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365 Film Challenge: #78 - 97

78) Gangs of New York (dir. Martin Scorsese, 2002)

  • Well-done film, even if the film was split onto 2 DVDs. Surprised to see Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson, and John C. Reilly, among others. A-

79) Octopussy (dir. John Glen, 1983)

  • One of the better Moore films. B+ (See review.)

80) Blood Simple (dir. Joel Coen, 1984/2000 Director’s Cut)

  • A good start for the Coens. Maybe a little slow at times. But the nods to film noir were pretty good, like the crooked PI. B

81) Big Trouble In Little China (dir. John Carpenter, 1986)

  • Schlocky, yet fun, in a way. It was nice to see a younger James Hong on screen. B-

82) A View To A Kill (dir. John Glen, 1985)

  • A definite nadir for Bond, perhaps tying with Moonraker in Moore’s era. (See review.) C

83) Dr. Strangelove (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1964)

  • Still somewhat holds up, but it might depend on your mood while watching the film. Still, it’s got a young James Earl Jones. And the communication faults, while dark, are still somehow amusing. A-

84) Raiders of the Lost Ark (dir. Stephen Spielberg, 1981) - (9/8/12)

  • Definitely holds up on the big screen, but there were a few shaky/unclear/slightly blurry moments or areas in the frame when I saw it. A-

85) The Living Daylights (dir. John Glen, 1987)

  • Getting back to Bond basics, in a way, and redefining Bond once again as less of a womanizer. Good political relevance, too (Russians in Afghanistan, etc.). (See review.) A

86) Los Cronoscrimenes (Timecrimes) (dir. Nacho Vigalondo, 2007)

  • A tightly knit time travel flick that definitely opens your eyes once you finish the film … and then re-watch it again. And again. And again. A

87) The Help (dir. Tate Taylor, 2011)

  • An incredibly moving tale of two communities seeking acceptance and fighting for what is right. A

88) Howl’s Moving Castle (dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 2004)

  • I don’t remember much from the book, but I definitely enjoyed Miyazaki’s interpretation. And the voice talents, even if they were a little unexpected (i.e., Bale as Howl). A-

89) Cowboy Bebop (dir. Shinichiro Watanabe, 2001)

  • Not familiar with the show/source material, but the animation was pretty solid and holds up a little over a decade after its release. The various locales on a future human-conquered Mars were interesting, especially the Moroccan-esque neighborhood. B+

90) Licence To Kill (dir. John Glen, 1989)

  • Close to par with Daylights and a good start to the original story lines in teh films (even if this film took some liberties with a few aspects of the novels).(See review.) A-

91) The Master (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012) - (9/22/12)

  • Still picking this apart, like a hefty piece of literature. Rife with father issues. Also quite broken up at how one mislead group (and its leader) can’t comprehend/understand/help the mental imbalance of a PTSD vet. A-

92) GoldenEye (dir. Martin Campbell, 1995)

  • A decent yet faltering start to the Brosnan era. Cue the ridiculous stunts and iffy CGI. B (See review.)

93) Tomorrow Never Dies (dir. Roger Spottiswoode, 1997)

  • If this is Brosnan’s best Bond film, then that’s saying something about the rest of the lot. An improvement in terms of plot focus, the role of women, and use of gadgets (like the tricked-out car) in Brosnan’s era. B+ (See review.)

94) Looper (dir. Rian Johnson, 2012) - (9/29/12)

  • This is modern sci-fi/time travel cinema. With a sprinkling of time travel mind-numb-ery, it sets out to answer the question of “If you could change the past to save a loved one, would you? And if so, how much violence would you cause to do it? And would you do it as Bruce Willis or Joseph Gordon-Levitt?” A

95) The World Is Not Enough (dir. Michael Apted, 1999)

  • And here starts the decline of the Bond films once again. Yes, having a femme is a nice touch, but the Stockholm Syndrome aspect left me feeling … I don’t know, awkward? C+/B- (See review.)

96) The Perks of Being A Wallflower (dir. Stephen Chbosky, 2012) - (10/6/12)

  • Having just finished the book yesterday, I had to see the film. So I did. And it hit me. Hard. And I’m still reeling, but I’ve recovered a little. An excellent adaptation at the hands of the author. It had the heart of and key moments from the novel blended with excellent music choices and near-perfect casting. Plus, seeing Young Neil and Roxy Richter in a movie together made me smile. A+

97) Die Another Day (dir. Lee Tamahori, 2002)

  • No … just … no. Even with the packed chase scenes and stunts, the CGI and the pacing drags things down, as does Toby Stephens as Graves and Rick Yune as the albino diamond-scarred Zao. And the debunked car flip stunt. C-



365 Film Challenge: #36 - 45

36) The Killing (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1956) - B/B+? (viewed in early/mid May)

  • A good start to Kubrick’s career with a good cast.

37) Dark Shadows (dir. Tim Burton, 2012) - B-/B? (viewed in early/mid May)

  • A decent Burton flick, in terms of production design, color palate, and costumes. There is a good bit of campiness, too.

38) Strangers on a Train (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1950) - B/B+ (viewed in mid/late May)

  • A good Hitchcock film with some interesting subtext.

39) Primer (dir. Shane Carruth, 2004) - A-? (viewed in mid/late May)

  • Mind-blowing and probably confusing sci-fi flick that focuses more on the ethical impact of time travel instead of the actual mechanics. The mechanics (or at least figuring them out) are left up to the viewers.

40) Safe House (dir. Daniel Espinosa, 2012) - B/B+ (viewed last week)

  • A spy thriller that more or less plays by the conventions, yet is strengthened by Washington and Reynolds.

41) Rushmore (dir. Wes Anderson, 1999) - B+/A- (viewed last week)

  • It only goes to show that student-teacher relationships aren’t healthy. With a pretty good soundtrack.

42) Prometheus (dir. Ridley Scott, 2012) - B+/A- (viewed last week)

  • Mixed reviews are abound. I quite enjoyed the film, despite its faults and the expectations that many people had.

43) Doctor No (dir. Terence Young, 1962) - B/B+ (viewed earlier this week)

  • The start to the Bond franchise and a good one at that.

44) The Ides of March (dir. George Clooney, 2011) - A- (viewed today)

  • Intriguing modern and somewhat relevant political thriller that shows both sides of a campaign. The cast is all-around great!

45) Being Elmo (dir. Constance Marks, 2011) - A (viewed today)

  • Seeing behind the scenes of Kevin Clash, the creator and voice of Elmo, is incredibly heartwarming and a bit of a tear-jerker, at that. I teared up twice. Really.