Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Lion in Winter (1968) - ★★★★½

Director: Anthony Harvey
Writers: James Goldman
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins, John Castle, Nigel Terry, Timothy Dalton, Jane Merrow

The Lion in Winter is the first film I've decided to watch for my Epic Movie Marathon, and I must say, it is a spectacular film. I wouldn't quite call it an epic, seeing as it had a small cast and a running time of 134 minutes, but my God did it feel epic! The performances are up there with the very best I've ever seen. It had a plot filled with venom and betrayal, spoken with spine-chilling dialogue. O'Toole and Hepburn are two of the greatest actors of all time, and they finally meet their match when they butt heads as the King and Queen of England. I loved the twists and turns, the intelligence, depth and eloquence to the characters, and the way it made me feel like a fly on the wall. It's submersing, it's thrilling, and it's one of the best movies of 1968.

Were the World Mine (2008) - ★★

Director: Tom Gustafson
Writers: Tom Gustafson, Cory James Krueckeberg, (Based on A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare).
Stars: Tanner Cohen, Wendy Robie, Judy McLane, Zelda Williams, Jill Larson, Nathaniel David Becker

Were the World Mine is based on one of my all time favorite stories, which is A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. It has a lot of heart, a lot of flare, and many entertaining moments. It's obviously amateur. The shoe-string budget look does not do favours for the quality of the adaptation. The performances are stilted, the cinematography and set production isn't great, but the music is wonderful (for the most part). There were two things I loved about this movie: the performance by Wendy Robie as the drama teacher, and the awesome songs inspired by the play. There's potential here, but it couldn't achieve greatness due to the lack of funds and film-making experience.

Monday, 29 July 2013

The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) - ★★★

Director: Michael Curtiz
Writers: Michael Jacoby, Rowland Leigh, Alfred Lord Tennyson
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia DeHavilland, Patric Knowles, Donald Crisp, Nigel Bruce, David Niven, C. Henry Gordon, Spring Byington

The Charge of the Light Brigade is such an epic, sweeping film. It's entertaining, thrilling, and has its moments of humour and sadness. I adore Errol Flynn in this film. This is one of his most underrated roles, for he had so many ferocious and tender moments. The love-triangle romance is executed in a most cheesy fashion, but the scenes of war and strategy were truly masterful. There were two things I didn't like. One being the shaky and unconvincing performances by Olivia DeHavilland and Patric Knowles. The other reason being the despicable display of cruelty to horses in the final scene. It produced a very thrilling finale, but at the cost of causing unnecessary pain, suffering, and death to horses. If I put that out of my mind, then I'd call this a good film.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Latter Days (2003) - ★½

Director: C. Jay Cox
Writer: C. Jay Cox
Stars: Wes Ramsey, Steve Sandvoss, Rebekah Johnson, Jacqueline Bissett, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Amber Benson, Khary Payton

Wow. I'm kind of in shock after watching Latter Days. This movie has cheap production written all over it. The set production is awful, the music is terrible, the make-up is horrendous, the editing is just bad, and it's chock full of shoddy performances. Even the farting sound effects were awful! I cannot believe that this is one of the most infamous LGBTI films. One of the important lessons in this film is "Beauty is only skin deep," yet it feels like they've barely pierced the surface of the issues surrounding the characters.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Lust, Caution (2007) - ★★★★½

Director: Ang Lee
Writers: Eileen Chang, James Shamus, Hui-Ling Wang
Stars: Wei Tang, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Joan Chen, Leehom Wang

Lust, Caution is as close to a masterpiece as you could possibly get. I'm a big fan of Ang Lee, whose daring subject choices make him one of the most interesting directors today. There's a lot of unfounded and hateful reactions to Lust, Caution. What's worse is that some people call it 'Porn', which just goes to show how closed-minded and prudish some of these critics truly are. I found this film to be captivating, with its mixture of Eastern and Western styles that represent China in the 1940s. The performances were stunning, the cinematography breathtaking, the music haunting, and the story riveting. I'd go as far as to say that this is one of Ang Lee's finest films.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Top 10 | Studio Ghibli Movie's

Studio Ghibli brings dreams to life. The films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata are among the greatest ever made. These are my personal Top 10 Favorite films by the renowned animation company. I haven't seen every Studio Ghibli film, but I know that the ones I've chosen are all worthy of a place on this list.

10. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
Hayao Miyazaki

Kiki's Delivery Service is such a fun, light-hearted, magical adventure. It's more of a children's movie, but I really connected to the story and the characters. 

9. Ponyo (2008)
Hayao Miyazaki

Ahh Ponyo. This is definitely one of the most beautiful animated movies of all time. It's sooo cute and tons of fun.

8. Porco Rosso (1992) 
Hayao Miyazaki

Porco Rosso blew me away! He's laid-back, sassy, funny, and a tough son of a gun! His escapades with Fio had so much spark, I just wanted to see more!

7. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Hayao Miyazaki

Nausicaa is one of the strongest female characters in the history of film. It's such a great story, and breathtakingly beautiful. Plus, you can't get much cuter than those giant Ohmu insects!

6. Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)
Hayao Miyazaki

Laputa was one of the first Ghibli films I had ever seen, and it was my favorite for a long time. Every time I look up at the sky, I can't help but wonder if there's a beautiful floating island just waiting to be discovered ;)

5. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Hayao Miyazaki

TOTORO, TO-TO-RO! I love this movie so much. I'd call it a perfect film. It's one of the greatest children's movies of all time, and by far one of the most magical films I've ever seen. Every time I walk in my backyard, I can't help but feel happy at the thought of a little Totoro watching me. 

4. Princess Mononoke (1997)
Hayao Miyazaki

Princess Mononoke is a masterpiece. Words cannot describe how amazing this film is. It delivers such an important message in the most powerful, mesmerising way possible. I adore the score, the animation, the story... everything about it!

3. Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Hayao Miyazaki

I saw Howl's Moving Castle in my Japanese class when I was in 5th Grade. I never forgot it, and never will forget it. It's the most magical of all the Ghibli films, and my second favorite of all time. My heart flutters when I think of Howl and Sophie, and the lovable fire-demon, Calcifur! 

2. Spirited Away (2001)
Hayao Miyazaki

If someone said to me that Spirited Away was the greatest movie of all time, I'd completely understand. It's perfect. Just perfect! It takes my breath away every single time, and there's always something new to discover with each frame. It's the most visually beautiful animated movie of all time, that's for sure. 

1. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Isao Takahata

Grave of the Fireflies is the most powerful, devastating film I've ever seen. You know how powerful it is? Well I just started crying whilst flipping through the photos of this film. To me, it trumps almost every other film in the world today. My heart rips to pieces every time I watch this movie, but it's so masterful that I can't help but watch it over and over. Setsuko... ahh I need to learn to stop crying about it! 

Well that is my Top 10 Studio Ghibli Movies. What would your list include? 

If you liked this list, check out my list for

Beautiful Thing (1996) - ★★★½

Director: Hettie Macdonald
Writers: Jonathan Harvey
Stars: Glen Berry, Scott Neal, Linda Henry, Ben Daniels, Tameka Empson

If the opening sequence of Beautiful Thing told me anything, it was that I was in for a very amateur, frustrating, far from great movie. I was right in some ways, but it was surprisingly entertaining and beautiful. It's a simple film, but very effective. The greatest thing about it was the stunning performance by Linda Henry, who is renowned for her role as Shirley in Eastenders. It doesn't deliver any important messages, but it shows us the confusion and difficulty of being a gay teen in 1990s England. Yes, I really liked Beautiful Thing. 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Hugo (2011) - ★★★★

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: John Logan (Screenplay), Brian Selznick (Book)
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helen McCrory, Christopher Lee, Emily Mortimer, Ray Winstone, Richard Griffiths, Frances de la Tour, Jude Law

Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest directors of all time, and Hugo happens to be one of his most ambitious films. He usually deals with gangsters and crime, but Hugo is his little homage to the very first films, from 'Arrival of a Train' by the Lumiere Brothers, to 'A Trip to the Moon' by George Méliès. It's one of the most visually beautiful films I've ever seen, and it also evokes the magic out of life's little adventures, whether they be from reading a book or watching a movie. It runs a little too long and the pace is too slow for my liking, but Hugo is captivating enough to be called one of the best movies of 2011.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

In Bruges (2008) - ★★★★½

Director: Martin McDonagh
Writer: Martin McDonagh
Stars: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clemence Poesy, Jordan Prentice

*Warning* Inappropriate language used in this review.

In Bruges was such a breath of fresh air! It's one of the funniest, intelligent, well made dark comedies of all time. Every once in a while I stumble upon a movie filled with high points, and that's exactly what happened with In Bruges. The humor and wit reminded me a bit of Father Ted (1995), but instead of priests they were hit-men. It's the classic 'grown-up partnered with man-child' routine, yet McDonagh managed to make it fresh and consistently funny. In Bruges was so darn entertaining that I literally watched it again the very next day.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Movie Man Awards - 2012

Perfect Blue (1997) - ★★★½

Director: Satoshi Kon
Writers: Sadayuki Murai (Screenplay), Yoshikazu Takeuchi (Novel)

Perfect Blue is one of the creepiest animated movies I've ever seen. It's pretty run-of-the-mill stuff for the most part. Well, up until the end anyway. This isn't a movie I'll ever want to watch again, but I respect the cool twists and beautiful animation. At times it was boring, and other times it was very thrilling. The deal-breaker for me was the amazing psychological twist at the end, which left me shocked and pleasantly surprised at how exciting it all was. It's rude, it's disturbing, and it's nightmarish... but it's also very interesting.

The Conjuring (2013) - ★★★★

Director: James Wan
Writers: Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes
Stars: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Joseph Bishara

The Conjuring is the scariest exorcism movie since The Exorcist (1973). I couldn't control my screams, gasps, and the occasional "Oh my God!" I found the performances to be fantastic, and I really liked the character development. Everything was surprisingly believable, which is what made it so scary! The camera-work and music is pretty out there, it reminds me of the classic horrors from the 70s and 80s. The cheesy stuff in-between the scares is what really lets this movie down, yet it didn't bother me much at all. There's something really nostalgic, yet masterful about The Conjuring. Anyone who loves horror will love this movie.

At the start of the film, a bunch of drunk teenagers sat near my friends and I. They were loud, rude, rambunctious as usual, so someone asked them politely "Would you please be quiet?" They didn't stop, so a woman from the other side of the theatre said, "Are you going to talk through the whole movie?" The kids still wouldn't be quiet. Then this huge woman stood up and shouted "WILL YOU SHUT UP... FOR FUCK'S SAKE!" The cinema went deathly silent, then roared with laughter. Suffice to say that no one interrupted the movie after that. Thank goodness for people like that woman! :)

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Barton Fink (1991) - ★★★½

Director: Joel Coen
Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis, Michael Lerner, John Mahoney, Tony Shalhoub, Steve Buscemi

"I'll show you the life of the mind!" The last half hour of Barton Fink was pretty darn amazing. Whenever John Goodman was on screen, I found myself enthralled with the film. Barton Fink has a huge cult following... some people call it the greatest movie of all time. While I'm not one of those people, I can see how someone can get swept up in the craziness of it all. I found the film to be really slow and pretty uninteresting whenever John Goodman wasn't present. Not much happens in the first hour alone, and I didn't really laugh during that time either. It's a movie I'll have to see over and over to truly appreciate, but as it stands I found it to be an above-average surreal experience.

The Cardinal (1963) - ★★

Director: Otto Preminger
Writer: Robert Dozier (screenplay), Henry Morton Robinson (novel)
Stars: Tom Tryon, John Huston, Carol Lynley, Dorothy Gish

The Cardinal is quite the epic film. At over 3 hours long, it skims through controversial topics such as: sex before marriage, abortion, crisis of faith, racism, and the rise of the Nazi's. It just drags and drags. Nothing of any importance happens at all in the first hour, where they mainly talk of uninteresting things with very little substance. The 5 topics mentioned above were all crammed into the tiny 2 hour space, where they half-assed it and barely skimmed the surface of the issues they raise. I don't know how anyone could have thought this was a good idea, unless they wanted it to be an exploitation film that convinces people that Catholicism is the divine path to righteousness.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Chicago (2002) - ★★★★★

Director: Rob Marshall
Writers: Bill Condon, Bob Fosse, Fred Ebb, Maurine Dallas Watkins
Stars: Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, John C. Reilly, Queen Latifah, Christine Baranski, Dominic West, Colm Feore, Lucy Liu, Mya

I know a whole bunch of people who call this the most overrated movie of all time. It's because of this, that I call it one of the most underrated movies of all time. Sure, it won six Oscars including Best Picture, but now all you hear these days is people bitch and moan about how The Pianist or The Two Towers should have won. In my opinion, Chicago is one of the greatest musicals of all time. It's filled to the brim with some of the greatest songs in cinematic history, stunning performances, hilarious dialogue, and zany vaudevillian dance numbers! From start to finish I was enthralled with this film. As a lover of musicals, dancing, acting and movies, I can tell you that this is an all round perfect film.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A Very Long Engagement (2004) - ★★★★½

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Writer: Guillaume Laurant, Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, Marion Cotillard, Jodie Foster, Dominique Pinon

A Very Long Engagement is an absolutely beautiful film. Everything about it captivated me, from the horrors of war to the stubbornness of young lovers. Jean-Pierre Jeunet is most famous for his film Amelie, but in many ways this is his best work. Every single performance was stunning, surprising, and full of depth. Jeunet managed to combine romance and magic with the horrifying tragedy of WW1. It's quite a long film, yet it never loses sight of its purpose, which is the quest to find a loved one. You won't find many films as gorgeous and poignant as this one.

Papillon (1973) - ★★★★★

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Writers: Henry Charriere (Book), Dalton Trumbo, Lorenzo Semple Jr. (Screenplay)
Stars: Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Deman, Don Gordan, Anthony Zerbe, Woodrow Parfrey, Bill Mumy

Papillon is definitely one of the greatest movies of all time. Not only is it Steve McQueen's greatest performance, but it's also one of Dustin Hoffman's most diverse and effective roles. It's an inspiring, thrilling, sad, beautiful, and cringe-filled masterpiece that never once lost my interest. I just found everything in it to be so perfect; from the gorgeous music composed by Jerry Goldsmith, to the little details like the prisoner's progressively decaying teeth. I'd rank it up there with the very best of cinema, and it's easily in my Top 10 most underrated films of all time.

Greek Pete (2009) - ★

Director: Andrew Haigh
Writer: Andrew Haigh
Stars: Peter Pittaros, Lewis Wallace

My motivation to watch Greek Pete was because Andrew Haigh directed one of the best LGBTI films I've ever seen called Weekend (2011). It's about Peter Pittaros, a man whose main motivation in life is to make as much money as possible. Sleeping with strangers 'escorting' is the easiest way he knows how, and London is the best place for male escorts. He says that escorting is all about the packaging and that escorts are more or less a 'product.' While this may be true, I can't help but find it to be a really degrading thing to call yourself. I'd hate to think of myself as a 'product.' rather than... you know, a human being?

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Corporation (2003) - ★★★★

Directors: Jennifer Abbott, Mark Achbar

The Corporation is a highly informative, mostly riveting documentary that (as expected) both enraged me and left me a little depressed. There is so much material in this film that I was constantly learning something new, which in the end is the ultimate objective of a documentary (that, and making a difference). It teaches us about the rise of 'The Corporations', as well as the atrocities that have been committed and the atrocities that are still being committed. There is a diverse range of people interviewed throughout the film, from extreme left-wing film-maker Michael Moore to the actual managers of mega-corporations such as Shell. The style of the film looks very amateur (probably from primitive computer software) and they stated the obvious too much for my liking. What makes this a great documentary is that it has a huge array of interesting information, stories, and facts that at times really shocked me.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) - ★★★★★

Director: William Wyler
Writers: MacKinlay Kantor (Novel), Robert E. Sherwood (Screenplay)
Stars: Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Fredric March, Harold Russell, Myrna Loy, Virginia Mayo, Cathy O'Donnel, Ray Collins

The Best Years of Our Lives really is a masterpiece. I fell in love with every one of these characters, whose lives were each touched by war. Every single performance is entirely memorable, because the characters each had time to develop and earn a place in your heart. Wyler would extend every scene of reflection just a little bit, to show us that little bit extra emotion from each person. I found it all to be so beautiful really. Slow, but beautiful.

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) - ★★★★

Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Mitchell Kapner, David Lindsay-Abaire, L. Frank Baum
Stars: James Franco, Rachel Weisz, Michell Williams, Mila Kunis, Zach Braff, Joey King, Bill Cobbs, Tony Cox

I was so pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Oz the Great and Powerful. While others didn't get the whole 'Oz' vibe, I felt like I'd never left. When I first heard that they were doing a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, the first thing I said was "that's going to suck." Sam Raimi had huge shoes to fill because the 1939 classic is literally cinema perfection (it is to me anyway). Not only did it exceed my expectations, it went above and beyond! I loved the new characters they introduced, I really liked the story they came up with, but perhaps most importantly, it made me feel as giddy as a child again. It's not perfect, but I'd call it a great movie.

Friday, 12 July 2013

The Incite Mill (2010) - ★½

Director: Hideo Nakata
Writers: Honobu Yonezawa (Novel), Satoshi Suzuki (Screenplay)
Stars: If you really want to know, click HERE.

The Incite Mill was such a draining experience for me. The characters were all stupid, annoying, irrational and completely unbelievable. This directly resulted in the whole story becoming a catastrophic mess, which is sad because it had potential. Perhaps the worst thing of all was the excruciatingly terrible performances by most of the cast. It's like Hideo Nakata wanted this to be like an Agatha Christie novel (albeit way more radical), but it lacked the wit and the suspense of most basic mysteries. I think it took about an hour before it became painful to watch. (Also, I swear I've seen the exact same story before. I can't quite put my finger on it).

My Picks for Best Score in a Motion Picture (1937-2012)

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Jack and Jill (2011) - ★★

Director: Dennis Dugan
Writers: Steve Koran, Adam Sandler (Screenplay), Ben Zook (Story)
Stars: Adam Sandler, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, David Spade, Nick Swardson, Tim Meadows, Eugenio Derbez

I can't help but smile at the thought of everyone being miserable while watching this movie. For some reason, I wasn't miserable. In fact, I laughed quite a few times! Jack and Jill is pretty despicable, relying on cheap humour, fart jokes, racial jokes, and bucket loads of product placement. The thing is, I'm not above this sort of humour if it's done right. There were so many jokes that fell flat, but there were quite a few of them that made me roar with laughter. I'm probably losing all credibility as a reviewer right now, but if I'm being honest, I enjoyed this movie.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

300 (2006) - ★★½

Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, Michael Gordon (Screenplay), Frank Miller, Lynn Varley (Graphic Novel)
Stars: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West, Rodrigo Santoro, Michael Fassbender

300 is such a man's movie. Full of violence, blood, guts, and... half naked men? Well anyway, I didn't care much for this movie. It had stunning cinematography and awesome battle scenes, but I found it all to be overly ridiculous and cheesy. Gerard Butler wasn't very impressive, I imagine Russell Crowe would have been better for the part (if he had killer abs). This isn't necessarily a bad movie, it's just that nothing in it excited me. The film plateaued the whole way through, leaving me emotionless and scratching my head. I can see that many people got caught up in the epic battle scenes and insanely cheesy speeches... it just didn't do that for me.

Weekend (2011) - ★★★★★

Director: Andrew Haigh
Writer: Andrew Haigh
Stars: Tom Cullen, Chris New, Jonathan Race

I found Weekend to be flawless. It's just so beautiful, filled with passion and realism. Everything about it just really spoke to me, from the little insecurities of the characters to the heartfelt things they said to each other. I was amazed at how much this relationship seemed real. By the end, I just wanted more. Part of me wished it was an epic that spanned for another 2 hours... that's how much I enjoyed it. There's just something magical about Weekend that captivated me from start to finish.

Marjoe (1972) - ★★★★½

Director: Sarah Kernochan, Howard Smith
Stars: Marjoe Gortner

Marjoe is one of the most interesting and infuriating documentaries I've ever seen. It exposes the scamming, despicable ways of many Evangelist preachers and the tricks of how they do it. I think this is a film that everyone should see. The person that stars in this documentary, Marjoe Gortner, was a former child preacher himself. He doesn't tell you flat-out that 'religion' is a scam, what he does is prove how easy it is for religious sectors to con people out of their money. You'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind to ignore the fact that so many people out there are getting manipulated and conned by religious factions. Marjoe clearly and consistently displays that many of these churches are just cash-cow corporations taking from their adherents to feed their own pockets. If they ever make a movie based on the life of Marjoe Gortner, then the best actor to play him would be Matthew McConaughey. It won an Oscar for Best Documentary, which it thoroughly deserved for its gutsy and entertaining material.

Crazy people freaking out and speaking in tongues... weird.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Shelter (2007) - ★★★½

Director: Jonah Markowitz
Writer: Jonah Markowitz
Stars: Trevor Wright, Brad Rowe, Tina Holmes, Katie Walder
Genre: Romance, LGBTI, Drama

Shelter is an obviously amateur film, but the beautiful chemistry between the two leads made me look past that. It's a simple romance between simple people really. At times the acting was a bit faulty, and the story could have used more substance, but I was unflinchingly interested throughout. I really enjoyed this movie.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) - ★½

Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Stars: Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Chris Messina, Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Dunn
Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy

This movie really bugged me. There were so many things that frustrated me about Vicky Cristina Barcelona that I don't know where to start.

The 400 Blows (1959) - ★★★★½

Director: Francois Truffaut
Writers: Francois Truffaut, Marcel Moussey
Stars: Jean-Pierre Leaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Remy, Patrick Auffay, Georges Flamant

The 400 Blows gives us a powerful look at a child's descent into crime, showing the reason's but never giving a clear answer why. It captures the essence of one of the most difficult periods in a person's life; the transition from boy to man. This is when most people start realizing the darker side of the world and get treated harsher than ever before. It's a frustrating film, yet one so beautiful I could barely take my eyes away from the screen. The realism, cinematography, music and performances make this film great... but it was the ending that convinced me it's a masterpiece.

Monday, 8 July 2013

My Top 100 Favorite Movies of All Time

Piranha 3DD (2012) - ★½

Director: John Gulager
Writer: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan, Joel Soisson (Screenplay)
Stars: Danielle Panabaker, Matt Bush, David Koechner, David Hasselhoff, Christopher Lloyd, Gary Busey, Ving Rhames

Piranha 3DD is, as you would expect, a god-awful movie. It's raunchy, amateurish, and filled with horrible performances. However, it's not all bad. I laughed my ass off towards the end of the movie. This is probably the lowest form of comedy, yet to me a lot of the gags were just plain hilarious! If not for the irritatingly slow and unfunny first half, I'd probably have given this 3 Stars.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Bent (1997) - ★★★½

Director: Sean Mathias
Writers: Martin Sherman (Screenplay and Play)
Stars: Clive Owen, Lothaire Bluteau, Brian Webber, Mick Jagger, Ian McKellen, Rupert Graves, Jude Law, Paul Bettany

I look back on Bent with a heavy heart. I'm sadder now than I was at the end of this movie. That's because the thought of the story is sadder than the actual movie itself. For the most part, it's a highly effective and powerful film that shows us the struggles of homosexuals in a Nazi-run Berlin. Then it sort of degenerates into an unconvincing ending, which left me wanting more. Even though the movie isn't fantastic, I will never forget it.

Educating Rita (1983) - ★★★★

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Writers: Willy Russell (Screenplay)
Stars: Julie Walters, Michael Caine, Maureen Lipman, Malcolm Douglas

Educating Rita is funny, charming, and masterfully performed by Walters and Caine. A film it is constantly compared to is Pygmalion (1938), one of my all time favorite movies. While it lacked the wit and character development of Pygmalion, I found it to be different in a refreshing way. We're used to imperfect characters and the 'opposites-attract' formula, yet the relationship in Educating Rita was warmer, with a bigger connection between the two leading roles. There was never a dull moment in this movie for me.

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) - ★★★★

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Robert Getchell
Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Alfred Lutter III, Kris Kristofferson, Harvey Keitel, Diane Ladd, Jodie Foster, Valerie Curtin

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore sucks you in right from the start and never lets go. It's the simple story of a simple woman that is going through a rough patch in her life. I admire the fact that it doesn't try to be all artsy or poetic. It's raw, it's real, and it's just so interesting. The performances are breathtaking... Ellen Burstyn is definitely one of the greatest actresses of all time. If someone said to me that this was the pinnacle of her career, I wouldn't disagree. Her character, this story, and the whole movie was just captivating.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Cloud Atlas (2012) - ★★★★½

Directors: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Writers: David Mitchell (Novel), The Directors (Screenplay)
Stars: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Doona Bae, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, Benedict Cumberbatch, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, Keith David, James D'Arcy

Cloud Atlas is without a doubt the most overlooked movie of the year. In my heart, I give this movie 5 Stars. It swept me away in a world of adventure, romance, sci-fi, horror, action and fantasy. I can't in all consciousness say this is a perfect movie, or rank it as high as films like Lawrence of Arabia. But trust me, it comes pretty darn close to achieving that level. It's an 'epic' in every sense of the word. It's so big, so beautiful, I get emotional just thinking about it. The acting is masterful, the music is among the greatest ever composed, the cinematography is stunning, the special effects astounding, the make-up is wild and amazing... this film 'enchanted me, body and soul.' 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Accused (1988) - ★★★★½

Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Writers: Tom Toper
Stars: Jodie Foster, Kelly McGillis, Bernie Coulson, Leo Rossi, Ann Hearn

The Accused is a hard movie to watch. It's graphic, it's powerful, and my god did it make my blood boil. This movie had a major impact on me personally. I felt sick and angry, which made me really invested in the story. The whole way through I had my fists clenched in hope that the rapists would get a lengthy prison sentence. What makes this film truly powerful is the stunning performance by Jodie Foster, who won an Oscar for this role.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010) - ★★★★

Director: Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg
Writer: Ricki Stern
Stars: Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Don Rickles, other comedians.

I love Joan Rivers. I’ve always found her to be hilarious. That’s why I really enjoyed her documentary, because she truly has led an interesting life. From starting on the Johnny Carson show in the 60s to winning The Celebrity Apprentice a few years back, A Piece of Work covers many of her most intimate moments. There are times where she really opens up and shows us how vulnerable she can be, which is what separates this bio-documentary from most. Even though I loved it, I feel like they could have covered a lot more in her career that has spanned over 50 years.

North Country (2005) - ★★★½

Director: Niki Caro
Writers: Clara Bingham, Laura Leedy (Novel), Michael Seitzman (Screenplay)
Stars: Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sean Bean, Jeremy Renner, Richard Jenkins, Sissy Spacek

I'm really disappointed in North Country. It was fantastic the whole way through... well up until the ending. My God! They managed to turn a truly emotional underdog story into a cheesy Hollywood motion picture in the space of 2 minutes. The performances are top-notch, the story is frustrating but engaging, the cinematography and music is brilliant... but that ending. They almost ruined it with that horribly cheesy ending.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Three '3' (2010) - ★★★½

Director: Tom Tykwer
Writer: Tom Tykwer
Stars: Sophie Rois, Sebastian Schipper, Devid Striesow

There’s something about this movie that will stick in my mind forever. It’s far from great, but there are great things in it. I really enjoyed the story, the music, the cinematography and the performances. If this film is lacking anything, I guess it would be decent character development. The three stars were all fine on their own, but together they lacked chemistry and a spark to suck me into their sticky situation. At times I was a little bored, but for the most part I found 3 to be extremely interesting.

Game of Thrones: Season 3 (2013) - ★★★★½

Stars: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams, Michelle Fairley, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Richard Madden, Alfie Allen, Rose Leslie, Gwendoline Christie, Natalia Tena, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (and many more amazing actors).

Where to start with Season 3? It's bloody brilliant of course, but that's to be expected. I guess you could say that the story just keeps getting better and better. I found myself more interested in this season than any other before it. Everything is still top-notch, especially the acting. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I was a little disappointed in this season. It's still the best show I've ever seen, but Season 3 lost a little bit of the spark that ignited Season 2 and Season 1. It's not necessarily the show's fault, but the story lacked the epicness of the previous seasons. (However, it had an ending that shocked me. It was beyond words).

Up the Yangtze (2007) - ★★★★

Director: Yung Chang
Writer: Yung Chang

Up the Yangtze is an extremely interesting documentary that really opened my eyes to how unfair things are for many families living in China. It doesn't go into great detail about political and economic situations, and it doesn't quite have a particular message to give.

Yung Chang quite simply presents to us the struggle of young Chinese people who go to work on a cruise-ship. More importantly, he details the detrimental effects the Three Gorges Dam is having on a poor family that lives by the Yangtze River, who will lose their home as the water rises.