Galaxy Quest (1999): A Guilty Pleasure

Galaxy Quest Movie Poster

 

 

Synopsis:

 

The alumni cast of a space opera television series have to play their roles as the real thing when an alien race needs their help.

 

Guilty Pleasure Qualities:

 

Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and Tony Shalhoub at the top of their game. Top-notch special effects. Hilarious script. Good pace.

 

Guilty Pleasure Level:

 

Moderate (Revisited once every two years)

 

Director:

 

Dean Parisot

 

Cast:

 

  • Tim Allen (as Jason Nesmith)
  • Sigourney Weaver (as Gwen DeMarco)
  • Alan Rickman (as Alexander Dane)
  • Tony Shalhoub (as Fred Kwan)
  • Sam Rockwell (as Guy Fleegman)
  • Daryl Mitchell (as Tommy Webber)
  • Enrico Colantoni (as Mathesar)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 42 minutes

 

Genres:

 

Action / Adventure / Comedy / Sci-Fi

 

Stills:

 

Galaxy Quest Movie Still 1
Galaxy Quest Movie Still 2
Galaxy Quest Movie Still 3
Galaxy Quest Movie Still 4
Galaxy Quest Movie Still 5

 

 

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Major League (1989): A Guilty Pleasure

Major League 1989 Movie Poster

 

Synopsis:

 

The new owner of the Cleveland Indians puts together a purposely horrible team so they'll lose and she can move the team. But when the plot is uncovered, they start winning just to spite her.

 

Guilty Pleasure Qualities:

 

Charlie Sheen's moody character. Cheesy dialogue. Funny, slapstick moments. Dennis Haysbert and his character's voodoo tricks. Tom Berenger. “Wild Thing, you make my heart sing!” Entertaining sports comedy.

 

Guilty Pleasure Level:

 

Moderate (Revisited once every two years)

 

Director:

 

David S. Ward

 

Cast:

 

  • Tom Berenger (as Jake Taylor)
  • Charlie Sheen (as Ricky Vaughn)
  • Corbin Bernsen (as Roger Dorn)
  • Margaret Whitton (as Rachel Phelps)
  • James Gammon (as Lou Brown)
  • Rene Russo (as Lynn Wells)
  • Wesley Snipes (as Willie Mays Hayes)
  • Dennis Haysbert (as Pedro Cerrano)
  • Bob Uecker (as Harry Doyle)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 47 minutes

 

Genres:

 

Comedy / Sport

 

 

Paperman (2012): A Notable Short Film

Paperman Movie Poster

 

The Short Film:

 

 

Redeeming Qualities:

 

Ingenious and seamless blending of 2D and 3D animation technology. Heartwarming and charismatic leading characters. Beautiful soundtrack. Striking visuals. Fulfilling story with a beginning, middle, and end. Hooks viewers from the first scene.

 

Director:

 

John Kahrs

 

Runtime:

 

7 minutes

 

Genres:

 

Animation / Comedy

 

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000): An Underrated Gem

O Brother Where Art Thou 2000 Movie Poster
 

 

Director:

 

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

 

Trailer:

 

 

Synopsis:

 

In the Deep South during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.

 

Review:

 

Having given the world such classics as Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998), No Country For Old Men (2007), True Grit (2010), and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen managed to firmly solidify their place in cinema history as one of its most notable and creative directing masters. However, as with many other notable directors, a few of their masterpieces seem to have gone by the way side, forgotten by most film lovers. One such film is their magnificent 2000 motion picture, O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The movie is a signature Coen brothers production as it features the perfect fusion of comedy and drama, driven by an energetic script that makes every spoken word exciting. This effortless and mesmerizing piece of cinema is given further power by a trio of outstanding performances provided by George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson. Clooney (Everett McGill) gives what is perhaps his finest comedic act in his eclectic career. While Turturro, a mainstay figure in multiple Coen films, continues to prove that he is a fine character actor as he seamlessly inhabits the role of Pete Hogwallop, providing the film with most of its funny and heartfelt scenes. The acting trifecta is completed by Tim Blake Nelson (Delmar O'Donnell) who shows how to depict a mentally-challenged man in a caring, respectful, and loving manner that draws audiences closer to him, not away. There is also the music in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which is composed by the superb T Bone Burnett (Inside Llewyn Davis), another frequent Coen brothers collaborator, that breathes life into every scene. That is all without forgetting the film's gorgeous cinematography, taken by the legend Roger Deakins (The Shawshank Redemption, Skyfall), that captures the imagination of viewers, easily suspending their belief.

But, it is ultimately Joel Coen and Ethan Coen's distinctive ability to merge all of these elements together that results in a fascinating and unforgettable cinematic adventure that elevates O Brother, Where Art Thou? to greatness, making it a criminally-underrated gem of a film that begs to be visited by everyone.

 

Outstanding Performances:

 

  • George Clooney (as Everett McGill)
  • John Turturro (as Pete Hogwallop)
  • Tim Blake Nelson (as Delmar O'Donnell)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 46 minutes

 

Rating:

 

PG-13

 

Genres:

 

Comedy / Crime

 

Stills:

 

O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 1
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 2
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 3
O Brother Where Art Thou Cinematography Roger Deakins
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 4
O Brother Where Art Thou Cinematography Scene 2
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 5
O Brother Where Art Thou Cinematography Scene 3

 

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): A mini-review

The Grand Budapest Hotel Movie Poster
 

Synopsis:

 

The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

 

Review:

 

It has been quite a while since one has been exposed to such a feel-good, entertaining, and exhilarating comedy like Wes Anderson's latest motion picture The Grand Budapest Hotel. It is a movie that is simply perfect in every which way. All of its filming elements, acting, directing, editing, cinematography, soundtrack, and production design, are unbelievably well-done and join together to deliver a fascinating film.

To call the cast featured in The Grand Budapest Hotel star-studded is really quite the understatement. Wes Anderson has managed to bring back many of his familiar faces and give each of them a role that fits them perfectly. Ralph Fiennes (M. Gustave) easily produces one of the finest performances in his long and distinguished career; F. Murray Abraham (Mr. Mustafa) reminds us all why his work in Amadeus (1984) made him such a special actor; Adrien Brody (Dmitri) lets himself loose through a comedic role the likes of which I have not seen from him before; Willem Dafoe (Jopling) channels his inner villain and demonstrates his unique acting range in an impressive manner; Jeff Goldblum (Deputy Kovacs) takes his minor role and provides it with his landmark demeanor, making his a memorable character; Edward Norton (Henckels) makes a much needed return to acting with a performance that viewers will not soon forget; lastly, acting legend Bill Murray (M. Ivan) continues to show how one can deliver laughter to viewers without breaking a sweat.

These brilliant actors are all held together by the tight and hilarious script that is excellently paced by director Wes Anderson. He makes his film fly by smoothly, giving us only a few moments to catch our breath and rejoin the manic action on display. I have enjoyed most of Anderson's previous works, especially Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) and Moonrise Kingdom (2012), but, I firmly believe that The Grand Budapest Hotel is Wes Anderson's masterpiece, his magnum opus. It is the film that everyone will long remember as being the one in which the director was in full control of his abilities, delivering a motion picture that is an instant-classic and a must-see for anyone even slightly attracted to this beautiful art form. What a terrific film.

 

MATM Rating:

 

 

Director:

 

Wes Anderson

 

Trailer:

 

 

Outstanding performances:

 

  • Ralph Fiennes (as M Gustave)
  • Tony Revolori (as Zero)
  • F. Murray Abraham (as Mr. Moustafa)
  • Matthieu Amalric (as Serge X.)
  • Adrien Brody (as Dmitri)
  • Willem Dafoe (as Jopling)
  • Jeff Goldblum (as Deputy Kovacs)
  • Edward Norton (as Henckels)
  • Bill Murray (as M. Ivan)
  • Jason Schwartzman (as M. Jean)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 40 minutes

 

Rating:

 

R

 

Genres:

 

Comedy

 

Stills:

 

The Grand Budapest Hotel Ralph Fiennes
The Grand Budapest Hotel Ralph Fiennes Tony Revolori
The Grand Budapest Hotel Edward Norton
The Grand Budapest Hotel Bill Murray
The Grand Budapest Hotel Adrien Brody Willem Dafoe
The Grand Budapest Hotel Jude Law Jason Schwartzman
The Grand Budapest Hotel Cinematography
The Grand Budapest Hotel Ralph Fiennes Tilda Swinton Tony Revolori
The Grand Budapest Hotel Ralph Fiennes Tony Revolori Scene 3
The Grand Budapest Hotel Cinematography 2
The Grand Budapest Hotel Jude Law Jason Schwartzman Scene 2

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990): A Guilty Pleasure

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Poster

 

Synopsis:

 

A quartet of mutated humanoid turtles clash with an uprising criminal gang of ninjas.

 

Guilty Pleasure Qualities:

 

Admirable if outdated use of special effects. Corny dialogue. Lovable characters. Shredder. Runtime is just right. Easy to rewatch several times.

 

Guilty Pleasure Level:

 

Moderate (Revisited once every two years)

 

Director:

 

Steve Barron

 

Cast:

 

  • Judith Hoag (as April O'Neil)
  • Elias Koteas (as Casey Jones)
  • Josh Pais (as the voice of Raphael)
  • David Forman (as Leonardo)
  • Brian Tochi (as the voice of Leonardo)
  • Leif Tilden (as Donatello)
  • Corey Feldman (as the voice of Donatello)
  • Michelan Sisti (as Michaelangelo)
  • Robbie Rist (as the voice of Michaelangelo)
  • Kevin Clash (as the voice of Splinter)
  • James Saito (as The Shredder)
  • David McCharen (as the voice of The Shredder)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 33 minutes

 

Genres:

Action / Adventure / Comedy

 

In Bruges (2008): An Underrated Gem

In Bruges Movie Poster
 

 

Director:

 

Martin McDonagh

 

Trailer:

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be.

 

My review:

 

I have to admit that when it comes to Colin Farrell, I have been quite disappointed by his overall selection of film roles as they have failed to make use of his unique charisma in a way that should have produced long-lasting and memorable performances. However, in Martin McDonagh's In Bruges, he defies such low expectations and delivers what is perhaps his career-best performance. As the reluctant and shaky hitman Ray, Colin Farrell manages to connect with audiences from the get-go, showing Ray as a tormented criminal who has done a terrible mistake that deeply haunts him psychologically. What makes Colin impressive in the film is how natural his performance is; there is no hint of pretentiousness and arrogance in his character but instead a lot of warmth and humor, giving us a fully-dimensional character. He is joined on screen by Brendan Gleeson, who plays Ray's partner-in-crime and veteran hitman Ken. As with Farrell, Gleeson manages to be lovable as he steals every scene he is in, striking a winning partnership with Colin Farrell that is among the many reasons why In Bruges is such a delight to watch. But, if I were to choose one major aspect of the film's effectiveness it would have to be its setting, the city of Bruges, Belgium, the quiet and small town these two characters seek refuge to in order to avoid suspicion from the authority after a murder attempt goes awfully wrong. Through his calm, assured, and confident directing style, Martin McDonagh's camera allows the film to flow without a single hitch, resulting in quite the pleasant experience. The film might have been overlooked during its release due to Colin Farrell's dreadful track record but it does more than enough in the acting, writing, and directing departments to warrant special attention, in my eyes. Suffice to say, In Bruges is most definitely an underrated gem which almost all film-lovers will greatly enjoy.

 

Outstanding Performances:

 

  • Colin Farrell (as Ray)
  • Ralph Fiennes (as Harry)
  • Brendan Gleeson (as Ken)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 47 minutes

 

Rating:

 

R

 

Genres:

 

Comedy / Crime / Drama

 

Men in Black (1997): A Guilty Pleasure

Men in Black Movie Poster

 

 

Synopsis:

 

A streetwise NYPD detective joins a secret organization that polices extraterrestrial affairs on Earth.

 

Guilty Pleasure Qualities:

 

Tommy Lee Jones’s witty lines. Will Smith’s wacky and infectious performance. The creative and vibrant special effects. The “Memory Eraser”. The iconic theme song.

 

Guilty Pleasure Level:

 

High (Revisited once a year)

 

Director:

 

Barry Sonnenfeld

 

Cast:

 

  • Tommy Lee Jones (as Kay)
  • Will Smith (as Jay)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 38 minutes

 

Genres:

 

Comedy / Sci-Fi

 

 

The Devil Wears Prada (2006): A Guilty Pleasure



The Devil Wears Prada (2006)


 

 

Synopsis:

 

A naive young woman comes to New York and scores a job as the assistant to one of the city's biggest magazine editors, the ruthless and cynical Miranda Priestly.

 

Guilty Pleasure Qualities:

 

Meryl Streep's blistering and absorbing performance. The soundtrack. The lacklustre and corny dialogue. The predictable ending. Stanley Tucci. Anne Hathaway. Emily Blunt as the junior Miranda Priestly.

 

Guilty Pleasure Level:

 

Moderate (Revisited once every year or two)

 

Director:

 

David Frankel

 

Cast:

 

  • Meryl Streep (as Miranda Priestly)
  • Anne Hathaway (as Andy Sachs)
  • Emily Blunt (as Emily)
  • Stanley Tucci (as Nigel)
  • Simon Baker (as Christian Thompson)
  • Adrian Grenier (as Nate)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 49 minutes

 

Genres:

 

Comedy / Drama / Romance


 

The Lego Movie (2014): A mini-review

The Lego Movie Poster
 


 

Synopsis:

 

An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together.

 

My review:

 

As I suspect was the case with many kids who grew up in the 1990s, building Lego set pieces was a part of my after-school ritual. I remember running back home once a new Lego box was finally in my grasp and spend the rest of the day figuring out how to build yet another unique creation from those brick-building masterminds. Such nostalgic feelings all came back to me once I found out that The Lego Movie is actually happening. But, what makes me ecstatic is the fact that the film ended up far exceeding my initial expectations. The animation team at Warner Brothers, lead by directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, have done quite a superb job in bringing the entire world of Lego to life. Not only did they make full use of the technological advancements in computer animation but also gave The Lego Movie a wonderful and heartfelt story that resonates with all audiences, young and old. The particular voice acting performances that stand out to me are Will Arnett as Batman, Elizabeth Banks who is the fetching secret agent Wyldstyle, and the always-excellent Morgan Freeman voicing Vitruvius, the story's morally-driven character. Suffice to say, The Lego Movie is one of 2014's early pleasant surprises that I strongly recommend to all movie lovers.


MATM Rating:

 

 

Directors:

 

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

 

Trailer:

 

 

Outstanding performances:

 

  • Will Arnett (as the voice of Batman / Bruce Wayne)
  • Elizabeth Banks (as the voice of Wyldstyle / Lucy)
  • Morgan Freeman (as the voice of Vitruvius)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 40 minutes

 

Rating:

 

PG

 

Genres:

 

Animation / Action / Comedy

 

Stills:

 

The Lego Movie Scene 1
The Lego Movie Scene 2
The Lego Movie Scene 3
The Lego Movie Scene 4
The Lego Movie Scene 5