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Reviews: Movies

The Most Viewed
These are the movies that are good enough to not only warrant seeing a second time, but many more. They are in order of how many times I've watched them.

  1. Akira (1988): A great milestone in animation, this 2 hour 4 minute masterpiece from Katsuhiro Otomo was put together with more care and quality than many animation movies today. This is one of his greatest, and a well known milestone in the Anime (Japanese animation) community. It created a standard to which films are still compared today. I won't ruin the story for you, but I assure you that it is quite an interesting, and unique conflict. Some of the good reviews (if you believe in them) include Siskel & Ebert giving it "Video pick of the week." My favorite quote is from some guy named Joe Baltake of some newspaper or something called the Sacramento Bee, saying it "...Makes 'Blade Runner' look like Disney World." This is my absolute favorite movie, and I suggest it to everyone who likes any of the following, even if you don't like the others: damn-good animation (this is not a cartoon, though!), action, sci-fi, epics, unique plots/story lines, motorcycles, the ideas of humans having unusual powers, or just great movies. So basically, I'm recommending this to everyone!

    Rating: Not rated, but it's not for kids
    Length: 2 hours, 4 minutes (I didn't even have to check the box :)
    Important People:
    • Created, written, storyboard, directed and who-knows-what-else by the great Katsuhiro Otomo, one of my greatest idols. His ideas are incredible, and his imagination boundless.
       
  2. Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1996): The Movie - A mad scientist has shot a man in to space, and is trying to drive him mad by making him watch the worst movies ever made. His mild-mannered test subject, Mike Nelson, floats above the earth on the Satellite of Love with his robot companions Crow, Tom Servo, and Gypsy. In the movie they watch the Universal classic, This Island Earth, and do an excellent job of making fun of it.

    Rating: PG-13 (although it seems like a PG to me...)
    Length: 1 hour, 13 minutes (I didn't even have to check the box :)
    Important People:
    • It has all the greats from the series. For the fans: it was created after Dr. Forrester lost his assistant, and Joel was replaced with Mike.
       
  3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975): This one is obvious... If you haven't seen it, you have been deprived...
     
  4. Fight Club (1999): This movie isn't actually about fighting, that's just a part of the movie. Contrary to what many people (including the evil that is Rosie O'Donell) think, this movie does not condone violence! I'm not going to go in to the other things that people have falsely accused it of, because I don't want to ruin this great movie for anyone who hasn't seen it. Disclaimers aside, if measure in terms of how much I see a given movie across so much time, this would have been first, because it kicks serious ass.

The Recent Greats
These are movies that have been recently released (as in the 1990's), and deserve high recognition. They are in the order that I think of them (which may sort of be in order of coolness, I suppose...)

  • Princess Mononoke (1997): Another great animation movie. This had some of the coolest animation I have ever seen (even better than Akira, but not better than Ghost In the Shell, or Ninja Scroll)! It is a tale of mankind's struggle with nature. Ebert of Siskel and Ebert had something cool to say about this one: "This is the most magical film I ever hope to see." It even has big-name actors. A brilliant movie based on Japanese mythology/legends, and good for everyone.

    Rating: PG-13 (it could have been a G though)
    Length: 2 hours, 15 minutes
    Important People:
    • Staring: Billy Crudup, Minnie Driver, Billy Bob Thornton, Claire Danes and Gillian Anderson
       
  • Serial Experiments: Lain (2000): A brilliant and complex Anime. Very cool technology stuff. Good for anyone who likes Anime, technology, philosophy, religious philosophy, or complex and intriguing story lines.

    Rating: If it had been rated, most episodes would be PG, and some PG-13
    Length: 5 hr.s, 25 min. ( 25 min. an episode, for 13 episodes over four tapes or DVDs)
    Important People:
    • Director: Ryutaro Nakamura
       

       
  • The Whole Nine Yards (2000): Easily the funniest movie of the 1990's and 2000.

    Rating: R (for nudity, sex stuff, and some violence... I don't think a single person swears in this movie...)
    Length: 1 hour, 38 minutes
    Important People:
    • Staring: Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry (Chandler from Friends), Michael Duncan (John Coffey from The Green Mile), Amanda Peet, Rosanna Arquette, Natasha Henstridge, Kevin Pollak.
       
  • The Green Mile (2000): An incredible movie. Ignore it's length, if you see this movie, you will be glad you did. A tale of miracles, and the human heart.

    Rating: R
    Length: 3 hours
    Important People:
    • Staring: Tom Hanks, Patricia Clarkson, James Cromwell, Jeffrey DeMunn, Michael Duncan, Graham Greene, Dabbs Greer, Jade Herrera, Bonnie Hunt, Doug Hutchison, Christopher Joel Ives, Michael Jeter, David Morse, Barry Pepper, Sam Rockwell, William Sadler, Rachel Singer, Gary Sinise, Harry Dean Stanton
    • Directed by Frank Darabont
       
  • Fight Club (1999): This movie is awesome. Not for the close-minded who can't/won't look and see the true meaning behind a movie.

    Rating: R
    Length: ? hours
    Important People:
    • Staring: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter
    • Directed by David Fincher

The Anime List
For those who are deprived -- er, I mean, for those who don't know, Anime is Japanese animation. It is not cartoons, and most are not for kids! Japan does with animation what we do with live action (which is why their live action isn't always that great). There are Japanese cartoons, such as Sail*r M**n, and Pokem*n (letters starred to protect the innocent), but I don't consider them Anime at all. This Is a basic list of some of the best Anime I have seen. Just by accident, there are only three which are okay for kids (Princess Mononoke, Serial Experiments: Lain, and Neon Genesis Evangelion), and Evangelion is only so for half of it, and Lain has a few moments that are a bit iffy too.

  • Akira (1988): The great Anime milestone. A prerequisite to Anime culture. Not rated, but would be an R.
  • Princess Mononoke (1997): A recent great. This and most of the first half of Evangelion (see below) are the only two on this list that are OK for kids. Rated PG-13, but I think it's a PG.
  • Ghost In the Shell (1995): A complex and incredible sci-fi movie. Tough to catch it all in the first viewing. The best animation I have ever seen! Warning: Much nudity, but none of it sexual. Rated R.
  • Ninja Scroll (1993): The second best animation I have ever seen. Awesome ninja stuff, and one of the coolest close combat final battles I've ever seen. Warning: Has nudity, and it's sexual, not at all for kids!! Some bloody stuff too. Rated R.
  • Serial Experiments: Lain (2000): A brilliant and complex Anime. Very cool technology stuff. Good for anyone who likes Anime, technology, philosophy, religious philosophy, or complex and intriguing story lines.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995): This may have been the most popular series in Japan... very cool stuff, with awesome battles and animation. It has real life characters, with depressing lives, and real life problems. Lots of religious stuff in it (it's based on the whole Dead Sea Scrolls thing). Most people thought the ending was rather weak. Warning: some very gory parts later on, a couple adult situations, no nudity, and some very depressed/disturbed people. Very cool though. If it were rated, it would have started a harsh PG, and descended in to an R at the end of the series.
  • Perfect Blue (1997): This one kicks ass. An Alfred Hitchcock kind of movie, with awesome animation. Very complex. I've seen it many times, but I still can't figure it all out. A great conversation movie. Warning (mild spoiler alert!!): The main character acts in a show with a rape scene. This movie is sooo not for kids... Rated R. Harshly I might add.
  • Angel Cop (1994): A very cool sci-fi action show. Great fluid animation, very gory, and one scene with nudity. It has the coolest end battle ever. A six-part series. Also, it overdoes the swearing. Some of it is just downright funny. :) Rated R

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