Monday, April 27, 2015

The Best Movies for Each Letter of the Alphabet – Part 1: A to H, Plus Numbers

Note: this was too long to do in a single post.  I will break this up into three pieces and then include links to each one as I go along.

From time to time I’ve seen people attempt to name what they feel are the best films that happen to start with each letter of the alphabet.  (If you have done this, let me know and I will include a link to your post when I am done.)  I find these interesting to read, but I had never tackled it myself because I have an aversion to trying to rank “the greatest ever”.  That is mostly due to the fact that I may have a different choice a month later simply because I am in a different mood.

It’s always been in the back of my mind, though, and it’s not as if this is set in stone.  I’ve done posts on the Top 10 films every year I’ve been running this site.  And I think for all of these I have later seen at least one movie that would have made my Top 10 if I had seen it before I had made those posts.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

If You Could Own Any One Object from Any Movie What Would It Be?

To be clear, I am not talking about a movie prop, like the ruby red slippers Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz, or the Maltese falcon from the movie of the same name.  No, I’m talking about what if some object from a movie could really exist and you could be the one to own it.  For instance, how about a light saber from Star Wars, the laws of physics be damned.

Maybe you’re more of a Star Trek fan and would like to have a phaser or transporter.  How about the Green Destiny sword from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?  Or Excalibur?  Or the One Ring from The Lord of the Rings?  Or Aladdin’s Lamp?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Movie – Interstellar (2014)

If you go to IMDB.com you will find Christopher Nolan’s films to be rated far beyond all reason.  There is actually a group of people who tirelessly work through thousands of accounts they have set up to rank all his movies as high as possible (and to rank competing films such as The Avengers as low as possible).  The result is that seven of the eight films he has directed since hitting the public consciousness with Memento (2000) are not only in the IMDB Top 250 list, six of them are in the Top 100, and three of them are in the Top 25, including Interstellar at #23.  While Interstellar is far from being the 23rd best movie ever made, it is good enough to take the last spot on my Top 10 of 2014 list.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Movie – The One I Love (2014)

I saw the film The One I Love just before finalizing my Top 10 Films of 2014 list.  I’m glad I did because this movie ended up making it onto it.  It’s another small independent film starring Mark Duplass.  In recent years I’ve come to keep an eye out for his movies that fall into this demographic because he seems to be able to pick films that are better than average (i.e. 2012’s Safety Not Guaranteed, 2011’s Your Sister’s Sister.)  In this case the Netflix Instant description didn’t exactly sound that interesting, but I gave it a try anyway just on faith.  I was glad I did.  This is a film that went in completely unexpected directions.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Steve’s Selections #4 – Jesus Camp (2006)

Jesus Camp is a documentary about how fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. ensure they get their message to as wide a range of children as possible.  As Aristotle wrote, “Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man.”  The primary adult focused on in this movie is a firm believer in this.  She draws parallels with how some Muslims will train children from the time they are young to groom them to be suicide bombers and how guerillas in Africa will turn children into soldiers.  From her perspective, she is trying to turn these children into the future generation that will ensure the country “returns” to the Christian values she believes it has gone away from.  The result is a sometimes disturbing look at the methods used.  Steve called it one of the scariest documentaries he had ever seen.

Friday, April 10, 2015

TV and Book – Game of Thrones Season 4

The fourth season of Game of Thrones is based on the last third of the novel A Storm of Swords, as well as parts of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons – the third, fourth, and fifth books in the ongoing series titled A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.  Please note that this review of the fourth TV season and fourth book contains spoilers for the first three TV seasons and books.  If you have never seen this show and would like a spoiler-free overview of what it is about and why you might want to watch it, please read my review of the first season and book here.  My reviews of the second season and book can be found here and the third season and book here.

Because the show and the books are no longer in sync with each other, I will only be discussing those parts of books 4 and 5 that were part of the show.  The reason for this situation is that the producers wanted to end Season 3 with the Red Wedding and the fallout from it.  They wanted to keep the further events of book 3 for this season.  Unfortunately, not all characters have enough book 3 plot left to last an entire season without dipping into their future storylines. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Movie – Nightcrawler (2014)

When the Oscar nominations were announced in January the film Nightcrawler was one that I would sometimes hear mentioned as having been “robbed” (although it did get one nomination for Best Original Screenplay).  Of course, every year there are some films that have passionate supporters that feel exactly the same way when their personal favorite does not get nominated so I didn’t pay too much attention to that.  I do try to see as many Oscar nominated films as I can.  And I did make a mental note to see this movie before doing my Top 10 Films of 2014 list, just in case its supporters were onto something.  I am glad I did because this did make my Top 10.  Nightcrawler turned out to be a great movie not just for its story, but also for the lead performance of Jake Gyllenhaal.