IMDb, the internet movie database, has been an extremely useful tool ever since its early days. After all, what other means would there be to easily settle serious issues such as Heather Graham’s presence on the second season of Twin Peaks, or the chronology of Alfred Hitchcock’s sixties movies.
The site is not without faults, the layout is very much web 0.97, and the constant advertising of the pro version quickly gets annoying. Amazon’s quiet acquisition of the site hasn’t provided the means or will to improve on the usability. At least yet.
However, the most controversial part of the site is its weighted aggregate rating of films that provides the foundation for its “Top 250″. The list is very susceptible to hype, and aggressive voting has led to Dark Knight temporarily overtaking Godfather at the top and recent science fiction-y flicks rising far above their expected place (yeah, District 9, I’m talking about you).
The lowest rungs of the ratings ladder – the bottom 100 is inspirational reading as well.
The obligatory trailer is for Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. A great movie, whose soundtrack manages to shine even in the space of three minutes (Dropkick Murphys! Comfortably Numb!).
Roman Polanski’s Chinatown taught me a lot when I saw it as an impressonable junior high schoolboy: things are rarely what they seem, and often worse, much worse; southern California is really nothing but a desert; all Roman Polanski’s movies are to be watched as soon as feasible.
The film makes watchers wince, as mistreatment – of both physical and mental kinds – is visited on the protagonist on screen. And Jack Nicholson’s J.J. Gittes is indeed a true protagonist – he’s present in all scenes, and the plot is told from his viewpoint (a fact I actually learned today while browsing wikipedia).
Chinatown was nominated for eleven academy awards back in 1974, but managed to win only one – appropriately enough for best adapted screenplay. Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore won the oscar for the best movie.
The 1990 sequel to Chinatown, called Two Jakes everywhere but Finland, flopped rather miserably and disappeared from screens in matter of weeks. It’s a far better movie than its reputation shows, and while nowhere near the original, a pleasant neo-noir movie nonetheless.