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Yearly Rankings: 2017* 2016 2015 2014
People Rankings: Tim Burton James Cameron David Fincher Sergio Leone Michael Mann John McTiernan Christopher Nolan Guy Ritchie Aaron Sorkin
Franchises Rankings: Alien/Predator Halloween Hannibal Mission: Impossible Nightmare on Elm Street* Planet of the Apes Rocky Scream Star Trek* X-Men
Miscellaneous Lists: Actors Actresses Composers Directors Film Scores TV Shows Voices
* = incomplete
What's the catch?
Crackle: Ads. They have a great selection of titles at any given moment, but their library does not change much from month to month. Only titles produced by Sony appear on the site.
Vudu: Ads. You must create an account to watch anything. I'm guessing they want you to start using their platform for free movies in the hopes that you will stay and pay for non-free movies in the future.
Tubi TV: Ads. You must create an account to watch mature content.
Internet Archive: Low-quality video due to all of the titles having fallen into the public domain. All of the movies are old and most are silent films from the 1920s or earlier.
Some of these movies will be removed from their host sites soon (usually at the end of the month). If there's something you're dying to see, watch it before the end of the month.
Movies are chosen based on how good the action is.
De Palma (2015)
Simple format, simply great execution
If you've ever seen any of his films (Scarface, Mission: Impossible, among seemingly countless others) or have noticed his rather strange spiral into exclusively erotic thrillers as of late, then you just might enjoy this doc. If you happen to be a fellow director or other Hollywood fellow, then you just might appreciate exploring the mind of a uniquely-minded director.
The filmmakers used a rather straight-forward technique to capture Brian De Palma's life as a director/producer/writer. They put him in front of a camera, and then let him tell them story after story about making each of his films. This format may have grown stale after a few minutes and a few stories in the hands and mouth of anyone else. Not for De Palma though. His strength as a storyteller and the editor's strength of knowing when and how to cut from one story to another kept this documentary moving at an enjoyable pace.
Since I had only seen four of his almost thirty feature-length films, I was in awe of how extensive and varied his career behind the camera had been. Most of his work just never appealed to me - too weird, vulgar, and/or ill-regarded for my rather delicate palate. Here, he made his work into bite-sized snippets for easy and delicious consumption.
One thing that worried me and almost dissuaded me from seeing it was my worry about spoilers. After watching the documentary, I can say that he does spoil a few plot points of his movies. Does it matter? I don't think so. He's the kind of director that specializes in building suspense and not the kind that dazzles with mind-blowing twists. For Brian De Palma, it's the journey that counts, not the destination (as much).
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Disturbing and Hopeful
It's got the feel of the original series with a renewed energy. The world has changed, but the overriding theme remains: survive.
In this reboot, we follow the story of a drifter with nothing to lose and a woman looking for a way out. Both main characters are quite relatable and stand out in a fictional world much different and off-putting than any other. The disturbing imagery takes away your comfort and the action sequences drag on as the film wanes, but the beautiful desert landscapes and score by Junkie XL help glide the movie. The story was surprisingly heart-felt with a great performance from Nicholas Hoult and a surprising one from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
As a newfound fan of The Road Warrior, this was disappointing. It is a decent road trip film, but I expect it to improve upon a mandatory rewatch.
Tom Hardy may have ruined the film. His occasional low growls and general lack of emotion certainly do not make him likable nor do they make him an interesting supporting character. The way Max was written for this movie makes me question whether this can even be considered a Mad Max film. That flashbacks that should add depth to his character do nothing but confuse.
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
They Gave Tina Turner a Leading Role
If Mad Max was the school project that sourced funding for The Road Warrior, then Beyond Thunderdome was the inside job robbery that was gravely disappointing.
In order to effectively communicate the down-turn taken in this movie, I should say that I wrote both my Mad Max (1979) and The Road Warrior (1981) reviews while watching it. The story and script completely undermine the character development from the first two films. The awe- inspiring action sequences that defined the franchise are kept to a minimum and are cartoonish, gimmicky, and mindless.
I would advise you not to waste your time on this one.
Mad Max 2 (1981)
No Need to Watch the Others
The Road Warrior is the only Mad Max you need to see. It might just be the best film to ever come out of Australia as well as the best action movie of its day.
This time around, the stunts are better choreographed, the characters are memorable and well-worth cheering or hating, and the acting performances don't hinder the movie in the slightest. The build-up to the ending is well-worth the wait. All of the kinky leather outfits help to rekindle the cult feel of the original, but the grand set pieces and practical effects help refine it and make it more accessible to foreign audiences.
If you're itching for a feel of the Mad Max of old before or after watching Fury Road, do not look any further than The Road Warrior.
Mad Max (1979)
An Important, Not a Good Film
Mad Max helped launch the career of Mel Gibson, made a killing at the box office, and, most importantly, allowed George Miller to follow up with a grand and far superior sequel.
This first installment contains cool car chase scenes and a cool, baby- faced Mel Gibson. However, most of this takes place in the opening sequence. The scenes that follow consist of unsettling violence, unmemorable characters, and confusing camera-work. As with many low-budgeted films, this movie has not aged well.
As it is very Australian in feeling and accent, subtitles may help for any non-Australian audiences.
Good Kill (2014)
Remote Death and Loathing in Las Vegas
I enjoyed the first 20 minutes and the last 10 minutes, but the rest was rather depressing and repetitive.
Andrew Niccol's latest thought-provoker tackles the subversive issue of UAVs (or drones) in a bland, to-the-point war film. Ethan Hawke stars as pilot Tom Egan who operates drones in the Middle East remotely from an Air Force base in Las Vegas. We see the story through the point-of-view of Egan as he deteriorates emotionally while facing the horrors of war. His interactions with his co- workers (Bruce Greenwood and Zöe Kravitz) at "the office" and with his wife (January Jones) at home drive the plot.
Ethan Hawke once again teams up with the acclaimed director who led him through Gattaca and Lord of War. One of the film's strengths is its comprehensive depiction of family life closely commingled with active duty. Greenwood leads the supporting cast with his characteristic honesty and clear voice. The beautiful shots of Las Vegas and emotionally-powerful aerial views of war in the Middle East distract from short-comings in the script.
The rest of the acting fails to cover up these short-comings. Most of the supporting cast members appear one-dimensional in their interactions with Hawke. Christophe Beck's weak score serves merely to reinforce the mood at hand rather than enhance. The movie could have also used more cheerful moments throughout instead of a rapid transition of cheerful to depressing. This uneven balance of tone made the film quite uncomfortable and unsatisfying. Niccol's good luck charm, Ethan Hawke, has finally faded.
The Water Diviner (2014)
Decent Australian War Drama
In his feature film directorial debut, Russell Crowe displays his competence behind the camera but not all that much else. This pseudo-sequel to Peter Weir's Gallipoli (1981) covers Joshua Conner's (Russell Crowe) attempt to come to terms with the loss of his family by traveling halfway across the globe for a piece of Turkish beauty and widow, Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko).
The performances are fair. Crowe channels his inner Robin Hood as he travels to foreign lands, draws the hatred then love of a widow of a recently-concluded war, and gets molested by children who he later befriends and adopts. Native Australian Jai Courtney proves to us once again that he doesn't suck at acting, but he can't add much to his films either. Young Aussie newcomer Dylan Georgiades personifies the bundle of joy that children are to their parents as he helps Conner in his quest to win the heart of his own mother.
In all seriousness though, the largest strength of this piece is its display and examination of Turkish/Ottoman culture in the aftermath of The Great World War. We tour Turkey as foreigners and learn its customs through the eyes of Crowe's Conner and its angst during its transition from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic of Turkey through Yılmaz Erdoğan's Major Hasan, an Ottoman officer during the invasion of Gallipoli.
One of my bigger problems with the film is the Kurylenko's part as love interest for Crowe. It's unmemorable and feels slightly forced and clichéd following in the footsteps of many romantic comedies that have come before. The direction from Crowe can be too heavy- handed at times as he strives for emotional and spiritual breakthroughs. However, the thing that annoyed me the most was the opening credit's font. It was difficult to read.
I had some ideas on the title as well. I think "Return to Gallipoli", "Gallipoli 2: The Aftermath", "Gallipoli: Ottoman 2 Turkey", "A Father's Promise", "Father and Sons", "Source of Hope" (Croatian title), "Promises of War" (Brazilian title), or "The Promise of a Life" (German title) would all have made better and more fitting names for the English distribution.
I wish more big films were made about WWI. It was a beast that not many understand (including yours truly). The film is solidly compelling all the way through and provides a very entertaining history lesson; however, it lacks any truly awe-inspiring moments (except maybe the well-digging scene; that was cool). I'd recommend taking a look back at Gallipoli (1981) starring Mel Gibson if you want to see more on Gallipoli (or if you just want a better movie).
Psych: Psy vs. Psy (2007)
All About Lou
As with most "Psych" episodes, "Psy vs. Psy" is hilarious and clever. I'd even consider it one of the best episodes of the series.
After chasing a counterfeiter to Santa Barbara, federal agent Lars Ewing (Lou Diamond Phillips) and psychic Lindsay Leikin (Bianca Kajlich)face off against the SBPD and psychic Shawn Spencer to find the perp first.
Lou Diamond Phillips plays a smart, strict, and "manly" man who doesn't know how to laugh because he never learned to as a child. His performance alone fuels the episode. Him and Lassy face off against each other in comical ways. Shawn and sidekick Gus "Silly Pants" Jackson are hilarious as always as Shawn faces off with another psychic.
If you watch "Psych" and missed this episode, go back and watch it. You'll be glad you did.