Sunday, January 31, 2010

Some Like It Hot

Although I've only seen four of his movies, I know enough that Billy Wilder is a skilled director. I've seen his two Best Picture winners (The Lost Weekend, The Apartment), a film noir (Sunset Boulevard) and his best comedy (Some Like It Hot), the latter I shall be reviewing.

Musicians Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) are both down on their luck. They accidently witness a gang shooting and, to evade the gangsters, pose as women under the aliases of Josephine (Joe) and Daphne (Jerry) and join an all-girl band. However, band member Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe) catches Joe's eye and Jerry catches the eye of aging millionaire Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown).

I have only one thing to say about Some Like It Hot: it's HILARIOUS. I mean, great performances, smart dialogue and the best closing line in movie history makes Some Like It Hot what it is: a classic that gets better with age.

My Rating: *****

Friday, January 29, 2010

Best Day Ever!

Why do I say that? Because TotalFilm recognized my blog! I'm grateful that A Life in Equinox: A Movie Lover's Journal, The Dark of the Matinee and Film Experience were mentioned as well, not so much when The King Bulletin and Encore's World of Film and TV were not.

I was surprised that someone important was reading my blog.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I'll admit it: I'm a fan of Robert Downey, Jr.. I mean, what's not to like about him (apart from the whole drug addiction thing)? Anyway, onto the review.

An aging Charlie Chaplin (Downey) tells biographer George Hayden (Anthony Hopkins) his life story. From his childhood in England to his rise to fame to his his numerous relationships, there's more to Charlie Chaplin than you first expect.

The only complaint I have about this is the length. Come on, 144 minutes? But since it's from the same director of Gandhi, I'll let it slide. Downey's performance was so convincing, I had to keep reminding myself that he wasn't Charlie Chaplin.

My Rating: ****1/2

J.D. Salinger: 1919-2010

J.D Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye, died on Wednesday of natural causes. He was 91.
~January 1, 1919 - January 27, 2010~

Monday, January 25, 2010

Plans for 2010

Okay, here are my movie plans for this year:

- see new releases
-Shutter Island
-Alice in Wonderland
-Iron Man 2
-watch more Best Picture winners
-view more foreign movies

As well as my book plans:
-catch up on the classics

And my blogging plans:
-review more books
-plan blogathons
-write more lists

So what you think?

Favorite Performances

Everyone has one. Here's a list of mine and the reasons why I love them:

Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront
Brando delivers both a strong performance and the performance of his career. His role of Terry Malloy is the pinnacle of his career; the taxi cab scene of the movie proves my point.

Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke
As if no woman who has watched the late and great Paul Newman hasn't melted at the mere sight of him. Yes, I'm one of those women. His role of rebellious prisoner Luke Jackson defined what everyone in 1967 America was feeling.

Montgomery Clift in From Here to Eternity
There's something about the tortured character that appeals me. And Montgomery Clift's character of Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt is a fine example.

Jack Lemmon in Days of Wine and Roses
Having seen The Apartment prior to this, I was sketchy on Jack Lemmon's shot at drama. By the time it was over, I was speechless by his performance of alcoholic Joe Clay.

Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby
I liked her work in Hannah and Her Sisters, but she wasn't in it a lot. So I watched Rosemary's Baby and that alone proves how good of an actress she is.

Ralph Fiennes in Quiz Show
The only thing I didn't like about Fiennes' performance of Charles Van Doren is the fact that it got ignored when it was awards season.

Henry Fonda in Once Upon a Time in the West
Although I like him in 12 Angry Men and The Grapes of Wrath, I loved him in Once Upon a Time in the West. This is an actor who made a reputation for playing the good guy and here he is playing the coldest villian that ever appeared onscreen.

Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II
Much like the previous entry, Pacino shows his dark side through his character of Michael Corleone. Yes, I did like his work in the first movie, but he has an edge in this one that was missing from the first.

Robert De Niro in Raging Bull
Wow, what to say about this performance? Apart from the fact that De Niro won the Oscar fair and square for his role of Jake La Motta, he gives us a performance that he will be remembered for long after he's gone.

I'll probably think of a few more, but that's another post. So what are yours?


I'm changing how I rate books and movies. Instead of "Yes!" or "Worth a look", reviews are now going to be based on a five-star scale. And to start, I'm changing what I had for my earlier reviews.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

SAG Winners

The results are in! What's underlined was my prediction; what's in bold is the winner:

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

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

Christopher Nolan Blog-a-thon

Yeah, I know I just went over my plans for a Tim Burton blog-a-thon, but I want to do this as well.

With Inception becoming one of the most talked-about movies of 2010, why not honor its director, Christopher Nolan, with a blogathon? His career as a director includes:
Small filmography, yes, but impressive nonetheless. Hard to believe it was only ten years ago when he got recognzed for Memento.

The deadline is March 1 March 21 and my e-mail adress is Make sure you type 'Christopher Nolan Blogathon' for the subject so I know what it is. The actual post will be up on March 7 March 22.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Clockwork Orange

I find it weird when a book I've read is considered "controversial". Even more so if it's controversial for a small reason. (The Catcher in the Rye? Really?) But some are very clear on why they have controversy. Case in point, I'm reviewing A Clockwork Orange.

Fifteen-year-old Alex and his "droogs" are typical teenagers; they rape, plunder and beat up anyone in their sights. When Alex is arrested for murdering an old woman, he is sent to prison. After killing an inmate, Alex becomes the test subject of a new rehabilitation method. Upon his release, he is completely unprepared for what comes to him next.

If you've read an earlier post I did, you know this book scared the hell out of me. Why it does, I don't know. But, damn, Anthony Burgess' writing sure left an impact on me.

My Rating: ****

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Occasionally I like a directorial debut. And 2009 was full of them. The was Tom Ford's A Single Man, Scott Cooper's Crazy Heart and Duncan Jones' Moon, the latter I'm reviewing.

Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is nearing the end of his three-year stint on the Moon. But as the day he goes home draws closer, things start to get weird...

I'll admit I'm not a big fan of sci-fi movies (excluding Star Wars, that is), but Moon is different. It's thought-provoking, yes, but it's more than that. It's intriguing. As for Rockwell, he was good. His physical deterioration throughout the movie reminded me that of Tom Hanks in Philadelphia. Jones' direction of the movie was strong. Not bad for the son of David Bowie.

My Rating: ****1/2

Monday, January 18, 2010

Iron Man

As I stated in my reviews of Once Upon a Time in the West and Batman Begins, I'm not a normal kinda gal. I prefer guy movies and occasionally a movie with a following. Iron Man is such a movie.

Billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) is held hostage by a terrorist group in Afghanistan. While being held captive, he builds a crude suit of iron armor which helps him escape. After his return to the States, he announces that Stark Industries will no longer make weapons, much to the dismay of his business partner Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). But Stane has other plans...

Personally, I think casting Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark was GENIUS. I mean, Stark has some serious flaws and Downey, who at the time was still trying to make a comeback, fits the bill perfectly. Along with a strong supporting cast that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges and Terrence Howard, Iron Man definitely delivers with good acting and kick-ass action.

My Rating: ****

Golden Globe Winners

The results are in! I was pretty good at guessing some of the winners. What's in bold is the winner; what's underlined was my guess:

The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Up In the Air

It's Complicated
Julie and Julia
The Hangover
(500) Days of Summer

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

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

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

Sandra Bullock, The Proposal
Marion Cotillard, Nine
Julia Roberts, Duplicity
Meryl Streep, It's Complicated
Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia

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

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

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

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
The Princess and the Frog

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

Broken Embraces
A Prophet
The Maid
The White Ribbon

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

"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

Some of the winners I was surprised by, either in a good (Robert Downey, Jr., The Hangover) or bad (Sandra Bullock, Avatar) way. Some were actually pretty obvious (Mo'Nique, Christoph Waltz).

So what do you have to say about the winners?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Which movies...

would you have want to see on the big screen? My choice is a little obvious: Star Wars. My reason? Seeing the Death Star blow up + a big screen = SCHWEET. Some movies I was lucky enough to see on the big screen, like WALL-E, The Dark Knight, Up, to name a few.

What about you?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Why are all cult movies the same? By that, I mean ridiculously quotable and a crapload of merchandise featuring characters from the movie. I'm looking at you, The Big Lebowski and Fight Club.

King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his servant Patsy (Terry Gilliam) are roaming throughout Europe to find his Knights of the Round Table. He manages to get Sir Bedevere the Wise (Terry Jones), Sir Lancelot the Brave (John Cleese), Sir Galahad the Pure (Michael Palin) and Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot (Eric Idle) but not without a few roadbumps along the way, both before and after getting the Knights of the Round Table. He comes across a stubborn knight ("Just a flesh wound!"), guards questioning the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow ("Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?"), the Knights Who Say "NI!" ("You must cut down the mightiest tree in the forest. WITH! A HERRING!"), among others.

Is there a reason why British movies are usually better than American movies? Just asking, since like one-third of the Best Picture winners are British productions. My point being this movie is hilarious.

My Rating: *****

And now, for something completely different (not really):

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Million Dollar Baby

I'll admit I haven't seen that many Best Picture winners. I've only seen eighteen of the eighty-one (soon to be eighty-two) winners, fourteen of them I saw last year. I am pleased by most of the winners, but not all.

Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) is an aspiring boxer who wants to be trained by Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood). But every time she asks, she gets the same gruff response: "I don't train girls." After finding out she's been secretly trained by Eddie "Scrap-Iron" Dupris (Morgan Freeman), a friend of his, Dunn decides to give her a chance, causing his hard outer shell to soften up a bit.

Milion Dollar Baby definitely has its good moments, particularly the performances from Eastwood, Swank and Freeman. It's the final parts of the movie that made me reconsider rewatching it again. But overall, it delivers.

My Rating: ****1/2

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Prestige

Is there one movie Christopher Nolan has directed that doesn't blow your mind? Judging by his filmography of impressive thrillers, the obvious answer is no.

Magicians Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) used to be the best of friends. But after a magic trick gone wrong left Angier's wife Julia (Piper Perabo) dead, they are now bitter rivals. Both become obssessed with triumphing the other, which leads to severe injury and ruined reputations.

Wow, Nolan sure as hell knows how to deliver. How does he not have an Oscar yet? Great performances and stunning effects are plentiful. And also possibly the biggest case of mindfuck ever.

My Rating: ****1/2

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tim Burton Blog-a-thon

Okay, I've thought it over. In honor of Alice in Wonderland coming out this March, I plan on doing a Tim Burton blog-a-thon. If you've been reading this blog, you know that I'm a fan of his work (though I've seen all but two of his movies). His filmography as a director includes:

Anyway, those are all the movies you can review. Oh, I'm also throwing in The Nightmare Before Christmas, due in part to his personal connection to it. The deadline is February 28 March 12 and my e-mail address is (yes that's my real e-mail address, don't laugh). Make sure you type 'Tim Burton Blog-a-thon' for the subject so I know what it is. The actual post will be up on March 6 March 13.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Film Club

As you could tell from the title of this blog, I love both movies and books. Now when both meld into one (books about movies, movies about books), I'm sold.

When David Gilmour's son Jesse started flunking school, David gives him an offer: Jesse can drop out of school in exchange that he watches three movies a week with him of his choosing.

This is an interesting read for you cinephiles out there. It's a moving memoir, but it lacks something. I just don't know what.

My Rating: ****

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Catcher in the Rye

Teen angst: a common theme that runs throughout movies, televsion shows, literature and music. One notable example of teenage angst in literature is J.D. Salinger's debut novel The Catcher in the Rye.

Holden Caulfield has been expelled from his school for his poor grades. Instead of going back to his home he roams the streets of New York City, encountering "phonies" along the way.

Salinger definitely hits the mark with making his readers connect with Holden (yes, I'm one of those readers). Unfortunately for Mr. Salinger, his best-known work is associated with many infamous crimes. For instance, Mark David Chapman was found reading a copy of The Catcher in the Rye shortly after shooting and killing John Lennon. Apparently, Chapman identified with the lead of the book so much he wanted to change his name Holden Caulfield. Looks like the connecting with the readers has a negative effect.

My Rating: *****

Kreativ Bloggers

First there was The Dark of the Matinee's post, then Univarn's. What am I referring to, you may ask? They've been nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award! And, thanks to Univarn, so have I! Wow, a blogger for five months and I'm up for an award. Univarn said about me:

Ever read a blog that reminds you of the days when you first fell in love with movies? MovieNut14's blog wonderfully captures that sense of community involvement, curiosity for all that encompasses film, and yet an intelligence for what makes a good movie well beyond their (or even my) years.

And this is what the award looks like:

Both cute and creepy for my tastes at the same time!

Unfortunately, getting an award like this comes with a twist:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

1) Did that up above.

2) Having some technical difficulties, but it's up there.

3) Sure, here you go.

4) Seven things, huh? Um, let's see:

~ As you could figure from the title of the blog, I am an avid movie watcher and reader.

~ I'm stuck living in the same house with a nutty Vassar freshman and an Albany Academy freshman who's obssessed with fishing and the Boston Red Sox. Or, to be more specific, my sister and brother.

~ I'm trying to expand my horizons as a movie watcher, particularly with works from great directors. I did see a number of works from classic directors last year, such as Hitchcock, Wilder, Kazan, Fellini, Bergman, Truffant, Coppola, Scorsese, Lumet, Kubrick...okay, y'know what? This just seems a lot easier.

~ Directors I'm a fan of? Tim Burton and Billy Wilder.

~ As for authors? I've taken a liking to Tennessee Williams and Stephen King.

~ I'm smart enough to veer away from P.O.C (pile of crap) movies, thanks in part to the blogging community and my own common sense.

~ Main reason for why I started this blog? Had nothing better to do. Oh, and also to voice my opinion.

5 and 6) This should be the easy part (maybe not since Univarn and The Mad Hatter used the ones I was gong to use!):

The King Bulletin: Insightful young reviewer who manages to grasp my interest. I particularly appreciate his pondering on The Dark Knight's MPAA rating.

Riku Writes - Mostly About Films

Film Experience Blog

The Movie Projector

John Likes Movies


Movies: Past, Present and Future

Well, in closing, I have an award and I'm proud of it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Batman Begins

I find this really ironic. I vowed to never watch any movies with a "following". Y'know, "fanboy" movies. And yet as of today I have seen all four Indiana Jones movies, the original Star Wars trilogy, Iron Man and four Batman movies. So much for that promise. In other words, I'm a fangirl.

As a young boy, Bruce Wayne develops a fear of bats and witnesses his parents' murders. Now an adult, Bruce (Christian Bale) has gone through martial arts training under the watchful eye of Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson). Upon returning to Gotham City, he finds it has fallen victim to crime boss Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson) and psychiatrist Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy).

Boy, I can imagine the reactions when Warner Bros. announced they were reviving the Batman franchise. For those that remember, Joel Schumacher's take on the superhero wasn't that...super. And the fact it was going to be directed by a semi-unknown from England? That probably made fans of the Caped Crusader go into hysterics. And chances are they were shut up for good once they saw the movie.
Boy, Batman Begins sure has a helluva cast. I mean, you have Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Katie Holmes (I'll agree she wasn't that good), Liam Neeson and Tom Wilkinson, all in one freakin' awesome movie.

My Rating: ****1/2

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Top Films of the Decade

I would've had this up earlier, but I forgot the order of the movies after I submitted the list to LAMB. Epic fail on my part. Anyway, here's my list:

10) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Being not that big of a fan of horror movies, I was questioning this. But since it's directed by Tim Burton and stars frequent collaborator Johnny Depp, I gave it a shot. Wow, was it violent. Good, but violent.

9) Batman Begins
Having seen only Tim Burton's takes on the Caped Crusader prior to seeing this, I figured this would be similar to Burton's films. Boy, was I wrong. This had an edge Burton's films were missing.

8) Casino Royale
Although having never seen any of the previous Bond movies, I got the gist of what usually goes on in those movies. Fast-paced action is what keeps the movie going.

7) Million Dollar Baby
Although the story and acting are superb, it's the ending of the movie that makes me question if I'm going to watch it again.

6) The Aviator
Man, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio definitely have a very good collaboration. Three movies together, all of them nominated for Best Picture (their most recent The Departed won). DiCaprio successfully manages to shed his Titanic image (and then some) with his leading role of Howard Hughes. With stellar supporting work from Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin and Alan Alda, The Aviator is a biopic that focuses on ambition and mental health deterioration. Here's to Scorsese and DiCaprio for a long-lasting collaboration.

5) Walk the Line
Shortly after watching this, I read a lot of people critizing about Reese Witherspoon's performance. I'll admit I'm not sure if she deserved to win that Oscar, but she was pretty good. Besides, I focused more on Joaquin Phoenix's performance of Johnny Cash than I did her's.

4) Road to Perdition
I find it slightly odd that the first movie a director does after winning an Oscar kinda sucks. Not true with Sam Mendes and Road to Perdition. With an all-star cast including Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, a pre-James Bond Daniel Craig and Jude Law, it delivers a great story and great acting.

3) The Dark Knight
What to say that hasn't already been said about this massive blockbuster? I mean, apart from the fact that it F**KIN' ROCKED, pretty much everything good has been said about it. Heath Ledger definitely earned that Oscar for his creepy as hell performance of the Joker. Here's hoping that Christopher Nolan's career as a director will flourish.

2) Mystic River
It's really rare for me to see a movie that completely blows me away. Clint Eastwood's Mystic River is an exception. With a great script, great direction, and Sean Penn and Tim Robbins delivering the best performances I've seen, Mystic River is one you should not miss.

Oh my God, I absolutely LOVE this movie. I was on the verge of tears at the end. Although Pixar's next movie Up also pulled at my heartstrings, WALL-E will have a special place in my heart.

So those are my choices. What do you think?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Once Upon a Time in the West

If you were to ask me what kind of movies I like, I would respond I like guy movies. Y'know, movies that feature a crapload of violence/explosions and swearing (i.e., The Godfather). I'm not into wimpy "chick flicks". Ugh, the mere mention of the term makes me sick. Anyway, I'll get to the point later on in the review.

Jill McBain (Claudia Cardinale) returns from New Orleans to find her family dead. Her family's killer is Frank (Henry Fonda), a hired gun of railroad tycoon Morton (Gabriele Ferzetti). The crime was blamed on outlaw Cheyenne (Jason Robards), who agrees to help Jill find Frank. Along with Cheyenne, a mysterious gunman Cheyenne nicknamed "Harmonica" (Charles Bronson) help protect Jill's land from Frank.

Man, oh man, oh man. What to say about this movie? I mean, apart from the fact that it kicked SERIOUS ASS. But honestly, let's be serious. I found Fonda's work in this very good. Good nothing, he was DAMN good, and this is an actor who made a name for himself playing the good guy. A shame he didn't play the villian more in his career. As for Leone, he sure as hell knows how to deliver a fine Western.

Oh yeah, the chick flick explaination. Personally I'd rather see a guy getting his guts shot out of him than see a weak story involving the girl next door falling in love with the popular guy. Wait, I pretty much described almost every chick flick ever made, didn't I?

My Rating: *****

Friday, January 1, 2010


For regular readers, you expect the 'BOOK VS MOVIE' segment at the beginning of the month. But since it's the holidays, I'm not doing that segment this month.

Enjoy the rest of your holidays!