shaun

shaunline… dotcom

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.”
— Jim Henson

Tag: movies

See all tags

All the Movies I Saw in 2015

For the 4th straight year, I tweeted about All the Movies I Saw™ in the previous 365 days. As always, they’re listed in the order I saw them. 97 tweets for 97 movies. Counting by month, that’s 9, 12, 8, 9, 12, 8, 9, 4, 2, 4, 7, 13. Of these 97 movies, 38 were from 2015, 21 were from 2014 and the rest spanned from 1944 to 2013. 77 of these 97 I saw for the first time. I saw one movie twice in 2015, but as good as it was, I will only tweet once about Inside Out. How I Watched: 34 in theater, 47 on DVD/Blu-Ray, 12 streamed/DL’d, 4 on TV. What I Watched: 78 live action, 5 animated, 13 docs.

Continue →

Some 2014 movies

All the Movies I Saw in 2014

Since 2012, I tweet “reviews” of all the movies I saw in the previous year. Here, collected, are all 80 of those tweets for 2014. As always, they’re listed in the order I saw them. 80 tweets for 80 movies. Counting by month, that’s 8, 10, 7, 5, 10, 7, 3, 6, 2, 2, 8, 12. Of these 80 movies, 38 were from 2014, 20 were from 2013 and the rest spanned from 1936 to 2012. 73 of these 80 I saw for the first time. Two movies I saw for the first time in 2014 I actually saw again in 2014, but I’ll only mention Interstellar & They Came Together once. Finally, How I Watched: 33 in theater, 35 on DVD/Blu-Ray, 11 streamed/DL’d, 1 on TV & What I Watched: 46 dramas, 24 comedies, 10 docs.

Continue →

All the Movies I Saw in 2013

Ok, this is going to be a long day. Are you ready? Every 5 min, I’ll tweet one of the Movies I Saw in 2013. But first, some fun facts… I’ll be listing these in the order I saw them. Here’s the number of movies I saw each month: 13, 5, 3, 7, 12, 3, 8, 4, 5, 5, 8, 19 ( = 92). Of the 92 movies I saw, 35 were released in 2013 and 24 were from 2012, while the other 33 came from years as new as 2011 and old as 1941. I only went to the movie theater 21 times. The other 71 were rented, streamed, borrowed or owned. I never watched one movie on TV. Only 6 of the movies I saw I’d seen at least once before. 2 of these I’ve seen more than 10 times each. Only 1 of them is a Christmas film.

Continue →

All the Movies I Saw in 2012

It’s 10:06am and I’m going to spend a chunk of the rest of today tweeting about the 75 movies I saw in 2012. Hope you don’t mind. #herewego No rankings here, just alphabetical order. Mostly because > 1/2 the movies are not from 2012. Cross-year rankings would be hard. #okletsgo

Continue →

Watchmen

Watchmen

In recent memory, I cannot recall having a more complicated reaction to a movie than I did with Watchmen, the new blockbuster superhero extravaganza from director Zack Snyder. On the one hand, I thought it was pretty great to the last drop. On the other, it left me wondering why it wasn’t better. I guess that’s a logical reaction, because I felt the same way when I read the famed “graphic novel” (I hate that term) by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons last year.

Continue →

Best Movies of 2007

I’m getting to my Best Movies list a lot earlier this year. I did a much better job in 2007 actually seeing things in the theaters and on DVD as soon as they came out, so this list is coming out as early as I have ever had the chance to make it. There are still a few “great” movies from last year that I haven’t seen (American Gangster, La Vie en Rose, 12:08 East of Bucharest and others), so I reserve the right to update this later. For now, though, this is the definitive list. As always, I begin with my ten runners-up, in alphabetical order:

Continue →

Cloverfield

Though he neither wrote nor directed it, producer J.J. Abrams’s stamp is all over Cloverfield, the newest entry in the monster movie annals. From the brilliant trailer and advertising campaign that began, simply, with 1-18-08, Abrams has fashioned Cloverfield as a near-perfect example of what he calls “The Mystery Box.”

Continue →

No Country for Old Men

Wendell bites back a smile. Sheriff Bell gazes at him over his glasses for a long beat, deadpan. “...That’s all right. I laugh myself sometimes.” He goes back to the paper. “...There ain’t a whole lot else you can do.”

This scene, from No Country for Old Men, the Coen brothers’ best film since Fargo, struck me as the perfect description for this brilliant, bleak, violent, challenging movie based on the book of the same name by Cormac McCarthy. In its own little way, this scene, and that line by Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is the best metaphor for a story of inexplicable and endless violence. How are we supposed to cope? Sometimes, as I often hear myself saying, in the face of such inhumanity, laughter is your only defense.

Continue →

Juno

I feel like you don’t have to love a movie to deem it great, but when you do, it becomes that much more impactive. Last week I saw Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, an remarkable, dark family drama that in the end leaves you cold. There’s a distance between you and the characters, both for your own sanity, and because the story never really lets you know these people.

Tonight though, tonight I saw a movie I loved. I loved it before I saw it, based only on the snippets of story I had seen and read about, and especially because of the people involved. By the time the brilliant title sequence began, with its elegantly unassuming animation by Shadowplay Studio and perfect soundtrack, these names which I came to see popping up here and there on screen, it confirmed my hopes. In that moment, I knew when it was all over I would be happy. It is a testament, then, to Juno, that it was even better than I thought it would be.

Continue →

Top 13 Movies of 2006

You read that right: I’m back again one year later to recap my list of last year’s best movies. But first, the ten runners-up, in alphabetical order:

Bubble, Cars, Casino Royal, Flags of Our Fathers, The Good German, The Good Shepherd, Marie Antoinette, A Scanner Darkly, The Science of Sleep, Wordplay

Continue →

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

“You’ve got half an hour to get to heaven, before the devil knows you’re dead.” So begins the perfectly titled new film by legendary director Sidney Lumet. Told in fractured time, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead is a story of two monumentally broken brothers and a simple robbery gone very, very bad. Lumet fans—and Coen fans, for that matter—may find this initial setup a tad too familiar, but I assure you, this is nothing like Dog Day Afternoon or Fargo, though it certainly reaches the lofty heights of those crime classics.

Continue →

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

How do you make a movie about censorship in the movie industry? Very carefully. Director Kirby Dick brilliantly exposes the hypocrisy behind Jack Valenti’s film ratings board in this thought provoking documentary.

Continue →

Top 13 Movies of 2005

2006 has nearly passed, so it’s about time I get around to posting my best of 2005. No, that’s not a typo. I just don’t see as many movies in the theater as I used to. So here, better late than never, is my top 13 list. It’s an eclectic list as usual, filled with blockbuster extravaganzas that actually delivered right along side smaller, more intimate fare.

First, the ten runners-up (listed in alphabetical order): The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Batman Begins, Broken Flowers, Cinderella Man, King Kong, March of the Penguins, Me and You and Everyone We Know, The Squid & the Whale, Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Where-Rabbit, Wedding Crashers

Continue →

Murderball

To call this an inspirational story would be an injustice of sorts to the people/athletes featured in the movie. Murderball, as Team USA spokesman Mark Zupan might tell you, is not a mushy feel good story about handicapped people finding success. It is a portrait of unique personalities and stories that make up the world of quad rugby, a sport that just so happens to be played in wheel chairs.

Continue →

King Kong

By now everyone knows the story: Peter Jackson, as a young New Zealand boy, sees 1933’s King Kong on television, and from that moment is driven to become a filmmaker. I myself have never seen the entirety of the original Kong (though it’s high on my Netflix queue at the moment), so I was going into the theater with the same fresh eyes Peter Jackson had all those years ago. The fact that I didn’t come out quite as inspired as Jackson cannot dampen my sincere enjoyment of this amazing spectacle of moviemaking.

Continue →

The Island

The first movie directed by Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys) I ever saw willingly, The Island drew me in on the merits of its two stars, Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. As it turns out, I should’ve stuck to my instincts—and Bay should be shipped off to the “Island” for this waste of star power, millions of dollars, and theater space.

Continue →

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

I watched this the other night, just a couple of weeks after I saw (and panned) the gaudy remake with Johnny Depp. Strangely, the original, while warmer and filled with less artifice, made me appreciate the new one more than I had upon first viewing. Wonka loses points for deviating often from the original story, but gains a lot from the performances of the two young girls, Denise Nickerson (Violet) and Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca), and Gene Wilder as the titular candy icon.

Continue →

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Every once in a while I like to see a completely forgettable “cute” movie. It’s like food: sure you could have prime rib all the time, but every once in a while it’s great to have some meatloaf. I chose this ground beef over so many other similar options for its young stars: America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves), Alexis Bleidel (Gilmore Girls) and Amber Tamblyn (Joan of Arcadia). Besides, I heard it was actually pretty good, even if you weren’t a twelve-year-old girl. After watching the movie last week, I submit that it’s an enjoyable little movie for everyone, even adult males (and not just for the eye candy).

Continue →

March of the Penguins

I love penguins, always have. They’re fuzzy, regal, cute, cuddly, birdy and well-dressed. Being a penguiphile (made that word up just now), I’m obviously a bit late on the bandwagon for this movie, not only one of the surprise hits of the summer, but one of the biggest documentaries of all time. On the surface, this is nothing more than a feature-length National Geographic special, but unlike those distant, observatory “educational” docs, March of the Penguins rises to the level of great movie because of one thing: storytelling.

Continue →

Of Penguins and Men

In this accompanying documentary to the surprise megahit of 2005 March of the Penguins, we see the difficulty it took to make the marvelous feature-length doc through the eyes of cinematographer Jerome Maison. While not quite as affecting as March, Maison’s video journal of sorts gives a fascinating, often more personal look into the lives of the penguins and filmmakers during this long winter.

Continue →

Fantastic Four

For all the recent successes in comic book adaptation (Batman Begins, Sin City, and the Spider-Man & X-Men franchises), there have certainly been a few clunkers. What made these critical and commercial hits where others (Daredevil, The Hulk, Elektra) have failed? Besides the obvious elements of casting and effects, the true key to making a blockbuster comic-book movie is having a director who is A) highly skilled in his craft and B) uniquely suited to and driven by the source material. Hulk director Ang Lee fits into category A, but not B. Daredevil‘s Mark Steven Johnson is a B, but not an A. Unfortunately for fans of Marvel’s Fantastic Four, FF director Tim Story (Barbershop) is neither A nor B. Despite that failing, and despite a hokey and occasionally lazy screenplay, Fantastic Four is, as some would have you believe, certainly not the worst comic book adaptation I’ve ever seen.

Continue →

The Ice Harvest

I had some hopes (not high, but some) for this movie, considering the players: starring John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton, directed by Harold Ramis. I knew going in that the reviews were generally favorable, and I was expecting a wild black comedy in the vein of Cusack’s Grosse Pointe Blank or even Billy Bob Thornton’s Bandits. The movie, stuck between farce and noir, was mildly amusing and slightly mysterious, but never enough of one or the other.

Continue →

Finding Neverland

I finally got around to seeing this movie on dvd, and while it doesn’t rank in my top 5 like it did at the Oscars last year, this is an affecting and occasionally inspiring movie about creativity, hope and vitality in the face of, well, life. The first (and still best) Johnny Depp/Freddie Highmore collaboration utilizes the standard Miramax biopic formula to tell the story of J.M. Barrie, but the actors and director Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball) keep it from succumbing to overt tear-jerker status.

Continue →

Top 13 Movies of 2004

2005 is almost over, so I figured I could finally publish my list of the top 13 movies of last year. Why 13? Because 10 is played out, and 13 is my number of choice. Why now? Because in this day and age, with movie theaters filled with more ads than television, more annoying crowds than a football game, topped off by escalating ticket prices, can you blame a guy for waiting 3-4 months for DVDs to come out? So without further adieu, here’s my list of the Top 13 Movies of 2004. Can you guess what #1 is?

Continue →

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Based on the fourth book in the Harry Potter series, Goblet of Fire had a difficult task from the beginning. The book was huge—literally and figuratively. Goblet was, up to that point, by far the largest in terms of pages and scope. For the first time we are truly introduced to the larger wizarding world in which Harry lives, and the book juggles numerous plots: the Tri-Wizard Tournament, Hermione’s SPEW, boy/girl tangles, the increasing menace of the Malfoy family, the timidity of the Ministry of Magic, and most importantly, the impending return of He Who Must Not Be Named.

Continue →

War of the Worlds

The last time Spielberg did a blockbuster/serious double header was 1993, which brought us the incredibly entertaining Jurassic Park and the incredibly moving Schindler’s List This year’s double dip? War of the Worlds and the upcoming Munich. One can only hope that the second of these two will fulfill that legacy, because this one sure didn’t. It’s funny. I was really excited about seeing this movie in May/June. Then Tom Cruise went on Oprah, acted like a total loon, and I remembered why I can’t stand him. Which probably explains why I’m just seeing this movie now, on dvd, months later.

Continue →

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Let me start with a disclaimer: I have never seen more than 5 minutes of the Gene Wilder-starring Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I have never read any of Roald Dahl’s books about Charlie or Willy. I do love Dahl, however, and have read most of his other books, and seen most of the other movies based on his work. That being said, I absolutely was bored to death with Tim Burton’s “re-imagining” of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Continue →

Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit

The second feature-length movie from Nick Park’s Aardman studio, Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a delightful bit of entertainment, even if it doesn’t live up to the promise of the original award-winning Wallace and Gromit shorts.

Continue →

Before Sunrise/Before Sunset

The more I explore the work of writer/director Richard Linklater, the more I realize what a unique talent he is. A Texas slacker with a penchant for long tangential dialogue, he’s not afraid to let his characters and his words lead the action in his films. So after having seen and loved Dazed and Confused, Waking Life, Slacker and School of Rock, I finally got around to seeing Before Sunrise recently. Thanks to Netflix, I was able to make it a double feature by viewing the sequel Before Sunset immediately afterward. I’ll admit right off it’s a bit odd watching these two films back-to-back. They were filmed nine years apart, and if I had seen the first all those years ago, I would have probably thought a sequel would be a bit of a cop out and cheapen the power of the original. But I would have been wrong.

Continue →

Forecasting the Portable Media Center

I was headed out yesterday for a family Easter dinner and unfortunately had to leave right as the Michigan State/Kentucky game was headed to the second overtime.
What to do? Well, seeing how I didn’t have to drive, I brought along my handheld
TV.(It’s a nice little 2-inch Casio color screen, with VHF/UHF receivers. I think it cost about 100 bucks). On the way home four hours later, I realized I didn’t tape (yes, tape, not Tivo–unfortunately)
Arrested Development. Easy fix–turn on the little telly and watch me some
comedy.


All this got me thinking about portable media centers, the PSP, the planned Tivo To Go and the future of television. Given what has happened to music, it is clear that video will be headed towards portability as well, even if Steve Jobs is right when he says video and gaming are “foreground” activities. So who is going to make that killer app and/or killer device that will carry the concept into the future like the iPod did for music? The future rests on the shoulders of those who can find that perfect union of content, delivery and device.

Continue →

Frank Miller's Sin City

Adaptations are a funny thing. As I’m sure Charlie Kaufman would share if asked, they’re not easy. Stray too far from the source material and you risk alienating core fans while also losing what made the previous edition work so well. Slavish devotion to the original, on the otherhand, can lead to stiff storytelling and lack of visual identity. Sin City, adapted from the Dark Horse comic book–excuse me, graphic novel–series by Frank Miller and co-written and directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez, flaunts all of these conventions. Rodriguez hooked Miller into the “unfilmable” adaptation by hyping his devout faithfulness to the work.

Continue →