Wednesday, March 10, 2010

#238 - Coming Soon

Look for #238 to be completed sometime around April, 2016.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

#239 - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Breakdown: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). Play written by Edward Albee. Screenplay written by Ernest Lehman. Directed by Mike Nichols. Starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

A bitter aging couple with the help of alcohol, use a young couple to fuel anguish and emotional pain towards each other.

Review: At the 1967 Academy Awards, there were 16 categories applicable to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. The movie was nominated for 13 Oscars...and won five. It's tough to disagree with the Academy on this one, as nearly every aspect of this film is extremely well-crafted. The level of believable insanity between all four characters, the depth of the story and dialogue, and the unique setting (the entire movie takes place in near real-time from 2AM to sunrise) all make for an excellent watch. Oh, and, uh...look out for that surprise ending.

Favorite Quote:
Martha: Truth and illusion, George; you don't know the difference.
George: ... we must carry on as though we did.
Martha: Amen.


Friday, February 26, 2010

#240 - Spartacus

Breakdown: Spartacus (1960). Novel written by Howard Fast. Screenplay written by Dalton Trumbo. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Starring Kirk Douglas, Jean Simmons.

The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman empire.

Review: The first Kubrick film on the list (oh yes, there will be many more), Spartacus is a 184-minute, highly influential, epic historical drama. It's so epic, in fact, that midway through the film, a blank screen is displayed and you are presented with a short intermission. This would have been great to experience in a theater, as it presents the viewer with two options: get up for another bag of Milk Duds and commit to the rest of the movie, or get up and leave. If nothing else, we suggest you stick around for the famous and often spoofed "I am Spartacus!" scene. Spartacus is a great start if you're looking to catch up on the classics. Just don't expect three hours of edge-of-your-seat action.

Favorite Quote: "Death is the only freedom a slave knows. That's why he's not afraid of it. That's why we'll win."


Sunday, February 21, 2010

#241 - Monsters, Inc.

Breakdown: Monsters, Inc. (2001). Written and directed by Pete Docter. Voiced by John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi.

Monsters generate their city's power by scaring children, but they are terribly afraid themselves of being contaminated by children, so when one enters Monstropolis, top scarer Sulley finds his world disrupted.

Review: At some point as a child, you probably heard your parents say, "Now Gary, don't be afraid. They are probably more afraid of you than you are of them." There's also a good chance you never believed them. Well, score one for the 'rents, because this is actually the case in Monsters, Inc. This film puts you in "eye" of the monster (pun intended), and with the familiar voices of John Goodman and Billy Crystal, Monsters, Inc. is a fun and enjoyable watch for all ages.

Favorite Quote:
Yeti: Abominable. Can you believe that? Do I look abominable to you? Why can't they call me the Adorable Snowman, or the Agreeable Snowman, for crying out loud? I'm a nice guy.


#242 - Anatomy of a Murder

Breakdown: Anatomy of a Murder (1959). Novel written by John D. Voelker. Screenplay written by Wendell Mayes. Directed by Otto Preminger. Starring Jimmy Stewart, George C. Scott.

In a murder trial, the defendant says he suffered temporary insanity after the victim raped his wife. What is the truth, and will he win his case?

Review: On paper, Anatomy of a Murder has all the ingredients you might find in a sure-fire snoozer of a film: it's nearly three hours in length, black and white, a courtroom drama, and it takes place in Michigan's upper peninsula. Stay with us. Jimmy Stewart and George C. Scott sell their roles as battling attorneys so well, the movie becomes just as much about drawing your own conclusions as it is the verdict itself. It may be the closest you'll feel to being in a jury without having to sit in a courtroom. (This statement may be challenged later in the list, but for now...motion sustained.)

Favorite Quote: "As a lawyer, I've had to learn that people aren't just good or just bad, but people are many things..."


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

#243 - Les quatre cents coups (The 400 Blows)

Breakdown: The 400 Blows (1959, France). Written and directed by François Truffaut. Starring Jean-Pierre Léaud.

An intensely touching story of a misunderstood young adolescent who leaves home without attention and delves into a life of petty crime.

Review: So, say it's a Saturday night and you and your buddies want to get together to watch a movie. You know, just a lighthearted, fun, enjoyable movie. So you go to the movie store and all the movies in the entire store are gone. All of them. Except this...and Toy Story 2. Here's why you pick Toy Story 2:

A semi-autobiographical work, The 400 Blows takes a darker look into a brief window of writer/director Fançois Truffaut's adolescence. This film shows just how easily parents' neglect and lack of support can lead to psychological and emotional torment for their children. It's a tough pill to swallow, but the movie's message is clear and valuable, thanks in part to a stellar performance from then 14-year-old Jean-Pierre Léaud.

Favorite Quote: "Every time I cried, my father would imitate me on his fiddle, just to drive me nuts. One day I got fed up and I knocked him out."


#244 - Toy Story 2

Breakdown: Toy Story 2 (1999). Written and directed by John Lasseter. Voiced by Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack.

When Woody is stolen by a toy collector, Buzz and his friends vow to rescue him, but Woody must decide between reuniting with his collectable toys or staying with his old friends.

Review: Here's a sure-fire way to make the sequel to your hit movie tank – plague the movie with obvious references to the original and forget about what made your audience love the first film so much. Here's a sure-fire way to make the sequel to your hit movie not tank – do what Toy Story 2 did. The sequel to one of the most highly-regarded animated films in recent history, Toy Story 2 maintains its integrity as far as the loveable characters we all met in the original, the distinct toy-world humor, its story line that feels so personal, and its "positive without feeling forced" message. Gary Busey, what do you think?

Favorite Quote:
Mr. Potato Head: I say we stack ourselves up, push the intercom and pretend we're delivering a pizza.
Hamm: How about a ham sandwich? With fries and a hotdog?
Rex: What about me?
Hamm: Ah, you can be the toy that comes with the meal.