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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 RenĂ© 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?