Thursday, September 3, 2009

Black Moon Rising

This is not part of my best of list! This is, in fact a DISASTER! As a little treat for Amy and possibly April, I've decided to do reviews of whatever my BF and I are watching. My boy toy and I like to watch movies. A lot. As a result, we have watched all contemporary movies. While waiting for new movies to be produced, we sometimes amuse ourselves with older cinema. BF is in charge of choosing the films. The latest offering comes straight from the mind of John Carpenter and the 80's! You may remember him as the director of The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China (two films that will be making an appearance on my best of list) but he didn't direct this jewel, oh no. Its just from his mind. Like Athena fully formed from the forehead of Zeus, we have this epic of big hair and ridiculous super cars. Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones is a hot young thief in a cool leather jacket. There's some kind of convoluted plot regarding him thieving a computer disk the size of an 8-track and then hiding said disk in an experimental car at a rest stop. Then Linda Hamilton shows up for no good reason and steals the super car. Did I mention that she has the tallest 80's hair I've ever seen? She's wearing a wig and I'm pretty sure they left room under the wig for her natural big 80's hair. This masterpiece of stilted dialogue and gratuitous Hamilton on Lee Jones sex scenes was a complete mess. The super car was not even a little bit cool. It looked like it might be made of cardboard and the design came from some kid's 80's era trapper keeper. UGH! One of the only redeeming features of this movie (besides them having the good sense to not show Lee Jone's ass) was the fact that the cast was filled out with a veritable who's who of actors you have seen in the background of every movie from the 80's. There was that guy from that one movie, and that other guy who used to be a football player, oh, and the sheriff from True Blood. You can't spit in an 80's film without hitting that guy! Ha, ha, ohhhh. Don't watch this movie, unless you really want to see Linda Hamilton's nipples or you really like to play name the random 80's character actor.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

42. The Shawshank Redemption

42. The Shawshank Redemption
Of all the stories Stephen King wrote, who would have guessed that one of the few with no supernatural overtones would make my list. My bf likes to joke that if a movies doesn't have wizards in it, I won't watch it. That's close to true. Also, I'm not a fan of prison movies as a rule. This particular film transcends the genre. Tim Robbin's earnest performance and Morgan Freeman's heart-rending voice over could have made this too maudlin, but Frank Darabont does a wonderful job of keeping the tone dipping between dark and uplifting. There's a great visual style to the film as well. Even though the prison is full of men, there is a feel of isolation among the inmates. The world outside of the prison if full of bustling life and beautiful sweeping vistas. This is also the first appearance on the list of Clancy Brown who shows up at in at least 2 more of my favorite movies.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

43. Ghostbusters

43. Ghostbusters
So, when I was a kid, I owned the cassette tape soundtrack from this movie. That is how in love with this film I was. The sequel cooled my ardor but some love still remains. Ivan
Reitman, Harold Ramis, and Dan Aykroyd put together a rare gem in one of my favorite genre mixes. Its a science fiction/fantasy/comedy people. Not many exist and even fewer do it well. Of course, having Bill Murray lead the ensemble cast is a giant step in the right direction.
This movie has so many quotable lines, its
ridiculous. I love the whole scientist as superhero idea as well. I'm not going to bother recounting any plot points because if you haven't seen this movie, than you should stop reading and do so NOW. Anyone with scifi or movie geek tendencies will have seen this already. As a counter point to how awesome this movie is, let me tell you how terrible the sequel is. All of the snappy dialogue and great chemistry is replaced with wacky situations and buckets of slime. Ugh, it hurts me on the inside to dredge up the repressed memories of Ghostbusters 2. Typing the name put a bad taste in my mouth. I understand that money is a powerful motivator. I would find it difficult to turn down millions of dollars for the sake of art, but please, don't make a Ghostbusters 3. Don't "reimagine" the movie either. It is fine just the way it is. Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, I'm looking at you two. People today love to beat a cash cow to death. Don't make me hate the original movie because you have buried the lovely original under a tidal wave of ill conceived sequels and shitty cartoons. Oh wait, you did that already in the 90's. OK, please stop doing that so we can forget all that crap and enjoy the original again. Please. For me.

44. The Long Goodbye

44. The Long Goodbye
Before watching this film, I would have never, in a million years said Elliot Gould was a sexy man. He came before my time. He was an old man to me. But oh my, Phillip Marlow is a sexy man. His best friend is a cat and the cat is in charge. His neighbors are a group of party girl sirens always begging for his attention. But, he doesn't pay them any mind. He knows better. And so begins Robert Altman's take on the most classic of all Noir characters.
This Marlow is the coolest private dick around. He takes every situation in stride. Everything is OK by him. He has a kind of cool elegance of movement and speech that lets you know that something is going on inside. He's already two steps ahead of the bad guy and, if he's not, he can roll with the punches.
The story is pretty standard noir fare. His best friend's wife is murdered and the friend is on the run. At the same time, another case falls in his lap featuring a lovely lady with a missing husband. Unrelated cases that reveal themselves to be connected underneath. Our hero has to figure out what's going on while being watched by the cops and the mob. I don't want to give more away but suffice to say such a simple description doesn't come close to expressing the complexity of the mystery.
This movie came out in 1973 and you get a real sense of the time. Admittedly, Altman's direction is more concerned with style than anything but, I love the hardboiled detective re-cast as shabby hipster. Its so obvious that Spike from Cowboy Bebop is a clone of this character. He's the loose limbed cool cat with a bad-ass hiding underneath. Even his shaggy mop of hair and ever present skinny tie are the same. Some may find the story rambling but it fits the nature of Marlow and the end is a kick in the pants. I wouldn't call it a twist ending but I didn't see it coming.