Tuesday, June 26, 2012

#51 West Side Story (1961)

Ugh, a musical. I am a girl, though, and I knew this was a love story, so I had high hopes in spite of the musical genre. It was pretty much the exact story of Romeo & Juliet... Once that was obvious to me, I was interested. The movie has some major issues, though. The main characters are terrible actors, Maria's voice is dubbed (seriously?!), and while it intrigues me that men can dance ballet to a gang violence scene, it seems a little silly to me.

Leonard Bernstein wrote the music, and that was easily my favorite part of the movie. The dancers amazed me, and I can't imagine trying to come up with choreography to go with the crazy changes in time signatures Bernstein loved.

As for why I thought the movie was so-so, I agree with Roger Ebert's review from the re-release in 2004:

"So the dancing is remarkable, and several of the songs have proven themselves by becoming standards, and there are moments of startling power and truth. West Side Story remains a landmark of musical history. But if the drama had been as edgy as the choreography, if the lead performances had matched Moreno's (actress who played Anita, a supporting character) fierce concentration, if the gangs had been more dangerous and less like bad-boy Archies and Jugheads, if the ending had delivered on the pathos and tragedy of the original, there's no telling what might have resulted."

Rating: 5/10

Big Names: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno (who's won a Tony, Emmy, Grammy, and Oscar!)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

#50 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Surprisingly, West Side Story was a short wait on Netflix, so I was sent this one instead and suddenly I'm in the top half of the top 100 movies of all time. Woo!

This is the only movie since 2000 to make this list (the list was compiled in 2007), so the special effects should blow all the others out of the water. They did, but still...this movie is 11 years old, and since I saw The Avengers just the other day, the effects in this one sadly already look dated.

I had seen LOTR previously... back in 2005 when my college friend Sabrina forced me to watch the entire  trilogy (extended version) over the course of just a few days. I remember watching part of it on my little computer screen since I didn't have a DVD player for my TV, so this time was a bit more impressive. I actually really liked it. It makes me want to try to read the books again. (Last time I got halfway through the first book and was bored to tears.)

Glad I watched this one again! Also, I'm adding the other two movies to my Netflix queue right now.

Rating: 9.5/10

Big Names: Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom (hello, sir! where have you been?!), Liv Tyler, some other people....

Big Lines:
"I made a promise, Mr. Frodo. A promise. 'Don't you leave him, Samwise Gamgee.' And I don't mean to. I don't mean to."