing that one comment leads to an entire conversation.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

SAG Nominations

Here are my guesses at the winners for the Screen Actors Guild Awards. What's in bold is my guess:

Best Actor
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Best Actress
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia

Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Best Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Diane Kruger, Inglourious Basterds
Mo'Nique, Precious

Ensemble Cast
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Nine
Precious

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
Public Enemies
Star Trek
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blogathons Galore

It's interesting. I've only been a blogger for four months and I have taken part in a blogathon recently. For those who have no idea what the hell a blogathon is, it's a series of posts focusing on one topic. A Life in Equinox is considering doing a Kurosawa blogathon, Encore's World of Film & TV recently did a Katharine Hepburn blogthon (which I took part in), and The Large Association of Movie Blogs frequently focus on directors.

Why am I bringing this up? I'm thinking of doing one myself, but I'm not sure who or what the subject would be. Perhaps Woody Allen or Tim Burton, but again I'm unsure. I'll let you readers know when I think of a good topic.

PS, suggestions would be nice too.

Golden Globes Nominations

Early apologies if this is the only thing you've been seeing today. Anyway, what's in bold is my choice for what's going to win for the movie categories:

BEST PICTURE (DRAMA)
Avatar
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Up In the Air
Precious

BEST PICTURE (COMEDY/MUSICAL)
Nine
It's Complicated
Julie and Julia
The Hangover
(500) Days of Summer

BEST ACTOR (DRAMA)
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Tobey Maguire, Brothers

BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA)
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria

BEST ACTOR (COMEDY/MUSICAL)
Matt Damon, The Informant!
Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, (500) Days of Summer
Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man
Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock Holmes

BEST ACTRESS (COMEDY/MUSICAL)
Sandra Bullock, The Proposal
Marion Cotillard, Nine
Julia Roberts, Duplicity
Meryl Streep, It's Complicated
Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plumber, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Penelope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Mo'Nique, Precious
Julianne Moore, A Single Man

DIRECTOR
James Cameron, Avatar
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Clint Eastwood, Invictus
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air

ANIMATED FILM
Coraline
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
The Princess and the Frog
Up

SCREENPLAY
Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell, District 9
Nancy Meyers, It's Complicated
Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
Broken Embraces
A Prophet
The Maid
The White Ribbon
Baaria

ORIGINAL SCORE
Michael Giacchino, Up
James Horner, Avatar
Marvin Hamlisch, The Informant!
Abel Korzeniowski, A Single Man
Karen O. and Carter Burwell, Where The Wild Things Are

ORIGINAL SONG
"Cinema Italiano" from Nine
"I See You" from Avatar
"The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart
"I Want to Come Home" from Everybody's Fine
"Winter" from Brothers

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Man, oh man, oh man.

I'm planning to see a number of movies before this year comes to an end. Those movies are:

It's a Wonderful Life
Vertigo
Cast Away
Catch Me if You Can
Heat
Cool Hand Luke
Million Dollar Baby
8 1/2

This should be interesting since I only own three of those movies, and I only watch movies when I don't have school the next day (ie weekends, days off). Thank God for the library. And in theaters, I plan to see:

Sherlock Holmes
Nine
The Imginarium of Doctor Parnassus

This is going to be a hell of a month.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Philadelphia Story


This review is part of the Katharine Hepburn Blog-A-Thon over at Encore's World of Film and TV.

Philadelphia socialite Tracy Lord (Hepburn) is about to marry George Kittredge (John Howard), just a few years after her divorce with C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant). Dexter, now a worker for Spy magazine, arrives at the Lord mansion the day before the wedding as well as tabloid reporter Macaulay "Mike" Connor (James Stewart) and photographer Liz Imbrie (Ruth Hussey). As the wedding draws closer, Tracy soon becomes torn between George, Dexter and Mike.

With this being the only Katharine Hepburn movie I've seen so far, I can't really say that this is her best role but she is good. Grant's work is also good (and charming), but like Hepburn, this is so far the only movie I've seen him in. Stewart definitely earned the Academy Award nomination, but I'm a little sketchy on the win. Personally, Henry Fonda for The Grapes of Wrath should've won, and Stewart should've won the previous year for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. But overall, he is also good. The movie I liked very much. Having seen a few Billy Wilder and Woody Allen movies prior to this, I kinda expected what the chemistry throughout the movie would be like. But it still works.

My Rating: *****

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mystic River

I read somewhere that the heir to Marlon Brando's acting throne was Robert De Niro. That made me wonder who would take his place when the time comes. The answer was clear after seeing Mystic River: Sean Penn.

In 1975, three boys, Sean Devine, Jimmy Markum and Dave Boyle, are playing on a sidewalk in Boston when Dave is taken by two men and becomes a victim of sexual abuse. He manages to escape the abuse, but not the memories which continue to haunt him as an adult.
Years later, Sean (Kevin Bacon) is a police officer, Jimmy (Penn) is an ex-convict who runs a convenience store, and Dave (Tim Robbins) is a blue-collar worker trying to protect his son from what he endured. The three come together when Jimmy's daughter Katie (Emmy Rossum) is found murdered.

Boy, I can tell you one thing and one thing only about Mystic River: it was damn good. And I mean it. Eastwood's direction was dead on, Penn and Robbins' performances were stellar, and the movie probably would've won Best Picture had it not been for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
My Rating: ****1/2

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Anticipation: 2010 Releases I'm Eager About

Shutter Island
Why?: The trailer sucked me in to extreme curiosity, and after seeing another Scorsese/Dicaprio work (The Aviator) and another work based off a Dennis Lehane novel (Mystic River), I'm more interested.
When?: February 19

Alice in Wonderland
Why?: Being a fan of Tim Burton, I've been anticipating this one for a while. And the trailer's awesome.
When?: March 5

Iron Man 2
Why?: Uh, let's see...THE FIRST ONE KICKED ASS.
When?: April 30

Inception
Why?: My theory is, "The more confusing the trailer is, the more you want to see it."
When?: July 16

For more highly anticipated moves coming out next year, check out this list at TotalFilm.

Sunset Boulevard

"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

That is the immortal final line of Billy Wilder's 1950 classic Sunset Boulevard.

A body is found floating in the pool of a decaying mansion. In flashbacks, we find out that the body was that of hack screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) and the mansion belonged to faded movie star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson). Gillis was hired by Desmond to write her comeback. But as the months roll by, Gillis starts losing interest in the project.

Is there one genre Billy Wilder can't do? I mean he's done comedy (Some Like It Hot), war (Stalag 17), romance (Sabrina, The Apartment) and of course film noir (Double Indemnity). Honestly I can't think of one, so that's a sign he's a very versatile director.

My Rating: *****

Twitter Conversation #3

Had yet another conversation on Twitter on Thursday night (boy, this is becoming a running theme). The other Tweeters people involved were Julian from Movies and Other Things..., Danny from The King Bulletin, John from John Likes Movies (though that was brief), Ryan from A Life in Equinox and Josh from I Are Movies. This time it started with me planning to watch a few of Clint Eastwood's movies in preparation for the release of Invictus next week:

MovieNut14 (me): Plan to see Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby in preparation for the release of Invictus next week.
202chicago (Julian): @MovieNut14 M$B is great. Haven't seen Mystic River
thekingbulletin (Danny): @MovieNut14 Both are masterpieces in my opinion.
202chicago: @thekingbulletin Is Mystic better than M$B???
thekingbulletin: @202chicago Such a tough call. I would go with Million Dollar Baby by a slim margin. Have you seen either of them?
202chicago: @thekingbulletin M$B. Loved it, but Eastwood is SOO traditional
johnlgilpatrick (John): Right next to each other on my best of 00's list with Mystic on top RT @202chicago: @thekingbulletin Is Mystic better than M$B???
thekingbulletin: @202chicago I have a feeling you'd feel differently about Mystic. But I get what your saying about 'Baby'. Old school feel to it.
202chicago: @thekingbulletin Well, I got the same vibe watching Changeling and Gran Torino...
thekingbulletin: @202chicago I thought the difference was the fact he acted Baby and Torino. Tough to compare Changeling b/c it's a period piece.
MovieNut14: @202chicago In regards to what you said to @tastekid. Sofia Coppola is actually Francis' daughter, not niece.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 really? wow. I'll def remember that this time. You watch either of the Clint films yet?
202chicago: @MovieNut14 *next time, not this time haha
MovieNut14: @202chicago @thekingbulletin Have you two seen movies where Eastwood's only the actor?
Univarn (Ryan): @MovieNut14 :o
thekingbulletin: @MovieNut14 Off the top of my head...Dirty Harry.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 Can't honestly say I have
Univarn: @202chicago go watch The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly right now. my #2 all time film, and it's in that spot by 10 miles could easily be #1
202chicago: @Univarn Will do. Also look forward to checking out your podcast when I can
MovieNut14: @202chicago Saving those for the weekend actually. School and stuff, y'know?
isavedlatin89 (Josh): @MovieNut14 Dirty Harry and All the Man With No Name films
Univarn: @202chicago thanks. I could probably spend a month talking about Eastwood acting only roles. Start with the Leone trilogy and go from there.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 @Univarn Oh wait. I saw that film he did with John Malkovich and Rene Russo in the 1990s, albeit on the television set
Univarn: @202chicago In the Line of Fire.
isavedlatin89: @202chicago All his Westerns, minus Unforgiven
thekingbulletin: @202chicago In the Line of Fire...That's a great film. Malkovich gives an unbelieveable performance.
MovieNut14: @202chicago @thekingbulletin @Univarn @isavedlatin89 I'll admit that I, uh, *cough* haven't seen any of his films yet. :P
202chicago: @isavedlatin89 Is that your recommendation? Or the films you've seen starring him that he didn't direct?
202chicago: Agreed. I barely recognized the guy! Rene was... what's your opinion of her? Is she any good? I don't remember haha
Univarn: @MovieNut14 for shame!!!!!
thekingbulletin: @MovieNut14 The ones he's acted in and not directed are older, so I don't blame you.
Univarn: @MovieNut14 I think I have about 8 in my own collection :x
isavedlatin89: @202chicago Well, both. He's a fantastic Western actor, and I believe outside of Unforgiven, he hasn't directed any
thekingbulletin: @202chicago Not a very tough role, but I thought she did a fine job.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 Don't let AMPAS members know. They'll show up at your door with pitchforks and torches demanding your life as a consequence lol
MovieNut14: @Univarn Hey, don't blame me! I barely have any time to watch a movie.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 Not that it's related, but how'd you get your profile background (the AIDS red thing)???
MovieNut14: @202chicago Well, either that or they'll throw copies of his movies at me.
MovieNut14: @202chicago Under Settings -> Design -> last choice on the list.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 The latter, once you get past the bruising of the hard plastic DVD cases, isn't a much better opinion lol
202chicago: @MovieNut14 Thank you :) #red
MovieNut14: @202chicago Hence why I'm planning to watch two of his movies this weekend.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 That should calm the AMPAS members anger some... M$B is fantastic btw. Hilary Swank was phenomenal
MovieNut14: It's amazing how 1 comment leads to an entire conversation ie the one I'm having w/ @202chicago @thekingbulletin @Univarn & @isavedlatin89
isavedlatin89: @MovieNut14 Hahaha, it's the joys of twitter lol
isavedlatin89: @MovieNut14 I came in late so I don't know where you guys are at...whats the topic?
202chicago: @isavedlatin89 The general topic is Clint Eastwood, but I think it's almost as lost as the convo we had earlier with @thekingbulletin haha
MovieNut14: @isavedlatin89 Yeah and it started with me stating I'm going to watch Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby in prep for Invictus.
isavedlatin89: @202chicago Haha, nice. Well, he's a brilliant actor, but not truly that amazing of a director...nothing great since Unforgiven...
isavedlatin89: @MovieNut14 Yeah, I should probably do that too. I actually have never seen Mystic River *GASPS*
thekingbulletin: @MovieNut14 And I love the fact that those two films are very different from Invictus.
202chicago: @isavedlatin89 Agreed. I've seen three of his films (all 2000s films btw), and I thought he did good, but not THAT good...
202chicago: @isavedlatin89 Loved Million Dollar Baby, but it wasn't because he had such a handle on the material lol
MovieNut14: You guys (@202chicago @isavedlatin89 ) can continue the conversation. I gotta go to bed. 'Night.
isavedlatin89: @202chicago He has as much directorial subtlety as Paul Haggis does writing
isavedlatin89: @MovieNut14 Good night yo!
202chicago: @MovieNut14 Aite. Tweet ya later

As an update, I did watch Mystic River on Friday but not without a few road bumps along the way:

MovieNut14: Okay, change of plan. My library didn't have Million Dollar Baby in, so it's just Mystic River.
MovieNut14: My library also has Unforgiven, but that was out too.

A few hours later:

MovieNut14: Just saw Mystic River. Stunning Clint Eastwood movie with great performances from Sean Penn and Tim Robbins. No surprise they got Oscars.
thekingbulletin: @MovieNut14 Glad you liked it. Penn's best performance to date.

One thing to say about all of this typing: OWWWW.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Boy, this was an interesting year for me so far. I have seen five movies featuring movie icon Humphrey Bogart (I'll let you guess which ones). Definitely a versatile actor too. I mean, he goes from gangster (Angels with Dirty Faces) to film noir (The Maltese Falcon) to romance (Casablanca, Sabrina) like that. Anyway, onto the review.

Fred C. Dobbs (Bogart) and Bob Curtin (Tim Holt) are two men down on their luck in Mexico. After getting scammed, they meet with grizzled prospector Howard (Walter Huston) and join him on his next expedition. It start off well but the expedition takes a negative turn when greed and jealousy seep into Dobbs' mind.

So far, this is one of my favorite movies I've seen this year. Bogart was great, though I'll admit he started to creep me out a bit after his character had only gold on the mind. John Huston's direction was good and his father Walter earned his Oscar fair and square.

My Rating: *****

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It sucks.

Having turned 16 less than three months ago, I'm annoyed at the fact that my parents are still being picky on what R-rated movies I can and can't watch by myself. It's weird because I'm allowed to watch the entire Godfather trilogy (which I did watch earlier this year), but I can't watch Goodfellas? It's even more stupid because I know why the movie's rated R (i.e., Bonnie and Clyde, Schindler's List) and they're like, "No, wait 'till you're older." Sheesh, cry me a river.

BOOK VS MOVIE: The Shining

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."

That phrase stuck to the subconscious of anyone who dared to watch Stanley Kubrick's horror movie. Though as most people know Stephen King, the author of the book the movie's based on, was not too pleased with the result of Mr. Kubrick's film. No surprise once you think of it: Kubrick pretty much re-wrote the entire book and claimed it as his own.

Former teacher Jack Torrance has earned the job of caretaker at the Overlook Hotel. He, along with his wife Wendy and son Danny, are to stay at the hotel for the entire winter. Danny has a special power which the hotel chef Dick Hallorann calls "shining". As the days become weeks and the weeks become months, Jack's behavior starts to change...

The book and movie are SO different, it's like they're not anyway related. Both are equally scary, but I find the book better.

What's worth checking out?: Personally, I'd go with the book.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Quiz Show

This year, I have seen two directorial efforts from Robert Redford, Ordinary People (which some people say shouldn't have won Best Picture) and Quiz Show (which some people say should've won Best Picture). I shall be reviewing the latter.

In 1958, the TV game show Twenty-One becomes a popular show thanks in part to contestant Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes), a professor at Columbia University. However, the main reason he's staying on the show for so long is that he knew both the questions and answers ahead of time, thanks to producers Dan Enright (David Paymer) and Albert Freedman (Hank Azaria). Herb Stempel (John Turturro), the previous reigning champ, is clearly upset over the ordeal. In fact, Enright and Freedman forced him to deliberately get a question he knows the answer to wrong. Congressional investigator Richard Goodwin (Rob Morrow) uncovers facts that shock America.

Despite what's said throughout the movie and in the epilogue, Van Doren claimed that what was shown was inaccurate. But either way, I found Quiz Show highly entertaining.
My Rating: ****

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Apollo 13

"Houston, we have a problem."

With that line, panic struck Mission Control at NASA on April 13, 1970. Based on actual events, Apollo 13 is engaging from beginning to end.

Less than a year after man walked on the Moon, NASA is sending up another module to the Moon. The astronauts on this mission are Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon). Everything looks normal shortly after takeoff, however just days later a technical malfunction has them fighting for their lives. At Mission Control, astronaut Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise), flight director Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) and the ground crew try to bring the astronauts home alive.

Having already seen another Ron Howard movie based on true events (A Beautiful Mind), I kinda already knew what to expect. But compared to A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13 is, as previously stated, more engaging.
My Rating: ****1/2

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Young Frankenstein

Mel Brooks has an interesting career. He won an Oscar for his first movie, is one of the few people to have an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy (his wife Anne Bancroft was close to accomplishing that feat) and has directed some of the funniest movies of all time. One of them is Young Frankenstein.

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) ("It's pronounced 'Fronk-en-steen'.") finds out he inherited his family's castle. After meeting such characters as Igor (Marty Feldman), who pronounces his name "Eye-gor", and Frau Bl├╝cher (Cloris Leachman), whose name causes horses to whinny, he also meets his new lab assistant Inga (Teri Garr) who is more sane than the other two. Frederick and Igor successfully obtain a corpse to re-animate, but Igor destroys the desired brain by mistake and grabs one that's abnormal. Problems arise when not only the Monster (Peter Boyle) is on the loose, but when Frederick's uptight fiance Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn) comes.

I'll admit it has been some time since I've seen this, but I remember enough that this is a very funny movie. I mean, who doesn't crack up from Igor's side-changing hump ("What hump?") or from the "Puttin' on the Ritz" bit? Sure it's typical Mel Brooks in some scenes, but it's still hilarious.

My Rating: *****

And now, the "Puttin' on the Ritz" scene:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hannah and Her Sisters

Since today is Thanksgiving, I thought I should review a movie focusing on family. That movie is Hannah and Her Sisters.

The plot revolves around three stories of an extended family:
-The first is about Elliot (Michael Caine), Hannah's (Mia Farrow) husband. He has an interest in Lee (Barbara Hershey), Hannah's sister, who lives with misanthrope artist Frederick (Max von Sydow). Lee and Frederick's relationship isn't what it used to be, so when Lee finds out about Elliot she has an affair with him.
-The second is about Hannah's ex-husband Mickey (Woody Allen), who is a hypochondriac. He thinks he has an actual disease and when it turns out he doesn't, he unsuccessfully converts religions.
-The third is about Hannah's other sister Holly (Dianne Wiest). She's a recovered drug addict and unsuccessful actress who runs a thriving catering business with her friend April (Carrie Fisher), who's also an actress. They compete for a guy they've met at a party they were catering and a part for a play, both of which go to April. She tries her hand at writing, but Hannah disapproves of the play she wrote because it mirrors Hannah's marriage with Elliot. She meets Mickey, in which previously they had a disastrous date together, and they go on another date.
The movie overall was very good and, in some ways, very Woody Allen. No surprise that the screenplay picked up an Oscar. Caine and Wiest's performances were also very good and earned those Oscars. How it lost Best Picture to Platoon, I'll never know.
My Rating: *****

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Manhattan

I find it interesting. Woody Allen allegedly claimed that he wasn't pleased with the finished result of Manhattan. Ironic since it became one of his best-known works.

TV writer Isaac Davis (Allen) has an interesting way with women. He's dating 17 year old Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), his ex-wife Jill (Meryl Streep) is writing a book on their failed marriage, and he's fallen in love with Mary Wilkie (Diane Keaton), who is the mistress of his friend Yale Pollack (Michael Murphy).
There are two things Manhattan is mostly remembered for, the opening montage of the city and the iconic shot of Queensboro Bridge (seen on the poster). And I can see why they've left such an impact on Hollywood. Allen said he shot the movie in black-and-white because that's how he remembered the city when he was growing up. It probably wouldn't have work had it been shot in color. The black-and-white gives the movie a more romantic feel to it, in my opinion. And also Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is a nice touch.
My Rating: *****

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Twitter Conversation #2

Had another movie-based conversation on Twitter last night. This time the people I was talking were Andrew from Encore's World of Film & TV, a user by the name of FilmBuzz, and of course Ryan from A Life in Equinox. Thankfully, this one is shorter. It started with me twittering tweeting typing that I had just finished watching Quiz Show (again, might be not in same order):
MovieNut14 (me): Just saw Quiz Show. Great movie on the scandal that rocked the 1950's and the way people looked at television.
FilmBuzz: @MovieNut14 we concur, "Quiz Show" is one of Redford's best works, in our opinion...
Univarn (Ryan): @MovieNut14 loved John Turturro in that movie, been a fan of his ever since.
MovieNut14: @FilmBuzz Interesting too, I saw Ordinary People back in June and I like Quiz Show a lot more. Don't know why...
MovieNut14: @Univarn I liked Ralph Fiennes' performance of Charles Van Doren. He was stiffed of a nomination.
DepartedAviator (Andrew): Thank you. Sure I have not seen this in a while...and I'm a sucker for Fiennes. But where was his nomination?
Univarn: @MovieNut14 that was one heck of a tough year for acting noms
Univarn: @DepartedAviator it went to Paul Scofield for the film instead.
Univarn: @DepartedAviator his oscar was taken the year earlier in favor of a Lee Jones acheivement award
MovieNut14: @Univarn True, very true.
MovieNut14: @Univarn Yeah, I'll admit I don't think Jones deserved that win for The Fugitive. He was okay, Golden Globe at least, but an Oscar? Come on!
MovieNut14: Oh great, here we go again. Another movie conversation on Twitter with 2+ users that'll probably end up on my blog tomorrow. (eye roll)
Univarn: @MovieNut14 ok how about this: Panda bears rule. End of conversation. I win. :P
MovieNut14: @Univarn ...O-kay. I need to go to bed. 'Night.

I swear, these conversations I keep having with Ryan show that he needs a vacation. Badly.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Randoms Ramblings

Just some facts and thoughts that have been running through my head:
  1. A scientific study showed that men find women more sexually attractive if they're wearing red. That's something I gotta remember when I'm dating.
  2. Mel Blanc, who is immortalized for voicing Bugs Bunny, was allergic to carrots.
  3. Walt Disney was afraid of mice. Ironic since his most famous creation is a mouse.
  4. Charlie Chaplin once lost a Charlie Chaplin look alike contest.
Weird, huh?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Future Plans for LoaCaB

Yeah, epic fail on the title abbreviation. Anyway, here is what I plan to do on this blog in the future:
  1. A year-end summarization of the movies I've seen this year.
  2. Reviews of movies by Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, among others.
  3. Many, many more ramblings.
Well, that's what you're going to expect from me in the next months.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Is there a movie...

that you keep putting off seeing? I don't know why, but I keep putting off seeing Philadelphia. I really don't know why, but something tells me I'm going to be very depressed by it after I see it.

So, what about you?

Twitter Conversation #1

Last night, I had a conversation with Ryan from A Life in Equinox and Julian from Movies and Other Things... over on Twitter. And it started with me unsure of what my next post would be. It went like so (the order may not be right):

MovieNut14 (me): Stuck on what to do for next blog post... :P
MovieNut14: @Univarn Are you aware that your favorite movie of all-time is going to be on IFC at 8:00 AM on 11/28?
Univarn (Ryan): @MovieNut14 nope, but worse yet I don't get that channel.
Univarn: guess I'll just have to toss in the DVD instead :D
MovieNut14: Oh, well. Thought you had the channel. At least you have the DVD.
Univarn: @MovieNut14 have you ever done a top film list?
Univarn: @MovieNut14 you should work on compiling a top 100 films list if you're looking for something to do for your blog long term.
202chicago (Julian): I know you were talking to MovieNut14 about the 100 films list, but do you have tips on starting/enduring/finishing such a list?
Univarn: @202chicago medication? Really it just takes patience. I spent 2 weeks during summer break debating/arguing with mine.
202chicago: @Univarn Ok. That definitely rules out any time soon for me, but thanks for the advice :)
Univarn: @202chicago I could prob do the list 10 times and come up with 10 different orders and who knows how many different films.
Univarn: @202chicago I'd say keep it personal. Don't try to force films you don't feel good about just because they're considered classics.
202chicago: @Univarn Yeah. That definitely rules out Saving Private Ryan and Annie Hall for me haha
Univarn: @202chicago haha that's alright. They're well featured on my list ;)
MovieNut14: @Univarn I appreciate the thought but I can barely compile a list of my top 10, let alone top 100.
MovieNut14: @Univarn And besides, some movies I love I've already reviewed.
Univarn: @MovieNut14 well some times doing a list like that will get you to go back and see films you haven't seen in ages but still had an impact
MovieNut14: @Univarn Something I plan to do at the end of the year is make a list of all the movies I saw this year. Believe me, there's a helluva lot.
Univarn: @MovieNut14 cool. at the of this year i get to start sending out resumes. You plan sounds like more fun.
202chicago: @Univarn Ah. The subjective world of film :)
Univarn: @202chicago aye. That what makes film great ;).
202chicago: @MovieNut14 I know. I've seen AT LEAST like 50... and that's not including films released before 2009
MovieNut14: @202chicago I've seen 56, and like two-thirds of them came out before this decade.
MovieNut14: @202chicago Oh yeah, and three of them were released this year.
Univarn: @MovieNut14 that's always good, can't appreciate where film is from without seeing where it came from :). wouldn't dare count how many I've seen
202chicago: @Univarn Preach it!
202chicago: @MovieNut14 I saw where you said something about Philadelphia Story. I remember you saying it was good? I have it here. Should I watch?
202chicago: @MovieNut14 Whoa. I'd hope for your sake that G.I. Joe and Transformers 2 weren't a part of the three you've seen this year... that'd be bad
MovieNut14: @202chicago The Philadelphia Story? Yes, you should watch it. Great chemistry throughout.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 Aight. Cuz I'm not gonna lie... I didn't care for Miss Hepburn in On Golden Pond, the only performance I've seen of hers...
MovieNut14: @202chicago I'll admit this is the first movie I've seen with Katharine Hepburn, as well as Cary Grant. It's the third with Jimmy Stewart.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 It'll be my second for Hepburn, first(?) for Grant, and I think second for Jimmy Stewart (It's a Wonderful Life was my first)
MovieNut14: Ack, need...to stop...twittering. Gonna get carpal tunnel syndrome if I keep typing.
Univarn: @MovieNut14 I realized this weekend I've done 1000+ tweets. What's worse is it didn't occur to me how sad that was until later
Univarn: @MovieNut14 if you like Cary Grant's style you should watch Charade and Arsenic and Old Lace
MovieNut14: @Univarn This is the most I've tweeted in day. I don't even tweet this much in a week. As for Mr. Grant, plan to see his Hitchcock movies.
Univarn: @202chicago You HAVE to watch Harvey (starring Stewart). It's overly sweet, cheesy, and insanely fun. I love it every time I watch it
202chicago: @Univarn Yeah. I've been meaning to watch that, but I keep forgetting :/ How did you feel when they announced the possibility of a remake...
202chicago: @Univarn ... with Spielberg directing and (potentially) Robert Downey, Jr. playing the lead?
MovieNut14: @202chicago Personally, I can't stomach that. Though Downey is an interesting choice.
MovieNut14: Sheesh, if I keep tweeting I'll probably break the 300 mark.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 I believe that Downey can play anything (he's my fave actor), but I'm not so sure that this project in general is a good idea...
Univarn: @202chicago Not sure it'll happen. If it does I'll see it and judge it then. The charm of Harvey is going to be near impossible to replicate
MovieNut14: @Univarn I plan to watch it soon (the original, of course). It's on my DVR.
MovieNut14: Boy this conversation with @Univarn and @202chicago is getting pretty good. But I'm sleepy. Good night.
Univarn: @MovieNut14 good night :P
MovieNut14: @202chicago Oh, your comment on movies I've seen from this year. Relax, I avoid crappy movies like the two you mentioned.
202chicago: @MovieNut14 Good to know :)

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to soak my hands in cold water and step away from my computer before it explodes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Is there a movie...

that, dispite all of the acclaim, you vow to never ever see? For me, that's easy: A Clockwork Orange. Why, you may ask? Because the book scared the living crap out of me. And if the book did that, I don't want to know what the movie'll do.

So, what's your choice?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Groundhog Day

Since I've been mostly reviewing movies only a handful of people have seen, I might as review something most people have seen.

Weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray), his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliot) are sent to Puxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover Groundhog Day. Phil, growing tired of the assignment, gives the report and attempts to go back to Pittsburgh when a blizzard forces Phil and his crew to stay an extra day.

Then things get weird.

Phil finds himself reliving February 2nd . Only he's aware of the time loop, while everyone else is oblivious to it. At first he's confused then he embraces it by getting away with anything, like stealing, seducing women and driving drunk.

There were two scenes that just killed me.
~The first one is when Phil and Rita are in the restaurant. The table's covered with junk food, Phil's smoking, making Rita concerned about his health. Phil shoves a piece of cake in his mouth, causing Rita to turn away in disgust, then he asks, with his mouth still full of cake, "What?"
~The second scene is when Phil continually tries to kill himself. He sticks a toaster in the shower, runs in front of a car, and jumps off a building. All this result with him waking up the "next" morning.

My Rating: ****1/2

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Edward Scissorhands

It's hard to believe that one of Tim Burton's more memorable movies started with a sketch he drew as a teenager.


Edward Scisscorhands opens with an elderly woman reciting the story of a man named Edward (Johnny Depp) who has scissors for hands. He was created by an aging inventor (Vincent Price) who died before he could give Edward hands.
Years pass, Avon saleswoman Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest), after failing to make profits in her neighborhood, ends up going to a gothic castle on top of a hill. There, she finds Edward and brings him home with her. Edward befriends Peg's son Kevin (Robert Oliveri) and daughter Kim (Winona Ryder). Peg's neighbors find out that Edward has a talnet for hedge clipping and haircutting. Although Edward becomes popular, two people dislike him almost immediately: religious fanatic Esmerelda (O-Lan Jones) and Kim's jock boyfriend Jim (Anthony Michael Hall). Joyce (Kathy Baker), a "lonely housewife", tries to seduces Edward, but to no avail. After a robbery staged by Jim with Edward as the culprit, Kim dumps Jim to be with Edward.

As you can imagine, I liked Edward Scissorhands very much. From I've read, Depp watched numerous Charlie Chaplin movies in preparation for the role to "create sympathy without dialogue." And yes, because I'm a fan of Mr. Burton, I just LOVED this movie.

My Rating: ****1/2

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Freaky Film Fact #4

Still on the topic of bromance, I thought I might indulge you with a bit of trivia.

Longtime friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are actually related. A recent geneaology study showed that Damon and Affleck are 10th cousins once removed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Still have Paul Newman on the mind. Might as well review that fifth movie.

Criminals Butch Cassidy (Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) are the two leaders of the Hole in the Wall Gang (originally The Wild Bunch, but was changed to avoid confusion with Sam Peckinpah's earlier release). After a botched robbery ("Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?"), they're on the run from a mysterious posse ("Who are those guys?").

This is considered the best bromance movie of all time, and I can see why. No wonder Newman and Redford were teamed up again in The Sting. It's also probably one of the funnier movies I've seen in a while.

My Rating: *****

And now, two of the better scenes from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (the last one jump to 1:55):


Monday, November 9, 2009

Possible Hosts

Still have the Academy Awards on my mind. Because of that, I going to examine few likely candidates for a future show.

Neil Patrick Harris

Why it might work: Judging by his success as the host of this year's Emmys (which brought up ratings), it's possible he might host the Oscars.

Why it might fail: Outside of his work on the TV show How I Met Your Mother, he's not that well-known.

Tina Fey

Why it might work: Hey, her 30 Rock co-star is hosting next year's Oscars. Why not give her a shot? Oh wait, a reason? She's hilarious.

Why it might fail: Something tells me the Sarah Palin skits from Saturday Night Live last year might cost her.

Ricky Gervais

Why it might work: Let's see...his jokes at last year's Golden Globes and this year's Emmys killed, and he's going to be hosting this year's Golden Globes.

Why it might fail: Although he's a big name in the UK he's pretty much an unknown here in the US, judging by the profits of his movies.

Stephen Colbert

Why it might work: Hey, Jon Stewart got to host twice. Give Colbert a shot. I actually find him funnier than Stewart.

Why it might fail: He's kinda more of a spaz than Stewart, so the direction of where the show's going might be obvious.

Well, those are my observations. What do you think?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Hustler

It's interesting. Ever since his passing last year, I've seen four movies featuring Paul Newman just this year (two I've previously reviewed). And I'll admit I haven't seen any of his movies before he died. Anyway, onto the review.

"Fast Eddie" Felson (Newman) is a small-time pool hustler with lots of talent and an ego to match. After losing a match with the legendary Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason), he has a difficult time regaining his confidence. In the process, he gains a girlfriend Sarah (Piper Laurie). He becomes desperate and falls victim to ruthless and cutthroat manager Bert Gordon (George C. Scott) to help him get back on top.

I really liked Newman's work in this. But I was really impressed with Gleason's role. I mean, one minute he's Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners, next minute he's Minnesota Fats. Overall, a very goo movie.

My Rating: *****

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Oscar Examination: Comedians Doing Drama

With Precious garnering serious Oscar buzz for Mo'Nique, I've decided to take an examination of comedians going straight. Well, doing drama. And believe me there are a lot:
  • Saturday Night Live alum Dan Aykroyd received an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in Driving Miss Daisy; lost to Denzel Washington in Glory.
  • Mary Tyler Moore and Judd Hirsch, two actors well known for their comedic work on television, showed their dramatic sides in Ordinary People. Both were nominated but lost; Moore to Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner's Daughter, Hirsch to his co-star Timothy Hutton.
  • Another veteran of sitcom, Jackie Gleason, earned praises for his role of Minnesota Fats in The Hustler; the Oscar went to George Chakiris for West Side Story.
  • Red Buttons won an Academy Award for his supporting role in the Korean War drama Sayonara.
  • Robin Williams won over critics with his role of John Keating in Dead Poets Society. Although he lost to Daniel Day-Lewis, Williams would later win for his supporting role in Good Will Hunting.
Those are the ones I can remember. What do you think?

Two questions about Academy Awards

With the big news in Hollywood being Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are to host the 82nd Academy Awards, I ask two questions:

1) Who is your favorite past host?

2) Which celebrity would you like to see host the Oscars?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Glass Menagerie


I've started to take a greater appreciation for plays recently. I originally found plays boring (take note that this was when I was a kid), but now I like them. Case in point, next thing I'm reviewing is Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie.

The lead of the play is Tom Wingfield, an aspiring writer who lives with his mother Amanda and sister Laura. Amanda is obsessed with finding a man for her daughter; Laura herself doesn't want to rush at the idea.

Having finished reading about a week ago, it's still fresh in my head. I liked this, but I didn't like it as much as A Streetcar Named Desire. But I thought it was good.

My Rating: ****

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Movies watched over and over

I saw this article on Entertainment Weekly which makes me ask the question: What movies do you watch over and over again?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Born Standing Up

Need to take a break from movies for a while. I mean, if you read the title of this blog, you would expect a book review here and there.

Born Standing Up chronicles the stand up career of Steve Martin. Not only that but also his childhood, his first jobs in the entertainment business and his break in the movies.

I read this not too long after it was published. It's an interesting read on the actor.

My Rating: ****

Monday, November 2, 2009

Freaky Film Fact #3

This one was just too weird.

Although they are trademarks in his movies, director Quentin Tarantino strongly detests drugs and violence.

Oh yeah, and he also has an IQ of 160 despite the fact that he's a high scool dropout.