frankly, my dear...

Side by Side (#40)

This was great. And as a person who, no matter how intriguing the subject matter, tends to get stir crazy during docs, I really mean it when I say I was fascinated. This is a really necessary movie for anyone interested in filmmaking, even with Keanu Reeves narrating (he’s actually quite good in his producing/interviewing role). The debate over film vs. digital is an interesting one, and I’ll throw my thoughts up later in a separate post, but I think that Christopher Kenneally and Reeves do a really good job presenting the passion of both sides of the coin. There’s some great info and interesting interviews with industry professionals and I highly recommend checking it out. (Thanks diddywah!)

Day for Night (La nuit américaine) (#30) (#182)

I really enjoyed this, and the more I think about it, the more I love it, which is a wonderful feeling. Francois Truffaut does a terrific job telling stories about people within the larger, jumbled life of a movie being made. All the performances are natural and lovely (including his own) but most notably Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Jean-Pierre Aumont and Nathalie Baye. I loved all the scenes with Joelle and Bernard (especially the one with the cat). As the tagline declares, this really is a movie for people who love movies.

Rebecca (#19)(#180)

THIS IS SO GOOD. Really though, absolutely phenomenal. I don’t know Alfred Hitchcock show such a deft hand before (and I certainly found it to be the clearest cinematography of any of his pictures). The tension is exquisite and it’s marvelously well written. Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier are flawless, and it’s a real shame that neither won the Oscars for which they were nominated, because they deserved them. I have to watch it again to really catch all the subtlety but long story short I was completely blown away. Dare I say that it may surpass Notorious to become my favorite Hitchcock film?

Flashdance (#124)

I always forget how much I love 80s romance movies. They’re just so over the top in the way the hero/heroine loves someone but just can’t let go of their pride to let them know (here’s looking at you An Officer and a Gentlemen) - they’re almost more realistic than the goofy romcoms nowadays in that way. Honestly though, this is fun. Over the top? Certainly in retrospect. Lacking real depth or complexity? Rather. But I thought it was fun. All the shots of Jennifer Beals in her 80s workout clothes are hysterical (that montage of her and the other dancers at the gym working out to Joan Jett is pure gold) but she’s pretty decent, as is Michael Nouri. TERRIFIC soundtrack. Good dirty 80s dancing moving gold.

The Fighter (#92)

I’m not a big sport/boxing movie fan, but I thought this was exceptional and deserving of every nomination and award it received. Very much a passion project, you can tell that everyone involved gave it their best. A terrific script very deserving of its Oscar nomination. Top of the line direction from David O. Russell and absolutely terrific performances from the four leads Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams. I liked the use of music, Mickey O’Keefe playing himself, and thought everything was really well paced. Loved it.

Blow-Up (#91) (#168)

I may be the only one in my film theory class who felt this way, but I loved it. I don’t generally go in for “art films” - as Blow-Up was initially defined on its release - but I thought this was phenomenal. While I didn’t quite track some moments (What was up with those two girls coming to his studio and everyone getting naked? Was it rape? And if so, rape of who?) and do agree that areas could have been streamlined, I really loved the visual style and very minimalist sound design. It’s very much a commentary on London 60s mod life (so of course I loved that) and I found David Hemmings’ performance to be enthralling. I’m definitely going to have to check out more Michelangelo Antonioni films. While certainly not for everyone, and I feel pretentious admitting it, I would love to own a Criterion collection disc of this if there’s one about.

Argo (#90)

I cannot wait for the 2013 Oscars, mostly because I know that Argo is going to be a major presence and I can’t wait to root for it every step of the way. To put it simply, Argo is fantastic. Chris Terrio’s script is one of the best I’ve read in a very long time (and as someone whose job it is to read scripts, I think that should carry at least a little weight) and I will personally picket the Academy if he isn’t at least nominated. Ben Affleck handles the material - and lead role - expertly and is shaping up to be one of the most consistent and talented directors working in Hollywood. Great ensemble cast - particular highlights being John Goodman and Alan Arkin - and a well put together film on the whole. Thrilling and funny and terrifically tense at the end, even if you know how things turned out in real life. Go watch it in theaters. You won’t be disappointed.

Broadcast News (#89)

I thought this was wonderful. Smart, funny, honest, and incredibly genuine at moments. Best lines:

Paul: “It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you’re the smartest person in the room.”
Jane: “No. It’s awful.”

Blair: “Except for socially, you’re my role model.”

Seriously, I really liked it. We all know I love William Hurt, so of course I liked seeing him here even if his character wasn’t necessarily the most likable person ever. Holly Hunter is terrific, though, and i”ve got to remember to look up more movies with her from the 80s. Great direction and script from James L. Brooks. I’m so pleased that it got all the Oscar noms it did and even if it doesn’t have the standard Hollywood ending, I really liked that. It’s a movie I’d happily watch again.

Stagecoach (#86) (#167)
I thought this was hysterical, mostly because my friend and I created the perfect drinking game that we will have to play next time we watch it. The hilarity of the questionable direction aside (really, I don’t get why this is the epitome of John Ford direction for so many people. I found it uninspired and frankly bad in terms of frames at some moments), I really did enjoy this. John Wayne’s great (and might I just say, Dat Ass!), as is Claire Trevors, and even if their relationship is inexplicably immediate, I rather enjoyed it. The stunts at the end are phenomenal and it retains its exciting pacing throughout. Definitely a Western I’d happily watch again. And for the drinking game….
Drink When:
Characters stare at each other, the camera, or into space.
Someone makes a racial slur.
Finish your drink when the sassy piano player shows up.

Stagecoach (#86) (#167)

I thought this was hysterical, mostly because my friend and I created the perfect drinking game that we will have to play next time we watch it. The hilarity of the questionable direction aside (really, I don’t get why this is the epitome of John Ford direction for so many people. I found it uninspired and frankly bad in terms of frames at some moments), I really did enjoy this. John Wayne’s great (and might I just say, Dat Ass!), as is Claire Trevors, and even if their relationship is inexplicably immediate, I rather enjoyed it. The stunts at the end are phenomenal and it retains its exciting pacing throughout. Definitely a Western I’d happily watch again. And for the drinking game….

Drink When:

  1. Characters stare at each other, the camera, or into space.
  2. Someone makes a racial slur.
  3. Finish your drink when the sassy piano player shows up.
Love and Other Disasters (#81)
I unapologetically loved this. Maybe it’s because my own unabashed dream is to be a hip-American transplant to Britain and live Jacks’ life, but I found everything thoroughly entertaining and charming. The cast is lovely (even Brittany Murphy once I got used to her) and I found everything to be quick, entertaining, and sweet. I’m not sure how I felt about all the self-aware stuff (it was a bit too meta for what it is at some points) but the rest of the movie is so sweet and funny that I can forgive it. I’m definitely going to try and track down a cheap DVD for my collection and will happily be watching it again. (Plus: Jacks’ eye makeup? Amazing!)

Love and Other Disasters (#81)

I unapologetically loved this. Maybe it’s because my own unabashed dream is to be a hip-American transplant to Britain and live Jacks’ life, but I found everything thoroughly entertaining and charming. The cast is lovely (even Brittany Murphy once I got used to her) and I found everything to be quick, entertaining, and sweet. I’m not sure how I felt about all the self-aware stuff (it was a bit too meta for what it is at some points) but the rest of the movie is so sweet and funny that I can forgive it. I’m definitely going to try and track down a cheap DVD for my collection and will happily be watching it again. (Plus: Jacks’ eye makeup? Amazing!)

London Boulevard (#77)

I know this was generally panned and didn’t even get a proper US release and whatnot, but I thought it was great. As we all know, I have something of a soft spot for all things London, and that extends to movies set in it’s dodgier corners. London Boulevard plays out like a less tortured In Bruges melded with a simpler L4yer Cake/Snatch and it does so beautifully. It’s a great directorial debut (and standardly smart and snappy script) from William Monahan. It’s just stylized enough to be cool but not over done, it’s beautifully shot, and I loved the use of music. Plus, we all know by now that any not-quite-mainstream action/gangster flick starring Colin Farrell is going to be awesome (see how I skirted around the recent tanking of Total Recall there?) and Keira Knightley will forever be my girl. Add in Ray WInstone, David Thewlis, Anna Friel and plenty of other actors and you have some great performances from a deceptively terrific cast. Even if I’m in the Netflix minority, I stand by my opinion that this was great and totally worth the time.

Chariots of Fire (#62) (#160)
I watched the first hour of this a little over a week ago but then took a movie watching hiatus to watch - appropriately enough - the London Olympics. Through this lapse, some of my emotional continuity was lost, but I still found it to be an incredibly wonderful and powerful film. (And this coming from the girl who as a rule abhors overtly religious films.) The performances from all the leads are flawless (I particularly loved Nigel Havers and Ian Charleson) and made me truly care for each and every one of them. The script is swift and eloquent (very British) and even if the mise-en-scene is a little too dark at some moments, it fits the early 80s aesthetic and may be forgiven. I was surprised to find the iconic score (who isn’t familiar with the theme?) so very 80s, but that’s forgivable, even if it does draw one out of the film at moments. At the end of the road though, I found this to be a beautiful, inspiring film; one I look forward to watching again in the future and consider well deserving of its status as a classic.

Chariots of Fire (#62) (#160)

I watched the first hour of this a little over a week ago but then took a movie watching hiatus to watch - appropriately enough - the London Olympics. Through this lapse, some of my emotional continuity was lost, but I still found it to be an incredibly wonderful and powerful film. (And this coming from the girl who as a rule abhors overtly religious films.) The performances from all the leads are flawless (I particularly loved Nigel Havers and Ian Charleson) and made me truly care for each and every one of them. The script is swift and eloquent (very British) and even if the mise-en-scene is a little too dark at some moments, it fits the early 80s aesthetic and may be forgiven. I was surprised to find the iconic score (who isn’t familiar with the theme?) so very 80s, but that’s forgivable, even if it does draw one out of the film at moments. At the end of the road though, I found this to be a beautiful, inspiring film; one I look forward to watching again in the future and consider well deserving of its status as a classic.

Beyond Borders (#51)
I thought this was terrific. First off, it reminded me how much I love Clive Owen and how I need to get back into the habit of watching everything he’s connected with. No one does rugged-good-guys-with-compromised-morals-but-really-making-an-effort-all-the-same better than he does these days. This movie also served to remind me that hate Angelina Jolie as much as you want for being a gorgeous superstar and whatnot, she’s also a damn good actress and there’s an actual reason she’s so well respected in the industry. Supporting actors Noah Emmerich and Linus Roache round out the film beautifully (particularly Emmerich). I also always forget about Martin Campbell when I’m thinking about directors I’d like to work with, but he’s really great. (Even though I have to ask who thought it was a good idea to use Papyrus as the credits font. Papyrus? Really? Were those made by a 6th grader?) Great story both in terms of love and wider international themes. I completely loved it.

Beyond Borders (#51)

I thought this was terrific. First off, it reminded me how much I love Clive Owen and how I need to get back into the habit of watching everything he’s connected with. No one does rugged-good-guys-with-compromised-morals-but-really-making-an-effort-all-the-same better than he does these days. This movie also served to remind me that hate Angelina Jolie as much as you want for being a gorgeous superstar and whatnot, she’s also a damn good actress and there’s an actual reason she’s so well respected in the industry. Supporting actors Noah Emmerich and Linus Roache round out the film beautifully (particularly Emmerich). I also always forget about Martin Campbell when I’m thinking about directors I’d like to work with, but he’s really great. (Even though I have to ask who thought it was a good idea to use Papyrus as the credits font. Papyrus? Really? Were those made by a 6th grader?) Great story both in terms of love and wider international themes. I completely loved it.

Double Jeopardy (#48)

This is a great thriller. I never love Tommy Lee Jones more than when he’s running after some escaped convict, and whether he comes to believe in them (a la The Fugitive) or realizes that they are pure evil (hello No Country For Old Men) he’s pure gold regardless and the trend continues here. Ashley Judd is really great as a driven, almost destroyed mom and carries the movie very effectively. Bruce Greenwood is also terrifically slimy and evil. It’s well written and directed, quick paced, and perfectly taught. And the ending is so good! Definitely one worth checking out.

Out of Sight (#41)

This was great. First things first: the technical/aesthetic aspects are really cool. The score is standard hip Soderbergh style (practically the same as the Oceans movies, but it works so who cares), the writing is snappy, sound mixing awesome (love the use of voice overs for once), and the editing completely refreshing (the use of flashforwards is wonderful, and while the stylization might not be for everyone, I quite liked it). Now that I’m done nerding, I can also say that George Clooney is in his suave element here (an alternative title to the film could be, “Danny Ocean: The Slightly More Gritty But Still Pretty Fucking Smooth Life Before He Met Tess”) and Jennifer Lopez is pretty good too. Of course Ving Rhames and Don Cheadle are also marvelous, with the latter being really scare and off his rocker. As you know, I like movies about thieves and even when the theft isn’t the main part, I thought the romance was great (especially in the self aware comments regarding 3 Days of the Condor at the beginning) and really liked the movie on whole.