Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Ten: Movies

Going to try something a little bit different. On mondays I am going to go through a sorta top ten of favorites. I feel like I need to blog more often and this will give me something to look forward to blogging about, other than just to say I updated pages and what not. The first one will be my favorite movies. These aren't movies I feel are the best movies ever made, but are my favorites (to date, favorites tend to change since new things are always coming out to surprise us).

10. Fierce Creatures (1997)
Directors: Fred Schepisi, Robert Young
Cast: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline
Why I love it: This was a movie I stumbled across accidently. While still living at home during my college years, I had the television set to HBO while procrastinating from my school work. I don't even remember what movie I was watching prior to this one, but I laughed through this entire movie, went out the following day and bought it on DVD. The animals are soooo cute. The concept was entertaining: to generate more funds, a new director at a zoo decides to focus on only fierce animals because predators are more "interesting" to the public. Of course, they have to do something with the non-fierce animals, and when John Cleese's character ends up with all the animals he supposedly put down, many fun escapades abound. Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline's character are 100% convinced he is having sexual encounters with all the women employees of the zoo through the entire film when he isn't.
9. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
Cast (Voices): Kathryn Beaumont, Sterling Holloway, Ed Wynn
Why I love it: Does the picture to the left not answer this question? I am biased because I collect Cheshire Cats and adore Alice in Wonderland. But there is a good reason this adaptation beats out the many others, including the Tim Burton 2010 film which I looooooved. I grew up with this movie, I know it practically by heart. Out of the many Disney films I love, this one is my favorite; more so than any of the princess films or even some of their live action movies I watched as a kid (The Three Lives of Thomasina and Charlie the Lonesome Cougar come to mind). It's a fun movie. It's so weird and crazy, but who doesn't wish to visit a Wonderland every once and a while to escape reality?
8. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, and Kiera Knightly
Why I love it: Pirates! Romance! Period costumes! Yeah, you will notice a trend of my favorite films. Most of them are period films. I can't help it, but I love period films. All the Pirates of the Caribbean films were fun and action packed, but the first one will always be the best. Meeting Captain Jack Sparrow for the first time was a real treat. I still say Depp was robbed of his Oscar. Maybe he can land yet another nomination with the fourth film in the franchise coming up soon. (Can I just say how happy I am Will and Elizabeth will not be returning for the next film. Feeding my man to the friggin kraken in the second film did NOT endear me to Elizabeth. And Will, well, as much as I do love Orlando Bloom, Will was a little too "good." Or maybe I just prefer dirty, sneaky pirates like Jack Sparrow... ;)

7. Pathfinder (2007)
Director: Marcus Nispel
Cast: Karl Urban, Moon Bloodgood, Clancy Brown
Why I love it: What could Karl Urban do after playing a hot Viking from Middle Earth (who was BLOND!!!) to make me love him more? The answer is simple: play another hot Viking, wear a loin cloth with leather chaps, and run around in furs and sweaty sexiness and wave his sword around. Okay, I am a single woman with raging hormones... I am allowed to lust. Plus, he was a Viking. It is a weakness of mind. The story itself is dark. Vikings come to North America, destroy everything in their path, and a young boy is left behind after being beaten severely for not participating. The Native Americans raise him as his own and he has to protect (and avenge some of them) when the Vikings return. It is hard to watch several scenes, but the cinematography and the stunning beauty of the film itself is amazing. While I have issues with the horned helms, I will give them the benefit of making the Vikings (who are the bad guys in this film, unfortunately) look like demons.

6. Rear Window (1954)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: James Stewart, Grace Kelly
Why I love it: Suspense, drama, a damn good story telling. Anyone who can make watching neighbors out their apartment window interesting is a genius, and Hitchcock is worthy of such a title. James Stewart believes he is the sole witness to a murder and tries to prove it, even though he is stuck in a wheelchair because of an accident. Grace Kelly is the love interest and she is beautiful as ever (damn her). The simplicity of the plot itself makes it work. Current movies have so many plot lines going on that it is hard to keep up with what the main plot really is. Such a direct plot is refreshing to go back to once and a while.

5. Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Cast: Alexa Vega, Anthony Head, Terrance Zdunich, Sarah Brightman
Why I love it: I see this movie as the Rocky Horror Picture Show of the new generation. I hear there are people dressing up in character and acting the film out and singing with it with live audiences. The concept: in the future, a biotech company, GeneCo, supplies organs for transplants when organ failure is at an uncommon high. Afterwards, people become "addicted to the knife" and have several surgeries as fashion statements. Because the organs being transpanted are available through financing, a repoman can come and take the organs back (thus killing people gruesomely) if you don't pay. Despite the fact Paris Hilton is in the movie, it is amazingly good. Plus, Paris' face falls makes it more bearable. ;)

4. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones
Why I love it: Because it is made of much awesome. So much awesome, mind you, that I quote it constantly without realizing it. Lancelot's murderous rampage to the severity of the French taunting, to Galahad's...ahem...great peril at the Castle Anthrax to the Bridge of Death, if I ever want to just spend a few hours laughing, I watch this movie. It is satire and silliness at its best.

3. Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Director: Neil Jordan
Cast: Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas
Why I love it: Well, when reading the book Brad's Louis looks more like Armand in my mind and vice versa, but I will not argue too strongly as Armand in the books bores me to tears, and I would hate to only have Brad to look at in one part of the film. However, the thing that truly makes this movie work for me is Tom Cruise as Lestat. I love Lestat in the books. Love him. Interview is told from Louis' POV, which makes Lestat come off in a really bad light. Despite all this, as much as I am not a Tom Cruise fan, no one else will ever be able to capture this character the way he has. He has truly immortalized the role as his. I do like Stewart Townsend,  but Queen of the Damned pained me. He was a hot vampire, but he was no Lestat. This film is beautiful, tragic, and horrifying.
2. Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Kiera Knightly, Matthew MacFadyen
Why I love it: One of the ultimate love stories ever told, the beauty of the film and the characters make you fall in love with it. Please, marry me Mr. Darcy! I want one! Other than Donald Sutherland's lack of accent, I can't find a single thing about this movie I can complain about. Maybe it is because I am a sappy girl, but I just adore this film. I never read any Jane Austin in school, which is surprising being an English Literature major, but after seeing the movie I had to buy the book. I didn't read it until recently, and I really enjoyed it.
1. The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
Director: Joel Schumacher
Cast: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson
Why I love it: It's one of my favorite stories. The Leroux novel, the play, the retelling by Susan Kay... I have always told people that a book or movie never really moves me unless it can make me cry. It is easier to cry to a film than it is to a book. The character of Erik (the Phantom) has always broken my heart. He's seen as an antagonist in most versions of the story, this one included. Susan Kay makes him the protagonist, and any time you view his situation from his side, it is hard not to wish Christine would have kicked Raoul to the curb and frolicked down to the Phantom's lair beneath the Paris Opera House. But the story is a tragedy, and you can't have tragedy if it ends the way you want. The thing that I do have to mention about this adaptation is they make Raoul less of a wuss in this one. He jumps onto a horse and rides bareback to the cemetery to tango with the Phantom. It's a far cry from Raoul of the Leroux novel cowering in the torture chamber wanting to blow his brains out rather than keep fighting to get to Christine. But...he still doesn't believe Christine when she begs him to take her away after the Il Muto production and look what happens because of it. Men, they never listen! :P
That's it, folks. But if you were wondering which films were sadly just short of making the cut, they include (in no particular order): Shaun of the Dead, Bridget Jones' Diary, Sleepy Hollow, Halloween (1978), and The Amityville Horror (1979)


Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

Great list, VIctoria! Two would make mine: Rear Window and Pride and Prejudice. Super post!

Victoria said...

I *heart* those movies, Jill. I might have to watch one later. hehe