Friday, July 11, 2014

490. Targets

Directed by Peter Bogdanovich

We finally get to a really good film after a string of absolute snores.  I have never heard anyone mention this film before in my life, but it turned out to a really great find from The List.

The story revolves around a young Vietnam veteran who kills his mother and wife before going on a shooting spree at a local drive in.  Meanwhile, a faded movie star struggles to be relevant (or as I call it, The Robin Williams story).

I am fervently against acknowledging mass shooters or romanticizing them in fiction.  However, this film's depiction of the killer, who is loosely based on Charles Witman, is very artfully done.  I was entertained and interested the entire time, without feeling like the filmmakers were glorifying anyone or promoting anything.

The use of Boris Karloff is absolutely brilliant and kind of made me miss doing earlier films.  It is a pretty upsetting film, but a very successful thriller.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Boris Karloff lived just long enough to see the finished film and receive the praise he deserved for his role in it.


489. Vargtimmen

Hour of the Wolf
Directed by Ingmar Bergman

Well, here we are again.  We all have the drill down by now?  I hate this filmmaker and his style?  So let's get in and get out people!

Confusing things start to happen but we don't know if they are actually happening or if they are imaginary.  This movie probably has the most intriguing premise, but the delivery is just the same as his other films; which I always hate.

Is the slew of Bergman over yet?  Can I please open my eyes again??

RATING: *----

Interesting Facts:

The Hour of the Wolf is said to be around 4 am.


488. 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey
Directed by Stanley Kubrick

So since we warmed up with a nice dull Bergman film for the last entry, why don't we tackle the epitome of boring films: 2001: A Space Odyssey?  Don't worry, there is another Bergman after this that we can use as a cool down.

In the history of uninteresting movies, this one might have the most promising beginning.  The opening scene is so iconic that it should be the one scene you don't fast forward through. The 140+ minute film centers on a manned expedition that is slowly derailed by the spaceship's unbalanced computer named HAL.

I feel like the concept of a computer becoming dangerous has the potential to be a mediocre sci fi film.  However, that is not the direction Kubrick takes with it so it is simply a terrible and pretentious horror.  I am not referring to the horror genre here; I am referring to what I felt every time I would glance at the screen.

Some people, of course, think this is a masterpiece and I can see where they are coming from (most likely a very high horse).  Cinematically, it is quite beautiful.  But honestly, I am more of a story person.  And less of a no compelling story at all person.


RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

241 people walked out of one of the first screenings.

There is 24 minutes of footage before there is any dialogue in the film.


487. Skammen

Directed by Ingmar Bergman

My frequent readers (and even my non frequent readers since he is constantly appearing) know that I am not a fan of Bergman.  I simply don't like his style and I find his movies to be a power sleeping aid.  Unfortunately, I have to keep repeating this and you have to keep reading it because he WON'T GO AWAY!  Attention Listmakers: if a set of films are all the same, one is enough!!!  I know the plots can be drastically different, but somehow or another we always end up in the same place: watching a sad man having some sort of weird dream.

Okay so Through the Wild Hour of Persona Shame follows a couple whose lives are completely destroyed by the war as each are forced to look at the other in a new, harsher light.  I know that is an incredibly broad summary but I can't really think of another way to write it without spoiling anything.

I am sure both Larry and Ray will be able to explain this film better in the comments section, so perhaps I shall leave it to them.  I will say that this movie certainly succeeds in being disturbing.  The casting was quite brilliantly effective. Every time Liv Ullman was on the screen I felt vaguely upset; she is so innocent and beautiful!  So in that very tiny, tiny way I will give Bergman credit; I really felt connected to the characters.  There, I was nice.  Gentlemen, take it away.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Bergman was unhappy with this film and felt like it came across as poor and uneven.  I could kiss this man.  Yes, I agree, Ingmar!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Versatile Blogger Award!

Andrew, from 1001 Movies I (Apparently) Must See Before I Die, was kind enough to AGAIN nominate me for an award!  This guy is an amazing writer (and my personal blogging guardian angel) so be sure to check him out!  I am always checking his sites for updates and every time I see a new movie, I have to see what he says about it!  Click here to get to his site!

So the rules state that I must now state seven interesting facts about myself.  Here we go!
1. Everyone in my family calls me Panda.  My sister actually got a panda tattoo on her leg just for me!
2. This one is for you Ray.  I absolutely love British candy!  My favorites are Fizzy Strawberry Laces, Milky Bars, Cadbury Fudge, and Galaxy chocolate.
3. I am super good at jigsaw puzzles.  I do some of my best thinking when I am working on a puzzle.
4. I visited a psychic once with my sister.  He said that I was also psychic and that he could see me being divorced quite a few times.  It was a very strange experience!
5. I skipped the crawling phase altogether when I was kid and would instead roll everywhere.
6. I think the most attractive thing a man can have is a good sense of humor.  And good arms...
7. I am an atheist but when I was little I used to carry around a small New Testament every where I went.
8. I have a really brilliant older brother who gives the best advice and has always helped me out in classes.  We will all be working for him one day.
9. When I get nervous (like when a guy I like hits on me), I start to feel really nauseated.  So no compliments please!
10.  I rode a horse to the top of a mountain in Maui.  It was incredibly beautiful but the riding hurt like hell.  How do people do that?
11.  When I wasn't rolling into furniture, I was making up intricate universes with my sister, using Beanie Babies in Barbie houses.  Some families were communists, while others were single mothers trying to make it in the world.

My final task is to nominate other bloggers for the Award.  As always, though, I am a few short on blogs to nominate.  If you want me to check out your blog, you can leave your URL in the comments; I love finding new blogs to read!

I always have fun with these and I hope you enjoyed reading my answers.  Ugh, fun's over; back to Bergman.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

486. David Holzman's Diary

David Holzman's Diary
Directed by Jim McBride

My sister loves to watch people's vlogs on YouTube, which I never could understand.  Nobody is interesting all the time.  Well, David Holzman is not interesting any of the time.  Unfortunately, we still are forced to observe his life for a couple hours.

I was excited about the beginning of the movie.  David reveals that he plans on taping every part of his life for a month in order to make some truth out of his existence.  Well, we all know how fond I am of lists and projects.  Unfortunately, David's girlfriend is, understandably, not a fan of this idea.  Throughout the film, David's life goes downhill and he consequently becomes a huge creeper.

I feel like this film could have been something great.  I love it when people realize how dull and insignificant their lives are in film.  But why does David have to be such an unsympathetic character?  The fact that he is so boring, whiny, and apathetic kind of took away any impact that this film could have had.  Honestly, any Hollywood movie could have showed us that bad things happen to bad people.

Another miss for me and a waste of a good opportunity for the filmmakers.

RATING: *----

Interesting Facts:

Shot on a budget of $2,500.

485. The Producers

The Producers
Directed by Mel Brooks

It was hard to come into this movie without prejudice.  I have seen Blazing Saddles for heaven's sake; I know what Mel Brooks is capable of.  This is a really good movie, though; by God, we have no idea what is to come.

A nerdy accountant and a crooked play producer figure out that they could make a lot more money on a play that flopped than a play that was successful because wealthy investors would not expect their money back if it was a complete failure.  They choose the absolute worst play they could of, Springtime With Hitler.  However, it is a bit harder than they expect to stage a flop.

This movie's premise is a lot better than the execution.  What I mean is, there won't be a joke a minute that will keep you hysterical.  Instead, it is the entire absurd story that will keep you interested and amused.  That being said, a more modern audience might not like this comedy as much since comedies today usually have a punchline every eight seconds.

I personally liked it; though, again, it wasn't by any means the funniest film I have ever seen.  The two lead actors are absolutely fantastic.  Mel Brooks, how could you become such a monster?

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

First use of the term "creative accounting".

One of Premiere's "50 Greatest Comedies of All Time".

Mel Brooks' directorial debut.


484. Memorias del Subdesarrollo

Memorias del Subdesarrollo
Memories of Underdevelopment
Directed by Tomas Gutierrez Alea

I am so behind in this blog, it is ridiculous.  The mounting number of posts I have to write has failed to be a motivator; in fact, I have been procrastinating for the past two days.  I am finally settling down to write and hopefully make a dent in the 10+ posts I have to write...

Our main slime ball character, Sergio, decides to stay in Cuba, even though most people, including his wife, are fleeing to Miami due to the violence and social changes.  I guess he wants more time to sleep with his girlfriends without his wife's interference?

I did not like this film at all.  I felt like it was a worse version of Hiroshima Mon Amour.  The style was all over the place as well.  I get that it was trying to resemble how we recall our own memories but I was already confused about the events in the film.  So basically I have no idea what happened.  Why are subtitles always so terrible?

Anyway, sorry for the short review; we got lots to do people!

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Heavily influenced by Hiroshima Mon Amour.  HA!  Knew it!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

483. If...

Directed by Lindsay Anderson

After this post I will FINALLY be caught up on this blog.  Thankfully, I don't have too much to say about this one, since it is basically Zero for Conduct, which I reviewed already.

Three non conformist boys attend a school that students are brutally abused.  They fantasize about killing all their teachers.  Needless to say, in this today's climate I found this to be highly disturbing.  Also the movie switches between black and white and color because of budgetary restrictions or artistic pretentiousness or something equally ridiculous.  This makes for a incoherent and disconcerting movie.

Additionally, I am not a huge Malcolm McDowell fan; in fact, I can't remember a film I have see him in  without walking away with a bitter taste in my mouth.

Go for the superior Zero film, if you want to watch a movie about school boy rebellion.  Why you would want to, I don't know.

RATING: *----

Interesting Facts:

The nude scene of "The Girl" was McDowell's suggestion, since he wanted to see the actress nude.

First film of Malcolm McDowell's.


482. Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby
Directed by Roman Polanski

I often talk about how much I love horror films, often to strangers I have just met, much to their chagrin.  Movies just don't get more visual, more interactive, and more memorable than when blood is spurting everywhere.  Well, the blood is optional but you get the point.

Rosemary's Baby is one of the best horror films I have ever seen.  It is certainly not the scariest (although the last scene always gave me the creeps; what you don't see always scares me more than what you do see), but it is a really thrilling ride.

Rosemary and her husband Guy move into a new apartment which even beats Rear Window for the Creepiest Neighbors Award.  They decide to have a baby but the conception...well, let's just say it is grounds for divorce.  Slowly (a little too slowly sometimes), Rosemary realizes that something is wrong.

The most vulnerable beings I can think of are infants and pregnant women.  Both of these things are in danger throughout the entire film.  Additionally, I have a great support system, and I can't think of anything more terrifying than realizing I can't trust anyone.

I am not saying this is the best film but it is definitely worth a watch, particularly if you are interested in studying the development of the horror genre.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Mia Farrow was served divorce papers on set.

Mia Farrow actually ate real raw liver for the film.

Said to be an extremely faithful adaptation of the book.


481. Faces

Directed by John Cassavetes

After traveling through film to quite a few different countries, we finally land in Pretentiousguay.  Watching a film that was desperately trying to be a Godard for over two hours was absolutely exhausting.

A middle-aged couple's marriage is clearly disintegrating and we have to watch them awkwardly interact with other people.  An alternate title for this was "Every Dinner Party I Have Ever Attended".

I believe that if you are going to use the cinema verite style, your movie should not be over two hours.  I mean, that gets a little dull for even the most exciting films.  I even love to listen to dialogue, but none of it was that compelling.  I just wanted to tell everyone to shut up and let the lawyers do their thing.

Just incredibly dull and boring.  Skip it!

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Steve Buscemi's favorite film.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

480. Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes
Directed by Franklin Schaffer

Isn't there yet another sequel coming out soon?  Ugh.  Give it a rest already.  It is good, it's not that good!

A crew of astronauts have been traveling for eighteen months through hyperspace (so it has actually been like a thousand years because science...) when their spaceship crash lands on an unknown planet. After a group of humans raid their camp, they quickly realize that apes in charge of the entire planet, while humans are hunted, killed, or captured.  Guess which one happens to the black guy!  Guess which one happens to the heroic white guy!  Go on, guess!

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you might already know how I feel about Charlton Heston.  He is a boring actor to watch, even when he is competing with Al Pacino for the Most Overacting Actor of All Time.  That being said, this was probably the best film I have seen him in.  The fact that this movie isn't just unforgivably silly because of the costumes is a great accomplishment.  I even thought some of the apes were hot.  Too much information?

In any case, this is a great and entertaining film, even if you aren't into science fiction as a rule.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

One of the first films to profit heavily from merchandising.

Ingrid Bergman was offered the role of Zira originally but turned it down, a decision she regretted in later years.

479. C'era una volta il West

C'era una volta il West
Once Upon a Time in the West
Directed by Sergio Leone

After a string of "I guess I can see the merit in that" movies, we finally get to a really great film.  Not only is Henry Fonda a bad guy (really take a moment to let that soak in people), but women are only slightly degraded!  That is a big step up for westerns, ladies and gentlemen.

A railroad tycoon sends the evil Frank to bully a landowner into selling his land to the railroad.  Frank ends up killing the guy's entire family instead.  Whoopsies.  Anyway, it turns out the landowner had a new wife, a former prostitute (and I thought meeting guys on Tinder was embarrassing) that actually inherits the land.  What a silly misunderstanding!  Meanwhile, Frank is being pursued by a mysterious man with a harmonica.

Like I said, this is just a fantastic movie that I think is even better than The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  I always love a good revenge tale and that is just a small part of this great story.  The action is great without being upsetting, the characters are well rounded and interesting, and, of course, the style is beautiful.

One of the best westerns I have ever seen.  Check it out!

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

One of the actors that played a gunman committed suicide after a day of shooting.