Watched Apocalypse Now (FINALLY!) after seeing this movie appear in countless “Favorite Movies” list for some time now. Loved the Godfather series, and Coppola did not disappoint. Of course the film itself was great, but what fascinated me more was the story behind the production.
I got the Apocalypse Now - The Complete Dossier DVD along with Hearts of Darkness, which is the documentary that came out in 1991 revealing what really happend in the Philippines during the 16 month shoot, which was initially planned to last only 16 weeks.
It’s really amazing to watch how the cast and crew members slowly lose their sanity as the characters of the film do through the progression of the shoot.
BRB - watching Apocalypse Now again.
Ranked from highest to lowest.
1. Little Children (2006)
Sarah (Kate Winslet) is unhappily married to Richard, who is obsessed with a porn star on the web. Brad (Patrick Wilson) is married to Kathy (Jennifer Connelly), who seems happy on the surface, but is struggling as well, having to depend on his wife, who is a documentary film maker and also the sole breadwinner of the family. As a housewife and househusband, Sarah and Brad start spending a lot of time together taking care of each of their own children while their respective spouses are at work. In the same neighborhood, a sex offender Ronnie is released from prison, back to his mother’s house. Larry, an ex-cop, is determined to drive Ronnie away from the neighborhood, pestering Ronnie and his elderly mother even at the latest of nights. Everyone is just trying to get by, but all of their lives get intertwined in the process.
It is shot beautifully, and there is a dream-like quality to the scenes with Sarah and Brad spending the day at the pool which contrasted with the scenes with more ominous nature. The story is great, the acting is great, and it doesn’t hurt that the main casts are so beautiful.
2. It Happened One Night (1934)
Ellie (Claudette Colbert) is a spoiled heiress that escapes from her father in order to get back to her fortune-hunting husband that she recently married to without her father’s consent. She jumps from the boat that her father forcefully boarded her in, and is en route to New York City to find her husband. On the bus ride to New York, she meets Peter (Clark Gable), a reporter that decides to help this clueless heiress out after she gets her luggage stolen and misses the bus, for a good juicy story. Ellie reluctantly sticks by him, for Peter might blow the whistle on her to turn her in to her father.
Let me preface this one sentence review by saying that I was never an appreciator of old black and white films. I can’t tell you where my dislike for them stemmed from, but honestly, this film might have brought about a turning point for me. This movie was not only the original screwball romantic comedy, but it was the first film ever to win the “Big Five” Academy Awards - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Writing, a feat only achieved by two movies in the history of the Academy Awards (One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Silence of the Lambs). It was one of the cutest romantic comedy films that I’ve seen, and Clark Gable! Swoon.
3. Mighty Aphrodite (1995)
Lenny (Woody Allen) and Amanda (Helena Bonham Carter) adopt a boy, and Lenny soon finds out that his adoptive son Max is a genius. Then he goes on his journey to find Max’s biological mother, who turns out to be the ditziest prostitute/porn actress, Linda Ash a.k.a. Judy Cum (Mira Sorvino). Lenny, worried that his son Max will be crushed upon finding his biological mother to be a prostitute, decides to play God and change Linda’s life for the better, so he thinks.
This film borrows themes heavily from the Greek mythology Oedipus, and is filmed with that Woody Allen vibe, which I actually really enjoy. Mira Sorvino is really great in this film.
4. King of Comedy (1983)
Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) is an aspiring stand-up comic, trying to find a way into the show business. He is very faithful to his “talents,” and once he meets the talk show legend Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) by chance, he starts having elaborate fantasies about Jerry and himself being close friends and friendly competitors as the top entertainers on TV. He persistently visits Jerry’s office to meet him, but is shown the door every time he makes the trip. Upon rejection after rejection, he and his psychotic Jerry Langford stalker friend, Masha, decide to do whatever it takes to get Rupert on the stage.
I didn’t really care for this film all that much. I got the theme, I got what the film was trying to convey, but whether it was the plot or some other unknown factor, I just found the De Niro character astoundingly annoying and overall did not really enjoy it.
Away We Go
Plot: Burt and Verona are expecting their first child in a few months, and the longtime couple decides to go on a journey to find a perfect place for their new home with the baby.
At first glance when this movie first came out, I just remember thinking, “what an odd pair. They did a horrible job at casting this movie.” I’ve always loved John Krasinski from The Office for many years, and I enjoyed Maya Rudolph’s segments in SNL way back when. They were spectacular individually, but I didn’t think they would have the chemistry nor the acting skills to pull this off. I stand corrected. They were just perfect for this movie. The ensemble cast is amazing, and it was one of those movies that made me feel really warm and fuzzy after the credits started rolling. I greatly enjoyed this film, and the character development is remarkable (especially Maggie Gyllenhaal - I love you Maggie).
Husbands and Wives
Plot: Upon discovering Jack and Sally’s divorce, Gabe and Judy start looking into their own marriage and start finding themselves being attracted to other people.
This was filmed and released during the whole scandal involving Woody Allen’s break-up with Mia Farrow (who plays his wife in the film) and his affair with the adoptive daughter of Mia Farrow, Soon-Yi Previn. It was disturbing to say the least, but the film was great. It’s a typical Woody Allen film, starring himself as a helpless intellect.
Plot: Alice is a spoiled housewife in Manhattan who starts falling for a saxophone player that she randomly saw at her children’s school. While she visits Dr. Yang for herbal remedy for her back pain, instead, she gets magic drugs that slowly but surely get her out of the complacent but empty life that she’s been living.
Another Woody Allen film. This movie was unexpected. The plot seemed so unrealistic to be one of Woody Allen’s. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Husbands and Wives, but it was interesting.
Finally! Who hasn’t heard of Annie Hall? The fashion, Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Oscars. It’s been on my list of movies to watch for a very long time, and the time has finally come. The film is revolutionary. I’m not saying that it was the best thing that I’ve ever watched or even that this is one of my favorite movies like so many of the critics have claimed so in the past. The plot was a bit bland for me, to be honest, but Allen’s directing style in this film was surely something that no one has ever done before the time of release, and I found it very unique and interesting (even for someone who’s been jaded after years and years of watching countless movies in different shapes, forms, and sizes).
This documentary goes in depth of the lives of a famous cartoonist Robert Crumb and his brothers Charles and Maxon. It was just amazing to see how all three brothers were raised to be somewhat of social outcasts, yet so brilliant in the realm of art. Robert Crumb’s cartoons were very popular in the 60s and 70s, during the big hippie era, for his sexually charged and unique cartoons at the time. His older brother Charles is the one that sort of jump started Robert’s interest in cartoons and art, yet he himself, as a very talented artist, still lives with his mother and refuses to leave the house. Robert’s younger brother Maxon, lives in a ratty hotel in San Francisco, panhandles to find spiritual meaning of life, sits on a bed of nails in lotus position for hours on end, and passes a long piece of cloth every few months to “cleanse his insides.” All three of the Crumb brothers are just so bizarre yet compelling, I highly recommend this film.
Capturing the Friedmans
This is one of the best documentary films that I’ve ever seen.
The Friedmans were an upper middle class Jewish family that lived in Great Neck, Long Island; Arnold and Elaine with three grown sons, David, Seth, and Jesse. Arnold was a very well-respected school teacher with numerous awards for his work. Then, one day before Thanksgiving, Arnold and his youngest 18-year-old son Jesse are charged with multiple charges of sodomy and sexual abuse against young boys from Arnold’s computer class. This starts hysteria not only in their family, but also in the entire town. As the tag line suggests, the question “who do you believe,” is raised for the audience to answer, and even though there is evidence after evidence that proves Friedmans’ innocence, the director remains his ambiguity and avoids addressing it in the film. He just wants the viewers to decide for themselves whether the Friedmans were guilty or not guilty. What makes this film so remarkable is that there are hours of home video footage of the family that David started filming once this case broke out, so we can see what the family was going through during this chaos, and how it started breaking the family apart. MUST. WATCH.
Louder Than a Bomb.
Welled up just watching the trailer. Must watch.
What a pleasant surprise.
Knowing that Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins were in the film, I already suspected that it was going to be a decent movie, but I didn’t know it was going to be this entertaining. Chris Hemsworth was a perfect choice for the role of Thor, and he played the part with just the right amount of regality and affability.
The plot goes as follows: Arrogant Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is stripped of all his powers and banished from Asgard to Earth by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) after he tries to bring down their arch nemesis, Laufey, the king of the Frost Giants. As he is shot down from the sky, Thor is discovered by scientists Jane (Natalie Portman), Darcy, and Erik. Meanwhile in Asgard, with mighty Thor out of the way, his younger brother Loki puts his plan to rule all the nine realms into action.
I watched the film in 3D, but I think that it would have been just as entertaining in 2D. This movie is no Avatar, where the graphics played a major role in the film’s value. I was quite surprised that this film was directed by Kenneth Branagh, our modern-day Shakespeare. Though, as I was watching the movie, I did feel that Branagh channeled his “Shakespeareanism” into this film with a great character development, rather than focusing heavily on the action, as it usually is the case with many superhero movies.
The sequel, “The Avengers,” is set to come out sometime next year. Many of the Marvel comics characters will be making an appearance, including Iron Man (RDJ), Black Widow (Scarlette Johansson), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and more. I hope they don’t screw it up as they did with Iron Man 2.
Worth a watch!
I am a bit ashamed to say that I’ve finally watched a Hitchcock film for the first time, but as I always say, better late than never. Seriously. I can’t believe I’ve been putting off classic movies under the false pretenses that they are, for lack of a better word, lame. I always thought that old movies would bore me to death, with the exception of Gone With the Wind, which I love. I know, I know, people always list classic movies in their top 10, top 100 lists, but I just never believed them, or I did, but I refused to oblige to them.
Anyway, I watched Vertigo, one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best films to date.
Just look at that poster. Amazing.
The truth is, it took me a week to get past the first 10 minutes of the movie. The reason is:
1. I still had my guard up against old films,
2. the beginning was dragging on a little bit, and thanks to my ADD, I would either find something else to watch or fall asleep.
Yesterday though, after a monster nap after my midterm (I slept from 4pm to 2am, it’s hardly a ‘nap’) I couldn’t fall back asleep so I decided to give this movie another try. I was sure that I would fall back asleep, but after 30 minutes or so, I was intrigued, and ended up finishing the film. I loved it.
The movie’s about a retired detective who acquires a latent acrophobia after witnessing his partner fall to his death while on the job. Then he gets a call from his old friend who asks him to spy on his wife, who presumably started acting strange recently. He starts following her and falls in love. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but there is one big mystery to the whole thing and you just gotta watch it to figure it out.
Sadly though, this movie wasn’t a big hit when it was released in 1958, garnering many negative reviews about its unrealistic plot, but it started to gain an international acclaim many years later. Hitchcock supposedly blamed the failure of the movie because of James Stewart’s old age (he was almost twice as old as the female lead Kim Novak), and even though he starred him in many of his previous movies, he never collaborated with him again after this movie. Womp. Sad. Yes he was 50 years old at the time, but I thought he was dreamy. Mainly his blue eyes and 6’3” frame.
I watched the restored version and I highly advise you do the same.
I watched this when it first came out in the movie theaters, but I was too young back then to fully understand why this movie was so great. I mean, after all, it did win the Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards that year.
Watching Gwyneth at the Grammy’s with Cee Lo (who wore the best costume ever), I got this sudden urge to watch (once again) the movie that jump started her career, and had given her the opportunity to wear one of the most talked about dresses at the Oscars
(Not my favorite)
and…it was quite disappointing. THIS movie won BEST PICTURE against Life Is Beautiful and Saving Private Ryan? Seriously? I just don’t get it. Also, I didn’t think Gwyneth Paltrow was anything but ordinary in the film. We’ll see how things turn out at the Oscars this year.
More movies to cross off my list:
The King’s Speech, Love and Other Drugs, and Blue Valentine
The King’s Speech
I cried twice in this movie. Okay maybe “cried” is an overstatement - one or two teardrops fell from my eyes. That would be a more accurate description. Granted, I cry a lot watching movies, but I only cry in movies with genuinely good acting and heartfelt story (okay, and also in movies with sad dog stories. Dogs sick/dying is my soft spot and I can’t help it), and this was that. I’ve watched Colin Firth in many movies, but this movie was the one in which I stopped to think, “Wow, he’s really good.” He embodies his character, which isn’t an easy part to play in the first place. Geoffrey Rush made this film so heartwarming, and Helena Bonham Carter was great as per usual. I think I enjoyed this movie out of those three aforementioned because of its uplifting mood and plot.
Love and Other Drugs
I’m not really into romantic movies, but this was different from the typical romcom or romantic drama because it was actually a really well-made dramedy. One genre didn’t overpower the other, and Jake Gyllenhaal was just so pretty to look at. I mean, just look at him:
Out of the three, I have to say that this was my least favorite. It was definitely a great film, but relative to the others, it takes the number three spot. The main reason for that is its insanely depressing nature. Everyone wishes to meet that right person that you fall in love with, get married, have kids, and live happily ever after. Everyone wants to be one of those old couples that walk around the park holding hands, satisfied with their life that they spent together. This movie shows exactly the opposite of that. What’s sadder is not watching this broken couple, completely out of love with each other, but knowing that this is an honest depiction of the grim truth of many couples out there. The juxtaposition of the scenes of the last few days of their marriage with the scenes of Ryan Gosling wooing her as they start their relationship makes the movie very effective in what it is trying to convey. P.S. I would never want to go to that “future room” ever in my life.