_shmoo (_shmoo) wrote,

green destiny

Sorry for another long gap.

The Unforgiven - This is the 1960 western with Burt Lancaster and Audrey Hepburn (not to be confused with the similarly-named western from 1992). It's based on a novel by Alan Le May, who also wrote The Searchers. The film focuses on racism against Native Americans, and those believed to have Native American blood, which I think was an uncommon topic at the time. I enjoyed it.

Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala - This novel, about a boy who gets wrapped in a civil war in his African nation, was alright.

Ant-Man - Fun movie. Marvel has really been on a roll.

Lord of the Rings - This is the 1978 animated film of the first half of the trilogy (it was never finished). Its influence on Peter Jackson is really striking though. The animation was also pretty cool. If you like Tolkein or the more recent films, you should check this out.

Octopussy and the Living Daylights by Ian Fleming - A collection of short stories published posthumously, making up the last original James Bond novel. The two stories named in the title were the only ones in the original publication, but later publications (including the one I read) added two more.

Into The Woods - I had seen a high school production of the play when I was in high school myself, and quite enjoyed it, so it was fun to revisit (with a better cast). Enjoyable.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - I saw this in the theaters when it was released in 2000, but decided to re-watch since Netflix's sequel is coming out soon. Still an enjoyable, if not amazing, martial arts epic.

Up in the Air - Don't work so much that you skip life. Got it.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - Fun little adventure, filled with '80s nostalgia. Probably would have been even more fun if I had been more into Japanese cartoons and video games back then.

Westworld - Michael Crichton directed this film which is similar to his later novel, Jurassic Park, in that it involves a theme park gone wrong. Not great, but not bad

The Killers - This 1946 film starring Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner takes, as its starting point, Ernest Hemingway's short story of the same name, but then extends the plot beyond the end of the source material. I had seen this on a list of great films noirs in a University of Chicago magazine a while back, and while I enjoyed it, I didn't love it as much as other films on the same list.

Beasts of No Nation - This is the Netflix film of the novel mentioned above, starring Idris Elba. It was okay.

The Hurt Locker - Finally saw this recent Best Picture winner. I really liked it.

The Martian - I read the novel on which this movie was based earlier in the year. The movie did a pretty good job. Matt Damon, in particular, captured the voice of the main character quite well. The ending was a bit too Hollywood-ized though.

Wet Hot American Summer - I'd heard how great this comedy was, but I didn't really enjoy it that much. Maybe because I didn't like summer camp.

The Petrified Forest - A hostage situation at a road side diner. Humphrey Bogart made a great bad guy.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami - You know what to except from Murakami by now.

Emerald City by Jennifer Egan - Early collection of short stories by Egan. Pretty good.

One Million B.C. - 1940 film set in an ahistorical prehistoric time. The 1966 remake, with Raquel Welsh, is more famous. Both were okay.

Hotel Rwanda - One man fights against genocide in Rwanda. Quite good.

The Good Dinosaur - This was alright. On the lower end of the Pixar scale, though it's got pretty rare company.

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch - Third book in Lynch's Gentleman Bastard series, released 6 years after the second novel (with the fourth nowhere in sight). To be fair, I think the author may have had some health issues in between. Still enjoyable, but the first book was still easily the best.

Justice League: War - Animated film telling one version of the formation of the Justice League. Not very good, unfortunately.

Moon - 2009 sci-fi film with Sam Rockwell. Interesting, but not great.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - I actually enjoyed it, but it was a bit too close to the original film. Some of it was likely intentional parallelism, but there was too much. Also, Finn's plan to take down the force field relied almost entirely on coincidence.

Cars - Speaking of the lower end of the Pixar scale...

Ben-Hur - Finally saw this 1959 classic with Charlton Heston. A nice, old-fashioned, epic film.

How To Train Your Dragon - This wasn't as good as I'd been led to believe.

Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence - I'd not read any Lawrence before, but I liked this story of family, sex, and mining communities.

Yankee Doodle Dandy - Classic musical starring James Cagney as George M. Cohan. It was okay.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark - I don't think I really got this. My takeaway was that Brodie was deluded. Is that right?

Intolerable Cruelty - A romantic comedy from the Coen Brothers. It was alright.

The Greatest Show on Earth - One of the least deserving Best Picture winners? This 1952 story of circus life wasn't bad, but it wasn't great.

Papillon - This is a 1973 jailbreak film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, based on a true story. A fun adventure, with some notable gaffs: in one scene you can see that Hoffman is wearing earplugs and, in another, you can see a diver underneath the raft on which McQueen is floating.

The BFG by Roald Dahl - Children's classic that I somehow missed. They're making a film version, so I figured it was time. Fun.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - Children's classic that I somehow missed. They recently made a film version, so I figured it was time. Fun.

Saturday Night Fever - I'm not sure why this is considered a classic. The story was pretty mundane. The dancing was impressive though. I'll give it that.

Carne Trémula (Live Flesh) - This is a 1997 Spanish film by Pedro Almodóvar. It features a young Javier Bardem and, in a small role, Penélope Cruz. I liked it.

Son of Batman - Another animated film. Much better than the one discussed above.

Interstellar - Finally saw this 2014 film. I seem to recall it got mixed reviews when released, but I liked it a lot until near the end, where it kind of lost me.

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