Mini Classic Film Reviews: Thank You for Smoking…

Full Title: Thank You For Smoking
Director: Jason Reitman
Year: 2005
Comments: This is a great piece of satire from Reitman and crew that neither endorses nor condemns Tobacco, but rather pokes fun at all the propaganda and hullabaloo that surrounds the topic. I really appreaciate this story for not selling its audience short and instead showing anti-tobacco politicians as villians (within this context) for basically exploiting the issue of smoking to enhance their own political careers. And by that same token, the character of Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) is one of my favorites in all of cinema, as he is a great, three dimensional figure with both negative and redeeming qualities. Overall, a very funny and sharp look at an ongoing debate in America.

Grade: A
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Full Title: Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
Director: Tim Burton
Year: 1985
Comments: Write a mini movie review of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. (In a classic Pee Wee Herman voice) MAYBE I WILL! Perhaps one of the zaniest and definitely funniest kids movies I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. Burton’s knack for odd, but enticing imagery is perfectly mixed with Paul Reuben’s eccentric performance as the bizarre man-child, Pee Wee, dedicated to only one thing in life: retrieving his beloved bike. And yes, Large Marge scared the shit outta me too as a child!

Grade: A

Full Title: American Psycho
Director: Mary Harron
Year: 2000
Comments: Shocking. Depraved. Gruesome. Sickening. Those are some adjectives you could use to describe this film. Or…. you could say….Hilarious. Comical. Witty. AP works on various levels and without a doubt is a film that sticks with you for its over the top, slam to your sensory approach. It’s twisted, gory, and for some downright offensive (as with Bret Easton Ellis’ novel, which it is based on). But, that’s the point. This is a story about high class, Wall Street scumfucks and in particular one snobbish, narcissistic man that is so devoid of human emotion he must lash out against society in the form of mass murder. AP takes that story and slices and dices it with black humor, radio friendly pop songs, and exaggerated performances- almost to the point of questioning the seriousness of what you are viewing. This is the kind of movie some folks hate for having an ambiguous message/purpose, but that’s precisely what I adore about it. Well, I’d love to stay and finish this review, but I have to return some video tapes.

Grade: A

Mini Classic Film Reviews: Wizard Of Oz…

Full Title The Wizard Of Oz
Director(s): Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, King Vidor
Year: 1939
Comments: This needs no introduction, the wonderful, coming of age, fantasy movie about discovering you need not look further than your backyard to find inspiration and/or happiness. I would argue this is amongst the top five or ten films to revolutionize cinema forever.
Grade: A+

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Full Title: Spiderman 3
Director: Sam Raimi
Year: 2007
Comments: This is definitely the weakest of the three Spidey flicks, but it isn’t terrible. It is still a good action packed, entertaining adventure. The story is interesting enough to follow through and the aciting is okay. The villians (Sandman and Venom) are decent characters, but neither generate the kind of hatred or terror one hopes to find in his Comic Book villians such as the antagonists in the previous two Spiderman movies (Green Goblin, Doc Ock, respectively). Overall, pretty average, worth seeing if you are a fan of Spiderman and/or this genre, if not, then you may or not dig this. The film fails to move beyond its basic plot and doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
Grade: C+


Full Title: Juno
Director: Jason Reitman
Year: 2007
Comments: I don’t care what people say about this movie, I love it! I know it has received overwhelming popularity and mostly positive reviews, but I truly think this is one of the best films of the past decade, or at least one of my favorites (# 2 for the 2000s) and it seems like that’s where people lose me. As a viewer and in general as a fan of any kind of art, one of the most vital qualities, if not the most vital quality is how memorable it is. And Junebug is chock full of lasting images, quotes, scenes, characters, and one of the most endearing soundtracks of all time. I am always glad to hear that people who normally would never listen to obscure music now know and love artists like Sonic Youth and Kimya Dawson because of this soundtrack. Speaking of Kimya, her songs (as the other artists’ music) fit astonishingly perfect in the film; as if they were made solely to be heard with this film, which of course none of them were, all having been recorded prior to director Jason Reitman contacting Kimya about collaborating. So yeah, this is highly KLYAM Recommended. Wizard!
Grade: A+