Tag Archives: movies

Talladega Nights

It has been a long time since I have looked forward to a movie like I am this one. If this preview is any indication, it may be one of the funniest movies ever made.

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102 Films

Jason Kottke posts a list by film critic Jim Emerson of 102 movies someone ought to have seen to be considered movie literate. I suspect my list and that of just about everyone else would be different, since we all like and dislike different things, but here’s the list.

An asterisk means I have seen it.

* 2001: A Space Odyssey (overrated)
* The 400 Blows (pretty good)
8 1/2
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
* Alien (defines the modern alien genre)
* All About Eve (good)
* Annie Hall (other than Tiger Lilly, I find Woody Allen’s movies boring)
* Apocalypse Now (great movie)
* Bambi (I liked it and my kids do too)
The Battleship Potemkin
* The Best Years of Our Lives (great movie)
* The Big Red One (pretty good)
The Bicycle Thief
* The Big Sleep (OK, not great)
* Blade Runner (one of my all time faves)
Blowup (never seen it, but would like to)
* Blue Velvet (great movie)
* Bonnie and Clyde (OK, not great)
* Breathless (nah)
Bringing Up Baby
* Carrie (good scary movie)
* Casablanca (as good as its reputation_
Un Chien Andalou
Children of Paradise / Les Enfants du Paradis
* Chinatown (pretty good)
* Citizen Kane (great film)
* A Clockwork Orange (famous for being weird, but still pretty good)
* The Crying Game (great ending)
* The Day the Earth Stood Still (great sci-fi)
* Days of Heaven (fantastic movie; a must see)
* Dirty Harry (great Clint)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
* Do the Right Thing (good movie)
La Dolce Vita
* Double Indemnity (one of my favorite of the film noir genre)
* Dr. Strangelove (great film)
* Duck Soup (I actually get the Marx brothers)
* E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial (great at the time)
* Easy Rider (good, but Wild Angels was better)
* The Empire Strikes Back (masterpiece)
* The Exorcist (great horror film)
* Fargo (great, but Raising Arizona is better)
* Fight Club (OK, not great)
* Frankenstein (masterpiece, if he’s talking about the 1931 one)
The General
* The Godfather, The Godfather, Part II (should have added III too)
* Gone With the Wind (I liked it the first few times I saw it)
* GoodFellas (great film)
* The Graduate (great film)
* Halloween (maybe the best modern horror film)
* A Hard Day’s Night (good because it’s the Beatles)
It’s a Gift
* It’s a Wonderful Life (my favorite holiday film ever)
* Jaws (how in the world has Jason not seen this!)
* The Lady Eve (good, but not great)
* Lawrence of Arabia (great epic film)
* Mad Max 2 / The Road Warrior (great post apocalypse films)
* The Maltese Falcon (great Bogart)
* The Manchurian Candidate (OK, not great)
* Metropolis (never understood the big deal about this one)
Modern Times
* Monty Python and the Holy Grail (the funniest movie ever)
* Nashville (good, not great)
* The Night of the Hunter (great Mitchum)
* Night of the Living Dead (one of my all time faves)
* North by Northwest (my favorite Hitchcock)
* On the Waterfront (Brando when he wasn’t a cartoon character)
Once Upon a Time in the West
* Out of the Past (Another of my favorite film noir movies)
* Pink Flamingos (great, but I like Hairspray better)
* Psycho (good)
* Pulp Fiction (one of my all-time faves)
* Rear Window (good)
* Rebel Without a Cause (OK, but not as good as its reputation)
* Red River (great movie- there should be more westerns on this list)
* Repulsion (weird, but with Catherine Deneuve)
The Rules of the Game
* Scarface (pretty good, but Casino’s better)
The Scarlet Empress
* Schindler’s List (masterpiece
* The Searchers (another great western)
The Seven Samurai
* Singin’ in the Rain (a rare musical I like)
* Some Like It Hot (OK, not great)
* A Star Is Born (the original is bearable; I hated the remake)
* A Streetcar Named Desire (great movie)
* Sunset Boulevard (another great film noir movie)
* Taxi Driver (great movie)
* The Third Man (great Orson Welles)
Tokyo Story
* Touch of Evil (definitely in my top 5 all time)
* The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (great movie)
Trouble in Paradise
* Vertigo (more great Hitchcock)
* West Side Story (didn’t like it)
* The Wild Bunch (great western)
* The Wizard of Oz (speaks for itself)

I’ve seen 78 out of 102.

All in all, a fairly good list. I would certainly add The Birds, Suddenly Last Summer, Summer of 42, The Last Picture Show, and A Place in the Sun. I would seriously consider adding Full Metal Jacket, the remake of The Thing, Belly of an Architect and the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.


An Offbeat One for Your Netflix Queue


I just finished watching Werewolves on Wheels, a 1971 horror film that is part The Wolfman and part Easy Rider. It was a low budget, offbeat movie, as evidenced by the fact that a lot of the production crew have talking parts.

But there is something really compelling about it.

In sum, the movie begins, almost literally, like Easy Rider and then takes a left turn into a B movie-werewolf romp. If that sounds like your bag (it’s certainly mine), check this movie out.

The camera work by Isidore Mankofsky is really innovative and clever, even by today’s standards and the music, both background and semi-featured songs have aged very well.

The best part is the commentary, by both of the co-writers, one of whom was also the director. I almost never rewatch a film with the commentary. Rather, I just rewatch a few of the key scenes with the commentary turned on. I watched this entire movie again just to hear the interesting commentary.

A little trivia: the girl who initially turns into a werewolf is in On the Beach with Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. And the guy who plays Pill was Bud on Father Knows Best.

Movies for the Rich and Impatient

I have this lurking concern that I’m falling for a belated April Fool’s Date gag, but it seems that the Hollywood cartel, recognizing that the cat has left the bag, is going to start selling movies online for download.

I’ve reported before about Movielink (owned by the Hollywood cartel), where you can rent movies online for a few dollars a piece. Once you download the movie, you have around a month to begin watching it and 24 hours after you start watching it to finish it. Although it takes forever to download a movie (and that assumes a broadband connection), this is a good way to put movies on your laptop or Tablet PC for airports and airplanes.

The four people who really want to watch movies over and over on their computers have complained that the download service is a drag because of the time limits on starting and stopping the movie.

So the Hollywood cartel is going to give them what they want.

Now instead of the few bucks you pay to rent newly released DVDs from Netflix, Movielink or your neighborhood video store, you can download them from the Hollywood cartel on the day the DVD is released. For a mere “$20 to $30.”

New release DVDs cost around $20 to $25 to buy. Plus, those DVDs can be played on stand-alone DVD players, watched on TVs and used to pacify kids during long car trips.

So the downloads cost around $5 more, even though they cost around $5 less to distribute via download.

But if you meet these requirements:

1) You have a lot of money and don’t mind wasting it;

2) You want to be the first on your block to watch a newly released DVD (waiting a few days is just not an option for you);

3) You want to watch the same movies over and over on your computer;

4) You are reasonably computer proficient; and

5) You have a broadband internet connection at home (no tying up company resources for this),

then the Hollywood cartel has a treat in store for you.

Warren N. Lieberfarb, the former president of Warner Home Video and now an entertainment technology consultant, hit the nail on the head:

They are giving the consumer less and charging more for it. To me this really stacks the deck against mass consumer adoption.

The Hollywood cartel and its cousin, the record label cartel, don’t give a hoot about the consumer. They are only concerned with extending the inevitable decline of their distribution monopolies by making the consumer overpay and/or pay multiple times.

This is just more smoke and mirrors designed to extract more revenue from the same product.

My prediction is that this is met with a collective yawn by the movie buying public.

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From My Netflix Queue: Closer

Here’s my video watching history with Natalie Portman.

I thought she was great in The Professional, one of my favorite movies which made Jean Reno one of my favorite actors.

closerfilmThen I rediscovered her in the last two Star Wars films and in Garden State (another very good movie).

Then this weekend, I saw her in two videos. First, on a friend’s recommendation, I watched Closer, which was a fantastic movie. Although the entire cast did a fine job, I thought Clive Owen stole the show. That scene where he is talking to her in the private room at that strip club was some incredibly great acting.

Then today I see a link on Marc Canter‘s page to this hilarious video.

Padme is being a naughty girl.

Movie Trailers

Here are a couple of trailers for some new movies you may want to see.

Brokeback to the Future

A slightly different interpretation of Sleepless In Seattle.

Good stuff.

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Netflix and the Video Download Jones

netflixOm Malik (who has now gone 508 consecutive days without linking to Newsome.Org) has an article today about Netflix and its continuing jones to get into the video download game. Recall that Netflix thought it had a deal working with TIVO for some sort of video download service, but the movie studio cartel put an end to those plans.

Now there’s evidence that Netflix remains interested in developing some sort of video download service. Naill Kennedy, while taking a break from trying to solve my Technorati 42 and only 42 links problem, found some job postings where Netflix is looking for people for jobs that sound related to the serving, downloading and playing of video content.

I have said many times that I think selling downloadable video for viewing on computers and iPods and whatnot is the biggest much ado about nothing since Y2K. It is a supply in search of a demand. But I have also said that I use and love Netflix. So what about this potential pairing of a great thing (Netflix) and a generally stupid thing (downloadable videos)?

First of all, of the many things wrong with the whole downloadable video concept, the thing that is most wrong is that it generally involves: (a) reruns of free and/or boring content, (b) being sold, (c) to be downloaded and somehow moved onto some other device, (d) where it will be viewed in a lesser format on a tiny screen.

But that may not be true in the case of Netflix’s proposed service. Perhaps Netflix is trying to use the internet as merely a cheaper distribution method. Perhaps Netflix wants to give people the option of downloading the videos they currently get in the mail, not to some tiny little iPod, but to their video recorders to be viewed on their TVs. Here’s what has to happen for that to work:

1) Make it cost no more than Netflix customers currently pay. It’s a distribution method only. If it’s cheaper for Netflix, good for them- we want them to stay in business. But few will pay more for something that is, at best, only marginally more convenient.

2) Make it work seamlessly with our current hardware, or at least with cheap new hardware we can rent or purchase. I watch videos on my HDTV. Whether they get there via mailed DVDs or downloaded files makes no material difference to me.

3) Make it seem instantaneous. It takes a long time to download an entire movie. So let us order them today via a screen that looks and feels like (or perhaps is) the current Netflix website, have them downloaded overnight and available tomorrow.

4) Don’t clog up our broadband connections. That’s why you have to have the downloads done late at night.

5) Permit no stupid DRM limitations. One of the problems with Movielink is that you only have a short period to watch the movie. We don’t want to give up the flexibility we have with mailed DVDs. So keep the rules the same.

If all of this happens, I would absolutely consider letting Netflix distribute my movies to me over the net. This is nothing like the $1.99 Lost rerun on a tiny screen. It’s the same thing I have now, only hopefully a little cheaper for Netflix.

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