Sunday, November 1, 2009

#15 - Goodfellas (1990), 146 mins.

Alf: This movie, unfortunately, was not as good as I had hoped. It was good, but dragged on a little bit. The story was interesting, it just seemed like it was missing a little something, but I'm not sure what. I liked that the story was told all the way from when Henry was a kid and how he got involved with the Mafia. The movie tried to tell both sides of story, like the romanticized celebrity/gangster lifestyle to the point where he was in jail or struggling for money. Part of the problem for me maybe was age-related. Since the movie was taking place in the late 70s/early 80s, some of the "fancy" stuff that people were buying to make it look like they were leading an extravagant lifestyle, just looks like crap...or maybe that's part of what they were trying to show? These people really didn't know what "rich" stuff looked like, so they just bought a bunch of crap that people were supposed to be jealous of? As far as gangster movies go, I still prefer Carlito's Way and Scarface better. I'm not saying Goodfellas was bad, it was good...just not GREAT.

Beth: So, I was all confused when we sat down to watch this movie. Totally thought it was The Firm. So, it turns out I've never seen Goodfellas before. Since I didn't like The Firm and that's what I thought I was getting myself into, I actually liked this movie a lot. I also liked that it was based on a true story so I feel like I got some sort of an education about gangsters. It was neat to see how people not in the family, get into that stuff. And it didn't actually seem all that violent by today's standards. Sad, but true.

We went from one extreme to the other - surprised by the lack of violence in this story to watching a present-day gansta movie and being surprised by the heightened level of violence in that movie. I don't think I've really seen any other ganster movies so I have nothing to compare but I thought this movie was pretty good.

Watched 11/1/2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

#128 - Princess Mononoke [Mononoke-Hime] (1997) , 134 mins.

Alf: I hadn't seen this movie since I was a teenager, I think I remember thinking that it was a little confusing back then. It made a little more sense now...but there are still some odd moments in it.

The story starts off when a village out in the middle of nowhere is attacked by a Forest god who had become a demon. The main character (Ashitaka) goes on a quest to find out where he came from. If I were to spell out the rest of the ongoings, it would sound I won't, but basically, Forest gods are becoming angry that a near-by town is destroying their forest to make guns and ammunition. In between everything, there is still sort of a love story, when the main character falls in love with a girl who had been raised by one of the Forest gods (San).

The movie is worth watching, even with all the "save the planet" messages in it. I wouldn't recommend it for kids, even though it's animated. There are a lot of cut off limbs, decapitations, etc. Enjoy! :)

Beth: I didn't know anything about this movie before I watched it. I assumed it had something to do with a crazy anime assassin girl. It actually turned out to be a weird, violent, anime-version of Fern Gully. Now, I loved some Fern Gully growing up. It got me all excited about saving the environment because they made the forest a living thing with feelings. Princess Mononoke tried to do the same but in such an abstract way, it was hard to feel connected.

Mononoke took a more realistic approach to an environmental solution than Fern Gully: saying that nature and people can live in harmony. Much more realistic than just saying that people should stop cutting down trees. Meanwhile, the movie isn't just making a statement about the environment - it also talks about women's role in society and about reaching out to those that society shuns. I think. It's hard to understand if the enemy of the environment could be the savior to humanity. Or if she's just manipulating the downtrodden to get the results she wants. But it definitely treats some heavy topics (lepers and whores). All the while, developing a love story that sort of falls flat at the end.

Watched on 9/19/2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

#94 - Back to the Future (1985), 117 mins.

Alf: This is one of those movies that I think everyone in the world has seen at one point or another. The great thing about it is, that I think you notice something new every time that you watch it. Growing up, I had liked Back to the Future 2 the best. At some point, I guess that I finally thought it was too much of a copy of the first one, and then started liking the first one the best.

In case that there is anyone in the world that hasn't already seen this movie...the movie is about a teenager accidentally traveling back in time using Doc Brown's time machine that he invented. Coincidentally, he travels back in time to when his parents were teenagers and ruins his family's time continuum by interrupting the moment at which his parents originally met. The rest of the movie is about him (Marty) trying to get his parents back together, and also trying to get back home, in the future.

Beth: I never get tired of this movie. Growing up I always liked Back to the Future 2 better because it had all the futuristic stuff but this one is definitely classic. Anyway, it was cool to see new stuff that I never noticed before. Dude, I totally just wrote that without reading Alf's review. Freaky. This may be the only movie we ever really agree on from the 517 Hour Project.

Back to the Future is a great movie that shows that the bonds of friendship transcend time, overcoming personal hurdles - both external and emotional and the dangers of drinking and leaving children unattended in playpens for long periods of time. Not to mention the dangers of pent-up sexual tension that can lead to marriages based on sexual attraction rather than common interests and compatibility (I had to make up for Alf and me saying the same thing).

Watched on 08/09/09

Monday, August 3, 2009

#82 -The Prestige (2006), 130 mins.

Alf: I think The Prestige is yet another great movie directed by Chris Nolan. He has a great storytelling ability. The movie is about two dueling up-and-coming magician/illusionists, who become obsessed with both revenge, and trying to one-up each other. What should have been a simple story, get a little more complicated with some science fiction aspects. Overall, I still enjoyed this movie, and would recommend it...afterall, I've seen it twice!

Beth: Definitely better and more memorable than the Illusionist. It had a nice twist to it that I didn't see coming but it also raises some ethical questions about the length someone will go to get revenge. I was a little confused by the ending. As Alf says, the whole movie seems to focus on this obsession with revenge but at the very end Hugh Jackman makes a claim that I think is a poor attempt by Chris Nolan to give depth to a shallow character. Seemed to over-reach the limits of an entertaining movie. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale were nice to look at, too.

Watched on 8/2/2009

Sunday, August 2, 2009

#45 - Amelie (2001), 122 minutes

Beth: Amelie is cute movie. Full of quirky and fun information about 2D characters. Amelie decides to help others in small ways and finds true love along the way. Slow in parts, made slower by subtitles but fun overall.

Alf: Amelie makes a great date movie. I don't think that anyone could have played the character of Amelie any better than Audrey Tautou. The movie is about a girl that that decides to do good for the people around her, and in her life, but forgets about fixing her own. It turns out that she's a fan of karma, and karma's a fan of her...

Watched on 8/2/2009