Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Brokeback Mountain (2005) - ★★★★★

Director: Ang Lee
Writers: Annie Proulx (Novel), Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana (Screenplay)
Stars: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, Linda Cardellini, Randy Quaid, Anna Faris

Brokeback Mountain is one of those rare movies that are even better than the novel. I've never seen a romance like it. The story isn't a question of sexuality; it is simply about two people who are in love. There is not one thing I would change about this film. Ang Lee managed to turn a good story into a shining masterpiece. It stands among the greatest movies ever made.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Bride of Chucky (1998) - ★½

Director: Ronny Yu
Writer: Don Mancini
Stars: Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, Katherine Heigl, Nick Stabile, Gordon Michael Woolvett, John Ritter

I don't mind horror movies that transition to comedies, at least that's what I think director Ronny Yu has tried to do with the Childsplay franchise. Bride of Chucky just isn't very funny or scary. It tried to be a modern Bride of Frankenstein and it could have worked well. I'm guessing they had a small budget, because they certainly didn't cast the film very well. The one redeemable quality of the movie was Jennifer Tilly. She was pretty funny and I loved her voice.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Wind (1928) - ★★★★★

Director: Victor Sjostrom
Writers: Dorothy Scarborough (Novel), Frances Marion (Scenario)
Stars: Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson, Montagu Love, Dorothy Cumming

The Wind is my favourite silent film of all time. It is quite simply one of the greatest achievements in the history of visual storytelling. The cinematography blew me away and the acting by Lillian Gish proves why she was a queen of the silent era. At only 95 minutes long, it's no wonder I was completely blown away throughout the entire film.

Anna Karenina (2012) - ★★★½

Director: Joe Wright
Writers: Leo Tolstoy (Novel), Tom Stoppard (Screenplay)
Stars: Keira Knightley, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Jude Law, Matthew Macfadyen, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander

Joe Wright has taken many classic novels and put them to film, such as Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. He goes one step further in Anna Karenina. He has made a daring choice to tell the story as if it were being enacted by players on a stage. It was a bold and brilliant move for Tolstoy's novel has been told many times over, but never in a fashion such as this. Although the emotions were there, the story itself was overshadowed by the sheer perfection that was the costume, music and cinematography.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Come and See: or 'Idi i Smotri' (1985) - ★★★★★

Director: Elem Klimov
Writers: Ales Adamovich, Elem Klimov (Screenplay)
Stars: Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova

This is the most relentless and incredible war film I have ever seen. Come and See is a movie that every single film fanatic should see. It makes Schindler's List look like a melodrama. We've seen many sides of World War II, here we see the side of the innocent Russian villagers. Over the course of the war, the Nazi's destroyed 628 Russian villages. This gives us an unflinching look at the torture that was inflicted on these people.

Fallen (1998) - ★★★

Director: Gregory Hoblit
Writers: Nicholas Kazan
Stars: Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland, Embeth Davidtz, James Gandolfini, Elias Koteas

Fallen is a decent thriller with a good story and great actors. It could have been a great movie, considering the material there was to work with. Unfortunately, it comes across a little too corny and not urgent enough, which made me lose interest in the characters and their outcome. However, there were great parts in the movie and I enjoyed myself some of the time. It gets a solid 3 Stars from me.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Amelie (2001) - ★★★★★

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Writers: Guillaume Laurant, Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Screenplay)
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Matthieu Kassovitz, Jamel Debbouze, Serge Merlin

Amelie takes you to a world you wish you could be with characters you wish you knew. It's clever, funny, sweet and always intriguing. From the very first scene it sucks you into a magical, romantic France. This is one of those movies where you catch yourself grinning like an idiot over and over. It's perfect in its own quirky little way.

Rest In Peace Chrissy Amphlett

Chrissy Amphlett was the lead singer of legendary Australian rock band The Divinyls. They had many iconic hits such as 'I Touch Myself' 'Pleasure and Pain' and 'Sleeping Beauty.' She played a huge role in my life and will always be one of my idols. Chrissy is a legend, I'll never forget her.

She died on April 23rd at the age of 53 after a long battle with breast cancer. May she rest in peace.


The Happening (2008) - ★

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Betty Buckley

Wow. This movie is bad. It's really, really, really bad. Every actor deserves a Razzie for Worst Performance. M. Night Shyamalan deserves the Razzie for Worst Screenplay and Picture. This is one of the worst movies ever made. Even though I laughed at this movie, it wasn't 'so bad it's good.' It's just terrible.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) - ★★★★★

Director: Frank Darabont
Writers: Frank Darabont (Screenplay), Stephen King (Novel)
Stars: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, James Whitmore, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown

The Shawshank Redemption is one of the most poetic, uplifting and engaging movies ever made. There are countless iconic scenes, quotable lines and messages to be understood. It is perfect in every way a movie can be. From the faultless performances to the spine-chilling score, each aspect combine to make this worthy of the title, 'Greatest Film of all Time.'

Monday, 22 April 2013

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) - ★★★★★

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writers: Gary K. Wolf (Novel), Jeffrey Price (Screenplay)
Stars: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Charles Fleischer, Joanna Cassidy

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a funny, clever and nostalgic masterpiece. Fans of Disney and The Looney Tunes would no doubt get a kick out of seeing all of their favourite characters playing extras in this movie. It's a mixture of old Hollywood noir and modern comedy. As a child, this was my absolute favourite movie. As an adult, I can honestly say that this is one of the greatest movies of all time.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Prestige (2006) - ★★★

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan and Christopher Nolan (Screenplay), Christopher Priest (Novel)
Stars: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, David Bowie

Ah, what could've been. This is one of the highest rated movies of all time and I suspect it is because of the multiple twists. Unfortunately, I guessed the ending less than an hour into the movie. I knew what was going to happen before it happened, therefore nothing surprised me. I think this is an overrated movie, but I can understand why people would be amazed by it.

A Clockwork Orange (1971) - ★★

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers: Stanley Kubrick (Screenplay), Anthony Burgess (Novel)
Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke, John Clive, Adrienne Corri

A Clockwork Orange is a tricky movie for me to review. I'm in the very small minority of people who don't like the movie. I found that its use of violence was overkill. I find Kubrick admirable in the way that he refused to conform to the typical standards and practices in film-making... I just think the film could have used more subtlety, rather than continuously show explicit beatings. (Then that would be reductive to the shocking impact... etc.) Trust me people, I've heard it all, and those who adore this film are probably right. They 'get it.' I don't. I just couldn't like this movie. I was too shocked to be even remotely entertained.

The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950) - ★★★★½

Director: Frank Launder
Writers: John Dighton (Play), Frank Launder
Stars: Alastair Sim, Margaret Rutherford, Guy Middleton, Joyce Grenfell

The Happiest Days of Your Life is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. Margaret Rutherford and Alastair Sim are two of the greatest comedic actors of all time. Together these two have explosive chemistry and perfect comic timing. These legendary English actors are at their best in this film, making it one of the greatest British comedies of all time.

Prometheus (2012) - ★★

Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: John Spaihts, Damon Lindelof (Screenplay)
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green

I had such high expectations of Prometheus. It has incredible special effects and beautiful music. That's as far as my praise for this film goes. I don't know what the writers of this film were thinking. The film raised a thousand questions and their answers raised thousands of more questions. There were more plot holes in this movie than in Inception (2010) (and that's not easy to beat). Scott abandoned simplicity and created a movie so complicated that he forgot to focus on character development and tying loose ends.

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) – ★★★★★

Director: F.W. Murnau
Writers: Carl Mayer, Hermann Sudermann
Stars: Janet Gaynor, George O’Brien, Margaret Livingston, Bodil Rosing

Cinematography teachers all around the world should show their students the magnificent film Sunrise. It is the epitome of innovative film-making, with special effects never seen before at the time and a real dark storyline. The three stars of the film are absolutely terrific, making this one of the greatest films of all time.

Zero Dark Thirty (2012) – ★★★★

zero-dark-thirty-jessica-chastainDirector: Kathryn Bigelow
Writers: Mark Boal
Stars: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Jennifer Ehle

Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows that Osama Bin Laden was the man behind the terrorist attack on 9/11. This is a movie that aims to reveal the long and arduous task that was to find and kill Bin Laden. Zero Dark Thirty is absolutely brilliant. It’s so thrilling that I found myself forgetting to breathe at times. It is meticulously acted by the stellar Jessica Chastain, with brilliant supporting performances. The cinematography in this film rivals Bigelow’s masterpiece, ‘The Hurt Locker.’ I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film, yet there were questions that weren’t answered.

A Shock to the System (1990) – ★★★½

tumblr_mby6xyxrft1r64le7o1_500Director: Jan Egleson
Writers: Andrew Klavan (screenplay), Simon Brett (novel)
Stars: Michael Caine, Elizabeth McGovern, Peter Riegert, Swoosie Kurtz, Will Patton

The greatness of this film lies not with its story, but with the brilliant performance of Michael Caine. In my opinion, this is one of his best, and most underrated performances. A Shock to the System is not a great movie as a whole, but for the most part it is very entertaining. It is a short, well-casted, semi-thrilling movie with a brilliant ending, which is why I’ve given it a generous 3½ stars.

Wreck-It Ralph (2012) – ★★★★½

Director: Rich Moore
Writers: Rich Moore, Phil Johnston, Jim Reardon (Story), Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee (Screenplay)
Stars: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer, Ed O’Neill, Alan Tudyk

Wreck-It Ralph is a hilarious comedy from Disney which is a childrens movie for grown-ups, and a grown-up movie for children. Anyone who is a fan of retro and modern gaming is bound to love the clever references to the genres, and of course the nostalgic characters that are brought back into the spotlight. It’s both bright and bubbly, with a hint of darkness looming around the corner. It’s a clever little story that peaks our imagination about arcade games the same way that Toy Story did with out stuffed animals and figurines. This is one of the best animated movies I’ve seen in years.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012) – ★★★★

silverliningsplaybookDirector: David O. Russell
Writers: David O. Russell (Screenplay), Matthew Quick (Novel)
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Julia Stiles

Silver Linings Playbook is an extremely interesting and roaringly funny dramatic comedy. It features some of the best performances of the year, some of the most entertaining characters of the year, and is overall one of the best movies made in 2012. It’s unpredictable, and hits its punchlines with perfect comic timing. This is a movie you can watch over and over without ever getting bored of it.

Make Way For Tomorrow (1937) – ★★★★

022310makeway718Director: Leo McCarey
Writers: Vina Delmar (Screenplay), Josephine Lawrence (Novel)
Stars: Beulah Bondi, Victor Moore, Fay Bainter, Thomas Mitchell, Elisabeth Risdon, Barbara Read

Make Way For Tomorrow was a movie made during the depression, where many struggled to stay afloat in a sea of hard times. The two leading characters, a very old mother and father of five, lost almost everything. It’s a story about the way they cope with being away from each other during a time where the elderly were burdensome to their families. With marvelous performances, a touching screenplay, and a ‘matter-of-fact’ approach to telling the story, this is an incredible film.

The Iron Lady (2011) – ★★★½

02Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Writers: Abi Morgan (screenplay)
Stars: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Alexandra Roach, Harry Lloyd

After reading a number of bad reviews about The Iron Lady, I expected it to be absolute hogwash apart from the performance of Meryl Streep. I think the criticisms were unfounded. It is a very good movie that shows a side of ‘The Iron Lady’ that I’ve never seen before. It does dwell on her Alzheimer’s a bit too much, and at times I wished that more politics were shown. However, as a result of seeing a large sum of her personal life, I felt much more connected to Margaret Thatcher as a person, rather than a politician. In this way, the film connected to me and kept me intrigued every step of the way.

The Master (2012) – ★★★★½

120902VeniceTheMaster_6614695Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams

Jaoquin Phoenix gives one of the greatest performances in cinematic history in Paul Thomas Anderson’s captivating new film, The Master. It explores the deep dark recesses of a troubled man with an alcohol problem. What’s more, it explores the starting of the religion/cult Scientology. We see the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, in a way we’ve never seen before. The whole movie is just absolutely fascinating, and is certainly one I could watch again.

The Searchers (1956) – ★★★★½

Director: John Ford
Writers: Alan Le May (novel), Frank S. Nugent (screenplay)
Stars: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Natalie Wood, Ward Bond

Now this is a true Western. Made 10 years before The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The Searchers really sets the benchmark for western cinema. It’s funny, sad, beautiful, and above all, thrilling. Many have called it the greatest role John Wayne ever played, and I agree that it is one of his best. For a movie 2 hours long, the time flew by. It’s an extremely entertaining masterpiece that can be viewed over and over.

Days of Heaven (1978) - ★★★★

Director: Terence Malick
Writer: Terence Malick
Stars: Brooke Adams, Richard Gere, Sam Shepard, Linda Manz, Robert J. Wilke

I can see why critics adore Days of Heaven. It's simple, elegant, original and interesting. As much as I liked this film, I didn't see it as a masterpiece of cinema. At times the pace felt too slow and the characters underdeveloped. However, I can appreciate that this is a great film in almost every aspect.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Sicko (2007) - ★★★★½

Director: Michael Moore            Writer: Michael Moore

Sicko is a shocking documentary. Coming from Australia, I knew nothing about the US healthcare system. Michael Moore is notorious for having biased documentaries, but in the face of all the evidence he presents, this documentary holds up as truthful and genius. It's genius because the point Moore tries to make comes across as plausible and clear. This film proves that the healthcare system in the US is broken and shows us the who, what, when, where and why.

Friday, 19 April 2013

High Noon (1952) – ★★★★★

highnoon2Director: Fred Zinnemann
Writers: Carl Foreman (screenplay), John W. Cunningham (story)
Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Katy Jurado, Lloyd Bridges, Thomas Mitchell

High Noon is the Citizen Kane of Western cinema. It is, simply put, a masterpiece. Every aspect of the film screams precision. The acting, the music, the set, the dialogue, the camerawork, is all perfection. Gary Cooper is flawless in this film, and it will always go down as the greatest role he ever played.

The Invisible War (2012) – ★★★★

theinvisiblewar2Director: Kirby Dick
Writers: Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering

The Invisible War is a very well made documentary showcasing testimonies of men and women who were victims of sexual-assault in the military. The facts that are presented are not only shocking, but infuriating. The interviews are incredibly heart-wrenching. This is a documentary that might just change the way the military handles cases of sexual-assault, which is why it is one of the best documentaries of 2012.

The Impossible (2012) – ★★★★½

The ImpossibleDirector: Juan Antonio Bayona
Writers: Sergio G. Sanchez (screenplay), Maria Belon (story)
Stars: Naomi Watts, Tom Holland, Ewan McGregor, Ploy Jindachote

The Impossible is one of the most emotional experiences I’ve ever had watching a movie. I haven’t cried so much watching a movie since Brokeback Mountain (2005), except this time it was much more powerful. With some of the best acting I’ve ever seen, a heart-wrenching story of survival, and cinematography that is breathtaking, The Impossible is definitely one of the greatest movies of 2012.

The Letter (1929) – ★★★★

The-Letter_1929_DVD_R0_Warner_05135Director: Jean de Limur
Writers: Monta Bell, Garrett Fort (screenplay), W. Somerset Maugham (play)
Stars: Jeanne Eagels, Lady Tsen Mei, Reginald Owen, Herbert Marshall

The Letter is a film that was long thought lost, until Warner Brothers released the restored version on DVD, albeit missing a few background sounds and scenes. I expected a bad quality film with a great performance by Jeanne Eagels. What I got was a great film with a powerhouse performance from Jeanne Eagels. It is only an hour long, and is rivetting minute after minute!

House at the End of the Street (2012) – ★½

Elissa ScaredDirector: Mark Tonderai
Writers: David Loucka (screenplay), Jonathan Mostow (story)
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Max Thieriot, Elisabeth Shue, Gil Bellows

Watching House at the End of the Street is about as satisfying as eating a dry chicken sandwich. It has the ingredients for a good film, but leaves you bitterly disappointed. It’s a little bit like Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho,’ but with a far less interesting story. I enjoyed the slow pace of the film at first, but about 40 minutes in, it became unbearable. This is advertised as a ‘horror’ film, but it is NOT horrifying. It’s thrilling, and somewhat engaging, but in the end it just isn’t scary.

Same Time Next Year (1978) – ★★★★½

Capture 2
Director: Robert Mulligan
Writers: Bernard Slade (screenplay and play)
Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Alan Alda

This movie just speaks to me. From the very first moment, when the piano begins to play, I get chills up my spine. The love and chemistry between the two main characters feels very genuine. This isn’t a perfect film, but it is one of my personal favorites. Anyone who gets emotional with romance’s better bring a box of tissues when seeing this movie. It is extremely funny, heart-wrenchingly sad, and one of the best romantic-comedies of all time.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) - ★★★★½

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Writers: Robert E. Burns, Howard J. Green (Screenplay)
Stars: Paul Muni, Edward Ellis, Noel Francis, Glenda Farrell, Helen Vinson, Allen Jenkins

I honestly think this movie has one of the worst titles of all time. It's a mouthful and an annoyance when having to discuss it among friends. Who would have thought that it would be one of the greatest films ever made? It is a phenomenal film with a message that is relevant to the US justice system today. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Green for Danger (1946) - ★★★★

Director: Sidney Gilliat
Writers: Christianna Brand (Novel), Sidney Gilliat (Screenplay)
Stars: Alastair Sim, Leo Genn, Trevor Howard, Judy Campbell, Sally Grey, Meg Jenkins, Wendy Thompson

Green for Danger is an exciting mystery. It's one of those films that keep you guessing. Just when you think you know who the murderer is, a new development causes you to doubt it. The cast performances are phenomenal, as is the music and cinematography. It's a great display of classic British cinema.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Host (2013) - ★½

Director: Andrew Niccol
Writers: Stephenie Meyer (Novel), Andrew Niccol (Screenplay)
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, Max Irons, William Hurt, Jake Abel, Frances Fisher

I knew this movie was going to be bad. Trust me, it is terrible in so many ways. It's cheesy, it's unoriginal and at times uninteresting. My dilemma is that I enjoyed myself. There were a few reasons why I liked it and a number of reasons to hate it. I just can't bring myself to hate this movie.

Once Upon a Time in America (1984) - ★★★★★

Director: Sergio Leone
Writers: Harry Grey (Novel), Sergio Leone (Screenplay)
Stars: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Scott Schutzman Tiler, Jennifer Connelly, Joe Pesci, Danny Aiello

This movie is more than a masterpiece. It's perfection. It was to me a more emotionally grabbing and stunning film than The Godfather. I used to believe that The Goodfellas was by far the greatest film about organised crime ever made. Once Upon a Time in America trumps them all. It's more than a film with a perfect story, cinematography, music and acting. It involves you in the lives of these criminals and you don't ever want it to end.

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Witches (1990) – ★★★★

04Director: Nicolas Roeg
Writers: Roald Dahl (Book), Allan Scott (Screenplay)
Stars: Angelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Jasen Fisher, Rowan Atkinson, Charlie Potter

Here’s a movie I’ve loved ever since I was a little boy. Having never read the novel, I had no idea what to expect when I started watching ‘The Witches.’ This movie is crazy, with a capital C! For the most part it’s a fun, frightening, and thrilling adventure. Not to mention, it has some of the best make-up effects I’ve ever seen. You can thank ‘The Muppets’ creator Jim Henson for that. It’s a story set in a world where witches exist, and their aim is to destroy children. These witches are bald, with purple eyes and square feet.

Wrestlemania 29 (2013) - ★★★★

Every year the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) puts on a spectacular show with the years best 'superstars/wrestlers' fighting it out for championships. We all know that the matches are fixed, but that doesn't make it any less entertaining. I sat down and watched Wrestlemania 29 with a friend and found it highly entertaining and at times thrilling.

Howards End (1992) – ★★★★

regreso_a_howards_end_1992_2Director: James Ivory
Writers: E.M. Forster (Novel), Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (Screenplay)
Stars: Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Samuel West

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the movies, it is that classic novels make for some of the greatest films ever made. Stories such as Gone With the Wind and Sense and Sensibility were perfect because of the magnificent story and character developments throughout, as if it were a novel that you could read in a few hours. With Howards End, we get the same feeling. It’s not like watching a bunch of actors play characters in a movie. It’s like reading a novel, and the characters are all their own and completely natural. It’s a magnificent movie and one of the greatest adaptations from novel to film.

Happy Together, ‘Chun gwong cha sit’ (1997) – ★★★★

happy_together_blu-ray4Director: Kar Wai Wong
Writer: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Chen Chang

Happy Together is a great film that has a story with substance. It’s like watching a documentary, where the subject is ‘the most dysfunctional Chinese same-sex couple in history.’ If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Taxi Driver’ by Martin Scorsese, you’ll see that this movie has a similar atmosphere and darkness. The story isn’t beautiful, but in the end it felt like I’d seen something beautiful.

Vera Drake (2004) – ★★★½

vera drakeDirector: Mike Leigh
Writer: Mike Leigh
Stars: Imelda Staunton, Jim Broadbent, Richard Graham, Eddie Marsan, Alex Kelly, Daniel Mays

Vera Drake is one of the most depressing movies I’ve ever seen. It’s a story that stirs conflict in the conscience of anyone who is for or against abortion. What makes this movie good is the powerhouse performance by Imelda Staunton. In my whole life, I’ve never seen a character cry as much as Vera Drake… and she evoked more sympathy from me than almost any other I’ve seen.

Dumplings ‘Jiao zi’ (2004) – Zero Stars

DumplingsDirector: Fruit Chan
Writer: Pik Wah Li
Stars: Pauline Lau, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Bai Ling

I was flicking through channels to see if a movie was on and found ‘Dumplings’ on SBS. I love Hong Kong cinema, so I gave this movie a chance. If ever there was a movie that I’d erase from my memory, it would be this one. The further into the movie I got, the more unclean I felt. It has an evil vibe and is not in the least bit enjoyable. It’s one of the worst movies ever made.

Easy Virtue (1928) - ★★★

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: Noel Coward (Screenplay), Eliot Stannard (Play)
Stars: Isabel Jeans, Robin Irvine, Franklin Dyall, Eric Bransby Williams, Violet Farebrother

Easy Virtue is one of Alfred Hitchcock's first films. It's an average silent movie, with average performances and good cinematography. The limitations of film-making at the time are shown here, yet it's interesting enough to keep you watching for more.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

A Single Man (2009) – ★★★★½

Director: Tom Ford  |  Writers: Christopher Isherwood (novel), Tom Ford (Sceenplay)
Stars: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult, Matthew Goode, Jon Kortajarena

This is an absolutely beautiful and sensitive movie about depression, suicide, and love. If ever there was a movie that someone should see if they are thinking of committing suicide, it is A Single Man. It hits the nail on the head with the issue of depression, and passionately displays the story of a gay man whose lover died in a car accident. It is a near perfect movie, and certainly one of the most underrated of this decade.

Farewell My Concubine (1993) – ★★★★★

farewell-my-concubine Director: Kaige Chen
Writers: Bik-Wa Lei, Pik Wah Li (Novel and Screenplay)
Stars: Leslie Cheung, Fengyi Zhang, Li Gong, Zhi Yin, Hailong Zhao

Farewell my Concubine is undoubtedly one of the greatest movies ever made. It spans throughout 5 decades of chinese history, and follows one of the most interesting characters I’ve ever seen. It’s costumes are spectacular and the cinematography is brilliant. What makes this one of the greatest movies ever made is the acting. For me, there were no actors in this movie, only the characters. It is a class of acting that you seldom see in Western cinema. If you won’t watch the film on the heart-wrenching story alone, then watch it for one of the greatest performances of all time by Leslie Cheung.

This is the story of two men, Douzi (Leslie Cheung) and Shitou (Fengyi Zhang), who met as apprentices in the Peking Opera, and remained in contact for over 50 years. Both of them grew up to star in the opera ’Farewell My Concubine,’ where Douzi played the Concubine and Shitou played the King of Chu.

Over the years we see the era of the Warlords (1920s), the Japanese invasion (mid 1940s), the retaking of China by the nationalists (late 1940s), and then the communist era of Mao Zedong. This epic story spans all the way to 1977, and not once does the excitement or attachment to the story falter.

Leslie Cheung truly embodied this character and brought it to life. It was all in his eyes, every emotion that you could imagine. The anger, frustration, terror, love, and heartbreak all came across plainly on his face. There hasn’t been a performance that moved me this much in a long time. From losing the man he loves to overcoming an opium addiction, every single movement, word, and expression was perfect.

Li Gong also gave a breathtaking performance as a former prostitute and the wife of Shitou. Honestly, there is nothing this woman can’t do. She’s able to display such strength, and such fragility, all wrapped up into one character. Together, Gong and Cheung have brilliant chemistry as two ‘women’ who want the same man.

There is plenty of brutality in this film, mixed with plenty of tenderness. It’s not completely tragic, for there is a lot of hope in these characters. You cannot describe this film with a genre or a word. It’s more than a period drama, or a romance, or a tragedy.

10331These characters are interesting enough from a psychological perspective alone. If there’s one thing I love about Farewell My Concubine, it’s that it begs you to discuss it afterwards. You're left to connect the dots when it comes to motives, feelings, and symbolism.

I was thrilled from start to finish with this masterful film. It truly is one of the greatest movies ever made. Schindler’s List may have won Best Picture at the Academy Awards during the same year, but for me this is a film worthy of that title. There’s nothing I could fault about Farewell My Concubine. I recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in history and psychology


Sekaiichi Hatsukoi (2011) – ★★★★★

Director: Chiaki Kon

Written and Illustrated by: Shungiku Nakamura

Voices: Takashi Kondo, Katsuyuki Konishi, Yuuichi Nakamura, Hiroshi Kamiya

This is a fantastic show. If you love romance, then look no further than Sekaiichi Hatsukoi. I did not read the manga series, but I stumbled upon the show while looking for a new TV series to watch. From the very start, I was hooked.

Junjou Romantica ‘Pure Love’ (2008) – ★★★★½

Director: Chiaki Kon   |   Writers: Shungiku Nakamura
Voice Actors: Itou Kentaru, Nobutoshi Canna, Kazuhiko Inoue, Takahiro Sakurai

At first glance, Junjou Romantica seemed like a regular animated manga series. The further I delved into the stories, they grew much more beautiful with deep and powerful dialogue. It’s a pretty funny show, with unique characters and standard romance. Five episodes into this series, I knew I had found something special.