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Showing posts from May, 2014

Les Miserables (2013)

I saw Les Miserables with my parents and watching my dad's reaction was almost as entertaining.  The entire movie was sung, I was not expecting that, but being the musical/Broadway geek I am rather enjoyed it, finding it very opreaesque.  My father on the other hand... after the introduction of Jean Valjean and Javert leaned over to my mom and asked if the entire film would be sung, responding with a shoulder shrug.  After a respectful mourning period for Fantine began singing what he'd like for dinner to the tune of "I Dreamed A Dream" (it was eggplant Parmesan in case you were wondering).  Twenty minutes later he was checking his email, and then began comparing Hugh Jackman's hair-do to that of Michael Landon's in Little House on the Prairie. (although what would you expect from someone who pronounced it Less Miz?)

But what did I think of the movie?  I really enjoyed it.  I thought the costumes and setting were phenomenal with Anne Hathaway's rendition o…

The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012)

The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Charles Dickens last (incomplete) novel.  A novel of love and murder.  a love triangle between Edwin, Rosa and his Uncle John Jasper.  It reminded me of Wuthering Heights as I felt Rosa loved Edwin and was the safe reasonable choice but she was in love with Jasper, the bad boy.  After much fluctuation of the triangle Edwin ends up dead, but Dickens died before revealing the killer.  

Laura Linney, the host of Masterpiece theater introduced The Mystery of Edwin Drood had been completed in the way they thought Dickens would have wanted.  Well sure, he's dead, you can say whatever you want without being contradicted.  I went in with a bad taste in my mouth.  I later ate my words, I hope this is the way Dickens would have wanted it because I could not turn my eyes away.  Every character good or evil were creepy and all could have had motives for offing Edwin.  This film was terrifying, in the sense that all the character were mental.  Jasper was just insane …

Oz: the not so great and powerful (2013)

I saw Oz on Thursday, despite horrid reviews and this article in The Atlantic stating that a good adaptation of The Wizard of Oz has not been made since 1939.  The stars were aligned in the Golden Age of Hollywood and have yet to meet again.

The beginning showed so much promise, Kansas was in sepia tone and there was a nod to MGM's film during Oscar's decent in the twister; things flying through the air and his balloon basket landing like Dorthy's house; I also enjoyed the transition for black and white turned color.  But once the Witch turned green it was all down hill.

The acting was actually pretty good and was impressed by James Franco's portrayal of Oscar "Oz" Diggs; although, I think the movie dwelled too much on the three witches (South, East and West) and would have preferred a bigger focus on the Wizard.  It did explain the animosity between the three witches, east and west being scorned by Wizard for south.  All three were aware that the Wizard was a …

Life of Pi (2012)

The premise of Life of Pi is of a boy named Pi who becomes stranded on a boat with a menagerie of Zoo Animals, mainly a Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker.

The plot sounded strange and I dislike animal and animated movies, so having animated animals in a film felt like a double whammy to me.  I took a pass.  But then Ang Lee won Best Director and I began to question my prejudices.

We begin with Pi as an adult meeting with a novelist to whom he tells his story.  He begins with his life story at the age of 12.  He grows up with his father the owner of a zoo where Pi learns that not everyone (be it person or animal) is not always as cuddly as them seem.  the Patel family are Hindu, but Pi, going through a discovery phase also practices Christianity and Islam.  Watching Pi incorporate all three religions into his life was very clever and amusing.  In short, he had a full life.

That is until his father decides to sell the zoo, the animals going to various zoos around the country and the Pat…

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

As I have stated before, I'm a huge fan of the Oscars and watch every single movie.  The Silver Lining's Playbook was up for all four acting categories (Jennifer Laurence winning best actress) and best picture.  Thus my mom and I saw it in the theater in preparation.  I thought it was good, it would have been a great summer movie as all the elements were there, romance-to-be filled with obstacles conquering all with a happy all is right in the world ending.  Although, I wasn't sure if I would consider it Oscar worthy.

A co-worker of my dad's recommended it, and asked me to add it to our Netflix queue.  So I did.  I liked it better than I did the first time, recognizing its dry humor and caught my attention a bit more.  Speaking of humor, Pat has promised his new friend Tiffany that he will partner with her a dance compition if she helps him reconcile with his wife.  She agrees.  They show several practice scenes and I kept waiting for them to do the Patrick Swayze/Jenni…

Capote (2005)

One of my favorite books is Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, so when a movie was made on Truman Capote's reporting of the Clutter murders, it was only natural that I would be looking forward to it.
Hollywood has been known to blow nudity and violence out of proportion in movies so I was nervous that they would make the murder scenes too graphic.  Despite the brutality of the murders the sights where very minimal, a staging of Nancy was shown and a brief look during the confession.  I also like that actual photos of the Clutters where Incorporated (alive and crime scene) Alvin Dewey the lead KBI agent and even Truman Capote.  Anyway, I appreciated these small touches.

Away from the true crime factor I thought the muted colors of cinematography and costumes was appropriate and set the tone for the film, serious colors for a serious theme.  Even though Truman Capote was flamboyant, I think adding bright colors to his wardrobe would have ruined the design of the film, with outlandish…

Persuasion (1995)

Anne Elliot is persuaded to break off her engagement to Fredrick Wentworth because it is felt that it was not a suitable match and far beneath her.  Several years have past and the Elliot's financial situation leaves them with the decision to rent out their estate to Admiral Croft who is also acquainted with Captain Wentworth who has since become a wealthy man and suitable bachelor.  With a chance that he has not been persuaded to relieve himself of his affections towards Anne.

I have mixed feelings about this film. Of course I enjoyed the story but found the acting to be lackluster.  Anne Elliot is a huge push over thinking little about herself.  Amanda Root who plays Miss Elliot has the wide-eyed puppy dog face down pat and wanted to slap her every time it was made because it was so completely pathetic.  Because of this I had a hard time feeling for the character, although in the novel I don't feel this way at all, so I will point the finger at the acting.  Unlike other Auste…

Great Expectations (2012)

Gillian Anderson, Agent Scully from the X-Files, impregnated by aliens is Miss Havisham.  An ex-x-file agent (see what I did there?) playing haunting Miss Havisham, already this mini-series is awesome!

Okay, I got my X-Files geekyness out of me so on word.  I was (and still am)  halfway through the book when I watched this adaptation of Great Expectations.  Despite the fact that I shamefully watched the movie before finishing the book I really enjoyed it.  Pip was so cute and whatever when he was young but once he got that inheritance and moved to London, I started to get annoyed with him.  I think he got to big for his britches, buying furniture beyond his means, although he did help a friend out so he could marry, I still think his head ballooned.
Pip becomes infatuated with Estella, Miss Havisham's adopted daughter who was born under mysterious circumstances.  He has put himself under the delusion that there is an understanding between the two; but is sadly brought down to Earth…

The Hunger Games (2012)

I saw The Hunger Games this afternoon and let me tell you, it was awesomeness!  After having finished and loved the novel, I was excitedly anticipating seeing the film.  I patiently waited for the hub to die down (I didn't want to be stuck in a theater full of middle schoolers).  So I waited, and came to the conclusion that it was worth it!

After valiantly volunteering to take her younger sister's place as District 12 Tribute is wished away to the Capital with her male competitor Petta.  While watching this sacrifice I question, would I do that for my brother?  I can only hope that if such a dreadful predicament presented itself I would do the same.  Jennifer Lawrence, does a superb job of bringing these emotions across.  I first saw her in Winter's Bone, so when my mom mentioned that she was the actress who played Katniss I was like, oh yeah, I remember her, she was good.  She ended up blowing me away.  It is hard for me to put into words, but she played our victor just …

Libeled Lady (1936)

Spencer Tracy plays Warren Haggerty, a newspaperman known for postponing his Maridel nuptials, this time due to a young woman (Myrna Loy) threatening to sue the paper for slander.  Haggerty quickly hatches a plan to persuade her to change her mind, in comes lady's man Bill Chandler (played by William Powell), who slowly woes himself into the hearts of Connie and J.B. Allenbury via J.B.'s affinity to trout fishing.  By the description on the DVD slip I expected to watch a drama, but instead I found a great comedy. Should I have expected anything less from Nick and Nora Charles?

 Anyway, Chandler checks-out every book on trout fishing know to man and the result is tall tales of fishing glory and a trout fishing trip with J.B. to prove his skill.  Needless to say,  craziness and sheer luck ensue.

Haggerty's fiance, Gladys Benton (Jean Harlow) is also in on the act, marrying Chandler in order to play the scorned wife later on with the master plot of seduction. The problem?  B…

Dark Victory (1939)

Bette Davis is my favorite actress and Dark Victory is one of my favorite movies.  Although I might not have made this statement if Bette hadn't pestered Warner Bros to buy the rights to Dark Victory; Jack Warner skeptically broke down, commenting "Who wants to see a dame go blind?"  When Dark Victory became a box office success, he ate his words.

In Dark Victory, Bette Davis plays Judith Traherne who begins having frequent "hang-overs" eventually leading her to brain surgeon Fredrick Steele (George Brent) who operates at alarming speed removing a tumor; although she is still going to die.  Doctor Steele makes the excutive decision not to disclose this and lets Judith go on her merry way.

I myself had brain surgery and even though this is one of my favorite movies I usually end up yelling at the screen because of its inaccuracies.  Besides Bette Davis having a cigarette moments before surgery (oh the good old days) my biggest problem was her hair growth.

She wen…

Early Hitchcock Films Suck

My dad recently decided that he wanted to watch more Hitchcock films, as he remembered loving them as a kid.  While we were waiting for our selected movies through Netflix I went down to the library and checked out some of his earlier work, such as Murder! and  Lifeboat.  

Afterword, we both looked at each other and said "what the fuck?!" how did Hitchcock become so big?  The story lines were so confusing that I couldn't even give an adequate description, Murder! is about a jury voting to convict a murderer and has second thoughts.  Lifeboat, is of several survivors of a torpedoed ship. (and these I got from IMDB)  Granted, these are very early films but the dark footage made it hard to concentrate and the vocals were very muffled.  

We then decided to watch some of his more popular films such as Rear Window, Dial M for Murder and The Birds;  Rear Window did not transfer at all, all four members of my family fell asleep at different points, thinking it was boring and Jimm…

Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

Gentleman's Agreement centers around Phillip Schuyler Green (played by Gregory Peck) who goes undercover as a Jew to report on antisemitism.

This film came out shortly after the end of WWII and was obvious propaganda.  The filming was dark, and while it was a dark subject itself it was so dark that sometimes I had difficult disguising what was going on.  I have always had an interest in WWII so was looking forward to seeing this, unfortunately, the story telling was so dull that I don't think I could have held my eyes up with toothpicks.  In fact I am having a hard time reviewing this as my eyes were so glazed over that I couldn't even give a fair judgement on whether Gentleman's Agreement even deserved an Oscar for Best Picture.  To conclude, this is a lackluster review for a lackluster film.

Ben Hur (1959)

I recently went to see Ben Hur on the big screen with a friend, neither of us having seen the film before.  I was disappointed by two things.  First, they didn't play "modern previews" as I would have found that hilarious and second we were not the only ones in the theater, and were joined by two other couples (six of us in all) and were several decades older than us.

The first half was interesting and built a good plot with lots of dialogue holding attention.  It was also nice to see Charlton Heston without a gun in hand or yell "damn dirty apes" and discovered he really can act.  Second was recognizing what a production Ben Hur was, like Cleopatra, but unlike the Queen of the Nile Ben Hur succeed by leaps and bounds, with its costumes and scenery and had a story to back it all up.  The film got a bit melodramatic at the end of part one but having learned of your sibling's and mother's death is understandable, although the reaction still made me giggle.

On the Queue #1

On the Queue is a weekly post in which I highlight the movies I watched from my Netflix queue the past week, to keep these posts short and sweet I am going to sum up my thoughts in one or two sentences.

Philomena was heartbreaking and quite frankly, made me angry and is an amazing story of one woman's journey to find her son.

Labor Day
Implausible, and more  Lifetime Movie material and considering the actors was a complete disappointment.  It did have a "Ghost" moment, you know the one.

I didn't feel like Possessed had a beginning, middle or an end, it just plugged along.  Strange.

Intermezzo pissed me off.  Leslie Howard's character was a douche, and I do not like to think of Leslie Howard as a douche so therefore frustrated me.  I will say the ending had an "OH MY GOD!" moment but not enough to save this film.

The Blue Gardenia
Interesting, held my attention but at the same time nondescript.

I'm Baaack!

After a two year hiatus I've returned to my classic movie blog.  I stopped blogging because writing soly about classic films had begun to feel constricting as I watch such a variety of genres and the stress of making sure I had a ready rotation of classic films to review was starting to wear.  I've recently starting watch a myriad of movies but when talking about them to friends my thoughts turned into "I liked it" and if I was lucky had one or two sentences to add.  Thus I have come back to We Have the Stars but am going to expand it to all genres, and as the title of this post proclaims, I'm baaack!