Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Bag 'Em and Tag 'Em-Cinema's most Memorable Murder Victims

Introduction-We are nuts!

Let's face it, we have become more than familiar with death in the movies. In fact, I would be willing to bet that almost all who read this are no longer phased by lethal violence in film, and many will even kind of enjoy it.

Now, I'm not saying that you're like these guys..

...but we all seem to acquiesce to death as a status quo in certain genres of film.

In fact, some minor characters entire purpose in the film is to be horribly killed. Be it to establish the nefarious threat of the bad guy, to facilitate a thrilling action sequence, or even just for the hell of it, certain characters are killed without a moments thought.

Most of these characters/victims are instantly forgettable. However, a precious few have died in such crazy excess that they have ended up being among the most memorable characters in the film; etching their way forever into our sick little hearts.

Here are some of my favourite movie murder victims...

Warning-SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! Shameless spoilers!

Kane from Alien (1979)

Still the chest-burst

The death of John Hurt's character in Ridley Scott's seminal sci-fi horror Alien is monumental for three reasons. 1. It spawned the myth of a franchise. 2. It represents one of horror's all-time-great "jolt scares, and 3.  In a movie that features a ten foot tall creature with a phallus for a head and Sigourney Weaver's undies, this first death is still the highlight of the film.
Kane is the first character to go, but the chest-bursting majesty of his death has been imitated almost exhaustedly in every subsequent installment of the franchise and has ensured his character's pop culture immortality.

Radio Raheem from Do the Right Thing (1989)

The most disturbing death on the list.
Spike Lee's own character Mookie may get the protagonist honours within this masterpiece, but it is Bill Nunn's Radio Raheem (he of the infamous "love/hate" rings) that provides the film with its most crucial plot point. After two hours of tremendous, racially charged ensemble action, Raheem suffers one of films most prolonged, graphic deaths by way of police brutality from a white cop.
Many fans saw this climax as prophetic during the Rodney King controversy and subsequent LA riots of the early 1990s.

Robert Paulson from Fight Club (1999)

Meat Loaf's goofy, amicable, man child with "bitch-tits" is the soft underbelly of a cold, largely-cynical movie. He is child-like, warm hearted and innocent. He is also totally unforgettable. This makes it all the more disturbing when he gets the back of his head blown off and his name becomes the source of a terrible mantra.
They could have given Meat Loaf and Oscar for this!!!!?!

Obese Man aka "Gluttony" from Se7en (1995)

The first victim of seven, the one that sends Somerset (Freeman) and Mills (Pitt) on their journey into the abyss. Not to put too fine a point on it-this man is force-fed and then kicked until his stomach bursts.
Oh, and he dies face-down in Spaghetti. You're better off not seeing his face though, because it looks like this...

Bob Mack-what a thespian.

Billy Batts from Goodfellas (1990)

Perhaps the greatest mob epic of all time (Godfather fans may troll away!) begins with a good old fashioned man-stabbin' (it had been a while...)
What is amazing about this death is not just the brutality of it, or its relevance as a turning point in the plot, but the sheer hubris that causes us to actually want to see Billy get horribly murdered.
"Go home and get your f**king shine-box!"-we finally feel sympathy for a Joe Pesci character.

Martin Blower and Eve Draper from Hot Fuzz (2007)

Sometimes the picture really does do the talking.

The man with his head in a vice from Casino (1995)

Another Scorcese film, another gratuitous kill. Having just re-watched Casino again, I was able to relish in the voyeuristic embrace of this ludicrous scene as though seeing it for the first time.
Our friend Anthony here is the last survivor of a brutal shooting. In order to discover the boss behind the shooting, Joe Pesci's Nicky Santoro tortures him for days. Only problem is-he won't talk?
What would you do?? If you answered "put his head in a vice"-there is an 80 per cent chance that you are wearing a skin-suit right now.
To think, it was all over Charlie M...

Mrs. Bates from Psycho (1960)

How could I not include such an upstanding member of her community?! Few dead people can live on and effect the narrative of their respective films the way old Mrs. Bates does. Following long standing discussions between Norman Bates and his dear mother regarding male sexuality and personal safety, to discover that she is nothing but a shriveled-up corpse infiltrating Norman's tortured subconscious is, to say the least, a nerve-tickling twist.

Freddie Lounds form Manhunter (1986) and Red Dragon (2003)

Okay, let's get one thing straight, I much prefer Michael mann's crime classic Manhunter to its glossier-but-more-infantile Hollywood remake Red Dragon. However, there are two benefits to Red Dragon- Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter...and getting to see the one and only Philip Seymour Hoffman stuck to a chair, berated by an arse-naked serial killer and then (I still cant quite believe it!) sent hurtling down a public street in a flaming wheelchair.
Please take a moment to let that last sentence sink in....


I nearly wet myself in the cinema...

The dog from The Thing (1982)

Who said the victims on this list have to be human? I certainly didn't, fools!
Again, our canine friend is the first victim of the film. Again, the dog's death sets the films plot and ethos in motion. And, again, the death of this little pooch is FUBAR-f**ked up beyond all recognition!

We'va all done the Monster Mash.

Dick Halloran from The Shining (1980)

He came, he shined, he didn't last long. Scatman Crothers amiable hotel chef provedes a warm heart, an insight into Danny's special gift, and, not least, a crazy-ass death in Kubrick's horror odyssey.  Nice guy's finish last.
Crother's was happy to be on the team though. Here he is crying tears of joy about the experience in The Making of The Shining:


And, finally, the award goes to.....


Timothy Treadwell from Grizzly Man (2005)

The scariest murders aren't the ones that exist on film; the scariest murders are real.
Okay, so I may have cheated with Treadwell. After all, he isn't a minor character-he is the protagonist (unless you count Herzog's constantly encroaching voice). Nonetheless, has a murder, announced at a film's onset, ever effected your viewing of a film so deeply? Seriously, it puts Sunset Boulevard (1950) and American Beauty (1999) to shame.
Also, can you argue with a documentary about a real man who lived with bears every summer until eventually being horribly killed and eaten by one?!
I think not.
I guess we will never understand Treadwell, we will just have to grin and bear it!! (too soon??)

Yes, much too soon.

Honorable mention:

The Eraserhead Baby from Eraserhead (1976)-child cruelty must end!
Bernie Bernbaum from Miller's Crossing (1990)-he doesn't get killed when he should have been!
Jenny from The Limey (1999)-"Tell me about Jenny!"

Finally, here is Paris Hilton as Michael Myer's murdered sister Judith from Halloween (1978)

Enough said.

Thanks for reading! Keep the faith.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Prometheus-The Kino Shout! Review

Prometheus (2012)

Dir. Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charleze Theron, Logan Marshall-Green, Guy Pierce

Verdict: 3.5/5

Great films that are similar: Forbidden Planet , Planet of the Apes, Alien (goes without say)


FAN BOY ALERT: This review shamelessly claims that Alien (1979) is better than Aliens (1986) and may, in fact, even criticise James Cameron.

Okay, so....

There is an old joke-Bane, a Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, and the dude from Memento (2000) walk into film history....stop me if you've heard this one before....

It is said in Prometheus that "a king has his reign, then he dies. It is inevitable." Clearly, Ridley Scott has never considered this statement in relation to himself. Old man Ridley has been drawing in Box office dollars on both worthy and otherwise movies for nigh on 20 years now. So, should he have been invited back to the franchise he created 33 years later?...

....well, yes. Why shouldn't he? After all, he did make the most intelligent one. The old sage waited until his 42nd year to find his film niche-providing genre thrill that work in service of bold narrative and characters.

And, initially, the news is good with Prometheus. In the face of a monumental task Ridley has made some great, old school choices. Ghastly 3d not withstanding, Scott invigorates his return to the Alien universe with the kind of crisp, organic beauty that CGI simply cannot fathom. The opening, worthy of Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life depicts an alien being's tragedy and sets in motion the notion of mysterious ambiguity in the film. The opening is awash with character, too. The film, like the greats of the genre, takes its time to let the characters and intrigue wash over you. We are first introduced to David. Michael Fassbender's android is, ironically, the most charismatic of the crew. David's life would be perfect were it not for those pesky humans weighing him down. He is willfull, dignified, and willing to throw a few wry insults Logan marshall Green's way any day of the week...

Easy task.

As usual with sci fi, it is the human element that causes everything to go so awry. The movie plays almost like a parable of the danger's of over-curiosity. When obsessive archeologist/partners Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Marshall-Green) discover archeological "maps" throughout Earth pointing to what they believe are "engineers" that actually created the human race, they are approved by religious-obsessive Peter Weyland to travel to the mysterious planet indicated in an attempt to "meet our makers." Thus, we are taken on a journey through barren, cavernous beauty that few films can match. Headless bodies, monolithic stone heads, bio-mechanical-looking caverns full of toxic waste, and giant face-huggers abound....seriously! Take into account the film's lofty origin-of-the-species ambition and, you must admit, that sounds pretty appealing...

PROMETHIUS-136 per cent more visually impressive than Avatar (2009)

Of course, as you can imagine, the makers are not as placid and inspiring as our crew would have hoped for. Even hardened skeptic Meredith Vickers (Theron) begins to soil her space-undies just a little bit. But, I must confess, it is also in the second half of the movie that the film begins to falter somewhat. You see, as a flirty exchange between Vicker's and Captain Janek should indicate, it's the characters that make this one. Once we get the wonderful notion of David being a smiling yet willful killer, Elizabeth dealing with father issues, and Vicker's struggle for credibility, we then meet the aliens themselves....

.....and it is a BIG LETDOWN.

(Spoiler alert) Not to put too fine a point on it, I was disappointed to know that the only thing these 'engineers' really want is to poison us and rip android's heads off like common thugs.


Then, there is a bigger problem. The second half of the movie also fails to answer the brilliant questions of the first half. Why create man? What is our purpose? Who are the engineers, why were they developing weapons?

The film makes the answer to all these questions very clear-"Wait for the sequel; we'll tell you then."

We've been Punk'd?!@

So, to conclude, the beauty is in the questions rather than the answers. Can we have headless bodies in an alien movie? Yes. Will it be thrilling? Yes. Will the cast be good? Yes. Will it raise issues about creation and parenthood? Yes.

I enjoyed the movie, it states that creation should not be too easy for the creator may not understand the obligation; it states this clearly. This is why Alien is my favourite of the franchise, because Ridley, unlike James Cameron, will not make a thrill-ride unless it first asks big questions. The irony, though, is that with a much simpler premise Alien manages not only to be better than Prometheus but, ironically, it justified sequels to a greater extent without even meaning to.

Still, at least Michael Fassbender keeps it in his pants in this one....

Oh dear, I can nearly see the tip of it....

Saturday, 9 June 2012

My Top 30 films part 1: Numbers 30-11

What makes a movie great?

Struggling to answer the question? We all are. Years as a cinephile and still I cannot testify to any great certainty what the secrets of a great movie are. I only wish to offer up some films that I feel are worthy of the title "great". These 30 films sample various eras, genres, disciplines, and ideologies of film. What they each have in common is that I am staggered when I watch them.

We've all been stuck in conversation with men in football shirts who only watch Oscar-bait, the middle-agers who only watch movies based on books, or the computer programmers that use words like "Marxism" to discuss Stargate (1995)...

I am a film for film's sake guy. I am also a champion of the intellectual/art-film side of the medium.
Godard said that "film is the truth"-I do not agree. Film is fiction, but damn good fiction. These are some movies that do it best...

Here is part one of my 30 favourite movies:

Firstly, honorable mention to:  Magnolia (1999), Faust (1926), Thief (1981), Double Indemnity (1944)...and many others....

So, here goes...

Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Dir: Sergio Leone
Starring: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Tuesday Weld, Joe Pesci

De Niro, Woods and co. transcend the eras in new York.

Being a Peeping Tom never seemed so cute.
What it is: Sergio Leone's final film is his first set in truly "modern' times and is his sweetest and his most personal of works. The story spans several decades in the lives of a gang of small time crooks living in the New York area. Starting in the 1920s and finishing in the 1980s, it is a story of life, love, ambition, betrayal, and death set against a haunting New York landscape.

Why it's great: Aside form being one of the the all-time great films about growing up, it is also a priceless document on loss, friendship, and the regret of past mistakes. Look out for Morricone's minimalist score.

My favourite moment: The almost unbearably sweet moment in which a young Deborah reads a love poem to a vulnerable Noodles.


Manhunter (1985)
Dir: Michael Mann
Starring: William Peterson, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Tom Noonan.

Tom Noonan-no introduction necessary.

Thats the power of blue, my lady...

What it is: FBI special agent Will Graham is enlisted to help catch the infamous Tooth Fairy killer, a psychopath who chooses his victims seemingly at random.

Why it's great: The first adaptation of Thomas Harris' "Red Dragon" (and, thus, the first film to depict Hannibal Lecter on screen) is a shamelessly stylish orgy of colour and images that proves that a talented filmmaker can make an art film and a mainstream narrative simultaneously. It is fascinating to see Brian Cox play Lector, a part so synonymous with Anthony Hopkins. However, what steals the show for me is everything else. The movie is a style-enthusiast's dream! A great story, stellar performances (Tom Noonan is one of film's creepiest killers), and one gorgeous scene after the next make this one of American film's wildest rides.

My favourite moment:The film's climax is electric, playing out to Iron Butterfly's "In a Gadda Da Vidda".

The old Flamin' Wheelchair routine...classic.


Halloween (1978)

Dir. John Carpenter
Starring: Jamie Lynne Curtis, Donald Pleasance

What it is:  The modern-slasher genesis centres around one of horrors most fabled figures-Michael Myers. On Halloween night in sleepy Hadonfield, a young Michael Myers murders his sister in cold blood. Years later, almost to the day, Myers escapes his institution to return to Hadonfield to finish the massacre he started.

Why it's great:  It is easy to forget how inspired it was for Carpenter to impart super human traits to a human antagonist. Nonetheless, it is the heroic Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) that truly stands out for me. because we care for Laurie, we feel every bump in this great ride.

Favourite moment: The first half hour is essentially a cinematic canon to the chest...
Jamie Lee Curtis-she used to look female...


Capturing the Friedmans (2003)

What it is: The film follows the deterioration of the gregarious but strange Friedman family. The Friedman's were obsessed with capturing every moment of their lives on film via their home movie equipment. This habit became especially damning when father Arnold "Arnie" Friedman and youngest son Jessie were accused of serial rape and molestation of children in their home computer class in 1988.

Why it's great: This is the only documentary on the list for a reason-I believe that it is the best documentary ever made.  The film's tagline "Who do you believe?" basically sums it all up. Every person interviewed in this movie is, essentially, in absolute denial on some level. Throw in hypnosis, conflicting stories, and bizarrely candid home movies and you've got yourself a case!

My Favourite Moment: The insanely apt use of The Beatles "In the Movies" in the opening credits is great. Also, how about the attorney's anecdote about Arnie and the young boy in the prison meeting hall-chilling, no?

Arnold and Jessie Friedman


Through a Glass Darkly (1961)

Dir. Ingmar Bergman
Starring. Harriot Anderson, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Max Von Sydow

What it is: Tough Question! Well, having spent time in a psychiatric facility, Karin returns to the family island to spend time with her father, brother, and successful fiancee. Her father and fiancee's commanding attitude contrasts her young brother's sweetness. Soon, Karin's sanity begins to unravel once more.

Why it's great: You may not get it, but you won't forget it. Bergman's usual theatrical exploration of the soul and iconic images create one amazing set-piece after the next, and are married together with one a great, sensual performances from Harriot Anderson; worthy of any actress in history.

My favourite moment: Karen and brother Minus stage their own play in the family garden; a production worthy of Shakespeare.


Ran (1985)

Dir. Akira Kurasawa
Starring. Tatsuya Nakadai, Pita, Mieko Harada

What it is: Loosely adapted from King Lear and borrowing heavily from Japanese folklore tradition, Ran depicts the tragedy of the Ichimonji family. When aging King Hidetora bequeaths his kingdom to his three sons, a tragedy is set in motion in which the greed of two divides and ultimately destroys the kingdom and the family.

Why it's great: Frankly, because of everything about it. It is one of the most aesthetically beautiful films of all time (every scene is based on oil paintings by Kurosawa himself), it is the boldest adaptation of Shakespeare every committed to film and, by no means least, has perhaps the best female villain in any movie in (the amazing) Lady Kaede.

My favourite moments: Any scene that features Mieko Harada's Lady Kaede (particularly the last one!) Evil people shouldn't be this sexy...

Lady Kaede-she can usurp me anytime, 'know what I'm saying??


Straw Dogs (1971)

Dir. Sam Peckinpah
Starring. Dustin Hoffman, Susan George.

Dustin Hoffman-s'up?!

Susan George-The beautiful ones are always crazy.

What it is: Sam Peckinpah's succesfull attempt to bring the Western/vigilante genre to the British countryside produced one of the most shocking and thought provoking films ever made. It is a fish out of water vigilante story in which a meek american mathematician holidays with his beautiful british bride in her hometown. However, his wife's frustration and the threat of the dangerously conservative townsfolk quickly lead the film towards a pitch-black climax.

Why it's great: Simply put, it is the thinking man's bloodbath. The film says as much about relationships and manhood as it does about conservative/fascist ideals. It is a pity Susan George's career didn't continue to blossom as Hoffman's did.

My favourite moments: It is a toss-up between a curious Amy exposing herself to roof tilers and a crazed Hoffman telling one of his attackers "I hope you cut your throat."


The Graduate (1967)

Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate

Dir. Mike Nichols
Starring. Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katherine Ross

What it is: One of the great coming of age storys, the film follows Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman) as he  lazes at home the Summer after his college graduation. Eventually, Benjamin falls hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Elaine. There is only one problem-Benjamin has already been "seduced" by Elaine's mother, known simply as "Mrs. Robinson".

Why it's great: Another great Dustin Hoffman vehicle. The film is so refreshingly frank about love, sexual attraction, boredom, and ennui. It manages to be sweet without being schmaltzy and is terribly romantic because of it's lack of traditional sentimentality.

Favourite moment: Illuminated by a Simon and Garfunkel classic, Benjamin "rescues" Elaine...from her wedding!!


Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Hannibal Lector in a face mask-yup.

Dir. Johnathan Demme
Starring. Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Ted Levine, Scott Glenn

What it is: FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Foster) is sent to consult improsoned serial killer Hannibal lector for advice on how to capture active serial killer Buffalo Bill, a man who captures and skins women. Lector, however, proves to be no easy interviewee.

Why it's great: The mother of all modern thrillers is aesthetic, taut, and well-paced, and brilliantly acted all around. It works as well as any popcorn thrill-ride ever will.

Favourite moment: Our first glimpse of Lector-an icon is born.


Drive (2011)

Drive-the movie pretty enough for Ryan Gosling

Dir. Nicholas Winding Refn
Starring. Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks

What it is: A stunt driver by day, getaway driver by night, and a closed book at all times, the Kid (Ryan Gosling) is a total mystery. However, when he meets a beautiful woman and takes to her and her son, he gets involved in a situation in which two dangerous mobsters wish to make an example out of him.

Why it's great: This one took me by surprise. The 'new addition' to my list, I had seen this film 5 times within three months. It's style oozes from every frame. Gosling's protagonist is a masterclass in the subtleties of acting. The film's non-sexual romance and intense violence evokes the idea of innocence and corruption existing in tandem; thus, a great depiction of LA life.

Favourite moment: How about the first glimpse of that jacket during the opening titles?!

Drive-the mask.


2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)


The Hal 9000-not an satire of IBM...honest.

Dir. Stanley Kubrick
Starring. Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood.

What it is: Three intersecting stories from different eras of man depict encounters with a transcendant alien intelligence which, on all occasions, spurs Man onto the next stage of evolution.

Why it's great: Trust me; I have written a thesis on this. It represents the most insane gamble ever taken by a Hollywood filmmaker and may well be the most detailed film of all times. That, and it has apes, revolving women, and the only real bad guy is a talking computer...

My favourite moment: The bone/satellite transition still gets me every time.


Apocalypse Now (1979)

Ahh-that's better...
Kurz-charming paint off walls since 1979
Dir. Francis Ford Coppola
Starring. Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper, Sam Bottom, Lawrence Fishbourne

What it is: Disillusioned Captain Benjamin Willard (Sheen) is called out of inactivity to lead a group of soldiers toward the execution of rogue turncoat  Col. Kurz, who has developed an army of spiritual followers and terrified the high command into believing him to be insane.

Why it is great: Classic lines, tremendous performances, political relevance, and some of the greatest sequence in cinema history. I need not say more.

My favourite moment: The use of The Doors "The End"-timeless and perfect.


Psycho (1960)

Marion Crane.

Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
Starring. Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

What it is: When morally ambiguous Marion Crane steals money from her office to elope with her lover, she stops off at a motel mid-getaway. There she meets Norman Bates, a young man constantly struggling with his old mother. Marion will never be seen again. Her sister and boyfriend investigate her disappearance...

Why it's great:  My favourite Hitchcock film because of it's imagery, intrigue, and never-matched suspense. Hitchcock is the master of the tense sequence, never has this been more apparent. Furthermore, Leigh is phenomenal as a not-always-sympathetic heroin and Anthony Perkins is horror's best creepy customer. Oh, and the twist....

My favourite moment: The shower scene is cliche for a very good reason; it's amazing.


Blue Velvet (1986)

Isabella Rossellini- weird beauty-vintage Blue Velvet

Dir. David Lynch
Starring. Kyle MacLauchlin, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern

What it is: Following the discovery of a severed ear, young man delves into a mystery that involves drugs, kidnap, prostitution, and murder all under the guise of a simple suburban neighbourhood.

Why it's great: It's so cinematically perfect that you almost forget how insane it is...almost. Rossellini and Hopper give two of the most disturbing performances ever. Look out for the sumptuous score, too.

My favourite moment: "A candy coloured clown they call the sandman...."


Paris, Texas (1984)

Dir. Wim Wenders
Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell

A pretty landscape.

A pretty Kinski.

What it is: Travis Henderson is found in the wilderness of the dessert having been missing from society for years. living with his brother Walt, Walt's wife Anne, and his estranged son Hunter who is now in their care, Travis must soon come to terms with fatherhood and the heartbreak surrounding Hunter's mother.

Why it's great: It is a visual spectacle and an intimate character piece all rolled into one over it's 150 minutes. Part western, part Greek tragedy, the film is one of the best  ever made about love and family. These must be the reasons why it held the distinction of being Kurt Cobain's favourite movie.

My favourite moments: The opening for visual effect, the "I knew these people..." monologue  for emotional resonance.


Point Blank (1967)

Dir. John Boorman
Starring. Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson

Cinematography-you gotta love it.

Lee Marvin in Point Blank-First you get the big gun, then the woman.

What it is: Having been betrayed by his partner and his girl, and left for dead in an abandoned Alcatraz,  the mysterious Walker nurses himself back to health. Then, in order to avenge his life and the money that was stolen from him, it's payback time.....60s experimental style!

Why it's great: The artsy-est and most spiritual of all revenge bloodbaths (save, perhaps, for The Limey-a film based on it), the story of Walker comes across like a sad parable of American emptiness. But that shouldn't suggest that it isn't sharp, gritty, and packed full of Lee Marvin ass-kickery amidst all of the intellect.

My favourite moment: Has to be the 'test drive' scene at the car dealership-hilarious.


Boogie Nights (1997)


Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring. Mark Wahlberg. Burt Reynolds, John C. Reilly, Heather Graham, Julianne Moore

What it is: A portrait of fictional porn star Dirk Diggler as he finds fame and fortune in the 70s and 80s. Driven from home, young Eddie Adams finds a parental figures in adult film director Jack Horner (Reynolds) and his partner Amber Waves (Moore). Dirk makes a life for himself along with the other wacky characters in the Horner stable and discovers the good and bad aspects of success.

Why it's great: Rarely have I ever seen a director more in control. The detailed depiction of periods gone by is Scorcese-esque. The film is so stylish and intelligently shot and composed that every scene seems like an explosive celebration of times gone by. It is tongue and cheek, even camp, but for me the difference between Anderson and Tarantino is heart-we care for his characters.
you can feel
My Favourite moments: Too many to note-"You've got the touch" and "I am a big bright shining star..." come to mind...

Boogie Nights-you can feel the mirror blush..


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

The Good The Bad The Ugly graveyard shootout-sometimes captions just don't cut it

Dir. Sergio Leone
Starring. Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach

What it is: Two small-time con men and psychotic killer set off in search of the same thing-a grave full of gold. Against the backdrop of the American Civil-War, these guys only have one agenda-getting what they want before the other guys do.

Why it's great: Frankly, because of every second of screen time. It's so gloriously amoral that the Eastwood's Blondie and Wallach's Tuco almost seem charming. The look, style, performances, editing, and music make this Spaggheti Western numero uno.

My Favourite moment: "The shootout at the end of The Good the Bad and The Ugly is the only thing I could never imagine topping"-Quentin Tarantino


The Exorcist (1974)
Padding on the bed-for when a situation isn't quite creepy enough.

Dir. William Friedkin
Starring. Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Max Von Sydow, Jason Miller

What it is: The chiller that ticks just about all of the boxes. 13 year old Reagan MacNeil begins to display signs of violent and paranormal behaviour. Terrified, her mother (Burstyn) reaches out to an educated skeptic in the church (Miller) and an ageing believer with experience in exorcism (Von Sydow).

Why it's great: For better or worse, nobody ever forgets what they see in this film. It is the horror genres most compelling example of the dichotomy between good and evil. It asks questions about fate, female sexuality, and modern psychology. Also, I find it scary as bejesus and (still) rarely watch it alone.

My favourite moment: The lump in reagan's throat-the first sign of the paranormal and the moment that most terrified me in horror.


American Beauty (1999)

Dir. Sam Mendes
Starring. Kevin Spacey, Annette Benning, Thora Birch, Mena Suvari

Take that, Brad.
What it is: The definitive "get back at the norms' movie. The story centers around the Burnham family. Lester is the bored, unappreciated Dad, Caroline is the soulless carrer woman, and Janie...well, she's in love with a young man that likes to videotape dead birds. The lives of the family members and their society converge on the last few days of Lester's life.

Why it's great:  The film announces the death of it's protagonist in the opening scene (ala Ikuru) filling us with dread. Yet, the films notion that beauty lies inside (though cliched) is one of the most thoroughly explored motifs I have ever seen in cinema. American cinema is rarely this smart.

My favourite moment: Ricky Fitz and his "floating bag" monologue. The most memorable moment in almost any movie. Tears, anyone??

Angela and her roses-Jesus must be so embarrassed right now.

MAN THAT TOOK A LONG TIME>>>Top ten coming soon.
Peace, love, empathy.

PS Check out my Top Ten in the September blogs archive!!!  http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=4274322364171571121#editor/target=post;postID=6605710516125737327