Thursday, December 31, 2009

#120 Rear Window (1954)


Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr

Considered one of Hitchcock's greatest, I found it to be a crawling bore--saved only by the elegant and lucious Grace Kelly. The premise of the movie is, of course, truly classic-- the man with the broken leg watches the neighbors from the back window and thinks he's witnessed a murder. The apartment building functions like a micro-city, and the romances and devastations of all the individuals is actually truly fascinating. But once he focuses in on the supposed murder, it becomes over an hour of watching Stewart stare at nothing, get oiled and massaged by an old woman, argue with another stiff male actor, and whine at Grace Kelly. Other than a few suspenseful moments (like when Grace Kelly sneaks into the neighbor's window to investigate)... there isn't really much to keep you entertained.

It gets two stars for it being a good story as well being shot so beautifully (as Hitchcock is known to do so well).

#119 Vertigo (1958)


Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore

This movie was a surprise to me. I had always assumed that Psycho was Hitchcock's masterpiece, and I needn't ever worry about it being kicked off the thrown. Then this movie came along. Though it starts extremely slow, the surprises and plot twists in this movie keep coming, and the perversity with which Stewart dresses up Judy Barton as Madeleine is truly twisted-- shocking even for 2009!

I gave it only four stars because of the way the beginning crawled and because I find Jimmy Stewart truly irritating and definitely not handsome enough for Kim Novak.

It's now the eve of 2010, and I am off to drink and be merry into the next decade.
Bottoms up!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

#118 Airplane! (1980)


Director: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker
Cast: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Llyod Bridges, Leslie Neilson, Robert Stack, Peter Graves, Lorna Patterson

Just finished watching my first movie from the list-- Airplane!, a completely zany, wacky airplane crash spoof movie featuring Leslie Neilson. I really did like the film-- I had always seen clips of it around the holidays, but I had never sat through the whole thing. I would never consider it to be a greaaaaat movie, but it certainly fit the evening perfectly. The slap-stick comedy was just what my aunt, cousin, and I were in the mood for-- something to laugh at and something my dad and aunt could reminisce about. I gave the movie three stars mostly because I really did find a lot of it funny, even if it was completely over the top. That's what makes it great though! Being able to just sit around and watch a silly movie at the holidays with some close family is a great way to spend an evening. Don't think I'd ever go out of my way to rent it, but if I was channel-surfing and caught it, I might stop and watch for a bit.

I particularly liked the slam on Detroit about 45 minutes into the film. :P

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Set Up

This year I am beginning a journey through the 5th edition of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die-- an undertaking that will finally test the limits of my love for feature films. The book is arranged both alphabetically and by time period, but I will be jumping through the book to suit my at-moment movie tastebuds.

The list I will be working through is available here:

I will be rating films from a * to ***** star rating, with some thoughts on each film I see.
I also won't be re-viewing films from the list that I have already seen, as long as I remember them in their entirety. (Those films are listed below.) This leaves some older movies that I saw during childhood or in pieces up for reviewing (ie. Citizen Kane, Blazing Saddles, etc.)

It'd be great to have some interaction with other people who have seen the movies and want to have some discussion about them. Otherwise, I am full-speed ahead on my own.
Wish me luck!

Films From The List That I Have Already Seen (Won't Be Re-Viewed):

8 1/2
American Beauty
Annie Hall
Back To The Future
Being John Malkovich
The Birds
Blade Runner
Blazing Saddles
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Breakfast At Tiffany's
The Breakfast Club
Brokeback Mountain
Buffalo 66
A Christmas Story
City of God
A Clockwork Orange
The Departed
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Do The Right Thing
Dog Day Afternoon
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Edward Scissorhands
Empire Strikes Back
The Exorcist
Fatal Attraction
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Fight Club
Five Easy Pieces
Forrest Gump
Full Metal Jacket
Ghost Busters
The Godfather
Gone With The Wind
Good Morning Vietnam
The Great Train Robbery
Groundhog Day
Independence Day
Into The Wild
Jungle Book
Jurassic Park
The Lion King
Little Miss Sunshine
The Lord of the Rings
The Matrix
Meet The Parents
Meshes of the Afternoon
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Moulin Rouge!
The Natural
No Country For Old Men
One Flew Over The Cukoo's Nest
Pan's Labyrinth
Passion of the Christ
The Pianist
Pretty Woman
The Princess Bride
Pulp Fiction
Raging Bull
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Requiem for a Dream
Return of the Jedi
Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Royal Tenenbaums
Say Anything
Schindler's List
Shawshank Redemption
The Shining
Silence of the Lambs
Singin' in the Rain
The Sixth Sense
Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs
Some Like It Hot
The Sound of Music
Star Wars
Taxi Driver
There's Something About Mary
Top Gun
Total Recall
Toy Story
The Usual Suspects
When Harry Met Sally
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
The Wizard of Oz


Here. We. Go!