Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

AFI Recap: #31 – #40

31. Annie Hall (1977) – This was AFI’s Woody Allen selection for this list, since he needed to be represented somehow.  Annie Hall is a good choice as it is certainly his most notable film, a comedy both funny and unique.   I like it, though i still hold a grudge because it beat out Star Wars for the Oscar.


32. The Godfather Part II (1974) – Many claim that this sequel was even better than the masterful original.  AFI, who placed Godfather at #3, doesn’t agree with that and neither do I.  Part 2 is a little too long and the storyline slightly less engaging than its predecessor.  That’s not to say that it isn’t a brilliant film, however,  because it is.


33. High Noon (1952) – one of the most beloved westerns in the world.  However be warned; its pretty dull.  It has many elements which work for a lot of people, though I’m not really sure why.  I didn’t find the story that compelling, the theme song seemed to suck the energy out of the film every time it was heard (which was a lot), and Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly, though both great in their own right, had no chemistry and made no sense as a couple.  There’s a lot of contextual and sociological meaning behind the idea of a man facing his enemies alone, I get that.  Too bad we couldn’t be entertained along the way.  starstarhalfstarnostarnostar

34. To Kill a Mocking Bird (1962) – I read Harper Lee’s classic novel when I was in Grade 11 and fell in love with it.  The racial inequity really moved me while the childlike wonder of Jem and Scout captivated me.  The film isn’t quite as great, but it is still a tour de force, especially Gregory Pecks performance as Atticus Finch, one of the most memorable performance’s there has been.  The movie focuses more on Atticus where the book focuses more on the kids, though I think that was a smart move for the adaptation’s sake.  starstarstarstarhalfstar

35. It Happened One Night (1934) – A delightful movie which really defined the romantic comedy sub-genre.  And though I usually loath the modern take on this genre, I love the combo of Gable and Colbert.  Their fast-talking flirtations are so enjoyable to watch that you just become absorbed in the goings-on onscreen.


36. Midnight Cowboy (1969) – This movie is just not my cup of tea.  It felt really dated to me and the editing annoyed me constantly.  There’s some great stuff here, but you’ve got to trudge through so much to get to it.  I will say this however; the friendship between the leads was really touching (which I’m sure is where the endearment of this film by people comes from) and Hoffman gives a brilliant performance.  Hoffman is often overshadowed by De Niro and Pacino, though I think he may be the better actor of the three.  Here he takes a role which could have come off as really cheesy and makes it sincere and honest.  starstarstarnostarnostar

37. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) – An early example of how movies can be used to present social issues of the present as the problems of post-war GIs are told in this tri-threaded storyline.    It does lose focus slightly in the middle with the love triangle subplot, but gets back on message later on.  I found Homer’s story particularly moving as well as the overall feeling of misunderstanding and ingratitude of the people around them.  A great film.   starstarstarstarhalfstar

38. Double Indemnity (1944) – Double Indemnity is a great story dragged down by poor performances.  The actual plot is very engaging and gets really interesting near the end, which really steps it up a notch from its film noir counterpart The Maltese Falcon.  However, Fred MacMurray has the charisma of a stone wall and Stanwick just as bland.  Thank goodness Edward G. Robinson was there to inject some sort of life into this dull, dull cast.  starstarstarhalfstarnostar

39. Dr. Zhivago (1965) – Another masterpiece from the king of visual film-making David Lean.  Though no quite at the level of his previous two greats River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia, Zhivago is still visually stunning, especially that ice palace scene.  And where his other two films focused on duty and honour, Lean takes a more romantic approach here.


40. North by Northwest (1959) – My personal favourite Hitchcock movie.  I love this film and I don’t think hitch has done his mistaken identity storyline any better than he has here.  Cary Grant is great and really pulls us in which the plot takes us from set piece to set piece and really captures this world of spies and intrigue at a top notch level.  Genius.


My Favourite of the Ten: North By Northwest

5 Responses to “AFI Recap: #31 – #40”

  1. Really enjoying these. I recently wrote a copy of the list to keep as sort of a check list for movies I wanna see. So it’s really cool to read your opinions on them. Though I’m embarrassed to say of this bunch I’ve only seen The Godfather Part II, which I thought was incredible.

  2. Yeah, North by Northwest seems like my cup of tea. As for Godfather Part One or Two, I can’t choose at the moment. I’m really split on that.

  3. Hooray! I totally agree with you about It Happened One Night. Brilliant acting, writing, and direction. Having previously seen Gable only as Rhett Butler (of course), I was pleasantly surprised to witness his comedic abilities. Indeed, SOOOO much better than any modern “romantic” comedy.

    North by Northwest: pure fun. It shows quite a bit more of Hitch’s humorous side than most of his others (although The Lady Vanishes cracked me up), but with enough suspense to keep one enthralled throughout. Glad you like it.

  4. […] this has been a popularly referred to list.  I went through the list ten films at a time and made my comments on whether or not they should be there.  But since I’ve gone through the whole list, this […]

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