Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Don't Let's Be Silly!" - "Alice in Wonderland"

Movie Title - "Alice in Wonderland"
Date Viewed - 10/20/10
Ratings - We both give this film 3.5 'shrooms out of 5

Ah, "Alice in Wonderland"...the Disney movie about a drug trip.  Ok, ok, it's a little girl's dream.  But with magic mushrooms?  Disappearing cats?  Strange colors?  Hookah?  Come on.  I think it's fairly common knowledge that Lewis Carroll was an avid drug user, but somehow Disney managed to work with his stories anyway.  There are a lot of moments DH and I both love about this film.  The best scene is definitely the Mad Tea Party.  Almost all of the quotes from that scene crack me up!  DH likes the song "In a World of My Own," while I like "Very Good Advice."  The quality of the animation is a bit lacking, and apparently it was a flop at the box office when it was first released, but I'm glad we got to watch it again.  Disney films are timeless, and it's sadly a rarity when we get to watch them these days.  The voice talents were really stacked in this one, too.  Ed Wynn, Sterling Holloway, and Jerry Colonna, to name a few. I'm not sure how it ranks among all the Disney animated films, but there really aren't many I would rate under a "3" anyway.  Light-hearted fun for a weeknight.

Up Next?  A movie neither one of us has seen..."Almost Famous"

Friday, October 15, 2010

Honesty Is Important in Relationships - "Aladdin"

Movie Title - "Aladdin"
Date Viewed - 10/15/10
Ratings - We both give this film 4 lamps out of 5

Watching an animated Disney film is a very different experience as an adult vs. a child.  In "Aladdin," as with many Disney movies, there are references only adults would understand.  What kid would know Ed Sullivan, "You Bet Your Life," Rodney Dangerfield, or Jack Nicholson?  Those are just a few of the Genie's impressions.  I found them a lot funnier than I did the first time I saw "Aladdin," which was as a preteen back in 1992.  Of course, like most G-rated films, this is a story of good vs. evil, with a happy ending.  It's also a love story, and a story of slavery and the price of freedom.  The absolute best part of this film, for me, is the score.  Anything remotely Menken/Ashman is gold, although Howard Ashman tragically died of AIDS long before this movie was completed.  This is the DH's favorite Disney movie, mainly because of Robin Williams as the Genie, but I think also he identifies with Aladdin a bit more than other Disney characters.  I'm surprised that I didn't remember the scarier parts (the look on Jafar's face as he turns into the snake), or the fairly adult references to harems.  The only parts I really remembered were the songs, which just shows their longevity.  This time, I think I'll remember the jokes and the nice lesson about honesty in relationships.  Overall, this is definitely a movie we'll both be happy to watch with our kids someday.

Up Next?  It's a Disney 1-2 punch..."Alice in Wonderland" (the animated version)

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Don't Call Me Shirley" - "Airplane"

Movie Title - "Airplane"
Date Viewed - 10/8/10
Ratings - We both give this film 4.0 fish dinners out of 5

I'd seen this film many times, but DH had only seen bits and pieces.  It's a comedy classic, so I'm glad he finally got to see the whole thing.  I realize I haven't been posting much about the plots of the films we're watching...I guess I don't want to reveal too much, and I figure it's really more about our reactions anyway.  "Airplane" is a parody of the overly-dramatic "Airport" films of the '70s.  I've never seen them, but I pretty much get the gist.  My favorite character in this film is Johnny, since he has the best lines by far.  In fact, almost every time it gets foggy outside, I usually say, "The fog is getting thicker!  And Leon's getting laaaaarrrrger!"  Pretty much every actor in this film has at least one hilarious line.  Previously, actors like Robert Stack and Lloyd Bridges were more often recognized for their dramatic work, but this film changed all that.  Peter Graves was famous for "Mission Impossible," but this movie made him famous for the line, "You ever seen a grown man naked?"  There are really too many great quotes from this film to list them all.  Perhaps what keeps it from a 5 out of 5 rating is the rather slow romance between Ted and Elaine.  Some of the romantic scenes have their comic effect, but others are a bit of a drag.  Still, there are rarely any dull moments, and I think this film will keep standing the test of time.

Up Next?  Not "Airplane II," since it's tough to get on DVD.  Instead, it's "Aladdin"

Friday, October 8, 2010

You Can't Pluralize the Lone Ranger - "Airheads"

Movie Title - "Airheads"
Date Viewed - 10/7/10
Ratings - I give this film 2.5 amps out of 5, and the DH gives it 3.5 amps out of 5

This is a movie we'd both seen a few times, but I think I found it least funny this time.  I have a hard time buying Brendan Fraser as a heavy metal rocker, and I think his girlfriend is pretty annoying, so I don't see why he doesn't just let her go.  Steve Buscemi was not as well-known when this film came out (1994), although he'd already been in "Reservoir Dogs."  Adam Sandler is doing his typical juvenile SNL schtick, but it's still pretty hilarious.  Lots of pretty famous actors in this film:  Joe Mantegna, Michael Richards, Michael McKean, David Arquette, Judd Nelson, and Chris Farley.  It should be better then, right?  I think a few of the actors are simply miscast.  There are great moments, but nothing that made us really laugh out loud.  Not sure if DH liked it more than me, or he's just more generous with his ratings.  One of the better parts of the film relates to the band's name, which is The Lone Rangers...they don't understand why people keep saying that name doesn't make any sense.  There is a nice subtext to the film about the way a lot of radio stations have changed formats, and how jaded the record industry is.  It made me think about the old days of Pirate Radio.  Good times.

Up Next?  "Airplane"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Dear Ndugu..." - "About Schmidt"

Movie Title - "About Schmidt"
Date Viewed - 9/29/10
Ratings - I give this film 4 waterbeds out of 5, and the DH is going with 3.5 waterbeds out of 5

I originally saw this film when it was in theaters, and I remember walking out disappointed.  After loving "As Good As It Gets," I was eager for another Jack Nicholson triumph.  I think I built it up too much at the time.  Upon second viewing, I really see the beauty in it.  Nicholson plays the title character, Warren Schmidt, who starts to re-examine his life upon retiring.  Hope Davis plays his daughter, Dermot Mulroney is his future son-in-law, and Kathy Bates is Mulroney's mother.  Great casting.  I don't want to reveal too many plot details, in case someone reading this (and is anyone reading this???) hasn't seen it yet, but after a long journey, Warren feels like his life has amounted to nothing.  Yet, in the very last scene of the film, he finds a little bit of meaning...and he cries.  I'll admit it, I cried a little, too.  It is a touching moment.  Nicholson is a consummate actor.  DH felt that the film was too long and too depressing, but still said it was good.  I think that's why his rating is lower than mine.  The pacing of the film, IMHO, is sets a Midwestern sort of mood.  Oh, and the score is fabulous!  I loved it so much the first time around, that I bought the soundtrack.  Kudos to Rolfe Kent for his original score and his use of the Satie classical pieces.  We split a frozen dinner tonight, and I would say that's rather appropriate, considering Schmidt's future in-laws.  The film is more inspiring than that, though.  I hope that, after seeing it, people will think about how they can make a difference and find meaning in life.

Up Next?  "Airheads"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Detour...To a Sort of Island - "About a Boy"

Movie Title - "About a Boy"
Date Viewed - 9/26/10
Ratings - We both give this film 3 units-of-time out of 5

This wasn't supposed to be our next film, but it was on the clearance rack at Marshall's, and it comes right before "About Schmidt" alphabetically, so here we are.  For me, this movie was over-hyped.  I had heard about it for years...the sleeper-hit with the great script...a good vehicle for Hugh Grant.  I was decidedly under-whelmed.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great.  Thus, it falls right in the 3-rating territory.  The story had a lot of predictability, even though the acting was pretty good.  Rachel Weisz is barely in the film at all, but Hugh and Toni Collette put on strong performances.  We're supposed to feel sorry for the kid (Marcus), but honestly there were times where I totally understood why all the kids pick on him.  If I were Will (Hugh Grant), I would've just slammed the door in his face.  I read on IMDB that the music that ties the storyline together in the original novel was the music of Nirvana...I think it was a poor choice to change that in the film.  Perhaps they couldn't get the rights to Nirvana's music, or maybe the screenwriters were worried that the film would seem dated if they used grunge rock, but I think that music would've made a lot more sense.  DH said he remembered the movie being a lot better the last time he saw it.  I enjoyed seeing Hugh Grant looking snarky-sexy as always, and I liked Will's struggle with being an "island," but it didn't do much for me otherwise.  Glad the next movie that combines Hugh Grant and Christmas music will be "Love, Actually."

Up Next?  "About Schmidt"  (Take 2)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Penguins, Walruses, and Dan Aykroyd?? - "50 First Dates"

Movie Title - "50 First Dates"
Date Viewed - 9/19/10
Ratings - Both of us gave this film 3.5 peanut butter cups out of 5

It's strange to me that I gave this movie the same rating as my DH, since I used to be kind of anti-"50 First Dates," while he and my mom used to try and convince me this was a really cute and funny film.  DH is a huge Adam Sandler fan, so we will be watching almost all of his films at some point in this series.  Most people have also seen the other Sandler/Drew Barrymore movie, "The Wedding Singer," and at first I found myself making comparisons...there's even a version of the song "Hold Me Now" in both.  Both movies are kind of typical in the sense that boy meets girl, boy and girl fall for each other, boy loses girl, and boy gets girl in the end.  That's why I don't think either film really warrants more than a "4" rating (we'll see if I change my mind about "The Wedding Singer" later...probably a couple of years from now).  This movie has some really dark moments, though, each time Lucy (Barrymore) is reminded of her accident and the resulting memory loss.  That darkness is contrasted with Rob Schneider's zaniness as Henry's (Sandler's) best friend.  I happen to love the really ridiculous and immature humor of Sandler's earlier films, so I was happy to see that kept alive a bit in this one.  I also found myself being totally girly in my enjoyment of the romance.  Sometimes I hate the estrogen factor, but I can't help it.  DH has seen the whole film a few times, but I don't think I'd ever seen the beginning before, so I had no idea Henry was actually a jigalo before he meets Lucy.  I also had no recollection of Dan Aykroyd playing her doctor.  Overall, an entertaining movie, but probably one that we'll still end up watching in pieces when it's on cable, rather than going to the trouble to pop in the DVD.

Up Next?  "About Schmidt"