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9/10
The martial arts never let up
1 March 2005
I went into this film not knowing anything about it. I enjoy martial arts and love the early work of Jean-Claude Van Damme so I decided to give this one a go. Well let me just say that the lead actor, Tony Jaa, has the makings of a star. He has that Jet Li intense screen presence and should continue to appear in martial arts films.

ONG-BAK is the story of a man who must rescue a treasured buddha stone piece from his home village. He fights many battles to get to the piece and stops at nothing in the process.

Whats extraordinary about this film is that it throws everything at you. The action never lets up and the stunts were probably the most intense I have ever seen. Each punch, kick, roundhouse, etc was executed with such force that there had to be some broken bones throughout filming. Tony Jaa surely has the makings of a star. ONG-BAK is excellent.
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10/10
My favorite film of 2004
28 February 2005
Clint Eastwood's latest work, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, stars Hilary Swank as Maggie Fitzgerlad, a poor 31 year old woman who has aspirations of making it big as a boxer and wants nothing but the guidance of an old "cut man", Frankie Dunn. At first, Frankie is hesitant on training Maggie due to the fact that she's a girl and claims that girls are not tough enough. Morgan Freeman's character, Scrap, decides to help Maggie and angers Frankie in the process. Frankie has managed some great fighters in the past and doesn't want to take a chance on a near middle aged trailer park girl. Frankie and Maggie then begin a special bond that is without a doubt one of the best stories ever told in the history of film.

The Academy did indeed pick the right winner for Best Picture, Director, Actress, and Best Supporting. I hope Clint continues to make spectacular films in the future and wish nothing but the best for him, Hilary and Morgan. My favorite film of 2004. A+
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a classic
5 September 2004
Let me first say that I've been on an Alfred Hitchcock kick lately, and have viewed a few of his classis movies. I already own PSYCHO (a personal favorite of mine) and saw that NORTH BY NORTHWEST was on Turner Classic Movies.

This film might even top Psycho and Rear Window in terms of long, drawn out suspense, which is definitely not a bad thing in movies as long as its done right. Hitchcock is the all-time master on keeping the audience on its toes for the entire lengths of his films. You also feel for the characters.

Cary Grant gives an excellent performance as an advertising executive who is mistaken for a spy. Eva Marie Saint plays the seductive love interest to Grant, which is all too common in Hitch films.

Out of the three Hitchcock films I've seen (REAR WINDOW,PSYCHO,NORTH BY NORTHWEST), its hard picking out the best. One thing is for sure, they are one of a kind and deserve to be included in my library of films.

NORTH BY NORTHWEST: 5 out of 5 stars
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It's about the man next to ya...
5 July 2004
With stunning visual movies such as BLADE RUNNER and GLADIATOR, Ridley Scott brings us yet another spectacular film. This time, it's in the form of one of the greatest depictions of war ever to be brought to the big screen.

The film is based on actual events in Mogadishu, Somalia, 1993. At the time, Somalia was a nation conflicted with civil war. Somalian warlord, Mohammed Farrah Aidid, commanded a militia whose methods of control led to genocide. Elite American soldiers, Army Rangers and Delta Force, needed to extract Aidid's two top lieutenants. Major General Garrison, played by Sam Garrison, scheduled a raid that was to take no longer than an hour. What was supposed to take an hour, resulted in a 24 hour firefight in which 19 American soldiers lost their lives.

A major objective in the mission was to not leave any man behind, and the soldiers certainly obeyed and were discipled to that rule. The actors were familiarized with how the Army Rangers and Delta Force trained by participating in a week long training demonstration. From learning how to properly hold a gun to blowing up doors, the actors learned a lot.

Great performances from all the actors, especially Eric Bana. This film, and the Australian drama, CHOPPER, catapulted Bana to international stardom. A true depiction of what war is like and what soldiers go through out on the battlefield. ***1/2 out of ****
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Troy (2004)
9/10
Truly an epic
2 July 2004
With so many attempts at re-creating the bronze age mythical war between the Spartans and Trojans, this film had the biggest budget by far, $200,000,000. Director Wolfgang Petersen (THE PERFECT STORM, IN THE LINE OF FIRE) brings Homer's "The Illiad" to life with the summer epic film, TROY, starring Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, and Orlando Bloom. Brian Cox, Sean Bean, Peter O'Toole, Diane Kruger, Rose Byrne, Brendan Gleeson and Saffron Burrows round out the stellar cast.

In a nation overcome by war, Greek King Agamemnon (Brian Cox) seeks power over all of Greece. Agamemnon's brother Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), King of Sparta, resides with his beautiful Queen Helen (Diane Kruger) who, unlike Agamemnon, strives for peace with neighboring Troy. After both Sparta and Troy make a pact of peace, Prince Paris of Troy (Orlando Bloom) falls in love with Helen and brings her back to his homeland. The two Greek kings set sail along side 1,000 ships with one fighting for honor and one fighting for power. Achilles (Brad Pitt), who is regarded as the greatest warrior in the world, fights for the greek army while still holding disdain for the cruel Greek King. The weight of the Greek army falls upon Achilles and his Mermidans. On the other hand, the Trojan army is led by Paris' brother, Prince Hector (Eric Bana). Hector is an honorable man who has served his father, King Priam (Peter O'Toole), well through many battles.

Eric Bana and Brad Pitt give magnificent lead performances with Peter O'Toole dominating the supporting role. O'Toole deserves a best supporting nomination. Fight choreography, direction, acting, set design, costume design, and score all deserve praise. Great film. A+
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21 Grams (2003)
driven by powerful performances
18 March 2004
This film is driven by powerful performances. Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro were well deserving of their Academy Award Nominations and I felt Sean Penn should have been nominated also. Similar to Christopher Nolan's Memento with the films entirety running out of sequence. Should have been filmed in sequential order. Not that many twists and turns. I first saw Naomi Watts in THE RING and was impressed. She has been around a long time and is starting to get the break-through roles she deserves. Benicio Del Toro excells in 21 GRAMS despite being quiet since TRAFFIC, and I still have yet to see a less than great performance by Sean Penn. 21 GRAMS is one of the best films of 2003. A
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SLC Punk! (1998)
Matthew Lillard's best role
23 January 2004
This film is about anarchy and the whole 1980's punk rock scene with references to many early punk bands such as Sex Pistols and The Ramones. If you're expecting this to be another Matthew Lillard teen flick, you are greatly mistaken. Sure it has its funny parts, but mainly this film survives on great acting by Lillard and Michael Goorjian. Lillard and Goorjian's characters believe that they are the only "true" punk rockers in Salt Lake City, Utah and go about their lives liberating against conformity. Their characters, like every punk, need to be different and their main focus in life really is anarchy. Film would have suffered if not for the casting of Lillard and his narration throughout the film was another plus. I recommend seeing it because it is something far different than anything Matthew Lillard has ever done.
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Original, although lacks in several areas
19 November 2003
Tobe Hooper's TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is realistic horror, which is the scariest kind. I hate all the far fetched flicks like JEEPERS CREEPERS, JOY RIDE, and even the classic NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Although, why this is considered the best horror film of all time is beyond me. It lacks in character development(which is done so well in the new remake by Marcus Nispel and Michael Bay), and sound and cinematography is poor. Even though the film is low budget, Hooper didn't impress me with anything except originality. The dialogue was terrible. This was the first true horror film of its time and needs to be commended for that, but overall, I didnt like it much. Doesn't compare to the 2003 remake.
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Gladiator (2000)
one of russell crowe's best
16 November 2003
Gladiator captures the realism and authenticity of the roman era. The filmmakers were very accurate with the costume designing and the coliseum was even built from scratch for the film. The acting was superb, especially Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix.

A great story about a roman general who was betrayed, and brought back to live out the rest of his days as a gladiator. ***1/2
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nothing else like it
13 November 2003
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is satirical, bizarre, violent, funny, and artistic. This film is absolutely the most radical and one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen; there is nothing else like it.

Malcolm McDowell is superb in his portrayal of Alex, a young punk who, with the help of three friends, committs "ultra-violence" acts of assault and rape. They spend their nights getting drunk at a local milkbar thinking of such ultra-violent acts to dish out. Alex is the leader of the group and after an uprising within the four "droogs", he is left to be found by the police. Alex is sentenced to forty years in prison. In trying to shorten his jail term, he agrees to aversion therapy. The therapy is supposed to scare Alex of violence.

This movie is actually funny at the same time. Malcolm McDowell is great as the film's narrator. Kubrick's trademark is shots down long, parallel hallways or walls and he takes advantage of this trait in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. His movies are genuinely slow moving, although it doesn't take away from the greatness of a Kubrick film. He has a unique style of filmmaking and you definetly see this in all his films. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is unforgettable. People back in 1971 had never seen anything like it before, especially all the nudity and violence. In the midst of all the controversy and bizarreness the film brings, I believe its a classic and one of the most powerful works of cinema I have ever seen.

A
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a script very similar to pulp fiction
9 November 2003
This film is basically a satire on college life and its atmosphere. It's a love triangle between characters and they somehow relate to one another. There is a similar character triangle in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Directer/Writer Roger Avary has written three scripts with Tarantino in the past: RESERVOIR DOGS, PULP FICTION, and TRUE ROMANCE, so this movie definetly has its own style of writing. It's nice to see the collaberations of their work. I didn't like THE RULES OF ATTRACTION at first and after watching the "anatomy of a scene" bonus feature, I learned all about the split-screen shot process in the film which changed my thinking slightly. The film has trouble grabbing the audience's attention, unlike Pulp Fiction. The split screen, and hotties Jessica Biel and Shannyn Sossamon were positives.
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JFK (1991)
captivating, riveting
8 November 2003
This is a very long movie. The director's cut dvd edition is 205 minutes but that didn't stop me from wanting to watch this epic movie. The JFK scandal is controversial enough as it is, so watching it for the first time can be a little confusing. A team of district attorney's led by Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) intend to find the truth in the John Fitzgerald Kennedy assasination. JFK is a very informative fact-based story on the methods and strategies behind this great strategy. Garrison stops at nothing to find the truth and risks the lives of his co-workers and family in the process. Great cast in this movie: Costner, Pesci, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker, Sissy Spacek, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matheau, Vincent D'nofrio, and Ed Asner. Besides Costners' portrayal of Garrison, Kevin Bacon was excellent as Willie O'Keefe. Excellent acting in this film. Robert Richardson deserved his cinematography Oscar and I just recently found out that he worked with Oliver Stone on NATURAL BORN KILLERS. Richardson also brought his photography work to Quentin Tarantino's new release KILL BILL which was very stylish and original. JFK was as captivating and riveting as any other film i've seen. One of my top ten favorite films. I will add another dvd to my Oliver Stone collection real soon. A for a grade
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Bull Durham (1988)
Summer Catch is much better
29 October 2003
It's hard for baseball movies to have good storylines for some reason. I rented this movie with great expectations after watching and loving Summer Catch. Unfortunately, even with a cast like Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins, this movie failed miserably. Granted they're two different types of comedies; this is more of a dry-humor film, and Summer Catch appeals to young adults more with its cheesy, teen movie funniness. However, you need to take it for what it is, and I loved Summer Catch and I love Jessica Biel. Freddie Prinze Jr's Ryan Dunne character is a much better pitcher than Tim Robbins' Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh in my mind. If I had to pick between the two of them, I'd pick Freddie, no doubt about that one.

The film centers around the hard-throwing yet iratic arm of LaLoosh (Robbins) and in order to make it to the show, he needs lessons in baseball and in life from no other than a twelve-year minor league veteran catcher, Crash Davis (Costner). Davis dislikes LaLoosh based on his attitude toward the game and the relationship he has with the team's supporter, Annie Savoy (Sarandon).

Basically, the whole movie revolves around the battles between Costner and Robbins and the seductions of Sarandon. If Kevin Costner wasn't in this film, it would've been far worse. Atleast Summer Catch had great performances in Freddie Prinze Jr., Jessica Biel, Matthew Lillard, Fred Ward, Brittany Murphy, and Marc Blucas.

Bull Durham didn't have that much entertainment in it. The funniest parts of the film were when Robbins calls out Costner to fight in the back of a bar and Robbins tries to throw a baseball at Costner's chest. Robbins fails miserably, and when he runs up to Coster to try and punch him, Costner knocks him down with one blow to the face. It was funny. The other funny part or parts i guess, were Robbins' wacky pitching motions on the mound. He would wind up and turn his whole body to the plate, kind of like Hideo Nomo but with this funny look on his face. I laughed at that also. That's how disappointed I am with this movie, I'm looking for parts that were funny or appealing to me.

Summer Catch has it all over this film.
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Summer Catch (2001)
feel good baseball movie
25 October 2003
First of all, this is a great movie. It's about the Cape Cod baseball league and it really caught my attention when it first came out, and I've had the luxury of recently seeing it. I vacation on Cape Cod every summer with my family and even though the whole movie wasn't shot on the Cape, i greatly enjoyed the scenes that were and there were some nice background shots in Chatham.

Freddie Prinze Jr., and Matthew Lillard are cool dudes and I love Jessica Biel. I think she is so beautiful, she has that girl-next door look to her, which I love.

Thumbs up for Summer Catch.
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Tom Hanks is one of the best
1 January 2003
Tom Hanks ranks up there with my list of favorite actors not only because of his role in this movie but other movies such as FORREST GUMP, CAST AWAY.

In SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, he plays Captain John H. Miller, who must lead his group of men into the heart of World War II in search of Private James Ryan (Matt Damon). Private Ryan's mother receives 3 telegrams informing her that 3 out of her 4 sons have been killed in the line of duty, and that her son James will be given a ticket home. Captain Miller and the rest of his group, which consists of great actors such as Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, and more try their best to fullfill the mission and get through alive.

Great acting and cinematography makes this film so great. The fact that Steven Spielberg directed it is also a plus. A+
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U Turn (1997)
good oliver stone movie
30 December 2002
Bobby's (Sean Penn's) car breaks down in a small town in Arizona. With only a bag full of money, in which he owes, he comes to the aid of Darrell (Billy Bob Thornton), owner of Harlin's Garage. Darrell agrees to work on the car while Bobby walks into town looking for something to drink. He comes across Grace McKenna (Jennifer Lopez), Jake McKenna (Nick Nolte), Virgil the Sheriff (Powers Boothe), and a wacky couple (Joaquin Phoenix, Claire Danes)in his travels throughout the town.

Bobby tries desperately to get out of the small town. The people he encounters is the reason why.

If you like Oliver Stone, U-TURN is a stylish thriller. Sean Penn does a great job and so does Jennifer Lopez. Recommended. B+
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Hard Boiled (1992)
Non-stop action
6 May 2002
This is a good movie. John Woo stages awesome gun sequences and the action never stops.

Chow Yun-Fat plays Tequila, a "hard boiled" Hong Kong cop who is on the trail of a gangster. He discovers that one member of the gangsters entourage is an undercover cop who has been undercover for so long that everyone on the force forgets about him. The two cops team up and try to defeat the bad guys in probably one of the best action scenes I've ever seen. **** out of *****
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Nick Cage and Holly Hunter are hilarious
28 April 2002
Nicolas Cage plays H.I. McDunnough, a convenience store bandit who marries a female cop named Edwina(Hunter). Both of them want to start a family and unfortunately find out that Edwina is unable to have babies. McDunnough goes back to his criminal ways and kidnaps one of the quintuplets of a rich Arizona family in order to please his wife. Gale and Evelle Snopes(John Goodman, William Forsythe), two friends of H.I.'s from prison escape and come to live with the three in their trailer.

This movie has some very funny parts from start to finish. I laughed at mostly every line Holly Hunter said in the movie. She was great and so were Cage, Goodman, and Forsythe. RAISING ARIZONA is one of the most wacky comedies your ever going to see. I'll have to check out some more movies by the Coen brothers. 3 out of 5 stars.
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A bit overrated but still enjoyable
28 April 2002
Francis Ford Coppola's take on the Vietnam war was a good one but a little overrated.

Martin Sheen gives a stellar performance as Captain Willard, an American soldier sent on a dangerous mission to Cambodia with orders to kill a renegade Colonel Kurtz(Marlon Brando), who is the head of a secret military outpost. Willard's superiors inform him that Kurtz was a successfull Green Beret leader and has performed murderous strikes without permission from a higher authority.

As for my favorite Vietnam movies, APOCALYPSE NOW ranks third behind FULL METAL JACKET and PLATOON. The REDUX edition of this film, which was the one I saw, contains an extra hour of deleted footage from the original film. It was hard to sit through certain scenes that you knew were added. Besides that, the acting was great especially Martin Sheen's and the ending was very powerful. Maybe if I had seen the original version, I might have enjoyed this film a little more. Other than that, good flick. 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.
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Frailty (2001)
Great suspense, bad ending
27 April 2002
FRAILTY is a decent suspense/horror film that will attract many people with its story and suspense.

Matthew McConaughey playes Fenton Meeks, a disturbed young man who confesses to an FBI agent(Powers Boothe) that his brother Adam, is indeed the "God's Hand" serial killer that the FBI is looking for. The story flashes back to when Fenton and Adam are the sons of a hard-working father(Bill Paxton) who believed he was on a mission from God to kill demons that inhabited human bodies. Fenton looked at his dad as a killer, while Adam thought of him as a hero.

I went into this movie hoping it was going to keep my interest and it did. There were a few flaws though. I don't want to give anything away but the ending was just terrible. With what I thought was a decent story, the ending certaintly didn't match it. Some parts of the film were pretty cheesy in that Bill Paxton always referred to his victims as demons and that he's not killing a person, hes killing a demon instead. Every line in the movie seemed like the word demon was repeated 200 times. I wasn't impressed with Paxton's acting either. He did an alright job directing this film which compensated for his acting. The ending definetly needs explaining. I give this film a C+.
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The Insider (1999)
Al Pacino, Russell Crowe at their best
21 April 2002
Another great movie by my favorite director Michael Mann.

THE INSIDER was a superb film. Even though it was 157 minutes, it still kept my interest throughout. I just have to say that Al Pacino and Russell Crowe were excellent and it most certaintly deserved the seven Academy Award nominations it was given.

Pacino stars as Lowell Bergman, producer of CBS's 60 minutes, who in order to finish a story on the use of tobacco and its effect on the public, must be provided information by an "inside" source. That source is a former tobacco executive, Doctor Jeffrey Wigand(Crowe). Wigand was fired by a large tobacco company and agrees to help Bergman in that the company is using unethical stimulants to make their cigarettes. Dante Spinotti is Mann's director of photography in just about all his movies and he is great. The cinematography of this film was outstanding. I especially liked how they zoomed in on the characters faces when something dramatic in the story occured. You could really see the effect of what was happening on the characters' faces. Once again, Michael Mann used colored lighting, just as he did in the film HEAT and some parts in MANHUNTER. Its usually a dark blue.

Pacino and Crowe were just simply magnificent in their roles and this is a movie that I would watch again and again. Definetly an A for a grade. Highly recommended.
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Dark City (1998)
Good Sci-Fi flick that kept my interest
21 April 2002
As in the movie MEMENTO, I started to watch Alex Proyas' DARK CITY with very litle interest. The one question I kept asking myself throughout the movie was "what's the deal with these so called Strangers?"

"The Strangers" are in fact strange beings that have the ability to stop time, put people to sleep, and alter the destiny of the human race. The film starts off with John Murdoch(Rufus Sewell) who is woken up in a dark hotel room and finds that he is wanted for a series of mysterious murders. The problem that arises for Murdoch is that he has no comprehension of previous events in his life. He knows that he has a wife named Anna(Jennifer Connelly) and tries desperately to find the truth of his world around him. With the help of inspector Frank Bumstead(William Hurt), Murdoch seeks the definitive answers that control his life.

This movie reminded me of Christopher Nolan's MEMENTO in that Rufus Sewell's character was constantly seeking the truth, as was Guy Pearce's character in Nolan's film. Both had a loss of memory except Sewell's was more severe. Both films moved at just about the same pace with surprises popping up every once in a while.

I have never seen THE CROW so I cannot compare Alex Proyas' movies but I did enjoy DARK CITY and give it a B+
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Made (2001)
Vince Vaughn made this movie
20 April 2002
MADE writer, director, and co-producer Jon Favreau did a good job with this film in that the movie was shot in twenty-six days. That is a very short amount of time in making a movie. With a low budget, Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn steal the show as two would-be boxers that are hired by a mob figure(Peter Falk) to settle business with another boss in New York City. Bobby(Favreau) and Ricky(Vaughn) dont know what is in store for them when they are confronted with the "real mob." Vince Vaughn is hilarious in this movie in that he tries to act like a typical mafia figure with money, women, and a rich lifestyle. He fails miserably in his attempts which backfire on him and Bobby completely. I remember seeing Jon Favreau as Sean Astin's best friend at Notre Dame in the movie RUDY, and as Cameron Diaz' husband in VERY BAD THINGS. I enjoy the work he does and RUDY is one of my personal favorites so that probably has something to do with why I like his work. I thought this movie was well worth watching although there is one thing i didnt like. The fact that Sean "P. Diddy" Combs was given the role of a mob boss didnt take to me very well. He should just stick to rapping and bag the acting. Other than that, I enjoyed watching MADE, especially Vince Vaughn's constant humor.
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Memento (2000)
Stylish, well directed film
20 April 2002
The first time I saw this movie was when I previously borrowed it from a friend. I really didn't have any interest in watching it besides the fact that Guy Pearce and Carrie Ann-Moss were in it. Guy Pearce was excellent in L.A. CONFIDENTIAL as a rival detective to Russell Crowe and Carrie Ann-Moss struck my attention just because I think she looks good, haha. The premise involves Leonard Shelby(Pearce), a man who has lost his short-term memory after a terrible incident. If he has a conversation with somebody, he wont remember the conversation or the person he was talking to five minutes after. Leonard has countless interactions with characters throughout the film and you never know what will pop up next. If you liked MEMENTO, then you should see THE USUAL SUSPECTS with Kevin Spacey and Chazz Palminteri. MEMENTO will have an effect on you from start to finish and is one of Christopher Nolan's first movies. I highly recommend this one.
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Heat (1995)
A great crime-drama packed with stars
20 April 2002
Al Pacino vs. Robert De Niro, it doesn't get much better than that. This is the first time the two have been together in a movie and I have to say that I was impressed with the storyline and the acting. Vincent Hanna(Pacino) is an L.A. Detective who is on the trail of Neil McCauley's(De Niro's) crew of armed robbery specialists. Actors such as Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, and Jon Voight are a part of McCauley's montage who will stop at nothing to take down that one last score. The cinematography in this movie was fantastic. Michael Mann is one of my favorite directors who did a great job with this great crime-drama packed with stars. If you liked HEAT, i highly recommend other Mann films such as Manhunter and THE INSIDER. I loved this movie.
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