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The Wire (2002)
Best Police TV Series by a mile. It leaves NYPD Blue, Law and Order etc in its wake. Remarkably realistic story lines coupled with great actors makes this series a must see.
Its a story told from the perspective of both the good guys as well as the bad guys, however the lines separating the two sometimes become very hazy indeed.
A true gem from HBO, cant wait for season 4 (which i hear will be coming out later in 2006. The one thing that captivated me is the street lingo that just flows like a good rap song.
Some characters truly captivate you. If you have some time check out the HBO website for a fantastic organisation chart on both the street and the cops.
The Constant Gardener (2005)
This movie is absolutely amazing! Reason being is that no matter how much the Left wants to accept it as a Liberal film and some of the Right want to reject it as liberal nonsense, the reality is that this movie is neither. This movie is simply an exercise in trying to open people's eyes.
It does show drug companies as being somewhat greedy and allowing unstable drugs to be tested on the people of Africa who seem "disposable." But, the truth is the truth and sometimes it forces all of us to see what we don't want to.
Politics aside, this movie is gripping in all aspects. Ralph Fiennes is on the highest marks as Justin Quayle he really makes you care about what his character is searching for. Rachel Weisz, though not given the biggest part, is great. The supporting cast, such as Bill Nighy, is also quite amazing. Not to mention how great the cinematography is.
The scenes in Kenya are amazing the people, the life, and the natural beauty. The film is a full throttle thriller, but is also based in a very human story of how we need to realize some of the injustices that happen every day and do what we can to change it.
Being of Kenyan descent, the movie moved me to tears. The seriousness to which the director shoots the scenes totally lets the audience get what he is trying to portray. Some of the scenes would appear cliché however I grew up in Kenya and could totally relate to the surroundings. Its a refreshing breath of fresh air to see a work of art come into the scene, I wish many more people would go and see this picture. It truly is a masterpiece. Well done to the directors and actors.
The West Wing (1999)
Making real drama out of politics
So much political reporting seems to be an attempt to fake a drama out of little material. I missed the West Wing when it started, but am catching up now, and find that it turns the specifics of politics into gripping human drama with a fast pace.
The camera seems to move as quickly as the people, following one conversation, then picking up another as two corridors intersect, and going off after that conversation instead. It's a remarkably effective dramatic device, that helps generate a sense of many topics, issues and personalities all being constantly on the move in response to events.
The acting is uniformly good, and often not on screen, Martin Sheen's president remains a constant presence shaping every story.
Just See SAW!
Wow. The critics weren't wrong. Not since seven has horror been portrayed so majestically.
From the first minute to last this film twists and turns you till you feel rather poorly. Just like 'Se7en', the all-round Grittiness that director James Wan creates disgusts and enthralls. Just like 'Se7en', there is a H U G E twist that makes your blood curdle.
A lack of star names helps the movie flow as the pace builds to a finale that won't be forgotten by this viewer in a hurry!
I still can't sleep.
It is well scripted, well acted, and, for everyone who guesses the killer after the first few minutes, keeps you guessing right up to the final reel. It is better than Seven for shock value. It is not over the top gory but there is a final scene which makes you sweat.
Very highly recommended!
I Am Sam (2001)
What an incredible film! I wasn't expecting much. The last film where I can remember being so emotionally exhausted was Saving Private Ryan, and while this is a very different movie, it is equally good.
It is difficult to say where it is so good without giving away the plot, but throughout you have no idea how the film will end. This film deserved to have been one of the big films of the year, but I guess the subject doesn't have the mass appeal. You should put this at the top of your list.
Make sure you get the towels out for this one. Not to be watched in a hurry. I am a man's man, but i cried myself silly when i watched this film. A totally captivating performance from Sean and the little girl!
Das Experiment (2001)
A Fascinating and Disturbing Film
Based on a real psychological experiment at Stanford University in 1971, using a group of male students, the mood of this film captures the sense of disorientation and loss of reality that was experienced by the original volunteers. Acts of humiliation present a violent and effective method for stripping individuality and asserting power over prisoners. The psychological transformations into masochistic and submissive roles are fascinating when you consider that that the only real distinguishable difference between the characters, is that by a random selection process, some are labeled 'wardens' and others are labeled 'prisoners'. The levels of violence, brutality and humiliation in the film seem extreme but in the original experiment, humiliation tactics were also extreme prisoners were also made to wear chains round their ankles and stockings on their heads at all times! The film's conclusion is carefully constructed and appears to bear an implicit reference to the real prison riot of San Quentin (which occurred the day after the Stanford experiment was prematurely halted), in which guards and informant prisoners were tortured and murdered during the prisoners' escape attempt. This film is a sensitive study into power relationships within an altered reality and is masterfully crafted to build tension and invite the viewer to question the character's morality and ethical codes. Far more relevant and interesting than the bland reality TV shows we are plagued by these days
Cidade de Deus (2002)
Purely Amazing This is without a doubt the best film i have seen all year. It shows the true the story of a group of young kids growing up in the slums in Rio. It has a little mix of Stand by Me, Lord of the Flies and Pulp Fiction all rolled into one. This film is completely breath-taking from start to its gruesome finish.
If you don't have a strong gut then its not for you as there are some extremely violent scenes, and you have to keep in mind all the time that they are just kids.
The directing is superb, the story is told from one young lad's point of view about several different people with the excellent use of flashbacks. The story itself is an amazing one - this is a must-see film. (Even though it is in Portuguese).