Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Top 8 Haunted House Movies

As a non-lover of the genre, these are my top 8 (I couldn't think of more than 8 haunted house movies that I liked):

8. House on Haunted Hill - The original, not the remake. I liked this one and thought it had a clever ending. Not my favorite movie ever, but deserving of a spot on this list (especially considering how few I've seen). I saw the remake in theaters. Waste of $12.
7. 1408 - I really liked this movie but I did not like the ending, I thought it was really weird. But overall the buildup really scared me, as always with Stephen King. The stuff of nightmares. I definitely won't be giving it a second viewing. ;) But it scared me enough that I thought it should go on this list.
6. The Amityville Horror - What Jeffrey said.
5. Poltergeist - My sister and I used to love watching the movies that were on TV on Halloween, especially Raggedy Ann and Andy in the Pumpkin Who Couldn't Smile. Poor pumpkin. But Poltergeist was one that I watched once, had nightmares about, and never watched again until I was much, much older.
4. The Haunting - What Jeffrey said. And also, the original, not the remake. (HORRIBLE.)
3. Beetlejuice - I was obsessed with this movie when I was little. My sister and I watched it like once a week as soon as it came out on video. Tons of our old home movies feature my sister singing the Banana Boat song. "Ok, I believe you!" My parents probably shouldn't have let us watch this so much. But man I loved it and was terrified by it at the same time. (I was and am a total 'fraidy cat.)
2. The Shining - Although I just watched it for the first time, obviously it has to go on my top 8 list considering how much I loved it (minus the ending) and how great a film it is.
1. The Others - This is one of my all-time favorite horror movies by far, I can't believe I forgot to mention it in my earlier posts about the genre. I absolutely loved it. My sister and I have a tradition of watching scary movies on Halloween (I know, can you believe it? Me!) and this was by far the best one we've ever chosen. Great film.

The Changeling was on our list this year but I couldn't get it in time. I'll definitely make it a priority for the future.

I'm ba-ack!

Well I got back from Florida on Monday and have been trying to catch up on all of your posts. It's a little overwhelming, to be honest. So I'm just going to respond to Jeffrey's 2007 list. What great movies. I haven't seen The Diving Bell & The Butterfly, although when I worked at Ogilvy & Mather they brought in Janusz Kaminski to speak and so of course I went and he was amazing and showed a clip from it which made me want to see it and not see it at the same time. I hate things about people who've had a stroke, I think mostly because I was there when my grandpa (who was like a father to me and who also was a veritable genius) had a stroke and it was horrifying and he lived like that for like a couple weeks and then died... So I just haven't been able to bring myself to watch it. Maybe someday. 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days has been in my queue since it came out. I was worried it would be really disturbing. But one of these days I'll watch it. I think I would like Sunshine and Ratatouille, so I need to watch them for sure. I haven't heard of Eastern Promises, but I will check it out. The rest on your list I totally agree with. Zodiac is easily one of my favorite movies ever. And I also think No Country for Old Men is the Coen brothers' finest. To be honest I liked and hated The Savages all at the same time... I think because it hit a little too close to home (my grandma had dementia and out of 6 kids my mom ended up being the one taking care of her), but I appreciated that it was pretty true to what happens to a family in a situation like that. Like Jeffrey I also LOVE Laura Linney (to the point of watching her TV show about cancer, which is another topic I hate, just to see her act as much as I possibly can) and am completely obsessed with Phillip Seymour Hoffman. (Doubt would definitely be on my 2008 movie list if I made one.)

While I was in Florida I watched (and in some cases re-watched) a couple movies with my parents:
-The Fugitive (This is quite the anxiety generator. I have no idea how I had never seen this before. I liked it, Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones were great.)
-Eyes of Laura Mars (My mom remembered liking this when she was in high school... I LOVED it actually. It was a great mystery movie with a fantastic twist ending. Starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones. Fab.)
-The War of the Roses (My mom thought I would like this because I love Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, and I loved them together in Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile. But I thought this movie was pretty stupid. I do not recommend it.)
-Legal Eagles (This was cute in the romance department but kind of silly otherwise. I love Debra Winger ever since seeing An Officer and a Gentleman, and who doesn't like Robert Redford. Daryl Hannah on the other hand I could do without. The climax of this one was pretty silly and involved a fire in an art gallery. Unless you're jonesing for some good romance like I am, I'd skip this one.)
-Mickey Blue Eyes (I've always liked this movie, I think you have to just appreciate it for what it is... a non-gangster gangster comedy. I think it's funny. Especially the scene where James Caan is trying to teach Hugh Grant how to say gangster phrases with his British accent, and then Hugh Grant tries to order food in the restaurant with his horrible gangster voice. Classic. Makes me laugh every time.)
-The Wedding Planner (This has never been one of my favorite romcoms, but honestly I'd watch Matthew McConaughey knit for two hours, so I always enjoy it.)
-You've Got Mail (SO dated. I love it just for that. Plus, Meg Ryan. But my sister hates this movie because it's WAY too long. Which I agree with.)

I read The Lincoln Lawyer while I was in Florida. It's a murder mystery and involves a trial, both of which I love. I loved the book so I definitely plan on going to see the movie. I'm sure you guys will hate it.

Glad to be back!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hi from sunny Florida

Hey guys, sorry I've been kind of MIA - I'm on vacation in sunny Florida and this is the first access I've had to a computer. Retro, right? I'm with my mom who isn't really into movies because she has trouble staying awake, so the only one I've really watched is Leap Year, which is a romantic comedy set in Ireland. (My mom is 100% Irish so it was an obvious choice.) It's not the best rom com ever made, but it was cute. Pretty landscape shots, that's for sure. It made me want to go back to Ireland again.

Brandon you're not the only one who hasn't seen Blue Valentine - I haven't either. I hope to at some point (is it out on Netflix yet?). I haven't seen most of the movies you guys have mentioned in your recent posts actually. I will be getting back to NYC on Monday, so I should be back to more of my usual movie-watching habits then. It's hard to watch a movie amid all this sunshine.

Interesting discussion about cynicism vs. optimism. I've been a huge cynic the last few years but I'm really trying to move more toward an optimistic outlook. I never really thought of it in relation to movies and directors but I don't know why not.

Ben and Jeffrey, I really like Twin Peaks. I don't plan on selling my DVDs either. Ben I remember when you first watched it! When you got your wisdom teeth out, right? I knew you'd like it.

I don't really have any interest in watching The Fighter... regardless of whether it's a boxing movie or a crackhead movie. I'm not a big Christian Bale fan. But maybe someday I'll watch it.

And last but not least, I never can come up with a great title. I liked Kubrick's Rube though. Nice to meet you Jason!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Movies from this weekend

Brandon, nice defense of the films on everyone's lists. Thanks for the A, I was ready for an F. I hate to spoil the debate but I don't really have anything to say in defense of mine, I pretty much expected everyone to disagree with me. But I am glad I'm getting some agreement from you guys on a couple of them. It makes me feel a *little* better about not liking them even though I still feel like I should. Not totally better. But a little better.

Source Code sounds good. I like Michelle Monaghan too, she's really pretty, I agree, and she has been great in everything I've seen her in so far. I'll check it out once it's available. I haven't seen Moon either, but it's been in my queue for a while.

In other news, I watched a couple movies this weekend:

1) The Shining: Yeah, I finally watched this. I really liked it, especially the music and editing and the shots - he did such a great job getting you to feel the sense of isolation with the shots of the mountain and stuff. Like you'd think you would think, wow pretty mountains... but the way he did it I thought, wow that's a long drive with nobody around. There were a lot of those moments - I thought the buildup was really great. And the blood coming out of the elevator was beautiful and disgusting all at the same time. I also think the casting was fantastic - the wife and the kid were totally creepy and I love Jack Nicholson. There was a lot of great stuff in this movie, I'm sure you all already know it all since I'm really behind the times finally watching this. But I did want to say that while I haven't read the book, I am guessing that like most of Kubrick's movies, he changed a bunch of stuff. Because what was up with the ending? The photograph? There's no way that was in the book. Anyway, overall I liked it although I was dissatisfied with the ending. I'm sure Kubrick would be thrilled to hear that.

2) The Exploding Girl: Ben, I got around to watching this one today. I liked it - again, I thought it was great casting. I liked that it was not over-produced, I think that really worked for them, straight through until the end. It was a good indie romantic drama, I always like stories about friends who end up becoming more than friends. It all felt very true to life, which I really appreciated. In the same vein, they did a great job making you feel Ivy's anxiety and loneliness... as a person prone to anxiety attacks and to over-empathizing with characters, I must say that aspect of it made it a little nerve-racking to watch. But overall I really enjoyed it, indie for the win.

3) Harmony and Me: This was weird. It was shot with a handheld camera and felt more like a home movie or a documentary than a regular film. I got immediately that this was supposed to be a comedy... but... I didn't really think it was funny. I generally like dry, deadpan humor but this was trying so hard and it just wasn't my style at all. It felt like a pilot for Comedy Central or an SNL short or something. My favorite part was a 10 second shot of a bunny eating lettuce. So cute. And I liked the score - Harmony was taking piano lessons so the score was his piano music, which went from terrible to better, I liked that a lot. But yeah besides that I wasn't really into this. The guy was whining the whole movie about how his girlfriend broke up with him like a year ago, which like I've mentioned before, is really tired to me both in movies and in life. It also had an amnesia storyline, which again was supposed to be funny but which I thought was a lame ploy. And I didn't think the characters were likeable at all. And I don't think you were supposed to like them... but that didn't make it any better. At least it was only like an hour long.

4) The Good Guy: This was a romantic comedy starring a bunch of former teen TV stars - Alexis Bledel (Rory on Gilmore Girls), Scott Porter (Jason Street on Friday Night Lights), and Bryan Greenberg (Jake Jagielski for all you One Tree Hill fans out there!... no?). I actually really liked it. I hate when romantic comedies have sucky endings (when watching a good old fashioned romcom, I don't want to watch my own miserable romantic failings played out before my eyes on screen, what a drag), and I was a bit worried at the beginning of this one that it was going to be one of those, because of the narrator they chose. But the movie was about being able to tell the lies from the truth in a place like NYC, and in what I thought was a clever twist, you find out (SPOILER) they chose the narrator on purpose because viewers tend to trust the narrator and assume the narrator is telling the truth even when they shouldn't trust him. Things were not as they seemed, and the "Good Guy" was not the person you thought it was going to be when the story started. I also tend to like movies where people like quit their high-paying but soul-sucking jobs to do something better with their lives... and also movies where girls break up with guys who are assholes and choose a nice guy instead. So I was a fan of this one. Plus, it helps that I want to marry Bryan Greenberg. The end.