Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 Movie Archive

Total Films Watched in 2005: (193)

New (139)
Re-watched (54)

[Navigation Note: Each title here will take you to my blog post where the film was mentioned. Within the blog post, the film's title is linked to the imdb entry for that particular film.]

[FYI: this list goes from the end of the year 2005 (at the top) to the beginning of the year (at the bottom)]

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Cinderella Man (2005)
Titanic (1997)
Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)
Super Size Me (2004)
King Kong (2005)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
War of the Worlds (2005)
Scooby Doo 2: Monster's Unleashed (2004)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
The Polar Express (2004)
A Christmas Story (1983)
Christmas Vacation (1989)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
House of Flying Daggers (2004)
The Polar Express (2004)
Millions (2004)
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Robots (2005)
Crash (2004)
The Girl Next Door (2004)
Sin City (2005)
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
The Thin Man (1934)
Finding Neverland (2004)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Office Space (1999)
Racing Stripes (2005)
Camille (1936)
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
Nikita (1990)
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Dracula (1931)
Léon: The Professional (1994)
Yojimbo (1961)
The Blob (1958)
Heat (1995)
Grand Hotel (1932)
An American in Paris (1951)
GiGi (1958)
The Corpse Bride (2005)
I [Heart] Huckabees (2004)
Deliverance (1972)
High Plains Drifter (1973)
Around the World in 80 Days (2004)
Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)
The Great Race (1965)
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965)
Spanglish (2004)
Unforgiven (1992)
Cinderella (1950)
Rebecca (1940)
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Dirty Harry (1971)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
Rope (1948)
The Color Purple (1985)
Deathtrap (1982)
Whale Rider (2002)
Spellbound (1945)
Wimbledon (2004)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Shattered Glass (2003)
National Treasure (2004)
The Village (2004)
Sahara (1943)
Winged Migration (2001)
Dr. Zhivago (1965)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
Saved! (2004)
In America (2002)
A Bug's Life (1998)
Toy Story (1995)
March of the Penguins (2005)
Great Expectations (1946)
Open Water (2003)
The Lost Weekend (1945)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Friday Night Lights (2004)
Brief Encounter (1945)
Escanaba in da Moonlight (2001)
Fantasia (1940)
The Sullivans (1944)
Predator (1987)
1941 (1979)
Born Yesterday (1950)
Bambi (1942)
The French Connection (1971)
Empire of the Sun (1987)
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)
The Final Countdown (1980)
I, Robot (2004)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
The Next Karate Kid (1994)
The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
All About Eve (1950)
The Terminal (2004)
Garden State (2004)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Jaws (1975)
Father of the Bride (1991)
Father of the Bride (1950)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Batman Begins (2005)
THX 1138 (1971)
A Shot in the Dark (1964)
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Hero (2002)
The Aviator (2004)
The Outlaw (1943)
Metropolis (1927)
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Collateral (2004)
North by Northwest (1959)
The 39 Steps (1935)
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Star Wars: Episode II - The Attack of the Clones (2002)
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
That Funny Feeling (1965)
Jerry Seinfeld: I'm Telling You for the Last Time (1998)
The Third Man (1949)
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
The Flight of the Phoenix (2004)
Ice Age (2002)
Because of Winn-Dixie (2005)
The Two Towers (2002)
Léon: The Professional (1994)
The Last Samurai (2003)
The Karate Kid (1984)
The Return of the King (2003)
Minority Report (2002)
Beyond The Sea (2004)
Lost In Translation (2003)
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2000)
Matchstick Men (2003)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Love Actually (2003)
De-Lovely (2004)
Secret Window (2004)
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
The Pink Panther (1963)
The Iron Giant (1999)
M (1931)
The Incredibles (2004)
The Passion Of The Christ (2004)
Friendly Persuasion (1956)
The Incredibles (2004)
Finding Neverland (2004)
Tombstone (1993)
Bambi (1942)
Adam's Rib (1949)
She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949)
The Spanish Prisoner (1997)
The Whole Wide World (1996)
Bubba Ho-tep (2002)
Night and Day (1946)
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
Cheaper By The Dozen (1950)
Cheaper By The Dozen (2003)
The Notebook (2004)
Excalibur (1981)
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird (1985)
The Barbarian Invasions (2003)
X2 (2003)
Just Married (2003)
Gone With The Wind (1939)
Rocky (1976)
Rocky II (1979)
Rocky III (1982)
Rocky IV (1985)
Rocky V (1990)
The Court Jester (1956)
The Phantom Of The Opera (2004)

Friday, December 30, 2005

Hit And Run Wrap-up

A day short of three weeks later, we finally got permission to have our car fixed!
That crazy, McDonald's lovin', little old pirate lady continued to be evasive even with her own insurance company. It took them nearly two weeks to get her side of the story which was that Christy ran the red light, hit her (amazingly, with her right passenger side door, no less) and then left the scene. Hmmm. That sounds familiar - oh yeah, because that what she herself did to Christy (except, more conveniently, with her front bumper)! So then they tried to get in touch with the witness and that took another week. Finally, I got a call Tuesday that they had determined the liability to be their insured (fantastic detective work!) and that we should begin the process to get the car repaired.

It looks like the repairs will take anther couple of weeks, but at least we're moving in the right direction.

We're very thankful that my Dad was on vacation and loaned us his car for our trip to Michigan over the weekend of Christmas, so we didn't have to miss that. Right now, we're still driving the car until repairs can begin (hopefully sometime next week).

Hopefully, I'll be able to get a little bit more news from last weekend posted this weekend. No promises, though.

If I don't get back before 2006 arrives...Happy Anniversary of the commencement of, um -- Happy New Year!!

Films Recently Watched:

Speaking of McDonalds...
Super Size Me (2004) dir. by Morgan Spurlock

Speaking of pirates...
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) dir. by Gore Verbinski

Speaking of doomed journeys...
Titanic (1997) dir. by James Cameron

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Let's Go To The Movies...

I've seen two films currently in theaters in less than a week. Is the world coming to an end?

Films Recently Watched:

King Kong (2005) dir. by Peter Jackson

Christy's Christmas Holiday was Friday/Monday but mine was Monday/Tuesday so on Tuesday as Christy went back to work, I was able to run some errands and take in a matinee.

King Kong is the first film that Peter Jackson has made since his wonderful Lord of the Rings trilogy. Well, Jackson had a much simpler story to tell in Kong, but it is a story with which we are all familiar -- Beauty and the Beast. The presentation of that story is exellent for the most part. I have to agree with something I've heard others say about Jackson's Kong; that there's a wonderful 2 or 2.5 hour film in this 187 minute behemoth (or, is that an 800-pound-gorilla?). There are several sequences that are overly long and ultimately useless.

Andy Serkis, who did the voice and motion capture for LOTR's Gollum/Smeagol character, does the motion capture again here for Kong. Kong is as believable and compelling a CG character as I've seen. If I hadn't known better, I would have thought that they'd somehow used an actual ape and miniaturized the sets to create scale. Kong is terrifying, sad and funny, all without ever speaking a word. Excellent work from beginning to end.

There are also good performances by Jack Black as the obsessed movie director, Carl Denham and by Naomi Watts as Ann Darrow, the damsel in distress.

Overall, King Kong is lots of thrills and lots of fun with a few poignant moments, too. Definately worth seeing on the big screen.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) dir. by Andrew Adamson
Well, I was able to see this while we were in Michigan over the weekend. Christy's Mom & Dad watched Hannah while Christy, her brother, Paul, and I went to the local cinema. The film was good, for the most part. All of the characters were believable in their roles. The sets were beautiful. The CG work was decent overall, though there were moments that could have used a bit more polish. Nonetheless, there was something missing.

I have read a few other thoughts about the film, etc. from Brian, Jamie, (their December 13, 2005 entries) and especially their friend, Amy. I felt something during the film that was also experienced by Jamie and Amy. I was ready to be brought to tears by the shaving and execution of Aslan, but wasn't. I was nearly there when Lucy notices Aslan's pensive look after his meeting with the White Witch - I knew it was coming, but when it happened, I was not moved. At first, I thought maybe the scene where Aslan presents himself at the Stone Table was too "Passion of the Christ." Then, I thought that more could have been done with the musical score during this scene to give more emotion. I still think that; both for that scene and the entire film, but I believe that Brian and Jamie's friend, Amy has identified the primary reason: The movie is made out to be about the children and not Aslan. With their gifts and weapons, the children seem to have no need for Aslan and his sacrifice is cheapened.

It's unfortunate, because if they'd gotten that right, it would have been nearly perfect.

Other films recently watched:
War of the Worlds (2005) dir. by Steven Spielberg
Another letdown for me, I'm afraid. I was really looking forward to seeing this, but came away with the feeling that I'd seen it all before. For a director like Spielberg to take on a classic story like War of the Worlds, something more needs to happen to make it worthwhile. Either the story needs to be altered in some interesting way, or the classic story needs to be brought to the screen in a way that we've never seen before. Spielberg went for the latter, but gave us Independence Day, minus the humor, and nine years late.

Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004) dir. by Raja Gosnell
I almost walked out on this a few minutes before the end so that I wouldn't have to post it here, but I didn't. At least this one wasn't a letdown for me. It was exactly what I expected. :)

It's a Wonderful Life (1946) dir. by Frank Capra.
This ought to round out my Christmas movie watching for the year. Never a letdown. Makes me cry every time!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Self Portrait Tuesday

I don't expect that this will become a regular item here, but I've recently become aware of the blog phenomenon that is: Self Portrait Tuesday. December's theme is "reflective surfaces" and I had this picture and kind of liked it, so here was my excuse to post it.

Films Recently Watched:

House of Flying Daggers (2004) dir. by Yimou Zhang
Zhang also directed another film I watched several months ago, Hero, which starred Jet Li. Both of these films are sights to behold. Monochromatic sets and costumes abound in vivid colors. I'm not a huge martial arts film lover, but both of these films seem to be to be much more than your standard martial arts films. Be aware that both of these films (Hero & House of Flying Daggers) are foreign language films (Mandarin/Chinese for both). I believe that the DVDs have an English dub, but I also believe that the proper way to watch them is in their original language w/ subtitles.

Spider-Man 2 (2004) dir. by Sam Raimi

Let the Christmas movie-fest begin!

How The Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) dir. by Chuck Jones and Ben Washam

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) dir. by George Seaton

Christmas Vacation (1989) dir. by Jeremiah S. Chechik. Written and produced by John Hughes.

A Christmas Story (1983) dir. by Bob Clark

The Polar Express (2004) dir. by Robert Zemekis Like I said before, the first time I watched this was with Hannah while Christy was out shopping. So Christy wanted to watch it too, so I watched it again.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Hit and "One cheeseburger to go, please."

Click to enlargeChristy was in a minor traffic accident on Tuesday this week.

She's OK. A little shaken up, but who wouldn't be? As you can see, the car took a pretty good jolt to the right rear door.

We're waiting to get the official accident report so that we can get necessary repairs taken care of properly, but here's what happened:

Christy was going through an intersection on green when a little old lady ran a red light and collided with her passenger side rear door. Christy tried to swerve to avoid the collision, but couldn't. Once she was able to clear the intersection and get off the road, the little old lady was nowhere to be found.

What happened next put this recent McDonald's ad campaign into a whole new light for me:

Fortunately, there was a very cooperative witness who was directly behind Christy when the accident occurred. The witness noticed that the little old lady wasn't stopping, so she followed her. Where, you ask? Well, let me tell you: to the McDonald's Drive-Thru! The McDonalds is located right at the intersection where the crash was, so she pulled in, and got in line. The witness stopped long enough to get her license plate number and then went back to where Christy had stopped and gave her the information. When the police arrived, Christy and the witness told them what had happened and they went over to the McDonalds and found the little old lady in a parking spot eating her lunch!

A little advice from me to you: if you ever find yourself in this situation, when the police officer comes up to your car and asks about what happened, don't ask, "How did you find me?" More advice: don't put yourself between little old ladies and a nearby McDonalds. This is now the definition of "in harm's way."

Apparently, the rest of the conversation involved her trying to deny involvement and say that her car wasn't damaged, when, in fact, it obviously was. Then, she said something about being worried about her insurance rates going up, etc.

I guess you could call it a "hit and run," -- she just didn't run very far. I really don't know whether she was or will be charged with leaving the scene, but it seems like she should be. We were very thankful for the witness who not only followed the other driver and got her license plate number, but also stuck around to talk to the police. Without the witness, it might have just ended up being a typical hit and run. At best, it would have been one person's word against another's about what color the light was.

The main thing is nobody was hurt, so we're also thankful for that.

It may put a glitch in our plans to travel to Michigan for Christmas. It depends on how quickly repairs can be made or if we can get a rental without mileage restrictions. We'll just hope for the best. 'Tis the season!

Daycare Christmas Program

Well, this year's Christmas program went decidedly better than last year's. We managed to get a seat on an aisle with a clear view to the risers, all without violence of any kind!

I wasn't entirely happy with the still shots that I got, but here are a couple anyway:

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge

I also got some mostly unobstructed video of Hannah's part of the performance. Mainly, though, we were happy just to be able to see the program.

Hannah did a pretty good job singing "Away In A Manger" and quoting her Bible verse and doing some of the hand motions along with her class.

Monday, December 05, 2005

December Weekend

We had a good weekend. Friday, Christy went shopping with a friend in Indianapolis, so Hannah and I had a Father-Daughter night. We got McDonald's to go, set up blankets in front of the TV, had a "picnic," and watched a movie.

Saturday was the first of several Christmas parties/events we have during December. This one was Christy's work Christmas Party at Beef and Boards in Indianapolis.

A little bit of history: Several years ago (we think it was in 1999), we were driving to Christy's work Christmas Party which was at Beef and Boards that year as well. We were on our way, probably less than five miles from the theater, zooming around I-465, when the engine of our "good car" at the time (which two or three traffic accidents later, happens to be my "junker" now) suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, went dead -- as a doornail. I headed for the right shoulder, put it in neutral, tried to restart - nothing. We rolled to a stop near the Ditch Road (life's funny ain't it?) overpass, and considered our options. Now, let the record show that I, still to this day, do not carry an electronic leash a cellular phone. Christy now needs one for work which she usually keeps in the car, which we have, on occasion, used for emergency purposes. But this all happened before Christy was managing her department and thus, no cell phone. I don't generally find Indianapolis to be an unfriendly town, but we felt it unlikely that a good Samaritan would stop and assist, so we assumed that we were on our own. It was well after dark in December and let's just say we weren't having a heat-wave at the time. One or both of us would have to go somewhere we could use a phone to call for help. We were both dressed nicely, but at least I wasn't wearing heels. I hated leaving Christy on the side of the road in a car with no heat, but she would have been miserable walking as far as I ended up having to walk. I found a blanket in the trunk and gave it to her and set off to find a phone. I am only slightly more familiar with the Indianapolis area now than I was then, but that's not saying much. Once I crawled up the embankment to Ditch Road, I headed South (I figured maybe it would be warmer). Perhaps this stretch between 465 and 86th Street is more developed now than it was then, but everything I saw along the way was residential. Again, I don't feel that Indianapolis is an unfriendly town, but I wasn't about to go knocking on doors of strangers alone and after dark in an unfamiliar part of town. I finally got to the intersection with 86th Street and found a filling station and went in and told them my story. They pulled out the yellow pages and allowed me to use their phone to call a wrecker service. After a couple of tries, I found a company that was willing to haul my car back to our fair city, Anderson, which is about 25-30 miles outside of Indy. I thanked the gentlemen for the use of their phone and headed back to the car. It only took a couple of moments before those nagging questions began to creep into my mind. What if the wrecker gets there before I do and is unwilling to wait for my return? What if the car isn't there when I get back? What if the car is there, but Christy is gone? What if the car got plowed into by a truck while just sitting on the side of the road? Try as I might to suppress them, these types of thoughts often lay siege to my consciousness. So I began to half-walk, half-jog back to the car, completing my nearly two-mile round trip. I made it to the overpass and rejoiced at the sight of my broken down Chevy. I got back into the car with Christy and, after a while, realized that my concerns about a too-speedy recovery were entirely unwarranted. Finally, flashing yellow lights approaching from the distance made their way into my rear-view mirror. Wrecker Dude hoisted the car up onto his flatbed and went to the next exit where he could turn around and begin the trip back to Anderson. The exit where he turned around happened to be the very exit for what was our original destination which can be seen from the road. Christy and I both looked longingly at the sign on the side of the building (MMMmmm....Beef -- and Boards). After finally warming up, then getting a bit toasty, then baking in the cab of the truck, we had Wrecker Dude drop the car at a service station in Anderson and then he took us to our apartment. Not a fun evening.

Christy and Jeremy at Beef and BoardsFortunately, this year's trip went flawlessly with the possible exception of a bit of an ice storm that made the roads a bit slick for the trip home.

We were pleasantly surprised that a portion of the show was dedicated to a "Traditional Christmas" which featured a Nativity scene and several songs about Jesus. Wow, we've nearly come to expect that most, if not all, references to Christ will be removed from these types of programs, even down to the word, "Christmas." I've written to the theater to express my appreciation for this as well as the fine service, food and entertainment.

Hannah and Santa Claus, 2005After church on Sunday, we went to the mall here in Anderson and had Hannah's picture taken with Santa Claus. To the left is a picture that they allowed me to take as long as we paid for the picture that they took as well.

Films Recently Watched:

A Manchurian Double-Feature:

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) dir. by John Frankenheimer
Check another off of the AFI's - 100 Years...100 Movies list for me. 62 seen, 38 to go.

The Manchurian Candidate (2004) dir. by Jonathan Demme
A few twists on the original film's plot. A couple of updates. A couple of good performances (namely by Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep), but nothing astounding here, in my opinion. I'll stick with the 1962 film.

A Tim Burton Triple-Feature combined with a Johhny Depp Double-Feature:

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) dir. by Henry Selick. Written and produced by Tim Burton.
This is one of my annual holiday films, and I love it every year!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) dir. by Tim Burton
Starring Johhny Depp.
I'm not sure what to think of this. I'm glad that Burton remade this story as it is quite "Burtonesque." But, for me, it doesn't have the magic that the Gene Wilder film has. Perhaps this will change upon repeated viewings.

Edward Scissorhands (1990) dir. by Tim Burton
Starring Johhny Depp.
Danny Elfman's original music score to this film is one of my absolute favorites. While watching it again for the first time in a long time, I remembered how well the music compliments the on-screen action and the story, characters, mood, etc. This is one film that would not be as good as it is without this Elfman score.

Millions (2004) dir. by Danny Boyle

The Polar Express (2004) dir. by Robert Zemekis
This is the movie that Hannah and I watched on our Friday Father-Daughter night. She got a little nervous during a couple of the perilous scenes, but as it turns out, she ended up watching it again the very next night with the babysitter.

I missed this in theaters when it released about this time last year. I got the DVD blind, hoping that I would enjoy it and I did. At least, it was better than other recent attempts at turning a short children's book into a feature-length film. I can definitely see this becoming part of the group of "modern classics" in the Christmas Holiday film vaults.

Do yourself a favor and read my friend, Ward's post about this film. He approaches it from the perspective of an artist/animator. Be sure to follow the link about the uncanny valley - fascinating stuff. Also, be sure to read his second post, where he shows how simple changes to the film's characters can make drastic changes it their apparent attitudes and emotions.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I can't believe it's December already!

Seriously, you guys.

Why, it seems like just yesterday it was only November....