Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
ListsAn error has ocurred. Please try again
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Thomas More truly was a Man for all Seasons
A Man for all Seasons is a 1966 film directed by Fred Zinneman. It tells the story of the final years of Sir Thomas More. Like Elizabeth, the film was praised and won an impressive six Oscars. It was an adaptation of a play written by Robert Bolt and this is important to note, unlike certain adaptations that would come years later. A Man for all Seasons sticks much, much, closer to the actual history. In fact, only very minor details were changed as opposed to the almost fantasy-like take on Queen Elizabeth. While both are great films, A Man for all Seasons has a little more of my respect because of this. Now to the movie's story.
The film centers on Sir Thomas More, played excellently by Paul Scofield, who refuses to submit in the face of ever increasing pressure. More is portrayed as a man who adhered to his religion no matter the consequence. Interestingly enough, the DVD I purchased had the tagline "His silence was more powerful than words". At first, I had not a clue what that meant. After watching the film, I see now that the meaning behind it is really rather tragic. In the face of threats and endless persecution from his peers and King Henry VIII himself, More refused to crucify himself by openly declaring his reasoning. It was a clever way of going about it, but also sad in that a man had to resort to such tactics in the first place.
Of course , in the end it is not enough to save the main character from the king's wrath. Unfortunately, he goes the way of the martyr. In so doing, however, he became an impeccable symbol of virtue and strength. By refusing to allow politics to mold his beliefs, Sir Thomas More became a testament to integrity. The movie's theme is wrapped up cleverly inn its very title. Sir Thomas More truly was a Man for all Seasons.
It captures many emotions
Elizabeth is a 1998 'historical' drama portraying the rise of one of history's most notable women, Queen Elizabeth of England. The film first portrays her as a princess who lives out on the countryside before delving into the first few years as the new queen after the death of Mary. It focuses primarily on the perils she faced, both at home and abroad. Directed by Shekhar Kapur and starring the likes of Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, and Joseph Fiennes, the movie was a huge success at the box office as well as with the critics. It was not only nominated, but also won, several Oscars. After watching it myself, I can see why it was as lauded as it was since it was a very well done film. However, how does it fair in historical accuracy?
Well yes and no. Elizabeth's portrayal as a foil to her half-sister's religious authoritarian-style rule is spot on, especially when recounting the film's gruesome opening. The large-scale opposition of opposition from the Pope is also fairly accurate. The film even mentions England's poor fiscal and military status at the beginning of her reign, nicely done. In spite of all this, the film takes several liberties, both large and small. The death of Mary of Guise at the hand of Walsingham is one such instance, but by far the biggest is the portrayal of Robert Dudley. The move opens with a seemingly accurate depiction of just how close he was to the Queen. The cracks begin to show when Elizabeth discovers Dudley is married, which is a shock to her. In reality she knew of the marriage before she was even Queen. The film takes it even further by having Dudley become involved in a plot to betray Elizabeth. This is quite literally the exact opposite of how their relationship actually was. It is a well-known historical fact that the two remained close friends until his death which devastated her. To go over all of them would be an essay in itself, but simply put the film clearly had no intention of sticking to what actually happened. It is almost insulting to call it a 'historical biography' since it is more of a historical fantasy. All that being said, the movie is still spectacular in all other regards. The acting and cinematography are breath taking, and the score by David Hirschfelder is just timeless. It captures many emotions, from terror to pure magnificence.
I figured out way back if God is all-powerful, He cannot be all good.
Ah, the most controversial movie in ages as superhero movies go. Well, since MoS back in 2013. But whereas that film divided the critics 50-50, this film was hit hard with a 41% rating which has currently dipped to 28%. And a lot of people I have talked to about the movie have either: 1.) haven't seen because of said negative publicity or 2.) or hated for several arbitrary reasons or 3.) give it a pleasant rating anywhere from 7/10 to 10/10. So as quickly as possible I will lay out the pros and cons of this movie. Quite frankly I loved it but I can see why some people may not have liked it. Here are flaws that irked me:
1.The Knightmare scene where Batman has a nightmare and/or vision concerning Superman becoming an authoritarian ruler of Earth. This scene is great but then you see the minions of Darkseid raining down from the sky as well. Problem is audiences (unless comic book fans or even simply a fan of the 90s and early 2000s DC animated shows) have no idea what these creatures are. For a fan, seeing this is awesome. For a casual moviegoer this is probably downright confusing. Although it still begs the question as to why Darkseid's forces are linked to Superman. BUT, if you watched the animated (awesome) show from the 90s, you know it's not entirely impossible for Superman and Darkseid to have joined forces.
2. Right after this already very mind-boggling scene, we are treated to what we assume is The Flash coming from either the future (or maybe another universe?) to warn Bruce about Superman, though it is a tad vague. These two scenes back-to-back were leaving a comic book nerds like me hooked and anxious for the sequel, but I will admit that they are just too much for casual audiences. Perhaps they should've been excluded from the theatrical version, which would have trimmed down the movie and maybe even pleased those who said the story was a mess in their eyes. At the same time it's great for the die-hard fans who in all honesty this film was made for. Moving away from this, the only other thing that bothered me was Jesse Eisenberg's Luthor. His introduction felt off from what I usually expect from Luthor who as far as I'm concerned has always been comedic when represented on film. That being said, as the movie went on I actually came to embrace this version of Lex. He actually encompasses every bit of the inferiority complex-having, power hungry, intellectual showboat that Lex is. He is in my opinion the most sinister version of Lex put on the big screen and he has some of the best lines in the movie. Still, at times he comes off as a bit too quirky and socially awkward but there is more good than bad here. Now to what I liked.
Visually, the movie is breathtaking. Every set looks great, the look of each hero or villain is fantastic, and the cinematography is jaw-dropping. In short, the movie is gorgeous. The performance of every actor and actress in the movie was phenomenal. Ben Affleck really nailed Batman in this movie. He is definitely on par with the greats like Keaton and Bale. As for the whole 'no-killing' thing, I'm just bored to death of this trope. Half the people who gripe about heroes killing bad guys here or there need to actually pick up a comic. Not only that, for goodness' sake the only reason why this became a facet of Batman is because the original writers needed an excuse for Batman to face his enemies in future story lines. I highly appreciate the role of this rule in films like The Dark Knight where the whole point was to test Batman's resolve. However, this film is about a broken and disillusioned Batman so his morals are obviously going to be different. Besides, Batman has killed in previous films (both Nolan and Burton) it never stopped me from enjoying those movies. Cavill was great at portraying the weight on his character's shoulders. All the warnings of Costner's Kent from MoS came to fruition, and all this tension came together perfectly because of the performances and visuals. Gadot really did steal the show at times and I cannot wait to see more of her on the big screen sword in hand. Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, and Holly Hunter all delivered in this movie. The acting really brought his movie to life. And the score by Hans Zimmer was one of the best soundtracks I have EVER had the pleasure of listening to.
This film hints at many popular DC comics story lines, but by far the most used is The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. The themes really carry over very well and it really adds to the motives of the main characters. Yes, this movie is dark and thought-provoking, but unlike a lot of what people have been saying it has touches of humor mixed in as well. More so than MoS admittedly. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie on many levels and I believe there is something in there that every superhero or action lover can see in it. The critics have said their word, but it's really up for you as a viewer to decide for yourself. After all, the word of critics does not always hold up as I'm sure we've all seen on numerous occasions.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
"I was wondering what was going to break first; your spirit, or your body."
Rumored and I suppose confirmed by both Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale, this is to be the final bout for the Caped Crusader. My first impression after viewing the movie is that it is indeed epic. Each movie is different and amazing in its won respect and while I still feel 2008's "The Dark Knight" stands as the pinnacle of emotional upheaval for the trilogy, TDKR definitely takes the cake for most monumental. It'll be hard to do this review without spoilers, but I can get it done. Firstly, I'm very pleased that every cast member has decided to return for the finale. Christian Bale, Gary Oldman and Michael Caine all reprise their roles and do fantastic jobs. There are several new faces, among them Matthew Modine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard being as sexy as she is entertaining. Ann Hathaway is a pretty good Catwoman, delivering a less sensually driven performance than Michelle Pfeiffer (don't get me wrong I still love "Batman Returns"). Everyone knows of the terrible raping of the Bane character in Shumacer's "Batman and Robin", reducing the iconic villain to a lumbering dimwit. Tom Hardy finally gives justice to the character on the big-screen and damn does it feel good. He has the physical presence as well as the cunning aspects from the comic book; done just excellently. They couldn't have made a better choice for the final villain honestly. And yes, there are lots of cameos, so be prepared to wet your parents.
Secondly, I'll quickly go over my sole gripe, being that I wish Hans Zimmer had delivered more new compositions for the piece. This may be due to the resignation of James Newton Howard who had collaborated with Zimmer on the previous two films. Put it this way, both Catwoman and Bane receive ample treatment and have terrific themes. There are lots of quieter moments as well, but for Batman himself it's mostly recycled music which is still quite empowering just not what I expected. However, it's not a great deal to me because by the second film there already was a decent amount of recycled cues, making it pointless to dwell on.
My main applause for this movie is to the incredible story. If you're an avid reader of graphic novels, like me, you'll notice the screenplay uses elements from many iconic Batman comics. "Knightfall (1993) obviously being the story that debuted Bane, Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Returns" (which depicted Batman going back to his work after a long hiatus) and also the "No Man's Land" story arc. Using these, the arguable cream of the crop of the Batman universe, a great epic is told. The action is really taken to new heights and the scope of it all is astonishing. Never before and maybe never again will you see Batman pushed this hard. We truly see Gotham at its knees and to make it all the better, believe it or not, there are still quite a bit of physical effects at work here. CGI is still secondary to good old raw effects.
This a great movie with some really hard-hitting action, some strong emotions and an epic vision. They even manage to sneak some very well done plot twists, making this a truly satisfying finale. May Batman's rest be a peaceful one from the big screen, even if only for a short while.
"If you go down there, you're going to die."
We've long awaited this day after Cameron's "Aliens" back in '86. I never really cared for "Alien 3", and Resurrection is one I rather enjoyed despite its flaws. Once the AVP films came around the sh*t really hit the fan. Many, including myself, thought the series was dead and buried. However, Ridley Scott himself decided to revisit the series and not only take it back to its roots but in a sense go even further.
Allow me to start with the cast; all very well chosen and great characters. Guy Pearce is pretty awesome, Idris Elba is damn good and Charlize Theron is as I expected fantastic. Noomi Rapace is excellent in her role, giving off a Ripley-style aura without going to much into it. She's still very much her own character, symbolized by her faith and ties to religion. There's some sensuality but its never overplayed and never feels out of place. Michael Fassbender is just amazing. I don't fear spoiling he's an android because it's damn obvious not but a few minutes after meeting him. He infuses a lot into his character, a mix of Rachel from Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" and HAL from "2001: A Space Odyssey". His performance simply fascinates, and I leave it at that.
After the over-laden crapfest of directors like Paul W.S. Anderson and the Strauss Brothers brought to the series, the effects team brings dignity and dare I say class back to the gore. The creature designs are just stunning and quite sickening. They'll amaze as much as they make your skin crawl. And this movie WILL make your skin crawl. Production value in addition reminds you of the original 1979 "Alien" with great spaceship sets as well as eerie planet environments.
Best part of this movie is how the story is told. Some of it you'll recognize as trademarks of the sci-fi/horror genre, other aspects are things fanboys like myself have been dreaming about for decades but there's also quite a bit of philosophy and ideology weaved into it all. The origin of man, possible existence of a deity, our purpose in the universe, all are toyed around with in this film. Brilliant move it is, the movie will ask more questions than it answers, not only about the saga but about our race itself. I urge all to see "Prometheus".
"Feel how hard your heart is beating, Harry? How fast?"
I can't believe this movie only ranks at a 6.6 on IMDb. Of course, even at the time of its release back in '82 there was skepticism toward it. Headed by horror legends George A. Romero and Stephen King, people seem to forget this movie exists to do one thing and one thing only: celebrate the macabre and the sick. Note the title itself you douches consider their taste in film to be of the upper crust. "Creepshow" doesn't have the nihilistic undertone of Romero's usual work or King's expected psychological torture because it is meant to simply be a fun experience.
If you're a horror buff, you know Romero has long credited the classic EC horror comics of the 50s (e.g. Tales From the Crypt) as his inspiration. This is basically the whole point of the film; to feel like a comic book brought to life. Hence, things are bound to be marvelously over-the-top in some regards. One of the best things about this film, to me its strongest aspect in general, is its visual style. It angles many shots as if they were cut outs from a comic, there is some awesome usage of hand drawn animation (I LOVE the opening credit scene) and there is some BAD-ASS use of extreme lighting shifts. To put this in perspective, one second the room is darkly lit but not out of the ordinary per say. Next thing you know the room and all its objects are bathed in a blood-like red, making the photography so well done in this picture.
Another aspect you have to embrace in order to fully appreciate the film is its tone. As I said before, this isn't aiming to be cryptic and challenging like let's say "The Shining" (which King also wrote) or as realistic and seriously-toned as "Night of the Living Dead". If anything this movie is a blend of horror and comedy. Thing is it's a brand of comedy most people to this day don't get: the dirty guilty pleasure of black humor. A zombie who wants his Father's Day Cake, a hillbilly assuming a meteorite will fetch him a mere $200, a man feeding his nagging-boozed up wife to a snarling beast; the tales drip with not just blood but a comical yet stinging look at banal archetypes.
And the cast, let me tell ya, is damn good. It's not like they're handing out Academy Award winning lines, but the acting is pretty well done. Tom Atkins is pretty great as the abusive father, Viveca Lindfore (Bedelia) was awesome and who can forget Mr. King himself as Jordy Verrill? Ted Danson, Fritz Weaver, Hal Holbrook (YES), E.G. Marshall and the always-stunning Adrienne Barbeau do spectacular jobs. My favorite performance would just have to be Leslie Nielsen. He was pretty awesome, let's face it.
Topping all this off is one of my favorite horror film scores by none other than John Harrison. He also composed for Romero's 1985 film "Day of the Dead". Synthesizers and pianos, not to mention an eerie chorus, the music is just great. And the effects work of Tom Savini, as always, astounds. From creating the walking dead (no pun intended), to vicious crated-yeti—beast to a horde of disgusting cockroaches, he excels in his line of work.
"Creepshow" is a damn classic and should be eternally revered by all means. My only gripe is that the U.S. DVD is crap seeing as it contains no special features aside a trailer. I haven't seen a DVD with this little effort since Sony Tristar released those awful '50th Anniversary special edition' Godzilla DVDs. If you truly appreciate horror, and as I intend to do, buy yourself a copy of the Region 2 DVD which comes with behind the scenes material, commentaries and interviews with the masters behind the masterpiece. And trust me, Region 2 DVDs should play on most blu-ray and DVD players. My region 2 Godzilla DVDs perform just fine on both.
"Where's my Father's Day Cake?"
The Monster Squad (1987)
"That's discrimination, jerkoid."
One of the quintessential vintage monster movies. Inspired in part by the "The Little Rascals", "The Goonies" (this film and that Richard Donner movie obviously giving rise to Abram's "Super 8") and the all-time champion Universal classics. This movie is pure awesomeness, headed by Fred Dekker and with special effects by none other than Stan Winston (the man behind "Jurassic Park" and other legends, enough said). If you, like me, saw Stephen Sommer's "Van Helsing" and felt your favorite monsters had been turned into CGI monstrosities, then this is for you.
Every monster is somewhat updated, but for the most part they retain their classic features. The make-up and animatronics are done quite awesomely. Duncan Regehr is so great as Dracula ("Meeting adjourned" .BOOM!!) and Tom Noonan is just fantastic as Frankenstein's Monster. The 'Gill Man' and the Mummy look pretty bad-ass as well. Enhancing these beasts are great sets and a spectacular score by Bruce Broughton.
Andrew Gower, Ryan Lambert, Stephen Macht, Leonardo Cimino are all very good in their simple but very enjoyable characters. Brent Chalem will always be remembered as Horace, R.I.P.
The tone of the film is odd but that's what makes it so memorable. I can see why at the time of its release why audiences may have been put off by the movie. After all, plenty of swearing, strong content, but the leads are children. Who exactly was the target audience? The dialogue is snazzy, the comedy well-staged and yet these characters feel very real to us. That's really where the audience is; anyone who is willing to embrace the characters really. And no worry, all along there is some excellent carnage. After all, if nothing else, the film answers the age old question if a silver bullet really is the only way to kill a werewolf.
Loads of fun and a classic that's for damned sure. In honor of Fat Kid: "Wolfman's got nards!!"
Super 8 (2011)
A Soon to be Classic
"Super 8", directed by J.J. Abrams, the man at the head of such projects as the recent "Star Trek". Anyone who saw the trailer for this film were drawn by the mysterious tone of it, giving off the appearance of the next E.T. What a coincidence, guess who produced it? Speaking of which, that's probably the best way to describe it; a combination of "The Goonies" and "E.T.", with hints of that other movie Abrams was behind
"Cloverfield". I am no fan of that
okay movie, but don't worry this one is not shot in that annoying "found bullsh*t footage" manner. It's just that I suppose the premise is somewhat similar.
The joy of it all is the acting is quite well done. Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, and Riley Griffiths all do incredible jobs cementing the characters in our hearts. Kyle Chandler is also great, as well as Bruce Greenwood. I don't want to reveal too much about the story, seeing as that's the key to enjoying this particular movie. In terms of drama, comedy and action, as well as mystique, I believe they hit a really good balance and the film has a vintage sheen to it. I would definitely rate this film an A.
"Cage goes in the water. You go in the water. Sharks in the water, our shark." A+
Dare I call it Spielberg's greatest film ever? I'm sure I wouldn't be alone in such an assessment. Many say this film, along with George Lucas' Star Wars, was among the movies to really set in motion the summer movie movement. You know, rampant marketing, familiar characters and stories, ridiculously huge box office draws. However, there is one thing that sets this film apart from most contemporary duds: character. The characters here feel so real to one that you feel you know them. Roy Scheider (Brody) is just fantastic, Lorraine Gary is also pretty good and Richard Dreyfuss is pretty awesome. Who can forget Robert Shaw's (as Quint) entrance with the nails on the chalk board? These characters have been so ingrained in our psyche that we often do not even realize when modern films and TV shows pay tribute to them.
It's also Spielberg's greatest attempt at horror. Though he's had some relatively close ones like 2005's "War of the Worlds", it still doesn't compare to his work in this one. And duh, John William's score is just BAD-ASS. That theme is probably one of the composer's most iconic themes ever, but there also many quiet moments that create splendid tension. And our friend the Great White, surely one of Hollywood's greatest movie monsters most definitely.
An unbeatable classic.
American Psycho (2000)
"I just had to kill a lot of people!" A+
My Gojira, see this movie!! It is by far the best performance of Christian Bale EVER. I, like most people I assume, did not become familiar with Christian Bale till he became the new Bruce Wayne back in 2005. I was aware of this movie for a while but avoided it because I thought the acting would be dry. However, I finally sat down to watch it and was blown away. Its strongest pillar is none other than Mr. Bale. Trust me; you've never seen him like this. His character is sadistic, redefines cruel and is a true sociopath, and yet you can't turn away. Bale also adds dabbles of what seem to be regret within it all and it leaves one wondering; what will Patrick Bateman's next move be?
It also offers the great performances of William Dafoe, and others. Taking place during the 80s, one can't help but feel Bale's character was driven to this sick path due to some feeling of social isolation. The 80s here are depicted as an era of the "fast times'. A growing gap between the rich and poor (reminiscent of Oliver Stone's "Wall Street"), people's ever growing affinity with drugs and of course the music that was there but also wasn't. In his meticulous mind, he appears to be the only one who seems to actually be paying attention to what he's hearing. Strangely idealistic and yet without direction, it's one of the strangest characters you'll ever see on screen.
Bold, sickening and just exhilarating, check out "American Psycho".
"Strange is not the word I use "
This is one of those movies that fly over your head when you're a child watching it. I remember Disney's Pixar and DreamWorks used to really clash in the past over the originality of premises. "A Bug's Life" vs. "Antz", this is one of the ones I feel only a tie is fair. "Antz" is an amazing animated film for one reason above all: awesome voice cast. Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, Danny Glover and Woody Allen, there's almost too much talent to bear. Also, there's so much subtle humor to appreciate. I originally saw the film ten years ago and laughed and now being an adult there's so much I missed. Only now do I get the adult-oriented jokes, truly making the movie timeless. And the film has a pretty good theme to it; the importance of individuality as opposed to the hordes of conformity.
"Antz" is great.
"The Best Thing About Cold Is " A+
To truly appreciate this movie, you must understand director Sergio Leone's quote regarding his film "The God, The Bad, and the Ugly" (1966):
"I had read somewhere that 120,000 people died in Southern camps such as Andersonville. I was not ignorant of the fact that there were camps in the North. You always get to hear about the shameful behavior of the losers, never the winners."
I rank this one among the best war films I have ever seen. It details the horrific events of history's ugliest battle from its bloodiest war. The battle for Stalingrad left one million dead, and this brilliant movie shows it all from the point of view of the German Sixth Army. If you know history then you're aware of the fact that this loss for Germany was the first major blunder that would result in the ultimate downfall of the Third Reich. Fresh from their previous victories, the members of the Sixth Army believe they are in for a relatively easy win. However, as the fighting grows more turbulent, the city quickly becomes a hell populated by the piles of the dead. Of course, the suffering doesn't really commence till the Russian winter sets in.
Showing this gruesome conflict from the German point-of-view has many purposes. Firstly, to show just how quickly the tide of a military campaign can shift, even for a superpower. Secondly, it is easy for people of the modern era to forget the suffering on both sides. Soldiers have since the beginning of time been nothing more than the tools of politicians (regardless of the government) to cement their goals. The themes are quite relevant, and the story of these men a sheer tragedy. The production value is just stunning and you really are transported back to that time of old, the battle ruined streets of that city. And the score by Norbert Jürgen, Schneider and Martin Grassl is pretty awesome, ranging from bombastic to moments of brutal melancholy. It's definitely one of my favorite war film compositions.
Do not miss out on "Stalingrad".
"It's only a dead guy."
I'm starting to more and more notice Michael Mann. I know many see him as merely a director of action films and while many of his films sport dazzling spectacles of bullets and body blows, he makes sure characterization is first and foremost. That's the focal point of this movie: character. I've watched the documentaries exemplifying how much of a background Mann gives the characters in addition to Stuart Beattie's original screenplay and its astonishing. Of course, on camera only so much can be put in to keep the film streamlined. That's Mann's style; still each character feels very fleshed out due to not just the dialogue but their subtle mannerisms.
Jamie Foxx honestly surprised me with his performance. He played a withdrawn character and perfectly so. Jada was pretty damn good, and so was Mark Ruffalo. Practically taking the cake though is Tom Cruise as Vincent. In my opinion its one of his best roles ever. Nihilistic, logical and best of all a cold-hearted efficient killer, this character is a testament to a downcast ideology but one that is impossible to dismiss. Well done, Cruise, well done. The movie is basically a tale of different lives suddenly becoming intertwined.
A damn good movie.
"You think that I'm loony tunes?" A
The basic story is thus: a struggling author moves into his recently deceased aunt's house. Oh yeah, did I mention she was crazy and that her cause of death was a noose around the neck? Author Roger Cobbs, played by William Katt, is in search of solitude but is in for much more. "House" is an unusual horror film, probably the best way I can describe it. There are some nicely done horror scenes, with good old stop motion and make up effects. Also, though, the movie sports many comedic elements. It's a strange story but one I really enjoy. The film reaches a balance between these two moods, while also delivering some surreal moments. Harry Manfredini's score is also pretty interesting, fun yet also keeping a sinister chime. I suppose I have an affinity for the strange and you don't see films like this now-a-days, it's a damn shame. No one takes creative risks in the horror genre anymore; everyone just follows protocol sad to say.
I would love to someday see a re-make of this film, and as a future film-maker, I'd love to handle such a project. A genuine movie experience, I urge horror fans that haven't seen it to check out "House".
"Was that the boogey man?"
The black screen begins to roll the opening credits, and all we see is a sinister jack-o-lantern. This is the beginning of what is among the best of the horror genre and an indomitable classic. It's easy for people to forget that this film was the first in the overly long line of "teen slashers". This film gave birth to the sub-genre audiences have become so accustomed to it's become a formula. The Friday the 13th series ran it into the ground full-steam, Jason X anybody, with over ten sequels. Still, Michael Meyers lives on in this classic. Regardless of the sequels and rip-offs, this is still one of John Carpenter's finest.
Leading this off is a well-acted set of characters. Jamie Lee Curtis makes her debut quite excellently, and Donald Pleasance is simply iconic as Dr. Loomis. And no one can forget the music of John Carpenter. Most definitely the scariest piano you'll ever here. My favorite scene from this masterpiece? Probably when Annie (played by Nancy Loomis) yells," Hey jerk, speed kills!" Somehow, despite being in complete daylight, the driver is in complete shadow and actually stops the car dead in the middle of the street. The character of Michael Meyers is one crazy guy, certainly not one I'd ever want to see outside my window.
Taekoesu Yonggary (1967)
1967, the year Japanese audiences came face to face with "Gamera vs. Gyaos" and "Son of Godzilla". However, Korea was also releasing a kaiju flick that year: "Yongary: Monster From the Deep". Following in the line of King Kong, Godzilla, Gorgo and Gamera, Yongary emerges to wreak havoc on mankind. The monster looks like your average dinosaur, nice and fearsome (quite obviously a Ceratosaurus). Oddly enough, as opposed to most monster movies, there are a significant number of people who choose to die as the monster approaches. Another plus is that the miniatures look pretty awesome in this one.
Like Gorgo and Gamera, this movie gets a kick out of throwing a child into the plot. I can't say I care for him but it's still nothing compared to other tortures I've been subjugated to, like "Gamera vs. Guiron" of 1969. The characters here aren't too developed but there's some nice comedy between them. At one point a plan is forged and a government official remarks, "If it can save just one life it'll be worth it". Wow, if only governments in the real world acted on such polices right? I will say though, the scene where Yongary is killed is something akin to the 1933 King Kong death atop the Empire State Building. You actually feel for the poor dancing dinosaur, even though if it is a tad less elegant. Yongary is poisoned like a giant rat, even ends up pissing blood, what a way to go.
A lot of what we see here is familiar but it's all in good fun. I find this film better than the new Yongary film, a.k.a. "Reptilian".
"F*cking kill ME!!" A+
One of the strangest war films ever, and I gladly say one of the best. Directed by Sam Mendes, the film wreaks of his visual feats. It's not often in this genre we are treated to such dream-like moments, but that is Mendes' specialty and he sneaks them in with great subtlety so it doesn't distract. The first thing you'll realize after watching the movie is that it's one of the few war films that depicts very little actual combat. This movie depicts the Gulf War, and manages to be quite clever in its theme, masterfully subtle. After so much training, so much hammer-like conditioning, these Marines find themselves having this programming denied to them.
Jake Gyllenhaal's character represents the non-conformist who can see the string he's being lead on and he suffers internally for it. That is the sum of his beautifully played character. Some people watch the movie walking away with the simple assumption it's portraying a day in the life of a Marine, but it's really doing more if you look deeper. With great visuals, like the burning oil fields, and the spectacular performance of Jamie Fox, this is definitely not one to miss.
The Land Before Time (1988)
One of the Greatest Animated Films of ALL TIME A+
This is one of those films that's grace has been overlooked due to the outrageous number of sequels (I heard there was even a show
) that followed it. None of them come close to the power of the first. Under the helm of Spielberg's Amblin, which also created such wonders as "American Tail", this movie can easily stand up to the Disney titans. Obviously, the artwork is just incredible, the colors created just plain remarkable. The landscapes are just stunning. Quite simply put, you don't see hand-drawn animation like this anymore. There are also dark moments that remain beautiful to this day. I'll never forget the journey of Little Foot and it really is a well told story. I also love the look of the dinosaurs, the Sharp Tooth of course being quite the fearsome beast when I was a child.
Composer James Horner creates an incredible score, one that hasn't aged a day since its release in 1988. To this film's credit, it obviously more or less inspired the multi-million dollar 1998 Disney film "Dinosaur" which had an all-too familiar storyline. A true classic I will eternally admire. Although I have to add this in, I here in recent prints (namely on DVD), the there is a small edit concerning the fight scene in the beginning of the film. Damn you parents, us fans who saw it over two decades do not appreciate your complaining regarding cartoon violence! When I buy this film on DVD I expect it to be just as I saw it when I was but a child.
See It for King Ghidorah
I honestly find this one probably the best of the Mothra trilogy. As any kaiju fan knows, the Mothra trilogy had a rough start and is basically known for two things; annoying child-centered story lines and fantastic monster fights. The series has struggled to balance this out and with this one I think they hit the high point. The story still centers on a child character, but this one is older and for the most part this story has little to no child humor. Still, the human angle of it all is thinly written and not very emotionally strong, greatly weakening the impact of the finale of the trilogy. You would think the writers would bullsh*t and say Ghidorah seeks to absorb the youth of the children or something, but no, he simply gathers them up. This movie is nowhere near the level of something akin to "Godzilla vs. Destroyer" (19950 or "Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys" (1999), two kaiju masterpieces from around the same time period.
What it lacks in character it makes up for in kaiju fun. King Ghidorah, also known as Grand King Ghidorah in this film, looks just stunning. As a fan of the dragon since his debut in "Ghidrah: The Three Headed Monster" in 1964, this is inarguably the greatest rendition of the beast. Never before and never again has the three-headed golden monster looked this terrifying and magnificent. Its younger form, Cretaceous King Ghidorah, also looks quite fearsome. Got to give the Toho effects team props on their work for the monsters in this one. The monster battles in this one are spectacularly done, with Mothra taking quite a beating till the finale of course. If you're a fan of Mothra or not, anyone can enjoy Ghidorah kicking the sh8t out of the giant feminine moth. There are a few short city-stomping scenes in this one, not enough for some fans taste, but this is made up for in the kaiju-brawls. All the monsters look bad-ass here, including the two new Mothra incarnations. Armor Mothra I suppose is Mothra's strongest from ever and after the battle is over appears Eternal Mothra and it's a beautiful design. See this movie, as with the others, for the monsters alone.
That and Toshiyuki Watanabe's score is pretty awesome, capturing the feel of a sci-fi/fantasy film. There's also some fun cheese with the prehistoric battle 130 million years ago while Mothra and Cretaceous King Ghidorah fight. As they do, a T-Rex and a Triceratops actually stare at each other in bewilderment before continuing to watch the battle.
Nowhere near the pinnacle of Japanese monster movies but a fun watch.
Gamera tai daiakuju Giron (1969)
"The spacemen won't hurt you. If they flew here they're civilized!" D+
What? Is that logical? Absurdity takes new meaning with is film. The year is 1969, so at this point both Godzilla and Gamera were in the pits. Hell, 1969 was the fateful year Toho released "Godzilla's Revenge" and I'm quite sure Godzilla would never sink so low again. However, the worse had yet to come for the original Gamera series. That's not to say "Gamera vs. Guiron", also known as "Attack of the Monsters", isn't a bad movie because yes, yes it is, but compared to crapfest like "Gamera vs. Zigra" this film excels. At one point a child hypothesizes Gamera can reach speeds up to Mach 60
I'll be damned.
You would've thought the company Daiei and its writers would've learned from "Gamera vs. Viras" that children and spaceships don't go together. However, at the very least we are shown a new planet, Tera, in an attempt to divulge a better plot. For all its campy ridiculousness, it's an admittedly interesting story for a monster movie sucker like me. Making children the protagonists is probably its greatest blunder. Guiron himself is a weird monster, but I suppose more attractive than Jiger. Still, Guiron looks like something you'd see in, I don't know, Pokémon? The Space Gyaos are an interesting facet of the story and some frightfully odd yet amusing action sequences take place. Zany and peculiar, definitely cheesy as hell, but a gas to watch and scrutinize.
Gyaos Emerges B+
The dubbing for this one is pretty decent, but for some reason everyone pronounces Gamera like Gomorrah. Anyways, it's 1967 and this year "Son of Godzilla" and "Gamera vs. Gyaos" go head to head. Like "Gamera vs. Barugon", the story's focus is on everyday characters in the wake of a crisis. A child does get involved, but not in the overly-campy-pain-in-the-ass way, unlike the next one "Gamera vs. Viras". Now "Son of Godzilla" isn't all bad and I actually enjoy that G-film, but it is one of the more child-friendly ones. This Gamera movie however is for the most part darker than most 60s or 70s Gamera. It's this one where Gamera really becomes the "friend to all children", but he has an awesome opponent: Gyaos. Probably inspired by Rodan, but with a different, sleeker design. Gyaos is a classic kaiju, the only one to reappear in more recent films the 90s and even in the latest movie, "Gamera the Brave".
Gyaos spends a lot of the movie eating innocent people, regenerating lost body parts and blowing up cities, awesome. There's even a scene where he drinks blood. The battles are bloody and quite fun, and the score is nicely done. This is definitely one of the better vintage kaiju movies and one I recommend to fans of classic sci-fi cinema.
Taegukgi hwinalrimyeo (2004)
A Tremendously Poignant Tale A+
All too often the Korean War is called the "The Forgotten War" and in a sense I suppose it's true. Ask the young ones of today and they'll most likely have the vaguest of ideas. The amount of films about this particular war as opposed to the enormous succession of Vietnam and WW II movies is staggering. This movie is by all means a must see first and foremost because it details a brutal conflict that the world hasn't truly paid tribute to. The acting is sensational and all the more I find myself South Korean cinema. It certainly feels like a high budget epic of a war film, and rightfully so.
Like a true masterpiece, the film displays the sickening effects of the war on ideology on both sides. One Jang Dong-gun's character is molded by the tide of the war, becoming a mere shadow of who he once was. Won Bin is also excellent, not to mention Lee Eun-joo. The atmosphere is one displaying how turbulent the times were and how the atrocity destroyed lives. The score by Lee Dong-jun is also quite magnificent, bringing many emotions to the film. I highly recommend this movie.
Don't Go in the House (1979)
"You won't mind if I drop these things off at my house first?"
This movie is about as good as it can be. The acting is all right, I myself finding the performance of Dan Grimaldi quite well done. There are even some generally frightening moments I enjoyed. The score by Richard Einhorn is also pretty interesting, quite menacing when it gathers full strength. Problem is the film's story borrows somewhat from Hitchcock's "Psycho" that preceded this film by well over two decades. Technically speaking, the lead characters from these two films are quite the same in motive and disposition; difference (the most important thing to keep in mind) is that Anthony Perkins was allowed subtly and mystery to his performance as Norman Bates. This film is so out right with its villain there's not much mystery, just violence.
However, I still find this movie a hoot to watch, though by no means a horror classic.
The Thin Red Line (1998)
"In this world, a man himself is nothing. And there ain't no world but this once."
One of the greatest war films of all time, if not the best one of the 90s. And yes, I do include Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan". I own both films and every time I watched "Saving Private Ryan" I couldn't help but feel something was missing. Then I finally saw this movie and I felt complete. To be clear, this movie's beautiful cinematography fuses with narration from multiple characters and an orgasmic score to create a very surreal, at times dream-like atmosphere.
A great aspect of the film is its often poetic dialogue coupled with beautiful images. One of the subtle notions of the film hinted at thru out; the camera continuously captures the picturesque nature of the island where death reigns supreme. Does nature mock man for killing one another? Is it indifferent? This is a perplexing and tragic question the movie poses. It also displays the brutality of men during war, quite effectively portraying the frailty of the soldiers on both sides. One of my favorite scenes has to be when Arie Verveen as Pfc. Charlie Dale sits down next to a dying Japanese soldier and says to him "I'm gonna sink my teeth into your liver, you're dyin'. You see them birds up there? They're gonna eat you raw. Where you're going you're not coming back from."
Accompanying all this is a score by the great Hans Zimmer that quite frankly is one of his best. At times roaring with ferocity and yet at many times full of melancholy, the music of the movie can shift moods seamlessly and without ever feeling out of place. And the battle scenes are incredibly shot, the camera often following soldiers right thru the chaos of war. Cementing all this is a spectacular cast, probably one of the most impressive I have ever seen in the war genre. Nick Nolte, John Cusack, John Travolta, Jim Caviezel, and Sean Penn there's talent tearing at the seams in this one.
I would love to someday be able to purchase this so called director's cut.
Uchu kaijû Gamera (1980)
More Like Super Sh*t
If you missed out on the other seven Gamera movies leading up to this 80s release, this is the perfect chance to see all of them at once. If you've seen "Godzilla's Revenge", then you have seen nothing yet. This movie is about 92% stock-footage, with absolutely no new monsters and sparse new effect shots. By the time of this movie's release the studio Daiei was at death's door and so I'm confused as to why they even bothered to puke this one out. It had nearly been a decade since "Gamera vs. Zigra" in 1971, and by then I think any rational businessman could assume the series was done for. The only reason I rate it at the very least two stars is because the writers actually had the mordacity to actually kill Gamera off by kamakazing himself into a Star Destroyer. That's right, a Star Destroyer from the Star Wars series. That's how you know the writers had clearly told themselves, "F8ck it."