Monday, September 23, 2013

100 Movies #3 (40-31)

100 movies 3 (100-91)
100 movies 3 (90-81)
100 movies 3 (80-71)
100 movies 3 (70-61)
100 movies 3 (60-51)
100 Movies 3 (50-41)

40. The Living Daylights
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Why is it ranked here: My favorite of the two Dalton Bonds. It starts off pretty sweet with three agents parachuting and we don't know which one Bond is. It has some fun action pieces including the pictured sled down on a violin case as well as a runway fight. The climax with the old fat white arms dealer was pretty anticlimactic as the true villain was the Russian General Koskov. I personally like it better than the Lazenby one as well as the later Brosnan and Moore ones.
Interesting: Dalton turned down the part for On Her Majesty's Secret Service 20 years earlier which eventually went to Lazenby. Ironically Dalton only got the part because Brosnan turned it down. Awesome history there.

39. The Expendables
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Why is it ranked here: Jason Statham has a really good side arc here. Two scenes that hook me, and then they just abandon the arc. Such a great idea for a movie. Throw 80's action stars with some 90's action stars and have everyone fight. 20 years earlier might have not been so bad either. The plot involving the dictator who's minions drop him at the first sight of trouble is fairly bland. Mickey Rourke, Arnold and Bruce Willis are mainly here for show and don't really do anything other than look awesome. I don't mind for those few seconds that we do get of The Terminator talking to both John McClain and Rocky. Or the Russian fighting the One.
Interesting: Jean-Claude Van Damme and Wesley Snipes turned down roles only to accept them in sequels. The first Arnold movie in 6 years since prior to his political career. The only movie directed by Stallone which wasn't Rocky or Rambo.

38. Quantum of Solace
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Why is it ranked here: If there was ever a Bond sequel, this is it.The worst of the new Craig Bonds. The beginning is pretty awesome as it doesn't miss a beat and starts where the last one left off. The climax is not as great - as it involving a bland burning building fight. It does have that revenge factor which helps the stakes here. We've watched the renegade Bond storyline many times before though, so there were pieces which weren't as fresh. The Opera scene as well as the M assassination attempt are both pretty awesome.
Interesting: Daniel Craig was injured 3 times on the filming and considers Casino Royale a walk in the park compared to the amount of training he needed for this. For the first time the character of Felix Leiter was played by the same actor in a consecutive movie.

37. The Expendables 2
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Why is it ranked here: They surprisingly raise the bar here. Adding JCVD as well as Chuck Norris is a great start. Giving Willis and Schwarzenegger action scenes is even better. The plot is just as boring. Saving more villagers? The middle is fairly unexciting. The beginning is much better than the original and the ending is just as great as the first third. We get less Jet Li(was actually filming a different film at the time) and no Rourke which might be a wash with the aforementioned actors. It doesn't have the interesting side arc of Statham or Lundgren either. Still a great effort, can't wait for Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Kelsey Grammer and Antonio Banderas all thrown in.
Interesting: Stallone admitted his casting was looking for actors who hadn't had a hit in awhile as a way to pay everyone back for what others did for him. Rumors arose when the movie was suspected to get a PG-13 rating(though it got an R), and everyone blamed Chuck Norris. Norris actually kills quite a bit here.

36. Thunderball
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Why is it ranked here: Probably my third favorite Connery Bond behind You Only Live Twice and Goldfinger. It came out years after Dr. No and given the larger budget it looked better. There was lots of water, investigation and we got to see number 2. Domino is great Bond girl. Spies, helicopters, sharks and a jet pack are all here.
Interesting: Was supposed to be the first Bond film but due to the legal problems, it was pushed aside and eventually remade as Never Say Never. The opening Bond firing title sequence as well as the classic Bond poster were both introduced here.

35. Payback
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Why is it ranked here: One of my top two revenge movies of all time up with Law Abiding Citizen. Mel Gibson is just a bad ass out of principle and there is just something really awesome about that. Porter starts off killing lackeys and works his way off to the mob boss. Great comedic moments here as well. Braveheart is probably Gibson's best, but this is probably number 2. It's probably a movie I would show my dad, but not my mom.
Interesting: Director Brian Helgeland was fired from the movie 2 days after winning an Oscar for LA Confidential. The movie was delayed a year while they planned new elements - like Kris Kristofferson's character as well as waiting for Mel to wrap up Lethal Weapon 4.

34. Out Of Sight
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Why is it ranked here: George Clooney plays a too cool bank robber which opens him getting thrown in jail. There is a cop and robber romance between him and J'Lo. They get thrown in a trunk together (took 45 takes) and almost break the fourth wall talking about movies. The remainder involves a 'last heist'. Some of the scenes are just majestic, in particular the way they film the outdoors and snow.  Don Cheadle,  Ving Rhames, Samuel Jackson, Steve Zahn and Michael Keaton all round out the cast. Keaton in particular seemingly playing the same character he does in Jackie Brown. The Jackson cameo ending is just fantastic.
Interesting: Set and filmed in Detroit. Neither Keaton nor Jackson wanted any money for their work. The only movie? to include two actors who played Batman(Clooney and Keaton).

33. Dr. No
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Why is it ranked here: The original Bond movie, if you don't count the TV movie Casino Royal of course. The ending had the typical lair shoot out/explosion. Ursula Andress is one of the best Bond girls. It took about 40 minutes for me to get into this one though. The car driving scenes just look so old and fake. You get classic M, Moneypenny and Felix Leiter is here as well. The tarantula scene was a good surprise. Bad guy Dr. No was a decent baddie.
Interesting: Max von Sydow and Christopher Lee would both turn down the role of Dr. No only to become future Bond villains. Picked to be the first Bond due to the simplicity - one location(Jamaica) and one special effects piece. Only 14,000 out the million dollar budget was given to the set design which is exemplary.

32. The Karate Kid
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Why is it ranked here: I'll admit I was quite skeptical when I first heard about this movie. The Kung Fu Kid? Will Smith's kid, in a different country? Jackie Chan? It turns out to be pretty great though. The training montage scenes are of course my favorite. The tournament ending goes by a bit too quickly for my taste, but it ends in such a glorious way. The one Jackie Chan fight scene is wicked awesome. Unfortunately there is no crane kick - special move which is honestly the biggest issue I have with this when compared to the original. They try too hard at times with certain aspects to mimic the original when it doesn't fit. Namely everything with the lead bad guy instructor - he had his hair up like John Kreese and even had the same dialogue as the original character. I cringe every time I see the sad drunk Jackie Chan.
Interesting: Although it seems much shorter than the original movie, it actually clocks in at 10 minutes longer. Features The Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, Crane technique and Tai Chi Chuan.

31. From Russia With Love
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Why is it ranked here: The second James Bond movie. Features an hour train ride, as well as some cooler spy elements. Good fighting scenes. The ending included a boat chase and just unexpectedly ended with the words James Bond will be back. Being the first time I watched this - I thought it might actually be a part one of some story. Although some aspects - SPECTRE for example are the same in future movies, this is generally not true(with the exception of Quantam of Solace's beginning). I expected every movie to end with some giant explosion, and it just seemed so strange to not get that here. This is considered one of the best Bonds though despite missing some of the key Bond elements.
Interesting: Connery and the director Terence Young both almost died in separate helicopter accidents. This was the last movie to be watched by JFK. Bond doesn't appear in the movie until the 17 minute mark.

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