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Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
A postmodern Adam and Eve in a Town without Pity
I don't often like films that go to Las Vegas but this film really was credible. In fact I never review films but I feel this film needs some credibility.
The basic plot of this story is about Ben, an alcoholic agent who string runs out in LA. He's wrecked his life and when we're about to meet him he's about to get fired. When Ben DRIVES out to Las Vegas he meets Sera (spanish for 'will be', a lonely hooker he hires for conversation. Along the line the couple fall in love. They make there bargain: SHe won't ask him to stop his liquid suicide and he won't interfere with his work.
The story is based on the semi-autobiography of John O'Brien who shot himself 2 weeks after he sold away the rights. For such a cheap budget, this film is well handled by Mike Figgis and has strong performances from both Nicolas Cage and Elizabeth Shue. The one scene that really stuck to my mind was Ben tooling his way down a Las Vegas Liquor store filling his trolley with various brands of liquor. This scene shows how frank Ben is: He's decided to drink himself to death.
Overall this movie has strong performances and I would call it one of the greatest love stories of all time ***9/10***
The Terminator (1984)
Classic Future Technology
This was a film set before Arnold Schwarzenegger hit the big time, however we can see from his performance in this that it was well deserved. This was one of SChwarzenegger's rare performances as a villain and it was played brilliantly. This film was very low-budget however with the superb performances by Schwarzenegger, Biehn and Hamilton and the classy and stylish directing by James Cameron (A enormous career booster) this film becomes an instant classic.
The film opens with a glimpse at the way the world has become in the year 2029 with all of Los Angeles being a nuclear mess run by the highly sophisticated machines known as terminators. The audience is the shifted back to 1984 where both the terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) have been sent back through time. The Terminator is a bad-ass with a 'serious attitude problem' who approaches a couple of punks, beats them up and takes their clothes. Reese however finds it less easy to acquire some decent clothing, being chased by a couple of suspicious cops through an alley-way. Reese soon steals a gun off a cop and gets his clothes from a department store (with the pants being stolen by a destitute drunk). The next day, the Terminator and Reese go their separate ways, the terminator stealing several automatic weapons and looking up every "Sarah Connor" in the phone book, ready to do whatever it takes to kill all of them, only one being significant. Meanwhile, Reese is perfecting his gun, ready to protect the 3rd "Sarah J. Connor" from this terminator. After the terminator has killed the first two Connors he goes to kill the 3rd who fortunately has gone out for the evening. Sarah later realizes she is being followed by Reese and ducks into the nearest nightclub, 'tech noir' trying to blend into the crowd. Unfortunately this isn't even enough to stop the terminator and she is spotted. Reese also spots the terminator, blows him out a glass window and the two make a run for it. Non-stop action here on. This is very impressive for such a small budget, especially with some of the very impressive visual effects. Like most sci-fi films of this genre, it alludes to other works and was successfully sued by author Harlan Ellison for chunks being taken from two of his episodes of "The Outer Limits" in the 1960's. That however doesn't diminish this masterpiece. A notable performance by Schwarzenegger. Biehn shouldn't be forgotten either for his role as Reese with his superb acting skills and most significant character to the plot.
Back to the Future (1985)
Never a thing of the past.
I don't usually comment on movies but on this movie I'll make an exception. The story starts with teenager Marty Mcfly (Michael J. Fox), a dedicated guitar player with a wonderful girlfriend (Claudia Wells). He however has a rather unusual family with his father (Crispin Glover) being a wimp, mother (Lea Thompson) an alcoholic, and brother and sister perhaps the most weird of the lot. We also find out that Marty has a rather unusual friend, Docter Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) who has been working on a time travel mechanism for the past 30 years. We are not shown Doc Brown until about 15 minutes into the film, however he is referred to as a 'real nut case who is very dangerous' by his Principle Mr Strickland who simply hates Marty's guts. We are soon shown how the device works by the Doc and Marty accidentally transports himself back to 1955 when a group of terrorists arrive to ruin both their days. Marty finds his parents are of the same age and destroys the way they are supposed to meet and suddenly it is an uphill battle from there, but with the help of the Doc who is 30 years younger, they come up with a plan that could help get Marty home (probably should've mentioned the time machine runs off plutonium).
This film is a lot of fun having both humour and lots of twists and turns throughout the entire film. Superb acting by Fox who was actually 22 years old playing a 17 yrs old teenager, however most of us wouldn't notice. Terrific acting by Lloyd, Glover and Thompson who had very unusual roles. Zemeckis's directing is top quality, especially the beginning with the many clocks which *hints* this is a movie on time travel. A very family movie for people of all tastes that will always be a classic in my books.