Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I've returned from my honeymoon, so get ready for more movies!  I'm changing one rule though, which is now, being that Sabata was before Adios Sabata, I will from the future, watch all movies in order and also remakes and other versions at once for comparison.  But we'll get to Sabata in the far future (I really hated it).  Netflix doesn't have The Adjuster, Admirable Chricton, or Adorable Julia, which brings me to

Adoration-2009, Directed by Atom Erogyan, starring a bunch of foreign actors I don't know.

He says-  After hearing his French teacher read an article about a man who sent his pregnant wife on a plane with a bomb, a student writes an essay imagining the man and the woman as his parents (who died some years ago) and presents it as the truth.  This initiates a multilevel series of conversations, confrontations, and revelations about terrorism, personal responsibility, and family dynamics.  Provocative at first, Egoyans puzzlelike story actually becomes less interesting as the pieces fit together.  2 stars.

I say- Ugh, starting my hiatus back with an unwatchable movie.  I'm not even going to waste my time with how boring this one was.  This movie was about a bomb, so I'm giving it a BOMB in return.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Adios Sabata

Netflix does not have The Addiction, The Adding Machine, or Adios Amigo, which brings us to

Adios Sabata-1971 starring Yul Brynner
He says-  Gunslinger gets involved with Mexican revolutionaries, helping himself to a cache of gold along the way.  Ersatz sequel to Sabata (with Brynner instead of Van Cleef) was titled Indio Black until dubbed and retitled for U.S. release.  Genuine sequel, The Return of Sabata, showed up in 1972.  One and a half stars

I say- This is the first time Maltin has reviewed a movie and not explained what he didn't like about it.  This is also my final review for a few weeks, being that I'm getting married.  So we'll be back for more adventures then.  I found the transfer of this film to be unbearable, and I thought the movie was pointless, slow and boring.  Badly dubbed, and seemed worse than an old Godzilla movie but not in a good way.  1/2 star, only for Yul Brynner and his bald head.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Science of Sleep

The Science of Sleep- 2006, starring nobody that anyone knows
He says-  Bernal's charismatic performance (in English) anchors this fanciful film about a childlike man who lives in a constant state of confusion about what's real what's happening in his dreams.  When he falls in love with his attractive next-door neighbor, his anxiety about their uncertain relationship blurs the line even more.  Gondry's script meanders, but his constantly imaginative visual touches help to compensate.  2 and a half stars

I say- Interesting visuals do not make a movie.  This movie sucked.  I loved his prior effort, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but this was unwatchable.  UGH.  BOMB

Monday, May 9, 2011


Diner- 1982, starring Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, and Paul Reiser. 

Maltin says-  Problems of growing up are nicely synthesized by writer-director Levinson in this look at a group of friends who hang out in a Baltimore diner in the 1950s.  Obviously made with care and affection; a real sleeper.  Levinson's directorial debut and first film of Barkin and Reiser.  3 stars.

I say-  One of the most OVERRATED movies ever.  This is one of those movies where "lovers of film" pride themselves in how many times they've seen this movie.  I found it pretentious and boring.  And he cast Steve Guttenberg, and worse yet, he discovered Paul Reiser.  UGH.  Well acted, but that's about it.  1/2 star.

Addicted to Love

Addicted to Love- 1997, starring Matthew Broderick, Meg Ryan, and Kelly Preston
Leonard says-  Jilted lover Broderick settles in an abandoned N.Y.C. building across the street from his ex-girlfriend's apartment so he can watch her and her new lover.  Then he's joined by the lover's ex-g.f., whose agenda is even more extreme; she wants revenge.  Dark, twisted comedy has its moments, and a likable cast, but Ryan's seriously disturbed character makes it hard to "root" for her, and renders the inevitable fadeout scene less than ideal.  Feature directing debut for actor-producer Dunne; his famous father, author Dominick Dunne, plays a restaurant critic.  2 stars.

Grant says-  WHOA.  Seriously, what the fuck????  This whole movie is full of the worst possible characters, and the characters do things that would (if they were real people) send them to jail multiple times.  This is a creepy film, and yes, it is a comedy, but I was finding Broderick to belong more to the Psycho-style of acting than the Inspector Gadget style.  This is an incredibly disturbing film, and I really can't believe Leonard gave this a two, so I'm giving it a half of a star.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Addams Family Values

Addams Family Values- 1993, starring Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Joan Cusack, Christina Ricci, Carol Kane, Nathan Lane, David Hyde Pierce, and Peter Graves
Leonard says-  Funny follow-up to the 1991 hit has scheming Cusack invading the Addams household, plotting to marry Fester for his money, then bump him off.  Full of hilarious one-liners (delivered with gusto by Julia and Lloyd), but the real star is Ricci as the stone-faced Wednesday, who finally exacts her revenge for being sent to a summer camp run by a pair of giddy grown-ups (MacNicol and Baranski).  Runs out of steam toward the end.  Direct to video sequel: Addams Family Reunion.  3 stars.

I say-  Of course Maltin doesn't review Addams Family Reunion.  He likes to tell everyone about sequels and then avoid reviewing them.  Anyway, this is a great movie as well as the first one.  It actually is on the same level as the first, which is hard to do.  Also, Christina Ricci really is the star (before she decided to take her clothes off for every movie she does now).  Very enjoyable.  3 stars.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Keep

The Keep- 1983, starring Ian McKellen, Scott Glenn, and Gabriel Byrne

He says-  German soldiers try to defend a Romanian mountain pass during WW2 by headquartering in an ancient fortress-ignoring villagers' warnings of a strange presence inside.  Outlandish, incoherent, and mostly awful; recommended only for connoisseurs of Strange Cinema.  1 and a half stars.

I say-  Terrible!  I had no idea what was even going on in this movie!  I love Strange Cinema (not sure why Maltin capitalizes strange cinema, but whatever) and this was stupid as hell.  I could not recommend a movie less.  BOMB

Friday, May 6, 2011

Captains Courageous

Captains Courageous- 1937, starring Freddie Bartholomew, Lionel Barrymore, Spencer Tracy, and Mickey Rooney
Maltin says- Spoiled rich-boy Bartholomew falls off cruise ship, rescued by Portuguese fisherman Tracy (who won Oscar for role).  Boy learns to love seafaring on crusty Barrymore's fishing vessel.  Enthusiastic cast in this splendid production of Kipling's story.  Scripted by John Lee Mahin, Marc Connelly, and Dale Van Every.  Remade as a TV movie in 1977 (with Karl Malden and Ricardo Montalban) and 1996 (with Robert Urich).  Also shown in computer-colored version.  4 stars.

I say- I was very impressed with this movie!  Although I absolutely wanted the kid in the movie to enter the world of Saw and be subjected to a Jigsaw death trap, I found the whole movie to be perfect.  Very creatively shot, and they used some very interesting water effects (considering cgi had not yet existed, everything had to be done the real way).  Much recommended, 4 stars.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Addams Family

The Addams Family- 1991, starring Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, and Christina Ricci

He says-  Piquant comedy based on Charles Addams' macabre cartoon family (later popularized on the same-named TV series), whose greedy lawyer tries to plunder their fortune by planting an impostor in the household who claims to be their long-lost Uncle Fester.  Huston and Julia are absolutely perfect as Morticia and Gomez, and maintain a light touch while dispensing their gleefully ghoulish black humor.  Impressive directorial debut for cinematographer Sonnenfeld.  Followed by 2 sequels.  3 stars.

I say- I forgot how awesome this movie looks and is acted.  I find the plot dreadful, but the acting and the photography to be astounding.  I haven't seen this since I was 10, and was really glad to rewatch this, and makes me remember how much I miss Raul Julia.  3 stars.

The Beach

The Beach-2000, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tilda Swinton
He says- Young American looking for "Something Different" goes to Bangkok, hooks up with a French couple, and together they follow a map to an elusive and secluded beach...but paradise is not all it's cracked up to be.  Consistently interesting if somewhat muddled adaptation of Alex Garland's novel is naive at times and leans towards purplish prose in DiCaprio's narration.  2 and a half stars.

I say-  Bleh.  This was boring as shit.  This was what DiCaprio waited for in a role after Titanic?  Thank God he's made much better career decisions since then.  Anyway, found the whole thing to be a giant snoozefest.  BOMB

Monday, May 2, 2011


Adaptation-2002, starring Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Ron Livingston, Tilda Swinton, and Maggie Gyllenhaal

Malty says- Super-neurotic screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich) is hired to adapt Susan Orlean's book The Orchid Thief as a movie, but finds it a tortuous process.  His carefree twin brother, Donald, has no such problems, and even tries his hand at writing.  We also meet author Orlean (Streep) and her main subject, a colorful Southern character who knows everything there is to know about plants (Cooper, in an Oscar winning performance).  Surreal, dazzling, dizzying, often perplexing but brilliant film about the creative process; Cage (in two distinct performances as the twin brothers), Streep, and Cooper are all great.  Cameos by John Malkovich, Catherine Keener, John Cusack, David O. Russell, and Curtis Hanson (as Streep's husband).  Screenplay is credited to Charlie and (the late) Donald Kaufman.  3 and a half stars.

I say- I know I haven't been blogging enough, but I'm getting married next week.  I hope to knock out 3 or 4 more before I disappear for a few weeks, but we'll see!  Anyway, I guess I'm not artsy enough for this one.  I know lots of people absolutely adore this movie.  I hate Nicolas Cage, but he was great in this one!  The acting was awesome and Cooper deserved the Oscar, however, that being said, I found it to be too self-indulgent for my tastes.  A good watch if you are studying film, however, avoid otherwise.  I did not like Spike Jonze's latest effort, Where the Wild Things Are, either.  2 stars.