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We Were Soldiers (2002)
See this film!
I have never been a big fan of war films, however when my mum actually watched a film that didn't include the theme tag 'romantic/comedy' I knew this was a film I had to give a look.
As a Media Studies student I spend a large amount of time watching films on a technical basis and not allowing myself to be as absorbed by the plot as I sometimes should. When watching 'We Were Soldiers' it's impossible not to be completely sweep away in every action, word and bullet fired throughout the whole film.
I challenge anyone with a family, a heart and a soul to watch this amazing film and not cry at least once, if this film won't make you cry nothing at all ever will and you should probably be rushed to hospital as I fear you may be brain dead in some way.
American History X (1998)
Norton at his finest!
As a huge fan of Edward Norton, I feel drawn to see any film of his. 'American History X', however was the film that cemented my admiration for such a young and brilliant actor. When I first saw him in 'Primal Fear' I figured that it would be that film that set him apart from the rest, but as soon as I saw 'American History X' it changed.
'American History X' is one of the few films that change your life. I don't think anyone could watch it without feeling touched in one way or another. Whether it's because they see themselves in one of the characters or because of the sudden disrespect you feel at being a human, you are touched in some way or another.
The story sets to tell the tale of the Derek Vinyard and Danny Vinyard, two brothers once joined by power, destruction and racism but now torn apart by the things that they once held close to their hearts and valued above everything. After a three year sentence in prison, Derek Vinyard has been taught a few lessons and his out look on life has changed. No longer does he hate black people and strive for a day when everything is 'American', he now values family over everything that he had, power, love and the label of the white man.
Although some people may find this film hard to watch it should be shown to people as a lesson in what is and isn't important in life. It should be used and a warning to people who no longer hold human beings as equals and are shallow enough to only see the colour of someone's skin, and more importantly see it as a good thing.
This film is flawless, from start to finish the editing, lighting, sound, acting, direction and script shine so brightly it's indescribable. Trust me when I say that this film will change your whole out look on life. The fact that this film only received one Oscar nomination to me sum's up the poor state of affairs when such a ground breaking film is not acknowledged.
Star rating off the chart and it will probably be the most productive 114 minutes of your year.
U Turn (1997)
So Oliver Stone
I had never heard of 'U Turn' before and only really bought it for one reason, Sean Penn, but upon watching it I was drawn into the world of Oliver Stone once again. After recently seeing 'Natural Born Killers' for the first time I was instantly blown away with just how specific Oliver Stone is in his films. The look, sound and feel of both the films seemed to connect and interlock so well it was almost I could see Mickey and Mallory driving across the desert at the same time.
As for 'U Turn' I could only see one main flaw, Jennifer Lopez, I didn't believe anything that she said and did from start to end. Where every other character seemed to naturally grow and develop, Grace McKenna/ Jennifer Lopez just seemed to add more and more complication to herself, to the point where I know longer felt I knew anything about her. The only part of her I knew for sure was that she likes to play games, although this was a key point of her character, in my opinion I felt that she needed more in order to make me feel sorry for her when she met her decline at the end of the film, cause personally I wasn't bothered by it.
Oh my god!
OK, I am a little bias about 'Basic' as I love John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson and was so excited when I heard that they were being reunited after 'Pulp Fiction' that I nearly exploded.
Anyway, the story of 'Basic' is so amazing that I refuse to say anything that will spoil the plot, and I advise that if you haven't seen the film then don't read anything else, go and see the film because your bound to read something that will give away the amazingly well timed plot twists and ruin the impact of the whole film.
Personally I think this film gives a lot of young and possibly less none actors the chance to shine, the best coming from Giovanni Ribisi. Despite spending the whole film in a similar situation as Tim Roth in 'Reservoir Dogs' his acting and delivery move the film in such away that is so intense and enigmatic you can't help but sit up and watch his every move.
Having not had much experience of John McTiernan in the past I simple went by reputation when it can to his direction and found that he seems to have a new way of direction, in my opinion that is very refreshing to see. He appeared not to be scared of at time confusing the audience as he felt confident enough that the acting and future story lines would explain all and more.
New writer James Vanderbilt shows extreme potential and I think that he will be one to watch in the future.
Overall I thought that the film was brilliant. The script and acting complimented each other perfectly and when connected to the direction of McTiernan it's clear that this film is going to be popular. See it, trust me!!!
Wrong Turn (2003)
Teen horror flick - no!
I went to see this film knowing only that it was 'meant to be scary. Thinking that it probably wouldn't be due to the fact it seemed to be just a another teen horror flick, i was wrong. I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish, the enigmatic shots of the killers really did make me feel scared.
As the film developed and the body count increased it was clear the people who would remain alive and those who would be less lucky. Once the last two had clearly been chosen i was worried that the cliche of the finally two, one male one female would be fulfilled and they would kiss and live happily ever after, but the ending of the film left alot of sexual tension but there was never 'the kiss' that you usual find, which made a refreshing change!!!
A great film, really rather scary, but not to be watched if your walking home through the woods, cause believe me trees and cracking branches have never been so scary!!!!
Not for the faint hearted!
This is defiantly not a film for the faint hearted! I openly brag that I can watch anything, but twice during this film I found myself looking away and covering my ears. The film is amazing though and if you can cope with the brutal murder and rape that has made this film so controversial you will be wowed by the acting, camera work and pure poetry that this unique film. The brutality of this film is something that cannot be ignored. Despite the beauty wavered within the closing (chronological start) of the film in the love story of Alex and Marcus and the discovery of Alex's pregnancy, the opening of the film, it's chronological end is one that takes a stomach of lead. The Murder of the rapist and the build up to the murder creates a vast amount of tension that continues till the end of the rape scene and keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time.
This film is a cinematic landmark that should be considered to be one of the best films in a long time. If can look at this film as say that it doesn't effect you then your a liar. As I watched the start of this film I couldn't help but watch, I found it hard to not be completely submerged within the film of the film even though it was a brutal film at the start.
See the film and enjoy the new way in which director Gasper Noe has used the camera and played with the narrative, but don't get so caught up in the poetry of the camera that you ignore the messages and important issues dealt with in the film, and believe me when I say that you will never want to walk alone down a subway again.
My Little Eye (2002)
Fear is not knowing, terror is finding out - sum's it up really!!!
When I first heard of this film and had seen the trailer I though, 'Oh no, not a Big Brother rip off' but I was made to eat my words when I was confronted with this amazing piece of film that took one of the oldest genre's and gave it a new and fantastic spin. After the first couple of scenes I was a little disorientated, but found that this feeling only added to the effect of the film. The creepy aesthetic had a feeling of 'The Shining' (Stanley Kubrick - 1980), yet seemed to maintain a separate identity and not follow the conventions of the setting.
As far as the acting and directing goes I was pleasantly surprised by the practically unknown cast and a director I hadn't heard of before. The writing was sleek and managed to build and hold tension without giving away the punch line. The final plot twist was unseen and a well held secret that I had no idea would happen.
An inspired piece of cinema which, in my opinion should be given a lot more credit.
If you take one thing away from this film let the tagline say it all 'Fear is not knowing, terror is finding out' and in connection to this film there has not been a more truthful word spoken.
The Ring (2002)
OK, well I found it scary!!!
It seems to me that if you have seen the Japanese version of "The Ring" the new American version isn't scary at all, but as I haven't I found the movie effective in every way. The build up of tension was perfect. Not a scene went by when I was on the edge of my seat simply waiting for the next scare to come. I have no idea how I am going to manage to sit through the Japanese version when I spent half the film saying 'f**k, f**k, f**k' over again as I waited to be scared out of my head.
The best performance of the films came from the youngest members of the cast. The portrayal of the haunting Samara Morgan played by Daveigh Chase was outstanding and paired with the performance of David Dorfman as Aidan Keller the two seemed to both spark in a way that is rarely seen in such young actors/actresses.
Overall I found the film haunting and moving in ways that I didn't expect. Not only was it a horror story about an killer video tape, it was a story that explored the relationship between mother and child in both the case of the Keller's and the Morgan's. You should see this film simply for entertainment purposes.
Soul Survivors (2001)
Good story, Bad acting!
Well the 'one line summary' says it all. I thought that the story was a great idea it was a shame though that the acting and scripting was sooooo tragic. Having watched Eliza Dushku become a great actress in 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel' I found myself cringe as the movie progressed. It's a shame that a film that appeared to have so much promised, simply didn't!
Ok, someone help me out here!
OK, What a great film, although I am the first to admit that is wasn't the easiest to follow (I think I just about got it), It was amazing. The set and simply dialogue is 2nd to none of the films I have seen so far this year. As both a Clooney and Soderbergh fan I was more than a little excited about this film, but after hearing such horrible reviews and comments from American I was more than a little nervous about seeing it. Was this gonna be the movie to turn me away from Soderbergh or simply love him even more? It was definitely the second.
As for the acting I thought that the show was stolen by the unnerving performance by Jeremy Davies. And the brave acting and brilliant interpretation of a women with nothing but the projected image of herself was carried out amazingly well by Natascha McElhone, an actress who I had not come across before.
Anyway, back to the point off this comment. Although I have seen some pretty weird films and really enjoyed the fact that I am left we the feeling of 'What the hell just happened?', not a bad feeling, but I like a film that makes me question myself and the world in which I live, something that 'Solaris' doesn't fail to deliver. I have read various reviews and I'm slightly put off by the fact that no one else seems to have seen the film in a similar way that I did. The common theory I have heard is one similar to maybe 'The Matrix'.
My theory (and please remember that I have not seen the original so can't compare in any way) is that Solaris was a kind of metaphor for the state of mind that a person enters after someone close to them dies. George Clooney, like anyone who loses someone close to them has a choice to make, move on and live without them, or refuse to be able to live in a world that doesn't include the person that you love. I think that the return of Natascha McElhone is symbolic for the way that people relive sections of their life before their loved one died, the fact that the way Clooney remembers McElhone effects her is true to the way people question their memories. The ending when Clooney has returned to earth and once again McElhone appears, I think shows that Clooney choose that he could not live without his wife and was willing to sacrifice his life in order to be with her forever.
I would really love to hear any comments about what other people thought of 'Solaris' and whether or not anyone out there agrees with me in the slightest.
Final note: See this film, it's gonna be huge!!!