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Stanley Kubrick... (The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Eyes Wide Shut) David Lynch... (Mulholland Dr, Lost Highway, Blue Velvet) Park Chan-wook... (Oldboy, Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, Lady Vengeance) Michelangelo Antonioni... (The Passenger, Zabriskie Point, Il Grido) Na Hong-jin... (The Chaser, The Yellow Sea) Sergio Leone... (The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, Once Upon A Time In The West, Once Upon A Time In America) Martin Scorsese... (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Departed, Casino) Paul Thomas Anderson... (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, The Master) Bong Joon-ho... (Memories Of Murder, Mother, Barking Dogs Never Bite) Quentin Tarantino... (Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds, Pulp Fiction) Mike Hodges... (Get Carter, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, Groupier) Kiyoshi Kurosawa... (Retribution, Doppelganger, Cure) Billy Wilder... (Sunset Boulevard, The Lost Weekend, Stalag 17)
TOP 10 FAVOURITE FILMS EVER..
1. Mulholland Dr (2001) Directed by David Lynch 2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Directed by Stanley Kubrick 3. .
Film noir at it's nastiest and greatest
Wow. Just speechless.
Loosely based on the true crime that rocked South Korea in 2004 about a cannibalistic serial killer who targeted mostly old rich men and prostitutes, we are thrown in a nasty yet masterful piece of filmmaking.
Na Hong-jin directs a crime thriller about an ex-detective turned pimp who personally investigates his missing prostitutes and (to him), more importantly, where his money has disappeared to. He then stumbles upon the person doing all of this and it turns out worse than ever.
Ha Jung-woo, who plays the serial killer, is downright scary, sadistic and thrilling. Incredible acting. Never have I wanted to see someone get hit so much in a film and that just shows how damn good his acting is. Kim Yoon-seok plays the ex-detective that plays right out of a film noir. A damaged and violent yet sympathetic human being. The two leads are just amazing to watch.
Korean films seem to be dominating the film world right now with their uncompromising, brutal and very real look at modern day society. Not just in South Korea, but every country. But it's not always too bleak as there is plenty of dry, dark humour in these films. Here we have a masterpiece. A psychologically terrifying, film noir about two different yet harrowing journeys. An artistic masterpiece.
Film Noir wishes it was like Chinatown
Every now and then there are some truly perfect films that shine with every scene, every action, line, camera shot... Chinatown is one of them. Wonderfully directed by Roman Polanski showing us the brightly lit but disturbing look at late 30's Los Angeles.
One of the greatest performances of all time goes to Jack Nicholson as private investigator Jake Gittes. Think of him as a more laid back Philip Marlowe from the Raymond Chandler books. Nicholson appears in every scene of the film and oozes with intensity and suaveness. Words cannot describe how amazing he is in the film. But it isn't just a Jack Nicholson vehicle. Noteworthy supporting performances include the wonderful Faye Dunaway as Evelyn Mulwray; an incredible femme fatale and film noir innovator John Huston as Noah Cross who is one right evil bastard and also Perry Lopez as Lieutenant Escobar is terrific.
One can't just say the performances made Chinatown legendary without mentioning the outstanding cinematography and view of Los Angeles. Never have I seen such a hauntingly beautiful look at L.A. Some films have done it (Lynch's Mulholland Drive, Wilder's Sunset Blvd...) but Chinatown's look and feel really delves you into 1937 and doesn't stop for over two hours.
It's a hard-boiled, dark detective story featuring Oscar-worthy performances, splendid direction and an ending 40's and 50's film noirs wouldn't dream off. Prepare for a bleak but amazing work of art.
Incredible 60's science fiction series
Back in the 60's spaceflight was deemed possible with many astronauts leaving Mother Earth to search the outside world. With that in mind come five experienced young men flying around the globe to aid humanity. Filmed with puppets and miniature sets and effects, rocket flight never looked so good.
Yes, as it is nearly fifty years since this groundbreaking television series aired, there are some funny incidental goofs. The fashion in the characters clothes have dated, strings are seen controlling the puppets, the dialogue can be cheesy and the miniature sets sometimes look... well, miniature. But get by that and sink into this amazing world.
Each episode is well filmed, the special effects are still good to look at, thrilling action and the stories are sharp and entertaining. Each fifty minute episode is better than a Hollywood sci-fi flick today (Armageddon). And because this is a family show you would expect great humour... but believe it or not, Thunderbirds is mainly humourless. Something that might put viewers off today.
So sit back and watch this clever, nostalgic science fiction show where puppets save the world.
The Ren & Stimpy Show (1991)
Sick, twisted and hilarious
A misunderstood classic is what I would call 'The Ren & Stimpy Show'. It was obviously a mature-themed TV show but shown on a kids television channel. It's dark humour, violence, off-colour humour and sexual innuendo caused the show to be redone and "lighter". John K was fired and some of the other guys stayed and tried to emulate John K's style but also make it more accessible and "kid friendly".
So season one and two are just classic after classic. Ren is probably one of the darkest comedy characters I've ever came across. Unpredictable, violent and utterly insane whereas Stimpy is a lovable but dim witted cat. And that comes across as great chemistry between the two characters.
Wildly entertaining, off the wall and way ahead of it's time, Ren & Stimpy show is a misunderstood classic full of morbid humour and fine animation. But it's not for kids, honestly it's been marketed totally wrong. The humour is too adult and varied for kids.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
One man's interesting view of humanity
And that man is Stanley Kubrick. And the film is 2001: A Space Odyssey. The science fiction film of all science fiction films (well along with Metropolis and Bladerunner). An outstanding achievement in special effects, space travel, complex storytelling, scientific realism, surrealism and just filmmaking in general, 2001 boggles the mind with Mankind's most enduring and interesting philosophical questions.
Who are we? Why are we here?
And some interesting and probably more appealing questions to the public such as: What else is out there? Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood who play astronauts seek to answer that question but Stanley Kubrick seeks to raise the other questions. Questions that we may never find out. But 2001 raises these questions with powerful images and outstanding special effects.
A two and a half hour visual treat that really has withstood the test of time (well apart from some minor things), 2001 captures the mind with its eerie soundtrack, inspiring effects, powerful symbolism and story. A story that certainly takes its time but never bores. The most amazing thing is: the story lies in the mind of the viewer. What does the viewer think of the meaning of life? Why we exist? Are there extraterrestrials out there in other galaxies? Kubrick wisely doesn't try to strictly answer those questions but certainly fills the mind with wonder at his ideas and theories on the screen. Some you may not agree with, others you might. But he never gives you a flat out answer.
Starting years and years back to our ancestor apes and fast forwarding to 2001 where space travel is frequent and mankind has lost touch. Despite the awe and wonder of the Solar System, Dr Heywood Floyd is sound asleep on a flight to an orbiting space station and again on his flight to the Moon. Astronauts Dave Bowman (Dullea) and Frank Poole (Lockwood) are quiet and distant men. Frank Poole doesn't even spark up an emotion when watching his birthday celebration from his parents back home on Earth. Kubrick nailed it. We are losing touch with humanity. Like the characters in 2001, we constantly rely on technology. The astronauts consistently rely on HAL, a supercomputer, who keeps frequent watch over the space shuttle Discovery One. Technology isn't always reliable for obvious reasons. And you see that in 2001.
Kubrick once famously stated that 2001's deepest psychological level is "the search for God, and it finally postulates what is little less than a scientific definition of God". A statement that stuck with me ever since reading it, Kubrick also raises the ultimate religious question: Is there a God? Controversial straight away, 2001 shows us that God could just be a metaphysical creation. God could be the cosmos itself. We look up at the night skies and see a vast and wonderful array of stars, planets, suns and galaxies. We could be staring at God everyday without knowing it. God watches over us from the heavens. A spiritual being, the creator of the Universe, the Man who has eternal existence, God could just be a nickname for Universe. The Universe is vast, limitless and timeless, ever expanding (from what we know so far), watches over us (philosophically) and has a great amount of power like mankind's view of God. I know that's a touching subject and I don't necessarily believe it as it is just a theory but Kubrick is telling us to think about life and these surrounding questions. It makes you think.
A tense, sometimes creepy, enlightening and moving film, Kubrick's 2001 is his penultimate mystery tale (The Shining comes very close). It manages to haunt the mind with questions we may never find the answer to. But ultimately, it shows us a bright light at the end of a dark tunnel telling us we might still have hope. Hope to survive, to live perhaps forever...
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Why can't more films be like this?
Just simply amazing and addictive storytelling along with an extraordinary performance from Naomi Watts. David Lynch has crafted a truly magnificent film set in Hollywood, The City of Angels. A place where stars are made... but some fade. Some become destined for eternal success years after they pass on, but some disappear with the click of a finger with nothing but darkness. Think Elizabeth Short aka "The Black Dahlia" or Peg Entwistle.
That's the haunting thing about Hollywood. It's the most alluring city in the world for its deep roots in the entertainment industry but its bright lights and famous stars also lies in darkness. Deep down, Hollywood, Los Angeles is devilish, disturbing... bleak.
Billy Wilder showed us the ugly side of Hollywood in his 1950 film noir classic Sunset Boulevard and 51 years later David Lynch continues this tradition with his neo noir psychological thriller Mulholland Drive. Obviously that is a small portion of analysis and there is deeper symbolism but the dark side of Hollywood stuck with me the most.
Shot against the dark backdrop of Los Angeles, we follow many different characters: "Betty Elms" (played by Naomi Watts), an aspiring actress from Canada in search for the Hollywood dream, a mysterious femme fatale who calls herself "Rita" (Laura Harring) in search of her identity and befriends Betty and "Adam Kesher" (Justin Theroux), a confident yet arrogant film director striving to maintain complete artistic control over his latest movie... but the last part of the film rips through conventional film noir storytelling and gives us a whole new batch of characters. Here we have "Diane Selwyn" (Naomi Watts), an unsuccessful and psychologically troubled actress "Camilla Rhodes" (Laura Harring), a successful and talented actress who just finished working with director Adam Kesher. Skipping between the past and present, we are shown a non- linear view of Diane's emotional and psychological breakdown. It may be sad, scary and tough to watch but Lynch just keeps our eyes stuck to the screen because of Naomi Watts brilliance.
A film noir, psychological thriller, dark comedy, horror, drama, romance; MD is a wide mix of genres. You can't really place it in one genre. Or time frame. In fact, time is stuck in this film, we never really know when this film takes place. Lynch gives us a timeless feel due to his references to previous decades and films. One minute we see the iconic poster of Gilda (1940's film) then we see the more contemporary looking director Adam Kesher driving a fancy Porsche car. Rita is a classic femme fatale (a common female character in 40's/50's film noir). So mesmerising.
Despite the amazing performances from Watts, Harring and Theroux, the incredible cinematography and the hauntingly beautiful score from Angelo Badalamenti; the star of the show is David Lynch: The heart and soul of Mulholland Drive. His driving force and determination to create one of the greatest films ever made is outstanding. Only a few have perfectly recreated a disturbing Los Angeles on film, crafted an intricate and complex story, pushed Naomi Watts to the limit to show us just how talented she is or gave us a visually stunning treat full of unpredictable moments.
A very rare treat, Lynch has given us a film that will scare you, shock you, move you and most importantly: inspire you. From his dream logic, surrealism, to the dark look at Hollywood, to his psychological, philosophical and metaphysical ideas and probably most importantly to film buffs, his unique directing style, Lynch is an inspiration and a sensation. Following Kubrick's road with rich symbolism, fantastic lighting and cinematography, very memorable characters, Mulholland Drive will change the way you look at films. Forever.
The Sopranos (1999)
Could be the greatest television series ever made
HBO never fails to amaze us. They produce mature, complex and highly intelligent dramas that stray away from the clichés of mainstream television and films. The characters are very three-dimensional and played to perfection by the cast. Shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood and Twin Peaks prove that mature and complex television exists.
Taking place in New Jersey (and sometimes New York), The Sopranos revolves around mob boss Tony Soprano and his personal and professional life. This isn't just a typical gangster series. The Sopranos also has scenes of family drama, conflict and weird dreams. The violence isn't implied. You will see the consequences without any hesitations.
The cast is outstanding. James Gandolfini is Tony Soprano and is funny, touching, violent and sociopathic... and all this can happen in a full episode. James is mesmerising to watch. Exact same goes to Edie Falco who plays the gorgeous wife Carmella Soprano. Falco is an inspiration. I could mention everyone actually. Micheal Imperioli, Tony Sirico, Lorraine Bracco, Joe Pantoliano, Dominic Chianese, Steve Van Zandt, David Proval, Drea de Matteo, Steve Schirripa and many more just show us amazing and highly convincing acting.
You'll be glued to the screen from season one right to the thought-provoking ending. It's a masterpiece of storytelling and artistic television.
Citizen Kane (1941)
It's definitely a classic but it's struggling to hold up today
Maybe it's because the newer generation aren't into the older films. Maybe it's because they aren't fans of black and white films. Maybe it's because they find it "dull" and "boring". The sad thing is: I am in the new generation. I've not met anyone my age (21) who enjoyed Citizen Kane or don't bother because it is "too old". A lot of people my age who use IMDb love this but we are in the minority. It really is sad.
Citizen Kane is a tough film. It's tough because the main character, Charles Foster Kane, isn't really a very nice man. The viewer follows this mans amazing journey but also leads to some bleak and dark moments in his life. So it might be tough to watch 2 hours of Charles Foster Kane (played to perfection by Orson Welles) but don't give up. The acting is unforgettable from Welles, Dorothy Comingore, Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane and especially William Alland as the reporter Jerry Thompson even though we never see his face. Terrific and innovative move from (also director) Welles.
The cinematography is exquisite. Containing dark rooms and hallways and offices with beaming light soaring through the windows, it just looks lovely. The lightness (and darkness) play important roles as well in Citizen Kane. Many times actors faces (including Welles and Alland as previously mentioned) are covered in the darkness to show sometimes the corruption and lies a "picture perfect" businessman can be. Darkness dwells in all of us but we don't always see it. Along with the lovely cinematography is the creative and gorgeous camera shots. Welles utilises long takes and some wonderful crane shots which show us the larger than life characters in a larger than life world. Just look at Kane's mansion and you'll notice the dream-like castle he lives in.
It's a masterpiece that almost wholeheartedly deserves the moniker: Greatest Film Ever Made. It's definitely not for everyone's taste. But it's a film that eventually got highly praised in terms of story, camera work, cinematography, acting and it's non-linear style. It's not my personal favourite but I can't say anything bad about this film (apart from the newsreel footage of Kane's life, I find it annoying). It will hopefully live on to entertain newer generations.
Important, thrilling, atmospheric and extraordinary
This is a review on Zack Snyder's Director's Cut of Watchmen.
So many things you can say about this but you wouldn't be able to fit it all in the one review. Adapted from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' highly influential comic book of the same name, director Zack Snyder attempts to bring Watchmen to another medium: film. And what an outstanding film it is. Running just over 3 hours, the film will never bore. Your eyes will be glued to the screen.
Containing just incredible performances from nearly every cast member, the standouts are Jackie Earle Haley as Rorshach and Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan. Jackie is pure method when it comes to acting and is instantly unrecognisable as the vigilante. The way he moves, his deep and intimidating voice, his very disturbing back story: everything is perfect. Probably the best casting choice since Naomi Watts in David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. Billy Crudup, despite being totally redone in amazing GG, is brilliant as Dr Manhattan. Crudup's hypnotic and enchanting voice is the only reason I love his performance. Every time he's on screen, his voice just enhances the viewing experience. I could listen to him all day.
Snyder and his team have put a ton of effort into re-creating Moore's gritty vision of 1985 New York. The set design is sublime and gorgeous. But it's the films visual look that makes the film even more special. Snyder is known for his highly visual films and Watchmen is no different. Every scene is carefully and skillfully done to create a sense of atmosphere and a stunning look. Such scenes like Rorshach's back story and Dr Manhattan's back story and The Comedian's funeral come to mind.
I remember one reviewer saying, about Watchmen, that Zack Snyder is "the Stanley Kubrick of comic book adaptations". I think I will agree with this. So many images stay with you long after viewing. Snyder's style is very much like Kubrick's. Incredible set design, lovely long takes and an atmosphere like no others. So don't expect a run-of-the-mill comic book film. This is serious science fiction and a complex yet interesting look at humanity and what makes us human.
Watchmen is truly special. An intelligent look at heroes, a highly interesting study of humanity and life and a visually stunning film that is one of the very best of the decade. A masterpiece that will hopefully get recognised more in the future. It is important science fiction that should lie with Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey and Mamoru Oshii's 'Ghost In The Shell' as serious works of art to be studied. If not, humanity may fail.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
A mesmerizing psychological thriller and Kubrick's most underrated film
Sadly, Stanley Kubrick died before the commercial release of his most underrated film. Eyes Wide Shut is a surrealistic mystery tale, a creepy thriller full of amazing scenes and rich colours.
Tom Cruise gives a great performance (almost unrecognizable) as Dr. Bill Harford. Cruise has incredible acting chops and shows it all in this film. Fear, curiosity, anger and many more. Along with Cruise is Nicole Kidman as Alice, Bill's wife. Nicole shines in her scenes and especially in the scene with her confession.
Despite being promoted as a steamy, erotic thriller with Cruise and Kidman "getting it on", it is not at all erotic. The infamous orgy scene, even though it has strong sex, is more mysterious and disturbing instead of erotic. And yes, this is a better thing.
I think the reason it isn't as popular as it should be is because of the false advertising. Hopefully, this underrated masterpiece will be recognized in the future as it is a beautifully shot, creepy psychological thriller and a great end to a very great artist.