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The Dark Knight (2008)
Ledger owns this movie.
Well the movie was great, no doubt about that. Christopher Nolan is one of my favourite directors and it's no surprise that he has made another amazing movie. This one was much darker than the first one and each and every character, no matter how long or short their appearance, was fascinating.
Now let's talk performances:
Christian Bale is always interesting to watch. The best Batman by far and the best Bruce Wayne too. He's an exceptional actor and just flows into any role he does. I really like the fact that he changes his voice when he's in the Batsuit. I don't think any of the other actors who've played Batman ever did this. It really adds to the character and makes for brilliant screen presence.
Heath Ledger. One word: *WOW*. I've never been a big fan of his, but I've seen enough of his work to figure out that he was capable of some pretty decent acting. Boy is that an understatement. "Decent" doesn't even begin describe the level of complete submission of his entire being to becoming Joker in this movie. If you had no idea who was playing the Joker in this movie, you would *never*, *EVER* have guessed it was Heath Ledger. It was as though he ceased to become Heath Ledger, the actor, and just morphed into The Joker from the Batman universe. It wasn't a "performance", it was a total transformation. The best thing that I liked about it is, he took it to the extreme, but he never crossed the line into over-acting the part. You see him in his funniest, darkest and creepiest moments, but every time, it seems like he looks past the make-up and the costumes and the posture and just delivers sharp and philosophical dialogue in that creepy, creepy voice with such effortlessness. What brilliant preparation.
Best movie villain performance I have ever seen.
Everyone else was great. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine. Gary Oldman: always cool... solid performances all round. Great to see Eric Roberts! Nice little cameo from William Fichtner as well and Cillian Murphy's Scarecrow.
If you haven't seen this movie yet, do yourself a favour and go see it as soon as you can.
Incredibly stunning, extremely beautiful and just plain *cool*!
This is quite possibly the *coolest* movie I have ever seen. It went completely beyond my expectations. I read some great reviews about it, heard people say how fantastic it was, but it wasn't until I actually saw it myself that I realised its incredible *awesome-ness*. Scene after scene was just sheer brilliance. From the direction, to the acting, to the production design. Everything about it was amazing.
What impressed me most were the stunning visuals. Everything you see, every millimetre of the screen is beautiful. Earthy colours. Nothing but brown, red and green. Brilliant, rich, blood red capes on the Spartan soldiers stand out against the rich brown and gold tones and shades of everything else. Unlike other adaptations, this one truly feels like a moving graphic novel. Frame after frame just flows flawlessly on the screen.
Good, solid acting. Nothing underplayed. Nothing over-the-top. Gerry Butler is always interesting to watch - he makes an impressive King Leonidas, totally worthy of the part. Lena Headey makes a strong queen and great support play by David Wenham and Michael Fassbender. I cannot recommend this movie enough. Best movie I've seen so far this year and probably for the rest of the year. Like I said: it's just so *cool*. A+++++, *****/*****, 10/10.
Casino Royale (2006)
The human James Bond
For all those using the word "pure" to describe Bond in this movie: I agree 110 per cent. Before I get to Daniel Craig (fantastic, *fantastic*), I'd just like to say that I'm among those people who say that this movie is the best Bond movie yet. It was more real, more believable, more from-planet-Earth. The plot was simple enough to understand (sorry, but it was), the characters were less outrageous and we finally learn that Bond is after all, one among us. Human. He thinks and he *feels* - instead of just looking fantastic (which Craig evidently had no problem with).
Now I'll talk about him. Yes, absolutely, without a doubt - best Bond ever. We all know Sean Connery was brilliant, Pierce Brosnan was awesome etc etc etc, but Daniel Craig gave Bond that human touch that has always been lacking from the other movies. He didn't have many fancy gadgets to play with, so all he could do was show us what he could do with James Bond as a character and not as a complicated piece of machinery. He's always been a fine actor and I have to say, I was really looking forward to how he'd do in a Bond film. I loved what he did with Bond. He added a new dimension to the character and did not, for a second, look like he was uncomfortable in the least. Not even for a nano-second did I have to think, "Man, they made the wrong choice here. So-and-so could have been so much better." I can't wait to see him in the next one.
Mads Mikkelsen as a villain was great too. Quiet, subtle, there to do the job. Nothing over-the-top. No over-acting. (Kind of like Sean Bean's Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye - good, solid acting). I really liked Eva Green in this movie as well. She was way more likable and less annoying than Bond girls of the past. She has a really natural, loose acting style. No artificiality.
Boy oh boy, this movie was refreshing. It was like a breath of fresh air after being caught up in a huge cloud of dense smog. With the exception of GoldenEye, which was awesome, the double-o movies just seemed to be one brainless, action-packed drag after another. It was so good just to see a *real* story, with *real* characters and great acting - with the action thrown in for good measure (and that itself was a whole lot of fun too).
Doesn't matter if you're a Bond fan or not, GO AND SEE THIS MOVIE. You will not regret it. If it's not screening anymore where you are and you're waiting for the DVD release, grab it immediately.
10/10, *****/***** A++++++
The Departed (2006)
Brilliant, brilliant performances
OK now... I've never been a big Leonardo DiCaprio fan, but I have always believed that he is a brilliant actor. "What's Eating Gilbert Grape", "Gangs of New York", "Catch Me If You Can", "The Aviator" and now "The Departed." All fantastic performances. This might be a bit premature for me to say, but after four Golden Globe nominations with one win, plus two Oscar nominations... come on Academy people, hand over an Oscar to this guy, he deserves it. (Martin Scorcese's is a whole other request... I've given up on that one). He really held his own against an acting powerhouse like Jack Nicholson (who was, of course, great as well). In fact there were times when he actually stole the scene from him. If ever there was a character you sympathised with from the very beginning, it was this guy. And DiCaprio's performance really helped build that feeling.
Matt Damon has been steadily pacing himself as an actor of immense worth as well. His career speaks for itself. Solid performances every time. It was nice to see him play a character like this though. I agree with people here who say he should do this type of role more often. He was believable, it worked.
Martin Sheen was, well, Martin Sheen. Great screen presence.
Alec Baldwin was hilarious. I love the way he just disappears into his characters. He just 'blends in' with the atmosphere created by the scene. Swift, sharp dialogue execution. I love it.
But Mark Wahlberg stole the show for me. He didn't have as much screen time as the others, but man oh man, he just killed it. Brilliant performance. There are times when you wonder whether he's going to be in the next scene just so you can see him again. He stood out in every scene he was in: in the beginning with Sheen and DiCaprio and then later with Nicholson, Baldwin and Damon. I think he's always had this in him, but he really needed a quality film like this (Scorcese being the director has gotta help) to show what he can really do. I was blown away by his performance.
In fact there wasn't a hair out of line in all the performances. We've all been hearing it for weeks and I'll just say it again... this is a superbly-cast movie.
Now with the acting out of the way, let's get to the rest of the movie. It was thrilling, it was suspenseful and it took me a few minutes to get used to the ending, but the longer I thought about it, the more I liked it. I haven't seen "Internal Affairs" so I have no idea how similar this is to that. But I don't like making too many comparisons anyway. This movie stands out quite prominently on its own. A bit of a slow start, but things really heat up after the first hour.
Highly recommended. :-) ****/***** 9/10.
Complete waste of time.
This movie started fairly well, but then it just kept getting worse and worse. I hated the story and I hated the dialogue. The only thing that kept me watching was the hope that *something* interesting might happen in the next few minutes. Nothing interesting happens. It's boring and it feels way too long, even for a running time of an hour and a half. The "creepy" atmosphere wasn't even creepy.
The acting was good though. I can watch Robert Downey Jr in anything. He's got a really unique style and gets into his characters well. Halle Berry and Penelope Cruz were both good as well. There are reviewers here who say that this movie was worth watching and then there are some who say that it's a waste of time. I agree with the latter.
I could have been doing something else. Anything else.
Silent Hill (2006)
Best horror movie in years
Oh man. Oh man oh man oh man. This movie was fantastic. The game scared the hell out of me, but that's not the only reason I wanted to see the movie. I'm a huge Sean Bean fan and I'd watch anything if it had him in it for even half a second. BUT, this movie has SO MANY MORE reasons for people to watch it.
The production design is brilliant. The visuals are haunting and eerie and although it doesn't have many "scary" moments, it has deeply haunting and disturbing visuals, which in the context of the entire story are great. Nothing is there just for the sake of being there. And NOTHING is left out. Nothing is implied. It's all there. The blood, the creatures, the creepy atmosphere.
And then we have the siren. The movie gets into full horror mode whenever that siren sounds and "The Darkness" descends. It quite possibly delivers the creepiest feeling you'll ever have. I completely agree with all those people who said that it's the best game-to-movie adaptation ever.
The acting was really good from everyone. The only criticism I have there is that Radha Mitchell needs to work on her American accent a bit. It kind of restricts her expression in her dialogue delivery sometimes.
Highly recommended movie, especially for horror fans and not necessarily for just lovers of the game.
I'm speechless. Overwhelmed.
It was dark.
It was depressing.
It was AWESOME!!! Absolutely fantastic. The changeover from the Republic to the Empire was very subtle. Nicely done.
Hayden Christensen was brilliant. His intensity, his expressions... it all added to the darkness of the movie. Ian McDiarmid rules. He just does. He *is* the Emperor. And Ewan McGregor is, of course, the man! He was amazing. Natalie was really good too. It just broke my heart to see her cry.
Man, oh man, when Anakin stepped into the Younglings chamber and ignited his lightsaber, it just sent chills up and down my spine. That was one of the most bone-chilling scenes in cinema history. Poor kids. That reaffirmed my belief that Vader was not at all someone to be sympathised with. Even though he did all of that out of love, it was still brutal. No excuse for that. Hayden's transformation was awesome.
The scene where he confronts Padme before he chokes her was great as well. The acting was just amazing.
One thing that really impressed me was the intense, chilling, pauses in dialogue in the conversations between Palpatine and Anakin. It really added to the tension. Great for dramatic effect.
And then of course there's the Vader suit. How fantastic was that??!!! Action sequences! I think the lightsaber got more screen time in this episode than in all other episodes combined. Absolutely amazing fight sequences.
This movie answered a lot of questions and George Lucas did a perfect job in linking the two trilogies together. You just wanna run back home and watch ANH. Especially after the scene where Darth Vader and the Emperor are looking out towards the construction of the Death Star, standing side by side.
As I walked out of the theatre, I couldn't help waving to the people waiting in line outside to go in and giving them a two thumbs up to tell let them know how awesome it was. Hehehe. I looked at the posters of all the other movies and thought, man, they have no idea what they're up against.
Great stuff, Mr. Lucas. YOU ROCK!!!
This was a good movie, but I thought it had somewhat of an unsatisfsying ending (well, to me anyway). Sad too. It moves nicely, though and you don't want to be interrupted. It can get rather graphic at times, but that's mainly because of the subject material, I guess. Geoffrey Rush is brilliant.He has a real knack for bringing strange and twisted characters to life. Michael Caine is doing his usual job of being superb as well. Every new role Kate Winslet performs is different from the previous and she excels every time. She expresses emotion very well. And my goodness, Joaquin Phoenix. I wouldn't say that I was ever a *fan* of his, but damn, now I am. If there was ever a performance that just made me melt, this was it. The restrained emotions and frustration of unfulfilled desires of his character were just performed brilliantly. This guy's an amazing actor.
Dead Poets Society (1989)
I cannot believe this movie isn't on the IMDb Top 250 list. This film was brilliant in every way. Being a student of English Literature myself, I couldn't help but be inspired by Robin Williams', "Mr. Keating." The story is just beautiful and the acting is superb. It is one of the very few movies that have made me cry, especially the last 15 minutes. Individual hopes and dreams take a back seat to the pressures of society and family and that eventually becomes to much to bear for one particular student. Everything was played out brilliantly and makes the film simply unforgettable. Robin Williams was awesome, as usual. Robert Sean Leonard was fantastic and a very young Ethan Hawke was great as well. This is a film that will stay with you for a long, long time. Highly recommended. :)
National Treasure (2004)
First thing's first... the main reason I went to see this movie was because of Sean Bean... he's one of my all time favourite actors. I just made it a point that whether or not this movie was actually good, I would force myself to like it because he was in it. I actually genuinely enjoyed the movie. :) I though it was great. I walked out of there quite entertained. I wasn't really concerned with it's similarities to The DaVinci Code or whether or not some of the historical information was accurate... I just had a good time watching the story unravel on screen. The performances were pretty decent. Nicolas Cage, as usual, does a pretty good job with the lead role, Diane Kruger looks great and Justin Bartha was very likable... the guy has perfect comic timing. Sean Bean, of course, in my humble opinion, was brilliant as the greedy, deceitful villain. A great thing about him is that he never overplays his characters. He sets exactly the right tone needed for a specific situation.
This film was well worth 2 hours of my time. ****/*****