Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ghost World (2001)

Enid and Rebecca are best friends who just graduated high school. While Becky looks for an apartment for them to rent, Enid has to take an art class over the summer. They see a personal ad by a man named Seymour asking a woman he met to contact him. Enid calls him, pretending to be her and sets up at blind date at a diner where she and Becky secretly go and make fun of him. But feeling bad about it later, Enid goes to his house and sees him having a garage sale. Over the summer, Enid and Seymour become close friends, but Becky gets more and more annoyed at her because of her ambivalence to move in. A simple yet dark tale of teen anxiety; Thora Birch is very good and funny as the outcast, Steve Buscemi is also great as well as the geeky older man. Based on the comic book of the same name. Starring Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas, Stacey Travis, Brian George, Bob Balaban 8/10

Monday, May 30, 2011

Equilibrium (2002)

Set in the futuristic city-state of Libria, after a third World War a totalitarian state rose up to get rid of everything that causes emotion and the people who use them. When high ranking Grammaton Cleric John Preston accidentally breaks his vial of Prozium, ceasing to take his dose, he begins to feel while finding it difficult not to show it in front of his son and his partner Brandt. He ends up falling in love with Mary, a woman that was arrested for sense-offense and feels remorse for killing his former partner Errol Partridge. He eventually helps the leaders of the resistance movement known as The Underground to take down a figurehead known as "Father". In the same style of action as The Matrix, an interesting science fiction story; the fight scenes especially are extraordinary. Starring Christian Bale, Taye Diggs, Emily Watson, Sean Bean, Angus Macfadyen, William Fichtner 7/10

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Blazing Saddles (1974)

In the American Old West of 1874, the peaceful town of Rock Ridge is attacked by a pack of murderers and thieves, led by Taggart who is in cahoots with the conniving State Attorney General Hedley Lamarr. The townsfolk refuse to surrender to them so they wire the governor that they need a new sheriff. But Hedley doesn't want law and order so he schemes to find one that will shock the people so much that they'll drive him right out of town. So he gets an African-American man named Bart; however with the help of drunk gunslinger Jim aka The Waco Kid, Bart works to prevail over the townsfolk's hostile nature towards him. Mel Brooks' hysterical spoof on westerns; with a wonderful mix of characters and double entendres. My favorites: Lili von Shtupp, The Waco Kid and Hedley Lamarr. Starring Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman, Slim Pickens, Madeline Kahn, Mel Brooks, Dom DeLuise 7/10

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sixteen Candles (1984)

High School sophomore Samantha Baker wakes up on her sixteenth birthday and her family forgets all about it. The reason why is that her older sister Ginny is getting married the next day. Meanwhile geeky freshman Ted keeps trying to put the moves on Sam but she has her eye on the handsome senior Jake Ryan. Her grandparents bring along foreign exchange student by the name of Long Duk Dong to stay. Sam brings him with her to the dance, while Sam longs for Jake. In the auto-shop room during the dance, Sam confesses her love for Jake to Ted. He tells her that Jake has been asking about her, and they agree that Sam should go and talk to him. As she's leaving, he reveals that he made a bet with his friends that he could sleep with Sam, so she agrees to loan him her panties as proof to help him win a dozen floppy disks. Typical coming of age teenage story by John Hughes; with some very funny moments and Molly Ringwald is witty and terrific as always. Starring Molly Ringwald, Justin Henry, Michael Schoeffling, Haviland Morris, Gedde Watanabe, Anthony Michael Hall 7/10

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Oscar (1991)

Chicago's number one gangster Angelo "Snaps" Provolone swears he'll become an honest man after he promises to his dying father that he'll go straight. So he vows to be respectable and become a banker. but when his accountant Anthony Rossana tells him he's in love with his daughter and wants to marry her, Angelo is furious. What Anthony doesn't know is it's not Angelo's daughter that he's in love with. Meanwhile Angelo's actual daughter is in love with Oscar the chauffeur, and the cops are watching the house. A crazy screwball comedy; Stallone is quite funny. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Marisa Tomei, Ornella Muti, Tim Curry, Chazz Palminteri 6/10

Monday, May 23, 2011

Splendor in the Grass (1961)

Wilma Dean Loomis loves her boyfriend Bud Stamper very much and wants to do the right thing, but she is so overwhelmed by her passionate feelings for him. Between peer pressure and her overbearing mother it's hard for her to not give into temptation. Bud has his own pressures to deal with as well; from resisting to being with Deanie, to his demanding father who wants him to go to Yale, even though Bud would rather be a farmer, and his sister Ginny who is gossiped about for being an easy, out of control girl. Natalie Wood gives one of her best performances; both heartbreaking and sensitive. Warren Beatty's screen debut, and directed by the great Elia Kazan. The title refers from a line of the William Wordsworth poem "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" Starring Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Pat Hingle, Audrey Christie, Barbara Loden, Zohra Lampert 9/10

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Devil's Advocate (1997)

Kevin Lomax is a hotshot defense attorney in Florida who never lost a case. So when a man from a New York law firm entices him about a position in a successful law firm with a huge sum, Kevin thinks it's too good to be true. With his wife Mary Ann, Kevin travels to New York to check out the firm of Milton, Chadwick & Waters. There he is greeted by John Milton and offers Kevin a fancy apartment and a large salary if he joins the firm, making him an offer he can't refuse. However things take a turn for the worst when Mary Ann starts to have hallucinations and the firm's managing attorney is murdered. Keanu Reeves' performance is pretty convincing in this one, but Pacino is so over the top it's irritating, especially his long drawn-out speech at the finale. Based on a novel by Andrew Neiderman. Starring Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, Jeffrey Jones, Judith Ivey, Connie Nielsen, Craig T. Nelson 5/10

Friday, May 20, 2011

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Nathan Detroit is a gambling man who loves the crap game, but he is broke and needs money to finance it. So when he sees Sky Masterson, the slickest gambler in New York, Nathan comes up with a plan; he makes a thousand dollar bet with Sky that he can't take missionary Sarah Brown to Havana with him. So Sky takes the bet, but doesn't plan on falling in love with her. A colorful musical, with catchy tunes; and who can resist Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando in the same film? Starring Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, Vivian Blaine, Robert Keith, Stubby Kaye 9/10

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

Gilbert Grape is a young man living in the small town of Endora, with his older sister Amy, overweight mother Bonnie, snobbish sister Ellen, and mentally challenged brother Arnie. He works in a convenient store that doesn't attract many customers because everyone shops likes to shop at the new and bigger store FoodLand. It is Gilbert's responsibility to look after his brother, but is certainly no easy task when Arnie always seems to be getting into trouble. While the Grape family is preparing to celebrate for Arnie's 18th birthday party, a young woman named Becky and her grandmother are stuck in town when their trailer breaks down. Gilbert and Becky start up a romance, despite Gilbert having an affair with a married woman named Betty Carver. A tender story, beautifully filmed; Johnny Depp is the perfect choice to play the character of Gilbert, and Leonardo DiCaprio is brilliant as his brother Arnie. From Peter Hedges 1991 novel. Starring Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis, Mary Steenburgen, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover, Darlene Cates, Laura Harrington 7/10

Monday, May 16, 2011

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Cameron James is a new student at Padua Stadium High School. His first day on campus he is given a tour by Michael Eckman, an A.V. Club geek. Cameron also notices Bianca Stratford and is instantly smitten. But he is told that she's shallow and she's got her eye on Joey Donner, the self-absorbed jock as does he. However Bianca's overprotective father won't allow her to date until her older sister, bitter and outspoken Kat does. So Joey makes a deal with rebel outcast and rumored delinquent Patrick Verona, that he'll pay him to take Kat out. But it's easier said than done when Kat doesn't want to be bothered with boys. However with a little bit of effort and charm, Patrick wins her over. One of my favorite teen films; Julia Stiles is wonderful and hysterical, Heath Ledger is adorable and hot. A laugh out loud teen comedy that contains references to William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, on which the plot is loosely based. Starring Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik, David Krumholtz, Andrew Keegan, Larry Miller 7/10

An American Crime (2007)

Sixteen year old Sylvia Likens and her fifteen year old sister Jenny have always traveled with their parents when working at the carnival. But when they separate they decide to have their daughters stay with a single mother named Gertrude Baniszewski and her six children, whom the girls met at church. Sylvia befriends Gertie's oldest daughter Paula who tells Sylvia that she's pregnant and to keep it a secret. But when Sylvia sees Paula being attacked by her boyfriend she confesses, Paula gets back at her by telling Gertrude that she's spreading lies about her. Gertrude forces Sylvia to apologize to Paula, but it doesn't stop there. They leave Sylvia in their basement where she is tortured and horribly abused. A shocking crime drama that is hard to watch, not for the faint of heart. Based on a true story, this film stays with you long after it's over and shows that there is no excuse for child abuse. Both Ellen Page and Catherine Keener give outstanding performances. Starring Ellen Page, Catherine Keener, Hayley McFarland, Ari Graynor, Scout Taylor-Compton 8/10

Monday, May 9, 2011

Let the Right One In (2008)

Based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist of the same name, Let the Right One In is a haunting but intriguing story of a twelve year old boy named Oskar. He lives with his single mother in 1982 Blackeberg, Stockholm. Oskar is constantly being bullied by his classmates, and dreams about getting revenge on them. Until one night when he meets Eli, a pale little girl the same age as him who has moved into the apartment next door. She finds out about Oskar being bullied and tells him to stand up for himself. Eli and Oskar eventually become close friends and he asks her to go steady, but she admits she's not a girl, and that she's been twelve years old for a long time, and she has to drink on blood to survive. Starring Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar 7/10

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Producers (1968)

Broadway producer Max Bialystock used to be great, he produced great shows but now he's broke he's been romancing wealthy elderly women in exchange for money for his next play. His eccentric accountant Leo Bloom tells him that it's possible that a producer could make more money with a flop than with a hit. So they cook up a scheme to produce the worst play ever written called Springtime for Hitler, have it starring the worst actors, directed by the worst director and they think they'll be rich after it opens. But their plan backfires when the show is a surprise smash hit. A crazy, hysterical, satirical dark comedy written and directed by the great Mel Brooks. A word of advice though; skip the remake because it's hardly as memorable as the original. Starring Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Dick Shawn, Kenneth Mars 8/10