Friday, January 8, 2010

My 2009 Movie Odyssey - Part XX

Here we go with the second-to-last entry in my 2009 movie odyssey. My top and bottom 10 of the year should be following shortly thereafter.

Dark Victory (1939)
This is a compelling story of a woman who learns she has a terminal brain tumor and how she decides to live out the rest of her life.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
Robert Donat is captivating in the role of a British school teacher who teaches Latin to generation after generation of Britain’s finest, ready with words of wisdom for his students, never shy from administering discipline when it is called for, and always willing to build a relationship with his students outside of the classroom.

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
I give the writers credit for trying to elevate the film above its B-movie counterparts, but really the only reason to watch this film is the excellent stop-motion animation by Ray Harryhausen that, while not always realistic in its movements, has a tactile realism to it that CG is still unable to duplicate.

Night of the Creeps (1986)
This is just dumb, forgettable schlock that isn’t even bad enough to get worked up over.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
This is the second-best of the Harry Potter adaptations, streamlining the story from the novel (like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone failed to do) without it feeling rushed and incomplete (like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire failed to do).

20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)
The only interesting character is Ray Harryhausen’s monster in this B-movie.

The Parent Trap (1961)
Hayley Mills and Hayley Mills are engaging in this cute story with an overly simple ending.

The Elephant Man (1980)
The black and white photography is appropriately stark as Anthony Hopkins tries to find the man inside the monster.

Gotcha! (1985)
A childhood friend liked this movie, and maybe I would have liked it more at 10, but as it is, this is just a dumb, highly implausible, 80s comedy which is only actually interesting during the first five minutes.

The Strongest Man in the World (1975)
The third entry in the Dexter Riley trilogy, most of the jokes fall pretty flat and the plot is too predictable, which is very disappointing considering how entertaining Now You See Him, Now You Don’t (1972) is.

Coming up next: a couple monster movies and a couple 9s.

Monday, January 4, 2010

My 2009 Movie Odyssey - Part XIX

Benny & Joon (1993)
Johnny Depp channels Buster Keaton in this funny film with many memorable characters.

Slap Shot (1977)
While the three Hanson Brothers are loads of fun to watch, the rest of the movie is pretty flat and it would have been nice to see a little more actual hockey being played on the ice instead of all the constant brawling.

My Sister’s Keeper (2009)
While a mostly compelling story that asks some interesting questions, the constant narrator shifts were silly and the big revelation at the end was unnecessary, felt contrived, and undercut much of the emotional impact of the first hour and a half.

The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
This is the tragic tale of a movie producer who attracts people through the force of his winning personality and then betrays them.

The Front Page (1931)
There are a few laughs and the director tries valiantly to do interesting things with the camera in this early talkie, but the film is uneven with many dull moments to accompany the fun ones.

The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
This fun, thrilling swashbuckler features several characters that are so noble and upright that there is no way this movie would be made today given Hollywood’s obsession with flawed heroes.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
The feisty widow, Mrs. Muir, moves into a haunted house and strikes up a relationship with the cantankerous ghost who haunts it, providing a myriad of entertaining scenes as they work out how to coexist.

Brigadoon (1954)
This colorful musical features a couple amusing musical numbers but is a little thin in the area of plot.

The Majestic (2001)
Jim Carrey goes serious as a blacklisted screenwriter with amnesia, but everyone seems to be trying so hard to make a movie with Significance, it falls short of the Preston Sturges-esque comedy it could have been.

Walk the Line (2005)
Reese Witherspoon is so engaging as June Carter Cash that she steals every scene she is in and the rest of the film is cold and empty when she is off-screen.

Coming up next: a couple films from 1939 and a couple more from Ray Harryhausen.