Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010: Oliver & Company

This was one of my favorite Disney movies from the first time I saw it. "Oliver Twist" was one of my favorite stories when I was a kid, so of course I gobbled this movie up because it adapted a lot of elements from the Dickens story, plus it had a cute little kitten and some cute dogs. I loved animals, too, so I was sold. When I started building up my Disney movie collection last year, this is one of the first movies I picked up, and I'm happy to see that it's just as much fun as I remember.

I actually teared up a little at the beginning. I hate to see stray kittens get hurt or mistreated. I rescued my cat from being a stray, so I have a soft spot for strays. I tried to cuddle her while these scenes were onscreen, but she was trying to sleep, so she wasn't very receptive to my love. I even found that I liked the opening song of the movie, especially the part that says "Keep your dream alive, dreaming's still how the strong survive, once upon a time in New York City." I love it. That would fit right into RENT, don't you think?

I am a geek.

Anyway, the song "Savoir Faire" is great too, and it's still worth the price of admission here (it's still stuck in my head while I write this) and I still love seeing how the characters stick up for each other and fight for each other (plus this was back when Disney villains were still allowed to be evil and die, which makes the whole "good and evil" idea more prevalent). This was a fun little movie and I'm glad to have it in my collection again. It's just what I needed on this dreary day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010: Sleeping Beauty

When I was a kid, I wasn't allowed to watch this movie. No really. My mom used her student loan money to buy me and my brother some Disney storybooks, and we had the Sleeping Beauty book, but she took it away from us because she said it was "gory" and "scary." This was back in the olden days of yore before DVD players, back before most people had VHS players, so when we wanted to watch movies, we had to go to the theater, and they were showing a lot of the older Disney movies in matinées on the weekends (which is how I saw "Snow White" and "The Aristocats" in theaters) but my mom wouldn't take us to see Sleeping Beauty, so I never got to see it as a kid. I was excited to watch it today, but also kind of leery that it wouldn't live up to my excitement.

I'm glad to report that Disney magic strikes again. This movie is a little slow and there are some quirks that come with watching an older animated feature (check out the background sometime, it stays still while only the main characters move around, because back then all the animation was done by hand) but other than that, this is a cool little fairy tale and it's pretty well told. A baby princess is blessed by three good fairies on the day of her birth, but the evil fairy (who is actually pretty fucking scary, even by today's standards...my mom was kind of right) curses the baby with death on her sixteenth birthday. The good fairies manage to change the curse from "death" to "peaceful sleep until she is kissed by her true love," but they still try to hatch a complicated plan to protect the princess which of course backfires.

I have to say, I kind of like the princess in this movie. she's feisty and she has a personality. I like the Prince, too. He's willing to defy his father's kingdom to go after the one he loves, if necessary, and when he finds out there's all this magical shit surrounding his true love, he doesn't freak out, he just does what he has to do to rescue her. The three good fairies are pretty cute too, and I liked watching them interact (one particular fight about the color of the princess's wedding dress is especially funny).

I'm glad that this movie is as good as I'd hoped it would be. I'm also glad that I finally got to watch it! It does end up being kind of creepy (seriously, Maleficent might be the most evil Disney villain I've ever seen) but I don't think I'd deprive my kids the fun of watching this movie.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 8, 2010: Fame (1980)

When the new redux of the movie "Fame" was announced, I decided to revisit the original, only I just got around to watching it. It's choppier than I remember (I was probably so caught up in the story and the singing and dancing when I was a kid that I didn't notice any of the flaws) but I still love it. I hear that the remake wasn't anything special, so we'll see when the DVD comes out, I guess.

One thing that the original does very well is have characters deliver monologues that are integrated into the story so well that you almost don't notice that you're listening to a monologue until the scene is over. Typically, I'd be thinking "Jesus, shut up already" but these were well done and they let me get to know the characters better. One in particular has this blonde girl sitting in some kind of doctor's office talking about her future, and you don't realize what's going on in the scene until the end. That impressed me (I won't give it away though, because it's one of the best moments in the movie). I'm glad I finally watched this movie.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

January 2, 2010: S.K.I.N.S.

This is another low-budget little indie movie with shaky-cam footage and a home-movie vibe about it. this one is also supposed to be amateur video footage, this time featuring interviews with members of a support group for serial killers, known as "Serial Killers in Need of Support" (S.K.I.N.S. for short). If you've seen the movies Head Case and The Ritual (click the titles to read my reviews) then you should check this out as well, because this movie continues the story of those two movies. It's kind of like watching the end Credits for the movie "Wild Things," you get to see what's happening behind the scenes of those movies and fill in the blanks and understand the events better. It's like a whole little world created by these three films, and it's a creepy world, where everyone I meet could be a serial killer and I'm never going to leave my house again. Watch this movie and never look at your neighbors the same way again.

January 1, 2010: Paranormal Activity

Typically, movies like this don't live up to the hype for me. I mean, everyone went on about how scary "The Blair Witch Project" was, but then when I saw it, the movie bored me to tears. I mean, the story was ok, and when we sat around discussing just the story on a sleepover one night, it worked in a campfire story kind of way, but for me it lost something on film.

"Paranormal Activity" isn't like that. At first, when I was watching the guy and his girlfriend bicker and make out and be lovey-dovey I was a little bored, but it definitely hooked me and kept my interest. The people in this movie aren't "acting." They look and talk like real people. The woman isn't a size negative two, and the guy is a little gawky and awkward, and in shorty, they looked like real people. The movie actually takes time to EXPLAIN why they stay in the house instead of just moving, and up until the last half hour, we can see that while the things that have happened are creepy, they just don't seem creepy to justify moving out of a new house, especially when you're a college student and a day trader who are just starting out in life. I mean, the entire movie takes place over a three-week period, so there's not time to really stop and consider what you're doing when things are happening so fast, and I appreciated that I could relate to these people enough not to hate them for being so stupid.

The ending of this movie FREAKED me out. I mean that. TEARS came to my eyes. that's how scared I was. And later, sitting up that night unable to sleep, I actually rocked back and forth and sang hymns in order to get my mind off the movie. That impresses me. It's rare for a movie to affect me like this, and I'm glad this one did, because I have mad respect for it because of that.


Hello all. I intend to use this blog to keep track of my movie watching for the year 2010. I liked being able to keep track of my horror watching for the month of October, so I'm going to try that with this blog for the entire year. We'll see how far I go, but it should be an interesting ride, whatever happens, no?