Top 100 Movie Review: #60 – Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Good Fun with No Story.

Absolutely ridiculous at times — too ridiculous.Screen_Shot_2015-06-26_at_9.26.15_AM.0.0.png

American Film Institutes Ranking: #60/100
Awards: Nominated for nine winning the ones for sound and effects.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

I can’t recall ever actually seeing this film, but somehow I knew quite a few bits and pieces. Maybe the Simpsons are to blame.

This movie cheesed me out. The movie continues to expect more and more suspension of disbelief until you are reach an apex of phantasmagorical hallucination. Like a rich dessert, I was satisfied at first, but by the end, I reached a saturation point where I didn’t want anymore.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #57 – The Third Man (1949)

Sensational Cinematography.

The story was okay to good, but the visuals made the film. 

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Joseph Cotton and Orson Wells.

American Film Institute Ranking: #66/100
Academy Awards: Nominated for three winning best cinematography.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

A whodunit wrapped around a historical time piece, “A Third Man” is another entry into the catalogue of film noir. It relies on tension created by relationships rather than overt violence. This doesn’t always keep the pace up, but the shots within the film are so intricate that it adds an artistic crust that makes up for the lack of action.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #90 – The Jazz Singer (1927)

The Death Knell For Silent Films.

Al Jolson’s first lines “Wait a minute! You ain’t heard nothing yet!” presciently described the future of cinema. 

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American Film Institutes Ranking: #90
Academy Awards: Was ruled ineligible for top awards at the 1st Academy Awards (1929) because so many silent films would be displaced.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Jazz Singer has two reasons for its present day notoriety: it was the first ever feature-length talking film; it uses a lot of black face by Al Jolson.

What gets lost between these two things is that the film content itself is surprisingly good. The story is a basic father vs. son/conservative vs. liberal retelling that’s told from a Jewish heritage perspective. The twist makes it different and meaningful. Interspersed are song numbers by Al Jolson that still resonate.

A review of this movie requires a lot of history and cultural perspective. Here we go.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #26 – Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Not necessarily LOL Funny.

But still very entertaining and edifying. 

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Peter Sellers character number one: Dr. Strangelove.

American Film Institute Ranking: #26/100
Academy Awards: Four nominations winning none.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

During a time consumed with Cold War concerns, Stanley Kubrick decided to nail it by showing the ridiculousness of missile gaps, mutually assured destruction, and doomsday devices. I’m not quite sure how he got away with it. He makes fun of the two major world powers and everyone in both governments. It strikes the necessary balance needed for a dark comedy — it makes you chuckle, but it also makes you think.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #45 – A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

She Fooled Me.

The wait through the first 3/5ths is worth the firecracker of an ending. 

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Kim Hunter, Marlon Brando, and Vivien Leigh.

American Film Institutes Ranking: #45/100
Awards: Nominated for 12 winning four with three of them in the acting categories (a feat only matched by Network).
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

Things were be-bopping around for a good while, and I started to get worried: this could be a dud. Was this a classic movie just because it dealt with some “risque” themes?

My concerns were ungrounded. When Blanche DuBois started to become unhinged, things become phenomenal. A switch instantly flipped and all the ground work hitherto became immensely signifiant. I was on the very same ride that Blanch had put everyone through, and it was very unsettling when it was time for the ride to end.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #69 – Shane (1953)

Kids Can Ruin Movies.

A typical Western made unbelievably bad by a child. 

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Alan Ladd as Shane.

American Film Institutes Ranking: #69/100
Awards: Six Academy Award nominations with one win for Best Cinematography.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

Renaissance artists conceptualized how to create the illusion of depth on a 2D surface, and drew some of the most well-known works of human history. They aren’t without their faults though; they had no idea how to draw children. The contorted, homunculus interpretations are of nightmares.

Enter Joey Starett, the child of “Shane.” It is a prototypical Western that goes for a few twists, the main one being infusing the typical motifs with the perspective of a pre-adolescent. Like the Renaissance artists, however, the director doesn’t quite know what to do with him, having his presence turn into a nightmare.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #79 – The Deer Hunter (1978)

The Russian Roulette of Life.

War and life, a series of chance.image.jpgAmerican Film Institutes Ranking: #79/100
Awards: Nominated for nine winning five highlighted by Best Director, Picture,  and Supporting Actor.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

This movie has a unique canter. It starts with introducing a bunch of people that reminded me of all the people I hated from high school. Then, it sprinkles in a poor plot line involving Meryl Strep that’s made even worse by her acting. The foundation for the story is a confluence of cheap reminders that these people are working class.

It ultimately manages to weave these lesser parts together into something rather substantial.

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