I don’t usually watch westerns. Usually the westerns I do watch have a sci fi or comedic twist. Cat Ballou is one of a few exceptions. Like many other movies I’ve watched, my mother suggested it. I’m glad I did watch, because it’s one of the best westerns ever made (100% on Rotten Tomatoes). Cat Ballou is about a woman who takes revenge on the gunman who killed her father. Along with help from friends and a hired drunk cowboy (played by Lee Marvin in dual roles) she becomes a cowgirl. What sets it apart from most other westerns is the inclusion of music performed throughout the story. Which gives the movie a comedic twist. So if you’re just looking for a good western that’s neither long nor serious, then Cat Ballou is the movie for you.
Singin’ in the Rain, they just don’t make movies like this anymore. If you have ever loved musicals, then Singin’ in the Rain is an absolute must see. Chances are you’ve heard of the movie at some point in your life. Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain sequence is legendary. Something I have tried to recreate once or twice in my life. I knew I had to watch it when my parents told me it was one of their favorite movies. How right they were. My brother and I watched it and we loved it. Singin’ in the Rain is about the transition between silent films and sound films. Many silent actors back in the 20’s didn’t have the voice for sound. Some people might not realize that singing and dancing was a requirement in old Hollywood. In fact, one of the funniest jokes in the movie is a character that Jean Hagen plays. One of many comedic performances truly deserving of an Oscar (she was nominated). The songs are some of the best in any musical. Such as, the title song, “Good morning,” or “Make em’ laugh.” The dance numbers are amazing. Especially for how elaborate and athletic they are. The performances are all so splendid. It’s worth noting that this is Debbie Reynolds most iconic role (may she rest in peace). Also worth mentioning is the 100% rating it has maintained on Rotten Tomatoes. Really, what more is there to say about Singin’ in the Rain.
What can I say about E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial that hasn’t been said already. It’s an absolute classic that holds up quite well today. I find myself watching it often. It’s also the best interpretation of a friendly alien creature in a film. Some might have even forgotten that it was in fact nominated for Best Picture and it was the highest grossing film for a time. In case you don’t know, (but at this point, everyone should) E.T. is about an alien who gets left behind on Earth. While there, he’s lured with Reese’s Pieces by a child named Elliot who helps him to “phone home.” Elliot is just a normal kid living with his mother, little sister, and older brother. They form a bond that connects them in more ways than one. It’s a Steven Spielberg film, so of course it’s good. One of his top 5 greatest films of all time. Just about every scene and line is memorable. The iconic shot of E.T. and Elliot biking across the moon, E.T.’s glowing finger, and of course the heart wrenching goodbye scene that always brings a tear to my eye. E.T. is also an icon in his own right. He has a short stature, brown skin, a big head, extended neck, and a friendly face. You’ll really come to love him by the end. Of course you’ll also love Drew Barrymore in her adorable breakout performance. The music is awe inspiring, the acting is quite good for child actors (Henry Thomas in particular), and the message of friendship is clear. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is just an overall terrific film, not to be missed.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has a brilliant concept. I have often wondered what it would be like to age in reverse. As soon as I found out about the movie I was curious (no pun intended). That was back before I showed interest in dramas. Still I knew I needed to see it. The biggest strength about the movie is its special effects. They flawlessly made Brad Pitt look like an old man and at each stage of his life. Without looking too digital. My only complaint would be the running time. Some people compare it to Forrest Gump, but there’s no comparison. It’s about as unique a movie as you can get. So far nobody has tried to imitate it. That’s what makes it a must watch.
Happy Easter, He is Risen. Of course I’m going to review a christian Easter movie on Easter. Risen seemed like a good choice because I’m not quite ready to watch The Passion of the Christ. Speaking of which, how many ways can you adapt the story of Jesus. Well Risen takes things in a far different direction. It focuses on the aftermath of the crucifixion from the perspective on the romans. One roman in particular, who searches for the body of Christ after his resurrection. As far as modern Bible pictures go, Risen comes very close to being great. The only thing holding it back is lasting recognition. Plus the actor they got to play Jesus is very different to the ones we’re used to. Still it’s worth watching if you want a different take on the story of Jesus. Or just want something christian to watch this Easter. He is Risen indeed.
Tomorrow is Easter. So I’m going to review the only kiddie Easter movie in existence (probably not, but still). Hop is the kind of movie that looks like two completely separate movies came together with messy results. One about a young Easter Bunny who would rather be a drummer. The other about a man-child who is having trouble finding a job. The problem is the animation. Don’t get me wrong the animation is good, but only when it shows just the animation. Hop is from Illumination Entertainment. The same company that brought you Despicable Me. Which is why it’s strange that the movie wasn’t fully animated. Another problem is the subject matter. Being a christian, I know the true meaning of Easter. A movie about the child friendly version of Easter just doesn’t work like Christmas does. Which is what this movie is trying to be. It’s not completely bad. I did smile from time to time. It’s just not my kind of Easter movie.
The Ten Commandments is one of the greatest biblical movies ever put to film. It’s an epic that stands the test of time. It may be 3 hours and 40 minutes long, but as long as you’re familiar with the story of Moses it shouldn’t matter. I’ve seen the movie several times actually. Well, I’ve seen the ending numerous times at least. I didn’t see The Ten Commandments beginning to end until some time later. The Ten Commandments follows events depicted in the Book of Exodus. Moses was placed in a basket and sent down the Nile. Where he is raised as one of the Egyptians, but he changes his ways when Joshua tells him all about God. An encounter with the burning bush inspires Moses to let his people go. The only man standing in his way is Pharaoh Ramses. Which brings about the ten plagues of Egypt. The effects are astounding, especially for a 50’s movie. The parting of the Red Sea is simply a wonder to behold. Charlton Heston gives a mighty performance as Moses. Every part of The Bible is well represented. Especially when Moses received the sacred Ten Commandments (I actually know them all by heart). I wish more movies nowadays would take note of how to make a really good Bible picture. It’s not enough to have great effects. You need great actors, christian filmmakers, and a holy message. The Ten Commandments does all of these things and succeeds because of it. Making The Ten Commandments a classic that will last throughout the ages. So it was written, So it shall be done.
Pretty Woman is a fairy tale story. Rich man meets hooker. Hooker spends the night. Rich man offers hooker 3000 dollars to spend the week with him. Hooker and rich man fall in love. Well you see where I’m going with this. There’s no way it could happen in real life. But that’s not important. There’s a lot to love about Pretty Woman. Julia Roberts plays the most likeable prostitute ever put to film. It’s actually a very sincere love story. I’d also like to point out how much I hated the antagonists in the movie. I never thought I could hate Jason Alexander. So don’t get the wrong idea. She may be a hooker, but she’s got a heart of gold.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the hipster dream movie. I had literally no intention of seeing this movie. I didn’t really know what to make of it. Still, it looked weird enough that I had to watch it. So I checked it out one day when my brother was out and I loved it. Scott Pilgrim is just your average guitar playing hipster. Then his life goes upside down when he meets the pink/blue/green haired Ramona Flowers. He wants to be with her, but first he has to defeat her seven evil exes. This is where things get really weird. It’s based on a series of comics that the movie perfectly recaptures. With occasional panels and thought bubbles. More bizarre is how the movie includes video game gags in everyday actions. Such as gold coins and health. It’s so weird, but a lot of fun. Especially if you’re into video games or comics or alternative music. I would more than recommend it.
Is Watchmen really good or really bad? I’m in the middle. I’d like to consider myself a comic book/superhero expert. I know everything there is to know about just about every major superhero. So I knew that I needed to learn more about Alan Moore’s magnum opus Watchmen. I didn’t see Watchmen in theaters (I wasn’t old enough yet), but the trailer really peaked my interest. Which in my opinion, is one of the greatest trailers I’ve ever seen. I recognised the Watchmen, because I saw a comic book documentary some years back. Watchmen takes place in an alternate reality where superheroes have existed since the 30’s. First with the Minutemen and presently with the Watchmen (Crimebusters in the comic). Consisting of: psychotic detective Rorschach, cold hearted naked blue god Dr. Manhattan, recently murdered Comedian, evil genius Ozymandias, and legacy heroes Nite Owl & Silk Spectre. When I finally did see the movie, it was a lot to take in. It’s a very hard R with bloody violence, language, and an unsexy sex scene. Literally nobody in the movie is likeable. They’re all flawed messed up individuals. The main problem is “how much can you cram into one adaptation?” I read the graphic novel after I saw the movie. It’s much better, because graphic novels are the best medium to tell a story this complex. That being said, I do think Zack Snyder did a good job of recreating it. Jackie Earle Haley gives one of the best performances in a comic book movie as Rorschach. There are some changes (like the ending), but they didn’t bother me too much. Know the history and take it as it is. Just don’t expect a happy ending here. Watchmen is as brutal as superheroes get.