Ben-Hur (1959) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Lee of My Mind Reels Through Film. Thanks for joining in, Lee! :-) Now let’s see what he has to say about Ben-Hur, IMDB rank 169 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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When the word Epic was created the person who created it must have seen into the future and seen this film because Ben Hur is a true epic. It still boasts the most Oscar statues for a film, which considering the film is now over 50 years old, is no mean feat. It is even more amazing considering there was no such thing as CGI back then so everything you see is real. To make a great film you have to have a great story and Ben Hur was taken from a Novel By Lew Wallace depicting the following of Christ. Along with a great story you need a great director who has the vision to put that story on film and in this case on a colossal scale. William Wyler was that man and his career is full of majestic film making from films like The Big Country, Mrs Miniver, Wuthering Heights, Roman Holiday and the ground breaking Children’s Hour. Then the selling point, bring in a big star at the peak of his power in Charlton Heston with Support from Stephen Boyd and Jack Hawkins. The sets were pretty amazing in the original 1925 version, but the 1959 version blew those sets away. The action in the arena brings Rome to life in the fastest and most brutal way as one man is destroyed by his own bitterness.

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There are so many facets to this film which keep you hooked from start to finish despite it’s length. There is a tale of a man’s faith, friendship, greed, revenge, death, resilience, sport, family and it is a test of a man’s courage and willingness to stay alive and rise up again before being brought back down by the lies that were fed to him by the enemy. There is a reason why this film is called Ben Hur because it is all about Ben Hur, one man’s life from wealth to slavery back to wealth again and how his faith gave him comfort and a belief that the evils of this world could be corrected. The main plot is fairly simple and it follows Ben Hur from a point where he is a powerful man with powerful friends, one in particular, a Roman called Messala, who believes that Romans are the superior race and anyone who dares to think otherwise should be stamped upon. Ben Hur cannot agree with his friend and their relationship becomes sour. A freak accident brings the Hur family down in the most dramatic way as he becomes a slave behind the oar of a powerful Roman boat. He feels the cold chains around his arms and ankles where gold once hung. His strength of character and his kindness, even to those that have done him wrong brings him back up to the man he once was.

He becomes a champion in the arena due to his understanding of horses and is heralded as the man to take on the Romans and win. Despite his rise he never forgets the people he once so proudly defended against the Romans, nor does he forget his family despite the many lies that are fed to him about their existence. The once great friend has never forgot Ben Hur and his aim is to bring him back down, but this time in the arena. This is when he reveals the truth, which is his final revenge on the man he once thought of as a brother. The chariot scenes are a masterpiece, full of excitement, speed, blood and sweat and give you a real insight into the brutality of Roman life. They will leave you absolutely breathless and your brain will be spinning in attempt to figure out how they created it. In the backdrop of the film there is also the story of Jesus and how his kindness brought about a great following in a time when so many were being badly treated. He looks at how he came into Ben Hur’s life, leading him to believe in the son of god. The film shows how Jesus’ death has a profound affect on him. You do not have to be religious to enjoy the film and you have to remember that this is based on a novel and not the historical texts of the Bible.

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Charlton Heston deservedly pick up the best actor for his performance. He was able to portray the ups and downs, the many emotions and physically cope with role that was set before him, Stephen Boyd makes a perfect villain without making the performance too hammy and you really hate him by the end. Jack Hawkins shows that not all Romans were figure of hate and cruelty in his elegant performance. Haya Harareet stands out amongst the female starts as Esther the one so devoted to Ben Hur and his family that she was willing to lie to protect them all. Martha Scott plays Ben Hur’s mother who suffers along with his sister in the depths of the Roman dungeons. There is also a touch of comedy brought in by Hugh Griffith who I must say is a champion Burper (you’ll understand when you see the film and you must see this film), This film is in my top ten favourite films and is an example of why I started watching films in the first place.

This is a beautiful film, with amazing sets and some of the greatest performances seen on the big screen. There is action. Love, violence, sport, human endeavour and a tale of riches to rags and then back to riches again. There is also the involvement of religion and the story of Jesus Christ to add amazing depth to the storyline. There are very few films which can compete with the grand scale of this film and for this reason it is still hailed amongst the very best despite the film being made almost 50 years ago. This film will introduce you to the golden age and open your eyes to a period when films were at their greatest.

9/10

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How To Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) Review

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How To Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

Directed by Dean DeBlois

Starring Voice Actors:
Jay Baruchel
Cate Blanchett
Gerard Butler
Craig Ferguson
America Ferrera
Jonah Hill
Christopher Mintz-Plasse
T.J. Miller
Kristen Wiig
Djimon Hounsou
Kit Harington

Production company: DreamWorks Animation

Running time: 102 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film takes place five years after the first film, featuring Hiccup and his friends as young adults. Hiccup discovers a larger conflict brewing between humans and dragons and he finds himself at the center of it.

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My Opinion:

Yesterday, Cara from Silver Screen Serenade reviewed the first How To Train Your Dragon HERE for my IMDB Top 250 Challenge. Thanks again, Cara! (You can also read her review of the sequel HERE. She’s a big fan of these films). :-)

I enjoyed the first How To Train Your Dragon. I say it way too often and everyone is probably sick of hearing it but I’m a huge Disney and especially Pixar fan and feel that kids films from other studios (such as DreamWorks) never come close to how amazing most of those are for kids as well as for adults. It’s kind of the same with HTTYD 1 & 2 although I do think they’re certainly two of the strongest movies from DreamWorks.

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I won’t get too wordy as I think Cara has done better reviews but I’ll kind of try to review it for those with kids as well as give my own personal opinion. The sequel is pretty dark – both movies are aimed at a higher age than most of the Disney/Pixar stuff anyway but there are a couple things in the sequel that may be upsetting to younger kids. There’s a sad thing that may be very confusing to them & need explaining and there’s one very big, mean dragon that will probably frighten some. As always, it depends on each individual kid (I saw this with a five-year-old who rarely gets scared by a movie and even this one didn’t seem to bother this kid in the slightest). If your kid is very young and easily upset by movies, it’s probably best to wait a couple years on this one.

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One thing I really liked about the sequel was that there are LOADS of dragons compared to the first one. They’re colorful and it was really quite lovely seeing them all flying around. I also really liked there being much more development of the relationship between Hiccup & his father – this was probably the best thing about the movie. There’s also just as much going on in this one between Hiccup and Toothless, who is possibly even more adorable at first in the sequel and has a lot to do later in the film. The addition of a new character worked really well too, I thought. It’s a shame that Astrid and the other kids (well, they’re 20 now) didn’t have as much screen time as I’d have liked (especially Astrid as I think she’s a great female character in a movie aimed more at boys) but they are still in it plenty so I’m not really complaining.

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I think I must not have paid close attention to the first movie as, for half of this one, I thought the twins that look like Nelson (showing my age!) were both boys. The girl twin lusts after strong, manly men in this one and I honestly thought “Wow, that’s pretty cool that a kids film is brave enough to have an openly gay character. Bravo!”. With the Hiccup leg thing as well, I was thinking that DreamWorks are really doing a good job showing kids that there are lots of different types of people and that we’re all equal and all that. Lol! I’m an idiot. Well, maybe it’ll happen someday. And, hey – Kristen Wiig sounds like a boy. Here’s Nelson for you kids under 35:

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See??

Hopefully they get along better than these two:

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I’ll wrap this up now that I’ve admitted to being an idiot.

Summary:

How To Train Your Dragon 2 is a very strong sequel and they’re both two of the better (and possibly the best) DreamWorks movies. It’s much darker than the first, however, and younger kids may find a few things confusing and scary. For a kids film, the story gets a little complicated toward the end and I think the simpler story in the first one worked better, especially how it came full circle with what happens to both Toothless & Hiccup. It’s still a good sequel, however, and I liked seeing much more character development for the main characters as well as loads more dragons. Definitely recommended if you’re a fan of the first film but be cautious with younger kids as I think one upsetting scene will be quite difficult to explain to them.

My Rating: 7/10

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How To Train Your Dragon (2010) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Cara of Silver Screen Serenade. She also reviewed Fargo HERE. Thanks for the reviews, Cara! :-) Now let’s see what she has to say about How To Train Your Dragon, IMDB rank 166 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

How to Train Your Dragon (2010) IMDB Top 250

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This movie…THIS MOVIE. Oh my God. I’m a little obsessed.

How to Train Your Dragon was one of those movies that came out, and I thought, “Huh. That looks kind of cute. I guess I’ll check it out.” So I went to the movie theater…and it blew my mind. I saw it twice, and I have been watching it over and over on DVD ever since I got it. When HTTYD popped up on Miss Mutant’s IMDb Top 250 Challenge, I was all over it. So here I am. Let’s do this.

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders

Starring:

Jay Baruchel
Gerard Butler
Craig Ferguson
America Ferrera
Jonah Hill
Christopher Mintz-Plasse
T.J. Miller
Kristen Wiig

Music by John Powell

Running time: 98 minutes

Plot synopsis: (via IMDb)

A hapless young Viking who aspires to hunt dragons becomes the unlikely friend of a young dragon himself, and learns there may be more to the creatures than he assumed.

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What I liked:

 

  • Gees where to begin? How about the entire freaking voice cast? Jay Baruchel is perfect as misfit Hiccup; he’s sarcastic and funny and lovable all at once. Gerard Butler just…is Stoick, and it’s so wonderful to hear him with his natural Scottish accent. Same for Craig Ferguson as Gobber—love his accent. Plus, he’s just hilarious. Add in the voice talents of America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, and T.J. Miller, and it’s quite a cast.
  • Oh! And did I mention David Tennant? Because David Tennant (a.k.a. the Tenth Doctor, for my fellow Whovians) tooootally has little fill-in lines for this! Apparently he voices the audiobooks for the series this film is based on, so they brought him on for this, too. Neat, right?
  • Can I just say in general that I love this premise? Due credit to Cressida Cowell for that—she is the mastermind behind the books. I think bringing Vikings and dragons together is not only a lot of fun, but very visually interesting, too.
  • The humor in this film is spot-on. It may lean toward appealing to the kiddies, but there are plenty of laughs to be had for grown-ups as well, which makes it an excellent candidate for family movie nights.
  • TOOTHLESS THE DRAGON. He is adorable and hilarious, and he will absolutely warm your heart. The relationship he develops with Hiccup is too wonderful for words. Imagine the best human-animal relationship you can think of and multiple it by a thousand. I mean, that scene where Hiccup reaches out and touches Toothless for the first time…PERFECT.
  • There’s an absolutely gorgeous scene where Toothless flies through the clouds with Hiccup and Astrid. Love it.
  • The end of this film is sheer perfection. There’s a dramatic final fight, a very touching moment, and then just joy. I won’t ruin it if you haven’t seen it, but I will say this: Hiccup and Toothless were made for each other (*sniffle*).
  • There’s a nice lesson to be learned here about being your own person—even if that means going against the grain. Hiccup has a tough time convincing his fellow Vikings about a few things, but he knows what’s right, and he stands by that. The little guy is an excellent role model.

 

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What I didn’t like:

 

  • Though the little romantic thing between Hiccup and Astrid is cute, it’s kind of unnecessary—the relationship we really care about is Hiccup and Toothless. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to see Hiccup get the awesome dragon bestie and the girl, but it simply becomes a subplot that is barely touched (heck, it’s hardly addressed in the sequel either).
  • I do love the supporting Viking kids, but does anybody else find it weird that none of them have the thick Scottish accents that all the adults have? It’s a minor qualm, and I’m sure this was done to set the kid characters apart from the adults (and maybe to make them more relatable to American kiddies), but still…
  • I wouldn’t mind spending more time getting to know some of the types of dragons. Some of them have weird rules—like having limited fire, needing two heads to start a fire, having to report to an alpha dragon, etc.—and some don’t. I think the film does a good job covering most of this, but there are a few questions here and there.
  • By the end of this film, you will want a dragon. Like, a lot. I struggled with this for a long time. And after seeing the sequel, I am struggling with it all over again.

 

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Summary: My issues with this film are very, very minor. I’ve already made it abundantly clear, I’m sure, but I’ll say it anyway: I adore How to Train Your Dragon. It’s one of the most creative, touching, humorous, and adorable animated films I have ever seen. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’m going to be super bossy and tell you to go watch it RIGHT NOW—RIGHT NOW, I say!

My Rating: 9.5/10 (An A, maybe even an A+ on my rating system!)

Thanks, Mutant, for letting me geek about this film! Also, I’m sorry for so much geeking about this film. ;)

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**Note from Cinema Parrot Disco:

Cara also reviewed How To Train Your Dragon 2 over on her blog. You can read her review HERE. Plus, if you’re interested, I’ve just seen the sequel as well and will also be reviewing it here tomorrow. :-)

Boyhood (2014) Review

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Boyhood (2014)

Directed by Richard Linklater

Starring:
Patricia Arquette
Ellar Coltrane
Lorelei Linklater
Ethan Hawke

Running time: 166 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Boyhood is a 2014 American drama film written and directed by Richard Linklater and starring Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater and Ethan Hawke. The film was shot intermittently over a twelve-year period, as Coltrane grew from childhood to adulthood; filming began in the summer of 2002 and was completed in October 2013.

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My Opinion:

I’ll get straight to the point: This movie is NOT for everyone. Unless you’re already a fan of Richard Linklater’s style, it’s very unlikely that you’ll enjoy this film. This is long (2 hours, 46 minutes). There’s a lot of talking. Not much happens. If you don’t like this type of movie, don’t go to it. Luckily, I saw this movie during the day with only a few other people in the cinema. My poor hubby saw it in the evening in a packed cinema. As soon as the movie ended, all he heard around him was people bitching about the movie. (“That was way too long!” “Nothing happens!” “Who would ever want to sit through that again?!”). This is where the general movie-going public gets on my nerves. Do a little bit of homework before going to a movie! There’s this thing called the Internet where you can find out what a movie is about. And when you looked it up to see the showtimes? Well, guess what: the length of the movie is listed there as well! Shocking, I know. Maybe look on IMDB & see if you like other films the director has done? If you can’t be bothered to do any of these things, either stay home or shut the hell up. Okay – rant over! Maybe I’ll talk about what I actually thought of Boyhood now…

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I went into this movie with very high expectations. I’m a Linklater fan – I love the “Before” films and Dazed & Confused is one of my very favorite movies. To be honest, I was kind of hoping for one of those “life changing” films. Fellow movie bloggers should know what I mean by that – You know how some movies really “move” you and make you want to be a better person & all that shit? Things like The Shawshank Redemption, Cinema Paradiso & WALL-E do that for me. Anyway, I didn’t really get that sort of experience from Boyhood. Watching a boy grow up before your eyes like that is a pretty cool experience, though, and you certainly have to give Linklater credit for taking on such a hugely ambitious project. To make a movie out of 12 years’ worth of filming is a hell of an achievement. Does it all come together as an enjoyable “movie”, though? Maybe not quite. In a way, it’s more of a “social experiment” than a film. As a social experiment, it works & it’s pretty amazing. As a movie, it falls a little bit flat.

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Boyhood is very much like Before Sunrise, etc, with the talking and the improvisation and the feeling that you’re just watching normal people going about their daily lives. The characters don’t work together quite as well as Hawke & Delpy did in the Before films and the banter feels a little less natural than it did in those. Plus, it feels like there’s even less of a “story” in Boyhood. I’m not really going to fault Boyhood for a lack of story, however, as that’s not really the point of the film. As much as I wish it was, life isn’t a movie. It’s filled with long, boring days. It’s how you get through those days and the relationships you have with others that really matters in life. And blah blah, yada yada… We all know this although very few of us choose to “seize the day” and all that (I know I don’t live that way). Boyhood attempts to show us this but, for me personally, it didn’t quite connect with me in the same way other films with a similar theme have.

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Summary:

I don’t feel I’ve done a very good job explaining my feelings in this review. I think Boyhood is very good. It’s unique & a great piece of art. Watching the character of Mason (as well as the real-life Ellar Coltrane & all the other actors in this film including Linklater’s own daughter) literally age 12 years in just under 3 hours is, well, pretty damn special. I did genuinely care about the characters (especially Mason but also his mom, played very well by Patricia Arquette). Boyhood is very much a Richard Linklater film – it’s all about the characters & their relationships. I sounded slightly negative in my review as I KNOW some people will hate this movie if they’re expecting something other than a Linklater film & I suppose I wanted to let those people know what they’d be getting themselves into if they choose to watch this. No, it’s not a movie I’m likely to watch again anytime soon but that’s because it’s not really that type of movie. It’s more of an experience and I’m happy I managed to see it in the cinema. I recommend Boyhood but probably only to Linklater fans and/or those who are interested in filmmaking in any way.

My Rating: 8/10

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Gladiator (2000) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Niall of Raging Fluff. He also reviewed North By Northwest HERE. Thanks so much for the reviews, Niall! :-) Now let’s see what he has to say about Gladiator, IMDB rank 63 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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Gladiator (2000)

*Spoilers That Echo In Eternity

What’s it about? Maximus is a Roman general who’s rather good at decimating bands of Goths (the tribe, not the pale waifs who listen to depressing music). Frail old Emperor Marcus Aurelius loves him like a son, which pisses off his actual son, evil Commodus (inventor of the toilet?). Commodus kills Marcus, betrays Maximus, and for good measure kills his wife and child. Maximus escapes, wanders the earth for a bit (you know, like Kane in Kung Fu), then becomes a gladiator – a gladiator who’s very popular with the mob; his fans are Maximaniacs. He makes his way to Rome for the Superbowl World Series Cup Final Bloody Slaughter Championship and plots his revenge.

In a Tagline? It’s Spartacus meets Wrestlemania.

Number of Times Watched? IV or V (see what I did there?)

Verdict? Duos Pollices (Two Thumbs Up)

Directed by Ridley Scott. Starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Richard Harris, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, David Hemmings.

For a film generally remembered as a rather shouty, violent, and gory sword and sandals revenge tale, it is worth noting that Ridley Scott’s Gladiator begins with a shot that wouldn’t be out of place in Little House on the Prairie: a hand moving across a field of wheat. The pastoral image – bathed in gold – will return at the film’s end when the hero is killed. Is it a memory of his beloved farm that he has not seen for many years or a premonition of his death? Is it, in fact, a vision of the Elysian Fields?

Gladiator was bestowed with all sorts of critical and commercial praise when it was released in 2000, and the film was a high watermark for most of those involved. It remains the biggest box-office success of Scott`s career; it marked the beginning of a working relationship between director Scott and actor Russell Crowe; it made Crowe a star and earned him an Oscar; it confirmed Joaquin Phoenix as a fierce talent; it introduced audiences to Djimon Hounsou; and it provided Oliver Reed with one of the best roles he ever had, and was his swansong.

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I have no idea how accurate Gladiator is as history, but I`m not sure I care. I`ve watched it several times and let myself be caught up in its sweep and enjoyed it for what it is. It`s no Spartacus, but it`s a whole lot better than most films of this type, mainly due to the performances and the craft with which it`s put together. Scriptwise, it`s a bit daft: it`s a rather simple tale that perhaps takes itself a little too seriously, and has a protagonist seemingly incapable of smiling (usually a bad thing). In fact, the film really only has one good joke, and it`s a film-trivia inside one: Maximus has the figures of two horses on his breastplate, and he tells young Lucius they are called Scarto and Argentio: that`s Trigger and Silver.

The film chiefly concerns fathers and sons, and much of the dialogue is rather ripe but would earn an A+ at the Hollywood School of Greco-Roman Studies. Luckily, it has actors who know how to nibble at the scenery rather than devour it: take note, Gerard Butler.

As Maximus, the betrayed general turned gladiator, Crowe had to carry most of the film and got most of the attention. I found him less interesting here than in his previous films – watch Romper Stomper and Proof  if you want to see him young and bursting with talent – in spite of the whole “Are you not entertained?” bit. He adopts the plummy voice he would use in other roles when he wishes to sound dignifed, and he falls back on his acting trick of staring into middle distance and frowning (it’s his go-to expression for sorrow, confusion, grief, and despair). Mind you, when he’s hacking off limbs and heads, he has a grand old time of it. He has become such a stodgy old fart these days, it’s worth seeing him here when he was young and in good shape and hungry.

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Phoenix gives the standout performance of the film for me. His Commodus is psychotic, vain, petty, childish, and cruel. Another actor might have played it over the top, but he manages the difficult trick of being a soft-spoken, sexually confused tyrant, and finds the tragedy in the character. Watch how he plays the scene where he kills his father, Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris), and you can see the self-loathing in his face (the scene is very reminiscent of Roy Batty killing Tyrell in Blade Runner).

And then there is Oliver Reed as Proximo, the former gladiator who buys and then mentors Maximus. Reed was twice -blessed as a young actor in the 1960s; he had a foot in the door by virtue of being the nephew of Carol Reed, and he had an earthy, brutal sexiness at a time when many of his peers were fey. He squandered his talent in booze and many shitty films, but he is magnificent here: he plays the part as an old athlete on the sidelines – a coach who still yearns for the thrill of going on to the pitch (“win the crowd, and you’ll win your freedom”) – and when Reed drops his voice to a whisper, it’s haunting.

The action scenes are very well done, even if the tiger special effects look a bit naff at this point. Hans Zimmer’s score owes a bit of a debt to Gustav Holst, but it’s still one of his best, helped largely by his choice of instruments and by the ethereal voice of Lisa Gerrard.

As with anything by Scott, the film looks incredible, with detail and lighting that other directors seem incapable of. Scott has been criticised often for his poor storytelling, and of being more interested in the surface aesthetics than in any depth of character, but here I think he did a great job of delivering a grand old-style sword and sandals epic.

Niall McArdle

http://www.ragingfluff.wordpress.com

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A Clockwork Orange (1971) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Troy of The Review Club. Thanks for the review, Troy! :-) Now let’s see what he has to say about A Clockwork Orange, IMDB rank 61 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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‘A CLOCKWORK ORANGE’ (1971)

A magnificently disturbing film of sex and violence and the way society views this behaviour. Seen and told through the eyes of the ‘droog’ leader Alex we find ourselves taken from dystopian shots of a futuristic city to a prison and back again. The main character of this nasty, twisted individual is a really interesting one as you do feel a sense of likeness towards him, you can’t help but like his charm and his confidence and the fact he narrates the story is a creative choice that puts you on side with him from the outset as he is telling the story for us.

Stanley Kubrick’s seemingly effortless gliding tracking shots can be found numerous times pulling into and back from characters and locations and it fits with the uneasy dread of something about to happen, it also ties in nicely with the music used throughout the film. The entire film is shot with care and it does look amazing, even messy tower block lobbies and a distant wood with a pig trough are made to look crafted to an inch of their lives. The place has an air of a London vibe but with an odd unsettling futuristic centre, even if this future does look like a more updated vision of the 1970′s, with the colours and the fashion.

The music is one of the strongest points and it has to be concerning the fact that Alex is a fan of music and Ludvig Van in particular. Beethoven’s 9th becomes a symbolic tool later on and the power of it really and disturbingly makes you feel sorry for Alex. Having classical music played over nearly constantly provided a delicate yet assuring punch of authority over everything. It fitted with the assurance of Alex and also gave a case of opposites in seeing violence on screen but hearing something normally associated as pleasant. A brilliant soundtrack of classic material. The use of electronic sounds and synthesisers fits with the future we are presented with and also lets the viewer feel another layer of unease as we hear the sounds – which would have been even more out of this world when the film was first released.

Malcolm McDowell who plays the young whippersnapper who likes the old in-out is utterly compelling and deliciously bad, mad and engaging. He takes you on a journey and you hate him, like him, feel for him. A sort of roller coaster ride as we get taken through the bigger theme of government control and what is right and wrong in terms of treatment for a sick individual. I’d commend McDowell’s performance for the conditioning section of the movie alone. The eyes being clasped open is enough to make me feel queasy and he went through with that and being humiliated on stage where he broke a couple of ribs. That’s commitment to a role or probably Kubrick’s domineering directing getting the best out of his actors. Also the moment where he spontaneously sings Singin’ in the Rain is brilliant and downright awfully evil. McDowell carries the film and also gives a voice over that isn’t unnecessary, its another way to hear the amazingly created language of this story. It all sounds other worldly yet overly British and that’s the main disturbing factor for me that Alex sounds and looks so calm, collected and intelligent, a fearful powerful character that starts off having no limits.

Aside from the middle section being a little of a lull to the film this is a feat of cinematic wonder, sure it’s dark and explicit but it needs to be to provide shock and to make the meddling government theme have any legs to stand on. A twisted orchestra filled movie with the concerning idea of state versus individual fully demonstrated through the eyes of Alex Delarge. A film of importance, vidi it now young chelloveck.

8.5/10

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Join Me For A Shitfest Social!

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This is a reminder that I’m hosting the Nighttime Shitfest Shitfest Social over at The IPC tonight at:

5:00 PM U.S. CENTRAL TIME
6:00 PM U.S. EASTERN TIME
11:00 PM UK TIME

I couldn’t find an easy way to include loads of time zones – you can see a good map HERE if you’re unsure of the time difference.

We’ll be watching the above movie, Alone In The Dark, and trashing discussing the film in the comments section as we watch it together. See full details HERE.

I hope you can join me in trashing this movie! If you can’t make that time, Eric himself will be hosting an earlier Shitfest Shitfest Social at 2:00pm US Central Time (8:00pm UK time). The movie being watched for that is Axe Giant: The Wrath Of Paul Bunyan. See full details of that HERE. :-)

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21 Jump Street & 22 Jump Street Double Review

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I went to see 22 Jump Street a couple of weeks ago (I only watched three movies that day, not four like I did one day last month. No, that’s NOT a regular thing that I do!). ;-) Anyway – they were Oculus, The Fault In Our Stars (review HERE) & 22 Jump Street. I’m not reviewing much lately but I’ll try to do Oculus at some point (Spoiler: I thought it was pretty shit). Since I just watched 21 Jump Street for the first time a few months ago, I figured I might as well review the two together…

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21 Jump Street (2012)

Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

Starring:
Jonah Hill
Channing Tatum
Dave Franco
Brie Larson
Rob Riggle
DeRay Davis
Ice Cube
Nick Offerman

My Opinion:

Okay! So. I finally watched this movie a few months ago. I’d avoided it because… How DARE they mess with 21 Jump Street! That’s one of my all-time favorite TV shows (number 11)! And they made it into a silly COMEDY? WTF?! Well, there’s no point discussing the TV show – the movie shares its name & the fact that young looking police officers go undercover in high schools but that’s IT – there are no other similarities so I’ll just discuss the movie and try to pretend it has a different title.

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21 Jump Street was okay. It didn’t exactly blow me away but it was better than I was expecting and I even found a few bits fairly funny. I’ve started to warm a little to Jonah Hill since he was so fantastic in The Wolf Of Wall Street. I’ve never understood the Channing Tatum thing – the first thing I actually saw him in was Side Effects and he seemed out of place. Then I saw the dreadful Magic Mike… Ugh. But he’s likeable here and I think they finally found a role that suits him. Ice Cube was pretty hilarious – I think he was probably the funniest thing about this. The best thing about this, however, was Brie Larson. I’ve not seen her in anything else other than Don Jon but now I really want to see Short Term 12 based on her performance in this.

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21 Jump Street starts out pretty promising but about halfway through gets a little TOO silly and over the top for my liking. I like comedy that stays a bit more simple (as in, not juvenile “in your face” humor). By the end I was a bit bored and fell asleep a few times and kept having to go back to try to finish the last 15 minutes. Hell – I’m not sure if I ever did! By the time they got to the cameos (minor spoiler maybe but I think everyone knows about the cameos by now) I was like “No”. The cameos were pretty stupid and not handled very well. The movie definitely had some potential at first and I had some hope that I was going to end up liking it okay. And I sort of did. Unfortunately, it does fall apart at the end.

My Rating: 6/10

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22 Jump Street (2014)

Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

Starring:
Jonah Hill
Channing Tatum
Peter Stormare
Ice Cube
Amber Stevens
Wyatt Russell
Jillian Bell
Jimmy Tatro
Nick Offerman

My Opinion:

Well, this is a big step up from 21 Jump Street. Overall, this is a much funnier film and feels a lot more “together” than the first film did. It still goes a little over the top at the end but doesn’t fall apart like I thought 21 Jump Street did. And the best thing about this movie is that it makes fun of itself. A LOT. Because it’s the exact same story again but set in college instead of high school and the movie knows this and constantly jokes about it and the whole “sequelitis” problem in Hollywood. I thought that was all really funny and the end credits scenes (as the credits rolled) were BRILLIANT! It was actually the best bit of the entire movie and worth watching for that alone. So do NOT leave the second the credits roll on this one, people! (Oh, there’s also a final scene at the very end after the credits as well – that one is pretty stupid & not worth staying for, in my opinion).

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This time around, I thought Channing Tatum was much better and a lot funnier. I MAYBE finally like him more after seeing this one. Maybe… Yeah – he’s pretty good in this one and possibly even outshines Jonah Hill this time. They also feel more like a team and have better chemistry. And Ice Cube luckily has even more screen time in this one and he’s again hilarious – I really liked the scenes with him. The “female love interest” this time around doesn’t have the charisma of Brie Larson but I’d have to say that’s the only thing they didn’t improve on from the first film.

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Well, I suppose I should wrap this up as my opinion is pretty obvious anyway. I enjoyed 22 Jump Street quite a bit more than 21 Jump Street. I always love when a movie isn’t afraid to make fun of itself. Overall, though, these films aren’t really my type of thing although I can appreciate why some people like them. If they DO make a 3rd one, I’m hoping they can improve on the whole thing once again & stick to more of the good jokes instead of as many stupid, silly gags (but Hill & Tatum can get high once again. I’ll admit that I find it freaking hilarious when people get high in movies and the fact that I love the Harold & Kumar films probably destroys my argument that I don’t like “dumb” humor). ;-) I feel there should be a bigger gap in the two ratings but I don’t think 21 deserves lower than a 6 while I can’t really give 22 a 7 as I can’t say it’s exactly going to be a favorite film or that I’ll ever watch it again. But I appreciate that they seemed to put much more effort into this one. Plus the scenes during the credits get 8/10!

My Rating: 6.5/10

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Question Of The Month At Oracle Of Film

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It’s that time again! Time for another Question Of The Month from Luke over at Oracle Of Film. (Sorry I’m slow to link to this, Luke. Having a very hectic week!). His question this month was “What’s the worst performance from your favorite actor?”. Have a look at all the great replies HERE. I’ll give you a hint on what my choice was: Johnny Depp in that picture at the top! ;-)

There Will Be Blood (2007) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Eric of The IPC. He’s already done reviews for Se7en (HERE) and for Twelve Monkeys (HERE). Thanks so much for being a part of this, Eric! :-) Now let’s see what he has to say about There Will Be Blood, IMDB rank 173 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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***WARNING: SPOILERS***

THERE WILL BE BLOOD….

I received this stinking piece of shit in the mail the other week, wondering why the fuck I ordered this from Netflix. Surely I was beered up and thinking I could give it a good rogering on my site since I saw it back whenever it came out on DVD and I hated it. “I drink your milkshake” my fucking ass, pretentious cocksuckers. I eventually got around to watching it again and started mentioning it on Twitter to my Proby buddies and, you know, it’s not too bad after all. I think what pissed me off is that this came with a lot of hype about how fucking AMAZING Daniel Day Lewis is and all of this other bullshit so I went into it with a good, thick buzz and hated on it.  Watching it the other day… it’s not too bad. I appreciate its Epic-ness and all of that shit but Lewis and his line delivery still bothered me and…… Paul Dano is fucking weird.

Exhibit A: Dano seen in the wild. Subject appears aggressive, feminine.  c. 2010

Exhibit A: Dano seen in the wild. Subject appears aggressive, feminine, armed. c. 2010

I actually kind of liked the beginning when he blows open that hole and the ladder breaks when he’s heading back down. He gets his gold and crawls back to town, across the desert with one fucking arm. Can you imagine??? After I wrote those last words, I sat back in my chair and looked at my whiteboard I haven’t written on in five years. Up in the right hand corner I wrote the word ANTIMACASSAR at some point. Does anyone besides me know what that is??? NO CHEATING!! Cinema Parrot Disco is holding a contest. First one to get that right wins a one way ticket to Mustang, Oklahoma, the anus of the state I live in..

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I think this speaks for itself.

 

Back to There Will Be Blood. I know that no one has ever seen this so I am going to go into VERY lengthy detail about the plot, the symbolism, the epic imagery and meaningful score. Right now. Some dude finds some gold, makes a bunch of money in the oil business, hates his son and kills a preacher in a bowling alley.  Peace.

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The artist: shitting himself in the wild.

I would like to thank Cinema Parrot Disco for having me over here today. I realize that I am Unclean and Smelly but I appreciate the pity and mercy she has shown The Poor Sinner. I have taken the devil into my mouth and have become accursed.  Cinema Nine Table is truly an Angel of Mercy and Compassion and without any hesitation I say that she is a Flower sent down from The Garden of Heaven. I have a saying I like to say that goes like this: “None but the Righteous are called to live in The Principal” and she is the embodiment of that Principal. A true Cherub.

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***Note from Cinema Parrot Disco, the True Cherub:

As you probably know, Eric hosts the always entertaining Shitfest and you can view all the current Shitfest 2014: Summer entries HERE (including my review of Moshi Monsters: The Movie HERE).

Also, this Friday, his site will be hosting not one but TWO Shitfest Socials in which anyone who wants to join in can gather together and all watch a really bad movie at the same time & trash it in the comments section! Sound like fun?

Eric will be hosting the first social (Movie: Axe Giant: The Wrath Of Paul Bunyan – full details HERE) and I’ll be hosting the second one (Movie: Alone In The Dark – full details HERE ). It would be great if you could all join us for one of these – just leave a comment at the above links & let Eric know. :-)

Moshi Monsters: The Movie (2013) Review For Shitfest At The IPC

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Most of you probably know by now but this dude named Eric over at The IPC runs something called Shitfest in which bloggers all take turns reviewing really bad movies then we all get to vote for the best review. You can view my entry, a “review” of Moshi Monsters: The Movie, HERE. :-)

**NOTE: I’m going to do a mini serious review here:

I’ve been busy lately & not had time to do many reviews so I asked in this poll HERE which film I should review next. Well, Moshi Monsters: The Movie won by a landslide. I figure either some people were messing with me or else a bunch of 5-year-olds somehow ended up on my blog. ;-) So, in case the votes were for real, here’s a quick honest opinion of the movie (the Shitfest review is obviously just for fun – don’t read it if you’re five! It’s very rude & swear-y):

This is NOT a good movie. As an adult, you’ll hate it. This isn’t a Pixar film – it was made ONLY for kids under the age of 7 or so. You’ll be bored out of your mind if you’re older than that. However, your young kids will love it if they’re already a fan of Moshi Monsters (but probably not if they aren’t – I think they’d need to know the characters a little in the first place). There’s nothing wrong with the film and certainly nothing inappropriate. It’s just… stupid. There’s not really a better word for it. So, if you voted for me to review this movie because you have a kid who likes Moshi Monsters, I can tell you that they WILL like this movie and I can at least say that there’s nothing you’d have to worry about your kids seeing in this – it’s aimed at a very young age group. Just balance it out with a Pixar movie as well so that their brains don’t rot. To be fair, it’s a lot better than all those Barbie movies! :-)

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**Stay tuned tomorrow for another IMDB guest review from Mr IPC himself!

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The Fault In Our Stars (2014) Review

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The Fault In Our Stars (2014)

Directed by Josh Boone

Based on The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Starring:
Shailene Woodley
Ansel Elgort
Nat Wolff
Laura Dern
Sam Trammell
Willem Dafoe

Running time: 125 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Shailene Woodley plays Hazel Grace Lancaster, a sixteen-years-old cancer patient who is forced by her parents to attend a support group, where she subsequently meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters, portrayed by Ansel Elgort.

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My Opinion:

I read this book last year (you can see my review HERE) and I liked it a lot. It was my first John Green book and I thought he did an excellent job bringing these characters to life and making us care about them (I’ve just finished my second John Green book, Paper Towns. Hmm… Not as much of a fan of that one. He’s a very talented writer, though – I’ll certainly read more from him).

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It’s annoying when they don’t do a good job adapting books into films but, at least as far as YA books go, they’ve been doing a damn good job with some of them lately. I think The Hunger Games films have been great so far (especially Catching Fire) and The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is still one of my favorite films of the past few years and was an extremely faithful adaption (helps that the author made the film himself – I also reviewed the book HERE). Well, I’m very happy to say they did an amazing job with the adaptation of The Fault In Our Stars and I really have no complaints. Some things were left out as usual due to length, such as a bit about Augustus’ life prior to meeting Hazel, but I don’t think it was necessary for the film anyway.

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Shailene Woodley was good as Hazel (when I reviewed Divergent I wondered if maybe this movie would suit her better. I was right – The Fault In Our Stars feels more like the right kind of role for her). However, the true star here is Augustus Waters (played by Ansel Elgort). I’m an old lady reading YA fiction but can TOTALLY understand young readers falling completely in love with the character of Augustus. He’s charming, funny, cheeky, confident, handsome… the kind of boy teenage girls dream of, in other words. Luckily, I think Ansel Elgort captures this character and I’m sure he has loads of young female fans now. And there’s a great chemistry with Woodley so it’s very easy to get sucked into the story and believe that they’re a couple. I really can’t find fault with anyone cast in this film – they all played their roles well. The best friend of Augustus was made maybe a little too “funny” for the movie but that’s a very minor complaint – he was kind of the “comic relief” in the book as well.

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Summary:

If you loved the book, you’ll love the film. It’s an extremely faithful adaptation and, having enjoyed the book, I’m very happy with what they’ve done with the film. I don’t think anyone was miscast and I’d find it very surprising if you’re a YA-aged female who doesn’t fall in love with the character of Augustus Waters after watching this movie (and/or reading the book). However, although I love reading Young Adult fiction, “teenage melodrama” isn’t normally my genre of choice for the most part (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower being an exception). So the film probably deserves a slightly higher rating than what I’m going to give it but I rate based on a combination of personal opinion as well as “worthiness” (I feel I have to explain myself after you all picked on me for my Godzilla rating). ;-) It’s not a movie I’ll necessarily ever watch again but if I was a teenager right now I’d probably watch it over & over & over and declare it the best movie ever. It’s a very good YA film.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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**I’ve become a member of The Stone Cold Bitch Club as I shed no tears while watching The Fault In Our Stars (I do find some movies to be tearjerkers, though – you can see my list HERE).

Here are some reviews of The Fault In Our Stars from other WordPress bloggers:

Stone Cold Bitch Club:

Me!
Zoe
Cara
Abbi
Rob

Crybaby Club:

Melissa
Tom
Box Office Buzz
Natalie
Natasha
Anna

In Between Club:

Mike

Which club do YOU belong to? Let me know! If you’ve reviewed this, I’ll add a link to your review above under the correct category. :-)

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The Godfather: Part II (1974) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. She reviewed The Godfather: Part I for us last week (see her review HERE). Now she’s tackling The Godfather: Part II. She’s also reviewed The Departed (HERE) and The Green Mile (HERE) and Big Fish (HERE). Thanks once again, Zoe – you’re truly awesome! :-) Now let’s see what she has to say about The Godfather: Part II, IMDB rank 3 out of 250.

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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***WARNING: SPOILERS***

“There are many things my father taught me here in this room. He taught me: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” – Michael Corleone

So as the trilogy progresses, Michael Corleone has become a force to be reckoned with. Al Pacino reprises the mantle of Michael, and it is rapidly evident that he has completely taken up and embodied the role of being the head of the Corleone crime family. This movie was presented interestingly, different from the first in that it plays out the current state of affairs that Michael is dealing with as well as taking you back to Vito Andolini’s youth, and seeing how he ultimately lost his Andolini name, took on the Corleone name and rose to his prominent position.

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“If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone.” – Michael Corleone

This movie worked incredibly well. It is a long movie, clocking in at 200 minutes, but not once do you get too familiar with that, you are instead caught up in another time and whisked away. This speaks volumes about Coppola’s ability to rivet the audience, still. The time shift that worked its way in throughout the movie was truly brilliantly executed. In the present you see Michael (Al Pacino), and his antics, as well as the issues he is dealing with, ranging from his wife Kay (Diane Keaton) to his drama in court. Michael is progressively becoming more and more ruthless, which still resonates with the watcher seeing as we know how reluctant he was to become involved with the family business in the first place, and to watch him embrace it now in its entirety never fails to surprise and amaze. Al Pacino’s performance was again subtle, carrying with it a power that is palpable, a demand for allegiance and focus, respect and fear. I love the way Pacino captured Michael’s brooding, his shift, his stress, the way he worked to keep everything functioning, the way he dealt with betrayal from everyone, truly highlighting how ruthless he had become. His portrayal as Michael Corleone is definitely one of my favourite portrayals in movie history.

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“Don’t you know that I would use all of my power to prevent something like that from happening?” – Michael Corleone

Diane Keaton was really good in conveying her role as the wife of a mobster – not just any mobster, but the head of an extremely strong mob family. The splinters of the relationship are introduced at the end of The Godfather, where we see how unhappy Kay is about the fact that Michael is running things, as well as how he has changed towards her, too. Now, however, two kids along and all that, we see how she is starting to pull away from him, his violence, his dominance. She is seemingly alone, Michael has all the love and respect from everyone, and she is considered his wife, and is respected as such. Later we learn what extremely hard and rough decisions she made due to her growing hatred and resentment for Michael, which leaves you stunned that she would take such steps against him as well as admit it. Her desperation is palpable. Michael is cold and cruel, and he does not hide that from her. Kay is eventually on her own, from permanently fighting with Michael, egging him on and pushing him for legitimacy to being cast out, even being taken away from her children, completely cut off.

Robert Duvall steps up as Tom Hagen once again, delivering another fine performance as the family consigliere. Something that is extremely evident from the off is that Tom has become more involved with the family business as well as how things get done. A lot of responsibility and trust has been placed on him, and he has become colder. Still extremely calculated, and still doing some of the more horrendous jobs (remember the horse head?). He visits Frank Pentangeli (Michael V. Gazzo) in prison and informs Frank that he should recant, also promising that the Corleones will care for his family. Frank commits suicide later that night in the fashion discussed with the consigliere, and Tom seems to have no emotion for it as it was merely business. His performance was great, but it is becoming obvious that he is no longer just an incredibly educated outsider, but Michael’s right hand man, and that he loves the position.

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“When a plot against the Emperor failed… the plotters were always given a chance… to let their families keep their fortunes. Right?” – Tom Hagen

Vito Andolini’s (Robert De Niro) youth is addressed, and it is quite the enthralling tale. His father was murdered, his brother attempted to avenge him and was killed, and his mother was gunned down by Don Francesco Ciccio (Giuseppe Sillato) and Vito, who did not talk much and was considered to be a bit slow, ran for it, and was helped out by family friends to make passage to the United States of America. A struggling young man with a wife and a child, Vito sees how things are going in life, how the crime families are treated, and in a scheming way eradicates any competition he could have had, instantly making him the new man on the block, a man who definitely does things differently than the previous guy. He listens to the people, and is respected by the people. We get to explore the rise of Vito’s empire, as well as how he exacted his revenge that eradicated his family and swept him from his homelands. We see who he was and how he became what he did. He was smart and methodical, and in stages got everything just as he wanted it. The Corleone children serve as markers to see Vito’s progress, as well as indicating how the family did not always have everything, but that Vito built them up from scratch.

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“Do me this favour. I won’t forget it. Ask your friends in the neighbourhood about me. They’ll tell you I know how to return a favour.” – Vito Corleone

Fredo’s (John Cazale) bitterness at Michael is thinly veiled, something he struggles with constantly. Michael may have humoured it for the first while, but eventually that, too, becomes a serious problem, causing strife between the two brothers. I liked how the discord in the family was shown, that even though Michael is the one that stepped up, there was resentment and bitterness about it. Fredo took it as a personal failure that Michael ran the Corleone family, and that Michael was the one supporting Fredo and looking after him, even though Fredo is the older brother. His ultimately betraying Michael could be seen coming, but the reaction of Michael was intense, and it caused some tension within the family, too. Michael has many friends, but at the same time he is losing family and loyalty he thought he didn’t have to question faster than he suspected. As if Fredo is not enough for Michael to deal with, Connie (Talia Shire) is still bouncing off the walls, crazy and doing really stupid things, expecting Michael to pick up after her, to see how much she can push him. Initially she is not looked into much, and while she does not command a lot of screen time, it is eventually explained why she did what she did. This does not make it better, but the questions are no longer floating around and not making sense anymore. As fast as she broke herself away from the family, it seems that she is doing what she can to work her way back into Michael’s good graces at the very least.

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“Taken care of me? You’re my kid brother and you take care of me? Did you ever think about that?” – Fredo Corleone

So many aspects of this story come together at intervals, and it is a stunning work of art to get to the end result. The journey, the characters, the events are all just exactly what they need to be, and it is exceptionally impressive overall. The score used suited everything just right, and Coppola truly took this film in a direction to match its predecessor equally. The camera work was fantastic, and all the actors worked wonderfully in their roles. Movies are just not the same as they used to be, and The Godfather Part II is just further evidence of this. I don’t really have words to justify this movie, there is just so much to talk about (the scheming, the partnerships, the travels, the alliances struck up, etc), and I know many more people have discussed it in more detail than I have, but I am going to stop here now, The Godfather Part II is just one of those films that has to be experienced to be understood. My Spock Chop, I know you are not a fan and all, but really, this is something glorious!

My Top Ten Star Wars Dismemberments

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So the wonderful Cara over at Silver Screen Serenade has been celebrating her one year blogiversary with loads of great posts in which she & guest bloggers have been talking about some of their all-time favorite films.

I just HAD to do something about my beloved Star Wars. When I did this list a while back, I realized I could easily do one with the Star Wars films alone. You can check out my post for Cara, a list of My Top Ten Star Wars Dismemberments, HERE. :-)

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What Character Would You Like To See On Game Of Thrones?

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The delightful Melissa over at Snap Crackle Watch has done a (I’m assuming) really fun post in which she asked a bunch of bloggers “what character from another movie or TV show would you like to see on Game Of Thrones?”. I’m sure there are lots of thoroughly entertaining answers! Unfortunately, I can’t read them as I’m currently working my way through Game Of Thrones (I’m up to Season 2, Episode 3). And it’s awesome. And I’ve managed to avoid spoilers. And if you spoil it for me, I will hunt you down and YOU WILL PAY! ;-) (I’m serious. Don’t mess with me)

Anyway, if you’d like to read my answer (and everyone else’s great answers, I’m assuming), follow this link HERE. :-)

Saving Private Ryan (1998) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Rob of MovieRob. Thanks for being a part of this, Rob! :-) Now let’s see what he has to say about Saving Private Ryan, IMDB rank 39 out of 250… (as of 01/01/2013)

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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Thanks again to Ms. Mutant for giving us all a chance to review our favorite movies that are part of the IMDB Top 250!

Certain movies fade within your memory not long after you see them and then there are others that remain engraved in your mind for years, if not decades afterwards.

Saving Private Ryan is a movie that fits into the latter category in my mind.

I recall seeing it in the theater during the Fall of 1998 and being mesmerized and riveted for the close to 3 hours running time.

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Steven Spielberg had given us all so many iconic movies over the years up to that point that spanned the whole gamut of Genres. From Jaws to Close Encounters to E.T. to The Indiana Jones trilogy to The Goonies to Jurassic Park and ultimately to his masterpiece Schindler’s List.

Few suspected that he would find a way to even top THAT endeavor, but he did. (or at least matched it)

Saving Private Ryan is truly a companion piece to Schindler’s List because they both deal with different aspects of the horrors of World War II. One deals with the inhabitants of Europe and how they had to deal with the cruelty of the Nazi’s, some due to their heritage and others due to their will to stop injustice from continuing. The other deals with the thousands of American soldiers who traveled far from home to help bring about the downfall of that cruel dictator and his nation that attempted to stop freedom and democracy from spreading.

In both of these movies, Spielberg didn’t hesitate to show the horrific face of war and in some instances strived so hard to show us the hurtful, but truthful shock and awe of those events in history.

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I cannot think of any other movie that opens as this one did. To have close to 30 minutes devoted to carnage, despair, fear, trepidation, blood and guts (literally), action, and lots of other very descriptive and poignant moments has been unprecedented in film history, let alone during the first 30 minutes.

Basically this movie charges right in, showing us that war truly is hell. By the time the shit hits the fan, we don’t know any of the characters and (at least back in 1998), we only could recognize Tom Hanks and Tom Sizemore. The disorientation that the viewer was hit in the face with from the start was even greater because of the ‘shaky’ camera work that was purposely used to give us the feeling that we are within that very dangerous situation along with the soldiers themselves.

The rest of this movie follows suit and is amazingly done. The story is interesting, the characters are not just ‘stock’ soldiers like in many war movies, the dialogue between the characters and the action all add up to a movie worth seeing over and over again.

I don’t like spoiling movies, so I’m not going to go into much detail about the plot itself because I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few of you out there who have yet to see this.

Basically, like many ‘war’ films, this is an anti-war movie trying to show the futility of war and the importance of every person individually making whatever they do in life and in war count for something.

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Once the story gets going, we get to know the characters quite well and each one is developed well enough that we care what will happen to them.

Spielberg purposely chose unknown actors so we wouldn’t be distracted by stars. Ironically, just about all of his “unknown” choices became very popular afterwards. Who doesn’t know the names of Ed Burns, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Matt Damon, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel and Jeremy Davies?

Shockingly, this movie lost the best picture Oscar to Shakespeare in Love which in my book is the biggest mistake ever made by Oscar voters. As much as Shakespeare was a fun movie, this one is clearly better in every aspect besides comedy (DUH!!). Spielberg himself was awarded the best director Oscar which was extremely rare 16 years ago to have a split between Picture and Director.

This is a movie that is best if watched on the big screen. I personally saw this twice in the theater and am grateful that I did so. Certain films are even more powerful on the big screen and this is one of them even if it’s also quite enjoyable at home.

I’m actually quite surprised that this movie is so low on the IMDB Top 250. I mean c’mon 35!!!!. How is that even possible?

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Who Wants To Watch A Movie With Me?

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Who’d like to watch a (SHITTY!) movie with me? For real? Well… On the 11th of July you can watch the fabulous Alone In The Dark with me and a bunch of other brave souls over at The IPC for his Shitfest Social. And I’ll be the host! :-)

Click HERE for the full details of date, time & place. Let us know if you can join in! There’s also another crappy movie being watched earlier that day so hopefully everyone will be able to join in on one of them. We’ll have great fun trashing this (apparently horrible) movie!

The Godfather (1972) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. Zoe has already reviewed The Departed (HERE) and The Green Mile (HERE) and Big Fish (HERE). Now, as if all those reviews weren’t enough, Zoe was the first person brave enough to choose to review The Godfather I & II (stay tuned for her review of The Godfather: Part II at this same time next Tuesday). Thanks so much for being such a big part of this project, Zoe! :-) Now let’s hear her thoughts on The Godfather, IMDB rank 2 out of 250.

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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***WARNING: SPOILERS***

Alright, so this is going to be quite the post here. I took The Godfather movies because I was horrified to see it just languishing there on Table 9 Mutant’s IMDB Top 250 challenge… alone and untaken. How could this possibly be?! This is one of the greatest film sets ever! Alright, Part III might be a little sketchy and all that, but Part I and Part II are just… wow. Naturally, there are the heathens out there that will slam it, which I just find heartbreaking (though I still love you Eric, don’t ever forget that…). I am one of those people, like a good war movie I love a good mob flick.

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“There is more money potential in narcotics than anything else we’re looking at now. If we don’t get into it, somebody else will, maybe one of the Five Families, maybe all of them. And with the money they earn they’ll be able to buy more police and political power. Then they come after us.” – Tom Hagen

Synopsis: The story begins as “Don” Vito Corleone, the head of a New York Mafia “family”, oversees his daughter’s wedding with his wife Carmela. His beloved son Michael has just come home from the war, but does not intend to become part of his father’s business. Through Michael’s life the nature of the family business becomes clear. The business of the family is just like the head of the family, kind and benevolent to those who give respect, but given to ruthless violence whenever anything stands against the good of the family. Don Vito lives his life in the way of the old country, but times are changing and some don’t want to follow the old ways and look out for community and “family”. An up and coming rival of the Corleone family wants to start selling drugs in New York, and needs the Don’s influence to further his plan. The clash of the Don’s fading old world values and the new ways will demand a terrible price, especially from Michael, all for the sake of the family. – IMDB

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“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse”. – Don Corleone

This movie is just amazing. Something that you can really just wax lyrical about. This is certainly a fantastic mob movie, no two ways about it. I mean just to look at how old this film is, for starters, you cannot help but appreciate how particularly stunning this is, how well it is put together, the actors, the camerawork, the story, the music… everything. But we shall gush about that all as this progresses.

This movie was a piece of pure genius. Marlon Brando was an amazing Vito Corleone… he was certainly not someone I would have messed with, at any rate. The movie progressed at a gradual pace, but it was never boring. From the beginning you know that Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) is definitely the Don’s favoured son, though he has three as well as one that Sonny (James Caan) brought in at a young age and is regarded as equal to his blood sons, and a daughter, Connie (Talia Shire), who has just gotten married to Carlo Rizzi (Gianni Russo). Vito Corleone is a powerful man, and such is evident at his daughter’s wedding. Michael arrives at Connie’s wedding dressed in his Marine Corps uniform and his girlfriend, Kay Adams (Diane Keaton) at his side. It is evident from the off that Michael is not like the rest of his Corleone brothers, though he is favoured by his father.

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“My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.” – Michael Corleone

A drug baron called Sollozzo (Al Lettieri) rolls into town and wishes to go into business with some of the families, and Vito is approached by a rivalling family, the Tattaglias, to take the deal. Vito, however, is not in for the drug trade, though it seems Sonny is. Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), considered the up and coming family consigliere, brought up with the Corleone boys as one of them, advises Vito that taking the deal is the one was to keep the family in power, and not having it usurped over the years. Naturally, this is where the whole movie finally catches. An attempt is made on Vito’s life, and he is left for dead. The Corleone family bands together and Sonny heads it up in the meantime. Michael gets wind of his father’s predicament, and soon his life changes.

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Watching the change in Michael is astounding. He starts off as reluctant, wary and insistent that he is not like his family, but when push comes to shove it is evident that the Corleone tendencies are well and truly there. Full scale crime family war breaks out, and it seems no one is safe. There is so much that is going on, so much traitorous betrayal and attempts to do one another in to protect themselves, but the Corleone brothers still stand. Michael gradually becomes harder, tougher and less forgiving, ultimately making the choice and assassinating the police chief and Sollozzo, taking cover in Sicily while things come right. Vito is not dead, but it seems that the family structure has changed drastically.

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“What’s the matter? What’s bothering you? I’ll handle it. I told you I can handle it, I’ll handle it.” – Michael Corleone

Michael’s isolation changes him even more, and he takes a wife while over in Sicily, though it becomes evident that it will not be safe for him there for much longer. While he is away, he needs to deal with the fact that his brother, Sonny, is killed, and he in enraged. Due to Sonny’s assassination, Vito decides enough is enough. Too many people are dying at one another’s hands in an attempt to even the scales, and it must come to a close. It thrilled me to watch how pacts and truces were made, how the hierarchy fit together, how people understood their place and abided by it, not questioning too much. It amazed me to see the power that some of these people have. It is astounding to me that although you know what rackets the Corleone family is involved in, it is never thrown onto the screen, never made something that takes over the story. Primarily this movie depicts the familial ties, the organisation and the loyalty, keeping focus on it and demanding your attention.

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“You talk about vengeance. Is vengeance going to bring your son back to you? Or my boy to me?” – Don Corleone

The Godfather also touts one of the best cast ensembles in ages, and cannot be faulted for it. I was doing some extra reading and was so shocked to see exactly how much drama there was involved of the making of this movie, how Paramount fought Coppola almost every damn step of the way on casting, decisions, attempts to have him fired, the whole shebang. They were adamant about not having Marlon Brando in there (who *cough cough* won a damned Oscar for his performance, although he declined it) as well as not wanting Al Pacino… I was like what?! Imagine Paramount had gotten as much say as they wanted… The Godfather is one of the most influential films of all time, and should be appreciated for what it is: a piece of genius.

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“Only don’t tell me you’re innocent. Because it insults my intelligence and makes me very angry.” – Michael Corleone

I loved everything this film brought to us. This film was an excellent piece on the mob, not highlighting it as something evil and disgusting and something that should be taken down, but telling the story from the inside, which was fantastic. I loved how authentic everything was, how Italian, there are infinitely quotable lines from it, the camera work was fantastic, the score complemented every minute of it and the cast rounded it off perfectly. I still feel I haven’t done this film justice, but I just don’t know anymore. You are riveted for 175 minutes; there are no two ways about it.

Monty Python And The Holy Grail & Life Of Brian IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s special DOUBLE IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Cameron of Cameron’s Pit Of Terror. He also reviewed Pan’s Labyrinth HERE. Thanks for the reviews, Cameron! :-) Now let’s see what he has to say about Monty Python classics Monty Python And The Holy Grail, IMDB rank 84 out of 250 and Life Of Brian, IMDB rank 162 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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Simply utter the words ‘Monty Python’ to anyone and they’ll either spend the next hour reciting phrases about dead parrots and the Spanish Inquisition in a faux-English accent (even if they’re English themselves), or they’ll groan and shake their head. There is no inbetween. Yet none of them will say “Who?”. Monty Python have created for themselves the definition of a cult following, all around the world. Monty Python’s Flying Circus, first screened on BBC in 1969, was a sketch show made by and starring the 6 middle-class young men with a razor-sharp sense of humour that was anarchic, satirical, self-referential, often completely stupid, and most of the time a combination of all of these. The naïve BBC didn’t know what they’d signed off on, but audiences loved it. Running for four series, the troupe found themselves making a big-screen outing, based on the legends of King Arthur; Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

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I wasn’t alive until many years after this film was released so I can only imagine the reaction in cinemas as it opens with the ‘wrong’ film; Dentist on the Job starts before a projectionist is heard muttering about playing the wrong film. The ‘correct’ film starts now, but the opening credits have been tampered with by, for some reason, Swedish pranksters. If anyone sitting in the cinema had any preconception that they were going to be watching a straight-forward, linear movie with a few funny jokes they would by that point have stood (or sat) corrected. This subversive, completely barmy tone is carried throughout the film with constant wordplay and downright stupidity, but there is such a devoted commitment to the silliness that makes it far funnier than most other comedies, even today. The plot is rather bare – if dissected it’s perhaps a collection of sketches set around a vague storyline, but in practice it manages to feel somewhat coherent, even if you have no idea why what’s happening is happening. Most fans of this film (myself included) could recite the movie from beginning to end, but somehow on repeat viewings it still manages to be eye-wateringly hilarious. This provides a welcome contrast to The Flying Circus – as anyone who has sat through whole episodes or indeed whole series, if they’re completely honest, will attest to it can be hit and miss at least; often the humor is derived directly from the fact that a sketch is not working, that they simply ran out of ideas, or jokes that aren’t particularly funny the first time are dragged out. Such is the case with such a unique brand of surreal humour spread out across 45 episodes. In this film, however, there isn’t a single joke that misfires, the timing and delivery from the crew (who play almost every part) is just perfect. Despite the film being consistently silly, there are a number of surprisingly clever jokes at the expense of the social systems of the era and of other similarly-set historical films. There are moments where the society of the film’s setting is explored and the Pythons’ keen eyes for finding the absurd in everyday life & people makes it feel like it could actually be one of the most authentic depictions of medieval Britain on film. Made on a ridiculously low budget, the stories from behind the scenes tell tales of stress and despair but on screen it appears to embrace the limitation, most notably with the now ubiquitous coconut hooves providing two long-running gags, special effects being provided by Terry Gilliam’s paper-cutout animations, and an ending that takes the previously mentioned subversion to an extreme. Looking at it critically, it could be argued that it looks like a group of friends wrote a script and threw together a movie with whatever limited resources they had available. But I think that the long-lasting, timeless appeal is that that’s precisely what it is.

With The Holy Grail proving a huge success, the Pythons were unable to give an interview without being asked what their next film would be about. Legend has it that Eric Idle became tired of saying, truthfully, that they didn’t have one planned and told them their working title was “Jesus Christ – Lust for Glory” to shut them up. Soon however, it occurred to the group that they should make their own brand of Biblical Epic, and thus was conceived Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

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With a budget more than 10 times greater than The Holy Grail and the group now having experience in making a feature film, this is a very different film. With a much more linear, fleshed-out plot, on paper it is a ‘proper’ film, having the confidence to be funny through the script rather than with bizarre fourth wall breaking, such as with The Holy Grail’s opening sequence. Despite county councils around the UK, America and beyond sharpening their pitchforks regarding the blasphemy of this movie, it isn’t at all blasphemous in the sense of mocking the teachings of Christianity, actually depicting Jesus a handful of times in a manner nothing short of respectful. It is, however, a scathing depiction of those who follow religion blindly. Perhaps it was this troubling mirror image that was the root of such outrage. At any rate it was banned in a long list of places, including all of Ireland and Norway, prompting the Swedish publicity to read “So funny it was banned in Norway!”.

Picking up from a sequence in The Holy Grail where a left-wing peasant chastises King Arthur, a massive portion of this film features ‘The People’s Front of Judea’; a pitch-perfect lampoon of far-left political groups with their infighting (I did have to double-check that I didn’t accidentally mix them up with The Judean People’s Front), unawareness of their own contradictions, and aimlessly taking offence on behalf of other men. “Or women”.

All this talk of how terribly clever it is doesn’t do it the justice of acknowledging how funny it is as well. While the above politically charged moments are in themselves hilarious – and not in a high-and-mighty, sneering sense – for every one of these there is at least one ridiculous character or event in keeping with the classic “Pythonesque” humour of The Flying Circus’ high points and The Holy Grail. The budget allows them to transfer the screenplay to the screen without noticeably cutting corners and giving a production value to the final product that could stand aside certain Biblical Epics, yet the sense of fun from The Holy Grail isn’t lost. The 6 pythons still play a vast number of characters, Terry Gilliam provides one or two surreal animated sequences and there’s a feeling here, even more prevalent than in The Holy Grail, that they’re having a great time making it. One scene in particular features Michael Palin’s Pontius Pilate growing more and more angry as his prisoners and guards laugh at his friend Biggus Dickus’ name (see, it’s not all high-brow humour); as he taunts the guards, Palin himself is visibly an inch away from cracking up. It doesn’t even feel like it needs excused as a campy, old-school charm, the hilarity is truly infectious. Every bit as quotable as The Holy Grail, the film ends on what must be the most recognisable image from all of Monty Python’s work: the crucifixion of a number of characters singing ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’. It encapsulates the whole movie; it comes completely out of nowhere, it is absolutely hilarious at face value but has a very cynical undercurrent to it that once or twice boils to the surface, cheekily poking at certain feelings within many of us without being so harsh that it stops us from laughing, rather forcing us to laugh at ourselves. It is this carefully balanced humour that prevents the more politically charged moments from being cruel.

The Pythons produced two other films in the form of sketches tied together, making these two their only ‘proper’ films. The big question for many fans of these films is often “Which one’s your favourite?” and I couldn’t pick.  Individually they are fantastic, but taken together they provide three hours of non-stop laughter, such a wide variety of humour with a number of ideas and a general tone linking them. I wouldn’t hesitate to say both of them are amongst the funniest films ever made, so to pick a ‘favourite’ would be an injustice to the other.

But it’s probably Life of Brian. No, The Holy Gra- *thrown into a ravine*

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Fargo (1996) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Cara of Silver Screen Serenade. Thanks for being a part of this project, Cara! (and Happy Blogiversary). :-) Now let’s see what she has to say about Fargo, IMDB rank 127 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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I have a confession to make: I’m not a huge fan of the Coen brothers. I’ll pause to let the many, horrified gasps die down…

Everybody good? Because yep. I said it.

Admittedly, I haven’t seen all of their allegedly best stuff (i.e. The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Inside Llewyn Davis, etc.), but what I have seen has gotten a mostly “meh” reaction out of me—the one exception being O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which I find quite wonderful. But I wanted to watch Fargo because I was very curious about the FX series based on the film (and starring Martin Freeman, whom I adore). So when Miss Mutant’s list popped up and Fargo was a choice, I snatched it up. Was it a worthy choice? Let’s talk about that, shall we?

Fargo (1996)

Directed by Joel Coen

Starring:

Frances McDormand
William H. Macy
Steve Buscemi
Harve Presnell
Peter Stormare

Music by Carter Burwell

Running time: 98 minutes

Plot synopsis: (via IMDb)

Jerry Lundegaard’s inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen’s bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson.

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What I liked:

  • The accents. They. Crack. Me. Up. I don’t know what it is about Northern Midwest American accents, but I find them completely hilarious. I think it stems from my longtime love of the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous. Have you guys seen that? It’s wonderful. Or maybe only I think it’s wonderful. Whatever. Point is, the accents in Fargo are just as funny.
  • The actors. William H. Macy as bumbling, seemingly nice guy Jerry Lundegaard, Steve Buscemi as lusty, overly talkative henchman Carl Showalter, and Frances McDormand as clever, very pregnant police officer Marge Gunderson. It’s a bizarre cast of quirky characters, and they’re all fantastic.
  • Not only are many of the individual characters great, but the relationships are great, too. Marge and her husband, Norm (John Carroll Lynch), have the most adorable marriage ever. Tough Marge goes to work to keep the town safe while easy-going Norm enters painting competitions. They have meals together—big meals since pregnant Marge is constantly hungry. They fall asleep watching TV. Then there’s Carl and his strong, silent partner, Gaear. Definitely not as cohesive a relationship (as anyone who has seen the end of this film knows), but they’re a pretty funny odd couple. There are a lot of opposites like these in the film, and it works well.
  • The setting. There are more snow-covered scenes than you could possibly think to count, and it gives the film a very unique vibe. This is a place dominated by winter for a good portion of the year, and it shows.
  • The fact that some of these things actually happened. Fargo makes a big show of proclaiming itself a “true story” during the opening scene, which is embellishing—the plot and the characters are completely imagined. However, some of the events are taken from real-life, reminding us what a bizarre world we live in…
  • The wood chipper scene. Gruesome and severely twisted, but…lol.

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What I didn’t like:

  • Aside from Marge, it seems like no one in this town has more than a brain cell apiece. I realize this is supposed to be for comedic effects—and there are several moments when it’s very funny—but c’mon…no one else is even remotely intelligent? It seems like there ought to be at least a couple more characters in there who aren’t brain-dead.
  • A person gets shot in the head, and it’s very “eww.”
  • There’s a very random, very bizarre scene involving a hotel room hook-up. It’s supposed to be funny, and I guess it kind of is, but part of me couldn’t help thinking, “Wait, what purpose does this scene have?” And dovetailing off of that…
  • At one point, Marge meets up with an old high school buddy, and things get downright awkward. Again, the scene is so random and unnecessary that I was a little confused about why it made it into the film in the first place. Stuff like this happens so often in Coen films. In fact, can we just all agree to start calling throw-in scenes like this a “Coen?”
  • The ending. Marge gives a great speech toward the end that I fully expected to be followed by the closing credits, but the film goes on a bit longer, making you think maybe it’s leading to something more…and then it ends. It’s a bit of a letdown. Coen films do that a lot, too, don’t they? Hmm. At this rate, we’re going to have to start calling a lot of things a “Coen.”

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Summary:

Despite my qualms, I did enjoy this film. It’s a quirky, funny crime film that is bursting with personality, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the performances are superb. Plus, the “true events” aspect of this film adds an interesting layer—even if the truth is super stretched. I still don’t like this one better than O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and I think I actually might prefer FX’s Fargo series to this, but I’d still say this film is worth a watch.

My Rating: 8/10 (Probably an A- or so on my rating system)

Thanks for letting me partake, Mutant! You’re the coolest!

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V For Vendetta (2005) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Mike of Screenkicker!. Thanks for joining in on this, Mike! :-) Now let’s see what he has to say about V For Vendetta, IMDB rank 164 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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Ever since Blade was released in 1998 we’ve seen a huge resurgence in the number and quality of comic book movie adaptations.  Despite all the great attempts at bringing the world of comics to life one respected author’s creations seemed destined to be mishandled completely.  Alan Moore is the mastermind behind classic graphic novels like Watchmen and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen however the transition from page to screen of his work had been mediocre at best.  The film version of League is almost a lesson in how not to adapt the medium and From Hell isn’t much better.  So does V for Vendetta break the curse?  Yes and no.

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V tells the story of Evie played by Natalie Portman a young woman living in a near future fascist Britain who through a series of events comes to be associated with a masked anarchist named V whose goal is to overthrow the government.  With V’s help Evie finds the strength to confront almost impossible odds.  Fans of the source material won’t find much to grumble about apart from some changes to the main character.  He’s less of a straight-up terrorist and more of a righteous revolutionary.  One of the best things about Moore’s comic was the vision of the UK he created.  It was written in the 1980s and was massively influenced by Britain governed by Margaret Thatcher, making its near future version of London believable and not too far from our own world.  V director James McTeigue’s adaptation on the other hand portrays a very strange city which never feels real, its recreation of London looks old fashioned and seems more quaint than dystopic.

The movie starts by setting the scene and at first is jarring when we first meet V.  This is one of those common situations where comic book dialogue sounds silly when spoken aloud with V’s introduction eliciting childish sniggers from me the first time I saw it.  He’s seems far from the dangerous, determined force of nature from the book and later when he has emotional scenes it can pull you out of the action.  Basically the first half of the film jerks along at an uneven pace leaving you ambivalent to what’s actually happening.

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I know what you’re thinking – this armchair critic hated the film.  Well you’re wrong!  There is a lot to like about it and it really is greater than the sum of its parts. There’s a good performance from John Hurt and despite a slightly dodgy English accent, Natalie Portman gives it her all.  And once the plot kicks into gear properly the film finds its feet. Stephen Rea plays a policeman investigating V’s attacks and how his snooping unfolds is expertly told with a brilliant montage towards the end showing all the parts of V’s plans falling into place.  The crowning moment though is the entire section where Evie is captured, imprisoned, and finds a letter from a previous inmate.  Acting, editing, music, and visuals all come together to produce an extremely emotionally affecting and memorable scene which will stay with you and is worth watching the movie for.  From this part to the end of the film it’s worthy of the title and you forget about the slightly dull first half.

Intriguingly V is the first Alan Moore adaptation that he wouldn’t let producers put his name on and it turned out to be the best at least until Watchmen was released.  It’s a good story, well told with good acting, action and a couple of absolutely brilliant sections so it’s definitely worth a watch if you’ve always dreamt of sticking it to the man.  It really is V good.

7/10

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Double Indemnity (1944) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Cindy. You can find her blog, Cindy Bruchman, HERE. Thanks for being a part of this IMDB project, Cindy! :-) Now let’s see what she has to say about Double Indemnity, IMDB rank 57 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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***WARNING: SPOILERS***

In 1945, Billy Wilder directed and co-wrote the script with Raymond Chandler and Double Indemnity was nominated for seven academy awards including Best Picture. For the three principal actors, this American noir was the best decision they made in their careers, especially Edward G. Robinson, who normally insisted  top billing but signed up as supporting actor because the script was so good. Indeed, Barbara Stanwyck may have been nominated for Best Actress and Fred MacMurray played tall-dark-and-handsome perfectly, but it was Robinson’s role that was essential for moving the plot and his acting the best of the bunch. Why he wasn’t nominated for an award, I don’t know.

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Shadows, hidden corners, streets after sundown and conversations in garages and halls and trains–even in the bright of day, fatale Phyllis Dietrichson hides behind black shades and most shots are held at night or in the dark. It’s a tricky way to begin a film. Fred MacMurray’s character, Walter Neff, stumbles injured into his L.A. office one night and confesses into a dictaphone that he committed a murder. The rest of the film is a flashback where we learn how and why he did it.

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In the old days, insurance salesmen made house calls. Walter makes a visit to the Dietrichson home and craves the wife when she appears at the top of the stairs wearing no more than a smile and a towel. Her smoldering sexuality instigates Walter Neff’s decision to do whatever it takes to free Phyllis Dietrichson from her boring husband. Film censors had their way in the 1940s. A man or woman who commits adultery will get theirs in the end. Even though we can predict the ending, what holds the film together is the sleuth, the ethical, claims adjuster and friend to Neff, Barton Keyes.

This is the thrilling part of the film. As the narrator and protagonist (?) of the story, Walter Neff’s repentance at the beginning of the film and the unraveling of the story has you admiring his cleverness while forgiving him his mistake. It has you scrutinizing every gesture, every word Phyllis makes. Every “I love you, baby” seems sincere. Is Neff an unreliable narrator? As the story unfolds, do you believe him? After enough plot twists and the depth of descent of Phyllis’s manipulation, you realize you’ve been duped just like Walter Neff.

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While one tries to understand these two lovers, there is Barton Keyes, figuring out the mystery while discussing it to Neff at work. If Neff can devise a plan to make the murder of her husband appear as an accident, it will trigger the “double indemnity” clause and pay out twice the policy’s face value. Neff has his jaw set and tries to stay calm. Part of you wants Barton Keyes to figure it out while another part of you hopes the lovers get away. The audience experiences a trifecta of see-sawing of emotions. It’s good old-fashioned dramatic irony and why the film is great.

Maybe you haven’t seen this outstanding classic? Here’s a trailer for you:

IMDB Top 250 Update – Guest Reviews Still Needed – Are You Still In?

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Hello everyone! Thanks again for all the wonderful guest reviews you’ve sent me for my IMDB Top 250 Challenge. Several people have asked me to remind them which movies they chose. I’ve been meaning for some time now to go through all the comments & get a proper list together of who chose what as it was hard to keep track & I may have missed some replies. (I had to make a spreadsheet, people! I felt like I was at work). ;-) First of all: DID SOMEONE CHOOSE SCARFACE?!

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(That’s me after working on the spreadsheet) ;-)

I took Scarface off the list but can’t find a comment from anyone choosing it. This is what I currently show as having not yet been chosen:

- Life Is Beautiful 1997
- All Quiet on the Western Front 1930
- Mystic River 2003
- Forrest Gump 1994
- The Bourne Ultimatum 2007
- Goodfellas 1990
- Vertigo 1958
- Dial M for Murder 1954
- The Graduate 1967
- Beauty And The Beast 1991

Now, I’ve put together this list of reviews I’m waiting for & who chose them. Don’t worry – I’m not chasing any of you for these! I myself have to do about 100 reviews from the 250 – that’ll take me AGES. Ugh! I just wanted a list in one place so I can keep my head straight on this plus I know a lot of you weren’t sure which ones you chose. Can I just ask each of you to confirm in the comments if you definitely still want to review these?

I’ve never heard again from a few of the below volunteers. I know I talk to a lot of you quite often & know the reviews are coming. But if anyone has changed their mind on doing any of these reviews, please let me know as I’ve had several new people express interest in joining in. I promise it’s okay if you’ve changed your mind! I’ll give it a few weeks (until July 6th) and if I’ve not received a reply on some of the movies below, I’ll add them back onto the list for other bloggers to be able to review. (Don’t worry if we’ve been in contact since you chose these – I know most of you are still planning on doing these. ZOEDo not freak out! I know yours are coming! Lol). ;-)

Here’s the list (I’ve tried to link to all your blogs so you hopefully get a WordPress notification):

Terry Malloy’s Pigeon Coop:
The Seventh Seal

Melissa:
Scarface

MIB’s Instant Headache:
It’s a Wonderful Life 1946

Abbi:
34 American History X 1998
234 Rain Man 1988

Beer Movie:
The Avengers 2012
The Truman Show 1998

Brian:
98 The Sting 1973
101 Die Hard 1988

Cameron:
177 Black Swan 2010

Cara:
67 To Kill a Mockingbird 1962

Cindy:
125 Gran Torino 2008

Dan:
51 American Beauty 1999
53 Taxi Driver 1976
142 Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels 1998
161 Into the Wild 2007

Eric:
10 Fight Club 1999
31 Léon 1994
250 Låt den rätte komma in 2008 (Let The Right One In)

Flashback/Backslide:
33 Memento 2000
72 The Third Man 1949
78 Chinatown 1974
121 The Maltese Falcon 1941
136 Sin City 2005

Confessions From A Geek Mind:
29 Psycho 1960
37 Dr. Strangelove 1964
75 Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind 2004
165 Tonari no Totoro 1988 (My Neighbor Totoro)

Jenna & Allie:
143 The Sixth Sense 1999

John Link Movies:
9 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 2003
13 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 2001
21 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 2002

John:
8 Schindler’s List 1993
83 Braveheart 1995
198 A Beautiful Mind 2001

Karen:
157 Good Will Hunting 1997

Kieron:
135 Cool Hand Luke 1967

Kim:
79 The Lion King 1994
122 De Hobbit: Een onverwachte reis 2012 (The Hobbit)

Liam:
176 Donnie Darko 2001

Mark:
43 Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi 2001 (Spirited Away)
62 Amelie 2001
151 Trainspotting 1996

Rob:
4 Pulp Fiction 1994
70 Reservoir Dogs 1992
138 Strangers on a Train 1951
200 The Manchurian Candidate 1962

Elemental Reviews:
49 The Pianist 2002
64 Intouchables 2011

Popcorn Scorn:
233 The Wrestler 2008

Ruth:
96 The Apartment 1960
108 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939

Satua:
73 Requiem for a Dream 2000
171 Network 1976

Scott:
36 Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991

Thomas J Ford:
134 The Deer Hunter 1978

Tom:
116 The Elephant Man 1980
158 Gone with the Wind 1939

Verbal Spew:
92 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968

Zoe:
112 Snatch 2000
235 Shutter Island 2010

Girls Do Film:
All About Eve

Kerry:
Groundhog Day

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FYI: There’s currently about a 2 month wait from when you send me your review to when it’ll post – I’ve received enough reviews already to have them scheduled up to August right now. If you send me more than one at once, I’ll space them out a bit.

SPOILERS: Also, I’m not telling you what to write (I’m a laid back & easygoing person!) ;-) but I’m just letting you all know I’ll have to include a Spoiler Warning on any reviews I think contain a little too much information. You can discuss the movies as much as you like in the reviews – I just like to put a big warning before a major spoiler as I know some people haven’t seen these films but want to read the reviews. I apologize for not always remembering to put that warning on some of the guest reviews. I’ve tried to make the big spoiler parts of reviews “invisible” but it doesn’t seem to work with my theme – Sorry :-/

Hope that didn’t sound bossy! Thanks again to all you wonderful volunteers! I may have to give up some of my 100 at some point if I actually want all 250 movies reviewed… :-)

Magic Mike (2012) Review

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You may be aware that The IPC was taken over this week by these lovely ladies: Zoe, Smash, and Cara (or should I say Miguel?? I don’t want to piss him off!). ;-)

Anyway, Eric stupidly kindly agreed to let me take over today. The fool! So I posted about a shitty movie full of half naked men. You can read my review of Magic Mike HERE.

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Godzilla (2014) Review

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Godzilla (2014)

Directed by Gareth Edwards

Starring:
Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Ken Watanabe
Elizabeth Olsen
Juliette Binoche
Sally Hawkins
David Strathairn
Bryan Cranston

Running time: 123 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Big monster destroys shit. Unfortunately, they attempt to write a plot around that.

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My Opinion:

I’ll keep this one short – I’m soooooooooooo far behind on reviews. So here’s the final review of my 4-movies-in-a-day madness from last week. The best by far was Edge Of Tomorrow, then X-Men: Days Of Future Past, then Godzilla, then A Million Ways To Die In The West.

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This was SO much like Pacific Rim: Cool ass action scenes with big monsters destroying shit. It was fun. Both movies were a lot of fun. But it also suffers from the same sort of boring script and uninteresting characters that Pacific Rim had. Everyone has reviewed this by now & everyone knows the main complaints: “Not enough Godzilla & we have to wait for ages until we finally see him.” YEP! Oh yeah – and, “Bryan Cranston screams & pouts a lot”. YEP! Oh, and I’ll add that Ken Watanabe just stands around looking completely gormless all the time. The hubby hasn’t seen this yet & asked if I’d want to go to it again with him. My reply was “can I just join you for the last hour?”. Aaron Taylor-Johnson was okay – I’ve never liked him all that much. But at least he had something to do here, other than his dad (Bryan Cranston) who was just acting all crazy and his wife (Elizabeth Olsen) who really had fuck all to do (other than leave her phone on silent when worrying about her husband & eagerly awaiting a call from him. Good thing there’s voicemail!).

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Wow. That all sounded really bitchy. The script is nothing special & the characters are pretty one-dimensional – So what? We really just want to see Godzilla destroy shit, right? The second half of the movie really picks up and we get lots of action and a Godzilla that looks pretty damn cool (to me, at least). I just wish I’d cared at least a LITTLE more about any of the characters. Oh well. It’s a popcorn movie with a big monster. It was fun. I wish I’d liked it a bit more than Cloverfield but I think I actually preferred that one. It’s worth going to in order to see it on a big screen, though. God what a shitty review. I clearly can’t be arsed with this review. (That’s “can’t be bothered” to you Americans). Here’s my rating!

My Rating: 6.5/10

**I’ve lowered my rating since a bunch of you moaned it was too high based on my bitchy review. Lol! I did have fun with the movie – I think I was just in a bad mood when I wrote this ;-)

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FYI: I suggest you all have a look at The IPC HERE to see the shenanigans that have been going on over there this week while The Big Cheese has been away. The Girls have taken over! It’s been a much lovelier (and nicer smelling) place since Eric has been gone. And today you can look at some male strippers! :-)