30 Movies That I Love That Everyone Should See

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The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed. (170 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
“ The Best Years of Our Lives would have been a classic film in its own right without the character of Homer Parrish, as played by real life veteran Harold Russell, but it reaches all time great status because of the performance of Harold Russell. Russell had both his hands removed above the wrists after injury in WWII and he plays a veteran with the same affliction, as he tries to readjust to life stateside. The honesty in all his scenes really comes through in a remarkable display of life immitating art. He is the only actor every to win two Academy Awards for the same role. He won Best Supporting Actor and a Special Honorary Academy Award "For bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans through his appearance." The rest of the cast is quite good as well with Frederic March leading the way in a Best Actor winning performance. The film won a total of 7 Oscars including Best Picture, Actor, Suppporting Actor, Writing, Direction, Editing and Music. One of the best films ever made. ” - Shawn Kelly
The Prestige (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
After a tragic accident two stage magicians engage in a battle to create the ultimate illusion whilst sacrificing everything they have to outwit the other. (130 mins.)
“ Oh...The Prestige. Fascinating film, engrossing story, deliciously satisfying twists and great emotional moments. This is a film that I like more and more every time I see it. This is a film about many things but mainly how obsession will lead to ruin and unimaginable consequences. I will say nothing about the plot because if you have not seen this film before it should be experienced with as little knowledge as possible going in. The opening 10 seconds lays out the film perfectly when it asks, "Are you watching closely?" over an image of hundreds of identical tops hats in a field. The beauty of this film is in its plotting, which is just like the progression of a magic trick as explained by magician mentor Michael Caine in one sequence. "The Prestige" is the part of a magic trick where the big finale happens and the disappeared reappears or basically the impossible is achieved. The title does not disappoint and the big finale of this film is actually a two part reveal with the finale reveal leaving the audience buzzing after the credits start to roll. Do yourself a favor and watch this film. ” - Shawn Kelly
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor. (103 mins.)
Director: Shane Black
“ The resurrgence of Robert Downey Jr, started not with Iron Man and Tropic Thunder in 2008 but with this marvelous homage to the detective/film noir genre. Downey is perfectly cast as the quick witted smart ass Harry Lockhart, who is two steps behind everyone for much of the movie and constantly trying to catch up to hilarious effect. Shane Black is clicking on all cylinders in his directorial debut and gives everything this wonderful tongue in cheek quality. The narration is wonderful, the plot is sufficiently obscure and the dialogue runs the show. Val Kilmer is fantastic as Gay Perry, who works as a perfect foil for Downey's hyper, over-reactive thief. I cannot continue this blurb without mentioning Michlle Monaghan as her work is also great in the limited time she's on screen. Also, this is another faux-Christmas movie a la Die Hard and makes a great double feature on a wintry December evening. This film is pure fun and joy for anyone that likes quick witted mysteries and private eye films of old. One of my favorite movies. ” - Shawn Kelly
Brick (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A teenage loner pushes his way into the underworld of a high school crime ring to investigate the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend. (110 mins.)
Director: Rian Johnson
“ I had no idea what I was in for the first time I saw this except that it was a murder mystery set in a high school and it had gotten rave reviews. I am here to tell you the hype does not do the film justice. This is one of the great noir films period. Not of this era but of any era. Once you get over the caveat that these are high school kids talking like 40's tough guys (which I think is incredibly cool) then the film becomes one of the most engaging, intricately plotted mysteries I have ever seen. Joseph Gordon Levitt grows up instantly and his Brandon is one of the most enigmatic, loyal and fascinating characters to come around in a long time. The entire cast is stellar and provides note perfect performances across the board. The side characters are what make this film more than just an interesting mystery. The Pin, Tug, Brain, Laura, Dode, Kara, Brad Bramish and the Richard Freakin Roundtree all excel in the screentime given to them, while never outshining Levitt. All of what's on screen would not be possible without the genius of Rian Johnson, one of the best up and coming storytellers around. The best thing I could say about this movie is that it keeps you guessing till the end, even up to the last word and that is something only the great movies can do. ” - Shawn Kelly
The Thing from Another World (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a bloodthirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost. (87 mins.)
Director: Christian Nyby
“ This film takes place in Alaska, so bonus points right there off the top. This film is a sci/fi horror movie that's not very scary in what it shows but some of the lines and the concepts flat out give me chills. Particularly the scene where the scientists go out to where the UFO crash landed and spread out to determine the shape, forming a perfect circle. That image speaks volumes without saying a word. Everyone knows what's at stake now. There's a great creepy atmosphere all over this movie and the claustrophobic feeling of being trapped inside in small rooms and narrow hallways really helps add to that feeling. Numerous scenes have this overcoating of paranoia which is very subtle but felt throughout the film, again adding to the creepiness of the overall aesthetic. I also want to single out the scene where the Thing gets lit on fire; amazing stuntwork for the 50's and all very real. It's amazing no one got hurt. I can watch this movie any time it's on and enjoy it, however it's a little slow in places and the dialogue is very much of the time period. If you can get past those two things I highly recommend this influential classic. ” - Shawn Kelly
The Red Shoes (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina. (134 mins.)
“ I never thought I would like a ballet movie as much as I love The Red Shoes. I recently learned that this is one of Scorsese's favorite films, so it appears I am in good company. This surrealist, multiple level masterpiece from the dynamic Pressburger and Powell combination, still holds amazing weight as a cautionary tale of ambition and artistic achievement. As a creative person myself, I was fascinated by the character of Boris Lermantov and his unyielding pursuit of artisitc perfection at the cost of anything. This theme is present in every scene in the film. The few monologues by Lermantov on this creative paradox give a vibrant life to the ideas in the film and stay with the audience long after the film has ended. The showcase scene in the film is the 20 minute surreal first performance of the titular Red Shoes ballet. Highly, highly recommended for anyone that enjoys dance, the balance of the creative process or outstanding cinematography (or all three!). The Red Shoes is a timeless movie and the definition of an undiscovered classic. Anyone who has not seen it should do so at some point in their lives. A grand experience awaits you. ” - Shawn Kelly
Die Hard (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles. (131 mins.)
Director: John McTiernan
“ The action comedy had existed before Die Hard, but Bruce Willis perfected it. First off the film has a great concept, lone cop, with no shoes, tries to stop terrorists on Christmas Eve inside a corporate high rise, while communicating via walkie-talkie with the dad from Family Matters (who loves Twinkies!). Classic. Alan Rickman is one of the great (perhaps greatest?) villains as Hans Gruber, dominating every scene he's in. What's not to love about this movie? Great action, hilarious one liners, and a suspenseful thrill ride all the way to the end. Perhaps my favorite thing about this movie though is that IT IS a Christmas movie. The holidays are all over this film and actually play a key part in the finale. This is a holiday tradition along with Die Hard 2, though the original is FAR superior. If you have not seen this movie (come on seriously?) wait until the holiday season is upon us, put it on and enjoy one of the all time great action blockbusters. ” - Shawn Kelly
The Big Sleep (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love. (114 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
“ Cool. Flat out cool. Bogart is the iconic movie detective in this film. Some may think of Sam Spade in the Maltese Falcon, but for my money Phillip Marlowe is the quintessential screen detective of the 40's and Bogart plays him perfectly. He's tough when he needs to be, smart, a little suave even though he won't admit it and above all he's got a moral code that can be bent but never broken. There are many great scenes here namely, Bogart waiting out the rainstorm in the bookshop, dealing with Joe Brody, putting Eddie Mars on notice, hiding while Kanino and Joey have a conversation and most notably discussing racehorses with Lauren Bacall. There is immense chemistry to Bogart and Bacall's scenes together, which is really intriguing when you think about their real life passion for each other. Plot wise this film is extremely dense with a few dead ends that go nowhere and don't get resolved but overall the audience is not here for plot. They are here for Bogart and he delivers one of his best and most iconic roles. Light up a smoke, have a drink, put on a Fedora and enjoy The Big Sleep. ” - Shawn Kelly
Half Baked (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The story of three not so bright men who come up with a series of crazy schemes to get a friend out of jail. (82 mins.)
Director: Tamra Davis
“ If you were not 16 years old in the summer of 1998, this movie may not be your cup of tea. However, I was and therefore this is one of the greatest comedies ever. Almost every scene has some moment in it that I find a reason to quote on a regular basis and the quotes always lead to more quotes, which leads to hilarious laughter and what better sign of a great movie than being able to make you laugh just by remembering it. The begining and end of Jim Breur's film career and Dave Chapelle's best movie, this film has so many great cameos and in jokes and hilarious moments that it is officially a cult classic. This is not a movie to be watched for anything other than enjoyment and laughter, of which it provides plenty. There is no way to describe this movie other than to call it "THE SCHIZNITOBAMSCHNIPSCHNAPSCHNAPPY"! ” - Shawn Kelly
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
When a princess is shrunken by an evil wizard, Sinbad must undertake a quest to an island of monsters to cure her and prevent a war. (88 mins.)
Director: Nathan Juran
“ Okay, this is some serious nostalgia love right here. I saw this movie on a reel to reel projector in 2nd grade on the last day of school (how cool is that?!) Immediately fell in love with the story and the creatures because nothing is more cool at the age of 8 than dragons, giant birds and cyclopses. Only years later would I learn that the undisputed master of stop motion animation, Ray Harryhausen, was responsible for the effects and creature work on this film. It is a showcase for his talents and includes some of his best work. As for the film itself, Sinbad is a white guy and about to marry a white princess in the middle east so go figure on that, the acting is hammy and some of the effects leave much to be desired but WHO CARES, as I said before it's got dragons and cyclopses battling to the death! Therefore, this movie rules! ” - Shawn Kelly
The Thing (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A research facility in Antarctica comes across an alien force that can become anything it touches with 100% accuracy. The members must now find out who's human and who's not before it's too late. (109 mins.)
Director: John Carpenter
“ The first time I saw this movie, I had no interest in seeing it again. I was not into gory films and this movie is one of the goriest ever. A few years later I hardened my stomach and went for another go round with The Thing and this time saw past all the gore for the wonderful genre movie it is. This is Kurt Russel's best movie. RJ MacReady is a leader of men, whether he wants to be or not but more than that he is a survivor. He quickly figures out the Thing's motives and weaknesses and from there, the hunt is on. The plot and paranoia inherent are great, with more than a few twists and turns along the way to keep the viewer constantly on their toes. Now to get back to the effects, the gore on this film is substantial and quite disturbing. Rob Bottin and director John Carpenter have created one of the great practical effects masterpieces. This film is not for everyone but on a dark, quiet night, preferrably when the snow is flying and the wind is howling this is a fantastic, atmospheric gem. ” - Shawn Kelly
Predator (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior. (107 mins.)
Director: John McTiernan
“ Aside from The Terminator films, this is Arnold's best movie. Simple plot: an elite commando unit on a secret mission in Central America becomes the prey for an alien hunter. However, there are 3 things that make this film more than an average action romp. 1. The Predator is completely badass; the technology is cool, the skill he hunts with is admirable and the primal nature of what he is doing sparks fear into everyone who watches this movie and imagines themself in a similar position to the characters. 2. The action scenes are badass. From the opening destruction of the rebel camp, to the scenes where the Predator takes out each individual of the unit, to the final confrontation with Arnold, the gunfire is rapid, the action is clever, the explosions are large and everything just looks great. Side Note: Jesse the Body Ventura's chain gun/mini gun "Ol' Painless" is one of the greatest guns in the history of film. The sound it makes when it's mowing through anything in it's path is just unquesitonably cool. The "We hit nothing" scene is one of my all time favorites for use of firepower. Back to the list. 3. The primal nature and raw physicallity of the film. The jungle setting, the guns, the blood, the concept of hunting and being hunted all contribute to the core primal feroscity that is the driving force in Predator. All of this comes to a head when Arnold has no more guns and must go back to the days of spear, bow and arrow (with a little gunpowder) to defeat the beast. His warcry/challenge to the Predator that kicks off the final fight is a powerful moment and signals to everyone to get ready because an epic confrontation is close at hand. Great, great movie. ” - Shawn Kelly
The Blues Brothers (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Jake Blues, just out from prison, puts together his old band to save the Catholic home where he and brother Elwood were raised. (133 mins.)
Director: John Landis
“ "We're on a mission from God". With that as the driving force Jake and Elwood Blues proceed on a noble mission of mercy to save an orphanage from being shut down by the state. How they accomplish this is far from holy but most assuredly hilarious. There are many things to take away from the Blues Brothers; malls are excellent places for car chases, wearing sunglasses at night was way cooler before that stupid song was made, DO NOT piss off Carrie Fisher, if there is chickenwire in a bar--stand behind it and most importantly if you're going to make a comedy musical make sure you get the greatest musical lineup this side anywhere. The songs, the goofiness, the gags, the everything. This is an all time classic to be enjoyed forever. ” - Shawn Kelly
Zulu (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Outnumbered British soldiers do battle with Zulu warriors at Rorke's Drift. (138 mins.)
Director: Cy Endfield
“ When it comes to stories about few defeating many, Zulu is one of the greats. Thousands of Zulu warriors descend upon the tiny British outpost of Rourke's Drift, but the soldiers there put up a fight worth remembering. What resulted was an amazing display of courage, fortitude, and honor among a small band of British soldiers. Stanley Baker was never better as the man who "came to build a bridge." Love it. I also love Colour Sgt. Bourne as played by Nigel Green. One of my favorite characters of all time. This is also a showcase for a very young Michael Caine, who discovers the resolve of his character at exactly the right moment. While the effects and action does not always look the best, the film is still an engaging, emotional display of men who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and the guts they showed under the worst of circumstances. Numerous great lines and great moments from this all time British classic. ” - Shawn Kelly
The Road Warrior (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits. (95 mins.)
Director: George Miller
“ Perfect plotting. Yes there's great action, great chases, and Mel Gibson is cool as all get out but the sequence of events in the Road Warrior is perfect. Not only that but this is the film you think of when you think of post-apocalyptic wasteland. The desperation to survive is inherent in every character and the way things quickly devolved once the infrastructure has broken down is truely frightening. Everything about this movie is spot on and note perfect, right down to the surprising ending. I get chills everytime the last lines are said because this is one of those rare movies where the hero saves his soul but fails in his personal mission and that final image of Max is, to say the least, haunting. An action movie that is much more than the sum of its parts this is one of the great stories of a man brought back to humanity in an inhuman world. ” - Shawn Kelly
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound. (103 mins.)
“ Without question, this is the best movie musical of all time. Gene Kelly is at the height of his craft here as both a performer and co-director with Stanley Donnen. Donald O'Connor's brilliant and timeless "Make em Laugh" routine is and always will be one of the greatest few moments put to celluloid. Personally I could have substituted anyone in the Shirley McClaine role and been fine with it but she does a good job and is by no means a drag on the film. However, this is Kelly's show and he shows why he was one of the greats in two amazing numbers, including the titular romp in the raindrops, which has to be one of the most beautifully choreographed, performed and written pieces of the expression of joy through song and dance...ever. Another great aspect of the film is the actual plot, involving the advent of sound in film. This is a subject newly explored in 1952 and while the satire is not exactly biting, it does make for an interesting and entertaining look behind the camera. The songs, the dancing, the perfection that is Singin in the Rain will always be a timeless classic. ” - Shawn Kelly
Forbidden Planet (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A starship crew goes to investigate the silence of a planet's colony only to find two survivors and a deadly secret that one of them has. (98 mins.)
“ Another warm fireplace and popcorn movie that just warms me to the core. This film is the first introduction of Robbie the Robot in film or TV and has Leslie Neilsen in a serious role as the spaceship's captain, so already this is one of the greats. This is a landmark sci/fi film in many respects, the most significant being that this was (at the time) the most expensive sci/fi movie ever made. The tone of the movie is perfect with a cerebral plot taking the place of a lot of action. The Krell society is a fascinating tale that could support its own film and was the inspiration for the alien race in the backstory of Total Recall. The major action scene in the middle of the film really stands the test of time, not so much for its groundbreaking effects but for the slow build of tension and the mood of the scene. A winner on every level and based on Shakespeare for God's sake, Forbidden Planet is an all time classic. ” - Shawn Kelly
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets. (92 mins.)
Director: Robert Wise
“ This is the third of my 50's sci/fi trilogy, the other two films being The Thing from Another World and Forbidden Planet. Made in the same year as Thing, which put forth the idea of malicious alien invasion, The Day the Earth Stood Still asks what happens when a benevolent alien tries to enforce benevolency on the human race and the consequences of that idea. This is another great example of cerebral sci/fi where the questions being raised in the story are more important than special effects scenes or explosions. However, having perhaps the coolest robot ever on screen doesn't exactly hurt your picture. Gort, the all powerful destructor of aggression represents a fascinating ideal that the human race just can't adhere to. That of zero violence against anyone. The central question of the film seems something so simple to everyone watching and is something that people want to believe in but reason dictates it's naieve. It's a sad fact which the film leaves you with: people are inherently violent and while the majority of the world is full of rational, civilized persons, there are a few that just do not care/understand what it is to treat others with respect and dignity. The paranoia of the 50's is very much on display in this classic though it's seen from the eyes of an outsider and showcases just how destructive and petty (but sadly necessary) this behavior can be. This distrust of others will lead to our ultimate downfall as a species. ” - Shawn Kelly
Clue (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Six guests are invited to a strange house and must cooperate with the staff to solve a murder mystery. (94 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Lynn
“ Loved the board game. Love comedy/whodunnit/murder mystery movies. Love films that take place in a huge old mansion with secret passages. Love Clue. With wonderful performances from all involved including Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, Madeline Khan, and Michael McKean give this film that same warm fireplace popcorn feel as lots of the others on this list. However, a big part of my love for Clue is my love of all its pieces and parts, namely the setting, the genre and the fun, campy way everything is executed. The Scooby Doo endings really make this movie near and dear to my heart because how could you have only one ending in a game that always had some many possibilities as to who did what to whom and where. Always rewatchable and just plain fun this is one that will endure as a personal favorite. ” - Shawn Kelly
The Quiet Man (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A retired American boxer returns to the village of his birth in Ireland, where he finds love. (129 mins.)
Director: John Ford
“ A film that is so rewatchable to see it once is almost a disservice. John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara are the perfect couple and the most believable of all the Duke's screen pairings. The quaint Irish town of Innisfree serves as the most important character in the film, with all the tradition and rules governing courtship providing much of the plot structure and storyline. However, it is the fireworks between Wayne and O'Hara that are the main show. They are two people consumed by pride and this leads to some of their great conflicts when neither will back down in the face of disagreement. There are some great moments of romance as well, with their scene in the thunderstorm still holding up after 50+ years as a great moment in cinema. I must also mention how fun this movie is, with comedy playing as the main tone of the film. Mickeleen O'Flynn, Wayne's little drunken sidekick, stands out amongst the rest in this regard. Overall this is one of Wayne's best movies, roles, and collaborations with John Ford but more importantly this is his greatest romantic movie and much of that credit is due to the wonderful Marueen O'Hara. Pefect on a Saturday afternoon The Quiet Man continues to endure as one of the great romantic comedies. ” - Shawn Kelly
Key Largo (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A man visits his old friend's hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other. (100 mins.)
Director: John Huston
“ This movie could have been a standard adaptation of a good play. What makes it stand out is the performances of Bogart, Edward G. Robinson and Claire Trevor. The acting on display here is really, really good especially Edward G. and Trevor, who get to play off each other and are the showcases of whichever scene they are in. Bogart holds everything up like the frame of a building and the other characters add their own elements to complete the structure. What you have left is a decent story, lofted to great heights by the character work and acting chops of the 3 leads. Sadly Lauren Bacall doesn't get that much to do and her character is nowhere near the ladies she played in The Big Sleep or To Have and Have Not. While this is not the best movie in the world, after watching it you will surely say to yourself, "Well that was a good movie." ” - Shawn Kelly
The Train (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In 1944, a German colonel loads a train with French art treasures to send to Germany. The Resistance must stop it without damaging the cargo. (133 mins.)
“ This movie fascinates me. First of all, I have recently discovered Burt Lancaster as one of my favorite actors...period. The man plays a great character more often than not and always turns in an interesting performance. That said the stunts in this film involve real trains at high speed and the authenticity this provides the film is immeasurable. It adds such a heightened sense of enjoyment knowing that everything that happens is really happnening; the crashes, the explosions, etc. What mostly intrigues me about this film is the subject matter, the theft of precious French art by a German officer and the shipment of said art, by train to Germany, where God knows what will happen to it. Lancaster plays an engineer who is part of the French resistance, sabotaging the Germans wherever they can but does not the value in risking lives to save the French art. However, even though he is conflicted he does whatever he can to accomplish his mission and the results are thrilling and spectacular. One of the best moments comes from his confrontation with the German officer that stole the art. The German describes him as "an ape holding a string of pearls" and that concept really stuck with me as to the meaning of art for those that hold it dear and those that do not. Lancaster is admittedly the ape but I have a feeling that at the end he understands the value of those pearls. ” - Shawn Kelly
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
British agent Alec Leamas refuses to come in from the Cold War during the 1960s, choosing to face another mission, which may prove to be his final one. (112 mins.)
Director: Martin Ritt
“ Another fascinating mid 60's film, this time starring another actor I was late to discover, the great Richard Burton. There are many layers of intrigue in this spy thriller set during the height of the Cold War. So many in fact that by the end you're left feeling quite satisfied at the many twists and turns in the story and the cerebral way in which it was all done. The great thing about this film is Burton's performance as the burnt out agent, going on one last mission of deception. He is posing as a burnt out agent willing to sell information about his employers to the enemy, which is actually exactly what he is. This acting but not acting is fascinating to watch and try to determine when Burton is playing his role and when he's being honest. While this is not a mile a minute thrill ride, the twists and turns and great dialogue keep the viewer intrigued until the poignant ending that gives the film a wealth of discussion power after viewing. ” - Shawn Kelly
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An examination of the machinations behind the scenes at a real estate office. (100 mins.)
Director: James Foley
“ Acting and writing. Writing and acting. However you want to combine these two art forms this film embodies the brilliance that can happen when each is at its peak. The cast is phenomenal (perhaps one of the best ever) and the script from David Mamet, based on his own play of the same name is a dialogue heavy freight train of alpha males in a pissing contest. The standout scene is Alec Baldwin's 8 minutes in the movie. He plays a dispicable, slimy, greedy, shallow asshole...and everyone in the audience loves him. That is the greatness in how the character is written and how Baldwin plays him. Again, writing and acting. Everyone does great work here, but most notably Jack Lemmon and Ed Harris. Lemmon is note perfect as Shelley "The Machine" Levine, so much so that the Simpsons created a recurring character known as "Gil". The great thing about this film is that it's a film about salesmen in which they are all always "on". That is to say that they are always selling, either themselves or their superiority or their inferiority to manipulate someone else, everyone on screen is working an angle and usually with such nuance that it takes a few viewings to really understand why each character does what he does. The yelling, the swearing and the scenery chewing will make this one of the greats for years to come. ” - Shawn Kelly
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A clan's estranged patriarch loses his home and learns that his ex-wife plans to remarry. (110 mins.)
Director: Wes Anderson
“ This is another great example of loving the world of the film equally as much as the characters and story. I feel smarter when I am watching this film because it works on multiple levels and I am able to enjoy it on all of those levels. It works as a straight up dry comedy; as a biting satire; as a light-hearted melodrama and as a serious character study in a fictionalized setting. The art direction is amazing in this film and hours upon hours could be spent analyzing all the details that went into this rich production. Of course Gene Hackman steals the show as Royal, who rediscovers his family and how damaged he made them when he fakes an illness to have his separated wife care for him so she doesn't consumate her relationship with a new man. The scene in which he tells her "I'm dying...but I'm not really...but I am dying...seriously" (even though he's not) is a classic bit of comedy and real life at the same time. The scene perfectly illustrates my love of this film working on multiple levels. Every frame is note perfect, the cast is brilliant, the writing is sharp and it all comes together to form a great film. ” - Shawn Kelly
Michael Clayton (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multibillion-dollar class action suit. (119 mins.)
Director: Tony Gilroy
“ There are so many brilliant things about this film but the main thing is the amazing script from Tony Gilroy. It is full of great speeches and lines that completely satisfy my intellectual side but it also has wonderful subtle character development and interaction which tells you everything you need to know about who these people on screen really are. Then there's George Clooney's performance, which is simply the best of his career. You can feel the soul that is in Michael Clayton with every scene and much of the film is about the moral battle for that soul. Can this man that is a shield and a schill for a huge lawfirm actually take a moral stand in a world where no one is willing to risk their little piece of "happiness" for a greater good? The script is never this on the nose with its questions or its answers and that's one of the reasons it is so great. I would be remiss if I did not mention Tom Wilkinson's brilliant job. If this film were released in any other year he would surely have won Best Supporting Actor but there was also a film called No Country for Old Men with a pretty good supporting actor of their own in Javier Bardem, who took home the gold statuette. That being said, the cast is great top to bottom and Tilda Swinton really embodies what it is to be a normal person who makes horrible, ugly, evil choices. The last shot of the film is the most poignant and the way the credits run over it is just the icing on the cake of this wonderful wonderful film. ” - Shawn Kelly
The Fountain (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
As a modern-day scientist, Tommy is struggling with mortality, desperately searching for the medical breakthrough that will save the life of his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi. (96 mins.)
“ The first time I saw this movie, I didn't understand it all the way but I loved it. I knew there was so much more depth and thematic links between the 3 interweaving time periods and storylines that I could analyze later but the first time I saw this film I was simply in awe of director Darren Arronofsky's "love letter to death". First off the look of the film and the amazing cinematography in the space sequences are a true sight to behold. Secondly the way the film is structured in 3 parts with the same characters in different time periods works so well if you take the past and future sections as metaphor and apply them to the present storyline, which is where the true story really lies. Hugh Jackman is at his best here but every scene he shares with Rachel Weisz belongs to her. Her grace and strength carry her persona but everything she does is laced with vulnerability. She knows she's going to die and that scares her but she's not going to let that fear of death dominate the short amount of life she has left. This is what the movie is mainly going for in terms of theme and a lesson that the 3 versions of Hugh learn the hard way with interesting consequences for each. A movie that is as deep as it is beautiful with amazing performances from the leads and a moving score from composer Clint Mansell this is a film that will be regarded as a true classic in the years to come. ” - Shawn Kelly
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In November 1984, the Soviet Union's best submarine captain in their newest sub violates orders and heads for the USA. Is he trying to defect or to start a war? (135 mins.)
Director: John McTiernan
“ "Give me a ping Versille. One ping only, please." Aside from James Bond, to me, Marco Ramius is the quintessential Sean Connery character. He is a man who has been pushed past the brink and has decided to stop being a cog in the wheel and pursue his own destiny at great risk to himself and those around him. That being said The Hunt for Red October is in the discussion as the best submarine movie of all time. This is a classic action movie, with (at the time) great special effects and some real classic lines. There's an intelligence on display that is rare in movies like this. Whether it's Alec Baldwin figuring out everything Connery is doing on the American side or Connery manipulating his crew and everyone else on board his sub or Scott Glen hunting Connery even though he doesn't know what he's hunting, there's just a lot going on and never a dull moment once everything gets going. The underwater action scenes are really gripping and tense with the final battle showcasing three great moments. This is required viewing and once viewed, infinitely rewatchable. ” - Shawn Kelly
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
When Jason Bourne is framed for a CIA operation gone awry, he is forced to resume his former life as a trained assassin to survive. (108 mins.)
Director: Paul Greengrass
“ In my opinion the best of the series, Supremacy starts with a bang and never lets up until the final two scenes. This is a smart action film and all the action within is also brimming with intelligence. Everything Bourne does has a purpose and he's always one step ahead of everyone chasing him. The first few moments contain a shocking and haunting loss that permeates the rest of the film and helps Bourne reach a revelation that plays out in the final scene of the film, to devastatingly poignant effect. That said this is an action movie and all the chases are top notch and all Damon's moves are uber-cool. The film is one of those rare sequels that build on what came in the first movie and expands on it but manages to stay fresh and still maintain everything that was great about the first film. Damon embodies his character perfectly and really does a lot of emoting without being that expressive. One of the best action films of the 2000's and a great time for anyone that's a fan of smart, thrilling action films. ” - Shawn Kelly
V for Vendetta (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
In a future British tyranny, a shadowy freedom fighter, known only by the alias of "V", plots to overthrow it with the help of a young woman. (132 mins.)
Director: James McTeigue
“ I will tell you right now this is not the best movie. It has a few flaws. However, it is thoroughly engaging and Hugo Weaving gives the best performance any actor has ever given behind a mask. Natalie Portman does a solid job as the heroine but it is Weaving that steals the show as V. Some may call him a terrorist but to those that can see the system he is railing against is a corrupt and evil one, it is not hard to see things from the oppressed's point of view. This film also contains one of my favorite speeches, what I like to call the ultimate alliteratin speech and it goes like this, "Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. [carves V into poster on wall] The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it's my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V."
Now with a character that good, how could anyone not love this film? V ends up being a movie of ideas more than action and stays very true to its themes and characters. It is a very interesting (though quite hypothetical) look into the future and at a path we as a society are not far removed from traveling down. However, the thing I always take away from this movie is the love V had for life and the glorious things in can entail. Blowing up Big Ben and Parliment are emotional highlights and look fantastic on a big screen with the "1812 Overture" going at full volume. This is a great genre movie and contains a lot of great moments worth revisiting again and again. Remember, remember the 5th of November... ” - Shawn Kelly