Casablanca

February 9, 2010

One line review: A fantastic romantic film that manages to drag you into the lives of the main cast.

Movie Title: Casablanca

Actors: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, S.Z. Sakall, Madeleine Lebeau, Dooley Wilson, Joy Page, John Qualen, Leonid Kinskey

Director: Michael Curtiz

Year: 1942

Genre: Romance / Drama

Method of Viewing: DVD

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes: 97% – An undisputed masterpiece and perhaps Hollywood’s quintessential statement on love and romance, Casablanca has only improved with age, boasting career-defining performances from Humphrey Bogart and Ingred Bergman.

My rating: *****

My assessment (the first 101 words at least): This, like Citizen Kane, is an example of a movie that I can recognize is fantastic, even if it won’t ever be considered a favorite of mine. This movie accomplished something absolutely amazing, in somehow not only making me emotionally invested in a romance, but also made me feel the impact of a war through only the emotions and actions of the main characters. I absolutely love Humphrey Bogart’s character. Something about the ultimate cynic finally being turned around by the power of love seems beautiful. It’s just another example how great story telling and acting is all a film needs.

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The Silence of the Lambs

January 18, 2010

One line review: An incredibly tense and haunting tale that introduces an unforgettable villain.

Movie Title: The Silence of the Lambs

Actors: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Anthony Heald, Ted Levine, Frankie Faison, Kasi Lemmons, Brooke Smith, Paul Lazar, Dan Butler

Director: Jonathan Demme

Year: 1991

Genre: Drama

Method of Viewing: DVD

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes: 96% – Director Jonathan Demme’s smart, taut thriller teeters on the edge between psychological study and all-out horror, and benefits greatly from stellar performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.

My rating: *****

My assessment (the first 101 words at least): This is yet another movie that I have heard referenced a thousand times, without ever knowing the full context. From what I had gathered, I thought this movie was nothing more than an interview between Clarice and Hannibal where Hannibal described his victims. Instead it was about a killer I had never heard of before, and Hannibal was kept extremely low key. It was that low key nature that made him all the more threatening. The movie does a masterful job of maintaining suspense as each scene seems to build on the last one. It really feels like an absolute masterpiece.

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Citizen Kane

January 10, 2010

One line review: The greatest movie of all time from a cinematography perspective, however not my greatest movie of all time.

Movie Title: Citizen Kane

Actors: Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead, Ruth Warrick, Ray Collins, Erskine Sanford, Everett Sloane, William Alland, Paul Stewart, George Coulouris, Fortunio Bonanova

Director: Orson Welles

Year: 1941

Genre: Drama

Method of Viewing: DVD

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes: 100% – Orson Welles’s epic tale of a publishing tycoon’s rise and fall is entertaining, poignant, and inventive in its storytelling, earning its reputation as a landmark achievement in film.

My rating: *****

My assessment (the first 101 words at least): This movie has earned it’s status of one of the best movies of all time. It earns it due to it’s fantastic and unique camera angles, it’s ingenious method of unveiling a complex character such as Charles Foster Kane through the view of those who were closest to him, and due to the great acting by all of cast. This film is actually a useful tool to help me realize that a film can be fantastic without being your favorite film. From a film critic’s standpoint, this film is absolutely perfect. However, this film is not a personal favorite of mine.

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Star Wars

December 8, 2009

One line review: The Original Star Wars Trilogy truly is a fantastic story that has an epic feeling to it.

Movie Title: Star Wars (IV: A New Hope), (Star Wars V: )The Empire Strikes Back, (Star Wars VI: )Return of the Jedi

Actors: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Phil Brown, Shelagh Fraser, Jack Purvis, Alex McCrindle, Eddie Byrne, Billy Dee Williams, Frank Oz, Jeremy Bulloch, John Hollis, Jack Purvis, Des Webb, Clive Revill, Sebastian Shaw, Ian McDiarmid, Michael Pennington, Kenneth Colley

Director: George Lucas / Irvin Kershner / Richard Marquand

Year: 1977 / 1980 / 1983

Genre: Action / SciFi

Method of Viewing: Television

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes:
Star Wars: 94% – The action and special effects are first rate.
The Empire Strikes Back: 97% – This is argubaly the most powerful, compelling, and entertaining of the series.
Return of the Jedi: 75% – Though failing to reach the cinematic heights of its predecessors, Return of the Jedi remains an entertaining sci-fi adventure and a fitting end to the classic trilogy.

My rating: *****

My assessment (the first 101 words at least):
I’m grudgingly giving this trilogy a 5 star rating, because going in I wanted to not like the Star Wars Trilogy. I was tired of hearing people so surprised that I had never seen it before. However, I can’t deny how well each movie works individual, and how together the trilogy results in an absolutely epic story. Despite the fact that I knew the major plot points before going into it, watching this unique little world unfold was very enjoyable. These films have held up extremely well, mainly because the story they tell is absolutely timeless. It is a fantastic trilogy.

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Schindler’s List

November 27, 2009

One line review: If you can get past the length you will find a movie that will strike an emotional cord in the coldest of hearts.

Movie Title: Schindler’s List

Actors: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall

Director: Stephen Spielberg

Year: 1993

Genre: Drama

Method of Viewing: DVD

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes: 96% – Schindler’s List blends the abject horror of the Holocaust with Steven Spielberg’s signature tender humanism to create the director’s dramatic masterpiece.

My rating: *****

My assessment (the first 101 words at least):
I feel obligated to give this movie five star not because it’s considered one of Spielberg’s best films, but because it is the first film to actual strike an emotional chord with me. At first, I thought that I wouldn’t be able to relate to so much death so long ago. However, once Schindler realizes the level of destruction, and begins to desperately try to save as many people as possible, you finally feel a human connection to this film. Somehow the timing of Schindler’s emotional turn around coincided with my own, making the last thirty minutes a grueling, somber triumph.

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The Wizard of Oz

October 11, 2009

Oz_Poster

One line review: A dream-like story is brought to life in a wonderful tale.

Movie Title: The Wizard of Oz

Actors: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Laher, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charley Grapewin, Clara Blandick

Director: Victor Fleming

Year: 1939

Genre: Fantasy / Musical

Method of Viewing: Netflix Online

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: Friends in #Jazzmess

Rotten Tomatoes: 100% – An absolute masterpiece whose groundbreaking visuals and deft storytelling are still every bit as resonant. A must-see film for young and old.

My rating: ***** – A Perfect Movie

My assessment (the first 101 words at least):
Perhaps it’s silly to even do a review of a movie that is such a classic and so universally loved. This movie was shown on Netflix to celebrate it’s 70th anniversary (and it may be the oldest movie I have on my list), yet the themes and spirit of this movie still feels fresh to me. The entire world they create just makes you feel like a child, in constant wonder at the marvels of the world. This is the definition of a movie that should never be remade or recreated, it simply is perfect as it is, a fantastic tale.

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Die Hard

October 4, 2009

DieHard_Poster

One line review: The textbook definition of a great action movie.

Movie Title: Die Hard

Actors: Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Paul Gleason, De’voreaux White

Director: John McTiernan

Year: 1988

Genre: Action / Adventure

Method of Viewing: Netflix Online

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: Friends in #Jazzmess

Rotten Tomatoes: 94% – Its many imitators (and sequels) have never come close to matching the taut thrills of the definitive holiday action classic.

My rating:  ***** – Fully deserving of it’s Legendary status

My assessment (the first 101 words at least):

Yippie-Kay-Yay Mother Fucker, this is the absolute best definition of what an action movie should be. When watching, I was first afraid that it would be nothing more than a mindless action movie, however, the lovable John McClane and a few other funny performances give this movie a unique shine. Sure, the characters and situations in this movie have been repeated before, but I’ve got a feeling that this movie was the originator of these cliches, not the copier.

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