Blogathon: Cool Off With The Classics

Another month, another movie blogathon! Marc over at Go, See, Talk came up with another great idea that is sure to start making its rounds in the film blogging community. The idea here is to “Cool Off With The Classics” — that is, to compile a list of black & white classics you would watch to “beat the heat.” Since I have been digging into more classics than usual lately, I thought this would be a fun event to participate in. So here we go… ten of my favorite B&W movies.

12 Angry Men [1957]
1) 12 Angry Men [1957]
Sidney Lumet’s early classic was one of my first experiences with a black & white film. I watched this for the first time in high school and could not believe that an “old movie” set in a courtroom could maintain my interest from beginning to end. An incredible film, and one that I absolutely must see again soon.

The Third Man [1949]
2) The Third Man [1949]
I saw this for the first time earlier this year and fell in love with it. There is so much to like about this movie, and of course it has some of the most memorable moments in cinematic history (such as Orson Welles’ big reveal). The closing shot is one of the best I have ever seen.

Crashout [1955]
3) Crashout [1955]
I caught this earlier this month at the Music Box Theatre’s awesome Noir City Festival. This rarely-seen prison break movie is a lot of fun, and surprisingly brutal for its time period.

Among the Living [1941]
4) Among the Living [1941]
Another rarely-screened movie that I caught at the Noir City Festival. This is a wonderful noir/horror hybrid with great performances from Albert Dekker and Susan Hayward.

Citizen Kane [1941]
5) Citizen Kane [1941]
This is the movie that made me excited to see more classics. We watched the entirety of the film in my university’s Music & Film class, and I was quite frankly amazed. One of the best of all time, obviously, and it felt great to finally understand the lyrics to the Kane-referencing White Stripes song, “The Union Forever“.

City Lights
6) City Lights [1931]
My 50 Movies Project is already reaping dividends, as it provided the means for me to catch this Chaplin silent classic. Words are not needed for Chaplin’s dynamic Tramp character, and his endless pursuit of love is inspiring (with hilarious results).

The Day The Earth Stood Still [1951]
7) The Day The Earth Stood Still [1951]
I am not a big sci-fi fan, so I was a little skeptical about this movie. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. Intelligent, entertaining and backed by Bernard Herrmann’s incredible therimin-driven score, this is one of the better sci-fi films I have seen, regardless of age.

The Killing [1956]
8 ) The Killing [1956]
One of Kubrick’s earliest films is one of my favorites from him, and it has been heavily influential over the years (most notably for Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs). An exciting, well-crafted heist noir.

Steamboat Bill, Jr. [1928]
9) Steamboat Bill, Jr. [1928]
I have only seen two, maybe three, Buster Keaton movies, but this is the one I have enjoyed the most. Lots of laughs and some ridiculous physical stunts make this one of the more memorable silent films I have seen.

Seven Samurai [1954]
10) Seven Samurai [1954]
It is a testament to the film’s brilliance that I am able to sit through the full three hours without ever once growing bored or impatient. I saw it for the first time last year and it just blew me away. The quintessential samurai film.

Be sure to check out the rest of the participants in this blogathon, and feel free to join in on the fun as well.

Quick & Dirty #1

Quick & Dirty is a new feature that I will be implementing here at The Warning Sign. I watch a lot of movies, play a lot of video games, and listen to a lot of music. I don’t have the time to write full reviews on everything I see or do, but I still would like to discuss them with the handful of readers I have. That’s where Q&D comes in — brief summaries of how I feel about recent films/games/music/etc that I have indulged in. Today’s batch of movies:

28 Days Later [2002, Danny Boyle]
Terrific zombie movie. At first, the usage of digital video turned me off to it, but I gradually came to like the camerawork, which ultimately gives it a darker and grittier feel. The entire portion with the soldiers was great, and it was a refreshing change from your typical zombie flick. Plus, how can you not like Brendan Gleeson’s character? 8/10

Anchorman [2004, Adam McKay]
I don’t think I ever watched this all the way through when it first came out, but watching it this time finally made me realize where everyone was getting their quotes from in college. Stuff like “yogging”, “I love lamp” and “Stay classy, San Diego.” Now it all makes sense! Very funny movie; I can see why everyone fell in love with it. 8/10

Flipped [2010, Rob Reiner]
Surprisingly decent coming-of-age romantic drama. It has some funny moments, and is generally well-acted by its young lead performers. It kind of reminded me of The Sandlot, at least in terms of its 50’s setting and the use of a narrator. Worth a rental. 7/10

Knight and Day [2010, James Mangold]
Mindless summer action/comedy with two actors who I had pegged as “washed-up.” This was better than it had every right to be, although that really isn’t saying too much. A decent way to spend a couple hours without having to put too much thought into it. 6.5/10

The Third Man [1949, Carol Reed]
Stunning film noir that makes me want to watch many more in the genre. What can really be said about this? I loved the “big reveal” of Orson Welles, and the final closing shot of the movie is one of the best I have ever seen. I also loved the usage of multiple languages without subtitles — it reminded me of my recent trip to Europe and the struggles of not knowing other languages. Just a fantastic movie all around. 9.5/10

The Town [2010, Ben Affleck]
Very good Boston crime drama with an excellent cast. I noticed some big similarities to Heat, and there were some intense action moments. Jeremy Renner’s performance was incredible, and he definitely deserved his Oscar nomination. I was a little disappointed by the ending, but other than that this was a lot of fun. 7.5/10