Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2011 Winterim Movie Ballot

These are the eight movies on the 2011 Winterim Movie Ballot.  Students will vote for their favorites; the winner will be shown at the Capitol Theater.  The winner won't be announced early.  It will be a surprise for everyone (except for Mr. Gacek, of course).

1. The Illusionist (2010) directed by Sylvain Chomet.
The Illusionist, in current release (not available on DVD) and nominated for an Academy Award in animation, was created by the French animator Sylvain Chomet, who in 2003 created The Triplets of Belleville. The Illusionist is about an elderly magician who becomes disheartened by the public’s lack of interest in his act. He travels to Scotland, where his act is met by more indifference, though he gains one fan in Alice, a shy teenager. The animation is wonderful; it evokes Disney’s 101 Dalmatians as well as the works of Hiyao Miyazaki. There’s a tinge of melancholy in the movie, but there’s also humor and beauty. If The Illusionist is ultimately not chosen, you can catch it later in the week at The Capitol Theater, if you’re interested.

2. Ghostbusters (1984) directed by Ivan Reitman.
Bill Murray, Dan Ackyroyd, and Harold Ramis team up to exterminate ghosts, which are running rampant across New York City. A big-budget comedy classic. With slime galore. Did I mention Bill Murray is in this?

3. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) directed by Wes Anderson.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a stop-motion animated film based on a story by Roald Dahl. Mr. Fox and his associates undertake secret missions to steal food from the local farmers. The farmers don’t take kindly to this and attempt to eradicate Fox and the other animals. Extremely stylish, funny, and wonderful in every way. Each frame has incredible detail. This is a most enjoyable movie. With the voice of Bill Murray.

4. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) directed by Mel Stuart.
You know the story. You might even know the songs. Have you seen the original film, with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka? It’s candy-colored and strange, with humor befitting a Roald Dahl story. Oompa Loompa Doompa-dee-doo!

5. Back to the Future (1985) directed by Robert Zemeckis.
Michael J. Fox plays Marty McFly, a teenager who meets a mad scientist who puts him into a Delorean time machine which sends him back to the Fifties. There he meets the people who would later become his parents, setting in motion time travel paradoxes which must be overcome for Marty to return to his proper time and place. Very funny as well as suspenseful, this is definitely an 80’s classic.

6. Clash of the Titans (1981) directed by Desmond Davis
This is not the lame re-make. This is the 1981 version, with stop-motion animation effects by the master Ray Harryhausen. Perseus, son of Zeus, must rescue Princess Andromeda and save the land. Pretty standard fantasy plot, right? Duh. Features Pegasus, Medusa, the Kraken, etc. Plus Sir Laurence Olivier as Zeus! Another 80’s gem.

7. Modern Times (1936) directed by Charlie Chaplin
The great Charlie Chaplin stars in the guise of “The Little Tramp” in this comedic masterpiece. Chaplin is a factory worker who loses his job and must face an ever-industrializing mechanized new world. This film contains some of the most iconic shots in film history. A classic.

8. The General (1926) directed by Buster Keaton
Silent Movie Star Buster Keaton single-handedly takes on the Union Army during the Civll War to stop a train on which his fiancee has been inadvertently imprisoned. The General is known for some of the greatest action sequences ever filmed. It is one of the greatest silent films of all time, in fact, and is a stellar comedy. Released in stunning Blu-Ray!