Regal Classic Film Series

Regal Cinemas

 

Kudos to Regal for bringing back their classic cinema series. Last fall they screened six classic movies. The only problem was that they were all R-rated though perhaps they identified the audience for this as skewing older. This go round the focus is on comedies.

Their classic movies are shown Sundays at 2 and Wednesdays at 2 and 7. Participating theaters are listed here.

I was sick last week so I missed posting this. It’s not too late to catch The Princess Bride on Wednesday the 15th at 2 and 7 though.

moviefasttimesatridgemonthigh

1/19 & 1/22 – Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

1/26 & 1/29 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

2/2 & 2/5 – Groundhog Day

Sleepless in Seattle

2/9 & 2/12 – Sleepless in Seattle

 

Fantasy Films – Top Ten List

As this is the end of the year, it seems the time for Top 10 lists. I’ll be doing Top 10 lists of films currently available on instant Netflix. I’ve disqualified all the films that show as expiring on or before 1/1/10. Today is my list of Top 10 fantasy films on instant Netflix (in no particular order though I’ll start with traditional fantasy).

Clash of the Titans

WATCH: Clash of the Titans (1981) – Rated PG.

Okay I admit this list is going to be dominated by Ray Harryhausen. The Clash of the Titans remake is slated to be released early next year and looks to be a lot of fun. Right now though you can watch the original for free. It’s worth it just for the Medusa.

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

WATCH: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) – Rated G

Harryhausen’s first color feature is an absolute masterpiece. This is my 2nd favorite Harryhausen movie behind only Jason and the Argonauts. The villain is nefarious, the damsel is alluring and in distress, and the hero is not as wooden as the next two Sinbads.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad

WATCH: The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) – Rated G.

While Tom Baker (Doctor Who) is a hoot as the villain and the Kali fight is a wonderful highlight, I did not like this one as much as The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (it is still excellent though).

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger

WATCH: Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) – Rated G

Harryhausen’s final Sinbad film stars Patrick Wayne (son of John), Taryn Power (daughter of Tyrone), Patrick Troughton, and the lovely Jane Seymour. The wondrous Harryhausen creations include skeleton creatures, a baboon, a troglodyte, a tiger and more.

Conan the Barbarian

WATCH: Conan the Barbarian (1982) – Rated R

This is one of the roles Arnold was born to play (or perhaps sculpted would be a better term). Conan is grand and bloody as befits Robert E. Howard’s source material. The film is flawed but it is so darned manly.

Excalibur

WATCH: Excalibur (1981) – Rated R.

Excalibur features incredible scene-stealing performances from Nicol Williamson as Merlin and Helen Mirren as Morgana. It also features mounted armored combat in rich lush forests. John Boorman’s compositions are wonderful and there are early roles from Patrick Stewart, Gabriel Byrne, and Liam Neeson.

The Princess Bride

WATCH: The Princess Bride (1987) – Rated PG for adult language and violence.

The Princess Bride is quite simply one of the best, most heartfelt movies ever made. The next time your loved one asks for something, simply reply “As you wish”.

Krull

WATCH: Krull (1983) – Rated PG for violence.

This film is all over the place. It is definitely a fantasy but the enemy are space aliens. It aims for an adult audience but there is a child protagonist and lots of cute animals for the kids. The leads are a little wooden but Freddie Jones, Francesca Annis, and Bernard Bresslaw are wonderful in secondary roles. Look for Liam Neeson in another early role.

Ghost

WATCH: Ghost (1990) – Rated PG-13.

Alrighty, plot-wise this is supernatural and not fantasy but thematically this is definitely a fantasy. It is also a romance and to maintain my standing as a man, I’m not having a Top Ten Romance list. Unlike The Princess Bride, do not try telling your loved one “ditto” after watching this film. Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg are all magnificent in this movie

Groundhog Day

WATCH: Groundhog Day (1993) – Rated PG.

Here is another film that is thematically fantasy romance while being a comedy plot-wise. Bill Murray is hysterical but also oddly vulnerable as a cynical weatherman. Andie McDowell is wonderful as his producer and Chris Elliott is quite funny as the cameraman.

The Princess Bride

For the final day of swashbuckler week, I’ve chosen one of my all-time favorite movies (and my wife’s #1 favorite) – The Princess Bride. The Princess Bride is currently available on Netflix instant play.

The Princess Bride

WATCH: The Princess Bride (1987) – Rated PG for adult language and violence

“In this enchantingly cracked fairy tale, the beautiful Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright Penn) and the dashing Westley (Cary Elwes) must overcome staggering odds to find happiness amid six-fingered swordsmen (Christopher Guest), murderous princes (Chris Sarandon), Sicilians (Wallace Shawn) and rodents of unusual size. But even death can’t stop these true lovebirds from triumphing. Fred Savage and Peter Falk co-star.”

Like Robin and Marian earlier this week, this film is all about love. William Goldman’s script is magical and Rob Reiner’s direction perfect. While I suppose this film would have to be categorized as a comedy, it works as an adventure story, a revenge fantasy and a romance as well. The dialogue is quoted more often at our house than that of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Rob Reiner underplays any effects – the rodents are cheerfully B-esque, the tree with a door is clearly a prop, and there is clearly a landing mat under the gymnastics bar used in one of the sword fights.

The performances – all from B-listers and character actors are uniformly wonderful – in fact for each of the actors involved I’d say that it is their best performance. Peter Falk is warm and loving as the uncle telling the story to his sick nephew (a cute Fred Savage). Cary Elwes plays the dashing hero with elan (sort of a snarky Errol Flynn) and Robin Wright infuses Princess Buttercup with a charming cluelessness. As played by Chris Sarandon, Prince Humperdinck is deliciously slimy and he is aided by a matter-of-fact Christopher Guest as his second. Wallace Shawn is all over the top ego as Vizzini. Everyone attempts to steal every scene that they are in and mostly succeed especially Mandy Patinkin and Andre the Giant.

People Watch: Several cameos in this film – an over the top Peter Cook as a clergyman, Mel Smith as a hilarious albino, and Carol Kane and Billy Crystal under almost unrecognizable makeup as an old bickering couple.