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Taken (I) (2008)
10/10
"I believe you. But that won't save you."
22 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
In an age of wacky bullsh*t, there's something reassuringly bad ass about the simple pleasures of a father's wrath, and a few deep chops to the throat.

So without any more introduction let us discuss Taken. Despite, all of the brute-force action that this particular film offers, it also offers us a rather surprisingly solid emotional core detailing a rather simple story line, a father ( Liam Neeson) , who also happens to be a former CIA Agent who will stop at nothing and nobody to get back his daughter ( Maggie Grace) who has been kidnapped by a group of Albanian Sex-Slavers. Oh, yeah and did I mention he pretty much single-handily invades the country of France?? Well, there you go.

The other pleasure of Taken is seeing Neeson bringing the noise and the bodies as the 'action hero', though he's getting up there, Neeson is still a true physical presence. The highlights of the film for me are simply seeing the dude use the skills that he has immersed over the decades on the Euro-Trash pieces of sh*t.

Everyone is going to bring up the action sequences, or the scene where he shoots his "friends" wife and then calls it a "flesh-wound", and yet the scene that I loved the most is the one where, Neeson's character goes to the temp agency and ends up hiring a translator.....
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"The world is, as it is, a fallen world."
22 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is a rather under looked interesting and powerful film.

The movie takes place during the Thirty Years War as it rages through 17th-century Germany. The Last Valley indeed, is an oasis of peace, a hidden valley protected from the outside world's wars and plagues.

However, all of this changes when Vogel, a one-time school teacher now on the run played by Omar Sharif (and his gigantic dark, and deep and eyes) wanders into the peaceful valley. It doesn't take much longer until Michael Caine's rag-tag and exhausted army arrives as well.

To me the film's strong point is the pairing of Caine, as the fierce captain and Sharif, as the philosopher type. For instance, one of the film's most stunning sequences is one in which Sharif tells of losing his entire family and home at Magdeburg.

Caine's response is quite fascinating as he goes on about the war and his own personal touch he gave to Magdeburg, and how such violence and pillage was a response to such event occurring to one of his towns, or cities, or valleys. "I was born in war."

The other fascinating idea that the movie dwells on is the subject of religion, religious fanaticism and witchcraft. Yes, you read that right...with craft.

You see, good old Sharif talks Caine into doing winter quarters in the valley instead of just sacking the place and moving on as per the norm.

An uneasy alliance is formed between, Sharif, Caine and his soldiers, the head honcho in the town (Nigel Davenport) and the local Catholic Priest priest. (Per Oscarsson)

Part of the uneasy alliance apparently consists of the local women sleeping with Caine's mercenaries..including one such blond virgin (Madeleine Hinde), who apparently will have a free ticket into heaven if she does the "good deed."

Or that is what the Priest claims. Blind religion for it's own sake.

Vogel and the Captain, you see are above the religious controversies that come to the forefront throughout the film, they are presented to the audience as free-thinkers at every opportunity; the former is a humanist, the latter a cynic.

Perhaps one of the strongest scenes of the film is the sequence in which the brunette beauty Erica (Florinda Bolkan) ( whom Caine's character won in a dice game) religious allegiances are uncovered. You see, she is revealed to be a practicing Satanist, and such doesn't go over very well in the village.

QUOTE "But you have taken the Holy Sacrament all your life." "I took nothing more than a piece of bread and a sip of wine."

All in all, the film clearly depicts the realism of war and fanaticism. It delves into what is the best in humanity, and abhors that to which is our worst.

Great film.
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9/10
The Manchurian Candidate
22 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
A film far ahead of its time. Its themes of thought control, political assassination, and a multinational conspiracy were hardly common currency in the 1960's.

Still probably one of the most shocking films ever.

Sinatra is just flawless, probably his best role. What is really remarkable about the part is how vulnerable he could play the character of Marco.

The real standout to me though is Laurence Harvey as the war hero son, Raymond Shaw.

It is interesting to note all of the the little things that he does in each scene. For instance, in the first scene in which he appears, Shaw is repulsed by the prostitutes and GI's.

The entire sequence revolves around Shaw's problems with women, and how much his mother (Angela Lansbury) has destroyed his personality.....Just who is this man? And what is left of him? As to my favorite scenes from the film? I'd probably have to start with the brain-washing scene. It is just something you just don't see much of. The whole 360 * shot around the room, is balls to the wall brilliance.

I also really love the scene at the end of the film with Marco at the Convention Hall, trying to stop " a time bomb" as he puts it...

Also the whole karate fight scene between Sinatra & Henry Silva.

However, the scene that still has me the most intrigued and puzzled is the sequence on the train between Sinatra & Janet Leigh's character.

During their weird, oblique conversation, they talk about US states, Columbus' football team, railroad lines, and her two names (Eugenie and her nickname Rosie) - are they speaking in cryptic code? Is Marco also brainwashed as a Manchurian pawn - and is good old innocent looking Rosie his controlling operative? Or is she just looking for a little loving? Hmmmm.
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Driven to Kill (2009 Video)
4/10
Seagal: Russian accent and all....
22 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Just saw a little gem titled Driven to Kill. Steven Seagal, Russian accent and all is Ruslan Drachev, a former member of the Russian mob, who is now making an honest living writing crime novels.

But, you see all this changes when his daughter Lanie (Laura Mennell) is brutally attacked on her wedding day. As it turns out, Lanie was engaged to Stephan (Dmitry Chepovetsky), the son of ruthless Russian crime boss, Mikhail (Igor Jijikine).

Ruslan you see is not very happy at what has just unfolded and he pledges to find the people responsible for the crime. He even says that they will " cry tears of blood.." Driven to Kill is not just your typical vengeance flick, it is also a flick that returns Ruslan to the sinister underbelly of his past. In a way that only Steven Seagal+Russian accent could deliver: " Everybody want to be a tough guy-but nobody want to pay the price." He also delves into the philosophy of killing someone: "Well, there's two kinds of people. Those without a heart, maybe even enjoy it, they don't feel nothing... People like you and me-for us it never gets any easier. But well always have our reasons." Simply put, this is Lord Seagal's best feature in years. Perhaps the best scene of the year in the film, is the sequence in which Ruslan & Stephan end up at a pawn shop, and the scene pretty much ends with Seagal beating the pawn shop owner into a pulp, and him moaning and crying " Oh, god!" Beyond brilliant.

Other scenes of course find our dynamic duo (Ruslan & Stephan) engaging such Euro-trash in places like a strip club. Highlight=one long ass knife fight. "I've never been someone who could, uh, run from a knife fight." Power to the truth, Seagal! Ruslan mentions something about it being a place with a lot of shifty "bad guys" and such. A strip club full of shifty creepy guys? Who would've thought? One hilarious scene finds our duo being entertained by a naked dancer in a back room and such and Stephan says something along the likes of " Am I supposed to be feeling like this?..." I'm not sure what that whole purpose for that was....

Perhaps the strangest thing about the film is the fact of the type of music played in such scenes. For instance, I don't know about you, but upbeat Russian folk music during dramatic and violent beat downs? Awesome.

Another problem? Putting an old lady wig & makeup on a young actress and hoping no-one would notice. You see, it turns out Ruslan's ex-wife Catherine (Inna Korobkina) is a year younger than the actress that plays his daughter (Laura Mennell). Brilliant! Also what in the heck is going on, in the beginning of the film? There is a scene in which Ruslan is having lunch or something with his book agent (?) (Crystal Lowe), it involves a magic trick and it pretty much ends up with her saying something along the likes of "If you do it for me, I will do anything you want." Next thing you know, she's talking about some sort of threesome. ??? Also, what kind of moronic Det. just leaves their badge lying around, and then starts bitching about how Ruslan isn't Detective Norden...?? Well, Det. Nording you mam, are a moron!
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The International (I) (2009)
5/10
The International=Clive Owen quite clearly trying to be Daniel Craig.
22 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The premise of the movie itself finds an Interpol agent ( Owen) who is on the trail of an International Bank that is manipulating global conflicts by controlling the debt of each side fighting them.

The first two acts of The International are very Casino Royale-like, with its sinister-trans-national-shady-finance overtones, but the second half is very Quantum of Solace. I physically groaned when it was mentioned that Owen's character would have to "go outside the system" if he wanted a chance to do right.

For example, one of my favorite scenes from Casino Royale is when Bond causes the distraction with the Land Rover, if only because of the way he flicks the car keys away as he leaves the scene of the crime.

In The International, Clive Owen copies it almost frame for frame with an earpiece. His expression is almost identical to Daniel Craig's, as is his walk. But there's one minor exception: Owen is quite clearly acting. He doesn't have the charisma, the ability or the sheer nerve to be able to pull it off the way Craig does.

As such, the next few scenes are ridiculous: Owen pursues his quarry through Istanbul with the kind of determined, purposeful, I'm-going-to-get-you-even-if-it's-the-last-thing-I-do walk that somehow catches up with his target, even though the man is running. I'd expect it from John Wayne if he were played by Sylvester Stallone or Steven Seagal.

The problem with casting Clive Owen, is the fact that he sadly has the contagious passion and spark of a f*cking sleepwalker. The dude just has no charisma at all. Very boring and forgettable performance on his part, though sadly a typical Owenian performance. I'm sorry, but I only ended up laughing when he choked out that French lady on accident.

Naomi Watts, a pretty good actor by herself, doesn't fair as well either. Her character pretty much has no clear purpose, besides starting and ending with her having a family. In a way, she just seems very out of place. Probably would have been better off casting an unknown for the part of DA Whitman. Furthermore, why'd her character have to be based out of NY City? Wouldn't it have been more interesting and much more exotic if the actress/character was European? I guess, I'm grasping for straws..but for all of the beautiful scenes and architecture, it is still a sh*t film.

All in all, there are a few interesting scenes such as the shootout in the Guggenheim Museum (the part with the wheelchair was bad a** & the dude falling over the side was a nice touch as well, reminded me very much of the 70's films the film was trying to emulate.) & at the political rally in Milan. But you're not missing much if you don't see this film.

Worse, the end credits make it pretty obvious that the entire two hours you just spent watching the film were all for sh*t!
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9/10
"Change ain 't good, Léon. You know?"
22 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The Professional, A.K.A. Léon tells the tale of Mathilda ( Natalie Portman), a twelve-year old girl living in a family without love. Her father is involved in drug dealing for some bent cops led by the terrifying Agent Stansfeld ( Gary Oldman). When Stansfeld discovers that he is being cheated by Mathilda's father, he takes revenge by executing the entire family apart from Mathilda who escapes and seeks refuge in a neighbors flat. Léon ( Jean Reno), the neighbor, is more than he seems however, as Mathilda discovers he is actually a contract killer, and begs him to teach her how to settle her own scores.

Luc Besson, the writer and director of the film, put together quite the stylish and riveting thriller here. The pace is fast moving and the action sequences are quite enjoyable.

Reno gives a quite credible performance in the title role and manages to balance the conflicting elements of his character as well. Portman, as Mathilda, without a doubt gives the performance of her career here, ( to this day, still her best on film, not sure what that says about her as a performer though) with a combination of lost wolf meets driven avenger. Placing such a youngster so firmly at the center of such a violent themed film also adds to much of the tension that the film delivers.

It is, however, Oldman as the psychopathic cop who steals the show. If he overplays the part just a little, who cares, it can be easily forgiven as he is indeed quite the pleasure to watch. For instance, just watch the scene where he confronts Portman's Mathilda in the bathroom, such an incredible and intense scene. I also love the scene where the old lady buts in saying something like " Why don't you leave that family alone?" Oldman responds by shooting out the glass or whatever it was behind her and yells " He said go back inside." Also his line " I haven't got time for this mickey mouse bullsh*t" is so awesome.
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8/10
" We don't know why people do what they do. Everybody looks out his own window...."
27 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
My god, my heart is in pieces here. Astonishing from beginning to end. I think I might be a bit depressed as well, this is one of those films that is definitely going to stay with me for a while.

Does Patrick do the right thing in the end? That look on ..... face said it all. So sad, lonely, and withdrawn. That really struck me, The scenes that keep jumping back into my head, are those scenes with all of religious icons, the statues, the scenes and conversations with Ed Harris's character. " You gotta take a side." Casey Affleck just delivers one hell of a knockout performance here. Physically threatening or not, I was completely mesmerized by his performance. I also really enjoyed Michelle Monaghan (nice Irish name)'s performance as the realist girlfriend. Her role isn't exactly an easy one and I am more and more impressed with her in everything I see her in. Of course, you also have your veteran heavyweights like Morgan Freeman, and Ed Harris as well.

Kudos to everyone involved.
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Rendition (2007)
3/10
Consider me, not impressed.
27 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Rendition=boring. I hated this film. Could've been, should've been. Jake Gyllenhaal, plays perhaps the most naive secret agent in the history of film. The CIA is involved in webs of deceit, and conspiracies and top-secret truths. My god! I don't believe it! I'm not sure what the exact problem is here. Is Jake just severely mis-cast, or is it something much more? I'm actually going to go with both: Nobody in the cast really stood out to me acting wise..... Besides, the torture victim portrayed by Omar Metwally. And of course, there is a reason why.....

In fact, Gyllenhaalal and Company simply just stand around, wide eyed with the same expressions on their face over and over again. Witherspoon, for instance shows just pitiful acting range.

Where's the spark?
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8/10
"You're so f***ed. Here let me get a picture while I'm at it."
27 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Business ethics, corporate responsibility, sleazy lawyers. selling your soul and getting it back....are just some of the themes touched upon in the haunting and brilliant Michael Clayton. In some ways, this might be one of the most satisfying of all of the films that were released in 2007.

George Clooney, particularly shines here as the title-character: a so-called fixer, the go-to guy when his powerful New York law firm needs or wants a mess swept up under the rug. The mess in this case, is the firms top litigator, Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) in a $3-billion case that has gone from advocate to whistle blower. Wilkinson is just amazing to watch here. So seamless and affecting. This is why I love movies. That scene at his apartment, with the thugs, just completely shakes you to the core...and it should.

I think my favorite scene from the entire film, is that little scene between Clooney and the young child actor who was playing his son. Really struck a core with me. I also loved that long closeup of Clooney's face after the car-explosion.

The thing I loved most about Clooney's performance, is the way we could literally see the wheels turning in his mind. I love that, and I love seeing an actor, granted a great actor portray that.

Tilda Swinton is good in her role, but I really loved and was pulling for Romola Garai's performance in Atonement, for best supporting actress.

That scene at the end between Clooney & Swinton is reason enough to see this film.
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Goya's Ghosts (2006)
6/10
Haunting, but flawed
27 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Goya's Ghosts, directed by Academy Award winner Miloš Forman. (Amadeus, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) A lot of the critics panned this film, but I actually quite enjoyed it. It wasn't quite as engaging as Amadeus, but Forman really captured the aura of the period.

Natalie Portman's acting was also attacked by certain critics, ( she plays two characters here) and yet... I actually found her to be quite moving, especially as the imprisoned Inés who is accused of heresy against the Church. That scene of her after she is released from the inquisition prison, wow.

Stellan Skarsgård portrays the famous painter Francisco Goya & Javier Bardem plays Brother Lorenzo, an at the very least duplicitous monk.

Bardem chews up so much of the scenery here and I had no other feelings towards his character than of hatred. I see him as nothing more than a psychopathic, masochist, opportunist. This is a man who in the course of the film changes allegiances with the wind. In one of the movies most pivotal scenes, Brother Lorenzo visits Inés, tells her that he is about to help her, asks for her to pray with him and then proceeds to rape her.

Later on, Lorenzo reports to Inés family and defends "The Question"( torture) arguing that if the accused is really innocent, God will give them the strength to deny any guilt, so a person who confesses must be guilty. But, Inés family disagrees, arguing that a person will confess to anything under physical torture. To prove this, they draw up a statement which says that Brother Lorenzo confesses to being a monkey. In the end, Lorenzo is tortured and signs. So much for God's strength.
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4/10
We Own the Night?
27 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Not very much going for it, despite a well rounded cast. Joaquin Phoenix & Mark Wahlberg play two brothers on the opposite sides of the law. One is a strung out coked up night-club owner, the other is the cop who cracks down on the club.

There really isn't anything about this film that is either intense, or riveting. In fact, before I started this film, I had one big mental picture of what I felt was going to happen plot wise from the beginning to the end. In the end, I turned out to be 100% right.

Furthermore, a lot of the elements in the plot are a bit less than plausible. For instance, wouldn't it be common knowledge that Bobby ( Phoenix) abandoned his family, and or forsakes both his family's name and tradition.

Also, how do they explain Phoenix's absence from the club? They pretty much don't.

Another gripe I have with the film, is it's acting. It's passable, but some of the the scenes just fall flat. For instance, the sequence in which Phoenix reveals to Eva Mendes that he is now going to become a cop just doesn't connect as it should.

Ultimately, this is just a film that has little weight, and even less depth.
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Chinatown (1974)
10/10
"How do you like them apples?"
15 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Chinatown=Landmark film. It's not only one of the greatest detective films ever, but one of the most perfectly constructed of all films ever.

It all starts off on a quite familiar footing. Jaded Los Angeles Private Eye Jack Gittes ( Jack Nicholson) is hired to investigate Hollis Mulwray (Darrell Zwerling), builder of the city's water supply system, over a possible affair.

Not a pretty complex case, right?............ Gittes simply does what he does best and photographs Mulwray with a young girl. Case closed right? Wrong! From here, Jake is quickly brought into a world of intrigue, corruption, and double crosses as the real Mrs. Mulwray ( Faye Dunaway) makes an appearance, and her husband quickly turns up dead.

With every lead that Gittes comes across, there seems to be a connection with water. So it is here that he unravels the City of Angels scandals one after the next, but the biggest mystery is what, and who, lies at the heart of it all.

Nicholson is absolute magic as Gittes, and his face can tell a thousand stories, with or without the plaster on the nose. His wicked grin softens his character's world- weary cynicism and adds an interesting sympathetic edge to his hard, somewhat aloof at times character.

Dunaway is her typical enigmatic-self. Her whole "sister... daughter... sister... daughter" routine has to be seen to be believed.

I have to say though, that is is John Huston who steals the film though. His Cross is the perfect foil as the disturbing father. Guy just gives me the creeps. Especially, that final scene with Katherine.

Daniel Day-Lewis sure did his homework for There Will Be Blood. The voice and some of the mannerisms he adopted in playing the oil-man Plainview were pure John Huston.

In fact, speaking of the film's ending.... I think the murder of Polanski's wife Sharon Tate goes along way in explaining the tragic conclusion, and certainly the despair the film leaves you with.

One of the things I love most about the film, heck referring to the title itself: is the whole idea of past events haunting and influencing character's actions in the present.

For instance, Jake failing to save the life of a woman he had cared for when he was a detective in Chinatown, Evelyn's own troubled history, etc.

I think my favorite line from the film, is uttered by Cross to Jake when he says, ""You may think you know what you're dealing with, but, believe me, you don't." Easily one of the best lines in a film, filled with em.... You know the situation, Gittes finds himself in goes way beyond murder or scandal. Cross was far above the power of the mayor or even police. As Evelyn cries. "He owns the police!"

Also look for director Roman Polanski as the thug who pokes a switchblade up Nicholson's nostril while uttering the infamous line: "You're a very nosy fellow, kitty cat. Huh? You know what happens to nosy fellows? Huh? No? Wanna guess? Huh? No? Okay. They lose their noses."

I think my favorite scene from the entire film is the one where Jake beats the crap out of that goon in the retirement home. Just something about the way it was filmed......
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Rescue Dawn (2006)
7/10
Rescue Dawn
11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Rescue Dawn directed by the acclaimed director Werner Herzog is easily one of the top films of the past year and Christian Bale once again proves that he's perhaps the best actor of his generation. Bale stars as Dieter Dengler, an American pilot who is shot down during a top-secret bombing mission over Loas. What follows is a well textured tale of camaraderie, courage and triumph.

It is a story that can't really be classified as either pro or anti war, in essence it explores the tragedies of war for all involved. You get so drawn into the characters that at times you feel as if you were right there with them. This is a testament to the amazing work done by the cast here.

Bale really captures Dengler's spirt, a true testament to the boundaries of the human spirt. What was the quote, he had? Something along the lines of "the quick have their sleepwalkers, and so do the dead." Who really surprised me here though was Steve Zahn, who I'm probably most familiar with most in regards to his roles in several comedy films. And yet. He completely transforms himself into this role as a POW who is very child-like and fragile... Nothing short of amazing and very disturbingly believable.

Then there is Jeremy Davies ( Saving Private Ryan) who is almost unrecognizable here as a fellow POW, who seems to be modeled after Charles Manson on acid...... One cannot forget the scene where he quietly tells Bale that he'd scream his head off if he, Dengler tries to make a break for it.

Another scene that seems to be cemented in my mind, is the one where they are all covered in leaches.......

Loved the CIA guys as well. " This is now a black Op."
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5/10
"Where are they? Where are your friends now? Tell me about the loneliness of good, He-Man. Is it equal to the loneliness of evil?"
11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is the first film that I can remember as a kid seeing at the theatres. In fact, many of the people at the theatre were all dressed up in costumes relating to its characters.... Skeletor, He-Man, etc. And for whatever reason this gave me the idea that this entire film was being made right in front of me. Yes.

However, this movie has He-Man (Dolph Lundgren) and friends, battling Skeletor (Frank Langella) and his goons on the planet Earth, as they are aided by American teens Julie (Courteney Cox) and Kevin ( Robert Duncan McNeill) Personally, my favorite character from the cartoons was non-other than Orko, the magican. However, the dumbos' decided to replace Orko with the hideous troll Gwildor (Billy Barty). The damn character is so freakin annoying. One of his lines is literally. " The door! The door!" I still think the coolest thing they added were the whole mercenary group of Beastman, Saurod, Blade and Karg, who are ordered to recover the lost Cosmic Key. The scene where they return without the Key is bad ___" You are all aware of the penalty of failure." Skeletor then zaps Saurod to some other freakin dimension.

Frank Langella's Skeletor is easily one of the best movie villains. Forget Jack Nicholson and his boring Joker. Langella is this movie. In particular, the "I am a God!" sequence is worth the price of the DVD alone.

A lot of weird vibes all throughout this film though. Definitely related to the costumes. And definitely some homo-erotic stuff going around here. The whiping scenes? What in the hell.
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The Godfather (1972)
10/10
Simply Amazing
11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The execution of the 5 family heads is one of the most powerful scenes not only in this trilogy, but of all film. You have Michael swearing to renounce Satan in the church while his minions are slaughtering men on the street, under his orders.

Here is Pacino as Michael who in his own right is just so downright haunting. He is a man who has literally damned himself, and is forever tortured. Seeing, his character go from the war hero marine to the haunted and isolated Mafia Don..... Wow.

Brando. Again. Wow. That scene with him and Duvall where, Don Vito is told by a broken-hearted Tom that Sonny has been killed, and Michael's involvement in the murders. Or that final exchange between Vito & Michael. The dialogue is so un-forced, so natural, so real - gives me goosebumps! The most touching scene, for me, are the scenes between Michael and Apollonia, the local Sicilian girl who he falls in love with. And how couldn't he? "Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday..." She was so innocent.

All in all, my favorite scene I think is the scene in the Italian restaurant, leading up to Michael's murder of Sallozzo and McCluskey --Pacino's performance in that scene is just off the charts-- you can almost feel his mounting stress and blood pressure right through the screen.
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2/10
"Gentleman I wash my hands of this weirdness."
11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The following is a quote given by Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow in the disaster that is Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End. The same quote could not only be used to describe the film, but also Depp's performance as well. Been there, done that. Nothing is remotely interesting at all in this film. Not the special effects, the dialogue , etc. It is just one gigantic bore fest.

The whole film really feels in a way, pointless. Countless double crosses and backstabs. Character inconsistency after inconsistency. It just goes on and on and on. And then there is Orlando Bloom, who tries giving his Will Turner character a more of a harder edge... and yet he comes out reminding me of Pierce Bronsan's James Bond. The worst of it all though, belongs to Keira Knightley and her 'speech'.

Bloody pirates.
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7/10
The Stepford Wives (1974)
11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The lovely Katherine Ross stars here as Joanna, who reluctantly moves with her husband, Walter (Peter Masterson) and children from New York City to the so called ideal suburban community of Stepford, Connecticut.

The Stepford Wives is based on a novel by Ira Levin, who also wrote Rosemary's Baby. The two stories have a lot in common. Paranoia is a central theme in both films. They also touch on such themes as chauvinism and of course social commentary.

Katherine Ross and the film are at it's best with the slowly building of Joanna's paranoia and the realization that her dreams are now becoming a nightmare....and that she's next. Course, those who like their movies to be a little faster paced, need not apply.

Are the suburb's women happy to be vapid homemakers? Or is there a more shocking secret behind this domestic perfection? And what exactly does go on in those secret meetings? What did she ever see in her husband anyway?) The only thing I didn't quite like about the film was the whole relationship between Walter & Joanna. I'm sorry, but they simply just didn't seem as if they were married to each other. I didn't buy their whole relationship for one second. He was a real dick from start to finish.

Some really strong scenes throughout the film. But, the one that gave me the biggest creeps was that ending-those android's eyes. Of course, the coloured couple arguing in the supermarket - we know who's next! I was also creeped out by that scene on the school bus scene.
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9/10
"Yes, I killed him. I killed him for money - and a woman - and I didn't get the money and I didn't get the woman. Pretty, isn't it?"
11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"You know why you couldn't figure this one, Keyes? I'll tell you. Because the guy you were looking for was too close -- right across the desk from you." "Closer than that, Walter." Amazing. God, do I love black and white films. Easily one of the finest film noirs ever made.

Barbara Stanwyck & Fred MacMurray star here as the duo who find themselves entwined in a plot to kill Stanwyck's character's husband, who had signed a double indemnity clause.

The thing that I love about film noirs the most is that they portray how the world really works. Every person is on the take. Everyone is capable of murder.... Even that guy down the road who sells Insurance.

There are so many things I love about this film... But I think my favorite scenes are the one's involving Walter Neff's (MacMurray) fear of discovery, and his feelings for his friend Barton Keyes ( Edward G. Robinson), who plays the Insurance investigator who just won't go away.... and who always listens to his gut or as he describes it "the little man who lives in my stomach." The acting is really astonishing-Stanwyck's ice-cold Phyllis is who all femmes fatales are compared to. As far as I am concerned, that look of satisfaction on her face when her husband is murdered is one of the greatest scenes ever.

That first initial chat between Phyllis & Walter is better than some current films that have just been released and eaten up.

Then there is MacMurray, a strange choice for the role considering his body of work..and yet a big stroke of genius. A part of doom, and he carries it off. That line he had "I couldn't hear my footsteps. It was the walk of a dead man" is just so haunting.

Love the narration on his part as well.
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5/10
"That's enough of this kung-fu ________."
11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is a movie that has me conflicted. Len Wiseman is a hack, no doubt about it. His direction is terrible. I don't think he added anything really to the film at all.

And yet there are several things that are at best very entertaining about this film.

In any case case, John McClane ( Bruce Willis) is back trying to stop a bunch of cyber terrorists led by Timothy Olyphant ( Deadwood) hell bent on taking down the country's computer infrastructure.

Olyphant, at times is good, but other times he's a little too wooden. This co-incided with a bit of a weak script at times (usually only when he only had one or two words to say), so I guess it can be forgiven.

If you want wooden try Maggie Q, she is fine I guess in all the stunts and physical scenes involving her character, but when she opens up her mouth and delivers her lines, it is all just terrible.

As far as the action, a lot of it is just too much. Is this really a Die Hard film? At times, it feels like it could be any generic action hero going around with trying to protect some computer hacker. This is where the film failed I think.

That obnoxious "Spider-Man" henchman who jumps all over the place, surviving fall after fall. Well whatever, hamster boy. McClane leaping off of a F-35? The fight scene between McClane and the character played by Maggie Q, in the elevator shaft? However, you still have McClane doing what he does best. Kicking major butt. In one notable scene he asks Olyphant's character if he has anymore henchmen left, considering he's messed most of them up and killed them, pointing out that he must have got them from "1-800 henchmen." And I'm also surprised Justin Long was only liked punched in the face once. And kudos's for casting Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lucy McClane. That's McClane not Gennaro!
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Beowulf (2007)
2/10
Beowulf (2007)
11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Uh. Um. Where do I start? Well, first off it sucks- in reality it lacks any depth and imagination. Is simply a nothing movie. The visuals may be interesting at first, but that is all this film has going for it. It is indeed one boring film.

Secondly, the dialogue sucks. How many times can you shout " I am Beowulf"? Or simply just shout and prance around naked? Then there is the voice work of Angelina Jolie. Good god. I don't even know what the bang she is going for here. She simply reverts back to that atrocious Slavic dialect she used in Alexander. Or is it even that? Is it Transylvanian? Good god, what a terrible movie and a terrible waste of time.
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Zodiac (2007)
9/10
"You wouldn't happen to have any animal crackers, would you?"
11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A superbly amazingly crafted thriller from director David Fincher. ( Se7en, Fight Club) The films's run time comes in at somewhere around 157 Minutes, and yet I really didn't even notice this. The narrative flows so well, and you are constantly on the edge. For instance, that scene with the young mother. Robert Downey Jr's character going to meet an anonymous source. That just real creepy basement scene.

Basically, Zodiac is a story of obsession. One which is a searing and singularly haunting examination of twin obsessions: The obsession of the three men, whose lives are built and destroyed by a series of endless clues, and the obsession of one's man's desire to kill.

The acting is is just top notch, with Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo (though he is playing another cop) and Robert Downey Jr. (amazing. That scene with him at the firing range. " So we're gonna get along great.") each giving top performances.
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Ratatouille (2007)
8/10
Ratatouille
11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Just one heck of an energetic and amusing film. Easily one of the best Pixar creations. No surprise, that it should entertain both the young and old as well.

Just like all great films, Ratatouille is alive, and full of passion. At it's core are messages about friendship, family, compassion and determination.

The film's unlikely heroes are a rat named Remy (Patton Oswalt) and a young man named Linguini (Lou Romano). They quickly form an unlikely partnership.

Also, interesting to note is the lack of big name celebrity voices in the cast. How great is it to hear Peter O'Toole on the screen as the critic Anton Ego? Favorite scene is probably the one where Colette is telling Linguini the backstorys of all the chefs, and all of the different stories Horst has. " I robbed the second largest bank in France using only a ball-point pen." "I killed a man... with this thumb." Anyone moved by the end with Ego being reminded of his childhood? How cool was Skinner? That scene where he's all dressed in a trench coat-all trying to act all mysterious & incognito at the restaurant. " I'll have what he's having." Awesome.

Easily one of the better films to have come out this past year.
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Atonement (2007)
7/10
Knightly overrated, McAvoy shines.
11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A very fascinating film. I'm kind of left still thinking about it. Honestly, it's a pretty devastating film to watch. Definitely, a film to remember. James McAvoy is without a doubt the main standout, nothing against Keira Knightly. But, McAvoy's performance really stood out to me.

I'm also left really creeped out by some of the characters involved. Especially, the characters of Lola & Paul Marshall ( who was the real rapist). Much is said about Briony's guilt, and yet Lola allows Robbie to take the blame as well, when she knows very well that it was Marshall who raped her. Or did he? Of course, we are only seeing things from Briony's view...but in the scenes between Lola and Marshall they are very openly flirting, not to mention the underhanded comments about how Lola wants to be more grown up and is trying to act like and adult. Of course-Lola ends up marrying her 'attacker' Marshall.....

Briony? Is she nothing more than a self-absorbed liar? I was really affected by Romola Garai's performance as the 18 year old nurse Briony. She really took up the young, naive, jealous, selfish 13 year old Briony (Saoirse Ronan) mannerisms, the way she talked etc. Garai is such an under-rated actress. I've liked her since I saw her in I Capture the Castle. She was also most recently in Amazing Grace. A very subtle actress, but in just one second or scene she can still manage to break your heart, it's all in the eyes.

Perhaps the most known scene of the film, is the one-take sequence of Dunkirk, which is nothing short of astonishing. Not just the look and feel of it, but the music of the scene as well. The connection among the soldiers. Especially when they sing hauntingly in the background. Tears your heart out.
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10/10
"The whole world's on fire, isn't it?"
11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
My all time favorite film. Still gives me chills. It's easily one of the most amazing films I've ever seen and it also features perhaps one of the greatest soundtracks ever. They way, the music hits the scenes is just absolutely astonishing.

In essence, The Last of the Mohicans is an epic adventure/romance set against the panorama of a frontier wilderness ravaged by the French and Indian War.

Director Michael Mann brilliantly captures the essence of the era ( 1750's)-the hand-to hand battles, the scalping's, the harsh life in the wilderness, etc. But, I especially love the way that the film depicts the perspectives of each of the groups and the people involved. Whether they are competing for military superiority, referring to the French General Montcalm ( Patrice Chéreau ) and the British Colonel Munro (Maurice Roëves) or the simple existence of peoples in their homeland, the viewer is given a true sense of their mindset in the midst of a great conflict.

Even the story's main antagonist, Magua (wonderfully portrayed by Wes Studi) draws us in.

The always amazing Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Hawkeye, rugged frontiersman and adopted son of the Mohicans. Day-Lewis, with flowing mane and heaving pecs, makes a virile but sensitive hero for the screen and Madeline Stowe is Cora Munro, aristocratic daughter of the proud British Colonel Munro. Stowe manages to find in Cora a fiery balance between sensitivity and strength. One can't help but feel fascinated and/ or captivated by her dark eyes and flowing dark hair.

Generally, the film tells the story of Hawkeye and Cora Munro, two people who meet across cultural and class barriers, and are presented serious new challenges.

But the film has so more. For example, the contrasts between the two brothers ( Hawkeye and Uncas) and the two sisters ( Cora and Alice). Hawkeye being the more daring and outspoken from the start. He dares to approach the dark haired Cora when he was drawn to her, where as Uncas (Eric Schweig) never openly reveals his attraction to Alice ( Jodhi May). Besides, those short simple looks and glances.

But then again, do we really need lines? No. Both Schweig and May have very few lines, but it is their eyes, that are saying everything... Case in point, that sequence in the cave, where Uncas pulls Alice back from the falls and holds her.

All in all, I have to honestly say that the last 40 or 50 minutes or so of this movie, are just completely off the hook. I'd wager it might start along the lines of hearing that huge Huron war party cry as the British Army retreats from Ft. William Henry. This leads to Hawkeye vow to rescue Cora no matter what in the scene that takes place behind the waterfall. This is a scene that has been copied and mimicked by many others ( notably Tom Cruise in M1-2) but the way Day-Lewis delivers the line "You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you" simply makes you believe him.

Another amazing sequence would be when our heroes are running up the hill to save Cora, Alice, and the British Maj. Duncan Heyward (Steven Waddington) after they've been captured. For whatever, reason the Directors Expanded DVD emits the haunting Clannad song, "I Will Find You". Why this isn't heard during the scene is beyond me.

I've watched this film way too many times now, but easily it is the last 15 minutes that are the most powerful and emotionally devastating. For instance, just watch the way the sequence of music starts with Duncan shouting "take her and get out", you know that something serious is going to happen and Duncan is doomed......

Or the scene of Uncas's and then Alice's shocking deaths. I've always viewed the later scene as the first time Alice takes control of her own destiny and chooses not to be a victim. She finally snaps out of her shock-induced haze and takes action. Her choice of suicide is made from a place of strength.

But it is also the more quiet of moments that simply resonate. For instance, when Chingachgook ( Russell Means) speaks about being the Last of his tribe.

A film that truly resonates. No matter the age or the mood.
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7/10
"In Russian prisons your life story is written on your body in tattoos. You don't have tattoos, you don't exist."
11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A very hard film to like, but in the end I did enjoy it. Viggo Mortenson is just on another level here. Do I even have to go into the whole steam bath fight sequence? Mortenson plays, Nikolai the mysterious 'driver' for one of London's most notorious organized crime families. Without giving a way a few plot twists, the whole character of Nikolai, just asks more questions than it answers. Is Nikolai a man of integrity or a man of opportunity? Naomi Watts co-stars as Anna, a midwife who happens upon a world of intrigue and murder when she starts investigating the journal of a pregnant teen aged prostitute who dies while giving birth to a baby. This is the plot that sets everything into motion as Anna curious & seeking answers, gradually meets the people involved.

I'm not quite sure whose is more creepier, here. Nikolai the 'undertaker', Kirill (Vincent Cassel) the volatile son and enforcer, or Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl) the 'godfather' so to speak. I guess taking one look at these guys would scare some people..... My personal opinion? Cassel's Kirill. That scene where he watches as Mortenson has sex with a prostitute is just disgusting.

My favorite scene is probably the one where Anna's drunken Uncle Stepan, tells her to drop the entire affair.

In the end, I enjoyed this film because of it's authentic performances and because of it's subject matter and location ( London) , which shall we say went radioactively hot recently.

However, this film is one of those where nothing really ends. Sure, we have an 'ending' but so much is just left for us to ponder.

Nikolai sits in the same booth from which Semyon held forth ........... Anna looking after Christine ( the baby). Semyon being taken away to jail.....
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