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The Boys from Brazil (1978)
One of Schaffner's finest films
Franklin J. Schaffner's The Boys from Brazil is a thrillingly entertaining movie with a somewhat vengeful plot adapted from an Ira Levin novel. The movie stars Gregory Peck as Dr. Josef Mengele an evil Nazi doctor who was responsible during the Holocaust for killing millions of people and amputating limbs, who is in Paraguay and is now coming up with a plot to kill 94 65 year old men and at first doesn't know that he is being recorded by a young man named Barry Kohler (played by Steve Guttenberg) a young Nazi hunter who later tells an older man who also happens to be a Nazi hunter named Ezra Lieberman (played by Laurence Olivier in an Oscar nominated performance) who all of the sudden wants to find out more about the plot. Another person who is backing Mengele's plan as much as Mengele's remaining fellow Nazis is one of his closest friends which also happens to be a Nazi named Col. Eduard Seibert (played by James Mason). Schaffner's direction for the movie is nothing short of excellent, along with Heywood Gould's intense screenplay, and Jerry Goldsmith's suspenseful music, all go well for a fast-paced thriller of this type. At the 51st Academy Awards a little more than 36 years ago this movie received 3 Oscar nominations Best Actor for Laurence Olivier, Best Film Editing for Robert Swink, and Original Score for Goldsmith, but for me this could have been nominated for a lot more awards for example with Gregory Peck being nominated for best actor, Olivier and Mason being nominated in the supporting actor category. Although this isn't Franklin Schaffner's best film that he ever directed I do think that not only it is one of his most superb, I also think that it was a wonderful film to watch.The one thing that this movie proves most is that the Nazi party is the most evil political party ever to face mankind, as well as other films such as Spielberg's Schindler's List looking at the horror that the Jews faced during the Holocaust, and Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds showing what we felt like doing to the Nazis but what we didn't do to them anyway, and the thing in this film that shows the most of Nazi cruelty was the Gregory Peck performance as Dr. Mengele which was not overplayed it was top-notch. This is a movie that will entertain as well as somewhat horrify, but also many movie lovers will really like to watch as well.
Jerry Maguire (1996)
A very good movie on so many levels
Cameron Crowe's Jerry Maguire is the first and the best sports-agent movies that I have ever seen before and it is a film that also knows a lot about TV sports-casting as well. The movie stars Tom Cruise as Maguire one of the top sports agents that works for a company called SMI and goes by the philosophy that "being a sports agent isn't about how much money you get and how many clients you may have it is about the friendship with your clients" and gets fired as a result after his boss Bob Sugar (played by Jay Mohr), and before he leaves he decides to go establish a new business with a co-worker named Dorothy Boyd (played by Renee Zellweger) who is the only person that believes in Jerry, and his only client Rod Tidwell (played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in an Oscar winning performance) who acts like a brother to him, and as a result for Tom Cruise he goat a best actor Oscar nomination for his work. Crowe's screenplay is also well written and inspires many to follow their dreams whether you want to be involved in the sports business or not.Even though this isn't a great movie I did enjoy watching the movie. There are some other good things about the movie as well mainly being the humor of this movie which is funny in a goofy kind of way. This is a movie that I think many movie lovers should enjoy laugh with, and treasure as much as I did.
Ball of Fire (1941)
A delightful film
Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire is one of the best love stories that I have ever seen in a long time since Some Like It Hot (1959), and The Apartment (1960) because this movie has all the perfect ingredients to tell this kind of story. The movie stars Gary Cooper as an English Professor named Bertram Potts who is working with a group of other professors on finishing an encyclopedia (which Potts estimates that it will take at least 3 years to finish) even while Potts is on an "investigation" on modern slang throughout town in order to learn more about it, then Potts ends up going to a nightclub where he meets a singer and burlesque girl named Sugarpuss O'Shea (played by Barbara Stanwyck in an Oscar nominated performance) who is singing a slang song called "Drum Boogie" which gives Potts a fine opportunity to write the slang words in the song on a page in his notepad. Then after the concert is over he heads to O'Shea's dressing room where he meets he in order for her to give more slang ideas and is sent out in a hurry using slang which was pretty funny to see, then that same night O'Shea goes to the bachelor house where Potts lives and they start an instant relationship and have their fun until the mob takes her away from him and she ends up getting forced to marry a mob boss named Joe Lilac (played by Dana Andrews) but Sugarpuss already knows that Potts wouldn't her get away with Lilac. The casting for this movie was excellent especially the supporting cast besides Andrews, also includes Henry Travers, Oskar Homolka, S.Z. Zakall, and so much more, and especially the wonderful screenplay by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder, and last but not least Howard Hawks's excellent direction for the movie. For which this movie teaches an important lesson which is that if people want to marry one another the couple who are engaged to one another whoever it may be have to be committed to one another at least for a long time.
Children of Men (2006)
Cuaron's best film yet
"Children of Men" is arguably Alfonso Cuaron's finest achievement of the films that I've watched that he happened to direct and to me this movie is much better than Gravity (2013) because this movie is inspirational beyond with some suspenseful plot elements, while Gravity does the same thing but I think that this movie explains a lot more details of the plot. The movie is set in the year 2027 and the youngest child on earth has just died at the age of 18, women have become infertile for some unknown reason, humanity is at risk of extinction, and no child has been born since 2009. The movie stars Clive Owen in an exceptional performance as Theo Faron a former activist who becomes the unlikely hero of this movie when he is asked by his ex- lover Julian (played by Julianne Moore) to escort a young pregnant girl named Kee (played by Clare Hope- Ashitey) out of the country to a place called "The Human Project" with the help of an old man named Jasper (played by Michael Caine). This is a wonderful movie dealing with a situation that is definitely horrible but can't possibly happen in real life and the miracles that happen when children are welcomed into the world, Cuaron's direction and his screenplay are just pitch perfect, and Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography is so good that it should have nabbed him an Oscar over Guillermo Navarro's cinematography that ended up taking home that ended up taking home the Oscar at the 79th Academy Awards for Pan's Labyrinth. Not only that this movie is a science fiction movie and a whole lot more than a fiction movie that I will always treasure and a movie experience I shall never forget, I do personally recommend this film for people who like or don't like science- fiction movies because it is a heartbreaking story that told a lesson that this world will always need more children no matter what the circumstance.
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)
A fresh start from an excellent director
"Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" was Michael Cimino's first film as a director and to me it is one of the best heist movies that I have ever seen and perhaps the most entertaining movies of the genre. The movie stars Clint Eastwood as a bank robber named Thunderbolt who in the first scene we believe to be a preacher but his mass gets interrupted when shots get fired and he ends up escaping the scene, after the shooting he ends up meeting a young man named Lightfoot (played by Jeff Bridges in an Oscar nominated performance) and start a friendship with one another and they are on their way to Warsaw, Montana to look for a one room schoolhouse for some money that hasn't been found, and they end up going to the wrong school whilst assuming that the one room schoolhouse was torn down while getting some ice cream. Then after the ice cream they go into their car and almost get killed again by the same people who tried to before whose names are Red Leary (played by George Kennedy) and Eddie Goody (played by the late Geoffrey Lewis) who then all of them become friends and plan a bank robbery and it ends up being mostly a success and somewhat isn't and I won't give away any details in case people haven't seen the film. In the ending Thunderbolt and Lightfoot find the old one room schoolhouse moved to a different area in Warsaw, Montana and end up finding the money behind a chalkboard. This was a heist movie experience about a friendship between four central characters more than an actual heist itself.
Duel in the Sun (1946)
A marvelously entertaining western
King Vidor's "Duel in the Sun" is arguably a great western and perhaps the most entertaining westerns I have ever seen before, as well as one of the best David O. Selznick productions I have seen since Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945), and Victor Fleming's Gone with the Wind (1939). The movie stars Jennifer Jones (in an Oscar nominated performance) as Pearl Chavez a young woman from Mexico whose mother dies and her father (played by Herbert Marshall) ends up getting hanged for the murder of her mother, and Pearl feels bad about the whole thing and has to live at a relative's house in Texas where she is welcomed into her new home by an older woman named Laura Belle McCanles (played by Lillian Gish in an Oscar nominated performance) and her husband Jackson (played by Lionel Barrymore) and their two sons one who is the oldest brother and happens to be a lawyer named Jesse (played by Joseph Cotten), and the younger immature Lewton (or Lewt, who was played by Gregory Peck) which at first Pearl was in love with Jesse and then after he left she started to have a complicated relationship with Lewton. The movie also has an excellent supporting cast let alone Gish and Barrymore but it also includes Walter Huston as the local priest, and Charles Bickford as a middle aged man who wants to marry Pearl but the marriage ends before it could possibly begin. The movie has a lot of good technical aspects to it as well for example all the costumes are perfect, the cinematography by Harold Rosson, Lee Garmes, and Ray Rennahan is shot brilliantly. as well as the music by Dimitri Tiomkin is just beautiful to listen to. Another good thing about the movie was David O. Selznick's screenplay is has nothing short of great dialogue throughout the entire film, as well as the production. This movie was a western film experience that I will treasure and never forget this is one of 1946's best films.
Written on the Wind (1956)
An unpredictable love triangle
Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind is nothing short of a wonderful film that is also the most emotionally effective Sirk film I've seen since All That Heaven Allows (1955). I thought that by the look of the criterion collection DVD cover that is was going to tell a nice story about the marriage of both Rock Hudson's and Lauren Bacall's characters (which doesn't change my opinion on the movie one bit). But the movie tells a different story, the movie stars Rock Hudson as Mitch Wayne a man who happens to be lifelong best friends with an alcoholic playboy named Kyle Hadley (played by Robert Stack in an Oscar nominated performance) who is dating a woman named Lucy Moore (played by Lauren Bacall) who Kyle then gets married to and doesn't know that Lucy is secretly in love with Mitch, as well as Marylee Hadley (played by Dorothy Malone in an Oscar winning performance) who is Kyle's nymphomaniac sister who is sexually attracted to Mitch. While watching this movie I empathized with the Lauren Bacall character most because she suffered a lot in her marriage to the Robert Stack character who said to her in the beginning of the movie that "I drink too much". Even though I didn't read the novel I felt like I did because I understood the story and the emotions of the characters so well, Sirk really took the time while making this film and had a good time doing it, and Russell Metty's camera angles are shot in all the right places. The movie itself is just a life changing experience for me to watch, this is one of the 10 best films of 1956.
A very suspenseful thriller
This movie is not only one of the best thrillers I have ever seen in a long time mainly because the movie is different than most thrillers, and it is also one of the best directing debuts that I have ever seen. The movie is written and directed by Dan Gilroy and is a movie should have gotten a whole lot more Oscar nominations than the single original screenplay nomination that the movie ended up receiving. The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal in a completely different performance as Lou Bloom a man who is desperate for a job who ends up getting fascinated with L.A. crime, even before he gets a job he starts night-crawling at first talking with a man named Joe Loder (played by Bill Paxton) while looking for a job for about a few days to a week when he meets a woman named Nina Romina (played by Rene Russo) who he kept showing crime footage to,mainly so that he could become more well known as a crime journalist. The movie has a lot of other good things about it besides the story , and the performances, but also James Newton Howard's score, and Robert Elswit's cinematography are just perfect for this type of movie. I am looking forward to seeing as to what films that Dan Gilroy will direct next because to me this film was worth a start for a great film career as a director for Dan Gilroy in the years ahead.
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
One of the best courtroom dramas I have ever seen
Stanley Kramer's Judgment at Nuremberg is the most riveting historical period drama I have ever seen since seeing Oliver Stone's JFK (1991) but both films have two things common besides being historical dramas, they were both fictionalized, and both have great ensemble casts with JFK featuring Kevin Costner, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Sissy Spacek, Donald Sutherland, Joe Pesci, Gary Oldman, John Candy, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Rooker, and Tommy Lee Jones. As well as this film featuring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Maximilian Schell, and Montgomery Clift all in superb performances. The film is loosely based on the 1948 Nuremberg trials which originally had 99 defendants but with this film only having four of five, the movie stars Spencer Tracy as Chief Judge Dan Haywood who presides on the case against the defendants Ernst Janning (played by Burt Lancaster), Emil Hahn (played by Werner Klemperer), Friedrich Hofstetter (played by Martin Brandt),and Werner Lampe (played by Torben Meyer). Abby Mann's very suspenseful screenplay is also a very intense one because we don't know whether the four defendants will be found guilty or not because of the reasons that the prosecution and the defense bring to the table all because of the rivaling performances from Richard Widmark (who played prosecutor Tad Lawso)n and Maximilian Schell (who played the defense attorney Hans Rolfe and ended up winning an Oscar for his performance), this is Kramer's absolute best film as a director and also one of 1961's 10 best films.
American Sniper (2014)
The best movie of 2014
Clint Eastwood's American Sniper is arguably Eastwood's best film I have seen since Million Dollar Baby (2004) as well as his most heartbreaking movie since then that I have seen. Not only is it a heartbreaking story it is also more of an inspirational story about an American hero named Chris Kyle (played by Bradley Cooper in an Oscar nominated performance) an All-American man who lived an unfinished life who was dedicated to the protection of his country and his family and served four tours of duty in Iraq. I have heard a few criticisms of this movie of which I will only talk about one of them which he happens to be a movie critic that I highly respect whose name is Chris Stuckmann and he criticized that movie for not telling enough about Kyle's tours of duty, and for me that is a criticism that I highly disagree with because to me the scenes in the movie in which Kyle goes through his tours of duty is pretty self-explanatory. This is Clint Eastwood's 34th film as a director and one of his awe-inspired best. Even though I didn't finish Kyle's best-selling book of the same name watching this movie made me feel like I did which is one of the reasons why this movie is so good. Also Sienna Miller gave a strong performance in the movie as Chris Kyle's wife Taya, this film should have definitely won a lot more Oscars that it ended up receiving in other words it only won one Oscar which was for best sound editing and for me it also should have won best adapted screenplay, best actor for Bradley Cooper and best picture. Because this movie is a solid reminder that serving your country is always good with bad consequences and as Richard Roeper put it "This movie is a brutal reminder that saying thank you for your service is not enough" and that helping wounded veterans is a great thing to do to bring up a person's spirit of patriotism and a sense of humility.