Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Movie – Sum 41: Introduction to Destruction (2001)

Sum 41’s DVD Introduction to Destruction captures the band early in their career.  In addition to a concert it includes a lot of footage the band shot themselves, both just goofing around and also trying to make “films”.  Sum 41 has changed in the years following this DVD release, so it gives you a look back at how they used to be.

Sum 41 came out of Canada as a Green Day clone.  As their music progressed it became less punk pop and more alternative rock.  They also became more mature in the topics of their songs.  They are anything but mature on this early DVD.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Movie – The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)

The 40 Year Old Virgin was the movie that made Steve Carell a household name and that launched director Judd Apatow into the stratosphere of Hollywood.  It is a well liked movie with an easy to explain concept (it’s right in the title), so word of mouth for the movie was huge.  Even though it uses some of the oldest clichés in the book, the talented cast manages to make them seem fresh.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Movie – Glorious 39 (2009)

The title Glorious 39 has a double meaning.  It refers to the summer of 1939 when most of the events of the film took place.  The privileged comment how “glorious” things were in England just before World War II started.  In addition, the main character of Anne, played by Romola Garai (Atonement), has been nicknamed Glorious by her adoptive family.  Netflix labeled this movie as a Romantic Drama, which is completely off base.  I would describe it as a pseudo-Hitchcockian political thriller about the people in England who wanted to appease Hitler rather than go to war with him.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Movie – 38 Special: Live at Sturgis (1999)

38 Special: Live at Sturgis excellently captures everything that the band 38 Special is about.  It features pretty much every familiar song of theirs without much filler.  There are no long diva moments, coordinated dance moves, or God help us, costume changes; it’s just straight ahead rock for 80 minutes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Movie – To Gillian on her 37th Birthday (1996)

To Gillian on her 37th Birthday is based on the play by the same name.  It was adapted by David Kelley for the big screen as a vehicle for his wife Michelle Pfeiffer.  In the movie David Lewis (Peter Gallagher) takes long walks on the beach with his wife Gillian (Pfeiffer).  They talk about many things, bringing comfort to each other.  There’s only one problem: Gillian died two years ago.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Movie – 36 Fillette (1988)

36 Fillette is an uncompromising look at one teenage girl’s journey to becoming a woman (in multiple senses of the phrase.)  It was written and directed by Catherine Breillat, who is known for doing controversial movies such as Romance (1999), with its explicit sex, and Fat Girl (2001), with its bizarre ending.  What makes 36 Fillette controversial is that the plot involves a fourteen year old girl who has decided to lose her virginity, and the actress playing her is also fourteen.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Movie – 35 Up (1991) and the “Up” Series

35 Up is one of a series of documentaries that have come out every seven years that chronicle the lives of fourteen people.  This post will discuss the series as a whole, with a focus on parts of 35 Up. 

With the tons of “reality” shows on TV purporting to be views into people’s lives, why should you bother to watch any of these movies?  Because they actually are real.  In addition, if small things that occur over a few months of filming one of those shows seem big to you, imagine seeing the changes that occur in people’s lives over five decades.   That is what these movies accomplish.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Movie – Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

I have always planned to write about Miracle on 34th Street as the movie for the number 34.  When I started this endeavor I didn’t think about the timing.  It seems fitting that I am writing about this film only a few days before the American Thanksgiving holiday, which includes the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that is such a key part of this movie.  In the area of more bizarre timing, news reports are coming out about police re-opening the investigation into the thirty year old death of Natalie Wood, who played the little girl in Miracle on 34th Street.

Friday, November 18, 2011

No Movie for Number 33

Well, I had to skip number 26 and I have to do it again for number 33.  I have seen no movies with a “33” or variations thereof in the title, let alone one good enough to recommend.

“What about Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult?” you might be asking.  Well, that’s thirty-three and a third, not thirty-three.  It’s the same thing as 9 ½ Weeks being its own post separate from the number nine.  Just an aside – I wish that they had kept the original title for this movie – Naked Gun 33 1/3: For the Record.  They figured that by 1994 not enough people knew what a record was to get the joke, so they changed the title to the existing generic one.

As for the number 33, I identified two movies I might have liked had I been able to watch them – a 2011 Chinese/Australian film whose title is 33 Postcards and a 2008 German/Polish film titled 33 Scenes from Life. 

33 Postcards especially seemed like it would be a movie that would appeal to me.  It stars Guy Pearce (Memento) as a man who sponsors an orphan Chinese girl over many years, and one year while she is on a musical competition trip to Australia she goes to meet him.  She finds out that he is not what he has been saying he is.  As far as I have been able to find out, it was shown at a film festival in Australia and it has only opened in China.  Here is the trailer for it: 

If anyone has seen one or both of these movies, please let me know by leaving a comment here.  I’m interested in your opinion on them.

If I ever get a chance to see one, or if a new movie with a 33 in the title comes out that I like, then I will replace this post with my recommendation for it.  Until then I have to move on to the number 34.

[Note – you can see all the Movies by Numbers, as well as get some hints on what’s to come, at this link.]

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Movie – 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993)

Glenn Gould was a classical pianist, composer, arranger, and radio documentarian.  He was from Canada.  Unless you are a fan of classical music, you have probably not heard of him.  I would not have heard of him were it not for this movie.  This is not a traditional biographical movie, nor a traditional documentary.  It weaves together interviews with real people who knew Gould and performances by actor Colm Feore as Glenn Gould at various stages of his life.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Movie – Oslo, August 31st (2011)

I have not seen any movies with the number 31 in them.  Bob Turnbull of the blog Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind recommended the movie Oslo, August 31st to me.  Since the movie is only on the festival circuit right now, there was no way that I would be able to see it in time to post about it here.  Bob very kindly agreed to write a guest review for me, so that I could share it with all of you.  It’s the first one I have ever had here at Tips from Chip among the 249 total posts.  Please visit his blog at this link to read other great reviews and articles he has written.

Review of Oslo, August 31st by Bob Turnbull:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Movie – 30 Minutes or Less (2011)

The movie 30 Minutes or Less is a comedy that is also trying to be a bit of a crime/heist movie.  It re-teams Jesse Eisenberg with his Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer.  When it came out it got mixed reviews and now that I’ve seen it I can tell why.  It’s a movie that will not work for everyone, and it also has angered a few people.  I’ll discuss why later in the post.  Despite these things, I still liked the movie enough to recommend it to others.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Movie – Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 (2008)

The title Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 is taken from a headline in the Harvard Crimson newspaper.  This movie is a documentary about one of the greatest college football games ever played, as well as many other events that were going on at the time.  The filmmakers got many of the players from the game to talk with them for this movie.  Among them is actor Tommy Lee Jones who was playing for Harvard. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Movie – 28 Days Later (2002)

When 28 Days Later came out it re-energized the whole zombie movie genre.  It brought new life and ideas to a tired concept.  Now before a bunch of people have an apoplectic fit, technically there are no zombies in this movie; they are humans who have been infected with a “Rage” virus.  They are still alive and therefore are not zombies.  Because they are living humans, they also move very fast, unlike traditional zombies. Nevertheless, to everyone but purists this is a well liked zombie movie.

Movie – 27 Dresses (2007)

27 Dresses is your standard romantic comedy.  It stars Katherine Heigl as a woman who is “always a bridesmaid; never a bride.”  There are a number of people who hate Heigl just on principal.  If you are one of those people then this movie will not change your mind.  If, however, you can tell the difference between the real world and a movie, then you might be able to root for Heigl’s character to end up with someone who loves her. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

No Movie for Number 26 or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love 10,000 Views

Well, I made it from zero to 25 without having to skip a number, but I’m going to have to do it with number 26.  I have seen no movies with a “26” or variations thereof in the title, let alone one good enough to recommend.

I identified two movies I might have liked had I been able to watch them – a 2007 Japanese/Korean film whose title is 26 Years Diary and a 1988 French musical titled Trois places pour le 26.  Neither of them is available via Netflix or Amazon.  The first has only 50 votes on IMDB and the latter has a whopping 142, so I don’t think too many other people have seen them, either.  If anyone has seen one or both, please let me know by leaving a comment here.  I’m interested in your opinion on them.

If I ever get a chance to see one, or if a new movie with a 26 in the title comes out that I like, then I will replace this post with my recommendation for it.  Until then I have to move on to the number 27, for which I have seen two movies, one not that great and one that was just okay.  It looks like I’m going to have another marginal recommendation like I did with 23.

On the plus side, this site passed 10,000 views last night.  That’s not much compared to some other sites, but it’s a lot for me.  Considering this is four times the number of views I had in the first six months of the blog, the last five months have really taken off.  It paid to become a LAMB a few months ago.  Here are a few stats:

Most viewed humor post (946):  Look-alike Celebrities
Most viewed hiking post (208):   Mount Battie and Megunticook Mountain
Most viewed movie post (131):    Captain America: The First Avenger
Most viewed book post:                Unknown

The U.S. is still far and away where the most visitors come from, followed by The U.K., Canada, Australia, and Germany rounding out the Top 5.

[Note – you can see all the Movies by Numbers, as well as get some hints on what’s to come, at this link.]

Movie and TV – Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979) (1979-1981)

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was a reboot of the sci-fi serial character from the 1930s.  It was released as a theatrical movie in the spring of 1979 and based on its box office returns it was turned into a TV series in the fall of 1979.  The movie was edited and turned into the two hour pilot for the show, which ran two seasons before being cancelled.  It was campy fun in the tradition of the shows like the original Battlestar Galactica and the original Star Trek.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Movie – 24 Hour Party People (2002)

The movie 24 Hour Party People is a love letter from director Michael Winterbottom to the city of Manchester, England and the New Wave musical acts such as Joy Division/New Order and The Happy Mondays that came from there in the 1980s.  It features partial performances, some real and some re-created, of a number of Punk and New Wave songs.  The list of music credits at the end of the film seems to go on for minutes.  If you like music then you will probably like this film.

Movie – The Number 23 (2007)

The movie The Number 23 is a bit hard to describe without giving too much away.  It is a psychological thriller starring Jim Carrey.  It is a conspiracy movie about the number 23.  It has sections that are homages to film noir.  It is a mystery movie, on multiple levels.  It is also a movie that may not work for everyone.  I will discuss why in this post.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Movie – Catch-22 (1970)

The movie Catch-22 is based on the 1961 bestselling novel of the same name.  It dealt with the insanity of war.  It grew in popularity as the 1960s went along and the Vietnam War increased in intensity.  Responses to the novel soon followed with Dr. Strangelove (1964) about the Cold War, this movie about World War II in 1970; the novel (1968), movie (1970) and TV show (1972-1983) M*A*S*H about the Korean War; and finally Apocalypse Now (1979) about Vietnam.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Movie – 21 Grams (2003)

21 Grams was the first American movie from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.  He had previously directed Amores Perros (2000) to much critical acclaim.  21 Grams stars Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, and Benicio Del Toro in a set of three interconnecting stories, much like Amores Perros did.  In the case of 21 Grams, the story is shown in a non-linear fashion, so it does make the viewer pay more attention.  It is well worth the time.

Movie – Twenty Bucks (1993)

Twenty Bucks is one of those movies that uses the device of following an object around to present us with various slice of life stories.  In this case the object is a 20 dollar bill.  These kinds of movies were very popular many years ago because it allowed studios to use a number of stars in their system, but not tie them up for too long on filming.  Today these kinds of movies are few and far between.  (I’m going to do a category on them someday.)  It didn’t surprise me when I learned that the original script for this movie was written in 1935.  The son of the screenwriter found the script in 1990, heavily revised it, and got some producers on board.  In this case, we don’t lose sight of the various characters as the object moves on.  Instead, the stories interweave with each other.  The studio liked the concept so much they greenlit the picture without anybody being cast.