Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Side of the Mountain (1969)

An adventure directed by James B. Clark, written by Jean Craighead George.
A boy takes his pet raccoon and goes to live off the land in the Catskill mountains.
Like I've said before, I like pioneer and mountain-man films. This is no exception (except that it's a mountain-boy). The main character is good and the plot kept my attention. It's hard to imagine some kid doing this today in our high-tech society of brain-dead sheeple. I don't imagine homeland security would take too kindly to it, thinking he might be a terrace. For this, I rate it good.

Angel Town (1990)

An action film directed by Eric Karson, starring Olivier Gruner.
A French kickboxer goes to a university in East L.A. and rents an apartment in a gang-infested neighborhood. He gets involved in a conflict between his landlords and the gang.
The plot and characters were hokey, but the fights were decent. I'm not saying they were good, as Tony Jaa makes these guys look Cro-Magnon in comparison. The hero seemed like a cheap copy of Jean-Claude Van Damme and fought and acted accordingly. Check out the cover for proof of this. This is o.k. if you're just looking to see some Latino gangsters get beat up, but otherwise, avoid it. I'm rating it o.k.

Android (1982)

A science fiction directed by Aaron Lipstadt.
A crew of fugitives board a research ship where an android is being built.
This film was the ultra-cheese. It was so lame and '80s that it almost hurt to watch. The only character that developed any depth was an android and the plot was transparent. If you're looking for '80s cheese, this is it! I'm rating it poor because I feel sorry for it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

An Angel at My Table (1990)

A biography directed by Jane Campion.
The life of author, Janet Frame is shown. Janet grows up in New Zealand and goes to college before being admitted to a psychiatric hospital where she is driven insane. When she gets out, she goes to Spain and has a brief affair with an American, then goes to London.
The style was really good and the camera-work was creative instead of destructive. The main character was portrayed very well and they picked good actresses to play her at various times in her life. The only thing that I had problems with was that it lacked continuity. There were giant time leaps here and there which disrupted the flow. I'm rating it awesome for style.

Another Day in Paradise (1998)

A crime drama directed by Larry Clark, starring James Woods.
An older drug dealing couple team up with a younger drug doing couple to execute some robberies.
The characters and plot were good, but the pacing was off. The visual style was also not to my taste, as it relied too heavily on warm colors. There was a lot of blues and country-based music throughout the film. I'm rating it adequate because it should have been better, but as is, it wasn't bad.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Animal Farm (1954)

An animated drama by John Halas and Joy Batchelor.
The animals of a farm overthrow the human farmer and run it themselves. When the pigs take over, the other animals start to question if this new leadership is the same as the old.
This story is one that I've heard compared to the way things have worked in the history of the real world. Under pig rule, all of the ingredients are there: lies, a class system, a military police force... Sounds like the way that the United States is run these days. I'm rating this good for being politically accurate.

Amazon Jail (1982)

A sexploitation film by Oswaldo de Oliveira.
An older couple run a harem in the rainforest.
I watched about 20 minutes of this and turned it off because this is a film blog, not a porn review. The audio sync was so off that it looked badly dubbed. I'm reviewing serious films here, not pornography.

American Pop (1981)

A musical by Ralph Bakshi.
The son of a rabbi goes to America and his subsequent family gets involved in every era of the American music scene.
This film was done in rotoscope by Bakshi, so the animation is the absolute best. The characters are very good and the plot is deep. The music was generally good, although some was a little stale. I saw something a little odd when Tony leaves his room. Is that his dresser or a satanic altar? The worst thing about a good movie like this is that there isn't much to say. I'm rating it awesome.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Crazy People (1990)

A comedy directed by Tony Bill, starring Dudley Moore and Daryl Hannah.
An advertising executive gets tired of lieing all the time and writes honest ads. He is committed to an insane asylum for this, but the ads accidentally get published and the new approach to advertising works. When the old business partners contact the man at the mental home, he gets the other inmates to write ads with him.
The fake advertisements were the funniest part of this film. I normally don't even watch comedies, but this one made me laugh and I liked it. The characters and plot were decent even though they were predictable. I'm rating this good for being so funny.

Perfect Strangers (2001)

A drama by Stephen Poliakoff.
A young man goes with his parents to a family reunion. At first he is lost, but soon he becomes a messenger for his family members while learning some history.
The whole 3 part thing was over 3 hours long, which I liked but others might not find that so pleasing. The family featured is very rich and I was looking for free masonry to be mentioned at some point, but a quick mention of the Rothschilds is all that happened. The characters and plot were pretty good, but it was a bit long and dull. I'm rating it adequate.

Monday, January 24, 2011

An American Crime (2007)

A drama directed by Tommy O'Haver.
A carnival family drops their 2 daughters off to be cared for by a woman they just met. When one of the daughters lets out information about the woman's real daughter, the abuse begins.
This was dark, depressing and tragic... And really cool! The care taker woman is always sipping what I thought was whiskey, but it turns out that it was barbituates and the most dangerous cough medicine ever created (Coricidin). The other kids are all afraid of the woman and bring friends over to help torture the girl. There is a dream sequence near the end that fooled me for a little while, but it serves the plot well. I'm rating this good for being so negative.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Amazon Women on the Moon (1987)

A comedy by John Landis, starring "lots of actors".
Brief skits and commercials are shown between sparse scenes of a bad science fiction film.
Some of the skits were funny, but the film lacked continuity. It was just a bunch of shorts thrown together. I'm rating it o.k. because although it wasn't a good film, I did laugh.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Listen, Darling (1938)

A musical romance directed by Edwin L. Marin, starring Judy Garland.
A girl and her friend kidnap the girl's mother and brother to prevent a marriage. They go on a short road trip on a quest to find new suitors.

The best part of this film was the first 10 minutes, featuring Judy Garland singing "zing went the strings of my heart". After an opening like that, anything would be a rough downhill slide.
There were some odd things that happened though. The first is that the man they didn't want Judy's "mother" marrying was called Mr. Drugs. Once everyone agrees about the road trip, there is a driving song about butt sex. "on the bumpy road to love" contains the lyrics "We'll go bumpty, bumpty, bumpty, bump on the bumpy road to love" and "home sweet home is in the rear". I can't think of any other meaning for a song like that. I'm giving this one a mixed rating.

Allegro (2005)

A drama directed by Christoffer Boe.
A pianist falls in love with a woman and when he moves away, he forgets his past. A man calls him back to his hometown to remember things.
They tried to do too much with too little in this film. The characters were o.k., but the plot was unbelievable. I think they were trying to read too deeply into a subject that wasn't explained well enough. I'm rating it poor because they were over-reaching.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)

A historical drama by Carol Reed, starring Charlton Heston.
Michelangelo is commissioned to paint the Sistine chapel, but does not agree with the pope about the idea.
The characters were good, but the plot was mediocre. Charlton Heston acted painting very well and I think he actually painted a few lines himself. This puts the film miles above the ones that feature people pretending to make art or music. You don't want to know how many times I've seen someone fake playing guitar unsuccessfully. I expected more agony and more ecstasy from this film. Michelangelo was definitely shown suffering a little, but not as much as I had hoped. The ecstasy consisted of 1 scene of him looking at some clouds (5 min max). Where did the title emotions go? I'm rating it o.k. and the only thing that saved it from poor was the actor actually painting.

Allegro Non Troppo (1976)

An animated musical by Bruno Bozetto.
A conductor, animator, and orchestra assemble to create an Italian Fantasia.
The '70s style of animation is a little like Ralph Bakshi's work, but not quite as good. I didn't get any subtitles, so when the actors are talking in the live action parts I had no clue what they were saying. There was a lot of physical comedy and most of it was animations with music, so subtitles aren't absolutely necessary. I'm rating this adequate because it was cool, but not exactly Bakshi.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Adventurer (1917)

A comedy by Charlie Chaplin.
An escaped convict runs from law enforcement and saves some people from drowning. They invite him to their house where they are having a "fancy party".
This film was very direct and uncluttered, being only 31 minutes long. The most common action was a swift kick in the arse. Mr. Chaplin's physical comedy was very similar to the later Looney Toons style and used many of the same gags. I'm rating it good because it kicks ass!

Across the Great Divide (1976)

An adventure by Stewart Raffill, starring Robert Logan.
2 children meet a gambler on the run when they are all traveling to Oregon. They eventually team up to overcome difficulties along the way.
I like these American frontier films for some weird reason. This one was pretty good, but not quite Jeremiah Johnson material. It was predictable and more than a little choppy. I even saw a microphone in one of the scenes. The characters were good and the plot was decent. I'm rating it adequate, which isn't too bad.

The Abominable Snowman (1957)

A horror directed by Val Guest.
A team of men climb the Himalaya mountains in search of yetis.
This was old and the special effects were terrible. I understand that in 1957 there weren't going to be any CG yetis, but they could have at least built a model for the dead one. There was a cool scene with a hand reaching under the edge of a tent though. I'm rating it bad because it's just not worth watching.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

All You Need Is Cash (1978)

A mockumentary by Eric Idle.
The Rutles, a Beatles-like rock group rise into and fall from stardom.
I got some of the humor of this film, but most of it was lost on me. The tea joke was pretty funny and the narrator running to stay in the camera frame was humorous. Overall, it was mediocre just like the style of music that it was about. I'm rating it o.k.

Alive (1993)

A disaster film directed by Frank marshall, starring Ethan Hawke.
A plane carrying a South American rugby team crashes in the Andes mountains. The survivors of the crash try to stay living.
The plot was good and the pacing and style were right. The characters were a little bland, but decent. My main concern is South Americans with Spanish names speaking English for 2 hours. I know that it was based on a true story, but come on! I know it was done to sell tickets and videos, but it seems as fake as a terrace attack. The question of cannibalism comes up here. I would like to state that I would eat human meat. I would cook it (unlike these dumb asses) and probably enjoy it. If your "god" lets you eat pigs, cows, fish and birds, then I doubt he would care about adding another species to the list of "food animals". When they began eating the butt-meat of their dead friends, I expected the camera to zoom out and show a row of corpses without asses. It would have gotten a good review, but Carlitos and Nando were speaking fluent English to each other. I'm rating it adequate.

Alice in Wonderland (1999)

A fantasy directed by Nick Willing, under Hallmark Entertainment, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Gene Wilder and Christopher Lloyd, with special effects by Jim Henson's creature shop.
A girl follows a rabbit into a fantasy world.
These people took the Alice in Wonderland story and threw it in a blender. Then Jim Henson puppets were added along with some digital effects. The outcome is a strange mix of crappiness and Henson style magic. The plot was a jumbled mess and the whole thing seemed forced. I'm rating it o.k. because I liked the Henson creatures, but everything else was terrible.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Alice in the Cities (1974)

A drama by Wim Wenders.
A man meets a woman and her daughter at an airport because they both want to go to the same place. They share a hotel room and the man takes the daughter sight-seeing in the morning. While they are gone, the mother leaves and the man is stuck with the little girl.
This film was all in black and white and the soundtrack was very limited. The style of the film is what is really cool. The pacing was good too. I'm rating it good for that "undefinable something" that makes movies great.

Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003)

A documentary directed by Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill.
America's first female serial killer is interviewed, along with those who know her story.
This film is about the real person that Monster was based on. The interviews are very revealing about the life that this woman lived. I'm rating it adequate for being unbiased.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Against the Dark (2009)

A horror directed by Richard Crudo, starring Steven Seagal.
After a zombie apocalypse, a few remaining survivors gather in a large building where they are rescued by a vigilante team called "hunters".
'80s cheese meets '00s lighting and camera-work. It doesn't get much worse than this. This is one of those bad movies that some people watch to mock. It suits this purpose admirably. Other than that, it's total crap. I'm rating it bad because it looks like it was intended to be so.

Affliction (1998)

A drama directed by Paul Schrader, starring James Coburn, Willem Dafoe and Nick Nolte.
A low level law enforcement official in a small town has problems with his family and job. When a hunting accident kills a tourist, the "cop" thinks that it wan't an accident and this adds to his problems.
Ithink this was a definite waste of a good cast. There's the thief from The Good Thief, the forensic detective from Boondock Saints and the explosives expert from Duck You Sucker. These 3 guys should have been in something a little more exciting. I got bored, so I'm rating it poor. The only things that saved it from a bad rating have already been mentioned.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Acapulco Gold (1973)

A documentary directed by Bob Gosvenor.
A variety of people show how cannabis used to be grown, harvested and smuggled.
This documentary is very pretty with fields and gardens of cannabis. The people featured in it are unique and it is presented in an unbiased manner. This is the opposite of Reefer Madness. I'm rating it adequate because it seems like it would be more interesting than it actually is (just like smoking cannabis!).

White Heat (1949)

A crime film directed by Raoul Walsh, starring James Cagney.
After a gangster robs a train, he turns himself in for a smaller crime committed on the same date by a different man. He thinks that prison will be a vacation, but his lifestyle follows him.
This was just another regular old gangster movie. The criminals are bad and the cops always catch them. There was a technique that the cops used to track a moving vehicle that I liked. They mounted a radio transmitting oscillator on the vehicle and set up 2 receivers in other cars to track the location. I'm rating it o.k. for blending in with the crowd.

Adam's Apples (2005)

A black comedy directed by Anders Thomas Jensen.
A man is released from prison and required to live at a church with 2 other ex-convicts like himself and a priest. The priest tells him that he needs to complete a task and the man chooses to bake an apple pie.
The characters were entertaining and the plot was interesting. This is another one in which everyone has problems. The film is relatively short and worth watching. My favorite scene was the one in which the men shoot some crows out of the apple tree. Usually comedies don't get very good scores here, but the dark sense of humor in this one sets it apart from others. I'm rating it good.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Aberdeen (2000)

A drama directed by Hans Petter Moland, starring Stellan Skarsgard and Lena Headey.
A distant family comes together: The mother is in the hospital with cancer, the daughter is a successful business woman who is addicted to cocaine and the father is an unemployed alcoholic. The daughter and father have to travel across the country to see the mother before she dies.
Everyone in this film has such problems... it's great! Conflict makes a plot interesting. The pace was slow, but that worked out to be an advantage. The plot was good, but the characters made it worth watching. I'm rating this film good and it deserves every bit of that good rating.

Adam Resurrected (2009)

A drama directed by Paul Schrader, starring Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe.
A performer was abused in a concentration camp by a commander who made him act like a dog. He lives in a home with other mentally ill holocaust survivors. He finds that a dog boy has been admitted into the building and tries to help him.
The main character had bottles of booze in every heating vent of the entire building and was moderately entertaining. The dog boy was slightly interesting as well. The plot was deep, but didn't do much for me. It is a decent movie, but nothing to get excited about. I'm rating it adequate.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Adjuster (1991)

A drama by Atom Egoyan.
An insurance adjuster gets intimate with a client at the hotel that he sends all of his clients to. A filmmaker comes to the adjuster's house and wants to use it for a movie he is making.
I watched this whole thing waiting for a plot to develop, but no such thing happened. Another thing that didn't develop was the characters. It's very difficult to rate nothing, so I have to default to o.k.

Whatever Works (2009)

A romantic comedy directed by Woody Allen.
An old intellectual lets a homeless younger woman live with him.
The characters were stereotypes and the plot was trite. Some would call this a chick flick. I'm rating it bad because I just didn't like it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

War of the Worlds (2005)

A science fiction directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Cruise.
A man's ex-wife drops off the children with him before an alien attack takes place.
This was mediocre at best. There was nothing really interesting about it, as even the special effects were mediocre. They tried to create tension, but it didn't work and the characters lacked depth. I'm rating it poor for being boring.

Where the Red Fern Grows (1974 & 2003)

In 1961, a novel was written by Wilson Rawls. In 1974, a film was made based on the book, directed by Norman Tokar. In 2003, a remake of the film was bastardized by Lyman Dayton and Sam Pillsbury.
A boy saves up money to buy hunting dogs and they develop a close relationship. I read the book a very long time ago, but never saw the film until now. I really liked the book and the 1974 film was pretty good. The music was calm and sentimental. It fit. Immediately afterward, I watched the 2003 film. FUCK! That was a mistake! The music was absolutely horrid and the script wasn't even re-written. I swear, 90% of the time, the characters said exactly what they said in the '74 version. It seemed like the old film was re-done with crap actors (like the lord of all things suck, Dave Matthews) and crap music. Shit like this gets rules made: no more remakes! Check out the color polarization on this one!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Waking Life (2001)

A animated film directed by Richard Linklater.
A young man in a dream talks to various people about psychology, politics and existence.
The animation technique used in this film is called rotoscoping, in which animators trace the live action film frame by frame. The end result is as beautiful as it is mysterious. I really think that the main character looks like me. I had that hairstyle when I was about his age and he talks and acts like me too. [research happens] His name is Wiley Wiggins and I've included a picture. It turns out that he's 25 in the film and when I had the hairstyle, I was about 19-20. Wiley was also in Dazed and Confused. Now for the scary part... Due to my experiences with dissociative drugs, I have a close and personal relationship with the feeling of death. Whether it's impending doom, "I'm dying now!" or the feeling of having already died, the supposed similarity is brought up a notch. Not only that, but when these chemicals were acting in my brain, my vision became very close to what you see on the screen in this movie. Between the animation style, the deep subject matter and my perceived similarities to the main character, I can't rate it any less than best.

The Fall (2006)

An adventure directed by Tarsem Singh.
An man in a hospital tells a story to a little girl about a group of bandits who all want revenge on the same villain.
This film opens with a confusing scene of men and a horse in water under some train tracks and then moves on to the most horrifyingly disgusting sound in the world, a baby crying. My hopes went down the tubes at that point. Then the man with broken legs started telling the girl with a broken arm a REAL story. From that point on, it got really good really fast. The plot was great and there were some beautiful settings. I'm rating it good, as this is the solid goal that movies should aim for.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

A horror directed by Scott Derrickson.
An girl died during an exorcism and the priest is tried in court for neglect.
For an exorcism film, this featured a minimum of excitement. The lawyer wanting to get a promotion was given more screen time than the exorcism. Overall, it was just boring so I'm rating it poor.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)

An adventure directed by Terry Gilliam.
An old man arrives at a play in progress that he claims is mocking him. He begins to tell his story, but the theater becomes the target of cannon fire. Everyone leaves except one little girl who is very interested in his story.
The director of this film also made Time Bandits (which this resembles closely), 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The characters in this film were good and the plot was alright. The comedy element made it more of a children's movie than an adult film. I'm rating it o.k.

The Collector (2009)

A horror directed by Marcus Dunstan.
A burglar is trying to steal from a safe in a house when he hears someone else come in. The other person who enters mutilates the family who own the house.
This is new crappy horror and not worth my time or yours, for that matter. Most of the screen is black most of the time and blood could be called a main character, because everyone else is just extras. I have trouble seeing how Bauhaus' song, "Bella Lugosi's Dead" fits in the sex scene, but there it is! It feels good to declare shite on a dook movie like this.

Spun (2002)

A comedy drama directed by Jonas Akerlund, starring Jason Schwartzman, Mickey Rourke, John Leguizamo, Rob Halford and Debbie Harry.
A meth addict gets a job driving the chemist around town to pick up supplies and leaves a stripper tied to his bed the entire time.
Some drug films like How High or Pineapple Express are so stupid, but this one is actually good. It may have something to do with the drugs involved, as Blow wasn't exactly a flop. The deciding factor in this may be stimulants as opposed to cannabis. The characters and plot are very good and there is an acoustic Iron Maiden cover in the soundtrack. Jason Schwartzman is the guy from I Heart Huckabees and I think he's a good actor. I'm rating this green because it's that solid, green type of movie that there should be more of.

Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo (2006)

A music mockumentary by Les Claypool.
A fictional band records an album and plays at an outdoor festival. A few musicians from other groups are interviewed about the fictional band.
This is supposed to be a spin-off of This is Spinal Tap and it's one of the few movies that Wikipedia does not list a release date for. It is also a National Lampoon film. I thought it was moderately funny and relatively accurate to how a band functions and dysfunctions together. I'm rating it adequate because, as it's about an alternative rock/jam band, it is mediocre by design.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Frida (2002)

An art biography directed by Julie Taymor, starring Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas.
The life of Frida Kahlo is shown with her art and relationship with Diego Rivera.
The characters were good and so was the plot. There were some creative cut-scenes that were really cool, but overall it wasn't anything to get worked up over. The main detractor was Frida's art. Her style is so flat, like all artists from that movement. There was an interesting comment about David Siquieros that I found amusing. The other thing that bugged me was the fake uni-brow. I'm rating it adequate because it's definitely better than o.k., but nothing fantastic.

Swades: We, the People (2004)

An Indian film by Ashutosh Gowariker.
An Indian man from America goes looking for his nanny in India and finds her in a small village with a school that is taught by an old friend. The friend declines a marriage proposal from another man and the main character is happy because he is attracted to her. He tries to gather support for her school in the village.
That was the plot up until the point when the subtitles got too off-time to read. There were 2 Bollywood style songs and I was starting to like the film, but my rating has to default to o.k. because I could not view the whole thing. I'm not even going to make jokes about Bollywood bullshit.

The Sleeping Dictionary (2003)

A romance directed by Guy Jenkin.
An Englishman goes to Borneo to civilize the native inhabitants. They give him a long-term hooker/translator to help him learn the language and he falls in love with her.
This movie was super-boring. Some of the characters develop, but the plot roller coaster has rusted to the tracks. I wish I could say that the setting was good, but that was uber-boring too. I haven't declared shite in a while and it feels good to shoot down a crappy film. I rate this waste of time: Shit!

Spirited Away (2001)

A fantasy Anime by Hayao Miyazaki.
A girl and her parents are moving to a new house. On the way there, they take a wrong turn and find an abandoned amusement park. The parents begin to eat some unguarded food and cant stop, while the girl finds a bath house and a boy named Haku. Haku tells her to get out before dark, but darkness comes quickly and she finds that her parents have been turned into pigs. Haku then directs the girl to get a job at the bath house.
Miyazaki's work is always so awesome and this may be his best. There are monsters and magic everywhere and even a dragon. The animation style is the best part, so if you like good anime, this would be one to watch. I'm rating it best.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

A comedy horror directed by Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
When people start turning into zombies, a man collects his friend, mother and ex-girlfriend to hole up in a pub and try to outlast the zombie attack.
Comedy horror has always been one of my favorite genres and this film is no exception. It has a faster pace and some unique humor. The characters are good and the plot doesn't need much to be good. It's not a gross-out scary zombie flick, so I'm rating it awesome.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Inside Man (2006)

A crime film directed by Spike Lee, starring Denzel Washington and Willem Dafoe.
A team of bank robbers enter a bank dressed as painters and execute a most skillful heist.
The plot of this film was very good. It had sufficient twists to hold my attention. The characters left much to be desired though. For being new Hollywood bullshit with a decent plot, I'm rating it o.k.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

A crime drama directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Christopher Walken and Ton Hanks.
A teenage boy forges checks and pretends to be a substitute French teacher, airline pilot, doctor and a lawyer. An FBI fraud agent tracks and tries to catch him.
Christopher Walken detracted from this movie immensely, just by showing his face on screen. I was ready to turn it off and declare shite after about 5 minutes of Walken beast terror. Luckily, he left the screen and made only short appearances afterward. The plot was almost interesting, but the characters seemed like glorified extras despite being big names. I'm rating it poor for being mass produced Hollywood bullshit.