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Gangs of New York (2002)
I know the great Martin Scorcese was not the sole input into this film, and may be representative of how hard it is to make a truly excellent motion picture in this day and age. What didn't help was how DD Lewis tried to act like DeNiro the whole goddamn movie. Any moment I expected him to bust into a "you talkin' to me?"
The screenplay was flat out unbelievable and poorly developed, while DiCaprio, Daniel Day Lewis, and Diaz were all miscast. I wonder if Scorcese chose them or the studio did.
If Daniel Day Lewis is going to put on a DeNiro show for 2.5 hours, then why not just get DeNiro and make him look a little younger? Perhaps Bob wasn't interested.
Rodney has staying power
You can't help but love Rodney Dangerfield. A lot of his jokes aren't funny, but he sells them... well at that. His persona is the joke and I laugh every time. Bill Murray just isn't that funny in this film except when he's undressing the old rich ladies with his eyes and talking dirty to himself. Chevy Chase was also hilarious and I'm not sure why. Comedy doesn't always have to make sense.
Why did they throw in a love story? This film could have been a lot better if they had more gags and more Rodney. Who cares? This film is still worth it, but will fade. 7/10.
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
This film was hard for me to watch, but that was the point. The reason it was so effective was due to the helpless nature of the children being hunted by Robert Mitchum's terrifying character. You know they're naive and physically weak, so if Mitchum even gets close they're finished. This film likely failed because of its intensity, not because of its brilliance and excellent acting (minus the kids). Charles Laughton seems like a man who does quality work all the way around. 9/10
Women's issues for all audiences
First let me say, that this is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. There's something about deceitful cross dressing (when done well) that makes people laugh. Some Like It Hot established itself with the same gag. Tootsie was a different movie though, it was far more serious and dealt with feminist issues in a way that wasn't preachy or annoying. For an example of that check out the abominable Adam's Rib with Tracy and Hepburn.
Dustin Hoffman is simply amazing. He is the reason you are drawn into this movie. His Dorothy Michaels is so convincing that its hilarious (because you're in on the gag too). This film is never silly though, because there are well-established relationships between the characters. Miraculously, the feminist message of the film does not come off as corny as most issue based movies tend to be. I wouldn't even say this is a feminist film, its many more things at the same time. That is why it is so effective. 9/10
clever, well done
For what this film was, I don't think it could have worked on the main criticism I have for it. The fast paced nature of the film combined with the many different characters leads one to be confused as to who is mad at who and who has what. However, I could follow it well enough to see absorb the skeleton of the plot and see Ritchie's creativity in storytelling. This film begs for a second viewing, and I will probably give it that. Highly entertaining and very creative. Tough to get the accents sometime though. 8/10.
I really liked this film. As usual, Pitt's acting is great as well as everyone else (even the young Kirsten Dunst). The film was masterfully set in a very dark mood to reflect the feeling of Pitt's character. Anne Rice creatively humanized the vampire condition and gave them emotions. Because I understood the vampire's perspective, I didn't look at their killing as reckless or evil, but necessary. Harsh reality. Superb work, and would have gotten a 9/10 if it wasn't for the last couple scenes. Those could have been done much better. When Pitt walked out of the movie theater in 1988 you get this great sense that he's a walking anachronism. Then Cruise kills Slater to some cheezy song playing on the radio on the Golden Gate bridge while exclaiming "I've been listening to his whining for centuries." Poor, poor. More scenes like Pitt's sad exit from the movie theater would have been great. It is an unheard of event that a man gets to experience modern technology and transportation while knowing the inconveniences of the past. Not to mention the changing culture and morality. A greater focus on that would have made this film a 10, but no. 8/10.
This is one of the most underrated film of all time and should be in the top 20 or 30 films ever produced. Why hasn't it achieved greater status among the great films of the 20th century? In my opinion, its even better than Hitchcock's great films of the 50's. There are three reasons this film is great, among others of course.
1) The plot is paced perfectly and you never know who is telling the truth. This movie is about trust. You cannot be sure that anyone is who they say they are and who's really after the money: hence the name of the film. I've rarely ever seen something pulled off so flawlessly.
2) Grant and Hepburn. Two of the most charismatic film stars ever with (at the time) their choice of scripts. Of course they would choose this absolute gem.
3) The dialogue. It brought be back to the great films of the 40's like Notorious, Big Sleep and Maltese Falcon. Grant's witty replies to Hepburn's questions are some of the best I've ever heard. I sat amazed at the brilliant writing.
10/10. Unquestionably one of the finest mysteries ever made and up there with the greats of all time.
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
lovely little film
There is no doubt about it in my mind, Audrey Hepburn made this movie. She is just so captivating here, I spent most of the time just mesmerized by her charisma. Because of that, her occupation of wooing upper class men became very, very believable. If you don't get into Audrey, this film will probably seem rather mediocre. I was so into her persona that Mickey Rooney's incredibly offensive Chinese landlord character didn't even bother me. I just sat there wide-eyed listening to Holly Golightly say god knows what. Special film. 9/10.
First off, any movie with Olivier and Laughton in two major roles has to have some redeeming value. They are two of the finest actors I've seen on screen and they lit it up in Spartacus. Yes, Gladiator ripped off Spartacus in many ways and then turned it into a melodramatic circus. For the critics of this film, you have to give it the credit of being realistic unlike Braveheart and Gladiator which were poorly done.
This isn't a real Stanley Kubrick film so don't go into it thinking you're going to see something innovative and ground-breaking. This is just a movie. Kubrick inherited the movie and the script mid-production (I think the story goes) and wasn't super pleased with the result of this film. Too many people were pulling him too many ways. I missed the homosexuality references, but that's probably because they were disguised and I wasn't looking for them. Sadly, I'll probably never watch it again. Very long film, but worth a viewing. 8/10
Put on your thinking caps
Chomsky is one of my heroes, so I am a little biased. I consider myself a moderate, and I see Chomsky as a transcendent of politics. He spouts the truth, and tries to decipher incredibly complex institutional interactions. This doc will make you think about the world you live in like you've never thought about it before, being led by one of the premier thinkers of our time. Chomsky will be remembered far beyond the present, a true maverick and one of the few people intelligent enough to address societal and institutional ills and be right close to 100% of the time.
Do NOT dismiss Chomsky because you think he's a lefty nut. He's not a pre-Bowling for Columbine Michael Moore. Noam Chomsky is a distinguished intellectual in the truest sense with a near 100% accuracy in placing his words properly in sentences. When you hear him speak, try to focus on how clearly and concisely his ideas are discussed. Then look into his eyes and take note of his demeanor. A human body does not suit a mind like his. This documentary is a must for truth seekers and lefties. It is long, but you can watch it in parts. If you wanna have a great discussion, watch it with one or two other people. Its inevitable. 10/10