30 June 2011

This is Laura's summer, ladies an' gents.

It's finally summer, everyone! HUZZAH!

My summer shall, for the most part, involve proper summer things, like finishing summer school as quickly as possible, sewing things with the Elna [I have plans to make another dress, a bag for myself, and a few much-needed pillow cases], listening to opera and The Cure, drinking copious amounts of licorice tea and cream soda, working short shifts, and knocking about with friends.

But, as you know, no summer is truly complete without movies. LOTS OF MOVIES.

Therefore, I present you with my list of the very tasteful flicks I plan to watch over these blissful couple of months:

- Evil Dead 1 - 3 [to be watched marathon-style, with plenty of junk food and friends]
- 127 Hours [I haven't actually believed people when they've told me this was good, but we shall soon see who's right...]
- What's Eating Gilbert Grape? [90's coming-of-age films about afflicted families seem very appropriate during the summer months. This one has Johnny Depp.]
- The French Connection [I needed at least one Best Picture winner on my list!]
- An Idiot Abroad [Karl Pilkington tours the Seven Wonders of the World --it's going to be hilarious!]
- 007: Goldfinger [another Bond to check off the list]
- Cry Baby [back when Johnny Depp was the the hottest!]
- True Grit [Cohen bros remake; looks promising]
- Traffic [Michael Douglas and Benecio Del Toro put on killer performances, apparently]
- Jane Eyre [the newest adaptation of one of my favorite books. It looks fantastic.]
- All That Jazz [A risqué musical!]
- The Red Shoes [Another risqué musical!]
- Sixteen Candles [another coming-of-age film, this one with Molly Ringwald in the 80's]
- Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas [yet another charming Johnny Depp film]
- Thelma & Louise [I'm totally going to round up the women of my house, sit us down with iced tea and this film, then proceed to ogle Brad Pitt in a cowboy hat]

- Star Wars: Episodes IV-VI [These were my childhood in a nutshell. Han Solo was my first on-screen crush...]
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington [even though I didn't understand the courtroom scenes at all, I watched it over and over as a kid. I was able to appreciate Capra's cinematic genius, I guess!]
- The Little Mermaid [I liked it when I was quite young, and hadn't read Hans Christian Anderson yet]
- The Prestige [now that I know who the actors, Christopher Nolan and Nikola Tesla are, I will be able to fully appreciate it]
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ["Oh look! It's the same actor as Hans Solo, mum! Can I watch it?" Totally not a good reason to watch this movie.]
- Robin Hood [this very well-done animated depiction of my favorite vigilante was thrilling to see back then. I can't wait to see it again!]
- Castle in the Sky [the first Hayao Miyazaki film I ever saw. Will it hold up against Nausicaa?]

- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 [July 15] I AM SO EXCITED!
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 [November 18] LOL!
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows [December 16] The first one was great.
- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo [December 21] I doubt it will be as good as the Swedish one, since they had Noomi Rapace. But then again, we have Daniel Craig...

25 June 2011

Chicago Film Critics Association: 100 Scariest Films

I'm not a HUGE scary-movie-fan, but I will admit to craving a fright on certain evenings when it's windy out or I'm all alone and feeling rash. Also, it's always fun to collect a few friends and go down to the basement telly for a bit of classic cinematic horror.

Recently, I've discovered that I am shamelessly BEHIND as far as scary movies are concerned [that is, if the Chicago Film Critics Association knows what they're talking about, as the following list is what they reckon to be the 100 Scariest Films] so I think I ought to set it right.

* I've seen all the titles in bold and what I've italicized I actually plan to see. Anything I haven't bold'ed or italicized you can consider either bollocks or too scary for me to handle. *

1. Psycho
2. The Exorcist
3. Halloween
4. Alien
5. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
6. Jaws
7. The Shining
8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
9. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
10. Rosemary’s Baby
11. The Silence of the Lambs
12. The Blair Witch Project
13. Nosferatu
14. Frankenstein (1931)
15. Nightmare on Elm Street
16. Carrie (1976)

17. The Thing (1982)
18. Bride of Frankenstein

19. The Haunting (1963)
20. Poltergeist
21. Suspiria
22. Wait Until Dark
23. The Birds
24. Don’t Look Now
25. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn

26. The Innocents
27. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
28. Freaks
29. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
30. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, (1921)

31. The Omen (1976)
32. The Fly (1986)
33. Se7en
34. The Re-Animator
35. The Sixth Sense
36. The Ring (2002)
37. The Evil Dead
38. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1932)
39. The Hitcher

40. Near Dark
41. Dracula (1931)
42. Vampyr (1932)
43. Onibaba
44. Scream
45. Aliens
46. Creature from the Black Lagoon
47. Session 9
48. Nosferatu the Vampyre
49. Black Christmas
50. When a Stranger Calls
51. Repulsion
52. Misery
53. Horror of Dracula
54. The Others
55. Jurassic Park
56. The Seventh Victim
57. Peeping Tom
58. 28 Days Later
59. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
60. The Hidden
61. May
62. Shaun of the Dead
63. Last House on the Left
64. 10 Rillington Place
65. Salo
66. Cat People (1942)
67. Frailty
68. The Howling
69. Trilogy of Terror
70. Blue Velvet
71. I Walked with a Zombie
72. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
73. Martin
74. Deliverance
75. Carnival of Souls
76. The Vanishing (1988)
77. Masque of the Red Death
78. The Night of the Hunter
79. Salem’s Lot
80. Fright Night
81. Black Sunday (1960)
82. Scream 2
83. Dressed To Kill
84. The Stepfather
85. Friday the 13th
86. The Exorcism of Emily Rose
87. Let’s Scare Jessica to Death
88. The Brood
89. Dead-Alive
90. Open Water
91. The Mummy (1932)
92. Requiem for a Dream
93. Signs
94. The Wolf Man

95. Phantasm
96. The Night Stalker
97. Brides of Dracula
98. “M”
99. God Told Me To
100. Eyes without a Face

30/100, not bad.

24 June 2011

The King's Speech

Occasionally in my film-watching, I will stumble across a film which absolutely takes me off guard with its superior acting/cinematography/writing/etc. Usually, I only find a handful of these in a whole year, scattered among the mediocre and/or good films that fill the rest of the time. Don't get me wrong: I see a LOT of very good films in a year. I simply don't see extremely great films all that often. However, in the first 4 months of this year, I had already seen three knock-out motion pictures: Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, the German art thriller Run Lola Run, and then the AFI listed Bonnie & Clyde. That, usually, would have filled my quota of remarkable movies for the year, but then this movie happened.

At long last, I got around to seeing The King's Speech. I had expected it to be quite good, not so much because it won Best Picture [remember: there are very few really great Oscar winning films!] but because of the heart behind it. However, even if I had expected it to be as great as it is, my expectations would have still been blown away.

Screenwriter David Seidler first began work on The King's Speech in the 1970's. Being deeply interested in King George VI, and wanting to tell his story as authentically as possible, he contacted the still-living speech therapist Lionel Logue [played by Geoffry Rush, one of my favorite actors ever, in the film] who eagerly shared his memories and old notes with him. However, before such a screenplay could be made into a film, a written consent from Queen Elizabeth was required. She said that she would prefer it to be made after her death. Therefore, the project was abandoned in 1982. After the queen died in 20 years later, it still took until he had throat cancer in 2005 before he had the inspiration to pick up the script again.

Thank God he did! Seidler won a well-deserved BAFTA and Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Awards are the most valuable when presented to such worthy nominees as David Seidler, who waited almost 40 years to get his movie made! They couldn't have been given to anyone else. But as far as well-deserved awards go, I thought that Tom Hooper did an excellent job of directing Seidler's story and that he totally deserved his Oscar as well.

Not to mention Colin Firth: the renowned British romantic comedy actor who I thought was great in Bridget Jones's Diary, but would never have imagined for such a role as the stuttering King George VI. But Lord, the guy can act! I thought that he also very much deserved his Oscar, if only for surprising us with his sudden capabilities as a serious, interesting actor.

So that is the story of The King's Speech, folks, in all of its impressive glory. Very few films these days have the quality that this one does: the depth of the story, the believable acting, and the imaginative and engaging directing. If you haven't already seen it, find a copy and watch it with Twinnings tea and dark chocolate. You will not be disappointed.

Rating: 10/10 "masterpiece"

15 June 2011

and so it begins

Welcome to The Peter-Pan Syndrome, a blog now devoted mostly to movie-watching and -reviewing! If you want advice on the best of the best in films, check it out. I'll be posting reviews on the latest worthwhile motion pictures I come across, in the hopes that in this decent-cinema-starved culture I may influence a few people who really need it. First one coming soon...