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NOTE: (1) All titles are arranged in alphabetical order, then, if in a series or film collection, are arranged chronologically. (2) Some titles aren't listed because A) I have not finished viewing them, or B) I forgot. If anyone wishes to point that out or suggest a title, you are more than welcome to. (3) Also, if anything appears to be out of order alphabetically or chronologically, you can tell me.
Here it is, and it's still growing! And I love positive comments...
NOTE: Don't criticize me for making another Spielberg Curriculum list if you have seen others on IMDb. This version of the list is more or less for me. A quick access way to see which films I still have to watch. I hope you can treat it as the same.
Darkness Falls (2003)
I have always loved this film; however, I am not confident that others would agree. My connection with the movie runs back to when it first came out in theaters. I may be a fairly young man nowadays, but back then, I was really young-- just in elementary school. I had seen the trailer, and thought it looked scary as well as interesting. Sooner or later, it premiered on television, FX, I believe. I watched it late at night and it scared the bejesus out of me. Sufficed to say I never peeked under my covers the next few weeks.
Watching it again, years later, I don't see it as being that scary. And, I don't see why I had to be afraid because, in the movie, She only comes at the night you lose your last baby tooth (unless you saw her and survived, then she'd be after you anytime). By the time I had viewed this film, I had no more baby teeth. Also, I always imagined the Tooth Fairy in this film as looking really eerie in the first scene, but actually, her face is covered by a mask that partially resembles "The Phantom Of The Opera."
What I am saying is: if you want to be deathly scared of this, watch it when you are young because that's where you'll get the most out of it.
This film acts as a starter. It will be creepy enough to enjoy and scary enough to get startled. So if you want to ease into the realm of horror, start off by watching this first. In a sense, this is kind of similar to director Jonathan Liebsman. Doing a horror like this prepared him for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" allowing him to have killing payoffs as well as suspense. "The Killing Room" reinforced his basics, and ultimately prepared him for "Battle: Los Angeles"
The Hacker Ethic
If you stumbled upon this title solely because you saw Angelina Jolie was in it, you will get to witness the cute Jolie before the full-blown sexy Jolie you experienced in "Gia" and everything thereafter (and you geeks will like the storyline too!). The film itself plays out very much like a cyber-thriller that collided with a high school teen comedy with less sex and nudity; however, there is a split-second of what could be considered nudity in Dade's dream with Angelina Jolie, but who could blame him.
Characters in this film are unbelievable. It's not that they are bad, just strange. For instance, it is hard to believe that a gorgeous girl such as Kate (Joli) could be a computer nerd, second of all, that Matthew Lillard's character, Cereal Killer, could be that eccentric. I'm not quite sure why, but Cereal acts like a Jack Sparrow on LSD. And, ultimately, the story is a bit hard to believe as well yet fear not, my fellow movie gurus, the film is awesome.
The opening scene sets up the mood automatically. You know this is going to be a serious film (Lorraine Bracco of "The Sopranos" is in it) and at the same time, you know you're going to laugh at it (Penn Jillete of Vegas' Penn and Teller duo is also in it); except, I don't know what to say or how you should feel about singer Marc Anthony, who randomly plays a government agent in this movie. The truth is, you pretty much know what you're going to get with director Iain Softly ("K-PAX," "The Skeleton Key," and "Inkheart") and writer Rafael Moreu of "The Rage: Carrie 2."
My only beef with the film is that several characters randomly disappear towards the middle of the movie and never comeback. Other than that, I loved it, and so will you. It makes me wonder, what do you think Dade and his crew would do is WikiLeaks and Facebook existed back in 1995? The movie might have been called "The Social Network." (LOL)
Watch this movie; you will not be disappointed. It is a great flick and certainly deserving of your time.
The (Modern) Modern Prometheus
On the set of the 2005 "King Kong" remake, Adrian Brody had said that he wanted to do more action films rather then dramas such as "The Pianist," and with roles in "Predators" and "Splice," who could say he hasn't succeeded.
Essentially, this film explored the wonders of an even more modern Prometheus than Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." Thankfully it was as so, because when you first watch the trailer (and take note that it is rated R for sexuality/nudity) it appears to fall into the same category as "Species." The latter end of the film feels a bit "Species"-esque, but it doesn't hinder over the film. Once you accept the creature that look like an organ shot up with adrenaline in the first scene, you will accept everything that follows thereafter and you won't be disappointed.
"Splice" proposes a clever alternative to human cloning. This artistic innovation is presented through another artistic process: film. The movie overall is beautiful, elegant, and conscious of piercing tension. Director Vincenzo Natali demonstrated nothing but pure art in the evolution of the experimental specimen named Dren ("nerd" backward; in relation to the scientists themselves) headlined by Delphine Chaneac whose only other American film happened to be the remake of "The Pink Panther."
Brilliant French characteristics and filmmaking, and even the fact that visionary director Guillermo Del Toro's name is tagged on as an executive producer, all enhance this project. It's a shame that besides this, all American audiences get to see of Vincenzo Natali's is a segment out of the great "Paris, Je T'Aime" and the lacking "Cube." The same goes for co-screenwriter Douglas Taylor, except that his talents were somewhat wasted on "They Wait" and "In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale." Each person involved in this project has been on a exponential path to prominence; however, I haven't made up my mind on which Sarah Polley I like better: in "Splice" or in Zach Snyder's 2004 "Dawn Of The Dead" remake.
New Meaning To "I Hate Mondays"
Hopefully my title isn't misleading; this short film, produced and inspired by Glamour Magazine and Suave, is brilliant. Unlike other short films from the same source, this film can be seen and loved by everyone.
Dictated by an all-star cast, including Laura Dern, Courtney Cox, and Rosemary Harris, and directed by none other than Courtney Cox herself, "The Monday Before Thanksgiving" tells the tale of a woman whose mother recently passed away. She has been told repeatedly that she needs love in her life to help comfort her; however, what she actually needs is reassurance that everything will be alright. An uplifting film, with a great ending. I don't want to spoil too much, so I'll end simply by saying that this is a must see.
Like several other short films made and inspired by Glamour Magazine and Suave, this is targeted to women. Men will watch it because Demi Moore directed it and because of the title, yet it is a bit deceiving. The short isn't simply about hot chicks streaking, it is about stepping out of your comfort zone. The act of streaking represents this.
Brittany Snow's ("Finding Amanda" and NBC's "Harry's Law") character always feels the need to exercise and eat healthy and limited food until she meets Drea, played by Rumer Willis, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore's daughter. The film brings to light the issue of trying too hard to be thin. This is brilliantly seen through the characters, story, and subliminal words like "thinner" the camera just so happens to pan over.
Every woman should watch this and every man should watch it not only for their girlfriends but for themselves. "Streak" has something to tell all of us, we might as well listen.
A "Covert" Affair
A magnificent piece of work. It's not the best animated short film in the world, but it was really good. I'm not sure if I would call it predictable, it's just after you watch the ending you see it to be obvious. What makes this interesting is the fact that it is supposed to be taking place in America (context clues in the books the "decrypter" has on his shelf, like, among others, "America's Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull & Bones" which is supposedly a Yale University Secret Survey), however, most of the characters have a British accent, and it is produced by Sorts International and Channel 4 (a British broadcasting channel; not NBC for Comcast). There is no problem for that, I am just curious as to why America was chosen. This leads me to a question, does this short act as a political statement? Whatever the case, every one should watch this. It will only take three minutes and twenty-six seconds away from your life
what's the harm in that?
The Spleenectomy (2008)
My Spleen Hurts (With Laughter)
One of the cutest short films I have ever seen. Anna Faris lights up the film with her (somewhat typecast) ditsy blonde character, along side of her adorable Jonathon Lipnicki look-a-like on-screen son. Also, making me laugh was Larry Miller and his fake German accent as well as Ron Livingston who randomly pops up towards the end of the short, and pretty much the story itself.
It follows a young mother who dreams to become a stage actress. In order to get the dream role she feels she must live in the shows of her twin sister, and, ultimately, perform a spleenectomy.
Produced by Glamour Magazine and Suave, inspired by "Glamour reader" Stephanie Holcomb, and written/directed by Kirsten Smith (who wrote films like "10 Thing I Hate About You," "Legally Blonde," "Ella Enchanted," "She's The Man," "the House Bunny," and "The Ugly Truth"), it is safe to assume this was aimed towards women; however, it is not limited to them. Anyone can and should enjoy this cute little film.
The Killing Room (2009)
The Room Across From Mine
Before anyone says, "Hey, that looks like the room in 'True Lies,'" stop yourself. It may resemble it a bit like other movies (even if they were created after 2008) like "Hunger" in 2009 or "The Experiment" in 2010, but the film is gripping and unpredictable except, of course, you could try to analyze the back cover, and I'll tell you up front, some people will see clues others will not. It is more than a B-Movie horror flick, it is an intense psychological thriller that, if allowed a theatrical release, I presume it would have been followed by a series of sequels on par with the "Saw" franchise. To say the least, I was surprised that the future director of "Battle: Los Angeles" would direct a non-theatrical film, though I do understand it. If released in theaters, this would be the type of film that critics would tear down. "The Killing Room" needed to be released independently because it is there (or even on the Sundance Channel or IFC) that it will find it's true audience.
The plot is very much straightforward, though they don't explain the purpose of the experiment that well towards the end, it is still easy to follow. Essentially, this film is an ensemble piece and plays out almost like a stage play. In fact, it would be kind of cool if it were a stage play. That being said, the film relies heavily of the acting. By now, you must have seen that Nick Cannon is in it, but don't be alarmed. He isn't that bad in this movie (perhaps that may be because his lines were often short and his character is more or less antisocial). Timothy Hutton's acting is normal good (from "Ordinary People" to "The Dark Half" to even TNT's "Leverage") and is just as good in "The Killing Room." It looks like it would be awful, but the film was truly terrific; I recommend this title.
My Generation (2010)
Our Generation Hated This Show
The people behind this show must have tried extremely hard for the general public to hate it, and, consequently, to earn it's rightful spot on the canceled television show list of 2010. It was truly depressing not the fact that it was canceled, but the show itself.
I get the whole concept, and it was a great idea it was just executed very poorly. One of the major problems I had with the show was with the character Kenneth Finely, played by Keir O'Donnell. Kenneth was the geek of the graduating class. He had a girlfriend, too. However, after graduation, she broke up with him and started dating a jock named Rolly Marks (played by Mehcad Brooks who had a better role in "True Blood") that enlisted in the army and is now in Afghanistan or some Middle East country. Kenneth's ex-girlfriend has nowhere to live, so she moves in with him. While she's there, he must listen to her play lovey-dovey with her jock boyfriend and catch an awkward glimpse of her flashing Rolly via webcam. To make him feel more optimistic about his life, he goes down to the Sperm Bank to donate where he finds he cannot have children. A geek is undeserving of this! You lost a million viewers just because of this arc in the story. Nobody except the popular kids in high school would find this entertaining (and by the way, ordinary kids beat out popular kids in demographics).
I connected with Kenneth, and felt extremely sorry for him. Forget Romeo, Hamlet, or Oedipus Rex Kenneth Finely is the most tragic character in human history. After watching the first two episodes, I said, "Forget this." And, apparently, so did the network. It was canceled, rightly so. This show was hyped to the max, and it actually looked really good. Suffice to say, it was disappointing and depressing. Perhaps the show could have been better in the later episodes, but the bombardment of bad news overwhelmed the story and the show ultimately self-destructed
An utter waste of talent, programming, and film.
Battle Los Angeles (2011)
Saving Pvt. Ryan in L.A.
Since "Independence Day" there has not been another great alien invasion flick until now. It was truly spectacular. The film was a bit formulaic, yet it wasn't that predictable (aside from a death here and exploding aircraft there). I will admit, the story was very basic, however, non-stop action prevented the unrecoverable damage a basic storyline could do to a modern audience. In other words, this is a very theatrical movie, and you must see it in the cinema or on your HD TV when it comes out. You need to watch it with other people so they can enjoy it as well. A group setting enhances this film experience.
Of course, with any film, there are unintentional comedic moments. For instance, there is a part where they keep digging through alien armor to see how to kill them. They plow through dozens of layers in a screen time of what felt like five or more minutes. Another example was when a father said something along the lines of, "You can use my son for anything," regarding his youthful child. A second passed while watching this in the cinema and I started to laugh. Soon after, the whole theater erupted in laughter. Obviously, this was not the intention of underrated horror director Jonathan Liebesman ("Darkness Falls," "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning," and the B-Movie "The Killing Room") or writer Christopher Bertoli (whose only writing credits include "The General's Daughter" with John Travolta and the TV movie "Madso's War").
Ignoring such things as that, you must look past those hiccups and look at the brilliant writer/director team. Liebesman's horror film background compared with Bertoli's war film background makes for an awesome sci-fi epic. The only way I can describe it is if the bastard child of "Saving Private Ryan" and "Black Hawk Down" met the bastard child of "District 9" and "War of the Worlds" (2005), thereby having their own bastard child. By far brilliant and deserving of at least a Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing Academy Award nomination.
The acting, on the other hand, wasn't as deserving as the men and women behind the camera. Aaron Eckhart must have been tired of doing creepy roles (i.e. "The Dark Knight" and "Towelhead") and wanted to be the seemingly fallen hero with the motivational speech; Bridget Moynahan was lost after wandering from the "Blood Bloods" set; Michelle Rodriquez fell back into her tough-girl niche; Ne-Yo no longer wants to "Stomp the Yard" (and it's all "Because of You"); and Michael Peña needed a breather from acting his butt off. So besides from falling victim to cheap sarcasm, the cast was actually not that bad. It is a sci-fi epic, not "The Thin Red Line." The characters just need to be believable as a real human being in a situation such as an attack by an unknown alien species bent on the colonization of Earth. And since this idea has only been explored in the movies, I doubt anyone could spit on their acting abilities when compared to "what someone would do in 'real' life." Sit back, and enjoy the show. With the amount of alien films that have been coming out this year ("I Am Number Four," "Paul," "Cowboys & Aliens," just to name a few) this may very well be the best of the year.
NOTE: After viewing the film you will certainly wonder if a sequel is in the works (Perhaps, "Battle: Harford" or "Battle: Paris"?), and all I can say is that I hope not. It might ruin the first film and create a franchise devoted to steal the money away from the unwitting (remember "Transformers"). However, being a Connecticut citizen, I am bias to a sequel in Hartford as long as the same team behind the camera brings it to life.