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)

Oh...my. What a heavy movie. Left me going, "Oh...my." 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.