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The Hurt Locker (2008)
The Best Film of 2009. 3rd Best of the Decade.
If you don't like this film then it's hard to imagine you have ANY appreciation of what makes a good film at all. You must be very, very, very stupid. When looking at the greatest war movies ever made, The Hurt Locker is honestly up there with Apocalypse Now. It has the smarts to know that the great war films are not those that preach to the converted about how war is wrong, it simply sends the audience through one of the most thrilling, edge of your seat, blindingly intense films ever made. The action is absolutely spectacular, the acting is brilliant (why Jeremy Renner isn't a bigger star just shows the faults in Hollywood today), and the direction by Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break, Near Dark) is exceptional. If you have any sense you'll get this film the moment if comes out on DVD and give yourself the gift of watching what is quite easily the best film of 2009. And I haven't even mentioned the scene with the padlocks.
Believe the hype.
James Cameron said that Avatar would change the landscape of cinema forever, and after seeing the film last night, I have to agree. The film looks INCREDIBLE. People have complained about the amount of money James Cameron spent on the film, but it was honestly worth every single cent. Visually, i don't think there is a film superior to it. Not only is the CGI realistic, it's detailed, it's colorful and it looks gorgeous. However, the CGI helps the movie and story propel. The actors are not weighted down and, even in the form of 9 foot tall blue aliens, Worthing and Saldana give terrific performances and a believable romance. There will be those who complain that the story is unoriginal, but I don't think that's what James Cameron is trying to do. He wants us to experience the same types of stories but in a far improved format. There will quibbles about the occasional line of clunky dialogue or clichés but these are minor errors. As a whole, the film is a remarkable experience, and make sure you a) see it on the biggest screen you can find and b) see it on 3D because it really does transport you to the new world. As Jake Sully says in the film's teaser, "this is GREAT."
C'era una volta il West (1968)
"People scare better when they're dying."
Jill McBain (Claudia Cardinale - 81/2, The Pink Panther), a former prostitute, arrives at her husband's house at a place called "Sweetwater" to find him and his three children murdered. While it is unclear exactly who committed the crime, the main suspect is desperado Chyenne (Jason Robards - Magnolia, All the President's Men), leader of a gang of outlaws. However, it is soon revealed that the true killer is the sadistic hit-man Frank (Henry Fonda - 12 Angry Men, On Golden Pond),working for Mr. Morton of the Railroad company, who wants the land Jill's husband owns, and plans to have Frank kill Jill as well. However, she falls into the help of two outlaws, Chyenne - who is in love with Jill - and Harmoncia (Charles Bronson, The Great Escape), who has a mysterious history, and an obsession with Frank.
This film is my favourite Westerns in the world. While I don't agree that it is the best (that title belongs to The Searchers, a film that has influenced so much cinema that without it, no Lawrence of Arabia, Taxi Driver, or indeed Once Upon a Time in the West), it is certainly the 2nd best, if just for the shear homage it pays to the genre. Made by Sergio Leone right after the masterful Dollars Trilogy, he instead set out to make a more thoughtful, mature and intelligent Western, and while the result may be less entertaining than The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, the film is his best, and really shows him at the height of his film-making abilities.
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
A Tour De Force
War is hell, but Stanley Kubrick let us know that boot camp wasn't much better either. Following marine Private Joker (Matthew Modie) through boot camp and then to the Vietnam war itself, Jacket looks at the humiliating dehumanisation of good American boys who learn a terrifyingly cold mantra, kill, kill and kill. Released along with a string of Vietnam movies in the 1980s, Full Metal Jacket stands out as one of the most disturbing and powerful simply because it shows troops who actually enjoy fighting the war. The performances, particularly those of Vincent D'Onofrio as Gomer Pyle and R. Lee Ermey as the drill instructor from hell, are brilliant, the action sequences are breathtakingly realistic, and we can always rely on Stan to deliver some superb direction. The film also deserves good credit for its great and brilliantly juxtaposed soundtrack, and for being daringly truthful as to why so many men wanted to risk their lives in Vietnam. While the final act may drag on for a bit, and if you are an impatient viewer than their is always a chance of getting unnerved by Kubricks films, these faults can be forgiven for such a brilliant film otherwise. Easily on of the greatest war movies ever made.
Raging Bull (1980)
The Greatest Movie Ever Made
Few sites in cinema are as poetic as the opening shot of Martin Scorcese's dramatic masterpiece. The slowness and grace of Jake La Motta preparing himself for the fight is an excellent juxtaposition for the rest of the movie. It's the calm before the storm. It's Scorcese's way of putting us in a false sense of security, and it works perfectly.
However, this is just one of many great things about Raging Bull. The editing, cinematography, art direction and sound all excel like in no other movie. Robert De Niro's career best performance as the tortured boxer stands as one of the best ever committed to film, the script is brutal and realistic, and the direction is unbelievably good. Few films have the same impact on an audience as that as Raging Bull. It could be because Scorcese directs it in such a way that we all respond to it emotionally, but it's more likely that for all that Jake does wrong to his family, we sympathise with him, because we all want to be forgiven for the things we've done wrong.
I think this film is perfect in every way a movie needs to be. It's a masterpiece, a work of art. It's films like this which change the way a person looks at the world
Michael Bay's best movie yet, and easily the most enjoyable movie of the summer.
Michael Bay seems to have a certain philosophy when directing films, when in doubt, blow it up. This has gained him a mixed reputation as a director, some applause him for his ability to blockbusters, while other's think he is a shallow, untalented director.
So when it was announced that he would direct the big screen adaptation of a cartoon series which has a huge cult following, as you can imagine, the reaction was mixed. It is therefore could to see that he has defied expectations and made an extremely enjoyable film.
Lets get one thing straight first, this film is about robots fighting robots. It does not have any serious issues in the plot, any social commentary in the concept or any intense conversations. It is about robots fighting robots. Therefore, those with any sense should expect this to be fully loaded, brain-pumping and mind blowing as cinema should get. Bay gives us all this, and proves that he is one of people to go to in making kick-ass action movies. The set pieces are incredible, the CGI believable, and explosions breathtaking. Sometimes it seems a little too much, but when you 30ft robots firing missiles and toppling cars, you be foolish not to expect that.
Another great thing that helps the film is the comedy. Bay who is no stranger to the genre with films like Armageddon and Bad Boys I+II gives us some hilarious gags, which work great with the rest of the film. The scene in which the transformers search for the glasses at Sam (Shia LaBouef)'s house is a great example of slapstick, and keeps the film on the light tone which makes it so enjoyable. Shia LaBouef is terrific on-screen, and gives the film it's best performance. A natural comedian, he has a great blend of Woody Allen wit and Tom Hanks In-willing hero which makes him a very entertaining lead. Watch out for his scenes with John Torturro, as the two have great gravity on-screen.
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Worth your money
I saw X-Men: The Last Stand last night and i gotta say i enjoyed. There were some parts which i felt could've been improved, and as a comic book fan there were parts that really surprised and annoyed me. Ratner definitely has a different style to Singer, and it is clear in the film. One of the bad things he does is cut the time down considerably, so some of the new characters introduced are only on screen for a few minutes. However, the films is still very good, keeping the same feeling of isolation and discrimination as in the first two films. Its hard to say whether they'll make a fourth film or not, but i definitely think they should, as the film has left us with many cliffhangers, and it would be a good chance for the new characters to be explored even more. One the whole, not as good as the first two movies, but still good enough for you to enjoy, and i hope they make a fourth film.