Sunday, January 11, 2009


I have been lax on my reviews and now I've got a list of 35 titles going back half a year. I'm going to purge the list of films I saw in 2008 by listing all of them here with a quick impression of each:

five stars (loved):
TITANIC (1997) - The greatest film of all time? Still a treat.
ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953) - One of my faves, shared with the family.
THE QUEEN (2006) - Among the most well-written films I've ever seen.
YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (1938) - Took me 70 years to discover this feel good film.
KING KONG (1933) - Dated effects but they're pretty good and the story is involving.

four stars (really liked):
JOHN ADAMS (2008) - Great period reconstruction with time to enjoy the intimate moments.
IN BRUGES (2008) - An overlooked gem with plot points you don't see coming.
THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR (2000) - I was surprised how much I liked it.
INTO THE WILD (2007) - Penn crafts a pleasant journey towards preventable death.
THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) - Ledger wins an Oscar and joins the pantheon of great villains.
THE VISITOR (2007) - Involving tale about individual goodness vs the coldness of the state.
EL MARIACHI (1992) - Amazing film considering its $7k budget and definitely entertaining.
PICKPOCKET (1959) - The best part is the scholarly commentary explaining its importance.
THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972) - A childhood favorite shared with my children.
IRON MAN (2008) - Favreau has a nice touch for tone with just the right amount of levity.

three stars (liked):
THE SEA HAWK (1940) - Unlike Tom, I prefer CAPTAIN BLOOD.
THE COURT JESTER (1956) - I liked the intricate plot, thinking it ripe for retelling.
THE COUNTERFEITERS (2007) - The protagonist isn't really the hero but it is interesting.
I AM LEGEND (2007) - Loved it for awhile but it wrapped up before I was ready.
BLOCK HEADS (1938) - Classic Laurel and Hardy buffoonery.
BOLT (2008) - Follows the formula and produces solid entertainment.
FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL (2008) - Overrated but funny and charming enough.
DEATHPROOF (2007) - Tarantino delivers style over substance for a good throwaway film.
VANISHING POINT (1971) - The reference point for DEATHPROOF has not aged well.
THE HOST (2006) - Atypical creature feature about a kooky family rising to the occasion.
SUNSHINE (1999) - Loved it until the third act which ramps up the bizarro level to eleven.
WAY OUT WEST (1937) - Laurel and Hardy on a mission to be funny in western garb.
THE APPLE DUMPLING GANG (1975) - Enough Disney charm and Don Knotts to satisfy.
SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES (1980) - Several gags I've never forgotten since first viewing.

two stars (didn't like):
NODODY'S FOOL (1994) - Sure Newman's great, but the story heaps on the blandness.
AMERICAN GANGSTER (2007) - So long and boring, I can't believe it was a critical darling.
PARIS WHEN IT SIZZLES (1964) - Watchable only because its stars are easy to admire.
JAMAICA INN (1939) - Hitchcock's British swan song is a bit of a stinker.
BABES IN TOYLAND (1934) - Laurel and Hardy once again but not as good.
WORD WARS (2004) - Predictably engaging, but not an impressive film.
THE SHAGGY DOG (1959) - Even with a dopey story it manages to be thoroughly lame.


Tom said...

five stars (loved):
TITANIC (1997) – I haven’t seen it since 1997 but it worked then and probably still does.

ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953) – I love this movie. One of the highlights of our Italy trip was being photographed by the mouth of truth. Trish had those blown up and they hang in our office.

THE QUEEN (2006) – Superb

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (1938) – I love that bit where fed up Edward Arnold throws down his expensive cigar and the depression-era inmates dive for it like it was ambrosia.

KING KONG (1933) – No version of King Kong has ever worked for me.

JOHN ADAMS (2008) – Tom Hanks should retire from acting and produce mini-series for HBO. All three of his works have been fantastic.

IN BRUGES (2008) – Trish and I visited Bruges in 2003 and it’s a beautiful city. We walked to the top of that tower and I later enjoyed a Cuban in a outdoor cafĂ©. I found the movie too bizarre at times. Why would Farrell warn Fiennes after he shot the dwarf?

THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR (2000) – It’s been over 5 years since I saw it and I remember it being pretty good.

INTO THE WILD (2007) – I’m glad that Penn doesn’t let his political grandstanding ruin his cinema.

THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) – It’s nice that they are finally making the Batman films right.

THE VISITOR (2007) – Sounds interesting. I should find it.

EL MARIACHI (1992) – Rodriguez shows that you don’t need budget to create tension.

PICKPOCKET (1959) – Poetry in thievery.

THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972) – I never have seen this

IRON MAN (2008) – Too much setup and not enough payoff for me, but Downey is great and its good to see him back.

THE SEA HAWK (1940) – I think the first Errol Flynn pirate movie you see will always be hard to top. What a winning screen personality.

I AM LEGEND (2007) – The way the re-created Manhattan was impressive.

FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL (2008) – Remember we saw the brunette girl in the play that Kristi stage managed?

THE APPLE DUMPLING GANG (1975) – It’s been years.

SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES (1980) – Charles Grodin married to Goldie Hawn?

NODODY'S FOOL (1994) – I really like Newman in this and the pace worked for me. It helped that I saw it at the theatre with John and we had a long discussion about it afterwards. I read the book a few years later.

AMERICAN GANGSTER (2007) – I would have given it three stars, but I think you are right about the hype. It could easily be forgotten. Ridley Scott is very overrated. This movie is a masterpiece compared to A GOOD YEAR.

PARIS WHEN IT SIZZLES (1964) – Wasted talent.

THE SHAGGY DOG (1959) – I use to watch re-reuns of the Mickey Mouse Club and they had these little seriels starring most of the SHAGGY cast. This film represented high production values compared to that and I fell for it as a kid. I haven’t seen it in a long time.

Dude said...

I saw the pix of you and Trish at the Roman mouth and mentioned it while we watched the film. I love how Peck does the gag to make Audrey think he's getting his hand bitten off. It reminds me of the snapping ring case in PRETTY WOMAN, having seen that first.

I'm surprised you are a POSEIDON virgin. It's super fun with kids since there is an interactive menu that lets you follow along with the cast where they are in the ship during their journey, complete with slash marks thru the dead people in their final resting places. If you like it when Ernest Borgnine yells at ladies, then this is a must see.

NOBODY'S FOOL is probably a three star flick but I was disappointed since I was expecting so much. There were some crazy flaws in the story like when the bundled up grandson pops up from the back of the pickup moments after he was running around the house naked. It seemed like the story was trying hard to be charming and it oversold.

Mila Kunis is the babe from Kristi's show who is twice the babe now that she's 25. There is a picture of her in this month's Vanity Fair where she is all dolled up like Rita Hayworth that left my mouth agape. She is the prettiest thing since Natalie Portman, yet she wastes herself on washed-up Macauley Culkin instead of living with Tom and Dude.

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