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The Usual Suspects (1995)
Couldn't be better
It should be noted I went into this movie knowing how it ended. But that didn't hinder my enjoyment one bit as the movie only gets better every subsequent time you watch it looking for sneaky little hints.
Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey on Oscar-winning form) narrates the story to the audience and also Agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) of how five felons met at a lineup in New York and went on to work together. The story gets that more exciting when the mythical crime lord Keyser Soze gets involved and you are sucked in until the last minute (where you will be surprised).
Christopher McQuarrie's script is amazing and very intricate. Bryan Singer's direction is spot on. The cast are brilliant especially Spacey and Byrne. Everything comes together to make the incredible thriller it is and classic that it has become. Right into my top 3 of all-time. I can't compliment this movie enough. Just go and watch it!
The Shipping News (2001)
Of small things come great wonders
The Shipping News may be Lasse Hallström's most underrated movie. It isn't "The Cider House Rules" but it is an enjoyable movie that is worth watching.
He couldn't have asked for a better cast of actors for the roles of Quoyle, Agnes, Wavey and Petal. Kevin Spacey becomes Quoyle in yet another spectacular performance. Judi Dench is the only person who could have pulled off Agnes so well. Julianne Moore does a brilliant job as Wavey even capturing the Newfoundland accent so that it seems she has spoke that way all her life. Cate Blanchett makes a small role memorable as it has to be in this movie because of Quoyle's relationship to Petal. And other than some bad accents you can't fault the supporting cast either.
The cinematography in this movie is spectacular and the choice to actually go up to Newfoundland proves to be right one with some amazing sights shown on the screen for the first time.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and will happily watch it again and again.
Beyond the Sea (2004)
Unorthodox biopic that pleases
The only I knew going into this movie when it showed on Sky Movies two weeks ago was Kevin Spacey starred in it. I hadn't heard of Bobby Darin before (though I had heard his music) the movie and once it got started I was expecting a slow Ray-like documentary style telling of Bobby's story from the kid not meant to live past the age of 15 to one of America's greatest nightclub entertainers. What I got was much different. Beyond the Sea has a fantasy angle throughout in which Bobby Darin is directing a movie of his life in a movie of his life. It works very well and unlike some others I do not think little Bobby, played spectacularly by William Ullrich, is annoying. The use of music numbers to move the story is unique and adds a certain something to the film. I know a lot has been written about Spacey being too old to play the part but I think he's the only one who could have played Bobby. It was only at the end credits, once Spacey had already won me over and I was ready to delve into Bobby Darin's music, that I learned all the roles he had taken on the movie; director, writer, producer, singer, dancer and actor. That just solidified for me that it was labour of love for him. He's wanted to get Bobby's story on the screen for 14 years and the journey has come to end with a brilliant piece of film that I will recommend to anyone.
The West Wing (1999)
I joined the party late but I'm here to stay!
I seen my first WW episode April last year and even though I didn't get much of it (or the rest of that season for that matter) I was immediately drawn to it. So I continued to watch season 3 then season 4 arrived and that was when I became hooked. There is no writer better than Sorkin, no ensemble better than this one and no show better than the The West Wing.
It's amazing in every aspect. I have no seen all of season 1 and 2 and those seasons showcase someone of the best TV ever. In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, Two Cathedrals, Noel and In Excelsis Deo to name a few. The writing is funny and dramatic, the acting is always great and the directing is amazing.
I don't know how many compliments there for this show. There a few glitches in continuity a few times but it doesn't bother me because it's just a fun show.
My favorite show on television and on that's very hard to beat. I give you, The West Wing.
Billy Madison (1995)
If you want to laugh, see this!
I'm a film buff and I'm into mostly big budget movies but I really liked this one. I'm not even that big of a fan of Adam Sandler but i like him here.
Billy Madison is a comedy. It's about a twenty something kid called Billy Madison (Adam Sandler) who goes back through school to impress his dad (Darren McGavin). Billy has a nemisis, who will do anything to make sure he gets the company instead, called Eric Gordon (Bradley Whitford). Billy sails through 1st and 2nd grade but his 3rd grade teacher, Ms Vaughn (Bridgette Wilson) has an effect on him. He's got a crush. Billy finished elementary school easily and moves onto high school. There's some trouble here. It all ends up with a head to head academic decathlon between Eric and Billy. A happy ending is minutes away.
There isn't much of a plot here but who cares because it's hilarious. Steve Buscemi has a great cameo role as Billy's old school friend who helps save the day. Sandler, Whitford, McGavin, Wilson and the others of the cast are wonderful. A laugh out loud movie.