King Kong [1933] (1/15/12 & 12/18/12)

King KongMovie Eight and Two Hundred Eighty Seven

The original King Kong is one of my favorite movies ever. It literally has everything you could possibly want out of a movie. For a movie that is nearly 80 years old it has held up incredibly well and the Blu-Ray treatment is superb.

When Peter Jackson remade King Kong a few years back I was very excited. When the movie released I was kind of let down. While Jackson’s take modernizes the effects and fleshes out some of the characters and story, for me most of the magic was lost. Watching the 1933 iteration is guaranteed to put a smile on my face and keep me on the edge of my seat, even after a dozen or so viewings.

I won’t bother with the details of the movie because if you haven’t seen some sort of version of King Kong you have likely been under a rock for 80 years. However, if you’ve only seen the 2005 version or, god help us, the 1976 version, then please consider watching the original.

I realize some people have a hard time watching old movies, or even black and white movies. I can understand that sometimes, but I firmly believe King Kong is an exception. It still delivers thrills and wonder, even by today’s CGI-laden standards.

[Update 12/27/12] I got around to watching King Kong again on and thought I would repost one of my very first reviews from the first week I started the site. Enjoy!

I give it 5 screaming Fay Wrays out of 5.

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January Movies Round-Up

That brings us to the end of January for movies I’ve watched!

  1. Mystery Science Theater 3000 – Gamera
  2. Hobo With a Shotgun
  3. Crazy, Stupid, Love
  4. Our Idiot Brother
  5. The Crow
  6. Kuroneko
  7. Baraka
  8. King Kong (1933)
  9. Black Hawk Down
  10. Cinema Verite
  11. The Magician
  12. Raising Arizona
  13. The Fountatin
  14. Malibu’s Most Wanted
  15. Godzilla (1954)
  16. Fascination
  17. In the Realm of the Senses

Now, for some statistics for January:

Movies watched/Days in the month = 17/31 = ~55%
My average movie rating = ~3.41 out of 5 (6.82/10)
Average IMDB rating = ~7.0
Average Rotten Tomatoes rating = ~65%
First time viewings = 10

Method of watching:

  • Blu-Ray = 9
  • DVD = 3
  • Netflix (DVD rental) = 2
  • Netflix Instant Watch = 2
  • TV/TiVo = 1
Percentage of my goal complete = 5.7%
Percentage of the year complete = 8.7%

More stats (and possibly graphs) to come!

Thank you for reading so far – I will be updating the movies I watched in February soon and hopefully will be up to date by this weekend.

In the Realm of the Senses (1/27/12)

In the Realm of the SensesMovie Seventeen

Two things I did not know about In the Realm of the Senses going into it:

  1. How graphic it is
  2. That it is based on true events

When I say the movie is graphic, I mean it. This is easily the most graphic thing I have ever watched but everything shown feels very clinical, not sexual. It’s also not gratuitous, everything shown serves a purpose, though not necessarily a clear purpose at first.

As the movie finished and I learned the movie was based on true events I immediately went to Wikipedia to learn more. The true story is even more awe inspiring than the movie and not knowing the outcome was a bit of a shock.

There isn’t much to the movie, a woman meets a married man and they are instantly addicted to each other. Things start to get weird as they spend more and more time together and eventually things snap. It’s almost like Sid and Nancy where two people are just hopelessly involved and can’t get out of the hole they are digging.

In the Realm of the Senses is a movie that I enjoyed watching but I would struggle to watch it again. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, I did, and I was thinking about the events for days. Some films just wouldn’t feel the same on a second viewing, I guess.

I give it 3 sake bombs out of 5.

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Fascination (1/27/12)

FascinationMovie Sixteen

Fascination is one of the strangest movies I own. Not only because of the plot, but because the director fluctuated between directing these vampire movies and hardcore pornography. In fact, the star of this movie was originally an adult film actress. Turns out, she acts circles around everyone else in this movie.

There were several related works by Jean Rollin in the vampire genre and they are all actually fairly original considering how derivative some of the movies can be. In Fascination, there is a group of women that are in a blood cult of sorts and they lure a thief to stay the night to kill him.

Okay, so maybe it’s not SUPER original but it’s feels fresh enough while watching it. The pacing of the film is a bit of a mixed bag, ranging from intense situations to watching paint dry. Still, the droughts are never too long and things move along better near the end.

I had never heard of this movie until it was recommended by Blu-Ray.com and I gave it a shot. I’m pleased that I did since it is different and it reminds me of Dario Argento’s work. I guess you could say I was fascinated by Fascination *groan*.

I give it 3 scythe wielding vampires out of 5.

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Godzilla [1954] (1/25/12)

GodzillaMovie Fifteen

When Criterion announced they were releasing Godzilla I laughed out loud. My next step was preordering it instantly. The Godzilla movies were some of my favorites growing up but unlike Gamera, Godzilla movies are still pretty awesome.

I hadn’t watched the original Godzilla (aka Gojira) since I was younger so I was curious to see if there was a lot of anti-nuclear propaganda but there really wasn’t much. Even though the premise of a giant nuclear dinosaur thing is kind of silly, the Japanese movie is serious without being too serious for its own good.

The American counterpart, titled Godzilla: King of Monsters! is essentially the same movie but with American actors. It has a lighter tone but is essentially the same film. While I watched the Japanese version, if I wasn’t in the mood to watch a subtitled movie but still wanted to watch Godzilla I would watch the American version without thinking twice.

One extra cool bonus for this Criterion release is a pop-up case with Godzilla’s head. Something I was not expecting but went “awww sweet!” when I opened it up. Godzilla as a Criterion release still makes me flinch a little bit, but they treated it with the same respect they do for all their releases.

I give it 4 guys in rubber monster suits out of 5.

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Malibu’s Most Wanted (1/22/12)

Malibu's Most WantedMovie Fourteen

DON’T JUDGE ME!

Yes, I watched Malibu’s Most Wanted and it was not even the first time I have seen it. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine. During a long boring winter during college, a friend of mine and I would rent movies we expected to be terrible in the hopes of getting to laugh AT them. Malibu’s Most Wanted ended up being a movie we actually laughed WITH instead, although it is an incredibly stupid movie.

Jamie Kennedy plays a wannabe gangsta-type from the rich beach community of Malibu whose father is running for some elected office. Dad (played by Ryan O’Neal) is ashamed and worried his son’s antics will cost him the election. His campaign manager decides to hire two actors (Taye Diggs and Anthony Anderson) to trick him into thinking he’s been kidnapped and make sure he’s out of the spotlight until the election is over.

Things get even wackier from there and the plan unravels. I know, I know…It sounds idiotic and awful. You’re right, it IS idiotic but it’s actually kind of funny. Malibu’s Most Wanted is not something that I could recommend, but if you’re in the mood for a dumb comedy and find white guys acting black funny then by all means watch it.

I give it 2 white kongs out of 5.

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The Fountain (1/21/12)

The FountainMovie Thirteen

The Fountain is a difficult movie to write about. The plot centers on Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz but over the span of three separate, but intertwined, stories. The plot makes sense, it’s not too terribly confusing, but because of this it takes your full attention and then some to fully comprehend things.

The three story arcs are, in a basic sense, past, present, and future. Past is Mayan times, present is close to actual present, and future is the way-far-away future. Perhaps what makes things confusing is having Jackman play characters in all the story lines but perhaps that makes them cohesive.

Regardless of time period, Jackman plays a man on a mission to save his love and there is symbolism everywhere. The titular fountain is the fountain of youth, which for some reason ends up not being a fountain, but a tree (don’t worry that isn’t really a spoiler). Had this movie been called The Tree of Life it would be more appropriate, but I’m fine that Terry Malick decided to use that title instead.

If you can wrap your head around the plot the pieces of the puzzle fall into place as The Fountain progresses. Had  a writer/director less talented than Darren Aronofsky helmed this movie then I can almost guarantee it would have been a confusing heap of nonsense. Luckily for us, it is a smart film.

I give it 3 tree hairs out of 5.

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