Thursday, July 11, 2013

Movie List 2013: 66 - 80

The continuing list of all the movies I've watched this year.

There might be some occasional swearing, because I just love movies so much frickin' much!

* = rewatched


Demolition Man

John Spartan, a cop known for going to extremes, manages to catch the notorious killer and crime lord Simon Phoenix, but his brash tactics result in the death of Phoenix's hostages and both are both sentenced to be imprisoned in cryogenic stasis. 36 years later someone unthaws Phoenix to use as an assassin. When the uptopian world of the future proves unable to stop his old-school violence, they must get help from someone who can.

Genre: Sci-Fi/Action...maybe?

I've got a lot of love for Demolition Man. It is just impossibly stupid. So stupid, in fact, that it comes out the other side as kind of amazing. Think Brave New World meets Back to the Future II.

Their version of the future is so outrageous it's hilarious. And I wish I could tell you all the ways it does, but I don't want to spoil any of the lunacy and "WTF moments" so I won't... moving on.

The shocking thing about this movie is that is stars Sylvester Stallone and he's actually really good! I'm usually not a fan of his work, but I've gotta admit that I think he's perfect for this role. I don't know how to explain what he's doing's like he's not acting, but reacting and that makes him more realistic? His reactions to the ridiculousness of this future world are just priceless. He plays the perfect mix of confused, upset, and "These people are all insane..." I mean, in a movie with Sandra Bullock you wouldn't expect her to be significantly out-acted by Sylvester Stallone, but it happens!

Oh! And let's talk about Wesley Snipes! He plays Simon Phoenix, a character who could've so easily been your usual crime lord/crazed killer cliche. But Snipes gives the role a totally different take. Phoenix is gleefully malevolent. He's like one part Kid-in-a-candy-shop and one part Bull-in-a-china-shop. Killer characters are usually so dour and when they are happy it's a dark and inner kind of joy. But Phoenix is just so happy! He's having a blast.

I dunno. It's just such an odd movie, but it's a lot of fun. If nothing else you won't forget it anytime soon.



A town is beset by an ancient evil while the people inside struggle to stay alive.

Genre: Horror

I watched this one because my friend recommended it and yet I didn't know a single thing about it. But I trust her judgement and didn't bother looking it up. I've gotta admit that this is a really weird movie to see that way. I already told you the plot so you already know more about it than I did, but damn. I mean phantoms, right? Haunted house style movie, right? Wrong!

I mean, the beginning is just a cruise down WTF alley. It starts out normal enough, but then it starts to get weird, then Liev Schreiber and Ben Afleck show up outta no where and suddenly you're sending your friend texts like:

"Aaaand a moth just ate this dude's face..."

It's a weird, weird little movie, but I've gotta give it credit because it's really quite memorable and fun.



A prototype for a device used to share dreams is stolen and is used a weapon. The team behind its creation are the only ones with the know-how needed to put a stop to this dream terrorist and save the day.

Genre: Artistic Sci-Fi Anime

I'm still a huge fan of this movie, but I've gotta admit that when I'm in the mood for visually rich animation that tackles heavy ideas I'll usually watch Tekkonkinkreet instead. But that's not to say this isn't a Fantastic movie, it's just to say where my head is residing lately.

Satoshi Kon is a genius. The visuals in this film are stunning, the music is phenomenal (I even own the soundtrack I liked it so much), and it deals with some very interesting ideas. Ideas about dreams and what dreams tell us about ourselves, about the simultaneous dangers and wonders that come with technological advancement, and about all the thing we put in our subconscious to hide them from ourselves.

It's just brilliant. If nothing else it's just a such a treat to watch. There is just so much to look at and appreciate and be inspired by.



The Sun is dying. The Icarus mission was launched to send a bomb into the center of the sun and restart it, however, something went wrong and it was never heard from again. Now the Earth only has the resources left for one more bomb, and the Icarus II is the Earth's last hope.

Genre: Science Fiction

I LOVE this movie. I love this movie so much, you guys. If you don'tthen I don't want to hear about it, because I will go to bat for this movie. Why? Let me count the reasons.

#1. It's just so frickin' nice to look at! I wold recommend watching it on as big a screen as you can, because it's worth it.

#2. The acting is all top notch. I mean Cillian Murphy is out there kicking ass as usual, and who's that over there? Is that Chris Evans knocking it right the fuck out of the park? I do believe it is! Not to mention amazing Asian actors like Michelle Yeoh and Hiroyuki Sanada. There isn't a character in this movie that I don't love.

#3. I love that it isn't your usual Sci-Fi movie! I love that the computer doesn't gain sentience. I love that there are no aliens. I love that it goes is a direction you might not expect.

#4. It's themes regarding the friction between Science and Religion are fascinating.

#5. Not to mention the whole thing is just so epic! The seriousness of their mission really comes across. When things go wrong you feel that tension. You're right there with them going, "Oh, fuck! FUCK! What are we gonna do now!?"

I could go on about this movie forever! I'll stop now to save you from my gushing adoration, but suffice it to say that it's one of my favorite movies.


P.S. I Love You

A woman's husband dies and she is beset with grief until she finds out that he has left a series of messages for her to help her through.

Genre: Romance

Another movie I watched without knowing anything about it. I've gotta admit movies are much more surprising when you don't know anything about them. I mean my friend told me she loved Gerard Butler in this movie, and then he dies! Like...right away. Apparently that is kind of the crux of the movie! Who knew? Well, everyone besides me, but there you go.

Anyways, it's a really cute movie. I really like Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler together. I really didn't like Harry Connick Jr's character and role in the movie, because it's all shoehorned in there and doesn't go anywhere, but that's beside the point.

The big thing that nagged on my mind as I watched this movie though, is the fact that I've heard about something like this happening in real life. A woman with terminal cancer left a series of letters for her daughter and it kind of turned out to be a really bad idea. Here, it was on This American Life, I'll give you the link. Just, you know, watch out because you probably won't be able to see this movie without thinking about that story.


Winnie The Pooh

Winnie the Pooh and friends try and find Eeyore's tail and save Christopher Robin from a Backson.

Genre: Animated kids movie

Wow, synopses for Winnie the Pooh really don't get the charm across do they?

In any case, this movie is SO CUTE! UGH! So cute. It's Winnie the Pooh at its best. When I first saw this is the theater I'm pretty sure I was the only one who was there without kids. Sure it is intended for kids, but that doesn't mean it isn't brilliant. This movie has me laughing out loud every time I watch it.

If you were a fan of Winnie the Pooh at any point in your life, I highly recommend you give it a watch. If you've never experience Winnie the Pooh before then I think this is a pretty decent first experience.

Oh, and the animation is all hand drawn and everything in this movie is a pleasure to look at.


Waking Ned Devine

Ned Devine is old man in a small town in Ireland, but when he wins a huge lottery jackpot he dies from the shock of it. Now the town tries to pass one of their own of as Ned in order to keep the money in the community.

Genre: Silly-good-fun Drama

It's not an epic movie to be sure, but Waking Ned Devine tackles its story with such charm that it's impossible to not be endeared. But the thing that puts it into the upper echelon of comedy for me is its naturalness. Okay, but what do I mean by that? I mean that it's captured that kind of warm humor you get when you're hanging out with your friends and family. It isn't the slapstick staged stuff that you so often get in comedies. Even when they're doing something ridiculous they're still doing it in a warm-hearted natural way.

Plus when you add in all the gorgeous scenery and the lovable characters, it's just golden.


You're Darn Tootin'

Two musicians get fired from their orchestra job and attempt to find another way to make money from their music. Hijinks ensue.

Genre: Silent Laurel and Hardy comedy

Do shorts count as full movies? I'm not sure. But whatever! It's my list and I'll count whatever I want to. There was a silent night special at the theater where I work that I went to. The main feature was The Bedroom Window and You're Darn Tootin' served as an appetizer of sorts. It was an interesting event. Both films were on 35mm prints, and the theater has a pipe organ so the organist provided live accompaniment to them.

Anyways, if you like Laurel and Hardy I'm sure you'll enjoy this one. Old school slapstick comedy. They kind of repeat physical gags for longer than I would like, but that's a minor quibble. There's a fight at the end that's particularly hilarious.


The Bedroom Window

A young woman's father is murdered and the key suspect is her suitor. Luckily her aunt, a celebrated murder novelist, decides to look into the mysterious murder for her.

Genre: Silent Murder-mystery

A silent movie event featuring live musical accompaniment. Gotta kind of love it just for the experience.

The mystery in this movie falls a little short in today's world where detective crime shows have upped the stakes considerably since the 1930s, but it was still good. The older detective lady is kind of kooky. It's an older movie so most of the things I could find fault with are just old school aesthetics that I don't care for. Also, like so many old, movies  there's some racist moments in it. One being the epitome of a Mammy stereotype (whose dialogue, even though done on cards, still managed to be offensive). Same going for the Russian lady character.

Apparently most silent movies were lost over the years, so the only form you'll find this one in is as a film print. So chances are slim that you'll ever come across this one. But now you know, right?


Ferris Bueller's Day Off

An enigmatic high school senior initiates a daring plan to get himself, his girlfriend, and his best friend out of school to enjoy an epic day off. However, obstacles keep rearing their head and threaten to expose him.

Genre: Classic 80's John Hughes Comedy

This is one of my favorite movies.

The characters, the jokes, the humor: I love it all. But what really makes this movie something special is its style. It's irreverent and offbeat in all the right ways. Ferris' asides to the camera provide a look inside Ferris' head while also serving as extremely entertaining exposition. So many movies are about a destination, but Ferris Bueller's Day Off is entirely about the journey. It will slow down and take time to just have fun (the parade scene) or to illustrate beauty (the museum). If this movie was done today I would be fairly confident it would be entirely fast paced. Ferris is a bigger-than-life figure and so is his day off, but it's the mix of the grand-scale of the premise and the little moments of its scenes that really catch your attention. They way everything is shot just makes it feel like you were along for that epic day off.

I love it to death.



A documentary detailing the history of woodblock type, the Hamilton type factory museum, and how the value of old methods is being lost in a wave of modern innovation.

Genre: Documentary

I find typography to be rather fascinating and I stumbled on this one while perusing the media section at the library.

While it does make some rather interesting points, I thought that overall the movie wasn't as grand as it seemed to think it was. I was expecting it to be more about woodblock type in general, but it was mostly focused on that one museum. I would have liked a lot more about the history and creation of woodblock type and a lot less about the museum.


The Lost Boys

Two brothers move to California to live with their grandpa and their mom. While the youngest brother befriends a pair of vampire hunter brothers, the eldest falls in with a a dangerous gang of vampires.

Genre: Vampire movie

I've heard all sorts of references to this movie over the years, but for some reason or another I had never gotten around to seeing it until now. After all this does seem to be the year for catching up on all the classic vampire movies (a genre I've certainly been slacking in).

I'm not really sure how I feel about this one. I think it comes down to me thinking it was a good movie, but not my kind of good movie. There's a number of scenes that I really enjoyed, but overall there just wasn't much there for me. The stakes didn't seem all that high (pun intended) and the story kind of seemed like it couldn't make up it's mind. It's a movie about a down-on-their-luck family, until it's a story about brothers, unless it's really a romance, but now it's a gory monster movie. The tone kind of fluctuates too much for me. But who can really dislike a movie where Corey Feldman (The Goonies) stabs an upside-down Alex Winter (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) in the chest with a stake and copious amounts of goo start shooting out all over him?

Weirdos, that's who.

Ps. Someone really needs to watch this movie and count how many times the name "Michael" is said. It's got to be A LOT.


The Fifth Element

Every 5,000 years an ancient interstellar evil gathers its power and heads to destroy Earth. And every 5,000 years a race of alien protectors arrives to fend it off. However this time things have gone wrong. Now it's up to a cab driver, a mysterious woman, and a bumbling priest to save the galaxy.

Genre: Fantasy space

What can one even say about a movie like this? Imagine if Terry Gilliam (Brazil, 12 Monkeys), and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, Alien Resurrection) made a 90s Sci-Fi action movie together. It's kind of like that.

It's a strange one and like any weird movie I would understand if someone didn't like it, yet I always find it hopelessly endearing whenever I see it in someone's movie collection. Sure it's nice to see things like Star Wars or Little Miss Sunshine or whatever, but mainstream brilliance just isn't as telling as quirky brilliance. Those oddball movies on the fringes of genres usually say more about us than the classics do, don't you think?

But I guess I haven't really told you much about the movie yet have I? If nothing else The Fifth Element's brilliance comes from being memorable. The costumes, the characters, the sets, the music, basically everything is so unlike anything else I've seen. The fact that you could dress up like nearly any character from this movie and be instantly recognizable to a fan says a lot about the movie.

I wouldn't say it's a perfect movie. Some bits are a little clunky and even though I've seen it a million times I still don't understand how the alien hand created a human woman. And it's kind of got that silly Back to the Future II feel, where their version of the future is kind of ridiculous. But whatever. It's wonderfully memorable, visually interesting, and just so much fun. I've seen it a million times. I love it.

[This guy knows what I'm talking about.]


Winter's Bone

A 17 year old girl's father puts the house and land up for his bail and then goes on the run. Now it's up to her to track him down or risk losing everything.

Genre: Drama

I've heard a lot of talk about this one so I figured I'd see what it was about.

It's a slower movie than I was expecting, but it's delightfully rich with tension and suspense. I mean, God, the whole time you're terrified about what's going to this poor girl. The acting is all around superb and the characters are great. If you're in the mood for a slow-paced thriller I thoroughly recommend it.

Oh, and since one of the characters was played by an actress who I just couldn't place and it was driving me crazy, I'm going to save you the trouble! Here's her IMDB page.


A Series of Unfortunate Events

The Baudelaire children find themselves orphaned and are forced to be whisked away from obscure relative to obscure relative when the wicked Count Olaf sets his eyes on them and their sizable inheritance.

Genre: Young Adventure

I love this movie. It wins my award for the greatest book adaptation ever. It captures the book to a tee. I mean Jim Carrey as Count Olaf? GENIUS. I'll even go as far as to say that this is Carrey's best work. I can't  even imagine anyone else in the role.

But I'm getting too caught up in specifics. In general, why should you see this movie? Because it's completely and utterly charming. It creates a brilliant little offbeat world, full of wonderfully offbeat characters and it all just fits. It hilarious, but it's also full of poignant moments. It doesn't portray the world as some brightly colored fairy tale. In fact it openly mocks such stories.

You're gonna need assistance when we get back to town! Aunt Josephine's gonna tell everyone what happened!"

"And then I'll be arrested and sent to jail and you'll live happily ever after with a friendly guardian, spending your time inventing things and reading books and sharpening your little monkey teeth, and bravery and nobility will prevail at last, and this wicked world will slowly but surely become a place of cheerful harmony, and everybody will be singing and dancing and giggling like the littlest elf! A happy ending! Is that what you had mind?

It revels in the dark parts of the world and those are the parts we can all relate to. But it isn't bleak or depressing. It shows us that there is light in the darkness, but it is up to us to find and create that light. The movie is dark and silly, bleak and hopeful all at the same time.

Just trust me and go watch it.

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