Thursday, 26 September 2013

Millennium Actress (2001) - ★★★★★

Director: Satoshi Kon
Writers: Satoshi Kon, Sadayuki Murai

Millennium Actress is a masterful film that's in a league of its own. Have you ever seen a movie so beautiful that the images and music alone can make you cry? I've only seen one or two movies that have ever done that to me, and this film has just been added to that list. It's one of the only movies that has ever rendered me helpless to control my emotions. I was overwhelmingly happy with the magnificent story, stunning imagery, and beautiful music, yet I was overwhelmingly sad at the heart-wrenching moments that took place from start to finish. I literally cried for the last 3 minutes of the film, non-stop. Then after that, I couldn't stop crying for another 20 minutes. I didn't cry because it was in any way a tragic film, nor was it one of the most heartbreaking stories I've ever seen... I cried because of how beautiful this film was altogether. I have to say, it's one of the most memorable movie-going experiences I've ever been through. It made the emotions pour out of me as strong as they ever have. After the first viewing, I already know that Millennium Actress is one of my all time favourite movies. Heck, it's one of the greatest movies ever made.

Monday, 23 September 2013

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) - ★★★★

Director: Lewis Milestone
Writers: Robert Rossen (Screenplay), John Patrick (Story), Robert Riskin
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott, Kirk Douglas, Judith Anderson, Roman Bohnen, Janis Wilson, Darryl Hickman

I think Barbara Stanwyck is possibly the coolest actress that has ever graced the silver screen. She has played some pretty detestable women over the years, which has made me love her more than almost any other actress. In The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, we get to see some of the best acting she's ever done. Not only that, we also get to see the screen debut of Kirk Douglas, one of the coolest actors that ever lived. On top of all this, we get to see Van Heflin play one of his coolest roles. Most importantly, this is the film that showed me the tremendous talent of Lizabeth Scott, a fairly unknown actress that has all the beauty of Bacall and Garbo. These four brilliant actors and the engrossing story make this a film that leaves you wondering what's going to happen next.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Mud (2013) - ★★★★½

Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reece Witherspoon, Sam Shepard, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Jon Don Baker, Paul Sparks, Bonnie Sturdivant

Mud is easily one of the best films of 2013. The performances, the cinematography, the music, and the story all really captivated me. I was enthralled with the performances by McConaughey, Witherspoon, and of course, the two young boys played by Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland. It has a real authenticity to it, just a natural charm that beautifully presents a not-so-beautiful world. I love the way it displays pretty common surroundings, but tells the story in such an enthralling way that it becomes a truly entrancing world. I'm finding it really difficult to articulate exactly what I love about this film. All I can say is that it's so good, I'm at a loss for words.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Blue Jasmine (2013) - ★★★★

Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Sarsgaard, Alec Baldwin, Andrew Dice Clay, Louis C.K.

Blue Jasmine is essentially your simple, entertaining Woody Allen film. What separates this from his huge repertoire of comedies is the outstanding performance by Cate Blanchett, and the not so light-hearted story within. I think he goes out of his way to create unlikable characters, yet I almost always find myself rooting for them to succeed. It was a bit slow to start, but once the ball got rolling, I found it to be a wickedly entertaining drama. There's no doubt in my mind that Blanchett will receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for Blue Jasmine, but it may very well be nominated for Best Screenplay and Supporting Actress too. The whole film just gels well, and for once, I didn't find Allen's film to be irritating in the least. It's one of his more solid, entertaining films. He's lucky Blanchett signed on to play Jasmine, because she truly makes it a memorable experience.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Top 10 | Best Original Songs in Cinema

These are my Top 10 Favourite Songs in the history of cinema. There's not a doubt in my mind that I've forgotten some great ones, but as it stands, these are the ten songs that evoke the strongest emotions out of me. It was extremely hard to narrow the list down to just 10, but in the end I wouldn't change this list one bit.

Come What May - Moulin Rouge (2001) 
David Baerwald, Kevin Gilbert - Performed by Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor

Colors of the Wind - Pocahontas (1995) 
Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz - Performed by Judy Kuhn

Over the Rainbow - The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Harold Arlen - Performed by Judy Garland

Moon River - Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
Johnny Mercer, Henry Mancini - Performed by Audrey Hepburn

The Way We Were - The Way We Were (1973)
Marvin Hamlisch, Alan and Marilyn Bergman - Performed by Barbra Streisand

A Whole New World - Aladdin (1992)
Alan Menken, Tim Rice - Performed by Brad Kane and Lea Salonga

When You Wish Upon a Star - Pinocchio (1940)
Leigh Harline, Ned Washington - Performed by Cliff Edwards

Nobody Does It Better - The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Marvin Hamlisch, Carole Bayer Sager - Performed by Carly Simon

Reflection - Mulan (1998)
Matthew Wilder, David Zippel - Performed by Lea Salonga

My Heart Will Go On - Titanic (1997)
Will Jennings, James Horner - Performed by Celine Dion

If you liked this list, check out my list for
Top 11 Most Beautiful Movie Themes

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

My Top 100 Favourite Movies

There are some movies that I will add to this list when I update it (such as the Rocky Horror Picture Show), but alas it shall have to wait until I update the video. Enjoy!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Fluffer (2001) - ★★★

Director: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Writers: Wash Westmoreland
Stars: Michael Cunio, Scott Gurney, Roxanne Day, Richard Riehle, Tim Bagley, Adina Porter, Robert Walden, Deborah Harry

Every once and a while, a movie really surprises me. The Fluffer surprised me because it turned out to be pretty good. I've been watching low-budget LGBTI films recently, and to be perfectly honest, most of them sucked balls... (not literally). Anyways, I think this is a pretty solid drama in terms of acting and storyline. It's far from perfect, but hey, anything's better than the movie Latter Days. There are two things that stand out to me in this film. One: Adina Porter's great performance as Silver, and Two: Scott Gurney's perfect body. Everything else is pretty much run-of-the-mill stuff, but I'm just ecstatic that I enjoyed seeing Fluffer from start to finish!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

15 Movies That Should Not Have Won Best Picture

I think every movie fanatic has been disappointed by the choices of The Academy Awards at one point in their lives. Here are my top fifteen films that I feel should not have won the top prize of Best Picture. Many of these movies are great! I mean, I love some of these films. The reason they're on this list may be because their fellow nominees happened to be much stronger films, or simply because the actual winner was just plain crap. So without further ado:

Winner (2005): Crash. Directed by Paul Haggis       
Should Have Won: Brokeback Mountain. Directed by Ang Lee

I think people are extremely unfair to the film Crash. It packs a powerful emotional punch, even if it is a teeny-weeny bit cheesy. There were two scenes in that film that were so masterful, I was moved to tears. On the other hand, Brokeback Mountain is a masterpiece. There's 'great' which is Crash, and then there's 'masterpiece' which is Ang Lee's greatest film. I think Brokeback Mountain is arguably the greatest romance film of all time. 

Winner (1998): Shakespeare In Love. Directed by John Madden
Should Have Won: Life is Beautiful, Saving Private Ryan, Elizabeth

Shakespeare In Love is another movie I just happen to love. BUT, it really shouldn't have won Best Picture. I think the greatest film of the nominees in 1998 would be Life is Beautiful. To me, that's a pure masterpiece of comedy, romance, and tragedy. However, Saving Private Ryan would certainly have made a worthy winner, for it's a masterpiece in a whole different way. I even think the historical epic 'Elizabeth' is a greater film than Shakespeare in Love. With that being said, Shakespeare In Love is still one of the best romantic comedies I've ever seen. 

Winner (1941): How Green Was My Valley. Directed by: John Ford
Should Have Won: Citizen Kane. Directed by: Orson Welles

There's no comparison really, Citizen Kane is a much better film than How Green Was My Valley. To be perfectly honest, HGWMV was the first Best Picture Winner I've ever disliked. It was preachy, corny, and some of the performances were either shaky or over-acted. Whereas Orson Welles' Citizen Kane is a pioneer of film-making. The acting, story, music, cinematography, and big reveal at the end was phenomenal. I understand why people call this the worst robbery in the history of the Academy Awards. 

Winner (2012): Argo. Directed by Ben Affleck
Should Have Won: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Amour

Argo is a great film, there's no doubt about that. My issue with it winning Best Picture is that it really doesn't stand out in my mind at all. Not to mention, I found it overly Hollywood and cliche when I re-watched it. There were so many great, ORIGINAL films in 2012... films that really should have won the Top Prize. My personal pick is Beasts of the Southern Wild, but even Life of Pi winning would have made me jump with glee! Django Unchained was wickedly funny, and Les Miserables made me cry like a baby in the back of a theatre (plus its soundtrack and performances are phenomenal). I also include Amour on this list, because it turned a simple and relevant story into a pure masterpiece. All of these films are greater, and more worthy of Best Picture, than Argo. 

Winner (2001): A Beautiful Mind. Directed by Ron Howard
Should Have Won: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Directed by Peter Jackson

Do I really need to say much about this? A Beautiful Mind is a great film that features Russell Crowe's most mature, and in my opinion, greatest performance. It doesn't compare to The Fellowship of the Ring. While one is a great telling of a mathematician's amazing discovery and his fight with schizophrenia, the other is a near-perfect adaptation of one of the greatest fantasy-adventure novels of all time. I really think the poster's explain themselves. There's 'great' and then there's 'masterpiece.' 

Winner (1933): Cavalcade. Directed by Frank Lloyd
Should Have Won: I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy

An IMDB reviewer by the name of 'zetes' described Cavalcade as, "A sloppy but beautiful British family saga chronicling the lives of two families." I liked Cavalcade, although it was overly long and was ultimately let down by the dated methods of 1930s film-making. On the other hand, I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang is a masterfully made, still very relevant film when it comes to law processes and punishments. When compared, it's clear which film should have been honored with the award for Best Picture, and that is Mervyn LeRoy's masterpiece starring Paul Muni.  

Winner (1979): Kramer vs. Kramer. Directed by: Robert Benton
Should Have Won: Apocalypse Now. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Kramer vs. Kramer is one of those great films that leaves the audience to discuss it for hours after the credits have rolled. Apocalypse Now is a film that had me in awe from start to finish. It's another case of a 'great' movie vs. a 'masterpiece,' and the masterpiece didn't win. 

Winner (1956): Around the World in 80 Days
Should Have Won: Giant, The King and I

Around the World in 80 Days is a really good spectacle of a film... but it really shouldn't have won Best Picture. The King and I is one of the all time greatest musicals, both on stage and on film. The "Shall We Dance" scene is one of my all time favourites. Giant is also a great film (not perfect) but better than 80 Days. To be frank, 1956 was a pretty weak field of nominees. I think The Academy made a really poor choice though.

Winner (1952): The Greatest Show on Earth. Directed by Cecil B. DeMille
Should Have Won: High Noon. Directed by Fred Zinnemann

High Noon is a perfect film. Every single scene is meticulously detailed, every expression on Cooper's face has purpose, and the story is simple yet brutally suspenseful. It lost to The Greatest Show on Earth, a good film that had an amazing train-crash scene. I consider Cecil B. DeMille's win here as more of an honorary Oscar, because truthfully, High Noon trumps The Greatest Show on Earth in every aspect of film-making.

Winner (1976): Rocky. Directed By John G. Avildsen 
Should Have Won: Network, Taxi Driver

This is my most controversial entry onto the list, and with good reason. Rocky is a fantastic film, one of the greatest really. My dilemma is that it beat two absolute masterpieces of cinema. My personal pick for Best Picture 1976 is Network, a film that is more relevant today than it was 37 years ago. "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!" Then you have Taxi Driver, arguably Martin Scorsese's best film. It submerses you in the sleep-deprived, psychotic world of Travis Bickle, "You talkin to me?" Does Rocky hold its own against these two masterpieces of cinema? In my opinion, it doesn't. 

Winner (1948): Hamlet. Directed by Laurence Olivier
Should Have Won: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Directed by John Huston

I love the story of Hamlet. However, Olivier's adaptation to screen was far from "one of the screen's most exciting experiences." I nearly fell asleep by the end of the film, but then that's just me. Even with all of the artistic quality and great dialogue in Hamlet, it just doesn't compare to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. They're two completely different films, but Sierra Madre had a thrilling story and excellent character development... and it didn't take over two and a half hours to achieve that (unlike Hamlet). It's more of a personal choice from me... I'm a huge fan of Olivier, but man did Hamlet make me yawn. 

Winner (1990): Dances With Wolves. Directed by Kevin Costner
Should Have Won: Goodfellas. Directed by Martin Scorsese

Dances With Wolves is another film that is unfairly criticised. Whenever people bag out Dances With Wolves, chances are they're gonna mention how it beat Goodfellas at the Oscars. To me, the only thing that prevented Dances With Wolves from becoming a masterpiece is Kevin Costner's performance, where he played Kevin Costner. Then you have Goodfellas, which in my opinion is Martin Scorsese's greatest film, and my all time favourite gangster movie (yes, even over The Godfather). It's a case of 'near-masterpiece' vs. 'masterpiece,' and Goodfellas unfortunately did not win.

Winner (1951): An American in Paris. Directed by Vincente Minelli
Should Have Won: A Streetcar Named Desire, The African Queen

Why?... How?... it's inconceivable to me that An American in Paris beat A Streetcar Named Desire for Best Picture. A glamorous, decent musical beat one of the most heart-wrenching tragedies that cinema has to offer. This decision really makes me shake my head. Meanwhile, another fantastic film, The African Queen, was also beaten by Vincente Minelli's dance extravaganza. One line should have sealed the Best Picture Oscar for Streetcar, and that is "HEY STELLAAAAAA!" 

Winner (1964): My Fair Lady. Directed by: George Cukor
Should Have Won: Dr. Strangelove. Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

When My Fair Lady won Best Picture, Peter Sellers should have shouted, "Mein Fuhrer! I've been robbed!" It's the sad case of a good musical with plenty of faults, beating a film that is just faultless! Dr. Strangelove is one of the funniest movies of all time, with some of the greatest cinematography of all time, and one of the greatest performances of all time by Peter Sellers. A movie with a couple of good songs and loads of over-acting should not have beaten a timeless classic like Dr. Strangelove. 

Winner (1977): Annie Hall. Directed By: Woody Allen
Should Have Won: Star Wars. Directed By: George Lucas

This is by far the toughest decision I've had to make on this list. Both of these films are 5 Star masterpieces in my opinion. Woody Allen wrote and directed a film that made me laugh really hard, and nod in agreement many times with his observations on the absurdity of human beings. Then there's Star Wars, a film that completely changed the game for sci-fi films and special effects (after 2001: A Space Odyssey of course). Both are very worthy of the top prize, but I've got to go with my gut and say that Star Wars should have won in 1977, and not Annie Hall. Many film connoisseurs would disagree with me... but come on, Star Wars is one of the most beautiful, exciting, epic films ever made. It was a tough decision, but I went with my heart.

So there you have it, 15 Movies That Should Not Have Won Best Picture. What are the worst Best Picture winners in your opinion?

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Top 20 | Supporting Actor Performances Robbed of an Oscar Nomination

Movie Blogger Alex Withrow's list 'Top 10 Supporting Actors Not Nominated Alongside Their Leads' at 'And So It Begins' inspired me to make my own list. There have been many great supporting performances across the years. My favourite Oscar winners in the category are Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter), Walter Huston (Treasure of the Sierra Madre), George Sanders (All About Eve)... and my all time favourite is Joel Grey in Cabaret. So it got me wondering, what are some great supporting performances that weren't even nominated. I was flabbergasted to find that I could name about 50 of them. I managed to narrow my list down to what I consider to be the Top 20 Best Supporting Actor Performances that were Robbed of an Oscar Nomination. 

My choices in order of their year are:

Louis Wolheim - All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Note: At the time this film was made, the Academy didn't honor supporting roles. 

Louis Wolheim was the life and soul of All Quiet on the Western Front, a film I consider to be one of the greatest ever made. He brought comedy and light into an otherwise dark and brooding film. Most importantly, his performance was just natural. He brought a real sense of reality to this devastating film.

Alec Guinness - Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Alec Guinness gave one of the most daring and wickedly entertaining performances of all time in Kind Hearts and Coronets. He played a woman, and about 5 other different characters if I remember correctly. He brought a different air, or personality, to each character. I couldn't imagine anyone delivering a better performance than he in this role... not even Peter Sellers. 

Toshiro Mifune - Seven Samurai (1954)

Toshiro Mifune was jaw-droppingly crazy in Seven Samurai. I even started calling my cat Kikuchiyo (the name of his character). He brought the spark of hilarity to the film, but also a shocking vulnerability to his character, particularly during the scene where he tries to stop a child from crying. It's actually a very complex role, and one of the best performances in cinematic history.

Orson Welles - Touch of Evil (1959)

Orson Welles is one of the greatest figures in cinematic history, and I consider his performance in Touch of Evil to be his second greatest (behind Citizen Kane). He played a fat, proud, corrupt police detective that frames suspects just so his record stays impeccable. The last half hour of the film is extremely suspenseful, and it's all due to those piercing eyes and stunning words from Welles. 

George C. Scott - Dr. Strangelove (1964)

George C. Scott was brilliant in Dr. Strangelove. I still can't believe he didn't get nominated for this role. If you look up perfect comedic timing in the dictionary, you'd find a picture of C. Scott and Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove. 

Eli Wallach - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Spaghetti westerns seldom got nominated for anything at the Academy Awards. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly should have won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, Cinematography etc. Above all, Eli Wallach should have won Best Supporting Actor for his stunning portrayal as The Ugly in this film. He's the most memorable character in one of the most memorable movies ever made. 

John Cazale - The Godfather Part II (1974)

I'm not a die-hard fan of the Godfather movies. I liked the first one, but loved Part II. You know why I loved Part II more? John Cazale. When I think of that film, I see his face. He brought powerful emotion into an otherwise monotoned straight-talking movie. DeNiro was wrongfully awarded the Oscar for playing a silent man with a hard face in this film. This Oscar belonged to Cazale, who wasn't even nominated.

Robert Shaw - Jaws (1975)

I consider Robert Shaw to be the life and soul of Jaws. His character is a conceited, stubborn, half-crazy fishing fanatic... yet he's the most likeable character of the lot in my opinion. To me, he gave one of the most memorable performances in the history of cinema. I also consider his performance in The Sting (1973) to be one of the greatest supporting roles, but it just misses my Top 20. 

Anthony Hopkins - The Elephant Man (1980)

That single tear. That single damn tear that Anthony Hopkins shed in The Elephant Man should have been enough to secure him the Oscar for supporting Actor. Hopkins is a major reason why this film is so emotionally devastating. I consider this Hopkins second greatest performance, behind The Silence of the Lambs. 

Rutger Hauer - Blade Runner (1982)

Rutger Hauer spoke one of the most beautiful lines of dialogue I've ever heard in my life. That scene at the end of Blade Runner is one of the greatest in the history of cinema. I don't think that line could have been delivered better by any other actor. I'm at a loss for words to describe that scene... all I can say is that it is beautiful. "I've... seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those... moments... will be lost in time, like tears... in... rain." 

Raul Julia - Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

Without Raul Julia, there was no Kiss of the Spider Woman. He and William Hurt had an infectious chemistry, and a relationship that made my heart sing. He was a tough man, yet he showed extremely touching moments of vulnerability and fear. There's so much to say about this performance... he should have won the Oscar. 
Dennis Hopper - Blue Velvet (1986)

I think I was about 12 when I first saw Blue Velvet. Dennis Hopper creeped me out like there was no tomorrow. When I re-watched it recently, my feelings were exactly the same. He played one of the creepiest, most devious characters in cinematic history. I think his role was too strange and controversial for the Academy, as was Isabella Rosselini's in the same film. They both should have won Oscars. 

Philippe Noiret - Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Philippe Noiret played one of the most loveable, most beautiful characters of all time in Cinema Paradiso. To me, his role as Alfredo reminded me of everything good in the world. Whenever I hear Ennio Morricone's gorgeous score, I think of Noiret's face when he let's a rambunctious crowd view a movie in the town square. I'll never forget it.

John Goodman - Barton Fink (1991) and The Big Lebowski (1998)

John Goodman is a legend. A freaking legend! "I'll show you the life of the mind" and "Shut the fuck up Donnie!" Are two of my all time favourite moments in movie history, and they come from two different films. His performance in Barton Fink is unforgettable, and arguably his greatest role. His performance in The Big Lebowski is the second funniest I've ever seen in my life, and my personal favourite role of his. When talking of the greatest supporting actors, you can't look past John Goodman. 

Denzel Washington - Philadelphia (1993)

Some say this was a very daring role for Washington to play. At first, he was a slightly homophobic lawyer who refused to take on the case of a gay man wrongly fired for his sexuality. Then we see him evolve into a crusader for gay men everywhere, when he takes on the case and realises the injustice towards Tom Hanks' character. This is my personal favourite role of Denzel Washington, because although he's often stern, you can see his thoughts through the subtle expressions on his face. 

Terence Stamp - Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Terence Stamp gave one of the greatest performances of all time in Priscilla. It's my all time favourite supporting performance by any actor too. There are so many hilarious lines he says, such beautiful moments of pain and vulnerability, and such a huge range of emotions! He is a dynamo in this film, an absolute gem of an actor! I'll always remember him for saying "That's just what this country needs. A cock, in a frock, on a rock." 
Robert Carlyle - Ravenous (1999)

Robert Carlyle would have to be one of the most underrated actors of all time. He showed hilarity and vulnerability in The Full Monty (1997). Insanity in Trainspotting (1996). But my all time favourite performance of his was his cannibalistic character in Ravenous. The crazy look in his eyes! The wild smile on his face! The intensity of his voice! Everything about his performance was masterful. 

Sean Astin - The Two Towers (2002)

Sean Astin was by far the greatest actor in The Two Towers. While we may remember him well for his banter with Smeagol, and his immortal line "Mr. Frodo," I'll always remember him for the monologue he produced at the end of the film. When he was talking about how a hero is a person that had the chance to turn back, but they didn't. It was as good a performance as any I've ever seen. Perhaps the best of the whole LOTR franchise. 

Richard Gere - Chicago (2002)

Say what you will about Chicago, Richard Gere showed me what a versatile actor he is. At first I thought he'd be crap, but then he blew the songs out of the water! He gave a performance that shed any doubts of why he was cast in the role. Now I can't imagine anyone doing a better job than him. He certainly gave me "the old, razzle dazzle."

Chris New - Weekend (2011)

This is my most random entry on the list by far. Weekend happens to be my second favourite LGBT film of all time, behind Brokeback Mountain. Chris New's performance was masterful because it was REAL. He played a real man, with real things to say, with real emotions, in what seemed like such a real story. This film flew under the radar in 2011, but I'd call it one of the greatest of all time. Chris New is a major reason why. 

Dwight Henry - Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

"Hushpuppy, where you at!?" I was disgusted at the Academy for nominating Alan Arkin for Argo over Dwight Henry for Beasts of the Southern Wild. This is another performance that was masterful because of how real it was. Henry played an alcoholic, poor, uneducated, yet caring father to a personable 5 year old girl. I always feel crushed at the end of the film. Devastated when he says goodbye to Hushpuppy. "No crying, you hear?" The tears streaming down his face say it all... it's one of the worst robberies in the history of the Oscars. 

So there you have it. This list was a labour of love. If there's anything I've missed, or any performances you disagree with, just tell me in a comment. Thanks for reading :)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Capturing the Friedmans (2003) - ★★★★★

Director: Andrew Jarecki

This documentary had my mind doing flips. Did he do it? Didn't he do it? He must have done it! But maybe he didn't... Capturing the Friedmans is one of the best documentaries ever made. The Friedmans was your average, loving family... until allegations against Arnold Friedman destroyed their world. He was charged with over 100 accounts of child molestation, as was his son Jesse. This documentary unfurls all of the drama, the history, the opinions, and the facts that surround such a dark, disturbing, and sad story.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013) - ★★★★

Director: Alex Gibney
Writer: Alex Gibney

The Story of WikiLeaks would rank up there as one of the most interesting stories from the past 10 years. This is a pretty thorough and engrossing documentary, showing signs of bias here and there. Overall it paints a pretty cloudy picture of the infamous Julian Assange. In the end, I feel like I don't know anything about the REAL Assange. That's not really what interested me though. I wanted facts... cold hard facts. While we got some pretty good facts, I found the actual story to be so bloody interesting, especially when it focused on the REAL man behind the US military leaks, Bradley Manning. It's not a wildly entertaining documentary, or a very emotionally stirring documentary... it's just really effective and purely interesting.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Upstream Color (2013) - ★★★★½

Director: Shane Carruth
Writer: Shane Carruth
Stars: Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth, Andrew Sensenig, Thiago Martins, Frank Mosley, Carolyn King

Upstream Color is one of the strangest, most interesting films I've ever seen. It's extremely weird, wildly original, and masterfully put together. Although the pace is a little slow, the film's ending left me feeling flabbergasted at how amazing the whole experience was. This isn't a film to everyone's taste, and I can understand that (kind of like myself and The Tree of Life). I'm still beaming over how different this film is. Just when I thought 2013 was becoming a pretty dud year for cinema, Shane Carruth surprised me with a touching, mind-bending, and quite an uplifting film about a subject I'd never even heard of before. I don't know what else to say really, except that I love this movie!

Spring Breakers (2013) - ★

Director: Harmony Korine
Writer: Harmony Korine
Stars: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, Gucci Mane

I don't know what the purpose of Spring Breakers is, whether it be to highlight how society is going down the drain or if the characters are just an example of stupid girls with bad ideals... but I just couldn't stop myself from crossing my arms and shaking my head throughout the film. It's just so stupid. SO STUPID. None of these actresses gave convincing performances. There was little to no substance in the dialogue. Their actions were unrealistic, which further alienated me from the characters. It's just one gargantuan mess of scenes and dialogue that is aimed to impress 9th grader's who are having a serious identity crisis. It felt like the longest, slowest, most boring music video I've ever seen in my life.