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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fatal Attraction (1987)

#2 - 1987 Box Office: Gross $156,645,693

A look that led to an evening
Adrian Lyne directs this thriller about infidelity.  Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) is a New York lawyer with a wife (Anne Archer) and young daughter.  When the girls leave for the weekend, he has a short affair with Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), whom he met at a work party.  However, Alex doesn't want the affair to end when Dan's family returns.  She slits her wrists, tries to buy his affection with opera tickets, stalks his family and even kidnaps his daughter for a day out at an amusement park.  Dan moves out of the city, changes his number and tries to ignore Alex, but sometimes affection becomes obsession and you can't outrun crazy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

#2 - 1991 Box Office: Gross $165,493,908

Sometimes the only way to uphold to break the law
During a prison escape with his friend Peter, Robin of Locksley (Kevin Costner) saves the life of Azeem (Morgan Freeman) and the two survive thanks to Peter's self-sacrifice.  Azeem follows Robin back to England to pay back the debt of saving his life, however Robin's homecoming is tainted by the Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman) who has killed Robin's father.  Robin meets Little John (Nick Brimble), Will Scarlet (Christian Slater) and a bunch of other Merry Men in Sherwood Forest and soon leads them to fight against the Sheriff, who himself has begun to aggressively court Marian (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), sister of the dead Peter, who Robin promised to protect.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

#2 - 1985 Box Office: Gross $150,415,432

What most people call hell, he calls home
George P. Cosmatos's film opens with John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) in a labor prison camp, presumably convicted for the events of First Blood*. He is visited by Col. Trautman (Richard Crenna) who offers him a way out of prison, with a full pardon.  A bureaucrat named Murdock (Charles Napier) wants Rambo to parachute into Vietnam and do reconnaissance regarding American POWs—but under no circumstances is Rambo supposed to engage the enemy.  This is simply a fact-finding mission.  However, Rambo loves his country too much to let other US soldiers be tortured and killed and so he soon becomes a one-man army fighting the Vietnamese, Soviets, and even the Americans who sent him on the impossible mission.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Forrest Gump (1994)

#1 - 1994 Box Office: Gross $329,694,499

The story of a lifetime
Robert Zemeckis directs this adaptation of Winston Groom's 1986 novel, which tells the story of a simple man (Tom Hanks) who travels across the world, unwittingly finding himself in the middle of major historical events of the 20th Century. Whether it's at the integration of University of Alabama or a protest rally headed by Abbie Hoffman at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Gump finds himself meeting Presidents and influential people throughout his life.  However, he almost always is drawn back to his childhood friend, Jenny (Robin Wright) who never judged Forrest.  He spends some time in Vietnam and makes a lifelong friend in his Lieutenant, Lt. Dan (Gary Sinese). Sally Field plays his long-suffering mother while many other famous figures (e.g. JFK) costar thanks to Industrial Light & Magic.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

#2 - 2010 Box Office: Gross $334,191,110

You're invited to a very important date
At a lavish garden party, 19-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska) struggles to meet the expectations of her friends and family.  In order to escape an unwanted marriage proposal, Alice chases a rabbit in a waistcoat (Michael Sheen) and falls down a large hole.  Here, she reenters Underland, a world she visited when she was six and always thought was a dream (calling it "Wonderland").  The characters from her dream are all here—Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), Caterpillar (Alan Rickman)—and they tell her she is destined to slay the Red Queen's (Helena Bonham Carter) Jabberwocky (Christopher Lee) and help the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) return to power.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Toy Story 3 (2010)

#1 - 2010 Box Office: Gross $415,004,880

No toy gets left behind
Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack) and the rest of the toys return for part three, as Andy (John Morris) prepares to head off to college.  A mixup leads the toys to believe Andy wanted to throw them away, so they escape to Sunnyside, a local daycare center.  Here, they're welcomed with open arms by Lotso (Ned Beatty), Ken (Michael Keaton) and several other new toys. However, they soon realize their warm welcome is simply because their presence allows present toys to escape the horrors seen in the youngest room. Woody, found and taken home by imaginative young Bonnie, employs the help of her toys—Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton), Trixie (Kristen Schaal), Buttercup (Jeff Garlin), et al—to return to Sunnyside, break his friends out of their prison and return to Andy before he leaves for college...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Batman Forever (1995)

#2 - 1995 Box Office: Gross $184,031,112

Courage now, truth always....
Joel Schumacher directs this second sequel to the original Batman, where Bruce Wayne (now played by Val Kilmer) has to deal with disfigured D.A Harvey Dent & super-villain Two Face (now played by Tommy Lee Jones).  Meanwhile, Wayne Enterprises employee & genius Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey) invents a way to connect people's brains with their television sets.  Realizing he can steal people's intelligence with his device, he becomes The Riddler.  Two Face crashes a circus charity event attended by Bruce & love interest Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman), demanding Batman reveal himself or else a bomb will explode.  Bruce fails to catch his attention under the din of the crowd, but The Flying Graysons, a family of acrobats, attempt to get rid of the bomb.  The youngest, Dick Grayson (Chris O'Donnell) succeeds in destroying the bomb, but only after Two Face kills the rest of his family. After teaming up, Two Face & The Riddler find out Batman's secret identity and destroy the Batcave.  Dick also finds out Bruce's secret and Bruce himself admits his identity to Chase.  With his secret identity not much of a secret anymore, will Batman be able to save Gotham from The Riddler's brain drain?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

#2 - 1993 Box Office: Gross $219,195,243

She's a blessing... in disguise.
Daniel (Robin Williams) and Miranda Hillard (Sally Field) have been married 15 years, but their marriage is in trouble.  After Daniel quits his job in voice-overs and throws a large raucous birthday party for his son, Miranda has had enough and files for divorce.  Job- and home-less, Daniel fails to win custody of his children: Lydia (Lisa Jakub), Chris (Matthew Lawrence) & Natalie (Mara Wilson). Lost without them, Daniel applies to be the family's nanny, creating the character of Euphegenia Doubtfire with the help of his makeup-artist brother Frank (Harvey Fierstein).  Able to see his children every day, Daniel falls deep into the character of Mrs. Doubtfire, creating a loving home where the children succeed at school, Miranda comes home early from work to spend time with the family and things seem good. Miranda even starts seeing a client and old friend, Stuart (Pierce Bronsan).  However, things come to a head at a restaurant where Mrs Doubtfire and Daniel run back and forth between the family table and the table with TV-station CEO Lundy (Robert Prosky) where Daniel is trying to pitch a new TV show starring himself.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

#1 - 2007 Box Office: Gross $336,530,303

One man will fight to find the hero within
Things are good as Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 begins—Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) has finally learned how to balance his personal life and the responsibility of being Spider-Man.  He's actually about to propose to Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst)—who herself has finally landed a starring role on Broadway—when Harry Osborn (James Franco) attacks.  As New Golbin, Harry attempts to avenge his father's death once more, using equipment he has found in his father's house.  After a blow to the head erases Harry's recent memory, the two become friends once more.  More conflict arises however, with not one, but two more villains—an alien symbiote called Venom leeches onto Peter and makes him stronger while an escaped convict (and Uncle Ben's actual killer), Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church) gets caught in a particle accelerator and becomes The Sandman.  Marko goes on a crime-spree, attempting to get money for his daughter's medical treatments, and Spidey turns black as Venom turns him vain and vengeful.  Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) and Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) join the adventure; he, a rival photojournalist and she, a new love interest to Peter.  After mistakenly striking Mary Jane, Peter realizes that with the extra power Venom gives him, comes extra responsibility.  He ditches the new suit, but Venom soon finds Eddie and transforms him into a super-villain.  Meanwhile, Norman (Willem Dafoe) appears to Harry and urges him to remember what Spider-Man did to him.  Will Spider-Man be able to face off against all three at the same time?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

#2 - 2004 Box Office: Gross $373,585,825

 Sacrifice. Destiny. Choice.
Sam Raimi's sequel picks up two years after the first ended with Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) trying to balance his everyday life with the great responsibility he has as Spider-Man. His childhood crush—Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst)—has a starring role on Broadway, his best friend—Harry Osborn (James Franco)—is convinced Spider-Man is responsible for his father's death and after the death of Peter's uncle, his Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) faces foreclosure. Meanwhile, one of Oscorp's nuclear scientists, Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), suffers a terrible accident causing intelligent robotic arms to weld themselves onto his back and into his mind.  Dubbed "Doc Ock" by the vociferous Daily Bugle editor, J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons), Spider-Man has a new enemy who threatens to destroy the city with a huge fusion reactor.  Parker's powers falter and after a visit with a two-armed doctor, he believes the reason his powers aren't working is due to the stress of protecting the city.  And so, he decides to be Spider-Man, no more.  Doc Ock needs Harry's help with his reactor so Harry asks Ock to bring him Spider-Man to avenge his father's death. MJ gets kidnapped, Peter has to become Spider-Man once more and try to save the city and himself.

Friday, June 24, 2011

SouthSide Film Festival (Part 2 of 2)

First half of my Festival reviews can be found here

Thursday Night (cont'd)
After the shorts finished, I watched The Athlete, a biopic about Abebe Bikila, an Ethiopian who ran the 1960 Olympic Marathon barefoot and won the Gold.  Four years later, in Tokyo, he became the first to win consecutive Olympic Marathon Golds (this second time, with shoes).  Tragedy struck before he could try for a third Olympic Gold in Munich when a car accident left him a quadriplegic.  Still, his determination (and an operation) upgraded his status to paraplegic after which he proceeded to participate in the 1968 Paralympics in archery and win as a dog sledder in Norway.  The story was inspiring and the cinematography was outstanding, but the movie was a bit disappointing.  This was the only talk back I was able to attend—star & co-writer/director Rasselas Lakew was present and gave some great insight to the film.  His answers definitely made me appreciate the film a little more, but I wasn't able to stay for the whole talk back because I had to run to see...  ***

...a documentary called Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone.  If you're like me (and probably most of the world), you've never heard of Fishbone, however they've influenced dozens of bands you have heard of (e.g. No Doubt, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction, etc.).  Formed in 1979 Los Angeles, Fishbone was a black rock band that fused ska, funk, metal and punk in an amazing way.  The music of this film is great and the story of one of the most influential bands of the 80s is intriguing.  However, the middle drags on a bit too much ***1/2

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SouthSide Film Festival (Part 1 of 2)

Jeez... It's been nearly a month since I've posted a MLiF blog!  For my handful of followers, I'm sorry for the delay.  Life got quite hectic, but I should be able to do weekly reviews again now that The 39 Steps closed (that is until Wedding Singer: The Musical rehearsals become every night).

However, I'm still not able to start back with a MLiF blog because I'm only halfway through Spider-Man 2 but I should hopefully get that up next week.  However, I figured I should post SOMETHING since this blog has been dead for so long, so I figured I'd give a recap of the SouthSide Film Festival.

South Side Bethlehem has apparently been presenting a Film Festival for the past eight years, however last year was the first I heard of it.  Apparently, each year there is a Cultural & Genre Highlight and 2011 focused on Africa & Folklore.  That isn't to say there aren't a bunch of other films from other cultures or genres, but a good portion of the films fall into one or both of these.

This year, I went with an All Access lanyard, and while I didn't get to use it as much as I'd have liked to (closing weekend of The 39 Steps sort of interfered), I did see more than enough films to make it worthwhile.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spider-Man (2002)

#1 - 2002 Box Office: Gross $403,706,375

Does whatever a spider can
Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is an average kid who lives in Queens with his Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson) and Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) next door to his high school crush Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst).  He's too shy to talk to Mary Jane, but at least has a best friend in Harry Osborn (James Franco), son of weapons mogul Dr. Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe).  On one school trip to Columbia University, Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider and overnight becomes a little less average.  His eyesight improves, his body becomes toned and muscular and he seems to have gained some new skills from the genetically engineered spider.  He can shoot webbing from his wrists, he has amazing speed, strength & agility and also has a new "spidey" sense (a type of premonition of things to happen).  In order to impress Mary Jane with a new sports car, he enters a wrestling match promising $3000 to the winner.  The owner gyps him on a technicality and in a selfish act of revenge, Peter lets an armed robber escape with all of the owner's money.  In a cruel twist of fate, this same robber kills Uncle Ben in a carjacking, and Peter soon decides to use his powers responsibly in an effort to honor his uncle, becoming Spider-Man. Meanwhile, in a lab experiment gone wrong Dr. Osborn gains a maniacal new personality who will do anything to have his company succeed, going so far as killing the competition and those who disagree with him.  Local newspaper editor J Jonah Jameson (JK Simmons) dubs this killer the Green Goblin and sells newspapers by milking the public's fear of both the Goblin and Spider-Man.  Will Peter be able to convince the public he's trying to do right?  Will he be able to save his best friend's father from the evil that lives inside him?  Will he be able to get the girl?  Will I ever figure out how to end these synopses without a list of rhetorical questions?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Sixth Sense (1999)

#2 - 1999 Box Office: Gross $293,506,292

Not every gift is a blessing
Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) is an accomplished child psychologist who, with his wife Anna (Olivia Williams), is confronted by Vincent (Donnie Wahlberg), an ex-patient who has broken into their home one night.  Vincent blames Malcolm for never helping him and proceeds to shoot Malcolm in the stomach and then kill himself.  Months later, Malcolm begins to work with Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osmont), a shy and fearful 6-year-old living with his single mother, Lynn (Toni Collette).  At first, Cole doesn't trust Malcolm but soon confides in him, telling him he has the ability to see dead people.  Malcolm believes Cole to be delusional, however notices a lot of similar tendencies between Cole and Vincent.  He decides to do everything he can to help Cole in an effort to make up for his tragic failure with Vincent.  His devotion to Cole causes a chasm to grow between him and his wife, however.  She starts taking anti-depressants, rarely talks to Malcolm and starts flirting with a coworker.  Meanwhile, Malcolm starts to believe Cole's visions might be real and encourages him to listen to the spirits who might just be looking for help.  Will Malcolm's suggestion help Cole deal with his terrifying visions?  Will he be able to help Cole where he couldn't with Vincent?  Will he be able to move on and mend the relationship with his wife?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Men in Black (1997)

#2 - 1997 Box Office: Gross $250,690,539

Protecting the Earth from the scum of the Universe
The Men in Black are a top secret organization that monitors and polices alien activity on Earth, keeping regular humans completely in the dark about both their & aliens' existence.  After NYPD officer James Edwards (Will Smith) crosses paths with a very acrobatic alien who can climb up the side of the Guggenheim, MiB agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) is sent to erase his memory.  However, he's impressed when he finds out James ran down the Cephlapoid on foot and convinces his boss Agent Zed (Rip Torn) to invite him to an MiB recruiting test.  James' unorthodox methods help him pass and he becomes Agent Jay.  Soon Jay and Kay are stuck in a galactic game of keep away.  An entire galaxy was being hidden on earth, and a species of Bugs are after it.  One Bug kills a farmer (Vincent D'Onofrio) and uses his skin as a disguise as he searches for the galaxy.  The galaxy's protectors decide it'd be better to destroy the Earth than let the energy within this galaxy fall into the wrong hands.  Will Jay & Kay be able to find the galaxy before the Bug does?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

'Crocodile' Dundee (1986)

#2 - 1986 Box Office: Gross $174,803,506

He's survived the most hostile and primitive land known to man.
Now all he's got to do is make it through a week in New York.
Newsday reporter, Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski) had been sent to Australia by her editor/boyfriend Richard Mason (Mark Blum) where she hears of legendary Michael 'Crocodile' Dundee (writer, Paul Hogen), a man who lost his leg to a crocodile attack in the Outback.  Sensing a great story, she hunts him down only to find the story was greatly exaggerated—Mick still has his leg, with a scar.  With some time on her hands, she decides to hear his story and travels the wilderness with Mick and his assistant, Walter (John Meillon).  Mick amazes her by soothing a savage buffalo, telling time by looking at the sun and shaving with his large Bowie knife.  One point, while bathing, Sue is attacked by a crocodile, but peeping Mick comes to her rescue and kills the beast.  An attraction grows, and wanting more time with the man, Sue invites Mick back to New York, where fish-out-of-water craziness ensues.  Mick gets scared by an escalator, confuses an African-American limo driver (Reginald VelJohnson) for a tribesman, grabs a transvestite's crotch to check if she's a man, and confuses a cocaine user's sniffles for a cold, mixing his cocaine with hot water to create a steam bath.  Richard begins to feel threatened by Mick, Sue begins to question her true feelings for both men, and Mick continues to try and fit in despite his obvious out of placeness.  Will Mick decide to go back to Australia while on walkabout around NYC?  Will Sue make up her mind in time before losing Mick to the Outback forever?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Lion King (1994)

#2 - 1994 Box Office: Gross $312,855,561

Life's greatest adventure is finding your place in the Circle of Life
"Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba." And with this Zulu chant, our film opens as every animal across the African plains comes to Pride Rock to witness the birth of Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), son of the current king and queen Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and Sarabi (Madge Sinclair).  Every animal is overjoyed by this addition to their circle of life except for Mufasa's brother, Scar (Jeremy Irons), since the birth of his nephew dashes any hopes he had of gaining control of the kingdom. In a scheme that feels somewhat Shakespearean, Scar uses his hyena minions to create a wildebeest stampede to kill Simba and Mufasa, leaving the kingdom (and Sarabi) in his hands.  Simba, however, wasn't killed in the stampede but is driven out of the Pride Lands where he grows up (now voiced by Matthew Broderick) among new friends Timon and Pumbaa (a meerkat and warthog voiced by Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella, respectively).  Scar's reign nearly destroys the Pride Lands while Simba lives with "No Worries" on the edge of the kingdom.  Will the pleas of childhood friends and a message-in-the-stars from his father's spirit be enough to convince Simba to return home and take back his kingdom?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Iron Man (2008)

#2 - 2008 Box Office: Gross $318,412,101

Heroes aren't born. They're built.
Jon Favreau directs this comic book adaptation which opens with billionaire and weapons engineer Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) demonstrating his company's shocking and awesome new Jericho Missile in Afghanistan.  As he and best friend James Rhodes (Terrence Howard) travel away from the demonstration, Stark's vehicle is attacked with his own technology, leaving him near death (as Rhodes escapes unharmed).  Stark awakens to find he's being held by terrorists who want him to build them their very own Jericho Missile.  His fellow captor has implanted an electromagnet into Stark's chest to keep the shrapnel from destroying his heart, and soon the two secretly build a suit in which Stark can escape.  Back home in his mansion, he's able to fine tune his heart magnet and perfect his suit with some help from assistant and sometimes love interest Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).  Stark begins to dissolve his father's company having found out his weapons are being sold to both sides of almost every war, but his father's business partner Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges with some of the most evil hair I've ever seen) wants to continue the business as is.  Meanwhile, the Afghan terrorists are trying to reverse engineer the destroyed suit they found in the desert which Stark left behind after he escaped.  Will self-centered Stark have a change in heart regarding his role in his father's company?  Will he be able to keep his ego in check with his new found identity?  Who will win the final battle of Iron Man vs iron man?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

#1 - 1984 Box Office: Gross $234,760,478

He's been chased, thrown through a window, and arrested.
Eddie Murphy is a Detroit cop on vacation in Beverly Hills.
Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) is a Detroit detective who often plays by his own rules, which does not put him in good standing with his boss.  And so, after an old friend visits Axel and is killed right in front of him, Axel isn't allowed to investigate.  Knowing his friend had spent the past six months in California, Axel decides to go on a (semi-forced) vacation to see if he can determine why his friend was killed.  After a little sleuthing, he finds out local art dealer Victor Maitland (Steven Berkoff) isn't all he seems, but local police have their hands tied since cops go by the book in Beverly Hills.  Sgt. Taggart (John Ashton) & Det. Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) are assigned to watch Axel, who often gives them the slip and eventually convinces them, that while his methods are unorthodox, they get results.  The three work together in an attempt to get to the bottom of a conspiracy involving drugs and murder, all the while avoiding any Beverly Hills police who are still upset at Axel's techniques.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Want to see the newest Walkman technology?

So a friend of mine runs this running blog and apparently he's more important than I ever knew!  Sony contacted him to get him to review their new Walkman and he wrote up a blog about them.

It's pretty interesting to read and if you exercise, you might want to check out his blog to see this new music player (no more annoying arm bands!).

Beyond just spreading the news about this new player, he has TWO of them he's just giving away.  So, spread the news (or don't if you want to better your odds) and GLWACOY.

Since this is a movie blog, I figure I should have some Walkman movie connection:

Do you like Phil Collins? I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where, uh, Phil Collins's presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe. Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins, and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument. Sabrina, remove your dress. In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism. Sabrina, why don't you, uh, dance a little. Take the lyrics to "Land of Confusion". In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. "In Too Deep" is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as, uh, anything I've heard in rock. Christy, get down on your knees so Sabrina can see your ass. Phil Collins's solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Especially songs like "In the Air Tonight" and, uh, "Against All Odds". Sabrina, don't just stare at it, eat it. But I also think Phil Collins works best within the confines of the group, than as a solo artist, and I stress the word "artist." This is "Sussudio", a great, great song, a personal favorite.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cast Away (2000)

#2 - 2000 Box Office: Gross $233,632,142

At the edge of the world, his journey begins
Robert Zemeckis brings us the tale of Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), a FedEx Systems Analyst who will absolutely, positively do anything to get your package there overnight.  In fact, he often flies around the world to assist other FedEx hubs, leaving his girlfriend (Helen Hunt) at home to deal with dinner parties and holidays on her own.  One Christmas, he's called off to Malaysia but leaves a ring box with Kelly, promising he'll be back to officially present it to her on New Year's Eve.  Unfortunately, his plane approaches a violent storm, tries to fly around it, but crashes hundreds of miles off course.  Chuck is the only one to survive and floats to an uninhabited island where several packages have washed up on shore.  He opens most of the packages, finding some make-shift tools and a volleyball who becomes his only companion—Wilson—but leaves one, with a pair of wings stamped on it, unopened.  After a few failed attempts to signal other planes or ships, he makes fire, sets up a camp and tries to build a raft to escape.  But the tides prove too strong, so he settles into life as a castaway.  Four years pass—he becomes an excellent spear fisherman and has frequent conversations with Wilson.  But when something washes up on shore that might help him get past the tides, will Chuck leave his island home to deliver the one last package?  Will Kelly still be waiting with the unopened engagement ring? Will Chuck remember how to hold conversations with people who talk back?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Best of 2010

Well, it's nearly April and I bet you're wondering "What movies did Ponch think were the best last year?"  Well, you don't have to wait ANY longer... :-/

Life is crazy.  I've already fallen behind in my weekly MLiF blogging, but I figured if I wait much longer this list will be COMPLETELY pointless (perhaps it already is...)

Since the posting of my Worst of 2010 list, I saw five more 2010 films (four new ones along with one repeat) to end up with 199 different 2010 films vying for my "coveted" Top Ten... In the end, I had 20 different films rated at 4.5*, so in an effort to be as climactic as possible, I'll list the other 4.5* films that almost made my Top Ten (and possibly could have, had I written this any other day).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Twister (1996)

#2 - 1996 Box Office: Gross $241,721,524

Don't Breathe. Don't Look Back.
Twister opens in 1969 as a family takes shelter from a coming F5 (worst of the worst) tornado.  The father, to protect his wife and young daughter Jo, attempts to keep the cellar door from blowing off, himself getting sucked out into oblivion.  Nearly 30 years later, we meet an older Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) and her husband Bill (Bill Paxton) who have separated.  Bill tries to get Jo to sign their divorce papers so he can marry his new therapist girlfriend (Jamie Gertz), but Jo (still in love with him) stalls. Jo leads a group of storm chasers (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Jeremy Davies, Todd Field, et al) who all attempt to use some of Bill's ideas to gather meteorological data from inside a tornado, hoping to create a better warning system for families like Jo's.  They hope to do this with "Dorothy," a device they hope to place in the path of a tornado which will transmit the data as it gets sucked up into it.  A better-funded group of scientists, led by Dr. Jonas Miller (Cary Elwes) has a very similar piece of machinery and plans to beat Jo and Bill to the data, earning a lot of money in the meantime.  However, Jonas' group doesn't have the instinct Jo and Bill have and are rarely in the right place at the right time.  Several tornadoes (even another F5) follow, blowing farm animals, gas trucks and entire houses around.  Will the excitement of chasing twisters reignite the passion Bill and Jo used to share?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ghostbusters (1984)

#2 - 1984 Box Office: Gross $229,242,989
They ain't afraid of no ghost
Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters opens with some poor librarian at the New York Public Library getting her socks scared off her by a free-floating, full-torso, vaporous apparition.  After the main titles and a song that sounds a little reminiscent of “I Want A New Drug,” we meet Drs. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Raymond Stantz (co-writer, Dan Aykroyd) and Egon Spengler (co-writer, Harold Ramis) as they investigate the paranormal activity.  The encounter doesn't quite go as planned (the three run from the library screaming) and all of these extracurricular experiments get them kicked out of their university jobs.  With little else to do, they decide to create a team of "ghost busters" who vow to investigate any strange activity ("We're ready to believe you," their commercial boasts). After quite some time, they finally get their first customer (and Peter gets a love interest) when Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) sees a burning building and hears a ghost chanting “Zuul” within her refrigerator.  It isn't until the three actually capture a ghost (Slimer) at a fancy hotel that their business takes off.  They hire a fourth member, Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) and the following montage shows how they become city celebrities.  However, the fun and games soon end—the head of the EPA (William Atherton) tries to shut down the Ghostbusters' presumably unsafe ghost containment unit, Dana gets possessed by Zuul, her nerdy neighbor (Rick Moranis) gets possessed by the Keymaster and after the two meet, the release of the Sumerian god of destruction, Gozer the Gozerian, makes for an exciting Act III.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tootsie (1982)

#2 - 1982 Box Office: Gross $177,200,000

He's Tootsie... She's Dustin Hoffman
Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is an actor living in New York who's constantly told that he's too old or too young or too tall or too short... His friend (soon with benefits) & protégée Sandy Lester (Teri Garr) has similar bad luck on her auditions—it seems the early '80s are not an easy time to be an actor in NYC (unlike, you know, today).  Michael's agent (director Sydney Pollack) believes that his temper and perfectionism are to blame—no one in NYC or LA wants to hire a man who can't even finish a tomato commercial.  One final option, a play written by his roommate (Bill Murray), needs a producer, so in a desperate attempt to earn $8,000, he dresses in drag and auditions for the soap opera "Southwest General."  His new persona, "Dorothy Michaels" is soon a hit with audiences despite the objections of director Ron Carlisle (Dabney Coleman).  S/he soon grows close to her costar (and the director's girlfriend), Julie Nichols (Best Supporting Actress, Jessica Lange), but outside of the dress, Michael has no luck courting her.  In the dress, however, s/he attracts both the soap's elderly lothario (George Gaynes) AND Julie's father (Charles Durning).  As Dorothy's success continues to grow, her contract is renewed, trapping Michael for much longer than he intended.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Batman (1989)

#1 - 1989 Box Office: Gross $251,188,924

After witnessing the murder of his parents as a child, billionaire Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) vows to avenge their deaths, becoming masked vigilante, Batman.  This is a difficult task, as Gotham City is run by criminals and corrupt cops.  When crime-lord Carl Grissom (Jack Palance) finds out his second in command, Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson), is having an affair with his mistress, he decides to set him up at a local chemical plant.  Batman arrives, and after a gun- and fist-fight, Jack winds up hanging over a vat of chemicals.  Batman tries to save him, but Jack falls into the chemicals and is presumed dead.  Things never work out that way though, and after a bit of botched plastic surgery, the green-haired, white-faced and perma-smiled Joker is born.  After taking care of his ex-boss, the Joker takes Gotham hostage by tainting the city's hygiene products with a set of chemicals that cause its users to laugh themselves to death.  Meanwhile, photojournalist Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) catches the eye of both Bruce Wayne and the Joker.  Not only does our titular hero need to save the city from the Joker's fatal plans, but he has to save Vale from the Joker's playful hands.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar Predictions

Well, life has been pretty hectic as of late... I'm sorry to anyone who actually was following me and has been missing my MLiF blogs... I knew I wouldn't be able to keep this up all year, but I was really proud for staying with it or a few weeks at least.  Hopefully, I'll have more time before my next show starts rehearsing in April (although I'm traveling to CA and FL in March, so we'll see)

Anyway, I figured I'd throw my hat in the ring since I've been seeing so many Oscar Prediction blogs... Especially since this is probably the last year where I'll see 90% of the nominees.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Dark Knight (2008)

#1 - 2008 Box Office: Gross $533,345,358

Why so serious?
Roughly six months after the events of Batman Begins, Gotham City is terrorized by a new kind of villain—one who doesn't steal for personal gain but rather one who simply enjoys spreading chaos—the Joker (Heath Ledger).  Christopher Nolan returns as director/co-writer, as does Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michael Caine as his butler/friend Alfred, Morgan Freeman as Wayne Enterprises CEO & Q to Batman's 007 Lucius Fox & Gary Oldman as Lt. Gordon.  New to the cast are Maggie Gyllenhaal, who replaces Katie Holmes as Bruce's love interest Rachel Dawes, and Aaron Eckhart, as love interest to Ms. Dawes DA Harvey Dent.  Joker sets forth a plan to turn the city's White Knight, Dent, into a villain, in the process creating Two-Face.  Batman's ally turns into his enemy and he suddenly has to decide whether he wants to continue being the city's Dark Knight, fighting for what's right or should he hang up his Bat-Belt and be the playboy billionaire Rachel said she'd wait for?

Friday, February 4, 2011


Well, I lasted a month!  I kept up the weekly blogs through January (which was longer than I would have wagered), but here we are with a Friday come and gone and no new MLiF blog...

For anyone actually following me, looking forward to me reviews every week, I apologize... I'm nearly done watching my next film and I've already started working on the trivia... It's just that damn plot summary and review I have to write... I may be able to finish it this weekend; I think I may move my blogs to Tuesdays (new DVD releases) rather than Fridays (new theatrical releases) due to the high number of hits I received this past week on my Worst of 2010 blog.

I am also winnowing down the list of films into a Top 10 of 2010... But I'm still trying to fit in a few more movies on DVD so that blog is still a few weeks out.

Anyway, I figured something is better than nothing this morning and I promise to get my next MLiF blog up Tuesday morning!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Worst of 2010

So far, I've seen 195 different films from 2010 (with a few more DVDs coming this month)... I've heard there were about 600 films released in 2010, so I've again seen roughly 1/3 of them!  Seeing as I'm going to be watching a lot fewer films this year, I figured I needed to make one last Worst of/Best of list since I've seen so many films...

I'm looking at the list of 2010 films I saw and the average rating I gave to all of them is 2.9 stars which makes me think I might over-rate movies, because 2010 didn't feel like all that great of a year.  The actual breakdown is as follows:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

#2 - 1989 Box Office: Gross $197,171,806
Have the adventure of your life keeping up with the Joneses
The third and final installment of Spielberg's Indiana Jones trilogy (trust me) opens as a thirteen-year-old Indiana (River Phoenix) stumbles across some grave robbers in the Utah desert.  He rushes home with their booty, where we meet young Indy's strict and distant father Henry (Sean Connery), who's meticulously filling a diary with notes about the legendary Holy Grail.  Nearly thirty years later, Henry goes missing while searching for the Grail and a grown-up Indy (Harrison Ford) is asked to pick up where his father left off to find both pop and cup.  Indy is joined by old friends Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) and Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) along with a new lady Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody) as they travel from Venice to Berlin to a canyon outside Alexandretta, piecing together clues, running into Hitler and finally confronting the three trials of God.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

#1 - 2001 Box Office: Gross $317,575,550
Let The Magic Begin.
Chris Columbus's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone marks the first of what was to become an 8-film series based on J.K. Rowling's best-selling novels about a boy wizard.  It opens with baby Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) being dropped off at his Aunt and Uncle's house after his parents are killed by the evilest of all wizards, Lord Voldemort.  Fast forward to Harry's 11th birthday when he receives a letter inviting him to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where headmaster Dumbledore (Richard Harris) and other professors will teach him. While on the train to Hogwarts, Harry meets Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and the three fast become friends.  Together, they learn charms and spells while Harry is chosen to join the school's Quidditch team (think soccer on broomsticks).  As the year goes on, rumors spread that Voldemort may be returning to power, seeking the titular Sorcerer's Stone which guarantees the owner eternal life.  Will three young students be able to stop the most powerful dark wizard of all time? (HINT: this is the first of an 8-film series)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Jurassic Park (1993)

#1 - 1993 Box Office: Gross $357,067,947

An Adventure 65 Million Years In The Making
Spielberg & Williams make their second MLiF appearance.  Based on Michael Crichton's novel of the same name, Jurassic Park is about a theme park built by billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough).  Only this theme park isn't filled with roller coasters and over-priced cotton candy; this park features hundreds of cloned dinosaurs.  Investors are wary, so Hammond invites some experts in the field for a preview—paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill), paleobotanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) & choas theorist Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) join Hammond's grandchildren (the park's "target audience") to tour the island and give their approval.  Meanwhile, computer programmer Nedry (Wayne Knight) hatches a plan to steal cloned embryos for a rival company, shutting down the phones and park's security measures in the process.  Oh, and did I mention the tropical storm headed for the island forcing most everyone to evacuate?  With the island mostly empty and the fences deactivated, hijinks are bound to ensue.  The T. rex and Velociraptors escape, killing some characters while the rest try to reset the park.  The fact that there were two sequels probably tell you how the story ends...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Aladdin (1992)

#1 - 1992 Box Office: Gross $217,350,219

It is not what is outside, but what is inside that counts.
Ron Clements and John Musker co-wrote and directed Aladdin, a Disney adaptation of a Middle-Eastern folk tale from "One Thousand and One Nights."  This story tells the tale of street rat Aladdin (Scott Weigner/Brad Kane) who discovers a magic lamp and a Genie (Robin Williams) who can grant him three wishes.  He uses these wishes in an attempt to get closer to Jasmine (Linda Larkin/Lea Salonga), Agrabah's princess whom he met in the marketplace.  She was in the marketplace dressed as a commoner in an attempt to escape the burden of finding her own Prince Charming of a husband.  Meanwhile, the Grand Vizier, Jafar (Jonathan Freeman) will stop at nothing to stop Aladdin, marry the Princess himself and take over Agrabah.  Jafar's comic sidekick is a loudmouth parrot, Iago (loudmouth Gilbert Gottfried) while Aladdin is helped by his pet monkey, Abu (Frank Welker).  Wishes, songs and magic carpet rides are mixed with mistaken identities, lies and betrayals.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Strange Happenstance...

No new review blog yet... With 60 films to watch and review this year, I'm hoping I can keep up with one blog every week (in fact the next one is already written and scheduled to publish Sunday morning), and post two a week whenever I can.  However, I just noticed something serendipitous and figured a mid-week mini-blog was warranted.

I already chuckled at the fact that my blog's name is abbreviated MLiF because of its resemblance to MILF, however it wasn't until tonight that I realized my blog's abbreviation is FILM backwards!

Wish I could say I planned it that way, but sadly, I cannot.... That's all I have to say tonight...  I'm finishing up next week's blog and then maybe starting to bank a third (gotta try to double up at least once before rehearsals for Moby Dick! The Musical start)

Here's a poster snippet of the movie Sunday's blog will be about... Recognize it?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

While I do not plan to go through my list in order, I figured for tonight I'd start at the beginning with this classic.  But before I get to the blog... I need to do some thinking.

What do I want this blog to be?  I'm looking back at some of my past reviews/blogs on somesmart & sodblog and there's no real theme or motif (except possibly long-windedness).  I think I need some sort of structure and I can't really think of anything better than to take a page from a friend's blog.  He's a great writer and the layout he's chosen (plot, trivia, review) is simple yet effective.  I hope Will doesn't mind and I want to remind him that imitation is the highest form of flattery. :D

Anyway, might as well start my first MLiF blog (hehe... my blog's acronym is MLiF)

#1 - 1981 Box Office: Gross $209,562,121

The return of the great adventure.
Stephen Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark is the first of three films* that follow an archeology professor who hates snakes and Nazis.  The film opens with our hero, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), deep in the South American jungle where he outsmarts booby traps and a thin, young Alfred Molina but gets out-Hovito'd by nemesis René Belloq (Paul Freeman).  After returning to the US to teach a class or two, the US Army asks for his help in tracking down the Ark of the Covenant before Hitler finds it and becomes unstoppable. However, it probably wouldn't have been a Box Office smash without a little love interest, so the film introduces Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), daughter of one of Indy's old colleagues with an important piece of the puzzle to find the Ark.  The pair travel from Nepal to Cairo to a small Greek island trying to find, and then keep the Ark out of the hands of the Nazis.

New film project

If you know me, you probably know that I see a lot of movies... In the past two or three years, I've seen every widely-released movie in the theater (except three).  In the past couple of months, this has become extra stressful and tiring, so in 2011, I've decided to go to the theater a little less...

A friend suggested I start blogging and gave me a project—watch the top ten movies from every year of my life (where "top" movies are the ones that earned the most at the Domestic Box Office).  It would probably be a lot of repeats (I had to go all the way back to #10 on the 2004 list-The Polar Express-before I found something that I hadn't already seen), but there are several films from these lists that I haven't seen, and it would be fun to revisit Ghostbusters and Aladdin.

However, her plan would mean 300 movies and I think that's just a little too ambitious, so I'm going to cut it down to the top two of every year instead—that's still 60 films which is hopefully something I can complete this year.  The watching of films is quite easy, but it's the blogging part that I'm going to have trouble committing to... We'll see how it goes.

Here's what I hope to watch and write about this year:
Bold means I've never seen it before and Asterisked (*) means I own it

  • E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
  • Tootsie (reviewed Mar 8)
  • Return of the Jedi *
  • Terms of Endearment
  • Rain Man *
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  • Home Alone
  • Ghost
  • Aladdin * (reviewed Jan 9)
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • Independence Day
  • Twister * (reviewed Mar 22)
  • Saving Private Ryan *
  • Armageddon
  • Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
  • The Sixth Sense * (reviewed May 10)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Cast Away (reviewed Mar 30)
  • Spider-Man * (reviewed May 31)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Extended Edition *
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Extended Edition *
  • Finding Nemo *
  • Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest *
  • Night at the Museum
  • Avatar
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
So, who wants to place bets on how long I'll keep this up before completely giving up?  Do you think I'll even make it through January?