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Casino (1995)
9/10
Scorsese, DeNiro, Pesci, gangsters. Enough said.
11 June 2011
A near flawless film. Many probably don't agree, but I do place this one, 1 notch above Goodfellas. Don't get me wrong, Goodfellas is a great film in it's own right, but for me Casino takes the cake. For a 3 hour film it passes quickly and is wholly entertaining. One of my favorite aspects is the performances. I am not a huge Sharon Stone fan, but Martin manages to get a full out dramatic performance out of her, definitely her best role in her entire film career to date. I can watch this film once a year and never get bored and I always watch from beginning to end. I believe this is his most underrated mob movies, which is unfortunate, because it is definitely my favorite.
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Gattaca (1997)
8/10
A Movie for all who are Genetically Imperfect (all of us)
11 June 2011
Made by the same director of The Truman Show, Gattaca, a film set in "the not too distant future," shows how humankind's blind faith in technology and genetic science will compel us to create a two-tier system of the human race: the genetically enhanced, "Valids," and the nonenchanced, "Invalids." Gattaca is a world where humans are no longer measured by their moral character but rather by their DNA, their genetic code. Dating, jobs, health insurance, reproductive rights are all monitored by the government, which wants to keep the "Valids" pure and uncontaminated. Our protagonist, an "Invalid," must use his human spirit--courage, love, tenacity, cunning--to transcend the strictures the government has imposed on him. More specifically, he wants to live out his dream of space travel, but he has to assume the identity of a "Valid," and the movie goes to great lengths showing us the pains our hero suffers in order to live out his charade. Thus the movie pits human character against blind faith in science in a film that, without ever preaching to us, shows the dangers of dehumanization in a world where technology is supposed to lead us to Paradise.
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Crash (I) (2004)
8/10
WOW! This movie is magnificent!
24 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
There are simply not enough words to describe how excellent this film is. Other reviewers have gone in depth as to its plot, style, craft and comparisons to other films.

This is a film that deals honestly and openly with race relations, especially as played out in America. We all harbor stereotypes, fears, judgments and yet a fascination with "the other" and we often do not realize just how this effects us and society as a whole. The movie digs deep into these emotions and draws them out brilliantly in a montage of triggers that are all woven together in a period of 24 hours in L.A.

Black, white, Puerto Rican/Mexican, Arab/Persian, mixed ethnicity, you name it, it's all in here and it's refreshingly in your face. It is for that very reason that the film is about hatred and hope, violence and redemption. Perhaps most poignantly, it is filled with all the complexity of modern life and provides no easy answers.

You will be left speechless. All of the actors, most well known, play roles that are against their "types" of roles and it is for this reason that it is perhaps so impacting and believable. It is a brilliant piece of cinema, one that should make us all realize that sanitizing culture in the name of political correctness is a time bomb.

Do not miss this film.
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The Reader (2008)
7/10
Thought Provoking and Poignant
23 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The heart of this film is in the title--"The Reader." If you're looking for a Holocaust picture, this really is not it, but it's mentioned. If you're looking for a period film, NOT THIS, it covers every decade from the 50's to the 90's. It's a movie hard to categorize other than "astonishing depth" for looking deeply into the psychological make-up of several leading characters. The activity of "the reader" at different segments of Hanna's life helps makes this story so intriguing.

It begins with a teenage Michael Berg (David Kross) becoming ill in the alley and an mid-30's, Hanna, helps him home. This chance meeting sparks an affair. Hanna (Kate Winslet, "Titanic") shares her body in trade for Michael reading to her. The affair ends suddenly, but not in the heart and mind of Michael.

The movie travels 5 decades. An early 90's decade scene has older Michael (Ralph Fiennes) planning to meet with his daughter. Michael is obviously troubled, struggling within himself, but why? The movie tell WHY! It tells of multiple relationships with "The Reader." Kate Winslet's performance is the driving force and success to this thought stimulating story. It's why she won the Oscar and many other awards for her role in "The Reader." She stated in the bonus material, "It (this film) doesn't answer any questions." Another great summary line from the screenplay writer (David Hare), "How do you live in the shadow of one of the greatest crimes in human history?" "The Reader" asks questions, but lets the viewer think of possible answers, or why? After watching during an evening, my night was filled with pondering, dreaming, and my own inward struggle dealing with the issues of the film's main characters. This movie does that to you. Not exactly entertaining, but surely and hugely thought provoking. Call it a "sort of" masterpiece.
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9/10
The Green Mile is EXCELLENT!
21 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This is by far the best adaptation of King on-screen, and also one of the most wonderful films I have ever seen. All the actors seemed to live and breathe their roles. I usually have the annoying habit of wanting to know how long it would take until a film ends, but that was a question that never popped into my head during the course of this film. I've seen the eighteen reviews before me and I've read many of them giving a synopsis of the film. I will steer clear from that and simply say that I absolutely loved all the actors...Michael Clarke Duncan shone as John Coffey (good God that man's enormous), David Morse(Brutus), Dough Hutchison as the vile Percy Wetmore and last but certainly not least, Sam Rockwell as Wild Bill Wharton. He, as all the rest of the cast, was perfect for the role. People who complain about the length of the film don't really understand what The Green Mile is all about, I think... and what it is to me, is one of the best movies I've ever seen, and I will certainly see it many more times in the future. Frank Darabont, and everyone else who made The Green Mile exist- especially the main man behind it- Stephen King- I can't thank you enough. This is sheer brilliance.
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Mad Max (1979)
10/10
A Classic!
31 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Mad Max was Mel Gibson's break though film back in 1979. This low budget film really packs a wallop and set new standards in filming breathtaking car chases. It's essentially a pulp comic book brought to life. A raw and exciting film that set the stage for two powerful sequels.

The police, sporting black leather uniforms and driving colorful high speed cruisers that are stationed at the Halls of Justice and are constantly under siege. The bad guys are a malicious motorcycle gang led by a crazed and psychopathic goon named Toecutter. After one of Toecutter's cronies is killed by Max, Toecutter is looking for some serious payback, but he's messing with the wrong cop...you don't wanna get Max mad.

The production design coveys a world that's gone to hell and captures the grim atmosphere perfectly. Brian May's (not the guitarist from Queen) exciting music score gives the film a larger than life quality. Director George Miller makes the most of his small budget. The chase sequences and editing is terrific.
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