Sunday, November 05, 2006

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Main Menu: Archives (A-Z)

Agnes of God
Amelie
Amityville Horror, The (2005)
Apostle, The
Babette's Feast
Basic
Batman Begins
Benchwarmers, The
Big Fish
Big Night
Blade: Trinity
Blue Velvet
Boondock Saints, The
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Bridges of Madison County, The
Brokeback Mountain
Broken Flowers
Bruce Almighty
Capote
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Chicago
Chocolat (2000)
Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman
Christmas with the Kranks
Cinema Paradiso
City of God
Civil Action, A
Closer
Contact
Copper Mountain (A Club Med Experience)
Crash
Da Vinci Code, The
Dave Chappelle's Block Party
Day After Tomorrow, The
Departed, The
Derailed
Diner
Dirty Pretty Things
Dogma
Donnie Darko
Eat Drink Man Woman
Eating
Eight Below
11:14
Eloise: Little Miss Christmas (DVD)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Famine Within, The
Fever Pitch
Finding Neverland
Fisher King, The
Flightplan
Flight 93
Forgotten, The
40-Year-Old Virgin, The
Freddy vs. Jason
Gattaca
Girl Next Door, The
Godfather, The
Godfather Part II, The
Grudge, The
Guess Who
Happenstance
Happy Elf, The
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
Hide and Seek
High Tension
Hitch
Hostage
Incredibles, The
Inherit the Wind
Jack Frost (1997)
Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman
Kicking and Screaming
King Kong (2005)
Kundun
Last Temptation of Christ, The
Leaving Las Vegas
Life of David Gale, The
Like Water for Chocolate
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
Lost in Translation
Maria Full of Grace
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Matchstick Men
Matrix Reloaded, The
Matrix Revolutions, The
Me, Eloise (DVD)
Meet the Fockers
Metropolis
Milagro Beanfield War, The
Million Dollar Baby
Mindwalk
Mulholland Drive
My Dinner with Andre
North by Northwest
Omen, The
Panic Room
Passion of the Christ, The
Phantom of the Opera, The (1925)
Phantom of the Opera, The (2004)
Pi
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Princess Bride, The
Prophecy, The
Raging Bull
Rapture, The
Rear Window
Red Eye
Rent
Reservoir Dogs
Rocky Horror Picture Show, The
Saw
Saw II
Saw III
Say Amen, Somebody
Seabiscuit
Secretary
Serendipity
Sideways
Sin City
Spider-Man
Super Size Me
S.W.A.T.
Surviving Christmas
Talladega Nights
Tampopo
Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines
13 Going On 30
This Divided State
This Is Spinal Tap
12 Monkeys
25th Hour
2001: A Space Odyssey
United 93
Upside of Anger, The
Village, The
Wages of Fear
Walk the Line
War of the Worlds
Warriors, The
Wedding Crashers
When We Were Kings
White Noise
World Trade Center
X-Men: The Last Stand

Main Menu: Archives (Star Rating)

Below is a list of every film that I have ranked in terms of star rating. Within each category the films are listed in alphabetical order. This will serve as my "core carte du jour". Use this to click on the links to my full length film commentaries considering the list on the left is a little restricting. Also, this main archive page should provide you with a quick and easy means of viewing which films I revere and respect, and which ones I dislike and despise.


Four Star Films (****)

Adaptation
American Beauty
Back to the Future
Before Sunrise
Blue Velvet
Bonnie and Clyde
Boogie Nights
Braveheart
Cinema Paradiso
Citizen Kane
City of God
Clockwork Orange, A
Contact
Crash
Dead Man Walking
Deer Hunter, The
Die Hard
Donnie Darko
Finding Nemo
Finding Neverland
Forrest Gump
Godfather, The
Godfather Part II, The
Goodfellas
Groundhog Day
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
In the Bedroom
It's A Wonderful Life
Jaws
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Lost in Translation
Magnolia
Matrix, The
Memento
Metropolis
Million Dollar Baby
Minority Report
Monster
Mulholland Drive
North by Northwest
Passion of the Christ, The
Pianist, The
Platoon
**NEW** Princess Bride, The
Pulp Fiction
Raging Bull
Rear Window
Requiem for a Dream
Reservoir Dogs
Shawshank Redemption, The
Signs
Sin City
Stand By Me
Sting, The
Sweet Hereafter, The
Taxi Driver
This Is Spinal Tap
Titanic
21 Grams
2001: A Space Odyssey
Usual Suspects, The
Wages of Fear
West Side Story
When Harry Met Sally
Wild Bunch, The
Wizard of Oz, The



Three-and-One-Half Star Films (***1/2)

Airplane
Amelie
American Splendor
Apostle, The
Babette's Feast
Bad(der) Santa
Batman Begins
Being John Malkovich
Big Fish
Big Lebowski, The
Big Night
Blow
Blow Out
Blues Brothers, The
**NEW** Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Breakfast Club, The
Bridges of Madison County, The
Butterfly Effect, The
Capote
Christmas Story, A
Closer
Collateral
Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Dirty Pretty Things
Dreamers, The
Elephant
11:14
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Evil Dead, The
Exorcism of Emily Rose, The
Exotica
Fargo
Frankenstein (1931)
Friday Night Lights
Gattaca
Girl Next Door, The
Happenstance
Identity
Jerry Maguire
Jurassic Park
King Kong (2005)
Last of the Mohicans, The
Last Temptation of Christ, The
**NEW** Leaving Las Vegas
Legends of the Fall
Like Water for Chocolate
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
Maria Full of Grace
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Matchstick Men
Matrix Reloaded, The
Mean Creek
Mindwalk
Monster's Inc.
Mystic River
Napoleon Dynamite
Nightmare on Elm Street, A
Notebook, The
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Panic Room
Phantom of the Opera, The (1925)
Pi
Polar Express, The
Ray
Rock, The
Seven
Shrek
Sideways
Sixth Sense, The
Sliding Doors
Sound of Music, The
Speed
Spiderman 2
Tampopo
Terminator, The
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Training Day
12 Monkeys
United 93
Vanilla Sky
Walk the Line
Warriors, The
What About Bob?
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
World Trade Center
X2: X-Men United



Three Star Films (***)

American History X
American Psycho
Analyze This
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Back to the Future II
Backdraft
Birdcage, The
Black Hawk Down
Blade
Blade II
Boondock Saints, The
Bottle Rocket
Bourne Identity, The
Bridget Jones's Diary
Brokeback Mountain
Catch Me If You Can
Center Stage
Chicago
Chronicles of Narnia, The: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Civil Action, A
Cold Mountain
Constant Gardener, The
Cooler, The
Da Vinci Code, The
Dave Chappelle's Block Party
Diner
Dogma
Drumline
Duel
Eat Drink Man Woman
Emperor's New Groove, The
Enemy at the Gates
Escape From Alcatraz
Fahrenheit 9/11
Fever Pitch
Finding Forrester
Fisher King, The
Flight 93
40-Year-Old Virgin, The
Galaxy Quest
Gangs of New York
Good Girl, The
Goonies, The
Gorillas in the Mist
Grease
Great Escape, The
Grumpy Old Men
Happy Gilmore
**NEW** Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone
Hitch
Hope Floats
Hostage
**NEW** House of 1000 Corpses
House of Wax (2005)
How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days
I, Robot
In Good Company
In the Line of Fire
Incredibles, The
Inherit the Wind
Inside Man
Italian Job, The
Jacket, The
Kill Bill: Volume 1
Kingpin
Kinsey
Kundun
Life of David Gale, The
Magnificent Seven, The
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Match Point
Matrix Revolutions, The
Maverick
Meet the Parents
Narc
Novacaine
O' Brother, Where Art Thou?
Omen, The
Open Range
Out of Towners, The (1970)
Phone Booth
Pink Panther Strikes Again, The
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Poltergeist
Poseidon Adventure, The
Raising Arizona
Red Eye
Remember the Titans
Ring, The
River Runs Through It, A
Rocky Horror Picture Show, The
Rudy
Saw II
**NEW** Saw III
Say Amen, Somebody
School of Rock
Seabiscuit
See No Evil, Hear No Evil
Serendipity
Shrek 2
Sixteen Candles
Snatch
Spanglish
Still, We Believe: The Boston Red Sox Movie
Small Soldiers
Super Size Me
Swingers
Tears of the Sun
Teen Wolf
Terminal, The
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
13 Going On 30
This Divided State
Tombstone
Tootsie
28 Days Later
Unbreakable
Upside of Anger, The
Vera Drake
Virgin Suicides, The
War of the Worlds
Wedding Crashers
**NEW** When We Were Kings
White Christmas
Windtalkers
Witness
X-Men



Two-and-One-Half Star Films (**1/2)

About Schmidt
American Wedding
Analyze That
Bad Boys
Bad News Bears (2005)
Brewster's Millions (1945)
Broken Flowers
Cellular
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Chocolat (2000)
Christmas Vacation
Crow, The
Day After Tomorrow, The
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Dodgeball
8 Mile
Elf
Famine Within, The
Fan, The
Fatal Attraction
Firm, The
Flightplan
Frequency
Garden State
Great Outdoors, The
Houdini (1953)
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
High Tension
In the Cut
Island, The
Jerk, The
Just Married
Ladder 49
Lady and the Tramp
Life Aquatic, The
Longest Yard, The (2005)
Man on Fire
Mean Girls
Meet the Fockers
Milagro Beanfield War, The
Missing, The
Mona Lisa Smile
My Dinner with Andre
Ocean's Twelve
Old School
Open Water
Pay It Forward
Phantom of the Opera, The (2004)
Saw
Secret Lives of Dentists, The
Secretary
Spiderman
Starsky and Hutch
Swimming Pool
Taking Lives
Talladega Nights
Urban Cowboy
Weird Science
White Oleander
X-Men: The Last Stand



Two Star Films (**)

Amityville Horror, The (2005)
Anger Management
Blade: Trinity
Bringing Down the House
Bruce Almighty
Cheaper By the Dozen
Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman (DVD)
Derailed
Eight Below
Eloise: Little Miss Christmas (DVD)
Freddy vs. Jason
Fun with Dick and Jane
Ghosts of the Abyss
Grudge, The
Guess Who
Hunted, The
Indecent Proposal
Kicking and Screaming
Kissing Jessica Stein
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Mr. Deeds
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Rapture, The
Rent
Robin Hood Men in Tights
**NEW** Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The (2006)
25th Hour
Village, The


One-and-One-Half Star Films (*1/2)

Agnes of God
Bad Boys II
Children of the Corn
Comedian
Daddy Day Care
Darkness Falls
Eating
Eulogy
Forgotten, The
Half Light
Hide and Seek
Major League II
**NEW** Me, Eloise
S.W.A.T.
Tuxedo, The



One Star Films (*)

Basic
The Benchwarmers
Blue Thunder
Boogeyman
Dreamcatcher
Happy Elf, The
Porky's
Prime
Prophecy, The
Showtime
Soldier
Surviving Christmas
White Noise



One-Half Star Films (1/2)
Christmas With the Kranks
Jack Frost (1997)
Master of Disguise, The
Rollerball (2000)



Zero Star Films (zero stars)
Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman
Copper Mountain (A Club Med Experience)

Movie Review: When We Were Kings

U.S. Release Date: 10/25/96
Running Time: 1:29
Rated: PG (Images of violence, brief nudity, some language)
Cast: Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Don King, James Brown, B.B. King, Spike Lee, Norman Mailer, and George Plimpton

Director: Leon Gast
Producer: Leon Gast, Taylor Hackford & David Sonenberg
Studio: Gramercy Pictures


Posted by Picasa
When We Were Kings is a meaningful documentary that depicts the monumental bout, “The Rumble in the Jungle,” between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. This historic match was held on October 30, 1974 in Zaire, Africa, and not only did it hold great significance in the history of the sport, but it also served as the basis for a compelling and recommendable documentary.

In the fall of ’74, Don King, who initially coordinated the fight, promised Ali and Foreman each a gross sum of $5 million. After continually searching for a country to come forth and forfeit the $10 million fee, Zaire finally stepped up to the place. Despite the investment being a huge blow to Zaire’s economic income, the men and women of Zaire figured that housing the fight would help bring publicity to their African country. Thus, the fight was organized.

Both contenders were eager to prove themselves and earn the title of the "Heavyweight Champion of the World." The fighters, their trainers, the press, and a series of famous African American musicians (a.k.a. “The Assembly of the American Black Men”), were all flown to Zaire in order to promote the fight. From that point on, it was the experience and ego of Ali, versus the strength and youth of Foreman, that helped to etch this sports saga into the history books forever.

Second to the bout, it was the music that united and influenced the people (fighters included). The musical performances, from James Brown’s wild, screaming, soul singing and dancing, to B.B. King’s sweat dripping while he ever-so smoothly strummed on Lucille, heavily inspired both the African people and the Americans who had traveled there. Black, white, or otherwise, the beats and tunes provided feel-good music. Specifically, the sounds of the drum provided a sense of communication, and the rhythm and blues was heartfelt in not only the land of Zaire, but also everywhere else it was televised. The energy that was transported from the dancing and the percussive elements to the people was, without a doubt, the driving force that fed the fighters and the country.

In the film, Ali is depicted from his beginnings in the boxing world at age 18 (a cocky, talkative, but yet funny and charismatic fighting machine), to his post rumble days as an influential and almost political leader. Furthermore, George Foreman is illustrated as the heavy money favorite of the bout, and not only as a fierce, angry, and powerful contender, but also as the enemy.

Throughout the picture, it is obvious that the Africans wanted Muhammad Ali to win the fight—for he was a kind and typical man who wanted to emerge victorious for all of the right reasons. Ali was a hero to the Africans; he knew in his heart that he had to beat Forman for the people, not for himself.

When We Were Kings is a wonderful documentary filled with forceful information. It is a selection of cinema that everyone should watch. Its coverage of the bout, its result, and its effects are nearly as powerful as the two spirited sparrers. (*** out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Movie Review: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

U.S. Release Date: 11/3/06
Running Time: 1:24
Rated: R (pervasive strong crude and sexual content including graphic nudity, and language.)
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian, Luenell, Pamela Anderson

Director: Larry Charles
Producer: Monica Levinson, Dan Mazer
Screenplay: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer
Music: Erran Baron Cohen
Studio: 20th Century Fox


Posted by Picasa
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is quite possibly one of the most outrageously offensive and consistently hilarious films in recent years. In the spirit of a Christopher Guest “mockumentary,” Borat agitates, shocks, and places your funny bone in the palm of its hand. It is crude to the hilt, quick to the edge, and filled to the brim with humor. As long as you can stomach gratuitous male nudity, Borat is a highly recommended cinematic comedy.

British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen plays the part of Borat Sagdiyev, a Kazakhstani TV journalist. Set to explore the United States of America, Borat leaves his wife, neighbor, and village behind him to film a documentary about his American experience. With his director and sidekick, Azamat Bagatov (Ken Davitian), in toe, Borat ventures to New York City—only to catch an episode of “Baywatch” and fall in love with Pamela Anderson. From then on, Borat’s documentary for his fellow Kazaks is more of a quest for the big-breasted blonde than anything else.

Unlike Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is deserving of the long explanative title and funnier because of it. Surprisingly, Borat is packed with sophisticated humor and immensely immature pranks simultaneously. The film is anything but political correct; additionally, it is everything that shares a synonym with unique.

Borat’s most praiseworthy facet is the fact that it places every American stereotype on display and proves that somewhere, in some shape or form, there is a closet bigot in every America citizen. From a rodeo cowboy who comments on hanging homosexuals, to an anti-Semite who refuses to take food from Jews, Borat showcases the “cultural learnings” and the cultural fears of America. Virtually every American persona – including a frat boy, a prostitute, a feminist and an evangelist – comes in contact with Borat and expounds on his/her viewpoint.

The rationale behind Borat’s sense of humor is simply cultural ignorance. As a foreigner to the States, the Kazakhstani journalist is completely out of his element. Thereby, his misunderstandings, cultural clashes, and pure unawareness results in knee-slapping humor and shockingly hilarious absurdity.

The best way to describe Borat is like a crud-covered charm. On the outside, the film is dirty and in need of washing, but under the filth, there is something more: an objective, a message, and a memorable character with a great big misguided heart. Borat is one of the most ribbing and riotous films ever to appear on the silver screen. (***1/2 out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2006