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Best animated DC title since Phantasm.
Along with a quick moving story line, mature themes and strong character work, this is a movie with heart. It never pauses, and rarely misses a beat as it tells its story. The person who said its a mockery, really should go back and read the comics of the period, this had the best art since Fleischer did Superman, and it all works. Loved seeing Batman in his original costume, and Superman and Wonder Woman as adults. It was absolutely fantastic, wish for more work and good tidings in Future enterprises.
The story focuses mostly upon Hal Jordan as he becomes the Green Lantern. The dark themes of McArthyism and a thing called the Center that is destined to destroy us all is typical of the comic, but had not been seen in any of the cartoon ventures thus far.
Let me say it again. This is the best DC animated project since Mask of the Phantasm!
Next! IDENTITY CRISIS!
Breaking Bad (2008)
Brilliant Character Work In Pitch Black Comedy-Drama
The age of Bryan Cranston has returned. Once universally lauded for his work in Malcolm In The Middle, there had yet to be a good vehicle for this man's particular talents. He has that rare gift of generating sympathy and manic-energy at the same time.
For those that would be content to label this show a Weeds knock-off, bear in mind that Breaking Bad is a new kind of monster. It touches on the very same themes, "living realistically as a middle class in the United States" which often makes us resort to extremes to survive. Like the mother and daughter team that robbed that bank. But the weed selling antics of Showtime's hit show is really nothing like "Bad." The Pilot was about as perfect a Pilot as I've ever seen, and much of it rests on Bryan Cranston's shoulders.
Cranston plays Cheimstry teacher Walter White. He has a loving wife, a child with Cerebal Palsy and another is on the way. He also happens to be dying from an inoperable lung cancer situation, which happened although he "never smoked." His finances in disarray, the once great student of science turns to crime to solve his problems.
He cooks Crystal Meth with a good for nothing ex-student. From the antics of the first episode, the show is leading towards a dark place, but a place of truth. This is a no nonsense black comedy.
For people that love Tarantino or the Coen's, this might be your cup of tea.
Waterboys 2 (2004)
A fun and energetic Japanese Teen Drama
In the best tradition of Japanese Shonen Manga, "Waterboys 2", a live action drama pits a transfer high school student Eikichi Mizushima, against a 90 per cent female small town high school. On his very first day, this walking disaster, nicknamed "The Turtle" at his old school, (for reasons that will become clearer later on), is mistakenly identified as the savior of the pitiful boys that had been suffering under the thumb of the girls for three long years. A motley collection of boys give Eikichi a high rank and are absolutely certain because he swam on his old school's swim team, he would be the champion swimmer and the one they could rally a swim team around, giving them some ground. The boys had been previously excluded from club activities and forced to eat lunch in the old observatory, huddled on the floor like so much unwanted refuse.
The action really gets moving as the boys sign Eikichi for the upcoming swim-meet, despite his protestations. Things are worse for him since the very girl that hates him most is living with him, "oh dear". His father is also pressuring him, from afar to join him on the move to New York.
The show is that wonderful blend of ridiculous and funny and there is also a great potential for some real drama. If the opening scene illustrates truth, the series is in for some real spectacular sporting sequences including none other than that greatest of sports, synchronized swimming.
¡Three Amigos! (1986)
Never seen a film more quote-worthy!
I am almost personally hurt that more people don't treasure the Three Amigos as much as I do. I have committed most of the film to memory. I remember throwing Mexican themed parties as a child so I could invite friends over, eat burritos and watch this movie. I am so in love with the craft of this movie that I can't poke a single hole in it. And I am someone who rarely says that about any film. It is a classic.
I'm one of the few people in this country to sing and dance to "My little buttercup" in the same fashion as the too effeminate Amigos, and I have no problem with it. I'm not sure what people want from the film. I can't think of a scene that doesn't work. Shooting the invisible swordsman, come on. The singing bush, come on. The cowboy song with animal accompaniment, COME ON! That very last scene, as the Amigos are saying their farewells. Martin had his Carmen, Chase does his thing, and Short pulls it out with perhaps the sexiest women ever submitted to print. Completely out of left field, but in keeping with the feel of the film.
I strongly recommend one of my all time favs.
The Money Pit (1986)
One of my favorites
There were maybe three films that I could continually watch growing up, and though they may not be the best and brightest the 80s had to offer, there was genuine laughter there, which has followed me today. I've seen The Money Pit about two zillion times and some of those scenes still slay me. I always point the film out to people looking for a comedy and reaching for the likes of Scary Movie. I'm a fan of well executed sight gags and slapstick, and that can only happen when the actors involved are committed to the realism of the moment. Its true, that comedy, though silly and often insipid can still ring true. No one does this better than Tom Hanks.
Though he may have forgotten his comedic roots at present, there is still something alarming about his charming ability to make you buy him as an oaf. His character in this movie is the ass, and he plays it up but not too over-the-top, with specific nuance that only an inspired and natural performer like Hanks can pull off. The laughter as the bath tub finally falls through the floor, his insane deep seeded laughter that shows you how far over the edge this house has made him. When he falls through the floor and Long's character searches the house. He tries to scream for her, but is constricted. He can only manage a feeble though specific, "I'm in the floor behind the couch." Of course the film falls completely apart at the end, letting a weak subplot spoil an otherwise unflawed romp. But, what 80s movie didn't have the ridiculous third act? We can only be thankful that there weren't any montages done to Tears for Fears songs.
An 8 out of 10 for many years of laughter.
Casino Royale (2006)
By My Estimation, the Best Bond Ever
People have been weird about stressing that perhaps Daniel Craig is the best Bond ever. Since everyone knows that Connery was the best, but thinking back, I never truly rooted for Bond, not under Connery. I liked him, true enough, with the confident swagger, easy smiles, effortless athletic feats, but I never cared what happened to him, because he wasn't human. He was a super hero. Daniel Craig touches Bond with something no one has seen in a 007 movie, he gives him mortality. His brutish, often scary persona is so different from the Bonds before that I believed everything he did and felt. Craig, though not as attractive a man as any of the other incarnations, has a face that is hard to take your eyes from. His electric blue eyes are magnetic and he has the hulking form of a trained fighter, unlike Brosnon's lithe Cat-like physique. Enough about Craig, Martin Campbell, who directed the great last send-up, Goldeneye, comes back and takes the whole franchise the absolute basics. Thankfully, there are no Q's or MoneyPenny's to annoy the more intelligent audience members, and no invisible car! It may take another film for the nay-sayers to felt it proved, but this Bond (is better than any others.) Eat that.
Superman Returns (2006)
There are moments in this movie, where i was completely spellbound by the beauty of the pictures. Bryan Singer made two X-Men movies before this, learning how to do the Superman film, greatly inspired by the 1978 Donner film. In the end, he has a movie that has evolved to be something more, giant, expansive, compelling. For a lot of reasons I have always loved the character. He hits a bit of a darker note with this film, his virtue is a bit shadier, but in the end, he is still the same. Newcomer Brandon Routh soars with his performance, nuanced at times and he takes the part seriously, effortlessly, perhaps channeling the late Christopher Reeves, Routh is every bit as iconic. The reviews may have been mixed, but I honestly don't know any other way a Superman film could have been made. Except worse. The only real challenge this team had to do was be better than the films III and IV. I believe his flight, his strength. I believed it all.
Spacey's Luthor is every bit as funny as Hackman's, but he is somehow more sinister. His crew of henchman are vicious, and I suppose Ned Beatty is thankfully dead somewhere, shivved in a prison shower for his incompetence. Parker Posey, brings an interesting turn to the sidekick role as does Sam Huntington as Jimmy Olsen.
My biggest reservation was the Lois Lane character, but I thought this version was a bit harder, not as flighty as the Margot Kidder reporter. James Marsden also brings a warmth and heroic role as Richard White, her live in boyfriend. There are a lot of themes in this movie, some which the Religious Right may have problems with. Alas, a good film it is.
A fun, interesting little story
The Brits have crafted a story that is compelling, interesting to look at, complete with the supernatural, and, with a shoe string of a budget, something quite believable. Hex, is a show of which I have seen three episodes on BBC America. Cassie, a startlingly unpopular girl at an English (either college or Prep School) has had some very strange dreams since she discovered a little piece of pottery hidden away in her room. It turns out, she's a witch, being pursued by an Angel named Azazeal, who wants to make beautiful music. Her best and only friend is her roommate Thelma, a dark-haired lesbian who is infatuated with her. The plot moves along at a moderate pace, with enough twists and turns and subtle effects that the very atmosphere of the show is compelling. Unlike the American Buffy the Vampire Slayer, character development is the most important piece of the show. I'm sorry to hear that the actress playing Cassie does not continue with the show in season two, and will be sad to see her go. Thelma, you will find out, is probably the most interesting character, after she is killed in the first episode by Azazeal. She becomes a ghost, who eats constantly, snoops about the castle, and even wanders into her classmates dreams for midnight rendezvous. The implications are delicious, as is this gem of a show.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
A roaring vengeance story!
In no way did QT miss his mark. This film hit so many levels, I can barely get over it. Perfection. Perfect 10. This film is certainly not for the squeamish, so anyone with problems with gore, stay away or watch with hands over the eyes. Playing homage to Grindhouse, Anime, Leone and Kurowsawa, this movie is what Hollywood should be about.
Meet John Doe (1941)
There is one star who truly empitomizes the kind of man against the world mentality, and that will forever be Gary Cooper. In this film he is a man set up to be something more, a hero. It's an idea that has people often wondering. What is a hero? A movie with references to a Jesus Christ-like divinity in a man gets us all thinking.