Tuesday, April 27, 2010

10 Most Rewatchable Movies

Recently my friend Doug sent me a link to Paste Magazine's website and on their blog they did a top 10 of the most re-watchable movies. While I agreed with a few of their choices, most were not ones that I watch every time I see them on TV. They decided on movies for the list with a few guidelines; no franchises and no holiday movies. These are movies that are on TV almost every weekend courtesy of TBS, Oxygen, TNT, USA or some other cable channel. Here is a list that I have put together, let me know what you think.

10) A Knight's Tale (2001) - The music that shouldn't work during this time piece somehow does. The band of friends is lovable and Heath Ledger is the main star. This movie is just a fun pick me up with heart. What's not to love?

9) Dave (1993) - Kevin Kline is funny, likable and makes us believe that one right man in the White House can make a difference.

8) A League of Their Own (1992) - I love everything about this story, including the relationship between the two sisters. Tom Hanks is great as always, Madonna finally found a movie that she was decent in and Rosie O'Donnell didn't get on my nerves. There are some very funny moments in this movie, but somehow it always brings a tear. This is a great one hankie film.

7) Braveheart (1995) - For some reason, even though parts of this movie break my heart, I have to watch it when I see it. Determination, love and fighting for what's right make this an incredible film and shows Mel Gibson at his best.

6) The Princess Bride (1987) -One of the most quotable films to date (next to the Godfather movies of course). Fred Savage listens as his grandfather reads him story while he is sick in bed and we all get swept away with him. "As you wish...."

5) Pretty Woman (1990) - The movie that made Julia Roberts a star is timeless. A business arrangement turns into love and watching Vivian navigate the waters of the rich and powerful never gets old.

4) The Goonies (1985) - This movie is what makes being a kid fun. There is an adventure, treasure and time with friends. Every time I see this one on TV, I feel like a kid again. We love you too, One-Eyed Willy.

3) Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) - This movie is a laugh out loud good time. The songs and jokes make this movie fun, and since everyone is familiar with the story of Robin Hood the plot isn't compromised. This is by far my favorite Mel Brooks film.

2) Italian Job (2003) - This movie has all of my favorite elements; betrayal, love and revenge. What makes this movie great is that it's funny and it's PG-13 rating keeps it from being just like every other shoot-em up movie out there. No other film has ever made me want a Mini-Cooper like this one.

1) Shawshank Redemption (1991) - One of the best movies of all time in my humble opinion. If Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins had never made another movie they still would have been A-listers for this film alone. I can't say for sure what it is that draws everyone to this story year after year, maybe it is something different for everyone, but it always makes me set the remote aside.

* A few films that deserve honorable mention are: Ever After, Swordfish, The Replacements, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Three Muskateers

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review: Date Night

What makes this movie work is not the over the top chase scene or the stripper dance that lasts a little too long, it is the relationship between the two main characters. Phil and Claire Foster, played by Steve Carell and Tina Fey, are an ordinary married couple that are in need of some spice in their regular routine.

When their night out does not go as planned and things get a little crazy, this movie never loses sight of what's important. Phil and Claire are in a rut, but they obviously love each other and that is what makes the movie believable. The supporting cast makes the movie fun and keeps the jokes rolling in. Of course with Carell and Fey at the helm we would expect nothing less. B

Thursday, April 15, 2010

10 Great Movies About Having a Baby

This week is baby week. Let's take a look at the top ten movies about having babies/being pregnant. Danielle, this list goes out to you, (but only because you got me thinking about it last week when you mentioned Knocked Up).

10. 9 Months (1995) - This comedy starring Hugh Grant, Julianne Moore, Tom Arnold and Joan Cusack takes a look at how crazy a man can go when an unexpected pregnancy forces him to grow up. Between watching Samuel, Grant, giving up his Porsche and beating up a mascot, this movie is good for a few laughs.

9. For Keeps (1988) - Number nine on the list goes in a completely different direction than number ten. High school students learn how hard it is to make a relationship work when balancing school, a new baby and a loss of youth.

8. Look Who's Talking (1989) - Before the weight loss commercials and the reality show, Kirstie Alley starred as the mother of every one's favorite talking baby. This movie makes it fun to think about what babies must really be thinking.

7. She's Having a Baby (1988) - This movie illustrates how tiring it can be to try and try for a baby. The performances from Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern are moving, but for me, the soundtrack is what makes this movie memorable. If you have never listened to the song, "This Woman's Work," by Kate Bush, you should download it immediately.

6. Three Men and A Baby (1987) - Watching three clueless men figure out what to do with a baby is humorous, but watching their hearts melt in the process makes us all wish we had three dads.

5. Parenthood (1989) - This movie is made up of numerous story lines that show the ups and downs of parenthood. The all star cast is at their best and includes: Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Keanu Reeves and Dianne Wiest.

4. Waitress (2007) - Waitress is a different kind of movie about pregnancy. Keri Russell stars a very unhappy woman who wants to leave her husband. Her plans are changed when she learns that she is pregnant, but this movie goes to show that you don't have to stay married or be unhappy when a pregnancy takes you by surprise. Even though the plot sounds less than appealing, this movie is quite charming thanks to Russell and Nathan Fillion (Castle).

3. Knocked Up (2007) - This film is raunchy fun with heart. I liked Seth Rogan before this movie, but I loved him after. His laugh is infectious and Katherine Heigel reinvented her film career. Watching the two of them find an OBGYN is hilarious, because it is so true.

2. Father of the Bride Part II (1995) - There are so many things about this movie that make it fun. Franck, Martin Short, is as over the top and as crazy as he is in the first one. His appearance in the movie makes for the laughs, but really what makes it great is the end scene. When Steve Martin is holding his child and grandchild in the hospital it warms your heart. I also love that the family aspect is so strong. I makes me want to call my parents and say hello.

1. Juno (2007) - I missed this movie in the theater and with all the buzz surrounding it I was hoping not to be disappointed, and I wasn't. The quirkiness of this film helps navigate the serious issues at hand. Ellen Page, Juno, is refreshing. Her character isn't over the top with emotion, she is simply a teenager dealing with things the best way she knows how. The music in the film fits perfectly and the writing......well there is a reason Diablo Cody won the Oscar.

Two movies that would have made the cut had I been going beyond the the top ten would be: Raising Arizona and Baby Boom.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

10 Best Romantic Comedies Of My Generation

This list is for romantic comedies not just romantic movies or the greatest onscreen love stories, that list if for another time. I also just wanted to stick with movies from my generation instead of the best romantic comedies of all time. If I had to take those into consideration too we would be here all day and it would have to be the top 20 instead of 10.

10. The Holiday (2006) I like so many things about this movie, including how lovable Jack Black's character is and the story between Iris, Kate Winslet, and her elderly neighbor Arthur. Every time this movie is on I have to stop and watch it. It's just one of those feel good movies and sometimes it's nice to just feel the love.

9. The Wedding Singer (1998) Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are the perfect match. They are both just geeky and sweet enough that you find yourself cheering for them to dump the losers that they are with and get together already. The music makes the movie fun and did I mention that Billy Idol makes an appearance? I am not ashamed to say that I like the song Robbie sings to Julia on the plane at the end. Everybody wants somebody to grow old with them.

8. What Women Want (2000) Watching a womanizer get a first hand taste of what goes on in a woman's mind is fun. Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt star in this movie about a guy getting exactly what he deserves and getting a real relationship with a first class lady and his daughter along the way.

7. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) Two people trying to win two different bets, one has to make someone fall in love with them and one has to push someone away, equals hilarity. Realizing that the two individuals are perfect for each other makes for a romance waiting to happen. Andie (Kate Hudson) and Ben (Matthew McConaughey) light up the screen with their charm and the supporting cast is a lot of fun.

6. Sweet Home Alabama (2002) Reese Witherspoon stars in this rom com that follows Melanie Smooter from the fast lane of NYC back home to Alabama where she is trying to finalize her divorce from her first love. Once home it is clear that there are still feelings for Jake, her first love. It just goes to show that sometimes the love of your life has been there all along.

5. Love Actually (2003) I enjoy British humor and must say that the mash up of all the different story lines in this movie are well done. The star power alone had my attention, but what could have come out as a confusing mess, was pulled off brilliantly. Just to name a few actors starring in this gem: Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Kiera Knightley and Alan Rickman - Britain's finest.

4. When Harry Met Sally (1989) Ah the age old question, can guys and girls be just friends? That is the question that fuels the plot for this movie starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. It is a movie about being in love with your best friend and it taking you half of your life to figure it out. I also love the snippits during the movie showing other couples that have been together for a long time answering questions about their relationship.

3. Annie Hall (1977) I think part of the reason this Oscar winner is considered to be one of the best romantic comedies is because it is done in such a different way. Woody Allen plays the neurotic comedian who takes a look at why his relationship to Annie Hall, played by Diane Keaton fell apart. Their relationship is looked at through flashbacks and breaks where Allen actually speaks to the camera. It is one of a kind.

2. Sleepless in Seattle (1993) Meg Ryan makes the list for a second time, in this movie about a widower Sam (Tom Hanks) whose son Jonah decides it's time for his dad to find a new wife. It is sweet and has an excellent cast including Tom Hanks' wife Rita Wilson, Victor Garber and Rosie O'Donnell (back when she didn't get on my nerves). What makes this movie interesting, is that the chemistry is undeniable even though the main characters are barely onscreen together. It shows that sometimes taking a chance and putting yourself out there pays off.

1. Notting Hill (1999) This is by far my favorite romantic comedy. I love everything about it. Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts make it so easy to love this movie and believe that the characters are flawed as well as lovely. I also love the music, the humor and the band of friends that play so well off of each other. The story of a clueless guy falling for an actress and actually winning over her heart is easy enough, but it takes more than a little trying on both of their parts (and a speedy trip through the city with friends) to finally get these two together.
"I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her."

Best of the Best

I love "best" lists. Nothing sets up an argument faster, or makes for great conversation the way these lists can since everyone has an opinion. Each week I will post a "best" list and to kick off the new weekly I will count down the 10 Best Romantic Comedies.

Please feel free to weigh in, argue or add any movies that make your best list.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Review: Remember Me

This movie is a prime example of why I want to be a critic. One critic, whose opinion I usually respect, missed the mark on this one. I went into the theater not expecting much and ended up feeling that this was one of the most touching movies I have seen in a long time.

Dealing with loss, or not dealing with it, lays the foundation for this drama. Robert Pattinson (Twilight) and Emilie de Raven (LOST) star as an American couple that help each other when each one needs someone most.

Unsure what to expect from Pattinson having only seen him in Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga, I felt that this role proves that he has staying power. His character Tyler has many sides and the one I loved the most was his relationship with his sister Caroline, Ruby Jerins (Shutter Island). Her performance was touching and brought tears to my eyes more than once.

The cast includes Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper and Lena Olin all of whom bring their usual A-game.

This is a one-tissue, compelling drama that is worth the price of admission. A

Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

Okay, first of all I can explain. Originally Emily and I had plans to go see her crush in action in The Bounty Hunter, but when we got there it was sold out. Normally we would have left, but I had free passes that ran out the next week so instead of wasting them....well you know.
For anyone that knows me knows that mindless humor is usually not for me. At least with Hot Tub Time Machine it puts it right in the title. No one is trying to make this movie out to be something that it's not.
If you don't mind raunchy humor, and would like a flash back to the 80's this movie is for you.
One word: Lougle. B-

Review: Alice in Wonderland

I love Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter so for me seeing Alice in Wonderland was inevitable. Depp starred as the Mad Hatter and he was a perfect combination of mad and lovable. He stole almost every scene he was in. Carter's portrayal of the Red Queen did not disappoint, but it would have been fine with me if she said "Off with his head," less than she did. But of course for that I blame the writers.
If you are curious why I mention the veterans first instead of Mia Wasikowska, who played title character Alice, it is because she is most obviously an amateur compared to Depp and Carter. While she did do a good job I wish she had come across as a little more likable.
The only thing that took away from this movie was the casting of the beloved Anne Hathaway. I love her, I do, but not as the White Queen. Every time she came onto the screen I was pulled out of the fantasy world I had built around myself and reminded hey there's Anne. She just didn't do it for me. Maybe a lesser known actress would have been a better way to go or someone that didn't look like she was trying so hard.
The scenes were beautiful, the costumes extravagant and the loaned voice of Alan Rickman was perfect. All and all I felt that I got my money's worth, which keep in mind is a compliment since I paid for a 3-D ticket. B

Friday, April 2, 2010

3-D Love It or Hate It?

I have now seen two movies in 3-D, Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. There are things about this new phenom that I like, but I'm not sure that they outweigh the things I don't like. For starters, the cost. Fourteen dollars a ticket is no small fee. Think about taking a family of four to see How to Train Your know the kids are going to want some sort of snack, (even I like an Icee), but that is an expensive afternoon out. Not to mention the strange feeling I have after I take the 3-D glasses off after a eyes have to readjust.

Another thing I found is that while I enjoy certain scenes and sweeping views in 3-D, I usually leave wishing I could go back and see the film again in regular old 2-D. At times I find 3-D distracting.

Now onto the things I like about 3-D. The nighttime part of Avatar was beautiful. It made wearing the glasses over my regular glasses worthwhile. Would it have looked as breathtaking in 2-D, maybe not. Then there's Tim Burton, he did a nice job playing up the 3-D aspect of Alice in Wonderland, but then again the look of his movies is always powerful and undeniably Tim. The things about these movies that make the 3-D part work are always the scenery. If I were to see Hot Tub Time Machince again (don't judge me, I can explain), do I think it needs to be in 3-D? No. Do I think Remember Me would be more compelling if Robert Pattinson was in 3-D? No. It really depends on the film.

Avatar, Alice, How to Train Your Dragon, these are just the first to hit the local theater's screens, and there are going to be plenty to follow. Theater owners are scrambling to add more 3-D screens, we can only hope that every movie we see from now on isn't in 3-D. Please Hollywood producers we know it's always about the bottom line, but please choose wisely.


Thanks to some serious nagging from my best friend, I have finally decided to start blogging about movies, my passion. I want to write reviews because sometimes I feel that movie reviewers make reviews too complicated. Am I getting what I paid for? Was it entertaining? If you want to write the great American novel then by all means, but don't try to make a movie review more complicated than it should be. Some of the reviews I write will be for movies that are already out of the theater, but at least you will know what to put on your Netflix list or get from the Red Box in your area.
I welcome comments and know that this is just my opinion so some will disagree, but at least it may tell you something you didn't know.