Monday, June 30, 2008

Spanglish (2004)

Watched Spanglish yesterday by myself. I really love that movie! I've seen it before but it's been a while.

I am not normally an Adam Sandler fan, as usually his comedies are sophomoric and filled with sight gags and body humor. (I liked Click and The Wedding Singer too - again not the usual juvenile comedy.)

Spanglish
is a realistic insightful drama about family relationships. Aside from one sex scene, it's a very clean movie. There really isn't nudity, and that scene really does give you a lot of insight into the marriage relationship between two of the main characters.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Own List?

I was thinking.... (always dangerous)

I should come up with my OWN top 100 movie list. Everyone else does it!

Sooo.... what would YOU put on a list of great movies?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

100 New Classic Movies

Saw this on Robin Lee Hatcher's blog:

Entertainment Weekly has posted a list of the 100 New Classic Movies.

Here are the first ten:

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)
3. Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
5. Toy Story (1995)
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
9. Die Hard (1988)
10. Moulin Rouge (2001)

I've bolded the ones I have seen in the top 10.

Go here for the rest of the list.

I've seen 39 of these movies. Another 3 or 4 are on my "to view someday" list. Most of the rest I wouldn't bother with.

Glad to see Lord of the Rings and The Matrix are in the top 15. And really The Lord of the Rings IS THREE movies, you know, Entertainment Weekly! So maybe we could get rid of South Park and The Evil Dead 2?

Here are the ones I have seen:
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03) - Really three movies
3. Titanic (1997) - Adore this movie! Lifelong fascination with The Titanic
5. Toy Story (1995) - Wonderful!
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998) - Didn't really like it
10. Moulin Rouge (2001) - I love this movie!
12. The Matrix (1999) - ADORE!
15. Edward Scissorhands (1990) - Odd, very odd.
17. Jerry Maguire (1996) - Didn't like it.
19. Casino Royale (2006) - Love this new Bond movie.
20. The Lion King (1994) - Another wonderful animated film!
25. Shrek (2001) - It was ok. The second one was not even close.
30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989) - Interesting.
33. The Breakfast Club (1985) - One of my favorites!
34. Fargo (1996) - Very weird movie, but intriguing.
35. The Incredibles (2004) - Almost a perfect movie!
36. Spider-Man 2 (2004) - Why the second one? Not the first one? Odd choice.
37. Pretty Woman (1990) - Why do people like this movie so much?
38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - Another very odd movie. Didn't like it.
39. The Sixth Sense (1999) - Enjoyed it, but it's receded to the back of the memory bank.
40. Speed (1994) - Keanu. Keanu. Keanu.
42. Clueless (1995) - Way more of a party movie than I remembered from my first viewing!
45. Rain Man (1988) - That's been 20 years!?
47. Men in Black (1997) - Not a favorite, but still worthwhile.
53. The Truman Show (1998) - I liked it.
54. Fatal Attraction (1987) - Didn't like it.
55. Risky Business (1983) - Didn't like it. Another prostitute-with-heart-of-gold movie. What's up with that?
58. Ghostbusters (1984) - Who ya' gonna call? I still love this movie!
61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) - Not a favorite.
63. Big (1988) - Forgettable, except for the big keyboard. lol
65. Dirty Dancing (1987) - I should watch this again.
68. Witness (1985) - Different sort of mystery movie.
70. Broadcast News (1987) - Forgettable.
72. Thelma & Louise (1991) - Not worth watching.
75. Out of Africa (1985) - Did I actually see this? I am wondering now if I did.
82. Lost in Translation (2003) - Hated it.
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004) - Hated it!
91. Back to the Future (1985) - American classic.
97. Glory (1989) - Loved it, but sad!
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) - Hated it!

Here are the ones I want to see. Can you believe I have not seen the first two? Where was I?
Schindler's List (1993)
Gladiator (2000)
No Country For Old Men (2007)
The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)

How about you? How many have you seen?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Iron Man (2008)

Note: I've waited a few days to post this review, hoping for more time to revise and expand it, but you're going to get it how it is, or not get it at all. lol (I seem to say that a lot here!)

The constant begging of a thirteen-year-old was the reason I found myself in the theatre waiting for Iron Man to begin. This film, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, has been at the top of my son's must-see list since he heard of it.

I had heard from friends that there was an inappropriate scene of sexuality near the beginning of the movie, but that the rest was great. So David was prepared to avert his eyes at the first sign of impropriety. Once that short (and arguably unnecessary) scene was over, the rest of the film proceeded to amaze and please us.

The story, in case you are unaware, is of Tony Stark, the obscenely wealthy CEO of a weapons manufacturer. Stark is kidnapped by rebels in Afghanistan and forced to create a weapon of mass destruction. Instead, he creates an escape plan, and, in the process, becomes Iron Man. He has had a life-changing experience and crusades to keep weapons out of the hands of bad guys.

My son, a self-proclaimed computer geek and avid builder-of-stuff, obviously coveted Stark's computer applications and identified with his ability to build really cool stuff. (He also admired Stark's cool cars!) The iron man suit was really a masterpiece. Within a few minutes of watching the film, I leaned over to David and whispered that I could tell why he had wanted to see it.

But I liked it too! I've always liked Robert Downey, Jr., despite all his personal troubles. He looks great in Iron Man. The story was compelling and showed how a dissolute wealthy man can be awakened to the suffering around him and resolve to change things for the better. And I thought the computer stuff was cool too!

OK, the downside? I'd never read the comics, but I did suspect right from the beginning who the "bad guy" was, although I think that was supposed to be a shocker. The aforementioned sex scene was disappointing. Some of the violence was intense, which was ok for ages 13 and up, but a lot of people are taking younger children to this, apparently since it's a "comic book movie." In fact, there was a girl of about 10 in the theatre sitting right in front of us. I can tell you that I wouldn't want my 10-year-old seeing, for example, a person being tortured by having his head repeatedly dunked underwater.

I do recommend it for teens and adults, with the caveats noted above. I wouldn't mind seeing it again someday.

Iron Man on imdb.com

Iron Man on screenit.com

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Into the Wild (2007)

A young college graduate gives away most of his possessions and heads off... Into the Wild. Intriguing premise for a story! And yet, based on a true story. I read an article or condensed version of this book a while ago and when I saw the movie previews, I definitely put it on my must-see list.

Emile Hirsch plays a very convincing Christopher McCandless, the honor student who longs for a more honest and itinerant lifestyle. His parents, played by Marcia Gay Harden and William Hurt, don't know about his exodus at first, and when they find out, they don't understand it. McCandless renames himself Alexander Supertramp and spends two years hitchhiking and working his way across the US and Canada, always keeping his final destination of Alaska at the front of his thoughts and words.

Gorgeous scenery abounds in the film. McCandless visits some very beautiful places and meets many interesting people. He keeps a journal, which figures prominently in the story. An actress playing his sister narrates the film, which I found rather distracting. The story jumps back and forth which I also found distracting.

This movie is rated R but I do recommend the story for older teens and adults. Please note there is some nudity, presented in a realistic, not gratuitous, manner. There is also violence and profanity, as well as drug and alcohol usage. However, all these things are presented in the course of the story and are necessary to its telling. This is not an innocent story, but it is an important one. The relationship between Chris and his parents was disturbing and I feel like this was a motivating factor in his decision to leave the world behind. A cautionary tale for parents, certainly.

This is a thought-provoking and poignant story of a passionate young man who found the trappings of modern society to be pointless. He longed for something more and hoped he would find it in Alaska.

A couple final notes:
Emile Hirsch also starred in Speed Racer (which I still have not seen).
Kristin Stewart, who will play Bella in the upcoming Twilight, plays a young girl interested in Chris romantically

Screenit.com review
(I highly recommend checking this out before showing it to teens of any age.)
IMDB page

Sunday, June 01, 2008

May Reads

Only 4 books this month. Lots of traveling and soccer contributed to that low total. Also, I started a few books that I didn't invest the time to finish.

Here are the good ones:

The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers - 05/05/08
Good - Inspirational
Sierra's husband decides they will move and this begins troubles in their marriage. Sierra finds the journal of one of her ancestors and reading it brings her back to her Lord.
I love Francine Rivers, but this wasn't one of her best. If you haven't read her before, start with something else, like The Mark of the Lion Trilogy or The Atonement Child.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney - 05/07/08
Good - Young Adult
The further adventures of Gregory, this time focusing on his relationship with his overbearing older brother Rodrick
David and Emily both read this, so I had to as well. :-)

Doesn't She Look Natural? by Angela Elwell Hunt - 05/12/08
Good - Inspirational
Jennifer, a divorced mom of 2 boys, inherits a funeral home. What is God's plan for her life?
I haven't read anything by Angela Hunt that I didn't like.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah - 05/18/08
Good - Fiction
Two girls are opposites but become best friends for life.
THIS is the sophisticated book on women's friendships that I wish I'd written. But mine would have been happier. I think. Maybe we'll see!

Hopefully I can read more in June. But maybe you can beat my May total! Go give it a try!