The Godfather Part II (AFI #32)

“As a rule, I usually approach sequels with a bit of apprehension. Not so with this one. I’d seen it a couple times before, and was more than happy to watch it again. Although with its crazy long running time, I wasn’t suure when I’d manage to. There is some debate as to whether this is one of the even rarer sequels that surpasses the original. Im on the Part I is better camp, but I wouldnt argue too hard against someone who’s pro Part II

The plot does get a bit confusing in this one. Thankfully, IMDB FAQ is wonderful for clearing up some of that mess. That aside, it is one fantastic movie. Great cast, great story, great characters.

This is another one of those that we all know how awesome it is, there really isnt much I hafta say about it, is there?

Well, accomplished both goals for this weekend. Im now at 75 and I knocked out the longest ones, which I’d color coded as brick red on my “”what’s left”” spreadsheet. Got lots of stuff coming up this week, including Dropkick Murphy’s on St Paddy’s Day, that are gonna greatly hinder the movie watching. But Im okay with that.”

Green Zone

“Days like today are when its a bad thing living so close to the theater. I figure, its only two blocks, so I dont think too much of running out in the freezing and pouring rain with just one extra layer. Its when Im past the point of no return, waiting in the middle of the road for traffic to pass, that I realize that maybe it wasn’t the best idea to leave the Hellmouth. Whoops.

To be honest, if it weren’t for Matt Damon, I really dont think I woulda bothered with Green Zone. The trailer reminded me too much of The Kingdom from a couple years ago. But Matt Damon can put just about anything on my high priority movie list. So I ran out in the previously mentioned freezing rain.

The jury’s still out on whether or not it was worth it. Thankfully, it was much better than The Kingdom. But it was nowhere near the awesome of The Hurt Locker, not that I had any expectations of it approaching that level. I was thinking on it at one point while I was spacing out, and one of the things that made Locker so great was that it completely left out the politics. It was all about the soldiers. Green Zone had a somewhat complicated (or at least it seemed that way to me) government corruption plot, that I couldnt quite get into. Scenes that were more focused on the characters are what I better connected with.

Speaking of characters, did like Matt Damon’s conscience driven soldier. And Damon’s performance was effortless, but the movie felt somewhat beneath him. My fave character, however, was Freddy–the Iraqi national helping out the Americans. Something about him just had me captivated, and those were the scenes I was really invested in. Happy to see Greg Kinnear, particularly in a more serious role than Im used to for him.

I dunno, I dont really think I gained too much by risking catching a cold from catching this movie today. Guess its kinda easy to figure out why the release of this movie was so delayed, yeah?

Green Zone – \m/ \m/

Shane (AFI #45)

“I guess by some definition I watched this movie. I really just couldnt get into it, and kept finding more and more distractions. Its that damn western curse I apparently have, where I just cant \m/ get into ’em. Im prolly not even gonna X-post this on Rotten Tomatoes, cause I know all I’ll get is a bunch of “”You suck, how could you not like this movie”” comments. I think there’s only one or two westerns left. Hopefully those’ll go better.

Anyways, gonna watch some of O Brother Where Art Thou before heading over to the Regal Fenway for The Green Zone at 3:35″

Alice in Wonderland

“Back in January, I took the roomie to the Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Science as a Christmas/bday present. She was determined to take me on a similar outting for my bday. I pondered for about a month and couldnt think of anything suitable that I was really excited about. Then I got an email from Jordans Furniture about Alice in Wonderland, and thus we had our plan.

I hadnt been to the IMAX since The Dark Knight, which I saw twice there (in addition to once at the theater). I’d wanted to go see Star Trek there last year, but I never quite got my act together. This was the first 3D movie at the IMAX for me.

As far as the experience, worth it in the sense that I’d been jonesing to go again. Was there much gained from this movie being on the ginormous screen? Not really. And the extra dimension? Eh. Both certainly didnt hurt the film, but I think my feelings toward it woulda been about the same had I just gone down the street to the Regal Fenway.

It started off pretty strong. I loved Alice’s character early on: quirky, independant, strongwilled. The setting was gorgeous, and even more so once she got into wonderland. And the sense of adventure was quite invigorating. Then it just sorta fell flat somewhere. The pacing dropped and a lot of the sense of wonder drifted.

I’d gotten really excited a couple weeks ago when I realized that this was more of a trip back to wonderland sort of thing. Reminded me of the video game Alice that was about her returning to a \m/ up wonderland. The concept for the game was amazing, but it ended up being too easy. Got thru it in three days. Now, I didnt expect this movie to be as hardcore as that (that Alice weilds a knife and other deadly weapons, dabbles in black magic, and is often covered in blood) but I was still uber stoked. Wasn’t sure how I felt about including the jabberwocky, but when Johnny Depp started reciting the poem I marked it in the win column.

Loved the cast. There are never words to describe Johnny Depp, but I dont think I need to. Not as iconic as some of his other roles, but brilliant nontheless. Really impressed with Mia Wasikowska. Didnt expect Crispin Glover, but was ridiculously happen when I saw him. Even though I found her a bit annoying, I did like Helena Bonham Carter’s interperation of the red queen. Id read somewhere that she based the character on her 2 year old, and it was a great fit. Sadly, I was a bit disappointed with Anne Hathaway. C’mon, the girl got lessons in being a princess/queen from Julie Andrews, but I couldnt get past some of the weird physicality she had.

Guess that about does it. Worth a watch, but maybe not worth the effort for anything fancy. The traditional 2D screen should be just as good as a fancy one.

Alice in Wonderland – \m/ \m/ \m/

The Sound of Music (AFI #40)

“I cannot believe its taken me this long to see this film. I am very surprised that its not something I grew up with. I guess there’s a maybe ten year period in there where I understand that, cause its not the sort of thing I would’ve found interesting when I was older, at least until my musical theater thing, but still. Im a smidge flabbergasted.

To be honest, I had my doubts going into it. Im not exactly a fan of Rogers and Hammerstein (dont even get me started on my Carousel rant), and the little I knew about it didnt exactly excite me. I ended up absolutely loving it. I had a handful of around the apartment activities planned out just in case I needed something to help me through the nearly three hours of it. Didnt need to resort to any of ’em. Well, to be fair, I jumped right into putting away laundry so I did have that distraction for a while. But I actively chose not to continue with the movie wall rearrangement I’d started the other night.

Most of the music was familiar (again, musical theater, Ive come across them all at some point) but I was very entertained by all the musical numbers. Julie Andrews was fabulous and I loved all the children.

So yes, I feel a great childhood wrong has now been righted.”

Swing Time (AFI #90)

“I cant believe I’d never seen a Fred Astaire movie before. I mean for \m/ sake, I’ve been a dancer since I was three, have done some choreo for musical theater, and I obsess over DWTS. I seriously dont know how he’s managed to elude me all these years.

And the dancer in me absolutely loved this movie. The rest of me just sorta spaced between dance numbers. That early one in the dance studio was phenomenal–better than anything I can expect to see on DWTS this season.

The characters were fun, but as per usual, I couldnt quite get into the romantic plot. And yes it was predictable, but I recognize that its classic.

Wow my AFI write ups are getting shorter and shorter, huh? I think part of it is that I dont feel right “”reviewing”” them since I dont think Im worthy of judging such classics. The home stretch is in sight. This one brings the total up to 72. I’ve already finished all the 70’s and 80’s. Im waaaay behind my originally anticpated schedule, but its all good. I’ve been having fun.”

The Shawshank Redemption (AFI #72)

“AFI #72 – Shawshank Redemption
Shish Kabob. Shawshank Redemption. Chi-CA-GO!

Yes, that is what I hear every time in my head when someone mentions Shawshank Redemption. Points if you know where that’s from. Although, and this is totally random, back in sixth grade when I saw Ace Ventura 2 (whoops, gave away the answer) I hadn’t heard of The Shawshank Redemption and in my head always confused it with Schindler’s List–the other S movie with a name I couldnt remember that everyone always said was amazing.

Another of my faves on the list, and I tried to hold off on watching it too early cause I didnt wanna watch all the ones I knew I loved early on and then get stuck with a whole bunch of wild cards. I ended up with a longer than usual evening ahead of me tonight, so it made sense to go for a longer than usual movie. Although now that I have another hour and a half til sleepy time, maybe I shoulda gone for something slightly longer.

Anyhoo, why is Shawshank one of my faves? Its just absolutely flawless. Great story (heart Stephen King!), great cast (heart Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman!), everything. I dont know why Im suddenly finding myself at a loss for words to describe it, but Im guessing most of you dont need to be convinced of its awesomeness”

Double Indemnity (AFI #29)

“Dammit, thats the second time in the past week I post on the wrong LJ first

Before the real write up, just wanted to take a quick moment for some musings on last night’s Academy Awards. For the most part, quite happy with the results. Yeah, they were mostly predictable, but that meant that I ended up winning the Oscar Pool I was in. No money involved, but I am milking those bragging rights for all they’re worth. I only got 3 wrong. I missed Foreign Film, even though I considered switching it at the last minute. I shoulda known that the same thing that happened to Pan’s Labyrinth and Waltz With Bashir would happen to this year’s frontrunner, The White Ribbon, but didnt listen to my gut there. I did pay attention to that for the sound awards, picking Hurt Locker for both, which is what gave me my edge. Well that, and following EW’s advice for the shorts. The one short I missed was Animated Short, and having seen all the nominees I was kinda sad about the result. Yes, Logorama was the most inventive and original at least as far as the visual, but I found the story itself quite boring. If anything was gonna beat out Wallace & Gromit I was hoping for Granny O’Grimm’s or The Lady and The Reaper. The last one I missed was adapted screenplay. Did not see Precious coming at all, and was quite sad that what shoulda been a lock for “”Up In The Air”” resulted in that film going home empty handed.

As far as the ceremony itself, it was rather unmemorable. My two favorite moments (without thinking too hard about it) were wicked early in the program: NPH’s surprise appearance and Christoph Waltz’s “”uber bingo””. Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin were great, but nothing much was really happening otherwise.

At least now I can relax for a few months on that front. Except for being very gung-ho about Shutter Island, there isnt really much speculating to do yet for next year 😀

Now–Double Indemnity. I’d actually sat down to watch Swing Time instead, but then went down to check the mail and Double Indemnity was waiting for me (bee tee dubs, I now own or can easily access all the rest of the AFI’s). I’d been really wanting to see this one. The whispers of a plot I’d heard really intrigued me. Sounded like my kinda thing.

Sadly, as has often been the case, I was a bit distracted so I didnt get into it as much as I woulda liked. This will definitely merit a second watch at some point in the hopefully not to distant future. I mostly followed the dialogue but missed most of the visual. But the story didnt disappoint.

Really liked Fred MacMurray. He caught my eye when I recognized him from The Apartment. Dont know why I was so struck by the way he said “”Baby””.

Anyhoo, starting to crash now. Long day at work and I didnt sleep too well last night, so I should prolly go pick something outta the queue to go sleepy-bye to”

Taxi Driver (AFI #52)

“Aw man, so distracted. Huzzah for Christoph Waltz and his uber bingo!

I’d seen Taxi Driver once before. It was one of those that I’d always heard about being an iconic film. But you know what it was that finally got to me go out and buy it (besides the fact that it was on sale at Best Buy that week)? The pic of Robert DeNiro in a mohawk. Let’s put this in context. I am a punk (as in punk rocker). I believe in rebellion and self expression. The mohawk is very much a symbol of all of that. So I really wanted to see what would drive his character to that point. On that front, I was a bit disappointed, but I still enjoyed this film.

Character pieces tend to be real hit or miss from me. As I tend to mention in about every third write up or so, I like narrative and plot. So a character piece has to be damn compelling to keep my attention. This one was. Although I will admit that I dont quite get all of it. I’ve seen it twice now and still dont quite understand much of the end.

What I do understand is what a fantastic performance both from Robert DeNiro and Jodie Foster. Sadly, this time I was anticipating Foster’s big scenes so much and I ended up dozing off and missing about 85% of her screen time.

Okay really too distracted to think of much else. Sorry Mr Scorsese”

Unforgiven (AFI #68)

“Trying to do these write ups during the commerical breaks at the Oscars. Seemed like a good idea at the time. We’ll see how it works out.

I seriously dont know what the dealio is with me and westerns. I can’t ever get into ’em, or at least not for the whole thing. I think I mostly paid attention for the first hour, was kinda sorta watching for the next half, and then kinda gave up for the last bit. I sat down to do the write up, and couldnt really remember anything. Watching bits of it later that night, I realized that I had seen more of it than Id thought, but still couldnt actually tell you what happened.

From what I could tell, it was top notch. I paid the extra buck for the HD which was well worth it. The visual was gorgeous. Love Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman, and was quite taken with Jaimz Woolvett as the Schofield kid. And at first the story interested me, but I dont know what happened. I swear, its totally me, not the movie at all.

There’s still a few westerns left on the list. Here’s hoping I can at least get through one of them and thoroughly enjoy it”