Friday, December 31, 2004

I, Robot (2004)

Sci-fi has never REALLY been my thing, but this movie wasn't too bad. Not brilliant but not too stupid. And I have to say that the robots looked very, very cool. So... would I recommend it? Probably, if they like futuristic robot movies. Well, unless they're a giant Asimov fan. Because the story uses all of Asimov's three laws but then contradicts them all at the end. *rolls eyes* 2.5 stars.

Hidalgo (2004)

Well, I'm rather irritated. Whenever I talked to people and said, "I don't think I'll see this, it's a horse movie," they always immediately reassured me that it WASN'T a horse movie. So my dad rented it and I watched it... and it WAS a horse movie! Gah. What lies. So anyway. It was a horse movie, and a horribly drawn-out one at that. I kept waiting for it to end and it didn't. Grr. I can't believe I spent the time to sit down and watch this. So long. So boring. So not worth seeing. 0.5 stars.

Big Business (1988)

Wow. This has to be one of the silliest premises ever. After the first ten minutes of movie, I had to say to myself, "Okay. I see where this is going." And I suspended disbelief... and enjoyed the movie. Some of the moments are so ridiculously forced that if I had been thinking about it, I would have been disgusted. But really, that suspension of disbelief does wonders for a movie. It was quite enjoyable when I didn't stop to think about the fact that it was loony. Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin were both quite funny in their roles. Will I ever see this again? I doubt it. Did I enjoy it this once? You bet. 3 stars.

Around the World in 80 Days (2004)

I'm VERY not fond of these movies that take fairy tales or dated stories and throw all this modernized humor into them. (Another prime example - Ella Enchanted.) It really ruins the spirit of the story. That being said, it makes sense that I hated this movie and found it mostly just stupid. I mean, come on. Martial arts in the middle of this story? Pfft. However, there *was* one part where I began to giggle uncontrollably... that San Francisco beggar was GREAT! Reminded me of the Clown or whoever the one loony guy was from Much Ado About Nothing. 0.5 stars.

Along Came a Spider (2001)

Ooh. A nice intelligent thriller. So refreshing. The villains were intelligent, the little girl was intelligent... none of those moments that made me go, "YOU IDIOT! *Why* did you just do that?" I also didn't catch on too early, not until right when I was supposed to. I'm now going to have to look up the first one in the series and see if I can watch that one next. 3 stars.

Finder's Fee (2001)

Ooh. This seems like a stage play. It really does. Five key characters, all in one room, with lots of dialogue? But apparently it wasn't one. However, this was a fascinating movie. The characters were intriguing... the five of them were so different and each one of their characters got fleshed out fairly well. And then just when you think everything's been wrapped up nice... Heh, but I'd better not give that away. ;-) It was something I didn't see coming at all, though. I don't know if I'd watch this again soon, but it was definitely cool to watch one. 4 stars.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Days of Wine and Roses (1962)

Wow. What a powerful movie about alcoholism. It's got such a sad ending, too. I liked watching how they kept trying to get out of drinking, and then falling back in, and then getting out, and then falling back in, and how finally she just gave up. This is a movie I'd really like to own someday. 4.5 stars.

Sunday, November 7, 2004

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

This is one of those movies that I remember being good, but now that I think back on it I remember very little. Which probably means it was a good movie but didn't strike me as being that fascinating. 2 stars.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

*blink* I can't believe I watched this. Okay, I can. And I guess I'll have to admit it made me laugh. ;-) It was one of the goofiest movies I've ever seen, but there were definitely parts that made me chuckle... My favorite scene had to be Beethoven remixing his symphony, though. Gah. That was great. He was getting WAY too into that. If you want an evening of complete nutty-ism without any deep thinking at all, go for this movie. Oh, heh... and when we checked it out my dad was like, "Um... yeah... this is definitely a different Keanu Reeves than you've seen in other movies..." I would have to say that is definitely true. The scary thing is in this movie he reminded me way too much of my brother. *blink* 3.5 stars.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002)

Gah. This could have been so much better. It could have been a meaningful something or other. Instead it's just like... "Oh, look at how sad her life was. Weep, weep, sob, sob." And you KNOW how much I love the weep-weep-sob-sob-we're-so-happy ones. *makes face* Once again: gah. 2 stars.

Neco z Alenky (1988)

Egggh. This was one of the creepiest movies I've ever seen. It just made me go, "UGH!" It's a retelling of "Alice in Wonderland", combining live action with animation, except everything is bizarrely surreal and like a horrid nightmare. Alice is as bold and unafraid as she was in the book, except here it seems absolutely unreasonable whereas in most of the book you always had this feeling that none of these characters would hurt her... Here, they all seem to be after her, bone creatures and rabbits in wheelchairs and socks with no feet in them... *shudder* Wouldn't see THIS one ever again. 0.5 stars.

Airplane! (1980)

YES! Now *THIS* is my kind of comedy! Sarah L., you would love this movie since apparently we have the same sense of humor ;-) I found myself laughing out loud at several different points in the movie. At one point I nearly fell off the couch, I was laughing so hard. While I'm sure most of my friends would watch this and be all, "Erm... this is dumb," I will be satisfied that I have FINALLY found a comedy movie that I find really, really funny. Oh, note though. I saw it through (if you sign up, let me know so you can sign up through me cuz I can get points and stuff for that *grin*) and according to Mom, there's so much junk in the normal version that it's not really worth seeing. 4 stars.

Father of the Bride Part II (1995)

Hmm... a bit farfetched but I suppose as enjoyable as the first one. I'd really like to see the original of this one to see how it compares to this remake. 2.5 stars.

Father of the Bride (1950)

Watching the original and remake back to back was certainly interesting. This one had darker undertones, I think - not that either of them is very dark. I've always liked Spencer Tracy as an actor, and I thought he was great in this role. However, I've never been fond of Elizabeth Taylor and thought she was pretty blah in this role. I swear she acted like she was about 14. And no girl who acts like that should be planning a wedding. *shakes head* Just not a good idea. 2.5 stars.

Father of the Bride (1991)

This one got better after the second viewing. The first time through I was like, "Okay, that had one moment that made me laugh, everything else just made me go, 'Um. Okay.'" But second time around, with the characters already defined, it was far more enjoyable. A generally pleasant family comedy. 3 stars.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Goodness. I'd never seen this. Imagine that. So B'qi made me watch it. ;-) Okay, I was up for it. But yeah... I'm glad I watched it! Sean Connery and Harrison Ford are just great together in this... So much great banter between the two of them. Teehee. Yay for banter. 3.5 stars.

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967)

Knowing how revolutionary this would have been at the time, I thought it was pretty good. Only thing is I'm not a big advocate of "what you feel is what you should do." Now THERE'S a good philosophy. Not. But anyway. Back to the movie. Pretty good... at least it's definitely a classic and I'm glad I've seen it. This was apparently Spencer Tracy's final movie, too. A good one for him to have picked. 3.5 stars.

Batman (1989)

Hard to believe, huh? That I've never actually seen Batman? Up until now, that is? As we started watching, my dad was like, "Now, this is Tim Burton's directing, which most people either love or hate..." I'm guessing I must be in that "love" category, because this is the third movie of his that I've seen, and all three I really, really like. (Big Fish and Edward Scissorhands were the other two, FYI.) It's such a wonderfully weird mix of really dark stuff and lighthearted whimsy. Gah. I love it. Heh. Might not watch this movie again but it made for a VERY fun first viewing. 3 stars.

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004)

I had read the book of this and found it absolutely hilarious, so when the movie finally got out on DVD I decided I should see it. What I saw almost lived up to my expectations! It nearly kept the spirit of the book and, aside from gratuitous Lindsay Lohan singing sequences, 'twasn't bad as a solo movie either. 3 stars.

Monday, October 4, 2004

Daddy Day Care (2003)

People kept calling this "a great movie," "a hilarious movie." I didn't see anything "great" or "hilarious" about it, but it was fun for one watch. Becca and Ben were two adorable kids, but they were the high points of the movie. Definitely had the potential to be a hilarious movie, but it only had a few moments that made me laugh, and in the end just ended up blah and preachy. Too bad, because it could have been awesome. 2.5 stars.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

I saw this on TV when I was... what, seven? Hold on, when did it come out? *counts down on fingers and gives up* However old I was, I remembered the giant bugs freaking me out and was hesitant to watch it again this time. And once I finished watching I was like, "Hrm. Well, now the giant bugs weren't so scary..." but honestly? That was the biggest kick I got out of this movie. Oh, and recognizing the obnoxious li'l kid next door as the buddy in Big. 1.5 stars.

Gaslight (1944)

Oooh. Ooh, ooh. Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar for this role, and I can see why. Watching the transformation in her character is amazing. Even sitting through parts of it the second time with my mom, I was amazed at the gradual shift from secure, happy newlywed to dazed and confused madwoman. (But I haven't given the whole plot away, there's more to it than that!) And she's not the only one who managed to make this a great movie. Charles Boyer is great in his role... creeped me out actually... and Joseph Cotten equally good in his (although rather blah at times. But then I'm picky). The transition from stage to screen went very, very well. 4.5 stars.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

I can't believe I haven't reviewed this already. This movie is one of THE best screwball comedies ever, yet my mom informed me that it bombed horribly in the box office. How?! It keeps me laughing from beginning to end. I suppose this is the closest to an "animal movie" I've ever really liked. Who would have thought that a leopard could be so hysterically funny? 4.5 stars.

Cats (1998)

This was one of my first musicals I ever heard. Since then I've listened to it so many times that it had started to lose its musical beauty to me. Then I rewatched the movie and... wow. Lots of energy. Lots of beautiful tunes. Lots of great dancing. This is one of those shows that just makes you all happy when you're watching it, even if it is disjointed plotwise. And who could resist Mr. Mistoffelees? He's just SO cool-looking. Erm... for a person dressed up as a cat, that is. :-) 4 stars.

Camelot (1967)

I have the Broadway cast recording and love it. I don't know WHAT they thought they were doing when they made this movie. Cast as Arthur: guy who comes across as very effeminate and does this freaky whispering thing. Cast as Guinvere: someone who's quite lovely but can't really sing, and definitely not at the original notes for Guinevere's songs. Lancelot was tolerable, but only that. Gah. Makes me wish I were alive when the Broadway cast was on so I could have that visual in my mind instead of this. 1.5 stars.

Basic (2003)

If you don't work TOO hard to try to make everything fit together and make sense, this is quite an acceptable movie. In fact, it's actually pretty fun, if you can keep all the characters and their names and their REAL names straight... 2.5 stars.

And Then There Were None (1945)

Maybe it was just me, but this movie made me go, "Huh?" I mean, I can accept changing the book so that we do have someone left alive at the end. I mean, Christie herself did that when she wrote it as a play. But... they changed EVERYTHING. None of those characters I came to know and... well, maybe not love, but at least know... survived the transition to movie. Too bad... because this really is a brilliant story. 1.5 stars.

Monday, July 5, 2004

12 Angry Men (1997)

Plot: Twelve men must decide the fate of one when one juror objects to the jury's decision.

For being a remake, this was quite good. Most of that goodness rested on the fact that the screenplay was almost identical to the original's and the acting, while not as amazing as the original's, was still quite solid. Definitely not bad. 3.5 stars.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (1967)

Oh, my gosh. I like a fluffy musical! *gasp* I must officially die now... Oh, wait - it's a witty bit of fluff with Frank Loesser songs. *sits back up* That makes it okay. No, seriously, this is about as silly and meaningless as you can get, but whoever wrote the book was a genius because 'twas VERY fun in spite of its silliness. And again, Frank can you go wrong with Frank Loesser? 3.5 stars.

Big Fish (2003)

I LIKED this movie. A LOT. It mixes sweet with comedic and while that sometimes doesn't work, this did. Yeah, it was a "weird" movie, but it was an awesome weird. The penultimate scene, where the kid tells the story back to his father, almost had me crying, it was so touching. I'm really baffled by the people who hated it. I thought it was pretty darn close to "brilliant." However, note to Naomi L: I am still not wowed by either EM's looks OR his acting. 4.5 stars.

Ella Enchanted (2004)

Um. Cute, but my theory is that someone started reading the book, got three chapters in and said, "This would make a great movie!" and went off to make the movie, thereby forgetting to finish the book. It follows the story with only a few deviations (well, and a minor plothole) for a short time. Then suddenly we've got a heroine with an enormous interest in politics of the kingdom, an elf who wants to be a lawyer, Mandy's boyfriend who has been turned into a magical book, an evil advisor-to-the-soon-to-be-king, a really creepy-looking talking snake... not to mention the abundance of song-and-dance scenes (although they DID sing "Let Me Entertain You" which was a plus). And the many, many pop culture references. Hello! Whatever happened to the Gail Carson Levine version? There's very little reference to the original story after the first ten minutes, and while it's mildly entertaining, the fairy tale atmosphere is mostly gone, as is the original plotline, and we're left with a style more along the lines of Shrek than Cinderella. 1 star.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

What a strange movie. It's a cut above sci-fi B-movies as far as effects go, but plotwise? I don't think so. I mean, that main woman...I wanted to strangle her. What kind of a mom is she? If my kid were acting like hers was, I would NOT be acting like her! Yeah, she really, really bugged me. 2 stars.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961)

Wow. I liked this movie. Holly is a fascinating character and the movie did a great job of building on that. Overall, a very good film. I'd watch it again, definitely. Oh, and "Moon River" also goes on my list of reasons to like the movie. 4 stars.

Call Northside 777 (1948)

Jimmy Stewart always rules. But apart from that, this movie was pretty unmemorable. To tell the truth, I can't even remember what it was about. 1.5 stars.

Another Thin Man (1939)

As murder mysteries go, it was pretty mediocre, but Nick and Nora are so great together and play off of each other so well, it was still incredibly easy to watch. Please note that, yes, this is exactly the same review as I wrote for The Thin Man. With these, you've seen one, you've seen them all - but they're fun anyway. 3.5 stars.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)

Fascinating story. I've always loved it. This version is pretty high-quality, although I don't care much for silent films - I can never resist making up new lines for them. Oh, and I do have two questions. One: Was that Italian girl supposed to be dancing? And two: What was with the Hyde-spider?! 3 stars.

Cheaper By the Dozen (2003)

Gosh, I hope our family doesn't turn into them. Talk about out of control. He had to hire help for three days? When he had two teenagers to help him out? With that in mind, however, there were a few genuinely funny bits, making it good for the one viewing. There's no reason to watch it again. 1.5 stars.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Gigi (1958)

Lerner and Loewe were an interesting pair. They gave us the comedic My Fair Lady, the tragic Camelot, the very boring Brigadoon, and the I-have-never-seen-it Paint Your Wagon, which were very balanced musically. The first two were amazing, the second two were horrendous. So I was interested to see which category this fell into. Well, it was pretty evenly balanced - right in between. We've got mostly very mediocre songs like "The Night They Invented Champagne" and then suddenly we've got a sweet, funny, romantic song like "I Remember It Well." The actual story dragged out forever, and none of the characters really hit me as being intriguing, or really even vaguely interesting. However, this notice does bring one to ask - what IS it about Lerner and Loewe movies that their leading men simply talk their songs? There are some loely melodies - so why aren't they used? Argh. 3 stars.

Deathtrap (1982)

Wow. Not quite as wow-inducing as Sleuth, but This is one of the very few movies where I had no inkling of the major plot twist. I mean none at all. And then it just kept surprising me. As far as mind-bending "who's good, who's bad" movies, this one definitely makes the top five! 4 stars.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Plot: Two hapless frieght handlers find themselves encountering Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man.

Um....I can't believe I got this out of the library. I mean, Abbott and Costello movies aren't exactly profound...but I have to admit, I enjoyed most of it. Whenever there was actual plot, it got boring, but as long as it was just silly rambling, it was definitely fun. ("What's in there?" "Broom closet.") 2.5 stars.

Father Goose (1964)

As far as romantic comedies go, this one is pretty ruling. True, I really don't like Leslie Caron, but she managed to be quite fun and a very intriguing character. The Cary Grant character was also awesome. He just threw out these one-liners one after the other. I also didn't find the children too irritating - that's definitely a plus. I wouldn't mind seeing this one again someday. 3.5 stars.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

12 Angry Men (1957)

Plot: A dissenting juror in a murder trial slowly manages to convince the others that the case is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court.

Don't know if I ever mentioned it, but I think this is one of the best classics ever. Not necessarily my favorite, but one of the best. In the short space of two hours, it manages to flesh out very thoroughly twelve distinct characters, at the same time keeping you intrigued with the mystery aspect of it. I found myself watching eagerly every second. Would I recommend this? You bet! 4.5 stars.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Bride and Prejudice (2004)

Oh, boy, was this fun. Light, fluffy, random musical numbers with really lame lyrics . . . what more could one ask for? :-) Seriously, this was THE perfect light and fluffy romantic comedy. Definitely didn't work as a musical, but part of the fun was the sappiness and ridiculousness of the musical numbers and their overacted choreography. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of watching this. Nice contrast to Bend It Like Beckham, which was a teen sports movie with a bit of substance to it. This has no substance at all. But if you loved the original Pride and Prejudice story, you're bound to love this one, which follows the original story much, much closer than, say, Bridget Jones's Diary. Good stuff. 3 stars.

Annie Get Your Gun (1950)

Hmm... getting a musical solely on the fact that it's a musical certainly doesn't guarantee it'll be good. Irving Berlin's never been a favorite of mine, so very few of the songs really made me sit up and take notice. "I've Got the Sun the Morning," while ridiculously unnecessary to the plot, was fun, and "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" was simply classic. To my horror, though, my two favorite songs from the show ("Old-Fashioned Wedding" and "I Got Lost In His Arms") were cut! That alone brings this down a couple notches. But Betty Hutton's charming performance as the eager, tomboyish Annie Oakley, brings those notches back up. ;-) 2.5 stars.

Hercules (1997)

As far as Disney movies go, it was a real disappointment. The songs were good, and one or two parts made me chuckle, and I got a big kick out of hearing theater person Susan Egan as Meg, but other than that, it was pretty lame. And what the heck is with those titans? Somebody forgot to study their Greek mythology... 1 star.

Big (1988)

This is one of those strange movies that I remember I liked, but when I sit down to actually write about it, I can't remember why, or even much of the movie. I do remember being far more impressed with Tom Hanks' performance than with the actual movie. He was very believable as his character, and really, he was the one who made the movie. Not bad for a second viewing, but I'd never buy it. 3 stars.

Baby Boom (1987)

As far as romantic comedies go, this one isn't bad. It's got one major plus - a very cute baby - and one major minus - the girl returns to the country. Dang it, why aren't people ever content to stay in the city? I've seen too many of these "city doesn't fulfill, country does" movies, and they make me angry. Still, the baby was cute, and Diane Keaton's character was very likeable... so I suppose that compensates enough. 2.5 stars.

Elf (2003)

Awww!!! This may be the first time I've ever totally loved a movie dude who wasn't intellectually smart. *thinks* Yep. I think so. This movie was incredibly funny and quite sweet without being as preachy and sappy as I thought it would be. Yeah, the climactic ending scene was pushing it a bit far, but it certainly wasn't as bad as some other Christmas movies I could name, but won't because I'm being diplomatic here. Anyway, the movie was generally great, and Will Ferrell was utterly charming as Buddy. Wouldn't mind watching this one a couple more times! 3.5 stars.

42nd Street (1933)

Plot: A producer puts on what may be his last Broadway show, and at the last moment a chorus girl has to replace the star.

I got this out of the library having heard several of the songs from the show on my showtunes radio station ("Lullaby of Broadway," "Sunny Side To Every Situation," and "We're In the Money") ... and then proceeded to discover that NONE of those songs were in the movie! It had a grand total of four songs (one repeated twice) and none of the ones I knew. Aghast, I went and looked up a synopsis online... the Broadway production had NINE songs that the movie didn't. This leads me to believe that it was a vaguely musical movie that then was transformed into a fully musical stage production, because cutting nine songs and not even replacing them with anything would just be stupid. The movie itself, sans music, was only decent. The dialogue was stilted, and at a few parts my father pointed out that any movie with such fluff in it today would be laughed out of the theater. Although I don't know... The Wedding Planner was generally applauded... Oops. Did I say that out loud? *covers mouth* But in general, this movie was a waste of time (no money wasted no this, luckily). Don't bother with it. 1 star.

An American in Paris (1951)

Ah, the early romantic musicals. Full of great song and dance numbers and generally ridiculous plot contrivances to make the songs fit together. An American in Paris is a prime example of this. The songs are all nice, but they just don't fit in the plot. I mean, come on. The boyfriend releases the girl to go back to the man she loves - and has a smile on his face the entire time. "By Strauss" couldn't really have any conceivably normal lead-in... and "I Got Rhythm" was made incredibly irritating by a bunch of little kids screaming "I GOT!" Sheesh. 'Tis a marvelous song, must it be ruined? *sob* However, if Gershwin's your forte and you don't mind silly plot contrivances... go for it. Er. Not ruining "I Got Rhythm." Watching the movie. 1.5 stars.

Fail-Safe (1964) What a heavy movie. Left me going, "" Heh... really, it was amazing. I had to think for an hour before I decided if I liked it or not, but then I decided I did. Immensely. My only real complaint? Walter Matthau's idiot character. I swear I wanted to grind him up into little pieces and then jump on him. 4 stars.

Monday, January 19, 2004

It's Always Fair Weather (1955)

This was exactly the mood I was in the night I watched it. A good ol' cheesy, contrived, let's-burst-into-song-and-dance-while-we're-walking-down-the-street, walk-off-into-the-sunset-at-the-end 1950's movie musical. And that's exactly what it was and therefore it was very satisfying. As far as said GOCCL-B-I-S-A-D-W-W-W-D-T-SW-O-I-T-S-A-T-E-1MMs go (gah, that was ridiculous) it wasn't nearly as good as Singin' in the Rain, but it was a heck of a lot better than, say, There's No Business Like Show Business. Most of the songs were enjoyable, while not memorable, and there were actually quite a few dance scenes that made us go, "Whoa. That would be....rather hard." Pretty decent entertainment. 3 stars.

Thursday, January 8, 2004

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

Dr. Seuss stories are absolutely delightful, and the movieization of this story lost nothing in the charm and innocence of the book. (I refuse to see the new live action version, based mostly on the fact that it's PG and if you PGerize Dr. Seuss, you can get nothing but junk.) It's definitely one of my absolute favorite Christmas movies. 4 stars.

Hook (1991)

I've always thought Peter Pan was one of the most charming children's books I'd ever read, and so approached this movie with a hopeful expectation with just a tad of wary suspicion mixed in. But the suspicion soon vanished as the tale began to unfold, and it became clear what the movie would be like. It was delightful from beginning to end, a new twist on the classic story. Yup... one of those movies I'd like to see again someday. 3.5 stars.

Crocodile Dundee (1986)

I've always loved those "person changes cultures" stories, whether they're traveling around in time, outer space, or earth. So this one was, of course, a blast. Played with the idea just enough - not enough for either an "Okay, when will they stop beating this joke into my head?" or an "Uh... that was it?" reaction. All in all, great fun. 3.5 stars.

Clue (1985)

Wow... this could have been so much more... Even as it was, though, it was very funny in spots and worth another watch some time. As far as great silly detective stories go, though, Murder By Death was better. 3 stars.