Monday, December 29, 2008

Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Director: David Fincher
Writers (WGA): Eric Roth (screenplay)
Release Date: 25 December 2008 (USA)

Brad Pitt - Benjamin Button
Cate Blanchett - Daisy
Julia Ormond - Caroline

Every year or two there seems to be a big-hyped movie that most people will praise for the large scope, great acting, and wonderdul plot and screen play, but is inevitably not quite worth the praise and accolades it receives. Such is the case with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Directed by David Fincher (Zodiac; Fight Club, Se7en) and starring Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button, Cate Blanchett as Daisy, and Julia Ormond as Caroline.

This is a film that wants to be bigger than the script calls for, and thus it fails to deliver on the promise of an epic. Loosely adapted from the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the film presents us with a the time-honored question of 'does age really matter'?

Ultimately I didn't really care. It was actually creepy to watch some of the 'touching' moments taking place between an old man and a young girl, or the sexual tension had between one man on his way backwards and a woman on her way towards menopause.

Was the acting up to par? Sure, and Pitt and Blanchett probably deserve any awards they will win. For me, there was just a major disconnect between what I was being shown and what I know to be true. This is a fantasy situation in a real world, but the rest of the real world did not interact with the fantasy part like they should. This aspect reminds me greatly of the reasons I was not able to enjoy a film from last year, Lars and the Real Girl (2007), in which a troubled young man introduces his mannequin girlfriend to the town, only to find everyone completely accepting and accomodating.

Benjamin Button needed to lose 40+ minutes of fluff. At almost 3 hours the script simply didn't call for enough to happen. With that said, this movie could have made an excellnt 4 hour epic, had more exploration been spent on what this curious Benjamin Button encountered on a daily level, apart from his early years.

It also needed to either find some much better comic relief (a series of lightning strikes to an individual seemed to be the only real light-heartedness) or it needed to become much more serious, and in so doing explore the darker side of what it would mean for a human to experience life in reverse, the terrible consequences it would involve, and not try to tie up all the loose ends so neat and nice.

I appreciate the film as an attempt to be big, but I don't think the script was strong enough to support such ambitions. It will win awards, I have no doubt about that, but I will never see this movie again, and I, like Roger Ebert has said, venture to say that many others will not seek it out again. View it if you must, but try to catch the matinee.


EDIT: Hmm.. I forgot a key point before I posted. The story is told to us through the use of a horrendous method, one that was so much of a distraction to me that it became laughable, if it wasn't for the fact that I wanted to scream. Imagine the movie Titanic and the way it started and ended, and now take a similar approach to this film. The old, dying woman imparting knowledge on to a younger family member, except for one important item - the woman can barely speak! Ok. I'll stop there.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Movie Review: Synecdoche, New York (2008)

Synecdoche, New York (2008)
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Writer (WGA): Charlie Kaufman

Philip Seymour Hoffman – Caden Cotard
Catherine Keener – Adele Lack
Michelle Williams – Claire Keen
Samantha Morton – Hazel
Jennifer Jason Leigh – Maria

I felt very fortunate to recently find myself with a free afternoon near an historic theater in Cambridge, MA that had a showing of Synecdoche, New York, directed by Charlie Kaufman, well known for his writing and production credits on films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation, and Being John Malkovich, among others, and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, who needs no introduction as one of the great actors of our time. I had only heard of this “strange” film through word of mouth and decided to do something I rarely ever do: I read a full review by Roger Ebert before I saw the film.

Maybe this isn’t alarming to some, to get an opinion or two before viewing a film, but I have always felt that seeing a movie and forming my own thoughts an important aspect to discovering what is and is not considered great to me. I will admit that I skim plot summaries of movies and view trailers, etc, to make sure I am somewhat interested in a film, but almost never do I read a full review with opinions that may influence my decision to see or not to see.
Here is a link to the review by Roger Ebert if you are interested:

Now that I’ve admitted to hearing someone else’s opinion of this film, I’d like to say that I still don’t really know what to say.

On the one hand, you have a film that has a plot and is not too difficult to follow. However, as you are watching and sort of understanding what is happening, you realize that you don’t quite get what is happening, and slowly you realize that you have no idea what is truly happening, even though you may think you think you know what may or may not be happening.

Yes, I just wrote the above and I stand by it.

Did I like this movie? Yes, I did. Can I explain why? I’m not sure. I think I said I like it because it feels very much like a real life in torment, and I am drawn to films that really attack human emotion and those that try to show through film ideas and notions that are nearly impossible to portray. But again, with that said, I’m not sure what to say about this “strange” film.

As Ebert writes in his review:

This has not been a conventional review. There is no need to name the characters, name the actors, assign adjectives to their acting. Look at who is in this cast. You know what I think of them. This film must not have seemed strange to them. It's what they do all day, especially waiting around for the director to make up his mind.

This is pretty good stuff. I could try to explain the basic plot: Hoffman’s character has a crappy life and the movie takes us through his tormented mind as he lives life and uses his own career as a theatre director to attempt to make sense of his suffering , or to at least organize it into something manageable. However, I don’t know if that is the correct interpretation. I almost decided not to write anything and just let this film live in my mind as I viewed it, as a piece of art that I am not quite sure I enjoyed, but I know I did not dislike. I don’t mind “crazy” movies. They don’t bother me like they do some, as long as I am willing to take the time to try and dissect what I am seeing and hearing, it can’t all be bad.

With this film I did feel like I was being asked to do a bit too much dissecting about the ¾ mark of the run time, though, and that did make me somewhat angry. Having characters playing characters who are watching themselves in a play as characters of their real selves is ok, I suppose, but then to make timelines incomprehensible and characters coming and going without explanations, or at least logical explanations, got to be just a bit much.

Ultimately I was glad I saw this film as it renews my belief that if people continue to make projects such as this they will eventually get them right, and we will all benefit from that.

8 or 9/10 (I think?)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2 Movie Reviews: Slumdog Millionaire and Frost/Nixon

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Directors:Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan (co-director: India)

Writers:Simon Beaufoy (screenplay) and Vikas Swarup (novel)

Release Date: 5 December 2008 (Italy)


Dev Patel - Jamal Malik

Madhur Mittal - Salim Malik

Freida Pinto - Latika

Anil Kapoor – Prem Kumar

Jamal Malik sits back in his seat as the lights shine down upon him. The man across from him has asked a question, and now he is being watched by the man, by the studio audience, and by countless millions of people throughout India. If Jamal answers correctly he will be rich beyond fairy-tale lore, but if he is wrong he will be just another slumdog. Or will he?

Danny Boyle’s (Sunshine; Trainspotting) new film Slumdog Millionaire begins with suspense and never lets up. That the movie is a beautiful piece of art is unquestionable, and I will only venture to write that I found the scenery and rhythm of this film to be the best of the year, and so artistically breath-taking that words here cannot accurately describe what the eyes must see. The sweeping scenes of India and specifically the slums of Mumbai will leave a lasting impression on the viewer, especially if you have had little to no experience with such conditions.

With that said, this is a film that is a story within a story within a story, though all three are told fairly seamlessly and intertwined. The first story is that of Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) and his opportunity to win millions on a game show. The second story is Jamal’s desperate attempts to reunite with his lost love, Latika (Freida Pinto). And the final story is that of Jamal and his brother, Salim (Madhur Mittal) as we watch them grow from small children to young adults, each taking a distinctly different path to get there.

The three stories unfold with the game show acting as the glue, and by which we come to learn (through multiple actors playing the Malik brothers and Latika as they grow older) how it is that Jamal could possibly go from being just another ‘slumdog’ to a multi-millionaire answering questions to which he should seemingly have no business knowing the answers.

Along this journey we are taken into the slums of India as children are forced and tortured into a Gypsy life-style. We also play witness to religious violence and the overtly stated caste system of India, in which children can live in the worst squalor next to men driving Mercedes and throwing cash away as if it is trash.

The screenplay, based on the book Q and A by Vikas Swarup, follows Jamal as he answers questions on a game show, and we are treated to flashback sequences of his life to see just how it is that a person from his background came to know answers to so many random questions. Throughout this process we are taken for a sibling roller coaster ride as Jamal and Salim take very different paths in their efforts to escape their birth conditions.

Though the love story is the driving force behind this film, and it is the central hinge for which all of Jamal’s experiences are hanging, I found the part of Latika to be the Weakest Link (pun intended) in an otherwise brilliant display of character development. Ultimately, I just didn’t believe or get or fully comprehend her love for Jamal in the way I understood his. There are also some very undeveloped roles of the goons and thugs of which I would have liked to see more, and just a few too many leaps of faith in the plot line. These are, however, to be taken as fairly minor points, and that still leaves me feeling that this film deserves a spot at or near the top of the best films of the year.


Frost/Nixon (2008)

Director: Ron Howard

Writers:Peter Morgan (screenplay)

Release Date: December 2008

Frank Langella – Richard Nixon

Michael Sheen – David Frost

Kevin Bacon - Jack Brennan

Even if you know close to nothing about political history it is safe to say you have probably heard of Watergate. It is also safe to say that you correlate Watergate with the 1970s and President Richard Nixon. In Ron Howard’s new masterpiece Frost/Nixon we are taken back to the Summer of 1977 to play witness to a series of interviews between TV personality David Frost and semi-exiled Ex-President Richard Nixon. What transpires over the course of the film is nothing short of brilliance in the way of character performance, equaled shot for shot by Michael Sheen as Frost, the successful foreign showman who is trying to climb back into the NY picture, and Frank Langella as Nixon, a proud, larger-than life figure battling his own demons while trying to clear his tarnished reputation.

I am not a political historian, but in doing some basic research on the film it is apparent that liberties were taken with some of the facts and sequences, but after all this is not billed a documentary and that should not deter you in any way from enjoying this as a fictionalized piece imbrued with mostly fact, or factual like scenarios.

The movie takes you through the tormented minds of two very different people over seemingly very different issues, but ultimately, what we find, is that these two are more alike than either could have ever imagined, and the culminating scenes of the film draw us in deeply to the minds of these two as they fight man to man in a verbal battle that will ultimately lead to a staggering conclusion.

The film itself sets up as a character piece early on, in which we come to learn of David Frost and how he went from the top of the world in terms of US stature to fighting his way through talk shows and entertainment venues in Australia. He badly wants to get back to the top in the capital of the world- New York City. After the resignation of Richard Nixon and subsequent Presidential pardon, there was no closure, no apology, no admission, and simply no acknowledgment by Ex-President Nixon. He simply moved to California and did not speak of such things.

Though Sheen gives an impressive performance and is as much the driving force of the film as anything, it is simply the work of Langella that reaches out and grabs you by the neck and says “Hey! This is what acting is all about!” His portrayal of the disgraced Ex-President, looking for redemption, seeking something he cannot quite grasp, is one of the greatest performances I have ever seen on the big screen. I was captivated by his movements and even more so his larger-than-life presence. With each cut to him exiting a vehicle, or psyching himself up with a quick jog to music, I found myself feeling both sympathy and pity for this man.

I will not give out more details though it is widely known how the interviews turned out. I am simply going to say that this is an absolute must see film and has quickly bolted to my top movie of 2008.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

A movie review: Appaloosa (2008)

Appaloosa (2008)

Director: Ed Harris
Writers (WGA): Robert Knott (screenplay) & Ed Harris (screenplay)

Release Date: 3 October 2008 (USA)
Tagline: Feelings get you killed.

Ed Harris - Virgil Cole
Viggo Mortensen - Everett Hitch
Jeremy Irons - Randall Bragg
Renée Zellweger - Allison French

Not too much happens in the Old Western Town of Appaloosa. Sure, people get shot and drunk and punched and pay for female companionship and break people out of jail and a whole lot more, but generally speaking, not a lot happens in Appaloosa.

That is not to say this film is boring. For my tastes, this movie verged on being great, but ultimately too much in the detail was left out for it to break beyond a simple good movie.

The town is being run over by Rancher Randall Bragg, played with a flair by Jeremy Irons and played quite well, however he seems to have taken too much of a liking to the outstanding performance of Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood, and I could not get past it the entire movie.

Along to save the day are Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen), two lawmen who, after being given the power to run things their way, do just that, and the town is slowly brought back to order.

The arrival of Mrs. Allison French (Renee Zellweger) adds some interesting character development to the two men watching over the town, particularly to Cole who quickly falls for her womanly charms like he has never done before. Zellweger’s character, though frankly played very annoyingly early on, actually redeems herself later on by becoming a much more complex role that adds multiple layers to the underlying story.

Throughout the movie there are the slow, sweeping scenes of a dead town and the long, drawn out silences that accompany men who do this type of work. Fair warning to all who do not enjoy slow-paced movies without a lot of bang, relying more on characters and substance, for this movie is not for you.

For my money, though, Harris and Mortensen more than make up for the price of admission, and by the end of the film I feel like both roles were developed nicely and left me with a feeling that the film was complete. To be sure, there were quite a few shaky edits and plot holes that left me feeling a bit bewildered, but overall I enjoyed the genre and the performances.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Movie review: Pride and Glory (2008)

Pride and Glory (2008)
Director:Gavin O'Connor
Writers (WGA): Joe Carnahan (screenplay) & Gavin O'Connor (screenplay)
Release Date:24 October 2008 (USA)
Tagline: The last thing you want to the truth.

Cast (Major)
Colin Farrell - Jimmy Egan
Edward Norton - Ray Tierney
Jon Voight - Francis Tierney, Sr.
Noah Emmerich - Francis Tierney, Jr.

Pride and Glory is a film that has been on my short list to see for some time now, but was seemingly relegated to limited screen time nationwide. Only two theaters within 50 miles of me have showings, and only 2 separate viewing times, late at night.

This generally means one of two things in the movie industry:

1. It is a new release with a lot of hype potential that will explode late in the year to a huge audience or,

2. It didn't work out so well and nobody is showing it anymore.

I'm not sure this particular movie falls under either category, oddly enough, so I'll create a third:

3. Wonderful gem, with little or no hype, that has been passed by and sent to die a slow death in dark movie houses with artificial popcorn and less than 80 seats per screen.

It would be easy to dismiss this film as just another in a long line of dirty cops getting what they deserve, but that would be a terrible injustice. Wedged within 120 minutes are some truly spectacular performances, including more than one Oscar-worthy role.

The scene is New York City and the Tierney family is mixed up in varying degrees with shady cop business. From the very beginning we get what is arguably Jon Voight's finest performance in long-term memory as Francis Tierney, Sr., long time NY police office. I have no other word to describe it than gritty, for he really captures the feel of what it must be to oversee a family of cops in NY, hardened by the job but clinging to the self-imposed necessity to protect the family name.

His sons Ray Tierney (Norton) and Francis Tierney, Jr. (Emmerich), and step-son Jimmy Egan (Farrell) are tough cops, each with his own demons to fight.The amazing aspect of this film is that at no point can I clearly say who the story is about, and that leaves an impression on me, even now, as I think back to what I saw, that seemingly feels correct.

A lot happens in 2 hours, and when you catch on to the director's vision it doesn't feel right to pick Ed Norton's character as the driving force, although it would seem like the way to go.This film is about ethics and morals and codes and bad cops and varying degrees of right and wrong, but it is also very much about family, in a twisted and seedy way.

Norton is fabulous in this role as the tormented son who made a tough decision years ago that still haunts him. It is ultimately he who pursues the clues that lead him to unthinkable crimes within the precinct and ultimately his own family.Farrell, likewise, puts on a seamless portrayal of a cop with a family trying to get by, and I quickly was able to forget previous roles he played and immerse myself in his character as the step-son with a lot of skeletons to hide.

The surprise role to me was that of Emmerich, playing the ambitious son who rose through the ranks, and now must face the consequences of his actions. Known well to me for two outstanding roles in Beautiful Girls (1996) and The Truman Show (1998), both as the best friend, if I had a vote in the Academy he would get a first ballot nod for Best-Supporting Actor, as his role really cements the family together and ties the story into one cohesive unit.

Intertwined with the family are incredible supporting spots by a myriad of cops and wives and girlfriends and drug dealers. You will also find one of the most disturbing scenes of potential torture one cop uses to get a suspect to give up evidence. It was as close as I have come to actually turning away from the screen.

One dirty cop, shortly before shooting himself in the head, explains that it all started for Pride and Glory, and then he is dead. That accurately describes the film's underlying theme, and though very dark and disturbing at times, it is a movie that is true to itself.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Update to top 20 movies; Still not perfect but I'm trying

The very first post in this blog was my top 100 movies of all time with some write ups. Obviously this will be an ongoing, evolving project throughout my life. With that said, I made a few changes to my top 20 so here they are, in case you're interested.

I think you should all see every movie on this list, since it will surly make you a better person.

1. The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974)
2. Braveheart (1995)
3. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
4. The Usual Suspects (1995)
5. American Beauty (1999)
6. The Deer Hunter (1978)
7. Hoosiers (1986)
8. The Exorcist (1973)
9. No Country for Old Men (2007)
10. Unforgiven (1992)
11. Léon (aka The Professional) (1994)
12. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
13. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
14. Rocky (1976)
15. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
16. Heat (1995)
17. There Will Be Blood (2007)
18. Poltergeist (1982)
19. Vita è bella, La (aka Life Is Beautiful) (1997)
20. Apocalypse Now (1979)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Body of Lies; Quantum of Solace; Religulous

Body of Lies
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers (WGA):William Monahan (screenplay)
David Ignatius (novel)
Release Date:10 October 2008 (USA) more
Tagline:Trust no one. Deceive everyone.

Cast (major)
Leonardo DiCaprio - Roger Ferris
Russell Crowe - Ed Hoffman

Body of Lies is a film that is rooted in a post 9/11 global terrorist world, in which deciphering the good guys from the bad guys is never as easy as it should be. Complicating such matters is that it is virtually impossible to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys within distinct organizations (CIA, Al Qaeda, etc)... Director Ridley Scott (American Gangster, Gladiator, Alien) uses this premise to diffuse this film with questions of Who? and Why?

Who are we fighting?

Why are we fighting?

Who are our allies?

Who are our enemies?

Roger Ferris (DiCaprio) plays a super secret CIA agent who infiltrates terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East with the aid (or detriment) of Ed Hoffman (Crowe) his CIA supervisor stationed in the USA.

Through a series of leads and counter-leads, trusts and betrayals, Ferris finds himself with much blood on his hands and a conscious he cannot comprehend. DiCaprio seizes this role boldly and his range manages to demonstrate the conflict in his character as he maneuvers his way throughout a world without boundaries - a world where every turn could be his last.

Crowe uses his suave demeanor to pull us in at first to his character who has a single minded approach to the war on terror: Do whatever is necessary to meet an end objective. However, his role soon becomes cliché and undefining. I found myself wondering if he would start to quote proverbial Dirty Harry lines. His complete lack of consciousness continually leads us to question the seriousness of his position, and one wonders if a more stoic and stern actor could have been chosen.

Full of blood and intrigue and enough explosions and plot twists to keep most entertained throughout, the ultimate pitfall for the film is the completely wasted final third where the audience is subjected to an awful display of pandering to the love need. In a movie that could have stood quite well on its own with no mention of a female part, a female part is exactly what was injected under the most bizarre circumstances.

Golshifteh Farahani plays the role of Aiesha, a local nurse who treats DiCaprio after one of his numerous blood soaked encounters. His immediate desire to court her while in the middle of trying to win the ultimate war speaks only to the insatiable appetite of men everywhere to satisfy their carnal needs. Was it necessary to spend so much of the movie focusing on this story line when there was so much that was left out? Farahani puts on a very believable role and I enjoyed her performance immensely, I only wish it had been part of a different film.


Quantum of Solace
Director:Marc Forster
Writers (WGA):Paul Haggis (written by) and Neal Purvis (written by)
Release Date:14 November 2008 (USA) more


Daniel Craig - James Bond
Olga Kurylenko - Camille
Mathieu Amalric - Dominic Greene
Judi Dench - M
Giancarlo Giannini - Mathis

Whether you leave a Bond film feeling satisfied or stymied, one thing has always been certain about the dashing Brit portraying the world's greatest secret-agent: Gadgets, one-liners, and martinis (shaken, not stirred). It has always been certain, relatively speaking, until the reveal of Quantum of Solace, director Marc Forester's (Monster's Ball) attempt at shaking up the industry.

In this somewhat revamped, and seemingly prequel-esque film, Daniel Craig portrays a 007 unknown to most followers of the past 40+ years. Gone are Q's famous gadgets which usually riddle a Bond film and added are some much more thrill-ride action sequences, albeit still the same head-shaking 'how did he survive that' moments. Gone also is the trademark 'Shaken, not stirred' comment, lines left to a male flight attendant. Gone is the constant seduction of a female co-star, a former staple of past films.

I am not sure how to comment on the lack of the above Bond features from the past, because this film stands alone as a decent action thriller filled with a discernable plot, packed action, some romance, and an intriguing twist on Bond's emotional state.

I just don't know if it is a Bond film without all the bells and whistles.

Craig does a very good job (better than Casino Royale) at bringing out the deep states of emotion a double agent must seemingly go through all the time, and it comes through well on the big screen. Here lies a distinct difference from former Bond films, in that the usually focused character who hits on the secretary with a charming one-liner and saunters off to the spa in search of a masseuse, all the while carrying a gun close to his hip ready to take on the bad guy around the corner, is now replaced by a darker version of this character of the past, one who thinks of revenge and kill first, rather than detaining for information.

The dark issues Craig struggles with stem from the loss of his love and the resulting revenge he seeks, but somehow it all seems very much like a stand-alone action film (a decent one at that) but not a Bond film. I am quite sure viewers will leave this film with the satisfaction that their money was not wasted, but also with a vague sense of being cheated.


Religulous (Short summary)

Director:Larry Charles

Writer:Bill Maher (written by)

Release Date:3 October 2008 (USA) more
Genre:Documentary more
Tagline:Do you smell something burning? more

Bill Maher - Himself

If you are the type of person who can attend a viewing of a film that is obviously biased and obviously looking to push buttons without feeling an overwhelming need to voice your opinion and sit with arms crossed and pouted lips until the ending, then Bill Maher's mockumentary is probably for you.

I enjoyed this film quite a bit on a very level field of entertainment. Religion is attacked, yes, but also questioned and debated in a light-hearted way that leaves you laughing at some of the absurdities but also pondering some deeper questions of what it means to have so much of the world's control and leadership under the thumb of religion.

The film attempts to draw some very strange and apocalyptic conclusion at the end and I wish it had simply stuck to the humor it had throughout, but overall this is a movie worth seeing - if you go in with a blank mindset regarding religion.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

2008 movies and quick recap reviews

Here are the 2008 movies I have seen with their release dates. I felt like I missed a lot of movies this year (I did, especially in comparison to 2007) but when I looked through all the releases, I don't think I missed too many worth seeing. Anyway - my ratings next to each based on how I feel today.

2008 certainly was not on par with the great 2007 year of movies (though there may still be some big ones to finish off the year)

Let me know what good ones I missed so I can try and see them.

Rambo 1/25/08 -- (6/10) for a Rambo type movie - 3/10 for an actual movie

Vantage Point 2/22/08 -- (3/10) Terrible movie. Do not waste one minute on this one.

The Other Boleyn Girl 2/29/09 -- 7/10 -- Maybe 7.5/10 - I really enjoyed the entire movie. Not sure why it got dismissed so quickly.

Semi-Pro 2/29/08 -- (3/10) -- terrible even for Will Farrell's recent stuff

Iron Man 5/2/08 -- (8.5/10) -- One of the best of the year, regardless of genre. If not for the rediculous ending sequence it would be a solid 9

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 5/22/08 -- (4/10) -- Terrible attempt at an ending for this already fine trilogy. Nothing original takes place and nothing exciting happens.

Kung Fu Panda 6/6/08 -- (6.5/10) -- Actually entertaining and good voices for the parts, but it did drag a bit in the middle for my taste in an animated film

You Don't Mess with the Zohan 6/6/08 -- (8/10) -- plot? Who cares. It was laugh out loud funny and for a Sandler film these days that is hard to come by

WALL-E 6/27/08 -- (8/10) -- a really wonderful film that, if it didn't drag for about 25 minutes mid way would have deserved a 9

Wanted 6/27/08 -- (3/10) -- absolutely terrible waste of time. Anything you see here has been done multiple times in multiple movies and always a lot better. Save yourself on this one.

The Dark Knight 7/18/08 -- (9/10) - probably at the top of the list so far, BUT, I'd like to see again to decide if it warrants this high a rating. I remember it being very good.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe 7/25/08 -- (5/10) -- ho hum they cashed a paycheck.

Tropic Thunder 8/13/08-- (4/10) -- If not for the first 25 minutes this movie would have been unwatchable... it gets so bad near the end I almost walked out

Vicky Cristina Barcelona 8/15/08-- (9/10)-- Another contender for me for best of the year. Not getting much buzz and no one I know seems to care, regardless of how many times I tell them to see it. Awesome movie with great performances and no dull parts at all.

Burn After Reading 9/12/08 -- (5/10) -- I don't get it? 'People' told me it was good. I don't generally like people, so, whatever... I didn't let out a single laugh for the first 50 minutes, and it is supposed to be a dark comedy of sorts. Brad Pitt's character sucks. That is all I will elaborate on...

Righteous Kill 9/12/08 -- (5/10) -- So standard. So average. So cashing in paychecks.

I don't know much about any upcoming movies... Any input on Oct/Nov/Dec to see?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Righteous Kill (2008) - a review

Righteous Kill (2008)

101 minutes

Millennium Films

Release Date: 12 September 2008 (USA)

Director: Jon Avnet

Tagline: Most people respect the badge. Everybody respects the gun.

Robert De Niro; Turk

Al Pacino; Rooster

50 Cent; Spider

Carla Gugino; Karen Corelli


Pop quiz: What do you get when you pair two of the most revered and honored actors of a generation for the first time opposite each other, sharing actual screen time, in a cop-drama film seemingly written with each in mind?

Answer: Not Heat

The best way for me to describe Righteous Kill is, simply put, bland and predictable. Everything in this movie is right down the middle average.

Acting: 5/10; Plot: 5/10; Intrigue: 5/10....and so on

Pacino and DeNiro (Rooster and Turk respectively) star as long-time NYPD partners who end up investigating a series of murders seemingly being carried out by one of their own, each with the connection to the last that makes it evident they are being carried out as "righteous", in that those being murdered are scum of the earth who either beat their rap or continually avoid capture.

Mixed in with the big stars is Carla Gugino as NYPD Karen Corelli, and sex buddy to Turk, with a passion for being treated rough by cops. She brings very little to the film, though when you put it all in perspective, she was needed just to keep things from beign stagnant. It almost feels like she was written in along the way to try very hard to give this movie something more than the actual plot.

Another seemingly shake-your-head role was given to 50 Cent, who plays Spider, the big-time drug dealer... or is he? This role is so undeveloped you never really get a good understanding of this character, and being played by 50 Cent in general makes this role weak.

Whether you untangle the inevitable twists of this snoozer before it is given to you is, I suppose, something to shoot for while watching, but if you don't, no worries - it will all be laid out for you nice and neat at the end, you know, just in case you weren't smart enough to understand what happened, which is what everyone in this movie seems to think of the audience.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Legend Of Bagger Vance

This is truly one of the worst movies I've ever seen. I'd like to write more about it, but that would mean I'd have to spend more time thinking about it, and, to be honest, I just want to forget that I ever saw it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Righteous Kill (2008) - expectations?

Righteous Kill (2008)
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino
Director Jon Avnet

Tagline: Most people respect the badge. Everybody respects the gun.

Plot: Two veteran New York City detectives (De Niro and Pacino) work to identify the possible connection between a recent murder and a case they believe they solved years ago; is there a serial killer on the loose, and did they perhaps put the wrong person behind bars?

What to expect???

I am actually really really concerned about this movie. I want to think that after all this time a movie could be made for these two giants that will stand the test of time, but after seeing that 50 Cent has a role in the film, I am more concerned than anything.

Heat was a great movie, but Pacino and De Niro had separate roles and never shared a single second of time acting together. This movie relies on their characters spending lots of time together on screen.

Anyway, it opens tomorrow night and I hope to see it this week sometime, but that will depend a lot of the movie schedules in this part of the country...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Juno; Zodiac; Lars and the Real Girl; Atonement; Kung Fu Panda; Don't Mess with the Zohan (quick reviews)

Ok, so I missed some movies from last year, and have seen a few this year... here is a very very quick recap of my findings in no particular order:

Juno: 8/10 - A nice, cute movie with enough emotion and 'deep' character situations to make it a must see. I do not agree that this is a top 5 film of last year, but I think it fits in as 6th man quite well. It deserved nominations, but I do not feel it is in the same universe as There Will Be Blood or No Country For Old Men, or Into The Wild or American Gangster for that matter...

The Zodiac: 7.5/10 - This is a very solid movie, but I really believe you need to be in the right frame of mind to watch this. I actually heard someone say they thought it was just too slow, etc, then I watched it with them and when we talked about it they seemed to really think it was a much better film. In any event, it is definitely worth seeing.

Lars and the Real Girl: 5/10 - I REALLY REALLY wanted to like this movie. I go out of my way to like off-beat, non-blockbuster type movies. I go out of my way to see the artistic side of films. With that said, this movie just doesn't make sense. I get the emotional issues and I get the community trying to help, but it goes way too far and it stretched way too far to even begin to let you imagine this happening. I suggest you not spend any time with this movie, as much as I strived to like it.

Atonement: 7/10 - My disclaimer to this this review is that I had read the book before seeing the movie, which I feel ALWAYS has a strong influence on how you view a movie. I thought the acting was acceptable and the plot pretty true to the book. With that said, it is EXACTLY as I thought the book - the beginning and ending are great... the middle war parts are terribly boring and add very little to the story. THIS IS THE BEST TYPE OF CHICK FLICK TO SEE WITH YOUR GF/WIFE if you need to pick one... you will enjoy it enough and she will love it.

Kung Fu Panda: 7/10 - The rating may be a little too high, but it as very watchable and if you are in the right kind of mind it can be fun. We only went because we were going to do a double feature with Zohan and the timing was perfect, otherwise I would never pay to see this kind of movie, and I suggest you do the same thing, unless it is with kids, which it wasn't for me. Jack Black does a good voice for this movie and overall it is enjoyable, but nothing like a typical Pixar film will produce.

Don't Mess with the Zohan: 7.5/10 - My rating is based 100% on overall movie appeal - if the rating was based on laugh out loud moments it would get a 9.5/10 - I swear I went into this movie thinking "blah, another Sandler farce, maybe laugh a few times, and leave unsatisfied" - hah! Nothing could be farther from the truth...So funny. Yes, slapstick and some over the top humor, but overall it was a very funny comedy and I say see it.

Wanted (a review)

Wanted was as bad a movie as I have seen in a long time. I give this, perhaps on a good day, a 4/10, at the very best.

The acting is horrific, which I am even willing to totally forgive sine I knew what kind of movie I was going to see, but I cannot forgive the absolutely terrible combination of bad acting with ridiculous plot. Nothing was explained well in this movie, mainly because there was nothing worth explaining.

If you love movies with a whiny voice over almost constantly booming through the speakers, maybe you will enjoy it. I don't know, call me absolutely crazy, but am I really supposed to be laughing at how absurd the action scenes got? I mean, laugh out loud moments when you were supposed to be feeling 'suspense'?

Anjelina Jolie is at her worst, and is mainly used as eye candy, only she doesn't look much better than Kate Bosworth after Blue Crush when she lost 190 pounds. She gets out of water and looks hot, from behind, for about 1.3 seconds. Ok, not quite worth the price of admission.

Morgan Freeman plays a typical god-like character who is supposedly imparting knowledge, etc...Talk about phoning it in for a role... How much did he earn for this?

Please save your money for anything else.

LOL at the absurdity of them not being able to kill him at the end. These are the ELITE warriors who can BEND BULLETS from miles away and hit targets and shoot from moving trains and scoop people up in cars when going 100 mph, but when a bunch of rats get released LOOK OUT! What WILL WE DO????

He runs straight down the middle of a big warehouse and not one of 100 people can shoot him? Ok...fine... but then they all end up in a circle at the exact point he is going to show up at???? He also gets sliced in the head with a meat cleaver and doesn't even slow down. Does this guy have magical powers or is he a normal human with some unique characteristics? I honestly don't get it. Is he a 'superhero' or a normal guy trained to be a warrior?

Because if you stuck a meat cleaver in my head I don't think I would be getting up.

Ok...again... I know what kind of move this is... but just because you know a movie is a certain type and genre, it doesn't mean you have to make it this bad.

I am not a big fan of the Matrix, but I understand the appeal, and I can even watch it and be a fan of the techniques used... I just really can't stand Keanue Reeves. But Wanted is NOTHING like Matrix in quality, plot, or film technique.

This is simply the kind of movie that will come on TNT in a few years at 9pm on a Saturday night and you may watch it thinking Jolie will get naked or something.

I always say to each his own with movies, but for some reason I really feel sorry at some level for those of you who A)Really enjoyed this movie and B) Are telling other people they should see this movie.


Matt's top 100 movies of all time (with honorable mentions and lots of exceptions)

Ok, let's be honest, I pounded out this list a long time ago in a short period of time and there is no way it reflects any type of actual list. I am proud to have attempted it, but looking at it now makes me cringe in some spots and I want to delete it, but alas, I am a bit too proud to have completed it at all, so I leave this note to let you all know that, well, much has changed and don't hold any of it against me, but at least this gives you a general idea of what I consider to be good viewing.
My Top 100 Movies of All-Time (w/ Honorable Mentions!)

*** It has been 6 months since I made the original list, and I am not happy with my choice for #2. While a great movie, it just doesn't fit with my actual likes. In my next edit of this list I plan to move #2 somewhere in the 10-15 range, and will just admit I made an error in judgement.

I have, of course, failed to see every movie ever made. If I have not seen a movie in entirety I have not included it on this list (so Citizen Kane (1941), (1941), Rear Window (1954), North by Northwest (1959), Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (1966) (aka The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)and others are not being considered here.) I welcome comments if you can suggest a movie you think belongs here, and will be happy to discuss whether I simply chose not to include it or did not see it.

I tried very hard to give an accurate ranking (according to my likes, and my belief that the film warrants it – not always the same), but many of them can and will fluctuate over time. I struggled a lot with the top 10, and especially with recent movies, such as No Country for Old Men (2007) and There Will Be Blood (2007), as they have only recently been viewed, and I cannot accurately say where they will fall in the years to come.

1. The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974)

No movie has the staying power for me quite like The Godfather(s). This is the ultimate representation of what a wonderful cast and crew can do to bring out the deepest of emotion in the viewer, never wavering in theme, continuity, or content. We are allowed to take a special point of view at a world that almost no one ever truly experiences, and we come away with an understanding we can only hope is not truth. Perfect performances by Brando, Pacino, Caan, and Duvall (among many many others) and a score that can only be considered among the best of all time, compliment each other in a way that will leave you feeling completely satisfied as the Corleone family maneuvers its way throughout the mafia underworld.

2. Vita è bella, La (aka Life Is Beautiful) (1997)

Roberto Benigni gives a masterful performance as a father (Guido Orefice) who goes to the ultimate extremes to shield his son from the ultimate terror during the time of concentration camps. We never lose sight of the terrible situation the people in this movie find themselves, but we are constantly removed, slightly, through the use of humor, and we are ultimately left with a sense of helplessness as Orefice is murdered, and neither joke nor funny face could have saved him. The fact that his son survives only leaves us with that much more sorrow, if not small hope.

3. Braveheart (1995)

It is not easy to pull off an epic masterpiece set in medieval times (for the shear scope of casting, location, and costumes lead many a movie to disaster) but here we find that Gibson (as William Wallace) prevails with a truly remarkable film which depicts the unflinching desire for man to be free (incredibly mixed with raw emotions of revenge, desire, and love). That this is loosely based on factual events makes it all the more poignant when we think strongly and intellectually about what freedom means to us in this day and age, and what lengths we are willing to go to truly consider ourselves human.

4. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

It is a fear of many a person to be wrongly convicted of a crime, to find oneself in prison for life for something of which you are not guilty. For the character played by Tim Robbins in his breakout role (Andy Dufresne), it is much worse. The Shawshank prison grounds play host to the majority of the scenes in this film, and within the confines of the guarded gates and walls, thieves and crooks and, sometimes, innocents co-mingle in harmony and, quite often, disharmony, en route to violence and struggles just to live day-to-day. Time is all these people have, and for one of the incarcerated time is all he needs. With amazing performances by Morgan Freeman as ‘Red’ and Bob Gunton as Warden Norton, Tim Robbins leads us on a stimulating, soul-searching journey through the body of Andy Dufresne, and ultimately, he comes out on the other side.

5. The Usual Suspects (1995)

I am not often taken by movies that require some magical twist or fantastically unrealistic plot lines, and thankfully for us all this movie takes such a twist and delivers on a level like none other. From the moment we meet ‘Verbal’ Kint (Kevin Spacey) and delve into his story of mythical proportions, we are taken by his handicapped stature, and as time progresses we may actually feel somewhat sorry for the third-rate thief trying to pull off a heavy heist with his contemporary crooks (Wonderfully cast Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Pollack) with rap sheets a mile long. By the time his ankle twists and the coffee mug slams into the ground, we are stunned at the final reveal, our eyes fixed firmly on the screen wondering if what we just witnessed is actually possible, recounting the scenes on screen and in our head, only to come to the ridiculously wonderful conclusion that the ‘gimp’ of the movie is the one person, the very Boogeyman, we all fear when we lay our heads to our pillows.

6. American Beauty (1999)

Lester Burnham’s life is dull. If nothing else happened to Kevin Spacey’s character in the days, weeks, years to come, he may very well end up dying a premature death having never experienced the highs and lows that come with a life well spent, a life conflicted, and a life that takes chances. The turning point of the movie is a wonderful scene (perhaps one of the finest transitional moments in any movie) when we see Lester smoking a joint in his garage and pumping iron, changing his life for many reasons (cheating wife, Lolita desires, longing of youth, etc.) When, as his wife (played passionately by Annette Bening) is storming out of the garage we hear Lester, through repetitions of the bench press, state with firm vigor, “That’s….What…You….Think” we know that it’s on, that this character is going to take us down a path that neither we nor he is aware of where it will end. Ultimately, we all understand how the movie will end, and the pieces of the who dunnit are not all that important. In the end, we are left with both beauty (a life changed and worth leading) and the opposite of beauty (greed, cheating, sloth, and murder), and like the bag that floats beautifully in the wind, lives are tossed and turned, and, in the end, continue to fly or finally fall.

7. The Deer Hunter (1978)

Michael (Robert De Niro), Steven (John Savage), and Nick (Christopher Walken), are 3 buddies from a Pennsylvania factory town, just living their lives and working their jobs. Director Michael Cimino purposely stretches out the opening hour of the movie (3 hours in length) so that we come to know these people, this town, which makes the aftermath all the worse. What we learn is that these men are headed to Vietnam, and none of their lives will ever be the same. What follows is the horrific capture of these friends who are forced into violent games for their lives. What we are left with is the return of two of the three to the Pennsylvania town (both with their own horrors to deal with) and the remaining Nick, played masterfully by Walken, who can only be accurately described as having gone completely insane. Of all the movies on in my top 10, this one is probably the most flawed as far as details go, but the actual movie sucks you into these lives and thankfully there is not a strong anti-war message being pushed (of course that comes through, but it is not forced down our throats). In the end, these friends who used to take guns to hunt deer in the nearby woods have found themselves caught up in one of the most terrible times in our nation’s history, using guns and other weapons in ways none of them could have ever imagined.

8. Hoosiers (1986)

There have been many movies focused on basketball (and sports in general), so what makes this film about small town Indiana high school basketball so deserving of the #8 top movie slot? The simple answer is that no other sports film delivers such a gut reaction, such a genuine release of joy, as this middle-of-nowhere, simple-life, old world depiction induces. Inspired by the Milan (Indiana) Indians' state title of 1954, Gene Hackman (as Coach Norman Dale) of Hickory, a school that can barely put together a full team, miraculously makes a victorious run through the (now defunct) Indiana state high school basketball championship open tournament. What made this so spectacular was that the state used to have no divisional seeding, meaning that schools with 2,000+ students to choose from could potentially meet up with schools like the fictional Hickory, and as the team uses everything including the old picket fence to advance through the tournament, we are introduced to one spectacular, emotional out-letting when, with the clock at zero, the unlikeliest of teams with the unlikeliest of coaches pulls off the unlikeliest of victories. Along the way we are treated to fabulous performances by Hackman, as a displaced coach struggling to fit into a world that is not his own, and Dennis Hopper as ‘Shooter’ - an alcoholic former high school star, and father of one of the players, fighting to be a part of the present in hopes that it will heal his past. What we leave with at the end of the film is a feeling of hope, that all is never lost, and as long as we are willing to work hard, we will always have a fighting chance to take down the giant.

9. No Country for Old Men (2007)

Already becoming a much heralded film after just recently being released, I hesitated to give this movie such a high ranking, but ultimately decided to go with my gut that this will be a movie that stands the test of time. Javier Bardem’s portrayal of soulless killer Anton Chigurh is one of the great acting accomplishments one will ever witness. With the flip of a coin we are terrified by what we do not see in his eyes, and we finally must come to the conclusion that no bargaining, no pleading, and no different course of life could have prevented the inevitable outcome that is Anton Chigurh. Tommy Lee Jones voice overs and sparse appearances are the glue that binds the story together, and ultimately it is his perception of the world that we should be focusing on to understand the world of No Country For Old Men. With Josh Brolin holding his own between these two great performances, and a supporting cast of likeable characters, what we are left with as the screen cuts to black is not, as many suggest, a let down to an otherwise magnificent movie, but, more accurately, a gut-check of magnificent proportions that should, hopefully, provoke a deep and terrifying realization.

10. The Exorcist (1973)

Sandwiched between some almost unbearably slow moving sequences, young Regan (Linda Blair) finds herself tormented to the point of near death by the spirit of the devil himself, which will stop at no cost to get what he wants. What he wants is not so clear. It is the portrayal of the conflicted Father Karras (Jason Miller) and his senior mentor Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) that drives this tragic and seemingly unavoidable movie to its climactic ending. Along the way questions of faith and the human spirit are put to the ultimate test, and we are left with the unanswerable thoughts of how does one defend oneself against pure evil, especially when evil itself cannot be captured?

11. Unforgiven (1992) – an incredible study in characters with perfect performances depicting the ultimate Western.
12. Léon (aka The Professional) (1994) – Do I really feel compassion for a hitman? This movie made it so.
13. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – The best of all the films, with the most amazing cinematography and deepest subject matter. This is the film that holds the series together.
14. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – The Action/Adventure at its finest. Harrison Ford portrays treasure hunter/archaeologist/lucksac to perfection and we are fortunate to be taken along for the ride.
15. Rocky (1976) – It is unfortunate that so many Stallone movies to follow would be so terrible, but it can never be overlooked at just what a wonderful movie experience Rocky was and is, following the everyday life of an average bum as he gets his shot at sports immortality
16.The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) (I consider this one movie) – Each film could be ranked on its own merits, but I choose to believe that this is one continuous, magnificent film that captivates us with sweeping landscapes and well-thought out and executed CGI. This is a world that could easily have failed to translate to the big screen if it were not for the superb direction of Peter Jackson.
17. Heat (1995) – Al Pacino and Robert De Niro never actually spent 1 minute together on set of this epic cops and robber tale, with their one scene together being shot at separate times and spliced together, but that in no way diminishes the magnitude of the experience director Michale Mann brings to us as we follow the separate but inextricably intertwined lives of a homicide detective and a career criminal.
18. There Will Be Blood (2007) Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s depiction of turn of the century oil grasping is told with vigor through the superb acting of Daniel Day Lewis’s character Daniel Plainview. With each sweeping shot of barren terrain across miles of untouched country, we are reminded of the potential that awaits men like Daniel in their quest for fame and fortune, no matter what the cost to others or to their own soul.
19. Poltergeist (1982) – The ultimate in scary tactics are employed in this tale of a family tortured by evil spirits. Who can forget the first time they tried to watch television after seeing the movie, only to reach back and turn on all the lights?
20. Donnie Brasco (1997) Johhny Depp in one of his finest performances as an undercover cop working to bring down the infrastructure of the mafia.
21. Apocalypse Now (1979) – With an iconic cast of superstars and the magic of Francis Ford Coppola, This epic wartime piece featured variations in filming never seen or done before, and it all works. With Martin Sheen’s character searching out Brando’s for an ultimate elimination that will ‘never exist’, this movie takes us through a multitude of emotions and our eyes never leave the screen.
22. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) Jack Nicholson’s daring, beautiful, and disturbing portrayal of a psychiatric patient is somewhat overshadowed by the steely glare of Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) who gives the performance of a lifetime.
23. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)An incredible exploration of what it means to be human. No movie repertoire is complete without an understanding of the great red eye of HAL 9000.
24. Jaws (1975) – “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” accurately sums up this tale of man versus beast is what turned out to be an all-time blockbuster that sent many viewers to permanently retreat from the ocean.
25. Alien (1979) – the ultimate sci-fi horror flick, Sygourney Weaver fights her way through intergalactic species in this tale of woe.
26. A Beautiful Mind (2001) Russel Crowe’s depiction of physicists John Nash’s battle with schizophrenia is beautiful and heart-felt, and Jennifer Connolly’s moving performance as the woman who stands by his side holds the film together. With an outstanding score and amazing use of cinematography, we are able to “see” what Nash sees when his mind is at work on a level that very few, if any, have ever understood.
27. A Clockwork Orange (1971) –Stanley Kubrick’s dark and disturbing flick leaves us questioning much of what we thought we knew.
28. Schindler's List (1993) – Simply put this is an epic tale of real-life tragedy and sorrow, told beautifully by one of the masters
29. Ben-Hur (1959) An epic tale of war in the greatest sense, this is a movie best enjoyed in widescreen for the immense visuals.
30. Taxi Driver (1976)Robert De Niro delivers a powerful performance as a deranged taxi driver intent on many things, including the winning over a young prostitute played by Jodie Foster.
31. Dances with Wolves (1990)Kevin Costner delivers his finest performance in this breathtaking tale of cowboys and Indians played out on a grand scale.
32. Caddyshack (1980) – The ultimate comedy that has stood the test of time. Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Ted Knight (as Judge Smails) create an ensemble of characters we can only hope to find at some point in future movies, but have yet to do so. More one-liners can be attributed to this movie surrounding golf than one can recall, and the entire public opinion of gophers was changed forever.
33. Blade Runner (1982)Ridley Scott’s post-apocalyptic (Really?) depiction of a world that forces us to examine what it means to be human.
34. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999) – The writers of South Park have always had a special talent to bring their breed of comedy to the proper fan base. With the full-length feature they have given us something that even those who oppose the material in normal South Park episodes can not help but smile at and admire. The songs infused throughout this tale are nothing short of spectacular, and if nothing else is taken from this movie, you will surely marvel at the lyrical lines of Uncle Fuc*er.
35. Mr. Holland's Opus (1995) – The moving story of Mr. Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) as he spends his life longing to be a composer. Along the way he ‘settles’ for teaching to pay the bills while he works on his symphony. What he finds is that his life has been completely fulfilled through his teaching, and with the help of lessons learned from his deaf son and his students throughout the years, the triumphant unveiling of his unfinished symphony at the climactic end to the movie is a scene that will make even the most hardened of men’s eyes well up with tears.
36. Saving Private Ryan (1998) An unflinching look at the ‘storming of the beach’ is one of the great scenes ever filmed. Tom Hanks portrayal of Captain John Miller is what holds this film together, as he gives a strong yet human performance. Along with an entire cast of wonderful supporting roles, this epic war film will pass the test of time honored films.
37. Philadelphia (1993) – Another wonderful performance by Hanks as AIDS stricken attorney Andrew Beckett. The discrimination trial that is the focus of the movie acts as a bridge between corporate society, private lives, and the human condition. A film released just 10 years after the first known reports of AIDS came to light, this film made us all ask the tough questions.
38. Deliverance (1972) – What bad can possibly happen when a group of friends take a bonding canoe trip into the wilderness? Disturbing and thought-provoking, Jon Voight (Ed), Burt Reynolds (Lewis), and Ned Beatty (Bobby) change in many ways as they struggle to survive against a few random back-woods predators in this John Boorman thriller.
39. Reservoir Dogs (1992) Quentin Tarantino bloodbath that brought the names Mr. Blonde, Mr. Pink, Mr. White, Mr. Blue, Mr. Orange, and Mr. Brown into the common lexicon. Michael Madson’s mesmerizing performance as crazed Mr. Blonde is immortalized in the famous scene when the captured police officer is doused in gasoline and has his ear sliced off, all the while the radio is blaring K-Billy’s Super Sounds of the 70s.
40. Sideways (2004) – Paul Giamati finally got his shot at a leading role and he does a fabulous job in his portrayal of an uptight and high strung wine snob looking to find something more in his life. A great supporting role by Thomas Haden Church solidifies this as an all time great.
41. The Princess Bride (1987) – “Mawaige…” and “inconceivable” are just two terms that immediately conjure up the magical world that is the Princess Bride. A movie that will last with the audience for eternity as each viewing finds more and more reasons to smile at this absurd tale of piracy and love.
42. The Cincinnati Kid (1965) – As long as Lancey Howard is around, the “Kid” will never be the “Man”. One of the great card player movies ever made, and if you can get by some of the absurd scenarios, you’ll find a well acted and well thought out plot.
43. American Gangster (2007)
44. Raging Bull (1980)
45. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
46. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
47. Raising Arizona (1987)
48. L.A. Confidential (1997)
49. Animal House (1978)
50. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
51. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
52. Airplane! (1980)
53. The Straight Story (1999)
54. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
55. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
56. The Bourne Identity (2002)
57. The Jerk (1979) and The Man with Two Brains (1983) (tie)
58. Goodfellas (1990)
59. The Hunt for Red October (1990)
60. The Untouchables (1987)
61. Groundhog Day (1993)
62. Dr. No (1962) (Many Bond Movies would make my list here, but not all)
63. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
64. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
65. Rain Man (1988)
66. Road to Perdition (2002)
67. The Sting (1973)
68. The Green Mile (1999)
69. Beautiful Girls (1996)
70. Forrest Gump (1994)
71. Stand by Me (1986)
72. Hoop Dreams (1994)
73. The Departed (2006)
74. Training Day (2001)
75. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
76. 12 Angry Men (1957)
77. Into the Wild (2007)
78. Name der Rose, Der (aka The Name of the Rose)(1986)
79. Pulp Fiction (1994)
80. Finding Nemo (2003)
81. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)
82. Casino (1995)
83. Spaceballs (1987)
84. The Blues Brothers (1980)
85. Blood Diamond (2006)
86. The Dirty Dozen (1967)
87. Five Easy Pieces (1970)
88. Walk the Line (2005)
89. Cape Fear (1991)
90. Gladiator (2000)
91. Batman Begins (2005)
92. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
93. The Terminator (1984)
94. Risky Business (1983)
95. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
96. Revenge of the Nerds (1984)
97. Unendliche Geschichte, Die (aka The Neverending Story) (1984)
98. Better Off Dead... (1985)
99. The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie: Strange Brew (1983)
100.Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

Honorable Mention

The Karate Kid (1984)
Legend (1985)
Howard the Duck (1986)
One Crazy Summer (1986)
Kingpin (1996)

NEW EDIT: Movies that may/should be considered for the list (either I forgot, have not seen, or am not sure yet)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Rear Window (1954)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
North by Northwest (1959)
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Great Escape (1963)
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964
Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (1966) (aka The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Easy Rider (1969)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Up in Smoke (1978)WarGames (1983)The Natural (1984)
Back to the Future (1985)
Platoon (1986)Amazon Women on the Moon (1987)
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
This Boy's Life (1993) Se7en (1995)Bottle Rocket (1996)
Trainspotting (1996)
Chasing Amy (1997)
Ronin (1998)
Rounders (1998)
Memento (2000)Snatch. (2000)Zodiac (2007/I)
Add lost In translation