Oh Shane Black, I have missed you and your kick-ass action films with whip-smart dialog. Maybe this is not quite as fabulous as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but it is a damn great movie nonetheless. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are on fine form as the hilariously mismatched main duo, reminding me of Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours. Which is high praise indeed.
With The tree of life now in cinemas, there have been a lot of comparisons made with Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, so it’s time to go back to the source. Yes, it has aged somehow, but not really in what truly matters. So if you haven’t seen it already, or if you were too young when you did, try it, and let’s sit down to discuss what it all means afterwards…
There are not many very good Science-Fiction movies out there, let alone ones that would appeal to a broader audience than the typical fans of the genre. This is one of them. From the acclaimed former Monty Python Terry Gilliam (I promise to talk about Brazil as well at a later stage), comes a visual and intellectual treat, which still remains fun and easy to watch. And now I can’t get this Astor Piazzolla tango out of my head…
I don’t know why I like this movie so much. Granted, David Fincher is obviously one of my favourite directors, but this particular film has never generally been considered to be one of his finest. Yet somehow, I don’t seem to care, and every time I watch it, I get sucked in for the ride and thoroughly enjoy it. Am I the only one?
After going through a lot of heavy films recently, it’s time for something lighter! At the time Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson were still together and their wonderful chemistry makes this half-silly/half-serious reincarnation thriller an unusual yet thoroughly enjoyable ride. I’ll put this down as one of my guilty pleasures.
I’ve already discussed David Cronenberg’s A history of violence, and in this one the director teams up again with Viggo Mortensen (with a superb Naomi Watts along for the ride) to produce yet another masterpiece. Still not for the squeamish (I’m looking at you, extraordinarily brutal Turkish bath scene), but well worth your time.
An amazing movie from first time director Richard Kelly, Donnie Darko refuses to be easily categorized: Is it Science-Fiction, a glimpse inside a mentally ill teenager’s mind, or a chronicle of suburban malaise? Maybe a bit of everything. In any case, this little cult gem is truly worth watching and will be a great topic of discussion afterwards.
The idea of a stylish film noir set in an American high school can seem pretty strange at first glance. Ok, even at second glance. Rian Johnson sure didn’t pick an easy choice for his first movie, but you know what? It works. And it is different. And at the end of the day, it is a bloody good movie.
To begin with, it wasn’t my first pick. Let’s see, a movie about a possibly psychotic ballet dancer… Not exactly made for me. I had found Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a dream way too depressing, but this time he nails it with this little gem. Not great for a popcorn movie night out, but a fantastic performance by Natalie Portman, well deserving her Oscar win.
Talking about Chinatown in my previous post reminded me about another Film Noir favourite of mine. From a novel by James Ellroy, one of the greatest crime writers, with a superb ensemble cast, L.A. confidential is a masterpiece and sets the bar very high for any adaptation to the screen of a supposedly difficult book… It can be done, and this is how you do it.
Whatever you think of the man himself, Roman Polanski is an amazingly talented director, and this might just be his finest movie. I know I may have to argue that statement when I finally get around to posting about Chinatown, but I stand by it. Great (and understated) performances by all the actors involved, and a taut thriller of a script like I haven’t seen in a while, make for a very enjoyable movie until the very last seconds.
Has anybody out there not seen this film already? Talk about a dream cast: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Jonathan Pryce… Another screenplay by David Mamet (yes, I know, I’ve mentioned him before) full of whip-sharp memorable dialog, this is a must see. So put that coffee down! And go add this to your Netflix queue…
François Truffaut’s last (and in my opinion best) movie, an hommage to his beloved Alfred Hitchcock. Fanny Ardant is in superb form and Jean-Louis Trintignant is the perfect grumpy unwilling counterpoint. A little gem of a funny film noir or comedy crime mistery, whatever you want to call it, this movie is well worth watching.
As much as I like Martin Scorcese and The Departed, this was yet another case of a perfectly unnecessary remake. Unless you really can’t get past the fact that it has subtitles, you should watch the original. Fast paced and even more intense, with no big names on the screen to distract from the plot, it won’t let you go until the end. And in case you are lucky enough not to know what this is about, don’t read anything about it. It will be even better!
As I (slowly) work my way through the list of all my favourite movies, I realized that between all the 40s classics, I like Casablanca, I really enjoy The Maltese falcon, but Laura is the only one I really truly love. A perfect little gem of a film noir with Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews, don’t miss it if you have never watched it before.
How do you film the horror of the First World War trenches and still somehow make a work of art with such glorious photography? Only if you are Jean-Pierre Jeunet (who also directed Amélie) can you solve those contradictions and make a beautiful movie full of larger then life characters. A highly recommended movie based on a novel by Sébastien Japrisot (PS: my favourite book from him is la dame dans l’auto avec des lunettes et un fusil)
From one of my favourite directors David Fincher comes a beautiful and magical old-fashioned story about a man with a very peculiar problem, a woman, and life bringing them together or keeping them apart. If this sounds like the most banal storyline, the movie is anything but. Served by a great ensemble cast of talented actors, superb special effects, a fantastic short story from F. Scott Fitzgerald, this is truly a masterpiece.
We are literally just walking out of this movie. Wow. Maybe it is too early to talk about it, but I don’t care. This is unlike anything I have seen in a while. This is Cinema on a grand scale. This is breathtakingly intense. This is something that I am going to keep thinking about for a while. Superb story, great acting, amazing action sequences. Go and see it on the biggest screen that you can find.
From a fantastic book by Dennis Lehane, Ben Affleck directorial debut is an instant classic. Maybe it was the story set in his native Boston, maybe it is directing his younger brother Casey (doing an amazing job even if, after reading the books, he was really not who I had in mind to play Patrick Kenzie), but whatever the reason, he seems to be much more at ease on this side of the camera. I, for one, look forward to his next movie.
Is this Alfred Hitchcock’s best movie? Quite possibly. The perfect confluence of a great story, great cast (James Stewart is superb, but Kim Novak is simply mesmerizing), and a masterpiece of film-making. Witness the first use of the Dolly zoom to great effect, long before it was famously picked up by Steven Spielberg for Jaws.
Sometimes, a great book from a great author (Dennis Lehane), a legendary director (Clint Eastwood), and three actors at the top of their game (Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon) are not enough to make a fantastic film. But not this time. Regardless of whether you know the story or not, this movie will grip you until the last scene.
This is the oldest con in the world. And because it is a David Mamet movie, you can expect whip-sharp dialog, and terrific writing. This one will keep you guessing until the very end!
I watched this one very recently before the Oscars and I was really surprised to see it didn’t get best foreign film (which makes me want to see the winner el secreto de sus ojos even more). Haunting, gorgeous black and white cinematography, not your usual Hollywood fare, but most definitely worth checking out.
My favourite David Lynch movie. Not as weird as some of his other films, but plenty weird enough… In a good way, though! I have a theory about what it all means, but I can’t tell you. Silencio, silencio. No hay banda.