Your only official source for information on Paul's Movies on DVD 2005.

We've watched 78 movies thus far in 2005.

The movie number refers to the number of movies watched since we bought our first DVD player in April 2000.

 

 

 

The Movies

 
 

Movies in 2000

Movies in 2001

Movies in 2002

Movies in 2003 (I)

Movies in 2003 (II)

Movies in 2004

Movies in 2005

 

Friday, December 30, 2005
 
Danger: Diabolik
 
You wouldn't know it was based on a cartoon right away, it just seems like a really bad movie. But this is Mario Brava's universe, where the lowest of budgets, bad acting, and lousy scripts are somehow transformed into something special. Once you get into the style of the thing it begins to grow on you. Furthermore, there are little touches of humor and style which are really fantastic. The sets alone are worth at least one viewing. A fair bit of fun, even if it takes a bit to get used to. There is also a very interesting feature on the disk which talks about the history of the movie and the source comic on which it was based. Very good stuff.

This is the last movie we are likely to watch in 2005. It's been a pretty thin year relative to other years in terms of movies watched: barely a movie and a half a week. Much of the reason for this was the demands of other activities: work (of course), but also bike riding, fatigue from little sleep, and playing a few video games. That's not to say my commitment to this project is waning at all. There are ever larger numbers of disks on my shelf which haven't been watched yet. Here's looking forward to 2006 with a lot more great flicks!

 
Made in: 1968
Director: Mario Bava
Owned: Yes
Category: Action, Crime
Movie #809, #78 this year
Stars: 3

Monday, December 26, 2005
 
Hamlet
 
Sure the acting is extraordinary, but the real bonus of this version is how good, really good, the direction is. The way the camera moves and twists among the characters and scenes makes every plot point crystal clear. It's a very spare set, with very few extras hanging around and so the feeling of a filmed play is hardly avoided. Nevertheless, the movie transcends that problem spectacularly. The sets and lighting too are amazing in their evocation of stark gloominess.
 
Made in: 1948
Director: Lawrence Olivier
Owned: Yes
Category: Drama, Thriller
Movie #808, #77 this year
Stars: 5

Sunday, December 25, 2005
 
Call Northside 777
 
How many times has a lone believer worked to exonerate a wrongly-convicted man? If you were an alien only watching movies, you might think prisons are filled with nothing but innocents. In any case, this is apparently a true story and quite well-made. Hard to say it's much of a noir, but the scenes and lighting certainly borrow from the noir style--espeically since so much of the movie is filmed on location. The commentary does a good job of pointing out the influence of the Italian neo-realist style on the movie. It's got some really interesting technical details, especially the lie detector and the wire photo service machine at the end. Lee J. Cobb is unfortunately underused in the movie, but there really isn't much place for him. James Stewart is clearly supposed to be the star, even to the closing patriotic speech to the parole board.
 
Made in: 1948
Director: Henry Hathaway
Owned: Yes
Category: Film-Noir, Crime, Drama
Movie #807, #76 this year
Stars: 3

Friday, December 23, 2005
 
Napoleon Dynamite
 
It's slight and the story is paper thin even by the standards of teen comedies, but there is something magical in it that, like the best of of its kind, transcends those limitations and is just very, very funny. There are hints of Wes Anderson in the minituarist style of this movie, but it's very different from those because this movie pokes more fun at its hero. Jon Heder as Napoleon is just amazing in the way he channels the geeky awkward main character. Lots of fun, that will no doubt amply reward repeat viewings.
 
Made in: 2004
Director: Jared Hess
Owned: No
Category: Comedy
Movie #806, #75 this year
Stars: 4

Thursday, December 15, 2005
 
Star Wars: Clone Wars, Volume Two
 
The story of this second volume is more coherent than the first, and it certainly fills in some valuable backstory from the movies. The real star here though is the art. Tartakovsky's lines and feeling for perspective, color, and framing are wonderful to behold. Often the slower moving scenes are the better ones because it gives one an opportunity to linger over the fantastic characters, background. Highly enjoyable stuff.
 
Made in: 2003
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Owned: Yes
Category: Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Animation, Adventure
Movie #805, #74 this year
Stars: 4

Wednesday, November 30, 2005
 
The Bicycle Thief
 
Melodrama in the best possible sense of the word. The movie is almost unrelievedly depressing. Of course, that's the point. It is justly famous for how well it all works and the way that the actors (none of them professionals) dramatized their plight. The relationship bewteen the father and son is particularly heart-breaking especially in the way that the father lets his son down time after time, and yet is always forgiven. Almost too sad to watch (why I'm only giving it four stars), this one has taken me months and months to actually get through. The Italy of deSica seems pretty much in complete decay. In many of the details it reminds me a lot of China--probably the crushing poverty in some areas was pretty much the same. It is also amazing the way de Sica's extremely simple style works so effectively to delineate the burdens faced by his characters. The endless lines, the rows of pawned sheets, and the stacks and stacks of useless paper at the police station are all difficult to forget.
 
Made in: 1948
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Owned: No
Category: Drama
Movie #804, #73 this year
Stars: 4

Sunday, November 27, 2005
 
The War of the Worlds
 
This is the 1953 original and it is lots of fun. It's short--only 83 minutes, but it packs a lot into that time. There is plenty of cornball dialogue and stock "scientists" with all the answers, and, of course, the deservedly famous special effects. What is best, however, is the palpable sense of dread and tension that the movie evokes. Plenty of top-flight movies try for this feeling and fail, but this one does wonderfully. It might be directed by Byron Haskin, but it has George Pal written all over it.
 
Made in: 1953
Director: Byron Haskin
Owned: Yes
Category: Drrama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Movie #803, #72 this year
Stars: 4

Thursday, November 24, 2005
 
Walt Disney Treasures: Tomorrowland
 
Some great science programs hidden inside pretty amusing and entertaining hour-long shows. The animation of some of the science stuff is not at all like what one would expect from Disney, but much more like something from UPA or other cutting edge studio. In addition the science is pretty good. It is amazing watching Werner Von Braun explain the mechanics of flying to the Moon and Mars. There's lots of information, but it never loses the sense of how cool it is to be in space. On the easily parodied Our Friend the Atom it even does a good job of predicting many of the peaceful uses of radioactive isotopes. (2 disks)
 
Made in: 1958
Director: Hamilton Luske, Ward Kimball
Owned: Yes
Category: Family, Animation, Short, Sci-Fi
Movie #802, #71 this year
Stars: 4

Thursday, November 24, 2005
 
Walt Disney Treasures: Tomorrowland
 
Some great science programs hidden inside pretty amusing and entertaining hour-long shows. The animation of some of the science stuff is not at all like what one would expect from Disney, but much more like something from UPA or other cutting edge studio. In addition the science is pretty good. It is amazing watching Werner Von Braun explain the mechanics of flying to the Moon and Mars. There's lots of information, but it never loses the sense of how cool it is to be in space. On the easily parodied Our Friend the Atom it even does a good job of predicting many of the peaceful uses of radioactive isotopes. (2 disks)
 
Made in: 1958
Director: Hamilton Luske, Ward Kimball
Owned: Yes
Category: Family, Animation, Short, Sci-Fi
Movie #801, #70 this year
Stars: 4

Wednesday, November 16, 2005
 
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
 
For all the too-obvious flaws, what is left is a pretty amazing story realized with a conceptual and visual flair that is hard to beat anywhere else. This movie just looks fantastic--all the ships, places, cool robots--are all amazing to behold. Even though the acting and story creaks a bit in the middle, by the end of it all it packs a pretty serious emotional punch. Putting all six movies together, the way they all fit into the larger whole is pretty incredible. Even with all the special effects, just listening to Palpatine's voice is thrilling enough to warrant repeat viewings. Another highpoint is the wonderful animation on General Grievous: his movement as an ailing, aged robot is great, very reminiscent of the evil witch at the end of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the way the shoulders lurch and the legs shuffle forward.
 
Made in: 2005
Director: George Lucas
Owned: Yes
Category: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Movie #800, #69 this year
Stars: 4

Friday, October 14, 2005
 
Barton Fink
 
Back when the Coens were interested in making something more than just a parody of quirky folks, they managed to make astonishingly good movies. This is one of the best. For some reason, I’ve never managed to watch this one before, but it was worth the wait. Every single element of the movie is close to perfection. Even the evil fun poked at the studio bosses has a greater place than mere ridicule. The performances of all involved are absolutely spot on.
 
Made in: 1991
Director: Joel Coen
Owned: No
Category: Drama, Thriller
Movie #799, #68 this year
Stars: 5

Monday, October 10, 2005
 
The Curse of the Cat People
 
Although not technically as proficient, this one has much more tension than the original. It is genuinely disturbing, perhaps due to its more realistic and complex story. First-rate all around.
 
Made in: 1944
Director: Robert Wise, Gunther von Fritsch
Owned: Yes
Category: Fantasy, Horror
Movie #798, #67 this year
Stars: 5

Monday, October 10, 2005
 
Cat People
 
A near perfect (or purr-fect) little thriller that makes an awful lot out of very few scenes and effects. It’s not super scary, but the tension is good and it all fits together beautifully. The lighting alone is worth lots of study. Especially good is the way that “modernity” in the guise of the psychiatrist, is no match for the ages old curse from Serbia. Certainly now, perhaps even more so when the movie was made, the idea of a curse from long ago Serbia still having some power has a ring of truth to it.
 
Made in: 1942
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Owned: Yes
Category: Horror, Romance, Thriller
Movie #797, #66 this year
Stars: 4

Monday, October 10, 2005
 
The Sword of Doom
 
Knowing very little going into this movie one has the strong sense that there is a lot of stuff about which one knows nothing at all. What is left though is fairly amazing choreography, cinematography, and lots of killing. The movie seems to address the attraction and trap of evil. Once involved, the protagonist can’t escape, even as he sees his own fate. Lots of subplots are going on here, apparently the source material was a novel that at 41 volumes was quite done yet. Even the freeze frame end is only meant as a pause before the sequels (never made). Yet it stands awfully well on its own as a representation of the chaos and breakdown of a certain time and the toll that it took on the people involved.
 
Made in: 1966
Director: Kihachi Okamoto
Owned: Yes
Category: Action, Drama
Movie #796, #65 this year
Stars: 4

Monday, October 10, 2005
 
Point Blank
 
For an action movie, this is really all about memory and revenge. It’s all about thinking, plotting and making things right. In fact, in the commentary they discuss the possibility that the whole movie is a fantasy as the main character dies. The aspect of memory makes it a much better film than just an average action flick. To do all this it has a very modern non-linear editing style which jumps all over the place. Beyond this, the writing is quick and sharp. Lee Marvin is great, managing to convey bitterness, despair, and swagger in a single walk. The movie itself is filled with all sorts of amazing 60’s design and kitsch. The clothes and interiors are frighteningly ugly. Boorman does a great job as director, although one can see where taken a bit farther, his excesses could easily lead to disasters like Zardoz and Excalibur. The color work is amazing. A touch of restraint makes for a great story, though, and the future gems of Hope and Glory and The Tailor of Panama. Also kudos on great soundwork, especially on echoing footsteps throughout the movie.
 
Made in: 1967
Director: John Boorman
Owned: Yes
Category: Action, Crime, Drama, thriller
Movie #795, #64 this year
Stars: 4

Saturday, October 08, 2005
 
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
 
This movie does the best job of the three Harry Potter movies in that it manages to maintain the narrative arc needed for a movie while still making sure that the most recognizable scenes from the book are well represented. It still drags on a little long, but it's quite good. Now that they are older, the acting talents of the kids are clearer. Draco is a bit of a disappointment, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione (especially Ron) have gotten better with each movie.
 
Made in: 2004
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Owned: Yes
Category: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Movie #794, #63 this year
Stars: 3

Friday, October 07, 2005
 
A Man Escaped
 
Very little happens in the movie and even the few characters it has are very sparsely drawn with almost no backstory at all. That said, the movie builds it sense of tension steadily and methodically. The shots are very simple, but effective, and the power builds equally when things are shown as when they aren't either just off camera or well outside the room we are in. The sound work is a big player here, as in so many of the spare Bresson masterpieces. The limted visual style seems to amplify amplify and expand other senses, especially hearing. A gripping movie, but it doesn't quite have the power of some other of Bresson's work, perhaps because it is slightly limited due to the necessity of staying true to a story which actually took place.
 
Made in: 1956
Director: Robert Bresson
Owned: Yes
Category: Adventure, Drama
Movie #793, #62 this year
Stars: 4

Saturday, October 01, 2005
 
Samurai Jack - The Premiere Movie
 
Sure there are some flaws in the storyline and pacing, but the look of this show is just fantastic. the artwork and graphic design, not to mention the constant references to samurai movies and comic books, is always fascinating. I can't say enough about how expressive and evocative the artwork is.
 
Made in: 2001
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Owned: Yes
Category: Animation, Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Movie #792, #61 this year
Stars: 4

Friday, September 09, 2005
 
Morituri
 
As a war movie, it is a strange set piece, trying to get at the nuances of "honorable" war versus Nazi barbarism. Yul Bryner is quite good, while Brando is just weird with an accent that keeps fading in and out. Overall, it feels like snippets of a story that was much better told somehwere else. It's all a bit too pat and forced. There's very little room for real humanity in the movie, even though it tries with the bird kept by one of the prisoners. An oddity, it's okay, but nothing special.
 
Made in: 1965
Director: Bernhard Wicki
Owned: No
Category: Drama, War
Movie #791, #60 this year
Stars: 2

Wednesday, September 07, 2005
 
The Dreamlife of Angels
 
An interesting, remarkable film exploring the psychologies of two lonely women who mange to become friends, at least for a while. The direction is very solid, making the story moving and riveting despite its fairly long length and few plot developments. The two main actresses are fantastic and manage to do a lot with very few movements. The ending is both sad, but also vaguely positive and uplifting. One girl can't grow up and kills herself, while the other recognizes her need for contact with humanity, saves another character, and matures enough to keep herself going. Easy to recommend if one doesn't need escapist fare, but is in the mood for serious character work.
 
Made in: 1998
Director: Erick Zonca
Owned: No
Category: Drama
Movie #790, #59 this year
Stars: 4

Thursday, August 25, 2005
 
Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession
 
This is one great documentary about a very unhappy guy who managed to almost singlehandedly change movie appreciation in the U.S. (at least if the movie is to be believed). The subject, Jerry Harvey, who programmed Z Channel, is an absolute movie nut, and a omnivorous one at that. Watching his lineup of movies it is amazing to see how many are now considered "must-sees". The heyday of the channel was before DVDs and almost before VCRs, right at the dawn of cable, and the Z Channel managed to stake out a genuine claim for real quality. The big guys of HBO and others are portrayed as the bad guys, but it seems Z Channel drove them all to better heights. Great story, great drama, and great movies.
 
Made in: 2004
Director: Alexandra Cassavetes
Owned: No
Category: Documentary
Movie #789, #58 this year
Stars: 5

Friday, August 19, 2005
 
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
 
The acting is pretty wooden, but the monsters are great and no one could possibly misunderstand the importance of the escape scene where Sinbad swings across a gorge on a rope while carrying his princess. George Lucas even had his own genie! Also noteworthy are the exterior palace shots, which look awfully good. They more than make up for the Island of Colossa which too closely resembles the outside of Los Angeles.
 
Made in: 1958
Director: Nathan Juran
Owned: Yes
Category: Family, Fantasy, Action, Adventure
Movie #788, #57 this year
Stars: 3

Sunday, August 14, 2005
 
Battlestar Galactica
 
It's a bit slow at the start and doesn't get much faster as as it moves along. I would have liked to see more space battles. however, it does have lots of good story lines and the character dynamics are pretty good. For all its faults, its a very good start and has drawn me in pretty effectively.
 
Made in: 2003
Director: Michael Rymer
Owned: Yes
Category: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure
Movie #787, #56 this year
Stars: 3

Thursday, July 14, 2005
 
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
 
This movie has a great ending, just great, but getting there is a long, long difficult haul. The pictures and the riotous colors are a real plus, but the thing moves so slowly and the singing and music didn’t do all that much for me. It was very tough to get through. I’m glad I saw it, but I don’t want to do it again.
 
Made in: 1964
Director: Jacques Demy
Owned: No
Category: Drama, Musical, Romance
Movie #786, #55 this year
Stars: 3

Saturday, July 02, 2005
 
Panic in the Streets
 
Another Fox “noir” that doesn’t feel much like a noir. This one is more of an exciting police (or more accurately public health service ) procedural. Great long takes and moody lighting and camera work as well. The performances are uniformly good, especially by Zero Mostel and Jack Palance as the bad guys. Richard Widmark plays a good guy who keeps veering pretty close to mania. The movie moves along very quickly, with an almost modern pacing, especially after the initial set up. The commentary points out how much the actors much back and forth within the frame rather than side to side. It really does a lot to increase the depth of the scenes.
 
Made in: 1950
Director: Elia Kazan
Owned: Yes
Category: Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller, Drama
Movie #785, #54 this year
Stars: 4

Saturday, July 02, 2005
 
Nightmare Alley
 
This is a pretty bleak movie about the perils of being a “bad” carny. Apparently being a good carny is okay, although there are a fair number of problems including rampant alcoholism and the constant worry about being attacked by the local geek attraction. (Geeks being the ones who bite the heads off of live chickens, and thus are the lowest of the low in the carny pecking order.) It’s a pretty twisted story, although the eventual downfall of Tyrone Power is pretty much a given. The biggest surprise is that one of the “good” civilized people, the psychiatrist, turns out to be as evil as the main star. The movie is a bit too long and Power’s character tends to swing a bit between naivete and cynical opportunism. But Power is pretty good and the supporting three women are great. While bleak, the movie isn’t quite as moody as many noirs, and one feels the lack of a consistent directorial style while still using many of the tools and stylistic touches of the classic noirs. It’s tough to be too hard on any movie about carny life, and this one treats the world with a fair amount of clear-eyed respect.
 
Made in: 1947
Director: Edmund Goulding
Owned: Yes
Category: Drama, Film-Noir
Movie #784, #53 this year
Stars: 3

Wednesday, June 22, 2005
 
The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms
 
It's got nuclear explosions that release monsters; it's got Harryhausen's beautiful monster ballet; it's even got Lee Van Cleef as a marksmen. Amazingly, it is even based on a story by Ray Bradbury. But what it also has is the line "Bazookamen, Fire!" Really fun, classic monster movie that set the pace for many, many others that followed. The monster's movement really is spectacular and it makes up for lots of wooden acting and scarily bad dialogue.
 
Made in: 1953
Director: Eugène Lourié
Owned: Yes
Category: Sci-Fi, Horror
Movie #783, #52 this year
Stars: 4

Friday, June 17, 2005
 
They Were Expendable
 
Wonderfully crafted movie that shows off Ford's brilliance at illustrating grand events through tiny casual details. There are many little vignettes here, many of which are left unresolved, but which still feel just right. I can't imagine a movie today that would let the love story of John Wayne and Donna Reed not just end near the middle, but completely unresolved by the end. There is tons of action, but also plenty of time for the quiet moments of an impromptu funeral or explaining the wonders of various shipboard kitchens. Delicate, underplayed acting by all of the (large) cast.
 
Made in: 1945
Director: John Ford
Owned: No
Category: Drama, War
Movie #782, #51 this year
Stars: 5

Monday, June 13, 2005
 
Star Wars: Clone Wars
 
This is more fantastic work by Genndy Tartakovsky. His eye for lines of action and interesting composition is near flawless. The series does a nice job of moving the Star Wars story forward, but it is the visuals that make this such a treat. Long live 2-D!
 
Made in: 2003
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Owned: Yes
Category: Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Animation, Short
Movie #781, #50 this year
Stars: 4

Saturday, June 11, 2005
 
Lady Snowblood
 
Why waste time with imitations like Kill Bill, when you can tap into the pure arterial spray of this movie. It is an amazing revenge flick with great swordwork and bluckets of squirting blood. The editing and twisted time structure are also a delight. Just amazing. Tarantino really went to school on this movie for his own epic.
 
Made in: 1973
Director: Toshiya Fujita
Owned: No
Category: Drama, Action
Movie #780, #49 this year
Stars: 5

Sunday, June 05, 2005
 
Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures
 
A pretty good history of the films made by Kubrick, it tries to humanize the man and dispel some of the stranger rumors about him that have built up over time. Just about every one of the interviewees praises Kubrick and emphasizes how good he was and such a "brilliant filmmaker". what really comes through though is not only Kubrick's genius, but his absolute mania and drive for perfection. In one scene he is berating his children and in many others he's berating his actors. This may be effective, and it clearly got him what he wanted, but if the goal was to make the guy more likeable, it doesn't do the trick, not by a long shot. In the end, it's a very effective summary, all the more valuable because the memories about Kubrick are so interesting. But because Kubrick himself remained so secretive and unreachable, you get very little sense of him as a person, other than his occasional rather repellant treatment of other people, and what drove him to his very singular vision of humanity.
 
Made in: 2001
Director: Jan Harlan
Owned: Yes
Category: Documentary
Movie #779, #48 this year
Stars: 3

Friday, June 03, 2005
 
Charade
 
An incredibly delightful movie with sparkling wit, performances, and direction. It's similar to, but much better than, Arabesque, also directed by Donen. If there are any flaws at all, it's that it spends way too much time in the same hotel rooms, but that is a truly minor quibble. This thing sparkles from start to finish.
 
Made in: 1963
Director: Stanley Donen
Owned: Yes
Category: Comedy, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
Movie #778, #47 this year
Stars: 5

Wednesday, June 01, 2005
 
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
 
It has Anderson's trademark whimsy, but it is much darker his previous efforts. This time the theme isn't coming to terms with authority figures/parents, but with one's own achievements and life. It isn't as satisfying as The Royal Tenenbaums or Rushmore but that's partly because the end is much more ambiguous and partly because Anderson is trying for so much more in terms of theme and character. Along with the persnal journey of Bill Murray's character, Anderson is aso trying to get at what's important versus what is real and if the unreal stuff is possibly more important. A very good movie that needs additional viewings.
 
Made in: 2004
Director: Wes Anderson
Owned: Yes
Category: Comedy, Adventure, Drama
Movie #777, #46 this year
Stars: 4

Tuesday, May 31, 2005
 
Circle of Deceit
 
It's very good, but it's also a difficult movie to watch, knowing that so many of the horrors pictured are real events that happened to be captured by the filmmakers. I liked the directness of the movie, free from the ironic detachment that this movie would probably have if it were made now. The moral quandry of inaction in the face of war is pretty topical to be dealt with in such a straightforward way. I was worried at first that the personal problems faced by the Ganz character would overwhelm the bigger story, but I shouldn't have been. The balance maintained by Schlondorff was fantastic.

There is a really good discussion on the disk by Schlondorff talking about how he made the film and the conditions under which he filmed it. He talks about how he did not want the film to make judgements on who was at fault, but simply describe the situation. He also makes it clear that he doesn't feel he really understood the actions of the main character, but rather just showed his actions. This ambivalence that Scholndorff captures so well really works for the movie and perhaps it is why it is such an affecting film. Schondorff is an excellent example of certainty not serving the artistic purpose well. It is the multiplicity of reasons which makes the movie work.

 
Made in: 1981
Director: Volker Schlondorff
Owned: No
Category: Drama
Movie #776, #45 this year
Stars: 4

Monday, May 30, 2005
 
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
 
A second viewing of course. I decided to watch this one again after seeing Revenge of the Sith in the theater. I liked Episode 3 a lot and it is good enough to make this one even better. What really stands out is not the acting or dialogue (big surprise) but the designs and concepts behind all of the neat planets, ships, not to mention the grand concept behind the Force. It is all beautifully done. In the commentary track, Lucas says that he had the idea the movies should be able to stand on their own as silent movies with the sound only being an extra. On that level it works very well.
 
Made in: 1999
Director: George Lucas
Owned: Yes
Category: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Action, Fantasy
Movie #775, #44 this year
Stars: 4

Saturday, May 28, 2005
 
The Phantom of Liberty
 
A series of only barely interconnected sketches that are pretty tough to figure out. Most of them are very funny, but disorienting. It has Bunuel's signature direct style and is wonderfully directed as usual, but it doesn't have the same impact of his other later work. It's most like his earliest movies, L'Age d'Or for example, in the way it jumps around with almost no apparent meaning. I liked it a lot, but it's hardly easily accessible.
 
Made in: 1974
Director: Luis Bunuel
Owned: Yes
Category: Comedy, Drama
Movie #774, #43 this year
Stars: 4

Wednesday, May 25, 2005
 
Kristin Lavransdatter
 
It took three days to watch this big movie, which wasn't quite fair to what is a very good show. The emotions are rich and deep and the acting is first rate. The story is apparently quite famous, but I'd never heard of it before. It's not an action movie, but the feelings are enough to carry it for all of its three hours.
 
Made in: 1995
Director: Liv Ullmann
Owned: No
Category: Drama
Movie #773, #42 this year
Stars: 4

Saturday, May 14, 2005
 
F for Fake
 
A weird, really interesting "essay" on fraud, fakers, and art. Welles doesn't have a lot to work with, but he makes the best of it. The editing especially is fantastic--filled with quick cuts and fast transitions that puts even contemporary stuff to shame. The meta quality of the whole exercise (and the commentary on the value of experts) is only intensified near the end when Welles himself forges an art story.
 
Made in: 1974
Director: Orson Welles
Owned: Yes
Category: Documentary
Movie #772, #41 this year
Stars: 5

Saturday, May 14, 2005
 
The Cat Returns
 
One of the few non-Miyazaki movies from Studio Ghibli, it has all the beautiful artwork and fine care of their usual films. The story is wonderfully fanciful, but it is not quite as rich or complex as Miyazaki's work. It's a lot of fun, and there are some very good characters, but it isn't quite the full meal as the other movies.
 
Made in: 2002
Director: Hiroyuki Morita
Owned: Yes
Category: Adventure, Animation, Family, Fantasy
Movie #771, #40 this year
Stars: 4

Wednesday, May 04, 2005
 
Naked Lunch
 
I'm still trying to figure out exactly what was going on in this movie, but it is impossible to deny it's vivid imagery, excellent acting, and superb look. All cylinders were firing when Cronenberg matched his own machine/man aesthetic to Burrough's twisted world. Peter Weller, especially, manages to channel Burrough's inflections and mannerisms--giving about as fine a performance as he is perhaps capable of giving. There's a lot more money in this movie than in Cronenberg's other films and it is all on the screen. Gone is the sheetrock look of temprorary sets for a much more realistic and beautiful looking movie. Weller says that for just one scene there were 18 flags set up to get the lighting just right. The efffort was well worth it. Disturbing, yes, but also very compelling.
 
Made in: 1991
Director: David Cronenberg
Owned: No
Category: Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Movie #770, #39 this year
Stars: 4

Thursday, April 28, 2005
 
Youth of the Beast
 
It feels a lot like a mix of Yojimbo and a bunch of 80's Hong Kong gangster movies. It's easily the most accessible of Suzuki's movies that I've seen so far. It's lots of fun with a good twist at the end.
 
Made in: 1963
Director: Seijun Suzuki
Owned: Yes
Category: Crime, Mystery
Movie #769, #38 this year
Stars: 5

Thursday, April 21, 2005
 
Laura
 
Not quite the "greatest noir ever" that some reviews had led me to believe, but nevertheless it is pretty good. Clifton Webb is good as the manipulative Waldo, and Vincent Price puts his oily voice to great use. Nevertheless, apart from the big surprise of Laura's reappearance, the movie is a bit short of real suspense. The eerie mood, while good, isn't enough to put this one over the top for me. I liked the direction a lot, especially the dolly in to the closeups. The lighting is also very nice.
 
Made in: 1944
Director: Otto Preminger
Owned: Yes
Category: Film-Noir, Mystery, Romance, Crime
Movie #768, #37 this year
Stars: 3

Sunday, April 10, 2005
 
The Public Enemy
 
This movie isn't nearly as accomplished as White Heat, but in many ways I enjoyed it more. This movie helps illustrate the transition between silents and sound. Much of the acting, especially by Cagney's brother, is all silent movie exaggeration and moody expressivenness. Cagney, with his naturalist style and easy way with dialogue just jumps off the screen compared to his fellow actors. It's easy to see where the future of movies is going. This movie also shows the industry learning to deal with the new-found genre of gangster movie. The basic conventions set up here--poor origins, easy and glamorous success, followed by ugly death--remained unchanged for decades. Also this movie has some very gripping and modern scenes, including the gay tailor and Cagney's shocking last scene as a corpse falling through a doorway.
 
Made in: 1931
Director: William A. Wellman
Owned: Yes
Category: Action, Crime, Drama
Movie #767, #36 this year
Stars: 4

Saturday, April 09, 2005
 
White Heat
 
A really fun gangster flick with James Cagney personifying maniacal evil. His line readings are just great and he holds our attention from the first minute of the film. The rest of the cast is okay, especially Edmond O'Brien, but they can't hold a candle to Cagney. Virginia Mayo comes close since she looks just about as crazed and wacko as she acts. Not much there beyond the performances though, the movie is really about the thrill ride.
 
Made in: 1949
Director: Raoul Walsh
Owned: Yes
Category: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Movie #766, #35 this year
Stars: 3

Monday, April 04, 2005
 
Videodrome
 
It's got Cronenberg's trademark amateur feel, but Cronenberg's very literary scripts also have a organic feel that tends to get under the skin. The idea of terrorists concerned about the decay of the modern world using modern technology to destroy it has a certain frightening perspicacity to it. James Woods is okay, but it is Deborah Harry who steals the show. The effects are great, especially the strange throbbing video slot in Woods's stomach.
 
Made in: 1983
Director: David Cronenberg
Owned: No
Category: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror, Thriller
Movie #765, #34 this year
Stars: 4

Wednesday, March 30, 2005
 
The Dresser
 
Even close to twenty years later it is hard not to look at Tom Courtenay and not see his scar from Dr. Zhivago. As in the older film, his work here is just amazing. It's not a likable role, but he manages to convey the tragedy of it just the same. Albert Finney is as good as I've seen him as the tyrranical theater star who is so demanding and arresting that he allows no other relationships to exist save those that serve his purpose. The movie as a whole is a tribute to and study of the costs of total commitment to art and acting. It is also a harsh commentary on the costs of the class system. Taking place over about a day, and most of it during one performance of King Lear, it never flags and is thoroughly riveting at almost every moment.
 
Made in: 1983
Director: Peter Yates
Owned: No
Category: Drama
Movie #764, #33 this year
Stars: 5

Wednesday, March 23, 2005
 
I Heart Huckabees
 
Each little bit, and almost every line. has the germ of some joke in it. Unfortunately it doesn't add up to much of anything. It's quite a disappointment especially given the talent on display. It has the feel of a pet project where no one imposes any discipline at all. One can only hope David O. Russel survives this disaster and makes a better (much better) movie next time. The most refreshing surprise was how good Mark Wahlberg is. The others are okay, even good, but Wahlberg does a great job of selling his confused fireman character.
 
Made in: 2004
Director: David O. Russell
Owned: Yes
Category: Comedy
Movie #763, #32 this year
Stars: 2

Wednesday, March 23, 2005
 
Bambi
 
Kind of amazing that I'd never seen this before. It's not quite the traumatic event many seem to remember, nor is it really all that interesting. Not very much happens over the short 70 minute running time. What it is, though, is absolutely lovely. The detail and animation work of the forest and the animals is really stunning. The depth and texture of the forest is about as perfect as could be hoped for.
 
Made in: 1942
Director: David Hand
Owned: Yes
Category: Animation, Family, Drama
Movie #762, #31 this year
Stars: 3

Sunday, March 20, 2005
 
Porco Rosso
 
A surprisingly delicate, subtle love story tucked in amongst a lot of airplanes and dogfights. There are lots of the trademark Miyazaki clouds in this movie and they all look gorgeous. there are also plenty of cool looking, barely airworthy airplanes. It's all great looking. I really liked the lack of resolution at the end. It's a sign of how confident he is in his storytelling that Miyazaki is willing to leave such a basic element as how the lead guy turned into a pig unaddressed. It's lovely work.
 
Made in: 1992
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Owned: Yes
Category: Family, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Animation
Movie #761, #30 this year
Stars: 5

Wednesday, March 16, 2005
 
Poison
 
Haynes's penchant for meticulous detail and carefully composed, beautiful shots is nicely displayed here. So, also, is his somewhat dark take on humanity. Other than that, there isn't a whole lot to say about this movie since it is a bit dull and slow despite being only 85 minutes long
 
Made in: 1991
Director: Todd Haynes
Owned: No
Category: Drama, Horror
Movie #760, #29 this year
Stars: 2

Monday, March 14, 2005
 
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
 
Some of the same environmental themes that Hiyazaki later perfected in Princess Mononoke. This time the story is set in a post-apocalyptic future with lots of farmers with old-style flying machines. The artwork is to Miyazaki's usual high standard, but the color scheme isn't quite as crisp or dramatic as Mononoke. The story is thrilling, but suffers a bit from being forced into a two-hour running time. The story began as a comic book which runs to five volumes, so the movie loses some interesting details. It's an awfully good movie, just not quite as perfect as Miyazaki's later work.
 
Made in: 1984
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Owned: Yes
Category: Animation, Drama, Sci-fi, Fantasy
Movie #759, #28 this year
Stars: 4

Thursday, March 10, 2005
 
Six Feet Under, Season 1, Disk 4
 
A marathon session for the last three disks in the season on the flight from Shanghai to Chicago. The theme stabilized a bit around the idea of what’s worth doing in life if death is coming, sooner or later. The acting is superb all around, but Frances Conroy as the mother is a cut above the rest. The daughter is a very close second. Both can do amazing things with their eyes, even just one eye. The writing is excellent, but the storyline, especially the girlfriend and her brother line is a little strained to warrant top marks.
 
Made in: 2001
Director: Alan Ball
Owned: Yes
Category: Drama, Comedy
Movie #758, #27 this year
Stars: 4

Thursday, March 10, 2005
 
Six Feet Under, Season 1, Disk 3
 
A marathon session for the last three disks in the season on the flight from Shanghai to Chicago. The theme stabilized a bit around the idea of what’s worth doing in life if death is coming, sooner or later. The acting is superb all around, but Frances Conroy as the mother is a cut above the rest. The daughter is a very close second. Both can do amazing things with their eyes, even just one eye. The writing is excellent, but the storyline, especially the girlfriend and her brother line is a little strained to warrant top marks.
 
Made in: 2001
Director: Alan Ball
Owned: Yes
Category: Drama, Comedy
Movie #757, #26 this year
Stars: 4

Thursday, March 10, 2005
 
Six Feet Under, Season 1, Disk 2
 
A marathon session for the last three disks in the season on the flight from Shanghai to Chicago. The theme stabilized a bit around the idea of what’s worth doing in life if death is coming, sooner or later. The acting is superb all around, but Frances Conroy as the mother is a cut above the rest. The daughter is a very close second. Both can do amazing things with their eyes, even just one eye. The writing is excellent, but the storyline, especially the girlfriend and her brother line is a little strained to warrant top marks.
 
Made in: 2001
Director: Alan Ball
Owned: Yes
Category: Drama, Comedy
Movie #756, #25 this year
Stars: 4

Tuesday, March 08, 2005
 
Six Feet Under, Season 1, Disk 1
 
An awfully riveting start. The characters are interesting and certainly deep enough, but there isn’t the same tension between attraction and revulsion that exists in The Sopranos. The tension here is more of facing fears and taking risks. It’s slower, but more realistic.
 
Made in: 2001
Director: Alan Ball
Owned: Yes
Category: Drama, Comedy
Movie #755, #24 this year
Stars: 5

Monday, March 07, 2005
 
Blood For Dracula
 
It’s quieter and less flashy than Flesh for Frankenstein, but also clearer in its theme. It’s a moody piece with great music, humor, and cool-looking actors. Udo Kier is really good in his role as a Dracula eager for some virgin blood—an awfully prescient desire given that it was made a decade before AIDS became such an problem. The servant character, in fact almost all the characters, are awfully funny as well as being serious in their moral message. It also has a fantastic commentary with the classic line “vomiting in a tuxedo is amazing.” In a nod to classic horror (one of many) the actress playing Esmeralda not only looks like Elsa Lanchester, but screams like her.
 
Made in: 1974
Director: Paul Morrisey, Antonio Margheriti
Owned: Yes
Category: Horror
Movie #754, #23 this year
Stars: 5

Sunday, March 06, 2005
 
Les Triplettes de Belleville
 
This is one incredibly cool movie. The plot is either very simple or indescribable. The art design is a delight, It is really funny, and the whole movie is an exercise is dark whimsy. I enjoyed this movie an awful lot.
 
Made in: 2003
Director: Sylvain Chomet
Owned: No
Category: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Movie #753, #22 this year
Stars: 5

Saturday, March 05, 2005
 
Team America: World Police
 
Very funny. Not perfect and the sex jokes are a little strained, but still very funny. The parody of disaster movies is quite good. There are no dead spots and it moves swiftly through the denouement. The Kim Jong-Il character is really well done.
 
Made in: 2004
Director: Trey Parker
Owned: No
Category: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Movie #752, #21 this year
Stars: 4

Friday, March 04, 2005
 
Day for Night
 
This movie is a delight, showing Truffaut’s light touch, sense of humor, and most importantly his love of film. There is a lot going on here, and much of it is really, really funny. There is also the fantastic camera work which swoops and turns almost perfectly. The editing is also great with its quick, and often seamless, cuts between takes and angles. It’s not deep philosophy, but it is film art at its highest.
 
Made in: 1973
Director: François Truffaut
Owned: No
Category: Drama, Comedy
Movie #751, #20 this year
Stars: 5

Saturday, February 26, 2005
 
Night and the City
 
Dassin’s use of the frame is really interesting. Lots of deep focus and intricate lighting make for some gorgeous shots. Yet all that fancy lighting is often really unnatural. For example, there is little reason for such bright lighting to seem to come from the floor of a basement office, not matter how effective it is on the fat bar owner’s face. The acting is good, Richard Widmark can certainly laugh maniacally. However, there is not a lot of character development. The movies hallmark is much more a description of the large and highly stratified society of London’s underworld. Woe to Widmark though when he overreaches his position. The heavy social criticism is what brings the movie down in the end. The characters aren’t really strong enough to carry the weight of Dassin’s social views. In this sense it shows the same flaws as The Law, where Rififi had enough strength to really carry it off. There is a very nice wresting match which is well-edited and effective, but these are better done, and better supported, in Killer’s Kiss and The Set-up. As good as many of the elements are, it doesn’t quite have enough to really engage the viewer.
 
Made in: 1950
Director: Jules Dassin
Owned: Yes
Category: Film-Noir, Thriller
Movie #750, #19 this year
Stars: 3

Monday, February 21, 2005
 
Casque D'Or
 
Amazingly complex and subtle movie hiding in an apparently simple tale of a gangster’s duplicity and lust. The movie is just beautiful in its evocation of rural scenes and the wonderful blocking of the actors. As simple as the basic story is, it unfolds in a natural and fairly complex way which is never boring or distracting. There is nothing here which seems extra or doesn’t serve the story. There is no false building of suspense. Rather, while the end is unavoidable, it doesn’t necessarily seem so to the characters. Much more interesting to me than the Clouzot movies, which often seem unnecessarily drawn out and padded.
 
Made in: 1952
Director: Jacques Becker
Owned: Yes
Category: Crime, Drama, Romance
Movie #749, #18 this year
Stars: 5

Monday, February 21, 2005
 
Nosferatu
 
This was always one of my favorite movies growing up when I first saw it in Super 8. The power of the thing has not diminished a bit, especially the amazingly creepy Max Schreck as Nosferatu. However, now I can appreciate the filmmaking skill of Murnau more than I ever did before. His skill in scene manipulation is extraordinary and his use of spare sets only adds to the dreamlike quality of the movie. Murnau is also a master of using depth in his scenes, a depth that even now often goes unused. I had also forgotten the impact of the Knock character—a great look with the only real transformation in the movie. There is an enormous amount going on here, much of which is well discussed in the excellent commentary track on the Kino disk. The source print is not great, but the power of the images remains.
 
Made in: 1922
Director: F.W. Murnau
Owned: No
Category: Horror, Thriller
Movie #748, #17 this year
Stars: 5

Tuesday, February 15, 2005
 
Touching the Void
 
The first half is utterly thrilling and captivating. The second half is a little less riveting, but all the more incredible as one realizes what is going on. The use of doubles and the real people as narrators is a fairly risky strategy, but it works beautifully here. The most unbelievable stories are still the real ones.
 
Made in: 2003
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Owned: Yes
Category: Documentary
Movie #747, #16 this year
Stars: 5

Sunday, February 13, 2005
 
The Battle of Algiers
 
This movie's effectiveness is only increased by the fact that you know both how the main characters and the struggle end up (dead and successful). The almost artless, quasi-documentary style makes it even more effective. The moves back and forth between the FLN and the French are also really good and keep the audience's sentiments properly distanced from the action on the screen.
 
Made in: 1965
Director: Gillo Pontecorvo
Owned: Yes
Category: Drama, War
Movie #746, #15 this year
Stars: 5

Saturday, February 12, 2005
 
Marnie
 
Lots of interesting things happening here, but also a great example of Hitchcock's shortcomings. The technical aspects are really good, especially the camera movements and the colors used. The shot of Marnie hiding in the bathroom in the lower corner of the frame is a classic. At the same time, what is Sean Connery doing in this movie? He doesn't really fit the character, nor does he (or the script) make it clear why he continues after Marnie well after it is clear she's a criminal loon. It's far too talky a movie, with loads of detail that make it too long for what it is. The script spends too much time on psychobabble stuff that is not very effective. On the plus side is Louise Latham as the mother, who is great.
 
Made in: 1964
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Owned: No
Category: Drama, Thriller
Movie #745, #14 this year
Stars: 3

Thursday, February 03, 2005
 
The Mummy
 
This is the Hammer version of this classic. Peter Cushing does a great job. Christopher Lee looks pretty silly in eye makeup, but his mummy is not too bad. The bright technicolor reds and greens are great and camera work is good. It's a strange mix of excessive detail and weird camp. The seals of the tomb are almost fetishized while the murder of the slaves is like a goofy line dance. A few chills, but never really scary.
 
Made in: 1959
Director: Terence Fisher
Owned: No
Category: Horror
Movie #744, #13 this year
Stars: 2

Monday, January 31, 2005
 
Ripleys' Game
 
The same source material as The American Friend. John Malkovich is his usual riveting, unsettling self. The real pleasure is Ray Winstone, who's just great. It's good and the payoff is big, but the questions remains if the payoff is really worth all the effort. As nice as it all looks and as subtle as the acting is, it really isn't.
 
Made in: 2002
Director: Liliana Cavani
Owned: No
Category: Drama, Thriller
Movie #743, #12 this year
Stars: 3

Saturday, January 22, 2005
 
A Hard Day's Night
 
Pretty remarkable film for how quick the editing is. Very fast pace, which doesn't fade as it moves on. The lads are awfully engaging. And they even show a bit of an edge to them, so it's not all treacle. The jokes about the clean grandfather are particularly well done.
 
Made in: 1964
Director: Richard Lester
Owned: No
Category: Comedy, Music
Movie #742, #11 this year
Stars: 3

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
 
The Mummy
 
This is the 1932, Boris Karloff version. Barely a shudder or fright in the whole thing, but rather it strikes a pretty melancholy mood of lost love. Karloff is more troubled than sinister, although his frozen stares are still a bit unsettling. It's wonderfully shot with lots of expressionist touches, which makes up for a lot of the stiff (intentional and otherwise) acting. The direction is almost anti-suspense, in favor of a more moody feel. Not great, but certainly interesting and enjoyable.
 
Made in: 1932
Director: Karl Freund
Owned: No
Category: Horror
Movie #741, #10 this year
Stars: 3

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
 
The Sopranos, Season 4, Disk Four
 
It isn't pretty to watch, but the collapse of Tony's world around him in shown in exquisite, painful, and convincing detail. The struggles of Carmella and the frustrations of Johnny Sack and Paulie, not to mention the hypocrises of Tony, are completely believable. This is a tribute not only to this season's acting and writing, but to the preceding 3 seasons which have created such a convincing universe. The payoff in Carmella's character is particularly riveting.
 
Made in: 1999
Director: David Chase
Owned: Yes
Category: Crime, Drama
Movie #740, #9 this year
Stars: 5

Monday, January 17, 2005
 
Futurama: Volume 3, Disk Four
 
Five incredibly funny episodes, probably the most consistent and funniest of the entire series. Everything is working in perfect form whether it's a spoof of conspiracy theorists, cooking shows, or general science fiction. Even the background art is better than usual.
 
Made in: 1999
Director: Matt Groening
Owned: Yes
Category: Animation, Sci-Fi, Comedy
Movie #739, #8 this year
Stars: 5

Saturday, January 15, 2005
 
The Sopranos, Season 4, Disk Three
 
Things are going from bad to worse for Tony. While it was tragic about the horse dying, Christopher killing the dog while on the nod was hilarious. As obnoxious as Ralphie was, he provided lots of life and spark to the show. With him gone, everything is getting darker and darker.
 
Made in: 1999
Director: David Chase
Owned: Yes
Category: Crime, Drama
Movie #738, #7 this year
Stars: 3

Saturday, January 15, 2005
 
Radar Men From the Moon
 
A twelve-part Republic serial that is howlingly funny because it is so bad in so many ways. At the same time it is highly watchable because the plot does carry you forward and there are some great special effects of people flying around, rockets going to the moon, cool lunar tanks, atomic explosions, and mountains melting. Just about every episode has some incredible fistfight in which people take enormous beatings only to pop right back up again. This series introduced "Commando Cody" played by the wooden George Wallace, but it also has great villians in Clayton Moore and several other lunar invaders. This one really is fun for the whole family.
 
Made in: 1952
Director: Fred C. Brannon
Owned: Yes
Category: Action, Sci-Fi
Movie #737, #6 this year
Stars: 4

Friday, January 14, 2005
 
The Sopranos, Season 4, Disk Two
 
After a slow start, these next four episodes really picked up. The tension Tony is feeling is matched by Adrianna, and a host of others. Everything about this family is sad. It's hard to see any redeeming element.
 
Made in: 1999
Director: David Chase
Owned: Yes
Category: Crime, Drama
Movie #736, #5 this year
Stars: 4

Thursday, January 13, 2005
 
A Boy and His Dog
 
A really interesting movie that, at its heart, is about the friendship of Don Johnson and his dog. It's hardly flawless as the budget constraints limit it pretty significantly, but Johnson himself is really good as the angry innocent. It must have been hard to react to a talking dog when there is no talking, but Johnson really sells it. The voice of the dog is also great. It could be dismissed as a teen doomsday fantasy where dogs are more important than girlfriends, but it really is more than that.
 
Made in: 1975
Director: L.Q. Jones
Owned: No
Category: Sci-Fi, Drama
Movie #735, #4 this year
Stars: 4

Sunday, January 09, 2005
 
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King—Extended Edition
 
As in the other two extended editions, this version adds significantly to the story. Yet, it isn't quite as successful as the other longer versions. The additional footage with Saruman is strangely unsatisfying, and the extended battle footage is not really needed. Finally, the love story between Eowyn and Faromir is pretty thin. What is nice is the extra stuff about Denethor, the additional character of the "voice" of Sauron, and a much better fleshing out of Aragorn's acceptance of his role as king.
 
Made in: 2003
Director: Peter Jackson
Owned: Yes
Category: Fantasy, Adventure, Action
Movie #734, #3 this year
Stars: 4

Sunday, January 02, 2005
 
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
 
I didn't expect much from this movie but was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. It was consistently funny and nively spoofs sports films in general. There's excellent acting throughout. Vince Vaughn is good, but Ben Stiller and Rip Torn really steal the show.
 
Made in: 2004
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Owned: No
Category: Comedy
Movie #733, #2 this year
Stars: 3

Sunday, January 02, 2005
 
Destination Moon
 
More classic sci-fi cheese and 50s paranoia from George Pal. It's oh so earnest and filled with some goofy thoughts about how easy it might be to go to the moon. That said, the science is explained well via a Woody Woodpecker cartoon and the special effects are really good. There is a whole mix of effects from stop motion to matte paintings to funny camera angles, but it all works well and adds to a fun afternoon.
 
Made in: 1950
Director: Irving Pichel
Owned: Yes
Category: Sci-Fi
Movie #732, #1 this year
Stars: 3