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Three Kings (1999)
My New Number 3 fave movie (may be Spoilers)
This is one of those strange films. Try describing it and you are like "Well.. it's about the gulf war and they try to find some gold but people get shot and gassed and so they rescue them" "Oh.. right, so it's a war/action film?" "well... more of a war/action/satire/comedy/thought provoking/heist/adventure movie" "Huh? Sod that, Let's watch the Terminator"
I think the reason a lot of people resist watching this is because this movie is a contridiction in terms. War - Satire, Thought Provoking - Action, Comedy - War. Very Confusing. But once people watch the movie.... they are like "DUDE!!! Let's watch that again!! (My mum did at least.... ;)
The Gulf War - War of the media, War on oil prices, War on Saddam, Whatever it was, it was a war unlike any other. "What did we do here, Tell me what we did here!" as Archie Gates puts it.
To begin with the film begins like any other war/action adventure movie. You have the Dumb guy Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze) The Black religious guy Chief (Ice Cube) The Simple decent hearted family guy Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg) and the selfish disillusioned Leader Archie Gates (George Clooney). As well as the other obligatory characters - the bull headed Army leaders, the determined pushy reporter, the dependant adoring wife. Cliche!
But so what if it is a cliche? You soon come to realise that that is how they start out but come the end... everyone of them is changed due to circumstance... maybe they are that way to begin with due to circumstance. Orphaned Conrad, no high school, no job. Chief, Years of racial abuse and dead end jobs. Troy, school sweetheart, working a dead end job just to get by, heck, he only joined the reserves to make money and never dreamed this is where he would end up. The same with Chief... to make money. For Conrad it was a chance to escape his life... and to shoot some people. Archie... Years in special forces... Very cynical and determined. And heck, he's retiring anyway.
So when they find a map and off they go ("we three kings be stealing the gold..").
So what is the most important thing in the world? Love? Respect? Gods Will? Or even Necessity? Or is it life itself, survival, living, dignity and safety? is it material possesions? the gold, the convertable, the computers, the blenders, jeans or jewellery. Or is it being free. To live in a democracy, free from Saddam and his army. To go somewhere where there are no soldiers, where business can take place, where children can play. Liberties most of us take for granted.
During the course of this movie, Necessity changes. But it doesn't change for them all at the same time, as one might expect.... there is no defining moment. Even when a woman is shot Troy still doesn't want to get involved
Troy - What Happened to Necessity?! Archie - It just changed
Necessity for Archie changes at the moment she is shot. He feels he can achieve both... "No bullets, we know what bullets do don't we Conrad?" however, at the end of the most amazing shooting sequence, unlike anything I have ever seen before, they are all scarred by war, all have killed. But has Necessity changed? not for all of them.
Conrad - "You had a choice out there and now we've lost Troy"
Archie - "I had No Choice" Conrad - "You had a Choice!" Archie - "I had no Choice"
But in the end necessity is the same for everyone. The basic human instinct, Survival.
This film takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Laughing one second "What is wrong with michael Jackson" and shocked the next when he describes how is child was killed and his wife lost her legs. then laughing then crying then laughing.... this movie is a serious clusterf**k in the greatest possible way. A mash of everything thrown in for everyone and yet for no one in particular. Such is the nature of war.
5 Stars. Genius.
Weakest Link (2001)
Better than the UK version
Being a Brit I had the 'pleasure' of watching this before the americans... expect it was rubbish. It was more a pensioners thing, it was awful, dull and boring with the meek british contestents (polite you could say) just taking it and it was rubbish.
the american version is being shown here now and it is hilarious! They fight back and Anne is obviously having the time of her life. Even though I notice that the American version has a team of about 12 writers makig up her nasty comments. but who cares? It is made even more exciting by the 1 million pounds prize money, here it is a measley ten grand.
I must say though the previous person got it wrong on how it works. Through the rounds there is a possible 750 thousand up for grabs (125 thousand per round) and the final round whatever they win they get double therefore making up a potential win of 1 million.
This is a show that works best with americans. Enjoy
a British Institution
Michael Parkinson is an institution. The most loved interviewer in Britain, he has interviewed everyone from Ali to Lopez. He instantly puts his guests at ease which means they forget the are on a TV show and just go off on there own little anecdotes like they are with a close friend. On no other show would John CLeese admit to being a virgin till his mid 20s!! And no where else would Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) say her husband wears her underwear and his nickname is Golden Balls!
This is definitly a show worth watching, he has the biggest stars and the best technique, he is what all hosts should be. Watch and enjoy.
The Exorcist (1973)
The best Horror flick I have seen
The scariest Movie EVER", "A Masterpiece", "Film turned my son into devil worshipper" "Gerbil possessed by Devil" (okay I made that one up) - these were the reports and headlines surrounding the film at the time of release. Whether you believe all of the hysteria is up to you. Since I watched the film at the age of 13 - 24 years after it's release it is difficult to comprehend how a film, which is relatively tame by today's standards as far as horror films go, could even be considered scary and have people running from the cinema, being sick and having houses blessed.. But it did, and if you are looking at it as purely a horror film you are going to be disappointed. For the more, religious and more open minded people however, it is a masterpiece.
You get from it what you take to it. If you are looking for a horror film, you get a horror film, it's not particularly scary, but it does enough to make you leave the lights on for a couple of nights.
If you are deeply religious, it does a lot more than that. Speaking as a respectful atheist I can see this in the movie. People say there is evil in the movie, well that's up to the viewer.
It is about God versus the Devil. Pure (or as near as) Good against and Pure Evil. It's not the good guy versus the bad for an entire planet full of stupid unappreciative defenseless people. It is about God and the Devil, and in between this war of Good and Evil is a little 12 year old girl who just made the mistake of playing with a Ouija board.
That's why people don't understand it. I'm not saying for one second that I understand it, lot's of this goes over my head. But I do see why people say this film is a masterpiece, they see it, I see it. Not everybody see's it. You take from it what you bring to it. I took to it an innocent imaginative mind, TV's kinda screwed that up since then, but at the time it was (almost) clean. I think that's one of the things that makes a difference to how you perceive the film. Belief is another, if you're cruel you could say gullibility.
Possession has been reported for as long as people can remember. This was, and to my knowledge still is the only film ever to tackle the story properly and seriously. It doesn't take the easy route and turn itself into a kooky, sideshow horror flick that doesn't take the subject matter seriously.
The book was awful, I don't mean to sound rude, maybe watching the film before reading the book was a mistake but let's face it. The book is awful, yet good. It's both, some is good, some is bad.
The thing about this book is that it never says for definite whether Regan is possessed or not, I mean, in the film Regan is possessed by a Demon, no question. Father Karras half-heartedly attempts to find other reasons for the change in behaviour, but she is definitely possessed in the film. The book however tries to take a different look at it, so it becomes almost a nonfiction read. Everything is disputed, with case after case being used against the suggestion that Regan really is possessed. In the book, okay we may know in our minds, especially if we have already seen the film, that the sweet little 12 year old girl is possessed but the book does at least try to put an element of doubt in the readers mind, that I liked, but Christ it's boring, give me a Wilbur Smith novel anyday.
So the film has finally been released in the UK, this is good, and with a Clockwork Orange getting it's release maybe the censors will realize that films of significance, such as the Exorcist will always be there, and one day the public will realize that we are in control of everything and if we fight enough and battle enough we will get what we want.
NOTE: I have recently bought A Clockwork Orange, IT'S TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How the hell I got banned I don't know! I think we were done a favour actually. Saved the public from that crap for 20 odd years! :)
The Crow (1994)
Brandon should be proud
This is a very difficult thing to write about. Not least because the star Brandon Lee died whilst making this film in a stunt gone wrong.
More eerie is the subject matter this film tackles - Death. Lee plays a character by the name of Eric Draven who is murdered, along with his girlfriend Shelly. He is brought back for one night, exactly a year after his death to avenge the killing of himself and his beloved.
I know that the actual plot for this film is very Cliché. I know that avenging the death of your beloved is nothing new. This film however is VERY special.
Does the fact that Brandon Lee died whilst making this film make it (for want of another word) better? No, it doesn't. The tragic death of Lee, and to a certain extent, the untimely death of his father Bruce Lee does add more poignancy to the film, especially his last interview in which he describes living life to the full because you don't know how much longer you have. Not knowing how many more sun rises or full moons you will have the opportunity not only to see, but to appreciate and savour the importance of.
Why do I love this film? Why is this film so great? It carries a message with it. It isn't just about shooting people. It is about appreciating what you have and making the most of what you have.
Eric was a guy who had found his soul mate. Brandon was a guy who found his soul mate. He was due to marry just before he was kiiled. And the tragic thing is his death SHOULD have been avoided. He was shot by an actor whilst filming his Death seen. The arms guy had gone home because they couldn't afford to pay him to stay and spervise the use of the weapons.
This film almost never got completed which would have been a real shame for everyone involved, especially the movie watching public. After Lee's death the movie was suspended for 6 months. Eventually, as a tribute to Brandon, they decided to complete the movie and did an excellent job of bringing the dream to life. Lee described this movie as the only movie he has ever been proud of making. And I think everyone who has seen the movie is proud of him.
I am not making my case very well but this film is special to me on many levels. The love Eric Feels. The Message he carries about death and about love. This film will blow you away.
My favourite quote (from memory so it may not be perfect)
'Mother is the name for God on the hearts and lips of all Children'
See? This film carries many messages that have great significance to many people...Watch it, you won't regret it.
American History X (1998)
The most powerful movie I have ever seen
I only saw this film recently but it completely blew me away. I have been meaning to watch it forever, many's the time I picked it up in the video store only to see another film that I wanted to see and for some reason, American History X always went back on the shelf. This time though I decided to finally watch it, and I am glad that I did and annoyed that I didn't sooner. This film is unbelievable, I can't remember the last time I was unable to take my eyes from the screen, I was literally on the edge of my seat, completely entranced. At the end I was stunned, shocked you might say, this film really made me think and made it impossible to sleep afterwards (I guess deciding to watch it at 1 am was a bad idea)
This is an important film. First of all it gives us a real insight into the way the minds work of these white supremacists. Their completely irrational hatred. Not thinking for themselves, following like sheep because they now have a target for their anger. The way it affects the people around them and the costs involved.
I will give you a run down of the plot. Well basically what happens is that a young man (the ever brilliant Edward Norton) gets involved in a white supremacists group, eventually leading to him murdering two men. He goes to prison, and after 3 years he is released a changed man - only to find that his younger brother Danny (Edward Furlong, and yes, it is the annoying kid from T2!) is now involved in the same group, Derek now faces a struggle to get his brother and the rest of his family away from white supremacy and convince them that hating for the sake of hating is wrong and all it does is eat you up inside.
Like I said, this film completely blew me away, for many reasons - The script, the direction, the message and the fantastic acting ability of Edward Norton and Edward Furlong (once you realise he can act and stop praying that Arnie will pop up and shoot him).
This film has real power, it carries a message, a very clear message. It's not all preachy and patronising. It carries the message over very powerfully and movingly.
WARNING: You will feel drained at the end of this movie so make sure you don't operate heavy machinery :)
Not Smiths best but an excellent movie non the less
I have read a great deal of things said about this movie. They are all extreme. By that I mean that people seem to love this movie or loath it. By no means do I loath this movie, but It wouldn't make it onto my 'best ever list'
One of the reasons I like it is because it does actually raise some excellent points. For example, Jesus WASN'T white. This is a fact (I mean come on, he is jewish born in Jerusulam, we made him western). He wasn't black either but the point the Rufus made is correct, it seems only a white person can be the worlds saviour.
Another thing that I found interesting was the fact that Joseph and Mary had more children and that there are direct descendants of them.
Now for the movie on it's own merit. The script, as ever, very talkative, quick and witty, more f***s than is necessary and I found myself actually switching off from what was being said due to the boredom of hearing it 1001 times. That said, the script is excellent.
the direction, never Smiths strongpoint, actually I heard him say on a TV show that he asked Robert Rodriguez to direct the day before they started shooting because he couldn't handle it, is not good, the second half does get boring but not so boring you want to switch off. It should have been quicker and tighter.
The cast is briiliant!! I like Damon and Affleck (especially Affleck, ruled in Chasing amy) Lee is just genius and Rickman is pure class (I'm English, call me biased :P) The female stars aren't the best, Fiorintino is OK, Hayek, obviously smart, Very beautiful but Cannot handle Smiths fast talking dialogue. Maybe if the movie was in Spanish....
In short, watch this movie with an open mind, religion is irrelevant, it's not meant to be blasphemous or anything like that, just a look at religion. Not as funny as Life of Brian, but nothing ever will be.