Thursday, December 29, 2005

Movies on DVD

I used to go to the movies all the time. Not anymore. I only saw a handful of films on the big screen this year – Batman Begins, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, King Kong, and Sahara. Why? A lotta reasons – for the price of a ticket and a soda you can buy a DVD, you don’t have some inconsiderate idiot talking on their cell phone or kicking the back of your chair, you don’t have to watch twenty minutes worth of commercials before the movie starts, you can stop the movie if you need a bathroom run. So most of my movie watching is on the big screen in my living room. Below are the ten DVDs I enjoyed the most. All versions noted were released in this year.


Batman Begins – This I saw in a theater and bought when it was released on DVD. Without a doubt, my favorite movie released in 2005. A kick-butt, cool story. Few comic book tales translate well to the silver screen. Superman I and II, Spiderman I and II, X-Men, Hellboy are the best. Batman Begins beats them all. This is how it should be done.

Deadwood: Season One – Television has an advantage over movies in that it can tell a story over an extended period of time. This western is incredible. It is raw in plot and dialogue and has a cast of well-developed intriguing characters. Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) is one of the best villains ever and he’s only at the top of the list. There’s Seth Bullock, Trixie, Alma Garret, Sol Star, Calamity Jane, Dan Dority, Doc Cochran, E.B. Farnum and a dozen others. I could go on and on about this show. But be warned, this is not like the westerns your grandfather saw. It is crude and profane and mesmerizing. Thank you producer David Milch and HBO.

Serenity – I never saw the Firefly TV series when it was on the air. I discovered it after it was on DVD and was hooked. I was and wasn’t looking forward to a big screen version. Most movies based on old TV series suck. There are a few exceptions – the Star Trek series (except the first one), The Fugitive and The Brady Bunch movies come immediately to mind. I was surprised and thrilled when I saw it. Good movie with several surprises. Yep, this is a keeper.

Cellular – this tight B-thriller with Kim Basinger and William Macy has better characters and more suspense than most major film releases. I know I really enjoyed a movie when it’s over and I wish I’d written it.

King Kong (1933) – Released for the first time this year. A classic. Not perfect but damn good for a 70-year-old movie.

To Kill a Mockingbird (Legacy Series Edition) – A classic movie based on Harper Lee’s American classic novel. Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) was voted the Number One Hero in American films by the AFI. I agree.

Bambi (Disney Special Platinum Edition) – First saw this when I was a child with my mother and younger brother. Fond memories, timeless animated film.

Toy Story (10th Anniversary Edition) – What can I say? I’d rather spend time with Woody and Buzz than some people I know.

Seven Men from Now – A lean, tight Randolph Scott western that was released for the first time this year. Worth seeing just for Lee Marvin’s performance. Screenwriters should study the scene where Masters (Marvin) stirs the already tense pot by telling a story that’s "not" about the other three characters in the scene. This is how it should be done.

Desperate Housewives: Season One – There was nothing worth renting at the DVD store. I’d heard about this show but never seen it. Picked it up just to see what all the fuss was about. I was hooked. Terrific, entertaining characters and dialogue, good plot twists. This is only DVD on the list that I don’t own but I probably will.


There were a few DVDs I saw and I was glad I did but I won’t be adding them to my DVD collection: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Cinderella Man, Finding Neverland, Hitch, Hostage, Land of the Dead, Lost, March of the Penguins, Million Dollar Baby, National Treasure, The Notebook, Sahara, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Shall We Dance? and War of the Worlds. (This could change. As Christmas gifts I was given Cinderella Man and Revenge of the Sith.)


Saw a lot of films that I will never see a second time. Some had some nice moments but overall one word sums up my viewing experience. Yuck. In alphabetical order (except for the three I disliked the most): Alien vs. Predator, The Aviator, Cursed, Darkness, The Forgotten, The Grudge, The Pacifier, Ray, Saw, The Skeleton Key, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, The Village, and White Noise.

Why were the next three films the worst? I turned them off a quarter way through. Had absolute no interest in wasting any more time on them. The Chronicles of Riddick, House of 1000 Corpses and Resident Evil 2.

1 comment:

dink said...

Happy New Year, Christopher!

Your 2005 lists were interesting.

I want to read Maureen O'Hara's bio and I'll probably end up reading the Jerry Lewis/Dean Martin book too at some point. I've always loved movie-peep bios.

I was all set to LOVE "Deadwood" and there was lots of it I did love. Some really good performances (although I thought there were some lemon-sucking bad ones too) some creative photography, and good scripts but I couldn't take the revisionist LANGUAGE (no matter how gritty they were people did not say the F-word constantly during this time period--nope nuh-uh) It wasn't the swearing itself, it was the fact it made it all phony to me. In fact, I was so disappointed by this straying from the facts I felt doubly bummed by the project.

I hope there's more to like in 2006.