Category Archives: Top 250 of All Time in IMDB

Vertigo (1958)

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Only one is a wanderer; two together are always going somewhere.

– Madeleine

One of Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest films, Vertigo is currently#41 of the Top 250 of all time on IMDB. It was nominated for two  Oscars.

This is a simple “howcatchher” about a detective John “Scottie” Ferguson (Jimmy Stewart). He abruptly quits the force in the beginning of the film, when chasing a suspect on top of some apartment buildings he has a bout of vertigo and the second officer with him falls to his death trying to save him.

Feeling guilty and laid up in a back brace, Scottie seeks solace by his mousy best friend, Midge (Barbara Bel Geddes). When he gets the brace taken off, he is contacted by an old college friend of theirs, Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore) that wants to hire Scottie to follow his wife.

Gavin believes that his wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak) is possessed by a spirit of a dead woman that died a century before. Scottie reluctantly agrees to it. His decision leads to a dangerous road to heartache, loss and regret.

I was impressed by the way that Hitchcock would make the woman has a memorable entrance in a movie. There was no exception in this movie was Kim Novak in a gorgeous gown.

The visual look of the film was spectacular. In some instances, it was film noir and sometimes a Douglas Sirk bedroom drama. Wonderful filmmaking.

I was never bored. The pacing was perfect. The way that the camera shows Scottie succumbing to his agoraphobia and vertigo was great.

Judgment: A fabulous movie that should be seen to believe.

Rating: *****

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

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Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave?

– HAL 9000

Starting off this classic movie viewing month with a bang, I wanted to visit one of Stanley Kubrick’s greatest films, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ranked #89 of the Top 250 of all time on IMDB. It was nominated for four Oscars, winning one for Visual Effects.

I am a huge fan of Kubrick’s flicks. This movie is considered his masterpiece. It is visually beautiful, but I have more questions about the ending that I will bring up in the spoiler section.

When the movie starts, it is a black screen with the famous score that Kubrick pulled together after he decided not to use the score of Alex North. I thought that the disk was broken or something. I deduced that it was overture. I let that slide.

The first segment is “The Dawn of Man” sequence with our ancestors foraging on the land. I was scratching my head. ‘Why is this in here?’ Then, a tall black monolith shows up. The apes are intrigued by the sight. When they touch it, they become savages.

Fade out into the second segment dealing with a scientist, Dr. Heywood Floyd (William Slyvester) taking a trip to a lunar space station to investigate strange occurrence there. Floyd and his team of other astronauts investigate another monolith that is buried in a crater on the moon. When they gets close of the monolith, it emits this ear screeching sound.

Eighteen months later, there is an expedition to reach Jupiter when the crew tries to figure out the origins of the monolith. Most of the crew of Discovery One are in hibernation except for two, Drs. Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood). All of the basic functions of the ship is controlled by an advanced super computer called HAL 9000 (voiced by Douglas Rain).

As everyone knows, HAL thinks that Dave and Frank wants to disconnect him, because of a possible error he did with a satellite on top of the ship. I was expecting this whole movie to be the third part of the film. I was surprised.

I don’t think that HAL was evil. He is a computer. He could make a mistake.

Most of this movie was a silent movie, interrupted by dialogue. I found that fascinating. Great visual effects. I’m glad it was the Oscar for that. It still holds up over forty years later.

Judgment: An acid trip of a movie, but a very fun ride.

Rating: ****1/2

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Star Trek (2009)

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Your father was captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved 800 lives, including yours. I dare you to do better. Enlist in Starfleet.

– Christopher Pike

I’m geeking out right now. Happy, happy, joy, joy. I was eagerly anticipating JJ Abrams’ Star Trek for some time now. When Paramount announced that the movie was going to be pushed back from December of last year to May of this year, I was afraid. Usually when a movie is pushed back, that means it is awful and in need of some changes. I was hesitant to see this movie.

Seeing the positive responses popping up. This film has a a Metacritic score of 83. That’s pretty good and it is currently by this post at #59 of Top 250 of All Time of IMDB. Being a Trekkies myself, I enjoyed myself with this movie.

Abrams does not waste any time. He gets right to the nitty-gritty with non stop action when the crew of the USS Kelvin is attacked by a Romulan vessel lead by Capt. Nero (Eric Bana), who is from the future.

The crew is evacuated when the Capt. Richard Robau (Faran Tahir) is killed and acting captain George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) orders everyone off the ship including his pregnant wife, Winona (Jennifer Morrison) that is giving birth to James. The ship is destroyed.

A quarter of a century later, we are introduced to the cocky and rebellious Kirk (Chris Pine) and emotionally suppressed Spock (Zachary Quinto). Kirk tries to pick up Uhura (Zoe Saldana) is a Starfleet bar when he gets into a fight with other Starfleet members.

With a bloody nose, Capt. Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) urges Kirk to enlist in Starfleet to carry on the family name.

During his training at Starfleet, he meets the hypocondriac Bones (Karl Urban). They become friends.

On a simualtion, Kirk and Spock meet and a heated exchange. News comes that the planet Vulcan is under attack by Capt. Nero.

The action focuses on the crew of Enterprise that also includes; Mr. Sulu (John Cho), Chekov (Anton Yelchin).

I can’t reveal what happens after that, but it was a fun ride while it lasted.

I did have some problems with the movie.

  • It is mainly the lens flares. There must be five of them a minute. Sometimes the screen would be completely bright. It was so distracting.
  • I know that this is a re-imagining of the series, but Spock and Uhura hooking up? Fellow Trekkies help me out here.
  • I did not understand what the hell Chekov was saying half the time.
  • Some of the special were a little dodgy to me.
  • What it me or do the mention of Klingon anything raise a red flag to you?
  • The adolescent Kirk and Spock scenes did not work for me.
  • When we meet Sulu, he doesn’t know how to go into warp speed, but he could go to low impulse in the outer ring of a planet. Huh?
  • Lastly, the allegorical undertones that made the series was absent here. There was no subtext to the actions of Nero.

It was a solid movie overall. I was shocked when Winona Ryder came onscreen to play Spock’s human mother, Amanda Grayson or Tyler Perry being on of the council members of Starfleet. Also, Amanda Foreman that was on Abrams’ show Felicity played one of the crew members. The shout outs to the original series that got me gitty.

Judgment: If you want to have a total nerd-gasm in your seat, watch this movie.

Rating: ****

The Prestige (2006)

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Never show anyone. They’ll beg you and they’ll flatter you for the secret, but as soon as you give it up… you’ll be nothing to them.

– Alfred Borden

After seeing the craptacular spectacle that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I wanted to see a better Hugh Jackman movie. I thought that I might see The Prestige. This movie came out in 2006 with the double bill of it’s companion piece, The Illusionist with Ed Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel.

This movie is currently #82 of the Top 250 of All Time on IMDB. I think that this movie is overrated. I love Christopher Nolan, but this movie is a mess. When you get the twist, the rest of the movie makes no sense. I will discuss the ending in the spoiler section.

Based on the novel of the same name by Christopher Priest, brothers Christopher and Jonathan Nolan tried to make another Memento, but Memento was more clever than this movie. It was contrived to say the least.

It is almost the turn of the 19th century, Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) are rival magicians that are trying to upstage each other.

After a freak accident that leads to the death of Robert’s wife, Julia (Piper Perabo), Robert is determined to make Alfred pay from his crime.

The movie mainly focuses on “The Transporting Man” trick with the magician disappearing from one door and appears at another door when an flying object is at play.

Angier’s mentor, Cutter (Michael Caine), the assistant, Olivia (Scarlett Johansson) tell Alfred not to pursue upstaging Borden. It would only lead to disaster. Angier doesn’t want to hear it. His hard-headness leads into bizarre obsessive stalker territory.

Next, Angier is so consumed with his determination to beat Borden that he enlists a mad scientist, Nikola Tesla (David Bowie) and his assistant, Alley (Andy Serkis) to make a device to replicate himself. (This is not a spoiler. It’s revealed at the beginning of the movie.) Even Tesla tells Angier not to go ahead with the trick.

I was bored throughout the movie. It was over two hours long. It felt even longer. The plot is ridiculous and improbable for turn-of-the-century London.

Judgment: Avoid this movie like the plague.

Rating: **

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

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Two hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money. We’re gonna have to earn it.

– Man With No Name

I have been trying to dive into more classic movies. Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly comes in at number 4 of the Top 250 of all time on IMDB. This is a movie out of MANY that I was embarrassed to have not seen. I am not partial to westerns per say, but I was willing to give it a try. I really liked it.

This is the last film of “The Man With No Name” trilogy. I forgot that it was a trilogy. I need to see A Fistful of Dollars and For Some Dollars More. This movie holds up well on it’s own, which is very rare.

Being introduced to Sergio Leone, I have noticed his unique filming style with multiple close-up shots on the actors, the indelible score by Ennio Morricone and the ten minute wordless beginning. Brillant.

In this final installment, The Man with No Name aka “The Good” (Clint Eastwood) and his outlaw friend, Tuco aka “The Ugly” (Eli Wallach) are searching through the American southwest during the Civil War to find a grave that is said to contain $200,ooo in gold.

After they back stab each other along the way to find the money, their plans are thwarted by a heartless gun slinging Union soldier, Sentenza aka “The Bad” (Lee Van Clef).

Not unlike every other western, the ending fairly predictable, but I enjoyed the ride there. I did have some problems with some of the pacing. The movie was almost three hours long. I was confused that the people talking were dubbed. I found out that most of the characters spoke in Italian or Spanish. I can let that slide.

Overall, the film was a solid film that needs to be viewed.

Judgment: Being this is my first Sergio Leone movie, I would love to see the rest of his films. I would suggest you will, too.

Rating: ****1/2

Frank Miller’s Sin City (2005)

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“And after I pull off that miracle, maybe I’ll go punch out God.”

– John Hartigan

Sin City is currently #94 of all time on IMDB. I have seen a scene of the film when I was flipping through the cable channels a couple of months ago. I watched the film for the first time yesterday. I wanted to see it, because of Angelina Jolie’s possible involvement in the sequel.

This movie pioneered the faithful adaptation of the graphic novels. Based the graphic novels by Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez with guest director, Quentin Taratino crafted this highly-stylized version of L.A.

The movie is broken up in three segments. The first segment deals with John Haritgan (Bruce Willis), an older cop that has a heart condition is trying to save a little girl, Cordelia (Makenzie Vega) from a pedophile, Roark Junior (Nick Stahl). He is betrayed by his fellow officer, Bob (Michael Madsen).

The second segment deals with a disfigured man, Marv (Mickey Rourke) who is accused of killing a hooker Goldie (Jaime King) that he loves. He is trying to find the person that really killed Goldie. There is a mysterious man in long nails, Kevin (Elijah Wood), the political clout of  Senator Roark and Cardinal Roark (Powers Boothe, Rutger Hauer).  There is also an instance with the working girls of Ol’ Town.

The final segment deals with Dwight (Clive Owen) seeking revenge when Jackie Boy (Benicio del Toro) strikes Shellie (Brittany Murphy). Dwight gets mixed with the working girls of Ol’ Town, including Gail (Rosario Dawson), Miho (Devon Aoki) and Becky (Alexis Bledel).

It was a good film, but I did not like the various voice-overs. There were some plot holes. There were some instances that I found to hard to believe, for example, people getting shot, having sledgehammers to the face, etc. Are they superhuman? I did get the intentions of Sen. Roark.

Judgment: I was an enjoyable film overall, but I think this film is overrated.

Rating: ***1/2

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

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“Anybody can lose one fight, anybody can lose once, you’ll come back from this you’ll be champion of the world.”

– Scrap

It has been five years since I saw Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby in theater when it was on the shortlist to clench the Oscar for Best Picture. I thought that I might see this movie again to see if I had the same reaction I did then.

The movie won four including, Best Picture, Best Director: Clint Eastwood, Best Actress: Hilary Swank and Best Supporting Actor: Morgan Freeman. It currently #144 of all time on IMDB. This was my top favorite film of 2004.

The movie deals with an aging trainer/manager, Frankie Dunn (Eastwood) that loses his best male boxer, Big Willie (Mike Coulter) to a rival manager, Mickey Mack (Bruce MacVittie) in order for his to get a title shot.

Dunn runs the gym with a retired half-blind fighter, Scrap (Morgan Freeman). They deal with crazy characters like the scrawny featherweight, Danger (Jay Baruchel) who wants to be beat a welterweight champion of the world that retired years before. Also, there is Shawrelle (Anthony Mackie), a cocky boxer that could knock you out with a left hook, but he is unfocused.

An amateur boxer, Maggie Fitzgerald (Swank) wants to be trained by Frankie, but he doesn’t train girls. She works as waitress and she is almost penniless. She struggles to support herself and her family.

After Dunn’s repeated attempts to drive her away, her stubbornness and tenacity breaks Frankie down until he takes her on.

As she begins to gain experience, she becomes overly-confident with fame and fortune that unexpected incident happens that changes her life forever.

I still have to same feelings as I did five years ago. I still think that Maggie was get to cocky for me to root for her. The characters in this movie had too much pride with a particular thing and they have to be brought down a peg.

As in any Eastwood film, Catholicism is front and center in story. Dunn tries to reconnect with her estranged daughter, Katie, who we never get to see. He goes to mass everyday to harass Father Horvak (Brían F. O’Byrne) to atone for a sin that the audience doesn’t know about.

Judgment: If you haven’t seen this movie in a long time, I would suggest revisiting it.

Rating: ****1/2

The Departed (2006)

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When I was growing up, they would say you could become cops or criminals. But what I’m saying is this. When you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?

– Frank Costello

The winner of Best Pictures in 2006, The Departed won four Oscars including, Best Director for Martin Scorsese, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing. It currently at the time of this posting #52 of the Top 250 of all time on IMDB.

I have not watched this movie in its entirety before last night. I tried to watch it one time a couple of months ago when it was on the cable. I was so annoyed by the overwhelming Bostonian accents that I shut it off. I don’t know why, but I have a hang up with the Bostonian accent. It bugs the hell out of me.

This movie was the American remake of the 2002 Hong Kong thriller, Infernal Affairs that I haven’t seen yet.

The plot revolves around two cadets, Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon). Costingan is recruited to go undercover by Capt. Queenan (Martin Sheen) and Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) to help take down crime boss, Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson).

Sullivan is secretly working for Costello who help raise him from when he was a little boy.

As the two men go deeper with “Who is the rat?” and “Who is the mole?”, revelations come out that lead to tragic consequences.

I have seen some of Martin Scorsese’s movies. I don’t think that this movie is his finest work. I have some issues with Jack Nicholson’s laughable characterization, the quick cuts, the convenient plot twists that I saw from mile away, the last shot of the film and numerous others.

I was bored during the first hour of this 2 1/2 hour opus. A whole bunch of talking that needed to trimmed are jettisoned all together. When the plot twist that happens at the hour mark, then I was invested in the film. It was uneven to me.

Judgment: If you want to see smart characters, a head shot extravaganza and Jack Nicholson’s hilarious performance, I would suggest this film.

Rating: ****

Ratatouille (2007)


Food is fuel. You get picky about what you put in your tank, your engine is gonna die. Now shut up and eat your garbage.
Django

Ratatouille is currently number 154 of the top 250 of all time on IMDB. I have to disagree highly with the praise that movie has gotten. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature against Persepolis and Surf’s Up. I did not see the latter, but it must have been slim pickings that year if the movie won.

The movie centers around Remy (Patton Oswalt), a rat that has impeccable palate for good food and different combinations of tastes. He lives with his nest family in the roof of an old lady’s house.

His father, Django (Brian Dennehy) wants his son to be a thief like his other son, Emile (Peter Sohn) and himself. Remy doesn’t want that. He wants to be a world famous chef like his hero, Chef Gusteau (Brad Garrett).

One day, he hears news that Gusteau died when he lost a star from his five-star restaurant. Also, the nest is discovered when Remy and Emile were trying to scour for food.

As usual, Remy is separated from the nest and he ends up at Gusteau’s restaurant. Imagine that. He helps out a bumbling, flailing guy, Linguini (Lou Romano) to help bring out his creations.

Hilarity ensues and the move falls out the rails so much that I had to turn it off.

Here are my major problems with the movie:

  • I have an issue with a family, even if they’re rats, being from Paris and none of them have the slightest accent.
  • Why would you let a rat cook? Whose idea with this?
  • Why did Linguini tell that cook that he doesn’t when in a scene ten minutes before he was sipping wine with Remy?
  • How it is physiologically possible control a person’s movements by hair?

Are you kidding me, Pixar? Are we suppose to buy this dreck? What happened to the Finding Nemos, the Toy Storys of yesteryear? We have to deal with convoluted plots with ridiculous characters and situations that is supposed to be heartwarming. Spare me!

Judgment: There are some genuine laughs, but it’s not worth getting invested in it.

Rating: **1/2

Snatch (2000)

Where is the stone?
– Franky Four Fingers

Personally, I have a lukewarm reception to some Guy Ritchie’s movies. I have seen some snippets of Snatch since it was released in 2000. This movie is currently #186 on the IMDB Top 250 of all time. Some people think that this movie is overrated. I don’t think so. It was a solid movie.

This is an ensemble piece about a bunch of bumbling crooks trying to get their hands on an 86-carat flawlessly cut diamond.

It starts with a struggling boxing promoter and also the narrator of the film, Turkish (Jason Statham) and his partner, Tommy (Stephen Graham) trying to repay a debt to a ruthless bookie, Brick Top (Alan Ford). They try to buy a caravan from an incomprehensible gypsy boxer, Mickey O’Neil (Brad Pitt).

Another plot outline is when a gambler, Franky Four Fingers (Benicio del Toro) steals the diamond after a jewel heist to possibly gamble it away. He is employed by Boris the Blade (Rade Šerbedžija).

Boris also hires Sol (Lennie James), Vinnie (Robbie Gee) with Tyrone (Ade) as the getaway driver to steal the diamond from Franky.

A New York businessman, Avi (Dennis Farina) hears the news that the diamond was stolen flies to London to confront his cousin, Doug the Head (Mike Reid). Eventually, Avi hires some muscle with Bullet Tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones) and Rosebud (Sam Douglas).

There are a lot of twists and turns, backstabbing, and some genuine hilarious moments. A solid feature from Guy Ritchie.

There were some wink-wink moments in the movie when in one scene when Bullet Tooth Tony is roughing up a guy in a car, the radio is turned on to Madonna’s “Lucky Star.” How ironic.

Judgment: If you want to see a solid heist movie, then this movie is more your speed.

Rating: ****1/2

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