Saturday, November 15, 2008

Before Sunset - A Little Waltz

Why can't they make more romantic movies like this? It seems like all we ever get is the traditional, boring, predictable Hugh Grant-Sandra Bullock kind of movies.

Before Sunset, and the original Before Sunrise films are definitely exceptions. Films that are sweet, but intelligent and never talk down to its audience.

For those that aren't a fan of dialog, and is into more non stop action, this movie will not be for you.

For those that really enjoy intelligent dialog, you will love this movie. That's all the movie is. Its just talking. Think about that. A movie that's just about two people having a nice conversation....WHY CAN"T THEY MAKE MORE MOVIES LIKE THIS?!

This is the best part of the movie and the reason I am absolutely in love in Julie Delpy.

There is something so calming about this scene, and the movie itself for that matter. It's truly a romantic film that is made for the film buffs as well.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Opening Scene In The Departed

I'll say it once, I'll say it a million times, there is nobody who can deliver a line quite like Jack Nicholson. He is the epitome of cool.

In The Departed, another in the long line of Martin Scorsese classic films, the opening scene tells you exactly what you are in for. You get an idea of what kind of scumbag Nicholson's character is.

You can tell he runs the show. You can tell people are scared of him. You can tell he gets whatever he wants. You can tell people are scared to death of him.

The opening scene also has another staple in Martin Scorsese repertoire. The famous "Gimme Shelter" song by the Rolling Stone. If you are a fan of Scorcese, you know its been in A LOT of hiss films.

You'll never hear me complain about it though, as it just happens to be one of my favorite of songs. Its just an unbelievable piece of music. The subtle guitar that slowly builds gives me chills even if I heard the song a million times by now.

It works so perfectly with Scorsese's gritty crime dramas (Goodfellas, Casino, etc).

The Departed finally gave Scorsese the Oscar for Best Director that has been long overdue and it also was his first film to ever win Best Picture.

The irony is I wouldn't even rank The Departed in my top 5 Scorsese films of all time. That's how great a director he is.

For those counting at home my top 5 Scorsese films are:

1) Goodfellas
2) Raging Bull
3) Taxi Driver
4) Casino
5) After Hours (way....way underrated movie)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Schindler's List - Girl in the Red Coat

Schindler's List has got to be one of the most important films ever made. I don't think there could be a better film made of the Hollocaust. The incredible black & white visuals illustrate this horrible chapter in our humanity.

Its really difficult to sum up how masterful this movie. Steven Spielberg prior to this, while making great films, never really made anything this grim and thought provoking (Empire of the sun was a good effort, but not a great film). He had been known for making films, that left you with a big smile on your face, or great popcorn movies which at the end and also made you feel better about humanity.

Now, I could not think of any other person who could made such a masterpiece.

The girl with the red coat is just one of the scenes that can captivate you, leaving you gasping for air. Obviously you have to see the film in full context to understand, but this is the only time in the film you actually see color. People can debate the actual meaning of this. I personally think the girl represents innocence and life in this hellish, chaotic environment. What can't be debated is how ingenious the scene is.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Braveheart - They'll never take our freedom!

Braveheart has to be one of the greatest epics ever made. Clocking in well over 3 hours, the time just flies by. Sure, the history is romanticized a bit, but afterall we are watching a movie.

Its an incredibly inspiring tale of William Wallace, a revolutionary freedom fighter for Scotland.

The film's fighting scenes are extremely well done. And although there is violence in the film, its not glamorized and it serves the point.

I remember the first time I saw Braveheart. After the end of it, I felt the same way I did when I saw Rocky. I had this great feeling of inspiration and motivation. I felt like we lived in a world, in which, the underdog can claim victory.

The following scene has to be its most famous. I call it the Knute Rockney speech. It's like the halftime speech when your team is down by 20 points and all looks lost. Here comes the leader to say "we can do this!" It really gets the blood flowing.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Magnolia - Julianne Moore in the Pharmacy Scene

Magnolia is like a beautiful mosaic of some very broken people. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the story revolves around countless characters. There is no real protagonist in the story. It's really just about seeing glimpses into these people's lives. It's kind of similar to many Robert Altman films, in that aspect.

Some people call Magnolia pretentious, but I didn't see it that way. In fact, I'm amazed how Anderson can keep the viewer caring about so many different people. Every character is going through some kind of pain and suffering (mental, physical, personal). There are some characters you can feel empathy for and/or connect with them. But Anderson never forces the viewer to feel empathy for each character. He shows them in an unpolished form, and lets the viewer decide for him/her self how to feel about them.

If there is a standout performance, its got to be by Julianne Moore, who plays the wife of a much older man (Jason Robards) who is dying painfully of cancer.

The scene above shows her trying to get her prescription drugs for her depression, anxiety, and other problems she faces. You could see it in her face that every time she goes to the pharmacy she has to feel this embarrassment.

Overall, Magnolia is an unflinching film that will leave you wanting to talk about it for several months to come. Its well over 3 hours, so I do recommend you don't watch it casually, but really devote some time to watch it in its entirety.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Shaun of the Dead - He's Not my Boyfriend Scene

I know this is barely a scene, but it kills me every time. For those that don't know "Shaun of the Dead" is an over the top satire on horror-zombie genre. Its incredibly graphic, but done so in such a tongue & cheek sort of way, I doubt even the most squeamish can be scared of it.

I know most people remember the slapstickish jokes, which are hillarious. But like the scene above, the dryer conversational humor is what dropped me to the ground. You can tell they borrow pretty heavily from the Monty Python crew, yet they seem to make it their own.

The film is also a lot smarter than the premise would indicate. There is a lot of social commentary being said in the film. Shaun of the Dead really takes a swing at the media, and human beings way of dealing with a crisis.

The hardest thing about the film is trying to pick out your favorite scene. You will literally be laughing all the way through it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ed Wood - Bela Legosi Fighting with a Squid

For those that don't Ed Wood is the story of the worst director in the history of cinema. His films have a cult following in that "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" sort of way. Its only fitting that the film "Ed Wood" has a cult like following. But in this case, its for the right reason.

Ed Wood only made $6,000,000 in box office money. I could see why. This is not a film that was made for John and Jane Q Public. It's shot in a dark black and white setting. There is a lot that you have to actually follow and devote some attention to. Basically, it not a mindless way to spend a couple of hours.

Directed by Tim Burton, the film does an incredible job of showing what it must have been like to shoot small budget - indie style films back. The shortcuts that have to be made during filming, how to raise money for the film, etc... You can really tell that Burton was a huge of Wood's as this is a perfect homage.

Johnny Depp plays Wood to perfection. He has this infinite optimism about everything he does. You can see his pasion in making films. No matter how crappy they were, he always felt like he was doing work comparable to Orson Wells. He was in many ways a flawed man, but Depp's amazing performance makes you feel that we should have honored this director in some way.

And what can be said about Martin Landau. He won a much deserved oscar for his incredible performance as Bela Legosi during the end of his career and life. He brings a beautiful mixture of empathy and comedy to the performance.

I think this scene really epitomizes the movie. Here it is probably about 3:00 am. They've got this incredibly fake looking squid with no motor (because they forgot it), a 70 something year old actor who's half in the bag, yet nothing deters Wood. He genuinely loves what he's doing.

You know, in a way, I'm glad this film isn't that widely known to the mass audiences. It makes me feel its my own personal gem.