87. City Lights (1931)

City_Lights_filmDirected by Charlie Chaplin

Written by Charlie Chaplin

Produced by Charlie Chaplin

Starring: Charlie Chaplin,  Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, and Harry Myers

Country: USA

Release Date: January 30, 1931

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Movies I’m thankful for

During my time in the USA I learned to love Thanksgiving day, for me this holiday became the day of getting some great food, decorating the Christmas tree, spend four days with people who love me and of course going to watch some long waited movies. To celebrate Thanksgiving day this year I decide to write the list of movies I’m thankful for.

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Pop the Question: best proposals in films

A few moths ago I was ask to write a couple of post about weddings, so I decide to post the last of this today. Valentine’s day is the day of the year with more wedding proposals and weddings. So I tough it will be a great inspiration for those getting ready to pop the question tonight. Without further ado,  here is my list for the 10 best wedding proposals on films.

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70. Little Women

DIRECTED BY GILLIAN ARMSTRONG

WRITTEN BY ROBIN SWICORD

STARRING: WINONA RYDER, CLAIRE DANES, KIRSTEN DUNST, SUSAN SARANDON, CHRISTIAN BALE, GABRIEL BYRNE, ERIC STOLTZ

RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 21, 1994

AGE RECOMMENDED: 7 AND UP

When I was about 8 or so my mom gave a copy of the book, I love it specially Jo. I always have believe that Jo is one of that characters that you can relate to them all your life. Jo is a great example for girls, she is strong, independent, responsible, smart, she loves her family and true to her self. Note this is a woman’s story, roaringly female; in other words the ultimate chick flick.

The movie is based in the  semi-autobiographical story of Louisa May Alcott.  This movie is a re-make the original was made in 1933 and I’m not big fan of it because is darker, not that close to the book and an adult plays Amy (all the time). The 1994 version of the film is actually closest to Alcott’s vision, with the details that the idea of suffrage and higher ideals were added, focusing the story in the feminist.

With rich, colorful cinematography (the Autumn scenes are especially vibrant) and a fine score, Little Women is technically accomplished; but it is the performances that make this movie special. Winona Ryder is the perfect Jo, you hate Kirsten Dunst as and Amy, and who don’t love Christian Bale as as Laurie.

Little Women might be kind of hard for an older guy to sit all the film but a boy around 7 may enjoy it and girls definitely will love it.

PLOT

The story focuses on the March sisters (Meg, Jo,  Bet, and Amy) growing up during and after the Civil War. With their father away fighting, the girls struggle with major and minor problems under the guidance of their strong-willed mother, affectionately called Marmee. As a means of escaping some of their problems, the sisters revel in performing plays written by Jo in their attic theater.

Living next door to the family is wealthy Mr. Laurence, whose grandson Theodore,  “Laurie”, moves in with him and becomes a close friend of the March family. Mr. Laurence becomes a mentor for Beth, whose piano playing reminds him of his  daughter, and Meg falls in love with Laurie’s tutor John Brooke.

While Marmee is away tending to her wounded husband, Beth contracts scarlet  from a neighbor’s infant. Awaiting her return, Meg and Jo send Amy away to live with their Aunt March. Prior to Beth’s illness, Jo had been Aunt March’s companion for several years, and while she was unhappy with her position she tolerated it in the hope her aunt one day would take her to Europe. Amy thrives as Aunt March’s new companion.

Mr. March returns home. Four years pass; Meg and John Brooke are married, and Beth’s health is deteriorating steadily. Laurie graduates from college and proposes to Jo and asks her to go with him, but realizing she thinks of him more as a big brother than a romantic prospect, she refuses his offer. Jo later deals with the added disappointment that Aunt March has decided to take Amy, who is now sixteen, with her to Europe instead of her. Crushed, Jo departs  to pursue her dream of writing and experiencing life. There she meets Friedrich Bhaer, a german professor who challenges and stimulates her intellectually, introduces her to opera  and philosophy, and encourages her write better stories than  she has so far.

In Europe, Amy reunites with her old childhood friend Laurie. Finding he has become dissolute and irresponsible, she censures him and refuses to have anything more to do with him until he mends his ways. Laurie decides to go to London to work for his grandfather and make himself worthy of Amy.

Jo is summoned home to see Beth, who finally succumbs to the lingering effects of the scarlet fever that have plagued her for the past four years and she dies. Grieving for her sister, Jo retreats to the comfort of the attic and begins to write her life story. when complete, she sends it to Professor Bhaer. Meanwhile, Meg gives birth to Demi and Daisy.

Amy informs the family Aunt March is too ill to travel, so she must remain in Europe with her. In London, Laurie is inform by Jo  of Beth’s death and mentions Amy is unable to come home. Laurie immediately travels to be at Amy’s side. The two eventually return to the March home as husband and wife.

Aunt March dies and she leaves Jo her house, which she decides to convert into a school. Professor Bhaer arrives with the printed galley proofs of her book  and announces he is departing  because he has found a position as a teacher. When he discovers it was Amy and not Jo who wed Laurie, he proposes and Jo accepts.

Well, of course Aunt March prefers Amy over me. Why shouldn’t she? I’m ugly and awkward and I always say the wrong things. I fly around throwing away perfectly good marriage proposals. I love our home, but I’m just so fitful and I can’t stand being here! I’m sorry, I’m sorry Marmee. There’s just something really wrong with me. I want to change, but I – I can’t. And I just know I’ll never fit in anywhere.

71. West Side Story

DIRECTED BY ROBERT WISE AND JEROME ROBBINS

WRITTEN BY JEROME ROBBINS, ARTHUR LAURENTS AND ERNEST LEHMAN. LEONARD BERNSTEIN (MUSIC) AND STEVEN SONDHEIM (LYRICS)

STARRING BY: NATALIE WOOD, RICHARD BEYMER, RITA MORENO, RUSS TAMBLYN, GEORGE CHAKIRIS

RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 18, 1961

AGE RECOMMENDED: 10 AND UP

Everybody know I’m a musical junkie. And this one is like royalty in musicals. This one is the best adaptation of a ply to film ever.  You have an amazing choreographer, a legendary director, a musical writer consider one of the best composer of the 20th century, a lyricist beyond words, and Marni Nixon.

This movie everyone should watch it, is one of the movies that is beyond movies, is part of  20th century culture. Originally Jerome Robbins and his friend Leonard Bernstein began to update Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as story of a Catholic boy from Greenwich Village and a Jewish girl and was called East Side Story; but when the story was developed for Broadway Arthur Laurents (who wrote the book for stage) came up with the idea to switch the action to the west side of Central Park  and the demographics to Puerto Rican and Polish-American.

The movie had really to directors in the first half of the movie is Jerome Robbins, who kept every slow at the beginning to get used to the idea of a gang rumble with music. Because in this movie the song and the dance are the narrative, even the dialogue has a syncopated rhythm. Robbins is a perfectionist a dancer he moves the story with dance.  While Robert Wise is a filmmaker, his opening in the streets in NY and the aerial shot of NY at the beginning of the movie is one of the most memorable shots in history. When the production felt back of schedule the studio fires Robbins leaving Wise to finish. That’s why when you talk about West Side Story they told you that Robbins is the creator and Wise the  master technician.

The movie is one of that movies that no mater how old are you it will became part of your vocabulary and reference, it is the original team movie (I am Team Jets – Russ Tamblyn!!). I recommended to watch it in two shows because is quite long.  But beside that is a great movie.

PLOT

The Jets, led by Riff , and a rival gang the Sharks, led by Bernardo. The Jets harass the Sharks and vice versa, culminating in a free-for-all on the playground. Soon, Lieutenant Schrank and Officer Krupke arrive and break up the fight. Schrank orders the Sharks off the playground and the Jets “to make nice with them Puerto Ricans” or there’ll be a price to pay. Once Schrank and Krupke are gone, the Jets discuss challenging the Sharks to an all out rumble that will decide who gets control of the streets. They will deliver the challenge to the Sharks at a dance later that night. Riff decides that his best friend Tony, a co-founder of the Jets who has left the gang to work at a local candy/drug store, would be the best member to present the challenge to the Sharks because he always came through for the Jets.

Riff visits Tony at the store and asks him to come to the dance, but Tony is not interested. He tells Riff that he senses something very important is about to happen to him.  Tony agrees to meet him and the Jets at the dance. Perhaps it will be there that Tony will discover that “something”.

Bernardo arrives to take Maria and Anita to the dance. At the dance which is held at the gym, the Jets, Sharks and girls are greatly enjoying themselves . The host of the dance tries to get the members of the rival gangs to dance together. Even so, the rival gang members and their girlfriends remain apart. During a mambo, Tony and Maria see each other, become infatuated, almost going into a trance-like state and begin to dance, oblivious of the rivalry between their ethnic groups. They eventually kiss, but Bernardo angrily interrupts them. He orders Maria home and tells Tony to stay away from his sister. It’s at this point where Riff proposes a “war council” with Bernardo, who agrees to meet at Doc’s drug store after the dance. Tony leaves in a happy daze, singing of his newfound love.

Maria is sent home, and Anita argues with Bernardo that they are in America, not Puerto Rico. At the Sharks’ apartment building, Anita along with other girls from Puerto Rico engage in a spirited argument with Bernardo in defense of Maria’s right to dance with whomever she pleases. They debate the advantages and disadvantages of their country. Eventually the girls and the men disperse as Bernardo and his gang go to the war council.

Tony discreetly visits Maria outside the fire escape at her home and they confirm their love. They arrange to meet the next day at the bridal shop where Maria works. Meanwhile, the Jets gather outside of Doc’s store to wait for the Sharks. They are visited by Officer Krupke, who warns them not to cause trouble on his beat. Doc  is about to close the store, but the Jets convince him to stay open. The Sharks finally arrive and the “war council” begins. In the middle of this, Tony arrives and calls them chickens for having to fight with weapons. He demands that they have a fair one-on-one fist fight instead of an all-out rumble. The gang leaders agree, with Bernardo representing the Sharks and Ice representing the Jets (much to Bernardo’s disappointment, as he was hoping to face Tony). They are soon alerted of Lieutenant Schrank’s arrival, thus the gangs quickly intermix together and feign happiness and fun. Schrank pretends that it is a good thing that they are getting along and he might even get a promotion, but he knows what they are up to. Schrank orders the Puerto Ricans out  then asks the Jets where the rumble is taking place, angering several members while doing so. Soon, the Jets disperse and Schrank leaves as well, leaving Tony and Doc alone in the store to clean up. Tony, who is in a good mood, surprises Doc and tells him about his love Maria. The day comes to an end as a distressed Doc closes the store and Tony leaves.

The next day at Madam Lucia’s bridal shop, Maria is happy and excited. After everyone except Maria and Anita leaves, Anita tells Maria about the impending rumble accidentally. Anita tells Maria to go home, but Maria insists that she wants to close the store by herself because she “had work to do”. Suddenly Tony arrives to see Maria, leaving Anita in shock. Tony tells Anita of his and Maria’s love, and Anita mocks Maria. Although Anita is initially shocked to see that Maria and Tony are having a romance, Anita shows some tolerance but worries about the consequences if Bernardo were to find out. Anita, who is also Maria’s roommate, leaves to prepare for a planned date with Bernardo after the rumble. Maria pleads with Tony to prevent the rumble altogether, even if it is only a fist fight, and Tony promises to do so. Then Tony and Maria, using clothes in the bridal shop, fantasize about their wedding. They use the headless mannequins as their parents, best man (Riff) and Maid of Honor (Anita). They exchange wedding vows and kiss.

The Jets and Sharks arrive at their agreed destination for the rumble, a fenced dead-end under a stretch of New York highway. As the “fair fight” begins between Bernardo and Ice, Tony arrives and tries to stop it, but is met with ridicule and mockery from Bernardo and the Sharks. Unable to stand by and watch his best friend be humiliated, Riff angrily lashes out and punches Bernardo. Drawing their knives, Riff and Bernardo fight each other. Once Riff gets the upper hand, Tony stops him. However, Riff breaks away and runs straight in Bernardo’s knife. Riff collapses while handing the knife to Tony and Bernardo looks shocked at what he has done. Enraged, Tony kills Bernardo with Riff’s knife, resulting in a full-fledged melee. Suddenly, police sirens blare out and the gang members flee, leaving behind the bodies of Riff and Bernardo.

Blissfully unaware of what has happened, Maria is waiting for Tony on the roof of her apartment building. One of the Sharks arrives and angrily tells her that Tony killed her brother. Tony arrives, and initially Maria lashes out at him in anger, but Tony explains what happened and asks for her forgiveness before turning himself in to the police. Maria decides that she still loves Tony and begs him to stay with her. They reaffirm their love and kiss.

Meanwhile, the Jets (with Ice now in command and joined by the Jet girls) have reassembled outside a garage. Action demands revenge for Riff’s death, but Baby John opposes it. Action yells at Baby John for being scared, then tensions flare amongst several Jets. Ice pulls them all into the garage and tells them they will have their revenge on the Sharks, but must do it carefully. Anybodys, a tomboy who is desperate to join the Jets, arrives after infiltrating the Sharks’ turf and warns them that Chino is now after Tony with a gun. Ice sends the Jets to various locations to find Tony and warn him. Anybodys’ persistence finally pays off as Ice asks her to search in and out of the shadows and commends her for her deed.

In Maria’s bedroom, she and Tony have a romantic encounter. The couple hear Anita arriving home, and Maria and Tony make quick, whispered arrangements to meet at Doc’s drug store and run away together to marry. Anita hears through the door and knows that something is going on. Tony escapes through the bedroom window and flees, but Anita sees him running away.

Lieutenant Schrank arrives and questions Maria about the events leading up to the rumble, but Maria is protective of Tony and lies to cover for him. To deceive the policeman, Maria sends Anita to Doc’s drugstore on the pretense that she is fetching medicine for her headache—she asks Anita to say she has been detained, explaining she would have gone herself otherwise. Anita’s real purpose is to tell Tony (who is found by Anybodys outside Maria’s apartment and takes refuge in the cellar of Doc’s drugstore) that Maria is detained from meeting him. But when Anita enters the drugstore and asks for Tony, the Jets mock and harass her until Doc stops them. Infuriated by the attack, Anita gives the Jets a different message for Tony: Maria is dead, shot by Chino for loving Tony. Doc reproaches the Jets, then delivers the message to Tony. In shock and despair, Tony runs to find Chino, shouting for Chino to kill him too.

Now on the playground next to Doc’s store, Tony suddenly sees Maria and they begin to run toward each other with joy. Suddenly, Chino appears and shoots Tony. As the Jets and Sharks arrive, Maria and a severely wounded Tony reaffirm their love, but Tony dies in her arms. Maria takes the gun from Chino and blames the rival gang members for the deaths of Tony, Bernardo and Riff with their hate. Three of the Jets start lifting his body and two Sharks join them to help carry him off. Maria and several Jets and Sharks walk behind them in a funeral procession.

When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way! from you first cigarette your last dyin’ days.

92. Edward Scissorhands

DIRECTED BY TIM BURTON

WRITTEN BY TIM BURTON & CAROLINE THOMPSON

STARRING: JOHNNY DEEP, WINONA RYDER, DIANE WEST, ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL AND VICENT PRICE

RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 7TH 1990

AGE RECOMMENDED: 11-12 & UP

Edward Scissorhad it may be a little too dark for kids, but is a great story; even Seinfield love it. The Story  is a bout a childish character who finds fame, love and rejection in a cartoonist suburbia. It can be called a fairy tale. I personally like it, but is not my favorite Burton.

The first half of the movies is built like a comedy, even a satire of suburban life. Then it turns into a romance, ending in a tragedy. The most appealing of this movie is obviously Edward, a torture – almost silent- childish character in which the movie is center. The also movie have some beautiful scenes like when Winona Rider dance under the ice while Edward work in the ice.

NOTE: this is Vincet Price last movie.

Children over 11years (maybe a 10y.o) will love the movie and they will relate to Edward. I’ve seen that Burton films attract kids even the darker ones as his second Batman movie.

PLOT

An elderly woman, Kim, describes to her granddaughter where snow comes from by telling the story of a young man named Edward with scissors for hands.

Peg Boggs visits the Gothic mansion on a hill where Edward lives. She finds Edward alone, and decides to take him to her home. Peg’s neighbors become impressed at Edward’s masterful skills at hedge trimming and hair cutting.Edward is welcomed into the community and trims people’s hedges and cuts their hair. Joyce, a housewife in the neighborhood, suggests that Edward open a hair cutting salon with her.

Wanting money for a van, Jim takes advantage of Edward’s ability to pick locks and breaks into his parents’ house.  Edward is arrested, but released. Joyce also lies about Edward behavior, this, added to the “break-in”, causes many of the neighbors to question his personality. During Christmas, Edward is feared by almost everyone around him except the Boggs family, making him and the family outcasts.

While the family is setting up Christmas decorations, Edward creates an  angel from a block of ice. Kim get distracted, and Edward accidentally cuts her hand in the process as he climbs down a ladder. Everybody thinks that Edward had intentionally harmed her and Kim’s boyfriend attack Edward in a jealous rage. When Kim sees this and tells him that it’s over, he goes to his friend’s van where they drink. Edward returns to the house with Kim trying to help him. The situation gets worse when Kim’s brother is almost run over by Jim’s drunken friend. Edward pushes the boy out of the way, and in a state of excited panic cuts his face, causing witnesses to think he was attacking him on purpose. Edward flees back to his hill-top mansion and the neighbors, gathered up into an angry mob follow him.

Kim heads to the mansion before the neighbors can get there and reunites with Edward. Edward is attack but not attack Kim gets. Edward stabs him, trying to push him away. Kim confesses her love for Edward and live. To save him she convinces the townspeople that Edward has died.

You see, before he came down here, it never snowed. And afterwards, it did. If he weren’t up there now… I don’t think it would be snowing. Sometimes you can still catch me dancing in it.