With only three days left in the challenge, I have to choose my films wisely and watch films that I have always wanted to see. I remember when today’s film came out that I wasn’t allowed to watch it. For some strange reason, I just never bothered to watch Basic Instinct, but I did for today. Detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) is a cop with a little bit of a troubled history. When a big time former Rock star gets murdered with an ice pick while having sex gets Nick signed on to the case to investigate. The only problem is that when he begins to investigate the only suspect in author Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) things begin to get dark as he uncovers the truth behind the murder. The film also stars George Dzundza (The Deer Hunter) as Gus, Jeanne Tripplehorn (The Firm) as Dr. Beth Garner, Denis Arndt (Metro) as Lieutenant Walker, Leilani Sarelle (Days Of Thunder) as Roxy, Bruce A. Young (Jurassic Park III) as Andrews, Chelcie Ross (Trouble With The Curve) as Captain Talcott, Wayne Knight (Jurassic Park) as John Corelli, Dorothy Malone (The Big Sleep) as Hazel Dobkins, Daniel Von Bargen (Super Troopers) as Lieutenant Nilsen, Stephen Tobolowsky (Mississippi Burning) as Dr. Lamott, Jack McGee (Crash) as Sheriff, and the film was directed by Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop).
This was one intense film that I can definitely see why my mother didn’t want me to see it. There are so many sex scenes in this film or at least scenes involving nudity whether it be Sharon Stone or Jeanne Tripplehorn. It’s crazy, but that fact definitely does not overshadow the fact that the story is very interesting to begin with. The whole entire film, I was thinking I knew who the person that did it was, but then it tricks me into thinking that it was a different person to only leave me with a cliffhanger of sorts at the end of the film. The film’s story definitely leaves you wanting more when it is all said and done. I want to commend Michael Douglas, Tripplehorn, and Stone for putting on some great performances in the film If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know if this film would have been the same and Sharon was perfect for the role. She was mysterious, seductrive, and smart which was made her very sexy and desirable in my opinion. The cinematography was pretty good, but the car chase scenes were a little weak in my opinion. Other than that, it was a solid film and I really enjoyed it. I highly reccommend the film to anyone that loves sexy mystery thrillers and its definitely NSFW (Not Safe For Work). I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
There are movies for this challenge that I promised myself that I was going to watch before it was over and today’s film is one of those said films. One of the greatest composers of the 18TH century was the virtuoso Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and for today’s film I decided to watch the 1984 film Amadeus. Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) likes to believe that he is a great composer and writer of classical music, but he had to work hard for it. Unlike his counterpart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) who was born with a natural talent and ability that it drives Salieri mad with jealousy. The film is Salieri’s take on what drove him to the point that he would actually murder the young prodigy. The film also stars Elizabeth Berridge (The Funhouse) as Constanze Mozart, Roy Dotrice (Hellboy II: The Golden Army) as Leopold Mozart, Christine Ebersole (The Wolf Of Wall Street) as Katerina Cavalieri, Jeffrey Jones (The Crucible) as Emperor Joseph II, Kenneth McMillan (Dune) as Michael Schlumberg, Charles Kay (Henry V) as Count Orsini-Rosenberg, Cynthia Nixon (Sex And The City) as Lorl, Kenny Baker (Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope) as Parody Commendatore, Simon Callow (James And The Giant Peach) as Emanuel Schikaneder, and the film was directed by Milos Forman (The People Vs Larry Flynt).
I just want to warn all of you with short attention spans that this film is a little over three hours long so if you can handle it then proceed. Amadeus is definitely one of those films that they went all out for because it has an amazing score, amazing set designs, amazing costumes, and most importantly great acting that makes it complete. The soundtrack features so much as far as amazing 18TH century classical music and amazing opera music that should satisfy any fan of that genre. The set designs and costumes were so amazing that it actually makes you feel like you are walking and living in 18TH Century Austria which is what a time period piece is supposed to do in the first place. One thing I do know is that this is actually a fictionalized look at the life of Mozart or at least the idea of Salieri killing Mozart. Mozart died of an illness that is often debated as to what it was exactly. When he was working on his Requiem, it said that he dictated in bed to one of his proteges and not Salieri (although this is not proven either). F. Murray Abraham was absolutely brilliant in his portrayal of a man driven with jealousy and hatred toward God and Mozart. Tom Hulce is brilliant as the virtuoso who if he was a lead singer he would have had LSD (Lead Singers Disease). He knew he was amazing and he wasn’t afraid to show it. I was a little skeptical of Jeffrey Jones playing an Austrian Emperor, but he does a pretty good job at it. You really have to love classical music and Mozart to want to watch this film, but I am a fan of music so I loved it. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
I just wanted to start by wishing all of you movie lovers out there a very safe and Merry Christmas. To get into the spirit of Christmas, I wanted to to watch a film that had to do with the very holiday itself so I chose to watch Miracle On 34 Street (the 1947 version). Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara) is the special events coordinator for Macy’s who has discovered a problem thanks to an old man (Edmund Gwenn). Her Santa Claus for the Thanksgiving Day Parade is drunk and unable to continue. So, she hires the old man to be Santa and after he does a great job, he is then hired to be the Macy’s store Santa. The only problem is that the old man claims to be Kris Kringle himself, but there are people that do not believe him. The film also stars Natalie Wood (Rebel Without A Cause) as Susan Walker, John Payne (The Razor’s Edge) as Fred Gailey, Gene Lockhart (His Girl Friday) as Judge Henry X. Harper, Porter Hall (Mr. Smith Goes To Washington) as Granville Sawyer, William Frawley (I Love Lucy) as Charlie Halloran, Jerome Cowan (The Maltese Falcon) as Dist. Atty. Thomas Mara, Philip Tonge (Witness For The Prosecution) as Julian, and the film was directed by George Seaton (Airport).
This is the very last Sunday at the Classics as far as this challenge is concerned, but I just may keep it going after the challenge is over. I have seen some great films for Sunday at the Classics, but this is by far one of my favorite ones. The film features some amazing performances from the likes of John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, and even little Natalie Wood who would go on to be even more famous for her role in Rebel Without A Cause. The story of the film is just as amazing because it was a well written tale and a different kind of take on Christmas. It was a tale of believing in something not because people tell you to, but because it feels right to you. The trial scenes were amazing and you have to love the judge who constantly looks to his campaign advisor for advice on how to judge the case. The cinematography was pretty good as well and I had the chance to see the colorized version, but I chose to go old school for my first go around. This was an all around great film that featured great writing, actors, costumes, the sets, and even the cinematography. You have to do yourself a favor and check this film out for yourself before you watch the remake (which I also haven’t seen). I am going to give the film an A+ for a final grade.
The finish line is so close at this point and I can see it which is super exciting as the challenge comes to a close soon. When I saw the trailer for today’s film Passengers, I thought that this film could either be a 2001: A Space Odyssey rip off or it could carve it’s own way into the annals of Sci-Fi greatness. Nevertheless, I chose to watch it for today’s film cause it features a couple of superstars in my opinion. There are always issues that are raised with the planet Earth like pollution or over population that we are always imagining if we could inhabit other worlds. That is why the Starship Avalon is on a 120 year journey through space to inhabit a new world known as Homestead II and all of it’s passengers are in a deep hibernation sleep. That is until Chris Pratt (Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2) who plays passenger Jim Preston is woken up 90 years too early. With 90 years ahead of you what are you to do, well you try to enjoy it and that is what he attempts to do with fellow awoken passenger Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) until problems with the shop become evident which could derail the journey all together. The film also stars Michael Sheen (Nocturnal Animals) as Arthur, Laurence Fishburne (Mystic River) as Gus Mancuso, and the film was directed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game).
Spoiler Alert: There is going to be some information leaked in this paragraph that could give away some details or all the details in the film. So either proceed with caution or do not read any further, but you were warned. You are probably why I didn’t list a lot of actors above and that is because while the film does list Andy Garcia, Julee Cerda, and some others, they are merely just cameo appearances compared to the work that Pratt, Sheen, Lawrence, and Fishburne put in. As I said above, I thought this was going to be the modern day 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it really wasn’t because it was it’s own film. If you are alone on a ship and you have 90 years to go before you land on a new planet (which you obviously won’t be alive to see), what are you going to do with the time? That is the exact question that Chris Pratt’s character is faced with and he makes a very difficult and selfish decision, but it creates one of the big turning point conflicts in the script besides the ship’s problems. The ending of the film is very cliche in how it ends which is my only complaint. It’s one of those endings that you are hoping for something different, but they give you the one you expected all along. Otherwise, the acting was great in where two actors were really able to hold your attention for the whole film which can be just as difficult as only one. Check this one in theaters now, I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
One of the greatest actors to come out of the 1990’s is Denzel Washington (Malcolm X) who is money when it comes to his films. He has a movie called Fences coming out on Christmas which is gaining a lot of critical acclaim, but to celebrate his career, I decided to check out He Got Game. Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel)has been in jail for six years after the death of his wife which has forced his son Jesus Shuttlesworth (NBA Legend Ray Allen) to be the man of the house. You see Jesus is also an unbelievable basketball player for his high school who hasn’t made a decision as to where he wants to go or do after high school. Jake is given a chance to exit jail to try and convince his son to go to a certain school so that his sentence can be cut short. The film also stars Milla Jovovich (Zoolander 2) as Dakota Burns, Rosario Dawson (Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis) as Lala, Hill Harper (CSI: NY) as Booger, Zelda Harris (The Baby-Sitters Club) as Mary Shuttlesworth, Ned Beatty (Deliverance) as Warden Wyatt, Jim Brown (Mars Attacks) as Spivey, Joseph Lyle Taylor (The Dark Knight Rises) as Crudup, Bill Nunn (Spider-Man 3) as Uncle Bubba, John Turturro (The Color Of Money) as Coach Sunday, Roger Guenveur Smith (American Gangster) as Big Time Willie, and the film was written and directed by Spike Lee (Malcolm X).
This was one of those films that you are kind of glad they only made one just because one of the main actors was kind of awful. The film’s story is actually a very good story that kind of takes a look into what happens when someone from a poor area has some talent and has to deal with vultures trying to get theirs. But as I said before, Ray Allen is kind of an awful actor who has his moments in the film, but is also one of those guys who shouldn’t have transitioned into films.Now Denzel on the other hand puts on one heck of a performance as he always does as a man who is desperate to get his son to sign, but he is also enjoying his time out of prison. He also touches other peoples lives to wake them up to realize their potentials or what they are missing out on. His interaction with Milla Jovovich are awesome as she plays a prostitute that he feels bad for in a way. The film features some gritty moments and plenty of T&A as one college tries to persuade him to come to their school. I can imagine that those things happened in real life and I am kind of mad I never took sport serious enough in high school. The ending of the film to me is a little rushed and it sort of doesn’t make sense to me in a way while in a way it does. It just seems a little too quick that he spends years hating his father, but forgives him what seems quick. It was a decent film that any basketball fan may enjoy. I am going to give a B+ only because Allen and some other performances bothered me a little. Enjoy the cameos in the film from NBA coaches and players like Dean Smith, Lute Olson, John Chaney, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Shaq, etc.
I was looking around for a film to watch today and I wanted to look for a comedy because I was in that kind of a mood. So, when I logged on to my Netflix account I saw that I had an interesting film to watch on my Queue called The Late Bloomer. Peter Newmans (Johnny Simmons) is a successful sex therapist who is preaching that life is about abstinence to better yourself. What Peter doesn’t realize is that he has never in his life gone through puberty. Peter never knew that he had a tumor that has pressed against his pituitary gland and when he is operated on, his life changes completely including the fact that he has feelings for his neighbor and friend Michelle (Brittany Snow). Now what is he going to do about all of this? The film also stars J.K. Simmons (Zootopia) as James Newmans, Maria Bello (Lights Out) as Brenda Newmans, Kumail Nanjiani (Central Intelligence) as Rich, Beck Bennett (Zoolander 2) as Luke, Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries) as Charlie, Jane Lynch (Mascots) as Caroline Chambers, Charlotte McKinney (Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser) as Attractive Woman, Blake Cooper (The Maze Runner) as Josh, Diana Lyubenova (Conan The Barbarian) as Marilyn, and the film was directed by Kevin Pollak (Vamped Out).
I honestly went into this film with an open mind because I wasn’t expecting much out of it, but when I realized the people that starred in this film I was a little more intrigued. The film has some great actors like J.K. Simmons and Maria Bello and it was directed by the awesome Kevin Pollak who is a great actor himself who was directing his first feature length film with this one. So one argument for the film that I saw online was that it was kind of like The 40 Year Old Virgin, but with a guy who isn’t really socially awkward like Steve Carell was and I beg to differ a little bit. While I loved The 40 Year Old Virgin, I definitely really enjoyed this one because it took the idea and it ran with it in a totally different direction. The funny connection between the two really is the fact that Jane Lynch starred in both films. This one has it’s raunchy moments and friends like the other one, but in a different way. Kumail Nanjiani was given the green light to be as nasty as he wanted to be and he succeeded because he and Beck Bennett made a great combo in this film like Rudd and Rogen. Alright, so I can’t really come up with too many differences because there is a crap ton of similarities in the structure of the story. You can’t knock the formula cause it worked and there were some real funny moments in this one. You also get treated to some T&A in the film which is definitely a plus. I am going to give the film a B+ only because it’s not completely original and not as completely funny as The 40 Year Old Virgin.
After watching the 1961 Billiards classic The Hustler for yesterday’s film, I couldn’t pass up on watching the sequel which took 25 years to make. I’m Certainly ok with it taking that long considering that The Color Of Money was directed by Martin Scorsese (The Wolf Of Wall Street). Paul Newman (The Hustler) is back as Fast Eddie Felson, but he has kept to his promise that he made in the first film where he doesn’t play pool. The game has certainly changed as the nine ball has become the preferred game. One day, he sees a kid named Vincent (Tom Cruise) that he sees a lot of potential in so he decides to take him on the road to train him in how to hustle in billiards, but this will inspire Eddie to return. The film also stars Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves) as Carmen, Helen Shaver (The Land Before Time) as Janelle, John Turturro (Transformers) as Julian, Bill Cobbs (Oz the Great and Powerful) as Orvis, Forest Whitaker (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Amos, Bruce A. Young (Jurassic Park III) as Moselle, and the film featured real pool players like Grady Matthews, Keith McCready, and Steve Mizerak.
The thing that I loved about this film is that while it sort of takes a cue from the first film, it definitely carves it’s own path as it differentiates itself from the original. For one, there is a little more nudity in this film than there was in the original thanks to a scene with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. The real difference between this film and the other film is that Fast Eddie just didn’t know when to quit and he didn’t realize what he had in front of him until it was too late. In this film, he is trying to teach Vincent that you don’t always show your stuff right from the get go, but that will bite him in the you know what later. That is the difference between the two films as far as story is concerned and I like that about this film. The pool scenes were incredible as usual, but they sped up a lot of the action too for time purposes. Tom Cruise was great as this kid who thinks he’s all that, but is really insecure inside when it boils down to it and Mastrantonio is great as the girl who pulls the strings on him. I loved the ending of the film because they leave it open ended where you sort of figure out for yourself who may have won that match. This was an example of a film that may have taken years to do, but they did it right. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
I can’t believe that out 52 Sundays in year that after today there is only one Sunday left in the whole entire year. So for this week’s Sunday At The Classics, I decided to check out the pool hall classic from Paul Newman (Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid) in The Hustler. Fast Eddie Felson (Newman) is one of the best pool hall hustlers around that is looking for that match up that could make him the big money. One match with the best around in Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) sends Eddie into a downward spiral that leaves him broke with no manager. A chance meeting with a girl (Piper Laurie) at the bus station begins to show him that there is more to life then just winning and losing and Eddie then begins his comeback. The film also stars George C. Scott (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) as Bert Gordon, Myron McCormick (The Fight For Life) as Charlie, Murray Hamilton (Jaws) as Findley, Michael Constantine (My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2) as Big John, Stefan Gierasch (High Plains Drifter) as Preacher, Jake LaMotta (Raging Bull) as Bartender, Vincent Gardenia (Little Shop Of Horrors) as Bartender, and the film was directed by Robert Rossen (The Roaring Twenties).
There is definitely a reason why this is a must see film and a absolute classic. The sequence in the beginning of the film between Fast Eddie and Minnesota Fats was absolutely amazing and it kept you hooked because you wanted to see who would quit first. The relationship between Piper Laurie’s character Sarah and Fast Eddie was also a fascinating aspect of the film because they were theoretically not made for each other, but then again maybe they were. There’s the old adage that women love the bad boys and maybe she was experiencing that, but she was such a benefit for him more than he was for her. The acting in the film was phenomenal and you have to love the camera work in this film because the shots always looked so full and they painted the various settings just right. You felt like you were in an actual dingy smoke infested pool hall the whole time you were watching. In a way in this film, you were hopeful of Eddie, but he could definitely frustrate you which is why I loved the story of the film. They had all the right conflicts and sub plots to keep you hooked from beginning to end. One of the other things I loved about this film is the very end during the credit sequence when everyone except George C. Scott leaves the pool hall by the end of the credits. You’ll find out why for yourself, but I thought it was poetic justice. I need to check out The Color Of Money (which is the sequel), but give this one a watch while you are it. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
As we close in on the end of our mission, there are films that are out there that are on my must see list and that is certainly true in regards to today’s film. One of the best actors to come out of the late 20TH century and well in the 21ST is Daniel Day-Lewis (The Crucible) and for today’s film we are watching There Will Be Blood which is based off of the book Oil! by Upton Sinclair. Daniel Plainview (Lewis) is a semi successful oil prospector who is looking for that piece of the pie that will set him for life. One day a young man by the name of Paul Sunday (Paul Dano) gives up some information on oil in California and it kicks off this story of family, religion, hatred, oil, and madness. The film also stars Paul F. Tompkins (Hell And Back) as Prescott, Dillon Freasier as H.W. Plainview, Ciaran Hinds (Bleed For This) as Fletcher, David Willis (The Good German) as Abel Sunday, Sydney McCallister as Mary Sunday, Kevin J. O’Connor (Peggy Sue Got Married) as Henry, David Warshofsky (Now You See Me) as H.M. Tilford, Hans Howes (Death Warrant) as Bandy, Russell Harvard (The Hammer) as Adult H.W., and the film was directed by aul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights).
Right from beginning to end, Daniel Day-Lewis is intense and he commands the screen like any great star. Can you believe that right now he has only 29 films to his credit? He’s definitely one of those actors that doesn’t need to star in five films a year which means he chooses his roles and this was made for him. He was definitely the star of the film, but he’s not the only one who shined in the film. Paul Dano at first is a little confusing because he is first known as Paul Sunday, but then all of a sudden he is known as Eli Sunday. I didn’t realize that he was playing two different characters, but his performance as an early version of a evangelist was brilliant. It’s a constant war between Eli and Daniel throughout the film, but it all boils down to greed on both their parts. The film was excellently written as the story flows nicely, but there’s more than just oil. There’s the family angle between Daniel and his son H.W. that is a big factor as well. One of the coolest scenes in the film is the oil well that burns up in flames which could have been looked at as a disaster, but is ultimately a blessing. If you want to see what acting is all about then you go on to Netflix and you check out this because class is in session and Day-Lewis is ready to teach. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
The mid to late 1990’s was an interesting time in cinema as the LGBT era of cinema was starting to happen. I will however admit that To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar was not the first film to feature actors in drag, but it’s the film I chose for today. After tying for first place in the New York Drag Queen contest, Noxeema Jackson (Wesley Snipes) and Vida Boheme (Patrick Swayze) win a trip to Hollywood to compete in an even larger competition. However the two cannot travel by plane because Vida convinces Noxeema to bring along the inexperienced Chi Chi Rodriguez (John Leguizamo). While driving on the road, their car breaks down in a small town and they are stuck together with the locals until the car is fixed. However, they’ll soon figure out that they’ll make just as much of a difference in their lives as the townsfolk do on them. The film also stars Chris Penn (Rumble Fish) as Sheriff Dollard, Stockard Channing (Grease) as Carol-Ann, Blythe Danner (Meet The Parents) as Beatrice, Jason London (Dazed And Confused) as Bobby Ray, Arliss Howard (The Lost World: Jurassic Park) as Virgil, Alice Drummond (Doubt) as Clara, Jennifer Milmore (Friends) as Bobby Lee, Julie Newmar (Batman 1966) as herself, and the film was directed by Beeban Kidron (Used People).
The funny thing about this film is that all three of them play really great women and better than the women in the film itself. All three of them were absolutely terrific in this over the top lesson in acceptance cause that is what it’s really about. The whole film was about being accepted for who they felt they really were and isn’t that the battle going still to this day? The film may not have been ahead of it’s time, but it spoke some serious lessons and reminds us of how long the struggle has been going on for them. The best part is at the end when the town accepts them and protects them or at least we think they accepted them. I say that because most of them when it came down to it were like we have always known who you really were, but they accepted them. Patrick Swayze looked great as a drag queen while John Leguizamo could have probably passed as a real woman, and Wesley Snipes just looked like Serena Williams. It was great to see Robin Williams in the beginning of the film and maybe this foreshadowed his upcoming role in The Birdcage. The cinematography was pretty good and I liked the story enough to keep me hooked for the whole film. I definitely recommend this film for anyone who is a fan of the three and especially Patrick Swayze because he took every role serious. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.