Viewing recap June








The Princess Bride (1987)
Quotable fantasy/adventure/romance. The movie impressed me the most in the opening 30 minutes or so, with classics scenes like the grandfather introducing the story to his sick grandchild, the farm boy “as you wish” segment, the climb up the cliff, the talkative sword fight, and the wine drinking scene. After they roll down the hill, I felt the storytelling was weaker, and became a bit predictable. If the rest of the movie was as strong as the first half hour, it would be in my top 100.
So many quotes to choose from, here are a few favorites:
Inigo Montoya: “I do not mean to pry, but you don't by any chance happen to have six fingers on your right hand?
Man in Black: Do you always begin conversations this way?”
Fezzik: “Why do you wear a mask? Were you burned by acid, or something like that?
Man in Black: Oh no, it's just that they're terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.”
Rating 8/10





Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Comedy. An exaggerated portrayal of a local TV newsroom, with Will Ferrell in the lead role. The story is fairy implausible, why would Christina Applegate character be interested in Burgandy after the way he talked to her at the party? Why would all those news anchors suddenly appear in the street? I can forgive these contrivances, because as a comedy it is quite original, and very quotable, and Ferrell and co are sporadically funny. Jack Black and Ben Stiller have cameos. Is the sequel worth watching?
Favorite quotes: 
“How now brown cow”
“60% of the time it works all the time” “That doesn’t make sense...”
"My name is Ron Burgandy?"
Rating 8/10






Ghostbusters (1984) 
Rewatch. An entertaining action/comedy, the actors have excellent chemistry, the special effects are still effective, and a wonderful soundtrack, especially the iconic Ghostbusters song by Ray Parker Jr,  and Savin The Day
Favorite quotes: 
"Nice doggy!"
"He slimed me" "That's great! actual physical contact. Can you move?"
"Tell you what, I'll take Miss Barrett back to her apartment and check her out...I'll go check out miss Barrett's apartment"
Rating 8/10





Ghostbusters 2 (1989)
Rewatch. The villain is creeper than the original, the film is quite quotable, but the story is, give or take a few new characters, essentially recycling the first movie's material. The statue of liberty coming to life is my favorite scene, but there are moments which make no sense, like when they jump into the river of evil and just expect to survive. Another thing that bothered me is the continued skepticism towards ghosts and the Ghostbusters, when 5 years ago the city was attacked for all to see. Also, if the villain is a god, why doesn’t he just kill the Ghostbusters when he has the chance? Murray insults the God and just expects there won't be consequences?
Favorite quote: “You know, I’m a voter, aren’t you supposed to lie to me and kiss my butt”
Rating 6/10





48 Hrs. (1982)
A clich├ęd cop story slightly elevated by chemistry between Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy-in his feature film debut. For me, not as good as Beverly Hills Cop (1984).
Rating 7/10






Wendy and Lucy (2008)
Full review here
Rating 8/10




Strangers on a Train (1951)
Hitchcock thriller.
#195 in IMDb’s top 250.
Based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith (author of The Talented Mr. Ripley). About a tennis pro who meets a man on a train, who proposes to swap murders.
Edge of your seat stuff, 3-4 scenes that stuck with me, when Bruno Antony sits in the crowd and stares at Guy Haines, while the rest of the audience watches the tennis match (image above). When Bruno follows the girl in the amusement park, the party game with the older woman, and of course the action-packed merry-go-round scene.
One of the best thrillers, packed full of memorable moments. It’s not for nothing Hitchcock is called the master of suspense.
Rating 9/10





The Double (2013)
An odd setting, which emphasizes both the times of Dostoevsky's writing, yet also puts us in the present. I couldn’t understand when or where the film took place.
The movie logically doesn’t make sense, because nobody notices they are doubles. Which leads me to think maybe they are the same person. But how can others notice they look like each another, if they didn't notice him in the first place? This is why you need to rewatch the movie.
I did however dislike the ending, I expected more considering the fine buildup.
Favorite quote: ”I’ve tried talking to her, but I don’t know how to be myself. It’s like I’m permently outside myself. Like you could push your hands straight through me, if you wanted to, and I couldn’t see the type of man I want to be versus the type of man I am. And I know I’m doing it, but I’m incapable of doing what needs to be done. I’m like Pinocchio, I’m a wooden boy. Not a real boy, and it kills me”
Rating 8/10





Heartbeats (2010) 
I liked the soundtrack more than the movie. Not Xavier Dolan’s best film, at this point he was still honing his craft. There isn’t really a structure, the story is quite messy. Has cool stylistic flourishes mixing music and visuals.
Especially memorable: The slow motion sequence walking down the street with Dalida's song Bang Bang, the bright colors in the bedroom, and the disco scene using Pass This On by The Knife intercut with disco lights, drawings and sculptures.
Favorite quote: when they stand outside the theatre and discuss the play “Pains Migraines and Sonatas”: “These pseudo borderlines with their pain fetish as an escape from existential ennui. Fuck off” (…) “The characters were so Manichean”
Rating 6/10





The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
Included in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. A young Cybil Shepard is gorgeous as the femme fatale. Besides that there’s a story about figuring out your place in life, Charles Grodin, in an excellent performance, is on his honeymoon, and must face the facts about life, that sex and romance maybe aren’t quite as magical as you dreamed about.
The humming night club performer was laugh-out-loud hilarious, and so are his lies about hanging out with an old army buddy, and the dinner scene about the an honest meal.
I was waiting for the punchline from the director at the end, which never happened. Perhaps it’s about how some people fall in love without really getting to know the other person properly.
Favorite quote: “There’s no lying in that beef, there’s no insincerity in those potatoes, there’s no deceit in the cauliflower. This is a totally honest meal”
Rating 7.5/10








The Fault In Our Stars (2014)
The performances by the young actors are good, and it does have cute moments. I had a few problems though. I disliked that the book references are fictional. I agree with another reviewer that it preaches realism but then delivers the exact opposite. Also bothered me how black and white the characters are, either good or bad. Entertaining enough, despite these flaws. I wasn't the intended audience, so take that into consideration.
Rating 6.5/10






Exhibition (2013)
I'm a fan of Joanna Hogg's earlier films, Unrelated (2007) and Archipelago (2010), which take place during holidays.
Her latest is a lot more abstract, set in a domestic situation, and about life as an artist, when you are married. Unfortunately I never believed that these two people were in a relationship, the dialogue didn't ring true to me. The couple are planning to sell their house. The story feels like a few visual ideas that were slapped together(wearing artsy neon clothes, sleeping in odd places, watching yourself from the outside), but there really wasn't enough here to engage me. A tedious watch, and difficult to care what happens to the characters. I'm sure there is a point to it all, if you are willing to make the effort. Won't be for everyone, because of the slow pacing. Told in an unconventional way, the film put me to sleep more than once.
I'm surprised I didn't like the film, considering my appreciation for the director's previous work.
Rating 5/10




Thanks for reading! Have you watched any of the above films? Agree or disagree? Share your views in the comments.


22 comments:

  1. I've seen half of the films on your list. You had a very good month according to the ratings.

    The Princess Bride is special in its own way but it didn't charm me on my first and so far only watch. I'll probably have to see it again.

    I've seen the first Anchorman ages ago, but I remember enjoying it. About the second one, it's ok, but definitely inferior to the first. You decide if you think you'll enjoy it. All I can say is that it's not trash.

    Ghostbusters is a film I wish I saw when I was a kid when I'm sure I would have enjoyed it more. Still thinking if I should see the second one.

    Strangers on a Train is a really good thriller. Loved the shot through the glasses at the first murder scene (when he kills that awful ex-wife). More people should know about this one.

    The Double is in its own world, don't try to find real sense in it. One interpretation could be that he is fighting his conscience or inner self or something. It's a way of him breaking out of his shell. It doesn't have to be real. Well, it could go either way, I don't think it's only one way to analyze this film. But it was a fresh film. For me at least.

    I also saw The Fault in Our Stars. I saw the trailer a couple of times when I went to the theater, before it was released and I said I'd never watch it. After all the positive reviews, I decided to give it a try (not at the theater of course, through other methods, like I usually see films). It was alright but it didn't stand out in any way. Shailene Woodley was fine and I appreciated that they didn't overdramatize the sick kids' situation, but ultimately I didn't feel anything.

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    1. @Cristi B:
      The Princess Bride is a film to watch again for sure, because so quotable.

      Anchorman 2: I’ve read mixed reviews, which is why I initially passed.

      Ghostbusters 2: I doubt the sequel will do much for you. A safe sequel that sticks close to the formula of the original movie. Has a few quotes and laughs here and there.

      Strangers on a train: I too thought it was a strong thriller, though I’ve read it lacks some of the complexities of the novel it’s based on.

      The Double: A unique world, yes. I agree can be interpreted in several ways. I'm with you that he’s breaking out of his shell, and the double could be a metaphor for that. There’s also the possibility he’s schizophrenic Or maybe he dreamed parts, or the whole thing. Definitely among my favorites of 2014 so far.

      The Fault in Our Stars: I think the movie/book is made with a teenage audience in mind. There are coming of age films I loved when I saw them as an adult(Breakfast Club, Say Anything, and recently We Are The Best!) . I liked Fault in Our Stars, didn’t love it. It tried to be different, but like you said, didn't stand out as much as I had expected.

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  2. I didn't really impressed by The Princess Bride, perhaps if I have seen it near the releases (as a kid) I'll feel the magic. I do love the classic way of a grandfather tells a story to his grandkid.

    I hated The Anchorman first time seeing it, but I think I was too much of a serious watcher so I failed to appreciate it. Saw it couple of times on cable and actually is pretty funny. I understand your confusion on Applegate being attracted to him, but it is an exaggerated comedy. The sequel also have several news channel reporters attack each other on the street, with greater actors as cameos like Marion Cotillard.

    I also didn't find Strangers on a Train great, maybe I didn't have the Hitchcock gene.

    Want to see Fault in the Stars. Sorry you didn't like it. What about the soundtrack?

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    1. @Andina:
      Princess Bride: My 2nd viewing, I’m beginning to realize why it’s so beloved.

      Anchorman: Haha, yes, his style of comedy is not for everyone, and I don’t always love i the actors who starred. The film does have haters, but I think it’s among Will Ferrell’s better movies, if you rank his filmography.
      I’m glad you gave it another chance and liked it more second time. I know, it’s exaggerated, not reality. Maybe I should give the sequel a shot.

      The Fault In Your Stars: Well I quite liked the movie, just had a few problems. Soundtrack is ok, maybe a bit too youthful for my taste, my favorite is Boom Clap by Charli XCX. I need to give the other tracks a listen again.

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  3. Hey Chris, great month! I saw Fault in our Stars at an E4 Slackers Club Preview screening for students and there was some seriously hysterical sobbing going on. I'd never heard anything I like it and I couldn't help laughing because the girls behind me sounded like they had completely lost control! Quite a sweet film though. Liked it far more than I expected to.

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    1. @Pete Turner: Haha, yeah the younger audiences really find something in the movie to connect with. Is quite a sweet movie with cute moments. Wasn't as great as I had hoped though.

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  4. Hi Chris! Lots of great stuff here, esp the classics. It's been ages since I saw The Princess Bride, should rewatch that soon, there are so many memorable quotes that hold up to this day!

    I'm hoping to catch up on more Hitchcock and Strangers on a Train is at the top of my list! I might rent The Fault In Our Stars but like you, I don't think I'm the targeted demographic so I'll keep my expectation in check.

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    1. @Ruth: Indeed the dialogue in Princess Bride is well-written. Strangers On A Train impressed me, I hope it works for you too! Yes, The Fault in Our Stars I think works best for the targeted demographic, so low expectations is a good idea.

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  5. Too many to comment on, but I will say that I absolutely love The Princess Bride. I've probably seen it more than a dozen times. And this is from someone who had read the book a few times and loved it before the movie ever came out.

    Why are you smiling?
    I know something you don't: I am not left handed.

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    1. @Chip Lary: I think I noticed on letterboxd Princess Bride is one of your four favorite films, so 12x makes sense :)
      Just googled the quote you referenced (from the sword fight)

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  6. Ahh, The Princess Bride! One of my all time favourite films. So quotable, like you say. And it's well quoted amongst pop culture. For good reason. I really need to watch it again. It's my go-to film when I'm needing a bit of a pick me up. Never fails!

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    1. @Jaina: Yes, so quotable, and another who talks of the film as an all-time favorite! I didn’t actually watch Princess Bride until I was in my 20s, so it doesn’t have that nostalgia for me. This was my 2nd viewing, and I liked it a lot more on rewatch.

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    2. You make some really good points about The Double in that he could very well be the same person. Yeah I need to rewatch this one soon. Stangers on a Train was really good. That scene where he follows that girl in the amusement park is indeed creepy

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    3. @TheVern: Thank you, the film does get you thinking! I also want to rewatch The Double. Yes, that scene was creepy alright.

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  7. I'm dreading watching The Fault in Our Stars, it's not my type of film at all. However, I'm a big fan of Woodley, so I'll check it out on dvd.

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    1. @Lights Camera Reaction: Hope you like the film! I thought Woodley was convincing in the role.

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  8. Looks like you had a pretty good month overall! I really need to see Strangers On a Train -- that's one of the few Hitchcock essentials I have left.

    Was this your first time seeing The Princess Bride?

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    1. Eric @ The Warning Sign: Loved Strangers on a Train. If I did a Hitchcock list, it would feature in the top 10.
      I saw part of Princess Bride about 5 years ago, and wasn’t in the right mood. This time I was thankfully.

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  9. I watched Strangers on a Train last year and it became an instant favorite. Bruno Walker, whose life ended all too soon, was simply fantastic, definitely in my top 10-15 male performances of all time.
    The Ghostbusters movies are fan favorites for a reason. Such a timeless piece that still feels entertaining and funny. I think both 1 and 2 are equally good, but the first has the benefit of being the true original.
    I meant to watch Double a while back, but I completely forgot about the film. Thanks for reminding me!
    As for Anchorman, I'm not really a fan of Will Ferrel's brand of silly humor, so I don't rate the film as highly as others. However, I understand why many find it so uniquely funny. Maybe it is better suited for an American audience?
    It's been many years since I watched 48 hours and I do agree with you in saying that Beverly Hills Cop is a much better film and franchise. I can't much else because I don't really remember many details.
    Nice compendium of films Chris!

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    1. @niels85: Happy you agree Strangers on a Train is great, that performance by Bruno Walker is very good.
      Ghostbuster 1 is definitely my favorite, though Ghostbusters 2 does have its charm, especially in terms of the jokes. It’s just a pity the story plays it safe and stays so close to the formula of the first Ghostbusters, so yes the first film is the true original.
      Will Ferrell is hit or miss with me, his appeal is polarizing, so I understand why that brand of humor wouldn’t work for you. That said, I think Anchorman is among the better half of comedies released in the 2000s.
      For me, Beverly Hills Cop is funnier. 48 Hrs. is not bad though. Thanks for the comment!

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  10. Love the variety here! Glad to see you loved Strangers on a Train, which is arguably one of Hitch's most underrated. I wish I liked Anchorman that much. I could never get into it, so I didn't bother with the sequel.

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    1. @Josh: Anchorman is polarizing for sure, that’s the way it goes with comedy.
      Strangers on A Train for me is one of Hitchcock's finest.

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