Thursday, December 31, 2009

December 30, 2009

X2: X-Men United (2003)
#63 on my Top 100 List
This is by far the best of the X-Men movies. Ian McKellan, though slightly reminiscent of Gandalf, makes an excellent Magneto and Hugh Jackman manages to completely lose himself in the role of Logan/Wolverine. Alan Cumming's addition of Nightcrawler adds a nice touch of dark comedy to the whole thing. The Wolverine/Lady Deathstryke fight is awesome and I don't care what anyone says - Storm is awesome. I'm totally impressed by the makeup done for Mystique - I know that some of the look is CGI, but some is also very clearly blue makeup and prosthetics. I can't even imagine how long that must have taken to be applied every day. The only disappointment I have with this movie is not actually with this one - they set up the Phoenix to come into play and X-Men: The Last Stand screwed it up so badly that I can barely stand to watch the end of this one. At least I have the 90s cartoon version to watch - they got the Phoenix right!
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December 29, 2009

A Single Man (2009)
#53 on my Top 100 List
This movie was absolutely beautiful. Everything about it was beautiful - the story, the acting, the flashback scenes. I am completely in awe of Colin Firth's performance. The supporting cast was equally good, Nicholas Hoult (the kid from About a Boy all grown up) and Matthew Goode especially, though Matthew Goode is only in a few scattered flashbacks. What Tom Ford did with the color of this film was incredible - in the flashbacks and those rare moments that Colin Firth's character decides that life really is worth living, the color is rich and vibrant and alive. But as soon as his feelings fade, so does the color, visibly draining out of the shot into near sepia desaturation. We're left missing the bright colors of life as much as he is. Despite what the trailers make it out to be, this movie is also not about his relationship with Julianne Moore, which is a good thing. She's fine and all, but she does not mean nearly as much to him as he does to her and that's reflected. I've been looking forward to this movie since April or so and it absolutely did not disappoint.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

December 28, 2009

Wuthering Heights (1939)
#74 on my Top 100 List
Since the 70th anniversary of Hollywood's Greatest Year is drawing to a close, I figured I'd watch this as my last 1939 film. Laurence Olivier is amazing in everything he does, from this to Maxim deWinter in Rebecca to his multiple Shakespearian roles and finally his chilling performance in Marathon Man. His Heathcliffe is tortured and tragic, but not whiny. This sort of dark, gothic melodrama is the precursor to today's "emo" stories, but without the irritating self-pity. There is self-pity, of course, but it's the brooding kind. Sort of like Angel on Buffy as opposed to Edward Cullen. The child actors in the beginning leave something to be desired and Cathy is never a sympathetic character, but Merle Oberon leaves nothing to be desired in her performance.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Monday, December 28, 2009

December 27, 2009

It's Complicated (2009)
Wow, Meryl Streep just keeps on going, doesn't she? It doesn't matter how this movie was (though it was definitely enjoyable) - she's amazing. As usual. This movie sort of reminded me of Something's Gotta Give, but Meryl, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin had much better screen chemistry than Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves. Steve Martin especially impressed me, since he was playing the straight man to the other characters. The graduation scene excluded of course, which is one of the funniest scenes in the whole film. I don't watch The Office, so I have no feelings of John Krasinski one way or the other, but he's adorable and hysterical in this. Especially when he's wearing pajama pants covered in little red hearts.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 26, 2009

Sherlock Holmes (2009)
#88 on my Top 100 List
There was a lot of hype surrounding this movie and it lived up to all of it. Robert Downey, Jr. was excellent as Holmes and Jude Law was fun and dashing as Watson. I even didn't hate Rachel McAdams. It has a vibe similar to Pirates of the Caribbean - a no holds barred, in your face, loud, violent adventure. With lots of explosions. There was some definite subtext (and things that Kat, Anna and I laughed at that no one else did) and Holmes and Watson had a great chemistry onscreen. It was nice to see Watson as a real character, smart in his own right and able to kick ass alongside his friend. Also, Jude Law totally rocks the three-piece suit. It's only sort of a book adaptation - this particular story never appeared in any of the original Holmes tales - but I listed it that way anyway. Hopefully there will be sequels - I'm looking forward to them!
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Friday, December 25, 2009

December 25, 2009

Love Actually (2003)
#10 on my Top 100 List
I think that I want to marry Richard Curtis. Anyone who can write and direct a movie that makes me grin like an idiot every time I even think about it is an amazing filmmaker. When this movie was out, I remember that people used to disappear from the concession aisle at the theater I worked in and sure enough, they (and I was guilty of this too) would be in the back of the theater, watching this movie. Every aspect of it is wonderful, from the speech that Hugh Grant gives to his countrymen (and subsequent dance scene - hilarious!) to Colin Firth's bilingual conversations with his Portuguese maid to the heartbreaking posters reading "To me, you are perfect" to the parallel scenes in Portugal and Heathrow Airport at the end. The entire cast is fantastic. I also like that not all of the stories end necessarily happily. Laura Linney's character is the only one that bothers me - if Rodrigo Santoro is naked in your bed, you don't leave! The music in this is also great, especially Olivia Olson's performance of "All I Want For Christmas Is You." The fact that this was never even nominated for an Academy Award is atrocious. It's heartwarming and funny and makes you feel warm and loved. Also, it includes the most romantic marriage proposal I have ever seen.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Thursday, December 24, 2009

December 24, 2009

The Road (2009)
I am fascinated by the production design on post-apocalyptic movies. You'd think that life after human civilization has ended would look the same in every film, but it doesn't. Each production designer has their own unique and usually amazing take on what the world would look like after it was done with us as a species. This is one of the best. Everything is gray and hazy, often rainy, and completely empty. There is no one around for miles. Very little actually happens in this movie, yet it has a constant sense of tense foreboding. Viggo Mortensen is fantastic as the unnamed father fighting to protect his son. The end is unsettling and ambiguous, but nice in a way in that you can decide for yourself where it leads. Not a very seasonal movie, I grant you, but oh well. Merry Christmas, everyone!
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

December 23, 2009

Precious (2009)
First of all, I refuse to add the ridiculously long subtitle that unfortunately got tacked onto this film. We know it's based on a book and now we all know who wrote it, thank you very much. This movie is all about the performances. Mo'Nique is frightening and disturbing in her performance as the main character's abusive, acid-tongued mother and Gabourey Sidibe is amazing as an illiterate pregnant teenage girl who is morbidly obsese and convinced that she is utterly unloved. The story is brought to life only by the calibre of the acting and the camerawork is definitely odd - sometimes slowmotion, sometimes hazy, sometimes edited to see one shot over and over again.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

December 22, 2009

The Santa Clause (1994)
I feel like it says something if you still laugh at a movie that you've watched over and over. This is a fun and heartwarming Christmas movie that doesn't go over the top too often. This is also back from when Tim Allen used to be funny (remember that?), playing on his popular Home Improvement sitcom. The supporting cast is perfect, from Judge Reinhold as the dorky stepfather to David Krumholtz as the stressed and sarcastic head elf at the North Pole. Comet the reindeer is a little cheesy, but it is a family Christmas movie, after all.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21, 2009

Brothers (2009)
I'm glad that I saw this back-to-back with The Messenger because they share a similar theme and tone - this one's just much better. I didn't know that Tobey Maguire had those kinds of acting chops in him, but he's great as the soldier who suffers torture at the hands of the enemy and, after coming home, finds that he can't deal with the real world anymore. Natalie Portman, Jack Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan (although she's really only in one scene - again she's great) round out a fantastic cast. The two girls cast as the daughters are adorable and good little actors. Some of the POW scenes are incredibly difficult to watch, but somehow the movie manages not to be smotheringly depressing (I'm looking at you, The Hours).
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

December 20, 2009

The Messenger (2009)
Everyone seems to think that this movie is something special. It's not. Woody Harrelson (who, by the way, is having a fantastic year between this, 2012, and Zombieland) is good as the primary soldier in charge of notifying the next of kin of soldiers killed in battle and Ben Foster is not bad as his assistant, but he loses major points for being a creepy stalker. Seriously, why does Samantha Morton like this guy? He follows her around the mall and shows up at her house, all the while having been the guy who told her that her husband is dead? Not realistic. Also, most of this movie is done hand-held and you all know how I feel about that.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December 19, 2009

White Christmas (1954)
This is just more evidence to support my theory that 1954 is second only to 1939 as Hollywood's greatest year. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are a perfect team (the girls are good too, but those two are the real stars of the show), balancing comedy and absolutely beautiful singing. The musical numbers themselves get a little repetitive, but sequence at the end more than makes up for that. It's a touching Christmas moment, but without the saccharine sentimentality of It's a Wonderful Life. Parts of this are obviously shot on a sound stage, but for the most part that doesn't detract.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18, 2009

The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert (1994)
#39 on my Top 100 List
The foreign label on here is used loosely - it's an Australian film, but it was theatrically released in the US before Australia and it's in English. There are very few movies as fabulous as this one. Two drag queens and a transsexual travel through the Australian Outback in a big pink bus named Priscilla to perform an ABBA show at a resort deep in the heart of the continent. Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving have no business having legs as nice as those. The soundtrack is fantastic, as are the costumes and the shots of the wide open desert. The shiny silver shoe that they attach to the top of the bus is pretty awesome too.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

December 17, 2009

Everybody's Fine (2009)
What's with all the emotional manipulation this year? Between this, Amelia, 2012 and The Blind Side, I feel like I'm being bashed over the head with sad music and close-ups of grieving family. This, though it seemed to be advertised as a Christmas movie, had nothing whatsoever to do with any holiday and shows an old man (whose silent scenes alone with his suitcase as he walks through various airports and bus stations are the only truly moving moments of the whole film) as he tries to see all four of his widely-scattered children in one trip. There are stupid subplots involving a Mexican drug arrest, a bad set of lungs, and mysterious envelopes, none of which add anything to the overall story except to lead up to a totally shameless tear-jerking finale. I absolutely hate it when bad movies make me cry. Makes me feel like all those good ones that make me cry (Atonement, Return of the King, The Perfect Storm, etc.) are somehow degraded by it.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 16, 2009

Tropic Thunder (2008)
#42 on my Top 100 List
From the very beginning, this movie is memorable and hysterical, with audiences first being shown three fake trailers ("Scorcher VI", "The Fatties: Fart Two" and my personal favorite "Satan's Alley"), each of which stars one of the stars of the movie-within-a-movie, Tropic Thunder. Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr (in blackface, which for some reason, no one took offense to) play those three stars with gusto. This movie is really all about performances. Besides the three leads, Brandon T. Jackson and Steve Coogan shine as a hip-hop star turned actor and the inexperienced director. The controversy that the film DID raise was, in my opinion, very misplaced. RDJ's character was not making fun of the mentally disabled when he gave his acting advice of, "Never go full retard." That whole segment was the movie making fun of actors who go too deep into their roles with the sole intent of winning awards. But the most memorable thing about the entire movie was Tom Cruise's performance as the foul-mouthed studio head, complete with his awkward dance scenes and the thinly-veiled jab at Hollywood's obsession with Diet Coke.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December 15, 2009

The Blind Side (2009)
Now that Golden Globe nominations have officially come out, I have more of a reference point for what's probably going to get an Oscar nomination and can weed out some of those that are just getting mediocre buzz. Makes my life a whole lot easier. It also means that I'm going to be seeing a lot of movies in the theaters from now on (as if I didn't already). This movie is okay, but it's really all about Sandra Bullock's performance. She's sassy, she's sarcastic, and she's bitchy - it's fabulous. The story itself, while true, doesn't ring of anything different - it plays out like every typical down-and-out-rises-to-happiness story with all the requisite emotional manipulation. Even though it's not a fantastic movie, you still come out feeling the way they want you to. The young boy who plays SJ is worth noting, though - just as adorable as little Jamal in Slumdog Millionaire!
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 14, 2009

Atonement (2007)
#59 on my Top 100 List
There are so many memorable things about this movie. Cecelia's green evening dress is now instantly recognizable, the musical score accented by the click of typewriter keys is unique, the camerawork is fluid and organic, and the 5-minute continuous shot that weaves through the British army's assembly at Dunkirk is haunting and unforgettable, especially when it finally comes to rest on a panoramic shot of the entire beach with a skeletal ferris wheel turning ghost-like in the distance. It's a story about a romance built on one moment of passion and torn apart by the naive lies of a little girl and how the three people involved are doomed by it. The continuity between the three women playing Briony (at age 13, 18, and 70-something) is uncanny, with a single bobby pin and a mole on her cheek being the only devices that the filmmakers used. The scene with old Briony is especially moving. It can get a little confusing, as the movie jumps back and forth somewhat through time and shows the same scenes over again but from different points of view, but if you're paying attention, it's not hard to sort out. It's been said that this past year's Bright Star had the best fully-clothed sex scene ever in cinema, but I dare those reviewers to watch the library scene in this movie between Keira Knightley and James McAvoy and not change their minds.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 13, 2009

Lilo and Stitch (2002)
#91 on my Top 100 List
I consider this the last of the good hand-drawn Disney movies before the official switchover to CG animation (and the subsequent resurgence of hand-drawn - I can't wait to see The Princess and the Frog!) and it was a great one. My theory is that hand-drawn animation went out of favor not because people stopped not because of the actual animation style but because the stories began to suffer. Brother Bear, which came after this one, wasn't terrible, but everything else hand-drawn that Disney put out until Enchanted five years later was definitely subpar. This one has a precocious and adorable child heroine, a fun and mischievous alien, dangerous bad guys, gorgeously-drawn colorful backgrounds and catchy songs appropriate for the movie's Hawaiian setting. The trailers for this film, where Stitch appears in classic Disney films such as Beauty and the Beast or The Little Mermaid, were great.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

December 12, 2009

Invictus (2009)
Matt Damon is ridiculously blonde and built and Morgan Freeman moves slowly with intense concentration - and both portray their characters (South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar and Nelson Mandela respectively) with such accuracy and grace that it's nearly impossible to remind yourself that they're actually actors. It's a true story that plays like the tensest of sports movies about the 1995 Rugby World Cup, held in South Africa after the end of apartheid where the whole country - blacks and whites - joined together to cheer their national team that still bore the colors of the apartheid flag. It's moving and thrilling and exciting. The title comes from a poem that Mandela cites as giving him inspiration throughout his time in prison. Oh, and in case anyone was curious - rugby shorts? Not hot.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Saturday, December 12, 2009

December 11, 2009

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
I don't usually like Wes Anderson's movies, but maybe all of the reviewers were right and he truly is destined to make animated films, because this movie was, as advertised, fantastic. I think by this point, I've made it very clear that I worship stop-motion animation, but this blows most other stop-motion out of the water. The smoke! The waterfall! The animals' fur! The voice cast that Anderson has put together is also brilliant, from all of his regulars to George Clooney to Michael Gambon. It was a little disconcerting how every scene was almost entirely one color (orange during the day in the fields, blue at night, gray in the sewers, etc.) but it worked, too, in a creepy way. Bravo Mr. Anderson!
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

December 10, 2009

The Cove (2009)
Wow. I don't know what to think after watching this movie. It's a heavily-slanted story about the annual mass slaughter of dolphins and whales in a single lagoon in Japan and as with every polarizing documentary, it cares little for both sides of the story. That being said, I can't imagine how the fishermen would defend themselves and their actions. Watching this makes me never want to go anywhere where they keep tame dolphins ever again. The aerial shot of the killing cove running bright red with dolphin blood is one that stays with you for a very long time. My only question was, how do they keep sharks out of the cove with that much blood in the water? Oscar Nominations aren't even out, but if this doesn't get nominated and win, something is very wrong.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 9, 2009

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
#4 on my Top 100 List
There is a scene toward the end of this movie where Merry, Pippin, Frodo and Sam are sitting at a table in the Green Dragon in the Shire. They look around for a moment, then toast each other. It's clear in their eyes - nothing is ever going to be the same. It's a very powerful scene that I think sums up the message of the entire trilogy: your experiences change you. It's just one of several amazing scene in this movie, including the lighting of the beacons of Gondor, the arrival of the Rohirrim at the Pelennor Fields, Gandalf staring down the Ringwraiths, Faramir's "death," Gandalf telling Pippin about Heaven, the entire Paths of the Dead sequence, the fall of the tower of Barad-Dur, Aragorn's coronation (which makes me cry), the reunion of the Fellowship and the final parting at the Grey Havens (which makes me bawl my eyes out). I love that Merry and Pippin both get to fight in battle in this one, that Legolas and Gimli finally admit their friendship, that Eowyn finally gets to show off how badass she is, and that when the Gondorians find their city under attack from the orcs, they start catapulting pieces of their broken buildings back at them. Take that, Mordor! But above anything else, the scene where Pippin is asked to sing for Denethor (the bat-shit insane steward of Gondor), who is eating dinner while his son Faramir rides to almost certain death, is one of the most beautifully shot and edited scenes that I have ever seen. Billy Boyd's voice is perfect - it gives me chills.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

November 8, 2009

Fantasia (1940)
#8 on my Top 100 List
The things that Disney and Stokowski (the conductor who was a part of the creative drive behind the movie) came up with for this film are mind-blowing. The Nutcracker is shown through seasons changing. The Rite of Spring follows the formation of Earth and the reign of the dinosaurs. The Pastoral Symphony is done with Greek mythology. A Night on Bald Mountain is paired with Ave Maria! And of course, Mickey Mouse axe-murders zombie broomsticks in The Sorcerer's Apprentice. I love this movie because it's done backwards from how music is normally used in a film. Usually a scene is shot and edited and then music is written to score the film. In this, they used the music as inspiration to create a visual that matched it. It's perfect. It's also beautifully drawn. Forget about the wretched sequel they tried to make - just watch the original and bask in the wonder.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

December 7, 2009

Mobsters (1991)
There really is no reason for me to like this movie as much as I do. The production quality isn't that high and there's nothing really new or different about it as a mob film. But there's something about it (which could possibly be the presence of a very young Patrick Dempsey and fresh off of 21 Jump Street Richard Grieco) that I really enjoy. I have no idea how much of it is fictionalized, but it's a fun romp that goes through pre-organized crime New York into the formation of the five mafia families. The whole love story with Lara Flynn Boyle is wholly unnecessary, but oh well. Throughly enjoyable.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Monday, December 7, 2009

December 6, 2009

The Great Gatsby (1974)
#11 on my Top 100 List
I'm not going to start on why I still own this on VHS instead of DVD (why in the world would you RESCORE the DVD for a movie that won Best Original Score???) but it's for situations like this that I'm glad I still have a VCR. I know that this movie gets a lot of criticism, but I have yet to see a more definitive film version of this novel. Robert Redford is Gatsby. Sam Waterston is equally strong as Nick. The two play off each other well and are very convincing as two men who couldn't be more different, yet end up as close friends anyway. Their first meeting is delightfully and painfully awkward, as it should be for people in their social situations. The Roaring 20's are alive and well through the music and costumes, as well as the mansions in which they chose to shoot the movie. Different parts of three of Newport, Rhode Island's most impressive historic mansions (Rosecliffe, The Breakers, and Marble House) make up Gatsby's home - all are open to the public and all are worth the trip. I'm always upset by the ending of this film - I want Nick to tell Tom and Jordan that Daisy was driving the car, so that Gatsby can have some absolution, but it never comes.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

December 5, 2009

Gunga Din (1939)
I was a little confused by this movie. The first half, when the soldiers are safely stowed away at their Indian outpost, plays very much like a slapstick comedy. But once they set out for the mysterious golden temple (that of course turns out to be the hiding place of an evil cult), it turns into an Indiana Jones-esque adventure. I have no problem with shifting the tone of a movie, but it has to make sense. The two halves of this movie feel totally disjointed. That being said, the second half is action-packed and fun (you just have to try to look past the raging racism of the British against the Indians). Cary Grant seems younger than in most of what I've seen him in, but he's just as good as ever.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December 4, 2009

Return of the Jedi (1983)
#14 on my Top 100 List
I'm going to get this out of the way first - I really don't mind the addition of Hayden Christensen into the end of the DVD version of this movie. It appeases my sense of continuity and links the two trilogies together. (It almost makes up for Leia's discussion about remembering her mother, which is impossible, since she was minutes old when Padme died in Revenge of the Sith.) There are a lot of things that I love about this movie, from the Ewoks smashing an Imperial Walker between two logs, to the entire Jabba's Palace and sail barge sequence, to the celebration at the end (which includes my favorite moment in all of Star Wars when the Ewoks use stormtrooper helmets as drums and also now includes a shot of Naboo). I know that it's campy when compared to the other two, but I love it anyway. The three parallel battles in the end are shot and edited beautifully. Yoda's death scene is moving - the most moving death of a backwards-talking puppet ever - and works as an appropriate reveal of the Skywalker twins' existance. Though, I gotta say, for a Jedi who's supposed to be all about peace and defense, Luke kills people in this movie left and right. Even so, Jedi Luke is hot.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Friday, December 4, 2009

December 3, 2009

Into the Wild (2007)
#84 on my Top 100 List
Once you get over the fact that the main character, perpetual wanderer Chris McCandless, has a lot of opinions and expresses them in self-important, pretentious voice over, there is a lot to love about this movie. Chris's story is very interesting, even if his musings on life are not. It's also moving and heartbreakingly tragic. The supporting cast is just as good as Emile Hirsch as Chris and includes Vince Vaughn (in one of his rare non-comedic roles), Kristen Stewart (pre-Twilight), Catherine Keener, Marcia Gay Harden, and Hal Holbrook in his Oscar-nominated role. The landscapes are stunning, shot in Alaska, Arizona, Oregon and California, and the way that Sean Penn (who I like way better as a director than an actor) uses them almost creates an additional character for Emile Hirsch to interact with, since for a lot of the movie, he's alone. The look of the movie makes it seem like he is truly communing with nature.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December 2, 2009

Moulin Rouge! (2001)
#67 on my Top 100 List
Mmmm, Ewan McGregor can sing. He's not great in this movie about always suppressing his Scottish accent, but that's fine with me. Though this movie's been out less than ten years, the doomed romance between Christian and Satine (Nicole Kidman) is already one of the more iconic and memorable film couples from the last decade. It helps that they both sing beautifully. The color in the movie is vibrant and alive, shown through Baz Luhrmann's almost overwhelming filming style, where everything is fast and bright and loud. Most of the songs are covers, though between the arrangements and the performers, they don't feel like it. "El Tango de Roxanne" embodies lust and jealousy, "Meet Me in the Red Room" is pure sexuality, "One Day I'll Fly Away" is hopeful and hopeless at the same time, and "Your Song" is reminiscent of innocent true love.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December 1, 2009

Jurassic Park (1993)
#13 on my Top 100 List
Anytime Steven Spielberg and John Williams get together, you know you're going to get something amazing. This movie is absolutely wonderful. From the attack at the beginning to the stunning and majestic first view of a dinosaur (perfect with John Williams' score), it's all moving and exciting and then thrilling and scary. I love Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum, who delivers his dryly sarcastic lines with great wit, including one of my favorite movie lines ever, "Yeah, but John, if the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists!") and I love that Samuel L. Jackson has a bit part. The special effects hold up to the test of time, still impressive even now after we've seen CGI blow-outs like The Matrix. The raptors are great villains - the scene in the kitchen is tense and slightly horrifying and the scene where they eat the poor game warden (maybe I'm spoiling this, but this movie's been out nearly 20 years and if you haven't seen it by now, why are you reading this?) scared me so much when I was little that I didn't actually watch it until the third or fourth time of viewing the movie. I like that the T-rex isn't actually the villain. Yeah, she ate the lawyer, but she was hungry and that guy was annoying anyway. There's a great article on Wikipedia about what sounds they blended to make all of the dinosaur calls. It's not very similar to the book, but Michael Crichton was involved with the screenwriting, so one has to assume that he approved of the changes.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars