Top 100 Album Review: #65 – Moondance, Van Morrison (1970)

Brass Folk

Morrison mixes folksy guitar work with some brass backing to make a unique sound.

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #65/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

I put on this album before I started a 5 mile run. Reaching the crest of a hill with the sun peaking out on the horizon, “Into the Mystic” began to play. It made me reach a spatially different mindset where time seemed to neither move nor matter. I had moved into some alternative space where my run was effortless and my thoughts easy.

The entire Moondance album has an otherworldly feel: it slowly hypnotizes you with easy guitar, folky lyrics, and soft brass bands interspersed through the music. The style becomes repetitive though, with not all the songs making an impact.

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Top 100 Movie Review: 89# – Patton (1970)

He Was a Nut.

Best war biography I’ve seen, it captures the complicated picture of Patton.

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George C. Scott in his Oscar winning role as Patton.

American Film Institutes Ranking: #89/100
Awards: Nominated for ten , winning  seven for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Original Screenplay and others.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

This particular DVD opened with the Francis Ford Coppola (who won an oscar for Best Original Screenplay). He was quick to talk about the trouble of depicting Patton — he had to balance pressure from the Far Right and Far Left political spectrums wanting to turn him into a caricature for their own purposes when he was much more than that.

Coppola found the right balance, bringing to light all the positive, negative, and crazy attributes that makes Patton worthy of his own eponymous film.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #91 – My Fair Lady (1964)

Repetitive & Disappointing

Songs are good but repeated ad nauseam while missing on an amazing chance to make a statement. 

screenshot5American Film Institutes Ranking: #91
Academy Awards: Nominated 12 and won eight including Best Picture, Director, & Actor
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

I have two problems with this film.

The first is with the musical pieces: they seem to be more like fragments. Putting together a good, catchy stanza is a start, but then repeating it ad nauseum doesn’t quite cut it. Second, the story should come off better than it does, a common lady trained to upper class, but Henry Higgin’s character is unredeemable — he’s a jerk.

Put them together and you end up with a film that tests your patience.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #27 – Bonnie & Clyde (1967)

The Start of New Hollywood

The movie is enjoyable on its own right, but it gets a bit better when you know the historical significance. 

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American Film Institutes Ranking: #27/100
Awards: Nominated for eight, winning Best Supporting Actress (Estelle Parsons) and Cinematography.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

The start of New Hollywood!

Directors now had more control since there was no longer a process for code approval and the content could be more risque. This movie couldn’t have been made previously; it glorifies Bonnie and Clyde with gory violence. The movie focuses on the deranged protagonists and never takes a moral stance. It opened up a whole new venue of story telling without the obligatory moral condemnation.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #88 – Easy Rider (1969)

Hippie Junk

A previous cultural force, the movie can only be appreciated for capturing the feelings of a particular segment of a generation. 

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Produced, written and starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper.

American Film Institutes Ranking: #88/100
Awards: Nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Jack Nicholson)
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

“Easy Rider” is a hippie anthem: two drug-induced guys traveling the United States looking for their spiritual awakening while living free and sticking it to the man. The movie was a power house in 1969 and pulled in a 60 million return on an Indie budget of 400k. A quick peak at online message boards shows people of the era recalling its impact.

This movie is unique since it was a part of the New Hollywood films of the late 1960s, and Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper wanted to make a film for the counter culture they were a part of, not another mainstream Hollywood film. The time capsule aspect might be the only reason to view this film as it is otherwise a gibberish piece of story telling.

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Top 100 Album Review: #72 – Purple Rain, Prince (1984)

Weird at Times

But fantastically so, with the hits far outweighing the strange.

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #72/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

I’m a Prince fan, but I know some of his stuff can get down right weird. Part of that is him, willing to take chances and do whatever the hell he wants. The other part is a product of the time of his ascent — the 80s — where you could get away with all sorts of synth wailing. I found Purple Rain a complete listen, even if there are some treks across uncharted, psychedelic lands.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #15 – Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (1995)

Yoshi’s First Job

As an introduction to a capitalist economy, Yoshi begins to build his CV through babysitting local children.

The Baby Sitter’s Club: A Cornucopia of Diversity

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #15/100
Developer: Nintendo
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

I forgot how much I played this game as a kid. Like having your friends tell you what you did while blacked out, Yoshi’s Island brought back all sorts of things I had forgotten: the fuzzies, monkeys, highly stylized drawing, and baby Mario’s hypertensive-crisis-causing cry.

I don’t have much experience as a baby sitter so I can’t really grade Yoshi’s post-natal care performance, but that doesn’t stop the game from doing it. Having a big piece of game play focus on collecting flowers, red coins and stars was odd, but the game is so damn cute, it’s hard to resist.

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