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The Graduate (1967)
Very Good Movie
Having heard so much about this film before I had seen it, one can imagine the heights to which I expected "The Graduate" to soar; and it did not disappoint. I was intrigued by this movie, especially the first half. Ben's relationship with Mrs. Robinson was crafted brilliantly and the dialogue was perfect. The chemistry between Bancroft and Hoffman (in an early role) was so good, so believable. I especially loved the crisp dialogue in the beginning when Mrs Robinson begins her seduction of Ben. Although I do agree with some others that the second half was not as good as the first, I think it did serve its purpose to show the haphazard behaviors young people make without thinking them through (being 20, I understand). Altogether, a must see film.
For the life of me, I will never understand why "Ray" was nominated for Best Picture over other more deserving films like "Eternal Sunshine" or "Kill Bill, Volume II" this year. The movie itself is dull and helmer Taylor Hackford does a mediocre job at direction. What brings this movie to life is its excellent acting and powerful sound. Jamie Foxx is amazing as Ray Charles in what I consider the best performance by an actor this year. Supporting players Sharon Warren and Kerry Washington give fine performances, but it is Regina King that rivals Foxx for emotional range and acting excellence as Margie, the jilted mistress. Although his may be a cinematic acting showcase, the only other good aspect of this film is its sound and music, predominately Charles' classics all in one film. While this film tries to capture the essence of Ray Charles as person, it does not succeed and resorts to Charles' popularity and longevity to keep it from faltering.
Sex and the City (1998)
About Sex and the City
This is decidedly one of the best written and acted comedies I've seen in a very long time. The trials and tribulations of Carrie Bradshaw and her three friends is as riveting as it is true. As a straight male viewer of this show, I think that it gave me a lot of insight into the female aspect of a relationship and the world as a whole. This show also changed the way the public views women. Carrie and company are strong, self-sufficient women who even dislike serious relationships and the prospect of marriage. This is far from the housewife days of "Leave it to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best".
Particularly stunning about this show is the acting. Although much has been said about the relationships between the stars of the show, the characters they portray have such a sense of reality and conviction that they seem like ordinary people trying to get by. Why this show was not awarded more is beyond me.
For anyone who wonders about human relationships and interaction, this funny yet sometimes surreal show is the perfect addition to your viewing pleasure.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Not a bad flick...
I was intitially a little apprehensive at viewing this film. The reason being that I had previously viewed a Quentin Tarantino film, From Dusk Till Dawn, and was very disappointed. However, this film was very good. The writing was almost perfect (Tarantino deservedly received an Oscar for his screenplay). His direction was also very good and aided in the story line. However, I think the greatest asset to this film was Samuel L. Jackson's performance as a religious gangster Not only does he perfectly portray the stereotypical angry black gangster but he infuses dark comic undertones unseemlingly. John Travolta also gives a great performance as Jackson's moronic sidekick. With other good performances by Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, and Ving Rhames, this movie is definately a must see.
American Beauty (1999)
One of the best films made in the 1990s.
This was one of the best films of the 1990s. Kevin Spacey was fantastic in his role as Lester. Annette Benning was also fantastic in her role as Carolyn. This film tells a fantastic story about a loveless marriage and its effects on the spouses and all the people around them. The acting, direction, and especially the cinematography is awesome. I see this movie as a modern and edgier re-make of "Ordinary People". They both center around a dysfunctional family and and results of their actions. However, In "American Beauty", the end is comic; Lester, although dead, realizes how good his life was and enjoys his memories right before he dies.