classic, film

Classic/Modern Move Reivew The Princess Bride

As you guys have read I love recommending films for people to watch. Now obviously people may have different tastes than I do, some would rather watch a movie like Sharknado over a classic like Casablanca (yes I know weird combination there) but I do respect people’s opinions. I cannot force someone to like a movie or TV show I love and vice versa. I always say “If you want me to watch (insert title) I will, doesn’t mean I have to like it. However anyone who knows me will tell you if you have not seen and liked “The Princess Bride” then we cannot talk until you do.

If for some reason you have not watched this movie, allow me to give a simplified version. At the start and a few times in the film you will see a young Fred Savage being read the story by his grandfather (the late Peter Faulk). Oh yeah there is a book before the movie, but this is one of the few times where the movie is better than the book. Buttercup, played by Robin Wright loved two things in life: riding her horse and tormenting the farm boy Westley (Carey Elwes). All he ever says to he is “As you wish.” One day Buttercup realizes when he says that he is telling her “I love you” and she discovers her love for him as well. Their time together is brief before Westley leaves to earn enough money for marriage. His ship is attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who never leaves anyone alive. Buttercup swears to never love again.

Five years later Buttercup is unwillingly engaged to Prince Humperdink (Chris Sarandon) when she captured by three men, the smart and (no pun intented) short tempered Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), the strong giant Fezzik (the late great Andre the Giant) and the vengeful Spaniard Inigo Montoya, (Mandy Patinkin) whose background I will withhold to remain spoiler free, with the intention of killing her. While I cannot tell you why they kidnapped Buttercup I can say they are not the only ones who have plans for the Princess Bride, sorry need to be spoiler free.

I absolutely LOVE this movie, Robin Wright Carey Elwes, Andre, Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Shawn; everyone plays their parts perfectly. This is one of the movies that should never EVER be remade, and I swear to God if that happens I will not watch it. This is one of the funniest, most quotable movies there is out there. I could see it on TV at any point and know exactly where I am. It airs constantly, so you cannot tell me “I can’t find it.” I also know for a fact Fathom events will have the Princess Bride for an upcoming event in the fall check your local theater and see if they are doing it. I just re-watched this movie with my brother, whom is very hard to please with a not Batman movie and he liked it. I looked over and saw him chuckling at the parts I loved, cringing when necessary, every little action told me he was enjoying the film. Trust me if my brother likes a movie it is REALLY GOOD. Also if again you haven’t watch the film, keep an eye out for there are a few people you may recognize along the way. If this review doesn’t encourage you to watch it, trust me there will be people in your life that will.

classic, film

Classic Movie Review: Singin In the Rain

As you guys are well aware I’m an old soul when it comes to movies. There is nothing wrong with the movies we have now or a few decades ago, but I love many classics. You may remember my review of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, a great film if you haven’t watched it, but today I’m picking something a little more fun: Singin in the Rain.

Haven’t seen or heard of this film, allow me to give you a quick summary. Gene Kelly stars as Don Lockwood a silent movie actor whom falls in love with a chorus girl Kathy Sullivan (Debbie Reynolds.) There is so much more to the story than love. This film takes place around the time when silent films were starting to fad and talking pictures are forcing studios to adapt. It’s not a problem with Don, but his frequent leading lady Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen nominated for an Oscar for the role), cannot act, sing or dance to save her life although she thinks she is not only great but Don’s girlfriend. Don, Kathy and his best friend Cosmo (Donald O’Connor winning a Golden Globe for this role) have to make their next movie great for the talking pictures.

This musical is very light hearted and it is a great watch for the family. The music numbers are absolutely top-notch; cannot possibly be any better Gene Kelly without a doubt is one of the best actor dancers in film industry and he proves it again in the film. One of his best dance numbers maybe in his career is with Cyd Charisse. Dream sequence maybe did not make sense in the movie kinda but by the end of the sequence no one cares about that except the phenomenal dancing. I know Debbie Reynolds and Gene had issues on set, but by the end of the film  they did become friends. Donald O’Connor steals the spotlight as the comically funny best friend, and has a stand out number himself with Make Em Laugh, makes me laugh everytime I watch it. And of course Jean Hagen is so good at being the squeaky villain you will hate her.

Now I have got a funny story about this movie. A few years ago I was in my last community college class before going to Rutgers. It was a film class, we studied about what goes on behind the scenes with movies, camera work, lighting, how they get incredible shots, music, you get the point. In a class like this we did watch movies or clips of movies that had to do with the lesson over the week (it was a summer course and we met twice a week.) Now one week the lesson was about transitions in movies. The teacher was having trouble deciding what movie to watch regarding the lesson. I must confess I did not watch the Singin in the Rain movie yet, but I had seen a production not that long before (besides I looked up the movie enough to know what it was about.) So I suggested the movie, and my hand to God, everyone in the class said “What is that?”

I’m used to hearing “I haven’t seen it” or “Haven’t watched it.”, but Singing in the Rain gets parodied a hundred times, I was shocked no one in my class had even heard of the movie. It made up the teacher’s mind and we watched it the next class. I’m pretty sure my classmates liked it. I did see a few people laughing during Make Em Laugh. One girl even said after that number “That was awesome.” So if the people in my class that liked B- rated horror flicks liked those movies, why not try this?


James Bond films, in order from least to best

I love writing down lists about my favorite things, not Julie Andrews like but still I have to write. So I’ve decided to put some of those lists out here and let you the viewer decide if I’m crazy or not. Today I want to talk about everyone’s favorite secret agent that has been around 50 plus years: Bond, James Bond. I am going to rank the true Bond films (in other words the bad version of Casino Royal and Never Say Never Again will NOT be on here.) I am ranking them based of my overall opinion, I’ve learned a long time ago critics do not always get everything right. Let’s get started.

24. Moonraker. Probably no surprise this is at the bottom, right. Bond in space whomever came up with that idea must have been nuts. Now not everything in this film is bad it does have an intriguing villain and a decent Bond girl, but even that could not save this picture.

23. Quantum of Solace. I think we can all agree out of Daniel Craig’s films as 007 this was clearly the worst. Picking up after Casino Royale ends Bond’s quest for revenge seems to alienate himself from MI6. I love a rebel as much as the next gal, but this was done pretty poorly. No memorable characters in this whatsoever.

22. The Man With The Golden Gun. Now if I was judging this film based on villains this would be top 5 easy thanks to Christopher Lee’s perfomace as Scaramanga, but like the critics in 1974 I’m judging the picture as a whole, and it was not as impressive. This was supposed to be the film where Bond meets his match, but no thanks to unnecessary parties (Holly Goodnight I’m looking at you, but that is a story for another day) this film failed to impress me.

21. The World Is Not Enough. I actually liked this movie, other than Denise Richards’s part. It had a memorable villain in Elektra the first and so far only main female villain as well as her henchman/lover in Renard. In my opinion Renard was the last great henchman in the Bond franchise. Meanwhile the story was pretty good, had its twists and overall a good, not great, addition to the Bond franchise

20. License to Kill. Without a doubt in my mind the darkest of all the Bond films. Timothy Dalton’s final appearance definitely left an impression, good or bad depending on your opinion.  A ruthless villain to boot and this film is a good watch

19. The Living Daylights. This is a Bond film that may not be as known to fans, but it is a decent watch. Good action sequences, better chemistry with Bond and his lady friend, good not great villains; overall I would have given it a B-.

18. Octopussy. This one is a little more campier than the other Bond films, but it is a joy to watch. Personally I also loved Maude Adams’s performance at the title character, not just because she was actually age appropriate for Roger Moore’s Bond but because she always teased the line between good evil.

17. Spectre. As of this writing the latest Bond film that is out. I was not disappointed by the film, although the predictability got a little annoying. Christoph Waltz was OK as the villain, had two great Bond girls and much better performances from Ralph Fines, Naomi Harris and Ben Whishaw as M, Moneypenny and Q (of course no comparisons to the predecessors.) I also LOVED Sam Smith’s song “Writings of the Wall with that title sequence very haunting.

16. A View to A Kill. Probably surprised this is as high on the list huh. Trust me this has more to do with the performances of the films villains Christopher Walkin and Grace Jones than anything else in the film. I do liked how it was in the United States and showed some beautiful shots of San Fransico. This film does have flaws, but understandably so for Roger Moore’s last time as Bond (he was DONE.)

15. For Your Eyes Only. Believe me I do not like this film this much thanks to Bibi (god she was annoying.) I actually enjoyed the action the film provided. I felt this film had taken pretty good risks for the time being. P.S the opening scene is a must see.

14. Casino Royale. If there were some doubts on Daniel Craig’s debut performance as 007 maybe just maybe they went out of the door with this film. I cannot forget about Eva Green as the dubiously divine Vesper nor Mads Mikkelson’s Le Chife a truly unforgettable bad guy. I remember watching this for the first time and the tournament scenes were making me very nervous. I’m not a card player so I was not sure what was happening, but it was still nerve racking. This film set up the next three, so I’d probably watch this first of the Daniel Craig’s.

13. Diamonds Are Forever. For Sean Connery’s final run as 007 officially it did not disappoint. With multiple Blofelds and one of spunkier Bond girls to date it is a great watch.

12. You Only Live Twice. OK the whole Bond has to go Japanese parts were pretty offensive no doubt but this film is still watchable. Great action sequences, the start of a long road with Blofield and more beautiful women than Bond knows what to deal with. Also the title sequence is remarkable.

11. The Spy Who Loved Me. Now this is where the great films start coming in. I really loved The Spy Who Loved Me as a whole: action, acting, chemistry, gadgets; the whole nine yards. Roger Moore and Barbara Bach had a great love story much more believable than many of the other Bond films, we got to meet Jaws; overall this is one of the peaks when it comes to Bond.

10. Tomorrow Never Dies. This film is only this high for a few reasons. Brosnan’s performance, great action, probably one of the most memorable Bond girls of all time in Wai-Lin, memorable crazy villain and last but not least the gadgets. My only complaint about the film was the lack of chemesity I felt between Bond and Lin. Other than that it was cool.

9. Die Another Day. Surprised to see this film so high. Believe me it was all about the action, gadgets and ladies not the effects. I loved both Jinx and Frost in here. Good villains and henchmen but the effects did not do this film favors.

8. From Russian With Love. I have seen this film on many top 10 Bond films lists and yet people are like “What is that” when I tell them. This was a great follow up to Dr. No with it’s action and memorable villains. On another note this started the trend of big blond henchman but no one had come close to Robert Shaw’s performance.

7. Skyfall. Definitely one of the best Bond films in recent memory. Great song, action, villain and who could forget Judi Dench’s final performance as M in my opinion the greatest in her career.

6. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. One of the most memorable Bond films but this time for the right reasons. Sure George Lazenby’s performance was not great as Bond, but that is forgivable with the AMAZING performance by Diana Rigg as the only woman to marry Bond Tracy. Sadly this film has one fo the most heartbreaking moments not jsut in Bond films but in entertainment all together.

5. Live and Let Die. Yes the film has some questionable moments but overall I was in awe. Roger Moore’s first try as 007 did not disappoint. I also loved Jane Seymore as Solitare, and I am not big on damsels in distresses. Add an equally great villain to boot and you have a great Bond film.

4.  Dr. No. The first has to be in the top 5 because it started it all. From beginning to end this film will lay the ground work of the franchise, action, a great villain in Dr. No and of course the beautiful Honey Rider has the most iconic swimsuit entrance maybe in film.

3. Thunderball. I am proably the only person to love this movie as much, but I was very impressed. Given the time period when the film was released and how 75% of the film was underwater I had to give the film makers the praise they deserved.

2. Goldeneye. Yep this cannot be a surprise. This film was everything a 90’s Bond fan thought was missing in the other films. Memorable action sequences, just as memorable villains and women; plain and simple it was AWESOME. On another note did anyone else take as much joy as I did when Alec died.

  1. Goldfinger. No shocker this is number one. I do not think this film will ever be topped with it’s story, women, henchman and of course Goldfinger himself. You cannot find a better Bond film than this one.

Classic Movie Review: Guess Who Is Coming To Dinner?

I know this may seem weird for a person who was not even born when these movies came out but I love classic films.  There are some performances that even if the film is dated are measured above the rest. One such movie is called “Guess Who Is Coming To Dinner?” Is it old, yes. Dated, just a little. Still an important film; absolutely.

Taking place in 1967, also when the film was released, a young woman Joanna (Katharine Houghton) brings home her fiance to meet her parents Christina and Matt Drayton (Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.) Seems pretty simple right, not so back in then. Joanna’s fiance Dr. John Wayde Prentice is African American (Sidney Poitier.) Now despite the fact they have taught their daughter the importance of equal rights, Christina and Matt are shocked their daughter would choose to marry a black man; not to mention John’s decision to not marry Joanna if her parents disapprove of their marriage. Just when things could not get more complicated John’s parents join the dinner each with mixed reactions of the impending marriage. There was a sort of remake in 2005 with Guess Who staring Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mac but there can only be one great movie about such a sensitive topic.

First off I have sort of a connection with Katharine Hepburn. She was my mother’s favorite actresses, not a bad choice if I may say so myself. I have to say that, she is the reason why I’m named who I am. As for her performance in this film she did phenomenally. Her character Christina was the first to come around to the idea of Joanna’s and John’s marriage after a co-worker says she should be horrified by Joanna, said co-worker was fired. Her on-screen husband, and off screen lover Spencer Tracy in my opinion gave the finest performance of his career; sadly it would be the last performance of his career as he passed away two weeks after the film had wrapped up. Katharine Houghton, Hepburn’s niece does a spectacular job as  the level headed Joanna determined to follow her heart where John goes. Of course I cannot forget Sidney Poitier probably the greatest African American actor of all time. This was not his first role where his character had a race issue and it certainly was not his last, but John has character development in this film, look past race and confronts his father on his disapproval with an iconic line from the film “You think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man.” Deep isn’t it.

Spencer Tracy’s Matt was the last to come around to the relationship; his final speech gives hope to not just then but even now for interracial couples. Back then in many states marriage between races was illegal, but this film gave those in the same situation hope that one day things would chance. Is it perfect, no not even close but this is why films like “Guess Who Is Coming to Dinner” and the upcoming film”Loving” were made to give people hope that change does happen it just takes a little time and a lot of love. This film is one of the greatest of all time; I suggest putting this on a movie bucket list if the time is right. It will make you laugh, cry and think.